To John Quincy Adams
Montpellier June 13. 1820.
In turning over a few pages of the Journal, which is all I have done, a casual glance caught a passage which erroneously prefixed my name to the proposition made on the 7th. day of September for making a Council of six members a part of the Executive branch of the Government. The proposition was made by Col: George Mason one of the Virginia delegates, and seconded by Doctor Franklin. I cannot be mistaken in the fact: for besides my recollection which is sufficiently distinct on the subject, my notes contain the observations of each in support of the proposition. As the original Journal, according to my extract from it, does not name the mover of the proposition, the error I presume must have had it’s source in some of the extrinsic communications to you; unless indeed it was found in some of the separate papers of the Secretary of the Convention; or is to be ascribed to a copying pen. The degree of symphony in the two names Madison and Mason may possibly have contributed to the substitution of the one for the other.
This explanation having a reference to others as well as myself, I have thought it would be neither improper nor unacceptable. Along with it, I renew the assurance of my high esteem & cordial respects.
FC (DLC); draft (DLC). FC in John C. Payne’s hand.
1. Letter not found.
2. On 22 Apr. 1820 Charles Pinckney “offered a joint resolution directing the Secretary of State to transmit one copy of the Journal of the Convention, which formed the Federal Constitution, to each of the members of that Convention, who are now living.” The resolution passed the House of Representatives on 24 Apr. and the Senate on 5 May (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 16th Cong., 1st sess., 673, 1947–48, 1951). For the printed journal, see John Quincy Adams to JM, 22 Oct. 1818, PJM-RS description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends 1:367–68, 369 n. 1).