James Madison Papers

Benjamin Romaine to James Madison, 30 March 1829

New York. 30th March 1829

Dear Sir.

I take the liberty to send to you three pamphlets on the controversy between the late President Adams, and H. G. Otis and Company. Their Appeal having been made "to the people of the United States," as a member of this community, therefore, I have rendered my decision, as a Juror in the case; and as Stated in those pamphlets, Subscribed—An old Citizen of New York.

You will recollect that I held the Commission of Deputy Quarter Master General, during our late War, with England, under your Signature, third military District.

I beg leave also to send to you three pamphlets, written and published by me, opposed to the adoption of our State Constitution of 1822. My ground of dissent then was, as now, the continuance of such provisions as had become obsolete by the adoption of the Constitution of the United States; and not only so, but the introduction of sundry other items, to my mind, both mischivious and dangerous; all tending to strengthen those State—Sovereignty assumptions of yielded power; And now so repeatedly urged by State Aspirants. It is clear to my mind that while the State Constitutions continue such provisoes, the land–marks prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, will be disriguarded, and the plainest constructions frittered away to suit certain State purposes; untill none other than a Skeleton shall remain of the general Constitution; and the State Sovereignties reject or approve of the general laws at pleasure, as in the old Confederation. It is indeed grievous to be informed that the majority of your State Legislature has already reached to that climacteric, and declared to the world—"that the Constitution of the United States, being a federative compact between sovereign States, in construing which no common Arbiter is known, each State has the right to construe the Compact for itself!" Year 134. [page] 68. As your are now about to newmodle your State Constitution, or to form an entire new one, as we have done, I feel it to be a duty to prevent, as far as my means of information can go, Such enactments as are contained in the above resolve, from a place in your new Constitution; or even such as have a misplace in ours. These pamphlets shew the result of my most mature judgement in these premises. Accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest respect [ang] my greatest esteem,

B.jn Romaine

NB. I beg to be brought to the recolliction of Mrs. Madison. She may remember her observations, of my likeness to that of General Jackson.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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