James Madison Papers

Alden Bradford to James Madison, 9 April 1831

New Bedford, Mass. April 9th 1831


Last July, I took the liberty to send you some remarks of mine, which had been previously published in a Boston paper, on the extent of the powers of the Federal Government, requesting your opinions, on the correctness of them. I presume your time is much occupied, & that you have not had leisure to peruse them; or perhaps, that they did not merit any notice.

This is a great question, & is becoming one of vital importance to the continuance of our free institutions, as I apprehend, & by that degree of power in the State governments, which it was intended by those who framed & approved the federal constitution should remain with the States, & which is necessary to the security of liberty for the people.

The doctrine of consolidation, which would not have been endured forty years ago, by the people, is becoming fashionable, on account of some great names, who advocate it. And they push their [ ] doctrine so far as to consider the general government, as a national one altogether, & not as a federal one. We called those anti-federal in 1788 &c who opposed the Constitution of the U. S. on account of its giving more power to Congress, & taking any more away from the States. But, it appears to me, that they who are for Consolodation are really antifederal—& dangerous antifederals—But I forbear to trouble you Sir; my object in addressing You, at this time, is to request, if you received these papers, to have the goodness to return them to me, in Boston, as I have no other copy. With great respect & esteem Your obt Sert—

Alden Bradford

If however, Sir, you will favor me with your views, on the subject, I shall be exceedingly gratified—& they will be confidential, unless you otherwise permit.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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