George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Madison, 1 November 1786

From James Madison

Richmond Novr 1. 1786

Dear Sir

I have been here too short a time as yet to have collected fully the politics of the Session. In general appearances are favorable. On the question for a paper emission the measure was this day rejected in emphatical terms by a majority of 84 vs 17. The affair of the Missisippi is but imperfectly known.1 I find that its influence on the federal spirit will not be less than was apprehended. The Western members will not be long silent on the subject. I inculcate a hope that the views of Congress may yet be changed, and that it would be rash to suffer the alarm to interfere with the policy of amending the Confederacy. The sense of the House has not yet been tried on the latter point. The Report from the Deputies to Annapolis lies on the Table, and I hope will be called for before the business of the Mississippi begins to ferment.2 Mr Henry has signified his wish not to be reelected, but will not be in the Assembly. The Attorney & R. H. Lee are in nomination for his successor. The former will probably be appointed, in which case the contest for that vacancy will lie between Col. Innis & Mr Marshal. The nominations for Cong[res]s are as usual numerous. There being no Senate yet it is uncertain when any of these appointments will take place.3 With the sincerest affection & the highest esteem I am Dear Sir Yr Obedt & humble Servt

Js Madison Jr

ALS, DLC:GW; signed copy, in Madison’s hand, DLC: Madison Papers.

1Madison later annotated this sentence: “Mr. [John] Jay’s project for shutting it for 25 years” (Rutland and Rachal, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 9:156). See James Monroe to GW, 20 Aug. 1786, n.2.

2For reference to the report of the Annapolis Convention drafted by Alexander Hamilton, see note 1 of John Jay to GW, 16 Mar. 1786.

3Edmund Randolph was elected governor of Virginia on 7 Nov. to replace Patrick Henry. James Innes, who at this time was a delegate to the house from Williamsburg, was chosen on 23 Nov. to become attorney general in the place of Randolph. John Marshall represented Fauquier County in the house of delegates in 1785 and would represent Henrico County again in 1787, but he was not a member in 1786.

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