George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Madison, 11 February 1788

From James Madison

N. York Feby 11. 88.

Dear Sir

The Newspaper inclosed with the letter which follows, comprises the information brought me by the mail of yesterday.1

Boston Feby 3d

“I inclose a Newspaper containing the propositions communicated by Mr Hancock to the Convention, on thursday last. Mr [Samuel] Adams who contrary to his own sentiments has been hitherto silent in Convention, has given his public and explicit approbation of Mr Hancocks propositions—We flatter ourselves that the weight of these two characters will ensure our success; but the event is not absolutely certain. Yesterday a Committee was appointed on the motion of a doubtful character to consider the propositions submitted by Mr Hancock and to report tomorrow afternoon—We have a majority of fœderalists on this Committee and flatter ourselves the result will be favorable: P.S. We shall probably decide on thursday or friday next when our numbers will amount to about 363.”

With greatest esteem & attachment I am Dear Sir Yr Obedt & affee Servt

Js Madison Jr

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, DLC: Madison Papers.

1This letter from Rufus King, 3 Feb., quoted here, is in Rutland and Hobson, 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 10:465–66. On 31 Jan. John Hancock found himself sufficiently recovered from the gout to appear at the convention in which he had been elected to preside. He declared himself in favor of the Constitution and offered a series of amendments to be sought after ratification. See Benjamin Lincoln to GW, 3 February. It was on this basis that the convention moved to a final vote on 6 Feb. when the Constitution was adopted by a vote of 187 to 168 along with the recommended amendments. The enclosed newspaper was the Massachusetts Centinel (Boston) of 2 Feb. 1788.

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