Log In Register

Source & Citation Info

title:“James Madison to Edmund Randolph”
authors:James Madison
date written:1788-4-1

permanent link
to this version:
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:26 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 13, 2021, 9:31 a.m. UTC

Madison, James. "Letter to Edmund Randolph." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 13. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 429-30. Print.

James Madison to Edmund Randolph (April 1, 1788)

. . . We hear nothing decisive as yet concerning the general reception given to the Act of the Convention. The Advocates for it come forward more promptly than the Adversaries. The Sea Coast seems everywhere fond of it. The party in Boston which was thought most likely to make opposition, are warm in espousing it. It is said that Mr. S. Adams objects to one point only, viz. the prohibition of a Religious test.1 Mr. Bowdoin's objections are said to be agst. the great number of members composing the Legislature, and the intricate election of the President.2 You will no doubt have heard of the fermentation in the Assembly of Penna . . . . ... I have reed. no letter from you since your halt at the Bolling Green. We hear that opinions are various in Virginia on the plan of the Convention. I have reed. within a few days a letter from the Chancellor by which I find that he gives it his approbation; and another from the President of Willm. & Mary which, though it does not absolutely reject the Constitution, criticizes it pretty freely. The Newspapers in the middle & Northern States begin to teem with controversial publications. The attacks seem to be principally levelled agst. the organization of the Government, and the omission of the provisions contended for in favor of the Press, & Juries &c.34 A new Combatant however with considerable address & plausibility, strikes at the foundation. He represents the situation of the U. S. to be such as to render any Govt. improper & impracticable which forms the States into one nation & is to operate directly on the people. Judging from the News papers one wd. suppose that the adversaries were the most numerous & the most in earnest. But there is no other evidence that it is the fact. On the contrary we learn that the Assembly of N. Hamshire which recd. the constitution on the point of their adjournment, were extremely pleased with it. All the information from Massts. denotes a favorable impression there. The Legislature of Connecticut have unanimously recommended the choice of a Convention in that State. And Mr. Baldwin who is just from the spot tells me that from present appearances the opposition will be inconsiderable; that the Assembly if it depended on them would adopt the System almost unanimously; and that the Clergy and all the literary men are exerting themselves in its favor. Rho. Island is divided; The majority being violently agst. it. The temper of this State cannot yet be fully discerned. A strong party is in favor of it. But they will probably be outnumbered if those whose sentiments are not yet known, should take the opposite side. N. Jersey appears to be zealous. Meetings of the people in different counties are declaring their approbation & instructing their representatives. There will probably be a strong opposition in Penna. The other side however continue to be sanguine. Docr. Carrol who came hither lately from Maryland tells me, that the public voice there appears at present to be decidedly in favor of the Constitution. Notwithstanding these circumstances, I am far from considering the public mind as fully known or finally settled on the subject. They amount only to a strong presumption that the general sentiment in the Eastern & middle States is friendly to the proposed System at this time.

Resource Metadata