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title:“James Madison to Theodore Sedgwick, Jr”
authors:James Madison
date written:1831-2-12

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retrieved:Sept. 26, 2022, 12:55 p.m. UTC

Madison, James. "Letter to Theodore Sedgwick, Jr." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.
Library of Congress: Madison Papers, Draft.

James Madison to Theodore Sedgwick, Jr (February 12, 1831)

Montpr. Feb. 12, 1831
You ask whether Mr Livingston (formerly Governor of N. Jersey) took an active part in the debates (of the Fedl Convention of 1787) and whether he was considered as having a leaning towards the federal Party and principles; adding that you will be obliged by any further information it may be in my power to give you.
Mr Livingston did not take his seat in the Convention till some progress had been made in the task committed to it, and he did not take an active part in its debates; but he was placed on important Committees, where it may be presumed he had an agency and a due influence. He was personally unknown to many, perhaps most of the members, but there was a predisposition in all to manifest the respect due to the celebrity of his name.
I am at a loss for a precise answer to the question whether he had a leaning to the federal party and principles. Presuming that by the party alluded to, is meant those in the Convention who favored a more enlarged, in contradistinction to those who favored a more restricted grant of powers to the Fedl Govt, I can only refer to the recorded votes which are now before the public; and these being by States not by heads, the individual opinions are not disclosed by them. The votes of N. Jersey corresponded generally with the Plan offered by Mr. Patterson; but the main object of that being to secure to the smaller States an equality with the larger in the structure of the Govt, in opposition to the outline previously introduced, which had reversed the object, it is difficult to say what was the degree of power to which there might be an abstract leaning. The two subjects, the structure of the Govt and the question of power entrusted to it were more or less inseparable in the minds of all, as depending a good deal, the one on the other, after the compromise wch gave the small States an equality in one branch of the Legislature, and the large States an inequality in the other branch, the abstract leaning of opinions would better appear. With those however who did not enter with debate, and whose votes could not be distinguished from those of their State colleagues, their opinions could only be known among themselves, or to their particular friends.
I know not Sir that I can give you any of the further information you wish, that is not attainable with more authenticity and particularity from other sources. My acquaintance with Gov Livingston was limited to an exchange of the common civilities, and these to the period of the Convention.

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