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title:“Tench Coxe to James Madison”
authors:Tench Coxe
date written:1789-6-18

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:13 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 6, 2023, 7:54 a.m. UTC

Coxe, Tench. "Letter to James Madison." Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 252-53. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Tench Coxe to James Madison (June 18, 1789)

I observe you have brought forward the amendments you proposed to the federal Constitution. I have given them a very careful perusal, and have attended particularly to their reception by the public. The most decided friends of the constitution admit (generally) that they will meliorate the government by removing some points of litigation and jealousy and by heightening and strengthening the barriers between necessary power and indispensible liberty In short the most ardent & irritable among our friends are well pleased with them.1 On the part of the opposition, I do not observe any unfavorable animadversion. Those who are honest are well pleased at the footing on which the press, liberty of conscience, original right & power, trial by jury &ca. are rested.2 Those who are not honest have hitherto been silent, for in truth they are stript of every rational, and most of the popular arguments they have heretofore used. I will not detain you with further remarks, but feel very great satisfaction in being able to assure you generally that the proposed amendments will greatly tend to promote harmony among the late contending parties and a general confidence in the patriotism of Congress. It has appeared to me that a few well tempered observations on these propositions might have a good effect. I have therefore taken an hour from my present Engagements, which on account of my absence are greater than usual, and have thrown together a few remarks upon the first part of the Resolutions. I shall endeavour to pursue them in one or two more short papers. It may perhaps be of use in the present turn of the public opinions in New York state that they should be republished there. It is in fed. Gazette of 18th instant.

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