University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Carlson, Marybeth (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Virginia (1)
8 (1988)

I. The debate over the Constitution in Virginia, 3 September 1787-31 March 1788,   pp. 3-524


Page 14

I. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION
2. Edmund Randolph, George Mason, and Elbridge Gerry, a Cambridge, Mass., mer-
chant, refused to sign the Constitution on 17 September. Gerry's objections to the
Constitution were published in the Massachusetts Centinel on 3 November (CC:227-A).
Edward Carrington to James Madison
New York, 23 September'
The Gentlemen who have arrived from       the Convention inform    us
that you are on the way to join us-least, however, you may, under a
supposition that the state of the delegation is such as to admit of your
absence, indulge yourself in leisurely movements, after the fatiguing
time you have had, I take this precaution to apprise you that the same
schism  which unfortunately happened in our State in Philadelphia,
threatens us here also2-one of our Colleagues Mr. R. H. Lee is form-
ing propositions for essential alterations in the Constitution, which
will, in effect, be to oppose it--Another, Mr. Grayson, dislikes it, and
is, at best for giving it only a Silent oppositeon passage to the States.
Mr. H. Lee joins me in opinion that it ought to be warmly recom-
mended to ensure its adoption-a lukewarmness in Congress will be
made a ground of opposition by the unfriendly in the States-those
who have hitherto wished to bring the conduct of Congress into con-
tempt, will in this case be ready to declare it truly respectable.
Next wednesday is fixed for taking under consideration this busi-
ness,4 and I ardently wish you could be with us.
The New York faction is rather active in spreading the seeds of
opposition-this, however, has been expected, and will not make an
impression so injurious as the same circumstance would in some other
States. Colo. Hamilton has boldly taken his ground in the public papers
and, having truth and propriety on his side, it is to be hoped he will
stem the torrent of folly and iniquity.
I do not implicitly accede, in sentiment, to every article of the scheme
proposed by the convention, but I see not how my utmost wishes are
to be gratified until I can withdraw from   society-so long as I find it
necessary to combine my strength and interests with others, I must be
satisfied to make some sacrifices to the general accommodation.
1. RC, Madison Papers, DLC. The letter was sent to Madison in Philadelphia and
was forwarded to him in New York City, where he arrived on 24 September. Carrington
was a Virginia delegate to Congress.
2. Madison, John Blair, and George Washington were the only Virginia delegates to
sign the Constitution. James McClurg and George Wythe left the Convention early, while
Edmund Randolph and George Mason refused to sign. The state's congressional dele-
gation was also divided: Carrington, Madison, and Henry Lee supported the Constitu-
tion, William Grayson and Richard Henry Lee opposed it.
3. For Lee's amendments, see Lee to Edmund Randolph, 16 October (below).
14


Go up to Top of Page