Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MADISON, IN CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790)
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TO JAMES MADISON, IN CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XI (1785-1790).
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TO JAMES MADISON, IN CONGRESS.
Mount Vernon, 2 March, 1788.
The decision of Massachusetts, notwithstanding its concomitants,1 is a severe stroke to the opponents of the proposed constitution in this State; and, with the favorable decision of those which have gone before it, and such as are likely to follow after, will have a powerful operation on the minds of men, who are not more influenced by passion, pique, and resentment, than they are by candor, moderation, and judgment. Of the former description, however, I am sorry to say there are too many; and among them some, who would hazard every thing rather than fail in their opposition, or have the sagacity of their prognostications impeached by the issue.
The determination you have come to, will give much pleasure to your friends.1 From those in your county you will learn with more certainty, than from me, the expediency of your attending the election in it. With some, to have differed in sentiment is to have passed the Rubicon of their friendship, although you should go no further; with others, (for the honor of humanity,) I hope there is more liberality. But the consciousness of having discharged that duty, which we owe to our country, is superior to all other considerations, and will put these out of the question.
His Most Christian Majesty speaks and acts in a style not very pleasing to republican ears, or to republican forms; nor do I think it is altogether so to the temper of his own subjects at this day. Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. The checks he endeavors to give it, however warranted by ancient usage, will more than probably kindle a flame, which may not be easily extinguished though it may be smothered for a while by the armies at his command and the nobility in his interest. When a people are oppressed with taxes, and have a cause to believe that there has been a misapplication of the money, they illy brook the language of despotism. This, and the mortification, which the pride of the nation must have undergone with respect to the affairs of Holland, (if it is fair to judge from appearances,) may be productive of events, which prudence forbids one to mention.
To-morrow the elections for delegates to the State convention begin; and, as they will tread close upon the heels of each other, it will make an interesting and important month. With the most friendly sentiments and affectionate regard, I am. &c.1
[1 ]The proposed amendments, which Madison thought were “a blemish, but are in the least offensive form.”
[1 ]A determination to allow his friends in Orange County, Virginia, to support his election as a delegate from that county to the State convention, which was to decide on the new constitution.
[1 ]“At the end of the present month we shall be able to form a tolerable judgment of what may be its fate here; as our returns for the delegates to the convention will be known at that time, and the characters chosen will be pretty generally decided in their opinions upon the matter before their delegation, as that will determine the people in their choice. The general tenor of the information, which I derive from those gentlemen who call upon me, seems to agree in the opposition’s losing ground, and that nothing is wanting to render the people so favorably disposed towards it, as to put the decision beyond a doubt, but a proper representation and information upon the subject. The opponents are indefatigable in their exertions, while the friends to the constitution seem to rest the issue upon the goodness of their cause. There will undoubtedly be a greater weight of abilities against the adoption in this convention than in any other. We had a right to expect it from the characters, who first declared against it here; but, notwithstanding this, my own opinion is, (as it has ever been,) that it will be received.”—Washington to Lincoln, 10 March, 1788.