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pressing necessity of a reform in the federal system, and to
promote the means leading to such amelioration. The unsuccessful attempt to vest Congress with powers immediately required for the public wants, led to the meeting at Annapolis in August, 1786, to which Mr. Madison was deputed, and which resulted in a recommendation of the Convention with fuller powers at Philadelphia, in May, 1787. The State of Virginia promptly set the example of compliance with this recommendation, by an act drawn by Mr. Madison, and by the appointment of a deputation, in which he was included.
From 1784 to 1786 inclusive, beside what related to the federal system, several subjects of great importance were agitated in the Virginia legislature: paper money, British debts, the separation of Kentucky from Virginia, the code of laws revised by Jefferson, Wythe, and Pendleton, and the religious establishment proposed by Mr. Henry. Mr. Madison took a conspicuous and effective part in all these proceedings against paper emissions, in favor of paying British debts, in favor of the separation of Kentucky, in support generally of the revised code, and in opposition to a religious establishment. To the latter project he was strenuously and successfully an explicit antagonist; and he composed the memorial and remonstrance, which was so generally concurred in and signed by persons of all denominations, as to crush Mr. Henry's scheme.
The journal of the federal Convention which sat at Philadelphia in 1787, proves that he participated, as much as any member of that body, in framing the Constitution of the United States, which for now nearly fifty years has been the government of this country. For many years the survivor of all his associates in that illustrious assembly, Mr. Madison became entitled by various claims before his death to be called the Father of the Constitution.
During the same period, and until the expiration of the old Congress, to which he had been re-appointed in 1786, he continued a member of that body. His avowed object in returning there was to prevent, if possible, the project favored, by Congress, of shutting up the river Mississippi for a long period.
In the interval between the close of the Convention at Philadel. phia for framing the Federal Constitution, and the meeting of the State Conventions to sanction it, the well-known work called the Federalist was written, which has since become a constitutional text-book. Gideon's edition authenticates Mr. Madison's contributions to it, and it is too well known to require that it should be
Till his country was secured, and its welfare established by a proper form of national government, Mr. Madison was indefatigable in his efforts to explain and recommend the Constitution for adoption. Accordingly, in 1788, he was elected by his county a delegate to the Convention of Virginia, which was to determine whether that State would accede to it. His agency in the proceedings of that Convention appears in the printed account of them, and is too familiar with every person whose attention has been turned to the subject, to require explanation.
On the adoption of the Constitution, he was elected a representative to Congress from the district in which he lived, in February, 1789, and remained a member by reëlections till March, 1797. His participation, during those eight years, in all the acts and deliberations of Congress was so prominent and pervading, that nothing of importance took place without his instrumentality; and in most of the leading measures his was a leading place, especially in all that concerned foreign relations. Addressing the house on all important questions, he never spoke without full preparation, and so completely exhausted every topic he discussed, that it was remarked by his adversaries that Mr. Madison's refutation of their views frequently suggested arguments which they themselves had not thought of, to be answered by him in the same triumphant strain of calm and respectful, but irresistible argument.
The resolutions of the Legislature of Virginia in 1798, against the alien and sedition laws, are now known to have been written by Mr. Madison, though not a member of that legislature. And it being understood that a vindication of those resolutions would be called for, he was elected a member the next year, and drew up the celebrated report containing their vindication, which, like the papers of the Federalist, has become a standard of constitutional doctrine.
Mr. Jefferson being chosen President of the United States in 1801, appointed Mr. Madison his Secretary of State, in which office he continued during the eight years of Jefferson's presidency, illustrating the whole period by his masterly writings and judicious participation. This is not the occasion for a full view of his performances in the Department of State; but it may be said, in a word, that of all the great disputes on international and municipal law evolved by an epoch that at last, after great difficulties and efforts to avert hostilities, closed with the war which it was Mr. Madison's destiny to conduct as Chief Magistrate,-the complicated questions of the conflicting rights of war and peace, colonial commerce, contraband trade, impressment of seamen, search and seizure of ships and cargoes, blockades, embargoes, non-importation and non-intercourse,-there was not one which Mr. Madison did not present to his country, and before the world, with a power of research and argument unsurpassed in the annals of diplomatic writing. In 1805, he visited Philadelphia for more convenient access to the best treatises on the subject of a pamphlet he published in 1806, on the British doctrine against the trade of neutrals with
enemies' colonies. Throughout every succeeding year the country was enlightened by his elaborate productions, which every session of Congress brought forth. On the question of impressment, the most trying and perplexing of the grievances to which the United States were then subjected, his letters to the American ministers in England, and the British ministers in this country, were composed with a power equal to all we could desire, and in a temper which it was impossible for them to take offence at. It has been said of him, that give Mr. Madison the right side of a good cause, and no man could surpass him in its vindication. The Department of State at that time was the main stay of the country. Doubting the ability of the United States to contend in war with the great belligerents who were devastating the universe by land and sea; at all events, deeply interested in adhering to that neutrality which Washington established, and to which no one was more thoroughly attached than Mr. Madison; his exertions to substitute the moral artillery of international law for brute force were incessant and intense. Although the war he endeavoured so earnestly to prevent came at last, in spite of his exertions and Mr. Jefferson's immoveable determination to preserve peace; yet the legacy of trouble which was left by him to Mr. Madison, when he succeeded to the presidency, was at any rate preceded by a theory of prevailing, if not perpetual peace, in that code of international justice and fair intercourse which is now a goodly part of the inheritance of these United States, and a national property that all other civilized nations have begun to appreciate. Peace on earth and good will to all mankind, were always principles dear to him. War he consi. dered only and rarely tolerable, as, if even a necessary, a great evil, to be avoided as long, and whenever it takes place to be closed as soon, as possible.
With these impressions it was nevertheless his lot to be Presi dent during the war declared against Great Britain in June, 1812. In 1809 he was elected President, on the retirement of Mr. Jeffer. son; and excepting the mere glimpse of accommodation which proceeded from Mr. Erskine's short-lived arrangement, the first period of his chief magistracy was but the prelude to the war that accompanied his reëlection. His inaugural addresses, annual mes. sages, frequent special communications to Congress; his proclamation for a fact, with the particular grounds on which it was issued; his letters to Governor Snyder, of Pennsylvania, in the Olmstead case; his recommendation of war; his conduct of the war; his various missions for peace; the peace of Ghent negotiated under his auspices; his settlement of the army, navy, and the internal revenue at the close of the war; his veto, on one of the last days of his administration, of the great system of internal improvement introduced by some of those who have since relinquished it
as unconstitutional;-these, together with the Bank of the U. S., may be deemed the principal measures of his administration of the Federal Government. Even before Mr. Madison's demise, there appeared to be well nigh one universal sentiment of cordial respect and deference towards him as a patriot of the purest intentions and wisest condact Undertaking the presidency at a crisis of the utmost difficulty, he continued in it by reëlection during the established period of eight years, and when he retired, left the country in the highest degree glorious, prosperous, and content. Future ages must look back to his administration as a time of great trial and great renown. The Constitation which had succeeded in peace, under his governance, triumphred in war. While hostilities were checkered with the reverses which seldom fail to occur, under all circumstances Mr. Madison was the same. Victory never elated, nor could disasters erer depress him, beyond the happy mean of his temperate life; always calm, consistent, and conscientious, determined to do right, come what might. Exposed to that deluge of abuse which the leading men of free countries, with a licentinus press, cannot avoid, he was perfectly serene and unmoved by any vindictive emotion; true to friends, patient with adversaries, and forbearing even with public enemies. All the emergencies of war never once betrayed him into infringements of the Constitution. It has been stated, on high authority, that while a candidate for the presidency, no one, however intimate, ever heard him mention the subject. Constitutionally simple and un ostentatious in his habits, taste, and intercourse, he nevertheless maintained the dignity of his station with a decorum and urbanity that lent new grace to the duties of his office.
At about sixty-six years of age he retired from public life, and ever after resided on his estate in Virginia, except about two months while at Richmond as a member of the convention in 1829, to remould the constitution of that State. His farm, his books, his friends, and his correspondence, were the sources of his enjoyment and occupation, daring the twenty years of his retirement. During most of that time his health, never robust, was as good as usual, and he partook with alacrity of the exercise and the conviviality in which he had always enjoyed himself. A good farmer on a large scale, he acted for some time as president of an agricultural society, and for a much longer time first as visiter, and after Mr. Jefferson's death as rector of the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville, in his near neighbourhood; among the founders and friends of which he bore a conspicuous part. Prevailed upon, when just convalescent from severe illness, to be a member of the Virginia convention of 1829, the infirm condition of his health, being then near eighty years old, prevented his taking a very active part in its deliberations. His main purpose, indeed, appears to
VOL. V. NO. XV.-MARCH, 1839.
have been to promote a compromise between parties so stiffly divided on local and personal interests as to threaten the tranquil. lity of the State. · On some of the principal topics discussed, he is understood to have yielded his own opinions to that consideration, as well as the urgent instances of his constituents.
At eighty-five years of age, though much reduced by debility, his mind was bright, his memory retentive, and his conversation highly instructive and delightful. Suffering with disease, he never repined. Serene, sociable and animated, he loved to discuss the Constitution, to inculcate the public good, strictly abstaining from party topics, and to charge his friends with blessings for his country. He was long one of the most interesting shrines to which its votaries repaired: a relic of republican virtue which none could contemplate without reverence and edification.
One of his most striking characteristics was tenderness for the feelings, and deference for the opinion, of others ; always anxious to avoid giving offence, though frequently so situated as to be obliged to adhere to his own convictions, and differ sometimes with his best friends. Towards his numerous dependents and domestios on extensive plantations, he was uniformly kind; and like most intelligent southern gentlemen, deplored the evils inherited froin colonial dependence. He was actively alive to every feasible project for mitigating or removing these evils. The respectable gentleman who was his physician towards the latter part of his life, bears cordial testimony to the compassionate interest with which every member of his family, in common with their amiable and illustrious head, never failed to manifest for those who were by law his much regretted property. At periods towards the termination of his career, when conflicting sentiments on important questions agitated the country, and when urged by zealous and importunate friends to let his views be known, he was always disposed diffidently to decline interference; but every visiter of his hospitable mansion must have been struck with his patriotic devotion to his country, and with his veneration for that Union of which he was one of the original founders, and ever remained the enthusiastic and honest advocate. His attachment to the Constitution amounted almost to a passion, and, whenever the subject was at all relevant, he never failed to inculcate his views of its importance to the future developement and grandeur of America. One of his last acts, shortly before he died, was to reduce to writing the following patriotic aspiration, as it was communicated by his excellent widow.
ADVICE TO MY COUNTRY. “As this advice, if it ever see the light, will not do it till I am no more, it may be considered as issuing from the tomb, where truth alone can be respected, and the happiness of man consulted. It will be entitled, therefore, to whatever weight can be derived from good intentions, and from the experience of one who has served his