Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.

LIII UI ~ ~ ~ ~ yME MAISN 2

In 1776 he was elected a member of the
Virginia Convention to frame the Constitution
of the State. Like Jefferson, he took
but little part in the public debates. His
main strength lay in his conversational influence
and in his pen. In November, 1777,
he was chosen a member of the Council of
State, and in March, 1780, took his seat in
the Continental Congress, where he first
gained prominence through his energetic
opposition to the issue of paper money by
the States. He continued in Congress three
years, one of its most active and influential
members.
In I784 Mr. Madison was elected a member
of the Virginia Legislature. He rendered
important service by promoting and
participating in that revision of the statutes
which effectually abolished the remnants of
the feudal system subsistent up to that
time in the form of entails, primogeniture,
and State support given the Anglican
Church; and his "Memorial and Remonstrance"
against a general assessment for
the support of religion is one of the ablest
papers which emanated from his pen. It
settled the question of the entire separation
of church and State in Virginia.
Mr. Jefferson says of him, in allusion to
the study and experience through which he
had already passed:
" Trained in these successive schools, he
acquired a habit of self-possession which
placed at ready command the rich resources
of his luminous and discriminating mind and
of his extensive information, and rendered
him the first of every assembly of which he
afterward became a member. Never wandering
from his subject into vain declamation,
but )pursuing it closely in language
pure, classical and copious, soothing always
the feelings of his adversaries by civilities
and softness of expression, he rose to the
eminent station which he held in the great
National Convention of 1787; and in that of
Virginia, which followed, he sustained the

new Constitution in all its parts, bearing off
the palm against the logic of George Mason
and the fervid declamation of Patrick
Henry. With these consummate powers
were united a pure and spotless virtue
which no calumny has ever attempted to
sully. Of the power and polish of his pen,
and of the wisdom of his administration in
the highest office of the nation, I need say
nothing. They have spoken, and will for.
ever speak, for themselves."
In January, 1786, Mr. Madison took the
initiative in proposing a meeting of State
Commissioners-to devise measures for more
satisfactory commercial relations between
the States. A meeting was held at Annapolis
to discuss this subject, and but five
States were represented. The convention
issued another call, drawn up by Mr. Madison,
urging all the States to send their delegates
to Philadelphia, in May, 1787, to
draught a Constitution for the United
States. The delegates .met at the time appointed,
every State except Rhode Island
being represented. George Washington
was chosen president of the convention,
and the present Constitution of the United
States was then and there formed. There
was no mind and no pen more active in
framing this immortal document than the
mind and pen of James Madison. He was,
perhaps, its ablest advocate in the pages of
the Federalist.
Mr. Madison was a member of the first
four Congresses, I789-'97, in which he maintained
a moderate opposition to Hamilton's
financial policy. He declined the mission
to France and the Secretaryship of State,
and, gradually identifying himself with the
Republican party, became from 1792 its
avowed leader. In 1796 he was its choice
for the Presidency as successor to Washington.
Mr. Jefferson wrote: "There is

not another person in the United States
with whom, being placed at the helm of our
affairs, my mind would be so completely at

Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed September 17, 2014.