YAMES MONROE. 35
that Congress should be empowered to
regulate trade, and to lay an impost duty
of five per cent. The resolution was referred
to a committee of which he was chairman.
The report and the discussion which
rose upon it led to the convention of five
States at Annapolis, and the consequent
general convention at Philadelphia, which,
in 1787, drafted the Constitution of the
At this time there was a controversy between
New York and Massachusetts in
reference to their boundaries. The high
esteem in which Colonel Monroe was held
is indicated by the fact that he was appointed
one of the judges to decide the
controversy. While in New York attending
Congress, he married Miss Kortright,
a young lady distinguished alike for her
beauty and accomplishments. For nearly
fifty years this happy union remained unbroken.
In London and in Paris, as in her
own country, Mrs. Monroe won admiration
and affection by the loveliness of her person,
the brilliancy of her intellect, and the
amiability of her character.
Returning to Virginia, Colonel Monroe
commenced the practice of law at Fredericksburg.
He was very soon elected to a
seat in the State Legislature, and the next
year he was chosen a member of the Virginia
convention which was assembled to
decide upon the acceptance or rejection of
the Constitution which had been drawn up
at Philadelphia, and was now submitted
to the several States. Deeply as he felt
the imperfections of the old Confederacy,
he was opposed to the new Constitution,
thinking, with many others of the Republican
party, that it gave too much power to
the Central Government, and not enough
to the individual States.
Inl 1789 he became a member of the
United States Senate, which office he held
acceptably to his constituents, and with
honor to himself for four years.
Having opposed the Constitution as not
leaving enough power with the States, he,
of course, became more and more identified
with the Republican party. Thus he
found himself in cordial co-operation with
Jefferson and Madison. The great Republican
party became the dominant power
which ruled the land.
George Washington was then President.
England had espoused the cause of the
Bourbons against the principles of the
French Revolution. President Washington
issued a proclamation of neutrality between
these contending powers. France
had helped us in the struggle for our liberties.
All the despotisms of Europe were
now combined to prevent the French
from escaping from tyranny a thousandfold
worse than that which we had endured.
Colonel Monroe, more magnanimous than
prudent, was anxious that we should help
our old allies in their extremity. He violently
opposed the President's proclamation
as ungrateful and wanting in
Washington, who could appreciate such
a character, developed his calm, serene,
almost divine greatness by appointing that
very James Monroe, who was denouncing
the policy of the Government, as the Minister
of that Government to the republic of
France. He was directed by Washington
to express to the French people our warmest
sympathy, communicating to them corresponding
resolves approved by the President,
and adopted by both houses of.
Mr. Monroe was welcomed by the National
Convention in France with the most
enthusiastic demonstrations of respect and
affection. He was publicly introduced to
that body, and received the embrace of the
President, Merlin de Douay, after having
been addressed in a speech glowing with
congratulations, and with expressions of
desire that harmony might ever exist be
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 November 27, 2014.