PREPARING FOR THE GREAT CONVENTION
TO FIND the originator of the project of holding a convention of delegates from all the States to evolve a remedy for the obvious defects of the Government under the Articles of Confederation would be a fruitless search. That existing conditions could not long continue was self-evident, and many men must have formulated plans for a change, the most natural first step towards which would be a conference of all the parties in interest. It is of small consequence, therefore, who first gave expression to a thought which must have been so common. According to Madison, the first person to print the suggestion of a convention was Pelatiah Webster, "an able but not conspicuous citizen," in a pamphlet published in May, 1781;* but Alexander Hamilton made the same suggestion in a private letter to James Duane, September 3, 1780.†+ The Legislature of New York passed resolutions favouring the plan in 1782 and that of Massachusetts in 1785. In 1784 the President of Congress, Richard Henry Lee, wrote Madison that it was common talk among the members.+ Madison replied December 25, 1784, that he put no confidence in the continuance of the Union under the present system, and hoped the convention proposition would not be prejudiced by an admission that Virginia did not favour it, although he feared such was the case.* March 25, 1786, William Grayson, delegate from Virginia,____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Life of James Madison. Contributors: Gaillard Hunt - Author. Publisher: Doubleday Page. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1902. Page number: 108.