THE proceedings of the Convention were ordered to be kept secret, so that the members might deliberate uninfluenced by outside applause or criticism, and the people were not permitted to take part in shaping the Convention's work. Of that work Madison imposed upon himself the task of being the reporter. His object, as he stated many years afterwards, was to preserve "the history of a Constitution on which would be staked the happiness of a people great even in its infancy, and possibly the cause of liberty throughout the world." He chose a seat in front of the presiding officer, with the members to the right and left of him, where he could hear all that was said, and he took down each speech on the spot, using abbreviations and a few arbitrary characters of his own. He wrote out his notes each day at his lodgings, being aided in his task by a knowledge of the style of most of the speakers, whom he had heard speak in the Congress. Franklin's speeches were nearly all written, and his colleague, Wilson, read them, Franklin himself being too feeble to stand the fatigue of delivering them himself. They were handed to Madison after delivery and copied by him. When he was writing out Hamilton's chief speech the latter happened to enter his room and reading it pronounced it to be correct. Gouverneur Morris saw Madison's report of one of his speeches and made no changes in it. Not a single day of the sittings of the Convention did Madison miss, and his report was as complete as one man could make it.* It is a remarkable example of

Writings of Madison" (Hunt), II, 391.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Life of James Madison
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 404

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?