THE Virginia State Assembly elected Madison a member of the Governor's Council, because he had made his mark in the State Convention and in the Assembly of 1776, and the Assembly sent him to Congress and kept him there because it had confidence in him; but the people of his county had given no sign that they held him in especial regard, for his election in 1776 had been accomplished chiefly by the prestige of his father. When he tried for a re-election, he was beaten by an insignificant opponent, who bribed the voters with whiskey. Therefore, when his law studies were interrupted by his election, with slight opposition, as a member of the House of Delegates in April, 1784, it was the first time since he had risen to prominence that he had fairly stood before his people and received a pronounced endorsement from them. He went to Richmond, where the State Capitol had been moved from Williamsburg in 1782, early in May, 1784, having as the chief purpose of his service to concert measures by which the general Government might be strengthened.
The two rival figures in the Legislature were Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, and they were pitted against each other in spectacular forensic displays for which the Virginians had a peculiar weakness.* The ascendancy over the Legislature was with Henry. At the session of 1783 the two leaders measured forces in the contest for the speakership, when John Tyler was put forward by Henry in opposition to Lee and was elected by a vote of 61 to 20. At the session of 1784, Lee him-____________________