University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Meeting of Antifederalist Convention Delegates, Friday Evening, 27 June 1788

On the evening of 27 June some Antifederalists, on the recommendation of George Mason, met in the chamber of the Virginia Senate to consider the adoption of an address to their constituents. Mason drafted an address, but withdrew it when he discovered that most of the delegates were opposed to an inflammatory address. “A Spectator of the Meeting,” whose account was published on 9 July, reveals that opposition to Mason was voiced by Benjamin Harrison, John Tyler, and Robert Lawson. David Meade Randolph, writing after 1791, said that Patrick Henry spoke against any further opposition to the Constitution at the Convention. James Madison, however, wrote to Alexander Hamilton that “Mr. H___y declared previous to the final question that although he should submit as a quiet citizen, he should wait with impatience for the favorable moment of regaining in a constitutional way, the lost liberties of his country.”