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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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4900. MADISON (James), Ability of.—
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4900. MADISON (James), Ability of.—

Mr. Madison came into the House [Legislature
of Virginia] in 1776, a new member and young;
which circumstances, concurring with his extreme
modesty, prevented his venturing himself
in debate before his removal to the Council
of State, in November, '77. From thence he
went to Congress, then consisting of few members.
Trained in these successive schools, he
acquired a habit of self-possession, which placed
at ready command the rich resources of his
luminous and discriminating mind, and of his
extensive information, and rendered him the
first of every assembly afterwards, of which
he became a member. Never wandering from
his subject into vain declamation, but pursuing
it closely, in language pure, classical and
copious, soothing always the feelings of his
adversaries by civilities and softness of expression,
he rose to the eminent station which he
held in the great National Convention of 1787;
and in that of Virginia which followed, he
sustained the new Constitution in all its parts,
bearing off the palm against the logic of George
Mason, and the fervid declamation of Mr.
[Patrick] Henry. With these consummate
powers, were united a pure and spotless virtue,
which no calumny has ever attempted to sully.
Of the powers and polish of his pen, and of
the wisdom of his administration in the highest
office of the nation, I need say nothing. They
have spoken, and will forever speak for themselves.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 41. Ford ed., i, 56.