March 27, 1787
I have turned my mind somewhat to the business of may next: but am hourly interrupted. At present I conceive
1. that the alterations shd. be grafted on the old confederation
2. that what is best in itself, not merely what can be obtained from the assemblies, be adopted.
3. that the points of power to be granted be so detached from each other, as to permit a state to reject one part, without mutilating the whole.
With these objects, ought not some general propositions to be prepared for feeling the pulse of the convention on the subject at large? Ought not an address to accompany the new constitution?
The Papers of James Madison. Edited by William T. Hutchinson et al. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962-77 (vols. 1-10); Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977-(vols. 11-). 9:335