Article 4, Section 2, Clause 2

[Volume 4, Page 517]

Document 3

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson

16 Mar. 1784Papers 8:12

The Executive of S. Carolina, as I am informed by the Attorney have demanded of Virginia the surrender of a citizen of Virga: charged on the affidavit of Jonas Beard Esqr. whom the Executive of S. C. represent to be "a Justice of the peace, a member of the Legislature, and a valuable good man" as follows: that "three days before the 25th. day of Octr. 1783 he (Mr. Beard) was violently assaulted by G. H. during the sitting of the Court of General Sessions, without any provocation thereto given, who beat him (Mr. B) with his fist & switch over the face head and mouth, from which beating he was obliged to keep his room until the said 25th. day of Octr. 1783. and call in the assistance of a physician." Such is the case as collected by Mr. Randolph from the letter of the Executive of S. C. The questions which arise upon it are 1. whether it be a charge of high misdemesnor within the meaning of the 4 art: of Confederation. 2. whether in expounding the terms high misdemesnor the Law of S. Carolina, or the British law as in force in the U S before the Revolution, ought to be the Standard. 3. if it be not a casus foederis what the [Volume 4, Page 518] law of Nations exacts of Virginia? 4. if the law of Nations contains no adequate provision for such occurrences, Whether the intimacy of the Union among the States, the relative position of some, and the common interest of all of them in guarding against impunity for offences which can be punished only by the jurisdiction within which they are committed, do not call for some supplemental regulations on this subject? Mr. R. thinks Virginia not bound to surrender the fugitive untill she be convinced of the fact, by more substantial information, & of its amounting to a high misdemesnor, by inspection of the law of S. C. which & not the British law ought to be the criterion. His reasons are too long to be rehearsed.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 4, Section 2, Clause 2, Document 3
The University of Chicago Press

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--).