In 1785, James Madison (as noted by his biographer, Ralph Ketcham in James Madison) took to the floor of the Virginia Assembly, where he was a delegate, and spoke
"…favoring a bill Jefferson had proposed for the gradual abolition of slavery (it was rejected), and helped defeat a bill designed to outlaw the manumission of individual slaves. Of this effort a French observer wrote that Madison, "a young man (who)….astonishes…by his eloquence, his wisdom, and his genius, has had the humanity and courage (for such a proposition requires no small share of courage) to propose a general emancipation of the slaves."
In Alexander Hamilton: A Life, biographer Willard Sterne Randall notes that this Founding Father helped "to found…the Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves in New York." Randall on goes to say that:
"…never forgetting the slave markets of his St. Croix childhood, Hamilton became a prime mover in the early abolitionist group. He pressured the (New York) state legislature and helped to raise money to buy and free slaves. The society's founders…elected Hamilton chairman to draw up recommendations for "a line of conduct" for any "members who still possessed slaves." He also established a registry for manumitted slaves, listing their names and ages, "to detect attempts to deprive such manumitted persons of their liberty."