James Madison Papers

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 27 April 1782

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates

FC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of Charles Hay.

Virginia Council Chamber Apl 27th. 1782


By some queries that have been presented to the Attorney General there is reason to apprehend that the people who inhabit the lands that were in dispute with the State of Pennsylvania are likely to suffer, not only in the property of their lands but by a reversal of the decrees of the Courts whilst they were look’d on as subjects of this State and are also under prosecution for acts done by them under its laws.1 The Executive beg the favor of you to enquire into these matters, and to give them such information as you can obtain, and also an account of all the proceedings of the Pennsylvania Assembly that relate to the Inhabitants of that country.2 I am with respect &c

1See Randolph to JM, 26 April 1782, and n. 2. A series of seven queries was addressed to Edmund Randolph by two residents of the area that was destined to become a part of Pennsylvania. These questions, forwarded by him to the governor in a letter of 22 April 1782, are filed with that dispatch in the Virginia State Library. In addition to the objections cited by Harrison, the westerners doubted whether Pennsylvania and Virginia had “Legal right to alter Original Charters for mear Conveniency of the States to the Prejudice of the Inhabitants immediately residing on the Contested Territory and whether such alterration is not Subject to the future Discussion of Congress.”

2See letters of Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 7, 14, and 28 May 1782.

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