James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 30 April 1782

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Virginia State Library). Addressed, “His Excelly. B. Harrison Esqr.” Entirely in JM’s hand except for the signatures of the other delegates. The words in the official cipher are here italicized. Accompanying the recipient’s copy is a sheet upon which the second paragraph of the letter was decoded by Archibald Blair, clerk of the Council of State.

Philada. April 30th. 1782


We have not the honor of acknowledging any letter from your Excellency by yesterday’s post.

Congress received yesterday some supplemental communications through the channel mentioned in our last.1 They speak on the part of our ally much regret at the thinness of our military ranks: insinuate the idea of cooperating with us in expelling the enemy from their remaining posts within the United States and observe that G. Britain stills reckons much on her numerous friends in this country & will spare no means of increaseing them.2 It is supposed in particular that experiments may be made to seduce the states [to]3 separate negotiations. The whole concl[ud]es4 with fresh assurances of the unalterable adherance of his Most Christi[an] Ma[j]esty to the principles of the alliance.5

Our last intelligence from Europe & the West Indies comes through the British Gazette of N. York and is contained in the inclosed Gazette of this place. The fall of Minorca may be received thro’ that channel without distrust. The blockade of the French Fleet at Martinique is probably an invention to soothe the distress resulting from that fresh misfortune.6

We have the honor to be with sentiments of great regard & esteem yr. Excelly’s obt. & hble servts.

J. Madison Jr.

Theok. Bland Jr.

Jos: Jones.

3JM wrote the cipher for “most.” On the decoding sheet, “most” was crossed out and replaced by “to.”

4By writing 413 rather than 423, JM mistakenly used the ciphers for “conclpaes.” After so decoding it in Virginia, the last four letters were deleted and “udes” substituted.

6The delegates evidently enclosed the 30 April issue of the Pennsylvania Packet, which furnished the news items in this paragraph by taking them from the 24 April issue of Rivington’s Royal Gazette of New York City. See JM to Pendleton, 23 April 1782, n. 3.

Index Entries