James Madison Papers

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 8 June 1782

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates

FC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of Thomas Meriwether.

Council Chamber June 8th. 17821


I am much obliged to you for your communications by the last post.2 I hope the difficulties thrown in the way of our supplies will be removed by the resolutions of the Assembly, If they should not let me beg of you to use every endeavour to satisfy the Minister that payment will be made according to agreement and that the stores are absolutely necessary to secure our safety; you will also much oblige me by inquiring whether they are or will be shipd in men of war.3 We are still in the dark how the naval engagements in the West Indies ended accounts differing as much so here as with you.4 None of the great matters before the Assembly are yet finished. The delegation to Congress for the next year will remain as at present, the three years service will be computed from the confederation.5 I am &c

Benj. Harrison

1This letter apparently never reached its destination. On 15 June 1782 near Harford (Harford Town or Bushtown), Md., six armed “desperados,” perhaps enemy agents, intercepted the postrider and took his mail pouch (Pennsylvania Gazette, 18 June; Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends , 29 June 1782). See also Report on Mail Robbery, 19 June 1782.

3See Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 11 May 1782, and n. 1. In his letter of 31 May to La Luzerne, the governor enclosed a resolution of the General Assembly of 23 May reaffirming Virginia’s promise to pay for the military matériel ordered in France (McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 238–39). The governor, of course, had not yet received the Virginia delegates’ letter of 4 June (q.v.), reporting La Luzerne’s comment after reading Harrison’s letter of 11 May to him about this issue. On 6 September 1782, in accordance with Virginia’s pledge, Harrison appointed Thomas Barclay as the agent of Virginia in France to pay the debt for the “Arms, military Stores and Soldiers Clothing” and to receive them (Journals of the Council of State description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (3 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 142).

4See JM to Randolph, 6 June 1782, and n. 13.

5On 1 July 1782, having determined that the fifth article of the Articles of Confederation was identical in intent and phraseology with an amended state statute passed on 24 January 1778, as well as with portions of a statute passed on 11 June 1779, in that all three limited the tenures of delegates to Congress to “three years in any term of six,” the Virginia General Assembly repealed the entire first statute and pertinent portions of the second as being “unnecessary” (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , IX, 288; X, 74–75; XI, 31–32; Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1777, p. 136; ibid., May 1779, p. 42; Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782 description begins Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782, MS in Virginia State Library. description ends , p. 85). See also Randolph to JM, 20 June 1782, and n. 5.

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