James Madison Papers

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 22 June 1782

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates

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

Virga. In Council June 22d. 1782


The plan laid for bringing over the Stores is most unaccountably frustrated by the Assembly.1 Our deficiency in arms and Ammunition is so truely alarming that I feel real distress, whenever I think of our situation. If you cannot get them brought over by our good friends the French2 they will probably remain where they are til the end of the War and our country will fall a prey to the first invader. The Assembly have now entered on the Subject of recruiting the Army. I do not know the plan proposed but am sure with a good bounty men may be got3 That the French fleet has been beaten & that they have lost their Admiral & five or Six of their ships admits of no doubt. There is a man in this Town who informs us that he was a prisoner in Jamaica & saw Count de Grass with Admiral Rodney going to dine with the Governor.4 He also tells us that Rodneys fleet was so battered that only eighteen of them could be made fit for service for some considerable time. If this is true Jamaica may yet fall5 I am &c

P. S. I laid the proposals of the Polish Gentleman before the Assembly immediately, they have not yet given me their determination, tho’ I think it impossible for them to comply with the terms if they were ever so willing to accept them6

B H.

1See Randolph to JM, 20 June 1782, and nn. 33 and 34.

3See Randolph to JM, 20 June 1782, and n. 48.

4Brigadier General Archibald Campbell (1739–1791), then lieutenant governor but to be appointed governor of Jamaica in July 1782.

5See JM to Pendleton, 23 April, n. 3; Pendleton to JM, 20 May, n. 10; JM to Lee, 28 May, n. 11; Barbé-Marbois Letter, 9 June 1782. Before writing the present dispatch, the governor may have read this 9 June letter, because it was printed in the Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends of 22 June. The former “prisoner in Jamaica” has not been identified.

6See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 4 June, and n. 7; and 18 June 1782. Governor Harrison had referred the proposal of Count Bieniewsky to the General Assembly on 13 June 1782 (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, 250).

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