From Joseph Jones
RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “Honble James Madison jr. Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “July 22. 1782.”
Spring Hill 22nd. July 1782
The reason why Williamsburg and its neighbourhood was mentioned as the place supposed to be alluded to by the1 correspondent of a certain Gentleman,2 proceeded from my mentioning to Mr. H——d——y,3 what had been communicated and his observing that he supposed it proceeded from a report that had been circulated of a pet.4 set on foot in Wmsburg. praying the legislature to accept any reasonable terms that shod. be offered, but which had been suppressed upon Ct Ro——h——b——u’s5 sending one of his Aids to remonstrate to the partys on the imprudence of the measure which suspended all further proceedings in the matter. this Mr. H. mentd. as a report he had heard but doubted its truth. I asked some other Gent. if they had heard any thing of it and wished to know if there was any foundation for the report supposing what had been communicated must have proceeded from this report. I was the more desirous to learn the truth that if it was a misrepresentation the character of the people there might not bear the aspersion but my inquiries served only to convince me the report respecting the pet. in Williamsburg was groundless and as I imagine the people there suspected the intelligence communicated might proceed from the above misrepresentation and thinking themselves in some measure injured by the Report, they took up the matter in the manner the paper I inclosed to you exhibits. they supposed your communication to me was local as I mentd. the matter as from you, but in general terms in the manner you s[t]ated and it was the previous report only that fixed it on Williamsburg, and which the Governors certificate in consequence of application to him clears up. I sent you the paper that you might be satisfied the report as to Wmsburg. and its neighbourhood was groundless, and my inquiries lead me to suspect no other part of the Country as manifesting a disposition to precipitate matters.6
We have some agreeable reports from our quarter since the last post. Your Letter wch. I expect by the post today7 will I hope confirm them. The evacuation of Chs. Town, a successfull attack of the Dutch upon a British Convoy in the Baltic & the accession of the 7th State of the U. provinces to the Treaty with the States of America.8 The first and last are probable and have been expected; and I am not disposed to discredit the other, especially when I reflect on the bravery of the Dutch in the few conflicts they have had with the British since the commencement of hostilities.
The last week I requested you not to engage a House or lodging positively.9 It is yet uncertain whether Mrs. Jones will accompany me. The approaching sickly season may determine her to undertake the Journey though opposed by almost every other circumstance. she is at present indispos[ed by] a very common disorder prevalint at this [t]ime, sore or inflamed Eyes. Joe has gone through it, probably it will be my turn next. By the next weeks post my determination shall be conveyed to you; as to a House or lodgings, if the latter and Mrs. Jones shod. not be with me, I presume I can be accommodated at Mrs. House’s.10 Have you heard any thing of Cyrus11 shod. he be apprehended let him be confined in prison untill I come up unless an opportunity presents itself of shiping him for the Wt. Indies where if I recover him I mean he shall be transported & sold. Be pleased to inform Baker potts & Co. of the remitance for them by the last post.12 I burthen you with trouble but cant help it.
1. Following “the,” Jones either deleted a word with strokes of his quill or superimposed a word upon the one he first wrote. Neither the former word nor the latter is legible.
2. La Luzerne.
3. Probably Samuel Hardy (ca. 1758–1785) of Isle of Wight County, Va. Soon after graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1778, he had been admitted to the bar. He represented his county as a delegate in the General Assembly in 1778 and 1780–1782. At the time of the present letter Hardy was a member of the Council of State. From 6 June 1783 until his death on 17 October 1785, he served as a delegate from Virginia in Congress.
4. An abbreviation of “petition.”
7. In his letter of 16 July (q.v.), Jones had acknowledged receipt of JM’s letter of the 9th. No subsequent letter from JM to Jones, prior to the latter’s return to Congress on 5 September 1782, has been found.
8. See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 25 June, and n. 3; 16 July 1782, and n. 8. Jones perhaps should have written “North Sea” rather than “Baltic.” He may have heard of this action from someone who recently had been in Baltimore. On 13 July two merchantmen had docked there after a voyage to St. Croix, where their captains were told that in the North Sea a Dutch squadron had captured a 74-gun British frigate, a sloop, a cutter, and several transports (Pennsylvania Packet, 20 July 1782).
10. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 92, n. 8.