James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 23 July 1782

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Virginia State Library). In Arthur Lee’s hand, except for JM’s signature. Docketed, “Lr. from Virga Delegates rec’d Augst 1st. 82 July 23d. 1782.” The cover is missing.

Philadelphia July 23d. 1782


The Letter of the 11th. with which your Excellency honord us, came safe with the enclosd Resolves, which we shall lay before Congress1

The Super-intendant’s2 Contract, for the main Army, is ten pence pensylvania curry. per Ration, which is 25 perCt. less than what your Excellency mentions.

We shall make the application, you recommend, to Congress.3 No Instructions have yet reachd us on the important points, which were stated to the Assembly for that purpose.4

The inclosd Paper5 contains all the late Advices from Europe, Congress not having receivd any Dispatches. But we have no doubt of our Independence having been acknowlegd by the States-general.6

We have the honor to be, with the most perfect respect, Your Excellency’s most Obedt. Servants

J Madison Jr.

A. Lee

1As a reply to resolutions of Congress of 20 February, the Virginia General Assembly on 28 May–7 June adopted two resolutions which the delegates laid before Congress on 24 July 1782. In the first, the legislature declined to authorize an alteration in the mode prescribed by the Articles of Confederation for the allocation of financial quotas among the states. In the second, the General Assembly, to assist Congress in basing the proportionate quota of each state upon its ability to pay, directed the Governor in Council to appoint “proper Persons” to supply the next session of the legislature with an estimate of “the Losses and Injuries sustained” during the war “from obstructed Commerce and the Enemies Cruisers within the Bay of Chesapeake and the depending Rivers” (NA: PCC, No. 75, fols. 363–65; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 83–86, 413; JM to Pendleton, 7 February 1782, nn. 5, 6). On 1 August 1782 the Executive appointed Colonel Thomas Newton, Jr., and seven other commissioners to assess these damages (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, 132).

2Robert Morris.

3For “the application” and the subject of the preceding paragraph, see Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 11 July 1782, and n. 4. Harrison’s letter was presented to Congress by the Virginia delegates on 24 July and referred to a committee under Ezekiel Cornell’s chairmanship. On 27 August, after obtaining the advice of Morris and Benjamin Lincoln, secretary at war, this committee recommended that a continuation of the garrisons at Yorktown and Gloucester, “at the expence of the United States,” was “inexpedient,” and that Governor Harrison should be asked to send Morris an accounting of the cost of these troops, so “that such order may be taken thereon as shall appear just.” Congress adopted these recommendations (NA: PCC, No. 20, II, 277–84; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 415 n.; XXIII, 531).

5Not found, but probably the Pennsylvania Packet of 20 or 23 July 1782.

6See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 25 June, and n. 3; JM to Randolph, 16 July 1782, and n. 30. Much European news, including unofficial word of the recognition of the independence of the United States by the Netherlands, had reached Philadelphia on 19 July, when the ship “St. Helena” and the brigantine “General Gist” arrived from L’Orient (Pennsylvania Packet, 20 July; Pennsylvania Gazette, 24 July 1782).

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