Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates
FC (Virginia State Library). In William Tatham’s hand and directed to “Virginia Delegates in Congress.”
Council Chamber August 16th. 1782.
I did not know till the receipt of your favor of the 6th. instant that any application had been made to the Assembly for instructions on the several matters you mention as no Letter on the Subject ever came to my Hands, nor do I know whether the Assembly gave any or not, if they did they must be in the hands of those who brought the matter before them.1 As to the Affair of Vermont I should suppose you can scarcely wan[t] instructions, for I think I can venture to say if the question was put to the whole Assembly there would not be a single Voice in favor of it,2 for powerful reasons particularly affecting this State, not less in number then the Letters in the Alphabet.3 The enclosed resolution respecting the old paper money came to my hands yesterday. I beg the favor of you to make the application to Congress which it requires and to favor me with their determination. I suppose the Intent of it is to put a stop to the issuing any more of the forty for one money. At all events it will save the useless and unnecessary expence of sending it to Philadelphia.4 I am Gentn. &c.
2. That is, for admitting Vermont to the Confederation as a sovereign and independent state.
3. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 38–39; 40, n. 8; 132–34; 164, n. 3; 178; 179, n. 7; 197; 200–202; 418; JM to Randolph, 5–6 August 1782, and n. 15.
4. On 2 July, the Virginia General Assembly directed the treasurer of the state to have the continental currency, then or thereafter in his custody, “punched through” and held in the treasury until Congress should direct this money to be destroyed or sent to the treasury of the United States. The resolution requested Governor Harrison to ask Congress, if it should decide to destroy the money, to appoint a committee of Virginians to witness the act.
Although unnoted in the printed journal, Congress on 29 August referred the resolution to Robert Morris for report (NA: PCC, No. 75, II, 371–72; No. 185, III, 39). On 9 September 1782 Morris recommended to Congress a procedure in this regard for use in all the states (NA: PCC, No. 137, I, 745, 748; No. 186, fol. 59; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 560–61). Nine days later, Congress modified Morris’ suggestion and resolved, “That the commissioners appointed to settle the accounts of the several states agreeably to the act of the 20 of February, 1782, be directed to examine, receive and destroy so much of the old continental money as may be in the treasury of any of the states, not exceeding the quota of such State as fixed by the act of Congress of the 18 of March, 1780, and transmit to the Superintendant of finance accounts of the moneys so destroyed” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 590–91). See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 24 September; Notes on Debates, 26 November 1782, and n. 5. For the background of these resolutions of the Virginia General Assembly and of Congress, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 49, n. 2; 261; III, 90, n. 6; 109 nn.; 143; 144 nn.; 182, n. 20; IV, 27–28; 56, n. 6; 67–68; 69, n. 7; 72, n. 2; 123, n. 2; 333, n. 2.