Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison
RC (Virginia State Library). In JM’s hand. Addressed to “His Excelly Govr. Harrison.” Cover missing. Docketed, “Lr f’m Virginia Delegates inclosg Memorial of S. Nathan 1782 Oct 22d.”
Philada. Ocr. 22d. 1782
Your Excellency’s favor of the 12th. instant1 came duly to hand yesterday.
A Vessel lately arrived at Boston brought Congress a letter from Mr. Adams dated Hague Aug: 18th. 1782.2 The paper No. 1. herewith inclosed is a copy of the Plenipotentiary Commission lately issued by the British King to Mr. Fitzherbert, which came inclosed in it.3 All the other information of Mr. Adams relative to the progress of negociations for peace consists in the appointment of a Minister Plenipoty. by the States General who was to set out for Paris shortly after the date of his letter.4
The papers No. 2 & 3. contain sundry Resolutions of Congress which explain themselves.5
No. 4. is a Memorial from Simon Nathan. The Executive office will supply all the necessary information touching the subject of it, and will enable your Excellency & the Council to decide on the answer which Justice & the honor of the State may dictate. We only beg that it may be transmitted to us as early as convenient.6
We have the honor to be with the highest esteem Yr. obt. & [hum]ble svts.
J. Madison Jr.
1. For a possible explanation of why a retained copy of this letter has not been found, see Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 15 October 1782, n. 1.
2. This dispatch and other dispatches had been aboard the ship “Apollo.” See JM to Pendleton, 15 October, nn. 13, 14; Report on Alliance with the Netherlands, 22 October 1782, and n. 1.
3. The copy of the commission, written in Latin and issued by King George III on 24 July 1782 to Alleyne Fitzherbert (1753–1839), later Baron St. Helens, as commissioner plenipotentiary to negotiate for peace, is in JM’s hand. It will not be reproduced here, because JM incorporated a summary of it in his letter of 22 October to Randolph (q.v.). From 1777 to 1803 Fitzherbert represented his sovereign at various European capitals. At the time of his death he was senior member of the Privy Council.
4. See Report on Alliance with the Netherlands, 22 October 1782, and n. 1. The States-General had appointed Gerard Brantsen (d. 1808) of Guelderland “their minister plenipotentiary to treat concerning peace” in co-operation with Matthijis (Mattheus) Lestevenon van Berkenroode (1719–1797), the Dutch ambassador at the court of Versailles. See Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 665–66; and indexes in Howard M. Peckham, comp., Guide to the Manuscript Collections in the William L. Clements Library (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1942; William S. Ewing, comp., 2d ed., 1953).
5. Although these enclosures have not been found, they probably were copies of the following resolutions of Congress, the first two passed on 18 October and the third on 22 October: (1) to call upon Virginia for $290,000 as her quota of $2,000,000 requisitioned from the states “as part of the sum [$6,000,000] necessary for the service” during 1783; (2) to ask the states “as absolutely necessary” to segregate their taxes for providing money for Congress from those levied for supporting their own governments; (3) to request Virginia to decide “with as much despatch as possible” how much money she owed to Oliver Pollock, not including his claims against the confederation (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 658–60, 665–69, 680–81). 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, 307, n. 9; 349, and n. 5; 376; 377–78, and n. 5; 402.