Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison
Draft (LC: Madison Papers). Written and initialed by JM. Addressed by him to “Govr of Virginia.” For JM’s docket, see JM to Jones, 6 Jan. 1783, hdn. and ed. n. Recipient’s copy not found, but it was advertised for sale by George H. Richmond of New York City in his catalogue of November 1902, part 1, p. 28, item 430. JM designated the letter “official.” See JM to Randolph, 7 Jan. 1783.
Philada. 7 Jy. 1783.
Your Excy’s favor of the 28 Ult:1 was duly recd. by yesterday’s mail. The extract from the Journal of Congress herewith inclosed contains the answer to the objections of R. Island agst. the impost recommended by Congress; and which was to have been enforced by a deputation to that State.2 You have been already informed of the effect which the sudden repeal of the accession of Virga. had on the measure.3
Genl. McDougal Col: Brooks of Massachsts. & Col: Ogden of N. Jersey arrived here some days ago, charged with a very solemn representation from the army of the grievances which oppress them. The redress principally urged is an immediate advance of part, & adequate provision for the residue of their arrears.4 Yr. Excelly will readily conceive the dilemma in which Congress are placed, pressed on one side by justice humanity & the public good to fulfil engagements to which their funds are incompetent, and on [the] other left without even the resource of answering that every thing which could have been done has been done.5
The tribunal erected for the controversy between the States of Pa. & Connecticut have unanimously adjudged & reported to Congress that the former has no right to the lands in question, and that the jurisdiction & pre-emption of all the territory lying within the charter boundary of Pena. & claimed by Connecticut, do of right belong to Pennsa.6
Another severe relapse has confined Mr. Jones for some days to his room & prevents his being a party to this letter.7
2. JM evidently enclosed a copy of an extract from the printed journal of 16 December 1782 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 798–810). See also Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 373–74; 376, n. 29; 407, and n. 1; 414–15; 416, nn. 3, 6; 445, nn. 16, 18; 449; 472–73.
3. Ibid., V, 477–78.
5. That is, if Virginia and the other states had furnished their financial quotas to Congress, the soldiers would not have remained unpaid. In the Virginia Gazette of 4 January 1783, George Webb, the continental receiver general, reported that Virginia had furnished only $35,710 during December 1782 for the use of Congress (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 454, n. 3). This sum, in fact, was all that the state in 1782 had supplied of its quota of $1,307,594 for the year (NA: PCC, No. 142, II, 234–35). No money whatever was paid in January 1783 (Va. Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends , 8 Feb. 1783).
8. Harrison’s dispatch of 31 January 1783 to the Virginia delegates (q.v.) makes clear that he received this letter, of which the present copy is only a draft.