James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 18 February 1783

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of Arthur Lee, except for the signatures of the other four delegates. Docketed, “Lr. from the Delegates in Congress—February 18th. 83.”

Philadelphia Feby. 18th. 1783


We had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s letter of the 7th. & shall communicate what it contains relative to the supply of the Post at Winchester to the Financier, & transmit you his answer. We have reason to believe that he intends renewing the Contract.1

On the 14th. we dispatchd a messenger, with the King’s Speech, to your Excellency.2 This is the only authentic information that has yet reachd us relative to Peace. The reports from N. York are, that the Preliminaries were signd the 13th. of Decr. between the American & british Commissioners; but not by those of France & Spain. It can hardly be long, before we are better informed on this subject.3

We enclose the Resolutions of Congress on the Tobacco shippd in the Flags, & on the Settlement of the State Accounts.4

With sentiments [of] respect & consideration we have the honor to be yr Excellency’s Servts.

J. Madison Jr.

Jos. Jones     A. Lee

John F. Mercer

Theok. Bland jr.

1Harrison to Delegates, 7 Feb. 1783, and nn. 3–5, 11. Although Robert Morris seems to have renewed “the Contract,” he apparently did not transmit his answer through the delegates or write directly to the governor to that effect (ibid., n. 10).

3The preliminary articles of peace had been signed by the commissioners of Great Britain and the United States on 30 November. On 10 December 1782, Thomas Townshend, British secretary of state for the home department, issued a passport to the U.S. Ship “Washington,” commanded by Captain Joshua Barney, to carry the treaty to Congress. For Barney’s arrival at Philadelphia, see JM Notes, 12–15 Mar. 1783. Preliminary articles of peace between Great Britain, France, and Spain were concluded on 20 January (Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., VI, 96–100, 137, n., 226). See also JM to Jefferson, 18 Feb. 1783, and n. 2. Why, both in the present letter and in that of Governor Harrison to the Virginia delegates on 24 February 1783 (q.v.), the date of 13 December became associated with the peace treaty is unknown.

4JM Notes, 10 Feb. 1783, and nn. 6, 14. Filed with the present letter are a clerk’s copy, signed by “Geo Bond Depy Secy,” of the committee’s report adopted by Congress, in regard to the “Tobacco,” and a clerk’s copy, signed by “Chas Thomson secy,” of the resolution of Congress concerning the “Accounts” of Virginia. These enclosures are docketed, “The Honble. A Lee Esqr. Resolutions of congress Feby 10th. Feb 1783.”

Index Entries