Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison
RC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of John Francis Mercer, except for the signatures of the four other delegates. Docketed, “Lr. from the Delegates in Congress—March 11th 1783.” Cover franked by Mercer and addressed by him to “His Excelly. Benjamin Harrison Esqr. Governor of Virginia.” The second paragraph of the letter explains why Harrison wrote on the cover, “The Treasurer B H.”
In Congress. March 11th. 1783
Yr. Excellency’s Letter of 24th. Feby. is receiv’d & we are sorry that we are not yet enabled by official communications to relieve you from your anxiety on the subject of Peace, whenever they shall arrive, you may be assured that they shall be transmitted to you by express agreably to yr. wish.1
We have to remark to your Excellency, that no remittances have been made for sometime [to] the Delegates.2 it would be superfluous for us to add to yr. Excellency the consequences which arise from the little punctua[lity] we have experienced, in the payment of the appointd [sum?] allowed,3 besides being exposed to the extortion which is practised here invariably whenever necessity obliges us [to] borrow money, it is not always that money may be had on any terms.4
With much respect We have the honor to be Yr. Excellcy’s. mo: obedt. & very hble Servants
John F. Mercer
Theok. Bland Jr.
J. Madison Jr.
2. Delegates to Harrison, 21 Jan., and n. 3; Ambler to JM, 1 Feb. 1783, and nn. 2, 4, 7. Mercer, who had been in Congress for less than five weeks, was probably expressing the acute need of his four colleagues rather than his own. JM had received no money since November 1782 from the treasurer of Virginia (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, 266, and n. 1). See also Harrison to Delegates, 20 Mar., and n. 3; Ambler to JM, 22 Mar. 1783.
3. By the terms of a statute enacted by the Virginia General Assembly on 1 July 1782, the delegates were to be paid “eight dollars per day … quarterly out of such public money as shall hereafter be set apart and appropriated for that use” (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 31–32).
4. Insofar at least as JM was concerned, he had not “invariably” been subject to “extortion.” For his generous treatment by the moneylender, Haym Salomon, see 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 , IV, 108, n. 2; 401, n. 4; V, 170; 205; 206, n. 4.