From Edmund Pendleton
Tr (LC: Force Transcripts). In the left margin at the top of the transcription, the clerk wrote “MSS McGuire’s.” See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, xxii, xxiii. The second paragraph, copied from the original manuscript, appears in Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 (1892).
Richmond May 17th 1783
Your favr of the 6th reached me here in the usual course, for which I am now to make my Acknowledgements.1
I think with you that there appears no reason to suppose either of the Imperial Courts will at all concern themselves with the terms of a compromise in which they are not Interested, but considering it as a mere Compliment, will soon return the Preliminaries with their courtly approbation.2 Nor do I think the Financial circumstances of Britain afford any ground to suppose they would wish to depart from the Accommodation, the terms of which are as favourable as they could desire, granting, as they seem to have long agoe admitted, that the Independence of America was to form the Basis of it;3 a circumstance however which Sr. G. Carlton seems to have forgot in his answer to Genl. Washington upon the subject of a proposed Interview, had the Genl. proposed to be accompanied by Mr Clinton in his Official Character. At4 any time during the Contest, the opposition of a like Character under the King, as the companion of Sir Guy, would have been witty, & not exceptionable; but according to the Provisional & Prelimy. Articles, the Sovereignty of the United States, being acknowledged, the official Character of Mr Clinton stands Recognized even by themselves, and his attendance on Such a meeting within the state of which he was Chief Majestrate, was a measure pointed out & justified by the Strictest propriety. To make a proposition therefore to drag into life a burried officer of former opposed Rank, but now no more, & add another who to keep up the Metaphor scarcely deserved Xstian burial, and that by their names of Office; to meet Govr Clinton smels strongly of a designed Insult; Sir Guy may however explain himself into some Innocent meaning, & I wish he may.5
The House of Delegates have Passed a law for admitting to entry sevl Vessels now in our ports, but who could not be admitted to Entry by our prohibitory Laws, wch are considered as in force until the Signature of the definitive treaty, as the only Act wch terminates the War—but we have not yet a Senate to give this New law a Sanction, to the great mortification of some Gentlemen, who seem to long for the Flesh Pots of Egypt, particularly some cheese & Porter in a Vessel from Ireland.6
Mr Jones is not yet arrived with yr propositions,7 but as they are represented, an opinion favourable to them appears to be gaining ground, tho’ the impost only has been the Genl. Subject of conversation. the various Projects for the Session, still remain in an Indegested state, so that I must still suspend any account of them to a future day. it is sd Mr H——y is all powerful hitherto.8 I am as usual
Dr Sr Yr. very Affe & obt Servt
2. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 504, and n. 2; Randolph to JM, 9 May 1783. The word “return,” which Peter Force’s clerk omitted in the transcript, is taken from Henkels’ excerpt mentioned in the headnote.
3. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 418, n. 17; VI, 354, n. 4; 449, n. 10; Pendleton to JM, 10 May, and n. 5; JM to Jefferson, 13 May 1783, and n. 7.
4. If the Henkels excerpt from the original letter is accurate, Pendleton placed a dash rather than a comma after “Interview” to indicate, even though he did not capitalize the “h” in “had,” that the remainder of the present sentence was equivalent to a new one. The excerpt, furthermore, has Pendleton place a comma rather than a period after “character” and follow that word with a lower case “A” in “at.” These alterations help to clarify Pendleton’s meaning.
5. Before being officially informed by King George III of his recognition of the independence of the United States, General Carleton would have appropriately designated Andrew Elliot as the royal lieutenant governor of New York and taken him to the Tappan conference of 6 May as a “witty” or shrewd offset to the attendance of Governor George Clinton. Holding that the recognition of independence had in effect canceled the commission of that British civil official, Pendleton did not so much object to his presence at the conference as to Carleton’s continued use of his obsolete title in his letter to Washington. In his reply to Carleton and report to Congress, Washington apparently ignored that “use” as a possibly “designed Insult.” See JM to Randolph, 6 May, and n. 6; JM to Jefferson, 13 May 1783, and n. 10; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , XXVI, 370, 402–6, 410–12.
6. Randolph to JM, 9 May, and n. 14; Pendleton to JM, 10 May, and n. 4. The unidentified “Vessel from Ireland” was probably the seemingly unnamed one mentioned in a letter of 8 May from Williamsburg to Governor Harrison. Only a brief summary of this letter has been found by the present editors (Cal. of Va. State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , III, 481). The craft may have been an “Irish cutter” of the design described by Pendleton in an earlier letter to JM (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 96; 98, n. 4). See also Randolph to JM, 24 May 1783.