Instruction to Virginia Delegates
in re Demobilization of Troops
FC (Virginia State Library). Docketed: “Resolution For advancing three Months pay to the Soldiers of the Virginia line, from the Southern Army 26th June 1783 Copied for Govr.”
thursday the 26th. of June 1783
Whereas a body of troops of this States line in the continental service has lately arrived in the town of Richmond from the southward under the command of Captain Parker1 and other troops of the same line are daily expected to arrive in this State from the South and as no provision that is known to the Legislature hath been made for advancing three months pay to the said troops previous to their being furloughed as hath in like cases been done to the other troops in the service of the United States2 and the General Assembly considering that it would be very unjust and ungenerous to send those brave troops home after their long dangerous and meritorious services without that reasonable advance of pay which has been extended to all others of the continental troops at the time of furlough have directed a Sum equal to three months pay to be advanced the said troops out of the treasury of this State.3
Resolved that it be an instruction to the Delegates of this Commonwealth in Congress to inform that Honorable body of this proceeding and its cause and to move Congress that the Sum so advanced be permitted to be deducted from the next payment to be made by the treasury of this State to the continental receiver here4 and that this Resolve be transmitted to the Delegates in Congress by the Governor.5
|1783 June 27th.||Teste|
|Agreed to by the Senate||Jno Beckley C.h.d.6|
|Will Drew. C.S.7|
1. The word “army” rather than “service” is used in the resolution as printed in JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , May 1783, p. 86. For Captain Alexander Parker, 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 , V, 63; 64, n. 6; 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 , XXXI, 79; Pay Rolls of Militia Entitled to Land Bounties under the Act of Congress of Sept. 28, 1850 (Richmond, 1851), p. 379; National Intelligencer (Washington), 4 Sept. 1821.
On 23 June Governor Harrison and the Council of State, in response to Parker’s plea on behalf of his command of forty-six soldiers who had marched from Georgia, directed “the Quarter Master” to issue a pair of shoes and some flour to each of the men (JCSV description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (4 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 272–73; Pendleton to JM, 26 May, n. 11). On 24 June 1783, having heard that Parker’s was only the first contingent of three hundred Virginia troops coming to Richmond from the southern army, Harrison directed Jacquelin Ambler, the treasurer, to “avert the worst of Consequences” by reserving from the commutables received for taxes enough flour to supply those soldiers for twelve days. On the same day, even before the adoption of the present resolution, Harrison expressed to the auditors of the state his earnest hope that they could settle accounts with Parker’s band “immediately,” so that it could be sent from Richmond before the other troops arrived (Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, pp. 161, 163, MS in Va. State Library).
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, 486, n. 3; JM Notes, 23 May, n. 1; 26 May, and n. 2; 11 June, n. 1; Harrison to Delegates, 31 May, and n. 1; Jones to JM, 31 May; Maryland’s Payment to Troops, 28 July 1783, n. 3.
3. On 25 June the House of Delegates assigned to a committee, Richard Henry Lee, chairman, the task of preparing a bill “for paying the soldiers late from the southern army, belonging to the Virginia continental line, three month’s wages.” The resolution, which Lee submitted later that day, was adopted on 26 June and delivered by him to the Senate for its concurrence. This was accorded on the following day. The version of the resolution appearing in the journal of the House of Delegates reads “these” rather than “those brave troops” (JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , May 1783, pp. 83, 85, 93).
4. George Webb. Perhaps to reinforce the present instruction, Governor Harrison in a letter of 4 July informed Robert Morris, superintendent of finance, that the Virginia continental troops returning from South Carolina were causing the state some expense which would be charged “to the continent” (Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, p. 166, MS in Va. State Library).
5. There appears to be no evidence to show that Governor Harrison sent this instruction to the delegates or that they submitted it to Congress. Congress and Morris, as manifested by the resolutions of the first and the letters of the second, intended that each continental soldier, upon being discharged or furloughed, should receive from a member of the paymaster-general’s staff a Confederation treasury note, redeemable in specie in six months, covering three months of his overdue pay. Besides the fact that the printing of sufficient notes had been delayed, the money for their redemption, as well as one month’s pay in specie, also promised to each soldier, was to be provided to the continental receiver by the state to which the soldier belonged. Virginia was delinquent in meeting her financial quota. Beyond these considerations, however, both the governor and the Virginia delegates had reason to disregard the instruction (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, 173–75). See also Maryland’s Payment to Troops, 28 July 1783.
6. Clerk of the House of Delegates.
7. Clerk of the Senate.