James Madison Papers

Instruction to Virginia Delegates in re Cession of Western Lands, 27 June 1783

Instruction to Virginia Delegates
in re Cession of Western Lands

RC (NA: PCC, No. 75, fols. 386–87). Docketed: “Resolutions of Assembly of Virginia 27 June 1783 relative to their offer of Cession of lands NW of Ohio Read 23 July to lie on table.”

In the House of Delegates

Friday the 27th of June 1783

Resolved that it would be improper to determine upon that part of the memorial of the Officers and soldiers of the Virginia line on Continental establishment presented to this Session of Assembly which prays for a grant of Lands on the North Westerly side of the Ohio1 until it is known whether Congress will accept of the Cession of that Country in the manner proposed by this Commonwealth.2

Resolved that as soon as the business of the said Cession shall be finally determined on [,] the consideration of the said memorial ought to be resumed and complied with as far as may consist with the terms of such Cession3

Resolved that the Delegates representing this State in Congress be instructed to apply to Congress to agree to such alteration in the terms of Cession as may enable the General Assembly of this Commonwealth to comply with the prayer of the said memorial and that the Executive be desired to transmit this Resolve with a copy of the said Memorial to our Delegates in Congress4

1783 June 27th John Beckley CHD5
Agreed to by the Senate
Will Drew C S6
A Copy
John Beckley C. H. D.

1For the “memorial,” see Jones to JM, 25 May, and n. 12; 31 May; 8 June; 14 June 1783, and n. 14.

2For the discussion in Congress during May and June of Virginia’s offer of 2 January 1781 to cede her lands north and west of the Ohio River to the United States, see Harrison to Delegates, 3 May, n. 4; Randolph to JM, 9 May, and n. 8; JM to Jefferson, 20 May, and nn. 5, 8; JM Notes, 4 June, and nn. 1, 2; 5 June, n. 1; 6 June; 9 June, and nn. 2, 3; 10 June, and nn. 3, 5, 9, 10; 20 June, and nn. 3–5, 8, 10; JM to Randolph, 10 June 1783, and n. 16.

3The Virginia General Assembly fulfilled the intent of this resolution by enacting on 22 December 1783 a law authorizing “the Delegates of this State in Congress to convey to the United States in Congress assembled all the right of this Commonwealth to the Territory North-Westward of the River Ohio” (JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , Oct. 1783, pp. 80–81, 82, 83; NA: PCC, No. 75, fols. 388–91). By that date JM was no longer a delegate in Congress.

4Governor Harrison enclosed a copy of the memorial and of the instruction in his letter of 4 July to the Virginia delegates (q.v.). See also Delegates to Gálvez, 4 May, n. 2; to Harrison, 26 July 1783.

5Clerk of the House of Delegates.

6Clerk of the Senate.

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