From Edmund Pendleton
Edmundsbury Feb. 24. 1783.
Yr. dispatch by express to the Executive will no doubt produce Essential Service to yr. constituents, in wresting ⟨our Merchts’s⟩ Staple from the grasping hands of Speculators, ⟨Many⟩ of ⟨whom,⟩ I am told were hunting it.1 It added to the weight of my debt too, in conveying me yr. Solacing favr. of the 13th.2 inclosing the British King’s Speech to Parliament,3 full of Peace & the Sentiments of a Patriot King. Oh what a change of Expressns. ⟨Is he converted.⟩ Has he just awaked from a trance, in wch. he has been burried from 1763. Is it the work of Ld. Shelburne? Or is it the Spirit of the Nation acting powerfully upon both? These points they may settle amongst themselves, so they confirm, what the Speech strongly presages: Peace & Independence—under which we will endeavour to do tolerably without a Monarch. Ay & we will trie to be friends with ⟨his sons, if they are good old folks⟩ & behave well, not hankering after the rod to coerce, or Sugar plumbs to coax Us into neglect of our new & better friends.4 I am indeed overjoy’d on this Occasion to think I shall probably live to se[e] this great object accomplish’d, which, when I was concerned ⟨in the commencement of it, I⟩ thought would not be completed ’til another generation. Rivington may now Sing without a Sneer
Joy to great Congress, joy ⟨and loud all told⟩
The Grand Cajoler’s, are themselves cajoled.
Let songs of Triumph every Voice employ
And every Muse discharge a feu de joie
Hail, Congress, Hail, Magnificent, renown’d
Rejoice, be merry, your great Point is found.5
You se[e] what spirits you have put me into; don’t depress them wth. an old Story that an Accident has happen’d between the Cup & the Lip.
*“That somebody took something ill
& Broke the Party at Quadrille.”
I believe I shall turn Poet instead of copying if I don’t conclude, in all situations I cannot forget that I am Yr. much Obliged as well as Affe. & Obt. Servt.
RC (owned by Richard Gilder, Jr., New York, N.Y., 1990). Docketed by JM. Damaged by water stains. Calendared, with notes, in PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 6:248.
1. For the news of peace and its effect on tobacco prices, see JM to Edmund Randolph, 13 Feb. 1783 (PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 6:232, 233 n. 3).
2. Letter not found.
3. For George III’s speech, see JM’s Notes on Debates, 13 Feb. 1783 (PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 6:230, 231 n. 10).
4. Pendleton wrote a similar passage in a letter to George Washington of the same date (Mays, Papers of Edmund Pendleton, 2:438).
5. Pendleton was freely adapting the opening lines of a poem by Jonathan Odell entitled “Le Feu de Joie” published in James Rivington’s Royal Gazette, 24 Nov. 1779, on the occasion of the failure of the siege of Savannah by the allied Franco-American forces. Odell actually wrote:
“Let Songs of triumph every voice employ,
And every Muse discharge a feu de joie.
Hail, Congress, hail, magnificent, renown’d,
Rejoice, be merry, the lost sheep is found”
(Cynthia Dubin Edelberg, Jonathan Odell: Loyalist Poet of the American Revolution [Durham, N.C., 1987], pp. 104–6).
6. Pendleton paraphrased lines from Jonathan Swift’s poem “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift”: “My Lady Club would take it ill, / If he should fail her at quadrille” (Pat Rogers, ed., Jonathan Swift: The Complete Poems [New Haven, 1983], p. 491).