James Madison Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Randolph, Edmund" AND Author="Randolph, Edmund" AND Recipient="Madison, James"
sorted by: date (ascending)

To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 27 September 1782

From Edmund Randolph

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Unsigned letter in Randolph’s hand. Cover addressed by him, “The honble James Madison jr. esqr of congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “Sepr. 27. 1782.”

Pettus’s near Richmond, Sepr. 27. 1782.

My dear sir

Your favor by a private hand, and mentioned in that of the 17th. instant,1 is still journeying.

My business, which urges so closely from the approach of the general court,2 has prevented me from going to Richmond throughout this week. In order, however, to procure some information respecting the communication, which I had with Mr. Ambler on sunday as to the forwarding supplies, I sent a messenger requesting an answer, but he could not be found.3 I know not any stimulus, which I can administer to his zeal and anxiety for your relief, and therefore am less solicitous about the answer.4 I shall draw fifty pounds (Penna. currency) in warrants, as soon as I am called upon to pay Cohen’s draught:5 but I will not touch a penny of specie, nor will I fail to remit to you whenever a dividend can be had. I have sounded Ross’s partner and find, as I informed you last week, that his credit cannot be made instrumental to the accommodation of the delegates.6 My attempt to inlist Mr. Clarke7 might succeed, if he was not disinclined to accept a further credit on the country, or I could be certain of furnishing him Tobacco by the time, which he would stipulate.

I am afraid, that the superior dignity, attributed to the warrants of the civil list in the act of appropriation will produce discontent and severe strictures. The militia represent the hardship of their service in the field, the pain of separation from their families, the expenditures of money for their comfort, and infer from thence their equal title to payment.8 It is said, that a spirited remonstrance will appear at the next session.9 This, united with the other legislative evolutions will demand a veil, not to be found in the cypher of the delegation, and costing too high a price in the use of Lovell’s.10 I shall therefore send you a fresh sheet, not very elaborate indeed, but correspondent to our epistolary wants.11 Individuals will perhaps make a capital figure in my parliamentary register,12 and their names will be too sacred for a cypher accessible to more than two.

If our intelligence from the southward be not false and malignant, the expectation of Colo. Laurens at Paris must for ever be cut off. He is reported to have fallen in a paltry skirmish. This loss is believed and lamented. Some indeed suppose, that the garrison of Charlestown sallied out, while others conjecture, that the Colo. whose office it was to hang on the rear of the enemy was deluded with an opinion that they were embarking, and subject to annoyance.13 But of this there is nothing authentic.

I suggested the expedient of a pointed representation of your distress in my letter of last week.14 I have revolved and still approve the course.

Adieu my dear Madison.

1JM entrusted both of his letters of 11 September to Randolph to a “private hand.” See also JM to Randolph, 16–17 September 1782.

2As provided by an act of 24 January 1778, as amended by an act of 5 January 1782, the October term of the General Court would begin at Richmond on the first weekday of October and continue for a maximum of twenty-four weekdays (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1777, p. 136; October 1781, p. 74; 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 , IX, 401–19; X, 455).

3If Randolph meant “last sunday,” it was 22 September. For his efforts to have Jacquelin Ambler, the treasurer of Virginia, forward JM at least some of his overdue salary as a delegate, see Randolph to JM, 7 September. See also Ambler to JM, 16 September 1782.

5See Randolph to JM, 24 August, and n. 12; JM to Randolph, 3 and 10 September 1782.

6See JM to Randolph, 3 September 1782. Of Ross’s partners, Randolph probably talked with Thomas Pleasants III of Henrico County. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 229, n. 16.

7See JM to Randolph, 27 August 1782, and n. 19.

8“An act for appropriating the public revenue,” passed by the Virginia General Assembly on 1 July, did not include the armed forces of the commonwealth among those listed in the statute who would benefit from the payment of “all arrears of wages, or salaries” (Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782 description begins Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782, MS in Virginia State Library. description ends , p. 85; 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, 12–14).

9Prior to an act of 28 December 1782, militiamen had been paid only for service beyond Virginia’s borders. By that law they were promised “the same pay and rations as the officers and soldiers of the continental army” when on duty for ten days or more within the state. This compensation was made retroactive to 1 January 1780 (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1782, pp. 23, 91; 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, 181).

10That is, the Lovell code was too tedious, and the official cipher, customarily used by the delegates in Congress, was known to too many people. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 148, n. 9; 396; 398, nn. 17, 20; Randolph to JM, 6 August, n. 13; 16 August; JM to Randolph, 27 August 1782.

11Randolph finally enclosed the new cipher in his letter of 22 November 1782 to JM (q.v.).

12Randolph meant, of course, his comments upon the proceedings of the Virginia General Assembly at its October 1782 session. See JM to Randolph, 16–17 September 1782, n. 14.

13Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens was killed on 27 August 1782 in a skirmish with a British foraging party in South Carolina (NA: PCC, No. 155, II, 527–28, 531–35; Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends , 12 October 1782). Laurens’ “expectation” probably had been to succeed Benjamin Franklin as minister plenipotentiary of the United States at the court of Versailles. When Laurens was on his mission to France in 1781, the aged Franklin gave him warrant for this hope (Albert H. Smyth, ed., Writings of Benjamin Franklin, VIII, 259–60).

Index Entries