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To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 20 June 1782

From Edmund Randolph

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Unsigned letter, in Randolph’s hand, addressed to “The honble James Madison jr. of congress Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “June 20. 1782.” To the left of this date and at a right angle to it, he also wrote “Rept. on Instruction.” This jotting apparently bears no relation to the contents of the letter. The italicized words are those written by Randolph in the official cipher.

Richmond June 20. 1782.

My dear friend

You wound me deeply by insinuating a delinquency on my part in repeating my letters, or not acknowledging yours.1 The latter circumstance I may have omitted in the single instance of your two favors by the express:2 but the former charge is clearly unsupportable so far as respects the post. I have never indeed written by private opportunities, because it requires a week to collect in this barren spot intelligence enough for a letter of even a moderate length.

My last and preceding communications, which spoke of certain manoeuvres,3 alluded to in your letter of the 11th. instant, mentioned, I believe in general terms only, that a design appeared to be formed against the reelection of you and my self to Congress. The attack was unexpected: and the secret suggestions which were intended to injure, had had their fullest operation, before it came to the knowledge even of our friends. But it may be triumphantly said, that the wicked, and malevolent did not dare to exclude from their most poisonous reports a respect for our characters. You were assailed under the garb of friendship. It was lamented, that the rigour of law should cut off so4 a servant from public employment.5 And to say the truth, there was such a fervency of compliment that it was unpleasant6 to distrust its sincerity. I too was declared to be ineligible7 after a preface overflowing with panegyrick: and indeed the manifest of hostility never could wear a milder form. However P. Henry propounded the question respecting my eligibility: for he had been informed of these clandestine operations. No man rose to assert the negative except R. H. Lee. He was fulsome in commendation, as I was informed, and protested against every possibility of exception, but from that quarter. He had no other coadjutor, than the old squire.8 The doctor9 spoke in opposition to his brothr10 upon pretty much the same principle, as that which act[u]ates two eastern delegates,11 when they divide; namely an affectation of candor. I call myself impartial, notwithstanding the shaft was directed at my head: and therefore I shall risque my reputation for charity, and affirm, that this gentleman12 had no other motive. For he had been industrious in the circulation of the opinion, which discountenanced my being elected. Mr. Jones13 was very warm on hearing of these doublings: and if the malicious murmur had not subsided, he would, I believe, have been very14 pointed. Those, who defend the constitution or the laws, from principle shall never receive aught but reverence from me. But to him, who covers personal views under the pretext of public utility, I cannot be a cordial friend. Notwithstanding all this R. H. Lee wrote me a letter today subscribing himself “affectionately yours.”

The efforts of the [two]15 Lees seemed to have for their direct object the destruction of every man, who had not shewn himself de[vote]d to [their]16 designs. Within this description was included our friend Henry.17 They disdained not to calumnate him in [pri]18vate; and in public the younger of the two [was]19 occasionally uttered bitter things. [Their]20 perseverance is so much superior to his that he will fi[nd] it diffi[cult]21 to resist [their] violence, but by the most circumspect conduct. An occasion offered for giving a serious cast to his conduct: but the aspersion, tho’ disadvantageous at its first representati[on] vanished upon scrutiny. An act of the assembly had reserved the land on the cape, as a common for the use of the fishermen. Mr. Henry had formed a company long before this reservation for the approp[ri]ation of them; directing the surveyor however to set apart a portion of the shore for their use. But a complaint was made to the assembly; and the Zeal of party mingled itself with this warfare for public good; so as manifestly to shew, that public good was not the ruling motive.22 Mr. H——y offered to yield his pretensions: but I understand, that I am instructed to institute a suit against the patent, which he has obtained.23

The house of delegates have passed a bill in pursuance of the recommendation of congress concerning shipwreck.24 The regulations, contained in it, have been principally borrowed from the british acts on the same subject. But this law is not intended to be permanent. For upon the ratification of the consular convention,25 what it prescribes will be followed in the case of French subjects. In the meantime we imitate our ally,26 by affording to his unfortunate people the same relief, which is extended to our own countrymen.27

A census is to be taken of the white inhabitants of Virginia.28 This, when accomplished, will secure us against a repetition of the extravagant quota, assigned to us in November last.29 It carries us too one step towards the formation of a scale of political arithmetic. But I am sorry to believe, that this measure was not dictated by a resolution to pursue system: without which the springs of government must be on a continual stretch, in order to combat occasional necessities, and the expedient of to day may destroy what may be essential to morrow.30

Your encomium upon the senate for preserving the reputation of the country is well-founded.31 But I think they have been unnecessarily jealous of the incroachment attempted to be made by the house of delegates, as they suppose, on the executive. In the course of the session, the defence of our eastern frontier became a topic.32 Two vessels, which had been purchased from the French after the capitulation of York were destined by the executive for a mercantile expedition.33 They were actually equipped for the purpose. But it appeared to the house of delegates to be expedient to convert them into instruments of naval war.34 The senate opposed the measure, assigning as one among other reasons, that the provision in the bill of rights against the confusion of the legislative and executive powers35 would be defeated, if this conduct sh[ould] be tolerated. They surely were mistaken: for the distinction is, th[at] the authorities, specially delegated by the constitution to the executi[ve] cannot be exercised by the legislative; but authorities derived from the gift of the legislature, are revocable by them. Now in the present instance money was applied by the assembly to the purpose of purchasing these vessels.36 Why then shall37 they be precluded from rescinding their own acts? Who will Venture to deny this, when the responsibility of the representative to his constituent is peculiarly necessary in affairs of money; and when the forbidding of the legislature to recal a vot[e] for the disposal of money would be ruinous and unprecedente[d] in almost any government.?

You recollect, that confisc[ated] property has been subjected, as a fund for the discharge of the officers’ certificates.38 At the present session they have been [in] earnest for the adoption of those means, which shall give a m[ore] extensive grasp to confiscation. No man can be so unfeeling or unthankful as to deny, that their merits are great, and their sufferings deserve abundant retribution. Yet I cannot forbea[r] fearing, lest we should precipitate the U. S. into difficulties upon a negotiation, which we might possibly avoid by stoppin[g] at the point, at which we now are. But the motive is too pa[in]ful to be resisted: and I think they will be indulged.39

A vote passed the committee of the whole house yesterday for removing the clog on executions. It is probable too, that it will run glibly thro’ the assembly.40 I, whose interest speaks so strongly in favor of the act, do really contemplate it with apprehension.41 Ravaged as our country has been, the little surplus over domestic want, must be drawn into the public coffers. With what are we to pay our old debts? Is the capital to be absorbed? Mr. Morris’s notes, which are receivable in taxes will banish specie pro tanto:42 and if executions are to be satisfied by specie alone, the poor man, who has disdained to avail himself of the tender law,43 must part from his freehold at 1/4 of its value to some tory, whose debt remains unextinguished because he obstinately refused paper currency. On the other hand it cannot be denied, that some of our best citizens are perhaps perishing from the want of their outstanding debts. But a general law has its eye to the body of the people, not to individuals merely: especially at a season, when they have been harrassed in property and personal service.

There may however be instances in which the suspension should be removed. Future contracts should be enforced speedily and effectually: and if an easy difference could be found in behalf of foreigners, the rights of commerce might require the removal of the suspension in their case even in past contracts. While paper-money was hastening to annihilation, it might be well to render it an object of request by Adding rapidity and sting to the law. But this stimulus is not necessary to furnish credit to the precious metals. Since the above was written, I have been informed, that executions are to be discharged in certain specifics, as well as specie.44 But this does not lessen the evil. For one of the objections arises from the actual inability of the country: and what very great relief is it to suffer a man to pay tobacco rather than coin, when the price of that very tobacco depends absolutely upon its relation to coin? Unless I shall change my present opinion on this subject, I will certainly counteract it in the line of my profession, as far as my duty to my clients will permit.45

A bill is prepared for recruiting our line. The country is classed, and each class is to furnish a man by a given day, or 30 dollars. On failure in these respects it is proposed to subject the faulty class to a draught. Colo. Mercer46 thinks, that the bill will pass in its present form. But he adds, that Capt. Marshall,47 a young man of a rising character, will make a furious onset for the abolition of the draught.48

Be so good as to communicate the public intelligence, contained herein, to Colo. Bland.49

I will send you a copy of a succinct state50 of the claim of Virginia to Western territory, drawn by a certain violent Anti Whartonian, together with its history51

1The meaning of “repeating my letters” is not clear. If Randolph used “repeating” in the archaic sense of “repaying,” the phrase may signify “writing as often to you as you have written to me.” On the other hand, the expression may signify “mentioning in each of my letters the date on which I last wrote to you.” Although Randolph obviously was replying to the first paragraph of JM’s letter of 11 June (q.v.), neither of these suggested interpretations seems to be directly relevant to the contents of that paragraph.

4Here Randolph evidently neglected to encode an adjective such as “faithful” or “excellent.”

5See Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 8 June 1782, n. 5. Randolph is referring to the law of Virginia providing that no delegate of the Commonwealth in Congress could serve for “more than three years in any term of six years” (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 , X, 74–75). In view of the fact that JM’s first appointment as a delegate was on 14 December 1779 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 318), his eligibility would appear to end in 1782 on 31 October, since the Virginia General Assembly was accustomed to elect or re-elect its delegates in Congress annually, with the term dating from 1 November. Therefore, the “rigour of law” could be cited by opponents of JM’s reappointment. On the other hand, JM’s supporters argued, with evident success, that he was eligible for re-election, because his first appointment had been only ad interim to fill the place of one “of the gentlemen who hath resigned” (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 1779, p. 89), and that the restriction in the Articles of Confederation was irrelevant in his case, since the Articles had been in effect only since 1 March 1781. See Jones to JM, 25 June 1782.

In the General Assembly, JM was renominated to the Council of State on 3 June, but his name was withdrawn two days later (Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782 description begins Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782, MS in Virginia State Library. description ends , pp. 60, 62). Who were responsible for these “manoeuvres” is unknown to the editors. The nomination may either have been made by the opponents of JM as a way of supplanting him in Congress, or by his friends as a means of assuring his continuance in public life in the event of his defeat for re-election as a delegate. The withdrawal of his nomination may signify either the increased confidence of his friends by 5 June in the outcome of a vote to return him to Congress for a new term, or a change of opinion by his enemies to the effect that they would prefer to have him in Philadelphia rather than in Richmond.

6Randolph wrote this word as a replacement for a deleted “difficult.”

7A law passed on 13 December 1779 barred a delegate of Virginia in Congress from concurrently holding any state “office judiciary or executive” (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 1779, p. 87; 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 , X, 164). Randolph patently was not of the “executive,” being neither the governor nor a member of the Council of State, but his opponents evidently claimed that, as attorney general and hence as an officer of the superior courts of Virginia, he was of the “judiciary,” even though not a judge.

8Richard Lee, generally known as “Squire Richard Lee” of “Lee Hall” in Westmoreland County, was a member of the House of Delegates from 1777 until his death in 1795. He was a cousin of Arthur and Richard Henry Lee.

9Arthur Lee.

10Richard Henry Lee.

11Unidentified.

12Apparently Randolph meant Arthur Lee.

13Joseph Jones. Randolph encoded “iones.” See Jones to JM, 25 June 1782.

14This word is interlineated above a deleted “pretty.”

15Randolph used the cipher 210, standing for “toward,” but probably intended to write 410, signifying “two.”

16The brackets again signify errors by Randolph in coding. He obviously used an alphabetized code sheet on which “vol” and its cipher 238 immediately preceded “vote” and its cipher 604. He wrote the former rather than the latter figure. For “their,” he wrote—as he would do twice again later in this letter—789 rather than 798.

17Patrick Henry. See n. 22, below.

18Although Randolph encoded 559, symbolizing “hundred,” he probably meant to write 557, the cipher for “pri.”

19After the cipher for “was,” Randolph crossed out “absolutely abusive.” In view of the last four words of the sentence, he should have deleted the cipher for “was.” Arthur Lee was eight years younger than his brother, Richard Henry Lee.

20These brackets and the ones enclosing the other “their” in this sentence are explained in n. 16, above.

21In the case of “find,” Randolph encoded merely the “fi” and neglected to add 344, the symbol for “nd.” He also omitted 39 89 542 48, which together stand for “cult.”

22On 10 October and 10 November 1781 Colonel Thomas Newton, Jr., of Norfolk wrote Governor Harrison that, notwithstanding the law of 30 May 1780 for securing “to the public certain lands heretofore held as common” (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 , May 1780, p. 27; 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, 226–27), Patrick Henry persisted in laying claim to “the Cape Lands.” Private ownership of this acreage might “Effectually stop fishing” there and also deprive the Commonwealth of £10,000 worth of stone designed for use in erecting a lighthouse on Cape Henry (Calendar of Virginia 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 , II, 543, 593). On 6 December 1781, without mentioning Patrick Henry, Harrison referred Newton’s complaint against “some designing Persons” to the House of Delegates (McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 106; 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, unless otherwise noted, 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 1781, p. 29). The members of the General Assembly apparently were content to let the matter rest until the Lees revived it about six months later. Either in 1778 or early in the next year Patrick Henry and John Wilson, Willis Wilson (d. 1798), and George Kelly (d. ca. 1802), three residents of Norfolk County, had formed a land company and employed Andrew Stewart (d. 1789) of the same county as surveyor. Although the total expanse amassed by the company has not been ascertained, 6,800 acres on Cape Henry in Norfolk County were granted to Henry and his associates by patents signed by Governor Harrison on 1 June 1782. Nothing in the record of survey suggests that the company had designated a part of the property for the use of fishermen (Norfolk County Court Records, Will Book 3, pp. 14–20, microfilm in Virginia State Library; Virginia State Land Office Surveys, Book 6, p. 117; Virginia State Land Office Grants, Book F, pp. 466–67, 470–71, both in Virginia State Library).

23The act of 1 July 1782 “to amend the act for erecting a lighthouse on Cape Henry” suggests that the offer of Patrick Henry “to yield his pretensions,” perhaps to the site of the proposed lighthouse and to sufficient stone for its erection, had been accepted and hence the threat to institute a suit against him had been dropped. If Randolph received instructions, they apparently do not exist. Patrick Henry’s company evidently retained title to at least much of the property, for Willis Wilson in 1798 bequeathed his share, totaling 3,333 acres, to his heirs (Norfolk County Court Records, Will Book 3, pp. 204–5, microfilm in Virginia State Library). The law of 1 July 1782 provided for the appointment of six “directors,” including Thomas Newton, Jr., to handle the financial aspects of “building and finishing the said lighthouse.” These men were also named “trustees for the land heretofore and now deemed and held as common” (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, 58).

25See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 201, n. 1.

26Following the comma, four words are inked out too heavily to be legible.

27See Article XX of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, concluded between France and the United States on 4 May 1778 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 421, 434–35).

28The statute, passed on 1 July, provided that on or before 10 December 1782 the clerk of each county court should deliver to the Governor in Council a census listing by families “the number of whites and blacks” in the county (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, 40–41).

29See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 301, n. 2; 328–29; 329, n. 6.

30What Randolph expected JM to read into this vaguely worded sentence obviously cannot be known. Enumerating the population of Virginia would enable the General Assembly to assess taxes and assign county levies of militia more equitably. If each of the other twelve states also took a census, the basis for allocating quotas of troops, as stipulated by the ninth article of the Articles of Confederation, would finally be provided. Perhaps, too, Randolph and JM had earlier agreed that a census would be an indispensable first step toward substituting a population-proportioned representation of each state in Congress for the existent “system” of according every state, no matter how large or small, an equal vote. See also Report on New Hampshire Requisition, 25 March 1782, n. 3.

32See the law “for defending and protecting the trade of Chesapeake bay,” enacted on 1 July 1782 (Minute Book, House of Delegates, 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, 42–44).

33The British armed vessels sold to Virginia by the French in October 1781, following Cornwallis’ surrender, were the “Cormorant” and the “Oliver Cromwell” (Calendar of Virginia 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 , VI, 414–15; Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution [2 vols.; Boston, 1913], II, 391–92). For their expected use on a “mercantile expedition,” see Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 24 January 1782, n. 5.

34For the resolution of 23 May 1782 to this effect, see Calendar of Virginia 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, 176; McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 229, 241, 250, 252.

35See Article V of “A Declaration of Rights” and also Article III of “The Constitution, or Form of Government” of Virginia (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, 110, 114).

36David Ross, commercial agent of Virginia, seems to have purchased the ships, mentioned in n. 33, with funds authorized by the General Assembly on 11 and 14 June 1781 to be used by him “for particular purposes” (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 , May 1781, pp. 13, 17; McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 78, 144; Calendar of Virginia 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 , II, 516, 525, 571, 607–8).

37Randolph inadvertently repeated “shall.”

38This was stipulated in the fifth paragraph of a statute enacted by the Virginia General Assembly on 5 January 1782 (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 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 , X, 464). The certificates had been issued to officers and enlisted men in continental service to offset their loss, caused by the mounting inflation, in the real value of their pay between 1 January 1777 and 31 December 1781.

39Randolph’s expectation was fulfilled on 2 July by the adoption of “An act for providing more effectual funds for the redemption of certificates granted the officers and soldiers raised by this state” (ibid., XI, 81–85; 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). To halt the depreciation of veterans’ certificates and to acquire money more speedily for their redemption, the statute sought to expedite the sale of the forfeited estates of Loyalists, including property fictitiously conveyed by Loyalists to patriots for safekeeping, and to encourage Virginians in debt to Loyalists or British creditors to pay into the public treasury annually an amount of specie, tobacco, or hemp equal to “one tenth part or more” of the obligation, and thus “be so far exonerated from the same.” The provisions of this law later conflicted with the fourth and fifth articles of the Treaty of Paris of 3 September 1783 between Great Britain and the United States.

40Randolph again prophesied accurately. A law passed on 1 July 1782 and designated to take effect on 1 March of the next year, partially repealed the stay law of 5 January 1782. The new statute authorized the courts of Virginia to entertain suits for the recovery of overdue debts, provided that they had not been contracted with a British subject after 30 April 1777, and that they could be discharged until 1 December 1783 in tobacco, hemp, flour, or money, at the debtor’s option (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 1781, p. 74; 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, 75–76).

42See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 19 March 1782, n. 1. On 1 July 1782 the Virginia General Assembly enacted a statute directing sheriffs and collectors to accept in payment of taxes Robert Morris’ notes promising the bearer the sum written on the face of the note whenever it should be presented to the “Treasurer to the Superintendant of Finance” in Philadelphia (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, 68–69). At this time Morris’ notes apparently were circulating at face value in the upper South but were subject to varying degrees of discount in New York and New England. Morris decided late in August 1782 to stop issuing the notes and to destroy them as they were presented (Clarence L. Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, pp. 80–81, 87, 118–19).

43Randolph refers to the law adopted by the Virginia General Assembly on 5 January 1782 specifying a monthly scale of depreciation of paper currency from January 1777 to December 1781 for determining “the value of the several debts, contracts and demands” in silver and gold (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, unless otherwise noted, 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 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 , X, 471–74). This legal exchange ratio overvalued the paper currency as compared with its market value in terms of specie. The law was in part repealed by the act of 1 July 1782 cited in n. 40, above.

44See nn. 39 and 40, above.

45That is, as a practicing lawyer.

46John Francis Mercer, a representative of Stafford County in the House of Delegates.

47John Marshall, a representative of Fauquier County in the House of Delegates, late captain in the 7th Virginia Regiment, continental line, and a future Chief Justice of the United States.

48“An act for recruiting this state’s quota of troops to serve in the army of the United States,” enacted on 2 July 1782 (Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782 description begins Minute Book, House of Delegates, May 1782, MS in Virginia State Library. description ends , p. 86; 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, 14–20). The complicated provisions of this law were designed to raise for three years or for the duration of the war three thousand able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and fifty years. Each county was to be divided into equally populated “classes or districts,” according to the number of recruits allotted to that county. Any class or district failing to furnish the soldiers required would be subject to a monetary fine. From those men upon whom this fine was imposed but who refused or were unable to pay it, one man would be drafted for military service. Each man so enlisted, whether as a volunteer or by lot or by draft “by fair and equal ballot,” was promised an immediate money bounty of £12 and a bounty in land, scaled to his rank, at the termination of his service.

49Theodorick Bland.

50Randolph underlined “succinct State.”

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