James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 1 March 1786

From Edmund Randolph

Richmond March 1 1786.

My dear sir

I am much indebted to you for Bayle and the Confessional. I delivered the treatises on air, with the history of their journey from hence to Orange, to Dr. Currie.1 He put them into the hands of McClurg who reports in strong terms of approbation the work of Scheele, as being most learned in Chymistry.

The circular letters have been dispatched, with an authentication of our commercial Character from the governor. But I forwarded them without troubling him with that charge.2

I presume, you have received letters from Mr. J. If not, I mention from one of the 20th. of Sepr. to me, the celebrity of the code de l’humanitès; the tranquil State of Europe; except that G. B. seems not to be calmed in her resentment vs America—the strenuous naval equipments of France, as if in actual war. He has caused a very handsome plan to be prepared for our Capitol: which has not yet arrived, but will surely come in time for our purpose.

Of the three new departments in the auditors office, Mr. Pendleton has the first, Mr. Randolph the second, and Mr. Starke the last, which is temporary.3 The general Opinion declares, that Mr. H——y will resign before the last reappointment take[s] place, under the constitution. I disbelieve it, because he seems to have made no preparation for a retreat, and nothing has been uttered by himself, as far as I have heard.

I ought to have informed you that Annapolis is the place, and the first monday in Sepr. the time for our convention. That city was preferred, as being most central, and farther removed from the suspicion, which Phila. or N. York might have excited, of congressional or mercantile influence. I am my dear friend yrs affely.

E. R.

RC (DLC). Addressed by Randolph. Docketed by JM. The right margin is frayed, and so certain portions are restored within brackets.

1Dr. James Currie (1745–1807) was a prominent Richmond physician and businessman. Born in Scotland and educated at Edinburgh’s famous medical school, he emigrated to America and was an ardent patriot in 1776, when a kinsman of the same name and profession adhered to the royal cause. Dr. Currie was a friend of Jefferson’s and was involved in the construction of the state capitol. His home was at the corner of Tenth and Broad Streets in Richmond (Blanton, Medicine in Virginia in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 335–36).

2The commissioners appointed by the General Assembly were assigned the task of informing the other states of their mission, which was to discuss with other state delegates the nation’s commercial problems (JHDV 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 either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1785, p. 153). This duty must have been completed soon after JM departed from Richmond (JM to Jefferson, 18 Mar. 1786).

3The increasing complexity of government caused revisions in the commonwealth’s small bureaucracy. The auditor’s office was revised by an act agreed to on 10 Jan. 1786 (JHDV 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 either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1785, p. 136; 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 , XII, 106–9). J. Pendleton, Bolling Stark, and H. Randolph had feared their appointments to that office would suffer from the revision and pleaded with the governor that he maintain their services (Cal. of Va. 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 , IV, 80, 83, and passim).

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