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To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 13 September 1783 (first)

From Edmund Randolph

RC (Harvard College Library: Dearborn Papers). Addressed in the hand of a clerk, probably George Hay, “To James Madison. Sept 13th: 1783,” and almost certainly enclosed by Randolph in his longer letter of the same date to JM (q.v.).

Richmond Sepr. 13. 1783.

Dear Sir

If your attention to congressional business, and your cramped situation will allow you to shew civilities to a new acquaintance, I must consign Mr. Francis Corbin to them. He is the youngest son of Colo. Corbin of this state, has lately returned from G. Britain, where he has resided for twelve years for his education, and became intimate with men of the purest American principles, being himself zealous and indeed enthusiastic.1 A letter from my father2 recommends him to my attention, and at the same time vouches, that he has at no time been wanting in the warmest professions of attachment to the new state.3

Yrs. mo. afftely

Edm: Randolph

1After being graduated by the College of William and Mary, Richard Corbin (1714–1790) of Laneville, King and Queen County, served prior to 1776 as a justice of the peace, burgess, member of the royal governor’s council, and receiver general of the province. Highly regarded for his ability and probity, he had many influential friends, including Governor Harrison and George Washington. Being in poor health and unsympathetic with the American cause, Corbin retired to his plantations at the onset of the Revolution. Neither his person nor his property was molested during the war (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 145, n. 5; Elizabeth C. Johnson, “Colonel Richard Corbin of Laneville,” Bulletin of the King and Queen Historical Society of Virginia, No. 22 [Jan. 1967], pp. 2–4).

During his ten, not twelve. years of residence in England, Francis Corbin (1759–1821) studied at Cambridge University and the Inner Temple in London. He was a delegate from Middlesex County in the Virginia General Assembly for a decade beginning in 1784, and an influential member of the Virginia Convention of 1788 which ratified the Federal Constitution. Although elected on 20 February 1792 to the Congress of the United States, he declined to serve. JM, who esteemed Corbin highly for his character and ability, frequently corresponded with him from 1788 until his death (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 , III, 511; V, 448; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , pp. 20–42, passim; Va. Mag. Hist. and Biog., XXX [1922], 80–85, 315–18).

2For John Randolph, Edmund’s father, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 162, n. 8; VI, 185, n. 5.

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