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Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 7 December 1782

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates

FC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of Thomas L. Savage and directed to “Virginia Delegates in Congress.”

In Council 7th. Decem: 1782

Gentlemen

The financier has been misinform’d, his Agent never made any proposition to me to receive Tobacco on Account of the Continent.1 I heard that he offer’d to buy a Quantity of the Agent for Commutables and to pay for it in Notes payable four Months after date, which I look’d on as a speculation and therefore discountenanced.2

Humanity calls on us to provide for the poor Wretches that are on their Way Home from Captivity (in Detroit)3 as far as our Circumstances will suffer us to do it.4 you know them well, and will be better able to judge of the distresses of the poor Creatures than we can at this distance. you are therefore requested to draw on the Treasury for such a Sum as you think absolutely necessary, which the Executive will take care to see paid. If you can get Money for Tobacco on Rappahanock or Potowmack Rivers it will be much more agreeable to us to pay it that Way, than in Cash,5 but if you must draw for Cash give us as many Days of Grace as you can.

An Account of the Evacuation of Charles Town reach’d us yesterday, if it is true it did not take place till the middle of last Month.6 I am &c.

B. H.

2The “Agent for Commutables” was the governor’s son, Benjamin Harrison, Jr. On 8 December, responding to a letter written two days earlier by Robert Morris’ agent, Daniel Clark, Governor Harrison invited him to submit a proposal for purchasing eight hundred hogsheads of tobacco, “on account of the Continent” (JM to Randolph, 26 November 1782, and n. 2; 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, 395). Having effected an agreement with Clark about the price, the Governor in Council on 18 December 1782 requested Jacquelin Ambler, the treasurer, to release to Benjamin Harrison, Jr., for delivery to George Webb, “Continental receiver of taxes,” four hundred hogsheads of Rappahannock tobacco and a like quantity of Potomac (Journals of the Council of State description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (3 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 195).

3Interlineated within parentheses by Savage.

4See Pickering to Virginia Delegates, 23 November, and nn. 2, 6; Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 26 November 1782. On the date of the present letter the Governor in Council took steps to have the released captives provided with quarters and food in the barracks at Winchester, pending their return to their former homes in Kentucky (Journals of the Council of State description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (3 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 187; 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, 451–52).

6This was the latest of the many premature reports that the British troops had evacuated Charleston. See JM to Pendleton, 15 October 1782, and n. 11.

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