James Madison Papers
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Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 6 May 1783

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). Cover missing. Docketed, “Lr. from the Delegs: in Congress: May 6th. 1783.” Although only JM signed it, he obviously was writing on behalf of all members of the delegation.

Philada. 6. May 1783.

Sir

Your Excellency’s favor of the 25th. Ulto.1 came duly to hand yesterday. A commercial intercourse is under present circumstances carried on freely from other States with our late Enemy, and as far as an advantage can be drawn from it, Virginia must certainly be equally entitled to share in it.2

Congress have recd. no further intelligence relative to the final treaty of peace, nor any other material intelligence from Europe.

The plan to be recommended to the states for funding the national debt, has been at length concluded, and with the documents proper to explain & urge it, will be forwarded as soon as the whole can be duly prepared.3

We inclose your Excelly. a letter addressed to us from Coulougnac & Cie, representing their transactions with Penet.4

We have the honor to be with sentiments of due respect Yr. Exclly’s Obt. & hbl serts.

J. Madison Jr.

1Not found. Perhaps Archibald Blair, clerk of the Council of State, was absent, and for that reason the letter was not “registered” in the Executive Letter Book, MS in Va. State Library.

2Papers 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 , VI, 471, and n. 1; 481; 499; 500, n. 6; Ambler to JM, 3 May, and n. 5; Harrison to Delegates, 3 May 1783.

3Papers 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 , VI, 471; 473, n. 7; 488; 494, n. 1. Elias Boudinot, president of Congress, forwarded the “plan” and “the documents” on 9 May 1783 (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VII, 160–61).

4The letter of Coulignac et Cie to the delegates has not been found, but judging from the references to it by Harrison in his letter of 29 May 1783 to the company, the Coulignac firm in Nantes was again seeking reimbursement by Virginia of money loaned in 1780 to Penet, d’Acosta Frères et Cie for the purchase of military supplies ordered by Governor Jefferson on behalf of his state (Harrison to Coulignac and Company, 29 May, in Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, pp. 140–41, MS in Va. State Library). Harrison enclosed this letter in his letter to the delegates on 31 May 1783 (q.v.).

Subsequent to the bankruptcy of Penet in 1782, the remaining partners of his commercial company and Louis Auly (Lewis Abraham Pauly) also claimed that they had helped to finance the same shipments as those for which Coulignac and Company loaned money. For the background and amount of these claims, 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 , VI, 342, and n. 1; 353; 412–13; 413, n. 3; 414–15 nn.; also 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, 260, 390; Harrison to Thomas Barclay, 29 Mar. and 10 May 1783 in Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, pp. 83–86, 121–22, MS in Va. State Library.

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