James Madison Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Jones, Joseph" AND Recipient="Madison, James" AND Period="Revolutionary War"
sorted by: recipient

To James Madison from Joseph Jones, 2 January 1781

From Joseph Jones

RC (LC: Madison Papers).

2d. Janry 1781

Dear Sr.

I was not in a condition to visit Fredericksburg the last week or you should then have been informed that Mr. Braxton has taken the Warrant upon the Treasurer and agreed to give Bills payable in Philadelphia for the amount of 110,000 £.1 Mr. Fitzhugh was to bring them up but is not yet arrived unless he came yesterday wch. may be the case as Braxton wrote me it was expected they would rise on Saturday last.2 That however is I think doubtfull as I am pretty certain they wod. if possible take up the question of the back Lands as well as the Mississippi affair with Spain.3 It seems their was a Ballot for a Person to repair to Congress and the General,4 in consequence of the Resolution I before mentioned to you, the day Braxton wrote, and the House being divided between the Speaker & R. H. Lee the question could not be decided as the Speaker being the person in question could not [vote] in his own case[.] after much debate and perplexity Lee withdrew his Pretensions so that Harrison stood elected.5 Braxton says the old Fellow was so disgusted with the vote that he believed he wod. resign his appointmt. Shod. that be the case I question whether any one undertakes the Embassy especially as it is in great part superseded by Col. Laurens’s appointmt.6 No doubt but the Delegates in Congress by proper Instructions could have done every thing this Agent can do but as he was to attend the Gener[al] and our Delegation thin7 it was thought be[st] to appoint some person not of the Delegation as he wod. be necessarily absent for some time on the visit to Head Quarters. I told Mr. Henry8 the Father of the proposition I had no doubt but every proper measure was already taken and that I did not believe any good wod. result from it further than might be expected from the State9 the Commonwealth could give of its ability to comply with the requisitions of Congress[,] that if more was laid upon her than she could bear some other course might in time be taken to supply what she wod. likely fall short, but this could be done by a representation of the matter by the Executive to the Delegates as well as in any other way. I have not heard the issue of the Report on the Delegates accounts and their future allowance.10 If nothing unforeseen prevents I shall I hope be able to leave this abt. the 12th. instant for Philadelphia. Mrs. Jones’s third day Ague and Fever still pursues her and she is so reduced as to be scarsely able to take exercise wch. makes it rather disagreeable to leave her but as she has agreed to try the Northern air next Spring if in her power and several things are wanting to prepare for Housekeeping it makes a trip on my part necessary previous to her going as she cannot venture into the City untill I could make the proper provision for fear of the smallpox.11 It is to be hoped the removal of Sartine12 and the introduction of this new man of distinguished ability into the managemt. of the naval departmt. of France will produce a more active and vigorous prosecution of the War in favour of America than we have yet experienced. I fear from the great delays in the Assembly our new Levies will be late in the Field.13 adieu.

Yrs. very truly.

Jos: Jones.

1Evidently Carter Braxton had not fully discharged his debt to the state of Virginia (Jefferson to Virginia Delegates, 17 November 1780, and n. 3).

2The “they” in this sentence is the General Assembly. In the House of Delegates, William Fitzhugh and Jones were the members from King George County.

3On 2 January 1781, the date of its adjournment, the General Assembly adopted resolutions dealing with these two subjects (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 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1780, pp. 80–81; Instruction from Virginia Legislature, 2 January 1781). Following this sentence in the manuscript are two short parallel lines, approximately perpendicular to the text. Identical marks follow the sentence ending “in any other way” later in the letter. Who inserted these marks and for what reason are unknown.

4George Washington.

5Richard Henry Lee and Benjamin Harrison, speaker of the House of Delegates, each received forty votes on 22 December 1780, when a joint session of the two houses of the General Assembly balloted to elect the special delegate already mentioned (Jones to JM, 2 December 1780, n. 7; JM to Jones, 12 December 1780; 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 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1780, p. 65).

6Harrison, “the old Fellow,” was then about fifty-five years old. On the mission of John Laurens, see Commission and Instructions to Laurens, 23 December 1780.

7JM and Theodorick Bland were the only delegates from Virginia in Congress at this time.

8Patrick Henry (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 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1780, p. 35).

9As so often in the writings of this period, the word “state” is used as the equivalent of “statement.”

11See Jones to JM, 2 October 1780, n. 14. Jones resumed his seat in Congress on 29 January 1781 (Journals of the Continental Congress, XIX, 94).

Index Entries