James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Edmund Randolph, 7 January 1783

To Edmund Randolph

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Unsigned but in JM’s hand. Cover franked by “J Madison, Jr.” and addressed to “Edmund Randolph Esqr. Richmond.” Docketed by Randolph, “Fm J. Madison Jan: 7 1783.” At the top of the page of the letter, above the date, JM wrote “Randolph, Edm.” Unless otherwise noted, the italicized words are those written by JM in the Randolph code, for which see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 307; 309, n. 1; 339, n. 5.

Philada. 7 Jany. 1783.

My dear Sir

Your1 favor of the 27th. ult: disappointed me by its silence as to the 5 Per Ct. The Governor’s letter led us to hope that the subject would be resumed and the arrival of yesterday’s mail was awaited with a general anxiety on that account. Not a line however in any letter public or private touches on the subject.2 My last I hope will have led to some explanations on it.3 The official letter to the Governor will inclose a copy of the answer to the objections of Rhode Island which was to have cooperated with the deput[at]ion to that State,4 if Virginia had not frustrated the whole plan by her defection.

The deputation from the army which arrived here a few days ago has laid their grievances before Congress. They consist of sundry articles the capital of which are a defect of an immediate payment, and of satisfactory provision for completing the work hereafter. How either of these objects can be accomplished, and what will be the consequence of failure, I must leave to your own surmises. I wish the disquietude excited by the prospect was the exclusive portion of those who impede the measures calculated for redressing complaints against the justice & gratitude of the public.5

The Resolution of the House of Delegates against restitution of confiscated effects is subject to the remark you make.6 The preliminary requisition of an acknowledgment of our Independence in the most ample manner,7 seems to be still more incautious, since it disaccords with the treaty of alliance which admits the sufficiency of a tacit acknowledgment.8

Mr. J. is still here.9 I must as I apprehended postpone a copy of my extract from his remarks to the next mail, to which I will add what you wish from C’s papers if any thing be in them.10

Another severe relapse has undone all his late recovery & his condition is at present as low and as alarming as it has been in any stage of his disorder.11

1In his old age JM or someone at his bidding placed a bracket in front of “Your” to designate the letter for publication, but Henry D. Gilpin did not print the closing two paragraphs (Madison, Papers [Gilpin ed.] description begins Henry D. Gilpin, ed., The Papers of James Madison (3 vols.; Washington, 1840). description ends , I, 497–98).

2For Randolph’s letter of 27 December and Benjamin Harrison’s dispatch of 28 December 1782 to the Virginia delegates, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 453–54; 465. JM received both these letters on 6 January. See JM to Jones, 6 Jan. 1783. For the meaning of “the 5 Per Ct.,” see Randolph to JM, 3 Jan. 1783, and n. 2.

3JM’s “last” letter to Randolph was that of 30 December 1782 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 472–74).

4Delegates to Harrison, 7 Jan. 1783, and hdn., and n. 2.

5Ibid., and nn. 4, 5.

6Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 409–10; 410, nn. 1, 3, 4; 454; JM Notes, 16 Jan. 1783, and n. 8.

7These three words were underlined by JM.

8In encoding “sufficiency” JM omitted 285, signifying “cy.” He underlined the ciphers for “tacit.” Article VIII of the “Treaty of Alliance, Eventual and Defensive,” concluded between the United States and France in 1778, reads: “Neither of the two parties shall conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain, without the formal consent of the other first obtained; and they mutually engage not to lay down their arms until the independence of the United States shall have been formally, or tacitly, assured by the treaty or treaties, that shall terminate the war” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 448, 451, 457).

9Thomas Jefferson was in Philadelphia from 27 December 1782 until 26 January, when he left for Baltimore, arriving there on 30 January 1783 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 473; 474, n. 6; Jefferson to JM, 31 Jan. 1783; Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , VI, 226 n; XV, 608).

10JM refers to Jefferson’s answers to the queries of Barbé-Marbois. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 7–11; 13, n. 24; 282; 287, n. 20; 331; 402; 473; 475, n. 15; JM to Randolph, 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 14. “C’s papers” refers to those of Colonel John Cox, mentioned by Randolph in his letter of 27 December 1782 to JM (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 454; 457, n. 17).

11By “his,” JM meant Joseph Jones. See JM to Jones, 6 Jan. 1783, and ed. n.

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