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I am informed that among other disagreeable things said about the removal of Congress from Philadelphia it is insinuated that it was a contrivance of some members to get them out of the state of Pensylvania into one of those to which they belonged and I am told that this insinuation has been pointed at me in particular. Though I am persuaded that all distinterested persons will justify...
On my arrival in this city I am more convinced than I was before of the necessity of giving a just state of facts to the public. The current runs strongly against Congress and in a great measure for want of information. When facts are explained they make an impression and incline to conclusions more favourable to us. I have no copy of the reports in my possession, which puts it out of my power...
We received this morning a letter subscribed by Peter Thornton informing us that he is the son of a gentleman in Virginia, that he lately made his escape from N. York and is now detained by your Excellency till some testimony shall be given by the Delegates from Virga in his favor. Although we are total strangers to the youth, and are very imperfectly informed of his case yet as we have us...
Amidst the Acclamations of Multitudes contending who shall applaud you most, accept, Sir, from us, that Tribute of Respect & Gratitude, in which none withhold but those who are your Enemies, only because they are Enemies to the Deliverer of their Country, and to the Friend of Mankind. We rejoice with you upon the Reduction of York: a Success, which all ascribe to wise Counsel, prudent Conduct,...
I accept very kindly the Address of the President & Professors of the University of William & Mary. The Reduction of the British Force in this State for which I feel myself highly indebted to the Noble Exertions of our Brave and Generous Allies, is a Circumstance which gives me great pleasure, not only as it affords a Return of peaceful Security to many of my fellow Citizens, but as it will, I...
Major McHenry—formerly an assistant Secretary to me, & afterwards Aid de Camp to the Marqs de la Fayette, informs me that Congress are about to appoint Official Secretaries for their Ministers abroad, & expresses a wish to go in that character to the Court of Versailles—or London. Justice, if I could divest myself of the inclination to serve this Gentleman, would compel me to represent him as...
I have been honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 22d inst: bearing testimony to the merits & talents of Mr McHenry. The character which I had preconceived of this gentleman was precisely that which your representation has confirmed. As Congress have not yet fixed the peace establishment for their foreign affairs and will not probably fill up vacancies unless there be some critical...
I this day received your favor by Mr Hoopes but have not yet got the articles I find came along with it. Mr Hoopes lives at no very great distance so that I shall not be long without them. We have lately had a great alarm here about the Governor’s removing a large quantity of powder from our magazine and conveying it on board a ship of war: Not less [than] 600 men well armed and mounted...
The committee for Orange county, met on Tuesday the 9th of May, taking into their consideration the removal of the powder from the publick magazine, and the compensation obtained by the independent company of Hanover; and observing also, that the receipt given by Capt. Patrick Henry , to his Majesty’s Receiver General, refers the final disposal of the money to the next Colony Convention, came...
I have two of your epistolary favours to acknowledge[,] the one handed to me by the Revd Mr Smith, some time ago & the other since by Patrick Henry Esqr. I also received 22/6. & as it exceeds what Ferguson &c Cost I shall consider you as the Cestui que Use of the surplus. I have but little to tell you of the Congress; they keep their proceeding so secret that scarce any thing transpires but...
I received another acceptable pledge of your friendship two days ago in a letter dated June 2d. and, as usual, must begin this by discharging a debt of Gratitude to which the further accounts I have of your friendly services and intentions intitle you. I hope I have an inexhaustible fund of that however destitute I may be of other virtues. But I assure you I am often grieved at reflecting that...
I did intend to have delayed writing to you till Mr Smith’s return to Virginia; but I believe that will not be early & I am not fond of delaying the discharge of an Epistolary debt. He was married last week to Miss Anna Witherspoon & proposes to spend some time at Princeton & at his fathers. He desired me to mention this to you lest you should suppose he had returned without calling upon you....
I wrote to you last week by the post. Mr Smith gives me an opportunity of sending you a few more lines which friendship will not allow me to neglect. I have seen the address to the six confederate indian Nations. It sets forth that our fathers left britain on the faith of Contracts which have been faithfully observed on our part, that the king’s ministers grew jealous of us, that they sent...
I received your favor of the 10th. inst. and have since had a sight of the declaration and Address from the Congress. I must concur with you in every encomium that can be bestowed on them, particularly the last mentioned which for true Eloquence may vie with the most applauded Oration of Tully himself. These performances must be chiefly owing to a few illustrious writers of that body. Is it...
By Virtue of the Power and Authority invested in us, by the Delegates and Representatives of the several Counties and Corporations in General Convention assembled, we, reposing especial Trust and Confidence in your Patriotism, Fidelity, Courage, and good Conduct, do, by these Presents, constitute and appoint you to be Colonel of the Militia of the County of Orange ; and you are therefore...
When the committee laid its amended draft of George Mason’s proposed Declaration of Rights before the Convention on 27 May, that body ordered it “to be committed to a committee of the whole Convention” and “ Resolved , that this Convention will on Wednesday next [29 May], resolve itself into a committee on the said declaration; and that, in the mean time, the same be printed, for the perusal...
There is no certain evidence known to the editors which fixes the time when either JM’s first or second amendment was laid before the Convention or its committee of the whole. The official journal of the Convention merely reveals that the drafting committee’s report, having been printed, was debated on 29 and 30 May and 3, 4, 5, and 11 June 1776. The session of 11 June seems to be the most...
16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator , and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.
20 May 1776 . In “A Memorandum Book and Register, for the months of May & June 1776,” now in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, William Bradford wrote on 20 May: “… went to the town meeting where notwithstanding the badness of the day ther was a great number of inhabitants & it was resolved 1. That the present Government was inefficient 2. That the Assembly could not legally form a new...
Ca. 21 May 1776 . In “A Memorandum Book,” Bradford noted on 28 May 1776: “This morning I recieved a Letter from Mr Maddison who is a member of the Virginia Convention, informing me of the declaration of Independency made by that body.” Since the resolution calling upon the delegates of Virginia in the Second Continental Congress to propose that “the United Colonies” be declared “free and...
would be adviseable to make the best terms you can with him. I intend to apply myself to him on my return home. I have not had an opportunity since I red. your last of taking the opinion of Col Pendleton on Ignatius’s Queries, but I shall speak to him on the subject as soon as I can find him at leasure, which his close engagement in business occasions to be not very often the case. Col. Henry...
3 June 1776 . In his “Memorandum Book” (see 20 May 1776) Bradford wrote: “As my friend Maddison had desired me in his last to give him a sketch of the Constitution of this province and of that of Connecticut which might be useful to him as a member of Convention, I determined to return an early answer & wrote a rough draught of a Letter for that purpose. The constitution of Connecticut I...
I this day disposed of the Bill of Exchange I brought down to Col. Zane at 42%. and filled up the Blank for the sum with £.180. I take this earliest opportunity of acquainting you with it that no inconvenience may arise from your making any engagements inconsistent with the sale I have made. I was unwilling to take so low a price for the Bill but thought it the best that could be done at this...
The family have been pretty well since you left us except Anthony. He was taken on Wednesday morning with a strong Ague succeeded by a high fever and accompanied with a pain in his Stomach and side. The Swelling in his Arm also increased very considerably and became hard and painful. I was a good deal at a loss in what manner to proceed with him being unable to form any Judgmt. of the nature...
In the election of Delegates to the Legislature for the ensuing year (1777), he was an unsuccessful candidate. Previous to the Revolution the election of the County representatives was as in England, septennial, and it was as there, the usage, for the Candidates to recommend themselves to the voters, not only by personal solicitation, but by the corrupting influence of spirituous liquors, and...
This is the first time I have had an opportunity to write to you since your election to your new & honourable office. I rejoice that your country has been able, in spite of all your modesty, to discern your merits; & that she has had virtue enough to place you in a station where your talents will not be useless to her. Altho I could wish you had the same opinion of yourself that others have, &...
I got safe to this place on Tuesday following the day I left home, and at the earnest invitation of my Kinsman Mr. Madison have taken my lodgings in a Room of the Presidents house, which is a much better accom[mo]dation than I could have promised myself. It would be very agreeable to me if I were enabled by such rarities as our part of the Country furnishes, particularly dried fruit &tc which...
Since I wrote to you by Mr. Cave I have taken the freedom to give an order on Mr. Lee who is at present at Nants for the money due to you in favour of the Revd. Mr. Madison who wanted to procure from Europe a few literary curiosities by means of a French Gentleman just setting out on public Business for this State, addressed to the management of Mr. Lee. I take the opportunity by Mr: Harrison...
An Express being just setting off for Head Quarters, I cannot help imparting to you some very agreeable intelligence just recd. A Capt. of a Letter of Marke Vessel from thi[s] State, writes to the Govr. from Cheasepeak Bay that he left Martinique on the 23 Ult. that Letters had been recd. there from France as lat[e] as 1st. from sundry respectable Merchts. relating that the French Court had...
present His Excellency Dudley Digges James Madison & David Jameson Bolling Stark Esquires The Board taking into Consideration the Cases of the several Criminals Sentenced by the general court to be executed & it appearing from the unanimous recommendation of the Judges, the grounds of which were explained to the Board by the Honourable John Blair one of the Judges, that Frederick Rampendall &...
present His Excellency the Governor; John Page David Jameson & Dudley Digges James Madison jr Esquires The Business hitherto done without a regular Board was this day laid before them and was approved of. Adjourned till Tomorrow 10 oClock This action demonstrates the council’s method of procedure relating to earlier business done by too few members of that body to constitute a quorum. Thus, at...
present His Excellency; John Page James Madison & David Jameson Bolling Stark Esquires The Governor laid before the Board a Letter from Colonel Muter informing him that Phillips the noted Traitor has again made an Insurection in Princess Anne County at the head of fifty men; Whereupon they do Advise his Excellency to order one hundred men from the Militia of Nansemond to act in Conjunction...
present His Excellency; John Page Nathaniel Harrison Dudley Digges David Jameson & Thomas Walker James Madison jr Esquires The Board being informed that the Barracks at York Town were lately burnt by some unknown accident & it being absolutely necessary that the same should be rebuilt as speedily as possible they do advise the Governor to empower & direct Mr James Taylor to purchase Timber &...
I have read over your theoretical objections against the doctrine of moral liberty; for practically you seem to be one of its disciples. I remember the manner in which you have formerly expressed yourself upon that intricate subject. And indeed they express the difficulties that occured to me in attempting to resolve it. I reasoned without hopes that the solution I have given it is at least as...
present His Excellency; John Page Nathaniel Harrison Dudley Digges David Jameson Thomas Walker James Madison & Joseph Prentis Esquires. The Governor having communicated to the Board a Letter, which he had received from Colonel Muter, giving an Account that a British Ship of War (the Swift) in chace of the Rattlesnake privateer, run aground near Cape Henry, & that the Crew to the number of 91...
The official manuscript “Journal of the Council of State of Virginia,” from which the earlier samples of the minutes of this body were taken for reproduction in the present volume, is missing for this session. The minutes given below reproduce those entered in rough form by the secretary of the council in the “Council Minute Book.” present Jno Page Esqr. Lieut Govr D Digges D Jameson Jas...
There was in the copy of the Cipher you gave me twice 8 . It may perhaps be so in my original. I have converted one of the 2 in 81. I have likewise added the j besides the v , & so completed the Alphabet consisting of 26 letters, & not of 24. I wish therefore that you will keep the inclosed, & destroy the other, to avoid misunderstanding. I have put my papers with a 4 pounds ball in a bag to...
With a disturbed mind I am now going to write to you on topics not very agreable. Mr. Penet told me, that although the Capn. was a scotchman, all the crew were Americans. Perhaps it was so at that time, but at present we have no more than 2. Americans on board, one of which is the cabbin-boy. We have an Italian & a Spaniard (who came on board on my account) & a frenchman; all the rest are...
After a Tour of about 400. miles by land & water, since I left you, I am at last safely arrived, at York. And as my next stage will be, in the opinion of every one, at New-York, I beg you will do me the favour to ride here to morrow-morning with Dr. Mc.Clurg to consult, or rather to advise me upon an Idea of mine, which I cannot communicate by letter. Pray, give yourself this trouble; the...
I have recd. from Mr. Hunter £2000. I shall not put it into the loan office as it is does not appear that Certificates will be taken in payment for land. I have applied to Col Zane on the subject of Iron, but can not get a positive promise. He has taken a Mem. and says he will write to you immediately on his return home. I was sorry to find the Horse you sent me in such meagre plight. The dry...
I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 29th.[?] Ulto. by yesterday’s post, and agreeable to your request take this immediate opportunity of acknowledging it. The Inhabitants of this City roused by the extortions of the times and the example of your State are instituting regulations similar to those you mention. Whether they will have the necessary prudenc[e,] firmness & perseverence, or...
Observations written posterior to the circular Address of Congress in Sept. 1779, and prior to their Act of March, 1780 . It has been taken for an axiom in all our reasonings on the subject of finance, that supposing the quantity and demand of things vendible in a country to remain the same, their price will vary according to the variation in the quantity of the circulating medium; in other...
Strayed or stolen from the common of this city, a sorrel horse, about 12 years old, and upward of 14 hands high, with a hanging mane and switch tail; he is of a strong make, his hind feet are white and he has a few saddle spots. He formerly was owned by Mr. Edwin Fleet of King & Queen , deceased. Whoever will deliver the said horse to me in Williamsburg , or to Col. James Madison in Orange ,...
satisfaction, a visit from I must own as your not any beneficial affects fro[m] a satisfaction should be your health, than that the waters have been as I flatter myself they have for a confirmation of it to future season when it may be convenient for you to extend your ride as far as Orange; where I may generally be found in those months in which the Springs are most used. The abrupt arrival...
Having an opportunity by Mr. Collins I add a few lines to those I sent by Col. Burnley on the Subject of your’s by him. The Assembly have not yet concluded their plan for complying with the requisitions from Congress. It may be relied on that that can not be done without very heavy taxes on every species of property. Indeed it is thought questionable whether it will not be found absolutely...
Resolved that James Henry, Joseph Jones, James Madison jn. and John Walker Esquires, be appointed Delegates to represent this Commonwealth in Congress untill the first Monday in November next, in the room of the Gentlemen who have resigned; they having been so elected by joint ballot of both Houses of Assembly. Teste. December 14th: 1779. John Beckley C. h. d. Agreed to by the Senate A Copy...
Being notified that the General Assembly have honoured me with a delegation to serve this commonwealth in general Congress, I beg the favour of you Sir to communicate to them my acceptance thereof, and my assurances that as far as fidelity and zeal can supply the place of abilities the interests of my Country shall be punctually promoted. I have the honor to be with great respect Yr. Most Obt...
FC ( LC : Madison Papers). In this retained copy, JM omitted “Hon’d Sir,” his usual salutation when writing to his father. The extreme badness of the roads and frequency of rains rendered my journey so slow that I did not reach this place till saturday last. The only public intelligence I have to communicate is that the great and progressive depreciation of the paper currency had introduced...
RC ( LC : Madison Papers). Nothing under the title of news has occurred since I wrote last week by express except that the Enemy on the 1st. of March remained in the neighbourhood of Charlestown in the same posture as when the preceding account came away. From the best intelligence from that quarter there seems to be great encouragement to hope that Clinton’s operations will be again...
Printed text (John Sanderson, ed., Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence [2d ed.; 5 vols.; Philadelphia, 1828], I, 388–89). Nothing is said there of its source except that it had “fallen into our hands.” References to the existence of the letter are made in Brant, Madison Irving Brant, James Madison (6 vols.; Indianapolis and New York, 1941–61). , I, 90; Burnett, Letters...