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To James Madison from David Jameson, 20 September 1780

From David Jameson

RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers).

Richmond Sep 20th. 1780

Dr Sir

I was favoured with yours of the 5th.1 by Post. It may not be amiss to mention to you that the post comes to Newcastle within eighteen Miles of this place on Wednesday, and we do not get the letters till the Monday following—after the rider has been down to Wmsburg. The Governor had a promise that there should be an alteration in the post route, or the days, but none has as yet taken place. If they will not order the rider to come from Fredsbg directly to this place by Hanover Court House, they might at least order one to bring the letters from Newcastle immediately here, and that would give us an opporty of sending you intelligence near a week sooner.2 We have had nothing from the Southward since the riders were set in motion with Gen. Gates’s Letter to Congress giving the information he had recd. of Ld. Cornwallis’s intention to go to Cape Fear &ca.3 Col Morgan left Richmond this morning on his way to join the Southern Army. I have good dependance on his abilities to harass the Enemy and hope they will give him a proper Corps.4 I am very sorry to tell you the people do not like the New Money (the 2 Millions). many have already refused to take it, principally because it will pay no tax but that laid for its redemption. this must be altered by the Assembly.5

The Governor has had many letters from Mr. Mezzei. he appears by dint of —— to have worked himself into notice at Paris, where he still was in May. His letters are very clever and his remarks judicious and entertaining. I fear he will not succeed in his grand Errand.6 Our eighteen Months recruts are assembling. what pity it is they are not for the War.7 they have recd. bounty enough for-life—I had like to have said—from two to eight thousand pounds has been given. Several Vessels have lately come in cleared from different ports, but the Men and cargoes the produce of Ireland.8 Tobacco at these Warehouses has risen to £70 Pbl. The Jefferson is gone up the Bay as Convoy to several provision Vessels. The Bay is not yet clear of the piccaroons. I hope when the Jefferson joins the Maryland Armed Vessels (wch she is to do) they will make a sweep.9 I am Dr Sir

Yr mo. Ob Set

David Jameson

1Not found.

2In a letter of 9 June 1780 to President Samuel Huntington of Congress, Governor Jefferson requested that the post route in Virginia be altered to pass directly through Richmond, the new capital city of the state (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 427).

3Jameson refers to Gates’s letter of 9 September, received by Jefferson about five days later (ibid., III, 620–21). Gates was mistaken about Cornwallis’ intention to move his troops to the North Carolina coast, but not in his information, given in the same letter, that Cornwallis had asked General Clinton “to send a reinforcement to take immediate possession of Portsmouth, in Your State” (JM to Jones, 19 September 1780, n. 2).

4On 16 June 1780, Congress ordered Colonel Daniel Morgan (1736–1802) of the Virginia line to return to military service. He had resigned in 1779 after serving with conspicuous distinction since 1775. Upon joining General Gates at Hillsboro, N.C., in late September 1780, he was placed in command of a corps of light infantry. Although the Board of War asked on 14 July that he be commissioned a brigadier general, Congress delayed adopting this recommendation until 13 October 1780 (Journals of the Continental Congress, XVII, 519, 612–13; XVIII, 921).

6Philip Mazzei’s fourteen letters to Jefferson, written from Paris in the spring and early summer of 1780, are in Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 305–460, passim. Jameson probably expected JM, who knew Mazzei, to fill in the blank with an uncomplimentary word such as “aggressiveness” or “obtrusiveness.” Mazzei had arrived in France in the autumn of 1779 under a commission from the governor and council of Virginia to borrow money and purchase supplies for the use of the state (Mazzei to JM, 13 June 1779, n. 3).

7That is, they could not be held in service for the duration of the war (Jefferson to JM, 26 July 1780, n. 3).

8Jameson’s meaning is uncertain. Perhaps he wished JM to infer that the vessels had not brought the hoped-for supplies either from Mazzei or in accordance with the agreement of 11 May 1780 made by Governor Jefferson with Theveneau de Francy (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 372–73; Jameson to JM, 16 August 1780, n. 7).

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