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To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, 17 and 24 February 1783—Missing Letters

From Edmund Pendleton

Letters not found (LC: Force Transcripts, fol. 8729).

Editorial Note

17 and 24 February 1783. About 1850 a clerk of Peter Force, engaged in copying letters of Edmund Pendleton, wrote:

“MSS. McGuire’s.1 Edmund Pendleton } Edmundsbury,2 Feby 17. 1783
to James Madison

“(This letter is much stained, & some of it illegible)

“Another letter dated ‘E[d]mundsbury Feb. 24, 1783,’ is in the same condition.

“There does not seem to be anything of much public importance in either of the above letters.”3

1Papers 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 , I, xxii, xxiii. See n. 3, below.

2Pendleton’s estate in Caroline County.

3Although Stan. V. Henkels, a manuscript dealer of Philadelphia, advertised in [p. 249] his Catalogue No. 694 (1892) much of the Pendleton correspondence which had been among the manuscripts owned by Frederick B. McGuire of Washington, these two letters apparently were not offered at the auction. 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 , II, 65–66. JM’s letters to Pendleton between 5 November 1782 and 30 November 1786, and Pendleton’s letters to JM between 23 December 1782 and 15 March 1783, have not been found, with the exception of JM to Pendleton, 8 September 1783.

In a letter of 24 February 1783 to Washington, Pendleton remarked, as he also may have done in substance in his letter of the same date to JM: “The prospect of Peace, and an opinion that our staple commodity [tobacco] will become a very considerable Article in the Commercial Scale, will turn our Application much into its culture, as well as induce Us to hold up what we have for a good price; We were full of Speculators from the Northward to purchase, but the Pig of peace had squeaked from the bag, and retarded their progress, when a Messenger dispatched from our Delegates in Congress to the Executive, and many private letters dropped on the road with the King’s Speech, I beleive has stopped it” (David John Mays, ed., The Letters and Papers of Edmund Pendleton, 1734–1803 [2 vols.; Charlottesville, 1967], II, 438). See JM to Randolph, 13 Feb. 1783, and n. 3.

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