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To James Madison from David Jameson, 26 July 1780

From David Jameson

RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers).

Richmond July 26. 1780

Dr. Sir

In my last I inclosed you the Journals so far as they were printed, and some other papers, since that I have recd. your favour of the 11th., and now agreable to your request inclose you the papers last published at our printing offices. it will be very agreable to me to continue this weekly1 Although our Capes & Bay are infested with privateers several Vessels have lately arrived from the W. Indies. indeed they were pretty well armed and three of them had kept company. they retook two Vessels that had sailed but a few days before from our Bay. they bring no late news2 We have reports here that Augustine and Savanah are taken by the French and Spaniards I most heartily wish a confirmation of these reports but confess I fear I shall not have that pleasure3 The New Money is not yet ready wch. I am sorry for as Col Bland is to set out tomorrow, and would be a good hand to send it by.4 Very considerable quantities of Bacon and Corn has been and will be siezed under the provision Act.5 I wish it could be safely sent up the Bay, but there are so many Privateers it would be imprudent to attempt it: And to our great reproach we have not a Vessel to guard the provs.6 or drive away the picaroons. We have indeed three or four Vessels, but the time of service of the Men is expired, and we have not yet been able to recruit more. private Vessels give very high wages and such other inducements, as Room for ventures, payment in the W Indies &ca., that we have little hope of prevailing on them to enter into pub. service7

adieu Yr Ob

D. Jameson

1At this time, Jameson appears to have written every week to JM, inclosing Williamsburg newspapers and, in his missing letter of 19[?] July, a copy of the Virginia legislative journals, probably for the session which adjourned on 14 July. No letters from JM to Jameson are known to exist.

2On 2 July 1780 Governor Jefferson asked Samuel Huntington, president of the Continental Congress, whether the United States could not “find means of clearing our bay of the privateers which have for some weeks infested it,” so as to expedite the collection of supplies in Virginia for forwarding to the armies in the Carolinas and New Jersey (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, 477). Governor Thomas S. Lee of Maryland made a similar appeal. Congress, however, not only had no ships available for this purpose but through its Board of Admiralty had asked Jefferson on 19 June to furnish naval protection for army supplies moving down Chesapeake Bay on their way to North Carolina (Charles O. Paullin, ed., Out-Letters of Board of Admiralty, II, 213; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1921–36). description ends , V, 319–20).

3These rumors were untrue.

4Act of Virginia legislature on 12 July, “for calling in and redeeming the money now in circulation, and for emitting and funding new bills of credit, according to the resolutions of Congress of the eighteenth of March last” (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 241–54; Journals of the Continental Congress, XVI, 262–66). JM and the other Virginia delegates in Congress, as well as other officials of that state, were in sore need of their salaries (JM to Virginia Auditors, 25 September 1780). Contrary to Jameson’s statement, Theodorick Bland did not leave Virginia for Philadelphia until early in August.

5“An act for procuring a supply of provisions and other necessaries for the use of the army” (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 233–37). Under this act, JM’s father in August and September 1780 provided 262 pounds of bacon, 785 pounds of beef, and 24 gallons of brandy. For these he was given promissory notes totaling about £2,033, signed by “Johnny Scott, Commissioner” (Virginia State Library: Public Service Claims, Orange County, Certificates).

6Provisions.

7For further comment by Jameson upon shipping difficulties on Chesapeake Bay, see his letter to JM, 13 August 1780.

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