James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Jameson, 13 August 1780

From David Jameson

RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers).

Richmond Augt. 13. 1780

Dr S[ir]

I recd. your favour by Mr Webb the moment I was setting out for York. I did not return from thence till a few days ago, is the reason you have not heard from me1

When I left Richmond I deld. the wart. I had obtained for £20,000 to the Governor who promised to get the money as soon as it was struck and send it on if a safe conveya. offered. Col Bland had not left Virga. and by him it seems the money was sent.2 Mr Dixon tells me he sent on your papers in my absence agreable to my directions.3 I shall again receive and forward them by the Post. The Privateers continue to come in and go out of our Bay at pleasure. they have made many Captures and will put an entire stop to our Trade if some measures cannot be fallen on to drive them away. they have taken some provision Vessels that attempted to go up the Bay. The time of Service of all our Seamen is out, and we cannot now man the Brig Jefferson—indeed if we could she would not be sufficient to convoy the provision Vessels There being several Brigs & Sloops each equal in strength to her that constantly cruise within or near the Capes. The Ship Thetis is at last launched and will be fitted in a few weeks, but I fear we shall not get Men. The Traders by paying their Seamens wages in the West Indies and giving them priviledges in the Vessels make their allowance so much beyond the Bounty & wages given aboard our Armed Vessels that we have little hope of keeping or rather of getting Men. Ought not Congress to send a Frigate or two here to protect our Trade and that of our Allies, and to convoy the provision Vessels?4

The Act for recruiting, or drafting the Militia will prove a very heavy tax. I think I sent you one of the Acts before however lest I should be mistaken I now inclose one. You will see the Counties are to be laid off in divisions, each division to recruit its Men or stand a draft. All the taxable property of the division to pay the bounty given to the recruit. I am told some divs. have already given £5000., and I shall not be surprised if I hear of £10,000, for who will run the risk of being drafted if he can by taxing his Neighbours procure a Man.5 We have heard nothing worth relating from the Southward. Are we to expect a second division of the French Fleet or not?6 I shall write again by Post and in the mean time with sincere esteem I am dr Sir Yr Obt. Servt

David Jameson

1Jameson presumably left Richmond for his York County plantation on or about 14 July, the day when the legislature adjourned. Foster Webb (1733–1795), the state treasurer of Virginia, had started from Richmond on 30 June to carry a letter from Jefferson to Congress; therefore Webb may well have brought back with him the now missing letter to Jameson from JM. Since Jameson was a member of the Council of State, his early return to Richmond probably was occasioned by the convening of that body on or about 9 August (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg.Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , May 1780, p. 89; Journals of the Continental Congress, XVIII, 910–11; 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, 90, 92, 471, 487, 536).

2For the act authorizing the emission of the new currency, see Jefferson to JM, 26 July 1780, n. 2. Upon his arrival in Philadelphia late in August, Bland gave the warrant for £20,000 salary-and-expense money to the three Virginia delegates (JM, Joseph Jones, and John Walker) then in Congress (Expense Account as Delegate, 25 September 1780, notation for 30 August 1780; Jefferson to Virginia Delegates, 14 November 1780).

3John Dixon (d. 1791), printer, who with various associates published the Virginia Gazette (its title was lengthened after 1781) in Williamsburg up to 8 April 1780, and thereafter in Richmond, during most of the years from 1766 until his death. The paper was continued by his son of the same name.

4See Jameson to JM, 26 July 1780, n. 2. On 13 July the Virginia Assembly, in order to defend this “eastern frontier,” passed an act to arm a force of militia, to recruit three hundred marines, and to man and equip a half-dozen armed ships (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, 296–99). For an analysis by Jefferson of the privateer problem in Chesapeake Bay, see his letter to Richard H. Lee on 13 September 1780, 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, 642–43.

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