James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph Jones, 19 September 1780

From Joseph Jones

RC (LC: Madison Papers).

Virga. 19th. Sep. 17801

Dr. Sr.

I must Request you will so far oblige me as to enclose me every week Dunlaps paper or either of the others containing any thing worth reading. Mr. Dunlap told me he would furnish you with the papers for me.2 I must also request you to send me the monthly Jou[r]nals as soon as printed and such information of the proceedings from time to time as you may think necessary. particularly be pleased to inform me of the Fate of the resolutions left on the Table when I cam[e] off respective the Confederation & the objections that governed the House if any of them are rejected.3 I should also be glad to know whether the Report respecting the Mississippi has been considered.4 Mr. Hill told me he wod. not forget to propose to the Commrs. of the Admirelty the ordering the Frigates to call in and scour the Chesapeake Bay. I fear it was forgot as they have not yet done it and the Enemies armed vessels still swarm there.5 In return for your Communications I shall from time to time give you whatever may be new and worth mentioning. The recomn to the States for filling up the deficiencies in the army and laying up in time the necessary Magazines if not already shod. be despatched and forwarded withot. delay.6 I did not get the Copy of the Report passed the day before I came away respecting the Cession of the back Lands. pray send it me and the resolutions if passed.7

Pray present my Compliments to the worthy Mistress and Gentlemen of the Family at the House the corner of fifth Street in Market Street—to the old Lady if she is returned and inform me whether my Friend the General and his Friend Buckley have finished th[eir] dispute and whether there is any hope for the old Lady’s geting rid of her plague.8 very truly I am

Yr. Obt Servt.

Jos. Jones

P.S. From Wilmington I inclosed you a [Letter? ] for Gen Washington wch. I omitted to leave with [you?] for the [post?].9 I also had two Letters from Col. Meade for Fitzhugh but [left?] them behind I think as I cannot find them. if they are fou[nd] pray enclose them.10 Griffin requested me to send you the letters in[closed?]11

Compliments to Walker & Bland.12

1Owing to Jones’s blurred dating at the close of this letter, Worthington C. Ford in his edition of the Letters of Joseph Jones of Virginia, 1777–1787 (Washington, D.C., 1889), pp. 8–9, erroneously assumed that it had been written on 19 April 1780.

2John Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet. Jones was a member both of the House of Delegates of Virginia and of the Continental Congress. Mistakenly believing that the legislature of his state would convene on 2 rather than on 16 October, he had returned from Philadelphia earlier than was necessary in order to induce his fellow assemblymen to cede Virginia’s lands north and west of the Ohio River to Congress (W. C. Ford, ed., Letters of Joseph Jones, p. 33).

3Above, editorial note to Motion regarding the Western Lands, 6 September 1780. The resolutions to which Jones refers were adopted in amended form on 10 October 1780 (Journals of the Continental Congress, XVIII, 915–16).

4On 21 August 1780 Congress appointed Jones, George Walton, and Thomas McKean (Del.) a committee to make recommendations about the free use of the Mississippi River by American citizens—an issue raised by the Virginia legislature in its instructions of 5 November 1779 to its delegates and by a letter of 26 May 1780 to Congress from John Jay, U.S. minister to Spain. The committee reported on 2 September, but over a month elapsed before the recommendations were adopted by Congress (ibid., XVII, 754–55, 802; XVIII, 873, 900–902).

5See Jameson to JM, 13 September 1780, n. 7. Whitmell Hill (1743–1797), of North Carolina, was one of the congressional members of the Board of Admiralty.

6Congress’ action of 8 and 11 September on these matters was made known to Governor Jefferson in a dispatch from President Huntington on 12 September (ibid., XVIII, 812–13, 818; 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, 640).

7Above, n. 3.

8JM and Jones, together with other delegates to Congress, principally from Virginia and New York, lived in a boarding house at the corner of Fifth and Market Streets in Philadelphia. The “Family at the House” comprised Mrs. Mary House (“old Lady” and widow), her daughter Eliza (“the worthy Mistress”), Eliza’s husband Nicholas Trist, their young son Hore Browse, and Eliza’s brother Samuel House. The “Gentlemen of the Family” included the boarders. Most likely the “General” was John Morin Scott (ca. 1730–1784), a delegate from New York (Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison (6 vols.; Indianapolis and New York, 1941–61). description ends , II, 16–17). When in Philadelphia, JM continued to live in the House-Trist home until his marriage in September 1794. See JM to Jones, 10 October 1780, n. 6, for comments upon the dispute involving “the General,” “Buckley,” and “the old Lady.”

9If this means that Jones wrote JM from Wilmington, Del., his letter has not been found. Jones’s letter to Washington of 6 September 1780, written in Philadelphia, is in W. C. Ford, ed., Letters of Joseph Jones, pp. 27–29.

10Jones may refer to letters from Washington’s aide-de-camp, Colonel Richard Kidder Meade (1746–1805), to his relative by marriage, William Fitzhugh. If JM found these letters, he made no mention of the fact, insofar as is known.

11These letters from Cyrus Griffin have not been identified.

12John Walker and Theodorick Bland were members of the Virginia delegation in Congress.

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