James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, 6 November 1780

From Edmund Pendleton

Tr (LC: Force Transcripts).

Virga. November 6. 1780

Dear Sir:

My friend Mr Griffin left me this Morning by whom I sent you my best Wishes for yr health which he told me was low. I hope the Approaching Cold Season may brace up yr Nerves.1

I judged from yr Account of the number of the Enemy embarked from New York, that they were in pursuit of something to eat; we now hear they have pick’d up a quantum suffici[en]t to load their Vessels with Beef & Mutton & are going back to New York, where tis said Provisions were short, but this supply & that by the Cork Fleet will releive them.2

We have loose Accounts from the Southward that the British Army to the Amt. of 3000, are taken, that of their being surrounded by some formidable bodies of ours seems well told & renders the other not improbable.3

Just after yr Account of the large Invasion from Canada into the Frontiers of New York,4 we were amused with a certain account (as ’twas called) of the taking of Quebec by the second division of the French Fleet & Army, so long expected at Rhode Island. We are since deprived of this pleasure by a flat contradiction of the Intelligence; was this mere invention, or had they any ground for circulating the Report. We had yet no House of Delegates on Saturday last, which with an Empty Treasury, are circumstances unfavourable at this juncture. Mr Henry has resign’d his Seat in Congress & I hear Mr Jones intends it. It is also said the Governor intends to resign. It is a little cowardly to quit our Posts in a bustling time.5 I write you in a hurry being detain’d from paying you my complts til6 I expect the post every moment. I am in all situations

Dr Sr Yr very affe Servt

Edmd Pendleton

1See Jameson to JM, 13 September 1780, n. 1. Cyrus Griffin was probably on his way to Philadelphia to resume his duties as a judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, an office to which he had been elected by Congress on 28 April 1780 (Journals of the Continental Congress, XVI, 397, 411; XVII, 458).

2On 29 October 1780, General Clinton complained that “I do not at this moment possess one month’s provision with all I can collect, and I do not hear a word of our expected victualers from Cork.” These victualers arrived on 10 November (William B. Willcox, ed., The American Rebellion, pp. 220, 469; JM to Pendleton, [24] October 1780, n. 4).

3This rumor was untrue.

5On James Henry’s resignation, see Jones to JM, 2 October 1780, n. 13. Although Jones was in poor health, he did not resign; nor do his letters to JM, except for the one of 2 December (q.v.), suggest even a momentary inclination to do so. During the autumn of 1780, Jefferson several times expressed to friends his determination to resign “at the close of the present campaign” (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, 643, 655; IV, 19, 53, 192).

6Pendleton probably meant to write “because” or some equivalent word.

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