James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates in Congress to George Morgan, [20 November] 1780

Virginia Delegates in Congress
to George Morgan

Copy (Virginia State Library). When Theodorick Bland made this copy of his and JM’s reply to Morgan’s letter of 16 November 1780 (q.v.), he wrote at the top of it, “Copy of Answer Given to the letter Signed Jacob [sic] Morgan addressed to the Virginia Delegates, &.c.” JM was Bland’s only colleague from Virginia in Congress at that time. Bland may have transcribed this note on 22 November, since he inclosed it in the letter of that date which he penned, on his own and JM’s behalf, to Jefferson (q.v.). Although the manner of expression in the note suggests that JM drafted it, the now missing original was apparently also in Bland’s hand. In the “Minute Book of the Indiana Company,” listed as item No. 558 in A. S. Rosenbach Catalogue No. 19 (November 1917) and bought by a purchaser unknown to the present editors, mention is made of a letter from Theodorick Bland (for the Virginia Delegates?) to George Morgan, 20 November 1780, “relative to the claims of Virginia.” The copy which Bland inclosed to Jefferson bears no date.

[20 November 1780]

The delegates from Virginia Inform Mr Morgan in answer to his letter of the 16th Instant. That as the State they represent have finally decided on the Subject to which his proposition relates,1 it would be manifestly improper for them to attend to it. they think it their Duty to add that if they were less precluded they could not reconcile with the respect due from every State to its own Sovereignty and honor, an appeal, from its own decisions, to a foreign tribunal, in a case which involves the Pretensions of Individuals only—and not the Rights or pretensions of any foreign State2

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