James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Pendleton, 2 January 1781

To Edmund Pendleton

RC (LC: Madison Papers).

Philada. Jany 2d. 1781

Dear Sir

Yesterday’s post was the first that has failed to bring me a line from you since our correspondence commenced. I hope it has not been owing to any cause which concerns your health.

We had it yesterday from under Genl Washington[’s] hand that another embarkation is actually departed from N. York, amoun[ting] to abt. 2500 troops. There is little d[oubt] that they will steer the same course with the preceding detachments.1 Congress are under great anxiety for the States agst. which this accumulating force is to be directed and the more so as the principal means of their defence is so little in their power. It is not so much the want of men as the want of subsistance arms & cloathing which results from the want of money that gives the greatest alarm. A disposition appears to do every thing practicable for their relief and defence.2

Mr. Harrison writes from Cadis that the Combined fleets in that port, including 18 Ships from the W. Indies under Guichen, amounted to 68 Ships of the line. He offers no conjecture as to the manner in which they will be employed.3

I am Dr Sir Yrs Sincerely

J. Madison Junr.

3The letter from Richard Harrison, de facto American consul at Cadiz (Mason to JM, 2 August 1780, n. 2), may have been dated either 12 or 30 September 1780. Extracts from letters written in Cadiz on those dates appeared in the Pennsylvania Journal of 3 January 1781, but the paper did not name the correspondent. If Harrison wrote either or both of these letters, JM must have seen a more complete version, because some of the information which he reports to Pendleton is not in the published extracts.

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