Virginia Delegates to Thomas Jefferson
Printed excerpts (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VI, 38; and Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 1078 [Feb. 14–15, 1913], item 430).
Philada. March 27, 1781.
On the receipt of your favor of the 22d of February inclosing the Memorial of Mr. Stodder and Kerr with the protests and affidavits annexed, we communicated the matter to Congress, and have obtained an instruction to the Hon’ble Mr. Adams to represent the same to the States General of the United Provinces, and to claim such redress for the Memorialists as justice and the law of Nations require.1 We have also received your Excellency’s favor of the 15th instant relating to Mr. Nathan with the several papers under the same cover and shall carry your Excellency’s wishes into execution in the best manner we can.2
Capt. de la touche3 is arrived here from the French fleet,4 with the stores belonging to Virginia, which were delivered to him at Providence … Capt de La Touche confirms the intelligence of an action between the two fleets on the 16th It does not appear to have been by any means a decisive, though a pretty severe one. The French claim the advantage, and say that the English appeared very willing to decline a renewal of the combat.
We have the honor to be with the most perfect respect and esteem y’r Excellency’s Obt. and humble Servants
James Madison Junr.
1. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (2 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 317, n. 1; Motion on Stodder, Kerr, and North, 26 March 1781, and n.
3. Captain Louis-René-Madeleine le Vassor, Comte de La Touche-Tréville (1745–1804), later an admiral, arrived on the 26th of March at Chester, Pa., and reported on the naval battle of 16 March off the Virginia coast (Pennsylvania Packet, 27 March 1781; Virginia Delegates to Jefferson, 6 March 1781, n. 4). The stores which he brought in his thirty-two-gun frigate “L’Hermione” were those put ashore in September 1780 in Rhode Island from “Le Comité.” They were to have been landed in Virginia if the French ships had not been halted by Arbuthnot’s British fleet (see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (2 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 228, n. 4; 266; 267, n. 3; 271; 312–13).
4. The excerpt in Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , ends here. It was copied from the original which, perhaps as late as 1932, was in the possession of Stan. V. Henkels. The excerpt from Henkels Catalogue No. 1078 begins with the reference to La Touche.