Virginia Delegates to Thomas Jefferson
Fragment of RC (Virginia State Library). Written by Meriwether Smith but signed only by JM.
[ca. 10 April 1781]1
with2 no Difficulty in arbitrating [the dis]pute, as he admitted the Facts state[d as] agreed between you; and acquiesced in the Gentleman proposed, but contrary to our Expectation we received a Letter from him a Copy of which is enclosed and also our answer to it. You [will] see by these Letters3 the Turn this [af]fair has taken; and we must wait your further Instructions. Mr. Nathan urges that he may be indulged in the Choice of Merchants to arbitrate th[e dis]pute; if you approve of his Req[uest] you will be pleased to signify your pleasure.4
Your favour of the 26th. of [March] came to hand yesterday. We shall attend to what you have mention’d therein respecting Col. Davis,5 and give you as speedy an Answer as possible
[a] Packet had arrived at New York from England, bringing Advice of the Sailing of the French Fleet for America. It is very probable the Acct. is true.6
We have the Honour to be, with very great Respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servants.
James Madison Junr.
1. When JM signed this letter depends upon the meaning of “came to hand yesterday” at the opening of the second paragraph on the first of the last two surviving pages. Governor Jefferson’s letter of 26 March was read in Congress on 9 April, a Monday (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XIX, 367 n.). JM customarily wrote to Jefferson on Tuesday. Hence 10 April is the probable date of this fragment.
2. The partially missing line, immediately above the line beginning “with,” apparently read “[ap]plication to Richmond[?].” As the bracketed inserts indicate, this fragment is badly mutilated, with portions torn from the right-hand side and the bottom of the first sheet and from the top and left-hand margin of the final page.
3. Not found.
4. In the lost portion of the letter, the delegates must have discussed more at length, possibly among other subjects, the claim of Simon Nathan (Jefferson to Virginia Delegates, 15 March 1781, and n. 1). In the portion above, the delegates wrote of Nathan’s new demand, not provided for in the original agreement.