James Madison Papers

Motion on Southern Reinforcements, 18 April 1781

Motion on Southern Reinforcements

MS (LC: Thomas Rodney’s Diary, pp. 50–52).

Aprill 18th 1781

Mr. Maddison moved that Genl. Washington send effectual force to the Southward,1 And that he be impowered to draw out as many Malitia from the ea[s]tward of the North river as may be [un?]necessary to the Eastward etc. Mr. Smith of Virginia said that Virginia had done her part in the war, that they had afforded great Succour lately to the Southern States at her own expense that She was so much exhosted that now She was invaded She wanted assistance, that there were many disaffected in that State & when opertunity offered would assist the Enemy, That for Two or three years past it had been an opinion that prevailed that if that State was invaded it was to be given up by the other States[,] that if they were neglected & were forced to give up to the enemy this consideration would make them very inviterate against those States and willingly help to Conquer them etc.2 Mr. S. Adams3 said that he was willing all the Army Should go to the Southward and the Malitia only be left to defend the Eastern States provided they had notice, & it was not Contrary to the plans of the Genl. etc. Committed to three.4

1Although the introduction of this motion is noted in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XIX, 420, the committee thereupon appointed (see n. 4) apparently never reported. JM probably felt more strongly impelled to introduce the motion because his efforts in Congress six weeks earlier toward the same end (Pendleton to JM, 26 March 1781, n. 11) seemed to have availed nothing. Hearing within a few days that Lafayette and his continentals had left Baltimore on 19 April for Richmond, JM likely concluded that action in line with his motion was no longer imperative (Jameson to JM, 14 April 1781, n. 7).

2This summary of Meriwether Smith’s speech in support of JM’s motion suggests the proposed “representation” from the General Assembly of Virginia mentioned in n. 12 of Pendleton to JM, 26 March 1781.

3Samuel Adams of Massachusetts.

4A committee book kept by Secretary Charles Thomson records that a “motion of Mr Madison augmenting the Southern Army” was referred on 18 April to JM (chairman), William Sharpe (N.C.), and James Mitchell Varnum (NA: PCC, No. 191, fol. 90).

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