James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Pendleton, 9 October 1781

To Edmund Pendleton

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “The Honble Edmund Pendleton Esqr. Caroline County Virginia”

Philada. Octr. 9th. 1781

Dr Sir

Having sent you the arguments on one side of the judiciary question relating to the property of Virga. seized by Mr. Nathan,1 it is but reasonable that you should see what was contended on the other side. With this view, although I in some measure usurp the task of Mr. Jones, I enclose the paper of Wednesday last.2 As it may escape Mr. Jones I also enclose a copy of Mr Adams Memorial to the States General.3 I wish I could have informed you of its being lodged in the Archives of their High Mightinesses instead of presenting it to you in print.4

I am Dr. [Sir] Yrs. Affectionately

J. Madison Junr.

2The Freeman’s Journal of 3 October 1781 contained the argument of Simon Nathan’s counsel before the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania. The court rendered a judgment adverse to Nathan’s plea, thus upholding the action of President Reed and the Executive Council in restraining the sheriff from attaching goods—owned in Pennsylvania by the sovereign Commonwealth of Virginia—for the settlement of Virginia’s alleged financial debt to Nathan (Reed to Virginia Delegates, 10 July 1781, and n. 2). By “usurp the task,” JM meant that, according to his arrangement with Jones to write Pendleton in alternate weeks, it was Jones’s turn.

3John Adams’ memorial to the States-General (Virginia Delegates to Nelson, 9 October 1781, n. 2) was printed in the Pennsylvania Packet of 9 October 1781.

4Adams’ memorial was addressed “To their high mightinesses the States-General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries” (Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , IV, 370).

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