James Madison Papers

Revised Reply of President of Congress to La Luzerne, [ca. 8–12] May 1782

Revised Reply of
President of Congress to La Luzerne

Draft (LC: Papers of Continental Congress Miscellany, Folder 103). Apparently in the hand of a clerk, except for the suggestions of JM.

Philadelphia, May [ca. 8–12,] 17821


The repeated Instances of Friendship2 which the United States of America3 have received from His Most Christian Majesty give him too just a title to their affections to permit them to be indifferent to any event which interests4 his happiness. Be assured Sir5 that Congress learn with the most lively Satisfaction that it has pleased the divine giver of all good gifts to bless their august ally with an heir to his throne. Our earnest6 prayer is that he may with it inherit7 the virtues which have acquired to his Majesty so much glory & to his dominions so much prosperity, and which will be the means of cementing & strengthening the Union so happily established between the two8 Nations.9

1In this line, now much faded, the unidentified writer left a space between “May” and “1782” for the insertion of the exact date. Above and to the right of the line JM wrote “[1782]” and “May 13?],” the day when La Luzerne announced to Congress the birth of the dauphin. JM and the other members of the committee appointed to recommend the nature of the ceremony evidently had the preparation of the reply of the president of Congress to La Luzerne as one of their tasks. Presumably they completed it at least a day or two before the 13th (Report on Form of Public Audience for La Luzerne, 7–9 May 1782, editorial note). See also Motion on Chairman of Congress, 15 April 1782, n. 2.

2“Instances of Friendship” was written by JM above a deleted “favor.”

3JM interlineated “of America.”

4JM’s substitution for “affects.”

5This word is in JM’s hand.

6Following “throne,” the original version read “It will be their” instead of JM’s “Our earnest.” He also inserted “is” after the next word, “prayer.”

7In the original draft, “his virtues” followed “inherit” to conclude the sentence. JM interlineated “royal Father’s” between “his” and “virtues,” before deleting all four words and writing the rest of the paragraph after “inherit.”

8After writing “Allied,” JM replaced it with “two.”

9The manuscript as first written ran for eighteen more lines of text. These were deleted, probably by JM. At the ceremony the president of Congress read the paragraph as given above but extended it with a passage of nearly the same length suggested by Livingston (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 262–63; Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 416).

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