James Madison Papers

Instructions to Virginia Delegates, 24–25 May 1782

Instructions to Virginia Delegates

FC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of John Beckley, clerk of the House of Delegates, with the exception of the attestation by William Drew, clerk of the Senate.

In the House of Delegates

Friday the 24th: of May 17821

Resolved unanimously that a Proposition from the Enemy to all or any of these United States for Peace or Truce, separate from their Allies, is insidious and inadmissible.2

Resolved unanimously that a Proposition from the Enemy for treating with any Assembly or Body of Men in America other than the Congress of these United States is insidious and inadmissible.

Resolved unanimously that this Assembly will not listen to any Proposition nor suffer any Negotiation inconsistent with their national Faith and Foederal Union.

Resolved unanimously that this Assembly will exert the utmost powers of the State to carry on the War with Vigour and Effect, until Peace shall be obtained in a Manner consistent with our National Faith and Foederal Union.

Resolved that the above Resolutions be transmitted to the Delegates of this State at Congress, as an Instruction to the said Delegates.3


John Beckley. C.H.D.

1782 May the 25th.
Agreed to by the Senate
Will Drew. C.S.

1The copy, in Arthur Lee’s hand, of these resolutions, which he enclosed in his letter of 24 May 1782 to JM (q.v., and its n. 1), begins, “Moved by A. Lee and seconded by Genl. Lawson.” Robert Lawson represented Prince Edward County in the House of Delegates.

3The delegates sent a copy of these resolutions to La Luzerne (JM to Randolph, 4 June 1782). Although the journal omits mention of the fact, the delegates probably also laid them before Congress. The resolutions are printed in the Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends of 1 June and in the Pennsylvania Packet of 11 June 1782.

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