Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates
FC (Virginia State Library). Written by Thomas Meriwether. Addressed to “Virginia Delegates. Congress.”
Richmond. June 29th. 1782
There was nothing in my Letter taken from the post that can be of any service to the Enemy nor any thing that can amuse the public[.]1 I confess to You the Buisness you mention in cypher in your last has turn’d out much as I expected it wou’d do.2 It has never been attended to here. the Assembly will rise about the middle of next Week.3 they are buisy on the recruiting Bill, and by what I hear of it will I think answer our expectations.4 I return you Mr. Pollocks Bill and with it an answer to Mr. Irwins Letter which you’ll please to deliver. Pollock may have suffer’d by the State[;] if He has I am sorry for it. but from what I hear if His Bills are all paid the State will suffer much more by Him.5 I can know but little of this Buisness as all the Council Journalls and papers to Arnolds Invasion are lost,6 but from what I hear and do know there has been very great abuses, or if you please frauds somewhere. I have ever heard a good Character of Mr. Pollock and therefore think He must be innocent as to the fraud, but sure I am he has been vastly imprudent for which He will probably loose considerable Sums. great Sums have been paid on His Account to Mr. Clark. the Gentlemen who were in Council at the Time the Debt was contracted think they will amount to full as much as He has a right to claim.7
I am with respect Your most obt. Servt.
3. The General Assembly adjourned on Tuesday, 2 July 1782.
5. See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 18 June 1782, and n. 5. In his reply of 29 June to Thomas Irwin, Harrison refused to accept any bill of Oliver Pollock “til a final settlement of His account with the State” (McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 260). On 26 June, in a letter enclosing to the speaker of the House of Delegates all the available “accounts and orders respecting the Illinois and the back Country,” Harrison stated, “immense sums are still demanded of the State from that Country, but the Executive had come to a resolution long before I came into the administration to pay none of them til the truth had been investigated and the Accounts settled by Commissioners on the Spot” (ibid., III, 256). For the decision to which Harrison refers and the background of Pollock’s claim, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 98; 99, n. 1; 256, and n. 6; 344, n. 2.
6. A force of British troops, commanded by Benedict Arnold, had occupied Richmond on 5 and 6 January 1781. See ibid., II, 288, n. 3; III, 119, and nn.; 120, n. 6; Jameson to JM, 9 March 1782, n. 2. Governor Harrison’s proclamation of 5 June, appealing for the return of the Commonwealth’s lost records or for copies thereof, was printed in the Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends of 8 June 1782.
7. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 256, and n. 6. Those who had been members of the Council of State in the summer of 1781, when warrants for considerable sums of money were issued to Daniel Clark, and who were available for consultation with Harrison were Jacquelin Ambler, state treasurer, and David Jameson, a state senator (Journals of the Council of State description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (3 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , II, 362–63, 364–65; Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 337, n. 7; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 17).