James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph Jones, 8 July 1782

From Joseph Jones

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “Honble James Madison jr. Philadelphia.” Docketed by JM, “July 8. 1782.”

Spring Hill 8th. July 1782.

Dr. Sr.

I intended when I left Richmond to set out for Philadelphia about the middle of this month1 but from a manoeuvre of Mr. Ross’s in settling the balance due from Mr. Braxton and which had by the Executive been ordered to me I am disappointed of the means necessary for the Journey and am left to my own resources wch. I am determined shall not be applied to public use farther than is unavoidable, I mean in the line of my appointmt. to Congress—when I shall be properly furnished and I see a prospect of continued supply I may perhaps revisit Philadelphia. at present it depends on Mr. Ross, who instead of furnishing me money or Bills as promised has settled Mr. Braxtons balance of abt. £200 by transmiting me your order on me given to Whiteside for the money I procured before I left Philadelphia and which the Govr. and also your Letter informed me was paid. This order I expect was taken by Mr. Whiteside as a voucher to transmit to Mr. Ross.2 The disappointment however considering the violent heat of the weather proves agreeable on that acct. tho’ I could have wished to have gone northward before the commencement of the sickly season.3 I have never heard from Mr. Solomon whether the Waggoners delivered him the Tobacco they carryed from here.4

The French Army are on their March,5 the Legion came over to Falmouth yesterday and the Infantry are expected to be there next Thursday.6 Ct Rochambeau on his way quartered at old Mr. Hunters the night before last.7 Mrs. Bland was a few days past Col. Dangerfiel[d’s]8 on her way to Philadelphia. she intended Dr. Lee shod. have escorted her but the Dr missing her Letter occasioned a disappointment.9 when I saw her she was in doubt when she should proceed and by whom be attended.

One of the Ships sent for the Tobacco I am told has been seized & will be proceeded agt. in the Admiralty—the cause, having on board a quantity of Goods wch. was sold or offered for Sale to some of the Inhabitants.10 I believe they came well provided for such a trafic but this step will probably suspend all further commercial intercourse.

If Mr. Ross puts me in a situation to proceed you shall be informed. in the meantime you will not omit your inquiries abt. a lodging shod. I have occasion for one.11 We have had a great drought & the hottest weather for the Time of the year I ever experienced. our Crops of small grain short & not so good as usual.12 Randolph I understand will be up in the fall.

Yr. Friend

Jos: Jones.

2Before leaving Philadelphia for Virginia, Jones evidently had gone into debt by borrowing money from Cyrus Griffin and Haym Salomon and by purchasing goods on credit from Baker, Potts, and Company.

While serving as commercial agent of Virginia, David Ross had conducted much of the state’s business in Philadelphia through Whiteside and Company. In Virginia, Carter Braxton, planter, merchant, and public official (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 , I, 164, n. 2; 180–81; 181, n. 3; 269; III, 139, editorial note), bought and sold commodities, especially tobacco, both on his own account and that of the state.

Early in June 1782, after receiving from Ross a bill of exchange on Whiteside for over $220, Jones forwarded it to JM, with a request that he use the money to pay Baker, Potts, and Company if Griffin would be content to wait longer for his due (Jones to JM, 25 June 1782). After Jones learned that this remittance had fallen into the hands of mail robbers, he asked Ross to supply a duplicate draft and also to fulfil his promise to place an additional sum to his credit in Philadelphia, so that he could return to Congress. Ross’s delay in responding to these requests may have been influenced by the decision on 11 June of the Council of State to authorize him in his private capacity to give Carter Braxton and his business associates nearly £200 sterling for a large consignment of tobacco (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 , III, 106–7). On 2 July, for a reason now indeterminable, Braxton paid Ross £220 18s., which the latter on that day placed to Jones’s credit with Whiteside and Company (Papers of David Ross, MSS in Virginia State Library; see also JM to Jones, 28 May 1782). For Ross’s subsequent action enabling Jones to go to Philadelphia, see Jones to JM, 16 July 1782.

3In his journal for 2 July, Closen made note of the “excessive heat” gripping Virginia “for more than six weeks,” which “compelled us to order the troops to march at 1 a.m.” (Acomb, Journal of Closen description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, trans. and ed., The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958). description ends , p. 208). From mid-July to mid-September ordinarily encompassed the “sickly season,” when victims of malaria suffered with the “ague.”

4This episode is unidentified, but Ross, as commercial agent for Virginia (or Braxton), may have consigned tobacco to Haym Salomon in payment for loans by him to delegates who had pledged their overdue salaries as security.

5See Randolph to JM, 5 July 1782, and n. 7.

6The Duc de Lauzun’s mounted legion formed the van of the French troops. Falmouth, on the north bank of the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, was opposite the considerably larger town of Fredericksburg on the south bank in Spotsylvania County. The “next Thursday” was 11 July 1782.

7The wealthy bachelor, “old” James Hunter, Sr. (d. 1785), lived in his “Mansion House” close to his iron foundry on the outskirts of Falmouth. His cousin was James Hunter, Jr., whose mercantile firm was now established in Richmond (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, LVI [1948], 4, 18, 20; William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., XXVII [1918–19], 74). On 4 July Rochambeau and his staff left the slowly marching French troops near Newcastle, a no longer extant town in Hanover County, Va., in order to reach Philadelphia on 13 July for a conference with Washington (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , XXIV, 425, 430–31; Acomb, Journal of Closen description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, trans. and ed., The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958). description ends , p. 208; Virginia Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends , 3 August 1782).

8Mrs. Theodorick Bland, Jr. (d. 1803), nee Martha Daingerfield, was a sister of William Daingerfield (d. 1783), whose plantation, Belvidera, was in Spotsylvania County on the Rappahannock River about seven miles below Fredericksburg (Edward Miles Riley, ed., The Journal of John Harrower, an Indentured Servant in the Colony of Virginia, 1773–1776 [New York, 1963], pp. 172, 174; Virginia Gazette, and Weekly Advertiser [Richmond], 18 January 1783; Patrick Corran v. Corran’s Executors & Heirs [U.S. Circuit Court, District of Virginia, Ended Cases, 1821, MSS in Virginia State Library]).

9Arthur Lee probably passed through Fredericksburg at least a week before Mrs. Theodorick Bland, Jr.’s, arrival there, for he resumed his seat in Congress on 27 June (Jones to JM, 25 June 1782, n. 15).

10See Randolph to JM, 5 July 1782, and n. 3.

12See n. 3, above; Pendleton to JM, 1 July 1782.

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