James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 9 July 1782

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Virginia State Library). In JM’s hand except for Arthur Lee’s signature. Addressed to “His Excelly. Governor Harrison.” Docketed, “Virga Delegates Letter July 9th 1782.”

Philada. 9th. July 1782.


Your Excellency’s favor of the 29th. of June inclosing a letter to Mr. Irwin & a bill of exchange in his favor from Mr. O. Pollock1 was received this morning.

The defect of intelligence which rendered our last so uninteresting2 still continues. In particular we are uninformed of the state & dispositions of the fleets in the West Indies. The report which circulates is that those of the French & Spaniards have left Hispaniola, the former to convoy the Trade of that Island3 towards Europe, the latter to return to the Havannah.

We have the honor to be with great respect & esteem Yr. Excys. obt. & hbe servts.

J. Madison Jr

A. Lee

3JM interlineated “of that Island.” The Pennsylvania Packet of 4 July printed a report from Charleston, S.C., to the effect that of the twenty-one French ships which arrived at Cap Français, Haiti, about 15 May, most had been in a “very shattered condition.” In the 9 July issue of the same newspaper, under a Salem, Mass., date line of 20 June, was an item about an American merchantman which recently had entered that harbor after sailing from Cap Français with a convoy bound for France. Although the delegates could not have seen the issue of the Packet for 11 July 1782, it told of the capture by the British of several transports filled with Spanish troops who were being convoyed back to Havana after forcing the surrender of New Providence Island in the Bahamas. See Report on Foreign Dispatches, 20 March 1782, nn. 5 and 6.

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