James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Pendleton, 9 July 1782

To Edmund Pendleton

RC (New York Public Library). Unsigned letter in JM’s hand. The cover is missing. Docketed, “James Madison Esqr. July 9. 1782.”

Philada. 9th. July 1782

Dear Sir

The betts which your favr. of the 1st. inst: says are still laid on the subject of the naval combat of the 12th. of April, are a proof rather of the fashion of the Country than of uncertainty as to the event. Altho’ no official accts. have been recd. on the part of our Ally, those which have been published on the other part with the numberless corroborating incidents are too powerful for the skeptical mind.1 The last report from the Cape is that the Fr: & Span: fleets had parted the former with the Trade towards Europe, the latter towards the Havannah.2 You will observe that this is no more than a report.

The same defect of authentic information applies to every other quarter. The first arrival from Europe will I hope enable me to feast your starving curiosity with a treaty, with Holland, and a prospect of all its salutary consequences, particularly to the Tobacco States.3 This hope however is not founded on any other facts than those which I have heretofore communicated to you.

1See Pendleton to JM, 1 July 1782, and n. 4.

3See JM to Randolph, 4 June, and n. 6; Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 25 June; Report Revising Adams’ Instructions, 5 July 1782, and nn. 1 and 24. JM foresaw that a commercial treaty with the Netherlands probably would assure the southern states of a far larger unrestricted foreign market for their surplus staples than the British navigation acts had permitted prior to 1776. For John Adams’ explanation of some of the provisions of the treaty and for its text as ratified by Congress on 23 January 1783, see Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 804; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 68–78.

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