James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Randolph, 9 July 1782

To Edmund Randolph

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Unsigned letter in JM’s hand. The cover is missing. Docketed by Randolph with his own name only. The italicized words are those written by JM in the official cipher. Late in his life JM or someone by his direction bracketed the first and third paragraphs of this letter, thus designating them for inclusion in the first edition of his papers (Madison, Papers [Gilpin ed.] description begins Henry D. Gilpin, ed., The Papers of James Madison (3 vols.; Washington, 1840). description ends , I, 147–48).

Philada. 9th. July 1782.

Dear Sir

Your two favors of the 27th. were recd. this morning.1 I sincerely regret that any reports should have prevailed injurious to the patriotism of Williamsbg. and particularly that my name should in any manner whatever2 be connected with them. I informed Mr. Jones that the minister of France had been made somewhat uneasey by some accounts from Virginia and desired him to enable me to remove it by proper enquiries.3 It must have been a very gross mistake that could have built the reports in question on this letter even if its contents had been known. You saw I presume the letter. I think I wrote you a letter to the same effect but I am not sure.4

The dearth of intelligence which has rendered my late letters so uninteresting, is not yet removed. It is reported that the French & Span: fleets have left the Cape & each other, the former to convoy to a safe distance the trade of that Island, the latter to resume its inactivity & security at the Havannah.5 This however is mere report. The next arrival from Europe will I hope render6 my correspondence more valuable. I am exceedingly impatient for the conclusion of a Treaty with Holland. The commercial spirit & views of that nation must produce the most salutary effects to the U. S. & to those especially whose staple is Tobacco.7

The trade with the Enemy at N. Y. has at length I am told produced spirited & successful exertions among the people of N. Jersey for suppressing it.8 The same alarm & exertions seem to be taking place in Connecticut.9 The ordinance of Congress against collusive captures on water has not yet passed. The mode of proof & the distribution of the effects, occasioned some diversity of opinion, & a recommitment ensued.10 I am not very sanguine that any thing of efficacy will be done in the matter. Notwithstanding the supposed danger arising to the bank from the exportation of hard money to N. York, a dividend of 4½ PerCt. for the first half year has been advertized to the Stockholders.11 Will not this be very captivating to the avarice of the Dutchman12 in case his apprehension shall be removed by a Political connection between the two Countries?

Mr. Jones writes me that he proposes to set off about the 20th. instt.13 When will you follow him?

1Judging from JM’s comments later in this paragraph, he meant that he had received Randolph’s letters of 27–29 and 29 June 1782 rather than two dated the 27th of that month.

2JM interlineated “in any manner whatever” above two or three words too heavily canceled to be legible.

3See JM to Jones, 28 May 1782, and n. 15.

6Instead of “render,” JM at first wrote “enable.”

8See JM to Randolph, 18 June 1782, and n. 7.

9JM may have derived his information from the Pennsylvania Journal of 6 July, which printed a proposal made by the inhabitants of Farmington, Conn., on 21 June that delegates from all the towns in Hartford County assemble in convention on 16 July to devise measures for executing the law of the state prohibiting trade with the enemy.

11The Bank of North America announced in the Pennsylvania Packet of 6 July that stockholders of the institution should call there “any time after the tenth” of July to receive a 4.5 per cent dividend for the period 1 January through 30 June 1782.

12JM expressed an opinion of the Dutch which had been prevalent in England ever since the commercial wars of the seventeenth century. In 1701 Daniel Defoe summarized his countrymen’s prejudice against certain foreigners by writing,

Rage rules the Portuguese, and Fraud the Scotch:

Revenge the Pole; and Avarice the Dutch

(“The True Born Englishman,” in A True Collection of the Writings of the Author of the True Born ENGLISH-MAN [2 vols.; London, 1703–5], I, 4). For agreement by some of JM’s contemporaries with this characterization of the Dutch, 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 , II, 182, 230; III, 34, 43.

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