James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 6 August 1782

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

Printed copy (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VI, 427–28, and n. 6). Around 1930 the manuscript was owned by Stan. V. Henkels of Philadelphia. Arthur Lee rather than JM seems to have been the draftsman. See n. 9, below. Endorsed by Harrison, “to be laid before Ass.”

Philadelphia Augt. 6th, 1782.

Sir,

We received the Letter your Excellency did us the honor to write the 27th ult.1

The Committee to whom your Excellency’s letter, touching the garrisons of York and Gloucester was referrd, being pressd by us for their report, informd Congress, that they waited for some arrangements, which the Secretary at war was making on that subject, in order to compleat their report. These we understand to be, the dissmission of those garrisons, as soon as the french Stores are removd; which they state as the reason for Count Rochambau’s having desired to have them established.2 We shall attend to the interest of the State when the Report appears.

All possible enquiry shall be made respecting Mr. Linctot.3

Tho no official accounts have been receivd of the evacuation of Savannah, yet it is not doubted; and it is expected that of Charles-town will soon follow.4 Advices from Europe make it probable, that a negociation for a general Peace has commencd; but on what terms, or with what probability of succeeding we are yet to learn.5

We expected instructions from the general Assembly, on the Fishery, the admission of Vermont into the union, the western cession and the navigation of the Mississippi. But we have not receivd any.6

We have the honor to be with the most perfect respect Yr. Excellency’s most Obedt. and most Humb’e Servts.

A. Lee

J. Madison Jr.

P. S. Upon enquiry we find that Mr. Morgan was the only continental Agent for Indian Affairs; and that the Officers here know nothing of Mr. Linctot.7

Theo’k Bland except[?] that part marked with a dash underneath having already voted on that Question.8

A Lee.9

1See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 438–39.

2Ibid., IV, 405–6; 431, n. 3; Reverend James Madison to JM, 2 August 1782, and n. 16.

3See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 439, n. 1.

5See JM to Randolph, 5–6 August 1782, and nn. 8–10.

6See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 236–37; 430. Randolph had assured Bland in a letter of 25 May 1782 that the delegates would “receive instructions” on these four subjects (Charles Campbell, ed., The Bland Papers, Being a Selection from the Manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland, Jr., of Prince George County, Virginia [2 vols.; Petersburg, Va., 1840–43], II, 82–83). Governor Harrison’s surprise at the delegates’ expectation of instructions from the General Assembly on any subject besides its “western cession” is reflected in his reply of 16 August to the present letter (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, 213; Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 16 August 1782).

7See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 178, nn.; IV, 439, n. 1. On 10 April 1776 and 20 November 1777 Congress elected Colonel George Morgan of Philadelphia and Princeton, N.J., to the offices of “agent for Indian affairs in the middle department” and “Deputy commissary general of purchases in the western district,” respectively (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , IV, 268; IX, 944). On 28 May 1779, as also the year before, Morgan signified to the president of Congress his wish to resign both of these positions (NA: PCC, No. 19, V, 57; No. 166, fol. 460; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XIV, 669). Thereafter he seems never to have returned to Fort Pitt, the previous base of his operations, even though he apparently continued to perform the duties of his two offices until the end of the war (NA: PCC, No. 163, fols. 345–56; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XVIII, 997, 1025; Heitman, Historical Register Continental description begins F. B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution (Washington, 1914). description ends , p. 401; Max Savelle, George Morgan: Colony Builder [New York, 1932], p. 182).

8The “[?]” in Edmund C. Burnett’s copy probably reflects his doubt whether “except” is the word in the manuscript. Unlike JM and Lee, Bland favored the course of action concerning Vermont which Congress had already determined upon but had not yet put into effect. For this reason, Bland may neither have expected nor wished for instructions on the subject. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 165, n. 4; 179, n. 10; 197; 199, nn. 15, 16; Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 16 August 1782.

9Lee probably wrote the letter. The style is his, and he alone signed the postscript.

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