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, 507). The contents of the letter and the fact that the dates of the Virginia delegates’ letters of 1, 8, and 22 (qq.v) are established permit little doubt that the present dispatch was dated on 15 October, the Tuesday post day. The original manuscript probably is in the hand of Joseph Jones, because, unlike JM, he often neglected to capitalize the beginning letter of a sentence.
[15 October 1782]
We have your Excellency’s Letter of the 5th with the inclosures which shall be lodged at the office of foreign affairs to be forwarded by separate conveyances as you desire.1 the inclosed is from this office.2 We also transmit your Excellency an extract of a Letter from S’r Guy Carlton to General Washington, in consequence of the apprehension and bringing to tryal in New Jersey a Citizen of that State who had taken arms agt. his Country.3 the latter part of it4 corroborates the intelligence lately transmitted us by General Washington from Canada and which we communicated to your Excellency, and gives us reason to hope the Indian ravages on our frontier will for awhile at least be suspended.5
We have the honor to be with respect yr. Excelly’s. Obt. Hbe svts.
J. Madison Jr.
1. Governor Harrison’s letter and enclosures to the delegates on 5 October have not been found. A copy of them may not have been retained in the governor’s files because of the illness of Archibald Blair, clerk of the Council of State, and the resignation of the assistant clerk, William Tatham (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, 156; 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, 379). The enclosures may have been a dispatch to George Mason, Jr., in Nantes about the military matériel which Virginia had ordered in France and about the failure of Penet, d’Acosta Frères et Cie. of Nantes, and a dispatch to Thomas Barclay, consul of the United States in France, about that bankruptcy. See ibid., III, 334–36; Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 8 October 1782, and n. 3.
2. The enclosure, presumably from the “office of foreign affairs,” may have been an acknowledgment by Lewis Morris, Livingston’s secretary, of Harrison’s dispatch of 28 September to Livingston (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, 334). See also Motion on Slaves Taken by the British, 10 September 1782, n. 11.
3. The “extract” is in the Virginia State Library and was copied by JM from Carleton’s dispatch of 12 September 1782 to Washington. For the contents of this “extract” and the words with which JM headed it, see the first paragraph of his letter of 15 October to Pendleton; also the headnote of JM’s letter on the same day to Randolph. With his brief covering letter of 30 September, read in Congress on 10 October, Washington had enclosed copies of his correspondence with Carleton, including Carleton’s dispatch of 12 September (NA: PCC, No. 152, X, 693–758, passim; 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 , XXV, 220–21; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 645, n. 1). For the “tryal in New Jersey,” see Report on Washington-Carleton Correspondence, 12 August 1782, and n. 3.
5. See Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 1 October, and n. 2; JM to Pendleton, 15 October 1782, and nn. 6, 7. On the date of the present letter, Congress instructed “the commissioners of Indian affairs for the northern department” to “devise and report to Congress the best means of securing the said tribes against the future intrigues of the enemy” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 646).