James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 11 February 1783

Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison

RC (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). In the hand of Joseph Jones, except for the signatures of JM, John Francis Mercer, Arthur Lee, and Theodorick Bland, Jr. Addressed to “His Excellency the Governor of Virginia.” Docketed by Harrison, “Lr: from the Delegates in Congress February 11th. 1783.”

Philadelphia Feby. 11th. 1783


We had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s favor, of the 31st. of Jany.; & sympathize very sincerely in the distress you must have felt for a Sister so worthy of being belovd & honord.1

The miscarriage of our Letter of the 22d ult. was probably owing to the cause your Excellency supposes. We shall desire the Post-master general to make due enquiry into it, that if any mal-practice can be discovered it may be punishd.2 The demands of the Officers tho’ just, are distressing; & we wish their sentiments had been such, as your Excellency mentions. But we have no reason to apprehend, that they will forget they are Citizens as well as Soldiers; or be dissatisfyd with the best provision that can be made for them, during the distress of the war.3

The enclosed hand-bill, which receives some corroboration from the report of a Captain just arrivd from St. Thomas’s, is all we know of the issue of the negociations for Peace.4

Congress have passd Resolutions, relative to the Tobacco shipt by Mr. Clarke;5 & the settlement of the State-accounts;6 copies of which we shall transmit by the next post.7 The dispute with Mr. Nathan is not yet arbitrated.8

We have the honor to be with the highest respect, your Excellency’s most obedient & most humbl Servants

J Madison Jr.

John F. Mercer

Jos: Jones.

A. Lee

Theok: Bland jr

2The delegates had written to Harrison on 21 January (q.v.) rather than on “the 22d ult.” See Harrison to Delegates, 31 Jan., and n. 3; 18 Feb. 1783. The postmaster general was Ebenezer Hazard.

4The missing enclosure was a handbill issued at Baltimore on 5 February, stating that Captain White of the “Harlequin” had brought a letter of 15 January from St. Kitts giving assurance on the strength of news from Dominica and Guadeloupe that a preliminary peace treaty had been signed (Pa. Packet, 11 Feb. 1783). The same issue of the Packet reported that a schooner had informed the “Iris,” while at sea on her voyage from the West Indies to Annapolis, of the “confirmation of peace” given by Captain John Barry of the “Alliance” during his brief stay in the harbor of St. Thomas. Before receiving the present letter, Governor Harrison certainly had read these reports in the Virginia Gazette or in the Virginia Gazette, and Weekly Advertiser (Richmond, Nicolson and Prentis) of 15 February. See also JM to Randolph, 11 Feb. 1783.

5JM Notes, 10 Feb. 1783, and nn. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12. On that day Congress unanimously adopted the report of the FitzSimons committee which, after summarizing the facts “relative to the Tobacco shipt,” concluded that Robert Morris and Charles Thomson had acted “in all respects conformable” with the directive of Congress of 11 February 1782 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 121–23).

6JM Notes, 10 Feb. 1783, and n. 14.

8Harrison to Delegates, 4 Jan., and n. 8; 11 Jan., and n. 8; 15 Feb.; Delegates to Harrison, 21 Jan.; 28 Jan.; 4 Feb. 1783.

Index Entries