James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 13 February 1783

To Thomas Jefferson

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Docketed by JM, “Madison Jas. Feby. 13. 1783.”

Philada. Feby. 13th. 1783.

Dear Sir

The Chevr. de la Luzerne having just given me notice that he shall send an Express to the Romulus in ½ an hour I sieze the opportunity of inclosing a copy of the British Kings Speech which presages a speedy establishment of peace.1 What effect this circumstance may have on your mission2 is at present uncertain. For myself I cannot think that any thing short of a final & authentic ratification ought to be listened to in that view. But I am told that it is the opinion of Mr. Morris that no vessel will sail from any American port whilst the critical uncertainty continues.3 Whether any & what changes may be produced in the orders to the Romulus will be known from the Commander.4


J. Madison Jr

1For the “Romulus,” see Jefferson to JM, 31 Jan., and n. 4. For the speech of King George III to a joint session of Parliament, see JM Notes, 13 Feb. 1783, and n. 10.

2That is, to Paris as one of the peace commissioners of the United States.

3British men-of-war and privateers were still hovering off the coast of the United States for the purpose of capturing French or American frigates and merchant ships (Jefferson to JM, 7–8 Feb. 1783, and nn. 3, 4, 8). A letter of 12 February from Elizabethtown, N.J., published in the Pennsylvania Packet of 18 February 1783, emphasized that knowledge of the signing of the preliminary articles of peace was not deterring “British cruisers” from capturing American vessels in the waters near New York City.

4Chevalier de La Villebrune (Jefferson to JM, 31 Jan. 1783, and n. 4).

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