James Madison Papers

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates, 24 February 1783

Benjamin Harrison to Virginia Delegates

FC (Virginia State Library). In the hand of Thomas L. Savage. Addressed to “The Virginia Delegates in Congress.”

Richmond Februy. 24th. 1783.


I am much obliged to you for your favor by Express, part of the Speach had reached us before yours came to hand but it was so incorrect that it did not generally obtain Credit.1 Mr. Ross has a Letter from his Partner Mr. Edwards at Nantes of the 18th. of December advising him that the Treaty of Peace was signed the 13th. of that Month, and that the Notice was given to the Merchants by an Express; as the Writer is a Man of Credit and reputation I have no doubt of the truth of the Account, tho’ it is a little misterious your not having it officially.2 I have paid the Express ten pounds this currency and taken his receipt. If you get official Notice of the Peace you’l please to send me advice of it by Express an early Knowledge of it will save a very great Expence to the State.3

I am Gentlemen &c.


1The delegates probably had sent the “favor” on 14 February. See JM to Randolph, 13 Feb., and n. 3; Harrison to Delegates, 21 Feb. 1783, and n. 4.

2For David Ross, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 60, n. 8. See also Delegates to Harrison, 18 Feb. 1783, n. 3. “Mr. Edwards” may have been William Edwards who, prior to the declaration of war by Great Britain on the Netherlands, had supplied French markets with British goods routed through Dutch ports (William Lee Letter Book Manuscript Copies, pp. 8, 20, in Va. Historical Society).

3For the delegates’ compliance with this request, see their letter of 12 March 1783, sent to Harrison “by Express.” By receiving news of the “official Notice” at the earliest possible moment, “the State” would save money by immediately stopping military preparations, including the payment of bounties to recruits for the Virginia continental line, and by holding government-owned tobacco for the higher price anticipated as a result of increased demand for the commodity overseas. Assurance that the war had ended might also favorably affect the exchange values of the various kinds of paper currency in relation to specie. See Harrison to Delegates, 31 Jan., and n. 5; JM to Randolph, 13 Feb., and n. 3; Randolph to JM, 22 Feb. 1783, and n. 7.

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