James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, 10 May 1783

From Edmund Pendleton

Tr (LC: Force Transcripts). In the left margin at the top of the transcription, Peter Force’s clerk wrote “MSS. [M]cGuire’s.” See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, xxii, xxiii. Addressed to “The Honble James Madison, Esqr Philadelphia.”

Richmond, May 10, 1783

Dr Sir

I have no favr from you to acknowledge since my last,1 but have one from our friend Mr Jones of the 29th past, who from former Lres I expected had left Philada before that Period.2 I am sorry to learn from him, that determinations in the British Courts of Admiralty (I suppose at N. York) have extended the period of legalising Captures at Sea to two Months from the ratification of the Preliminary Articles, which appears to me wholly unwarrantable by the terms of those Articles; besides the loss of much American property, such a glaring stretch of Judicial Rapacity gives an impression unfavourable to the Spirit of Conciliation held out by their King,3 which meeting with something of the same impression in the revival of Committees in the East for sending back Refugees as fast as they appear, has not that healing Aspect, wch Peace was expected to produce, and may suddenly rekindle the flames of War, even before the definitive treaty is signed;4 an event the British Parliament do not, from their debates, seem very averse to: It is a serious subject, but I will suppres further thoughts on it, leaving it to those to whom it belongs and who from a view of the whole are better enabled to form a Judgment on it.5 We yet want 11 members to make an House of Delegates, which they expect will be compleated on Monday next.6 many Projects of a Political nature, as well as relating to finance, are in Embryo, but I will not trouble you with the Indigested heap, which even the authors do not appear to have brought to any Point. my future letters will probably state them, as they shall be brought forth. In the mean time our trade is almost at a stand, many Vessells lying in the Rivers, not yet permitted to an Entry.7 We have had some fine Rains—which has relieved us from the dread of a famine, from a remarkable drought in April.

I am My D Sr yr very Affe

Edmd Pendleton

2Ibid., and n. 3.

3Jones appears to have been misinformed. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 391, n. 4; 420–21, and n. 4; 422, n. 6; 430; 440; 441, n. 4; 449; 450, and nn. 1, 3; 451, n. 4; 456; 458, n. 3.

4With his letter of 29 April Jones may have included the Pennsylvania Packet of 26 and 29 April. These issues tell of town meetings in New Haven, Boston, and “a number of other towns to the eastward” adopting resolutions to bar Loyalists “and traitors” who seek “to return or remain among them.” Several of the towns appointed committees to enforce these prohibitions, in spite of Articles IV and V of the preliminary articles of peace (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 248; Delegates to Harrison, 23 Aug. 1783).

5The issues of the Pennsylvania Packet, mentioned in n. 4, and also the issue of 24 April, printed extracts of proceedings in the House of Commons on 18 and 24 February and 3 March 1783 with regard to the provisional articles of peace. Several of their opponents called them “disgraceful and wicked, and treacherous,” “shameful and extravagant concessions” which had “tarnished our splendid victories” and “diminished our grandeur.” In the debate of 3 March, the reply to several speakers who advocated the retention of New York City until the definitive treaty of peace had been signed was that a withdrawal so long delayed would certainly lead to more armed conflict. See also Va. Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette, or, the American Advertiser (Richmond, James Hayes, 1781–86). description ends , 26 Apr.; Pendleton to JM, 4 May 1783, n. 5.

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