From David Jameson
RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers). Docketed by JM, “May 24. 1783.”
Richmond May 24. 1783
I heartily congratulate you on the return of Peace—an event that places every thing within our reach to give us as a people human Felicity. I have the pleasure of being informed by Mr. Jones that you enjoy a good state of health—a close & constant application to business seems not to have been so prejudicial to you as I feared it would.1 You have had much to do and not a little remains still to be done beside other matters of great moment that of establishing or rather of drawing the great outlines of an universal Commerce will require much deliberation. You will receive a short resolution of the Assembly in answer to your request on that head2
A Bill is under consideration to lay Duties &ca. agreable to the recomendation of Congress for a National Revenue, which I doubt not will pass.3 the mode of collecting those duties is not fixed but I suppose Congress will have the appointment of some officers on the occasion. I take the liberty to offer my services should you think me worthy of an appointment. the injury I have suffered by the depredations of the British and the much greater by depreciation (having recd. considerable sums in paper money for debts due to me before the war); will make it necessary to turn my attention to something:4 And as I have formerly mentioned to you, the giving a constant or very frequent attendance at this place is very inconvenient to me. An act has passed to repeal the act for seizure & condemnation of British goods—And to permit the entry of British Vessels5 with the highest esteem
I am Dr Sir Yr obt. hume Ser
1. David Jameson was a senator from the district which included Yorktown, his home (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, 217, n. 2). Joseph Jones was also attending the Virginia General Assembly as a delegate from King George County (Ambler to JM, 3 May 1783, and n. 4). While Jameson and JM were fellow members of the Council of State in 1778–1779, JM’s health had been precarious but was much improved after March 1781 (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, 215; II, 56, n. 7; 84, n. 1; 143; 163; III, 13, 25–26).
3. Jameson was overly sanguine. See Randolph to JM, 15 May and n. 2. The committee, which the House of Delegates had appointed on 14 May to prepare a bill for levying a qualified 5 per cent impost on behalf of Congress, made no report and was “discharged” from its assignment on 3 June (JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , May 1783, pp. 7, 33). See also Randolph to JM, 24 May, and nn. 5, 6; Pendleton to JM, 26 May 1783, and n. 11. The congressional plan for restoring public credit included provisions for impost duties. For this reason the receipt of the plan by the House of Delegates on 22 May 1783 rendered largely irrelevant the bill which the committee was considering.
4. For Jameson’s heavy losses of slaves and other property during the British occupancy of Yorktown and its environs in 1781, 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 , III, 215; V, 392. Prior to the Virginia statute of 5 January 1782 abolishing the legal-tender quality of the state’s depreciated paper currency, Jameson evidently had been obliged to accept much of it from his prewar debtors (ibid., III, 29, n. 17; 336, nn. 3, 4).
5. Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 195; Ambler to JM, 3 May, n. 5; Randolph to JM, 15 May 1783.