Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison
Printed copy (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VII, 172, and n. 1). John F. Mercer probably wrote the letter, with the exception of the other two signatures. An abstract, emphasizing the third paragraph, is in Cal. of Va. State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , III, 493.
Philada. 27 May 1783.
We have been honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 17th instant.1 Mr. Jones we believe carried with him a copy of the offer of a Seat for Congress in the State of N. York. Lest it should have happened otherwise, we will endeavor to provide one for the next mail.2 The propositions of Congress with regard to Revenue have long since been transmitted to your Excellency by the President. Relying on the full explanations of our two Colleagues who will attend the General Assembly, we have supposed it unnecessary to trouble you with any less perfect remarks on that subject in our correspondence.3
The state of our information from Europe remains precisely as at the date of our last;4 the progress of the definitive Treaty, of the British bill relative to a commerce with the United States, and of the arrangements for a new administration, being left in the utmost uncertainty by the latest arrivals in this port.5
Congress have received no further communications from the Commander in chief, with respect to the Conduct of the British Commander at New York, touching the evacuation of that port, or the execution of the other articles of the provisional Treaty. The breach of that which stipulated a restoration of the Negroes, will be made the subject of a pointed remonstrance from our Ministers in Europe to the British Court; with a demand of reparation; and in the mean time General Washington is to insist on a more faithful observance of that stipulation at N. York.6
We have the honor to be with great esteem and respect yr Excelly’s Obt. Hble Servts.
John F. Mercer
J. Madison Jr.
Theok. Bland Jr.
2. 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, 447; 448, nn. 4, 7. In their missing letter, probably dated 3 June, the delegates sent Governor Harrison a copy of New York’s “offer” and of the “much more advantageous” one made by Maryland of a site in Annapolis. On 12 June he submitted these documents to the Virginia House of Delegates (Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, p. 152, MS in Va. State Library; JCSV description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (4 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 268; JHDV description begins (1828 ed.). Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Anno Domini, 1776 (Richmond, 1828). description ends , May 1783, p. 50). The offer of 30 May of the Maryland General Assembly was received by Congress on 2 June (NA: PCC, No. 186. fol. 105; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 378, n. 2; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VII, 180). See also JM to Randolph, 10 June, and n. 14; Instructions to Delegates, 28 June 1783.
3. Delegates to Harrison, 6 May, and n. 3; Instruction to President, 9 May, and n. 2. The “two Colleagues” were Joseph Jones and Arthur Lee (Ambler to JM, 3 May, n. 4; Jones to JM, 25 May 1783, and n. 2).
4. Delegates to Harrison, 20 May 1783. Except for a brief letter from John Adams recommending a consular appointment, no dispatch from Adams, Franklin, Jay, or Henry Laurens was received between 10 April and 10 June 1783 (NA: PCC, No. 185, III, 61–66).
5. 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, 440, n. 2; 449, n. 10; 504, and n. 3; JM to Jefferson, 13 May, and n. 7; Instruction to Delegates, 23–24 May 1783, and n. 1.