James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 21 June 1783

From Edmund Randolph

RC (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission). Unsigned and perhaps incomplete. Docketed by JM, “June 21, 1783.” Cover addressed to “The honble James Madison jr. esq. of congress Philadelphia.”

Pettus’s1 June 21. 1783.

My dear friend

Inclosed is a state of the proceedings of the assembly for a week past, and of the expectations of future business.2 Having been confined at home for ten days by the demands of my clients,3 I have not been able to collect in person the debates of the legislature. I therefore wrote to the clerk,4 who has given me the inclosed detail.

The form, in which the impost now appears, amounts to an annihilation of the views of congress. Being reduced to a mode of taxation solely for the benefit of Virginia, it contains no inducement to the other states to adopt it, nor, if it did, would it produce any good.5

Mr. Henry left the assembly last saturday, and at the same time the field open to his adversary.6 He can always recover himself in interest by an exertion, but his sighs for home7 expose him to a daily loss of his popularity.

1Papers 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 , IV, 148, n. 2.

3With the adjournment of the courts, the duties of Randolph as attorney general had eased. This lessening of pressure enabled him to turn to his temporarily neglected private practice as a lawyer. See Randolph to JM, 9 May, and n. 2; 24 May; 14 June 1783, and n. 4.

5Jones to JM, 21 June, and nn. 6, 7. For a summary of the contents of this bill, see Jones to JM, 28 June 1783.

6June 14 was “last Saturday.” Henry’s “adversary” was Richard Henry Lee.

7Leatherwood, his estate in Henry County (Robert Douthat Meade, Patrick Henry [2 vols.; Philadelphia and New York, 1957–69], II, 221–23).

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