James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Randolph, 21 July 1783

To Edmund Randolph

RC (LC: Madison Papers). The fragment of cover is stamped “free” and addressed in JM’s hand to “Randolph Esqr. Richmond.” Docketed by Randolph, “J Madison.” Upon recovering the letter many years later, JM added “July. 21. 1783” to the docket.

Philada. July 21. 1783.

My dear Sir

This will serve merely to prevent a chasm in my correspondence, having nothing whatever of consequence to make a subject of it. We hear nothing from our Ministers abroad.1 The Court Martial on the parties to the late Mutiny have come to no decisions as yet.2 The Address from this City to Congress is I believe gone up pretty generally signed. My next will probably communicate the result of it.3 Among other conciliating steps they have by voluntary subscriptions given a very splendid & cordial entertainment to the officers of the detachment under Genl. Howe.4 The Legislature of Massachusetts have in their election for the ensuing year left out all their Delegates now in Congs. as a penalty for their concurrence in the provision lately adopted relative to half pay.5 Yr. favr. by the post is this moment handed to me.6 I am on the point of setting off for Princeton7 to replace Col. Bland whose business keeps him here for a few days. farewell.


4At the State House in Philadelphia on 18 July, President John Dickinson of Pennsylvania presided at an “elegant entertainment” tendered by “a number of citizens” to the officers of the “federal army,” including Major Generals Horatio Gates, Robert Howe, and Louis Lebègue Duportail. At the banquet, during which “a military band of music” played marches, fourteen “patriotic toasts” were drunk. To each of these, “rounds” from “Two field pieces” were “annexed,” varying in number from three to thirteen and totaling 124. The subject of the first toast was “The United-States in Congress” and of the last, “Honor and Immortality to the Principles of Freedom and Virtue, in General Washington’s circular letter.” The participants, who were residents of “nearly every State of the Union,” acted “in every respect toward each other like members of one great and happy family,” including standing with interlocked hands when drinking two of the toasts (Pa. Packet, 21 July; Pa. Gazette, 23 July; Pa. Journal, 23 July). For Washington’s “circular letter,” see Jones to JM, 28 June 1783, and n. 6.

5Pendleton to JM, 21 July, and n. 6. Stephen Higginson and Samuel Holten, the only two delegates from Massachusetts attending Congress on the date of the present letter, had not been re-elected on 27 and 28 June by the General Court of their state to serve for the year beginning 3 November 1783 (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VII, lxvii–lxix, 251–52).

Index Entries