To James Madison, Sr.
RC (LC: Madison Papers). Cover missing. The docket, “Madison Js Aug. 30. 1783,” is in JM’s hand, but he apparently added it at a later date. This letter may have been carried to Virginia by Captain Merry Walker (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, 208, n. 5). See also JM to James Madison, Sr., 8 Sept. 1783.
Princeton Aug: 30. 1783
I recd. great pleasure from your’s recd. by the last post which removed the apprehensions excited by your preceding one regarding the state of my Mother’s health.1 I hope this will find her still further recovered. The time of my setting out for Virga. is still somewhat precarious; several matters being before Congs. which I wish to see first decided.2 An answer to this if not delayed will probably find me here.3
The definitive Treaty is not yet come over.4 Sr. G. Carlton has notified to Congs. his receipt of final orders for the evacuation of N. York, but fixes no time at which they are to be carried into execution.5 Genl. Washington has been here some days at the invitation of Congs. & will be consulted on the provision necessary in time of peace for the security of this Country.6 I inclose you one of the latest papers containing the address of the Presidt. to the Assembly of Pena.7 The latter have unanimously acceded to the late recommendations of Congs. with respect to revenue, and a change of the rule for apportioning the common burdens.8 It is said they are also about to address Congs. on the event which occasioned their removal, & to provide especially for the protection of Congs. in case they sd. deem Philada. the fittest place for the transaction of business untill a final residence shall be chosen. What effect this may have is uncertain.9 We are exceedingly crowded in this place; too much so both for our own comfort & for the dispatch of business. Mr. Jones & my self are in one room scarcely ten feet square & in one bed.10 With my best regards for all the family
I am yr. dutiful son
J. Madison Jr.
1. No letter written to JM by his father prior to 1784 appears to exist. For references to his mother’s health, 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, 48, n. 15; 113; 162, n. 11; 223; JM to James Madison, Sr., 27 May; to Jefferson, 17 July 1783, and n. 10.
2. Among these “matters” were decisions about the permanent site for Congress, the offer of cession of Virginia’s lands west and northwest of the Ohio River, and the peace “establishments” in domestic and foreign affairs. Probably JM wished also to delay his return home until after the arrival of the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain.
3. This suggests that JM expected to remain in Princeton or Philadelphia for at least another month. For his departure from Philadelphia and arrival at Montpelier, see Jefferson to JM, 7 May, n. 19; JM to James Madison, Sr., 5 June 1783, n. 7.
7. Probably the Pennsylvania Packet of 26 August 1783, which includes the message of President John Dickinson and the Supreme Executive Council on 18 August to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. They strongly recommended the adoption of the congressional plan for restoring public credit and the presentation to Congress of such proposals “as will evince, that no state can be more sincerely disposed to consult the dignity of that honorable body, and the convenience of the union, than this commonwealth.”
8. JM should have written that a bill had been introduced for these purposes in the Pennsylvania General Assembly on 25 August. The Assembly did not enact the law until 23 September (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 526–27; JM to Jefferson, 11 Aug. 1783, n. 18).
9. Although the resolutions adopted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on 29 August, and submitted to Congress three days later, omitted mention of the mutiny, they assured “speedy and adequate support and protection to the honor and dignity” of Congress if it decided to return temporarily to Philadelphia, and “commodious and agreeable” accommodations if Congress should make clear “what jurisdiction” it required for establishing its “permanent residence” in that state (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXV, 530–31). On 6 October. in a tallied vote on a motion to return to Pennsylvania, only the delegates from that state were unanimously in the affirmative. Repeated efforts in Congress to decide upon a place of residence, other than Princeton, failed during the next two weeks (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXV, 651–52, 653–76, passim, 697–99, 706–14, passim).
10. The “place” in which Joseph Jones and JM shared a room has not been identified.