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Joseph Jones 







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FEW details of the life of Joseph Jones are accessible, 
although he appears to have played a part by no means 
unimportant in Virginia politics during and subsequent to 
the Revolution. He was born in Virginia in 1727, and 
appears in the colonial House of Burgesses as a represent- 
ative of King George County. At the outbreak of the war 
he was a member of the Committee of Safety, and in 1776 
served in the Virginia Convention. One year later he 
represented the State in the Continental Congress, resign- 
ing to accept the position of judge of the General Court 
(January 23, 1778), a position that he filled for more than 
a year (till October, 1779). From 1780 to 1783 he served 
in Congress, and at a later date appears to have taken an 
active interest in continental and State affairs, without 
holding any political appointments. He was a member 
of the Virginia Convention in 1788, and accepted an ap- 
pointment to the bench in 1789. His death occurred 
October 28, 1805. 

The interest of Judge Jones' letters lies mainly in the 
careful picture he gives of the condition of Virginia poli- 
tics subsequent to the treaty of peace with Great Britain. 
The importance of that State in deciding the course of 
federal events of that time can hardly be overestimated; 
and the struggle of internal factions over such questions as 
the grant of the impost, the cession of western territory to 
Congress, the payment of British debts, the commercial 
polity of the States, and finally the steps that led up to 
the Federal Constitution, are not only of great interest in 
themselves, but of vital importance as showing on how 
little incidents the fate of the Confederation at times de- 
pended during these most critical years of constitutional 
development, if the term may be applied to a period 
when experience was framing in a definite form what 
were the rudiments of an instrument of government. 
The same contests occurred in other States, but nowhere 
were they conducted with such intense bitterness, or with 
such an array of talent on both sides, as in Virginia. The 
correspondents of Judge Jones were men of note, the lead- 
ing spirits of the day; and his position, from its being 
somewhat outside of the actual scene of strife, was ad- 
vantageous for forming a judicial, though by no means 
unbiased opinion on the current events, as he was a strong 
partisan. During the administration of Washington he 
naturally sided with the Jefferson faction, which, mainly 
under the influence of the foreign relations of the States, 
soon developed into the Republican party, and became 

recognized as such after the retirement of Edmund Ran- 
dolph from the Cabinet had left no representative of the 
opponents of the Federalists in the council of the Presi- 

The letters printed in this volume are principally from 
Judge Jones to Madison, and are given for publication 
through the kindness of their possessor, Mr. F. B. Mc- 
Guire. I have added a few others found in the Washing- 
ton and Jefferson collections deposited in the Department 
of State, and a small number of letters from Washington 
and Madison to Jones. In the Gouverneur manuscripts 
there is a remarkable series of letters from Jones to Mon- 
roe, of which two are printed in Mr. Gilman's sketch of 
Monroe's life; but these manuscripts are at present not 
open to examination. Short notes are given where they 
may aid to an understanding of the text. 

A number of letters from Madison to Jones are printed 
in the first volume of "The Papers of James Madison" 
(edited by Henry D. Gilpin), and for the convenience of 
the reader the dates and subject matter are here noted, 
with the pages of volume in which the letters may be 
found : 


Philadelphia, 19 September, 1780 51 

Discussions in Congress on Mr. Jones' resolutions ; the Ver- 
mont affair. 

Philadelphia, 17 October, 1780 ' 53 

Action of Congress on the clause relating to Indian pur- 
chases; military news. 


Philadelphia, 20 October, 1780 55 

Uneasiness occasioned by the disappointment of foreign suc- 
cors ; gloomy prospects for the army in winter; a remedy 

Philadelphia, November, 1780 60 

The Vermont business; new arrangement of the army. 

Philadelphia, 14 November, 1780 61 

Slate emissions of currency the bane of every salutary ar- 
rangement of the public finances; defensive condition of 
the magazines; inroads of the enemy into New York. 

Philadelphia, 21 November, 1780 62 

Suggestions for legislation in Virginia; depreciation of State 
emissions; the policy Virginia should pursue relative to a 
territorial cession. 

Philadelphia, 25 November, 1780 64 

Instructions to Mr. Jay, relative to the Mississippi claims of 
Spain; difference of opinion on the subject between Mr. 
Madison and his colleague. 

Philadelphia, 28 November, 1780 67 

Suggests the liberation of slaves to make soldiers; has in- 
closed to the governor a copy of the act of Connecticut 
ceding her territorial claims to the United States; the as- 
sociation of merchants in fixing the depreciation likely to 
prove salutary. 

Philadelphia, 5 December, 1780 69 

Letters received from Mr. Jay and Mr. Carmichael, their 
tenor, and the advice of the Georgia delegates in conse- 

Philadelphia, 12 December, 1780 72 

Colonel Laurens appointed Envoy Extraordinary to France ; 
Mr. Laurens in captivity; M. Sartine removed from the 
Navy Department and the Marquis de Castries appointed 
his successor. 


Philadelphia, 19 December, 1780 76 

Regrets that the Assembly had not taken up the subject of 
the Western lands in time to have the result communi- 
cated to the Legislature of Maryland before their rising, 
and that so little progress had been made in levying 

It will be noticed that the letters are confined to a 
single year, but the subsequent communications appear 
to have been lost. Writing to Monroe, in 1820, Madi- 
son said: "My correspondence [with Judge Jones] ran 
through a much longer period, of which I have proofs on 
hand ; and from the tenor of the above letters, and my 
intimacy with him, I have no doubt that my communi- 
cations were often of an interesting character. Perhaps 
the remaining letters, or a part ot them, may have escaped 
your search." {Works, III, 188.) 

Washington, January, i88g. 



August ii. — Jones to Washington i 

Recruiting in Virginia — high bounties hurtful. 
September 14. — Jones to Washington 2 

Asks about phaeton. 
September 17. — Washington to Jones 2 

Reply to question about phaeton. 
September 30. — Jones to Washington 3 

Phaeton — Virginia recruits — suggests seizure of hostile property — 
the right of retaliation. 


January 22. — Jones to Washington 5 

Resignation accepted — cabal against Washington — drafts of Vir- 
ginia — French forces in the West Indies — election of delegates to 
Congress — phaeton — Washington's letters to committee. 


April 19. — Jones to Madison 8 

The confederation and Mississippi — supplies for the army — personal 

May 23. — Jones to Washington 9 

Suggests that General Weedon be given employment — affairs in the 

May 31. — Washington to Jones 11 

Necessity of increasing the powers of Congress — disintegration of 
the confederation — General Weedon. 


June — . — Jones to Washington i 2 

Financial distress in public service — Congress has surrendered too 
much power to States — plan for assuming powers — caution of 
members —measures for aiding and increasing the army. 

June 30. — Jones to Jefferson z 5 

The British in the South — Sir Henry Clinton's proclamation — scheme 
of finance in Virginia Assembly — cession of Western lands — awak- 
ening of people — dependence on France — affairs in the West 
Indies — action at Springfield — scale of depreciation for loan office 

July 18. — Jones to Washington x 9 

Promotion of Colonel Morgan — objections raised — action postponed 
— Washington's letter to Colonel Harrison on French affairs — Brit- 
ish at New York — the scheme of finance and drafts. 

August — . — Jones to Washington 2I 

Relations with France — French fleet in the Indies — operations in 
the South — General Greene's refusal to act as quartermaster-gen- 
eral—his injudicious conduct— Pickering appointed — his qualifi- 
cations — Morgan's rank. 

August 13. — Washington to Jones 2 4 

Greene's resignation and proposition of Congress to suspend him from 
command — dangers of such a step — position of the officers. 

September 6. — Jones to Washington 2 7 

Report on Greene — waste of money in departments of the army — 
attack against New York — land cession. 

October 9. —Jones to Madison 3° 

Question before Congress — independence of Vermont — money mat- 
ters — French reinforcements — personal matters. 

October 2. — Jones to Washington 3 2 

Medical department — spirit of party in Congress — the confederation 
and land cession. 

October 2. — Jones to Madison 34 

Land cessions — civil departments — appointments in medical depart- 
ment — finance — personal . 

October 17. — Jones to Madison 37 

Capture of Andre — personal. 
October 24. — Jones to Madison • 38 

Military operations in the South — delegation to Congress — the French 

November 5. — Jones to Madison 40 

Delay in forming a house — finance scheme of March 18 — certificate 
system — heavy taxes and public distress — military operations. 

November 10. — Jones to Madison 43 

Paper money called in, and new emission probable — capture of British 
spy — operations in the South — personal — delegates' accounts. 

November 18. — Jones to Madison 46 

Operations in the South — bounty for negroes — finance — supplies for 
army — personal. 

November 25. — Madison to Jones 50 

Instructions to Mr. Jay — the navigation of the Mississippi — contro- 
versy with Spain — suggestions as to revising instructions. 

November 25. — Jones to Madison 5-. 

Raising drafts — dependence of South on Virginia — movements of 
British — funding scheme — appointment of judges — delegates' 

December 2. — Jones to Madison 57 

Bounties for recruits — taxes — delegation to Congress — British move- 
ments — personal. 

Decembers. — Madison to Jones 60 

Negotiations with Spain. 

December 8. — Jones to Madison 62 

Continental recruits —negro scheme — its dangers — condition of 
Southern army. 

January 2. — Jones to Madison 65 

Special messenger to Congress from Assembly — personal — removal 
of Sartine. 

January 17. — Jones to Madison 67 

Ravages committed by British — continental forces in opposition — 
measures of Assembly. 

February 21. — Jones to Washington 68 

Dr. Lewis and his parole — operations in the South — arrival of John 
Paul Jones — appointment of Robert Morris as superintendent ot 

February 27. — Jones to Washington 70 

Cornwallis and Greene — the articles of confederation — reinforce- 
ments to the South. 


April 3. — Jones to Madison 7 2 

Engagement between British and French fleets — personal — British 
forces in the South. 

May 16.— Jones to Washington 74 

British in Virginia. 
May 31. — Jones to Washington 76 

Position of the marquis — European movements — necessity of greater 

April 16. — Jones to Jefferson 77 

Completion of confederation — its defects — need of some coercive 
power in Congress — assumption of power by that body proposed — 
punishment of civil officers. 

June 20. — Jones to Washington 80 

Reinforcements for the South — need of cavalry — Harrison on Tarle- 
ton's raid at Charlottesville, and unpopularity of Steuben. 

July 3. — Jones to Washington 84 

Operations in the South — militia. 
August 6. — Jones to Washington 85 

British in Carolina — European situation — admission of Vermont. 


May 21. — Jones to Madison 87 

Financial matters — drain of specie to the North — personal — recruit- 
ing — Conway's motion. 

June 25. — Jones to Madison 90 

Letters intercepted — delegates to Congress — Western territory — 

July 1. — Jones to Madison 92 

Personal — scarcity of money. 
July 8. — Jones to Madison 93 

Personal — French army — seizure of tobacco ship. 
July 16. — Jones to Madison 95 

Movements of French army. 
July 22. — Jones to Madison 95 

Petition of Williamsburg — military news. 


J 783- Page. 

February 27. — Jones to Washington 97 

Finance scheme in Congress — impost — difficulties met — public 
creditors — rumored combinations in army — the Vermont ques- 
tion — attitude of Virginia — influence of Washington — half pay to 
officers — prospect of peace. 

May 6. — Jones to Washington 103 

Scheme of finance — disbanding the army — Carleton and evacua- 
tion — claims for negroes. 

May 25. — Jones to Madison 105 

Taxation in Virginia — delegation in Congress — impost measure — 
commerce with Great Britain — memorial of officers — Carleton's 
conduct — personal. 

May 31. — Jones to Madison 109 

Finance — suspension of taxation — memorial of Virginia line — to- 
bacco bill — citizen bill — Carleton and negroes — Baylor's cavalry. 

June 8. — Jones to Madison 112 

Revenue scheme — attitude of delegates — election of delegates to 
Congress — land grants to officers — cession to Congress — opinion 
of people — State debt — Illinois country — English affairs — citizen 

June 14. — Jones to Madison 116 

Scheme of finance — impost — land cession of Virginia — deranged 
condition of public affairs — citizen bill. 

June si. — Jones to Madison 120 

Debtors' bill and British d^bjs — continental revenue — cession of 
Virginia — pay of the army — the definitive treaty — refugees. 

June 28. — Jones to Madison 123 

Revenue measure — seat of government — British subjects. 
July 14. — Jones to Madison 126 

Removal of Congress to Princeton — need of firmness in Congress. 
July si. — Jones to Madison 128 

Return of Congress. 
July 28. — Jones to Madison 129 

Treaty of commerce with Great Britain — mutiny of troops — dignity 
of Congress insulted by Philadelphia. 

August 4. — Jones to Madison 130 

Personal matters. 



October 30. — Jones to Madison 132 

Congress and the Western country — commutation plan in the East — 

December 21. — Jones to Jeffekson 133 

Cession to Congress — navigation law. 

December 29. — Jones to Jefferson 135 

Cession of Western territory — grant of the impost — commerce with 
Great Britain — British debts and the treaty — confiscation act. ^s 


February 28. — Jones to Jefferson 138 

British debts — periodical payments — interest — confiscated property. 

March 30. — Jones to Madison 141 

Election of minister to England — foreign affairs — treaty with Indi- 
ans — personal. 

June 12. — Jones to Madison 143 

Potomac navigation — personal — Harrison's election — Congress and 
the regulation oi commerce. 

June 23. — Jones to Madison 145 

Potomac improvement. 


February 21. — Jones to Jefferson 146 

Tucker's pamphlet — port bill — circuit courts — commercial policy of 
Great Britain — Britislyiebts — tobacco sales. 

May 30. — Jones to Madison 148 

Overcrowded courts — the attorney-general — Madison's trip to the 
North and proposed land purchase. 

June 7. — Jones to Madison 150 

Constitutional convention — Lee suggests purchase of continental se- 
curities by State — question of indents — the Kentucky country. 

June 29. — Jones to Madison 153 

Indents and sales of tobacco — rescue of vessel from searcher. 

July 6. — Jones to Madison 155 

Wythe's (resignation and the vacancy in the convention — Massachu- 
setts' policy — tobacco sales. 

July 23. — Jones to Madison 156 

Continued session of convention — tobacco sales — taxes in tobacco. 



Philadelphia, ii August, 1777 
Dear Sir, 

Capt. Monroe * leaving town this evening I cannot avoid 
informing you by him that as far as his conduct has fallen 
under my observation, and I have not been unattentive to 
it, he has been diligent in endeavoring to raise men ; but 
such is the present disposition of the people of Virginia 
neither Capt. Monroe or any other officer preserving the 
character a Gent" ought to support can recruit men. Some 
men have indeed been raised, but by methods I could not 
recommend, and I should be sorry he should practice. The 
enlisting men for the usual bounty is now, and will I expect 
be for some time, impracticable; if at any time it should 
mend, on account of the high bounty given by the militia 
exempts, a mode of raising men very hurtfull I conceive to 
the recruiting business. I wish Cap". Monroe could have 

* Elizabeth, the sister of Joseph Jones, married Spence Monroe, and was the 
mother of James Monroe, the captain of this letter, who was afterwards President 
of the United States. 


made up his company on his own account, as well as that 
of the public; but I am satisfied any further prosecution of 
the attempt will be equally unsuccessful with his past en- 
deavors. It is probable I may have the gratification of see- 
ing you in this city as I cannot think the enemy mean to 
carry on their operations to the southward. A few days 
will I expect open their designs. 


14 September, 1777 
Dear Sir, 

Being in want of a light phaeton I directed my servant 
to inquire about the city for one. He tells me he has found 
a single light carriage which belongs to you, and has been 
lying here for some time. I have not seen it, but from his 
account of it, expect it will answer my purpose; and if you 
choose to sell, will purchase and give any price you may 
think it reasonably worth. If it is your inclination to keep 
it and get it out of the way of the enemy, I will take it to 
Lancaster, if we are obliged to move there, which you will 
please to determine by a line. 


Yellow Springs, 17 September, 1777 
Dear Sir, 

I have been favoured with yours of the 14 th . I do not 
wish to sell my phaeton, but shall be happy if you will take 
and use it 'till I shall have occasion for it. This I request 
you to do, as you will thereby accommodate yourself and 
serve me at the same time. 


30 September, 1777. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your phaeton here though I was obliged to send 
for it after I left Philadelphia, being put to the route the 
night I received your letter. The bolt that fastens the 
pole-part of the long reins was lost, some brass nails also 
gone, and the lining much dirtied and in some places torn. 
I will get these little matters repaired, and have the carriage 
and harness kept clean and in as good order as I can, which 
is the least I can do for the use, though I would rather buy 
it if you are not determined against selling, and submit the 
price to yourself or our friend Col. Harrison, who may view 
it and pay the cash upon demand to your order. The har- 
ness, I observe, is not matched, though the difference is not 
very striking. Whether this happened at Philadelphia since 
you left it there, or before, ycu can judge. 

We have met upon the road many companies of Virginia 
militia, and more are coming, though I am informed num- 
bers are gone back, in consequence of your letters respect- 
ing those unarmed. I observe they are in general bare of 
clothing, which, if possible, should be furnished them, and 
their stay at camp made as comfortable as circumstances will 
admit, that when they return home they may not go dis- 
gusted, spreading evil reports greatly to the prejudice of 
the recruiting service and the cause in general. These men 
come far to support the rights and property of an invaded 
state, that makes little or no exertions in its own defence, 
but on the contrary affords every succour and support to the 
enemy ; and rather than they should want necessaries or any 
other part of the army at this and the approaching inclem- 

ent season, I would not scruple to take all such neces- 
saries from the disaffected wherever found. Our friends are 
stripped by our enemies wherever they go, and our foes 
freely furnish them what they want. What the last have 
left useful to the army I would take, and where the first are 
so exposed to the enemy as that what necessaries they have 
must unavoidably fall into their hands, I would demand a 
surrender of them, paying the value or giving certificates 
assigning the reason of such proceeding. The enemy sub- 
sists their army at our expense, drawing supplies from 
around them as they pass. I would subsist our army from 
around it as far as possible, and in the route of the enemy. 
These are my private sentiments, which I communicate 
without reserve, to be regarded or disregarded by you as 
you shall judge best. I own to you this conduct would 
hurt my feelings, as I am satisfied in many instances it must 
yours ; but where I am satisfied the public good would re- 
sult from the measure, I should endeavor to stifle those 
emotions of humanity and tenderness for individual dis- 
tress, which in different circumstances would claim my at- 
tention and benevolence. In times like the present, and 
in situations like ours, rigour to internal foes is absolutely 
necessary, and I think has been too long delayed. To 
friends I would afford every, possible support and protec- 
tion, to Tories and equivocal characters I would yield the 
measure meted by the enemy to our friends. I think this 
is the general sentiment of our body, and of almost every 
Whig I converse with. How far you can prevail on your- 
self to carry them into execution your own feelings must 
determine. The right of retaliation cannot be disputed, 
and it is equally just and wise to benefit ourselves of those 


necessaries which it is probable, should we neglect to do so, 
may advantage the enemy. In pursuing this line, individ- 
uals may suffer hardship, but it is a sacrifice our friends 
should willingly make to the general good. Please excuse 
these loose thoughts. I offer them with freedom. You are 
equally free to disregard them. Success and happiness at- 
tend you. 

Gibson's battalion came in to-day. They are but thin. 


Williamsburg, 22 January, 1778. 
Dear Sir, 

On my return to Congress I found the Speaker's letter 
informing me my resignation was accepted by the House 
of Delegates, and that I might, as soon as I pleased, return 
home, which I did after staying about a week to put the 
business we had been sent upon to camp in a proper train, 
the issue of which I had then every reason to expect would 
be according to the wishes of the army.* But what the 
event has been I have not yet been informed. Many rea- 
sons pressed me to retire from Congress, and if I felt a 
concern, it was only that in case I continued, I might pos- 
sibly be of some use in obstructing or endeavoring at best 
to prevent, the mischievous consequences of those base arts 
and machinations, that are but too prevalent among some 

*On November 28, 1777, Congress appointed a committee to repair to the army, 
and " in a private confidential consultation with General Washington, to consider 
the best and most practicable means tor carrying on a winter's campaign with vigor 
and success, an object which Congress have much at heart." Robert Morris, 
Joseph Jones, and Mr. Gerry constituted the committee, and made their report De- 
cember 18. 


people, and which it is the duty of every good man to re- 
sent and suppress. I knew not so much of these matters 
before I went to camp as I discovered there, and after my 
return ; for it was on my return only that I had the first 
intimation given me of the conduct and language of a cer- 
tain popular Pennsylvanian,* lately appointed to the new 
Board of War, of the disposition and temper of another 
gentleman of that Board, whose name the fortunate events 
of last fall, hath greatly exalted I had before heard. f But 
whatever may be the design of these men, and however 
artfully conducted, I have no doubt but in the end it will 
redound to their own disgrace. You stand too high in the 
public opinion to be easily reached by their attempts; and 
the same equal and disinterested conduct, the same labor 
and attention, which you have manifested in the public 
service from the first of the contest, will shield and protect 
you from the shafts of envy and malevolence. There may 
be instances, and these your good sense will point out to 
you, which require your notice, and the public welfare may 
be injured if passed over in silence; but in all other respects 
such petty-larceny attacks, as these may be called, deserve, 
as they will ever meet, your contempt. 

Two thousand men are ordered to be drafted to fill up our 
battalions, and five thousand volunteers raised to join you, 
and serve for six months; also a State battalion in the room 
of Mathews', taken by the enemy; and the counties where 
draughts were deficient the last fall are ordered to make 
them good, besides their proportion of the new levy. Col. 
Braxton has a letter of the 1 7 th last month from Cap 1 . Cham- 

* Mifflin. 

f Gates. The "Conway cabal" is intended. 


berlaine in one of the French islands, informing him that 
6000 French troops were then in the pay of Spain, that 
about the like number were daily expected ; that the Span- 
iards had at Hispaniola about 10,000 men and 12 ships of 
the line, and it was imagined by some they meditated an 
attack upon Jamaica. Mr. Chamberlaine may be, as I sus- 
pect he is, equally sanguine with Mr. Bingham. 

Every exertion is made use of to get a supply of provis- 
ions for the army. We are this day to choose a Delegate 
to Congress to serve from 10 th of May to 11 th of August, as 
R. H. Lee was chosen only to that time, and as some thing 
[think~\ he ought not to be longer continued, as he will then 
have served three years. Mr. Mercer is the other gentle- 
man proposed. 

I am sorry to hear it is probable the enemy have got pos- 
session of Mr. Pleasants' portmantua, as there were letters 
of Col. Harrison's to you and myself in it, and containing 
some things I should wish them not to know. 

Having left my chair with Greentree in the city to be 
sold, and not having been able yet to provide myself with 
such a one as would suit me, I am obliged to make use of 
your carriage until I do. I shall send it to Mt. Vernon as 
soon after I am provided as lies in my power. As I am 
pretty confident I could rely on Col. Bannister and Mr. 
Harvie respecting the conduct and secrecy of any business 
I should mention to them, it may perhaps be in my power 
to be useful to my country by communications to them of 
any matter you may think necessary, and which you may 
conceive to have been neglected or not duly attended to. 
In this or any other matters wherein I may be possibly use- 
ful, pray exercise your pleasure with freedom. 

P. S. 

P. S. The letters you delivered the Committee were called 
for by Congress ; being in my possession they were by order 
of Congress delivered. How the members got informed the 
letters were in our custody, I know not, unless from Mr. 

G y,* as he and myself were the only persons of the 

Com: in town, and I never mentioned them to any person. 
But he, as a member of the Com : wanted them to be re- 
ferred to in the report and of course produced. 


19 April, 1780 
Dear Sir, 

I must Request you will so far oblige me as to enclose me 
every week Dunlap's paper, or either of the others contain- 
ing anything worth reading. Mr. Dunlap told me he would 
furnish you with the paper for me. I must also request you 
to send me the monthly Journals as soon as printed and 
such information of the proceedings from time to time as 
you may think necessary. Particularly be pleased to in- 
form me of the state of the resolutions left on the table 
when I came off respective the Confederation and the ob- 
jections that governed the House, if any of them are re- 
jected. I should also be glad to know whether the report 
respecting the Mississippi has been considered. Mr. Hill 
told me he would not forget to propose to the Committee of 
the Admiralty the ordering the frigates to sail in and scour 
the Chesapeake Bay. I fear it was forgot, as they have not 
yet done it and the enemy's armed vessels still swarm here. 
In return for your communications, I shall from time to 

*Mr. Gerry. 

f Madison had been chosen to Congress March 4, and had reached Philadelphia 
on the 18th. 


time give you whatever may be new and worth mentioning. 
The recommendation to the States for filling up the defi- 
ciencies in the Army and laying up in time the necessary 
magazines, if not already [done], should be despatched and 
forwarded without delay. I did not get the copy of the 
Report passed the day before I came away respecting the 
cession of the back Lands. Pray send it me and the reso- 
lutions, if passed. 

Pray present my compliments to the worthy Mistress and 
Gentlemen of the family at the house the corner of Fifth 
street in Market street; to the old Lady if she is returned, 
and inform me whether my friend the General, and his 
Friend Buckley have finished the dispute, and whether 
there is any hope for the old Lady's getting rid of her 

P. S. From Wilmington I inclosed you a Letter for Genl 
Washington w ch I omitted to leave with you for the I 

also had two letters from Col. Meade for Fitzhugh; left 
them behind I think, as I cannot find them — if they are 
found pray inclose them. Griffin requested me to send 
you the Letters with compliments to Walker & Bland. 


23 May, 1780 
Dear Sir, 

Col. Grayson has mentioned to me his receiving a letter 
from Genl. Weedon* desiring to serve in the northern 

*General Weedon had been permitted to retire, to retain his rank, and be called 
into service whenever an opportunity should arise (resolution 15 August, 1778). On 
June 14, 1780, the Board of War decided to order him to the Southern Department, 
to be under the command of Gates. 


army, if any employment can be carved out for him. This 
Gentleman for whom, as an officer, I entertain a regard, has 
attributed the regulation of his rank, which has occasioned 
his retiring, in great part to me; tho', God knows, I did 
no more in the matter than was my duty, by moving in 
Congress that the dispute be referred to a board of General 
Officers. He has ever since his return, kept himself aloof 
from me. About this, I have no concern. I promised 
Col. Grayson I would mention the proposal to you, and 
had no doubt, if a place could be found for him, you would 
call him into service. His only objection, it seems, is his 
serving under Woodford. If you shall find an opening for 
Gen'l Weedon, I believe it will be agreeable and conven- 
ient to him ; but I request it may not be known to him that 
I had any concern in the business. 

Various letters from the southward received yesterday, 
mention the enemies assaulting our lines at Charles Town 
on the 25 th last month, and were repulsed with the loss of 
300 killed, and from 150 to 250 prisoners. This account 
though by various communications originates with the post- 
master at Edenton. Col. Blaine shewed me a letter re- 
ceived yesterday from Col. Forsyth at Richmond, in Vir- 
ginia, dated the 16 th mentioning that a Col. Henderson had 
come out from Charles Town the 28 th ult ., when no mate- 
rial change had happened except the loss of Col. Parker of 
our line, by a random shot. General not without and un- 
der him about 400 light infantry, some horse and about 
1,500 militia; provision in the garrison till July; 4,000 
N. Carolina militia ordered down, but no arms, for which 
a Major Eaton had come to Virginia, and was the bearer of 
the news brought by Henderson. A bill had been twice 


read for sending 2500 militia from Virginia. Thus far 
these accounts. If any assault had been made the 25 th , it 
would have reached N. York, and you would have heard it 
ere now. 


Morristown, 31 May, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I have been honored with your favor in answer to my 
letter respecting the appointment of a committee, with two 
others of later dates. Certain I am, unless Congress speak 
in a more decisive tone, unless they are vested with powers 
by the several States competent to the great purposes of war, 
or assume them as matter of right, and they and the States 
respectively act with more energy than they have hitherto 
done, that our case is lost. We can no longer drudge on 
in the old way. By ill timing the adoption of measures, by 
delays in the execution of them, or by unwarrantable jeal- 
ousies, we incur enormous expenses and derive no benefit 
from them. One State will comply with a requisition of 
Congress; another neglects to do it; a third executes it by 
halves ; and all differ either in the manner, the matter, or so 
much in point of time, that we are always working up hill; 
and, while such a system as the present one or rather want 
of one prevails, we shall ever be unable to apply our strength 
or resources to any advantage. 

This, my dear Sir, is plain language to a member of Con- 
gress; but it is the language of truth and friendship. It is 
the result of long thinking, close application, and strict ob- 
servation. I see one head gradually changing into thirteen. 

I see 

I see one army branching into thirteen, which, instead of 
looking up to Congress as the supreme controlling power of 
the United States, are considering themselves as dependent 
on their respective States. In a word, I see the powers of 
Congress declining too fast for the consideration and re- 
spect, which are due to them as the great representative 
body of America, and I am fearful of the consequences. 

Till your letter came to hand, I thought General Weedon 
had actually resigned his commission ; but, be this as it may, 
I see no possibility of giving him a command out of the line 
of his own State. He certainly knows, that every State that 
has troops enough to form a brigade, claims and has uni- 
formly exercised the privilege of having them commanded 
by a brigadier of their own. Nor is it in my power to de- 
part from this system, without convulsing the army, which 
at all times is hurtful, and at this it might be ruinous. 


[In June, 1780.] 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favor of the 31 st ult°. in answer to my several 
letters, and was then impressed and still feel great anxiety 
on account of our public affairs. The present distress is to 
be ascribed in great part to the resolution not to issue any 
more bills of credit before a sufficiency of money was pro- 
vided, and supplies secured for the army. Had proper 
precaution been taken in these matters, and the new scheme 
of finance been ready for the public consideration, the de- 
termination not to increase the quantity of money and the 
alteration introduced by the new system would not have 



been so sensibly felt, or occasioned the distress in the sev- 
eral Departments they have produced. From these I think 
we are nearly emerging, as the new money is coming into 
use in the several states, and will probably greatly relieve 
us. But by these and several other proceedings Congress 
have been gradually surrendering, or throwing upon the 
several States, the exercise of powers they should have re- 
tained, and to their utmost have exercised themselves, until 
at length they have scarce a power left but such as concerns 
foreign transactions ; for as to the army, the Congress is at 
present little more than the medium through which the 
wants of the army are conveyed to the States. This body 
never had, or at least in few instances ever exercised, pow- 
ers adequate to the purposes of war ; and such as they had, 
have been from embarrassments and difficulties frittered 
away to the States, and it will be found, I fear, very diffi- 
cult to recover them. A resolution passed the other day 
desiring the States to inform us what they had done upon 
certain requisitions for some time past, that we might know 
what we had to rely on. This may probably serve as a basis 
for assuming powers, should the answers afford an opening. 
Other resolutions are now before us. By one of them the 
States are desired to give express power for calling forth 
men, provisions, money for carrying on the war for the 
common defence. Others go to the assumption of them 
immediately. The first I have no doubt will pass this body, 
but will I expect sleep with the States. The others I believe 
will die where they are ; for, so cautious are some of offend- 
ing the States in this respect, a gentleman the other day 
plainly told us, on a proposition to order some armed ves- 
sels to search the vessels going out, to prevent the exporta- 


tion of flour, that if an embargo was laid in the Delaware 
as in this State, he consented to the measure ; otherwise he 
never would agree to such exercise of power. 

The merchants bankers in this city are making generous 
exertions to procure and send forward to the army a supply 
of flour, and will afford us great help in that article. The 
Massachusetts delegates read us letters whereby it appears 
their State have raised 4,000 men for the army and are em- 
bodying 4,000 more to be ready, if wanting. Gates, Wee- 
don and Morgan, are ordered to the Southern department; 
5000 militia are required from Virginia to join that army, 
and 3600 to be held in readiness; from N. Carolina 4,000, 
and two thousand to be held in readiness. 2500 of the Vir- 
ginia militia were to march yesterday. By our accounts it 
would seem that States are somewhat roused from their 
slumber, but have rejected the scheme of finance of the 
18 th March last, which I fear will have a bad effect on the 
credit of the "money of the other States that have agreed 
to the measure. Governor Jefferson has transmitted us a 
state of the Virginia troops taken from the last returns, by 
which it appears we have in the different corps 4000 men 
in service to the 30 th September, and for the war or longer 
period than the 30* September next, including those cap- 
tured in Charles Town. This surprises me, but the fact ap- 
pears to be so, and where they are, or what has become of 
them is strange. I cannot inform you whether our legisla- 
ture have ordered a draught to fill up the deficiencies, as 
we have no mail this week from the southward, it stopping 
at Annapolis for want- of a rider to bring it to this place, 
the late rider having quitted the business. 

. T 5 


Phila: 30 th June, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

The troops left by Sir Henry Clinton in South Carolina, 
amounting to about 3500 men besides 1500 sent to Georgia, 
cannot be sufficient, unless increased by the accession of 
Tories, to overawe that State, especially when the inhab- 
itants shall find themselves supported by the regulars and 
militia going to their assistance. The 5000 militia recom- 
mended by Congress to be raised by Virginia to join the 
southern army, including the 2500 then or about to be 
raised, and the additional body to be kept in readiness. If 
your intelligence corresponds with the above state of the 
enemy's strength, it cannot now be necessary, the requisi- 
tion being made upon a proposition a much greater force 
would have continued in South Carolina. The alteration 
of circumstances will justify alteration of measures, and by 
lessening the drafts of militia increase the number of re- 
cruits for the regular army upon which, and not upon 
militia, is our great dependence. Besides the calling forth, 
if it can be safely avoided, such large bodies of militia, 
lessens the productions of the earth and generally produces 
great distress to a number of families. Sir Henry Clinton's 
proclamation exempting the inhabitants of S. Carolina not 
taken in the town from their paroles, evince his design and 
expectation of gaining the people to his side, and that they 
will take up arms in support of the British government. It 
is not improbable his threats and promises may, in their 
present unsupported situation, induce many to do so, un- 
less the approach of the American troops shall afford them 



hopes of protection, in which case I am inclined to think 
he will be disappointed, as the people cannot but feel re- 
sentment at the sudden transition from assumed lenity to a 
demand of bearing arms in manifestation of their loyalty, 
or being exposed to confiscation of property and punish- 
ment for supposed enemies. 

We hear our Assembly are about to reconsider their de- 
termination respecting the scheme of finance recommended 
by Congress, and that it was expected the measure would 
yet be adopted. I am happy to hear it, being confident the 
rejection of the proposition and the emission of more paper 
money could not fail of producing the worst of conse- 
quences. Let us not depart from the determination not to 
increase the quantity. That resolution has already appre- 
ciated the money, and a steady adherence to the measure 
will at length effectually do it. The present is the season 
for accomplishing the great work of confederation. If we 
suffer it to pass away, I fear it will never return. The ex- 
ample of New York is worthy of imitation. Could Vir- 
ginia but think herself as she certainly is already full large 
[enough] for vigorous government, she too would moderate 
her desires, and cede to the United States, upon certain 
conditions, her territory beyond the Ohio. The act of 
New York, the instructions of Maryland to their delegates, 
and the declaration of the State upon the subject, and the 
late remonstrance of Virginia, are now before a Committee, 
and I expect they will report that it be recommended to the 
States having extensive western unappropriated claims, to 
follow the example of New York, and by law authorize 
their delegates to make the cession. I some time past sent 
Mr. Mason a copy of the New York act. 


Gloomy as the prospect of our affairs has been and in fact 
still is when compared with the objects we have in view 
through the course of this campaign, I yet feel myself re- 
vived by the accounts lately received from our State, that 
the people are at length awakened from their slumber and 
appear to act with becoming spirit and order at this impor- 
tant conjuncture, especially as the States in general, for the 
present moment seem to be roused and impressed with the 
necessity of great and immediate exertions; and if the 
spirit is kept up for a while we may reasonably hope for the 
happiest consequences. I have been much and still am de- 
pressed to think that America should do so little for herself 
while France is proposing to do so much; that she should, 
contending for everything dear and valuable to her, look on 
with folded arms and suffer other powers almost unassisted 
by us, to work out our salvation and independence. The 
idea is humiliating; the fact must be dishonourable, and 
our posterity will blush to read it in future story. 

Letters from Martinique, so late as the 3 d and 4 th of this 
month, inform us of the arrival of a Spanish frigate an- 
nouncing that 12 Spanish ships of the line, 4-50 gun and 
six frigates, with about 10,000 troops, were about 200 
leagues to windward when the frigate left them, coming for- 
ward to join the French fleet and forces. The Count 
Guichen was going out with 16 sail of the line to meet 
them. Upon the junction of these fleets, the superiority 
of the combined force will be decided, and we may expect 
soon to hear of some important stroke made in that quar- 
ter. It was conjectured their first attempt would be St. 
Lucie, if the approach if the hurricane months did not 
discourage the enterprise. Then Jamaica, and from thence 

2 ^ 

come round and by uniting the whole forces, sweep the coast 
of North America. The is grand and opens so 

pleasing a prospect to us, I will not lessen your pleasure by 
a doubt of it being verified. These letters further inform 
us that the armament carrying on at Brest, and which they 
expected was for the West Indies, is for North America, and 
that it was expected to sail about the 15 th April. It is said 
to consist of ten ships of the line and a large body of 
troops. No doubt they will make it as large as they well 
can, as it is evident the war will be principally here and in 
the West Indies. Between the 12 th and 19 th of last month, 
Rodney and Guichen have had three engagements; the 
last a severe action in which the Count kept the sea. For 
further particulars I refer you to the inclosed paper, as 
well as, for the account so far as we are yet informed of the 
action at Springfield in the Jerseys, between our troops and 
militia under Gen 1 . Greene and the British and Hessians 
under Knyphausen. The Jersey militia acquired immortal 
fame, as indeed they do upon almost every occasion when 
they are engaged with the enemy. 

Congress have formed the scale of depreciation to apply 
to Loan Office certificates: 

from the I st Sep' 1777 to I st March, 1778, at if 

thence to Sept. I st '78 4 

thence to March I st '79 10 

thence to Sept I st '79 18 

thence to March 18 th '80 40 

The intermediate time of the respective periods to be 
calculated in geometrical proportion. The resolves will be 
immediately published. This will reduce the principal of 
loans from 46,559,235 to 11,053,573. 

l 9 


Phila: i 8 July, 17S0 
Dear Sir, 

A report from the Board of War in consequence of a 
letter of General Gates to Congress, referred to the Board, 
respecting the promotion of Col. Danl. Morgan* to the 
office of Brigadier General, now lies upon the table, at my 
request. The Board have stated his former services, his 
being first colonel of our line, and the deficiency of that 
state at present in her quota of troops. If a promotion of 
general officers is to take place, and to be made through the 
line of the army, Morgan has many before him ; but if the 
promotions are to be made through the line of the State, 
that officer it appears stands first. General Gates has men- 
tioned his intention of giving Morgan the command of a 
body of light infantry, but as the state has given the com- 
mand of the militia lately sent to the southward to Col. 
Stevens, who was Morgan's junior officer in the Continental 
line, with the commission of Brigadier General, he will 
command Col. Morgan, and this Gates thinks, will disgust 
him, and therefore with great earnestness and warmth presses 
his promotion. I shall thank you for your confidential 
communications upon the matter, as the report, I think, 
will not be pressed or taken up until the Virginia delegates 
are fully informed, as it was upon my motion to obtain time 
for information, it lies upon the table. Besides, as he left 
the army in disgust under your immediate command, I 

* Morgan had resigned in 1779 because the command of the light infantry had 
been given to another, but received a furlough until he might be called into service. 
On June 14, 1780, the Board of War recommended that he be sent to the southward 
to serve under Gates, and later endorsed the suggestion of Gates to give him a com- 
mission as brigadier-general. Congress so ordered.— Journals, October 13, 1780. 


did not like the present mode of his obtaining the promo- 
tions without that I know of any alteration of circumstances, 
at the pressing instance of General Gates. Pray, my dear 
sir, do you recollect the purport of a letter lately written to 
Col. Harrison, speaker of the Delegates, representing the 
deranged state of the French finances; their as well as 
Spain's declining navy, and the increasing strength of the 
British navy. I have heard of such a letter that gentleman 
received from you, and had shewn it to many of the mem- 
bers of our Assembly, and that it was like to prejudice 
rather than promote the service.* I mention this in confi- 
dence, as the purport of the letter may have been misrep- 
resented, and I have it not directly from one who saw it or 
heard it read. Between ourselves, I fear that worthy man 
is no zealous friend of the Alliance. I may be mistaken, 
but it is my present opinion. 

An account transmitted to the Admiralty Board by Gen- 
eral Foreman makes the British on the N. York station, nine 
line of battle ships, two or three fifties, and 1 7 frigates and 
other armed vessels. Should this intelligence be true, the 
French fleet as we have been told (though we have not yet 
the particulars of their strength) will be unequal to the un- 
dertaking. My letters from Virginia speak of our people as 
being roused. A bill had passed the Delegates by a major- 
ity of 3 only adopting the scheme of finance recommended 
by Congress; thirteen of the senate only were present, the 
opinion of ten of these publicly known — five for and five 
against the bill. It was conjectured the others were in 
favor of the measure. Every 15 th militia man is to be 

* This letter was probably of the same purport as that from Washington to Joseph 
Reed, May 28, 1780, printed in Sparks' "Writings of Washington," vii., 58. 



drafted to fill up the deficiency of our line ; this bill was 
also before the senate. I hope you find the recruits coming 
in fast ; the news of the arrival of the fleet will accelerate 


[August, 1780.]* 
Dear Sir, 

Your letter to Col. Harrison turns out as I expected be- 
fore I received your full information. If the whole had 
been read and attended to, it was impossible to put any 
other construction on your manner of treating the subject 
than to convince your correspondent of the absolute neces- 
sity of great exertions this campaign, while we had a prom- 
ising prospect before us, lest by remissness and delay we 
should find our ally, as well as ourselves, embarrassed with 
greater difficulties than at present; and I very sincerely 
wish, should this summer pass away without some signal 
advantage gained on our part, we may not find your con- 
jectures verified in event. I have my hopes we shall yet 
be able to do something important upon the arrival of the 
French reinforcement, as I presume their fleet will then 
command the water, without which, I confess, I have no 
sanguine expectations. With the command of the water, 
the enterprise may be successful. Mr. Bingham has re- 
ceived a letter from Martinique informing him the com- 
bined fleet fell to leeward on the 5th. July, supposed for 
Jamaica — thirty-three or thirty-six ships of the line and 

♦Probably the 6th. On the 5th Pickering was chosen quartermaster-general in 
place of Greene, and on the 7th his acceptance was communicated to Congress. 
Jones writes before that acceptance was known. 


12,000 troops. They expected a reinforcement of a few 
thousand troops more. If this account be true, it is prob- 
able Jamaica will fall and that we may have them along 
our coast. 

You are desired by some late resolutions to turn your 
thoughts towards the recovery of S. Carolina and Georgia, 
as soon as the operations of the campaign in this quarter 
have been executed.* Gates' and De Kalb's letters repre- 
sent the distresses of the Southern Department in a very 
gloomy light as to provisions and equipments. The Vir- 
ginia recruits, when raised, are ordered to join that army. 
If this interferes with your plans, you should let us know 
it, as they will not be ready to march until the beginning 
of next month. The law passed by the legislature will 
probably bring into the field about 3,000. A Colonel or 
Major Pinckney of South Carolina, writes Col. Motte, a 
delegate of that State, that the enemy are not more than 
2500 strong at their ports in the country, exclusive of horse, 
of which they have a strong corps, and about 800 or 1000 
men in Charles Town. Of our 2500 militia, not above 
1500 had reached Hillsborough in N. Carolina; but Mr. 
D. Jameson of the Virginia Privy Council writes us that 
many of the deserters had been taken up and sent forward 
to Hillsborough. Caswell had about 1200 militia under 
him; Baylor's and Bland's dragoons nearly equipped; so 
that if they can get provisions sufficient and forage, which 
by this letter it is probable they are furnished with, they 
will be in condition to face the enemy, and I hope drive 
them into the town. 

♦Journals, August 5, 1780. 



We have been greatly perplexed the last week with Gen- 
eral Greene's refusal to act in the office of Quarter Master 
General, unless the new system was totally repealed, and 
he was allowed to conduct it under your direction in such 
manner as he thought most conducive to the public service; 
besides, Congress were to request Pettit and Cox to resume 
their offices. If General Greene thought the new system 
wanted amendment and had pointed out the defect, Con- 
gress would have considered the matter, and I doubt not 
would have made the necessary alteration. But the man- 
ner of these demands, made in such peremptory terms, at 
the moment of action, when the campaign was opened, the 
enemy in the field, and our ally waiting for co-operation, 
has lessened General Greene not only in the opinion of 
Congress, but I think of the public ; and I question whether 
it will terminate with the acceptance of his refusal only. 
On Saturday, Col. Pickering was appointed to the office of 
Quarter Master General, with the rank of Colonel and the 
pay and rations of a Brigadier-General, and to hold his 
place at the Board of War without pay or right to act while 
in the office of Quarter Master General. This gentleman's 
integrity, ability and attention to business, will I hope not 
only prevent the evils to be apprehended from a change in 
so important a department at this time, but will I hope be 
able to reform some of the abuses crept into that business 
and lessen the amazing expenditure of the department. He 
must, if he accepts, have a disagreeable office in the present 
state of our finances, but we must support him all we can. 

The promotion I mentioned has not taken place, though 
if we take up the business, I suppose it will be done, as M. 
is the oldest Colonel and Gates is the only Major General 



belonging to Virginia, and the State has a right to two. 
But I see no occasion of stirring in it at present, as if taken 
up, it must be upon the general principles of promotion, 
and then not only Virginia but Maryland and other States 
will expect to partake of the same privilege of bringing 
forward their officers, when I believe, there are few States 
whose lines are so full as to justify the promotions. 


Head-Quarters, Tappan, 13 August, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

The subject of this letter will be confined to a single 
point. I shall make it as short as possible, and write it 
with frankness. If any sentiment therefore is delivered, 
which might be displeasing to you as a member of Con- 
gress, ascribe it to the freedom which is taken with you by 
a friend, who has nothing in view but the public good. 

In your letter without date, but which came to hand yes- 
terday, an idea is held up, as if the acceptance of General 
Greene's resignation of the quartermaster's department was 
not all that Congress meant to do with him. If by this it 
is in contemplation to suspend him from his command in 
the line, of which he made an express reservation at the time 
of entering on the other duty, and it is not already enacted, 
let me beseech you to consider well what you are about be- 
fore you resolve. I shall neither condemn nor acquit Gen- 
eral Greene's conduct for the act of resignation, because all 
the antecedent correspondence is necessary to form a right 
judgment of the matter; and possibly, if the affair is ever 



brought before the public, you may find him treading on 
better ground than you seem to imagine ; but this by the 
by. My sole aim at present is to advertise you of what I 
think would be the consequences of suspending him from 
his command in the line (a matter distinct from the other) 
without a proper trial. A procedure of this kind must touch 
the feelings of every officer. It will show in a conspicuous 
point of view the uncertain tenure by which they hold their 
commissions. In a word, it will exhibit such a specimen of 
power, that I question much if there is an officer in the whole 
line, that will hold a commission beyond the end of the cam- 
paign, if he does till then. Such an act in the most despotic 
government would be attended at least with loud complaints. 

It does not require with you, I am sure, at this time of 
day, arguments to prove, that there is no set of men in the 
United States, considered as a body, that have made the 
same sacrifices of their interest in support of the common 
cause, as the officers of the American army; that nothing 
but a love of their country, of honor, and a desire of seeing 
their labors crowned with success, could possibly induce 
them to continue one moment in service; that no officer 
can live upon his pay; that hundreds, having spent their 
little all in addition to their scanty public allowance, have 
resigned, because they could no longer support themselves 
as officers ; that numbers are at this moment rendered unfit 
for duty for want of clothing, while the rest are wasting 
their property, and some of them verging fast to the gulf 
of poverty and distress. 

Can it be supposed, that men under these circumstances, 
who can derive at best, if the contest ends happily, only the 
advantages which accrue in equal proportion to others, will 



sit patient under such a precedent? Surely they will not; 
for the measure, not the man, will be the subject of consid- 
eration, and each will ask himself this question ; If Congress 
by its mere fiat, without inquiry and without trial, will sus- 
pend an officer to-day, and an officer of such high rank, 
may it not be my turn to-morrow, and ought I to put it in 
the power of any man or body of men to sport with my 
commission and character, and lay me under the necessity 
of tamely acquiescing, or, by an appeal to the public, ex- 
posing matters, which must be injurious to its interests? 
The suspension of Generals Schuyler and St. Clair, though 
it was preceded by the loss of Ticonderoga, which contrib- 
uted not a little for the moment to excite prejudices against 
them, was by no means viewed with a satisfactory eye by 
many discerning men, though it was in a manner supported 
by the public clamor; and the one in contemplation I am 
almost certain will be generally reprobated by the army. 

Suffer not, my friend, if it is within the compass of your 
abilities to prevent it, so disagreeable an event to take place. 
I do not mean to justify, to countenance, or excuse, in the 
most distant degree, any expressions of disrespect, which 
the question, if he has used any, may have offered to Con- 
gress ; no more than I do any unreasonable matters he may 
have required respecting the quartermaster-general's depart- 
ment; but, as I have already observed, my letter is to pre- 
vent his suspension, because I fear, I feel, that it must lead 
to very disagreeable and injurious consequences. General 
Greene has his numerous friends out of the army as well as in 
it; and, from his character and consideration in the world, 
he might not, when he felt himself wounded in so summary 
a way, withhold himself from a discussion, that could not 


2 7 

at best promote the public cause. As a military officer he 
stands very fair, and very deservedly so, in the opinion of 
all his acquaintance. These sentiments are the result of my 
own reflections, and I hasten to inform you of them. I do 
not know that General Greene has ever heard of the matter, 
and I hope he never may; nor am I acquainted with the 
opinion of a single officer in the whole army upon the sub- 
ject, nor will any tone be given by me. It is my wish to 
prevent the proceeding; for, sure I am, that it cannot be 
brought to a happy issue, if it takes place. 


Phila: 6 September, 1780 
Dear Sir, 

I have received your favour of the 13 th ult°. upon the 
subject of a report respecting a certain gentleman, and 
thank you for the freedom and candid manner of your 
communications. The resentment discovered against the 
gentleman alluded to began to subside before your letter 
came to hand, and though for some time it was occasion- 
ally mentioned in conversation, it has lately died away, and 
will I expect not be revived. The report of the committee 
not only accepted his resignation, but went further, and I 
believe had it been then determined, the gentleman would 
have been informed his services in the line of the army 
would have been dispensed with, that he might have leisure 
to attend to the settlement of his accounts. Had this step 
been taken, it is probable a resignation would have ensued 
and perhaps a public discussion in the papers, which could 
have produced no good ; and upon the whole I am well 



pleased the matter was carried no further than it has been. 
But unacquainted as I am with antecedent circumstances, 
and judging from what was before me, my opinion was the 
gentleman was justly reprehensible for the manner of his 
conduct as a servant of the public, employed as an impor- 
tant officer, or as a citizen, embarked in the common cause 
of America. The amazing sums of money gone into that 
department under his superintendance, about eighty mill- 
ions, and it is said, about thirty millions unpaid, the whole 
of which is unaccounted for, have excited uneasiness not 
only in this body but the people at large, who call out for 
a settlement of the public accounts. And although repeated 
endeavours have been used to bring the officers in the great 
departments of the army to account, none have been ren- 
dered nor any likelihood of bringing them to a settlement. 
The embezzlement and waste of public property in these 
departments have greatly contributed to enhance our debt 
and depreciate the currency, and these abuses demand in- 
quiry and punishment; but I see no fair prospect of obtain- 
ing satisfaction for past transgressions and shall be happy 
to find we shall be able to avoid the like practices in future. 
A reform or an attempt to reform seemed absolutely neces- 
sary for the satisfaction of the public, and although the new 
system was pronounced a physical impossibility in execu- 
tion, others who have served long in the army and were of 
the committee that made the alterations, entertained a con- 
trary opinion, and they affirm the gentleman now in office, 
if he can be supported with money, can fully carry the new 
system into execution. In short, I have seen some, and 
have been told of so many abuses in the Q. Master's Com- 
missaries' and Medical departments in the course of the last 



two years that I candidly confess I feel a degree of resent- 
ment against the conduct of many in those departments 
bordering on prejudice so nearly that I have resolved to 
condemn no person even in opinion without clear proof of 
delinquency, lest I should injure the character of some 
honest men in the general censure which unhappily is but 
too prevalent. 

What I feared for some time is at length but too evident, 
that our designs against New York must wait for more 
favourable circumstances to attempt carrying them into ex- 
ecution. Perhaps something may in the course of the win- 
ter be done to the south. Should we be in a situation to 
recover our losses there and be in time provided with a well 
appointed regular army and magazine of provisions laid up, 
it is to be hoped we shall in the spring before the enemy 
can be reinforced and obtain supplies, be in a condition to 
act offensively against New York. Your letters of the 20 th 
last month and the 27 th circular to the States, are before a 
committee and will in a day or two be reported upon as 
to flour and meat. The great objects of drawing forth in 
time a competent regular army and laying up magazines 
will soon come in and I hope soon go through Congress, 
that the several states may proceed to make the necessary 
provisions. I shall leave this place on Thursday for Vir- 
ginia and mean to attend our next session of Assembly in 
hopes of promoting a cession on the part of the state of 
their claim to the lands to the N. W. of the Ohio to the 
United States, which will be recommended to all the States 
having unappropriated western territory for the purpose of 
completing the Confederation. I shall be glad to hear 
from you while there upon any matters that may occur and 
you shall think proper to communicate. 



Spring Hill 9 th Oct r . 1780 
Dear Sir, 

I think you acted very prudently in declining to press 
on the part of Virginia the Resolutions I left for the con- 
sideration of Congress. Had I been present, I should have 
done the same, as I had no intention when they were offered 
that Virginia should appear anxious about them. Whatever 
my opinion might be as to their propriety or justice, I 
meant to leave them to the candor of Congress and to those 
impartial reflections which might ever, and upon such great 
questions I trust will, generally, govern their Councils. I 
wished also to feel the pulse of that Body upon these points 
and to know the reasons that governed their resolutions; 
that if the resolutions were any of them rejected and the 
ground upon which they were overruled good. The Assem- 
bly of Virg n . might in their deliberation on the subject per- 
haps be influenced by like considerations. I thought I 
could discover a strong propensity among some of the mem- 
bers to give independence to the people of Vermont. This 
affair ought to be a warning to Congress how to act in simi- 
lar situations in future. To be remiss and indecisive upon 
such pretensions as these, serves only to support and not dis- 
courage the claimants. It does more it shews the weakness 
or wickedness of Government and must ultimately produce 
dishonor and contempt. I have sent forward your letter to 
the auditors and inclosed my account whereby the balance 
due to me is ^3000 which I have directed to be applied to 
your use and requested the money might be forwarded to 
you as speedily as possible as I well knew you wanted it. 



The fourth of the eight thousand pounds drawn for is in- 
cluded in the three thousand pounds, and so I have informed 
the auditors ; so that when Meade's orders are paid you must 
take on my account two thousand pounds. Out of M rs . 
House's account of 8000 some odd dol s . is to be deducted 
what I advanced for wine — $s hard money overpaid at the 
former settlem' and the money advanced by me for the 
family, the amount of which I gave you in the first instance 
and M rs . Trist in the second. I shall go off to Richm d . if 
M rs . Jones gets wholly well ab c the middle of next week, 
from whence you shall regularly hear from me. Have no 
reasons been assigned by the Minister for the disappoint- 
ments respecting the reported reinforcement. If there are 
anv that are worthy notice I should be glad to be furnished 
with them that I may do justice to the good intentions of 
France and to their exertions in the common cause, which 
some are but too apt to suspect upon the present occasion, 
and though I am not among the number I must confess I 
am at a loss how fully to satisfy the doubts of some and to 
silence the insinuations of others who ground their observ- 
ations upon the transactions of the present year, and par- 
ticularly the promised reinforcements. I have mentioned 
this matter in confidence to you that if you think it proper 
you may take occasion to intimate to the proper persons, 
how much it would contribute to the satisfaction of the 
friends of the alliance to be able to give some satisfactory 
reasons for our disappointments, not only of the aid to 
come to the Continent, but of our expectations of advan- 
tages to be obtained over an enemy by the combined forces 
in the W. Indies — in short their inactivity there as well as 
in Europe. These I know are delicate matters, but they are 



such as we ought to know, as well for our future government, 
as for silencing those who throw out insinuations injurious 
to France. 

Be pleased to present my compliments to Mr. Pleasants 
and inform him he shall receive an answer from me respect- 
ing his house soon after my arrival at Richmond, which I 
expected, would be the beginning of this month from the 
usual time of the Assembly's meeting; but their adjourning 
to a later day has prevented my doing it so soon as I in- 
tended. In the meantime will you be pleased to sound Mr. 
Pemberton as to his house, and the terms if he is inclined 
to let it with stable room for four horses, a chariot house, 
garden and small pasture, with such furniture as he can 
spare. This information I shall thank you for as soon as 
possible. The report here is that Congress has suspended 
Gates from his command until his conduct is inquired into. 
Our recruits I am told are going on to the southern camp; 
our militia, I believe, are returned, and another division is 
I understand preparing to take their place. Compliments 
to the delegation. 


Virg a 2 October 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

The Medical Department was under the consideration of 
a committee before I left Congress and will, it is probable, 
undergo a change that may curtail the number of the pres- 
ent appointments. Should this be the case, and the new 
arrangement take place before I return (which at present it 
is my intention to do before Christmas) I shall recommend 



to the support of the Virginia delegates the gentlemen you 
have been pleased to mention, whose long services and well 
known characters intitle them to be among the first officers 
in the establishment. 

If I am not mistaken, the spirit of party is much abated 
in Congress. Some instances of the old prejudices and 
partialities that disgusted and must ever disgrace their coun- 
cils I think have been discovered ; but they are few, and I 
entertained hopes the flame was nearly extinguished. And 
although some restless tempers, as some there are, and ever 
will be in public assemblies of men, may attempt to revive 
these disputes, which were carried to such height between 
the contending factions as to neglect the more important 
concerns of the public, there are I trust a sufficient number 
of mild spirits who will oppose and repress such dishonour- 
able attempts and confine themselves to the discussion alone 
of such matters as justice and the general welfare require. 
I am certain the important objects now before Congress are 
sufficient to engage their attention and employ their time 
without perplexing themselves by a revival of old and ex- 
piring controversies. It was with reluctance I left Phila- 
delphia before the report upon your letter respecting the 
army and magazines was complete, and the arrangements 
of the civil officers of Congress were digested ; but an ap- 
prehension that the Assembly was to meet the first Monday 
in October as usual, and a desire of spending a short time 
with my family before I went to Richmond, determined me 
to set out so as to reach home about the middle of Septem- 
ber. I now find I might have stayed a fortnight longer, as 
the session does not commence until the third Monday in 
this month. Congress having taken some steps towards 



completing the Federal Union, which I anxiously wish to 
accomplish, induced me to be here early in the session, that 
the sense of this State upon that interesting question might 
be taken. That if the proposition was approved, it might 
be divulged to the other States without delay, and Virginia 
being more interested than any other in a cession of unap- 
propriated territory, the example would not fail to have 
weight, and be followed by others. We are already too 
large for the energy of republican government, and I fear 
shall be so if the Assembly shall relinquish their claim to 
the northwest of the Ohio, to the Continent. I wished too 
to be [at] the beginning of the session to urge the filling 
up our battalions immediately, and providing magazines in 
time, as the ensuing winter to the south and the approach- 
ing spring to the north, if our ally shall command the 
water, might afford us favourable opportunities of acting to 
advantage. But alas ! instead of the French commanding 
the water, we have the mortification to hear Rodney, with 
12 ships of the line and four frigates, has arrived at the 
Hook. Where, for God's sake, is Count Guichen with his 
great and formidable fleet? surely, not inactive. 


2 October, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I thank you for your favor of the 19 th ult. and the incis- 
ures. It was really a mortifying circumstance to find the 
French Fleet converted into twelve British ships of the line 
and four frigates from which nothing can effectively relieve 
us but the arrival of a superior number of French battle 



ships. And unless these come I fear many of our people 
not only here but in other States will entertain unfavourable 
opinions of the ability at least, if not the inclination, of our 
ally to give us effectual support. The alteration of y e reso- 
lutions I left are not I think material excepting the one post- 
poned, not to be taken up, which I am certain will be made 
a condition by Virginia in any cession she may make, as 
there are jealousies entertained of certain individuals greatly 
interested in that question. Congress cannot in honor or 
justice delay their determination on the Vermont dispute. 
Had the Territorial claims of New York and N. Hampshire 
been settled in the first instance, the step of Vermont would 
not at this day, have been known. Delay has given them a 
name and made them formidable. Such excrescences should 
be taken off on their first appearance, as then the work is easy 
and less dangerous than when they have grown to a head. 
We know not what may be the consequences if Congress 
shall countenance by precedent the dismembering of States, 
because the people blown up into discontents by designing 
ambitious men shall ask or demand it ; fix the boundaries 
of these States and let the people who live within their re- 
spective limits know they are their citizens and must submit 
to their Government. I was one of a Committee to whom 
the General's long Letter on very important matters was re- 
ferred. We had come to some resolutions before I left Con- 
gress but no Report made. Pray inform me what has been 
done, and whether any recommendation has gone to the 
States to fill up their Battalions immediately and lay up 
magazines in time. I was also of a Committee to arrange 
or reform the civil departments of Congress, and it was in 
contemplation to place at the head of the Foreign Affairs, 



the Admiralty, and Treasury, some respectable persons to 
conduct the Business and be responsible. Has any thing 
been done in these matters, they are important and should 
not be forgotten. We shall never have these great depart- 
ments well managed until something of this kind is done. 
I cannot forget Mr. L l's* very candid confession respect- 
ing Dr. Franklin's complaint of want of information of our 
affairs. Is there a Report made respecting the medical de- 
partment, and is there any hope of getting that branch re- 
formed? If any removals are to take place and persons shall 
be wanting to fill the higher offices of that department, there 
are two gentlemen mentioned to me who from their long 
and faithful services deserve the attention of Congress. I 
mean Dr. Craik and Dr. Cochran. Col. Mason wrote to 
us about Mr. Harrison in case a Consul should be wanting 
for Spain. I have since received a letter from Col. Meade 
upon the same subject and have assured him should any 
such appointment take place Mr. Harrison should be recom- 
mended but there was no reason to expect this would soon 
be the case. This reminds me of the report respecting the 
Mississippi — what has been done with it? 

Has Dr. Lee made his appearance and does he attempt to 
revive the old disputes? Would not the publication of ex- 
tracts of the several acts of the States that have adopted the 
Scheme of Finance, specifying the Funds established for 
support of redemption of the money, be of use? As the 
money is to circulate through all the States, all the States 
should be properly and fully informed of the solidity of the 
Funds. Much, very much, depends on our supporting the 
credit of the new money. 



The Assembly adjourned to the 3 d Monday of this month 
instead of the first, their usual time of meeting. Had I 
known it I might have staid a week or two longer with you. 
I have heard nothing of Mr. Henry and cannot inform you 
when he intends to Congress. I found Mrs. Jones and my 
little Boy in bad health when I got Home. She has been 
so ever since July, and still in a low state. He is something 
better though not quite well. I shall prevail on her for her 
Health' sake if nothing else to visit the north next spring if 
I do so myse.lf of which I shall soon inform you and give 
you the trouble of securing either Mr. Pemberton's or Mr. 
Pleasant' s House, as she will not take the small pox by in- 
oculation, and by living in the country she may avoid it. 

We have a report that the French Fleet is arrived at 
Newport. I hope for a confirmation of it by the post to- 
morrow. Make my compliments to Gen 1 . Scott and the 
other gentlemen of the family of my acquaintance. Also 
to the good lady of the house. 


Virg a - 1 7 th October, 1 780. 
Dear Sir, 

We must place the taking Col. Andre among the fortu- 
nate occurrences during the present war. A more wicked 
and ruinous combination could hardly have been formed if 
the accounts published in the papers are generally true; and 
the three honest militia men, who rendered us the service 
should be rewarded. 

An attack early the last week of the ague and fever will 
prevent my being in Richmond until next Sunday; at which 



time I determine to be there, .if my family's and own health 
will permit. We have suffered more sickness this fall in 
Virginia than was perhaps ever known. There is scarce a 
family at this late season but are part of them sick, and one 
remarkable symptom of which all complain of is a constant 
sickness of the stomach and loathing of almost everything 
offered them. This is found to be obstinate and difficult to 
remove. I hope you continue well and that the family 
are so. 

N. B. I forgot to mention and recommend to your atten- 
tion Drs. Cochran and Craik in the Medical Department, 
as I expect from the system's being formed the appoint- 
ments will take place. These are recommended to me by 
a good judge of their services and qualifications. 


Virg a - 24 October 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I very sincerely thank you for your friendly and regular 
correspondence. When I am in Richmond, which I am in 
hopes to be the last of this week (being sufficiently recov- 
ered from my late indisposition as to be able to take the 
bark), I will endeavour to make you amends by a commu- 
nication from time to time of our proceedings in Assembly, 
and such southern intelligence as may be worth mentioning. 

I presume the last post carried you the account of our 
success against Ferguson's party by a body of North Caro- 
lina militia. It is said the news came to our Governor by 
express from Genl. Gates. From Richmond Genl. Muhlen- 
berg communicated the intelligence by express to Genl. 

Weedon ; 


Weedon ; but no doubt the Governor has given the Presi- 
dent full information. Our account was that Ferguson and 
150 of the enemy were slain, 810 prisoners with a large 
number of arms taken. Genl. Weedon, who has hitherto 
remained in Fredericksburg, is now under marching orders 
and is set out this week; from whence I conclude there are 
sufficient of our new levies gone forward to give him em- 
ployment and to form two brigades, as Muhlenberg being 
his senior, of course commands the first. I expect you will 
soon have Mr, Smith, to succeed Mr. Walker. I hope he 
will avoid entering into and reviving those party conten- 
tions that when he was in Congress before so much dis- 
graced that body. And I trust the gentlemen of our dele- 
gation will in general check every attempt that may be made 
to renew former disputes, or to do anything more than what 
justice shall require. I own I have my fears Congress will 
again be drawn into sects and divisions. 

What has been done with the Alliance, and what with 
Cap'. Landais? In a former letter I wished to be informed 
what was the real cause of the disappointment that the 2 d [?] 
division of the French force did not come out; the inac- 
tive campaign in the W. Indies and the combined, or rather, 
the fleets of France and Spain, not combining in the Brit- 
ish Channel. I should, if it can be obtained, be glad to 
hear the sentiments of certain gentlemen on these matters. 

Mrs. Jones' indisposition has at length terminated in the 
third day, ague and fever. My little boy is somewhat bet 
ter, but his mother is by a long and severe illness reduced 
to a skeleton. 



Richmond, 5 th November, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I thank you for your two last letters. The first I received 
at home, the last (Oct r . 24 th ) found me in this place, where 
I have been since the 31 st ult. waiting with about 64 others, 
members of the House of Delegates, to make a House to 
proceed upon business, but as yet we are eight or ten short, 
and I see no likelihood of the number speedily increasing, 
as it has not increased for three or four days. For the 
members who reside in the counties upon the seaboard, or 
contiguous thereto, some excuse may be assigned; and so 
there may for some of the frontier counties, from the dis- 
turbances and apprehensions of the enemy in that quarter. 
But I am at a loss to make an excuse for those of the inte- 
rior part of the State, many of whom are still absent. This 
neglect of public duty is the more criminal in our present 
situation, which must necessarily require the exertions of 
the Legislature in aid of the Executive, to repel the inva- 
sion of the enemy, but it is exceedingly prejudicial to the 
common cause, in delaying to adopt and prosecute with 
becoming spirit those measures necessary for furnishing men 
and supplies to the Army. The late practice of granting 
certificates for supplies and transportation for the support 
of the army and the internal police of the respective States, 
transferable and allowed to discharge taxes, together with 
the late emissions of some of the States, however expedient 
and necessary the practice was found at the time — all cer- 
tainly tend to counteract the scheme of finance of March 
the 18 th , to increase the circulating medium and precipitate 



our ruin. Some course must be taken to stop the progress 
of this traffic, or we never shall get the new money into cir- 
culation, as the whole collections are forestalled by certifi- 
cates, auditor's warrants, &c. all which now circulate as 
freely in payment of taxes as the old currency. And when 
money is paid the collectors, rather than hazard the loss of 
the bad bills, readily exchange the money in the country 
for certificates, whereby the treasury is almost totally de- 
prived of money collections. 

If our people, knowing the public distress, will not 
forego the advantage or convenience of present payment for 
their supplies, they must abide the consequences ; but my 
hopes are, they will submit to any regulations the Assembly 
may adopt for raising either men, supplying magazines, or 
supporting the credit of the currency, all of which are the 
great objects we shall bend our minds to, as soon as we have 
a House. These are also the objects every other State 
should seriously attend to, and in particular the putting a 
stop to the circulation of the certificates, &c. you mention, 
for the measure should be general. You will therefore 
oblige me with information : what steps are taking in other 
States on this head ; what prospects for speedily recruiting 
the army and laying up magazines to the S. and middle dis- 
trict for the supply of the main army. The States never 
were blessed with greater plenty or had it more in their 
power to lay up ample stores of provisions for the army, 
than at present ; and if the people will not lend them to the 
public and await for future payment, they must be taken; 
but they should be so taken as to occasion as little disgust 
as possible, which a regular apportionment of specific arti- 
cles may effect. Some vent should be found for the surplus 



of the earth's production or I fear the collection of heavy 
taxes will be found oppressive and produce clamour and 
discontent — if their collection shall be found practicable 
at any rate. Whether this can be effected by internal de- 
mand and consumption I doubt; and if it can not, no other 
mode will answer but opening the ports. In laying specific 
taxes I am inclined to think double the quantity wanted 
should be required from the people; as our half may be 
allowed for the expence of collecting, transporting, com- 
missaries wages and the waste unavoidable, besides some- 
times a total loss by water and the damage in the storehouses. 
These things make a specific tax less eligible than others, 
could it be avoided. 

Letters from Muhlenberg of the 2 d . which arrived this 
morning mention the enemy all in Portsmouth; the ships 
in the road; different accounts as to their fortifying at 
Portsmouth ; certain intelligence is expected every moment 
from Col. Gibson, who is down with a party for that pur- 
pose ; accounts from head quarters came in last night in- 
forming that] 4,000 more troops had sailed from N. York 
southerly. A few days past we had very flattering accounts 
from the south (Cornwallis and his whole army in captivity). 
The hope of its being true, though not strong in me from 
the imperfections in the intelligence, has died away in every 
one for want of confirmation. One 64 and three frigates 
would have taken the whole fleet in our bay, as there are 
only a 44 and 2 frigates, with a 20 gun ship of Goodrich's. 

We have reason to think Dunlap's * are in the hands 

of the enemy. Compliments to the family. 

*Men or mail. 



Richmond, 10 th November, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favor by the last post. We have had a House 
since Monday, and in committee of the whole this day have 
voted the raising the deficiency of our continental troops for 
the war, and to recruit them by a bounty, which I expect will 
be very high ; but the members in general seem to prefer that 
method to any other, let the expence be what it will. What 
may be the ultimate determination is yet very uncertain, as 
there is no accounting for the whim and caprice of some ; 
but from the unanimity with which the question was carried 
to-day (not a voice dissenting) I presage a happy issue to the 
business. We have recommended the bringing in the old 
paper currency to exchange for the new bills just arrived. 
By this operation, if it succeeds, we lose one-half the sum we 
expected to have the first use of; but of which we have been 
deprived by the necessity of anticipating the taxes by which 
channel alone the old money would come in. And now 
from an empty treasury and the amazing expence incurred 
by calling forth men to oppose and repel the invasion, and 
the pressing necessity for money, it will be unavoidable I 
fear the making a further emission, and which was also re- 
solved this day in committee. Every one seems to be sensi- 
ble of the evils of this measure, but they see or think they 
see, greater evils in our present situation will result to the 
community from the want of money than from the increase 
of it. And indeed I can not see a way of carrying on our 
operations at this juncture so indispensably necessary, with- 
out money. Of the evils that present themselves we think 

we choose the least. 



On the fourth instant one of our light horsemen met and 
closely interrogated a suspected person whose conscious guilt 
at length manifested itself and induced the horseman to 
search him, when he found in his possession a letter written 
on very thin or silk paper from Gen 1 . Leslie to Lord Corn- 
wallis, informing his Lordship he had taken post at Ports- 
mouth and waited his orders.* The person apprehended is 
it seems a citizen employed by Leslie who informs Corn- 
wallis he was to receive a handsome reward if he succeeded 
in his embassy. Unfortunately for the embassador, he was 
in a fair way to receive the compliment of the bowstring, 
alias the halter, on the 8 th instant. Three other fellows were 
apprehended yesterday about ten miles below this place; 
the one a sergeant of British grenadiers, the others soldiers, 
and all deserters from the barracks the last summer and got 
into New York. They were part of the British army at 
Portsmouth, and it is supposed were on their way to the 
barracks — whether sent with written or verbal instructions 
has not yet come out. 

Our force below on each side James River must be for- 
midable. Ten thousand of the militia were I am informed 
ordered out, but the draughts from several counties have 
been countermanded as soon as satisfactory information was 
obtained of the strength of the enemy. Six thousand, it is 
thought, will be a number very sufficient to secure us against 
the armament now at Portsmouth. It is supposed this party 
was to have attempted a junction with the army under Corn- 
wallis somewhere in North Carolina, but our present force 
in the field here and the unpromising [prospects] that pre- 
sent themselves to Cornwallis in the south, will prove strong 

*This intercepted letter is printed in "Jefferson's Works," i., 271, note. 



impediments to the execution of the project. Our militia 
are commanded by our supernumerary and other expe- 
rienced officers. Col. Lawson has a corps of about 700 
Volunteer horse and infantry — about 300 of them under 
my nephew Col. Monroe compose part of the light infantry 
commanded by Col. Gibson. If the enemy stay as by the 
intercepted letter it would seem they mean to do, there must 
soon be skirmishing, if nothing more ; but I hope our peo- 
ple will be cautious, until they are somewhat used to skir- 
mishing, of venturing a more general action. 

I enclose you an answer to Mr. Pleasants which you will 
be pleased to deliver, unless you can engage for me Pem- 
berton's house upon moderate terms with coach house, sta- 
bling for four horses, and the use of a small pasture with the 
garden ; also a hayloft and as much furniture for kitchen and 
house as he can spare. Pemberton's place is more conven- 
ient and would suit me rather better than the other, but 
is I fear not so healthy, which is a great object not only to 
myself but to Mrs. Jones who has this summer undergone a 
long and tedious illness from which she is not yet recovered, 
having terminated in the third day ague and fever. I know 
not what sort of house on the inside Pemberton's is and 
wish, if you are likely to engage for it, you would take the 
trouble of looking into the house. If his demands are un- 
reasonable, I would at any rate take Pleasants'. You will 
observe I propose to pay the rent quarterly, which Mr. 
Pleasants required should be all paid at the commencement 
of the year. If he will not consent to this I will agree to 
pay the first quarter at the commencement and so proceed 
on to the first of November. 


4 6 

Mr. Henry, I believe, returns to Philadelphia as I hear 
nothing of his intention to resign. He sent to the treasurer 
for ^8,000 to enable him to set out, but could not obtain 
it. I have done what I could since I have been here to for- 
ward money to the delegates, but could not effect it. Mr. 
Jameson yesterday informed me they would be able speedily 
to send you a supply. Our accounts have not yet been be- 
fore the Assembly, but expect them to-day or Monday. 
The account from the books should be stated and sent 
forward agreeable to the resolve. I shall endeavor to get 
matters so settled as that our supply be regular. With 
compliments to the gentlemen of the delegation and the 
family at Mrs. House's. 


Richmond, 18 th November, 1780 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favour by the last post and very sincerely 
wish the State news may prove true, but I cannot yet believe 
the Dutchmen will go to war. The Generals Greene and 
Steuben are here on their way to the southward. From that 
quarter we are destitute of intelligence, and from the army 
to the eastward in this State we have nothing material to 
mention. The enemy still at or near Portsmouth and our 
people at convenient distance on the south side James 
River, between Suffolk and Portsmouth ; both parties eat- 
ing their bread and beef in quiet without any quarreling 
that we hear of. The design that was formed to attack 
about 200 of the enemy at an outpost since called in, mis- 
carried by the disagreement between Colonels Gibson and 



Parker about rank — a fair and perhaps the only opportu- 
nity our people will have of striking the enemy to advan- 
tage, and which has been lost by a contention about rank. 
It was not so between the five Colonels whose militia united 
to attack Ferguson, for there the command was given to 
Campbell by several colonels, himself only a lieutenant 

In a private committee we have gone through the outlines 
of a bill [to] supply the deficiency of our quota of the Con- 
tinental army for the war. The[y] made a bounty of a 
negro not younger than ten or older than 40 years for each 
recruit — these to be required from all negro holders having 
twenty and upwards in their possession, in the proportion 
of every twentieth negro at such prices as [are] settled by 
the bill in hard money, to be paid for in eight years, the 
payment to commence the fifth year, with an interest of 5 
<P> ct. to go in payment of taxes. The persons furnishing 
the negros to be exempted from future draughts, unless 
upon invasion or insurrection ; and if they do not by a cer- 
tain period voluntarily surrender them, compulsion is to be 
used. This plan if it can be so digested in the bill as to 
appear practicable in execution, will I believe produce the 
men for the war, and from what I can learn, be palatable 
to the Delegates whatever it may be to the Senate. Strong 
objections certainly lie against it and the negro holders in 
general already clamour against the project and will encoun- 
ter it with all their force. But you know a great part of 
our House are not of that class, or own so few of them as 
not to come within the law should it pass. The scheme 
bears hard upon those wealthy in negroes, as that property 
is sacrificed to the exoneration of other property. It is in 



nature of a loan to the state and will aid the public exigence 
for money, but will not, I am pretty certain, come under 
the denomination of the ancient mode of benevolence. 
Though determined to join in any scheme that shall be 
practicable for raising them for the war, I confess I am 
no great friend to the one I have stated, though in Com- 
mittee I have given it my assistance towards making it per- 
fect, as a majority of the committee adopted the plan. But 
my notion is, and I think the mode would be more just and 
equably certain in procuring the men, to throw the militia 
into divisions as by the last law, and require the divisions 
to find a negro of a certain value or age, or money equiva- 
lent to that value ; and on failure of obtaining a recruit by 
a limited time, the division to be drafted with a small 
bounty to the soldier whose lot it may be to serve for three 
years. But the negro bounty cannot fail to procure men 
for the war under either scheme, with the draught as the 
dernier resort. 

Some doubts having arisen on the construction of the 
law for issuing and funding the new money under the 
scheme of 18 th March last, a bill was brought in to explain 
and amend it. While under consideration of a committee 
of the whole the speaker proposed an amendment whereby 
the new bills as well as those emitted by act of the last ses- 
sion called the 2 million act, should be a legal tender in 
payment of all debts, and that the last, which was not pay- 
able in taxes until twelve months hence, should now be re- 
ceived for taxes. After long debate the Committee of the 
Whole divided, when about ten appeared in favor of the 
amendment; so that the House and Senate agreeing to the 
clause, the new money of Congress and the late emission of 



this State, and I suppose of course the emission of this ses- 
sion, will all be a lawful tender in payment of debts — for 
such is the state of things here a further emission becomes 
indispensable. Thus you will see the scheme of the 18 th 
of March will be in great measure defeated by their pro- 
ceedings, and not have a fair chance to produce by its vig- 
orous execution those advantages to the public it was well 
calculated to effect. 

The executive are pursuing vigorous courses to lay up a 
sufficiency of beef and we have authorized them to send a 
Commissary into North Carolina to concert with the execu- 
tive there the laying up proper supplies of pork, as it seems 
the legislature of that State had prohibited the removal of 
that article from the State, and in Virginia there will be 
very little pork obtained, though I think we have plenty of 
beef and of every kind of grain. 

Col. Lee has this moment received a line from Weedon 
informing him the enemy were all embarked but wherefor 
is uncertain. Some conjectured up James River, but as 
they are all on board they must mean to leave us. Can you 
contrive me the journals of Congress for August and Sep- 
tember, and indeed October if printed. I mentioned in 
my last my terms for Pemberton's or Pleasants' house. Let 
me hear from you on the subject as soon as you can. 

Neither or Henry are I believe yet set out. I repeat 

your sending a copy of the account from the books of the 
delegates. These accounts are not yet laid before the House 
by the auditor, so that I can give you no information how 
they are relished. I am charged by the auditor with 2000/ 
on account the 8,000/ drawn in favor of George Meade & 
Co, and which you were to receive for me, but I cannot 



find by the treasurer's account that he has paid the war- 
rants. Has the money been received by the delegates? 
The executive informs me a bill for 20,000/ had been sent 
for the use of the delegation. 

madison to jones. 

Philadelphia, Nov. 25, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I informed you some time ago that the instructions to 
Mr. Jay had passed Congress, in a form which was entirely 
to my mind. I since informed you that a committee was 
preparing a letter to him, explanatory of the principles and 
objects of the instructions. This letter also passed in a form 
equally satisfactory. I did not suppose that anything fur- 
ther would be done on the subject; at least, until further 
intelligence should arrive from Mr. Jay. It now appears 
that I was mistaken. The delegates from Georgia and 
South Carolina, apprehensive that a uti possidetis may be 
obtruded on the belligerent Powers by the armed neutrality 
in Europe, and hoping that the accession of Spain to the 
alliance will give greater concert and success to the mili- 
tary operations that may be pursued for the recovery of 
their States, and likewise add weight to the means that may 
be used for obviating a uti possidetis, have moved for a re- 
consideration of the instructions, in order to empower Mr. 
Jay, in case of necessity, to yield to the claims of Spain on 
condition of her guarantying our independence and afford- 
ing us a handsome subsidy. The expediency of such a 
motion is further urged from the dangerous negotiations 
now on foot, by British emissaries, for detaching Spain 



from the war. Wednesday last was assigned for the con- 
sideration of this motion, and it has continued the order 
of the day ever since, without being taken up. What the 
fate of it will be I do not predict ; but whatever its own 
fate may be, it must do mischief in its operation. It will 
not probably be concealed that such a motion has been 
made and supported, and the weight which our demands 
would derive from unanimity and decision must be lost. I 
flatter myself, however, that Congress will see the impro- 
priety of sacrificing the acknowledged limits and claims of 
any State, without the express concurrence of such State. 
Obstacles enough will be thrown in the way of peace, if it 
is to be bid for at the expense of particular members of the 
Union. The Eastern States must, on the first suggestion, 
take the alarm for their fisheries. If they will not support 
other States in their rights, they cannot expect to be sup- 
ported themselves when theirs come into question. 

In this important business, which so deeply affects the 
claims and interests of Virginia, and which I know she has 
so much at heart, I have not the satisfaction to harmonize 
in sentiments with my colleague. He has embraced an 
opinion that we have no just claim to the subject in con- 
troversy between us and Spain, and that it is the interest of 
Virginia not to adhere to it. Under this impression, he 
drew up a letter to the Executive to be communicated to 
the Legislature, stating, in general, the difficulty Congress 
might be under, and calling their attention to a revision of 
their instructions to their Delegates on the subject. I was 
obliged to object to such a step, and, in order to prevent it, 
observed, that the instructions were given by the Legisla- 
ture of Virginia on mature consideration of the case, and 



on a supposition that Spain would make the demands she 
has done; that no other event has occurred to change the 
mind of our constituents but the armed neutrality in Europe 
and the successes of the enemy to the southward, which are 
as well known to them as to ourselves ; that we might every 
moment expect a third Delegate here, who would either ad- 
just or decide the difference in opinion between us, and that 
whatever went from the delegation would then go in its pro- 
per form and have its proper effect ; that if the instructions 
from Virginia were to be revised, and their ultimatum re- 
duced, it could not be concealed in so populous an assem- 
bly, and everything which our minister should be authorized 
to yield would be insisted on ; that Mr. Jay's last despatches 
encouraged us to expect that Spain would not be inflexible 
if we were so ; that we might every day expect to have more 
satisfactory information from him ; that, finally, if it should 
be thought expedient to listen to the pretensions of Spain, 
it would be best, before we took any decisive step in the 
matter, to take the counsel of those who best know the in- 
terests, and have the greatest influence on the opinions, of 
our constituents; that, as you were both a member of Con- 
gress and of the Legislature, and were now with the latter, 
you would be an unexceptionable medium for effecting this ; 
and that I would write to you for the purpose by the first safe 

These objections had not the weight with my colleague 
which they had with me. He adhered to his first determin- 
ation, and has, I believe, sent the letter above mentioned, 
by Mr. Walker, who will, I suppose, soon forward it to the 
Governor. You will readily conceive the embarrassments 
this affair must have cost me. All I have to ask of you is, 



that if my refusing to concur with my colleague in recom- 
mending to the Legislature a revision of their instructions 
should be misconstrued by any, you will be so good as to 
place it in its true light; and if you agree with me as to 
the danger of giving express power to concede, or the in- 
expediency of conceding at all, that you will consult with 
gentlemen of the above description and acquaint me with 
the result. 

I need not observe to you that the alarms with respect to 
the inflexibility of Spain in her demands, the progress of 
British intrigues at Madrid, and the danger of a uti possi- 
detis, may, with no small probability, be regarded as artifices 
for securing her objects on the Mississippi. Mr. Adams, in 
a late letter from Amsterdam, a copy of which has been en- 
closed to the Governor, supposes that the pretended success 
of the British emissaries at Madrid is nothing but a minis- 
terial finesse to facilitate the loans and keep up the spirits 
of the people. 

This will be conveyed by Col. Grayson, who has promised 
to deliver it himself; or if anything unforseen should pre- 
vent his going to Richmond, to put it into such hands as 
will equally insure its safe delivery. 


Richmond, 25 th November, 1780 
Dear Sir, 

I have yours of the 14 th and from my soul wish I could 
inform you we proceed with that vigour and dispatch the 
urgency of the public wants requires. The bill for filling 
up the quota of our Continental troops has not yet been 



reported although we have been in a Corrunittee upon it a 
fortnight. Such various opinions prevail as to the mode of 
raising them as well as the bounty to be given that I can 
hardly yet venture to say what will be the result. I think 
however we shall give a bounty in negros to such soldiers 
as will enlist for the war, the negro not to be transferred 
but forthcoming if the soldier shall desert the service, and 
in that case to revert to the public to recruit another man 
in his room. If in thirty days men are not recruited by 
bounty for the war, a draught to take place. It seems to 
be the prevailing opinion for three years, though I expect 
this long period upon a draft will be opposed, but I have 
my hopes it will be carried for that time. This bill will, 
however, go into the House to morrow or Monday. We 
shall then take up finance, and I see clearly we shall totally 
defeat the scheme of the 18 th of March last by the large 
emissions the urgent and present demands of the State ren- 
der unavoidable, I think at least 5 M. pounds. 

Almost the sole support and succour of the Southern de- 
partment depend upon Virginia, and perplexed and sur- 
rounded with difficulties as we are, there yet appears among 
people in general a disposition to make exertions to their 
utmost ability, and I have my hopes we shall accomplish 
a great proportion, if not the whole required from us. 
Methods are pursuing by the executive to obtain a good 
store of beef, and we have directed a Commissary to go to 
North Carolina to concert with that government the laying 
up a sufficiency of pork, as that article is rather scarce here, 
but in much greater purity there. The executive will be 
armed with powers competent to drawing forth every re- 
source, and if we can but furnish money for transportation 



and other contingent charges, the great specific supplies 
that will be furnished will I hope keep matters in a way that 
will not let the army suffer for want of our assistance. 

The enemy have left us without leaving behind them as 
heretofore those marks of ravage and devastation that have 
but too generally attended their progress. All the unrigged 
vessels remain unhurt ; no burnings and but little plunder- 
ing, and this when done, was by the Tories in general and 
reprobated, we are informed, by Leslie and the Commodore 
as well as the principal officers of their army and fleet. 
Surely this sudden and most extraordinary change in the 
behaviour of the enemy has a meaning which, though we 
are yet at a loss to unfold, will ere long be made manifest. 
We have no late accounts from the southward. The last 
from Gates, Smallwood and Mason [or Magen] speak of 
our force being inconsiderable and almost naked and fre- 
quently without provisions. Genl. Greene is gone forward, 
leaving Baron Steuben here to arrange matters with the 
State, and then to follow him. 

We have had a warm debate in the House upon a bill to ex- 
plain and amend the act of the last session for funding the new 
bills of credit of Congress, under the scheme of the 18 th 
of March. The question agitated, whether those bills, as 
well as the two million of State money issued last session, 
should be a tender in payment of debts ; and determined 
that they should be a legal tender. H-n-y for the ques- 
tion, R. H. L. against it, and both aided by the auxiliaries, 
took up two days or nearly in discussing the question. In- 
deed we lose a great deal too much time in idle unnecessary 

Mr. Blair was. yesterday chosen to succeed Mr. Nicholas 



in the Chancery, and to morrow we fill up the vacancy in 
the General Court, which I plainly see will be the lot of 
Mr. Fleming. I had thought of G— f— n,* but found it 
was in vain to propose him. I expected somebody would 
mention Mr. James Henry, but it has not been done. I 
believe that would be also, unless as you know the advan- 
tage a member has over an absent person. I this day pre- 
sented [a bill] for relief to Mr. Dunlap for his loss, but 
am very doubtful whether it will be attended with success. 
I wish to hear what he says about getting another apparatus. 
or whether he declines the business altogether. I should be 
sorry he should do so, as I am certain he would be very use- 
ful to the State, and will in the end find his account in un- 
dertaking the business. 

Mrs. Jones I find is not yet well of the ague and fever 
which, being of the third day, will I fear continue on her 
for some time, as it has already been her companion through 
the fall. The extract of your letter to the governor re- 
specting supply of money was laid before the House, as 
well as Col. Bland's quere for his satisfaction upon a scruple 
respecting commerce. They are referred to a committee, 
and so are the delegates' accounts. M. M. S'sf account 
lodged in the auditor's office, occasions speculation. You 
would do well, if not already done, to transmit a state of 
the accounts from the book, and in particular M. S. , as it 
is said it was never examined according to custom by the 
delegates. This last upon second thoughts should not come 
alone. It will appear pointed. It would be better to get 
the whole transcribed by some person and pay him, charg- 

*Mr. Griffin. 

f Meriwether Smith. . 



ing the State. I shall endeavour, if the matter comes on 
before I leave Richmond to get the delegates, supply of 
money fixed upon some sure and certain fund, that they may 
no longer be exposed to the difficulties lately experienced. 
R. H. Lee talks of lessening the number to save the ex- 


Richmond, 2 December, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I have no letter from you by this week's post, although I 
expect you sent one, as Mr. Griffin informs me what news 
here was worth communicating, especially the contents of 
Mr. Adams' letter,* you had mentioned. I have been much 
indisposed the greater part of this week, and not able to give 
much assistance in the business upon hand, which is chiefly 
the bills for recruiting the army, and emitting and funding 
I suppose six millions of pounds. The first was reported to 
the House near a week past, and has been the subject of 
debate every day. It went in a plan for giving negro 
bounties and has been rejected by an amendment from the 
word whereas. The amendment proposes to give a bounty 
of five thousand pounds to each recruit for the war or three 
years, which is uncertain, but I expect will be the last and 
this money to be demanded from all persons having a possi- 
ble property above 500/ specie value at the rate of 2 p r ct. 
At present it stands no lower than those having property 

* Giving information that General Provost had sailed from England with a few 
frigates for Cape Fear, and that the British ministry were determined to make an 
active winter campaign in the Southern States. Adams to Congress, August 23, 



above three hundred, but I expect it will be brought to 
ioo/. The money, or some specifics which are allowed to 
be paid in lieu of money, are to be collected by the last 
of January. The collection, added to the tax to be paid by 
the people under the act of the last session will be very 
difficult for them to comply with, but the situation of the 
treasury without money and the demands now due from the 
public and the late expences occasioned by the invasion, 
will soon exhaust the new emission, which will be gone as 
soon and as fast as they can make it. For almost the whole 
burthen of the southern army will and must, as Gen 1 . Greene 
informs us, fall on this State. I am in hopes the bounty of 
5 will be reduced to three thousand pounds, which will then 
for 3000 men amount to 9,000,000 — an amazing sum for a 
bounty. But our legislators are timid, or affect many of 
them to be timid, about a draft which had better be made 
of the militia, to serve two years without bounty, unless a 
very small one, and that body or any other that may be 
necessary, supplied from the militia by rotation, to be at 
camp by the time the others are to come away, and to serve 
other two years. In the meantime let an exemption from 
draft, or even militia duty out of the State, be offered by 
the law to every person who recruits a soldier for the war, 
whereby a number of our people will be constantly endeav- 
ouring to enlist soldiers for the war, and a great number I 
have no doubt might be so enlisted for a much less sum than 
the bounty proposed to be offered. If we raise the 3000 
only for three years, it is intended to furnish money to the 
officers or some proper person to take the proper occasion 
of enlisting as many of them for the war as they can, and 
there are moments when most of them may be enlisted. 

It is 


It is in contemplation to send some proper person to lay 
before Congress the resources of this State and its ability to 
maintain the southern war, in which embassy perhaps North 
Carolina may join that more dependence may not be placed 
on us than we are able to bear, lest a disappointment may 
ensue, as we have no doubt the great operations of this win 
ter and next spring will be to the south. The person is also 
to press the making strong remonstrances to France and 
Spain for their co-operation, with proper force by sea and 
land, to recover S. Carolina and Georgia. A resolution to 
this effect now lies on the table. 

Mr. Henry has sent in his resignation ; no proposal yet of 
filling his place and am doubtful whether it will be done, as 
some think to save expence the number should be lessened. 
Our accounts, as well as those of the preceding delegates 
are before a committee. No step yet taken about the ces- 
sion of lands, but will be taken up so soon as the recruiting 
and supply bills are passed. Mr. Mason has not yet ap- 
peared, and I do not expect he will this session, as he has 
the remains upon him of a severe attack of the gout. How- 
ever, I have my hopes we shall obtain a cession of all beyond 
the Ohio. 

Certainly if Leslie is gone to the southward and another 
reinforcement from New York and also one reported from 
England in that quarter, Congress or the commander in 
chief should send on to the southward the Pennsylvania 
line before it is too late. For if these reinforcements ar- 
rive they will go where they please, as our army will be 
unable to withstand them and the severity of the approach- 
ing season will retard the march exceedingly of any succour 
by land. 



Mrs. Jones still continues to suffer the assaults of the ague 
and fever, and she writes me it has so weakened and reduced 
her she fears she will not be in condition to go north. If 
her state of health should be such as to render her unable to 
travel, I think I shall decline it myself. Have you fixed any- 
thing with Pemberton or Pleasants? If you have not and 
either of them are disposed to rent upon the terms I men- 
tioned, endeavour to make it conditional, that if in a month 
or six weeks I should decline the bargain, I may be at lib- 
erty, as they should if any other offered, to rent their places. 
As soon as I return home, or soon after, you shall hear fur- 
ther from me upon this subject. I send for my horses to- 
day, and shall return about the 10 th or 12 th . Your letters 
after the receipt of this please to direct to Fredericksburg 
until further informed. I have [this] moment your letters 
which I expect by some mistake went on to Petersburg, as 
this is the day for the return of the post from there. I find 
you have engaged Pleasants' house for me and must abide 
by it. I thank you for your trouble in the matter, and shall 
be ready to return you the favour wherever in my power. 


December 5th, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

We had letters yesterday from Mr. Jay and Mr. Carmi- 
chael, as late as the 4 th and 9 th of September. Mr. Jay in- 
forms us that it is absolutely necessary to cease drawing 
bills on him; that 150,000 dollars, to be repaid in three 
years, with some aid in clothing, &c, is all that the court 



will adventure for us. The general tenor of the letter is, 
that our affairs there make little progress; that the court is 
rather backward; that the navigation of the Mississippi is 
likely to prove a very serious difficulty ; that Spain has her- 
self been endeavoring to borrow a large sum in France, on 
which she meant to issue a paper currency ; that the terms 
and means used by her displeased Mr. Neckar, who, in con- 
sequence, threw such discouragements on it, as, in turn, 
were not very pleasing to the Spanish minister; that Mr. 
Cumberland is still at Madrid, laboring, in concert with 
other secret emissaries of Britain, to give unfavorable im- 
pressions of our affairs ; that he is permitted to keep up a 
correspondence by his couriers with London ; that if nego- 
tiations for peace should be instituted this winter, as Spain 
has not yet taken a decided part with regard to America, 
England will probably choose to make Madrid, rather than 
Versailles, the seat of it. However unfavorable many of 
these particulars may appear, it is the concurrent represen- 
tation of the above ministers that our disappointment of 
pecuniary succor at Madrid is to be imputed to the want of 
ability, and not of inclination, to supply us; that the steadi- 
ness of his Catholic Majesty is entirely confided in by the 
French ambassador; and that the mysterious conduct of 
Mr. Cumberland, and of the court of Spain towards him, 
seems to excite no uneasiness in the ambassador. The let- 
ters add, that, on the pressing remonstrance of France and 
Spain, Portugal had agreed to shut her ports against Eng- 
lish prizes, but that she persisted in her refusal to accede to 
the armed neutrality. 

The receipt of the foregoing intelligence has awakened 
the attention of the Georgia delegates to their motion, of 



which I informed you particularly by Col. Grayson. It 
has lain ever since it was made undisturbed on the table. 
This morning is assigned for the consideration of it, and I 
expect it will, without fail, be taken up. I do not believe 
Congress will adopt it without the express concurrence of 
all the States immediately interested. Both my principles 
and my instructions will determine me to oppose it. Vir- 
ginia and the United States in general are too deeply inter- 
ested in the subject of controversy to give it up as long as 
there is a possibility of retaining it. And I have ever con- 
sidered the mysterious and reserved behaviour of Spain, 
particularly her backwardness in the article of money, as 
intended to alarm us into concessions rather than as the 
effect of a real indifference to our fate, or to an alliance 
with us. I am very anxious, notwithstanding, to have an 
answer to my letter by Grayson. 


Richmond, 8 December, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I have yours of November 28 th by the post, and wish I 
could inform you the Assembly had yet fixed the plan of 
recruiting our quota of Continentals, but such various opin- 
ions and modes are proposed that great delay has been the 
consequence. The present proposition is a bounty of 5,000 
for the war, 2500 for three years if it comes to a draft for 
that period — the whole to be collected from the taxable 
property by the last of January, each division to clothe the 
soldier and find him a beef. It is expected this mode will 
raise us 3000 men and as many beeves to feed them. 



Whether this will pass I cannot pretend to say, but am told 
it is the most agreeable of any thing that has been pro- 
posed. My speaking thus doubtfully proceeds from my 
non-attendance in the House this week, being confined by 
a slight but lingering fever. I am somewhat better to day, 
and hope in a few days to be in the House again, though I 
shall continue a very short time, having sent for my car- 
riage to go home. 

The finance bill was under consideration of the commit- 
tee of the whole yesterday. I have not heard whether they 
got through it. This finished, the next great object will be 
to take up the question of ceding the back country. This 
I want done before I go, and also to have some mode fixed 
for the delegates being regularly supplied. I mean to take 
a few days of next week for these purposes before I set out. 
I have already requested your future letters to be addressed 
to me at Fredericksburg until I give you notice of my being 
about to leave Virginia for Pennsylvania. This I expect 
yet to do, as by the last post Mrs. Jones informs me she and 
my son are both upon the mend. You need not, therefore, 
if not already done, say anything to Mr. Pleasants, as I 
expect Mrs. Jones may be prevailed upon — her health being 
in some measure restored — to venture north. 

The negro scheme is laid aside upon a doubt of its prac- 
ticability in any reasonable time, and because it was gener- 
ally considered as unjust, sacrificing the property of a part 
of the community to the exoneration of the rest. It was 
reprobated also as inhuman and cruel. How far your 
idea of raising black regiments, giving them freedom would 
be politic, in this and the negro States, deserves well to be 
considered, so long as the States mean to continue any part 



of that people in their present subjection; as it must be 
doubtful whether the measure would not ultimately tend to 
increase the army of the enemy as much or more than our 
own. For if they once see us disposed to arm the blacks 
for the field they will follow the example and not disdain 
to fight us in our own way, and this would bring on the 
southern States probably inevitable ruin. At least it would 
draw off immediately such a number of the best labourers 
for the culture of the earth as to ruin individuals, distress 
the State, and perhaps the Continent, when all that can be 
raised by their assistance is but barely sufficient to keep us 
jogging along with the great expence of the war. The 
freedom of these people is a great and desirable object. 
To have a clear view of it would be happy for Virginia ; 
but whenever it is attempted, it must be I conceive by some 
gradual course, allowing time as they go off for labourers 
to take their places, or we shall suffer exceedingly under 
the sudden revolution which perhaps arming them would 
produce. Adieu. I hope my head will be easier when I 
next write. 

Maj. Lee is now here on his way to the south. Our army 
we are told is very weak in that quarter, and we hear the 
enemy are reinforcing from New York. I am apprehensive 
all Virginia can do will not be sufficient to make head 
against them, if it be true what is said, that they will be 
eight thousand strong. Clothing and blankets are exceed- 
ingly wanting in our army. For want of these not above 
400 of 800 and upwards of our levies can yet go forward 
since the enemy left us. 



2 nd January, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

I was not in a condition to visit Fredericksburg the last 
week, or you should then have been informed that Mr. Brax- 
ton has taken the warrant upon the treasurer and agreed to 
give bills payable in Philadelphia for the amount of 10,000/. 
Mr. Fitzhugh was to bring them up, but it is not yet arrived, 
unless he came yesterday, which may be the case, as Braxton 
wrote me it was expected they would rise on Saturday last. 
That, however, I think doubtful, as I am pretty certain they 
would if possible, take up the question of the back lands as 
well as the Mississippi affair with Spain. 

It seems there was a ballot for a person to repair to Con- 
gress and the General, in consequence of the resolution I 
before mentioned to you, the day Braxton wrote, and the 
House having divided between the Speaker and R. H. Lee, 
the question could not be decided. As the Speaker being 
the person in question could not [vote] in his own case, after 
much debate and perplexity Lee withdrew his pretensions, 
so that Harrison stood elected. Braxton says the old fellow 
was so disgusted with the vote that he believed he would re- 
sign his appointment. Should that be the case I question 
whether any one undertakes the embassy, especially as it is 
in great part superseded by Col. Laurens' appointment. No 
doubt but the delegates in Congress by proper instructions 
could have done everything this agent can do, but as he is to 
attend the governor and our delegation thin, it was thought 
best to appoint some person not of the delegation, as he 



would necessarily be absent for some time on the visit to 
Head Quarters. I told Mr. Henry, the father of the propo- 
sition, I had no doubt but every proper measure was already 
taken and that I did not believe any good would result from 
it, further than might be expected from the state the Com- 
monwealth could give of its ability to comply with the requi- 
sitions of Congress ; that if more was laid upon her than she 
could bear some other course might in time be taken to sup- 
ply what she would likely fall short, but this could be done 
by a representation of the matter by the Executive to the 
Delegates as well as in any other way. 

I have not heard the issue of the report on the delegates' 
accounts and their future allowance. If nothing unforeseen 
prevents, I shall hope to be able to leave this about the 12 th 
instant for Philadelphia. Mrs. Jones' third day ague and 
fever still pursues her, and she is so reduced as to be scarcely 
able to take exercise, which makes it rather disagreeable to 
leave her. But as she has agreed to try the northern air 
next spring her power and several things are wanting 
for housekeeping, it makes a trip on my part necessary pre- 
vious to her going, as she cannot venture into the city until 
I could make the proper provision for fear of the small pox. 

It is to be hoped the removal of Sartine* and the intro- 
duction of this new man of distinguished abilities into the 
management of the naval department of France, will pro- 
duce a more active and vigorous prosecution of the war in 
favour of America than we have yet experienced. I fear 
from the great delays in the Assembly, our new levies will 
be late in the field. 

*M. de Sartine was succeeded by the Marquis de Castries. 

6 7 


17 January, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

I was in doubt whether to write you by this post or not, 
as I intend setting out in a day or two for Philadelphia, and 
should probably have the pleasure of taking you by the hand 
before my letter would arrive. But as we have yet in this 
quarter received no certain account of the departure of the 
enemy, and it is expected they intend to pay us a visit up 
Potomack, I may possibly delay my journey a few to see the 
event of this affair. 

We hear they have done great injury to the houses of 
Col. Harrison of Berkeley, and carried away all his val- 
uable negros. If they attempt to visit Fredericksburg, I 
believe they will have reason to repent the enterprise, as 
there now is there and in the neighbourhood a considerable 
force, and a further reinforcement expected to-day. I have, 
I confess, no expectation they will come up Potomack River. 
Their Force is inadequate to any attack where the country 
has been previously alarmed which is here and I believe in 
most other parts the case. If they do us any injury it must 
be by plundering private persons of their property along 
the shores and receiving the negroes who may run away 
and join them. It is not improbable this days post may 
bring us information of their departure. I have a letter 
from Col. Anthony Thruston for you with I presume the 
cash inclosed you advanced his son. The assembly have 
come to a set resolution relinquishing to the States the 
lands beyond the Ohio upon certain conditions. They 
have also changed the allowance to the Delegates to 46 

specie ^ day. 



Be pleased to renew a ticket in the lottery for Mr. H. 
Ballaile No. 12153 @ price of 40 doll and for J. J. the 
number inclosed. 


Phila: 21st February, 17S1. 
Dear Sir, 

I beg leave to mention to you a young gentleman cap- 
tured by the enemy when the Buckskin fell into their hands 
in Chesapeake Bay, and who was put on shore under parole 
and wishes to be discharged from the obligation as soon as 
possible, as he conceives it restrains him not only from act- 
ing in the field, should the situation of his country require 
his services, but even from attending the hospital for his in- 
struction, which he is very desirous of doing. The person 
I speak ot is Dr. Jno. Lewis, a son of the late Mr. Charles 
Lewis, whose name I mentioned to you some years ago 
while he was in New York, and being refused the liberty of 
coming out was at length obliged to return to Great Britain. 
His parole is, I think, irregular, as it extends only to his not 
doing or speaking anything to the prejudice of the enemy, 
without the clause of rendering himself when called for. 

You will receive from the president a copy of a report 
which has passed in Congress, in consequence of Col. Har- 
rison's communications; and you will also be informed of 
the arrival of Provost with a reinforcement to the enemy in 
the south, and of his progress since his arrival. Arnold's 
position at Portsmouth, Provost in North Carolina, and 
Cornwallis in South Carolina, will I fear effectually ob- 

6 9 

struct the supplies from our State, or so delay them as to 
render Greene's situation critical. If the French ships 
from Rhode Island shall succeed in their enterprise in the 
Chesapeake, the event will be propitious and produce the 
happiest effects. Our State will be thereby further aided by 
a supply of 5000 men, arms and some stores, retaken in 
and sent forward in one of the French frigates. The arrival 
of Provost and the great want of arms in the southern States, 
it must be confessed, present a rather gloomy prospect and 
under this temper of mind you will receive a letter reiter- 
ating what has, I think, been several times intimated, a 
desire that you will pay particular attention to the southern 
department. I wish we could but content ourselves with a 
communication of facts and any reflections upon them for 
illustration, leaving the combination and execution of the 
various operations of a campaign to those whose business it 
is to project and execute them. P. Jones's arrival gives us 
no relief in cloathing and arms, a disappointment the more 
to be regretted as our wants increase. Yet we know not 
whom to blame. Jones will, I expect, unfold this dark and 
as yet mysterious business. I presume you must have been 
informed that Virginia has receded from her former instruc- 
tions to her delegates in Congress respecting the claim on 
her part to the free navigation of the Mississippi, which, if 
approved by Congress, will probably bring about an alliance 
with Spain and an acknowledgement of our independence. 
No doubt this event, if it takes place, will give us more 
credit in Europe. 

We are about appointing the officers who are to be at 
the head of our great departments. Yesterday Mr. Morris, 



without a vote against him (tho' S. A.* and his colleague, 
General W.f declined to ballot) was chosen financier. I 
cannot say he will accept, but have some hopes he will. 
Our finances want a Neckar to arrange and reform them. 
Morris is, I believe, the best qualified of any our country 
affords for the arduous undertaking. We shall in a day or 
two appoint the officers for the foreign affairs and the marine. 
I wish we had men in these offices as well qualified to exe- 
cute them as Morris in the treasury. Some however that 
are nominated, if they can be chosen will do very well. 
We are under difficulties about the war office, least any 
person we could now put into it may answer so well as the 
present commissioners. This may, and I expect will, post- 
pone that appointment. 


Phila: 27 th February, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

I missed the opportunity by the express of sending you 
the letter of the 21 st , which is now inclosed, as it contains 
a request respecting Dr. Lewis, and will serve to shew you 
I meant to pay my compliments to you as soon as I was 
certain after my arrival, you had declined your visit to R. 
Island. Lord Cornwallis has put every thing to the hazard, 
and if the people of Virginia and North Carolina have not 
the spirit to turn and support Gen 1 . Greene under the 
present fair prospect of totally ruining his Lordship's army, 
they deserve not the blessings we are contending for. Gen 1 . 

* Samuel Adams, 
f Artemas Ward. 



Greene's conduct has been judicious. Indeed from the wise 
measures concerted by him for the arrangement and support 
of the southern department and which were communicated 
by him to the Assembly while I was at Richmond, I enter- 
tained very favorable sentiments of that gentleman's fitness 
for the command of the southern army ; and his behaviour 
since has manifested he is equal to the appointment. If he 
is properly supported he will give us a good account of Corn- 
wallis. I was concerned when I came to Congress to hear 
so small a favor was refused Gen 1 . Greene, then going to his 
new command, as that of granting his request respecting Dr. 
McHenry. From my conversations with gentlemen on the 
subject, many think the Gen 1 , should have been indulged, 
and if it can be done, the question will probably be revived. 
This, however the Dr. should not be acquainted with, least 
the attempt should be unsuccessful. Thursday next is ap- 
pointed for the Maryland Delegates to subscribe the Articles 
of Confederation, an event that cannot fail to produce happy 
consequences both at home and abroad. The Articles, it is 
certain, are defective and amendments and additional pow- 
ers are necessary, and these will be and must be speedily 
proposed to the States for their concurrence, and no time 
perhaps more convenient for their meeting the attention 
and approbation of the States than the present, when they 
are generally convinced of the want of full powers, and are 
disposed to grant them. Any defects that have occurred to 
you, and no doubt many have from your situation and long 
service, you will oblige me in pointing out when you have 
leisure to write a few lines on the subject. It is of import- 
ance to make the articles of our union as complete as may 
be, and adequate to the great objects of the Confederacy, or 



we shall suffer from internal divisions and foreign machina- 

I am happy to find a strong reinforcement is going south. 
If Arnold does not escape before their arrival, that aban- 
doned man will probably meet the fate he deserves. The 
British affairs to the southward are now in a critical situa- 
tion, and if we improve the advantages the conjunction 
opens to us, all will soon be restored there to the power of 
the States, Charles Town excepted, and even that, if our 
ally can succour us by water, I have my hopes may be re- 
covered. These are my conjectures; how practicable or 
well founded, you are the best judge. 

The officers to the other departments are not yet chosen. 


Fredericksburg, 3 d April, 17S1. 
Dear Sir, 

I arrived here the 7 th day after my departure from Phila- 
delphia. The sanguine hopes entertained before I set out 
of taking Arnold and his party at Portsmouth lessened as I 
advanced and at length were entirely lost by certain infor- 
mation that the British fleet were in the Bay after engaging 
that of the French off the Capes. The issue of the conflict 
has been variously reported — the account which obtains 
most credit is that the French disabled one of the British 
74's but as the fleet left the bay in two days after she en- 
tered it in quest as it is said of the French fleet the presump- 
tion is they were not much injured. A report prevails that 
a second engagement took place the 24 th near the Capes as 

a heavy 


a heavy cannonade was then heard in that quarter — of this 
as well as the first engagement it is probable you are better 
informed than we are as I met two expresses with despatches 
for Congress and Gov r . Lee giving an account it was said of 
the above transaction and of the battle between Generals 
Greene and Cornwallis. I bespoke a pair of leather breeches 
of a breeches maker whose name I have forgot but who lives 
on the right hand side of Market street as you go to the 
market and the corner of 4 th street, they are for Col. Tali- 
ferro and the price 600 dols. Be pleased to get them and 
deliver to the late General Woodford's servant, Daniel, 
when he calls for them. 

Mrs. Woodford, as well as myself, will thank you for in- 
formation when she is to apply for payment of the allowance 
made the widows of deceased officers, what the allowance is, 
and at what periods payable. 

Since writing the above I have your letter by the post and 
find my conjectures true, that you knew more of the above 
transactions than we did. A letter from Weedon informs 
that 23 transports with troops commanded by Gen'l Phillips 
arrived Sunday week (the 25 th ult.) at Lynhaven Bay, con- 
voyed by the Chatham, Roebuck, Rainbow, the Hancock 
and 4 other frigates. Weedon further writes that a letter 
from Greene of the 23 d ult. mentions that his army is in 
high spirits and ready for another action, the enemy retreat- 
ing and his army advancing. They left our wounded and 
70 of their own. 


Phila: i 6 th May, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

Having returned to Congress a few days only, and pri- 
vate matters requiring my attention for great part of the 
time, I have not been able regularly to attend to business, 
or to acknowledge the receipt of your favour transmitted to 
Philadelphia after leaving it and sent after me to Virginia 
by Mr. Madison. The moment for successful operations 
against our enemies was certainly immediately after the 
disaster in Gardner's Bay, when, had it been embraced, the 
post at Portsmouth and the troops under Arnold, as well as 
the British ships then in Virginia must have fallen an easy 
conquest to our united efforts. For which purpose the 
State was, I believe, in readiness. Abortive as the project 
has proven, we yet hope for the best and that while it may 
be in the power of our ally to give us effectual aid in Chesa- 
peake, and believe me, at no time was it more necessary 
than at present when all the lower country of our State 
from its great navigable waters are exposed to the ravage 
and rapine not only of British ships of war but of the ves- 
sels employed by the Board of Refugee Commissioners in 
New York. To you it is unnecessary to describe the dis- 
tress of the inhabitants upon the navigable waters of Vir- 
ginia. Your knowledge of the country enables you suffi- 
ciently to judge of it exclusive of such information as I 
doubt not you receive from that quarter. Had we a suffi- 
cient stock of arms distressing as it is to our militia to be so 
generally out on duty as it must be to them at this season of 
the year, I think they would do much in opposition to the 
enemy, supported even by no considerable body of regu- 


lars. But wanting arms, their negroes flying from them, 
and their prospects of making little or nothing from their 
estates to support their families and bear the burdens of the 
war, may shake their fidelity and attachment to the cause so 
far as to slacken their exertions if some succor is not afforded 
them by water to restrain the ravage of these plunderers. 
I mention these things as facts falling under my own obser- 
vations before I left the State, that if they have not been 
more particularly communicated by others you might have 
some intimation of them. 

The late movements of Cornwallis and Philips indicate 
a junction of their armies on the Roanoke from whence 
they may direct their operations north or south as they shall 
see best, without the fear of successful opposition, or may, 
it would seem cut off all communication between Virginia 
and the other southern States and reduce Gen'l Greene to 
the greatest extremity. From these dangers that at present 
threaten us a naval force sent to the Chesapeake would at 
once relieve us and admit Virginia to afford that succour to 
the other southern States they so much need. The great 
object of the enemy is undoubtedly the southern States, 
and it is submitted to your reflection how far you can sup- 
port them by your influence in the destination of such aids 
as may arrive from Europe or the operation of that force 
now here.* We are told all the ships of war have left New 
York with about 2,000 troops, after having once put back. 
Adieu. Pardon the haste of this letter which is written in 
Congress in consequence of the President's information our 
express was going off for Head Quarters. 

7 6 


Phila: 31 May 1781 
My dear Sir, 

I am this moment informed that Mr. Rutledge is going 
to Head Quarters and have stolen out of Congress to give 
you a few lines to impress on you the necessity of taking 
some immediate steps for the succour of the southern de- 
partment. The Marquis' letter will inform you of his sit- 
uation and will of itself, without being enforced by me, 
shew the distress that must soon fall upon our State if not 
speedily succoured. For some days I have waited with im- 
patience to hear from you, not doubting your anxiety for 
the southern States had determined you to measures for 
their support as far as you have the means in your power. 
This expectation and an opinion entertained that you must 
be fully informed of the late intelligence from Europe, have 
delayed my writing to mention these matters. The pro- 
posed mediation of the Imperial courts cannot be declined 
by the belligerent Powers, although delayed by France and 
Spain for a short time, to know the dispositions of the 
States. The most powerful exertions are necessary not only 
to give weight to the negociations of our plenipotentiary, 
but to recover our lost territory to prevent the difficulties 
of the proposition of uti possidetis. Congress are giving 
the necessary communications to the States and are en- 
deavoring to stimulate them to emulation at this conjunct- 
ure, which more than ever calls for our own exertions in 
consequence of our disappointment from France. The aid 
in money though will, it is to be hoped, enable us to do 
something what it would otherwise be in our 

power to effect. Virginia receiving so little aid from the 



north occasions many of her citizens in their letters to the 
delegates to insinuate that as they are not and 

safety, they care not for the southern States, This notion 
is but too prevalent and is of dangerous tendency to slacken 
the of the people and more readily dispose them 

to submission. I hope your deliberations with C*. Rocham- 
beau have determined upon relinquishing the idea of a cer- 
tain conquest for the present and shew yourself in Virginia, 
where I think your name and presence would be of infinite 
service. But, my dear Sir, I mention these things with the 
utmost deference to your own judgment and feelings which 
I am sure are equally touched with my own for the distress 
of numbers in Virginia and as prompt to relieve them as 
any person on earth, and I am satisfied will do so for us in 
your power consistent with the general welfare. 

We have before us a proposition for sending on an aid of 
militia from this State and Maryland, but of all assistances 
these are the worst and would avoid them if there was a 
prospect of more effectual support. Supplies of arms are 
gone on and getting ready to go on, but these have been 
greatly delayed for want of money. . . .* 


Spring Hill, 16 th April, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

The alliance of the American States being now completed 
by the assent of the State of Maryland to the Articles of 
Confederation, the future proceedings of Congress must be 

*The ink of this letter has so faded as to be almost undecipherable. 



governed by those rules, and every deviation from them 
become matter of complaint or jealousy to the States. It 
would be wise, therefore, where defects appear to have them 
supplied in time, and while the temper of the States from 
recent experience of the want of competent powers in Con- 
gress for the purposes of war disposes them to do so. It 
appears to me indispensably necessary for the general wel- 
fare in time of war that Congress should be vested with a 
controlling power over the States sufficient to compel obe- 
dience to requisitions for men and money apportioned agree- 
able to the rules laid down. Without a coercive power for 
these purposes clearly vested in that body all future wars, as 
the present has done, must languish for want of proper au- 
thority to call forth the resources of the States. These aids 
should be as regularly and fully furnished by those States at 
ease and removed from danger as by those attacked and 
immediately exposed to it. Yet we have found these only 
when necessity and self preservation impelled them to exer- 
tions rendering those supplies the interest and safety of the 
whole required. And while some have strained every nerve 
and exhausted almost their whole strength in the struggle, 
others have been negligent and remiss in furnishing the 
proportions assigned. These delinquencies occasion dis- 
contents, prolong the war and expose the willing and obe- 
dient States to hardships, when justice requires that all 
contribute their property. How can this be effected with- 
out a controlling power in Congress for the purpose, I know 
not. Yet I know that without it we shall be a rope of sand, 
and the union be dissolved. It was made a question in 
Congress before I came away; I expect it will not be deter- 
mined before I return, whether the United States in Con- 


gress assembled had such a power; if not, whether it was 
not necessary they should have it. As the States have 
yielded to that body the right of making requisitions, does 
it follow Congress have the power by implication of enforc- 
ing obedience? If they now have this power, or not having 
it, the States should grant it them, how should the disobe- 
dient be punished? By shutting the ports, by a body of 
armed men, by deprivation of privileges or by what other 
method ? These are nice and tender points to handle, but 
are unavoidable in the discussion of this question. How 
far it would be prudent to open them to the States, I know 
not. Could the business be effected without coming from 
Congress, by a voluntary declaration of the respective States 
of their sentiment upon the right of Congress to exercise such 
a power, it would, I think, be better; for I suspect such a 
recommendation coming from Congress would excite fears 
in the States, that there was a disposition in Congress to 
grasp dangerous powers. It is certainly a transcendent 
power, never to be used but in cases of absolute necessity 
and extremity. The acknowledgment, however, of such a 
power in Congress, might possibly supercede the use of it, 
as it would prove a weight impelling the States to action. 
If the States are ever to possess a formidable navy, which 
may be serviceable to them in time of war, the power of 
laying embargoes during war at least, should be vested in 
Congress. This appears necessary on many other accounts 
which cannot be unknown to you, and I confess myself at a 
loss to conjecture the reason of its omission in the articles. 
If we are to have our great departments under the super- 
intendence of ministers accountable for their conduct (and 
which was agreed upon and some of them chosen when I left 



Congress, but which from a late letter from Madison will at 
length, I fear, be lost), it may be necessary, if any offences 
they may commit in the execution of their offices shall be 
punished in any of the courts now in being. As these 
officers will act throughout the States and can be resident 
in one only, there will be a difficulty in bringing them to 
trial and condign punishment without some special mode 
prescribed for the purpose. In this business, however, a 
great question arises. Can Congress, in other than mili- 
tary and maritime laws subject any citizen to death or other 
punishment than the laws of the State he belongs to inflict 
for such offenses? I have given your excellency much trouble 
in this letter. My apology is that I desire the senti- 
ments of gentlemen of respectable abilities belonging to 
the State I represent in all very interesting questions, to 
assist my own judgment and opinion ; and unless you for- 
bid it I shall take the same liberty on future occasions 
when they present themselves. 

I set out this day week for Philadelphia. 


Phila: 20 June 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favour of the 7 th inst. which gives me entire 
satisfaction of the propriety of your remaining with the 
Northern army and that it was out of your power from the 
small army under your command to afford any present suc- 
cour to the southern States. The same sentiment I find 
was entertained by Governor Jefferson, to whom I presume 



you have written on the subject, but from the contents of a 
letter I have just received (or rather the delegates of Vir- 
ginia) from R. H. Lee, inclosing one to be forwarded to 
you I expect you will be further solicited on that head, and 
as it may not be practicable for you speedily to give that 
gentleman an answer by conveyance from the present situa- 
tion of the country, I shall as soon as an opportunity offers 
write to him upon the subject. From all the accounts we 
receive our greatest disadvantage lies in the greatest supe- 
riority of the enemy's horse, which being increased since 
their advancing into the country from the number of fine 
horses that have fallen into their hands to 7 or Soo, so range 
about the country as to dismay the people not a little and 
keep them in continued alarm for the safety of their fami- 
lies. The superiority of the infantry I believe consists more 
in the distinction between regulars and militia than in 
numbers. This disadvantage in the cavalry cannot be sur- 
mounted by the State for want of equipments, of which 
they are very destitute. If they had them, the powers 
given by the Assembly to the Marquis to seize what horses 
may be necessary, would soon put him in condition to 
check their ravages ; but at present and until these equip- 
ments can be furnished the country must be greatly exposed. 
Cannot you therefore spare Sheldon's horse for this service, 
and also Vanheer's corps? Every assistance in cavalry is 
essential, and these may I presume be soon with the Mar- 
quis. If you think the last mentioned horse to be trusted 
on the service, you will recollect that a part of them are 
now at Head Quarters, or at least I am so informed. The 
French cavalry, I take for granted from what you say, must 
remain with you ; otherwise these being well mounted and 

o -^ 


equipped would be of more service than any other assist- 
ance you could immediately afford. I wish you to consider 
this matter of the cavalry, and give such orders as you shall 
find convenient. I have a letter by express from Col. Har- 
rison, dated the 8 th at Staunton, to which place the Assembly 
adjourned after their dispersion and escape from Charlottes- 
ville. He writes: 

Before this reaches you I dare say you will have heard how narrowly 
the whole Assembly escaped being made prisoners by Tarleton at Char- 
lottesville. They had not left the town an hour before he entered at the 
head of 450 horse and mounted infantry. Some stores are fallen into 
their hands, with three delegates and several other gentlemen. Amongst 
them Mr. Lyons, Mr. Kinlock, Robert and William Nelson. They are 
all paroled except Kinlock, and him they carried off. Had it not been 
for the extraordinary exertions and kindness of a young gentleman who 
discovered their intentions and got round them in the night, not one man 
of those in town would have escaped; as it was, so incredulous were 
some of us, that it was with much difficulty they could be prevailed on 
to adjourn. 

We are in a most distressed condition from the sea to the mountains ; 
so many fine horses have fallen into the hands of the enemy that they 
roam at large over all that country, and the Marquis is by no means able 
to check their progress. He has power given him by the Assembly to 
impress horses wherever he can find them, but he has not necessaries to 
mount the men when he gets them. This being the case, we know not 
what course to take to preserve the country from their ravages. We want 
arms greatly for infantry, but when we have them it is difficult to find 
men to use them, owing to the danger their families are in from the horse. 
We have 600 fine men under Baron Steuben, which he will not carry 
into action. What are his reasons I know not, but I can assure you his 
conduct gives universal disgust and injures the service much, the people 
complaining, and with reason, that they are dragged from their families 
at a time when they are most wanted to make bread for them, whilst the 
soldiers they have hired at a very great expence, lay idle. In short, my 
dear sir, his conduct does great mischief, and will do more if he is not 



recalled, and I think it behooves you to bring it about. I assure you it 
is the wish and desire of every man that this event should take place. 
I believe him a good officer on the parade, but the worst in every other 
respect in the American army. I like the Marquis much and so does 
everybody in the country; but is he not too young for such a command 
as he has, and of such great consequence to the American cause, and this 
great country? Would not St. Clair, think you, from his experience, be 
useful here? 

We have now no Executive in the State. For want of a Senate the 
governor will act no more, and the remainder of the council will not get 
together. I hope we shall set these matters right next week. 

A copy of a letter from the Marquis of the 3 d inst. to 
Genl. Greene, intimates that he was ignorant till lately that 
Genl. Greene had ordered these levies to act in Virginia; 
but it does not appear he had orders from Genl. Greene 
upon the subject, as he complains in the letter that he had 
not heard from him for some time. Perhaps your interpo- 
sition may be necessary upon this business to prevent mis- 
understanding. How far Col. H.'s opinion about the 
Baron requires your interference you will judge. I had 
heard some complaints of that gentleman before I left the 
State, but attributed them to his being long in the military 
line, unacquainted with the civil institution, and disgusted 
that his requisitions were not immediately complied with, 
rather than any other quality. However, if he has dis- 
gusted the people, prudence requires he should not be 
detached, but subject to the control of some superior offi- 
cer, or recalled. These matters you will direct as you shall 
see fit for the service. Could not Genl. Greene be well 
spared from the south to take the command in Virginia? 
The great scene of action is there, and as you cannot be 
present, his abilities and experience may be very useful. 
Excuse the haste of this letter which I have been obliged 
to write in Congress. 



Phila. 3 July 17S1. 
Dear Sir, 

Such has been the situation of Virginia for some time 
past we have but little, and that very imperfect, intelligence 
of the transactions there. This may have been the case 
with you, and yesterday's post being the only one for some 
weeks that brought us letters. I enclose one received from 
Col. Carey for your perusal, knowing that your acquaint- 
ance with that gentleman will readily account for his pro- 
lixity and some inaccuracies. 

Col. Temple, who arrived here a few days ago to forward 
[*] Dragoons, and which he expected to meet on the road, 
shewed me a letter dated the 21 st ult. from the Marquis, 
pressing him to use all possible dispatch to join him with 
that corps of horse ; that the enemy had left Richmond and 
were [*] down for Williamsburg. It is many weeks since 
this state was requested to equip this cavalry and send them 
to the Marquis's army, and we have been amused week after 
week that at least sixty of them were ready to march, and 
some times told they were marched ; but such has been the 
supineness of this Assembly, they are not yet equipped and 
must be sent to Virginia to be mounted, if money can be 
procured to pay them part of what is due them for back 
pay. The militia called for, to go to the southward, will 
not be raised, and difficulties have been started to the 300 
particular militia you requested; but I am in hopes they 
will be furnished. I will pardon all this if they fill up their 
Continental line, which they say is their design. In the 

* Defaced by seal. 



meantime they escape sending militia either south or north, 
unless the 300 you asked for are supplied. Our affairs have 
taken a most favorable turn to the south, and I hope the 
spirit of the people in that quarter is now so much roused 
that they will not be again reduced to the distressed state 
they were lately in. Their present resentment is high, and 
though partly ravaged, the country yet abounds with re- 
sources' which when properly applied will make them for- 
midable. Could the enemy but get a check by water in 
Virginia, in that state every thing would soon be restored 
and their violence as much humbled as lately it has been 

When you have perused Col. Carey's history you may 
commit it to the flames. 


Phila: 6 August, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 

I have received your favour of the 2 d inst. with the en- 
closures, and shall take proper care of them. 

Mr. Morris setting out for Head Quarters in the morn- 
ing, I embrace the opportunity to acknowledge the receipt 
of yours of the 10 th ult., and to thank you for the copies of 
the intercepted letters. The originals were transmitted us 
by Dr. Franklin. These shew the continued delusion and 
folly of the British ministry, now rendered more conspicu- 
ous by our late successes. 

From Carolina by the last flag which left Charles Town on 
Thursday last week, we learn that the enemy had abandoned 
96 and indeed all their posts were evacuated but Charles 



Town, where the troops were near all arrived; the last de- 
tachment from Ireland reduced about half by the march to 
relieve 96; Lord Rawdon in Charles Town, much indis- 
posed but bound soon for England; and that Leslie was 
met by the flag on board Carrisfoot (?) going to Charles 
Town to take the command. A packet was just arrived 
from England, by which accounts were received that the 
greatest part of the fleet with the Statia plunder had been 
taken by Admiral la M. Picquet, and carried into France — 
very pleasing news if it prove true. 

No late accounts from Europe or the W. Indies. The 
Dons seem to play the game wholly for themselves, instance 
their avidity for territorial cession on the Mississippi and the 
exclusive navigation of that river, and the late extraordinary 
capitulation at Pensacela. The neutral combination has at 
length drawn from Britain an instruction to her ships of war 
and armed vessels not to interrupt the commerce of the Bal- 
tic. We are told Holland is disposed to an alliance with 
these States; it may be so, but I fear she has a remnant of 
Spanish indolence and inactivity that requires beating before 
she will rouse to vigorous action, for as yet I discover but 
feeble efforts. Let us look at home where matters are more 
pleasing from the successes of the present campaign, and if 
we pursue our advantage [it] will place us in a respectable 
situation before the negotiators at the Congress when they 
convene. And if you shall be able to push the point at 
New York and be ultimately crowned with success, I shall 
be very indifferent about Spanish or Dutch alliances, espe- 
cially the first ; as I confess I do not relish their behaviour 
to us on more occasions than one. But enough of this. 



We have had much debate about Vermont; nothing yet 
determined, but think it will terminate in appointing per- 
sons to settle with them the terms of their admission into 
the union. 

By the Marquis you will be informed of the British fleet 
moving up the bay the 31 st ult. with about 3000 troops on 
board destined it was supposed for Baltimore. They had 
been embarked some days, and in the road, waiting I pre- 
sume for intelligence. Perhaps the interception of the 
southern mail afforded them what they wanted, though it 
is said a vessel came in from New York. Gov r . Lee's letter 
is the 4 th and the fleet not then in sight of Annapolis, which 
makes me suspect they must have been detained by contrary 
winds, or put into Potomack. We shall, if they are come 
up the Bay, hear more to morrow. If we do before Mr. 
Morris sets off, you shall have the information. 

Mrs. Washington was out at Col. Bland's when your let- 
ter arrived. I have sent her letter by one of her servants. 


Spring Hill, 21 st May, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

The friendly visits of my neighbours and acquaintances 
since my return have been and still continue to occupy my 
time, having not been free from company since the day after 
my getting home. Of course I have thought little of those 
matters which used, while in Philadelphia, to employ our 
attention, and have not yet fixed the time of my visit to 
Richmond, which will be regulated by information from 
there. Our last accounts (whether true I know not) but 


your advices by the post will inform you, say there was a 
House on Wednesday last; if so, I shall in eight or ten 
days pay my respects to them. It is said several petitions 
will be presented urging a further emission of paper cur- 
rency as indispensably necessary to supply the scarcity of 
specie. Some through folly, others from wicked acts may 
countenance this measure, but I cannot believe there can 
be found in the Assembly a majority of those characters 
until the fatal adoption of the proposition shall convince 
me of my mistake. It is certain that specie is either very 
scarce, or, if in the country, locked up, as the want of it is 
universally complained of by the planter and merchant. It 
must be very scarce, or our commerce very languid, as I am 
told good merchantable flour may be purchased over the 
mountains for ys.6(/. p r hundred, and I know tobacco (upland 
too) will not produce upon this river 2d. cash. The reason 
assigned [is] want of money to purchase. Imported articles 
in general 100 per cent, higher than in Philadelphia, and as 
great part of the goods for sale come from that quarter and 
of late from N. York, then it is easy to account for the drain 
of specie, and what must be the consequence to these States 
from such a ruinous traffic and a hampered commerce. 

I have not been able to find your pamphlet among my 
books and papers. Should I come across it, you may be 
certain proper care shall be taken of it, and conveyed by 
the first safe hand. Did you not lend it to Mr. Lee or Col. 
Bland ? I think you had it from me sometime I came away, 
and for the perusal of one of those gentlemen. Pray, my 
friend, let me have the Revolutionist from No. 4. I have 
it to that number. The April packet from England may 
be daily expected at New York. By her we may probably 


hear the result of the proceedings in consequence of Genl. 
Conway's motion.* I hear little of recruiting our line. The 
business, they say, is at a stand for want of money, as indeed 
is almost every other public exertion. Some military men 
say they could recruit our line if they had a specie bounty 
to offer. This cannot be furnished until the taxes bring it 
in, and then, if at all, will not be productive until October. 
Virginia will, therefore, this summer have few men in the 
field, unless for the spur of the occasion. Perhaps the As- 
sembly may think it necessary to order out a body for the 

Mrs. Jones begs her compliments to the ladies and joins 
me in the same to Col. Bland and yourself. J 

On 25 th February Conway had made a motion in the 
House of Commons against continuing the war against the 
States. It was defeated by a majority of one vote. Five 
days later an address to the King of the same purport passed 
the House by a majority of nineteen. 

*On the 25 ll > February Conway had made a motion in the House of Commons 
against continuing the war against the States. It was defeated by a majority of one 
vote. Five days later an address to the King of the same purport passed the House 
by a majority of nineteen. 

f Torn by seal. 

J "At present all my colleagues have left Congress except Col. Bland, and it is a 
crisis which calls for a full representation from every State." — Madison to Madison, 
May 20, 1782. 



Spring Hill, 25 June 1782 
Dear Sir, 

Your favour of the 4 th instant, and the packet of news- 
papers by Mr. Webb, went to Richmond and were returned 
to Fredericksburg, where I received them the last week; 
but no letter from you that post. From Richmond I had 
written you a long letter, and, getting home in time for the 
post at Fredericksburg, added a short one of some other 
matters that occurred after my getting home. These let- 
ters, I am told last night, have been intercepted near Onion's 
works in Maryland, and conveyed (probably) to Sir Guy 
Carleton before this; and you will I expect have an oppor- 
tunity of reading them in the royal Gazette soon, to which 
I must refer you for their contents, having no copy and not 
well recollecting the whole. I fear there are some observa- 
tions I could wish not to be public. If any such, they must 
relate to some transactions of the Assembly or individual 
members, but I think none of them very reprehensible, 
though known to the parties. I was particular respecting 
the petition you mentioned to have been communicated to 
the minister, and this may induce a publication. I men- 
tioned the continuation of the old delegates by a vote, but 
which I afterwards found to be a mistake, the vote being 
postponed until the bill had passed repealing the law that 
rendered yourself and J. J. ineligible. The allowance 8 
dollars per day; no directions given for the settlement of 
the time past, although the sense of the House asked by the 
auditors respecting the daily allowance. Jefferson, Mason, 
Randolph, Lee and Walker, have been appointed to state 


9 1 

the title of Virginia to western territory — Committee to 
draw instructions for delegates respecting western territory. 

C. Boneouski [?] had not reached Richmond when I left 
it. [I] hear since he was there, but not likely to succeed. 
This day's post will I expect communicate the result of his 

In the intercepted letter I transmitted you a bill of Mr. 
Ross's in Whitesides in my favor for two hundred and some 
dollars, to pay M. C. Griffin, or if he was not in immedi- 
ate want, a Messrs. Butler & Co., which Mr. Solomon could 
inform you of. I that week received a line from my friend 
Griffin requesting a remittance of the money. I have wrote 
to day to Mr. Ross to renew the draft and forward it to me, 
and it shall go forward as soon as I receive it. Pray pre- 
sent my compliments to Mr. Griffin and acquaint him with 
the circumstance. I have not yet concluded on my return 
to Philadelphia, but think I shall do it at least for the fall, 
if I can prevail upon Mrs. Jones to accompany me with 
Joe. She is now up in Orange on a visit to her father. If 
I visit Philadelphia, it will be about the middle or twentieth 
next month. You will therefore be so obliging as to in- 
quire about a lodging furnished, with two lodging rooms, 
servant's room, and two entertaining rooms and the use of 
the kitchen; or a convenient house furnished, that if I 
come up you may be able to engage me one upon as mode- 
rate terms as you can. As soon as I make up my mind 
upon the journey, you shall be informed. Mr. Lee has I 
expect joined you, as he was to set out in a few days after 
me leaving him in Richmond. Pray make my compliments 
to Col. Bland, and Mr. Lee, if present. 

9 2 


Fredericksburg, i st July 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

I have no letter from you by this post. Expecting to 
receive from Mr. Ross a duplicate of the bill which fell 
into the hands of the robbers and forward it to you this 
week, I came to town to-day, but have no letter from him. 
Col. Monroe writes me he promised to send it. My friend 
Griffin will, therefore, be obliged to wait longer than I in- 
tended and hoped he would. Mr. Ross was also to have 
sent me a further draft on Philadelphia for my present sup- 
ply if I went forward, which it was my intention to do 
about the middle of this month or the 20 th at further. 

Be kind enough to have the inclosed advertisement in- 
serted twice or thrice in the Packet, and inform Mr. Solo- 
mon of it; that in case Cyrus is apprehended he may 
receive him and have him confined until I come up or give 
directions about him. He was seen in the city since my 

I must refer you to our friend Randolph for the news of 
Richmond, who is on the spot and can give it you truly. 
We have a report here that a large fleet had passed the 
capes, steering eastward, and it is said to be French ; but 
the story is so vague I regard it not. Mr. Henry and Col. 
Lee have left the Assembly, which is still sitting. Some- 
thing has been done for recruiting the army, but what, I 
cannot certainly inform you. It is expected it will bring 
men into the field. We heard great complaints before I 
left Philadelphia of the scarcity of money in this State. 
They were well founded and increase every day. If there 

is not 


is not a real scarcity, those who possess the money lock it 
up, which produces all the inconveniences of a scarcity. 
Should I pay you a visit, I shall find it difficult to procure 
cash sufficient for my expenses. 


Spring Hill, 8 th July 1782 
Dear Sir, 

I intended when I left Richmond to set out for Philadel- 
phia about the middle of this month, but from a manoeuvre 
of Mr. Ross's in settling the balance due from Mr. Brax- 
ton, and which had by the Executive been ordered to me, 
I am disappointed of the means necessary for the journey 
and am left to my own resources, which I am determined 
shall not be applied to [the] public any further than is un- 
avoidable — I mean in the line of my appointment to Con- 
gress. When I shall be properly furnished and I see a 
prospect of continued supply, I may perhaps revisit Phila- 
delphia. At present it depends on Mr. Ross, who instead 
of furnishing me money or bills as promised has settled Mr. 
Braxton's balance of about ^"200 by transmitting me your 
order on me given to Whiteside for the money I procured 
before I left Philadelphia, and which the Governor and 
also your letter informed was paid. This order I expect 
was taken by Mr. Whiteside as a voucher to transmit to 
Mr. Ross. The disappointment, however, considering the 
violent heat of the weather, proves agreeable on that ac- 
count, though I could have wished to have gone northward 
before the commencement of the sickly season. I have 



never heard from Mr. Solomon* whether the wagonners de- 
livered him the tobacco they carried from here. 

The French army are on their march. The Legion came 
over to Falmouth yesterday, and the infantry are expected 
to be there next Thursday. Ct. Rochambeau on his way, 
quartered at old Mr. Hunter's the night before last. Mrs. 
Bland was a few days past at Col. Dangerford, on her way 
to Philadelphia. She intended Dr. Lee should have es- 
corted her, but the Dr. missing her letter occasioned a dis- 
appointment. When I saw her she was in doubt when she 
should proceed and by whom be attended. 

One of the ships sent for the tobacco I am told has been 
seized and will be proceeded against in the admiralty 
court — the cause, having on board a quantity of goods 
which was sold or offered for sale to some of the inhabit- 
ants. I believe they came well provided for such a traffic, 
but this step will probably suspend all further commercial 

If Mr. Ross puts me in a situation to proceed you shall 
be informed. In the meantime you will not omit your in- 
quiries about a lodging should I have occasion for one. 
We have had a great drought, and the hottest weather for 
the time of the year I ever experienced. Our crops of 
small grain [are] short and not so good as usual. Ran- 
dolph I understand will be up in the fall. 

*Hayne Solomon, described by Madison as a "Jew broker." 



Fredericksburg, i 6 th July, 1782. 

* * The French army have all passed Rappahannock 
at Falmouth. The last division will move to-morrow from 
that place. Their progress through this part of the country 
furnishes some of the inhabitants with cash to pay the taxes. 
About 500 convalescents remain at York. I expected Mr. 
Lee would have been with you some time past, but hear by 
Col. Monroe he only left Chantilly about ten days ago. 


Spring Hill, 22 d July, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

The reason why Williamsburg and its neighbourhood 
were mentioned as the place supposed to be attended to 
be alluded to by the correspondent of a certain gentleman, 
proceeded from my mentioning to Mr. H-d-y what had 
been communicated, and his observing that he supposed it 
proceeded from a report that had been circulated of a peti- 
tion set on foot in Williamsburg, praying the Legislature to 
accept any reasonable terms that should be offered, but which 
had been suppressed upon Ct. Ro-h-b-u's sending of his 
aids to remonstrate to the parties on the imprudence of the 
measure, which suspended all further proceedings in the 
matter. This Mr. H. mentioned as a report he had heard, 
but doubted its truth. I asked some other gentlemen if they 
had heard any thing of it, and wished to know if there was 
any foundation for the report, supposing what had been com- 
municated must have proceeded from this report. I was the 


9 6 

more desirous to learn the truth, that, if it was a misrepre- 
sentation of the character of the people, these might not bear 
the aspersion. But my inquiries served only to convince 
me the report respecting the petition in Williamsburg was 
groundless; and I imagine the people there suspected the 
intelligence communicated might proceed from the above 
misrepresentation, and thinking themselves in some measure 
injured by the report, they took up the matter in the man- 
ner the paper I enclosed you exhibits. They supposed your 
communication to me was local, as I mentioned the matter 
as from you, but in general terms in the manner you stated ; 
and it was the previous report only that fixed it on Williams- 
burg and its neighborhood was groundless, and my inquiries 
lead me to suspect no other part of the country as manifest- 
ing a disposition to precipitate matters. 

We have some agreeable reports from our quarter since 
the last post. Your letters, which I expect by the post to- 
day, will I hope confirm them. The evacuation of Charles 
Town, a successful attack of the Dutch upon a British con- 
voy in the Baltic, and the accession of the 7 th state of the 
provinces to the treaty with the States of America. The 
first and last are probable, and have been expected ; and I 
am not disposed to discredit the other, especially when I 
reflect on the bravery of the Dutch in the few conflicts they 
have had with the British since the commencement of hos- 

* * Have you heard any thing of Cyrus ? Should he 
be apprehended let him be confined in prison until I come 
up, unless an opportunity present itself of shipping him for 
the W. Indies, where if I recover him I mean he shall be 
transported and sold. 



Philada, 27 th February, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

Your favors of the 14 th December last and the 11 th inst. 
have been duly received. A series of ill-health through the 
fall and the greatest part of the winter, and which until 
very lately rendered my attendance in Congress seldom 
and very irregular, must be my apology for suffering the 
first to remain so long unanswered. 

Congress have been for some time past almost wholly 
employed in devising some general and adequate funds for 
paying the interest and, in time, sinking the principal, of 
the public debt, as well as to provide for future loans, 
should the continuance of the war render borrowing nec- 
essary. Difficulties, apparently insurmountable, presented 
themselves in almost every stage of the business, owing to 
the different circumstances of the several States, and the 
necessity that the subjects selected for taxation to form the 
funds should operate throughout them all, generally and 
equally, or nearly so, to make them acceptable. After 
opening and discussing a variety of questions, no object 
has been yet discovered, to which so few objections lie, as 
the impost duty formerly recommended to the States, and 
which, with some alterations from the former plan to obvi- 
ate the objections that have been raised, has been agreed 
to in a Committee of the Whole, and will I think be finally 
adopted. What this duty when granted by the States will 
amount to annually is very uncertain. In time of peace 
there can be no doubt but it will be considerable, and for 
years prove an increasing fund; but it is thought by no 
means adequate to the payment of the interest and sinking 


9 8 

the principal of the public debt. Other means have, there- 
fore, been considered in aid of the impost duty — land, 
polls, salt, wine, spirits, tea, &c. These last being what 
are called luxuries it is thought may bear a small tax in 
addition to the impost duty. I fear at present that few of 
these will go down, and that we shall be obliged at last to 
rest the payment of the public debt upon the mode pre- 
scribed by the Confederation — (requisitions, proportioned 
on the States according to the value of land, buildings, 
&c. — a plan for obtaining which scale of proportion has 
been digested and agreed upon in Congress, and will im- 
mediately go on to the States,) and the produce of the 5 per 
cent, duty, if granted. A small poll tax, did not the Con- 
stitution of Maryland stand in the way, might probably 
succeed, as it would operate more equally perhaps than 
any other, and may be adopted, allowing Maryland to 
substitute some other adequate and productive fund in its 
room. A short time will bring to a conclusion our efforts 
on this business, which I am in hopes will terminate in the 
adoption of such measures as may be acceptable to the 
States, and produce the granting such funds as will restore 
public credit, give value to the great mass of depreciated 
certificates, and enable Congress to render to every class 
of the public creditors ample justice. Congress have the 
purest intentions towards the public creditors, and will use 
their best exertions in obtaining from the States the means 
to do them speedy and complete justice. Such is their 
opinion of the merit and services of the army, that did it 
not wound the sense of justice, they want not the inclina- 
tion to give them the preference to any other class of cred- 
itors. But equity and sound policy forbid discriminations. 



One ground of discontent in the army, and on which they 
found the opinion that justice is not intended to be done 
to them, is the delay in complying with their requests. 
But with those acquainted with the deliberations of public 
bodies, and especially if so mixed a body as that of Con- 
gress, allowances will be made for slow determination. 
Every class of public creditors must know the inability of 
Congress to pay their demands, unless furnished with the 
means by the several States, and the exertions of that body 
have not been wanting heretofore to obtain the means, 
though they have not produced the desired effect. The 
measures now digesting will, there is good reason to ex- 
pect, prove more efficacious for obvious reasons. 

Reports are freely circulated here that there are danger- 
ous combinations in the army, and within a few days past 
it has been said that they are about to declare that they 
will not disband until their demands are complied with. I 
trust these reports are not well founded, and that the army 
will exercise awhile longer at least, that patient forbearance 
which hath hitherto so honourably distinguished them. To 
you it must be unnecessary to observe that when all confi- 
dence between the civil and military authority is lost, by 
intemperate conduct or an assumption of improper power, 
especially by the military body, the Rubicon is passed, and 
to retreat will be very difficult from the fears and jealousies 
that will unadvoidably subsist between the two bodies. To 
avoid therefore the adoption by the army of any hasty and 
rash measure, should employ the attention and draw forth 
the exertions of every worthy officer in it; for from these 
alone can opposition be expected. The ambition of some, 
and the pressure of distress in others, may produce danger- 



ous combinations, founded on the pretence that justice is 
delayed, and will be refused to them. The pretext is plau- 
sible and ensnaring, and may draw into engagements the 
unsuspecting, honest soldier, from which it will be difficult 
to extricate himself, even when he sees the dangers they 
lead to. If there are men in the army who harbour wicked 
designs, and are determined to blow the coals of discord, 
they will gradually endeavour to hurt the reputation of 
those averse to their projects, and by sinister practices les- 
sen their weight and influence among the soldiery. I have 
lately heard there are those who are abandoned enough to 
use these arts to lessen your popularity* in the army in 
hopes ultimately the weight of your opposition will prove 
no obstacle to their ambitious designs. If this be true, 
and they are likely to succeed I own it will prove a bad 
prognostic of the future and I shall be among the number 
of those who entertain fears of the army and doubt that 
peace will not be followed by its usual blessings to America. 
Whether to temporize, or oppose with steady unremitting 
firmness what is supposed to be in agitation of dangerous 
tendency, or that may be agitated, must be left to your 
own sense of propriety and better judgment. 

With respect to the business of Vermont, I think you 
need not be uneasy from apprehensions that the army or 
any part of them employed to enforce a compliance with 
the act of the 5 th of December last, should the people of 
Vermont refuse a compliance with that demand, at least 
for some time to come if ever. To go into detail upon 
this matter would be prolix and rather improper for the 

* Washington has written over this the word "reputation." 


scope of a letter. It cannot be denied that the act of 
Congress of the of August opened the prospect to 

Vermont of an acknowledgement of her independence and 
admission into the union. Although it gave ground of 
hope, it was not conclusive, and the legislature of Vermont 
absolutely rejecting the offer, and recommending to the 
people an inviolable adherence to their union and en- 
croachments on the neighboring States, (and which, as 
well as other unwarrantable acts they have unjustly con- 
cealed from the public in their remonstrance) released 
Congress from their offer, and left them at liberty after- 
wards to accept or refuse as they saw fit, when Vermont, 
repenting of her conduct at a future period, complied. A 
particular state of things produced the act of Congress, a 
change of circumstances afterwards dictated the delay in 
determining on their proposition, and the report of a com- 
mittee to whom it was referred. The report authorizes 
observations I decline to make. This proceeding in Con- 
gress they stile a violation of the compact entered into 
with them. There has always been a strong opposition to 
the claims of Vermont and their admission into the union. 
Virginia has generally been among the number of her op- 
ponents, not so much perhaps upon the question of inde- 
pendence, as the impolicy of her admission into the union 
while several very important questions of local concern 
remained undetermined; and until these great points are 
settled, the consent of Virginia I expect will be withheld, 
and if before obtained, it will be a sacrifice of her opinion 
to the peace and common weal of the United States. If 
Vermont confines herself to the limits assigned her, and 
ceases to encroach upon and disturb the quiet of the ad- 

joining States, at the same time avoiding combinations or 
acts hostile to the U. States, she may be at rest within her 
limits, and by patient waiting the convenient time may ere 
long be admitted to the privileges of union. The influence 
Vermont has gained in the army and in some of the States 
that espouse her cause, do little credit to the parties con- 
cerned, and to this influence is in a great measure to be 
ascribed the variable, indecisive conduct of Congress re- 
specting the claims of that people. The remonstrance 
states the receipt of official letters recommending a com- 
pliance with the act of Congress, and intimates yours to be 
of the number, and that these communications influenced 
them to comply. The assertion is wrong as to yours, and 
may be equally false as to others, and is one proof among 
a variety of others of the disingenuity and want of can- 
dour in Vermont. It exhibits also very little respect to 
this body, when they ascribe their compliance to other 
motives than the recommendation of Congress. 

Seven States have voted 5 years' whole pay as the com- 
mutation for the half pay to the officers; but the resolution 
has not passed the House being postponed for the present 
from an opinion prevalent with many that the consent of 
nine States is necessary to give it validity. Delaware and 
Georgia are absent, were they represented probably the 
vote would be sufficient. 

That we shall have peace soon is almost reduced to a cer- 
tainty, but my fears are it will not be attended with those 
blessings generally expected. There are so many great 
questions very interesting to particular States unsettled, 
which require speedy determination to preserve quiet, that 
it is difficult to avoid uneasy impressions for their conse- 


quences. The present conjunction perhaps, above all 
others America has experienced, calls for good dispositions 
in the States, and moderation and wisdom in their coun- 
cils. May the spirit of union govern them. 


Phila: 6 May, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

We have at length got through the plan of funds to be 
recommended to the States for their adoption. It has been 
the most difficult and perplexing discussion of any that has 
engaged the attention of this body for some time. The 
various objects to be combined and the different interests 
to be reconciled to make the system palatable to the States, 
were a work not easily or speedily to be effected ; and al- 
though it was the wish of many to settle the plan upon clear 
and unquestioned principles of finance, yet such were the 
prejudices of some States and of some individuals, and 
such their jealousies, we were obliged to take a middle 
course with respect to its duration, and the appointment of 
collectors, or hazard ultimately the loss of the measure. 
As it stands I believe it will answer the purposes intended, 
if the States will grant their concurrence. A copy will be 
transmitted to you for your and the army's information. 

As the state of our finances at present is such as to make 
it difficult for the officer now at the head of that depart- 
ment, much more so for any new hand who might succeed 
him to form the necessary arrangements for obtaining 
money sufficient for disbanding the army, Mr. Morris has 
agreed to act until that business is accomplished, and will 

I hope 


I hope be able to effect it to the satisfaction of the army. 
But from appearances the business of disbanding will be 
more distant than many at first apprehended, if that meas- 
ure, as it seems to be proper it should, goes hand in hand 
with the evacuation of our country by the British forces. 
By this time you are better able to judge of the views and 
designs of Sir G. Carleton, or of those who direct his 
movements, as I presume the intended interview took place, 
thougti I confess I thought there was indelicacy in the man- 
ner of that gentleman's mentioning his proposed attend- 
ants. In every thing else, but that of evacuation (and 
they may be doing all they can in that for any thing I 
know) they seem to act with fairness and liberality; and I 
should be sorry to find them in that, or any other instance, 
practising the old game of deception. We have reports 
something of this sort appearing in their conduct respect- 
ing the negros in their possession claimed by our citizens. 
These relations come from men of character, and until the 
contrary is ascertained of what they assert, credit will be 
given to these reports. No proclamations can authorize a 
refusal of property to those who claim under the article of 
the treaty, and establish their right by satisfactory proof. 
Col. F. Thornton, of Machodack, about two years ago lost 
many of his negros who went on board some of the British 
ships of war up Potomack. He wrote to me the other day 
about them. These I believe are not sanctioned by proc- 
lamation, and yet I suspect if the old gentleman was to 
send a person to claim them, his labors would be lost. If 
what we are told respecting the conduct of those in power 
in N. York concerning the claimed property of the Ameri- 
can citizens be true, it will prove an effectual bar to the 



restoration of confiscated estates, had there been a disposi- 
tion in the States before to render them. I wished to have 
seen the treaty faithfully executed on both sides, but where 
arts and prevarication take place on our side, they are apt 
to prevail on the other. I proceed immediately to Vir- 
ginia in order to attend the Assembly now convening, and 
shall thank you for any information respecting these mat- 
ters you can properly communicate, that the truth may be 
known and misrepresentations, if any prevail, removed. 
If anything occurs to you which you do not choose to 
communicate directly to the Executive with respect to the 
arrangements necessary to be made on a peace, and shall 
confide them to me, proper attention shall be paid to your 


Richmond, 25 May, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

After resting at home two days I set out for this place, 
where I arrived on Tuesday last, and took my seat in the 
House some days before my colleague, who made his appear- 
ance for the first time yesterday. My arrival was season- 
able with respect to a bill then before the House for post- 
poning the collection of the taxes for the ease of the people 
until December next, that, as it was said by Mr. H — y who 
supported the measure, they might enjoy a short respite 
from bearing the burthen of taxes — a kind of holiday to 
rejoice more cheerfully on the glorious termination of the 
war. This bill was by order to be considered that day in 
a committee of the whole, and I was in time to give such 
information to the committee as to induce them to come to 


no conclusion then, but to rise and ask leave to sit again, 
that they might have an opportunity before they determined 
the question, to hear the contents of the proceedings rela- 
tive to that subject which might be daily expected from 
Congress. A bill which was called by some an excellent 
bill, was also before the House and has since passed the 
delegates. Its object is the rendering members of Congress 
in future ineligible to the Legislature. I expect it will also 
obtain the assent of the Senate. You will be under no dif- 
ficulty in discovering the policy of this bill. It was pro- 
posed in the Committee of the House to reduce the number 
to three, but the question was determined in the negative. 
The laws against the importation of British merchandise 
are repealed, and their vessels have been permitted to land 
their cargoes. A revision of the salaries of the officers of 
the government was under consideration of a committee 
yesterday. A small majority continued the 1000/ p r ann. 
to the governor; the privy councillors reduced to 2400/. 
The judges of the Court (^.Chancery could in the Com- 
mittee be raised to only 400 each. Whether as much will 
be allowed the judges of the General Court and of the 
Admiralty show some doubt, especially the latter, as J — h 
J — hn — n and his adherents are for reductions. The plan 
of Congress for obtaining funds from the States was laid 
before the House and read the day before yesterday. This 
system appears to me at present to have more friends than 
enemies, and I think the former will increase, the latter 
diminish. I may however be mistaken in my conjecture, 
and the result of our deliberations on it may prove that I 
am so. For you are to learn how fickle and variable the 
conduct of this body has been in this business. As a fur- 


ther proof of it, I will only mention that when I came here 
I found a bill had been ordered to re-enact the 5 p r ct. 
Some, R. H. L. and his adherents, are opposed to the meas- 
ure; others, are opposed in part, disliking the clause de- 
claring the act irrevocable, and that the State is not to have 
credit for the surplus of tax beyond her quota of the an- 
nual demand, if there should be a surplus. These are a 
kind of neutrals on the whole, which each side hopes to 
gain. They express their wish to support the measure, but 
these objects repel them. The chief of these I have yet 
found out are J. T— yl— r and G— e N— 1— s. These are 
also strong advocates for a revision of the scale for loan 
office certificates. For the measure, P. H— y, the Sp— k— r, 
and several other respectable members. 

That part of the delegates' letter as respected the treaty 
of commerce with Great Britain, was referred to the Com- 
mittee on Trade, with instructions to make a speedy report, 
which was done yesterday morning as an instruction to our 
delegates in Congress. It pajposed only entering into a 
treaty upon liberal and generous principles, reserving a 
right to give bounties on tonnage, &c. The report not 
pleasing the House, a debate ensued, which terminated in 
a of it to a committee of the whole, into which 

the House immediately resolved. A large field was then 
opened and great commercial knowledge, or rather a want 
of it, displayed. Finding the business taking the turn it 
did, and likely to be delayed and at last, perhaps, produce 
instructions rather hurtful than useful, I took the liberty 
to recommend a short instruction to the purport of that 
you will receive. I did this from a knowledge that some- 
thing similar was the object of Congress and the best that 



at present and speedily could be given. A general concur- 
rence ensued, the other motions withdrawn, and the one 
sent you passed immediately and unanimously. 

The officers of our line and of Genl. Clark's regiment 
have presented memorials stating that they understand the 
lands on the Cumberland reserved for the officers have been 
great part of it (the best of the lands) taken up by others ; 
that it was greatly short of the quantity necessary to answer 
the purpose, and requesting a district of country on the N. 
W r of the Ohio to be assigned them. There appears a gen- 
eral disposition to gratify them. I could wish if anything 
is, or is meant to be done in Congress respecting our ces- 
sion, we should be informed of it without delay. 

Sir Guy Carleton's conduct respecting the negro property 
is considered by many here as a departure from the provis- 
ional articles, and will be made use of to justify a delay in 
paying the British debts. 

The treasurer informs me a remittance to the delegates 
has been made since I came away of ^iooo ; also of ^200 
to yourself on account of the balance due. Until an ac- 
count is returned to him of the distribution of the sums 
remitted, our account cannot be closed. You will therefore 
attend to this. Pray make my compliment to the gentle- 
men of our delegation and the ladies of your family. 

P. S. No letter from you this post. The notion of a con- 
vention seems for the present to be laid aside. My seal 
and letter for the president of the college are committed to 
the care of Mr. Wythe, who takes his departure for Will- 
iamsburg to-day, being the last of the chancery session. 



Richmond, 31 May, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

I should have been uneasy on account of your health had 
I not heard letters were received from you by the last post, 
as I had none myself this or the last week. If you wrote as 
I suppose you did, the letters must have either miscarried or 
been stopt at Fredericksburg. We have not yet been in a 
Committee on the papers from Congress, and I begin to 
fear the opposition will be more powerful than the last week 
I apprehended. Individual and local considerations ap- 
pear to me to be too general and so fixed as to afford but 
small consolation to those who wish the policy of the State 
to be governed by more enlarged and liberal principles. I 
do not, however, yet despair of the Assembly's adopting the 
plan recommended by Congress for establishing funds to 
discharge the national debt ; although a fact mentioned to 
me yesterday evening (that P. H. was deserting the measure) 
alarms my fears. Since my last, the bill for postponing to 
the 20 th of November next the making distress for the taxes 
has passed the delegates by a majority of 13, and was the 
day before yesterday assented to by the Senate. Hurtful 
and dangerous as this step will I fear prove, it was warmly 
espoused by Mr. H — y, opposed by his antagonist, and 
every effort made to fix the day to an earlier period, but in 
vain. It is true the people are in many places distressed 
for Indian corn. Tobacco, flour and hemp have greatly 
increased in their price, while imported articles have con- 
siderably decreased. Yet such was the rage for giving ease 
to the people, nothing could be offered sufficiently forcible 
to prevent the suspension taking place. 


The memorial of the officers of the Virginia line has been 
reported by the committee reasonable, and the several res- 
olutions reported by the committee in consequence stand 
referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the 
Commonwealth. This proceeding is repugnant to the ces- 
sion of the lands beyond the Ohio, and giving a preference 
to the officers of our line to those of other States, will excite 
discontents in the Army, as well as involve us in contro- 
versy with Congress. These obstacles, if they shall not 
ultimately defeat, will at least delay our determination. 
Whatever is meant to be done respecting the cession should 
be hastened, and the result communicated as soon as pos- 

A voluminous tobacco bill has taken up great part of this 
week. We got rid of it yesterday, and have sent it to the 
Senate. A bill to repeal an act of the last session "to pre- 
vent intercourse with and the admission of British subjects 
into this State," and another bill in consequence to repeal 
the law declaring who shall be deemed citizens, are before 
the House. The two great leaders of the House are upon 
these bills united, both concurring in the repeal of the former 
and opposing the passage of the latter, but I think upon dif- 
ferent principles. The one, P. H., conceiving it the true 
interest of the State to admit all classes of persons without 
distinction; of the other, not only perhaps for the same 
reason, but for others also, and in particular, that he thinks 
the articles of the treaty preclude us from discrimination. 
The citizen bill may come under consideration to day. The 
advocates for it are disposed to exclude all natives who have 
left the country since April '75, all who, having taken the 
oath of allegiance to the States or held offices under either 


from that period, have gone over to the enemy. These 
matters are premature and I could have wished them to have 
been delayed to a future day. They may probably be yet 

Sir Guy Carleton's conduct respecting the negros is con- 
sidered here as evasive of the article of the treaty, and 
confirms in their opinions, if it does not increase the num- 
ber opposed to the payment of British debts. Time for 
payment and deduction of the interest during the war, seem 
to be generally the sentiment, and to be desired by many of 
these who are supposed to be most attached to the British 

The day before yesterday we were informed that about 
ioo of Baylor's regiment of cavalry were on their way in 
North Carolina to this State, without any officer above sub- 
alterns to command them. The reasons assigned by them 
for their conduct [are] want of provision for themselves and 
horses. I suspect the true ground of their desertion to be 
the order for their remaining when the infantry were to 
march to this State, which I think took place before I left 
Philadelphia. That they might not disturb the inhabitants 
in their route by plunder and probably occasion the shed- 
ding of blood in consequence, General Morgan, who was 
here with some other officers, was sent to take the command 
of them and conduct them to Winchester. 

Pray inform me what has been done respecting the Indians 
since I left Congress. Whether any steps have been taken 
in consequence of the orders given the Commander in chief 
concerning them. Tell Mr. Mercer I must leave him for 
the present to his friend Monroe and other correspondents. 


The bill rendering delegates to Congress ineligible in future 
to the legislature has passed the Senate. Do you come in 
and when? 


Richmond, 8 June, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

I am still deprived of the pleasure of hearing from you, 
no letter having arrived by this post. Col. Taliaferro in- 
forms me he directed Smith to send forward any letters for 
me to Fredericksburg, where I suspect they are stopped. 
I shall write to Smith upon the subject by this post. Your 
letters will find me here till the last week, or at least the 25 th 
of this month. 

We have not yet taken up the plan of Congress for general 
revenue. It is agreed to do it next Monday or Tuesday. 
Mr. R. H. L. is opposed to it in toto. Mr. H — y I under- 
stand thinks we ought to have credit for the amount of 
the duty, under an apprehension we shall consume more 
than our proportion, or, in other words, that we shall by 
agreeing to the impost as recommended pay more than our 
quota of the debt. J, Taylor wholly against the plan. 
G. N — 1 — s thinks with H — y. The Speaker is for it. 
B — x — n, I am told is so too, but he has not said as much 
to me. The two first named being in the opposition is what 
alarms me. Mr. H — y, I am told, was at first in favor of 
the impost and had early in the session concurred in bring- 
ing in a bill to revive the former law, but has since changed 
his opinion. The members seem to be very much divi- 
ded. I wish we could hear whether any of the States have 
adopted it. 


IT 3 

Yesterday our delegates to Congress were elected — Jef- 
ferson, Hardy, Mercer, Lee, Monroe. Mr. Griffin was 
voted for and had near fifty votes ; but three objections were 
started against him which I am told had weight or were 
made so to keep him out: his seat in the Court of Appeals, 
his residence in Philadelphia, and just before the ballot was 
taken some whispers were spread he was withdrawn for the 
reasons above, which it is said lost him some votes. The 
two first mentioned reasons were the chief obstacles. One 
was publicly mentioned in the House, which gave me an 
opportunity of endeavoring at least to obviate the objec- 
tion. My compliments to Mr. Mercer and inform him what 
he had heard of a report circulated to his prejudice either 
never existed or has died away so as not to be mentioned 
or even whispered. Mr. Short is elected to supply the va- 
cancy in the Council. 

In consequence of the memorial of the officers of the Vir- 
ginia line a report from the Committee of Prop and G: to 
whom it was referred has been under consideration. It was 
proposed to allow our line the whole of their land on the n. 
side of the Ohio, with an additional quantity as a gratuity, 
on pretence that the Cumberland tract was greatly deficient 
in quantity and quality. Also to bear the expense of the 
location. This report was so repugnant to the cession to 
Congress and to the remonstrance in 1779, whereby the leg- 
islature promised to furnish lands beyond the Ohio to the 
States wanting lands for their lines, that I could not help 
opposing it, which has given it a check for the present, and 
upon consideration I am convinced a great majority will 
disapprove the report. Mr. H — y warmly espoused the re- 
port. R. H. L. when it was discussed [was] unable to at- 


tend being somewhat indisposed. What side he may take 
on the next discussion of the report I cannot learn. Be it 
as it may, I think if they unite in this business, they cannot 
carry it. Congress having not accepted the cession, and 
declined to assign their reasons for delay, will produce at 
least a determination fixing the time when, if the cession is 
not accepted, it shall become void, if not an immediate re- 
vocation of it. I am not without hopes this business may 
yet be concluded so as to answer the views of Congress, and 
think nothing but resentment for not accepting by Con- 
gress, or assigning reasons for not accepting the cession of 
this State, will operate against it. Our people still retain 
their opinions of the importance of this State, its superiority 
in the Union, and the very great exertions and advances it 
has made in preference to all others. These views are gen- 
erally local, not seeing the necessity or propriety of general 
measures now the war is over. These notions are great ob- 
stacles to the adoption of the 5 per cent duty as a general 

It is impossible to estimate the individual debt of the 
State with any precision. By some computations we shall 
have to provide for raising ^300,000 annually, to discharge 
the interest of our Continental quota and State debt. The 
Commissioners appointed have settled as far as they were 
able the expence of the Illinois country. They have dis- 
covered great frauds and impositions, and reduced the debt 
very considerably, but it is still enormous. The accounts 
are not yet returned, so that I cannot give you the balance. 
Nathan's demand is referred to the committee of the whole. 
Strong suspicions prevail against Pollock's integrity, and it 
is said proofs can be adduced to show the injustice of his 



claim upon the State. In short the prejudices here are so 
great against those who have demands for money or neces- 
saries furnished on the public account to the westward, that 
it is to be feared injury may result to individuals. At the 
same time it must be confessed many circumstances author- 
ize a suspicion of the fairness of their claims. A Mr. Pol- 
lard formerly of N. York, is just arrived from Bristol. He 
brings papers so late as the 8 th April. An administration 
appears to have been then formed as was stated in the packet 
of the last week. North and Fox by the coalition had 
lost their influence and were generally reprobated. It was 
doubted whether the last would be re-elected in Westmin- 
ster. Caermathen was to go to France to put the finishing 
hand to the treaty, but had not departed, and it was uncer- 
tain when he would. The nation exceedingly divided by 
the Whig and Tory parties about the place. The bill for 
opening the commerce with America had gone through three 
different modifications and not likely to pass.* 

The bill declaring who shall be citizens has not yet been 
considered in a Committee of the Whole. P. H — y, R. 
H. L. against any discrimination. I cannot concur, and 
must, when the matter comes on take part with those who 
are for some discrimination so as not to trench upon the 
treaty. A long petition from Essex drawn by M. J. has 
been presented questioning the right of Congress to make 
the peace as it stands, asserting the 4 th article interferes with 

* The text of these bills is printed in the appendix to " Report of a Committee of 
the Lords of the Privy Council on the trade of Great Britain with the United States, 
January, 1791.'* 



the legislation of the States. Yesterday a petition from 
Hanover with near 300 subscribers was presented, praying 
the refugees may not be allowed the right of citizenship. 
I am pretty confident there is a majority of the House in 
favor of the sentiments of the last petition.* 


Richmond, 14 th June, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favour of the 3 d and 6 th with the papers in- 
closed. Since my last the plan of revenue recommended 
by Congress has been considered in a Committee of the 
Whole, and the result contained in the inclosed resolutions, 
which were agreed to without a division, the number ap- 
pearing in support of the plan of Congress being so few 
as not to require it. Mr. B — xt — n and young Mr. Nelson 
only supported it. In the course of the debate Mr. R. H. 
L. and Mr. C. M. T. spoke of Congress, having a right to 
borrow and make requisitions that were binding upon the 
States, ought also to concert the means for accomplishing 
the end was reprobated in general as alarming and of dan- 
gerous tendency. In short some of the sentiments in the 
letter to Rhode Island, through argumentative only, oper- 
ated so powerfully on peoples' mind here, that nothing 
could induce them to adopt the manner recommended by 
Congress for obtaining revenue. f If the 5 per cent, is 
granted to be credited to the State's quota, which is the 

* An undated half leaf laid with the preceding letter. 

f Prepared by Hamilton, and printed in his works (Lodge's edition), vol. II, p. 3, 
and also in the Journals of Congress, April 24, 1783. 


ii 7 

prevailing opinion, it will defeat that revenue, unless all 
the States consent, and N. H., Connecticut, Jersey and N. 
Carolina never will I expect agree to it. Our people have 
great jealousy of Congress and the other States ; think they 
have done more than they ought, and that the U. S. owe 
them at least one million pounds. These notions they will 
not relinquish though they acknowledge they are not ready 
to settle the account. After the two first resolutions had 
passed, P. H. separated from R. H. L. and his party, and 
warmly supported the granting the duties to Congress and 
the other revenue to make up this State's quota. I will 
make an attempt to obtain the 5 per cent, as a general rev- 
enue, and to authorize the payment of the other revenue 
by the collectors to the Continental receiver, instead of the 
State treasurer. If these can be effected the funds will be 
on a tolerable footing but for the delay which a departure 
from the plan of Congress must occasion. 

The disposition to oblige the officers of our lines with 
land beyond the Ohio in the room of those on Cumber- 
land, which are said to be insufficient and very generally 
barren, has occasioned several leading members to press for 
withdrawing our cession to Congress, that no obstacle 
might remain to gratifying the officers. Hitherto we have 
been lucky enough to delay a determination, which however 
cannot be many more days postponed. A. L.* proposed a 
resolution two days ago to withdraw it; an amendment was 
proposed to fix a time (the 1st September next), when it 
should stand revoked if not accepted by Congress. The 
committee rose without coming to a resolution. Something 
of this sort will I think ultimately take place. If a secret 

* Arthur Lee. 



instruction to our delegates was practicable to relax, if 
necessary, any of the conditions, I should like it, as I wish 
heartily to relinquish that country to the United States. 
The expence attending that country I shall soon know, as 
the Commissioners who have been sent to settle the ac- 
counts are just returned. 

The proposed alteration for ascertaining the proportions 
of the States, from the conversations I have had with gentle- 
men on the subject, will be approved. I entertain, how- 
ever, no sanguine expectation of anything I hear in conver- 
sation since the great majority against the plan of revenue, 
which, from conversation when I first arrived, I was led to 
believe would be adopted. Many now say the reading the 
pamphlet of Congress determined them against the meas- 
ure, disapproving the sentiments conveyed in the letter to 
Rhode Island. 

You cannot well conceive the deranged state of affairs 
in this Country. There is nothing like system ; confusion 
and embarrassment ever attend such a state of things. 
The two great commanders make excellent harangues, 
handsome speeches to their men, but they want executive 
officers, or should be more so themselves, to be useful. In- 
deed, so far as I am able to judge from the short time I 
have been here, we are much in want of useful men, who 
do business as well as speak to it. A Pendleton and Jeffer- 
son would be valuable acquisitions to this Assembly. We 
want too a Fitzsimons,* or some men of his mercantile 
knowledge and experience. 

The citizen bill remains in the situation as when I last 
wrote. Before we rise, it is probable something may be 

*Of Pennsylvania. 


II 9 

done in it, especially if the definitive treaty arrives, which 
it is probable, as a ministry has been formed will soon take 
place. To divest those who appeared to oppose the pay- 
ment of the British debts from any attempt of that sort so 
repugnant to the article of the treaty, and as an alternative 
less offensive, I have intimated that it would be better to 
give an instruction to our commissioners for settling the 
treaty of commerce to propose a suspension of payment for 
some years, to make it more convenient to the debtors, and 
it is probable something may be done in that way as an in- 
struction to our delegates in Congress. In Committee on 
the State of the Commonwealth yesterday, nothing 
in consequence of the arbitration was taken up, but Mr. 
N — 1 — s insisting there was a Committee in town employed 
in settling the accounts against the public of the Illinois 
country who could give information about that claim and 
show there had -been fraud in the transaction, the Com- 
mittee rose without coming to a conclusion. It is to be 
brought on again to day, when the commissioner (Col. 
Fleming) is to be examined. It is expected great imposi- 
tions have taken place in Pollock's affair, which is also 
before the House and to come up next Tuesday. 
v I have sold my chariot, and I think shall my phaeton ; 
in which case, and if I get the money for them, I may spend 
two or three months this fall in Philadelphia, as I must get 
a carriage made there. Of this you shall be informed. 
Compliments to Bland and Mercer; hope they will be con- 
tent to receive from you an account of what we are doing, 
if not otherwise informed. 



Richmond, 21 st June, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 10 th I have duly received by the post this 
week. We are now as usual putting to sleep many of the 
bills that have employed our time and attention for great 
part of this session. Among them two, one for the benefit 
of debtors, the other for regulating the proceedings in the 
County Courts. These were thought to have some connec- 
tion and ought to rest together. Mr. Mason introduced 
and patronized the debtors bill. I was not in the House 
when it was read, but understand it allowed all creditors to 
obtain judgment, but suspended execution, [or] rather per- 
mitted it for a fifth of the debt annually, for five years, com- 
prehending as well foreign as domestic credits. I came 
into the House during the debate and from the observations 
of R. H. L. and those who opposed the bill, its principle 
was severely reprobated. Mr. Mason and C. M. T. warmly 
supported it and pronounced it indispensably necessary to 
preserve the people from ruin and the country independent. 
The disposition of the members however was so prevalent 
for lopping off all business not really necessary that the latter 
gentlemen were obliged to submit to its being referred to 
the next session. This bill, at least so far as respected 
British creditors, would have had more advocates but for the 
late period at which it was introduced, and because there 
already existed and will continue in force until the i st of 
December a law that prohibits suits for or on account of 
British subjects. 

The bill granting revenue to Congress to discharge this 
State's quota of the common debt was taken into consider- 


ation yesterday, but being very imperfect was postponed 
until Monday next. My endeavors to get the impost 
granted as a general revenue will be fruitless, so universal is 
the opposition to giving it otherwise than to be credited to 
the State. The collection too must be by the naval officer, 
and by him paid to the Continental receiver quarterly. 
The land tax is to be collected by the sheriffs and paid into 
the treasury, and by him to the Continental receiver — the 
deficiency, if any, to be made up out of the poll tax. If 
the impost was general, these funds would be adequate. 
Our people will not submit the collectors to be amenable to 
Congress. If both collections were to be paid to the Con- 
tinental receiver, the bond given payable to Congress, and 
judgments to be moved for by the Continental receiver, the 
revenue could not be well diverted to any other purposes, 
and would answer the object, and nearly come up to the 
plan of Congress. Duplicate receipts or settlements might 
be lodged with the treasurer of the amount of the revenues 
by the respective collectors, and the State thereby informed 
of the proceeds annually, independent of the general com- 
munication from Congress. 

The letter of the delegates and the report of the commit- 
tee respecting the cession have been read and referred to a 
Committee of the Whole. This not being the act of Con- 
gress a disposition prevails not to take it up. If we have 
time and the members patience to do it, I shall press its 
being taken up and the delegates fully instructed to close the 
matter with Congress, if to be effected, or the cession [to] 
be void by a certain day ; and this I would have fixed to 
some day after the meeting of the next session. The ac- 
counts from the Illinois are before the executive and a com- 

mittee of the House appointed to inspect them. They are 
at present incomplete and any formation of the balance must 
be altogether conjecture or I should mention it. 

A bill has passed the Delegates establishing funds for pay- 
ing the interest and sinking the principal of the debt due 
to our line of the army for pay and depreciation, including 
the State troops. Eight years are allowed for extinguishing 
the debt, gd on salt, 4d on wine, ^d on spirits, with some 
imposts on malt liquor and a duty of \os per hogshead on 
tobacco exported, are the funds which are thought adequate 
to pay the interest and extinguish the principal in that time. 
The deficiency, if any, is to come out of the poll tax. We 
have an empty treasury or so nearly so as not to have suffi- 
cient to pay the delegates their wages; and the collection 
of the taxes being postponed, I think the civil list and del- 
egates to Congress will be reduced to difficulties. I forgot 
to mention above, that the report of the committee on the 
cession has not fully removed the fears of our people re- 
specting Indian purchases and grants to companies. Their 
jealousy of Congress on that head is very strong. 

Mr Lee tells me he sets out to day for Philadelphia. I 
expect he will be a fortnight at least before he reaches the 
city. I may spend two or three months there this fall. 
The new arrangement of the British ministry, one would 
think, cannot last long. Like oil and water jumbled 
together they will soon separate. Their existence will I 
hope be extended to the accomplishment of the definitive 
treaty. Hartley appears to have been a friend to its con- 
clusion. Several of the banished Scotsmen and some ref- 
ugees have returned to this State ; three or four to Peters- 
burg of the former, whose presence has so provoked the 



people of that neighborhood that they were to meet yester- 
day to order them away. The citizen bill stands the order 
of the day for Monday. The opponents of this bill think 
it premature, as the definitive treaty has not appeared. 
They also assert it to be unwise and impolitic to refuse the 
admission of these or any others disposed to settle in the 
country. A discrimination will, however, if the business is 
brought on, take place, with respect to refugees whatever 
may be the fate of the banished merchants. The settlement 
of this business is the more necessary as there is a very se- 
vere law in force against British subjects and those who have 
left the country and joined them, which will not I think be 
repealed, unless the citizen bill be taken up. This with the 
revenue bill for the Continental debt, the cession, the al- 
teration proposed in ascertaining the quota of each State, 
and Nathan's demand, which is to come on next Monday, 
are the principal matters remaining to be considered, and 
will be finished in the course of the next week. I shall leave 
Richmond this day week. Your letters after the receipt of 
this please to direct to Fredericksburg. Monroe will send 
Mr. Jefferson his letter. 


Richmond, 28 th June, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favours by the post and by the Secretary of 
War. The day before yesterday the bill for granting a 
revenue to Congress upon the 3 d reading was ordered to 
lay upon the table. Taz — 11 then moved for leave to bring 
in another under a different title, which was agreed v to, and 



yesterday it was presented and on the first reading post- 
poned to the next session of Assembly. The first bill was 
imperfectly drawn and had undergone such alterations as 
to be thought unfit to be enacted into a law. It granted 
the 5 per cent impost and the duty on enumerated articles, 
not as a general fund but to be carried to the credit of the 
state and to be in force if Maryland, Pennsylvania and 
North Carolina adopted the impost. It granted the land 
tax, and if any deficiency, the poll tax, to furnish the quota 
of this state of the 1,500,000 dollars; the first to be col- 
lected by the naval officers, the latter by the sheriffs ; the 
whole appropriated to Congress on account of this State's 
quota of the common debt. The latter bill was drawn to 
grant the impost duty as a general fund, the collection 
under the controul of the Executive, but to be paid to the 
Continental receiver for the use of Congress. The reason 
of this bill being brought before the House in that form 
was the apparent change in many members after discussing 
the first bill to fall in with the proposition of Congress ex- 
cept as to the mode [of] collecting. This conciliatory dis- 
position was much improved by the arrival of a letter from 
Genl. Washington on the subject, which the Speaker re- 
ceived just before the question was about to be taken on 
the first bill, and being read in consequence of the consent 
of the House to hear the letter before the question was taken, 
had a good effect. But two days alone remaining of the 
time allotted by the members for finishing the business, and 
the fixed determination to break up at that day (Saturday) 
suspended all hope of accomplishing any thing effectual 
this season. I think if the members could have been pre- 
vailed 'on to continue a week longer the business would have 
been finished nearly to the wish of Congress. 



This session has passed over without doing anything of 
consequence. Yesterday I suggested to the House an idea 
with respect to the cession ; to instruct the delegates to 
recede from the guarantee provided Congress would agree 
to the other conditions and limit the time (some time in 
November next) when they should accept, or the cession 
stand revoked. It will be vain to attempt relaxing the 
clause respecting the companies. The other parts of the 
report of the last committee appear to be agreeable here. 
The Secretary of War yesterday through the Executive laid 
before the House a request to be empowered to procure for 
the United States about ten acres of land for the purpose 
of establishing a magazine. A bill is ordered for the pur- 
pose. Resolutions are to be presented to-day for furnishing 
Congress a place of residence. Williamsburg, the public 
buildings and lands, or a tract of territory opposite George 
Town, as may be most agreeable, with a large sum to erect 
hotels for the delegates, and other necessary buildings, will 
be offered in full sovereignty. Liberal as the offer of Mary- 
land has been our people seem disposed not to be back- 
ward in surpassing that liberality where they think a lasting 
benefit may result to the community. I wish they could 
have seen the place of Congress in the same light and have 
acted with equal policy and liberality of sentiment. 

This day closes the session. I intend [to go] to Mr. 
Randolph's this evening on my way home, where I have 
not yet been. The heat of the weather and this infernal 
hole at this season of the year have almost laid me up. 
Although Virginia may not grant the funds for discharging 
their quota of the common debt in the manner desired by 
Congress, they are I think determined to furnish ample 



revenues for the purpose. Mr Laurens gives us no hope of 
speedily obtaining the definitive treaty. Nothing has been 
done in the citizen bill; it lies over, and a severe law 
against British subjects coming into this country remains in 
force. The executive may by a proper use of this law 
until the next session keep out such as ought not to come 
among us. After getting home you shall be informed 
when I shall see you in Philadelphia. Joe is yet afflicted 
with the spleen and ought to go to the Springs or up the 
country. If John Dawson will accompany Mrs. Jones and 
Joe up the country, I do not know but I may visit for two 
or three months the city of Philadelphia during the sickly 


Fredericksburg, 14 th July, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

Your favour of the 30 th ult. I have duly received, giving 
the history of the proceedings that brought about the re- 
moval of Congress to Princeton. That two of the mem- 
bers of the committee were disposed to advise the President 
to the measure which his inclination encouraged them to 
adopt, I have no doubt ; but why so important a step should 
rest with the committee and the president, I am at a loss to 
comprehend, unless Congress were so intimidated by the 
conduct of the soldiery as to fear mischievous consequences 
from their coming together, and so left the business to the 
committee and the president. Mr. H.'s excuse for concur- 
ring in the measure is by no means satisfactory. To be 
indifferent in a matter of such consequence, or to yield 



oneself up to the guidance of others is a conduct in my 
judgment reprehensible and has precipitated that body into 
a situation I apprehend not very agreeable, as well as ex- 
posed them to censure and ridicule. Although judging by 
the event is not a fair conclusion, it is but too commonly 
the case, and on the present occasion will give force to the 
censures of those who wish to divert them from the Execu- 
tive of the State, who from the report of the committee 
were jointly blameable for declining to give those assur- 
ances of support which the circumstances of the case and 
the dignity of government required. I wish Congress had 
shown more firmness in their conduct with respect to the 
soldiery; especially as no just cause of personal danger 
presented itself, and had remained in Philadelphia, not- 
withstanding the refusal of support by the Executive, and 
have afterwards taken up the matter of indignity and dis- 
respect on the part of the State with temper and coolness, 
and have made that the ground of removal to one 

of the places tendered them by the other States. The pub- 
lic opinion would have gone with them more generally 
than as the affair has been conducted. They are now 
thought to have been too timid, at the same time that the 
Executive are blamed for their remissness. To return to 
Philadelphia is I suppose now out of the question. Prince- 
ton, I presume, cannot long serve the purpose. Where 
then will you fix? Pray inform me what is likely to be 
done in the matter, and how you are accommodated in 
Princeton. If I visit you, can a tolerable berth be pro- 
cured? The sickly season is approaching and if I move at 
all it will be in about a fortnight or three weeks, especially 
if the treasurer could furnish the needful. Mr. L. we hear 



is to be minister for foreign affairs. Heaven smiles upon 
us this year as the crops are in general very promising. 


Spring Hill, 21 s1 July, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

I find mine to you of the last week was not in town in 
time for the mail, which it seems is now made up at ten 
in the forenoon, and is rather inconvenient for those of the 
country near the town, as they cannot receive and answer 
letters the same week unless in town. My letter will I 
presume go forward this week. I did suppose Congress 
would not again return to the city, and should be sorry to 
hear they had done so unless invited, or some step taken by 
the Executive to atone for the slight put on that body. 
Had I been present, I should have opposed the removal at 
the time ; but having done so and [for] the cause assigned, 
I should not consent to return until some concession or act 
of contrition on the part of the offenders authorized the 
measure. The act of the Executive must be deemed the 
act of the State until disclaimed or censured by the supreme 
authority, and it is not probable this will be the conse- 
quence considering the composition of the present Assem- 
bly, unless this conduct of Mr. D. should lessen the attach- 
ment of some of his adherents. 

I know not yet whether I shall visit Congress. If I do 
I shall depart hence the beginning of next month. I shall 
feel the inconvenience of the removal in the want of some 
good accommodations, as I hoped and expected to get at 
my friend Mrs. House's, where if Congress have returned 



or shall return I depend upon quarters, of which the next 
post shall convey notice. The proclamation of the Execu- 
tive has, I am told, given offence to the B. party, and 
threats have been thrown out of calling for the Council 
Book next session with a view to censure the advisers of the 
measure. I am no prophet but will venture to foretell that 
the person who attempts it will fail in his project and meet 
rather the censure than applause of the people. If the 
definitive treaty arrives before the meeting in the fall, I 
expect we shall have a long and warm session. 


Spring Hill, 28 th July, 17S3. 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 7 th inst. came duly to hand. It is strange 
we have yet no satisfactory accounts of the definitive treaty. 
The settlement of a British ministry, I hoped, would have 
speedily brought that important matter to a close; but for 
anything we are at present informed, the time of its com- 
pletion is very uncertain. Has any step been taken on our 
part towards a treaty of commerce? They seem to have 
moved cautiously in that business. Surely we shall not be 
precipitate who are, compared to Britain, but novices, very 
young actors on the theater of commerce. 

I recollect not giving any intimations to your friends that 
it would be inconvenient for you to take part in the legis- 
lative concerns next fall. On the contrary, I think I rather 
encouraged the notion, or at least left it quite free for your 
choice, as I hoped and still wish it may suit you to give us 
your assistance at that time. 

I hope 

O ^ 

i 3 o 

I hope such of the leaders of the late mutiny as shall 
appear to be guilty, will meet the punishment due to their 
crimes. Some of the officers of that line (I mean, P\) 
are, if we are to judge from former transactions, old offend- 
ers, and having before been pardoned for similar miscon- 
duct, are the less entitled to favor now. It is to be re- 
gretted those principally concerned have escaped. I doubt 
whether it would be proper for Congress to return to Phila- 
delphia even upon an address to the citizens, unless couched 
in terms expressive of the disapprobation of the conduct 
of the executive and willingness then as well as at all fut- 
ure times when properly required to turn out in support of 
the dignity of the federal government [which has] (if the 
report of the committee deserves credit, and we have no 
reason to doubt any part of it) been grossly disregarded by 
the executive authority of the State. I think at present I 
should reluctantly return upon the proposed address and not 
willingly until the Legislature by some proper resolution 
paved the way. The treasurer still leaves me in suspense. 
Whether to morrow's post will produce anything that will 
prepare the way to my return I cannot now inform you. 
If I should revisit the city my hopes still are I shall see you 
before your departure. 


Spring Hill, 4 th August 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

The last post brought me a letter from the treasurer 
which determines my visit to Congress. He informs me 
he has bills to the amount of upwards of twelve hundred 


J 3i 

pounds on Philadelphia which he wishes to apply to the use 
of the delegation and had written to you and also to me 
informing us of it, that our correspondents, and those of 
the other gentlemen, might obtain warrants for our re- 
spective proportions of them. He says he requested your 
answer by the last or this post. I have desired Col. Mon- 
roe to obtain a warrant on my account. If not done, the 
other gentlemen will direct their correspondents to do the 
same that the bills may be forwarded without delay. Should 
they arrive before I get up, you will be pleased to receive 
my proportion. I am not certain of the day, but within a 
week or ten days at farthest I shall, health permitting, set 
out. If Congress should be returned to Philadelphia, I 
require a room at Mrs. House's; if at Princeton they still 
remain, your assistance to procure me one shall be thank- 
fully acknowledged. Although I think were I present my 
voice would be opposed to returning to the city for reasons 
formerly assigned, yet I must confess being in Philadelphia 
will best suit me on account of some private matters I have 
to attend to, as well as on account of more convenient ac- 
commodation — an object of some consideration to me in 
my uncertain health and advanced years. I shall return 
my carriage from Baltimore, that Mrs. Jones and Joe may 
visit the upper country if she chooses to do so, rather than 
hazard continuing during the sickly season on Rappahan- 
nock. From Baltimore, I shall ride, or take the stage, as 
upon inquiry I shall think most agreeable. This quarter 
affords no news for your entertainment. 

I 3 2 


Spring Hill, 30 th October, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

After two or three interruptions on the road by rainy 
weather, I arrived here the 23 d tolerably well. Two days 
after Mr. Hardy and Monroe called on me on their way to 
Philadelphia, by whom you will receive this. They hope 
to find Congress in the city by the time they get up, but by 
your communication received by the post this week I gave 
them little encouragement to be so happily situated. It 
gives me concern to find such indirect methods practiced 
to carry points, and though in the end George Town should 
be solely established the seat of Congress, instead of their 
alternate residence, much as I prefer that place, I should 
not be very well pleased with the manner of its being ac- 

Although the conduct of Congress with respect to the 
western country may call forth the resentment of some of 
the Legislature of Virginia, yet I trust there will be a suffi- 
cient number to close with the terms transmitted by Con- 
gress, and thereby terminate the disagreeable and dangerous 
controversy so warmly supported by some of the States 
against ours on the right to that country. My endeavors 
to procure its passage shall not be wanting as I consider the 
ground on which the cession is now placed beneficial to the 
State, and by proper management may prove very much so 
to the United States. 

From the temper of the Eastern States with respect to 
the commutation, if nothing else operated with them, I 
entertained very slender hopes of their adopting the plan 
of Congress. The rejection of it by Massachusetts was no 



more than I expected as well on that account, as from some 
other motives that are sufficiently known to you. Have 
they laid taxes to pay their quota of the national debt by 
any other mode than the one recommended ? or have they 
in fact refused the Commissioner appointed to settle the 
public accounts permission to proceed upon that business? 
Notwithstanding these obstacles I still wish Virginia to 
agree to the proposition and hope to find the Legislature 
disposed to do so. I set off in a few days for Richmond. 
Company has hitherto prevented me since my arrival from 
putting up the things you desired and sending them to Mr. 
Maury. It shall be done before I leave home. Mr. Jeffer- 
son must be with you as the gentlemen here inform me he 
had gone on the upper road. Remember me respectfully 
to him and all inquiring friends, particularly to the good 
lady of the house, and Mrs. Trist, if she is still with you. 
Tell her Joe says he remembers and thanks her for the 
sword she was so kind as to send him. The vessel on board 
which I put my things is not yet arrived. I fear she was 
out in the storm that happened the Saturday night and 
Sunday morning I left you. 


Richmond, 21 December, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favor by the post this week and have the 
satisfaction to inform you the Assembly have passed a law 
granting the impost to Congress. Also that a bill has 
passed the delegates, and is now before the Senate, accept- 
ing the terms stipulated by Congress respecting the western 



lands, and authorizing the delegates to convey the claim of 
this State to the United States. I have no doubt of its 
passing the Senate, though I fear they will attempt to re- 
store a clause which on the third reading was struck out by 
the delegates, whereby a further condition was annexed, 
that a quantity of land sufficient to comply with the resolves 
of the two Houses granting lands to certain persons, should 
be reserved. The delegates upon reflection thought it bet- 
ter to put a finishing hand to this business than hazard 
further altercation and perhaps the final settlement of so 
important an object and therefore parted (?) from the clause. 
That the Senate, some of whom are much attracted to those 
for whom the clause provided, might not restore it by 
amendment, I have mentioned to a few of them as abetter 
and less exceptionable mode, the instructing our delegates 
to move in Congress for such an allowance of land out of 
that ceded as may enable the State to fulfill their engage- 
ments. This course will probably be taken. We had passed 
a law empowering the Congress to prohibit if they thought 
fit, the entry of British vessels into our ports, or to adopt 
any other mode they preferred to counteract the designs of 
Great Britain on our commerce, so long as they should 
adhere to their present system. Your letter to the Gov- 
ernor intimating your apprehensions the business will not 
be speedily done by Congress, as they can only recommend. 
We meant by publishing our resolves on the subject to call 
the immediate attention of the States to it, that similar 
measures might be taken by them. The plan of counter- 
acting the British policy I could wish should proceed from 
Congress in consequence of powers to be communicated 
for that purpose, to exhibit to that nation an instance that 



the States are not so jealous of that body as to withhold 
powers that are necessary whenever the general welfare 
presents the occasion, and to convince them of their error 
that we cannot in this business act in concert. The trans- 
mission of our act to the Executives of the several States 
with request that their attention may be immediately called 
to this great object, may produce similar acts on their part 
and expedite the plan of opposition. We expected to rise 
to day, but think at present we shall not accomplish it. 

N. B. Mr H — y, who at first proposed to instruct the 
delegates to press for sessions from the other States, at length 
relinquished the design for the reason you mention — the 
disagreeable predicament in which we would place our dele- 


Fredericksburg, 29 th December, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

I have the satisfaction to inform you the Senate contrary 
to my expectation passed the act authorizing the Delegates 
in Congress to convey the claim of Virginia to the territory 
northwestward of the Ohio to the United States, without 
amendment, and it will be transmitted you without the in- 
struction heretofore intimated. The mode adopted for 
transferring our right was in pursuance and in conformity 
to the precedent established by New York in her cession. 
Perhaps an act vesting the claim of this State in the United 
States might have been more proper and less troublesome ; 
but as there was a precedent, it was thought better to pur- 
sue that, than adopt a contrary method. Some of the 



learned judges (but not of the Chancery) doubted the effi- 
cacy of such deed of conveyance, as the Congress, not 
being a corporate body, could not take a title by convey- 
ance. I am so little used to law proceedings of late, and 
so incompetent a judge of difficult cases without recurring 
to books, that the objection had not struck me, and I do 
not now feel so strongly as they appeared to do, the force 
of the objection — conceiving, as I do, the cession to be a 
conventional act between sovereign and independent States, 
and not to be scanned by the rules of municipal law. I 
mention this circumstance that if you think there is weight 
in it the necessary precaution mav be observed. 

I think I before informed you we had granted the impost 
duties with some conditions similar to those of Massachu- 
setts. Another perhaps would have been proper, and had 
it occurred in time would probably have been inserted in 
the act for determining questions of seizures for small 
value in the County Courts, rather than compelling persons 
in all cases to defend themselves in the Court of Admiralty 
in Williamsburg. Should this in practice be found op- 
pressive, as it reaches not the substance, I presume it may 
be redressed. The completing the cession and granting 
the impost may not improperly be called sacrifices by this 
State to the common good of the Union, and will, it is to 
be hoped, lessen, if not wholly suspend the illiberal cen- 
sures heretofore cast upon us. Add to these the unanimity 
and spirit with which the legislature passed an act to em- 
power Congress to concert measures to counteract the 
designs of Great Britain on our commerce — all of them 
calculated to produce harmony, and strengthen the hands 
of the Federal government. The impost I assure you was 


r 37 

with some a bitter pill, but finding it must be swallowed, 
they ceased at length to make opposition. 

Although we could not doubt the signing of the definitive 
treaty in terms almost the same as the provisional articles, 
yet as the same was not ratified and regularly communi- 
cated, it was thought proper to continue the law as 
it is called for four months, and from thence to the end of 
the next session of Assembly. It was strongly contended 
this would be deemed an infraction of the treaty, but a 
great majority appeared in favor of continuing the law. 
From an opinion we were undei no obligation to put into 
a train of execution what was not properly before us. Pray 
inform us at your leisure whether any thing and what has 
been done respecting the negros carried away from New 
York by the British. What about the British debts or the 
interest of them, as I think some instructions were given 
our Commissioners on the subject, particularly the interest. 
Have any steps been taken, or proposed to be taken, to ob- 
tain information of the amount of the claim of the British 
creditors on these States, or will it be left to the respective 
States to pursue their own measures. If it be true that 
three millions of pounds sterling, the lowest calculation I 
have heard of, be due from the citizens of America to the 
subjects of Great Britain, and probably a much larger sum; 
is it within their ability, encumbered as they are with other 
demands, equally just and pressing, to make prompt pay- 
ment? If not, should not some negotiation be opened 
under the authority of Congress, or the respective States to 
gain knowledge of the amount of the debt, and at what 
periods by installment the creditors are content to receive 
payment. This will be an embarrassing business the next 



session of Assembly, and is rendered the more so as it in- 
volves the payments under the law made into the Treasury 
during the continuance of the act and draws into conse- 
quence all transactions under the tender laws. Were you 
in the Assembly when the confiscation law passed (I am 
told you were the draftsman), by which it appears to me 
the property meant to be confiscated was by the law vested 
in the Commonwealth, and although not yet sold, may still 
be so without infringing the treaty, as I conceive the pro- 
ceeding to complete or take inquisitions for the purpose of 
designating the property cannot be deemed future confis- 
cations, and I learn there is much property at this time in 
the predicament I mention. In short, I foresee we shall 
have great and perplexing questions agitated the next ses- 
sion of Assembly such as call for moderation and wisdom 
to discuss and settle, and the prospect of the body's pos- 
sessing abilities equal to the trust, not so promising as I 
could wish. Madison's aid I think we may depend on; 
perhaps old Mr. G. Mason's, as the business of the land 
offices require revision, and his apprehensions on that sub- 
ject, if nothing else, may draw him from his retirement. 
Upon these or many other subjects that may fall under our 
consideration, I shall thank you for your sentiments so far 
as you think it either proper or prudent to convey them. 


Spring Hill, 28 th February, 1784. 
Dear Sir, 

I have yours of the 2 d inst. by Col. Monroe's Adam. I 
lament his not returning accompanied with the means of 


J 39 

relief, having heretofore experienced the disagreeable as 
well as disgraceful predicament in which the gentlemen of 
the delegation are placed for want of remittances from the 
State. It is to be hoped you have received the small sup- 
ply the Treasurer mentioned to me he had lately forwarded, 
and that he will very soon be able to furnish a more ample 
succour. He has sent me an order for what cash may have 
been collected by the sheriffs of Spotsylvania and King 
George of the current taxes. I will obtain what I can un- 
der this order and forward it for your relief. As yet the 
sheriffs have done little owing to the severity of the season, 
which, instead of abating, is to-day and was yesterday, as 
cold as almost any time of the winter; and the river, which 
had opened a little in particular places, again blocked up. 

Knowing that instructions had been given our Commis- 
sioners on the subject of British debts, and uninformed 
what had been the issue of the propositions, I supposed 
Congress might still have it in contemplation to move in 
that matter. I apprehended the British claim upon Amer- 
ica was more than could be discharged by prompt payment, 
and concluded time for payment indispensably necessary. 
To judge what time was necessary a knowledge of the 
amount of the demand appeared to me a pre-requisite ; 
besides it seemed to me to be the most proper course to 
conduct this business by negotiation between the creditors 
and debtors or the State in behalf of the debtors, and that 
the sooner some steps for this purpose were adopted the 
better. In consequence of these reflections I had prepared 
a motion the last session of Assembly to be offered the 
House calculated to obtain information as to the debt, as 
well as to feel the pulse of the British creditors as to peri- 


odical payments. The departure of some of the principal 
members and the thinness of the House at the close of the 
session, deterred me from offering as it was a proposition 
of such importance. I am well satisfied the magnitude of 
the debt and the impracticability of speedy payment will 
well authorize ex parte measures without subjecting us to 
the imputation of violating the treaty ; and perhaps them- 
selves of equal measures to all our creditors the most eligi- 
ble. Yet addition of interest of the debt during the war 
is a great increase of it if we are liable to pay it. Would 
not the mode of negotiating with the creditors be the best 
to get rid of that difficulty for it is very probable from all 
I can hear the creditors, at least many of them would 
be to secure the principal due when the separation 

took place than claim interest during the war. The debts 
contracted within the State have near the whole of them 
been settled, and mortgages and bonds taken by the factors 
at the commencement of the contest; so that a small part 
only rests on simple contract. I thought with you and am 
yet inclined to that opinion (though I confess I do not 
openly espouse it) that the stipulations of the treaty sub- 
jected us to pay the interest. Inclining as I do to that 
opinion I yet have my doubts. Could British subjects after 
the war claim and recover their debts of our citizens? If 
they could not, how comes it that a dead debt revived by 
the treaty should gather interest during its death or suspen- 
sion. I speak not here of the moral obligation to pay. 
Although I applaud your sentiments respecting confiscated 
property and when I get sufficient information of facts re- 
specting the state of that business, may be disposed to be 
generous, yet at present I own I feel little propensity to 



be so. My inquiry respecting the undisposed confiscations 
had for its object the more effectually bringing about an 
accommodation of the payment of the British debts, and 
is not intended by me for any other purpose unless circum- 
stances, as yet unknown to me, shall alter my sentiments. 
I think the information from our Commissioners of the 
transactions of the negotiation gave us reason to think the 
British Commissioners expect no fruits from the recom- 
mendation of Congress. Old Franklin overpowered them 
on the question by a candid offer to go into a fair settle- 
ment of the accounts, which was declined. As soon as I 
receive the treasurers account of the confiscated property 
I will inform you of it. Your letter to Capt. Hays which 
went to Buchanan in Richmond is returned by my servant. 
I have sent it to Maury, to be forwarded to Madison, who 
will take care of it. I fear you will be puzzled to read my 
bad writing; it is really so cold I can scarce hold my pen. 


Richmond, 30 March, 1785. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your favor by Col. Rich d . Taylor. The letter for 
the Attorney has been delivered and he is informed when 
Mr. Taylor will leave town. Mr. Maier some time past 
made application to the Executive, and laid before them a 
state of his case. Although it was not altogether satisfac- 
tory he had a legal demand against the State, yet the cir- 
cumstances were in general so favorable to his pretensions, 
he obtained for his present relief ^150, and an assurance 



that his case would be laid before the Assembly. * The 
other matter has not yet come forward. I will enquire into 
Mr. Maier's situation, and if I shall find your aid necessary 
will apply it. On my return from King George I found a 
letter here from Monroe to you, which I forwarded by way 
of Fredericksburg to the care of Mr. Maury. No other 
has since appeared. Indeed nothing very important had 
been decided, though many things of moment were depend- 
ing. J. Adams is appointed minister to Court of London, 
outvoting R. R. Livingston and Rutledge: Adams 8, Liv- 
ingston 3, Rutledge 2; the first vote, Adams 6, Livingston 
5, Rutledge 2. Virginia and Maryland at first voted for 
L. but went over to A. finally. Jefferson it is expected 
will remain in France. By a letter from Short lately re- 
ceived by W. Nelson, Jefferson was about to visit London. 
Whether merely a private trip or to meet Adams is not 
mentioned ; but I suppose a private visit as Adam's appoint- 
ment could not have reached him. Gardoqui is coming to 
America to adjust matters respecting our boundary with 
Spain. G. W. is reduced to difficulties respecting his ac- 
ceptance of the shares in the companies. Inclosed you 
have a copy of the act. Short writes that Berkeley had 
postponed executing the order for the bust until the return 
of the Marquis, that the likeness might be taken more per- 
fectly. We have sent by way of N. York to the care of 
the delegates the resolution of the last session, and the first 
vessel from here will carry a duplicate. The president of 
Congress in his letter of last week says they have reason to 
think the dispute between the Emperor and the United 
Provinces will be accommodated. He says there appears a 

*See Madison to Jefferson, 27 April, 1785. (Madison's Writings, I., 145.) 



disposition on the part of G. Britain to settle the difficul- 
ties between them and the U. States respecting the treaty 
and other matters, if by our conduct on this side the water 
we do not prevent it. He says also measures are taking and 
in great forwardness for holding a conference with the S. 
tribes of Indians for the purpose of accommodating mat- 
ters with them. I observe by the treaty the Shawanese are 
not parties; it is said they were prevailed on by British 
emissaries not to attend. 

I have this day removed to the house where Capt. Sea- 
brook's family now live and have the two rooms up stairs, 
such as they are, and the entertaining room below. He 
has already, and the rest of the family are by the i st May, 
to remove for the summer into the country, so that I am to 
occupy the house until I leave the town about i st July, with 
the furniture in it. If you come to town for the Court, 
which I think you said you intended, I desire you will come 
here, as you can have a bed and other accommodations, 
though not so well as we could wish, yet so as to be tolera- 
bly comfortable. Pray do not scruple to give orders on me 
for the money I owe you, as I can accommodate you. 


Richmond, 12 June, 1785. 
Dear Sir, 

Being from town when your order for the trunk arrived 
was the reason it was not then sent. If an opportunity 
offers, it shall be forwarded as you desire. In the mean 
time the precaution of preserving the cloaths from the 
moth by exposing them to the sun has been attended to 



and shall be repeated. I know not whether any copy of 
the resolution you allude to has been officially communi- 
cated to Mr. Mason. Such as Beckley copied for the Execu- 
tive have been, so whether that should have been of the 
number I cannot tell as we are not yet favored with the 
Journals by the printer, and I cannot inform myself at the 
clerk's office, Mr. Beckley being out of town. He will, I 
am told, return to-morrow. If the attorney has not sent I 
will contrive you the copies you desire. I heard, but have 
only heard, that Mason and Henderson proceeded to exe- 
cute the other branch of the business committed to the 
Commissioners without the attendance or call for attend- 
ance of the other Commissioners.* What they have done 
has not come to my knowledge. 

I have determined to leave Richmond the first week of 
tne next month for King George, where I shall stay only a 
few days, and then proceed towards the Berkeley Springs, 
to return the beginning of October. At one time I had a 
notion of going to Rhode Island being much pressed to it 
by Mrs. Lightfoot near Port Royal, whose husband is in bad 
health and is advised to make a water trip to that place, 
and his wife is determined to attend him ; but had I gone, 
we were to have taken our route by land and meet him 
there. After some reflection I declined the northern for 
the western trip, whether prudently I cannot tell. But my 
little boy must accompany me, and I thought the springs 
on that account most proper. If I pass through Orange 
and you are in the county, I shall certainly do myself the 

* Mason and Henderson, on the part of Virginia, and Chase and Jenifer, on the 
part of Maryland, were commissioners to determine the navigation and jurisdiction 
of the Potomac River below the falls. 



pleasure of seeing you. H — r — n succeeded in Surry, 
where he offered after being disappointed in Charles City.* 
It is thought there will be a struggle for the chair. 

What do you think of an alteration in the Articles 01 
Confederation to vest the Congress with power to regulate 
trade and collect imposts, to be credited the respective 
States? The States having staples will not I expect relish 
it, and yet the necessity of Congress possessing the power 
is at present apparent. Perhaps a convention of deputies 
from the several States for the purpose of forming commer- 
cial regulations similar to the British navigation act to be 
carried into execution by Congress, would be the most 
likely mode to obtain success to the measure, as well as col- 
lecting the wisdom of the States on the subject, which is 
unquestionably of the first importance, f 


Richmond, 23 d June, 1785. 
Dear Sir, 

Mr. Beckley has at length furnished me with a copy of 
the resolution you lately requested might be sent to you. 
I confide it to the care of Mr. Maury of Fredericksburg, 

* " The late Gov r . Harrison, I hear, has been baffled in his own county but meant 
to be a candidate in Surry, and in case of a rebuff there, to throw another die for 
the borough of" Norfolk. I do not know how he construes the doctrine of residence. 
It is surmised that the machinations of Tyler, who fears a rivalship for the chair, 
are at the bottom of his difficulties. (Madison to Jefferson, 27 April, 1785.) Though 
Harrison removed to Surry with his family, an attempt was made to throw him out, 
and in the Committee on Privileges an adverse decision was had by the casting vote 
of the chairman ; but on a vote in the House he retained his seat by a very small 
majority — less than six votes. 

fFor Madison's views on this subject consult his letter to Monroe of 7th August, 


IO * 


in hopes it will get safe and soon to your hands. Mr. Blair 
tells me a copy of this resolution has been transmitted to 
the State of Maryland, but knows nothing further of the 
matter. Perhaps the clerk or speaker sent one to Mr. 
Mason. It would seem necessary something should be 
done in it previous to the meeting of the Assembly. My 
determination is to be in King George by the 8 th or 10 th 
next month, where I shall stay a few days before I set out 
on my trip to Berkeley. I should be glad to hear from you 
and if you mean to leave Orange, which way you bend 
your course. 


Richmond, 21 st February, 1786. 
Dear Sir, 

Mr. Madison having given you before he left Richmond 
a history of the proceedings of the Assembly during their 
late session, I have only to add to what he has done some 
particular acts passed by them, a perusal of which may 
prove more satisfactory than a partial account of them. 
With these you will receive a small pamphlet entitled "Re- 
flections, &c." ascribed to Mr. S l . G. Tucker, together with 
the proceedings of the Convention of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church, held lately in Philadelphia, and some news- 
papers containing a variety of questions respecting our 
commerce, making in the whole the only report I am at 
present able to furnish you. 

The act for establishing certain ports for foreign vessels 
passed some time ago, commences its operation the first of 
June next. It is imperfect, and an attempt was made by a 



bill introduced the last session to amend its defects, but 
was lost in its progress through the Legislature. The ope- 
ration of this imperfect law it is to be feared will increase 
the opposition to the measure and work a repeal the next 
session. I wish a fair experiment could be made to ascer- 
tain the advantages or disadvantages of restricting foreign 
commerce to a few ports. Although its policy is strongly 
opposed, yet I incline to think Upon fair experiment the 
measure would prove beneficial and establish itself from its 
fruits. Doubtless it would greatly aid the collection of 
impost revenue, and suppress these evasions which are now 
too generally practised by the subtile and interested trader. 

A wretched combination of unimformed members, with- 
out an individual to utter their objections of the least pre- 
tensions to science except M — r — w — r S — th,* proved too 
powerful for reason and eloquence in favor of the bill for 
establishing Circuit Courts. Nothing, I think, effectual 
has been done to counteract the commercial policy of Brit- 
ain respecting the States. Commissioners to meet com- 
missioners of other States have been appointed. Whether 
they will ever meet, or when met effect any good purpose 
is yet in the womb of time. Better far it would have been 
to confide to Congress such powers as were adequate and 
necessary to secure and protect our commerce from the 
attempts of monopoly and the injuries of inequality. If it 
is ever to be wrested from the present engrossers of it, the 
federal power alone can effect [it]. 

Has anything been done with Britain respecting com- 
merce? Are we to expect a surrender of the posts on the 
Lakes? The holding of them and declining to account for 

♦Meriwether Smith. 


the negros carried from New York have served with our 
people as pretexts for continuing in force the law that pro- 
hibits British subjects suing for their debts. Are we to 
ascribe the reluctance in many instances and the absolute 
neglect in others, of the Indian tribes, to meet and treat 
with our Commissioners, to the detention of the posts on 
the Lakes, or to British and Spanish intrigues with those 

Col. le Maire will I expect deliver you this with its in- 
closures. I wish I could have regaled you with something 
more entertaining. You must accept the will for the deed. 
Tobacco is still low; 2 2s. 6d. last price here. Some think 
this is owing to a contract made with the Farmers general, 
the fulfillment of which we are told rests with R. Morris. 
If Mr. Short is with you, present him my compliments. 

Will it be improper to publish in Paris from the Virginia 
paper, the act concerning G. W. ? Le Maire will bear the 
act of naturalisation to the Marquis. 


Richmond, 30 th May, 1786. 
Dear Sir, 

Before the receipt of your favour by Maj. Moore I had 
procured from Mr. Beckley copies of the bill you wanted, 
and you will receive them enclosed. Something is indis- 
pensably necessary to be done respecting the Courts ol 
Justice, or they will soon become grievances instead of 
giving relief for administering justice. Each of them is 
already overcharged with business ; the general court much 
behind ; the Court of Appeals only trying one cause in a 



week after convening, owing it is said to the lawyers being 
worn down with laborious attendance on the preceding 
courts and unable to prosecute the business. The Attorney 
and Mr. Baker, however, found it convenient to set out 
the Monday after the Court rose for Williamsburg, to de- 
fend some client in the court of admiralty where I suppose 
the fees were more tempting than in the chancery court. 
The Attorney was indeed in bad health before the Court 
broke up, being scarcely able to speak loud enough to be 
heard, and was compelled for want of voice, which a severe 
cold deprived him of, to relinquish the business in Wil- 
liamsburg before it was finished, and since his return has 
been very ill. He is now better, took the air in his chariot 
yesterday, but [is] in such a state of health as to require 
much caution to steer clear of danger. He has had several 
blisters on him and at this time can speak only in whispers. 
I think this attack will make him more cautious in future, 
and not so freely venture health for the sake of money. 
Mr. Nicholas, I am told, is for district courts on a plan 
different from any hitherto proposed. I am more and 
more disposed to concur in the business of districts upon 
some such plan as White and myself in conversation with 
you one evening concurred in and for which purpose he 
was to propose an amendment to the bill before the House. 
But I never heard further yet. 

I sincerely wish you an agreeable journey to the north 
when you undertake it, and as sincerely wish you success in 
any speculation you may make on the Mohawk, but confess 
to you, though I am a stranger to the land and its conve- 
niences, the remoteness from navigation, the long winters 
and the present uncertain issue of what course the back 



commerce may take leave the advantages of holding lands 
there doubtful to an inhabitant of New York, much more 
so to a citizen of Virginia. However, nothing can so well 
clear up these difficulties as a visit to the country and ob- 
taining the best information the present state of things will 
afford. One caution I will recommend, and that is not to 
purchase land from any person without first examining it 
or having it examined by the one you can rely on for true 
information. I take it for granted those of the country 
know the value of property there as well perhaps better 
than others, and generally speaking there are always men 
to be found ready to obtain what we may call bargains and 
that N. York have such men in it, able also to buy I must 
suppose, and should therefore be backward in buying what 
others seem not much to desire. I offer these hints with 
freedom, not wishing to prevent your speculations there, 
but to interpose necessary caution in whatever you may do. 

I shall see King George county next week and perhaps 
visit Alexandria before my return. We are about to look 
into the state of the several naval offices and the mode of 
conducting the business in them, which we think and I 
hope will have its use. 

The British Minister, we hear, has informed Mr. Adams 
in answer to his demand of the posts, that America must 
first pay the debts. 


Richmond, 7 June, 1787. 
Dear Sir, 

Since my return to Richmond, which place I left soon 

after the Governor set out, I have yours of the 27 th from 


!5 J 

Philadelphia. Mr. Dortman, who has arrived here within 
a few days past, informed us your information from New 
York of other delegates coming forward was well founded, 
as you had ten States represented when he came away. I 
entertain hopes from the disposition of the members con- 
vened, that harmony will prevail and such improvements 
of the federal system adopted as will afford us a prospect 
of peace and happiness. I am, however, strongly impressed 
with fears that your labours in Convention, though wisely 
conducted and concluded, will in the end be frustrated by 
some of the States under the influence of interests operat- 
ing for particular rather than general welfare. Be this as it 
may, I cannot doubt but the meeting in Philadelphia will 
(composed as it is of the best and wisest persons in the 
Union) establish some plan that will be generally approved. 

The Lieutenant-Governor tells me he does and shall con- 
tinue to write to the Governor* once a week at least. I 
shall do the same to you if I can furnish any sort of mate- 
rials for a letter worth communicating. At any rate I may 
support a correspondence by enclosing you by the news- 
papers ; if I can entertain you with nothing more interest- 

A letter from Mr. A. Lee which the Governor has sent 
us intimates the propriety of proceeding without delay (if 
the Executive have any money at their command) to pur- 
chase up Continental securities, which are now low, but 
which he seems to think will (if the Convention do any- 
thing that will probably meet the approbation of the States, 
and the sales of the lands by Congress take place) rapidly 
rise in value. He says also that other States are doing this 

* Edmund Randolph. 


*5 2 

while it is to be effected on easy terms. I wish for infor- 
mation as to the fact, and your sentiments so far as you 
conjecture respecting the rise of the value of these papers. 

We have forbid any further advances of specie to the 
Commissioner of the U. S. until we can be assured the 
proportion of indents will be admitted. Those on the 
requisition of the last year have been withheld, conse- 
quently it is too late for the present collection to furnish a 
proportion of them ; and we understand the construction 
of the Treasury board of the U. S. is that under the requi- 
sitions of '84 and '85, the indents issued under each requi- 
sition can be received in payment of each, and none of the 
one be admitted in the other, and so of the last year, had 
they come forward; and of the year '85 none to be re- 
ceived but such as were in the hands of the State treasurer 
the 1st January '87, and of '86, none but such as should 
be in his hands by the 1st July, '87. This was not, I be- 
lieve, so understood here by the requisitions, and if they 
were so intended, which may probably have been the case, 
a point so material for the States to be acquainted with 
should have been clearly, and not doubtfully expressed. 

We have letters from several of the county lieutenants 
of the Kentucky district of Indian incursions and depre- 
dations, many persons killed and horses carried off; of the 
families many of them in the frontier coming in, particu- 
larly in Jefferson. These letters are sent to the delegates 
in Congress. We have authorized measures of defense 
only, well knowing an adherence to the militia law our best 
policy as a State. But the measures of the United States 
should go further, whenever there is reason for it. Our 
informations seem to call for such measures, or I am per- 

J 53 

suaded very great distress will attend the Kentucky district. 
We hear nothing of or from Mr. Butler, or the commander 
of the troops of the U. St : My compliments to the Gov- 
ernor. I beg your excuse as I really had forgot your for- 
mer request about the 2 books. It shall be attended to 
now, but you will inform me where they are to be sent. 


Richmond, 29 June, 1787. 
Dear Sir, 

We are not to know the result of your deliberations for 
five or six weeks to come, as from accounts your session 
will continue until some time in August. Some of your 
uxorious members will become impatient from so long ab- 
sence from home. How does the Dr. stand it? enjoy him- 
self as usual or cast longing looks towards Richmond. 
Mrs. McClurg is and looks well, and will I dare say on his 
return prove at least a full match for him. Mrs. Randolph 
and the children have, I hope, got up safe. Present her if 
you please my compliments. Tell the governor we shall 
not venture to speculate in indents or any other Continental 
securities. Had we the power and the means to follow a 
certain gentleman's advise the adoption of his plan would, 
with me at least, required other authority to support it. 
We have directed the sale of the tobacco on hand in the 
manner as you will see by the enclosed paper, and have 
some hopes the price will be advanced nearly to the State 
price by the receipt of the interest warrants. These ici// 
soon answer the purposes of specie. I am told it has had 
the effect to appreciate the warrants 2^ per cent. The 



sudden demand at Petersburg the last week for tobacco in 
consequence of many arrivals started the price there to 
24s. 6d. which had for some time stood at 22s. 6d. ; here 
it rose from 2$s. to 24s. I am told at Fredericksburg the 
price has got to 22s. 6d.; it has been 20s. only. Some 
how it is kept down here, and will I fear be checked in 

We last evening had a letter from the searcher at Alex- 
andria complaining of a rescue from his possession of a 
schooner he had seized. She is from St Kitts, had entered 
in Maryland, but was detected in landing at Alexandria 
some rum (the number of hhd. not mentioned) which occa- 
sioned her seizure by the searcher. The communication 
we have received shews that the people of the town were 
more disposed to act in opposition to law than support the 
officer in the execution of his duty. We have directed 
one of the armed boats to endeavour to recover the vessel 
which we hear moved towards George Town. We have 
also called for the names of those who assisted the captain 
and vessel to escape, and directed the searcher to move for 
the penalty against those who refused to assist him, when 
summoned by him to offer their aid. The last post I heard 
late in the evening, that Mr. Harrison was to set out in the 
stage in the morning. I sent accounts to him with the 
two books, requesting he would convey them to you. 

Will you send me the 7 th Essay on Finance.* Adams 
book is here, and I can get the reading of it.f 

*By Pelatiah Webster, a merchant of Philadelphia, 
f Defence of the Constitution. 



Richmond, 6 th July, 1787. 
Dear Sir, 

I have your letter of the 26 th ult. The post preceding 
the arrival of yours brought me a letter from the Governor, 
inclosing Mr. Wythe's resignation,* when the filling the 
vacancy made by that Gentleman's departure from Con- 
vention was considered, and determined by the executive 
to be unnecessary. The length of time the Convention had 
been sitting, and the representation of the State then at- 
tending, being within one of the number first appointed, 
and these gentlemen of established character and approved 
abilities, were considerations that I believe had weight and 
governed the determination. Had the supplying Mr. 
Wythe's place been thought 'necessary, I have no doubt 
Mr. Corbin's well-known abilities, and his being on the 
spot, would have pointed him out to the executive as a 
proper person. It is supposed by some Dr. McClurg will 
soon retire. Should that be the case, and the other gentle- 
men remain I am inclined to think from what formerly 
passed at the board, they will be deemed a representation 
competent to the great objects for which they were ap- 

If the Massachusetts Assembly should pursue such meas- 
ures as from the specimens you mention there is reason to 
fear they will, the example may probably prove contagious 
and spread into New Hampshire, whereby the Eastern pol- 
itics will become formidable, and from the principles which 

* " Mr. Wythe left us yesterday, being called home by the serious declension of 
his lady's health." — Madison to Jefferson, 6 June 1787. 



appear to govern them and the number of adherents, per- 
nicious consequences are to be apprehended. 

Tobacco still rises ; the price now current will nearly 
bring us what the State allowed, and it is probable by next 
Thursday, the day we have fixed for the sale, we shall find 
purchasers giving a price for all the upland tobacco at least 
equal if not higher than the State price. Although the 
Treasury board refused to take tobacco at the State price, 
we have been applied to this day by Hopkins to postpone 
the sale until he can apply to and be directed by them what 
to do, or allow him to bid for tobacco to the amount of the 
bills on him, which he says is about 25,000 dollars. All 
circumstances considered, we agreed he may purchase to 
the amount of 4,000/, to be considered as specie, and to 
be accompanied with the proper proportion of indents 
under the requisition of '85. 


Richmond, 23 d July, 1787. 
Dear Sir, 

Since my last to you I have been very much indisposed, 
and until a few days past unable to write or attend to any 
business. At this time I am barely strong enough to take 
exercise. Are we likely to have a happy issue of your meet- 
ing, or will it pass over without effect? Finding you still 
continue together our hopes are not lost; my fears, how- 
ever, I must confess, are rather increased than diminished 
by the protraction of your session, taking it for granted 
many and great difficulties have been encountered, as there 
were many and great to remove before a good system could 



be established. We have been amused with your either 
soon separating or continuing to sit until September. I 
have nothing to tell you of but that I have been disap- 
pointed in my expectation we should get for our tobacco 
the State price. The James, Appomattox and York have 
been sold here; the two former at near the State price, the 
latter some shillings below it. A few both of Rappahan- 
nock and Potomac were offered ; they sold at a loss of $s 
or 6s a hundred. Seeing no prospect of a better price here 
for these tobaccos, the committee of Council, who attended 
the sale to assist the treasurer with their advice postponed 
the sale, and the Rap : tobaccos are to be sold at Fredericks- 
burg, the i st next month and the Potomack, at Alexandria, 
the 6 th , being the Monday after Col. Meriwether is appointed 
to do the business under the direction of two of the Council, 
Col. Mathews and Genl. Wood, who are to attend. It is 
hoped a better price will be obtained by selling in the man- 
ner proposed. 

I shall leave this place about the 3 d of next month and 
keep on towards the mountains for the sake of health. 
Your future letters, therefore, please to direct to Freder- 

The Virginia Legislature, with a view to aid the collec- 
tion of taxes, had determined to take tobacco in lieu ot 
specie in the payment of taxes at a price to be determined 
by the executive, but not to exceed 28 shillings. This 
proposition was accepted by the moderate members in the 
hope of preventing worse measures — like the issue of more 
paper money. 

<r L.