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money as to leave no doubt of a want of punctuality.
To what a deplorable State shall we be reduced if the Bay continues blocked up. Commerce both public and private is already taking its turn to Philadelphia, our Continental money is all gone or going off in that channel and no other resources for remittances to that place.
TO REV. JAMES MADISON.
RICHMOND. April 8th, 1781.
SIR, I am authorized to inform you that a good Horse or two shall be furnished you by the public for your Journey. I think it would be unreasonable for us to expect the Pensylvania Commissioners to carry a Time-piece to Fort Pitt unless we should send one to Philadelphia which would be preposterous. I should be very unwilling to admit a Difference to be begun with them on this subject. I think in my letter to you I undertook to assure you that if the Time-piece of the College should receive such an Injury as could be repaired here, it should be repaired at the public Expense, and if it could not be repaired that the Instrument should be replaced as soon as peace shall have opened Importations to us, but indeed if carried in a covered waggon which shall be provided, well packed laid on a feather bed which you may find it necessary to carry for yourself or otherwise on straw or perhaps swung it cannot receive Injury. When it is considered that this Instru
ment was given by the public, that the loan of it is now asked for a purpose important to the public Interest & in no small degree to Geographical science and that it goes insured by the Public I hope the temporary inconveniences which may result by possibility will not deprive the State of the benefit of it.
You mention in your Letter a Purpose of coming here shortly, let me take the liberty of entreating you to suffer the private Motives which were leading you here to be inforced by the public Object and to come immediately, as I wish much to be quite possessed of the Mode & Circumstances of transacting this Business, before I write to President Reid which I shall accordingly defer in Hopes of seeing you. It will probably shorten the Business if I can inform him what we have in Idea, what we can contribute &c. Besides this there is an other very interesting subject on which some others as well as myself wish a free conference with you. In hopes of seeing you immediately I shall add nothing more than I am with very great Esteem, &c.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN.
V. S. A.
IN COUNCIL April 10th, 1781. SIR, General Scott having obtained permission from the Commandant at Charlestown for the Shipping of Tobacco from this State to that post for the Relief of the Continental troops there of our line, sent me a copy of that Permission taken by his Bri
gade Major. This paper not being sufficiently authentic to protect from Capture vessels which should go laden with Tobacco. I wrote to Major General Phillips to ask a Passport and received his answer extracts from both of which I now do myself the Honour of enclosing to you. By his letter you will perceive he proposes that the Regulations under which she goes shall be settled between yourself, himself and the British naval Commander here. General Phillips speaks in his letter of permitting a flagg vessel in the singular number. It was not my intention in the Application to fix it to a single vessel. The vessels we have it in our power to employ are so small that one of them laden with Tobacco would carry very little Relief.
It requires 100 Hogsheads of Tobacco a Month to pay off the Virginia line in Charlestown and they are a twelve month in Arrear and the debts that they have contracted are in proportion to those Arrears. We had proposed to send from six to nine hundred Hogsheads of Tobacco. I wish therefore that the permission could be regulated rather by the Tonnage
than number of vessels.
Another Circumstance of difficulty is introduced by his Letter, which is, that an Officer from Portsmouth must go in the vessel; to this we have not the least Objection; but that he might expect to return in her, where as we can only procure vessels which would mean to pursue their mercantile objects to some other Port for Cargoes asking from Charlestown Protection of the flag till they should be clear
of their Coasts. Should the restriction to a vessel however be insisted on by the British Commander we should ultimately wish to urge that a Pilot Boat be permitted to attend her for the purpose of bringing back the Officers who necessarily go to attend to the Delivery of the Tobacco. As we have every Thing in readiness for sending this Relief to our prisoners and they are in extreme Distress, I will beg the favor of as early an Attention to the settlement of this matter as your business will permit you to bestow.
TO THE FRENCH MINISTER.
(CHEVALIER DE LA LUZERNE.)
V. S. A.
RICHMOND. April 12th, 1781.
SIR, I have the honour of your Excellency's favor of March 23d and shall with great pleasure communicate to our Citizens our prospect of Aid from his most Christian majesty to whom we are already so infinitely indebted. I assure you Sir that these prospects are necessary to inspirit them under the present aspect of their Affairs. We suppose one half of the Enemy's force in the United States to be to the Southward. Georgia and South Carolina have been long theirs and North Carolina however disposed convulsed by the ravages of two Armies her citizens are too much engaged in saving their families and Property to go in the American Army. I believe it may therefore with truth be said that the opposition to the two hostile Armies in North
Carolina and Virginia falls at present on Virginia only aided with about 500 Men from Maryland. While our Northern Brethren infinitely superior in numbers, in compactness, in Strength of Situation, in Access to foreign supplies, of necessaries, possessed of all the Arms & Military stores of the Continent, opposed by an Enemy not superior to Ours, have the protection of almost the whole of the Continental Army, with the very important addition of the Army and fleet of our Allies. A powerful Enterprise meditated by the Northwestern savages has obliged this State to have an Army of between two & three thousand Men collected at this Time at the Ohio. The Cherokees on our Southwestern corner take off the Aid of our most valuable Counties in that Quarter. To support General Greene and prevent the Enemy entering our Country on the South we are obliged to send the whole of our regulars and continual reliefs of Militia, and on our seaboard an enemy three thousand strong is firmly posted, has totally shut up the only door we had to commerce for either private or public purposes, and lays us under the necessity of keeping up two Armies of Militia to prevent their ravaging the adjacent country. Notwithstanding all this I believe from what I have lately seen that we should be substantially safe were our Citizens Armed, but we have not as many Arms as we have Enemies in the State.
Under such circumstances it is not easy to foretell events, and it is natural for our People to ask if they are to have no help from others.