Philadelphia, December 12, 1780. Dear Sir,

Agreeably to your favor of the second instant, which came to hand yesterday, I shall send this to Fredericksburg. I am sorry that either your own health or that of your lady should oblige you to leave the Legislature before the principal business of the session is finished. I shall be more sorry, if either of these causes should disappoint my hopes of your return to Philadelphia at the promised time. I am the more anxious for your return, because I suppose it will supersede the proposed measure of sending an Envoy to Congress on the business you mention. If the facts are transmitted by the Speaker of the Assembly or the Executive, may they not be laid before Congress with as much efficacy by the established Representatives of the State as by a special messenger ? And will not the latter mode in some measure imply a distrust in the former one, and lower us in the eyes of Congress and the public? The application to the Court of France has been anticipated. Congress have even gone so far as to appoint an Envoy Extraordinary to solicit the necessary aids. Colonel Laurens was invested yesterday with that office. I leave the measure to your own reflection. How far it may be expedient to urge Spain to assist us, before she is convinced of the reasonableness of our pretensions, ought to be well weighed before it be tried. The liberty we took in drawing on her for money, excited no small astonishment, and probably gave an idea of our distress, which confirmed her hopes of concession on our part. Accounts received since my last, repeat her inflexibility with regard to the object * in question between us. It is indispensable that we should in some way or other know the ultimate sense of our constituents on this important matter.

Mr. Laurens is certainly in captivity. An Irish paper

tells us he was committed to the Tower on the sixth of October, under a warrant from the three Secretaries of State. Portugal has acceded to the neutral league so far as to exclude the English from the privileges her armed vessels have hitherto enjoyed in her ports. The Ariel, with Paul Jones, and the clothing &c., on board, was dismasted a day or two after she sailed, and obliged to put back into port. If General Washington detaches no further aid to the southward, it will be owing to the reduction of his force by the expiration of enlistments. The Pennsylvania line is mostly engaged for the war, and will soon form almost the whole of the army under his immediate command.

Mr. Sartine, it seems, has been lately removed from the administration of the Naval Department, in consequence of his disappointing the general hopes formed from the great means put into his hands. When it was mentioned to me by Mr. Marbois, I took occasion to ask whether the deception with regard to the second division ought to be ultimately charged upon him, observing to him the use the enemies of the alliance had made of that circumstance. From the explanation that was given, I believe, the blame rests upon his head, and that his removal was

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the effect of it in a great measure; though it is possible, he may, like many others, have been sacrificed to ideas of policy, and particularly in order to cancel the unfavorable impression which the disappointment left on America. A high character is given, as might be expected, of his successor, the Marquis de Castries, particularly with respect to those qualities in which Mr. Sartine is charged with having been most deficient.


Philadelphia, December 13th, 1780. Sir,

The complexion of the intelligence received of late from Spain, with the manner of thinking which begins to prevail in Congress, with regard to the claims to the navigation of the Mississippi, makes it our duty to apply to our constituents for their precise, full, and ultimate sense on this point.

If Spain should make a relinquishment of the navigation of that river, on the part of the United States, an indispensable condition of an alliance with them, and the State of Virginia should adhere to their former determination to insist on the right of navigation, their Delegates ought to be so instructed, not only for their own satisfaction, but that they may the more effectually obviate arguments drawn from a supposition that the change of circumstances, which has taken place since the former instructions were given, may have changed the opinion of Virginia with regard to the object of them. If, on the other side, any such change of opinion should have happened, and it is now the sense of the State, that an alliance with Spain ought to be purchased, even at the price of such a cession, if it cannot be obtained on better terms, it is evidently necessary that we should be authorized to concur in it. It will also be expedient for the Legislature to instruct us in the most explicit terms, whether any, and what, extent of territory, on the east side of the Mississippi, and within the limits of Virginia, is, in any event, to be yielded to Spain as the price of an alliance with her. Lastly, it is our earnest wish to know what steps it is the pleasure of our constituents we should take, in case we should be instructed in no event to concede the claims of Virginia, either to territory or to the navigation of the above-mentioned river, and Congress should, without their concurrence, agree to such concession.

We have made use of the return of the Honorable Mr. Jones to North Carolina, to transmit this to your Excellency, and we request that you will immediately communicate it to the General Assembly.

We have the honor to be, with the most perfect respect and esteem, your Excellency's most obedient and humble servants.



Philadelphia, December 191h, 1780. DEAR SIR,

Yours of the eighth instant came to hand yesterday. I was sorry to find the Assembly had not then taken up the recommendation of Congress on the subject of the western lands. Its being postponed so late will, I fear, prevent the result of their deliberations from being communicated to Maryland before the rising of their Legislature; in which case much time must be lost, unless their Delegates be authorized to accede to the Confederation, on a cession satisfactory to themselves,-a liberality of proceeding hardly to be expected from that State, after the jealousy and reserve it has shown. I am no less sorry to find so little progress made in the plan for levying soldiers." The regular force for the southern department must be principally, it seems, contributed by Virginia, the North Carolina Assembly having broken up without making any effectual provision of that sort. One would have supposed that the fatiguing service exacted of the militia in that State, would have greatly facilitated such a measure, and yet that is assigned as the obstacle to its practicability.

I wish anxiously to hear from yo'i on the subject stated in my letter by Grayson, and in my subsequent one by the post. Circumstances which I do not choose unnecessarily to hazard by the post, have made it expedient to lay the matter before the Assembly, that their former instructions may not be invalidated by a supposed effect of a change of situa

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