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Madison, James (1751-1836) to Edmund Pendleton re: waiting foreign dispatches on peace talks; selling slave

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06757 Author/Creator: Madison, James (1751-1836) Place Written: Philadelphia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1782/08/06 Pagination: 1 p. + docket 24.8 x 19.7 cm

Summary of Content: Awaiting news of peace talks and personal advice regarding impossibility of selling a slave. Madison notes that while European newspapers "teem with paragraphs relative to pacific negotiations" but past British policy "should always restrain our hopes of peace from circumscribing our preparations for war." In July 1782 the Earl of Sherlburne took over the ministry and in early August he agreed to enter formal negotiations with the Americans. Madison also talks about selling a slave: "Upon recollection, it will be impossible to dispose of the slave in this state[,] there being a legal institution ag[ain]st it. Even his coming into [Philadelphia] will operate as a manumission, unless the case of runaway ... [is] provided...." Pendleton had earlier asked Madison's help in helping locate a runaway slave of Pendleton's nephew and, if found, to either lodge him in jail or sell him for 100 pounds or more. See Madison Papers 5: 27 and EP's letter to JM 29 July 1782 (4: 442-3). Madison also is responding here to the unexpected Pennsylvania abolition act of 1780, which suddenly raised deep legal issues of comity.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

People: Madison, James, 1751-1836
Pendleton, Edmund, 1721-1803

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsDiplomacyPeaceSlaverySlave SaleAfrican American HistoryPresidentManumissionRunaway SlaveFugitive Slave ActLawAbolition

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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