Front Page Titles (by Subject) draft of a bill for regulating the appointment of delegates to general congress 1 - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
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draft of a bill for regulating the appointment of delegates to general congress 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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draft of a bill for regulating the appointment of delegates to general congress1
v. s. a.
[May 12, 1777.]
Be it enacted by the General assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia that there shall be annually chosen five delegates to act the part of this Commonwealth in General Congress any three of whom shall have power to sit & vote. The delegates to be chosen in this present session of assembly shall continue in office till the day of and those hereafter to be chosen at the said annual election shall enter on the exercise of their office on the day of next succeeding their election & shall continue in the same one year, unless sooner recalled or permitted to resign by General assembly; in which case another shall be chosen to serve till the end of the year in the stead of any one so recalled, or permitted to resign.
No person who shall have served two years in Congress shall be capable of serving therein again till he shall have been out of the same one whole year.
Each of the said delegates for every day he shall attend in Congress shall receive [eight] dollars, and also [fifteen pence] per mile going and the same returning together with his ferriages, to be paid whereever Congress shall be sitting by the Treasurer of this Commonwealth out of any public monies which shall be in his hands.
[1 ]The delegation of Virginia in the Continental Congress was the origin of in tense factional struggle and intrigue in both the Congress and in the House of Delegates. John Adams states (Works, iii., 31): “Jealousies and divisions appeared among the delegates of no State, more remarkably than among those of Virginia.” In the Virginia Assembly, R. H. Lee had antagonized the planter interest, by his course on the accounts of Treasurer Robinson, and that class had set up Benjamin Harrison as their representative. In 1776, by the influence and votes of the Lee party, Harrison and Braxton were left out of the delegation, by means which a member of the neutral party (Pendleton) claimed to be “disgraceful.” The former on his return to Virginia secured an election to the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jefferson; but on Wythe’s retirement, the Lees succeeded in filling his seat with one of their own interest, Mann Page. In turn, the Harrison faction began a counter attack on R. H. Lee, but apparently first attempted to veil it under a general act of the assembly. For this purpose, May 12, 1777, they ordered the preparation of a bill regulating the appointment of delegates, and named Jefferson alone to draft it—the only case I have discovered of a single individual being so selected. He was already pledged, by his resolution offered in the Continental Congress (ante, p. 220), to a limited term of two years for this office; and a bill prepared on these lines would legislate Lee out of office. On May 12th, he reported this draft of a bill, and after a severe struggle, it was committed to the Committee of the Whole by a vote of only 42 to 40. It was here discussed and amended on the 14th and 15th, and on the 16th, was passed by the Delegates. In the Senate, it was amended and returned; on May 21st, the Delegates amended the Senate amendments, which were concurred in by the Senate, and it became a law. Lee, though “it was impossible . . . to avoid feeling the immediate ill treatment that I had received” “from a wicked industry, the most false and most malicious that the deceitful heart of man ever produced,” seemed to have felt no ill-will toward Jefferson for his part in the affair. He returned to Virginia to secure an election to the House of Delegates, “was left out of the last chosen convention, but . . . harangued the people of the back Country, in the field & bought off one of their representatives to decline, payed his fine, to procure His return in his stead. Returned to the convention, His Brothers, by threats & Cabals, procured his appointment to General Congress.”—(Stevens MSS. No. 277.) At the same session of the legislature, he secured the introduction of a new bill dealing with this question, of which apparently Jefferson was likewise the drafter, and which is printed in the Session Acts for 1778, p. 20, and in the Report of the Revisers, p. 9 Cf. The Bland Papers, i., 57. The text of the present bill as amended and adopted is given in the Session Acts for 1777, p. 17, and in Hening, x., 383.