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Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 3 (Notes on Virginia I, Correspondence 1780-1782) [1905]

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Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 3. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/801

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About this Title:

Volume 3 of the “Federal Edition” of Jefferson’s works in 12 volumes edited by Paul Leicester Ford in 1904-05. This volume contains various letters and papers as well as the first part of “Notes on Virginia” Jefferson’s only book-length work.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [none]
lf0054-03_figure_001.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [none]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
in Twelve Volumes
Federal Edition
Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [i]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford
Volume III
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London The Knickerbocker Press
1904
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

CONTENTS OF VOLUME III

  • Itinerary and Chronology . . . . . page xix
  • 1780
  • To the President of Congress, February 9th . 3
  • Western land grants—Friction with Pennsylvania.
  • To General Washington, February 10th . . 9
  • Clark’s expedition against Detroit.
  • To —, February 18th . . . . . . 10
  • Battery at Hood’s.
  • To General Washington, April 10th . . . 12
  • Recruiting.
  • To General Baron de Riedesel, May 13th . . 13
  • Condolences—Exchange of prisoners.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 8th . . . . . . . . . 14
  • Public tobacco.
  • To the President of Congress, June 9th . . . 15
  • Continental requisition—Provisions—Southern news—Cavalry—Removal of state capital.
  • To General Washington, June 11th . . . 19
  • Line of expresses—Condition of south—Southern reinforcements.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 13th . . . . . . . . 21
  • Supplies for troops.Edition: current; Page: [iv]
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 14th . . . . . . . . 22
  • Western troops—Western accounts.
  • To the President of Congress, June 15th . . 24
  • Line of expresses.
  • To the President of Congress, June 28th . . 25
  • Southern movements—Continental requisitions.
  • To General Washington, July 2d . . . . 27
  • Rearrangement of troops—Difficulties of situation.
  • To the President of Congress, July 2d . . . 28
  • Chesapeake Bay—Supplies.
  • To the Committee of Congress at Headquarters, July 2d . . . . . . . . 29
  • Impress law—Grain—Transportation—Draft law.
  • To General Edward Stevens, July 19th . . . 30
  • Martial law for militia.
  • To James Madison, July 26th . . . . . 31
  • Paper money—New drafts—Southern condition—Requisitions—College.
  • To the President of Congress, July 27th . . 34
  • Continental resolves—Clothing—Army—Money—Provisions—Tobacco tax.
  • To General Horatio Gates, August 4th . . . 40
  • Cartouch boxes—Army supplies.
  • To General Washington, September 3d . . . 43
  • Defeat at Camden—New army—Relief of New York prisoners.
  • To General Edward Stevens, September 3d . . 44
  • Camden defeat—Reinforcements.
  • To the President of Congress, September 3d . . 45
  • Southern army—Scarcity of arms.
  • To the President of Congress, September 6th . 47
  • Army supplies.
  • To the President of Congress, September 8th . 48
  • Horses for cavalry.Edition: current; Page: [v]
  • To General Edward Stevens, September 12th . 50
  • Desertions from militia—Army supplies.
  • To the President of Congress, September 14th . 52
  • Movements of enemy—Scarcity of arms—Disaffection in Virginia—Conventioners.
  • To General Edward Stevens, September 15th . 53
  • Jefferson’s wagons.
  • To General Washington, September 23d . . . 54
  • Colonel Wood—New recruits—Army supplies—French aid.
  • To General Washington, September 26th . . 56
  • Intercepted letter—Governor Hamilton—Exchange of prisoners—Expedition against Detroit—Cession of Western lands.
  • To the President of Congress, October 14th . . 59
  • Virginia militia for Southern service.
  • To General Horatio Gates, October 15th . . 60
  • Letters—Militia—Cavalry—Maps of Virginia.
  • To the President of Congress, October 22d . . 63
  • British fleet in Chesapeake—Action to oppose them.
  • To General Horatio Gates, October 22d . . 64
  • British fleet.
  • To the President of Congress, October 25th . . 65
  • Movements of British—Condition of Virginia.
  • To General Washington, October 25th . . . 66
  • Southern news.
  • To the President of Congress, October 26th . . 66
  • Removal of Convention troops.
  • To the Virginia Delegates, October 27th . . 67
  • Army supplies—Insurrection at Pittsylvania.
  • To General Horatio Gates, October 28th . . 68
  • Movements of British.
  • To the President of Congress, November 3d . . 69
  • News of British—Removal of Conventioners.Edition: current; Page: [vi]
  • To General Horatio Gates, November 10th . . 72
  • Volunteers—Convention troops—Intercepted letter.
  • To the President of Congress, November 10th . 74
  • Intercepted letter of Leslie—Deserters.
  • To the Delegates of Virginia, November 17th . 75
  • Payments of quota into Continental treasury.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 17th . . . . . . . 77
  • Letter from Bland—Congress delegates.
  • To the President of Congress, November 19th . 77
  • Movements of British—Southern news.
  • To General Horatio Gates, November 19th . . 79
  • Southern news.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 23d . . . . . . . . 80
  • French consul—Foreign commerce—Privateer.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 24th . . . . . . . 81
  • Movements of British—Future measures.
  • To General Washington, November 26th . . 83
  • Removal of Convention troops—Movements of British.
  • To General Edward Stevens, November 26th . 85
  • Sailing of British fleets—Tents—Organization of Virginian forces.
  • To Lieut. John Louis de Unger, November 30th . 85
  • Parting wishes—War and philosophy.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, December 11th . . . . . . . 87
  • Recruits—Future plans of British.
  • To General Washington, December 15th . . 88
  • Expedition against Detroit.
  • To Major Wall, December 21st . . . . 91
  • Wickham case.
  • To —, December 21st . . . . . . 93
  • Impress of supplies—Continental requisitions.Edition: current; Page: [vii]
  • To the County Lieutenants of Hampshire and Berkeley, December 24th . . . . 94
  • Expedition against Detroit.
  • To Rowland Madison, December 24th . . . 95
  • Expedition against Detroit.
  • To George Rogers Clark, December 25th . . 96
  • Expedition against Detroit.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, December 29th . . . . . . . 103
  • Convention troops.
  • To General Baron von Steuben, December 31st . 104
  • Arrival of strange fleet.
  • Extracts from Diary . . . . . . 105
  • 1781
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, January 1st . . . . . . . . 108
  • Announcing arrival of fleet in Chesapeake Bay.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, January 1st . . . . . . . . 108
  • Confirmation of news concerning fleet.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 2d . . 109
  • Proceedings taken to oppose British—Expresses—Commissary—Public arms.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 2d . . 110
  • Views of British invasion.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 2d . . . . . . . . 111
  • Call for militia.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 2d . . . . . . . . 112
  • Call for militia.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 4th . . . . . . . . 113
  • Advance of British.Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • To Colonel Francis Taylor, January 4th . . 113
  • Intentions of British—Removal of Conventioners.
  • To Colonel Richard Meade, January 4th . . 114
  • Subsistence for militia—Requesting his assistance for Steuben.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 4th . . 115
  • Offer to Walker—Militia.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 7th . . 116
  • Arms for militia.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 7th . . 117
  • Endeavors to see Steuben—Arms—Wagons.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 9th . . 118
  • State defence during an invasion a Continental charge.
  • To the President of Congress, January 10th . . 119
  • Narrative of invasion—Damage done—Steuben’s aid—Defenceless condition.
  • To Colonel John Nicholas, January 10th . . 123
  • Restoration of property taken by British.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 12th . . 123
  • Return of horses left by British.
  • To General Baron Steuben, January 13th . . 124
  • Invasions a Continental charge—Continental commissary—Clark’s movements—Draft law—Militia.
  • To the President of Congress, January 15th . . 126
  • Protest against requisitions for supplies for Conventioners.
  • To the Governor of Maryland, January 15th . 129
  • Requisition for Conventioners—Wood-cutting.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 15th . . 130
  • Want of news of enemy—Expresses.
  • To Jacob Wray, January 15th . . . . . 130
  • Expresses.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 15th . . 131
  • Dismissal of militia.Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January 15th . . . . . . . . 133
  • Case of Trot.
  • To General Nathanael Greene, January 16th . 134
  • Success of enemy in Virginia—Success to Southern army.
  • To the Governor of North Carolina, January 16th, 135
  • Recent British invasion—Anxiety to assist Southern States.
  • To the President of Congress, January 17th . . 136
  • Confederation—Virginia land cession.
  • To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January 18th . . . . . . . . 137
  • Navigation of Mississippi—Powder—Recent skirmishes—Southern news.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 19th . . . . . . . 140
  • Draft law—Paroles—Militia.
  • Proclamation Concerning Paroles, January 19th . 144
  • Circular-Letter to the County Magistrates, January 20th . . . . . . . 146
  • Draft law.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 20th . . 147
  • Provisions—Exchanges of prisoners—Paroles.
  • Proclamation Convening Assembly, January 23d . 148
  • Circular-Letter to Members of the General Assembly, January 23d . . . . . 149
  • Desperate condition of State.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, January 25th . . 151
  • Supplies — Convening assembly — Printing laws — Militia—Paroled men—Spirits.
  • To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January 26th . . . . . . . . 153
  • Arendt’s case—Supplies—Harrison’s mission.
  • To Benjamin Harrison, January 29th . . . 154
  • Bermuda trade—Convention troops—Army supplies.Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • To —, January 31st . . . . . . 158
  • Possible abduction of Arnold.
  • To the Governor of Maryland, February 1st 159
  • Shoemaker—Invitation to French allies to visit Chesapeake Bay—Naval force.
  • Proclamation Concerning Foreigners, February 5th . . . . . . . . 161
  • To Benjamin Harrison, February 7th . . . 163
  • Supplying prisoners in New York.
  • To the President of Congress, February 8th . . 164
  • Southern news—Want of arms.
  • To Colonel Theodoric Bland, February 9th . . 165
  • Exchange of Governor Hamilton.
  • To General Nathanael Greene, February 10th . 166
  • Burdens resting on Southern States—Morgan’s success—Army supplies.
  • To General George Rogers Clark, February 13th, 167
  • Expedition against Detroit.
  • Circular-Letter to County Lieutenants, February 15th . . . . . . . . 168
  • Advance of Cornwallis—Calling out militia—Draft law suspended.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, February 16th . . 169
  • Preparation for allies.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, February 16th . . . . . . . 170
  • Western expedition—Necessity of united action.
  • To General Nathanael Greene, February 17th . 172
  • Reinforcements—Advance of French fleet.
  • To General Washington, February 17th . . 173
  • Advance of Cornwallis—Arnold’s movements—Proposition to Cherokees.
  • To General Horatio Gates, February 17th . . 175
  • Southern news—“Knocking at the doors of Congress.”
  • To General Baron Steuben, February 19th . . 176
  • Convention troops—French fleet.Edition: current; Page: [xi]
  • To General George Rogers Clark, February 19th, 177
  • Backwardness of militia—Volunteers.
  • To General Baron Steuben, February 20th . . 179
  • Clothing—Militia—Draft—Visit of Hare.
  • To General Thomas Nelson, February 21st . . 181
  • Tilley’s squadron—Hare’s visit—Militia.
  • To Colonel James Innes, February 22d . . . 182
  • Relief of militia—Commissions.
  • To General Baron Steuben, February 24th . . 184
  • Sufferings and discontent of militia.
  • To General Robert Lawson, February 25th . . 185
  • Continental arms—No news from South—Militia ordered out.
  • To the Officer of French Fleet, February 25th . 186
  • Pilots—Arms and clothing.
  • To the President of Congress, February 26th . 187
  • Retreat of Green—Cornwallis at Hillsborough—Inactivity at Portsmouth.
  • To Mrs. William Byrd, March 1st . . . . 188
  • Definition of enemy.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 1st . . . . . . . . 190
  • Former supplies—Recent invasions—Delay in execution of laws—Necessities for regular troops—New England Convention—Legionary corps—Approach of Cornwallis—Resolutions of Congress—History of invasions.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 2d . 197
  • Pilots for French vessels—Possibility of capturing British.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 3d . . . . . . . . 198
  • Need of additional vessels.
  • To Colonel Edward Carrington, March 3d . . 198
  • Erroneous estimates.Edition: current; Page: [xii]
  • To the Speakers of the General Assembly of North Carolina, March 3d . . . . 200
  • Succours to North Carolina—Lack of arms.
  • To the Governor of Maryland, March 6th . . 201
  • Supplies for Southern army—Concerted action needed.
  • To General Baron Steuben, March 7th . . . 203
  • Cannon—Works at York.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 8th . 204
  • General condition—Drawings of Arnold’s position—Plans of Portsmouth.
  • To the President of Congress, March 8th . . 206
  • Skirmishes—Southern operations—Preparations.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 9th . . . . . . . . 208
  • Refusal of militia to embody.
  • To General Baron Steuben, March 10th . . 209
  • Hare’s flag.
  • To Major-General Baron Steuben, March 10th . 212
  • Failure of militia to obey orders—Horses—Refusal to support impress by force.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 10th . 213
  • Condition of Virginia.
  • To the Speaker of the General Assembly, March 10th . . . . . . . . 214
  • Militia—Horses.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 12th . 216
  • Mistaken rumors prevent militia from embodying—Movements of Arnold.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 12th . 217
  • Various preparations and orders.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 14th . 219
  • News of his arrival—Supplies.
  • To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, March 15th . . . . . . . . 220
  • Difference over exchange.Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 16th . . . . . . . . 221
  • Horses.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 19th . 222
  • Expresses — Horses — Impressing—Turberville’s conduct—Hare’s flag—Military laws—Virginia state press.
  • To His Excellency the President of Congress, March 21st . . . . . . . 226
  • Negligence of expresses—Battle of Cowpens—Lookout-boats.
  • To General Weedon, March 21st . . . . 228
  • News of new fleet in Chesapeake Bay.
  • To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 24th . 228
  • Ammunition—Failure of lead mines—Supplies—Conflict of fleets—Resignation of Muter.
  • To the Commanding Officer of the British, March 24th . . . . . . . . 232
  • Paroled citizens—Retaliation.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, March 26th . . . . . . . 233
  • Acts of Assembly—Impress of horses—Aid to Virginian prisoners—Desertion from British army.
  • To the Rev. James Madison and Robert Andrews, March 31st . . . . . . . 235
  • Western boundaries—Transportation of instruments—Allowance.
  • To the President of Congress, March 31st . . 236
  • Flag vessels—Southern news—Reinforcement of British forces at Portsmouth.
  • To General Phillips, March 31st . . . . 237
  • Removal of Convention troops—Flag vessels.
  • To Nathanael Greene, April 1st . . . . 241
  • Reinforcement of militia—Condition of Virginia.
  • To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, April 6th, 242
  • Supply of arms—Debts—Blockade.Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
  • To Rev. James Madison, April 8th . . . . 244
  • Pennsylvania-Virginia boundary—Time-piece.
  • To Baron Steuben, April 10th . . . . 245
  • Export of tobacco for prisoners.
  • To the French Minister, April 12th . . . 246
  • Aid from France — Southern condition — Safety of Northern States.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, April 12th . . . . . . . . 249
  • Delinquents.
  • To Oliver Towles, April 14th . . . . . 250
  • Movements of enemy—Defence.
  • To Skinner and Garrard, April 14th . . . 251
  • Depredations of British—Militia—Arms.
  • To David Jamieson, April 16th . . . . . 253
  • Council—Appointments.
  • To the President of Pennsylvania, April 17th . 254
  • Pennsylvania-Virginia boundary.
  • To the President of Pennsylvania, April 18th . 255
  • Clark’s operations—Aid.
  • To James Innes, April 21st . . . . . 257
  • Executive has called out militia.
  • To Benjamin Harrison, April 22d . . . . 258
  • Arms—Information concerning British.
  • To Baron Steuben, April 22d . . . . . 259
  • News from Innes—Fortifications.
  • To the President of Congress, April 23d . . 261
  • Movements of British.
  • To Baron Steuben, April 24th . . . . . 262
  • British advance—Condition at Richmond—Movements of Jefferson.
  • To Vanmeter, April 27th . . . . . . 263
  • Bounty money—Mutineers.
  • To Baron Steuben, April 27th . . . . . 264
  • Militia—Desertions.Edition: current; Page: [xv]
  • Circular-Letter to Members of the General Assembly, May 1st . . . . . . . 265
  • Enemy near Richmond—False reports.
  • To James Innes, May 2d . . . . . . 266
  • Arrest of traitors.
  • To Abraham Penn, May 4th . . . . . 268
  • Necessity of calling out militia.
  • Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, May 8th . . . . . . . . 270
  • Call for militia—Movements of British—Accoutrements.
  • To General Washington, May 9th . . . . 272
  • Movements of British—Lafayette’s forced march—Advance of Cornwallis—Shortage of arms.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, May 10th . . . . . . . . 274
  • Ordinance of Congress—Correspondence with Greene—Damage of British—Public stores—Navy—Army service of slaves—Capture of live-stock—State engineer—Losses of State papers.
  • To Fleming and Andrew Lewis, May 13th . . 279
  • Council of State.
  • To Marquis de Lafayette, May 14th . . . 279
  • State of militia duty—Boat building—Meeting of Assembly—Frequent communication.
  • Circular-Letter to Certain Unknown Persons, May 15th . . . . . . . 282
  • Removal of horses from enemy’s route.
  • To Washington, May 28th . . . . . 283
  • Junction of Cornwallis and Arnold—Subsequent movements of British—Need of Washington’s aid—Retirement from office.
  • To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, May 28th . . . . . . . . 286
  • News from Greene—Enforcement of militia service—Lack of power over civilians.Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
  • To Marquis de Lafayette, May 31st . . . 287
  • Army movements—Supplies—Levies—Impress warrants.
  • To Marquis de Lafayette, August 4th . . . 290
  • Appointment on peace commission—Reasons for declining.
  • To Edmund Randolph, September 16th . . . 291
  • Peace commission—Necessary attendance at Assembly—Final leave of public life—British treaty—Cornwallis’ escape impossible.
  • To Washington, October 28th . . . . . 293
  • Congratulations on Cornwallis’ surrender.
  • To Horatio Gates, December 14th . . . . 294
  • Justice to Gates—Future plans.
  • 1782
  • To James Madison, March 24th . . . . 295
  • Rights of Virginia to western lands—Separation of Western States.
  • To the Governor of Virginia, April 13th . . 296
  • Legion of Armand—Supplies.
  • To James Monroe, May 20th . . . . . 298
  • Retirement from public life—Right of service.
  • To the Governor of Virgin a, September 22d . . 302
  • Nathan’s case.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, November 26th . . 303
  • Accepting appointment as Peace Commissioner.
  • To James Steptoe, November 26th . . . . 304
  • Mammoth bones, etc.—Scientific facts concerning Western country—Non-recognition of public service.
  • To François Jean, Chevalier de Chastellux, November 26th . . . . . . . 306
  • Death of Mrs. Jefferson—Scheme of life—Appointment of Congress—Meeting with Chastellux.
  • To James Madison, November 26th . . . . 308
  • Plan of movements—Thanks to Luzerne.Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
  • Advertisement, December 15th . . . . 309
  • Absence from Virginia.
  • Notes on Virginia . . . . . . . 313
  • Note . . . . . . . . . 313
  • An exact description of the limits and boundaries of the State of Virginia . . . . . . . 349
  • A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable . . . . . . . . 351
  • A notice of the best seaports of the State, and how big are the vessels they can receive . . . . . 369
  • A notice of its mountains . . . . . 369
  • Its cascades and caverns . . . . . 376
  • A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, etc. . . . . . 383
  • A notice of all what can increase the progress of human knowledge . . . . . . . . 470
  • The number of its inhabitants . . . . 484
  • The number and condition of the militia and regular troops, and their pay . . . . . . 492
  • The marine . . . . . . . . 494
  • A description of the Indians in that State . . 494
Edition: current; Page: [xviii] Edition: current; Page: [xix]

ITINERARY AND CHRONOLOGY OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 1780–1782

1On April 1st the State capital was removed to Richmond. Before that time Jefferson had been almost continuously in Williamsburg, during his administration, and from this date on he was in Richmond most of the time till May, 1781.
1780.—Mar. 28. At Richmond.1
June 1. Re-elected Governor of Virginia.
Nov. 3. Fourth daughter born.
Dec. 31. Receives news of Leslie’s Invasion.
1781.—Jan. 2. Orders out Militia.
4. Goes to Westham.
Spends night at Tuckahoe.
5. Goes to Westham, Manchester, Chetswood, and “Colonel Henry’s.”
6. At Westham and “Fine Creek.”
7. At Manchester.
8. At Richmond.
19. Issues Proclamation concerning Paroles.
23. Issues Proclamation convening Assembly.
Feb. 5. Issues Proclamation concerning Foreigners.
Apr. 1. At Richmond.
15. Son dies.
May 14. Leaves Richmond for Charlottesville.
28. At Charlottesville.
June 1. Resigns Governorship.
3. Escapes capture at Monticello.
5. Returns to Monticello.
1781.—June 5. Assembly orders investigation of administration.
14. Appointed Peace Commissioner by Continental Congress.
30. Declines appointment.
? Injured by fall from horse.
July At Monticello.
? Prepares part of Notes on Virginia.
Sept. 16. At Monticello.
Oct. 28. At Monticello.
Nov. 5. At Richmond.
Attends Assembly.
26. Committee appointed to state charges against Jefferson.
30. Elected Delegate to Continental Congress.
Dec. 10. Added to Committee on Finance.
12. Voted the thanks of the Assembly.
14. On Committee on County Petitions.
18. On Committee to prepare Bill embodying resolutions of Assembly.
On Committee to prepare Bill for better government of Western Counties.
19. Declines appointment to Congress.
20. On Committee to revise Pension Bill.
On Committee to draft Naval Bill.
21. Granted Leave of Absence for remainder of session.
1782.—Mar. 24. At Monticello.
Apr. 13. At Charlottesville.
May 8. Youngest daughter, Lucy Elizabeth, born.
20. At Monticello.
Sept. 6. Martha Wayles Jefferson, his wife, dies.
22. At Monticello.
Oct. 24. Ordered by Assembly into custody of Sergeant-at-Arms.
Nov. 6. At Richmond.
Attends Assembly in custody of Sergeant-at-Arms.
8. Excused from attendance by Assembly.
12. Appointed Peace Commissioner to Europe.
26. At Ampthill, Chesterfield.
Dec. 19. Leaves Monticello for Philadelphia.
27. Arrives at Philadelphia.
Edition: current; Page: [1]

CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS 1779–1781 (Continued)

Edition: current; Page: [2] Edition: current; Page: [3]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 9, 1780
Wmsburg
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

Your Excellency’s letter enclosing that of Mr. Scott to President Reed, and the President’s to the Delegates of Pennsylvania in Congress, together with the resolutions of your honorable body recommending to both States to forbear granting lands within their disputed territory came safely to hand. I immediately availed myself of an opportunity, which occurred at that time, to Pittsburg, of taking measures to prevent any disorders on the part of our people, having had no other information on the subject than what was communicated in the letters before mentioned. I am uninformed whether any actual breach of the peace has taken place. As Mr. Scott however mentions nothing but the proceedings Edition: current; Page: [4] of the Commissioners for settling disputed titles under this Commonwealth, I rather hope that that is the only act which has been the subject of uneasiness. Our assembly finding that, in defiance of their endeavours to discourage and prevent the settling our Western Country, people were removing thither in great numbers, appropriating lands of their own authority, and meditating to hold them by force, after propositions, made and rejected at several sessions, for legalizing those settlements, at length found it necessary to give way to the torrent, and by their act of May 1779 to establish a land office. The irregular claims and settlements which in the mean time had covered that Country were become so extensive that no prudent man could venture to locate a new claim, and so numerous that in the common administration of justice it would have engrossed the whole time of our ordinary courts for many years to have adjusted them. So multifarious were they, at the same time, that no established principles of law or equity could be applied for their determination; many of them being built on customs & habits which had grown up in that Country, being founded on modes of transmission peculiar to themselves, and which, having entered almost into every title, could not be absolutely neglected. This impressed on the minds of the assembly the necessity of sending special Commissioners to settle, on the spot, & without delay, those various claims, which being once cleared away would leave the residuary Country open to the acquisition of other adventurers. The Western Counties were accordingly laid off into Edition: current; Page: [5] Districts for this purpose, and the arrangement being general, included the territory on the Waters of the Ohio claimed by the State of Pennsylvania. Whether the Assembly did not advert to this circumstance, or took for granted that the Commissioners would never consider a law of this State as meant to be applied to those who professed themselves the Citizens of another, & had been freely admitted so to profess themselves by our Government, or whether they relied that the term of one year, within which they provided that no grant should issue on any judgment of the Commissioners would give them time for the settlement of our disputed territory, or at least to provide for the peace of their Citizens within it, is not within my province or power to say. This however I can say, that from an intimate knowledge of their cordial desire to settle this claim with them amicably, no motive, inconsistent with that, entered into the transaction. In fact the execution of this Commission, guarded as its effects are by a twelve monts [sic] delay of the grants, appears to be as peaceable & inoffensive as the mission of so many astronomers to take the longitude or latitude of the several farms. There is indeed a clause in the act of Assembly which might, on first view, be thought to leave an opening for the introduction of force. It is that which sais [sic] that judgment be rendered, if posses be forcibly detained by the party against whom it is, restitution may be made by the Commissioners or by any justice in like manner as might be done in the case of lands holden by grant actually issued: a Clause very necessary in our other Western Edition: current; Page: [6] Country; but not at all applicable to that part of it claimed by the State of Pennsylvania. By the laws of this Commonwealth (the same in this instance with the English law) even in the case of lands holden under actual grant, no restitution can be made after three years peaceable possession, a term much shorter than that of any bona fide possessions in the disputed territory. The latest of these must be of six or seven years continuance, the present dispute having so long subsisted. The expediency & necessity therefore of the general measure of establishing this temporary Court, I doubt not but Congress will perceive, and tho’ it is to be wished that the disputed territory had been exempted from this jurisdiction, in order to avoid everything which might give jealousy or uneasiness to a Sister State, or which might lead them into an apprehension that we meant to do any act which sh’d wound the amity between us; yet I hope when Congress contemplates it’s effects, they will be sensible that it only amounts to a settlement on paper of the rights of individuals derived from this State and that no mans possession or quiet can be disturbed in consequence of any proceedings under it, until our Legislature which meets in May next shall have had time to settle finally with them this unfortunate dispute, or otherwise to provide against the evils they have apprehended. On my part nothing has been, or shall be omitted for preservation of the peace of that country. Besides the injunctions which, as far as the laws would authorize, I have urged to those the exercise of whose offices might lead to any thing disagreeable, Edition: current; Page: [7] or whose personal character and influence might aid in the preservation of peace, I shall avail myself of such other measures as may tend to the same object. The law having admitted grants to be sued out in cases where there were no contending claims of individuals, I inquired at the proper office whether, previous to the receipt of the resolutions of Congress, any such might have issued for land in the Counties of Yohogania, Monongahela & Ohio, they being the Counties part of which are claimed by the State of Pennsylvania. I found that eight such had issued, under what particular circumstances they are I am not able to discover. I am happy however that the law has left it in my power to comply with the recommendations of Congress, by withholding my signature from any other grants within those Counties, which I shall strictly do, and rest its approbation on the general Assembly and the motives which led to it.

President Reed seems to think that this State has affected delays in the settlement of the right to the disputed territory. A review of the proceedings of our assembly on that subject will so fully convince you of their earnest and unremitting endeavours to procure an amicable settlement, that, without giving you further trouble, I may take the liberty of referring you to the inclosed State of their proceedings for full justification from this suspicion. The novelty of the line proposed for the Western boundary of Pennsylvania by the joint Commissioners, may well account for a hesitation to confirm it, until probable information can be obtained of its actual location. At the same time I must not leave unnoted that the Edition: current; Page: [8] joint Commissioners have not attended to the settlers under either State, who may by this new line fall within the other, nor made any proposition for quieting their possessions. Yet it is surely an object worthy, the attention of us all, to provide that a tract of country, derelict by the State under which they wished to live, should not be urged into a secession from the common union, and into an assumption of independence by fears that their actual possessions may be made to give way to mere paper titles. Should the reference of the proposition to our next session of assembly give time to avoid this evil alone, I am persuaded it will be thought conducive to the quiet of both States.

I shall take care to lay before our Assembly the resolutions and letters you have been pleased to communicate to me on this subject, not doubting that they will supply those efforts beyond the limits of my power which are necessary to remove the present & prevent all future uneasiness—I can say nothing to whatever looks like menace on the part of our brethren. The choice of terms would be delicate and difficult, and their construction hazardous, which would express a proper sensibility on this tender point, and not produce sentiments repugnant to that sincere love I shall forever strive to cultivate with all our Sister States. To history I must therefore refer for answer, in which it would be an unhappy passage indeed which should show by what fatal indulgence of subordinate views and passions, a contest for an atom had defeated well founded prospects of giving liberty to half the globe. That no such Edition: current; Page: [9] blot shall wipe out the sequel of our glorious struggle I trust as well in the approved zeal of the Gentleman who adorns the administration of the other State, as in the resolutions of our own Government to postpone to the great object of Liberty every smaller motive & passion. In every Circumstance, Sir, the kind attention of your body will be remembered and approved, and no occasion omitted of assuring you with how great respect and esteem I am,

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 10, 1780
Williamsburg
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—It is possible you may have heard that in the course of the past summer an expedition was meditated, by our Colo. Clarke against Detroit: That he had proceeded so far as to rendezvous a considerable body of Indians (I believe four or five thousand) at St. Vincennes: but being disappointed in the number of whites he expected & not chusing to rely principally on the Indians was obliged to decline it. We have a tolerable prospect of reinforcing him this spring to the number which he thinks sufficient for the enterprise. We have informed him of this and left him to decide between this object and that of giving vigorous chastisement to those tribes of Indians whose eternal hostilities have proved them incapable of living on friendly terms with us. It is our opinion his inclination will lead him to determine on the former. The reason of my laying before your Excellency this matter is that it has been intimated to me that Colo. Broadhead is meditating a similar Edition: current; Page: [10] expedition. I wish therefore to make you acquainted with what we had in contemplation. The enterprising & energetic genius of Clarke is not altogether unknown to you. You also know (what I am a stranger to) the abilities of Broadhead & the particular force with which you will be able to arm him for such an expedition. We wish the most hopeful means should be used for removing so uneasy a thorn from our side. As yourself alone are acquainted with all the circumstances necessary for well informed decision, I am to ask the favor of your Excellency if you should think Broadhead’s undertaking it most likely to produce success that you will be so kind as to intimate to us to divert Clarke to the other object which is also important to this State. It will of course have wait with you in forming your determination, that our prospect of strengthening Clarke’s hands sufficiently is not absolutely certain. It may be necessary perhaps to inform you that these two officers cannot act together, which excludes the hopes of ensuring success by a joint expedition.

I have the honour to be with the most sincere esteem your Excellency’s most obedt. & most hbl. servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 18, 1780
Williamsburg

TO — ?1

Sir,

—I have spoken with the Board of War on the subject of the battery at Hood’s, and they concur Edition: current; Page: [11] with me in wishing to avail themselves of your services there, and will give orders accordingly. This together with similar batteries on the other rivers will probably take some time. Tho’ considering their great importance to the security and quiet of the country above them, we are assured you will freely lend us your aid in seeing them planned and executed. We ask this the rather as the distresses impending over our sister state of South Caroline urges us to send forward the whole of our regiment of artillery (whom we have a power of sending out of the state) and a detachment from yours of about 80 under the command of Colo. Porterfield, with the two state troops of horse. Your battalion after this detachment is withdrawn we think to divide among the several battalions, and have reason to hope that the recruits for the two Eastern battalions will enable us to complete it, so that on you we shall rest for this campaign the burthen of our military cares, endeavoring to procure a readiness of such aids of militia as may be suddenly called for by you. I must ask the favor of you to communicate to Colo. Porterfield orders to prepare immediately for marching, and to concert with him the best means of obtaining voluntarily the number of men required from your battalion. We understand a greater number of them have re-enlisted under the act concerning officers, soldiers, sailors & marines, who of course are obliged to go: but we would rather call the willing into this service.

Edition: current; Page: [12]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 10, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—The state of the recruiting business in this Country is as follows: There are some draughted soldiers in different parts of the Country, but they are so far, so disposed, & enlisted for so short a time that we have not thought them worth the expense of gathering up. There is recruits raising under a standing law concerning Officers, Soldiers, Sailors & Marines, these are enlisted for the war by a person resident in each County, we have an Officer appointed who rides the circuit of the County once in two months to receive these men at certain places of Rendezvous, he has just finished his circuit, and we have sent on about fifty of these recruits under the command of Captn. Minnis to the Southward. All the Officers of the Virginia Line now in the State, who have (according to a request of the executive) applied for recruiting instructions & money, have received them. These have been given with a particular view of reenlisting such Soldiers of their respective Regiments, as are discharged, or are entitled to a discharge. I hear they are tolerably successful; as to the 1st & 2nd State Regiments particularly, there not having been money in the treasury enough to reenlist them at the time they became entitled to discharges, their Officers (as I am informed) postponed paying them off, gave them furloughs to visit their friends till the 1st of May, at which time they were to Rendivous [sic] at Williamsburg & Fredericksburg, and it was hoped money would then be ready for reenlisting them, in the Edition: current; Page: [13] meantime considerable sums have been furnished the Officers, and more will be provided, and there is good reason to hope this Judicious [sic] of their officers will enable us to recover most of them. Colo. Harrison’s Regiment of Artillery is very considerably recruited. Under the preceding state of things, I do not know of any immediate Service with which we need to trouble you: perhaps you could be instrumental in giting orders from the proper authority for such of the above Regiments as are not ordered to the Southward to march thither by fifties as far as they are recruited. We have such orders for all other new recruits not yet regimented; but I do not consider those as orders authorizing the march of men raised by the Officers of a particular Battalion for their Battalion, and that not under marching orders.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 13, 1780
Richmond
Baron De Riedesel
Riedesel, Baron De

TO GENERAL BARON DE RIEDESEL1

Sir,

—Your several favors of Dec. 4, Feb. 10, & Mar. 30 are come duly to hand. I sincerely condole with Madame de Riedesel on the birth of a daughter, but I receive great pleasure from the information of her recovery, as every circumstance of felicity to her, yourself or family is interesting to us. The little attentions you are pleased to magnify so much never deserved a mention or thought. My mortification Edition: current; Page: [14] was that the peculiar situation in which we were, put it out of our power to render your stay here more comfortable. I am sorry to learn that the negotiations for the exchange of Prisoners has proved abortive, as well from a desire to see the necessary distresses of war alleviated in every possible instance, as that I am sensible how far yourself & family are interested in it. Against this however is to be weighed the possibility that we may again have a pleasure we should otherwise perhaps never have had, that of seeing you again. Be this as it may, opposed as we happen to be in our sentiments of duty & honor, and anxious for contrary events, I shall nevertheless sincerely rejoice in every circumstance of happiness or safety, which may attend you personally. And when a termination of the present contest shall put it in my power, to declare to you more unreservedly how sincere are the sentiments of esteem and respect (wherein Mrs. Jefferson joins me) which I entertain for Mad’me de Riedesel & yourself, and with which I am, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 8, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—According to the advice of the General Assembly we have proceeded to take measures for selling six hundred thousand weight of the public Tobacco. To do this as readily as possible we determined to allot for this purpose the Tobacco at the Edition: current; Page: [15] nearest Warehouses, and particularly four hundred thousand at the warehouses at or near the Falls of James River and on Appomattox.

We have now an offer for this quantity to be paid for at the market price, the Crop Tobacco on the 19t instant, the transfer in bills on Philadelphia, to be drawn now, but not payable till six weeks hence. As it was probably the sense of the Assembly, that this sale should be for ready money, we have not concluded this agreement, till we know whether it will be approved, nor should we have entertained such a negociation but that we have no prospect of selling for ready money. The Credit of the Gentlemen proposing to purchase is such in Philadelphia, as will probably render their Bills immediately negociable there. It is necessary for us to give them a definative answer today.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 9, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I had the honor of receiving your requisition for 1.900,000 Dollars & of laying the same before the General Assembly then sitting. They immediately took measures for complying therewith. As we had not the money in our treasury it became necessary to raise it partly & principally by a sale of property, and partly by borrowing. These operations requiring some time it is absolutely impracticable, however earnest their desires have been, to place it in Philadelphia by the day proposed. I hope however I Edition: current; Page: [16] shall not be disappointed in my expectations of being able to send from hence by the 20th inst. nearly the whole sum or perhaps the whole in money, or in good bills on Philadelphia paiable on such short day as will render them equal to money.1

On receiving from the board of war notice of the aids which would be necessary to forward on the Maryland and Delaware lines, I consulted with your Deputy Quartermaster in this State, and gave him every aid & power which he asked. He left me with the most confident assurance that waggons to move the whole corps should be with them in two days from that time. Why he quitted his station and State at the moment when every exertion was called for to forward a respectable body of troops to the relief of a sinking State & Army should seem to be worth enquiring. The mortifications I have experienced from the repeated disappointments which flowed from the devolution of his duties on Deputies acting without a head, without concert, or communication with one another, have been as great as Edition: current; Page: [17] if they had been really the cause of those unfortunate events they were calculated to produce. The artillery & 1st. division moved after a few days’ delay only; but the second division are but just now enabled to proceed.

Our information from the Southward has been at all times defective, but lamentably so on the late occasion. Charlestown [sic] had been in the hands of the enemy 24 days before we received information of it. Their movements since that event are handed to us very imperfectly. The inclosed intelligence from Governor Nash seems to indicate an intention to penetrate as far Northwardly as they can. Whether under these appearances it may be expedient to send further aids to the Southern States can only be decided by Congress on a view of the operations which they may have in contemplation elsewhere. I have no doubt such aids will be sent unless greater good to the general union will be produced by employing them where they are. In either event great supplies of military stores are immediately requisite here. North Carolina has none at all, those of South Carolina are in the hands of the enemy and ours inadequate to the arming of our own militia. As far as they will go, they have been, and will be cheerfully submitted to the common use. Some members lately of our executive, but now of your honourable body, are able to give you a state of our stores, which I consider as a more safe communication than by confiding it to paper. Of musket cartridge paper, and cartouch boxes particularly we are so destitute that I must pray Congress to send us an immediate Edition: current; Page: [18] supply. These articles are so light too, that a single waggon if sent without delay may furnish a timely and considerable relief.

About seventy new recruits for Colonel Washington’s horse, being now in this State & utterly unfurnished, will be provided with all necessaries by us.

We are informed that the greater part of the Continental horse to the Southward are reduced to the same helpless condition. Some infantry also have applied for military furniture. Gibson’s & Brent’s battalions which went into Continental service full armed were disarmed when returned to us. They are now recruited to about 200 men, and will be modelled for service. We shall again put arms in their hands, as no motives will induce us to let the general good labour even a moment for want of anything we have. But it would be very satisfactory to us to receive the pleasure of Congress as to the mode of authenticating any advances of this kind which we shall make for them: some of the applications having been necessarily made by subordinate officers.

The removal of our Seat of Government to this place has withdrawn us from the post road. A rider employed by some private gentlemen furnishes a precarious conveyance to Hanovertown, the nearest place on the post road. This has rendered all our communications with Congress and the other States very uncertain & our Southern ones particularly circuitous and slow. I believe there can be no doubt but that were the post directed to pass from Hanover Courthouse immediately through this place, by Edition: current; Page: [19] Petersburg &c. it would shorten the distance and still more time by crossing James river and Roanoke where they are narrow and always passable; whereas the present post road crosses where they are wide and tempestuous.

I beg leave to submit the expediency of this alteration at this time particularly to the wisdom of Congress assuring them it is considered as very desirable here.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 11, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—Majr. Galvan as recommended by your Excellency, was dispatched to his station without delay, and has been furnished with everything he desired as far as we were able. The line of expresses formed between us is such as will communicate intelligence from the one to the other in twenty-three hours. I have forwarded to him information of our disasters in the South as they have come to me.

Our intelligence from the Southward is most lamentably defective. Tho’ Charlestown has now been in the hands of the enemy a month, we hear nothing of their movements which can be relied on. Rumors are that they are penetrating Northward. To remedy this defect I shall immediately establish a line of expresses from hence to the neighborhood of their army, and send thither a sensible judicious gentleman to give us information of their movements. This intelligence will I hope be conveyed to us at the rate of 120 miles in the 24 hours. They set out to Edition: current; Page: [20] their stations tomorrow. I wish it were possible that a like speedy line of communication could be formed from hence to your Excellency’s headquarters. Perfect & speedy information of what is passing in the South might put it in your power perhaps to frame your measures by theirs. There is really nothing to oppose the progress of the enemy Northward but the cautious principles of the military art. North Carolina is without arms. We do not abound. Those we have are freely imparted to them, but such is the state of their resources that they have not yet been able to move a single musket from this state to theirs. All the waggons we can collect have been furnished to the Marquis de Kalb, & are assembling for the march of 2500 militia under Genl. Stevens of Culpeper who will move on the 19th inst. I have written to Congress to hasten supplies of arms & military stores for the Southern states, & particularly to aid us with Cartridge paper & cartridge boxes, the want of which articles, small as they are, renders our stores useless. The want of money cramps every effort. This will be supplied by the most unpalatable of all substitutes, force. Your Excellency will readily conceive that after the loss of one army our eyes are turned towards the other, and that we comfort ourselves if any aids can be furnished by you without defeating operations more beneficial to the general union, they will be furnished. At the same time I am happy to find that the wishes of the people go no further, as far as I have an opportunity of learning their sentiments. Could arms be furnished I think this state & North Caroline would Edition: current; Page: [21] embody from ten to fifteen thousand militia immediately, & more if necessary.

The following is a state of the force in and about to be put in motion

Colo. Buford’s regulars (of Scott’s Woodford’s men 400
Colo. Porterfield’s do. of Virginia State troops 500
Colo. Armand’s horse 190
The remains of White’s & Washington’s as is said about 200
The Maryland & Delaware troops & artillery 1900 3190
Virginia militia 2500
North Carolina militia under Genl. Caswell in the field 400
do. embodying under Govr. Caswell if they can be armed 4000 6900

I hope e’re long to be able to give you a more certain statement of the enemy’s as well as our situation, which I shall not fail to do. I inclose you a letter from Majr. Galvan, being the second I have forwarded to you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 13, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The supplies of cloathing and other necessaries actually procured for the officers of the Edition: current; Page: [22] Virginia troops having been very far short of what an act of the legislature had authorised them to call for, and it being evident to the Executive from a view of the supplies on hand provided by the board instituted for that purpose, and of the means now in their hands for making future provision, that there is no prospect that those allowances can be fully procured, I beg leave to bring the subject under the consideration of the legislature. Whether, on a revision of the allowance, it may or may not be found greater than is necessary, is a question for them alone to decide. The difference however between that allowance and what is actually received by the officers has produced a claim for compensation which is the subject of the within letter and requires legislative explanation. These differences have been the cause of very real sufferings to the officers, of much discontent, and have produced the most distressing applications to the Executive. They have been more severely felt by the gentlemen serving within the state than by those engaged in more active scenes of duty, the latter having been supposed more exposed to wants with less means of supplying them.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 14, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON1)

Sir,

—In a Letter which I had the Honor of addressing you on the meeting of the present General Assembly, I informed you of the necessities which Edition: current; Page: [23] had led the Executive to withdraw our Western troops to the Ohio. Since the date of this letter, I have received the inclosed of the Second instant from Colo. Todd, communicating the measures he had adopted in conjunction with Colo. Clarke to procure such a Settlement contiguous to the Post which shall be taken as may not only strengthen the garrison occasionally, but be able to raise provisions for them. As the confirmation of these measures is beyond the powers of the Executive it is my duty to refer them to the General Assembly. It may be proper to observe that the grant of lands to Colo. Todd was made on a supposition that the post would be taken on the North side of the Ohio, whereas I think it more probable on the north side in the Lands lying between the Tanessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Carolina boundary. These lands belong to the Chickasaw Indians, who from intelligence which we think may be relied on, have entered into a war with us.

The expenditures of the Illinois have been deemed from some expressions in the act establishing that county not subject to the examination of the board of Auditors. As the auditing these accounts is very foreign to the ordinary office of the Council of State, would employ much of that time and attention which at present is called to objects of more general importance, and as their powers would not enable them to take into consideration the justice and expediency of indemnifying Col. Todd for his losses and services, as desired in the enclosed letter from Him, of the thirteenth instant, they beg leave to submit the whole to the consideration of the General Assembly—

Edition: current; Page: [24]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 15, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I received your Excellency’s letter inclosing a resolution of Congress of the 5th inst. for the establishment of a line of expresses from Cape Henry to Philadelphia. I had before on the request of Gen’l Washington formed such a line from Cape Henry to this place. I therefore thought it better to execute your desire by continuing the line from this place Northwardly, as it would save expence by availing you of what had been done before, and will probably render the conveyances more certain & expeditious than they would be were they to cross the bay to Cape Charles, or to cross James river to Hampton. The uncertainty of the former passage is well known to all; and the latter ferriage is of eighteen miles, which frequently employs a day in the passage. I am forming a like line from this place to the neighborhood of the enemy’s army in Carolina, sending thither a confidential and judicious person to collect & to convey intelligence of their movements and to continue there so long as their operations shall be so very interesting as they are at present. I mention this latter circumstance to your Excellency because before the receipt of your letter I had made it the ground of a suggestion to Gen’l Washington whether it might not be proper (in order to give him the benefit of our Southern communications) to establish such a line from hence Northwardly. Congress having in the meantime desired Edition: current; Page: [25] the establishment of such a line, I am only to submit to them whether when the communication from Cape Henry to this place shall be rendered unnecessary by the arrival of the French fleet, it may not still be expedient to continue for a time the riders from hence to Philadelphia. These riders being stationed at distances not too great for a horse to pass without rest, and being ordered to travel by night & by day without regard to weather, I shall hope will convey intelligence at the rate of 120 miles the twenty-four hours, which is a much greater dispatch than can be expected from the post, should a post be established on this road.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 28, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—The want of intelligence of the Southern movements of the enemy, and the anxieties we have felt on that account, cannot have been less experienced by Congress. Having just now received a state of things as they are at present in that quarter, from Governor Nash, & from Colo. Monroe (the gentleman whom in a former letter I had informed Congress I had sent to hang as near as he could about the enemy’s principal post & inform me of their movements by riders posted between us for that purpose) I take for granted Congress will be glad to have it communicated. I therefore have thought the occasion Edition: current; Page: [26] sufficient to set in motion the line of riders established from hence to Philadelphia, with orders to them however to return immediately to their fixt stations, that they may not be out of the way to receive the particular communications for the conveyance of which they have been established.

The embarkation spoken of by Gov’r Nash & Colo. Monroe, cannot have been destined for this state, or they would have been here before this; had they reached our capes by yesterday, I must have known it by this hour.

Governor Nash, at the time of writing his letter seems not to have heard of the motions of our militia. It is certain however that some of them were at Roanoke on the 20th and that the whole have got that far by this time; being 2500 in number.

I have been greatly mortified at the detention of the important supply you had called for, so much longer than I had expected. I had every reason to believe it might have been sent from hence by the 19th. It does not however go off till to-morrow. It will I hope be nearly what I had given you reason to expect in my letter on that subject.

P. S. The Quarter-master has provisions on board vessels ready to proceed to the Head of Elk, which however he dares not send into our bay, that having been for some time occupied by from seven to eleven privateers, the largest of 20 guns, who take whatever goes out of our rivers. Our provisions when collected whether destined for the Northward or Southward will be effectually blocked up. Land-transportation cannot possibly be procured.

Edition: current; Page: [27]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 2, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I have received from the Committee of Congress at headquarters three letters calling for aids of men & provisions. I beg leave to refer you to my letter to them of this date on those subjects. I thought it necessary however to suggest to you the preparing an arrangement of Officers for the men: for tho’ they are to supply our battalions, yet as our whole line officers almost are in captivity I suppose some temporary provision must be made. We cheerfully transfer to you every power which the Executive might exercise on this occasion. As it is possible you may cast your eye on the unreemployed Officers now within the State, I write to Genl. Muhlenburg to send you a return of them. I think the men will be rendezvoused within the present month. The bill indeed for raising them is not actually passed but it is in its last stage, and no opposition to any essential parts of it. I will take care to notify you of its passage.

I have, with great pain perceived your situation; and the more so as being situated between two fires, a division of sentiment has arisen both in Congress and here, as to which the resources of this Country should be sent. The removal of Genl. Clinton to the Northward must of course have great influence on the determination of this question; & I have no doubt but considerable aids may be drawn hence for your army unless a larger one should be embodied in the South than the force of the Enemy there seems to call for. I have the honour to be with every Edition: current; Page: [28] sentiment of respect and esteem Your Excellency’s Most obdt. hble. servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 2, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I have received & shall duly comply with the recommendations of Congress for corresponding with their Committee at Headquarters. It having been necessary to lay their & your requisitions before the General Assembly, it has not been within my power to give any effectual answer till within these few days; and now only on the article of provisions. I beg leave to refer you to my letter to them of this date, a copy of which I enclose. The frigates now in our bay will probably retire. Were it possible for you to find means of clearing our bay of the privateers which have for some weeks infested it, we should be ready by the last of this month to send on our supplies. I think that Genl. Clinton having carried so considerable a part of the Southern army to the Northward, will leave it in our power, exercising the discretion you have been pleased to leave to us, to send a considerable portion of the grain we shall have to the Northern army, unless a larger force should be embodied in the South than the present strength of the enemy seems to call for. I should conceive that to embody there more than double the number of the enemy would be a waste of exertion both as to men & provisions.

Edition: current; Page: [29]

As it is expected our assembly will rise in the course of the present week, I shall then have it in my power to give an answer on the several subjects stated in a late letter from you, by informing you what is, and what is not done, and what also may be expected from the Executive in consequence of any powers the Legislature may vest them with.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 2, 1780
Richmond

TO THE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS AT HEADQUARTERS

c.c.
Gentlemen,

—I have received three several letters which you did me the honor of writing on the subject of supplies of men & provisions to the grand army. The compliance with these requisitions not lying within the extent of my powers, I immediately laid them before the General assembly then & still sitting. A bill is now passed by them enabling me to call into pubic use whatever provisions may be spared by our citizens; and this is put into a train of execution. I hope it will enable me to furnish the quantity of salted meat called for by Congress, & I think within a short time. Congress have left us to determine whether we can spare any grain to the Northward. It will not be in my power to say whether we can or not until I shall receive a return from those commissioned with the execution of the act, which shall not be till the last of this month. I can assure you of the strongest disposition to contribute everything within our power to aid the Northern operations, but it is necessary to apprise you of one circumstance. Edition: current; Page: [30] Transportation by land has been little practised in this country. We have therefore few waggons, & a great part of these have been lately drawn to the Southward. Transportation by water has been cut off for some time by the privateers which have been constantly cruising in our bay. These have been from six to eleven in number, the largest carrying twenty guns. To them are added at present eight frigates; tho I can scarcely believe these mean to continue. In this situation nothing can venture out of our rivers—The Quartermaster has salted provisions for your army actually laden on board vessels, and a considerable supply of corn ready to send. But we see no prospect of getting it up the bay. The same causes will obstruct our supplies to the Southern army except from those parts of our country bordering on Carolina.

The assembly have before them a bill for supplying by draught 5,000 regulars to serve eighteen months. This I have no doubt will pass. It ’s execution will probably take a month, counting till the general rendezvous of the levies in this country. Hence I fear that should Congress call them Northwardly they will not be ready to co-operate with the main army till late in August.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 19, 1780
Richmond
Edward Stevens
Stevens, Edward

TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS

j. mss.
Sir,

—I think it proper to inclose you a Paragraph from a late Act of Assembly putting the Militia with you under martial law; it is the only Edition: current; Page: [31] part of the Act which relates at all to the Militia, for which reason I do not send the whole Act, the Clearks being very busy. This Act having been made after the Militia went on duty may perhaps be thought by them to be in the nature of an ex post facto law; but as it is in your power to restrain its penalties from all Acts previous to its promulgation by you and even, if you please, from all subsequent ones except desertion, and such others as you shall find necessary, they may perhaps think it less hard.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 26, 1780
Richmond
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

Dear Sir,

—With my letter to the President I enclose a copy of the bill for calling in the paper money now in circulation, being the only copy I have been able to get. In my letter to the Delegates, I ask the favor of them to furnish me with authentic advice when the resolutions of Congress shall have been adopted by five other States. In a private letter I may venture to urge great dispatch and to assign the reasons.

The bill on every vote prevailed, but by small majorities; and on one occasion it escaped by two voices only. Its friends are very apprehensive that those who disapprove of it, will be active in the recess of Assembly to produce a general repugnance to it, and to prevail on the Assembly in October to Edition: current; Page: [32] repeal it. They therefore think it of the utmost consequence to get it into a course of execution before the Assembly meets. I have stated in my public letter to you what we shall consider as authentic advice, lest a failure in that article should increase the delay. If you cannot otherwise get copies of the bill, it would be worth while to be at some extraordinary expense to do it.

Some doubt has arisen here to which quarter our 3000 draughts are to go, as Congress directed 5000 militia to be raised and sent to the Southward, including what were ordered there and these 3000 (which I think will be 3500) draughts are raised in lieu of so many militia.

The matter seems clear enough when we consider that a fourth or fifth of the enemy’s force are in S. Carolina. It could not be expected that N. Carolina which contains but a tenth of the American militia, should be left to support the Southern War alone, more especially when the regular force to the Northward and the expected aids are taken into the scale. I doubt more whether the balance of the 1,900,000 Doll. are meant by Congress to be sent Northwardly, because in a resolution subsequent to the requisition of the sum before mentioned, they seem to appropriate all the monies from Maryland Southward to the Southern military chest. We shall be getting ready the balance in which great disappointments have arisen from an inability to sell our tobacco, and in the meantime wish I could be advised whether it is to go Northward or Southward. The aids of money from the State through the rest of Edition: current; Page: [33] the present year will be small, our taxes being effectually anticipated by certificates issued for want of money and for which the sheriffs are glad to exchange their collections rather than bring them to the Treasury. Congress desired N. Carolina & Virginia to recruit, remount, & equip Washington’s & White’s horse. The whole has been done by us except as to 200 saddles which the Q. M. expects to get from the Northward. This draws from us about six or seven hundred thousand pounds, the half of which I suppose is so much more than was expected from us. We took on us the whole, because we supposed N. Carolina would be considerably burthened with calls for occasional horse, in the present low state of our Cavalry, and that the disabled horses would be principally to be exchanged there for fresh.

Our troops are in the utmost distress for clothing as are also our Officers. What we are to do with the 3000 draughts when they are raised I cannot foresee.

Our new Institution at the College has had a success which has gained it universal applause. Wythe’s school is numerous, they hold weekly Courts & Assemblies in the Capitol. The professors join in it, and the young men dispute with elegance, method & learning. This single school by throwing from time to time new hands well principled, & well informed into the legislature, will be of infinite value.

Edition: current; Page: [34]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 27, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—According to the desire of Congress expressed in their resolutions of the 17th ult. I shall endeavor to inform them what has been done by this state in consequence of the several resolutions there referred to.

1779.

Mar. 9. Recommendation to the States to compleat their respective quotas of 80. battalions.

1780.

Feb. 9. United States to furnish their respective deficiencies of 35,211 men on or before the 1st of Apr.

May 20. The United States to forward their quotas of troops to join the Continental army.

The assembly at their session in May 1779 (being the first after the recommendation of Mar. 9.) desirous not only of furnishing their quota of troops then wanting, but to provide permanent means for keeping up the same by voluntary enlistments, passed an act for appointing a recruiting officer to be resident in every county, whose occupation it should be constantly to endeavor to enlist within his county souldiers to serve during the war. That the officer might be industrious he was allowed a premium of 150. paper dollars, then worth 12½ hard dollars for every man he enlisted: that the people within the county might encourage the recruiting Edition: current; Page: [35] service, they were to have credit in any future draughts for all the men their recruiting officer should raise: and the souldier was to receive a bounty of 750 paper dollars, then equal to 62½ hard dollars, the advantage of laying out his pay in the public store, at the hard money prices, and the other usual donations of clothes and lands. These encouragements however did not fully answer our expectations. The assembly therefore at their next session in Oct. 1779 took supplementory measures for raising their quota by endeavoring to re-enlist, for the war, their souldiers whose times of service would expire within the ensuing year. This essay also failed to produce their quota of men, even as settled in the resolutions of Feb. 9. 1780. The Executive therefore immediately ordered nearly the whole of their troops which had been reserved for the particular defence of the state to join the Continental army to the Southward. That some idea may be formed of the proportion of their quota which this addition affected, I beg leave to refer to the inclosed state No. 1. made out from the returns therein referred to which have been made to me, their dates being from Oct. 13. 1779 to March 5, 1780, except as to the state troops ordered into service as above, whose numbers are entered as they marched the 2d. of May following. To these may be added something upwards of 300 new recruits there engaged for the war, of whom no return having been regularly made they are not entered. The assembly which met in May of the present year passed one act for sending 2500 militia into the field, which has been carried into execution: Edition: current; Page: [36] and another for raising by way of draught one fifteenth of the whole number of our militia, which after all probable deductions they count as upon 3000. men. These are to serve as regulars till Dec. 31. 1781, and will be rendezvoused about the last of the ensuing month.

1779.

May 21. United States called on for a tax of 45,000,000 D. in addition to what was called for 2d. Jan. to be paid by 1st. Jan. next.

Sep. 13. Circular letter, among other things stating the necessity of paying into the Continental treasury the monies called for & of adopting measures to bring their respective quotas of troops into the field early next campaign & provide for supplies necessary in the course of it.

By the resolution of Jan. 2 and 5. 1779. Virginia was to pay for the year 1779 2,400,000 Doll. = 720,000 £. For the year 1780 1,000,000 [D] = 300,000 [£]. By the resolution of May 21. we were to pay between Feb. 1 & Oct. 1. 7.200.000 [D] = 2.160.000 [£] making in the whole 10.600.000 [D] = 3.180.000 [£]. I beg leave to refer you to the enclosed No. 2, a very imperfect state of our disbursements for the Continent. Whenever the books of our Auditors shall be put under a proper course of Examination many other articles of expenditure for the Continent will doubtless be found which have escaped the present hasty examination. By this state it appears that we have answered for the Continent since May 21. 1779. 4,404,440–13£ = 13,681,368⅚ Edition: current; Page: [37] Dollars. There are still very considerable warrants out, which we have assumed; some of them partly unpaid, some wholly so.

1779.

Oct. 6. 7. United States to collect and pay into the Continental treasury their respective quotas of 15,000,000 D. monthly from Jan. inclusive to Octob.

9. Circular letter urging the necessity of a punctual paiment of the quotas.

1780.

Mar. 18. Sundry resolutions for calling in the bills in circulation and emitting new bills on certain funds.

The assembly which was sitting when the resolutions of Oct. 6. 7. came to hand, passed acts for increasing the public taxes and for borrowing money in order to enable them to comply with the requisition of Congress. The subsequent resolutions however of Mar. 18. 1780. as to the same money having rendered it necessary for the assembly to make a corresponding change in their measures, they passed at their late session the inclosed act No. 3, to which I beg leave to refer Congress, and to assure them at the same time that the moment I can receive authentic advices that five other States shall have acceded to the resolutions of Mar. 18. this act shall be put into a course of execution.

1780.

May 19. The states from N. Hampshire to Virginia inclusive to pay into the Continental treasury 10,000,000 dollars in thirty days.

Edition: current; Page: [38]

This requisition could not be complied with in point of time for reasons explained in my letter to your Excellency of June 30. 1780. With that we sent on in money and bills 1,430,239 8/9 Dollars. We are still to send on 522,960 1/9 Dollars to make up our whole quota of 1,953,200 Doll. unless the resolution of June 17 was meant to appropriate this requisition to the supply of the military chest in the Southern department. There is no other balance due from this State whereon that resolution can operate, as will be perceived by my observations on the resolutions of May 21. On this head I pray instructions from Congress.

1779.

Dec. 11. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, N. Jersey & Connecticut certain quantities of flour & corn by 1st. of April.

1780.

Feb. 25. United States to furnish their respective quotas of specific supplies mentioned.

It is not in my power to state with accuracy what is done towards furnishing these supplies. Extensive orders have from time to time been given out, which have been carried, and still are carrying into execution; but no returns are made which enable me to say what is precisely done. On receipt of the resolution of Dec. 11. notice was given to the Continental Q. Master that we should be ready to give him orders for the grain which was then coming in under an act of assembly which had laid a specific tax in grain. What would be the amount of this, was not Edition: current; Page: [39] then known. We since find that what we allotted to Continental use amounted to about 80,000 bushels of short forage. Part of this has been received and the rest we are collecting for the Continental Quartermaster & Commissary, to the posts recommended by Genl. Washington. This no doubt is counted in part of the subsequent requisitions of Feb. 25. Large orders are out for the purchase of beeves. Considerable quantities of specifics have been furnished to the troops marching to the Southward. Our endeavors indeed have been much disappointed by the insufficiency of our revenues to answer these, and the calls for money for other purposes. Our ultimate dependance for supplying deficiencies in the articles of meat, flour, salt, short forage & rum, is on the Act No 4. herewith transmitted.

A specific tax in tobacco is paiable on the 31st. day of December next. Of this about 3725 hogsheads were appropriated as a fund whereon to borrow money under the calls of Congress of Oct. 6. & 7. 1779. But another provision for this call being made by the act No. 3. these tobaccos remain unappropriated & of course free to be applied by the assembly according to the requisitions of Feb. 25. They will have brought in under the same specific tax as much as would make up the residue required. Whether they may think proper to change the appropriation of it for this purpose, or how otherwise they will furnish it is for them to determine.

It would have given me great pleasure to have been able to show Congress that their requisitions had all been complied with in this state accurately in Edition: current; Page: [40] time, quantity & every other circumstance. It will doubtless occur that some of these requisitions were difficult in their nature, that others were new in experiment, and all of them on as large a scale as the people think themselves equal to. In states more compact, experiments, tho’ new and difficult, are made with promptitude, their defects soon discovered and readily supplied. In those of greater extent they are carried into execution with less vigor and punctuality, and the time for complying with a requisition expires frequently before it is discovered that the means provided were defective. The time necessary for convening the legislature of such a state adds to the tardiness of the remedy, and the measure itself is so oppressive on the members as to discourage the attempting it, but on the last emergencies. These and other considerations will readily occur to Congress, and will refer to their true causes any inaccuracies which may have occurred in the execution of their desires.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 4, 1780
Richmond
Major-General Horatio Gates
Gates, Major-General Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Sir,

—Your several favors of July 19. 21. and 22, are now before me. I have enquired into the state of the Cartouch boxes which were sent from our magazine. The Quartermaster assures me they were in very good order. I must therefore conclude that the 300 complained of by Genl. Stevens were some sent from Petersburg by the Continental Quarter master or that they were pillaged of the leather on Edition: current; Page: [41] the way, to mend shoes &c. We had hopes of getting 2000 from the Board of War, but we got only about 600 and they are said to be unfit for use. We are engaged in making bayonet belts, which shall be forwarded. But it is extremely difficult to procure leather. The consumption of beef by your army will, I hope, remove the want of this article another year. I have ordered the 500 axes you desired with some tomahawks to be made. They turn out about 20 a day. About 100 will go on by the waggons Genl. Stevens sent us, which are now loading at this place. These waggons will carry some ammunition and spirit. A vessel with about 3000 stand of arms coming down the bay for the use of your army, was driven by privateers into Wicomico. We are endeavouring to get them forwarded either by land or water. The want of waggons will greatly retard them. What is to be done for tents, I know not. I am assured that very little duck can be got in this country. Whatever there is however will be produced under a commission gone out for that purpose. The duck you speak of as being in North Carolina cannot be procured by that state on continental account for the use of the army. I communicated your orders to Colo. Finnie and to Colo. Buford and have directed proper applications for the repairs of the bridges &c you mention. Arms are ready for Bufords, Daviess and Gibsons men. Gibson’s men are cloathed and wait only to be paid, which will be done within the course of a week. Clothing has been issued some time for the others, which is making up under the superintendence of Colo. Davies. Edition: current; Page: [42] They are utterly destitute of blankets, and I fear we shall be unable to get any. Brents infantry are but 30. and cannot be sent on without bringing on disagreeable disputes about rank between his officers and Gibsons. To silence these, the march of his men has been countermanded. Colo. Finnie informs me that major Lees infantry has been sent back by special orders. We have ordered 243 horses to be purchased for Colos. White and Washington. The orders to Mr Lewis to purchase beef in Carolina were given by the Continental commissary so long ago as last winter when it was not foreseen there would be such a call for it in that country. Having no other means of conveying a letter to him, I take the liberty of putting one under cover to you with instructions to him to discontinue his purchases in North Carolina, and to furnish you with so much of the beef he has as you may think necessary. It would be expedient for you to leave in his hands whatever quantity is not absolutely necessary for your army: as, depending on that, no other provision has been made for the post at Charlottesville and you know our country so well as to foresee that a post at which 5000 rations a day are issued cannot be fed by the purchase of the day.

We have reason to believe the French fleet arrived at Newport the 10th ult but it is not certain. Admiral Graves with six sail of the Line is certainly arrived at New York.

Edition: current; Page: [43]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 3, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—As I know the anxieties you must have felt, since the late misfortune to the South, and our latter accounts have not been quite so favorable as the first, I take the liberty of inclosing you a state of this unlucky affair extracted from letters from General Gates, Genl. Stevens, & Govr. Nash, and taken as to some circumstances from an officer who was in the action. Another army is collecting: this amounted on the 23d ult. to between four & five thousand men consisting of about 500 Maryland regulars, a few of Hamilton’s artillery & Porterfield’s corps, Armand’s legion, such of the fugitive militia as had been reclaimed, and about 3000 N. Caroline militia newly embodied. We are told they will increase these to 8000. Our new recruits will rendezvous in this state between the 10th & 25th inst. We are calling out 2000 militia who I think however will not be got to Hillsborough till the 25th of October. About 350 regulars marched from Chesterfield a week ago; 50 march tomorrow and there will be 100 or 150 more from that post when they can be cleared of the hospital. This is as good a view as I can give you of the force we are endeavoring to collect. But they are unarmed. Almost the whole small arms seem to have been lost in the late rout. There are here on their way Southward 3000 stand of arms sent by Congress, and we have a few still remaining in our magazine. I have written pressingly, as the subject well deserves, to Congress, to send us immediate supplies, and to think of forming a magazine here Edition: current; Page: [44] that in case of another disaster we may not be left without all means of opposition.1

I inclosed to your Excellency some time ago a resolution of the assembly instructing us to send a quantity of tobo. to No. York for the relief of our officers there, and asking the favor of you to obtain permission. Having received no answer I fear my letter or your answer has miscarried. I therefore now take the liberty of repeating my application to you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 3, 1780
Richmond
Edward Stevens
Stevens, Edward

TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I sincerely condole with you on our late Misfortune, which sits the heavier on my mind Edition: current; Page: [45] as being produced by my own Country Men. Instead of considering what is past, however, we are to look forward and prepare for the future. I write Genl. Gates and Governor Nash as to Supplies and reinforcements. Another Body of 2000 Militia are ordered to you to rendezvous at Hillsborough, on the 25th October. They come from the middle and North Counties beyond and adjoining the blue Ridge. I am told, also, that a Spirit of raising Volunteers is springing up. The Truth of this however is not Certainly known, nor can its Success be depended on. Governor Nash writes me that 400 Waggons were lost. An officer here however thinks they are not. This indeed would be a heavy loss, as well as that of the small arms. We shall exert every Nerve to assist you in every way in our power, being as we are without any Money in ye Treasury, or any prospect of more till the Assembly meets in Octr.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 3, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—It is not in my power to add any circumstance of consequence to those communicated to you by Genl. Gates, & as I suppose to the delegates of N. Caroline by Govr. Nash a letter from whom accompanies this, and I take for granted communicates the later intelligence which he was so kind as to transmit me at the same time. A force is again collected of between four & five thousand men, Edition: current; Page: [46] consisting of the remains of the Maryland brigade, of Porterfield’s corps of regulars, Armand’s legion, such of the fugitive militia as are a little recovered of their fright, and new corps of N. Carolina militia who have readily embodied themselves. 300 regulars of this state marched from Chesterfield a week ago; about 50 march to-morrow, and there may be 100, or 150 more to go from the same post as soon as they get out of the hospital. Our 3000 new recruits will begin to rendezvous about the 10th inst. and may all be expected to be rendezvoused by the 25th. We have determined to call out also 2000 militia who however cannot be got to Hillsborough sooner than the 25th of October. This is as exact a state of the force we expect to oppose to the enemy as I am able to give. Almost the whole of the small arms having been unfortunately lost in the late defeat, the men proposed for the field will be unarmed, unless it is in your power to furnish arms. Indeed not only a sufficient number is wanting to arm the men now raising, but, as our stores will be exhausted in effecting that as far as they will go towards it, it seems indispensable that Congress should form a plentiful magazine of small arms, & other military stores that we may not be left an unarmed prey to the enemy, should our Southern misfortunes be not yet ended. Should any disaster, like the late one, befal that army which is now collecting, and which will be so much weaker in regulars as that brave corps is lessened in the unequal conflict which was put upon them, the consequences will be really tremendous if we be found without arms. With a sufficiency of these, Edition: current; Page: [47] there can be no danger in the end. The losses of our brethren in the mean time may be great, the distresses of individuals in the neighborhood of the war will be cruel, but there can be no doubt of an ultimate recovery of the country. The scene of military operations has been hitherto so distant from these states, that their militia are strangers to the actual presence of danger. Habit alone will enable them to view this with familiarity, to face it without dismay; a habit which must be purchased by calamity, but cannot be purchased too dear. In the acquisition of this, other misfortunes may yet be to be incurred, for which we should be prepared. I am earnestly therefore to sollicit Congress for plentiful supplies of small arms, powder, flints, cartridge boxes, & paper; and to pray that no moment may be lost in forwarding them. Not doubting that the importance of this will be seen in the extent it deserves, I beg leave to subscribe myself with every sentiment of respect & esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 6. 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—Since the dispatches forwarded three days ago I have received others from Genl. Gates which he was pleased to leave open for my perusal and desired they might then be sent on by the line of Expresses. He has therein informed you of the articles he has called on us for, and it may be important Edition: current; Page: [48] that you should know as well what we cannot as what we can do. Of the tents desired we cannot procure a single one, because the stuff is not in our country and we have not money to procure them elsewhere our treasury being entirely exhausted, and no possibility of its being replenished until the meeting of assembly. The articles of sugar & coffee I do not expect to be able to procure. The residue of his requisitions I have hopes may be complied with. I observe he desires provisions from Maryland & I make no doubt they will be necessary. I am only at a loss how they are to be transported; for despairing of our being able to transport to the Southward any of our provisions collected on the North side of James river, I have given orders for sending them to the Northward. I am now apprehensive that this may be wrong, and should really be glad to be advised by Congress what to have done. It will seem inconsistent for our provisions to be going Northward while those of Maryland are passing to the Southward.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 8. 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—On receipt of the resolutions of Congress of June 19, for procuring Horses to remount White’s and Washington’s Cavalry, we laid the same before the Assembly and were authorized by them to engage the State for payment. We thereon sent out powers Edition: current; Page: [49] to the different Counties to purchase 160 Horses which were properly described in addition to 83, the purchase of which we had before authorized.

That some regard might be paid to œconomy we at first restrained the prices to average not more than £2500—and afterwards £3000 exclusive of incidental expences.—The purchases have not been so soon made as we expected tho’ a considerable number have been made and the Gentlemen employed are still going on.—The inclosed Letter from Colo. White complaining of this limitation of price, was not calculated either in its matter or stile to move us to an alteration of our instructions; conscious that our endeavours to reconcile œconomy and the public wants must meet with the approbation of every person who attends at all to the dangers impending over us from circumscribed finances. Your resolution of August 7. which came to hand two or three Days ago and which restrain the allowance for Horses in another instance, tho to be used in a similar way to 100 Dolls hard money equal only to about £2000 at the present exchange have induced a doubt in us whether you may chuse that any future purchases for White’s and Washington’s Cavalry should be made at so high a price as we had authorized and has caused me to trouble you with a Letter desiring your advice on that head.—From the tardy progress made in purchasing at £3000 I must suppose that any considerable reduction would put a stop to them altogether. While it shows that our allowance was not extravagant, the numbers purchased also prove that it was not so frugal as to defeat the purpose.

Edition: current; Page: [50]

Your instructions shall be implicitly followed, and will I hope be communicated to me.

P. S. I beg leave to add that measures are taken for clothing and furnishing twelve horses to, Major Nelson’s two troops, which are what is wanting to equip them for service. It will be impossible to permit Capt. Read’s troop to leave the barracks without giving up all fugitives from the Convention troops.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 12. 1780
Richmond
Edward Stevens
Stevens, Edward

TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS

j. mss.
Sir,

—Your letters of Aug. 27. & 30th. are now before me. The subsequent desertions of your militia have taken away the necessity of answering the question how they shall be armed? On the contrary as there must now be a surplus of arms I am in hopes you will endeavor to reserve them as we have not here a sufficient number by 1500, or 2000 for the men who will march hence, if they march in numbers equal to our expectations. I have sent expresses into all the counties from which those militia went requiring the County Lieutenants to exert themselves in taking them; & such is the detestation with which they have been received that I have heard from many counties they were going back of themselves. You will of course hold courts martial on them & make them souldiers for eight months. If you will be so good as to inform me from time to time how many you have we may perhaps get the supernumerary officers in the state to take command Edition: current; Page: [51] of them. By the same opportunities I desired notice to be given to the friends of the few remaining with you that they had lost their clothes and blankets & recommended that they should avail themselves of any good opportunity to send to them.

We approve of your accommodating the hospital with medicines and the Maryland troops with spirits. They really deserve the whole, and I wish we had means of transportation for much greater quantities which we have on hand & cannot convey. This article we could furnish plentifully to you & them. What is to be done for waggons I do not know. We have not now one shilling in the treasury to purchase. We have ordered an active quarter master to go to the Westward & endeavor to purchase on credit, or to impress a hundred waggons & teams. But I really see no prospect of sending you additional supplies till the same waggons return from you which we sent on with the last. I informed you in my last letter we had ordered 2000 militia more to rendezvous at Hillsborough on the 25th of Octob. You will judge yourself whether [in the meantime] you can be more useful [by] remaining where you are with the few militia left & coming in, or by returning home where, besides again accommodating yourself [after your losses] you may also aid us in getting those men into motion, and [in] pointing out such things as are within our power and may be useful to the service. And you will act accordingly.

Edition: current; Page: [52]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 14, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—According to Genl. Gates’s request I transmit to your Excellency the inclosed copy of a letter I received from him this morning. That the enemy should meditate taking possession of Portsmouth in the manner they give out does not seem probable, as Sr. Henry Clinton under the present appearances would scarcely consent to spare men from New York; & that they should think of taking possession of it at all seems equally unlikely while it is in the power of our allies to send a superior fleet into Chesapeake bay to which theirs would fall a certain prey. Nevertheless should they in this as in so many other instances, go directly contrary to obvious principles of reason, they would find us in a condition incapable of resistance for want of small arms. Our militia have been long ago disfurnished of their arms for the use of the regulars; and when we shall have armed the 3000 new levies now rendezvousing, we shall not have a single musket left in our magazine except a few which have been disabled. I must therefore entreat Congress in the most earnest manner to send all the aid in small arms which can be spared. We are also without a tent for the men who are now rendezvousing, nor does tent-stuff exist in this country. For this article therefore we must also throw ourselves on Congress. I have hopes that by this time the navigation of Chesapeake is made safe by a joint effort of this & the state of Maryland so Edition: current; Page: [53] that any necessaries may be transported through that channel & up James river to this place.

Another circumstance should be previously determined on supposition that an invasion of this state should take place. A spirit of disaffection which had never been suspected, has lately discovered itself in the counties of Washington, Montgomery, Henry & Bedford, and had extended so far as that many hundreds had actually enlisted to serve his Britannic Majesty, had taken oaths of allegiance to him, and had concerted the time of insurrection. The last of the counties above named is within 60 or 70 miles of the Barracks in Albemarle and had always been considered as a barrier to any enterprise on them from the Southward. Other counties equally relied on may fail us in the hour of trial. Should an invasion of this state take place and the progress of the enemy or other circumstances render a removal of the Convention troops necessary, to what place should they be removed? I would beg the instructions of Congress on this head & at this time that we may at no future time be at a loss when such a measure shall be rendered necessary.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep, 15, 1780
Richmond
Edward Stevens
Stevens, Edward

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS

j. mss.
Sir,

—I beg leave to trouble you with a private letter on a little matter of my own, having no acquaintance at Camp with whom I can take that Liberty. Among the Waggons impressed for the Edition: current; Page: [54] use of your Militia were two of mine. One of these I know is safe having been on its way from hence to Hillsborough at the time of the late Engagement. The other I have reason to believe was on the field. A Waggon Master who says he was near her, informs me the Brigade quarter Master cut out one of my best Horses, & made his Escape on him, and that he saw my Waggoner loosening his own Horse to Come off, but the Enemy’s Horse were then Coming up & he knows nothing further. He was a Negro man named Phill lame in one Arm and Legg. If you will do me the favor to enquire what is become of him, what Horses are saved, and to send them to me, I shall be much obliged to you. The Horses &c., were not public property, as they were only impressed & not sold. Perhaps your Certificate of what is lost may be necessary for me. The Waggon Master told me that the publick money was in my waggon, a Circumstance which perhaps may aid your enquiries.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 23, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—I yesterday forwarded a letter to you from Colo. Wood informing you of his situation. That Post has for some time past been pretty regularly supplied, and I hope will continue to be for some time to come. A Person whose punctuality can be relied on offers to contract for victualling it. If we can agree on terms, and the Assembly will strengthen our Hands sufficiently, we think to adopt that Edition: current; Page: [55] method, as the only one to be relied on with certainty. I have heard it hinted that Colo. Wood thinks of quitting that Post; I should be exceedingly sorry indeed were he to do it: he has given those under his charge the most perfect satisfaction, and at the same time used all the cautions which the nature of his charge has required. It is principally owing to his prudence and good temper that the late difficulties have been passed over almost without a murmur. Any influence which your Excellency shall think proper to use for retaining him in his present situation will promote the public Good, and have great tendency to keep up a desirable harmony with the Officers of that Corps. Our new Levies are rendezvousing very generally. Colo. Harrison was uneasy at having none of them assigned to his Corps of Artillery, who have very much distinguished themselves in the late unfortunate action, and are reduced almost to nothing. We happened to have about 400 draughts raised in the last Year and never called out and sent on duty by their County Lieutenants whom we have collected and are collecting. We think to deliver these to Colo. Harrison; They are to serve 18 months from the time of rendezvous. The numbers of Regulars and Militia ordered from this State into the Southern service are about 7000. I trust we may count that 5500 will actually proceed; but we have arms for three thousand only. If therefore we do not speedily receive a supply from Congress we must countermand a proper number of these Troops. Besides this supply there should certainly be a magazine laid in here to provide against a Edition: current; Page: [56] general loss as well as daily waste. When we deliver out those now in our magazine we shall have sent 7000 stand of our own into the Southern Service in the course of this Summer: We are still more destitute of Clothing, Tents and Waggons for our Troops. The Southern Army suffers for Provision which we could plentifully supply were it possible to find means of transportation: despairing of this we directed very considerable quantities collected on the navigable waters to be sent Northwardly by the Quarter Master; this he is now doing, slowly however. Unapprised of what may be proposed by our Allies to be done with our Fleet in the course of the ensuing Winter, I would beg leave to intimate to you that if it should appear eligible to them that it should winter in the Chesapeake they may be well supplied with Provision, taking their necessary measures in due time before hand. The waters communicating with that Bay furnish easy (and in that case) safe Transportation, and their Money will call forth what is denied to ours.

I am with all possible esteem & respect your Excellency’s most obedt. & most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 26, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—The enclosed Copy of a letter from Ld. Cornwallis to Colo. Balfour was sent me by Govr. Rutledge: lest you should not have seen it I do myself the pleasure of transmitting it, with a letter from Edition: current; Page: [57] Genl. Harrington to Genl. Gates giving information of some late movements of the Enemy.

I was honored yesterday with your favor of the 5th inst. on the subject of Prisoners and particularly Lt. Govr. Hamilton. You are not unapprised of the influence of this Officer with the Indians, his activity, and embittered Zeal against us; You also perhaps know how precarious is our tenure of the Illinois Country, and how critical is the situation of the new Counties on the Ohio. These circumstances determined us to detain Govr. Hamilton & Majr Hay within our Power, when we delivered up the other Prisoners. On a late representation from the People of Kentuckey by a person sent here from that County, & expressions of what they had reason to apprehend from these two Prisoners in the event of their liberation; we assured them they would not be parted with, tho we were giving up our other Prisoners. Lt. Colo Dubuysson aid to Baron de Kalb lately came here on his parole with an offer from Ld Rawdon to exchange him for Hamilton. Colo Towles is now here with a like proposition as to himself from Genl. Phillips, very strongly urged by the Genl. These and other overtures do not lessen our opinion of the importance of retaining him; and they have been and will uniformly be rejected. Should the settlement indeed of a Cartel become impracticable without the consent of the States to submit their separate Prisoners to its obligation, we will give up these two Prisoners, as we would anything rather than be an obstacle to a general good; But no other circumstances would I believe Edition: current; Page: [58] extract them from us. These two gentlemen with a Lt Colo Elligood are the only seperate Prisoners we have retained, & the last only on his own request, & not because we set any store by him. There is indeed a Lt Governor Rocheblawe of Kaskaskie who has broken his parole & gone to N. York, whom we must shortly trouble your Excellency to demand for us as soon as we can forward to you the proper documents. Since the forty Prisoners sent to Winchester as mentioned in my letter of the 9th ult. about 150 more have been sent thither, some of them taken by us at sea, others sent on by Genl Gates.

The exposed and weak state of our western settlements and the danger to which they are subject from the Northern Indians acting under the influence of the British Post at Detroit, render it necessary for us to keep from five to eight hundred men on duty for their defence. This is a great and perpetual expense: Could that post be reduced and retained it would cover all the States to the South-East of it. We have long meditated the attempt under the direction of Colo Clarke, but the expense would be so great that whenever we have wished to take it up the circumstance has obliged us to decline it; two different estimates make it amount to two Millions of Pounds, present Money. We could furnish the Men, provisions and I believe every necessary except Powder; had we the Money, or could the demands from us be so far supplied from other quarters as to leave it in our Power to apply such a Sum to that purpose and when once done it would Edition: current; Page: [59] save annual expenditures to a great amount. When I speak of furnishing the men, I mean they should be Militia: such being the popularity of Colo Clarke & the confidence of the western people in him that he could raise the requisite number at any time. We therefore beg leave to refer this matter to yourself to determine whether such an enterprise would not be for the general good, & if you think it would, to authorize it at the general expense; this is become the more reasonable if as I am informed the ratification of the Confederation has been rested on our cession of a part of our western Claims a cession which (speaking my private opinion only) I verily believe will be agreed to if the Quantity demanded be not unreasonably great. Should this proposition be approved it should be immediately made known to us as the season is now coming on at which some of the preparations must be made. The time of execution I think should be at the breaking up of the Ice in the Wabash & before the Lakes open. The interval I am told is considerable.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 14, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—At the desire of Majr. Genl. Gates I transmit to you the inclosed papers which he put under cover to me. He complains of the arrival of our troops without clothes, tents, or arms at Hilsborough: and desires they may not be sent on at Edition: current; Page: [60] all unless completely equipped with every necessary. This would indeed put an end to the marching a single man there. They go clothed as militia. Few of them carry blankets. Nor shall we be able to furnish tents or arms for more than half of them. However they will go on in hopes of supplies from Congress.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct, 15, 1780
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am rendered not a little anxious by the Paragraph of yours of the 7th Inst., wherein you say “it is near a month since I received any Letter from your Excellency; indeed the receipt of most that I have wrote to you remain unacknowledged.” You ought within that time to have received my Letter of September 3d. written immediately on my return to this place after a fortnights Absence.—That of September 11th acknowledging the receipt of yours which covered Draughts for Money; that of Sept. 23d on the Subject of Batteaux at Taylor’s Ferry, Waggons, Maps of Virginia, wintering the French Fleet in Chesapeake, our new levies, and Provisions from our lower Counties—and that of [Oct. 4] in Answer to yours of Sept 24th. and 27th. I begin to apprehend Treachery in some part of our Chain of Expresses, and beg the favor of you in your next to mention whether any and which of these Letters have not come to hand.

This acknowledges the receipt of yours of Sept. 28, and Oct. 3, 5, and 7th. The first of these was delivered Edition: current; Page: [61] four or five days ago by Capt. Drew. He will be permitted to return as you desire, as we would fulfil your wishes in every point in our power, as well as indulge the Ardor of a good Officer. Our militia from the Western Counties are now on their march to join you. They are fond of the kind of Service in which Colo Morgan is generally engaged, and are made very happy by being informed you intend to put them under him. Such as pass by this place take Muskets in their hands. Those from the Southern Counties beyond the Blue Ridge were advised to carry their Rifles. For those who carry neither Rifles nor Muskets, as well as for our 18 months’ Men we shall send on Arms as soon as Waggons can be procured. In the meantime I had hoped that there were Arms for those who should first arrive at Hillsborough, as by Genl. Stevens Return dated at his departure thence there were somewhere between 5 and 800 muskets (I speak from memory not having present Access to the Return) belonging to this State either in the hands of the new Militia who were there or stored. Capt Fauntleroy of the Cavalry, gives me hopes he shall immediately forward a very considerable Supply of Accoutrements for White’s and Washington’s cavalry. He told me yesterday he had received 113 Horses for that Service from us. Besides those, he had rejected sixty odd after we had purchased them, at £3000 apiece. Nelson’s two troops were returned to me deficient only 12 Horses, since which 10 have [been] sent to him by Lt Armstead. I am not a little disappointed therefore in the Number of Cavalry fit for Duty as mentioned in Edition: current; Page: [62] the Letter you enclosed me. Your request (as stated in your letter of the 7th) that we will send no men into the field, or even to your camp, that are not well furnished with Shoes, Blankets, and every necessary for immediate service, would amount to a stoppage of every man; as we have it not in our power to furnish them with real necessaries completely. I hope they will be all shod. What proportion will have Blankets I cannot say: we purchase every one which can be found out, and now I begin to have a prospect of furnishing about half of them with Tents as soon as they can be made, and forwarded. As to provisions, our Agent Eaton, of whom I before wrote, informs me in a Letter of the 5th inst he shall immediately get Supplies of Beef into motion and shall send some corn by a circuitous Navigation. But till we receive our Waggons from the Western Country, I cannot hope to aid you in Bread. I expect daily to see Waggons coming in to us. The militia were ordered to rendezvous at Hillsborough, expecting they would thence be ordered by you into service. I send you herewith a copy of Henry’s map of Virginia. It is a mere cento of blunders. It may serve to give you a general idea of the courses of rivers & positions of counties. We are endeavoring to get you a copy of Fry & Jefferson’s; but they are now very scarce. I also enclose you some newspapers in which you will find a detail of Arnold’s apostasy & villany. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [63]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 22, 1780
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—The inclosed letters which came to hand this morning will inform your Excellency that a Fleet of the Enemy has arrived in our Bay; and that a Debarkation of some light Horse in the Neighbourhood of Portsmouth seems to indicate that as their first Scene of Action. We are endeavouring to collect a Body to oppose them as numerous as the Arms we have will admit. We are obliged of Consequence to divert to this New Object a considerable Part of the Aids we destined for Genl. Gates. We shall not however by any means consider his reinforcement as no longer interesting, but clearly see the Necessity of supporting him with our utmost abilities. We have therefore left part of our country which is more convenient to him uncalled on at present, which with the Proportion of Regulars, Volunteers, and Militia already with him, or not meant to be diverted will I hope be a seasonable aid. The want of Arms prevents every hope of effectual opposition. I have perfect Confidence in Congress that this want will be suffered to fetter us not a moment after they can supply it. Generals Weedon and Muhlenburg of the line, and Nelson and Stevens of the Militia are called into Command. Congress will please to consider whether these can be aided by any other Officer of higher Rank and of approved Abilities and Trust. Edition: current; Page: [64] We have come to no determination on the subject of the Convention Troops. Should the Enemy be in force, every circumstance will render their Removal essential. This shall in that case be done as directed by Congress and due notice given to them as well as to Governor Lee.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 22, 1780
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

c. c.
Sir,

—The Letters which accompany this will inform you of the Arrival of a large fleet of the Enemy within our Capes, and that they have begun their Debarkation. We are taking measures to collect a Body to oppose them, for which purpose it seems necessary to retain such Regulars, Volunteers and Militia as have not yet gone on to you. We have left the Counties of Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Halifax, and all above them on the south Side of James River uncalled on, that they may be in readiness to reinforce you as soon as Arms can be procured. I am in hopes the 18 months’ Men and western Militia, who will have joined you with the Volunteers from Washington and Montgomery, as proposed by Colo. Preston, and the 18 months Militia, will be a useful reinforcement to you, and shall continue to divide our attention both as to Men and Provisions between the Army in your Front and that which is posting itself within our own Country. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [65]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 25, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I do myself the pleasure of handing on the dispatches from General Gates accompanying this.

Since my last informing of you of the appearance of an enemy’s fleet they have landed 800 men in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth and some more on the bay side of Princess Anne County. On the 23d. in the morning they landed 1000 infantry and 100 cavalry at Newport’s News who immediately took possession of Hampton. The horse were proceeding up the road at the time of our last intelligence. The residue of their force remains still on board. The unarmed state of the people leaves it not in our power to say precisely when one hundred horse will be stopped. The few who have arms have turned out with the greatest alacrity, but they are not of a nature proper to oppose horse. Such a corps as Major Lee’s would now be of infinite value to us. Our cartridge paper has been nearly exhausted by the Southern army, and 2000 Cartouch boxes which we had bought in Baltimore we have reason to believe were on their way down the bay when the enemy came in and have probably fallen into their hands. The want even of these small articles will be of great disadvantage. The spirit which has shown itself among the people on this occasion has given me the greatest pleasure, but I must notwithstanding assure you Sir that if great supplies of arms are not immediately sent on there is no event which may not be expected.

Edition: current; Page: [66]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
October 25. 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—I take the liberty of inclosing to you Letters from Gov. Hamilton for New York. On some representations received by Colo. Towles that an indulgence to Governor Hamilton and his companions to go to New York on parole would produce the happiest effect on the situation of our officers in Long Island we have given him, Majr Hay & some of the same Party at Winchester leave to go there on Parole: The two former go by water, the latter by Land.

By this express I hand on from Genl Gates to Congress intelligence of the capture of Augusta in Georgia with considerable quantities of goods; and information which carries a fair appearance of the taking of George Town in So Carolina by a party of ours, and that an army of 6000 French or Spaniards had landed at Sunbury. This is the more credited as Cornwallis retreated from Charlotte on the 12th inst with great marks of precipitation. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 26, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—The Executive of this State think it expedient and necessary that under our present circumstances the prisoners of war under the convention of Saratoga, be removed from their present situation. Edition: current; Page: [67] Many circumstances have led to this necessity. It will be utterly impracticable as long as they remain with us to prevent the hostile army now in this state from being reinforced by numerous desertions from this corps and this expectation may be one among the probable causes of this movement of the enemy. Should moreover a rescue of them be attempted the extensive disaffection which has been lately discovered, and almost total want of arms in the hands of our good people render the success of such an enterprize by no means desperate. The fear of this and of other dangerous convulsions to which such an attempt would expose us, diverts the attention of a very considerable part of our militia from an opposition to the invading enemy. An order has therefore been this day issued to Colo Wood to take immediate measures for their removal, and every aid has been and will be given him for transporting, guarding and subsisting them on the road which our powers can accomplish. Notice hereof is sent by the present conveyance to his Excellency Govr. Lee, on whose part I doubt not necessary preparations for their reception will be made.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 27, 1780
Richmond

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

c. c.
Gentlemen,

—I must beg the favor of you to solicit the sending on to us immediately a good supply of Cartridge Paper & Cartouch Boxes. Nearly the whole of the former article which we had bought at Alexandria, Baltimore &c. and what the Board of Edition: current; Page: [68] War sent from Philadelphia has been made up and forwarded to the Southern Army: there remains now but a few Reams to make up. I fear we have lost 2,000 cartouch Boxes on the Bay which we had made at Baltimore. Our distress for these is also very great. Muskets being really useless without them, I must entreat the greatest dispatch in forwarding these Articles.

A very dangerous Insurrection in Pittsylvania was prevented a few days ago by being discovered three days before it was to take place. The Ringleaders were seized in their Beds.—This dangerous fire is only smothered: When it will break out seems to depend altogether on events. It extends from Montgomery County along our southern boundary to Pittsylvania & Eastward as far as James River: Indeed some suspicions have been raised of its having crept as far as Culpepper. The rest of the state turns out with a spirit and alacrity which makes me perfectly happy. If they had arms there is no effort either of public or private Enemies in this state which would give any apprehensions. Our whole arms are or will be in the hands of the force now assembling. Were any disaster to befall these, we have no other resource but a few scattered Squirrel Guns, Rifles &c. in the Hands of the western People.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct, 28, 1780
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Sir,

— * * * Since my first information to you of the arrival of an enemy, they have landed Edition: current; Page: [69] about 800 men near Portsmouth, some on the bay side of Princess Anne one thousand at [Hampton], and still retained considerable part on board their ships. Those at hampton, after committing horrid depredations have again retired to their ships, which, on the evening of the 26th were strung all along the road from Newportsnews to the mouth of Nansemond, which seems to indicate an intention of coming up the James river. Our information is that they have from 4 to 5000 men, commanded by Genl Leslie, & came under convoy of one 40.gun ship and some frigates (how many has never been said) commanded by Commodore Rodney. Would it not be worth while to send out a swift boat from some of the inlets of Carolina to notify the french Admiral that his enemies are in a net if he has leisure to close the mouth of it? Generals Muhlenburg and Nelson are assembling a force to be ready for them, and General Weedon is come to this place where he is at present employed in some arrangements. We have ordered the removal of the Saratoga prisoners that we may have our hands clear for these new Guests.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov, 3, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—Since I had the honour of writing to your Excellency on the 25th ult. the enemy have withdrawn Edition: current; Page: [70] their force from the north side of James river, and have taken post at Portsmouth; which we learn they are fortifying; their highest post is Suffolk, where there is a very narrow and defensible pass between Nansemond river & the dismal swamp, which covers the country below from being entered by us. More accurate information of their force than we at first had, gives us reason to suppose them to be from 2500 to 3000 of which between 60 and 70 are cavalry. They are commanded by General Leslie and were convoyed by the Romulus of 40 guns, the Blonde of 32, the Delight sloop of 16, a 20 gun ship of Inc. Goodrichs and two row gallies: commanded by Commodore Gayton. We are not yet as assured that they have landed their whole force, indeed they give out themselves that after drawing the force of this state to Suffolk, they mean to go to Baltimore. Their movements here had induced me to think they came in expectation of meeting with Lord Cornwallis in this country, that his pricipitate retreat has left them without a concerted object, and that they were waiting further orders. Information of this morning says that on being informed of Lord Cornwallis’s retreat, and a public paper produced to them wherein were printed the several dispatches which brought this intelligence from General Gates, they unladed a vessel and sent her off to Charles Town immediately. The fate of this army of theirs hangs on a very slender naval force indeed.

The want of Barracks at Fort Frederic, as represented by Colo. Wood, the difficulty of getting waggons sufficient to move the whole convention troops Edition: current; Page: [71] at once, and the state of unreadiness in which the regiment of guards is have induced us to think that it will be better to remove those troops in two divisions: and as the whole danger of desertion to the enemy and of correspondence with the disaffected in our Southern Counties, is from the British only (for from the Germans we have no apprehensions on either head) we have advised Colo Wood to move on the British in the first division and to leave the Germans in their present situation to form a second division, and to be moved so soon as barracks may be erected at Fort Frederic. By these means the British may march immediately under the guard of Colo Crockets battalion, while Colo Taylor’s regiment of guards remain with the Germans. I cannot suppose that this will be deemed such a separation as is provided against by the Convention, nor that their officers will wish to have the whole troops crowded together into barracks, which probably are not sufficient for half of them. Should they however insist on their being kept together, I suppose it would be the opinion that the second division should follow the first as closely as possible, and their being exposed to a want of convering would in that case be justly imputable to themselves only. The delay of the second division will lessen the distress for provisions which may perhaps take place on their first going to the new post before matters have got into a regular train.

P. S. By a letter from Colo. Wood received since writing the above, I am informed the British Conventioners are 804 rank & file. He does not mention Edition: current; Page: [72] the present number of the Germans. In May last they were 1503 including officers.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov, 10, 1780
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Sir,

—Your favour of the third instant inclosing Colo. Preston’s letter came to hand on the eighth. The proposals mentioned in the colo’s Letter for sending volunteers to you were accepted & put as was necessary into such precise form as that all parties might know what they had a right to expect. In doing this two circumstances happened to interfere with what had been expected. 1. We required that they shou’d be subject to your orders and those of such other officer as you shoud place them under: this was to enable you to make use of them in constituting the corps you had proposed under General Morgan. 2. That there shoud be two companies of rifles only to each battalion: this was the advice of Genl. Morgan in a conversation with me. We have since dispensed with the last of these conditions and allowed every man to carry his rifle as we found that absolutely necessary to induce them to go. Colo Skiller of Botetourt writes me he has 150 engaged & we shall endeavour to prevail upon Colo Campbell to raise another corps, in which, if he undertakes it, I trust he will succeed. I am much at a loss what shoud be done as to the prisoners taken at Kings Mountain. I do not think Montgomery Courthouse a good place, because it is very disaffected, it is too Edition: current; Page: [73] near their own country, and would admit their cooperation in any enterprize on our lead mines, which are about eight miles from thence. I have taken measures for continuing their march under a guard northwardly and in the meantime for receiving instructions from Congress where to terminate their journey. The British Convention troops will proceed immediately to Fort Frederick in Maryland. The Germans will remain in Albemarle till accommodations can be provided for them in the same place. From them we have no apprehensions of desertion to the enemy. Some British were taken yesterday who are said to have been with the enemy and were returning to the barracks. Two or three days ago a british emissary from Portsmouth, was taken endeavouring to proceed towards Carolina. On a proposal to search him they observed him to put his hand in his pocket, and put something to his mouth like a quid of tobacco. On examination it was found to be a letter, of which the enclosed is a copy, written on silk paper, rolled up in gold beaters skin, and nicely tied at each end, the whole not larger than a goose quill. By this you will find our conjectures verified that they expected to meet with Lord Cornwallis in the neighbourhood at least of this country, & are disappointed and without an object. Can you not take measures for finding out the other messenger to Lord Cornwallis who went by Land? The force we shall now immediately have together authorizes me to assure you, you need not apprehend their penetrating any distance southwardly. I only lament that this measure shou’d have Edition: current; Page: [74] intercepted our reinforcements to you. We have left all the counties south of James river, and nearer to Hillsborough than portsmouth uncalled on that they may be ready to go to the aid of our southern friends whenever arms can be procured.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov, 10, 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I inclose your Excellency an intercepted Letter from Major General Leslie to Ld. Cornwallis. It was taken on a person endeavouring to pass through the Country from Portsmouth towards Carolina. When he was apprehended & a proposal made to search him, he readily consented to be searched but at the same time was observed to put his hand in his Pocket & carry something towards his mouth as if it were a quid of tobacco. It was examined & found to be what is now inclosed. As this is the first authentic disclosure of their purpose in coming here and may serve to found with somewhat more of certainty conjectures of their future movements while their disappointment in not meeting with Ld. Cornwallis may occasion new plans at New York, I thought it worthy of being communicated to your Excy. by express.

Some deserters were yesterday taken, said to be of the British Convention troops who had found means Edition: current; Page: [75] to get to the enemy at Portsmouth & were 70 or 80 miles on their way back to the barracks when they were taken. They were passing under the guise of deserters from Portsmouth.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 17, 1780
Richmd

TO THE DELEGATES OF VIRGINIA IN CONGRESS

c. c.
Gentn,

—With respect to the payment made on behalf of Mr. Braxton into the Continental treasury in Part of our Quota of the fifteen Million tax, the Execcutive having been Charged with the raising and remitting that money, we have thought it unnecessary to lay it before the Legislature. The sum to be sent, was sent, partly in Money, and Partly in Bills. These Bills were drawn in Continental Dollars, & paible in such, and not in specie. Of this nature was Mr. Braxton’s Bill desiring his correspondent to pay so many Continental Dollars into the Treasury. If the treasurer has received payment in another kind of money at an arbitrary rate of Exchange, this must have been either under the Rules of his office or against them. The former I can hardly suppose, and in the latter case it has become his own Private act, and he should be deemed to have received (not £1318–15. hard money but) 263750 dollars Continental Money as he has I suppose given a discharge on Bill for so much of its Contents. Had he rejected the Tender of the Hard Money would not Continental dollars have been paid? If they had not, then indeed the demand should have reverted on the State, and we would have fallen on means for compelling Edition: current; Page: [76] payment. We were really concerned on the return of our agent who carried the Money and Bills that he did not have them regularly protested as there appeared some doubts on them. But he acted for the best in his own Judgment, and in that point of view was to be approved. I am exceedingly sorry that this want of Punctuality has a risen in these remittances. We sold Tobo. for these Bills, which would in much less time have produced us money here. But the responsibility and known connection between the drawer & drawee induced us to consider them as even Better than money which wd. have been liable to accidents in transportation. Had a tender of specie been made to us here we would certainly have rejected it. But the payment being now to be transacted between the Drawee & Congress (passing us over) neither the Tender or receipt can be considered as our act, but the former the act of the Drawee, and the latter of the treasurer of Congress. We do not therefore think ourselves concerned immediately in this transaction. If Congress please to consider the Payment of the £1318–15 hard money as a discharge of 263.750 dollars paper which was to be paid by the drawee well: if not on rejecting it he will make payment in the specific Money he was call’d on to pay or we will resort to the Drawer, and Compell such payment.

Since writing thus far I note more particularly than I had before done that the treasurers return sais that he had received from the Commonwealth of Virginia a sum of money in specie &c. this indeed stating it as the act of this Commonwealth renders it necessary Edition: current; Page: [77] for me to disavow it—which I hereby do. It was the act of the drawee of which the Commonwealth had neither knowledge or Intimation; and this return fixing the act on the Commonwealth instead of the Drawee is so far wrong.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
November 17th 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—At the request of the Honorable Theoderick Bland I take the liberty of laying before the General Assembly the inclosed paper in which he states a difficulty which has arisen in reconciling his qualifications as a delegate to the peculiar channel into which he had previously turned his private fortune.

From the inclosed extract from a Letter from our Delegates in Congress you will also perceive that they suffer some inconvenience from precarious remittances. Tho this be not within the line of our immediate care we have never been wanting in furnishing such facilities as we were able towards effecting remittances to them. But these we believe have been rendered irregular sometimes by the want of conveyance, & sometimes by the state of the treasury.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 19. 1780
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—The vessel which had been sent by Genl. Leslie to Charles town as we supposed, returned Edition: current; Page: [78] about the 12th inst. The enemy began to embark soon after from Portsmouth, and in the night of the 15th. compleated the embarkation of their whole force. In the morning of the 16th. some of our people entered Portsmouth. They had left their works unfinished and undestroyed. Great numbers of negroes who had gone over to them were left either for want of ship-room, or through choice. They had not moved from Elizabeth river at eleven o’clock a.m. of the 16th. They gave out that they intended up James river, but the precipitate abandoning of works on receipt of some communication or other from Charles town, was not likely to be for the purpose of coming up James river. I received this intelligence by express from Genl. Muhlenberg yesterday morning. As the enemy’s situation was such as to give reason to expect every moment a movement in some direction, I delayed sending off notice to you in hopes that that movement would point out their destination: but no such information being yet come to hand I think it proper no longer to delay communicating to you so much. As our riders will be two days going their distance and returning to their posts, it will necessarily be so long before anything further can be communicated.

By a letter from Govr. Nash dated Newbern Nov. 5. I am informed that on the 28th. ult, a Capt. Howell of that place in a small privateer passed in the night off Charles town a very large fleet, but of what nation he knew not. In a vessel he took the same day directly out of Charles town were South Carolina gazettes which mentioned this fleet, & Edition: current; Page: [79] that they had for several days been off firing signal guns. A gentleman on board her said Ld. Cornwallis returned to town that day. This is the only intelligence I have received from the Southward since that of Ferguson’s defeat which I had the honor of forwarding to your Excellency.

Since writing so far I have received the inclosed dispatches from the Southward. The moment the enemy leave us I hope a good reinforcement may march from their present encampment to the Southerd.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 19. 1780
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Sir,

— * * * Since writing so far your favor of the 8th inst comes to hand, accompanied by one from Genl Stevens at Hillsborough of the 10th. A strange derangement indeed our riders have got into to be 9 days coming from Hillsborough. I shall be very happy if the departure of the enemy, which I hourly expect to have confirmed, shall leave us at liberty to send you a substantial reinforcement. The men being now in the field may be marched directly Southwardly. What may be it’s precise amount I cannot say till I get from Genl Muhlenburg a return of the 18th months’ men the 8 months men & militia, who had been stopped here on their way to the Southward, and from Genl Lawson a return of the volunteers he has engaged to go to the Southward.

Edition: current; Page: [80]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 23, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—There is reason to believe that the appointment of a Consul to reside in this State on the part of his most Christian majesty either has been already or will shortly be made. I must submit to the general assembly the expediency of considering whether our laws have settled with precision the prerogatives and jurisdiction to which such a person is entitled by the usage of Nations: and putting the Office on the footing they wou’d wish it to rest.—The enclosed memorial from a subject of the same prince is also perhaps worthy the attention of the assembly. The expediting judiciary proceedings wherein foreigners are concerned, who come to make only a short stay among us, seems expedient for the preservation of a good understanding with them and for the encouragement of Commerce. The Executive received from Congress some time ago copies of the several proceedings which had taken place between a subject of the Crown of Portugal and the Commander of an American privateer; a part owner of the privateer being a Citizen of this State. They were accompanied by some resolutions of Congress desiring that the executive would so far interpose as to have reparation made to the foreigner whose vessel had been taken, pyratically as they suppose, and to have the Offenders proceeded against criminally. The case with all the documents transmitted was submitted to the Attorney General for his opinion which he has lately given us, and I now inclose it. From that Edition: current; Page: [81] you will perceive that if the act complained of were piracy or should any future act of piracy be committed by any of our Citizens there is no judicature within this state before which it could be tried. Whether the establishment of such a judicature may not be necessary for the preservation of peace with foreign nations is now submitted to the legislature.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 24, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES1 (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

Sir,

—I received yesterday evening a letter from General Nelson dated Rich neck November 22nd. at half after five p.m. including a note by which we learn that the vessels of the enemy were all under way except one which was getting under way, and the whole standing out for the Capes. This event tho’ relieving us in a certain degree by opening again the door of our commerce and also by putting it in our power to avail ourselves of the whole resources of our country, seems yet to call for an increase rather than abatement of military preparations. Should those now leaving us proceed to enforce the hostile army already in the south; shou’d the same be the object of a new embarcation said on good authority to be preparing in New York; we shall but to probably and speedily see our own retreating enemy treading back their footsteps and menacing this country with a force to which the southern states Edition: current; Page: [82] have yet seen nothing equal. South Carolina & Georgia we are to consider as weighing nothing in our scale. N. Carolina has been exhausted by the ravages of two armies. On this state therefore rests the weight of the opposition, and it is infinitely important that our own efforts be such as to keep the war from our own country, nor does it seem that we have a moment to lose should the enemy be disposed to lose no time on their part. Men to form a permanent army, clothing, covering, arms, subsistance, transportation and money are to be provided. We have left no measures unessayed for procuring supplies of these different kinds as far as the circumstances of our country would admit. Of tents we have a tolerable prospect, and better hopes of supplies of arms than we some time ago entertained. We shall press them forward with unremitting endeavors. Our country affords sufficient substance and we are in train of obtaining it so far as the late powers given by the Legislation extend, and the advanced season of the year permits. But these went to one or two articles only. Clothing, blankets, and transportation are objects of immense difficulty, and money is necessary to set every wheel in action.

I thought it my duty as soon as the motives of the enemy indicated the point to which our efforts would probably be called to suggest to the general assembly these several matters, not doubting but that they will give them all the attention they deserve and adopt such measures as in their wisdom shall appear best calculated for making effective opposition Edition: current; Page: [83] wherever the enemy may think proper to shew themselves. The inclosed papers on the same subject from Major Genl. Green appointed to take command of the southern army, I beg leave to lay before the General Assembly, and am with every sentiment of esteem and respect, sir, your most obedient and humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov, 26, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—I have been honoured with your Excellency’s Letter of the 8th instant. Having found it impracticable to move suddenly the whole Convention troops, british and germans, and it being represented that there coud not immediately be covering provided for them all at fort Frederic we concluded to march off the British first from whom was the principal danger of desertion and to permit the germans who shew little disposition to join the enemy to remain in their present quarters till something further be done. The British accordingly marched the 20th instant, they cross the blue ridge at Rock fish gap and proceed along that valley. I am to appraise your Excellency that the Officers of every rank both British and german but particularly the former have purchased within this State some of the finest horses in it. You will be pleased to determine whether it will be proper that they carry them within their Lines. I believe the Convention of Saratoga entitles them to keep the horses they then had: but I presume none of the Line below the rank of field officers had a horse. Edition: current; Page: [84] Considering that the british will be now at fort frederick, and the Germans in Albermarle, Alexandria seems to be the most central point to which there is navigation. Would it not therefore be better that the flag vessel solicited by Genl Phillips should go to that place? It is about equally distant from the two posts. The roads to Albemarle are good. I know not how those are which lead to fort frederick. Your letter referring me to General Green for the mode of constructing light portable boats unfortunately did not come to hand till he had left us. We had before determined to have something done in that way, and as they are still unexecuted, we should be greatly obliged by any draughts or hints which could be given by any body within the reach of your Excellency.

I received advice that on the 22d instant, the enemy’s fleet got all under way and were standing towards the Capes. As it still remained undecided whether they woud leave the bay or turn up it, I waited the next stage of information that you might so far be enabled to judge of their destination. This I hourly expected, but it did not come till this evening when I am informed they all got out to sea in the night of the 22d. What course they steered afterwards is not known. I must do their General and Commodore the justice to say that in every case to which their influence or attention could reach as far as I have been well informed, their conduct was such as does them the greatest honor In the few instances of unnecessary and wanton devastation which took place they punished the aggressors.

Edition: current; Page: [85]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 26, 1780
Richmond
Edward Stevens
Stevens, Edward

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS

j. mss.
Sir,

—The Enemy which lately invaded us left our Capes in the Night of the 22d Instant, what course they steered afterwards is not known. Another Fleet of Transports under the Command of Admiral Rodney fell down to the Hook on the 11th Instant. As this as well as the Fleet which lately left us is destined for Charles Town we shall March from their present Encampments all the forces who are so equipped as that they can proceed to distant Service. With them will go on between three & Four Hundred Tents belonging to this State. Three Hundred more are on the Road from Philadelphia and as many to follow. As Baron Steuben remains here to organize our forces I shall be obliged by special Returns of the 18 Months Men 8 months Men, & three months Militia which have or shall Come unto you as frequently as convenient. The Assembly being now met will shortly I hope furnish us with Money so that we may be once more able to send Supplies to the Southward. We have Collected here at length, by impress principles, about thirty Waggons which have been delivered to the Continental Q-M. to be sent on with stores to Taylors Ferry.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 30. 1780
Richmond
John Louis De Unger
Unger, John Louis De

TO LIEUT. JOHN LOUIS DE UNGER1

j. mss.
Sir,

—The letter which covers this being of a public nature I wished separately to acknowlege the many Edition: current; Page: [86] things personally obliging to me expressed in your two letters. The very small amusements which it has been in my power to furnish in order to lighten some of your heavy hours by no means merited the acknowlegment you make. Their impression must be ascribed to your extreme sensibility rather than to their own weight. My wishes for your happiness give me participation in your joy at being exchanged sensibly however alloyed by a presentiment of the loss I shall sustain when I shall again be permitted to withdraw to that scene of quiet retirement abstracted from which I know no happiness in this world. Your line of life must have given you attachments to objects of a very different nature. When the course of events shall have removed you to distant scenes of action where laurels not tarnished with the blood of my country may be gathered, I shall urge sincere prayers for your obtaining every honor & preferment which may gladden the heart of a souldier. On the other hand should your fondness for philosophy resume it’s merited ascendancy, is it impossible to hope that this unexplored country may tempt your residence by holding out materials wherewith to build a fame founded on the happiness & not the calamities of human nature? Be this as it may whether philosopher or souldier, I wish you many felicities.

Edition: current; Page: [87]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
December 11 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—At the request of Major General Baron de Steuben, I take the liberty of transmitting to you his letter and observations on the cautions he thinks necessary to be observed on the raising future recruits. I think it my duty also to mention to the General Assembly that I have received information from him that a very considerable proportion of the new levies raised under an act of the last session of Assembly and now at Chesterfield are totally unfit for service, where much fatigue and hardship is to be endured, being old men, boys or decrepid: and for this reason he means to decline continuing them in Continental service and to return them to the State.

Supposing that every intelligence which may tend to discover to the General Assembly the future determination of our enemies as to the conduct of the war against us may be acceptable, I beg leave to communicate to them the inclosed extract of a Letter I have received from William Lee esquire. It will be a very happy circumstance if the force intended to oppose their armies in the south can be brought into the field in time to find them embarrassed & retarded with the difficulties of subsistance and transportation through the inland country. Once advanced to a navigable water the communications by sea will relieve them from much incumbrance and in a great measure ensure them from capital disaster. The proposals herewith transmitted for raising a standing body of forces for the defence of this state requiring Edition: current; Page: [88] conditions beyond the powers of the Executive I beg leave to submit them to the wisdom of the General Assembly.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec, 15, 1780
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on the subject of an expedition contemplated by this State against the British post at Detroit and of receiving your answer of Oct: 10th. Since the date of my letter the face of things has so far changed as to leave it no longer optional in us to attempt or decline the expedition but compels us to decide in the affirmative and to begin our preparations immediately. The army the Enemy at present have in the South, the reinforcements still expected there, and their determination to direct their future exertions to that quarter, are not unknown to you. The regular force proposed on our part to counteract those exertions is such either from the real or supposed inability of this State as by no means to allow a hope that it may be effectual. It is therefore to be expected that the scene of war will either be within our country or very nearly advanced to it and that our principal dependance is to be on militia, for which reason it becomes incumbent to keep as great a proportion of our people as possible free to act in that quarter. In the meantime a Combination is forming in the westward which if not diverted will call thither a principal & most valuable part of our militia. From intelligence received we have reason to expect Edition: current; Page: [89] that a confederacy of British & Indians to the amount of 2000 men is formed for the purpose of spreading destruction & dismay thro’ the whole extent of our frontier in the ensuing Spring. Should this take place we shall certainly lose in the South all aids of militia beyond the blue ridge besides the inhabitants who must fall a sacrifice in the course of the savage irruptions. There seems to be but one method of preventing this which is to give the Western enemy employment in their own country. The regular force Colo: Clarke already has with a proper draught from the militia beyond the Alleghany & that of three or four of our most northern counties will be adequate to the reduction of fort Detroit in the opinion of Colo: Clarke and he assigns the most probable reasons for that opinion. We have therefore determined to undertake & commit it to his direction. Whether the expence of the enterprise shall be at continent or state expence we will leave to be decided hereafter by Congress in whose justice we can confide as to the determination. In the mean time we only ask the loan of such necessaries as being already at Fort Pitt will save time and an immense expence of transportation.

these are

  • 4 field pieces 6 pounders
  • 3000 balls suited to them
  • one Mortar
  • 3000 shells suited to it
  • 2 hts..
  • Grape shot
  • necessary implements and furniture for the above.Edition: current; Page: [90]
  • 1000 Spades
  • 200 pick axes
  • 1. travelling forge.

Some boats ready made should we not have enough prepared in time

Some Ships carpenter tools.

These articles shall either be identically or specifically returned, should we prove successful it is not improbable they may be where Congress would chuse to keep them. I am therefore to solicit your Excellency’s order to the Commandant of fort Pitt for the above articles which shall not be called for until everything is in readiness, after which there can be no danger of their being wanted for the post at which they are: Indeed there are few of the articles essential for the defence of the post.

I hope your Excellency will think yourself justified in lending us this aid without awaiting the effect of an application elsewhere as such a delay would render the undertaking abortive by postponing it to the breaking up of the ice in the lake. Independent of the favourable effects which a successful enterprise against Detroit must produce to the United States in general by keeping in quiet the frontier of the Northern ones, and leaving our western militia at liberty to aid those of the South, we think the like friendly office performed by us to the States whenever desired and almost to the absolute exhausture of our own magazines give well founded hopes that we may be accommodated on this occasion. The supplies of military Stores which have been furnished by us to Fort Pitt itself, to the northern army, & most of all to Edition: current; Page: [91] the Southern are not altogether unknown to you. I am the more urgent for an immediate order because Colo: Clarke awaits here your Excellency’s answer by the express, tho his presence in the Western Country to make preparations for the expedition is so very necessary if you enable him to undertake it. To the above I must add a request to you to send for us to Pittsburg persons proper to work the mortars &c. as Colo: Clarke has none such nor is there one in this State. They shall be in the pay of this State from the time they leave you. Any money necessary for their journey shall be repaid at Pittsburg without fail by the first of March.

At the desire of the Genl Assembly I take the liberty of transmitting to you the enclosed resolution. And have the honour to be with the most perfect esteem & regard your Excellency’s most obed & most hble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 21, 1780
Wall
Wall

TO MAJOR WALL1

Sir,

—I laid before the Council the Rev. Mr. Fanning’s letter to Mr. Tazewell together with the Letters and other Papers found on Mr. Wickham—The general expextations of remaining in this country, with which the enemy (and probably) this young gentleman came into it, the political character of the Gentleman under whose auspices he came, his not leaving the Enemy ’till they were obliged to retire, and the complexion of his own Journals and Letters, Edition: current; Page: [92] are circumstances which place him, in their Belief, among the Enemies of this Country. Nothing appears which even leads to a suspicion that a Difference in political sentiment was among the motives which led him from his connections with the Enemy to seek a union with this Country. The manner of his effecting his Transition from the one Party to the other, was not likely to produce any other than a hostile Reception—he becomes an Enemy from an Enemy, in the midst of our Country, with arms in their Hands, attempts to pass without application to, or Leave from, any officer civil or military, and to bear Letters, negotiating an Interview between an officer high in the adverse command, and citizens of this State. Under these unfavourable circumstances, the Board cannot but deem him an Enemy, and (being within our Power) a Prisoner of War—They are at the same time as thoroughly satisfied of the decided principles of Whigism which have distinguished the character of the Rev. Mr. Fanning, that they shall think this young Gentleman perfectly safe under his care, so long as he stays in this State; to him, therefore, they remit him until a flag, daily expected from New York into Potowmack River, shall be returning to that Place, when they shall expect him to take his passage back, first calling on the Commissioner of the War Office to give a Proper Parole.

Edition: current; Page: [93]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
December 21, 1780

TO — ?1

Sir,

—I have received authority from the Legislature to provide cloathing and blankets for the troops by seizing the same which will be accompanied by endeavours to purchase. Agents are out procuring salted beef and others setting out to procure pork in as large quantities as they are to be had to be stored on the Roanoke and its navigable waters. Ten thousand barrels of flour will certainly be provided, the number of waggons which have been delivered to the Continental Q. M. since the date of Gen Gates’ requisition I have not yet been able to procure a return of, nor the quantities of spirits delivered to the continental commissary, considerable deliveries of both articles have been made. Any other measures which may have been taken by the Assembly for further compliance with the requisitions of Genl. Green are yet uncommunicated to me, as arms were never among the requisitions made by Congress on the several states, this state never supposed it would be expected they should provide that article for their quota of Continental troops, they have only had in view to procure from time to time so many as might arm their militia when necessity required the calling them into service, from this stock they have furnished arms for Continental use till it is so reduced that they have not the smallest prospect of being able from the State magazines to spare as many as will arm their new Continental Levies.

Edition: current; Page: [94]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec, 24, 1780
Richmond

TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF HAMPSHIRE AND BERKELEY

v. s. a.
Sir,

—A powerful army forming by our enemies in the south, & an extensive combination of savages in the west will probably render the ensuing campaign exceedingly active, and particularly call forth all the exertions of this State, it is our duty to look forward in time and to make a proper division of our force between these two objects: there seems but one method of preventing the savages from spreading slaughter and desolation over our whole frontier, and that is by carrying the war into their own country: and to render even this measure effectual our movements must be so early as to be beforehand with them: Your County is allotted to the Western defence: you will therefore be pleased to send of your militia under proper officers by the way of pittsburg to the falls of Ohio to join under Colo Clarke in an expedition over that river and to continue in service during the expedition as to which Colo Clarke is instructed in from hence. They must be at pittsburg precisely by the first of March. They are to be subsisted on the way by such commissary as you shall appoint who is to act as Quarter Master both offices to cease when he shall have conducted the militia to Pittsburg. I send him for the purpose of fulfilling the duties of these two offices1 pounds which however I consider as principally to be expended in victualling the men as the baggage they take with Edition: current; Page: [95] them must be very trifling should it indeed be otherwise they will certainly lose it as the means of transportation will become less & less during their tour. Let every man go well armed, and with such arms as suit the Western service. I must desire you to keep up a constant correspondence with Colo Clarke til you shall have marched your men having fixed myself the number of men you are to furnish every other instruction I give you herein is submitted to any alterations he shall find necessary.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 24, 1780
Richmond
Rowland Madison
Madison, Rowland

TO ROWLAND MADISON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—It being found necessary to undertake an expedition into the Country beyond the Ohio, you are desired to apply for and receive from Mr. Callaway of New London under the order inclosed one thousand wt of good musket or rifle powder and to conduct the same to Montgomery Court house. You are also to apply for and receive fifteen wt of lead from the manager of the lead mines under an order likewise inclosed and to convey it to the same place. You are moreover to act as Quarter Master & commissary for the militia from Green Brier one hundred and thirty seven in number who are ordered to rendezvous at Montgomery court house by the 20th day of february next and to proceed thence with them to the falls of Ohio. You will therefore provide subsistence for them & forage necessary for the march, and are hereby authorized to call on any commissioners of the provision Law or commissaries having Edition: current; Page: [96] public provisions in their hands to furnish you. You are moreover desired to purchase three hundred pack horses, pack saddles, halters & bells, which may serve to carry the ammunition before mentioned, provisions and the baggage of the men to the falls of Ohio where the whole will be received by Colo Clarke and your office determined. We expect you will purchase these horses for £1500 a piece, tho aware of this necessity for purchasing them, we do not limit you absolutely in price, but rely on your discretion to get them as cheap as you can. For these several purposes you receive £500,000—take great care to obtain such authority and protection from the commanding officer of the militia that your horses may not be subject to be rode or unnecessarily burthened, and that you may be able to deliver them in good condition at the falls of Ohio. I am to warn you to use the greatest expedition in performing these several duties, and to see that you be in readiness with every thing required of you at Montgomery court house by the 20th day of february as a failure on your part will inevitably defeat the whole design. Your accounts are to be finally settled with the board of auditors.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 25, 1780
Richmond
George Rogers Clark
Clark, George Rogers

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK

v. s. a.
Sir,

—A powerful army forming by our enemies in the South renders it necessary for us to reserve as much of our militia as possible free to act in that quarter. At the same time we have reason to believe Edition: current; Page: [97] that a very extensive combination of British & indian savages is preparing to invest our western frontier to prevent the cruel murders and devastations which attend the latter species of war, and at the same time prevent its producing a powerful diversion of our force from the southern quarter in which they mean to make their principal effort and where alone success can be decisive of their ultimate object, it becomes necessary that we aim the first stroke in the western country and throw the enemy under the embarrassments of a defensive war rather than labor under them ourselves. We have therefore determined that an expedition shall be undertaken under your command at a very early season of the approaching year into the hostile country beyond the Ohio, the principal object of which is to be the reduction of the British post at Detroit and incidental to it the acquiring possession of Lake Erie. The force destined for this enterprise is the Ilinois battalion, Colo Crocket’s battalion, Maj Slaughter’s crops, with detachments of militia from the Counties of Fayette, Lincoln, Jefferson, Ohio, Monongalia, Hampshire, Berkeley, Frederic and Greenbrier making in the whole 2000 men. necessary garrisons only to be deducted. Our desire is that the execution of this may be so timed as that you may have the advantage of that interval of time which intervenes between the breaking up of the ice in the Wabache and in the lake so as that you may avail yourself of the navigation of the former the moment it is open for the transportation of your men and baggage and still find the latter blocked up and the vesels of the Edition: current; Page: [98] enemy therein of course liable to be destroyed. That you may be fully possessed of the means which are to be in your hands for the purposes beforementioned, you are furnished with copies of the orders given to the Lieutenants, Commissaries & Quarter Masters in the Counties before mentioned. The substance of them is as follows—Mr. Roland Madison is employed to carry 1000 of rifle powder from New-London and 1500 lbs of lead from the lead mines to Montgomery Court house. To purchase 300 pack horses with pack saddles, Halters and Bells ready and to lay in subsistence for them and 137 militia from Greenbrier County, who by orders given to the Lieutenant of that County are to rendezvous at Montgomery Court House by the 20th of February, these to take under their escort the ammunition and pack horses beforementioned and to be with them at the falls of Ohio by the 15th day of March. Mr. Madison is furnished with money to purchase the horses and furniture and to lay in subsistence and forage from Montgomery Court House to the falls of Ohio where his duties cease.

Forty bell tents, 40 common tents, a chest of medicine, some summer clothing will be sent from this place; 1000lb of rifle powder from Staunton, 400 campkettles from Fredericksburg to the County Lieutenant of Frederick, who is ordered to send them with 285 of his militia to Pittsburg at which place they are to be the first day of March.

The County Lieutenants of Berkeley and Hampshire are ordered to send the former 275 and the latter 255 of their respective militias to be at Pittsburg Edition: current; Page: [99] by the first day of March. Proper instructions are prepared for such persons as each of the county Lieutenants of Frederick, Berkeley & Hampshire shall appoint to act in the joint offices of Commissary and Quarter Master to Pittsburg where their offices determine, and money is sent to each for the purposes of subsistence and transportation.

The County Lieutenants of Monongalia and Ohio are ordered to rendezvous one fourth of their militia at Pittsburg by the first day of March. All these militia are ordered to go under proper officers well armed with Arms suitable to western service and to serve during the continuance of the expedition as herein described. Colo Crocket is ordered to be with his battalion at Pittsburg by the same day and money to enable him to proceed is sent to him.

An agent is sent to Baltimore and Philadelphia to purchase four tons of canon powder and to send it to Pittsburg by the 1st day of March.

Application is made to Genl Washington to lend us of the Continental stores at Pittsburg 4 canon six pounders mounted on field carriages with ball suitable, a mortar with shells, 2 Howitz, grape shot and other necessary furnitures, 1000 spades, 200 pick axes, 500 axes, a travelling forge, ship carpenter’s tools, and boats for transportation down the river should we fail in having a sufficient number in readiness and to send us skilful persons to manage the mortars.

John Francis Moore, who was some time ago sent to purchase in the vicinities of Fort Pitt provisions for the Western Posts, is now ordered to extend his Edition: current; Page: [100] purchases to 200,000 rations of beef and flour, and to provide 100 light Barges fit for transporting men and stores either down or up stream. These to be all in readiness by the 1st of March as we are not certain whether he may not be gone down the river, these powers were directed to himself, or in case of his absence to any Agent he should have appointed, and if he appointed none, then to Mr. William Harrison of Monongalia.

At Pittsburg we depend on orders to be given by you for the removal of men and stores to the Falls of Ohio by the 15 of March.

The County Lieutenants of Fayette, Lincoln and Jefferson are ordered to rendezvous at the falls of Ohio by the 15 of March 500 of their militia to be furnished between those Counties in Proportion to their numbers & have ready at the same place and by the same day 50 canoes each: Money is sent to pay for these. In those counties you inform us you expect 10000 rations will be provided for you, you will of course order them to the falls of Ohio.

All the preceding orders (except as to the number of men from each county) are submitted to any alterations you may think necessary, and you are authorized to supply any deficiencies in them. The Staff Officers are submitted absolutely to you, and on removal of any of them by you or their death, resignation or declining to act you are to appoint others. The County Lieutenants are desired to keep up a constant correspondence with you & the Staff Officers to inform you from time to time of their progress and to receive your orders. Thus you will perceive Edition: current; Page: [101] that we expect all to be in readiness at the Falls of Ohio by the 15th of March.

What number of men and whether of Regulars or Militia you shall leave to garrison the Posts at the falls & Mouth of the Ohio is left to yourself. As the latter however is exposed to attack from an enemy against whom this expedition will be no diversion of force, and as it is distant from succour, it is recommended to you to leave it surely garrisoned and to take measures for its being supported from the Spanish side of the Mississippi should it be necessary.

You will then with such part of your force as you shall not leave in garrison proceed down the Ohio and up the Wabache or along such other route as you shall think best against Detroit. By the construction of a fort or forts for retreat at such place or places as you shall think best, and by such other cautions as you find necessary you will provide for the ultimate safety of your men in case of a repulse. Should you succeed in the reduction of fort Detroit and a hopeful prospect open to you of acquiring possession of Lake Erie, or should such prospect open during the investiture of the fort you are to pursue it. As soon as you have accomplished both objects of the fort and lake, or shall have accomplished the one and find the other impracticable, or as soon as you shall find that neither is practicable, you are to consider your expedition as ended and to withdraw your whole force. If you attain neither object, or, if you acquire one or both of them, to retain for a garrison at Detroit so many of the Illinois & Crocket’s battalions as you may think necessary Edition: current; Page: [102] and to send the rest back across the Ohio; in the event indeed of declining to attempt the reduction of Detroit you are at liberty to consider whether some enterprise against the hostile nations of Indians may not be undertaken with your force, and if you think it can, that it will be expedient for the public good, and eligible on view of all circumstances you will undertake it and detain your force until you shall have finished it: In every event, the militia on their return are to be marched back to their Counties under their own officers and there to be discharged.

Should you succeed in the reduction of the Post, you are to promise protection to the Persons & property of the French and American inhabitants, or of such at least as shall not on tender refuse to take the Oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth. You are to permit them to continue under the laws & form of Government under which they at present live, only substituting the authority of this Commonwealth in all instances in lieu of that of his British Majesty, and exercising yourself under that authority till further order those powers which the British Commandant of the Post or his principal in Canada hath used regularly to exercise. To the Indian neighbours you will hold out either fear or friendship as their disposition and your actual situation may render most expedient.

Finally, our distance from the scene of action, the impossibility of foreseeing the many circumstances which may render proper a change of plan or direction of object, and above all our full confidence in Edition: current; Page: [103] your bravery, discretion & abilities induce us to submit the whole of our instructions to your own judgment, to be altered or abandoned whenever any event shall turn up which may appear to you to render such alteration or abandonment necessary: remembering that we confide to you the persons of our Troops & Citizens which we think it a duty to risque as long as & no longer than the object and prospect of attaining it may seem worthy to risque. If that Post be reduced we shall be quiet in future on our frontier and thereby immense Treasures of blood and money be saved: we shall be at leisure to turn our whole force to the rescue of our eastern Country from subjugation; we shall divert through our own Country a branch of commerce which the European States have thought worthy of the most important struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of peace on terms which have been contemplated by some powers we shall form to the American union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile country, thereby converting dangerous enemies into valuable Friends.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 29, 1780
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The inclosed resolution of Congress came to hand yesterday. As it is on the same subject with the resolution of assembly of 23d Decr. I beg leave Edition: current; Page: [104] to lay it before them. That the assembly may be informed of the footing on which this matter stood at the time of their resolution I beg leave to inclose to them an abstract from my letter to Colo. Wood giving a general order for the removal of the whole Convention troops, and a second one which for reasons strongly urged by him suspended the removal of the Germans for a time. These measures when taken were duly communicated to Congress & to Governor Lee and were approved of by Congress.

What circumstances may have induced an alteration in their opinion I am uninformed. I conjecture however that some difficulty on the subject of provisions has arisen; for by a Letter from the board of war which came to hand with this resolution we are called on to furnish half the provisions necessary for that part of the Conventioners who are gone on, & to transport this to Frederic town in Maryland. Against this I mean to remonstrate and have no doubt of satisfying Congress that this requisition has been too hastily adopted. But I should be glad to be advised by the assembly how to conduct myself should the inclosed resolution of Congress be adhered to on their part: as our rights of jurisdiction cease at our boundry.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 31, 1780
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—I have this moment received information that 27 Sail of Vessels, 18 of which were square rigged, Edition: current; Page: [105] were yesterday morning just below Willoughby’s Point. No other circumstance being given to conjecture their force or destination, I am only able to dispatch Gen.l Nelson into the lower Country, to take such measures as exigencies may require for the instant, until further information is received here. Then or in the meantime your aid and counsel will be deemed valuable.

EXTRACTS FROM DIARY1

j. mss.

Saturday, December the 31st, 1780, eight o’clock, a.m. Received first intelligence that twenty-seven sail were, on the morning of December the 29th, just below Willoughby’s Point. Sent off General Nelson, with full powers.

1781. January the 1st. No intelligence.

January the 2d, ten o’clock, a.m. Information from N. Burwell, that their advance was at Warrasqueak Bay. Gave orders for militia, a quarter from some, and half from other counties. Assembly rose.

Wednesday, January the 3d, eight o’clock, p.m. Received a letter from E. Archer, Swan’s Point, that at twelve o’clock that day they were at anchor a little below Jamestown. At five o’clock, p.m., of the same day, I had received a letter from R. Andrews for Edition: current; Page: [106] General Nelson, that they were at Jamestown the evening of the 2d.

Thursday, January the 4th, five o’clock, a.m. Mr. Eppes and family, &c., came and informed me from the Speaker, that they had passed Kennon’s and Hood’s the evening before; the tide having made for them at one o’clock, p.m., of the 3d, and the wind shifted to the east strong. They had not, however, passed Hood’s, but anchored at Kennon’s. Called whole militia from adjacent counties. I was then anxious to know whether they would pass Westover, or not, as that would show the side they would land.

Five o’clock, p.m. Learned by Captain De Ponthiere, that at two o’clock, p.m., they were drawn up at Westover. Then ordered arms, and stores, &c., (which till then had been carrying to Westham,) to be thrown across the river at Richmond; and at half-past seven o’clock, p.m., set out to the foundry and Westham, and set Captain Brush, Captain Irish, and Mr. Hylton, to see everything wagoned from the magazine and laboratory to Westham, and there thrown over; to work all night. The enemy encamped at Four-Mile Creek. I went to Tuckahoe and lodged.

January the 5th. Went early over the river with my family; sent them up to Fine Creek; went myself to Westham; gave orders for withdrawing ammunition and arms (which lay exposed on the bank to the effect of artillery from opposite shore), behind a point. Then went to Manchester; had a view of the enemy. My horse sunk under me with fatigue; borrowed one, went to Chetwood’s, appointed by Edition: current; Page: [107] Baron Steuben as a rendezvous and head-quarters; but finding him not there, and understanding he would go to Colonel Henry’s, I proceeded there for quarters. The enemy arrived in Richmond at one o’clock, p.m. One regiment of infantry and thirty horse proceeded, without stopping, to the foundry; burned that and the magazine and Ballendine’s house, and went as far as Westham. They returned that evening to Richmond. Sent me a proposition to compound for property. Refused.

January the 6th. In the morning they burned certain houses and stores, and at twelve o’clock of that day left Richmond, and encamped at Four-Mile Creek. I went to Westham, ordered books and papers particularly from magazine. In the evening I went up to Fine Creek.

January the 7th. I returned to Westham, and then came down to Manchester, where I lodged. The enemy encamped at Westover and Berkley. It had rained excessively the preceding night, and continued to do so till about noon. Gibson has one thousand; Steuben, eight hundred; Davis, two hundred; Nelson, two hundred and fifty.

January the 8th, at half-past seven o’clock, a.m. I returned to Richmond. The wind gets, about this time, to north-west; a good gale; in the afternoon becomes easterly. The enemy remain in their last encampment. General Nelson at Charles City C. H. Colonel Nicholas with three hundred men at the Forest.

January the 9th, eleven o’clock. The wind is south-east, but almost nothing. The enemy remain Edition: current; Page: [108] in their last encampment, except embarking their horse.

January the 10th, at one o’clock, p.m. They embark infantry, and fall down the river, the wind having shifted a little north of west, and pretty fresh. Baron Steuben gets to Bland’s Mills to-night, nine miles short of Hood’s.

January the 11th, eight o’clock, a.m. The wind due west, and strong.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 1, 1781
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The inclosed letter conveying intelligence of a fleet appearing in our bay, came to hand yesterday. Its size has given suspicions that it may be hostile, more especially as we have been lately informed that an embarkation was taking place at New York. I have thought it my duty to communicate it to the General assembly before their rising, as they might perhaps wish to give some advice to the Executive on this subject.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 1, 1781
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have this moment received confirmation of the arrival of a hostile fleet consisting of 19 ships, and two brigs and two sloops and schooners, the advance Edition: current; Page: [109] of a fleet were yesterday morning in Warrasqueak and just getting into motion up the river with a favorable wind and tide. Their destination from intelligence of deserters and some captured mariners whom they put on shore is up James River. I beg the favor of you to communicate this intelligence to the General Assembly.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan, 2, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—It happened unfortunately from the tenor of Mr. Wray’s letter which gave us the first intelligence of the Appearance of an Enemy we had reason to expect more precise information within a few hours: none such having come within fifty hours, the first intelligence had become totally disbelieved. At 10 o’clock this morning I first received confirmation of it. Orders go out by the members of Assembly to call together half the Militia of the most convenient Counties for present Opposition and one fourth from more distant Counties. We mean to have four thousand six hundred Militia in the field. In this number is not included any below this County. Hanover, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Sussex and Southampton, all below these Counties we have left uncalled on to be drawn by you (or such of them as you think proper) into such parts of the lower Country as you shall think best. Mr. Brown the Commissary has Orders to send a Deputy to furnish you with provisions. I do myself the pleasure of Edition: current; Page: [110] sending you a Commission. I pray you to send as frequent intelligence as possible. Expresses being in readiness for this purpose at Williamsburg and New Kent Court House. Be pleased to give the same notice to the militia as formerly that no man will be ever discharged till he shall have returned whatever Public Arms or Accoutrements he shall have received; be also particular in noting what is delivered to every man. We mean to appoint the Field Officers on the same plan as in the former Invasion from the resigned and supernumery, preserving the Ranks of those Gentlemen accurately as among themselves.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 2, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—I have this moment received a confirmation of the arrival of a hostile Fleet consisting of 19 Ships, 2 Brigs, and 10 Sloops and Schooners. The advance of the Fleet were yesterday morning in Warrasqueak Bay, and just getting into motion up the river with a favorable wind and tide: their destination from the intelligence of deserters and some captured mariners, whom they put on shore, is some where up the river, supposed to be Petersburg. We shall be very glad of the aid of your counsel in determining on the force to be collected, and other circumstances necessary to be attended to, for the purpose of opposition, if it be convenient for you to call on the council immediately.

Edition: current; Page: [111]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 2, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR - LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF HENRICO, HANOVER, GOOCHLAND, FLUVANNA, ALBEMARLE, AMHERST, CHESTERFIELD, POWHATAN, CUMBERLAND, DINWIDDIE, AMELIA, BUCKINGHAM, BEDFORD, HALIFAX, CHARLOTTE, PRINCE EDWARD, LUNENBURG, MECKLINBURG, SUSSEX, SOUTHHAMPTON, BRUNSWICK.

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The arrival of a hostile force within our State being confirmed and their movements indicating an intention to come immediately into the Heart of the Country renders it necessary to call for of your militia under proper captains and subaltern officers to rendezvous

That there may not be an instants delay let them come in detached parties as they can be collected; every man who has arms bring them. The good of the service requires that the Field Officers at least be experienced in the service, for this reason these will be provided for at the Rendezvous. I beg that this may not be considered by the militia Field Officers from want of Respect to them. We know & confide in their zeal: but it cannot be disreputable to them to be less knowing in the art of war than those who have greater experience in it: and being less knowing, I am sure spirit of Patriotism with which they are animated will lead them to wish that measure to be adopted which will most promote the Public safety however it may tend to keep them from the Post in which they would wish to appear in defence of their Country. The Militia must be subsisted to their Edition: current; Page: [112] Rendezvous under the rules of the Invasion law. A list of all certificates given being kept and returned to the Auditors.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 2, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF SHENANDOAH, ROCKINGHAM, AUGUSTA, AND ROCKBRIDGE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The Enemy having again thought proper to invade our Country and being now on their way up James River, I have thought proper with advice of the Council of State to require of your militia under proper officers to repair immediately to Richmond, armed with good Rifles and Accoutrements suitable as far as they have them; such of them as have not Rifles will be armed here with muskets and joined to Battalions of Musquetry. Those who bring Rifles will be formed into a seperate corps. Much will depend on the proper choice Officers. They are to be furnished with Provisions by impressing it as directed by the Invasion law, the Person procuring it for them keeping and returning to the Auditors a list of the certificates they grant, stating the Name, Article, Price and Purpose. As the Enemy show by their movements an intention to take Post in the Heart of our Country at once I beseech you to lose not a moment in sending of your men.

Edition: current; Page: [113]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 4, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF HENRICO, HANOVER, GOOCHLAND, POWHATAN, AND CHESTERFIELD

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The Enemy having last night passed up James River and seeming to point immediately to this place or Petersburg, I must desire you without a moments delay to send every man of your County able to bear Arms to rendezvous at Westham, let them come in small Detachments as they can be collected and not wait to be formed into companies.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 4, 1781
Colonel Francis Taylor
Taylor, Colonel Francis

TO COLONEL FRANCIS TAYLOR

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The enemy now appear to be pushing to this place and we know not how much further they may attempt to penetrate. A suspicion that the Conventioners might be induced to attempt a Co-operation and by that means distract the efforts of our People renders it necessary that in the instant of your receiving this you put those Troops into Motion without waiting for their Baggage or anything else, within a very few hours we expect you may throw the whole across the blue ridge and it may be well for you to call on the Counties of Augusta, Amherst and Albemarle to collect a force at Rockfish gap to oppose any pursuit. I would not have those Counties on account of such a call withold the militia required to come here. They must furnish so many additional as you call for. A multiplicity of business puts it out of my Power to send you written Powers Edition: current; Page: [114] of impress. But you must exercise that Power for every purpose only requiring you to keep exact lists of their Certificates to be returned to the Auditors as directed on a former Occasion.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 4, 1781
Colonel Richard Meade
Meade, Colonel Richard

TO COLONEL RICHARD MEADE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The present invasion having rendered it necessary to call into the field a large Body of Militia the providing them with subsistence, and the means of transportation becomes an arduous task in the unorganized state of our military system. To erect this we are obliged to vest the Heads of the Commissary’s and Quarter Master’s Departments with such Powers as if abused will be most afflicting to the People. Major General Baron Steuben taught by experience on similar occasions has pressed on us the necessity of calling to the Superintendance of these Officers some Gentleman of distinguished Character and abilities, who, while he prescribes to them such Rules as will effectually produce the object of their appointment, will yet stand between them and the people as a Guard from Oppression. Such a Gentleman he would propose to consider as of his family; under the exegency we have taken the Liberty of casting our eyes on yourself as most likely to fulfill our wishes and therefore solicit your undertaking this charge; in doing this we rely on the impulse of purer motives than those which would spring from any pecuniary reward it is our power to offer. At the same time we cannot with justice permit that any expenses Edition: current; Page: [115] incurred in such a station should be borne by yourself. I shall hope to receive your answer by the return of the Bearer.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 4, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

— * * * I immediately on receiving the communication from you by Major Walker1 that you would wish such a person as you therein described to be with you. I laid it before the Council. We concluded to propose to Major Walker (late of our delegates) to accept of this office having once been a member of the Council he is not unacquainted with our arrangements. I sent to him by Express and shall hope an answer very shortly. I sincerely wish he may consent to undertake it, as I am satisfied he can save you much Trouble. Should he decline it I apprehend it not easy to find another who will be of real use to you. None of the militia with Genl. Weedon (except from the Counties of Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah) were of the Counties intended to be kept in the Field. I thought Edition: current; Page: [116] it necessary to mention this circumstance to you as you might perhaps think proper to discharge them before they join Genl. Nelson.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 7, 1781
Manchester
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir

—I have thought myself very unfortunate in missing of you for two days though riding over the same ground on which you were. On my arrival here I was informed you were at Ampshill and was setting out for there, when a Gentleman came who assured me you were at Ozborne’s and having rode thirty miles through the rain, I have not resolution enough to undertake to go to Ozborne’s this evening.

I received your letter of yesterday at Westham at noon. I fear it will be impossible to furnish the thousand Stand of Arms you desire. Col. Davies has sent some hundreds from Westham to different places to be put into the hands of the Militia coming in. He has undertaken to have those remaining there separated, in order that such as are capable of being used may be sent to you, and I have engaged persons who are going out to impress Waggons to transport them to you. Colo. Davies seemed doubtful to what place they should be ordered. I mean to continue here or at Richmond to see whether I can collect the several Staff Officers of the State, and have the benefit of their Services on the present occasion. Edition: current; Page: [117] I shall be very happy to aid those of the Continent with every power I am invested with. While at either of these places I shall be able to communicate both with yourself and General Nelson, and to do everything you will be pleased to suggest for the service. I fear the want of Arms fit for service will be a most distressing circumstance. Are there no Continental Arms which can be used on the present occasion? I mean to endeavour to collect hands and tools immediately to repair Arms. Tools will be the most difficult to be procured.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan, 7, 1781
Manchester
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—Your letter of this morning on the subject of finding where the arms have been sent and having them put into the hands of the Militia I have this morning received. I think most of the arms have been sent off in different directions by the orders of Colo. Davies, whom I believe to be therefore best acquainted with their situation. If I did not misunderstand him to-day he has accordingly directed particular bodies of militia to go to particular places to receive arms. However (if I do not go to Richmond to-night which I have some thought of doing) I will write to Col. Muter to appoint some proper person to undertake and execute this business immediately as you desire; as I wish exceedingly to relieve you from every unnecessary embarrassment when I know you are exposed to but too many which are unavoidable.

Edition: current; Page: [118]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 9, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Mr. Granville Smith, a State Quarter Master, now waits on you. As I am not thoroughly acquainted with the Continental Regulations, I shall just mention to you my Ideas on this particular matter without laying any stress on them and leave to your determination the propriety of using Mr. Smith. I have ever understood that the rule of Congress was to admit no expenses to be Continental which were incurred by any State merely under an apprehension of an invasion; but that whenever a State was actually invaded all expenses became Continental. This I know was the rule while I was a member of Congress, but as it is four years since I was a member of Congress, I cannot affirm of my own knowledge, though I have understood that it is still the rule. The practice here has accordingly been for the Continental Quarter Master to come into duty as soon as the State has been invaded; he being appointed under the authority of Congress, it has been supposed that he could best regulate all expenses according to the Continental rules. The State Quarter Master not being appointed under Congress, not possessing their confidence, nor subject to their removal or punishment, seems for these reasons an improper person to dispense their monies. I submit these matters, however, altogether to yourself. Should you think it proper that the State Quarter Master should act, Mr. Smith is instructed to receive your orders: he is a discreet & sensible person.

Edition: current; Page: [119]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 10, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c.c.
Sir,

—It may seem odd considering the important events which have taken place in this State within the course of ten days past, that I should not have transmitted an account of them to your Excellency; but such has been their extraordinary rapidity & such the unremitted exertions they have required from all concerned in government that I do not recollect the portion of time which I could have taken to commit them to paper.

On the 31st of December, a Letter from a private gentleman to General Nelson came to my hands, notifying that in the morning of the preceding day 27 sail of vessels had entered the capes & from the tenor of the letter we had reason to expect within a few hours further intelligence whether they were friends or foes, their force, & other circumstances. We immediately despatched General Nelson to the lower Country with power to call on the Militia in that quarter or to act otherwise as exigencies should require; but waited further intelligence before we would call for militia from the middle or upper country. No further intelligence came until the 2d inst. when the former was confirmed, it was ascertained that they were enemies & had advanced up James river in Warrasqueak bay. All arrangements were immediately taken for calling in a sufficient Edition: current; Page: [120] body of Militia for opposition. In the night of the 3d we received advice that they were at anchor opposite Jamestown. We then supposed Wmsburg to be their object. The wind however, which had hitherto been unfavorable, shifted fair, and the tide being also in their favor they ascended the river to Kennons’ that evening, and with the next tide came up to Westover, having on their way taken possession of some works we had at Hoods, by which two or three of their vessels had received some damage but which were of necessity abandoned by the small garrison of 50 men placed there on the enemy’s landing to invest the works. Intelligence of their having quitted the station at Jamestown from which we supposed they meant to land for Wmsburg and that they had got in the evening to Kennons’ reached us the next morning at 5 o’clock, & was the first indication of their meaning to penetrate towards this place or Petersburg. As the orders for drawing Militia hither had been given but two days no opposition was in readiness. Every Effort was therefore necessary to withdraw the arms & other Military Stores records &c. from this place. Every Effort was accordingly exerted to convey them to the Foundry five miles & to the laboratory six miles above this place till about sunset of that day when we learnt that the enemy had come to an anchor at Westover that morning. We then knew that this & not Petersburg was their object & began to carry across the river everything remaining here, & to remove what had been transported to the Foundry & Laboratory to Westham the nearest crossing seven Edition: current; Page: [121] miles above this place, which operation was continued till they had approached very near. They marched from Westover at 2 o’Clock in the afternoon of the 4th, & entered Richmond at 1 o’Clock in the afternoon of the 5th. A regiment of infantry & about 30 horse continued on without halting to the Foundry. They burnt that, the boring mill, the magazine and two other houses, & proceeded to Westham, but nothing being in their power there they retired to Richmond. The next morning they burnt some buildings of public & private property, with what stores remained in them, destroyed a great quantity of private Stores & about 12 o’Clock retired towards Westover where they encamped within the neck the next day. The loss sustained is not yet accurately known. As far as I have been able to discover it consisted at this place in about 300 muskets, some soldiers clothing to a small amount some quartermasters Stores of which 120 sides of leather is the principal article, part of the artificers tools & 3 waggons. Besides which 5 brass 4 P.ers which we had sunk in the river were discovered to them raised & carried off. At the Foundry we lost the greater part of the papers belonging to the Auditors office, & of the books & papers of the Council office, about 5 or 6 tons as we conjecture of powder was thrown into the canal of which there will be a considerable saving by remanufacturing it. The roof of the foundry was burnt but the Stacks of Chimney’s & furnaces not at all injured. The boring mill was consumed. Within less than 48 hours from the time of their landing & 19 Edition: current; Page: [122] from our knowing their destination they had penetrated 33 miles, done the whole injury & retired. Their numbers from the best intelligence I have had are about 1500 infantry & as to their cavalry accounts vary from 50 to 120, the whole commanded by the parricide Arnold. Our Militia dispersed over a large tract of Country can be called in but slowly. On the day the enemy advanced to this place 200 only were embodied. They were of this town & its neighbourhood and were too few to do anything. At this time they are assembled in pretty considerable numbers on the South side of James river but are not all yet brought to a point. On the north side are two or three small bodies, amounting in the whole to about 900 men. The enemy were at 4 o’Clock yesterday evening still remaining in their encampment at Westover & Berkeley neck. In the meanwhile Baron Steuben a zealous friend has descended from the dignity of his proper command to direct our smallest movements. His vigilance has in a great measure supplied the want of force in preventing the enemy from crossing the river, which might have been very fatal. He has been assiduously employed in preparing equipments for the Militia as they should assemble pointing them to a proper object & other offices of a good commander. Should they loiter a little longer & he be able to have a sufficient force I shall flatter myself that they will not escape with total impunity. To what place they will point their next exertions we cannot even conjecture. The whole Country on the tide waters & some distance from them is equally open to similar insult. I Edition: current; Page: [123] have the honor to be with every sentiment of respect, your Excellency’s most obedient, and most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 10, 1781
Colonel John Nicholas
Nicholas, Colonel John

TO COLONEL JOHN NICHOLAS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am not fond of encouraging an intercourse with the enemy for the recovery of property; however I shall not forbid it while conducted on principles which are fair and general. If the British Commander chuses to discriminate between the several species of property taken from the People; if he chuses to say he will restore all of one kind, and retain all of another, I am contented that individuals shall avail themselves of this discrimination; but no distinctions of persons must be admitted. The moment it is proposed that the same species of property shall be restored to one which is refused to another, let every application to him for restitution be prohibited. The principles by which his discrimination would be governed are but too obvious, and they are the reverse of what we should approve.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 12, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.

The Enemy left a number of Horses at Westover which they had taken during the late incursion. Colo Nicholas very properly ordered a party to take charge of them and bring them to the Quarter Master where they might be kept for the owners to Edition: current; Page: [124] come and claim them; but I am well informed that in the meantime several men of Capt Hockaday’s command of Charles City have plundered & carried them off. These men being under your command I beg you to take the most coercive measures for compelling a restitution and letting them know that the most rigorous and exemplary punishment will be inflicted on every man who shall be known to have one of them and not to deliver him up. Such as are recovered be so good as to have brought up. The mischief done us by our citizens plundering one another has far exceeded what the enemy did.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 13, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I received your favor of the 11th by Mr. Smith I cannot say at what point of time the expenses attending an invasion become Continental. I suppose Congress have some fixed rule on that subject, which, whatever it be when applied to all the States, will be equal.

From the time at which they called for specie quotas of Provisions from the several States, they seem to have considered their purchasing Commissaries as useless, and therefore desired us, whenever we should have appointed a person to furnish the specifics, we would discontinue their purchasing Commissaries. We appointed Mr. Brown to procure the specifics, which he is either to deliver to certain store keepers appointed by the Continental Quarter Masters or to the Continental issuing Commissaries. Edition: current; Page: [125] I think therefore Mr. Brown may continue to act with you with propriety and I hope he will with effect. We did not discontinue Continental Deputy Commissary of purchases here (Maj Forsyth) but his acceptance of a similar office in another quarter seems to have determined his former commission. I have heard nothing from the enemy since their reaching Sandy Point, this leaves me very anxious for our shipyard up the Chickahominy.

I have lately received some dispatches which render it necessary for Colo Clarke to proceed immediately to the western Country. I have written to him on this subject, and hope he will obtain your permission to return. I did not expect at the time he went to you that his stay would have been rendered so short.

If this incursion of the Enemy should much longer postpone the execution of the late Law for raising new levies, it will be among its worst effects. Yet this law cannot be carried into execution in those Counties from which militia are sent. Foreseeing this, when you had favored us with your advice as to the numbers which should be called into the field we confined the call to the following Counties, and requiring from each a fourth we expected the following numbers

Halifax 247
Charlotte 156
P. Edward 142
Bedford 325
Buckingm 162
Amherst 224
Sussex 175
Augusta 344
Albemarle 218
Fluvanna 65
Goochland 145
Cumberland 102
Powhatan 71
Amelia 275
Southampn 218
Rockinghm 219.
Lunenberg 168
Meckleng 212
Brunswick 325
Dinwiddie 175
Chesterfield 164
Henrico 155
Rockbridge 146
Shenandoah 216
Total 4650
Edition: current; Page: [126]

The whole amount is something larger than you desired but we of course expected deficiencies. Some of the adjacent counties were called on at first for one half, and afterwards the whole of their militia for present defence. In like manner Genl Nelson was authorized to call on certain other Counties for present defence; but it was meant that as soon as the proportions above mentioned from the counties particularly named were come in, all others should be dismissed. I state this matter to you supposing you will think with me that the sooner you can begin the business of arranging your force on the plan originally intended, the better it will be. As soon as the whole Militia of the Counties, not meant to be kept in the field, can be discharged we will send the act into those counties and have it carried into execution.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 15, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

j. mss.
Sir,

—I received some time ago from Major Forsythe, and afterwards from you a requisition to furnish one half of the supplies of provision for the Convention troops removed into Maryland. I should sooner have done myself the honor of writing to you on this subject but that I hoped to have had it laid before you more fully than could be done in writing by a Gentleman who was to have passed on other public business to Philadelphia. The late events in this State having retarded his setting out, I think it Edition: current; Page: [127] my duty no longer to postpone explanation on this head.

You cannot be unapprised of the powerful armies of our enemies at this time in this and the southern States, and that their future plan is to push their successes in the same quarter by still larger reinforcements. The forces to be opposed to these must be proportionably great, and these forces must be fed. By whom are they to be fed? Georgia and South Carolina are annihilated, at least as to us. By the requisition to us to send provisions into Maryland it is to be supposed that none are to come to the southern Army from any State north of this; for it would seem inconsistent, that while we should be sending north, Maryland and other States beyond that should be sending their provisions South. Upon North Carolina then already exhausted by the ravages of two armies, and on this State are to depend for subsistence those bodies of men who are to oppose the greater part of the enemys force in the United States, the subsistence of the German and of half the British conventioners. To take a view of this matter on the Continental requisitions of November 4th, 1780, for specific quotas of provision it is observable that North Carolina and Virginia are to furnish 10,475,740 ps of animal food, and 13,529 barrels of flour, while the states north of these will yield 25,293,810 ps of animal food, and 106,471 barrels of flour.

If the greater part of the British armies be employed in the South, it is to be supposed that the greater part of the American force will be sent there to oppose them. But should this be the case, while Edition: current; Page: [128] the distribution of the provisions is so very unequal, would it be proper to render it still more so by withdrawing a part of our contributions to the support of Posts Northward of us? It would certainly be a great convenience to us to deliver a portion of our Specifics at Frederick Town rather than in Carolina; but I leave it to you to judge whether this would be consistent with the general good or safety. Instead of sending aids of any kind to the northward, it seems but too certain that unless very timely & substantial assistance is received from thence, our enemies are yet far short of the ultimate term of their successes. I beg leave therefore to refer to you whether the specifics of Maryland as far as shall be necessary had not better be applied to the support of the Posts within it, for which its quota is much more than sufficient, or were it otherwise whether those of the States north of Maryland had not better be called on, than to detract anything from the resources of the Southern Opposition already much too small for the encounter to which it is left. I am far from wishing to count or measure our contributions by the requisitions of Congress. Were they ever so much beyond these, I should readily strain them in aid of any one of our Sister States. But while they are so far short of those calls to which they must be pointed in the first instance, it would be great misapplication to divert them to any other purpose; and I am persuaded you will think me perfectly within the line of duty when I ask a revisal of this requisition.

Edition: current; Page: [129]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 15, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Sim Lee
Lee, Thomas Sim

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND1 (THOMAS SIM LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I received some time ago from Mr. Forsyth and afterwards from the Board of War a requisition to furnish one half the supplies of Provisions for the convention Troops removed into Your state. I should sooner have done myself the honor of writing to Your Excellency on this subject but that I hoped to have had it laid before you more fully than could be done in writing by a Gentleman who was to have passed on other public business by the way of Annapolis. The late events in this State having retarded his setting out I think it my duty no longer to postpone explanation on this head.2 * * *

I am persuaded your Excellency will think me perfectly within the line of duty when I ask a revisal of this requisition which shall be paid in Tobacco at 20/p hundred or its worth in paper money. If Gentlemen who have timber on James River above the Falls chuse rather to employ their sawyers under their own eye, and will cut and send to Westham or the fork of the River as they shall be advised Quantities of Plank fit for building it will answer the public purpose as well as if they sent their sawyers to us. In this case they must fix the quantity and time within which it shall be delivered, the worth of this shall be fixed on the principles before explained.

Edition: current; Page: [130]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany 15th 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Dear Genl.

—I have never heard a tittle of the Enemy since your information that they were at Sandy Point the day after they left Westover; nor is anything known at this place as to their subsequent movements. As this want of intelligence might eventually be fatal, I have ordered an Express to be stationed at Bottom’s Bridge, another at New Kent Court House, a third at Bird’s tavern, a fourth at Williamsburg, a fifth half way between that and Hampton, and a sixth at Hampton. It will be easy for Mr. Kemp to throw letters from you wherever situated into this line and as each Rider will have but 15 miles out and the same back, they may if necessary be put into motion every day. By the same means you may have communication with Hampton. Your business may probably put it out of your power to write so often, but hope that some of the gentlemen about you may be able to give us intelligence every day or two.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany. 15, 1781
Richmond
Jacob Wray
Wray, Jacob

TO JACOB WRAY

v. s. a.

For want of intelligence may be ascribed a great part of, if not the whole of the Enemy’s late successful incursions to this place. They appeared in the Bay on Saturday, no notification of it addressed to the Executive came to hand till 10 o’clock a.m. on tuesday. There did indeed on sunday morning come to my hands a letter which you were so kind to Edition: current; Page: [131] write to Genl. Nelson informing him that 27 sail had been seen in the Bay and that Commo Barron had gone to reconnoitre them more closely. But as it was not known whether they were Friends or foes, and we hoped more particular intelligence on the return of Commo Barron, none but the lower militia were called out, till the Tuesday following, by which two days were compleatly lost: which would have added so much to the collection of militia in this quarter as to have rendered doubtful at least whether the enemy could have got here.

I mention these circumstances to show you the necessity of our being better furnished with intelligence of the Enemy’s movements, and to apologize for my troubling you with the task of communicating everything interesting through the line of expresses stationed at every 15 miles from hence to Hampton. One is to be fixed by Mr. Kemp at Hampton will set out on yours or Commo Barron’s orders and deliver his dispatches to the next who is ordered to be stationed half way between Hampton & Williamsburg: the particular place I cannot inform you, but the express may do it. I hope you will be so good as to undertake this trouble and to continue it so long as it may be necessary to keep up the line.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 15, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON.

v. s. a.
Dear General,

—As I suppose by this time you may have more men than Arms, and there are no Edition: current; Page: [132] more arms fit for use remaining in the public Stock, economy will require that the surplus militia be discharged. This measure is the more necessary as the law for raising new levies remains unexecuted while the militia are from the counties. I shall therefore take the liberty of pointing out to you, as I have done to Baron Steuben, what particular militia should be first discharged. On confirmation of the intelligence that a hostile fleet had arrived we asked the advice of Baron Steuben as to the numbers which should be brought into the field: He advised 4000: we therefore called on the following Counties for one fourth of their militia, which we expected would produce the numbers as annexed to them, viz

Halifax 247.
Buckingham 162.
Goochland 145.
Lunenburg 169.
Chesterfield 164.
Rockbridge 146.
Charlotte 156.
Amherst 224.
Cumberland 102.
Mecklinburg 212.
Henrico 155.
Augusta 344.
Prince Edward 142.
Albemarle 218.
Powhatan 71.
Brunswick 325.
Sussex 175
Rockingham 219
Bedford 325
Fluvanna 65
Amelia 275
Dinwiddie 175
Southampton 218
Shenandoah 216

The amount (4650) was greater than the Baron’s requisition because we of course expected deficiencies. The above were intended to be kept in the field for some time; but some of these Counties were distant, we called on those in the neighborhood of this place at first for one half and afterwards for all their fighting men for present defence, meaning that as soon as those before enumerated should be in the field, those called for present defence should be discharged. In like manner you are authorized for the purpose of hasty opposition to call out certain counties, which it was likewise our idea to discharge on receiving the Edition: current; Page: [133] force which was to remain. Whenever, therefore, all your arms shall be taken up, should more militia come in we would chuse that you discharge so many of those Counties not originally called on, or of those which tho’ originally called on have yet more than one fourth in the field. By these means we shall in time have in the field the militia of those particular Counties only which were first called on, and the other Counties being all at home we may proceed to send to them the law for raising levies in order to its execution.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany. 15, 1781
Richmond

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

v. s. a.
Gentlemen,

—I called on Mr. Anderson the writer of the letter to Capt Trot which you were pleased to enclose to me and desired he would explain the foundation on which he had written that letter. His explanation I now enclose you from which you will be able to collect only thus much that his application on behalf of Mr. Trot was utterly rejected and nothing said which could authorize him to suppose we should wink at his loading his vessel with Corn. He has trimmed up an answer for me of I only wish to be acquitted till I can be understood. I must at the same time acknowledge to you with candor that considering the neutral light in which Congress have placed the Bermudians and the extreme want of salt here, we have at various times permitted them to bring in Salt and exchange it with Government at the rate of one Bushel of salt for two at first and Edition: current; Page: [134] afterwards three of corn: and sometimes for Tobacco. We have been rigorous in allowing no more to be carried out than was procured by exchange in this way. You cannot be made more sensible of the necessity which forces us to this Barter, than by being assured that no further back than the Counties adjoining the Blue-ridge Salt has sold lately for from 4 to 500£ the bushel.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan’y 16, 1781
Richmond
Nathanael Greene
Greene, Nathanael

TO MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE

v.s.a.
Sir,

—Your favors of the 14th and 31st December remain unanswered. I have been less attentive to the communication of our progress in preparing for the Southern War as Baron Steuben who knows all our movements gives you no doubt full information from time to time. The present invasion of this State you have been before apprised of by the Baron. The very extraordinary and successful attempt of the Enemy on this place you will also have heard of. The enclosed paper containing a pretty exact narrative of it I take the liberty of transmitting to you. The Enemy, on the Baron’s approaching towards Hood’s, hoisted sail and with the assistance of a very fine gale which sprung up in the instant, they fell down the River in a very short time. When they came we were in a very fine way of providing both subsistence and men; they have amazingly interrupted both operations: the latter indeed has been totally suspended. I have just written to Baron Steuben so to arrange his force of militia, as by permitting those from the greater number of Counties Edition: current; Page: [135] to return home, to put into our power to have the law for raising Regulars carried into execution. This his anxiety for a regular force will lead him to do with all practicable expedition.

Your Bill in favor of Mr. St. Laurence is accepted, and will be paid as soon as the several Boards resume Business. When the departure of the Enemy, or indications of their fixed plans as to this country shall have enabled me to judge how far they will interrupt our succours to you, I will take the earliest Opportunity of stating to you under every Head of your requisitions from us what we shall have a prospect of doing.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany 16 1781
Richmond
Abner Nash
Nash, Abner

TO THE GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA (ABNER NASH)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 3d inst and am to thank you for your permission & countenance to our Pork purchases.

The late invasion of this State by the Enemy should not have been so long uncommunicated to you by me, but that the very extraordinary movement they made was such in its nature as to allow little time to those concerned in Government to think of anything but the providing means of opposition and in the mean time with drawing everything from their power. From a fatal inattention to the giving us due notice of the arrival of a hostile force two days were completely lost in calling together the militia: a time which events proved would have added so Edition: current; Page: [136] much of our collection of militia as to have rendered doubtful their getting from this place. The winds favouring them in a remarkable degree they almost brought news themselves of their movements. They were landed within twenty six miles of this place before we had reason to suspect they would aim at it. The little interval of twenty three hours between that and their actual [arrival] here was assiduously and successfully employed in withdrawing the public stores from hence and from Westham seven miles above this. This was so far done that our loss did not exceed 300 muskets, about 5 Tons of Powder, some sulphur, 5 field pieces, four pounders and some inferior articles of no great account. The letters and records of the Executive were the greater part lost. They retired hastily to their shipping after 23 hours possession of the place. The interruption which they have given to raising men and providing subsistance is likely to be very injurious. We are endeavoring to get over this difficulty also as well as we can. Should any movements take place interesting to Your State I shall communicate them to Your Excellency as soon as known to me, the communication will be circuitous. Perhaps should they take Post at Portsmouth, you might think it expedient to establish a line of Expresses to the neighbourhood of that place.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany 17, 1781
Richmond

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS

j. mss.
Sir,

—I do myself the honor of transmitting to your Excellency a resolution of the General Assembly Edition: current; Page: [137] of this Commonwealth entered into in consequence of the resolution of Congress of September 6th, 1780, on the subject of the Confederation.1 I shall be rendered very happy if the other States of the Union equally impressed with the necessity of that important convention, shall be willing to sacrifice equally to its completion. This single event could it take place shortly would overweigh every success which the enemy have hitherto obtained, & render desperate the hopes to which those successes have given birth.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jany 18, 1781
Richmond

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

j. mss.
Gentlemen,

—I enclose you a resolution of Assembly directing your conduct as to the navigation of the Mississippi.2 The loss of power lately susstained by us (about 5 tons) together with the quantities sent on to the Southward have reduced our stock very low indeed. We lent to Congress in the course of the last year (previous to our issues for the Southern Army) about ten tons of power. I shall be obliged to you to procure an order from the board of war for any quantity from five to ten tons, to be sent us immediately from Philadelphia or Baltimore, and to enquire into and hasten from time to time, the execution of it. The stock of Cartridge paper is Edition: current; Page: [138] nearly exhausted. I do not know whether Capt. Irish, or what other officer should apply for this. It is essential that a good stock should be forwarded and without a moments delay. If there be a rock on which we are to split, it is the want of Muskets, Bayonets & cartouch-boxes.

The occurrences since my last to the President are not of any magnitude. Three little rencounters have happened with the enemy. In the first General Smallwood led on a party of two or three hundred Militia & obliged some armed Vessels of the enemy to retire from a prize they had taken at Broadway’s and renewing his attack the next day with a 4 lber or two (for on the first day he had only muskets) he obliged some of their Vessels to fall down from City Point to their main fleet at Westover. The enemy’s loss is not known; ours was four men wounded. One of the evenings during their encampment at Westover & Berkeley, their light Horse surprised a party of about 100 or 150 Militia at Charles City Court House, killed & wounded four, & took as has been generally said about seven or eight. On Baron Steuben’s approach towards Hood’s they embarked at Westover; the wind which till then had set directly up the river from the time of their leaving Jamestown, shifted in the moment to the Opposite point. Baron Steuben had not reached Hood’s by eight or ten miles when they arrived there. They landed their whole army in the night, Arnold attending in person. Colo. Clarke (of Kaskaskias) had been sent on with 240 men by Baron Steuben, & having properly disposed of them in ambuscade gave them Edition: current; Page: [139] a deliberate fire, which killed 17 on the spot & wounded 13. They returned it in confusion, by which we had 3 or 4 wounded, and our party being so small & without Bayonets, were obliged to retire on the enemy’s charging with Bayonets. They fell down to Cobham, from whence they carried all the Tobacco there (about 60 Hogsheads) and the last intelligence was that on the 16th they were standing for Newportsnews. Baron Steuben is of Opinion they are proceeding to fix a post in some of the lower counties. Later information has given no reason to believe their force more considerable than we at first supposed. I think since the arrival of the three transports which had been separated in a storm, they may be considered as about 2000 strong. Their naval force according to the best intelligence is the Charon of 44 guns, Commodore Symmonds; the Amphitrite, Iris, Thames, & Charlestown Frigates, the Fowey of 20 guns, 2 sloops of war, a Privateer ship & 2 brigs. We have about 3700 Militia embodied, but at present they are divided into three distant encampments. One under General Weeden at Fredericksburg for the protection of the important works there; another under Genl. Nelson at & near Williamsburg; & a third under Baron Steuben at Cabbin Point. As soon as the enemy fix themselves these will be brought to a point.

Edition: current; Page: [140]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 19, 1781

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The invasion of our Country by the enemy at the close of the last Session of Assembly their pushing immediately to this place the Dispersion of the Public Papers which for the purpose of saving them necessarily took place and the injury done at the printing office have been so many causes operating unfortunately to the delay of transmitting you the Acts of Assembly which required immediate execution. The principal of these, the Law for recruiting the Army, having been framed on the Idea that the Militia of the several Counties would be quiet at Home has been peculiarly retarded by the necessity we were under of calling Militia from almost every County. We have seized the earliest moment possible of discharging those of as many Counties as could be, in order that this important Law may be put into a course of execution. It is now enclosed to You. Your duty till the new levies shall be ready to march from the County being precisely pointed out by the Act, I shall take up the subject from that point only. New London, Staunton, Winchester, Fredericksburg and Chesterfield Courthouse are appointed for the rendezvous of the levies. You are at liberty to send them to any of these places, but as they are ultimately to proceed to Chesterfield Courthouse, I would recommend to you to consider this in your choice of rendezvous. At each of these places an officer will attend from the tenth Day of March next for the Purpose of receiving them. You will send them Edition: current; Page: [141] under the charge of an officer who being enabled by the Act itself to provide means of Transportation is hereby authorized to apply for subsistence to any Commissary Commissioner or other Person, Principal or Subordinate having Public Provisions in their Possession and on Failure to obtain a sufficiency in that way he is to impress it, giving certificates to the Persons from whom he shall impress it, and returning to the Auditors a List of such Certificates specifying the Party’s name, Article, Price and Date. Let this Officer be furnished with a proper Certificate from you that he is appointed to this Duty which he is to send to the Auditor’s with his list that they may be satisfied with his authority. I enclose you two blank Calenders in which you will insert the names and descriptions of your levies delivered to the Officer who will be appointed by us to receive them as directed by the Act of Assembly: the one of these he will sign and leave as a Voucher to You, the other should be signed by yourself or the Officer delivering the men for you and left in the hands of the receiving officer. On the close of your Draught I must desire a return of your Militia and as the Law obliges the Captains to make exact returns to you at every General muster, I am to require that from these you make always an exact return to the Executive, that we may have a constant knowledge of the actual strength of your Militia. Notwithstanding the requisition I made you six months ago for a return of your Militia you have not been pleased to comply with it, an Inattention which cannot be justified on any principle of military Subordination and which cannot Edition: current; Page: [142] again pass unnoticed. A very dangerous practice having been introduced by the enemy of laying under Paroles the whole country through which they are at any Time able to March and thereby attempting to disarm its future opposition, has rendered it necessary for Government to take up and reprobate the Idea that any citizen may thus cancel his Duties to his Country. I enclose you a number of proclamations on this subject, and desire that you will put one into the Hand of every Captain in your County with orders to read it at the Head of his Company at every private muster during the present Year.

Such is the present aspect of the enemy towards this Country that no Foresight can predict the moment at which your Militia will be called into active Duty. Let me exhort you therefore and through you your Officers and men to consider that moment as if now come that every man who has or can procure a Gun have it instantly put into the best order a Bayonet fitted to it, a Bayonet belt, Cartouche Box, Canteen with its strap, Tomahawk, Blanket and knapsack. Some of these articles are necessary for his own safety and some for his Health & Comfort. The constant exhausture of the Public Stock of these Articles by calls from all Quarters renders it vain for the Militia to expect to be supplied from thence when they come into the Field, and nothing is so easy as for every man to have them prepared while quiet and at Home. The cartouche box with a leather Flap, a wooden canteen with its strap and a knapsack of thick linen (the better if plaid) are what may be had in any man’s family and there are few neighborhoods Edition: current; Page: [143] which do not afford artificers equal to the repair of a Firelock and furnishing it with a Bayonet. Let me then again to entreat you, Sir, not only to give out in General Orders to Your Captains that these preparations be instantly made but see yourself as far as possible that your orders be carried into execution. The soldiers themselves will thank you when separated from Domestic Accommodation they find through your attention to their happiness provided with conveniences which will administer to their first wants. When you order them into service it will be proper that you order them to bring these things with them. Consider also the sending a waggon with every seventy five men as a standing rule and that the Officer who attends to lay in Provisions for the men on the road always return to the Auditors a list of the certificates he gives stating the name, Article Price and Date in separate columns. These are circumstances always necessary and as in the first hurry of an Invasion when it is necessary to write an infinity of Letters and give a multiplicity of orders, it is not practicable then to enter into these details, I wish now to lay them down to you as standing rules which may save the necessity of repeating them in future on every special occasion. I must request you to make diligent enquiry and search your county for any Public Arms or Accoutrements in the Hands of Individuals to collect them together and make report of them to me.

Edition: current; Page: [144]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

PROCLAMATION CONCERNING PAROLES1

By His Excellency, Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia

A Proclamation

Whereas during the incursions which have been made into this and other of the United States, by the forces of his Britannic Majesty, a practice hath been introduced by them, unauthorized by the law of Nations, and attempted in any age, or by any other enemy, of seizing peaceable citizens while in their beds or employed in domestic occupations, and extorting from them paroles that they will not, on pain of life and fortune, be aiding or assisting in any respect to the enemies of Great Britain; which paroles such citizens have given sometimes through ignorance and other times with wicked design, while they enjoy all the benefits of Government to shift from themselves their just share of its burthens, and it is even believed that instances have not been wanting where they have voluntarily gone in to the Enemy and tendered such paroles; and the Laws of this Commonwealth not permitting any Citizen thereof taken under such circumstances, or otherwise than when in arms by order, of a proper officer, to enter into engagements with the public enemy which may withdraw from his country those duties he owes to it. To the end, therefore, that none may be induced to the like act hereafter, through ignorance of the Law either real or pretended, apprised of their Edition: current; Page: [145] nullity at the time of giving or taking such paroles or engagements, I have thought fit, with the advice of the Council of State, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby declaring and making known, That Citizens taken or yielding themselves in the manner before described are incapable by law of contracting engagements which may cancel or supercede the duties they owe to their Country while remaining in it, and that notwithstanding such paroles or engagements, they will be held to the performance of every service required by the laws in like manner as if no such parole or engagement had been entered into.

And whereas some Citizens who have already entered into such engagements, may expect to withhold their duties under pretence of being bound in conscience, notwithstanding their legal disabilities to contract them, and it is inconsistent with the spirit of our Laws and Constitution to force tender consciences; I do, therefore farther publish and declare, That all Citizens taken or yielding themselves in the manner before described, who conceive themselves under such conscientious obligation to refuse obedience to the Laws of their Country, are hereby authorized and required, taking passports as hereafter provided, forthwith to repair to some of the posts, encampments or vessels of the forces of his Brittannic Majesty, and by surrender of their persons, to cancel such their engagements, and thereafter to do, as to themselves and those in whose power they shall be, shall seem good, save only that they shall not rejoin this Commonwealth but in a state of perfect emancipation from its enemies, and of freedom to act as Edition: current; Page: [146] becomes good and zealous Citizens, and saving also their fidelity to the Commonwealth. And all Officers Commanding Forces either of this State or of the United States, who shall be nearest in their position to the said posts, encampments or vessels of the enemy, are hereby authorized and required, paying necessary attention to times, situations and circumstances, to grant passports to all such Citizens for the purposes beforementioned.

Given under my hand, and the seal of the Commonwealth, at Richmond, this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and eighty one, and of the Commonwealth the Fifth.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 20, 1781

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO THE COUNTY MAGISTRATES

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The invasion of our Country by the enemy at the close of the late session of Assembly their pushing immediately for this Place the dispersion of the Public Papers which for the purpose of saving them necessarily took Place and the Injury done at the Printing Office have been so many causes operating unfortunately to the Delay of transmitting you the important Act for which I now enclose you. In the mean Time the days of Execution so far advanced that I am persuaded they must have passed over before it can be received in many Counties, in this case the only possible Measure to be advised is to adopt the earliest days possible. Could any legal Edition: current; Page: [147] scruples arise as to this there could be no doubt that the ensuing Assembly influenced by the necessity that induced them to press the Act would give their Sanction to its Execution though at a later Date than is prescribed. However the substance of the Act is to procure supplies of Beef Clothing and waggons. The Time of doing this is a Circumstance only and the Principle is sound both in Law and Policy. Substance not Circumstance is to be regarded while we have so many Foes in our bowels and environing us on every Side. He is a bad citizen who can entertain a doubt whether the Law will justify him in saving his Country or who will scruple to risk himself in support of the spirit of a Law where unavoidable Accidents have prevented a literal compliance with it. Let me exhort you, Sirs, should this Act come to Hand so late as to prevent your proceeding to its Execution by the Time prescribed, to have it executed as early as possible. No man can say this will be an injury to him because the Times were affixed to compel an early compliance. The delay of which some Days must rather be matter Indulgence. Persons will be appointed to receive the waggons & appendages to be furnished by your County who shall give you notice of the Place of Delivery in due time.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 20th 1781
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Dear General,

—I will send to Mr. Brown the Commissary the Paragraph from your letter relative Edition: current; Page: [148] to Provisions with orders to him to take measures for relief. At the same time I wish the Principal expenditures could be in Indian meal that the Flower might be kept as much as possible for the Summer’s use. Majr Hollier has no authority to make exchange Prisoners with the enemy. The enclosed Proclamation will shew you the Principles on which we approved to wit that a citizen shall be considered as a soldier if he were taken in Arms, embodied as a soldier, and acting under the Command of his officer. You will perceive that the circumstances are necessary to distinguish from a citizen engaged in his domestic or other Occupations. Any equal exchange made on these principles and approved by yourself shall be considered as valid.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 23, 1781
Richmond

PROCLAMATION CONVENING ASSEMBLY1

By his Excellency, Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia

A Proclamation

Whereas it is become necessary that the General Assembly be called together before the time to which they stand adjourned: I Have therefore thought fit, with the advice of the Council of State, to issue this my proclamation, hereby appointing the first day of March next, for the meeting of the next General Assembly at which time their attendance is required Edition: current; Page: [149] at the Capitol in the Town of Richmond. Given under my hand & seal of the Commonwealth at Richmond aforesaid, this 23d Day of Jany. in ye year of our Lord 1781, & of the Commonwealth the fifth.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 23d, 1781

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am sorry after so long and laborious a session of Assembly, the Public exigencies should be such as to call for an earlier meeting of the members than was intended. A proclamation has been this Day issued for convening you on the 1st of March and tho’ that alone was necessary in point of Formality I could not deny myself the apprising you by letter of those circumstances which have rendered the measure necessary and which could not with propriety be explained in the Public Proclamation. Such is the load of Public Debt contracted by Certificates and such the preparations for the Summer to enable us to meet our enemies in the North, South, East and West, that before any considerable progress was made in paying the past and providing for the future, the whole sums allowed to be emitted were engaged. It became a matter of Certainty that in a few days we should be unable to move an express, repair an Arm or do any other the smallest thing tho the existence of the State should depend on it for want of money. It was impossible to think of hazarding the State in this condition through the Edition: current; Page: [150] months of February, March, April and probably May while we have an Enemy within our Country and others approaching it on every side. Information also from the General Officers brought us assurance that our Defence could not be rested on militia not to mention other Circumstances. Such we are assured is become their Impatience already, that they would give any consideration to raise Regulars rather than be kept in service themselves. Though the Commanding Officer has determined to reduce them to 2900. Infantry there will be considerable Difficulty in keeping that number in the Field. Men and money therefore will be the subject of Your Deliberations. I make no doubt but some legislative aid may also be rendered necessary for the executions of the Acts for recruiting men and procuring Beef, Clothing and Waggons. The absence of the militia from their Counties has thrown very great Obstacles into the way of the former and the latter was ingrafted on that as its stock. The destruction of one of the Printing Presses and the injury done the others has delayed the printing the latter Act with the other papers necessary to be sent out till it is become certain the Days of setting them into a train of execution will be passed before it will be received. The zealous Citizen unable to do his duty so soon as was prescribed will do it as soon as he can, but the unwilling will find much room for objection which the authority of the Legislature alone will be able to remove. Not apprehending that the Assembly when convened at so unusual a season will propose to do general Business, I have Edition: current; Page: [151] reason to hope that you will be detained here a very few Days only. Besides the general Dispatch which will ensure your punctual Attendance on the Day appointed let me adjure it on the ground of the Public Distress which will accumulate in the most rapid Progression should the meeting be delayed by Failure of the members to attend.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 25th, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I gave orders to Mr. Brown to send you a sufficiency of Flour to fill up any intervals which might happen between your supplies of Indian meal. We think the Stands of Arms you have directed to be purchased at Baltimore are a great Bargain if they be really good and will certainly find means of paying for them. The corn at Cumberland was Continental property having been delivered to Col. Finnie long ago. On the present invasion we had that with other Public Stores moved up to New Castle as a place of greater safety. The other stores indeed we meant to withdraw to other Places: but not the corn. However I learn that our Quarter Master has in distress for that Article been obliged to send for some of it for his Horses here, and we have lately ordered a considerable number of Public Horses too poor for service to be carried and fattened there; by which means we shall save so much of it to the Continent. We have determined to convene the Assembly on the first Day of March. The printer will Edition: current; Page: [152] enable us to send out the Laws which require immediate Execution this week. I make no doubt but by that Time you will have received either from their Counties or from Baron Steuben so many of the militia meant to be retained as will enable you to discharge the others. Indeed the Baron Steuben means to reduce the number originally intended to 2700 Infantry which will enable him to send back those of a greater number of Counties. With Respect to the Paroled Men my sentiments are these. Had I unwarily entered into an engagement of which the Laws of my Country would not permit me to fulfill I should certainly deliver myself to the enemy to cancel that engagement and free my personal Honour from Imputation. Nevertheless if any of them chuse to remain and to perform freely all legal Duties, I do not know that Government is bound to send these people in to the Enemy. It is very different from the Case of a Military Officer breaking his Parole, who ought ever to be sent in. We deny the propriety of their taking Paroles from unarmed Farmers. But as in any event the only justifiable Punishment of a Breach of Parole is Confinement, so should the enemy hang a single man for this Cause, we will instantly retaliate by hanging their Prisoners in equal number. This may be declared to the paroled men who you say are ready to take arms. Mr. Granville Smith received yesterday a warrant for £20000 for the contingent expences of your Camp, to be called out only on your order. As the money Press is not yet at work it will be some Days before he will get it.

Edition: current; Page: [153]

P. S. Mr. Brown just informs of your application for spirits. There is not a Hogshead belonging to the State, but very great Quantities in the hands of the Continental Commissaries. I have special Returns of upwards of twenty thousand Gallons delivered them by the Commissioners of the Provision Law and no Doubt great quantities of which there is no return. As on actual invasions all reasonable expences are Continental you are undoubtedly authorized to call on their Commissaries or should you have a doubt Baron Steuben will clear it up. A Mr. Lyon one of those Commissaries at York can certainly supply you. I would observe to you that Baron Steuben informed me in Conversation that Spirit would be allowed as a part of the Daily ration but only on particular occasions.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 26th, 1781
Richmond

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

Gentlemen,

—I shall now beg leave to answer your Letter of the first inst which enclosed a Paper from Baron de Arendt. Mr. William Lee was some Time ago invested with a special Agency from this State having received however no instructions from him of his having engaged any other Person to transact any Part of it, we are uninformed as to his Stipulations with the Baron de Arendt. If he has left the particular one for twenty five Louis unfilled we think ourselves bound to discharge which we will do in such Sum of paper money as may purchase that quantity of hard money in Philadelphia Edition: current; Page: [154] for there being no hard money here there is no fixed exchange. If you will therefore settle the Sum with him we will make the Remittance either in Money or by answering a Bill or otherwise as shall be most practicable. After a variety of Trials to effect the Cloathing of our Troops and procuring of military Stores and failing in them all a particular Institution has been adopted here for those Purposes. Into this Channel all our means must be turned to enable it to be effectual. Our situation is too well known to suppose we have anything to spare. It is therefore not in our power to enter into the commerce with Prussia proposed by the Baron de Arendt however desirous we are of opening a Communication with that respectable State and willing under every other Circumstance to effect it by great Sacrifices were Sacrifices necessary. Should the subjects of Prussia chuse to adventure on Private Trade with our Citizens every Facility and encouragement in our power will be certainly afforded. As the Speaker sets out within three or four Days for Philadelphia and can so much more fully explain to you by words the steps taken for support of our Opposition to the common enemy, I shall decline answering that Paragraph of your Letter and beg leave to refer you to him.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 29th, 1781
Richmond
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO BENJAMIN HARRISON1

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Several matters of Public Importance resting on the Hands of the Executive to be transacted Edition: current; Page: [155] to the Northward we beg leave to avail ourselves of your Journey thither to get them settled being satisfied they may be much better done on your verbal representations than by anything that may go in writing from us. The trade has been carried on to a very small extent between this State and the Bermuda Islands. This was begun under a resolution of Congress permitting the exportation of a certain Quantity of Corn from this State to Bermuda. We required the Bermudians to come for it and to bring a bushel of Salt in exchange for every two of corn. Our distress for Salt increasing we continued the License and in the last Summer gave three Bushels of Corn for one of Salt. Some Tobacco also was allowed in exchange but few vessels (I think not more than half a dozen) have come on that business. Whether the number may increase or not I cannot say, but I think the Trade necessary and could wish its continuance without Umbrage to Congress or the French minister. A Trade with vessels reporting themselves as from neutral Ports but in truth as we believe from Ireland has also been winked at. This is more exceptional on the part of the States and their allies and less advantageous to us. We have indeed received occassional supplies of Cloathing from them, but we might have bought on nearly as good terms in America, and thereby avoided risking the mischiefs which may attend the Permission of Irish Importations. Should our Commercial Agent be successful in his endeavours to supply our future Public wants, this powerful reason for tolerating the Trade will be removed. There will then remain no other Inducement to it, Edition: current; Page: [156] but as it will increase the quantity of goods imported into the State, but whether the Advantage be great or small we will willingly place this Commerce on whatever Footing shall be thought requisite for the Good of the States & their Allies.

The removal of the Convention Troops was determined on by the Executive on the invasion of this State which took Place in the last Fall and was effected as to the British Division about 800 in number. The Germans 1400 in number being thought less dangerous were permitted to remain till Accommodations could be provided for them in Maryland. Congress having afterwards directed that they should not be removed and our Assembly that they should, the Executive are placed in a very disagreeable situation, we can order them to the banks of the Potomac, but our Authority will not land them on the opposite shore. Besides prohibiting the removal of those remaining here they have required us to furnish half the Provisions for those gone to Maryland. I beg leave to refer you to my letters to the Board of War and to Governor Lee on this subject a copy of which is furnished you from whence you will see the grounds on which I have remonstrated against this latter Requisition and on which I should have remonstrated against the former also but that I wish to avail myself of your more forcible representation in Person.

A Mr. Patoun of Baltimore sent us some Cartridge Boxes, they were brought in a vessel of Mr. Braxton’s to Annapolis, where the vessel being sold they were left and I have heard of nothing of them since. I must beg the Favour of you to get them brought on Edition: current; Page: [157] if possible. Any supply of the same Article as also of Cartridge Paper and Flints which the Board of war can send on are essentially wanting.

Peret & Co of France sent us a quantity of Stores in a vessel called Le Comite she was taken on her passage retaken and carried into Rhode Island where on Condemnation the one half of our Part of her cargo has been decreed to us. I take the Liberty of putting into your Hands the Papers on this Subject. Our Delegates have been endeavouring to have them brought on hitherto without effect. The Salt indeed had better be sold there but the Arms, Clothing and other Articles are so much wanting that we should be so much obliged to you to adopt an effectual mode of having them brought hither by hiring a trusty Agent to go and bring them in waggons attending them himself, or in any other way you find most practicable and expedient. Congress being considerably indebted to us in the Article of Powder I lately wrote to desire from five to ten tons to be sent to this Place, it is essentially necessary that we send four Tons more to Fort Pitt and that it be there by the 1st Day of March, the Statement with which you are furnished by our Advances of Powder to the Continent will inform you how far we have a right to make this call. I must trouble you to procure from them at Baltimore if possible and if not then at Philadelphia the four Tons before mentioned and to send them under a trusty Person in waggons to Fort Pitt to be delivered to the order of Colo. Clarke or other Person acting under them the Residue or as much of it as can be got should be brought here at Continental Expence.

Edition: current; Page: [158]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 31, 1781
Richmond
George Rogers Clarke
Clarke, George Rogers

TO —1

j. mss.
Sir,

—Acquainted as you are with the treasons of Arnold, I need say nothing for your information, or to give you a proper sentiment of them. You will readily suppose that it is above all things desirable to drag him from those under whose wing he is now sheltered. On his march to and from this place I am certain it might have been done with facility by men of enterprise & firmness. I think it may still be done though perhaps not quite so easily. Having peculiar confidence in the men from the Western side of the Mountains, I meant as soon as they should come down to get the enterprise proposed to a chosen number of them, such whose courage & whose fidelity would be above all doubt. Your perfect knowledge of those men personally, and my confidence in your discretion, induce me to ask you to pick from among them proper characters, in such number as you think best, to reveal to them our desire, & engage them to undertake to seize and bring off this greatest of all traitors. Whether this may be best effected by their going in as friends & awaiting their opportunity, or otherwise is left to themselves. The smaller the number the better; so that they be sufficient to manage him. Every necessary caution must be used on their part, to prevent a discovery of their design by the enemy, as should they be taken, the laws of war will justify against them the most rigorous sentence. I will undertake if they are successful in bringing him off alive, that they shall receive five Edition: current; Page: [159] thousand guineas reward among them. And to men formed for such an enterprise it must be a great incitement to know that their names will be recorded with glory in history with those of Vanwert, Paulding & Williams. The enclosed order from Baron Steuben will authorize you to call for & dispose of any force you may think necessary, to place in readiness for covering the enterprise & securing the retreat of the party. Mr. Newton the bearer of this, & to whom its contents are communicated in confidence, will provide men of trust to go as guides. These may be associated in the enterprise or not, as you please; but let that point be previously settled that no difficulties may arise as to the parties entitled to participate of the reward. You know how necessary profound secrecy is in this business, even if it be not undertaken.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 1st, 1781
Richmd
Thomas Sim Lee
Lee, Thomas Sim

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND (THOMAS SIM LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am much obliged by your Excellency’s favour of Januy 5th. Joseph Shoemaker is a citizen of this State and been a active mischievous traitor. The dangers of escape on the road from Baltimore to this place, and from this place, where since our removal from Wmsburg no public jail has been yet erected, are so great as to induce me to suggest to your Excellency the trial and punishment under your laws, should he have committed any depredation within your State which they would punish capitally; Edition: current; Page: [160] and in this case I will on intimation from your Excellency furnish you with proofs of his citizenship authenticated in any way in which your Laws shall require. Should he not be amendable to justice under your Laws, or should he be acquitted on trial, I will on information thereof take immediate measures for having him received, & brought hither.

I have been honoured with a letter from the Honourable Mr Jenifer, President of your Senate and Mr Bruff, Speaker of the house of Delegates proposing that we should invite our allies the French to take a post within our State convenient for the defence of Chesapeake Bay and desiring a communication on the subject with your Excellency. The difficulties on this head will certainly not arise with us. Should our allies not have a certainty of obtaining and keeping a superiority of naval power in the American Seas, they will probably think any post on the navigable waters of the Chesapeake liable to loss. As a discussion of this matter with the French minister required full information to him of the various posts and grounds which they might think fitted for defence as well as for overlooking the Bay, by their conveniency to aid from the country and many other circumstances which might draw the correspondence, if on paper, to a great length I have thought it best to desire the Honble Mr Harrison speaker of our house of Delegates who set out for Philadelphia two days ago, to speak with the French minister on the subject and to give him every information which may be necessary to determine his opinion.

Edition: current; Page: [161]

I had during the last summer taken the liberty of solliciting from him some naval force to be stationed on our bay, and received hopes that it might be done, just when the enemy who are now within this State came into the bay. I am afraid the proof they have exhibited of the practicability of making inroads into our country when conducted with rapidity and aided by wind and waters, will rather discourage our allies from hazarding much in any situation which may be pointed out.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
February 5, 1781
Richmond

PROCLAMATION CONCERNING FOREIGNERS

v. s. a.

By His Excellency Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Govn. of the Commonwealth of Virginia

A Proclamation

Whereas Congress considering that it had been the wise policy of these States to extend the protection of their Laws to all those who should settle among them of whatsoever nation or religion they might be, and to admit them to a participation of the Benefits of Civil and religious freedom, and that the Benevolence of this practice, as well as its salutary effects had rendered it worthy of being continued in future times: That his Britannic Majesty in order to destroy our Freedom and Happiness, had commenced against us, a cruel and unprovoked War, and unable to engage Britons sufficient to execute his sanguinary measures, had applied for aid to Foreign Princes, Edition: current; Page: [162] who were in the habit of selling the blood of their people for money, and from them had procured and transported hither, considerable number of Foreigners; and it was conceived that such Foreigners, if apprised of the practice of these States would chuse to accept of Lands, Liberty and Safety and a Communion of good Laws and mild Government, in a country where many of their Friends and relations were already happily settled, rather than continue exposed to the toils and Dangers of a long and bloody War, waged against a people guilty of no other Crime, than that of refusing to exchange freedom for Slavery: And that they would do this the more especially, when they should reflect they had violated every Christian and moral precept by invading and attempting to destroy those who had never injured them or their Country, their only reward, if they escaped Death and Captivity, would be, a return to the Despotism of their Prince, to be by him again sold to do the drudgery of some other Enemy to the rights of Mankind: and that our enemies had thought fit, not only to invite our Troops to desert our service, but to compel our citizens falling into their hands to serve against their Country, Did resolve, that these States would receive all such foreigners who should leave the armies of his Britannic Majesty, in America and should chuse to become members of any of these States, and that they should be protected in the free Exercise of their respective religions, and be invested with the rights, privileges, and immunities of natives as Established by the Laws of these States, and moreover that they Edition: current; Page: [163] would provide for every such Person 50 Acres of un-appropriated Lands in some of these States to be held by him and his Heirs in Absolute property.

I therefore have thought fit, by and with the advice of the Council of State, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby notifying more generally the said Engagement of Congress, and further promising to all such Foreigners, who shall leave the armies of his Britannic Majesty while in this State, and repair forthwith to me at this place, that they shall receive from this Commonwealth a further donation of two Cows and an exemption during the present War, and their continuance in this State, from all taxes, for the support thereof, and from all Militia and Military Service. And moreover that they shall receive a full compensation for any arms or accoutrements which they shall bring with them, and deliver to the Commanding officer at any of the Posts holden by our Forces, taking his receipt for the same.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Commonwealth at Richmond, this Second day of February, in the year of our Lord 1781 & of the Commonwealth the fifth.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry 7th, 1781
Richmond
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO BENJAMIN HARRISON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The enclosed papers will sufficiently explain themselves to You. They were put into my hands by Colo. Mathews together with a requisition from Congress to furnish 14,492 hard dollars to pay the debts of our prisoners in New York. Were we Edition: current; Page: [164] permitted to send produce, we could do it for less than half of what the hard dollars will cost us, & I think such articles might be selected from the within, especially when that of coal is added (which Colo Mathews assures me will be done) as would do neither good to the enemy nor injury to us. Coal sells in New York at six guines the chauldron. Colo. Mathews assures me that the enemy has never experienced the least inconvenience from a want of provisions since he has been in captivity; that indeed before the arrival of the Cork fleet they began to be apprehensive, but he thinks they have now near a twelve months provision, Taking this into consideration with the great alleviation of the maintenance of our prisoners which it would bring to us, perhaps you could negotiate a permission to us to send some of these articles to New York & Charleston.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 8. 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

j. mss.
Sir,

—I have just received intelligence, which tho from a private hand, I believe is to be relied on, that a fleet of the enemy’s ships have entered Cape Fear River, that eight of them had got over the Bar & many others were laying off; that it was supposed to be a reinforcement to Ld Cornwallis under the command of Genl. Prevost. This account which had Edition: current; Page: [165] come through another channel is confirmed by a letter from Genl. Parsons at Halifax to the gentleman who forwards it to me. I thought it of sufficient importance to be communicated to your Excellency by the Stationed expresses. The fatal want of arms puts it out of our power to bring a greater force into the field than will barely suffice to restrain the adventures of the pitiful body of men they have at Portsmouth. Should any others be added to them, this country will be perfectly open to them by land as well as water.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 9th, 1781
Richmond
Colonel Theodoric Bland
Bland, Colonel Theodoric

TO COLONEL THEODORIC BLAND

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I received yesterday your letter inclosing that of Colo Dubuysson. It gives us great pain that we are not able to do what is desired by that gentleman. I shall not rest this merely on the determination of the Executive not to exchange Govr. Hamilton at all while matters on our frontier are situated as at present, a determination founded as well on the possibility of real injury he would be enabled to do as on the apprehensions which the Western Country entertain of his eager enmity against us & influence with the savages. It is well known that the whole Line of Officers belonging to Virginia and North Carolina were taken some months before the captivity of Colo Dubuysson, and stand previously entitled to exchange on the just principle of regular rotation. Exchanges out of turn have already given great disgust, not only to those who have been passed Edition: current; Page: [166] by but to the officers in general who find themselves exposed to the danger of a like insult. I leave to yourself, Sir, to judge what would be the complaints were we to consent to the exchange in question, passing over a whole army whose officers stand first entitled; these complaints would be more distressing as they would be founded in justice, and would admit no possibility of answer. The same reasons are good against parole exchange of such extent as the one proposed. I hope therefore that Colo Dubuysson will see this matter in its proper light and be satisfied that nothing but a sense of its being clearly against our duty prevents our concurrence in a measure leading so much to his relief and which is stated as eventually interesting to the family of Baron de Kalb, to whom gratitude would induce us to render every service reconcilable to that justice which is due to others.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 10th, 1781
Richmond
Nathanael Greene
Greene, Nathanael

TO MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I now do myself the pleasure of transmitting you information on the several heads of your requisitions. I am sorry that full compliance with them is impracticable. Every moment however brings us new proofs that we must be aided by your Northern Brethren. Perhaps they are aiding us and we may not be informed of it. I think near half the Enemy’s force are now in Virginia and the States south of that. Is half the burthen of opposition to rest on Virginia and North Carolina? I trust you concur with us in crying aloud on this head.

Edition: current; Page: [167]

I sincerely rejoice with you on Genl Morgan’s late important success. Besides the real loss sustained by the Enemy in the force they were moving against us, it will give us time to prepare for the residue. The prisoners taken on that occasion, I shall certainly take the liberty of handing on Northwardly thro’ this State, for the reason for doing this I beg leave to refer you to the enclosed.

Dr. Brownson received £75000, equal to £1000 specie; for the balance he must wait until the Assembly meets. I hope they will determine to make up their quota of men fully. I have the pleasure to inform you that we have reason to expect during the two ensuing months, very full supplies of all necessaries for our Army from France, on a contract we had made the last Spring. I hope too that their Escort is such as not only to render their entrance secure but to promise something further.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 13th, 1781
George Rogers Clark
Clark, George Rogers

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Still having at heart the success of the expedition at the head of which you are placed, we have obtained leave from Baron Steuben for Colo Jo Gibson to attend you as next in command, and of course to succeed to your offices in event of your death or captivity which however disagreeable in contemplation, yet as being possible it is our duty to provide against. I have further added my most pressing request to Colo Broadhead that he permit Colo Gibson’s regiment to be added to Your force Edition: current; Page: [168] for the expedition, a request which I hope will be successful as coinciding with the spirit of Genl Washington’s recommendations. Colo Gibson is to go to Baltimore to see the powder conveyed to Fort Pitt. The articles which were to be sent from this place to Frederick County were duly forwarded a few days after you left us. I wish you laurels and health & am with respect &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 15th, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO COUNTY LIEUTENANTS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have just received intelligence from Genl Greene that Lord Cornwallis, maddened by his losses at the Cowpens and George Town, has burnt his own waggons to enable himself to move with facility, and is pressing towards the Virginia line, Genl Greene being obliged to retire before him with an inferior force. The necessity of saving Genl Greene’s army and in doing that the probabilty of environing and destroying the army of the Enemy induce me to press you in the most earnest terms, in the instant of receiving this to collect one of your militia and send them forward well armed and accoutred under proper officers to repair to the orders of Genl Greene wherever he shall be. By this movement of our Enemy he has ventured his all on one stake. Our stroke is sure if the force turns out which I have ordered & without delay in such a crisis expedition decides the event of the contest.

Reflecting that it depends in a great measure on your personal exertions in effecting an active junction Edition: current; Page: [169] of your men with Genl Greene whether the Southern war be terminated by the capture of the hostile army or entailed on us by permitting them to fix in our bowels, I cannot believe you will rest a moment after receiving this untill you see your men under march. They must be subsisted on their way on whatever can be furnished by any persons holding public provisions, or by impressing under the invasion law, returning to the Auditors lists of the certificates they give, and by taking provisions with them for which they shall be allowed by way of rations.

This order necessarily interrupts the execution of the draught law; it would be too oppressive on those spirited men who shall now turn out, to have that law carried into execution, when they should not be on the spot to act for themselves. I would therefore advise you to postpone it until their return and I will undertake to lay it before the Assembly which is shortly to meet who I cannot doubt will approve of the suspension and allow the execution of the law at a future day.

Should the approach of danger and your public spirit have already called any men from your County to the aid of General Greene they will be counted in lieu of so many of the number now ordered.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 16th 1781
Richmond
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am very anxious to prepare for co-operation with our allies and for providing for their support. For ye former purpose measures are taking as Edition: current; Page: [170] agreed on this moment in a conference with Baron Steuben, for the latter we suppose Yorktown the most effectual to prepare as an assylum for their vessels. Colo. Senf comes down with instructions to point what may be done there in a short time. The Baron will send Colo. Harrison or some other artillery officer to superintend the execution of what he shall plan; and I must resort to Your influence to take such measures as may call in a sufficient number of labourers with their tools to execute the work. Whatever you do for this purpose shall be approved by us. The county alone can probably furnish many hands. Those in the neck I trust will also be forwarded.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry 16th, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF BERKELEY AND FREDERICK

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have with exceeding distress of mind received information that the service to which the militia of the Counties of Frederick & Berkely have been called Westwardly is so disagreeable as to render it probable that call will be very imperfectly obeyed. A knowledge that an extensive combination of Indians had been formed to come on our frontier early in the Spring induced us to prevent them by striking the first stroke. The counties West of the Allegany were called on in the first place, and their numbers not sufficing it was concluded to make them up by a call on some of the Counties on this side of the Allegany. Those of Hampshire, Berkely & Frederick Edition: current; Page: [171] were deemed the most proper as being nearest to Pittsburg and farthest from the Southern war, the expedition if carried to the greatest extent would end by the last of June. Should this expedition be discontinued, the savages will be spread on our whole western frontier; in that case not a man can be brought during the whole summer from the western side of Blue ridge; and what will be the consequence of bringing the army of Ld. Cornwallis and the army of Portsmouth to be opposed by the lower Country only, I would rather the friends of their country should reflect than I foretell. We are all embarked in one bottom, the Western end of which cannot swim while the Eastern sinks. I am thoroughly satisfied that nothing can keep us up but the keeping of the Indians from our Western quarter; that this cannot be done, but by pushing the war into their country; and this cannot be attempted but with effectual aid from those counties. This reasoning is simple, and the conclusion of it melancholy. A hope is held out to us that an aid as effectual can be obtained from your County by the engaging volunteers to go instead of the militia. Trusting to this assurance and the zeal of your people which never before has failed us, I will so far throw our safety on them, as to revoke the orders for their peremptory march as militia, and depend on their sending a sufficient number of volunteers. These volunteers must proceed according to the orders given as to the militia except that some extention of time must be admitted. This I leave to your discretion. Be punctual in advising Genl. Clarke & Edition: current; Page: [172] myself from time to time of your progress and expectations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 17th, 1781
Richmond
Nathanael Greene
Greene, Nathanael

TO MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—In the moment of receiving your letter of the 10th I issued orders to the Counties of Washington, Montgomery, Botetout and Bedford for seven hundred and odd riflemen, and to those of Henry & Pittsylvania for four hundred and odd of their militia. Yet my trust is that neither these nor the adjacent counties have awaited orders, but they have turned out and will have joined you in greater numbers than we have directed. The reinforcement from Cheserfd Court House cannot march these ten days. I shall be glad if you will call on the neighboring County Lieutenants for any succours which you may want, and circumstances forbid to be delayed. A minute communication of events will be very necessary as we wish as far as we are able to increase the opposing force, if that already ordered shall be insufficient. This change of position has thrown us into great doubt where to collect our provisions.

Two days ago I received notice of the arrival of a 64 gun ship, and two frigates of 36 each part of the French fleet at Rhode Island having yet had no communication of the views of the Commanding officer (Commodore Tilly) I cannot say to what measures this aid will lead. They are equal to the destruction of the British vessels, could they get at them, but these are drawn up into Elizabeth river into which the 64 cannot enter.

Edition: current; Page: [173]

P. S. Since writing the above we are told Ld. Cornwallis has advanced to the Roanoke. I am in consequence issuing orders to embody every man between this and that for whom a firelock can be procured and that they march to join you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feby 17, 1781
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

w. mss.
Sir,

—By a letter from General Greene dated Guilford C. house Feby 10 we are informed that Lord Cornwallis had burnt his own waggons in order to enable himself to move with greater facility & had pressed immediately on. The prisoners taken at the Cowpens were happily saved by the accidental rise of a water course which gave so much time as to withdraw them from the reach of the enemy. Lord Cornwallis had advanced to the vicinities of the Moravian towns & was still moving on rapidly. His object was supposed to be to compel Genl Greene to an action, which under the difference of force they had would probably be ruinous to the latter. General Greene meant to retire by the way of the Boyds ferry on the Roanoke. As yet he had lost little or no stores or baggage, but they were far from being safe. In the instant of receiving this intelligence we ordered a reinforcement of militia to him from the most convenient counties in which there was a hope of finding any arms. Some great event must arise from the present situation of things which for a long time will determine the condition of southern affairs.

Arnold lies close in his Quarters. Two days ago Edition: current; Page: [174] I received information of the arrival of a 64 gun ship & two frigates in our bay, being part of the fleet of our good ally at Rhode Island. Could they get at the British fleet here they are sufficient to destroy them, but these being drawn up into Eliza. river, into which the Sixty four cannot enter, I apprehend they could do nothing more than block up the river. This indeed would reduce the enemy, as we could cut off their supplies by land: but the operation being lengthy would probably be too dangerous for the auxiliary force. Not having yet had any particular information of the designs of the french commander I cannot pretend to say what measures this aid will lead to.

Our proposition to the Cherokee chiefs to visit Congress for the purpose of preventing or delaying a rupture with that nation was too late. Their distresses had too much ripened their alienation from us, and the Storm had gathered to a head, when Major Martin got back. It was determined to carry the war into their country rather than await it in ours, and thus disagreeably circumstanced the issue has been successful.

The militia of this State & N. Carolina penetrated into their country, burnt almost every town they had amounting to about 1000 houses in the whole, destroyed 50,000 bushels of grain killed 29 & took 17 prisoners. The latter are mostly women & children. I enclose your Excellency the particulars as reported to me. Congress will be pleased to determine on Col. Campbell’s proposition to build the fort at the confluence of the Holston and Tennessee.

Edition: current; Page: [175]

I have the honor to be, &c., your Excellency’s most obedient humble servant.

P. S. Since writing the above I have received information which tho’ not authentic deserves attention: that Ld Cornwallis had got to Boyds ferry on the 14th. I am issuing orders in consequence to other counties to embody & march all the men they can arm. In this fatal situation without arms there will be no safety for the Convention troops but in their removal, which I shall accordingly order. The prisoners of the Cowpens were at New London (Bedford Court house) on the 14th.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 17 1781
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES (?)

j. mss.
Dear General,

—The situation of affairs here & in Carolinea is such as must shortly turn up important events one way or the other. By letter from Gen. Greene dated Guilford C. house, Feb. 10 Ld. Cornwallis rendered furious by the affair at the Cowpens & surprise of George town had burnt his own waggons to enable himself to move with facility had pressed on to the vicinities of the Moravian towns & was still advancing. The prisoners taken at the Cowpens were saved by a hair’s breath accident, and Greene was retreating. His force 2000 regulars and no militia, Cornwallis’s 3000. Genl Davidson was killed in a skirmish. Arnold lies still at Portsmouth with 1500 men. A French 64 gun ship & 2 frigates of 36 each arrived in our bay three days ago. They would suffice to destroy the British shipping here (2 Edition: current; Page: [176] 40. frigates & a 20) could they get at them. But these are withdrawn up the Elizabeth river which the 64 cannot enter. We have ordered about 700 riflemen from Washington Montgomery & Bedford, and 500 common militia from Pittsylvania & Henry to reinforce Genl. Greene, and 500 new levies will march from Chestfd C. H. in a few days. I have no doubt however that the Southwestern Counties will have turned out in greater numbers before our orders reach them.

I have been knocking at the door of Congress for aids of all kinds, but especially of arms ever since the middle of summer. The Speaker Harrison is gone to be heard on that subject. Justice indeed requires that we should be aided powerfully. Yet if they would repay us the arms we have lent them we should give the enemy trouble tho’ abandoned to ourselves.

After repeated applications I have obtained a warrant for your advance money £18,000 which I have put into the hands of Mr. McAlister to receive the money from the Treasurer & carry it to you.

I am with very sincere esteem dr Genl. your friend & serv.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
February 19th, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—The prisoners in Albemarle were ordered to be removed immediately, giving them time only to pack their baggage, that it might follow them in waggons. Those taken at the Cowpens which were Edition: current; Page: [177] at New London on the 14th inst. were likewise ordered Northwardly by the way of Staunton keeping above the Blue Ridge, while the Conventioners pass below it. These orders were issued at the same time with those for embodying the Militia and have been notified to Congress and Genl. Washington.

By a letter from Count Rochambeau to Genl. Washington, a Copy of which is transmitted me, it appears that some French Frigates were out a cruising from Newport.—that two 74s and a Frigate were sent out by the British to take them, that a storm came on which drove one of the 74s. ashore on Montuck Point, and obliged the other to put back into Gardners’ Bay dismasted, and the Frigate also to put back tho’ without injury: and forced the French Frigates back to port, which they reached in safety: that this accident had given the French Fleet a superiority; whereon the Chevalr. de Touche was determined to send a line of Battle Ship, and two Frigates to cruise off the Capes of Chesapeake and break off the communication between New York and Charlestown. This letter is dated Jan. 9th. we are therefore to suppose the French Vessels now here to have come in consequence of the above and to hope they are in no danger.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 19th 1781
Richd
George Rogers Clark
Clark, George Rogers

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I received your letter on the subject of the backwardness of the militia of Berkely & Frederic to Edition: current; Page: [178] proceed Westwardly, and had before received representation from the Counties. This circumstance was the more mortifying as we were informed from various quarters that should we persist in the order it would produce an open disobedience. Many circumstances concurred to render it prudent to avoid this. The presence of two armies of the enemy within the state induced us to wish to prevent everything like commotion or opposition to Government in every part of it. As therefore the representations were accompanied with hopes held out of raising a respectable number of volunteers, the Board thought it prudent to accept of that offer. These two counties were relied on for 56 men; on view of this disappointment we obtained an order from Baron Steuben for Colo John Gibson with his regiment & Heth’s company (about 200 regulars) to be added to your command; an addition of more worth of itself perhaps than the militia, more especially if any number of volunteers should go. I hope too you will receive greater numbers from Kentucky than we counted on, and aids from the French settlements: we are apt to hope what we much wish, and perhaps this is my case.

The enclosed papers give us real concern as they hold out reason to apprehend great abuses in the Western quarter. I transmit them to you to have strict enquiry made (not by yourself for your time is otherwise better engaged) but by such persons of known integrity & character as you shall appoint. We do not know what to do with the bills of which Majr. Slaughter speaks, indeed I wish such an enquiry Edition: current; Page: [179] could take place, and that the persons you appoint would give their sanction to every bill.

The suggestions against the Gentlen who went to Kaskaskie under promise of availing you of its resources & strength, are of such a nature as to merit attention & delicate enquiry. I am sure you will keep your attention alive as to everything of this kind, and will use decision where decision is found necessary.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 20th 1781
Richd
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I enclose you a report from Mr Ross of the cloathing provided and his prospect of further provision. The procuring hats or leathern caps still appears desperate, so that unless some substitute can be thought of, I know not what will be done. There are no hats I am told among the cloathing come from the north. I wrote you that after having called certain numbers from Washington, Montgomery, Botetout, Henry & Pittsylvania, I had called out all the Militia who could be armed of Cumberland, Powhatan, Chesterfd, Dinwiddie, Amelia, Lunenburg & Brunswick to oppose Ld Cornwallis. Prince Edward was not called on because we knew them to have actually marched. Mecklenburg, Charlotte & Halifax were so near the Enemy that we knew they must be in the field before any orders could reach them. So far the draught had been no more disturbed than it had been before by Arnold’s invasion except as to the five Counties of Washington &c., first named—it Edition: current; Page: [180] is not in our power to anticipate the time of draughting in the other Counties as you propose. The law gives certain times for raising men voluntarily till the expiration of which no draught can take place; for this reason we have wished to avoid as much as possible calling on the Counties North of James River, where the draught is as yet undisturbed, untill we shall hear that Ld Cornwallis has actually crossed the Dan; because that act will decide that he means to penetrate this Country: nevertheless if you think it advisable we will order militia to a certain extent to be embodied on the North side of James River; and I shall be obliged to you for your opinion on this head.

I find by the enclosed papers which have passed between a Lieut Hare calling himself a flag & Capt Turberville that a vessel of the Enemy has come under very suspicious circumstances to Sandy Point. What was her errand, to whom addressed, or whether she had passports from any of the commanding officers at the posts in the neighbourhood of the enemy, are circumstances on which these papers can give me no information; yet they appear material in fixing the character of the vessel. It seems improper that under the pretence of being flags their vessels should be allowed to penetrate our rivers to their sources. This matter being within your line, and depending on usages with which you are better acquainted than we are, I wish to remit it altogether to Yourself to have done what is right. A communication of what you determine will oblige me, as I am to write to Genl. Nelson on the subject. I also transmit you Edition: current; Page: [181] an extract of the Genl’s on the subject of the French ships here. I should think with him their cruising off the capes attended with safety to them, & great service to the American cause by intercepting the communication between N York and Charles Town. But whether at this crisis till Ld Cornwallis’s movements are decided the one way or the other, it be not of very great moment to retain Arnold in his present quarters by the presence of a force sufficient to destroy his navy if he withdraws from it, I would submit to your better judgement.—On this too I will ask your opinion as Genl Nelson expects my answer.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 21st, 1781
Richd
Thomas Nelson
Nelson, Thomas

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS NELSON

v. s. a.
Dr. Genl.,

—I received your letter of the 18th the night before last, and deferred answering it until I could confer with Baron Steuben, which I had the opportunity of doing yesterday evening. He shewed me a letter from Monsr. Tilly from which, and the information of his aid who went down, we suppose the French squadron sailed on a cruise yesterday morning. They will however be within our call, & therefore we think it proper to go on with the preparations for enabling us to make an attempt on the enemy, and for affording an asylum to any of the ships of our Ally which may at any time come to us. I put into his hands the papers relative to Mr. Hair & he will give orders on the subject; he seems to consider him as no flag, but a prisoner. As to Mr. Edition: current; Page: [182] Hair’s calumnies on individuals of this State among whom I am one; I consider them as honorable testimonials; it is their known practice to bribe whom they can, and whom they cannot to calumniate. They have found scoundrels in America, and either judging from that or their own principles they would pretend to believe all are so. If pride of character be of worth at any time, it is when it disarms the efforts of malice. What a miserable refuge is individual slander to so glorious a nation as Great Britain has been.

I spoke to Baron Steuben some time ago for a return of the numbers of militia from each County which have been on duty & how long. As militia duty becomes heavy, it becomes also our duty to divide it equally. I have waited for this to order out relief, which cannot be done on sure grounds without it. You will oblige me by having such a return made from your quarter as soon as possible. I am sincerely sorry to hear of your indisposition. Wishing it speedily removed. I am. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 22—1781
Colonel James Innes
Innes, Colonel James

TO COLONEL JAMES INNES

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I had written the enclosed before Capt Richeson arrived. I transmit it open through you for your perusal. I am very sorry that the men first called into the field have not been relieved; but has proceeded from the want of such a return as is mentioned in my letter, and for which I applied some Edition: current; Page: [183] time ago to Baron Steuben, who has had hopes of furnishing it. You will readily be sensible that where any County shall have sent but half the quota called for, they have performed but half their tour, and ought to be called on again: Where any county has furnished their full complement, they have performed their full Tour, & it would be unjust to call on them again till we shall have gone through the Counties. Militia becoming burthensome it is our duty to divide it as equally as we can. Upon the receipt of such a return a relief shall be ordered: and in the mean time the arrival of the militia mentioned in the enclosed may enable you to permit those who have been longer on duty to return home.

On the present invasion the favour was asked of Baron Steuben to arrange the commands on principles laid down by the Executive, being the same determined on Leslie’s invasion. We have awaited the receipt of his arrangement to issue Commissions; this alone is the reason why not a single commission was issued during the Invasion. I will take care to remind the Baron of the want of his report & in the mean time should any gentleman have the misfortune to be captured not a moment shall be lost in sending him a Commission. The affair of Westover has been communicated to me so imperfectly that I am still ignorant of it. I know that a flag is detained at Sandy Point, and have heard of letters between the conductor and a person in his connection up the river: But their import I have never heard. I understand that I am particularly indebted to Mr. Hair for his eulogiums. Indeed I think them the Edition: current; Page: [184] best certificate of my whiggism did my country want such certificate at this day.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry. 24th, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have received repeated information that the nakedness of the militia on service near Wmsburg and want of shoes is such as to have produced murmurings almost amounting to mutinies and that there is no hope of being able longer to keep them in service. The precedent of an actual mutiny would be so mischievous as to induce us to believe an accommodation to their present temper most prudent and therefore send to Colo Innes a letter of which the enclosed is a copy, in the meantime it is out of my power to order reliefs on any fixed rule without such return as mentioned in the letter. As soon as I shall receive such a return new calls shall be made to replace the numbers you wished to have on the North side of James River independently of those from the Northern Counties who were meant to be free for other service. I must therefore trouble you to exercise your authority in such manner as to produce me returns of the desired kind. This is the more necessary to be done speedily lest the same should begin to show itself in Genl Mulenburgs camp. You will judge from the temper of these militia how little prospect there is of your availing yourself of their aid on the South side of the river should you require it. I enclose you a copy of a letter from Colo Bannister, County Lieut of Dinwiddie. I have Edition: current; Page: [185] taken the liberty of referring him to you as to the arms, and the bearer who carries my letter, will also carry any orders you please to give as to them. The size of his detachment it seems will depend on the arms he can procure.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febry 25—1781
Richmond
Robert Lawson
Lawson, Robert

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ROBERT LAWSON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I yesterday received word from Colo Bannister that there were 400 stand of good Continental arms at Petersburg of which he desired 150. I wrote to Baron Steuben on that, and shall immediately write to him again to let him know your want, & I have no doubt but he will order on the balance for your militia: besides these, 600 stand passed by this place three days ago for Genl Greene’s camp. I never heard a tittle of the movements of either army in the South since a letter from Genl Greene of the 15th. Before that I on the information which your express brought me ordered out all the militia of Cumberland, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Amelia, Lunenburg & Mecklenburg who could be armed, and a fourth part of Washington, Montgomery, Botetout, Henry & Pittsylvania, I sent no order to Prince-Edward because I had your information that the business was already done: to Bedford we dispatched Colo Lynch who happened to be here to carry all who could be armed. Halifax & Charlotte were known to be so immediately under the approach of the enemy as that they must be out under the general directions of the invasion Law before Edition: current; Page: [186] orders could get to them. We determined not to embody on the North side of the James River till we should learn that Ld Cornwallis had crossed the Dan, because we still wished to interrupt as little as possible the execution of the Law for raising regulars. That our intelligence might be perfect we got the favor of Majr McGill to go to Greene’s camp & apprise us of every interesting movement through the line of stationed expresses. He has been gone a week & we have not yet heard from [him] which makes me apprehend some foul play on the road. I am the more led to this fear by a letter from Genl Greene to Baron Steuben having been opened in the same course of conveyance and the state of Greene’s force withdrawn from it.

Genl Mulenburg has drawn close down on the Enemy’s lines at Portsmouth—the French 64 gun ship lies in Lynhaven bay & the two frigates are on the cruise. We are strengthening in that quarter.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 25, 1781
Jean le Gardeur Chevalier de Tilley
Tilley, Jean le Gardeur Chevalier de

TO THE OFFICER COMMANDING THE NAVAL FORCE OF HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY ON THE COAST OF VIRGINIA (JEAN LE GARDEUR CHEVALIER DE TILLEY)

Sir,

—I have the honor to forward to you the enclosed letter which accompanied others from Genl Washington & the Marques Fayette to the honourable Majr General Baron Steuben & myself. That there may be no disappointment in procuring the Edition: current; Page: [187] pilots required, I got the favor of Capt. Maxwell, naval commander to this State to proceed to Hampton to provide them. His knowledge of the service and of the properest Persons to be employed will I hope ensure our getting them. You will be pleased to advise him as to the number necessary. The communication between yourself and the Commanding Officer on shore I suppose to be at present safe & easy. If you can point out anything which is in my power to have done to render it more so, I shall with great Pleasure have it done. General Washington mentions that you had been so kind as to take on board some arms and cloathing on account of this State. Captain Maxwell is instructed to take measures for receiving them. I shall be happy to have it in my power to contribute by any orders I can give towards supplying your troops with provisions or any other necessaries which may promote their Health or accommodation, and in every instance to testify our gratitude to your nation in general and yourself personally for the aid you have brought us on the present emergency.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Febr. 26th, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

j. mss.
Sir,

—I gave you information in my last letter that Genl. Green had crossed the Dan at Boyd’s ferry and that Ld Cornwallis had arrived at the opposite Edition: current; Page: [188] Shore: Large reinforcements of militia having embodied both in front & rear of the enemy he is retreating with as much rapidity as he advanced; his route is towards Hillsborough. Genl. Green recrossed the Dan on the 21st in pursuit of him. I have the pleasure to inform you that the spirit of opposition was as universal as could have been wished for. There was no restraint on the numbers that embodied but the want of arms.

The British at Portsmouth lie close in their lines. The French squadron keep them in by water, and since their arrival as they put it out of the power of the Enemy to cut off our retreat by sending up Nansemond river our force has been moved down close to their lines.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 1st. 1781
William Byrd
Byrd, William

TO MRS. WILLIAM BYRD (NÉE MARY WILLING)

v. s. a.
Madam,

—I am sorry it is not in my power to send you the Law you desire having only one copy of it myself and that bound up in the laws of the Session of October 1776. at which it was passed. The description of the offence which is the subject of the Act, is in these words—“if a man do levy war against the Commonwealth within the same, or to be adherent to the enemies of the Commonwealth within the same giving to them aid or comfort in the Commonwealth or elsewhere &c. &c. thereof be legally convicted &c &c.” The situation in which you were placed by the landing of the enemy at Westover was Edition: current; Page: [189] undoubtedly difficult. Whether you may have been able to steer with Precision between the will of those in whose Power you were & the Laws of your country is a question on which the laws have not made me the judge. The letter which you mention to have written while the Enemy’s fleet lay at Westover, being thought to contain the acknowledgement of an offence against the Commonwealth was put into the hands of the Executive officially and by them remitted to the Attorney General with instructions to proceed as the laws require. I believe it is his idea that these proceedings must be as for a misdemeanor. They will probably take place immediately under the directions of a late act which ordains pleadings in certain cases from Day to Day till final decision and I hope will furnish you with ample occasion of Justification. The flag having come under a permission of Baron Steuben given before the determination to discontinue that kind of intercourse we referred the whole of that matter to him, save only that his promise having been to admit an identical Restitution of Slaves and the flag instead of that bringing a Compensation in Merchandize were of opinion and determined that this could not be admitted to be received, as allowing, the same indulgence equally to all, it would immediately become regular commerce. This was the only order or resolution formed by the Executive on any Thing relative to this Flag or to yourself so far as connected with her. Mr. Hare was thought to have conducted himself with great Impropriety, yet a desire to afford no colour of precedent for violating the sacred Rights Edition: current; Page: [190] of a Flag has I believe induced Baron Steuben to remit Mr. Hare & his vessel again to his Commander.

Tho’ my office requires that I should be divested of private estimations yet I must be permitted to assure you that it will give me very real pleasure to know that the issue from this troublesome business is perfectly to your satisfaction.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 1. 1781
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES1 (RICHARD HENRY LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—It is with great reluctance that after so long & laborious a Session as the last I have been again to give you the trouble of convening in general assembly within so short a time and in so inclement a season but such was the situation of public affairs as to render it indespensable.

The six millions of pounds ordered to be emitted at the last session of assembly, the four millions which the Executive were permitted to issue is necessary, and the money for the purchase of 1500 hhds of tobo. estimated to be one million, one hundred & twenty five thousand pounds have been all dispensed in paiment of public debts, in present defence, and preperation for the ensuing campaign, as fast as they could be emitted: and the calls uncomplied with appear to be numerous & distressing.

One army of our enemies lodged within our Country, Edition: current; Page: [191] another pointing towards it, and since in fact entered into it, without a shilling in the public coffers, was a situation in which it was impossible to rest the safety of the state.

The invasion which took place on the close of the last session of assembly having necessarily called for the attendance of a number of Militia in the field, interrupted of course the execution of the act for recruiting our quota of troops for the Continental army. Sensible that this would be the consequence we endeavored to restrain the calls of Militia to as few Counties as possible, that the residue might proceed undisturbed in this important work. But such has been the course of events as to render indispensable subsequent applications to many other Counties. So that while in some counties this law is in a regular train of execution, in others it is begun and proceeding under great obstacles & doubts, and in others it has been wholly suspended. This last measure the Executive themselves were obliged to recommend or approve in some instances from a conviction that they could not otherwise draw forth the force of the Counties in the particular point in which that force was wanting.

Accidents derived from the same movements of the enemy delayed the promulgation of the act for supplying the army with cloths, provisions and waggons until it became evident that the times of execution would be elapsed before the laws could be received in many counties. I undertook notwithstanding to recommend their execution at as early a day as possible, not doubting but that the General Edition: current; Page: [192] assembly, influenced by the necessity which induced them to pass the act, would give their sanction to a literal departure from it, where its substance was complied with. I have reason to believe that the zeal of the several Counties has led them to a compliance with my recommendation, and I am therefore to pray a legal ratification of their proceedings, the want of which might expose the instruments of the law to cavil & vexation from some individuals.

These were the subjects which led immediately to the calling of the General assembly. Others, tho’ of less moment, it is my duty also to lay before you, being now convened.

As the establishment of your regular army will of course be under consideration, while amending the late law for raising regulars, I beg leave to lay before you a letter of the Honble Major General Baron Steuben on that subject, and the proceedings of a convention of the Commissioners from the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut and New York held at Hartford. As likewise a proposition from Colonel Spotswood for raising a legionary Corps for the defence of the State. Whether it be practicable to raise and maintain a sufficient number of regulars to carry on the war is a question. That it would be burthensome is undoubted yet it is perhaps as certain that no possible mode of carrying it on can be so expensive to the public so distressing & disgusting to individuals as the militia.

The approach of the british army under Ld. Cornwallis having rendered supplies of horses for the purpose Edition: current; Page: [193] of mounting our dragoons indispensably necessary for the reasons set forth in the inclosed extract of a Letter from General Greene, and it being apparent that horses, in the route of their march if not used for us, would be taken by them and used in subduing us, I undertook to recommend to General Greene the applying to the use of his dragoons horses so exposed, first ascertaining their value by appraisement, and beg leave to rest the justification of the measure on the appearance of things at that moment, and the sense of the General assembly of its necessity. Could any further means be devised for completing those corps of horse it might have the most important effects on the Southern operations.

I am desired to lay before the General assembly the resolutions of Congress of Feby 5 & 7. 1781. which accompany this, as also the representations of our officers in Captivity in Charles Town in favor of General McIntosh. I likewise beg leave to transmit you the advice of Council for reforming the 1st & 2d State regiments, the State Garrison regt. and regiment of artillery.

Mr Everard having declined resuming the office of Auditor to which the General assembly had elected him, the Executive have appointed Bolling Stark esqr in his room to serve till the meeting of Assembly.

Not doubting but that the General assembly would wish to be informed of the measures taken by the Executive on the invasion which happened at the rising of the last session of assembly, as well as on the one lately made on our Southern frontier, I shall Edition: current; Page: [194] take the liberty of giving them a succinct State of them.

Having received information on Sunday the last day of December of the appearance of 27 sail of Vessels in our bay, which whether friendly or hostile was not then known, we got the favor of General Nelson to repair immediately to the lower country with instructions to call into the field such a force from the adjacent counties as might make present opposition to the enemy, if it proved to be an enemy, according to an arrangement which had been settled in the preceeding summer; waiting for more certain & precise information before we should call on the more distant part of the Country; and in the same instant stationed expresses from hence to Hampton. I took the liberty of communicating this intelligence to the general assembly on their meeting the next morning. No further information arrived till the 2d. of Jan. when we were assured that the fleet announced was hostile. We immediately advised with Major General Baron Steuben, the commanding Officer in the State, on the force he would wish to have collected, and in the course of the day prepared letters calling together one fourth of the Militia from the Counties whose term it was to come into service, or whom vacinity rendered it expedient to call on. viz: Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Cumberland, Pr Edward, Charlotte, Halifax, Bedford, Buckingham, Henrico, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Sussex, Southampton, Goochl’d, Fluvanna, Albermarle, Amherst, Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham, & Shanandoah amounting to Edition: current; Page: [195] 4650 men and directing them not to wait to be embodied in their Counties but to come in detached parties as they could be collected. I at the same time required the Counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Chesterfield, Powhatan, Cumberland, Dinwiddie & Amelia to send the half of their militia intending to discharge what should be over their equal proportion as soon as those from the more distant counties should arrive, and in the morning of the 4th. finding the enemy were coming up James river I called for every man able to bear arms from the Counties Henrico, Goochland, Powhatan, Chesterfield & Dinwiddie, nevertheless so rapid were the movements of the enemy and so favorable to them the circumstances of wind & tide that they were able to penetrate to this place and Westham on the 5th. to destroy what public stores we had not been able to get away, to burn the public buildings at Westham & some occupied by the public at this place and to retire to their shipping before such a force had assembled as was sufficient to approach him. I have the pleasure however to inform you that we were enabled to withdraw almost the whole of the public Stores so as to render our losses in that article far less than might have been expected from the rapidity of the movements of the enemy and the difficulty of procuring suddenly any considerable number of waggons and vessels.

General Nelson having collected and drawn towards the enemy a body of Militia on the North, and Baron Steuben having done the same on the South side of the river, the enemy withdrew making Edition: current; Page: [196] descents & committing depredations at places till they reached Portsmouth, where they have since remained environed by the Militia of this State and of North Carolina.

On receiving intelligence of the advance of the British army under Ld. Cornwallis through N. Carolina, we directed one fourth of the militia of Pittsylvania, Henry, Montgomery, Washington and Botetourt to march immediately to reinforce General Greenes army. But learning very soon after that the enemy were already arrived at or very near the Dan river we ordered out all the Militia who had arms or for whom arms could be procured of the Counties of Lunenburg, Brunswick, Amelia, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Powhatan and Cumberland. Colonel Lynch who happened to be here when the intelligence was received, was instructed to carry on immediately the Militia of Bedford: we at the same instant received notice that the Militia of Prince Edward & Mecklenburg were already embodied and we knew that the Counties of Halifax & Charlotte to be so immediately under the approach of the enemy as that they must be embodied under the invasion law before our orders could reach them. The Counties below these on the South side of James river we thought it expedient to leave as a barrier against the enemy within Portsmouth. The very rapid approach of the enemy obliged us in this instance to disregard that regular rotation of duty which we wish to observe in our calls on the several Counties, and to summon those into the field which had Militia on duty at the very time. However Edition: current; Page: [197] the several services of these as well as of the other Counties shall be kept in view and made as equal as possible in the course of general service.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 2d 1781
Richmond
Marquis De Lafayette
Lafayette, Marquis De

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I was two days ago honoured with your letter and that of General Washington on the same subject; I immediately transmitted by Express the one acompanying it to the Commanding officer of the Naval Force of his Christian Majesty in our bay and took measures for providing pilots. Baron Steuben will communicate to you the arrangements he proposes, which I shall have the pleasure of forwarding with every aid in my power. I hope that when you shall arrive at the point of action every Thing will be found in readiness. I think the prospect flattering of lopping off this Branch of the British Force and of relieving the Southern Operations by pointing all their Efforts to one object only. The relief of this State being the most immediate effect of the enterprise it gives me great pleasure that we shall be so far indebted for it to a nobleman who has already so much endeared himself to the citizens of these States by his past Exertions and the very effectual aids he has been the means of procuring them. I have the honor to be with sentiments of the most perfect gratitude and respect, Sir, Your &c.

Edition: current; Page: [198]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 3d 1781
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (RICHARD HENRY LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—It is thought that the present situation of the enemy in this state affords an opportunity of undertaking some military operations of Importance. To enable the Commanding officer to carry them on an additional force on the water is necessary. There are in James & Appomatox Rivers vessels of private property suited and sufficient for the purpose as is believed. I shall be glad to have the sanction of the General Assembly if they approve of it for impressing such vessels, their tackle &c. Crews for this particular purpose and for short time only, a measure which I hope would not be disagreeable to the owners if their vessels be insured with whatever they may have on Board and a reasonable pay allowed. An immediate determination would be necessary if the measure is approved.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 3d 1781
Colonel Edward Carrington
Carrington, Colonel Edward

TO COLONEL EDWARD CARRINGTON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have received your letter wherein is this paragraph “the sum indeed mentioned in your Excellency’s letter is excessive and I am not surprised it should be so, when I find by a State of your affairs sent to General Greene you have magnifyed the estimate in one article ten fold and perhaps the same circumstance attends the estimation on some of the other articles. I estimated for fifty thousand Bushells Edition: current; Page: [199] of grain; in your Excellency’s State to General Greene it is called five hundred thousand. I would be glad the Executive would revise their estimation and perhaps after correcting those errors &c. &c.”

I trust you would have been more choice in your terms had you revised the estimate yourself as recommended to us. I send you a copy of it wherein you will find the quantity of corn or oats expressed in these figures and letters ‘500,000 Bushels’ in a former estimate given in some days or perhaps Weeks before this. The quantity required was ‘for 2326 draft horses and 779 saddle horses till the 1st of August was 282,490 Bushels.’ I did not therefore magnify the Article to General Greene and you are now speaking of 50,000 Bushels as the quantity required shows that I had reason to estimate to the General the necessity of a new calculation on the true number of horses connected with the Southern Army and the proportion of this, which on view of actual circumstances we ought to furnish. I believe the estimate of 50,000 bushels to be as far wrong as that of 500,000. We shall be governed by neither but will furnish as much as we shall be able. It will probably be short of the middle quantity. Should you have represented this article to General Greene to have been magnified by us, I shall expect from your Justice that you will be equally ready to correct as to commit an error & that you will take the trouble to inform him that I had not been so deficient in respect either to him or myself as to magnify things of which I undertook to give him representation. Major Claiborne had the half million of Pounds which Edition: current; Page: [200] we promised of the late emission. When the Treasury is replenished he shall again have due Proportion to enable him to procure such Part of the Estimate as he thinks proper.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 3d 1781
Thomas Sim Lee
Lee, Thomas Sim

TO THE SPEAKERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

v. s. a.
Gentlemen,

—I had the honor of receiving your joint letter of the 14th ult. I assure you that we have been so very far from entertaining an idea of witholding succours from you on account of the invasion of our State that it had been determined that the regular Troops raised & not at that time marched should nevertheless proceed to your assistance & that we would oppose the Army in our own country with militia. For the same reasons we still mean that the new Levies now raising and which will be rendezvoused mostly within the present month, shall be marched on to your assistance, being convinced that that is the only permanent and effective aid we can give you. Militia do well for hasty enterprises, but cannot be relied on for lengthy service and out of their own County.

I am truly sorry that it is out of my power to furnish you with a single stand of arms: those we sent the last year for the use of your State and in the hands of our own militia made a very considerable proportion of our whole stock. Three successive invasions since have obliged us so often to arm large bodies of militia and on every issue of arms to militia the loss is great. We are now unable to do more Edition: current; Page: [201] than to arm the Force lying at Portsmouth. The want of arms was the only circumstance which restrained the numbers lately collected against Ld Cornwallis.

I shall be happy to give you every proof which shall be in our Power of the Cordiality & zeal with which to aid you under every Difficulty. Circumstanced Abilities unhappily render these aids much less than we are disposed to make them to which circumstance I beg you to ascribe whatever we fall short of your actual Wants.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 6th, 1781
Richmond
Thomas Sim Lee
Lee, Thomas Sim

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND (THOMAS SIM LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s Favour of February 27th and had just before received the resolutions of Congress of February 20th which were the subject of the Letter.

I think that we ought not to expect any Co-operation in this business from North Carolina and that we should be disappointed were we to expect it. A State in which are several different Armies of Foes and of friends as destructive from necessity as Foes, which has been consumed by their ravages near a twelvemonth is not in a condition to give but to expect assistance. It must be evident that from the presence of our Armies in that state she must furnish more than her quota for supplies, because she makes up the failures of all other states; for on the Failures of supply the army will not go to take from the State Edition: current; Page: [202] failing, but takes its necessary subsistence from that in which you are. I think then that of the States named in the resolution of Congress the object of the resolution rest truly on Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia and I shall be very happy to concur with them in such equal measures as will effect the intentions of Congress. I do not apprehend it was intended by your Excellency when you proposed to deposit your quota of Specifics at Alexandria that the Burthen of transporting it thence to North Carolina should be left on us solely, because as on the same plan we should be entitled to deliver our quota on our Southern boundary which would bring up our share of burthen to an equality of yours: were we moreover to transport your quota and that of Delaware across our Country it would be so much more than equality. I take the liberty of mentioning this because your Excellency’s proposition has been I think misunderstood in this particular. The desire of Congress that we should settle an arrangement for procuring supplies for the Southern Army in the states most convenient for replacing those supplies from other States and for transporting the whole. All this supposes a joint concern, I should think therefore it ought to be executed jointly, or if divided that the division of the whole, that is of the procuring supplies in one place replacing them by others and transporting both should be equal, by which I mean proportioned to our abilities as rated in the Continental scale. This may be done in several different ways: 1st, by dividing among us the line of transportation into such parts as when combined with the Edition: current; Page: [203] quantity to be transported along each part will produce a total duly proportioned between us; 2d, by putting into the hands of a Quarter Master due Proportions of money or means of Transportation to be by him employed in carrying on our specifics from their respective States; 3d, For each State to appoint its own Agent & to procure the quota of specifics as near as they can to the Army replacing their money by sale of such specifics as might be raised within the State by Taxation. The first and second modes are liable to this objection that the transportation will cost very considerably more than would purchase the articles in the vicinities of the Army. Should these nevertheless or any other mode which can be thought to be more agreeable to your Excellency and the President of Delaware we shall be ready at any time to proceed to settle the arrangement, or as the settlement of it by way of letter might draw it to a great length, I would propose to refer it to be done by ye Delegates from the respective States in Congress. Should the third mode suggested above be preferred as it would be carried into separate Execution no reference would be requisite.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 7th, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—The enclosed came to hand this moment, as I make no doubt it communicates what was mentioned in a letter from the Marquis to me received at the same time, I shall not trouble you with it. Edition: current; Page: [204] Scows which the Marquis desires for the transportation of cannon, cannot venture into the wide waters over which they will have to be transported, as I apprehend. Flats (which abound in York River) are the best vessels for this purpose as I am informed. You may have the best information on this head at York, and I must trouble you to order Flats, or, whatever other vessels will best answer to be procured. The Marquis is very anxious to have the Works at York put into proper order. I hope Genl. Nelson’s influence may have enabled him to procure hands for this business. The Four Battery Pieces with their Carriages, and one Mortar with its bed are got on board to-day. The other Mortar, without a bed; will be on board this evening, with 6000 lb. of powder, and they will fall down to Hoods, where the armed vessels were directed to, there to await your orders. We found that there were iron beds at Cumberland for the Mortars; these I ordered down with the shells which were to go thence.—1000 lb. of powder set out for York this morning: by a letter from Genl. Weedon. I find the numbers he will actually bring will be but about 700. Capt Smith gave me hopes that he could raise 30 horsemen, but did not seem positive; I have not heard from him lately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 8th 1781
Richmond
Marquis De Lafayette
Lafayette, Marquis De

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I had the pleasure of receiving last night your letter of the 3d instant and of learning of your Edition: current; Page: [205] arrival at the Head of Elk three days sooner than General Washington had given us reason to expect. In the mean time I hope you will have received my answer to your first letter which I forwarded by Express to the Head of Elk, and which is of greater importance a letter from Baron Steuben who commands in this State, explaining to you what he proposed.

The number of militia desired by the Baron will be provided, tho not quite so early as had been proposed, so that your delays at the Head of Elk will not produce any inconvenience. Arnold’s retreat is at this time cut off by land. Provisions and arms for the Troops are in readiness and the Quartermasters are exerting themselves to get horses. Their exertions are slow and doubtful. Oxen I apprehend must be used in some measure for the artillery. We have no heavy field artillery mounted. Four battering cannon (French 18 lbs) with two 12 Inch Mortars fall down from this place this evening. Scows I am afraid cannot be used for the Transportation of your cannon on the wide waters where your operations will be carried on. We shall endeavour to procure other vessels the best we can. The total destruction of our Trade by the Enemy has put it out of our Power to make any great Collection of Boats. Some armed vessels of public & some of private property are held in readiness to coöperate, but as they are in James River they cannot venture down ’til the command of the Water is taken from the Enemy. Baron Steuben is provided with the most accurate drawings we have of the vicinities of Portsmouth: they are Edition: current; Page: [206] from actual survey of the land, and as to information of the navigation the most authentick will be obtained from the pilots in that neighborhood, ten of the best of which are provided. I shall continue to exert my best endeavours to have in readiness what yet remains to be done, and shall with great pleasure meet your desires on this important business, and see that they be complied with as far as our condition will render practicable. On this and every other occasion I will take the liberty of begging the freest Communications with you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 8, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

c. c.
Sir,

—I had the pleasure of receiving a Letter from General Greene dated High Rock ford february 29 (probable March 1) who informs me that on the night of the 24th Colo McCall surprised a subaltern’s guard at Hart’s Mill, killed 8 and wounded and took 9 prisoners, and that on the 25th General Pickens and Lieutenant Colo Lee routed a body of near 300 tories on the Haw river, who were in arms to join the British army, killed upwards of 100 and wounded most of the rest, which had had a very happy effect on the disaffected in that country.

By a letter from Major Magill an officer of this state whom I had sent to Genl Greene’s headquarters Edition: current; Page: [207] for the purpose of giving us regular intelligence dated Guilford county March 2d. I am informed that Ld Cornwallis on his retreat erected the british standard at Hillsborough, that a number of disaffected under the command of Colo Piles were resorting to it when they were intercepted by Genl Pickens and Lt Colo. Lee as mentioned by General Greene and that their commanding officer was among the slain, that Lord Cornwallis after destroying everything he could at Hillsborough moved down the Haw river that Genl. Greene was within six miles of him, that our superiority in the goodness tho not in the number of our cavalry prevented the enemy from moving with rapidity or foraging. Having desired Major Magill to be particular in informing me what corps of militia from this state joined General Greene he accordingly mentions that 700 under General Stevens and 400 from Botetourt had actually joined General Greene, that Colo Campbell was to join him that day with 600 and that Colo Lynch with 300 from Bedford were shortly expected; the last three numbers being riflemen. Besides these mentioned by Major Magill, Genl Lawson must before that time have crossed Roanoke with a body of Militia the number of which has not been stated to me. Report makes them 1000 but I suppose the number to be exaggerated. 400 of our new levies left Chesterfield court house on the 25th february and probably would cross the Roanoke about the first or second of March.

I was honoured with your Excellency’s letter of Feb. 21 within seven days after its date. We have Edition: current; Page: [208] accordingly been making every preparation on our part which we were able to make. The militia proposed to operate will be upwards of 4000 from this state and 1000 or 1200 from Carolina, said to be under Genl Gregory. The enemy are at this time in a great measure blockaded by land, there being a force on the east side of Elizabeth river. Tho they have a free exit from the Elizabeth river, they suffer for provisions, as they are afraid to venture far lest the french Squadron should be in the neighbourhood and come on them. Were it possible to block up the river, a little time would suffice to reduce them, by want & desertions would be more sure in its event than an attempt by storm. I shall be very happy to have it in my power to hand you a favorable account of these two armies in the South.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 9th, 1781
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (RICHARD HENRY LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I think it my duty to communicate to the General Assembly the enclosed papers giving information of the refusal of considerable numbers of militia within certain Counties to come into the Field and the departure of some others in Defiance with their arms. The crisis at which these instances of Disobedience to the laws have appeared may bring on peculiar consequences. I have taken the liberty of mentioning it to the General Assembly as it may perhaps suggest to them some amendments of the Edition: current; Page: [209] Invasion Law, or as they might wish to advise the proper measures to be taken on the present occasion.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 10th, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

Sir,

—I received your favour of the 8th instant and am sorry to find that this distressing flag is not yet off our hands. I sincerely wish that the perplexities she has introduced, she may not be more effectually working for our enemies than if she had pursued their original purpose. This can only be avoided by candid explanation & dispassionate Judgment. The line of conduct which the Executive meant to pursue as to this Flag cannot be more pointedly declared than in the letter of the February which I had the honour of writing to you, a copy of which I take the liberty of enclosing. They considered her from the beginning within the military line: they never proposed to make, or ever did make a single order on the subject or come to a resolution except that which is declared in my letter of February a copy of which is also enclosed, whereby they laid down a general rule that compensations for plunder shall not be received from the enemy.

In the conversation which I had with Capt Walker wherein he mentioned your sentiments & purposes as to the person of Mr. Hare and his vessel, I declared to him my sense of the extreme impropriety of Mr. Hare’s Conduct: that had I been the Officer to whom he had come, I would have refused to do business with him and have sent him back his Purpose Edition: current; Page: [210] uneffected, but that I would not for such a cause have brought the sacred rights of the flag into question, & that I concurred with you in opinion that they should be dismissed.

The officers immediately connected with her did make some reports to the Executive, but they were in every instance and immediately transmitted and transferred to you for orders, one instance only excepted, which was the following. Some few days ago, I received a letter from Colo. Innes desiring my opinion as to what should be done with Mr Hare & the vessel. This conveyed to me the first notice that your order had not been obeyed and that the vessel was drawn into a Court of Justice. I wrote in answer to Colo Innes, as well at I can recollect for I write this from memory that whatever powers the Executive might have possessed over these subjects, they had delegated them to you, that I doubted whether the Delegation had added anything to your powers as I conceived them before competent to the subject, that as to Mr. Hare particularly whether considered as a Conductor of a Flag a Prisoner of war or a Spy he was subject to your order. That indeed as to the vessel since she was drawn into the possession of a court being much unacquainted with the subject I would take the Attory General’s opinion on it & transmit it to him. I did so. I did not send the papers to you because I knew or believed you to be on the road to Williamsburg, where I took for granted the whole matter would be laid before you.

As to Mr. Hare’s person the Executive can with Truth disclaim having ever given an order on that Edition: current; Page: [211] subject, and if you had supposed, as we are afraid from your letter you do that any Thing has been done in consequence of an order, advice or Recommendation from us, we affirm that it was not: As little as the Detention of the vessel proceeded from the Executive. She is indeed in the hands of the State, but it is of the Judiciary part of Government, which is as independent of them as is the Supreme Court of any other Country.

We are sorry the officers who transacted business with Mr. Hare should have failed in obedience to your orders, and would do any Thing in our power to support and manifest your authority were any Thing wanting but nothing can be added to the provision which the Military Institutions have made to enforce obedience, and it would be presumption in us to say what is that Provision to you. These put into your own hands the satisfaction which you desire Government to procure you. Even your letter to Mr. Hare, which we must suppose Major Turberville to have so improperly to have retained, it is most in our power to require authoritively: to such an order no obedience would be exacted by the Laws, nevertheless he shall be written to on the subject as we cannot conceive but that, sensible of the Impropriety of such a detention, he will not need compulsion to return it: I must again express my uneasiness at the unfortunate consequences which may flow from the conduct of the Gentlemen who have managed this business; however zealous may have been their Intention, I fear I foresee evils more lasting & weighty than the good which may result from them.

Edition: current; Page: [212]

I trust I shall not fail of having your concurrence in endeavouring to avoid them as far as shall depend on us.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 10, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Since writing my letter of this Day’s Date, yours of yesterday has come to hand. The orders to the Counties which were to reinforce General Muhlenburg, were that their Detachments should be with him on the fifth or at furthest the 6th. On receipt of the letter of the 8th informing us of the almost total deficiency of New Kent. we ordered 164 men from Chesterfield and 187 from Dinwiddie to be immediately assembled and marched to Genera Muhlenburg’s Head quarters. We can only be answerable for the orders we give and not for the execution. If they are disobeyed from obstinacy of spirit or want of coertion in the Laws it is not our fault; we have done what alone remained for us to do in such case, we have ordered other militia from other Counties.

The Quarter Master applied to us on the subject of the Horses required. He was furnished with impressing powers. He again applied for militia to aid him in the execution of the Powers. We did not think proper to resign ourselves and our Country implicitly to the demands of a Quartermaster, but thought we had some right of judgment left to us. We knew that an armed force to impress horses was as unnecessary as it was new. The fact has been that our citizens have been so far from requiring an Edition: current; Page: [213] armed Force for this purpose that they have parted with their horses too easily delivering them to every man who said he was riding on public business and assumed a right of impressing. When therefore the militia have on their hands a sufficiency of real calls to duty, we did not think it proper to harrass them in cases where we had reason to suspect they were not wished by the Quartermaster as militia, but as servants. It was mentioned to the Quartermaster that in our opinion he could and should do but little in this neighbourhood & that of Petersburg which had been drained by constant impresses: Nevertheless we furnished him with the blank Powers to be exercised where he pleased. I have laid your letter before the Assembly according to your desire.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 10th, 1781
Richmond
Marquis De La Fayette
Fayette, Marquis De La

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Intending that this shall await your arrival in this State I with great joy welcome you on that event. I am induced to from the very great esteem your personal character and the Hopes I entertain of your relieving us from our enemy within this State. Could any circumstances have rendered your presence more desirable or more necessary it is the unfortunate one which obliges me to enclose you the enclosed papers.

I trust that your future Acquaintance with the Executive of the State will evince to you that among their faults is not to be counted a want of disposition to second the views of the Commander against our Edition: current; Page: [214] common Enemy. We are too much interested in the present scene & have too much at stake to leave a doubt on that Head. Mild Laws, a People not used to prompt obedience, a want of provisions of War & means of procuring them render our orders often ineffectual, oblige us to temporise & when we cannot accomplish an object in one way to attempt it in another. Your knowledge of these circumstances with a temper to accommodate them ensure me your coöperation in the best way we can, when we shall be able to pursue the way we would wish.

I still hope you will find our preparations not far short of the Information I took the Liberty of giving you in my letter of the 8th instant. I shall be very happy to receive your first Applications for whatever may be necessary for the public service and to convince you of our disposition to promote it as far as the Abilities of the State and Powers of the Executive will enable us.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 10, 1781
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY1 (RICHARD HENRY LEE)

Sir,

—At the request of Major General Baron Steuben, expressed in the enclosed letter, I take the liberty of laying it before you. The number of militia necessary to be called into the field, and time of their being there, we begged the baron to advise. He did so. Apprehending the deficiencies, Edition: current; Page: [215] we ordered a considerably larger number. As soon as we received the letters informing us of the deficiencies from New Kent, and desertions from Cabin Point, finding that, with those of Loudoun, the number would be reduced below what he desired, we ordered three hundred and fifty one from the counties of Chesterfield and Dinwiddie. The time fixed by the baron, for the first reinforcement, was the sixth instant; our orders were that they should be there on the 5th or 6th, at farthest; they were not there, it seems on the 7th. A number of horses were required for special purposes; we furnished the quartermaster with impressing powers. He applied for militia to aid him in the execution of the powers. We knew that an armed force to impress horses was unnecessary as it was new. The fact has been, that our citizens, so far from requiring an armed force for this purpose, have parted from their horses too easily, by delivering them to every man who said he was riding on public business, and assumed a right of impressing. When, therefore, the militia have on their hands a sufficiency of real calls to duty, we did not think proper to harass them in cases where, we had reason to believe, they were not wished by the quartermaster as militia, but as servants. It was mentioned to the quarter-master, that, in our opinion, he could and should do but little in this neighborhood, and that of Petersburg, which had been drained by constant impresses; nevertheless, we furnished him with blank powers, to be exercised where he pleased.

Edition: current; Page: [216]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 12th, 1781
Richmond
Marquis De Lafayette
De Lafayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The enclosed is the Copy of a Letter which was intended to have awaited you in Virginia. But as there seems to be a probability that you will be detained at the Head of Elk longer than could have expected I have thought it best to send a Copy there also.

An idea having unfortunately got abroad that the militia now called on are intended to storm the Enemy’s works at Portsmouth the numbers which actually march from the several Counties are so far short of what we ordered as never happened before & as to have baffled our calculations on probable Deficiencies. As these have become further known & expected we have ordered in additional numbers. From this cause I am informed the Blockade of Arnold on the Norfolk side has not taken place as I had reason to believe when I wrote to you on another occasion.

By the last accounts I can get the Enemy have three vessels of Force in the Bay in addition to those Arnold had before. What few armed vessels we could get are in James River & cannot be got out nor, could we get them out, are they of Force sufficient to venture up the Bay. Should a French naval Force superior to that of the Enemy arrive in the Bay, I make no doubt you will still think it necessary to be assured that there are not in the upper part of the Bay vessels of the Enemy sufficient to do you Injury. I fear the number of boats requisite for landing your men and cannon will be very defective. Baron Edition: current; Page: [217] Steuben thinks 20 necessary but there cannot be half that number procured. The boats built for use in the upper part of James river cannot navigate the lower parts nor can any be brought round from the other rivers, perhaps it will be in your power to bring a number of boats with you. We have every instrument in motion which can avail us on this most interesting Occasion, but the want of means circumscribes our exertions. I think it proper therefore to reduce your expectations from what should be ready to what probably will be ready, and even calculating on probabilities I find it necessary to reduce my own expectations at Times. I know that you will be satisfied to make the most of an unprepared people, who have the war now for the first Time seriously fixed in their Country and have therefore all those habits to acquire which their Northern Brethren had in the year 1776. and which they have purchased at so great an expense.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 12
Marquis De Lafayette
De Lafayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Since writing the preceeding I have been honoured with your letter of the 6th. The first notification of this Enterprise came to me in the night of the last day of February. We were informed there were few or no armed vessels in the three northern Rivers and supposed if there were any they could not be impressed manned & brought into place by the time at which it was then thought they would be wanting. We confined ourselves therefore to James Edition: current; Page: [218] river. It is certainly too late to attempt the other rivers. We had but one Galley in order. She went down the river some time ago and having never been heard of since we fear some accident has happened to her. We had before sent down 6000 lbs of cannon powder and now order 4000 lbs more which goes very deep into our present stock. Ten Pilots are provided. I will lodge some maps for you so as that they shall be delivered to you on your arrival. I now give orders for look-out boats to be ready in Rappahannock, Piankatank & York rivers. I cannot say what may be expected from them. The articles wanted in the Quartermasters & Engineers departments as stated in their Invoice, will most of them be got, as the orders for them go out to Day, only they will of course be rather late. I send off to the neighbourhood of the intended operations to procure the plank. I expect it will not be very easily or speedily provided. As to the artificers required I can give you but little Hope. They are exceedingly scarce in this Country. Endeavours shall not be wanting, but still they must not be counted on. Provisions will be in readiness. This is a summary of what is done, may be done, is doubtful or desperate on the several articles enumerated in your Letter. I pray you to make no difficulties in communicating freely what may be wanted for the service being desirous of contributing every Thing which our State can do or produce for the successful prosecution of the Enterprise and confiding that you will put the most candid Constructions when we fail as you will too soon find a full Compliance beyond the reach of our abilities.

Edition: current; Page: [219]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 14th 1781
Marquis De Lafayette
De Lafayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—We just received the pleasing information of your safe arrival at York yesterday. My letters of the 12th which were sent to the Head of Elk (Duplicates of which accompany this) will inform you that we were endeavouring to accomplish your several Requisitions. I now enclose you a list of articles actually procured which will go from this place this evening, most of them in waggons to General Muhlenburg’s Head Quarters. Some heavy Articles particularly about 1500 Gallons of rum, some flour and 20 seasoned oak planks go in a vessel down the river. Four smiths go with the waggons. The articles not stated in the enclosed paper will I am in Hopes be procured by an Agent I have sent to the neighbourhood of Suffolk who will engage what Artificers can be found I am informed that there will be ready at the public Ship yard on Chickahominy on Friday next 4 Boats well fitted for our purpose. Others are collecting in the rivers to rendezvous at Hoods. The Galley I mentioned in my letter of the 12th is at the same ship yard and another is got ready. They are very light and want men as do two armed vessels belonging to the State at the same place. I have desired Capt Maxwell (at present I believe at York) who in consequence of former orders has I expect provided men to come to the ship yard and see these vessels put into motion. I have the pleasure to inclose you herewith a small map of the vicinities of Williamsburg York Hampton & Portsmouth done on a scale of 5 miles to the inch which may serve for Edition: current; Page: [220] pocket purposes & a larger one of the vicinities of Portsmouth on a scale of a mile to the inch which may be resorted to where greater accuracy is requisite. They are both from actual surveys and are the best in our power to provide for you. The larger one is a copy of original draughts, the smaller is very carefully reduced from them. Provisions cannot fail if the Commissaries look forward. I must beg the favour of you to give strict orders to the issuing Commissary to give me very timely notice when anything like want shall be approaching, because Time is requisite in this State to comply with any call. The State purchasing Commissary was ordered by me besides the bread and animal Food to lay in at General Muhlenburg’s camp or at a proper place in its neighbourhood a hundred thousand rations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 15th, 1781

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

v. s. a.
Gentlemen,

—A Difference of opinion having taken place between the Executive of this State & Mr. Simon Nathan at the rate at which certain Bills of Exchange should be discharged in paper money we have agreed with him to refer it to such Gentlemen of knowledge in the Laws of established character & of any other State as yourselves shall mutually agree on with him. Their award shall be performed by the State which means to stand in the place as well of the Drawer as Drawee. Mr. Wilson & Mr. Sergeant had been consulted by Mr. Nathan. I enclose to you Mr. Pendleton and Wythe’s opinion. Edition: current; Page: [221] You will be pleased to observe that the state of the case requires from Mr. Nathan actual proof that he took up the bills at par. Mr. Nathan having agreed with us to all the facts as stated I am to suppose nothing contrary to them will be received, as his signature here was omitted prehaps it would be best for you to require it before submission. It is not our Desire to pay of those bills according to the present Depreciation but according to their actual value in hard money at the time they were drawn with interest. The State having received value so far as it is just it should be substantially paid. All beyond this would be plunder made by some person or other. The Executive in the most candid manner departed from the advantage which their Tender law gave them in the beginning. It seems very hard to make this means of obtaining an unjust Gain from the State.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 16th, 1781
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (RICHARD HENRY LEE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The Marquis Fayette desired me among the articles most essential for an Enterprise at the head of which he is, to procure 150 Draught Horses for Artillery & 50 saddle Horses for Officers to act on. I gave power and instruction to have them procured by Purchase if possible & if not by Impress.—One of the Quarter masters employed in this Business informs me that he has purchased some and impressed Edition: current; Page: [222] others on valuations by men on oath and deemed honest which are rated as high as £30,000 and most of them very much above what is reasonable. These circumstances are very embarrassing. To retain the Horses at such enormous prices threatens ruin on one Hand, the other to discharge them endangers an Enterprise which if successful would relieve us from an Enemy whose residence is attended with continued Expence, Fatigue and Danger. Under this perplexity I am happy to have it in my power to ask the advice of General Assembly. The Quarter master was under orders from his Commanding Officer to set out this morning with what Horses he had but I have detained him until the sense of the General Assembly may be had on the subject.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 19th, 1781
Richmond
Marquis De Lafayette
De Lafayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Your letters of the 16th & 17th inst, came to hand at Noon of this day. I beg leave to inform you that for the purpose of speedy Communications between the Executive & the Commanding Officers Expresses are established from this place through Williamsburg to Hampton every fifteen miles distance and that a Quarter master is employed in establishing a similar line from hence to the Army before Portsmouth crossing James River at Hoods. These Expresses are ordered to ride day and night. You will be pleased to set the line in motion whenever you think proper. Besides the Exertions of the Continental Quarter master to procure Horses we instructed Edition: current; Page: [223] the State Quarter Master to send out Agents on the same business in order to insure the number required by Colo Pickering which was 50 saddle Horses & 150 Draught Horses. What his agents could procure we ordered to be at General Muhlenburg’s Head Quarters by the 20th. I shall order him to continue his efforts in aid of the Continental Quarter Master ten days longer.—In a Country whose means of paiment are neither prompt nor of the most desirable kind, impressing property for the public use has been found indispensible. We have no fears of complaint under your exercise of those powers & have only to ask the favor of you to instruct those employed in impressing to furnish the party whose property is taken with a proper certificate of the Article & value and that they make regular returns to Government of the Certificates they have given stating in such return the Date of the Certificate, owners name, article taken, & price. This has been required of course from all impressing Officers as a Check on Counterfeited certificates.

The conduct of Capt. Turberville has come to the knowledge of the Executive in detached Parts only. His permitting Lt Hare to pass his post to Westover was deemed by us improper. We understood also he did not obey a positive order from Major General Baron Steuben for discharging Mr Hare & the flag; and the Baron complains to us that an open letter of his to Mr Hare was detained by Capt Turberville. We could do no less than observe to the Baron that the military institutions had put in his hands the Powers of vindicating the military authority. An Edition: current; Page: [224] enquiry or Trial before a military court is certainly proper: but Capt Turberville cannot & I dare say will not expect or desire it but when full evidence can be obtained. If it be necessary that it should await the papers which were transmitted me, they are now in the hands of the Attorney General to support a civil prosecution and cannot probably be for many Days withdrawn. Capt Turberville is an essential witness in the prosecution which is to be heard on the 23d inst and will then have the means of knowing when the papers can be spared.

As a complete collection of our military & other Laws is very difficult to be procured and would be troublesome for you to consult, I have ordered the Militia Laws to be copied together & will transmit them to you in a few Days.

Capt Turberville’s connection with Mr Hare’s flag gives me occasion to mention that matter to you. On my hearing (several days after it happened) that such an Officer and vessel had come up James River, I took the Liberty of mentioning it in a letter to Major General Baron Steuben, of asking the favor of his attention to it, & informing that it was more immediately within the military line, was under rules and usages with which he was much better acquainted than we were, we wished to leave it to him altogether to have done whatever was right. It was his opinion & it was & is ours that notwithstanding the Indecencies & Irregularities of Mr Hare’s conduct he & his vessel should have been discharged. He accordingly ordered it, but his order was not obeyed as to Mr. Hare’s person till so much time Edition: current; Page: [225] had elapsed as to render the discharge dangerous, it was therefore countermanded. As to the vessel, an Idea arose I know not on what grounds that she was drawn into litigation before a Court of Justice. This I am now informed is not the case. As we have never meddled with her we wish not to do it; but to leave with yourself to discharge both officer & flag whenever you shall think it proper to do so. In the meantime I doubt not you will think proper attention should be paid to the safe Custody of the vessel the persons & property belonging to her, & that she be kept under the military Power & clear of the civil.

I send you subjoined a State of the militia called to the South Side of James River.1 If I understood Baron Steuben’s plan he wished to have 800 Virginia militia to operate on the Norfolk side with the Carolinians and 2260 on the Portsmouth side to operate with the Regulars making in the whole 3060 Edition: current; Page: [226] militia. In our first call expecting deficiencies we much exceeded these numbers taking into account the militia then in the field under General Muhlenburg, but finding these deficiencies greater than could have been expected we afterwards considerably augmented our calls. I also state the armed vessels now at Hoods under the direction of Capts Mitchell & Lewis, subject to your order. They are private property. Those of the Public in Chickahominy want men to supply which Orders have been sent to Captain Maxwell.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 21st, 1781
Richmond

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS

j. mss.
Sir,

—The inclosed letter will inform you of the arrival of a British fleet in the Chesapeake Bay.

The extreme negligence of our Stationed Expresses is no doubt the cause why as yet no authentic account has reached us of a General Action which happened on the 15th instant, about a mile and a half from Guilford Court House between Genl. Greene & Ld Cornwallis. Capt. Singleton an intelligent Officer of Harrison’s Artillery who was in the action, is this moment arrived here and gives the general information that both parties were prepared and desirous for action. The Enemy were supposed about 2500 strong, our army about 4000. That after a warm and general engagement of about an hour and a half, we retreated about a mile and a half from the Edition: current; Page: [227] field in good order, having as he supposed between two and three hundred killed and wounded: The enemy between five and seven hundred killed and wounded; That we lost four pieces of Artillery: That the Militia as well as regulars behaved exceedingly well: That Genl. Greene, he believes, would have renewed the action the next day had it not proved rainy, & would renew it as soon as possible, as he supposes. That the whole of his Troops, both regulars and Militia were in high spirits and wishing a second engagement: That the loss has fallen pretty equally on the Militia and Regulars: That Genl. Stevens received a ball through the thigh: Major Anderson of Maryland was killed & captain Barrett of Washington’s Cavalry. Capt. Fauntleroy of the same Cavalry shot through the thigh & left on the field. Capt Singleton having left Camp the day after the Battle does not speak from particular returns, none such having been then made. I must inform your Excellency from him, till more regular applications can reach you, that they are in extreme want of lead, cartridge paper & bread. I think it improper, however it might urge an instantaneous supply, to repeat to you his state of the extent of their Stock of these articles. In a former letter I mentioned to you the failure of the vein of our Lead Mines which has left the Army here in a state of equal distress & danger.

Look out Boats have been ordered from the Sea board of the E shore to apprise the Commander of the French fleet on its approach of the British being in the Chesapeake

Edition: current; Page: [228]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 21st, 1781
Richmond
George Weedon
Weedon, George

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE WEEDON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—As I am certainly informed by Commodore Baron that the Fleet arrived is British, I become anxious lest the expected French fleet not knowing of this Incident may come into the Bay. Should ye Marquis Fayette be returned to the North side of the river, I make no doubt that he will have taken what cautionary measures are in his power and necessary. Should he not be returned I must beg the favor of you immediately to send off a vessel from York to the Eastern shore (which is supposed to be practicable) with the enclosed letter to Colo. Avery the purport of which is to send out two good lookout boats from the sea side of that shore to apprize the French Commander should he be approaching of the situation of Things here. You will of course caution the master of the vessel to destroy the Letters confided to him in case of inevitable capture.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 24th, 1781
Marquis De Lafayette
De Lafayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am honored by your letter of the 20th inst. and am sorry that a want of ammunition should have abridged your intentions at Portsmouth. I have made enquiry what have been the issues of ammunition from the State Stores and am informed by returns that there has issued (naming principal articles only)

Edition: current; Page: [229]

To Thomas Smith acting for Major Prior 1000 lbs Cannon powder for York.

To Captn Bohannon 6000 lbs Cannon powder

To Major Pryor for Genl Muhlenburg’s camp 400 lbs musket powder 2100 lbs lead.

To Capt Irish for the Continental Laboratory 3500 lbs musket powder and 3900 lbs lead.—

Amounting to 10,900 lbs powder & 6000 lbs lead.

These things being put into the hands of continental officers, whether made up, forwarded, or not are circumstances not afterwards coming to my knowledge. I asked the favor of Captn. Irish to inform me of his issues from the Continental Laboratory to which we sent 19 hands to aid him in preparing the ammunition. He made the enclosed return. I apprehend a considerable part of what he has issued is still on the road. He has 18,000 cartridges on hand and makes 3000 a Day. I am very sorry to inform you our stock of lead will not employ him much longer even at this slow rate.

The vein of the mine on which we have hitherto depended failed some weeks ago, of this I immediately apprized Congress. Unless some speedy supplies are sent on, the Southern army as well as ours will immediately fail. I have lately again written to Congress on this subject and by Captain Rutlege ventured to send a particular state of the Southern Army in this point as reported to me by Captn. Singleton, the addition of your application would doubtless have great weight. It has not been generally expected that individual States should provide Edition: current; Page: [230] more ammunition on their own accounts than to repel occasional Attacks or to oppose a permanent enemy until supplies & support could be forwarded from the Continental stock. Our State stores however have been constantly applying to the use of the Southern Army from the taking of Charleston to this time and our own Army from the first of October last. I mention these Things not with an Idea of withholding as long as we have a grain, but to enable to shew that aids of military stores from the Continental stock are as reasonable as they are necessary. As to provisions I have been incessant with the Commissary to see that the quantity before ordered be in readiness. He has constantly assured me that he has much more than has been required. Were the articles such as are lodged in Store-houses I would send an Officer to examine his stores actually, but they consist mostly of stalled beeves divided among the counties which it would be improper to bring together till wanted. He has a vessel under the care of the armed vessels in this river loaded with Flour, which he says contains half the quantity required and the whole may be water borne the moment it is wanted. He has no hard bread, but he is instructed to provide it. I shall not cease to recall his attention to it.

I am anxious to hear from you since the appearance of this British fleet. It is said by a Captn. Reeves who came out of Portsmouth since their arrival that there was a partial engagement between that & the French Fleet off our Capes in which neither party sustained the loss of any vessel or other Edition: current; Page: [231] considerable damage. Immediately on learning their arrival I communicated by the stationed Expresses to Governor Lee, the President of Congress & General Washington. I suppose this will put an end to the design of Portsmouth, or place it at a distance; in either case the militia who have had a tour of Duty so unusually long are entitled to be discharged by a special promise so soon as those newly called on shall rendezvous in sufficient numbers to replace them. Great cautions are requisite on the discharge of militia to prevent their carrying away their arms and ammunition. Another reason induces me to wish an information of your present views, which is that if there be a probability that the private armed vessels we have impressed may not be wanting. I should be glad to discharge them as they are heavy daily Expence and risk.

I do myself the pleasure of transmitting to you the Militia Laws according to Your desire.

I will beg the favor to send the enclosed letter to the Britsh Commanding Officer at Portsmouth by Flag whenever you shall think proper. Indeed I wish it might suffice to deliver it to the naval Commander as nothing can be so disagreeable to me as to be compelled to a correspondence with the other.1

On the resignation of Colo. Muter as Commissioner of the war office we have appointed Colo. Davies to succeed him. The due execution of the duties of this office are of extreme importance to the State and indeed to the Continent, while an army continues either here or in the South. Some difficulties Edition: current; Page: [232] on the subject of rank and other emoluments prevent his absolute acceptance. He has however accepted conditionally and we are applying to Congress to settle the points on which he hesitates. In the meantime as the duties of the office do not admit a Days intermission in the present Situation of Things, give me leave to solicit his excuse for quitting the charge at Chesterfield Courthouse without awaiting a regular Licence & your permission to him to continue here till we receive the Determination of Congress.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 24th, 1781
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE BRITISH FORCE AT PORTSMOUTH (MAJOR-GENERAL BENEDICT ARNOLD)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Some of the citizens of this State taken prisoners when not in arms and enlarged on parole have reported the Commanding Officer as affirming to them that they should be punished with Death if found in Arms. This has given occasion to the enclosed Resolution of the General Assembly of this State. It suffices to observe at present that by the Law of nations, a breach of parole (even where the validity of parole is not questioned) can only be punished by strict confinement.

No usage has permitted the putting to Death a prisoner for this cause. I would willingly suppose that no British Officer had ever expressed a contrary purpose. It has however become my duty to declare that should such a Threat be carried into Execution, Edition: current; Page: [233] it will be deemed as putting prisoners to death in cold blood, and shall be followed by the Execution of so many British prisoners in our possession. I trust however that this horrid necessity will not be introduced by you and that you will on the contrary concur with us in endeavouring as far as possible to alleviate the inevitable miseries of war by treating captives as Humanity and natural honour requires. The event of this contest will hardly be affected by the fate of a few miserable captives in war.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 26th, 1781

CIRCULAR-LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I enclose you by express three Acts of the last session of Assembly for ascertaining the number of militia in the State exempting Artificers employed at Iron works from militia duty and remedying the inconveniences arising from the Interruption of the Draught and the procuring Clothes Provisions & waggons for the Army. On the approach of Lord Cornwallis to this State & a representation of the want of Horses to mount our Dragoons two warrants were enclosed to General Greene for impressing Dragoon horses. The persons to whom these warrants have been entrusted having taken as was said Horses of much greater value than have been allowed for that service, the General-Assembly directed that no further Impresses under them should be made of horses of more than the value of £50 Specie and that those of a higher price already Impressed shld Edition: current; Page: [234] be returned to their owners. We have taken such measures as were in our power to carry the Resolution into effect, but as the Impresses pasing continually from Place to Place may not be notified of the Resolutions of Government, I must beg the favor of you to take measures for making them known to any such who may be in your County and for effecting their execution. It is probable that most of the valuations have been made in paper money. From another Resolution from Assembly we are led to fix on £5000 paper, as the value above which no such Horse shall be impressed or retained. We expect to send a vessel shortly with a flag from this Place to Charles Town with tobacco to be disposed of for our Captive Officers and soldiers there. Be so good as to give notice to the friends of any of them within your County that any articles that they may think proper to send for their Relief by that conveyance shall have a free passage if ready to be delivered here by the last of April, & not too much for the share room of the vessel.

The number of deserters from the British army who have taken refuge in this State is now considerably & daily augmenting. These people notwithstanding their coming over to us, being deemed in Law alien Enemies and as such not admissible to be citizens are not within the scope of the Militia and Invasion Laws, under which citizens alone can be embodied. I thought it necessary to observe this to you lest any Error in this point should creep into practice by incorporating those persons in the Militia of the State.

Edition: current; Page: [235]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 31st, 1781
Richmond
Robert Andrews
Andrews, Robert
James Madison
Madison, James

TO THE REV. JAMES MADISON AND ROBERT ANDREWS

v. s a.
Sir,

—The principal on which the Boundary between Pennsylvania and this State is to be run having been fixed it is now proposed by President Reid that Commissioners proceed to execute the work from the termination of Mason and Dixons Line to the completion of five Degrees of Longitude and thence on a meridian to the Ohio. We propose that the extent of the five Degrees of longitude shall be determined by celestial observation. Of course it will require one set of Astronomers to be at Philadelphia and another at Port Pitt. We ask the favor of yourselves to undertake this business the one to go to the one place, the other to the other, meaning to add a coadjutor to each of you. Good instruments can be furnished no doubt at Philadelphia; but for the Pittsburg observations we must sollicit the proper instruments from your corporations which we will undertake to return in good order; or if injured to replace them. I therefore beg the favor of you to sollicit the Loan of those Instruments. With respect to yourselves we shall furnish money for your necessary & comfortable Expenses, the covered waggon which conveys the Instruments will take any luggage necessary for your accommodation. And we will give you moreover 150 bars of Tobacco a Day each dischargeable in current money at the rate affixed by the grand Jury at the General Court next preceding paiment. It will be necessary to proceed in this business as soon as the General mode shall have been agreed between Edition: current; Page: [236] the two States. Perhaps a meeting of the Commissioners at Baltimore will be previously requisite to settle particulars. I am to request an immediate answer to this as I delay proposing to President Reid this mode of locating the boundary until I know whether we can get the Execution of it undertaken by Gentlemen who will do us credit and justice.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 31st, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

j. mss.
Sir,

—The letters and papers accompanying this will inform your Excellency of the arrival of a British flag Vessel with clothing, refreshments, money &c—for their prisoners under the convention of Saratoga. The Gentlemen conducting them, have, on supposition that the Prisoners, or a part of them still remained in this State, applied to me by letters, copies of which I transmit your Excellency, for leave to allow water transportation as far as possible, and then for themselves to attend them to the Post where they are to be issued. These indulgences were usually granted them here, but the Prisoners being removed, it becomes necessary to transmit the application to Congress for their direction. In the meantime the flag will wait in James river.

Our intelligence from Genl Greene’s camp as late as the 24th, is, that Ld Cornwallis’s march of the day before had decided his route to cross creek.

The amount of the reinforcements to the enemy Edition: current; Page: [237] arrived at Portsmouth is not yet known with certainty.1 Accounts differ from 1500 to much larger numbers. We are informed they have a considerable number of Horse. The affliction of the People for want of arms is great, that of ammunition is not yet known to them. An apprehension is added that the enterprise on Portsmouth being laid aside, the troops under the Marquis Fayette will not come on. An Enemy 3000 strong, not a regular in the State, nor arms to put into the hands of the Militia are indeed discouraging circumstances.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 31st, 1781
Richmond
Phillips
Phillips

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PHILLIPS, OR OTHER THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE FORCES OF HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY BY SEA OR BY LAND IN VIRGINIA

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have duly received your favor dated New York, March 8th. The removal of the German Troops of Convention also from this State was a circumstance probably not known to you at that Date. I am as yet uninformed of the Post at which they have been stationed, but believe it to be York Town and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, the nearest navigation to which is the Head of Chesapeake Bay. The permissions desired for facilitating the Delivery of the stores on board the Flag are consequently not within our Gift; but I have forwarded the applications to Congress and shall hope shortly to communicate their consent to the Gentlemen conducting the Flag.

Edition: current; Page: [238]

General Scott the Commanding Officer of the Virginia Line in Captivity at Charles Town, sollicited & obtained from the Commandant there a license to us to send Tobacco in any quantity for the Relief of our Officers there. I take the Liberty of enclosing to you a copy of an extract from his letter on that subject to the Commandant and the answer he received as furnished me by General Scott. I do not expect that such a copy without a passport or other authentic Document from any British Officer would be sufficient protection to the vessels which should go charged with this Tobacco. I would therefore beg the favor of you to indulge us with a Passport, in which I should not object to the Insertion of cautionary provisions rendering the Passport invalid if the License should not have been really obtained as the copy of the Letter imports. All I ask is that the vessel or vessels may be protected to Charles Town and to rest for safety there on what has passed between the Commandant and General Scott. Being informed that the command of the British Land Force within this State was in yourself I am encouraged to make the application to you. Should it have been made more properly to the Naval Commanding Officer give me leave to ask the favor of your handing it to him.

Edition: current; Page: [239]

CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS 1781–1782

Edition: current; Page: [240] Edition: current; Page: [241]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 1st, 1781
Richmond
Nathanael Greene
Greene, Nathanael

TO MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am honoured with your favour of the 27th by Mr. Daniel. I informed you by Colo Morris of the reinforcement of Militia ordered to you; but they will not be in time to supply the place of those now with you if they leave you so early. Certainly the knowledge that a relief is coming in will induce them not to leave you in a State which may soon give us all to do over again. A part of these militia went under the regular orders of Government, and will be deemed Deserters if they withdraw without orders. The whole of them I presume went under orders from their County Lieutenants which are as obligatory as those of the Executive: how far particular stipulations may have been made with them I am uninformed. None could be made with those we ordered out. I shall use every exertion in my power to forward on the new levies to you, as I am sensible it is much more practicable to carry on a war with Edition: current; Page: [242] Militia within our own Country than out of it. I wrote you by Colo Morris on the subject of Beeves. He will give you full information of the Issue of our preparations against Arnold.

An Enemy 3000 strong, not a regular within our State, nor arms to put into the Hands of the militia are circumstances which promise Difficulties. Yet I shall think it essential to do everything we can for you to prevent the Return of Cornwallis’s Army.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 6th, 1781
Richmond

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS

v. s. a.
Gentlemen,

—I have received your letter informing us of the arrival of our Arms &c from Rhode Island at Philadelphia and must pray you immediately to send forward the packages within mentioned containing Arms &c, engaging Waggons for that purpose who shall be paid on their arrival here the price you contract to give them, and be protected from impresses while in this State. Tho we do not know the force of the Enemy now at Portsmouth yet the lowest accounts make 4000. This will satisfy you how urgent is our want of those Arms. It is impossible to give you an Idea of the Distress we are in for want of Lead. Should this Army from Portsmouth come forth and become active (and as we have no reason to believe they came here to sleep) our Affairs will Assume a very disagreeable Aspect. The want of Arms and Military stores cannot be compensated by numbers of Militia as that of regular soldiers may.

Edition: current; Page: [243]

Very considerable debts of a year or two’s standing are due from Colo Finnie and his Deputies. The present Quartermaster refuses to pay them. Colo Finnie gives himself no trouble about them. His former Deputies are anxious to pay them, & we are willing to advance moneys to those Deputies for this purpose if Congress will give us their sanction. You will observe nothing was ever done by our Legislature in consequence of the Resolution of Congress of 26th May 1780. Will you be so good as to obtain the sanction of Congress for our paying these very clamorous & injured creditors through the former Deputy Quarter Master & this to be done immediately. Mr Ross our Commercial Agent, since the shutting up our bay finds it necessary to establish funds as far as possible in Philadelphia from which place all our clothing and necessaries for the Army must come. We ask the favour of you to be attentive to aid him whenever any remittances of money shall be intended to the Southward to have them to Mr. Ross’s Agent there and draw on him for the amount which shall be paid here and to give them every other possible Assistance in that way. He is furnished so largely with Tobacco and State 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.

Edition: current; Page: [244]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 8th, 1781
Richmond
James Madison
Madison, James

TO REV. JAMES MADISON

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 Pennsylvania 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 Instrument 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 Edition: current; Page: [245] 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.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 10th, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
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 Brigade 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.

Edition: current; Page: [246]

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.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 12th, 1781
Richmond
Chevalier De La Luzbrne
Luzbrne, Chevalier De La

TO THE FRENCH MINISTER (CHEVALIER DE LA LUZBRNE)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have the honour of your Excellency’s favor of March 23d and shall with great pleasure communicate Edition: current; Page: [247] 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 Edition: current; Page: [248] 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.

Should any considerable part of the Union be abandoned to the Enemy, it must be in their hands very formidable to the future safety of the rest.

The Interests of our Allies, were an appeal to that Motive necessary, would place the Southern States in a point of View of some Importance, as presenting to them very fair Objects of Commerce. This consideration however was not wanting to draw to us the Aid of his Most Christian Majesty. The late efforts made for us by his fleet and army demonstrate that his Attention is not partial, and the hope held up in your letter of the 23d is a further proof.

The Northern States are safe: their independence has been established by the joint efforts of the whole. It is proved as far as testimony can prove anything that our Enemies have transferred every expectation from that Quarter, and mean nothing further there than a diversion in favour of their Southern Arms. It would be unfortunate indeed should it be again proposed to lose a Campaign on New York and to Edition: current; Page: [249] exhaust on that the efforts of the Confederacy as those of Spain on Gibralta, to give up provinces in the South for towns in the North. Should a superiority on the Continental seas be obtained by your fleet, it will save everything from North to South: If the Detachments of the British Army can once be insulated, they will be whittled down by the Militia, by famine, by sickness and desertion to nothing.

If they can be prevented availing themselves of an Army flying on the Wings of the wind to relieve the labouring part acting in New York this week, in Portsmouth the next, in Charlestown the third, the Continental war would be totally Changed, and a single Campaign would strip them of the labours and laurels of half a dozen. Could the Enemies for instance at Portsmouth be excluded from the water, they might be blockaded by Land and must fall in a due course of Time without the Loss of a man on our part.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 12th, 1781

CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Having received an application from the Commanding Officer to strengthen our Army below, and being unwilling to harass the Militia more than shall be absolutely unavoidable, we are in hopes an immediate and sufficient Accession of force may be obtained by an Application to the several Counties for their delinquents in Militia Duty whom the Law sentences to six months service. Every County, we are Confident, must have a number of these, and the laying them under a penalty is a Justice due to the better part of the County, on whom, without a strict Edition: current; Page: [250] Execution of the Law the whole Militia duties will fall.

These are now become too weighty not to be exacted equally and rigidly from all. You will consider it as a standing part of the Duty of an Officer whom in my letter of the 30th of March 1781, you were desired to appoint for receiving recruits for the war to receive from time to time all persons of whatever Denomination sentenced to serve in the Army and instruct him to march them to this place whenever he shall have such a number as the distance and public necessity may render it expedient to march. The delinquents now particularly called for he must march immediately on their Receipts to Williamsburg. By executing this Requisition, justice will be done to the past services of the worthier part of the County, the tardy will be punished, due obedience to the Laws ensured in future, the military duties justly and equally divided, & the necessity of an immediate call on you for more Militia prevented.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 14th, 1781
Richmond
Colonel Oliver Towels
Towels, Colonel Oliver

TO COLONEL OLIVER TOWELS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The same very disagreeable intelligence which you have been pleased to communicate to me of the Operations of our savage Enemy on the Potowmac has come to hand from several Parts of that River. Colo Skinner particularly has written on the subject of Arms. The Order I inclosed him tardy as the supply may be is the utmost it is in our power to do. From his letter we are to judge about a third of his Militia have Guns. These I suppose not to be Edition: current; Page: [251] very good, but they are unfortunately what we are obliged to have recourse to: the 200 stand from Annapolis for which I gave him an order are said to be very fine. The defence at Hunter’s and the public Work at Fredericksburg are very important indeed and I hope will be very particularly attended to by the adjacent Counties. No Intelligence from Portsmouth gives us reason to believe that any regular forces have been sent on this expedition; so that we trust that it is less formidable than some representations make it. The worst is that a Country vulnerable in every point is open to insult and depredation to even the smallest force, yet important points may we trust be guarded. In effecting this we rely on your Exertions being added, as we are assured they will be.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 14th, 1781
Richmond
Colonels Skinner
Skinner, Colonels

TO COLONELS SKINNER AND GARRARD

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am exceedingly sorry to learn that the Enemy are committing such cruel depredations in your part of the Country; however it may tend to produce immoveable hatred against so detestable a nation and thereby strengthen our Union. Yet in the mean time it brings afflicting distress on Individuals and by diverting so great a Proportion of our force from their principal object leaves Atchievements in their power which otherwise could not be.

We had thrown the whole Burthen of Militia duty on the Southern Counties leaving those in the North quiet till they should get through the raising of their new levies. That being done we have set the Edition: current; Page: [252] Southern Counties on the same business and relied on our Northern Citizens to constitute the Opposition to the hostile army below. Thus deprived for two months of the Aid of the Southern Counties and so many of the Northern like to be diverted, our Army is reduced to less than a third of the number of our Enemy who of course may march wherever they please. Situated as you are we cannot say that the Men before called for must march at all events. We wish you to consider the above circumstances and viewing at the same time your own situation, to determine yourself whether the force called for can be spared without endangering your part of the Country. Every part being equally within our care we wish not to expose one for the defence of another. The very important Works at and near Fredericksburg we must recommend to your particular protection, as also the saving all public Tobacco within your County. Sir John Peyton for us purchased lately at Baltimore about 200 Stand of Arms from Isaac and Adam Van Bibber and Co. They were brought to Annapolis in the vessels which brought on the Marquis Fayette’s Detachment. Sir John Peyton has written to have them brought on by land, but he does not inform me to whom he has written. It is not in our Power to offer you any other supply of Arms but this. Were you to send some person in quest of these he would probably be able to meet with, or find them out and have them forwarded to you. His reasonable Expenses and those of Transportation shall be paid by the Public and the Arms when you get them may be applied under your care for the Edition: current; Page: [253] Defence of that part of the Country instead of the 150 formerly ordered which you have not received. I inclose you an order for these Arms.

N B in the letter to Colo. Garrard omit last paragraph.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 16. 1781
David Jamieson
Jamieson, David

TO DAVID JAMIESON1

Sir,

—The day is so very bad that I hardly expect a Council and there being nothing that I know of pressing, and Mrs. Jefferson in a situation in which I would not wish to leave her, I shall not attend today.

Should there be a board this case requires immediate attention. The Court of Albemarle on the resignation of John Coles, County Lieutenant & Nicholas Lewis Cole have passed by Reuben Lindsay who was Lt. Col. and a man of as much worth as any in the County, & of a temper fit for conciliating the minds of the people to the many harsh calls now made upon them, and have recommended (as report sais) John Marks to be County Lieut. who was formerly a junior captain & retired, not possessing an inch of property in the County or other means of obtaining influence over the people, and of a temper so ungovernable that instead of reconciling he will by his manner of executing revolt the minds of the people against the calls of government, and produce mutinies & difficulties when others would go through smoothly. As our power of redressing depends on our taking the Start, I would recommend if there be a board, the enclosed resolution. I do not know who are the two eldest captains. Reuben Edition: current; Page: [254] Lindsay I know is the Lt. Colo. and Chas Selburne Lewis the Major.

N.B.—The board, should there be one, can form their resolution without my being present. If the Commissions can be sent to me I can forward them to-day.

John Coles, County Lieutenant & Nicholas Lewis Cole, of Albemarle having resigned their commissions, the board advised that Reuben Lindsay the present Lt. Colo. be appointed County Lieutenant and Charles Selburne Lewis the present Major be appointed Colo. of the Militia of said County.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 17th, 1781
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO THE PRESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA (JOSEPH REED)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have been honoured with your Excellency’s letter proposing the actual extension of our mutual boundary. I presume therefore that the propositions contained in the Resolutions of our Assembly of which I had the honour to communicate to your Excellency have been approved by your State and that the Boundaries are to be run on the principles therein proposed. No mode of determining the Extent of the five degrees of Longitude of Delaware river in the latitude of Mason & Dixon’s Line having been pointed out by your Excellency I shall venture to propose that this be determined by Astronomical Observations to be made at or near the two extremities of the line as being in our opinion the most certain and unexceptional mode of determining that point which being fixed every thing else will be easy. Should this mode be Edition: current; Page: [255] approved by your Excellency we have appointed the Revd. James Madison as a Commissioner on our part to execute the work in the Western Quarter and the Revd. Robert Andrews to perform the office at the Eastern end in conjunction with the Gentlemen whom you have been pleased to appoint or any others on your part. To those before named we shall add an associate each that the work may not be retarded or frustrated by the sickness of one.

We will send to the Westward the most necessary Instruments which we suppose to be a good Time piece and a transit Instrument and hope it will be convenient for you to furnish what may be necessary at the Eastern End; Our Commissioners will attend at their respective stations at any time which your Excellency may think proper to appoint allowing it to be a month after I shall have received your pleasure on that head.

I will observe to your Excellency that the Resolutions of our Assembly after laying down the principles on which the boundaries were to be extended gave full powers to the Executive as to time, manner, and all other Circumstances so that there will be no necessity of awaiting their meeting to lay before them the Resolutions of your Council as desired in your letter of February 26th.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 18th 1781
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO THE PRESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA (JOSEPH REED)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have had the pleasure to receive your Excellency’s favour of March 27th and am to return Edition: current; Page: [256] you our sincere thanks for your Interposition in favour of Operations carrying on by General Clarke; operations which I hope will result equally to the benefit of yours as of our State, and which if successful will give us future quiet in our Western quarter. I beg you to be assured that Colo Broadhead has been altogether misinformed as to any restriction having been laid on a Mr Wilson or any other person in purchasing within the State Cattle for the use of Fort Pitt or that if such a restriction actually took Place, it was a private Act in those who presumed to impose it unauthorized by government, and which would have been censured and rectified had it been made known. We are so sensible which [what?] would result from such a line of conduct and so sincerely disposed to render the Union of the States more perfect that we shall on all occasions endeavour to render to our neighbours every friendly office which circumstances shall bring within the compass of our powers.

I am further to thank your Excellency for the kind dispositions you entertain & the aids you were pleased to render to the expedition under the Marquis Fayette, which was intended for the immediate relief of this State in particular as well as for those furnished to General Greene for the Southern States in general.

Such is the general aspect of the war that it does not seem very probable its circumstances should be so reversed as to place us in a situation of returning the favour in kind; however we trust that while the contest was Northwardly our Contributions of Men Edition: current; Page: [257] and Arms and other necessaries were such as to prove we should not be wanting to our friends under a change of circumstances. With respect to your State particularly we shall take very great pleasure in cultivating every disposition to harmony and mutual Aid. That policy would be very unsound which should build our Interest or happiness on any thing inconsistent with yours.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 21st, 1781
Richmond
Colonel James Innes
Innes, Colonel James

TO COLONEL JAMES INNES

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Within an hour after receiving your first Notification that the enemy were in movement we issued Orders to the militia of the Counties of Chesterfield, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Powhatan, Goochland, Hanover & Henrico to assemble immediately every man able to bear arms, and one half of those of Amelia and Cumberland and to bring with them the best Arms they had. They were to rendezvous at Petersburg and this place. Some volunteer Cavalry were also called for. These orders were communicated to Baron Steuben and the several letters of Information from you have been regularly & immediately forwarded to him. And I doubt not the moment the Militia come in and can receive (such as are unarmed) the Spare Arms from the South side of the River he will order them to your Assistance, now that it appears that yours is the post of their destination.

Tho’ our orders calling out the Militia went out on Thursday morning not a man is yet assembled Edition: current; Page: [258] here. I am told the Powhatan Militia will be in to day. Certainly those of this County will be as early. This fatal Tardiness will I fear be as unfortunate to Williamsburg on this Occasion as it was for Richmond.

Be assured that no effort of ours for your Support shall be wanting and that the Resources of the Country as our powers will call them forth shall be applied to the relief of the part threatened. I must entreat you to let us hear from you daily while the scene is so interesting.

P. S. You observe we said nothing of the militia of the Counties near Williamsburg because we supposed you would of course call for as many as you could arm.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 22d, 1781
Colonel Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Colonel Benjamin

TO COLONEL BENJAMIN HARRISON

v. s. a.
Sir,

—We thought it best as I informed you in a former letter to call into service on this occasion the Militia whose families and property were not immediately exposed. Being circumscribed in our number of Arms it still appears best, that what we have should be put into the hands of those Militia. Were we to send any to Charles City we must dismiss so many Militia now collected here and at Manchester; Experience has also shewn it preferable for another reason to put your Arms into the hands of those not exposed, because on the Enemy’s coming into the exposed parts of the Country, the Militia of the neighbourhood will desert, carry off their Arms and Edition: current; Page: [259] perhaps suffer them to be taken off by the Enemy, we therefore think to retain the Militia collected & collecting here, who we expect every moment will receive marching orders from Baron Steuben & that yours should be permitted to take care of their families & property.

I am informed the Enemy have got possession of the ship-yard and that by the most unaccountable Inattention the Lewis & safeguard gallies have withdrawn up Chickahominy instead of James River.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 22d, 1781
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I inclose you two Letters just received from Colo Innes. We are in great anxiety for him. His force we are told is very considerably reduced by Desertion and he has no Cavalry. I make no doubt you see how far it is necessary to send him reinforcements & will order them accordingly. I have no return of the numbers of militia here; indeed it is changing every hour by the arrival of others; Report makes three or four hundred at this place & Manchester; The new raised Cavalry or a due proportion of it may perhaps be of singular use to him. We have determined to remove our Armourer’s shop to the Fork of James River immediately. Colo Davies expects they will be at work there within ten days and that he shall be able to procure a very considerable number of hands there. Considering the greater security of that place than Powhatan Courthouse and the little probability from General Edition: current; Page: [260] Muhlenburg’s letter of removing the Armourers from Broadwater, perhaps you will think it better that our Armourers should all be employed together at the Fork under Colo Davies’s Direction than to send any part of them to Powhatan Courthouse.

We made a proposition to the Militia of Prince George, which we had reason to believe would have effected the immediate Completion of the work at Hood’s. It was that any man of that County who would go or send an able Labourer to work there 12 days should have six weeks credit on his Tours of Duty out of the County; Unfortunately the movements of the Enemy obliged us the very Next Day to call every man into the field Nevertheless if you think it more important you will be pleased to permit such of them to quit the Field, as chuse to comply with the proposition. One caution may perhaps be necessary: that is to order those Militia to a separate position from that of the other Counties, lest the restraining the offer to the Militia of Prince George might produce an Idea of partiality and give dissatisfaction to the rest. One County will suffice for the execution of this work and it would be improvident to make the proposition to more. I enclose you some Intelligence which at this time of depression we thought it would be well to put in hand Bills and communicate to both Armies. I send a parcel to Colo Innes’s and trouble you with those for General Muhlenburg’s.

I received a Letter from the Marquis Fayette today dated Baltimore April 17th: he was then coming on by forced marches for Virginia.

Edition: current; Page: [261]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apl 23d, 1781
Richmond
Samuel Huntington
Huntington, Samuel

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS1 (SAMUEL HUNTINGTON)

j. mss.
Sir,

—On the 18th instant, the Enemy came from Portsmouth up James river in considerable force tho’ their numbers are not yet precisely known to us. They landed at Burwells ferry below Williamsburg and near the mouth of Chickahominy above it. This latter circumstance obliged Colo Innes who commanded a body of militia, stationed on that side the river to cover the country from depredation, to retire upward lest he should be placed between their two bodies. One of those entered Williamsburg on the 20th and the other proceeded to a Shipyard we had on Chickahominy. What injury they did there I am not yet informed. I take for granted they have burnt an unfinished 20 Gun ship we had there. Such of the stores belonging to the yard as were movable had been carried some miles higher up the river. Two small gallies also retired up the river. Whether by this either the stores or gallies were saved is yet unknown. I am just informed from a private hand that they left Wmsburg early yesterday morning. If this sudden departure was not in consequence of some circumstance of alarm unknown to us their expedition to Wmsburg has been unaccountable. There were no publick stores there but those which were necessary for the daily subsistence of the men there. Where they mean to descend next the event alone can determine. Besides harassing our Edition: current; Page: [262] militia with this kind of war, their being taken from their farms at the interesting season of planting their Corn will have an unfortunate effect on the crop of the ensuing year.

I have heard nothing certain of Genl. Greene since the 6th instant except that his headquarters were on little river on the 11th.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 24th
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN1

Sir,

—I have information this morning from Capt. Maxwell on his own view that the Enemy landed at Westover yesterday evening. If it be impossible that he should have been deceived, it is equally unaccountable that we are uninformed of it from the Videts sent. The movements of the Enemy up Chickataming obliged Col. Innes, incumbered with 20 Waggons with stores, and 100 sick, to cross Pamunkey at Ruffens Ferry: as soon as he has disposed of those, he will endeavour, if the movements of the Enemy render it proper, to retire towards this place; There are here about 200 Militia armed, and 300 unarmed, at Manchester there is I am told a larger number armed, but of this I have no proper information. The Militia of several Counties being here, I gave Col. Wood the command ’till you should be able to have them arranged as you should choose. He happened to be here on business, and it will be inconvenient to him to continue any time. Can the object of the Enemy be our Vessels at Osbornes? There Edition: current; Page: [263] are no public Stores here, and they have shewed that private depredation is not within their views.

Col. Southell shewed to Col. Wood and myself, your Orders of yesterday for the Militia to divide into two parties and go to the Long Bridge, and Turkey Isld. and to correspond with Col. Innes. But the Enemy having as is supposed landed at Westover, and Col. Innes crossed Pamunkey; it was thought advisable, that Col. Wood should await your orders on those new circumstances, supposed to be unknown to you at the date of your order. As soon as it is known that the Enemy are landed at Westover, and my presence here no longer necessary I shall cross the river either here or at Tuckahoe and keep in the neighbourhood on the other side. I shall be ready and happy to give you every aid from the civil power which may be necessary.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 27th, 1781
Richmond
Colonel Vanmeter
Vanmeter, Colonel

TO COLONEL VANMETER

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have directed Mr. Woodrow to furnish money for the Bounty of the new Levies out of what was put into his hands for the removal of your Militia to Pittsburg.

I am sorry such a spirit of Disobedience has shewn itself in your county. It must be subdued. Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by Individuals. It is very much the good to force the unworthy into their due share of Contributions to the public support, otherwise the burthen on them will become oppressive indeed. We have no power Edition: current; Page: [264] by the Law of raising Cavalry in the Counties generally, but on some similar occasions we have recommended to the County Lieutenants who have the power of forming their Militia companies as they please, to form into one Company such Individuals of their Militia as will engage to mount & equip themselves and to serve as mounted Infantry, & we give Commissions to the Officers in the ordinary style. These may be used as effectually as Cavalry; & men on horseback have been found the most certain Instrument of public punishment.

Their best way too perhaps is not to go against the mutineers when embodied which would bring on perhaps an open Rebellion or Bloodshed most certainly, but when they shall have dispersed to go and take them out of their Beds, singly and without Noise, or if they be not found the first time to go again & again so that they may never be able to remain in quiet at home. This is what I must recommend to you and therefore furnish the Bearers with the Commissions as you desire.

If you find this service considerable you will of course give the Individuals Credit for it as a Tour of Duty.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 27th, 1781
Richmond
Baron Steuben
Steuben, Baron

TO MAJOR-GENERAL BARON STEUBEN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—One half the Cumberland Militia, and of those of Amelia, were ordered down. Some of the former have come in, I have ordered them to go to You, but what should be done with such of them as have no arms I think doubtful.

Edition: current; Page: [265]

We have found by experience that the men of those Counties where the Enemy are, cannot be kept in the field; They desert and carry off their Arms. It also seems reasonable that such should be permitted to go to their homes, to withdraw or otherwise to take care of their families and property. Under this view it would seem right that as unarmed Militia come in from other Counties, we should discharge those of Prince George, Dinwiddie & Chesterfield, next to these the Militia of Powhatan; and lastly Henrico, Hanover, Goochland. Indeed those of Amelia & Cumberland were only meant to be kept in the field till those whom I formerly stated to you as intended for the service of May & June should come in. I would observe to you that Prince George, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Powhatan, Amelia and Cumberland have not yet got through the raising their new levies. These observations suffice to possess you of the general views of the Executive, and you will be pleased to regulate by them the Discharges of the Militia as far as circumstances will admit.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 1st, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR THE COUNTIES OF FLUVANNA, ALBEMARLE, LOUISA, CAROLINE, KING WILLIAM, NEW KENT, CHARLES CITY, PRINCE GEORGE, DINWIDDIE, AMELIA, CUMBERLAND, POWHATAN, GOOCHLAND, HENRICO, HANOVER, AND CHESTERFIELD

v. s. a.
Sir,

—We deferred changing the place of calling the Assembly in hopes that every Day would give us Edition: current; Page: [266] a prospect of getting rid of the enemy in the neighborhood of Richmond.

The arrival of the Marquis Fayette with a detachment of Continental Troops, and the junction of our whole force together with his, has put these cowardly plunderers under way down the River and renders this place perfectly secure, so long as the Army retains its present position. Nevertheless as we know that Rumours have gone abroad very generally, that the enemy are in the vicinity of Richmond, and the Time of meeting of Assembly is too near to admit these to be corrected.

I take the liberty of particularly solliciting so many members of the nearer Counties as will suffice to make a House for adjourning from Day to Day, to attend punctually on the day of meeting, lest this general Rumour of Danger, should prevent the meeting of a sufficient number for adjournment, which would bring on a dissolution of the present Assembly and leave the State without one until the next regular Period of Election appointed by the Constitution. I hope that these reasons will excuse my earnest Sollicitation to you personally to attend on the first day of the session.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 2d 1781
Richmond
Colonel James Innes
Innes, Colonel James

TO COLONEL JAMES INNES

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Having received information that divers Citizens of this Commonwealth in the Counties of James City and York, have lately committed Acts, some of which amount to high Treason and others Edition: current; Page: [267] to Misprision of Treason, and that some tho’ they may have been able to disguise and conceal their Transactions as that legal evidence cannot be obtained by which they may be subjected to prosecution for Treason or Misprision of Treason in a due course of law, yet have so conducted themselves as to furnish the most pregnant circumstances of Suspicion that they have been guilty of those offences, or are disaffected to the Independence of the United States, and will, whenever they shall have opportunity, aid or advise the measures of the public Enemy, which persons, in the critical situation of this Commonwealth, it is indispensably necessary to punish for their Crimes by way of Example to others and to disable from doing mischief: I must therefore, as you are proceeding to that part of the Country, desire and authorize you to make enquiry into the premises, and where you shall have probable cause to believe that any persons have been guilty of Treason or misprision of Treason, that there is legal evidence to commit them thereof, and that an examining Court can be had on them in the County where the offence was committed before there shall be any danger of a Rescue by the Enemy, you have them delivered to the Warrant of a Justice of the Peace, in order that they may be prosecuted in the usual Forms of law and be aiding in their safe conveyance to the public Jail in Richmond, if they be ordered to be conveyed: But where you shall be of Opinion that legal evidence cannot be obtained, that an examining Court cannot be procured in the County before there will be Danger of a Rescue by Edition: current; Page: [268] the Enemy and that there are pregnant circumstances of suspicion that they have been guilty of the offences of Treason or Misprision of Treason, or where there shall be pregnant causes of suspicion that persons in these Counties are disaffected to the Independence of the United States; and when occasion serves, aid or advise the Operations of the Enemy, that in those Cases you apprehend such Persons, & send them in safe Custody to the Jail of this County reporting to the Executive the facts and Circumstances of Suspicion whereon you proceed. In the executions of these Powers, I must recommend to You that you have no retrospect to any fact prior to the 17th of April last, being the day the Enemy embarked at Portsmouth; that you single out only those who have been foremost or most daring in their offences, and that even these be treated by those into whose hands they shall be committed with no Insult or Rudeness unnecessary for their safe Custody.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 4th, 1781
Richmond
Colonel Abraham Penn
Penn, Colonel Abraham

TO COLONEL ABRAHAM PENN

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I am exceedingly sorry that the public Situation should be such as to render it necessary to call our Citizens from their farms at this interesting season of the Year. But the enemy will not suspend their operations till we can sow or reap, so that we must have our Army on foot as well at these as the other seasons of the Year. We have called on eleven Counties to furnish a reinforcement to Genl Greene, Edition: current; Page: [269] and hope it will be the last time we shall have occasion to require our Militia to go out of their own Country as we think it most advisable to put that distant disagreeable service on our Regulars, and to send them forward as fast as raised, and to employ our Militia on service in our own Country. And I am confident that if the Reinforcement of Militia now under orders to Genl Greene is marched, and serves the two months with him which is intended, that by that time he will be so reinforced by Regulars as to retain Possession of North and the greatest part of South Carolina, and thus to keep the war at a distance from us. On the contrary if he is not supported by the Militia until the Regulars can get to him, he will be driven back and we shall have the war on us.

Of the eleven counties called on, seven have applied to be excused. You will immediately see, Sir, what would be the consequence of complying with their request.

The Executive have therefore been obliged to insist on the Requisition. Mr Henry has written on the same subject, as to Your County, but the grounds on which a Relaxation of the order is proposed, being met as every other County has or as would, go to a perpetual Exemption from Military duty, we cannot withdraw the Call.

Capt Baurt has engaged fifty horse to go for three months, but this is no equivalent for 250 Infantry to serve two months. I must therefore, Sir, rely on your zeal and activity to carry the former Requisition into Execution.

Edition: current; Page: [270]

It is probable you may have among you some delinquent Militia who should by law serve six months, as a punishment for their Delinquency, these if sent with the Militia might be counted as part.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 8th, 1781
Richmond

CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF LUNENBURG, MECKLENBURG, GREENSVILLE, BRUNSWICK, AMELIA AND CUMBERLAND

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The British Army under Major Genl Phillips having landed at Brandon & meaning to press Southwardly; and Lord Cornwallis being now advancing Northwardly with a design probably of uniting their force; it behooves us immediately to turn out from every County as many men as there are Arms to be found in the County, in order to oppose these forces in their separate State if possible; and if not to do it when combined: You will therefore be pleased with the Assistance of the Captains and Subalterns to collect immediately every fire Arm in Your County in anywise fit for military service, and to march so many men with these Arms in their hands to Prince Edward Courthouse or to Taylor’s ferry or Roanoke as shall be most convenient, having Respect to what you shall hear of the movements of the hostile armies and our army under Major General Marquis Fayette: The object of your Detachment being to join the latter, & keep clear of danger from the former. When you shall be possessed of the Arms, I think those men should be called on whose regular tour Edition: current; Page: [271] it is to go, unless any should offer voluntarily, in which case the service should be accounted to them as a Tour of Duty. The person who received any fire Arm must be noted by you and held accountable to the owner for its safe return, in which he will not be obstructed when he shall be discharged. When the Discharge will take place we cannot undertake to say. It is fixed that no tour shall exceed two months in the Field, but our expectation is that the present crisis will be over in a much shorter Time, and whenever it is over they shall be discharged. It is probable that this order will put it out of your power to proceed with your Draught: If so, be pleased to suspend it in it’s present state, and to take it up again where you left off as soon as your men shall return.

Cavalry in a due proportion, being as necessary as Infantry, you will be pleased to permit and even encourage one tenth part of those who are to come into Duty, as above required, to mount & equip themselves as Cavalry. They must not be received however unless their Horses are good and fit for service. A short sword can be furnished them by the State, though if they can procure a proper one with other Equipments themselves they had better do it. Their Horses and Accoutrements shall be ensured by the public against everything but their own negligence, and they shall be allowed forage for them in addition to their own Pay & Rations. The future movement of the Enemy being uncertain, it is necessary for me to give general Direction to see that all Horses fit for Cavalry which shall be at any Edition: current; Page: [272] time within twenty miles of the Enemy, and all other horses which shall be directly in their front be removed by their Owners; or if they shall refuse or delay to do it, that then you have them taken by such persons as you shall appoint, and carried to Your camp, giving the Owners a Receipt and Description of them. I need not urge to you that the greatest Events hang on the Dispatch which is used in getting the Militia into the field. I am &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 9th, 1781
Richmond
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—Since the last letter which I had the honour of addressing to your Excellency the military movements in this State have scarcely merited communication except a very late one.

The Enemy after leaving Williamsburg came directly up James River & landed at city point being the point of land on the Southern side of the confluence of Appamattox & James Rivers. They marched up to Petersburg where they were received by Majr: Gen. Baron Steuben with a body of militia somewhat under 1000 who tho’ the Enemy were 2300 strong disputed the ground very handsomely two hours during which time the Enemy gained only one mile and that by inches. Our troops were then ordered to retire over a bridge which they did in perfectly good order. Our loss was between sixty & seventy killed wounded and taken. The Enemys is unknown but it must be equal to ours: for their own honour they must confess this as they broke Edition: current; Page: [273] twice & ran like sheep ’till supported by fresh troops. An inferiority in number obliged our Force to withdraw about 12 miles upwards ’till more militia should be assembled. The Enemy burnt all the tobo. in the Warehouses at Petersburg and its neighbourhood. They afterwards proceeded to Osbornes where they did the same & also destroyed the residue of the publick armed vessels & several of private property & then came to Manchester which is on the hill opposite this place.

By this time Majr: Genl Marquis Fayette having been advised of our danger had by forced marches got here with his detachment of Continental troops and reinforcements of militia having also come in the Enemy finding we were able to meet them on equal footing thought proper to burn the warehouses & Tobo. at Manchester & retire to Warwick where they did the same. Ill armed & untried militia who never before saw the face of an enemy have at times during the course of this war given occasion of exultation to our Enemies but they afforded us while at Warwick a little satisfaction in the same way. Six or eight hundred of their picked men of light infantry with Genl Arnold at their head having crossed the river from Warwick fled from a Patrole of 16 horse every man into his boat as he could some pushing North some South as their fears drove them. Their whole force then proceeded to the hundred being the point of land within the confluence of the two rivers embarked and fell down the river. Their foremost vessels had got below Burwells ferry on the 6th instant when on the arrival of a boat from Edition: current; Page: [274] Portsmouth & a signal given the whole crowded sail up the river again with a fair wind & tide & came to anchor at Brandon; there six days provision were dealt out to every man; they landed and had orders to march an hour before day the next morning. We have not yet heard which way they went or whether they have gone, but having about the same time received authentic information that Ld Cornwallis had on the 1st instant advanced from Washington half way to Halifax we have no doubt putting all circumstances together but that these two armies are forming a junction.

We are strengthening our hands with militia as far as our arms either publick or private can be collected, but cannot arm a force which may face the combined armies of the Enemy. It will therefore be of very great importance that Genl Waynes forces be pressed on with the utmost despatch. Arms & a naval force however are what must ultimately save us. This movement of our Enemies we consider as most perilous in its consequences.

Our latest advices from Genl Greene were of the 26th ult. when he was lying before Camden the works and garrison of which were much stronger than he had expected to find them.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 10th, 1781
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I have the honour to communicate to the General Assembly an Ordinance of Congress of the Edition: current; Page: [275] 5th Day of April last for establishing Courts for the trial of piracies & Felonies committed on the high seas. Also certain Resolutions of Congress of the 16th & 23d of March on the Mode of paying debts and furnishing supplies of Money, and of the 20th of April relative to that part of Colo Hazens Regiment which belongs to this State.

In compliance with the Desire of Assembly expressed in their Resolutions of March the 7th I wrote to the Honble Major General Greene inclosing the said Resolution, and asking the favor of him to have such reports made to me as would enable me to proceed in the Execution of the Resolution. Copies of my letter and of his on the same subject, I now enclose, together with the copies of my letters to the Continental and State Quarter Masters who were employed in impressing Horses for the Enterprise meditated on Portsmouth. On the Discontinuance of that Enterprize most of the horses were returned to their owners, so that I am in hopes that the Inconveniences, which that important attempt had rendered necessary, are now reduced within very narrow limits. Full returns are not yet made so as to enable us to state what the Public stands engaged for on that account.

The injuries which have been sustained both public & private on the late incursion of the Enemy have been very considerable. That they were stopped in their progress before they had completed the Circle of Depredation which they had instituted, we are indebted to the spirited opposition of our Militia, which obliged the hostile Army to Edition: current; Page: [276] be cautious and slow in its movements, and ultimately to the great Exertions of the honble Major General Marquis Fayette, who being informed of our Danger pressed forward by very great and rapid marches and arrived at the place with his detachment of Continental Regulars when the Enemy were already on the opposite hills. On the junction of his force with that which we had assembled they thought proper to retire.

Their Approach had occasioned a total removal of the public Stores from this Neighbourhood. This circumstance with the Disorder into which they have of necessity been thrown renders impracticable at this Time a compliance with the Desire of Assembly expressed in the Resolutions of March 21st. that the Condition of the Department of the War office should be laid before them. The Commissioner of that office is using his endeavours to have them stored and arranged at a more interior situation, which done he may be enabled to procure accurate Returns of them. How these insults and losses are to be prevented in future, or whether they can be prevented, are questions fit for the wise Discussion of the General Assembly. A country so intersected by navigable Waters can be defended by a naval force alone; and where the Resources of a nation are not equal to the equipment of a respectable Navy perhaps nothing better can be devized than Gallies constructed on plans approved by experience; But an Asylum for these Gallies seems as necessary as the Gallies themselves, during the time of their construction as well as after Edition: current; Page: [277] it. A Battery on each river at a proper position, protected by such works as would require a garrison of a single company only, would in the opinion of the most respectable military Characters among us, protect our vessels and in a favorable position would stop the passage of any enemy so long as to give time for the assembling of Militia, or marching an army to the support of the post. Those small works are certainly within the compass of our finances. Yet we have in vain attempted to have such erected on each river. It has been found that money will not procure laborers. A Militia of freemen cannot easily be induced to labour in works of that kind. Slaves are by the Law excluded from the Militia, and wisely as to that part of a Souldiers Duty which consists in exercise of Arms. But whether male slaves might not under proper regulations be subjected to the Routine of Duty as pioneers, and to other military Labours, can only be determined by the wisdom of the Legislature.

Very great misfortunes are likely to be brought on us by the tardiness of our citizens in driving off their stocks of cattle, & still more their horses, on the approach of an enemy; this negligince has enabled the enemy to take possession of some of the most valuable horses in the Commonwealth, and to establish a corps of horse, which from their number and quality may become very formidable to this State.

I think it is necessary to inform the General Assembly that the State is at present without an Edition: current; Page: [278] Engineer. Lt Colo Warneck, who formerly acted in that Capacity, was made prisoner by the enemy at Westham, and should he be exchanged, it will remain questionable whether he shall resume the office. We have it in our power at present to engage Colo Senf, a gentleman eminent for his skill as an Engineer, his zeal and activity. But holding the Rank, Command and emoluments of a Colo in another State, with an assurance that the office will not be discontinued with the War, and it is not expected that he will relinquish these but on the offer of equal Terms from this State, which under the Act of Assembly of October 1776, the Executive are not authorized to engage. I cannot but add that I think he will be a valuable Acquisition and such a one as if lost will not easily be replaced.

Among the Losses which were sustained on the expedition of the enemy to this place in January last was that of all the Certificates of British sequestered property and paiment of British debts, which were kept among the papers of the Council. The entries in the books of the Auditors will doubtless supply them but lest any accident should happen to these, perhaps the General Assembly may think it prudent to direct the Certificates to be renewed under such cautions as be necessary to guard against duplicate certificates.

The Executive according to the desire of a former General Assembly, having appointed Mr Alexander Stewart to revise and report on the books of the late Colo. Wm Aylett, he has made a report which I have now the honor to enclose.

Edition: current; Page: [279]

I am desired by Mr. Tyler to inform the General Assembly that he declines accepting the office of a Counsellor & by the honble Mr. Prentis to enclose to You his letter of Resignation.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 13th, 1781
Richmond
Colonel Fleming
Fleming, Colonel
Andrew Lewis
Lewis, Andrew

TO COLONEL FLEMING AND BRIGADIER-GENERAL ANDREW LEWIS

v. s. a.
Sir,

—The General Assembly have adjourned themselves to meet at Charlottesville on the 24th instant at which Time and place I am desirous of having a Board of Council.

Colo Digges and Mr. Prentis and Mr. Tyler having resigned you will see the necessity which impells me to ask your attendance to make a Board.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 14th, 1781
Richmond
De La Fayette
Fayette, De La

TO MARQUIS MAJOR-GENERAL DE LA FAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I was sorry that the situation of my family had occasioned my absence from this place when you were pleased to send Captn. Langhorne to me.

I enclose you a State of the Counties who have been called on to come into the Field, some of them to perform full Tour of Duty & others to make a present opposition to the junction of the two hostile armies. The delay and deficiencies of the first are beyond all expectation and if the calls on the latter do not produce sufficient Reinforcements to You I shall candidly acknowledge that it is not in my power Edition: current; Page: [280] to do any Thing more than to represent to the General Assembly that unless they can provide more effectually for the Execution of the Laws it will be vain to call on Militia. I could perhaps do something by Repremands to the County Lieutenants by repeating and even increasing the Demands on them by way of penalty. If you would be so good as to have returns made to me once a week or at any other stated periods of the particular number of men from each County. Without these we can never know what Counties obey our Calls, or how long your men are to continue with you so as to provide in time. From Hampshire and Shenandoah we expected many Riflemen. From Berkeley and Frederic some, and a few from Culpeper, Orange, Loudoun & Fauquier, but what number may be expected I cannot even conjecture. One tenth of the whole force (except from the Counties of Frederic, Hampshire, Berkeley, Shenandoah, & Orange, who were called on before we had concluded on this measure) were desired to come prepared with the Horses to do duty as Cavalry. The militia which were called to do a full Tour were to join the Army wherever it should be. Those Counties called on to send as many men as they could send armed were to rendezvous at Richmond, Prince Edward Court House and Taylor’s Ferry on Roanoke as should be most convenient where they were given to believe Orders would be lodged from you for their future movements. These men are collecting to their places of Rendezvous, so that they will need immediately such Orders as you should be pleased to give them. I have the pleasure Edition: current; Page: [281] to enclose to You the four Impress warrants, desired by Capt Langhorne.

Capt Maxwell called on me the 10th inst, and informed me he was building a few Boats at the Shipyard on Chickahominy. I desired him to send a good Batteau Builder to Colo Davies to superintend and direct a number of hands whom he would immediately put under him for building Batteaux for the River above the Falls, and that he would set all the rest of his people to building Boats for navigating the lower parts of the river, but so light and of such a form as that they might be moved on wheels, and that those should be built either here or above the Falls as Safety and Convenience should dictate. He left me with a promise to do so, and I expect he is engaged in the Execution. His hands being to remove from the Shipyard there will of course occasion some delay.

The General Assembly having determined to meet at Charlottesville on the 22d inst renders it necessary for the Executive to prepare for removing there, and particularly for myself to go and see that provision be made for the Reception of the Public Boards & Records. I shall leave this place this Evening.

As a very frequent communication between yourself and the Executive will be necessary I have directed the State Quarter Master to station a line of Express Riders from your Camp to Charlottesville by whom you will be so good as to communicate your Wants from Time to Time under a full assurance that nothing in my power shall ever be wanting to supply them. Interesting events will always be Edition: current; Page: [282] acceptable whenever you shall have time to add them to a Letter or make them the subject of a special one.

P. S.—Lest anything should suffer which it is in power to prevent I have concluded to stay here this evening and to do myself the pleasure of calling on you at your Quarters tomorrow morning.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 15, 1781

CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE PERSONS APPOINTED BY THE MARQUIS FAYETTE TO REMOVE HORSES OUT OF THE ROUTE OF THE ENEMY

v. s. a.
Sir,

—There being reason to apprehend that the two hostile Armies under Lord Cornwallis and Genl Phillips will form a junction and for that purpose pass through this State along the road from Petersburg to Halifax:

I instructed the Lieutenants of the Counties lying in that Route to give notice to the Inhabitants to remove all Horses fit for Cavalry within twenty miles of an Enemy’s Army and all Draught horses lying in their Front and within the same distance and if they failed, to take possession of them and send them to the Army within this State.

Time having been now given for the execution of this Business lest there should be a Failure in the People, or in the County Lieutenants you are hereby authorized to proceed and to take such Horses described as aforesaid as you shall find within the limits specified, and moreover to proceed along the whole Route from Petersburg to Halifax as far as it lies within this Commonwealth and to require a Edition: current; Page: [283] removal of all such Horses within twenty miles of that Route, and on Failure of the Owners to comply with your Requisition within a short and reasonable Time, to take such Horses and retain them either for Public Service, or to be returned to the Owners as shall be hereafter directed. Should the Route of the Enemy be different from that expected as before mentioned you will be pleased to do in the vicinities of that Route what is prescribed before as to the other, for all of which this shall be your warrant. Given under my hand and the Seal of the Commonwealth at Richmond the 15th Day of May 1781.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 28th, 1781
Charlottesville
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON1

j. mss.
Sir,

—I make no doubt you will have heard, before this shall have the honour of being presented to your Excellency, of the junction of Ld Cornwallis with the force at Petersburg under Arnold, who had succeeded to the command on the death of Majr. Genl Phillips. I am now advised that they have evacuated Petersburg, joined at Westover a reinforcement of 2000 men just arrived from New york, crossed James River, and on the 26th instant, were three miles advanced on their way towards Richmond; at which place Majr Genl the Marquis Fayette, lay with three thousand men Regulars and militia: these being the whole number we could arm, until the arrival of the 1100 arms from Rhode Island, which are about this Edition: current; Page: [284] time at the place where our Public stores are deposited. The whole force of the Enemy within this State, from the best intelligence I have been able to get, is I think about 7000 men, infantry and cavalry, including, also, the small garrison left at Portsmouth: a number of privateers, which are constantly ravaging the Shores of our rivers, prevent us from receiving any aid from the Counties lying on navigable waters; and powerful operations meditated against our Western frontier, by a joint force of British, and Indian Savages, have as your Excellency before knew, obliged us to embody, between two and three thousand men in that quarter. Your Excellency will judge from this state of things, and from what you know of our Country, what it may probably suffer during the present campaign. Should the Enemy be able to produce no opportunity of annihilating the Marquis’s army a small proportion of their force may yet restrain his movements effectually while the greater part employed in detachment to waste an unarmed country and lead the minds of the people to acquiesce under those events which they see no human power prepared to ward off. We are too far removed from the other scenes of war to say whether the main force of the Enemy be within this State. But I suppose they cannot anywhere spare so great an army for the operations of the field. Were it possible for this circumstance to justify in your Excellency a determination to lend us your personal aid, it is evident from the universal voice, that the presence of their beloved Countryman, whose talents have so long been successfully employed, in establishing Edition: current; Page: [285] the freedom of kindred States, to whose person they have still flattered themselves they retained some right, and have ever looked up as their dernier resort in distress. That your appearance among them I say would restore full confidence of salvation, and would render them equal to whatever is not impossible. I cannot undertake to foresee and obviate the difficulties which lie in the way of such a resolution: The whole subject is before you of which I see only detatched parts; and your judgment will be formed on a view of the whole. Should the danger of this State and its consequence to the Union be such as to render it best for the whole that you should repair to its assistance the difficulty would be how to keep men out of the field. I have undertaken to hint this matter to your Excellency not only on my own sense of its importance to us but at the solicitations of many members of weight in our Legislature which has not yet Assembled to speak their own desires.

A few days will bring to me that relief which the constitution has prepared for those oppressed with the labours of my office and a long declared resolution of relinquishing it to abler hands has prepared my way for retirement to a private station: still as an individual I should feel the comfortable effects of your presence, and have (what I thought could not have been) an additional motive for that gratitude, esteem, & respect with which I have the honour to be, your Excellency’s most obedient humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [286]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 28 1781
Charlottesville
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—Since I had the honour of addressing the General assembly by Letter of the 14th. instant I have received a second letter from the Honble Major General Greene on the subject of Cavalry another in answer to one I had written communicating to him informations I had received as to the conduct of a particular office employed by him in impressing; which I transmit herewith.

I also inclose a letter which I have received since the same date from the Honble Dudley Digges resigning the office of a Member of the Council of State.

Further experience, together with recent information from the Commanding officer within this State convinces me that something is necessary to be done to enforce the calls of the Executive for militia to attend in the field. Whether the deficiencies of which we have had reason to complain proceeded from any backwardness in the militia themselves or from a want of activity in their principal officers, I do not undertake to decide. The Laws also to which they are subject while in the field seem scarcely coercive enough for a state of war.

The Commanding officer also represents that great evils and dangers are to be apprehended from the Total want of authority of the military power over citizens within the vicinities of his and of the enemies encampments. Many of them tho’ well Edition: current; Page: [287] disposed are led by an attachment to their property to remain within the power of the enemy and are then compelled to furnish horses, procure provisions, serve as guides and to perform other offices in aid of their operations: while others of unfriendly disposition become spies and intelligencers and if taken in the very fact are not subject to that speedy justice which alone can effectually deter. He supposes that the Lives of our Soldiers and citizens entrusted to his care might be rendered much more secure by some legal provision against the unrestricted right of passing to & fro in the neighborhood of the encampments and by subjecting the inhabitants within some certain distance to such immediate trial & punishment for leading attempts against the safety of our army or in aid of that of our enemies as the rights of the citizen on the one hand & necessaties of war on the other may safely admit.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 31st 1781
Charlottesville
Marquis De La Fayette
De La Fayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I had the honor last night of receiving your favor of the 28th from Goldmine Creek and this morning that of the 29th. I shall be very happy indeed if against such a superiority of Cavalry you shall be able to keep out of the way of the enemy till you are fully inforced. I imagine Genl Weedon’s observation as to his want of power to call forth the Militia respects the Counties round about Fredericksburg; but all those on the South side of the Rappahannock Edition: current; Page: [288] have been called on by the Executive, and to those on the North Side, they may be called on under our Invasion Law, which directs that the Commanding Officer of the Militia of any County hearing of the approach of an enemy shall call on so many circumjacent Counties as he shall think necessary, which Counties by their officers are obliged to obey his call. I have the pleasure to inform you that Mr Ross’s Agent in Philadelphia on the 9th instant forwarded 275 Stand of Arms and a ton of Powder to Fredericksburg; on the 11th he forwarded another stand of Arms; on the 18th he forwarded 600 stand of Arms, and by this time expected the remainder of 2000 engaged from Congress by the board of War. I must pray you to take such measures through Genl Weedon or otherwise as may secure these Stores from falling into the hands of the enemy and moving them to where they may be useful to you. Your knowledge of the movements of the enemy will enable you to do this with safety whereas at the distance I am from them my orders however proper when given might by a change of their route lead the Arms into their way. Besides the preceding Arms Genl Washington has sent on 1000 Stand, and the board of War were sending on 2000 more from Springfield. As to the eleven hundred and odd stand which lately came on from Rhode Island the property of this State, I desired Colo Davies after delivering to Baron Steuben as many as he has new Recruits to return the rest of the Militia of your camp. Will you be so good as to advise him by what route you will have them sent to Your camp or to what other place. Edition: current; Page: [289] Two hundred of them being yet in your neighborhood I have ordered them for present safety to Rockfish Gap from which place they will be moved according to any order you may give.

With respect both to those Arms and the new levies, I am desired to communicate to you the enclosed Resolution of General Assembly. The representation there directed of the present State, quantity and condition of the public Arms would be unnecessary to you who know already more than I do, nor can anybody be more sensible than yourself of the reasons which urge the detention of the new Levies till other effectual force can be assembled. I shall, therefore in compliance with resolution only add my desire that you will be pleased to retain all those Arms within the State for its particular defence.

Two days before the Receipt of your letter of the 28th I had dispatched one to you inclosing eight Impress Warrants, to provide horses from the Counties contiguous to the enemy’s line of march. The Assembly used this undefined Expression in order to give you a latitude to Impress, knowing that a precise circumscription might defeat their intention altogether. This therefore anticipated your desire expressed in that letter of extending your power 50 miles around. It also takes in your second request in the Letter of the 20th to authorize Colo White to impress on the South side of James River. The Counties through which the Enemy marched or bordered on them are within the extent of the Impress warrants sent you, one of which being given to Colo White will authorize him to impress in Amelia, Edition: current; Page: [290] Powhatan, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince Edward, Brunswic and the other Counties there abounding in good horses. I will immediately direct the County Superintendants to collect all accoutrements for horses belonging to the Public in their Counties and to send them to such place as Col White shall appoint & in the mean time to Your camp.

The prisoners of war in the State are most of them in the hands of Colo Holmes, Continental Commissary of prisoners at Winchester. There are a few at Staunton. Your orders to either place will be effectual.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug 4, 1781
Monticello
Marquis La Fayette
La Fayette, Marquis

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MARQUIS LA FAYETTE1

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am much obliged by the trouble you took in forwarding to me the lre of his Excy the pr of Congr. It found me in Bedford 100 miles Southwd of this where I was confined till within these few days by an unfortunate fall from my horse. This has occasioned the delay of the answer which I now take the liberty of enclosing to you as the confidential channel of conveyance pointed out by the President. I thank you also for your kind sentiments & friendly offers on the occasion, which that I cannot avail myself of has given me more mortification than almost any occurrence of my life. I lose an opportunity the only one I ever had, and perhaps ever shall have of Edition: current; Page: [291] combining public service with private gratification; Of seeing countries whose improvements in science, in arts, & in civilization it has been my fortune to admire at a distance but never to see and at the same time of lending further aid to a cause which has been handed on from it’s first organization to its present stage by every effort of which my poor faculties were capable. These however have not been such as to give satisfaction to some of my countrymen & it has become necessary for me to remain in the state till a later period in the present year, than is consistent with an acceptance of what has been offered me. Declining higher objects therefore my only one must be to show that suggestion and fact are different things & that public misfortunes may be produced as well by public poverty and private disobedience to the laws as by the misconduct of public servants. The independance of private life under the protection of republican laws will I hope yield me that happiness from which no slave is so remote as the minister of a commonwealth. From motives of private esteem as well as public gratitude I shall pray it to be your lot in every line of life as no one can with more truth subscribe himself with the highest regard & respect Sir your mo obedient & mo hble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep 16, 1781
Monticello
Edmund Randolph
Randolph, Edmund

TO EDMUND RANDOLPH

Dear Sir,

—I have recd your letter of the 7th inst. That mentioned to have been sent by the preceding Edition: current; Page: [292] post has not come to hand nor two others which Mrs. Randolph informs me you wrote before you left Virginia nor indeed any other should you have been so kind as to have written any other.

When I received the first letter from the President of Congress inclosing their resolution, & mentioning the necessity of an expeditious departure, my determination to attend at the next session of assembly offered a ready & insuperable obstacle to my acceptance of that appointment & left me under no necessity of deliberating with myself whether that objection being removed, any other considerations might prevent my undertaking it. I find there are many and must therefore decline it altogether. Were it possible for me to determine again to enter into public business there is no appointment whatever which would have been so agreeable to me. But I have taken my final leave of everything of that nature. I have retired to my farm, my family & books from which I think nothing will evermore separate me. A desire to leave public office with a reputation not more blotted than it has deserved will oblige me to emerge at the next session of our assembly & perhaps to accept of a seat in it, but as I go with a single object, I shall withdraw when that shall be accomplished.

I should have thought that N. Carolina rescued from the hands of Britain, Georgia & almost the whole of S. Carolina recovered, would have been sufficiently humiliating to induce them to treat with us. If this will not do I hope the stroke is now hanging over them which will satisfy them that their views of Southern conquest are likely to be as visionary Edition: current; Page: [293] as those of Northern. I think it impossible Ld Cornwallis should escape. Mrs. Randolph will be able to give you all the news on the subject as soon as you shall be able to release her from others. I am with much esteem Dr Sir your friend & servt.

P. S. Pray let me know whether you will want Collé another year. Mrs. Randolph supposes not, but could not positively determine me.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct 28, 1781
Monticello
General Washington
Washington, General

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON

j.mss.
Sir,

—I hope it will not be unacceptable to your Excy to receive the congratulations of a private individual on your return to your native country & above all things on the important success which has attended it.1 Great as this has been however it can scarcely add to the affection with which we have looked up to you, and if in the minds of any the motives of gratitude to our good allies were not sufficiently apparent, the part they have borne in this action must amply evince them. Notwithstanding the state of perpetual decrepitude to which I am unfortunately reduced, I should certainly have done myself the honour of paying my respects to you personally. But that I apprehend these visits which are meant by us as marks of our attachment to you must interfere with the regulations of a camp and be particularly inconvenient to one whose time is too precious to be wasted in ceremony.

I beg you to believe me among the sincerest of Edition: current; Page: [294] those who subscribe themselves your Excy’s mo ob, & mo hble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec 14, 1781
Richmond
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have received your friendly letters of Aug 2. & Nov 15. and some of the gentlemen to whom you wished them to be communicated, not being here, I have taken the liberty of handing them to some others, so as to answer the spirit of your wish. It seems likely to end as I ever expected it would, in a final acknowledgment that good dispositions & arrangements will not do without a certain degree of bravery and discipline in those who are to carry them into execution. This, the men whom you commanded, or the greater part of them at least, unfortunately wanted on that particular occasion. I have not a doubt but that on a fair enquiry, the returning justice of your countrymen will remind them of Saratoga and induce them to recognize your merits. My future plan of life scarcely admits a hope of my having the pleasure of seeing you at your seat; yet I assuredly shall do it should it ever lie within my power, and am assured that Mrs. Jefferson will join me in sincere thanks for your kind sentiments & invitation, & in expressions of equal esteem for Mrs. Gates and yourself, and in a certain hope that should any circumstance lead you within our reach you will make us happy by your company at Monticello. We have no news to communicate. That the assembly does little, does not come under that description.

Edition: current; Page: [295]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 24, 1782
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dr. Sir,

—I have recd from you two several favours on the subject of the designs against the territorial rights of Virginia.1 I never before could comprehend on what principle our right to the Western country could be denied which would not at the same time subvert the rights of all the states to the whole of their territory. What objections may be founded on the charter of N. York I cannot say, having never seen that charter nor been able to get a copy of it in this country. I had thought to have seized the first leisure on my return from the last Assembly to have considered & stated our right and to have communicated to our Delegates or perhaps to the public so much as I could trace, and expected to have derived some assistance from ancient MSS. which I have been able to collect. These with my other papers & books however had been removed to Augusta to be out of danger from the enemy & have not yet been brought back. The ground on which I now find the question to be bottomed is so unknown to me that it is out of my power to say anything on the subject. Should it be practicable for me to procure a copy of the charter of N. Y., I shall probably think on it, and would cheerfully communicate to you whatever could occur to me worth your notice. But this will probably be much too late to be of any service before Congress, who doubtless will decide ere long on the subject. I sincerely wish their decision may tend to the Edition: current; Page: [296] preservation of peace. If I am not totally deceived in the determination of this country the decision of Congress if unfavourable, will not close the question. I suppose some people on the Western waters who are ambitious to be Governors &c. will urge a separation by authority of Congress: but the bulk of the people Westward are already thrown into great ferment by the report of what is proposed, to which I think they will not submit. This separation is unacceptable to us in form only & not in substance. On the contrary I may safely say it is desired by the Eastern part of our country whenever their Western brethren shall think themselves able to stand alone. In the meantime on the petition of the Western counties a plan is digesting for rendering their access to government more easy. I trouble you with the inclosed to Monsr. Marbois. I had the pleasure of hearing that your father & family were well yesterday, by your brother who is about to study the law in my neighborhood. I shall alwais be glad to hear from you; & if it be possible for me, retired from public business to find anything worth your notice, I shall communicate it with great pleasure.

I am with sincere esteem Dr. Sir your friend & servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April, 13 1782
Charlottesville
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA1 (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

Sir,

—The legion of Colo Armand which was stationed here to be refitted for service has for some Edition: current; Page: [297] time been on sufferance for provisions. Flour they have had & still have, but of animal food the supplies have almost totally failed, and failed from a cause which is without remedy, that is, the want of it in the neighborhood. The former calls for beef by fifteenths and tenths had reduced the stocks of cattle here in common with those in the other parts of the country; & that of the sixth which was punctually complied with here has left the people without beef for their own use. It never was a country abounding with pork, few raising more than served their own families. In this situation I fear their supplies of animal food will become worse instead of better. Forage has been brought in pretty plentifully till within these few days; but now that also fails, the season being come on in which most of the farmers begin to be out of that article. These things have induced Colo. Armand to think of changing his quarters, and as Genl. Washington’s orders seem to restrain him from going any distance from hence, he has cast his eyes on Staunton. By information from the inhabitants of that place it seems probable his legion might be subsisted there, could he have the aid of the Specific tax of the county in which it is. As your Excellency had favored him with the aid of that resource in this country, we are in hopes the same may be extended to him there. It really seems necessary, to render the horses fit for the field, that they should be removed to some place where better supplies of forage may be had. Their situation will no doubt be represented to you by Colo. Armand, who wished me to trouble you on this Edition: current; Page: [298] subject also, as being able to give you some information as to the circumstances of this neighborhood & the little probability there is of his situation being bettered here. It must give your Excellency satisfaction I am sure to be informed that Colo. Armand has been very successful in recruiting, taking for granted that his recruits in this state will be applied to it’s credit as part of it’s quota.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 20, 1782
Monticello
Colonel James Monroe
Monroe, Colonel James

TO COLONEL JAMES MONROE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have been gratified with the receipt of your two favours of the 6th & 11th inst.1 It gives me pleasure that your county has been wise enough to enlist your talents into their service. I am much obliged by the kind wishes you express of seeing me also in Richmond, and am always mortified when anything is expected from me which I cannot fulfill, & more especially if it relate to the public service. Before I ventured to declare to my countrymen my determination to retire from public employment, I examined well my heart to know whether it were thoroughly cured of every principle of political ambition, whether no lurking particle remained which might leave me uneasy when reduced within the limits of mere private life. I became satisfied that every fibre of that passion was thoroughly eradicated. I examined also in other views my right to withdraw. I consider that I had been thirteen years engaged in Edition: current; Page: [299] public service, that during that time I had so totally abandoned all attention to my private affairs as to permit them to run into great disorder and ruin, that I had now a family advanced to years which require my attention & instruction, that to these were added the hopeful offspring of a deceased friend whose memory must be forever dear to me who have no other reliance for being rendered useful to themselves & their country, that by a constant sacrifice of time, labour, loss, parental & family duties, I had been so far from gaining the affection of my countrymen, which was the only reward I ever asked or could have felt, that I had even lost the small estimation I before possessed. That however I might have comforted myself under the disapprobation of the well-meaning but uninformed people yet that of their representatives was a shock on which I had not calculated: that this indeed had been followed by an exculpatory declaration. But in the meantime I had been suspected & suspended in the eyes of the world without the least hint then or afterwards made public which might restrain them from supposing that I stood arraigned for treason of the heart and not merely weakness of the head; and I felt that these injuries, for such they have been since acknowledged had inflicted a wound on my spirit which will only be cured by the all-healing grave. If reason & inclination unite in justifying my retirement, the laws of my country are equally in favor of it. Whether the state may command the political services of all it’s members to an indefinite extent, or if these be among the rights never wholly ceded to the public power, is a Edition: current; Page: [300] question which I do not find expressly decided in England. Obiter dictums on the subject I have indeed met with, but the complexion of the times in which these have dropped would generally answer them, besides that this species of authority is not acknowledged in our profession. In this country however since the present government has been established the point has been settled by uniform, pointed & multiplied precedents. Offices of every kind, and given by every power, have been daily & hourly declined & resigned from the declaration of independance to this moment. The genl assembly has accepted these without discrimination of office, and without ever questioning them in point of right. If a difference between the office of a delegate & any other could ever have been supposed, yet in the case of Mr. Thompson Mason who declined the office of delegate & was permitted so to do by the house that supposition has been proved to be groundless. But indeed no such distinction of offices can be admitted. Reason and the opinions of the lawyers putting all on a footing as to this question and so giving to the delegate the aid of all the precedents of the refusal of other offices. The law then does not warrant the assumption of such a power by the state over it’s members. For if it does where is that law? nor yet does reason, for tho’ I will admit that this does subject every individual if called on to an equal tour of political duty yet it can never go so far as to submit to it his whole existence. If we are made in some degree for others, yet in a greater are we made for ourselves. It were contrary to feeling & indeed Edition: current; Page: [301] ridiculous to suppose that a man had less right in himself than one of his neighbors or indeed all of them put together. This would be slavery & not that liberty which the bill of rights has made inviolable and for the preservation of which our government has been charged. Nothing could so completely divest us of that liberty as the establishment of the opinion that the state has a perpetual right to the services of all it’s members. This to men of certain ways of thinking would be to annihilate the blessing of existence; to contradict the giver of life who gave it for happiness & not for wretchedness; and certainly to such it were better that they had never been born. However with these I may think public service & private misery inseparably linked together, I have not the vanity to count myself among those whom the state would think worth oppressing with perpetual service. I have received a sufficient memento to the contrary. I am persuaded that having hitherto dedicated to them the whole of the active & useful part of my life I shall be permitted to pass the rest in mental quiet. I hope too that I did not mistake the modes any more than the matter of right when I preferred a simple act of renunciation to the taking sanctuary under those disqualifications (provided by the law for other purposes indeed, but which affording asylum also for rest to the wearied. I dare say you did not expect by the few words you dropped on the right of renunciation to expose yourself to the fatigue of so long a letter, but I wished you to see that if I had done wrong I had been betrayed by a semblance of right at least.

Edition: current; Page: [302]

I take the liberty of inclosing to you a letter for Genl Chattelux for which you will readily find means of conveyance. But I meant to give you more trouble with the one to Pelham who lives in the neighborhood of Manchester & to ask the favor of you to send it by your servant express which I am in hopes may be done without absenting him from your person but during those hours in which you will be engaged in the house. I am anxious that it should be received immediately. Mrs Jefferson has added another daughter to our family. She has been ever since & still continues very dangerously ill. It will give me great pleasure to see you here whenever you can favor us with your company. You will find me still busy but in lighter occupations. But in these & all others you will find me to retain a due sense of your friendship & to be with sincere esteem, Dr Sir

Your mo ob & mo hble servt.

P. S. did you ever receive a copy of the Parl. debates & Histor. Register with a letter left for you with Mr Jas. Buchanan?

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 22. 1782
Monticello
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison, Benjamin

TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA (BENJAMIN HARRISON)

v. s. a.
Sir,

—I do myself the honour of inclosing you a letter received from Mr Thomas Smith as agent for Mr Nathan. I have no idea that the laws, as they stand at present, can give him an action against me for assumpsits of public debts, made in council & so expressed with their unanimous advice, and this in Edition: current; Page: [303] the presence of Mr Nathan, who knew the debts to be public, who applied to me as a public officer for paiment, and who has never before pretended to consider it but as a public affair. And even were it possible that the present laws should leave me exposed to shipwreck where there never was anything in the nature of a private assumpsit, I suppose it not possible they should be permitted to remain so. The purpose of the present trouble I give your Excellency is to ask whether, should any suit be brought against me, I may take the liberty of remitting the defence wholly to the public whose concern alone it is? I had had some thoughts of abstracting myself awhile from this state by a journey to Philadelphia or somewhere else Northwardly; but I suppose it would not be safe for me to leave a state by whose laws I must certainly be protected & trust myself in another where that protection would be doubtful.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 26 1782
Chesterfield
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I received yesterday the letter with which you have been pleased to honour me inclosing the resolution of Congress of the 12th inst renewing my appointment as one of their ministers plenipotentiary for negotiating a peace, and beg leave through you to return my sincere thanks to that august body for the confidence they are pleased to repose in me and to tender the same to yourself for the obliging manner in which you have notified it. I will employ in this arduous charge with diligence and integrity the Edition: current; Page: [304] best of my poor talents, which I am conscious are far short of what it requires. This I hope will ensure to me from Congress a kind construction of all my transactions, and it gives me no small pleasure that my communications will pass through the hands of a gentleman with whom I have acted in the earlier stages of this contest & whose candor & discernment I had the good fortune then to prove and to esteem. Your letter finds me at a distance from home, attending my family under inoculation. This will add to the delays which the arrangement of my particular affairs would necessarily occasion. I shall lose no moment however in preparing for my departure and shall hope to pay my respects to Congress & yourself at some time between the 20th & the last of December.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 26, 1782
James Steptoe
Steptoe, James

TO JAMES STEPTOE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I received in August your favour wherein you give me hopes of your being able to procure for me some of the big bones. I should be unfaithful to my own feelings were I not to express to you how much I am obliged by your attention to the request I made you on that subject. A specimen of each of the several species of bones now to be found is to me the most desirable object in natural history, and there is no expense of package or of safe transportation which I will not gladly reimburse to procure them safely. Elk horns of very extraordinary size, or anything else uncommon Edition: current; Page: [305] would be very acceptable. New London in Bedford Staunton in Augusta or Fredericksbg, are places from whence I can surely get them. You will hear of my being gone to Europe, but my trip there will be short. I mention this, lest you should hesitate forwarding any curiosities to me. Any observations of your own on the subject of the big bones or their history or on anything else in the Western country will come acceptably to me, because I know you see the works of nature in the great, & not merely in detail. Descriptions of animals, vegetables, minerals, or other curious things, notes as to the Indians, information of the country between the Mississippi & waters of the South Sea &c. &c. will strike your mind as worthy being communicated. I wish you had more time to pay attention to them.

I perceive by your letter you are not unapprized that your services to your country have not made due impression on every mind. That you have enemies you must not doubt when you reflect that you have made yourself eminent. If you meant to escape malice you should have confined yourself within the sleepy line of regular duty. When you transgressed this and enterprised deeds which will hand down your name with honor to future times, you made yourself a mark for malice & envy to shoot at. Of these there is enough, you know, both in & out of office. I was not a little surprised however to find one person hostile to you, as far as he has personal courage to show hostility to any man. Who he is you will probably have heard, or may know him by Edition: current; Page: [306] this description—as being all tongue, without either head or heart. In the variety of his crooked schemes however his interests may probably veer about so as to put it in your power to be useful to him, in which case he certainly will be your friend again if you want him. That you may long continue a fit object for his enmity and for that of every person of his complexion in the state, which I know can only be by your continuing to do good to your country & to acquire honour to yourself is the earnest prayer of one who subscribes himself, with great truth & sincerity, Your friend & servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 26, 1782
Ampthill
FranÇois Jean
Jean, FranÇois
Chevalier De Chastellux
Chastellux, Chevalier De

TO FRANÇOIS JEAN, CHEVALIER DE CHASTELLUX

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I received your friendly letters of — and June 30 but the latter not till the 17th of Oct. It found me a little emerging from the stupor of mind which had rendered me as dead to the world as she was whose loss occasioned it.1 Your letter recalled to my memory that there were persons still living of much value to me. If you should have thought me remiss in not testifying to you sooner how deeply I had been impresesd with your worth in the little time I had the happiness of being with you you will I am sure ascribe it to it’s true cause the state of dreadful suspense in which I had been kept all the summer & the catastrophe which closed it. Before that event my scheme of life had been determined. Edition: current; Page: [307] I had folded myself in the arms of retirement, and rested all prospects of future happiness on domestic & literary objects. A single event wiped away all my plans and left me a blank which I had not the spirits to fill up. In this state of mind an appointment from Congress found me, requiring me to cross the Atlantic. And that temptation might be added to duty I was informed at the same time from his Excy the Chevalier de Luzerne that a vessel of force would be sailing about the middle of Dec. in which you would be passing to France. I accepted the appointment and my only object now is so to hasten over those obstacles which would retard my departure as to be ready to join you in your voyage, fondly measuring your affections by my own & presuming your consent. It is not certain that by any exertion I can be in Philadelphia by the middle of December. the contrary is most probable. But hoping it will not be much later and counting on those procrastinations which usually attend the departure of vessels of size I have hopes of being with you in time. This will give me full leisure to learn the result of your observations on the natural bridge, to communicate to you my answers to the queries of Monsr de Marbois, to receive edification from you on these and on other subjects of science, considering chess too as a matter of science. Should I be able to get out in tolerable time and any extraordinary delays attend the sailing of the vessel I shall certainly do myself the honor of waiting on his Excy Count Rochambeau at his Head quarters and assuring him in person of my high respect and esteem for him— Edition: current; Page: [308] an object of which I have never lost sight. To yourself I am unable to express the warmth of those sentiments of friendship & attachment with which I have the honour to be, Dr Sir,

Your most obedt & mo hble servt.
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 26, 1782
Chesterfield
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favour by Colo Basset is not yet come to hand. The intimation through the attorney I received the day before Colo Bland’s arrival by whom I am honoured with yours of the 14th inst. It finds me at this place attending my family under inoculation. This will of course retard those arrangements of my domestic affairs which will of themselves take time and cannot be made but at home. I shall lose no time however in preparing for my departure; and from the calculations I am at present enabled to make I suppose I cannot be in Philadelphia before the 20th of December, and that possibly it may be the last of that month. Some days I must certainly pass there; as I could not propose to jump into the midst of a negotiation without a single article of previous information. From these data you will be enabled to judge of the chance of availing myself of his Excy the Chev de la Luzerne’s kind offer, to whom I beg you to present my thanks for his friendly attention and to let him know I shall use my best endeavors to be in time for the departure of his frigate. No circumstances of a private nature could induce me to hasten over the several obstacles to my Edition: current; Page: [309] departure more unremitting than the hope of having the Chevr de Chattelux as a companion in my voyage. A previous acquaintance with his worth & abilities had impressed me with an affection for him which under the then prospect of never seeing him again was perhaps imprudent.

I am with very sincere esteem Dr Sir your affectionate friend & humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec 15 1782
Monticello

ADVERTISEMENT1

The Subscriber having occasion to be absent from the State for some time, has confided the care of his affairs to Francis Eppes, Esq., of Chesterfield, and Col. Nicholas Lewis, of Albermarle, to whom, therefore, he begs leave to refer all persons having business with him.

Thomas Jefferson.
Edition: current; Page: [310] Edition: current; Page: [311] Edition: current; Page: [312] Edition: current; Page: [313]

NOTES ON VIRGINIA 1782

The wide reputation and high value that have been accorded to the Notes on Virginia for over one hundred years make any attempt to praise it at this day little less than a work of supererogation. Its frequent republication is alone testimony sufficient to prove its unusual merit. Aside from its intrinsic value, it is of interest, as Jefferson’s most serious piece of book-making, and the one on which the larger part of his philosophical reputation was based during his lifetime. It was, also at the time of its production, a notable contribution to American scientific writing, and has been, perhaps, the most frequently reprinted book ever written in the United States south of Mason and Dixon’s line.

In 1781, the French ministry directed their American agent to gather certain information concerning the several States then forming the American union, for the use of the home government. The secretary of the French legation, Marbois, in pursuance of this instruction, drew up a series of questions, which were sent to leading men in the different States, who were presumed to be best competent to supply the Edition: current; Page: [314] needed answers. These questions produced from several of the States replies more or less adequate, a number of which have been since printed. On the recommendation of Joseph Jones, then a member of the Continental Congress, a set of queries was sent to Jefferson, then still governor of Virginia, who wrote to M. Barbé de Marbois, the secretary of the legation:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 4th, 1781
Richmond
M. Barbé de Marbois
Marbois, M. Barbé de

Sir,—I have been honoured with your letter of Feb. 5. Mr. Jones did put into my hands a paper containing sundry inquiries into the present state of Virginia which he informed me was from yourself, some of which I meant to do myself the honour of answering. Hitherto it has been in my power to collect a few materials only, which my present occupations disable me from completing. I mean however shortly to be in a condition which will leave me quite at leisure to take them up, when it shall be one of my first undertakings to give you as full information as I shall be able to do on such of the subjects as are within the sphere of my acquaintance. On some of them however I trust Mr. Jones will engage abler hands. Those in particular which relate to the commerce of the state—a subject with which I am totally unacquainted, and which is probably the most important in your plan.”

In the leisure that ensued after his resignation of office, and a physical injury received from a fall from his horse, he undertook this work. Instead of treating the questions in the superficial way that most Edition: current; Page: [315] of the other respondents deemed sufficient, he prepared an elaborate and careful reply. In his Autobiography (i, 94), he states:

“I had always made it a practice whenever an opportunity occurred of obtaining any information of our country, which might be of use to me in any station public or private, to commit it to writing. These memoranda were on loose papers, bundled up without order, and difficult of recurrence when I had occasion for a particular one. I thought this a good occasion to embody their substance, which I did in the order of Mr. Marbois’ queries, so as to answer his wish and to arrange them for my own use.”

Jefferson retained a copy of these Notes, and submitted them to several friends for correction and suggestion. In the following winter (1782–3), he “somewhat corrected and enlarged” them. He was asked for copies by his friends, and seems to have yielded in some cases, for he wrote Chastellux:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 26, 1782
Ampthill
Chastellux
Chastellux

* * * “This will give me full leisure to communicate to you my answers to the queries of Monsr de Marbois.” * * *

As these demands multiplied, however, they grew beyond his power to gratify, and he decided to print an edition for private distribution. When he went to attend the continental congress in the winter of 1783–4, he made inquiries preparatory to this, but failed to carry out his purpose, for reasons recorded in a letter to Charles Thomson:

Edition: current; Page: [316]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 21, 1784
Philadel
Charles Thomson
Thomson, Charles

* * * “My matter in the printing way is dropped. Aitken had formerly told me that he would print it for £4 a sheet. He now asks £5 10s, which raises the price from £48 to £66; but what was a more effectual and insuparable bar was that he could not complete it under three weeks, a time I could not wait for it. Dunlap happened to be out of town, so I relinquished the plan. Perhaps I may have a few copies struck off in Paris if there be an English Printer. If I do you shall assuredly have one. I shall take the liberty of adding some of your notes—those which were mendatory merely will have their effect on the body of the work.”

Jefferson carried the MS therefore with him to France when he was sent as commissioner. Its condition at that time is described in a letter to Hogendorp, written some months after:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 13 1785
Paris
Hogendorp
Hogendorp

* * * “The condition in which you first saw them [the Notes] would prove to you how hastily they had been originally written; as you may remember the numerous insertions I had made in them from time to time, when I could find a moment for turning to them from other occupations.”

Jefferson reached Paris August 6, 1784, and seems to have at once placed the MS of his Notes in the hands of a printer, for he records on Sept. 13, in his note book:

Edition: current; Page: [317]

“Pd. M. La Marche in part for sheets 1176 f.” and under Oct. 15 enters in the same:

“Pd. M. La Marche balance for sheets 69 f.”

This edition of the Notes was anonymous. Two hundred copies were printed. Jefferson wrote to Carmichael, of this edition:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec 26, 1786
Paris
Carmichael
Carmichael

* * * “My Notes on Virginia having been hastily written, need abundance of corrections. Two or three of these are so material that I am reprinting a few leaves to substitute for the old. As soon as these shall be ready, I will beg your acceptance of a copy. I shall be proud to be permitted to send a copy also to the Count de Campomanes, as a tribute to his science & his virtues.”

As here indicated, the author distributed a few copies, as presents to friends, each one bearing a presentation note in Jefferson’s writing, requesting that it should be considered as a private communication. Two of these inscriptions, are here reproduced as types, in facsimile. Another was as follows:

“Th. Jefferson begs the Marquis de LaFayette’s acceptance of a copy of these Notes. The circumstances under which they were written, and the talents of the writer, will account for their errors and defects. The original was sent to Mr de Marbois in December 1781.

“The desire of a friend to possess some of the details they contained occasioned him to revise them Edition: current; Page: [318] in the subsequent winter. The vices however of their original composition were such as to forbid material amendment. He now has a few copies printed with a design of offering them to some of his friends, and to some estimable characters beyond that line. A copy is presented to the Marquis de LaFayette whose services to the American Union in general, and to that member of it particularly which is the subject of these Notes and in that precise point of time too to which they relate, entitle him to this offering.

“To these considerations the writer hopes he may be permitted to add his own personal friendship and esteem for the Marquis. Unwilling to expose these sheets to the public eye the writer begs the favor of the Marquis to put them into the hands of no person on whose care and fidelity he cannot rely to guard them against publication.”

Jefferson’s reasons for not publishing the work, and for taking such pains to guard it from being printed, are given in a letter to Chastellux:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 7, 1785
Paris
Chastellux
Chastellux

Dear Sir,—I have been honoured with the receipt of your letter of the 2d instant, and am to thank you, as I do sincerely for the partiality with which you receive the copy of the Notes on my country. As I can answer for the facts therein reported on my own observation and have admitted none on the report of others which were not supported by evidence sufficient to command my own assent, I am not afraid that you should make any

Edition: current; Page: [318a]
lf0054-03_figure_003.jpg
Written by the Author on the Fly-Leaves of Two Presentation Copies of the Original French Edition of Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia.
Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [319]

extracts you please for the Journal de Physique which come within their plan of publication. The strictures on slavery and on the constitution of Virginia are not of that kind, and they are the parts which I do not wish to have made public, at least till I know whether their publication would do most harm or good. It is possible that in my own country these strictures might produce an irritation which would indispose the people towards the two great objects I have in view, that is the emancipation of their slaves & the settlement of their constitution on a firmer & more permanent basis. If I learn from thence, that they will not produce that effect, I have printed & reserved just copies enough to be able to give one to every young man at the College. It is to them I look, to the rising generation, and not to the one now in power, for these great reformations. The other copy delivered at your hotel was for Mons de Buffon. I meant to ask the favour of you to have it sent to him, as I was ignorant how to do it. I have one also for Mons Daubenton; but being utterly unknown to him I cannot take the liberty of presenting it till I can do it through some common acquaintance.”

He also wrote to Charles Thomson:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 21, 1785
Paris
Charles Thomson
Thomson, Charles

* * * “In literature nothing new: For I do not consider as having added anything to that field by my own Notes of which I have had a few copies printed. I will send you a copy by the first safe conveyance. Having troubled Mr. Otto with one Edition: current; Page: [320] for Colo Monroe, I could not charge him with one for you. Pray ask the favor of Colo Monroe in page 5, line 17, to strike out the words ‘above the mouth of the Appamattox,’ which makes nonsense of the passage, and I forgot to correct it before I had enclosed & sent off the copy to him. I am desirous of preventing the reprinting this, should any book merchant think it worth it, till I hear from my friends whether the terms in which I have spoken of slavery and of the constitution of our State will not, by producing an irritation, retard that reformation which I wish instead of promoting it.”

He further wrote to Francis Hopkinson:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 6, 1786
Paris
Francis Hopkinson
Hopkinson, Francis

* * * “Having slipped the opportunity of sending copies of my Notes for yourself, & Mr. Rittenhouse when Dr. Franklin’s baggage went, I am doubtful whether he can take them with him. If he can you shall receive them by him. if not, then by the first good opportunity. I am obliged to pray that they may not be permitted to get into the hands of the public till I know whether they will promote or retard certain reformations in my own country. I have written to Mr. Madison to inform me on that head.”

As soon as this publication was known, Jefferson was beseiged for copies of the book. A type of these requests is shown in a letter of his old law teacher, George Wythe, who wrote him:

Edition: current; Page: [321]
George Wythe
Wythe, George
Jan 10, 1786
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

“Before i opened the pacquet, observing it to contain books, i hoped to see the copy of one, with a cursory reading of which i had then lately been delighted. You will know the book i mean when i tell you that he who indulged me with the reading of it informed me, that the author had not yet resolved to publish it.”

In spite of these solicitations, Jefferson was chary of giving out copies till he should have the opinions of his Virginia friends concerning the parts likely to cause irritation. Madison wrote him:

Madison
Madison
Nov. 15th, 1785
Richmond
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

* * * “On my return to Orange, I found the copy of your notes brought along . . . by Mr. Doradour. I have looked them over carefully myself, and consulted several judicious friends in confidence. We are all sensible that the freedom of your strictures on some particular measures and opinions will displease their respective abettors. But we equally concur in thinking that this consideration ought not to be weighed against the utility of your plan. We think both the facts and remarks which you have assembled too valuable not to be made known, at least to those for whom you destine them, and speak of them to one another in terms which I must not repeat to you. Mr. Wythe suggested that it might be better to put the number you may allot to the University into the library, rather than to distribute them among the students. In the latter case, the stock will be immediately Edition: current; Page: [322] exhausted. In the former, the discretion of the professors will make it serve the students as they successively come in. Perhaps too, an indiscriminate gift might offend some narrow-minded parents.”

On the strength of this opinion, Jefferson began a more general distribution. He replied to Madison:

Madison
Madison
Feb. 8, 1786
Paris
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

* * * “I thank you for your information as to my Notes. The copies I have remaining shall be sent over to be given to some of my friends and to select subjects in the college. I have been unfortunate here with this trifle. I gave out a few copies only, & to confidential persons writing in every copy a restraint against it’s publication. Among others I gave a copy to a Mr. Williamos, he died. I immediately took every precaution I could to recover this copy. But by some means or other, a book seller got hold of it. He employed a hireling translator and was about publishing it in the most injurious form possible. An Abbé Morellet a man of letters here to whom I had given a copy, got notice of this. He had translated some passages for a particular purpose: and he compounded with the book seller to translate & give him the whole, on his declining the first publication. I found it necessary to confirm this, and it will be published in French, still mutillated however in it’s freest parts. I am now at a loss what to do as to England. Everything good or bad, is thought worth publishing there and I apprehend a translation back from the French, and a publication there. I rather believe it will be Edition: current; Page: [323] most eligible to let the original come out in that country: but am not yet decided.”

To Hopkinson he wrote:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sept 25, 1785
Paris
Hopkinson
Hopkinson

* * * “I have sometimes thought of sending a copy of my Notes to the Philosophical Society, as a tribute due to them, but this would seem as if I considered them as worth something, which I am conscious they are not. I will not ask you for your advice on this occasion, because it is one of those on which no man is authorized to ask a sincere opinion. I shall therefore refer it to further thoughts.”

He also wrote to Wythe:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 13, 1786
Wythe
Wythe

* * * “I availed myself of the first opportunity which occurred, by a gentleman going to England, of sending to Mr. Joddrel a copy of the Notes on our country, with a line informing him that it was you who had emboldened me to take that liberty. Madison, no doubt, informed you of the reason why I had sent only a single copy to Virginia. Being assured by him that they will not do the harm I had apprehended, but on the contrary may do some good, I propose to send thither the copies remaining on hand, which were fewer than I had intended. But of the numerous corrections they need, there are one or two so essential that I must have them made, by printing a few new leaves, & substituting them for the old. This will be done while they are engraving a map which I have constructed of the country from Albemarle sound to Edition: current; Page: [324] Lake Erie, & which will be inserted in the book. A bad French translation which is getting out here, will probably oblige me to publish the original more freely which it neither deserved nor was ever intended. Your wishes which are law to me, will justify my destining a copy for you, otherwise I should as soon have thought of sending you a hornbook; for there is no truth there that is not familiar to you, and its errors I should hardly have proposed to treat you with.”

The threatened translation touched upon in the above letters to Madison and Wythe was treated more at large in a letter to C. W. F. Dumas:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
February 2, 1786
Paris
C. W. F. Dumas
Dumas, C. W. F.

* * * “I thank you for what you say of the notes on Virginia. It is much more than they deserve. Though the various matters they touch on would have been beyond the information of any one person whatever to have treated fully and infinitely beyond mine, yet had I at the time of writing them, had anything more in view than the satisfying a single individual, they should have been more attended to both in form and matter. Poor as they are, they have been thought worthy of a surreptitious translation here, with the appearance of which very soon I have been threatened. This has induced me to yield to a friendly proposition from the Abbé Morellet, to translate and publish them himself, submitting the sheets previously to my inspection. As a translation by so able a hand will lessen the faults of the original, instead of their Edition: current; Page: [325] being multiplied by a hireling translator, I shall add to it a map and such other advantages as may prevent the mortification of my seeing it appear in the injurious form threatened. I shall with great pleasure send a copy of the original to you by the first opportunity, praying your acceptance of it.”

To Dr. Edward Bancroft he also wrote:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 26, 1786
Paris
Dr. Edward Bancroft
Bancroft, Dr. Edward

* * * “By the death of Mr. Williamos a copy of my Notes on Virginia got into the hands of a bookseller, who was about publishing a very abominable translation of them when the Abbé Morellet heard of it, & diverted him from it by undertaking to translate it for him. They will thus appear in French in spite of my precautions. The Abbé engaged me to make a map, which I wish to have engraved in London. It is on a single sheet 23 inches square, and very closely written. It comprehends from Albemarle sound to L. Erie, and from Philadelphia to the mouth of the great Kanhaway, containing Virginia & Pennsylvania, a great part of Maryland & a part of North Carolina. It is taken from Mitchell, Hutchins, & Fry, & Jefferson. I wish the favor of you to make two propositions for me & to inform me of the result. 1. To know from one of the best engravers how much he will ask for the plate & engraving, and in how short a time after he receives the original can he furnish the plate done in the best manner, for the time is material as the work is in the press. 2. To know of Faden or any other map merchant for how much he will undertake to Edition: current; Page: [326] furnish me 1800 copies, on my sending the map to him, & in what time can he furnish them. On this alternative I am to have nothing to do with the engraver or any person but the undertaker. I am of opinion he may furnish them to me for nothing; and fully indemnify himself by the sale of the maps. Tho’ it is on a scale of only an inch to 20 miles it is as particular as the four sheet maps from which it is taken, and I answer for the exactness of the reduction. I have supplied some new places. Tho’ the first object which induced me to undertake it was to make a map for my book, I soon extended my view to the making as good a map of those countries as my materials would admit; and I have no doubt but that in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland & Virginia 600 copies can be sold for a dollar apiece. I shall finish it in about a fortnight, except the divisions in the counties of Virginia, which I cannot do at all till I can get Henry’s map of Virginia. This I must trouble you to procure for me & send immediately by the Diligence, and also give me information on the premises as soon as possible. You will perceive that time will press. I hope the circumstances of this affair will plead my pardon for the trouble I am giving you. The expense of procuring & sending the map shall be replaced, and an infinitude of thanks attend you Sir your most obedt humble servt.

“P. S. I do not propose that my name shall appear on the map, because it will belong to it’s original authors, & because I do not wish to place myself at the bar of the public.”

Edition: current; Page: [327]

Morellet’s preface to this edition states:

“AVERTISSEMENT

“L’Ouvrage qu’on donne ici au Public a été imprimé en 1782, sous le titre de Notes on Virginia, & n’est en effet qu’un recueil de Notes, ou Observations détachées, servant de réponse aux Questions d’un ami de l’Auteur, Européen qui cherchoit à connoitre cette partie des États-Unis; mais on ne craint pas d’annoncer que sous un titre si modeste; le Lecteur trouvera des connoissances approfondies & des idées étendues.

“L’Ouvrage n’ayant d’autre plan que celui qu’a donné l’ordre des Questions, qui n’est pas toujours le plus naturel qu’on pût suivre, le Traducteur a pris la liberté, avec l’agrément de l’Auteur, de transposer quelques morceaux. Voici les principales de ces transpositions, qui sont en petit nombre.

“1°. On a fait de la septieme Section, de l’original, qui traite du Climat, la deuxieme de la traduction.

“2°. La neuvieme & la dixieme Section de l’original, qui traitent des forces militaires de terre & de mer, ont été renvoyées à la fin de l’Ouvrage, à la suite du paragraphe où l’on traite du Revenu public & de la Dépense nationale.

“3°. On a rapporté au paragraphe où l’Auteur avoit traité des Esclaves noirs, l’Exposition du projet plein d’humanité qu’il propose pour leur affranchissement & qui étoit placé au paragraphe intitulé: Projet de Révision de notre Legislation.

“Les autres changemens sont trop peu considérables pour qu’il soit nécessaire d’en faire ici mention. Edition: current; Page: [328] On doit dire seulement qu’il n’y a rien d’omis de l’original.

“L’Auteur ayant fait une addition à quelques idées qu’il expose sur la Théorie de la terre, dans les pages 72, 73, &c. & cette addition étant parvenue trop tard au Traducteur, on l’a placée à la fin de l’Ouvrage, & le Lecteur est prié d’y recourir.

“Les observations de M. Charles Thomson, Secrétaire de Congrès, qui se trouvent à la fin de l’original anglois, sous le titre d’Appendix, depuis la page 367, jusqu’à étant toutes relatives à celles de M. J. dont elles sont communément des développemens ou des preuves, nous avons cru devoir les placer dans le corps meme de l’Ouvrage, aux endroits auxquels elles appartiennent. Nous les avons distinguées, en les enfermant entre les deux marques.

“Nous avons aussi fait entrer dans le texte les notes de l’Auteur lui-même, parce qu’elles nous ont paru y tenir assez pour pouvoir former avec l’Ouvrage un discours suivi; ce que devroient toujours être des notes, si en suivant cette regale, on n’étoit pas dispensé d’en faire.

“La traduction françoise se trouve enrichie d’une carte, rédigée par l’Auteur lui-même avec l’exactitude qu’il fait mettre à tout ce qu’il fait. On ose dire que cette carte, la plus correcte & la plus riche de toutes celles qu’on a eues de la Virginie jusqu’à présent, donne seule un grand prix à l’ouvrage que nous présentons au Public.

“On n’a point réduit dans chaque endroit les mesures angloises aux nôtres. Ou dira seulement que le pied anglois (foot) est d’environ 11 pouces 4 Edition: current; Page: [329] lignes & demie du pied françois. La verge (yard) est de trois pieds anglois, & répond par consequent a environ 34 pouces 1 ligne & demie. L’estimation n’a pas besoin ici d’une plus grande précision.

“Dans la traduction des noms propres des lieux, des villes, des rivieres, &c. dont la plupart sont de la langue des naturels du pays, on a suivi la maniere dont les Anglois les écrivent, sans égard aux altérations que les Geographes & les Auteurs françois leur font souvent subir. On a cru que les possesseurs de ces contrées avoient seuls le droit d’en fixer la nomenclature.

“Quant aux noms propres anglois, on s’est bien gardé de les supprimer en les traduisant, parce qu’ils deviennent souvent méconnoissables dans la traduction on les a conservés, en mettant à côté & en parenthèse la traduction françoise. Ainsi on a dit, la chaîne des montagnes appellees Laurel-Ridge (montagnes du Laurier), & non pas, la chaîne de montagnes, appellés montagnes du Laurier.

This publication in French, made the issue of an English edition almost inevitable. Madison told Jefferson:

Madison
Madison
May 12th, 1786
Orange
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

* * * “Your notes having got into print in France, will inevitably be translated back and published in that form, not only in England but in America, unless you give out the original. I think, therefore, that you owe it not only to yourself, but to the place you occupy, and the subjects you have handled, to take this precaution. To say nothing of Edition: current; Page: [330] the injury which will certainly result to the diction from a translation first into French and then back into English, the ideas themselves may possibly be so perverted as to lose their propriety.”

To protect himself against this possibility, Jefferson entered into negotiations for an edition in English. He wrote to John Stockdale, the great English publisher:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 1, 1787
Paris
John Stockdale
Stockdale, John

Sir,—You have two or three times proposed to me the printing my Notes on Virginia. I never did intend to have made them public, because they are little interesting to the rest of the world, but as a translation of them is coming out, I have concluded to let the original appear also. I have therefore corrected a copy & made some additions. I have moreover had a map engraved which is worth more than the book. If you chuse to print the work I will send you the corrected copy, and when it shall be nearly printed I will send the plate of the map. I would not chuse that it should be put under a patent, nor that there should be a tittle altered, added, nor omitted. It would be necessary to have a small half sheet map engraved of the country of Virginia as when first discovered. This map is only to be found in Smith’s history of Virginia, a thin folio, now very rare. I was not able to find that work here, but surely it can be found in London.

An exact copy of the map is all that would be wanting. I leave this place about the 11th or 12th. Be so good as to let me know whether you chuse to Edition: current; Page: [331] print the work under the conditions before named. If I receive your answer in the affirmative before I set out, I will send you immediately the copy. It is an octavo of 390 pages. The American Atlas is come safe to hand.

P. S. it is not necessary to observe that as I have been to the expense of engraving a large map, I should expect to be paid for those you should have occasion for, a shilling a piece.”

John Stockdale
Stockdale, John
Feb. 27. 1787
Paris
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas

Sir,—By the Diligence of tomorrow I will send you a corrected copy of my Notes which I will pray you to print precisely as they are, without additions, alterations, preface, or anything else but what is there. They will require a very accurate corrector of the press, because they are filled with tables, which will become absolutely useless if they are not printed with a perfect accuracy. I beg you therefore to have the most particular attention paid to the correcting of the press. With respect to the plate of the map, it is impossible to send it at the same time. It was engraved in London, and on examination I found a prodigious number of orthographical errors. Being determined that it shall not go out with a single error, an engraver is now closely employed in correcting them. He promises to have it finished the next week, say by the 10th of March; but I suppose you must expect he will not be punctual to a day. the map will be worth more than the book, because it is very particular, made on the best materials which exist, and is of a very convenient size, bringing the States of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware & Pennsylvania Edition: current; Page: [332] into a single sheet. It will make the book sell. I think it would be worth your while to print 400 copies of the book for America, sending 200 to Richmond in Virginia, & 200 to Philadelphia, if you have no correspondents there, you might send those for Richmond to Mr. James Buchanan merchant there, & those for Philadelphia to Aitken bookseller there. These are men on whose punctuality you may depend. But they should be restrained from selling but for ready money: so that you may always find in their hands either the money or the books. I set out on my journey tomorrow: but Mr. Short, my Secretary, remains here, and will hasten & forward the plate to you by the Diligence. Be so good as to send by the next Diligence a copy of Mr. Adams’ book on the American Constitutions printed by Dilly, in boards, it being for a bookseller here.”

In the preparation of this edition, Jefferson wrote to the Abbé Morellet:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 2, 1787
Paris
Abbé Morellet
Morellet, Abbé

“I am sorry, my dear Sir, that your interest should be affected by the ill behavior of Barrois but when you consider the facts you will be sensible that I could not have indulged his indolence further without increasing the injury to a more punctual workman. Stockdale of London had asked leave to print my Notes. I agreed to it, & promised he should have the plate of the map as soon as it should be corrected, and the copies struck off for you & myself. He thereupon printed his edition completely in three weeks. The printer, who was to strike off 250 maps for me kept the plate but 5 days. It was then delivered to Edition: current; Page: [333] Barrois with notice that it could not be left longer with him than should suffice to strike off his number. Repeated applications for it by Mr. Short & my servant were only answered by repeated promises, and times of delivery fixed, no one of which was performed. When I returned he had been possessed of the plate upwards of two months. I was astonished and confounded to be told it had not been sent to Stockdale & that his edition had been lying dead on his hands three months. I sent to Barrois the very day of my return to let him know that justice to Stockdale did not permit me to defer sending him the plate any longer, yet I would wait 5 days, at the end of which he must deliver me the plate whether his maps were done or not. I received no answer, but waited 10 days. I then sent for the plate. The answer was he was not at home. I sent again the next day. Answer he was not at home. I sent the third day. Not at home. I then ordered the messenger to go back & wait till he should come home. This produced an answer of two lines qu’il alloit soigner son ouvrier! I wrote him word in return to deliver the plate instantly. This I think was on a Saturday or Sunday. He told the messenger he would let me have it the Thursday following. I took patience, & sent on the Friday, but telling the messenger if he refused to deliver it, to inform him I would be plagued no more with sending messages, but would apply to the police. He then delivered it & I sent it off immediately to London. He had kept it three months, of which three weeks was after my return. I think Sir you will be satisfied that Edition: current; Page: [334] justice to Stockdale, justice to myself who had passed my word for sending on the plate, and sensibly to the shuffling conduct of Barrois, permitted me to act no otherwise. But no matter. Let his ill behavior make no odds between you & me. It will affect your interest, & that suffices to determine me to order back the plate as soon as Stockdale has done with it. He will not require more days than Barrois months, so that it will be here before you can want it. But it must never go into Barrois hands again nor of any person depending on him or under his orders. The workman who struck off the 250. for me seems to have been diligent enough. Either he or any other workman you please of that description, shall have it to strike what number you wish. I forgot to observe in it’s proper place, that when I was in the midst of my difficulties I did myself the honor of calling on you, as well to have that of asking after your health on my return, as of asking your assistance to obtain the plate. Unluckily you were gone to Versailles so I was obliged to proceed as well as I could. It is no excuse for Barrois to say he could not get his Imprimeur to proceed. He should have applied to another. But as to you it shall be set to rights in the manner I have before stated. Accept my regret that you were in the hands of so undeserving a workman, & one who placed me under the necessity of interrupting a work which interested you. Be assured at the same time of the sincerity of those sentiments of esteem & respect with which I have the honor to be Dear Sir your most obedient & most humble servant.”

Edition: current; Page: [335]

Another letter to Stockdale, acknowledged the receipt of copies of this edition:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 14. 1787
Paris
John Stockdale
Stockdale, John

Sir, * * * I thank you for the dozen copies of the Notes on Virginia. The remaining 34 shall be sold so as to pay the 3d sterl. a vol. their transportation costs, the commission for selling & your 5/4 upon the whole they must be sold at about 7£ 15/—Unless you are very sure of your information of the printing the Notes on Virginia in America, I doubt it. I never sent but six copies to America, and they were in such hands as I am sure would not permit them to be published. I have letters from Philadelphia as late as the 6th of June, & certainly no such publication was then suspected by my friends on the contrary Mr. Hopkinson, one of those to whom I had given a copy, & who is concerned in compiling the Columbian magazine, tells me he hopes I will not object to his publishing a few extracts from it particularly the passages in which M. de Buffon’s work is controverted. So that unless you are very certain on that point, I shall disbelieve it.”

The preface to this English edition was as follows:

“ADVERTISEMENT

“The following Notes were written in Virginia in the year 1781, and somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, in answer to Queries proposed to the author, by a Foreigner of Distinction, then residing among us. The subjects are all treated Edition: current; Page: [336] imperfectly; some scarcely touched on. To apologize for this by developing the circumstances of the time and place of their composition, would be to open wounds which have already bled enough. To these circumstances some of their imperfections may with truth be ascribed; the great mass to the want of information and want of talents in the writer. He had a few copies printed, which he gave among his friends: and a translation of them has been lately published in France, but with such alterations as the laws of the press in that country rendered necessary. They are now offered to the public in their original form and language.

“Feb. 27, 1787.”

From the publication of this revision, no further changes were made in the published text during Jefferson’s lifetime. He wrote to J. Lithgow:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 4, 1805
Washington
J. Lithgow
Lithgow, J.

* * * “Mr. Duane informed me that he meant to publish a new edition of the Notes on Virginia, and I had in contemplation some particular alterations which would require little time to make. My occupations by no means permit me at this time to revise the text, and make those changes in it which I should now do.” * * *

He later wrote to John Melish:

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
December 10, 1814
Monticello
John Melish
Melish, John

* * * “You propose to me the preparation of a new edition of the Notes on Virginia. I formerly entertained the idea, and from time to time noted some new matter, which I thought I would Edition: current; Page: [337] arrange at leisure for a posthumous edition. But I now begin to see that it is impracticable for me. Nearly forty years of additional experience in the affairs of mankind would lead me into dilatations ending I know not where. That experience indeed has not altered a single principle. But it has furnished matter of abundant development. Every moment too, which I have to spare from my daily exercise and affairs is engrossed by a correspondence, the results of the extensive relations which my course of life has necessarily occasioned. And now the act of writing itself is becoming slow, laborious and irksome. I consider, therefore, the idea of preparing a new copy of that work as no more to be entertained. The work itself indeed is nothing more than the measure of a shadow, never stationary, but lengthening as the sun advances, and to be taken anew from hour to hour. It must remain, therefore, for some other hand to sketch its appearance at another epoch, to furnish another element for calculating the course and motion of this member of our federal system.”

The revised copy of the Notes here mentioned passed into the hands of his literary executor, from whom it passed to J. W. Randolph & Co., who printed an edition from it in 1853. To this they added the following note:

“PREFACE OF THE PUBLISHER

“Thomas Jefferson left at his death a printed copy of his Notes on Virginia, containing many manuscript Edition: current; Page: [338] notes, several plates and a map, intended apparently for a new edition of the work. As an edition had then been recently published it was deemed best to delay any further publication until the book should become scarce. It is now nearly out of print, and a general desire is expressed for another edition. With a view of gratifying this wish, Mr. Jefferson’s executor, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, has transferred to the publisher the materials prepared by the author for the new edition.

“In making this preparation the author used a copy of the first edition, and thus inadvertently repeated an error in the narrative preceding Logan’s speech which had been corrected in a later edition. An historical statement making the correction, deduced by the author from certain documents, and the documents themselves, will be found in Appendix No. IV. They are taken from a re-print of the work in 1825.

“The manuscript notes of the present edition are numerous and interesting. Many are in foreign languages, and disclose the extensive erudition of the author. Professor Schele De Vere, the accomplished and learned incumbent of the chair of Modern Languages of the University of Virginia, has been kind enough to translate the French, Spanish and Italian notes. These translations will be found in Appendix No. IV.

“The circumstances under which the Notes on Virginia were written, are stated by the author in this preface. It may be well to add, that the foreigner of distinction to whom they were addressed was Edition: current; Page: [339] Mons. Barbe De Marbois, the Secretary of the French Legation in the United States, and that they were written while the author was confined to his room by an injury received from the falling of his horse.

“The beauty of style, the accuracy of information, and the scientific research displayed in the Notes have made them a permanent part of our national literature. The publisher therefore conceives that in publishing a new edition of this admirable work, he is renewing a valuable contribution to that literature, and rendering a just tribute to the illustrious author.

September 13, 1853.”

The original edition of the Notes was printed with the title here reproduced in facsimile. It was a small octavo, of 391 pages, plus the title and folding leaf. The last twenty-five pages were an “Appendix” of notes contributed by Charles Thomson. After Jefferson had distributed some copies he printed a “Draught of a Fundamental Constitution for the Commonwealth of Virginia” (pp. 14), and “Notes on the Establishment of a Money Mint and a Coinage for the United States” (pp. 14) in uniform style, and added them as appendices to the copies he still had. Still later he printed, on its passage by the Virginia legislature, “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” (pp. 4), which he made a third appendix to the copies still remaining in his hands. In addition to these appendices, he cancelled in 1786 pages 52–4 of the original edition, in which he had propounded the suggestion, to explain the occurrence of sea shells in high mountains on other grounds than that of an Edition: current; Page: [340] universal deluge (in which he had no faith), that “besides the usual process for generating shells by the elaboration of earth and water in animal vessels, may not nature have provided an equivalent operation, by passing the same materials through the pores of calcareous earths and stones?” In lieu of these, he had printed new pages, omitting this theory, and substituted these leaves in the copies still remaining in his hands; but they must have been few, for copies with these new sheets are very uncommon.

The French translation of Morellet was somewhat revised, and had an “Avertissement” of the translator. It omitted Thomson’s notes, and the three appendices already mentioned. It had, however, a map drawn by Jefferson, which the latter considered far more valuable than the Notes themselves. The title of this edition was:

Observations / sur / La Virginie, / Par M. J***. / Traduites de L’Anglois. / A Paris, / Chez Barrois, l’aîné, Librarie, rue du / Hurepoix, près le pont Saint-Michel. / 1786. / 8vo pp. (4), viij, 390, (2), (4), map and folding leaf.

The first published edition in English was, as already recorded, by Stockdale, in London. This had an introductory note and included the three appendices that Jefferson had printed since the appearance of the original edition, as also the new matter which had replaced the cancelled leaves. The typographical changes were very numerous, chiefly in the spelling of geographical names, of the Edition: current; Page: [341] substitution of spelled for numeral figures, and in the correction of some few minor errors. It also contained the map that had appeared in the French edition. It was the first edition to give the name of the author, the title being:

Notes / on the / State of Virginia. / written by / Thomas Jefferson. / illustrated with / A Map, including the States of Virginia, Mary- / land, Delaware and Pennsylvania. / London: / Printed for John Stockdale, opposite / Burlington-House, Piccadilly./ M.DCC.LXXXVII. / 8vo. pp. (4), 382, map and folding leaf.

This edition was at once reprinted verbatim, in America (a pirated edition apparently), but without the map. The title was.

Notes / on the / State / of / Virginia. / Written by/ Thomas Jefferson. / Philadelphia: / Printed and sold by Prichard and Hall, in Market / Street, between Front and Second Streets. / M.DCC.LXXXVIII. / 8vo. pp. (4), 344, folding leaf.

A German translation was issued in 1789 with the title of:

Beschriebung von Virginien . . . Leipzig, 1789.

A second American reprint of the Stockdale edition was made with Jefferson’s consent in 1794. The title was:

Notes on the State of Virginia: Second American edition. Philadelphia: Matthew Carey. 1794, 8vo. pp. 4, 336, map and folding leaf.

Edition: current; Page: [342]

In 1797–8 Jefferson prepared an additional appendix, which he printed separately, two years later, with the title of:

An / Appendix / to the / Notes on Virginia / Relative to the Murder of Logans Family. / By Thomas Jefferson. / Philadelphia: Printed by Samuel H. Smith. / M.DCCC. / 8vo. pp. 51.

This appendix was included in the next edition of the Notes, which bore the title:

Jefferson’s / Notes, / on the / State of Virginia; / with the / Appendixes—Complete. / Baltimore: Printed by W. Pechin, corner of Water & Gay streets. / 1800. / 8vo. pp. 194, 53.

All editions subsequent to this, except the last, are reprints of the text of 1787, together with this appendix relating to Logan. More or less full bibliographical titles are given in the Historical Magazine, 1, 52; Sabin’s Dictionary of Books relating to America; and H. B. Tompkins’ Bibliotheca Jeffersoniana. Only a check list of imprints therefore is here given.

With “Dissertation.” Baltimore: W. Pechin. 1800.

Third American Edition. New York: M. L. & W. A. Davids. 1801.

Fourth American Edition. New York: T. B. Janson & Co., 1801.

Newark; Pennington & Gould. 1801.

Philadelphia: R. T. Rawle. 1801.

Eighth American Edition. Boston: D. Carlisle. 1801.

Ninth American Edition. Boston: H. E. Sprague. 1801.

Edition: current; Page: [343]

Trenton: Wilson & Blackwell. 1803.

Trenton: Wilson & Blackwell, for M. Carey. 1803.

New York: 1804.

Philadelphia: M. Carey. 1812.

Trenton: 1812.

Philadelphia: Hogan & Thompson. 1815.

Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea. 1825.

Boston: Wells & Lilly. 1829.

Boston: Lilly & Wait. 1832.

It is proper to state that the text of the Notes, as printed in Washington’s edition of Jefferson’s Writings, is that of 1787, but the editor chose to modify one paragraph to suit his personal views.

Although Jefferson never revised the Notes further than to amend the text for the edition printed in 1787, and the “Logan appendix,” he left a copy of the 1787 with MS revisions. From this an edition was printed in 1853 which besides embodying Jefferson’s corrections, included a preface by the publisher, an “Extract from a Letter of Judge Gibson,” and translations of the notes in foreign tongues. It also contains four plates and a woodcut not in any other edition. It is therefore the best edition, and one of the most difficult to procure. Its title is:

Notes / on the / State of Virginia, / by / Thomas Jefferson: / illustrated with / a Map, including the States of Virginia, Maryland / Delaware and Pennsylvania. / A New Edition, / Prepared by the Author, / Containing Notes and Plates never before published. / J. W. Randolph, / 121 Main Street, Richmond, Va. / 1853. / 8vo. pp. (10), 275, map, folding topographical analysis, and four plates.

Edition: current; Page: [344]

The Notes stirred up considerable controversy. Jefferson’s theory of shell formation was somewhat ridiculed in the French press of the day, and later the same theory was brought forward by certain of his political opponents in America in an endeavor to make him absurd. His statements concerning Logan were sharply criticised for personal and political reasons. His argument against the universal deluge and his plea for religious toleration were used extensively as a political argument against him. These latter produced several pamphlets pro and con, concerning his religious opinions, of which the following by Clement Clarke Moore, is the only one entirely based on the Notes:

Observations / upon certain passages in / Mr. Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia, / which appear to have a tendency to / subvert Religion, / and Establish / A False Philosophy. / New-York. / 1804. / 8vo. pp. 32.

In the New York State Library at Albany are the proof sheets of the first edition of the Notes with Jefferson’s corrections. These are fully described in the Historical Magazine, (xiii, 96), by E. B. O’Callaghan. Only a single one is of a character to deserve notice in this reprint. In 1874, Jefferson’s copy of the edition of 1787 with his autograph corrections was sold at auction in New York for $160, passing to the library of E. G. Asay of Chicago.

For more concerning the Notes see the Historical Magazine, xiii, 96; Sparks’s Writings of Franklin, x, 317; Jefferson’s Autobiography, 1, 94: and the Monthly Review, lxxviii, 377, 450.

Edition: current; Page: [345]

The present text conforms to that of the original edition printed in 1784, the original page numbers being given in brackets. This text has been compared, however, with the editions of 1787 and 1853, and all variation, other than typographical or verbal are indicated in footnotes. The first appendix, consisting of Charles Thomson’s notes, has been broken up, and each note placed with the part of the text to which it relates, as more convenient for reference. The “Notes on a Money Unit,” the “Fundamental Constitution,” and the “Bill for Religious Freedom,” are omitted, as not strictly forming part of the Notes, and more appropriately printed elsewhere. The appendix relating to Logan is compressed, by the exclusion of the confirmatory documents, and is placed as a footnote to the original account. The map is a reproduction of Jefferson’s original map, first published in the edition of 1786. The plate illustrating the “Logan matter” is reproduced from the “Appendix” of 1800. The “Eye draught of Madison’s cave” is reproduced from the first edition. The other four plates are taken from the edition of 1853. The present text therefore embodies practically all that is germane and valuable in every previous edition.

Edition: current; Page: [346] Edition: current; Page: [347]
lf0054-03_figure_004.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [348] Edition: current; Page: [349]

QUERY I An exact description of the limits and boundaries of the state of Virginia?

Virginia is bounded on the East by the Atlantic: on the North by a line of latitude, crossing the Eastern shore through Watkin’s Point, being about 37° 57′ North latitude; from thence by a streight line to Cinquac, near the mouth of Patowmac; thence by the Patowmac, which is common to Virginia and Maryland, to the first fountain of its northern branch; thence by a meridian line, passing through that fountain till it intersects a line running East and West, in latitude 39° 43′ 42.4″ which divides Maryland from Pennsylvania, and which was marked by Messrs. Mason and Dixon; thence by that line, and a continuation of it westwardly to the completion of five degrees of longitude from the eastern boundary of Pennsylvania, in the same latitude, and thence by a meridian line to the Ohio: On the west by the Ohio and [2] Mississipi, to latitude 36° 30′ North: and on the South by the line of latitude last-mentioned. By admeasurements through nearly the whole of this last line, and supplying the unmeasured parts from good data, the Atlantic and Mississipi are found in this latitude to be 758 miles distant, equal to 13° 38′ of longitude, Edition: current; Page: [350] reckoning 55 miles and 3144 feet to the degree. This being our comprehension of longitude, that of our latitude, taken between this and Mason and Dixon’s line, is 3° 13′ 42.4″ equal to 223.3 miles, supposing a degree of a great circle to be 69 m 864 f., as computed by Cassini. These boundaries include an area somewhat triangular of 121525 square miles, whereof 79650 lie westward of the Alleghany mountains, and 57034 westward of the meridian of the mouth of the great Kanhaway. This state is therefore one-third larger than the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, which are reckoned at 88357 square miles.

These limits result from, 1. The antient charters from the crown of England. 2. The grant of Maryland to the Lord Baltimore, and the subsequent determinations of the British court as to the extent of that [3] grant. 3. The grant of Pennsylvania to William Penn, and a compact between the general assemblies of the commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania as to the extent of that grant. 4. The grant of Carolina, and actual location of its northern boundary, by consent of both parties. 5. The treaty of Paris of 1763. 6. The confirmation of the charters of the neighboring states by the convention of Virginia at the time of constituting their commonwealth. 7. The cession made by Virginia to Congress of all the lands to which they had title on the North side of the Ohio.

Edition: current; Page: [351]

QUERY II A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable?

An inspection of a map of Virginia, will give a better idea of the geography of its rivers, than any description in writing. Their navigation may be imperfectly noted.

Roanoke, so far as it lies within this state, is no where navigable, but for canoes, or light batteaux; and, even for these, in such [4] detached parcels as to have prevented the inhabitants from availing themselves of it at all.

James River, and its waters, afford navigation as follows:

The whole of Elizabeth River, the lowest of those which run into James River, is a harbour, and would contain upwards of 300 ships. The channel is from 150 to 200 fathom wide, and at common flood tide affords 18 feet water to Norfolk. The Strafford, a sixty gun ship, went there, lightening herself to cross the bar at Sowell’s point. The Fier Rodrigue, pierced for 64 guns, and carrying 50, went there without lightening. Craney island, at the mouth of this river, commands its channel tolerably well.

Nansemond River is navigable to Sleepy hole, for vessels of 250 tons; to Suffolk for those of 100 tons; and to Milner’s, for those of 25.

Pagan Creek affords 8 or 10 feet water to Smithfield, which admits vessels of 20 tons.

Chickahominy has at its mouth a bar, on which is only 12 feet water at common flood tide. Vessels Edition: current; Page: [352] passing that, may go 8 [5] miles up the river; those of 10 feet draught may go 4 miles further, and those of 6 tons burden 20 miles further.

Appamattox may be navigated as far as Broadways, by any vessel which has crossed Harrison’s bar in James River; it keeps 8 or 101 feet water a mile or two higher up to Fisher’s bar, and 4 feet on that and upwards to Petersburgh, where all navigation ceases.

James River itself affords a harbor for vessels of any size in Hampton Road, but not in safety through the whole winter; and there is navigable water for them as far as Mulberry Island. A 40 gun ship goes to James town, and, lightening herself, may pass [above the mouth of Appamattox,2 to] Harrison’s bar; on which there is only 15 feet water. Vessels of 250 tons may go to Warwick; those of 125 go to Rocket’s, a mile below Richmond; from thence is about 7 feet water to Richmond; and about the centre of the town, four feet and a half, where the navigation is interrupted by falls, which in a course of six miles, descend about 80 feet perpendicular: above these it is resumed in canoes and batteaux, and is pro- [6] secuted safely and advantageously to within 10 miles of the Blue ridge and even through the Blue ridge a ton weight has been brought; and the expence would not be great, when compared Edition: current; Page: [353] with its object, to open a tolerable navigation up Jackson’s river and Carpenter’s Creek, to within 25 miles of Howard’s creek of Green briar, both of which have then water enough to float vessels into the Great Kanhaway. In some future state of population, I think it possible, that its navigation may also be made to interlock with that of the Patowmac, and through that to communicate by a short portage with the Ohio. It is to be noted, that this river is called in the maps James River, only to its confluence with the Rivanna; thence to the Blue ridge it is called the Fluvanna; and thence to its source, Jackson’s river. But in common speech, it is called James river to its source.

The Rivanna, a branch of James River, is navigable for canoes and batteaux to its intersection with the South West mountains, which is about 22 miles; and may easily be opened to navigation through these mountains to its fork above Charlottesville. [7]

York River, at York town, affords the best harbor in the state for vessels of the largest size. The river there narrows to the width of a mile, and is contained within very high banks, close under which vessels may ride. It holds 4 fathom water at high tide for 25 miles above York to the mouth of Poropotank, where the river is a mile and a half wide, and the channel only 75 fathom, and passing under a high bank. At the confluence of Pamunkey and Mattapony, it is reduced to 3 fathom depth, which continues up Pamunkey to Cumberland, where the width is 100 yards, and up Mattapony to within Edition: current; Page: [354] two miles of Frazer’s ferry, where it becomes 2½ fathom deep, and holds that about five miles. Pamunkey is then capable of navigation for loaded flats to Brockman’s bridge, fifty miles above Hanover town, and Mattapony to Downer’s bridge, 70 miles above its mouth.

Piankatank, the little rivers making out of Mobjack Bay and those of the Eastern shore, receive only very small vessels, and these can but enter them.

Rappahanock affords 4 fathom water to Hobb’s hole, and 2 fathom from thence to Fredericksburg. [8]

Patowmac is 7½ miles wide at the mouth; 4½ at Nomony bay; 3 at Acquia; 1½ at Hallooing point; 1¼ at Alexandria. Its soundings are, 7 fathom at the mouth; 5 at St. George’s island; 4½ at Lower Matchodic; 3 at Swan’s point, and thence up to Alexandria; thence 10 feet water to the falls, which are 13 miles above Alexandria. These falls are 15 miles in length, and of very great descent, and the navigation above them for batteaux and canoes, is so much interrupted as to be little used. It is, however, used in a small degree up the Cohongoronta branch as far as Fort Cumberland, which was at the mouth of Wills’s creek: and is capable, at no great expence, of being rendered very practicable. The Shenandoah branch interlocks with James river about the Blue ridge, and may perhaps in future be opened.

The Missisipi will be one of the principal channels of future commerce for the country westward of the Alleghaney. From the mouth of this river to Edition: current; Page: [355] where it receives the Ohio, is 1000 miles by water, but only 500 by land, passing through the Chickasaw country. From the mouth of the Ohio to [9] that of the Missouri, is 230 miles by water, and 140 by land. From thence to the mouth of the Illinois river, is about 25 miles. The Missisipi, below the mouth of the Missouri, is always muddy, and abounding with sand bars, which frequently change their places. However, it carries 15 feet water to the mouth of the Ohio, to which place it is from one and a half to two miles wide, and thence to Kaskaskia from one mile to a mile and a quarter wide. Its current is so rapid, that it never can be stemmed by the force of the wind alone, acting on sails. Any vessel, however, navigated with oars, may come up at any time, and receive much aid from the wind. A batteau passes from the mouth of Ohio to the mouth of Missisipi in three weeks, and is from two to three months getting up again. During its floods, which are periodical as those of the Nile, the largest vessels may pass down it, if their steerage can be ensured. These floods begin in April, and the river returns into its banks early in August. The inundation extends further on the western than eastern side, covering the lands in some places for 50 miles from it’s [10] banks. Above the mouth of the Missouri, it becomes much such a river as the Ohio, like it clear, and gentle in its current, not quite so wide, the period of its floods nearly the same, but not rising to so great a height. The streets of the village at Cohoes are not more than 10 feet above the ordinary level of the water, and yet were never overflowed. Edition: current; Page: [356] Its bed deepens every year. Cohoes, in the memory of many people now living, was insulated by every flood of the river. What was the eastern channel has now become a lake, 9 miles in length and one in width, into which the river at this day never flows. This river yields turtle of a peculiar kind, perch, trout, gar, pike, mullets, herring, carp, spatula fish of 50 pounds weight, cat fish of an hundred pounds weight, buffalo fish, and sturgeon. Alligators or crocodiles have been seen as high up as the Acansas. It also abounds in herons, cranes, ducks, brant, geese, and swans. Its passage is commanded by a fort established by this state, five miles below the mouth of the Ohio, and ten miles above the Carolina boundary.

The Missouri, since the treaty of Paris, the Illinois and Northern branches of the [11] Ohio since the cession to Congress, are no longer within our limits. Yet having been so heretofore, and still opening to us channels of extensive communication with the western and north-western country, they shall be noted in their order.

The Missouri is, in fact, the principal river, contributing more to the common stream than does the Missisipi, even after its junction with the Illinois. It is remarkably cold, muddy and rapid. Its overflowings are considerable. They happen during the months of June and July. Their commencement being so much later than those of the Missisipi, would induce a belief that the sources of the Missouri are northward of those of the Missisipi; unless we suppose that the cold increases again with the Edition: current; Page: [357] ascent of the land from the Missisipi westwardly. That this ascent is great, is proved by the rapidity of the river. Six miles above the mouth it is brought within the compass of a quarter of a mile’s width: yet the Spanish Merchants at Pancore, or St. Louis, say they go two thousand miles up it. It heads far westward of the Rio Norte, or North River. There is, in the villages of Kaskaskia, Cohoes, and St. [12] Vincennes, no inconsiderable quantity of plate, said to have been plundered during the last war by the Indians from the churches and private houses of Santa Fé, on the North River, and brought to these villages for sale. From the mouth of the Ohio to Santa Fé are forty days journey or about 1000 miles. What is the shortest distance between the navigable waters of the Missouri, and those of the North River, or how far this is navigable above Santa Fé, I could never learn. From Santa Fé to its mouth in the Gulph of Mexico is about 1200 miles. The road from New Orleans to Mexico crosses this river at the post of Rio Norte, 800 miles below Santa Fé: and from this post to New Orleans is about 1200 miles; thus making 2000 miles between Santa Fé and New Orleans, passing down the North river, Red river, and Missisipi; whereas it is 2230 through the Missouri and Missisipi. From the same post of Rio Norte, passing near the mines of La Sierra and Laiguana, which are between the North river, and the river Salina to Sartilla, is 375 miles, and from thence, passing the mines of Charcas, Zaccatecas, and Potosi, to the city of Mexico, is three hundred and seventy-five miles; in all [13] 1550 Edition: current; Page: [358] from Santa Fé to the city of Mexico. From New Orleans to the city of Mexico is about 1950 miles: the roads after setting out from the Red river, near Natchitoches, keeping generally parallel with the coast, and above two hundred miles from it till it enters the city of Mexico.

The Illinois, is a fine river, clear, gentle, and without rapids; insomuch that it is navigable for batteaux to its source. From thence is a portage of two miles only to the Chicago, which affords a batteau navigation of sixteen miles to its entrance into lake Michigan. The Illinois, about 10 miles about its mouth, is 300 Yards wide.

The Kaskaskia is 100 yards wide at its entrance into the Missisipi, and preserves that breadth to the Buffalo plains 70 miles above. So far also it is navigable for loaded batteaux, and perhaps much further. It is not rapid.

The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted.

It is ¼ of a mile wide at Fort Pitt. [14]

500 yards at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway:

1 mile and 25 poles at Louisville:

¼ of a mile on the rapids, three or four miles below Louisville:

½ mile where the low country begins, which is 20 miles above Green river:

1¼ at the receipt of the Tanessee:

And a mile wide at the mouth.

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Its length, as measured according to its meanders by Captain Hutchings is as follows:

From Fort Pitt

miles
To Log’s town 18½
Big Beaver creek 10¾
Little Beaver cr 13½
Yellow creek 11¾
Two creeks 21¾
Long reach 53¾
End Long reach 16½
Muskingum 25½
Little Kanhaway 12¼
Hockhocking 16
Great Kanhaway 82½
Guiandot 43 2/4
Sandy Creek 14½
Sioto 48¼
Little Miami 126¼
Licking creek 8
Great Miami 26¾
Big Bones 32½
Kentuckey 44¼
Rapids 77¼
Low country 155 2/4
Buffalo river 64½
Wabash 97¼
Big cave 42¾
Shawanee river 52½
Cherokee river 13
Massac 11
Missisipi 46
1188

[15] In common winter and spring tides it affords 15 feet water to Louisville, 10 feet to Le Tarte’s rapids, 40 miles above the mouth of the great Kanhaway, and a sufficiency at all times for light batteaux and canoes to Fort Pitt. The rapids are in latitude 38° 8′. The inundations of this river begin about the last of March, and subside in July. During these a first-rate man-of-war may be carried from Louisville to New Orleans, if the sudden turns of the river and the strength of its current will admit a safe steerage. The rapids at Louisville descend about 30 feet in a length of a mile and a half. The bed of the river there is a solid rock, and is divided by an island into two branches, the southern of which is about 200 yards wide, and dry four months in the year. The bed of the northern branch is worn into Edition: current; Page: [360] channels by the constant course of the water, and attrition of the pebble stones carried on with that, so as to be passable for batteaux through the greater part of the year. Yet it is thought that the southern arm may be the most easily opened for constant navigation. The rise of the waters in these rapids does not exceed 10 or 12 feet. A part [16] of this island is so high as to have been never overflowed, and to command the settlement of Louisville, which is opposite to it. The fort, however, is situated at the head of the falls. The ground on the South side rises very gradually.

The Tanessee, Cherokee, or Hogohege river is 600 yards wide at its mouth, ¼ of a mile at the mouth of the Holston, and two hundred yards at Chotee, which is 20 miles above Holston, and three hundred miles above the mouth of the Tanessee. This river crosses the southern boundary of Virginia, 58 miles from the Missisipi. Its current is moderate. It is navigable for loaded boats of any burden to the Muscleshoals, where the river passes through the Cumberland mountain. These shoals are 6 or 8 miles long, passable downwards for loaded canoes, but not upwards, unless there be a swell in the river. Above these the navigation for loaded canoes and batteaux continues to the Long island. This river has its inundations also. Above the Chickamogga towns is a whirlpool called the Suckingpot, which takes in trunks of trees or boats, and throws them out again half a mile below. It is avoided by keeping very close [17] to the bank, on the south side. There are but a few miles portage between a branch Edition: current; Page: [361] of this river and the navigable waters of the river Mobile, which runs into the gulph of Mexico.

Cumberland, or Shawanee river, intersects the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina 67 miles from the Missisipi, and again 198 miles from the same river, a little above the entrance of Obey’s river into the Cumberland. Its clear fork crosses the same boundary about 300 miles from the Missisipi. Cumberland is a very gentle stream, navigable for loaded batteaux 800 miles, without interruption; then intervene some rapids of 15 miles in length, after which it is again navigable 70 miles upwards, which brings you within 10 miles of the Cumberland mountains. It is about 120 yards wide through its whole course, from the head of its navigation to its mouth.

The Wabash is a very beautiful river, 400 yards wide at the mouth, and 300 at St. Vincennes, which is a post 100 miles above the mouth, in a direct line. Within this space there are two small rapids, which give very little obstruction to the navigation. [18] It is 400 yards wide at the mouth, and navigable 30 leagues upwards for canoes and small boats. From the mouth of Maple river to that of Eel river is about 80 miles in a direct line, the river continuing navigable and from one to two hundred yards in width. The Eel river is 150 yards wide, and affords at all times navigation for periaguas, to within 18 miles of the Miami of the lake. The Wabash, from the mouth of Eel river to little river, a distance of 50 miles direct, is interrupted with frequent rapids and shoals, which obstruct the navigation, except Edition: current; Page: [362] in a swell. Little river affords navigation during a swell to within 3 miles of the Miami, which thence affords a similar navigation into Lake Erié, 100 miles distant in a direct line. The Wabash overflows periodically in correspondence with the Ohio, and in some places two leagues from its banks.

Green River is navigable for loaded batteaux at all times 50 miles upwards; but it is then interrupted by impassable rapids, above which the navigation again commences and continues good 30 or 40 miles to the mouth of Barren river. [19]

Kentucky River is 90 yards wide at the mouth, and also at Boonsborough, 80 miles above. It affords a navigation for loaded batteaux 180 miles in a direct line, in the winter tides.

The Great Miami of the Ohio, is 200 yards wide at the mouth. At the Piccawee towns, 75 miles above, it is reduced to 30 yards; it is, nevertheless, navigable for loaded canoes 50 miles above these towns. The portage from its western branch into the Miami of Lake Erie, is 5 miles; that from its eastern branch into Sandusky river is of 9 miles.

Salt River is at all times navigable for loaded batteaux 70 or 80 miles. It is 80 yards wide at its mouth, and keeps that width to its fork, 25 miles above.

The Little Miami of the Ohio, is 60 or 70 yards wide at its mouth, 60 miles to its source, and affords no navigation.

The Sioto is 250 yards wide at its mouth, which is in latitude 38° 22′. and at the Saltlick towns, 200 miles above the mouth, it is yet 100 yards wide. Edition: current; Page: [363] To these towns it is navigable for loaded batteaux, and its [20] eastern branch affords navigation almost to its source.

Great Sandy river is about sixty yards wide, and navigable sixty miles for loaded batteaux.

Guiandot is about the width of the river last mentioned, but is more rapid. It may be navigated by canoes sixty miles.

The Great Kanhaway is a river of considerable note for the fertility of its lands, and still more, as leading towards the head waters of James1 river. Nevertheless it is doubtful whether its great and numerous rapids will admit a navigation, but at an expense to which it will require ages to render its inhabitants equal. The great obstacles begin at what are called the great falls, 90 miles above the mouth, below which are only five or six rapids, and these passable, with some difficulty, even at low water. From the falls to the mouth of Greenbriar is 100 miles, and thence to the lead mines 120. It is 280 yards wide at its mouth.2

Hock-hocking is 8 yards wide at its mouth, and yields navigation for loaded batteaux to the Pressplace, 60 miles above its mouth. [21]

The Little Kanhaway is 150 yards wide at the Edition: current; Page: [364] mouth. It yields a navigation of 10 miles only. Perhaps its northern branch, called Junius’s creek, which interlocks with the western of Monongahela, may one day admit a shorter passage from the latter into the Ohio.

The Muskingum is 280 yards wide at its mouth, and 200 yards at the lower Indian towns, 150 miles upwards. It is navigable for small batteaux to within one mile of a navigable part of Cayahoga river, which runs into lake Erie.

At Fort Pitt the river Ohio loses its name, branching into the Monongahela and Allegany.

The Monongahela is 400 yards wide at its mouth. From thence is 12 or 15 miles to the mouth of Yohoganey, where it is 300 yards wide. Thence to Redstone by water is 50 miles, by land 30. Then to the mouth of Cheat river by water 40 miles, by land 28, the width continuing at 300 yards, and the navigation good for boats. Thence the width is about 200 yards to the western fork, 50 miles higher, and the navigation frequently interrupted by rapids, which however with [22] a swell of two or three feet, become very passable for boats. It then admits light boats, except in dry seasons, 65 miles further to the head of Tygart’s valley, presenting only some small rapids and falls of one or two feet perpendicular, and lessening in its width to 20 yards. The Western fork is navigable in the winter 10 or 15 miles towards the northern of the Little Kanhaway, and will admit a good wagon road to it. The Yohoganey is the principal branch of this river. It passes through the Laurel Edition: current; Page: [365] mountain, about 30 miles from its mouth; is so far from 300 to 150 yards wide, and the navigation much obstructed in dry weather by rapids and shoals. In its passage through the mountain it makes very great falls, admitting no navigation for ten miles to the Turkey foot. Thence to the great crossing, about 20 miles, it is again navigable, except in dry seasons, and at this place is 200 yards wide. The sources of this river are divided from those of the Patowmac by the Alleganey mountain. From the falls, where it intersects the Laurel mountain, to Fort Cumberland, the head of the navigation on the Patowmac, is 40 miles of very mountainous road. Wills’ creek, at [23] the mouth of which was Fort Cumberland, is 30 or 40 yards wide, but affords no navigation as yet. Cheat river, another considerable branch of the Monongahela, is 200 yards wide at its mouth, and 100 yards at the Dunkard’s settlement, 50 miles higher. It is navigable for boats, except in dry seasons. The boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania crosses it about three or four miles above its mouth.

The Allegany river, with a slight swell, affords navigation for light batteaux to Venango, at the the mouth of French creek, where it is 200 yards wide, and is practised even to Le Bœuf, from whence there is a portage of 15 miles to Presque Isle on the Lake Erie.

The country watered by the Missisipi and its eastern branches constitutes five-eighths of the United States, two of which five-eighths are occupied by the Ohio and its waters: the residuary Edition: current; Page: [366] streams which run into the gulph of Mexico, the Atlantic, and the St. Laurence water remaining three-eighths.

Before we quit the subject of the western waters we will take a view of their principal connections with the Atlantic. These are [24] three; the Hudson’s river, the Patowmac, and the Missisippi itself. Down the last will pass all heavy commodoties. But the navigation through the Gulph of Mexico is so dangerous, and that up the Missisipi so difficult and tedious, that it is thought probable that European merchandise will not return through that channel. It is most likely that flour, timber, and other heavy articles will be floated on rafts, which will themselves be an article for Sale as well as their loading, the navigators returning by land, or in light batteaux. There will, therefore, be a competition between the Hudson and Patowmac rivers for the residue of the commerce of all the country westward of Lake Erie, on the waters of the lakes, of the Ohio, and upper parts of the Missisipi. To go to New York, that part of the trade which comes from the lakes or their waters, must first be brought into Lake Erie. Between Lake Superior and its waters and Huron are the rapids of St. Mary, which will permit boats to pass, but not larger vessels. Lakes Huron and Michigan afford communication with Lake Erie by vessels of 8 feet draught. That part of the trade which comes from the waters of the Missisipi must pass from them through [25] some portage into the waters of the lakes. The portage from the Illinois river into a water of Michigan is of Edition: current; Page: [367] one mile only. From the Wabash, Miami, Muskinghum, or Alleganey, are portages into the waters of Lake Erie, of from one to fifteen miles. When the commodities are brought into, and have passed through Lake Erie, there is between that and Ontario an interruption by the falls of Niagara, where the portage is of 8 miles; and between Ontario and the Hudson’s river are portages at the falls of Onondago, a little above Oswego, of a quarter of a mile; from Wood creek to the Mohawks river two miles; at the little falls of the Mohawks river half a mile; and from Schenectady to Albany sixteen miles. Besides the increase of expense occasioned by frequent change of carriage, there is an increased risk of pillage produced by committing merchandize to a greater number of hands successively. The Patowmac offers itself under the following circumstances: For the trade of the lakes and their waters westward of Lake Erie, when it shall have entered that lake, it must coast along its southern shore, on account of the number and excellence of its harbours; the northern, though shortest, having few harbours, and [26] these unsafe. Having reached Cayahoga, to proceed on to New York it will have 825 miles and five portages; whereas it is but 425 miles to Alexandria, its emporium on the Patowmac, if it turns into the Cayahoga and passes through that, Bigbeaver, Ohio, Yohogania, or Monongalia and Cheat,) and Patowmac, and there are but two portages; the first of which between Cayahoga and Beaver, may be removed by uniting the sources of these waters, which are lakes Edition: current; Page: [368] in the neighborhood of each other and in a champaign country; the other to waters of Ohio to Patowmac will be from 15 to 40 miles, according to the trouble which shall be taken to approach the two navigations. For the trade of the Ohio, or that which shall come into it from its own waters of the Missisipi, it is nearer through the Patowmac to Alexandria than to New York by 580 miles, and it is interrupted by one portage only. There is another circumstance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze and the Hudson’s river is itself shut up by the ice three months in the year; whereas the channel to the Chesa-[27] peak leads directly into a warmer climate. The southern parts of it very rarely freeze at all, and whenever the northern do, it is so near the sources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable, break up the ice immediately, so that vessels may pass through the whole winter, subject only to accidental and short delays. Add to all this, that in case of war with our neighbors, the Anglo-Americans or the Indians, the route to New York becomes a frontier through almost its whole length, and all commerce through it ceases at that moment.—But the channel to New York is already known to practice, whereas the upper waters of the Ohio and the Patowmac, and the great falls of the latter, are yet to be cleared of their fixed obstructions.1

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QUERY III A notice of the best-seaports of the state, and how big are the vessels they can receive?

Having no ports but our rivers and creeks, this Query has been answered under the preceding one. [28.]

QUERY IV A notice of its Mountains?

For the particular geography of our mountains I must refer to Fry and Jefferson’s map of Virginia: and to Evans’ analysis of his map of America for a more philosophical view of them than is to be found in any other work. It is worthy notice, that our mountains are not solitary and scattered confusedly over the face of the country; but that they commence at about 150 miles from the sea-coast, are disposed in ridges one behind another, running nearly parallel with the sea-coast, though rather approaching it as they advance north-east wardly. To the south-west, as the tract of country between the sea-coast and the Missisipi becomes narrower, Edition: current; Page: [370] the mountains converge into a single ridge, which, as it approaches the Gulph of Mexico, subsides into plain country, and gives rise to some of the waters of that Gulph, and particularly to a river called the Apalachicola, probably from the Apalachies, an Indian nation formerly residing on it. Hence [29] the mountains giving rise to that river, and seen from its various parts, were called the Apalachian mountains, being in fact the end or termination only of the great ridges passing through the continent. European geographers however extended the name northwardly as far as the mountains extended; some giving it, after their separation into different ridges, to the Blue ridge, others to the North mountain, others to the Alleghaney, others to the Laurel ridge, as may be seen by their different maps. But the fact I believe is, that none of these ridges were ever known by that name to the inhabitants, either native or emigrant, but as they saw them so called in European maps. In the same direction generally are the veins of limestone, coal and other minerals hitherto discovered: and so range the falls of our great rivers. But the courses of the great rivers are at right angles with these. James and Patowmac penetrate through all the ridges of mountains eastward of the Alleganey. That is broken by no watercourse. It is in fact the spine of the country between the Atlantic on one side, and the Missisipi and St. Laurence on the other. The passage of [30] the Patowmac through the Blue ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high Edition: current; Page: [371] point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain an hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Patowmac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion that this earth has been created in time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that in this place particularly they have been dammed up by the Blue ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that continuing to rise they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the impression. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the pic-[31] ture, is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the foreground. It is as placid and delightful as that is wild and tremendous. For the mountain being cloven asunder, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate of the calm below. Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way too the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Patowmac Edition: current; Page: [372] above the junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain for three miles, its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over you, and within about 20 miles reach Frederic town and the fine country around that. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as in the neighborhood of the natural bridge, are people who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and mountains which must have shaken the earth itself to its centre.1—The height of our mountains has not Edition: current; Page: [373] yet been [32] estimated with any degree of exactness. The Alleghaney being the great ridge which divides the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Missisipi, its summit is doubtless more elevated above the ocean than that of any other mountain. But its relative height, compared with the base on which it stands, is not so great as that of some others, the country rising behind the successive ridges like the steps of stairs. The mountains of the Blue ridge, and of these the Peaks of Otter, are thought to be of a greater height, measured from their base, than any others in our country, and perhaps in Edition: current; Page: [374] North America. From data, which may found a tolerable conjecture, we suppose the highest peak to be about 4000 feet perpendicular, which is not a fifth part of the height of the mountains of South America,1 nor one third of the height which would be necessary in our latitude to preserve ice in the open air unmelted through the year. The ridge of mountains next beyond the Blue ridge, called by us the North mountain, is of the greatest extent; for which reason they were named by the Indians the Endless mountains.2 [33]

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A substance supposed to be Pumice, found floating on the Missisipi, has induced a conjecture that there is a volcano on some of its waters; and as these are mostly known to their sources, except the Missouri, our expectations of verifying the conjecture would of course be led to the mountains which divide the waters of the Mexican Gulph from those of the South sea; but no volcano having ever yet been known at such a distance from the sea, we must rather suppose that this floating substance has been erroneously deemed Pumice.1

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QUERY V Its cascades and caverns?

The only remarkable Cascade in this1 country is that of the Falling Spring in Augusta. It is a water of James river where it is called Jackson’s river, rising in the warm spring mountains, about twenty miles South West of the warm spring, and flowing into2 that valley. About three quarters of a mile from its source it falls over a rock 200 feet into the valley below. The sheet of water is broken [34] in its breadth by the rock, in two or three places, but not at all in its height. Between the sheet and the rock, at the bottom, you may walk across dry. This Cataract will bear no comparison with that of Niagara as to the quantity of water composing it; the sheet being only 12 or 15 feet wide above, and somewhat more spread below; but it is half as high again, the latter being only 156 feet, according to the mensuration made by order of M. Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, and 130 according to a more recent account.

In the limestone country there are many caverns of very considerable extent. The most noted is called Madison’s Cave, and is on the North side of the Blue ridge, near the intersection of the Rockingham

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and Augusta line with the south fork of the southern river of Shenandoah. It is in a hill of about 200 feet perpendicular height, the ascent of which, on one side, is so steep, that you may pitch a biscuit from its summit into the river which washes its base. The entrance of the cave is, in this side, about two-thirds of the way up. It extends into the earth about 300 feet, branching into subordinate caverns, sometimes ascending a little, but more gen-[36]erally descending, and at length terminates, in two different places, at basons of water of unknown extent, and which I should judge to be nearly on a level with the water of the river; however, I do not think they are formed by refluent water from that, because they are never turbid; because they do not rise and fall in correspondence with that in times of flood, or of drought; and because the water is always cool. It is probably one of the many reservoirs with which the interior parts of the earth are supposed to abound, and yield supplies to the fountains of water, distinguished from others only by being accessible. The vault of this cave is of solid lime-stone, from 20 to 40 or 50 feet high; through which water is continually percolating. This, trickling down the sides of the cave, has incrusted them over in the form of elegant drapery; and dripping from the top of the vault, generates on that, and on the base below, stalactites of a conical form, some of which have met and formed massive columns.

Another of these caves is near the North mountain, in the county of Frederic, on the lands of Mr. Zane. The entrance into this is on the top of an extensive

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ridge [37]. You descend 30 or 40 feet, as into a well, from whence the cave then extends, nearly horizontally, 400 feet into the earth, preserving a breadth of from 20 to 50 feet, and a height of from 5 to 12 feet. After entering this cave a few feet, the mercury, which in the open air was 50°. rose to 57°. of Farenheit’s thermometer, answering to 11°. of Reaumur’s, and it continued at that to the remotest parts of the cave. The uniform temperature of the cellars of the observatory of Paris, which are 90 feet deep, and of all subterranean cavities of any depth, where no chymical agents may be supposed to produce a factitious heat, has been found to be 10°. of Reaumur, equal to 54½°. of Farenheit. The temperature of the cave above-mentioned so nearly corresponds with this, that the difference may be ascribed to a difference of instruments.

At the Panther gap, in the ridge which divides the waters of the Cow and the Calf pasture, is what is called the Blowing cave. It is in the side of a hill, is of about 100 feet diameter, and emits constantly a current of air of such force as to keep the weeds prostrate to the distance of twenty yards [38] before it. This current is strongest in dry frosty weather, and in long spells of rain weakest. Regular inspirations and expirations of air, by caverns and fissures, have been probably enough accounted for, by supposing them combined with intermitting fountains; as they must of course inhale air while their reservoirs are emptying themselves, and again emit it while they are filling. But a constant issue of air, only varying in its force as the weather is Edition: current; Page: [380] drier or damper, will require a new hypothesis.1 There is another blowing cave in the Cumberland mountain, about a mile from where it crosses the Carolina line. All we know of this is, that it is not constant, and that a fountain of water issues from it.

The Natural bridge, the most sublime of Nature’s works, though not comprehended under the present head, must not be pretermitted. It is on the ascent of a hill, which seems to have been cloven through its length by some great convulsion. The fissure, just at the bridge, is, by some admeasurements, 270 feet deep, by others only 205. It is about 45 feet wide at the bottom and 90 feet at the top; this of course determines the length of the bridge, and its height from the water. [39] Its breadth in the middle is about 60 feet, but more at the ends, and the thickness of the mass at the summit of the arch, about 40 feet. A part of this thickness is constituted by a coat of earth, which gives growth to many large trees. The residue, with the hill on both sides, is one solid rock of limestone. The arch approaches the Semi-elliptical form; but the larger axis of the ellipsis, which would be the cord of the arch, is many times longer than2 the transverse. Though the sides of this bridge are provided in some parts with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet few men have resolution to walk to them, and look over into the abyss. You involuntarily fall on your hands and feet, creep to the parapet, and peep over

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it. Looking down from this height about a minute, gave me a violent head ach.1 If the view from the top be painful and intolerable, that from below is delightful in an equal extreme. It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here; so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing as it were up to heaven, the rapture of the spectator is really indescribable! The fissure continuing narrow, deep, and streight [40] for a considerable distance above and below the bridge, opens a short but very pleasing view of the North mountain on one side, and the Blue ridge on the other, at the distance each of them of about five miles. This bridge is in the county of Rockbridge, to which it has given name, and affords a public and commodious passage over a valley Edition: current; Page: [382] which cannot be crossed elsewhere for a considerable distance. The stream passing under it is called Cedar creek. It is a water of James river, and sufficient in the driest seasons to turn a grist mill, though its fountain is not more than two miles above.1 [41]

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QUERY VI A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.

I knew a single instance of gold found in this state. It was interspersed in small specks through a lump of ore of about four pounds weight, which yielded seventeen pennyweights of gold, of extraordinary ductility. [42] This ore was found on the north side of Rappahanoc, about four miles below the falls. I never heard of any other indication of gold in its neighborhood.

On the Great Kanhaway, opposite to the mouth of Cripple creek, and about twenty-five miles from our southern boundary, in the county of Montgomery, are mines of lead. The metal is mixed, sometimes with earth, and sometimes with rock, which requires the force of gunpowder to open it; and is accompanied with a portion of silver too small to be worth separation under any process hitherto attempted there. The proportion yielded is from 50 to 80 pounds of pure [43] metal from 100 pounds of washed ore. The most common is that of 60 to 100 pounds. The veins are sometimes most flattering, at others they disappear suddenly and totally. They enter the side of the hill and proceed horizontally. Two of them are wrought at present by the public, the best of which is 100 yards under the hill. These would employ about 50 laborers to advantage. We have not, however, more than 30 generally, and these cultivate their own corn. They have produced 60 tons of lead in the year; but the general Edition: current; Page: [384] quantity is from 20 to 25 tons. The present furnace is a mile from the ore-bank and on the opposite side of the river. The ore is first waggoned to the river, a quarter of a mile, then laden on board of canoes and carried across the river, which is there about 200 yards wide, and then again taken into waggons and carried to the furnace. This mode was originally adopted that they might avail themselves of a good situation on a creek, for a pounding mill: but it would be easy to have the furnace and pounding mill on the same side of the river, which would yield water, without any dam, by a canal of about half a mile in length. [44] From the furnace the lead is transported 130 miles along a good road, leading through the peaks of Otter to Lynch’s ferry, or Winston’s on James river, from whence it is carried by water about the same distance to Westham. This land carriage may be greatly shortened, by delivering the lead on James river, above the blue ridge, from whence a ton weight has been brought on two canoes. The Great Kanhaway has considerable falls in the neighborhood of the mines. About seven miles below are three falls, of three or four feet perpendicular each; and three miles above is a rapid of three miles continuance, which has been compared in its descent to the great fall of James river. Yet it is the opinion, that they may be laid open for useful navigation, so as to reduce very much the portage between the Kanhaway and James river.

A valuable lead mine is said to have been lately discovered in Cumberland, below the mouth of Red Edition: current; Page: [385] river. The greatest, however, known in the western country, are the Missisipi, extending from the mouth of Rock river 150 miles upwards. These are not wrought, the lead used in that country being [45] from the banks on the Spanish side of the Missisipi, opposite to Kaskaskia.

A mine of copper was once opened in the county of Amherst, on the North side of James river, and another in the opposite country, on the South side. However, either from bad management or the poverty of the veins, they were discontinued. We are told of a rich mine of native copper on the Ouabache, below the upper Wiaw.

The mines of iron worked at present, are Callaway’s, Ross’s, and Ballendine’s on the South side of James river; Old’s on the North side, in Albemarle; Miller’s in Augusta, and Zane’s in Frederic. These two last are in the valley between the Blue ridge and the North mountain. Callaway’s, Ross’s, Miller’s, and Zane’s make about 150 tons of bar iron each, in the year. Ross’s makes also about 1600 tons of pig iron annually; Ballendine’s 1000; Callaway’s, Miller’s, and Zane’s, about 600 each. Besides these, a forge of Mr. Hunter’s, at Fredericksburgh, makes about 300 tons a year of bar iron, from pigs imported from Maryland; and Taylor’s forge on Neapsco of Patowmac, works in the same way, but to what extent I am not informed. [46] The indications of iron in other places are numerous, and dispersed through all the middle country. The toughness of the cast iron of Ross’s and Zane’s furnaces is very remarkable. Pots and other utensils Edition: current; Page: [386] cast thinner than usual, of this iron, may be safely thrown into, or out of the waggons on which they are transported. Salt-pans made of the same, and no longer wanted for that purpose, cannot be broken up, in order to be melted again, unless previously drilled in many parts.

In the western country, we are told of iron mines between the Muskingham1 and Ohio; of others on Kentucky, between the Cumberland and Barren rivers, between Cumberland and Tannissee, on Reedy creek near the Long island, and on Chesnut creek, a branch of the great Kanhaway, near where it crosses the Carolina line. What are called the iron banks, on the Missisipi, are believed, by a good judge, to have no iron in them. In general, from what is hitherto known of that country, it seems to want iron.

Considerable quantities of black lead are taken occasionally for use from Winterham in the county of Amelia. I am not able, however, to give a particular state of the [47] mine. There is no work established at it; those who want going and procuring it for themselves.

The country on James river, from 15 to 20 miles above Richmond, and for several miles northward and southward, is replete with mineral coal of a very excellent quality. Being in the hands of many proprietors, pits have been opened, and, before the interruption of our commerce, were worked to an extent equal to the demand.

In the western country coal is known to be in so Edition: current; Page: [387] many places, as to have induced an opinion, that the whole tract between the Laurel mountain, Missisipi, and Ohio, yields coal. It is also known in many places on the North side of the Ohio. The coal at Pittsburg is of very superior quality. A bed of it at that place has been afire since the year 1765. Another coal-hill on the Pike-run of Monongahela has been afire ten years; yet it has burnt away about twenty yards only.

I have known one instance of an Emerald found in this country. [48] Amethysts have been frequent, and chrystals common; yet not in such numbers any of them as to be worth seeking.

There is very good marble, and in very great abundance, on James river, at the mouth of Rockfish. The samples I have seen were some of them of a white as pure as one might expect to find on the surface of the earth: but most of them were variegated with red, blue, and purple. None of it has been ever worked. It forms a very large precipice, which hangs over a navigable part of the river. It is said there is marble at Kentucky.

But one vein of limestone is known below the Blue ridge. Its first appearance, in our country, is in Prince William, two miles below the Pignut ridge of mountains; thence it passes on nearly parallel with that and crosses the Rivanna about five miles below it, where it is called the South-west ridge. It then crosses the Hardware, above the mouth of Hudson’s creek, James river at the mouth of Rockfish, at the marble quarry before spoken of, probably runs up that river to where it appears again Edition: current; Page: [388] at Ross’s iron-works, and so passes off south-westwardly by Flat creek of Otter river. It is never more than one hundred yards wide. [49] From the Blue ridge westwardly, the whole country seems to be founded on a rock of limestone, besides infinite quantities on the surface, both loose and fixed. This is cut into beds, which range, as the mountains and sea-coast do, from south-west to north east, the lamina of each bed declining from the horizon towards a parallelism with the axis of the earth. Being struck with this observation, I made, with a quadrant, a great number of trials on the angles of their declination, and found them to vary from 22°. to 60°. but averaging all my trials, the result was within one-third of a degree of the elevation of the pole or latitude of the place, and much the greatest part of them taken separately were little different from that; by which it appears, that these lamina are, in the main, parallel with the axis of the earth. In some instances, indeed, I found them perpendicular, and even reclining the other way; but these were extremely rare, and always attended with signs of convulsion, or other circumstances of singularity, which admitted a possibility of removal from their original position. These trials were made between Madison’s cave and the Patowmac. [50] We hear of limestone on the Missisipi and Ohio, and in all the mountainous country between the eastern and western waters, not on the mountains themselves, but occupying the vallies between them.1

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Near the eastern foot of the North mountain are immense bodies of Schist, containing impressions of shells in a variety of forms. I have received petrified Edition: current; Page: [390] shells of very different kinds from the first sources of Kentucky, which bear no resemblance to any I have ever seen on the tide-waters. It is said1 that shells are found in the Andes, in South-America, fifteen thousand feet above the level of the ocean. This is considered by many, both of the learned and unlearned, as a proof of an universal deluge. To the many considerations opposing this opinion, the following may be added. The atmosphere, and all its contents, whether of water, air, or other matters, graviate to the earth; that is to say, they have weight. Experience tells us, that the weight of all these together never exceeds that of a column of mercury of 31 inches height, which is equal to one of rain water of 35 feet high. If the whole contents of the atmosphere, then, were water, [51] instead of what they are, it would cover the globe but 35 feet deep; but as these waters, as they fell, would run into the seas, the superficial measure of which is to that of the dry parts of the globe, as two to one, the seas would be raised only 52½ feet above their present level, and of course would overflow the lands to that height only.2 In Virginia this would be a very small proportion even of the champaign country, the banks of our tidewaters being Edition: current; Page: [391] frequently, if not generally, of a greater height. Deluges beyond this extent, then, as for instance to the North mountain or to Kentuckey, seem out of the laws of nature. But within it they may have taken place to a greater or less degree, in proportion to the combination of natural causes which may be supposed to have produced them. History renders probably some instances of a partial deluge in the country lying round the Mediterranean sea. It has been often1 supposed, and it is not unlikely, that that sea was [52] once a lake. While such, let us admit an extraordinary collection of the waters of the atmosphere from the other parts of the globe to have been discharged over that and the countries whose waters run into it.2 That lake3 may thus have been so raised as to overflow the low lands adjacent to it, as those of Egypt and Armenia, which, according to a tradition of the Egyptians and Hebrews, were overflowed about 2300 years before the Christian æra; those of Attica, said to have been overflowed in the time of Ogyges, about 500 years later; and those of Thessaly, in the time of Deucalion, still 300 years posterior.4 But such deluges Edition: current; Page: [392] as these will not account for the shells found in the higher lands.1 Besides the usual process for generating shells by the elaboration of earth and water in animal vessels, may not nature have provided an equivalent operation, by passing the same materials through the pores of calcareous earths and stones? As we see calcareous drop-stones generating every day by the percolation of water through lime-stone, and new marble forming in the quarries from which the old has been taken out, which is said to be the case in the quarries [53] of Italy. Is it more difficult for nature to shoot the calcareous juice into the form of a shell, than other juices into the forms of Edition: current; Page: [393] Chrystals, plants, animals, according to the construction of the vessels through which they pass? There is a wonder somewhere. Is it greatest on this branch of a dilemma, or on that which supposes the creation of such a body of water, and its subsequent annihilation? Have not Naturalists already brought themselves to believe much stranger things? Thus, they seriously concur in the opinion that those immense hills and plains of marble to be found in every quarter of the globe, nay the very foundation of the earth itself, which is of limestone in large tracts of this country, and probably of others, and has been found here to continue solid to the depth of 200 feet, farther Edition: current; Page: [394] than which we have not penetrated, that these, I say, and all other calcareous bodies, are animal remains. Monsieur de Voltaire, who seems first to have suspected that shells might grow unconnected with animal bodies, specifies an instance in a particular place in France, which has never yet, as far as I have heard, been disproved or denied. [54]

There is great abundance (more especially when you approach the mountains) of stone, white, blue, brown, &c., fit for the chisel, good milstone, such also as stands the fire, and slatestone. We are told of flints, fit for gunflints, on the Meherrin in Brunswic, on the Missisipi between the mouth of the Ohio and Kaskaskia, and on others of the western waters. Isinglass or mica is in several places; loadstone also; and an Asbestos of the ligneous texture, is sometimes to be met with.

Marle abounds generally: A clay, of which, like the Sturbridge in England, bricks are made, which will resist long the violent action of fire, has been found on Tuckahoe creek of James river, and no doubt will be found in other places. Chalk is said to be in Botetourt and Bedford. In the latter county is some earth believed to be Gypseous. Ochres are found in various parts.

In the limestone country are many caves, the earthy floors of which are impregnated with nitre. On Rich creek, a branch of the Great Kanhaway about 60 miles below the lead mines, is a very large one, about 20 yards wide, and entering a hill a quarter or half a mile. The vault is of rock, from 9 to [55] 15 or 20 feet above the floor. A Mr. Lynch, Edition: current; Page: [395] who gives me this account, undertook to extract the nitre. Besides a coat of the salt which had formed on the vault and floor, he found the earth highly impregnated to the depth of seven feet in some places, and generally of three, every bushel yielding on an average three pounds of nitre. Mr. Lynch having made about 1000 pounds of the salt from it, consigned it to some others, who have since made 10,000 lb. They have done this by pursuing the cave into the hill, never trying a second time the earth they have once exhausted, to see how far or soon it receives another impregnation. At least fifty of these caves are worked on the Greenbriar. There are many of them known on Cumberland river.

The country westward of the Alleghaney abounds with springs of common salt. The most remarkable we have heard of are at Bullet’s lick, the Big bones, the Blue licks, and on the North fork of Holston. The area of Bullet’s lick is of many acres. Digging the earth to the depth of three feet the water begins to boil up, and the deeper you go, and the drier the weather, the stronger is the brine. A thousand gallons of water [56] yield from a bushel to a bushel and a half of salt, which is about 80 lb. of water to one lb. of salt; but of sea water 25 lb. yield one lb. of salt. So that sea water is more than three times as strong as that of these springs. A salt spring has been lately discovered at the Turkey foot on Yohogany, by which river it is overflowed, except at very low water. Its merit is not yet known. Dunning’s lick is also as yet untried, but it is supposed to be Edition: current; Page: [396] the best on this side the Ohio. The salt springs on the margin of the Onondago lake are said to give a saline taste to the waters of the lake.

There are several Medicinal springs, some of which are indubitably efficacious, while others seem to owe their reputation as much to fancy and change of air and regimen, as to their real virtues. None of them having undergone a chemical analysis in skilful hands, nor been so far the subject of observations as to have produced a reduction into classes of the disorders which they relieve; it is in my power to give little more than an enumeration of them.

The most efficacious of these are two springs in Augusta, near the first sources of James [57] river, where it is called Jackson’s river. They rise near the foot of the ridge of mountains, generally called the Warmspring mountain, but in the maps Jacksons mountains. The one distinguished by the name of the Warmspring, and the other of the Hot-spring. The Warmspring issues with a very bold stream, sufficient to work a grist-mill and to keep the waters of its basin, which is 30 feet in diameter at the vital warmth, viz. 96°. of Farenheit’s thermometer. The matter with which these waters are allied is very volatile; its smell indicates it to be sulphureous, as also does the circumstance of its turning silver black. They relieve rheumatisms. Other complaints also of very different natures have been removed or lessened by them. It rains here four or five days in every week.

The Hot-spring is about six miles from the Warm, is much smaller, and has been so hot as to have Edition: current; Page: [397] boiled an egg. Some believe its degree of heat to be lessened. It raises the mercury in Farenheit’s thermometer to 112 degrees, which is fever heat. It sometimes relieves where the Warmspring fails. A fountain of common water, issuing within a few inches of its margin, gives it a singular ap-[58]pearance. Comparing the temperature of these with that of the Hot-springs of Kamschatka, of which Krachininnikow gives an account, the difference is very great, the latter raising the mercury to 200°. which is within 12°. of boiling water. These springs are very much resorted to in spite of a total want of accommodation for the sick. Their waters are strongest in the hottest months, which occasion their being visited in July and August principally.

The Sweet springs are in the county of Botetourt, at the eastern foot of the Alleghaney, about 42 miles from the Warm-springs. They are still less known. Having been found to relieve cases in which the others had been ineffectually tried, it is probable their composition is different. They are different also in their temperature, being as cold as common water: which is not mentioned, however, as a proof of a distinct impregnation. This is among the first sources of James river.

On Patowmac river, in Berkeley county, above the North mountain, are Medicinal springs, much more frequented than those of Augusta. Their powers, however, are less, the waters weakly mineralized, and scarcely [59] warm. They are more visited, because situated in a fertile, plentiful, and populous country, better provided with accommodations, Edition: current; Page: [398] always safe from the Indians, and nearest to the more populous States.

In Louisa county, on the head waters of the South Anna branch of York river, are springs of some medicinal virtue. They are not much used however. There is a weak Chalybeate at Richmond; and many others in various parts of the country, which are of too little worth, or too little note, to be enumerated after those before-mentioned.

We are told of a Sulphur-spring on Howard’s creek of Greenbriar, and another at Boonsborough on Kentuckey.

In the low grounds of the Great Kanhaway, 7 miles above the mouth of Elk River, and 67 above that of the Kanhaway itself, is a hole in the earth of the capacity of 30 or 40 gallons, from which issues constantly a bituminous vapour1 in so strong a current as to give to the sand about its orifice the motion which it has in a boiling spring. On presenting a lighted candle or torch within 18 inches of the hole it flames up in a column of 18 inches in diameter, and four or five feet [60] height, which sometimes burns out in 20 minutes, and at other times has been known to continue three days, and then has been still left burning.2 The flame is unsteady, of the density of that of burning spirits, and smells like burning pit coal. Water sometimes collects in the basin, which is remarkably cold, and is kept in ebullition by the vapor issuing through it. Edition: current; Page: [399] If the vapor be fired in that state, the water soon becomes so warm that the hand cannot bear it, and evaporates wholly in a short time.1 This, with the circumjacent lands, is the property of his Excellency General Washington and of General Lewis.

There is a similar one on Sandy river, the flame of which is a column of about 12 inches diameter, and 3 feet high. General Clarke, who informs me of it, kindled the vapour, staid about an hour, and left it burning.

The mention of uncommon springs leads me to that of Syphon fountains. There is one of these

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near the intersection of Lord Fairfax’s boundary with the North mountain, not far from Brock’s gap, on the stream of which is a grist-mill, which grinds two bushels [61] of grain at every flood of the spring; another, near the Cow-pasture river, a mile and a half below its confluence with the Bull-pasture river, and 16 or 17 miles from Hot-springs, which intermits Edition: current; Page: [400] once in every twelve hours; one also near the mouth of the North Holston.1

After these may be mentioned the Natural Well on the lands of a Mr. Lewis in Frederick county. It is somewhat larger than a common well; the water rises in it as near the surface of the earth as in the neighboring artificial wells, and is of a depth as yet unknown. It is said there is a current in it tending sensibly downwards. If this be true, it probably feeds some fountain, of which it is the natural reservoir, distinguished from others, like that of Madison’s cave, by being accessible. It is used with a bucket and windlass, as an ordinary well.

A complete catalogue of the trees, plants, fruits, &c. is probably not desired. I will sketch out those which would principally attract notice, as Edition: current; Page: [401] being 1. Medicinal, 2. Esculent, 3. Ornamental, or 4. Useful for fabrication; adding the Linnæan to the popular [62] names, as the latter might not convey precise information to a foreigner. I shall confine myself too to native plants.

  • 1. Senna. Cassia ligustrina.

    Arsmart. Polygonum Sagittatum.

    Clivers, or goose-grass. Galium spurium.

    Lobelia of several species.

    Palma Christi. Ricinus.

    Jamestown weed. Datura Stramonium.1

    Mallow. Malva rotundafolia.

    Syrian mallow. Hibiscus moschentos.

    Hibiscus Virginicus.

    Indian mallow. Sida rhombifolia.

    Sida abutilon.

    Virginia marshmallow. Napæ hermaphrodita.

    Napæ dioica.

    Indian physic. Spiria trifoliata.

    Euphorbia Ipecacuanhæ.

    Pleurisy root. Asclepias decumbens.

    Virginia snake-root. Aristolochia serpentaria.

    Black snake-root. Actæ racemosa.

    Seneca rattlesnake-root. Polygala senega.

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    Valerian. Valeriana locusta radiata.

    Gentiana, Saponaria, villosa & centaurium.

    Ginseng. Panax quinquefolium.

    Angelica. Angelica sylvestris. [63]

    Cassava. Jatropha urens.

  • 2. Tuckahoe. Lycoperdon tuber.

    Jerusalem artichoke. Helianthus tuberosus.

    Long potatoes. Convolvulas batatas.

    Granadillas. Maycocks, Maracocks, Passiflora incarnata.

    Panic. Panicum of many species.

    Indian millet. Holcus laxus.

    Holcus striosus.

    Wild oat. Zizania aquatica.

    Wild pea. Dolichos of Clayton.

    Lupine. Lupinus perennis.

    Wild hop. Humulus lupulus.

    Wild cherry. Prunus virginiana.

    Cherokee plumb. Prunus sylvestris fructu majori. Clayton.

    Wild plum. Prunus sylvestris fructu minori. Clayton.

    Wild crab apple. Pyrus coronaria.

    Red mulberry. Morus rubra.

    Persimmon. Diospyros virginiana.

    Sugar maple. Acer saccharinum.

    Scaly bark hiccory. Juglans alba cortice squamoso. Clayton.

    Common hiccory. Juglans alba, fructu minore rancido. Clayton. [64]

    Paccan, or Illinois nut. Not described by Linnæus, Miller or Clayton. Were I to venture Edition: current; Page: [403] to describe this, speaking of the fruit from memory, and of the leaf from plants of two years growth, I should specify it as Juglans alba, foliolis lanceolatis, acuminatis, serratis, tomentosis, fructu minore, ovato, compresso, vix insculpto, dulci, putamine tenerrimo. It grows on the Illinois, Wabash, Ohio, and Missisipi. It is spoken of by Don Ulloa under the name of Pecanos, in his Noticias Americanas. Entret. 6.

    Black walnut. Juglans nigra.

    White walnut. Juglans alba.

    Chesnut. Fagus castanea.

    Chinquapin. Fagus pumila.

    Hazlenut. Corylus avellana.

    Grapes. Vitis. Various kinds, though only three described by Clayton.

    Scarlet strawberries. Fragaria virginiana of Millar.

    Whortleberries. Vaccinium uliginosum.?

    Wild gooseberries. Ribes grossularia.

    Cranberries. Vaccinium oxycoccos.

    Black raspberries. Rubus occidentalis.

    Blackberries. Rubus fruticosus.

    Dewberries. Rubus cæsius. [65]

    Cloudberries. Rubus Chamæmorus.

    Linden, or lime. Tilia Americana.

  • 3. Plane tree. Plantanus occidentalis.

    Poplar. Liriodendron tulipifera.

    Populus heterophylla.

    Black poplar. Populus nigra.

    Aspen. Populus tremula.

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    Red flowering maple. Acer rubrum.

    Horse-chesnut, or Buck’s-eye. Æsculus pavia.

    Catalpa. Bignonia catalpa.

    Umbrella. Magnolia tripetala.

    Swamp laurel. Magnolia glauca.

    Cucumber-tree. Magnolia acuminata.

    Portugal bay. Laurus indica.

    Red bay. Laurus borbonia.

    Dwarf-rose bay. Rhododendron maximum.

    Laurel of the western country. Qu. species?

    Wild pimento. Laurus benzoin.

    Sassafras. Laurus sassafras.

    Locust. Robinia pseudo-acacia.

    Honey-locust. Gleditsia. 1. β.

    Dogwood. Cornus florida.

    Fringe, or snow drop-tree. Chionanthus virginica.

    Barberry. Barberis vulgaris.

    Redbud, or Judas-tree. Cercis canadensis. [66]

    Holly. Ilex aquifolium.

    Cockspur hawthorn. Cratægus coccinea.

    Spindle-tree. Euonymus Europæus.

    Evergreen spindle-tree. Euonymus Americanus.

    Itea Virginica.

    Elder. Sambucus nigra.

    Papaw. Annona triloba.

    Candleberry myrtle. Myrica cerifera. called ivy with us.

    Dwarf laurel. Kalmia angustifolia. called ivy with us.

    Kalmia latifolia.

    Edition: current; Page: [405]

    Ivy. Hedera quinquefolia.

    Trumpet Honeysuckle. Lonicera sempervirens.

    Upright honeysuckle. Azalea nudiflora.1

    Yellow jasmine. Bignonia sempervirens.

    Calycanthus floridus.

    American aloe. Agave virginica.

    Sumach. Rhus. Qu. species?

    Poke. Phytolacca decandra.

    Long Moss. Tillandsia Usneoides.

  • 4. Reed. Arundo phragmitis.

    Virginia hemp. Acnida cannabina.

    Flax. Linum virginianum.

    Black, or pitch-pine. Pinus tæda. [67]

    White pine. Pinus strobus.

    Yellow pine. Pinus virginica.

    Spruce pine. Pinus foliis singularibus. Clayton.

    Hemlock spruce fir. Pinus canadensis.

    Arbor vitæ. Thuya occidentalis.

    Juniper. Juniperus virginica (Called cedar with us.)

    Cypress. Cupressus disticha.2

    Black Oak. Quercus nigra.

    White oak. Quercus alba.

    Red oak. Quercus rubra.

    Willow oak. Quercus phellos.

    Chestnut oak. Quercus prinus.

    Black jack oak. Quercus aquatica. Clayton. Query?

    Ground oak. Quercus pumila. Clayton.

    Edition: current; Page: [406]

    Live oak. Quercus virginiana. Millar.

    Black birch. Betula nigra

    White birch. Betula alba.

    Beach. Fagus sylvatica.

    Ash. Fraxinus americana.

    Fraxinus novæ angliæ. Millar.

    Elm. Ulmus americana.

    Willow. Salix. Query species?

    Sweet gum. Liquidambar stryaciflua. [68]

The following were found in Virginia when first visited by the English; but it is not said whether of spontaneous growth or by cultivation only. Most probably they were natives of more southern climates, and handed along the continent from one nation to another of the savages.

Tobacco. Nicotiana.

Maize. Zea mays.1

Edition: current; Page: [407]

Round potatoes.1 Solanum tuberosum.

Pumpkins. Cucurbita pepo.

Cymlings. Cucurbita verrucosa.

Squashes. Cucurbita melopepo.

There is an infinitude of other plants and flowers, for an enumeration and scientific description of which I must refer to the Flora Virginica of our great botanist Dr. Clayton, published by Gronovius at Leyden, in 1762. This accurate observer was a native and resident of this state, passed a long life in exploring and describing its plants, and is supposed to have enlarged the botanical catalogue as much as almost any man who has lived.

Besides these plants, which are native, our Farms produce wheat, rye, barley, oats, buck wheat, broomcorn, Edition: current; Page: [408] and Indian corn.1 [69] The climate suits rice well enough, wherever the lands do. Tobacco, hemp, flax and cotton, are staple commodities. Indico yields two cuttings. The silk-worm is a native, and the mulberry, proper for its food, grows kindly.

We cultivate also potatoes, both the long and the round, turneps, carrots, parsneps, pumpkins, and ground nuts (Arachis). Our grasses are Lucerne, St. Foin, Burnet, Timothy, ray, and orchard grass; red, white and yellow clover; greenswerd, blue grass, and crab grass.

The gardens yield muskmelons, watermelons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculant plants of Europe.

The orchards produce apples, pears, cherries, quinces, peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds, and plumbs.

Our quadrupeds have been mostly described by Linnæus and Mons. de Buffon. Of these the Mammoth, or big buffalo, as called by the Indians, must certainly have been the largest. Their tradition is that he was carnivorous, and still exists in the northern parts of America. A delegation of warriors from the Delaware tribe having visited the governor of [70] Virginia, during the present revolution, on matters of business, after these had been discussed and settled in council, the governor asked them some questions relative to their country, and among others, what they knew or had heard of the animal whose bones were found at the Saltlicks, Edition: current; Page: [409] on the Ohio. Their chief speaker immediately put himself into an attitude of oratory, and with a pomp suited to what he conceived the elevation of his subject, informed him that it was a tradition handed down from their fathers, “That in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Bigbone licks, and began an universal destruction of the bear, deer, elks, buffaloes, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians; that the Great Man above, looking down and seeing this, was so enraged that he seized his lightning, descended on the earth, seated himself on a neighboring mountain, on a rock of which his seat and the print of his feet are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them till the whole were slaughtered, except the big bull, who presenting his forehead to the shafts shook them off as they fell; but mis-[71]sing one at length, it wounded him in the side; whereon, springing round, be bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabache, the Illinois, and finally over the great lakes, where he is living at this day.” It is well known, that on the Ohio, and in many parts of America further north, tusks, grinders, and skeletons, of unparalleled magnitude, are found in great numbers, some lying on the surface of the earth, and some a little below it. A Mr. Stanley, taken prisoner1 near the mouth of the Tanissee, relates that, after being transferred through several tribes, from one to another, he was at length carried over the mountains west of the Missouri to a river which runs westwardly; that these bones abounded Edition: current; Page: [410] there, and that the natives described to him the animal to which they belonged as still existing in the northern parts of their country; from which description he judged it to be an elephant. Bones of the same kind have been lately found, some feet below the surface of the earth, in salines opened on the North Holston, a branch of the Tanissee, about the latitude of 36½°. north. From the accounts published in Europe, I suppose it to be decided that these are of the same [72] kind with those found in Siberia.1 Instances are mentioned of like animal remains found in the more southern climates of both hemispheres2; but they are either so loosely mentioned as to leave a doubt of the fact, so inaccurately described as not to authorize the classing them with the great northern bones, or so rare as to found a suspicion that they have been carried thither as curiosities from the northern regions. So that, on the whole, there seem to be no certain vestiges of the existence of this animal farther South than the salines just mentioned.3 It is remarkable that the tusks and skeletons have been ascribed by the naturalists of Europe to the elephant, while the grinders have been given to the hippopotamus, or Edition: current; Page: [411] river horse.1 Yet it is acknowledged that the tusks and skeletons are much larger than those of the elephant, and the grinders many times greater than those of the hippopotamus, and essentially different in form. Wherever these grinders are found, there also we find the tusks and skeletons; but no skeleton of the hippopotamus nor grinders of the elephant. It will not be said that the hippopotamus and elephant came always to the same spot, the former to deposit [73] his grinders, and the latter his tusks and skeleton. For what became of the parts not deposited there? We must agree then, that these remains belong to each other, that they are of one and the same animal, that this was not a hippopotamus, because the hippopotamus had no tusk nor such a frame, and because the grinders differ in their size as well as in their number and form of their points. That this was not an elephant, I think ascertained by proofs equally decisive. I will not avail myself of the authority of the celebrated2 anatomist who, from an examination of the form and structure of the tusks, has declared they were essentially different from those of the elephant; because another3 anatomist, equally celebrated, has declared, on a like examination, that they are precisely the same. Between two such authorities I will suppose this circumstance equivocal. But, 1. The skeleton of the Mammoth (for so the incognitum Edition: current; Page: [412] has been called) bespeaks an animal of five or six times1 the cubic volume of the elephant, as Mons. de Buffon has ad-[74]mitted.2 2. The grinders are five times as large, are square, and the grinding surface studded with four or five rows of blunt points: whereas those of the elephant are broad and thin, and their grinding surface flat.3 3. I have never heard an instance, and suppose there has been none, of the grinder of an elephant being found in America. 4. From the known temperature and constitution of the elephant, he could never have existed in those regions where the remains of the mammoth have been found. The elephant is a native only of the torrid zone and its vicinities. If, with the assistance of warm appartments and warm cloathing, he has been preserved4 in the temperate climates of Europe, it has only been for a small portion of what would have been his natural period, and no instance of his multiplication in them has ever been known. But no bones of the mammoth, as I have before observed, have been ever found further south than the salines of Holston, and they have been found as far north as the Arctic circle. Those, therefore, who are of opinion that the elephant and mammoth are the same, must believe, 1. That the elephant known to us can exist and multiply in the [75] frozen zone; or, 2. That an internal Edition: current; Page: [413] fire may once have warmed those regions, and since abandoned them, of which however the globe exhibits no unequivocal indications; or, 3. That the obliquity of the ecliptic, when these elephants lived, was so great as to include within the tropics all those regions in which the bones are found; the tropics being, as is before observed, the natural limits of habitation for the elephant.1 But if it be admitted that this obliquity has really decreased, and we adopt the highest rate of decrease yet pretended, that is, of one minute in a century, to transfer the northern tropic to the Arctic circle, would carry the existence of these supposed elephants two hundred and fifty thousand years back; a period far beyond our conception of the duration of animal bones left exposed to the open air than these are in many instances. Besides, though these regions would then be supposed within the tropics, yet their winters would have been too severe for the sensibility of the elephant. They would have had too but one day and one night in the year, a circumstance to Edition: current; Page: [414] which we have no reason to suppose the nature of the elephant fitted. However, it has been demon-[76] strated that, if a variation of obliquity in the Ecliptic takes place at all, it is vibratory, and never exceeds the limits of 9 degrees, which is not sufficient to bring these bones within the tropics. One of these hypotheses, or some other equally voluntary and inadmissible to cautious philosophy, must be adopted to support the opinion that there are the bones of the elephant. For my own part, I find it easier to believe that an animal may have existed, resembling the elephant in his tusks, and general anatomy, while his nature was in other respects extremely different. From the 30th degree of South latitude to the 30th of North, are nearly the limits which nature has fixed for the existence and multiplication of the elephant known to us. Proceeding thence northwardly to 36½ degrees, we enter those assigned to the Mammoth. The further we advance North, the more their vestiges multiply as far as the earth has been explored in that direction; and it is as probable as otherwise, that this progression continues to the pole itself, if land extends so far. The center of the Frozen zone then may be the Achmé of of their vigour, as that of the torrid is of the elephant. Thus na-[77] ture seems to have drawn a belt of separation between these two tremendous animals, whose breadth indeed, is not precisely known, though at present we may suppose it about 6½ degrees of latitude; to have assigned to the elephant the regions South of these confines, and those North to the Mammoth, founding the constitution of the one Edition: current; Page: [415] in her extreme of heat, and that of the other in the extreme of cold. When the Creator has therefore separated their nature as far as the extent of the scale of animal life allowed to this planet would permit, it seems perverse to declare it the same, from a partial resemblance of their tusks and bones. But to whatever animal we ascribe these remains, it is certain such a one has existed in America, and that it has been the largest of all terrestrial beings.1 It should have sufficed to have rescued the earth it inhabited, and the atmosphere it breathed, from the imputation of impotence in the conception and nourishment of animal life on a large scale: to have stifled, in its birth, the opinion of a writer, the most learned, too, of all others in the science of animal history, that in the new world, [78] “La nature vivante est beaucoup moins agissante, beaucoup moins forte2:” that nature is less active, less energetic on one side of the globe than she is on the other. As if both sides were not warmed by the same genial sun; as if a soil of the same chemical composition was less capable of elaboration into animal nutriment; as if the fruits and grains from that soil and sun yielded a less rich chyle, gave less extension to the solids and fluids of the body, or produced sooner in the cartilages, membranes and fibres, that rigidity Edition: current; Page: [416] which restrains all further extension, and terminates animal growth. The truth is, that a Pigmy and a Patagonian, a Mouse and a Mammoth, derive their dimensions from the same nutritive juices. The difference of increment depends on circumstances unsearchable to beings with our capacities. Every race of animals seems to have received from their maker certain laws of extension at the time of their formation. Their elaborative organs were formed to produce this, while proper obstacles were opposed to its further progress. Below these limits they cannot fall, nor rise above them. What intermediate station they shall take may de-[79] pend on soil, on climate, on food, on a careful choice of breeders. But all the manna of heaven would never raise the Mouse to the bulk of the Mammoth.

The opinion advanced by the Count de Buffon1 is, 1. That the animals common both to the old and new world are smaller in the latter. 2. That those peculiar to the new are on a smaller scale. 3. That those which have been domesticated in both have degenerated in America: and 4. That on the whole it exhibits fewer species. And the reason he thinks is, that the heats of America are less; that more waters are spread over its surface by nature, and fewer of these drained off by the hand of man. In other Edition: current; Page: [417] words, that heat is friendly, and moisture adverse to the production and development of large quadrupeds. I will not meet this hypothesis on its first doubtful ground, whether the climate of America be comparatively more humid? Because we are not furnished with observations sufficient to decide this question. And though, till it be decided, we are as free to deny as others are to affirm the fact, yet for a moment let it be supposed. The hypothesis, after this supposition, proceeds to [79] another; that moisture is unfriendly to animal growth. The truth of this is inscrutable to us by reasonings à priori. Nature has hidden from us her modus agendi. Our only appeal on such questions is to experience; and I think that experience is against the supposition. It is by the assistance of heat and moisture that vegetables are elaborated from the elements of earth, air, water, and fire. We accordingly see the more humid climates produce the greater quantity of vegetables. Vegetables are mediately or immediately the food of every animal; and in proportion to the quantity of food, we see animals not only multiplied in their numbers, but improved in their bulk, as far as the laws of their nature will admit. Of this opinion is the Count de Buffon himself in another part of his work1: “en general il paroit que les pays un peu froids conviennent mieux à nos boeufs que les pays chauds, et qu’ils sont d’autant plus gros et plus grands que le climat est plus humide et plus abondans en paturages. Les boeufs de Danemacrk, de la Podolie, de l’Ukraine Edition: current; Page: [418] et de la Tartarie qu’habitent les Calmouques sont les plus grands de tous.”1 Here then a race of animals and one [81] of the largest too, has been increased in its dimensions by cold and moisture, in direct opposition to the hypothesis, which supposes that these two circumstances diminsh animal bulk, and that it is their contraries heat and dryness which enlarge it. But when we appeal to experience, we are not to rest satisfied with a single fact. Let us, therefore, try our question on more general ground.2 Let us Edition: current; Page: [419] take two portions of the earth, Europe and America for instance, sufficiently extensive to give operation to general causes; let us consider the circumstances peculiar to each, and observe their effect on animal nature. America, running through the torrid as well as temperate zone, has more heat collectively taken, than Europe. But Europe, according to our hypothesis, is the dryest. They are equally adapted then to animal productions; each being endowed with one of those causes which befriend animal growth, and with one which opposes it. If it be thought unequal to compare Europe with America, which is so much larger, I answer, not more so than to compare America with the whole world. Besides, the purpose of the comparison is to try an hypothesis, which [82] makes the size of animals Edition: current; Page: [420] depend on the heat and moisture of climate. If, therefore, we take a region, so extensive as to comprehend a sensible distinction of climate, and so extensive too as that local accidents, or the intercourse of animals on its borders, may not materially affect the size of those in its interior parts, we shall comply with those conditions which the hypothesis may reasonably demand. The objection would be the weaker in the present case, because any intercourse of animals which may take place on the confines of Europe and Asia, is to the advantage of the former, Asia producing certainly larger animals than Europe. Let us then take a comparative view of the Quadrupeds of Europe and America, presenting them to the eye in three different tables, in one of which shall be enumerated those found in both Edition: current; Page: [421] countries; in a second, those found in one only; in a third, those which have been domesticated in both. To facilitate the comparison, let those of each table be arranged in gradation according to their sizes, from the greatest to the smallest, so far as their sizes can be conjectured. The weights [83] of the large animals shall be expressed in the English avoirdupoise pound and its decimals; those of the smaller, in the same ounce and its decimals. Those which are marked thus*, are actual weights of particular subjects, deemed among the largest of their species. Those marked thus†, are furnished by judicious persons, well acquainted with the species, and saying, from conjecture only, what the largest individual they had seen would probably have weighed. The other weights are taken from Messrs. Buffon and D’Aubenton, and are of such subjects as came casually to their hands for dissection. This circumstance must be remembered where their weights and mine stand opposed; the latter being stated not to produce a conclusion in favor of the American species, but to justify a suspension of opinion until we are better informed, and a suspicion, in the meantime, that there is no uniform difference in favor of either; which is all I pretend. [84]

Edition: current; Page: [422]

A comparative View of the Quadrupeds of Europe and of America

I. ABORIGINALS OF BOTH

Europe lb. America lb.
1“Original moose palmated” in edition of 1853.
Mammoth
Buffalo. Bison *1800
White Bear. Ours blanc
Carribou. Renne
Bear. Ours 153.7 *410
Elk. Elan. Original palmated1
Red deer. Cerf 288.8 *273
Fallow Deer. Daim 167.8
Wolf. Loup 69.8
Roe. Chevreuil 56.7
Glutton. Glouton. Carcajou
Wild Cat. Chat sauvage †30
Lynx. Loup cervier 25.
Beaver. Castor 18.5 *45
Badger. Blaireau 13.6
Red fox. Renard 13.5
Gray fox. Isatis
Otter. Loutre 8.9 †12
Monax. Marmotte 6.5
Vison. Fouine 2.8
Hedgehog. Herisson 2.2
Marten. Marte 1.9 †6
oz.
Water rat. Rat d’eau 7.5
Weasel. Belette 2.2
oz.
Flying squirrel. Polatouche 2.2 †4
Shrew mouse Musaraigne 1. [85]

II. ABORIGINALS OF ONE ONLY

europe. america.
lb. lb.
2In the edition of 1853 is a footnote: “There exists in the Western and mountainous parts of Pennsylvania an animal which seems to be nearer the hare than our whabus. The meat is black, and an individual weighed 39½ oz. avoird. while the whabus is an animal of white meat, and weight about 29 oz.; the fur of the former is white as is the case with most animals in countries abounding with snow.”
Sanglier. Wild boar 280. Tapir 534.
Mouflon. Wild Sheep 56. Elk, round horned †450.
Bouquetin. Wild goat Puma
Lievre. Hare2 7.6 Jaguar 218.
Lapin. Rabbit 3.4 Cabiai 109.
Putois. Polecat 3.3 Tamanoir 109.
Genette 3.1 Tammandua 65.4
Desman. Muskrat oz. Cougar of North-America 75.
Ecureuil. Squirrel 12. Cougar of South-America 59.4
Hermine. Ermin 8.2 Ocelot
Rat. Rat 7.5 Pecari 46.3
Loirs 3.1 Jaguaret 43.6
Lerot. Dormouse 1.8 Alco
Taupe. Mole 1.2 Lama
Hampster .9 Paco
Zisel Paca 32.7
Leming Serval
Souris. Mouse .6 Sloth. Unau 27.½
Saricovienne
Kincajou
Tatou Kabassou 21.8
Urson. Urchin
Raccoon. Raton 16.5
Coati
Coendou 16.3
Sloth. Ai 13.
Sapajou Ouarini
Sapajou Coaita 9.8
Tatou Encubert
Tatou Apar
Tatou Cachica 7.
Little Coendou 6.5
Opossum. Sarigue [86]
Tapeti
Margay
Crabier
Agouti 4.2
Sapajou Sai 3.5
Tatou Cirquinçon
Tatou Tatouate 3.3
Mouffette Squash
Mouffette Chinche
Mouffette Conepate
Scunk
Mouffette. Zorilla
Whabus. Hare. Rabbit.
Aperea
Akouchi
Ondatra. Muskrat
Pilori
Great gray squirrel †2.7
Fox squirrel of Virginia †2.625
Surikate 2.
Mink †2.
Sapajou. Sajou 1.8
Indian pig. Cochon d’Inde. 1.6
Sapajou Saïmiri 1.5
Phalanger
Coqualain
Lesser gray squirrel †1.5
Black squirrel †1.5
Red squirrel 10. oz.
Sagoin Saki
Sagoin Pinche [87]
Sagoin Tamarin oz.
Sagoin Ouistiti 4.4
Sagoin Marakine
Sagoin Mico
Cayopollin
Fourmillier
Marmose
Sarigue of Cayenne
Tucan
Red Mole oz.
Ground squirrel 4.

III. DOMESTICATED IN BOTH

Europe. lb. America. lb.
Cow 763. *2500
Horse *1366
Ass
Hog *1200
Sheep *125
Goat *80
Dog 67.6
Cat 7. [88]

I have not inserted in the first table the Phoca,1 nor leather-winged bat, because the one living half Edition: current; Page: [425] the year in the water, and the other being a winged animal, the individuals of each species may visit both continents.

Of the animals in the 1st table, Mons de Buffon himself informs us [XXVII. 130, XXX. 213,] that the beaver, the otter, and shrew mouse, though of the same species, are larger in America than Europe. This should therefore have corrected the generality of his expressions XVIII. 145, and elsewhere, that the animals common to the two countries, are considerably less in America than in Europe, ‘et cela sans aucune exception.’ He tells us too, [Quadrup. VIII. 334, edn. Paris 1777] that on examining a bear from America, he remarked no differ-[89]ence, “dans la forme de cet ours d’Amerique comparé a celui d’Europe,” but adds from Bartram’s journal, that an American bear weighed 400 lb. English, equal to 367 lb, French; whereas we find the European bear examined by Mons. Daubenton, [XVII. 82,] weighed but 141 lb. French. That1 the palmated Elk is larger in America than in Europe, we are informed by Kalm.2 a Naturalist, who visited Edition: current; Page: [426] the former by public appointment, for the express purpose of examining the subjects of natural history. In this fact Pennant concurs with him. [Barrington’s Miscellanies.] The same Kalm tells us1 that the Black Moose, or Renne of America, is as high as a tall horse; and Catesby,2 that it is about the bigness of a middle sized ox. The same account of their size has been given me by many who have seen them. But Mons. Daubenton says3 that the Renne of Europe is about the size of a Red-Deer. The Wesel is larger in America than in Europe, as may be seen by comparing its dimensions as reported by Mons. Daubenton4 and Kalm. The latter tells us,5 that the Lynx badger, Red fox, and Flying squirrel, are the same in America as in Europe; by [90] which expression I understand, they are the same in all material circumstances, in size as well as others: for if they were smaller, they would differ from the European. Our gray fox is, by Catesby’s account,6 little different in size and shape from the European fox. I presume he means the red fox of Europe, as does Kalm, where he says7 that in size ‘they do not quite come up to our foxes.’ For, proceeding next to the red fox of America, he says, ‘they are entirely the same with the European sort.’ Which shows he had in view one European sort only, which was the red. So that the result of their testimony is, that the American gray fox is somewhat less than the European red; which is equally true Edition: current; Page: [427] of the gray fox of Europe, as may be seen by comparing the measures of the Count de Buffon and Mons. Daubenton.1 The white bear of America is as large as that of Europe. The bones of the Mammoth which has been found in America, are as large as those found in the old world. It may be asked, why I insert the Mammoth, as if it still existed? I ask in return, why I should omit it, as if it did not exist? Such is the economy of nature, that [91] no instance can be produced, of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken. To add to this, the traditionary testimony of the Indians, that this animal still exists in the northern and western parts of America, would be adding the light of a taper to that of the meridian sun. Those parts still remain in their aboriginal state, unexplored and undisturbed by us, or by others for us. He may as well exist there now, as he did formerly where we find his bones. If he be a carnivorous animal, as some Anatomists have conjectured, and the Indians affirm, his early retirement may be accounted for from the general destruction of the wild game by the Indians, which commences in the first instance of their connection with us, for the purpose of purchasing matchcoats, hatchets, and firelocks, with their skins. There remain then the2 buffalo, red deer, fallow deer, wolf, roe,3 glutton, wild cat, monax, vison, hedgehog, Edition: current; Page: [428] marten, and water rat, of the comparative sizes of which we have not sufficient testimony. It does not appear that Messrs de Buffon and [92] Daubenton have measured, weighed, or seen those of America. It is said of some of them, by some travellers, that they are smaller than the European. But who were these travellers? Have they not been men of a very different description from those who have laid open to us the other three quarters of the world? Was natural history the object of their travels? Did they measure or weigh the animals they speak of? or did they not judge of them by sight, or perhaps even from report only? Were they acquainted with the animals of their own country, with which they undertake to compare them? Have they not been so ignorant as often to mistake the species?1 A true answer to these questions would probably lighten their authority, so as to render it insufficient for the foundation of an hypothesis. How unripe we yet are, for an accurate comparison of the animals of the two countries, will appear from the work of Mons. de Buffon. The ideas we should have formed of the sizes of some animals, from the information he had received at his first publications concerning them, are very dif-[93]erent from what his subsequent communications give us. And indeed his candor in this can never be too much praised. One sentence of his book must do him immortal honour. ‘J’aime autant une personne qui me releve d’une Edition: current; Page: [429] erreur, qu’une autre qui m’apprend une verité, parce qu’en effet une erreur corrigée est une verité.’1 He seems to have thought the cabiai he first examined wanted little of its full growth. ‘Il n’etoit pas encore tout-a-fait adulte.’2 Yet he weighed but 46½ lb., and he found afterwards,3 that these animals, when full grown, weigh 100 lb. He had supposed, from the examination of a jaguar,4 said to be two years old, which weighed but 16 lb. 12 oz., that when he should have acquired his full growth, he would not be larger than a middle-sized dog. But a subsequent account5 raises his weight to 200 lb. Further information will, doubtless, produce further corrections. The wonder is, not that there is yet something in this great work to correct, but that there is so little. The result of this view then is, that of 26 quadrupeds common to both countries, 7 are said to be larger in America, 7 of equal [94] size, and 12 not sufficiently examined. So that the first table impeaches the first member of the assertion, that of the animals common to both countries, the American are smallest, “et cela sans aucune exception.” It shows it is not just, in all the latitude in which its author has advanced it, and probably not to such a degree as to found a distinction between the two countries.

Proceeding to the second table, which arranges the animals found in one of the two countries only, Mons. de Buffon observes, that the tapir, the elephant Edition: current; Page: [430] of America, is but of the size of a small cow. To preserve our comparison, I will add, that the wild boar, the elephant of Europe, is little more than half that size. I have made an elk with round or cylindrical horns an animal of America, and peculiar to it; because I have seen many of them myself, and more of their horns; and because I can say, from the best information, that, in Virginia, this kind of elk has abounded much, and still exists in smaller numbers; and I could never learn that the palmated kind had been seen here at all.1 I suppose this confined to the [95] more northern latitudes.2 I have made Edition: current; Page: [431] our hare or rabbit peculiar, believing it to be [96] different from both the European animals of [97] those denominations, and calling it therefore by its Algonquin name, Whabus, to keep it distinct from these. Kalm is of the same opinion.1 I have enumerated the squirrels according to our own knowledge, derived from daily sight of them, because I am not able to reconcile with that the European appellations and descriptions. I have heard of other species, but they have never come within my own notice. These, I think, are the only instances in which I have departed from the authority of Mons. de Buffon in the construction of this table. I take him for my ground work, because I think him the best informed of any Naturalist who Edition: current; Page: [432] has ever written. The result is, that there are 18 quadrupeds peculiar to Europe; more than four times as many, to wit. 74 peculiar to America; that the1 first of these 74 weighs [97] more than the whole column of Europeans; and consequently this second table disproves the second member of the assertion, that the animals peculiar to the new world are on a smaller scale, so far as that assertion relied on European animals for support; and it is in full opposition to the theory which makes the animal volume to depend on the circumstances of heat and moisture.

The IIId. table comprehends those quadrupeds only which are domestic in both countries. That some of these, in some parts of America, have become less than their orignial stock, is doubtless true; and the reason is very obvious. In a thinly-peopled country, the spontaneous productions of the forests, and waste fields, are sufficient to support indifferently the domestic animals of the farmer, with a very little aid from him, in the se-[99]verest and scarcest season. He therefore finds it more convenient to receive them from the hand of nature Edition: current; Page: [433] in that indifferent state, than to keep up their size by a care and nourishment which would cost him much labour. If, on this low fare, these animals dwindle, it is no more than they do in those parts of Europe where the poverty of the soil, or the poverty of the owner, reduces them to the same scanty subsistence. It is the uniform effect of one and the same cause, whether acting on this or that side of the globe. It would be erring, therefore, against this rule of philosophy, which teaches us to ascribe like effects to like causes, should we impute this diminution of size in America to any imbecility or want of uniformity in the operations of nature. It may be affirmed with truth, that, in those countries, and with those individuals in America, where necessity or curiosity has produced equal attention, as in Europe, to the nourishment of animals, the horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, of the one continent are as large as those of the other. There are particular instances, well attested, where individuals of this country have imported good breeders from England, and have [100] improved their size by care in the course of some years. To make a fair comparison between the two countries, it will not answer to bring together animals of what might be deemed the middle or ordinary size of their species; because an error in judging of that middle or ordinary size, would vary the result of the comparison. Thus Monsieur Daubenton1 considers a horse of 4 feet five inches high and 400 lb. weight French, equal to 4 feet 8.6 inches and 436 lb. English, Edition: current; Page: [434] as a middle-sized horse. Such a one is deemed a small horse in America. The extremes must therefore be resorted to. The same anatomist1 dissected a horse of 5 feet 9 inches height, French measure, equal to 6 feet 1.7 English. This is near 6 inches higher than any horse I have seen: and could it be supposed that I had seen the largest horses in America, the conclusion would be, that ours have diminished, or that we have bred from a smaller stock. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, where the climate is favorable to the production of grass, bullocks have been slaughtered which weighed 2500, 2200, and 2100 lb. nett: and those of 1800 lbs. have been [101] frequent. I have seen a hog2 weigh 1050 lb. after the blood, bowels, and hair had been taken from him. Before he was killed, an attempt was made to weigh him with a pair of steel-yards, graduated to 1200 lb. but he weighed more. Yet this hog was probably not within fifty generations of the European stock. I am well informed of another which weighed 1100 lb. gross. Asses have been still more neglected than any other domestic animal in America. They are neither fed or housed in the most rigorous season of the year. Yet they are larger than those measured by Mons. Daubenton3 of 3 feet 7¼ inches, 3 feet 4 inches, and 3 feet 2½ inches, the latter weighing only 215.8 lb. These sizes, I suppose, have been produced by the same negligence in Europe, which has produced a like diminution here. Where care has been taken of them on that side of the Edition: current; Page: [435] water, they have been raised to a size bordering on that of the horse; not by the heat and dryness of the climate, but by good food and shelter. Goats have been also much [102] neglected in America. Yet they are very prolific here, bearing twice or three times a year, and from one to five kids at a birth. Mons. de Buffon has been sensible of a difference in this circumstance in favour of America.1 But what are their greatest weights, I cannot say. A large sheep here weighs 100 lb. I observe Mons. Daubenton calls a ram of 62 lb. one of the middle size.2 But to say what are the extremes of growth in these and the other domestic animals of America, would require information of which no one individual is possessed.3 The weights actually known and stated in the third table preceding will suffice to show, that we may conclude on probable grounds, that, with equal food and care, the climate of America will preserve the races of domestic animals as large as the European stock from which they are derived; and, consequently, that the third member of Mons. de Buffon’s assertion that the domestic animals are subject to degeneration from the climate of America, is as probably wrong as the first and second were certainly so.

That the last part of it is erroneous, which affirms that the species of American quadru-[103] peds are comparatively few, is evident from the tables taken Edition: current; Page: [436] together. By these it appears that there are an hundred species aboriginal in America. Mons. de Buffon supposes about double that number existing on the whole earth.1 Of these Europe, Asia, and Africa, furnish suppose 126; that is, the 26 common to Europe and America, and about 100 which are not in America at all. The American species, then, are to those of the rest of the earth, as 100 to 126, or 4 to 5. But the residue of the earth being double the extent of America, the exact proportion would have been but as 4 to 8.

Hitherto I have considered this hypothesis as applied to brute animals only, and not in its extension to the man of America, whether aboriginal or transplanted.2 It is the opinion of Mons. de Buffon that the former furnishes no exception to it.3

‘Quoique le sauvage du nouveau monde soit à-peu-près de même stature que l’homme de notre monde, cela ne suffit pas pour qu’il puisse faire une exception au fait général du rapetissement de la nature vivante dans tout ce continent: le sauvage est foible & petit par les organes de la génération; il n’a ni poil, ni barbe, & [104] nulle ardeur pour sa femelle; quoique plus léger que l’Européen, parce qu’il a plus d’habitude à courir, il est cependant beaucoup moins fort de corps; il est aussi bien moins sensible, & cependant plus craintif et plus lâche; il n’a nulle vivacité, nulle activité dans l’ame; Edition: current; Page: [437] celle du corps est moins un exercice, un mouvement volontaire qu’une nécessité d’action causée par le besoin; ôtez lui la faim et la soif, vous détruirez en même temps le principe actif de tous ses mouvemens; il demeurera stupidement en repos sur ses jambes ou couché pendant des jours entiers. Il ne faut pas aller chercher plus loin la cause de la vie dispersée des sauvages & de leur éloignement pour la société: la plus précieuse étincelle du feu de la nature leur a été refusée; ils manquent d’ardeur pour leur femelle, & par consequent d’amour pour leurs semblables; ne connoissant pas l’attachment le plus vif, le plus tendre de tous, leurs autres sentimens de ce genre, sont froids & languissans; ils aiment foiblement leurs pères et leurs enfans; la société la plus intime de toutes, celle de la même famille n’a donc chez eux que de foibles liens; la société d’une famille à l’autre n’en a point du tout; dès lors nulle réu-[105]nion, nulle république, nulle état social. La physique de l’amour fait chez eux le moral des mœurs; leur cœur est glacé, leur société froide & leur empire dur. Ils ne regardent leurs femmes que comme des servantes de peine ou des bêtes de somme qu’ils chargent, sans ménagement, du fardeau de leur chasse & qu’ils forcent, sans pitié, sans reconnoissance, à des ouvrages qui souvent sont au dessus de leurs forces; ils n’ont que peu d’enfans; ils en ont peu de soin; tout se ressent de leur premier défaut; ils sont indifférents parce qu’ils sont peu puissans, & cette indifférence pour le sexe est la tâche originelle qui flétrit la nature, qui l’empêche de s’épanouir, & qui détruisant les germes de la vie, coupe en même temps Edition: current; Page: [438] la racine de la société. L’homme ne fait donc point d’exception ici. La nature en lui refusant les puissances de l’amour l’a plus maltraité et plus rapetissé qu’aucun des animaux.’

An afflicting picture, indeed, which for the honor of human nature, I am glad to believe has no original. Of the Indian of South America I know nothing; for I would not honor with the appellation of knowledge, what I derive from the fables published of them. These I believe [106] to be just as true as the fables of Æsop. This belief is founded on what I have seen of man, white, red, and black, and what has been written of him by authors, enlightened themselves, and writing among an enlightened people. The Indian of North America being more within our reach, I can speak of him somewhat from my own knowledge, but more from the information of others better acquainted with him, and on whose truth and judgment I can rely. From these sources I am able to say, in contradiction to this representation,1 that he is neither more defective in ardor, nor more impotent with his female, than the white reduced to the same diet and exercise; that he is brave, when an enterprise depends on bravery2; education with him making the point of honor consist in the destruction of an enemy by strategem, and in the preservation of his own person free from injury; or, perhaps, this is nature, while it is education which Edition: current; Page: [439] teaches us to1 honor force more than [107] finesse; that he will defend himself against a host of enemies, always choosing to be killed, rather than to surrender,2 though it [108] be to the whites, who he Edition: current; Page: [440] knows will treat him well; that in other situations, also, he meets death with more deliberation, and endures tortures with a firmness unknown almost to religious enthusiasm with us; that he is affectionate to his children, careful of them, and indulgent in the extreme; that his affections comprehend his other connections, [109] weakening, as with us, from circle to circle, as they recede from the centre; that his friendships are strong and faithful to the uttermost1 extremity; that his sensibility is keen, even the warriors weeping most bitterly on the loss of their children, though in general they endeavor to appear superior to human events; that his vivacity and activity [110] of mind is equal to ours in the same situation; hence his eagerness for hunting, and for games of chance. The women are submitted to unjust drudgery. This I believe is the case with every barbarous people. With such, force is law. The stronger sex therefore imposes Edition: current; Page: [441] on the weaker. It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality. That first teaches us to subdue the selfish passions, and to respect those rights in others which we value in ourselves. Were we in equal barbarism, our females would be equal drudges. The man with them is less strong than with us, but their woman stronger than ours; and both for the same obvious reason; because our man and their woman is habituated to labor, and formed by it. With both races the sex which is indulged with ease is the least athletic. An Indian man is small in the hand and wrist, for the same reason for which a sailor is large and strong in the arms and shoulders, and a porter in the legs and thighs. They raise fewer children than we do. The causes of this are to be found, not in a difference of nature, but of circumstance. The women very frequently attending the men in [111] their parties of war and of hunting, child-bearing becomes extremely inconvenient to them. It is said, therefore, that they have learned the practice of procuring abortion by the use of some vegetable; and that it even extends to prevent conception for a considerable time after.1 During these parties they are exposed to numerous hazards, to excessive exertions, to the greatest extremities of hunger. Even at their homes the nation depends for food, through a certain part of every year, on the gleanings of the forest; that is, they experience a famine once in every year. With all animals, Edition: current; Page: [442] if the female be illy fed, or not fed at all, her young perish; and if both male and female be reduced to like want, generation becomes less active, less productive. To the obstacles, then, of want and hazard, which nature has opposed to the multiplication of wild animals, for the purpose of restraining their numbers within certain bounds, those of labour and of voluntary abortion are added with the Indian. No wonder, then, if they multiply less than we do. Where food is regularly supplied, a single farm will show more of cattle, than a whole country of forests can of buffalos. The [112] same Indian women, when married to white traders, who feed them and their children plentifully and regularly, who exempt them from excessive drudgery, who keep them stationary and unexposed to accident, produce and raise as many children as the white women.1 Instances are known, under these circumstances, of their rearing a dozen children. An inhuman practice once prevailed in this country, of making slaves of the Indians.2 It is a fact well known with us, that the Indian women so enslaved produced and raised as numerous families as either the whites or blacks among whom they lived. It has been said that Indians have less hair than the whites, except on the head. But this is a fact of which fair proof can scarcely be had.3 With them it is disgraceful to Edition: current; Page: [443] be hairy on the body. They say it likens them to hogs. They therefore pluck the hair as fast as it appears. But the traders who marry their women, and prevail on them to discontinue this practice, say, that nature is the same with them as with the whites. Nor, if the fact be true, is the consequence necessary which has been drawn from it. Negroes have notoriously less hair than the [113] whites; yet they are more ardent. But if cold and moisture be the agents of nature for diminishing the races of animals, how comes she all at once to suspend their operation as to the physical man of the new world, whom the Count acknowledges to be ‘à peu près de même stature que l’homme de notre monde,’ and to let loose their influence on his moral faculties? How has this ‘combination of the elements and other physical causes, so contrary to the enlargement of animal nature in this new world, these obstacles to the development and formation of great germs,’1 been arrested and suspended, so as to permit the human body to acquire its just dimensions, and by what inconceivable process has their action been directed on his mind alone? To judge of the truth of this, to form a just estimate of their genius and mental powers, more facts are wanting, and great allowance to be made for those circumstances of their situation which call for a display of particular talents only. This done, we shall probably find that they are formed in mind as well as body, on the same [114] module with the2 ‘Homo sapiens Edition: current; Page: [444] Europæus.’ The principles of their society forbidding all compulsion, they are to be led to duty and to enterprise by personal influence and persuasion. Hence eloquence in council, bravery and address in war, become the foundations of all consequence with them. To these acquirements all their faculties are directed. Of their bravery and address in war we have multiplied proofs, because we have been the subjects on which they were exercised. Of their eminence in oratory we have fewer examples, because it is displayed chiefly in their own councils. Some, however, we have, of very superior lustre. I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, if Europe has furnished any more eminent, to produce a single passage, superior to the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to Lord Dunmore, when governor of this state. And as a testimony of their talents in this line, I beg leave to introduce it, first stating the incidents necessary for understanding it. In the [115] spring of the year 1774, a robbery and murder were committed on an inhabitant of the frontier of Virginia, by two Indians of the Shawanee tribe. The neighbouring whites, according to their custom, undertook to punish this outrage in a summary way. Col. Cresap, a man infamous for the many murders he had committed on those much injured people, collected a party and proceeded down the Kanhaway in quest of vengeance. Unfortunately a canoe of women and children, with one man only, was seen coming from the opposite shore unarmed, and unsuspecting an hostile attack Edition: current; Page: [445] from the whites. Cresap and his party concealed themselves on the bank of the river, and the moment the canoe reached the shore, singled out their objects, and at one fire, killed every person in it. This happened to be the family of Logan, who had long been distinguished as a friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance. He accordingly signalized himself in the war which ensued. In the autumn of the same year a decisive battle was fought at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, between the collected forces of the Shawanese, Mingoes and Delawares, and [116] a detachment of the Virginia militia. The Indians were defeated and sued for peace. Logan, however, disdained to be seen among the suppliants. But lest the sincerity of a treaty should be distrusted, from which so distinguished a chief absented himself, he sent, by a messenger, the following speech, to be delivered to Lord Dunmore.

“I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he cloathed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, ‘Logan is the friend of white men.’ I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in Edition: current; Page: [446] the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my coun-[117] try I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan?—Not one.”1

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Before we condemn the Indians of this continent as wanting genius, we must consider that letters have not yet been introduced among them. Were we to compare them in their present state with the Europeans North of the Alps, when the Roman arms and arts first crossed those mountains, the comparison would be unequal, because, at that time, those parts of Europe were swarming with numbers; Edition: current; Page: [448] because numbers produce emulation and multiply the chances of improvement, and one improvement begets another. Yet I may safely ask, how many Edition: current; Page: [449] good poets, how many able mathematicians, how many great inventors in arts or sciences, had Europe, North of the Alps, then produced? And it was Edition: current; Page: [450] sixteen centuries after this before a Newton could be formed. I do not mean to deny that there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their Edition: current; Page: [451] powers both of body and mind. I believe there are, as [118] I see to be the case in the races of other animals. I only mean to suggest a doubt, whether the Edition: current; Page: [452] bulk and faculties of animals depend on the side of the Atlantic on which their food happens to grow, or which furnishes the elements of which they are Edition: current; Page: [453] compounded? Whether nature has enlisted herself as a Cis- or Trans-Atlantic partisan? I am induced to suspect there has been more eloquence than sound Edition: current; Page: [454] reasoning displayed in support of this theory; that it is one of those cases where the judgment has been seduced by a glowing pen; and whilst I render every tribute of honor and esteem to the celebrated Edition: current; Page: [455] Zoologist, who has added, and is still adding, so many precious things to the treasures of science, I must doubt whether in this instance he has not cherished error also by lending her for a moment his vivid imagination and bewitching language.1

Edition: current; Page: [456]

So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions Edition: current; Page: [457] on this side the Atlantic. Its application to the race of whites transplanted from Europe, Edition: current; Page: [458] remained for the Abbé Raynal.1 “On doit etre etonné (he says) que l’Amerique n’ait pas encore Edition: current; Page: [459] produit un bon poëte, [119] un habile mathematicien, un homme de genie dans un seul art, ou seule science.” 7. Hist. Philos. pa. 92, edn. Maestricht, 1774. “America has not yet produced one good poet.” When we shall have existed as a people as long as the Greeks did before they produced a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, the French a Racine and Voltaire, the English a Shakespeare and Milton, should this reproach be still true, we will inquire from what unfriendly causes it has proceeded, that the other countries of Europe and quarters of the earth shall not have inscribed any name in the roll of poets.1 But neither has America produced “one able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art or a single science.” In war we have produced a Washington, whose memory will be adored while [120] liberty shall have votaries, whose name will triumph over time, and will in future ages assume its just station among the most celebrated worthies of the world, when that wretched philosophy shall be forgotten which would have arranged him among the degeneracies of nature. In Physics we have produced a Franklin, than whom no one of the present age has made more important discoveries, nor has enriched philosophy with more, or more ingenious solutions of the phænomena of nature. Edition: current; Page: [460] We have supposed Mr. Rittenhouse second to no astronomer living; that in genius he must be the first, because he is self taught. As an artist he has exhibited as great a proof of mechanical genius as the world has ever produced. He has not indeed made a world; but he has by imitation approached nearer its Maker than any man who has lived from the creation to this day.1 As in philosophy and war, [121] so in government, in oratory, in painting, in the plastic art, we might show that America, though but a child of yesterday, has already given hopeful proofs of genius, as well as of the nobler kinds, which arouse the best feelings of man, which call him into action, which substantiate his freedom, and conduct him to happiness, as of the subordinate, which serve to amuse him only. We therefore suppose, that this reproach is as unjust as it is unkind; and that, of the geniuses which adorn the present age, America contributes its full share. For comparing it with those countries where genius is most cultivated, where are the most excellent models for art, and scaffoldings for the attainment of science, as France and England for instance, we calculate thus. The United States contains three millions of inhabitants; France twenty millions; and the British islands ten. We produce a Washington, a Franklin, a Rittenhouse. Edition: current; Page: [461] France then should have half a dozen in each of these lines, and Great Britain half that number, equally eminent. It may be true that France has: we are but just becoming acquainted with her, and our acquaintance [122] so far gives us high ideas of the genius of her inhabitants. It would be injuring too many of them to name particularly a Voltaire, a Buffon, the constellation of Encyclopedists, the Abbé Raynal himself, &c. &c. We therefore have reason to believe she can produce her full quota of genius. The present war having so long cut off all communication with Great Britain, we are not able to make a fair estimate of the state of science in that country. The spirit in which she wages war, is the only sample before our eyes, and that does not seem the legitimate offspring either of science or of civilization. The sun of her glory is fast descending to the horizon. Her Philosophy has crossed the channel, her freedom the Atlantic, and herself seems passing to that awful dissolution whose issue is not given human foresight to scan.1 [123]

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Having given a sketch of our minerals, vegetables, and quadrupeds, and being led by a proud theory to make a comparison of the latter with those of Europe, and to ex- [124] tend it to the Man of America, both aboriginal and emigrant, I will proceed to the remaining articles comprehended under the present query.

Between ninety and an hundred of our birds have been described by Catesby. His drawings are better as to form and attitude than coloring, which is generally too high. They are the following: [125]

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BIRDS OF VIRGINIA

Linnæan Designation. Catesby’s Designation. Popular Name. Buffon1 oiseaux.
1This column of references to Buffon was first given in the edition of 1787.
1“1 Clavigero, 85.”—Footnote in edition of 1853.
2“The Pheasant is rarely or not at all found beyond North Carolina. The Grouse is first seen in the upper parts of Maryland, in Pennsylvania, and in the country north of Ohio, and thence northwardly.—[Capt. Mer. Lewis.)”—Footnote in edition of 1853.
3“Clavigero says that in Mexico ‘vi sono i rinomati virignoli,’—1., 88.”—Footnote in edition of 1853.
1In the edition of 1787 is here inserted: “Motacilla regulus | Regulus cristatu 3.13 | Wren. 1058.”
Lanius tyrannus Muscicapa coronâ rubrâ 1.55 Tyrant. Field martin 8.398
Vultur aura Buteo specie Gallo-pavonis 1. 6 Turkey buzzard 1.246
Falco leucocephalus Aquilla capite albo 1. 1 Bald Eagle 1.138
Falco sparverius Accipiter minor 1. 5 Little hawk. Sparrow hawk
Falco columbarious Accipiter palumbarius 1. 3 Pigeon hawk 1.338
Falco furcatus Accipiter caudâ furcatâ 1. 4 Forked tail hawk 1.286.312
Accipiter piscatorius 1. 2 Fishing hawk 1.199
Strix asio Noctua aurita minor 1. 7 Little owl 1.141
Psittacus Caroliniensis Psittacus Caroliniensus 1.11 Parrot of Carolina. Parroquet 11.383
Corvus cristatus Pica glandaria, cærulea, cristata 1.15 Blue-jay 5.164
Oriolus Baltimore Icterus ex aureo nigroque varius 1.48 Baltimore bird 5.318
Oriolus spurius Icterus minor 1.49 Bastard Baltimore 5.321
Gracula quiscula Monedula purpurea 1.12 Purple jackdaw. Crow blackbird 5.134
Cuculus Americanus Cuculus Caroliniensis 1. 9 Carolina cuckow 12.62
Picus principalis Picus maximus rostro albo 1.16 White bill woodpecker 13.69
Picus pileatus Picus niger maximus, capite rubro 1.17 Larger red-crested woodpecker 13.72
Picus erythrocephalus Picus capite toto rubro 1.20 Red-headed woodpecker 13.83
Picus ouratus Picus major alis aureis 1.18 Gold-winged woodpecker. Yucker. [126] 13.59
Picus Carolinus Picus ventre rubro 1.19 Red-bellied woodpecker 13.105
Picus pubescens Picus varius minimus 1.21 Smallest spotted woodpecker 13.113
Picus villosus Picus medius quasi-villosus 1.19 Hairy woodpecker. Spec. woodpecker 13.111
Picus varius Picus varius minor ventre luteo 1.21 Yellow-bellied woodpecker 13.115
Sitta Europæa Sitta capite nigro 1.22 Nuthatch 10.213
Sitta capite fusco 1.22 Small Nuthatch 10.214
Alcedo alcyon Ispida 1.69 Kingfisher 13.310
Certhia pinus Parus Americanus lutescens 1.61 Pine-Creeper 9.433
Trochilus colubris Mellivora avis Caroliniensis 1.65 Humming bird 11.16
Anas Canadensis Anser Canadensis 1.92 Wild goose 17.122
Anas bucephala Anas minor purpureo capite 1.95 Buffel’s-head duck 17.356
Anas rustica Anas minor ex albo & fusco vario 1.98 Little brown duck 17.413
Anas discors. δ Querquedula Americana variegata 1.10 White face teal 17.403
Anas discors. δ Querquedula Americana fusca 1.99 Blue wing teal 17.405
Anas sponsa Anas Americanus cristatus elegans 1.97 Summer duck 17.351
Anas Americanus lato rostro 1.96 Blue wing shoveler 17.275
Mergus cucullatus Anas cristatus 1.94 Round crested duck 15.437
Columbus podiceps Prodicipes minor rostro vario 1.91 Pied bill dopchick 15.383
Ardea Herodias Ardea cristata maxima Americana 3.10 Largest crested heron 14.113
Ardea violacea Ardea stellaris cristata Americana 1.79 Crested bittern 14.134
Ardea cærulea Ardea cærulea 1.76 Blue heron. Crane [127] 14.131
Ardea virescens Ardea stellaris minima 1.80 Small bittern 14.142
Ardea æquinoctialis Ardea alba minor Caroliniensis 1.77 Little white heron 14.136
Ardea stellaris Americana 1.78 Brown bittern. Indian hen 14.175
Tantalus loculator Pelicanus Americanus 1.81 Wood pelican 13.403
Tantalus alber Numenius albus 1.82 White curlew 15.62
Tantalus fuscus Numenius fuscus 1.83 Brown curlew 15.64
Charadrius vociferus Pluvialis vociferus 1.71 Chattering plover. Kildee 15.151
Hæmatopus ostralegus Hæmatopus 1.85 Oyster-catcher 15.185
Rallus Virginianus Gallinula Americana 1.70 Soree. Ral-bird 15.256
Meleagris Gallopavo1 Gallopava Sylvestris xliv. Wild Turkey 3.187.229
Tetrao Virginianus Perdix Sylvestris Virginiana 3.12 American partridge. American quail 4.237
Urgallus minor, or kind of Lagopus2 3. 1 Pheasant. Mountain partridge 3.409
Columba passerina Turtur minimus guttatus 1.26 Ground dove 4.404
Columba migratorio Palumbus migratorius 1.23 Pigeon of passage. Wild pigeon 4.351
Columba Caroliniensis Turtur Caroliniensis 1.24 Turtle. Turtle dove 4.401
Alauda alpestris Alauda gutture flavo 1.32 Lark. Sky lark 9.79
Alauda magna Alauda magna 1.33 Field lark. Large lark 6.59
Sturnus niger allis superné rubentibus 1.13 Red-wing. Starling. Marsh blackbird 5.293
Turdus migratorius Turdus pilaris migratorius 1.29Fieldfare of Carolina. Robin redbreast 5.426
9.257
Turdus rufus Turdus rufus 1.28 Fox-colored thrush. Thrush 5.449
Turdus polyglottos3 Turdus minor cinereo albus non maculatus 1.27 Mocking bird [128] 5.451
Turdus minimus 1.31 Little thrush 5.400
Ampelis garrulus, β Garrulus Caroliniensis 1.46 Chatterer 6.162
Loxia Cardinalis Coccothraustes rubra 1.38 Red bird. Virginia nightingale 6.185
Loxia Cærulea Coccothraustes cærulea 1.39 Blue gross beak 8.125
Emberiza hyemalis Passer nivalis 1.36 Snow bird 8.47
Emberiza Oryzivora Hortulanus Caroliniensis 1.14 Rice bird 8.49
Emberiza Ciris Fringilla tricolor 1.44 Painted finch 7.247
Tanagra cyanea Linaria cærulea 1.45 Blue linnet 7.122
Passerculus 1.35 Little Sparrow 7.120
Passer fuscus 1.34 Cowpen bird 7.196
Fringilla erythrophthalma Passer niger oculis rubris 1.34 Towhe bird 7.201
Fringilla tristis Carduelis Americanus 1.43 American goldfinch. Lettuce bird 7.297
Fringilla purpurea 1.41 Purple finch 8.129
Muscicapa crinita Muscicapa cristata ventre luteo 1.52 Crested flycatcher 8.379
Muscicapa rubra Muscicapa rubra 1.56 Summer red bird 8.410
Muscicapa ruticilla Ruticilla Americana 1.67Red start 8.349
9.259
Muscicapa Caroliniensis Muscicapa vertice nigro 1.66 Catbird 8.372
Muscicapa nigrescens 1.53 Black cap flycatcher 8.341
Muscicapa fusca 1.54 Little brown flycatcher 8.344
Muscicapa oculis rubris 1.54 Red-eyed flycatcher 8.337
Motacilla Sialis Rubicula Americana cærulea 1.47 Blue bird [129]1 9.308
Motacilla trochilus, β Oenanthe Americana pectore luteo 1.50 Yellow breasted chat 6.96
Parus bicolor Parus cristatus 1.57 Crested titmouse 10.181
Parus Americanus Parus fringillaris 1.64 Finch creeper 9.442
Parus Virginianus Parus uropygeo luteo 1.58 Yellow rump 10.184
Parus cucullo nigro 1.60 Hooded titmouse 10.183
Parus Americanus gutture luteo 1.62 Yellow throated creeper
Parus Caroliniensis 1.63 Yellow titmouse 9.431
Hirundo Pelasgia Hirundo cauda aculeata Americana 4. 8 American swallow 12.478
Hirundo purpurea Hirundo purpurea 1.51 Purple marten. House marten 12.445
Caprimulgus Europæus, α Caprimulgus 1.08 Goatsucker. Great bat 12.243
Caprimulgus Europæus, β Caprimulgus minor Americanus 3.16 Whip poor Will [130] 12.246
Edition: current; Page: [466]

Besides these we have,

The Royston crow. Corvus cornix.

Crane. Ardea Canadensis.

House swallow. Hirundo rustica.

Ground swallow. Hirundo riparia.

Greatest gray eagle.

Smaller turkey buzzard, with a feathered head.

Greatest owl, or night hawk.

Wet hawk, which feeds flying.

Raven.

Water Pelican of the Mississippi, whose pouch holds a peck.

Swan.

Loon.

Cormorant.

Duck and mallard.

The Widgeon.

Sheldrach, or Canvas back.

Black head.

Ballcoot.1

Sprigtail.

Didapper, or dopchick.

Spoon-billed duck.

Water-witch.

Water-pheasant.

Mow-bird.

Blue Peter.

Water-Wagtail.

Yellow-legged Snipe.

Squatting Snipe.

Small Plover.

Whistling Plover.

Woodcock.

Red bird, with black head, wings and tail.

Wren.2

And doubtless many others which have not yet been described and classed.

To this catalogue of our indigenous animals, I will add a short account of an anomaly of nature, taking place sometimes in the race of negroes brought from Africa, who, though black themselves, have, in rare instances, white children, called Albinos. I have known four of these myself, and have faithful Edition: current; Page: [467] accounts of three others. The cir-[131] cumstances in which all the individuals agree are these. They are of a pallid cadaverous white, untinged with red, without any colored spots or seams; their hair of the same kind of white, short, coarse, and curled as is that of the negro; all of them well formed, strong, healthy, perfect in their senses, except that of sight, and born of parents who had no mixture of white blood. Three of these Abinos were sisters, having two other full sisters, who were black. The youngest of the three was killed by lightning, at twelve years of age. The eldest died at about 27 years of age, in child-bed, with her second child. The middle one is now alive, in health, and has issue, as the eldest had, by a black man, whose1 issue was black. They are uncommonly shrewd, quick in their apprehensions and in reply. Their eyes are in a perpetual tremulous vibration, very weak, and much affected by the sun; but they see better in the night than we do. They are of the property of Col. Skipwith, of Cumberland. The fourth is a negro woman, whose parents came from Guinea, and had three other children, who were of their own color. She is freckled, her eyesight so weak that she is obliged [132] to wear a bonnet in the summer; but it is better in the night than day. She had an Albino child by a black man. It died at the age of a few weeks. These were the property of Col. Carter of Albemarle. A sixth instance is a woman of the property of a Mr. Butler, near Petersburg. She is stout and robust, has issue a daughter, jet black, by Edition: current; Page: [468] a black man. I am not informed as to her eyesight. The seventh instance is of a male belonging to a Mr. Lee of Cumberland. His eyes are tremulous and weak. He is tall of stature, and now advanced in years. He is the only male of the Albinos which have come within my information. Whatever be the cause of the disease in the skin, or in its coloring matter, which produces this change, it seems more incident to the female than male sex. To these I may add the mention of a negro man within my own knowledge, born black, of black parents; on whose chin, when a boy, a white spot appeared. This continued to increase till he became a man, by which time it had extended over his chin, lips, one cheek, the under jaw, and neck on that side. It is of the Albino white, without any mixture of red, [133] and has for several years been stationary. He is robust and healthy, and the change of color was not accompanied with any sensible disease, either general or topical.

Of our fish and insects there has been nothing like a full description or collection. More of them are described in Catesby than in any other work. Many also are to be found in Sir Hans Sloane’s Jamaica, as being common to that and this country. The honey-bee is not a native of our continent. Marcgrave, indeed, mentions a species of honey-bee in Brazil.1 But this has no sting, and is therefore different from the one we have, which resembles Edition: current; Page: [469] perfectly that of Europe. The Indians concur with us in the tradition that it was brought from Europe; but when, and by whom, we know not. The bees have generally extended themselves into the country, a little in advance of the white settlers.1 The Indians, therefore, call them the white man’s fly, and consider their approach as indicating the approach of the settlements of the whites. A question here occurs, How far northwardly have these insects been found? That they are unknown in Lapland, I infer from Scheffer’s information, that the Lapland-[134] ers eat the pine bark, prepared in a certain way, instead of those things sweetened with sugar. “Hoc comedunt pro rebus saccharo conditis.” Scheff. Lapp. chap. 18. Certainly if they had honey, it would be a better substitute for sugar than any preparation of the pine bark. Kalm tells us2 the honey-bee cannot live through the winter in Canada. They furnish then an additional remarkable fact first observed by the Count de Buffon, and which has thrown such a blaze of light on the field of natural history, that no animals are found in both continents, but those which are able to bear the cold of those regions where they probably join.3

Edition: current; Page: [470]

QUERY VII A notice of all what can increase the progress of Human Knowledge?

Under the latitude of this query, I will presume it not improper nor unacceptable to furnish some data for estimating the climate of Virginia. Journals of observations on the quantity of rain, and degree of heat, being lengthy, confused, and too minute to [135] produce general and distinct ideas, I have taken five years’ observations, to wit, from 1772 to 1777, made in Williamsburg and its neighborhood, have reduced them to an average for every month in the year, and stated those averages in the following table, adding an Analytical view of the winds during the same period. [136]

Fall of rain, etc., in inches. Least and greatest daily heat, by Fahrenheit’s thermometer. WINDS.
N. N.E. E. S.E. S. S.W. W. N.W. Total
Jan . . . 3.192 38½ to 44 73 47 32 10 11 78 40 46 337
Feb . . . 2.049 41 . . 41½ 61 52 24 11 4 63 30 31 276
March . 3.95 48 . . 54⅓ 49 44 38 28 14 83 29 33 318
April . . 3.68 56 . . 62½ 35 44 54 19 9 58 18 20 257
May . . . 2.871 63 . . 70½ 27 36 62 23 7 74 32 20 281
June . . 3.751 71½ . . 78¼ 22 34 43 24 13 81 25 25 267
July . . . 4.497 77 . . 82½ 41 44 75 15 7 95 32 19 328
August 9.153 76¼ . . 81 43 52 40 30 9 103 27 30 334
Sept. . . 4.761 69½ . . 74½ 70 60 51 18 10 81 18 37 345
Oct. . . . 3.633 61¼ . . 66½ 52 77 64 15 6 56 23 34 327
Nov . . . 2.617 47 3/4 . . 53½ 74 21 20 14 9 63 35 58 294
Dec . . . 2.877 43 . . 48 3/4 64 37 18 16 10 91 42 56 334
Total . . 47.038 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. 611 548 521 223 109 926 351 409 3,698
Edition: current; Page: [471]

1[137] The rains of every month, (as of January, for instance,) through the whole period of years, were added separately, and an average drawn from them. The coolest and warmest point of the same day in each year of the period, were added separately, and an average of the greatest cold and greatest heat of that day was formed. From the averages of every day in the month, a general average was formed. The point from which the wind blew, was observed Edition: current; Page: [472] two or three times in every day. These observations in the month of January, for instance, through the whole period, amounted to 337. At 73 of these, the wind was from the North; 47 from the Northeast, &c. So that it will be easy to see in what proportion each wind usually prevails in each month; or, taking the whole year, the total of observations through the whole period having been 3,698, it will be observed that 611 of them were from the North, 558 from the North-east, &c.

Though by this table it appears we have on an average 47 inches of rain annually, which is considerably more than usually falls in Europe, yet from the information I [138] have collected, I suppose we have a much greater proportion of sunshine here than there. Perhaps it will be found, there are1 twice as many cloudy days in the middle parts of Europe, as in the United States of America. I mention the middle parts of Europe, because my information does not extend to its northern or southern parts.

In an extensive country, it will of course be expected that the climate is not the same in all its parts. It is remarkable, that proceeding on the same parallel of latitude westwardly, the climate becomes colder in like manner as when you proceed northwardly. This continues to be the case till you attain the summit of the Alleghaney, which is the highest land between the ocean and the Missisipi. From thence, descending in the same latitude to the Missisipi, the change reverses; and, Edition: current; Page: [473] if we may believe travellers, it becomes warmer there than it is in the same latitude on the sea-side. Their testimony is strengthened by t