Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:59 am



The first settlers in this country were emigrants from England, of the English Church, just at a point of time when it was flushed with complete victory over the religious of all other persuasions. Possessed as they became of the powers of making, administering, and executing the laws, they shewed equal intolerance in this country with their Presbyterian brethren, who had emigrated to the Northern Government. The poor Quakers were flying from persecution in England. They cast their eyes on these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free only for the reigning sect. Several acts of the Virginia Assembly of 1659, 1662, and 1693, had made it penal in parents to refuse to have their children baptized; had prohibited the unlawful assembling of Quakers; had made it penal for any master of a vessel to bring a Quaker into the State; had ordered those already here, and such as should come thereafter, to be imprisoned till they should abjure the country; provided a milder punishment for their first and second return, but death for their third; had inhibited all persons from suffering their meetings in or near their houses, entertaining them individually, or disposing of books which supported their tenets. If no capital execution took place here, as did in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church, or spirit of the Legislature, as may be inferred from the law itself; but to historial circumstances which have not been handed down to us. The Anglicans retained full possession of the country about a century. Other opinions began then to creep in, and the great care of the government to support their own church, having begotten an equal degree of indolence in its clergy, two-thirds of the people had become dissenters at the commencement of the present revolution. The laws, indeed, were still oppressive on them, but the spirit of the one party had subsided into moderation, and of the other had risen to a degree of determination which commanded respect.

The present state of our laws on the subject of religion is this. The convention of May, 1776, in their declaration of rights, declared it to be a truth, and a natural right, that the exercise of religion should be free; but when they proceeded to form on that declaration the ordinance of government, instead of taking up every principle declared in the Bill of Rights, and guarding it by legislative sanction, they passed over that which asserted our religious rights, leaving them as they found them. The same convention, however, when they met as a member of the General Assembly in October, 1776, repealed all acts of Parliament which had rendered criminal the maintaining any opinions in matters of religion, the forbearing to repair to church, and the exercising any mode of worship; and suspended the laws giving salaries to the clergy, which suspension was made perpetual in October, 1779. Statutory oppressions in religion being thus wiped away, we remain at present under those only imposed by the common law, or by our own acts of assembly. At the common law, heresy was a capital offence, punishable by burning. Its definition was left to the ecclesiastical judges, before whom the conviction was, till the statute of the 1 El., c. 1, circumscribed it, by declaring that nothing should be deemed heresy, but what had been so determined by authority of the canonical Scriptures, or by one of the four first general councils, or by some other council having for the grounds of their declaration the express and plain words of the Scriptures. Heresy, thus circumscribed, being an offence at the common law, our act of assembly of October, 1777, c. 17, gives cognizance of it to the General Court, by declaring that the jurisdiction of that court shall be general in all matters at the common law. The execution is by the writ De haeretico comburendo. By our own act of assembly of 1705, c. 30, if a person brought up in the Christian religion denies the being of a God, or the Trinity, or asserts there are more Gods than one, or denies the Christian religion to be true, or the Scriptures to be of divine authority, he is punishable on the first offence by incapacity to hold any office or employment ecclesiastical, civil or military; on the second by disability to sue, to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor, or administrator, and by three years imprisonment, without bail. A father's right to the custody of his own children being founded in law on his right of guardianship, this being taken away, they may of course be severed from him, and put, by the authority of a court, into more orthodox hands. This is a summary view of that religious slavery, under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of their civil freedom. The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. [i] But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of con- science we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others, [ii] But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. If it be said his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman Government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the era of the Reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potato as an article of food. [iii] Government is just as in- fallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere; the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error, however, at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex. The government in which he lived was wise enough to see that this was no question of civil jurisdiction, or we should all have been involved by authority in vortices. In fact, the vortices have been exploded, and the Newtonian principle of gravitation is now more firmly established on the basis of reason, than it would be were the government to step in and to make it an article of necessary faith. Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion : whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men, men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable ? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lopping the former and stretching the latter. Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves. But every State, says an inquisitor, has established some religion. No two, say I, have established the same. Is this a proof of the infallibility of establishments? Our sister States of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any establishment at all. The experiment was new and doubtful when they made it. It has answered beyond conception. They flourish infinitely. Religion is well supported; of various kinds, indeed, but all good enough; all sufficient to preserve peace and order; or if a sect arises, whose tenets would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs it out of doors, without suffering the State to be troubled with it. They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them. Let us, too, give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws. It is true, we are as yet secured against them by the spirit of the times. I doubt whether the people of this country would suffer an execution for heresy, or a three years imprisonment for not comprehending the mysteries of the Trinity. But is the spirit of the people an infallible, a permanent reliance? Is it government? Is this the kind of protection we receive in return for the rights we give up? Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.



i. Furneaux passim.

ii. Tamen humani juris et naturalis potestatis est, unicuique quod putaverit, colere; nec alii obest, aut prodest, alterius religio, Sed nec religionis est cogere religionem, quaa sponte suscipi debeat, non vi. — Tertullianus ad Scapulam, cap 2.

iii. Encyclopedia. Article "Antimoine" and "Vomissement."

The Parliament of Paris forbade, on pain of death, any doctrine to be taught contrary to Aristotle's.--3. Millot. Hist, de France, 280.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:00 am



It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular. It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must, doubtless, be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people, produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no " motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one-half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another; in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God ? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference. The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. But it is impossible to be temperate, and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history, natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:00 am



We never had an interior trade of any importance. Our exterior commerce has suffered very much from the beginning of the present contest. During this time we have manufactured within our families the most necessary articles of clothing. Those of cotton will bear some comparison with the same kinds of manufacture in Europe; but those of wool, flax and hemp, are very coarse, unsightly and unpleasant; and such is our attachment to agriculture, and such our preference for foreign manufactures, that be it wise or unwise, our people will certainly return as soon as they can to the raising raw materials, and exchanging them for finer manufactures than they are able to execute themselves.

The political economists of Europe have established it as a principle that every State should endeavor to manufacture for itself; and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of circumstance which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must, therefore, be resorted to of necessity, not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one-half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to Heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistence, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers. Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances; but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any State to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption. While we have land to labor then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work bench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry; but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our work shops remain in Europe. It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners and principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of government. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a Republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker, which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:01 am



Before the present war we exported, communibus annis, according to the best information I can get, nearly as follows:


In the year 1758 Ave exported seventy thousand hogsheads of tobacco, which was the greatest quantity ever produced in this country in one year. But its culture was fast declining at the commencement of this war, and that of wheat taking its place; and it must continue to decline on the return of peace. I suspect that the change in the temperature of our climate has become sensible to that plant, which, to be good, requires an extraordinary degree of heat. But it requires still more indispensably an uncommon fertility of soil; and the price which it commands at market will not enable the planter to produce this by manure. Was the supply still to depend on Virginia and Maryland alone, as its culture becomes more difficult, the price would rise, so as to enable the planter to surmount those difficulties and to live. But the Western country on the Missisipi, and the midlands of Georgia, having fresh and fertile lands in abundance, and a hotter sun, will be able to undersell these two States, and will oblige them to abandon the raising tobacco altogether. And a happy obligation for them it will be. It is a culture productive of infinite wretchedness. Those employed in it are in a continued state of exertion beyond the powers of nature to support. Little food of any kind is raised by them, so that the men and animals on these farms are badly fed, and the earth is rapidly impoverished. The cultivation of wheat i^ the reverse in every circumstance. Besides clothing the earth with herbage, and preserving its fertility, it feeds the laborers plentifully, requires from them only a moderate toil, except in the season of harvest, raises great numbers of animals for food and service, and diffuses plenty and happiness among the whole. We find it easier to make an hundred bushels of wheat than a thousand weight of tobacco, and they are worth more when made. The weevil, indeed, is a formidable obstacle to the cultivation of this grain with us. But principles are already known which must lead to a remedy. Thus a certain degree of heat, to wit, that of the common air in Summer, is necessary to hatch the egg. If subterranean granaries, or others, therefore, can be contrived below that temperature, the evil will be cured by cold. A degree of heat, beyond that which hatches the egg, we know will kill it. But in aiming at this we easily run into that which produces putrefaction. To produce putrefaction, however, three agents are requisite: heat, moisture, and the external air. If the absence of any one of these be secured, the other two may safely be admitted. Heat is the one we want. Moisture then, or external air, must be excluded. The former has been done by exposing the grain in kilns to the action of fire, which produces heat, and extracts moisture at the same time; the latter, by putting the grain into hogsheads, covering it with a coat of lime, and heading it up. In this situation its bulk produces a heat sufficient to kill the egg; the moisture is suffered to remain indeed, but the external air is excluded. A nicer operation yet has been attempted : that is, to produce an intermediate temperature of heat between that which kills the egg, and that which produces putrefaction. The threshing the grain as soon as it is cut, and laying it in its chaff, in large heaps, has been found very nearly to hit this temperature, though not perfectly, nor always. The heap generates heat sufficient to kill most of the eggs, whilst the chaff commonly restrains it from rising into putrefaction. But all these methods abridge too much the quantity which the farmer can manage, and enable other countries to undersell him, which are not infested with this insect. There is still a desideratum then to give with us decisive triumph to this branch of agriculture over that of tobacco. The culture of wheat, by enlarging our pasture, will render the Arabian horse an article of very considerable profit. Experience has shewn that ours is the particular climate of America, where he may be raised without degeneracy. Southwardly the heat of the sun occasions a deficiency of pasture, and northwardly the Winters are too cold for the short and fine hair, the particular sensibility and constitution of that race. Animals, trans- planted into unfriendly climates, either change their nature and acquire new fences against the new difficulties in which they are placed, or they multiply poorly and become extinct. A good foundation is laid for their propagation here by our possessing already great numbers of horses of that blood, and by a decided taste and preference for them established among the people. Their patience of heat without injury, their superior wind, fit them better in this and the more Southern climates even for the drudgeries of the plough and wagon. Northwardly they will become an object only to persons of taste and fortune, for the saddle and light carriages. To these, and for these uses, their fleetness and beauty will recommend them. Besides these there will be other valuable substitutes when the cultivation of tobacco shall be discontinued, such as cotton in the Eastern parts of the State, and hemp and flax in the Western.

It is not easy to say what are the articles either of necessity, comfort, or luxury, which we cannot raise, and which we, therefore, shall be under a necessity of importing from abroad, as everything hardier than the olive, and as hardy as the fig, may be raised here in the open air. Sugar, coffee and tea, indeed, are not between these limits; and habit having placed them among the necessaries of life with the wealthy part of our citizens, as long as these habits remain, we must go for them to those countries which are able to furnish them.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:02 am



Our weights and measures are the same which are fixed by acts of Parliament in England. How it has happened that in this as well as the other American States the nominal value of coin was made to differ from what it was in the country we had left, and to differ among ourselves too, I am not able to say with certainty. I find that, in 1631, our House of Burgesses desired of the Privy Council in England a coin debased to twenty-five per cent.; that, in 1645, they forbid dealing by barter for tobacco, and established the Spanish piece of eight at six shillings, as the standard of their currency; that, in 1655, they changed it to five shillings sterling. In 1680 they sent an address to the King, in consequence of which, by proclamation in 1683, he fixed the value of French crowns, rix dollars, and pieces of eight at six shillings, and the coin of New England at one shilling. That in 1710, 1714, 1727, and 1762, other regulations were made, which will be better presented to the eye, stated in the form of a table, as follows:


[In the States where the Dollar is valued at 6s., the coincidence of their currency with the Greek and Roman moneys is so singular as to be worthy of notice, and to found a suspicion that this object may have had some influence in fixing our moneys at this particular point, at a time when the value of Greek and Roman learning was more justly estimated than at this day. The Penny Lawful is precisely the Roman As, which was their unit; 10 of which, equal to Ten Pence Lawful, made the Attic Drachma, according to Pliny, L. 21, c. 33. In the latter ages of their history the moneys of these two people were interwoven so as to make parts of the same series, which were in some degree decimal.

The As (L. at first Libralis, but latterly 1/2 an ounce of copper, and called Libella)=ld. lawful.

10 As made the Denarius (X.,) or Attic Drachm=10d.

100 Denarii made the Mina or Pondo=l,000d.; or, £4 3s. 4d.

The Denarius having been divided into fourths of 2-1/2 As each, the fourth was called

A Sestertius, or Nummus, (LLS., or HS.=2-1/2d.

100 Sesterces made an Aurcus latterly=250d., £1 Os. 10d.

1,000 Sesterces made the Sestertium=£10 8s. 4d.

The Libra=96 X.=£4 lawful.

The Talent of Silver=60 Mina=£250.

The Talent of Gold was the decuple of the talent of silver, at the proportion of 10 for 1, as among the Romans=£2,500.

And was the Miliary of the Libra, if valued at 16 for 1, as among moderns=l,000 Librae=£4,000.

It is understood that the Attic Drachm of silver was exactly our Drachm Troy of 60 grains; the Denarius of the Romans was the 7th part of their Ounce, which is supposed to have been exactly our Avoirdupois Ounce; but this is of 437-1/2 grains Troy, which would make the Roman Denarius 62-1/2 grains; and consequently 1/24 more than the Attic Drachm, contrary to the testimony of antiquity, that the Denarius and Drachm were equal. We may very probably conjecture that our Troy weight is taken from the Grecians, from whom our physicians derive their science, and, in copying their recipes, would, of course, preserve their weights, which fix the quantum and proportion of ingredients. We may as probably affirm that our Avoirdupois weight is taken from the Romans, from whom, through their colonies and conquests in Prance, Spain, Germany, Britain, we derive our agriculture and commerce. Accordingly we observe that, while we weigh our physic by the Troy or Grecian weights, we use the Avoirdupois or Roman for the productions of agriculture and general articles of commerce; and since antiquity affirms that these two series were united by the equality of the Drachm and Denarius, we must conclude that in progress of time they have become a little separated in use with us, to wit, 1/24 part as before noted.

But the point at which their separation has been arrested and fixed is a very remarkable one: 1,000 ounces Avoirdupois make exactly a cubic foot of water. This integral, decimal, and cubical relation induces a presumption, that while deciding among the varieties and uncertainties which, during the ruder ages of the arts, we know had crept into the weights and measures of England, they had adopted for their standard those which stood so conveniently connected through the medium of a natural element, always at hand to be appealed to.

The ounce Avoirdupois being thus fixed at the thousandth part of a cubic foot of water, the Winchester bushel, of 2,150.4 cubic inches, filled with water, would weigh 77.7 lb Avoirdupois, and, filled with wheat of statute quality, weighed 64 lb. Amidst the varieties discovered between the standard weights. Avoirdupois and Troy, in their different depositories, it would be observed that all of them were a little over or under this proportion; and this would suffice to give this proportion the preference, and to fix the standard relation between the Avoirdupois and Troy pounds at that which Nature has established between the weights of water and wheat; and the Troy grain, 5,760 of which make the pound Troy, would be so adjusted as that 7,000 of them would make the pound Avoirdupois— for 7,000: 5,760:: 77.7: 64. Exactly the same proportion is known to exist between the dry and liquid measures — for the corn gallon contains 272 cubic inches, and the ancient liquid gallon of Guildhall 224 cubic inches — so that the system of weights and measures, Avoirdupois and Troy, dry and liquid, are found to be in the simple relation of the weights and measures of the two obvious and natural subjects, water and wheat; that is to say, the Pound Avoirdupoise: Pound Troy:: the weight of water: weight of wheat:: the bulk of the corn gallon: the bulk of the liquid gallon; or, 7,000: 5,760:: 77.7: 64:: 272: 224.

These weights and measures seem to have been so combined as to render it immaterial whether a commodity was dealt out by weight or measure; for the dry gallon of wheat, and the liquid one of wine, were of the same weight; and the Avoirdupois pound of wheat, and the Troy pound of wine, were of the same measure. A more natural, accurate, and curious reconciliation of the two systems of Greece and Rome, which happened to be found in use, could not have been imagined; and the extension of the connection, from weights and measures to coins, as is done so integrally by our lawful currency, which makes the penny of 6 grains of silver as was the Roman As, has completed the system.

It is true, we find no trace, either in English or American history, that these were the views which determined the relations existing between our weights, measures and moneys; but it is more difficult to conceive that such a series of combinations should have been merely accidental, than that history should have been silent about them.

I am aware that there are differences of opinion as to the ancient weights and coins. Those here stated are taken from Brerewood, Kennet, Ainsworth, and the Encyclopedia, and are as likely to have prevailed with our ancestors as the opinions opposed to them.]

The first symptom of the depreciation of our present paper money was that of silver dollars selling at six shillings, which had before been worth but five shillings and ninepence. The assembly, thereupon, raised them by law to six shillings. As the dollar is now likely to become the money unit of America, as it passes at this rate in some of our sister States, and as it facilitates their computation in pounds and shillings, and e converso, this seems to be more convenient than its former denomination. But as this particular coin now stands higher than any other in the proportion of 133-1/3 to 125, or 16 to 15, it will be necessary to raise the others in the same proportion.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:02 am



The nominal amount of these varying constantly and rapidly, with the constant and rapid depreciation of our paper money, it becomes impracticable to say what they are. We find ourselves cheated in every essay by the depreciation intervening between the declaration of the tax and its actual receipt. It will therefore be more satisfactory to consider what our income may be when we shall find means of collecting what the people may spare. I should estimate the whole taxable property of this State at an hundred millions of dollars, or thirty millions of pounds, our money. One per cent, on this, compared with any thing we ever yet paid, would be deemed a very heavy tax. Yet I think that those who manage well, and use reasonable economy, could pay one and a half per cent, and maintain their household comfortably in the mean time, without aliening any part of their principal, and that the people would submit to this willingly for the purpose of supporting their present contest. We may say, then, that we could raise, and ought to raise, from one million to one million and a half of dollars annually, that is from three hundred to four hundred and fifty thousand pounds, Virginia money.

Of our expenses it is equally difficult to give an exact state, and for the same reason. They are mostly stated in paper money, which varying continually, the Legislature endeavors at every session, by new corrections, to adapt the nominal sums to the value it is wished they should bear. I will state them, therefore, in real coin, at the point at which they endeavor to keep them:

The annual expenses of the General Assembly are about $20,000
The governor 3, 333-1/3
The council of state, 10,666-2/3
Their clerks 1,166-2/3
Eleven judges 11,000
The clerk of the chancery 666-2/3
The attorney general 1,000
Three auditors and a solicitor 5,333-1/3
Their clerks 2,000
The treasurer 2,000
His clerks 2,000
The keeper of the public jail 1,000
The public printer 1,166-2/3
Clerks of the inferior courts 43,333-1/3
Public levy: this is chiefly for the expenses of criminal justice 40,000
County levy, for bridges, court houses, prisons, &c. 40,000
Members of congress 7,000
Quota of the Federal civil list, supposed 1/6 of about 78,000 13,000
Expenses of collection, 6 per cent, on the above 12,310
The clergy receive only voluntary contributions: suppose them on an average 1/8 of a dollar a tythe on 200,000 tythes 25,000
Contingencies, to make round numbers not far from truth 7,523-1/3

Dollars, or 53,571 guineas. This estimate is exclusive of the military expense. That varies with the force actually employed, and in time of peace will probably be little or nothing. It is exclusive also of the public debts, which are growing while I am writing, and cannot therefore be now fixed. So it is of the maintenance of the poor, which being merely a matter of charity, cannot be deemed expended in the administration of government. And if we strike out the 25,000 dollars for the services of the clergy, which neither makes part of that administration, more than what is paid to physicians or lawyers, and being voluntary, is either much or nothing, as every one pleases, it leaves 225,000 dollars, equal to 48,208 guineas, the real cost of the apparatus of government with us. This, divided among the actual inhabitants of our country, comes to about two-fifths of a dollar, 21d. sterling, or 42 sols, the price which each pays annually for the protection of the residue of his property, that of his person, and the other advantages of a free government. , The public revenues of Great Britain, divided in like manner on its inhabitants, would be sixteen times greater. Deducting even the double of the expenses of government, as before estimated, from the million and a half of dollars which we before supposed might be annually paid without distress, we may conclude that this State can contribute one million of dollars annually towards supporting the federal army, paying the federal debt, building a federal navy, or opening roads, clearing rivers, forming safe ports, and other useful works.

To this estimate of our abilities, let me add a word as to the application of them, if, when cleared of the present contest, and of the debts with which that will charge us, we come to measure force hereafter with any European power. Such events are devoutly to be deprecated. Young as we are, and with such a country before us to fill with people and with happiness, we should point in that direction the whole generative force of nature, wasting none of it in efforts of mutual destruction. It should be our endeavor to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation, even of that which has injured us most, when we shall have carried our point against her. Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent of whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs. Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom. And, perhaps, to remove as much as possible the occasions of making war; it might be better for us to abandon the ocean altogether, that being the element whereon we shall be principally exposed to jostle with other nations : to leave to others to bring what we shall want, and to carry what we can spare. This would make us invulnerable to Europe, by offering none of our property to their prize, and would turn all our citizens to the cultivation of the earth; and, I repeat it again, cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independent citizens. It might be time enough to seek employment for them at sea, when the land no longer offers it. But the actual habits of our countrymen attach them to commerce. They will exercise it for themselves. Wars then must sometimes be our lot; and all the wise can do, will be to avoid that half of them which would be produced by our own follies, and our own acts of injustice; and to make for the other half the best preparations we can. Of what nature should these be? A land army would be useless for offence, and not the best nor safest instrument of defence. For either of these purposes, the sea is the field on which we should meet an European enemy. On that element it is necessary we should possess some power. To aim at such a navy as the greater nations of Europe possess, would be a foolish and wicked waste of the energies of our countrymen. It would be to pull on our own heads that load of military expense, which makes the European laborer go supperless to bed, and moistens his bread with the sweat of his brows. It will be enough if we enable ourselves to prevent insults from those nations of Europe which are weak on the sea, because circumstances exist, which render even the stronger ones weak as to us. Providence has placed their richest and most defenceless possessions at our door; has obliged their most precious commerce to pass as it were in review before us. To protect this, or to assail us, a small part only of their naval force will ever be risked across the Atlantic. The dangers to which the elements expose them here are too well known, and the greater dangers to which they would be exposed at home, were any general calamity to involve their whole fleet. They can attack us by detachment only; and it will suffice to make ourselves equal to what they may detach. Even a smaller force than they may detach will be rendered equal or superior by the quickness with which any check may be repaired with us, while losses with them will be irreparable till too late. A small naval force then is sufficient for us, and a small one is necessary. What this should be, I will not undertake to say. I will only say, it should by no means be so great as we are able to make it. Suppose the million of dollars, or three hundred thousand pounds, which Virginia could annually spare without distress, to be applied to the creating a navy. A single year's contribution would build, equip, man, and send to sea a force which should carry 300 guns. The rest of the confederacy, exerting themselves in the same proportion, would equip in the same time 1,500 guns more. So that one year's contributions would set up a navy of 1,800 guns. The British ships of the line average 76 guns; their frigates 38. Eighteen hundred guns then would form a fleet of 30 ships, 18 of which might be of the line, and 12 frigates. Allowing 8 men, the British average, for every gun, their annual expense, including subsistence, clothing, pay, and ordinary repairs, would be about 1,280 dollars for every gun, or 2,304,000 dollars for the whole. I state this only as one year's possible exertion, without deciding whether more or less than a year's exertion should be thus applied.

The value of our lands and slaves, taken conjunctly, doubles in about twenty years. This arises from the multiplication of our slaves, from the extension of culture, and increased demand for lands. The amount of what may be raised will of course rise in the same proportion.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:03 am



Captain Smith, who, next to Sir Walter Raleigh, may be considered as the founder of our colony, has written its history from the first adventures to it till the year 1624. He was a member of the council, and afterwards President of the colony; and to his efforts principally may be ascribed its support against the opposition of the natives. He was honest, sensible, and well informed; but his style is barbarous and uncouth. His history, however, is almost the only source from which we derive any knowledge of the infancy of our State.

The Rev. William Stith, a native of Virginia, and president of its college, has also written the history of the same period, in a large octavo volume of small print. He was a man of classical learning, and very exact, but of no taste in style. He is inelegant, therefore, and his details often too minute to be tolerable, even to a native of the country whose history he writes.

Beverley, a native also, has run into the other extreme; he has comprised our history, from the first propositions of Sir Walter Raleigh to the year 1700, in the hundredth part of the space which Stith employs for the fourth part of the period.

Sir William Keith has taken it up at its earliest period, and continued it to the year 1725. He is agreeable enough in style, and passes over events of little importance. Of course he is short, and would be preferred by a foreigner.

During the regal government, some contest arose on the exaction of an illegal fee by Governor Dinwiddie, and doubt- less there were others on other occasions not at present recollected. It is supposed that these are not sufficiently interesting to a foreigner to merit a detail.

The petition of the Council and Burgesses of Virginia to the King, their memorial to the Lords, and remonstrance to the Commons in the year 1764, began the present contest: and these having proved ineffectual to prevent the passage of the stamp act, the resolutions of the House of Burgesses of 1765 were passed, declaring the independence of the people of Virginia on the Parliament of Great Britain, in matters of taxation. From that time till the Declaration of Independence by Congress in 1776, their journals are filled with assertions of the public rights.

The pamphlets published in this State on the controverted question were:

1766. An Enquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies, by Richard Bland.

1769. The Monitor's Letters, by Dr. Arthur Lee.

1774. A summary View of the Rights of British America. [i]

------ Considerations, &c., by Robert Carter Nicholas.

Since the Declaration of Independence this State has had no controversy with any other, except with that of Pennsylvania, on their common boundary. Some papers on this subject passed between the Executive and Legislative bodies of the two States, the result of which was a happy accommodation of their rights.

To this account of our historians, memorials, and pamphlets, it may not be unuseful to add a chronological catalogue of American State-papers, as far as I have been able to collect their titles. It is far from being either complete or correct. Where the title alone, and not the paper itself, has come under my observation, I cannot answer for the exactness of the date. Sometimes I have not been able to find any date at all, and sometimes have not been satisfied that such a paper exists. An extensive collection of papers of this description has been for some time in a course of preparation by a gentleman [ii] fully equal to the task, and from whom, therefore, we may hope ere long to receive it. In the mean time accept this as the result of my labors, and as closing the tedious detail which you have so undesignedly drawn upon yourself.

1495, Mar. 5. 11. H. 7. Pro Johanne Caboto et filiis suis super terra incognita investiganda. 12 Ry. 595. 3. Hakl. 4. 2. Mem. Am. 409.
1498, Feb. 3. 13. H. 7. Billa signata anno 13. Henrici septimi. 3. Hakluyt s voiages 5.
1502, Dec. 19. De potestatibus ad terras incognitas investigandum. 13. Rymer. 37.
1540, Oct. 17. Commission de Francois I. a Jacques Cartier pour l'establissement du Canada. L'Escarbot. 397. 2. Mem. Am. 416.
1548, 2. E. 6. An act against the exaction of money, or any other thing, by any officer for license to traffique into Iseland and Newfoundland, made in An. 2. Edwardi sexti. 3. Hakl. 131.
1578, June 11. 20. El. The letters patent granted by her Majestie to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, knight, for the inhabiting and planting of our people in America. 3. Hakl. 135.
1583, Feb. 6. Letters patent of Queen Elizabeth to Adrian Gilbert and others, to discover the Northwest passage to China. 3. Hakl. 96.
1584. Mar. 25. 20 El. The letters patent granted by the Queen's Majestie to M. Walter Raleigh, now knight, for the discovering and planting of new lands and countries, to continue the space of 6 years and no more. 3. Hakl. 243.
Mar. 7. 31. El. An assignment by Sir Walter Raleigh for continuing the action of inhabiting and planting his people in Virginia. Hakl. 1st ed. publ. in 1589, p. 815.
1603, Nov. 8. Lettres de Lieutenant General de I'Acadie and pays circonvoisins pour le Sieur de Monts. L'Escarbot. 417.
1606, Apr. 10. 4. Jac. 1. Letters patent to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers and others, for two several colonies to be made in Virginia and other parts of America. Stith, Append. No. 1.
1607, Mar. 9. 4. Jac. 1 An ordinance and constitution enlarging the council of the two colonies in Virginia and America, and augmenting their authority, M. S.
1609, May 23. 7. Jac. 1. The second charter to the treasurer and company for Virginia, erecting them into a body politick. Stith. Ap. 2.
1610, Apr. 10. Jac. 1. Letters patent to the E. of Northampton, granting part of the island of Newfoundland. 1. Harris. 861.
1611, Mar. 12. 9. Jac. 1.
A third charter to the treasurer and company for Virginia. Stith. App. 3.
1617, Jac. 1. A commission to Sir Walter Raleigh. Qu?
1620, Apr. 7. 18. Jac. 1. Commissio specialis concernens le garbling herbae Nicotianae. 17. Rym. 190.
1620, June 29. 18. Jac. 1. A proclamation for restraint of the disordered trading of tobacco. 17. Rym. 233.
1620, Nov. 3. Jac. 1. A grant of New England to the council of Plymouth.
1621, July 24. Jac. 1. An ordinance and constitution of the treasurer, council, and company in England, for a council of state and general assembly in Virginia. Stith. App. 4.
1621, Sep. 10. 20. Jac. 1. A grant of Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander. 2. Mem. de l'Amerique. 193.
1622, Nov. 6. 20. Jac. 1. A proclamation prohibiting interloping and disorderly trading to New England in America. 17. Rym. 416.
1623, May 9. 21. Jac. 1. De Commissione speciali Willielmo Jones militi directa. 17. Rym. 490.
1623. A grant to Sir Edmund Ployden, of New Albion. Mentioned in Smith's examination. 82.
1624, July 15. 22. Jac. 1. De Commissione Henrico vicecomita Mandevill and aliis. 17. Rym. 609.
1624, Aug. 26. 22. Jac. 1. De commissione speciali concernenti gubernationem in Virginia. 17. Rym. 618.
1624, Sep. 29. 22. Jac. 1. A proclamation concerning tobacco. 17 Rym. 621.
1624, Nov. 9. 22. Jac. 1. De concessione demiss. Edwardo Dichfield et aliis. 17. Rym. 633.
1625, Mar. 2. 22. Jac. 1. A proclamation for the utter prohibiting the importation and use of all tobacco which is not of the proper growth of the colony of Virginia and the Somer islands, or one of them. 17. Rym. 668.
1625, Mar. 4. 1. Car. 1. De commissiouc directa Georgio Yardeley militi et aliis. 18. Rym. 311.
1625, Apr. 9. 1. Car. 1. Proclamatio de herba Nicotiana. 18. Rym. 19.
May 13. 1. 1. Car. 1. A proclamation for settlinge the plantation of Virginia. 18. Rym. 72.
1625, July 12. A grant of the soil, barony, and domains of Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander of Minstrie. 2. Mem. Am. 226.
1626, Jan. 31. 2. Car. 1. Commissio directa Johanni Wolstenholme militi et aliis. 18. Ry. 831.
1626, Feb. 17. A proclamation touching tobacco. Ry. 848.
1627, Mar. 19. qu? 2. Car. 1 A grant of Massachuset's bay by the council of Plymouth to Sir Henry Roswell and others.
1627, Mar. 26. 3. Car. 1. De concessione commissionis specialis pro concilio in Virginia. 18. Ry. 980.
1627, Mar. 30. 3. Car. 1. De proclamatione de signatione de tobacco. 18. Ry. 886.
1627, Aug. 9. De proclamatione pro ordinatione de tobacco. 18. Ry. 920.
1628, Mar. 4. 3. Car. 1. A confirmation of the grant of Massachuset's bay by the crown.
1629, Aug. 19, The capitulation of Quebec. Champlain part. 2. 216. 2. Mem. Am. 489.
1630, Jan. 6. 5. Car. 1. A proclamation concerning tobacco. 19. Ry. 235.
1630, Apr. 30. Conveyance of Nova Scotia (Port-royal excepted) by Sir William Alexander to Sir Claude St. Etienne Lord of la Tour and of Uarre and to his son Sir Charles de St. Etienne Lord of St. Denniscourt, on condition that they continue subjects to the king of Scotland under the great seal of Scotland.
1630-'31, Nov. 24. 6. Car. 1 A proclamation forbidding the disorderly trading with the savages in New England in America, especially the furnishing the natives in those and other parts of America by the English with weapons and habiliments of warre. 19. Ry. 210. 3. Rushw. 82.
1630, Dec. 5. 6. Car. 1. A proclamation prohibiting the selling arms, &c. to the savages in America. Mentioned 3. Rushw. 75.
1630, Dec. 5. 6. Car. 1. A grant of Connecticut by the council of Plymouth to the E. of Warwick.
1630, Car. 1. A confirmation by the crown of the grant of Connecticut, [said to be in the petty bag office in England.]
1631, Mar. 19. 6. Car. 1. A conveiance of Connecticut by the E. of Warwick to Lord Say and Seal and others. Smith's examination, App. No. 1.
1631, Ju'e 27. 7. Car. 1. A special commission to Edward Earle of Dorsett and others for the better plantation of the colony of Virginia. 19. Ry. 301.
1631, Ju'e 29. 7. Car. 1. Litere continentes promissionem regis ad tradendum castrum et habitationem de Kebec in Canada ad regem Francorum. 19. Ry. 303.
1632, Mar. 29. 8. Car. 1. Traite entre le roy Louis XIII. et Charles roi d'Angleterre pour la restitution de la nouvelle France, la Cadie et Canada et des navires et merchandises pris de part et d'autre. Fait a St. Germain. 19. Ry. 361. 2. Mem. Am. 5.
1632, Ju'e 20. 8. Car. 1. A grant of Maryland to Caecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore in Ireland.
1633, July 3. 9. Car. 1. A petition of the planters of Virginia against the grant to Lord Baltimore.
1633, July 3. Order of Council upon the dispute between the Virginia planters and Lord Baltimore. Votes of repres. of Pennsylvania, v.
1633, Aug. 13. 9. Car. 1. A proclamation to prevent abuses growing by the unordered retailing of tobacco. Mentioned 3. Rushw. 191.
1633, Sep. 23. 9. Car. 1. A special commission to Thomas Young to search, discover and find out what parts are not yet inhabited in Virginia and America and other parts thereunto adjoining. 19. By. 472.
1633, Oct. 13. 9. Car. 1. A proclamation for preventing of the abuses growing by the unordered retailing of tobacco. 19. By. 474.
1633, Mar. 13. A proclamation restraining the abusive venting of tobacco. 19. Rym. 522.
1634, May 19. 10. Car. 1. A proclamation concerning the landing of tobacco, and also forbidding the planting thereof in the king's dominions. 19. By. 553.
1634, Car. 1. A Commission to the Archbishop of Canterbury and 11 others for governing the American colonies.
1634, Ju'e 19. 10. Car. 1. A commission concerning tobacco. M. S.
1635, July 18. 11. Car. 1. A commission from Lord Say and Seal, and others, to John Winthrop to be Governor of Connecticut. Smith's App.
1635, Car. 1. A grant to Duke Hamilton.
1636, Apr. 2. 12. Car. 1. De commissione speciali Johanni Harvey militi pro meliori regimine coloniae in Virginia. 20. Ry. 3.
1637, Mar. 14. Car. 1. A proclamation concerning tobacco. Title in 3. Rushw. 617.
1636-7, Mar. 16. 12. Car. 1. De commissione speciali Georgio domino Goring et aliis concessa concernente venditionem de tobacco absque licentia regia. 20. Ry. 116.
1637, Apr. 30. 13. Car. 1. A proclamation against the disorderly transporting his Majesty's subjects to the plantations within the parts of America. 20. Ry. 143. 3. Rushw. 409.
1637, May 1. 13. Car. 1. An order of the privy council to stay 8 ships now in the Thames from going to New England.. 3. Rushw. 409.
1637, Car. 1. A warrant of the Lord Admiral to stop unconformable ministers from going beyond sea. 3. Rushw. 410.
1638, Apr. 4. Car. 1. Order of council upon Claiborne's petition against Lord Baltimore. Votes of representatives of Pennsylvania, vi.
1638, Apr. 6. 14. Car. 1. An order of the king and council that the attorney general draw up a proclamation to prohibit transportation of passengers to New England without license. 3. Rushw. 718.
1638, May 1. 14. Car. 1. A proclamation to restrain the transporting of passengers and provisions to New England without license. 20. Ry. 223.
1639, Mar. 25. Car. 1. A proclamation concerning tobacco. Title 4. Rushw. 1060.
1639, Aug. 19. 15. Car. 1. A proclamation declaring his Majesty's pleasure to continue his commission and letters patents for licensing retailers of tobacco. 20. Ry. 348.
1639, Dec. 16. 15. Car. 1. De commissione speciali Henrico Ashton armigero et aliis ad amovendum Henricum Hawley gubernatorem de Barbadoes. 20. Ry. 357.
1639, Car. 1. A proclamation concerning retailers of tobacco. 4. Rush. 966.
1641. Aug. 9. 17. Car. 1. De constitutione gubernatoris et concilii pro Virginia. 20. Ry. 484.
1643, Car. 1. Articles of union and confederacy entered into by Massachusets, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. 1. Neale. 223.
1644, Car. 1. Deed from George Fenwick to the old Connecticut jurisdiction.
An ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for exempting from custom and imposition all commodities exported for, or imported from New England, which has been very prosperous and without any public charge to this State, and is likely to prove very happy for the propagation of the gospel in those parts. Tit. in Amer. library 90. 5. No date. But seems by the neighboring articles to have been in 1644.
1644, Ju'e 20. Car. 2. An act for charging of tobacco brought from New England with custom and excise. Title in American library. 99. 8.
1644, Aug. 1. Car. 2. An act for the advancing and regulating the trade of this commonwealth. Tit. Amer. libr. 99. 9.
Sept. 18. Car. 2. 1. Grant of the Northern neck of Virginia to Lord Hopton, Lord Jermyn, Lord Culpeper, Sir John Berkeley, Sir William Moreton, Sir Dudly Wyatt, and Thomas Culpeper.
1650, Oct. 3. 2. Car. 2. An act prohibiting trade with the Barbadoes, Virginia, Bermudas, and Antego. Scoble's Acts. 1027.
1650, Car. 2. A declaration of Lord Willoughby, Governor of Barbadoes, and of his council, against an act of Parliament of 3d of October, 1650. 4. Polit. register. 2. cited from 4. Neale. hist, of the Puritans. App. No. 12. but not there.
1650, Car. 2. A final settlement of boundaries between the Dutch New Netherlands and Connecticut.
1651, Sep. 26. 3. Car. 2. Instructions for Captain Robert Dennis, Mr. Richard Bennet, Mr. Thomas Stagge, and Captain William Claibourne, appointed commissioners for the reducing of Virginia and the inhabitants thereof to their due obedience to the commonwealth of England. 1. Thurloe's State papers. 197.
1651, Oct. 1. 3. Car. 2. An act for increase of shipping and encouragement of the navigation of this nation. Scobell's acts. 1449.
1651-'2 Mar. 12. 4. Car. 2. Articles agreed on & concluded at James Cittie in Virginia for the surrendering and settling of that plantation under e/y obedience & government of the common wealth of England, by the Commissioners of the Councill of state by authoritie of the parliamt. of England, & by the Grand assembly of the Governour, Councill & Burgesses of that countrey. M. S. [Ante. pa. 122.]
1651-'2, Mar. 12. 4. Car. 2. An act of indempnitie made att the surrender of the countrey [of Virginia.] [Ante. p. 124.]
1654, Aug. 16. Capitulation de Port Royal. Mem. Am. 507.
1655. Car. 2. A proclamation of the Protector relating to Jamaica. 3. Thurl. 75.
1655, Sep. 25. 7. Car. 2. The Protector to the commissioners of Maryland. A letter. 4. Thurl. 55.
1655, Oct. 8. 7. Car. 2. An instrument made at the council of Jamaica, October 8, 1655, for the better carrying on of affairs there. 4. Thurl. 71.
1655, Nov. 3. Treaty of Westminster between France and England. 6. Corps. Diplom. part 2. p. 121. 2. Mem. Am. 10.
1656, Mar. 27. 8. Car. 2. The assembly at Barbadoes to the Protector. 4. Thurl. 651.
1656, Aug. 9. A grant by Cromwell to Sir Charles de Saint Etienne, a baron of Scotland, Crowne and Temple. A French translation of it. 2. Mem. Am. 511.
1656, Car. 2. Paper concerning the advancement of trade. 5. Thurl. 80.
1656, Car. 2. A brief narration of the English rights to the Northern parts of America. 5. Thurl. 81.
1656, Oct. 10, 8. Car. 2. Mr. R. Bennett and Mr. S. Matthew to Secretary Thurloe. 5. Thurl. 482.
1656, Oct. 10. 8. Car. 2. Objections against the Lord Baltimore's patent, and reasons why the government of Maryland should not be put into his hands. 5. Thurl. 482.
1656, Oct. 10. 8. Car. 2. A paper relating to Maryland. 5. Thurl. 483.
1656, Oct. 10. 8. Car. 2. A breviet of the proceedings of the Lord Baltimore and his officers and compliers in Maryland against the authority of the Parliament of the commonwealth of England and against his Highness the Lord Protector's authority, laws and government. 5. Thurl. 486.
1656, Oct. 15. 8. Car. 2. The assembly of Virginia to secretary Thurlow. 5. Thurl. 497.
1657, Apr. 4. 9. Car. 2. The Governor of Barbadoes to the Protector. 6. Thurl. 169.
1661, Car. 2. Petition of the general court at Hartford upon Connecticut for a charter. Smith's Exam. App. 4.
1662, Apr. 23. 14. Car. 2. Charter of the colony of Connecticut. Smith's Exam. App. 6.
1662-'3. Mar. 24. Apr. 4. 15. Car. 2. The first charter granted by Charles II. to the proprietaries of Carolina, to wit: to the Earl of Clarendon, Duke of Albemarle, Lord Craven, Lord Berkeley, Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkeley, and Sir John Colleton. 4. Mem. Am. 554.
1664, Feb. 10. The concessions and agreement of the lords proprietors of the province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, to and with all and every of the adventurers and all such as shall settle or plant there. Smith's New Jersey. App. 1.
1664, Mar. 12. 20. Car. 2. A grant of the colony of New York to the Duke of York.
1664, Apr. 26. 16. Car. 2. A commission to Colonel Nichols and others to settle disputes in New England. Hutch. Hist. Mass. Bay. App. 537.
1664, Apr. 26. The commission to Sir Robert Carre and others to put the Duke of York in possession of New York, New Jersey, and all other lands thereunto appertaining.
Sir Robert Carre and others proclamation to the inhabitants of New York, New Jersey, &c. Smith's N. J. 36.
1664, Ju'e 23. 24. 16. C. 2. Deeds of lease and release of New Jersey by the Duke of York to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.
A conveiance of the Delaware counties to William Penn.
1664, Aug. 19-29, 20-30, 24. A'g. 25. Sep. 4. Letters between Stuyvesant and Colonel Nichols on the English right. Smith's N. J. 37. 42.
1664, Aug. 27. Treaty between the English and Dutch for the surrender of the New Netherlands. Sm. N. Jer. 41.
September 3. Nicoll's commission to Sir Robert Carre to reduce the Dutch on Dalaware bay. Sm. N. J. 42.
Instructions to Sir Robert Carre for reducing of Delaware bay and settling the people there under his Majesty's Obedience. Sm. N. J. 47.
1664, Oct'r 1. Articles of capitulation between Sir Robert Carre and the Dutch and Swedes on Delaware bay and Delaware river. Sm. N. J. 49.
1664, Dec. 1. 16. Car. 2. The determination of the commissioners of the boundary between the Duke of York and Connecticut. Sm. Ex. App. 9.
1664. The New Haven case. Smith's Ex. App. 20.
1665, Ju'e 13-24. 17. C. 2. The second charter granted by Charles II. to the same proprietors of Carolina. 4. Mem. Am. 586.
1666, Jan. 26. Declaration de guerre par la France contre l'Angleterre. 3. Mem. Am. 123.
1666, Feb. 9. 17. Car. 2. Declaration of war by the King of England against the King of France.
1667, July 31. The treaty of peace between France and England made at Brada. 7. Corps. Dipl. part 1. p. 41. 2. Mem. Am. 32.
1667, July 31. The treaty of peace and alliance between England and the United Provinces made at Breda. 7. Cor. Dip. p. 1. p. 44. 2. Mem. Am. 40.
1667-8, Feb'y 17. Acte de la cession de l'Acadie au roi de France. 2. Mem. Am. 292.
1668, Apr, 21. Directions from the Governor and council of New York for a better settlement of the government on Delaware. Sm. N. J. 51.
1668. Lovelace's order for customs at the Hoarkills. Sm. N. J. 55.
May 8. 21. Car. 2. A confirmation of the grant of the Northern neck of Virginia to the Earl of St. Alban's, Lord Berkeley, Sir William Moreton, and John Tretheway.
1672. Incorporation of the town of Newcastle or Amstell.
1673, Feb. 25. 25. Car. 2. A demise of the colony of Virginia to the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpeper for 31 years. M. S.
1673-4. Treaty at London between the King Charles II. and the Dutch. Article vi.
Remonstrances against the two grants of Charles II. of Northern and Southern Virginia. Ment. Beverley. 65.
1674, July 13. Sir George Carteret's instructions to Governor Carteret.
1674, Nov. 9. Governor Andros's proclamation on taking possession of New Castle for the Duke of York. Sm. N. J. 78.
1675, Oct. 1. 27. Car. 2. A proclamation for prohibiting the importation of commodities of Europe into any of his Majesty's plantations in Africa, Asia, or America, which were not laden in England: and for putting all other laws relating to the trade of the plantations in effectual execution.
1676, Mar. 3. The concessions and agreements of the proprietors, freeholders, and inhabitants of the province of West New Jersey in America. Sm. N. J. App. 2.
1676, July 1. A deed quintipartite for the division of New Jersey.
1676, Aug. 18. Letter from the proprietors of New Jersey to Richard Hartshorne. Sm. N. J. 80.
Proprietor's instructions to James Wasse and Richard Hartshorne. Sm. N. J. 83.
1676, Oct. 10. 28. Car. 2. The charter of King Charles II. to his subjects of Virginia. M.S.
1676. Cautionary epistle from the trustees of Byllinge's part of New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 84.
1677, Sep. 10. Indian deed for the lands between Rankokas creek and Timber creek, in New Jersey.
1677, Sep. 27. Indian deed for the lands from Oldman's creek to Timber creek, in New Jersey.
1677, Oct 10. Indian deed for the lands from Rankokas creek to Assunpink creek, in New Jersey.
1678. Dec'r 5. The will of Sir George Carteret, sole proprietor of East Jersey, ordering the same to be sold.
1680, Feb. 16.
An order of the King in council for the better encouragement of all his Majesty's subjects in their trade to his Majesty's plantations, and for the better information of all his Majesty's loving subjects in these matters. Lond. Gaz. No. 1596. Title in Amer. library. 134. 6.
1680. Arguments against the customs demanded in New West Jersey by the Governor of New York, addressed to the Duke's commissioners. Sm. N. J. 117.
1680, June 14. 23, 25. Oct. 16. Nove'ber 4. 8, 11, 18, 20, 23. Dece'er 16. 1680-'1, J'n. 15, 22. Feb. 24. Extracts of proceedings of the committee of trade and plantations; copies of letters, reports, &c. between the board of trade, Mr. Penn, Lord Baltimore and Sir John Werden, in the behalf of the Duke of York and the settlement of the Pennsylvania boundaries by the L. C. J. North. Votes of Repr. Pennsylvania, vii. xiii.
1681, Mar. 4. Car. 2. A grant of Pennsylvania to William Penn. Votes of Represen. Pennsylvania, xviii.
1681, Apr. 2. The King's declaration to the inhabitants and planters of the province of Pennsylvania. Votes Rep. Penn. xxiv.
1681, July 11. Certain conditions or concessions agreed upon by William Penn, proprietary and Governor of Pennsylvania, and those who are the adventurers and purchasers in the same province. Votes of Rep. Pennsylv. xxiv.
1681, Nov. 9. Fundamental laws of the province of West New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 126.
1681-'2, Jan'y 14. The methods of the commissioners for settling and regulation of lands in New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 130.
1681-'2, Feb'y 1, 2. Indentures of lease and release by the executors of Sir George Carteret to William Penn and 11 others, conveying East Jersey.
1682, Mar. 14. The Duke of York's fresh grant of East New Jersey to the 24 proprietors.
1682, Apr. 25. The frame of the government of the province of Pennsylvania, in America. Votes of Repr. Penn. xxvii.
1682, Aug. 21. The Duke of York's deed for Pennsylvania. Vo. Repr. Penn. xxxv.
1682, Aug.24. The Duke of York's deed of feoffment of Newcastle and twelve miles circle to William Penn. Vo. Repr. Penn.
1682, Aug. 24. The Duke of York's deed of feoffment of a tract of land 12 miles South from Newcastle to the Whorekills, to William Penn. Vo. Repr. Penn. xxxvii.
1682, Nov. 27. A commission to Thomas Lord Culpeper to be Lieutenant and Governor General of Virginia. M. S.
1682, 10th m'h 6th day. An act of union for annexing and uniting of the counties of Newcastle, Jones' and Whorekill's alias Deal, to the province of Pennsylvania, and of naturalization of all foreigners in the province and counties aforesaid.
1682, Dec. 6. An act of settlement.
1683, Apr. 2. The frame of the government of the province of Pennsylvania and territories thereunto annexed in America.
1683, Apr. 17, 27. May 30. June 12. 1684, Feb. 12. July 2, 16, 23. Sept. 30. Dec. 9. 1685, Mar. 17. Aug. 18, 26. Sept. 2. Oct. 8, 17, 31. Nov. 7 . Proceedings of the committee of trade and plantations in the dispute between Lord Baltimore and Mr. Penn. Vo. R. P. xiii — xviii.
1683, July 17. A commission by the proprietors of East New Jersey to Robert Barclay to be Governor. Sm. N. J. 166.
1683, July 26. 35. Car. 2. An Order of council for issuing a quo warranto against the charter of the colony of the Massachuset's bay in New England, with his Majesty's declaration, that in case the said corporation of Massachuset's bay shall before prosecution had upon the same quo warranto make a full submission and entire resignation to his royal pleasure, he will then regulate their charter in such a manner as shall be for his service and the good of that colony. Title in Amer. Library. 139, 6.
1683, Sep. 23. 35. Car. 2. A commission to Lord Howard of Effingham to be Lieutenant and Governor General of Virginia. M. S.
1684, May 3. The humble address of the chief Governor, Council and Representatives of the island of Nevis, in the West Indies, presented to his Majesty by Colonel Netheway and Captain Jefferson, at Windsor, May 3, 1684. Title in Amer. Libr., 142, 3. Cites Lond. Gaz., No. 1927.
1684, Aug. 2. A treaty with the Indians at Albany.
1686, Nov. 16. A treaty of neutrality for America between France and England. 7. Corps. Dipl., part 2, p. 44. 2. Mem. Am. 40.
1687, Jan. 20. By the King, a proclamation for the more effectual reducing and suppressing of pirates and privateers in America, as well on the sea as on the land in great numbers, committing frequent robberies and piracies, which hath occasioned a great prejudice and obstruction to trade and commerce, and given a great scandal and disturbance to our government in those parts. Title Amer. Libr., 147, 2. Cites Lond. Gaz., No. 2815.
1687, Feb, 12. Constitution of the council of proprietors of West Jersey. Smith's N. Jersey. 199.
1687, qu? Sep. 27. 4. Jac. 2. A confirmation of the grant of the Northern Neck of Virginia to Lord Culpeper.
1687, Sept. 5. Governor Coxe's declaration to the council of proprietors of West Jersey. Sm. N. J. 190.
1687, Dec. 16. Provisional treaty of Whitehall concerning America between France and England. 2. Mem. de l' Am. 89.
1637. Governor Coxe's narrative relating to the division line, directed to the council of proprietors of West Jersey. Sm. App., No. 4.
1687. The representation of the council of proprietors of West Jersey to Governor Burnet. Smith. App. No. 5.
The remonstrance and petition of the inhabitants of East New Jersey to the King. Sm. App. No. 8.
The memorial of the proprietors of East New Jersey to the Lords of trade. Sm. App. No. 9.
1688, Sept. 5.
Agreement of the line of partition between East and West New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 196.
1691. Conveiance of the government of West Jersey and territories by Dr. Coxe, to the West Jersey Society.
1691, Oct'r 7. A charter granted by King William and Queen Mary to the inhabitants of the province of Massachuset's bay in New England. 2. Mem. de l' Am. 593.
1696, Nov. 7. The frame of government of the province of Pennsylvania and the territories thereunto belonging, passed by Governor Markham. Nov. 7, 1696.
1697, Sep. 20. The treaty of peace between France and England, made at Ryswick. 7. Corps. Dipl., part 2, p. 399. 2. Mem. Am. 89.
1699, July 5. The opinion and answer of the Lords of trade to the memorial of the proprietors of East New Jersey. Sm. App. No. 10.
1700, Jan. 15. The memorial of the proprietors of East New Jersey to the Lords of trade. Sm. App. No. 11.
The petition of the proprietors of East and West New Jersey to the Lords justices of England. Sm. App. No. 12.
1700, W. 3. A confirmation of the boundary between the colonies of New York and Connecticut, by the Crown.
1701, Aug. 12. The memorial of the proprietors of East and West Jersey to the King. Sm. App. No. 14.
1701, Oct. 2. Representation of the Lords of trade to the Lords justices. Sm. App. No. 13.
1701. A treaty with the Indians.
1701-'2, J'n 6. Report of Lords of trade to King William of draughts of a commission and instructions for a Governor of New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 262.
1702, Apr. 15. Surrender from the proprietors of E. and W. N. Jersey of their pretended right of government to her Majesty Q. Anne. Sm. N. J. 211.
1702, Apr. 17. The Queen's acceptance of the surrender of government of East and West Jersey. Sm. N. J. 219.
1702, Nov. 16. Instructions to Lord Cornbury. Sm. N. J. 230.
1702, Dec. 5. A commission from Queen Anne to Lord Cornbury, to be Captain General and Governor in Chief of New Jersey. Sm. N. J. 220.
1703, Ju'e 27. Recognition by the council of proprietors of the true boundary of the deeds of Sept. 10, and Oct. 10, 1677. (New Jersey.) Sm. N. J. 96.
1703. Indian deed for the lands above the falls of the Delaware in West Jersey.
Indian deed for the lands at the head of Rankokas River, in West Jersey.
1704, Ju'e 18. A proclamation by Queen Anne for settling and ascertaining the current rates of foreign coins in America. Sm. N. J. 281.
1705, May 3. Additional instructions to Lord Cornbury. Sm. N. J. 235.
1707, May 3. Additional instructions to Lord Cornbury. Sm. N. J. 258.
1707, Nov. 20. Additional instructions to Lord Cornbury. Sm. N. J. 259.
1707. An answer by the council of proprietors for the Western division of New Jersey, to questions proposed to them by Lord Cornbury. Sm. N. J. 285.
1708-'9, Feb'y 28. Instructions to Colonel Vetch in his negotiations with the Governors of America. Sm. N. J. 364.
1708-'9, Feb'y 28. Instructions to the Governor of New Jersey and York. Sm. N. J. 361.
1710, August. Earl of Dartmouth's letter to Governor Hunter.
1711, Apr. 22. Premieres propositions de la France. 6. Lamberty,.669. 2. Mem. Am. 341.
1711, Oct'r 8. Reponses de la France aux demandes preliminaires de la Grande Bretagne. 6. Lamb. 681. 2, Mem. Amer. 344.
1711, Sept. 27. Octo'r 8. Demandes preliminaires plus particulieres de la Grande Bretagne, avec les reponses. 2. Mem. de l' Am. 346.
1711, Sept. 27. Octo'r 8. L' acceptation de la part de la Grande Bretagne. 2, Mem. Am. 356.
1711, Dec. 23. The Queen's instructions to the Bishop of Bristol and Earl of Strafford, her plenipotentiaries, to treat of a general peace. 6. Lamberty, 744. 2. Mem. Am. 358.
1712, May 24. June 10. A memorial of Mr. St. John to the Marquis de Torci, with regard to North America, to commerce, and to the suspensions of arms. 7. Recueil de Lamberty, 161. 2. Mem. de l'Amer. 376.
1712, Ju'e 10. Reponse du roi de France au memoire de Londres. 7. Lamberty, p. 163. 2. Mem. Am. 380.
1712, Aug. 19.
Traite pour une suspension d' armes entre Louis XIV. roi de France, & Anne, reigne de la Grande Bretagne, fait a Paris. 8. Corps. Dipl., part 1, p. 308. 2. Mem. d' Am. 104.
1712, Sep. 10. Offers of France to England, demands of England, and the answers of France. 7. Rec. de Lamb. 491. 2. Mem. Am. 390.
1713, Mar. 31. Apr'l 11. Traite de paix & d' amitie entre Louis XIV. roi de France, & Anne, reigne de la Grande Bretagne, fait a Utrecht. 15. Corps Diplomatique de Dumont, 339. id. Latin. 2. Actes & memoires de la pais d' Utrecht, 457. id. Lat. Fr. 2. Mem. Am. 113.
1713, Mar. 31. Apr'l 11. Traite de navigation & de commerce entre Louis XIV. roi de France, & Anne, reigne de la Grande Bretagne. Fait a Utrecht. 8. Corps. Dipl., part 1, p. 345. 2. Mem. de 1' Am. 137.
1726. A treaty with the Indians.
1728, Janu'y The petition of the representatives of the province of New Jersey, to have a distinct Governor, Sm. N. J. 421.
1732, G. 2. Deed of release by the government of Connecticut to that of New York.
1732, Ju'e 9, 20. 5. G. 2.
The charter granted by George II. for Georgia. 4. Mem. de l'Am. 617.
1733. Petition of Lord Fairfax, that a commission might issue for running and marking the dividing line between his district and the province of Virginia.
1733, Nov. 29. Order of the King in council for commissioners to survey and settle the said dividing line between the proprietary and royal territory.
1736, Aug. 5. Report of the Lords of trade relating to the separating the government of the province of New Jersey from New York. Sm. N. J. 423.
1737, Aug. 10.
Survey and report of the commissioners appointed on the part of the Crown to settle the line between the Crown and Lord Fairfax.
1737, Aug. 11. Survey and report of the commissioners appointed on the part of Lord Fairfax to settle the line between the Crown and him.
1738, Dec. 21. Order of reference of the surveys between the Crown and Lord Fairfax to the council for plantation affairs.
1744, June. Treaty with the Indians of the Six Nations at Lancaster.
1745, April 6. Report of the council for plantation affairs, fixing the head springs of Rappahanoc and Patowmac, and a commission to extend the line.
1745, Apr. 11. Order of the King in council confirming the said report of the council for plantation affairs.
1748, Apr. 30. Articles preliminaires pour parvenir a la paix, signes a Aix la Chapelle entre les ministres de France, de la Grande Bretagne, & des Provinces Unies des Pays Bas. 2. Mem. de l' Am. 159.
1748, May 21. Declaration des ministres de France, de la Grande Bretagne, & des Provinces Unies des Pays Bas, pour rectifier les articles I. & II. des preliminaires. 2. Mem. Am. 165.
1748, Oct'r 7, 18. 22. G. 2.
The general and definitive treaty of peace concluded at Aix la Chapelle. Lond. Mag. 1748. 503 French. 2. Mem. Am. 169.
1754. A treaty with the Indians.
1755, Aug. 7. A conference between Governor Bernard and Indian nations at Burlington. Sm. N. J. 449.
1758, Oct'r 8. A conference between Governor Denny, Governor Bernard and others, and Indian nations at Easton. Sm. N. J. 455.
1759, July25. 33. G. 2. The capitulation of Niagara.
175—. The King's proclamation promising lands to soldiers.
1763, Feb. 10. 3. G. 3. The definitive treaty concluded at Paris. Lond. Mag., 1763. 149.
1763, Oct'r 7. A proclamation for regulating the cessions made by the last treaty of peace. Guth. Geogr. Gram. 623.
1763. The King's proclamation against settling on any lands on the waters, westward of the Alleghaney.
1768, Nov. 3.
Deed from the Six Nations of Indians to William Trent and others for lands betwixt the Ohio and Monongahela. View of the title to Indiana. Phil. Styner and Cist. 1776.
1768, Nov. 5. Deed from the Six Nations of Indians to the Crown for certain lands and settling a boundary. M. S.


i. By the author of these notes.

ii. Mr. Hazard.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:03 am


No. I

The preceding sheets having been submitted to my friend Mr. Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, he has furnished me with the following observations, which have too much merit not to be communicated:

(1.) p. 15. Besides the three channels of communication mentioned between the western waters and the Atlantic, there are two others, to which the Pennsylvanians are turning their attention; one from Presque Isle on Lake Erie, to Le Boeuf, down the Alleghaney to Kiskiminitas, then up the Kiskiminitas, and from thence, by a small portage, to Juniata, which falls into the Susquehanna: the other from Lake Ontario to the East Branch of the Delaware, and down that to Philadelphia. Both these are said to be very practicable : and, considering the enterprising temper of the Pennsylvanians, and particularly of the merchants of Philadelphia, whose object is concentered in promoting the commerce and trade of one city, it is not improbable but one or both of these communications will be opened and improved.

(2.) p. 18. The reflections I was led into on viewing this passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge were, that this country must have suffered some violent convulsion, and that the face of it must have been changed from what it probably was some centuries ago: that the broken and ragged faces of the mountain on each side of the river; the tremendous rocks, which are left with one end fixed in the precipice, and the other jutting out, and seemingly ready to fall for want of support; the bed of the river for several miles below obstructed, and filled with the loose stones carried from this mound; in short, every thing on which you cast your eye evidently demonstrates a disrupture and breach in the mountain, and that, before this happened, what is now a fruitful vale, was formerly a great lake or collection of water, which possibly might have here formed a mighty cascade, or had its vent to the ocean by the Susquehanna, where the Blue Ridge seems to terminate. Besides this, there are other parts of this country which bear evident traces of a like convulsion. From the best accounts I have been able to obtain, the place where the Delaware now flows through the Kittatinny mountain, which is a continuation of what is called the North ridge, or mountain, was not its original course, but that it passed through what is now called 'the Wind-gap,' a place several miles to the westward, and above an hundred feet higher than the present bed of the river. This Wind-gap is about a mile broad, and the stones in it such as seem to have been washed for ages by water running over them. Should this have been the case, there must have been a large lake behind that mountain, and, by some uncommon swell in the waters, or by some convulsion of nature, the river must have opened its way through a different part of the mountain, and meeting there with less obstruction, carried away with it the opposing mounds of earth, and deluged the country below with the immense collection of waters to which this new passage gave vent. There are still remaining, and daily discovered, innumerable instances of such a deluge on both sides of the river, after it passed the hills above the falls of Trenton, and reached the champaign. On the New Jersey side, which is flatter than the Pennsylvania side, all the country below Croswick hills seems to have been overflowed to the distance of from ten to fifteen miles back from the river, and to have acquired a new soil by the earth and clay brought down and mixed with the native sand. The spot on which Philadelphia stands evidently appears to be made ground. The different strata through which they pass in digging to water, the acorns, leaves, and sometimes branches, which are found above twenty feet below the surface, all seem to demonstrate this. I am informed that at York Town in Virginia, in the bank of the York River, there are different strata of shells and earth, one above another, which seem to point out that the country there has undergone several changes; that the sea has, for a succession of ages, occupied the place where dry land now appears; and that the ground has been suddenly raised at various periods. What a change would it make in the country below, should the mountains at Niagara, by any accident, be cleft asunder, and a passage suddenly opened to drain off the waters of Erie and the Upper lakes! While ruminating on these subjects, I have often been hurried away by fancy, and led to imagine, that what is now the bay of Mexico, was once a champaign country; and that from the point or cape of Florida, there was a continued range of mountains through Cuba, Hispaniola, Porto Rico, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Barbadoes, and Trinidad, till it reached the coast of America, and formed the shores which bounded the ocean, and guarded the country behind : that, by some convulsion or shock of nature, the sea had broken through these mounds, and deluged that vast plain, till it reached the foot of the Andes; that being there heaped up by the trade-winds, always blowing from one quarter, it had found its way back, as it continues to do, through the Gulf between Florida and Cuba, carrying with it the loam and sand it may have scooped from the country it had occupied, part of which it may have deposited on the shores of North America, and with part formed the banks of Newfoundland. But these are only the visions of fancy.

(3.) p. 38. There is a plant or weed, called the Jamestown weed, [i] of a very singular quality. The late Dr. Bond informed me, that he had under his care a patient, a young girl, who had pat the seeds of this plant into her eye, which dilated the pupil to such a degree, that she could see in the dark, but in the light was almost blind. The effect that the leaves had when eaten by a ship's crew that arrived at Jamestown, are well known. [ii]

(4.) p. 69. Mons. Buffon has indeed given an afflicting picture of human nature in his description of the man of America. But sure I am there never was a picture more unlike the original. He grants indeed that his stature is the same as that of the man of Europe. He might have admitted, that the Iroquois were larger, and the Lenopi, or Delawares, taller than people in Europe generally are. But he says their organs of generation are smaller and weaker than those of Europeans. Is this a fact? I believe not; at least it is an observation I never heard before. 'They have no beard.' Had he known the pains and trouble it costs the men to pluck out by the roots the hair that grows on their faces, he would have seen that Nature had not been deficient in that respect. Every nation has its customs. I have seen an Indian beau, with a looking-glass in his hand, examining his face for hours together, and plucking out by the roots every hair he could discover, with a kind of tweezer made of a piece of fine brass wire, that had been twisted around a stick, and which he used with great dexterity. 'They have no ardor for their female.' It is true, they do not indulge those excesses, nor discover that fondness which is customary in Europe; but this is not owing to a defect in nature, but to manners. Their soul is wholly bent upon war. This is what procures them glory among the men, and makes them the admiration of the women. To this they are educated from their earliest youth. When they pursue game with ardor, when they bear the fatigues of the chase, when they sustain and suffer patiently hunger and cold; it is not so much for the sake of the game they pursue, as to convince their parents and the council of the nation that they are fit to be enrolled in the number of the warriors. The songs of the women, the dance of the warriors, the sage counsel of the chiefs, the tales of the old, the triumphal entry of the warriors returning with success from battle, and the respect paid to those who distinguish themselves in war and in subduing their enemies; in short, every thing they see or hear tends to inspire them with an ardent desire for military fame. If a young man were to discover a fondness for women before he has been to war, he would become the contempt of the men, and the scorn and ridicule of the women. Or were he to indulge himself with a captive taken in war, and much more were he to offer violence in order to gratify his lust, he would incur indelible disgrace. The seeming frigidity of the men, therefore, is the effect of manners, and not a defect of nature. Be- sides, a celebrated warrior is oftener courted by the females, than he has occasion to court : and this is a point of honor which the men aim at. Instances familiar to that of Ruth and Boaz [iii] are not uncommon among them. For though the women are modest and diffident, and so bashful that they seldom lift up their eyes, and scarce ever look a man full in the face, yet, being brought up in great subjection, custom and manners reconcile them to modes of acting, which, judged of by Europeans, would be deemed inconsistent with the rules of female decorum and propriety. I once saw a young widow, whose husband, a warrior, had died about eight days before, hastening to finish her grief, and who by tearing her hair, beating her breast, and drinking spirits, made the tears flow in great abundance, in order that she might grieve much in a short space of time, and be married that evening to another young warrior. The manner in which this was viewed by the men and women of the tribe, who stood round, silent and solemn spectators of the scene, and the indifference with which they answered my question respecting it, convinced me that it was no unusual custom. I have known men advanced in years, whose wives were old and past child-bearing, take young wives, and have children, though the practice of polygamy is not common. Does this savour of frigidity, or want of ardor for the female? Neither do they seem to be deficient in natural affection. I have seen both fathers and mothers in the deepest affliction, when their children have been dangerously ill; though I believe the affection is stronger in the descending than the ascending scale, and though custom forbids a father to grieve immoderately for a son slain in battle. 'That they are timorous and cowardly,' is a character with which there is little reason to charge them, when we recollect the manner in which the Iroquois met Mons.____, who marched into their country; in which the old men, who scorned to fly, or to survive the capture of their town, braved death, like the old Romans in the time of the Gauls, and in which they soon after revenged themselves by sacking and destroying Montreal. But above all, the unshaken fortitude with which they bear the most excruciating tortures and death when taken prisoners, ought to exempt them from that character. Much less are they to be characterised as a people of no vivacity, and who are excited to action or motion only by the calls of hunger and thirst. Their dances, in which they so much delight, and which to a European would be the most severe exercise, fully contradict this, not to mention their fatiguing marches, and the toil they voluntarily and cheerfully undergo in their military expeditions. It is true, that when at home, they do not employ themselves in labor or the culture of the soil : but this again is the effect of customs and manners, which have assigned that to the province of the women. But it is said, they are averse to society and a social life. Can any thing be more inapplicable than this to a people who always live in towns or clans? Or can they be said to have no 'republique,' who conduct all their affairs in national councils, who pride themselves in their national character, who consider an insult or injury done to an individual by a stranger as done to the whole, and resent it accordingly? In short, this picture is not applicable to any nation of Indians I have ever known or heard of in North America.

(5.) p. 104. As far as I have been able to learn, the country from the sea coast to the Alleghaney, and from the most southern waters of James river up to Patuxent river, now in the State of Maryland, was occupied by three different nations of Indians, each of which spoke a different language, and were under separate and distinct governments. What the original or real names of those nations were, I have not been able to learn with certainty : but by us they are distinguished by the names of Powhatkns, Mannahoacs, and Monacans, now commonly called Tuscaroras. The Powhatans, who occupied the country from the sea shore up to the falls of the rivers, were a powerful nation, and seem to have consisted of seven tribes, five on the western and two on the eastern shore. Each of these tribes were subdivided into towns, families, or clans, who lived together. All the nations of Indians in North America lived in the hunter state, and depended for subsistence on hunting, fishing, and the spontaneous fruits of the earth, and a kind of grain which was planted and gathered by the women, and is now known by the name of Indian corn. Long potatoes, pumpkins of various kinds, and squashes were also found in use among them. They had no flocks, herds, or tamed animals of any kind. Their government is a kind of patriarchal confederacy. Every town or family has a chief, who is distinguished by a particular title, and whom we commonly call 'Sachem.' The several towns or families that compose a tribe, have a chief who presides over it, and the several tribes composing a nation have a chief who presides over the whole nation. These chiefs are generally men advanced in years, and distinguished by their prudence and abilities in council. The matters which merely regard a town or family are settled by the chief and principal men of the town: those which regard a tribe, such as the appointment of head warriors or captains, and settling differences between different towns and families, are regulated at a meeting or council of the chiefs from the several towns; and those which regard the whole nation, such as the making war, concluding peace, or forming alliances with the neighboring nations, are deliberated on and determined in a national council composed of the chiefs of the tribe, attended by the head warriors and a number of the chiefs from the towns, who are his counsellors. In every town there is a council house, where the chief and old men of the town assemble, when occasion requires, and consult what is proper to be done. Every tribe has a fixed place for the chiefs of the towns to meet and consult on the business of the tribe: and in every nation there is what they call the central council house, or central council fire, where the chiefs of the several tribes, with the principal warriors convene to consult and determine on their national affairs. When any matter is proposed in the national council, it is common for the chiefs of the several tribes to consult thereon apart with their counsellors, and, when they have agreed, to deliver the opinion of the tribe at the national council: and, as their government seems to rest wholly on persuasion, they endeavor, by mutual concessions, to obtain unanimity. Such is the government that still subsists among the Indian nations bordering upon the United States. Some historians seem to think, that the dignity of office of Sachem was hereditary. But that opinion does not appear to be well founded. The Sachem or chief of the tribe seems to be by election. And sometimes persons who are strangers, and adopted into the tribe, are promoted to this dignity, on account of their abilities. Thus on the arrival of Captain Smith, the first founder of the colony of Virginia, Opechancanough, who was Sachem or Chief of the Chickahominies, one of the tribes of the Powhatans, is said to have been of another tribe, and even of another nation, so that no certain account could be obtained of his origin or descent. The chiefs of the nations seem to have been by a rotation among the tribes. Thus when Captain Smith, in the year 1609, questioned Powhatan (who was the chief of the nation, and whose proper name is said to have been Wahunsonacock,) respecting the succession, the old chief informed him, "that he was very old and had seen the death of all his people thrice; [iv] that not one of these generations were then living except himself, that he must soon die and the succession descend in order to his brothers Opichapan, Opechancanough, and Cattataugh, and then to his two sisters, and their two daughters." But these were appellations designating the tribes in the confederacy. For the persons named are not his real brothers, but the chiefs of different tribes. Accordingly in 1618, when Powhatan died, he was succeeded by Opichapan, and after his decease Opechaneanough became chief of the nation. I need only mention another instance to shew that the chiefs of the tribes claimed this kindred with the head of the nation. In 1622, when Raleigh Crashaw was with Japazaw, the Sachem or chief of the Patowmacs, Opechancanough, who had great power and influence, being the second man in the nation, and next in succession to Opichapan, and who was a bitter but secret enemy to the English, and wanted to engage his nation in a war with them, sent two baskets of beads to the Patowmac chief, and desired him to kill the Englishman that was with him. Japazaw replied, that the English were his friends, and Opichapan his brother, and that therefore there should be no blood shed between them by his means. It is also to be observed, that when the English first came over, in all their conferences with any of the chiefs, they constantly heard him make mention of his brother, with whom he must consult, or to whom they referred them, meaning thereby either the chief of the nation, or the tribes in confederacy. The Manahoacs are said to have been a con- federacy of four tribes, and in alliance with the Monacans, in the war which they were carrying on against the Powhatans. [v]

To the northward of these there was another powerful nation, which occupied the country from the head of the Chesapeak bay up to the Kittatinney mountain, and as far eastward as Connecticut river, comprehending that part of New York which lies between the highlands and the ocean, all the State of New Jersey, that part of Pennsylvania which is watered, below the range of the Kittatinney mountains, by the rivers or streams falling into the Delaware, and the county of Newcastle in the State of Delaware, as far as Duck creek. It is to be observed, that the nations of Indians distinguished their countries one from another by natural boundaries, such as ranges of mountains, or streams of water. But as the heads of rivers frequently interlock, or approach near to each other, as those who live upon a stream claim the country watered by it, they often encroached on each other, and this is a constant source of war between the different nations. The nation occupying the tract of country last described, called themselves Lenopi. The French writers call them Loups; and among the English they are now commonly called Delawares. This nation or confederacy consisted of five tribes, who all spoke one language. 1. Chihohocki, who dwelt on the West side of the river now called Delaware, a name which it took from Lord De la War, who put into it on his passage from Virginia in the year ____, but which by the Indians was called Chihohocki. 2. The Wanami, who inhabited the country called New Jersey, from the Rariton to the sea. 3. The Munsey, who dwelt on the upper streams of the Delaware, from the Kittatinney mountains down to the Leheigh or western branch of the Delaware. 4. The Wabinga, who are some- times called River Indians, sometimes Mohickanders, and who had their dwelling between the west branch of Delaware and Hudson's river, from the Kittatinney ridge down to the Rariton: and 5. The Mahiccon, or Mahattan, who occupied Staten island, York island, (which, from its being the principal seat of their residence, was formerly called Mahatton,) Long island, and that part of New York and Connecticut which lies between Hudson and Connecticut rivers, from the highland, which is a continuation of the Kittatinney ridge, down to the Sound. This nation had a close alliance with the Shawanese, who lived on the Susquehannah and to the westward of that river, as far as the Alleghaney mountains, and carried on a long war with another powerful nation or confederacy of Indians, which lived to the north of them between the Kittatinney mountains or highlands, and the lake Ontario, and who call themselves Mingos, and are called by the French writers Iroquois, by the English the Five Nations, and by the Indians to the southward, with whom they were at war, Massawomacs. This war was carrying on, in its great fury, when Captain Smith first arrived in Virginia. The Mingo warriors had penetrated down the Susquehanna to the mouth of it. In one of his excursions up the bay, at the mouth of the Susquehanna, in 1608, Captain Smith met with six or seven of their canoes full of warriors, who were coming to attack their enemies in the rear. In an excursion which he had made a few weeks before, up the Rappahanoc; and in which he had a skirmish with a party of the Manahoacs, and taken a brother of one of their chiefs prisoner, he first heard of this nation. For when he asked the prisoner, why his nation attacked the English? the prisoner said, because his nation had heard that the English came from under the world to take their world from them. Being asked how many worlds he knew ? he said, he knew but one, which was under the sky that covered him, and which consisted of the Powhatans, the Manakins, and the Massawomacs. Being questioned concerning the latter, he said, they dwelt on a great water to the North, that they had many boats, and so many men that they waged war with all the rest of the world. The Mingo confederacy then consisted of five tribes; three who are called the elder, to wit, the Senecas, who live to the West, the Mohawks to the East, and the Onondagas between them; and two who are called the younger tribes, namely, the Cayugas and Oneidas. All these tribes speak one language, and were then united in a close confederacy, and occupied the tract of country from the East end of lake Erie to lake Champlain, and from the Kittatinney and Highlands to the lake Ontario and the river Cadaraqui, or St. Laurence. They had, for some time before that, carried on a war with a nation, who lived beyond the lakes, and were called Adirondacs. In this war they were worsted: but having made a peace with them through the intercession of the French, who were then settling Canada, they turned their arms against the Lenopi, and as this war was long and doubtful, they, in the course of it, not only exerted their whole force, but put in practice every measure which prudence or policy could devise to bring it to a successful issue. For this purpose they bent their course down the Susquehanna, warring with the Indians in their way, and having penetrated as far as the mouth of it, they, by the terror or their arms, engaged a nation, now known by the name of Nanticocks, Conoys, and Tuteloes, and who lived between Chesapeak and Delaware bays, and bordering on the tribe of Chihohocki, to enter into an alliance with them. They also formed an alliance with the Monacans, and stimulated them to a war with the Lenopi and their confederates. At the same time the Mohawks carried on a furious war down the Hudson against the Mohiccons and River Indians, and compelled them to purchase a temporary and precarious peace, by acknowledging them to be their superiors, and paying an annual tribute. The Lenopi being surrounded with enemies, and hard pressed, and having lost many of their warriors, were at last compelled to sue for peace, which was granted them on the condition that they should put themselves under the protection of the Mingoes, confine themselves to raising corn, hunting for the subsistence of their families, and no longer have the power of making war. This is what the Indians call making them women. And in this condition the Lenopis were when William Penn first arrived and began the settlement of Pennsylvania in 1682.

(6.) p. 107. From the figurative language of the Indians, as well as from the practice of those we are still acquainted with, it is evident that it was, and still continues to be, a constant custom among the Indians to gather up the bones of the dead, and deposit them in a particular place. Thus, when they make peace with any nation with whom they have been at war, after burying the hatchet, they take up the belt of wampum, and say, "We now gather up all the bones of those who have been slain, and bury them," &c. See all the treaties of peace. Besides, it is customary when any of them die at a distance from home, to bury them, and afterwards to come and take up the bones, and carry them home. At a treaty which was held at Lancaster with the Six Nations, one of them died, and was buried in the woods a little distance from the town. Some time after a party came and took up the body, separated the flesh from the bones by boiling and scraping them clean, and carried them to be deposited in the sepulchres of their ancestors. The operation was so offensive and disagreeable, that nobody could come near them while they were performing it.

(7.) p. 115. The Oswegatchies, Connosedagos, and Cohunnegagoes, or, as they are commonly called, Caghnewagos, are of the Mingo or Six-nation Indians, who, by the influence of the French missionaries, have been separated from their nation, and induced to settle there.

I do not know of what nation the Augquagahs are; but suspect they are a family of the Senecas.

The Nanticocks and Conoies were formerly a nation that lived at the head of Chesapeak bay, and who, of late years, have been adopted into the Mingo or Iroquois confederacy, and make a seventh nation. The Monacans or Tuscaroras, who were taken into the confederacy in 1712, making the sixth.

The Saponies are families of the Wanamies, who removed from New Jersey, and, with the Mohiccons, Munsies, and Delawares, belong to the Lenopi nation. The Mingos are a war colony from the Six Nations; so are the Cohunnewagos.

Of the rest of the northern tribes I never have been able to learn any thing certain. But all accounts seem to agree in this, that there is a very powerful nation, distinguished by a variety of names taken from the several towns or families, but commonly called Tawas or Outawas, who speak one language, and live round and on the waters that fall into the western lakes, and extend from the waters of the Ohio quite to the waters falling into Hudson's bay.



i. Datara pericarpiis erectis ovatis. — Linn.

ii. An instance of temporary imbecility produced by them is mentioned — Beverly H. of Virg. B. 2, c. 4.

iii. When Boaz had eaten and drank, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn; and Ruth came softly and uncovered his feet and laid her down. — Ruth iii. 7.

iv. This is one generation more than the poet ascribes to. the life of Nestor.


1. HOM. 11. 250.

v. Two generations now had past away. Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway; Two ages o'er his native realm he reign'd, And now th' example of the third remain'd. -- Pope.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:03 am

No. II

In the Summer of the year 1783, it was expected that the Assembly of Virginia would call a Convention for the establishment of a Constitution. The following Draught of a Fundamental Constitution for the Commonwealth of Virginia was then prepared, with a design of being proposed in such Convention, had it taken place.

To the Citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and all others whom it may concern, the Delegates for the said Commonwealth, in Convention assembled, send greeting:

It is known to you, and to the world, that the government of Great Britain, with which the American States were not long since connected, assumed over them an authority unwarrantable and oppressive; that they endeavored to enforce this authority by arms, and that the States of New Hampshire, Massachusets, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, considering resistance, with all its train of horrors, as a lesser evil than abject submission, closed in the appeal to arms. It hath pleased the Sovereign Disposer of all human events to give to this appeal an issue favorable to the rights of the States; to enable them to reject for ever all dependance on a government which had shewn itself so capable of abusing the trusts reposed in it; and to obtain from that government a solemn and explicit acknowledgment that they are free, sovereign, and independent States. During the progress of that war, through which we had to labor for the establishment of our rights, the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia found it necessary to make a temporary organization of government for preventing anarchy, and pointing our efforts to the two important objects of war against our invaders, and peace and happiness among ourselves. But this, like all other their acts of legislation, being subject to change by subsequent legislatures, possessing equal powers with themselves, it has been thought expedient, that it should receive those amendments which time and trial have suggested, and be rendered permanent by a power superior to that of the ordinary Legislature. The General Assembly therefore of this State recommended it to the good people thereof, to choose delegates to meet in general convention, with powers to form a constitution of government for them, and to declare those fundamentals to which all our laws, present and future, shall be subordinate : and, in compliance with this recommendation, they have thought proper to make choice of us, and to vest us with powers for this purpose.

We therefore, the delegates, chosen by the said good people of this State, for the purpose aforesaid, and now assembled in general convention, do, in execution of the authority with which we are invested, establish the following Constitution and Fundamentals of Government for the said State of Virginia.

The said State shall forever hereafter be governed as a Common- wealth.

The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of them to be confided to a separate body of magistracy; to wit, those which are legislative to one, those which arc judiciary to another, and those which are executive to another. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly permitted.


The Legislature shall consist of two branches, the one to be called the House of Delegates, the other the Senate, and both together the General Assembly. The concurrence of both of these, expressed on three several readings, shall be necessary to the passage of a law.


Delegates for the General Assembly shall be chosen on the last Monday of November in every year. But if an election cannot be concluded on that day, it may be adjourned from day to day till it can be concluded.


The number of delegates which each county may send shall be in proportion to the number of its qualified electors; and the whole number of delegates for the State shall be so proportioned to the whole number of qualified electors in it, that they shall never exceed 300, nor be fewer than 100. Whenever such excess or deficiency shall take place, the House of Delegates so deficient or excessive shall, notwithstanding this, continue in 'being during its legal term, but they shall during that term readjust the proportion, so as to bring their number within the limits before mentioned at the ensuing election. If any county be reduced in its qualified electors, below the number authorized to send one delegate, let it be annexed to some adjoining county.


For the election of Senators, let the several counties be allotted by the Senate, from time to time, into such and so many districts as they shall find best; and let each county at the time of electing its delegates, choose Senatorial electors, qualified as themselves are, and four in number for each delegate their county is entitled to send, who shall convene, and conduct themselves, in such manner as the Legislature shall direct, with the senatorial electors from the other counties of their district, and then choose, by ballot, one Senator for every six delegates which their district is entitled to choose. Let the senatorial districts be divided into two classes, and let the members elected for one of them be dissolved at the first ensuing general election of delegates, the other at the next, and so on alternately forever.


All free male citizens, of full age, and sane mind, who for one year before shall have been resident in the county, or shall through the whole of that time have possessed therein real property of the value of _____, or shall for the same time have been enrolled in the militia, and no others, shall have a right to vote for delegates for the said county, and for senatorial electors for the district. They shall give their votes personally, and viva voce.


The General Assembly shall meet at the place to which the last adjournment was, on the 42d day after the day of the election of delegates, and thenceforward at any other time or place on their own adjournment, till their office expires, which shall be on the day preceding that appointed for the meeting of the next General Assembly. But if they shall at any time adjourn for more than one year, it shall be as if they had adjourned for one year precisely. Neither house, without the concurrence of the other, shall adjourn for more than one week, nor to any other place than the one at which they are sitting. The Governor shall also have power, with the advice of the Council of State, to call them at any other time to the same place, or to a different one, if that shall have become, since the last adjournment, dangerous from an enemy, or from infection.


A majority of either house shall be a quorum, and shall be requisite for doing business; but any smaller proportion which from time to time shall be thought expedient by the respective houses, shall be sufficient to call for, and to punish, their non-attending members, and to adjourn themselves for any time not exceeding one week.


The members, during their attendance on the General Assembly, and for so long a time before and after as shall be necessary for traveling to and from the same, shall be privileged from all personal restraint and assault, and shall have no other privilege whatsoever. They shall receive during the same time, daily wages in gold or silver, equal to the value of two bushels of wheat. This value shall be deemed one dollar by the bushel till the year 1790, in which, and in every tenth year thereafter, the General Court, at their first sessions in the year, shall cause a special jury, of the most respectable merchants and farmers, to be summoned, to declare what shall have been the averaged value of wheat during the last ten years; which averaged value shall be the measure of wages for the ten subsequent years.


Of this General Assembly, the Treasurer, Attorney General, Register, Ministers of the Gospel, officers of the regular armies of this State, or of the United States, persons receiving salaries or emoluments from any power foreign to our confederacy, those who are not resident in the county for which they are chosen delegates, or districts for which they are chosen senators, those who are not qualified as electors, persons who shall have committed treason, felony, or such other crimes as would subject them to infamous punishment, or who shall have been convicted by due course of law of bribery or corruption, in endeavoring to procure an election to the said assembly, shall be incapable of being members. All others, not herein elsewhere excluded, who may elect, shall be capable of being elected thereto.

Any member of the said assembly accepting any office of profit under this State, or the United States, or any of them, shall thereby vacate his seat, but shall be capable of being re-elected.


Vacancies occasioned by such disqualifications, by death, or otherwise, shall be supplied by the electors, on a writ from the Speaker of the respective house.


The General Assembly shall not have power to infringe this Constitution; to abridge the civil rights of any person on account of his religious belief; to restrain him from professing and sup- porting that belief, or to compel him to contributions other than those he shall have personally stipulated, for the support of that or any other; to ordain death for any crime but treason or murder, or military offences; to pardon, or give a power of pardoning persons duly convicted of treason or felony, but instead thereof they may substitute one or two new trials, and no more; to pass laws for punishing actions done before the existence of such laws; to pass any bill of attainder of treason or felony; to prescribe torture in any case whatever; nor to permit the introduction of any more slaves to reside in this State, or the continuance of slavery beyond the generation which shall be living on the thirty-first day of December, one thousand eight hundred: all persons born after that day being hereby declared free.

The General Assembly shall have power to sever from this State all or any part of its territory westward of the Ohio, or of the meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, and to cede to Congress one hundred square miles of territory in any other part of this State, exempted from the jurisdiction and government of this State so long as Congress shall hold their sessions therein, or in any territory adjacent thereto, which may be ceded to them by any other State.

They shall have power to appoint the Speakers of their respective houses, Treasurer, Auditors, Attorney General, Register, all general officers of the military, their own clerks and sergeants, and no other officers, except where, in other parts of this Constitution, such appointment is expressly given them.


The executive powers shall be exercised by a Governor, who shall be chosen by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, and when chosen shall remain in office five years, and be ineligible a second time. During his term he shall hold no other office or emolument under this State, or any other State or power whatsoever. By executive powers, we mean no reference to those powers exercised under our former government by the Crown as of its prerogative, nor that these shall be the standard of what may or may not be deemed the rightful powers of the Governor. We give him those powers only, which are necessary to execute the laws, (and administer the government) and which are not in their nature either legislative or judiciary. The application of this idea must be left to reason. We do however expressly deny him the prerogative powers of erecting courts, offices, boroughs, corporations, fairs, markets, ports, beacons, light houses, and sea-marks; of laying embargoes, of establishing precedence, of retaining within the State or recalling to it any citizen thereof, and of making denizens, except so far as he may be authorized from time to time by the Legislature to exercise any of those powers. The powers of declaring war and concluding peace, of contracting alliances, of issuing letters of marque and reprisal, of raising or introducing armed forces, of building armed vessels, forts, or strongholds, of coining money or regulating its value, of regulating weights and measures, we leave to be exercised under the authority of the Confederation: but in all cases respecting them which are out of the said Confederation, they shall be exercised by the Governor, under the regulation of such laws as the Legislature may think it expedient to pass.

The whole military of the State, whether regular, or of militia, shall be subject to his directions; but he shall leave the execution of those directions to the general officers appointed by the Legislature.

His salary shall be fixed by the Legislature at the session of Assembly in which he shall be appointed, and before such appointment be made; or if it be not then fixed, it shall be the same which his next predecessor in office was entitled to. In either case he may demand it quarterly out of any money which shall be in the public treasury; and it shall not be in the power of the Legislature to give him less or more, either during his continuance in office, or after he shall have gone out of it. The lands, houses, and other things appropriated to the use of the Governor, shall remain to his use during his continuance in office.


A Council of State shall be chosen by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, who shall hold their offices seven years, and be ineligible a second time, and who, while they shall be of the said Council, shall hold no other office or emolument, under this State, or any other State or power whatsoever. Their duty shall be to attend and advise the Governor when called on by him, and their advice in any case shall be a sanction to him. They shall also have power, and it shall be their duty, to meet at their own will, and to give their advice, though not required by the Governor, in cases where they shall think the public good calls for it. Their advice and proceedings shall be entered in books to be kept for that purpose, and shall be signed as approved or disapproved by the members present. These books shall be laid before either house of Assembly when called for by them. The said Council shall consist of eight members for the present: but their numbers may be increased or reduced by the Legislature, whenever they shall think it necessary: provided such reduction be made only as the appointments become vacant by death, resignation, disqualification, or regular deprivation. A majority of their actual number, and not fewer, shall be a quorum. They shall be allowed for the present ______ each by the year, payable quarterly out of any money which shall be in the public treasury. Their salary however may be increased or abated from time to time, at the discretion of the Legislature; provided such increase or abatement shall not, by any ways or means, be made to affect either then, or at any future time, any one of those then actually in office. At the end of each quarter their salary shall be divided into equal portions by the number of days on which, during that quarter, a Council has been held, or required by the Governor, or by their own adjournment, and one of those portions shall be withheld from each member for every of the said days which, without cause allowed good by the board, he failed to attend, or departed before adjournment without their leave. If no board should have been held during that quarter, there shall be no deduction.


They shall annually choose a President, who shall preside in Council in the absence of the Governor, and who, in case of his office becoming vacant by death or otherwise, shall have authority to exercise all his functions, till a new appointment be made, as he shall also in any interval during which the Governor shall declare himself unable to attend to the duties of his office.


The Judiciary powers shall be exercised by county courts and such other inferior courts as the Legislature shall think proper to continue or to erect, by three Superior Courts, to wit, a Court of Admiralty, a General Court of Common Law, and a High Court of Chancery; and by one Supreme Court to be called the Court of Appeals.

The judges of the High Court of Chancery, General Court, and Court of Admiralty, shall be four in number each, to be appointed by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, and to hold their offices during good behavior. While they continue judges, they shall hold no other office or emolument under this State, or any other State or power whatsoever, except that they may be delegated to Congress, receiving no additional allowance.

These judges, assembled together, shall constitute the Court of Appeals, whose business shall be to receive and determine appeals from the three Superior Courts, but to receive no original causes, except in the cases expressly permitted herein.

A majority of the members of either of these courts, and not fewer, shall be a quorum. But in the Court of Appeals nine members shall be necessary to do business. Any smaller numbers, however, may be authorized by the Legislature to adjourn their respective courts.

They shall be allowed for the present _______ each by the year, payable quarterly out of any money which shall be in the public treasury. Their salaries, however, may be increased or abated, from time to time, at the discretion of the Legislature, provided such increase or abatement shall not, by any ways or means, be made to affect, either then, or at any future time, any one of those then actually in office. At the end of each quarter their salary shall be divided into equal portions by the number of days on which, during that quarter, their respective courts sat, or should have sat, and one of these portions shall be withheld from each member for every of the said days, which, without cause allowed good by his court, he failed to attend, or departed before adjournment without their leave. If no court should have been held during the quarter, there shall be no deduction.

There shall, moreover, be a Court of Impeachments, to consist of three members of the Council of State, one of each of the Superior Courts of Chancery, Common Law and Admiralty, two members' of the House of Delegates, and one of the Senate, to be chosen by the body respectively of which they are. Before this court any member of the three branches of government; that is to say, the Governor, any member of the Council, of the two houses of Legislature, or of the Superior Courts, may be impeached by the Governor, the Council, or either of the said houses or courts, and by no other, for such misbehavior in office as would be sufficient to remove him therefrom; and the only sentence they shall have authority to pass shall be that of deprivation and future incapacity of office. Seven members shall be requisite to make a court, and two-thirds of those present must concur in the sentence. The offences cognizable by this court shall be cognizable by no other, and they shall be triers of the fact as well as judges of the law.

The justices or judges of the Inferior Courts already erected, or hereafter to be erected, shall be appointed by the Governor, on advice of the Council of State, and shall hold their offices during good behavior, or the existence of their court. For breach of the good behavior, they shall be tried according to the laws of the land, before the Court of Appeals, who shall be judges of the fact as well as of the law. The only sentence they shall have authority to pass, shall be that of deprivation and future incapacity of office, and two-thirds of the members present must concur in this sentence.

All courts shall appoint their own clerks, who shall hold their offices during good behavior, or the existence of their court: they shall also appoint all other their attending officers to continue during their pleasure. Clerks appointed by the Supreme or the Superior Courts shall be removable by their respective courts. Those to be appointed by other courts shall have been previously examined, and certified to be duly qualified, by some two members of the General Court, and shall be removable for breach of the good behavior by the Court of Appeals only, who shall be judges of the fact as well as of the law. Two-thirds of the members present must concur in the sentence.

The justices or judges of the Inferior Courts may be members of the Legislature.

The judgment of no Inferior Court shall be final, in any civil case, of greater value than 50 bushels of wheat, as last rated in the General Court for settling the allowance to the members of the General Assembly, nor in any case of treason, felony, or other crime which would subject the party to infamous punishment.

In all causes depending before any court, other than those of impeachments, of appeals, and military courts, facts put in issue shall be tried by jury, and in all courts whatever witnesses shall give their testimony viva voce in open court, wherever their attendance can be procured; and all parties shall be allowed counsel and compulsory process for their witnesses.

Fines, amercements, and terms of imprisonment left indefinite by the law, other than for contempts, shall be fixed by the jury, triers of the offence.


The Governor, two Councillors of State, and a Judge from each of the Superior Courts of Chancery, Common Law and Admiralty, shall be a council to revise all bills which shall have passed both houses of Assembly, in which Council the Governor, when present, shall preside. Every bill, before it becomes a law, shall be presented to this council, who shall have a right to advise its rejection, returning the bill, with their advice and reasons in writing, to the house' in which it originated, who shall proceed to reconsider the said bill. But if after such reconsideration two-thirds of the house shall be of opinion the bill should pass finally, they shall pass and send it, with the advice and written reasons of the said Council of Revision to the other house, wherein, if two-thirds also shall be of opinion it should pass finally, it shall thereupon become law, otherwise it shall not.

If any bill presented to the said council be not within one week (exclusive of the day of presenting it) returned by them, with their advice of rejection and reasons, to the house wherein it originated, or to the clerk of the said house, in case of its adjournment over the expiration of the week, it shall be law from the expiration of the week, and shall then be demandable by the clerk of the House of Delegates, to be filed of record in his office.

The bills which they approve shall become law from the time of such approbation, and shall then be returned to, or demandable by, the clerk of the House of Delegates, to be filed of record in his office.

A bill rejected on advice of the Council of Revision may again be proposed, during the same session of Assembly, with such alterations as will render it conformable to their advice.

The members of the said Council of Revision shall be appointed from time to time by the board or court of which they respectively are. Two of the executive and two of the judiciary members shall be requisite to do business; and to prevent the evils of non-attendance, the board and courts may, at any time, name all, or so many as they will, of their numbers, in the particular order in which they would chose the duty of attendance to devolve from preceding to subsequent members, the preceding failing to attend. They shall have additionally for their services in this council the same allowance as members of Assembly have.


The Confederation is made a part of this Constitution, subject to such future alterations, as shall be agreed to by the Legislature of this State, and by all the other confederating States.


The delegates to Congress shall be five in number; any three of whom, and no fewer, may be a representation. They shall be appointed by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly for any term not exceeding one year, subject to be recalled, within the term, by joint vote of both the said houses. They may at the same time be members of the legislative or judiciary departments, but not of the executive.


The benefits of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall be extended, by the Legislature, to every person within this State, and without fee, and shall be so facilitated that no person may be detained in prison more than ten days after he shall have demanded and been refused such writ by the judge appointed by law, or if none be appointed, then by any judge of a Superior Court, nor more than ten days after such writ shall have been served on the person detaining him, and no order given, on due examination, for his remandment or discharge.


The military shall be subordinate to the civil power.


Printing presses shall be subject to no other restraint than liableness to legal prosecution for false facts printed and published.


Any two of the three branches of government concurring in opinion, each by the voices of two-thirds of their whole existing number, that a convention is necessary for altering this Constitution, or correcting breaches of it, they shall be authorized to issue writs to every county for the election of so many delegates as they are authorized to send to the General Assembly, which election shall be held, and writs returned, as the laws shall have provided in the case of elections of delegates to Assembly, mutatis mutandis, and the said delegates shall meet at the usual place of holding Assemblies, three months after the date of such writs, and shall be acknowledged to have equal powers with this present convention. The said writs shall be signed by all the members approving the same.

To introduce this government, the following special and temporary provision is made:

This convention being authorized only to amend those laws which constituted the form of government, no general dissolution of the whole system of laws can be supposed to have taken place: but all laws in force at the meeting of this convention, and not inconsistent with this Constitution, remain in full force, subject to alterations by the ordinary Legislature.

The present General Assembly shall continue till the 42d day after the last Monday of November in this present year. On the said last Monday of November in this present year, the several counties shall, by their electors, qualified as provided by this Constitution, elect delegates, which for the present shall be, in number, one for every _______ militia of the said county, according to the latest returns in possession of the Governor, and shall also choose senatorial electors in proportion thereto, which senatorial electors shall meet on the 14th day after the day of their election, at the Court House of that county of their present district which would stand first in an alphabetical arrangement of their counties, and shall choose Senators in the proportion fixed by this constitution. The elections and returns shall be conducted, in all circumstances not hereby particularly prescribed, by the same persons and under the same forms, as prescribed by the present laws in elections of senators and delegates of Assembly. The said senators and delegates shall constitute the first General Assembly of the new government, and shall specially apply themselves to the procuring an exact return from every county of the number of its qualified electors, and to the settlement of the number of delegates to be elected for the ensuing General Assembly.

The present Governor shall continue in office to the end of the term for which he was elected.

All other officers of every kind shall continue in office as they would have done had their appointment been under this Constitution, and new ones, where new are hereby called for, shall be appointed by the authority to which such appointment is referred. One of the present judges of the General Court, he consenting thereto, shall by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, at their first meeting, be transferred to the High Court of Chancery.
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Re: Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:03 am

No. III.

An ACT for establishing Religious Freedom, passed in the Assembly of Virginia in the beginning of the year 1786.

Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who, being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time : that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow-citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though, indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to Error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.
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