Bill Providing Speedy Remedy against Defaulters to the United States
[18 May 1778]
Whereas divers persons receiving money of the United states of America for publick uses, apply it to different purposes, and when called on refuse or neglect to repay the same; others enter into contracts for supplying the army and navy of the United states with provisions and other necessaries, and fail or refuse to comply therewith; and whereas in like cases respecting this commonwealth in particular, speedy remedy was given by an act of general assembly past in the year 1777. intituled ‘an act to establish a mode for the speedy and summary recovery of such sums of money as are or may become due to the publick, and for enforcing all contracts entered into with government’ and it is expedient that the same speedy remedy be given in like cases respecting the United states: Be it therefore enacted by the general assembly that where in any case a remedy is by the said act given to this commonwealth, or any of it’s agents or contractors, in a like case the same remedy shall be given to the United states, their agents and contractors; and where by the said act such proceedings are directed to be instituted by the Treasurer in the name of the Governor for the time being, in a like case respecting the United states the proceeding shall be instituted by their deputy pay-master general within this Commonwealth and in the name of the President of Congress for the time being.
MS (Vi); in TJ’s hand. Endorsed by him: “A Bill providing speedy remedy against <those who deny or dela> defaulters to the United states.” Docketed in the hand of Edmund Randolph: “May 19th. 1778 read the first time May 20th. read 2d. time & to be engrossed.”
On 18 May 1778 TJ was appointed member of a committee to bring in such a Bill. It was introduced by Carter and read the first time on 19 May; on 20 May it was read the second time and amended; on 21 May it was read the third time, passed, and carried to the Senate; the Senate agreed to it on 28 May (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1778, 1827 edn., p. 11, 12, 13, 14, 21). The Act as adopted is in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 462–3. The amendment noted in JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends must have failed, for the Act as adopted is precisely in the words of TJ’s draft.