Bill for Allowing Salaries to Certain Officers of Government
Be it enacted by the General assembly that from the 1st day of Jan. which shall be in the year of our lord 17—there shall be paid the following salaries to the officers of government herein after named, viz.
which tobo. shall be rated in money by the joint vote of the two houses of assembly at the first session of every General assembly taking into their consideration as well the market price of the said tobo. as the expences to be concurred by the said officers: and according to such rate the salaries for the ensuing year shall be paid out of the public treasury by quarterly paiments to the said officers of government respectively.
Dft (DLC); in TJ’s hand, written on the blank portion of a note addressed to “Col. Jefferson” by a Mr. Foster declining an invitation and dated “Thursday Morn. 11 O C[lock].” Title of Bill is at top of recto in TJ’s hand and worded as in caption above.
On 16 Dec. 1777 TJ was appointed member of a committee to bring in a bill “for giving proper salaries to certain officers of government.” It is not certain what part he had in the drafting of that Bill, but it is certain that the Act then passed (24 Jan. 1778; Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 435) could not have been the present Bill, since (1) the 1778 Bill provided for payment of salaries in dollars, and (2) the present Bill provides for officers not in existence in Jan. 1778: the clerkship of foreign correspondence was not established until May 1778 and the Board of Trade was not created until May 1779. Since TJ became Governor on 2 June 1779, the present Bill, therefore, could only have been introduced at the session of May 1779 and after the Board of Trade was created (its Bill was introduced by TJ on 12 May 1779; see Bill No. 9, Report of Committee of Revisors, 18 June 1779). There was an Act passed at the May 1779 session “giving salaries to certain officers of government” (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends x, 118), but it provided for payment in dollars and also provided for members of both the Board of Trade and the Board of War. Salaries were not paid in tobacco until after the enactment of the Act of May 1780 (same, p. 278–9), an Act whose salaries were less liberal than those provided by TJ. It is possible that he drafted the Bill in May 1779, intending to submit it to the House, and then was prevented from doing so because of his election as governor. His own salary on entering office was at the rate of £4,500 per annum (same, p. 118); this was increased by the Act of Oct. 1779 to £7,500 (same, p. 219); at the session of May 1780 the governor was granted—instead of the 153,000 pounds of tobacco called for by TJ’s draft Bill—a salary of 60,000 pounds (same, p. 278).