Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison, 8 June 1780

To Benjamin Harrison

In Council June 8. 1780.


According to the advice of the General Assembly we have proceeded to take Measures for selling six hundred thousand weight of the public Tobacco. To do this as readily as possible we determined to allot for this purpose the Tobacco at the nearest Warehouses, and particularly four hundred thousand at the Warehouses at or near the Falls of James River and on Appamottox.

We have now an offer for this Quantity to be paid for at the Market price of the crop Tobacco on the 19th instant, the transfer in Bills on Philadelphia, to be drawn now, but not payable till six weeks hence. As it was probably the Sense of the Assembly, that this Sale should be for ready Money, we have not concluded this Agreement, till we know whether it will be approved, nor should we have entertained such a Negociation but that we have no prospect of selling for ready Money. The Credit of the Gentlemen proposing to purchase is such in Philadelphia, as will probably render their Bills immediately negociable there. It is necessary for us to give them a definitive Answer to day.

I am Sir Yr. very hble. Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (Vi); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; addressed by the clerk. Endorsed: “Governors Letter June 8th. 1780. respecting Sale of part of public tobacco. to lie on table.”

advice of the General Assembly: The sale of the public tobacco was part of the Assembly’s program in response to the appeal of Congress for emergency grants of money by the states to put the army on a footing to cooperate with the French army imminently expected. See Hungington to TJ, 19 May 1780, and JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1780, 1827 edn., p. 28–30 (1 June), p. 39–40 (8–9 June).

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