Advice of Council concerning Money Collected by Sampson Mathews
In Council June 14. 1780.
The board are of opinion that Colo. Sampson Matthews having acted as their agent in receiving the money borrowed from the people, the lenders are in no wise concerned or to be affected by whatever happened to the money after they paid it to Colo. Matthews; and therefore clearly that the lenders are entitled to loan office certificates. Mr. Sinclair’s letter of May the 21st. is an acknolegement that he had received the money from Colo. Matthews and so far clears Colo. Matthews and leaves the dispute only between Sinclair and Tandy. It should seem therefore proper that the money should be charged by the Auditors to one or both of these gentlemen, who should be called on to account for it, and failing, that it should be referred to the General court for decision in due course of law whether these gentlemen have been guilty of such negligence as will charge them in law with the money lost.
The board conceive their interference at present to be not strictly within their line, but that it rests with the Auditors and treasurer to determine how they will proceed. They are induced to give their opinion from a sense of the meritorious motives which induced the lenders (who are said to be farmers, not monied men) to supply monies to their country in the hour of her distress, and from reflection on the discouragements which would follow on all future applications to the people, were the miscarriages which happen in other hands to bring loss on them.
MS (Vi); in TJ’s hand, written on verso of George Brooke’s letter to TJ, preceding. Although this is an “Advice of Council,” there can scarcely be any doubt that TJ was its author.
Two resolutions of the House of Delegates throw light on the case of the money collected by Sampson Matthews and transmitted by Alexander Sinclair in a letter to TJ of 21 May 1780, q.v. On 27 June 1780 the House amended and agreed to a report on a memorial of Smyth Tandy which stated in part that a considerable sum of money had been collected in Augusta co. and by order of Matthews had been paid to Sinclair for transmittal to the governor (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. 64). Sinclair sent the money to TJ by Tandy, and TJ referred Tandy with the money to the state treasurer, George Brooke, who, when he examined the packet, found £4376/13 missing (Brooke to TJ, preceding). Tandy returned home and found one small bundle of money among the papers in his desk. As a result of its investigation the House rejected Tandy’s petition “praying that he may not sustain the loss.” From a resolution of the House of 24 June 1783 it appears that Matthews had sued Tandy for the missing sum, that he had been nonsuited, and that he now sought reimbursement for the sum lost by Tandy and for the costs of the suit. The House found his plea reasonable, the Senate agreed, and he was accordingly reimbursed (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1783, 1828 edn., p. 79–80, 82).