From Samuel McDowell
[Before 27 June 1780]
Please to Send me by the bearer the Revised Bill respecting the Vesterys and oblige your Humble Servt.,
RC (DLC). At foot of text: “His Excellency Thos. Jefferson.” On the verso TJ made the following notes taken apparently from some book and possibly made at a later date: “Christianing. Exorcising meat. hble. servt. Excy. honour. Funl. cerem. head facing east on opn. that earth like trencher. opn. that right founded on power. viz. women. slaves. not educate daughters, estates to sons. rifles.”
The date of this letter cannot be determined except from the fact that it was directed to TJ as governor. It has been placed under the present date because Samuel McDowell, member of the House of Delegates from Rockbridge co. in the May 1780 session (“Register of Va. General Assembly,” p. 12), was a member of the committee on religion which on 27 June 1780 brought in a bill “for the dissolution of vestries, and appointing overseers of the poor” as the result of petitions from Rockbridge and other counties requesting such a dissolution (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. 4, 16, 64). The revised bill respecting the Vesterys probably refers to a general bill for the dissolution of vestries introduced in the May 1779 session by a committee of which TJ was a member but which was not passed (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1779, 1827 edn., p. 11, 26, 27, 59). There is no evidence that TJ prepared the 1779 bill.