Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison, 29 December 1780

To Benjamin Harrison

In Council Dec. 29. 1780.


The inclosed resolution of Congress came to hand yesterday. As it is on the same subject with the resolution of Assembly of 23d. Decr. I beg leave to lay it before them. That the Assembly may be informed of the footing on which this matter stood at the time of their resolution I beg leave to inclose to them an extract from my Letter to Colo. Wood giving a general order for the removal of the whole Convention troops, and a second one which for reasons strongly urged by him suspended the removal of the Germans for a time. These Measures when taken were duly communicated to Congress and to Governor Lee and were approved of by Congress. What circumstances may have induced an alteration in their opinion I am uninformed. I conjecture however that some difficulty on the subject of provisions has arisen; for by a Letter from the board of war which came to hand with this resolution we are called on to furnish half the provisions necessary f[or] that part of the Conventioners who are gone on, and to transport this to Frederic town in Maryland. Against this I mean to remonstrate and have no doubt of satisfying Congress that this requisition has been too hastily adopted. But I should be glad to be advised by the Assembly how to conduct myself should the inclosed resolution of Congress be adhered to on their part: as our rights of jurisdiction cease at our boundary.

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Sir Your mo: obedt. & mo: hble. Servant,

Th: Jefferson

RC (Vi); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; endorsed: “Governors Letter &c. December 29th: 1780. Respecting the Convention troops. Refd: to Committee of the whole on State of the Commonwealth.” Enclosures (filed with the letter in Vi): “Extract of a Letter to Colo. Wood Octr. 26. 1780” (first paragraph of TJ’s letter to Wood printed above under that date); “Copy of a Letter to Colo. Wood November 3d. 1780” (also printed above under its date). A third enclosure, Congress’ resolve of 6 Dec. ordering such of the Convention troops as had not been moved from Charlottesville to remain there, is not now with the letter, but is printed above in the note on the Virginia Delegates’ letter to TJ, ca. 10 Dec. 1780.

The resolution of assembly of 23d. Decr., agreed to by Senate, 25 Dec. (copy attested by John Beckley and transmitted to TJ, Vi), had, directly contrary to Congress” resolve, required the Governor and Council “to remove out of this State all of the Troops of the Convention of Saratoga.” On 30 Dec. the House of Delegates confirmed its earlier resolution, ordering the troops to be “forthwith removed”; and on 1 Jan. 1781 the Senate concurred (copy of resolution attested by John Beckley, in Vi).

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