Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, enclosing Clark’s Commission, 22 January 1781

To George Rogers Clark, enclosing Clark’s Commission

In Council Jan. 22. 1781.


I do myself the pleasure of inclosing you a Brigadier General’s commission. The laws having given us power to appoint a General officer only for special purposes, and not a perpetual one, has obliged us to express the particular occasion of this appointment. Besides this I thought it necessary to give you an exemplification of your former commission which was perpetual.

I wish you in every circumstance all possible success and felicity, and to beleive me to be with very sincere esteem Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

The Commonwealth of VIRGINIA

To George Rogers Clarke Gentleman, greeting:

KNOW YOU that our GOVERNOUR, with the advice of the Council of State, doth constitute and appoint you a Brigadier General of the forces to be embodied on1 an expedition westward of the Ohio. In Testimony whereof, these our Letters are sealed, with the Seal of the Commonwealth, and made Patent.

Witness THOMAS JEFFERSON, Esquire, our said Governour, at Richmond, the twenty second Day of January in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty one.2

Th: Jefferson

RC (WHi); addressed: “Brigadier General Clarke Richmond”; endorsed. Enclosure (WHi): printed form, such as was used for commissioning officers of the militia, filled in by a clerk and signed by TJ; seal at foot of text.

The laws … appointment: Clark had desired a Continental commission, but the established rules did not permit the granting of such a commission to officers in state regiments (George Rogers Clark Papers, 1771–1781, p. cxlv).

1The words “of Militia in the County of” that appeared at this point in the printed form were struck out by the clerk.

2The word “one” is in TJ’s hand.

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