Thomas Jefferson Papers

Advice of Council respecting Purchase of Gunpowder, with a Warrant for the Purchase, 12 April 1781

Advice of Council respecting Purchase of Gunpowder, with a Warrant for the Purchase

Feb. 12. 1781.

The Executive will advance £20,000 to Messrs. Lewis and Thornton on the 12th. of March, and will agree to the terms proposed in Mr. Lewis’s letter of Feb. 6. 1781. reserving a liberty to pay for the powder in tobacco @ 20/ the hundred or it’s worth in paper money as valued by the grand jury next preceding paiment.

Th: Jefferson

Mar. 5. 1781.

The Executive will take five tons or so much of it as shall be ready by the last of July next.

Th: Jefferson

April 2. 1781.


Be pleased to issue to Messrs Lewis and Thornton a Warrant for twenty thousand pounds in advance for a quantity of Gun powder to be furnished by them to the State.

By Advice of Council.

Th: Jefferson

Three notes to the Auditors (Vi: Contingent Fund Vouchers), of several dates but apparently all sent on 2 Apr. 1781. The first two are in TJ’s hand on the recto of a small slip of paper; the third, in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ, is on verso. There is a separate endorsement sheet bearing notations in more than one hand: “2d April 1781 Mess. Lewis & Thornton £20000 On Acct. Exd.”

Mr Lewis’s letter of Feb. 6. 1781: This letter (in Vi) was written by John Lewis, without place, and addressed “To Colo. John Harvie Richmond.” Lewis and his partner Thornton state that they will “furnish one Ton of Powder at four Shillings Specie perr. pound and what ever quantity more we make we will take Five Shillings per pound Specie‥‥ I expect our mill will get to work by the middle of April and think we can make Eight hundred weight powder per week”; they will, however, require £20,000 immediately to purchase supplies. This letter was submitted by Harvie to the Council, and below the text is a copy of the Council’s decision (the first note printed above) and also a note by TJ identical with the second note printed above.

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