Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Speaker of the House of Delegates, 17 March 1781

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates

In Council Mar. 17. 1781.


The inclosed act of Congress will inform you of the final ratification of the Confederation of the thirteen United states of America. I beg leave to congratulate the General assembly on this very important event, by which a firm bond of Union is drawn on these states, our friends enabled to repose confidence in our engagements, and our enemies deprived of their only remaining hope.

I have the honor to be with sentiments of the highest respect & esteem Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (NNP); addressed: “The honble Richard Henry Lee Speaker of the House of Delegates”; endorsed: “Governors Letter March 17th: 1781. enclosing Act of Congress ratifying the Confederation to lie on the table.” FC (Vi). Enclosure (Vi): Extract of minutes of Congress, 1 Mch. 1781, printed as an enclosure to Samuel Huntington to TJ, 2 Mch. 1781, q.v.

On Friday, 16 Mch., the House of Delegates had proceeded to consider the choice of a delegate to Congress to take the place of James Henry who had resigned, but had resolved that the selection be “put off ’till Monday sevennight.” When, however, the House received TJ’s communication with its important enclosure, the following resolution was immediately adopted on Saturday, 17 Mch.: “Whereas the ratification of the confederation of the thirteen United States of America, being notified to this House since the Order of Yesterday for postponing their choice of a Delegate to Congress renders it essential to the interests of this State that its representation in Congress shall be complete. Resolved that this House will on Monday next proceed by Joint Ballot with the Senate to the choice of a Delegate”; in consequence of this resolution, Benjamin Harrison was elected on 19 Mch. (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Mch. 1781, Va. State Libr., Bull., 1928, p. 33, 35, 39).

Index Entries