Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Speaker of the House of Delegates, 6 May 1782

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates

Albemarle May 6. 1782.


Purposing to decline the office of delegate for this county to which I have been lately elected, I take the liberty of declaring to you that I do not accept of the appointment, and of begging that this my act of renunciation may through your favor be communicated to the honourable the House of Delegates with every assurance to them and yourself1 of the very great respect with which I have the honour to be their & your most obedient & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

Dft (DLC); endorsed by TJ: “Speaker of the H. of Delegates.”

The General Assembly convened on 6 May 1782 and John Tyler was probably elected Speaker of the House that day or the following, though this fact, of course, could not have been known to TJ at the time the present letter was written. No journal of the House for this session is known to be extant, either in manuscript or printed form. See Tyler to TJ, 16 May, and TJ to Monroe, 20 May 1782. There is in Vi, however, “a very sketchy minute book for the House for this session” which, under date of 16 May 1782, contains the following: “Mr. Jeffersons Letter-read & to lie” (William J. Van Schreeven to editors, 29 Feb. 1952). Edmund Randolph, the same day, wrote Madison: “Mr. Jefferson has … tendered a resignation. This they refuse to accept, grounding the refusal upon his own principles, delivered on a similar occasion” (Randolph to Madison, 16 May 1782, DLC: Madison Papers).

1TJ first wrote and then deleted the following: “that I am with the most profound respect their and your.”

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