Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Harry Innes, 29 November 1781

From Harry Innes

Richmond Novr. 29th. 1781


A circumstance has lately transpired in the Western country which is likely to create great Litigation, and as I expect to be considerably employed in the investigation of the matter, I would beg leave to communicate the affair to you and request your opinion on it; I have presumed to do this under a confidence that you would have no objection to giving your opinion as you are not in any of the judicial departments. Inclosed is a State of the case. Those Surveys were cheifly made before the Year 48 at which time it is said no Depy. or Assistant Surveyor was necessary—the Law directing Assistants passed about the year 50.

I would beg leave Sir to request your opinion in another matter which concerns myself, (I mean) who has the Titles to the Leatherwood Lands—Lomax or my Fathers Representatives—as I beleive you are better acquainted with the matter than I am, shall not undertake to state it. Your favour Sir in answering the two cases here refered to you will lay me under singular obligations, besides making you any satisfaction you may require—and if an oppertunity offers of sending [an answer?] shortly to Bedford I would request you to send it to the care of your Overseer—if no oppertunity offers that way soon a Letter sent to Richmond any time during the Session to the care of Mr. Talbott would meet with a ready conveyance. I am Sir Your mo. ob.

Harry Innes

RC (CtY: Benjamin Franklin Papers); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Albemarle”; one line partially clipped; with notations by TJ on address cover:

“Grants of lands. Stopped by caveat Revoked by Sci. fa.

Ct. of Appeals. Writ of error Appeal Rehearing qu?”

Harry Innes, a Bedford County lawyer, evidently solicited TJ’s advice on the circumstance … in the western country in order to help him decide how best to represent the legal interests of the Augusta County opponents of the land grant to James Patton described in the enclosure below. The 1749 law directing assistants for Virginia surveyors is in Hening, description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, Richmond, 1809–23, 13 vols. description ends vi, 33–8.

TJ responded to Innes in missing letters of 15 Dec. 1781 and 3 Feb. 1782 (see Innes to TJ, 18 Feb. 1782, and note).

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