James Madison Papers

Session of Virginia Council of State, 7 April 1778

Session of Virginia Council of State

MS (Virginia State Library).

Tuesday April 7th 1778

His Excellency
Dudley Digges James Madison &
David Jameson Bolling Stark

The Board taking into Consideration the Cases of the several Criminals Sentenced by the general court to be executed & it appearing from the unanimous recommendation of the Judges, the grounds of which were explained to the Board by the Honourable John Blair1 one of the Judges, that Frederick Rampendall & Elizabeth Orphan2 are proper objects of Mercy the Board do advise the Governor to grant them his pardon And his Excellency orders pardons to be made out accordingly.

The Board being credibly informed that his Excellency General Washington has been unsupplied for some time past with many articles of Living which Custom & the great fatigues to which he is constantly exposed must make necessary to the preservation of his health; and considering that it may be impossible to provide these Articles in the exhausted part of America where the Army is at present fixed, do advise the Governor to direct the Commissary of Stores to procure a Stock of good rum, wine, Sugar & such other Articles as his Excellency may think needful & send them on to head Quarters, to be charged either to the Continent, or to be considered as a present from this State, to the General, as the assembly may hereafter direct; & the Governor is advised to inform them at their next meeting of his proceedings herein.3

Adjourned till tomorrow 10 oClock

Signed  Dudley Digges
David Jameson
James Madison
Bolling Stark

1John Blair became judge of the General Court on 23 January 1778, even though he remained on the Council of State until 28 February. Later he was the court’s chief justice.

2The editors have been unable to learn more about Rampendall, Orphan, and their crime. Their conviction must have occurred between 2 and 28 March (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , IX, 402).

3On 16 May 1778 Washington thanked “the Governor and Council for their agreeable present.” He added: “It is now on its way from the head of Elk; When it arrives I make no doubt, but it will find us in a humour to do it all manner of justice” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1931–44). description ends , XI, 394). Who paid for the “agreeable present” is not clear. It goes unmentioned both in the journal of the House of Delegates and in the journal of the Council of State.

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