Instruction from Virginia General Assembly
to Its Delegates in Congress
Printed text (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg.Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1780, pp. 80–81).
[2 January 1781]
Resolved, That the navigation of the river Mississippi ought to be claimed by Virginia only, as co-extensive with our territory, and that our delegates in Congress be instructed to procure for the other States in the Union, the free navigation of that river as extensively as the territorial possession of the said States reaches respectively. And that every further or other demand of the said navigation be ceded, if insisting on the same is deemed an impediment to a treaty with Spain.
Provided, That the said delegates use their endeavor to obtain, on behalf of this State, or other States, having territory on the said river, a free port or ports below the territory of such States respectively.1
1. For the background of this motion, see the following 1780 items: Draft of Letter to Jay, 17 October and nn. 11, 14; Bland to Jefferson, 22 November and n. 4; JM to Jones, 25 November and nn., 5 December and n. 2, 12 December, n. 5; Motion on Instructions to Jay, 8 December; Virginia Delegates to Jefferson, 13 December; Commission and Instructions to Laurens, 23 December, editorial note.