Bill Extending the Alien Veterans’ Land Rights
[30 November 1784]
For extending the benefit of lands granted by the laws of this Commonwealth to Officers and Soldiers who have served during the late war to their representatives or devisees who may be aliens. Be it enacted that if any such alien representative or devisee shall on or before the day of or in case he or she be under the age of twenty one years within after having attained such age become a citizen of this Commonwealth, he or she shall inherit or take such land in the same manner as if at the death of such officer or soldier, he or she were a Citizen of this Commonwealth; and if any such alien representative or devisee, instead of becoming a Citizen of this Commonwealth, shall chuse rather to dispose of such land, he or she is hereby authorized at any time before the day of or in case of infancy within after attaining the age of twenty one years either by themselves or their attornies duly authorised therein to sell & convey the same in fee simple to any person or persons being a Citizen or Citizens of this or any other of the United States in as effectual a manner as if such alien representative or devisee were at the time of such conveyance a citizen of this Commonwealth.1
Ms (Vi). JM’s hand. Docketed by JM: “A Bill For extending to the Representatives & devisees being aliens, of officers or Soldiers who have served during the late war, the benefit of lands granted by the laws of this Commonwealth to such officers & Soldiers.” John Beckley dated the docket on 30 Nov. and noted: “Read the first Time.”
1. JM was named to the committee appointed on 29 Nov. to draft this bill. He prepared this measure overnight and presented it the following day (JHDV 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 is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1784, p. 46). The bill passed its three readings, and was carried by JM to the Senate on 2 Dec. There the measure languished and finally died when “the tedious Session” ended on 7 Jan. 1785 (JM to Jefferson, 9 Jan. 1785).