From Andrew Shepherd
Orange 22th. December 1787
With pleasure not long since I heard of your welfare of which I sincerely wish a continuance, from your last,1 it has been intimated to your freinds in this County, that it will be agreeable to you to represent them in the Convention, which I think in my own opinion will meet with a general approbation, but as there is no guarding against artfull persons from injecting their poison into the unwarie, I would beg leave to recommend your presence as soon as you conveniently could; I have not as yet heard of any other Candidate but your freind Majr. Moore, Jnr. J. G. prepares himself for the Assbly, and am pretty certain that youl. both meet with his influence.2 I think at present there are but few in this County agt. the new Constitution, it has lately in Richdn. been much opposed, but since I have been informed that its gaining freinds. Our Old Senator Capt Walker stands forth in Culpepper, As do’s Genl. Stevens.3 I have not heared for certain of any other, however it is expected there will be as there are some very great oponents. Our Assembly are still setting, & the last Accotts. we have from there, that nothing very materiale was finally done. The Tax on White persons & Young Negro’s is expected to be taken off, as it had passed the lower house, that the Certificate Tax was to be with drawn, & to be purchased up by the Executive as they could from the holders—an additionall duty expected to be laid on Spirits &ca.4 I wish they may not go into extremes on that afair. As youl. no doubt be more fully informed of these circumstances from other correspondents, youl. please execuse me from takeing up yr time, on so triffling an information. All freinds in their common situation, & wishing you a safe return to them I am with the Compliments of the approaching Season D Sir Your most affet & Hul Svt
RC (NN). Docketed by JM.
1. Letter not found.
2. James Gordon, Jr. (1759–1799), was elected to both the House of Delegates and the June convention. William Moore evidently dropped his candidacy for the convention in favor of JM and Gordon. Their opponents were Thomas Barbour and Charles Porter (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , pp. 29, 244; James Madison, Sr., to JM, 30 Jan. 1788; Gordon to JM, 17 Feb. 1788).
3. James Walker had represented the Senate district that included Orange, Culpeper, and Spotsylvania counties in 1777 and 1778. Edward Stevens (1745–1820) represented the same district in 1776 and from 1779 to 1790. Neither man was elected to the convention from Culpeper, where the successful candidates were French Strother and Joel Early (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (10 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 148 n. 2; II, 68 n. 2; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , pp. 243, 432, 441).
4. See Stuart to JM, 21 Oct. 1787 and n. 3. Although the certificate tax was eliminated, the legislature laid an additional duty on imported goods payable in certificates as an alternative means of retiring them. In addition, the interest on the certificates collected in taxes and duties was appropriated to the sinking fund, to be employed by the governor and council in the direct purchase of certificates still outstanding.
5. Andrew Shepherd, a justice of the peace and vestryman of St. Thomas’s Parish, had been sheriff of Orange County since October 1786 (Scott, History of Orange County, p. 71; JCSV description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (4 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 585).