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Session of Virginia Council of State, 23 January 1778

Session of Virginia Council of State

MS (Virginia State Library).

Friday January 23d 1778

present
His Excellency;
John Page1Nathaniel Harrison Dudley DiggesDavid Jameson & John BlairJames Madison
Esquires

The Governor with the Advice of the Council, issued the following Warrants upon the Treasurer for the Bounty of the Draughts to be made in the Several Counties agreeable to Act of Assembly for filling up the fifteen Virginia Regiments.2


A Warrant for one hundred & three pounds ten Shillings payable to William Moore Esquire on account of Orange Draughts.3


The General Assembly having empowered the Governor with the Advice of the Privy Council, to appoint two Brigadiers General, if the numbers of Voluntiers who may enlist agreeable to the Directions of the Act entituled An Act for Speedily recruiting the Virginia Regiments on the Continental Establishment & for raising additional Troops of Voluntiers4 shall make it necessary to appoint them the Board, being of opinion that it might greatly encourage that Service to let it be known what Gentlemen are likely to be appointed, advise his Excellency the Governor as soon as the Enlistments shall give him a Right to do so, to appoint Thomas Nelson jr & Alexander Spotswood Esquires Brigadiers General to Command the said Troops.5 And the Governor with the Advice of the Council, was pleased to appoint Monday the 23d Day of February next for the nomination of the Field officers of the several Battalions & to direct public Notice thereof to be given in the Virginia Gazettes6 to the Intent that all persons willing to offer their services to their Country on this occasion may have an opportunity of doing so, in any way the most convenient to themselves.

Adjourned till Tomorrow 10 oClock

Signed  John Page
Dudley Digges
John Blair
Nathl Harrison
David Jameson
James Madison

1John Page (1743–1808) of Gloucester County was lieutenant governor of Virginia. Other major offices which he held were those of United States representative from 1789 to 1797 and governor from 1802 to 1805.

2Hening, 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, 588–92.

3Issuing warrants, especially to militia officers, was one of the most frequent tasks of the Council of State during JM’s tenure. At this session sixteen other warrants were authorized, besides the sample given here. William Moore carried home a letter from JM to his father (q.v.) on the same day that this warrant was issued.

4Printed in 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, 337–49.

5Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1738–1789), frequently a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and House of Delegates and twice a member of the Continental Congress, reached his political apogee on 12 June 1781, when he was chosen to succeed Governor Thomas Jefferson. In August and September 1777 he was a brigadier general in command of all Virginia militia called out to defend the state against a short-lived British invasion (Journals of the Council of State, I, 470, 499). In 1781, while governor, he helped in besieging the British in Yorktown, the village of his residence. Alexander Spotswood (1751–1818) had been a colonel of the 2d Virginia Regiment until his resignation in October 1777. In March 1781 he was appointed commander of a special legion to defend the state against invasion. His unit, however, never took the field (Clayton Torrence, “A Cloud-Capped Legion,” William and Mary Quarterly, 2d ser., I [1921], 137–41). Apparently enlistments in 1778 were insufficient to justify the appointment of Nelson and Spotswood.

6Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, Purdie; and Dixon and Hunter). This public notice is not available, since the pertinent issues for January and February 1778 have not survived.

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