Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Philip Doddridge to Thomas Jefferson, [17] January 1816

From Philip Doddridge

[Richmond 17] Jany 1816

Dear Sir

Although I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, I take the liberty of asking your information upon the following points

1st At what time the Convention of this State first resolved to give a bounty in lands to their officers and Soldiers?

2d whether you are in possession of a full journal of the proceedings of the convention of this State of 1776, and if you are not, any information you may possess, which may aid me in the pursuit of that journal—

I find in the Council Chamber a printed volume Containing a part of that journal—The desire appears to be general to have that volume printed and distributed—If the whole Could any where be obtained, the utility of printing and distributing would be greatly increased

Will you be So good Sir as to give me by the return of mail, addressed to me here, any information you may possess upon the foregoing subjects

I would cheerfuly pay whatever might be the postage upon any document in your possession, which you may enclose to me here, or to the Clerk or Speaker of the H. of Delegates, calculated to throw light upon those Subjects—The originals shall be returned and without doubt a vote will pass for their printing and distribution

respectfuly

P Doddridge

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 205:36593); top edge trimmed, with loss of endorsement and part of dateline. Recorded in SJL as a letter of 17 Jan. received 27 Jan. 1816 from Richmond.

Philip Doddridge (1773–1832), attorney and public official, was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and received his formal education in Charlestown, Virginia (now Wellsburg, West Virginia). Self-educated in law, he was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1797 and quickly rose to prominence in the legal community. In 1804 Doddridge was elected to the Senate of Virginia, representing the counties of Brooke, Harrison, Monongalia, Ohio, Randolph, and Wood. In 1808 he resigned his senate seat to accept a position as commonwealth’s attorney. Doddridge represented Brooke County for five terms in the House of Delegates, 1815–17, 1820–21, 1822–23, and 1828–29. He was an advocate for the western part of the state and supported a reform agenda that included universal white male suffrage and direct election of governors. A delegate to the 1829–30 state constitutional convention, Doddridge was a leader of an unsuccessful movement to institute apportionment changes that would have decreased the influence of the long-settled Tidewater region and strengthened the underrepresented western districts. He won a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1828 and was reelected in 1830. As a congressman, Doddridge supported protective tariffs and federally funded internal improvements. He became ill while working on a new legal code for Washington, D.C., and died there (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; Waitman T. Willey, A Sketch of the Life of Philip Doddridge [1875]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 20 Nov. 1832; Washington Globe, 20 Nov. 1832).

By an act passed in the General Assembly on 22 June 1779, the state of Virginia first resolved to give a bounty in lands to their officers and soldiers (JSV description begins Journal of the Senate of Virginia description ends [1779 sess.], 52; Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1779 sess.], 21–8). After the state senate’s rejection on 24 Feb. 1816 of “An Act directing the publication and distribution of the Journals of the Conventions which assembled in Virginia in the years 1775 and 1776,” Doddridge successfully moved two days later that the clerk of the House be ordered to have five hundred copies printed of the proceedings “of the Conventions which assembled in Virginia in the years 1775 and 1776,” with the additional instructions that he “transmit one copy of each of the said Journals to Thomas Jefferson Esq. late President of the United States, as a mark of respect from this House: and that the remaining copies thereof be deposited with the Executive, subject to the future order of the House of Delegates.” On 20 Feb. 1817 the legislature approved “An Act providing for the distribution of the printed edition of the Journals of the Conventions of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six,” retaining the House’s earlier proviso that a copy be sent to TJ while others were to go to “the librarian of the public library at the city of Washington,” the offices of the clerks of the Virginia House and Senate, the “Council Chamber,” and various public officials. The remainder were to be “disposed of by the public printer, in such manner as to him shall seem most advisable, and the proceeds thereof, after deducting a commission of ten per centum thereon, be paid by him into the treasury” (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1815–16 sess.], 201, 203 [misprinted “230”]; [1816–17 sess.], 219; Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1816–17 sess.], 24; The Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates for … the Colony of Virginia, Held at Richmond … on the 20th of March, 1775 [Richmond, 1816; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 10 (no. 576), described as “Proceedings of Convention, 1776(5)–6, 4to,” and “Copy given by the Gen. Assem.”; TJ’s copy in Vi, inscribed by him (trimmed): “To Thomas Jefferson by resolution of the Genera(l Assembly) of Virgin(a),” and bound with the reprinted proceedings of the other revolutionary conventions]).

Index Entries

  • An Act directing the publication and distribution of the Journals of the Conventions which assembled in Virginia in the years 1775 and 1776 (1816) search
  • An Act providing for the distribution of the printed edition of the Journals of the Conventions of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six (1817) search
  • Doddridge, Philip; as Va. legislator search
  • Doddridge, Philip; identified search
  • Doddridge, Philip; letter from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Virginia; Convention of1776, proceedings search
  • Virginia; conventions of1775–76 search
  • Virginia; Council of State search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search
  • Virginia; land grants in search
  • Virginia; TJ’s collection of laws of search