Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on the Progress of Certain Bills, [9–25 May 1774]

Notes on the Progress of Certain Bills

[9–25 May 1774]

Entail bill (my own)

May  9. 1774. leave to bring in the bill
10. bill read first time & ordd. to be read 2d time
13. Committed
19. reported & ingrossed
20. read 3d time and passed.

General Entail bill

May 25. leave to bring in bill to empower certain persons to convey away their lands.
26. presented, read, & to be read 2d time

Road bill

presentd. by Commee Cts. justce. read 1st. time & ordd. to be Committd.

Ferry bill Fluvanna.

May 21st. report made by Commee. for insertg. clauses in general bill
25. instruction to discontinue other ferries.

N (DLC).

The first of these Bills pertained to TJ personally and the others to Albemarle co.; he was not on any of the committees to bring them in. Though his own entail bill was passed by the House, it did not become a law because on 26 May the House was dissolved before any bills for this session received the assent of the governor and council. The other three bills got no further than TJ records; for their full titles, see JHB description begins Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619–1776, Richmond, 1905–1915 description ends , 1773–1776, p. 129, 89, and 118, respectively. TJ’s own bill is of special interest in the light of his responsibility for the abolition of entails by the statute of 14 Oct. 1776 (TJ’s Autobiography, Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends i, 49–50). Under 9 May 1774 the Journal records his and his wife’s joint petition as follows:

“A Petition of Thomas Jefferson and Martha his Wife was presented to the House, and read; setting forth that Francis Eppes, grandfather of the Petitioner Martha, by his last Will and Testament in writing devised to her Mother, in fee tail general, one Moiety of two thousand and four hundred Acres of land, now in the County of Cumberland; that the Petitioner Martha is the sole heir of the Body of her said Mother; that the Petitioners have contracted to make sale of their Moiety of the said lands; and that it will be greatly to their Interest and that of their Families to have the said contract carried into effect, by docking the Intail and settling lands, in the County of Goochland, of equal value, in lieu of the said Moiety; and therefore praying that leave may be given to bring in a Bill for that purpose.

“Ordered, that leave, be given to bring in a Bill pursuant to the prayer of the said Petition; and that Mr. Bland do prepare and bring in the same.”

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