Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Wythe, 5 April 1775

From George Wythe

Williamsburg, 5 April, 1775.

Dear Sir

I do not know that the terms on which the crown engaged to grant the lands in Virginia are contained in any other charter than that by Car. ii. the 10. of Oct. 28 of his reign. The original, I believe although the seal is not now to it, I found in my office; and I understand it is recorded in the Secretary’s office. A copy of it I now inclose to be sent by the first opportunity. In the mean time I will look over some other charters transmitted some years ago by agent Montagu to the committee of correspondence and send you a list of them with copies of those if there be any which relate to the subject you are investigating and will procure you copies of such others as you shall signify a desire to have. I am, dear sir, Your friend and servant,

G. Wythe

RC (DLC); only the date line, complimentary close, and signature are in Wythe’s hand. Enclosure: clerk’s copy of letters patent of 28 Charles ii, 10 Oct. 1676; see explanatory note.

TJ had evidently asked Wythe’s assistance in gathering materials for the investigation of land-granting practices;

see Resolution of 27 Mch. 1775, above. The document of which Wythe enclosed a copy, from the original in the office of the clerk of the House of Burgesses, confirmed, among other things, the right to fifty acres of unappropriated land on the part of “every person … comeing to dwell” in Virginia; it is printed in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ii, 532–3.

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