Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Fleming, 22 June 1776

From William Fleming

Wmsburg, 22d. June, 1776. 3 o’clock, P.M.

Dear Sir

I, being inform’d that the post is to set out in an hour, have just left the committee appointed to prepare a form of government to give you a summary of their proceeding. The inclosed printed plan was drawn by Colo. G. Mason and by him laid before the committee. They proceeded to examine it clause by clause, and have made such alterations as you will observe by examining the printed copy and the manuscript together; tho’ I am fearful you will not readily understand them, having made my notes in a hurry at the table, as the alterations were made. I left the committee debating on some amendments proposed to the last clause, which they have probably finished, as the bell, for the meeting of the house, is now ringing. This business has already taken up about a fortnights time, I mean in committee.

As some of your friends have, no doubt, given you a history of our late election of delegates to serve in congress, and of the spirit (evil spirit I had almost said) and general proceedings of our convention, I shall, for the present, forbear any animadversions thereon: indeed, were I ever so much inclined to it the time would not allow me.

There were found on board the transport brought up by the two Barons [Barrons], 200 matrasses, 100 tents, 3 hhds. rum, and 2 barrels of Gun Powder.

Purdie has promised to pack up your books, and Colo. Tom to carry them to Tuckahoe. He this day told me you desired him to enquire, of me, something about Vatels law of nations. You did not mention it in your letter to me. I can lend you a copy for a few months which [when?] you return to Virginia. I am Dr. Sr. yr. friend & serv.,

Wm. Fleming

N.B. Mr. Wythe was at Port royal Thursday night, and will be in town tomorrow.

RC (DLC). Enclosure: “A Plan of Government Laid before the committee of the House, which they have ordered to be printed for perusal of the members”; broadside, Sabin 100027, annotated and with a MS addendum in William Fleming’s hand (DLC); the enclosure is printed as Document No. v under the Virginia Constitution, above.

Colo. Tom: Though nicknames were unusual among the Virginia gentry, this seems clearly to be the reading and presumably refers to Thomas Mann Randolph, Sr. (1741–1793), of Tuckahoe, delegate from Goochland co. to the Convention of May 1776 (Conv. Jour. description begins Proceedings of the Convention of Delegatesin the Colony of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1776, 1816 edn., List of Delegates).

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