Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Edmund Randolph, 23 June 1776

From Edmund Randolph

Wmsburg June 23. 1776.

Dear Sir

Gilmer, not being able to attend the Convention the other Day, when the Delegates were chosen, sent a Memo. to me, to press your Non-election. I urged it in decent Terms: but stirred up a Swarm of Wasps about my Ears, who seemed suspicious, that I designed to prejudice you. However, fortunately for my Credit, your Letter to the President was yesterday read to the House, confirming, What I had asserted. Your Excuse was rejected, as made by me. Whether they will admit it, as now made by yourself, I know not. If they do, for God’s Sake, be with us quickly. Our Counsels want every Thing, to stamp Value on them.

I should have made the Attempt, recommended to me in your Favour. But the Veterans to a Man exclaimed vs. it. This however would not have intimidated me, had it not been for the vast affection, which the present Body have for being the Manufacturers of the new Government.

Barron has brought in the Transport, taken by Capt. Biddle off the Banks of Newfoundland, and separated from him by a Storm. Her Cargo, consisting of 217 Scotch Highland Regulars, came up to this Town yesterday. Among them, we are told, are many valuable Artificers. Measures are in Agitation to reconcile them to prosecute their different Occupations in this Country. Some of them are violent vs. America, others tolerably moderate, and many from contending Passions curse the Parliament and Congress in the same Breath.

Colo. Harrison and Braxton are omitted in the Delegation for the next Year. Before the Day of ballotting arrived, no small Pains were taken to effectuate this Business: and I am in doubt, whether the Reduction of your Number to five proceeded more from a Desire of saving the Wages of the other two, than excluding Harrison.

The ½ Joh: loses a Grain every Time it is mentioned. It is sweated as low as thirty Shillings, according to the prevailing opinion out of Doors. An Ordinance comes in today, to amend that, which gave it. I wish you may survive this Attack with even 20/ per Day. Yr. friend & Servt.,

E. R.


George Gilmer’s memo. (memorandum? memorial?) has not been found. TJ had suggested that the Virginia delegates be recalled for the purpose of taking part in the framing of the Virginia constitution (see TJ to Thomas Nelson, 16 May 1776). His present plea may, however, have been based on domestic grounds, presumably Mrs. Jefferson’s illness, but unfortunately his letter to the president (Pendleton), said by Randolph to have been read to the Convention, is missing, and it is not mentioned in the Journal. On 20 June TJ had been reelected for another year’s service from 11 Aug. 1776 (Com. Jour., May 1776, 1816 edn., p. 58). For political and personal aspects of that election, see TJ to Fleming, 1–2 July, and Fleming to TJ, 27 July 1776. ½ Joh: Half Johannes, usually “half joe,” a Portuguese gold coin. A year earlier the Convention had fixed the daily wage of delegates to Congress at forty-five shilling’s; an ordinance passed on 24 June 1776 reduced this to thirty shillings (Conv. Jour. description begins Proceedings of the Convention of Delegatesin the Colony of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , July 1775, 1816 edn., p. 53; same for May 1776, 1816 edn., p. 64, Ordinances, p. 12).

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