Thomas Jefferson Papers

Bill for Dissolving the Vestries of the Parishes of Meherrin and St. Anne, [16 December 1777]

Bill for Dissolving the Vestries of the Parishes of Meherrin and St. Anne

[16 December 1777]

Whereas it hath been represented to this present general assembly, that by the death and resignation of sundry members of the vestries of Meherrin parish, in the county of Brunswick, and of the parish of St. Anne, in the county of Albemarle, there is not a sufficient number of members to hold a vestry in either of the said parishes, by which means the business of the same hath been for a considerable time unsettled: Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the passing of this act the said vestries shall be dissolved; and the sheriff of the county of Brunswick is hereby required to summon the freeholders of the said parish of Meherrin, and others entitled to vote, to meet at Randall’s ordinary, in the said parish, on the second day of March next, and the sheriff of the county of Albemarle, in the like manner, to summon the freeholders, and others entitled to vote in the said parish of St. Anne, to meet at the new church upon Hardware river on the same day, then and there to choose twelve of the most able and discreet persons of their respective parishes to be a vestry for the said parishes respectively.

The vestries so chosen, after taking an oath of fidelity to this commonwealth, shall proceed to regulate and settle the business of their respective parishes, and shall have full power and authority to levy all salaries or arrears of salaries due to the incumbents of the said parishes before the first day of January last, also to assess and levy such sums of money as shall be sufficient to enable them to comply with their parochial engagements before that date, and to demand and recover of any collector or collectors all arrears of money or tobacco due to the said parishes and put into their hands to collect, and to do any other act which the said vestries hereby dissolved might by law have respectively done had they continuèd full and undissolved.

Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 442–3. MS (Vi) in an unidentified hand, accompanied by two pages of amendments in TJ’s hand. MS endorsed: “A Bill for dissolving the Vestry of the Parish of Meherrin in the County of Brunswick.” Docketed, partly in hand of John Tazewell: “Decr. 16. 1777. Read the first Time. Decr. 22. Read the second time & commd. to Mr. [Henry] Tazewell Mr. McLin [Macklin] Mr. Jefferson. Decr. 24th to be engrossed.” (Printed text is employed in order to indicate more clearly TJ’s revisions of the Bill, which are also italicized for the same purpose.)

This Bill, as introduced on 16 Dec. 1777 by Henry Tazewell of Brunswick (and perhaps drawn by him, since it concerned a vestry in the county he represented), provided only for the dissolution of the vestry of Meherrin parish. On the second reading, however, it was referred to a new committee which included TJ and the committee was instructed to include in the Bill a clause or clauses for dissolving the parish of St. Anne in Albemarle county. This fact, together with the list of amendments in TJ’s hand, makes it certain that the enlargement of the Bill was due to his prompting (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Oct. 1777, 1827 edn., p. 78, 81, 87, 91, 96). See TJ’s Testimonial concerning Charles Clay, 15 Aug. 1779.

Index Entries