Thomas Jefferson Papers

Bill Appointing the Place for Holding the High Court of Chancery and the General Court, [20 January 1778]

Bill Appointing the Place for Holding the High Court of Chancery and the General Court

[20 January 1778]

Whereas by the acts constituting the High court of Chancery and General court, the said courts are to be holden at such place as the legislature shall direct, and no place hath as yet been appointed for that purpose:

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that for the term of one year after the end of this present session of assembly, and from thence to the end of the session then next ensuing, the said courts shall be holden in the Capitol in the city of Williamsburgh.

And be it further enacted that it shall be lawful for the said High court of Chancery to appoint from time to time their own Serjeant at arms who shall be attendant on the said court to perform the duties of his office; for which he shall receive such fees as shall be allowed by law.

MS (Vi); in TJ’s hand. Endorsed by him: “A Bill appointing the place for holding the High-court of Chancery & General court, & empowering the sd High court of Chancery to appoint their own Serjeant at arms.” Docketed in hand of John Tazewell: “1778. Jan: 20th. Read the first Time. Jan: 22d. Read 2d. time & to be ingrossed.”

This Bill, as the above indicates, was rushed through at the close of the session. TJ and Edmund Pendleton were appointed on 20 Jan. to a committee to bring in the bill; TJ reported it the same day; it passed the third reading on 23 Jan., and the Senate approved it the same day, precisely as written (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. 123, 126, 131–2). Text of the Act is in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 434.

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