Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Edmund Randolph, 22 February 1778

From Edmund Randolph

Williamsburg Feby. 22. 1778.

Dear Sir

The council board has been so much crouded with business of late, that I could not procure an order for the removal of Goodrich to Albemarle, ‘till this morning. I should not have delayed to comply with the resolution of Assembly so long, had it not been necessary to examine him in the county, in which it is supposed he committed the crime. The order for his removal went by express to day to the county lieutenant of Bedford. Inclosed is an order to the county lieutenant of Albemarle, to receive him, and convey him to the proper place for his examination. Not knowing, whether you, or who else, may be in that post, I send the order to you. The letters too will accompany this, and I beg the favour of you to return them to me, if the examining court should think him deserving a farther trial.

What his offence, as grounded upon these letters, may be, I cannot at present tell. I could wish, that the court would settle distinctly in their own minds, before they put him into my hands, of what nature his crime is. You will oblige me by directing the court, if you should be present at his examination, how to proceed in this affair. I am Dr. Sir with great regard yr. mo. ob. Servt.,

Edm: Randolph

RC (DLC). Addressed: “To Thos. Jefferson Esqr.” Enclosure: Patrick Henry to TJ, 21 Feb; other enclosures missing.

After John Goodrich, Sr., escaped from custody in Albemarle co., 18 Aug. 1777 (see John Goodrich to TJ, 20 Jan. 1777), he was apprehended, ordered to be confined in Botetourt co., and later transferred to Bedford co. before being again sent to Albemarle for trial (Va. Council Jour. description begins Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , i, 475; ii, 20). No record of his trial has been found. However, he was apparently released (Sabine, Loyalists, i, 481). Purdie’s Virginia Gazette of 19 June 1778 reported that “old Mr. Goodrich, and one of his sons, in two armed vessels, lately went into Ocracock inlet and burnt four vessels, and carried off five more, that were loaded and ready to proceed to sea.” In Sep. 1778 he was still raiding the Virginia coast. Congress ordered two frigates to cruise off the Capes in quest of the “Notorious” Goodriches, and the Virginia Navy Board also sent out cruisers to apprehend them (Va. Council Jour. description begins Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , ii, 184, 186). Sometime thereafter Goodrich returned to England, where he died in 1785 (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , xiv [1907], 443–4). It is interesting to compare the cases of John Goodrich, Sr. and Josiah Philips and particularly to compare Randolph’s doubt about the charge to be preferred against Goodrich with his (or the court’s) decision not to apply the Bill of Attainder to Philips (see notes to Bill to Attaint Josiah Philips, 28 May 1778).

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