Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Theodorick Bland, 18 June 1779

To Theodorick Bland

Williamsburg, June 18th, 1779.


Yours of the 14th inst., came to hand this day. * * * with respect to Col. Finnie, as a continental officer, [we decline med]dling with his conduct; being yourself in the continental service, [we] take it for granted, that if he fails in his duty you will [put] him under a proper train of enquiry. His assurances to us are fair; one thing only I am to inform you, that however true it may be that he is without money, it is no just excuse for failing to do any thing for the public service, because that was never permitted by the executive here, to be on sufferance for want of money. He never applied in vain, and we still are, as we ever have been, ready to lend him (as a continental officer) any monies, which the due discharge of his office may call [for,] * * * * and politeness at the [least] hardly permits them to suppose the duties of the [post can be as] well discharged by any other, as by yourself. But your health for that very reason is the more to be taken care of. You will please to permit Capt. Bertling and Lieutenant Campbell to pass by land to the lower ferry of the Chickahominy, [where the Flag] lies, and finally settle the business, on which she came, according [to the rules] usual in their service. I inclose you the reasons, which have induced the council to [act] with such rigor with Governor Hamilton and the others there. It is impossible for any generous man to disapprove his sentence. I am, sir, with much [respect,] your most obedient and most humble servant, &c.

MS not located; text from Bland Papers description begins The Bland Papers: Being a Selection from the Manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland, Jr. description ends , i, 138–9. The asterisks and square brackets are in the printed text. Enclosure: Order of Virginia Council, 16 June 1779, printed above.

Yours of the 14th inst.: If the present letter is a reply to Bland’s letter of the 14th (see above), its passages commenting upon Bland’s application for the use of Monticello during TJ’s absence must have been among the omissions indicated by the use of asterisks. On the case of Governor Hamilton, see TJ to Bland, 8 June, and references there. The flag: a vessel bearing a flag of truce; concerning the business on which she came see TJ to William Phillips, 25 June 1779.

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