Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to St. George Tucker, 22 June 1779

To St. George Tucker

Williamsburgh June 22. 1779.

Dr Sir

As to an undoubted zeal for the cause of the American states you have always added a proper disposition to aid the island of Bermudas in her distresses, we have cast our eyes on you as a proper person to communicate to them what we are authorized to do by a recommendation from Congress and resolution of our assembly. For this purpose I take the liberty of inclosing to you three copies of a resolution of council to be forwarded if you please to such person in Bermuda as you think best, and by such different opportunities as may ensure the safe passage of one. It is true the relief is small, but if you can intimate under the rose that they bring Brobdinag bushels of salt, I imagine the same measure might be meted to them. I am Dr. Sir Your very humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (O. O. Fisher, Detroit, 1950). Addressed by TJ: “St. George Tucker esq. Petersburgh.” On a blank page of the letter appear: (1) A copy of an advice of the Virginia Council of State, dated 21 June 1779, reading as follows:

“In Council, June 21st: 1779.

“The Governor is advised to inform Mr. St. G. Tucker that he is authorised to permit 1000 Bushels of Corn to be exported to the Island of Bermuda, in such vessels as shall be sent from the Island to recieve the same, with Salt in exchange, Bushel for Bushel. The Corn shall be ready stored at the Town of Petg. [Petersburg] where the salt will be expected to be delivered. A Copy.

A:B: C:C:”

(2) A certificate by Benjamin Powell, justice of the peace in Williamsburg, dated 6 Sep. 1780, declaring that St. George Tucker appeared before him and took oath on that day that he (Tucker) “did recieve the Letter hereto annexed from his Excy. Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Governor of this Commonwealth, inclosing a Resolve of the privy Council attested by Archibald Blair Clerk of that Council, of which the preceeding is a true Copy, the Original of which was by this Deponent transmitted to Henry Tucker Esqr. of the Island of Bermuda.”

A recommendation from Congress: On 18 May 1779 Congress, after protracted debate and much about-facing by some of the members, agreed to recommend to the executives of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia that each of these states export 1,000 bushels of Indian corn “for the relief of the distressed inhabitants” of Bermuda (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xiii, 471–2; xiv, 501–2, 553, 555–6, 595–6, 608–10). The Resolution of our assembly, taking off the general embargo on exports for this particular purpose, was adopted on 19 June 1779 (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1779, 1827 edn., p. 58).

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