Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Speaker of the House of Delegates, 9 March 1781

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates

In Council Mar. 9. 1781.


I think it my duty to communicate to the General assembly the inclosed papers giving information of the refusal of considerable numbers of militia within certain counties to come into the feild, and the departure of some others in defiance with their arms. The crisis at which these instances of disobedience to the laws have appeared, may bring on peculiar ill consequences. I have taken the liberty of mentioning it to the general assembly as it may perhaps suggest to them some amendments of the invasion law, or as they might wish to advise the proper measures to be taken on the present occasion.

I have the honor to be with the highest respect Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (CtY). FC (Vi). The enclosures cannot be precisely identified. They must have included John Walker’s letter (or a copy of it) to TJ of 8 Mch. (q.v.) and some, if not all, of its enclosures. See also George Carrington’s letter to TJ of 7 Mch. and that of James Innes of 6 Mch. which may have been enclosed with this letter.

TJ’s letter and its enclosures were presented to the House the same day and were referred to a committee with instructions to “prepare and bring in a Bill or Bills to amend the Act for providing against Invasions and Insurrections.” On 13 Mch. a bill was presented “to amend the Acts for regulating and deciplining the Militia and for providing against Invasions and Insurrections.” The bill was read the second time on the same day and referred to a committee of the whole. It was amended in committee and amendments agreed to on 16 Mch.; and on 17 Mch. was read the third time and defeated by a vote of 27 for and 32 against its passage. (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Mch. 1781, Va. State Libr., Bull., 1928, p. 17, 26, 30, 31, 34, 35).

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