Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington and the Virginia Delegates in Congress, 10 May 1781

To George Washington and the Virginia Delegates in Congress

In Council May 10th. 1781.


The papers of the Executive having been almost wholly lost in the visit which was made by General Arnold to this place, we are endeavouring to procure Copies of as many of them as we can. As the Correspondence with your Excellency1 is among the most important I am to solicit the Favor of you to permit2 the Bearer hereof Mr. Granville Smith to take Copies of any Letters with which you3 have been pleased to honour the Executive or have received from them previous to the Commencement of the present year. Besides the General Importance of preserving the Memorial of Public Events it is natural for those who have had a share in the Administration to wish that under every possible Circumstance the records of their proceedings may guard them against Misrepresentation or Mistake. Mr. Smith has been particularly chosen to execute this Office because of his approved Discretion, and we think ourselves safe in assuring you that he may confidentially be relied on. I have &c.,

Tho Jefferson

FC (Vi); at head of text: “His Excellency General Washington & the Honble Virginia Delegates in Congress”; at foot of text: “In the Lre to the Delegates alter as in the margin.” For the alterations in the text of the letter to the Virginia delegates see below.

1“Congress” substituted for “your Excellency” in the letter to the delegates.

2“secure permission [for]” substituted for “permit.”

3“they or you” substituted for “you.”

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