James Madison Papers

Virginia Delegates in Congress to Thomas Jefferson, [5 November] 1780

Virginia Delegates in Congress
to Thomas Jefferson

Extract (Virginia State Library). This six-line plea, probably in the hand of Jefferson’s clerk, is entitled, “Extract of a Lre from the Virga Delegates in Congress to his Excellency the Governour dated at Phila: Nov. 5. 1780.” The letter from which this excerpt was taken is lost, but it was probably from the pen of Theodorick Bland. His financial distress appeared to exceed that of his fellow delegates, JM and John Walker. In his covering letter of 17 November, transmitting this extract, among other papers, to the speaker of the House of Delegates, Jefferson made particular reference to Theodorick Bland (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , IV, 121).

[5 November 1780]

The great depreciation of money and the extravagant prices of every thing here together with the difficulty of negociating Bills renders it absolutely necessary that some stable provision shoud be made, & some fixed mode adopted for supplying us with money, other wise we shall not be able to exist. we shoud be glad to be informed on this head as soon as possible.1

1Richard Henry Lee, the chairman of the committee to which the House of Delegates referred the monetary needs of the Virginia delegates and their financial accounts “against the Commonwealth” (above, Expense Account as Delegate in Congress, [25 September 1780]), reported on 19 December that the committee had found the accounts of most of the delegates, including JM’s, “fully reasonable.” Upon the recommendation of this committee, the House agreed that the state treasurer ought to establish “a sufficient credit in Philadelphia” so that each delegate, at need, could draw upon his salary; and that for his “genteel support” this salary should be £2 6s. per diem in specie (or its equivalent in paper currency), plus an equal sum per diem for his traveling expenses. The Senate, however, withheld its assent to the House bill embodying these provisions (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg.Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used, unless otherwise noted, is the one in which the journals for 1777–1781 are brought together in one volume, with each journal published in Richmond in 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , October 1780, pp. 21, 24, 58, 66; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1921–36). description ends , V, 437, No. 504, n. 2; Jones to JM, 17 January 1781, n. 8).

Index Entries