James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 20 July 1785

From John Dawson

Springhill July 20. 1785

Dear Sir

Your goodness will excuse me, for addressing this letter to you, when you consider of what consequence it may be to me.

The General Assembly, at their Session in October last, I find, had it in contemplation to pass an Act respecting Naval Officers, by which Collectors are to be appointed to the several Districts; and altho it did not then pass for want of a sufficient number of members to make a house, I am informd that, in all probability, it will this fall.1

I wish to have my Name mention’d for the Collectorship of this river, & therefore have wrote to you on the occasion, well knowing of what Assistance you can be to me on the occasion, if you think proper to advocate my interest; I scarce need add, that I shall ever retain a Grateful Sense of the favour. Receive the Compliments of Mr. Jones, and accept the same from, Dear Sir, Yr. Hm: Sert

J Dawson

RC (DLC). Cover missing. Docketed by JM.

1A bill to amend the 1783 act “for the appointment of Naval-Officers, and ascertaining their fees” was presented at the Oct. 1784 session of the House of Delegates and although it passed three readings it apparently was never approved by the Senate (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 258–64; JHDV 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 is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1784, p. 106). JM did introduce “a bill for appointing naval officers” at the Oct. 1785 session, but it was among the many measures planned for the code revision that were not acted upon before adjournment. Dawson was elected a delegate to the General Assembly in Apr. 1786 from Spotsylvania County (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 25).

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