James Madison Papers

Resolution for Selecting a Committee of Revisors, 3 January 1787

Resolution for Selecting a Committee of Revisors

Resolved that this House will to morrow proceed by joint ballot with the Senate to the choice of three persons as a Committee of Revisors pursuant to an Act of the present Session.

Ms (Vi). In Beckley’s hand. Endorsed and docketed by Brooke.

1On the day after the bill “for completing the revision of the laws” was passed, JM made the motion to elect three revisors. He was instructed to carry the resolution to the Senate, although the actual duty fell on “Mr. Nicholas” of Albemarle County. The Senate agreed to it the same day (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. 1786, pp. 136, 137). Nearing the end of the session, JM was interested in insuring the implementation of the act. The election was delayed until 5 Jan. when Edmund Pendleton, George Wythe, and John Blair were chosen (ibid., p. 141). JM had expressed his concern over the choice of revisors to Jefferson in a letter of 4 Dec. before the bill had even been presented to the House. “I should have no hesitation at this policy if I saw a chance of getting a Committee equal to the work of compleating the Revision. Mr. Pendleton is too far gone to take any part in it. Mr. Wythe I suppose will not decline any duty which may be imposed on him, but it seems almost cruel to tax his patriotic zeal any farther. Mr. Blair is the only remaining character in which full confidence could be placed.” Despite JM’s hesitations apparently no equally qualified men could be found to take Pendleton’s and Wythe’s places.

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