James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edward Stevens, 21 January 1791

From Edward Stevens

Culpeper Court House January 21st: 1791

Dear Sir

I observe their was a Law Passed last Session of Congress respecting the Lands given to the Officers and Soldiers by the State of Virginia,1 find it’s tendency will deprive me of a Bounty in Lands given by a Resolution of the General Assembly. The resolution in my favour passed the same Session of Assembly, and before the Act of Cession made to Congress, this may be seen by the Journal of our Assembly which Journal perhaps are among the papers of Congress, if not I can procure it.2 The reward I may venture to say, was as severely earnt by me, as by great numbers who remained in the Army to the end of the War. I obtained Patents the 6th July 1789 for about Two thirds of it, which is on the North side the Ohio And this has been done at a very considerable expence in Cash advanced to have the business transacted, beside the legal Fees. I am at a loss to Know the necessary steps to be persuded, am shure the State will aid to see Justice done.

Congress is much abused here about the Excise plan. If the Tax on Stills takes place as I have understood it, the Country ones must certainly all go down, they never can afford to pay the Tax, where they dont work more than a third of the year which is the case with most of those that distill Grain as the Season will not admit of it much longer to any advantage. I think a direct Tax more Equal and Just than an Excise and doubt whether it would be more disagreable in this Quarter. I am wth. every Sentiment of respect and esteem Dear Sir Your very Obt. hum Servt

Edward Stevens

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1See U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , I, 182–84.

2By a House of Delegates resolution of 11 Nov. 1783 (agreed to by the Senate on 19 Nov.), Virginia granted Stevens, a brigadier general of the state militia, the same land bounty as allowed officers of his rank in the Continental line (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 1777–1790 are brought together in three volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1783, pp. 9, 14–15, 23).

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