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persuasion, that Kings excommunicated forfeit their crowns, that dominion is founded in grace, or that obedience is due to some foreign prince, or who will not own & teach the duty of tolerating all men in matters of religion, or who deny the existence of a god (it was a great thing to go so far—as he himself sais of the parl. who framed the act of tolern but where he stopped short we may go on.)

He sais ‘neither Pagan nor Mahomedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.' Shall we suffer a Pagan to deal with us and not suffer him to pray to his god? Why have X" been distinguished above all people who have ever lived, for persecutions? Is it because it is the genius of their religion ? No, it's genius is the reverse. It is the refusing toleration to those of a different opn which has produced all the bustles and wars on account of religion. It was the misfortune of mankind that during the darker centuries the Xpriests following their ambition and avarice combining with the magistrate to divide the spoils of the people, could establish the notion that schismatics might be ousted of their possessions & destroyed. This notion we have not yet cleared ourselves from. In this case no wonder the oppressed should rebel, & they will continue to rebel & raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them & all partial distinctions, exclusions & incapacitations removed.



V. S, A,

[Oct. 14, 1776.] A Bill to enable tenants in tail to convey their lands in fee-simple. Whereas the perpetuation of property in certain families by means of gifts made to them in fee-simple is contrary to good policy, tends to deceive fair traders who give credit on the visible possession of such estates, discourages the holder thereof from taking care & improving the same, and sometime does injury to the morals of youth by rendering them independent of, and disobedient to, their parents; and whereas the former method of docking such estates tail by special act of assembly formed for every particular case employed very much time of the legislature, was burthensome to the public, and also to the individual who made application for such acts :

I "Will not his own excellent rule be sufficient here too ; to punish these as civil offences. e. gr. to assert that a foreign prince has power within this Commonwealth is a misdemeanor. The other opns may be despised. Perhaps the single thing & which may be required to others before toleration to them would be an oath that they would allow toleration to others."— T. 7.

* On Oct. 12, 1776, leave was granted to introduce this bill, and Jefferson, Starke, and Bullitt were named a committee to draft it. Jefferson reported this draft Oct. 14th. It was considered and amended in the Committee of the Whole on Oct. 17th and 18th, was passed by the lower house on Oct. 23d, and concurred in by the Senate, Nov. I st. It was the first great blow at the aristocratic or landed class of Virginia, and is noticed by Jefferson in his Autobiography; ante, 1, 49. This is the draft of the bill, in Jefferson's handwriting, the bill as finally adopted being in the Session Acts for 1776. p. 37 ; A Collection of the Public Acts of Va., 1785, p. 45; and in Hening, ix, 226.

Be it therefore enacted by' and it is hereby enacted by authority of the same that any person who now hath, or hereafter may have any estate in fee tail general or special in any lands or slaves in possession, or in the use or trust of any lands or slaves in possession, or who now is or hereafter may be entitled to any such estate tail in reversion or remainder after the determination of any estate for life or lives or of any lesser estate, whether such estate hath been or shall be created by deed, will, act of assembly, or any other ways or means shall have full power to pass, convey, or assure in fee-simple or for any lesser estate the said lands or slaves, or use in lands or slaves or such reversion or remainder therein, or any part or parcel thereof, to any person or persons whatsoever by deed or deeds of feoffment, gift, grant, exchange, partition, lease, release, bargain, and sale, covenant to stand seized to uses, deed to lead uses, or by his last will and testament, or by any other mode or form of conveiance or assurance by which such lands or slaves, or use in lands or slaves, or such reversion or remainder therein might have been passed, conveied or assured had the same been held in feesimple by the person so passing, conveying or assuring the same : and such deed, will or other conveiance shall be good and effectual to bar the issue in tail & those in remainder and revertor as to such estate or estates so passed, conveied, or assured by such deed will or other conveiance.

| As this was one of the first bills passed by the Assembly as formed under the Constitution adopted in this year, the enacting clause was not yet definitely settled, and is left blank in the draft.

Provided nevertheless that such deed, will, or other conveiance shall be executed, acknoleged, or proved, and recorded in like manner as, and in all cases where, the same should have been done, had the person or persons so conveying or assuring held the said lands or slaves, or use of lands and slaves or such reversion or remainder in fee-simple.

Amendments to Bill to Abolish Entails.

(Oct. 18] Line 18. omit ‘have &c. to the end of the bill, & insert ‘from henceforth, or from the commencement of such estate tail, stand ipso facto seized, possessed, or entitled of, in, or to, such lands or slaves or use in lands or slaves so held or to be held as aforesaid in possession, reversion, or remainder in full & absolute feesimple, in like manner as if such deed, will, act of assembly, or other instrument had conveyed the same to him in feesimple; any words, limitations, or conditions in the said deed, will, act of assembly, or other instrument to the contrary nothwithstanding.

Saving to all & every person & persons, bodies politic and corporate, other than the issue in tail & those in reversion & remainder, all such right title, interest & estate claim & demand, as they, every, or any of them could or might claim, if this act had never been made: and Saving also to such issue in tail & to those in reversion & remainder any right or title which they may have acquired by their own contract for good & valuable considation actually & bona fide paid or performed.

' These amendments were proposed by Jefferson himself, and are taken from the original in his handwriting, in the Virginia archives.



(October 14, 1776.) Whereas great numbers of the inhabitants of this commonwealth must frequently & of necessity resort to the seat of government where general assemblies are convened, Superior courts are held & the Governor & Council usually transact the executive business of government; & the equal rights of all the sd inhabitants require that such seat of government should be as nearly central to all as may be, having regard only to navigation, the benefits of which are necessary for promoting the growth of a town sufficient for the accommodation of those who resort thereto, and able to aid the operations of government : and it has been also found inconvenient in the course of the present war where seats of government have been so situated as to be exposed to the insults & injuries of the public enemy; which dangers may be avoided and equal justice done to all the Citizens of this commonwealth by removing the seat of government to the town of in the county of

which is more safe & central than any other town situated on navigable water :

Be it therefore enacted by the general Assembly that six whole squares of ground surrounded each of them by four streets & containing all the ground within such streets situate in the said town of

and on an open & airy part thereof shall be appropriated to the use & purpose of public buildings. On one of the sd squares shall be erected one house for the use of the General Assembly to be called the Capitol, which said Capitol shall contain two apartments for the use of the Senate & their clerk, two others for the use of the house of delegates & their clerk, and others for the purposes of

On Oct. 14th the House of Delegatesordered, That leave be given to bring in a bill for the removal of the seat of government, and that Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Adams and Mr. Starke do prepare and bring in the same.” On the same day Jefferson introduced this bill, which was read for a first time, and “on the question put that the said bill be read a second time, it passed in the negative." Journal for 1776, p. 51. See Jefferson's Autobiography, ante, 1, 55. A bill for this purpose, with the preamble of the above, was introduced by Harvey on May 28, 1779, and passed. It is printed in A Collection of the Public Acts of Virginia, 1785, p. 100; and in Hening, x, 85.

Conferences, Committees, & a Lobby, of such forms & dimensions as shall be adapted to their respective purposes. On one other of the sd squares shall be erected another building to be called the Halls [sic] of justice which shall contain two apartments for the use of the court of Appeals & it's clerk, two others for the use of the High court of Chancery & it's clerk, two others for the General court & it's clerk, two others for the use of the Court of Admiralty & it's clerk, & others for the uses of grand & petty juries, of such forms & dimensions as shall be adapted to their respective purposes; and on the same square last mentioned shall be built a public jail with few apartments for the present but so planned as to admit of addition hereafter. One other of the sd squares shall be reserved for the purpose of building thereon hereafter a house for the several executive boards and offices to be held in. Two others with the intervening street shall be reserved for the use of the governor of this commonwealth for the time being to be built on hereafter. And the remaining square shall be appropriated to the use of a public Market. The said houses shall be built in a handsome manner with walls of brick, or stone & Porticos where the same may be convenient or ornamental, and with pillars & pavements of stone.

There shall be appointed by joint ballot of both houses of assembly five persons to be called the directors of the public buildings, who, or any three of them shall have power to make choice of such squares of ground situate as before directed, as shall be most proper & convenient for the sd public purposes, to agree on plans for the said buildings, to employ proper workmen to erect the same, to superintend them, to procure necessary materials by themselves or by the board of trade, & to draw on the Treasurer of this commonwealth from time to time for such sums of money as shall be wanting ; the plans & estimates of which shall be submitted to the two houses of assembly whensoever called for by their joint vote, & shall be subjected to their controul.

And that reasonable satisfaction may be paid & allowed for all such lots of ground as by virtue of this act may be taken & appropriated to the uses aforesaid, the clerk of the county of

is hereby empowered & required on requisition from

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