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army in Canada : and that they be particularly attentive to provide in time a sufficient number of leathern breeches & under waistcoats, and such other winter cloathing as may be necessary for them.

Resolved that the Committee appointed to contract R. 11.

for the making of shoes for the army be directed to forward with all expedition to the Quarter Master in Canada such as are already provided.

Resolved that Prisoners taken by continental arms R. 12.

be not exchanged by any authority but the Continental Congress.

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee

that all vessels which sailed from the port or harbor of Boston whilst the town of Boston was in possession of the enemy, having on board the effects belonging to the enemies of America & which have been or may be seized be liable, together with the said effects, to confiscation ; in the same manner and proportions as have been heretofore resolved by Congress.

Resolved that the Continental agents in the respec

tive colonies where no courts have been established for the trial of captures have power & be directed to dispose at public sale of such articles of a perishable nature as shall be taken from the enemies of America, and that the money arising from such sale be liable to the decree of such court whenever established.

R. 13

R. 14.

Resolved that the inventory of the Ordinance Stores taken by Capt. Manly be sent to General Washington, & that he be requested to appoint a person on the part of the Colonies to join one on the part of Captain Manly & his crew, who, having first taken an oath for that purpose, shall proceed to value the same, & if they cannot agree in the value they shall call in a third person to determine the same : that the report of such persons be returned to Congress so soon as may be, and the value of the stores belonging to Captn. Manly & his crew be thereupon transmitted them.



[June, 1776.]


FIRST DRAFT. A Bill for new modelling the form of government and for establishing the Fundamental principles of our future Constitution

Whereas George king of Great Britain & Ireland and Elector of Hanover.'

[A Billi for new-modelling the form of Government and for establishing the Fundamental principles thereof in future.

Whereas George
Guelf king of Great Britain and
Ireland and Elector of Hanover,

The fair copy is endorsed in Jefferson's handwriting, “A Bill for new modelling the form of government, & for establishing the fundamental principles thereof in future. It is proposed that this bill, after correction by the Convention, shall be referred by them to the people, to be assembled in their respective counties and that the suffrages of two thirds of the counties shall be requisite to establish it.” The rough draft has no preamble, though space was left for it. In both copies the erasures and interlineations are indicated. The bracketed portions in Roman are so written by Jefferson. Those in italic are inserted by the editor. For these most important papers I am under obligation to the courtesy of Mr. Cassius F. Lee of Alexandria, Va., and Mr. Worthington Chauncey Ford, of Brooklyn, N. Y., not merely for photographic reproductions, but also for the facts concerning them given at large in his Fefferson's Constitution for Virginia (The Nation, LI, 107). This constitution, though mentioned in several of the histories and other works concerning Virginia, and though seen by Wirt (Life of Patrick Henry, p. 196), and by Leigh (Debates of Virginia Convention, 1830, p. 160), has never yet been printed or even quoted. The history of its production is as follows:

On December 4, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that if the “Convention of Virginia shall find it necessary to establish a form of government in that Colony, it be recommended to that Convention to call a full and free representation of the people, and that the said representatives, if they think it necessary, establish such forms of government as in their judgment will best produce the happiness of the people.” The Convention received this resolution on Dec. 13th, but took no action upon it. In April a new Convention was elected, which met on May 6th, and on May 15th appointed a Committee to pre

* This heading is written on a separate sheet, the remainder of the page being left blank.

heretofore entrusted with the
exercise of the kingly office in
this government hath endeav-
ored to pervert the same into a
detestable and insupportable
tyranny ;
by putting his negative on laws

the most wholesome & neces-
sary for ye public good ;

pare a “ Declaration of Rights" and a “ Form of Government.” In the mean time the Continental Congress, on motion of John Adams, May 10, 1776, “recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of these United Colonies where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs hath been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall in the opinion of the representatives of the people best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general." On May 27th the resolutions of the Virginia Convention were laid before the Continental Congress, and between that date and the middle part of June, Jefferson, while attending Congress, drew up this constitution. This he forwarded to Pendleton in the Convention, by George Wythe, who was returning from Congress to Virginia, and the latter wrote him, July 27, 1776 :

“When I came here the plan of government had been committed to the whole house. To those who had the chief hand in forming it the one you put into my hands was shewn. Two or three parts of this were, with little alteration, inserted in that : but such was the impatience of sitting long enough to discuss several important points in which they differ, and so many other matters were necessary to be dispatched before the adjournment that I was persuaded the revision of a subject the members seemed tired of would at that time have been unsuccessfully proposed.” Of it, Jefferson, in 1825, wrote:

“I was then at Philadelphia with Congress; and knowing that the Convention of Virginia was engaged in forming a plan of government, I turned my mind to the same subject, and drew a sketch or outline of a Constitution, with a preamble, which I sent to Mr. Pendleton, president of the convention, on the mere possibility that it might suggest something worth incorporation into that before the Convention. He informed me afterwards by letter, that he received it on the day on which the Committee of the Whole had reported to the House the plan they had agreed to; that that had been so long in hand, so disputed inch by inch, and the subject of so much altercation and debate ; that they were worried with the contentions it had produced, and could not, from mere lassitude, have been induced to open the instrument again ; but that, being pleased with the Preamble to mine, they adopted it in the House, by way of amendment to the Report of the Committee; and thus my Preamble became tacked to the

by denying to his governors

permission to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations for his assent, and, when so suspended, neglecting to attend to them for many years ;

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work of George Mason. The Constitution, with the Preamble, was passed on the 29th of June, and the Committee of Congress had only the day before that reported to that body the draught of the Declaration of Independence. The fact is, that that Preamble was prior in composition to the Declaration ; and both having the same object, of justifying our separation from Great Britain, they used necessarily the same materials of justification, and hence their similitude.”

Jefferson, both at the time, and afterwards, denied the power of the Virginia Convention to adopt a permanent constitution, on the grounds that it was chosen an executive body to carry on the war, and that independence and the establishment of a state government were not before the people when they chose the delegates toit. Edmund Randolph (MS. History of Virginia, p. 63) states that :

“Mr. Jefferson, who was in Congress, urged a youthful friend in the convention to oppose a permanent constitution until the people should elect deputies for the special purpose. He denied the power of the body elected (as he conceived them to be agents for the management of the war) to exceed some temporary regimen." The leading members of the convention, however, according to Randolph, "saw no distinction between the conceded powers to declare independence, and its necessary consequence, the fencing of society by the institution of government.”

In pursuance of his opinion, Jefferson's proposed constitution was given the form of a mere act, and much is included which has no place in a constitution. The non-concurrence of the convention in his view, and even more, the aristocratic limits on the franchise and the unfavorable discrimination against the western counties, that the planter and tide-water representatives secured, which made "no grosser error than to suppose that the Constitution of Virginia was formed in 1776, [for] its two great distinctive features, the sectional, and the aristocratic, had been given to it a century before ” (Debates of Virginia Contention, 1830), were the causes for his dislike of the Constitution adopted in 1776, and of his constant attempts to obtain its alteration. His objections are indicated in his Notes on l'irginia (Query xii, 5) as well as in his correspondence, and his preparation of his Fundamental Constitution ” in 1783 and his “ Notes for a Constitution" in 1794 ; both of which form striking examples, in contrast to this, of the democratic development of his mind.

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by refusing to pass certain other

laws, unless the person to be benefited by them would relinquish the inestimable right of representation in the legis

lature by dissolving legislative assem

blies repeatedly and continually for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the

rights of the people ; when dissolved, by refusing to

call others for a long space of time, thereby leaving the political system without any

legislative head; by endeavoring to prevent the

population of our country, & for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners & raising the condition (lacking appro]pria

tions of lands; [by keeping among u]s, in times

of peace, standing armies and

ships of war; (lacking]ing to render the mil

itary independent of & superi

or to the civil power; by combining with others to

subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, giving his assent to their pretended acts of legisla

tion. for quartering large bodies of

troops among us; for cutting off our trade with

all parts of the world ;

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