Wythe and Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison, 18 June 1779

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In 1779, George Wythe and Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Benjamin Harrison informing him that the General Assembly had revised laws according an act passed in 1776 entitled "An act for the revision of the laws". There were 126 bills prepared as a result and the names of them are said to be in an enclosed catalogue. Some of the bills had already been presented to the House of Delegates, but Wythe and Jefferson ask that the rest, which were sent in two bundles with the letter, be presented by Harrison. The letter goes on to say that while revising laws, the General Assembly became two people short as a result of a death and a resignation. However, since the majority of the plan had been carried out before the losses, the positions were not replaced so that more alterations would not be made. Of the three remaining members, one was too far away to sign the papers, so he asked Wythe and Jefferson to include his concurrence in their letter to Harrison.

Letter text

Williamsburg, June 18, 1779.


The committee appointed in pursuance of an act of General Assembly passed in 1776, intituled “An act for the revision of the laws,” have according to the requisitions of the said act gone through that work, and prepared 126 bills, the titles of which are stated in the inclosed catalogue. Some of these bills have been presented to the House of Delegates in the course of the present session two or three of them delivered to members of that House at their request to be presented, the rest are in the two bundles which accompany this; these we take the liberty through you of presenting to the General Assembly.

In the course of this work we were unfortunately deprived of the assistance and abilities of two of our associates appointed by the General Assembly, of the one by death, of the other by resignation. As the plan of the work had been settled, and agreeable to that plan it was in a considerable degree carried into execution before that loss, we did not exercise the powers given us by the act, of filling up the places by new appointments, being desirous that the plan agreed on by members who were specially appointed by the Assembly, might not be liable to alteration from others who might not equally possess their confidence, it has therefore been executed by the three remaining members, one of whom being prevented from putting his signature hereto, by the great distance of his residence from this city, has by letter authorized us to declare his concurrence in the report.

We have the honor to be with the utmost respect, Sir, Your most obedient And most humble servants,


See also