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Thomas Jefferson's Election to Governor: an excerpt from the Journal of the House of Delegates (June 1, 1779)

In this excerpt from the Journal of the House of Delegates from June 1, 1779, Thomas Jefferson is elected governor by a joint ballot.

Transcription from Original

TUESDAY, June 1, 1779.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Lee:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have agreed to resolutions of this House, respecting the present to Brigadier General Scott; also, for supplying the sufferers at Portsmouth and Suffolk with provisions; and to ballot for a Governor on this day. And then he withdrew.

Ordered, That Mr. Moore have leave to be absent from the service of this House, for the remainder of the session.

An engrossed bill, for "enabling the treasurer to emit a sum of money for supplying the public exigencies," was read the third time.

Resolved, That the bill do pass, and that the title be, "an act, for enabling the treasurer to emit a sum of money for supplying the public exigencies."

Ordered, That Mr. Page do carry the bill to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

An engrossed bill, "for prescribing the oath of fidelity, and the oath of certain public officers," was read the third time.

Resolved, That the bill do pass, and that the title be, "an act, prescribing the oath of fidelity, and the oath of certain public officers."

Ordered, That Mr. Jefferson do carry the bill to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

A message from the Senate to Mr. Lee:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate are satisfied with the persons nominated by this House to be ballotted for as Governor; and have none to add. And then he withdrew.

An engrossed bill, "for permitting those who will not take oaths, to be otherwise qualified;" was read the third time.

Resolved, That the bill do pass, and that the title be, "an act for permitting those who will not take oaths, to be otherwise qualified."

Ordered, That Mr. Jefferson do carry the bill to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

A bill, "for paying the wages of the members of this present session of Assembly," was read the second time, and ordered to be engrossed and read a third time.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Bassett:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have agreed to the bill, "for fixing the allowance to the members of the General Assembly." And then he withdrew.

The House, then, accordingly to the order of the day, proceeded by joint ballot with the Senate, to the choice of a Governor or Chief Magistrate, in the room of Patrick Henry, Esq., who hath resigned; and Messrs. Harvie, Tazewell, Lyne and Robert W. Carter, were appointed a committee, in conjunction with a committee from the Senate, to examine the joint ballot of both Houses. And the committee withdrew.

The committee being returned, Mr. Harvie reported, that they had, according to order, in conjunction with a committee from the Senate, examined the joint ballot of both Houses, and found the numbers to stand as follows:

For Thomas Jefferson, Esq. 55 For the Hon. John Page, 38
General Nelson 32

But neither of the persons ballotted for having a majority of both Houses, the House proceeded to ballot between Thomas Jefferson Esq. and the Hon. John Page, who stand foremost.

And Mr. Harvie reported the numbers to stand as follows:

For Thomas Jefferson, Esq. 67 For the Hon. John Page, 61

Resolved, That Thomas Jefferson, Esq. be appointed Governor or Chief Magistrate of this Commonwealth.

Ordered, That Mr. Harvie do carry the resolution to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

Ordered, That Messrs. Page, Mason and Garret, be added to the committee of Propositions and Grievances.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Ellzey:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have agreed to the bill, "to sever certain lots from the town of Dumfries, held by William Grayson, gentleman," with an amendment, to which amendment they desire the concurrence of this House. And then he withdrew.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Griffin:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have agreed to the bill, "for enabling the treasurer to emit a sum of money for supplying the public exigencies;" and also to the bill, "for prescribing the oath of fidelity, and the oaths of certain public officers;" and to the bill, "for permitting those who will not take oaths, to be otherwise qualified." And then he withdrew.

— page 30 —

The Speaker laid before the House, a letter from the Lieutenant Governor, enclosing a letter from Colonel George Rogers Clarke, and other papers; and the same were read and ordered to lie on the table.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Lee:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have agreed to the resolution of this House, appointing Thomas Jefferson, Esq. Governor or Chief Magistrate, with an amendment, to which amendment they desire the concurrence of the House.

Ordered, That Mr. Harvie do acquaint the Senate therewith.

Ordered, That a committee be appointed to notify Mr. Jefferson his appointment to be Governor or Chief Magistrate of this Commonwealth; and that Messrs. Harvie, Mason and Baker, be of the said committee.

Ordered, That Mr. Harvie do acquaint the Senate therewith.

Ordered, That Mr. Lawson have leave to be absent from the service of this House until the 15th instant, Mr. G. Anderson for ten days, and Mr. Richeson till Wednesday se'nnight.

Mr. Charles Carter reported, according to the order of yesterday, the amendments made by the committee of the whole House, to the bill, "for raising a supply of money for the services of the current year, and for procuring an equal assessment of taxable property in this Commonwealth;" and he read the same in his place, and afterwards delivered them in at the clerk's table, where several were again twice read and agreed to by the House; and the farther consideration of the report was adjourned till to-morrow.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Lee:

Mr. Speaker,―The Senate have appointed a committee of their body, in conjunction with a committee of this House, to notify to Thomas Jefferson Esq. his appointment to the office of Governor. And then he withdrew.

Mr. Charles Carter reported, from the committee of Propositions and Grievances, that the committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the petitions of divers inhabitants of the county of Stafford, to them referred, and had come to several resolutions thereupon, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the clerk's table, where the same were again twice read and agreed to by the House, as followeth:

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That so much of the petition of divers inhabitants of the county of Stafford, as prays that the place fixed on by the court of the said county for building their said courthouse may be altered and fixed more central, is reasonable.

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That such other parts of the said petition as prays that commissioners from the adjacent counties may be appointed to ascertain the said centre, and that the place fixed on by the court of the said county of Stafford for holding their sessions until the new courthouse be built, may be altered, be rejected.

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That the petition of divers inhabitants of the said county of Stafford in opposition thereto, be rejected.

Ordered, That a bill or bills, be brought in pursuant to the first resolution, and that the committee of Propositions and Grievances do prepare and bring in the same.

The House proceeded to consider the amendment proposed by the Senate to the bill, "to sever certain lots from the town of Dumfries, held by William Grayson, gentleman;" and the same being read, was agreed to by the House.

Ordered, That Mr. Charles Carter do acquaint the Senate therewith.

Several petitions of divers inhabitants of the counties of Frederick and Berkeley, were presented to the House and read; setting forth, that the present circulating currency has been refused in payment of bills, bonds and mortgages, for debts, to their great inconvenience and injury; and praying that an act may pass to remedy this evil.

Ordered, That the said petitions be referred to the committee of Propositions and Grievances; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House.

The order of the day, for the House to resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, on the bill, "for ascertaining the losses, and requiring retribution to the citizens of this Commonwealth, for the depredation of the enemy on private property," being read,

Ordered, That the same be put off till Friday next.

The orders of the day, for the House to resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, on the bill "for the better regulation and discipline of the militia;" and also on the state of the Commonwealth, being read,

Ordered, That the same be put off till tomorrow.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow morning, 10 o'clock.