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1803. Jan. 15, Northamp
ments of either Corps, two Brigades and one Division may be formed, and a Major-General of each Division appointed as well as the BrigadierGenerals. It must be presumed that in Virginia there will be in any mode of organization consistent with our laws and usages from 14 to 16 Regiments, eight of which would form a full Division.
Jan. 15, Recommending Peter Bowdoin as Commissioner of Wrecks for the
- County of Northampton in the room of George Savage, dece'd. ton
ALEXANDER SMYTH TO THE GOVERNOR.
In pursuance of the proposition I had heretofore the honor to make to your Excellency, relative to a Regiment of Volunteers, I have the pleasure to inform you that such progress has been made therein that several commissions may now issue without any hazard of disappointment.
If agreeable to the Executive, I would prefer having commissions for every officer as an Officer of this Corps, which has taken the denomination of “ The regular Virginia Volunteers."
A clause may be inserted in the commissions of those who are Militia Officers (of the same rank as that now conferred) that they shall take rank as such from the date of their commissions in the Militia.
Commissions may issue for the following Oficers: 1808, Jan’y 10, Alexander Symth, Colonel; Francis Smith, Major; Charles Taylor, Major; Captains, Joseph King, Alexander S. Lyle, Airam Craig, Martin Dickerson (Rifle).
Lieutenants : James Newell, Thomas Lewis, Jr., Frederick Fulkerson, Janies Sharp, Robert Goodson (Rifle).
Ensigns: Charles Davis, Andrew Kincannon, Cyrus Robinson, Robert Woods, Robert Ewing (Rifle).
Jan. 27. Consenting to accept the office of Visitor to the Penitentiary for a reaRichmond sonable time.
I find the Assembly has made a considerable alteration in the district Law, which I think a good one as far it goes, but surely equity ought to follow the law, and had another Law gone hand in hand with it for the diffusion of knowledge on easy terms throughout the State, in a short time the morals and manners of the people would be considerably improved.
The first mentioned subject was half done because of some influential members having a monopoly in three Chancery Courts. The second is done nothing in because of the eternal war declared against the Arts and sciences and a determination to pay nothing by way of taxes to the support and encouragement of Education—the true and solid foundation of a free Government. This new system will derange me I expect in my old days, unless I am allowed to have pretentions not inferior to my Brothers.
I have been four years longer in the Judiciary than any Judge of the General Court, and 32 years in public service, so that when the allotment is made I may reasonably be allowed to expect a Convenient Circuit. I am willing to go into the Norfolk or Williamsburg Circuit, which, from every consideration, I may reasonably enough expect.
I beg you will be pleased to lay my pretentions before your Honorable Board, when it is proper to do so.
I am, &c.
P.S. I am in the Center of the Williamsburg District and convenient to the Norfolk.
PEYTON RANDOLPII TO TIE GOVERNOR.
Returning his commission as Captain of the Richmond Republican Feb. 19, Blues, likewise the commission of Thomas Ritchie as Ensign of same on Richmond account of the reduced condition of said Company.
JOHN CONNELL TO THE GOVERNOR.
1808. It is with pleasure that I have to inform your Excellency that Major
2: McGuire, of the 1st Battalion, and 257 men (including officers), have Brooke County volunteered their services under the Act of Congress of April 18th,
Captain Gardner's Troop of Cavalry have also volunteered their services under the same act.
I am, &c.
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINLA.
A PROCLAMATION—FEBRUARY 25th. Authorizing the acceptance of the tender made by Wade Mountfort of his house at Rich-Neck in the county of Warwick, for the purpose of holding the Courts and transacting the business of the said County, during the times required for the enlargement and repair of the Court House.
W. W. IIENING TO THE GOVERNOR.
Feb. 26, In my letter of yesterday I informed you that I had not then called ngton on the Secretary at War—that I should wait on him to-day; and that a
communication was expected from the President on the subject of our negotiations with Great Britain.
I attended at the Capitol before the usnal bour of the meeting of Congress, in order to learn the result of the communication, if it were not of a confidential nature.
Of the occurrences of to-day, various opinions have been formed. The following are the facts: Very shortly after the Speaker had taken the Chair, Mr. Coles entered with a message from the President. Having learnt from a member of Congress that he was the bearer of a confidential message, I expected every moment that the Galleries would be cleared. In that instance, however, I was disappointed; altho’ it was not announced as a confidential message, yet it was obviously the precursor of something of a very serious nature.
Adverting in general terms to our relations with the powers of Europe, the President recommends the immediate augmentation of our Military Force to thirty thousand additional Troops, viz., 24,000 volunteers of the Militia to serve from one to five years, and 6,000 regulars. After an interval of about an hour from the receipt of this communication,
another was made to both houses of Congress, which was declared to be 1808. confidential. The doors were now immediately closed & remained so at w.thi a late hour this evening. This last message is said to have been accompanied by communications from our Ministers at London & Paris, brought by a vessel which left London on the 27th of last month.
From the circumstance of the President's having previously recommended such an increase of our Military establishment, the presumption is that they are unfavorable to a state of peace.
Between the first and second messages of the President, I called at the War Office, but the Secretary was not to be found. His clerks supposed that he was engaged with the heads of Department at the President's House. I shall make another effort to see him to-morrow, & will endeavor, if possible, to adjust our claim, or at least to establish such principles as will leave no difficulty hereafter.
The general opinion of the well informed here is that we have no alternative between the continuance of the embargo and actual hostilities.
I shall endeavor if possible to ascertain the contents of the last communication to-day, & will advise you of the result. In the meantime, I pray you to make known to my brethern of the Council the simple and unadorned statement of facts with which I have furnished-and assure them that nothing but the impossibility of writing to them all has prevented me from writing to any one.
I am, &c.
WM. W. ILENING TO THE GOVERNOR.
Altho' the second message of the President was communicated con- Feb. 28. fidentally on Friday last and was read in the House of Representations Waslıington with closed doors, yet the members of Congress were at liberty to divulge its contents. In truth, owing to the defective sight of the Vice-President who did not observe the President's injunction of secrecy, the message & all the accompanying communications were read in the Senate without any restraint or ever clearing the Galleries.
These communications consisted of a very able remonstrance addressed by Mr. Pinkney to Mr. (anning on the subject of the late orders of Council of the British Government, and of a similar remonstrance from Mr. Armstrong to the French Minister of Exterior relations on the subject of the Ship Horizon, lately stranded on the coast of France, & whose cargo was condemned as coming within the provisions of their blockading decree.
The object of the President in wishing that the communications might not be published, was that they detailed conversations held by our ministers with those of the Government near which they were, & if publicity
1808. were given to them it would lay a restraint on the communications of Washington
on foreign Ministers which might operate injuriously on our affairs. It is
said that no intimation was given to Mr. Rose of the intended orders of Council; that he was merely sent out to amuse us with an ostensible negotiation when it was the design of his Government to sweep from the the Ocean all our property afloat, and which was only prevented by the precautionary measures of embargo; and that he has no power to treat further than as relates to the affair of the Chesapeake.
These are the sentiments of well informed members of Congress, some of whom do not hesitate to say that were they President of the United States they would order Mr. Rose off in twenty-four hours. Little doubt now remains but that the negotiation is actually suspended, and will not be resumed till the British Minister shall receive further orders from his Court. Indeed this is an occurrence which might naturally be expected. The important change which has been wrought in the relations between Great Britain and the Northern powers, particularly Russia, may induce her to assume a tone less haughty than when Mr. Rose sat out on his to this country.
Yesterday I had a long conversation with the Secretary at War on the several items of our account, and the various other topics which you requested me to mention. It is impossible within the compass of a letter to detail what passed between us; the result is all that can be noticed.
From the Secretary I passed on to the Accountant, through whose office all our accounts must go. With him I ascertained the principles upon which a final settlement would be made, and I must now see the Paymaster before my business with the public offices will be closed. From all of them I learn that not a cent will be paid except the claim comes strictly within the letter of the Acts of Congress. Thus the payrolls & muster-rolls of the respective corps will on being duly made out & certified, be paid according to the rate of compensation allowed by Act of Congress. All charges beyond those are consiilered contingencies which may or may not be allowed by the Secretary of War. And upon what has passed between us as well as from his general character for parsimony I am inclined to believe that a number of our items will be objected to. The claim for services rendered by Brigade Inspectors & others in mustering & inspecting the requisition he observes has never been made by any State in the Union, & of course will not be allowed. No positive opinion was expressed with respect to any other item except for the horses which died in service. To any allowance for these he has strong objections. I have made a minute in writing of all the topics discussed by us, and will communicate them fully on my return.
At our first interview the Secretary made use of language respecting the conduct of the Executive of Virginia in the affair at Norfolk, which I felt it my duty to repel with firmness and with some degree of indignation,