Letter signed ("Th:Jefferson"), 3 pages, folio (14 3/8 x 9 in.; 365 x 230 mm), Richmond, 6 March 1781, to Thomas Sim Lee, Governor of Maryland, regarding a fair and equitable method of several states sharing of the burden of shipping supplies to the Southern Army in North Carolina; center vertical fold and center horizontal fold of second leaf strengthened, 2 short tears at top margin of second leaf touching text, ink bleed-through. Blue cloth folding-case, blue morocco spine lettered gilt; spine lightly sunned.
Gearing up for a major campaign in the Southern Theater. Jefferson commences by mentioning the Congressional resolution of 20 February 1781 which ordered all Continental troops, from Pennsylvania to Georgia inclusive, to form the Southern Army and counter Cornwallis's troops which were amassing in North Carolina. "A State in the midst of which are several different Armies of Foes and of Friends as destructive from necessity as Foes, which has been consumed by their ravages near a twelvemonth, is not in a Condition to give but to expect assistance." North Carolina, having been invaded and ravaged, was destitute of arms and military equipment, and Congress rested the responsibility of supplying that state squarely on Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The question now was how to coordinate the shipment of supplies there without overburdening any one of the states. Jefferson analyzes Lee's suggestion that Virginia, because bordering North Carolina, be responsible for transporting the supplies of all three states: "... when you proposed to deposit your Quota of Specifics at Alexandria that the Burthen of Transporting it thence to North Carolina should be left on us solely ... Were we ... to transport your quota and that of Delaware across our Country it would be so much more than equality. ... The Desire of Congress that we should settle an arrangement for procuring supplies for the Southern army in the States most convenient for replacing those supplies from other States, and for transporting the whole—All this supposes a joint concern."
Jefferson instead proposes a more coordinated, cooperative plan, but prefers that the supplies be purchased in close proximity to the Army: "I think therefore it ought to be executed jointly, or if divided that the division of the whole, that is of the procuring Supplies in one Place replacing them by others and transporting both, should be equal. ... This may be done in several different ways: 1st. by dividing among us the Line of Transportation into such parts as when combined with the quantity to be transported along each part will produce a total duly porportioned between us; 2d by putting into the hands of Quarter Master due Proportions of Money or means of Transportation to be by him employed in carrying on our Specifics from their respective States; 3d For each State to appoint it's own agent and to procure their quota of Specifics as near as they can to the army replacing their money by Sale of such Specifics as might be raised within their State by Taxation. The first and second model are liable to this Objection that the Transportation will cost very considerably more than would purchase the articles in the Vicinities of the Army."
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