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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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8830. VIRGINIA, Conventions in.—
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8830. VIRGINIA, Conventions in.—

These were at first chosen anew for every particular
session. But in March, 1775, they recommended
to the people to choose a convention
which should continue in office a year. This
was done, accordingly, in April, 1775, and in
July following that convention passed an ordinance
for the election of delegates in the month
of April annually. It is well known, that in
July, 1775, a separation from Great Britain and
establishment of republican government, had
never yet entered into any person's mind. A
convention, therefore, chosen under that ordinance,
cannot be said to have been chosen for
the purposes which certainly did not exist in
the minds of those who passed it. Under this
ordinance, at the annual election in April, 1776,
a convention for the year was chosen. Independence,
and the establishment of a new form
of government, were not even the objects of the
people at large. One extract from the pamphlet
called Common Sense had appeared in the
Virginia papers in February, and copies of the
pamphlet itself had got in a few hands. But the
idea had not been opened to the mass of the
people in April, much less can it be said that
they had made up their minds in its favor. So
that the electors of April, 1776, no more than
the legslators of July, 1775, not thinking of
independence and a permanent republic, could
not mean to vest in these delegates powers of
establishing them, or any authorities other than
those of the ordinary legislature. So far as a
temporary organization of government was
necessary to render our opposition energetic,
so far their organization was valid. But they
received in their creation no powers but what
were given to every legislature before and since.
They could not, therefore, pass an act transcendent
to the powers of other legislatures.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 363. Ford ed., iii, 225.

See Virginia Constitution, Repealability.