Richmond, July 24th, 1775
Having an opportunity pr. Edw'd Blackburn (who promises to drop this at Colchester) I snatch a moment to let you know that I am well, and to desire to be kindly remembered to my dear children, and the family at "Springfield." I have not since I came to this place, except the fast-day and Sunday, had an hour which I could call my own. The committee (of which I am a member) appointed to prepare an ordinance for raising an armed force for the defence and protection of this colony, meet every morning at seven o'clock, sit till the Convention meets, which seldom rises before five in the afternoon, and immediately after dinner and a little refreshment sits again till nine or ten at night. This is hard duty, and yet we have hitherto made but little progress, and I think shall not be able to bring in the ordinance till late next week, if then. This will not be wondered at when the extent and importance of the business before us is reflected on—to raise forces for immediate service—to newmodel the whole militia—to render about one-fifth of it fit for the field at the shortest warning—to melt down all the volunteer and independent companies into this great establishment—to provide arms, ammunition, &c.,—and to point out ways and means of raising money, these are difficulties indeed! Besides tempering the powers of a Committee of Safety to superintend the execution. Such are the great outlines of the plans in contemplation. I think I may venture to assert (though nothing is yet fixed on) that in whatever way the troops are raised, or the militia regulated, the staff officers only will be appointed by Convention, and the appointment of all the others devolve upon the county committees. If the colony is parcelled into different districts for raising a battalion in each, I have proposed that the committees of each county in the district appoint deputies of their own members for the purpose; so that every county may have an equal share in the choice of officers for the battalion, which seems to be generally approved.
On Wednesday last I gave notice in Convention, that on Monday I should offer the inclosed resolve; which was accordingly done this day, and after a long debate, carried by a great majority. The Convention will to-morrow appoint a delegate to the Congress in the room of General Washington, when I believe Mr. Wythe will be almost unanimously chosen. As there will be other vacancies, I have been a good deal pressed by some of my friends to serve at the Congress, but shall firmly persist in a refusal, and thereby I hope prevent their making any such proposal in the Convention.
I enclose a letter for my son George (though I suppose he is before this time set off for the Springs) which by some strange mistake came to me from Alexandria per post. We have no news but what is contained in the public papers, which you generally get sooner than we can here. I am, Dr. Sir, your affectionate Friend and Servant,