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Thomas Jefferson
Notes on the State of Virginia

Brooklyn, N.Y., Historical Printing Club, 1894.


The following Notes were written in Virginia in the year 1781, and somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, in answer to Queries proposed to the Author, by a Foreigner of Distinction, then residing among us. The subjects are all treated imperfectly; some scarcely touched on. To apologize for this by developing the circumstances of the time and place of their composition, would be to open wounds which have already bled enough. To these circumstances some of their imperfections may with truth be ascribed; the great mass to the want of information and want of talents in the writer. He had a few copies printed, which he gave among his friends: and a translation of them has been lately published in France, but with such alterations as the laws of the press in that country rendered necessary. They are now offered to the public in their original form and language.

Feb. 27, 1787.

Query 1: An exact description of the limits and boundaries of the state of Virginia?
Query II: A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable?
Query III: A notice of the best sea-ports of the state, and how big are the vessels they can receive?
Query IV: A notice of its Mountains?
Query V: Its Cascades and Caverns?
Query VI: A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.
Query VII: A notice of all what can increase the progress of human knowledge?
Query VIII: The number of its inhabitants?
Query IX: The number and condition of the militia and regular troops, and their pay?
Query X: The marine?
Query XI: A description of the Indians established in that state?
Query XII: A notice of the counties, cities, townships, and villages?
Query XIII: The constitution of the state, and its several charters?
Query XIV: The administration of justice and description of the laws?
Query XV: The colleges and public establishments, the roads, buildings, &c.?
Query XVI: The measures taken with regard of the estates and possessions of the rebels, commonly called Tories?
Query XVII: The different religions received into that state?
Query XVIII: The particular customs and manners that may happen to be received in that state?
Query XIX: The present state of manufactures, commerce, interior and exterior trade?
Query XX: A notice of the commercial productions particular to the state, and of those objects which the inhabitants are obliged to get from Europe and from other parts of the world?
Query XXI: The weights, measures, and the currency of the hard money? Some details relating to the exchange with Europe?
Query XXII: The public income and expences?
Query XXIII: The histories of the state, the memorials published in its name in the time of its being a colony, and the pamphlets relating to its interior or exterior affairs present or ancient?

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