Volume 6: 21 May 1781 to 1 March 1784

© 1952 Princeton University Press

Cover of Volume 6, which displays the title and publisher of the volume, as well as the names of the contributing editors.


Volume 6 finds Jefferson in the chaotic days of the end of his term as governor, carries him through the years of his personal depression of 1781-1782, and reaches a magnificent climax in his great legislative work in the Continental Congress of 1783-1784.

The multitude of documents of daily routine in a war governor’s office give way to others on a great variety of subjects: the proposed inquiry into his conduct as governor; the death of his wife; his notes in preparation for his mission to Europe; the first letters employing codes, including a famous letter to Madison hitherto incorrectly decoded; a proposed constitution for Virginia, 1783, embodying Jefferson’s experience as legislator and governor. In this volume is Jefferson’s first recorded speech to the Indians and the correspondence which provided the material for the Notes on Virginia.

As the dominant figure in the Continental Congress in 1784, Jefferson was responsible for reports, resolutions, addresses, and proclamations of the highest importance, including the address to Washington when he surrendered his commission; the draft of the ratification of the Peace Treaty; and reports on the Connecticut-Pennsylvania territorial dispute. Especially significant in Volume 6 is the fresh material on the Virginia Deed of Cession of territory northwest of the Ohio and on the Ordinance of 1784.

Julian P. Boyd, Editor
Lyman H. Butterfield and Elizabeth L. Hutter, Associate Editors