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In Council, January 29, 1787. Gentlemen, The Executive having addressed you on the 20th of February 1786, concerning pensioners; I beg leave to refer you to their letter …(1787 January 29)

  • MS 2014.5
  • Ink on paper

Broadside issued by Virginia’s Council of State, signed by Governor Edmund Randolph, concerning fraudulent practices in the collection of pensions for military service. In the fall of 1777, the Virginia General Assembly passed the first of several pension acts designed to encourage military enlistments. The acts provided pensions for Virginia soldiers who had been wounded in the service of the United States or the Commonwealth. Widows of soldiers who died as a result of their wounds were also eligible to receive a pension. Unfortunately, some sought to take advantage of the acts by filing false claims. In this broadside, Governor Randolph addresses the government’s concern that pensioners be prevented from collecting pensions in multiple counties.


IN COUNCIL, January 29, 1787.

THE Executive having addressed you on the 20th of February 1786,
concerning pensioners; I beg leave to refer you to their letter. They are
still solicitous for a strict adherence to the recommendations, then made, except
in the directions concerning the mode of payment. The paragraph containing
these directions runs in these words. “By a clause in the late act of Assembly,
" the county courts are empowered to direct their sheriffs to make payments to
" pensioners. I think it necessary to suggest the propriety of having the
" Auditors warrants produced, before any such order is given, which warrant
" will be a sufficient voucher for the sheriff in making his payments to the
" treasury. If this precaution is not strictly observed, a door will be open to
" innumerable frauds, as the Auditors warrants are transferrable.” — The
Executive think proper to rescind that paragraph, and to advise, that orders
be given for payment, upon comparing the certificate with the list transmitted by
this opportunity from the Auditor and finding it to be right.

BUT I beg leave to remind you of some of the frauds, which may be
practised on these occasions.

The certificate must be returned to the pensioner, and possibly an attempt may
be made to obtain from some other court a second order for payment. I must
therefore recommend, that upon granting of an order the clerk be instructed
immediately to indorse that such order was granted, and the time: Again, a
strict inquiry ought to be made into the residence of the pensioner; you will please
to recollect, that you cannot grant this order, unless the applicant reside in your
county. It is therefore necessary to guard against false pretences of residence.

YOU may probably be urged for orders on forged certificates. Great cautions
ought therefore to be used on this head, and every certificate ought to be accurately

I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient
Humble servant,
Edm: Randolph