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title:“George Mason to Martin Cockburn”
authors:George Mason
date written:1774-5-26

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:22 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Sept. 30, 2023, 3:53 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to Martin Cockburn." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 190-91. Print.

George Mason to Martin Cockburn (May 26, 1774)

Williamsburg, May 26th, 1774.
I arrived here on Sunday morning last, but found every body's attention so entirely engrossed by the Boston affair, that I have as yet done nothing respecting my charter-rights and, I am afraid, shall not this week.
A dissolution of the House of Burgesses is generally expected; but I think will not happen before the House has gone through the public business, which will be late in June.
Whatever resolves or measures are intended for the perservation of our rights and liberties, will be reserved for the conclusion of the session. Matters of that sort here are conducted and prepared with a great deal of privacy, and by very few members; of whom Patrick Henry is the principal.
At the request of the gentlemen concerned, I have spent an evening with them upon the subject, where I had an opportunity of conversing with Mr. Henry, and knowing his sentiments; as well as hearing him speak in the house since, on different occasions. He is by far the most powerful speaker I ever heard. Every word he says not only engages but commands the attention; and your passions are no longer your own when he addresses them. But his eloquence is the smallest part of his merit. He is in my opinion the first man upon this continent, as well in abilities as public virtues, and had he lived in Rome about the time of the first Punic war, when the Roman people had arrived at their meridian glory, and their virtue not tarnished, Mr. Henry's talents must have put him at the head of that glorious Commonwealth.
Inclosed you have the Boston Trade Act, and a resolve of our House of Burgesses. You will observe it is confined to the members of their own House: but they would wish to see the example followed through the country; for which purpose the members at their own private expense, are sending expresses with the resolve to their respective counties. Mr. Massey will receive a copy of the resolve from Col. Washington; and should a day of prayer and fasting be appointed in our county, please to tell my dear little family that I charge them to pay strict attention to it, and that I desire my three eldest sons, and my two eldest daughters, may attend church in mourning, if they have it, as I believe they have.
I begin to grow heartily tired of this town and hope to be able to leave it some time next week, but of this, I can't yet be certain. I beg to be tenderly remembered to my children, and am, with my compliments to my cousins and yourself, Dear Sir, Your affectionate and obedient servant,

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