George Mason to Wythe, 14 June 1777

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George Mason, writing from his home at Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, Virginia. Text from The Life of George Mason, 1725-1792, Volume 1, 283.[1]

    In a letter to George Wythe, George Mason says that he will likely be unable to attend the upcoming House session because, although he has recovered from small pox, his arm that was inoculated still hurts. Because he will be unable to attend the session, he asks Wythe to inform the General Assembly that he will have to decline the appointment they offered him both because he has to look after his nine children and because he does not want to vacate his seat in the House of Delegates without the consent of his constituents.

Letter text, 14 June 1777

Page 1

GUNSTON HALL, June 14th, 1777.


I hoped to have attended my duty in the House before this time, or I should not so long have delayed writing on the subject with which I now take the liberty to trouble you; but though I am otherwise thoroughly recovered from the small pox, my arm which has been so much ulcerated where the inoculation was made, still continues so bad, that my being able to attend this session remains doubtful. I must therefore entreat the favor of you sir, to return my thanks to the Assembly for the honor they have been pleased to do me, in appointing me one of their delegates to Congress, and at the same time to inform them that I cannot by any means accept the appointment. My own domestic affairs are so circumstanced as not to admit of my continued absence from home, where a numerous family of children calls for my constant attention; nor do I think I have a right to vacate my seat in the house of delegates, without the consent of my constituents; and such of them as I have had the opportunity of consulting are averse to it. Was this not the case, I must acknowledge I have other reasons for declining the appointment; which to avoid offence, I forbear giving.

I beg you will excuse this trouble, and believe me, with the greatest respect,

Sir, your most obd't Serv't.

Page 2

Hon. George Wythe, Esq.,

Speaker of the House of Delegates


  1. Kate Mason Rowland, The Life of George Mason, 1725-1792, Vol. 1 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1892), 283.

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