||George Mason & the American Revolution
||7 October. British Parliament announced the Proclamation of 1763 that established a boundary line along the Appalachian Mountains beyond which colonists could not claim land or settle.
||5 April. Passage of the Revenue Act (or the Sugar Act) that imposed various import duties on foreign cloth, sugar, indigo, and coffee brought into the colonies.
19 April. Passage of the Currency Act that prohibited plantation colonies (those south of New York) from issuing paper money.
18 December. In an address to the King, the Virginia General Assembly declared that only the House of Burgesses had the right to tax Virginians.
||22 March. Passage of the Stamp Act that required purchase of tax stamps to be affixed to newspapers, pamphlets, documents, playing cards, licenses, dice, etc.
15 May. Quartering Act became law. It required colonies to provide food and lodging for British Soldiers.
Summer. Colonies reacted to Stamp Act by adopting resolutions protesting the taxation policy, boycotting all stamped paper, and by forming mobs to intimidate those who tried to collect taxes, and who did not comply with resistance.
23 December. George Mason became active in Colonial protest by devising a way for landlords to evade stamp taxes.
||18 March. British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act but the colonies did not hear of the repeal until May. British Parliament also passed the Declaratory Act that stated Parliament's right to make laws for the colonies.
6 June. George Mason wrote a letter to the London Public Ledger in response to a letter published by London merchants that had attacked colonial actions. Mason defended the Colonies and opposed British actions. He signed it, "A Virginia Planter."
||29 June. Passage of the Townshend Revenue Acts that imposed import duties on British glass, red and white lead, painter's colors, paper, and tea; reorganized the Board of Customs Commisioners stationed in Boston to collect the taxes and enforce other revenue measures; and suspended the New York Assembly for not complying with Quartering Act.
||11 February. Massacchusetts General Assembly announced Samuel Adams' Circular Letter. It called for colonies to join in resisting Great Britain's recent policies. It also stated that British Parliament did not have the right to tax the colonies soley for revenues.
3 March. Virginia's Royal Governor, Francis Faquier, died. John Blair, president of the Council, served as acting governor until the appointment and arrival of Governor Botetourt.
16 April. The Virginia General Assembly supported Massachusetts' Circular Letter and adopted memorials to the King and Parliament protesting the Townshend Acts.
21 April. Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the colonies, ordered all governors to dissolve their assemblies rather than allow them to support the Circular Letter.
25 October. Virginia's new Governor, Lord Botetourt, arrived in Williamsburg.
||16 May. The Virginia House of Burgesses passed resolves that upheld their exclusive right to levy taxes, to redress grievances, and to concur with other colonies.
17 May. Lord Botetourt dissolved the House of Burgesses for its formal resolutions against the British taxes and other policies, but the suspended members reconvened at the Raleigh Tavern.
18 May. George Washington presented to the Burgesses non-importation resolutions that had been prepared by George Mason. These resolutions, adopted by the Burgesses as the Virginia Association, declared that colonial citizens vowed to boycott British goods until their grievances were redressed.
||5 March. Boston Massacre occurred when a crowd of colonists gathered around British troops guarding the Customs House. The colonists began taunting the troops and throwing snowballs, tensions mounted, and the scene turned to chaos. At some point, the panicked soldiers opened fire, killing three men and wounding others.
12 April. British Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts, but retained tax on tea.
22 June. The Virginia House of Burgesses (that had been called back into session by Lord Botetourt in Nov. 1769) updated the Non-importation Association, and this time included merchants.
15 October. Death of Governor Botetourt. William Nelson of Yorktown acted as governor until Dunmore was appointed.
||18 July. George Mason and George Washington recommended that non-importation be abandoned, except for those goods still taxed by parliament. Other colonies were doing the same and trade returned to normal.
September. A Boston town meeting formed a Committee of Correspondence to instruct and arouse the public. (Bostonians were upset that custom revenues and other taxes were used to pay superior court justices and Crown officials in Massachusetts.) They sent appeals to other colonies to do the same.
25 September. Lord Dunmore, the new governor of Virginia, arrived in Williamsburg.
||Committees of Correspondence formed in other colonies as suspicions about Great Britain's next policies escalated.
||9 June. The Gaspee incident occurred when the royal customs schooner Gaspee, which had been harassing small trading vessels along the New England coast, ran aground on Namquit Bar, near Providence. That night, eight boatloads of colonists boarded the ship, wounded the commander and overpowered the crew. They brought everyone to shore and then let the ship burn to the water's edge.
||12 March. The Virginia House of Burgesses called for a Committee of Intercolonial Correspondence, becoming the first colony to propose formal communication among the colonies.
10 May. Passage of the Tea Act that gave the East India Company a monopoly on tea imported by the colonists (tea that still had the Townshend duty) and reasserted British Parliament's right to tax colonies.
16 December. Boston Tea Party: in response to the Tea Act a group of Bostonians, dressed as Indians, boarded three vessels and threw the cargo of tea into the harbor. Similar incidents occurred in other colonies.
||31 March. Passage of a series of acts known as the Coercive or Intolerable Acts, as a punishment for the Boston Tea Party. These acts closed the port of Boston, restricted Massachusetts government and town meetings, and quartered British troops in Boston.
24 May. The Virginia House of Burgesses adopted a resolution naming June 1, the day the port of Boston was to be closed, a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer in Virginia.
27 May. Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, dissolved the General Assembly. The Burgesses reconvened at the Raleigh Tavern and proposed an annual "general congress" of the colonies. They also formed a new non-importation association.
17 June. Massachusetts called for a Continental Congress. All colonies except Georgia began electing delegates.
18 July. The Fairfax County Resolves were written by George Mason, George Washington, and others, in response to the Intolerable Acts, at a meeting of Fairfax County freeholders. These resolves, more detailed than most, stated the colonies' grievances as well as actions to be taken against British aggression.
At this meeting, George Mason was appointed to the Fairfax County Committee of Safety (emergency committee created to enforce the Fairfax Resolves) where he oversaw the enrollment of the Fairfax Independent Company of militiamen. He served on this body throughout the war.
1-6 August. The first Virginia Convention, made up of former Burgesses, met in Williamsburg. Delegates adopted resolves against British goods and elected delegates to the first Continental Congress. George Mason was appointed but declined to serve.
1 September. Meeting of the First Continental Congress where delegates agreed to boycott all British Goods, to send petitions of grievances to the king, and to meet again in the coming year.
||20-27 March. The Second Virginia Convention assembled in Richmond. On Mar. 23, they heard Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. They also made provisions for county militias and elected delegates to the second Continental Congress.
19 April. British soldiers and colonists at Lexington and Concord exchanging shots; officially begining the American Revolution.
10 May. Second Continental Congress convened; placed George Washington in charge of Continental Army on 15 June.
8 June. Lord Dunmore and his family fled from Virginia, leaving the colony without a government.
17 July. The Third Virginia Convention met in Richmond. George Mason represented Fairfax County as the replacement for George Washington (who had been chosen to represent Virginia at the Second Continental Congress). The convention appointed a Committee of Safety in charge of raising a militia for Virginia's defense, and responsible for carrying out basic executive functions.
25 August. George Mason was appointed to serve at the Second Continental Congress (again in George Washington's place) but declined. Instead, he was appointed to the Virginia Committee of Safety.
5 December. The Fourth Virginia Convention convened in Williamsburg. Dealt mostly with military issues and preparations.
||20 January. Fourth Virginia Convention adjourned.
6 May. Fifth Virginia Convention assembled in Williamsburg.
15 May. Congress recommended that colonies establish new governments. Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegates to propose independence and named a committee to compose a declaration of rights and constitution.
20-26 May. George Mason headed this committee and submitted the first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.
27 May. Committee added to Mason's draft and submitted it to the Convention.
7 June. Richard Henry Lee, representing Virginia at Second Continental Congress, proposed a resolution formally declaring the colonies independent.
8-10 June. George Mason wrote a draft of a constitution for Virginia.
12 June. Final draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights was passed.
24 June. Mason's draft of Constitution was submitted to Convention for revision.
29 June. Revised draft of Mason's Virginia Constitution was adopted by the Virginia Convention.
2 July. Continental Congress adopted Richard Henry Lee's proposal calling for independence.
4 July. Declaration of Independence was formally announced to the world.
5 July. Virginia Convention adopted a seal for the Commonwealth, designed by George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, and others, and adjourned. The Virginia Committee of Safety was dissolved.
Fall. Mason continued to head the Fairfax County Committee of Safety, expediting the accumulation of military supplies.
October. The newly created House of Delegates (composed of the same delegates as the fifth Virginia Convention) convened in Williamsburg. Mason was appointed to a committee to revise Virginia's laws as needed.
||22 May. Although Mason was too sick to attend the Assembly session that spring, he was chosen to be a member of the Virginia delegation to Congress. He declined, however, due to "domestic affairs." He spent the next three years attending Assembly sessions when he could, and serving on Fairfax County's Committee of Safety. Mason retired from public office at the end of 1780.
17 November. Second Continental Congress passed the Articles of Confederation.
||27 February. Maryland became last colony to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
Fall. George Mason helped to provide supplies to Colonial troops moving towards Yorktown for the final Revolutionary battle.
17 October. General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, ending hostilities of the American Revolution.
||Treaty of Paris between Great Britain and the United States formally ended the American Revolution.