26. Rid out with the Govr. to his Farm and Breakfasted with him there. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s, & spent the Evening at my lodgings.
Today’s House of Burgesses session did not begin until 11:00 A.M., giving GW ample time to return the few miles from Governor Dunmore’s farm. When the governor returned to town this day he proceeded to dissolve the assembly, ostensibly because of the resolution for a fast day. GW later discussed Dunmore’s action in a letter to George William Fairfax: “this Dissolution was as sudden as unexpected for there were other resolves of a much more spirited nature ready to be offerd to the House wch. would have been unanimously adopted respecting the Boston Port Bill as it is call’d but were withheld till the Important business of the Country could be gone through. As the case stands the assembly sat In 22 day’s for nothing—not a Bill being [passed]” (10 June 1774, WRITINGS description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 3:223).
The expiration of two laws in particular would lead to major consequences in the colony. One was the law setting the schedule of fees for the colony’s court system (HENING description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 8:515), which had expired the previous month, thus closing the courts to civil cases. The other was the colony’s basic militia act (HENING description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 7:93–106), which had come up for renewal in the spring 1773 assembly but had been caught in a conflict between the burgesses and the council when Governor Dunmore had prorogued the assembly on 15 Mar. The militia act had thus expired on 20 July 1773.