George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 25 May 1770]

25. Dined at the Palace & attended a Committee of the Association at Hayes. Spent the Eveng. there.

A general meeting of the Virginia nonimportation association had been held in Williamsburg 22 May, and a committee of 20 gentlemen, including GW, had been appointed to revise the agreement that the associators had signed the previous year (Va. Gaz., R, 3 May 1770; carter [3] description begins Jack P. Greene, ed. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752–1778. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1965. description ends , 1:418). Changes were needed, it was generally agreed, because the agreement was causing much confusion and dissatisfaction in the colony and there were many violations of its terms by Virginians. Men in some of the other colonies were complaining that “if some prudent steps are not taken to regulate importation, in a short time Virginia will be remarkable, only, for resolving” (Va. Gaz., P&D, 14 June 1770, supp.). However, the members of the committee were deeply divided in opinion about how the nonimportation agreement should be changed. Some members, led by Treasurer Robert Carter Nicholas and Edmund Pendleton, wanted to moderate or abolish it as a gesture of compromise to Parliament for repealing all the disputed taxes except the one on tea. Other members insisted there could be no compromise of principle as long as the tea tax remained, and they favored strengthening the association’s agreement with stricter terms and stricter means of enforcement (carter [3] description begins Jack P. Greene, ed. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752–1778. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1965. description ends , 1:418). GW seems to have agreed with this last viewpoint, but he was willing to relax the association in order to obtain a more general adherence to it (GW to Jonathan Boucher, 30 July 1770, IEN; GW to Robert Cary & Co., 20 Aug. 1770, DLC:GW).

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