James Madison Papers

Resolution for Procuring a Statue of General Washington, 22 June 1784

Resolution for Procuring
a Statue of General Washington

Resolved that the Executive be requested to take measures for procuring a Statue of General Washington to be of the finest marble and best Workmanship with the following inscription on its pedestal Viz:

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia have caused this Statue to be erected as a monument of affection and Gratitude to George Washington who uniting to the endowments of the Hero the virtues of the Patriot and exerting both in establishing the Liberties of his Country has rendered his name dear to his fellow Citizens and given the world an immortal example of true Glory. Done in the year of Christ   and in the year of the Commonwealth  .1

Ms (Vi). In Beckley’s hand, with exception of Drew’s attestation. Docketed and dated, with separate notations, “C[opie]d.” and “Mr Ronald.” Printed in Hening, Statutes 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.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 552.

1William Ronald was chairman of a special committee instructed, on 15 May, “to consider and report” on a suitable means of demonstrating “the gratitude and veneration” of his native state for George Washington. This fact, coupled with Ronald’s introduction of the present resolution and the order of the House that he bear the approved document to the Senate, ordinarily would stamp him as the principal author. However, William Cabel Rives stated that the second paragraph of the resolution was “known to have been the composition of Mr. Madison” (Life of Madison, I, 572). If Rives was well informed, then it was tact that caused JM to conceal his authorship (JM to Jefferson, 12 May 1786, Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N. J., 1950——). description ends , IX, 518). When completed the inscription read: “Done in the year of Christ One thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, and in the year of the Commonwealth the twelfth.”

Index Entries