George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 18 March 1772]

18. Dined at the Club and Spent the Evening at the Burgesses Ball in the Capitol.

On this day the burgesses received a petition from several “Inhabitants and Freeholders of the County of Frederick,” requesting passage of an act for improving “the Navigation of the River Potowmack from Tide-Water to Fort Cumberland.” Such improvement, the petitioners argued, “would be productive of great Advantage, not only to those who are settled upon the adjacent Lands, but to the whole Colony, by introducing a most extensive Trade.” Financing could be obtained from any of three sources: public tax money, private venture capital, or public subscription of private capital. According to usual procedure, the petition was referred for study to the committee on propositions and grievances. Other business before the house today included a report from the committee on John Hancock’s bill that the bill’s allegations were true (JHB description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 1770–72, 252–53).

The burgesses’ ball was briefly noted the following day in Purdie and Dixon’s Virginia Gazette: “Last Night there was a Ball and elegant Entertainment at the Capitol, given by the gentlemen of the Honourable the House of Burgesses to his Excellency the Governour and the People of Rank in this City.”

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