George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 October 1785]

Friday 14th. Thermometer at 62 in the Morning—65 at Noon and 66 at Night.

Lowering most of the day, but no wind.

Mr. Madison went away after Breakfast. My Chariot which went up for, brought down Miss Sally Ramsay & Miss Kitty Washington, to be Bridesmaids tomorrow at the wedding of Miss Bassett.

Mr. George Washington, & Mr. Burwell Bassett went to the Clerks Office & thence to Colo. Masons for a license, & returned to Dinner; having accomplished their business.

The ground being too wet, I employed the labourers who had been levelling the Lawn, in cleaning & weeding the Shrubberies.

for a license: In order to obtain a marriage license for the wedding of his underage daughter, Fanny, to George Augustine Washington, Col. Burwell Bassett had to give his consent personally before the clerk of the court or in writing with two witnesses. His eldest son, Burwell, was probably taking this written permission with him to Alexandria at this time. The clerk then issued the license, certified that bond was given, and certified “the consent of the father, or guardian, and the manner thereof, to the first justice sworn in commission of the peace, or in his absence to the next justice sworn in that county, who is hereby authorised and required to sign and direct the same” (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 , 6:81–85). George Mason, who was a Fairfax justice by 1749 (Fairfax Index description begins Edith Moore Sprouse, ed. A Surname and Subject Index of the Minute and Order Books of the County Court, Fairfax County, Virginia, 1749–1800. Fairfax County History Commission. Fairfax, Va., 1976. description ends , 16), was probably the oldest justice in point of service, and had therefore to sign the license.

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