From Gabriel Jones
Winchester July 6th 58.
The Writs for Election being so long on their way that it was the 4th (our Court day) before they came to the Sherifs hands, made it Impossible to have the Election before the 24th as the Law directs 20 day’s between the time they come to hand & that day.1 I am sorry to find that the people & those whom I took to be yr friends in a great measure change their sentiments & now raise doubts in Matters that seem to be clear wth them before.2 this is the consequence of yr back being turned—your Potowmack people I am afraid will not be stedfast they talk now of the Old Burgesses. West has been two days wth them, & intends to be very busy till the time comes. Colo. Martin publickly accused him with some low transactions, which the other could not clear up, & stands condemned by some of his best friends for such scandalous proceedings—the whole matter is to be laid open the day of the Election.3 Colo. G. Fairfax will be up & am in hopes will make a great Alteration upon Potowmack4 the disturbance in Colo. Hites neighbourhood is occasioned by the Ranger’s being garrisoned—if the removing this Obstacle could be consistant with the Interest of the Country & your Duty should be heartily glad.5 there is now the Carolina forces in the Fort.6
The late blow in Massanotting & the Harvest will prevent a great many from being down, this I don’t think will prejudice you so much as my other friend, his Interest I think declines among the Quaker’s where I imagine your’s is pretty good.7 in short affairs are totally changed & may be many times so yet before the day, your being elected absolutely depends on your presence that day. this is the Opinion of every thinking friend, & therefore must in the most pressing manner desire it.8 it happened very unluckily that the writs was so long delayed as it was the Case in Augusta, so that both Election’s will interfere. however as I have undertaken to serve you no Consideration shall deter me from it. I shall give up mine, in order to be at your’s, where if possible I hope you’l be.9 I think I have said every thing that the little time I have to spare allows me. only be assured of the best endeavour’s of Dr Sir Yr most Obedt &c.
P.S. pray tell Capt. Stewart I shall kindly think of him till he return’s.
Gabriel Jones (1724–1806), king’s attorney for both Frederick and Augusta counties, a few years before this had moved from Frederick to Augusta and since 1756 had represented Augusta County in the House of Burgesses. Jones was one of several prominent men not residents of Frederick County who came to Winchester to work for GW’s election to the House from that county. See notes 2 and 4. The long public career of Gabriel Jones, “the Valley Lawyer,” is summarized in Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:55–56.
1. At its meeting on 15 June Fauquier and his council decided that “a Proclamation forthwith issue for dissolving the present Assembly, and that the Writs for electing the Burgesses bear Teste this Day, and be made returnable the 27th of July next” (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:101–5). On 20 July the governor and council decided to put off the meeting of the assembly until 14 September.
2. As early as May 1755 when he was only 23 years old GW expressed to his brother Jack an interest in seeking a seat in the colony’s House of Burgesses, and later in the year, at the election on 10 Dec. 1755 in Winchester, some of GW’s friends did put his name forward as a candidate to represent Frederick County in the House. GW ran a poor third behind Hugh West and Thomas Swearingen. See GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 May 1755, and Adam Stephen to GW, 23 Dec. 1755, n.2. There seems to be little doubt that in November 1757 when GW became ill and left Winchester for Alexandria and Mount Vernon, he had already decided to stand for election to the House of Burgesses from Frederick County and had told his friends as much (see Robert Stewart to GW, 24 Nov. 1757, especially note 10, and Nathaniel Thompson to GW, 20 Feb. 1758).
3. Thomas Bryan Martin (1731–1798), Lord Fairfax’s nephew and his land agent for the Fairfax Grant, was paired in the Frederick County election with GW against the incumbents Thomas Swearingen and Hugh West. Matter is spelled “Mre” here and Matters is spelled “Mres” above, and in both instances Jones inserted the symbol for their expansion.
4. George William Fairfax and John Carlyle were up from Alexandria and Fielding Lewis and Charles Dick were up from Fredericksburg on election day to give their support and their vote at Winchester to GW and Thomas Bryan Martin. Commissary Thomas Walker of Albemarle County and Lt. Charles Smith, commander of Fort Loudoun, were also on hand to give their support, and GW’s friends Capt. John McNeill and Dr. James Craik of the 1st Virginia Regiment were down from Fort Cumberland for the election. For an account of what transpired on election day, see Charles Smith to GW, 24 July.
5. See John Hite to GW, 2 July. For references to the small detachment of Robert Rutherford’s rangers at Fort Loudoun being released to range on the county’s frontiers, see Charles Smith to GW, 1 July, n.5.
8. John Kirkpatrick on 6 July, James Wood on 7 July, and James Glen on 19 July also urged GW to go to Winchester. On 19 July Bouquet gave him permission to go, but GW decided to remain at Fort Cumberland. For GW’s decision not to attend the polling in Winchester, see GW to Bouquet, 21 July, n.1. But see also Adam Stephen to GW, 19 July 1758.
9. Gabriel Jones did lose his seat from Augusta County, to Israel Christian, while the other incumbent, John Wilson, was reelected. Jones, however, won the seat in Hampshire County that Thomas Bryan Martin had held since 1756, and Thomas Walker was reelected in Hampshire. It may be noted that Gabriel Jones was elected in 1752 to a seat in the House from Frederick County, gave it up in 1753, and was elected to represent Hampshire County after it was created in 1754. He was also again a Burgess from Augusta County, from 1769 to 1771.