George Washington Papers

Resolution of the House of Burgesses, 26 February 1759

Resolution of the House of Burgesses

[Williamsburg, 26 February 1759]

Resolved, Nemine contradicente,

That the Thanks of this House be given to George Washington, Esq; a Member of this House, late Colonel of the first Virginia Regiment, for his faithful Services to his Majesty, and this Colony, and for his brave and steady Behaviour, from the first Encroachments and Hostilities of the French and their Indians, to his Resignation, after the happy Reduction of Fort Du Quesne: And accordingly Mr Speaker, from the Chair, returned him (he standing in his Place) the Thanks of the House.1

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 , 1758–1761, 66–67.

1On 23 Feb. GW was given a place, the third from last, on the committee of propositions and grievances, one of the two key standing committees of the House of Burgesses. He received permission on 2 April to be absent for the remainder of the session. For the report that GW intended to have the conduct of Lt. Col. Adam Stephen investigated by the House, see Cash Accounts, May 1759, n.9.

An often quoted description of GW at this time of uncertain authenticity is said to come from a letter written by George Mercer in 1760: “He may be described as being straight as an Indian, measuring 6 feet 2 inches in his stockings, and weighing 175 lbs when he took his seat in the House of Burgesses in 1759. His frame is padded with well developed muscles, indicating great strength. His bones and joints are large as are his hands and feet. He is wide shouldered but has not a deep or round chest; is neat waisted, but is broad across the hips, and has rather long legs and arms. His head is well shaped, though not large, but is gracefully poised on a superb neck. A large and straight rather than a prominent nose; blue-grey penetrating eyes which are widely separated and overhung by a heavy brow. His face is long rather than broad, with high round cheek bones, and terminates in a good firm chin. He has a clear tho rather colorless pale skin which burns with the sun. A pleasing and benevolent tho a commanding countenance, dark brown hair which he wears in a cue. His mouth is large and generally firmly closed, but which from time to time discloses some defective teeth. His features are regular and placid with all the muscles of his face under perfect control, tho flexible and expressive of deep feeling when moved by emotions. In conversation he looks you full in the face, is deliberate, deferential and engaging. His demeanor at all times composed and dignified. His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman” (Freeman, Washington description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 3:6).

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