George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Stuart, 17 February 1788

From David Stuart

Abingdon 17th Feby 88

Dear Sir,

As well as I can recollect the College Charter, the Governor for the time, is expressly declared Chancellor—None of them I belive, ever took upon them the duties of the office, before Lord Botetourt—Visitations are I think appointed to be held twice in the year. The only business of these meetings formerly used to be, to enquire into the conduct of the Professors, and to prescribe rules for them—Tho’ it is not absolutely necessary that the Chancellor should be present at these meetings, (the Rector being the active office) it will no doubt be expected.1

I have just returned from a tour round part of the County—I mean about the middle of the week to set out again—I find that Pope, and Chichester in particular, have been very active in alarming the people. The latter Gentleman and myself were near meeting at several houses—He had his pockets full of Mason’s objections; which he leaves wherever he calls—He is trying to persuade some one opposed to the Constitution, to offer for the Convention—Mr Pollard informed me that he applied to him, but that he declined it. I am happy to find, that he has met with no success except with old Broadwater—Mr Little informs me, that he appears to be changed, and to be disposed to offer himself in opposition to those who approve of the Constitution2—I almost think that Mason, doubtful of his election in Stafford will offer for this County, notwithstanding his declarations—I think he might have been satisfied with the publication of his objections, without taking the pains to lodge them at every house3—I find it commonly believed in this County, that you consider amendments necessary. It therefore appears to me, that it would be of advantage to the Constitution, to undecieve the people in this respect; by some communication or other. Would not Mr Blair your fellow labourer in the business, be a proper person, through whom to introduce it to the Publick? If you should think proper to take any step of this sort, it would be particularly useful, to take some short notice of the difference between the Objections—I find this argument to have the most weight with the common class. I am Dr Sir, with the greatest respect Your affecte Servant

David Stuart


2Mr. Pope was probably John Pope of Prince William County who in 1787 was elected to the state senate for Fairfax and Prince William counties. Mr. Chichester was probably Richard Chichester, a large landholder in the Accotink area of Fairfax County and a justice of the peace. His wife was Sarah McCarty Chichester, daughter of Daniel McCarty. “Old Broadwater” was Charles Broadwater (d. 1806), who, with GW, was elected in 1775 to represent Fairfax County in the House of Burgesses and was replaced in 1784 as a delegate to the house by Thomas West. Mr. Pollard may be Thomas Pollard who was a member of the Truro Parish vestry, Fairfax County, from 1774 until he moved out of the parish in 1784.

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