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8838. VIRGINIA CONSTITUTION, Preamble to.—

The history of the Preamble
to the [first] Constitution of Virginia is this:
I was then at Philadelphia with Congress;
and knowing that the convention of Virginia
was engaged in forming a plan of government,
I turned my mind to the same subject,
and drew a sketch or outline of a Constitution,
with a preamble, which I sent to Mr.
Pendleton, president of the convention, on
the mere possibility that it might suggest
something worth incorporation into that before
the convention. He informed me afterwards
by letter, that he received it on the day
on which the committee of the whole had reported
to the house the plan they had agreed
to; that that had been so long in hand, so
disputed inch by inch, and the subject of so
much altercation and debate; that they were
worried with the contention it had produced,
and could not from mere lassitude, have been
induced to open the instrument again; but that,
being pleased with the preamble to mine, they
adopted it in the house, by way of amendment
to the report of the committee; and thus my
preamble became tacked to the work of
George Mason. The Constitution, with the
preamble, was passed on the 29th of June,
and the Committee of Congress had only the
day before that reported to that body the
draught of the Declaration of Independence.
The fact is, that that preamble was prior in
composition to the Declaration; and both having
the same object, of justifying our separation
from Great Britain, they used necessarily
the same materials of justification, and hence
their similitude.—
To A. B. Woodward. Washington ed. vii, 405. Ford ed., x, 341.
(M. 1825)