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Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates
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Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates, 29 June 1776.

The official journal of the fifth and last of the Virginia revolutionary conventions, which met in the Capitol in Williamsburg from 6 May through 5 July 1776, records some of the most momentous decisions made in Virginia's and the nation's history. The manuscript journal contains the earliest-known full text of the Virginia resolutions of 15 May instructing Virginia's representatives to the Continental Congress to introduce a declaration of independence and the earliest-known full text of George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, unanimously adopted on 12 June. On 29 June, the delegates unanimously adopted Virginia's first constitution and elected Patrick Henry governor of the newly independent commonwealth of Virginia.

In April 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, a Union soldier removed the journal from the state archives in the Capitol in Richmond and took it home with him. His descendants sold the manuscript journal in 1942 to a Philadelphia dealer in rare books and manuscripts. When the dealer, in turn, attempted to sell the volume to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the state librarian and the attorney general of Virginia intervened to ensure the document's safe return to the archives, by then part of the Virginia State Library. Virginia reimbursed the dealer in the amount of his original purchase price. The transaction was one of several made during the same period that established the precedents by which the commonwealth of Virginia has been able to recover a large number of lost public documents.

Location: Revolutionary Government, Revolutionary Conventions, Record Group 2