Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Williamsburg Capitol site of famous Stamp Act speech

The Capitol at Williamsburg
The Capitol at Williamsburg, originally uploaded by mharrsch.
The gentlemen at Williamsburg sat in the oldest representative assembly in what was now the world's newest nation. The legislature first met at Williamsburg on April 21, 1704, when the Capitol on Duke of Gloucester Street was still under construction. Literally and figuratively, however, its foundation dated to 1619, when the House of Burgesses first convened at Jamestown.

After fire destroyed (for the third time) the Jamestown Statehouse in 1698, the burgesses decided to move the colony's government to Middle Plantation, soon renamed Williamsburg. On May 18, 1699, they resolved to build the first American structure to which the word Capitol was applied.

In this building Patrick Henry delivered his Caesar-Brutus speech against the Stamp Act on May 29, 1765.

"Caesar had his Brutus--Charles the first his Cromwell--and George III--may he profit from their example."

Henry, George Washington, George Mason, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Jefferson, and others played their parts in the legislative wars that ended in revolution. - Official Colonial Williamsburg Website

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