In May of 1776, George Mason was a part of the newly formed Virginia Convention. He arrived late, on the 18th, to the convention, due he said to "a smart fit of the Gout," to find that "the first grand Point has been carried nem: con: [nemine contradicente, or without dissention]." That point was a resolve to the Virginia delegation at the Continental Congress to pursue independence from Great Britain.
|The Lee Resolution, with notations on|
which of the new states supported the idea
of Independence. Courtesy of NARA.
The Virginia Convention's resolution continues however, stating that "a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration of Rights, and such a plan of government that will be most likely to maintain peace and order in this colony." Without even knowing that the Continental Congress would approve, Virginia moved forward with its own plans of independence. George Mason would be on the committee to draft that Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Constitution which would be ratified nearly a month before the Declaration of Independence.
Mays, David John, ed. The Letters and Papers of Edmund Pendleton, 1734-1803, vol. I. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1967.
Rutland, Robert A. ed. The Papers of George Mason 1725-1792, vol. 1. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970.