A tour guide named Ed gave me an extremely interesting and amusing history of the home, right down to the story of a silver bowl in the dining room in which each of the tweleve Mason children were baptized (of which only nine survived infancy) and the 250-year old hawthorn and cedar hedges that line the path to the beautiful Potomac.
As the delegates gathered at the Pennsylvania State House in May 1787 to "revise" the Articles of Confederation, then-Virginia delegate George Mason wrote,
"The Eyes of the United States are turned upon this Assembly and their Expectations raised to a very anxious Degree."
Mason's previously written Virginia Declaration of Rights had strongly influenced Thomas Jefferson in writing the first part of the Declaration of Independence. He left the convention bitterly disappointed in 1787 and became one of the Constitution's most vocal opponents. "It has no declaration of rights," he was to state. Ultimately, George Mason's views prevailed. When James Madison drafted the amendments to the Constitution that were to become the Bill of Rights, he drew heavily upon the ideas put forth in the Virginia Declaration of Rights. [source: NARA]