On October 7, 1776, three months after the Continental Congress had adopted the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Assembly held its first session, in Williamsburg. The Assembly appointed Thomas Jefferson and four delegated to a Committee of Law Revisors, to adapt Virginia's existing laws to the principles of its new government.
From January 13-17, 1777, the committee met in Fredericksburg to divide up this massive task. George Mason joined the initial discussions, but left the committee's three attorneys - Jefferson, George Wythe, and Edmund Pendleton - draft the new statutes. The fifth member, Thomas Ludwell Lee, soon took ill and died.
The Committee took just over two years to complete their work. In June 1779, they presented 126 statutes to the Assembly, for consideration and adoption. Jefferson considered the Bill for Religious Freedom (enacted in 1786) to be one of his finest achievements.