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condescended to declare, that 'It appertains solely claim our insanity, and for that reason, be void to the people of this colony to determine the said of themselves; we beg leave, as a part of your doubts;' you have in the spirit of the recom. constituents, to tender you that tribute of esteem mendations of the general congress, demonstrated and respect, to which you are justly entitled, for to your constituents, that you will on all occasions your zeal in so nobly asserting the rights which warn them to destroy in its embryo, every scheme the people at large bave to legislation; and in prothat you may discover to have the least tendency moting their free exercise of those rights. towards promoting the selfish views of any foreign or domestic oligarchy. Your enemies never can
You have most religiously followed the lines persuade people of reflection, that you fully in. drawn by the general congress of the United structed the most ignorant among us by such a
Colonies. Their laws, issued in the stile of re. positive declaration of our rights, for the purpose
commendations, leave inviolate, in the conventions,
the committees, and finally the people at large, of surreptitiously obtaining our renunciation of them. Human nature, depraved as it is, has not
the right of rejection or ratification. But though
it be.decreed by that august body, that the punish. yet, and we hope never will be guilty of so much
ments of death shall, in some cases be inflicted, hypocrisy and treachery.
the people have not rejected any of their laws, We observe' on the contrary, that your resolve nor even remonstrated against them. The reason is perfectly consistent with the liberal principle of sucli general submission, is, that the whole of on wbich it is introduced; for after baving set forth their proceedings is calculated to promote the what relates to the election of deputies, you recon. greatest good to be expected from the circumn. mend to the electors, 'If the majority of the coun. stances which occasion their resolves, and scarcely ties shall be of opinion that such new government
admit the delays attending more solemn forms. ough to be instituted, then to institute and estab. The conduct of their constituents in this instance, lish such a government.'
clearly shews, wbat an unbounded confidence viriu.
ous rulers may place in the sound judgment, Posterily will behold that resolve as the test of integrity, and moderation of a free people. their rectitude. It will prove that you have fully restore d to us the exercise of our right, finally to
Whatever the interested supporters of oligarchy determ inc on the laws by wbich this colony is to may assert to the contrary, there is not, perhaps, be governed; a right of which, by the injustice of one man, nor any set of men upon earth, who, withthe British government, we have till now been out the special inspiration of the Almighty, could deprived. But a forced and most unnatural miscon
frame a constitution, which in all its parts, would struction, which is artfully put upon your resolve,
be truly unexceptionable, by the majority of the bas deceived many, who really believe that we
people for whom it might be intended. And should will not be allowed to approve or reject the new
God bless any man, or any set men, with such constitution; they are terrified at the consequences,
eminent gifts, that man, or those men, having no although a sincere zeal for the general cause inspire
separate interest to support, in opposition to the them to suppress their remonstrances, lest the com.
general good, would fairly submit the work to the mon enemy should avail himself of that circum.
collective judgment of all the individuals who stance, to undermine your authority.
might be interested in its operation. These it is
probable, would after due examination, unanimously Impressed with just fear of the consequences concur in establishing that constitution. It would which result from that error, we conceive it would become their own joint work, as soon as the mabe criminal in us to continue silent any longer; and jority of them should have freely accepted it; and therefore we beseech you to remove by a full and by its having received their free assent, the ouly timely explanation, the groundless jealousies which charac: eristic of the true lawfulness and legality arise from a misconception of your patriotic resolve. that can be given to human institutions, it would
be truly binding on the people. Any other conAs to us, who do not entertain the least doubt currence in the acts of legislation is illusory s-d of the purity of your intentions; who well know, tyrannical; it proceeds from the selfish principles that your wisdom could not suffer you to aim at of corrupt oligarchy: and should a system of laws obtaining powers, of which we cannot lawfully appear, or even be good in every other respect, divest ourselves; which, if repeatedly declared by which is scarcely admissible, yet it would be imu9,' to have been freely granted, would only pro. perfect. It could be lawfully binding on none but the legislotors themselves, and must continue in destroy our usefulness as a body of voluntary that state of imperfection which disgrace the best associators, who are warmly attached to the cause laws, now and then made in governments establish of liberty; but that it would likewise expose every ed on oligarchic principles, and deprives them of one of us to deserved derision. At the same time, true legality. As such is the case with Great Bri. we assure your bonorable house, that on all occa. tain herself, it is evident that her parliament are sions we will continue to testify our zeal in sup80 far from having a lawful claim to our obedience, porting the measures adopted by congresses and that they bave it not to that of their own con committees, in the prosecution of their grand obstituents; that all our former laws have but a rela-ject, the restoration of human rights in the United tive legality, and that not one of them is lawfully Colonies. And if at any future time, the sitence binding upon us, though even now for the sake of of the bodies in power give us reason to conceive common conveniency, the operation of most of them that our representations may be useful, we iben be and ought to be tolerated, until a new system will endeavor to discharge our duty with propriety, of government shall have been freely ratified by and rely on public indulgence for any imperfection the collegislative power of the people, the sole wbich cannot affect our uprightness. lawful legislature of this colony. It would be an Signed by order of the committee, act of despotism to put it in force by any other
MALCOLM M'EUEN, chairman: means, which God avert! The people it is truc MECHANICS-UALL, June 14, 1776. might be awed, or openly forced to obey, but they would abhor the tyranny and execrate its authors. In convention of the representatives of the state of They would justly think that they were no longer
New-York, August 10, 1776. bound to submit than despotism could be maintain. Resolved, That if any of the militia officers in el by the same violent or artful means which would the service of this state shall, during the present bave produced its existence,
invasion, resign his commission after having re.
ceived orders to proceed upoo duty from this conBut the free ratification of the people will not vention or his superior officer, without the perbe sufficient to render the establishment lawful, mission of this state, or shall not repair with all unless they exercise in its fulness an uncontroled possible dispatch to such place or places, as be power to alter the constitution in the same man. or they may be ordered to by the convention of Rer that it shall have been received. This power this state, or by his superior officer, shall, upon necessarily involves that of every district, occa- proof before a general court martial, be rendered sionally to renew their deputies to committees and incapable of holding any military employment un. congresses when the majority of such district sliall der this state, and his name held up as a deserter think fit; and therefore, without the intervention of his country's cause. of the executive, or any other power, foreign to
ROBERT BENSON, Sec. ilic body of the respective clectors, that right is so essential to our safety, that we firmly believe you will recommend to all your constituents imme.
Saturday, March 25, 1775.-Resolved, as the opi
nion of this convention, that on account of the undiately to exercise it, and never suffer its being
happy disputes between Great Britain and the cowrested from them; otherwise the sensibility of
lonies, and the unsettled state of this country, the our delegates could not allow them to say that they hold their offices from the voluntary choice of a
lawyers, suitors, and witnesses, ought not to attend free people.
the prosecution or defence of civil suits at the
next general court: and it is recommended to the We likewise conceive that this measure will several courts of justice, not to proceed to the more effectually and more speedily tban any other, hearing or determination of suits on their dockets, remove disaffected persons from all our councils, except attachments; nor to give judgment, but in and give our public proceedings a much greater the case of sheriffs, or other collectors of money weight than they bave hitherto obiained amongst or tobacco received by them, in other cases where our neighbors.
such judgment shall be voluntarily confessed, or
upon such amicable procecdings as may become We never did as a body, nor never will, assume necessary for the settlement, division, or distribuany authority whatsoever in the public transactions tion of estates: and, during the suspension of the of the present times. Common sense teaches us, administration of justice, it is earnestly recom. that the absurdity of the claim would not only'mended to the people, 10 observe a peaceable and
IX VIRGINIA COXVENTIOX.
orderly behavior; to all creditors to be as indul, and raise a quantity of Aax, hemp, and cotton, sufgent to their debtors as may be; and to all debtors, ficient not only for the use of his or her own family, to pay as far as they are able; and where differences but also to spare to others on moderate terms. may arise, which cannot be adjusted between the
Resolved unanimously-As salt is a daily and inparties, that they refer the decision thereof to ju- dispensible necessary of life, and the making of it dicious neighbors, and abide by their determina
amongst ourselves, must be deemed a valuable ac. tion.
quisition, it is therefore recommended, that the
utmost endeavors be used to establish salt works, Monday, March 27, 1775.—The committee ap
and that proper encouragement be given to Mr. pointed to prepare a plan for the encouragement
James Tait, who hath made proposals, and offered of arts and manufactures, reported the following
a scheme to the public, for so desirable a purpose. resolutions, wbich being severally read, were unanimously agreed to:
Resolved unanimously--That saltpetre and sul. Whereas, it hatb been judged necessary, for the phur, being articles of great and necessary use,
the making, collecting, and refining them to the preservation of the just rights and liberties of
utmost extent, be recommended, the convention America, firmly to associate against importation; and, as the freedom, happiness, and prosperity of being of opinion, that it may be done to great ad
vantage. a state greatly depend on providing witbin itself, a supply of articles necessary for subsistence, cloth. Resolved unanimously-That the making of gud. ing, and defence; and whereas, it is judged essén. powder be recommended. tial, at this critical juncture, to form a proper
Resolved unanimously–That the manufacturing plan for employing the different inhabitants of this
of iron into nails and wire, and other necessary arcolony, providing for the poor, and restraining va.
ticles, be recommended. grants and other disorderly persons, who are nuisances to every society, a regard for our country, Resolved unanimously-That the making of steel as well as common prudence, call upon us to en- ought to be largely encouraged, as there will be a courage agriculture, manufactures, economy, and great demand for this article. the utmost industry; therefore, this convention doth
Resolved unanimously–That the making of difresolve as follows:
ferent kinds of paper ought to be encouraged; and Resolved unanimously—That it be earnestly re. as the success of this branch depends on a supply commended to the different magistrates, vestries, of old linen and woollen rags, the inbabitants of arid church wardens, throughout this colony, that this colony are desired, in their respective families, they pay a proper attention and strict regard to to preserve these articles. the several acts of assembly, made for the restraint of vagrants, and the better employing and main.
Resolved unanimously--That, whereas, wool taining the poor.
combs, cotton and wool cards, hemp and Alas hec.
els, have been for some time made to advantage, in Resolved unanimously—That from and after the
some of the neighboring colonies, and are necessafirst day of May next, no person or persons what.
ry for carrying on linen and woollen manufactures, ever, ought to use, in his or their families, unless
the establishing such manufactures be recomin case of necessity, and on no account, sell to
mended. butchers, or kill for market, any sheep under four years old; and where there is a necessity for using
Resolved unanimously-That the erecting full. any mutton, in his, her, or their families, it is re.
ing mills, and mills for breaking, swingling, and commended to kill such only as are least profita
softening hemp and flas, and also that the making ble to be kept.
grindstones be recommended. Resolved unanimously – That the setting up and Resolved unanimously-- That the brewing malt promoting woollen, cotton, and linen manufactures, liquors in this colony, would tend to render the ought to be encouraged in as many different consumption of foreign liquors less necessary, :: branches as possible, especially coating, flannel, is therefore recommended, that proper attention blankets, rugs, or coverlids, hosiery, and coarse given to the cultivation of hops and barky. clothe, both broad and narrow.
Resolved unanimously--That it be recomi Resolved unanimorisly-That all persons, baving to all the inhabitants of this colony, that the proper lands for the purpose, ought to cultivate as the convention engageth to do, oui owi.
factures, and those of other colonies, in preference , God, do solemnly swear, that I will, to the utmost to all others.
of my power, support, maintain, and defend the Resolved unanimously—That for the more speed government of Virginia, in the present just and ily and effectually carrying these resolutions into necessary war, against all powers wtaterer, who execution it be earnestly recommended, that soci. do, or may levy or carry on any hostility of wa eties be formed in different parts of this colony; against the same, and that I will not in any man
ner aid, or assist, comfort, countenance, correspoad and, it is the opinion of this convention, that pro. per premiums ought to be offered in the several with or abet any person whatever, whom I know, counties and corporations, to such persons as sball or have cause to suspect, have designs to further, excel in the several branches of manufactories; aid, or assist the tyrannical and cruel war, which
ibe British parliament bave levied agamst Ame. and it is recommended to the several committees
rica, and that I will, from time to time, declart of the different counties and corporations, to pro
and make known all traitorous conspiracies and mote and encourage the same, to the utmost of
attempts against the peace and safety of Virginia, their power.
which shall come to my knowledge: So help me
God.” August 16, 1775.-An address from the Baptists in this colony was presented to the convention,
WILLIAMS DURG, Oct. 1775. and read; setting forth, that however distinguished
To colonel Andrew Lewis, and Mr John Boyer. from the body of their countrymen, by appellatives
Gentlemen-For your past service you bave and sentiments of a religious nature, they never- our thanks, and we presume it is all the reward theless consider themselves as members of the
you desire. And as we have again committed to same community in respect to matters of a civil
you the greatest trust we can confer (that of ap. nature, and embarked in the same common cause; pearing for us in the great council of the colony) that, alarmed at the oppression which hangs over we think it expedient you hear our sentiments at America, they had considered what part it would this important juncture. And first, we require be proper to take in the unhappy contest, and had you to represent us with hearts replete with the determined that in some cases it was lawful to go most grateful and loyal veneration for the race of to war, and that they ought to make a military Brunswick, for they have been truly our fathers; resistance against Great Britain in ber unjust and at the same time the most dutiful affection invasion, tyrannical oppressions, and repeated for our sovereign, of whose honest heart we casbostilities; that their brethren were left at discre
not entertain any diffidence; but sorry we are to tion to iplist, without incurring the censure of add, that in his councils we can no longer confide their religious community; and, under these cir- a set of miscreants, uxworthy to administer the cumstances, many of them had enlisted as soldiers, laws of Britain's empire, bave been permitted and many more were ready to do so, who had an impiously to sway. How unjustly, cruelly, and earnest desire their ministers should preach to tyrannically, they have invaded our rights, we need them during the campaign; that they had there. not now put you in mind. We only say, and we fore appointed four of their brethren to make assert it with pride, that the subjects of Britain application to this convention for the liberty of are one; and when the bonest man of Boston whe preaching to the troops at convenient times, with has broke no law, has his property wrested from out molestation or abuse, and praying the same him, the hunter on the Alegany must take the may be granted them.
alarm, and, as a freeman of America, he will fly Resolved, That it be an instruction to the com.
to bis representatives, and thus instruct them manding officers of the regiments or troops to be Gentlemen, my gun, my tomahawk, my life I desire raised, that they permit dissenting clergymen to you to render to the honor of my king and courcelebrate Divine worship, and to preach to the try; but my liberty to range these woods on the soldiers, or exhort, from time to time, as the vari- same terms my father bas done, is not mine to give ous operations of the military service may permit, up; it was not purchased by me, and purchased it for the case of such serupulous consciences as may was; it is entailed on my son, and the tenure is not choose to attend Divine service as celebrated sacred. Watch over it, gentlemen, for to him it by the chapluin.
must descend ưnviolated, if my ạm can defead it;
but if not, if wicked power is permitted to prerail Test in Virginia, 1776, published by order of the against me, the original purchase was blood, and condention--"I, A. B. in the presence of Almighty mine shall seal the surrender.
That our countrymen and the world may know, ticular, have been precipitated into measures, ex. our disposition, we choose that this be published. traordinary perhaps in their nature, but warranted And we have one request to add, that is, that the by necessity, from whence, among many other mea. sons of freedom who appeared for us at Philadel- sures, the appointment of committees, in the seve. phia, will accept our most ardent, grateful acoral towns and counties, took its birth, to prevent, knowledgments; and we bereby plight them our/ as much as in them lay, the operations of such unfaith, that we will religiously observe their resolu- constitutional encroachments: And the assembly tions, and obey their instructions, in contempt of remain unconvinced of any steps taken by those power and temporary interest; and should the mea. committees, but such as they were compelled to sures they have wisely calculated for our relief take for that salutary purpose. fail, we will stand prepared for every contingency. We are, gentlemen, your dutiful, &c.
It is not to be controverted, tbat bis majesty's The Freeholders of Botetourt.
subjects bave a right to petition for a redress of
grievances, or to remonstrate against them; and NORTH CAROLINA.
as it is only in a meeting of the people, that their Extracts from the reply of the assembly of North sense, respecting such petition and remonstrance,
Carolina, to the speech of governor Martin, April, can be obtained, that the right of assembling is as 1775.
undoubted.--To attempt, therefore, under the To bis excellency Josiah Martin, esq. captain gen. mask of authority, to prevent or forbid a meeting
eral, governor, and commander in chief, in and of the people for such purposes, or to interrupt over the province of North Carolina.
their proceedings when met, would be a vain efS1x:-We, his majesty's most dutiful and loyal fort
, unduly to exercise power in direct opposition subjects, the members of the assembly of North to the constitution. Carolina, have taken into consideration you excel.
Far be it from us, then, sir, even to wish to prelency's speech, at the opening of this session.
vent the operations of the convention now held at We met in general assembly, with minds supe. Newbern, or to agree with your excellency in be. rior to private dissention, determined calmly, unit. stowing upon them the injurious epithet of an iledly, and faithfully, to discharge the sacred trust legal meeting. They are, sir, the respectable ré. reposed in us by our constituents. Actuated by presentatives of the people, appointed for a spe. sentiments like these, it behoves us to declare, cial and important purpose, to which, though our that the assembly of this colony have the highest constituents might bave thought us adequate, yet, sense of their allegiance to the king of Great Bri. as our meeting depended upon the pleasure of the tain, to whom alone, as our constitutional sovereign, crown, they would have been unwise to have trust. we acknowledge allegiance to be due, and to whom ed to so precarious a contingence, especially as the we so cheerfully and repeatedly have sworn it, that frequent and unexpected prorogations of the as. to remind us of the oath was undecessary. This sembly, one of them in particular, as if all respect allegiance, all past assemblies bave, upon every and attention to the convenience of their represenoccasion, amply expressed; and we, the present tatives hath been lost, was proclaimed but two or. representatives of the people, shall be always rea- three days before the time which had been appoint. dy, by our actions, with pleasure to testify; sensi.ed for the meetings, gave the people not the least ble, however, that the same constitution which es reason to expect that their assembly would have tablished that allegiance, and enjoined the oath in been permitted to sit tlll it was too late to appoint consequence
of it, hath bound majesty under as delegates to attend the continental congress at solemn obligations, to protect subjects inviolate in Philadelphia; a measure which they joined the rest all their just rights and priviledges, wisely intend. of America in thinking essential to its interest. ing, by reciprocal dependence, to secure the hap.
The house, sir, neither know, nor believe that piness of both.
any base arts have been practised upon the people We contemplate, with a degree of horror, the in order to lead them from their duty; but we unhappy state of America, involved in the most know with certainty, that the steps they have taken embarrassing difficulties and distresses, by a num. proceeded from a full conviction, that the parliaber of unconstitutional invasions of their just rights ment of Great Britain had, by a variety of oppres. and privileges; by which, the inhabitants of the sive and unconstitutional proceedings, made those continent in general, ard of this province in par. I steps absolutely necessary. We think it, therefore,