[grievance resolves regarding British rule of the American
colonies were drafted during 1775 by Mecklenburg and Tryon
counties in North Carolina, Suffolk county in Massachusetts and
some other counties, in response to the 19 April Battle of
Lexington, leading to Committees of Safety for the establishment
of protective militias before the Revolutionary War commenced]
Mecklenburg County Resolves
31 May 1775
This day the Committee of this county met, and passed the
WHEREAS, By an Address presented to His Majesty by both Houses of
Parliament, in February last, the American colonies are declared
to be in a state of actual rebellion, we conceive, that all laws
and commissions confirmed by, or derived from the authority of
the King or Parliament, are annulled and vacated, and the former
civil constitution of these colonies, for the present, wholly
suspended. To provide, in some degree, for the exigencies of
these colonies, in the present alarming period, we deem it proper
and necessary to pass the following Resolves, viz.:
That all commissions, civil and military, heretofore granted by
the Crown, to be exercised in these colonies, are null and void,
and the constitution of each particular colony wholly suspended.
That the Provincial Congress of each province, under the
direction of the great Continental Congress, is invested with all
legislative and executive powers within their respective
provinces, and that no other legislative or executive power,
does, or can exist, at this time, in any of these colonies.
As all former laws are now suspended in this province, and the
Congress have not yet provided others, we judge it necessary, for
the better preservation of good order, to form certain rules and
regulations for the internal government of this county, until
laws shall be provided for us by the Congress.
That the inhabitants of this county do meet on a certain day
appointed by this Committee, and having formed themselves into
nine companies (to-wit), eight in the county, and one in the town
of Charlotte, do choose a Colonel and other military officers,
who shall hold and exercise their several powers by virtue of
this choice, and independent of the Crown of Great Britain, and
former constitution of this province.
That for the better preservation of the peace and administration
of justice, each of those companies do choose from their own
body, two discreet freeholders, who shall be empowered, each by
himself and singly, to decide and determine all matters of
controversy, arising within said company, under the sum of twenty
shillings; and jointly and together, all controversies under the
sum of forty shillings; yet so as that their decisions may admit
of appeal to the Convention of the Select-Men of the county, and
also that any one of these men shall have power to examine and
commit to confinement persons accused of petit larceny.
That those two Select-Men, thus chosen, do jointly and together
choose from the body of their particular company, two persons
properly qualified to act as Constables, who may assist them in
the execution of their office.
That upon the complaint of any persons to either of these
Select-Men, he do issue his warrant, directed to the Constable,
commanding him to bring the aggressor before him or them, to
answer said complaint.
That these eighteen Select-Men, thus appointed, do meet every
third Thursday in January, April, July, and October, at the
Court-House, in Charlotte, to hear and determine all matters of
controversy, for sums exceeding forty shillings, also appeals;
and in cases of felony, to commit the person or persons convicted
thereof to close confinement, until the Provincial Congress shall
provide and establish laws and modes of proceeding in all such
That these eighteen Select-Men, thus convened, do choose a Clerk
to record the transactions of said Convention, and that said
Clerk, upon the application of any persons aggrieved, do issue
his warrant to one of the Constables of the company to which the
offender belongs, directing said Constable to summons and warn
said offender to appear before the Convention, at their next
meeting, to answer the aforesaid complaint.
That any person making complaint upon oath, to the Clerk, or any
member of the Convention, that he has reason to suspect, that any
person or persons indebted to him, in a sum above forty
shillings, intend clandestinely to withdraw from the county,
without paying such debt, the Clerk or such member shall issue
his warrant to the Constable, commanding him to take said person
or persons into safe custody, until the next sitting of the
That when a debtor for a sum below forty shillings shall abscond
and leave the county, the warrant granted as aforesaid, shall
extend to any goods or chattels of said debtor, as may be found,
and such goods or chattels be seized and held in custody by the
Constable, for the space of thirty days; in which time, if the
debtor fail to return and discharge the debt, the Constable shall
return the warrant to one of the Select-Men of the company, where
the goods are found, who shall issue orders to the Constable to
sell such a part of said goods as shall amount to the sum due;
That when the debt exceeds forty shillings, the return shall be
made to the Convention, who shall issue orders for sale.
That all receivers and collectors of quit-rents, public and
county taxes, do pay the same into the hands of the chairman of
this Committee, to be by them disbursed as the public exigencies
may require; and that such receivers and collectors proceed no
further in their office, until they be approved of by, and have
given to, this Committee, good and sufficient security, for a
faithful return of such monies when collected.
That the Committee be accountable to the county for the
application of all monies received from such public officers.
That all these officers hold their commissions during the
pleasure of their several constituents.
That this committee will sustain all damages that ever hereafter
may accrue to all or any of these officers thus appointed, and
thus acting, on account of their obedience and conformity to
That whatever person shall hereafter receive a commission from
the Crown, or attempt to exercise any such commission heretofore
received, shall be deemed an enemy to his country, and upon
information being made to the Captain of the company in which he
resides, the said company shall cause him to be apprehended, and
conveyed before the two Select-Men of the said company, who, upon
proof of the fact, shall commit him, the said offender, to safe
custody, until the next sitting of the Committee, who shall deal
with him as prudence may direct.
That any person refusing to yield obedience to the above
Resolves, shall be considered equally criminal, and liable to the
same punishment, as the offenders above last mentioned.
That these Resolves be in full force and virtue, until
instructions from the Provincial Congress, regulating the
jurisprudence, of the Province shall provide otherwise, or the
legislative body of Great Britain, resigns its unjust and
arbitrary pretensions with respect to America.
That the eight militia companies in the county, provide
themselves with proper arms and accoutrements. and hold
themselves in readiness to execute the commands and directions of
the General Congress of this province and this Committee.
That the Committee appoint Colonel Thomas Polk, and Doctor Joseph
Kennedy, to purchase 300 lb. of powder, 600 lb. of lead, 1,000
flints, for the use of the militia of this county, and deposit
the same in such place as the Committee may hereafter direct.
Signed by order at the Committee.
EPH. BREVARD, Clerk of the Committee
Tryon County Resolve
14 August 1775
The unprecedented, barbarous and bloody actions committed by
British troops on our American brethren near Boston, on 19th
April and 20th of May last, together with the hostile operations
and treacherous designs now carrying on, by the tools of
ministerial vengeance, for the subjugation of all British
America, suggest to us the painful necessity of having recourse
to arms in defense of our National freedom and constitutional
rights, against all invasions; and at the same time do solemnly
engage to take up arms and risk our lives and our fortunes in
maintaining the freedom of our country whenever the wisdom and
counsel of the Continental Congress or our Provincial Convention
shall declare it necessary; and this engagement we will continue
in for the preservation of those rights and liberties which the
principals of our Constitution and the laws of God, nature and
nations have made it our duty to defend. We therefore, the
subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of Tryon Couny, do here
by faithfully unite ourselves under the most solemn ties of
religion, honor and love to our county, firmly to resist force by
force, and hold sacred till a reconciliation shall take place
between Great Brittain and America on Constitutional principals,
which we most ardently desire,and do firmly agree to hold all
such persons as inimical to the liberties of America who shall
refuse to sign this association.
Perrygreen Mackness / Magness
Jacob Mauney, Jun.