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Colonial Resolves

[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 following Resolves:

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 cases.

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 Convention.

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 these Resolves.

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.

    John Walker
    Charles McLean
    Andrew Neel
    Thomas Beatty
    James Coburn
    Frederick Hambright
    Andrew Hampton
    Benjamin Hardin
    George Paris
    William Graham
    Robt. Alexander
    David Jenkins
    Thomas Espey
    Perrygreen Mackness / Magness
    James McAfee
    William Thompson
    Jacob Forney
    Davis Whiteside
    John Beeman
    John Morris
    Joseph Harden
    John Robison
    James McIntyre
    Valentine Mauney
    George Black
    Jas. Logan
    Jas. Baird
    Christian Carpenter
    Abel Beatty
    Joab Turner
    Jonathan Price
    Jas. Miller
    John Dellinger
    Peter Sides
    William Whiteside
    Geo. Dellinger
    Samuel Carpenter
    Jacob Mauney, Jun.
    John Wells
    Jacob Costner
    Robert Hulclip
    James Buchanan
    Moses Moore
    Joseph Kuykendall
    Adam Simms
    Richard Waffer
    Samuel Smith
    Joseph Neel
    Samuel Loftin