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Resolved unanimously. That a loyal address to his majesty be prepared, dutifully requesting the royal attention to the grievances that alarm and distress his majesty's faithful subjects in North-America, and entreating his majesty's gracious interposition for the removal of such grievances; thereby to restore between Great-Britain and the colonies that harmony so necessary to the happiness of the British empire, and so ardently desired by all America.
•tfgreetf, That Mr. Lee, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Henry, and Mr. Rutledge, be a committee, to prepare an address to his majesty.
MONDAY, October 3, 1774. The Congress met, according to adjournment, and after some debate, Resolved unanimously, That it be an instruction to the committee, who are appointed to draw up an address to the king: Whereas parliamentary taxes on America have been laid, on pretence of "defraying the expenses of government, and supporting the administration of justice, and defending, protecting, and securing the colonies.?' That thay do assure his majesty, that the colonies have or will make ample provision for defraying all the necessary expenses of supporting government, and the due administration of justice in the respective colonies; that the militia, if put on a proper footing, would be amply sufficient for their defence in time of peace; that they are desirous of putting it on such a footing immediately, and that in case of war, the colonies are ready to grant supplies for raising any further forces that may be necessary. The remainder of this day and the day following, was taken up in deliberating and debating on matters proper to be contained in the address to hit majesty.
WEDNESDAY, October 5, 1774.
The Congress resumed the consideration of the subject in debate yesterday, and after some time spent thereon,
Resolved, That the committee appointed to prepare an address to his majesty, be instructed to assure his majesty, that hi case the colonies shall be restored to the state they were in, at the close of the late war, by abolishing the system of laws and regulations—for raising a revenue in America—for extending the powers of courts of admiralty—for the trial of persons beyond sea for crimes committed in America—for affecting the colony of the Massachusetts-Bay—and for altering the government, and extending the limits of Canada, the jealousies which have been occasioned by such acts and regulations of parliament, will be removed, and commerce again restored.
An address from William Goddard to the Congress was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
THURSDAY, October 6, 1774.
The Congress resumed the consideration of the means proper to be used for a restoration of American rights. During this debate, an express from Boston arrived with a letter from the committee of correspondence, dated the 29th of September, which was laid before the Congress.
In this the committee of correspondence inform the Congress, that they "expected some regard would have been paid to the petitions presented to their governor, against fortifying their town in such a manner as can be accounted for only upon the supposition, that the town and country are to be treated by the soldiery as declared enemies—that the entrenchments upon the Neck are nearly completed—that cannon are mounted at the entrance of the town— that it is currently reported, that fortifications are to be erected on CorpseHill, Bacon-Hill, "Fort-Hill, &c. so that the fortifications, with the ships in the harbour, may absolutely command every avenue to the town both by sea and land—that a number of cannon, the property of a private gentleman, were a few days ago seized and taken from his wharf by order of the general—that from several circumstances mentioned in the letter, there is reason'-to apprehend, that Boston is to be made and kept a garrisoned town—that from all they can hear from Britain, administration is resolved to do all in their power to force them to a submission—that when the town is inclosed, it is apprehended the inhabitants will be held as hostages for the submission qf the country, they apply therefore to the Congress for advice how to act—that, if the Congress advise to quit the town, they obey—if it is judged that by maintaining their ground they can better serve the public cause,they will not shrink from hardship and danger—finally, that as the late acts of parliament have made it impossible that there should be a due administration of justice, and all law therefore must be suspended—that as the governor has by proclamation prevented the meeting of the general court, they therefore request the advice of the Congress."
Ordered, That this letter be taken into consideration to-morrow morning.
The Congress then resumed the consideration of the means, &c.
Resolved, That the committee appointed to prepare the form of an association, be directed to adopt the following clause, viz.—That from and after the. first day of December next, no molasses, coffee or pimento from the British plantations or from Dominica, or wines from Maderia and the Western Islands, or foreign indigo, be imported into these colonies.
FRIDAY, October 7, 1774.
The Congress resumed the consideration of the letter from the committee of correspondence in Boston, and after some debate,
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to prepare a letter to his excellency general Gage, representing "that the town of Bostou, and province of Massachusetts-Bay, are considered by all America, its suffering in the common cause, for their noble and spirited opposition to oppressive acts of parliament, calculated to deprive us of our most snered rights and privileges."— Expressing our concern, that, while the Congress are deliberating on the most peaceable means for restoring American 'liberty, and that harmony and intercourse, which subsisted between us and the parent kingdom, so necessary to both, his excellency, as they are .informed, is raising fortifications round the town of Boston, thereby exciting well grounded jealousies in the minds of his majesty's faithful subjects therein, that he means to cut off all communication between them and their brethren in the country, and reduce them to a state of submission to his will, and that the soldiers under his excellency's command, are frequently violating private property, and offering various insults to the people, which must irritate their minds, and if not put a stop to, involve all America in the horrors of a civil war.—To entreat his excellency, from the assurance we have of the peaceable disposition of the inhabitants of the town of Boston and the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, to discontinue his fortifications, and that a free and safe communication be restored and continued between the town of Boston and the country, and prevent all injuries on the part of the troops, until his majesty's pleasure shall be known, alter the measures now adopting shall have been laid before him.
Mr. Lynch, Mr. S. Adams, and Mr. Pendleton, are appointed a committee to draught a letter agreeable to the foregoing resolution.
SATURDAY, October 8,17M.
The Congress resumed the consideration of the letter from Boston, and up on motion, ^ .
Besolved, That this Congress approve the opposition of the inhabitants of the Massachusett<.-Bav. to the e\<-cution of the fate acts of parliament; and if
VOT^ I. . X
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the same shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case, all America ought to support them in their opposition.
MONDAY, October 10, 1774.
The Congress, resuming the consideration of the letter from Boston,
Resolved unanimously, That it is the opinion of this body, that the removal of the people of Boston into the country, would be, not only extremely difficult in the execution, but so important in its consequences, as to require the utmost deliberation before it is adopted; but, in case the provincial meeting of that colony should judge it absolutely necessary, it is the opinion of the Congress, that all America ought to contribute towards recompensing them for the injury they may thereby sustain; and it will be recommended accordingly.
Resolved, That the Congress recommend to the inhabitants of the colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, to submit to a suspension of the administration of justice, where it cannot be procured in a legal and peaceable manner, under the rules of their present charter, and the laws of the colony founded thereon.
Resolved unanimously, That every person and persons whomsoever, who shall take, accept, or act under any commission or authority, in any wise derived from the act passed in the last session of parliament/changing the form of government, and violating the charter of the province of Massachu setts Bay, ought to be held in detestation and abhorrence by all good men, and considered as the wicked tools of that despotism, which is preparing to destroy those rights, which God, nature, and compact, have given to America.
The committee brought in a draught of a letter to general Gage, and the same being read and amended, was ordered to be copied, and to be signed by the President in behalf of the Congress.
TUESDAY, October 11, 1774.
A copy of the letter to general Gage, was brought into Congress, and agreeable to order, signed by the President, and is as follows:
PHILADELPHIA October 10, 1774. "sir,
"The inhabitants of the town of Boston have informed us, the representatives of his majesty's faithful subjects in all the colonies from Nova-Scotia to Georgia, that the fortifications erecting within that town, the frequent invasions of private property, and the repeated insults they receive from the soldiery, have given them great reason to suspect a plan is formed very destructive to them, and tending to overthrow the liberties of America.
"Your excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America, with respect to the acts of parliament, under the execution of which, those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the colonies, for the preservation of their common rights, to unite in their opposition to those acts.— In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties, and we are under the deepest concern, that whilst we are pursuing dutiful and peaceable measures to procure a cordial and effectual reconciliation between Great-Britain and the colonies, your excellency should proceed in a manner that bears so hostile an appearance, and which even those oppressive acts do not warrant.
"We entreat your excellency to consider what a tendency this conduct must have to irritate and force a free people, hitherto well disposed to peaceable measures, into hostilities, which may prevent the endeavours of this Congress to restore a good understanding with our parent state, and may involve us in the horrors of a civil war. »
"In order therefore to quiet the minds and remove the reasonable jealousies of the people, that they may not be driven to a state of desperation, being fully persuaded of their pacific disposition towards the king's troops, could they be assured of their own safety, we hope, sir, you will discontinue the fortifications in and about Boston, prevent any further invasions of private property, restrain the irregularities of the soldiers, and give orders that the communication between the town and country may be open, unmolested and free.
"Signed by order, and in behalf of the General Congress,
"PEYTON RANDOLPH, President."
As the Congress have given general Gage an assurance of the peaceable disposition of the people of Boston and the Massachusetts-Bay,
Resolved unanimously, That they be advised still to conduct themselves peaceably towards his excellency general Gage, and his majesty's troops now stationed in the town of Boston, as far as can possibly be consistent with their immediate safety, and the security of the town ; avoiding and discountenancing every violation of his majesty's property, or any insult to his troops, and that they peaceably and firmly persevere in the line they are now conducting themselves, on the defensive.
Ordered, That a copy of the foregoing resolve, and of that passed on Saturday and the three passed yesterday, be made out, and that the President inclose them in a letter to the committee of correspondence for the town of Boston, being the sentiments of the Congress on the matters referred to them by the committee, in their letter of the 29th of September last.
Resolved unanimously, That a memorial be prepared to the people of British America, stating to them the necessity of a firm, united, and invariable observation of the measures recommended by the Congress, as they tender the invaluable rights and liberties derived to them from the laws and constitution of their country.
Also that an address be prepared to the people of Great-Britain.
Ordered, That Mr. Lee, Mr. Livingston, and Mr. Jay, be a committee to prepare a draught of the memorial and address.
WEDNESDAY, October 12,1774.
The Congress met according to adjournment.
The committee appointed to prepare a plan for carrying into effect, the nonimportation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, brought in a report, which was'read:
Ordered, That the same lie on the table, for the perusal of the members:
The Congress then resumed the consideration of the rights and grievances of these colonies, and after deliberating on the subject this and the following day, adjourned till
FRIDAY October 14, 1774.
The Congress met according to adjournment, and resuming the consideration of the subject under debate—made the following declaration and resolves:
Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming, a power of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.
And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependant on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace: And whereas it has lately been resolvedin parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirtyfifth year of the reign of king Henry the eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.
And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; "one, entitled " An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as "are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of "goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour of Bos"ton, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay, in North-America;" another, en"titled " An act for the better regulating the government of the province of "Massachusetts-Bay in New-England ;" and another, entitled "An act for the "impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for • any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots "and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England;" and another statute was then made, " for making more effectual provision for the "government of the province of Quebec, &c." All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.
And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances ; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by his majesty's ministers of state:
The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, MassachusettsBay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, NewJersey, Pennsylvania, New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in General Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted. Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for affecting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE,
That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following RJCHTS:
Resolved, JV". ft 1). 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.
Resolved, JV*. ft D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-bom subjects, within the realm of England.
Resolved, JV. ft 1). 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.
Resolved, 4, That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where, their right of representation can alone be preserved..