This document was written as a call for independence from the British Crown in the Charlotte area.
Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County, May 31. This Day the Committee 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 Rebelion, 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 the County in the present alarming Period, we deem it proper and necessary to pass the following Resolves, viz.
2. 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 does or can exist, at this time, in any of these Colonies.
3. 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.
4. 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 for the County, and one for 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 Great-Britain, and former Constitution of this Province.
5. That for the better Preservation of the Peace, and Administration of Justice, each of these 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 the said Company under the Sum of Twenty Shillings, and jointly and together all Controversies under the Sum of Forty Shillings, yet so as their Decisions may admit of Appeals to the Convention of the Select Men of the whole County; and also, that any one of these shall have Power to examine, and commit to Confinement, Persons accused of Petit Larceny…
…16. 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 where he resides, the said Captain 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, into safe Custody, until the next setting of the Convention, who shall deal with him as Prudence may direct.
17. That any Person refusing to yield Obedience to the above Resolves shall be deemed equally criminal, and liable to the same Punishments as the Offenders above last mentioned.
18. That these Resolves be in full Force and Virtue, until Instructions from the General Congress of this Province, regulating the Jurisprudence of this Province, shall provide otherwise, or the legislative Body of Great-Britain resign its unjust and arbitrary Pretentions with Respect to America.
19. That the several Militia Companies in this county do provide themselves with proper Arms and Accoutrements, and hold themselves in Readiness to execute the commands and Directions of the Provincial Congress, and of this committee.
20. That this committee do appoint Colonel Thomas Polk, and Doctor Joseph Kennedy, to purchase 300 lb. of Powder, 600 lb. of Lead, and 1000 Flints, and deposit the same in some safe Place, hereafter to be appointed by the committee.
Citation: “Mecklenburg ‘Resolves’, North-Carolina Gazette June 6, 1775.” NCpedia, www.ncpedia.org/media/image/mecklenburg-resolves, Accessed 21 August 2023.
- According to the first paragraph, what is the purpose of the Resolves in regards to America’s relationship with King George III?
- What is Thomas Polk tasked with according to this source? In your opinion, what character trait must he possess given his task that he’s been assigned?
- When and where was this document written and produced?
- What other context or information is needed from this document to better understand Polk’s role in the Mecklenburg Resolves?
Resolves: set of anti-British resolutions that denied the authority of the British Parliament over the colonies
Commissions: authoritative orders or directions
Exigencies: urgent or immediate needs
Viz: British term used to introduce examples or details
Heretofore: before this time
Null and void: having no force or power
Executive: branch of government that carries out laws
To wit: phrase meaning “the following comes to mind”
Freeholders: local residents who own property
Shillings: former monetary unit not used in the U.S. since the 18th and 19th centuries
Petit larceny: stealing items of low monetary value
Prudence: caution or wisdom in practical matters
Jurisprudence: body or system of laws
Arbitrary: random; not applied fairly
Pretensions: claims or titles to something
Accoutrements: items of dress or equipment carried or worn by a person or used for a particular activity