Meeting of the People of the County of Henrico, in Virginia

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HENRICO COUNTY (VIRGINIA) INSTRUCTIONS TO THEIR DELEGATES.

At a Meeting of the Loyal and Patriotick People of the County of Henrico, in Virginia, at the Court House, on the 15th of July, the following Address to their late worthy Representatives was agreed on, and signed by a great number of Freeholders:

To RICHARD ADAMS and SAMUEL DUVAL, Esqrs˙:

We, the subscribers, freeholders of the County of Henrico, assembled for the purpose of deliberating on the present posture of publick affairs, return you our thanks for the part you acted in the late Assembly as our Burgesses.

When we reflect on the alarming and critical situation of things respecting the mother country, our minds are filled with the most anxious concern. The Acts of the British Parliament, made for punishing the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, are repugnant to the first principles of justice; and if they are suffered to have a full operation, will not only crush our sister Colony, and involve the guilty and innocent in one common ruin, but will stand as a fatal precedent to future times for adopting the same fatal measures towards this and every other British Colony. We have, therefore, passed this determination, and shall conduct ourselves conformably, that the cause of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay in general, and of the town of Boston in particular, is the cause of this and every Colony in North America.

We hope, gentlemen, that the exceeding importance of the present crisis will plead our excuse for giving you our sentiments touching that conduct which we wish you to observe in the ensuing Congress on the first day of August next at Williamsburg, to which we depute you to act on our behalf.

With grief and astonishment we behold Great Britain adopting a mode of Government towards her Colonies totally incompatible with our safety and happiness. We cannot submit to be taxed by her Parliament. We cannot sit still and see the harbour of Boston blocked up by an armed force. We cannot behold, without indignation, the charter rights of a sister Colony violated, or the form of its Government changed by an Act of Parliament, as derogatory to the honour of the mother country, as it is repugnant to justice. And lastly, we will not suffer our fellow-subjects to be seized and transported beyond sea to be tried for supposed offences committed here. If these things are suffered to be reduced to practice, we shall account ourselves the most miserable of men, unworthy the name of freemen; we shall not wonder if, in future, we are treated as slaves.

We therefore most solemnly charge and conjure you to use your best endeavours to save us from these calamities. We earnestly entreat you for your utmost exertion to procure, by all possible ways and means, a total repeal of the late oppressive and detestable Acts of Parliament. We heartily trust you will concur in such measures as the said Congress shall judge most efficacious to preserve our ancient rights; for be assured, gentlemen, that nothing shall ever induce from us a submission to tyranny, and that we resolve, once for all, to live and die freemen.

In order to effect those desirable ends, we give it as our opinion, that the most effectual method of opposing the

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said several Acts of Parliament, will be, that a General Association between all the American Colonies, ought immediately be entered into, not to import from Great Britain any commodity whatsoever, except such articles as the general Congress shall judge necessary, until the just rights of the Colonies are restored to them; and the cruel Acts of the British Parliament against the Colony of Massachusetts Bay and town of Boston are repealed.

A love of justice, and the tender regard we have for our friends the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, to whom we are indebted, and who must, of course, suffer in the common cause, prevents our recommending the stopping our exports at this time; but at a future day we will heartily concur with the other counties of this Colony to stop all exports as well as imports, to and from Great Britain, unless what we have already recommended to you shall be found effectual.

We most cordially recommend that no time be lost in administering every comfort and aid to our distressed brethren of Boston, that their unhappy state may require, and may comport with our situation to afford.

We further recommend to you, that you will, in conjunction with the Deputies from the different counties of this Colony, chuse fit and proper persons on the part of this Colony, to meet the Deputies from the other Colonies in a general Congress, at such convenient time and place as shall be agreed on, then and there to advise and consult upon such measures, as, under circumstances of things at that time, they shall deem expedient.

We strictly charge and enjoin, that at all times, and on all occasions, which may present, you testify our zeal for his Majesty' s person and Government, and that we are ready and willing, with our lives and fortunes, to support his rights to the Crown of Great Britain and all its dependencies.