Their Resolutions on the refusal of the Governour to admit them to the usual oaths


In the Court House at SALEM, OCTOBER 7, 1774.

Whereas, his Excellency Thomas Gage, Esq˙, did issue writs bearing date the first of September last, for the election of Members to serve as Representatives in a Great and General Court, which he did "think fit and appoint" to be convened and holden the fifth day of October instant, at the Court House in this place. And whereas, a majority of Members duly elected in consequence of said writs, did attend at said Court House the time appointed, there to be qualified according to Charter for taking seats and acting as Representatives in said Great and General Court; but were not met by the Governour, or other constitutional officer or officers by him appointed for administering the usual oaths, and qualifying them thereto. And whereas, a Proclamation, bearing date the 28th day of September last, and published in sundry newspapers, with the signature of his Excellency, contains many reflections on this Province, as being in a tumultuous and disorderly state; and appears to have been considered by his Excellency as a constitutional discharge of all such persons as have been elected in consequence of his Excellency' s said writs. The Members aforesaid so attending, having considered the measures which his Excellency has been pleased to take by his said Proclamation, and finding them to be unconstitutional, unjust, and disrespectful to the Province, think it their duty to pass the following Resolves:

Therefore, resolved. As the opinion of said Members:

1st. That by the Royal Charter of the Province, the Governour, for the time being, is expressly obliged to convene, "upon every last Wednesday in the month of May, every year forever, and at such other times as he shall think fit, and appoint a Great and General Court." And, therefore, that as his Excellency had thought fit, and by his writ appointed a Great and General Court to be convened on the fifth day of October, instant, his conduct in preventing the same, is against the express words, as well as true sense and meaning of the Charter, and. unconstitutional; more especially as, by Charter, his Excellency' s power "to adjourn, prorogue, and dissolve, all Great and General Courts," doth not take place after said Courts shall be appointed, until they have first "met and convened."

2dly. That the constitutional Government of the inhabitants of this Province, being by a considerable military force at this time attempted to be superseded and annulled; and the people, under the most alarming and just apprehensions of slavery, having, in their laudable endeavours to preserve themselves therefrom, discovered, upon all occasions,


the greatest aversion to disorder and tumult, it must be evident to all attending to his Excellency' s said Proclamation, that his representations of the Province as being in a tumultuous and disordered state, are reflections the inhabitants have by no means merited; and, therefore, that they are highly injurious and unkind.

3dly. That, as the pretended cause of his Excellency' s Proclamation for discharging the Members elected by the Province in pursuance of his writs, has for a considerable time existed, his Excellency' s conduct in choosing to issue said Proclamation, (had it been in other respects unexceptionable,) but a few days before the Court was to have been convened, and thereby unavoidably putting to unnecessary expense and trouble a great majority of Members from the extremities of the Province, is a measure by no means consistent with the dignity of the Province; and, therefore, it ought to be considered as a disrespectful treatment of the Province, and as an opposition to that reconciliation between Great Britain and the Colonies so ardently wished for by all the friends of both.

4thly. That some of the causes assigned as aforesaid for this unconstitutional and wanton prevention of the General Court, have, in all good Governments, been considered among the greatest reasons for convening a Parliament or Assembly; and, therefore, the Proclamation is considered as a further proof, not only of his Excellency' s disaffection towards the Province, but of the necessity of its most vigorous and immediate exertions for preserving the freedom and Constitution thereof.

Upon a motion made and seconded,

Voted, That the Members aforesaid do now resolve themselves into a Provincial Congress, to be joined by such other persons as have been or shall be chosen for that purpose, to take into consideration the dangerous and alarming situation of publick affairs in this Province, and to consult and determine on such measures as they shall judge will tend to promote the true interest of his Majesty, in the peace, welfare, and prosperity of the Province.