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Congress Forms the First Continental Association and Addresses the People of Great Britain
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To obtain redress of these grievances, which threaten destruction to the lives, liberty and property of his Majesty’s subjects in North-America, we are of opinion, that a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and peaceable measure… We will neither import, nor purchase any slave imported, after the first day of December next; after which time, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade… we will not purchase or use any tea, imported on account of the East-India Company, or any on which a duty bath been or shall be paid…

[CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. Newspaper. Postscript to The Pennsylvania Gazette, [November 2, 1774] (No. 2393). Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers. Front-page printing of “The Association” (October 20, 1774, but misdated in this issue as October 24), signed in type by Peyton Randolph and delegates from twelve colonies, including George Washington and John Adams. With a front-page printing of Address “To the People of Great-Britain” (October 21, 1774), written by John Jay. 2 pp., 10 x 15½ in.

Inventory #30035.19       Price: $28,000

The Pennsylvania Gazette (1728-1800) was first published in 1728 in Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith purchased it in October 1729. Franklin became sole owner by 1732, printing the newspaper and often contributing articles under pseudonyms. His paper became the most successful in Pennsylvania. In 1748, he entered into partnership with David Hall. The Gazette printed the first political cartoon in America, “Join or Die,” designed by Franklin, in 1754. After Franklin sold his printing business to Hall in 1766, William Sellers became a partner. During the 1770s and through the Revolutionary War, the Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the most prominent and influential newspapers in the new nation.

When the British Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts in 1774, many American colonists viewed them as a violation of the British Constitution and a threat to the liberties of all of British North America. In response, colonists proposed economic sanctions against Great Britain in the form of non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation of goods.

On September 30, 1774, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia appointed a committee, consisting of Thomas Cushing of Massachusetts, Isaac Low of New York, Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, and Thomas Johnson of Maryland, to develop a plan for implementing the non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation resolves. On October 12, the committee submitted a report, and Congress debated it over the next week. On October 18, Congress approved the plan, and on October 20, the delegates signed “The Association,” a system for implementing a trade boycott with Great Britain. According to its provisions, on December 1, 1774, the American colonies would not longer import any goods from Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies. It also threatened an export ban if the offensive acts of Parliament were not repealed by September 1775.

On October 21, Congress also approved an Address “To the People of Great-Britain,” appealing to a shared history and culture, and warning of the danger that a corrupt Parliament posed to all British citizens.

Excerpts from The Association

To obtain redress of these grievances, which threaten destruction to the lives, liberty and property of his Majesty’s subjects in North-America, we are of opinion, that a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and peaceable measure: And therefore we do, for ourselves and the inhabitants of the several colonies, whom we represent, firmly agree and associate under the sacred ties of virtue, honour and love of our country, as follows.” (p1/c1)

First. That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares or merchandize whatsoever....

Second. We will neither import, nor purchase any slave imported, after the first day of December next; after which time, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade…

Third. As a non-consumption agreement, strictly adhered to, will be an effectual security for the observation of the non-importation, we, as above, solemnly agree and associate, that from this day, we will not purchase or use any tea, imported on account of the East-India Company…

Fourth. The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies, induces us to suspend a non-exportation, until the tenth day of September 1775; at which time, if the said acts and parts of acts of the British Parliament herein after mentioned, are not repealed, we will not, directly or indirectly, export any merchandize or commodity whatsoever to Great-Britain, Ireland or the West-Indies, except rice to Europe.

Eighth. We will in our several stations encourage frugality, economy and industry; and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool; and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation....” (p1/c1-2)

Eleventh. That a Committee be chosen in every county, city and town, by those who are qualified to vote for Representatives in the legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association....” (p1/c2)

Fourteenth. And we do further agree and resolve, that we will have no trade, commerce, dealings or intercourse whatsoever, with any colony or province, in North-America, which shall not accede to, or which shall hereafter violate this association…

Excerpts from Address To the People of Great Britain

In almost every age, in repeated conflicts, in long and bloody wars, as well civil as foreign, against many and powerful nations, against the open assaults of enemies, and the more dangerous treachery of friends, have the inhabitants of your Island, your great and glorious ancestors, maintained their independence, and transmitted the rights of men, and the blessings of liberty, to you, their posterity.” (p1/c3)

The cause of America is now the object of universal attention; it has at length become very serious. This unhappy country has not only been oppressed, but abused and misrepresented; and the duty we owe to ourselves and posterity, to your interest, and the general welfare of the British Empire, leads us to address you on this very important subject.

Know then, That we consider ourselves, and do insist, that we are and ought to be as free as our fellow-subjects in Britain, and that no power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.

May not a Ministry with the same armies enslave you? It may be said you will cease to pay them; but remember the taxes from America, the wealth, and we may add the men, and particularly the Roman Catholics of this vast continent will then be in the power of your enemies—nor will you have any reason to expect, that after making slaves of us, many among us should refuse to assist in reducing you to the same abject state.” (p2/c2)

Do not treat this as chimerical—Know that in less than half a century, the quitrents reserved to the crown, from the numberless grants of this vast continent, will pour large streams of wealth into the royal coffers, and if to this be added the power of taxing America at pleasure, the crown will be rendered independent of you for supplies, and will possess more treasure than may be necessary to purchase the remains of liberty in your island. In a word, take care that you do not fall into the pit that is preparing for us.

We believe there is yet much virtue, much justice, and much public spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and desirous of independency. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies.

Place us in the same situation that we were at the close of the last war, and our former harmony will be restored.

It is with the utmost regret, however, that we find ourselves compelled, by the overruling principles of self-preservation, to adopt measures, detrimental in their consequences to numbers of our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain and Ireland. But we hope, that the magnanimity and justice of the British nation will furnish a Parliament of such wisdom, independence, and public spirit, as may save the violated rights of the whole empire, from the devices of wicked Ministers and evil Counsellors, whether in or out of office; and thereby restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal affection between all the inhabitants of his Majesty’s kingdoms and territories so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.” (p2/c3)

Full Text of “The Association,” October 20, 1774

Full Text of the “Address To the People of Great Britain,” October 21, 1774


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