The Charlotte Town Resolves:
RESOLVES ADOPTED IN CHARLOTTE TOWN,
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, MAY 31, 1775
Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County, May 31.
This Day the Committee met, and passed the following
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 Colinies 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
1. That all Commissions, civil and military, heretofore granted by the
Crown, to be exercised in these Colonies, are null and void, and the
Constitution of each particular Colony wholly suspended.
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
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 impowered 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.
6. That those two Select Men, thus chosen, do, jointly and together, choose
from the Body of their particular Company two Persons, properly qualified to
serve as Constables, who may assist them in the Execution of their Office.
7. That upon the Complaint of any Person to either of these Select Men, he
do issue his Warrant, directed to the Constable, commanding him to bring the
Aggressor before him or them to answer the said Complaint.
8. That these eighteen Select Men, thus appointed, do meet every third
Tuesday in January, April, July, and October, at the Court-House, in Charlotte,
to hear and determine all Matters of Controversy for Sums exceeding Forty
Shillings; also Appeals: And in Cases of Felony, to commit the Person or
Persons convicted thereof to close Confinement, until the Provincial Congress
shall provide and establish Laws and Modes of Proceeding in all such Cases.
9. That these Eighteen Select Men, thus convened, do choose a Clerk to
record the Transactions of said Convention; and that the said Clerk, upon the
Application of any Person or Persons aggrieved, do issue his Warrant to one of
the Constables, to summon and warn said Offender to appear before the
Convention at their next sittinbg, to answer the aforesaid Complaint.
10. That any Person making Complaint upon Oath to the Clerk, or any Member
of the Convention, that he has Reason to suspect that any Person or Persons
indebted to him in a Sum above Forty Shillings, do intend clandestinely to
withdraw from the County without paying such Debt; the Clerk, or such Member,
shall issue his Warrant to the Constable, commanding him to take the said
Person or Persons into safe Custody, until the next sitting of the Convention.
11. That when a Debtor for a Sum below Forty Shillings shall abscond and
leave the County, the Warrant granted as aforesaid shall extend to any Goods or
Chattels of the said Debtor as may be found, and such Goods or Chattels be
seized and held in Custody by the Constable for the Space of Thirty Days; in
which Term if the Debtor fails to return and discharge the Debt, the Constable
shall return the Warrant to one of the Select Men of the Company where the
Goods and Chattels are found, who shall issue Orders to the Constable to sell
such a Part of the said Goods as shall amount to the Sum due; that when the
Debt exceeds Forty Shillings, the Return shall be made to the Convention, who
shall issue the Orders for Sale.
12. That all Receivers and Collectors of Quitrents, Public and County Taxes,
do pay the same into the Hands of the Chairman of this Committee, to be by them
disbursed as the public Exigencies may require. And that such Receivers and
Collectors proceed no farther in their Office until they be approved of by, and
have given to this Committee good and sufficient Security for a faithful Return
of such Monies when collected.
13. That the Committee be accountable to the County for the Application of
all Monies received from such public Officers.
14. That all these Officers hold their Commissions during the Pleasure of
their respective Constituents.
15. That this Commission will sustain all Damages that may ever hereafter
accrue to all or any of these Officers thus appointed, and thus acting, on
Account of their Obedience and Conformity to these Resolves.
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
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
Signed by Order of the Commitee.
EPH. BREVARD, Clerk of the Committee
 A document styled the "Mecklenburg Declaration of
Independence" dated May 20, 1775, is referred to by the State seal and
flag of North Carolina, but the best available evidence is that there was only
one meeting and one declaration, this one, reported in a Charleston, South
Carolina, newspaper of June 16, 1775. The May 20 date is 11 days previous to
May 31, which would have been the date under the "old style" Julian
calendar, even though the Gregorian calendar went into effect in the British
domain effective Jan. 1, 1752. It is thought that use of the old style calendar
persisted for some years. See British Calendar
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