The Charlottetown Resolves were adopted on May 31, 1775 in Mecklenburg County, North
Carolina, by the Committee of Safety.
Referred to both as the Mecklenburg Resolves and the Charlotte Town Resolves, the document
proclaimed that all laws originating from the king or Parliament are null and void, and that the
only legitimate government over the American colonies is the Continental Congress meeting in
Philadelphia. It proclaimed that royal authority in America was suspended and said officials
were to be detained.
Captain James Jack relayed the resolves to the North Carolina delegation at the Continental
Congress in Philadelphia where the delegates received them, but opted not to present them to
the Continental Congress as a whole.
These Resolves were drafted only a month following the outbreak of war at Lexington and Concord,
but over a year earlier than the Declaration of Independence.
Resolves Adopted in Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, May 31, 1775
CHARLOTTETOWN, MECKLENBURG COUNTY
MAY 31, 1775
THIS day the Committee of this County 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 Rebellion, 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- That these Eighteen Select Men, thus appointed, do meet every third Tuesday
in January, April, and October, at the Court-House in
Charlotte to hear and determine all Matters of Controversy from 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 Such Cases.
- That these Eighteen Select Men, thus convened, do choose a Clerk to record the Transactions
of the 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 summons and warn the said Offender
to appear before the Convention at their next sitting, to answer the aforesaid Complaint.
- 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 a Debt; the
Clerk, or such Member, shall issue his Warrant to the Constable, commanding him to take said
Person or Personsinto safe Custody, until the next sitting of the Convention.
- 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 Dais; 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 were 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.
LI>That 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.
- That the Committee be accountable to the County for the Application of all monies
received from such Officers.
- That all these Officers hold their Commissions during the Pleasure of their respective
- That this Committee 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
- 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 sitting of the Convention, who shall deal with him as Prudence may
- 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.
- 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.
- That the several Militia companies in this county do provide themselves with proper arms and
accoutrements, and hold themselves in constant Readiness to execute the commands and Directions
of the Provincial Congress, and of this committee.
- 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.