Chapter History

The "Prince William County Resolves," after which the chapter is named, were probably the work of George Mason of Gunston Hall. The "Resolves" were written in response to the Boston Port Bill, which became law on March 31, 1774. This bill, which closed Boston Harbor, was the British response to the dumping of tea in Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773. As word of these events spread throughout the colonies, support for the Massachusetts patriots grew. The "Resolves," printed below, were among the first steps Virginia took against the Mother Country.

               “At a Meeting of the Freeholders, Merchants, and other Inhabitants of the County of Prince William, and town of Dumfries, in the Colony of Virginia, at the Court House of the said County on Monday, the 6th day of June, in the year of our Lord, 1774.

               Resolved, And it is the unanimous opinion of this meeting, that no person ought to be taxed but by his own consent, expressed either by himself or his Representatives; and that, therefore, any Act of Parliament levying a tax to be collected in America, depriving the people of their property or prohibiting them from trading with one another, is subversive of our natural rights, and contrary to the first principles of the Constitution.

               Resolved, That the city of Boston, in the Massachusetts Bay, is now suffering in the common cause of American liberty, and on account of its opposition to an Act of the British Legislature, for imposing a duty upon tea, to be collected in America.

               Resolved, That as our late Representatives have not fallen upon means sufficiently efficacious to secure to us the enjoyment of our civil rights and liberties, that it is the undoubted privilege of each respective county, (as the fountain of power from whence their delegation arises), to take such proper and salutary measures as will essentially conduce to a repeal of those Acts, which the general sense of mankind, and the greatest characters in the nation, have pronounced to be unjust.

               Resolved, And it is the opinion of this meeting, that until the said Acts are repealed, all importation to, and exportation from, this Colony ought to be stopped, except with such colonies or Islands in North America as shall adopt this measure.

               Resolved, And it is the opinion of this meeting, that the courts of justice in this Colony ought to decline trying any civil causes until said Acts are repealed.

               Resolved, That the Clerk of this Committee transmit copies of these Resolves to both the printers in Annapolis and Philadelphia, to be published in their Gazettes.

Per order,

Evan Williams, Clerk Com’tee

Mason, George. "Prince William County Resolves." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 191-92. Print.