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"At a Meeting of the Delegates of every Town and District in the County of Suffolk ..."

At a Meeting of the Delegates of every Town and District in the County of Suffolk ...

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Speaking with One Voice
As the Congress meets in Philadelphia, towns and counties throughout Massachusetts call conventions to condemn Parliament's recent actions. In early September 1774, representatives from all the towns in Suffolk County gather in committee to declare their grievances and outline a strategy for resistance. Largely the work of Boston physician and patriot Joseph Warren, the Suffolk, the Resolves are approved by the committee on 9 September. Spurring his horse on, Paul Revere carries the Resolves to Philadelphia. Informed about General Gage's military forays around Boston, delegates fear violence. Hoping to give Massachusetts residents a more appropriate outlet for their grievances, the Congress unanimously approves the Suffolk Resolves on 17 September, its first official act.

To examine both pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of the Supplement to the Massachusetts-Gazette, 15 September 1774.

Questions to Consider

1. Describe the overall tone of this document. Is the committee taking an offensive or defensive position? Give evidence for your opinion.

2. What is the objective of the first resolve? Why do you think the committee includes such a statement in its document?

3. Why does the committee claim that colonists are not obligated to submit to the Coercive Acts?

4. Resolves 5-8 address various government officials. Rephrase each resolve in your own words. What is the committee asking each official to do? What are they asking colonists to do with regard to these officials?

5. Resolve 9 discusses an event that is featured elsewhere on this website. Identify the event and locate its associated document.

6. What does the committee ask Suffolk County residents to do (with respect to the Continental Congress) in Resolve 17? What implications might this request have for residents of Massachusetts? for the other colonies? for the Congress?

Further Exploration

7. Imagine that you are a young person living in Boston in 1774. Write a letter to your friend in Charleston, S.C., describing the main points of the Suffolk Resolves. Be sure to mention your own thoughts on the matter. Do you agree with the tone and the stance taken in the Resolves? Do you strongly agree--or disagree--with any particular resolves? Why?