Declaring Independence Patrick Henry's Resolutions

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May 29-30 1765
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Patrick Henry's Resolutions

Patrick Henry, at a meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses, proposed seven resolutions against the Stamp Act. The first five resolutions were adopted and passed by the House of Burgesses, however the Fifth was expunged the following day. Though resolutions six and seven were never passed by the House, all seven were widely reported in the colonial press giving the impression that all passed the Virginia Assembly.

The following four resolves were adopted by the House of Burgesses on May 30, 1765:

Resolved, that the first Adventurers and Settlers of His Majesty's Colony and Dominion brought with them and transmitted to their Posterity, and all other His Majesty's Subjects since inhabiting in this his Majestie's said Colony, all the Priviledges, Franchises, and Immunities that have at any Time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the People of Great Britain.

Resolved, that by two royal charters, granted by King James the first, the Colonists aforesaid are declared intituled to all the Privileges, Liberties & Immunities of Denizens and natural-born Subjects to all Intents and Purposes as if they had been abiding and born within the Realm of England.

Resolved, that the Taxation of the People by themselves, or by Persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what Taxes the People are able to bear and the easiest method of raising them, and are equally affected by such Taxes themselves is the distinguishing Characteristick of British Freedom and without which the ancient Constitution cannot subsist.

Resolved, that His Majesty's liege People of this most ancient Colony have uninteruptedly enjoyed the Right of being thus governed by their own assembly in the article of their Taxes and internal Police, and that the same hath never been forfeited or any other way given up but hath been constantly recognized by the Kings and People of Great Britain.

The following version of the much-debated fifth resolution (which was not adopted) was found with Patrick Henry's will:

Resolved, therefore that the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole executive Right & Power to lay Taxes & Impositions upon the Inhabitants of this Colony and that every Attempt to vest such Power in any person or Persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly Aforesaid has a manifest Tendency to destroy British as well as American Freedom.

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