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Meeting at Chestertown, Maryland


Chestertown, Maryland, May 18, 1774.

It must be universally allowed, that the essential circumstance which constitutes the political happiness of a free people, consists in their being governed by laws of their own making, or to which their consent is given by Delegates of their own choice and nomination. This maxim, founded on the genius of the British Constitution — the most perfect under Heaven — cannot be supposed partial or confined; but must be as extensively diffusive in its benign operations, as are the regions subordinate to, and claiming protection under that Constitution.

The Act of Parliament, therefore, subjecting the British Colonies in America to the payment of a duty on tea, for the purpose of raising a revenue, being passed without their consent, and calculated to enslave them, cannot but be deemed unconstitutional and oppressive; from whence it clearly follows, that it highly behoves the Americans as loyal and free-born subjects of Great Britain, to take every prudent and justifiable measure in order to evade its baneful effects; thus to baffle the designs of a corrupt and despotic Ministry. Our brethren of the Northern Colonies have already declared their opposition to this Act; and as it equally affects the good people of this loyal Province of Maryland, a number of respectable gentlemen, friends to liberty, met at a public house in Chestertown, on Friday, the 13th of May, 1774; when a Chairman was chosen; a Committee appointed; and it was agreed upon to have a general meeting of the inhabitants of the county, on Wednesday, the 18th of the same month, to declare their sentiments respecting the importation of tea, while subject to a duty. A numerous and very respectable meeting was accordingly held, when the Committee was enlarged, and the following resolutions were repeatedly read, and unanimously agreed to, viz:

1st˙ Resolved, That we acknowledge his Majesty George the Third, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, to be our rightful and lawful Sovereign, to whom we owe and promise all dutiful all allegiance and submission.

2d˙ Resolved, That no duties or taxes can constitutionally be imposed on us, but by our own consent, given personally, or by our Representatives.

3d˙ Resolved, That the Act of the British Parliament of the 7th of George the Third, (Chapter 46th,) subjecting the Colonies to the payment of a duty on tea, for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, is unconstitutional, oppressive, and calculated to enslave the Americans.

4th˙ Resolved, therefore, That whoever, shall import, or in any way aid or assist in importing, or introducing from any part of Great Britain, or any other place whatsoever into this town or county, any tea, subject to the payment of a duty imposed by the aforesaid Act of Parliament; or, whoever shall wilfully and knowingly sell, buy, or consume, or in any way assist in the sale, purchase, or consumption of any tea imported as aforesaid, subject to


a duty, he, or they, shall be stigmatized as enemies to the liberties of America.

5th˙ Resolved, That we will not only steadily adhere to the foregoing resolves, but will endeavour to excite our worthy neighbours to a like patriotic conduct; and whoever amongst us shall refuse his concurrence, or after complying, shall desert the cause, and knowingly deviate from the true spirit and meaning of these our resolutions, we will mark him out, as inimical to the liberties of America, an unworthy member of the community, and a person not deserving our notice or regard.

6th˙ Resolved, That the foregoing resolves be printed, that our brethren in this and the other Colonies may know our sentiments as they are therein contained.

Signed by order of the Committee,

W˙ WRIGHT, Clerk.

N˙ B˙ The above resolves were entered into upon a discovery of the late importation of the dutiable tea, (in the brigantine Geddes, of this port) for some of the neighbouring counties. Further measures are in contemplation, in consequence of a late and very alarming Act of Parliament.