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Philadelphia Committee



Committee Chamber, September 19, 1775.

Whereas it has been reported, that there is an intention, formed by some of the inhabitants of this City, of publickly exposing and punishing, before conviction, certain persons supposed to be unfriendly to the cause of liberty: This Committee, after strict inquiry, have reason to believe said report to be altogether groundless, and that it took its rise from and has been industriously circulated by persons inimical to the liberties of this Country, with a view to create jealousies and divisions; nor have they reason to apprehend any violences or irregularities of this kind from the inhabitants of the City and Liberties, who have ever been remarked for their humanity and love of order.

But with a view to quiet and allay such apprehensions, whether real or affected, and that all proceedings against our domestick enemies may have the semblance as well as the reality of justice, the Committee think it necessary to declare, in the following Resolves:

That no person or persons ought to proceed to inflict punishment on any one, on a charge of suspicion of violating the Continental Association, or doing any act or thing tending to weaken and destroy the Association, which is justly regarded as the best security and protection against the machinations and attempts of our Ministerial enemies. But that all charges and complaints of such nature be heard and determined by this Committee, that the directions of the Congress may be strictly observed, and no person held out to his fellow-citizens as an object of indignation and contempt, without full and sufficient evidence of guilt, after a fair and impartial examination.

The rights which all men are entitled to, of speaking their sentiments candidly, so far as is consistent with the peace and welfare of society, they hold to be sacred, and that it ought to be inviolate. But when this privilege is used for the purpose of raising jealousies among the people, distracting their counsels, and counteracting their virtuous exertions against injury and oppression, all laws, human and divine, justify the punishment of such licentiousness.

Therefore, Resolved, further, That, in the opinion of the Committee, no person has a right to the protection of a community or society he wishes to destroy; and that if any inhabitant, by speeches or writings, evidences a disposition to aid and assist our enemies, or endeavours to persuade others to break the Association, or by force or fraud to oppose the friends of liberty and the Constitution, in the present virtuous struggle, such person, being duly convicted thereof before the Committee, ought to be deemed a foe to the rights of British America, and unworthy of those blessings which it is hoped will yet be secured to this and succeeding generations, by the strenuous and noble efforts of the United Colonies.

In order to carry into execution the General Association, and as far as possible to prevent any breaches thereof:

Resolved, first, Each Vendue Master shall be immediately called on to take an oath or affirmation to the following effect: That he will not receive or take into his possession, or dispose of, by publick sale or otherwise, any Goods, Wares, or Merchandise, that he may have reason to believe have been imported contrary to the Association. That upon any person' s applying to him to sell Goods, if there should be the least reason to suspect the said Goods were imported contrary to the Association, he shall not dispose of them until said person produces a certificate from the Committee of the City, Town, or District, from whence said Goods were received: and that in all their future


business, as Vendue Masters, they will faithfully adhere to the Association, and will not, in any respect, aid, assist, or countenance, any person or persons who may attempt an infraction thereof.

Resolved, secondly, That Messrs˙ Christopher Marshall, Sen˙, Samuel Moore, George Schlosser, Timothy Matlack, Joseph Watkins, Jun˙, Christopher Pechin, Jacob Schriner, Thomas Cuthbert, Joseph Dean, Joseph Blewer, and Francis Gurney, or any three of them, be a Committee for the purpose of inspecting the Invoices and Goods that may be received by any Vendue Master or Masters, whose business it shall be to obtain full satisfaction of the proper importation of all Goods offered for sale at publick vendue. And where there is any doubt in the minds of the Committee, respecting any Goods, the Vendue Master shall produce the Invoice of said Goods, signed by the person who sent them for sale, who shall be called on to prove their importation agreeable to the Association. The said Committee, or any three of them, shall also be empowered to give certificates to all persons who buy Goods at any of the vendues in the City and Liberties, upon the vendue Master' s requesting the same.

Thirdly, To the end that the above regulations be duly attended to, Resolved, That if any Vendue Masters, in the City or Liberties, shall refuse or neglect an immediate and punctual compliance therewith, no Merchant or others ought to send any Goods for sale to such Vendue Master or Masters; and that no Shopkeepers or others ought to purchase any Goods, either by publick or private sale, of such Vendue Masters. And, further, that the name and conduct of such Vendue Master or Masters shall be published in the newspapers.

PETER Z˙ LLOYD, Secretary,