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Following the defeat of the British Royal Troops at Moore’s
Creek Bridge February 27, 1776 the calls for Independence
became louder and stronger in North Carolina.In April 1776 the Fourth Provincial Congress met in Halifax and a
committee chaired by Cornelius Harnett debated “the usurpations and violences
attempted and committed by the King and Parliament”.On April 12 the delegates adopted the
committee’s report, which became known as the “Halifax Resolves” and North
Carolina became one of the first states to formally call for independence.
"The Select Committee
taking into Consideration the usurpations and violences attempted and committed
by the King and Parliament of Britain against America, and the further Measures
to be taken for frustrating the same, and for the better defence of this
province reported as follows, to wit,
It appears to your
Committee that pursuant to the Plan concerted by the British Ministry for
subjugating America, the King and Parliament of Great Britain have usurped a
Power over the Persons and Properties of the People unlimited and uncontrouled
and disregarding their humble Petitions for Peace, Liberty and safety, have
made divers Legislative Acts, denouncing War Famine and every Species of
Calamity daily employed in destroying the People and committing the most horrid
devastations on the Country. That Governors in different Colonies have declared
Protection to Slaves who should imbrue their Hands in the Blood of their
Masters. That the Ships belonging to America are declared prizes of War and
many of them have been violently seized and confiscated in consequence of which
multitudes of the people have been destroyed or from easy Circumstances reduced
to the most Lamentable distress.
And whereas the
moderation hitherto manifested by the United Colonies and their sincere desire
to be reconciled to the mother Country on Constitutional Principles, have
procured no mitigation of the aforesaid Wrongs and usurpations and no hopes
remain of obtaining redress by those Means alone which have been hitherto
tried, Your Committee are of Opinion that the house should enter into the
following Resolve, to wit
Resolved that the
delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur
with the other delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and
forming foreign Alliances, resolving to this Colony the Sole, and Exclusive
right of forming a Constitution and Laws for this Colony, and of appointing
delegates from time to time (under the direction of a general Representation
thereof to meet the delegates of the other Colonies for such purposes as shall
be hereafter pointed out. "
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes and John Penn, North Carolina
delegates and signers of the Declaration of Independence for North Carolina.
With the passing of the Halifax Resolves, North Carolina became the first colony to directly make recommendations to all the delegates at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.Three months later on July 4th the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
Posted by Diane B. Price
source: "A Chronicle of North
Carolina during the American Revolution 1768-1789" by Jeffrey J. Crow ,
copyright 1975 the NC Division of Archives and History