American Minute with Bill Federer

MAY 30 - Peyton Randolph, George Washington and the Fairfax Resolves 

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On MAY 30, 1774, the members of the Virginia House of Burgesses met at the home of Speaker of the House, Peyton Randolph, the older cousin of Thomas Jefferson.

They had all just been fired and sent home by Virginia's Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, because they proclaimed a Day of Fasting and Prayer to be observed the same day the British navy was to block Boston's harbor as punishment for the Tea Party.

At Peyton's home, they decided to invite delegates from all of Virginia's counties to a Convention.

Citizens of Fairfax County met in Alexandria's court house July 18, 1774, where they approved George Mason's Fairfax Resolves which identified American rights and stood against abusive British oppression.

George Washington was chosen to carry the Fairfax Resolves to the First Virginia Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia, August 1, 1774.

The Fairfax Resolves stated:

"'People's being governed by no laws to which they have not given their consent'...if this part of the Constitution was taken away...the Government must degenerate...into an absolute and despotic monarchy...and the freedom of the people be annihilated..."

"The British...extort from us our money without our consent...diametrically contrary to the first principles of the Constitution...totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind...calculated to reduce slavery and misery..."

"We will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves..."

The Virginia Convention sent delegates to Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress, including Peyton Randolph, Patrick Henry and George Washington.

Carrying the Fairfax Resolves, they met at Carpenter's Hall, beginning September 6, 1774.

Payton Randolph was chosen as the first President of the First Continental Congress, making him the first to have the title "Father of our Country."

The Fairfax Resolves were revised and approved as the Continental Association of October 20th, 1774.

The next year, Peyton Randolph was President of the Second Continental Congress in Richmond, Virginia.

This is where Patrick Henry gave his speech, March 23, 1775:

"...Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!

The war is inevitable - and let it come!...

Gentlemen may cry, 'Peace! Peace!' - but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!..

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

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