Resolutions by the Inhabitants of the District of Pepperell, June 27, 1774

As a direct response to the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the British Parliament enacted a series of laws between March and June of 1774 intended to suppress the rising anti-imperialist movement in Massachusetts. These Acts were collectively known in the colonies as the "Intolerable Acts," and alternatively as the "Punitive Acts" and "Coersive Acts." Specifically, the "Boston Port Act" closed the port of Boston demanding reparations to the East India Company for the damage and loss at the Boston Tea Party; the "Massachusetts Government Act," among other measures, limited to the right of local towns and districts to meet for Town Meetings to but once a year; the "Administration of Justice Act" yielded the local British governor greater flexibility in the trials of royal officers accused of injustices against colonists; and the "Quartering Act" allowed British troops to reside in privately-owned property. While there is no direct mention to these Acts in the following Town Meeting record, the references to "Lord North," the sitting British Prime Minister, the East India Company, and thanking "Patriotic friends at Boston for their firmness, cares, and vigilance (the time past) for the good and safety of this country" certainly suggest that these dramatic votes are reaction to those events.
CivilLibertiesJune1774

"At a meeting of the inhabitants of the District of Pepperrell by adjournment from the 20th to the 27 day of June 1774 & when met came into the following considerations and resolves by the united vote:

"Under a deep sense of the distressing & very extraordinary circumstances we of this land are unhappily brought into by (as we think) a bad ministry, in our Parent Country, by the innovations already made (by act & power) on our civil liberties and what seems to be further threatened; we are, with concern, of opinion that it behooves us and all this province, yea all north America, to set up a general correspondence & to cultivate harmony that there may be a united voice with resolution throughout this land that we may make a proper stand, and lift up our united prayers to almighty God to pity us, and vouchsafe us his gracious protection, and direct us, into such measures as he will be pleased to prosper & succeed: for our deliverance from the great difficulties and imbarrissments [sic] we are under and screen & save us from impending ruins, with which we are further threatened by some in Power; who carry on their wicked designs as if by magic art assisted. We sincearly (sic) recommend to all amongst us, and to the whole North America to lay aside all contentions, broils, and even small quarrels, and to omit the practices of every thing that tends to disunite us as brethren, as neighbors, as countrymen, that are interested in one & the same cause, and united stand, or fall together........

"therefore:

"Resolved 1ly [firstly] as the opinion of this District, that we have a just & lawful right to meet together, when and so often as we shall have occasion to cultivate harmony and to transact our Town affairs and that we will hold, use, improve that privilege and never give it up or quit the usual practice of meeting together; on any mandate whatsoever. And:

"2ly [secondly] that lord north, nor any other British minister, or person whatever, hath any right to trample America under his feet not to invade its privileges, either civil or religious Therefore:

"3ly [thirdly] We are resolved to do all in our Power, by abstainence (sic), and every other lawful and proper way, to recover and preserve our Charter rights and privileges and that we will not tamely submit to the yoke of bondage. And...

"4ly [fourthly] That we will not have any hand in the consumption of (East India Tea or) British goods, wares, or merchandise imported after the last day of August next, nor with any person that shall import, or deal, in said goods, wares, or merchandise: contrary to the general laws & agreement of the inhabitants of this much abused province. And:

"5ly [fifthly] We return our hearty thanks to our Patriotic friends at Boston, for their firmness, cares, and vigilance (the time past) for the good and safety of this country and desire you not to give over now, although your circumstances are very discouraging. We sympathize with you, in this day of darkness and bad situation of affairs: and will when need be, after our ability, and minister of our substance, or whatever may be beneficial in the cause. And are determined, to exert our selves in the cause that somuch concerns us all: and we hope and pray that the Lord of Hosts will direct us and you, and all the colonies into right ways, that his blessing may be warm, our united endeavours and success with Peace & harmony, crown the whole to the Glory of God, and the tranquility of the American Colonies....voted that the above be recorded and an attested copy of these proceedings be sent to Boston.

"Then voted and adjourned the meeting to Monday the 18th day of July next at 5 o'clock in the afternoon at this place."