The Fairfax Resolves (1774)


The Fairfax Resolves were passed on July 18th 1774 by the freemen of Fairfax County, Virginia. Fairfax was the home county of George Washington and he participated in the drafting and passing of these resolves.


“1. Resolved: that this Colony and Dominion of Virginia cannot be considered as a conquered Country – and if it was, that the present inhabitants are the descendants not of the conquered but of the conquerors.

That the same was not settled at the national expense of England, but at the private expense of the Adventurers, our Ancestors, by solemn compact with and under the auspices and protection of the British Crown, upon which we are in every respect as dependant as the people of Great Britain…

That our ancestors, when they left their native land and settled in America, brought with them (even if the same had not been confirmed by Charters) the civil constitution and form of government of the country they came from; and were by the laws of nature and nations entitled to all its privileges, immunities and advantages… as fully enjoyed as if we had still continued within the realm of England.

2. Resolved: that the most important and valuable part of the British constitution, upon which its very existence depends, is the fundamental principle of the people’s being governed by no laws to which they have not given their consent, by representatives freely chosen by themselves…

3. Resolved: therefore, as the inhabitants of the American colonies are not [and] can not be represented in the British parliament, that the legislative Power here can of right be exercised only by (our) own provincial assemblies or parliaments, subject to the assent or negative of the British Crown…

4. Resolved: that it is the duty of these colonies, on all emergencies, to contribute, in proportion to their abilities, situation and circumstances, to the necessary charge of supporting and defending the British Empire, of which they are part…

5. Resolved: that the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British parliament, of making all such laws as they think fit, to govern the people of these colonies, and to extort from us our money without our consent, is not only diametrically contrary to the first principles of the constitution… but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind…

6. Resolved: that taxation and representation are in their nature inseparable; that the right of withholding or giving and granting their own money is the only effectual security to a free People…

7. Resolved: that the powers over the people of America now claimed by the British House of Commons, in whose election we have no share, on whose determinations we can have no influence… must if continued establish the most grievous and intolerable species of tyranny and oppression that ever was inflicted upon mankind.

8. Resolved: that it is our greatest wish and inclination, as well as interest, to continue our connection with and dependance upon the British government – but though we are its subjects, we will use every means which heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves…

19. Resolved: it is the opinion of this Meeting, if American grievances be not redressed before the first day of November 1775, that all exports of produce from the several Colonies to Great Britain and Ireland should cease. And to carry the said resolution more effectually into execution, that we will not plant or cultivate any tobacco after the crop now growing…

22. Resolved: that should the town of Boston be forced to submit to the late cruel and oppressive measures of government, that we shall not hold the same to be binding upon us…

23. Resolved: that it be recommended to the deputies of the General Congress to draw up and transmit a humble and dutiful petition and remonstrance to his Majesty, asserting with decent Firmness our just and constitutional rights and privileges… And it is the opinion of this meeting that after such petition and remonstrance shall have been presented to his Majesty, the same should be printed in the public papers in all the principal towns in Great Britain.

24. Resolved: that George Washington and George Broadwater, lately elected our representatives to serve in the [Virginian] assembly, be appointed to attend the Convention at Williamsburg on the first day of August next, and present these resolves, as the sense of the people of this County, upon the measures proper to be taken in the present alarming and dangerous situation of America.”