The Virginian non-importation resolutions (1769)


In November 1769 the Virginian House of Burgesses, whose members included George Washington and Patrick Henry, passed the following non-importation resolutions, a response to the Townshend duties:


“We his Majesty’s most dutiful subjects, the late representatives of all the freeholders of the Colony of Virginia, avowing our inviolable and unshaken fidelity and loyalty to our most gracious Sovereign, our affection for all our fellow subjects of Great Britain [are] deeply affected with the grievances and distresses with which his Majesty’s American subjects are oppressed, and dreading the evils which threaten the ruin of ourselves and our posterity, by reducing us from a free and happy people to a wretched and miserable state of slavery…

It is unanimously agreed on and resolved this 18th Day of May 1769, that:

Firstly, the subscribers… will discourage all manner of luxury and extravagance.

Secondly, that they will not at any time hereafter, directly or indirectly import, or cause to be imported, any manner of goods, merchandise or manufactures which are, or shall hereafter be taxed by Act of Parliament, for the purpose of raising a revenue in America (except paper, not exceeding eight shillings Sterling per ream…

Thirdly, that the subscribers will not hereafter, directly or indirectly, import or cause to be imported from Great Britain, or any part of Europe… any of the goods herein after enumerated: spirits, wine, cider, perry, beer, ale, malt, barley, peas, beef, pork, fish, butter, cheese, tallow, candles, oil, fruit, sugar, pickles, confectionary, pewter, hoes, axes, watches, clocks, tables, chairs, looking glasses, carriages, joiners and cabinet-work of all sorts, upholstery of all sorts, trinkets and jewellery, plate and gold and silversmith’s work of all sorts, ribbon and millinery of all sorts, lace of all sorts, India goods of all sorts except spices, silks of all sorts except sewing silk, cambrick, lawn, muslin… hats, stockings (plaid and Irish hose excepted), shoes and boots, saddles and all manufacturers of leather and skins of all kinds, until the late Acts of Parliament imposing duties on tea, paper, glass, etc. for the purpose of raising a revenue in America are repealed…

Fourthly, that in all orders which any of the subscribers may hereafter send to Great Britain, they will expressly direct their correspondents not to ship them any of the before enumerated goods, until the before mentioned Acts of Parliament are repealed; and if any goods are shipped to the contrary to the tenor of this agreement, they will refuse to take the same…

Fifthly, that they will not import any slaves, or purchase any imported, after the first day of November next, until the said Acts of Parliament are repealed.

Sixthly, that they will not import any wines of any kind whatever, or purchase the same from any person whatever, after the first day of September next, except such wines as are already ordered, until the Acts of Parliament imposing duties thereon are repealed.

Seventhly, for the better preservation of the breed of sheep, that they will not kill, or suffer to be killed, any lambs that shall be weaned before the first day of May, in any year, nor dispose of such to any butcher…

Eighthly and lastly, that these Resolves shall be binding on all and each of the subscribers, who do hereby each and every person for himself, upon his word and honour, agree that he will strictly and firmly adhere to and abide by every article in this agreement, from the time of his signing the same…”