Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Disagreement and Disillusion

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  • Report of a Meeting Containing the Resolution Adopted, May 30, 1774, Colonial Papers, Folder 50, Item Number 17, Record Group 1, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    1774 Resolution
  • Notices pertaining to the Yorktown Tea Party, November 24, 1774, Purdie and Dixon, Virginia Gazette, page 2, Special Collections, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    Yorktown Tea Party
  • Attributed to Philip Dawe. A Society of Patriotic Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina. Mezzotint. London, March 25, 1775. British Cartoon Prints Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4617, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Washington, D.C., LOC
    Society of Patriotic Ladies
  • By his Excellency the Right Honourable John Earl of Dunmore. . . A Proclamation. Williamsburg, 1775, Ephemera Collection, Portfolio 178, Folder 13b, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., LOC
    Dunmore's Proclamation to Virginia
  • Political Cartoon for the year 1775. May 1, 1775. British Cartoon Prints Collection. LC-USZC4-5292, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., LOC
    Cartoon Criticizing the King
  • His most gracious majesty King George the Third / painted by Sr. Wm. Beechey R.A.; engraved by Benjamin Smith. London: Published by J. & J. Boydell at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall Mall & at 90 Cheapside, c1804 Decr. 1., LC-USZ62-51. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., LOC
    George III Portrait
  • Fletcher, Anne, Richard Henry Lee (1732–1794). Oil painting on canvas, 30 x 25 in., Original by Charles Willson Peale. Virginia State Artwork Collection, Acquired 1927., LVA
    Richard Henry Lee Portrait
  •  John A. Elder, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Oil painting on canvas, 30 x 25 in. Original by Gilbert Stuart. Virginia State Artwork Collection: acquired 1887., LVA
    Thomas Jefferson Portrait
  • George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741–1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697–1799, Fairfax County, Virginia, Citizens, July 18, 1774, Resolutions and Abstract, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress., LOC
    Fairfax Resolves
  • Mitchell, John. A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Limits, and Extent of the Settlements, 1755. Archives Research Services Map Collection, G3300 1755 .M52 Voorhees Collection. Library of Virginia., LVA
    1755 John Mitchell Map
  • 1 June 1775, column 3, Virginia Gazette, John Pinkney, publisher, Boxed Newspapers, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    Peyton Randolph Returned to Williamsburg
  • George Bagby Matthews, Patrick Henry, oil painting on canvas, 30 x 50 in. Original by Thomas Sully, Virginia State Artwork Collection: acquired about 1884, Library of Virginia., LVA
    Patrick Henry Portrait
  • Glorious news. Boston. Friday 11 o'clock, 16th May 1766 This instant arrived here the Brig. . . with important news, Boston, 1766, Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 36, Folder 14a, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., LVA
    Stamp Act Broadside
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Disagreement and Disillusion

Fueled by legislation from across the Atlantic Ocean, Great Britain's North American colonies slowly aligned their sentiments and agreed on revolution. Virginians were well aware of events in England and in the other colonies. Beginning with the Stamp Act of 1765, Parliament imposed taxes on the colonists to raise revenue to help fund the cost of the Seven Years' (or French and Indian) War (1754–1763). Colonial legislatures organized opposition and persuaded Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act and most of the so-called Townshend Duties of the 1760s and early 1770s. Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773 to assist the East India Company in getting out of financial difficulties. The act required payment of a tax when the company's tea entered a colonial port.

In December 1773, residents of Boston, Massachusetts, tossed three shiploads of tea into the harbor rather than let the tea come ashore or the tax be paid. In the spring of 1774, Parliament retaliated and passed the Coercive Acts—known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts—that among other things, closed the Port of Boston to all commerce effective June 1, 1774, until the tea was paid for and restitution made to royal officials. The Massachusetts Government Act altered the charter of Massachusetts to allow the king to appoint a military governor in place of the governor that the colony's assembly, called the General Court, elected. Another of the acts, entitled the Administration of Justice Act (called the Murdering Act in the colonies), provided for trials in England of colonial protestors charged with violating acts of trade and navigation. The hardships in Boston sparked sympathetic protests and supportive demonstrations in other colonies and convinced many colonists of the need for independence.

To show Virginia's support for the Bostonians, the House of Burgesses called for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, causing the royal governor John Murray, earl of Dunmore, to dissolve the House of Burgesses. Groups all over Virginia banded together to make declarations, like the Fairfax Resolves, summarizing their feelings toward the British government. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and passed an official nonimportation act.

People Featured in This Unit:

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  • Billy (fl. 1770s–1780s)
  • Mary Willing Byrd (1740–1814)
  • Charles Cornwallis, second earl Cornwallis (1738–1805)
  • George III (1738–1820)
  • Patrick Henry (1736–1799)
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
  • James Lafayette (ca. 1760–1830)
  • Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834)
  • Anna Maria Lane (fl. 1776–1807)
  • Richard Henry Lee (1733–1794)
  • John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore (ca. 1730–1809)
  • Peyton Randolph (ca. 1722–1775)
  • George Washington (1732–1799)
  • William Woodford (1734–1780)
  • Edmund Pendleton (1721–1803)
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