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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Instructions to the Mecklenburg County representatives to the Provincial Congress of North Carolina
No Author
1775
Volume 10, Pages 239-242

[Reprinted From Wheeler's History of North Carolina.]
Instructions for the Delegates of Mecklenburg County proposed to the Consideration of the County.

1 You are instructed to vote that the late Province of North Carolina is and of right ought to be a free and independent state invested with all the power of Legislation capable of making laws to regulate all its internal policy subject only in its external connections and foreign commerce to a negative of a continental Senate.

2 You are instructed to vote for the Execution of a civil Government under the authority of the People for the future security of all the Rights Privileges and Prerogatives of the State and the private natural and unalienable Rights of the constituting members thereof either as Men or Christians.

If this should not be confirmed in Congress or Convention—protest.

3 You are instructed to vote that an equal Representation be established and that the qualifications required to enable any person or persons to have a voice in Legislation may not be secured to high but that every Freeman who shall be called upon to support Government either in person or property may be admitted thereto. If this should not be confirmed protest and remonstrate.

4 You are instructed to vote that Legislation be not a divided right, and that no man or body of men be invested with a negative on the voice of the People duly collected and that no honors or dignities be conferred for life or made hereditary on any person or persons either legislative or executive. If this should not be confirmed—protest and remonstrate.

5 You are instructed to vote that all and every person or persons seized or possessed of any estate real or personal agreeable to the last establishment be confirmed in their seizures and possession to all intents and purposes in law who have not forfeited their right to the protection of the State by their Criminal practice towards the same. If this should not be confirmed—protest.

6 You are instructed to vote that Deputies to represent this State in a Continental Congress be appointed in and by the supreme Legislative body of the State the form of nomination to be submitted

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to if free and also that all officers the influence of whose office is equally to extend to every part of the State be appointed in the same manner and form—likewise give your consent to the establishing the old political divisions if it should be voted in convention or to new ones if similar. On such establishments taking place you are instructed to vote in the general that all officers who are to exercise their authority in any of the said districts be recommended to the trust only by the freemen of the said division—to be subject however to the general laws and regulations of the State. If this should not be substantially confirmed—protest.

7. You are instructed to move and insist that the people you immediately represent be acknowledged to be a distinct county of this State, as formerly of the late province with the additional privilege of annually electing their own officers both civil and military, together with the elections of Clerks and Sheriffs by the freemen of the same. The choice to be confirmed by the sovereign authority of the State, and the officers so invested to be under the jurisdiction of the State and liable to its cognizance and inflictions in case of malpractice. If this should not be confirmed—protest and remonstrate.

8. You are instructed to vote that no Chief Justice, no Secretary of State, no Auditor General, no Surveyor General, no practicing lawyer, no clerk of any court of record, no sheriff and no person holding a military office in this State shall be a representative of the people in Congress or Convention. If this should not be confirmed—contend for it.

9. You are instructed to vote that all claims against the public, except such as accrue upon attendance upon Congress or Convention, be first submitted to the inspection of a committee of nine or more men, inhabitants of the county where said claimant is a resident, and without the approbation of said committee it shall not be accepted by the public; for which purpose you are to move and insist that a law be enacted to empower the freemen of each county to choose a committee of not less than nine men, of whom none are to be military officers. If this should not be confirmed, protest and remonstrate.

10. You are instructed to refuse to enter into any combinations of secrecy as members of Congress or Convention and also to refuse to subscribe any ensnaring tests binding you to an unlimited subjection to the determination of Congress or Convention.

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11. You are instructed to move and insist that the public accounts fairly stated shall be regularly kept in proper books open to the inspection of all persons whom it may concern. If this should not be confirmed—contend for it.

12. You are instructed to move and insist that the power of County Courts be much more extensive than under the former constitution, both with respect to matters of property and breaches of the peace If not confirmed—contend for it.

13. You are instructed to assert and consent to the establishment of the Christian Religion as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and more briefly comprised in the 39 Articles of the Church of England excluding the 37th Article together with all the Articles excepted, and not to be imposed on dissenters, by the act of toleration and clearly held forth in the confession of faith compiled by the Assembly of divines at Westminster, to be the Religion of the State to the utter exclusion forever of all and every other (falsely so called) Religion, whether Pagan or Papal, and that the full, free and peaceable enjoyment thereof be secured to all and every constituent member of the State as their unalienable right as Freemen without the imposition of rites and ceremonies whether claiming civil or ecclesiastic power for their source and that a confession and profession of the Religion so established shall be necessary in qualifying any person for public trust in the State. If this should not be confirmed, protest and remonstrate.

14. You are instructed to oppose to the utmost any particular church or set of Clergymen being invested with power to decree rites and ceremonies and to decide in controversies of faith to be submitted to under the influence of penal laws. You are also to oppose the establishment of any mode of worship to be supported to the opposition of the rights of conscience together with the destruction of private property. You are to understand that under modes of worship are comprehended the different forms of swearing by law required. You are moreover to oppose the establishing an ecclesiastic supremacy in the sovereign authority of the State. You are to oppose the toleration of the popish idolatrous worship. If this should not be confirmed, protest and remonstrate.

15. You are instructed to move and insist that not less than four fifths of the body of which you are members shall in voting be deemed a majority. If this should not be confirmed, contend for it

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16. You are instructed to give your voices to and for every motion and bill made or brought into the Congress or Convention where they appear to be for public utility and in no ways repugnant to the above instruction.

17. Gentlemen the foregoing instructions you are not only to look on as instructions but as charges to which you are desired to take special heed as the general rule of your conduct as our Representatives and we expect you will exert yourselves to the utmost of your ability to obtain the purposes given you in charge and wherein you fall either in obtaining or opposing you are hereby ordered to enter your protest against the vote of the Congress or Convention as is pointed out to you in the above instructions.



Additional Notes for Electronic Version: According to John Hill Wheeler's "Historical Sketches of North Carolina," John McKnitt Alexander wrote these instructions on September 1, 1775, but there is no contemporary evidence to support this attribution.