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Extract of a letter from North Carolina, Oct. 27.

The Provincial Deputies of North Carolina having resolved not to drink any more tea, nor wear any more British cloth, &c. many ladies of this Province have determined to give a memorable proof of their patriotism, and have accordingly entered into the following honourable and spirited association. I send it to you, to shew your fair countrywomen, how zealously and faithfully American ladies follow the laudable example of their husbands, and what opposition your Ministers may expect to receive from a people thus firmly united against them:

Edenton, North Carolina, Oct. 25, 1774.

As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country, and as it has been thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province, it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so.

  • Abagail Charlton
  • Mary Blount
  • F. Johnstone
  • Elizabeth Creacy
  • Margaret Cathcart
  • Elizabeth Patterson
  • Anne Johnstone
  • Jane Wellwood
  • Margaret Pearson
  • Mary Woolard
  • Penelope Dawson
  • Sarah Beasley
  • Jean Blair
  • Susannah Vail
  • Grace Clayton
  • Elizabeth Vail
  • Frances Hall
  • Elizabeth Vail
  • Mary Jones
  • Mary Creacy
  • Anne Hall
  • Mary Creacy
  • Rebecca Bondfield
  • Ruth Benbury
  • Sarah Littlejohn
  • Sarah Howcott
  • Penelope Barker
  • Sarah Hoskins
  • Elizabeth P. Ormond
  • Mary Littledle
  • M. Payne
  • Sarah Valentine
  • Elizabeth Johnston
  • Elizabeth Cricket
  • Mary Bonner
  • Elizabeth Green
  • Lydia Bonner
  • Mary Ramsay
  • Sarah Howe
  • Anne Horniblow
  • Lydia Bennet
  • Mary Hunter
  • Marion Wells
  • Tresia Cunningham
  • Anne Anderson
  • Elizabeth Roberts
  • Sarah Mathews
  • Elizabeth Roberts
  • Anne Haughton
  • Elizabeth Roberts
  • Elizabeth Beasly

Comments

several particular resolves

In August 1774, delegates from thirty of North Carolina’s thirty-six counties and four towns met in New Bern. This First Provincial Congress, as it would be called, met for three days, during which it elected delegates to the Continental Congress that would meet in Philadelphia that fall and pledged to support its decisions. The Provincial Congress also supported the growing movement in the colonies to boycott British imports, called nonimportation, and created local “committees of safety” to enforce its acts. Although they had no legal standing, the delegates claimed to represent the people, and therefore to have more authority than the royal governor. Essentially, the Provincial Congress was the beginnings of a government in North Carolina separate from royal control.

Two months later, the first Continental Congress made nonimportation more formal when its members agreed “to enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association.” This meant that they would not purchase any goods imported from Britain or from any British colonies in the West Indies, including not only tea but clothing, sugar, rum, and slaves.

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a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare

Here, the women note their duty to their “near and dear” — that is, to their husbands who are active in the opposition to British authority. So while this petition was a bold step — it was practically unheard of for women to sign a petition in the 1770s — they still made it clear that they were supporting their husbands. They don’t, in other words, seem to have been demanding any greater role in politics.

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Penelope Barker

According to local traditions, Penelope Barker organized the “tea party.” Another story tells that during the Revolution, while her husband was away, British soldiers occupying Edenton took the horses from her stables. She grabbed her husband’s sword, ran outside, and cut the reins from the hands of the officer, who told her that for such bravery she could keep her horses. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know whether this story — like a lot of the really good stories from the American Revolution — is true.

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