Williamsburg, May 12, 1775.
Fredericksburg, committee chamber, Saturday, April 29, 1775.
At a council of 102 members, delegates of the Provincial Convention, officers and special deputies of 14 companies of light horse, consisting of upwards of 60 well armed and disciplined men, friends of constitutional liberty and America, now rendezvoused here, in consequence of an alarm occasioned by the powder being removed from the country magazine, in the city of Williamsburg, in the night of Thursday the 21st Instant, and deposited on board an armed schooner, by order of his Excellency the Governour.
The council having before them the several matters of intelligence respecting the transaction, and particularly a letter from the Hon. Peyton Randolph, Esq.; Speaker of the late House of Burgesses of Virginia; received here last night by an express despatched to Williamsburg for the purpose of gaining intelligence, informing that the Gentlemen of the city of Williamsburg, and neighbourhood, have had full assurance from his Excellency that this affair shall be accommodated, and advising that the Gentlemen assembled here should proceed no farther at this time.
This council came to the following determination, and offer the same as their advice to those publick-spirited Gentlemen, friends to British liberty and America, who have honoured them by this appointment.
Highly condemning the conduct of the Governour, on this occasion, as impolitick, and justly alarming to the good people of this colony, tending to destroy all confidence in government, and to widen the unhappy breach between Great Britain and her colonies, ill timed, and totally unnecessary, consider this instance as a full proof that no opinion which may be formed of the good intentions of a Governour, in private life, can afford security to out injured and oppressed country; but that obedience to arbitrary ministerial mandate, and the most oppressive and tyrannical system of government, must be the fatal line of conduct to all his Majesty's present servants in America. At the same time, justly dreading the horrours of a civil war, influenced by motive of the strongest affection to our fellow subjects of Great Britain, most ardently wishing to heal our mutual wounds, and therefore preferring peaceable measures, whilst the least hope of reconciliation remains, do advise, that the several companies now rendezvoused here do return to their respective homes. But, considering the just rights and liberty of America to be greatly endangered by the violent and hostile proceedings of an arbitrary ministry, and being firmly resolved to resist such attempts, at the utmost hazard of our lives and fortunes, we do now pledge ourselves to each other to be in readiness, at a moment's warning, to reassemble, and by force of arms to defend the laws, the liberty, and rights of this or any sister colony, from unjust and wicked invasion.
Ordered, that expresses be dispatched to the troops assembled at the Bowling Green, and also to the companies from Frederick, Berkeley, Dunmore, and such other counties as are now on their march; to return them thanks for their cheerful offers of service, and to acquaint them with the determination now taken.
God save the liberties of America.
The foregoing determination of council having been read at the head of each company was cordially and unanimously approved.