Committee of Intercolonial Correspondence
On 12 March 1773 the House of Burgesses resolved to establish a Committee
of Intercolonial Correspondence. Despite its humdrum name, this committee represented a radical proposal.
Earlier that month, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and several other Virginians held a secret
meeting at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg. The men were disturbed by the latest efforts of the British government
to exert control over the unruly American colonies. They discussed how to organize public opinion against the British,
and they realized that they needed a better way to share information with the other colonies. They began to form
a plan of action, starting with a series of resolutions calling for the restoration of colonial rights and liberties. The
House of Burgesses passed the resolutions unanimously, including one that established an eleven-man standing
committee to keep tabs on Parliament. Governor John Murray, earl of Dunmore, did not seem to recognize
the danger in permitting this form of organized resistance, and the committee held its first meeting the next day.
The committee members agreed that it was crucial that the other colonies start similar committees and present
a solid front of opposition to the Crown. They sent a copy of the resolutions to each of the colonies, and within
the next few months all but Pennsylvania had followed Virginia's example. The committee also recommended
that the colonies send representatives to an annual meeting to deliberate "the united interests of America." One
year later, delegates gathered in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress.
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