George Washington Papers

Resolutions from Petersburg, Virginia, Citizens, 2 September 1793

Resolutions from Petersburg, Virginia, Citizens

[2 September 1793]

At a Meeting of a number of respectable Inhabitants of the Town of Petersburg and its Vicinity held at Mr Edwards’s Coffeehouse in the said Town, on Saturday the 31st of August 1793 pursuant to public Notice, for that purpose given, to take into Consideration the late proclamation of the President of the United States.1

The President’s proclamation being read on Motion made & seconded, Resolved, that a Committee be appointed to draw up & propose to the next meeting for their Consideration, Certain Resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the Inhabitants of this Town, and its Vicinity, respecting the president’s said proclamation declaring the neutrality of the States in the present European War, and respecting the Conduct of Administration with regard to the powers at War; and The following Gentlemen, viz. Joseph Weisiger, Docter Hall, Thomas G. Peachy, Docter Shore, Burrel Starke, James Campbell and George K. Taylor, were appointed a Committee for that purpose—The Meeting was then adjourned till Monday morning next at 10, OClock, to be then held at the Town Court house.2

At a general Meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Petersburg and its Vicinity at the Court house of the said Town on Monday the 2nd Sept. 1793.

The Committee appointed by the Town Meeting held on saturday last, to draw up & propose to the present Meeting, for their Consideration, certain resolutions; this day proposed to the Meeting the Resolutions following Vizt.

Resolved that it is Consistent with the true Interests of the United States as well as their good faith, to preserve the strictest Neutrality in the present situation of Europe.

That we highly approve, and are firmly resolved strictly to observe the Presidents late proclamation, because we believe it was dictated by a profound knowledge of the interests of these States and by a sincere & honest desire of promoting their real happiness & prosperity.

That we will use every exertion to discountenance and suppress all such designs & proceedings as in any manner tend to interrupt that harmony & tranquility which we enjoy under a just & pacific Administration of the happiest of Governments.

That the interference of any foreign power or Minister in the internal Administration of our Government, is an infringement of the Sovereignty of the people, tends to destroy public Confi dence, to introduce Confusion & Anarchy, and therefore should excite the indignation & reprehension of every Independent American.3

That any Attempts to diminish that Confidence which our Citizens repose in the Wisdom Justice & disinterestedness of the present Chief Magistrate of the United States are equally ungrateful, illiberal and unjust.

Resolved, That the Chairman transmit the foregoing Resolutions to Thomas Jefferson Esqr. & request him to Communicate the same to the President of the United States.4

And the said Resolutions being severally & distinctly read were unanimously adopted.

And the Meeting Continuing, the following resolution was proposed & agreed to.

Resolved, That We Consider the Combination of the despots of Europe against the Liberties of France as having a direct tendency to destroy the political happiness of Mankind and though we feel an Interest in preserving our Neutrality, yet it is our sincere wish that Liberty & the Rights of Man may be the prevailing principle’s throughout the Universe.

T. G: Peachy Chairman.

DS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The resolutions from this document were published in Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia), 18 September.

1The meeting was to consider GW’s Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April.

2Thomas Griffin Peachy (1734–1810) served as clerk of Amelia County, Va., 1757–91. George Keith Taylor (1769–1815), a brother-in-law of John Marshall, represented Prince George County in the Virginia house of delegates, 1795–96, 1798–99, and was appointed judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1801. Doctors Isaac Hall (1747–c.1806) and John Shore, Jr. (1756–1811), both medical graduates of the University of Edinburgh, entered into a partnership at Petersburg in 1779. Hall served as sheriff for Prince George County in 1791. Shore, who served as mayor of Petersburg in 1783, was appointed collector of the port of Petersburg in 1802 and retained that post until his death. Joseph Weisiger (c.1760–1796) was a captain in the Prince George County light infantry and, at the time of his death, a partner in the firm of Baird and Weisiger, which operated a store at Blandford, Virginia.

3This paragraph responds to the activities of French minister Edmond Charles Genet, whose differences with GW’s administration had become public (see Genet to GW, 13 Aug., and n.4 to that document).

4Peachy enclosed this document in a letter to Thomas Jefferson of 3 Sept. (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 27:28–29). Jefferson enclosed the resolutions in his letter to GW of 15[–16] September, and GW responded to the resolutions in a letter to Peachy of 24 September.

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