Resolutions from Shenandoah County, Virginia, Citizens
[Woodstock, Va. 13 November 1793]
At a meeting of sundry Inhabitants of Shanandoah County, at the Courthouse in Woodstock on Wednesday the 13th day of November 1793 for the purpose of taking into consideration, the Proclamation of the President of the United States declaring the Neutrality of the said States in the present European War, William Aylett Booth, was appointed Chairman, & Richard Tutt Clerk.1
1 Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, that it is at all times the right, and at Certain periods the Indispensable duty of the people, to declare their opinions on Subjects which concern the national Interest, and that in the present Important crisis the Exercise of that duty is perhaps rendered indispensable, by the prevailing practice of declaritory resolutions, in places where the Inhabitants can more easily assemble and consult, than in the Country, but where Interests & political opinions different from those of the great body of the people may happen to predominate, from where there may be danger of unfair and improper inferrences concerning the general sense of the people.
2 Resolved, that the Constitution of the United States having been dopted by the free sufferage of the people, ought to be firmly and Vigorously supported against all direct, or indirect attempts that may be made to subvert, or violate the same.
3 Resolved, that it is the Interest of the United States of America, to cultivate peace and harmony with all the world by Just and honorable means, and that our Executive authority, ought to be supported in the Exercise of its Constitutional Powers, for enforcing the Laws and securing to us this Inestimable blessing.
4 Resolved, that the known patriotism, wisdom, & tried virtue of the President of the United States entitle him to the highest confidence, as well as lasting gratitude of his County, to whose present, peace, liberty and happiness he has so largely Contributed.
5 Resolved, that the many important services rendered to these United States in their late arduous struggle for Liberty, by the French nation, ought ever to be remembered and acknowledged with gratitude, and that the Spectacle exhibited to us by the glorious and sevier contest she is now engaged in, for her own liberty, ought and must be peculiarly interesting to the wishes of every one, who considers the true interest of america.
6 Resolved, that all attempts under whatever aspects they may appear to Alienate the good will of the People of America, from the cause of liberty and Republican Goverment in France, have an evident tendency to subvert the principles of their own goverments, and manifest designs which ought to be narrowly watched & seasonably counteracted.
7 Resolved, that any endeavours to dissolve the connection between these United States, and France, must be obviously attempted with a view to forward a more intimate union, and Connection of the former, with great Brittain, as a leading step towards assimilating the American goverment to the form and Spirit of the British monarchy, and that these apprihensions will be greatly strengthened if it shall appear that the Active Zeal displayed in propagating prejudices against the French nation, and Revolution have proceded from persons either disaffected to the American Revolution, or of known monarchial principles, and that for any foreign Court to attempt by any means to prohibit our exporting our produce, or abridging our Commerce with any other nation than their own, Contrary to the Laws of Nations are hostile to the Interests of these United States, and is an infringment of the rights of an independant and Neutral Nation.2
8 And, finally resolved that all foreign Ministers to these United States ought to negociate the object of their Mission with the President; and if at any time a difference in opinion should happen, on the Exposition of Treaties, or other Subjects, the same ought to be stated by such minister to the Goverment of his nation that on a discussion betwen the two goverments, an amicable adjustment may be effected and peace & friendship preserved, and all applications of a Minister in such a case to the people, who act with foreign nations only by their representatives in the different departments of the goverment, are highly improper and tend to create parties and dissentions amongst us, and that if a Minister shall adopt such improper conduct on any occasion, Although the application ought to be treated with contempt by the people, yet it should not affect his nation, unless it shall avow and Justify his conduct therein, We therefore declare our disapprobation of certain Attempts in late newspaper Publications, to make alledged behaviour of that kind in the minister of the French nation, if any such really existed, the means of withdrawing our affection either from the President or our respectable allies.3
Resolved. that a copy of the several forgoing resolutions be inserted in the several newspapers in the United States,4 and that a fair Copy be Sent the President.
Richard Tutt, Clerk
William Aylett Booth, Chairman
DS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The numbers of the resolutions were added in a different writing than the rest of the DS. The resolutions are numbered in the letter-book copy.
1. William Aylett Booth (1754–1820) represented Shenandoah County in the 1790 session of the Virginia House of Delegates and served as sheriff and county treasurer, 1799–1801.
2. The instructions of 8 June authorizing British warships and privateers “to stop and detain all ships loaded wholly or in part with corn, flour, or meal, bound to any port in France” had been published in American newspapers by late August (ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:240; General Advertiser [Philadephia], 29 Aug.). For a summary of other restrictions on American commerce, see Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson’s report to Congress of 16 Dec. (ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:300–304).
3. For the charges that French minister Edmond Genet had threatened to appeal to the people certain decisions of GW, see Genet to GW, 13 Aug., and n.4 to that document. “Agricola” (James Monroe) had argued in a Richmond newspaper of 4 Sept. that the publication of these charges was designed to “compel” the American people “to decide between their attachment to” GW and “their obligations to France, as well as their veneration for the great principles of liberty, upon which her revolution is founded” (see Papers of James Monroe description begins Daniel Preston et al., eds. The Papers of James Monroe. 4 vols. to date. Westport, Conn., and Santa Barbara, Calif., 2003—. description ends , 2:642, and Edmund Randolph to GW, 10 Nov., n.2).
4. These resolutions were printed in Bowen’s Virginia Centinel and Gazette; or, the Winchester Repository, 2 [Dec.].