On December 12, 1774 (four months before Lexington and Concord), the delegates from the various county Committees of Safety ('deputies') met at Annapolis, Maryland. The following report of their meeting constitutes an endorsement of the Association of the Continental Congress. In resolving to form a provincial militia, the Maryland delegates went beyond the express recommendations of Congress.
Though all of the Resolutions should be read, we might pay particular attention to the last Resolve*:
AT A MEETING OF THE DEPUTIES appointed by the several counties of the province of Maryland, at the city of Annapolis, by adjournment, on the 8th day of December, 1774, and continued till the 12th day of the same month, were present, eighty-five members: Mr. John Hall in the chair, and Mr. John Duckett, clerk.
The proceedings of the Continental Congress were read, considered, and unanimously approved. Resolved, that every member of this convention will, and every person in the province ought strictly and inviolably to observe and carry into execution the association agreed on by the said Continental Congress.
On motion, unanimously resolved, that the thanks of this convention be given, by the chairman, to the gentlemen who represented this province as deputies in the late Continental Congress for their faithful discharge of that important trust; and the same was done accordingly.
To increase our flocks of sheep, and thereby promote the woolen manufacture in this province, resolved, that no person ought to kill any lamb dropped before the 1st day of May yearly, or other sheep, after the 1st day of January next, under four years of age.
To increase the manufacture of linen and cotton, resolved, that every planter and farmer ought to raise as much flax, hemp, and cotton as he conveniently can; and the cultivation thereof is particularly recommended to such inhabitants of this province, whose lands are best adapted to that purpose. And resolved, that no flaxseed of the growth of the present year ought to be purchased for exportation, after the 12th day of this month.
It being represented to this convention that many merchants and traders of this province, from a scarcity of cash to make their remittances and other causes, had sold their goods within twelve months next before the 20th day of October last, at, and sometimes even below, the prime cost; and that, in many different parts of this province, merchants had vended their goods at very different advance on the prime cost and it appearing to this convention to be unjust to compel such merchants to sell their goods at prime cost, and that one general rule, allowing a reasonable profit to the trader, and preventing him from taking advantage of the scarcity of goods which may be occasioned by the nonimportation, would give great satisfaction to the merchants and people of this province, resolved unanimously; that no merchant ought to sell his goods, at wholesale, for more than 112 percent -- at retail, for cash, for more than 113 percent -- on credit, for more than 150 percent, advance on the prime cost; and that no merchant, or other person ought to engross any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever. And in case any question should arise respecting the prime cost of goods, every merchant or factor possessing or owning such goods ought to ascertain the same on oath, if requested to do it by the committee.
As a further regulation to enforce an observance of the late Continental association resolved unanimously, that in all cases where breaches of the Continental association or the resolves of this convention shall happen and be declared such by any committee of a county, no gentleman of the law ought to bring or prosecute any suit whatever for such offender. And if any factor shall commit any breach of the said association or resolves, that no gentleman of the law ought to bring or prosecute any suit for any debt due to the store of which the said factor has the management, after notice as aforesaid.
Resolved, that it is earnestly recommended by this convention to the people of this province, that the determinations of the several county committees be observed and acquiesced in. That no persons, except members of the committees, undertake to meddle with or determine any question respecting the construction of the association entered into by the Continental Congress. And that peace and good order be inviolably maintained throughout this congress.
Resolved unanimously, that if the late acts of Parliament, relative to the Massachusetts Bay, shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force in that colony, or if the assumed power of Parliament to tax the colonies shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in that colony or any other colony, that in such case, this province will support such colony to the utmost of their power.
Resolved unanimously, that a well-regulated militia, composed of the gentlemen, freeholders, and other freemen, is the natural strength and only stable security of a free government, and that such militia will relieve our mother country from any expense in our protection and defense; will obviate the pretense of a necessity for taxing us on that account, and render it unnecessary to keep any standing army (ever dangerous to liberty) in this province. And therefore, it is recommended to such of the said inhabitants of this province as are from sixteen to fifty years of age, to form themselves into companies of sixty-eight men; to choose a captain, two lieutenants, an ensign, four sergeants, four corporals, and one drummer for each company; and use their utmost endeavors to make themselves masters of the military exercise. That each man be provided with a good firelock and bayonet fitted thereon, half a pound of powder, two pounds of lead, and a cartouch box, or powder horn and bag for ball, and be in readiness to act on any emergency.
* Resolved unanimously, that it is recommended to the committees of each county to raise by subscription, or in such other voluntary manner as they think proper, and will be most agreeable to their respective counties . . .
Resolved unanimously, that it is recommended to the several colonies and provinces to enter into such or the like resolutions, for mutual defense and protection, as are entered into by this province. As our opposition to the settled plan of the British administration to enslave America will be strengthened by a union of all ranks of men in this province, we do most earnestly recommend that all former differences about religion or politics, and all private animosities and quarrels of every kind, from henceforth cease and be forever buried in oblivion; and we entreat, we conjure every man by his duty to God, his country, and his posterity, cordially to unite in defense of our common rights and liberties.
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