The Fincastle Resolutions was a statement adopted on January 20, 1775 by thirteen elected representatives of Fincastle County, Colony of Virginia. Part of the political movement that became the American Revolution, the resolutions were addressed to Virginia's delegation at the First Continental Congress, and expressed support for Congress' resistance to the Intolerable Acts, issued in 1774 by the British Parliament. Other counties in Virginia had passed similar resolutions in 1774, such as the Fairfax Resolves, but the Fincastle Resolutions were the first adopted statement by the colonists which promised resistance to the death to the British crown to preserve political liberties. The Fincastle men had fought in Dunmore's War against the Shawnee to the west and were not able to formally express their sentiments about the constitutional dispute until this time. The Fincastle representatives adopted the resolutions at Lead Mines,currently Austinville, Virginia located in Wythe County, Virginia which was then the location of the county seat. The Lead Mines county seat of Government would shortly thereafter move to Christiansburg, Virginia as Fincastle was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky counties of Virginia.
Content of the Resolutions
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The resolutions began by proclaiming love for and loyalty to King George III, and that "we are willing to risk our lives in the service of his Majesty, for the support of the Protestant Religion, and the rights and liberties of his subjects..." But the resolutions go on to express dismay that the passage of the Intolerable Acts has threatened the happy relations between "the parent state and the Colonies", and that these violations of constitutional rights are not acceptable.
"To the Honourable Peyton Randolph, Esq.: Richard Henry Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edmund Pendleton, Esquires, the Delegates from this colony who attended the Continental Congress held at Philadelphia. Gentlemen, Had it not been for our remote situation, and the Indian war which we were lately engaged in, to chastise those cruel and savage people for the many murders and depredations they have committed amongst us (now happily terminated, under the auspices of our present worthy Governour, his Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl of Dunmore) we should before this time have made known to you our thankfulness for the very important services you have rendered to this country, in conjunction with the worthy Delegates from the other provinces. Your noble efforts for reconciling the Mother Country and the Colonies, on rational and constitutional principles, and your pacifick,steady, and uniform conduct in that arduous work, entitle you to the esteem of all British America, and will immortalize you in the annals of your country. We heartily concur in your resolutions, and shall, in every instance, strictly and invariably adhere thereto. We assure you, Gentlemen, and all our countrymen, that we are a people whose hearts overflow with love and duty to our lawful sovereign George III. whose illustrious house, for several successive reigns, have been the guardians of civil and religious rights and liberties of his subjects, as settled at the glorious Revolution; that we are willing to risk our lives in the service of his Majesty, for the support of the Protestant religion, and the rights and liberties of his subjects, as they have been established by compact, law, and ancient charters. We are heartily grieved at the differences which now subsist between the parent state and the colonies, and most ardently wish to see harmony restored, on an equitable basis, and by the most lenient measures that can be devised by the heart of men. Many of us, and our forefathers, left our native land, considering it as a kingdom subjected to inordinate power, amd greatly abridged of its liberties. We crossed the Atlantick, and explored this then uncultivated wilderness, bordering on many nations of savages, and surrounded by mountains almost inaccessible to any but those very savages, who have incessantly been committing barbarities and depredations on us since our first seating the country. These fatigues and dangers we patiently encountered, supported by the pleasing hope of enjoying those rights and liberties which have been granted to Virginians and were denied us in our native country, and of transmitting them inviolate to our posterity. But even to these remote regions the land of unlimited and unconstitutional power hath pursued us, to strip us of that liberty and property with which God, nature, and the rights of humanity, have vested us. We are ready and willing to contribute all in our power for the support of his Majesty's government, if applied to constitutionally, and when the grants are made by our own representatives; but cannot think of submitting our liberty or property to the power of a venal British parliament, or to the will of a corrupt ministry. We by no means desire to shake off our duty or allegiance to our lawful sovereign, but on the contrary shall ever glory in being the loyal subjects of a Protestant prince, descended from such illustrious progenitors, so long as we can enjoy the free exercise of our religion, as Protestants, and our liberties and properties, as British subjects. But if no pacifick measures shall be proposed or adopted by Great Britain, and our enemies will attempt to dragoon us out of those inestimable privileges which we are entitled to as subjects, and to reduce us to a state of slavery, we declare, that we are deliberately and resolutely determined never to surrender them to any power upon earth, but at the expense of our lives. These are our real, though unpolished sentiments, of liberty and loyalty, and in them we are resolved to live and die. We are, Gentlemen, with the utmost esteem and regard, your most obedient servant."
The signers of the Fincastle Resolutions, which included many of the leading men of Virginia's western frontier, were:
The clerk of the meeting was David Campbell.
- Tate, Dr., Thad (1975). "The Fincastle Resolutions: Southwest Virginia's Commitment". Journal of the Roanoke Valley Historical Society IX (9).
- Text of the resolutions: Preston, Thomas L. Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. Richmond, Va.: B. F. Johnson Publishing Co., 1900, pp. 24-28.