The American colonists formed the Committees of Correspondence to act as an information network that would essentially maintain correspondence and communication between the thirteen colonies. Members of these committees wrote pamphlets that were distributed throughout the colonies, and called meetings of all colonial committees to deal with problems with the British government. The intercolonial committees were based on models established in Massachusetts and Virginia, and, by 1774, all the colonies except Pennsylvania had established their own committees. There also were individual committees formed in the different communities within each colony. The Committees of Correspondence played a central role in the coming of the American Revolution. Because there was no preexisting communication network in the colonies, the committees tied the colonies together and united them in a common cause against England. It was the Committees of Correspondence that distributed the call for a Continental Congress in 1774. Samuel Adams proposed the establishment of the first Committee of Correspondence at a Boston town meeting in November 1772. The committee began after Adams and his group of patriots learned that the salaries of British officials in the colonies were to be paid from revenue received from the Townshend Duties. Shortly after its establishment, the Boston committee set to work writing a declaration that came to be known as the Boston Pamphlet. Addressing issues of natural rights and listing specific grievances against the British Parliament, it claimed that the British were out to enslave the American colonists. The grievances included such things as taxation without representation, unlawful force used by the British army in Boston, and Parliament’s assertion in the Declaratory Act that it possessed sovereign authority over the colonies. The Boston committee printed hundreds of copies of the pamphlet and distributed it throughout Massachusetts. By spring 1773, Committees of Correspondence had formed in other colonies. It was these committees that rallied to the support of Boston during the tea crisis that led to the Boston Tea Party. After the passage of the Coercive Acts, several committees, many outside Massachusetts, pledged their support for Boston and denounced the acts. In March 1773, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry submitted a resolution to the Virginia House of Burgesses, which proposed the creation of a standing Committee of Correspondence. Members wanted a permanent committee that could alert the other colonial assemblies to possible threats from the British government. The resolution came in response to the Gaspee affair, which began in June 1772, when a British customs vessel, the Gaspee, ran aground near Patuxet, Rhode Island. More than 100 raiders boarded the stranded vessel, drove off the crew, and set it afire. The British government sent a commission to the colonies to look into the destruction of the Gaspee, and approved the commission’s recommendation to expedite the individuals accused of the destruction, along with witnesses and evidence, to England for trial. Although no witnesses stepped forward to name the raiders, the colonists viewed this policy as a violation of their right to trial by a jury of their peers. This was just one of the dangers that Jefferson, Lee, and Henry referred to in their resolution for a permanent Committee of Correspondence. Anticipating the upcoming War for Independence (in fact, fighting at Lexington and Concord had already occurred), in November 1775 the Continental Congress created a special committee to communicate with foreign powers on behalf of the American colonies. The original members of the committee were Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, and Robert Morris from Pennsylvania, Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, and John Jay from New York. Their goal was to appoint several diplomats to travel to Europe and assess how the European countries viewed the American war. The committee was most interested in the opinion of France, which was England’s longtime enemy and which the committee believed would support the American colonists in their bid for independence. Indeed, the delegates convinced the French, and, in 1778, France allied itself with the Americans in the Revolution. Lisa Guinn See also: Patriots; Revolutionary War; Sons of Liberty. Bibliography Martin, James Kirby. In the Course of Human Events: An Interpretive Exploration of the American Revolution. Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1979. Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763 1789. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Committees Of Correspondence Of The American Revolution…: Edward … Presentation “Causes of the American Revolution 8 th Grade History.” The Working Man’s Rare Coins For Sale – Bicentennial Medals