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Norfolk resolution of 1806 cover page

Norfolk Resolutions of 1806

At a meeting of the citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth, assembled in consequence of the crisis to which the differences between this country and Great Britain have advanced, LUKE WHEELER, Esq. was called to the chair, and ARTHUR LEE, appointed secretary.

RESOLVED, unanimously, That a committee be appointed to draft resolutions, expressive of the sentiments of our citizens in relation to Great Britain, and that this committee consist of William Wirt, Littleton W. Tazewell, Robert B. Taylor, Moses Myers, William Pennock, Theodoric Armistead, and John Granberry, who, after a short retirement, reported the following resolutions, which were read and unanimously agreed to.

 1. Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, That the law of nations, founded on the eternal principles of equal and reciprocal justice, and on the consent of nations, cannot be abrogated or altered at the mere will and pleasure of any one nation.  

2. Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, That Great Britain, in the selection and adoption of her maritime regulations, appears to make but a single inquiry; and that is, whether those regulations be conducive to her own interest: totally regardless whether they incroach, or not, on the rights of other nations, equally sovereign and independent with herself.

3. Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, That the interest of Great Britain, and the law of nations, are not convertible terms; and that a measure, although highly expedient for her, although calculated to produce the effect of a general blockade on the nation with which she is at war, although tending to constrain to her own ports the commerce of neutrals., and to give her a monopoly of the commerce of the world, may nevertheless be a direct and palpable preach of national law, and an invasion of the rights, the independence, and sovereignty of other nations.

4. Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, That of this description is that principle, generated in the British cabinet, which imposes a new restraint on the commerce of neutrals, which closes against them the ports of a belligerent, although such ports be avowedly free from blockade, although the neutral vessels contain no article of contraband, and although the nation, to which such ports belong, open them and invite the commerce of neutrals.

5. Resolved, That Great Britain, By impressing our, citizens into her service, and compelling them to fight her battles, and to contribute to the capture and plunder of their own countrymen; by her various abuses of the law of blockade; by the new principle which she hath prescribed as a part of the law of nations, and by which she effectually blockades the whole of every nation with which she is at war; by all these restraints and oppressions imposed and practised by her on the liberty of our citizens, the freedom of our commerce, and the sovereignty of our nation, hath given evidences of a hostile temper towards the United States, so strong, that, in the opinion of this meeting, it is expedient for our government to adopt such measures as, to their wisdom, may seem best calculated to assert and mainta.in our rights, and to redress the injuries we have sustained.

6. Resolved, That we have an unshaken confidence in the wisdom and firmness of our national councils; and that we will, with our lives and fortunes, support whatever measures they may take to maintain the honor and independence of our nation inviolate.

7. Resolved, That the chairman be instructed to transmit the said resolutions to Thomas Newton, esq. our representative in congress, to be by him laid before that body.


Test, ARTHUR LEE, Sec'ry.

NORFOLK, 12th Feb. 1806.