Sunday, September 16, 2012

President Peyton Randolph

Peyton Randolph

Copyright © President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008
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First President of the Continental Congress
United Colonies of America
September 5, 1774 to October 22, 1774
and May 20 to May 24, 1775

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Forgotten Founders Corporation Biography
Copyright © Stan Klos, President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008 

By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 9th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

The First United American Republic

Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776


September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776


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President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008

Peyton Randolph was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1721 and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 October 1775. After graduation from the College of William & Mary he was admitted into the Inns of Court in London, England at Middle Temple to study law. Upon graduation Randolph returned to Virginia and practiced law.  On March 8, 1745,  Peyton Randolph married Betty Harrison (1724-1783), daughter of Ann Carter Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, aged 21.  The couple had no children in their 30 year marriage.

Randolph was appointed King’s Attorney for Virginia in 1748 due to his father, Sir John Randolph’s influence.  His father’s fellow knight and friend, Sir William Gooch, was the Governor of the Virginia Colony. Peyton was chosen as a House of Burgesses representative for Williamsburg in 1748.

As Virginia's chief law officer in 1749 Randolph challenged Reverend Samuel Davies, the Apos­tle of Presbyterianism, position on the Toleration Act. [1] This influential Reverend claimed that Toleration Act, like the Act of Uniformity,[2] extended beyond Great Britain to Colony of Virginia. Attorney General Randolph dismissed Davis' assertion and the Act’s enforcement in Virginia. The case was appealed by Davis before the Attorney General in England. In 1751 a ruling in Randolph's favor was applied  not only to Virginia but to all the Colonies. This ruling gained Peyton his initial prominence in 13 Original English Colonies of America.

Peyton's reputation would soar again after he challenged the newly appointed Virginia Governor Dinwiddie decision to charge a Pistole, a Spanish coin worth about 20 shillings, each time the governor certified a land patent with his signature. To insure the support of the Attorney General, Governor Dinwiddie called, with his entire family, on Randolphs at their Williamsburg home in the spring of 1751. As his guest, Dinwiddie turned what Randolph thought was a social visit to business explaining his rationale for instituting a new "Pistole Fee" tax.  The Governor during that gathering insisted the Attorney General support his efforts.  Randolph, respectfully, counseled the Governor that the Virginia House of Burgess must first debate and vote on the measure before the tax could be imposed upon the colonist. The irritated Governor hastily exited Randolph’s residence and did not heed the counsel of his Attorney General.  The Governor unilaterally instituted the "Pistole Fee" on every land-patent executed in Virginia without the approval of the Virginia House of Burgess the following week.

In 1754 Randolph was commissioned by the Virginia House of the Burgesses to appeal the unconstitutionality of the "Pistole Fee" exaction by Governor Dinwiddie to the English ministry in London. Traveling to England, Peyton argued Virginia’s case against the crown’s lawyers, Campbell and Murray (afterward Lord Mansfield), with marked ability according to London newspaper accounts. The result of his pleading ended with the "Pistole Fee" being removed from all land transfers under one hundred acres but remained for the larger parcels.


Copyright © President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008
Peyton Randolph inscribed book page – Stan Klos Collection   [3] 


Governor Dinwiddie did not approve Randolph’s trip to England.  He was infuriated that his Attorney General left the Virginia Colony without his consent on a mission authorized only by the Virginia House of the Burgesses. The Governor believed the act to be hostile to the execution of the King's Law. Consequently, when a petition of the Burgesses arrived requesting from the Governor that the office of Attorney General should remain open until Randolph's return, Dinwiddie utilized this occasion to rebuke Randolph. Dinwiddie denied the Virginia House of the Burgesses request and sus­pended Peyton Randolph as Attorney General. The Governor appointed George Wythe who only accepted the office until Randolph's return from England.

Randolph was promised £2,500 compensation for his successful London mission but payment became a political struggle between the governor and the House of Burgesses.  The House to circumvent the Governor’s object made Randolph’s compensation a rider to the £20,000 voted for the General Braddock's doomed French and Indian War campaign against Fort Duquesne.[4] The conflict led to a prorogation of the house.[5] The British Lords of Trade, however, stepped in, re-ordered the reduction of the "Pistole Fee” and the reinstatement and the full payment of Peyton Randolph. The Governor wrote this of Randolph on October 23, 1754 still defiant:

"You must think y't some w't absurd from the bad Treatm't I have met with. However, if he answers properly w't I have to say to him, I am not inflexible; and he must confess, before this happened he had greater share of my Favs, and Counten'ce than any other in the Gov't." [6]

The English Ministry also sided with the Virginia House of the Burgesses and Peyton Randolph was finally reinstated by the Governor. There was also a compromise on the final compensation with the new Virginia House of the Burgesses as the money owed to Randolph was never paid due to the defeat Major General Edward Braddock on the banks of the Monongahela River near present day Pittsburgh.[7] This was Great Britain’s largest military loss during the French and Indian War[8] greatly effecting the Virginia Colonial detachment.

On July 9, 1755 General Braddock crossed Monongahela River and heard shots from his advanced scouts led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gage. Nine hundred French, Canadians and Native Americans attacked the advance British unit which, after a brief defense, retreated back into Braddock's main Army that was rushing to the Colonel's aide. Crammed on a narrow valley road along the river the two British forces clashed and fell into disorder as the French Canadian militiamen and Native Americans took lofty positions behind trees and rocks firing into the valley.



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 At the same time the French regulars charged the British head-on.  The narrow valley pinned Braddock and he was unable to expand the battle line to take advantage of his significantly greater numbers. The Virginia Colonial Militiamen, who knew how to defend against this rather new 18th Century guerilla warfare, scampered into the forest taking protected positions to fire upon the French Regulars attacking Braddock’s front. Bewildered, the British Regulars began firing upon their allies believing them to be Canadian or Native Americans. The battle raged on for three hours and Braddock was shot behind in the shoulder, and into the Breast”[9] with the mini-ball lodging into his lung.  Colonel George Washington, who accompanied Genral Braadock, wrote to Governor Dinwiddie of the account:

We continued our March from Fort Cumberland to Frazier's (which is within 7 Miles of Duquisne) with't meet'g with any extraordinary event, hav'g only a stragler or two picked up by the French Indians. When we came to this place, we were attack'd (very unexpectedly I must own) by abt. 300 French and Ind'ns; Our numbers consisted of abt. 1300 well arm'd Men, chiefly Regular's, who were immediately struck with such a deadly Panick, that nothing but confusion and disobedience of order's prevail'd amongst them: The Officer's in gen'l behav'd with incomparable bravery, for which they greatly suffer'd, there being near 60 kill'd and wound'd. A large proportion, out of the number we had! The Virginian Companies behav'd like Men and died like Soldiers; for I believe out of the 3 Companys that were there that day, scarce 30 were left alive: Captn. Peyrouny and all his Officer's, down to a Corporal, were kill'd; Captn. Polson shar'd almost as hard a Fate, for only one of his Escap'd: In short the dastardly behaviour of the English Soldier's expos'd all those who were inclin'd to do their duty to almost certain Death; and at length, in despight of every effort to the contrary, broke and run as Sheep before the Hounds, leav'g the Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, and, every individual thing we had with us a prey to the Enemy; and when we endeavour'd to rally them in hopes of regaining our invaluable loss, it was with as much success as if we had attempted to have stop'd the wild Bears of the Mountains. The Genl. was wounded behind in the shoulder, and into the Breast, of w'ch he died three days after; his two Aids de Camp were both wounded, but are in a fair way of Recovery; Colo. Burton and Sir Jno. St. Clair are also wounded, and I hope will get over it; Sir Peter Halket, with many other brave Officers were kill'd in the Field. I luckily escap'd with't a wound tho' I had four Bullets through my Coat and two Horses shot under me. It is suppose that we left 300 or more dead in the Field; about that number we brought of wounded; and it is imagin'd (I believe with great justice too) that two thirds of both [ ? ] received their shott from our own cowardly English Soldier's who gather'd themselves into a body contrary to orders 10 or 12 deep, wou'd then level, Fire and shoot down the Men before them.[10]

George Washington carried off the wounded General with another officer, ordered the retreat as the British officers with their gleaming Gorgets were prime targets in the battle with 63 being killed or wounded. Of the 1464 men led by Braddock 456 were killed and 421 wounded. Additionally, of the 47 women that accompanied the British column as maids and cooks, only 4 survived. The losses of 250 French Regulars and Canadian Minuteman were 8 killed and 4 wounded. The Native American Allies numbering nearly 650 lossed 15 and 12 were wounded.

Washington and the retreating British Army came upon Colonel Dunbar, who was in command of the rear supply unit Dunbar being the ranking British Officer took command of the beleaguered Army. Instead of reorganizing the troops and setting up a defense line to protect the supplies as Washington recommended, Dunbar ordered a hasty retreat burning about 150 wagons and a cannon before withdrawing. The French remained in place where Braddock fell and never pursued the fleeing, still superior, British force. General Braddock died on 13 July 1755, just four days after the battle.

The news of this disastrous defeat resulted in Randolph’s personal loss of funds granted by the Virginia House of Burgesses and the English Ministry as dropped all claim to the money.  He turned to his duties as Attorney General further scaling back his salary and formed an association to deal with the disastrous defeat. The association managed to raise one hundred men and they marched west, under command of Colonel William Byrd,[11] to revive the remnants of Braddock's Army hoping to reengage the French and Native Americans who were responsible for the ambush.[12] Their scouts quickly learned, however, that the enemy had safely retreated to Fort Duquesne, and the British supplies and cannon was burnt by Colonel Dunbar. The Virginians supplies and armanents were not sufficient enough to re-provision the army let alone lay siege to the Fort so they returned to Williamsburg. 


Presidents of the Continental Congress and United States in Congress Assembled Exhibit at the 2008 RNC and DNC  Conventions - image courtesy of Historic.us


As the French and Indian War waged in the colonies, Randolph turned to his duties as Attorney General and member of the House of Burgesses. The next few years Peyton Randolph chaired a committee to revise Virginia Colonial Law. In 1758, with the work of the committee completed, his efforts focused on improving and restruc­turing William and Mary College. In 1760 Patrick Henry's law license was rejected by Law-Examiners Wythe and Pendleton. Henry appealed to Peyton Randolph for help. Randolph spent time investi­gating the Patriot's knowledge of English Law and citizenship. The Attorney General, along with his brother John, approved Henry's law license after some recommendations of additional reading. Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"The two Randolphs, acknowledged he [Patrick Henry] was very ignorant of law, but that they perceived that he was a man of genius, and did not doubt he would soon qualify himself." [13]

Randolph was one of the few personal friends of George Washington. In politics, Randolph was Washington's mentor backing his appointment as Colonel of the Virginia Militia in 1755 to his election as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army over John Hancock in June of 1775. Peyton Randolph, well before George Washington, was on the black list of patriots the British proposed to arrest and hang after being the first to preside over the Continental Congress in 1774.  Upon his return to Williamsburg, the volunteer company of militia of the city offered him its protection in an address that concluded:

"May heaven grant you long to live the father of your country – and the friend to freedom and humanity!"[14]

It is reported that Commander-in-Chief George Washington echoed this common Virginian title bestowed upon Randolph as the “Father of Our Country” upon learning of his death in October 1775.  Thomas Jefferson was also an admirer and a cousin of Randolph. Thomas Jefferson, also, was an admirer or President Randolph. In a letter to his grandson, Jefferson declares that in early life, amid difficulties and temptations, he used to ask himself:

… I would ask myself what would … Peyton Randolph do in this situation? What course in it will insure me their approbation? I am certain that this mode of deciding on my conduct, tended more to its correctness than any reasoning powers I possessed ...[15]

Peyton Randolph was a political conservative in the cause of colonial independence. As chairman of a burgesses committee, Randolph drew up the burgesses’ resolution, in opposition to the Stamp Act.[16] Patrick Henry, also a burgess, introduced seven amendments to Randolph's resolution. They were radical amendments and culminated with Henry's famous Caesar-Brutus speech against the Stamp Act on May 29, 1765 seek­ing their adoption. The following day Randolph had surrendered his presiding chair of the Virginia House of Burgess to returning Speaker John Robinson. By the smallest majority, five of Henry's "treason­able" amendments were passed. A single vote more would have tied the measures and Speaker John Robinson would have cast his vote to defeat Henry's measures. Thomas Jefferson reported that Peyton Randolph remarked while leaving the hall, “By God, I would have given five hundred guineas for a single vote!"[17]

In 1766 Randolph was elected speaker of the House of Burgesses defeating Richard Henry Lee. Randolph resigned his office as king's attorney in order to devote his attention to the increas­ing challenges of the Virginia Colony.[18] The burgesses recognized that his legal knowledge and judicial calm­ness were ballast for the passionate patriotism of the persuasive Patrick Henry. Randolph was placed by the membership at the head of all important committees.

In May 1769 the House considered measures to counteract England's Townshend Duties.[19] Once again Patrick Henry introduced the radical resolves and this time Speaker Randolph supported the measures. An enraged Virginia Governor, Lord Botetourt (1768-1770), disapproved and dissolved the assembly. The following day the members gathered at Raleigh Tavern[20] and adopted a com­pact drafted by George Mason. The measure was introduced by George Washington. Peyton Randolph surprised everyone by insisting he be the first to sign as Speaker of the "former representatives of the people."


June 7th, 1770 autograph document signed by Virginia Colonial Attorney General Peyton Randolph for the receipt of fifty pounds in part of my judgement against George Blair."


Virginia plight was not was not uncommon in America as legislatures were being indiscriminately dissolved by other Colonial Governors.  This made meaningful communication between the colonies’ representatives quite challenging. In 1772 at the urging of patriot Samuel Adams, a Massachusetts committee was formed that would ignite formal collaboration between the colonies. Samuel Adams moved

"that a Committee of Correspondence be appointed, to consist of twenty-one persons, to state the rights of the colonists, and of this province in particular, as men, as Christians, and as subjects, to communicate and publish the same to the several towns in this province and to the world as the sense of this town, with the infringe­ment and violations thereof that have been, or from time to time may be, made; also requesting of each town a free communication of their sentiments on this subject."[21]

So began colonial organization by a host of concerned citizens groups known as the Committees of Correspondence. These Committees were formed throughout the colonies as a method of coordinating grievances against the King. Some were formed by the colonial leg­islatures while others by "private" associations such as the Sons of Liberty. It was this Boston Committee of Correspondence that directed the Boston Tea Party action of December 16, 1773.


The first Committee of Correspondence was established on March 4th 1773 in Virginia when the representatives learned that Britain proposed to transport a band of Rhode Island smugglers to England for trial. Dabney Carr, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Thomas Jefferson met at the Raleigh Tavern to discuss the implications for Virginia and other news pouring in from the other colonies. Specifically absent in this initial meeting were Peyton Randolph and Edmund Pendleton who Jefferson did not invite believing that they lacked the zeal for revolution saying "… old and leading members up to the point of forwardness and zeal which the times required." [22]
Thomas Jefferson miscalculated Peyton Randolph's "genteel revolutionary" style who wisely sided with Virginia against the crown and became the Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence between the colonies in May 1773.
Copyright © President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008
Five Pound 1774 Colonial Note
signed by Peyton Randolph and John Blair [23]
Stan Klos Collection 
It would be a year of mild correspondence until news reached Virginia of Britain closing Boston Harbor in retaliation for its Tea Party. On May 24th, 1774 a Randolph led House of Burgess passed Thomas Jefferson's Fast Day resolution:

"This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers, to be derived to British America, from the hostile Invasion of the City of Boston, in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first Day of June next, to be stopped by an Armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said f first day of June be set apart, by the Members of this House, as a day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition for averting the heavy Calamity which threatens destruction to our Civil Rights, and the Evils of civil War; to give us one heart and one Mind to firmly oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American Rights; and that the Minds of his Majesty and his par­liament, may be inspired from above with Wisdom, Moderation, and Justice, to remove from the loyal People of America, all cause of danger, from a continued pursuit of Measure, pregnant with their ruin." [24]

Lord Dunmore, now Governor of Virginia, summoned the Burgess and stated: "I have in my hand a paper published by order of your House, conceived in such terms as reflect highly upon His Majesty and the Parliament of Great Britain, which makes it necessary for me to dissolve you; and you are accordingly dissolved." The following day 89 burgesses assembled at the Raleigh Tavern to form another association. On May 28th the Virginia Committee of Correspondence proposed a Continental Congress and on the 30th two dozen burgesses met at Peyton Randolph's house and called for a state convention on August 1.
On June 1, 1774 the Williamsburg community gathered at Bruton Parish Church and along with Peyton Randolph and prayed for Boston. After the service the Speaker organized key members of the Williamsburg community to gather provisions and cash to be sent to the people of Boston. July was spent preparing for the August 1st state convention.
Peyton Randolph presided over the Virginia convention of August 1, 1774 and was the first of seven deputies appointed to the proposed congress at Philadelphia. The other delegates were Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Edmund Pendleton, and George Washington. The convention also approved a ban on all exports to Great Britain.
On August 10th, 1774 Randolph urged the citizens of Williamsburg to assemble at their court­house, where the proceedings of the State convention were ratified. Instructions were drawn-up for the delegates that focused on the unconstitutionality of British statutes that sought to bind the American colonies to English taxes and duties. For presiding over this meeting Randolph's name was placed on the roll of those to be attained by parliament, but the bill was never passed.   Thomas Jefferson writes of this period on Peyton Randolph:
On an establishment of a committee by our legislature  to correspond with the other colonies he was named their Chairman, and their first proposition to the other colonies was to appoint similar committees, who might consider the expediency of calling a general Congress of deputies in order to procure a harmony of procedure among the whole this produced the call to the first Congress to which he was chosen a delegate by the House of burgess and of which he was appointed by that Congress its President.[25]

Peyton Randolph traveled to Pennsylvania with the Virginia delegation in late August of 1774. The first meeting of colonial delegates took place at the City Tavern just down the street from what we now know as Independence Hall (yes the true birthplace of the United States Congress was in a Philadelphia tavern).  

Although City Tavern did not host a quorum of colonies, the tavern was the site of the first caucus of congressional delegates on September 1, 1774. The discussions at this tavern meeting were significant as the decision was made, with 25 to 30 delegates present, that the members would wait until September 5th, for the additional delegates to arrive before proceeding to business. Specifically it was agreed that the Delegates would meet "Monday next" at 10 am at City Tavern to discuss where to conduct their first meeting.

Delegate Robert Treat Paine wrote in his diary on September 1, 1774: 
6 o'Clock the Members of the Congress that were in Town met at City Tavern & adjourned to Monday next.
Delegate Samuel Ward recorded in his diary on September 1, 1774: 
The Delegates from N. Jersies & two from Province of N York arrived, conversed with many Delegates & at Evening had a Meeting at the New Tavern & took a List of those present, in all twenty five.
Silas Deane wrote to Elizabeth Deane  on September 1, 1774:
The Delegates from Virginia, Maryland, the Lower Counties, & New York, are not arrived. We spent this Day in visiting Those that are in Town, & find them in high Spirits particularly the Gentlemen from the Jersies, and South Carolina. In the Evening We met to the Number of about Thirty drank a Dish of Coffee together talked over a few preliminaries, & agreed to wait for the Gentlemen not arrived untill Monday Next, before We proceeded to Business.  
 As decided at City Tavern on September 1st, 1774, deputies representing eleven colonies assembled at 10 am at the tavern.  According to Delegate James Duane:
The Members of the Congress met at Smith's [Sic City] Tavern. The Speaker of the Pensylvania Assembly having offerd the Congress the use of the State house; & the Carpenters the use of their Hall, It was agreed to take a View of each. We proceeded to the Carpenter's hall. Mr .Lynch proposed the Question whether as that was in all respects Suitable it ought not to be fixed upon without further Enquiry. 
I observed that if the State house was equally convenient it ought to be preferred being a provincial & the Carpenter's Hall[1] a private House. And besides as it was tenderd by the Speaker it seemed to be a piece of respect which was due to him, at least to enquire whether the State House was not equally convenient. The Question was however called for; & a great Majority fixed upon the Carpenters hall. 
John Adams wrote of the event in his diary: 
Monday. At ten the delegates all met at the City Tavern, and walked to the Carpenters' Hall, where they took a view of the room, and of the chamber where is an excellent library; there is also a long entry where gentlemen may walk, and a convenient chamber opposite to the library. The general cry was, that this was a good room, and the question was put, whether we were satisfied with this room ? and it passed in the affirmative. A very few were for the negative, and they were chiefly from Pennsylvania and New York. 
The deputies who formed the Colonial Congress were not men who enjoyed a national reputation. The colonial population was now surpassing two million inhabitants with no continental newspaper or magazine.  Consequently, they were nearly all strangers to each other with most never even hearing the names of their new colleagues.  There were, however, several exceptions.

John and Samuel Adams were the Boston leaders identified with radical opposition to Great Britain and known all over the colonies. Militia Colonel George Washington of Virginia had achieved colonial fame by his service with British regulars during the French and Indian War. Peyton Randolph was known as the judicious Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses and the attorney general who struck down Governor Dinwiddie’s Pistole land tax in a hearing before the British Lords of Trade.[4]  Patrick Henry was known as an eloquent orator from his memorable opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. There were other delegates, who were men of some known influence in their own colonies, but the new colonial council had little knowledge of their ethos. It was a new beginning.

The first order of business for the delegates after the presentation of credentials was the election of a presiding officer. Delegate James Duane writes in his notes on the debates:
The Names of the Members were then called over; After which Mr Lynch proposed that we shoud elect a President or Chairman and named Mr Peyton Randolph Speaker of the Assembly of Virginia, who was unanimously approvd & placed in the Chair. A Question was then put what Title the Convention should assume & it was agred that it should be called the Congress. Another Question was put what shoud be the Stile of Mr Randolph & it was agreed that he should be called the President. 
Congress next considered the election of a Secretary and Delegate Lynch put forth the name of Charles Thompson.    Charles Thomson an orphan at 10 established himself through hard work as a Philadelphia merchant and intellectual in the 1750’s. He became embroiled in colonial politics 1760’s aligning himself with the more liberal colonists into the 1770’s which was quite unusual for a businessman. His conservative peers campaigned hard against his election as a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress and were successful.  His benefactor, Benjamin Franklin, was a strong supporter for his congressional appointment and despite being then known as the “Samuel Adams of Philadelphia” Thomson was elected unanimously to be the Secretary of the Continental Congress.   Duane writes:
The next point was to fix on a Clerk or Secretary. Mr Thompson was proposd by Mr Lynch. Mr. Jay observed that he had Authority to say that one of the members of the Congress was willing to accept the Office & he conceivd the preference was due to him [him being James Duane]. To which it was answerd that such an appointment would deprive the Congress of a Member as he would be too much incumberd by the Duties of a Clerk to attend to the Trust for which he was chosen. The Objection being thought Reasonable Mr Thompson was appointed by the Stile of Secretary of the Congress.  
Thompson would serve in this position in both the Colonial & U.S. Continental Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled for nearly 15 years.
By his political connections, his long tenure of office, and his executive and legislative functions, Thomson influenced the course of congressional and Revolutionary affairs.  “Secretary” was the title given to British to their executive department heads and Thomson was Secretary in that sense and not in sense of a record keeper or file clerk.
Connecticut Delegate Silas Deane wrote of Peyton to Mrs. Deane:
" ... President, seems designed by Nature, for the Business; of an affable, open, & majestic deportment, large in size, though not out of Proportion, he commands respect, & Esteem, by his very aspect, independent of the high Character he sustains  ... " [26]
Peyton Randolph was but fifty-three years of age in 1774, but was described by a fellow-member as "a venera­ble man," to which is added "an honest man; has knowledge, temper, experience, judgment, above all, integrity--a true Roman spirit."[27] His noble presence, gracious manners, and imperturbable self-possession won the confidence of all. He was constantly relied on for his parliamentary experience and judicial wisdom.  Randolph’s election to the Presidency jettisoned his reputation into both national and international prominence.  He received many letters of admiration and congratulations but there were also letters of disgust and indignation.  In a rather caustic letter an anonymous Tory sympathizer writes Randolph:
Your name, till late, known comparatively to but few out of your own Province, now holds rank with other Chieftains in the American Cause, and is of course, in the moth of every man, woman, and child, throughout the extended Continent of English America.[28]
 The first order of business for the Continental Congress after the presentation of credentials was the election of a Secretary.   Charles Thomson an orphan at 10 established himself through hard work as a Philadelphia merchant and intellectual in the 1750’s. He became embroiled in colonial politics 1760’s aligning himself with the more liberal colonists into the 1770’s which was quite unusual for a businessman. His conservative peers campaigned hard against his election as a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress and were successful.  His benefactor, Benjamin Franklin, was a strong supporter for his congressional appointment and despite being then known as the “Samuel Adams of Philadelphia”[29] Thomson was elected unanimously to be the Secretary of the Continental Congress.  He would serve in this position in both the Continental Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled for nearly 15 years.
By his polical connections, his long tenure of office, and his executiove and legislative functions, Thomson influenced the course of congressional and Revolutionary affairs.  “Secretary” was the title given to British to their executive department heads and Thomson was Secretary in that sense and not in sense of a record keeper or file clerk.[1]


Who was the first U.S. President?


President Peyton Randolph, like many of the founders, was a deeply religious man. Strong Christian convictions were commonplace in the Continental Congress Asssembly. In fact Charles Thomson in his later years of life would forgo publishing a 15 year account of Congress instead choosing to provide the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint[2] into English.
The practice of prayer before conducting business initiated by Peyton Randolph and the First Continental Congress still remains an inte­gral part of the Supreme Court, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives opening session rituals in 2008.  In 1774 the Continental Congress invited the Reverend Jacob Duché rector of Christ Church, to open their sessions with prayer.
The Journals of Congress report on September 7, 1774:
“Agreeable to the resolve of yesterday, the meeting was opened with prayers by the Revd. Mr. Duché. Voted, That the thanks of the Congress be given to Mr. Duché, by Mr. Cushing and Mr. Ward, for performing divine Service, and for the excellent prayer, which he composed and deliver'd on the occasion.” [3]

Samuel Ward's Diary recorded the prayer as:

“Mr. Duchèe read Prayers & Lessons & concluded with one of the most sublime catholic well adapted Prayers I ever heard”.[4]

Silas Deane wrote to Elizabeth Deane:

“The Congress met and opened with a Prayer, made by the Revd. Mr. Deshay which it was worth riding One Hundred Mile to hear. He read the Lessons of the Day which were accidentally extremely Applicable, & then prayed without Book about Ten Minutes so pertinently, with such Fervency, purity, & sublimity of Stile, & sentiment, and with such an apparent Sensibility of the Scenes, & Business before Us, that even Quakers shed Tears. The Thanks of the Congress were most Unanimously returned him, by a Select honorable Committee.” [5]

John Adams wrote to Abigail Adams on September 16, 1774 about the first prayer:


“Having a Leisure Moment, while the Congress is assembling, I gladly embrace it to write you a Line. When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a Motion, that it should be opened with Prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of N. York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religious Sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some anabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists, so that We could not join in the same Act of Worship. Mr. S. Adams arose and said he was no Bigot, and could hear a Prayer from a Gentleman of Piety and Virtue, who was at the same Time a Friend to his Country. He was a Stranger in Philadelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duchè (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that Character, and there­fore he moved that Mr. Duchè, an Episcopal Clergyman, might be desired, to read Prayers to the Congress, tomorrow Morning The Motion was seconded and passed in the Affirmative. Mr. Randolph our President, waited on Mr. Duchè, and received for Answer that if his Health would permit, he certainly would. Accordingly next Morning he appeared with his Clerk and in his Pontificallibus, and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh clay of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm. You must remember this was the next Morning after we heard the horrible Rumour, of the Cannonade of Boston. I never saw a greater Effect upon an Audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that Morning.



After this Mr. Duchè, unexpected to every Body struck out into an extemporary Prayer, which filled the Bosom of every Man pre sent. I must confess I never heard a better Prayer or one, so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervour, such Ardor, such Earnestness and Pathos, and in Language so elegant and sublime--for America, for the Congress. for The Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the Town of Boston. It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.

I must beg you to read that Psalm. If there was any Faith in the sortes Virgilianae, or sortes Homericae, or especially the Sortes biblicae, it would be thought providential. It will amuse your Friends to read this Letter and the 35th. Psalm to them. Read it to your Father and Mr. Wibirt. I wonder what our Braintree Churchmen would think of this? Mr. Duchè is one of the most ingenious Men, and best Characters, and greatest orators in the Episcopal order, upon this Continent--Yet a Zealous Friend of Liberty and his Country.” [30]


Peyton Randolph's Congress first consideration to address was the colonies’ grievances with Great Britain.  The first measure was introduced by Pennsylvania Delegate, Joseph Galloway. His "Plan of Union" urged the creation of a Colonial Parliament that would act in concert with the existing British body. On matters relating to America, each was to have veto power over the other's actions:

“A Plan of a proposed Union between Great Britain and the Colonies That a British and American legislature, for regulating the administration of the general affairs of America, be proposed and established in America, including all the said colonies; within, and under which government, each colony shall retain its present constitution, and powers of regulating and governing its own internal police, in all cases what[so]ever.

That the said government be administered by a President General, to be appointed by the King, and a grand Council, to be chosen by the Representatives of the people of the several colonies, in their respective assemblies, once in every three years. That the several assemblies shall choose members for the grand council in the following proportions, viz.
New Hampshire. Delaware Counties. Massachusetts-Bay. Maryland. Rhode Island. Virginia. Connecticut. North Carolina. New-York. South-Carolina. New-Jersey. Georgia. Pennsylvania.
Who shall meet at the city of [ ] for the first time, being called by the President-General, as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment. That there shall be a new election of members for the Grand Council every three years; and on death, removal or resignation of any member, his place shall be supplied by a choice, at the next sitting of the Assembly of the Colony he represented.
That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, if they shall think it necessary, and oftener, if occasions shall require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to, at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at, by the President-General, on any emergency.
That the Grand Council shall have power to choose their Speaker, and shall hold and exercise all the rights, liberties and privileges, as are held and exercised by and in the House of Commons of Great-Britain.
That the President-General shall hold his office during the pleasure of the King, and his assent shall be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and it shall be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.



That the President-General, by and with the advice and consent of the Grand-Council, hold and exercise all the legislative rights, powers, and authorities, necessary for regulating and administering all the general police and affairs of the colonies, in which Great-Britain and the colonies, or any of them, the colonies in general, or more than one colony, are in any manner concerned, as well civil and criminal as commercial.

That the said President-General and the Grand Council, be an inferior and distinct branch of the British legislature, united and incorporated with it, for the aforesaid general purposes …” [31]

Galloway provides us with a history of this Plan in his “Candid Examination of the Mutual Claims of Great-Britain and the Colonies and with a Plan of Accommodation on Constitutional Principle,” New York: 1775. The resolution to adopt this Pan of Union was seconded by James Duane. The debates are partly sketched in John Adams’ Works. The plan was entered on the min­utes of the Congress, with an order referring it to future consideration.

William Franklin, the N.J. Colonial Governor and son of Benjamin Franklin wrote to Earl of Dartmouth on December 6th, 1774, "yet they not only refused to resume the Consideration of it, but directed both the Plan and Order to be erased from their Minutes, so that no vestige of it might appear there."[32] Delegate Samuel Ward says, however, that the Plan was "not committed but ordered to lie on the table."[33]  Whatever the case, Galloway's Plan of Union was never approved by the First Continental Congress as opinion on his proposal was sharply divided.

In another matter Peyton Randolph sent General Gage a letter protesting his occupation of Boston on behalf of the entire Continental Congress in his official role as President stating, among other things, the people have “appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties.”

Philadelphia, October 10, 1774.
SIR: The Inhabitants of the Town of Boston have informed us, the Representatives of his Majesty's faithful subjects in all the Colonies from Nova Scotia to Georgia, that the Fortifications erecting within that Town, the frequent invasions of private property, and the repeated insults they receive from the Soldiery have given them great reason to suspect a plan is formed very destructive to them, and tending to overthrow the liberties of America.
Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties; and we are under the deepest concern that whilst we are pursuing every dutiful and peaceable measure to procure a cordial and effectual reconciliation between Great Britain and the Colonies, your Excellency should proceed in a manner that bears so hostile an appearance, and which even those oppressive Acts do not warrant.

We entreat your Excellency to consider what a tendency this conduct must have to irritate and force a free people, however well disposed to peaceable measures, into hostilities, which may prevent the endeavours of this Congress to restore a good understanding with our parent state, and may involve us in the horrours of a civil war.

In order therefore to quiet the minds and remove the reasonable jealousies of the people, that they may not be driven to a state of desperation, being fully persuaded of their pacifick disposition towards the King's Troops, could they be assured of their own safety, we hope sir, you will discontinue the Fortifications in and about Boston; prevent any further invasions of private property; restrain the irregularities of the Soldiers; and give orders that the communication between the Town and Country may be open, unmolested, and free.
"Signed by order, and in behalf of the General Congress,
PEYTON RANDOLPH, President

General Gage replied:

Boston, October 20, 1774.
SIR: Representations should be made with candour, and matters stated exactly as they stand. People would be led to believe, from your letter to me of the 10th instant, that works were raised against the Town of Boston, private property invaded, the Soldiers suffered to insult the inhabitants, and the communication between the Town and Country shut up and molested.
Nothing can be farther from the true situation of this place than the above state. There is not a single gun pointed against the Town, no man's property has been seized or hurt, except the King's by the people's destroying straw, bricks, &c., bought for his service. No Troops have given less cause for complaint, and greater care was never taken to prevent it, and such care and attention was never more necessary, from the insults and provocations daily giving to both Officers and Soldiers. The communication between the Town and Country has been always free and unmolested, and is so still.
Two works of earth have been raised at some distance from the Town, wide of the roads, and guns put in them. The remains of old works, going out of the Town, have been strengthened, and guns placed there likewise.—People will think differently, whether the hostile preparations throughout the country, and the menaces of blood and slaughter, made this necessary. But I am to do my duty.
It gives me pleasure that you are endeavouring at a cordial reconciliation with the mother country; which, from what has transpired, I have despaired of. Nobody wishes better success to such measures than myself. I have endeavoured to be a mediator, if I could establish a foundation to work upon; and have strongly urged it to people here to pay for the Tea, and send a proper Memorial to the King, which would be a good beginning on their side, and give their friends the opportunity they seek, to move in their support.

I do not believe that menaces and unfriendly proceedings will have the effect which many conceive. The spirit of the British Nation was high when I left England, and such measures will not abate it. But I should hope that decency and moderation here would create the same disposition at home; and I ardently wish that the common enemies to both countries may see, to their disappointment, that these disputes between the mother country and the Colonies have terminated like the quarrels of lovers, and increased the affection which they ought to bear to each other. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

THOMAS GAGE.

To the Hon. Peyton Randolph, Esq. [34]

A notable piece of legislation was passed on October 14, 1774 by Randolph’s Congress and it was later called the “Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress.” The resolution addressed the extending of the Catholic province of Quebec borders to the "western frontiers" of the colonies. The Resolves stated:  

“And in prosecution of the same system, several late, cruel, and oppressive acts have been passed, respecting the town of Boston and the Massachusetts-Bay, and also an act for extending the province of Quebec, so as to border on the western frontiers of these colonies, establishing an arbitrary government therein, and discouraging the set­tlement of British subjects in that wide extended country; thus, by the influence of civil principles and ancient prejudices, to dispose the inhabitants to act with hostility against the free Protestant colonies, whenever a wicked ministry shall chuse so to direct them..” [35]

The question of religion was paramount in the minds of the Delegates. In fact the amount of time that the Continental Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled would spend on resolutions and proclamations encouraging the practice of the Judeo-Christian religion during the formation of the United States is quite significant. Although the Articles of Association and later the Constitution of 1777 did not officially sanction Congress to concern itself with religion, the citizenry, who were engaged in a War for Independence, did not object to the open union of church and state. The founding record indicates that 18th Century Americans encouraged and embraced both Federal and State led Judeo-Christian activities, resolutions and proclamations. Throughout these chapters you will encounter numerous documents that inductively establish that legislators and the public considered it appropriate for the federal government to ardently promote a nondenominational Judeo-Christianity in the United Colonies/States of America.

[Articles of Association] Extracts From The Votes And Proceedings Of The American Continental Congress, Held At Philadelphia, On The 5th Of September, 1774 Containing The Bill Of Rights, A List Of Grievances, Occasional Resolves, The Association, An Address To The People Of Great-Britain, And A Memorial To The Inhabitants Of The British American Colonies, Published By Order Of The Congress.” Philadelphia: 1774. Originally just called Congress, the word Continental was added to the name on October 20, 1774 in the Articles of Association primarily to distinguish this Congress from the many Congresses being held throughout the Colonies

One of the most important pieces of legislation passed under the Presidency of Peyton Randolph was the Articles of Association.  On October 20, 1774, the Articles were introduced and thus created the “Continental Congress Association.” The resolution was designed to defend American rights uniting the colonies in a direct response to the British Coercive/Intolerable Acts. The Articles of Association were composed of 14 laws and are recorded as follows:


Articles of Association Circa 1774 Broadside from the Library of Congress collection

We, his majesty's most loyal subjects, the delegates of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three lower counties of Newcastle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and South-Carolina, deputed to represent them in a continental Congress, held in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th day of September, 1774, avowing our allegiance to his majesty, our affection and regard for our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain and elsewhere, affected with the deepest anxiety, and most alarming apprehensions, at those grievances and distresses, with which his Majesty's American subjects are oppressed; and having taken under our most serious deliberation, the state of the whole continent, find, that the present unhappy situation of our affairs is occasioned by a ruinous system of colony administration, adopted by the British ministry about the year 1763, evidently calculated for enslaving these colonies, and, with them, the British Empire. In prosecution of which system, various acts of parliament have been passed, for raising a revenue in America, for depriving the American subjects, in many instances, of the constitutional trial by jury, exposing their lives to danger, by directing a new and illegal trial beyond the seas, for crimes alleged to have been committed in America: And in prosecution of the same system, several late, cruel, and oppressive acts have been passed, respecting the town of Boston and the Massachusetts-Bay, and also an act for extending the province of Quebec, so as to border on the western frontiers of these colonies, establishing an arbitrary government therein, and discouraging the settlement of British subjects in that wide extended country; thus, by the influence of civil principles and ancient prejudices, to dispose the inhabitants to act with hostility against the free Protestant colonies, whenever a wicked ministry shall chuse so to direct them.



To obtain redress of these grievances, which threaten destruction to the lives liberty, and property of his majesty's subjects, in North-America, we are of opinion, that a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and peaceable measure: And, therefore, we do, for ourselves, and the inhabitants of the several colonies, whom we represent, firmly agree and associate, under the sacred ties of virtue, honour and love of our country, as follows: 

1. That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import, into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place, any such goods, wares, or merchandise, as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland; nor will we, after that day, import any East-India tea from any part of the world; nor any molasses, syrups, paneles, coffee, or pimento, from the British plantations or from Dominica; nor wines from Madeira, or the Western Islands; nor foreign indigo.



2. We will neither import nor purchase, any slave imported after the first day of December next; after which time, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it.



3. As a non-consumption agreement, strictly adhered to, will be an effectual security for the observation of the non-importation, we, as above, solemnly agree and associate, that from this day, we will not purchase or use any tea, imported on account of the East-India company, or any on which a duty bath been or shall be paid; and from and after the first day of March next, we will not purchase or use any East-India tea whatever; nor will we, nor shall any person for or under us, purchase or use any of those goods, wares, or merchandise, we have agreed not to import, which we shall know, or have cause to suspect, were imported after the first day of December, except such as come under the rules and directions of the tenth article hereafter mentioned.



4. The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies, induces us to suspend a non-exportation, until the tenth day of September, 1775; at which time, if the said acts and parts of acts of the British parliament herein after mentioned, ate not repealed, we will not directly or indirectly, export any merchandise or commodity whatsoever to Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies, except rice to Europe.



5. Such as are merchants, and use the British and Irish trade, will give orders, as soon as possible, to their factors, agents and correspondents, in Great-Britain and Ireland, not to ship any goods to them, on any pretence whatsoever, as they cannot be received in America; and if any merchant, residing in Great-Britain or Ireland, shall directly or indirectly ship any goods, wares or merchandize, for America, in order to break the said non-importation agreement, or in any manner contravene the same, on such unworthy conduct being well attested, it ought to be made public; and, on the same being so done, we will not, from thenceforth, have any commercial connexion with such merchant.



6. That such as are owners of vessels will give positive orders to their captains, or masters, not to receive on board their vessels any goods prohibited by the said non-importation agreement, on pain of immediate dismission from their service.

7. We will use our utmost endeavours to improve the breed of sheep, and increase their number to the greatest extent; and to that end, we will kill them as seldom as may be, especially those of the most profitable kind; nor will we export any to the West-Indies or elsewhere; and those of us, who are or may become overstocked with, or can conveniently spare any sheep, will dispose of them to our neighbours, especially to the poorer sort, on moderate terms.



8. We will, in our several stations, encourage frugality, economy, and industry, and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool; and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of games, cock fighting, exhibitions of shews, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments; and on the death of any relation or friend, none of us, or any of our families will go into any further mourning-dress, than a black crepe or ribbon on the arm or hat, for gentlemen, and a black ribbon and necklace for ladies, and we will discontinue the giving of gloves and scarves at funerals.



9. Such as are venders of goods or merchandize will not take advantage of the scarcity of goods, that may be occasioned by this association, but will sell the same at the rates we have been respectively accustomed to do, for twelve months last past. -And if any vender of goods or merchandise shall sell such goods on higher terms, or shall, in any manner, or by any device whatsoever, violate or depart from this agreement, no person ought, nor will any of us deal with any such person, or his or her factor or agent, at any time thereafter, for any commodity whatever.



10. In case any merchant, trader, or other person, shall import any goods or merchandize, after the first day of December, and before the first day of February next, the same ought forthwith, at the election of the owner, to be either re-shipped or delivered up to the committee of the country or town, wherein they shall be imported, to be stored at the risque of the importer, until the non-importation agreement shall cease, or be sold under the direction of the committee aforesaid; and in the last-mentioned case, the owner or owners of such goods shall be reimbursed out of the sales, the first cost and charges, the profit, if any, to be applied towards relieving and employing such poor inhabitants of the town of Boston, as are immediate sufferers by the Boston port-bill; and a particular account of all goods so returned, stored, or sold, to be inserted in the public papers; and if any goods or merchandizes shall be imported after the said first day of February, the same ought forthwith to be sent back again, without breaking any of the packages thereof.

11. That a committee be chosen in every county, city, and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association; and when it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee, that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the gazette; to the end, that all such foes to the rights of British-America may be publicly known, and universally contemned as the enemies of American liberty; and thenceforth we respectively will break off all dealings with him or her.

12. That the committee of correspondence, in the respective colonies, do frequently inspect the entries of their customhouses, and inform each other, from time to time, of the true state thereof, and of every other material circumstance that may occur relative to this association.

13. That all manufactures of this country be sold at reasonable prices, so- that no undue advantage be taken of a future scarcity of goods.

14. And we do further agree and resolve that we will have no trade, commerce, dealings or intercourse whatsoever, with any colony or province, in North-America, which shall not accede to, or which shall hereafter violate this association, but will hold them as unworthy of the rights of freemen, and as inimical to the liberties of their country.

And we do solemnly bind ourselves and our constituents, under the ties aforesaid, to adhere to this association, until such parts of the several acts of parliament passed since the close of the last war, as impose or continue duties on tea, wine, molasses, syrups paneles, coffee, sugar, pimento, indigo, foreign paper, glass, and painters' colours, imported into America, and extend the powers of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judge's certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to from a trial by his peers, require oppressive security from a claimant of ships or goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, are repealed.-And until that part of the act of the 12 G. 3. ch. 24, entitled "An act for the better securing his majesty's dock-yards magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores," by which any persons charged with committing any of the offenses therein described, in America, may be tried in any shire or county within the realm, is repealed-and until the four acts, passed the last session of parliament, viz. that for stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston-that for altering the charter and government of the Massachusetts-Bay-and that which is entitled "An act for the better administration of justice, &c."-and that "for extending the limits of Quebec, &c." are repealed. And we recommend it to the provincial conventions, and to the committees in the respective colonies, to establish such farther regulations as they may think proper, for carrying into execution this association.

The foregoing association being determined upon by the Congress, was ordered to be subscribed by the several members thereof; and thereupon, we have hereunto set our respective names accordingly.

IN CONGRESS, PHILADELPHIA, October 20, 1774.

Signed, PEYTON RANDOLPH, President.[36]

Articles of Association Manuscript's Signatures

The Journals of the Continental Congress Chronology under the Peyton Randolph presidency reports:

1774 - September 5 Congress convenes at Carpenters' Hall- elects Peyton Randolph president, Charles Thomson secretary. September 17 Endorses Suffolk Resolves from Massachusetts. September 27 Adopts non-importation agreement, to begin December 1. September 28 Orders Joseph Galloway's plan of union to lie on the table. September 30 Resolves to halt exports to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies effective September 10, 1775. 1774 - October 1 Resolves to prepare an address to the king. October 14 Adopts declaration of grievances and rights. October 18 Approves the Association. October 21 Approves an address to the people of Great Britain and one to the inhabitants of the colonies. October 22 Agrees to reconvene on May 10, 1775, "unless the redress of grievances, which we have desired, be obtained before that time." Elects Henry Middleton president. October 26 Approves an address to the king and a letter to Quebec. Congress dissolves itself.* [37]

A more detailed synopsis of these proceedings was published by Peter Force in 1848 as the American Archives:

September 5, 1774, Meeting of the Delegates chosen and appointed by the several Colonies and Provinces, in North America, to hold a Congress at Philadelphia, Members present from the several Colonies, Peyton Randolph elected President, Credentials read and approved, For New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, September 6, 1774, Richard Henry Lee, from Virginia, attended, Rules of Order adopted, Reverend Mr. Duché requested to open the Congress with Prayers, Thomas Johnson, Jun., from Maryland attended, September 7, 1774, Committee appointed to state the Rights of the Colonies, the instances in which they are violated, and the means most proper to obtain a restoration of them, Committee appointed to examine and report the several Statutes which affect the Trade and Manufactures of the Colonies, President authorized to adjourn, from day to day, when there is no business, September 12, 1774, Matthew Tilghman, a Delegate from Maryland, attended, September 14, 1774, William Hooper and Joseph Hewes, from North Carolina, attended, Henry Wisner, from Orange County, in New-York, attended, George Ross, from Pennsylvania, and John Alsop, from New-York, attended, Delegates from Massachusetts presented the Proceedings of the Joint Committees of the Towns in the County of Middlesex, at Concord, on the 30th and 31st of August, September 17, 1774, Richard Caswell from North Carolina, attended, Resolutions of the County of Suffolk, Massachusetts, on the 6th inst., laid, before the Congress, Resolution of the Congress, approving of the Suffolk County Resolutions, Contributions from all the Colonies for supplying the Sufferers in Boston, should be continued, Report of the Committee appointed to examine the Statutes, brought in and laid on the table, September 19, 1774, Referred to the Committee appointed to state the Rights of the Colonies, September 22, 1774, Merchants and others in the several Colonies requested not to send to Great Britain any orders for Goods, Report of Committee on the Rights of the Colonies, brought in and read, Copy of the Report made out for each Colony, September 24, 1774, The Report considered, Congress will now consider only such Rights as have been infringed since 1763, postponing the consideration of the General Rights of America to a future day, Committee appointed to state the Rights, brought in a Report of the Infringements and Violations of American Rights, Consideration of the Report deferred, Congress, in the meanwhile, to deliberate on the Means to be pursued for a restoration of our Rights, September 26, 1774, John Herring, from Orange County, New-York, attended, Consideration of the Means for restoring Rights, resumed, September 27, 1774, Further considered, Importation of all Goods, Wares, and Merchandise, whatsoever, from Great Britain, or Ireland, prohibited after first of December next, None exported from Great Britain, or Ireland, after that day, shall be used or purchased in the Colonies, September 28, 1774, Resolution offered by Mr. Galloway, declaring the Colonies hold in. abhorrence the idea of being considered Independent Communities, Mr. Galloway's Plan for a proposed union between Great Britain and the Colonies, Means of restoring the Rights, considered, September 29, 1774, Galloway Plan Further considered, September 30, 1774, Galloway Plan Further considered, Exportation of all Merchandise whatsoever, from the Colonies to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, prohibited after the 1st of September, 1775, unless American Grievances are redressed before that time, Committee to prepare a Plan to carry into effect the Non-Importation, Non-Consumption, and Non-Exportation resolved on,

October 1, 1774, Simon Boerum, from King's County, New-York, attended, Means of restoring the Rights, further considered, Committee to prepare an Address to the King, requesting a Redress of Grievances, October 3, 1774, Instructions to the Committee on the Address, Matters proper to be contained in the Address considered, October 4, 1774, Address to the King Further considered, October 5, 1774, Address to the King Further considered, Instruction to the Committee on the Address, Address from William Goddard received, October 6, 1774, Means for restoration of American Rights further considered, Letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence laid before Congress, Letter to be considered tomorrow, Consideration of means for restoration of Rights, resumed, Instruction to Committee appointed to prepare the form of an Association, October 7, 1774, Letter from Boston Committee considered, Committee to prepare a Letter to General Gage, October 8, 1774, Letter from Boston further considered, Opposition of the Inhabitants of Massachusetts to late Acts of Parliament approved by Congress, If the Acts are attempted to be enforced by Arms, all America ought to support them in their opposition, October 10, 1774, Letter from Boston further considered, Removal of the People from Boston, so important in its consequences as to require the utmost deliberation, If absolutely necessary, they should be recompensed by all America, People of Massachusetts advised to submit to a suspension of the administration of justice, where it cannot be procured under the Charter, Any Person who shall act under any authority derived from the Act of Parliament, altering the Government of Massachusetts, to be held in detestation, as a wicked tool of the despotism, which is preparing to destroy the Rights of America, October 11, 1774, Letter from the Congress to General Gage, People of Boston advised to conduct themselves peaceably towards General Gage and the Troops, Committee to prepare a Memorial to the People of British America; and an Address to the People of Great Britain, October 12, 1774, Plan for carrying into effect the Non-Importation, Non-Consumption, and Non-Exportation Agreement, reported by the Committee, Consideration of the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies resumed, October 13, 1774, Further considered, October 14, 1774, Further considered, Resolutions declaring the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies, Letter from several Gentlemen, in Georgia, read, October 15, 1774, Plan of Association further considered, October 17, 1774, John Dickinson, from Pennsylvania, attended, Plan of Association further considered, October 18, 1774, Plan further considered, amended, and ordered to be transcribed, to be signed by the Members, Address to the People of Great Britain reported, October 19, 1774, The Address considered, amended, and recommitted, Memorial to the Inhabitants of the Colonies reported, October 20, 1774, The Association read and signed, Facsimile of the Signatures to the Association, Opposite Memorial to the Inhabitants of the Colonies further considered, October 21, 1774, Address to the People of Great Britain, Memorial to the Inhabitants of the Colonies, Committee to prepare an Address to the People of Quebeck, and Letters to the Colonies of St. John's. Nova-Scotia, Georgia, and East and West Florida, Committee to revise the Minutes of Congress, Address to the King considered, recommitted, and Mr. Dickinson added to the Committee, The seizing a Person, in America, to transport him beyond the Sea, for Trial, declared to be against the Law, and ought to meet with resistance and reprisal, October 22, 1774, Peyton Randolph unable to attend the Congress, Henry Middleton chosen President, Address from Christopher Tully received, Journal ordered to be printed, A Congress to be held on the 10th of May next, unless redress of Grievances should be sooner obtained, recommended, Letter from Congress to the Colonies of St. John's, &c., October 24, 1774, Address to the People of Quebeck reported, considered, and recommitted, Address to the King reported, October 25, 1774, Address considered, approved, and ordered to be engrossed, To be sent to the Colony Agents, to be presented to his Majesty; and the Agents requested to call in the aid of such Noblemen and Gentlemen as are firm friends to American Liberty, Committee to prepare a Letter to the Agents, Thanks of Congress to the patriotick Advocates of Civil and Religious Liberty who have espoused the cause of America, both in and out of Parliament, October 26, 1774, Letter to the Colony Agents, Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebeck, Address to the King, List of the Colony Agents, List of the Delegates who attended the Congress.[38]

Returning to Virginia, Randolph remained active in colonial politics. On  January 20th, 1775, he issued a call to the counties and corporations of Virginia, requesting that they elect delegates to a convention to be held at Richmond on the 21st of March with the call being signed " Peyton Randolph, moderator." He was elected to that convention on 4th of February.



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Peyton Randolph was in the chair on March 23rd, in this Second Virginia Convention in Richmond. The major issue at hand was the formation of a statewide militia to protect the citi­zens of Virginia from a future British occupation. It was during these debates that Patrick Henry rose and made his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" Speech. The measure was passed and Governor Dunmore reacted in manner that would ensure Virginia's solidification to the Boston call for Colonial Independence.

On the night of April 20th, 1775, the gunpowder was secretly removed from the public maga­zine at Williamsburg by order of Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia. Randolph convinced the enraged citizens not to storm the governor's residence. Randolph assured 700 armed men assembled at Fredericksburg, who offered their services, that the wrong would be redressed if their militia did not compel Dunmore to inflexibility. Through Speaker Randolph’s negotiations with Lord Dunmore, assisted by the approach of Henry's men, £300 was paid for the powder, and the hos­tilities were halted. Randolph resumed his duties as speaker of the burgesses.

In May 1775, Peyton Randolph returned to the Congress at Philadelphia learning of the open rebellion occurring at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.[39] The Continental Congress met not in Carpenters Hall, but in complete defiance of the crown, assembled in the Colonial Pennsylvania State House.   Peyton Randolph was re-elected President on May 10th and Delegates began their business after prayer:

Resolved, That the thanks of the Congress be given to the Reverend Mr. Duché for performing Divine Service, agreeable to the desire of the Congress, and for his excellent Prayer, so well adapted to the present occasion.[40]

On a most important matter typically overlooked by historians the following resolution was passed on May 11th:

Resolved, That the Doors be kept shut during the time of business, and that the Members consider themselves under the strongest obligations of honour to keep the Proceedings secret, until the majority shall direct them to be made publick.[41]

This would lead to the November 9th, 1775 Oath of Allegiance and Secrecy signed by all the members including Delegate George Washington. This veil of secrecy is partly responsible for the loss of detailed records on the debates and committee meetings of the Congress from 1774-1788.

On May 15th Congress authorized Secretary Charles Thomson to hire a Clerk. Timothy Matlack would go on to memorialize many Congressional resolutions by engrossing them in his own hand for the Delegates to sign. His most famous engrossed resolution would be the Declaration of Independence which he prepared in late July 1776 for the Delegates to sign on August 2nd.

Agreed, that the Secretary be allowed to employ Timothy Matlack as a Clerk, he having first taken an oath or affirmation to keep secret the transactions of the Congress that may be entrusted to him, or may come to his knowledge.[42]

On May 18th Congress adopted rules of Conduct and acted boldly on the news of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold success in capturing Fort Ticonderoga.[43]

The President laid before the Congress some important intelligence he received last night, by express, from New-York, relative to the surprising and taking of Ticonderoga by a detachment from Massachusetts-Bay and Connecticut, which was read.

Upon motion, Agreed, That Mr. Brown, who brought the express, be called in to give an account of the disposition of the Canadians, the taking of Ticonderoga, and the importance of that Post; whereupon, he was called in, and having given the necessary information, he withdrew. The Congress taking the matter into consideration came to the following Resolution:

Resolved, Whereas, there is indubitable evidence that a design is formed by the British Ministry of making a cruel invasion from the Province of Quebeck upon these Colonies, for the purpose of destroying our lives and liberties, and some steps have actually been taken to carry the said design into execution; and whereas, several inhabitants of the Northern Colonies, residing in the vicinity of Ticonderoga, and immediately exposed to incursions, impelled by a just regard for the defence and preservation of themselves and their Countrymen from such imminent dangers and calamities, have taken possession of that post, in which was lodged a quantity of Cannon and Military Stores that would certainly have been used in the intended invasion of these Colonies; this Congress earnestly recommend it to the Committees of the Cities and Counties of New-York and Albany, immediately to cause the said Cannon and Stores to be removed from Ticonderoga to the south end of Lake George; and, if necessary, to apply to the Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, and Connecticut, for such an additional body of forces as will be sufficient to establish a strong post at that place, and effectually to secure the said Cannon and Stores, or so many of them as it may be judged proper to keep there; and that an exact inventory be taken of all such Cannon and Stores, in order that they may be safely returned, when the restoration of the former harmony between Great Britain and these Colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, shall render it prudent and consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation.[44]

President Randolph was required, once again, to leave the Continental Congress on May 23rd 1775 because Lord Dunmore of Virginia had called a session of the Assembly, of which he was the Speaker. On June 25, 1775 Thomas Jefferson presented his credentials as a replacement for Peyton Randolph. John Hancock succeeded Randolph as President of the Continental Congress.

The American Archives report this summary of Peyton’s Congress:

May 10, 1775, The Congress convened in the State-House, at Philadelphia, List of the Delegates from the several Colonies, Peyton Randolph chosen President, and Charles Thomson Secretary, Rev. Mr. Duché requested to open Congress with prayers to-morrow morning, May 11, 1775, Congress opened with prayers by the Rev. Mr. Duché, Credentials of the Delegates read and approved, Doors to be kept shut during the time of business, and Members under the strongest obligations of honour to keep the proceedings secret, Letter from the Agents, William Bollan, Benj. Franklin and Arthur Lee, dated London, February 5, 1775, laid before Congress and read, Papers accompanying the Letter of the Agents, submitted to Congress this day, (Note,) Letters and Papers from the Massachusetts Congress, submitted by Mr. Hancock, Letter from the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts to the American Continental Congress, dated May 3, Resolves of the Massachusetts Congress, passed May 3, for borrowing One Hundred Thousand Pounds, enclosed in the preceding Letter, Depositions and Address ordered to be published, State of America to be considered on Monday next in Committee of the Whole, Letter from Massachusetts referred to that Committee, May 12, 1775, Met and adjourned May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall admitted as a Delegate from the Parish of St. John’s, Georgia, Mr. Hall’s Credentials—Address of the Inhabitants of St. John’s Parish to Congress; their Letter of February 2, to the Committee of Correspondence in Charlestown, South Carolina;—answer of the Committee, dated February 9; and choice of the Delegate, May 15, 1775, Order of the Day read, and, after some debate, postponed, Application from New-York for advice, how to conduct themselves with regard to the Troops expected there, Delegate from St. John’s, in Georgia, to have the same privileges as the other Delegates, except voting when a question is taken by Colonies, Credentials of Delegates from Rhode-Island, Advice to the Inhabitants of New-York to act on the defensive, if the Troops, expected from England, arrive, Committee appointed to consider what Posts should be occupied in New-York, State of America to be further considered to-morrow,

May 16, 1775, Memorial from Robert and John Murray, Congress in Committee of the Whole, on the state of America, May 17, 1775, Exportation to Quebeck, Nova-Scotia, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Georgia, (except the Parish of St. John’s,) and to East and West Florida, prohibited, May 18, 1775, Rules of last Congress adopted, Intelligence received of the surprising and taking of Ticonderoga, Mr. Brown called in to give an account of the disposition of the Canadians, the taking of Ticonderoga, and the importance of that Post, Congress approve the taking of Ticonderoga, and direct the removal of the Cannon and Stores to the south end of Lake George, to be there taken care of, and returned when the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies shall render it prudent to do so, May 19, 1775, List of the Delegates to the Congress in Philadelphia this day, (Note,) Report from the Committee on establishing Posts in New-York, read and referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of America, State of America further considered in Committee of the Whole,  May 20, 1775, State of America further considered in Committee of the Whole, May 22, 1775, State of America further considered in Committee of the Whole, May 23, 1775, State of America further considered in Committee of the Whole, May 24, 1775, John Hancock chosen President, Mr. Randolph being necessarily absent, State of America further considered in Committee of the Whole,[45]

Peyton Randolph returned to Williamsburg as hero to his fellow Virginians. The Commander of the British forces in America, General Thomas Gage, had issued warrants for the execution of Randolph and key Congressional leaders. Williamsburg, in an effort to protect the President, had sent a detachment of milita men to protect the President.  The armed guard was also equipted with a proclamation that concluded: "May heaven grant you long to live, The Father Of Your Country, and the friend to freedom and humani­ty!" [46]

Peyton Randolph returned to the Continental Congress after serving as Speaker of the Virginia Assembly in October 1775. He was placed on a Committee "to take into consideration the state of the trade of America, and report their opinion". On October 23rd, however, Peyton Randolph suddenly died. The Journals of the Continental Congress reported:

Information being given to Congress that yesterday the Honorable Peyton Randolph suddenly departed this life, Resolved, That this Congress will attend his funeral as mourners, with a crape round their left arm, ∥ according to the association & par; That the Congress continue in Mourning for the space of one month. That a Committee of three be appointed to the superintend the funeral.

The members chosen, Mr. Henry Middleton, Mr. Stephen Hopkins, and Mr. Samuel Chase. That the Committee waits on the Reverend Mr. Jacob Duché, and requests him to prepare a proper discourse to be delivered at the funeral.
On Tuesday afternoon his remains were removed from Mr. Benjamin Randolph's, to Christ Church, where an excellent sermon on the mournful occasion was preached by the Rev. Mr. Duché, after which, the corpse was carried to the burial ground and deposited in a vault till it can be conveyed to Virginia. [47]
The Funeral was conducted in the following order:

The Three Battalions, Artillery; Companies And Rifle-Men Of This City; The Clergy; The Body With Pall Supported By Six Magistrates; Hon. John Hancock, Esq.; The Members Of Assembly; Committee Of Safety; Mayor And Corporation Committee Of City And Liberties; Vestry Of Christ And St. Peter's Churches and Citizens.

The Pennsylvania Packet reported on October 30, 1775.

On the day his Remains were interred there was a greater collection of People that I had ever seen. The three Battalions were under Arms. Their Standards and Colors were furled with black Gauze: their Drums muffled, and covered with Gauze. The Bells at Christ Church were muffled. There, Mr. Duché preached a most excellent sermon:--thence the Corpse was carried to the Burying-yard, the way being lined on each side by the Battalions, leaning on their arms reversed.[48]

John Adams wrote the following account of his death to James Warren on October 24, 1775:

Dear Sir, I have only Time to acquaint you that Yesterday, that eminent American, and most worthy Man The Honorable Peyton Randolph Esq. our first venerable President, departed this Life in an Apoplectic Fit. He was seized at Table having but a few Moments. before set down with a good deal of Company to dinner. He died in the Evening, without ever recovering his senses after the first Stroke.

As this Gentleman Sustained very deservedly One of the first American Characters, as he was the first President of the united Colonies, and as he was universally esteemed for his great Virtues and shining Abilities, the Congress have determined to shew his Memory and Remains all possible Demonstrations of Respect.( 1) The whole Body is t o attend the Funeral, in as much Mourning as our Laws will admit. The Funeral is to be tomorrow. I am the more pleased with this Respect on Account of an Impropriety, which you know was unfelt.

This venerable Sage, I assure you, since he has stood upon the same Floor with the rest of us has rose in the Esteem of all. He was attentive, judicious and his Knowledge, Eloquence, and classical Correctness shewed us the able and experi­enced Statesman and Senator, whereas his former station had in a great Measure concealed these and shewed us chiefly the upright and impartial Moderator of Debate. You would have wondered more at the Want of [Sensi] bility which you remarked if you have [been] here and seen, the Difference.



Mr. Randolph was as firm, stable and consistent a Patriot as any here-the Loss must be very great to Virginia in Particular and the Continent in general.[49]

Thomas Jefferson wrote of Randolph after his death
:
He was indeed a most excellent man; and none was ever more beloved and respected by his friends; somewhat cold and coy towards strangers, but of the sweetest affability when opened into acquaintance of attic pleasantry in conversation, he was well read in law, and his opinions, when consulted, were highly regarded, presenting always a learned and sound view of the subject, but generally too a listlessness to go into its full development: for being heavy and inert in body, he was rather too indolent and careless for business, which occasioned him to get a smaller proportion of it at the bar than his abilities would otherwise have commanded.  Indeed, after his appointment as Attorney General, he did not seem to court, nor scarcely welcome business.  In that office he consider himself equally charged with the rights of the colony, as with those of the crown; and in criminal prosecutions, exaggerating nothing, he aimed at the candid and just state of the transaction, believing it more to save an innocent than to convict a guilty man.  Although not eloquent, his matter was substantial that no man commanded more attention; which joined with a sense of his great worth. gave him weight in the House of Burgesses which few ever attained.  He was liberal in his expenses, but correct also; so  as not to be involved in pecuniary embarrassments. And with a heart always open to the amiable sensibilities of our nature he did as many good acts as could be done with his fortunes, without injuriously impairing his means of continuing them.  He left no issue, and gave his fortune to his widow and nephew, the late Edmund Randolph.[50]

George Washington who had along and intimate friendship with Peyton Randolph wrote during the departure of his nephew Edmund from his camp to President Hancock:

I could not suffer Mr. Randolph ' to quit this camp, without bearing some testimony of my duty to the Congress ; although his sudden departure (occasioned by the death of his worthy relative, whose loss, as a good citizen and valuable member of society, is much to be regretted) does not allow me time to be particular.

His body was conveyed from Philadelphia in the following year by his nephew, Edmund Randolph, and buried in the Chapel of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In Williamsburg, Virginia one can visit the home of Peyton Randolph. The red house is one of the most historic Colonial Williamsburg's original 18th-century homes. The west wing of the house has stood at the corner of Nicholson and North England Streets since 1715. Among the historic figures who utilized the house during the Revolutionary War were General Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette.

According to Colonial Williamsburg:

Sir John Randolph, the only colonial born in Virginia to be knighted, died in 1737. He left the house to his wife, Susannah Beverley Randolph, until their second son, Peyton, reached the age of 24. Their first son, Beverley, inherited property in Gloucester County; their third son, John, inherited acreage on the city's southern edge; and their daughter, Mary, received a dowry of £1,000. Susannah Beverley Randolph remained in the home until her death sometime after 1754. Peyton Randolph, Speaker of Virginia's House of Burgesses in the years leading to the Revolution, brought his wife, Betty Harrison Randolph, to the home by 1751. It became a hub of political activity, and its owner Peyton Randolph was elected the presiding officer of the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1774. An inventory taken at Peyton Randolph's death in 1775 indicates how the house was furnished and equipped. [51]

Widow Betty Randolph, Peyton’s wife, opened her home to French general Rochambeau, when he arrived in Williamsburg with General George Washington to prepare for the siege of Yorktown in 1781. The house served as the French headquarters until they moved to the field engaging the British at Yorktown in the final battle of the Revolutionary War. 

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF PEYTON RANDOLPH

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Peyton Randolph do make this my last will & testament. I give & devise to my beloved wife my dwelling house, lots & all the outhouses thereto belonging in the city of Williamsburg, with the furniture of the same, & also my chariot & horses & all her wearing apparel rings & jewels, all which estates real & personal I give to her heirs, exrs, & adrs. I give to my sd wife also Little Aggy & her children, Great Aggy & her children, Eve & her children Lucy & her children to her & her heirs forever. I give to my wife also the use & enjoyment of my whole estate real & personal, not hereafter given away during her natural life. I give to Harrison Randolph a negro boy called Caesar, the son of Sue to him & his heirs forever. I give to my brother John Randolph the two negro boys such as he shall choose out of my estate which have not been particularly disposed of to him & his heirs, after the death of my wife I give to my sd brother all my estate both real & personal to hold the same during his life except my man Johnny whom in that case I give to my nephew Edmund Randolph to him & his heirs & after the death of my brother John I give all the estate devised to him for life to the sd Edmund Randolph his heirs exrs & admrs, subject nevertheless to the payment of £500 each to his sisters Susanna & Arrianna Randolph for the payment of which sums I allow him four years after the estate shall come into his hands, he paying them interest yearly for such sums as remain unpaid. I do hereby empower my exrs. to sell my books & presses to pay my debts & if that is not sufficient to sell so many of the negroes as they think can be best shared from the use of the plantations to answer that purpose. I do appoint my wife, my brother John Randolph & Mr. James Cocke exrs. of this my will. IN WITNESS whereof I have set my hand & seal this 18th day of August in the year of our Lord 1774
Peyton Randolph L.S.

Signed sealed published & declared by the sd Peyton Randolph as & for his last will (he being present at the [signing ?] of this attestation in presence of

Thomas Mason
Samuel Henley
John Pope

3 Jan. 1776 All persons who have any Demands against the Estate of Peyton Randolph, Esq.; deceased, are desired to bring their Accounts properly proved. Those indebted to the said estate are requested to make immediate Payment.

Betty Randolph
James Cocke


Those Gentlemen who have borrowed any Books of the late speaker are desired to return them immediately.



LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF BETTY RANDOLPH

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Betty Randolph do make her my last Will and Testament June 1st 1780 I give to Edmund Randolph Esqr nephew of my dear departed Husband the Family Picture the Silver Chafing Dishes the four New Silver Salt Cellars the Silver Cup and two Silver Waiters I also give him the Suit of Yellow printed Cotton Curtains, the Bed, Bedstead, and Blankets thereunto belonging the Clock, and his uncles Seal which I wear to my Watch. I give to my nephew Harrison Randolph the silver cruet frame Table Spoons, Sout ditto, Punch Strainer ladle the four old silver Candlesticks two old Silver Salt cellars the Cross the China Bowls the Tea set of India China all the House Linnen and half the Beds with Blankets &c. I give to my niece Elizabeth Harrison who lives with me the new Tea spoons four Silver Saucers all my w/earing Cloths my miniature Picture of my dear Husband my Watch and the Treasury Bond of the United States for Ninety Pounds now in the House I give to my Niece Lucy Burwell the set of Chelsea Tea China, as a token she is not forgot. I give to my Nephew Peyton Randolph the Silver coffee Pot for the same reason. I give to my Nephew Benjamin Harrison of Berkley four Silver Candlesticks called the new ones which were given me by my grandmother Harrison I also give him a mulatto Woman called little Aggy, her Daughter Betsy and her son Nathan to him and his heirs forever. I also give him the other half of the Beds Blankets and Curtains. I give to my Nephew Carter Harrison of Berkley a Molatto Boy named Wat, to him and his Heirs forever. I give to my niece Ann Coupland a Negro woman named Eve and her son George to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my niece Elizabeth Rickman a Negro woman called great Aggy and her son Henry to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my Niece Lucy Randolph Daughter of my sister Necks a molatto girl named Charlotte to her use and after her death to her Heirs. I give to my Nephew Harrison Randolph a negro woman named Lucy and her Children to him and his Heirs forever. I have in the loan office of this Commonwealth the sum of nine hundred pounds which I dispose of in the following manner, five hundred pounds I give and bequeath to my niece Elizabeth Harrison who lives with me. One hundred to her sister Ann Harrison, One hundred to Sarah Harrison, daughter of my Brother Benjamin Harrison, One hundred to Ann Harrison daughter of my Br Charles Harrison, and One hundred to his daughter Betty Randolph Harrison My Will and desire is that the House and all the lots in Williamsburg given me by my dear Husband together with the furniture not particularly given away, Chariot, Waggon & Horses in town, and all the Estate I shall die possessed of not particularly disposed of may be sold, and after paying any debts (which I design shall be very few) the money arising from the sale thereof may be divided into two equal parts, the one half I give and bequeath to my Nephew Harrison Randolph, out of the other half I desire forty Pounds may be divided among the servants that shall attend me in my illness as they shall deserve, the remainder to be divided into six equal parts to be given to six persons hereafter mentioned Viz, Peyton Harrison, son of my Br Carter Harrison, William Harrison son of my Br Benjamin, the youngest son of my br Nat. the youngest son of my Br Charles and the two sons of my Br Robert Harrison. If either of my Brother Roberts sons should die before the age of twenty one the survivor to take both his own and his brothers part. My Will & desire is that the Heirs of my dear & honoured Husband (by whose bounty I have been enabled to make these bequests) may be put to no inconveniency by my heirs for which reason I desire the Carts Waggons & work Horses on the Plantation & tools for the use of the Plantation tho purchased by me may not be looked on as part of my Estate. I also desire a sufficient quantity of Corn and fodder may be left on the Plantations for the use of the Negroes & Stocks. I also direct that whatever Cloths, or materials for making Cloths for the Negroes, that shall be found in the House shall be given up for that purpose. If I should have any money in the House or Treasury not already given away I give it to Harrison Randolph I have lent the Estate money as Mr Cocks receipt & Books will shew to the amount of One hundred & thirty pounds which I designed should be laid out in a monument to the memory of my dear and blessed husband. My Will & desire is that the above Sum of One hundred & thirty pounds due from the Estate be paid to Edmund Randolph esqr he giving bond to my Executors to put up a monument in the Chapel of Wm and Mary College opposite to that of his grandfather Sir John Randolph (which I have been informed cost about that sum) as soon as possible. he is to pay no Interest for the money. only to lay out the sum of One hundred & thirty pounds. My Body which I had almost forgot. I desire may be put in the Vault in the College Chapel in which the remains of my blessed Husband are deposited with as little ceremony & expense as possible, as being there is the summitt of all my wishes with regards to this world & that the expenses of the funeral may be paid before the division is made. My share in the Wmburg factory I give & devise to Harrison Randolph my Books to his sister Lucy Randolph I do appoint my Brother Benjm Harrison my Nephew Benjm Harrison my Nephew Harrison Randolph Exors or this my last Will & Testament In witness whereof I have set my hand & seal this 23d day of October in the Year of our Lord 1780

Signed Sealed & declared by the said Betty Randolph LS

Betty Randolph to be her last Will in presence of us Rachel Whitaker, Sally Singleton

20 July 1782 A Codicil to the above Will

Whereas Eve's bad behaviour laid me under the necessity of selling her. I order and direct the money she sold for may be laid out in purchasing two negroes Viz, a Boy & Girl, the Girl I give to my niece Ann Copland in lieu of Eve, in the same manner that I had given Eve. The Boy I give to Peyton Harrison son of my Brother Carter Harrison, to him & his heirs forever. I have lent Charlotte to my nephew Harrison Randolph during my life. As he will perhaps be at some expense in raising & maintaining other children she may have as a gratuity I give to him & his Heirs forever her Son called Thomas Prouce. I have given in my Will forty Pounds paper Currency to be divided amongst the Servants, instead of which I order Ten Pounds of the money found in the House to be divided as afore directed. I also Order Twenty Pounds out of the same money to be given to my Niece E Harrison if she should be living with me at the time of my death in order to enable her to pay her Expenses to some friendly roof. I think I have express myself with regard to Thomas Pruse in a manner that may leave room for a dispute to prevent which I declare my Will is that Harrison Randolph is to have the said Thomas Pruse at all events. I give to my Niece Eliza Harrison my dressing Table and Glass that stands in my Chamber and the Cabinet on the Top of the Desk.

Betty Randolph

This Codicil was Signed, Published and declared to be part of the last Will of the said Betty Randolph in presence of us

John Blair


The First United American Republic

Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776


September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776


The Second United American Republic

Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781


Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America


George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783



The Third United American Republic

Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled


March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
November 13, 1786
February 2, 1787
October 29, 1787
January 22, 1788
March 4, 1789






Articles of Confederation Congress
United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) Sessions

USCA
Session Dates
USCA Convene Date
President(s)
First
11-05-1780 to 11-04-1781*
03-02-1781
Second
11-05-1781 to 11-03-1782
11-05-1781
Third
11-04-1782 to 11-02-1783
11-04-1782
Fourth
11-03-1783 to 10-31-1784
11-03-1783
Fifth
11-01-1784 to 11-06-1785
11-29-1784
Sixth
11-07-1785 to 11-05-1786
11-23-1785
Seventh
11-06-1786 to 11-04-1787
02-02-1787
Eighth
11-05-1787 to 11-02-1788
01-21-1788
Ninth
11-03-1788 to 03-03-1789**
None
None

* The Articles of Confederation was ratified by the mandated 13th State on February 2, 1781, and the dated adopted by the Continental Congress to commence the new  United States in Congress Assembled government was March 1, 1781.  The USCA convened under the Articles of Confederation Constitution on March 2, 1781.  

** On September 14, 1788, the Eighth United States in Congress Assembled resolved that March 4th, 1789, would be commencement date of the Constitution of 1787's federal government thus dissolving the USCA on March 3rd, 1789.



The Fourth United American Republic



Presidents of the United States of America







Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here


United Colonies and States First Ladies

1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36



Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45


Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Philadelphia
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
Philadelphia
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Baltimore
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
Philadelphia
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
Lancaster
September 27, 1777
York
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
Philadelphia
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
Princeton
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Annapolis
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Trenton
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Philadelphia
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present




[1] Bowling, Kenneth R., Good-by “Charlie”: The Lee-Adams Interest and The Political Demise of Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, 1774-1789, The Pennylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume c, Number 3, July, 1976.
[2] The Septuagin is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC in Alexandria.  Thomson, Charles, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Covenant, Commonly Called the Old and New Testament. In Four Volumes, Jane Aitken, Philadelphia, 1808.
[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, Wednesday, September 7, 1774, 9 o'clock a. m.
[4] Letters of Delegates to Congress, Samuel Ward's Diary, September 7, 1774
[5] Letters of Delegates to Congress, Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane September 7, 1774, Wednesday Morning



[1] The Act of Toleration -1689 “An Act for Exempting their Majesties Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes". The Act granted freedom of worship to Nonconformists who had taken the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and formally rejected transubstantiation.
[2] The Act of Uniformity proclaimed by Elizabeth I in 1559 set the order of prayer to be used in the English Book of Common Prayer. Each man was required to go to church once a week or be fined 12 pence.
[3] Stanley L. Klos,  “Rebels With A Vision. Historical Documents of Freedom,” Exhibit 1999-2008. rebelswithavision.com. Peyton Randolph inscribed book  "Being a Collection of Choice and Useful Precedents For Pleadings Both in the Kings Bench and Common Pleas:" 1713
[4] Fort Duquesne was established by the French in 1754, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
[5] When a legislature was prorogued by a British Colonial Governor it is still constituted but all orders of the body bills, motions, etc.. are expunged.
[6] Fitzpatrick, John C., Editor, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799; Governor Robert Dinwiddie letter to Peyton Randolph dated October 23, 1754.
[7] Dinwiddie, Robert  to George Washington, September 11, 1754, "The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799" {Note 1: 1 The agent's expenses [Peyton Randolph, the Attorney-General of Virginia, sent to England by the House of Burgesses to settle the affair of the pistole fee] were two thousand five hundred pounds. The Governor refused to sanction any bill for their payment. Piqued by this obstinacy, the House of Burgesses affixed the amount to a bill for raising twenty thousand pounds for his Majesty's service. Equally indignant at this presumption, the Governor sent back the bill without his signature, and prorogued the Assembly for six weeks. Thus no supplies were granted, and the Governor was induced to write that "there appeared to him an infatuation in all the assemblies in this part of the world." The treasurer of the colony had already paid the agent by order of the Assembly, without any special grant, which was no doubt a high disrespect to the Governor and Council. In giving an account of this affair to Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, Governor Dinwiddie says: "I am now persuaded that no expedition can be conducted here with dependence on American Assemblies; and I have written to that purpose home, and proposed a British act of Parliament to compel the subjects here to obedience to his Majesty's commands, and to protect their property from the insults of the French." -- SPARKS.}
[8] The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was the North American campaign of the Seven Years' War, known in Canada as the War of the Conquest.
[9] John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-179--vol. 01; Fort Cumberland, July 18, 1755 to Governor Robert Dinwiddie.
[10] Ibid
[11] Paul Leicester,  Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson General Correspondence, Jefferson's Biographical Sketch on Peyton Randolph, July 26, 1816
[12] John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799.  Note 74: This Company appears to have originated among the lawyers and the association was entered into on May 3. On the 8th the governor wrote that "these gentlemen will march from north to south, with your advice, to propose the proper places to erect these forts." They then numbered about 100 men, with the attorney general, Peyton Randolph, at their head. Being volunteers, serving at their own cost, the governor gave them no orders.]
[13] Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, Published 1888 D. Appleton and company page 175.
[14] Peyton Randolph House at Colonial Williamsburg, http://www.history.org/, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 2008.
[15] Paul Leicester, Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson General Correspondence, Thomas Jefferson to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, November 24, 1808
[16] The Stamp Act of 1765 was the fourth to be passed by Great Britain.  The 1765 act, however, was the first attempt to impose the tax on all legal documents, permits, commercial contracts, newspapers, wills, pamphlets, and even playing cards in the colonies.
[17] Paul Leicester, Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes.  Federal Edition,   Thomas Jefferson to William Wirt August 14, 1814
[18] Paul Leicester,  Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson General Correspondence, Jefferson's Biographical Sketch on Peyton Randolph, July 26, 1816
[19] The Townshend Acts were passed by the Parliament and include the Revenue Act of 1767, the Indemnity Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the New York Restraining Act.
[20] The Raleigh Tavern was established in Williamsburg, Virginia around 1717.   The tavern namesake was Sir Walter Raleigh, who had attempted the first colonization of Virginia in 1585.
[21] Charles Austin Beard,  "Readings in American Government and Politics"; Published 1909
The Macmillan Company New York, pages 17-18.
[22] Thomas Jefferson,  and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Memoirs, Correspondence, and Private Papers of Thomas Jefferson Published 1829 H. Colburn and R. Bentley, pages 4-5
[23] Stanley L. Klos,   “Rebels With A Vision. Historical Documents of Freedom” Exhibit 1999-2008, rebelswithavision.com.
[24] Peter Force,  AMERICAN ARCHIVES: Containing A Documentary History Of The United States Of America Series 4, Six Volumes and Series 5, Three Volumes:  M. St. Clair Clarke and Peter Force under the authority of Acts of Congress; Washington, D.C.: 1848-1851. 9 Volumes Folio - over 12" - 15" tall. Containing A Documentary History Of The United States Of America From The Declaration Of Independence, July 4, 1776 To The Definitive Treaty Of Peace With Great Britain, September 3, 1783. Volume II
[25] Paul Leicester, Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson General Correspondence, Jefferson's Biographical Sketch on Peyton Randolph, July 26, 1816
[26] Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1 AUGUST 1774 - AUGUST 1775; Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane 1774
[27] William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Published 1891, J.B. Lippincott & company - page 221 Minister Atkins Account of Randolph.
[28] Peter Force, American Archives, 4th Series, Section I, 919.  See 939-945 for the Entire Letter
[29] W. George Corner, editor, The autobiography of Benjamin Rush, Princeton, 1948, page 155
[30] Letters of Delegates to Congress, John Adams to Abigail Adams on September 16, 1774
[31] Journals of the Continental Congress, Joseph Galloway’s “Plan of Union”, Wednesday, September 28, 1774
[32] New Jersey Historical Society, Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-revolutionary War, Published by New Jersey Historical Society 1886, page 504
[33] Journals of the Continental Congress, By United States Continental Congress, Library of Congress Manuscript Division Published by Gov. Print Off., 1904 p 51
[34] Journals of Congress, October 10, 1774.
[35] Journals of the Continental Congress, Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, October 14, 1775
[36] Journals of the Continental Congress , Articles of Association on October 20, 1775
[37] Paul H. Smith, et al., eds. Letters of Delegates To Congress, 1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000. Chronology
[38] Peter Force,  AMERICAN ARCHIVES Ibid
[39] The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy, and Cambridge, just outside Boston.
[40] Journals of the Continental Congress, May 10, 1775
[41] Journals of the Continental Congress, May 11, 1775
[42] Journals of the Continental Congress, May 15, 1775
[43] Fort Ticonderoga was constructed during the French and Indian War at the south end of Lake Champlain, NY where a short traverse provides access to Lake George.  The waterways were used as 18th Century trade routes between the Hudson River Valley and Saint Lawrence River Valley. The name "Ticonderoga" (Iroquois word - tekontaróken) means "it is at the junction of two waterways".
[44] Journals of the Continental Congress, May 18, 1775
[45] Peter Force, American Archives Chronology
[46] Virginia Gazette , June  1, 1775
[47] Journals of the Continental Congress, October 23, 1775
[48] John Dunlap,  Publisher, Pennsylvania Packet & General Advertiser; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 30, 1775
[49] Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1 AUGUST 1774 - AUGUST 1775; John Adams, October 24, 1775
[50] Paul Leicester, Editor, The Works of Thomas Jefferson General Correspondence, Jefferson's Biographical Sketch on Peyton Randolph, July 26, 1816
[51] Peyton Randolph House at Colonial Williamsburg, http://www.history.org/, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 2008.






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