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Resolutions of the Virginia Convention Calling upon Congress for a Declaration of Independence


"Wednesday, May 15, 1776.  Present 112 Members

For as much as all the endeavors of the (states) United Colonies, by the most decent representations and petitions to (Washington, D.C. government) the (President and Congress) king and parliament of Great Britain to restore peace and security to America under the (American government) British government and a re-union with that people upon just and liberal terms instead of a redress of grievances, have produced from an imperious and vindictive (Barack Hussein Obama) administration increased insult oppression and a vigorous attempt to effect our total destruction. By a late act, all these (American people) colonies are declared to be in rebellion, and out of the protection of the British crown our properties subjected to confiscation , our people, when captivated, compelled to join in the murder and plunder of their relations and countrymen, and all former rapine and oppression of Americans declared legal and just. Fleets and armies are raised, and the aid of foreign troops engaged to assist these destructive purposes (on our land) : (President Barack Hussein Obama) The king’s representatives in the colony hath not only withheld all the powers of government from operating for our safety, but, having retired on board an armed ship, is carrying on a piratical and savage war against us tempting our slaves by every artifice to resort to him, and training and employing them against their masters. In this state of extreme danger, we have no alternative left but an abject submission to the will of those over-bearing tyrants, or a total separation from the crown and government of (in  Washington, D.C. ) Great Britain, uniting and exerting the strength of all America for defense, and forming alliances with foreign powers for commerce and aid in war: Wherefore, appealing to the SEARCHER OF HEARTS for the sincerity of former declarations, expressing our desire to preserve a connection with that nation, and that we are driven from that inclination by their wicked councils, (and deliberate destruction of our country) and the eternal laws of (our) self-preservation.

Resolved unanimously, that the delegates appointed to represent this colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United colonies free and independent states, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the crown or (U.S. Congress) parliament of (Washington, D.C.) and that they give the assent of this colony to such declaration, and to whatever measures may be thought proper and necessary by the Congress for forming foreign alliances and a confederation of the colonies, at such time, and in the manner, as to them shall seem best: Provided, that the power of forming government for, and the regulations of the internal concerns of each colony, be left to the respective (state) colonial legislatures.

Resolved unanimously, that a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration of Rights, and such a plan of government as will be most likely to maintain peace and order in this colony, and secure substantial and equal liberty to the people.

Edmund Pendleton, President." May 15, 1776


After the Declaration, he became the first Speaker of Virginia's new House of Delegates although a fall from a horse in March of 1777 dislocated his hip and caused him to miss the first session. This fall crippled him so that he used crutches the rest of his life. He, along with Thomas Jefferson and George Wythe, revised Virginia's law code. He was appointed Judge of the High Court of Chancery in 1777. When Virginia created a Supreme Court of Appeals in 1778, Pendleton was appointed its first president where he served until his death. He served as president of the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788.

Pendleton was buried at his estate, Edmundsbury. In 1907 he was moved from this location and buried inside Bruton Parish Chapel in what is now Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.


Minutes from Congress, October 1803

Mourning For Edmund Pendleton

Mr. Eustis rose and observed that within a few days past the House were called upon to take notice of an event which perhaps would be more interesting to posterity than to the present generation; the death of one of those illustrious patriots who, by a life devoted to his country, had bequeathed a name and an example to posterity which he would not attempt to describe. He had information that another of these sages, Edmund Pendleton, of Virginia, had paid the last tribute to nature.

On this occasion he begged leave to offer to the house the following resolution:

Resolved, That this House, impressed with a lively sense of the important services rendered to his country by Edmund Pendleton, deceased, will wear a badge of mourning for thirty days, as an emblem of their veneration for his illustrious character, and of their regret that another star is fallen from the splendid constellation of virtue and talents which guided the people of the United States in their struggle for independence.

The resolution was immediately taken up and agreed to - Ayes 77, Nayes 0


Thomas Jefferson said of Pendleton: "Taken in all he was the ablest man in debate I ever met".