Resolutions, 17 August 1793

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These are the resolutions passed at a public meeting in Richmond Virginia, on August 17, 1793. The meeting was a result of interference by the French minister to the United States, Edmond-Charles Genêt, who was attempting to gain public and financial support in America for France's wars with Spain and Britain.

The meeting was organized by John Marshall on behalf of Federalist-minded citizens, and was presided over by Marshall's old law teacher, George Wythe. The resolutions were printed the following week in the Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, on August 21.[1]

Article text, 21 August 1793

Page 3


Richmond, August 17, 1793

At a numerous meeting of the Citizens of Richmond, and its vicinity, held at the capitol on Saturday the 17th of August, 1793, agreeable to notification; and in order to take under consideration the late Proclamation of the President of the United States.

The Proclamation of the President being read, the following resolutions were offered, discussed, and unanimously agreed to:

1st. That it is the interest and duty of these United states to conform to their several subsisting treaties, and to maintain a strict neutrality towards the belligerent powers of Europe, on the due and faithful observance of which the happiness and prosperity of our common country very greatly depend.

2dly. That our illustrious fellow citizen, GEORGE WASHINGTON, to whose eminent services, great talents, and exalted virtues, all America pays so just a tribute, has given an additional proof of his watchful attention to his own duty, and the welfare of his country, by his Proclamation notifying to all that these United States are in perfect neutrality with respect to the belligerent powers of Europe, and enjoining our citizens to an observance thereof.

3dly. That it is our duty as well as our interest to conduct ourselves conformably to the principles expressed in the said Proclamation, and to use our best endeavours to prevent any infringement of them by others; and we hereby declare that it is our firm intention to do so.

And a committee was appointed to draw up an address conformable to said resolutions, consisting of the following gentlemen: J. Marshall, C: Braxton, A. Ronald, J. M'Clurg, A. Campbell, and J. Steele.[2] The Committee returned, and Mr. Marshall reported an address, which being read, was unanimously agreed to.

The meeting continuing to sit, the following Resolutions were offered, discussed, and unanimously agreed to:

1st. That the constitution of our country has provided a proper and adequate mode of communication between these United States and foreign nations, or their ministers, whereby the sense of these United States or of foreign nations on any subject concerning either may be conveyed or received.

2dly. That if at any time this constitutional authority should be abused, & the Supreme Executive of the United States should misconstrue treaties, violate the laws, or oppose the sense of the union, there exists among the people of America, without the intervention of foreign ministers, discernment to detect the abuse, and ability to correct the mischief.

3dly. That any communication of foreign ministers on national subjects, with the citizens of these United States, or any of them, otherwise than through the constituted authority; any interference of a foreign minister with our internal government or administration; any intriguing of a foreign minister with the political parties of this country; would violate the laws and usages of nations, would be a high indignity to the government and people of America, and would be great and just cause of alarm, as it would be at once a dangerous introduction of foreign influence, and might, too probably lead to the introduction of foreign gold and foreign armies, with their fatal consequences, dismemberment and partition.

GEORGE WYTHE, President.
A. DUNSCOMB, Secretary.

See also


  1. "Resolutions," Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser (Richmond, VA), August 21, 1793, 3. Reprinted in The Papers of John Marshall, vol. 2, July 1788-December 1795, eds. Charles T. Cullen and Herbert A. Johnson (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), 196-197.
  2. Members of the committee were: John Marshall, Carter Braxton, Andrew Ronald, Dr. James McClurg, Archibald Campbell, and John Steele.