Peyton Randolph and Revolutionary Virginia

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About the Book

In 1763, King George III’s government adopted a secret policy to reduce the American colonies to “due subordinance” and exploit them. This brought on the American Revolution.
In Virginia, there was virtually unanimous agreement that Britain’s actions violated Virginia’s constitutional rights. Yet Virginians were deeply divided as to a remedy. Peyton Randolph, Speaker of the House of Burgesses 1766–1775 (and chairman of the First and Second Continental Congresses), worked to unify the colony, keeping the conservatives from moving too slowly and the radicals from moving too swiftly.
Virginia was thus the only major colony to enter the Revolution united. Randolph was a masterful politician who produced majorities for critical votes leading to revolution.

About the Author(s)

Robert M. Randolph served in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps during the Berlin Wall and Cuban Missile crises. He practiced law at a Fort Worth, Texas, law firm where he served as chief of its trial section for twenty plus years. He lives in Weatherford, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Robert M. Randolph
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7955-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3862-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x
Acknowledgments xii
Preface 1
1. Painting with a Broad Brush 5
2. Peyton Randolph’s Family and Early Career 11
3. Speculation in Western Lands 14
4. The ­Attorney-General Chooses Between Loyalties 19
The First Committee of Correspondence  23
The Leading Lawyers of Virginia  26
5. Britain’s ­Post-War Policy Toward the Colonies 27
The Proclamation of 1763  28
Britain’s Secret Policy  30
The Hovering Act of 1763  31
The Currency Act of 1764  31
The Sugar Act of 1764  32
The American Act of 1764  32
6. The Stamp Act 35
July 1764: Protest by Committee of Correspondence  36
October 30, 1764: Petitions by General Assembly  38
Terms and Passage of the Stamp Act  40
May 1765 Session: Patrick Henry’s Resolutions  42
Resistance and Repeal  45
The Declaratory Act: 1766  51
Richard Bland’s Pamphlet  52
7. The Death of Speaker Robinson and Randolph’s Election as Speaker: 1766 57
8. The Speaker Changes Course 60
Governor Botetourt Opens the General Assembly: May 8, 1769  60
The Townshend Acts: 1767  61
John Dickinson’s Letters from “A Farmer”  64
General Assembly, March 31, 1768: Protest and Petitions  65
Transportation and ­Extra-Constitutional Convention in Massachusetts  66
Arrival of Governor Botetourt  67
The King’s Speech from the Throne: November 8, 1768  68
The British Context—John Wilkes  69
General Assembly, May 8, 1769: Defiance and Dissolution  70
Formation of the Association: May 17, 1769  71
A Change in Virginia’s Political Climate  74
Randolph’s First Trip North  78
The ­Non-Importation Association and Partial Repeal of the Townshend Act  78
Second ­Non-Importation Agreement: June 22, 1770  80
9. From the Townshend Acts to the Gaspee Incident, 1768–1772 82
The End of the Golden Age  82
Attempted Revival of Western Land Speculation  85
Actions by the Crown in America and Britain: 1769–1772  89
10. The Gaspee Incident and Virginia’s New Committee
of Correspondence: March 12, 1773 91
11. The Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773 97
12. The Intolerable Acts 99
13. The May 5, 1774, General Assembly: A Day of Fasting
and Prayer, Dissolution and Response 102
Dissolution and the Call for Convention  104
14. The August 1, 1774, Convention 111
Lord Dunmore’s War  116
15. The First Continental Congress, September 5, 1774 120
Peyton Randolph’s Role  128
16. The Organization of Resistance and Coercion, September 1774—March 1775 136
17. The Second Convention, March 20, 1775: Virginia Is Placed in a “Posture of Defense” by Three Votes 140
18. Dunmore’s Response: Land Titles and Gunpowder 147
19. The Second Continental Congress, May 10, 1775 154
20. The Last General Assembly, June 1, 1775 157
21. The Third Convention, Richmond, July 17, 1775 161
Randolph’s Policy Triumphs and Pendleton Leads Virginia into Revolution  163
22. The Second Continental Congress, September 6, 1775, and the Death of Peyton Randolph 165
23. Summary 170
Appendix: Early Randolph Family History 181
Chapter Notes 189
Bibliography 199
Index 201