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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Committees of Observation

Committees of Observation existed as a part of the preliminary political and military activity at the beginning of the American Revolution. Citizens who were reluctant to support the movement for independence were often watched closely by those who favored it. As chairman of the Committee of Observation of Halifax County in June 1775, Willie Jones noted that Andrew Miller, a local merchant, had refused to sign an agreement not to engage in trade with British subjects. Committee members Egbert Haywood and Thomas Haynes were directed to call on Miller and inquire why he refused to sign "the Association," as the document was called. Miller explained that he was holding property that belonged to someone in England and could not refuse to return it. Therefore the committee declared that it would not purchase "any goods, wares, or merchandise, of any kind whatever, from the said Miller."


Wellenreuther, Hermann. "Associations, The People, Committees of Observation and Inspection 1774-1776." The Revolution of the People: Thoughts and Documents on the Revolutionary Process in North America 1774-1776. Göttingen, Germany: Universitätsverlag Göttingen. 2006.  (accessed October 17, 2012).