During the summer of 1775, American colonies held provincial conventions that pledged to support the resolutions adopted at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. North Carolina’s royal governor, Josiah Martin, called the convention illegal, yet colonists ignored his claim and assembled in New Bern. Of the colony’s thirty eight counties, thirty-two were represented, and of the six towns, two were represented.
As in many cases, the North Carolina convention followed Virginia’s lead. Approximately a month earlier, the Virginia Convention had resolved to immediately stop importing and using British tea; to stop importing all goods from England (except medicine) beginning on November 1; and to cease exporting all goods to Great Britain after August 10. The boycott included the importation of slaves, and delegates pledged to keep observing the boycott until Great Britain addressed the grievances expressed by the First Continental Congress. A committee was established in each county to start boycotts against non-compliers in the colony.
The North Carolina Provincial Convention adopted similar resolutions. At times, North Carolina seemed more lenient than Virginia. For one, North Carolina traded with Great Britain until January 1, 1776, and the convention promised to boycott all British goods (except medicine). After October 1, 1775, the convention pledged to cease exporting goods to Britain. These deadlines were longer than those enforced by the colony’s northern neighbor. Starting on September 10, 1775, North Carolina also prohibited East India tea from being used in the colony. At other times, North Carolina passed harsher resolutions: the convention promised to boycott any individual, town, or province that ignored the First Continental Congress’s plan.