The Committees of Correspondence were the first governmental structure independent of the British Crown to be created in the 13 American Colonies. They were the precursor to the Continental Congress.
The first example appeared in Boston in 1764 in response to the imposition of the Currency Act upon the Colonies by Parliament. The next year, similar committees were formed in New York and Boston in response to the Stamp Act. All of these committees were temporary, and convened in response to what the Colonists viewed as oppressive actions on the part of the Crown.
The first permanent Committee of Correspondence was established in Boston by Samuel Adams and Dr. Joseph Warren, in November of 1772. Within six months, more than a hundred more Committees of Correspondence were set up throughout Massachusetts. Colonists established "committees of correspondence" in many of the larger settlements to act as a shadow government, to share information and coordinate actions between themselves, and to encourage patriotism (the loyalty to of the land of one's birth). They also created an extensive intelligence network that proved very effective during the Revolutionary War.
By March of 1773, Committees of Correspondence had been set up in Virginia, who appointed an 11 member committee, which were soon followed by Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. By February 1774, 11 colonies had set up their own committees; of the 13 colonies that eventually rebelled, only North Carolina and Pennsylvania had not.
A total of 7-8,000 Patriots served on the various Committees. This Project seeks to record their names and to add historical depth to Geni and to HistoryLink.
In September of 1774, the first Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia, with Charles Thomson, the leader of Philadelphia's Committee of Correspondence selected as the Secretary of the Continental Congress and Peyton Randolph, who had been the leader of the Virginia Committee, as President.