Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Resolution by the Continental Congress concerning state laws violating the peace treaty with Great Britain
United States. Continental Congress
March 21, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 649-650

-------------------- page 649 --------------------
(From Executive Letter Book.)

By the United States in Congress, Assembled,
March 21st, 1787.

On the report of the Secretary of the United States for the department for foreign Affairs to whom was Referred a letter of the 4th of March, 1876, from Mr. J. Adams Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at the Court of London, together with the Memorial of the said Minister, dated the 30th of November, 1785, & presented by him on the 8th December following to his Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State and the Answer Received by Mr. Adams to the said Memorial and Contained in a Letter from the said Secretary of State dated at St. James, Feb’y 28th, 1786, and other Papers acompanying the same, Congress unanimously agreed to the following Resolutions:

Resolved, That the Legislature of the Several States cannot of right pass any act or acts for interpreting, explaining or Construing a National Treaty or any Part or Clause of it; nor for restraining, limiting or in any manner impeding, retarding or Counteracting the operations & execution of the same; for that on being Constitutionally made, Ratified & Published, they became in virtue of Confederation part of the Law of the Land, and are not only independent of the Will and Power of such Legislature but also binding and obligatory on them.

Resolved, That all Such Acts or parts of Acts as may be now existing in any of the States repugnant to the Treaty of Peace ought to be forthwith repealed, as well to prevent their Continuing to be regarded as Violators of that Treaty as to avoid the disagreeable Necessity there might otherwise be of raising & discussing Questions touching their Validity and obligation.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several States to make such repeal rather by describing than reciting the said Acts and for that purpose to pass an Act declaring in General terms that all such Acts & part of Acts repugnant to the Treaty of Peace between the United States & his Britannic Majesty, or any Article thereof, shall be and is thereby repealed, and that the Courts of Law & Equity in

-------------------- page 650 --------------------
all Causes and Questions cognizable by them Respectively and arising from or touching the same treaty shall decide & adjudge according to the true intent & meaning of the same; any thing in the said Acts or parts of Acts to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.