After the French and Indian War came to an end, the colonists expected some changes in their relationship with the British, especially since they\’d supported them in battling the French and the Native Americans. However, the colonists were disappointed when the British were less than respectful towards them and began to see British acts and taxes as tyrannical and unfair. These included the
Sugar Act and the Currency Act, which were meant to offset the cost of the war at the expense of the colonists. In response, Samuel Adams, one of our Founding Fathers, created the first Committee of Correspondence in Boston in 1764. Samuel Adams felt that the Currency Act in particular, which the British used to regulate colonial currency, was unacceptable. In establishing the Boston Committee of Correspondence, his immediate goal was to generate popular support for colonial resistance and weaken the authority of the British at the town level. The establishment of Adams\’ committee led to the organization of a large network of other committees, not only in towns in Massachusetts, but throughout the original 13 colonies.
As more acts were passed, such as the Stamp Act in March of 1765, committees were freely sharing information with one another, and a sense of solidarity began to emerge. The Committees of Correspondence consisted of groups of colonists that were committed to informing people about the need to oppose and declare independence from Great Britain. They were established by colonial legislatures or underground groups of colonists, such as the Sons of Liberty. The Committees of Correspondence also served as emergency provisional governments prior to the start of the American Revolution. Some of the more powerful committees could be found in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. In an era before modern communications, news was generally disseminated in hand-written letters that were carried aboard ships or by couriers on horseback. Those means were employed by the critics of British imperial policy in America to spread their interpretations of current events.
Special committees of correspondence were formed by the colonial assemblies and various lesser arms of local government. The committees were responsible for taking the sense of their parent body on a particular issue, committing it to a written form and then dispatching that view to other similar groups. Many correspondents were members of the colonial assemblies and also were active in the secret organizations. In the early years, committees were formed to address a specific problem, then disbanded when resolution was achieved. The first formal committee of correspondence was established in Boston in 1764 and was charged with rallying opposition to the recently enacted and the unpopular reforms imposed on the customs service. The following year, New York took the initiative during the by summoning its neighbors to join in common resistance to the new taxes. correspondents responded by urging other colonies to send delegates to the that fall.
In 1772, at the urging of chief propagandist, a committee was formed to protest the recent decision to have the Crown, not the colonial assembly, pay the salaries of the royal governor and judges. Adams and his fellow correspondents rallied their neighbors to oppose this measure that had cost the colony its means of controlling public officials. In the following months, more than 100 other committees were formed in the towns and villages of Massachusetts. In 1773, a correspondence committee of the in wrote to the other assemblies to suggest that permanent committees be formed, a clear reflection that the crisis between mother country and colonies was deepening. Perhaps the most important contribution provided by the committees of correspondence was the planning done for the, which convened in the fall of 1774. The seized upon this successful idea and created its own correspondence committee to convey the American interpretation of events to foreign powers. See timeline of the.