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Virginia Gazette, 5 July 1776. Williamsburg: John Dixon and William Hunter, Jr.
The 5 July 1776 edition of the Virginia Gazette reported the conclusion reached by the delegates to the last of Virginia's revolutionary conventions: that it was "indispensably necessary to establish government in this colony, independent of the crown of Great Britain." After two days of sharp debate in Williamsburg, the members of the convention had unanimously adopted a resolution on 15 May instructing the colony's delegates in Congress to introduce a motion for independence, becoming the first American colony to do so. The fifth revolutionary convention subsequently adopted the Declaration of Rights on 12 June and a constitution for the new commonwealth on 29 June. The following day, Patrick Henry was sworn in as governor of the commonwealth of Virginia. Published the day the convention adjourned, this 5 July issue of the Gazette printed an ordinance passed two days earlier designed "to enable the present Magistrates to continue the Administration of Justice." Drafted by Edmund Pendleton and amended by Robert Carter Nicholas, the ordinance was the eighth enacted by the convention.
The masthead of the Virginia Gazette declared that it was published "Always for LIBERTY and the PUBLICK Good." The paper was the second-oldest in the southern colonies.