On August 26–27, the Committees of Correspondence from Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, and Worcester counties met at Faneuil Hall in Boston to oppose the recent Massachusetts Government Act, which had disenfranchised citizens of Massachusetts by revoking key provisions of the provincial Charter of 1691. This convention urged all Massachusetts counties to close their courts rather than submit to the oppressive measure. Berkshire had already done so, and by the first week of October, seven of the nine contiguous mainland counties in Massachusetts had followed suit.
As each county, in turn, closed its court, it issued a set of resolves to explain its actions. Although these resolves were all similar in tone and scope, the one written by patriots in Suffolk has received more attention for two reasons: it was better crafted, and it was formally endorsed by the Continental Congress. Ironically, Suffolk, which contained Boston, was the only county in which courts remained nominally open, under the protection of British troops.
At the Suffolk County Convention of the Committees of Correspondence on September 6, 1774, Joseph Warren introduced the first draft of the Suffolk Resolves, which were edited and approved three days later in Stoughton, Massachusetts, in a location which is now Milton, Massachusetts in current Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The convention that adopted them first met at the Woodward Tavern in Dedham, which is today the site of the Norfolk County Courthouse. As with the other county resolves, the Suffolk document denounced the Intolerable Acts, or Coercive Acts, that had recently been passed by the British Parliament, and specifically resolved to:boycott British imports, curtail exports, and refuse to use British products; pay "no obedience" to the Massachusetts Government Act or the Boston Port Bill; demand resignations from those appointed to positions under the Massachusetts Government Act; refuse payment of taxes until the Massachusetts Government Act was repealed; support a colonial government in Massachusetts free of royal authority until the Intolerable Acts were repealed; urge the colonies to raise militia of their own people.
In one of his less famous rides, Paul Revere delivered a copy of the Resolves to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it was endorsed on September 17 as a show of colonial solidarity. In response, John Adams commented in his diary: "This was one of the happiest days of my life. In Congress we had generous, noble sentiments, and manly eloquence. This day convinced me that America will support the Massachusetts or perish with her." Endorsement of the Suffolk Resolves, and with it the rebellion that had enveloped Massachusetts, altered the political balance in Congress and paved the way for radical measures, such as the Continental Association, a general nonimportation agreement. Previously, nonimportation agreements had been limited to specific localities, but this one applied throughout the rebellious colonies. The Committees of inspection and Committees of Safety that formed to enforce the Continental Association established a revolutionary infrastructure, similar to the Sons of Liberty in the early days of resistance.