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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Test Oath

by William S. Powell, 2006

A test oath was an attempt by colonial leaders to ensure the loyalty of those holding public office in prerevolutionary North Carolina. The First Provincial Congress, initially called simply a convention, met on 25 Aug. 1774 and drew up a "test" or oath to be taken by its delegates. Members of the Provincial Council, the Committees of Safety, and other agencies also were required to subscribe to the oath, which read in part: "We, the subscribers, professing our allegiance to the King . . . do solemnly profess, testify and declare, that we do absolutely believe that neither the Parliament of Great Britain, nor any constituent member thereof, have a right to impose taxes on these Colonies to regulate the internal policy thereof; and that all attempts, by fraud or force, to establish and exercise such claims and powers, are violations of the peace and security of the people, and ought to be resisted to the utmost." The oath concluded with a pledge to uphold all of the "acts, resolutions, and regulations" established by the Provincial Congress.


William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 10 (1890).

Additional Resources:

"Extract of a Letter received at Hull, in England, from a gentleman in North Carolina, Dated December 29, 1775." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina 10. Raleigh, N.C.: Josephus Daniels. 1890. p. 370-371.