Committee of Secrecy

Insurgents, secret subpoenas and hearings? When you hear these topics, you probably think of current events, right? Well, that may be the case, but North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress, called and led by patriot leaders from April to May 1776, dealt with these issues as well. The congress created a “Committee of Secrecy, Intelligence, and Observation” and gave it the power to compel the attendance of suspected loyalist insurgents and witnesses at hearings. In an effort to quell dissent, the committee could also remove insurgents from their homes and force them to reside in remote locations where they could not “influence” their friends and neighbors. The Committee of Secrecy could even withhold information from the Provincial Congress if they felt it would “tend to defeat the purpose of [the committee’s] appointment.”

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