Committees of correspondence were groups created by American colonial legislatures and local governments to communicate with their agents in Britain, or to facilitate communication between other towns and colonies.
Early committees of correspondence tended to be informal, temporary organizations that were dissolved shortly after serving their immediate purpose. The first formal committee of correspondence was established in Boston in 1764, to rally opposition to the Currency Act and unpopular reforms imposed on the customs service.
On November 2, 1772, Boston established a standing committee of correspondence to communicate on a routine basis with other colonies and Massachusetts towns. Within a year, more than 100 Massachusetts towns and villages created their own committees of correspondence.
By 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses urged the other colonies to establish standing committees of correspondence to improve inter-colonial communication.
The establishment of these standing committees of correspondence was an important development in American history because they enabled the colonies to frame a more unified response to grievances regarding British colonial policies. Their formation played a key role in the eventual convening of the First Continental Congress in 1774.
- The first formal committee was established in Boston in 1764 to oppose the Currency Act.
- On November 2, 1772, Boston established a standing committee to communicate with other colonies and Massachusetts towns.
- In 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses committee of correspondence urged other colonies to establish committees of correspondence to improve inter-colonial communication.