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General Remarks on the foregoing Facts. From the history of the colonies, it appears that the principles of their opposition to the parent state, were mostly planted in the minds of the first settlers, or in their primitive constitutions of government. In New-England, an enmity to the ecclesiastical power of the English church naturally fostered an enmity to monarchy; and this enmity was increased by repeated attempts of the crown to establish its power and prerogatives in the colonies. This enmity gradually matured into habitual and systemized opposition, which was greatly encouraged and confirmed by the speculations on government found in the writings of Locke, Sidney and others. The authority of these authors was reinforced by the parliamentary discussions on royal prerogative and popular liberty, at the revolution in England. In the proprietary and royal governments, the endless contentions between the governors and assemblies, encouraged a spirit of investigation into the extent of the power of the crown, and formed the principle of opposition into habit. The open rupture therefore between Great-Britain and the colonies, was not a sudden effect of a tumultuous opposition to a particular act of parliament, but the effect of hostile principles and habits which had grown out of a long series of events, and which a few measures of the British government ripened into action.
Of the immediate Causes of the Revolution. The proceedings of the British parliament, which manifested a settled determination to keep America subject to the crown, and subservient to the interests of GreatBritain, were the direct causes of an opposition to her claims, which ended in an appeal to arms. As early as 1750, an act was passed in parliament, to encourge the exportation of iron in pigs and bars, from America to London; and to prevent the ereeting of any mill in the colonies for slitting or rolling iron, or any plating forge, or furnace for making steel. The purpose of the British government was to check the growth of manufaetures in the colonies, and to compel them to export their iron, and import the manufactures of England. This arbitrary law was enforced, to the destruction of
some machines of the kinds mentioned, and the dissatisfaction of the colonies.
Of the Stamp Act. After the peace of 1763, the British parliament formed a plan of raising a revenue by taxing the colonies. The pretext for it, was to obtain indemnification for the great expenses of GreatBritain in defending the colonies, and to enable her to discharge the debt incurred in the preceding war. But a more influential motive, was to check the increasing spirit of opposition, which, it was apprehended, would, in time, mature into a revolt; the parliament, therefore, determined to assert its sovereignty and establish the immediate exercise of authority over the colonies. For this purpose, an act was passed for laying a duty on all paper, vellum or parchment, used in America, and declaring all writings on unstamped materials to be null and void. This act received the royal assent on the 22d of March, 1765.
Of the Reception of the Stamp Act in America. When the news of the stamp act reached the colonies, the people every where manifested alarm, and a determination to oppose its execution The assembly of Virginia first declared its opposition to the act, by a number of spirited resolves; but Massachusetts took the lead in this important crisis, and maintained it in every stage of the subsequent revolution. In all the colonies however, the determined spirit of resistance prevented the execution of the act. The stamp-masters were burnt in effigy and popular tumults succeeded. In Boston, the friends of the British measures, and the crown officers were insulted; their houses demolished; and among other damages, the populace destroyed a valuable collection of original papers, concerning the history of the colonies, which governor Hutchinson had made, and intended to publish. This loss was irrepairable. To render the opposition complete, the merchants associated, and agreed to a resolution not to import any more goods from Great-Britain, until the stamp law should be repealed.
Of the Principles in which the Parliament and the Colonies acted. The British parliament, previous to the re
peal of the stamp law, passed an act declaring that they had, and of right ought to have, power to bind the colonies in all cases whateoever"-They alleged that the colonies were planted by their care, nourished by their indulgence, and protected by their arms, and their money--And therefore the colonies owed allegiance, subjection and gratitude to the parent state. The colonies denied very justly that they were planted by the British government. Not one of them was settled at the expense of the crown; but with a vast expense of individuals, and with hardships and sufferings beyond description or credibility. Nor did the government of England expend any money or furnish any force for protecting the colonies, for sixty years after the settlement of Plymouth. On the other hand, the government neglected the colonies, while feeble and poor; and did not extend a protecting arm, until the colonies had conquered and expelled several Indian tribes-had overcome the difficulties of settlement--had acquired a good degree of strength, and began to have a valuable commerce. Then the government of England lent assistance to defend the colonies, and secure to herself a-beneficial trade.
Of the Grounds on which the Colonies opposed the Stamp Act. The colonies always acknowledged themselves subjects of the crown of Great-Britain, until the declaration of independence; and were most loyal and affectionate subjects, until the parliament asserted the right of laying internal taxes on them, without admitting them to a share of representation. The great principle, asserted by the friends of liberty in parliament, that taxation and representation are inseparable," was universally embraced and maintained in America; and the colonies denied the right of the parliament to tax them without their consent. In vain did the ministry allege that a revenue raised in America would be expended in supporting government and defending the colonies. The assemblies wished not to have the taxes raised by Great-Britain, nor to be at her disposal.
Of the Congress at New-York. To give system and efficacy to the colonial opposition to the stamp act,
Massachusetts proposed a meeting of deputies from the several colonies, to be held at New-York in October 1765. Accordingly deputies from nine of the colonies assembled in congress at New-York, and after deliberation, agreed on a declaration of their rights and grievances asserted their exemption from taxes not imposed by their own representatives-and sent a petition to the king, with memorials to both houses of parliament. This spirited opposition, seconded by the energetic eloquence of Mr. Pitt and other friends of America, produced a repeal of the stamp law, on the 18th of March 1766 The news of this event was received in America, with bonfires, ringing of bells, and other unusual demonstrations of joy.
Of the duties on Glass, Paper, Paints, and Tea. Not discouraged by the fate of the stamp act, the British ministry persisted in their design of raising a revenue in America; and in 1767, an act was passed, for laying duties on glass, painters colors, paper, and tea imported into the colonies To render the act effectual, a custom-house was directed to be established in Ameriica, with a board of commissioners to superintend the revenues, and to reside at Boston. These duties were small, but the colonies objected to the principle, rather than to the amount, of the tax; and remonstrated against the act. A second association was formed for suspending the importation and consumption of the goods on which the duties were charged, and other British manufactures. These measures of Massachusetts were adopted by the other colonies, and a circular letter from Boston had its influence in giving concert and consistency to the opinions and proceedings of the colonial assemblies This opposition, supported by petitions and remonstrances in January 1770, pro-、 cured an abolition of all the duties, except that of three pence on every pound of tea
Of the Causes of Smuggling. The enterprizing commercial spirit of the people in America, bore, with extreme impatience, the severe regulations imposed on their trade, which prevented their seeking the best markets, and poured all the profits of a thriving
commerce into the bosom of the parent state. So unjust and tyrannical were these restrictions considered, that smuggling goods to evade the duties, was deemed honourable and greatly encouraged-In 1768, the revenue officers seized a sloop, in Boston harbour, for attempts to smuggle wine. The populace assembled with a view to rescue the sloop, but she was moored under the protection of a British ship of war. The populace then attacked the houses of the commissioners, who saved themselves by flight to the castle.
Of the first Armed Force sent to support the Acts of Parliament. The ministry, finding all mild efforts to establish their authority, in regard to a revenue, unavailing, sent four regiments of troops to be stationed at Boston to overawe the inhabitants, and assist the crown officers to enforce the obnoxious acts of parliament. The arrival of these in 1768 gave no small uneasiness to the colonies, but no opposition was then made The ministry also gave orders to station armed ships in the principal ports to prevent smuggling. An armed schooner, called the Gaspee, was stationed in Providence river, where she was burnt in 1772 by an exasperated populace. A large reward was offered for the discovery of the offenders, but no discovery was made.
Of further Measures to enforce Obedience. In 1769, the parliament passed an act to revive the provisions of a statute enacted in the arbitrary reign of Henry 8th; by which persons charged with treason in any of the colonies, might be arrested and sent to England for trial. The gross injustice of this act, augmented the clamor against the ministry in Great Britain, and served only to exasperate still more, the minds of the Americans. This impolitic act alone would have raised a rebellion in the colonies. Indeed the spirit of opposition increased, in proportion to the determination of the British ministry to compel submission, and the differences became irreconcileable.
Of the Massacre in 1770. To a free and high spirited people, the presence of an insolent military, could not but be extremely irksome and provoking: and it