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General Congress held at Philadelphia. Previous instructions to some of the
deputies. Ads of the Congress. Approbation of the conduct of the pro-
. Petition to the king.
for benefits already received in that
Several of the colonies had given the power lately afiumed by parinstructions to their deputies pre. liament is unjust, and the only vious to their meeting in congress. caule of all the present uneasiness; In general, they contained the and that the late acts respecting (trongest professions of loyalty and the capital and province of Maffaallegiance; of affection for the mo- chusett’s-Bay, are unconstitutional, ther country ; of constitutional de- oppressive, and dangerous,
The instructions, however, of the pathetic terms, how deeply they several colonies that pursued that felt the sufferings of their countrymode, differed considerably from men in that province, under the each other. In some great violence operation, as they faid, of the late appeared. Oihers were more rea- unjust, cruel, and oppreffive acts of fonable, In some nothing was the British parliament; they thofpoken of but their grievances. roughly approved of the wisdom Others proposed likewise terms on and fortitude with which their optheir part to be offered to Great- pofition to these ministerial meaBritain-Such as an obedience to fures had hitherto been conducted, all the trade laws paísed, or to be as well as of the resolutions pailed, palied, except such as were speci- and measures proposed, by the detied ; and the settling an annual legates of the county of Suffolk ; revenue on the crown for public and earneitly recommended a perpurposes, and disposable by parlia- severance in the fame firm and iemment. The deputies however were perate conduct, according to the instructed, that in thele and all deter.ninations of that allembly. other points, they were to coincide This was immediately published, with the majority of the congress. and tranímitted to that province, This majority was to be determined accompanied with an unanimous by reckoning the colonies, as havt resolution, That contributions from ing each a voie, without regard to all the colonies for supplying the the number of deputies which it neceilities, and alleviating the difshould fend.
tresses of their brethren at Boston, The debates and proceedings of ought to be continued in such manthe congress were conducted with ner, and to long, as their occations the greatest secrecy, ner h ve any may require. parts of them yet tranfpired, but By the subsequent resolutions of those which they thought proper to the Congreis, they not only forlay before the public. The pum- maily approve of the opposition ber of delegates amounted to fifty, made by that province to the late one, who represented the several acis ; but further declare, that if it English colonies of New-Hamp- fhould be attempted to carry them Dhire, Massachusett's-Bay, Rhode into execution by force, all Ame. island, and Providence Plantations, rica fhould support it in that oppo. Connecticut, New-York, New. fition. --That if it be found absoJerley, Pensylvania, the lower coun- lutely necessary to remove the peoties on Delaware, Maryland, Vir- ple of Boston into the country, all ginia, North Carolina, and South America should contribute towards Carolina.
recompening them for the injury Sept. 17th of the Congress was The first public act they might thereby fustain.-- hey
recommend to the inhabitants of a declaratory relolution expressive Maffachusett's-Bay, to submit to a of their disposition with respect to fufpendion of the adminiftration of the colony of Massachusett’s-Bay, jattice, as it cannot be procured in and immediately intended to con- a legal manner under the rules of firm and encourage that people. the charter, until the effects of the In this they expresied, in the most application of the Congress for a
repeal of those acts, by which their in opposition to the late acts of charter rights are infringed, is parliament, under the execution of known. And that every person which the unhappy people of that who shall accept, or act under, any province are opprefied; that, in commission or authority, derived consequence of their sentiments from the late act of parliament, upon that subject, the colonies had changing the form of government, appointed them the guardians of and violating the charter of that their rights and liberties, and that province, ought to be held in de- they felt the deepest concern, that, tetation, and considered as the whilst they were pursuing every duwicked tool of that despotism, tiful and peaceable measure to prowhich is preparing to destroy thote cure a cordial and effectual reconrights, wbich God, nature, and ciliation between Great-Britain and compact, hath given to America. the colonies, his excellency fhould They besides recommended to the proceed in a manner that bore so people of Boston and Mafsachusett's- hottile an appearance, and which Bay, ftill to conduct themselves even those oppressive acts did not peaceably towards the general, and
They represented the the troops ftationed at Boston, so tendercy this conduct must have to far as it could pollibly consist with irritate and force a people, however their immediate safety ; but that well disposed to peaceable measures, they should firmly persevere in the into hostilities, which might predetensive line of conduct which vent the endeavours of the Congress they are now parsuing. The latter to restore a good underftanding part of this instruction evidently with the parent state, and involve alluded to and implied an appro- them in the horrors of a civil war. bation of the late resolutions of the In order to prevent these evils, and county of Suffolk, relative to the the people from being driven to a militia, and to the arming of the fate of desperation, being fully people in general. The Congress perfuaded of their pacific disponconclude by a resolution, that the tion towards the king's troops, if transporting, or attempting to trans- they could be affured of their own port any perfon beyond the fea, safety, they intreated, that the gefor the trial of offences committed neral would discontinue the fortifiin America, being against law, will cations in Boston, prevent any furjustify, and ought to meet with re- ther invasions of private property, liftance and reprisal,
reftrain the irregularities of the folThese resolutions being passed, diers, and give orders that the comthe Congress wrote a letter to Ge-'munications between the town and neral Gage, in which, after repeat- country should be open, unmolested, ing the complaints which had been and free. before repeatedly made by the The Congress also published a town of Boston, and by the dele- declaration of rights, to which, gates of different counties in the they say, the English colonies of province of Massachusett's-Bay, they North-America are entitled, by the declare the determined resolution of immutable laws of nature, the printhe colonies, to unite for the pre- ciples of the English conftitution, fervation of their common rights, and their several charters or com
pacts. In the first of these are life, every idea of taxation, internal or liberty, and property, a right to external, for raising a revenue on the disposal of any of which, with the subjects in America, without out their consent, they had never their consent. ceded to any sovereign power They also resolved, that the cowhatever. That their ancestors, at lonies are entitled to the common the time of their migration, were law of England, and, more efpeentitled to all the rights, liberties, cially, to the great and inestimable and immunities, of free and natu- privilege of being tried by their ral born subjects ; and that by such peers of the vicinage. That they emigration, they neither forfeited, are entitled to the benefit of such surrendered, nor loft, any of those of the English statutes as existed at rights. They then ftate, that the the time of their colonization, and foundation of English liberty, and which they have by experience of all free government, is a right found to be applicable to iheir sein the people to participate in their veral local and other circumstances. legislative council ; and proceed to That they are likewise entitled to few, that as the colonists are not, all the immunities and privileges, and, from various causes, cannot granted and confirmed to them by be represented in the British parlia- royal charters, or secured by their ment, they are entitled to a free several codes of provincial laws, and exclusive power of legislation That they have a right to assemble in their several provincial legifla- peaceably, consider of their grievtures, where their right of repre- ances, and petition the king for sentation can alone be preferved, redress; and that all prosecutions, in all cases of taxation and internal and prohibitory proclamations for policy, subject only to the negative so doing, are illegal. That the of their sovereign, in such manner keeping of a standing army, in as had been heretofore used and times of peace, in any colony, accustomed.
without the consent of its legislaIn order to qualify the extent of ture, is contrary to law. That it this demand of legislative power in is essential to the English conftitutheir assemblies, which might seem tion, that the conftituent branches to leave no means of parliamentary of the legislature should be inde. interference for holding the colonies pendent of each other; that, thereto the mother country, they declarefore, the exercise of legislative that from the neceility of the case, power, by a council appointed durand a regard to the mutual interesting pleasure by the crown, is unof both countries, they chearfully constitutional, and destructive to the consent to the operation of such freedom of American legislation. acts of the British parliament, as They declared in behalf of themare, bona fide, restrained to the re- selves and their constituents, that gulation of their external com- they claimed, and insisted on the merce, for the purpose of securing foregoing articles, as their indubit. the commercial advantages of the able rights and liberties, which whole empire to the mother coun. could not be legally taken from try, and the commercial benefits of them, altered, or abridged, by any its respective members, excluding power whatever, without their own
consent, confent, by their representatives in the products of the British Wefttheir several provincial legislatures. India illand; nor wines from Ma. They then enumerated the parts, or deira, or the Weitern islands ; nor the whole, of eleven acts of par- foreign indigo. – 2. That, after liament, which had been passed in that day, they would wholly disthe present reign, and which they continue the slave-trade, and neideclared to be infringements and ther hire vessels, nor sell commodi. violations of the rights of the co- ties or manufactures to any conlonitts; and that the repeal of them cerned in that trade. - 3. That was essentially necessary, in order from the present date, they will to restore harmony between Great- use no tea on which a duty had Britain and them. Among the been or shall be paid ; nor after acts of parliament thus reprobated, the ist of March entuing, any Eastwas the Quebec bill, which had India tea whatever, nor any British already been the cause of so much goods, imported after the ift of difcuffion at home, and which they December, except such as come termed, “ An act for establishing under the rules and directions which the Roman Catholic religion in the we shall see in the joth article.province of Quebec, abolishing the 4: By this article, the non-exportequitable fyftem of English laws, ation agreement is suspended to the and erecting a tyranny there ;'' to oth of September 1775; after the great danger, (as they asserted) which day, if the acts of parliament from so total a diffimilarity of re- which they had before recited are ligion, law, and government, of not repealed, all exportation is to the neighbouring British colonies, cease, except that of rice to Europe. by the affiftance of whole blood - 5. The British merchants are and treasure that country was con- exhorted not to ship any goods in quered from France.
violation of this association, under After specifying their rights, and penalty of their never holding any enumerating their grievances, they commercial intercourse with those declared, that, to obtain redress of that act otherwise.-6. Owners of the latter, which threatened deftruc- ships are warned to give such orders tion to the lives, liberty, and proper- to their captains, as will effectually ty of the people of North America, prevent their receiving any of those a non-importation, non-consump: goods that are prohibited.-7. They tion, and non-exportation, agree. agree to improve the breed of theep, teent, would prove the most speedy, and to increase their number, to effe&ual, and peaceable measure; the greatest possible extent.-8. This they accordingly entered into an article tends to encourage frugality, association, by which they bound economy, and industry; to prothemselves, and of course their mote agriculture, arts, and manu. conftituents, to the strict observance factures ; to discountenance all exof the following articles.- I ft. That penfive shows, games, and enterafter the firft day of the following tainments; to lessen the expences December, they would import no of funerals ; to discontinue the British goods or merchandize what- giving of gloves and scarfs, and foever, nor any Eaft-India tea, from the wearing of any other mourning ady part of the world; nor any of than a piece of crape or ribbon.