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The act called the Military Bills. In a word, these bills, (as had which accompanied these laws, and been too truly foretold by their opwhich was formed to support and posers at home) instead of answering encourage the soldiery in beating the purposes for which they were down all possible resistance to the intended, spread a general alarm other acts, it was imagined, would from one end to the other of the compleat the design, and bring the continent, and became the cement colonies to a perfect submission. In of a strict and closeunion between all confidence of the perfection of this the old colonies. They said it was plan of terrors, punishments, and now visible, that charters, grants, regulations, and of the large force and established usages, were by sea and land (as it was then longer a protection or defence; that thought) which was sent to strength- all rights, immunities, and civil en the hands of government, admi- securities, must vanish at the breath niftration reposed in the most per- of an act of parliament. They were fect security, and ended the fellion all sensible, that they had been in the most triumphant manner, guilty, in a greater or lesser degree, and with the mutual congratula- of those unpardonable fins which tions of all concerned in those acts, had drawn down fire upon Boston
; which may be well remembered, they believed, that vengeance, tho and which we have described in our delayed, was not remitted ; and last volume.
that all the mercy, the most faThe event, in all these cases, voured or the least culpable could was however very different. The expect, was to be the last that neighbouring towns disdained every would be devoured. idea of profiting in any degree by It may be remembered in the the misfortunes of their friends in last session, that the minister had anBoston. The people of the pro- nounced in the House of Commons, vince, instead of being fhaken by the appointment of General Gage the coercive means which were used to the governinent of the province for their fubjugation, joined the of Maffachusett's Bay, and to the more firmly together to brave the command in chief of the army in storm ; and seeing that their an- North-America. As this gentlecient constitution was destroyed, man had borne several commands and that it was determined to de- with reputation in that part of the prive them of those rights, which world ; had lived many years there, they had ever been taught to revere and had sufficient opportunities of as facred, and to deem more valu- acquiring a thorough knowledge of able than life itfelf, they deter- the people, and was besides well mined at all events to preserve them, approved of by them, great hopes or to perish in the common ruin. were formed of the bappy effects In the same manner, the other co. which would have resalied from lonies, instead of abandoning, clung his adminiftration; and it is little the closer to their devoted fifter as to be doubted, if his appointment the danger increased ; and their af- had been at a happier time, and his fection and sympathy seemed to government free froin the necessity rise in proportion to her misfortunes of enforcing measures which were and fufferings.
generally odious to the people, but (A) 2
these expectations would have been other, and that every new attempt answered.
would only serve to involve things The jealousy and ill blood be- in ftill greater difficulty, or at least tween the governors and governed to increase the animolity, thought in the province of Massachusett's it necessary, at the conclusion of Bay, which we have formerly ta- the month of March, to dissolve ken notice of, had ever since con the Assembly, tinued. The House of Reprelen Such was the state of things in tatives had presented a petition and the province of Massachusett's Bay, remonftrance to the Governor, early when Gen. Gage ar. May 13th, in the spring, for the removal of rived in his governPeter Oliver, Esq; Chief Justice of ment.
The hopes that the Superior Court of Judicature, might have been formed upon a from his office; this requeit not change of administration, and the being complied with, they exhi- joy that generally attends the combited articles of impeachment a. ing of a new Governor, were, howgainst him, of high crimes and mis- ever, nipped in the bud, by the ardemeanors, in their own name and rival just before of a hip from that of the province, which they London, which brought a copy of carried up to the Council. board, the Boston Port Bill; and a Townand gave the governor notice to at. Meeting was fitting to consider of tend as judge upon the trial. The it, at the very time he arrived in charge against the Chief Justice was, the harbour. 'As this fatal news the betraying of his trust, and of was totally unexpected, the con. the chartered rights of the pro- fternation which it caused among vince, by accepting a falary from all orders of people was inexprelthe crown, in conlideration of his fible. The first measure was the official services, instead of the cuf- holding of the Town-meeting we tomary grant from the House of have mentioned, at which refolu. Representatives. The resolution tions were passed, and ordered to for carrying up this impeachment be immediately transmitted to the was carried by a majority of 92 to other colonies, inviting them to 8 ; from whence fome judgment enter into an agreement to hop all may be formed of the general tem- imports and exports to and from per of the province, and their una Great-Britain and Ireland, and nimity, even in this strong and every part of the Weft-Indies, until extraordinary measure.
the act was repealed, as the only The Governor refused to receive means (they said) that were left the articles, and totally disclaimed for the salvation of North America all authority in himself and the and her liberties. They besides Council to act as a judicatory, for expatiated on the impolicy, injusthe trial of any crimes or misde- tice, inhumanity, and cruelty of meanors whatever. The House of the act, and appealed from it to Representatives, far from giving up God and the world. the matter, only changed their In the mean time, copies of the mode of attack; and the Governor act were multiplied with incredible finding that they would perfift in a expedition, and dispatched to every prosecution under fome form or part of the continent with equal
celerity. These had the effect petition to the Governor, for apwhich the poets ascribe to the Fu- pointing a day of general prayer ry's torch ; they see the countries and fasting, which he did not think in a flame through which they pas- proper to comply with. sed. At Boston and New York, In the mean time, Provincial or the populace had copies of the bill Town meetings were held in 'every, printed upon mourning-paper with part of the continent ; in which, à black border, which they cried cho' some were much more temperate about the streets under the title of than others, they all concurred in, a barbarous, cruel, bloody, and expressing the greatest disapprobainhuman murder. In other places, tion of the measures which were great bodies of the people were cal- pursued against Boston, an abhorled together by public advertise- rence of the new act, and a conment, and the obnoxious law burn- demnation of the principles on ed with great folemnity.
which it was founded, with a resoThere was, however, a very fur- lution to oppose its effects in every prising mixture of sobriety with manner, and to support their dif. this fury; and a degree of modera- tressed brethren, who were to be tion was blended with the excess the immediate victims. into which the people were hur The House of Burgesses, of the ried.
province of Virginia, appointed the This extraordinary combustion in itt of June, the day on which the the minds of all ranks of the people Boston Port Bill took place, to be did not prevent the Governor's be- fec apart for fafting, prayer, and ing received with the usual honours humiliation, to implore the Divine at Bofton. The new Assembly of interposition to avert the heavy the province met of course a few calamity, which threatened destrucdays after, the Council, for the tion to their civil rights, with the last time, being chosen according evils of a civil war ; and to give to their charter. The Governor one heart and one mind to the at their meeting laid nothing more people, firmly to oppose every inbefore them than the common bu: jury to the American rights. This finess of the province ; but gave example was either followed, or a them notice of their removal to the similar resolution adopted, almost town of Salem, on the first of June, every where, and the ift of June in pursuance of the late act of par- became a general day of prayer and liament. The Assembly, to evade humiliation throughout the conti. this measure, were hurrying through nent. the necessary business of the supplies This measure, however, procured with the greatest expedition, that the immediate diffolation of the they might then adjourn themselves Allembly of Virginia ; but before to such time as they thought pro. their separation, an affociation was per ; buc the Governor having ob- entered into and signed by 39 of tained some intelligence of their the members, in which they de. intention, adjourned them unex. clared, that an attack made upon peatedly to the 7th of June, then to one colony, to compel submission to meet at Salem. Previous to this arbitrary taxes, was an attack on all adjournment, they had presented a British America, and threatened
ruin to the rights of all, unless the part they fould act; but it was united wisdom of the whole was not the value of the tea, it was the applied in prevention. They there- indefeasible right of giving and fore recommended to the committee granting their own money, a right of correspondence, to communicate from which they could never rewith the several committees of the cede, that was now the matter in other provinces, on the expediency consideration. of appointing deputies from the A Town-meeting was also held different colonies, to meet annually at New-York, and a committee of in General Congress, and to deli- correspondence appointed; but they berate on those general measures, were as yet, in general, very temwhich the united interests of Ame- perate in their conduct ; and Go. rica might, from time to time, ren vernment had a much ftronger inder necessary. They concluded terest in that colony than in any with a declaration, that a tender other. The case was far different regard for the interests of their at Annapolis in Maryland, where fellow-subjects the merchants and the people of that city, though unmanufacturerers of Great-Britain, der a proprietary governinent, ex. prevented them from going further ceeded the other colonies in the at that time.
violence of their resolutions ; one At Philadelphia, about 300 of of which was to prevent the carry, the inhabitants immediately met, ing on of any suits in the courts of and appointed a committee to write the province, for the debts which to the town of Boston. Their let
were owing from them in Great, ter was temperate, but firm. They Britain. This resolution, howa acknowledged the difficulty of of ever, was neither adopted nor confering advice upon that sad occa firmed by the Provincial meeting fion; wished first to have the sense which was held soon after ; nor was of the province in general; ob- it any where carried into practice. served, that all lenient applications In general, as might bave been for obtaining redress should be tried expected in such great commercial before recourse was had to extre- countries, the proposal for shutting mities ; that it might perhaps be up the ports (former resolutions of right to take the sense of a General this kind having been much abused Congress, before the desperate mea- for the private gain of individuals) fure of putting an entire ftop to was received with great seriousness, commerce was adopted; and that hesitation, and coldness; and conit might be right, at any rate, to fidered as the last desperate resort, reserve that measure as the last re. when all other means of redress source, when all other means had should fail. In other respects, upon failed. They observed, that if the the arrival of the news from Boston, making of reftitution to the Eaft- moderation was little thought of any India Company for their teas, would where, and the behaviour of the put an end to the unhappy contro- people was nearly similar in all versy, and leave the people of Bos. places. At the numberless public ton upon their ancient footing of meetings which were held upon constitutional liberty, it could not that occafion, throughout the conti. admit of a moment's doubt what nent, they pafied every resolution,
and adopted every measure they afflicted that province. They decould for the present think of, to clared, that the people claimed no thew their utmost detestation of the more than the rights of EnglishBoston Port Bill, and to express men, without diminution or abridge their determination of opposing its ment; and these, as it was the ineffects in every possible manner. dispensable duty of that board, so
In this state of general dissatis- it mould be their constant endeavour faction, complaint, and opposition, to maintain, to the utmost of their General Gage had the temporary power, in perfect consistence, howfatisfaction of receiving an address ever, with the truest loyalty to the of congratulation, figned by 127 crown, the just prerogatives of which gentlemen, merchants and inhabi- they would ever be zealous to supe tants of Boston, who were either port. the best addicted to government,
This address was rejected by the the most moderate, or to whom the Governor, who would not suffer the present measures seemed the least chairman of the committee to proobnoxious. Besides the compli- ceed any further, when he had read ments customary upon these occa- the part which reflected on his prefions, a declaration of the strong decessors. He afterwards returned hopes which they had founded up- an answer to the Council in writing, on the General's public and private in which he informed them, that character, and a disavowal, as to, he could not receive an address themselves, of all lawless violences, which contained indecent reflecthey lamented, that a discretionary tions on his predecessors, who had power was not lodged in his hands, been tried and honourably acquit. to restore trade to its former course, ted by the Privy Council, and their immediately upon the terms of the conduct approved by the King. late law being fully complied with; That he considered the address as and shewed, that as the act food at an insult upon his Majesty, and the present, notwithstanding the most Lords of his Privy Council, and an immediate compliance, so much affront to himself. time would be loft, before his fa, The House of Representatives, vourable account of their conduct upon their meeting at Saiem, passed could reach the King and Council, a resolution, in which they declared and produce the wished-for effect, the expediency of a general meet. as would involve them in unspeak. ing of committees from the several able misery, and they feared in to- colonies, and specified the purposes tal ruin.
which rendered such meeting ne. A few days after, an address from cessary. By another, they apthe Council was presented to the Go. pointed five gentlemen, of those vernor, which contained some very who had been the most remarkable levere reflections on his two imme- in opposition, as a committee to diate predecessors, to whose ma- represent that province. And by chinations, both in concert and a third, they voted the sum of 500l. apart, that body attributed the to the said committee, to enable origin and progress of the difunion them to discharge the importanti between Great Britain and her co trutt to which they were appointlonies, and all the calamities that ed.