Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ary revenue of government, are not only held dependent on the assembly, but all services, where special appropriations are made for the extraordinaries which such services require, are actually executed and done by commissioners appointed by the assembly, to whose disposition such appropriations are made liable. It would be perhaps invidious, and might tend to prejudging on points which ought very seriously and dispassionately to be examined, if I were here to point out in the several instances of the actual execution of this assumed power, how almost every executive power of the crown lodged in its governor, is, where money is necessary, thus exercised by the assembly and its commissioners. ...

CHAPTER V

THE UNION OF THE AMERICAN COLONIES

The coercive acts of 1774 furnished the occasion for the First Continental Congress. The suggestion of an annual congress came from the Burgesses of Virginia. The House of Representatives of Massachusetts gave definiteness to the project by naming a time and place of meeting. The two notable acts of the First Congress are the Declaration of Rights and Grievances and the Association. The latter is the more important document inasmuch as it points to the assumption of revolutionary authority by the Congress. The rapid march of events forced the Second Continental Congress to assume powers far in excess of the instructions given to the delegates. The resolutions adopted in June, 1775, indicate that the Congress was already acting as a de facto government.

1

11. Credentials of the Delegates from Massachusetts to the First

Continental Congress.
In the House of Representatives,

June 17th, 1774. This house having duly considered, and being deeply affected with the unhappy differences which have long subsisted and are encreasing between Great Britain and the American Colonies, do resolve, that a meeting of Committees from the several Colonies on this Continent is highly expedient and necessary, to consult upon the present state of the Colonies, and the miseries to which they are and must be reduced by the operation of certain acts of Parliament respecting America, .and to deliberate and determine upon wise and proper measures, to be by them recommended to all the Colonies, for the recovery and establishment of their just rights & liberties, civil & religious, and the restoration of union & harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies, most ardently desired by all good men. Therefore, Resolved, That the Hon.ble James Bowdoin, esq., the Hon ble Thomas Cushing, esq:., Mr. Samuel Adams, John Adams, & Robert Treat Paine, esq?., be,

1 Journals of the Continental Congress (Ford ed.), I, 15-16.

and they are hereby appointed a Committee on the part of this province, for the purposes aforesaid, any three of whom to be a quorum, to meet such committees or delegates from the other Colonies as have been or may be appointed, either by their respective houses of Burgesses, or representatives, or by convention, or by the committees of correspondence appointed by the respective houses of Assembly, in the city of Philadelphia, or any other place that shall be judged most suitable by the Committee, on the first day of September next; & that the Speaker of the House be directed, in a letter to the speakers of the house of Burgesses or representatives in the several Colonies, to inform them of the substance of these Resolves. Attested:

SAMUEL ADAMS, Clerk.

12. The Association."

We, his majesty's most loyal subjects, the delegates of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three lower counties of Newcastle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and SouthCarolina, deputed to represent them in a continental Congress, held in the city of Philadelphia, on the fifth day of September, 1774, avowing our allegiance to his majesty, our affection and regard for our fellow-subjects in Great Britain and elsewhere, affected with the deepest anxiety, and most alarming apprehensions, at those grievances and distresses, with which his Majesty's American subjects are oppressed; and having taken under our most serious deliberation, the state of the whole continent, find, that the present unhappy situation of our affairs is occasioned by a ruinous system of colony administration, adopted by the British ministry about the year 1763, evidently calculated for inslaving these colonies, and, with them, the British Empire. In prosecution of which system, various acts of parliament have been passed, for raising a revenue in

1 October 20, 1774. Journals of the Continental Congress (Ford ed.), 75-80.

America, for depriving the American subjects, in many instances, of the constitutional trial by jury, exposing their lives to danger, by directing a new and illegal trial beyond the seas, for crimes alleged to have been committed in America: and in prosecution of the same system, several late, cruel and oppressive acts have been passed, respecting the town of Boston and the Massachusetts-Bay, and also an act for extending the province of Quebec, so as to border on the western frontiers of these colonies, establishing an arbitrary government therein, and discouraging the settlement of British subjects in that wide extended country; thus, by the influence of civil principles and ancient prejudices, to dispose the inhabitants to act with hostility against the free Protestant colonies, whenever a wicked ministry shall chuse so to direct them.

To obtain redress of these grievances, which threaten destruction to the lives, liberty, and property of his majesty's subjects, in North-America, we are of opinion, that a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement, faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and peaceable measure: and, therefore, we do, for ourselves, and the inhabitants of the several colonies, whom we represent, firmly agree and associate, under the sacred ties of virtue, honour and love of our country, as follows:

1. That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import, into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandize whatsoever, or from any other place, any such goods, wares, or merchandize, as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland; nor will we, after that day, import any East-India tea from any part of the world; nor any molasses, syrups, paneles, coffee, or pimento, from the British plantations or from Dominica; nor wines from Madeira, or the Western Islands; nor foreign indigo.

2. We will neither import nor purchase, any slave imported after the first day of December next; after which time, we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, not will we hire our vessels, nor sell

our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it.

3. As a non-consumption agreement, strictly adhered to, will be an effectual security for the observation of the nonimportation, we, as above, solemnly agree and associate, that from this day, we will not purchase or use any tea, imported on account of the East-India company, or any on which a duty hath been or shall be paid; and from and after the first day of March next, we will not purchase or use any East-India tea whatever; nor will we, nor shall any person for or under us, purchase or use any of those goods, wares, or merchandize, we have agreed not to import, which we shall know, or have cause to suspect, were imported after the first day of December, except such as come under the rules and directions of the tenth article hereafter mentioned.

4. The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellowsubjects in Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies, induces us to suspend a non-exportation, until the tenth day of September, 1775; at which time, if the said acts and parts of acts of the British parliament herein after mentioned, are not repealed, we will not directly or indirectly, export any merchandize or commodity whatsoever to Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies, except rice to Europe.

5. Such as are merchants, and use the British and Irish trade, will give orders, as soon as possible, to their factors, agents and correspondents, in Great-Britain and Ireland, not to ship any goods to them, on any pretence whatsoever, as they cannot be received in America; and if any merchant, residing in Great-Britain or Ireland, shall directly or indirectly ship any goods, wares or merchandize, for America, in order to break the said non-importation agreement, or in any manner contravene the same, on such unworthy conduct being well attested, it ought to be made public; and, on the same being so done, we will not, from henceforth, have any commercial connexion with such merchant.

6. That such as are owners of vessels will give positive orders to their captains, or masters, not to receive on board their

« ZurückWeiter »