« ZurückWeiter »
ed to keep up the spirit, which was general through the colony. The example was afterwards followed by other colonies, and the utility of this institution became apparent, when a more active opposition was rendered necessary.
Although the governor, judges, and other high colonial officers had been appointed by the crown, they had hitherto depended on the provincial legislatures for their salaries : and this dependence had always been highly valued, as giving to the colonies an important influence on their conduct. It has been already seen how perseveringly this source of influence was maintained by Massachussetts on a former occasion. As a part of the new system, it had been determined that the salaries of these offi. cers should be fixed by the crown, and paid without the intervention of the legislature. This measure was adopted in relation to all the royal governments, and was communicated to the general court of Massachussetts in May. It gave high offence, and was declared by the House of Representatives to be an infraction of the rights of the inhabitants granted them by charter*.
upon not to doze any longer, or sit supinely indifferent, while the iron hand of oppression was daily tearing the choicest fruits from the fair tree of liberty. The circular letter sequested of each town a free communication of sentiments on the subjects of the report, and was directed to the select men, who were desired to lay the same before a town meeting; which has been generally practised, and the proceedings of the town upon the business have been transmitted to the committee at Boston. This committee have their particular correspondents in the several towns, who, upon receiving any special information, are ready to spread it with dispatch among the inhabitants. It consists of twenty-one persons of heterogeneous qualities and professions,” &c. Gordon's History of the American War, vol. i. p. 312.
About this time a discovery was made, which very greatly increased the ill temper already so prevalent throughout New England. Dr. Franklin, the agent for several of the colonies, and among others for Massachussetts, by some unknown means, obtained possession of the letters which had been addressed by Governor Hutchinson, and by Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, to the departinent of state.
*“ A committee having been appointed to consider the matter of the governor's support being provided for by the king, reported and observed, that the king's providing for the support of the governor is a most dangerous innovation. It is a measure, whereby not only the right of the general assembly of this province is rescinded, but the highest indignity is thrown upon it. It is an infraction of the charter in a material point, whereby a most important trust is wrested out of the hands of the general assembly. And the house, the same day, declared, by a message to the governor, that the making provision for his excellency's support, independent of the grants and acts of the general assembly, and his excellency receiving the same, is an infraction upon the rights of the inhabitants granted by the royal charter."-Gordon, vol. i. p. 310
These letters, many of which were private, he transmitted to the general court. They were obviously designed, and well calculated, to induce a perseverance on the part of the govermnent in the system which had so greatly tended to alienate the affections of the colonies. The opposition was represented to be confined to a few factious turbulent men, whose conduct was by no means generally ap. proved, and who had been emboldened by the weakness of the means used to restrain them. More vigorous measures were recommended, and several specific propositions, peculiarly offensive to the colony, were made, among which was the alteration of their charters, and the rendering the high officers dependent solely on the crown for their salaries.
Inflamed by these letters, the assembly unanimously resolved, “That their tendency and design were to overthrow the constitution of the government, and to introduce arbitrary power into the province.” At the same time a petition to the king was voted, praying him to remove Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant Governor Oliver, for ever, from the government of the colony. This petition was transmitted to Dr. Franklin, and laid before the king in council, where it was heard ; and in a few days the lords of the council reported, “ that the petition in question was founded upon false and erroneous allegations; and that the same is groundless, vexatious, and scandalous, and calculated only for
the seditions purposes of keeping up a spirit of clamour and discontent in the provinces.” This report his Majesty was pleased to approve. Governor Hutchinson, however, was soon afterwards removed, and General Gage appointed to succeed him.
Measures to enforce the Act concerning Duties-Ferment excited in America - The Tea is thrown into the Sea at Boston-Measures of Parliament General Enthusiasm in America--A general Congress is proposed-General Gage arrives in Boston-Troops stationed on Boston “Neck-New Counsellors and Judges-Obliged to resign-Boston Neck fortified-Military Stores seized by Ge. neral Gage- Preparations for Defence in Massachussetts-King's Speech in Parliament-Proceedings of that Body-Battle of Lexington-Vote of Massachussetts for raising Men-Meeting of Congress--Proceedings of that Body-Battle of Breed's Hill.
THE fears entertained by Massachussetts, that
the spirit of opposition which had been roused in the colonies might gradually subside, were not permitted to be of long continuance. The determination of the colonies not to import tea from England, had so lessened the demand for that articie, that a very considerable quantity had accumulated