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to divide America, while it united Great Britain*. It was transmitted to the governors of the several
not heard at all, or were answered with new and accumulated ille juries ; when it recollects that the minister himself, on an early oc. casion, declared “ that he would never treat with America, till he had brought her to his feet”, and that an avowed partizan of ministry has more lately announced against us the dreadful sentence, "delenda est Carthago;" that this was done in presence of a British senate, and being unreproved by them, must be taken to be their own sentiment, especially as the purpose has already in part been carried into execution, by their treatment of Boston, and burning of Charleston; when it considers the great armaments with which they have invaded us, and the circumstances of cruelty with which they have commenced and prosecuted hostilities: when these things, we say, are laid together and attentively considered, can the world be deceived into an opinion that we are unreasonable, or can it hesitate to believe with us, that nothing but our own exertions may defeat the ministerial sentence of death, or abject submission.”
: * In the speech introducing this resolution, the minister said, " if their opposition be only founded on the principles which they pretend, they must agree with this proposition, but if they have designs in contemplation different from those they avow, their refusal will convict them of duplicity.” He further declared, " that he did not expect his proposition to be generally relished by the Americans.. "But," said he, “ if it does no good in the colonies, it will do good here; it will unite the people of England, by holding out to them a distinct object of revenue.” He added further, “ as it tends to unite England, it is likely to disunite America, for if only one province accept the offer, their confederacy, which alone makes them formidable, will be broken." Ramsay, vol. i. p. 163.
colonies in a circular letter, from Lord Dartmouth, with directions to use their utmost influence to procure its adoption. These endeavours, however, were no where successful. The colonists were universally impressed with too strong a conviction of the importance of union, and now understood too well the real principle of the contest, to perm't themselves to be divided or deceived by this proposition, which was conciliatory only in name. After the passage of the bill for restraining the trade of New England, information was received that the inhabitants of the middle and southern colonies were supporting their northern brethren in every measure of opposition. In consequence of this intelligence, a second bill was brought in for imposing similar restrictions on the colonies of East and West Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and the counties on the Delaware, which was passed without much opposition. The favourite colonies of New York and North Carolina were thought less disaffected than the others, and were not included in this bill. Fortunately, some time afterwards, the House of Commons refused to hear a petition offered by Mr. Burke, from the legislature of New York, which alone had declined according to the resolutions of the general congress, because, as was suggested by the minister, it contained claims incompatible with the supremacy of parliament.
This haughty rejection had some tendency to con vince those of that province, who cherished the hope of producing accommodation by milder measures than had been adopted by their sister colonies, that there was no medium between resistance and absolute submission.
Notwithstanding the ill success which had heretofore attended the efforts of the minority, a series of resolutions was brought forward by Mv. Burke, enforced by most able and eloquent speech, the object of which was to restore the ancient state of things between the mother country and her colonies; but these resolutions experienced the same fare which had attended all other truly conciliatory propositions. . . . . . . i
The king's speech, and the proceedings of parliament served only to convince the leaders of the opposition in America, that they must indeed prei pare to meet mournful events.". They had flat: tered themselves that the union of the colonies, the petition of Congress to the king, and the address to the people of Great Britain, would have produced some happy effects; but the measures now adopted, in a great measure, removed the delusion. The new provincial Congressof Massachussetts published a resolution, informing the peo: le, that from the disposition manifested by the British parliament and ministry, there was real cause to fear, that the
reasonable and just applications of that continent to Great Britain for peace, liberty, and safety, would not meet with favourable reception; that on the contrary, from the large reinforcements of troops expected in that colony, the tenor of intelligence from Great Britain, and general appearances, they had reason to' apprehend that the sudden destruction of that colony in particular was intended."
They urged, therefore, in the strongest terms, the militia in general, and the minute men in particular, to spare neither time, pains, nor expence, at so critical a juncture, to perfect themselves in military discipline. They also passed resolutions for procur: ing and making fire-arms and bayonets.
In the mean time, delegates for the ensuing Congress were chosen,' even in New York, where the influence of the administration in the legislature, had been sufficient to prevent an adoption of the recommendations of the former Congress, and where the people were much divided, a convention was chosen for the sole purpose of electing members, who should represent that province in the grand council of the colonies.. - In New England, although a determination not to commence hostiiity appears to have been maintained, an expectation of it, and a settled purpose to repel it, universally prevailed. I
It was not long before the firmness of this resolution was put to the test.
WASHINGTON. 257 · A considerable quantity of military stores had been collected at the town of Concord, about eighteen miles from Boston, which General Gage proposed to destroy. On the night preceding the 19th of April, Lieutenant Colonel Smith, and Major Pitcairn, with the grenadiers and light infantry of the army, amounting to eight or nine hundred men, were detached on this service. Notwithstanding the secrecy and dispatch which were used, and although some officers on horseback had, before the marching of the detachment, scoured the roads, and secured such people as they fell in with, the country was alarmed by messengers sent out by Doctor Warren, some of whom eluded the vigilance of the patrols; and, on the arrival of the British troops at Lexington, about five in the morning, part of the company of militia belonging to that town, amounting to about seventy men, were found on the parade under arms.
Major Pitcairn, who led the van, gallopped up, calling out, “ Disperse, rebels ! throw down your arms, and disperse ! The soldiers at the same time ran up huzzaing; some scattered guns were fired first, which were immediately followed by a general discharge, and the firing was continued so long as any of the militia appeared. Eight men were killed, and several wounded. ..
The detachment then proceeded to Concord,