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they would be glad to receive the sentiments of your or any other house of assembly on the continent.
The house have humbly represented to the ministry their own sentiments; that his majesty's high court of parliament is the supreme legislative power over the whole empire: that in all free states the constitution is fixed : and, as the supreme legislative derives its power and authority from the constitution, it cannot overleap the bounds of it, without destroying its foundation; that the constitution ascertains and limits both sovereignty and allegiance; and therefore, his majesty's American subjects who acknowledge themselves bound by the ties of allegiance, have an equitable claim to the full enjoyment of the fundamental rules of the British constitution ; that it is an essential unalterable right in nature, ingrafted into the British constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that what a man hath honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent ; that the American subjects may therefore, exclusive of any consideration of charter rights, with a decent firmness adapted to the character of freemen and subjects, assert this natural and constitutional right.
It is moreover their humble opinion, which they express with the greatest deference to the wisdom of the parliament, that the acts made there imposing duties on the people of this province, with the sole and express purpose of raising a revenue, are infringements of their natural and constitutional rights ; because as they are not represented in the British parliament, his majesty's commons in Britain by those acts grant their property without their consent.
This house further are of opinion, that their constituents, considering their local circumstances, cannot by any possibility be represented in the parliament; and that it will forever be impracticable that they should be equally represented there, and consequently not at all, being
separated by an ocean of a thousand leagues : that his majesty's royal predecessors, for this reason, were graciously pleased to form a subordinate legislative here, that their subjects might enjoy the unalienable right of a representation. Also, that, considering the utter impracticability of their ever being fully and equally represented in parliament, and the great expense that must unavoidably attend even a partial representation there, this house think, that a taxation of their constituents, even without their consent, grievous as it is, would be preferable to any representation that could be admitted for them there.
Upon these principles, and also considering that were the right in the parliament ever so clear, yet for obvious reasons it would be beyond the rule of equity, that their constituents should be taxed on the manufactures of Great Britain here, in addition to the duties they pay for them in England, and other advantages arising to Great Britain from the acts of trade; this house have preferred a humble, dutiful, and loyal petition to our most gracious sovereign, and made such representation to his majesty's ministers, as they apprehend would tend to obtain redress.
They have also submitted to consideration, whether any people can be said to enjoy any degree of freedom, if the crown, in addition to its undoubted authority of constituting a governor, should appoint him such a stipend as it shall judge proper without the consent of the people, and at their expense; and whether, while the judges of the land, and other civil officers, hold not their commissions during good behaviour, their having salaries appointed for them by the crown, independent of the people, hath not a tendency to subvert the principles of equity, and endanger the happiness and security of the subject.
In addition to these measures, the house have written a letter to their agent mr. de Berdt, the sentiments of which he is directed to lay before the ministry ; wherein they take notice of the hardship of the act for preventing
mutiny and desertion, which requires the governor and council to provide enumerated articles for the king's marching troops, and the people to pay the expense : and also the commission of the gentlemen appointed commissioners of the customs to reside in America, which authorizes them to make as many appointments as they think fit, and to pay the appointees what sums they please, for whose mal-conduct they are not accountable ; from whence it may happen, that officers of the crown may be multiplied to such a degree, as to become dange. rous to the liberties of the people, by virtue of a commission which doth not appear to this house to derive any such advantages to trade as many have been led to expect.
These are the sentiments and proceedings of the house, and, as they have too much reason to believe that the enemies of the colonies have represented them to his majesty's ministers and the parliament as factious, disloyal, and having a disposition to make themselves independent of the mother country, they have taken occasion in the most humble terms, to assure his majesty and his ministers, that, with regard to the people of this province, and, as they doubt not, of all the colonies, the charge is unjust.
The house is fully satisfied, that your assembly is too generous and enlarged in sentiment to believe, that this letter proceeds from an ambition of taking the lead, or dictating to the other assemblies; they freely submit their opinion to the judgment of others; and shall take it kind in your house to point out to them any thing further that may be thought necessary.
This house cannot conclude without expressing their firm confidence in the king, our common head and father, that the united and dutiful supplications of his distressed American subjects will meet with his royal and favourable acceptance.
“ Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, that the votes, resolutions, and proceedings, of the house of representatives of Massachussetts Bay, in the month of January and February last, respecting several late acts of parliament, so far as the said votes, resolutions, and proceedings, do import a denial of, or to draw into question, the power and authority of his majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons, in parliament assembled, to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity, to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects to the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever, are illegal, unconstitutional, and derogatory of the rights of the crown and parliament of Great Britain.
Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in par. liament assembled, that the resolution of the said house of representatives of the province of Massachussetts Bay, in January last, to write letters to the several houses of representatives of the British colonies in the continent, desiring them to join with the said house of representatives of the province of Massachussetts Bay, in petitions which do deny or draw into question the right of parliament to impose duties and taxes upon his majesty's subjects in America; and in pursuance of the said resolution, the writing such letters, in which certain late acts of parliament, imposing duties and taxes, are stated to be infringements of the rights of his majesty's subjects of the said province, are proceedings of a most unwarrantable and dangerous nature, calculated to inflame the minds of his majesty's subjects in the other colonies, tending to
create unlawful combinations repugnant to the laws of Great Britain, and subversive of the constitution.
Resolved, by the Jords spiritual and temporal in par. liament assembled, that, in these circumstances of the province of the Massachussetts Bay, and of the town of Boston, the preservation of the public peace, and the due execution of the laws, became impracticable, without the aid of a military force to support and protect the civil magistrates and the officers of his majesty's revenue.
Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, that the declarations, resolutions, and proceedings, in the town meetings at Boston on the fourteenth of June and twelfth of September, were illegal and unconstitutional, and calculated to excite sedition and insurrections in his majesty's province of Massachussetts Bay.
Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, that the appointment at the town meeting of the twelfth of September, of a convention to be held in the town of Boston on the 22d of that month, to consist of deputies from the several towns and districts in the province of the Massachussetts Bay, and the issuing a precept, by the select men of the town of Boston, to each of the said towns and districts for the election of such deputies, were proceedings subversive of his majesty's government, and evidently manifesting a design, in the inhabitants of the said town of Boston, to set up a new, and unconstitutional authority, independent of the crown of Great Britain.
Resolved, by the lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, that the elections by several towns and districts in the province of Massachussetts Bay, of deputies to sit in the same convention, and the meeting of such convention in consequence thereof, were daring insults offered to his majesty's authority, and audacious usurpations of the powers of government." Prier Documents