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and rallied round the standard of liberty, to protect their rights. The restrictions on trade, under the navigation act of 1660, were borne with patience, because they were considered as of national utility, and neither expressed, or implied a grant to the crown, by the way of raising a rev. enue, and the period of one whole century had elapsed, without producing one serious complaint from the colonies, against that act; but in this revenue act, the sagacious politicians of America saw a cloud arising, that would obscure their dearest rights, as well as the purest principles of liberty, forever. It had been a maxim, interwoven with the principles of liberty, in the fundamental principles of the colonial governments, "that taxation and representatiop were, and ought to be, inseparably connected." From this principle, they discovered, that if Britain could claim and exercise the right of raising a revenue upon the colonies, by the way of duties, in one instance, she could, by the same right, impose on the colonies, that whole system of oppressive duties, under which her own subjects then groaned, and have continued to groan, to this day; together with a direct tax on their lands. Impressed with the reality and importance of these truths, they demanded, by way of petition to the crown, that the taxes might be removed, and the colonies left to tax themselves, or be admitted to an equal representation in the government. During these struggles of liberty, the duties were rigidly enforced, and the naval commanders, stationed upon the American coast to prevent smuggling, were compelled to act in the capacity of the meanest revenue officers, under the usual custom-bouse oaths. These duties were not familiar to men of their elevated stations and feelings, and great irregularities ensued, and no redress could be obtained, short of the admiralty courts of Great-Britain, which were distant, difficult, and expensive. Stung with the keenest sensibilities at this cruel injustice, at the moment when the united efforts of the colonies had given those energies to the military operations of Britain, that had, under God, crowned her arms with victory, conquest and glory, they resolved to make a dignified resistance against the usurpations of Britain, and seek an honorable redress of their wrongs.

The general court of Massachusetts, in June, 1764, ap. pointed a committee of correspondence, for the express purpose of inviting the legislatures of the other colonies, to co-operate in one bond of general union, in resisting the oppressive measures of Britain, and in seeking relief by the way of petition to the crown. Committees were generally appointed by the legislatures of the other colonies, at the same time, and for the same purpose, and a general correspondence was opened throughout the colonies, which called up the general attention of the people, and led to a general enquiry, which also promoted a general union of sentiment and interest. In October following, the Massachusetts general court, by their special committee, drew up a petition to his majesty, in which they did not deny the right of parliament to tax the colonies ; but in the most dutiful and loyal manner, urged their grief and oppressions, under this vexatious mode of collecting a rev. enue, by the way of duties, and prayed that their burthen's might be removed, and that the indulgence which they had ever enjoyed, in the exclusive right of taxing themselves, might again be restored. This petition was forwarded by his excellency Governor Bernard, accompanied with a letter to Lord Halifax, stating " that the colony of Massachusetts was the only colony that did busines' upon a 'specie icurrency.".. [See the History of New-England in the first volume of this work.] In which letter the writer goes on to state- But I fear, that if the great sums which are expected to be raised in America, are to be transmitted to England, there will soon be an end of the specie currency of the Massachusetts, which will be followed with a total discouragement for the other provinces to attempt the same in future. In which case, perpetual paper money, the very negative power of riches, will be the portion of America.” After remonstrating against the duties, by the most forcible arguments, to shew that they would not only ruin the colonies, as to their trade, but the best interest of England at the same time, the writer thus proceeds :“ If due care be taken to confine the sale of manufactures and European goods, (except what shall be permitted,) to Great-Britain only, all the profits of the American foreign trade will necessarily centre in Great-Britain ; and therefore if the first purpose be well secured, the foreign American trade, is the trade of Great-Britain. The augmentation, and diminution, the extension and restriction, the profit and loss of it all, finally comes home to the mother country.” The writer pursued the subject, and endeavoured clearly to shew, that the duties, if persisted in, would ruin the commerce of America, and thus destroy the best interest of Great-Britain. Virginia petitioned the king; presented a memorial to the house of lords, and a remonstrance to the house of commons. The colonies of NewYork and Rhode Island also, preferred their petitions : but all these availed nothing. It was said in parliament, and generally believed in England, that the colonies were rich, and lived like lords upon their estates, whilst the people of England were poor, and oppressed with taxes, to support and protect them; and the system of taxation went forward.

In February, 1765, Mr. Grenville opened the plan of the stamp bill to Mr. Franklin, and other American agents, who all opposed the measure, and urged their reasons against it; but they had no weight, the bill was introduced. In the course of the debates, Mr. George Townsend remarked, in support of the bill, “Will these Americans,

children planted by our care, and nourished up by our indulgence, until they are grown up to a degree of strength, and opulence; and protected by our arms; will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the weight of the heavy burthens which we lie under?” To these remarks, Col. Barre rose and made the following spirited reply: They planted by your care! No, your oppressions planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny, to a then inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable, and amongst others to a cruel savage foe, the most subtle, and I will take upon me to say, the most formidable, of any people upon the face of God's earth; and yet actuated by principles of true English liberty, they met all these hardships with pleasure, compared with those they suffered in their own country, from the hands of those that should have been their friends. They nourished up by your indulgence! They grew by your neglect of them. [And he might have added, will continue to


you will continue to neglect them.] As soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persous to rule over them, in one department, and another, who were perhaps the deputies of deputies of some members of this house, sent to spy' out their liberties, to misrepresent their actions, and to prey upon them; men, whose behaviour, in many instances, has caused the blood of those sons of liberty, to recoil within them ; men promoted to the highest seats of justice; some, who to my knowledge, were glad, by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought before a court of justice in their own. They protected by your arms! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence; have exerted a valour, amidst their constant and laborious industry, for the defence of a country, whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its little interior parts, yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And believe me; remember, I this day told you so, that same spirit of freedom which actuated these people at first, will attend them still ; but prudence forbids me to explain further. God knows, I do not at this time speak from motives of party heat; what I deliver, are the genuine sentiments of my heart.


heart. However superior in general knowledge, and experience, the respectable body of this house may be; yet I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen, and been conversant in that country. The people, I believe, are as truly loyal, as any subjects the king has ; but a people jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate them, if ever they should be violated ; but the subject is too delicate-I say no more.”

These were the spontaneous effusions of an honest mind, in the then British Parliament: effusions, which astonished that house, and made a deep and serious impression ; but not a lasting one : for although these highly impressive remarks were backed by a petition from the London merchants, against the bill, both were disregarded ; the ininistry openly avowed their intention, to establish the power of Great-Britain to tax the colonies.. When the question was taken upon the bill, in the House of Commons, it passed by a majority as of five to one, and in the House of Lords, without a dissenting voice; and in March, the bill obtained his majesty's assent.

When the bill had passed, Dr. Franklin, (then in London,) wrote Mr. Charles Thomson,* at Philadelphia, in which he thus expressed himself—“The sun of liberty is set; you must light up the candles of industry and economy." To which Mr. Thomson replied, " I fear other lights may become necessary.

The friends of coercion in the British Parliament, hav. ing thus far secured their object, flattered themselves, that

* Afterward: Secretary to the Congress.

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