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had time to heal, the chancellor of the exchequer, Charles Townsend, came forward with a new scheme of taxing America, and was so sanguine in his views, that be pledged his character for the success of the project. The new revenue scheme was, to take off the duties on teas, which were paid in Great Britain, and to levy three pence per pound on all that was purchased in America, and also a duty on paper, glass and several other articles. A board of customs was established, and commissioners appointed to set in Boston to collect the duties ; and the custom-officers were to be paid from the revenue thus raised ; and the governor, judges of the superior court, and olher officers in Massachusetts, who had hitherto been dependant for their salaries on the assem
bly, to render them independent of the people, and more devoted I to Great Britain, were also to be paid from these revenues. And to carry the iniquitous system into effect (as unjust laws can only be enforced by unjust means,) the powers of the court of admiralty were greatly extended, so as to deprive the people of trial by jury in prosecutions for violating ihe revenue laws. Writs of 1 Assistance, as they were called, issued by the governor, or any | officer of the revenue, authorised searching the house of the most
respectable inhabitant in the province, on suspicion of the concealment of contraband or smuggled goods.
When intelligence of these new parliamentary, regulations, seached America, they occasioned universal astonishment, and revived all the excitement and alarm which prevailed during the stamp-act. In the minds of reflecting men they were regarded as more dangerous than that obnoxious act, as an indirect and disguised system of taxation had a more certain and fatal tendency to undermine the liberties and enslave the people, than direct taxes. The colonies, assailed by the same injuries, had recourse to their former measures of complaint and supplication ; but their petitions were not even read, and their remonstrances treated with contempt, thus adding insult to injustice. These accumulated injuries and indignities aroused the fears and spirit of the colonies; and a circular letter, addressed to the other colonies, lry the assembly of Massachusetts, contributed to diffuse the flame and lead to concert of action. This letter was dated the 11th of February, 1768, and the sentiments it contained were reiterated by most of the colonial assemblies. From the bold and determined conduct of the assembly of Massachusetts, it was prorogued by the governor. Another assembly was convened in May following, to which the governor, in his first communication, insolently demanded of them, as required by the British Secretary of State, to rescind the resolutions of the preceding assembly, which led to the circular letter, and intimated hat unless they complied immediately they would be dissolved at once. But the assembly acted with a firmness which became the defenders of liberty ; and instead of complying with this haughty mandate, petitioned the king for the removal of the royal governor, and charged upon him a long catalogue of crimes. The governor, exasperated at their conduct,
immediately dissolved the mutinous assembly, and applied to the cominander in
chief of the king's troops, then in New-York, to bave severa? additional regiments sent to Boston. Alarmed at these circumstances, the inhabitants of Boston beseeched the governor to convene another assembly ; but he treated their request with contempt. The crisis required something to be done, without delay, and accordingly letters were written to every town in the colony, requesting the appointment of delegates to meet in convention at Boston, before the arrival of the troops. Delegates from ninety-six towns met on the 22d of September. The governor instantly sent them an angry message, commanding them to disperse, threatening, in case of refusal, that they would suffer the consequence of their temerity. The convention, however, was not frightened into submission, but gave their reasons for convening, continued their deliberations, and prepared a petition to the king:
On the first of October, the troops arrived and landed ; and, sword in hand, paraded through the streets of Boston, which were filled with vast crowds, who with sullen silence, denoting the deepest resentment, witnessed this, the first act in the great and bloody drama about to be performed. No tumult or resistance however, ensued, notwithstanding the troops were quartered in the houses of the inhabitants. The assembly met in May, 1769, and immediately adopted several spirited resolutions ; that the placing an armed force where the legislature was convened, to overawe their deliberations, was a breach of privilege, and that the quartering of troops on the inhabitants in time of peace, was illegal and a violation of the rights and liberties of British subjects.
A standing army was now stationed in the capital of Massachusetts, for the avowed object of coercing the inhabitants into submission ; their commerce fettered, their characters traduced, the assembly prevented from meeting, and the petitions of all classes to have the assembly convened, treated with contempt by an insolent governor, who threatened to augment the troops, and enforce at all hazards, his arbitrary and tyrannical mea sures; it cannot be surprising that the fears and exasperations of the people exceeded what had ever been witnessed before. At this alarining conjuncture, something must be done, and there was no other alternative but submission or resistance, as petitions had been treated with such contempt, that to memorialize any branch of the British government would be equivalent to submission; and there were but two ways of resistance, either an appeal to the sword, or an entire suspension of all comercial intercourse with Great-Britain, which, as was said by Mr. Pitt in his speech, furnished the means whereby Britain had carried on the war with France, and which if continued, would afford the means of tbeir own oppression. As all the colonies were involved in one common danger, they readily entered into the most solemn engagements, that no British or India goods should be imported, except a few specified articles of necessary, use. The effects of these arrangements were soon felt in England, and produced clarors, and even tumults in some parts of the kingdom. But
the partizans of the crown in America, endeavored by their correspondence, to induce the ministry to persevere in their oppressive measures, and represented in the strongest terms, that the interruption of commerce was only an effort of desperation, which could not last long. They advised the ministry, to purchase large quantities of goods, designed for the American market, and also to allow the merchants engaged in the American trade, a premium equal to the profits of their
stock in business. "If lese measures are adopted," said Mr. Oliver, secretary in Mas. sachusetts, in one of his letters," the game will soon be up with my countrymen.
The assembly wbich convened at Boston in May, set several weeks without doing any business, as they refused to act as long as an armed force was quartered in the town, and surrounded the house where they were in session ; they were finally adjourned to Cambridge. They sent several messages to the governor to have the troops removed, but after evading the matter for some time, he declared that he had no authority over the king's troops ; thus admitting that the military was above the civil power in the province. Governor Bernard sent a provoking message, stating the expenditures of quartering the troops on the town, and requesting that provision be made for the payment of the same, and also for their future support; the assembly were thus called on to maintain the instruments by which they were to be oppressed and enslaved. But instead of complying with this request, they passed several spirited resolutions, censuring the conduct of the governor and General Gage, for their rash and oppressive measures, their wanton violations of the constitution, the introduction of a standing army in time of peace, and tbeir encroachments on the liberties of the citizens and of the province. The governor had received an order to repair to England, and lay before the king the state of the colony; which he communicated to the assembly, with a request that his salary might be continued during his absence, as his office would remain. But the assembly informed him in decided terms, that they could not comply with either of his requests. On receiving this answer, he immediately, after a short, angry, and threatening speech, prorogued the legislature. He soon after set sail for Europe, then little thinking that he should never return to a country that by bis violent temper and arbitrary conduct, he had brought to the brink of civil war. His reception at court convinced the Americans of the truth of what they feared, that the governor had been sent for, as a mischievous emissary, rather than for an impartial inquiry into the real situ
ion of the province, or an investigation of his own conduct.
Thomas Hutchinson, the lieutenant-governor, was appointed to succeed Governor Bernard. Hutchinson was a native of Boston, and had run a career of popularity ; whilst, however, he was courting the people at home, he was not less assiduous in ingratiating himself into the favor of the British government, by mis, representing his countrymen. He was artful and plausible, and possessed of popular talents ; but was insidious, dark, intriguing and ambitious ; and the extreme of avarice marked every feature of his character. His appointment was announced at the close of the year 1769. He immediately assumed a more haughty tone, and aimed at more high handed measures than his predecessor, and commenced his administration by informing the assembly that he was independent of them and the people, as his majesty had made provision for his salary. Secure of the favor of his sovereign, he treated the people and the assembly with contempt, and answered their repeated solicitations to remove the troops from the capital, by withdrawing the garrison from a strong fortress in the harbor of Boston, who were in the pay of the province, and replacing them by two regiments of the king's troops. The ebullitions of popular feeling, were so high as to occasion great alarm with the leading patriots, that it would break out into acts of violence, which might injure the cause of the people. The miserable minions of power in America, endeavoured to promote this result, and openly avowed, that the only method to restore tranquillity, was to take off the original incendiaries, whose writings had instilled the poison of sedition into the people.” James Otis, the most active, bold and influential patriot of the day, having published under his proper sig, nature, some severe strictures on the conduct of the officers of the crown, was assaulted in a public room, by a band of hired ruffians, with swords and bludgeons ; and being covered with wounds, was left for dead. The assassins made their escape, and took refuge on board the king's ships in the harbor. Mr. Otis survived, but the lamp of his understanding which bad glowed with such effulgence, was overcast with clouds and darkness. Mr. John Adams says that he “laid the foundation of the American revolution, with an energy, and with those masterly talents which no other man possessed ;” and he is justly considered as the first martyr to American liberty.
The insults which the inhabitants constantly experienced, from the soldiers, increased their animosity towards them to such a degree, as to lead to violence and blood-shed. On the second of March, 1770, ap affray took place between a party of soldiers of the 29th regiment, and some rope-makers, in front of Mr. Gray's rope-walk. This was followed by a more alarming outrage on the 5th : the indignant populace pressed upon and insulted the soldiers, while under arms, and assailed them with clubs, sticks and snow-balls, covering stones. Being dared to fire by the mob, six of the soldiers discharged their muskets, which killed three of the citizens, and wounded five others. The effect of this was electric; the town was instantly in commotion, and the mass of the people were so exasperated, that it required the utmost exertions to prevent their rallying and driving the British myrmidons out of town; and nothing but an assurance that the troops should be withdrawn, prevented this resort to force.. The captain of the party and eight men were brought to trial ; two of the men were found guilty ; the captain and the other men were acquitted. A general meeting of the inhabitants was immediately assembled in Faneuil Hall, who unanimously resolved that no armed force should be suffered longer to reside
in the capital; and a committee was appointed to wait on the governor, and request the immediate removal of the troops. The governor refused to act, under pretence of want of authority but Colonel Dalrymple, alarmed at the state of things, proposed to withdraw the 29th regiment, which was more culpable than any other ; but he was informed that not a soldier should be left in town; he was reluctantly compelled to comply, and within four days not a Red-coat remained. This tragical affair produced the deepest impressions on the minds of the people ; and the anniversary of the massacre of the 5th of March, 1770, was commemorated for many years, and orations delivered, which unfolded the blessings of civil liherty, the horrors of slavery, the dangers of standing armies, and the rights of the colonies. These annual orations administered fuel to the fire of liberty, and kept it burning with an incessant fame, and in no small degree promoted the cause of the colonies, in a manner that served to give a deeper glow to the flame of liberty. In the spring of 1773, the schooner Gaspee was stationed at Providence, to prevent smuggling; and the conduct of the commander having exasperated the inhabitants, two hundred men entered on board the schooner at night, and compelled the captain and crew to go ashore, and then set fire to the vessel. The government offered a reward of five hundred pounds, for the apprehension of any of the persons engaged in this outrage ; but such was the spirit and unanimity of the people, that this pecuniary inducement produced no effect, and the authors of the outrage could not be discovered. About this period, the letters of Governor Hutchinson and Mr. Oliver, to their friends in England, urging the government to adopt more decisire and vigorous measures, to coerce the colonies into submission, were discovered and sent back to America by Dr. Franklin, which, being published by the assembly of Massachusetts, greatly contributed to inflame the public mind, and exasperate the people against these officers of the crown, who were justly charged with having shamefully betrayed
their trust, and the people, whose rights it was their duty vigii lantly to guard. Whilst the other duties were repealed, that on - tea was retained, for the sole and avowed object of maintaining the power,
which parliament bad asserted, of collecting a revenue in America. The ministerial scheme was cunning and artful ; but did not, in the least degree, deceive the vigilance of the Americans. The object was to cheat the colonies out of their rights, by collecting an indirect, imperceptible duty, little more than nominal in amount, which, however, if acquiesced in, would have been an admission of the principle or right of Britain to raise a revenue in America. It was an attempt to obtain, covertly and by fraud, what they had attempted, but failed to obtain, openly by force. In the first place, measures were adopted, openly and explicitly, for taxing the colonies, the duties to be paid directly by the consumer; but being unable to enforce this act, it is repealed, accompanied with a declaration of the right of parliament to tax the Americans, in all cases whatsoever. This naked assertion of a right, when the application of it had