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§ 195. The principal grounds on which Parliament asserted the right to make laws to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever were, that the colonies were originally established under charters from the crown; that the territories were dependencies of the realm, and the crown could not by its grants exempt them from the supreme legislative power of Parliament, which extended wherever the sovereignty of the crown extended; that the colonists in their new settlements owed the same subjection and allegiance to the supreme power, as if they resided in England, and that the crown had no authority to enter into any compact to impair it; that the legislative power over the colonics is supreme and sovereign; that the supreme power must be entire and complete in taxation as well as in legislation; that there is no difference between a grant of duties on merchandise, and a grant of taxes and subsidies; that there is no difference between external and internal taxes, and, though different in name, they are in effect the same; that taxation is a part of the sovereign power, and that it may be rightfully exercised over those who are not represented. 1.

“Resolved, N. C. D. 7. That these, his Majesty's colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.

“Resolved, N. C. D. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments of the same, are illegal.

"Resolved, N. C. D. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony in which such army is kept, is against law.

“Resolved, N. C. D. 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English Constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed during ploasure by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.

"All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties, which cannot be legally taken from them, altered, or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislatures."

The plan of conciliation proposed by the provincial convention of New York in 1775 explicitly admits “that from the necessity of the case Great Britain should regulate the trade of the whole empire for the general benefit of the whole, but not for the separate benefit of any particular part.” 1 Pitk. Hist. ch. 9, p. 344.

11 Pitk. Hist. 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 457 ; Mass. State Papers, 338, 839 ; 1 Chalm. Annals, 15, 28 ; 2 Wilson's Law Lect. 54 to 63 ; Chitty on Prerog. ch. 8; 1 Chalm. Opin. 196 to 225.

§ 196. The grounds on which the colonies resisted the right of taxation by Parliament were, as we havu seen, that they were not represented in Parliament; that they were entitled to all the privileges and immunities of British subjects; that the latter could not be taxed but by their own representatives; that representation and taxation were inseparably connected; that the principles of taxation were essentially distinct from those of legislation; that there is a wide difference between the power of internal and external taxation; that the colonies had always onjoyed the sole right of imposing taxes upon themselves; and that it was essential to their freedom. 1

§ 197. The Stamp Act was repealed; but within a few years afterwards duties of another sort were laid, the object of which was to raise a revenue from importations into the colonies. These of course became as offensive to the colonies as the prior attempt at internal taxation, and were resisted upon the same grounds of unconstitutionality. 2 (a) It soon became obvious that the great struggle in respect to colonial and parliamentary rights could scarcely be decided otherwise than by an appeal to arms. Great Britain was resolutely bent upon enforcing her claims by an open exercise of military power; and, on the other hand, America scarcely saw any other choice left to her but unconditional submission or bold and unmeasured resistance.

1 Pitk. Hist. 199, 200, 201, 208, 209, 211, 219, 286 to 288, 311, 443, 446, 447, 448, 453, 458, 459, 467 ; Mags. State Papers, 344, 345, 346 to 351 ; 4 Debrett's Parl. Debates, 251, note, &c. ; 2 Wilson's Law Lect. 64 to 63.

3 1 Pitk. Hist. 217, 219, &c.

(a) Botta's American War, b. 3.






§ 198. We have now completed our survey of the origin and political history of the American colonies up to the period of the Revolution. We have examined the more important coincidences and differences in their forms of government, in their laws, and in their political institutions. We have presented a general outline of their actual relations with the parent country; of the rights which they claimed; of the dependence which they admitted; and of the controversies which existed at this period, in respect to sovereign powers and prerogatives on one side, and colonial rights and liberties on the other.

$ 199. We are next to proceed to an historical review of the origin of that union of the colonies which led to the Declaration of Independence; of the effects of that event, and of the subsequent war upon the political character and rights of the colonies; of the formation and adoption of the Articles of Confederation; of the sovereign powers antecedently exercised by the continental Congress; of the powers delegated by the confederation to the general government; of the causes of the decline and fall of the confederation; and finally of the establishment of the present Constitution of the United States. Having disposed of these interesting and important topics, we shall then be prepared to enter upon the examination of the details of that Constitution, which has justly been deemed one of the most profound efforts of human wisdom, and which, it is believed, will awaken our admiration and warm our affections more and more, as its excellences are unfolded in a minute and careful survey.

$ 200. No redress of grievances having followed upon the many appeals made to the king and to Parliament, by and in behalf of the colonies, either conjointly or separately, it became obvious to them that a closer union and co-operation were necessary to vindicate their rights and protect their liberties. If a resort to arms should be indispensable, it was impossible to hope for success but in united efforts.

If peaceable redress was to be sought, it was as clear that the voice of the colonies must be heard, and their power felt in a national organization. In 1774, Massachusetts recommended tho nascmbling of a continental Congress to deliberate upon the state of public affairs; and according to her recommendation, delegates were appointed by the colonies for a Congress to be held in Philadelphia in the autumn of the same year.

In some of the legislatures of the colonies, which were then in session, delegates were appointed by the popular or representative branch; and in other cases they were appointed by conventions of the people in the colonies. The Congress of delegates (calling themselves in their more formal acts “the delegates appointed by the good people of these colonies ") assembled on the 4th of September, 1774;2 and having chosen officers, they adopted certain fundamental rules for their proceedings.

$ 201. Thus was organized under the auspices and with the consent of the people, acting directly in their primary, sovereign capacity, and without the intervention of the functionaries to whom the ordinary powers of government wcro delegated in tho colonies, the first general or national government, which has been very aptly called “the revolutionary government,” since in its origin and progress it was wholly conducted upon revolutionary principles. The Congress thus assembled cxcrciscd de facto and de jure a sovereign authority; not as the delegated agents of the governments de facto of the colonies, but in virtue of original powers derived from the people. The revolutionary government, thus formed, terminated only when it was regularly superseded by the confederated government under the articles finally ratified, as we shall hereafter see, in 1781.4

§ 202. The first and most important of their acts was a decla

1 1 Journ. of Cong. 2, 3, &c. 27, 45; 9 Dane's Abridg. App. § 5, p. 16, § 10, p. 21. ? All the States were represented except Georgia. 8 9 Dane's Abridg. App. p. 1, § 5, p. 16, § 13, p. 23. Sergeant on Const. Introd. 7, 8 (2d ed.).

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ration that in determining questions in this Congress, each colony or province should have one vote; and this became the established course during the Revolution. (a) They proposed a general Congress to be held at the same place in May in the next year. They appointed committees to take into consideration their rights and grievances. They passed resolutions that “after the 1st of December, 1774, there shall be no importation into British America from Great Britain or Ireland of any goods, &c., or from any other place, of any such goods as shall have been exported from Great Britain or Ireland;" that “after the 10th of September, 1775, the exportation of all merchandise, &c., to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies ought to cease, unless the grievances of America are redressed before that time.” i They adopted a declaration of rights, not differing in substance from that of the Congress of 1765,2 and affirming that the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and the benefit of such English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization, and which they have by experience respectively found to be applicable to their local and other circumstances. They also, in behalf of themselves and their constituents, adopted and signed certain articles of association, containing an agreement of non-importation, non-exportation, and non-consumption, in order to carry into effect the preceding resolves; and also an agreement to discontinue the slave-trade. They also adopted addresses to the people of England, to the neighboring British colonies, and to the king, explaining their grievances, and requesting aid and redress.

§ 203. In May, 1775, a second Congress of delegates met from all the States. These delegates were chosen, as the preceding had been, partly by the popular branch of the State legislatures, when in session, but principally by conventions of the people in

1 1 Jour, of Cong. 21. 3 See ante, p. 133.

8 Georgia did not send delegates until the 15th of July, 1775, who did not take their seats until the 13th of September.

(a) Equality of representation and efficiency. Palfrey, Hist. of New Eng. authority was also insisted upon by the land, II. 243; Bancroft, Hist. of U. S., weaker colonies in the confederacy of 1. 420; Towle, Analysis of the Constitu. 1643, and was the principal source of the tion, 302, et seq. controversies which arose to weaken its

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