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government, and to protect the colonies.” The declartory clause in the act for the repeal of the stamp act, was before them—“ Parliament has the right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever.” In this clause was an avowed right to tax the colonies, to any extent, and at pleasure. Firm to their rights, and true to their interest, they took up their arms, which they had been seen to lay down, so cheerfully at the peace of the stamp act; again published their declaration, “that taxation without representation was tyranny;” again asserted the exclusive right of taxing themselves; again resumed their arms, and stood in defence of their rights. In support of these, appeared the illustrious writer of the Pennsylvania Farmer, (John Dickinson, Esq.) who published a succession of letters, to the number of twelve, under that signature, which illustrated the rights of the colonies, in a clear, luminous, and perspicuous manner; and at the same time, unfolded to their view, the dangerous evils that lay concealed beneath this thinveil of “light taxes,” which light as they were, differed nothing in principle from the odious stamp act; cautioned them against yielding to the artful principle disclosed in the declarative clause in the act of repeal, “that Parliament possessed the right of taxing the colonies, or rather of binding them in all cases whatsoever,” but more particularly against the acts of the day, in yielding up this power, or right, under the false impression, “that it was left for us, but to complain, and pay.” This luminous writer spread before the colonies such a black catalogue of evils, that would grow out of a tacit acknowledgment of that declarative act, and the payment of these duties, as would involve them in a system of oppressive taxation, as well as every other species of oppression, and tryanny, that would be felt to the latest generation. Impressed with a just sense of their true situation, and alive to their dearest interests, and just rights, the colo
nies again rose to the contest, and opened their whole battery of resolves, petitions, addresses, and remonstrances, with which they had withstood the stamp act; together with their general associations of non-importation. This commanding attitude of the colonies, alarmed: the British ministry, particularly Lord Hillsborough, the secretary of state for American affairs, who wrote pressingly to the governors of the several colonies, to exert their influence in suppressing such combinations; this opened the war between the governors, and their respective colonies, and the scenes of the stamp war were extensively renewed, and the feelings as well as passions of the people were alive to the subject. At this time, (May 27th,) a bill passed in Parliament “for restraining the assembly of New-York, from passing any act, until they had complied with the act of Parliament, for the furnishing his majesty’s troops with the necessaries required by that act.” This act was signed by the king on the 2d of July following. This opened the eyes of the colonies more fully to a sense of that arbitrary power, ministers had assumed, and each beheld in the fate of New-York a mirror of their own, and roused to the contest. • The house of Burgesses in Virginia passed an encomium upon the patriotic assembly of Massachusetts, and in noticing the suspension of the legislative powers of NewYork, by act of Parliament, remarked—“If the Parliament can compel the colonies to furnish a single article to the troops sent over, they may by the same rule, oblige them to furnish clothes, arms, and every other necessary, even to the pay of the officers, and soldiers, a doctrine replete with every mischief, and utterly subversive of every thing that is dear and valuable.” Next passed in Parliament, upon the motion of Mr. Chancellor Townsend, an act “for the establishing a custom house, and a board of commissioners at Boston in America.” - - - * * * * At the June session of the Massachusetts assembly, in 1768, Governor Bernard, by order of the minister, demanded, that they should rescind a particular act of a former assembly, which had proved higly offensive to the ministry, upon which Mr. Otis, in his speech remarked, “When Lord Hillsborough knows, that we will not rescind our acts, he should apply to Parliament to rescind theirs. Let Britain rescind their measures, or they are lost forever.” The act of Parliament had taken effect in New-York; and the powers of their assembly had now been suspended about one year: this they felt so severely, that they complied with the act of supplies, so far as to vote the necessary sum to the general, to purchase supplies, and placed it at his disposal, which was accepted, and their functions were restored; but when they attempted to co-operate, by their resolves, with Massachusetts and the other colonies, in the grand system of opposition, the governor dissolved the assembly. * - - - ...” The public mind was now ripe for an explosion, and an incident occurred on the 10th of June, that lit up the fire." A sloop, belonging to John Hancock, Esq. of Boston, attempted to land a cargo of wine, (from Medeira,) in the port of Boston, by evading the duties, in a manner then commonly practised, by treating and amusing the tidewaiter below, when the cargo was struck out. This was discovered, and the sloop was seized in due form by Harrison, and Hallowell, the collector, and comptroller of the customs; and the sloop was removed by the crew of the Romney Frigate, and placed under her protection. This incensed the people, who made resistance; but without effect ; and a mob was soon collected, to the amount of one or two thousand, who commenced their attacks upon the officers of the customs, Harrison and Hallowell, to
gether with such of their friends as were aiding and assisting, and beat and wounded them severely ; they next proceeded to attack their houses, and the same scenes were acted over again in Boston, which we have witnessed under the stamp act. These riotous tumults continued about three days, in which time the commissioners of the revenue withdrew on board the Romney, and from thence to the castle, where they remained under the protection of the governor, until the storm was over, or they would have shared in the abuse... This expression of the public feeling, prevented any further seizures, until the 18th of July, when a cargo of molasses was seized, and the vessel was removed by the mob, with her seized cargo; but the selectmen of the town interfered, and restored the vessel and cargo, to the proper officer, as an expression of that confidence that they meant to maintain.
The General Court noticed the late riots, by the follow
“Resolved, That the governor be requested to direct the attorney-general to prosecute all persons concerned in the late riots, and that a proclamation be issued, offering a reward for making a discovery, so as the rioters may be brought to condign punishment.”
This, as was expected, proved only a nominal procedure; no efforts were made for a discovery, and no rioters were taken.
Five days after this riot, (June 15th,) the commissioners wrote to General Gage, and Admiral Hood, requesting an armed force, to protect the officers of the crown, in Boston; but such had been their general auxiety for a long time before, that such a demand had been anticipated, and Lord Hillsborough in his letter to Gen. Gage, bearing date
June 8th, (two days before the riot,) had actually communicated the following order. “I am to signify to you his majesty's pleasure, that you do forthwith, order one regiment, or such force as you may think proper and necessary, to Boston, to be quartered in that town, and to give every legal assistance to the civil magistrate, in the preservation of the public peace, and to the officers of the revenue, in the execution of the laws of trade and revenue ; and as this appears to be a service of a delicate nature, and possibly leading to consequences not easily foreseen, I am directed by the king, to recommend to you, that you make choice of an officer to command those troops, upon whose prudence, resolution, and integrity, you can entirely rely.”
On the eleventh, Gen. Gage communicated this order, by letter, to the governor of Massachusetts, and informed him that he had ordered on one regiment accordingly, together with one frigate, two sloops, and two cutters, to protect the harbour of Boston. On the 2d of September, Lord Hillsborough dispatched circular letters to the several governors of the colonies, with the following injunction. '
“Gentlemen,_The king having observed that the governors of his colonies have, upon several occasions, taken upon them to communicate to their several councils, and assemblies, either the whole or parts of letters from his majesty's principal secretary of state; I have it in command to signify, that it is his majesty's pleasure, that you do not, upon any pretence whatsoever, communicate to the assembly, any copies, or extracts of such letters, unless you have his majesty's particular directions.” : , , ,
The governor of Rhode-Island was not a crown governor ; but held his appointment from the people; he accord