Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

one in session; and Virginia led the way in opposition to it. The resolutions offered by Patrick Henry, assumed a lofty and open ground against taxation. In New England, and particularly in Massachusetts, the same opposition was manifested, and indeed the whole continent was in a flame. It spread from breast to breast, till the conflagration became general. The legislature of Massachusetts met on the last day of May, 1765. A committee reported the expediency of having a general meeting of “committees," from the several assemblies of the colonies, to be held at NewYork, in October following. They also resolved to send circulars to the several assemblies, requesting their concurrence. Twenty-eight deputies, from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina, met at New York, on Monday the 7th of October, 1765. They passed resolutions expressing their motives and principles, and declared their exemption from all taxes, not imposed by their own representatives. They also agreed upon a petition to the king, a memoriál to the house of lords, and a petition to the house of commons.

From the decided opposition to this act, and the indignation manifested against it, in all parts of the colonies, it was deemed proper to repeal it. It was accordingly repealed on the 18th of March, 1766. Much opposition, however, was made to its repeal. Several speakers in both houses of parTiainent, denied the right of taxing the colonies. Mr. Pitt, afterwards lord Chatham, said, “it is . my opinion that this kingdom has no right to lay

a tax upon the colonies. We are told that America is obstinate, almost in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit upstruments to make slaves of all the rest. The

[ocr errors]

sont Ebe fir

alaro

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Americans have been wronged; they have been driven to madness by injustice. Will you punish them for the madness you have occasioned? No; let this country be the first to resume its prudence and temper." He concluded by saying that it was his opinion that the stamp act be repealed, absolutely, totally, and immediately.

In 1767, an act passed the British parliament, laying a heavy duty on tea, glass, paper, and other articles. This act re-kindled the resentment and excited a general opposition among the people of the colonies; and they contended that there was no real difference between the principle of the new act and the stamp act. This act produced resolves, petitions, &c. similar to those with which the colonies opposed the stamp act, and in various parts, particularly in Massachusetts, on the suggestion of Samuel Adams, it was agreed not to import and consume British manufactures.

In 1769, both houses of parliament passed a joint address to his majesty, approbatory of his measures, and that they would support him in such further measures as might be found necessary, to maintain the civil magistrates in a due execution of the laws in Massachusetts Bay. The assembly of Virginia, in this year, passed resolutions complaining of the recent acts of parliament, and remonstrated against the right of transporting the free born subjects of America to England, to be tried for alledged offences committed in the colonies. In 1770, on the 2d of March, the Boston massacre took place. • In 1773, the people of Boston, who were determined not to pay duties on tea, collected in a town meeting, and resolved that the tea should not be landed. At the dissolution of the meeting, about twenty persons, in the disguise of Mohawk Indians, went on board some ships, brokopen 342 chests of tea, and discharged their contents into the water. In Philadelphia, where the spirit of opposition, although not less deep, was less loud, they unloaded some of the cargoes and stored the tea in damp cellars, where it soon moulded. Whole cargoes were returned from New York and Philadelphia. When the news of the destruction of the tea reached England, they determined to punish the people of Boston. In 1774, a bill was passed in parliament, called the Boston port bill, to diseontinue the landing or shipping of any goods, wares, or merchandize, at the harbour of that city. This was followed by an act authorizing the quartering of soldiers in the houses of the citizens, General Gage, in character of commander in chief of the royal forces, and governor of Massachusetts, arrived at Boston, with a military force, to enforce the acts of the parliament. Fortifications were erected, and the ammunition and stores in Cambridge and Charleston, were seized and secured.

The words whigs and tories were now introduced, to distinguish the names of the parties. By the former, were meant those who were for supporting the colonies in their opposition to the tyrannical acts of the British parliament. By the latter, those who were in favour of Great Britain and opposed to resistance.

During these commotions, the first congress of delegates, chosen and appointed by the several colonies and provinces, met at Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th of September,

1774. Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, was unani·mously elected president, and Charles Thompson,

secretary. On the 27th September, congress unanimously resolved, that from and after the 1st of December, 1774, there should be no importation from Great Britain or Ireland, of British goods, &c. On the 8th of October, it was resolved that the congress approve the opposition of the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, to the execution of the obnoxious acts of parliament. An address to the people of Great Britain. ore for the people of Can. ada, another to the inhabitan is vi the colonies, and a petition to the king, were agreed to. On the 22d of September, they passed a resolution recommending delegates to meet again, at Philadelphia, on the 10th May, 1775. The congress was then dissolved.

On the 10th May, 1775, the delegates from the several colonies, with the exception of Rhode Island, assembled at the state house in Philadelphia, when Peyton Randolph, was a second time unanimously elected president, and Charles Thompson, secretary. A few days after they met, Mr. Randolph being under the necessity of returning home, John Hancock, of Massachusetts, was unanimously elected president. On the 26th May, congress resolved, that the colonies be immediately put in a state of defence; that another petition to the king, and a letter to the people of Canada, be prepared, which were adopted. In June, congress resolved to raise several companies of riflemen, &c. and that a general should be appointed to command all the continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty; and GEORGE WASHINGTON, was unanimously elected. Congress, at the same time, resolved, that they would maintain, assist, and adhere to George Washington, with their lives and fortunes, in the same cause. It was also resolved, to put the militia of America in a proper state of defence. On the 6th of July, they adopted a declaration setting forth the causes and necessity of taking up arms. When the concluding paragraph of this address was read to general Putnam's division, which he had ordered to be paraded on Prospect Hill, they shouted in three huzzas, a loud AMEN!

Then follow the most important state papers which emanated from the r volutionary congress, and which follow in succession in our work.

[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

IN CONGRESS, PHILADELPHIA, JULY 6, 1775.

king

pared

- A DECLARATION

solved

and

ndal

BI THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED COL-
ONIES OF NORTH AMERICA, SETTING FORTH
THE CAUSES AND NECESSITY OF THEIR TAKING
UP ARMS.

[ocr errors]

OROL

Con

Directed to be published by General Washington, upon

his arrival at the camp before Boston.

voulu

same tia U. e 6th

m thu

ered

If it was possible for men, who exercise their reason, to believe that the Divine Author of our existence intended a part of the human race to hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded power over others, marked out by his infinite goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal domination never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the inhabitants of these Colonies might at least require from the parliament of Great Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them has been granted to that body. But a rever ence for our great Creator, principles of humanity,

ed ik

t'ess

« AnteriorContinuar »