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the 10th of May, and it took place on the lst of June ; thence to continue in full force, tillit shall sufficiently appear to his majesty, that full satisfaction has been made, &c. So short a space is given for staying the torrent of threatened evils, that the subject, although exerting his utmost energy, must be overwhelmed, and driven to madness, by terms of deliverance, which deny relief till his ruin is inevitable."
This description of the effects upon the city thus inhumanly condemned to ruin, was not exaggerated. The deepest distress pervaded all classes. Capital could no longer be used, and labor had no more employment. The common necessaries of life were hardly within the reach of the opulent, and the poor became suddenly destitute almost of food. Animated by the spirit of liberty, they, however, bore these inflictions with inflexible constancy. Contributions for their relief soon poured in from all parts. Corporate bodies, town-meetings, popular assemblages, individual charity and sympathy sent them aid, encouragement, and applause. The inhabitants of Marblehead tendered the Boston merchants the use of their harbor, wharves, warehouses, and their own personal attendance, free of charge; and the people of Salem, whither it had been thought that the course of trade would turn, magnanimously refused to accept the boon, and concluded a generous remon- . strance, with the protestation,—“We must be dead to every idea of justice, lost to all feelings of humanity, could we indulge one thought to seize on wealth, and raise our fortunes on the ruins of our suffering neighbours."
The evils of the Port Bill extended themselves throughout the colony, spreading general distress upon a large and populous province, in punishment of an untried offence, which amounted, in the worst sense, to an act of trespass against the property of the East India Company, by some unknown offenders. - One great benefit to the general cause, however, sprung out of it, which counterbalanced the partial evils, intense as they were in their effects. The feelings of all America were aroused to a pitch of uncontrollable resentment, and they perceived the futility of expecting any relenting in the course of British oppression, unless extorted by the united resistance of the colonies.
Just after the dissolution of the Massachusetts Assembly, the two additional acts, for “the better regulating the government of Massachusetts Bay," and for the “impartial
- administration of justice ;" reached America, and added new fuel to the flame of discontent. Additional force arrived, and was quartered in the town; and Governor Gage proceeded, against the remonstrances and protests of the people and authorities of the town, to fortify Boston Neck, the only entrance into the city, since the suspension of all access by water, under the infamous Port act. : On the 5th of September, the first Congress of the united
colonies met at Philadelphia. A more august assemblage in the weight of character of the members, the ex
Sept. 1774. citing causes, and momentous questions which brought them together, the subsequent distinction acquired by the leading men who composed it,-a distinction unsurpassed by that of any other names in history, and in the vast consequences to America and to the world, which flowed from their wisdom, virtue, and courage, never met before or since, in any country or nation. Thirteen colonies were represented. Their names, and those of their delegates, follow:
Massachusetts—Thomas Cushing, James Bowdoin, Robert Treat Paine, Samuel Adams, and John Adams. New Hampshire-John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Folsom.
Connecticut-Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, and Silas Deane.
Rhode Island—Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward."
New York—Isaac Low, John Alsop, John Jay, James Duane, William Floyd, Henry Weisner, and Samuel Bocrum.
Pennsylvania-John Dickinson, Thomas Mifflin, Joseph Galloway, Charles Humphreys, Edward Biddle, John Morton, and George Ross.
New Jersey-James Kinsey, William Livingston, Stephen Crane, and Richard Smith.
Delaware-Cæsar Rodney, Thomas M'Kean, and George Read.
Maryland Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, William Paca, and Samuel Chase.
Virginia – Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edward Pendleton.
North Carolina-William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and R. Caswell.
South Carolina Henry Middleton, Thomas Lynch, Chris. topher Gadsden, John Rutledge, and Edward Rutledge.
The Congress organized themselves by the appointment of
Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, as President, and Charles Thompson, of Pennsylvania, Secretary. The leading orators were Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, and John Adams, of Massachusetts. The business opened by Patrick Henry, who had already acquired a reputation co-extensive with the continent, for extraordinary eloquence, great courage, ability, and energy, and invincible patriotism.
It was settled that each colony should have only one vote in determining questions, and committees were appointed to state the rights of the colonies, and the wrongs they had suffered, by the acts of parliament since 1763; to prepare petitions to the king, to the people of Great Britain, to the people of Canada, and to the several colonies. Resolutions, which had been adopted by the people of Suffolk county, in Massachusetts, remarkable for energy and boldness, were taken up at an early day, and unanimously approved. Among those resolutions was one recommending all collectors of taxes, and other officers having public moneys in their hands, to retain the same until the civil government of the province should be placed on a “constitutional foundation," or it should be otherwise ordered by a " Provincial Congress. ” Congress, among the first of their acts, “thoroughly commended these resolves, as the counsels of “wisdom and fortitude."
On the 8th of October, resolutions were adopted still more explicitly commending the course of Massachusetts, and pledging the rest of the provinces to adhere to her, throughout, in her conflict with “wicked ministers." Two of these were in the following terms:
Resolved, That this Congress do approve of the opposition made by the inhabitants of the Massachusetts Bay, to the execution of the late acts of Parliament; and if the same shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case all America ought to support them in their opposition.
Resolved, unanimously, That every person or persons who soever, who shall take, accept, or act under any commission or authority, in any wise derived from the act passed in the last session of Parliament, changing the form of government and violating the charter of the province of Massachusetts Bay, ought to be held in detestation and abhorrence by all good
men, and considered as the wicked tools of that despotism, which is preparing to destroy those rights, which God, nature, and compact have given to America."
On the 14th, a declaration of rights was adopted, asserting the liberties and privileges of the colonies, by nature, compact, and under the British constitution; and reciting the several acts of the British parliament, which were considered as infringing them. They were those which we have endeavored to trace succinctly in this volume—the acts of 1764-5-6, and '7, for imposing duties for revenue, beginning with the molasses act, and ending with the tea tax; for extending the power of the admiralty courts, and for suspending the trial by jury; the act of 1772, arising out of the Gaspee affair, creating a new criminal offence, and depriving American citizens of the right of trial by a jury of the vicinage, and making them liable to transportation to any part of Great Britain for trial; and the three acts passed at the preceding session (of 1774);—the Boston port bill, the bill for altering the charter of Massachusetts, and the bill for the adıninistration of justice. The Quebec act passed at the same time, which was designed to repress the growth of the colonies, by extending the limits of Canada, and setting up adverse institutions and interests there, was included in the list; as was also the act for quartering soldiers in America. A distinct resolution was passed, that “the keeping of a standing army in several of these colonies in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of the colony in which such army was kept, is against law."
As the most effectual means of enforcing the attention of the people of Great Britain to these demands, the Congress entered into a general non-importation agreement for themselves and their constituents. By this they bound themselves, and those whom they represented, to cease, after the ensuing December, all importations whatsoever from Great Britain or Ireland, directly or indirectly; all East India tea from any part of the world ; most of the productions of the West Indian islands, and other numerous articles from places through which Great Britain might be benefited. To this was added an agreement, to take effect instantly, not to use any goods upon which duties were claimed, or had been, or should be, paid; and a third to export nothing whatever to Great Britain, Ireland, or the West Indies, after the 10th of September, 1775, in case the acts complained of should
not be repealed before that date. Efficient measures were taken for organizing committees in every county, city, and town, to see that this agreement was enforced, by every species of popular influence.
The addresses which accompanied these measures cannot be read without the highest admiration of the courage, genius, patriotism, and eloquence of the authors. They are documents from which to extract is to mutilate, and of which no detached fragment can give an adequate idea. They should be read and studied by Americans in all generations, as models of elevated style, dignity of remonstrance, and lofty purity of principle. When they were brought before the British House of Lords, Lord Chatham passed upon them this noble eulogium-"For myself, I must declare and avow, that in all my reading and observation--and history has been my favorite study—I have read Thucydides and have studied and admired the master states of the worldthat for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, no nation, or body of men, can stand in preference to the general congress at Philadelphia."
The address to the people of Great Britain contained the following announcement of the alternatives to which the colonies looked. “ If you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of mankind; if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of law, the principles of the constitution, nor the suggestions of humanity, can restrain
your hands from shedding human blood, in such an impious cause, we must then tell you that we will never submit to be hewers of wood, or drawers of water, for any ministry or nation in the world.”
" Place us in the same circumstances in which we were at the close of the late war, and our former harmony will be restored.
“But lest the same supineness, and the same inattention to our common interest, which you have for several years shown, should continue, we think it necessary to anticipate the consequences.”
In the address to the “people of the colonies," they advise them to be prepared for the worst,' and for every contingency.'
After a session of eight weeks, Congress dissolved themselves, having previously given it as their opinion, that another Congress should be held on the 10th of the next