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fused into the colonies appears in the alacrity with which they voted men and money and supplies of war, Dr. Franklin states that the number of Americans, or provincial troops, employed in the war was greater than that of the regulars, and that the colo•nies raised, paid, and clothed nearly twenty-five thousand men, a number equal to those sent from Great Britain, and far beyond their proportion. In a letter from Boston of December 18, 1766, preserved in a newspaper extract in a curious volume entitled “ Lord Chatham's Clippings,” it is stated that the Royal Americans engaged in the single campaign which resulted in the capture of Quebec amounted to fifteen thousand men. Little wonder, therefore, that Pitt should hold himself the unflinching friend of the hardy colonists who had made his victory possible; for without their aid, under the material conditions of the last century, the Canadas could not have been wrested from the grasp of France. In the spring of 1762 the French ministry, disheartened by defeat, and at a loss for means to continue the war, made overtures for peace. In November the treaty was signed at Paris by England and Portugal on the one hand, and the Bourbon houses of France and Spain on the other. To England were ceded all the French possessions in America, the Spanish possessions of Florida, all Louisiana to the Mississippi, except New Orleans, which France transferred to Spain in consideration of the cession of the Floridas, on which England insisted to complete the Atlantic border of the colonial settlements.
Nowhere was the glorious peace hailed with more patriotic joy than in the American colonies; not alone because it brought to an end the border warfare with its aggravations of savage cruelty, but because it was the triumph of England, that mother-country with whose every heart-beat their own pulses throbbed in unison.
The peace was ratified on February 10, 1763. The joy of the colonists was dashed by the dread which had grown upon them of serious encroachments on their own rights and liberties since the enforced retirement of Pitt. They seem to have been perfectly aware of the nature of the threatening contest. One of the colonial governors, Hutchinson of Massachusetts-like Colden, a subservient upholder of the royal prerogative,--said: "A good peace with foreign enemies would enable us to make a better deience against our domestic foes.”
In February, 1763, the Earl of Bute, in prosecution of a well
matured plan, removed Lord Sandys from the board of trade and put Charles Townshend, an ambitious statesman, able and unscrupulous where his ambition was at stake, in his place. Although holding only the office of first lord of trade, Townshend had also a seat in the cabinet, counseled the king in person on administration affairs, and, while the self-willed Egremont still held the nominal control, Townshend became the actual secretary of state for the colonies.
On March 9, 1763, Townshend introduced the first part of the scheme for taxing America by act of parliament. The supplies demanded for the first year of peace alarmed the House of Commons, and they were eager for any method of relief. It was shown that the duty on the trade of the American colonies with the French and Spanish West Indies was ineffectual because prohibitory; and in a general way that the collection of a colonial revenue of two thousand pounds cost the customs department in Great Britain between seven and eight thousand a year. The fact was lost sight of that this difference passed into the pockets mainly of the government officers who held these sinecures. Indeed it may be here asserted that the system of British colonial government was a system of plunder by the officials of each home administration in turn. Townshend's plan was to reduce the duty, but rigidly to enforce its collection. Although the plan of an act further to raise revenue by stamps was at this time indubitably in the minds of the ministry (the amount to be raised to be sufficient to support the army establishment in America), it was not as yet declared. It was Grenville's share to bring forward a bill for the enforcement of the navigation laws, authorizing the employment of ships of the navy and turning its officers and seamen into customs authorities and informers.
These arrangements were supplemented by an act of parliament establishing a standing army in America. This was the last important act of Bute's administration. In April the seals were given to George Grenville, and the administration of affairs fell into the hands of a triumvirate of which he was the head, as chancellor of the exchequer, while Egremont and Halifax were secretaries of state. Jenkinson, Bute's efficient assistant, became principal secretary of the treasury.
The details of American administration now fell to Halifax, whose experience was large, and the new measures were rapidly
brought forward. On the morning of September 22, 1763, three lords of the treasury, with George Grenville at their head, held a meeting at their council-board in Downing street, and adopted a minute directing Jenkinson, the first secretary of the treasury, to “write to the Commissioners of the Stamp Duties to prepare the draft of a bill to be presented to Parliament for extending the stamp duties to the colonies.” This order was at once executed. Mr. Bancroft, in his account of this period, asks the question, “Who was the author of the American Stamp Act?” Jenkinson said later in the House of Commons that “if the Stamp Act was a good measure the merit of it was not due to Grenville; if it was a bad one the ill policy did not belong to him." But he never informed the house, nor indeed any one else during his life, who
was its author. Bancroft relieves Bute from the charge; but Lord North, who supported the act, said in the House of Commons that he took the propriety of passing it from Grenville's authority. In point of fact, the first proposition to tax the colonies by means of stamped paper
made by LieutenantGovernor Clarke of New York, in 1744, to the lords of trade; but Governor Clinton, in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle on December 13 of that year, doubted the expediency of the measure, as being contrary to the spirit of the people, “who are quite strangers to any duty but such as they raise themselves."
Grenville's proposal, made on March 9, to draw a revenue from America by stamps, and his notice that a bill would be introduced at the next session, crystallized public opinion on both sides of the ocean. On his challenging the opposition in the Commons to deny the right of parliament, no voice was lifted in reply, and the next day was resolved that such right existed and that its exercise was proper.
It is true that the house was thin and the hour late, and that the declaration of the minister was only of intention.
OLD BLUE BELL TAVERN.
But if the crystallization of opinion in England united all parties, including the friends of America, in defense of the right of parliament to impose taxes on the colonies, that same process united all parties in America in the denial of that right, and in the assertion of the doctrine which had been claimed in the New York colony since 1683, that taxation without representation was a wrong and an injustice to which no freeman would submit. Nor yet, in view of the menace of the twenty regiments of British soldiers to be sent over and quartered in the chief cities, were they willing to avoid the issue or postpone it by assenting in advance to the proposed act, as was suggested by their “well wishers” abroad. . There was still a faint hope that by earnest representation of the agents of the colonies abroad and by respectful petition to the king and parliament the blow might be averted.
The assembly of New York was the first to petition the king and parliament in a respectful representation on October 18, 1764. After a declaration of inviolable fidelity, they recited “ that in the three branches of the political frame of Government established in the year 1683, viz., the Governor, a Council of the Royal appointment, and the representatives of the People, was lodged the legislative authority of the Colony, and particularly the power of taxing its inhabitants for the support of the Government; that the people of the Colony consider themselves in a state of perfect eqality with their fellow-subjects in Great Britain, and as a political body enjoying like the inhabitants of that country the exclusive right of taxing themselves; a right which whether inherent in the people or sprung from any other source has received the Royal Sanction, is at the basis of our Colony State, and become venerable by long usage; that the Representatives for the Colony of New York cannot therefore without the strongest demonstrations of grief express their sentiments on the late intimation of a design to impose taxes on the Colonies by laws to be passed in Great Britain and they invite the King to interpose his prerogative on the unconstitutional law.” On the same day, and by the same resolution in which the transmission of these memorials ordered, the assembly created a committee to correspond with the several assemblies on the American continent upon the several objectionable acts of parliament lately passed with relation to the trade of the northern colonies, and also on the subject “of the impending dangers which threaten the Colonies of being taxed by