Abbildungen der Seite

nature, and commending, among other important subjects a provincial congress, and that the collectors of taxes, and all officers who have public monies in their hands, retain the same until the civil government of the province be placed upon a constitutional foundation, or until it shall otherwise be ordered by the provincial congress; having been taken into consideration-it was unanimously agreed, “That this assembly deeply feels the sufferings of their countrymen in Massachussetts Bay under the operation of the late unjust, cruel, and oppressive acts of the British parliament, that they most thoroughly approve the wisdom and fortitude with which the opposition to these wicked ministerial measures has hitherto been conducted, and they earnestly recommend to their brethren, a perseverance in the same firm and temperate conduct as expressed in the resolutions determined upon at a meeting of the delegates for the county of Suffolk, trusting that the effect of the united efforts of North America in their behalf will carry such conviction to the British nation of the unwise, unjust, and ruinous policy of the present administration, as quickly to introduce better men and wiser ineasures.”

charter of the colony, that sacred barrier against the encroachments of tyranny is mutilated, and in effect annihilated; whereby a murderous law is framed to shelter villains from the hands of justice; whereby the unalienable and inestimable inheritance, which we derived from nature, the constitution of Britain, and the privileges warranted to us in the charter of the province, is totally wrecked, annulled, and vacated: posterity will acknowledge that virtue which preserved them free and happy; and while we enjoy the rewards and blessings of the faithful, the torrent of panegyrists will "extol our reputations to that latest period, when the streains of time shall be absorbed in the abyss of eternity. Therefore resolved," &c. &c. &c.


It was also resolved unanimously, " that contributions from all the colonies for supplying the necessities, and alleviating the distresses, of our brethren at Boston, ought to be continued in such manner, and so long, as their occasions may require."

The merchants of the several colonies were re. quested not to send to Great Britain any orders for goods, and to direct the execution of all orders al. ready sent to be suspended until the sense of congress, on the means to be taken for the preservation of the liberties of America, be made public. In a few days, resolutions were entered into, suspending the importation of goods from Great Britain or Ireland, or any of their dependencies, and of their manufactures from any place whatever, after the first day of the succeeding December ; and against the purchase or use of such goods. It was also determined that all exports to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, should cease on the 10th of September, 1775, unless American grievances should be redressed before that time. An association corresponding with these resolutions was then framed,

[ocr errors][merged small]

and signed by every member present. Never were laws more faithfully observed than the resolves of congress at this period, and their association was of consequence universally adopted. . ; Very early in the session, a declaration of rights,


* “Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath in some acts expressly imposed taxes upon them; and, in others, under various preterices, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, liath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admirally, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county. :

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estales at will in their offices, have been made de. pendent on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in time of peace: and whereas, it has lately been resolved in parliament, that by force of a statute made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry VIII. colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisons, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.

And whereas in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; one, entitledl,' An act to discontinue in such manner, and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of goods,wares, and merchandize, at the town and within the harbour of Boston in the province of Massachussetts Bay, in North America ;'another, entitled, ' Anact for the better regulat

in the shape of resolves, was agreed to, which merits peculiar attention because it states precisely the


ing the government of the province of Massachussetts Bay in New England ;' and another, entitled, 'An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the case of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumulls, in the province of Massachussetts' Bay in New England;' and another statute was then made, for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec,' &c.-All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous, and destructive pf American rights.

And whereas assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to delibesate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt by his Majesty's ministers of state; the good people of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachussetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, justly alarmed at the arbitrary proceedings of par. liament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet and sit in general congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties may not be subverted: whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration the best means of obtaining the ends afore. said, do, in the first place, as Englishmen their ancestors in like cases bave usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights

3 P


ground now taken by America, and evidences the terms' on which a satisfactory reconciliation was


and liberties, DECLARÉ, that the inhabitants of the English colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following rights:

Resolved, N. C. D. Ist, That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property; and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

Resolved, N. C. D. 2d, That our ancestors, who first settled in these colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, ai.d immunities of free and natural born subjects within the realm of England..

Resolved, N. C. D. 3d, That by such enigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enabled them to exercise and enjoy.

Resoloed, 4th, That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people 10 participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances cannot properly be represented in the British Parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, wliere their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation, and internal policy, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed: but from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interests of both countries, we cheerfully con. sent to the operation of such acts of the British Parliament, as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce,


« ZurückWeiter »