Abbildungen der Seite


CHAP. II. cuted, six were acquitted, and the remaining 1770. two found guilty, not of murder, but of man

slaughter only. Mr. Quincy, and mr. John Adams, two very eminent lawyers, and distinguished leaders of the patriotic party, consented to defend captain Preston and the soldiers; and by doing so, sustained no diminution of their influence. Yet this event was very differently understood through the colonies. It was generally believed to be a massacre equally barbarous and unprovoked; and increased, in no inconsiderable degree, the detestation in which the soldiers, stationed among the people, were every where held,


Insurrection in North Carolina....Dissatisfaction of Mas.

sachussetts....Corresponding committees appointed.... Governor Hutchinson's correspondence with the administration sent over by doctor Franklin.... The assembly petition for the removal of the governor and lieutenant governor....Hutchinson is succeeded by general Gage ....Measures to enforce the execution of the act concerning duties.... Ferment excited in America.... The tea is thrown into the sea at Boston....Measures of parliament....General enthusiasm in America....A general congress is proposed....General Gage arrives in Boston ....Troops stationed on Boston neck.... New counsellors and judges.... Obliged to resign.... Boston neck fortified .... Military stores seized by general Gage.... Prepara. tions for defence in Massachussetts....King's speech in parliament.... Proceedings of that body....Battle of Lexington.... Vote of Massachussetts for raising men.... Meeting of congress.... Proceedings of that body.... Transactions in Virginia.... Provincial congress of South Carolina.... Battle of Breeds hill.

In the middle and southern colonies, the irrita. 1770. tion against the mother country appears to have subsided in a considerable degree; and no disposition was manifested, to extend their opposition further than to defeat the collection of the revenue, by entirely preventing the importation of tea. Their attention was a good Insurrection deal taken up by an insurrection in North Carolina Carolina, where a number of ignorant people, supposing themselves to be aggrieved by the

CHAP. III. fee bill, rose in arms for the purpose of shut1770. ting up the courts of justice, destroying all

officers of government, and all lawyers, and of prostrating government itself. Governor Tryon marched against them, and having, in a decisive battle, totally defeated them, the insurrection was quelled, and order restored.

In Massachussetts, where very high opinions of American rights had long been imbibed; and where the doctrine, that the British parliament could not rightfully legislate for the Americans

was already maintained as a corollary from the Dissatisface proposition that the British parliament could sachussetts. not tax them; a gloomy discontent with the

existing state of things was every where mani. fested. That the spirit of opposition lately excited, seemed expiring, without having established on a secure and solid basis the rights they claimed, excited, in the bosoms of that inflexible people, apprehensions of a much more serious nature than would have been created by any conflict with which they could be threatened. This temper displayed itself in all their proceedings. The legislature had been removed from Boston, its usual place of sitting, to Cambridge, where the governor still continued to convene them. They remonstrated against this, as an intolerable grievance, and for two sessions refused to do business. In one of these remonstrances, they insist on the right of the people to appeal to Heaven in


disputes between them and persons in power, CHAP. III. when those in power shall abuse it.

When assembled in September, the general September. court was informed by the governor, that his majesty had ordered the provincial garrison in the castle to be withdrawn, and regular troops to succeed them. This they declared to be so essential an alteration of their constitution, as justly to alarm a free people.

From the commencement of the contest, CorrespondMassachussetts appears to have deeply felt the mittete importance of uniting all the colonies in one system of measures; and, in pursuance of this favourite idea, a committee of correspondence was at this session elected, to communicate with such committees as might be appointed by other colonies. Similar committees were soon afterwards chosen by the different towns* throughout the province, for the purpose of corresponding with each other, and of expressing, in some degree officially, the sentiments of the people. Their reciprocal communications were well calculated to keep up the spirit, which was general through the colony. The example was afterwards followed by other colonies, and the utility of this institution became apparent, when a more active opposition was rendered necessary.


* See Note, No. X, at the end of the volume.



Although the governor, judges, and other 1772. high colonial officers had been appointed by the

crown, they had hitherto depended on the provincial legislatures for their salaries; and this dependence had always been highly valued, as giving to the colonies an important influence on their conduct. It has been already seen, how perseveringly this source of influence was maintained by Massachussetts on a former occasion. As a part of the new system, it had been determined that the salaries of these officers should be fixed by the crown, and paid without the intervention of the legislature. This measure was adopted in relation to all the royal governments, and was communicated to the general court of Massachussetts in May. It gave high offence, and was declared by the house of representatives to be an infraction of the rights of the inhabitants, granted them by charter. *

* "

“A committee having been appointed to consider the matter of the governor's support being provided for by the king, reported and observed, that the king's providing for the support of the governor is a most dangerous innovation. It is a measure whereby not only the right of the general assembly of this province is rescinded, but the highest indignity is thrown upon it. It is an infraction of the charter in a material point, whereby a most important trust is wrested out of the hands of the general assembly.' And the house, the same day, declared, by a message to the governor, that the making provision for his excellency's support, independent of the grants

« ZurückWeiter »