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the riotous opposition would soon destroy itself, by the acts of its own violence, as is common to mobs in England, and 'that the stamp law would execute itself. By this it was understood also, that the revenue on stamps, would pay a standing army, who should keep the peace. To provide for such an army, Mr. Grenville projected another bill, authorising all military officers, stationed in the colonies of America, to quarter their soldiers upon the people in private houses. This bill, which embraced the most oppressive and abandoned principle in the whole catalogue of military despotism, was designed to awe the colonies into a compliance with the former, as well as all subsequent acts of oppression, and thus keep the peace, by passive obedience, and non-resistance, as in England. This bill failed in part; but so much of it passed, (corrupt as it was) as compelled the several legislatures in the colonies, to provide by law, for the support of such troops, at the expence of the colonies; which law continued in force after the Stamp Act was repealed. Thus the principles of despotism were unfolded at one view, and the colonies saw nothing before them, but resistance, or slavery; yes, even the slavery of Ireland, at the point of the bayonet. Those sons of the Pilgrims whose sires had subdued the forest, the savage, and the French, and planted the church in the wilderness, lost not a moment in their choice. The expression in the memorable speech of Mr. Barre, in parliameni^jSons of Liberty,'''' fired the breast of every true born son of--liberty in Massachusetts, and under this endearing appellation, they rallied round the standard of liberty, and stood forth the champions of their country's rights. Connecticut had not yet become awake to a sense of her wrongs, and Virginia was passive until the patriot souls of a George Johnston, and a Patric Henry, kindled the spark of liberty, which beamed forth in the mighty
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blaze of the following Resolutions, which passed the House of Burgesses in Virginia, then in session..
"Resolved, That the first adventurers, settlers of this his majesty's colony, and dominion, of Virginia, brought with them and transmitted to their posterity, and all others, his majesty's subjects, since inhabiting this his said majesty's colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great-Britain.
"Resolved, That by two royal charters, granted by King James t. the colonists aforesaid, are declared, and entitled to the liberties, privileges, and immunities of denizens, and natural subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been born, and abiding, within the realm of England.
"Resolved, That his majesty's liege people of this ancient colony, have enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own assembly, in the articles of taxes, and internal police; and that the same have never been forfeited, or in any other way yielded up; but have been constantly recognised by the king, and people of England.
"Resolved therefore, That the General Assembly of this colony, together with his majesty, or his substitutes, have in their representative capacity, the only exclusive right, and power, to lay taxes, and imposts upon the inhabitants of this colony ; and that every attempt to vest such a power in any other person,' or persons whatsoever, than the General Assembly aforesaid, is illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust; and hath a manifest tendency to destroy British, as well as American liberty.
"Resolved, That his majesty's liege people, the inhabitants of this colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law, or ordinance whatever, designed to impose' auy taxation, whatsoever, upon them, other than the laws, or ordinances, of the General Assembly aforesaid.
"Resolved, That any person who shall, by speaking, or writing, assert, or maintain, that any person or persons, other than the General Assembly of this colony, have any right, or power to impose, or lay any taxation on the people here, shall be deemed an enemy to this his majesty's colony."
Here is a display of that greatness of soul, that distinguished the true born sons of liberty in America, at that eventful day, and has recorded the illustrious names of a Johnston and a Henry, in the temple of immortal fame.
The hearts of such foreign members, as were present in the house of Burgesses, were appalled at such a display of magnanimity, and cried out treason ; but the house, true to -.itself, and its country, passed the resolves, and thus led the way to independence, and glory. Stung with chagrin, at such daring oppressions of liberty, the creature of the crown, Farquier, who acted as lieutenant-governor, dissolved the assembly.
At the same time, the house of assembly in Massachusetts, passed the following resolve.
"Resolved, That it is highly expedient, that there should be a meeting, as soon as may be, of committees from the houses of Burgesses, or representatives, in the several colonies, to consult on the present circumstances of the colonies,-and the difficulties to which they are, and must be reduced, and to consider on a general congress, to be held at New-York the first Tuesday in October."
This resolution was sent to the speakers of the several assemblies, in two days after, and soon after, James Otis, Jun. Oliver Partridge, and Timothoy Ruggles, where chosen a committee for Massachusetts.
The resolutions of Virginia, as above, flew like lightning throughout the colonies, accompanied by the resolve of the general court of Massachusetts; the spirit of liberty caught the flame, became universal, and united in a focal point, at the congress in New-York.
This congress, faithful to their trust, met at the time, drew up, and signed a petition to the British House of Commons, which was forwarded to their agents in London, to be presented in due form. As soon as the business of the congress was closed, and the petition forwarded, a succession of mobs, and riots, commenced in Boston, in which the highly exasperated public feeling, was expressed against the known officers, and friends of the British government, and measures, in America, in the most daring, and outrageous^ manner. These commenced by hanging their persons in effigy, upon the limbs of an ancient elm. near to the most public entrance into the town of Boston, • whose persons were designated by labels; where they hung through the day, and at evening they were cut down, and conveyed to Fort Hill, amidst the acclamations of a vast concourse of the populace, shouting "liberty and property forever, but no stamp act;" where they were burnt in due form, amidst the plaudits of the populace, and the continued cry of "liberty and property forever* but no stamps." In their way, the mob demolished a large new brick building, which they supposed to be de~ , signed for the stamp office, and at the same time broke all the front windows of the house of Mr. Oliver, the stamp officer. Not satisfied with this, when they had closed the ceremony of burning his effigy, they returned to his house, armed with clubs, staves, &c. (the common instruments of the mob) and demolished his fences, gardens, and furniture, together with all the remaining windows, and at midnight they retired, leaving the wreck of • bis house standing.
This riot commenced on the 15th of August, 1765, and on the 25th, they were renewed upon the houses, and property, of several other suspected officers of the crown, and on the 26th, they reached the house of the chief justice, Hutchinson; and such .was the rage and fury of the mob, that they exceeded on these two days, the violence of the first, and some of the best finished, and best furnished houses in the colony, were ruined and destroyed, excepting the bare walls, which stood as monuments of the desperate fury of the rioters. Money, plate, papers, books, and furniture, were all devoted to indiscriminate destruction, and even the owners themselves would have been sacrificed, could they havebecn found.
Such was the violence, and fury of the mob, that old. and experienced military officers declared, that it far exceeded all the sacking of towns which they had ever Witnessed in Germany.
The town of Boston met the next day, and passed resolves, authorising and directing the selectmen to use their endeavours, to suppress all riots for the future, and the military was put in requisition for the purpose, both night and day, which took effect.
On the 24th and 27, the same spirit caught in RhodeIsland, at Providence, and Newport, and the same riotous disorders commenced; but they were appeased, before they had extended to the same degree of violence as in Boston.
The same farce, of burning in effigy, Mr. Ingersoll the stamp-master, was exhibited in Connecticut; but the scenes were less violent here than in Rhode-Island. The populace met Mr. Ingersoll on his way from New-Haven to Hartford, and such was his alarm for his personal safety, that he publicly resigned his office, in the high way in Wethersfield, where he stood paraded upon a large table, and amidst the acclamations of a large concourse of people, twirled his hat into the air, and exclaimed, "liberty and property, and no stamp act.^ Thai