Abbildungen der Seite

consequences to this country; and to enjoin upon you, as you regard, not only the welfare, but the very being of this people, that you, (consistent with our allegiance to the king, and relation to the government of Great-Britain,) disregarding all proposals for that purpose, exert all your power and influence in opposition to the stamp act, at least, till we hear the result of our petitions for relief. We likewise, to avoid disgracing the memories of our ancestors, as well as the reproaches of our own consciences, and the curses of posterity, recommend it to you to obtain, if possible, in the honourable house of representatives of this province, a full and explicit' assertion of our rights, and to have them entered upon the public records, that all generations yet to come, may be convinced that we have not only a 'just sense of our rights and liberties, but that we never,, with submission to Divine Providence, will be -slaves to any power on earth.” ... ..::::

... This excellent paper needs no comment; we will pursue this highly interesting and important subject, in its subsequent relations and bearings. . . . . is Although the spirit of America bad rallied round the standard of liberty, and bid defiance to the operations of the stamp act, and filled parliament with her remonstrances and petitions for a repeal of this unrighteous measure, yet the hearts of the ministry. were not open to conviction, nor was the prospect of relief favourable to the colonies. Fired with a just indignation at the obstinacy of the parliament, the merchants of New-York resolved to direct their agents and correspondents not to ship any more goods, until the stamp act should be repealed ; and that they would not sell any more British goods upon commission, after the first day of January next, unless upon that condition. They also recommended the same as. a non-importation agreement throughout the colonies. In Tae Bod bude p3361107 to tasso ***?!! ! Ajo qind

November, the merchants of Philadelphia' adopted the measure, and in December the same was adopted in Boston. At the same time, “ certain mutual concessions and associations were made, concluded, and agreed upon, between the sons of liberty in the colonies of New York and Connecticut, the 25th day of December, in the sixth year of the reign of our sovereign lord, George III. by the grace of God, king of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith ; and in the year of our Lord, 1765: ?

5 The aforesaid parties, taking into their most serious consideration, thejmelancholly and unsettled state of GreatBritain, and her North American colonies, proceeding, as they are fully persuaded, from a design in her most insidious and inveterate enemies, to alienate the affections of his majesty's most loyal and faithful subjects of North America from his person and government. Therefore, to prevent as much as in us Įies, the dissolution of so inestimable a union, they do, in the presence of Almighty God, declare, that they bear the most unshaken faith, and true allegiance to his majesty, King George the third. That they are most affectionately and zealously attached to his royal person and family, and are fully determined, to the utmost of their power, to support and maintain his crown and dig. nity, and the succession, as by law established, and with the greatest cheerfulness they submit to his government, according to the known and just principles of the British constitution, which they conceive to be founded upon the eternal and immutable principles of justice and equity, and that every attempt to violate or wrest it, or any part of it from them, under whatever pretence or authority, is an heinous sin against God, and the most daring contempt of the people, from whom (under God) all just government springs. From a sacred regard to all which, and a just sense of the impending evils that might befal them, in consequence of such a dreadful dissolution, they do hereby

yoluntarily, and of their own free will, as well for the support of his majesty's just prerogative and the British constitution, as their own mutual security and preservation, agree and concede, to associate, advise, protect and defend each other in the peaceable, full, and just enjoyment of their inherent, and accustomed rights, as British subjects, of their respective colonies, not in the least desiring any alteration or innovation in the grand bulwark of their liberties, and the wisdom of agcs; but only to preserve it inviolable from the corrupt bands of its implacable enemies. And whereas a certain pamphlet has appeared in America, in the form of an act of parliament, called and known by the name of the stamp act; but has never been legally published or introduced, neither can it be, as it would immediately deprive them of the most invaluable part of the British constitution, viz. the trial by juries, and the most just mode of taxation in the world, that is of taxing themselves; rights which every British subject becomes heir to as soon as he is born. For the preservation of which, and every part of the British constitution, they do reciprocally resolve and determine to march with the utmost dispatch, at their own proper cost and expence, on the first proper notice, (which must be signified to them by at least six of the sons of liberty,) with their whole force, if required, and it can be spared, to the relief of those that are, or may be in danger from the stamp act, or its promoters or abettors, or any thing relative to it, on account of any thing that may have been done in opposition to its obtaining. And they do most fervently recommend it to each other, to be vigilant in watching ail those who, from the nature of their offices, vócations, or dispositions, may be the most likely to introduce the use of stamped paper, to the total subversion of the British constitution, and American liberty : and the same when discovered immediately to advise each other of, let them be of what rank or condition

soever. And they do agree that they will mutually, and to the utmost of their power, by all just ways and means, endeavour to bring all such betrayers of their country to the most condign punishment. And further they do mu. tually resolve to deferid the liberty of the press, in their respective colonies, from all unlawful violations and impediments whatever, on account of the said act, as the only means (under Divine Providence) of preserving their lives, liberties, and fortunes, and the same in regard to the judg. es, clerks, attorneys, that shall proceed without any regard to the stamp act, from all pains, penalties, fiues and mulcts, or any molestation whatever. And finally that they will, to the utmost of their power, endeavour to bring about, accomplish, and perfect the like associations for all the other colonies on the continent, for the like salutary purposes and no other."

This spirit of association was communicated to Massachusetts, and by them to New Hampshire, the sense of the people was taken by their towns, and a mutual union was the result. · New-York made the same communications to the south, and the same happy result ensued, until all the colonies were embraced in one bond of mutual union, for protection, and defence. These proceedings in America 'reached Great Britain, and greatly agitated the public mind, both in, and out of Parliament. Mr. Grenville moved, that the stamp act should be enforced ; this motion was negatived by 274 to 134. Mr. Grenville was soon removed from his place and succeeded by the Marquis of Rockingham, whose views ware less hostile to America. Numerous petitions now crowded inupon Parliament, both from America, and the merchants, and manufacturers of England, urging the repeal of the stamp act; such was the force of the non-importation agree. ment. And to crown all, the great William Pitt declared

openly in Parliament, that they had no right to tav the colonies, and that he was glad they had resisted. This struck the ministry, as with a clap of thunder, and gave strength, and confidence to the friends of America. Although numerous petitions were admitted by Parliament, yet the petition of the congress at New-York was rejected, upon the ground, that they were not convened by the authority of the crown.

The crisis had now arrived, to decide the fate of America, when General Conway, that champion of the opposition to this odious bill, at its first introduction, moved that the stamp act be repealed. Warm were the feelings that flowed forth upon this long and interesting debate ; but at three o'clock in the morning, the decisive question was taken by a vote of 275 to 167, and the stainp act was repealed.

Such was the agitation of the public feeling, particularly of the mercantile interest, that the champion of their deliverance was overwhelmed with the burst of applausc, as soon as the house was adjourned, and the multitude were ready to devour him with their caresses. Thus far the public mind was relieved; but the House of Lords had not yet acted on the bill, and their objection to the bill was bottomed upon the declaration, that his majesty was opposed to the repeal. Added to this, the Dukes of York and Cumberland, and all the officers of the king's household, were disposed to carry fire and gword into the colpies of America, and make them another Glenco in Scotland. This was also the voice of the bench of bishops. But the Marquis of Rockingham, Lord Shelburn, and others, waited on his majesty, and disclosed the truth to his royal ear, which changed his mind, and when the momentous question was put, it was decided by a vote of 105 to 71. The stamp act was repealed.

« ZurückWeiter »