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gether with such of their friends as were aiding and assist, ing, and beat and wounded them severely ; they next proceeded to attack their houses, and the same scenes were acted over again in Boston, which we have witnessed under the stamp act. . These riotous tumults continued about three days, in which time the commissioners of the revenue withdrew on board the Romney, and from thence to the castle, wbere they remained under the protection of the governor, until the storm was over, or they would have shared in the abuse. This expression of the public feeling, prevented any further seizures, until the 18th of July, when a cargo of molasses was seized, and the vessel was removed by the mob, with her seized cargo; but the selectmen of the town interfered, and restored the vessel and cargo, to the proper officer, as an expression of that confidence that they meant to maintain.
The General Court noticed the late riots, by the following resolve.
66 Resolved, That the governor be requested to direct the attorney-general to prosecute all persons concerned in the late riots, and that a proclamation be issued, offering a reward for making a discovery, so as the rioters may be brought to condign punishment.”
This, as was expected, proved only a nominal proce. dure; no efforts were made for a discovery, and no rioters were taken.
Five days after this riot, (June 15th,) the commissioners wrote to General Gage, and Admiral Hood, requesting an armed force, to protect the officers of the crown, in Bos. ton; but such had been their general anxiety for a long time before, that such a demand had been anticipated, and Lord Hillsborough in his letter to Gen. Gage, bearing date June 8th, (two days before the riot,) had actually communicated the following order.
“ I am to signify to you his majesty's pleasure, that you do forthwith, order one regiment, or such force as you may think proper and necessary, to Boston, to be quartered in that town, and to give every legal assistance to the civil magistrate, in the preservation of the public peace, and to the officers of the revenue, in the execution of the laws of trade and revenue ; and as this appears to be a service of a delicate nature, and possibly leading to consequences not easily foreseen, I am directed by the king, to recom, mend to you, that you make choice of an officer to com. mand those troops, upon whose prudence, resolution, and integrity, you can entirely rely.”
On the eleventh, Gen. Gage communicated this order, by letter, to the governor of Massachusetts, and informed him that he had ordered on one regiment accordingly, together with one frigate, two sloops, and two cutters, to protect the harbour of Boston. On the 2d of September, Lord Hillsborough dispatched circular letters to the several governors of the colonies, with the following injunction.
“ Gentlemen,—The king having observed that the governors of his colonies have, upon several occasions, taken upon them to communicate to their several councils, and assem blies, either the whole or parts of letters from his majesty's principal secretary of state; I have it in command to sig, nify, that it is his majesty's pleasure, that you do not, upon any pretence whatsoever, communicate to the assembly, any copies, or extracts of such letters, unless you have his majesty's particular directions."
The governor of Rhode Island was not a crown govern: or; but held his appointment from the people; he accord
ingly gave up the order, and it soon made its appearance in the Providence Gazette ; flew through the country, and carried with it all that alarm that a paper of such a suspicious character, was calculated to excite, particularly, when the public mind was so highly wrought up, by the stationing of an armed force in the town, and harbour of Boston.
When the news of this order arrived in Boston, a townmeeting was called, and a committee appointed to wait on the governor, and request him, (if the report was true,) to issue his writs fòrthwith, and call an assembly. The governor confirmed the report; but refused to call an assembly. This roused up the feelings of those sons of liberty, and they passed the following resolvem" That the free. holders, and other inhabitants of the town of Boston, will, at the peril of their lives, and fortunes, take all legal and constitutional measures, to defend all and singularly, their rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities, granted in their royal charter.” . Also, it was ordered, " That a suitable number of persons be appointed to act for them in convention, with such as may be sent to unite with them from the other towns, in order that such measures may be consulted and ad vised, as his majesty's service, and the safety of the provin ce may require.” The selectmen were then ordered, “ to write to the selectmen of the other towns, and acquaint them with the doings of the town of Boston, and propose that a convention be held at Fanuel Hall, (Boston,) on the 22d. inst.” Voted also, “ That as it is apprehended by many, there is an approaching war with France, those inhabitants that are unprovided, be requested forthwith to furnish themselves with arms."
The committees of ninety-six towns, and eight districts, met in convention, at the time, and place appointed, where they sat in convention one week, and then dissolved, and retired to their several homes, leaving behind them, both their example, and recommendation, to maintain peace, and good order, by suppressing all riots, &c. and waiting with patience the issue of events. At this time the fleet, and transports arrived at Nantasket barbour, from Halifax. Great efforts were made at Boston to prevent the landing of the troops ; but the example, and advice of the convention, prevented any riotous proceedings.
On the first of October, the fleet entered the harbour, to the number of fourteen ships of war, and anchored before the town; here under cover of their guns, they
proceeded to land their troops, which, with their artillery · corps, amounted to about seven hundred. Here they were quartered in Fanuel Hall, and the Town-House, until they could be otherwise accommodated. Thus these sons of liberty, were called to witness an armed force, whose bayonets were destined to awe them into submission, now quartered in that hall, where their convention had sat a few days before, and in that house which, till then, had been the temple of justice, and the laws, and those streets, which had hitherto been held sacred to liberty, were now devoted to martial music and the parade of an armed soldiery: who that did not possess the feelings of the day, and actually witness the awful scene, can have any conception of the keen sensibilities, that tortured the breasts of these enthusiastic sons of liberty ? Language cannot express the indignation they felt, nor the painful
efforts which became necessary to restrain it; but they did • restrain it, at the first landing of the troops; yet they declined for many days to make the necessary provision for quartering the soldiers. · In February 1769, the House of Lords passed sundry resolves, highly indicative of the resentment they felt towards the proceedings of Massachusetts, with which the House of Commons concurred, and both houses anited in
an address to his majesty, applauding the firmness of his measures, and assuring him of their support, and besought his majesty “to direct the governor of Massachusetts to procure the fullest information touching all treasons, or misprisions of treasons, committed within the government, since the 30th of December, 1767, and to transmit the same, together with the names of such persons as were most active in the commission of such offences, to one of the secretaries of state, in order that his majesty might issue a special commission for enquiring of, hearing, and determining the said offences within, the realm of GreatBritain, pursuant to the provisions of the statute of the 35th of King Henry VIII.” The indignation which this address excited in America, can never be again felt, much more expressed. But the resolutions of Virginia may serve to shew the firmness of the colonies upon the occasion. The House of Burgesses, upon the first official accounts of the above address, met, and resolved, “ that they had the exclusive right to tax their constituents, as well as their just right to petition their sovereign for redress of grievances, and also to procure the concurrence of the other colonies, in praying for the royal interposition in favour of the violated rights of America ; and that all trials for treason, or for any crimes whatsoever, committed in that colony, ought to be tried before the courts of his majesty, in that colony, and that the seizing of any person residing in the said colony, saspected of any crime whatsoever, committed therein, and sending such person to places beyond sea, to be tried, was highly derogatory to the rights of British subjects." The next day Lord Botetourt, the governor, dissolved the assembly. The same resolutions were passed in Carolina, and the same effects followed from Governor Tryon.
Soon after the arrival of the troops at Boston, John Hancock was served with a precept, by the marshal of