« ZurückWeiter »
dur júries.... And they observed that it was: unlikely that the act would ever be put in execution," as they were in hopes that such a seasonable shew of fo much vigour and lenity would operate to bring the colonies -co a sense of their duty, and to make them give over their seditious practices. These are the arguments upon the other side, which as they have little force in themselves, have hitherto, in the execution produced none of thoseleffects which the authors promised.
Administration feem to have expected more confidence from the public, than their conduct for fome years past' entitled them to, when they say it was ungenerous to suppose that they would make an impro. për use of their power in harrassing innocent persons, for their past conduct gave all the reason in the world to suppose that mercy and clemency were none of their characteristic virtues. And as they had refused to admit an enquiry into the original causes of the disorders in the colonies, there was good reason to conclude that impartiality would not be observed in prosecuting those who were the objects of their refentment. The colonists had for some time been in a state of disorder, and many irregularities had been commit. 'ted, but there was a jealousy and suspicion that some mismanagement in government had been the cause thereof; it was therefore unreasonable to seek to punish the petty delinquents, without taking notice of those who had been the cause of all these evils. The constication of the government of the Massachu. fert's colony, in granting that privilege to the town. fhips, the privilege of electing juries, and to the assembly, the liberty of appointing the council, had never · produced any ill consequences, till ambitious gover. nors wanted to dictate to both councils and alleinblies; and then they found that the constitution of the colony was a check upon their power, and restrain
ed it within a certain limit. Thofe who formerly had
considered these new measures, as contrivances of state to enfaye them; and they began to apprehend that goveroment would proceed - from one, thing to another, till they reduced them to the state chey were in before the revolution. What gave rise to these apprchensions, was the fimilarity of proceedings, and the influence that the friends of the ancient family were supposed to have in ghe court of Britain ; these ideas were confirmed by the effays of party-writers in England, who, without confining themselves always to truth, had for some years past, in the nuost positive manner affirmed, that all the springs of government were moved and managed by an invisible agent, whose influence turned the puppets which way he pleased. Though it cannot be reasonably supposed that any one man possessed such influence as was supposed, yet the measures of the ministry were frequently so suspicious and inconsistent, that they gave reason for such surmi. ses. It is nor strange that the colonists should have believed what was published with so much confidence in the mother country; especially when we consider that their minds by this time were warped by preju. dice, and their imaginations 'heated with oppofition and resentment. They had petitioned without success, and remonstrated in vain; they acknowledged the supremacy of the sovereign, and the authority of parliament to direct their trade and navigation, buc nothing would please administration but absolutę do. minion over their all. This they accounted contrary to their natural rights as Englishmen, and a breach of their charters; and the new proceedings of parliament they considered as so many chains to enlave them. Thus like a stream that is fed by constant supplies, their opposition encreased, till, like a torrent, it overflowed all bounds,