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bonfires were kindled, in all quarters. In a word, none of the public demonstrations, usual on similar occurrences, were omitted, to celebrate the goodness of the king, and the wisdom of parliaIslent. Couriers were immediately despatched to Falmouth, to spread throughout the kingdom, and transmit to America the tidings of a law, which, to appearance, must, on the one hand, by appeasing irritation, put a stop to all further tumults; and, on the other, dissipate the alarms produced by the losses the manufacturers had sustained.


vol. I. 12


The Americans, generally, either weary of the present disorders, annoyed by the interruption of commerce, or terrified at the aspect of the future, which seemed to threaten the last extremities, received with great exultation the news of the revocation of the stamp act.

With infinite delight, they found themselves released from the necessity either of proceeding to the last resort, and to civil bloodshed, a thing horrible in itself, and accompanied with innumerable dangers, or of submitting their necks to a yoke equally detested, and which had become the more odious from the efforts they had already made in resistance. It is easy to imagine, therefore, how great were, in every place, the demonstrations of public joy. Even the assembly of Massachusetts, either from a sentinent of gratitude, or to confirm itself in opposition, for among its members were many of the most distinguished citizens of the province, all firmly resolved to maintain the dependence of America towards Great Britain, unanimously voted thanks to be addressed to the duke of Grafton, to William Pitt, and to all those members of the house of peers, or of commons, who had defended the rights of the colonies, and procured the abrogation of the odious law. In like manner, the assembly of burgesses of Virginia resolved that a statue should be erected to the king, in acknowledgment and commemoration of the repeal of the stamp act; and an obelisk, in honor of those illustrious men who had so efficaciously espoused their cause. William Pitt, especially, had become the object of public veneration and boundless praises, for having said the Americans had done well in resisting; little heeding that he had recommended, in terms so strong and remakable, the confirmation of the authority of pariiament over the colonies, in all points of legislation and external taxation. But they saw the consequences of these measures only in the distance ; and considered the assertion of certain rights of parliament merely as speculative principles thrown out to spare its dignity, to sooth British pride, and facilitate the digestion of so bitter a morsel. Besides, to justify past events, and perhaps also to authorise their future designs, the colonists were glad to have the shield of so great a name. They received with the same alacrity the declaratory act, which the secretary of state transmitted to America at the same time with that for the repeal of the stamp act.

Notwithstanding this expression of universal exultation, the public mind was not entirely appeased. Secret grudges, and profound resentments, still rankled under these brilliant appearances. The restraints recently laid upon commerce, had caused a disgust no less extreme than the stamp act itself, particularly in the northern provinces; and the success of the first resistance encouraged ulterior hopes.

During the late disturbances, men had become extremely conversant with political disquisitions; every charter, every right, had been the subject of the strictest investigation ; and the Americans rarely, if ever, pronounced against themselves. From these discussions and debates, new opinions had resulted upon a great number of points, and some of them strangely exaggerated, respecting the rights of the Americans, and the nature of their relations with Great Britain. The irritation and inflexibility of their minds had increased in the same proportion. In this state of excitement, the shadow of an encroachment upon their political or civil liberty would have caused a sudden insurrection; and the attentive observer might easily have perceived, that the reconciliation between the colonies and the mother country was more apparent than real; and that the first occasion would be seized, to break out afresh in discord and revolt. The occasion of new dissensions, and the elements of a new combustion, originated in the provinces of Massachusetts and of New York. The assembly of the former bore ill will to the governor, Sir Francis Bernard, for being, as they believed, a foe to the cause of America; and having chosen for their speaker James Otis, one of the warmest advocates of liberty existing in America at that period, the governor refused to confirm the choice; at which the representatives were highly exasperated. Otis, meanwhile, to retaliate, succeeded in causing to be excluded from the assembly the officers of the crown, and the members of the superior court of judicature, who were Hutchinson and Oliver. The governor, much incensed, pronounced, on his part, the exclusion of six of the proposed candidates for the speaker's chair. Thus the spirit of division was reciprocally fomented. But the patriots went further still ; and procured a resolution of the assembly, that their debates should be public, and that galleries should be constructed, for the accommodation of such as might wish to attend them ; this was promptly executed. The intervention of the public at their deliberations encouraged the partisans of liberty, and disheartened the friends of power; the former were sure of increasing their popularity, by warmly advocating the privileges of the colonies; the latter, of incurring greater aversion, and more universal hatred, in proportion to their zeal in supporting the cause of the government. Hence, numbers were deterred from taking part in the debates. The first had, besides, a powerful advantage over them; for it sufficed to render their adversaries odious to the people, to reproach them, true or false, with having favored the stamp act. The secretary of state, along with the act repealing the stamp act, had also sent the governors of the provinces, a resolution of the house of commons, purporting, ‘That all persons, who, on account of the desire which they had manifested to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution, any acts of parliament, had suffered any injury or damage, ought to have full compensation made to them, by the respective colonies in which such injuries or damages were sustained.” The secretary had also recommended to the governors, to be particularly attentive that such persons should be effectually secured from any further insult or disgust; and that they might be treated with that respect and justice which their merits towards the crown, and their past sufferings, undoubtedly claimed. It was principally in the province of Massachusetts, that these disorders had taken place; and the governor, Bernard, lost no time in communicating to the assembly the resolution of the house of commons; but this he did in such intemperate language as gave great offence to the representatives, and greatly imbittered, on both sides, the misunderstanding already existing between them. Much altercation ensued ; in which the assembly armed itself sometimes with one excuse, and sometimes with another, for not granting the indemnifications required; till at length, resuming the further consideration of the subject, and reflecting, on the one hand, that in any event the parliament would have the power to raise the sum necessary for the compensations, by imposing some new duty on the maritime ports, and on the other, that this new resistance might render them odious in the eyes of prudent men, as the refractory spirit of Massachusetts had already been greatly censured, they resolved, that the indemnifications should be made, at the expense of the province; and accordingly passed an act for granting compensation to the sufferers, and general pardon, amnesty and oblivion, to the offenders; to which the king asterwards refused his sanction ; denying the authority of the colonial assemblies to grant acts of general pardon. Meanwhile, the indemnifications were made; and the offenders were not prosecuted. The assembly of New York appeared to receive the act of compensation more favorably; and the greater part of the sufferers were indemnified. Colden, the lieutenant-governor, was alone refused compensation; the assembly alleging, that if the people had risen against him, he had brought it upon himself by his misconduct. But, in the same province, another dispute soon arose, which manifested how imperfectly the seeds of discord were extinguished. General Gage was expected at New York with a considerable body of troops; in consequence of which, the governor addressed a message to the assembly, requesting it to put in execution the act of parliament called the mutiny act, which requires, that in the colonies where the royal troops are stationed, they shall be provided with barracks and other necessary articles. The assembly complied only in part with this requisition, and with evident repugnance. They passed a bill for providing barracks, fire-wood, candles, bedding, and utensils for the kitchen, as demanded ; but they refused to grant salt, vinegar, and cider or beer; saying, it was not customary to furnish these articles to soldiers when in quarters, but only when they are on the march. The governor thought it prudent to acquiesce in this decision. And here is presented a striking example of the mildness of the British ministers at this epoch; for, instead of resenting and chastising, as some advised, this new disobedience, they contented themselves with procuring a law to be passed, by which it was enacted that the legislative power of the general assembly of New York should be totally suspended, until it fully complied with all the terms of the requisition. The assembly afterwards obeyed; and things were restored to their accustomed order. The same disputes were renewed in Massachusetts. Towards the close of the year, some companies of artillery were driven, by stress of weather, into the port of Boston. The governor was requested to lodge them, and procure them the necessary supplies; the council gave their consent; and the money was drawn from the treasury, by the governor’s order. Meanwhile, the assembly met; and, desirous of engaging in controversy, sent a message to the governor, to inquire if any provision had been made for his majesty's troops, and whether more were expected to arrive, to be quartered also in the town f . The governor replied by sending them the minutes of the council, with an account of the expenses incurred; and added, that no other. troops were expected. They had now ample matter for discussions. They exclaimed, that the governor, in giving orders for these supplies, upon the mere advice of his council, had acted, in an essential point, contrary to the statutes of the province. They added, however, some protestations of their readiness to obey the orders of the king, when requested according to established usages. This obstinacy of two principal provinces of America, this disposition to seek new causes of contention, sensibly afflicted those persons in England who had shown themselves favorable to American privileges; and furnished a pretext for the bitter sarcasms of their adversaries, who repeated, every where, that such were the fruits of ministerial condescension,-such was the loyalty, such the gratitude of the colonists towards the mother country : ‘Behold their attachment for public tranquillity Behold the respect and deference they bear towards the British government : They have now thrown off the mask; they now rush, without restraint, towards their favorite object of separation and independence. It is quite time to impose a curb on these audacious spirits; they must be taught the danger of contending with their powerful progenitors, of resisting the will of Great Britain. Since they are thus insensible to the indulgence and bounty she has shown them in the repeal of the stamp duty, they must be made to pay another; both to maintain the right, and compel them to contribute directly to the common defence of the kingdom.”

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