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CHAP. IX.

Opposition to the Revenue System. East-India

Company send Tea. Bostonians throw it overboard. Conduct of Parliament towards Boston and Canada. Americans assemble. Appoint Congress. An Army appointed. Seize the Cannor and Ammunition in Rhode-Islani, and Portsmouth. Battle of Lexington. General Gage's Proclamation. Baitle of Bunker's Hill, Its Consequences. Meeting of Congress. Their Arrangements. General Washington appointed Commander in Chief. Attack on Quelec. Defeat and Death of Montgomery. Termination of the Royal Government.

E are now entering upon a new æra of the

American controversy. The duty on tea had been retained when the other duties had been given up, avowedly for the purpose of exhibiting the right of parliament to tax the colonies. The Americans denied that right, and discontinuerl the importation of the conimodity ; and while no attempt was made to introduce tea into the colonies against this declared sense of the inhabitants, these opposing claims were in no danger of collision.

As the resolution of the colonies not to import or consume tea had in a great measure deprived the English rovernment of a revenue from this quarter, a scheme was formed for introducing tea into America under cover of the East-India company. For this purpose an act was passed enabling the company to export all sorts of teas, duty free, to any place whatever. Several ships laden with it were immediately sent to the American colonies, and factors appointed to receive and dispose of their cargoes. The Americans, determined to oppose

the revenue system in every possible shape, considered the attempt of the East-India company to evade the resolutions of the colonies, and dispose of their teas in America, as an indirect mode of taxation, sanctioned by authority of parliament. They assembled in various places, and in the large commercial towns took measures to prevent the landing of the tea. Committees were appointed, and armed with extensive powers, to inspect merchants' books, to propose tests, and make use of other means to frustrate the designs of the East-India company. The same spirit pervaded the people from New Hampshire to Georgia; and at Philadelphia the inhabitants passed some strong resolutions, declaring all those to be enemies to their country, who should countenance in any way the unloading or the sale of the obnoxious article. But at Boston the tea shared a more violent fate. Sensible that no legal measures could prevent its being landed, and that, if once landed, it would as certainly be disposed of, a number of men disguised as Indians, A. D.

the 18th of December, entered the

ships, and threw overboard three hundred 1773.

and forty chests of it, which was the proportion belonging to the East-India company. And with so much union and system did the colonists act, that there was not a single chest of any of the cargoes sent out by the East-India company, on this occasion, sold for their benefit.

No sooner did the news of this destruction of

on

the the tea reach Great Britain, than the parliament resolved to punish that devoted town: ac

A. D. cordingly an act was passed to “discontinue the landing and discharging, lading and

1774. shipping of goods, wares, and merchandizes, at the town of Boston, or within the harbour.”

This act threw the inhabitants of Massachussetts into the greatest consternation. But fortunately for them it was not the only statute made at that time: but it was also enacted, that the town meetings, sanctioned by charter, should be either discontinued, or subject to such restrictions as rendered them of no value; and that persons indicted for any capital offence committed in obstructing the powers of magistracy, might, at the pleasure of the governor, be sent to another colony, or even to Great Britain, to take their trial for such offence.

Petitions against these bills, couched in strong and pointed language, were presented to parliament, as they were passing the two louses; and

the lords of the niinority entered a solemn protest against the passing them. On one of these occasions colonel Barr., who had ever been the advocatè of liberty, concluded an admirable speech by saying, “ You are offering the last of human outrages to the people of America, by subjecting them in effect to military execution: instead of sending them the olive branch, you have sent the naked sword. What madness is it that prompts you to attempt obtaining that by force, which may, with so much more faciliiy and certainty, be procured by requisition ? Retract your odious exertions of authority, and remember that the first step towards making them contribute to your wants is to recon-' cilè them to your government.'

The parliament did not stop here: but before

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they completed the memorable session, they passed an act respecting the government of Quebec. The principal objects of the bill were, to ascertain the limits of the province, which were now made to extend southward to the Ohio, and westward to the banks of the Mississippi, and northward to the boundary of the Hudson's Bay company: to establish a legislative council, the members of which were appointed by, and removeable at the pleasure of, the crown: to confirm French laws, and a trial without jury in civil cases: to secure to the Roman catholic clergy the legal enjoyment of their tithes from those who were not of their own religion. The revenue of the province was consigned to the support of an unlimited civil list, and the administration of justice; the judges holding their offices and salaries during pleasure.

Among the more southern colonists, it was imagined that this bill was intended to conciliate the inhabitants of Canada, and make them fit instruments in the hands of government to reduce them to a state of slavery. But these measures did not intimidate the Americans: they rather served to confirm their former apprehensions of the evil designs of government, and to unite the colonies in their opposition, A correspondence of opinion with respect to the unconstitutional acts of parliament produced an uniformity of proceedings in the colonies. Most of them entered into spirited resolutions, on this occasion, to unite with the Massachussetts in a decided opposition to the unconstitutional measures of the parliament. The 1st of June, the day on which the Boston port-bill was to take place, was appointed to be kept as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, throughout the colonies, to seek the Divine direction and

aid, in that critical and gloomy juncture of affairs. This act of devotion was considered by the people as an humble appeal to Heaven for the jąstice of their cause, and designed to manifest their dependence on the Almighty for success in maintaining it against their hostile brethren. The prayers and discourses of the clergy, who were friends to their suffering country, and who had by their exemplary conduct secured the confidence of the people, had gat influence in encouraging their hearers to engage in defence of their rights : and to them has been justly ascribed no inconsiderable share of the success and victory that crowned the American

arns.

The minds of the people being thus prepared, the friends of liberty of Massachussetts petitioned the governor to contene the assembly; which boy ing refused, a general meeting of the inhabitants was called together. About eight thousand met, and passed several spirited resolutions, in which it was determined to assemble a continental congress. In this the people generally concurred; and deputies being appointed, the congress met on the 26th of October, 1774.

In this first session the proceedings were cool, deliberate, and loyal; but they were marked with unanimity and vigour. They first drew up a statement of their rights; then a petition to the king. They afterwards signed an association to suspend the importation of British goods, and the exportation of American produce, until their grievances should be redressed. They sent an address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, and another to the people of America: in the former they enumerated the oppresions of parliament, and called upon their British brethren not to aid the ministry in en

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