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CHAP. II. guilty, not of murder, but of manslaughter only. Mr. Quincy
and Mr. John Adams, two very eininent lawyers, and distin, guished leaders of the patriotic party, consented to defend Captain Preston and the soldiers, and, by doing so, sustained no diminution of their influence. Yet this event was very differently understood through the colonies. It was generally believed to be a massacre equally barbarous and unprovoked, and increased in no inconsiderable degree the detestation in which the soldiers stationed among the people were every where held.
In the middle and southern colonies, the irritation against the mother country appears to have subsided in a considerable degree; and no disposition was manifested to extend their op
position further than to defeat the collection of the revenue, Insurrection in by entirely preventing the importation of tea. Their attention
was a good deal taken up by an insurrection in North Carolina, where a number of ignorant people, supposing themselves to be aggrieved by the Fee Bill, rose in arms for the purpose of shutting up the courts of justice, destroying all officers of Government and all lawyers, and of overturning the Government itself. Governor Tryon marched against them; and having, in a de çisive battle, totally defeated them, the insurrection was quelled, and order restored
Dissatisfaction of MassachusFetts.
In Massachussetts, where very high notions of American rights had long prevailed, and where the doctrine, that the British Parliament had no right to legislate for the Americans, was already maintained as a corollary from the
proposition that the British Parliament could not tax them; a gloomy discontent with the existing state of things was every where manifested. That the spirit of opposition lately excited, seemed expiring, without having established on a secure and solid basis the rights they claimed, produced, in the bosoms of that inflexible people, apprehensions of a much more serious nature than would have been created by any conflict with which they could be threatened. This temper displayed itself in all their proceedings. The Legislature had been removed from Boston, its usual place of sitting, to Cambridge, where the Governor still continued to convené them. They remonstrated against this as an intolerable grievance, and for two sessions refused to do business. In one of these remonstrances they insist on the right of the people to appeal to Heaven in disputes between them and persons in power, when those in power shall abuse it
When assembled in September, the General Court was informed by the Governor, that His Majesty had ordered the provincial garrison in the castle to be withdrawn, and regular troops to succeed them. This they declared to be so essential an alteration of their constitution, as justly to alarm a free people.
From the commencement of the contest, Massachussetts ap- Correspon ling pears to have deeply felt the importance of uniting all the colo- appointed. nies in one system of measures ; and in pursuance of this favourite idea, a Committee of Correspondence was at this session elected to communicate with such committees as might be
appointed by other colonies.
by other colonies. Similar committees were soon afterwards chosen by the different towns * throughout the pro
* An account of the origin of these comınittees, and of their mode of pro-
vince, for the purpose of corresponding with each other, and of expressing, in some degree officially, the sentiments of the
dopted: if the opposition is not considerable either in number or weight of persons, they give their reasons, and then recommend the adoption of the measure. The principal actors are determined on securing the liberties of their country, or perishing in the attempt.
“ The news of His Majesty's granting salaries to the Justices of the Superior Court afforded them a fair opportunity for executing the plan of establishing committees of correspondence through the colony. The most spirited pieces were published, and an alarm spread, that the granting such salaries tended rapidly to complete the system of their slavery.
“ A town meeting was called, and a committee of correspondence appointed co write circular letters to all the towns in the province, and to induce them to unite in measures. The committee made a report, containing several resolutions contradictory to the supremacy of the British Legislature. After setting forth, that all men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please, they proceed to a report upon the natural rights of the colonists, as men, christians, and subjects ; and then form a list of infringements and violations of their rights. They enumerate and dwell upon the British Parliament's having assumed the power of legislation for the colonies in all cases whatsoever—the appointment of a number of new officers to superintend the revenues—the granting of salaries out of the American revenue, to the Governor, the Judges of the Superior Court, the King's Attorney and Solicitor General. The report was accepted, copies printed, and six hundred circulated through the towns and districts of the province, with a pathetic letter addressed to the inhabitants; who were called upon not to doze any longer, or sit supinely in indifference, while the iron hand of oppression was daily tearing the choicest fruits from the fair tree of liberty. The circular letter requested of each town a free communication of sentiments on the subjects of the report, and was directed to the Select Men, who were desired to lay the same before a town meeting; which has been generally practised, and the proceedings of the town upon the business have been transmitted to the Committee at Boston. This committee have their particular correspondents in the several towns, who, upon receiving any special information, are ready to spread it with dispatch among the inhabitants. It consists of twenty-one persons of heterogencous qualities and professions, &c.” Gordon's History of the American War, vol. i. p. 312.
CHAP. II. people. Their reciprocal communications were well calculated
to keep up the spirit, which was general through the colony. The example was afterwards followed by other colonies, and the utility of this institution became apparent, when a more active opposition was rendered necessary.
Although the Governor, Judges, and other high colonial officers had been appointed by the Crown, they had hitherto depended on the Provincial Legislatures for their salaries; and this dependence had always been highly valued, as giving to the colonies an important influence on their conduct. It has been already seen how perseveringly this source of influence was maintained by Massachussetts on a former occasion. As a part of the new system, it had been determined that the salaries of these officers should be fixed by the Crown, and paid without the intervention of the Legislature. This measure was adopted in relation to all the royal governments, and was communicated to the General Court of Massachussetts in May. It gave high offence, and was declared by the House of Representatives to be an infraction of the rights of the inhabitants granted them by charter*.
* « A committee having been appointed to consider the matter of the Governor's support being provided for by the King, reported and observed, That the King's providing for the support of the Governor is a most dangerous innovation. It is a measure, whereby not only the right of the General Assembly of this province is rescinded, but the highest indignity is thrown upon it. It is an infraction of the charter in a material point, whereby a most important trust is wrested out of the hands of the General Assembly. And the House, the same day, declared, by a