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CHAP III.

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about to be adopted, and a wish that those consequences should be seriously contemplated, a leading member * thus addressed the meeting:

• It is not, Mr. Moderator, the spirit that vapours within these walls that must stand us in stead. The exertions of this day will call forth events, which will make a very different spirit necessary for our salvation.

Whoever supposes that shouts and hosannas will terminate the trials of the day, entertains a childish fancy. We must be grossly ignorant of the importance and value of the prize for which we contend; we must be equally ignorant of the power of those who have combined against us; we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy, and insatiable revenge, which actuate our enemies, public and private, abroad and in our bosom, to hope that we shall end this controversy without the sharpest-sharpest conflicts—to flatter ourselves that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular acclamations, and popular vapor will vanquish our foes. Let us consider the issue. Let us look to the end. Let us weigh and consider, before we advance to those measures, which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this country ever saw.

The question was again put and passed without a negative.

Aware of the approaching danger, the captain of the vessel was desirous of returning, and applied to the Governor for a clearance; he, affecting a rigid regard to the letter of his duty,

The tea is thrown into the sea at Boston,

* Mr. Quincy,

declined

1774

declined giving one, unless the vessel should be properly quali- CHAP. II. fied at the Custom House. This answer being reported to the meeting, it was declared to be dissolved; and an immense crowd repaired to the quay, where a number of the most resolute, disguised like Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessels, and in about two hours, broke open three hundred and forty two chests of tea, and discharged their contents into the ocean.

Measures of

March,

These proceedings of the colonists were laid before Parliament Parliament. in a message from the crown, and a very high and general indignation was excited in that body by the outrages stated to have been committed. They expressed, almost unanimously, their approbation of the measures adopted by his Majesty, and gave the most explicit assurances that they would not fail to exert every means in their power, effectually to provide for the due execution of the laws, and to secure the dependence of the colonies upon the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain. The temper both of the house and of the nation was now entirely favorable to the high-handed system of coercion proposed by ministers, and that temper was not permitted to pass away, without being employed to advantage. A bill was soon brought in “ for discontinuing the lading and shipping of goods, wares, and merchandizes at Boston, or the harbor thereof, and for the removal of the Custom House and its dependencies to the town of Salem.” This bill was to continue in force not only until compensation should be made to the East India Company for the damage sustained, but until the King in council should declare himself satisfied as to the restoration of peace and good order in the town. It passed both houses without a division, and almost without opposition.

Soon

CHAP. III.

1774.

Soon after this a bill was brought in for better regulating the government of the province of Massachussetts Bay. By this act the charter was totally subverted, and the nomination of counsellors, and of all magistrates and officers, vested in the

The persons thus appointed were to hold their offices during the royal pleasure. This bill also was carried through both houses by great majorities, but not without a vigorous opposition and an animated debate.

crown.

The next measure proposed, was a bill for the impartial administration of justice in the province of Massachussetts Bay. It provided, “ that in case any person should be indicted in that province, for murder or any other capital offence, and it should appear by information given on oath to the governor, that the fact was committed in the exercise or aid of magistracy in suppressing riots, and that a fair trial could not be had in the province, he should send the person so indicted to any other colony, or to Great Britain to be tried.” This act was to continue in force four years; and was, as an English writer observes, the counter part of the absolute and tyrannical act of Henry the Eighth, lately revived, for the trial in Great Britain of treasons committed in America.

A bill was also passed for quartering soldiers on the inhabitants; and the system was completed by an act for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec. This bill extended the limits of that province, so as to include the territory between the lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississipi ; and, which was its most exceptionable feature, established a legislative council to be appointed by the crown.

1774.

Amidst these hostile measures, one single conciliatory propo- CHAP.III. sition was made. Mr. Rose Fuller, member for Rye, moved that the house resolve itself into a committee, to take into consideration the duty on the importation of tea into America, * with a view to its repeal. This motion was seconded by Mr. Burke, and supported with all the powers of reasoning, and all the splendor of eloquence, which he so eminently possessed ; but it was lost by a great majority. The Earl of Chatham, too, who had long been indisposed, again made his appearance in the House of Lords. He could only have been drawn out by the strong sense he entertained of the fatal importance of those measures into which the nation was hurrying. But his efforts were unavailing. Neither his weight of character, his sound judgment which was yet unimpaired, nor his manly eloquence, which, even at this late period of life, while his venerable frame was enfeebled by disease, partook largely of that fire and energy which, in the vigour of his mid-day course, gave him such commanding influence over the human mind, could arrest the hand of fate which seemed, with irresistible force, to propel this lofty towering nation into a system which terminated in its dismemberment.

It was expected, and this expectation was encouraged by Mr. Hutchinson then in England, that by directing these measures of punishment particularly against Boston, not only the union of the colonies could be broken, but Massachussetts herself would be divided. Never was expectation more completely disap

# Belsham.

pointed.

1774.

CHAP. III: pointed. It was perceived by all that Boston was to be punished

for having resisted, only with more violence, the principle which they had all resisted ; and that the object of the punishment was, to coerce obedience to principles they were yet determined to oppose. Every man felt therefore, that the cause of Boston was the cause of all, that their destinies were indissolubly connected with those of that devoted town, and that they must either submit to be taxed by a Parliament in which they were not, and could not be represented, or support, with all the means they possessed, their brethren who were doomed to support the first shock of a power, which, if successful there, would overwhelm them all. The neighbouring towns disdained to avail themselves of the calamities inflicted on a sister, in consequence of her exertions in the common cause. They clung to her with increased affection; and that spirit of enthusiastic patriotism, which, for a time, elevates the mind above all considerations of individual acquisition, became the ruling passion in the American bosom.

May 13.

On receiving the first intelligence of the Boston Port Bill, a meeting of the people of that town was called. They were sensible that “ the sharpest-sharpest conflict,” was indeed now approaching, but seemed unawed by its horrors. Far, from seeking to shelter themselves, by submission, from the threatening storm, they grew more determined as it increased. Resolutions were passed, expressing their opinion, of the impolicy, injustice, inhumanity, and cruelty of the act, from which they appealed to God and the world; and also invited the other colonies to join with them in an agreement to stop all imports and exports to and from Great Britain, Ireland, and the West-In

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