Page images
PDF
EPUB

This nation, and the other nations of Europe, may thereby learn with more certainty the grounds of a diffenfion, that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.

The colonies had, from their first settlement, been governed with more ease than perhaps can be equalled by any instance in history, of dominions so distant. Their affection and respect for this country, while they were treated with kindness, produced an almost implicit obedience to the instructions of the prince, and even to acts of the British parliament, though the right of binding them by a legislature in which they were unrepresented, was never clearly understood. That respect and affection produced a partiality in favour of every thing that was English; whence their preference of English modes and manufactures; their submillion to restraints on the importation of foreign goods, which they had but little desire to use; and the monopoly we so long enjoyed of their commerce, to the great enriching of our merchants and artificers. The mistaken policy of the stamp-act first disturbed this happy fituation ; but the flame thereby raised was soon extinguished by its repeal, and the old harmony restored, with all its concomitant ad. vantages to our commerce. The subsequent act of another administration*, which, not content with an established exclusion of foreign manufactures, began to make our own merchandize dearer to the consumers there by heavy du. ties, revived it again: ánd combinations were entered into throughout the Continent, to stop trading with Britain till those duties should be repealed. All were accordingly repealed but one, the duty on tea. This was relerved professedly as a standing claim and exercise of the right affumed by parliament of laying such duties. The colonies, on this

* That of the Duke of Grafton, as First Lord of the Treasury, and Mr. Charles 'Townshend (brother to General Lord Viscount Townshend,) as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

repeal,

repeal, retracted their agreement, so far as related to all other goods except that on which the duty was ietained. This was trumpeted bere by the minister for the colonies as a triumph; there it was considered only as a decent and equitable measure, showing a willingness to meet the mother country in every advance towards a reconciliation. And the difpofition to a good understanding was so prevalent, that poffibly they might soon have relaxed in the article of tea also. But the system of commiffioners of customs, officers without end, with fleets and armies for collecting and enforcing those duties, being continued, and acting with much indiscretion and rashness, giving great and unnecessary trouble and obstruction to business, commencing unjust and vexatious fuits, and haraffing commerce in all its branches, while that minister kept the people in a constant state of irritation by instru&tions which appeared to have no other end than the gratifying his private resentments*, occafioned a persevering adherence to their resolution in that particular: and the event should be a leffon to ministers, not to risque, through pique, the obstructing any one branch of trade, since the course and connection of general business may be thereby disturbed to a degree impoffible to be foreseen or imagined. For it appears, that the colonies, finding their humble petitions to have this duty repealed, were rejected and treated with contempt, and that the produce of the duty was applied to the rewarding with undeserved falaries and pensions every one of their enemies, the duty itself became more odious, and their resolution to farve it more vigorous and obftinate. The Dutch, the Danes and French, took the advantage thus offered them by our imprudence, and began to 'smuggle their teas into the plantations. At

Some of his circular letters had been criticised and exposed by one or two of the American assemblies.

[ocr errors]

first this was somewhat difficult; but at length, as all business improves by practice, it became casy. A coast 1500 miles in length, could not in all parts be guarded, even by the whole navy of England, especially where the restraining authority was by all the inhabitants deemed unconstitutional, and smuggling of course considered as patriotism. The needy wretches too, who, with small salaries, were trusted to watch the ports day and night, in all weathers, found it easier and more profitable, not only to wink, but to sleep in their beds, the merchant's pay being more generous than the king's. Other India goods also, which by themselves would not have made a smuggling voyage sufficiently profitable, accompanied tea lo advantage; and it is feared the cheap French filks formerly rejected as not to the taste of the colonists, may have found their way with the wares of India, and now established themselves in the popular use and opinion. It is fuppofed that at least a million of Americans drink tea twice a day, which, at the first cost here, can scarce be reckoned at less than half a guinea a head per annum. This market, that in the five years which have run-on since the act passed, would have paid 2,500,000 guineas for tea alone, into the coffers of the company, we have wantonly loft to foreigners. Meanwhile it is said the duties have so diminished, that the whole remittance of the last year amounted to no more than the pitiful sum of 85 pounds for the expence of some hundred thousands in armed ships and soldiers to support the officers. Hence the tea and other India goods that might have been sold in America, remain rotting in the company's warehouses, while those of foreign ports are known to be cleared by the American de. mand. Hence, in some degree, the company's inability to pay their bills, the finking of their stock, by which millions of property have been annihilated; the lowering of thei dividend, whereby fo many must be distressed; the loss to go

vernment

vernment of the stipulated 400,000 pounds a year, which must make a proportionable reduction in our savings towards the discharge of our enormous debt; and hence in part the severe blow suffered by credit in general, to the ruin of many families; the stagnation of business in SpitalFields and at Manchester, through want of vent for their goods; with other future evils, which, as they cannot, from the numerous and secret connections in general commerce, easily be foreseen, can hardly be avoided. *

At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inha.

bitants of the Town of Boston, duly warned, and legally assembled, in Faneuil - Ilall, on Wednesday the 28th of October, 1772; and from thence continued by Adjournments to Monday the 2d of November following ;

It was moved, That a Committee of Correspondence be appointed, to consist of twenty-one persons, “to stale the rights of the Colonists, and of this province in particular, as Men, as Christians, and as Subjects; to communicate and publish the fame to the several towns in this province, and to the world, as the sense of this town, with the infringements and violations thereof, that have been, or from time to time may be, made ; also requesting of each town a free communication of their sentiments on this subject.”

Whercupon the following gentlemen were nominated and appointed for the purposes aforesaid, to make report to

This Preface of the British Editor to the second edition of this the more you pamphlet, at London in the year 1773, was probably written by the FremtimFr. Villys celebrated Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who was then in England, and did not go to North America till April

, 197+.

March, 1775. the

wah

K

[ocr errors][merged small]

the town as soon as may be, viz. The Hon. James Otis, Esq.; Mr. Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, Dr. Benjamin Church, Mr. William Dennie, Mr. William Greenlcaf, Joseph Greenleaf, Esq.; Dr. Thomas Young, Mr. Williani Powell, Mr. Nathaniel Appleton, Mr. Oliver Wendell, Mr. John Sweetser, Josiah Quincy, Esq.; Capt. John Bradford, Richard Boynton, Esq.; Captain William Mackay, Major Nathaniel Barber, Deacon Caleb Davis, Mr. Alexander Hill, Mr. William Molineux, and Mr. Robert Pierpont.

A true Copy.

Aitest.
WILLIAM COOPER, Town CLERK.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

At a Mlecting of the Freeholders and other Inha.

bitants of the Town of Boston, duly warned and assembled in Faneuil - Hall according to Law on Friday, the 20th of November, 1772; then and there to receive and act upon the Report of a Committee appointed at a former Meeting on the 2d of the same Month, and such other Things as might properly come under

the Consideration of the Town. The Honorable John HANCOCK, Esq. being unanimously

chofen Moderator, the Chairman of the said Committee acquainted him that he was ready to make Report, and read the same, as follows:

The Committee appointed by the Town, the 2d instant, " to state the rights of the Colonists, and of this province in particular, as Men, as Christians, and as Subjects; to

communicate

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »