save New Hampshire, were represented. Timothy Ruggles was elected President of the Convention. A declaration of rights and grievances was prepared, wherein it was asserted that the colonists were entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his majesty's natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain ; that no taxes could be imposed upon Englishmen without their consent; that the right of trial by jury was an essential right of colonial subjects; that the Stamp Act and all other acts extending the jurisdiction of the Court of Admiralty beyond its ancient limits, tend to subvert the rights and liberties of the people; and that it was the province of the colonists to petition the king on all grievances whatsoever. The petitions and remonstrances sent to the king and Parliament, while breathing a spirit of loyalty, were manly and dignified in their tone; the expression of men who knew their rights, and who would not shrink from their maintenance.

The action of the Convention was sustained by the people. As the time drew near when the stamp act was to go into operation the most intense excitement pervaded all the Colonies. In New York the stamps were destroy. ed by the people, and the merchants of that city resolved to make no more importations from the mother country until this and other obnoxious measures were repealed. This determination was endorsed by the business men in all the commercial marts. The determination of the people could not be mistaken. It was apparent that this law could be enforced only by an appeal to arms; and to this extremity the British government was not prepared to go. A change occurring in the ministry, the stamp act was repealed; but Parliament, to save an appearance of dig nity and a semblance of power, followed up the repeal by the assertion of its right “to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever." The apprehensions to which this declaration



gave rise were too soon rendered a reality. In 1767 an impost was made on all glass, paper, paints and teas which should be imported into the Colonies from England. The Acts of Navigation and Trade were re-enforced. The internal affairs of the Colonies were also deemed worthy the attention of Parliament. The Assembly of New York refusing to provide for the expenses of the British troops, was deprived of its authority until it complied with the will of Parliament. Troops were sent out to overawe and coerce the refractory colonists in their determined resistance to the enactments of England. The means were unsuccessful. In vain did the governors remonstrate with their legislatures, which, refusing compliance, were prorogued in displeasure.

The General Court of Massachusetts being convened for the purpose of raising money, found the State House empaled by an armed soldiery. The governor declined to remove the troops; and, in retaliation, the Court refused to enter upon the business for which it was convened ; but directed its attention to the consideration of the colonial grievances, which were set forth in a series of resolutions; the rights of the Colonies were reiterated and the aggressions of England denounced. An order to raise money to defray the expenses of the troops already incurred was met with a peremptory refusal, as were all appropriations to meet similar expenses in the future.

In April, 1770, the duties on all articles embraced in the Act of 1768, save those on tea, were removed. The colonists could not be appeased by any half measures, and their opposition to importation, under its restrictions, was insisted upon. By this means a large quantity of tea was accumulated in England. An especial provision was made to facilitate its shipment and sale in America. Large quantities were sent over to the principal seaport


towns. It found no market. That sent to Charleston was stored in damp cellars where it spoiled. At Philadelphia and New York the citizens would not permit it to be landed. At Boston the captains were ordered by the people to return with their cargoes. With this command the officers were willing to comply, but the colonial officials would not furnish them with their clearances. The people were unwilling that the tea should be landed, as it then might be sold, and a precedent for taxpaying established. It was resolved by the citizens, assembled in Faneuil Hall to the number of seven thousand, “ that the tea should not be landed; no duties should be paid, and that it should be returned in the same bottoms." The expression of the people being disregarded, a company of men disguised in Indian costume boarded the vessel, broke open three hundred and forty-two chests of tea and emptied their contents into the sea.

Indignant at the bold and daring conduct of the Americans, especially the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, Parliament passed an act, since known as the Boston Port Bill, closing the harbor of that town, and interdicting all trade therewith until satisfaction was rendered for the property destroyed. Coercion was also exercised by withdrawing from the colonists the political rights hitherto enjoyed, and-vesting the power of appointment in the king. Troops had already been quartered upon the people without their consent, and now came the additional command that the Colonies should provide means for defraying the expenses of the soldiers.

Legislation was impotent to make an obedient people. Undaunted by threats and intimidations, the inhabitants of Massachusetts assembled in public meeting, and gave utterance in bold and eloquent terms against these reckless and high-handed attempts to wrest from them



their rights. Massachusetts did not stand alone. An indignity offered to one, was held in the light of an insult to all the Colonies. Virginia, ever fearless, entered her solemn protest, and appointed the day on which the Boston Port Bill was to take effect—the first day of Junemas a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. All the Colonies united in its observance, and the earnest and manly appeals which were pronounced from the sacred desk on that occasion, rendered it an event memorable in the American struggle for freedom and justice.

Events matured rapidly. To effect a greater concert of action, at the suggestion of the Legislature of Virginia, measures were taken to secure a convention, by delegates, of all the Colonies. Pursuing a course of systematic aggressions, the British government drove the Colonies to these extreme measures, and with persistent madness cast away the brightest jewel that sparkled in her coronet.



CONVENTION, 1774-1789.



A GENERAL Convention of delegates from the several Colonies convened at Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774. This Convention-better known as the Continental Congress-contained many of the ablest minds in the Colonies; men of sound judgment, unquestioned patriotism, and determined purpose. To aggression they opposed resistance; for the maintenance of their rights life itself was not too dear a sacrifice.

Congress reiterated the grievances of the Colonies in an address to the king, in a second address to the people of Great Britain, and in a third, to the colonists themselves.

From the temper of Parliament, which asembled soon after the adjournment of Congress, it was too evident that the appeals of the colonists had availed little, and that faint hopes of reconciliation could be cherished. All overtures for adjustment of difficulties and reconciliation had been spurned, and it only remained now to prepare for the last resort-the arbitrament of arms. Manufactories of arms and ammunition were put in operation, and the implements of war were collected and stored for use. These supplies the British attempted to destroy. With this design a detachment was sent in April, 1775, to Lexington, where, coming in contact with the local militia, eight of these

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