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SOUTHERN PATRIOTS AND STATESMEN.
embellished it by the highest attain- politician, afterwards highly distinments in science and literature, by a guished by the dignity which he character adorned with religion and achieved, and the talent and fortitude virtue, and by a firm and courageous which he exerted, in the service devotion to the liberty of his country. of America ;--Edward Rutledge, the It was in the present year that the brother of John, and whose eloquence Assembly of Massachusetts, whether was as graceful and insinuating as his with a view of enhancing or of grati- brother's was impetuous and commandfying the popular interest in its pro- ing ;—and David Ramsay, a learned ceedings, adopted a resolution, which and ingenious man, sincerely religious, was instantly carried into effect, that austerely moral, and warmly patriotic, its debates should be open to the pub- a forcible speaker, and an elegant writer. lic, and that a gallery should be erected At an early stage of the controversy for the accommodation of the audience. with Britain, Ramsay was an advocate The orators of the popular party de- for the immediate assertion of Ameririved new courage and animation from can independence; and after bravely the looks of their listening countrymen, and ably contributing to the attainwho, in turn, were inspired with the ment of this object, he related the generous ardor which their presence struggle by which it was won, in one promoted. Eloquence, like music, is of the best and most impartial histooften more powerful than reason and ries that have been composed of the honor in imparting the height of noblest Revolutionary War.* temper to human courage and resolu- The short lived administration of the tion.
Marquis of Rockingham, came to an In South Carolina, among many end in July, 1766, and a new bold and able champions of their ministry was formed under the country's rights, the most notable were nominal headship of Pitt, now created John Rutledge, a man endowed with Earl of Chatham, who was, however, very extraordinary powers of mind, - prevented by illness from taking any prompt, penetrating, energetic, and de- great part in the measures. Lord Shel cisive; and, in oratory, the rival, or, burne and General Conway became secas some accounted, the superior, of retaries of state; Camden, lord chanPatrick Henry ;-Christopher Gadsden, cellor; Charles Townshend, chancellor a frank, fearless, intrepid, upright,* and of the Exchequer. This administration determined republican ;-Henry Laur- was of so chequered a character, that ens, a zealous patriot and enlightened it was sharply described by Burke as
“a piece of diversified Mosaic, a tesse
lated pavement without cement, here a * When the Revolutionary War broke out, Boone,
bit of black stone, there a bit of white, the royal governor of South Carolina, observed “ God knows how this unhappy contest will end, or what the popular leaders of South Carolina can be
* Grahame's “ History of the United States," vol ii., pp. 416-20.
aiming at;---but Gadsden I know to be an honest man--he means well."
patriots and courtiers, king's friends and | its alleged object being to raise a revrepublicans, Whigs and Tories, treach-enue for the support of the civil goverous friends and open enemies,-a very ernment, for the expense of a standing curious show, but utterly unsafe to army, and for giving permanent salaries touch, and unsure to stand upon." The to the royal governors, with a view to contumacy of the colonists greatly an- render them independent of the colonial noyed the king and ministry, as well Assemblies. Pitt was at the time conas the people at large, and it became fined by sickness in the country, and the general impression, fortified by the | the bill passed with very little opporepresentations of the colonial govern- sition, and on the 29th of June, reors, that it was necessary to display ceived the royal assent. In order to more determination, in order to bring enforce the new act, and those already the refractory colonists to a proper sub- in existence, which, odious as they were mission. At the very first session of to the Americans, had hitherto been Parliament, after the formation of this continually evaded by them, a Board new ministry,—January, 1767—Towns- of Revenue Commissioners was to be
hend, a man of brilliant parts, established at Boston. Indignant, more
but no well-settled principles, over, at the recent refusal of the New brought forward a new scheme of rais- York Assembly to comply with the proing a revenue in America. He had visions of the act for quartering solbeen urged on to this step by the per- diers, notwithstanding their personal tinacious attacks of Grenville, who felt remonstrances, the ministers passed an far from comfortable under his defeat act restraining that body from any
fur in regard to the Stamp Act. You ther legislative proceedings until they are cowards !" was his language to the had submitted. new ministry; "you are afraid of the These acts for imposing new taxes Americans ; you dare not tax Amer- were received with no favor in America !" Taunts of this kind roused up ica, and the excitement in all parts of Townshend's blood : "Fear! fear! the country was rekindled. Possibly, cowards ! dare not tax America ! I under other circumstances, this plan of dare tax America.” “Dare you?" said taxation might have been submitted to; Grenville; “ dare you tax America ? I but the exasperated state of feeling in wish to God I could see it.” “I will, the colonies, led them to view with deep said Townshend; “I will."
suspicion, and to resist, every scheme of Townshend's scheme was based upon taxing them in a way which they dethat distinction which Pitt had main- clared to be in violation of their rights tained between a direct tax and com- as British freemen.
“When George mercial imposts for regulating trade. III. and his Parliament,” as M. Guizot Hence, he proposed to lay a duty upon says, “rather in a spirit of pride, and to teas imported into America, together prevent the loss of absolute power by with paints, paper, glass, and lead, long disuse, than to derive any advanwhich were articles of British produce; | tage from its exercise, undertook to tax
RESISTANCE BASED ON PRINCIPLE.
the colonies without their consent, a Franklin caused these “Letters” to be powerful, numerous, and enthusiastic reprinted in London: they were extenparty,—the national party,—immedi- sively read, and exercised a powerful ately sprang into being, ready to resist, influence in setting forth the injustice in the name of right and of national and unconstitutionality of the attempt honor. It was indeed a question of thus to impose taxes upon America. right and of honor, and not of interest The colonial newspapers, likewise, now or physical well-being. The taxes were numbering twenty-five or more, began light, and imposed no burden upon the to teem with essays on colonial rights. colonists. But they belonged to that
Bernard refused to call a special sesclass of men who feel most keenly the sion of the General Court to take the wrongs which affect the mind alone, new acts into consideration; a public and who can find no repose while honor meeting was held in the latter is unsatisfied. 'For, sir, what is it we part of October, and it was are contending against? Is it against proposed to both encourage domestic paying the duty of three pence per manufactures and industry, and to dispound on tea, because burdensome? continue the importation of British No; it is the right only, that we have goods. The example of Massachusetts all along disputed."* Such was, at the
Such was, at the was followed in Connecticut, New York, commencement of the quarrel, the lan- and Philadelphia. guage of Washington himself, and such The General Court met December was the public sentiment--a sentiment 30th, and a large committee was apfounded in sound policy, as well as pointed to consider the state of the moral sense, and manifesting as much provinces. A letter of instructions was judgment as virtue." But the English presently dispatched to Dennis de ministry, with a fatuity which seems Berdt, agent for the colony, in London, wonderful, were determined to pursue and a petition to the king, in the line of policy they had marked out, which they dwell upon the despite the consequences. The colon- grant of their original charter, “with ists were every day searching deeper the conditions of which they had fully and deeper into the foundations of the complied, till in an unhappy time it questions agitating the whole country, was vacated.” They next allude to the and were every day becoming less and subsequent and modified charter, grantless disposed to submit to the control of ed by William and Mary, confirming Parliament. Dickinson's Letters from the same fundamental liberties secured a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhab- to them by the first. Acknowledging, itants of the British Colonies,” discussed indeed, the superintending authority of the subject of the new taxes laid upon Parliament, in all cases that can consist the people, and denied the right of Parli- with the fundamental rights of nature amentary taxation in any way whatever. and the constitution, they proceed as
follows: “It is with the deepest con* *Writings of Washington," vol. ii., p. 392.
cern that your humble suppliants would
represent to your Majesty, that your quis of Rockingham, Lords Camden Parliament, the rectitude of whose in and Chatham, and the Lords Commistentions is never to be questioned, has sioners of the Treasury. They also, in thought proper to pass divers acts im- February, 1768, issued a circular letter posing taxes on your subjects in Amer- to the rest of the colonies, inviting ica, with the sole and express purpose them to engage in a common defence of raising a revenue. If your Majes of their rights, concluding the letter ty's subjects here shall be deprived of with an expression of their “firm conthe honor and privilege of voluntarily fidence in the king, their common head contributing their aid to your Majesty, and father, and that the united and in supporting your government and dutiful supplications of his distressed authority in the province, and defend- American subjects will meet with his ing and securing your rights and terri- royal and favorable acceptance." tories in America, which they have The English ministry naturally dreadalways hitherto done with the utmost ed any step which seemed to lead to a cheerfulness; if these acts of Parlia- prospect of union of action on the part ment shall remain in force, and your of the colonies. Hence Lord HillsMajesty's Commons in Great Britain borough, recently appointed Secretary shall continue to exercise the power of for the Colonies, directed Governor granting the property of their fellow Bernard to press upon the House of subjects in this province; your people Representatives the propriety of remust then regret their unhappy fate scinding this circular as “rash and in having only the name left of free hasty,” and artfully procured by sursubjects. With all humility we con- prise against the general sense of the ceive that a representation of this | Assembly, and to dissolve that body in province in Parliament, considering case of refusal. He also addressed a their local circumstances, is utterly im- circular with the same instructions to practicable. Your Majesty has there the rest of the royal governors. “As fore been graciously pleased to order his Majesty considers this measure,” it your requisitions to be laid before the observed, “ to be of the most dangerrepresentatives of your people in the ous and factious tendency, calculated to General Assembly, who have never inflame the minds of his good subjects failed to afford the necessary aid, to in the colonies, and promote an unwarthe extent of their ability, and some- rantable combination, it is his Majesty's times beyond it, and it would be ever pleasure that you should exert your grievous to your Majesty's faithful sub- utmost influence to defeat this flagitious jects, to be called upon in a way that attempt to disturb the public peace, by should appear to them to imply a dis- prevailing upon the Assembly of your trust of their most ready and willing province to take no notice of it, which compliance.” Besides this petition to will be treating it with the contempt it the king, they sent letters to Lord deserves." When Bernard communiShelburne, General Conway, the Mar- cated this message to the new Assembly,
CASE OF THE SLOOP LIBERTY.
in July, they denied that the circular America from reaching the royal ear. to the colonies had been unfairly passed, We have the warmest and most affecand positively refused to comply with tionate attachment to our most gracious the minister's wishes. “If,” they ob- sovereign, and shall ever pay the readserved, “ by the word rescinding is in- iest and most respectful regard to the tended the passing a vote in direct just and constitutional power of the and express disapprobation of the British Parliament; but we shall not measure taken by the former House, be intimidated by a few high-sounding we must take the liberty to declare expressions from doing what we think that we hold it to be the native right is right.” The Assemblies of New of the subject to petition the king for York, Delaware, Virginia, and Georgia, the redress of grievances. If the votes expressed similar sentiments, in lanof the House are to be controlled by guage more or less decided; and, under the direction of a minister, we have instructions from the home governleft us but a vain semblance of liberty. ment, they were dissolved by the royal We have now only to inform you that governor's. this House have voted not to rescind, The
presence of the newly-appointed and that on a division on the question officers for collecting the custom house there were ninety-two nays and seven- duties, did not tend to make matters teen yeas.” The seventeen “rescind. more quiet, or to allay the excitement ers," as they were termed, became ob- in the public mind. On the contrary, jects of public odium. On the ques- it was evident that collision might at tion to rescind, Mr. Otis, in his usually any time be expected; and in fact, it bold manner, said: “When Lord Hills- occurred very soon. The sloop Liberty, borough knows that we will not rescind belonging to Hancock, had been seized our acts, let him apply to Parliament on the charge of smuggling. This was to rescind theirs. Let Britons rescind early in June, 1768. The Liberty was their measures, or they are lost for ever.” boarded by the officers, who, appreThe next day, the House of Represent- hensive of trouble, had solicited aid atives was dissolved by Bernard. from the commander of a ship of war
In the other colonies, the requisitions in the harbor, and by his advice had of the ministry were equally disregard ordered the sloop to be brought under
ed. When Governor Sharpe the guns of his ship. A riot broke out
communicated Lord Hillsbor- immediately; a mob collected; the ough's letter to the Assembly of Mary-custom-house officers, after being severeland, their language in reply was fear- ly handled, narrowly escaped with their less and independent. “We cannot,” lives, while their houses were attacked, say they, “but view this as an attempt, and their boat dragged through the in some of his Majesty's ministers, to town, and afterwards burned upon the suppress all communication of senti- common. The governor, unable to ments between the colonies, and to protect the officers, advised them to prevent the united supplications of remove from Boston; they consequently