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imposed but by the consent of the body of freemen, or their representa. tives. In 1664, the assembly of Rhode Island, adopting the language of magna charta, declared, that “No aid, tax, tallage, or custom, loan, benevolence, gift, excise, duty, or imposition whatever, shall be laid, assessed, imposed, levied, or required, of or on any of his Majesty's subjects, within this colony, or upon their estates, upon any manner of pretense or color, but by the assent of the general assembly of this colony." The legislature of Massachusetts, in 1692, declared, that no other authority had the right to impose upon the colony any tax whatever. About the same time, the legislature of New York passed an act asserting its own exclusive right to make laws relating not only to taxation, but to the general affairs of the colony. In Virginia, in 1676, it was claimed to be “the right of Virginians, as well as of all other Englishmen, not to be taxed but by their own consent, expressed by their representatives.” The assembly of New Jersey, in 1680, in a certain case, declared even duties on goods to be illegal and unconstitutional, because imposed without their consent.

The general sentiment on this question, has been stated by the late John Adams thus: “The authority of parliament was never generally acknowledged in America. More than a century since, Massachusetts and Virginia both protested against the act of navigation, and refused obedience, for this very reason, because they were not represented in parliament, and were therefore not bound; and afterwards confirmed it by their own provincial authority. And from that time to this, the general sense of the colonies has been, that the authority of parliament was confined to the regulation of trade, and did not extend to taxation or internal legislation."

The colonists had from the beginning acknowledged the authority of parliament to regulate commerce, and had paid duties laid for that purpose; but when they were made to suffer ftom the restrictive measures of the British government, some were disposed to question its right even to lay duties. In New Jersey the collection of duties was, in one instance, resisted, on the ground that they were illegal and unconstitutional, because imposed without the consent of the people. Resistance, however, to the laws of parliament was seldom offered, until systematic efforts were made by that body, to exercise the power of internal legislation and taxation.

The system of monopolizing the trade of the colonies by Great Britain, was commenced at an early period. The Virginia company, in 1621, to avoid the heavy duties upon their tobacco imported into England, sent it to Holland. An order of the king and cuncil soon followed, declaring " that no tobacco, or other productions of the colonies, should thenceforth be carried into any foreign port, until they were first landed in England, and the customs paid.” This order not being strictly enforced by the governors, instructions were given, in 1637, to the governor of Virginia, to “be very careful that no vessel depart thence loaded with these commodities before bond with sufficient sureties be taken to his Majesty's use, to bring the same into his Majesty's dominions, and to carry a loading from thence."

Notwithstanding these instructions, the productions of the colonies and of other countries, were still carried by Hollanders for English merchants. Then came that memorable enactment, called the navigation act, by the commons in 1651. By this act it was ordained, that no merchandise should be imported into his Majesty's plantations, or exported from them, but in vessels built in England or its plantations; and that no sugar, tobacco, ginger, cotton, indigo, or other articles enumerated, should be exported from the colonies to any other country than such as belonged to the crown of Great Britain. This act, which was passed while the parliament was in power, was reënacted soon after the restoration of Charles II, and with additional restrictions. Not satisfied with the monopoly of the colonial export trade, parliament, determined to effect a similar limitation of the import trade, enacted in 1663, that "no commodity of the growth or manufacture of Europe, shall be imported into any of the king's plantations in Asia, Africa, or America, but what shall have been shipped in England, Wales, or town of Berwick, and in English built shipping, whereof the master and threefourths of the mariners are English, and carried directly thence to the said plantations;" excepting, however, salt from any part of Europe for the American fisheries, wines from Madeira and the Azores, and provisions from Scotland, for the plantations. The objects of this selfish policy are declared in the preamble to this act to be: “the keeping of his Majesty's subjects in the plantations in a firmer dependence ;” the " increase of English shipping ;” and “the vent of English woolens and other manufactures and commodities."

These acts, however, left the colonists free to export the enumerated commodities from one plantation to another, without duty. But even this privilege was not long enjoyed. In 1672, duties were imposed upon sugars, tobacco, indigo, cotton, wool, &c., transported from one colony to another. These acts were, in some of the colonies, declared to be violations of their charters; and in Massachusetts they were wholly disregarded. They were pronounced by the general court, to be an invasion of the rights, liberties, and properties of the subjects of his Majesty in the colony, they not being represented in parliament." The displeasure of the king and ministry having been excited by this violation of the laws, and measures being meditated to enforce them, the general court, by a special act, ordered their observance in future. In the Carolinas, also, these acts were not generally obcyed. The act levying duties on articles carried from one colony to another was pronounced a violation of their charters.

In 1996, a board of commissioners, called "a board of trade and plantations,” was constituted to take the management of the affairs of the colonies. Laws were also passed for the more certain enforcement of the acts of trade. One of these laws required the governors, on oath, and under a severe penalty, to see the navigation acts executed. Parliament also made the authority of the governors in the proprietary governments dependent on the approval of the king, in violation of the charters of these colonies.

We have seen, that the restrictive policy of the parent country was to secure a “vent of English woolens and other manufactures and commodities," as well as the “increase of English shipping." Accordingly, when the colonists began to manufacture for themselves, they were met by an act of parliament, declaring that “no wool, yarn, or woolen manufactures of the American plantations should be shipped there to be transported to any place whatever.” The manufactures most injurious to the trade and manufactures of the parent country, were those of wool, fax, iron, paper, hats and leather. Hats being made in New England, and exported to Spain, Portugal, and the West India islands, an act was passed in 1732, which prohibited not only their exportation to foreign countries, but their being carried from one colony to another. And, as an additional means of crippling the manufacture of this article, no hatter was allowed to carry on the business, without having served seven years as an apprentice to the trade, or to employ more than two apprentices at one time; and no black or negro might work at the business at all. By an act of parliament, in 1750, iron in pigs and bars might be imported from the colonies into England to be manufactured; but the erection or continuance of any slitting or rolling mill, plating forge to work with a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel in the colonies, was prohibited; and any such mill or machinery was declared to be a common nuisance, which the governors, under a penalty of £500, were required to cause to be abated.

The extraordinary expenses of the war between Great Britain and France, which terminated in the peace of 1763, and in the acquisition of Canada and the other French possessions in North America, having rendered it necessary to increase the national revenue, it was determined to have recourse to taxation in the colonies; and also to provide for a more rigid execution of the navigation acts, and acts regulating the colonia) trade. Accordingly, orders were issued, in 1760, to the custom house officers in America, to take more effectual measures for enforcing the acts of trade; and particularly those which imposed duties upon the productions of the French and Spanish West India islands. To insure the future collection of these duties, all officers in the sea service on the American station, were converted into revenue officers, and required to take custom house oaths; and the collectors of customs were directed to apply, if necessary, to the courts for written authority to break open houses and other buildings to search for smuggled and prohibited goods. The New England colonies had carried on a lucrative trade with the French and Spanish colonies. With the sugar, molasses, &c., there obtained, they had been enabled to pay for the British manufactures imported. Massachusetts being most deeply interested in that trade, these measures were extremely obnoxious to the people of that colony. What rendered the law more objectionable was, that the penalties and for. feitures under it were recoverable in any court of vice-admiralty without


trial by jury.

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Another measure contemplated by the British ministry about this time, was the modification of the colonial governments.

As these governments, especially the charter governments, were deemed too liberal, it was thought necessary to alter them, with a view of rendering the colonies more dependent on the crown, and of preventing revolts in future. The attempt to carry into effect this purpose of “reforming the American governments," was prevented, probably, by the general excitement produced by the resolution of parliament, in 1764, declaring the intention of imposing stamp duties in the colonies; the further consideration of which was postponed to the next session.

Apprehending the passage of the stamp act, agents from several of the provincial assemblies were sent tổ England, with petitions to the king, and memorials to both houses of parliament against the measure; but the petitions and memorials were not received; it being alleged to be contrary to order to receive petitions against money bills. The bill was passed by very large majorities in both houses, and on the 22nd of March, 1765, received the royal assent. This act provided that obligations in writing in daily use, were to be null and void, unless they were executed on a paper or parchment stamped with a specific duty. Also newspapers, almanacs, and pamphlets were to be made to contribute to

the British treasury.

Intelligence of the passage of this act was received with indignation and alarm ; meetings of the people were held; and the whole country was set in a flame. The assen.bly of Virginia was in session when the news arrived. Resolutions introduced by Patrick Henry, were adopted, in which the taxation of the people by themselves or their chosen representatives, was claimed as their exclusive right. Similar resolutions were passed by the legislatures of several other colonies. The house of representatives of Massachusetts recommended a congress of deputies from all the colonies, to meet at New York on the first Tuesday of October, 1765, to consult on the circumstances of the colonies and measures of relief. Commissioners from all the colonies except New Hampshire assembled; and Timothy Ruggles, of Massachusetts, was elected president of the congress. A declaration of rights and grievances was adopted, asserting among other things, that the colonists "are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his Majesty's natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain; that it was the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives ; that the right of trial by jury is the inherent right of every British subject in these colonies; that the stamp act and other acts extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists; that the restrictions on the trade of the colonies will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain ; and that it was the right and duty of the colonists, as British subjects, to petition the king and parliament for the repeal of the stamp act, of the acts extending the admiralty jurisdiction, and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce."

They next prepared an address to the king, and a petition to both houses of parliament. These papers, while they breathe a spirit of true loyalty, furnish a specimen of dignified, earnest, yet respectful remonstrance, that commands the highest admiration. The king is reminded of the causes and objects that brought their ancestors to this country; of the encouragements offered them by his predecessors; of their toils and hardships in converting the deserts of America into flourishing countries, by which the wealth and power of Great Britain had been greatly augmented. They proceed to say: “ Our connection with this empire we esteem our greatest happiness and security, and humbly conceive it may now be so established by your royal wisdom, as to endure to the latest period of time. This, with the most humble submission to your Majesty, we apprehend will be most effectually accomplished, by fixing the pillars thereof on liberty and justice, and securing the inherent rights and liberties of your subjects here upon the principles of the English constitution.” In their petition to the house of commons, they claim cxemption from taxation, on the ground" that parliament, adhering to the principles of the constitution, have never hitherto taxed any

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