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purchase it; who would thus contribute to the relief of the company, and to the revenues of Great Britain.
Large shipments of tea were made to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and other places. But the colonists were determined not to suffer it to be landed. If it should be landed, it would be sold and the duties would be paid; and a precedent for taxing the colonies would be established. In Charleston, the tca was, after much opposition, landed; but the consignees were not permitted to offer it for sale. In Philadelphia and New York, the consignces declined receiving it, and it was returned in the same vessels to England. At Boston, the consignees were requested to resign. They refusing to comply with the request, a large meeting assembled in Faneuil Hall, where it was voted, “ that the tea shall not be landed; that no duty shall be paid; and that it shall be sent back in the same bottoms." And the captains of the vessels were directed to apply for clearances, without an entry of their ressels. While the meeting was in session, one of the captains was sent, for the last time, to the governor for a clearance. The refusal of the governor having been announced, the meeting dissolved ; and the people repaired to the wharf, where a number, previously selected for the purpose, and dressed in the guise of Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessels, broke open three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, and emptied their contents into the ocean. This occurred in December, 1773.
In March following, these proceedings were laid before parliament, in a message from the king. Indignant at the conduct of the Americans, parliament at once resolved to provide effectually for securing obedience to the laws. The colony of Massachusetts, particularly the town of Boston, having rendered themselves most conspicuous in the opposition to the laws, were made the special objects of resentment. · A bill, since called the "Boston port bill," was introduced "for discontinuing the lading and shipping of goods, wares and merchandises at Boston, or the harbor thereof, and for the removal of the custom house with its depend. encies to the town of Salem." The bill passed with little opposition. This act, interdicting all intercourse with Boston, was to continue in force until the East India company should be fully compensated for the loss of their tea, and until the king should have declared himself satisfied that peace and good order had been restored in the town.
An act was next passed, “for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts Bay." By this act, the charter was to be altered with a view to deprive the people of certain important rights. The members of the council were no longer to be chosen by the general assembly, but appointed by the king, and dismissed at his pleasure : and the magistrates and other officers were to be appointed and removed by
the governor, without the consent of the council. Also the right of selecting jurors by the people of the towns, was taken away, and given to the sheriffs, who were appointed by the governor. Nor were the people to be allowed to hold meetings in the several towns, except the annual meetings for the election of officers, without leave of the governor in writing. By this restriction, it was doubtless intended to prevent those assemblages in which the people had been accustomed to discuss their relations to the parent country, and to consult on measures for the maintenance of their rights.
Another act was passed, providing “ for the impartial administration of justice in Massachusetts Bay;" by which, persons indicted for a capital offense committed in enforcing the revenue laws, or in suppressing, or aiding to suppress riots in that colony, might be sent to any other colony or to Great Britain to be tried. This act was to continue in force
A fourth bill was passed for quartering soldiers on the inhabitants of the colonies.
And lastly, "an act for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec." By this act, the limits of that province were to be so extended as to include the territory between the lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi ; and was intended to restrict the limits of other colonies. The most exceptionable feature of this act was, the establishment of a legislative council, to be appointed by the king, and invested with all the powers of legislation, except that of imposing taxes.
The refractory spirit of the people, especially those of Massachusetts, who were to be punished into submission, was not subdued by any of these laws. On receiving intelligence of the Boston port bill, a meeting of the people of that town was called, and resolutions were passed, denouncing the act, and inviting the other colonics to join with them in an agrcement to stop all imports from, and exports to, Great Britain and the West Indies, until the act should be repealed.
The other colonies made common cause with Massachusetts. The legislature of Virginia being in session when the news of the Boston port bill arrived, appointed the first day of June, the day on which the port of Boston was to be closed, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. The day was thus observed throughout the colonies, and sermons were preached adapted to the occasion. The governor of Virginia, displeased with this measure, dissolved the assembly. The members, bowever, before they separated, recommended to their committee of correspondence to communicate with the several committees of the other colonies
, on the expediency of appointing deputies to meet annually in a
general congress, to deliberate on those general measures which the united interests of America might from time to time render necessary This proposition was readily acceded to by the other colonies.
The house of representatives of Massachusetts, now assembled at Salem, passed resolutions in favor of the proposed congress, and recom. mending to the people of that province, to renounce the consumption of tea and all other goods imported from the East Indies, and Great Britain until the grievances of the colonies should be redressed; and recommending also the encouragement of domestic manufactures. The house also appointed five delegates to the general convention. On being in. formed of the proceedings of the house, the governor sent his secretary to dissolve the assembly,
On the 5th of September, 1774, the convention assembled at Philadelphia. This congress published a declaration of rights, protesting against the right of Great Britain to tax the colonies, or to interfere with their internal affairs; with a statement of grievances, declaring the late acts of parliament to be violations of the rights of the colonists. They also prepared and signed an agreement, in which they, for them. selves and their constituents, were pledged, not to import or use British goods till the acts complained of should be repealed. And if these acts should not be repealed by the 10th day of September, 1775, no goods were to be exported to Great Britain or her West India colonies, except rice to Europe. Addresses to the king and the people of Great Britain were also prepared, and an address to the people of the colonies. The congress was dissolved on the 26th of October ; having recommended that another congress convene on the 10th of May following, if a redress of grievances should not render it unnecessary.
The determination of parliament, which met soon after the dissolution of the congress, to persevere in its attempts to enforce its measures in the colonies, removed all hope of redress by petition or remonstrance. Preparations now began to be made for resistance. Gunpowder was manufactured; the militia was trained; and military stores were collected. In April, 1775, a detachment of troops was sent to destroy the military stores collected at Concord. At Lexington, the militia were collected to oppose the British forces. They were fired upon by the British troops, and eight men were killed. Having proceeded to Concord, and destroyed a few of the stores, the troops returned, and were pursued by the Americans to Boston.
In May, 1775, a second congress met from all the colonies. It was determined to organize an army; and Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the American forces. Three millions of dollars of paper money, in bills of credit, were authorized to be issued; for the redemption of which each colony was to pay its proportion, and the united colonies were to pay such part of the quota of any colony, as the colony should fail to discharge. A general post-office was established. Con. gress also published a declaration of the causes of taking up arms, and another address to the king, entreating a change of measures, and an address to the people of Great Britain, requesting their aid, and admonishing them of the threatening evils of a separation. The petition to the king was, as usual, unavailing. This congress, at its second meeting, (a recess from August to September having been had,) proceeded in its measures for resistance. Rules were adopted for the regulation of the navy; a farther emission of bills was authorized ; and a treasury depart. ment was established.
The colonies being declared by the king to be in a state of rebellion, war measures were adopted by the British government. In December, parliament passed an act interdicting all trade with the colories, and authorizing the capture and condemnation of all American vessels and their cargoes, and all other vessels found trading in any port in the colonies, as if they were the vessels of open enemies. The mass of the American people having become convinced of the necessity of an entire separation from the parent country, congress, on the 10th of June, 1776, appointed a committee to prepare a declaration, “ that these colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." This committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. The resolution of independence was adopted on the 2d day of July; and on the 4th, congress adopted the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CONFEDERATION.--TREATY WITH FRANCE.
NEGOTIATION WITH GREAT BRITAIN.--PEACE.-CALL FOR A CONVENTION.
CONGRESS soon perceived the necessity of some compact between the colonies, in order to give effect and permanence to the union, and to define more accurately the powers of the congress. A plan was reported to that body a few days after the declaration of independence, but was not adopted. In April, 1777, the subject was resumed ; and in November a plan was agreed on by congress. This instrument was called “ Articles of confederation and perpetual union between the states of
.” This confederacy was to be styled, “ The United States of America." Each state was to retain its sovercignty, freedom, and independence, and every power and right not expressly delegated to congress. The states entered into a “firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare."
Congress was composed of delegates, not less than two nor more than seven, from each state, appointed annually by its legislature, which had power to recall any delegate at any time within the year, and send another in his stead. The delegates were maintained by their respective states. In determining questions in congress, each state had one vote; and that vote was determined by a majority of the delegates.
The power to declare war and peace, to make requisitions of men and money, and to regulate the external affairs of the nation generally, was devolved upon congress. Many of the powers of congress, as well as the restrictions upon the states, were the same as under the present constitution. Some of the most essential powers, however, had been reserved to the states--powers, the want of which constituted the principal defect of the system, as will hereafter be seen.
Any act of congress, making war, granting letters of marque and reprisal, coining money, emitting bills, borrowing or appropriating money, and for certain other and similar purposes, was to have the assent of nine states. Other questions were to be decided by a majority of the states. Congress had authority to appoint a committee, denominated“ committee of the states," to consist of one delegate from each state; which committee, or any nine of them, had authority to execute, in the