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[151] unanimously, ‘having been read several times,’ in Town Meeting at Faneuil Hall, the following rule of conduct was prescribed:

‘We, therefore, think it our indispensable duty, in Justice to ourselves and Posterity, as it is our undoubted Privilege, in the most open and unreserved, but decent and respectful Terms, to declare our greatest Dissatisfaction with this Law. And we think it incumbent upon you by no Means to join in any public Measures for countenancing and assisting in the execution of the same. But to use your best endeavors in the general Assembly to have the inherent inalienable Rights of the People of this Province asserted, and vindicated, and left upon the public record, that Posterity may never have reason to charge the present Times with the Guilt of tamely giving them away.’

Virginia responded to Boston. Many of her justices of the peace surrendered their commissions ‘rather than aid in the enforcement of the law, or be instrumental in the overthrow of their country's liberties.’

As the opposition deepened, its natural tendency was to outbreak and violence. But this was carefully restrained. On one occasion in Boston it showed itself in the lawlessness of a mob. But the town, at a public meeting in Faneuil Hall, called without delay on the motion of the opponents of the Stamp Act, with James Otis as chairman, condemned the outrage. Eager in hostility to the execution of the Act, Boston cherished municipal order, and constantly discountenanced all tumult, violence, and illegal proceedings. Her equal devotion to these two objects drew the praises and congratulations of other towns. In reply, March 27th, 1766, to an Address from the inhabitants of Plymouth, her own consciousness of duty done is thus expressed:

‘If the inhabitants of Boston have taken the legal and warrantable measures to prevent that misfortune, of all others the most to be dreaded, the execution of the Stamp Act, and as a necessary means of preventing it, have made any spirited applications for opening the custom-houses and courts of justice; if at the same time they have borne their testimony against outrageous tumults and illegal proceedings, and given any example of the Love of Peace and good order, next to the consciousness of having done their duty is the satisfaction of meeting with the approbation of any of their fellow-countrymen.’

Learn now from the Diary of John Adams the results of this system:

‘The year 1765 has been the most remarkable year of my life. That enormous engine, fabricated by the British Parliament, for battering down all the rights and liberties of America—I mean the Stamp Act— has raised and spread through the whole continent a spirit that will be recorded to our honor with all future generations. In every Colony, from Georgia to New Hampshire inclusively, the stamp distributors and ’

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