previous next

[133] legislative authority of Parliament over the whole empire, it rests its case on the
essential, unalterable right, in nature, engrafted into the British constitution, as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that what a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent.

So precious is the right of representation, and so great the “utter impracticability” of actually being represented in Parliament, that this House think that a taxation of their constituents, even without their consent, grievous as it is, would be preferable to any representation that could be admitted for them there. Devotion to naked principle could go no farther, nor indicate more clearly the desired goal of independence.

The Townshend Revenue Act remained in force until April, 1770. The act produced an inappreciable revenue, necessitated extraordinary expenditures for its enforcement, and had no other effect upon the situation in America than to reawaken and solidify the colonial opposition to parliamentary taxation, and stimulate interest in the development of colonial manufactures and in the concerted non-importation and non-consumption of British goods. One of the first steps of the North ministry was to repeal it (1770), except the tax of three pence a pound on tea, retained to assert the principle of the Declaratory Act of 1766. For the next two years and more the agitation was not actively kept up, and even such violent disorders as the Boston Massacre (March, 1770) and the burning of the revenue schooner Gaspke (1772) occasioned hardly more than local excitement. Colonial newspapers continued to print essays on American rights, and houses of assembly embodied their views in resolutions; but these occasional writings, while doubtless not without their influence upon public opinion, hardly constitute a political literature of importance.

To this early period of revolutionary agitation belong also the first two volumes of Thomas Hutchinson's History of the colony of Massachusetts Bay (1764-67)1 and the famous Hutchinson

1 See also Book I, Chap. II.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)
Massachusetts Bay (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas Hutchinson (2)
House (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1772 AD (1)
April, 1770 AD (1)
March, 1770 AD (1)
1770 AD (1)
1767 AD (1)
1766 AD (1)
1764 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: