The Board of Trade esteemed
the provincial legislature to be subordinate, resting for its existence on acts of the royal prerogative, the king's commissions and the king's instructions, and possessed of none of the attributes of sovereignty; while the people looked upon their representatives as a body participant in sovereignty, existing by an inherent right, and co-ordinate with the British
House of Commons.
Affairs of religion also involved political strife.
In a province chiefly of Calvinists, the English Church was favored, though not established by law; but an act of the prerogative, which limited the selection of the president of the provincial college to those in communion with the Church of England, agitated the public mind, and united the Presbyterians in distrust of the royal authority.
The Laws of Trade excited still more resistance.
Why should a people, of whom one half were of foreign ancestry, be cut off from all the world but England
Why must the children of Holland
be debarred from the ports of the Netherlands?
Why must their ships seek the produce of Europe
, and, by a later law, the produce of Asia
, in English harbors alone?
Why were negro slaves the only considerable object of foreign commerce which England
did not compel to be first landed on its shores?
The British restrictive system was never acknowledged by New York as valid, and was transgressed by all America
, but most of all by this province, to an extent that could not easily be imagined.
Especially the British
ministry had been invited, in 1752, to observe, that, while the consumption of tea was annually increasing in America
, the export from England