tardily along in June, it was not easy to describe the
manner in which people were affected.
‘I will wear nothing but homespun,’1
exclaimed one citizen; ‘I will drink no wine,’ echoed another, angry that wine must pay a new duty.
‘I propose,’ cried a third, ‘that we dress in sheepskins with the wool on.’
All expressed their resentment in the strongest manner.
It was thought a French army of three thousand men might land in America
without opposition from its inhabitants.
‘It appears plainly,’ said the gentle Robert R. Livingston
, ‘that these duties are only the beginning of evils.
The stamp duty, they tell us, is deferred, till they see whether the colonies will take the yoke upon themselves, and offer something else as certain.
They talk, too, of a land tax, and to us the ministry appears to have run mad;’ and looking forward to measures of resistance, ‘we in New-York
,’ he added, ‘shall do as well as our neighbors: the God of Heaven, whom we serve, will sanctify all things to those who love Him and strive to serve Him.’
The legislature of Massachusetts was then in session.
The Boston Instructions, drawn by Samuel Adams
, formed the corner-stone of its policy.
In pursuance of them, James Otis
prepared ‘a state’ of the case.2
By the laws of nature and of nations, the voice of universal reason, and of God, by statute law and the common law, this memorial claimed for the colonists the absolute rights of Englishmen-personal security and liberty, the rights of property, the power of local legislation, subject only to the king's negative as in Ireland
, and the sole power of taxing themselves.3