‘The authority of the parliament of Great
Britain,’ such were the words of this paper, ‘is circumscribed by bounds, which, if exceeded, their acts become mere power without right, and consequently void.’
‘Acts of parliament against natural equity are void.
Acts against the fundamental principles of the British
institutions are void.’2
‘The wild wastes of America
have been turned into pleasant habitations; little villages in Great Britain
into manufacturing towns and opulent cities; and London
itself bids fair to become the metropolis of the world.3
These are the fruits of the spirit of commerce and liberty.
The British empire to be perpetuated must be built on the principles of justice.’4
Such were the views of Otis
, sent by Massachusetts
to its agent in London
, ‘to be improved as he might judge proper.’
The Assembly formally repudiated the concessions of their agent.
Their silence had rather been the silence of ‘despair.’
They protested against ‘the burdensome scheme of obliging the colonies to maintain a standing army,’ as against the constitution, and against reason.
They rehearsed their services during the last war. Still incredulous, they demand: ‘Can it be possible that duties and taxes shall be assessed without the voice or consent of an American parliament.
If we are not represented, we are slaves.’
,’ said they, connecting the questions of American and Irish liberty, ‘was a conquered country, yet no duties have been levied by the British parliament on Ireland
‘The resolutions for a stamp act naturally and directly tend to enervate the good ’