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[247] Commons would neither receive petitions nor hear
chap. XI.} 1765. Feb.
counsel. .

All the efforts of the agents of the colonies were fruitless. Within doors less resistance was made to the act than to a common turnpike bill.1 ‘We might,’ said Franklin, ‘as well have hindered the sun's setting.’ The tide against the Americans was irresistible. ‘We have power to tax them,’ said one of the ministry, ‘and we will tax them.’2 The nation was provoked by American claims of independence (of parliament), and all parties joined in resolving by this act to settle the point.3

On the twenty-seventh of February, the Stamp Act passed the House of Commons. Rockingham had freely expressed his opinion at Sir George Saville's as to the manner in which the colonies could best resist it.4 In public he was silent. Lord Temple5 had much private conversation with Lord Lyttelton on the subject; and both approved the principle of the measure, and the right asserted in it. Had there existed any doubt concerning that right, they were of opinion it should then be debated, before the honor of the legislature was engaged to its support. But on the eighth of March the bill was agreed to by the Lords without having encountered an amendment, debate, protest, division, or single dissentient vote. The royal assent was long waited for.

The king was too ill to ratify the act in person.

1 Letter to New-York, 16 Feb. 765, in Boston Gazette of 3 June.

2 Letter from London, of Oct. 1765, quoted in R. H. Lee's of 2 Feb. 1766.

3 Franklin to Charles Thompson, Ms.

4 Letter from London, by William Bollan.

5 Phillimore's Lyttelton, II. 690.

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