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[251] Every agent in England believed the stamp tax
chap. XI.} 1765. April.
would be peacefully levied.1 Not one ‘imagined the colonies would think of disputing the matter with parliament at the point of the sword.’ ‘It is our duty to submit,’ had been the words of Otis.2 ‘We yield obedience to the act granting duties,’3 had been uttered solemnly by the legislature of Massachusetts. ‘If parliament, in their superior wisdom, shall pass the act, we must submit,’ wrote Fitch, the governor4 of Connecticut, elected by the people, to Jackson. ‘It can be of no purpose to claim a right of exemption,’ thought Hutchinson. ‘It will fall particularly hard on us lawyers and printers,’ wrote Franklin5 to a friend in Philadelphia, never doubting it would go into effect, and looking for relief to the rapid increase of the people of America.

The agent for Massachusetts had recommended the tax. Knox,6 the agent for Georgia, wrote publicly in its favor. The honest but eccentric Thomas Pownall, who had been so much in the colonies, and really had an affection for them, congratulated Grenville in advance, ‘on the good effects he would see derived to Great Britain and to the colonies from his firmness and candor in conducting the American business.’7

Still less did the statesmen of England doubt the result. No tax was ever laid with more general approbation.8 The act seemed sure to enforce itself.

1 Grenville's Speech, 5 March, 1770, in Cavendish, i. 494.

2 Otis's Rights of the Colonies, 40.

3 Answer of the Council and House, 3 Nov. 1764.

4 Governor Thomas Fitch to Richard Jackson. Norwalk, 23 Feb. 1765.

5 Franklin to Ross, 14 Feb. 1765.

6 The Claim of the Colonies to Exemption from Taxes Imposed by Parliament Examined, 1765.

7 Pownall's Dedication to George Grenville of the second edition of his Administration of the Colonies.

8 Considerations, &c., 109.

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