, the stamp duty
seemed as equal as any that could be generally imposed on the colonies;1
though the manner of imposing it greatly inspired alarm.
While the act was in abeyance, Hutchinson
had, in letters to England
, pleaded for the ancient privilege of the colonies with regard to internal taxes; but, on learning the decision of parliament, he made haste to say, that ‘it could be to no purpose to claim a right of exemption, when the whole body of the people of England
were against it.’
He was only ‘waiting to know what more parliament would do towards raising the sums which the colonies were to pay,’ and which as yet were not half provided for.2
Openly espousing the defence of the act as legally right,3
in his charges, as Chief Justice
, he admonished ‘the jurors and people’ of the several counties to obey.4
Nor did the result seem doubtful.
There could be no danger but from union; and ‘no two colonies,’ said he, ‘think alike; there is no uniformity of measures; the bundle of sticks thus separated will be easily broken.’
‘The Stamp Act,’ he assured the ministry, five weeks after the news of its passage, ‘is received among us with as much decency as could be expected; it leaves no room for evasion, and will execute itself.’5
Yet the opposition to its execution was preparing, and in theory it was at once rejected.
‘Should Great Britain
,’ inquired a