but had been constantly recognised by the king and
people of Great Britain
Such was the declaration of colonial rights, adopted at his instance by the Assembly of Virginia.
It followed from these resolutions, and Patrick Henry
so expressed it in a fifth supplementary one, that the General Assembly of the whole colony have the sole right and power to lay taxes on the inhabitants of the colony, and that any attempt to vest such power in any other persons whatever tended to destroy British as well as American freedom.
It was still further set forth, yet not by Henry, in two resolutions, which, though they were not officially produced, equally embodied the mind of the younger part of the Assembly, that the inhabitants of Virginia
were not bound to yield obedience to any law designed to impose taxation upon them, other than the laws of their own General Assembly, and that any one who should, either by speaking or writing, maintain the contrary, should be deemed an enemy to the colony.
A stormy debate arose, and many threats were uttered.1 Robinson
, the Speaker
, already a defaulter, Peyton Randolph
, the king's attorney, and the frank, honest, and independent George Wythe
, a lover of classic learning, accustomed to guide the house by his strong understanding and single-minded integrity, exerted all their powers to moderate the tone of ‘the hot and virulent resolutions;’2
while John Randolph
, the best lawyer in the colony, ‘singly’3
resisted the whole proceeding.
But, on the other side, George Johnston
, of Fairfax
, reasoned with solidity and firmness, and Henry flamed with impassioned zeal.