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‘ [309] blame for taking part in the plunder?’ ‘North
chap. XVI.} 1765. Aug.
American liberty is dead,’ wrote another, who had a clear view of the issue. ‘She is dead, but happily she has left one son, the child of her bosom, prophetically named Independence,1 now the hope of all when he shall come of age.’ ‘But why wait?’ asked the impatient. ‘Why should any stamp officers be allowed in America at all’ ‘I am clear in this point,’ declared Mayhew,2 ‘that no people are under a religious obligation to be slaves, if they are able to set themselves at liberty.’

‘The Stamp Act,’ it was said universally in Boston, ‘is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and a breach of charter. Let it be of short duration. There are two hundred thousand inhabitants in this province, and by computation about two millions in America. It is too late for us to be dragooned out of our rights. We may refuse submission, or at least the stamp officers will be afraid to stab their country.’3 If every one of them could be forced to resign, the statute which was to execute itself, would perish from the beginning. Spontaneously, the decree seemed to go forth, that Boston should lead the way in the work of compulsion.4

It was already known there, that the king, desirous of changing his ministry, had sent for William Pitt; and the crowd that kindled the bonfire in King-street on the birthday of the Prince of Wales, rent the air with ‘God bless our true British king! Heaven preserve the Prince of Wales! Pitt and liberty for ever!’ And high and low, rich and poor, joined in the chorus, ‘Pitt and liberty!’

1 Boston Evening Post, and other papers.

2 Mayhew to Hollis, 8 August.

3 Letter from Boston, 5 August.

4 Gage to Conway, Sept.

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