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[316] to increase the garrison at the castle, from fear of the
chap. XVI.} 1765. Sept.
people of Boston. He countermanded the levy; and, in an official declaration, he voluntarily set forth to a very full council, ‘the absurdity of such a supposition, as that he should cause the stamped papers to be lodged in the Castle, there to be unpacked and distributed; he had no warrant whatsoever to unpack a bale of them, or to order any one else to do so; and it could not be conceived, that he should be so imprudent as to undertake the business.’

On the ninth of September, a ship entered Boston, bringing news of the change of ministry, which created great joy, and the sanguine expectation of the speedy repeal of the Stamp Act. ‘If Astraea were not fled,’ said Mayhew, ‘there might be grounds for the hope;’ and the colonies, mingling doubt with confidence, persevered in the purpose of making parliament plainly see that the act would prove pernicious to Great Britain itself. George Meserve,1 the stamp distributor for New Hampshire, arriving in the same vessel, resigned his office before stepping on land; and afterwards, on his return to Portsmouth, repeated his resignation on the parade, in the presence of a great multitude.

Connecticut, which from its compact population and wealth, was, in military resources, second only to Massachusetts, loved its charter, of which it dreaded to risk the forfeiture by involving its legislature. The people, therefore, systematically assumed the direction of opinion. Assured of the protection of Fitch, the governor, who at heart was a lukewarm royalist, Ingersoll sought to reason the people into forbearance.

1 Meserve to Conway, 31 July, 1766.

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