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1 Every thing implied confidence in the obe-
chap XVII.} 1765. Sept.
dience of the colonies.

And yet the tide of opinion in America was swelling and becoming irresistible. ‘To the north and to the southward,’ said Hutchinson, ‘the people are absolutely without the use of reason.’ A majority in every colony was resolved to run all hazards rather than submit. When they were asked, ‘What will you do after the first of November?’ ‘Do?’ they replied, ‘do as we did before.’ ‘Will you violate the law of parliament?’ ‘The Stamp Act,’ repeated every one over and over, ‘is against Magna Charta, and Lord Coke says, an act of parliament against Magna Charta is for that reason void.’

In a more solemn tone, the convictions and purposes of America found utterance through the press. John Adams, of Massachusetts, a fiery Protestant, claiming intellectual freedom as the birthright of man, at once didactic and impetuous, obeying the impulses of ‘a heart that burned for his country's welfare,’ summoned the whole experience of the human race and human nature herself, to bear witness, that through the increase and diffusion of intelligence, the world was advancing towards the establishment of popular power. Full of hope, he set liberty and knowledge over against authority and ignorance; America over against Europe; the modern principle of popular freedom over against the Middle Age and its tyrannies; the New World over against the Old. ‘The people,’ thus he continued, ‘the populace, as they are contemptuously called, have rights antecedent to all earthly government—rights that cannot ’

1 [323] of Lords of Trade to the king, 27 Sept. 1765.

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