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[357] deposited in the City Hall, offering in that case to
chap. XIX.} 1765. Nov.
prevent further confusion. The Common Council were a body elected by the people; they were the representatives of the people over against the king's Governor and Council, and the military Viceroy. Colden pleaded his oath, to do his utmost, that every clause of the Act should be observed; he pleaded further the still greater contempt1 into which the government would fall by concession. But the Council, in which William Smith, the historian of New-York, acted a prudent part,2 as the negotiator between the Lieutenant-Governor, the General, and the people, answered that his power was unequal to the protection of the inhabitants;3 Gage, being appealed to,4 avowed the belief, that a fire from the fort would be the signal for ‘an insurrection,’ and ‘the commencement of a civil war.’ So the head of the province of New-York, and the military chief of all America, confessing their inability to stop the anarchy, capitulated to the municipal body which represented the people. The stamps were taken to the City Hall; the city government restored order; the press continued its activity, and in all the streets was heard the shout of ‘Liberty, Property, and no Stamps.’

The thirst for revenge rankled in Colden's breast. ‘The lawyers,’ he wrote to Conway, at a time when the government in England was still bent on enforcing the Stamp Act,5 ‘the lawyers of this place are the authors and conductors of the present sedition. ’

1 Colden to Maj. James, 6 Nov.

2 Diary of John Adams.

3 Minutes of Council.

4 Colden to Gage, 5 Nov. Gage to Colden, 5 Nov. Gage to Conway, 8 Nov. Colden to Conway, 9 Nov.

5 R. Jackson to Bernard, 8 Nov. 1765.

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