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[234] in America; that its provisions extended only to trea-
Chap. XXXVIII} 1768. Nov.
sons; and that there was no sufficient ground to fix the charge of high treason upon any persons named in the papers laid before them. The law in England was more humane and just than the Colonial Office. The troops found no rebellion at Boston; could they make one? They found a town of which the merchants refused to import goods of British manufacture, or to buy tea brought by way of Great Britain. How could armed men change this disposition? Massachusetts would not even pay for their quarters, because they had not been quartered according to law; so that they were left to make a useless parade up and down the streets of Boston at the cost of the British Exchequer; sharpening the sullen discontent of the townsmen. The employment of soldiery failed from the beginning. ‘No force on earth,’ wrote the Governor of New Jersey, ‘is sufficient to make the Assemblies acknowledge, by any act of theirs, that the Parliament has a right to impose taxes on America.’1

Each American Assembly, as it came together, denied that right, and embodied its denial in Petitions to the King. Yet the Ministry were pledged to enforce the absolute supremacy of the British Legislature; the King, therefore, instead of hearing the Petitions, disapproved and rejected them; Virginia was soothingly reprimanded; Pennsylvania, whose loyalty had but a fortnight before been confidently extolled by Hillsborough, Rhode Island, whose reverence for the laws he had officially set

1 W. Franklin to Hillsborough, 23 November, 1768.

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