comes to the aid of Massachusetts
.—Hiillsbo-rough's Administration of the Colonies continued.
the decision of the King
hastened by tidings of the rebellion in New Orleans, which engaged the most earnest attention of his Council.1
The Cabinet, with but one dissentient, agreed that Louisiana
must be retained, as a granary for Havana
and Port Rico, a precaution against the contraband trade of France
, and a barrier to keep off English encroachments by the indisputable line of a great river.
‘Still more,’ said the Duke
, ‘the world and especially America
must see that the King
can and will crush even an intention of disrespect.’
should recover Louisiana
,’ said Masones de Lima
, ‘she would annex it to the English Colonies
, or would establish its independence.’2
‘A republic in Louisiana
,’ such was D'Aranda's carefully prepared opinion, ‘would be independent of the European
powers, who would all cultivate her friendship and support her existence.
She would increase her population, enlarge
her limits, and grow into a rich, flourishing and free State, contrasting with our exhausted Provinces.
From the example before them, the inhabitants of our vast Mexican
domain would be led to consider their total want of commerce, the extortions of their Governors, the little esteem in which they themselves are held, the few offices which they are permitted to fill; they would hate still more the Spanish
rule, and would think to brave it with security.
If by improving the government of the Mexican Provinces
and the condition of their inhabitants, we should avoid the fatal revolution, Louisiana
would still trade with the harbors on our coast, and also by land with Texas
and New Mexico
, and through them with Old Mexico.
, there are no established limits; the rebels, if they remain as they are, will have a pretext for claiming an arbitrary extension of territory.’3
He therefore advised to reduce the colony, but to keep New Orleans in such insignificance as to tempt no attack.
accepted the decision of his Cabinet; adding his fear lest the example of Louisiana
should influence the colonies ‘of other powers,’ in which he already discerned the rising ‘spirit of sedition and independence.’4
A different train of reasoning engaged the Cabinet
‘Here,’ said one of its advisers, “is the happy opportunity of dividing the British Empire
, by placing before its Colonies the interesting spectacle of two potentates who pardon, who protect, and who deign
in concert to utter the powerful word of liberty.
War between France
would bind these countries more firmly to their metropolis.
The example of happiness will allure them to the independence towards which they tend.
By leading them to confide in France
, they will dare more and dare sooner.
Nothing can better persuade to this confidence than to establish liberty in Louisiana
and to open the port of New Orleans to men of all nations and all religions.6
‘The passion for extended dominion must not hide from Spain
, that a discontented and ill guarded Colony cannot arrest the march of the English
, and will prove an unprofitable expense.
Were we to take back Louisiana
, our best efforts could effect less than the charm of liberty.
Without the magic of liberty, the territory will never become more than a simple line of demarkation.
Severity would throw it into despair and into the arms of the English
To give voluntarily what the British Parliament haughtily refuses, to assimilate New Orleans in its form to the freest of the British Colonies
, to adopt for it from each of them whatever is the dearest to them, to do more, to enfranchise it and maintain invariably privileges capable of intoxicating the English
and the Americans
, this is to arm their America
against themselves, by risking no more than what would otherwise be neglected.’
Every Frenchman had in his heart an excuse for the insurgents, and was ready to applaud their delirium of nationality and
allowed their deputies to live at Paris
, and to publish their griefs; and he communicated to the Ambassador
the project of the republic on the banks of the Mississippi
The idea and the reasoning in its support pleased Du Chatelet
,’ said he,
can never derive benefit from Louisiana.
She neither will nor can take effective measures for its colonization and culture.
She has not inhabitants enough to furnish emigrants, and the religious and political principles of her Government will always keep away foreigners and even Frenchmen.
Under Spanish dominion, the vast extent of territory ceded by France to Spain on the banks of the Mississippi will soon become a desert.
The expense of Colonies is requited only by commerce; and the commerce of Louisiana, under the rigor of the Spanish prohibitive laws, will every day become more and more a nullity.
Spain then will make an excellent bargain, if she accords Liberty to the inhabitants of Louisiana, and permits them to form themselves into a republic.
Nothing can so surely keep them from falling under English rule, as making them cherish the protection of Spain and the sweetness of independence.
The example of a free and happy nation, under the guardianship of two powerful monarchs, without restraint on its commerce, without any taxes but those which the wants of the State and of the common defence would require, without any dependence on Europe but for necessary protection, would be a
tempting spectacle for the English Colonies; and ex- hibited at their very gates, will hasten the epoch of their revolution.
Du Chatelet to Choiseul, 17 March, 1769. Idee sur l'opposition trouvee par les Espagnols à la Louisiane.
But while the statesmen of France
were pleasing themselves with the thought of founding at New Orleans a commercial republic like Venice
, as a place of refuge for the discontented of every creed and tongue, Spain
took counsel only of her pride.
‘The world must see that I,’ said the Catholic King
, ‘unaided, can crush the audacity of sedition.’8
Aware of the wishes of the French Min
isters, he concealed his purpose by making no military preparations at Cadiz
, and dispatched Alexander O'Reilly
in all haste for Cuba
, with orders to extirpate the sentiment of independence at New Orleans.
had proved herself superior in war not to Spain
only, but to the combined power of Spain
Her navy was the best in the world; her army respectable.
Could not she, in her turn, crush the insolent town of Boston
, suppress its free schools, shut up its Town Hall
, sequester its liberties, drag its patriots to the gallows, and for the life, restless enterprise, fervid charities and liberal spirit of that moral and industrious town, substitute the quiet monotony of obsequious obedience?
could not do what a feebler despotism might undertake without misgivings.
She stood self-restrained.
A part of the Ministry wished the Charter
abrogated; and the lawyers declared that nothing had
been done to forfeit it. They clamored for judicial victims; and the lawyers said Treason had not been committed.
They thought to proceed by the hand of power; and were restrained by the necessity of debates in Parliament.
Feeble and fluctuating as was the Opposition in numbers, it uttered the language of the British Constitution and the sentiment of the British
people, when it spoke for freedom; and it divided the Ministry, when it counselled moderation.
was a land of liberty and law, and the question between her and her Colonies must be argued at the bar of reason.
could send an army and a special tribunal to sequester estates and execute patriots.
must arraign its accused before a jury; and the very necessity of hunting through the Statute Books
for an old Enactment of Henry the Eighth, while it presented a measure too absurd, as well as too tyrannical to be carried into effect, showed the supremacy of law of which the petulant Ministry must respect the bounds.
The patriots of Boston
never wavered in their confidence, that they should recover their rights with the consent of England
, or obtain independence.
‘The resolves’ of Parliament fell upon them like so many thunderbolts; but they stood unmoved.
‘These Oliverians,’ said a royalist, ‘begin to think themselves Corsicans, and will resist unto blood.’9 John Adams
though anxious for advancement in his profession, scorned the service of the King
; and his associates at the bar rendered ‘themselves unfit for
the favor of Government,’ by ‘abetting’ ‘the popu-
The people of the near town of Lexington
, at their annual meeting, came into a resolution to drink no more tea, till the unconstitutional Revenue Act should be repealed.12
On the anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act, Samuel Adams
held up to public view the grievances inflicted on Americans
, by combining the power of taxation with a commercial monopoly, and enforcing them both by fleets, armies, commissioners, guarda-costas, judges of the Admiralty
, and a host of petty officers whose insolence and rapacity were become intolerable.
He pointed out, on the one hand, the weakness of Great Britain
, arising from its corruption, its debt, its intestine divisions, its scarcity of food, its want of alliances; and, on the other, the state of the American Colonies
, their various climates, soils, produce, rapid increase of population, and the virtue of their inhabitants, and he publicly expressed his conviction that the conduct of Old England was ‘permitted and ordained by the unsearchable wisdom of the Almighty for hastening’ American Independence.13
The intrepid Calvinist
knew the end at which he aimed; but the British Ministry
had no system.
‘We have but one word, that is, our sovereignty,’ wrote Thomas Pownall
, describing the opinion of all parties;14
‘and it is like some word to a madman, which whenever mentioned throws him into his ravings
and brings on a paroxysm.’
therefore, of New-York
, though carefully written, was rejected by the House of Commons, because it questioned the right of Parliament to tax America.
But this sovereignty being asserted, the Ministry, terrified by the recovery of Chatham
which alarmed Camden and Grafton
, and by the complaints of the merchants at the diminution of exports, were content with the Parliamentary sanction of their measures, wished the controversy with the Colonies well over, and sought to lull them into acquiescence.
The plan for altering the Charter
on which Hillsborough
had been definitively resolved,15
was for the present, laid aside; discretionary orders were transmitted to Gage
to ‘send back to Halifax
the two regiments, which were brought from that station, and to restore the regular rotation by sending two other regiments to Ireland
was given up and recalled with a promise to the London
merchants that he should not be employed in the Colonies again; and the government of Massachusetts
was to be confided to Hutchinson
, a town-born citizen of Boston
was to be secured by a confirmation of its jurisdiction over Vermont
, and the permission to issue paper-money; and Virginia
, by a more extended boundary at the West
At the same time England
professed to seek a good understanding with France
remembered too well the incidents of the last Seven Years War. ‘Hatred and jealousy,’ thus he instructed the French Ambassador
, ‘inspire the English
the desire to weaken and humiliate the power of France
, of which they are the most impassioned rivals and the most implacable enemies.
Recall, Sir, the events of 1755.
At the time when the Court of London professed sentiments of the utmost moderation, and negotiated with us to conciliate amicably our differences about Acadia
, it had shamelessly and without a declaration of war, sent out a squadron with orders to attack the ships which we were sending to America
under the guaranty of treaties, and under the safeguard of natural right and of public faith.
This odious epoch can be renewed; and the English Ministry
has given proofs of ability in the art of masking under the professed love of peace a settled purpose of making war.’17
He witnessed, also, the avowed and persevering
effort of England
, to counterbalance the influence of France
by a Northern Alliance.
To the British Secretary of State
, Du Chatelet
endeavored to convey an adequate idea of the policy of Russia
; but it was Rochford
's fixed desire that the Empress
should derive advantage from the war against the Turks, should be able to dispose of the whole North
by main strength, or by predominant influence, and should then sanction an alliance with the Court of London.
‘The English Secretary of State
is in the wrong,’ answered Choiseul
he does not look at these objects from the higher point of view, which should engage the attention of a great Minister.
Nothing can be more dangerous for the happiness and repose of humanity,
nor more to be feared for the principal pow- ers of Europe than the success of the arms and the ambitious projects of Russia.
Far from seeking, on such a supposition, the alliance and the friendship of the Empress, it would become their most essential interest to unite to diminish her strength and destroy her preponderance.
If the balance of power, that unmeaning word, invented by William the Third, on becoming King of England, to raise all Europe against France, could have a just application, and if this pretended balance of power could be annihilated, it would be by the prodigious increase of the material and moral strength of Russia.
She is now laboring to enslave the North; and she will next encroach on the liberty of the South; unless an effective check is seasonably put to her inordinate passion of despotism.
Instead of contributing to the aggrandizement of Russia, the principal courts ought jointly to restrain her ambition and her cupidity, which may in some respects realize the chimerical idea, once attributed to France, of aiming at universal Monarchy.
Thus the rivalry of England
met at every point; yet how changed were their relations!
The Cabinet of France
desired to loosen the bonds that shackled trade; that of England
to hold them close.
aspired to protect the liberties of Europe
against danger from the Russian Monarchy
in her conquests, and invited her to become the arbiter for Europe
and the world.
desired the independence of all
colonial possessions; England
to retain her own in
more complete dependence than before.
Both desired and both needed peace; but Choiseul
regarded the British
proffers of confidence as an unmeaning jargon, and fearing a rupture at any moment, when it should assist to change a Ministry or secure a majority, he told the English
plainly, ‘that the King
and his Ministry applied themselves unremittingly to maintain peace, but never lost out of sight, that to preserve peace it was necessary to be in a condition to sustain a war.’18 England
grew more and more distrustful of one another; and while the latter was yielding to the liberal ideas to which free inquiry had given circulation, England
more and more forgot that her greatness sprung from her liberty.
The publication of some of the American
letters, which had been laid before Parliament and copied for Beckford
The town of Boston
repelled the allegation, that they were held to their allegiance only by the ‘band of terror and force of arms.’
In their representation to the King
, which Barre
himself presented, they entreated the removal of the troops, a communication of the charges against them, and an opportunity to defend themselves, for justice and law forbade that they should be condemned unheard.
The Council, too, without delay, calmly and unanimously vindicated the Province and themselves.
They proved their own undeviating respect for law; they set in a strong light Bernard
duplicity and petty malice; his disposition to over,
reach; his notoriously false assertions; his retailing of anecdotes both trifling and untrue; his attempts to obtain by Act of Parliament exorbitant and uncontrollable power; and his perpetual conspiracy for ‘the destruction of their constitution.’20
While the people of Massachusetts
were filled with grief and indignation at the combination against their Charter, which was dearer to them than fortune and life, they and all the Colonies one after another matured their agreements for passive resistance to Parliamentary taxation.
On Monday, the tenth of April, the General Assembly of New-York
, at the motion of Philip Livingston
, thanked the merchants of the city and Colony, for suspending trade with Great Britain
The same intrepid leader of the patriot party, would next have renewed the resolves, which had occasioned the dissolution of the last Assembly; but he was himself ousted from the present one, because he did not reside within the manor for which he had been returned.
Yet amidst the conflict of factions, the system of nonimportation was rigorously carried out. The merchants of Philadelphia
, now unanimously adopted the agreement, which a few months before they had declined.
The movement spread steadily towards the South
At Mount Vernon
tempered yet cheered and animated those around him. ‘Our lordly masters in Great Britain
,’ said he, ‘will be satisfied
with nothing less than the deprivation of American
Something should be done to maintain the liberty which we have derived from our ancestors.
No man should hesitate a moment, to use arms in defence of so valuable a blessing.
Yet arms should be the last resource.
We have already proved the inefficacy of addresses to the throne and remonstrances to Parliament.
How far their attention to our rights and privileges is to be awakened or alarmed by starving their trade and manufactures, remains to be tried.’22
And counselling with George Mason
, his bosom friend, he prepared a scheme to be offered at the coming session of the Virginia House
While the British Ministry
was palsied by indecision, Thomas Pownall
, the predecessor of Bernard
, stepped forward in the House of Commons to propose that repeal, by which harmony could be restored.
‘So favorable an opportunity will never recur,’ said he with perfect truth.
‘The Colonies are combining against our trade and manufactures; new provocations will be given; British honor will be more deeply engaged.
Let Parliament then at once, in advance of new difficulties, repeal the Act, end the controversy, and give peace to the two countries.’
Trecothick seconded the motion, dwelling on commercial reasons, and recounting the various steps in America
to prevent the consumption of British manufactures, and to promote their own. ‘We will not consent,’ replied Lord North, ‘to go into the question, on account of the combinations in America
To do so would be to furnish a fresh instance of haste,
impatience, levity, and fickleness.
I see nothing un-
commercial, in making the Americans
pay a duty upon tea.’
No one would defend the Act, yet few urged its repeal.
party were willing that it should remain as a source of embarrassment to the Ministers
next proposed as a middle course, to agree to take it into consideration the next session.
‘I approve the middle course,’ said Beckford
‘I was the first man who said you ought not tax America for the purpose of revenue.
The duty upon tea, with a great army to collect it, has produced in the Southern
part of America
, only two hundred and ninety-four pounds, fourteen shillings; in the Northern
part it has produced nothing.’
‘For the sake of a paltry revenue,’ cried Lord Beauchamp, ‘we lose the affection of two millions of people.’
‘We have trusted to terror too long,’ observed Jackson
‘Washing my hands of the charge of severity,’ said Lord North, ‘I will not vote for holding out hopes, that may not be realized.’
‘If you are ready to repeal this Act,’ retorted Grenville
, in answer to Lord North, ‘why keep it in force for a single hour?
You ought not to do so, from anger or ill-humor.
Why dally and delay in a business of such infinite importance?
Why pretend that it is too late in the session, that this is not the time, when the difficulty is every day increasing?
If the Act is wrong, or you cannot maintain it, give it up like men. If you do not mean to bind the Colonies by your laws in cases of taxation, tell the Americans
so fairly, and conciliate their affections.’
Lord North put an end to the conversation, by moving the previous question for the order of the
‘The British Administration will come to no
decision,’ such was Du Chatelet
's report to Choiseul
‘They will push time by the shoulder, till the Americans
consolidate their union, and form a general plan of resistance.’24
The question turned on the reality of the principle of representation.
America was not alone in asserting representative liberty; the principle was at the same time violated in England
The freeholders of Middlesex
to represent their shire in Parliament.
wished him expelled; and the House of Commons expelled him. The people rallied to his support; the City of London
made him one of its magistrates; by the unanimous vote of Middlesex
he was again returned.
The House of Commons voted the return to be null and void.
The public mind was profoundly agitated; men united as ‘Supporters of the Bill of Rights
,’ to pay the debts of Wilkes
and his election expenses.
A third time he was returned and unanimously; for his intended competitor proved too much of a craven to appear.
Once more his election was voted to be null.
At a fourth trial he was opposed by Luttrell
, but polled nearly three fourths of all the votes.
The House of Commons, this time, treated him as a person incapacitated to be a candidate, and received Luttrell
in his stead.
Their disfranchisement of Wilkes
had no authority in law, and violated the vital principle of representative Government; by admitting Luttrell
, they sequestered and usurped the elective franchise of Middlesex
; and Wilkes
, who, if he had been left
to himself, would have fallen into insignificance, be-
came the most conspicuous man in England
This subserviency of the body, once esteemed the most august assembly in Europe
, exhibited it to the world as a collection of pensioners and office-holders, and the property of the Minister
Yet the Administration, with Parliament as its obedient instrument, heard with alarm how widely the American
plan of passive resistance was extending.
might reappear; and those Ministers who had been of his selection, stood in constant dread of his rebuke.
and Camden, therefore, silent in the House of Lords, insisted in Council, that some attempt should be made to conciliate the Colonies.
Accordingly on the first day of May, just on the
eve of the prorogation of Parliament, the Cabinet
discussed the policy which it should definitively adopt.
All agreed that the duties on the British
manufactures of glass, paper, and painters' colors, were contrary to the true principles of commerce, and should be repealed; there remained of Charles Townshend
's Revenue Act nothing but the duty on tea; and this, evaded by smuggling or by abstinence from its use, yielded in all America
not fifteen hundred dollars, not three hundred pounds a year.
Why should such a duty be retained, at the cost of the affections of thirteen Provinces and two millions of people?
spoke first and earnestly for its repeal; Camden
seconded him with equal vigor.
gave their voice and their vote on the same side,
and Sir Edward Hawke
, whom illness detained from
the meeting, was of their opinion.
Had not Grafton
consented to remove Shelburne, the measure would have been carried, and American independence indefinitely postponed.
, the new Secretary
, with Gower
adhered to Hillsborough.
The fearful responsibility of deciding fell to Lord North.
Of a merciful disposition and of rare intelligence, he was known to be at heart for the repeal of the tax on tea.26
He wished, and at that time intended, to extend the proposal to the repeal of the other duties,27
and he never surrendered himself to the party of the Bedfords.
But it was the King
's fixed rule, never to redress a grievance, unless the prayer for it was made in the spirit of obedience; and then and for years after, he held that ‘there must always be one tax to keep up the right.’28
He was so much dissatisfied with Grafton
's vote on this occasion, that ‘from that time he was more forward to dictate his will to the Duke
, than to inquire first the Duke
's opinion on any measure;’29
and ‘Lord Camden also sank much in the royal estimation.’30
The most questionable acts of Lord North's public career, proceeded from ‘an amiable weakness, which followed him through life,31
the want of power to resist the influence of those he loved.’
It was the King
, who swayed Lord North,
a junior Lord
of the Treasury, contrary, as he himself
with the utmost solemnity declared, to his most earnest wish, and his intention at that very time,32
to give his deciding vote in the Cabinet
against the repeal, which the Duke
, the head of his Board, had proposed and advocated.33
Now, indeed, the die was cast.
Neither the Bedford
party, nor the King
meant to give up the right to tax; and they clung to the duty on tea, as an evidence of their lordly superiority.
‘We can grant nothing to the Americans
,’ said Hillsborough, ‘except what they may ask with a halter round their necks.’34
‘They are a race of convicts,’ said the famous moralist, the pensioned Samuel Johnson
, ‘and ought to be thankful for any thing we allow them short of hanging.’35
A Circular letter was sent forthwith to all the Colonies, promising on the part of the Ministry to lay no more taxes on America
for revenue, and to repeal those on paper, glass, and colors.
found fault with the paper as not couched in terms so conciliatory as those in the minute of the Cabinet
The complaint was pitiful, for the substance of the decision had been truly given.
More honied words would have been useless hypocrisy.
should have blamed himself.
When he acquiesced in the removal of Shelburne, he gave his assent to his own humiliation.
The day on which Parliament was prorogued,
saw the Legislature of Virginia assembled at Williamsburgh
Great men were there; some who were among the greatest; Washington
, Patrick Henry
, and for the first time, Jefferson
Botetourt, the only Governor who had appeared in Virginia
within memory, proceeded to open the session, drawn in a state coach by six white horses; he was in perfect harmony with the Council; the House of Burgesses
voted him a most dutiful address; two and fifty guests were entertained at his table on the first day, and as many more on the second.36
He took care also to make ‘a judicious use’ of the permission which he had received to negotiate an extended boundary with the Cherokees.
The strife in America
had begun on a demand by the Custom House
officers for Writs of Assistance.
had refused them;37
and Council, who constituted the highest court in Virginia
, heard arguments on their legality, and he concurred with the Council that they were illegal.38
Between Botetourt and the Legislature all was courtesy.
But the Assembly did not forget its duty; and taking into consideration the Resolutions and Address which Hillsborough and Bedford
had proposed, and which both Houses of Parliament had voted by large majorities, on the sixteenth of May, it devised a measure which became the example for the continent.
Meeting the declaration of Parliament by a direct
negative of its own, it claimed the sole right of imposing taxes on the inhabitants of Virginia
With equal unanimity, it asserted the lawfulness and expediency of procuring a concert of the Colonies in care for the violated rights of America
It laid bare the flagrant tyranny of applying to America the-obsolete statute of Henry the Eighth; and it warned the King
of ‘the dangers that would ensue,’ if any person in any part of America
should be seized and carried beyond sea for trial.
It consummated its work by communicating its Resolutions and asking the concurrence of every Legislature in America
The Resolves were call in manner, concise, simple, and effective; so perfect in substance and in form, that time finds no omission to regret, no improvement to suggest.
The menace of arresting patriots, which was to have been a formidable instrument of vengeful malignity, lost all its terrors; and Virginia
's declaration and action consolidated Union.
Is it asked who was the adviser of the measure?
None can tell.
Great things were done, and were done tranquilly and modestly, without a thought of the glory that was their due.40
Had the Ancient Dominion
been silent, I will not say that Massachusetts
might have faltered; but mutual trust would have been wanting.
American freedom was more prepared by courageous counsel than by successful war. The Assembly had but one mind, and their Resolves were the Act of Virginia
Had they been framed by the leaders in Massachusetts Bay
‘they could not have been better adapted to
vindicate their past proceedings, and to encourage them to perseverance.’41
The next morning the Assembly had just time to adopt an Address to the King
, when the Governor
, having heard of what he called ‘the abominable measure,’42
summoned them and said: ‘I have heard of your Resolves, and augur ill of their effects; you have made it my duty to dissolve you, and you are dissolved accordingly.’43
The Burgesses of Virginia
, having finished what they could do in their official capacity, met together as patriots and friends, with their Speaker as Moderator.
They adopted the Resolves which Washington
had brought with him from Mount Vernon
; and which formed a well digested, stringent and practicable scheme of non-importation, until all the ‘unconstitutional’ revenue acts should be repealed.
Such too was their zeal against the Slave-trade, they made a special covenant with one another, not to import any slaves, nor purchase any imported.
These associations were signed by Peyton Randolph
, Richard Bland
, Archibald Cary
, Robert Carter Nicholas
, Richard Henry Lee
, Carter Braxton
, Henry, Jefferson
, and all the Burgesses of Virginia
and were then sent throughout the country for the signature of every man in the Colony.45
The voice of the Old Dominion roused the ‘most
temperate Province’ of Pennsylvania
, from its slum-
bers to express through its merchants their approval of what had been done.
did still better.
Her Assembly adopted the Virginia Resolves
word for word,46
and every Colony South of Virginia
in due time followed the example.