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[266] abrogated; and the lawyers declared that nothing had
Chap. XL.} 1769. March
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. England was a land of liberty and law, and the question between her and her Colonies must be argued at the bar of reason. Spain could send an army and a special tribunal to sequester estates and execute patriots. England 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.’1 John Adams,2 though anxious for advancement in his profession, scorned the service of the King; and his associates at the bar rendered ‘themselves unfit for ’

1 Dr. Johnson of Connecticut to his son, 7 March, 1769.

2 Compare John Adams's Autobiography, Works, II.

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