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[280] Meeting the declaration of Parliament by a direct
Chap. XL.} 1769. May.
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.1

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.2 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 themselves,

1 Hutchinson's Hist. of Massachusetts, III. 494.

2 Jefferson's Autobiography in his Writings, i. 4.

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