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The next day letters arrived from America, mani-

Chap. LII.} 1774. March
testing no change in the conduct of the Colonies. Calumny, with its hundred tongues, exaggerated the turbulence of the people, and invented wild tales of violence. The jests of the Crown officers among one another were repeated as solemn truths. It was said at the palace, and the King believed, that there was in Boston a regular Committee for tarring and feathering; and that they were next, to use the King's expression, ‘to pitch and feather’ Hutchinson himself.1 The press was also employed to rouse the national pride, till the zeal of the English people for maintaining English supremacy became equal to the passions of the Ministry. Even the merchants and manufacturers were made to believe that their command of the American market depended on the enforcement of the British claim of authority.

It was, therefore, to a Parliament and people as unanimous as when in Grenville's day they sanctioned the Stamp Act, that Lord North, on the fourteenth of March, reserving the measures of a more permanent character, opened the first branch of his American plan, for the instant punishment of Boston. The privilege of its harbor was to be discontinued; and the port closed against all commerce, not merely till it should have indemnified the East India Company, but until the King should be satisfied that for the future it would obey the laws. He invited all branches of the Government, all political parties, alike those who denied and those who asserted the right to tax,—Members of Parliament, Peers, Merchants, all

1 Minutes of a conversation of the King with Hutchinson, just after Hutchinson's arrival from America.

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