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‘ [132] their own passions. I shall defend this injured coun-
Chap. XXXII.} 1768. March
try from the evils which threaten it, arising from the machinations of a few, very few, discontented men.’ ‘The flagitious libel,’1 he wrote home, ‘blasphemes Kingly government itself.’ But it was only a coarse sketch of his own bad qualities. ‘I told the Grand Jury,’ said Hutchinson, ‘almost in plain words, that they might depend on being damned,2 if they did not find against the paper, as containing High Treason.’ The Jury refused. ‘Oaths and the laws have lost their force,’3 wrote Hutchinson; while the people were overjoyed,4 and ‘the honest and independent Grand Jurors’ became the favorite toast of the Sons of Liberty.

On the day on which the General Court was prorogued, merchants of Boston came together, began a subscription to renounce commerce with England, and invited the merchants of the whole Continent to give the world the spectacle of a universal passive resistance.

De Kalb, who was astonished at the prosperity of the Colonies and the immense number of merchant vessels in all the waters from the Chesapeake5 to Boston, thought for a moment, that if the Provinces could jointly discuss their interests by deputies, an independent State would soon be formed. The people were brave; and their militia not inferior to regular troops. And yet after studying the spirit of

1 Bernard to Shelburne, 5 March, 1768.

2 Hutchinson to——26 March, 1768.

3 Hutchinson to the Duke of Grafton, 27 March, 1768. Hutchinson to Richard Jackson, 23 March, 1768.

4 Compare A. Eliot to T. Hollis, 18 April, 1768. Hutchinson's Hist. of Massachusetts, III. 184.

5 De Kalb to Choiseul, 25 Feb. 1768.

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