king in parliament unlimited power over the colonies. Sandwich
was impatient of all restraints on their administration; he desired to exercise over them nothing short of a full and absolute authority, and regretted that the government was cramped by the cry of liberty, with which no chief executive power was troubled except that of England
Had conciliation been designed, the commissioners would have been despatched long before; but the measure which had for its object the pacification of English opinion, was suffered to drag along for more than a year, till the news that Howe
had been driven from Boston
burst upon the public, and precipitated the counsels of the ministry.
The letters patent for the commissioners, which were issued on the sixth of May, conferred power on Lord Howe and General Howe
, jointly and severally, to grant pardons to such as should give early proofs of their sincere abhorrence of their defection from loyalty and should duly sue for mercy.
The two points in controversy were the right of taxation, and the repeal of the changes in the charter of Massachusetts
. Lord North, when he relapsed into his natural bias towards justice, used to say publicly that the right of taxation was abandoned; Germain
always asserted that it was not. The instructions to the commissioners were founded upon the resolution of the twentieth of February, 1775; which the colonies had solemnly declared to be insufficient.
The parliamentary change in the charter of Massachusetts
was to be enforced; and secret instructions required that Connecticut
and Rhode Island
should be compelled, if possible, to accept analogous changes; so that not only was uncon