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[p. 39] substantial sums in part payment of expenses thus advanced. In 1765, however, the financial policy of a majority of the British statesmen sought to reimburse the royal coffers by a tax upon the colonies. Its first form was a stamp act, so bitterly opposed that it was repealed in less than six months. Next was passed a military act, which provided for the partial subsistence of armed soldiers on the colonists. Out of this grew the Boston massacre of March 5, 1770. In the meantime was passed another act taxing tea and other commodities, but repealed upon all articles except tea in April, 1770. In Boston the colonists' response was the Boston Tea Party. Then, in consequence, came the Boston Port Bill, which on June 1, 1774, closed Boston as a commercial port and removed the Custom House to Salem.

This measure, reinforced by the encampment of four thousand British troops in Boston, struck at the livelihood of the whole countryside and goaded the colonists into measures of defence. On October seventh of that year the first Provincial Congress was organized at Salem with John Hancock as president, and the second in Concord on February 1, 1775. In October the Congress, in considering what was necessary to be done for the safety and defence of the Province, determined upon the purchase of one thousand barrels of powder. In February it had gone farther and voted to provide military stores sufficient for an army of fifteen thousand men. In the meantime the Congress, in the language of their resolves, recommended that the inhabitants perfect themselves in the military art.

Such is the skeleton record of events that preceded the meeting of the Congress in Concord on April 15, 1775, when, as the journal states, it adjourned upon call ‘considering the great uncertainty of the times.’ It adjourned, too, leaving some hundred barrels of powder scattered, as General Gage wrote to Lord Dartmouth of the colonial office, ‘in different places up and down the ’

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