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material which may help one to hazard an answer to this question. Although in pure literature the Revolution has left no more permanent record than was left by the century and a half which came before, it was almost as fruitful of publication bearing on contemporary fact as were those Civil Wars of England which resulted in the execution of King Charles I. and the momentary dominance of Cromwell's Puritanism. Professor Tyler is a thoroughly patriotic American citizen; this does not prevent him from setting forth with full sympathy a fact which any one who reads the long-neglected writings of the American loyalists must be brought to acknowledge. Right or wrong, these loyalists were sincerely patriotic, too, and willing, when the crucial moment came, to sacrifice fortune and home to the principles which they held as devoutly as ever revolutionist held his. What is more, as one considers to-day the arguments of the loyalists, it is hard to feel them legally weaker than those which finally prevailed. Rather one begins to feel that the two sides misunderstood one another more profoundly than has yet been realised. They used the same terms, but they assumed them to mean widely different things.
Take, for example, one of the best-remembered phrases of the period, — “no taxation without representation.”
What does this really mean? To the American mind of to-day, as to the mind of the revolutionary leaders in King George's colonies, it means that no constituency should be taxed by a legislative body to which it has not actually elected representatives, generally resident within its limits. To the English mind of 1770, more than sixty years before the first Reform Bill, it meant something very different. In England to this day, indeed, the notion that a representative should be resident in his constituency is as strange as to any American it is familiar. Not only was this the case in eighteenth-century England, but many boroughs which returned members to Parliament had hardly any residents; while some of the chief cities in the kingdom returned no members at all. In King George's England, we see, the question of representation had little to do with actual suffrage. What no taxation without representation meant there, was that no British subject should be taxed by a body where there was not somebody to represent his case. This view, the traditional one of the English Common Law, was held by the loyalists of America. When the revolutionists complained that America elected no representatives to Parliament, the loyalists answered that neither did many of the most populous towns in the mother country; that the interests of those towns were perfectly well cared for by members elected elsewhere; and that if anybody should inquire what members of Parliament were protecting the interests of the American colonies, the answer would instantly satisfy any complaint. This contention is really strong. Among the men who defended the American cause in the House of Commons were the elder Pitt, Fox, and Burke. It is doubtful whether New England or Virginia could have exported to Parliament representatives in any respect superior.
But the argument of the American loyalists -- Tories, we have called them for the last century or so, but a truer name were Imperial Unionists — had no effect on the revolutionists,
- patriots, Imperial Secessionists. The course of the equally sincere arguments of this party may be typified in two brief extracts from the utterances of one of their first heroes,James Otis. In February, 1761, having resigned the office of Advocate-General because he would not support an application to the Superior Court for writs of assistance, he appeared against them, and among other things spoke as follows:
" I shall not think much of my pains in this cause, as I engaged in it from principle. I was solicited to argue this cause as advocategeneral; and because I would not, I have been charged with desertion from my office. To this charge I can give a very sufficient answer, I renounced that office, and I argue this cause, from the same principle ; and I argue it with the greater pleasure, as it is in favour of British liberty, at a time when we hear the greatest monarch upon earth declaring from his throne that he glories in the name of Briton, and that the privileges of his people are dearer to him than the most valuable prerogatives of his crown; and as it is in opposition to a kind of power, the exercise of which, in former periods of English history, cost one king of England his head, and another his throne.
The writ prayed for in this petition, being general, is illegal. ... “ Let us see what authority there is for it. Not more than one instance can be found in all our law books; and that was in the zenith of arbitrary power, namely, in the reign of Charles II., when starchamber powers were pushed to extremity by some ignorant clerk of the exchequer. But had this writ been in any book whatsoever, it would have been illegal. All precedents are under control of the principles of law. Lord Talbot says it is better to observe these than any precedents. . . . No acts of Parliament can establish such a writ. ... An act against the constitution is void.”
Otis, in short, a trained lawyer, argued this case on grounds of strict legal precedent. A year later this same James Otis published a pamphlet entitled “ The Vindication of the House of Representatives,” wherein the basis of his argument is as remote from Common Law temper as it is agreeable to the abstract philosophy of Revolutionary France :
“1. God made all men naturally equal. 2. The ideas of earthly superiority, pre-eminence, and grandeur are educational ; — at least acquired, not innate. 3. Kings were, and plantation governors should be, made for the good of the people, and not the people for them. 4. No government has a right to make hobby-horses, asses, and slaves of the subjects, nature having made sufficient of the two former, ... but none of the last, — which infallibly proves they are unnecessary. 5. Though most governments are de facto' arbitrary, and consequently the curse and scandal of human nature, yet none are de jure' arbitrary."
The latter of these utterances by Otis is doubtless the more characteristic of our revolutionary temper, and perhaps of what has since been the native temper of America. In the former case his argument, like that of any sound lawyer, is concerned with the question of what the law is; in the latter, his argument is concerned with a very different question, extremely foreign to the legal traditions of England, — namely, what the law ought to be. At least in New England, one
can see why the latter kind of reasoning proved so agreeabic to general sentiment. A century and a half of incessant theological discussion had made the native Yankee mind far more accessible to moral arguments than to legal. By the middle of the eighteenth century, then, native Americans were more affected by general principles than were the native English.
Again, as the Great Awakening of 1740 showed, the American temper of revolutionary times was more explosive than the English, just as American temper remains to-day. No living creature, to be sure, is more tenacious of rights than an Englishman, but until you meddle with him he is not very apt to trouble himself about what you say. To this day, on the other hand, Americans get highly excited about mere phrases with which they happen not to agree. So it was in the last days of British dominion here. At the time of the Stamp Act the house of Thomas Hutchinson, Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, and a thoroughly patriotic New Englander, was sacked by a mob; and his library and collection of historical papers were destroyed as ruthlessly as were his mirrors and his furniture. In 1764 the house of Martin Howard, a
, Tory gentleman of Newport, who had ventured to answer the pamphlets of James Otis, was similarly destroyed. In 1775 Samuel Seabury, afterwards the ancestral bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, was subjected, together with his family, to a brutal mob violence, which only stopped short of outrage and murder. believed to be the author of some strong loyalist arguments signed “A Westchester Farmer ;” and though he was an admirably devoted parish priest, nothing could protect him, an advocate of unpopular principles, from the explosive violence of the Connecticut mob. By 1775, in short, the misunderstanding between the temper of native America and that of the mother country had got beyond the point of argument.
The fact that Seabury was a clergy man of the Church of England, though it had little to do with his uncomfortable experience, recalls a half-forgotten phase of New England temper which freshly illustrates this honest international misunderstanding of what seem the simplest terms. As is well known, no clergy man of the Church of England can receive orders except at the hands of a bishop. In the American colonies there were no bishops. Any American who desired to become a clergyman of what is now our Episcopal Church, then, was compelled to go abroad for ordination. Chiefly to avert this hardship, certain churchmen, both in England and in America, began a movement for the establishment of bishoprics in the American colonies. Whoever has followed the history of Anglican episcopacy from the time of Charles II. onward will feel pretty sure that such bishoprics would have had no more political effect than have those of our present Episcopal Church. In colonial times, however, even among Americans of high intelligence, the mere word“ bishop" revived in pristine fervour not only all the hatred, but all the dread which had been excited in the minds of the ancestral Puritans by the persecutions of Laud. An innocent desire that devout American Episcopalians might obtain holy orders without crossing the Atlantic was honestly regarded by hundreds of other Americans as an effort to impose upon the religious freedom of the colonies the absolute domination of an intolerant and persecuting established Church. At least in ecclesiastical matters, the instinctive temper of revolutionary Americans remained surprisingly like that of their immigrant ancestors born under Queen Elizabeth.
The American Revolution, we begin to see, which resulted in imperial disunion, sprang from a deep temperamental misunderstanding between the native English and their American
1 This line of thought was suggested by the thesis for which Dr. Cross was awarded the degree of Ph.D. and the Toppan Prize at Harvard University