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IV.

(1763-1789.)

For Authorities for this Chapter, see Appendix, page xxiv. The small figures in

the text refer to Authorities cited on page xxx of the Appendix.

ment.

185. The accession and policy of George III. — The acce sion of George III. (1760) produced a great change in political affairs both in England and in the colonies. The new sovereign was well-meaning, patriotic, and conscientious, but narrowminded, obstinate, and subject to attacks of mental derange

When he came to the throne he found the government in the hands of a few great Whig families. George was determined to be king in fact as well as in name.

He resolved to break down the power of the old Whig Party, to raise up a body of men in Parliament, who as the “King's friends" would vote as he should direct, and to make his own arbitrary will supreme not only at home but throughout British America. 408

That determination was vigorously resisted on both sides of the Atlantic. The struggle which ended triumphantly for the American patriots was in truth part of the same revolution which was fought in England by other patriots in the halls of Parliament.409 In spirit Pitt and Burke were the allies of Adams and Washington.

186. The chief cause of the American Revolution; protest of the colonies against direct taxation. - We have seen (S$ 70, 102, 177, 183) that many causes contributed to bring on the American Revolution ; but the immediate cause was the King's determination to impose a tax on the colonists without

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their consent. 410 The declared object of that tax was to aid in maintaining a force of ten thousand British troops in America to prevent an insurrection of the conquered Canadian French, and to protect the colonists against the western Indians. 411

Lord Grenville, the King's Prime Minister, held that the colonies were simply places of trade established for the benefit of Great Britain. Adam Smith, in the first edition of his celebrated work on political economy (1775), denounced this narrow view as “fit only for a nation of shopkeepers.” 412 The colonists themselves, however, admitted the right of Great Britain to impose duties on their imports and to restrict their commerce and their manufactures ; but at the same time they positively denied the right of the home government to demand contributions of money from them. 43

As early as 1624 the Virginia Assembly declared : “The governor shall not lay any taxes .. upon the colony otherwise than by the authority of the General Assembly.' This, too, was the attitude of Massachusetts (1646) and of Plymouth Colony (1671). 416

It is true that the charter of Pennsylvania (1681) affirmed that Parliament might levy taxes on the people of that colony ($ 139); but Parliament never had attempted it, and the feeling was that no such exercise of power would ever be made.

In the reign of Queen Anne the New York Assembly (1710) took the same decided stand that Virginia had taken in the previous century. They voted that “the levying of any moneys upon Her Majesty's subjects of this colony, ... without consent in General Assembly, is a grievance and a violation of the people's property." 417 This utterance of New York represented the general spirit of the American people when George III. came to the throne (1760).

187. Loyalty of the colonies; “Writs of Assistance"; the “ Parsons' Case." Yet the loyalty of the colonies was unquestionable ($ 183). Even Samuel Adams, that fiery apostle

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of independence, declared as late as 1768 that nothing but unkind usage could sever the ties which bound America to England. 418

The first decided symptom of a change of feeling occurred in 1761. That year the King empowered the custom-house officers of Boston and of other American ports to make use of “Writs of Assistance" - or general warrants - in searching for smuggled goods." A few years later those writs were decided to be unconstitutional in England. As if in anticipation of that decision, James Otis (1761) protested against their use in the colonies. In the course of his flaming speech Otis vehemently denounced “the tyranny of taxation without representation. "420

The next year (1762) Patrick Henry in his celebrated speech in the “ Parsons' Case” 421 boldly denied the right of the King to set aside a law passed by the Virginia Assembly for the general good. These ringing utterances of Otis in the North and of Henry in the South showed that both sections of the country were equally determined to stand up for their rights,

188. The Stamp Act proposed; effect on the colonies; the act passes (1765). --- Meanwhile Lord Grenville, the King's prime minister, was maturing a scheme for compelling the colonies to help bear the burden of maintaining a standing army of British soldiers in America. His plan was to impose a stamp tax similar to one which had been imposed in England. He assumed that Parliament, as the national council, really represented all sections of the British Empire, and therefore that it could rightfully levy such a tax on the colonies. 422 Under this proposed act stamps varying in value from a halfpenny to ten pounds were to be affixed or impressed on all deeds, wills, policies of insurance, clearance papers for ships, on many other legal and business papers, and on periodical publications and advertisements.423 Such a law would execute itself. It would make it impossible for the colonists to export produce, transfer property, collect debts through the courts, or even purchase a newspaper or an almanac without paying this tax.

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In a conversation with Franklin and other colonial agents then in London, Grenville said that he could think of no better way of raising the money needed by the British Government. “ If,” said he, “you can tell of a better, I will adopt it.” Franklin suggested that it might be well to ask the colonies to raise the sum needed, but admitted that he thought it very doubtful whether the colonial assemblies would agree what proportion each should contribute. 424

Grenville gave the colonies a year to consider the matter; then he called on Parliament to act. Burke raised his voice against the measure. He said that it began to look as though the British Government regarded the colonists as pack-horses made to bear the burdens first of unlimited commercial monopoly, and next of unlimited taxation.425 Pitt declared later that it was a scheme to take the colonists' “

money out of their pockets without their consent.'

The news of the proposed law roused the Americans to fierce indignation. Otis denounced it at a Boston town-meeting; and the Assembly of New York protested that if taxes should be wrung from them against their will, “ life itself would become intolerable.” But despite all efforts the measure passed in 1765.428

189. Patrick Henry's resolutions; the Stamp-Act Congress. — Virginia was the first to resent the action of Parliament. Patrick Henry introduced (1765) a series of remarkable resolutions in the Assembly, in which he declared that no power outside the people of the colony had any right to impose taxes on them.

The Assembly adopted and recorded the greater part of these resolutions. 129

Before the news of Virginia's defiant action reached the North, Massachusetts proposed a Stamp-Act Congress. In October (1765) delegates from nine colonies met in New York: 431 The congress drew up a “Declaration of Rights.” That declaration showed how fast public opinion was moving. It did not demand (as Otis had) representation in Parliament;

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HEAD OF PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE ON STAMP ACT.

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