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Chap. in. on the liberties of the people of America, which 1774. it was the duty of all to oppose. A violent r«!tafin ferment was every where excited; the corresAmcrica. p0n(jjng committees were extremely active; and it was almost universally declared that whoever should, directly or indirectly, countenance this dangerous invasion of their rights, was an enemy to his country. The consignees were generally compelled to relinquish their appointments; and in most instances the ships bringing the tea, were obliged to return with it.
In Charleston after much opposition, the tea was permitted to be landed, but was immediately lodged in damp cellars, where it long remained and was finally spoiled.
At Boston, the people in a meeting adopted the spirited resolutions which had before been entered into in Philadelphia, and appointed a committee to wait on the consignees to request their resignation. This request not being complied with, another large meeting* assembled
* The language said by mr. Gordon to have been used at this meeting proves many of the people of Boston to have been already ripe for the revolution. To the more cautious among the sons of liberty, who had expressed some apprehensions lest they should push the matter too far, and involve the town and colony in a quarrel with Great Britain, others answered; "It must come to a quarrel between Great Britain and the colony sooner or later j and if so, what can be a better time than the present. at Fancuil hall, where it was voted with accla- Chap. m. mations "that the tea shall not be landed, that 1774. no duty shall be paid, and that it shall be sent back in the same bottoms." 'With a foreboding of the probable consequences of the measure about to be adopted, and a wish that those consequences should be seriously contemplated, a leading member* thus addressed the meeting.
"It is not, mr. moderator, the spirit that vapours within these walls that must stand us in stead. The exertions of this day will. call forth events, which will make a very different
Hundreds of years may pass away before the parliament will make such a number of acts in violation of the British constitution, as it has done of late years, and by which it has excited so formidable an opposition to the measures of administration. Beside, the longer the contest is delayed, the more administration will be strengthened. Do not you observe how the government at home are increasing their party here by sending over young fellows to enjoy appointments, who marry into our best families and so weaken the opposition? By such like means, and by multiplying posts and places, and giving them to their own friends, or applying them to the corruption of their antagonists, they will increase their own force faster, in proportion, than - the force of the country party will increase by population. If then we must quarrel ere we can have our rights secured, now is the most eligible period. Our credit also is at stake; we must venture, and unless we do, we shall be discarded by the sons of liberty in the other colonies, whose assistance we may expect upon emergencies, in case they find us steady, resolute, and faithful."
* Mr. Quincy.
Chap, in. spirit necessary for our salvation. Whoever 1774. supposes, that shouts and hosannas will terminate the trials of the day, entertains a childish fancy. We must be grossly ignorant of the importance and value of the prize for which we contend; we must be equally ignorant of the power of those who have combined against us; we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy, and insatiable revenge, which actuate our enemies public and private, abroad, and in our bosom, to hope that we shall end this controversy without the sharpest, sharpest conflicts ....to flatter ourselves that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular acclamations, and popular vapour, will vanquish our foes. Let us consider the issue. Let us look to the end. Let us weigh and consider, before we advance to those measures, which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this country ever saw."
The question was again put and passed without a negative.
Aware of the approaching danger, the captain of the vessel was desirous of returning, and applied to the governor for a clearance; he, affecting a rigid regard to the letter of his duty, declined giving one unless the vessel should be properly qualified at the custom house. This answer being reported to the meeting, it was declared to be dissolved; and an immense crowd repaired to the quay, where a number of the most resolute, disguised like Mohawk Indians Chap. m boarded the vessels, and in about two hours, 1774. broke open three hundred and forty two chests ^,^^a of tea, and discharged their contents into the tUS." ocean.
These proceedings of the colonists were laid before parliament in a message from the crown, and a very high and general indignation was excited in that body by the outrages stated to Measures or
* ° parliament.
nave been committed. They expressed, almost
unanimously, their approbation of the measures
adopted by his majesty, and gave the most explicit assurances that they would not fail to exert every means in their power, effectually to provide for the due execution of the laws and to secure the dependence of the colonies upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain. The temper, both of the house and of the nation, was now entirely favourable to the high handed system of coercion proposed by ministers, and that temper was not permitted to pass away without being employed to advantage. A bill was soon brought in " for discontinuing the lading and shipping of goods, wares, and merchandises at Boston or the harbour thereof, and for the removal of the custom house with its dependencies to the town of Salem." This bill was to continue in force, not only until compensation should be made to the East India company for the damage sustained, but until the king in council should declare himself Chap, in. satisfied as to the restoration of peace and good 1774. order in the town. It passed both houses without a division, and almost without opposition.
Soon after this, a bill was brought in for better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts Bay. By this act, the charter was totally subverted, and the nomination of counsellors, and of all magistrates and officers, vested in the crown. The persons thus appointed were to hold their offices during the royal pleasure. This bill also was carried through both houses by great majorities, but not without a vigorous opposition and an animated debate.
The next measure proposed, was a bill for the impartial administration of justice in the province of Massachusetts Bay. It provided "that in case any person should be indicted, in that province, for murder or any other capital offence, and it should appear by information given on oath to the governor, that the fact was committed in the exercise or aid of magistracy in suppressing riots, and that a fair trial could not be had in the province, he should send the person so indicted to any other colony, or to Great Britain to be tried." This act was to continue in force four years, and was, as an English writer observes, the counterpart of the obsolete and tyrannical act of Henry VIII. lately revived for the trial in Great Britain of treasons committed in America.