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cogent reasons only could induce you to quit it: yet, we with the greatest deference, presume to entreat you to suspend those thoughts for another year, and to lead us on to assist in the glorious work of extirpating our enemies, towards which, so considerable advances have been already made. In you, we place the most implicit confidence. Your presence only will cause a steady firmness and vigour to actuate in every breast, despising the greatest dangers, and thinking light of toils and hardships, while led on by the man we know and love.
But if we must be so unhappy as to part, if the exigencies, of your affairs force you to abandon us, we beg it as our last request, that you will recommend some person most capable to command, whose military knowledge, whose honour, whose conduct, arA whose disinterested principles, we may depend on.
Frankness, sincerity, and a certain openness of soul, are the true characteristics of an officer, and we flatter ourselves that you do not think us capable of saying any thing contrary to the purest dictates of our minds. Fully persuaded of this, we beg leave to assure you, that, as you have hitherto been the actuating soul of our whole corps, we shall at all times pay the most invariable regard to your will and pleasure, and will always be happy to demonstrate by our actions with how much respect and esteem we are, &c.
These, being the first resolutions of any assembly after the passage of the stamp, act, are inserted. "Whereas the honourable house of commons in England, have of late drawn into question, how far the general assembly of this colony hath power to enact laws for laying taxes and imposing duties, payable by the people of this, his majesty's most ancient colony; for settling and ascertaining the same to all future times, the house
VOL. II. d
of burgesses of this present general assembly have come to the several following resolutions.
Resolved, that the first adventurers, and settlers of this his majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia, brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all other his majesty's subjects since inhabiting in this his majesty's colony, all the privileges and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed and possessed by the people of Great Britain.
Resolved, that by the two royal charters granted by king James I. the colonies aforesaid are declared entitled to all privileges of faithful liege, and natural born subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.
Resolved, that hie majesty's most liege people of this his most ancient colony, have enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own assembly, in the article -of taxes and internal police, and that the same have never been forfeited, nor any other way yielded up, but have been constantly recognised by the king and people of Great Britain.
Resolved, therefore, that the general assembly of this colony, together with his majesty, or his substitute, have, in their representative capacity, the only exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony; and that every attempt to vest such a power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the general assembly aforesaid, is illegal, unconstitutional and unjust, and has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom."
Such were the resolutions as agreed to by that part of the assembly, which was most timid. The following resolutions were also introduced by mr. Henry, and passed the committee, but were disagreed to in the house.
"Resolved, that his majesty's liege people, the inhabitants of this colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law or ordinance whatsoever, designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them, other than the laws and ordinances of the general Assembly aforesaid.
Resolved, that any person who shall, by speaking or writing, maintain that any person or persons, other than the general assembly of this colony, have any right or power to lay any taxation whatsoever on the people here, shall be deemed an enemy to this his majesty's colony."
"The members of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty, to his majesty's person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered, as maturely as time will permit, the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late acts of parliament.
I. That his majesty's subjects in these colonies, owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain, that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body the parliament of Great Britain.
II. That his majesty's liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects, within the kingdom of Great Britain.
III. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them> but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.
IV. That the people of these colonies are not, and, from their local circumstances, cannot be represented in the house of commons of Great Britain.
V. That the only representatives of these colonies are persons chosen therein by themselves, and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed upon them, but by their respective legislatures.
VI. That all supplies to the crown being free gifts from the people, it is unreasonable, and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to grant to his majesty the property of the colonists.
VII. That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies.
VIII. That the late act of parliament entitled, 'an act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America,' &c. by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies; and the said act, and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists.
IX. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burdensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable.
X. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted to the crown.
XI. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of parliament on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain.
XII. That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great Britain mutually affectionate and advantageous.
XIII. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies to petition the king, or either house of parliament.
XIV. That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour, by a loyal and dutiful address to his majesty, and humble applications to both houses of parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce."
Prior Documents, p. *T.
The house of representatives of this province have taken into their consideration the great difficulties that must accrue to themselves and their constituents, by the operation of the several acts of parliament imposing duties and taxes on the American colonies.
As it is a subject in which every colony is deeply interested, they have no reason to doubt but your house is duly impressed with its importance: and that such constitutional measures will be come into as are proper. It seems to be necessary, that all possible care should be taken that the representations of the several assemblies, upon so delicate a point, should harmonize with each other: the house, therefore, hope that this letter will be candidly considered in no other light, than as expressing a disposition freely to communicate their mind to a sister colony, upon a common concern, in the same manner as