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Colony might hang suspended on the votes ofan exasperated majority in England, could any other deem itself secure? Under these impressions they resolved at all hazards to make common cause with Massachusetts. The Royalists, now and henceforth called by their countrymen "the Tories," even in their strongholds, as at New York, found themselves outnumbered. The men hitherto most moderate and calm on the popular side, as Colonel Washington, could forbear no longer. They might feel themselves the more inspirited at finding their principles approved and their oppression acknowledged by a powerful party in Great Britain. Eloquent voices had been raised in their behalf. Burke upon a motion to repeal the Tea Duty (a motion certainly not well timed, and which accordingly numbered only forty-nine supporters,) had made one of the most admired of his speeches; the first reported by himself. Lord Chatham towards the close of the Session had twice spoken against the American policy of Ministers; and his lofty tones had reverberated over the Atlantic. And if among the Americans there were any more eager or less scrupulous than the rest who already looked towards France as a future source of succour, they must have hailed as an event auspicious to them the death of Louis the Fifteenth. That monarch had expired at Versailles on the 10th of May, a victim to his own debaucheries. His grandson and successor, Louis the Sixteenth, was a prince of timid and irresolute temper, but of excellent intentions, and blameless in his private life. He had hastened to dismiss the profligate Court and no less profligate Council by which his grandsire had been governed; and although the Ministers whom he first selected might not be any more than himself men of high ability, at least they were not like the former ones debarred by ignominy at home from influence abroad. Henceforth it was plain that France would not be a powerless, nor probably an unconcerned, spectator of whatever pretensions might be started, or whatever conflicts might be waged, by foreign states. Virginia was one of the earliest Colonies to stir in support of Boston. There the vanguard of the extreme popular partywas headed as before by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson; the latter of whom inditing his own Memoirs more than forty years afterwards has left a curious and authentic account of their proceedings at this time. "What we did," says he, "was with the help ofRushworth, whom we rummaged "over for the Revolutionary precedents and forms of the Puri"tans of that day." * Nor did they search in vain that ample storehouse of weapons against the Crown. Adopting one of its Revolutionary precedents, and altering only a few of its antiquated phrases, they drew up aResolution that the 1st of June, on which day the Boston Port Bill was to come into effect,should be set apartforfasting,humiliation,andprayer, to implore the Divine interposition for averting the evils of civil war, and to give one heart and one mind to the people in defence of their just rights. But since the character of the gentlemen who drew up these words was far from being so grave or so religious as to give any weight to that Resolution in their hands, they prevailed on a venerable elder, Mr. Nicholas, to propose it in his own name. Accordingly when proposed by Mr. Nicholas the appointment of the 1st of June as a day of fasting and prayer passed without opposition. Such a vote without the Governor's sanction was deemed a daring inroad on his authority. The Earl of Dunmore, who at that period filled the office, on the very next day and in much wrath dissolved the Assembly. But a large majority of the members, nothing daunted, repaired to the Raleigh Tavern; and in their favourite Apollo chamber signed Articles of Association pledging themselves against the purchase of British merchandise, and desiring their Committee of Correspondence to communicate with the Committees of the other Colonies on the expediency of appointing delegates to meet not merely on this occasion but every year in General Congress.
Nearly the same feeling was displayed in the other Colonies. The Boston Port Bill was commonly printed with a
* Memoirs and Correspondence of Jefferson, edited by Randolph, vol. i. p. 6, ed. 1829.
EFFECTS OF THE BOSTON PORT BILL.
black border round it, as though it contained funeral news; and it was cried in the streets of many towns under the title of " A barbarous, cruel, bloody, and inhuman murder." At Philadelphia the Quakers were beginning to deem it inconsistent with their principles to strive any further against the Government; but the rest of the inhabitants agreed to suspend all business on the 1st of June. In most places the Virginia Resolution was adopted, and the day was set aside for fasting and prayer. To relieve the people of Boston under the impending loss of their trade subscriptions of money were announced; and by means of the Corresponding Committees there was set on foot a combination under the ominous name of the "Solemn League and Covenant" neither to purchase nor consume any more goods from GreatBritain until their grievances should be redressed.
AtBoston itself on the morning of the 1st of June all eyes were anxiously turned to the town-clock which had no sooner struck twelve than the custom-house was closed and all legal busines was suspended. The revenue - officers were removed to Salem, where the Assembly had already been convened for the week ensuing. But General Gage in the execution of his appointed duty found almost insuperable difficulties from the resolute and wide-spread resentment of the people. When the Assembly did meet according to his order it displayed such a spirit as in his opinion to require its immediate Dissolution. He received an adverse Address even from the merchants and freeholders of Salem, commiserating the fate of Boston, and declining to raise their fortunes on the ruin of their neighbours. OtherResolutions betokeningintheirterms no slight ferment of the public mind were passed at various meetings of the towns and counties. But far beyond them all in vehemence were the Resolutions of the delegates from the towns in the county of Suffolk, of which towns Boston was the chief. These purported: that no obedience was due to the late Acts of Parliament; that no taxes should be paid to Government; that the persons who had accepted seats in the Council by nomination from the King had acted in direct violation of their public duty; that the late Act establishing the Roman Catholic religion in Canada was dangerous in an extreme degree to the Protestant Religion, and to the rights and liberties of all America; that the inhabitants of the towns should use their utmost diligence to acquaint themselves with the art of war, and for that purpose should appearunder arms at least once in every week.
According to the terms of the recent Act of Parliament thirty-six persons had been named by the Crown as members of the Council for this province, but only twenty-four would consent to take the oaths, and of these one half under the dread of personal violence speedily resigned. The superior Court of Justice met in due form at Boston with the Chief Justice at its head, but the juries to a man refused to serve. Throughout the Colony the sheriffs, magistrates, and clerks either made their peace with the people by solemnly promising not to act under the new law, or else fled for shelter to the well-guarded town of Boston. That town indeed appeared the sole remaining spot within the province where the King's government was obeyed, or where its officers and adherents were secure. General Gage having received large reinforcements had now under his command in Massachusetts no less than six regiments with a train of artillery. These troops for the most part he encamped on the Common close to Boston; and desertion becoming frequent and much encouraged, he stationed a strong guard on Boston Neck, the narrow isthmus which alone connected the town and Common with the open country. Some time afterwards, seeing the necessity of keeping the soldiers separate from the people, he began to fortify that neck of land, and also to build temporary barracks. As the time approached for the general muster of the Militia he deemed it essential in that state of public feeling to deprive them of their stores and ammunition, which he removed from the provincial arsenal at Cambridge to his own custody at Boston. Such measures, however, and above all his intrenchments on Boston Neck, could not be adopted without greatly adding to the exaspera1774.
CONGRESS AT PHILADELPHIA.
tion of the province. A cry was raised that he designed to blockade the town, and reduce the inhabitants by famine. He found his intended works obstructed at every turn; his supplies of straw were set on fire; his boats conveying bricks were sunk; his waggons laden with timber were overturned. Nothing but his watchful care and brave forbearance still prevented (and could they always prevent?) some bloody conflict.
It is a characteristic of such times as these in Massachusetts that even the gravest personages no longer frown on even the most lawless proceedings. We find, for instance, a Minister of the Gospel in one of his familiar letters record with manifest glee a scheme of wanton assault, and a jocular pretext assigned for it, upon a gentleman who had no otherwise offended than through the office which he held: — "Commissioner Hallowell passed through Cambridge while "the people were assembled there. He had gone by some "time, when it was stated by somebody that it might be "proper to have a conference with him. A number of men on "horseback instantly set out to bring him back, but they
"were dissuaded A single horseman of his own head
"went on, and coming up to him in a chaise with a companion "and servant on horseback told him he must stop and go "back. Hallowell snapped his pistol twice at him, got upon "his servant's horse, and rode with the utmost speed to town, "followed by the horseman till he came within call of the "guard at the entrance of the town." *
During this time the idea of a General Congress spread rapidly through the Colonies, and was carried into effect mainly by means of the lately appointed Committees of Correspondence. Then it was that the importance of such Committees became apparent; without them it seems certain that the scheme would never have ripened into fruit. They selected Philadelphia for the place, and the beginning of September for the time of meeting. The Colonies which
* Dr. Cooper to Dr. Franklin, Sept. 9. 1774. See also the American Archives, vol. 1. p. 764.