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HistRevolV1_001-050.indd 31 3/16/12 11:39 AM C H A P T E R I I I Cursory Observations • Massachusetts Circular Letter • A new House of Representatives called • Governor Bernard impeached • A Riot on the Seizure of a Vessel • Troops applied for to protect the King's Officers • A Convention at Boston • Troops arrive • A Combination against all Commerce with Great Britain • A General Assembly convened at Bostonremoved to Cambridge • Governor Bernard after his Impeachment repairs to England [52] The British colonies at this period through the American continent CHAP. m contained, exclusive of Canada and Nova Scotia, the provinces of 1 1 6 1 New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Bay, of Rhode Island, Connecticut , New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Delaware counties, Virginia, Maryland, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, besides the Floridas, and an unbounded tract of wilderness not yet explored. These several provinces had been always governed by their own distinct legislatures. It is true there was some variety in their religious opinions, but a striking similarity in their political institutions, except in the proprietary governments. At the same time the colonies, afterwards the thirteen states, were equally marked with that manly spirit of freedom, characteristic of Americans from New Hampshire to Georgia. Aroused by the same injuries from the parent state, threatened in the same manner by the [53] common enemies to the rights of society among themselves, their petitions to the throne had been suppressed without even a reading, their remonstrances were ridiculed and their supplications rejected. They determined no longer to submit. All stood ready to unite in the same measures to obtain that redress of grievances they had so long requested, and that relief from burdens they had so long complained of, to so little purpose. Yet there was no bond of connexion by which a similarity of sentiment and concord in action might appear, whether they were again disposed to revert 31 HistRevolV1_001-050.indd 32 3/16/12 11:39 AM 32 W A R R E N ' S H I S T 0 R Y 0 F T H E R E V 0 L U T I 0 N cHAP. m to the hitherto fruitless mode of petition and remonstrance, or to leave that humiliating path for a line of conduct more cogent and influential in the contests of nations. 1 7 6 s A circular letter dated February the eleventh, one thousand seven hundred sixty-eight, by the legislature of Massachusetts, directed to the representatives and burgesses of the people through the continent, was a measure well calculated for this salutary purpose.* This letter painted in the strongest colors the difficulties they apprehended, the embarrassments they felt, and the steps already taken to obtain relief. It contained the full opinion of that assembly relative to the late acts of parliament; while at the same time they expatiated [54] on their duty and attachment to the king, and detailed in terms of respect the representations that had been made to his ministers, they expressed the boldest determination to continue a free but a loyal people. Indeed there were few, if any, who indulged an idea of a final separation from Britain at so early a period; or that even wished for more than an equal participation of the privileges of the British constitution. INDEPENDENCE was a plant of a later growth. Though the soil might be congenial, and the boundaries of nature pointed out the event, yet every one chose to view it at a distance, rather than wished to witness the convulsions that such a dismemberment of the empire must necessarily occasion. After the circulation of this alarming letter, t wherever any of the governors had permitted the legislative bodies to meet, an answer was returned by the assemblies replete with encomiums on the exertion and the zeal of the Massachusetts. They observed that the spirit that dictated that letter was but a transcript of their own feelings; and that though equally impressed with every sentiment of respect to the prince on the throne of Britain, and feeling the strongest attachment to the house of Hanover, they could not but [55] reject with disdain the late measures, so repugnant to the dignity of the crown and the true interest of the realm; and that at every hazard they were determined to resist all acts of parliament for the injurious purpose of raising a revenue in America. They also added, that they had respectively offered the most humble...


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