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ances, the town would then make choice of a suitable number of CHAP. 17. persons to act for them, as a committee in a convention to be 1708. held at Faneuil-hall in Boston, with such as might be sent to assembles at join them from the several towns in the province.”
These votes were, at the desire of the meeting, communicated by the select men in a circular letter to the other towns in the province, which were invited to concur in them, and to elect committee-men, who should meet those of Boston in convention.
The measure was very generally adopted, and a Convention assembled, which was regarded with all the respect that could have been paid to a legitimate assembly.
The country in general, though united on the great constitu- Moderation of tional question of taxation, was probably not exasperated to the same point with the people of Boston; and the Convention appears to have acted with unexpected moderation. They disclaimed all pretensions to any other character than that of mere individuals, assembled, by deputation from the towns, to consult and advise on such measures as might tend to promote the peace and good order of His Majesty's subjects in the province, but without power to pass any authoritative or governmental acts.
They petitioned the Governor to assemble the General Court, and addressed a letter to the agent for the province in England, stating the character in which they met, and the motives which brought them together. After expressing their opinions with temper and firmness, on the subjects generally complained of, and recommending to the people patience, and regard to good VOL. II.
CHAP. IL order
order, they dissolved themselves, and returned to their respective: homes.
The report that the two regiments were ordered to Boston had spread through the country; and some hints which had been thrown out seemed to have created an apprehension, that the more violent part of the town would oppose their landing, and precipitate the province into a civil war.
The day before the Convention rose, two British regiments, commanded by Colonel Dalrymple, arrived under convoy in Nantasket road. The application of the Governor to the Council, to provide quarters for them in Boston, had been rejected, because there were barracks sufficient for their reception in the castle ; and by act of parliament the British troops were to be quartered no where else, until those barracks should be full. But a report having prevailed that the people about Boston were in a. state of open revolt, General Gage, who had originally directed one regiment to be stationed in the town, transmitted such orders, as, combined with the threats which had been uttered, of opposing the debarkation of the troops, induced the commanding officer to determine to land both regiments in Boston. The fleet, therefore, was put in motion, and took a station which commanded the whole town. The ships of war lay with their broadsides towards the town, with springs on their cables, and their guns ready for firing on the place should any resistance be attempted. These formidable preparations having been made, the troops began to land about one o'clock in the afternoon, under cover of the cannon of their ships. This being effected without experiencing any opposition, they marched into the town
with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets, in all that military pomp and parade which indeed are usual on such occasions, but which were believed by the inhabitants to be then displayed for the purposes of intimidation or irritation.
The Select Men, as well as the Council, having refused to provide quarters in town for the troops, the State-house was, by order of the Governor, opened for their reception, and they took possession of all the apartments belonging to it, except that which was reserved for the Council; and two field-pieces with the main guard were stationed just in its front. The utmost indignation and disgust were excited among the people at seeing the chamber of their Representatives filled with regular soldiers, their Counsellors surrounded with foreign troops, and their whole city exhibiting the appearance of a garrisoned town. The inhabitants also complained of being challenged as they passed and repassed; and the devout were disturbed by military music, which often offended their ears during divine service. With the difference of manners between the soldiers and the inhabitants of the town, and the strong prejudices reciprocally entertained against each other, it is not wonderful that personal broils should frequently occur, and mutual antipathies already so strong be still further increased.
While these measures were pursuing in America, every session of Parliament was opened with information from the King, that a disposition to refuse obedience to the laws, and to resist the authority of the Supreme Legislature of the nation, still prevailed among his misguided subjects in some of the colonies. In the addresses answering the speeches from the throne, both
CHAP. 11. Houses uniformly expressed their abhorrence of the rebellious
spirit manifested in the colonies, and their approbation of the measures taken by His Majesty for the restoration of order and good government.
To give a more solemn expression to the sense of Parliament on this subject, joint resolutions* of both Houses were at length entered into, condemning in the strongest terms the measures pursued by the Americans; and an address was likewise agreed on, approving the conduct of the Crown, giving assurances of effectual support to such further measures as might be found ne
* Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that the votes, resolutions, and proceedings of the House of Representatives of Massachussetts Bay, in the months of January and February last, respecting several late acts of parliament, so far as the said votes, resolutions, and proceeedings, do import a denial of, or to draw into question, the power and authority of His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in Parliament assembled, to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects to the Crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever, are illegal, unconstitutional, and derogatory of the rights of the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain.
Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that the resolution of the said House of Representatives of the province of Massachussetts Bay, in January last, to write letters to the several House of Representatives of the British colonies in the continent, desiring them to join with the said House of Representatives of the province of Massachussetts Bay, in petitions which do deny or draw into question the right of Parliament to impose duties and taxes upon His Majesty's subjects in America; and in pursuance of the said resolution, the writing such letters, in which certain late acts of parliament imposing duties and taxes are stated to be infringements of the rights of His
cessary to maintain the civil magistrates in a due execution of the laws within the province of Massachussetts Bay; and beseeching him to direct the Governor of that colony to obtain, and transmit to His Majesty, information of all treasons committed in Massachussetts since the year 1767, with the names of the persons who had been most active in promoting such offences, that prosecutions might be instituted against them within the realm, in pursuance of the statute of the 35th of Henry the Eighth.
Majesty's subjects of the said province, are proceedings of a most unwarrantable and dangerous nature, calculated to inflame the minds of His Majesty's subjects in the other colonies, tending to create unlawful combinations repugnant to the laws of Great Britain, and subversive of the constitution.
Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that in these circumstances of the province of Massachussetts Bay, and of the town of Boston, the preservation of the public peace, and the due execution of the laws, becaine impracticable without the aid of a military force to support and protect the civil magistrates and the officers of His Majesty's revenue.
Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, that the declarations, resolutions, and proceedings in the town-meeting in Boston, on the fourteenth of June and twelfth of September, were illegal and unconstitutional, and calculated to excite sedition and insurrections in His Majesty's province of Massachussetts Bay.
Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that the appointment at the town-meeting of the twelfth of September, of a Convention to be held in the town of Boston on the twenty-second of that month, to consist of deputies from the several towns and districts in the province of Massachussetts Bay, and the issuing a precept by the Select Men of the town of Boston to each of the said towns and districts for the election of such deputies, were proceedings subversive of His Majesty's Government, and evidently manifesting a design in the inhabitants of the said town of Boston to set up a new and unconstitutional authority, independent of the Crown of Great Britain.