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fhips, and in a few hours difcharged the whole car- 1773. goes of tea into the fea, without doing any other damage, or offering any injury to the captains or It was remarkable, that the government, civil power, garrifon of Fort William, and armed cargoes ships in the harbour, were totally inactive upon this into the occafion,
Some fmaller quantities of tea, met afterwards Similar with a fimilar fate, at Bofton, and a few other outrages places; but in general, the commiffioners for the other fale of that commodity, having been obliged to re- places; linquifh their employment, and no other perfons most of daring to receive the cargoes which were configned the tea to them, the mafters of the tea veffels, from thefe hips obliged circumftances, as well as from a knowledge of danger, and the determined refolution of the people, home readily complied with the terms which were pre- with fcribed, of returning directly to England, without their entangling themfelves by any entry at the cuftom- cargoes, houfes. At New-York it was indeed landed under entire the cannon of a man of war. But the government scheme there were obliged to confent to its being locked rendered. up from ufe. In South Carolina fome was thrown every into the river as at Bofton.
Such was the iffue of this unfortunate fcheme. Some difpofition to thefe difturbances was known pretty early; but as their utmoft extent was ftill unknown, the meeting of parliament was deferred until after the holidays, the tranfactions of which, with refpect to American affairs, will more properly come under the head of our third chapter.
Jan. 13. 1774.
CHA P. III.
A fummary account of all the American acts, passed in the Britifh parliament, from January 13, 1774, to the 22d of June following.
THE fpeech from the throne at the opening of this parliament, January 13th, 1774, contained nothing very ftriking. Bufinefs of common occurences engroffed the attention of the house, ment until the American difpatches arrived, March 7,
which brought advice of the outrages committed Meffage on board the tea fhips at Bolton. This intelligence
to the tranfac
occafioned a meffage from the throne to both houfes, in which they were informed, that in confequence of the unwarrantable practices carried on in America. North America, and particularly of the violent and outrageous proceedings at the town and port of Bofton, with a view of obftructing the commerce of this kingdom, and upon grounds and pretences immediately fubverfive of its conftitution, it was thought fit to lay the whole matter before parliament,
cau pa pers laid
before the House.
This meffage was attended with a great number of papers relating to the late tranfactions in the colonies, containing copies and extracts of letters from the feveral governors; from the commander of the forces; from the admiral in Bofton harbour; from the confignees of the tea at Bofton, to one of the ringleaders of the faction in that town, with votes and refolves of the town of Bofton, previous to the landing of the tea, and narratives of the tranfactions which fucceeded that event, &c. &c.-They alfo contained details from the different governors, of all tranfactions relative to the teas, which took place in their respective governments, from the first intelligence of their being fhipped in England, to the dates of thefe letters, which were in number 109.
As the fame fpirit pervaded the whole continent, 1774. fo the fame language, fentiment, and manner, prevailed in all these written or printed pieces, whether circulated in the province of Maffachufet's, or in the other colonies.
The prefentment of the papers was accompanied with a comment upon them, and particularly thofe Camthat related to the tranfactions at Boston, in which ments the conduct of the governor was defcribed and applauded, and that of the prevailing faction reprefented in the moft atrocious light. It was faid that he had taken every measure which prudence could fuggeft, or good policy juftify, for the fecurity of the Eaft-India company's property, the fafety of the confignees, and the preferving of order and quiet in the town.
That he had it undoubtedly in his power, by Conduct calling in the affiftance of the naval force which was of the in the harbour, to have prevented the deftruction governor of the tea; but as the leading men in Bofton had applaudalways made great complaints of the interpofition of the army and navy, and charged all difturbances of every fort to their account, he with great prudence and temper, determined from the beginning to decline a meafure, which would have been fo irritating to the minds of the people; and might well have hoped, that by this confidence in their conduct, and truft repofed in the civil power, he fhould have calmed their turbulence, and preferved the public tranquillity.
Thus, faid the minifters, the people of Boston were fairly tried. They were left to their own conduct, and to the exercife of their judgment, and the refult has given the lie to their former profeffions. They are now without an excufe: and all the powers of government within that province, are found infufficient to prevent the most violent outrages.
CHAP. III. 1774. It was concluded upon the whole, that by an impartial review of the papers now before them, it would Reafons manifeftly appear, that nothing could be done either affigned by civil, military, or naval officers, to effectuate the for coer- re-establishment of tranquility and order in that five mea province, without additional parliamentary powers to give efficacy to their proceedings.
drefs to the Throne.
The Minifter's advantage in
this ad. drefs.
That it was therefore incumbent on every member to weigh and confider, with an attention fuitable to the great importance of the fubject, the purport of the papers before them, and totally laying all prejudices afide, to form his opinion upon the measures most eligible to be purfued, for fupporting the fupreme legislative authority, the dignity of parliament, and the great interests of the British Empire. This is in fubftance what was urged by ministry upon the fubject when they prefented the
The fpirit now raised against the Americans became as high and as ftrong as could be defired, both within and without the houfe. In this temper a motion was made for an addrefs to the throne, "to return thanks for the meffage, and the gracious communication of the American papers, with an affurance that they would not fail to exert every means in their power, of effectually providing for objects fo important to the general welfare, as maintaining the due execution of the laws, and fecuring the juft dependence of the colonies upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain."
By the voting this addrefs miniftry gained a greater advantage than at firft appeared, for they found by the difpofition of the house which was ftrongly against all retrofpect, that they would confine themselves to the mere mifbehaviour of the Americans. The violence of the Americans was public and unqueftioned, and when the enquiry was
confined to that ground, it would be eafy to carry 1774. any propofition against them. It was of great con. fequence to the minifter, that no part whatsoever of the weakness and diforderly ftate of fo many governments, should be laid to the charge of thofe who had for fome years the entire direction of them in their hands.
As the ftorm which was gathering against the Petition colonies would probably be directed against Maffa- received chufet's Bay, Mr. Bollan, agent for the council of that province, thought it neceffary to prefent to the houfe, by way of precaution, a petition defiring that he might be permitted to lay before the house the acta regia of Queen Elizabeth and her fucceffors, for the fecurity of the Planters, and their defcendents, and the perpetual enjoyment of their liberties. Thefe documents he prefumed had never been laid before the house, nor had the colonies ever had an opportunity to afcertain and defend thefe rights. This petition was received without difficulty, and ordered to lie upon the table.
The minifter, after having moved that the King's Conditimeffage of the 7th of March fhould be read, opened on of the his plan for restoration of peace, order, justice, and Bofton commerce in Maffachufet's Bay, by propofing, "that the town of Bofton fhould be obliged to pay "for the tea which had been destroyed in their port; alfo fecurity to be given in future, that "trade may be fafely carried on, property protect"ed, laws obeyed, and duties regularly paid. "Otherwife the punishment of a fingle illegal act "is no reformation." It would be therefore proper to take away from Bofton the privilege of a port until his Majefty fhould be fatisfied in these particulars, and publicly declare in council, on a proper certificate of the good behaviour of the town, that he was fo fatisfied.-By this Bofton might certainly fuffer. But fhe ought to fuffer; and by this refo