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"That he had obferved with the utmost fatis- '1774faction, the many eminent proofs they had given of their zealous and prudent attention to the public, during the course of this very interefting feffion of parliament." Then, after mentioning with applaufe their proceedings relative to the gold coin, "That the bill which they had prepared for the government of Quebec, and to which he had then given his affent, was founded on the cleareft principles of juftice and humanity; and would, he doubted not, have the best effects in quieting the minds and promoting the happiness of his Canadian fubjects. That he had long feen with concern a dangerous fpirit of refiftance to his government and the execution of the laws prevailing in the province of Maffachusett's Bay. It proceeded at length to fuch an extremity, as to render their immediate interpofition neceffary, and they had accordingly made provifion as well for the fuppreffion of the prefent disorders, as for the prevention of the like in future." And concludes, "With recommending the fame zeal for the public welfare, which had diftinguished all their proceedings in this feffion of parliament."
View of affairs in the Colonies, in the year 1774; shewing the general effect and operation of the late laws, &c.
HE penal laws, which we faw paffed, in the laft feffion of the last parliament, relative to the colony of Maffachufett's Bay, and which were General intended to operate both as a chastisement for past, the late and a preventative of future misdemeanours in that province, were unfortunately productive of effects very different from thofe which the fanguine promoters of those bills had hoped, and which administration had held out to the nation. Other purposes were expected from them befides punishment and prevention. It was expected, that the fhutting up of the port of Bofton would have been naturally a gratification to the neighbouring towns, from the great benefits which would accrue to them, by the fplitting and removing its commerce; and that this would prove a fruitful fource of jealoufy and difunion within the province. It was alfo thought, that the particular punishment of that province would not only operate as an example of terror to the other colonies, but that from the selfishness and malignity incident to mankind, as well as from their common jealoufies, they would quietly refign it to its fate, and enjoy with pleasure any benefits they could derive from its misfortunes. Thus it was hoped, that befides their direct operation, these bills would eventually prove a means of diffolving that band of union, which feemed of late too much to prevail amongst the colonies.
The act called the Military Bill, which accompanied these laws, and which was formed to fupport and encourage the foldiery in beating down. all poffible refiftance to the other act, it was imagined, would compleat the defign, and bring the colo
nies to a perfect fubmiffion. In confidence of the 1774.
The event, in all thefe cafes, was however very different. The neighbouring towns difdained every idea of profiting in any degree by the misfortunes of their friends in Bofton. The people of the province, instead of being fhaken by the coercive means which were used for their fubjugation, joined the more firmly together to brave the storm; and feeing that their ancient conftitution was deftroyed, and that it was determined to deprive them of those rights, which they had ever been taught to revere as facred, and to deem more valuable than life itself, they determined at all events to preferve them, or to perifh in the common ruin. In the fame manner, the other colonies, inftead of abandoning, clung the clofer to their devoted fifter as the danger increased; and their affection and fympathy feemed to rife in proportion to her misfortunes and fufferings.
In a word, thefe bills, (as had been too truly foretold by their oppofers at home) instead of answering the purposes for which they were intended, fpread a general alarm from one end to the other of the continent, and became the cement of a strict and clofe union between all the old colonies. They faid it was now visible, that charters, grants, and established ufages, were no longer a protection or defence; that all rights, immunities, and civil fecurities, muft vanith at the breath of an act of parliament. They were all fenfible, that they had been guilty, in a greater or leffer degree, of thofe
CHAP. IV. 1774. unpardonable fins which had drawn down fire upon Bolton; they believed, that vengeance, tho' delayed, was not remitted: and that all the mercy, the most favoured or the leaft culpable could expect, was to be the last that would be devoured.
In the last feffion, the minifter had announced in the House of Commons, the appointment of General Gage to the government of the province of Maffachufet's Bay, and to the command in chief of the army in North America. As this gentleman had borne feveral commands with reputation in that part of the world; had lived many years there, and had fufficient opportunities of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the people, and was befides well approved of by them, great hopes were formed of the happy effects which would have refulted from his administration; and it is little to be doubted, if his appointment had been at a happier time, and his government free from the neceffity of enforcing measures which were generally odious to the people, but thefe expectations would have been anfwered.
The jealoufy and ill blood between the governors and governed in the province of Maffachufet's Bay, which we in the preceding chapter have taken notice of, had ever fince continued. The Houfe of Reprefentatives had prefented a petition and remonImpeach- ftrance to the Governor, early in the fpring, for ment of the removal of Peter Oliver, Efq; Chief Juftice of Mr. Oli- the Superior Court of Judicature, from his office;
this request not being complied with, they exhibited articles of impeachment against him, of high crimes and mifdemeanors, in their own name and that of the province, which they carried up to the Council-board, and gave the governor notice to attend as judge upon the trial. The charge against the Chief Jultice was, the betraying of his truft, and of the chartered rights of the province, by
accepting a falary from the crown, in confideration 1774of his official fervices, inftead of the cuftomary grant from the House of Reprefentatives. The refolution for carrying up this impeachment was carried by a majority of 92 to 8; from whence fome judgment may be formed of the general temper of the province, and their unanimity, even in this ftrong and extraordinary measure.
The Governor refused to receive the articles, Affembly and totally difclaimed all authority in himself and of Maflathe Council to act as a judicatory, for the trial of Bay dif any crimes or misdemeanors whatever. The Houfe folved. of Representatives, far from giving up the matter, only changed their mode of attack; and the Governor finding that they would perfift in a profecution under fome form or other, and that every new attempt would only ferve to involve things in ftill greater difficulty, or at least to increase the animofity, thought it neceffary, at the conclufion of the month of March, to diffolve the Affembly.
Such was the state of things in the province of May 13, Maffachufet's Bay, when Gen. Gage arrived in his 1774 government. The hopes that might have been General formed upon a change of administration, and the Gage arjoy that generally attends the coming of a new Bofton. Governor, were, however, nipped in the bud, by the arrival just before of a fhip from London, which brought a copy of the Boston Port Bill; and a Town Meeting was fitting to confider of it, at the very Great time he arrived in the harbour. As this fatal news confterwas totally unexpected, the confternation which it nation on caufed among all orders of people was inexpreffible. receiving The first measure was the holding of the Town- ton port Meeting we have mentioned, at which refolutions bill. were paffed, and ordered to be immediately tranfmitted to the other colonies, inviting them to enter into an agreement to ftop all imports and exports to and from Great-Britain and Ireland, and every part