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CHAP. VI. 1774. ty infifted, and the most who figned these war petitions (as they called them) were perfons of none or a remoter intereft inthe American trade; but of that defcription of warm and active party-men commonly called Tories. To prove the truth of the former part of their affertion, they entered into feveral exminations, which produced many long and hot dedebates.
The coercive plan for fubjugating America being thus finished, this remarkable feffion was clofed by a fpeech from the Speaker to his Majesty, stating the heaviness of the grants, (the Money-bills which had just received the royal affent) which nothing but the particular exigencies of the times could justify in a feafon of profound peace; he, however, gave an affurance, that if the Americans fhould perfift in their refolutions, and the fword must be drawn, his faithful Commons would do every thing in their power to maintain and fupport the fupremacy of this legislature, and concluded, that the money now raised, fhould be faithfully applied to the purposes for which it was appropriated.
In the fpeech from the throne, the most perfect fatisfaction in their conduc, during the course of this important feffion, was expreffed. It was faid, that they had maintained, with a firm and steady refolution, the rights of the crown and the authority of parliament, which fhould ever be confidered as infeparable; that they had protected and promoted the commercial interefts of thefe kingdoms; and they had, at the fame time, given convincing proofs of their readiness (as far as the conftitution would allow them) to gratify the wishes, and remove the apprehenfions of the fubjects in America.
State of affairs in America during the fitting of Parliament.-
URING thefe tranfactions at home, affairs 1774. 3 were every day becoming more dangerous in America. Whatever hesitation might before have operated with the timid, or principles of caution and prudence with the moderate, they were now all removed by the determinations of the general congrefs. Thefe became immediately the political creed of the colonies, and a perfect compliance with their refolutions was every where determined upon, as foon as the general sense of the people could be obtained. The unanimity which prevailed throughout the continent was amazing. The fame language was held by town and provincial meetings, by general affemblies, by judges in their charges, and by grand juries in their prefentments; and all their acts tended to the fame point. It was a new and wonderful thing to fee the inhabitants of rich and great commercial countries, who had acquired a long established habitual relifh for the fuperfluities and luxuries of foreign nations, all at once determined to abandon thofe captivating allurements, and to restrain themselves to bare neceffities. It was fcarcely an object of greater admiration, that the merchant fhould forego the advantages of commerce, the farmer fubmit to the lofs of the fale of his products and the benefits of his induftry, and the feaman, with the numberless other perfons dependant upon trade, contentedly refign the very means of livelihood, and truft to a precarious fubfiftance from the public fpirit or charity of the opulent. Such however was the fpectacle, which America at that time, and still in fome degree, exhibited to the world.
Great hopes were however placed on the fuccefs of the petition from the continental congrefs to the throne. Nor was it fuppofed, that their general application to the people of England would have been unproductive of effect. A ftill greater reliance was not unreasonably placed upon the effect which the unanimity and determinations of the congrefs would produce, in influencing the public opinions and meafures at home.
These hopes and opinions had for a time a confiderable effect in reftraining thofe violences which afterwards took place. But however well they might feem to be founded, and however general their operation, the principal leaders, and moft experienced men, did not appear to build much upon them, and accordingly made fome preparations for Warlike the worft that might happen. The Southern coloprepara- nies began to arm as well as the Northern, and to
train and exercife their militia; and as foon as advice was received of the proclamation iffued in England to prevent the exportation of arms and ammunition to America, meafures were speedily taken to remedy the defect. For this purpose, and to render themselves as independent as poffible of foreigners for the fupply of thofe effential articles, mills were ere&ted, and manufactories formed both in Philadelphia and Virginia, for the making of gunpowder, and encouragement given in all the colonies for the fabrication of arms of every fort. Great difficulties however attended thefe beginnings; and the fupply of powder, both from the home manufacture and the importation, was for a long time fcanty and precarious.
The Governor's proclamation against the provincial congrefs in Maffachufett's Bay, had not the fmalleft effect, either upon the proceedings of that affembly, or the conduct of the people, who paid an implicit obedience to its determinations. As
expreffes continually paffed between that body and 1774.
Different proposals were faid to be made to pre-
The provincial congrefs, having done all the bufinefs that was thought proper or neceffary for the prefent, diffolved themfelves towards the end of November, having first appointed another meeting to be held in the enfuing month of February.
CHAP. VII. 1774. This ceffation afforded an opportunity to the friends of government, or loyalifts, as they now called themselves, to fhew themselves in a few places ; to try their ftrength and numbers, and to endeavour to refift the general current. Some affociations for mutual defence were accordingly formed, and a refufal was made, in a few towns, to comply with the refolutions of the provincial congrefs; but the contrary fpirit was fo prevailent, that thofe attempts were foon quelled. The diffentients were overwhelmed by numbers. All these attempts came to nothing.
As foon as an account was received at Rhode feized in Ifland, of the prohibition on the exportation of military ftores from Great-Britain, the people feized upon and removed all the ordnance belonging to the crown in that province, which lay upon fome batteries that defended one of the harbours, and amounted to above forty pieces of cannon of different fizes. A captain of a man of war, having waited upon the governor to enquire into the meaning of this procedure, was informed, with great franknefs, that the people had feized the cannon to prevent their falling into the hands of the king's forces; and that they meant to make use of them to defend themselves against any power that should offer to moleft them. The affembly of that ifland alfo paffed refolutions for the procuring of arms and military stores, by every means, and from every quarter in which they could be obtained, as well as for training and arming the inhabitants.
The province of New Hampshire had hitherto preferved a greater degree of moderation than any other of the New England governments. As foon, however, as intelligence arrived of the tranfactions at Rhode Island, with a copy of their refolutions, and of the royal proclamation which gave rife to them, a fimilar fpirit operated upon that people.