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levy from the colonies part of this sum; al- "I was apprehensive that other lights would leging that, as the recent war had been waged be the consequence.” At first it was taken partly on their account, it was but fair that for granted in England and in America, that they should contribute a share of the ex- the stamp-act would be enforced. It was pense. And a right was claimed, according not to take effect till November, more than to the letter of the British Constitution, for seven months after its passage.
Virginia led parliament to tax every portion of the em- the way in opposition. [29th of May, 1765,] pire. The absolute right of legislating for Patrick Henry brought before the house of the colonies had long, if not always, been burgesses, a series of resolutions declaring claimed theoretically by England; but she that," the general assembly of this colony, had never exerted it in practice, in the es- together with his majesty or his substitutes, sential article of taxation. The inhabitants have in their representative capacity, the of the colonies admitted their obligation to only exclusive right and power to lay taxes share the expense of the war, but insisted and imposts upon the inhabitants of this colthat the necessary revenue could be legiti- ony.” Mr. Henry was a young and new mately levied only by their own legislatures; member; but finding the men of weight in that taxation and representation were insep- the house averse to opposition, and the arable, and that distant colonies not repre- stamp-act about to take effect and no person sented in parliament were entitled to tax likely to step forth—alone, unadvised and themselves. The justice of parliament would unassisted he wrote these resolutions on a prove a feeble barrier against the demands blank leaf of an old law-book. * The last
As in England the privilege of resolution was carried only by a single vote. granting money was the palladium of the The debate on it, in the language of Jefferpeople's liberty against the encroachments son, was "most bloody." Peyton Randolph, of the crown ; so the same right was the the king's Attorney General, Richard Bland, safeguard of the colonies against the tyran- Edmund Pendleton, George Wythe and all ny of the imperial government. [March, the old leaders of the house were in oppo1764.] Parliament passed resolutions decla- sition. Mr. Henry was, however, ably susratory of an intention to impose a stamp- tained by Mr. George Johnston, burgess of duty in America and avowing the right and the county of Fairfax. Many threats were the expediency of taxing the colonies. This uttered in the course of this stormy debate was the fountain-head of the revolution. and much abuse heaped on Mr. Henry. These resolutions gave great dissatisfaction Thomas Jefferson, then a student at Wilin America ; but were popular in England. liamsburg, standing at the door of the house, The prospect of lightening their own bur- overheard the debate. After the Speaker dens at the expense of the colonists, daz- Robinson had declared the result of the vote, zled the English gentry. The resolutions Peyton Randolph left the chamber and as he met with no actual opposition in the colo- entered the lobby near young Jefferson, exnies. (March, 1765.) Grenville, the Eng- claimed, “By God, I would have given 500 lish minister, introduced in the house the guineas for a single vote !" Henry bore American Stamp-Act, declaring null and himself on this occasion like Washington in void instruments of writing in daily use in the the battle of the Monongahela. Yet scarce colonies, unless executed on stamped paper a vestige survives of this display of eloor parchment, charged with a duty imposed quence. Tradition has preserved one inciby parliament. The bill, warmly debated in dent. While thundering against the stampthe house of commons, met with no opposi- act he exclaimed, “ Cæsar had his Brutus, tion in the house of lords, and, [March 22,] Charles I. his Cromwell, and George IIIreceived the royal sanction. The night after (* Treason,' cried the Speaker; treason, it passed, Dr. Franklin wrote to Mr. Charles treason,' resounded from every part of the Thomson: “ The sun of liberty is set ;— house. Henry rising to a loftier attitude, you must light up the candles of industry with an unfaltering voice and unwavering and economy." Mr. Thomson answered, eye, finished the sentence,)-may profit by
Afterwards Secretary 1o Congress.
+ A "Coke npon Littleton."
the example; if this be treason, make the Mr. Henry, proved successful. Peyton Ranmost of it." Mr. Henry was now the lead- dolph was made Speaker and Robert C. ing man in Virginia. His resolutions gave Nicholas, Treasurer. The deficit of the late the impulse to the other colonies and the treasurer exceeded one hundred thousand revolutionary spirit spread like a prairie-fire pounds. Mr. Robinson, amiable, liberal over the whole country.
and wealthy, had been long at the head of At the instance of the colony of Massa- the Virginia aristocracy. He had lent large chusetts Bay, a congress met on the second sums of the public money to friends involved Tuesday of October, 1765, at New York. in debt, particularly to members of the asTwenty-eight members were in attendance. sembly, confiding for its replacement upon The assemblies of Virginia, North Carolina his own ample property and the securities and Georgia were prevented by their gov- taken on the loans. At length apprehenernors from sending deputjes. This con- sive of a discovery of the deficit, he with his gress made a declaration denying the right friends in the assembly, devised the scheme of parliament to tax the colonies, and con- of the loan-office. The entire amount of curred in petitions to the king and the house the defalcation was however eventually reof commons and a memorial to the house of covered from the estate of Robinson. * lords. Virginia and the other two colonies In 1766 was published, at Williamsburg, not represented, forwarded petitions accor- “ An Inquiry into the Rights of the British dant with those adopted by the Congress. Colonies,” † from the pen of Richard Bland. Opposition to the stamp-act now blazed forth In discussing the question, " whether the in every quarter. It was disregarded and Colonies are represented in the British Pardefied. The colonists betook themselves to liament?” he traces the English Constitudomestic manufactures and foreign luxuries tion to its Saxon origin, when every freewere laid aside. In the meanwhile a change holder was a member of the Wittenagemote had taken place in the British ministry. The or Parliament. When the custom of represtamp-act was taken up in parliament. Dr. sentation was introduced, each freeholder Franklin was examined at the bar of the had a right to vote at the election of memhouse of commons. Lord Camden in the bers of parliament. This appears from the house of peers and Mr. Pitt in the commons Statutes, 1st Hen. 5, and 8th Hen. 6, limfavored a repeal of the act. After taking iting the elective franchise, depriving many measures " for securing the dependence of of the right of voting for members of parliaAmerica on Great Britain,” parliament re- ment—that is, depriving them of the right pealed the stamp-act, [March, 1766.] of representation in parliament. How could [May, 1765.) A motion had been brought they have been thus deprived, if
, as was conforward in the Virginia assembly for the es- tended, all the people of England were still tablishment of a loan-office. The object was virtually represented? Bland acknowledged to lend the public money to individuals on
that a very large portion of the people of landed security. The project was strenuously Great Britain were not entitled to represenopposed by Patrick Henry and it failed. It
"He resided at Mount Pleasant on the Matapons in was urged in its favor, that from the unhap- King & Queen county-the house there having been built py circumstances of the colony, men of for- for him, it is said, by the father of Lucy Moore of Cheltune had contracted debts, which if exacted sea in King William, one of his wives. A portrait of her suddenly, must ruin them; but with a little which she was married. His portrait is preserved by his
when qmie young is preserved at Chelsea in the mom in indulgence might be liquidated. “What, descendants. He lies buried in the garden at Mount sir!" exclaimed Mr. Henry, “is it proposed Pleasant, without a tombstone. then to reclaim the spend-thrift from his dis- ville, for the use of a copy of this rare and masterly pro
I am indebted to Dr. Thomas P. Atkinson, of Dan. sipation and extravagance by filling his pock- duction. The Title page is as follows. ** An Inquiry into ets with money?" At the session of 1766, the Rights of the British Colonies, Intended as an Answer Mr. John Robinson, who for many years had
to The Regulations lately made concerning the Colonies
and the Taxes iinposed upon them considered. In a letter held the joint offices of Speaker and Trea- addressed to the Author of that Pamphlet, by Richard surer, being now dead, an enormous defalca- Bland of Virginia. Dedit omnibus Deus pro virili portione tion was discovered in his accounts. A mo sapientiam ut et inaudita investigare possent ei audiua
perpendere. Lactantius. Williamsburg. Printed by Al. tion to separate the two offices, supported by'exander Purdic & Co. MDCCLXVI.”
tation in parliament and were nevertheless colonists, (1634,] the Privy Council commubound to obey the laws of the realm, “but then nicated the king's assurance, that "all their the obligation of these Laws, does not arise Estates and Trade, Freedom and Privileges from their being virtually represented in par- should be enjoyed by them in as extensive a liament." The American colonies, except. manner as they enjoyed them before the reing the few planted in the 18th century, were calling of the company's patent.” And founded by private adventurers, who estab- Charles I., [1644,] under the royal signet, lished themselves without any expense to assured the Virginians that they should althe nation, in this uncultivated and almost ways be immediately dependent upon the uninhabited country, so that they stand on a crown. After the king's death Virginia disdifferent foot from the Roman or any ancient played her loyalty by resisting the parliacolonies. Men have a natural right to quit mentary forces sent out to reduce the colotheir own country and retire to another and ny and by exacting the most honorable terms set up there an independent government of surrender. Here the author of the “Infor themselves. But if they have this so ab- quiry” falls into the common error, that solute a right, they must have the lesser right Charles II. was proclaimed in Virginia some to remove by compact with their sovereign time before he was restored to the throne in to a new country and to form a civil estab- England. lishment upon the terms of the compact. Thus, proceeds this pamphlet, Virginia The first Virginia charter was granted to was as to her internal affairs, a distinct indeRaleigh, by queen Elizabeth, in 1584. By pendent State, but united with the parent this charter, the new country was granted to State by the closest league and amity and him, his heirs and assigns, in perpetual sov- under the same allegiance. If the crown ereignty, as fully as the crown could grant, had indeed no prerogative to form such a with full power of legislation and the estab- compact with a colony, then the royal enlishment of a civil government. The coun- gagements in the Charter, wherein try was to be united to the realm of England Freedom and other benefits of the British in perfect league and amity, was to be within Constitution” were secured to them, could the allegiance of the crown and to be held not be made good. And a people who are by homage and the payment of one fifth of liable to taxation without representation, all gold and silver ore. In the 31st year of cannot be held to enjoy “the Freedom and Elizabeth's reign, Sir Walter Raleigh as- benefits of the British Constitution.” Even signed the plantation to a company, who af- in the arbitrary reign of Charles II., when it terwards associating other adventurers with was thought necessary to establish a permathem procured new charters from James I., nent revenue for the support of the governin whom Raleigh's rights became vested upon ment in Virginia, the king did not apply to his attainder. The charter of James was of the English parliameut, but to the General the same character with that of Elizabeth, Assembly of Virginia, and sent over an act with an express clause of exemption forever under the great seal, by which it was enacted from all taxation or impost upon their im- “ By the king's most Excellent Majesty, by ports or exports. Under this charter and and with the consent of the General Assemthe auspices of the company, the colony of bly," &c. After the Restoration indeed the Virginia was settled, after struggling through colonies lost the freedom of trade that they immense difficulties, and without receiving had before enjoyed. The Navigation Act, of the least assistance from the British govern- 25th Charles II., not only circumscribed the ment. In 1621 a civil government was es- trade of the colonies with foreign nations tablished, consisting of a governor, coun- within very narrow limits, but imposed ducil and House of Burgesses elected by the ties on goods manufactured in the colonies freeholders. [1624.) James I. dissolved the and exported from one to auother. The right company and assumed the control of the to impose these duties was disputed by Vircolony, which upon his demise devolved ginia, and her Agents, [April, 1676,) procurupon Charles I., who, (1625,) by proclama- ed a declaration from Charles II. under his tion, asserted his royal claim of authority privy seal, that “ Taxes ought not to be laid over it. To quiet the dissatisfaction of the upon the Inhabitants and Proprietors of the
Colony, but by the common consent of the of Switzerland and Holland. The revenue General Assembly, except such Impositions accruing to England from the trade of the as the parliament should lay on the com- colonies far exceeded the expense of their modities imported into England from the protection. colony." But if no protest had been made Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor, against the monopolizing injustice of the died, [1767.) at the age of 65 years, ten of Navigation Act, that forbearance could in no which he had passed in Virginia. He was genway justify an additional act of injustice. erous and elegant, an accomplished scholar If the people of the Colonies had in pa- and a man of great abilities. He was, howtience endured the oppressions of the Eng- ever, excessively addicted to gaming and by lish commercial restrictions, could that en- his example extended å disastrous rage for durance afford any ground for new oppres- play in the colony. His death devolved the sions in the shape of direct taxes? If the duties of government upon John Blair, presipeople of England and of the colonies stood, dent of the council.
was contended, on the same foot, being [1714.] Some English emigrant Baptists both equally and alike subjects of the Brit- settled in the South East part of Virginia. ish Government, why was the trade of the Another party from Maryland settled, [1743,] colonies subject to restrictions not imposed in the North West.
But the most imporon the mother country? If parliament had tant accession came from New England, a right to lay taxes of every kind on the col- about the period of “the New Light Stir." onies, the commerce of the colonies ought Those who had left the established church to be as free as that of England, “ otherwise were called Separates; the rest, Regulars. it will be loading them with Burthens at the Their preachers, not unfrequently illiterate same time that they are deprived of strength men, were characterised by an impassioned to sustain them ; it will be forcing them to manner, vehement gesticulation, and a sinmake Bricks without Straw." When colo- gular tone of voice. The hearers often gave nies are deprived of their natural rights, re- way to tears, trembling, screams and acclasistance is at once justifiable; but when de- mations. The number of converts increased prived of their civil rights, when great op- rapidly in some counties. The preachers pressions are imposed upon them, their rem- were frequently imprisoned and whipped by edy is, “to lay their complaints at the Foot magistrates and mobs. Persecution, howof the Throne and to suffer patiently rather ever, only stimulated their zeal and rethan disturb the publick Peace, which noth- doubled their influence. The incarcerated ing but a Denial of Justice can excuse them preachers addressed crowds congregated bein breaking.” But a colony “treated with fore the windows of the jails. [1768.] Joha Injury and Violence, is become an Alien. Blair, deputy governor, wrote the following They were not sent out to be slaves, but to be letter, addressed to the king's attorney in the equals of those that remain behind.” the county of Spotsylvania :
It was a great error in the supporters of " Sir, the British Ministry, to count upon the sec I lately received a letter signed by a good tional jealousies and clashing interests of the number of worthy gentlemen, who are not colonies. Their real interests were the same, here, complaining of the Baptists; the parand they would not allow minor differences ticulars of their misbehavior are not told, any to divide them, when the closest union was further than their running into private houbecome necessary to maintain in a constitu- ses and making dissensions. Mr. Craig and tional way their dearest rights. How was Mr. Benjamin Waller are now with me and England to prevent this union ? Was it by deny the charge; they tell me they are wilquartering armed soldiers in their families ? ling to take the oaths, as others have: I by depriving the colonists of legal trials in told them I had consulted the attorney genthe courts of common law? or by harassing eral, who is of opinion that the general court them by tax-gatherers and prerogative judges only have a right to grant licenses and thereand inquisitorial courts? A petty people fore I referred them to the court; but on united in the cause of Liberty is capable of their application to the attorney general, they glorious actions-such as adorn the annals brought me his letter advising me to write to
you that their petition was a matter of right The news of the repeal of the Stamp and that you may not molest these consci- Act was joyfully welcomed in America. It entious people, so long as they behave them- had averted the horrors of a civil war. But selves in a manner becoming pious chris- the joy of the colonists was premature; for tians and in obedience to the laws, till the simultaneously with the repeal, parliament court when they intend to apply for license had declared that "it had and of right ought and when the gentlemen who complain may to have power to bind the colonies in all make their objections and be heard. The cases whatsoever." [1767.) Charles Townsact of toleration, it being found by experi- hend, afterwards Chancellor of the Excheence, that persecuting dissenters increases quer, brought into parliament a bill to levy their numbers) has given them a right to duties in the colonies on glass, paper, paintapply in a proper manner, for licensed hou- ers' colors and tea. The bill became a law. ses for the worship of God, according to The duties were external and did not exceed their consciences and I persuade myself the in amount twenty thousand dollars ; but the gentlemen will quietly overlook their meet- colonies suspected the mildness of the meaings till the court. I am told they adminis- sure to be only a lure to inveigle them into ter the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper near the net. The new act was to take effect on the manner we do and differ in nothing from the 20th of Novewber, 1767. Resistance our church, but in that of baptism and their smothered for a time by the repeal of the renewing the ancient discipline, by which stamp-act now burst forth afresh. Associathey have reformed some sinners and brought tions were everywhere organized to defeat them to be truly penitent; nay if a man of the odious duties; altercations between the theirs is idle and neglects to labour and pro- people and the king's officers grew frequent; vide for his family as he ought, he incurs the passions of the conflicting parties were their censures, which have had good effects. exasperated. Two British regiments and If this be their behavior, it were to be wished some armed vessels arrived at Boston. we had some of it among us; but at least I In Virginia the assembly encountering no hope all may remain quiet till the court." opposition from the mild and patriotic Blair, This letter was dated at Williamsburg, July remonstrated loudly against the new oppres16th, 1768.
sions. Opposition to the arbitrary measures While many of the Baptist preachers were of Britain broke forth in that kingdom and in men of exemplary character, yet by the fa- London the fury of civil discord shook the cility of admission into their pulpits, impos- pillars of the government. Meanwhile Lord tors not unfrequently brought scandal upon Botetourt, * just emerging from a corrupt the name of religion. Schisms too repeat- and abortive intrigue, arrived in Virginia edly interrupted the harmony of the Baptist Governor-in-chief. [May 11th, 1769,) the associations. Nevertheless, by the striking assembly was convened. The new govern earnestness and the pious example of many or rode upon that occasion to the capitol in of them, the Baptists gained ground rapidly a state coach, (a present from George III,) in Virginia. In their efforts to avail them- drawn by six milk-white horses and the inselves of the toleration act, they found Pat- signia of Vice-royalty were pompously disrick Henry ready to step forward in their be- played. The pageant intended to dazzle half and he remained through life their un- served only to offend. In February parliawavering friend. They yet cherish his mem- ment had advised his majesty to take enerory with fond gratitude. The growth of dis- getic measures against the colonies and he sent in Virginia was accelerated by the ex- had heartily concurred in those views. Upon tremely defective character of the established receiving intelligence of this the burgesses clergy of that day. The Baptists having suf- of Virginia again passed resolutions vindifered much persecution under the establish- cating the rights of the colonies. An adment were of all others the most inimical to dress was also prepared to be laid before the it and afterwards the most ive in its sub- king. Botetourt took alarm and on the folversion."
lowing day, the 18th of May, having convo
• Semple's Hist. of Va. Baptists, pp. 1, 16, 24. Hauks,
* Noiborne Berkley Biron of Boielourt.