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"The conduct of the Boston people could not justify the rigour of their measures, unless there had been a requisition of payment and refusal of it; nor did that conduct require an act to deprive the government of Massachusetts Bay of their charter, or to exempt offenders from trial in the places where offences were committed, as there was not, nor could there be, a single instance produced to manifest the necessity of it. Are not all these things evident proofs of a fixed and uniform plan to tax us? If we want further proofs, do not all the debates in the House of Commons serve to confirm this? And has not General Gage's conduct, since his arrival, in stopping the address of his council, and publishing a proclamation more becoming a Turkish bashaw than an English governor, declaring it treason to associate in any manner by which the commerce of Great Britain is to be affected, has not this exhibited an unexampled testimony of the most despotic system of tyranny that ever was practised in a free government? In short, what further proofs are wanting to satisfy any one of the designs of the ministry than their own acts, which are uniform and plainly tending to the same point, nay, if I mistake not, avowedly to fix the right of taxation? What hope have we then from petitioning, when they tell us that now or never is the time to fix the matter? Shall we, after this, whine and cry for relief, when we have already tried it in vain? Or shall we supinely sit and see one province after another fall a sacrifice to despotism?

"If I were in any doubt, as to the right which the parliament of Great Britain had to tax us without our consent, I should most heartily coincide with you in opinion, that to petition, and to petition only, is the proper method to apply for relief; because we should then be asking a favour, and not claiming a right, which, by the law of nature, and by our constitution, we are, in my opinion, indubitably entitled to. I should even think it criminal to go further than this, under such an idea; but I have none such. I think the parliament of Great Britain have no more right to put their hands into my pocket without my consent, than I have to put my hands into yours; and this being already urged to them in a firm but decent manner, by all the colonies, what reason is there to expect any thing from their justice?

"As to the resolution for addressing the throne, I own to you, sir, I think the whole might have been expunged. I expect nothing from the measure, nor should my voice have sanctioned it, if the non-importation scheme was intended to be retarded by it; for I am convinced, as much as I am of my existence, that there is no

relief for us but in their distress; and I think, at least I hope, that there is public virtue enough left among us to deny ourselves every thing but the bare necessaries of life to accomplish this end. This we have a right to do, and no power upon earth can compel us to do otherwise, till it has first reduced us to the most abject state of slavery. The stopping of our exports would, no doubt, be a shorter method than the other to effect this purpose; but if we owe money to Great Britain, nothing but the last necessity can justify. the non-payment of it; and, therefore, I have great doubts upon this head, and wish to see the other method first tried, which is legal, and will facilitate these payments.

"I cannot conclude without expressing some concern that I should differ so widely in sentiment from you, on a matter of such great moment and general import; and I should much distrust my own judgment upon the occasion, if my nature did not recoil at the thought of submitting to measures, which I think subversive of every thing that I ought to hold dear and valuable, and did I not find, at the same time, that the voice of mankind is with me."

The second letter was addressed to the same gentleman, about a week before he left Mount Vernon to attend the first meeting of Congress. It is dated Mount Vernon, 24th August, 1774, and is as follows:

"DEAR SIR-Your letter of the 5th instant came to this place, forwarded by Mr. Ramsey, a few days after my return from Williamsburg, and I delayed acknowledging it sooner, in the hope that I should find time, before I began my journey to Philadelphia, to answer it fully, if not satisfactorily; but as much of my time has been engrossed since I came home, by company, by your brother's sale and the business consequent thereupon, in writing letters to England, and now in attending to my own domestic affairs previous to my departure, I find it impossible to bestow as much attention on the subject of your letter as I could wish, and, therefore, I must rely upon your good nature and candour in excuse for not attempting it. In truth, persuaded, as I am, that you have read all the political pieces which compose a large share of the gazettes at this time, I should think it, but for your request, a piece of inexcusable arrogance in me, to make the least essay towards a change in your political opinions; for I am sure I have no new light to throw upon the subject, nor any other arguments to offer in support of my own doctrine, than what you have seen; and I could only in general add, that an innate spirit of freedom first told me, that the measures which the administration have for

some time been, and now are most violently pursuing, are opposed to every principle of natural justice; whilst much abler heads than my own have fully convinced me, that they are not only repugnant to natural right, but subversive of the laws and constitution of Great Britain itself, in the establishment of which some of the best blood in the kingdom has been spilt.

"Satisfied, then, that the acts of the British parliament are no longer governed by the principles of justice, that they are trampling upon the valuable rights of Americans, confirmed to them by charter, and by the constitution they themselves boast of, and convinced, beyond the smallest doubt, that these measures are the result of deliberation, and attempted to be carried into execution by the hand of power, is it a time to trifle, or risk our cause upon petitions, which with difficulty obtain access, and afterwards are thrown by with the utmost contempt? Or should we, because heretofore unsuspicious of design, and then unwilling to enter into disputes with the mother country, go on to bear more, and forbear to enumerate our just causes of complaint? For my own part, I shall not undertake to say where the line between Great Britain and the colonies should be drawn; but I am clearly of opinion, that one ought to be drawn, and our rights clearly ascertained. I could wish, I own, that the dispute had been left to posterity to determine; but the crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us tame and abject slaves.

"I intended to write no more than an apology for not writing; but I find I am insensibly running into a length I did not expect, and therefore shall conclude with remarking, that, if you disavow the right of parliament to tax us, unrepresented as we are, we only differ in respect to the mode of opposition, and this difference principally arises from your belief, that they (the parliament I mean) want a decent opportunity to repeal the acts; whilst I am fully convinced, that there has been a regular, systematic plan formed to enforce them, and that nothing but unanimity and firmness in the colonies, which they did not expect, can prevent it. By the best advices from Boston it seems that General Gage is exceedingly disconcerted at the quiet and steady conduct of the people of the Massachusetts Bay, and at the measures pursuing by the other governments. I dare say he expected to force those oppressed people into compliance, or irritate them to acts of violence before this, for a more colourable pretence of ruling that and the other colonies with a high hand.

"I shall set off on Wednesday next for Philadelphia, where, if you have any commands, I shall be glad to oblige you in them; being, dear sir, with real regard,

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Your most obedient servant.' The third letter was addressed to Captain Robert Mackenzie, formerly a captain in the Virginia regiment, in answer to one received from him. He was then an officer in the forty-third regiment of foot, of the regular British army stationed at Boston. The following extract from his letter to Washington called forth the reply which is given below.

"Mr. Atcheson can sufficiently inform you of the state of this unhappy province, of their tyrannical oppression over one another, of their fixed aim at total independence, of the weakness and temper of the mainsprings that set the whole in motion, and how necessary it is, that abler heads and better hearts should draw a line for their guidance. Even when this is done, it is much to be feared that they will follow it no further than it coincides with their present sentiments. Amidst all these jarrings we have until lately lived in a camp of pleasure; but the rebellious and numerous meetings of men in arms, their scandalous and ungenerous attacks upon the best characters in the province, obliging them to save themselves by flight, and their repeated, but feeble threats to dispossess the troops, have furnished sufficient reasons to General Gage to put the town in a formidable state of defence, about which we are now fully employed, and which will be shortly accomplished to their great mortification.”

Colonel Washington, who was then at Philadelphia, attending the first Congress, answered as follows, under date of the 9th October, 1774.

"DEAR SIR-Your letter of the 13th ultimo, from Boston, gave me pleasure, as I learnt thereby, that you are well, and might be expected at Mount Vernon in your way to or from James River, in the course of the winter.

"When I have said this, permit me, with the freedom of a friend, (for you know I always esteemed you,) to express my sorrow, that fortune should place you in a service that must fix curses to the latest posterity on the contrivers, and if success (which, by-the-by, is impossible) accompanies it, execrations upon all those who have been instrumental in their execution.

"I do not mean by this to insinuate, that an officer is not to discharge his duty, even when chance, not choice, has placed him in a disagreeable situation; but I conceive, when you condemn

the conduct of the Massachusetts people, you reason from effects, not from causes; otherwise you would not wonder at people who are every day receiving fresh proofs of a systematic assertion of an arbitrary power, deeply planned to overturn the laws and constitution of their country, and to violate the most essential and valuable rights of mankind, being irritated, and with difficulty restrained from acts of the greatest violence and intemperance. For my own part, I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light from the one in which you seem to consider them, and though you are led to believe by venal men,— for such I must take the liberty of calling those new-fangled counsellors who fly to, and surround you, and all others, who, for honours or pecuniary gratifications, will lend their aid to overturn the constitution, and introduce a system of arbitrary government, although you are taught, I say, by discoursing with such men, to believe that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency, and what not,-give me leave, my good friend, to tell you that you are abused, grossly abused. This I advance with a degree of confidence and boldness which may claim your belief, having better opportunities of knowing the real sentiments of the people you are among, from the leaders of them in opposition to the present measures of the administration, than you have from those whose business it is not to disclose truths, but to misrepresent facts, in order to justify, as much as possible, to the world their own conduct. Give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independence; but this you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and privileges which are essential to the happiness of every free state, and without which, life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure.

"These, sir, being certain consequences, which must naturally result from the late acts of parliament relative to America in general, and the government of Massachusetts Bay in particular, is it to be wondered at, I repeat, that men who wish to avert the impending blow, should attempt to oppose it in its progress, or prepare for their defence, if it cannot be averted? Surely, I may be allowed to answer in the negative; and again, give me leave to add as my opinion, that more blood will be spilled on this occasion, if the ministry are determined to push matters to extremity, than history ever yet furnished instances of in the annals of North America;

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