صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

made a source of revenue, so that in this instance the resistance was made to the principle of taxation. Cargoes were sent to New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, (South Carolina,) and Boston. The inhabitants of the cities of New York and Philadelphia sent the ships back to London, "and they sailed up the Thames to proclaim to all the nation, that New York and Pennsylvania would not be enslaved." The inhabitants of Charleston unloaded the tea and stored it in damp cellars, where it could not be used, and where it finally was all spoiled. The inhabitants of Boston tried every measure to send back the three tea ships which had arrived there, but without success. The agents of the company would not release the captains from their obligations; the custom-house officers refused them clearances, and the governor would not allow them to pass Castle William.

The vessels containing the tea lay for some days in the harbour, watched by a strong guard of citizens, who, from a numerous townmeeting, despatched the most peremptory commands to the shipmasters not to land their cargoes. At length, the popular rage could be restrained no longer, and the consignees, apprehending violence, took refuge in Castle William, while, on the 16th of December, an assemblage of men, dressed and painted like Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessels, and threw the tea into the dock. In the space of about two hours, the contents of three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, valued at £18,000 sterling, were thus destroyed.

This act led to the passage of the Boston Port Bill, (31st March,

[graphic][merged small]

1774,) prohibiting the lading or unlading of goods and merchandize at Boston after the 1st day of June, until the return of obedience and the indemnification of the East India Company for the tea destroyed. To enforce the enactments of this bill, four ships of war were ordered to sail for the proscribed town. General Gage, commander-in-chief in America, was appointed Governor of Massachusetts Bay, in the room of Mr. Hutchinson; and he was authorized to remit forfeitures and grant pardons. He arrived on the 13th of May.

The effect of this stringent proceeding was exactly the reverse of what had been anticipated by the British ministry. Instead of dividing and intimidating the colonies, it united and emboldened them.

The necessity of a general congress was soón universally perceived, and the measure was gradually adopted by every colony, from New Hampshire to South Carolina. On the 4th of September, delegates from eleven colonies appeared at Philadelphia; and, the next day, the first continental congress was organized at Carpenter's Hall, in Chestnut street. On the 14th, members from North Carolina arrived, making twelve colonies that were represented. It was resolved that each colony should have one vote, whatever might be the number of its representatives. They made a declaration of rights; resolved on an address to the king, a memorial to the people of British

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

America, and an address to the people of Great Britain. These papers had a great effect both in America and England. They in spired the people with confidence in their delegates; and their decency, firmness, and wisdom, caused a universal feeling of respect for the congress.

General Gage, in the mean time, was evidently anticipating a resort to arms. He seized all the deposits of powder and provision which he could reach in the neighbourhood of Boston, and began to fortify the Neck, which unites it to Roxbury. The representatives of the people of Massachusetts assembled in convention; remonstrated against these proceedings; appointed a committee to prepare a plan for the immediate defence of the province; gave orders for the en listment of a number of the inhabitants to be in readiness, at a minute's warning, to appear in arms, and elected three general officers, Preble, Ward, and Pomeroy, to command these minute-men. At a subsequent session, in November, they took measures for arming the militia, and appointed two more officers, Prescott and Heath. They also secured the co-operation of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, in raising an army of twenty thousand men.

In Rhode Island and New Hampshire, the ordnance and ammunition were secured for the use of the people.

The British ministry, when apprised of these acts, disregarded the attempts of Chatham and Burke to have the grievances of the colonists removed, declared Massachusetts in a state of rebellion, and caused a bill to be passed restricting the colonial commerce and fisheries, while John Hancock and Samuel Adams, and a band of other leading spirits, were stimulating the colonies to the most determined resistance. Oppression and menaces of force on the one hand, and discontent and a determination to be free, or die in the cause of freedom, on the other, were now speedily bringing affairs to a crisis.

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[graphic]

HE first serious collision between the colonists and the British troops arose from an expedition sent out from Boston by General Gage, to destroy some military stores deposited at Concord. For the execution of this design, he, on the night preceding the 19th of April, detached LieutenantColonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, with eight hundred grenadiers and light infantry, who, at eleven o'clock, embarked in boats at the bottom of Boston Common, crossed Charles river, and having landed at Phipp's farm, in Cambridge, commenced a silent and expeditious march for Concord. Although measures had been taken to intercept any expresses that might be sent from Boston to alarm the country, yet some messengers from Dr. Warren eluded the British patrols, and gave the alarm, which was rapidly spread by church-bells, signal-guns, and volleys. On the arrival of

« السابقةمتابعة »