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PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
Chap. I.--Causes of the Revolution, p. 101.
Chap. II.--The War.
I. From the Opening of the War to the Declaration of Independence, p. 111.
II. From the Declaration of Independence to the Invasion of Georgia.-- War chiefly in the North, p. 119.
III. From the Invasion of Georgia to the Close of the War.-- War chiefly in the South, p. 133.
Chap. III.- The Adoption of the Federal Constitution, p. 148.
Chap. IV.- Condition, at the Close of this Period, of what Is now the United States, p. 150.
Chronology, p. 154.
DISTINGUISHED FOR THE REVOLUTION.
EXTENDING FROM THE PEACE OF PARIS, IN 1763, TO THE INAUGURATION OF
GEORGE WASHINGTON AS THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES, IN 1789.
CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION.
1. THE attempt of England impose taxes upon her American colonies without their consent, led to a revolution which resulted in their independence, and the establishment of a republic under the name of the United States of America.
2. The late war left England oppressed with a heavy debt,1 and the ministry determined that the American colonies, in whose behalf the war had been in part undertaken, should be taxed to bear a portion of the
1 At the Peace of Paris (1763) the English national debt amounted to nearly £129,000,000, or $645,000,000.--Knight's History of England.
QUESTIONS -- 1. What caused the American Revelation? In what did the Revolution result? How had the late war left England? What did the English ministry determine?
PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
burden. The colonies were now suffering from their own losses in the war; and they owed but little to the mother country. They had been drawn into the previous bloody and expensive wars on England's account, and if she had espoused their cause in the last great struggle, the monopoly of colonial trade amply repaid her. Besides, this war had been connected with European complications, and Great Britain had willingly entered into it, in the hope of humbling her ancient rival, France. Excepting Georgia, all the colonies had been established without aid from the treasury of England, while that nation had imposed restraints upon their commerce and manufactures, and had exposed some of them to the peculation and tyranny of royal governors, after having wrested from them their charters. Yet at this time the colonists had no desire to renounce their allegiance to England. Nor had they ceased to cherish sentiments of filial regard towards the mother country, and to speak of that country under the endearing appellation of home.1
3. Scarcely had the ratification of peace given to the colonists promise of a season of prosperous rest, when the British Parliament (in 1764), at the recommendation of George Grenville, then prime minister, first formally declared its intention of raising a revenue from America; and, at the same time, imposed duties upon certain colonial imports.
4. The next year this declaration was followed up by the passage of the Stamp Act, which ordained that upon
1 Yet the Americans were jealous of English interference with their rights. During the French and Indian War, the British ministry endeavored to enforce more rigorously the oppressive Navigation Acts (see p. 34, ¶ 4). The issuing of Writs of Assistance (in 1761), for this purpose, had excited great opposition. These writs permitted custom-house officers to search, and to call upon others to assist in searching, wherever they pleased, for goods which they suspected had been introduced into the provinces without the payment of duties. The people felt that any menial of the crown, influenced by more suspicion, malice or revenge, could, arming himself with one of these writs, invade the sanctity of their homes. Measures were taken to test the legality of the writs before the Superior Court in Massachusetts. At this trial James Otis, a distinguished lawyer of Boston, eloquently advocated the people's cause; and although writs were subsequently issued, they were seldom executed. The elder President Adams says of the orator, on this occasion, "Otis was a flame of fire. With a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all before him. American independence was then and there born. Every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of Assistance."
A similar spirit of resistance to English interference in colonial matters was manifested in what is known as the Parsons' Cause, in Virginia. Tobacco was the currency of the colony. Salaries were paid in it. To relieve the people, in years of scarcity, the legislature had passed a law permitting cash, at the rate of twopence a pound, to be paid instead of tobacco. The clergy resisted this law; and, through their influence, the king withheld his signature and, consequently the law was void. Yet, when the clergy claimed the difference between twopence a pound and the enhanced price of tobacco, their claim was resisted, and they brought an action for damages in a Virginia court, held at Hanover Court-House. The question involved was really between the colonial legislature and the king. Patrick Henry a young lawyer of twenty-seven, then without distinction, pleaded the cause of colonial and here he first exhibited that wonderful eloquence which made him the foremost orator of the Revolution. He uttered the same bold truths that, two years before had made the royalists declare Otis "the great incendiary of New England." The jury awarded damages of one penny, to conform, to the letter of the law -- its spirit had fled before the eloquence of Henry.
QUESTIONS. -- From what were the colonies now suffering? Into what had they been drawn on England's account? What would repay England for espousing the colonial cause in the late war? Why had she willingly entered into it? To what extent had England aided in establishing the Colonies? What had been her course towards them? What was the feeling in the colonies towards the mother country at this time? 3. What did Parliament declare soon after the ratification of peace? 4. When was the Stamp Act passed? What did it ordain?
CHAPTER I. CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION.
all business documents and newspapers stamps1 should be fixed, which the colonists were obliged to purchase of the government, This act denied to those who violated it the privilege of a trial by the usual courts and judges of the colonies. When news of its passage reached America, general indignation spread through the country. The colonies had no representation in Parliament, and they maintained that taxation and representation are inseparable. Resolutions were passed against the act by most of the colonial assemblies.2
5. The assembly of Virginia was the first to meet. Resolutions, introduced into the House of Burgesses by Patrick Henry, the youngest member, evinced a settled purpose of resistance to unjust taxation. They were violently opposed, but were carried through by the bold and powerful eloquence of Henry. In the heat of the debate, he boldly, asserted that the king had acted the part of a tyrant; and, alluding to the fate of other tyrants, he exclaimed, "Caesar had his BRUTUS, Charles I. his CROMWELL, and George III. --" here pausing, till the cry of "Treason, treason!" from several parts of the house, had ended, he added -- "may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it!" These resolutions went forth, and roused the people to a stern determination in defence of their rights.
6. Before Massachusetts had heard of the action of Virginia, her legislature, at the instance of the eloquent James Otis, had issued a
1 Stamps for different articles paid different prices. For a diploma or certificate of a college degree, two pounds were charged; for a license for selling wine, twenty shillings; for a common deed, one shilling and sixpence; for a newspaper, one halfpenny to a penny, &c.
2 The Stamp Act passed Parliament by an overwhelming majority. Yet America found some friends in that body. When the bill was brought in, Charles Townshend, in advocating it, exclaimed, "These Americans, planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, protected by our arms, until they have grown to a good degree of strength and opulence -- will they now turn their backs upon its, and grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy load which overwhelms us?" Colonel Barre caught the words, and, with a vehemence becoming a soldier, rose and said, "Planted by your care! No! your oppression planted them in America. ... They nourished by your indulgence! They grew by your neglect ... They protected by your arms! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence." . . . The night after this act passed, Dr. Franklin, who was then in London, wrote to Charles Thomson, afterwards Secretary of the Continental Congress, "The sun of Liberty is set; the Americans must light the lamps of industry and economy." To which Mr. Thomson answered, "Be assured we shall light torches quite of another sort;" thus predicting the convulsions which were to follow.
QUESTIONS. -- What did it deny? Effect in America of the news of its passage? What did the colonists maintain? What was done by most of the colonial assemblies? 5. What resolutions were passed by the Virginia assembly? What is said of Patrick Henry in connection with these resolutions? 6. What course did Massachusetts take?
PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
circular letter, inviting all the colonies to send delegates to a Congress which should meet in New York, to deliberate upon the common welfare. The legislature of South Carolina, led by the patriotic Christopher, Gadsden, was the first to respond to the call of Massachusetts. "Massachusetts," said Gadsden, "sounded the trumpet, but to South Carolina it is owing that it was attended to."
7. In the midst of a constantly increasing excitement, delegates from nine colonies1 assembled in New York, October 7, to consult for the general safety. This convention, known as the Colonial Congress,2 drew up a Declaration Of Rights, asserting that their own representatives alone had the right to tax them, and their own juries to try them. A petition to the king, George III, and memorials to Parliament, were also adopted.
8. The popular excitement continued to increase. Stamp officers were insulted, their property was destroyed, and they were compelled to resign.3 The act was to go into operation on the first day of November; but on that day scarcely a sheet, of all the bales of stamps that had been sent to America, could have been found in the colonies. They had either been destroyed, secreted, or returned to England. The day was kept as a day of mourning. The bells were muffled and tolled. Vessels displayed their flags at half-mast. At first there was a general suspension of all business which required stamped paper, but in a short time it was determined to disregard the act, and affairs resumed their usual course.
9. About this time associations, under the title of Sons of Liberty, were formed in the colonies, to oppose the unjust and. arbitrary measures of the British government. The principal merchants agreed to import no more goods from England until the odious act should be repealed. Societies were also instituted, the members of which resolved to forego all the luxuries of life, rather than obtain them from England.4
1 The unrepresented colonies were North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia. The last two sent in their adherence to the action of the Congress; the first two, though prevented from sending delegates, were in sympathy with the movement.
2 This was the first Congress purely American in its origin and object. A union of the colonies was first suggested by William Penn, in 1697. In 1722 Daniel Coxe, of New Jersey, made a similar suggestion; and, in 1754, Franklin, as has already been stated (p. 88,¶ 7), proposed a plan of union, on the recommendation of the English ministry.
3 In Boston the stamp officer was hanged in effigy, on an elm that ever after was known as the Tree of Liberty. It stood near the comer of Essex and Washington Streets.
4 These societies included both sexes. The members denied themselves the use of all foreign articles of clothing; carding, spinning and weaving became the daily employment of women of fashion; sheep were forbidden to be used as food, lest there should not be found a sufficient supply of wool. To be dressed in a suit of homespun was a sure passport to popular favor.
QUESTIONS. -- What course did South Carolina take? 7. When, where, and for what purpose did the Colonial Congress assemble? now many colonies were represented? What did this Congress draw up? What adopt? 8. What is said of popular excitement? Of stamp officers? Of the day when the Stamp Act was to go into operation? What effect had the Stamp Act on business in the colonies? 9. What is said of the Sons of Liberty? To what did the principal Merchants agree? What societies were instituted?
CHAPTER I. CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION.
10. Alarmed at these vigorous measures, British merchants and manufacturers soon began to feel the necessity of uniting with the colonies in petitioning Parliament for a repeal of the obnoxious law. Fortunately for the interests of both the colonies and the mother country, a change in the administration of England took place about this time. To the new ministry it was obvious that measures must be taken either to repeal the odious statute, or compel America to submit by force of arms. Mr. Pitt and Edmund Burke were among the foremost advocates of repeal, which was at length carried (1766), but only by accompanying the repealing act by a declaratory act, asserting the right of Parliament "to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever."
11. The joy of the colonies at the repeal of the Stamp Act was unbounded. They manifested, in various ways, their gratitude to Pitt and others, who, in Parliament, had advocated the cause of America. The declaratory act, asserting the supremacy of Parliament, was thought to be a mere reservation to save the pride of parliamentary authority, and it gave but little uneasiness. The old feelings of filial attachment to England revived, and commercial intercourse was speedily resumed.1
Before the passage of the act the colonies had been disposed to make a distinction between duties on imports, or external taxation, and internal taxation, such as was imposed by the Stamp Act; and, though levying duties on imports had been regarded, like all restrictions upon trade, as an oppressive exercise of authority, yet it had led to no outbreak.
12. The discussions growing out of the Stamp Act had modified and defined colonial opinions on the authority of Parliament, and the colonies were now ready to deny the right of that body to tax them in any form, or even to legislate for them. No representation, no taxation, had grown into the cry, No representation, no legislation.
13. The year the Stamp Act passed, Parliament required the colonies to furnish quarters and supplies to British troops
1 Scarcely less lively was the feeling of satisfaction among the friends of America in London. Regarding Mr. Pitt as chiefly instrumentaI in the repeal, they crowded about the door of the House of Commons to receive him; and, in the language of Burke, "They jumped upon him like children on a long-absent father. They clung to him as captives about their redeemer. All England joined in his applause." London warehouses were illuminated, and flags were displayed from the shipping in the Thames.
QUESTIONS. -- 10. What effect did these measures have? What change took place in England about this time? What was obvious to the new administration? When was the Stamp Act repealed? By what was the repeal accompanied? 11. Effect in the colonies of the repeal of the Stamp Act? -- What distinction in taxes had the colonies been disposed to make? 12. What change of colonial opinion had taken place in regard to the authority of Parliament? 13. What requisition did Parliament make on the colonies?
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