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of 1763, she used the power that they had earned for her, in a spirit of envy at their prosperity, and dread of their increase that she was near sacrificing an important conquest to maintain in Canada an enemy to overawe them; and that her first action in regulating these conquests, was designed to repress their growth, by confining their enterprise to the Atlantic coast, in the fear that they might else penetrate into the interior, beyond the reach of her taxing power. Dissatisfaction naturally prevailed, especially in the New England colonies, who had done and suffered most. Had a new system succeeded at that time, things might have relapsed into their old state, as in cases of former difficulty. Perhaps, if due honour had been paid to their military exploits, and soothing expedients used to quiet the fears of parliamentary encroachment and British injustice, which had become general shortly after the close of the war, no immediate danger to their political connexion with England, would have followed. The recollection of common toils, achievements, and victories, during the war, added to the
other common sympathies which existed, might, under the influence of generous treatment, and with cautious forbearance, have quieted the dissatisfaction and preserved, for many years, a close but gradually relaxing connexion between England and America.
Unhappily for Great Britain, other counsels were adopted. No pause was allowed in the prosecution of the design to break the spirit and subvert the rights of the Colonies. New and odious restrictions upon their commerce followed rapidly after the peace. Their minds, already ill-disposed by other vexations, were exasperated by the abuse of those powers over the regulation of their commerce, which they conceded to belong to the British parliament; and in that temper a bold usurpation was attempted of the power to tax for revenue without their consent;-thus to deprive them of their chartered rights and reduce them to unconditional slavery.
A historical and statistical view of the separate colonies does not come within the scope of this work. Up to the war of 1756, with the exception of the early New England Confederation, they had acted, in all cases, as distinct governments, united occasionally against a common enemy; and communicating with each other on subjects of common interest, but without any political union. Each was independent of the other, in fact-though, from the causes we have endeavoured to explain, all pursued nearly the same
career, formed nearly the same opinions, social and political, and established a like national character. The Albany plan of Union first brought them together, to consult upon a joint administration of their affairs, for common objects; and though that failed, the war which followed kept them united in feelings and identified them more closely together. Thenceforward, they were called to act and to think-to discuss, remonstrate, and finally to resist, by arms, together. From the war of 1756 to 1763, therefore, date, in point of fact, the first movements of the Colonies towards a more intimate tion. We have dated, from the same period, their first movements towards independence. External violence and constitutional aggression impelled them, at once, to separate sovereignty and united
councils. Liberty and union sprang into being together. They have been hitherto co-existent and inseparable. Their mutual dependence is established by experience, as a law of their nature; for while we have a warrant in the character of our people and the nature of their constitutions, that Union without liberty, which would be a frightful despotism, can never exist under the watchful jealousy of the states; we know that liberty without Union, would be a bye-word for anarchy and confusion—the forerunner of border warfare and sanguinary conflicts without number, to impoverish, degrade, corrupt, and finally enslave all.
The Anglo-American Colonies were thirteen in number. The four New England provinces were Massachusetts, including Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The other nine were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The population was variously estimated. At the breaking out of the war in 1776, it was little less than three millions. In 1749, the whole white population is estimated, as nearly as possible, from authorities of the time, to have been one million and fixty-six thousand. No materials exist for a précise census, at any one intervening period. Censuses of separate colonies were made at different times, and documents from various sources enable us to make an estimate approaching to accuracy; that, at the beginning of the civil troublés, in 1764, the white inhabitants of the Colonies were not fewer in number than a million and three quarters, and the blacks, from three to four hundred thousand.: 2011
The great accession of power and territory by Great Britain,
peace of 1763, had not been gained without the usual concomitants of war-lavish expenditures of money, increased taxation, and a rapidly accumulating debt. Sinclair estimates the total charges of the war at more than one hundred and eleven millions sterling, beyond the ordinary charges of the peace establishment, which were about forty millions more. The clamours of the nation against the weight of the necessary taxes had had its effect in hastening the conclusion of peace, on terms which, however favourable in themselves, were affirmed by a party in England, at the head of which was the elder Pitt, to be less than the successes of the British arms entitled them to demand. The Earl of Bute, as Prime Minister, had carried the war to its conclusion, and obtained a large majority in favour of the treaty, in the month of February. A few days afterwards, the supply bill for the year came up, and after vehement opposition, was also carried. On the 16th of April, Lord Bute unexpectedly resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. George Grenville. No other change of importance, either in the cabinet or its measures took place. Parliament adjourned on the
April, 1763. 19th ; and on the death of the Earl of Egremont, in the recess, the Earl of Sandwich was made principal Secretary of State, and the Earl of Hillsborough first Lord of Trade and of the Plantations, which included the duties of Secretary for the Colonies.
The king's speech, on the adjournment of parliament, alluded plainly to the financial distresses of the nation, and lamented the necessity that had existed for anticipating the revenues, largely, and imposing new burdens upon the people.
In this state of public affairs, the nation, loaded with debt, discontented with the burden, and looking to the new minister to lighten the pressure, it became the anxious study of Mr. Grenville to devise means for recruiting the Treasury, and removing, as far as practicable, the causes of popular dissatisfaction. The new and flourishing field for taxation in America, opened itself to his view. The war just ended,
had been, according to the estimate put upon it by English writers, undertaken for American objects. The defence of the American frontier, and the repulse of an enemy who was invading the American provinces, were hastily assumed as merely colonial benefits, towards the cost of which 't was unjust that the Colonies should not pay their proportion in debt and taxes. No consideration was given to the reflection, that they had borne more than their proportion in the war, both of men and money—that they had no share in the large conquests of territory which were gained to the empire-that the defence of a frontier is the business of the whole nation, and that the immense profits of the colonial monopoly to British commerce were a tax, heavy in proportion to their ability, which they paid beyond the rest of the king's subjects. The necessities of the British government required relief, and its cupidity was tempted by the proofs they had given of what they were capable of doing, and by the reports of their wealth and enterprise; and its pride was touched by the tone of independence, manifested in all their actions and habits. To Great Britain, therefore, the project of a revenue from America, was, in the highest degree, pleasing. There was the expectation of lucrative sources of revenue, and of immediate relief from their own burdens—there were also the pride of dominion the haughtiness and self-confidence of vast military triumphs, and the firm belief that thirteen disunited provinces, thinly spread over a great territory, without soldiery or fleets, and strong only in their industry and the energies of the individual inhabitants, would not dare to stand up, seriously, in opposition to a great and powerful nation, whose navies covered the seas; whose armies had just discomfited the combined forces of France and Spain in both hemispheres, and were formidable to all Europe. To tax America, was therefore likely to be a popular measure, and although it did meet with opposition from a few, in the beginning, it is not to be questioned, that Mr. Grenville judged correctly of the sentiment of England in proposing it; and that the war undertaken to enforce it, was also, for a while, a popular measure there. With respect to America, however, it was a perilous experiment, as the event showed. The minister, as if unaware of its magnitude, projected and carried into operation, cotemporaneously with it, other revenue measures, which exasperated the minds of the Colonists against English authority. Before bringing forward
his grand plan of taxation, he endeavoured to improve the
The most deplorable effects followed. The naval commanders, unaccustomed to the service, without definite instructions, and practically irresponsible, made seizures and confiscations of all vessels employed in trade with the West Indies: and in effect annihilated it. They made the strictest possible construction of the acts of navigation; and not only interrupted vexatiously and embarrassed all American trade, lawful and unlawful, with the French and Spanish islands and colonies, but nearly destroyed all intercourse with them. This intercourse had been extremely profitable, and the profits accrued to England no less than to America. Colonial produce and British manufactures were exchanged for gold and silver coin and bullion, cochineal, medicinal drugs, and li stock. The entire commercial business of the Colonies was thus threatened with sudden and disastrous confusion, and universal alarm and distress prevailed. Their internal currency, was deranged by the stoppage of their supplies of the precious metals; their means of remittance for British