Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

he made, himself, a statement in writing of the circumstances under which they were offered. The document is the more curious, as it is the only source from which our knowledge of one of the resolutions is derived. After the decease of Henry, a parcel was found among his papers, with this superscription ; “Enclosed are the resolutions of the Virginia Assembly, in 1765, concerning the stamp act. Let my executors open this paper.” The parcel contained a copy of the resolutions, with some remarks written upon the back of it, the whole in Henry's hand-writing. The resolutions are as follows;

“ Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this his Majesty's colony and dominion brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all others, his Majesty's subjects, since inhabiting in this his Majesty's said colony, all the privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed, by the people of Great Britain.

“ Resolved, That, by two royal charters, granted by King James the First, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of denizens and naturalborn subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

“Resolved, That the taxation of the people

by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest mode of raising them, and are equally affected by such taxes themselves, is the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, and without which the ancient constitution cannot subsist.

Resolved, That his Majesty's liege people of this most ancient colony have uninterruptedly enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own Assembly, in the article of their taxes and internal police; and that the same hath never been forfeited, or any other way given up, but hath been constantly recognized by the king and people of Great Britain.

“ Resolved, therefore, That the General Assembly of this colony have the sole right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony; and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the General Assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy British, as well as American, freedom."

The endorsement, also in Henry's hand-writing, on the paper containing these resolutions, is as follows;

« The within resolutions passed the House of Burgesses in May, 1765. They formed the first

he made, himself, a statement in writing of the circumstances under which they were offered. The document is the more curious, as it is the only source from which our knowledge of one of the resolutions is derived. After the decease of Henry, a parcel was found among his papers, with this superscription ; “Enclosed are the resolutions of the Virginia Assembly, in 1765, concerning the stamp act. Let my executors open this paper.” The parcel contained a copy of the resolutions, with some remarks written upon the back of it, the whole in Henry's hand-writing. The resolutions are as follows;

Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this his Majesty's colony and dominion brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all others, his Majesty's subjects, since inhabiting in this his Majesty's said colony, all the privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed, by the people of Great Britain.

“Resolved, That, by two royal charters, granted by King James the First, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of denizens and naturalborn subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

Resolved, That the taxation of the people

by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest mode of raising them, and are equally affected by such taxes themselves, is the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, and without which the ancient constitution cannot subsist.

“Resolved, That his Majesty's liege people of this most ancient colony have uninterruptedly enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own Assembly, in the article of their taxes and internal police; and that the same hath never been forfeited, or any other way given up, but hath been constantly recognized by the king and people of Great Britain.

“ Resolved, therefore, That the General Assembly of this colony have the sole right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony; and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the General Assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy British, as well as American, freedom."

The endorsement, also in Henry's hand-writing, on the paper containing these resolutions, is as follows;

« The within resolutions passed the House of Burgesses in May, 1765. They formed the first

1

opposition to the stamp act, and the scheme of taxing America by the British Parliament. All the colonies, either through fear or want of opportunity to form an opposition, or from influences of some kind or other, had remained silent. I had been, for the first time, elected a burgess a few days before ; was young, inexperienced, unacquainted with the forms of the House, and the members that composed it. Finding the men of weight averse to opposition, and the commencement of the tax at hand, and that no person was likely to step forth, I determined to venture ; and, alone, unadvised, on a blank leaf of an old law book, wrote the within. Upon offering them to the House, violent debates ensued. Many threats were uttered, and much abuse cast on me by the party for submission.

After a long and warm contest, the resolutions passed by a very small majority, perhaps of one or two only. The alarm spread throughout America with astonishing quickness, and the ministerial party were overwhelmed. The great point of resistance to British taxation was universally established in the colonies. This brought on the war, which finally separated the two countries, and gave independence to ours. Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed upon us.

« AnteriorContinuar »