Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 28.djvu/164
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act, passed in 1773, permitted the East India Company to carry their tea into the colonies and undersell the smugglers of Dutch tea. Mr. Grady asserts, on the authority of " Montgomery's American His- tory," that nine-tenths of all they imported was smuggled from Holland. There remained only a duty of three pence per pound to be paid in the port of entry; but the importation was resisted in the principal importing cities, " notably in Boston, where the smugglers organized a band of ' Mohawk Indians ' and dumped into the sea about $100,000 worth of tea." Parliament thereupon passed several retaliatory and repressive acts, by the first of which the harbor of Boston was declared closed until a compensation should be made to the India Company for their tea, and 'till the inhabitants should dis- cover an inclination to submit to the revenue laws. The effect of the second act was to take away the charter of the Massachusetts Bay, leaving the council to be appointed by the king, as in the southern provinces, and making town meetings unlawful, except for the pur- pose of elections.
When the people of Boston heard of the passage of the first of these acts they called a meeting and voted to make application to the other colonies to refuse all " importations from Great Britain and withhold all commercial intercourse with her, as the best mode to secure a repeal of the oppressive law." The other colonies showed themselves by no means unsympathetic at this juncture. The as- sembly of Virginia appointed a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer," and the royal governor having at once dissolved the House of Burgesses, "the members resolved themselves into a committee," adopted resolutions declaring, in substance, that ' ' the cause of Boston was the cause of all," and took steps to induce the other colonies to appoint delegates to the general Congress pro- posed by Boston. North Carolina's legislative assembly also denounced the Boston port bill, and approved the plan for a general Congress. At last, on the 5th of September, 1774, the first " Con- tinental Congress" was organized in Philadelphia, all the colonies being represented except Canada and Georgia. The first act of this Congress was to agree that each colony should have one vote, and this equality, says Mr. Grady, was preserved by subsequent con- gresses, by the States under the articles of confederation, and, in the Senate, under the constitution. ' ' Without it co-operation and union would have been impossible." This Congress declared what it deemed to be the inalienable rights of English freemen, pointed out the dangers which threatened those rights, and besought the people