Page:American Archives, Series 4, Volume 1.djvu/519
CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, OCTOBER 14, 1774.
habitants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Say, to submit to a suspension of the administration of justice, where it cannot be procured in a legal and peaceable manner under the rules of their present Charter, and the Laws of the Colony founded thereon. Resolved unanimously, That every person and persons whomsoever, who shall take, accept, or act under any commission or authority, in any wise derived from the Act passed in the last session of Parliament changing the form of Government, and violating the Charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, ought to be held in detestation and abhorrence by all good men, and considered as the wicked tools of that despotism which is preparing to destroy those rights which God, nature, and compact, have given to America. The Committee brought in a draught of a Letter to General Gage, and the same being read and amended, was ordered to be copied, and to be signed by the President in behalf of the Congress. Tuesday, October 11, 1774. A copy of the Letter to General Gage was brought into Congress, and, agreeable to order, signed by the President, and is as follows: " Philaaelphia, October 10, 1774. " SIR: The Inhabitants of the Town of Boston have informed us, the Representatives of his Majesty's faithful subjects in all the Colonies from Nova Scotia to Georgia, that the Fortifications erecting within that Town, the frequent invasions of private property, and the repeated insults they receive from the Soldiery have given them great reason to suspect a plan is formed very destructive to them, and tending to overthrow the liberties of America. " Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties; and we are under the deepest concern that whilst we are pursuing every dutiful and peaceable measure to procure a cordial and effectual reconciliation between Great Britain and the Colonies, your Excellency should proceed in a manner that bears so hostile an appearance, and which even those oppressive Acts do not warrant. " We entreat your Excellency to consider what a tendency this conduct must have to irritate and force a free people, however well disposed to peaceable measures, into hostilities, which may prevent the endeavours of this Congress to restore a good understanding with our parent state, aud may involve us in the horrours of a civil war. " In order therefore to quiet the minds and remove the reasonable jealousies of the people, that they may not be driven to a state of desperation, being fully persuaded of their pacifick disposition towards the King's Troops, could they be assured of their own safety, we hope sir, you will discontinue the Fortifications in and about Boston; prevent any further invasions of private property; restrain the irregularities of the Soldiers; and give orders that the communication between the Town and Country may be open, unmolested, and free. " Signed by order, and in behalf of the General Congress, PEYTON RANDOLPH, President." As the Congress have given General Gage an assurance of the peaceable disposition of the people of Boston and the Massachusetts Bay, Resolved, unanimously, That they be advised still to conduct themselves peaceably towards his Excellency General Gage, and his Majesty's Troops now stationed in the Town of Boston, as far as can possibly be consistent with their immediate safety and the security of the Town; avoiding and discountenancing every violation of his Majesty's property, or any insult to his Troops, and that they peaceably and firmly persevere in the line they are now conducting themselves, on the defensive. Ordered, That a copy of the foregoing Resolve, and of that passed on Saturday, and the three passed yesterday, be made out, and that the President enclose them in a Letter to the Committee of Correspondence for the Town of Boston, being the sentiments of the Congress on the matters referred to them by the Committee, in their Letter of the 29th of September last. Resolved unanimously, That a Memorial be prepared to the people of British America, stating to them the necessity of a firm, united, and invariable observation of the measures recommended by the Congress, as they tender the invaluable rights and liberties derived to them from the Laws and Constitution of their Country. Also that an Address be prepared to the People of Great Britain. Mr. Lee, Mr. Livingston, and Mr. Jay, are appointed a Committee to prepare a draught of the Memorial and Address. Wednesday, October 12, 1774. The Congress met according to adjournment. The Committee appointed to bring in a plan for carrying into effect the Non-Importation, Non-Consumption, and Non-Exportation Agreement, brought in a Report, which was read: Ordered, That the same lie on the table for the perusal of the Members. The Congress then resumed the Consideration of the Rights and Grievances of these Colonies, and after deliberating on the subject this and the following day, adjourned till Friday.
Friday, October 14, 1774.
The Congress met according to adjournment, and resuming the consideration of the subject under debate, came into the following Resolutions:
Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America, by statute, in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some Acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these Colonies, established a Board of Commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of Courts of Admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a County:
And whereas, in consequence of other Statutes, Judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent on the Crown alone for their salaries, and Standing Armies kept in times of peace: And it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a Statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, Colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treason, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the Colonies, and by a late Statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned:
And whereas, in the last session of Parliament, three Statutes were made, one, entituled "An Act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of Goods, Wares, and Merchandise, at the Town, and within the Harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America;" another, entituled "An Act for the better regulating the Government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England;" and another, entituled "An Act for the impartial administration of Justice in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England;" and another Statute was then made "for making more effectual provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec," &c. All which statutes are impolitick, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights:
And whereas, Assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable Petitions to the Crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt by his Majesty's Ministers of State: