Daily Archives: February 7, 2007

Item of the Day: The True Sentiments of America (1768)

Full Title: The True Sentiments of America: contained in a collection of letters sent from the House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusetts Bay to the several persons of high rank in this kingdom: together with certain papers relating to a supposed libel on the governor of that province, and a dissertation on the canon and the feudal law. London: Printed for I. Almon, in Piccadilly, 1768.

 Agreeable to a Vote of the Honourable House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusett’s-Bay, the following humble, dutiful, and loyal Petition to the KING, signed by the Speaker, by their Order of the 20th  January 1768; together with the Representations of the House to his MAJESTY’s Ministers; their Letter to their Agent, &c. are here inserted.

An humble Petition to the King’s most Excellent Majesty.

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,

YOUR Majesty’s faithful subjects, the representatives of your province of the Massachusetts-Bay, with the warmest sentiments of loyalty, duty, and affection, beg leave to approach the throne, and to lay at your Majesty’s feet their humble supplications, in behalf of your distressed subjects the people of the province.

Our ancestors, the first settleres of this country, having with royal consent, which we humbly apprehend involves the consent of the nation, and at their own great expence, migrated from the mother kingdom, took possession of this land, at that time a wilderness, the right whereof they had purchased for a valuable consideration of the council established at Plimouth, to whom it had been granted by your Majesty’s royal predecessor King James the first.

From the principles of loyalty to their Sovereign which will ever warm the breast of a true subject, though remote they acknowledged their allegience to the English crown: and your Majesty will allow us with all humility to say, that they and their posterity, even to this time, have afforded frequent and final proofs of their zeal for the honour and service of their prince, and their firm attachment to the parent country.

 With toil and fatique, perhaps not to be conceived by their brethren and fellow-subjects at home, and with the constant peril of their lives, from a numerous, savage, and warlike race of men, they began their settlement, and God prospered them.

They obtained a charter from King Charles the first; wherein his Majesty was pleased to grant to them and their heirs and assigns for ever, all the lands therein described, to hold of him and his royal successors in free and common soccage; which we humbly conceive is as absolute an estate as the subject can hold under the crown. And in the same character were granted to them, and their posterity, all the rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural subjects, born within the realm.

This charter they enjoyed, having, as we most humbly conceive, punctually complied with all the conditions of it, till in an unhappy time it was vacated–But after the revolution, when King William and Queen Mary, of glorious and blessed memory, were established on the throne: In that happy reign, when, to the joy of the nation and its dependencies, the crown was settled in your Majesty’s illustrious family, the inhabitants of this province shared in the common blessing. Then they were indulged with another charter; in which their Majesties were pleased for themselves, their heirs and successors, to grant and confirm to them as ample estate in the lands or territories as was granted by the former charter, together with other the most essential rights and liberties contained therein: The principal of which, is that which your Majesty’s subjects within the realm have ever held a most sacred right, of being taxed only by representatives of their own free election.

Thus blessed with the rights of Englishmen, through the undulgent smiles of Heaven, and under the auspicious government of your Majesty and your royal predecessors, your people of this province have been happy, and your Majesty has acquired a numerous increase of loyal subjects, a large extent of dominon, and a new and inexhaustible source of commerce, wealth and glory.

With great sincerity, permit us to assure your Majesty, that your subjects of this province, ever have, and still continue to acknowledge your Majesty’s high court of parliament the supreme legislative power of the whole empire. The superintending authority of which is clearly admitted in all cases, that can consist with the fundamental rights of nature and the constitution, to which your Majesty’s happy subjects in all parts of your empire conceive they have a just and equitable claim.

It is with the deepest concern that your humble suppliants would represent to your Majesty, that your parliament, the rectitude of whose intentions is never to be questioned, has thought proper to pass divers acts imposing taxes on your Majesty’s subjects in America, with the sole and express purpose of raising a revenue. If your Majesty’s subjects here shall be deprived of the honour and privilege of voluntarily contributing their aid to your Majesty, in supporting your government and authority in the province, and defending and securing your rights and territories in America, which they have always hitherto done with utmost chearfulness [sic]: If these acts of parliament shall remain in force, and your Majesty’s commons in Great Britain shall continue to exercise the power of granting the property of their fellow subjects in this province, your people must then regret their unhappy fate in having only the name left of free subjects.

With all humility we conceive that a representation of your Majesty’s subjects of this province in the parliament, considering their local circumstances, is utterly impracticable: Your Majesty has heretofore been graciously pleased to order your requisitions to be laid before the representatives of your people in the general assembly, who  have never failed to afford the necessary aid to the extent of their ability, and sometimes beyond it; and it would be ever grievous to your Majesty’s faithful subjects to be called upon a way, that should appear to them to imply a distrust fo their most ready and willing compliance.

Under the most sensible impressions of your Majesty’s wife and paternal care for the remotest of your faithful subjects, and in full dependence on the royal declarations in the charter of this province, we most humbly beseech your Majesty to take our present unhappy circumstances under your royal consideration, and afford us relief in such manner as in your Majesty’s great wisdom and clemency shall seem meet.

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Filed under 1760's, Colonial America, Great Britain, History, Massachusetts, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: The Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates Convened At Hartford in the State of Connecticut (1814)

Full Title:  The Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates, From the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island; The Counties of Cheshire and Grafton, in the State of New-Hampshire and the County of Windham, in the State of Vermont;–Convened at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, December 15th, 1814.  Hartford: Printed by Charles Hosmer, 1815.

REPORT, &c.

The Delegates from the Legislature of the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island, and from the Counties of Grafton and Cheshire in the State of New-Hampshire and the County of Windham in the State of Vermont, assembled in Convention, beg leave to report the following result of their conference.

The convention is deeply impressed with a sense of the arduous nature of the commission which they were appointed to execute, of devising the means of defence against dangers, and of relief from oppressions proceeding from the acts of their own Government, without violating constitutional principles, or disappointing the hopes of a suffering and injured people.  To prescribe patience and firmness to those who are already exhausted by distress, is sometimes to drive them to despair, and the progress towards reform by the regular road, is irksome to those whose imaginations discern, and whose feelings prompt, to a shorter course.–But when abuses, reduced to system and accumulated through a course of years, have pervaded every department of Government, and spread corruption through every region of the State, when these are clothed with the forms of law, and enforced by an Executive whose will is their source, no summary means of relief can be applied without recourse to direct and open resistance.  This experiment, even when justifiable, cannot fail to be painful to the good citizen; and the success of the effort will be no security against the danger of the example.  Precedents of resistance to the worst administration, are eagerly seized by those who are naturally hostile to the best.  Necessity alone can sanction a resort to this measure; and it should never be extended in duration or degree beyond the exigency, until the people, not merely in the fervour of sudden excitement, but after full deliberation, are determined to change the Constitution.

. . .

THEREFORE RESOLVED —

That it be and hereby is recommended to the Legislatures of the several States represented in this Convention, to adopt all such measures as may be necessary effectually to protect the citizens of said States from the operation and effect of all acts which have been or may be passed by the Congress of the United States, which shall contain provisions, subjecting the militia or other citizens to forcible drafts, conscriptions, or impressments, not authorised by the Constitution of the United States.

Resolved,  That it be and hereby is recommended to the said Legislatures, to authorize and immediate and earnest application to be made to the Government of the United States, requesting their consent to some arrangement, whereby the said States may, separately or in concert, be empowered to assume upon themselves the defence of their territory against the enemy; and a reasonable portion of the taxes, collected within said States, may be paid into the respective treasuries thereof, and appropriated to the payment of the balance due said States, and to the future defence of the same.  The amount so paid into the said treasuries to be credited, and the disbursement made as aforesaid to be charged to the United States.

Resolved, That it be, and it hereby is, recommended to the Legislatures of the aforesaid States, to pass laws (where it has not already been done) authorizing the governours or Commanders in Chief of their militia to make detachments from the same, or to form voluntary corps, as shall be most convenient and conformable to their Constitutions, and to cause the same to be well armed, equipped and disciplined, and held in readiness for service; and upon the request of the Governour of either of the other States to employ the whole of such detachment or corps,  as well as the regular forces of the State, or such part thereof as may be required and can be spared consistently with the safety of the State, in assisting the State, making such request to repel any invasion thereof which shall be made or attempted by the public enemy.

Resolved, That the following amendments of the Constitution of the United States, be recommended to the States represented as aforesaid, to be proposed by them for adoption by the State Legislatures, and, in such cases as may be deemed expedient, by a Convention chosen by the people of each State,

And it is further recommended, that the said States shall persevere in their efforts to obtain such amendments, until the same shall be effected.

First.  Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers of free persons, including those bound to serve for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed, and all other persons.

 Second.  No new State shall be admitted into the union by Congress in virtue of the power granted by the Constitution, without the concurrence of two thirds of both Houses.

Third.  Congress shall not have power to lay any embargo on the ships or vessels of the citizens of the United States, in the ports or harbours thereof, for more than sixty days.

Fourth.  Congress shall not have power, without the concurrence of two thirds of both Houses, to interdict the commercial intercourse between the United States and any foreign nation of the dependencies thereof.

Fifth.  Congress shall not make or declare war, or authorize acts of hostility against any foreign nation without the concurrence of two thirds of both Houses, except such act as hostility be in defence of the territories of the United States when actually invaded.

Sixth.  No person who shall hereafter be naturalized, shall be eligible as a member of the Senate or House of Representatives of the United States, nor capable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States.

Seventh.  The same person shall not be elected President of the United States a second time; nor shall the President be elected from the same States two terms in succession.

Resolved,  That if the application of these States to the government of the United States, recommended in a foregoing Resolution, should be unsuccessful, and peace should not be concluded, and the defence of these States should be neglected, as it has been since the commencement of the war, it will in the opinion of this Convention be expedient for the Legislatures of the several States to appoint Delegates to another Convention, to meet at Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, on the third Thursday of June next, with such powers and instructions as the exigency of a crisis so momentous may require.

Resolved,  That the Hon. George Cabot, the Hon. Chauncey Goodrich, and the Hon. Daniel Lyman, or any two of them, be authorized to call another meeting of this Convention, to be holden in Boston, at any time before new Delegates shall be chosen, as recommended in the above Resolution, if in their judgment the situation of the country shall urgently require it.

Hartford, January 4th, 1814.

GEORGE CABOT,                             JAMES HILLHOUSE

NATHAN DANE,                               JOHN TREADWELL,

WILLIAM PRESCOTT,                      ZEPHANIAH SWIFT,
HARRISON G. OTIS,                         NATHANIEL SMITH,

TIMOTHY BIGELOW,                       CALVIN GODDARD,           

JOSHUA THOMAS,                           ROGER M. SHERMAN,

SAMUEL S. WILDE,                          DANIEL LYMAN,

JOSEPH LYMAN,                              SAMUEL WARD,

STEPHEN LONGFELLOW, JR.,        EDWARD MANTON,           

DANIEL WALDO,                             BENJAMIN HAZARD,

JODIJAH BAYLIES,                           BENJAMIN WEST,

GEORGE BLISS,                                MILES OLCOTT,

CHAUNCEY GOODRICH,                WILLIAM HALL, JR.

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Filed under 1810's, Federalists, Posted by Rebecca Dresser