History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI.
THE REPEAL OF THE STAMP ACT. ADMINISTRATION ROCK-
INGHAM

FEBRUARY–MAY 1766.

THE Sons of Liberty, acting spontaneously, were steadily advancing toward an organization which should embrace the continent. In February, those in Boston and many towns of Massachusetts, of Portsmouth in New Hampshire, acceded to the association of Connecticut and New York, and joined in urging a continental union. In Connecticut the patriots of Norwich welcomed the plan; and a convention of almost all the towns of Litchfield county resolved that the stamp act was unconstitutional, null, and void, and that business of all kinds should go on as usual. The hum of domestic industry was heard more and more: young women would get together, and merrily and emulonsly drive the spinning-wheel from sunrise till dark; and every day the humor spread for being clad in homespun.

Cheered by the zeal of New England, the Sons of Liberty of New York sent circular letters as far as South Carolina, inviting to. the formation of a permanent continental union. But the summons was not waited for. The people of South Carolina grew more and more hearty against the stamp act. “We are a very weak province,” reasoned Christopher Gadsden, “yet a rich growing one, and of as much importance to Great Britain as any upon the continent; and a great part of our weakness, though at the same time ’tis part of our riches, consists in having such a number of slaves among us; and we find in our case, according to the general perceptible workings of Providence, where the crime most commonly, though

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