Preliminaries of the Revolution, 1763-1775

By George Elliott Howard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE TOWNSHEND REVENUE ACTS (1766-1767)

THE declaratory act has been represented as the price paid by a weak and divided ministry for the repeal of the stamp tax -- as a solace to the offended pride and dignity of the British Parliament. This view was supported in the debate on the motion to repeal the act in 1777;1 and there is other evidence to sustain it. If such, indeed, be the truth, it shows only more clearly how serious was the dilemma in which the short-sighted policy of Grenville had involved the government. Events were soon to prove that the price paid was very dear. For the moment the colonists united in spontaneous thank-offering for the boon of justice which had been granted them. "The repeal of the stamp act," wrote John Adams, "has hushed into silence almost every popular clamor, and composed every wave of popular disorder into a smooth and peaceful calm."2 The Sons of Liberty ceased to meet. No one thought of separation. Nothing

____________________
1
Cobbett-Hansard, Parl. Hist., XIX., 563 et seq.
2
Adams, Works, II., 203.

-174-

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