History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI.
AMEBICA REPELS ITS STAMP–TAX. ADMINISTRATION OF ROOK-
INGHAM

AUGUST–SEPTEMBER 1765.

Six weeks and more before the change of ministry was known in Boston, Jared Ingersoll, of Connecticut, late agent for that province, now its stamp-master, arrived there from England; and the names of the stamp distributors were published on the eighth of August. The craftily devised policy of employing Americans failed from the beginning. “It will be as in the West Indies,” clamored the people; “there the negro overseers are the most cruel.” “Had you not rather,” said a friend of Ingersoll, “these duties should be collected by your brethren than by foreigners?” “No,” answered Professor Dagget, of New Haven. “If the ruin of your country is decreed, are you free from blame for taking part in the plunder?”

“North American Liberty is dead,” it was said in one of the newspapers of Boston; “but happily she has left one son, prophetically named Independence, now the hope of all when he shall come of age.” But why wait? asked the impatient. “Why should any stamp officers be allowed in America at all?” “I am clear in this point,” declared Mayhew, “that no people are under a religious obligation to be slaves if they are able to set themselves at liberty.” “The stamp act,” it was said universally in Boston, “is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and a breach of charter. Let it be of short duration. There are two hundred thousand inhabitants in this province, and by computation about two millions in America. It is too late for us to be dragooned out of our rights. We may refuse submission, or at least the stamp officers will be afraid to stab their

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