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

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIII.
VIRGINIA CONSOLIDATION UNION.

JANUARY–JULY 1773.

ON the sixth of January 1773, the day on which the legislature of Massachusetts assembled at Boston, the affairs of America were under consideration in England. The king, who read even the semi-official letters in which Hutchinson described the Boston committee of correspondence as in part composed of “deacons” and “atheists,” and “black-hearted fellows whom one would not choose to meet in the dark,” “very much approved the temper and firmness” of his governor, and was concerned lest “the inhabitants of Boston should be deluded into acts of disobedience and the most atrocious criminality toward individuals;” he found “consolation” in the assurance that “the influence of the malignant spirits was daily decreasing,” and “that their mischievous tenets were held in abhorrence by the generality of the people.” But already eighty towns or more, including almost every one of the larger towns, had chosen their committees; and Samuel Adams was planning how to effect a union of all the colonies in congress. When the assembly met, the speaker transmitted the proceedings of the town of Boston for organizing the provincial committees of correspondence to Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia.

The governor, in his speech to the two houses, with calculating malice summoned them to admit or disprove the supremacy of parliament The disorder in the government he attributed to the denial of that supremacy, which he undertook to establish by arguments derived from the history of the colony, its charter, and English law. “I know of no line,” he said, “that can be drawn between the supreme authority of

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