The Inhabitants of Boston Disarmed
American resistance to British taxation and various grievances came to a head in 1768, the focal point of the confrontation being Boston. Smuggling, boycotts on tea, resistance to customs agents, riots, and general unrest were rapidly moving British strategists to a military solution. The colonists, particularly those in New England, clearly foreboded the coming occupation.
A meeting of Boston freeholders, moderated by James Otis, and also led by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Samuel Cushing, was held at Faneuil Hall on September 12 and 13. Several resolutions were passed deploring standing armies, taxation without representation, and other grievances. Among the measures considered was the following:
Upon a Motion made and seconded, the following vote was passed by a very great Majority, viz.
WHEREAS, by an Act of Parliament, of the first of King William and Queen Mary, it is declared, that the Subjects being Protestants, may have arms for their Defence; It is the Opinion of this town, that the said Declaration is founded in Nature, Reason and sound Policy, and is well adapted for the necessary Defence of the Community.
And Forasmuch, as by a good and wholesome Law of this Province, every listed Soldier and other Householder (except Troopers, who by Law are otherwise to be provided) shall always be provided with a well fix'd Firelock, Musket, Accoutrements and Ammunition, as in said Law particularly mentioned, to the Satisfaction of the Commission Officers of the Company; and as there is at this Time prevailing Apprehension, in the Minds of many, of an approaching War