The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author - Vol. 1

By John Adams; Charles Francis Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
ENTRANCE INTO PUBLIC LIFE -- THE CONGRESS OF 1774 -- SERVICES FROM THAT TIME UNTIL THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

DURING the passage of the events described in the last chapter, in which the executive and judicial powers of the colony had been brought to a stand, and Hutchinson, the head of the loyalist party, had, in despair, determined to abandon the struggle, the British ministry was engaged in maturing new plans to overcome the resistance of Massachusetts. Lord North, no longer indulging in the sanguine anticipations of an early return to peace by the voluntary submission of the colonists, was now to become the exponent of the royal indignation. In this indignation the people of Great Britain much more largely shared after the news arrived of the general rejection of the tea. And it was most particularly directed against the town of Boston, because Boston had marked her proceedings with the most aggravated form of resistance. The chastisement for these offences was defined by the minister, through the introduction into Parliament, in quick succession, of the three bills, which shut up the port of Boston, which, under the name of regulation, annihilated the charter of the colony, and which transferred the jurisdiction over cases of riot and tumult to the courts of the mother country. Simultaneously with the passage of these minatory acts, came the preparation of a military force deemed adequate to enforce them. The executive authority, no longer entrusted to men in civil life, was vested in General Gage, an officer high in the ranks of the regular army, at the same time that his command was extended by the transfer of more regiments to Massachusetts. Eleven in number were concentrated at last, but instead of being ready for immediate use, they were many months in collecting at Boston. The policy now was, by the presence of an overawing force, to give, in all the essential

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