Preliminaries of the Revolution, 1763-1775

By George Elliott Howard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE MENACE OF THE STAMP ACT (1764-1765)

THE renewal of the molasses act and the enforcement of the commercial code were peculiarly the work of Grenville. For the Stamp Act, too, he must be held responsible. Yet the policy of American taxation was not original with him. It was in a sense "devolved" upon him. Its elements may be found in the administrative records of the preceding thirty-five years. Save for the form of the molasses act, Parliament had steadily observed the distinction between external and internal taxes. Duties were levied solely for the regulation of trade, although some revenue might actually accrue.

Taxation of the colonies had already been thought of: even a stamp duty was suggested in 17281 and again in 17392 by Sir William Keith, governor of Pennsylvania; and a "scheim" for a similar tax was submitted to Governor Clinton by Lieutenant

____________________
1
Keith, A Short Discourse, in Byrd, Dividing Line, II., 215-227.
2
Lecky, England, III., 343; Adams, Works, X., 74, 80.

-121-

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