Revolutionary New England, 1691-1776

By James Truslow Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
DARKENING SKIES

Repeal of the Stamp Act -- Declaratory Act -- Constitutional Principles in the Empire -- Attitude of Colonial Radicals -- Townshend Acts -- Violent Resistance in Boston -- Massachusetts Provincial Congress -- Religious -- Agitation -- Non-Importation Movement -- Approach of Revolution

WHILE the events described in the last chapter had been transpiring in America, the conflicting political forces and factions in England had caused the overthrow of the ministry and the formation of a new one under the lead of the young Marquis of Rockingham.1 The chief minister had good intentions and was a friend to the aspirations of the colonists, but he lacked experience, was of mediocre ability and more at home on the turf than in politics.2 The dignified Conway was made Secretary of State to deal with the colonies, but although he also was favorably inclined toward them, he was of so irresolute a character that it was said if there were two doors to a room he was tortured as to which to take. Townshend dubbed the new government a "lutestring ministry fit only for the summer," and the shrewd Lord Chesterfield wrote that it was "a heterogeneous jumble of youth and caducity," and anticipated that it would soon center "in Mr. Pitt and Co."3 The brief and not unjust description will have to suffice, for it would take us too far afield to attempt to describe the sinuosities of contemporary English politics, dependent as they were upon personalities and factions.

It was this well-intentioned, but for the most part youthful and inexperienced, group of ministers that was called upon to

____________________
1
Albermarle, Rockingham Memoirs, vol. I, pp. 218ff.
2
Alvord, Mississippi Valley, vol. I, p. 233.
3
Alberynarle, Rockingham Memoirs, vol. I, p. 224; Correspondence of William Pitt, ( London, 1838), vol. II, p. 316n.

-338-

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Revolutionary New England, 1691-1776
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface V
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Chapter I- Introductory 3
  • Chapter II- The Machinery of Empire 18
  • Chapter III- The Dawn of the Century 30
  • Chapter IV- The Policy of Unified Control 46
  • Chapter V- Attempts at Coöperation, Imperial and Colonial 60
  • Chapter VI- The Rising Tide 84
  • Chapter VII- Diverging Interests 111
  • Chapter VIII- Expanding Energies 138
  • Chapter IX- The Great Divide 169
  • Chapter X- The Wrong Turning 200
  • Chapter XI- The Fate of a Continent 221
  • Chapter XII- War and Business 250
  • Chapter XIII- The Price of Peace 278
  • Chapter XIV- The Insoluble Problem 304
  • Chapter XV- Darkening Skies 338
  • Chapter XVI- The Issue Defined 369
  • Chapter XVII- The Defeat of the Conservatives 406
  • Chapter XVIII- Civil War 433
  • Index 453
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