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bridge, Massachusetts. The first issue of a newspaper in Boston occurred in 1690, and was stopped after its first appearance. There was not a single newspaper in any of the colonies in the year 1700; but in 1774 as many as forty were being successfully published.
VII. FORMS OF GOVERNMENT.—Nearly all the settlements were made under the immediate protection and patronage of the English Crown. The lands to which the colonists came, being held by uncivilized races, they brought with them and adopted the Common Law of England as the law of the land. They laid claim to the land by right of discovery, and either took forcible possession of such localities as pleased them, or when this was not expedient, secured them by purchase and treaty. There were three classes of governments granted to the colonists—1, Royal, or Provincial; 2, Proprietary; 3, Charter.
1. The Provincial Governments depended entirely upon the Crown of England. To this class belong the colonies of Virginia (1606), New Hampshire (1622), New York (1662), North Carolina (1663), South Carolina (1663), and Georgia (1732). The King appointed Governors to represent him. self, and gave them specific instructions for the conduct of public affairs.
2. The Proprietary. In this form, the proprietor or owner had purchased from the crown his privileges, and either governed in his own right or appointed such governors as suited his pleasure. Maryland, granted to Lord Baltimore in 1682, and Pennsylvania and Delaware, granted to William Penn in 1681, were settled under the Proprietary form of government.
3. Charter Governments. In these we find the prototype of our present State Governments, which in many respects they resembled. Before the Puritans disembarked, they signed a solemn compact by which they guaranteed equal rights to all the settlers. Charters were granted to the colonies of Massachusetts (1620), Connecticut (1635), and Rhode Island (1636), by which the soil within specified
metes and bounds, and all privileges of government with certain restrictions, were conferred on the occupants and their successors. By these instruments "the appointment and authority of the Governor, the formation and structure of the Legislature, and the establishment of courts of justice, were specially provided for; and generally the powers appropriate to each were defined.”
VIII. THE REVOLUTION.—The growth of the colonies was gradual and steady, but being separated by so great a distance from the mother country, it was difficult to continue a spirit of hearly sympathy and unity of purpose in public
A disposition seemed to manifest itself, on the one side, to watch with jealousy the growing power and prosperity of the colonies, and a purpose to make them contribute to the burdens of Government at home, entered into all the public enactments; and on the other side, the spirit of liberty which seemed to spring from the soil, early manifested itself in the colonists, who became impatient of the restraints imposed upon them and insisted that a free people could not be taxed without their consent. The Parliament had affirmed the dependence and subordination of the colonies to the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain, and that "the King, with the consent of the Parliament, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient forc3 and validity to bind the colonies and people of America in all cases whatsoever.” In this way there arose a serious question and difference about the relative rights of sovereign and subject, which promoted the measures that fina'ly produced a complete separation, and led to the establishment of a free and independent Republic. The remote and immediate causes of the Revolution seem to have been,
1. Enactments passed to cripple or destroy the commerce of the colonies.
2. The prohibition of inter-colonial trade in woolen goods, passed in 1732.
3. A variety of obnoxious acts and measures, such as the
"Molasses Act" of 1733, the "Stamp Act” of 1765, the
Quartering Act,' and the like, by which the feeling of opposition and resistance was enkindled and kept burning.
4. The requirement of direct trade with the English markets.
5. Taxation without representation. The Tax Bill of 1764 provided for taxing the colonies in order to raise "a revenue for the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing His Majesty's dominions in America."
6. The restraints imposed upon American manufactures.
7. A stringent and persistent purpose on the part of Eng. land to crush the rising and rebellious spirit of liberty, and compel submission by resort to arms. Thus, war soon became inevitable, and reconciliation impossible.
IX. UNION OF THE COLONIES.—The Puritans having made their settlements for religious freedom, continued to disregard tbe rules and forms of the established church. England, in order to more easily govern the colonies and check their growth, at one time undertook to prevent all emigration from her shores. Many ships filled with passengers on the point of sailing were prevented, and it is known that Cromwell and Hampden, who afterwards played such important parts in the English Revolution of 1638, were actually on one of these vessels so hindered from departing. Great events sometimes hinge on very small things.
In the second place, it was determined to compel conformity by the infliction of penalties. For this purpose the Archbishop of Canterbury and others received power to govern the colonies, and if necessary revoke their charters. In January, 1635, the New England ministers met in Boston to consider what should be done under these circumstances, and it was at once agreed to defend their liberties by recourse to force if that should be rendered necessary. These measures led to the formation of a union for mutual defense and preservation, and on May 29th, 1643, the Articles of Agreement were signed in the name of the Colonies of Maskachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, and
would have embraced Rhode Island and Providence Plantations had not this colony been excluded on account of its unwillingress to be merged in the colody of Plymouth. This union, which took the name of the “United Colonies of New England,” lasted over forty years and was of great service, not only in showing the benefits of union, but also in protecting them from the hostile Indian tribes at home. A similar union was entered into in 1757, when a French and Indian war seemed imminent, and the compact was signed at Albany, July 4th, by delegates from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We find in these two instances, types of that more celebrated union into which all the colonies finally en. tered, when engaged in the great struggle for independence.
To Massachusetts is due the honor of first proposing a general union of all the colonies, when it appeared evident that England would employ force unless the colonies submitted to her demands. The idea was favorably received by all the colonies, and commissioners were appointed to represont them. This convention met at Philadelphia, September -4th, 1774, and has since been known as the “First Continental Congress.” Delegates from eleven colonies were present. They elected Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, President, and Charles Thompson, of Pennsylvania, Secretary.
On the 14th day of October, 1774, they published a " Declaration of Rights," in which they very ably set forth the grievous acts and measures to which as Americans they could not submit, resting in the hope that their fellow-subjects in Great Britain would, on a revision of them, restore them to that state in which both countries found happiness and prosperity. This paper concluded with a resolution “to pursue the following peaceable measures : 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association, 2. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America; and, 3. To prepare a loyal address to bis majesty agreeable to resolutions already entered into." By this able and important document, it was easy to see that war must come, unless either England withdrew from her position, or the colonies retreated from their demands.
Mr. Pitt, the British Minister, who had read the declaration, petition, and address, prepared by the members of this " First Continental Congress," was highly impressed with their force and vigor, and spoke in the following magnanimous terms: "I must declare and avow, that in all my reading and study-and it has been my favorite study-I have read Thucydides, and have studies and admired the master states of the world—that for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such complication of circumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in preference to the General Congress at Philadelphia.”
The " Second Continental Congress” met in Philadelpbia May 10th, 1775, and continued in session through the war, meeting from place to place, as safety required, and until a final form of government was adopted. Its existence ceased March 3d, 1789, when it was succeeded by the First Congress of the United States of America.
PRESIDENTS OF THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.
1775, May 10, Peyton Randolph, Virginia.