Something historical…

Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress

The members of this Congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to His Majesty’s Person and Government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the Protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time will permit the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties Of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late Acts of Parliament.

That His Majesty’s subjects in these colonies, owe the same allegiance to the Crown of Great-Britain, that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body the Parliament of Great Britain.

That His Majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great-Britain.

That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.
That the people of these colonies are not, and from their local circumstances cannot be, represented in the House of Commons in Great-Britain.

That the only representatives of the people of these colonies, are persons chosen therein by themselves, and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures.

That all supplies to the Crown, being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British Constitution, for the people of Great-Britain to grant to His Majesty the property of the colonists.

That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies.

That the late Act of Parliament, entitled, An Act for granting and applying certain Stamp Duties, and other Duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, etc., by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies, and the said Act, and several other Acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of Admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists.

That the duties imposed by several late Acts of Parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burthensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable.

That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great-Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the Crown.

That the restrictions imposed by several late Acts of Parliament, on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great-Britain.

That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies, depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great-Britain mutually affectionate and advantageous.

Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour by a loyal and dutiful address to his Majesty, and humble applications to both Houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other Acts of Parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the Admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late Acts for the restriction of American commerce.

(this bit is not actually by Ethel at all!!)

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  1. London, November 1765

    Sirs,

    In response to your resolutions of October regarding the Stamp Act,

    Despite your opening remarks of affection and allegiance (whose tone we found rather obsequious) we have never denied that colonists are our subjects, but your proposal would be at odds with the established policies of the Crown and would not benefit the populace as a whole.

    We agree that the settlers of the British lands in the Americas and elsewhere have not been subject to the same treatment as British subjects represented in Parliament. We have allowed a degree of self-government that seemed appropriate, given the isolation from Great Britain. Certainly, not all of our subjects have been granted land. It seems that special treatment was acceptable while to your advantage. Since 1620 we have borne considerable expense in establishing the settlement of the American colonies. The original exploration and settlement was funded by English corporations in the name of, and with the encouragement and support of the British Crown.

    Crown lands were deeded to settlers as subjects and were received by them at no cost. We regarded this as a good faith deposit for future enrichment. Indeed this policy continues and has provided a good living for many New England colonists who accepted our offer of freehold farmland in Nova Scotia as recently as 1761.

    In the past century, manufactured goods, and the benefits of British technological advances in agriculture and industry have been readily available from England when such expertise to produce them had not been established in the Americas. British ships, under Crown protection, were used in their carriage.

    Even in times of peace, maintenance of trade routes to allow you to export your products to the English market has been at His Majesty’s pleasure. Trading relationships with European countries are now being established by cashing in on the diplomatic relations that Britain has developed.

    The cost of securing the colonies has been phenomenal and we contend that the colonies would not have prospered without this resource. Competition with the Spanish, Dutch and French has been supported by English troops and mercenaries supplied at the expense of the Crown. This latest French and Indian wars fiasco has been especially expensive because of the greater land area involved, and we find the need to restock our reserves or be vulnerable at home. Taxes are not a new concept, we are not asking for tithe labour or goods. So we find it hard to believe that these resolutions represent the unanimous sentiment of all colonists.

    While we are thrilled that you have achieved a phenomenal wealth from our indulgences, it must be obvious that we would not have been so eager to dump funds into the R & D of North America if it had not looked to be a profitable enterprise!

    It took an organization of considerable resources to establish the way of life and level of prosperity found in the colonies today. We are sure that alone you could not have achieved the success you now enjoy. It is imperative that Great Britain replenishes her resources and expands into new territories for the betterment of the entire nation. You are by no means bankrupted – pay your taxes, pay your debts!

    Ethel

    pp. H.M. George III

    P.S. We are aware that our Parliament has refused to accept your resolutions but felt that some response was appropriate. I’m sure history will find that not all politicians in our Parliament have been brilliant.

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