The Age of George III
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The Declarations of the Stamp Act Congress: 19 October 1765
The meeting of the Stamp Act Congress in New York
was the culmination of the development of a formal opposition to the Stamp Act
in the American colonies. On 7 October, twenty seven men from nine of
the colonies met: New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia did not
send delegates. After much debate, the men adopted the following "Declarations"
and prepared petitions to George III. Despite the mildness of the petitions,
parliament refused to receive them.
- 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 would 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 should 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 legislature.
- 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
- 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 burdensome 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 centre 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.
- That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies, to petition
the king or either house of Parliament.
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.
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5 January, 2011