American Minute for December 16th

“The French and Indian War ended in 1763 with the French losing Canada and all their land east of the Mississippi River.

King George III decided to tax the colonies to pay for their defense in case of future French incursions or native uprisings.

British troops were funded by taxes which stifled the economy:

-SUGAR ACT of 1764: taxing sugar, coffee, wine;

-STAMP ACT of 1765: taxing newspapers, contracts, letters, playing cards and all printed materials; and

-TOWNSHEND ACTS of 1767: taxing glass, paint and paper.

The King imposed several Writs of Assistance, beginning in 1761, to stop smuggling, but these gave British authorities unlimited power to enter any colonist’s home with no warning and no warrant, without probable cause, and arrest them.

Anyone could be detained indefinitely, be evicted from their home, and have their farm and property confiscated without due process.

In the Massachusetts Superior Court, February of 1761, James Otis, Jr., argued against the Writs of Assistance for nearly five hours.

Someone that was there was John Adams, who described James Otis’ speech:

“as the spark in which originated the American Revolution.”

James Otis argued:

“I will to my dying day oppose with all the powers and faculties God has given me all such instruments of slavery on the one hand, and villainy on the other, as this writ of assistance is.

It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law.”

Thirty years later, John Adams wrote of James Otis’ speech:

“The child independence was then and there born, (for) every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.”

James Otis, who favored extending basic natural law and freedoms of life, liberty and property to African Americans, is noted for stating:

“Those who every day barter away other men’s liberty will soon care little for their own.”

“If we are not represented, we are slaves.”

“A man’s house is his castle.”

“Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

As the Colonies had no representative in Parliament, the cry arose,

“No taxation without representation.”

In 1768, the British began forcibly “quartering” their troops in American homes, as there were no barracks, leaving families to live in barns, basements or attics.

When citizens gathered in protest, March 5, 1770, British troops fired into crowd, killing five, one of which was the African American patriot Crispus Attucks.

This became known as the Boston Massacre.

Just three years later, in 1773, the British passed yet another tax increase, the “Tea Act.”

While American merchants paid taxes, the King’s ‘crony-capitalism’ allowed the British East India Company to sell a half million pounds of tea in the Colonies with no taxes, giving them a monopoly by underselling American merchants.

The citizens of Boston had enough.

On DECEMBER 16, 1773, Samuel Adams led a band of patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians, called Sons of Liberty, from the South Meeting House toward Griffin’s Wharf.

They boarded the ships Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver, and threw 342 chests of British East India Company tea into Boston’s harbor.

This became known as the Boston Tea Party.

The men of Marlborough, Massachusetts, declared:

“Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their liberties …

We implore the Ruler above the skies that He would bare His arm … and let Israel go.”

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