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Letter to Your Friend in England - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Professor Eldridge Course: HIST 1301- FALL-2011 Date: Boston Massachusetts 8 November, 1774 Dear Dr. Smith, I hurried to the dock on hearing of the arrival of the HMS Plymouth, and collected my parcel of mail in great anticipation. I was not disappointed, as I found your letter among my other subscriptions…
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Letter to Your Friend in England
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"Letter to Your Friend in England"

Download file to see previous pages My dear friend, you are right when you observe that we are living in a period of great political turmoil. I regret to tell you that here, in the colonies, public opinion continues to grow against controls imposed by the Mother Country. As a medical practitioner, I am exposed to a variety of views, ranging across the spectrum of political opinion: from those calling for peaceful negotiations to others calling for an outright revolution. I will attempt to address, to the best of my ability, your doubts on these issues. I think you will agree with me when I say that the cause of the present troubles can be traced to England’s state of near bankruptcy at the end of the French and Indian Wars. The first major irritant to hitherto cordial relations between the colonies and England was The Proclamation of 1763, preventing us access to the Western lands. In the light of an ever-increasing population, this appeared to be manifestly unwarranted. Of course, we chose to ignore the Proclamation. At this juncture, The Grenville Program of 1764-1765, which we hear had great support in England, was salt to our wounds. The Sugar Act of 1764, imposing additional duties on sugar, and doubling the duty on imported goods, was manifestly unfair from our point of view: particularly as the taxable list included almost everything we produce. You can imagine the number of cases of confiscation and litigation arising from this! Matters were made worse by the changes to the Navigation Acts, giving a single Vice-Admiralty court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, jurisdiction over all of the American colonies in trade matters. The legal costs, and the cost of travelling from Boston to Nova Scotia, to say nothing of the cost in time, were a major cause of complaint among the traders here. I am sure that expecting the defendant to post a bond to cover all expenses for both sides, would not be acceptable in England! Boston witnessed many town meetings calling for a united opposition to these Acts. I must admit that I was a willing participant in these meetings. An additional benefit of my attendance was that we (a group of educationists and doctors) were able to pacify the hot-heads who kept calling for some violent action in protest against the Acts. My friend, surely you will agree that expecting us to house and supply British troops at our personal expense, as mandated by the Quartering Act of 1765, was manifestly unfair. When most of us consider ourselves to be loyal subjects of His Majesty, the presence of a significant number of troops is itself a sign of suspicion and unwanted tight control. The Act has turned our perception of control into that of repression. Of course, it was the Stamp Act of the same year which finally turned the tide of public opinion decisively against England, and alienated the majority of colonists against the Mother Country. The paying of a direct tax to England flies in the face of every legislative tradition. I support the colonial position that it is a form of ‘taxation without representation.’ A tax on all printed material: including playing cards and college diplomas! My friend, how could the British Parliament pass such an Act? The Act succeeded in creating a unified opposition, led by the influential lawyers, merchants and newspaper publishers in Boston, who were most affected by its terms. The popular anger aroused by the Stamp Act resulted in the beginnings of mob violence. The Sons of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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