Stamp Act of 1765: Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson React

Dateline: 1765, Virginia: Primary source in this post: the complete text. First read the entire act, and then read what Patrick Henry had to say about it. Thomas Jefferson, then only a student, stood in the lobby and heard Patrick Henry debate with the Party of Submission. Read his account from memroy.

In hearing the words Stamp Act, one immediately thinks of Boston, but Virginia also got the act proclaiming many taxes without representation.

You’ve heard it said that the British demand for a tax to pay for the recent French Indian Wars and future protection of the colonies was not unreasonable. But the Stamp Act intruded into every area of business life, even for the yeoman farmer. After you read it, place yourself in the colonists’ shoes.

Was the Stamp Act unreasonable in principle, if not in the details (some of the taxes were high, at least they seem so to me).

Here is the Stamp Act, in its entirety.

Modernized transcription begins:

STAMP ACT.

Whereas, by an act made in the last session of Parliament, several duties were granted, continued, and appropriated towards defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the British colonies and plantations in America;

And whereas it is first necessary that provision be made for raising a further revenue within your Majesty’s dominions in America, towards defraying the said expenses; we, your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, have therefore resolved to give and grant unto your Majesty the several rights and duties hereinafter mentioned; and do mort humbly beseech your Majesty that it may be enacted.

And be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the fame, that from and after the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, there shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid unto his Majesty, his heirs and successors, throughout the colonies and plantations in America, which now are, or hereafter may be, under the dominion of his Majesty, his heirs and successors:

  1. For every skin of piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed written, or printed any declaration, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer or other pleading, or any copy thereof in any court of law within the British colonies and plantations in America, a stamp duty of three pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any special bail, and appearance upon such bail in any such court, a stamp duty of two shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which may be engrossed, written, or printed any petition, bill, or answer, claim, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer, or other pleading, in any court of chancery or equity within the said colonies and plantations, a Stamp Act of one shilling and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any copy of any petition, bill answer, claim, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer, or other pleading, in any such court, a stamp duty of three pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any monition, libel, answer, allegation, inventory, renunciation, in eccle1iastical matters, in any court of probate, court of the ordinary, or other court exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of one shilling.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which {ball be engrossed, written, or printed any copy of any will (other than the probate thereof), monition, libel, answer, allegation, inventory, or renunciation, in ecclesiastical matters in any such court a stamp duty of six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any donation, presentation, collation or institution, of or to any benefice, or any writ or instrument for the like purpose, or any register, entry, testimonial, or certificate of any degree taken in any university, academy, college, or seminary of learning, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of two pounds.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper on, which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any monition, libel, claim, answer, allegation, information, letter of request, execution, renunciation, inventory, or other pleading, in any admiralty court within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of one shilling.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which any copy of any such monition, libel, claim, answer, allegation, information, letter of request, execution, renunciation, inventory, or other pleading shall be engrossed, written, or printed, a stamp duty of six pence.
  1. For every skin or price of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any appeal, writ of error, writ dower, ad quo damnum, certiorari, statute merchant, statute staple, attestation, or certificate, by any officer, or exemplification of any record or proceeding, in any court whatsoever, within the said colonies and plantations (except appeals, writs of error, certiorari, attestations, certificates, and exemplications, tor, or relating to the removal of any proceedings from before a single justice of the peace) a stamp duty of ten shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any writ of covenant for levying fines, writ of entry for suffering [allowing] a common recovery or attachment issuing out of or returnable into any court within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of five shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any judgment, decree, or sentence, or dismission, or any record of nisi prius or postea, in any court within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of four shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any affidavit, common bail, or appearance, interrogatory, deposition, rule, order or warrant of any court, or any dedimus potestament, capias subpoena, summons, compulsory citation, commission, recognizance, or any other proceeding therein whatsoever, or any copy thereof, or of any record not hereinbefore charged, within the said colonies and plantations (except warrants relating to criminal matters, and proceedings thereon, or relating thereto), a stamp duty of one shilling.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any note or bill of lading, which shall be signed for any kind of goods wares or merchandise, to be exported from, or any cocket [sic] or clearance granted within the said colonies and plantation a stamp duty of four pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed letters of mart or commission for private ships-of-war, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of twenty shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall he engrossed, written, or printed any grant, appointment, or admission of or to any public beneficial office or employment, for the space of one year, or any lesser time, of or above twenty pounds per annum sterling money, in salary, fees, and perquisites, within the said colonies and plantations except commissions and appointments of officers of the army, navy, ordnance, or militia, of judges, and of justices of the peace, a stamp duty of ten shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which any grant, of any liberty, privilege, or franchisee, under the seal or sign manual of any governor, proprietor, or public officer, alone or in consejunction [sic] with any other person or persons, or with any council, or any council and assembly, or any exemplification of the fame, shall be engrossed, written, or printed within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of six pounds.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any license for retailing spirituous liquors, to be granted to any person who shall take out the same, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of twenty shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any license for retailing of wine, to be granted to any person who shall not take out a license for retailing of spirituous liquors, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of four pounds.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any license for retailing of spirituous liquors, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of three pounds.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any probate of will, letters of administration, or of guardianship for any estate above the value of twenty pounds sterling money, within the British colonies and plantations upon the continent of America, the islands belonging thereto, and the Bermuda and Bahama Islands, a stamp duty of five shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such probate, letters of administration or of guardianship, within all other parts of the British dominion America, a stamp duty of ten shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any bond for securing the payment of any rum of money, not exceeding the rum of ten pounds sterling money, within the British colonies and plantations upon the continent of America; the islands belonging thereto, and the Bermuda and Bahama Islands, a stamp duty of six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any bond for securing the payment of any sum of money above ten pounds and not exceeding twenty pounds sterling money, within such colonies, plantations, and islands, a stamp duty of one shilling.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any bond for securing the payment of any sum of money above twenty pounds and not exceeding forty pound sterling money, within such colonies and plantations and islands, a stamp duty of one shilling and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any order or warrant for surveying or setting out any quantities of land not exceeding 100 acres, issued by any governor, proprietor or any public officer, alone or in conjunction with any other person or persons, or with any council, or any councilor, assembly [sic]
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such order or warrant for surveying or setting out any quantity of land above 100 and not exceeding 200 acres, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of one shilling.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment or sheet or piece of paper on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any such order or warrant for surveying or setting out any quantity of land above 200 and not exceeding 320 acres, and in proportion for every such order or warrant for surveying or setting out every other 320 acres, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of one shilling and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any original grant or any deed, meine, conveyance, or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land not exceeding 100 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned, within the British colonies and plantations upon the continent of America the islands belonging thereto, and the Bermuda and Bahama Islands (except leaves for any term not exceeding the term of twenty-one years), a stamp duty of one shilling and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such original grant, or any such deed, meine [sic], conveyance, or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land above 100 and not exceeding 200 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned, within such colonies, plantations, and islands, a stamp duty of two shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such original grant, or any such deed, meine, conveyance or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land above 200 and not exceeding 320 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned, and in proportion for every such grant, deed, meine [sic], conveyance, or other instrument, granting, conveying, or assigning every other 320 acres, within such colonies, plantations, and islands, a stamp duty of two shillings and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written; or printed any such original grant, or any such deed, meine [sic] conveyance, or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land not exceeding 100 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned, within all other parts of the British dominion in America, a stamp duty of three shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such original grant, or any such deed, meine [sic] conveyance, or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land above 100 and not exceeding 200 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned within the fame parts of the said domains, a stamp duty of four shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such original grant, or any such deed, meine [sic] conveyance, or other instrument whatsoever, by which any quantity of land above 200 and not exceeding 320 acres shall be granted, conveyed, or assigned, and in proportion for every such grant, deed, meine [sic], conveyance, or other instrument, granting, conveying, or assigning every other 320 acres within the fame parts of the said dominions, a stamp duty of five shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any grant, appointment, or admission of or to any beneficial office or employment, not herein before charged, above the value of twenty pounds per annum sterling money, in salary, fees, and perquisites, or any exemplification of the same within the British colonies and plantations upon the continent of America, the islands belonging thereto, and the Bermuda and Bahama Islands (except commissions of the officers of the army, navy, ordnance, or militia, and of justices of the peace), a stamp duty of four pounds .
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any such grant, appointment, or admission of or to any such public beneficial office or employment, or any exemplification of the fame within all other parts of the British dominions in America, a stamp duty of six pounds.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any indenture, lease, conveyance, contract, stipulation, bill of sale, charter party, protest, articles of apprenticeship or covenant (except for the hire of servants not apprentices, and also except such other matters as herein before charged), within the British colonies and plantations in America, a stamp duty of two shillings and six pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which any warrant or order for auditing any public accounts, beneficial warrant, order, grant, or certificate, under any public seal, or under the seal or sign manual of any governor, proprietor, or public officer, alone or in conjunction with any person or persons, or with any council, or any council and assembly, not hereinbefore charged, or any passport or letpass, surrender of office, or policy of assurance, which shall be engrossed, written, or printed, within the said colonies and plantations (except warrants or orders for the service of the army, navy, ordnance, or militia, and grants of offices under twenty pounds per annum, in salary, fees, and perquisites), a stamp duty of five shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed any notarial act, bond, deed, letter of attorney, procuration, mortgage, release, or other obligatory instrument, not herein before charged, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of two shillings.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written or printed any register, entry, or enrollment of any grant, deed, or other instrument whatsoever, herein before charged, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of three pence.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed grant register, entry, or enrollment of any grant, deed, or other instrument whatsoever, not herein before charged, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of two shillings.
  1. And for and upon every pack of playing cards, and all dice, which shall be sold or used within the said colonies and plantations, the several stamp duties following (that is to say):
  1. For every pack of cards, one shilling;
  1. For every pair of such dice, ten shillings;
  1. And for and upon every paper called a pamphlet, and upon every newspaper containing public news or occurrences, which shall be printed, dispersed and made public, within any of the said colonies and plantations, and for and upon such advertisements as are hereinafter mentioned, the respective duties following (that is to say):
  1. For every such pamphlet and paper, contained in a half sheet or any lesser piece of paper, which shall be so printed, a stamp duty of one half-penny for every printed copy thereof.
  1. For every such pamphlet and paper (being larger than half a sheet and not exceeding one whole sheet) which shall be printed, a stamp duty of one penny for every printed copy thereof.
  1. For every such pamphlet and paper, being larger than one whole sheet and not exceeding six sheets in octavo, or in a 1esser page, or not exceeding twelve sheet in quarto, or twenty sheets in folio, which shall be so printed, a duty after the rate of one shilling for every sheet of any kind of paper which shall be contained in one printed copy thereof.
  1. For every advertisement to be contained in any gazette, newspaper, or other paper, or any pamphlet which shall be so printed, a duty of two shillings.
  1. For every almanac, or calendar, for anyone particular year, or for any time less than a year, which shall be written or printed on one side only of any one sheet, skin, or piece of paper, parchment, or vellum, within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of two pence.
  1. For every other almanac or calendar, for anyone particular year, which shall be written or printed within the said colonies and plantations, a stamp duty of four pence.
  1. And for every almanac or calendar written or printed in the said colonies and plantations to serve for several years, duties to the fame amount respectively shall be paid for every such year.
  1. For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper on which any instrument, proceeding, or other matter or thing aforesaid shall be engrossed, written, or printed, within the said colonies and plantations, in any other than the English language, a stamp duty double the amount of the respective duties before charged thereon.
  1. And there shall be also paid, in the said colonies and plantations, duty of six pence for every twenty shillings, in any sum not exceeding fifty pounds sterling money, which shall be given, paid, contracted, or agreed for with or in relation to any clerk or apprentice, which shall be put or placed to or with any master or mistress, to learn any profession, trade, or employment. II. And also a duty of one shilling for every twenty shillings, in any rum not exceeding fifty pounds, which shall be given, paid, contracted, or agreed for, with or in relation to, any such clerk or apprentice.
  1. Finally, the produce of all the aforementioned duties shall be paid into his Majesty’s treasury, and there held in reserve to be used from time to time by the Parliament for the purpose of defraying the expenses necessary for the defence, protection, and security of the said colonies and plantations.

Transcription ends.

The last section spells out the rationale for the paper duties: Protection of the colonies. Some historians believe the demand was reasonable because of the recent French-Indian Wars. Great Britain needed to pay for the expense. Maybe Great Britain and these historians are right.

However, these taxes were extensive and expensive. Six pounds for any paperwork representing an admission to public office? For skin or vellum or a piece of paper? Sometimes such laws gives the appearance of buying offices. And then for every deed written on paper a yeoman farmer had to pay a tax? The Stamp Act affected everyone and intruded into everyday business. The king seemed like a “control freak.”

Imagine the colonists reading or hearing the long proclamation to the public. They reacted viscerally and (in my view) not irrationally.

Transcription begins:

RESOLUTIONS AGAINST THE STAMP ACT:

Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this his Majesty’s colony and dominion brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all other his Majesty’s subjects since inhabiting in this his Majesty’s said colony, all the privileges, franchises, and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

Resolved, That by two royal charters, granted by King James the First the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of denizens and natural-born subjects, to all intents and purposes if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

Resolved, That the taxation of the people by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who con only know what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest mode of raising them, and are equally affected by such taxes themselves, is the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, and without which the ancient Constitution cannot subsist.

Resolved, That his Majesty’s liege people of this most ancient colony have uninterruptedly enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own Assembly in the article of their taxes and internal police, and that the fame hath never been forfeited or in any other way given up, but hath been constantly recognized by the kings and people of Great Britain.

Resolved, Therefore, That the General Assembly of this colony has the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom.

Transcription ends.

Patrick Henry wrote his endorsement of the Resolves by his handwritten signature on the back, as follows:

“The within resolutions passed the House of Burgesses in May, 1765. They formed the first opposition to the Stamp Act and the scheme of taxing America by the British Parliament. All the colonies, either through fear or want of opportunity to form an opposition or from influence of some kind or other had remained silent. I had been for the first time elected as a Burgess a few days before, was young, inexperienced, unacquainted with the forms of the House and the members that composed it.

Finding the men of weight averse to opposition, and the commencement of the tax at hand and that no person was likely to step forth I determined to venture, and alone, unadvised and unassisted on a blank leaf of an old law-book wrote the within. Upon offering them to the House violent debates ensued, many threats were uttered, and much abuse cast on me by the party for submission. After a long and warm contest the resolutions passed by a very small majority, perhaps by one or two only.

The alarm spread throughout America with astonishing quickness, and the Ministerial Party were overwhelmed. The great point of resistance to British taxation was universally established in the colonies. This brought on the brought on the war that finally separated the two countries and gave independence to ours.

Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary nature, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation.

Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.”

P. HENRY.

Transcription ends.

Thomas Jefferson gives an account of the circumstances surrounding the passage of the Resolutions:

Modernized transcription begins:

Mr. Henry moved and Mr. Johnston seconded these resolutions successively.

They were opposed by Messrs. Randolph, Bland, Pendleton, Wythe, and all the old members, whose influence in the House had, till then, been unbroken. They did it, not from any question of our rights, but on the ground that the same sentiments had been, at their preceding session, expressed in a more conciliatory form, to which the answers were not yet received. But torrents of sublime eloquence from Henry, backed by the solid reasoning of Johnston. prevailed.

The last, however, and strongest resolution was carried but by a single vote. The debate on it was most bloody. I was then but a student and stood at the door of communication between the House and the lobby (for as yet there was no gallery) during the whole debate and vote; and I will remember that, after the members on the division were told and declared from the chair, Peyton Randolph (the Attorney-General) came out at the door where I was standing, and said, as he entered the lobby:

“By God, I would have given 500 guineas for a single vote”; for one would have divided the House; and Robinson was in the chair, who he knew would have negatived the resolution.

Mr. Henry left town that evening, and the next morning, before the meeting of the House, Colonel Peter Randolph, then of the Council, came to the Hall of Burgesses, and sat at the clerk’s table till the House-bell rang, thumbing over the volumes of journals, to find a precedent for expunging a vote of the House, which, he said, had taken place while he was a member or clerk of the House, I do not recollect which. I stood by him at the end of the table a considerable part of the time, looking on, as he turned over the leaves, but I do not recollect whether he found the erasure.

In the meantime, some of the timid members, who had voted for the strongest resolution, had become alarmed; and as soon as the House met, a motion was made and carried to expunge it from the journal. There being at that day but one printer, and he entirely under the control of the Governor, I do not know that the resolution ever appeared in print. I write this from memory, but the impression made on me at the time was such as to fix the facts indelibly in my mind. I suppose the original journal was among those destroyed by the British, or its obliterated face might be appealed to.

And here I will state that Burk’s statement of M’ Henry’s consenting to withdraw two resolutions, by way of compromise with his opponents, is entirely erroneous.

Transcription ends.

All the resolutions did not pass, as Patrick Henry wished, so it was determined that they should be printed for the benefit of all the colonies. These resolves appeared in the Newport Mercury on June 24 and were later copied by the Boston papers on July 1.

Modernized transcription of the full text begins:

Whereas, The Honorable House of Commons, in England, have of late drawn into question how far the General Assembly of this colony hath power to enact laws for laying of taxes and imposing duties payable by the people of this, his Majesty’s most ancient colony; for settling and ascertaining the same to all future times, the House of Burgesses of this present General Assembly have come to the following resolves.

Resolved, That the first adventurers, settlers of this his Majesty’s colony and dominion of Virginia, brought with them and transmitted to their posterity, and all other his Majesty’s subjects, since inhabiting in this his Majesty’s colony, all the privileges and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

Resolved, That by two royal charters, granted by King James the First, the colony aforesaid are declared and entitled to all privileges and immunities of natural born subjects, to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding, and born within the realm of England.

Resolved, That his Majesty’s liege people of this ancient colony have enjoyed the right of being thus governed by their own Assembly in the article of taxes and internal police, and that the same have never been forfeited or any other way yielded up, but have been constantly recognized by the King and the people of Great Britain;

 Resolved, Therefore, that the General Assembly of this colony, together with his Majesty or his substitutes have in their representatives’ capacity, the only exclusive right and power to lay taxes and imposts upon the inhabitants of this colony; and that every attempt to vest such power in any other person or persons whatever than the General Assembly aforesaid, is illegal, unconstitutional and unjust and has manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American liberty;

Resolved, That his Majesty’s liege people, the inhabitants of this colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law or ordinance whatever, designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them, other than the laws or ordinances of the General Assembly aforesaid;

Resolved, That any person who shall, by speaking or writing, assert or maintain that any person or persons, other than the General assembly of this colony, have any right or power to impose or lay any taxation on the people here, shall be deemed an enemy of his Majesty’s colony.

Transcription ends.

The Stamp act, among other causes, ignited the Revolutionary War. Was the tax itself unreasonable in principle, if not in the details?

RELATED

Six Nations Deed of 1768

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