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The mother country was laboring under the weight of burdensome
taxes, and, since the colonies had always been prompt in voting money
and supplies as well as men to assist England, Parliament thought she
saw a way of shouldering a large part of this burden upon the Americans.
Her attempts to do so and the results therefrom properly belong to the
succeeding chapter.


HOME LIFE OF THE COLONISTS.

A few facts will assist in understanding the events that follow.
Slavery, as has been stated, was legal and existed in all the colonies,
but climatic conditions caused it to flourish in the South and decline
in the North. All the colonies were Protestant, though religious liberty
was permitted everywhere.

The laws were amazingly strict and would never be submitted to in these
times. To illustrate: a watchman in Hartford rang a bell every morning
as notice to all adults to rise from their beds. Massachusetts had
fourteen and Virginia seventeen offenses that were punishable with
death. Some of the minor punishments were unique. If a woman became a
common scold, she was placed near her own door, with a gag fastened in
her mouth, that all might see and beware of her example. For other
offenses, a man was ducked in water or put in the stocks. A stock was a
strong framework, through which the feet or both feet and hands were
thrust and held fast, while the pillory was a framework through which
the head and hands of a criminal were imprisoned. Besides the disgrace
attending such punishment, it was very trying. The whipping-post was
quite common long after the Revolution, and it is still occasionally
used in Delaware.

[Illustration: AMERICAN STAGE-COACH OF 1795, FROM "WELD'S TRAVELS."
(Probably similar in form to those of the later colonial period.)]

Men and boys dressed much alike, and the fashions for women and girls
were similar. The breeches of the men suggested the present style of
knickerbockers, the rich making quite a display of silver buckles and
buttons. The breeches of the poorer people were made of coarse cloth,
deerskin, or leather, the object being to obtain all the wear possible.
The wealthy used velvet, and the men and women were as fond of display
as their descendants.

In the earliest days, all the houses were made of logs, and oiled paper
took the place of glass for windows. Carpets were an unknown luxury.
Often the floor was the smooth, hard ground. The cooking was done in the
big fireplace, where an iron arm called a crane was swung over the fire
and sustained the pots and kettles. Coal and matches were unknown, a
fire being started by means of a piece of steel and flint or with the
help of a sun glass.

Coffee and tea were great luxuries, but nearly every family made its own
beer. Rum and hard cider were drunk by church people as well as others,
the only fault being when one drank too much. The important cities and
towns were connected by stages, but most of the traveling was done on
foot or horseback. Since most of the settlements were near the sea or on
large rivers, long journeys were made by means of coasting sloops. When
a line of stages in 1766 made the trip between New York and Philadelphia
in two days, it was considered so wonderful that the vehicles were
called "flying machines."

Regarding the state of religion in the colonies, Prof. George F. Holmes
says:

"The state of religion among the people differed greatly in the
different provinces. The Church of England was the established religion
in New York, Virginia, and the Carolinas. In Maryland, the population
remained largely Roman Catholic. In New England the original Puritanism
was dominant, but its rigor had become much softened. A solemn and
somewhat gloomy piety, however, still prevailed. The Presbyterians were
numerous, influential, and earnest in New Jersey. There, but especially
in Pennsylvania, were the quiet and gentle Quakers. In Carolina and
Georgia, Moravians and other German Protestants were settled, and
Huguenot families were frequent in Virginia and South Carolina.

"Everywhere, however, was found an intermixture of creeds, and
consequently the need of toleration had been experienced. Laxity of
morals and of conduct was alleged against the communities of the
Anglican Church. In the middle of the eighteenth century a low tone of
religious sentiment was general. The revival of fervor, which was
incited then by the Wesleys, was widely spread by Whitefield in America,
and Methodism was making itself felt throughout the country. The
Baptists were spreading in different colonies and were acquiring
influence by their earnest simplicity. They favored liberty in all forms
and became warm partisans of the revolutionary movement."

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

When the third attack was made, and the Americans' ammunition was
exhausted with the first volley, a desperate hand-to-hand struggle
followed. General Warren was fighting heroically when a British officer
recognized him, seized a musket from a private and shot him dead.]




CHAPTER IV.

THE REVOLUTION--THE WAR IN NEW ENGLAND.

Clauses of the Revolution--The Stamp Act--The Boston Tea
Party--England's Unbearable Measures--The First Continental
Congress--The Boston Massacre--Lexington and Concord--The Second
Continental Congress--Battle of Bunker Hill--Assumption of Command by
Washington--British Evacuation of Boston--Disastrous Invasion of Canada.


CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION.

England was never guilty of greater folly than in the treatment of her
American colonies after the close of the French and Indian War. As has
been said, she was oppressed by burdensome taxation and began seeking
excuse for shifting a large portion of it upon the shoulders of her
prosperous subjects across the sea, who had always been ready to vote
money and give their sons to help in the wars which were almost solely
for the benefit of the mother country. It has been shown that the
intercolonial conflicts were of no advantage to the colonies which were
dragged into them and suffered greatly therefrom. Since the surrounding
territory would soon be necessary for the expansion of the Americans,
they had much to gain by the defeat of the French and their expulsion
from America; but they had done their full share, and it was unjust to
demand further sacrifices from them.


PASSAGE OF THE STAMP ACT.

Hardly had peace been declared, when, in 1764, the British government
asserted that it had the _right_ to tax her colonies. The latter paid
little attention to the declaration, but were rudely awakened in 1765 by
the passage of the Stamp Act, which was to go into effect in November of
that year. It decreed that thenceforward no newspapers or pamphlets
could be printed, no marriage-certificate given, and no documents used
in lawsuits, unless stamps were attached, and these could be bought only
from British agents.

It was ordered further that the oppressive Navigation Acts, which had
been evaded for a hundred years, should be rigidly enforced, while
soldiers were to be sent to America to see that the orders were carried
out. Since these troops were to be paid from the money received for the
stamps, it will be seen that the Americans would be obliged to bear the
expense of the soldiers quartered upon them.

Now we use revenue stamps to-day and no one objects, but the difference
in the two cases is that we tax ourselves for our own expenses, and our
representatives grade the taxes so as to suit the people. If we do not
think the taxes equitable, we can elect other representatives, pledged
to change them. But it must be remembered that we never had a
representative in the British Parliament, whose English members did just
as they pleased. That was "taxation without representation."

The news of the action of the British government threw the colonies into
an angry mood and they vehemently declared their intention to resist the
Stamp Act. They did not content themselves with words, but mobbed the
stamp agents, compelled others to resign, and, when the date arrived for
the act to go into effect, they refused to buy a single obnoxious stamp.


REPEAL OF THE STAMP ACT.

The Stamp Act Congress, as it was called, met in New York City, October
7, 1765. There were representatives from all the colonies except four,
but they supported the others. Lacking the authority to make any laws,
it issued a bold declaration of rights and sent petitions to the king
and Parliament, setting forth the American grievances. The sturdy
resistance of the colonies alarmed England. They had many friends in
Parliament, including the illustrious Pitt, and, at the beginning of
1766, the act was repealed. The Americans were so delighted that they
almost forgot that England in repealing the act still asserted her right
to tax them.

Several years now followed in which the colonies quietly resisted the
efforts of England to tax them. This was done by a general agreement not
to buy any of the articles upon which taxes were laid. The men who did
this and opposed the mother country were known as Whigs, while those who
stood by England were called Tories.


DEFIANT ACTS BY THE AMERICANS.

But violence was sure to follow where the indignation was so intense and
widespread. There were continual broils between the British soldiers and
citizens, the most serious of which occurred in Boston on March 5, 1770,
when the soldiers fired upon the citizens who had attacked them, killed
three and wounded several. This incident, known in history as the
"Boston Massacre," added to the mutual anger. In North Carolina, William
Tryon, the Tory Governor, had a battle with the patriots at Alamance in
1771, killed a large number, and treated others so brutally that many
fled across the mountains and helped to settle Tennessee. In 1772, a
British vessel, the _Gaspé_, which was active in collecting duties from
Providence, was captured and burned by a number of Rhode Island people.
England offered a reward for the capture of the "rebels," but, though
they were well known, no one would have dared, if so disposed, to arrest
them.


THE BOSTON TEA PARTY.

The British Parliament was impatient with the colonies, and threatened
all sorts of retaliatory measures.



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