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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
The Minions of Tyranny, New York, 1769

The Townshend Duties were not the only source of trouble between the colonists and the British ministry and Parliament. In the following address to the people of New York, what other sources of friction does the writer point out? How does the writer use language and argument to link these issues?

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To the PUBLIC.

IT does no honor to this city that a paper should be carried through its streets, to justify the granting money to the troops, which has so direct a tendency to counter-act all that the colonies have been contending for; without an answer to its fallacious and pernicious contents. I expected the Son of Liberty would have exposed the misrepresentations contained in it, but as he has not made his appearance, I conclude he does not think it worth a serious refutation. If there were not many falshoods in the address, that tend to impose on the ignorant; I should not be at any trouble to answer so scurrilous and flimsy an author, as the Citizen must appear to be to any man of sense. He has however verified what the Son of Liberty asserted in the exordium of his first paper, to wit, "That the minions of tyranny are indefatigible in their endeavours to enslave this country." This is a truth that glares with irresistable evidence. The Citizen felt the force of the arguments advanced by the Son of Liberty, and therefore knew that an attempt to refute them, would only contrast them with falshoods; which would serve to show truth in a stronger point of light. To prevent which he puts together a number of falshoods, affirmations, and questions to confuse the minds of the unintelligent; in order to draw their attention from their danger. But he is greatly mistaken; notwithstanding all his pretentions to patriotism, the Sons of Liberty see the cloven foot of despotism in his fallacious paper. The foundation upon which this very illogical gentleman proceeds to ensnare us, is, that our assembly's granting money to the troops, is to procure us a paper currency, a repeal of the revenue acts, in short it is to be the primum mobile or efficient cause that is to set us free, and make us a rich and happy people. Strange that all the money that we have hitherto given for this purpose, should not have had that, but a contrary effect. And now our giving it is to produce wonders. Let us examine what ground there is for all the mighty and important effects, that are to flow from this grant to the troops.

First, With respect to its obtaining a paper currency. If the Lieutenant Governor has instructions from the King his master, to give his consent to a bill to emit a paper currency, it must be attributed to the government's seeing it of utility to the province. If so, Why is the giving the money to the troops a condition, without which he will not give his consent to such a bill? No reason can be assigned for making such a condition to induce him to obey his master's orders. If on the contrary he has no such instructions, (as I am well inform'd he hath not) what security can we have; that although the Lieutenant Governor should give his consent to the bill, his Majesty would confirm it? None at all. What advantage then will his consent be to us? Of none but to deceive us. Even although the bills were now emitted and in circulation; if the King puts a negative on the bill, the loan-offices that gave out the money would be annihilated; the people would pay off some of their debts with the bills; and the last possessor would lose his money, or be put to the expence of a law suit: and thus instead of relief to the colony, confusion and distraction would ensue.

Secondly, As to our giving the money to the troops, having the least tendency to repeal the revenue acts it's the most unlikely and preposterous reason that can be offered. Was it by our passivity that the stamp act was repealed? No, but by our declaring our abhorrence of it, in every way that could be devised; except treason and rebellion; from both which I hope America will ever be preserved. Remember what your great patron Mr. Pitt said in the house of commons. "I rejoice that America has resisted." It is well known that the present ministry have saddled us with taxes and impositions as grievous and as incompatible with our freedom, as the stamp act was. Did our silence and inactivity with respect to the revenue acts, bring the ministry at home or their tools abroad; to a disposition to repeal them? No, the contrary is too well known. Is it not the united voice of America and of our friends in England, that the non-importation agreement of our merchants, and the clamours of the people in England against their tyrannical administration; that have brought them to consider the repeal of those acts necessary? Doubtless it is. And although they are pressed with these difficulties at home and abroad, and ministerial assurances have been given that those acts will be repealed, the next session of parliament, (in order to lull America asleep, that they might the better crush the friends of liberty at home,) yet we have advice by every vessel from England, doubting the certainty of their repeal. If then there is a doubt, that the united voice and opposition of a people, will not be effectual to get a repeal of the revenue acts, certainly an inconsistency of conduct will make it more doubtful. For the nature of the non-importation agreement is opposition to the conduct of the ministry. . . .

And now Sons of Liberty, be not discouraged at the fallacious squibs of the minions of power, there shall not be wanting persons of your own class, that will expose the cloven foot whenever it appears with a design to enslave you. Be firm therefore, although it should be said there are not any of the first people among you, you have more to fear if this country is enslaved than they have, their riches will screen them from many hardships that you will be exposed to, on such a dreadful event, and while you are free make a noble struggle to preserve your liberties, and there is no doubt but you will succeed.

New-York, December 23, 1769...........A PLEBEIAN.
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