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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
The Times, New York 1770

About a third of the colonial population remained loyal to the Crown during the Revolutionary crisis. Loyalists were not convinced by the revolutionaries' charges of English conspiracies against American liberties. Indeed, Loyalists were often inclined to see groups like the Sons of Liberty as much more dangerous than British authorities. In the following address to the people of New York, what position does the writer take? Based on the language and argument, is the writer a loyalist or revolutionary? What is this writer's view of the Sons of Liberty?

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THE World continually puts on new Dresses, and is so disguised in various Shapes of Politics, that he must be a wise Man, that is able to unriddle the Transactions of them. It however requires not much Sagacity and Penetration to discover the Ends aimed at, by the Policies of some restless turbulent, ambitious Spirits amongst us, who have for some Weeks past endeavoured to inflame the Minds of the People, and to keep the City in hot Water.--Various, as specious, have been their Pretences.--But like the Iron Gates, presented to the University of Oxford, just before an Election for Members of Parliament, They might be easily seen through, and therefore have not yet had all the desired Effects.

The first general Discontent, that was attempted to be excited, was under the Pretence of giving Money to the Troops.--If it be asked by whom? The Answer is easy; by the Abettors of that truly patriotic Assembly, who, in open Violation of the sacred Rights of their Constituents, and to the Astonishment of all the judicious Friends to Liberty in Europe and America, persevered from Year to Year, in providing for the Troops in the most liberal, extravagant and unbounded Manner, at the only Time, when they ought to have refused it.--namely, during the Existence of the -- Act of Parliament depriving them of their Legislative Authority, if they dared to refuse making such Provision, the first Thing they did.--I say, the only Time when they ought to have refused it, because there has been no Time either before or since, when they ought not to have paid a due Regard to a constitutional Requisition from the Crown.

It was the Language of the Assembly, and a very principal Argument made Use of against the Stamp Act, in Favour of the People of this Colony in particular; That they always had, and probably, always would comply to the utmost of their Abilities, with every reasonable Requisition, either of Men or Money, to co-operate with the Mother Country, in protecting and defending their common just Rights and Liberties.--And who is there amongst us, except a certain Faction, that will maintain it to be unreasonable for this Colony, to contribute something in their own Way, to an Establishment necessary to be supported for the general Good of the Nation, and kept ready to act on any Emergency?--The Reasonableness of giving Money in such Cases, has never been disputed, nor was it by any one Member of the present House of Assembly, but only the Mode of giving the Money, although there has been so great an Outcry against giving Money to the Troops on any Terms whatever.--There is a wide Difference, in having Money extorted from us, without our Consent, or in giving it voluntarily and freely by our Representatives in General Assembly.--But so preposterously infatuated was a former A--y, that although no Objections were made to their giving Money; but only that they should make certain Resolves, to shew they did not give it in Compliance with a certain compulsory and oppressive Act of Parliament, and that they should also take up and read a certain Letter which a certain Lord had forbid them to do on Pain of their immediate Dissolution, yet it was with Difficulty and great Reluctance, that those two grand cardinal Points were attained; not without formal Instructions difficult to be procured, because violently opposed by most of the Partizans of a certain Party, who, after the Instructions were presented, it is well known, hesitated not to declare in all Companies, that they did not contain the Sentiments of the Electors, but that the major Part of them were of a contrary Opinion.

. . . [The Friends (meaning Quakers)] cannot be supposed to have been concern'd in the Writing, or to have countenanced the Publication of the infamous, inflammatory Piece, signed Brutus; which probably conduced greatly to promote the late Affrays with some Citizens and Soldiers.--Nor could the Friends have encouraged a Set of lawless Men to patrol the Streets, with great Clubs in their Hands, entering Houses and Vessels, and forcibly turning out and driving away, all the Soldiers whom they found at work in either, denouncing Vengeance against any Inhabitants, who should presume to employ them again:--But what can be more just and reasonable, than that a Preference should be given to some of our own poor People, who will do at least half as much Work for Four Shillings a Day, as a Soldier would do for Eighteen Pence or Two Shillings?--Or if a Man has Charity to bestow, what Right has he, or how dare he give it to a Soldier, to buy a Loaf of Bread for his starving Whores and Bastards; when he can bestow it so much better on some poor Inhabitants, too proud and lazy to work, who want it to purchase Rum for themselves, and Tea, Butter, Sugar, and fat Turkeys for their poor Wives, and honestly begotten Children?--But to be serious,--May it not from what has happened, be justly suspected, that the frequent Notices to meet at Liberty Poll, the violent Rage and Resentment which some People have endeavoured generally to excite against Soldiers, pretended to proceed from a Love of Liberty, and a Regard to the Interests of the Poor; do all tend to the same End, although the Pretences have been so very different.--May not,--No Money to the Troops;--whoraw for Ballotting,--employ {Omitted text, 1w} Soldiers,--All mean the same Thing?--Liberty is the Pretext.--But, it may be interpreted thus; if we cannot breed a Disturbance, and kick up a Dust in one Way, we must in another . . . .

But unbounded Liberty, will destroy itself.--And how can any Man be said to be free, who may not employ whom he pleases, and dispose of his own Property as he thinks fit.

A MERCHANT
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