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The American Revolution
The Colonies Move Toward Open Rebellion, 1773-1774
A Fixed Plan to Bring the Most Humiliating Bondage, 1774

After Boston's "tea party," Parliament passed a series of acts to punish the city and the Massachusetts Bay colony and to make an example of them for the other colonies. In the following broadside, how does the writer describe the impact on Boston of these acts? What does the writer say about the implications of these Parliamentary acts? What actions does the writer recommend be taken to resist the British?

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Gentlemen,

THE evils which we have long foreseen are now come upon this town and province, the long meditated stroke is now given to the civil liberty of this country? How long we may be allowed the enjoyment of our religious liberty is a question of infinite moment. Religion can never be retained in it's purity where tyranny has usurped the place of reason and justice. The bill for blocking up the harbour of Boston is replete with injustice and cruelty, thousands of innocent men, besides women and infants, are by it reduced to indegence and distress; and though we in this town more immediately feel this distress, yet our brethren in the other towns of this province, and all the other colonies, must see that we suffer in the common cause, and that they themselves must soon realize the sufferings under which we now labour, if no means are discovered for our relief. But if any should think that this town alone is to groan under the weight of arbitrary power, we are now furnished by our enemies with a still more glaring evidence of a fixed plan of the British administration to bring the whole continent into the most humiliating bondage.

A bill has been brought into parliament apparently for the purpose of taking away our charter rights, wherein it is to be enacted that the counsellors shall be appointed by mandamus from the king, that our justices of the superior court, justices of our inferior courts, and justices of the peace, shall be all appointed by the governor alone without the advice of the council, and all of them, excepting the justices of the superior court be removeable by him at his pleasure, that our juries shall not be chosen by the freeholders, as they heretofore have been, but by the sheriff of the county, and that this sheriff shall not be appointed by the governor and council as heretofore, but by the governor alone, so that our lives and properties are to be decided upon by judges appointed by the governor alone, and by juries chosen by a sheriff who must be entirely under the influence of the governor as he is appointed by him, and is removeable by him alone, whenever he shall discover a reluctance to conform to the will of the governor. Surely if we suffer these things we are the most abject slaves. If a favorite of a perverse governor should pretend a title to our lands, or any other part of our property, we need not doubt but a very small degree of evidence in support of the claim, would be judged sufficient, especially as the bill makes provision, that upon the motion of either of the parties, it shall be lawful to try the cause in another county than that in which the action was brought, so that a man is to be carried into a distant part of the province, instead of having his cause tried in his own county, and to be tried by strangers with whom the good or bad characters of the parties or of the witnesses can have no weight, contrary to the very spirit of magna charta. Of what value are our lands or estates to us, if such an odious government should be established among us? Can we look with pleasure on the inheritance left by our ancestors, or on the fields cultivated by our industry? When we reflect that all our labours have made them only a more inviting prey to our enemies, will not the vine-yard of Naboth be ever in our minds?

But lest any thing should be wanting to compleat our misery, another bill is also prepared, which enables the governor to save any person or persons, who, under the pretext of supporting or carrying into execution the late or other acts of the British parliament, shall murder and destroy the people of this country, from being tried in this province (even if they should be indicted by such grand jurors as shall be chosen by the sheriff of the county in the same manner that we have mentioned that petty jurors are to be returned) but the person indicted with such witnesses as he and the prosecutor (which will be the crown) shall judge proper, shall be sent to either of the other colonies, or even to Great Britain, to be tried for murdering the inhabitants of the Massachusetts-Bay. And provision is also made to prevent our meeting together in our corporate capacity as a town, unless it be once in the month of March for the election of the town officers, except the matter or business of the meeting is laid before the governor, and his leave in writing is obtained for a meeting of the town.

There is but one way that we can conceive of, to prevent what is to be deprecated by all good men, and ought by all possible means to be prevented, viz, The horrors that must follow an open rupture between Great Britain and her colonies; or on our part, a subjection to absolute slavery: And that is by affecting the trade and interest of Great Britain, so deeply as shall induce her to withdraw her oppressive hand. There can be no doubt of our succeeding to the utmost of our wishes if we universally come into a solemn league, not to import goods from Great Britain, and not to buy any goods that shall hereafter be imported from thence, until our grievances shall be redressed. To these, or even to the least of these shameful impositions, we trust in God, our countrymen never will submit.

We have received such assurances from our brethren in every part of the province of their readiness to adopt such measures as may be likely to save our country, that we have not the least doubt of an almost universal agreement for this purpose; in confidence of this, we have drawn up a form of a covenant to be subscribed by all adult persons of both sexes; which we have sent to every town in the province, and that we might not give our enemies time to counteract us, we have endeavoured that every town should be furnished with such a copy on or before the fourteenth day of this month, and we earnestly desire that you would use your utmost endeavours that the subscription paper may be filled up as soon as possible, that so they who are in expectation of overthrowing our liberties may be discouraged from prosecuting their wicked designs; as we look upon this the last and only method of preserving our land from slavery without drenching it in blood, may God prosper every undertaking which tends to the salvation of his people. We are, &c.
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