By the time the Tea Act was passed, the colonists had developed significant constitutional arguments concerning their rights within the British Empire and the powers of Parliament to tax them. What rights does the New York assembly advocate for the colonies? What arguments does the assembly use to justify these rights? What is their attitude toward the King?
PROCEEDINGS OF THE Committee of Correspondence.
THE Resolves proposed by this Board to the Inhabitants of this City, having been published and dispersed through the Town several Days previous to this Meeting, and every Person thereby furnished with an Opportunity of considering them with due Deliberation: And as only a small Proportion of the Citizens attended the Meeting at the Coffee-House, to signify their Sense of the same, and the Sentiments of the Majority still remaining uncertain; therefore, to remove all Doubts and Uneasiness on that Head, it is ordered that certain Amendments be made to the said Resolves, and that two or more Persons be appointed in each Ward to take the Sense of the Freeholders, Freemen, and such others who pay Taxes, respecting the said Resolutions so amended; as also of the Delegates nominated by this Committee to attend the Congress.--But in the mean Time, altho' the said Resolves cannot with Certainty be said to correspond with the Sentiments of the major Part of the Citizens, tho' in all Probability they do, yet, as they contain our Sentiments, it is further ordered, that they be immediately published as such; leaving those who may dissent from us, to declare their Opinions in such other Phrases or Modes of Expression, as they shall think proper.
First. RESOLVED, That his most sacred Majesty GEORGE the Third, King of Great-Britain, is our liege, lawful and rightful Sovereign, and that it is our indispensible Duty to the utmost of our Power, by all constitutional Means to maintain and support his Crown and Dignity. That it is our greatest Happiness and Glory to have been born British Subjects; and, that we wish nothing more ardently than to live and die as such. That we are one People, connected by the strongest Ties of Affection, Duty, and Interest, and that we lament as the greatest Misfortune, every Occurence which has the least Tendency to alienate or disturb that mutual Harmony and Confidence, which, if properly cultivated, could not fail rendering the British Empire the Admiration and Envy of all the World. That we therefore view with inexpressible Concern and Grief, some late Acts of the British Parliament, claiming Rights and exercising Powers which we humbly conceive are replete with Destruction, and may be attended with the most fatal Consequences to the Colonies, and their parent State.
Second. RESOLVED, That all Acts of the British Parliament imposing Taxes on the Colonies, are unjust and unconstitutional, and particularly that the Act for blocking up the Port of Boston is, in the highest Degree arbitrary in its Principles, oppressive in its Operation, unparalleled in its Rigour, indefinite in its Exactions, and subversive of every Idea of British Liberty; and therefore justly to be abhorred and detested by all good Men.
Third. RESOLVED, That the Destruction of the Tea at Boston was not the only Motive for bringing such unexampled Distress on that People, because the alternative of suffering is, or paying for the Tea had otherwise been left in their Option; but we truly lament that the enforcing the Right of Taxation over the Colonies seems to have been the main Design of the said Act of Parliament.
Fourth. RESOLVED, That Vengeance separately directed, has a more dangerous Tendency, and is more destructive of the Liberties of America, than conjunctively; and that therefore it is the indispensible Duty of all the Colonies, according to their different Circumstances, to afford every reasonable Assistance to a Sister Colony in Distress; especially when that Distress is evidently calculated to intimidate others from contributing what may be in their Power, to procure the desired Relief.
Fifth. RESOLVED, That the proposed Congress of Delegates from the different Colonies, to consult on the Mode of procuring Relief from our Difficulties, is the most prudent Measure that could have been devised at this alarming Crisis.
Sixth. RESOLVED, That as the Wisdom of the Colonies will, in all Probability, be collected at the proposed Congress, it would be premature in any Colony to anticipate their Conduct, by resolving what ought to be done; but that it should be left to their joint Councils, to determine on the Mode which shall appear most salutary and effectual to answer the good Purposes for which they are convened.
Seventh. RESOLVED, That nothing less than dire Necessity can justify, or ought to induce the Colonies to unite in any Measure that might materially injure our Brethren the Manufacturers, Traders, and Merchants in Great-Britain: But that the Preservation of our inestimable Rights and Liberties, as enjoyed and exercised, and handed down to us by our Ancestors, ought to supercede all other Considerations; and that therefore we doubt not the cool, dispassionate People of England, whose Friendship on former Occasions we have experienced, will, on mature Consideration, not only applaud our Motives, but co-operate with us in all constitutional Measures, for carrying these our virtuous Resolutions into execution, in order to obtain the desired and just Redress of our Grievances.
Eighth. RESOLVED, That if a Non-Importation Agreement of Goods from Great-Britain should be adopted by the Congress, it ought to be very general and faithfully adhered to; and that a Non-Importation partially observed, like the last, would answer no good Purpose; but on the contrary, only serve to expose all the Colonies to further Injuries.
Ninth. RESOLVED Therefore, That the Delegates to the Congress, ought to be so chosen, or instructed, that they may "be able not "only to speak the Sentiments, but to pledge themselves for the good Conduct of the People of the Colonies, they respectively represent."
Tenth. RESOLVED, That the Tribute of our most grateful Thanks, is justly due to to all the Friends of the Colonies in Great-Britain, who are opposed to the severe Measures now exerting against them; and particularly to those illustrious Patriots who so ably distinguished themselves in both Houses of Parliament, in opposing Laws, which, at the same Time that they subvert the Liberties of America, have a manifest Tendency to injure those of the Mother Country, and may eventually entirely overthrow their ONCE excellent Constitution.
The following Motion was made by Mr. Jay, and seconded by Mr. Laight,--That a Committee be appointed to take the Distresses of the Poor of the Town of Boston, and Ways and Means for their Relief, into Consideration; and make their Report with all convenient Speed.--Ordered, That Mr. Alsop, Mr. Jay, Mr. Curtenius, Mr. Laight, Mr. Duyckinck, and Mr. De Lancey, be a Committee for that Purpose.
By Order of the Committee,