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perity; and, in prophetic visions of our future greatness, would have exclaimed with the son of Beor, “Blessed is het that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee." Finding all appeals to the throne unheeded, the Americans determined to redress themselves, and one of the primary measures adopted was, a suspension of all commercial dealings with Great Britain except for such articles as were absolutely and unequivocally necessary. Such non-intercourse could not fail of producing the most disastrous results in the mother country, whose prosperity was so intimately blended with the colonial trade. Mr. Grenville, Lord of the Treasury, asserted, that "every inhabitant of the colonies employs four at home.” “It was American trade," said the Earl of Chatham to 'the Peers, “which triumphantly carried you through the last war," and the eloquent Burke declared in the House ef Commons, “that whatever England had been growing to by a progressive increase of improvements brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilizing conquests and civilizing settlements in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her by America in a single life.” It was hoped, therefore, that the withdrawal of such important resources, and the misery consequent on such a procedure, might work that change in the ministry, which all the petitions and remonstrances had failed to effect. This plan was suggested as early as April, 1768, by the Boston merchants, but the Assembly of Virginia, in June, 1769, was the first legislative body which adopted resolves of non-importation and which, ere long, were sanctioned by the other colonies.
On the 16th of September, 1769, a meeting of the merchants and traders of Savannah was held at the house of Mr. Alexander Creighton, at which they resolved “ that any person or persons whatsoever importing any of the articles subject to parliamentary duties, after having it in their power to prevent it, ought not only to be treated with contempt, but also as enemies of their country.” Three days after, a larger meeting was convened, with the Hon. Jonathan Bryan, one of the Governor's Council, in the chair; at which the same subject was renewedly canvassed, and resolves of non-importation, mostly similar to the other colonies, unanimously passed. One of the resolves, based on the sentiments of the Bostonians in 1765, was, to abolish
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mourning at funerals, as the black stuffs used for such purposes were of British manufacture. Yes, rather than submit to an arbitrary taxation, the son could bury his father without the garments of the mourner, the bereaved husband forego the weeds of his affliction, and the mother commit her first born to the grave, with no habiliments of maternal sorrow; the weeping eye, the widowed bosom, the breaking heart, ay, even death, and the grave, could not separate them from their beloved liberty! Subdue such men! Sooner would the raging waves of the Hellespont be calmed by the chains of Xerxes, than the spirit of freemen be lashed into obedience by the iron thongs of a vindictive ministry.
For the part which Mr. Bryan took in this meeting, he was, ! by command of the King, displaced from the council, and
thus became the first object of royal vengeance in Georgia. Carrying out into detail the fundamental principle, that there should be no taxation where there was no representation, the Assembly, in 1769, inserted a clause in the annual tax bill exempting the four southern parishes from taxation, because they were allowed no members in the legislature, and this decisive stand produced in due time the required writs of election for the vacant parishes. There was a constant struggle between the Governor and the Assembly, the former asserting, that they arrogated to themselves the prerogatives of Parliament, that they exercised indecorous privileges, and usurped authority which the Royal instructions never vested in that body. The Assembly, on the other hand, claimed to be the sole legislative body, to be the only exponents of constitutional right, and the only depositary of political power; that they would be under no executive dictation, and submit to no infringement of their rights. Twice had the Goyernor dissolved the Assembly ; but the time had now arrived when a new agent of royal power was to be employed in humbling their pretensions to the supreme control of the colony.
At the opening of the Assembly, in 1770, Doctor Noble Wimberly Jones, one of the morning stars of liberty in Georgia, was unanimously elected Speaker; but the Governor put a negative on his election, and sent the House back to make a new choice. This proscription, which was designed as a rebuke to Doctor Jones, was more honorable to him than the commission which authorized it, and ranked him at once, with Otis, negatived by Sir Francis Bernard ; and with Hancock, negatived by Hutchinson. To them, the intended stigma, though for the moment mortifying to personal pride, was like the honorable wound of the soldier, the proud scar of a contest, which rescued almost a hemisphere from thraldom. The Assembly resented this insult to their elective franchise, and passed a resolution complimenting Doctor Jones, and declaring “ that the sense and approbation this House entertain of his conduct, can never be lessened by any slight cast upon him in opposition to the unanimous voice of the Commons House of Assembly in particular, and the Province in general.” And they furthermore resolved, “that this rejection by the Governor of a Speaker unanimously elected, was a high breach of the privileges of the House, and tended to subvert the most valuable rights and liberties of the people and their representatives.” This bold assertion was termed by the Council, a “most indecent and insolent denial of his Majesty's authority;" and the Governor at once dissolved the Assembly.
On the 10th of July, 1771, the Governor, availing himself of his Majesty's leave of absence, returned to England, and the administration devolved on James Habersham, the President of the Council, whose thorough knowledge of the Colony, whose long experience in public affairs, whose pure and upright character, and whose Fabrician firmness, eminently fitted him for this responsible station. But the part which he was called to act, by the royal mandate, was ex. ceedingly repugnant to his generous nature. His orders, however, were imperative, and compliance was unavoidable. In consequence of the resolutions of the last Assembly, which denied the authority of the Governor to negative their choice of a Speaker, the King commanded Mr. Habersham to signify his disapprobation of their conduct, and that he should, for the purpose of renewedly testing the question and to compel them to obedience, negative whoever might be first chosen as their next Speaker. The Assembly met on the 21st of April, 1772, and Doctor Jones was elected, who, on being presented to President Habersham, was, by virtue of his instructions, negatived. On a second ballot he was again elected, and again rejected. At the third trial, he was still their choice, but declining to serve, Archibald Bullock was chosen, whom the President accepted. But when, on examin
ing the journal of the House the next day, he ascertained the third election of Dr. Jones, of which he was hitherto ignorant, he sent them word to suspend all business until that minute was erased; but as the House resolutely refused to expunge it, he ordered the Assembly to be dissolved. These repeated interruptions in colonial legislation produced serious and alarming consequences. The treasury was overdrawn, and no provision made to replenish it; statutes of importance had expired, and no new enactments supplied their places; the judiciary was deranged, and no means were adopted to rectify it; and new necessities, civil and legal, had arisen, requiring legislative action, but the conventions of that body had been rudely dissolved, and the political existence of the colony was vitally endangered. These oppressions increased the adherents of the colonial cause. The flattering promises of the ministry to redress their grievances, had not been fulfilled, but new sources of distress had augmented those already existing, and cloud upon cloud, each darker and more foreboding than the former, was casting its gloom over their firmament. The passage of the Boston Port Bill, March 31st; 1774, by which Parliament precluded all commerce with that city ; followed by another which deprived Massachusetts of its chartered privileges; together with a law for sending state criminals to England " to be butchered in the King's Bench,” hurried on the catastrophe of war.
The designs of George the Third were now unmasked, and Lord North boldly declared that he would not listen to the complaints of America until she was at his feet. The words, indeed, were those of the favorite minister, but the sentiment was the King's. “I attribute,” said General Conway, in the House of Commons, “the very disagreeable situation we are now in, to the weakness of our counsels, and to a series of misconducts;" but he looked only to visible and secondary causes; he saw but the external machinery, and not the motive power which originated its operations; for, had the gallant soldier advanced one step beyond, he would have discovered the cause in the personal feelings of his Prince, wrought up to desperation by the oppugnation of his prerogative, not only by the Americans, but also by the opposition he experienced in Parliament, where “ that trumpet of sedition," as he termed Lord Chatham, made the walls of St. Stephens ring with the defence of oppressed millions. “If the people will not stand by me,” said he, not once, or twice, or thrice, merely, when, stung almost to madness by the conduct of the Whigs, be threatened to abdicate. “ If the people will not stand by me, they shall have another King." And when Lord North, like a wise Palinurus, foreseeing the danger, desired to retire from the helm of state, it was the constraining importunity of the King, which alone kept him at his post. The machiavelian fiction, which, making the ministers amenable for political failures, asserts that “the King can do no wrong," turned, indeed, the storm of a nation's wrath from this monarch, upon his officials; but it is nevertheless true, that the severe measures pursued towards America, originated oftener with the King than with the Premier, and that the very effort to accomplish his absorbing idea, “the preservation of the empire,” resulted, through his obdurate rancor, in its irretrievable disunion. Whatever might have been the effect of conciliatory measures, had they been pursued prior to the passage of these acts, it was now too late. The favorable moment had passed, and the thirteen colonies of America were lost to him forever. Remonstrances had failed; petitions had failed; defensive measures had failed ; and, in common with the other Provinces, Georgia, the last settled, and the last to renounce allegiance to the Crown, addressed herself to the sacrifice of every thing but liberty.
On the 20th of July, 1774, a notice appeared in the Georgia Gazette, calling a meeting of the inhabitants for the 27th, to take into consideration these and other proceedings of Parliament, and John Glen was chosen Chairman. Letters were read from the various committees of correspondence, and resolutions discussed, of similar tenor to those of the northern associations. But, in order that the whole Colony might be represented, and take part in this matter, the meeting was adjourned to the 10th of August, when a series of resolutions was unanimously agreed upon, declaring the Boston Port Bill, and other arbitrary enactments “contrary to natural justice and the spirit of the English Constitution.” A committee was also appointed to receive subscriptions for the suffering Bostonians, and such was the ardor of their sympathy, that in a few hours, six hundred tierces of rice were contributed, few subscribing less than ten