THE STAMP DISTRIBUTERS. - In August, 1765, the names of the men in America chosen to be the distributers or sellers of the stamps and stamped paper were made public, and then the people began to act. Demands were made that the distributers should resign. When they refused, the people rose and by force compelled them to resign, and riots occurred in the chief seaboard towns from New Hampshire to Maryland. At Boston the people broke into the house of the lieutenant governor and destroyed his fine library and papers.

On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act went into force, but not a stamp or a piece of stamped paper could be had in any of the thirteen colonies. Some of the newspapers ceased to be printed, the last issues appearing with black borders, death's heads, and obituary notices. But soon all were regularly issued without stamps, and even the courts disregarded the law. [8]

THE STAMP ACT REPEALED, 1766. - Meantime the merchants had been signing agreements not to import, and the people not to buy, any British goods for some months to come. American trade with the mother country was thus cut off, thousands of workmen in Great Britain were thrown out of employment, and Parliament was beset with petitions from British merchants praying for a repeal of the stamp tax. To enforce the act without bloodshed was impossible. In March, 1766, therefore, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. [9] But at the same time it enacted another, known as the Declaratory Act, in which it declared that it had power to "legislate for the colonies in all cases whatsoever."

THE TOWNSHEND ACTS, 1767. - In their joy over the repeal of the Stamp Act, the colonists gave no heed to the Declaratory Act. But the very next year Charles Townshend, then minister of finance, persuaded Parliament to pass several laws since known as the Townshend Acts. One of these forbade the legislature of New York to pass any more laws until it had made provision for the royal troops quartered in New York city. Another laid taxes on all paints, paper, tea, and certain other articles imported into the colonies. [10]

THE COLONIES AGAIN RESIST. - None of the new taxes were heavy, but again the case was one of taxation without representation, so the legislature of Massachusetts sent a letter to the other colonial legislatures asking them to unite and consult for the protection of their rights. This letter gave so great offense to the mother country that Massachusetts was ordered to rescind her act, and the governors of the other colonies to see that no notice was taken of it. [11] And now the royal troops for the defense of the colonies began to arrive. But Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina refused to find them quarters, and for such refusal the legislature of North Carolina was dissolved.

THE BOSTON MASSACRE. - At Boston the troops were received with every mark of hatred and disgust, and for three years were subjected to every sort of insult and indignity, which they repaid in kind. The troops led riotous lives, raced horses on Sunday on the Common, played "Yankee Doodle" before the church doors, and more than once exchanged blows with the citizens. In one encounter the troops fired on the crowd, killing five and wounding six. This was the famous "Boston Massacre," and produced over all the land a deep impression. [12]

TOWNSHEND ACTS REPEALED, 1770. - Once more the resistance of the colonies - chiefly through refusing to buy British goods - was successful, and Parliament took off all the Townshend taxes except that on tea. This import tax of three pence a pound on tea was retained in order that the right of Parliament to tax the colonies might be asserted. But the colonists stood firm; they refused to buy tea shipped from Great Britain, but smuggled it from Holland. [13]

TEA TAX JUGGLE. - By 1773 the refusal to buy tea from the mother country was severely felt by the East India Company, which had brought far more tea to Great Britain than it could dispose of. Parliament then removed the export duty of twelve pence a pound which had formerly been paid in Great Britain on all tea shipped to the colonies. Thus after paying the three- pence tax at the American customhouses, the tea could be sold nine pence a pound cheaper than before.

THE TEA NOT ALLOWED TO BE SOLD. - The East India Company now quickly selected agents in the chief seaports of the colonies, and sent shiploads of tea consigned to them for sale. [14] But the colonists were tempted by cheap tea; they were determined that Parliament would not tax them. They therefore forced the agents to resign their commissions, and when the tea ships arrived, took possession of them. At Philadelphia the ships were sent back to London. At Charleston the tea was landed and stored for three years and then seized and sold by the state of South Carolina. At Annapolis the people forced the owner of a tea ship to go on board and set fire to his ship; vessel and cargo were thus consumed. At Boston the people wished the tea sent back to London, and when the authorities refused to allow this, a party of men disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea into the water. [15]

THE INTOLERABLE ACTS. - Parliament now determined to punish the colonies, and for this purpose enacted five laws called by the colonists the Intolerable Acts: -

1. The port of Boston was shut to trade and commerce till the colony should pay for the tea destroyed.

2. The charter of Massachusetts was altered.

3. Persons who were accused of murder done in executing the laws might be taken for trial to another colony or to Great Britain.

4. The quartering of troops on the people was authorized.