Dear English Cousin, According to your response to my letter, the grievances we have made are preposterous. I cannot change your mind I just hope to open your eyes to what is really happening in the colonies and help you see why our complaints are sensible. The British are not protecting us by leaving their troops on our land during a time of peace. We are already paying the debt from the war with France , we shouldn’t have to pay for an army that is not needed. The Townshend Acts are not reasonable, considering that we don’t get to elect the royal officials that are supposedly representing us by making such acts.
The Navigation Acts were based off mercantilist ideas, intending to dominate our economy. We set fire to the Gaspee in response to the crew taking our local livestock, and the private property we destroyed was brought over to be sold at a lower price to make us accept taxes without consent. All of the grievances we have made are justified because they are a violation of our rights as Englishmen. It seems to us, that protection, is not why the British are keeping their forces here. The British say that they put an army here to monitor the French population in Canada.
Why would we need protection in a time of peace? They tell the colonists they also put the army here to keep tensions with the natives from rising. The government has implemented the Proclamation of 1763 to do just that. We think a partial reason that the government signed the Proclamation of 1763 and continues to maintain an army here is because government is trying to keep us from expanding. We thought Parliament would want to help us seek new territory for growing crops and a growing population, but they are not allowing us West of the Appalachian Mountains.
We believe the main reason this professional military has been maintained on our land is to keep us from rebelling. This means we have no say in any matter that the royal officials decide and implement upon us. The army being here is wrong because we cannot elect officials to represent us and we have no way getting the attention of the British government when we don’t agree with their policies. The government dumped an army here, one that we do not wish to be here, and they expect us to pay for it too.
We understand that we do not pay as much tax as British citizens, however, we are not afforded the same privileges as Englishmen in Britain. With the help of the Writs of Assistance, tax collectors and officials can search wherever they want without specific warrants. This does not happen in Britain. Also, trails of colonists are being held before Vice-Admiralty courts. If we are considered Englishmen under the law, it is a violation of our rights if we do not get the chance to appear before a jury of our peers, just as citizens do in Britain.
We should not have to pay for an army that is kept here to protect us as Englishmen, when we are not being treated as Englishmen by the government. The outrage displayed as a result of the acts put into motion by Mr. Townshend is because of yet another violation of our rights as Englishmen. The Quartering Act required us to provide beds and supplies for an army that has no business being in the colonies. Parliament even went as far as to shut down all acts of the New York assembly when they refused to comply to Quartering Act.
This takes away the little representation we may have had in that colony. The Revenue Act of 1767 laid taxes on things such as lead, paper, and tea to pay for colonial governors and officials that were elected without our input and to raise money for the British government. The only one benefiting from the Townshend Acts is the mother country. The mercantilist Navigation Acts are more acts put into place to only help Britain. The acts were implemented to control the commerce of the colonies by restricting shipping.
First, items like sugar and tobacco, both staple crops grown in the colonies, were required to be carried by English ships that had to be manned by an English crew. Soon after, more products were added to list; then, all imports were required to be hauled to England and taxed before making their way to the colonies. These acts were used to obtain a monopoly over our staple crops and hold the colonies under the mercantile system, while the mother country controlled our economy to better their own. European countries have been doing for years to gain power and complete and total economic control over other countries.
If a county was not only regulating everything the British shipped, but swooping in and stealing their livestock and food while doing it, you too, would be angry enough to burn a ship. The crew of the Gaspee was known to steal from the locals and harass ships, delaying arrival to their destination, even when they had passed the customs inspection. This delay and harassment made for angry American merchants and citizens. When the Hannah, a ship that had properly passed inspections, was being chased down by the Gaspee, the crew took matters into their own hands.
To avoid being harassed and undergoing a lengthy search, the Hannah traveled through shallow waters to leave the Gaspee stranded until the water level would rise the next day. We had to do something to stop the British ships from the ship seemed to be the only solution to aid in getting the point across. The burning of the Gaspee was a failed message to the British government, because Parliament continued to place tight restrictions and implement plans to better their economy while ours was pushed aside.
In 1773 we took yet another blow to our economy and rights of representation when the British government passed the Tea Act. This allowed the East India Company to avoid the stop and taxes in Britain mandated by the Navigation Acts, making it very difficult for American merchants to compete with the low price of the imported tea. The government was attempting to trick Americans into accepting the tax on tea from the Revenue Act of 1767 by passing it off as the import tax from the Navigation Acts that was no longer required to be paid by the East India Company.
The only way to make Parliament see how all of these policies were really affecting the colonies was to take a stronger stance than we did with the Gaspee. We threw all of the tea into the Boston Harbor, because being tricked by a government that is supposed to be representing us is a violation of our rights. After the eventful night at the Boston Harbor, the king himself stated that “the colonists must either submit or triumph”, so as your army comes to the colonies to stop this so called rebellion, we will fight for the rights that have been violated by Parliament.
We will fight for either representation or freedom from the economic and military control. We will trade with countries that help to provide benefits to our economy. We will protect our merchants and shippers from unjust raids and we will not pay taxes levied by officials we did not partake in electing. We will fight because the rights we were promised as Englishmen have been taken away by the British government.