Revolution, 1753-1783

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Author: Henry Seymour Conway  | Date: 1766

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The Repeal of the Stamp Act

HEREWITH I have the pleasure of transmitting to you copied of two acts of Parliament just passed. The first for securing the dependency of the colonies on the mother country; the second for the repeal of the act of [the] last session, granting certain stamp duties in America; and I expect shortly to send you a third, for the indemnity of such persons, as have incurred the penalties imposed by the act just repealed, as such a bill is now depending, and has made a considerable progress in the House of Commons.

The moderation, the forbearance, the unexampled lenity and tenderness of Parliament towards the colonies, which are so signally displayed in those acts, cannot but dispose the province, committed to your care, to that return of cheerful obedience to the laws and legislative authority of Great Britain and to those sentiments of respectful gratitude to the mother country, which are the natural, and I trust, will be the certain effects of so much grace and condescension, so remarkably manifested on the part of his Majesty’ and of the Parliament; and the future happiness and prosperity of the colonies will very much depend on the testimonies they shall now give of these dispositions.

For, as a dutiful and affectionate return to such peculiar proofs of indulgence and affection, may, now at this great crisis, be a means of fixing the mutual interests and inclinations of Great Britain and her colonies on the most firm and solid foundations, so it cannot but appear visible that the least coldness or unthankfulness, the least murmuring or dissatisfaction on any ground whatever, of former heat, or too much prevailing prejudice, may fatally endanger that union, and give the most severe and affecting blow to the future interests of both countries.

You will think it scarcely possible, I imagine, that the paternal care of His Majesty for his colonies, or the lenity or indulgence of the Parliament should go further than I have already mentioned: yet, so full of true magnanimity are the sentiments of both, and so free from the smallest color of passion or prejudice that they seem disposed not only to forgive, but to forget those most unjustifiable marks of an undutiful disposition too frequent in the late transactions of the colonies, and which, for the honor of those colonies, it were to be wished had been more discountenanced and discouraged by those, who had knowledge to conduct themselves otherwise.

A revision of the late American Trade Laws is going to be the immediate object of Parliament; nor will the late transactions there, however provoking, prevent, I dare say, the full operation of that kind and indulgent disposition prevailing both in His Majesty and his Parliament to give to the trade and interests of America every relief which the true state of their circumstances demands or admits. Nothing will tend more effectually to every conciliating purpose, and there is nothing therefore I have it in command more earnestly to require of you, than that you should exert yourself in recommending it strongly to the assembly, that full and ample compensation be made to those, who, from the madness of the people, have suffered for their deference to acts of the British legislature; and you will be particularly attentive that such persons be effectually secured from any further insults; and that as far as in you lies, you will take care, by your example and influence, that they may be treated with that respect to their persons, and that justice in regard to all their pretensions, which their merit and their sufferings undoubtedly claim. The resolutions of the House of Commons, which, by His Majesty’s commands I transmit to you, to be laid before the assembly, will show you the sense of that house on those points; and I am persuaded it will, as it certainly ought, be, the glory of that assembly to adopt and imitate those sentiments of the British Parliament, founded on the clearest principles of humanity and justice….

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Chicago: Henry Seymour Conway, "The Repeal of the Stamp Act," Revolution, 1753-1783 in America, Vol.3, P.82 Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GSQ57GU9UHLRKUZ.

MLA: Conway, Henry Seymour. "The Repeal of the Stamp Act." Revolution, 1753-1783, in America, Vol.3, P.82, Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GSQ57GU9UHLRKUZ.

Harvard: Conway, HS, 'The Repeal of the Stamp Act' in Revolution, 1753-1783. cited in , America, Vol.3, P.82. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GSQ57GU9UHLRKUZ.