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The province of Virginia took the lead. On the 29th May, 1765, the House of Burgesses of Virginia adopted the following resolutions:

"Whereas the honourable House of Commons in England have of late drawn into question how far the General Assembly of this province hath power to enact laws for levying taxes and imposing duties payable by the people of this his Majesty's most ancient colony; for settling and ascertaining the same to all future times, the House of Burgesses of this present General Assembly have come to the following resolutions:


1. "_Resolved_,--That the first adventurers and settlers of this his Majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all other his Majesty's subjects since inhabiting his Majesty's colony, all the privileges and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

2. "_Resolved_,--That by the two Royal Charters granted by King James the First, the colonies aforesaid are declared entitled to all privileges of faithful liege and natural-born subjects, to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

3. "_Resolved_,--That his Majesty's liege people of this most ancient colony have enjoyed the right of having been thus far governed by their own Assembly in the article of taxes and internal police; and that the same have never been forfeited, or in any other way yielded up, but have been constantly recognized by the King and people of Great Britain.

4. "_Resolved_, therefore,--That the General Assembly of this colony, together with his Majesty or his substitute, have, in their representative capacity, the only exclusive right and power to levy taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony; and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid, is illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust, and has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom." (Prior Documents, etc., pp. 6, 7.)


These resolutions were introduced by Patrick Henry, in an eloquent and animated speech, in the course of which the following extraordinary scene occurred: In an exciting tone he exclaimed, "Cæsar had his Brutus! Charles the First had his Cromwell! and George the Third----" The Speaker, greatly excited, cried out "Treason! treason!" which was re-echoed from all sides. Then Henry, fixing his eye on the Speaker, and pointing his finger towards him, raised his voice above the confusion and concluded, "And George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it." (Elliott's History, etc., Vol. II., p. 252.)

Mr Bancroft says: "The resolutions were published in the newspapers throughout America, and by _men of all parties_--_by Royalists_ in office not less than by the public bodies in the colonies--were received without dispute as the avowed sentiments of the 'Old Dominion.'" (History of the United States, Vol. V., Chap, xiii., p. 278.)

Source: The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 1 of 2, by Egerton Ryerson, Available on Project Gutenburg