In 1765 the American Stamp Act was introduced into Parliament by Mr. Grenville; in support, Mr. Charles Townshend concluded an able speech in its support by exclaiming,
“And now will these Americans, children planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence until they are grown to a degree of strength and opulence; and protected by our arms; will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burthen which we lie under?”
On this colonel Barre rose, and, after explaining some passages in his speech, took up Mr. Townsend’s concluding words in a most spirited and inimitable manner, saying, “They planted by your care! No, your oppressions planted them in America.”
“They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable; and among others, to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and I will take upon me to say, the most formidable of any people upon the face of God’s earth”.
“As soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them, who were, perhaps, the deputies of deputies to some members of this House, sent to spy out their liberties, to misrepresent their actions, and to prey upon them; men whose behaviour on many occasions has caused the blood of these Sons of Liberty to recoil within them …”
“And believe me,-remember I this day told you so, the same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first will accompany them still, but prudence forbids me to explain myself further. God knows I do not at this time speak from motives of party heat; what I deliever are the genuine sentiments of my heart.
“The people, I believe, are as truly loyal as any subjects the king has; but a people jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate them if ever they should be violated. But the subject is too delicate. I will say no more.”
“These sentiments were thrown out so entirely without premeditation , so forcibly and so firmly, and the breaking off was so beautifully abrupt, that the whole house sat a while amazed, intently looking, without answering a word.” (History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, Gordon)
Sons of Liberty was an organization formed in the American colonies in the summer of 1765 to oppose the Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty took their name from this speech given in the British Parliament by Isaac Barré (February 1765), in which he referred to the colonials who had opposed unjust British measures as the “sons of liberty.”
The origins of the Sons of Liberty are unclear, but some of the organization’s roots can be traced to the Loyal Nine, a secretive Boston political organization. The Loyal Nine (“Loyall Nine”), a well-organized Patriot political organization shrouded in secrecy, was formed in 1765 by nine likeminded citizens of Boston to protest the passing of the Stamp Act.
The Loyal Nine evolved into the larger group Sons of Liberty and were arguably influential in that organization.
The Boston chapter of the Sons of Liberty often met under cover of darkness beneath the “Liberty Tree,” a stately elm tree in Hanover Square (at the corner of Essex Street and Orange Street (the latter of which was renamed Washington Street)).
On the night of January 14, 1766, John Adams stepped into a tiny room in a Boston distillery to meet with a radical secret society. “Spent the Evening with the Sons of Liberty, at their own Apartment in Hanover Square, near the Tree of Liberty,” Adams wrote.
After his visit, Adams assured his diary that he heard “No plotts, no Machinations” from the Loyal Nine, just gentlemanly chat about their plans to celebrate when the Stamp Act was repealed. “I wish they mayn’t be disappointed,” Adams wrote.
On August 14, 1765, violence broke out in colonial Boston. Over the course of that day and several ensuing days, rioters attacked several buildings in the city, including the homes of colonial officials.
The protest resulted from the Stamp Act, passed by the British Parliament on March 22, which would require the colonists to pay taxes on most circulating paper items-such as pamphlets, newspapers, almanacs, playing cards, and legal and insurance documents.
The August riot, which arose largely from the agitation of this group, contributed to the eventual repeal of the Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty claimed as members many of the later leaders of the Revolution, including Paul Revere, John Adams, and Samuel Adams.
The Sons of Liberty rallied support for colonial resistance through the use of petitions, assemblies, and propaganda, and they sometimes resorted to violence against British officials. Instrumental in preventing the enforcement of the Stamp Act, they remained an active pre-Revolutionary force against the crown. (Britannica)
For a number of years after the Stamp Act riot, the Sons of Liberty organized annual celebrations to commemorate the event.
Due to the increasing success of the Sons of Liberty, the British Parliament eased many of the duties in the colonies. However, the Parliament continued the high tax on tea, as the British Crown desperately needed money.
In 1773, the refusal to pay for British tea on behalf of the colonists fell upon deaf ears, and the East India Company’s trading ships were to enter Boston Harbor to sell the tea. However, rather than purchase the tea, on the night of December 16th, 1773 the Sons of Liberty boarded the trade ships docked in Griffin’s Wharf and threw the shipments of tea overboard in an event known as the Boston Tea Party.
Eventually, the patriotic resistance to British rule became too much to handle and revolution and war was inevitable. When lawmakers of Virginia gathered in 1775 to discuss negotiations with the British King, Sons of Liberty member, Patrick Henry exclaimed to the Second Virginia Convention “Give me liberty or give me death!”.
Thus, cementing the American stance for independence from British rule and initiating the American commitment to the Revolutionary War. (Battlefields)
Leave your comment here: