Sunday, March 25, 2012

Commercial Tyranny

On March 26, 1776, Elbridge Gerry, a Massachusetts Delegate to the Continental Congress, wrote to James Warren, President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, urging the Provincial Congress authorize the colony's delegates to vote for American independence from Great Britain. Gerry thought the publication of the instructions, with a list of grievances against British policy, would encourage "doubtful minds" in other colonies. In his pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine recommended the colonies issue such an enumeration of grievances in a declaration of independence.

Gerry remarked, "Is it not curious that the British Ministry should know so little of our feelings or character, that, after seizing our property, burning our towns, and destroying their inhabitants, they should make an act to interdict our trade, and suppose that Towns, Counties, and Colonies will bury in oblivion all former abuses, and subscribe themselves slaves, in order to be rescued from the severities of this this commercial tyranny?"

Read Gerry's letter in its entirety at the American Archives site of the Northern Illinois University Libraries.
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