A line by line historical analysis of the accusations of the Declaration of Independence.
III. He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
In the spring of 1774, Parliament passed a bill, by which the free system of English government in Canada, or, as it was called, the "province of Quebec," was radically changed. Instead of the popular representative system by a colonial assembly, as obtained in the other Anglo-American colonies, the government was vested in a Legislative council, having all power, except that of levying taxes. The members of the council were appointed by the crown, the tenure of their office depending upon the will of the King. Thus the people were deprived of the representative privilege. A large majority of the inhabitants were French Roman Catholics, and as the same act. established that religion in the province, they consided this a sufficient equivalent for the political privilege that had been taken away from them. But "large districts" of people of English descent bordering on Nova Scotia, tell this act to be a grievous burden, for they had ever been taught that the right of representation was the dearest prerogative conferred by the Magna Charta of Great Britain. They therefore sent strong remonstrances to parliament, and humble petitions to the King, to restore them this right. But not only were their remonstrances and petitions unheeded, but their efforts to procure the passage of laws by the Legislative Council touching their commercial regulations with Nova Scotia, were fruitless, and they were plainly told by Governor Carleton (under instructions from the Secretary for Foreign Affairs) that no such laws should be passed until they should cease their clamors for representation, and quietly submit to the administration of the new laws. But, like their more southern neighbors, they could not consent to sacrifice a principle, even upon the stern demands of hard necessity, and they were obliged to forego the advantages which asked-for enactments would have given. The right which they claimed, was a right guarantied by the British constitution, and was "inestimable to them." But as the right was "formidable to tyrants," and as the King, by his sanction of the destruction of free English laws in Canada had dared to become such, they were oblied for submit, or else "relinquish the right of representation in the Legislature."
About the same time, a bill was passed "For the better regulating the government in the province of Massachusetts Bay." This bill provided for an alteration in the constitution of that province, as it stood upon the charter of William III to do away with the popular elections which decided everything in that colony ; to take away the executive power out of the hands of the growing democratic party; and to vest the nominations of the council, of the judges, and of magistrates of all kinds, including sheriffs, in the Crown, and in some cases in the King's governor. This act deprived the people of free "representation in the legislature;" and when in the exercise of their rights, and on the refusal of the Governor to issue warrants for the election of members of Assembly, in accordance with the provisions of their charter before altered, they called a convention, their expressed wishes, for the passage of "laws for the accommodation of large districts of people" were entirely disregarded. They were refused the passage of necessary laws, unless they would quietly "relinquish the right of representation in the legislature,a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only."
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