(A line by line historical analysis of the accusations of the Declaration of Independence.)
VI He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.
Soon after the repeal of the Stamp Act, in 1767, the colonists were again alarmed at the expressed intention of ministers to enforce a new clause in the Mutiny Act. This act granted power to every officer, upon obtaining a warrant from a justice, to break into any house by day or by night, in search of deserters. The new clause alluded to provided that the troops sent out from England should be furnished with quarters, beer, salt and vinegar, at the expense of the colonies. The people justly regarded this as disquised taxation, and opposed it as a violation of the same principles as those upon which the Stamp Act trampled. Besides, the soldiers were insolent and overbearing toward the citizens; they were known to be quartered here for the purpose of abridging and subduing the independent actions of the people, and the supplies demanded were to be drawn from the very men whom they came to injure and oppress.
The Assembly of New York refused to make the required provisions for the troops, and in consequence of this disobedience of royal orders, its legislative functions were entirely suspended. The Assembly was prohibited from making any bill, order, resolution or vote, except for adjourning, or choosing a speaker, until the requirenients were complied with. Consequently "the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within" Thus matters stood for several months.
The Assembly of Massachusetts, also, after its dissolution by the governor in July, 1768, was not permitted to meet again until the last Wednesday of May, 1769, and then they found the state house surrounded by a military guard, with cannon pointed directly at the place wherein they met for deliberation. Thus restricted in the free exercise of their functions as legislators, the power they bad possessed " returned to the people, " because it was annulled in them by restraining their freedom of action.
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