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Argumentative part of the Instructions (Note)


The army under the command of General Gage, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay alone, amounts to several thousand men, kept there without consent of their Assembly, and to be augmented as the General shall think proper.

"I must own, sir, I can see but one reason for raising at this present juncture, this additional number of troops, and that is to strengthen the hands of the Minister against the next election, by giving him the power of disposing of commissions to the sons, brothers, nephews, cousins, and friends of such as have interest in boroughs, into some of which, perhaps, troops may be sent to procure the free election of their members, in imitation of the late Czarina sending her troops into Poland to secure the free election of a King.

"But still there is one thing more fatal than all I have yet named, that must be the consequence of so great a body of troops being kept on foot in England, and will be the finishing stroke to all our liberties. For, as the towns in England will not be able much longer to contain quarters for them, most of those who keep publick houses being near rained by soldiers billetted on them; so, on pretence of the necessity of it, barracks will be built for quartering them, which will be as so many fortresses with strong garrisons in them, erected in all parts of England, which can tend to nothing, but by degrees to subdue and enslave the Kingdom.

"But if ever this scheme should be attempted, it will be incumbent on every Englishman to endeavour to prevent it by all methods, and as it would be the last stand that could be ever made for our liberties, rather than suffer it to be put in execution, it would be our duty to draw our swords, and never put them up till our liberties were secured, and the authors of our intended slavery brought to condign punishment. I hope I shall be forgiven, if, during the debates, I shall take the liberty of speaking again; for I am determined to fight, inch by inch, every proposition that tends, as I think this does, to the enslaving my country." — Lord Viscount GAGE' s Speech in 1739. Parl˙ Deb˙ Book 11 th˙ p˙ 388. See MONTESQ˙ on Standing Armies.

"A Minister declared in the House of Commons, that he "should always consider it as a part of the Constitution, that the military should act under the civil authority." But, by order, the Commander-in-chief of the forces has precedence of a Governour, in the Province under his government. By his Majesty' s order, transmitted in a letter dated the 9th of February, 1765, from the Secretary of State to the Commander-in-chief, it is declared, "that the orders of the Commander-in-chief, and under him, of the Brigadiers General, commanding in the Northern and Southern Departments, in all military affairs, shall be supreme, and must be obeyed by the troops as such, in all the Civil Governments in America. That in cases where no specifick orders have been given by the Commander-in-chief, or by the Brigadier General


commanding in the District, the Civil Governour in Council, and where no Council there subsists, the Civil Governour may, for the benefit of his Government, give orders for the marching of troops, the disposition of them for making and marching detachments, escorts, and such purely military services within his Government, to the commanding officer of the troops, who is to give proper order for carrying the same into execution, provided they are not contradictory to, or incompatible with, any order he may have received from the Commander-in-chief, or the Brigadier General of the District."

In May, 1769, the House of Representatives for Massachusetts Bay, requested Governour Bernard "to give the necessary and effectual orders for the removal of the forces, by sea and land, out of the port of Boston, and from the gate of the city, during the session of the said Assembly." To which he answered: "Gentlemen: I have no authority over his Majesty' s ships in this port, or his troops within this town; nor can I give any orders for their removal.

" May 31, 1769. FRA˙ BERNARD."

Thus, our Governours, the Captains General, and Commanders-in-chief, representing the Sovereign, and known to the Constitution of these Colonies, are deprived of their legal authority, in time of peace, by an order; and a perpetual dictatorial power established over us. To accomplish this great purpose, it was thought proper, during the last war, to change the mode of granting military commissions, and to pass that to the General in America, under the great seal. It is not known whether this uncommon formality has been observed with regard to the Major Generals of the respective "Districts."