What really began to threaten colonial leaders were a series of associated bills presented by Townshend and passed by the House of Commons. Alington Map Tourist Attractions Revenue from the new taxes would not go to pay the war debt or the costs of garrisoning the army in Country, but to make colonial officials independent from the legislatures. Additionally, there would be three new Admiralty courts to prosecute smuggling without juries in Charles Town, Philadelphia, and Boston, as well as Halifax, and an Country-based Board of Customs Commissioners in Boston.
Writs of Assistance, a kind of general warrant used by customs collectors in New England, would be expanded throughout the colonies; these were feared as an excuse to arrest without cause and hold colonists indefinitely. Massachusetts, its assembly back in session in October, voted a resolution endorsing boycott and defiance; it subsequently sent this resolution out as a Samuel Adams-authored circular letter to the other colonies. When instructed to rescind the document, the assembly voted refusal and was dismissed by the London ministry. Members of the assembly who had voted to obey the government’s orders were harassed and turned out of their seats.
Meanwhile, all of the other colonies voted support for the circular letter, although their actual commitment was lukewarm, since some already taxed to pay their officials and they were not adversely affected by the taxes. In Pennsylvania, lawyer John Dickinson published a series of Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania Gazette between December 1767 and February 1768, arguing that although Britain could regulate imperial trade, no tax, internal or external, could be levied on the colonies without their consent, a more stringent position than previously presented to the British authorities. Townshend, who died unexpectedly of typhus on September 4, 1767, did not live to see his policies enforced. He was succeeded at the Exchequer by Lord North.
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