Annotation: Resolutions on the Stamp Act, Massachusetts Assembly
Document: WHEREAS the just rights of his majesty’s subjects of this province, derived to them from the British constitution as well as the royal charter, have been lately drawn into question: In order to ascertain the same, this house do unanimously come into the following resolves.
I. Resolved, –That there are certain essential rights of the British constitution of government, which are founded in the law of God and nature, and are the common rights of mankind;—therefore,
II. Resolved, –That the inhabitants of this province are unalienable entitled to those essential rights in common with all men: and that no law of society can, consistent with the law of God and nature, divest them of those rights.
III. Resolved, –That no man can justly take the property of another without his consent; and that upon this original principle the right of representation in the same body, which exercises the power of making laws for levying taxes, which is one of the main pillars of the British constitution, is evidently founded.
IV. Resolved, –That this inherent right, together with all other essential rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities of the people of Great Britain, have been fully confirmed to them by Magna Charta, and by former and later acts of parliament.
V. Resolved, –That his majesty’s subjects in America are, in reason and common sense, entitled to the same extent of liberty with his majesty’s subjects in Britain.
VI. Resolved, –That by the declaration of the royal charter of this province, the inhabitants are entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural subjects of Great Britain, to all intents, purposes, and constructions whatever.
VII. Resolved, –That the inhabitants of this province appear to be entitled to all the rights aforementioned, by an act of parliament, 13th of Gee. II.
VIII. Resolved, –That those rights do belong to the inhabitants of this province, upon principles of common justice; their ancestors having settled this country at their sole expense, and their posterity having approved themselves most loyal and faithful subjects of Great Britain.
IX. Resolved, –That every individual in the colonies is as advantageous to Great Britain, as if he were in Great Britain, and held to pay his full proportion of taxes there; and as the inhabitants of this province pay their full proportion of taxes for the support of his majesty’s government here, it is unreasonable for them to be called upon to pay any part of the charges of the government there.
X. Resolved, –That the inhabitants of this province are not, and never have been, represented in the parliament of Great Britain; and that such a representation there as the subjects in Britain do actually and rightfully enjoy, is impracticable for the subjects in America; —and further, that in the opinion of this house, the several subordinate powers of legislation in America were constituted upon the apprehensions of this impracticability.
XI. Resolved, –That the only method whereby the constitutional rights of the subjects of this province can be secure, consistent with a subordination to the supreme power of Great Britain, is by the continued exercise of such powers of government as are granted in the royal charter, and firm adherence to the privileges of the same.
XII. Resolved, as a just conclusion from some of the foregoing resolves,
That all acts made by any power whatever other than the general assembly of this province, imposing taxes on the inhabitants, are infringements of our inherent and unalienable rights, as men and British subjects, and render void the most valuable declarations of our charter.
XIII. Resolved, –That the extension of the powers of the court of admiralty within this province, is a most violent infraction of the right of trials by juries—a right which this house, upon the principles of their British ancestors, hold most dear and sacred; it being the only security of the lives, liberties, and properties of his majesty’s subjects here.
XIV. Resolved,–That this house owe the strictest allegiance to his most sacred majesty king George the third; that they have the greatest veneration for the parliament; and that they will, after the example of all their predecessors, from the settlement of this country, exert themselves to their utmost in supporting his majesty’s authority in the province, in promoting the true happiness of his subjects, and in enlarging the extent of his dominion.
Ordered, –That all the foregoing resolves be kept in the records of this house, that a just sense of liberty, and the firm sentiments of loyalty, may be transmitted to posterity.
Source: Founder’s Library