Affiliate Link

The Conciliatory Bills

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

April 23.—The enemy, says a correspondent, after the flogging of Burgoyne, have resumed their old trick of sham treaty. General Tryon (by what authority he best knows) has introduced into New Jersey a ridiculous publication under the title of “Draught of a bill for declaring the intentions of the Parliament of Great Britain concerning the exercise of the right of imposing taxes within his Majesty’s colonies, provinces, and plantations in North America,” which just amounts to the old nauseous dish (which no honest American could ever swallow) with a little amendation in the cookery and sauces, together with theDraught of a bill to enable his Majesty to appoint Commissioners with sufficient powers to treat, consult, and agree upon the means of quieting the disorders now subsisting in certain of the colonies, provinces, and plantations in North America.” What renders this nonsensical manoeuvre still more ominous is, that General Tryon (and by the name of governor, too) certifies them to be true copies.1 Surely the ministry might have found a more proper person for that purpose than the most obnoxious of all obnoxious animals by his professed declarations in the pleasure he takes in burning, kidnapping, and every species of desolation. And offering pardon too—consummate impudence! Who wants and will stoop to accept of a pardon for defending his country against the most villanous tyranny that was ever devised by the art of man? Divide and rule. But America has too much sense to be so gulled.2


1 These bills were published in all the loyal newspapers of the time. In Rivington’s Gazette they were published with the subjoined introduction:—”The following draughts of two bills, presented and read in the House of Commons, on the 19th of February last, are produced to the public through the channel of this paper. They deserve the most serious attention of our unhappy fellow-subjects now in rebellion against the parent State, which hath from the first period of their existence, nursed and protected them with the tenderest and fondest care; overlooking the petulant humors which sometimes showed themselves, and which, from the first origin of the present troubles, hath endeavored by every prudent, mild, and reasonable method, to prevent those scenes of desolation and bloodshed which now distress the country, and threaten it with complete and horrid ruin. Here again does the lenity and mercy of Great Britain hold out peace, safety, and happiness upon a broad and firm basis to the deluded inhabitants of the colonies.”
2 New Jersey Gazette, April 23