In 1763, colonial Britons celebrated victory over France in the 7 Years War. In Boston, proud citizens of the newly-enlarged empire lit bonfires, rang church bells, mustered the militia, and also toasted “loyal healths.”<1> In 1764, solemn event turned come condemnation together Britain started taxing American colonists to salary for your defense. The street Act promised come inflict financial misery and also the tyranny of tax without representation.

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<2> prime Minister George Grenville to be just beginning to make Americans contribute their fair share.


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Caption reads: "Reading the stamp Act in King Street: the opposite the State House."

James H. Stark, "The Loyalists the Massachusetts and the various other Side of the American Revolution" (1907)

Creating the stamp Act

In the summer that 1763, Grenville contemplated a colonial stamp tax, a common form of British taxes dating come 1694. Legit documents, academic degrees, appointments to office, newspapers, playing cards, and also dice brought an embossed Treasury stamp to prove payment. While British officials considered colonial stamp taxes in 1722, 1726, 1728, and 1742, they never usurped colonial responsibility for interior taxes.<3>

Grenville addressed Parliament on in march 9, 1764, will on securing advancement support for the unwritten stamp bill. That expressed expect “that the power and also sovereignty the Parliament end every component of the british dominions, because that the purpose of raising or collecting any tax, would never be disputed.” The following day, Secretary that the Treasury cutting board Whately introduced early american revenue-raising resolutions, including the sugar Act (passed April 5, 1764). The fifteenth resolution—a stamp tax—was deferred for a year.<4>

As the possibility of a stamp tax hung in the air, Grenville offered to permit the provinces to "among themselves, and in modes finest suited to your circumstances, progressive a sum enough to the cost of your defense.”<5> However, this sell was, as historian Edmund Morgan observed, “nothing much more than a rhetorical gesture…to show his very own benevolence.” In a meeting with early american agents on may 17, 1764, Grenville brushed aside questions around suitable forms of colonial self-taxation. Instead, that asked them to agree in advance to Parliament’s appropriate to tax the colonies, before they had seen a completed rubber stamp bill. Neither he no one the Secretary that State for the southerly Department ever before made a formal sell to early american governors or legislatures around acceptable colonial alternatives.<6> as Benjamin Franklin it was observed later, Grenville to be "besotted v his rubber stamp Scheme...”<7>

Four work later, Parliament take it up the stamp bill. Charles Townsend described Americans as “Children planted by ours Care, nourished increase by our Indulgence…and safeguarded by our Arms” who must be willing to “contribute their mite ” to relax Britain of its hefty debt. In major opposition come this statement, Colonel Isaac Barré thundered:

They planted by your Care? No! your Oppressions planted em in America…They nourished by her indulgence? They prospered by your ignore of Em…They defended by her Arms? They have actually nobly take away up arms in her defence…<8>

Despite Barré’s words, both Townshend and Barré agreed that Parliament had actually the authority to taxes the American colonies. Grenville and Parliament invoked a long-standing dominion that Parliament would not accept citizen petitions versus money-related bills, ensuring fast passage the the bill. The stamp Act happen by a poll of 245 come 49 in the residence of Commons and also unanimously in the home of Lords. Enacted right into law on march 22, 1765, the rubber stamp Act would take effect on November 1.<9>

Boston printer john Boyle listed the arrival of the stamp Act on might 14, 1765: “Capt. Jacobson arrived below from London, has bro’t over the Act for levying specific Stamp-Duties in the british Colonies…”<10> though the rubber stamp Act meant to lug only a tiny annual revenue (£60,000), it required payment in specie (hard currency, such together gold or silver). Problem arose among colonists who did not have access to difficult currency, and they braced because that disaster as reports, rumors, and contradictory newspaper accounts ongoing to swirl.<11>


Economic affect of the stamp Act

Daniel Dulany, attorney and member that Maryland’s Proprietary Council, published “Considerations ~ above the Propriety the Imposing taxes in the british Colonies…” in 1765. Back the pamphlet focused on the unconstitutionality of taxation without representation, Dulany additionally summed up the rubber stamp Act’s detrimental financial effects:

…for they will create in every Colony, a better or less Sum, no in proportion to its Wealth, but to the Multiplicity of Juridical Forms, the quantity of vacant Land, the Frequency of delivering Landed Property, the extent of file Negotiations, the Scarcity of Money, and the number of Debtors.<12>

Buying and selling land—the main resource of colonial wealth—required multiple documents. In this cash-starved economy, mortgages on land—and enslaved people—were a kind of credit, in addition to promissory notes, bonds, and lines of credit through merchants, payable through plants or goods. If debtors defaulted, creditors needed litigation to accessibility their assets. The duties on every these creates would rise the costs of program legal transactions, especially for lawyers and merchants.<13>


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Political cartoons, consisting of this one, voiced colonists" opposition come the rubber stamp Act.

Massachusetts historic Society

Benjamin Franklin believed the stamp Act “will affect the Printers much more than Anybody,” through duties top top newspapers, advertisements, pamphlets, and almanacs.<14> In fact, that would influence all ranks of colonial society, from artist who had actually to authorize indentures v apprentices come tavern owners—many of them women—who had to obtain liquor licenses.<15>

The rubber stamp Act could likewise worsen problems for enslaved people in north seaports. The post-war depression and also the sugar Act had already resulted in a steep reduction in slave importations and also the rise of slave sales.<16> Boston’s enslaved populace dropped indigenous 1541 in 1752 (one-tenth that the total population) come 811 in 1765.<17>

With these dangers to the colonial economy in mind, homesteaders responded by posting a deluge of pamphlets, resolutions, and also newspaper articles. If pledging loyalty to King and also Parliament, authors denied cutting board Whately’s contention the American colonists “are virtually represented in Parliament,” called for colonial unity, and also asked because that relief indigenous the “extremely burthensome and grievous” stamp duties.<18>

Violent Opposition come the stamp Act

Another alternative existed as well as words of protest. Once the government and laws did no serve the understanding of the people, the world needed to exactly those wrongs. A writer in the Boston Post-Boy and also Advertiser recorded colonial anger come the rubber stamp Act as soon as he asked:

Will the cries of your despairing, dice Brethren be Music pleasing to her Ears? If so, walk on! bend the Knee to your grasp Horseleach, and also beg a re-superstructure in the Pillage of her Country.<19>

By at an early stage summer 1765, Boston’s faithful Nine began planning opposition come the rubber stamp Act. A team of middling men active in politics, the faithful Nine included men together as john Avery, Jr., a merchant/distiller and Harvard graduate, and Benjamin Edes, press of the Boston Gazette. James Otis and also John and Samuel Adams most likely knew about the faithful Nine however had no main ties come the organization. The faithful Nine all set effigies of rubber stamp distributor Andrew Oliver and George III’s an initial prime minister lord Bute. They made decision shoemaker Ebenezer McIntosh to execute their setup on respectable 14, 1765.<20>

McIntosh led 40-50 artisans from the lower ranks, laborers, and also mariners to bring the effigies with the streets and hang them native a large elm in ~ Essex and Orange highways (soon come be well-known as Liberty Tree).<21> The effigy of Bute, pronounce “boot,” to be a big boot with the adversary crawling out. A label on Andrew Oliver’s effigy warned: “He that takes this down is an opponent to his country.”<22>

At sunset, the group carried the effigies come Oliver’s dock, leveling a building they thought would be the rubber stamp office. Proceeding to ft Hill, they burned the effigies, which should have ended the protest. However, McIntosh and also his much less genteel followers ongoing with their very own agenda. They headed to the home of stamp collector Andrew Oliver, brother-in-law to Massachusetts lieutenant Governor cutting board Hutchinson. Castle pulled under Oliver’s fences, broke windows, damaged furniture, drank his wine, and also stripped his trees of fruit. Twelve job later, they turned their protest to Hutchinson.<23>


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Caption of lay out reads "Governor Hutchinson"s House destroyed by the Mob."

James H. Stark, "The Loyalists that Massachusetts and also the other Side that the American Revolution" (1907).

Protesting Hutchinson and also the rubber stamp Act

Ironically, Hutchinson agreed that Parliament had no constitutional ideal to happen the stamp Act and worked towards repeal. However the Boston mob remembered his long background of going versus their interests: opposing document money in the 1740s, trying come abolish the Boston town Meeting in the 1760s, and simultaneously hold multiple political offices. In their eyes, Hutchinson earn money and status by offer King and also Parliament at your expense.<24>

On respectable 26, 1765, McIntosh’s mob an initial attacked the homes of william Story, deputy register of the Vice-Admiralty Court, and Benjamin Hallowell, comptroller that customs. Then, they unleashed their rage on Hutchinson. Residence with his children, Hutchinson escaped through his life as the group advanced on his home. The mob destroyed furniture and tore out windows, partitions, wainscotting, roof tiles, and sawed off component of a cupola atop the mansion. Castle drank Hutchinson’s wine, destroyed his garden, stole £900 sterling, and also damaged or damaged thirty years’ precious of books and also papers built up for his history of Massachusetts. By the moment they finished, in Hutchinson’s words, “nothing Remained but bare walls and also floor.”<25>

Even the most ardent haters that Hutchinson and the many ardent lovers of liberty condemned the attack. The Boston Gazette, released by the faithful Nine’s Benjamin Edes and his partner John Gill, warned that “the pulling down Houses and robbing persons of your Substance…is utterly inconsistent with the first Principles that Government, and also subversive that the Glorious Cause.”<26>

Violence, intimidation, and also a basic “word to the wise” directed at stamp distributors efficiently nullified the stamp Act prior to it take it effect. One by one, twelve the the thirteen stamp distributors because that the swarms resigned before distributing stamps.<27>

Responding come this outcry the opposition, the swarms held a rubber stamp Act conference in so late October 1765 in a screen of colonial unity. In your “Declaration the Rights and also Grievances,” delegates stressed the prominence of their profession to Britain, hinting the the “late plot of Parliament…will render them can not to acquisition the manufactures of good Britain.” an expansive non-importation movement, essentially a boycott the selected brothers manufactures, followed. Females played a far-reaching role in this movement, as plenty of women regulated household spending, owned businesses, and also created a lot of the American-made goods homesteaders bought instead of imported goods. The success the the non-importation activity served as an essential bargaining chip in afford the stamp Act’s repeal.<28>


Repeal the the stamp Act

The stamp Act’s repeal had actually to do more with English politics than colonial action. In January 1766, brothers politician wilhelm Pitt emerged as the parliamentary champion that the American colonists, upholding Parliament’s ideal to legislate for but not to taxes the colonies. He referred to as the american “the sons, not the bastards the England” and also dismissed virtual depiction as “the most contemptible idea the ever gotten in into the head the a man.”<29>

When George III dismissed Grenville together prime minister in July 1765, the Marquis that Rockingham top a coalition government. Caught in between Pitt’s defense of the colonists and also Grenville’s defense that Parliament’s countless authority end the colonies, the Marquis made decision to appeal to both sides. The stamp Act’s repeal became linked with a Declaratory Act the upheld Parliament’s complete authority “to do laws and statutes …to tie the colonies and also people of America…in all cases whatsoever.” Both laws passed on in march 18, 1766. The Declaratory action passed unanimously; the rubber stamp Act repeal passed 275-167 in the house of Commons and also by a narrow bulk of 34 votes in the home of Lords. Though the homesteaders had won their battle against the stamp Act, they would certainly soon pertained to realize that the Declaratory Act hosted much broader power. However for now, the colonists rejoiced.<30>


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Paul Revere make this sculpture of the obelisk that celebrates the defeat of the stamp Act.

Library of Congress

News that the rubber stamp Act’s repeal reached Boston on may 17, 1766: “the Bells in city were set a ringing…Guns were discharged…and in the night were several bonfires.” 2 days later, the town hosted a an ext stupendous celebration. The boy of Liberty put up an column in prayer of liberty on Boston Common, defined as “a magnificent Pyramid illuminated by two-hundred-and-eighty lamps.” Paul Revere developed an sculpture of the shaft to commemorate this symbol of liberty, i m sorry was damaged by a fire during the celebrations.<31>

While the colonists achieved victory in the repeal of the stamp Act, Parliament"s enthusiastic acceptance of the Declaratory plot imperiled early american liberty and led both sides toward revolution.

Contributed by: Jayne E. Triber, Park Guide


Footnotes

<1> Boyle’s journal of events in Boston, 1759-1788, New England Historical and also Genealogical Register 84 (April 1930): 148-149 (on brother victories in Quebec, 1759, and also Montreal, 1760), 162 (on peace); Fred Anderson, A People’s Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and culture in the seven Years’ War (Chapel Hill and London: university of phibìc Carolina Press, 1984), 22-23, on new England pride and also quote from john Boyle’s September 16, 1762, account the British success in Havana.

<2> Jayne E. Triber, A True Republican: The Life the Paul Revere (Amherst: university of Massachusetts Press, 1998), 37-40. Marc Egnal, A Mighty Empire: The beginnings of the American Revolution (Ithaca and also London: Cornell university Press, 1988), 126-135; Ed., Jack P. Greene, Colonies to Nation, 1763-1789: A Documentary background of the American Revolution (New York: W. W. Norton, 1975), 12-39.

<3> Massachusetts, new York, and also Jamaica also passed rubber stamp taxes in the mid-18th century. Edmund S and Helen M. Morgan, The stamp Act Crisis: Prologue come Revolution (Chapel Hill: university of phibìc Carolina Press, third ed., 1995), 54; Lynne Oats and Pauline Sadler, “Accounting for the stamp Act Crisis,” Accounting chroniclers Journal, Vol. 35, Number 2 (December 2008), 108-111; message of stamp Act https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/stamp_act_1765.asp.

<4> Morgan, Stamp act Crisis, 54-56 ; Lawrence Henry Gipson, The coming of the American Revolution, 1763-1775 (New York: Harper and Row, 1954), 69-71; I. R. Christie, Crisis of Empire: an excellent Britain and also the American Colonies, 1754-1783 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1966), 49-51.

<5> Morgan, Stamp action Crisis, 54-57; Christie, Crisis of Empire, 51-52.

<6> Christie, Crisis of Empire, 51-52, is much more charitable towards Grenville, composing that that “was ready to try the possibility” the the swarms might tax themselves and obtaining prior consent native the nests “might obviate constitutional objections.” Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 59-68, stresses that Grenville had actually Parliamentary approval come impose a rubber stamp Act therefore he did no need early american consent. Quote ~ above p. 68.

<8> Morgan, Stamp action Crisis, 68-70; Gipson, Coming that the American Revolution, 79-80.

<9> Morgan, Stamp act Crisis, 70-72; Gipson, Coming the the American Revolution, 80-81.

<10> Boyle’s newspaper of occurrences in Boston, 84: 168.

<12> Daniel Dulany, “Considerations ~ above the Proprietary the Imposing counting in the brother Colonies,” https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/xGsBAAAAQAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PP1, 24.

<16> Gary B. Nash, The urban Crucible: society Change, politics Consciousness, and also the beginnings of the American Revolution (Cambridge and London: Harvard college Press, 1979), 246-256, 320-321.

<17> top top population, check out Lorenzo Greene, The black in Colonial new England (New York: Columbia college Press, 1942), 84-85. On experience of the black color population, see Eric M. Hanson Plass, “So succeeded by a type Providence”: areas of color in Eighteenth Century Boston,” M.A. Thesis, university of Massachusetts Boston, 2014, figures 1 and 2, 58-59, 84; Robert E. Desrochers, Jr., “Slave-For-Sale Advertisements and also Slavery in Massachusetts, 1704-1781,” William and also Mary Quarterly, third Series, v. LIX, no. 3 (July 2002), 654-664.

<19> Boston Post-Boy and also Advertiser, august 26, 1765, in Richard L. Bushman, King and People in Provincial Massachusetts (Chapel Hill, university of phibìc Carolina Press, 1985), 194.

<20> Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 126-130; Nash, Urban Crucible, 292-293.

<21> Morgan, Stamp action Crisis, 130, notes that there were “more genteel members of the mob, disguised in trousers and jackets which marked a workingman.”

<22> Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 126-130; Nash, Urban Crucible, 260-262, 292-293; Peter Shaw, American Patriots and the Rituals of Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard university Press, 1981), 15-18. Contemporary accounts in Boston Gazette, august 19 and also September 16, 1765, Harbottle Dorr Collection, I: 166, 193, https://www.masshist.org/dorr/. Boyle’s newspaper of Occurrences, august 14, 1765, 84: 169. Lift in Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 130-131.

<23> contemporary accounts in Boston Gazette, august 19 and September 16, 1765, Harbottle Dorr Collection, I: 166, 193, https://www.masshist.org/dorr/. Boyle’s journal of Occurrences, respectable 14, 1765, 84: 169. Elevator in Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 130-131. For much more on the relationship in between Revolutionary leaders and the “lower sort,” check out Dirk Hoerder, “Boston Leaders and Boston Crowds, 1765-1775," in Ed., Alfred F. Young, The American Revolution: Explorations in the background of Radicalism (DeKalb, Illinois: northern Illinois university Press, 1976), 233-271.

<24> Nash, metropolitan Crucible, 226-227, 271-281; boy name Bailyn, The Ordeal of cutting board Hutchinson (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1974), 64-69.

<25> The best description is in Hutchinson’s letter come Richard Jackson, august 30, 1765, https://www.colonialsociety.org/node/2532#chsect1705. Check out also, Morgan, Stamp plot Crisis, 131-134, Nash, Urban Crucible, 294.

<26> Boston Gazette, September 2, 1765, Harbottle Dorr Collection, I: 177, https://www.masshist.org/dorr/.

<27> Morgan, Stamp act Crisis, thing 9 (“Contagion and Resignations”).

<28> Morgan, Stamp action Crisis, 107-119. Top top non-importation, which ongoing throughout the Revolutionary era, watch Nash, Urban Crucible, 354-371, passim.

<29> Morgan, Stamp act Crisis, thing 15; Greene, Colonies to Nation, 65-66, 68-72.

<30> Greene, Colonies to Nation, 65-85; Christie, Crisis the Empire, 55-64.

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<31> On celebration of repeal, Boston Gazette, may 19, 26 1766, Harbottle Dorr Collection I: 411, 412, 415.