On This Date in History: Following the French and Indian War, Britain was left with a huge war debt. That particular conflict began in 1754 but got folded into a larger scale European war between the French and English that became known as the Seven Years War that concluded in 1763. Londoners were getting tired paying higher taxes to pay for the war and so the Crown had to look for other sources of income. King George III had risen to the head of the monarchy at age 22 at the death of his grandfather. Now, the previous two kings had been rather weak and Parliament had seized the lead in establishing policy in the English government. With the encouragement of his mother, George removed from power the coalition of Whigs who had been running the government. He used patronage to establish a new coalition that would allow him to have control over Parliament. While the old Whig coalition had been quite stable, George’s new coalition created ministries that proved not to last too long with each lasting in office but a couple of years.
With the new regime and the end of the war, a new policy was set forth: the American colonies would start to pay for their defense. But, the colonists had been pretty much left alone almost from the outset of settlement and so any direction from across the pond was not well received. This was especially the case since the Crown didn’t ask the assemblies of each colony but instead made decrees. If you think about it, it really wasn’t too unreasonable for there to be some expectation for the colonies to pay for part of the costs associated with running a colonial system. And I suspect that the colonists would have agreed. But, the British government passsed new laws without the advise or consent of the colonial assemblies and that ran counter to their perceived rights as Englishmen. No matter what Parliament passed, the colonists were against it. The Sugar Act of 1764, the Currency Act of 1764 and the odious Stamp Act of 1765 all were resisted by the colonies. Ben Franklin was a colonial agent in London and had long argued that the resistance was to internal taxes; taxes and duties from London on products and services that originated in the colonies. Franklin had differentiated between these internal and external taxes or duties slapped on good imported into the colonies.
Charles Townsend had ascended to parliamentary power following the incapacitation of William Pitt. He listened to Franklin and so he issued the Townshend Program that included the Townshend Duties which were taxes put on lead, paint, paper and tea imported into the colonies. Well, in spite of what Franklin had argued, the colonies didn’t like that either because to the merchants and people taxes proclaimed by any body except for the a colony’s assembly ran counter to the rights of Englishmen. But, perhaps a more destructive portion of the Townshend Program had nothing to do with taxation but instead actual power. Townshend had proclaimed that the New York Assembly, the legislative body voted into office by the citizens of New York, was disbanded until it accepted the terms of the Mutiny Act of 1765. Most people are famliar with the Mutiny Act by a more common term: The Quartering Act of 1765.
During the French and Indian War, British generals had a difficult time getting provisions and quartering from the colonies for regular Army members. When requested, most colonies eventually voted to provide for what was requested but the process was difficult. As part of the effort, Lt. General Thomas Gage had convinced the New York Assembly to provide quartering of British regulars. That legislative action expired January 1, 1764. So, instead of getting the colonies to each pass quartering legislation, Parliament just issued the blanket Mutiny Act that included the Quartering Act of 1765 which required colonial governments to not only to provide a place for troops to lay their heads, but also food and supplies. And, neither the soldiers or the British government would pay for it. The colonists thought that since the war with the French was over there was no need for permanent British troops since they had never been stationed in America prior to the F&I War and Parliament had no right to compel such servitude without local legislative approval. The British said that the troops were necessary to defend the borders against Indian attacks and, as subjects, they were bound by Parliamentary Acts. The Quartering Act was passed on this date in 1765 and when 1500 British troops arrived in New York in 1766, the New York Assembly refused to make appropriations for them in any manner and they were forced to bunk on board the ships. See, the colonies felt like they had rights of self governance while King George looked at them as subjects to the rule of Parliament.
The central government was probably reasonable in many of their requests. The colonists had in fact been providing for the British troops when the need was brought to their attention by General officers who negotiated with the assemblies. A large part of the Quartering Act was the fact that the Parliament and the king did not ask but instead imposed thier will on the people. Was it a good thing? Probably. Was it just? Probably. Did the people understand it? No. Had they simply gone to the assemblies like General Gage had, then there might not have been much of an issue. It could be argued that same line of thinking might have held with all of the taxation efforts. But, King George III wanted to show who held the power and so instead of convincing the people that it was in their best interest and necessary to accept these provisions, he instead wished to impose his authority. The result was a revolution from a bunch of otherwise loyal British subjects who tried to remain Englishmen but eventually felt that they had no voice. And therefore, they had no choice but to seek their independence.
Weather Bottom Line: The forecast is running along as expected. Wednesday we pushed toward 70 in spite of increasing cloud cover. There is a southern system running along Dixie that will help trigger rain in our area and perhaps some t’storms on Thursday with temperatures in the 60’s. But, as I mentioned on Tuesday, the biggest threat for any real thunderstorm activity or even severe weather for that matter will be well to our south. The SPC got on board and put out an outline suggesting the same thing that I did on Tuesday with the edge of the t-storm activity just on our doorstep but the biggest threat for some action will be South. There is a cold front running down from the Northwest late Thursday evening that will pick up the system but we could see some shower activity the first part of Friday with improvements as the day progresses. Saturday looks pretty nice with highs in the low 60’s. Then Sunday another southern system passes us to the South and again brings rain but not real threatening conditions. I suspect that we’ll be fine for churchgoers but rain chances increase by the afternoon.