Protest

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Dissentient.

1st. Because no evidence whatsoever has been laid before the House tending to prove that persons acting in support of public authority, and indicted for murder, cannot receive a fair trial within the Province; which is the object of this Bill. On the contrary, it has happened that an officer of the Army, charged with murder, has there received a fair and equitable trial, and been acquitted. This fact has happened even since the commencement of the present unhappy dissentions.

2dly. Because, after the proscription of the port of Boston, the disfranchisement of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and the variety of provisions which have been made in this session for new modelling the whole polity and judicature of that Province; this Bill is an humiliating confession of the weakness and inefficacy of all the proceedings of Parliament. By supposing that it may be impracticable by any means, that the public wisdom could devise,

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to obtain a fair trial there, for any who act under Government, the House is made virtually to acknowledge the British Government to be universally odious to the whole Province. By supposing the case that such trial may be equally impracticable in every other Province of America, Parliament does in effect admit, that its authority is, or probably may, become hateful to all the Colonies. This we apprehend is to publish to all the world, in terms the most emphatical, the little confidence the Supreme Legislature reposes in the affection of so large and so important a part of the British empire. If Parliament believed that any considerable number of the People in the Colonies were willing to act in support of British Government, it is evident that we might safely trust the persons so acting to their fellow Colonists, for a fair trial for acts done in consequence of such support. The Bill therefore amounts to a declaration that the House knows no means of retaining the Colonies in due obedience, but by an Army rendered independent of the ordinary course of law, in the place where they are employed.

3dly. Because we think, that a military force, sufficient for governing upon this plan, cannot be maintained without the inevitable ruin of the nation.

Lastly. Because this Bill seems to be one of the many experiments towards an introduction of essential innovations into the Government of this empire. The virtual indemnity provided by this Bill, for those who shall be indicted for murders committed under colour of office, can answer no other purpose. We consider that to be an indemnity which renders trial, and consequently punishment, impracticable; and trial is impracticable, when the very Governor, under whose authority acts of violence may be committed, is empowered to send the instruments of that violence to three thousand miles distance from the scene of their offence, the reach of their prosecutor, and the local evidence which may tend to their conviction. The authority given by this Bill, to compel the transportation from America to Great Britain of any number of witnesses, at the pleasure of the parties prosecuting and prosecuted, without any regard to their age, sex, health, circumstances, business, or duties, seems to us so extravagant in its principles, and so impracticable in its execution, as to confirm us further in our opinion of the spirit which animates the whole system of the present American regulations.

Richmond,
Portland,
Rockingham,
Manchester,
Leinster,
Ponsonby,
Fitzwilliam,
Craven.