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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
Virginia House of Burgesses

While colonists applauded King George III's decision to repeal the Stamp Act, the crisis of 1765 led them to reconsider Parliament's power in America. While proclaiming loyalty to George III, what do the Virginia Burgesses (the colony's own legislature) have to say about Parliament? Based on the Burgesses' address to Royal Governor Francis Fauquier, who might the colonists have blamed for the Stamp Act, and who did they credit for its repeal? Does this address suggest how misunderstandings between Britain and the colonies might persist beyond 1765?

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November 14, 1766

TO THE Honble FRANCIS FAUQUIER, Esq; his Majesty's Lieutenant Governour, and Commander in Chief of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia:

THE Humble ADDRESS OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.

SIR,

WE, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Burgesses of Virginia, now met in General Assembly, return your Honour our sincere Thanks for your affectionate Speech at the Opening of this Session.

As we have ever been truly sensible of the tender Regard shown by his Majesty to the Rights and Liberties of his People, every where, we cannot but think we should, at this Time in particular, be wanting in our Duty to the best of Kings if we did not embrace the Opportunity offered to us by your Honour of gratefully acknowledging that benign Virtue so distinguishable in him, that of protecting the constitutional Privileges of his Subjects, even in the most distant Part of his Realm, the American Dominions, so lately exemplified to us in his Majesty's gracious Assent to the Repeal of that oppressive Act; and at the same Time declare our constant Readiness to devote our Lives and Fortunes in Defence of his sacred Person, Crown, and Dignity, against all his Enemies.

We are so convinced of an immediate Connexion between Great Britain and the Colonies, that we cannot but wish that no future Accident may ever interrupt that Union so essential to the Well-being of each of them; and as we hope we have Reason now to conclude that the Parliament of Great Britain (from the Instance lately given in the Repeal of the Stamp Act, and the several Laws passed in Favour of the Trade of North America) was actuated by the true Principles of Fellow Subjects with us, we cannot but wish that the grateful Harmony of an indulgent Parent and dutiful Children may constantly subsist between us.

The ready Attachment discovered in the Friends to America has so sensibly struck us that your Honour may be assured no proper Acknowledgement shall be wanting on our Parts to render ourselves truly worthy of every Kindness which they have confessedly shown, and we hope every future Conduct will Merit from them a Continuance of such their particular Friendship and Regard.

It is with equal Pleasure that we join with your Honour in observing no Endeavour of the People here (in that Period rendered unhappy by the precarious Situation that their Liberties were thrown into) did produce the least Violation of Property in this Colony, but we must hope that no tacit Consent to that affecting Circumstance which produced the Distraction of those Times will every be concluded from that real Prudence which only governed them in the Preservation of their Rights and Liberties.

[See also an earlier address by the Governor to the House of Burgesses.]
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