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Description by John Marshall of the founding of the Sons of Liberty
Marshall, John, 1755-1835
1804
Volume 07, Page 1

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[Reprinted from Marshall's Life of Washington, Vol. II, P. 91.]
THE SONS OF LIBERTY.

“To interest the people of England against the measures of administration, associations were formed, in every part of the Continent, for the encouragement of domestic manufactures, and against the use of those imported from Great Britain. To increase their quantity of wool, they determined to kill no lambs, and to use all the means in their power to multiply their flocks of sheep. As a security against the use of stamps, proceedings in the courts of justice were suspended, and it was earnestly recommended to settle all controversies by arbitration. While this determined and systematic opposition was made by the thinking part of the community, there were some riotous and disorderly meetings, especially in the large towns, which threatened serious consequences. Many houses were destroyed, much property injured, and several persons, highly respectable in character and station, grossly abused. These violences received no countenance from the leading members of society, but it was extremely difficult to stimulate the mass of the people to that vigorous and persevering opposition which was deemed essential to the preservation of American liberty, and yet to restrain all those excesses which disgrace and often defeat the wisest measures. In Connecticut and New York originated an association of persons styling themselves the “Sons of Liberty,” who bound themselves, among other things, to march to any part of the Continent, at their own expense, to support the British Constitution in America, by which was expressly stated to be understood the prevention of any attempt which might anywhere be made to carry the Stamp Act into operation. A corresponding committee of these “Sons of Liberty” was established, who addressed letters to certain conspicuous characters throughout the Colonies, and contributed very materially to increase the spirit of opposition, and, perhaps, the turbulence with which it was in some places attended.”