Whilst these changes had been passing at home, the effervescence in America had grown most riotous and alarming. Boston took the lead in tumultuous fury. In August, the house of Mr. Oliver, the newly appointed stamp-distributor, was attacked and ransacked; his effigy was hanged on a tree, thenceforward honoured by the name of the Liberty Tree. It was then taken down, paraded about the streets, and committed to the flames. The colonel of the militia was applied to, but sent an evasive answer, showing that there were others above the mob who enjoyed what the mob were doing. With this encouragement they broke out afresh, crying, "Liberty and Property!" which, said a colonial authority, "was their cry when they meant to plunder and pull down a house." This time they gutted and partly demolished the houses of the registrar-deputy of the Admiralty, the comptroller of the customs, and the lieutenant-governor, destroying a great quantity of important papers. In New York, delegates assembled from nine different colonial Assemblies. The governor forbade them to gather, declaring their meetings unprecedented and unlawful, but he took no active measures to prevent their deliberations. The Congress met in October, and sat for three weeks. They appointed Mr. Timothy Ruggles, from Massachusetts, their chairman, and passed fourteen resolutions denying the right of the mother country to tax them without their own consent; and they drew up petitions to the king and Parliament. Everywhere associations were established to resist the importation of British manufactures after the 1st of January next, and it was agreed that they should dissolve themselves as soon as the stamp tax was abolished. But it is well known, from letters addressed to Franklin, that the Republican element was already widely spread through the colonies, and this very first opportunity was seized on by its advocates to encourage the idea of throwing off the allegiance to England without further delay.
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