The Royal Colony of North Carolina

The Stamp Act - An Article in the North Carolina Gazette


November 1765

On Saturday the 19th of last month, about seven of the clock in the evening, near five hundred people assembled together in this town and exhibited the effigy of a certain honorable gentleman; and, after letting it hang by the neck for some time near the courthouse, they made a large bonfire with a number of tar barrels, etc., and committed it to the flames. The reason assigned for the people's dislike to that gentleman was from being informed of his having several times expressed himself much in favor of the stamp duty.

After the effigy was consumed, they went to several houses in the town, brought all the gentlemen to the bonfire, and insisted upon their drinking 'Liberty, Property and No Stamp Duty and confusion to Lord Bute and all his adherents', giving three huzzas at the conclusion of each toast.

They continued together until 12 of the clock, and then dispersed without doing any mischief.

And on Thursday, the 31st of the same month in the evening a great number of people again assembled and produced an effigy of Liberty, which they put into a coffin, and marched in solemn procession with it to the church yard, a drum in mourning beating before them, and the town bell muffled ringing a doleful knell at the same time; but, before they committed the body to the ground, they thought it advisable to feel his pulse, and, when finding some remains of life, they returned back to the bonfire ready prepared, and placed the effigy before it in a large two-armed chair, and concluded the evening with great rejoicings on finding that Liberty had still an existence in the colonies. Not the least injury was offered to any person.

On Saturday the 16th of this instant, William Houston, Esq., Distributor of the stamps for this province, came to this town; upon which three or four hundred people immediately gathered together with drums beating and colors flying, and repaired to the house said stamp-officer put up at and insisted upon knowing 'whether he intended to execute his said office or not'. He told them 'he should be very sorry to execute any office disagreeable to the people of the province!' But they, not content with such declaration, carried him into the courthouse where he signed a resignation satisfactory to the whole.

As soon as the stamp-officer had complied with their desire, they placed him in an armed chair, carried him first round the courthouse, giving him three huzzas at every corner, and then proceeded with him round one of the squares of the town, and sat him down at the door of his lodgings; formed themselves in a large circle round him and gave him three cheers. They then escorted him into the house, where was prepared the best liquors to be had and treated him very genteelly.

In the evening a large bonfire was made, and no person appeared in the streets without having Liberty in large capital letters in his hat. They had a large table near the bonfire, well furnished with several sorts of liquors, where they drank in great form all the favorite American toasts, giving three cheers at the conclusion of each. The whole was conducted with great decorum and not the least injury to any persons.

Immediately after the appointed stampmaster had compiled with their commands, they called upon Mr. A. Stuart, the printer, (who had not printed the Gazette for some weeks before the Act took place, it having pleased God to afflict him with a dangerous fever). When he appeared they asked him if 'he would continue his business as heretofore?' and publish a newspaper. He told them that, 'as he had no stamped paper, and as a late act of Parliament forbid printing on any other, he could not'. He was then positively told that, 'if he did not he might expect the same treatment of the stamp man'; and demanded a positive answer. Mr. Stuart then answered 'that, rather than run the hazard of life, being maimed or have his printing office destroyed, he would comply with their request', but the whole for witness that he was compelled there to.

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