Stamp Act Repealed
The opposition to the Stamp Act caught the British by surprise. After debate they decided to repeal the act while restating their right to tax the colonies.
The British were surprised by the level of the opposition to the Stamp tax. They were faced with two options, repress the opposition with force or repeal the Stamp Tax. The many in Britain supported repeal of the tax, feeling it was not possible to enforce it. British merchants also supported the repeal, believing that the tax was bad for their business.
There was a heated debate in the British parliament. William Pitt one of the greatest orators in the parliament rose from his sickbed to argue for the repeal of the tax. He said “ This Kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. They are the subjects of the kingdom equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Englishmen. The Americans are the sons not the bastards of England. ” Later in his speech he stated- “Some have the idea that the colonies are virtually represented in this house. I would fain to know by an American is represented here? ” Prime Minister Grenville responded to Pitts speech defending the taxes. The debate went on, and the parliament decided to add a Declaratory Act that stated that the parliament had the right to impose the taxes. Finally, after the King indicated that he supported the repeal, the Stamp Tax was repealed by a margin of 200 votes.