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Certainly, in their eyes, the grievances that led colonists, including religious leaders, to see the Stamp Act of 1765, a revenue-producing inconvenience and burden, as the devil's work, could be addressed through means other than bullets and torches. The Boston Massacre, an event of 1770 in which British soldiers fired on and killed a few insurgent colonists, was not enough to lead them to call for war and independence.

The imposition by England of taxes on tea imports to the colonies, burdens that led some partisans of revolution to engage in a famed Tea Party, in which they dumped shiploads of tea into Boston harbour, they saw again as an irritation to be addressed through politics, not incendiary acts. When the British parliament passed the Quebec Act in 1774, a policy designed to keep Canada within the British Empire, anti-Catholic American patriots found new reason to be agitated and wary. British opinion thought the Act was reasonable, providing as it did a means of keeping the 100,000 mainly Catholic citizens in the fold. For the Americans, on the other hand, granting the Canadian Catholics religious liberty was one thing. Granting Canada, with its Catholics, rights to much of the old north-west of what was to become the United States was another, and it understandably evoked fierce negative reaction. Still, war did not come.

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