Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Horace Walpole, son of Britain’s First Minister, Robert Walpole, a man of letters and member of Parliament from the rotten borough of Castle Rising, wrote, in his memoirs of the reign of
King George III, that repeal of the Stamp Act before any serious attempt at enforcement and collection, stuck in the throats of a resentful and reluctant Parliamentary majority. “When do princes bend,” he opined, “but after a defeat?” His was a perceptive observation. Parliament did not like it, but First Minister Lord Rockingham who took over after the author of the Stamp Act, George Grenville, was removed by the King, faced a situation in America tantamount to open revolt and demands from a domestic constituency horrified by a severe downturn in commerce caused by a drop in American consumption of British goods. England’s merchants were up in arms and Rockingham recognized that he had a political alliance that could divert the debate from constitutional issues of Parliamentary and colonial rights, and push it the direction of practical economic survival. He used the near irresistible political pressure from the influential business community to secure repeal.