Disputes on Sovereignty During the American Revolution 307 [them] were indisputably under the authority of parliament” (Whately, 1765: 111). British imperialists maintained that the American colonies had been established, nursed and protected by Britain and hence they remained subjects subordinate to the sovereign authority in the British state. The colonists had left England as the subjects of the king-in-parliament and they remained subject to that sovereign authority even though they now lived across the Atlantic. In February 1766, when discussing the repeal of the Stamp Act, Lord Lyttelton declared in the House of Lords: “They [the colonists] went out the subjects of Great Britain and unless they can show a new compact made between them and the parliament of Great Britain (for the king alone could not make a new compact with them) they still are subject to all intents and purposes whatsoever. If they are subjects, they are liable to the laws of the country” (Cobbett, 1806-1820: XVI, 168). On the same occasion, Lord Mansfield and other law lords maintained that there were many precedents to demonstrate that parliament had repeatedly legislated for the colonies and raised revenue from them (Anonymous, 1775e: 27; Cobbett, 1806-1820: XVI, 173; Roebuck, 1776: 15; Thomas, 1969: 254-255). British imperialists insisted that the colonies did not possess their legislative assemblies as of right. These were a gracious grant by the sovereign authority in England. In the press and in parliament dozens of earlier acts were cited as proof of the Westminster legislature’s authority over the colonies, so that: no doubt can remain that the [British] legislature considered them [the American colonies] as subordinate and dependent parts of the English empire, subject to commercial regulation, and liable to be modelled and governed, in all respects as the wisdom of parliament should, from time to time, think proper to direct. (Anonymous, 1774b: 18-19) Colonial assemblies could not claim to possess sovereignty because they were more like town councils in Britain that could pass by-laws and raise local taxes, but they were still subject to being