Silas Downer, 1729-1785, was a prominent Providence attorney and civic leader, author, scrivener, and leader of the patriot cause. He has been called Rhode Island’s “Penman of the Revolution.” Downer’s most patriotic treatise was a 1768 Discourse delivered in Providence repudiating Parliament’s Declaratory Act. This essay has been cited as the first significant challenge to the authority of Parliament to make laws of any kind to regulate the colonies.
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