He was an ardent leader of the opposition to the Stamp Act, advocating even then a separation of the colonies from the mother country; and in the Continental Congress of 1774 he discussed the situation on the basis of inalienable rights and liberties, and urged an immediate attack on General Thomas Gage, that he might be defeated before receiving reinforcements.
The latter published, in 1870, the first Japanese work on railways, advocating the building of lines from Tokyo to KiOto and Osaka; the former, appointed superintendent of the lines, held that post for 30 years, and is justly spoken of as the father of Japanese railways.
In1861-1863he was a member of the national House of Representatives, where, while advocating the prosecution of the war, he opposed such radical measures as the division of Virginia, the enlistment of slaves and the Conscription Acts.
Bourne, who worked at his trade more or less all through life, spent his last ten years in advocating the temperance cause; he died in October 1852.
This led to a counter movement in England, known as the Beacon Controversy, from the name of a warning publication issued by Isaac Crewdson of Manchester in 1835, advocating views of a pronounced " evangelical " type.