We do therefore most humbly beseech your Majesty, to give order that Time may be allowed to us to support these our complaints by our Agents and Council. And as the said Thos Hutchinson Esqr and Andrew Oliver Esqr have by their above mentiond Conduct and otherwise rendered themselves justly obnoxious to your Majestys loving Subjects, we pray that your Majesty will be graciously pleasd to remove them from their posts in this Government, and place such good and faithful men in their Stead as, your Majesty in your great Wisdom shall think fit—————
1Adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 80 to 11, after a motion to refer its consideration to the next session had been defeated by a vote of 73 to13. 2As an alternative to the following six words, the draft has also, interlined, "is most reasonable to Suppose." 3The draft has also "Conspiracy," interlined.
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text with modifications is in R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 207, 208.]
BOSTON June 28, 1773.
My last was by Cap. Collson by the way of Bristol, inclosd in a frankd Cover. I then informd you of the passing of a Number of Resolves in the House of Representatives upon certain Letters that had been under their Consideration. Since which the House have by a Division of 82/12, voted a Petition & Remonstrance to the King praying that Govr Hutchinson & Lt Govr Oliver may be removd from their Posts. A Copy of which is sent to Dr Franklin by this Vessel, who is directed to apply to Arthur Lee, Esqr and any other Gentleman as Council. Upon my motion the Dr was directed to make application to you solely; but the next Day it was questiond in the House whether you were yet initiated into the Practice of Law, and the Addition was made upon a Doubt which I was sorry I had it not in my Power to remove. However, you must be applyd to; Every Friend of Liberty, or which is the same thing, nine-tenths of the House having the greatest Confidence in your Integrity and Abilities.
You have herewith inclosd a Copy of the proceedings of the Council upon the same Subject.
The People are highly incensd against the two impeachd Gentlemen. They have entirely lost the Esteem of the publick. Even some of their few friends are ashamd to countenance them. The Govr, as he has been one of the most obligd, has provd himself to be a most ungrateful man. He appears to me to be totally disconcerted. I wish I could say humbled.
The House are now considering the Independency of the Judges; A Matter which every day grows still more serious, and employs much of the Attention of the People without Doors, as well as of the Members of the House. I wish Lord Dartmouth & the rest of the Great officers of the Crown could be prevaild upon duly to consider that British Americans cannot long endure a State of Tyranny.
I expect the Genl Assembly will be up in a few Days.1 I will then write you more particularly. In the mean time I remain
1The General Court was prorogued June 29, to meet September 15; but the next session did not begin until January 26, 1774.
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF WOCESTER.
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON, Septemr 11, 1773
The happy fruit of the Appointment of Committees of Correspondence in almost every Town in this province, is the Advantage that Each has of communicating any Matter of common Concern & Importance to a chosen Number of Men zealous for the publick Liberty, in any particular Town or County, where it may be specially requisite that such Intelligence shd be given. In order to support our Cause, it is necessary that we attend to every part of the plan which our enemies have concerted against it. In making Laws & raising revenues from us without our Consent, a Design is evidently apparent to render an American Legislative of little Weight; and in appropriating such revenues to the support of Governor & Judges, it as evidently appears that there is a fixd Design to make our Executive dependent upon them & subservient to their own purposes. Every method is therefore to be usd that is practicable, in opposition to these two capital Grievances, which are the fountain from whence every other Grievance flows. All the Judges of the Superior Court, except the Chiefe Justice have receivd the Grants out of the province Treasury in full; but this by no means makes it certain whether they intend for the future to depend upon the Crown for Support or upon the Grants of the Genl Assembly. Indeed one of them viz Mr Trowbridge has explicitly declared to the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he will receive his Salary from the province only, so long as he shall hold his Commission. The Chiefe Justice (Oliver) has been totally silent. So that neither of them except Mr Trowbridge has yet thought proper to comply with the just Expectation & Demand of the House of Representatives, upon which the Safety, & therefore we trust the Quiet of this people depends.
The Court is now sitting here; and the Grand Jury have presented a Memorial to them, setting forth as we are informd, the Contempt with which the Grand Juries of the province have been treated in the Letters of Govr Hutchinson & others; asserting the Independence of Grand Juries as being accountable to none but God & their own Consciences for their Conduct; claiming to themselves equal protection with the Court, & expecting that effectual measures will be taken to secure that most valueable Branch of our civil Constitution, from further Contempt. They have also represented to the Court, the great Uneasiness in the Minds of the people of this County & as they conceive of the whole province, by reason of the uncertainty that yet remains, respecting the Dependence of the Judges on the Crown for Support, & their own Doubts & Difficulties on this Account; & they pray that the Court wd come to an explicit & publick Declaration thereupon.
This is the Substance of the Matter. We shall endeavor to obtain a correct Copy, & in that Case you will see it publishd in the newspapers. In the mean time we would propose to you whether it would not be serving the Cause if every County would take similar Measures. And as the Court is to sit next in your County,1 & yours is the principal Town we have written to your Committee only on this Subject, leaving it to your Discretion & good Judgment to take such methods as shall be most proper.
___________ 1Cf. Columbia University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, vol. vii., p. 58.
TO JOSEPH HAWLEY.1
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON Oct. 4th 1773
MY DEAR SIR/
I can not omit this Opportunity of submitting to your Judgment, the Ideas I have of the present Disposition of the British Administration towards this Country; and I the rather do it at this time, because as Matters seem to me to be drawing to a Crisis, it is of the greatest Importance that we should have a right Understanding of their Sentiments and Designs. The "wild and extravagant Notions" (as they have been lately called) of the supreme Authority of Parliament "flowing from the Pen of an House of Representatives" has greatly chagrind them; as they apprehend it has been the means of awakning that Spirit of Opposition to their Measures, which from the Information their Tools on this side of the Water had given them, and the Confidence they had placed in the Art and Address of Mr Hutchinson, they had flatterd themselves, had subsided, & would soon be extinguished. At the same time they are very sensible, that the impartial Part of the Nation, considering that the House were in a Manner forced to express their own Sentiments on the Subject, be they what they might, with Freedom are ready to exculpate them, and lay the whole Blame, if there be any, upon the Governor, for his Imprudent Zeal in bringing a Matter into open Controversy which the Ministry had hoped to have settled in a silent Way. It is my Opinion that the present Administration even though the very good Lord Darmouth is one of them, are as fixed in their Resolutions to carry this favorite point as any of their Predecessors have been; I mean to gain from us an implicit Acknowledgment of the Right of Parliament to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever. The King who you know determines by their Advice, has expressd his Displeasure at our late petitions because they held up Rights repugnant to this Right. Some of our Politicians would have the People believe that Administration are disposd or determind to have all the Grievances which we complain of redressd, if we will only be quiet. But this I apprehend would be a fatal Delusion; for I have the best Assurances, that if the King himself should make any Concessions or take any Steps contrary to the Right of Parliamt to tax us, he would be in Danger of embroiling himself with the Ministry; and that under the present Prejudices of all about him, even the recalling an Instruction to the Governor is not yet likely to be advisd. Lord Dartmouth has indeed lately said in the House of Lords as I have it from a Gentleman in London who receivd the Information from a peer who was present, that "he had formd his plan of Redress, which he was determind to carry AT THE HAZARD OF HIS OFFICE." But his Lordship might very safely make this Promise; for from all that I have heard, his Plan of Redress is built very much upon the Hopes that we may be prevaild upon, at least implicitly to yield up the Right, of which his Lordship is as fixd in his Opinion, as any other Minister. This I conceive they have had in view from the year 1763; and we may well remember, that when the Stamp Act was repeald, our Friends in Parliamt submitted as a Condition of the Repeal, that the declaratory Act as it is called should be passed, declaratory of the Right & Authority of Parliament to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever. Till that time the Dispute had been limitted to the Right of Taxation. By assuming the Power of making Laws for America IN ALL CASES, at the time when the Stamp Act was repeald it was probably their Design to secure, as far as they could do it by an Act of their own, this particular Right of Taxation thinking at the same time that if they could once establish the Precedent in an Instance of so much importance to us, as that of taking our Money from us, they should thenceforward find it very easy to exercise their pretended Right in every other Case. For this Purpose in the very next Session if I mistake not, they passed another revenue Act, for America; which they have been endeavoring to support by military parade, as well as by other Means, at an Expence to the Nation, as it is said of more than the revenue yielded. And yet, in order to induce us to acquiesce in or silently to submit to their Exercise of this Right, they have even condescended to meet us half way (as it was artfully given out) and lessened this Revenue by taking off the Duty on Glass & several other Articles. Mr George Grenville declared that he would be satisfied with a PEPER CORN, but that he must have THREE; which shows that he had a stronger Sense of the Importance of establishing the Power of Parliament, or as his own Words were, "of securing the Obedience of the Colonies" than barely of a Revenue. The Acknowledgment on our part of the Right of Parliament has been their invariable Object: And could they now gain this Acknowledgment from us, tho it were but implicitly, they would willingly sacrifice the PRESENT revenue by a repeal of the Acts, and FOR THE PRESENT redress all our Grievances. I have been assured that a Question has of late been privately put by one in Administration upon whom much Dependence is had by some persons, to a Gentleman well acquainted with the Sentiments of the People of this Province, Whether the present House of Representatives could not be prevaild on to rescind the Answers of the last House to the Governors Speeches relative to the supreme Authority of Parliament; which Answers have been lookd upon as a Bar in the Way of a Reconciliation and being informd that such a measure on our part could by no means be expected, I am apprehensive that Endeavors will be used to draw us into an incautious mode of Conduct which will be construed as in Effect receding from the Claim of Rights of which we have hitherto been justly so tenacious. It has been given out, I suspect from the Secrets of the Cabinet, that if we will now send home decent temperate & dutiful petitions, even our imaginary Grievances shall be redressd; but let us consider what Ideas Administration have of Decency Temperance & Dutifulness as applyd to this Case. Our late petitions against the Independency of the Governor & Judges were deemd indecent intemperate & undutiful, not because they were expressd in exceptionable Words, but because it was therein said that by the Charter it plainly appeard to us to be intended by the Royal Grantors that the General Assembly should be the constituted Judge of the adequate Support of the Government of the province and the Ways & Means of providing for the same; and further that this operation of an Act of parliament, by which the People are taxed & the money is appropriated & used for that purpose, derogates from one of the most sacred Rights granted in the Charter, & most essential to the Freedom of the Constituion, & divests the Genl Assembly of a most important part of legislative Power and Authority expressly granted therein, and necessary for the Good and Welfare of the province & the Support and Government of the same. The Subject Matter of our Complaint was, not that a Burden greater than our proportion was laid upon us by Parliament; such a Complaint we might have made salva Authoritate parliamentaria: But that the Parliament had assumed & exercisd the power of taxing us & thus appropriating our money, when by Charter it was the exclusive right of the General Assembly. We could not otherwise have explaind to his Majesty the Grievance which we meant to complain of; and yet he is pleasd in his answer to declare that he has well weighd the Subject Matter of the petitions—and is determined to support the Constitution and to resist with firmness every Attempt to derogate from the Authority of the supreme Legislature. Does not this imply that the parliament is the supreme Legislature & its Authority over the Colonies of the Constitution? And that until we frame our petitions so as that it may fairly be construed that we have at least tacitly conceded to it we may expect they will be still disregarded or frownd upon as being not decent temperate and dutifull? We may even be allowd to claim certain Rights and exercise subordinate powers of Legislation like the Corporations in England, subject to the universal Controul of Parliamt, and if we will implicitly acknowledge its Right to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever, that is, its absolute Sovereignty over us the Acts we shall them complain of as burdensome to us, shall be repeald, all Grievances redressd, and Administration will flatter us that the right shall never be exercisd but in a Case of absolute necessity which shall be apparent to every judicious man in the Empire. To induce us to be thus submissive beyond the bounds of reason & Safety their Lordships will condescend to be familiar with us and treat us with Cakes & Sugar plumbs. But who is to determine when the necessity shall be thus apparent? Doubtless the Parliamt, which is supposd to be the supreme Legislature will claim that prerogative; and then they will for ever make Laws for us when they think proper. Or if the several Colony Assemblies are to signify that such necessity is apparent to every wise man within their respective Jurisdictions before the parliamt shall exercise the Right, the point will be given up to us in Effect, that the Parliamt shall not make a Law binding upon us in any Case until we shall consent to it, which their Lordships can in no wise be thought to intend.
But I must break off this abruptly. I intend to write you further. In the meantime I must beg to be indulgd with your Thots on these matters & remain with great regard,
___________ 1The political leader of Northhampton, Massachusetts. His "Broken Hints" is in Niles, Principles and Acts, p. 324.
TO JOSEPH HAWLEY.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON Octob 13 1773
MY DEAR SIR/
I lately wrote you a long Epistle upon our political Affairs; and although I fear I have put your patience on the Tryal, I can not withstand a strong Inclination to communicate more of my mind to you on the same Subject. Perhaps it may be of Service to you, as it may afford you an opportunity of exercising that Charity or Candor which "beareth all things."
I have taken some pains to enquire into the true Character of the Minister in the American Department. And I find that all allow him to be a good man. Goodness has rarely I fear been of late the Chracteristick of his Majestys Ministers; for which reason his Lordship is to be sure the more highly to be prizd. But it seems very necessary that Men in such elevated Stations should be great as well as good. The Promotion of a nobleman to this Department, who is famed in America for his Piety is easily accounted for on the principles of modern Policy. However illy we may deserve it, the great men in England have an opinion of us as being a mightily religious People. Surely than it must be supposd that we shall place an entire Confidence in a Minister of the same Character. We find it so in fact. How many were filled with the most sanguine Expectations, when they heard that the good Lord Dartmouth was entrusted with a Share in Administration? Little did they think that if his Lordship did not come in upon express terms, which however is doubted by some, yet without a Greatness of mind equal, perhaps superior to his Goodness, it will be impossible for him singly to stem the Torrent of Corruption. This requires much more Fortitude than I yet believe he is possesd of. Fain would I have him treated with great Decency & Respect, both for the Station he is in and the Character he sustains; but considering with whom he is connected, I confess that in regard to any power he will have substantially to serve us, I am an Infidel.
I do not agree with some of our Politicians who tell us that the Ministry are "sick of their Measures." I cannot but wonder that any prudent Man should believe this, while he sees not the least Relaxation of measures; but instead of it new Insult & Abuse. Is the Act of Parliament, made the last year, and the Appointment of Commissioners with Instructions to put it in full Execution in the Rhode Island Affair, a Ground of such a Beliefe? Can we think the East India Company are so satisfied that Administration are disposd to give up their Designs of establishing Arbitrary Power, when no longer ago than the last Session of Parliament they effected the Deprivation of their Charter Rights, whereby they have acquired so great an Addition of Power & Influence to the Crown? Or are such Hopes to be gatherd from the Treatment given to our own Petitions the last May, when they were discountenancd for no other Reason but because the Rights of our Charter were therein pleaded as a Reason against a measure which if a little while persisted in, will infallibly establish a Despotism in the End? Surely this is not a time for us to testify the least Confidence in the Spirit of the British Government, or from flattering Hopes that their designs are to alter measures, to trust to their Discretion or good Will.
I am apt to think that Ministry have two great Events in Contemplation both which in all probability will take place shortly. The one is a War & the other a new Election of Parliament Men. In order to improve these Events to their own purpose, it will become necessary to sooth & flatter the Americans with Hopes of Reliefe. In Case of a War, America if in good Humour will be no contemptible Ally. She will be able by her Exertions to annoy the Enemy much. Her aid will therefore be courted. And to bring her into this good Humour, the Ministry must be lavish in promises of great things to be done for her. Perhaps some Concessions will be made; but these Concessions will flow from policy not from Justice. Should they recall their Troops from the Castle, or do twenty other seemingly kind things, we ought never to think their Designs are benevolent toward us, while they continue to exercise the pretended Right to tax us at their pleasure, and appropriate our money to their own purposes. And this they have certainly no Thought at present of yielding up. With regard to the Election of another House of Commons, that will not take place within these Eighteen months unless a Dissolution of parliamt should happen before; which has indeed been hinted, & may be the movement in order suddenly to bring on the Election before the People are prepared for it. We are to suppose that an Attempt will be made to purchase the Votes of the whole Kingdom. This will require much Time and dexterous Management. The Ministry have in a great Measure lost the Influence of London and other great Corporations as well as that of the East India Company by their late Treatment of that powerful Body, whom Lord North now finds it necessary to coax and pascify. They will therefore be glad to sooth America into a State of Quietness, if they can do it without conceding to our Rights, that they may have the Aid of the Friends of America when the new Election comes on. And that America has many Friends among the Merchants & Manufacturers the Country Gentlemen & especially the Dissenters from the establishd Church I am so well informd that I cannot doubt. The last of these are so from generous the others from private & selfish Principles. Such Considerations as these will be strong Inducements [to] them to make us fair & flattering Promises for the present; but Nothing I think will be so dangerous as for the Americans to withdraw their Dependence upon themselves & place it upon those whose constant Endeavor for ten years past has been to enslave us, & who, if they can obtain a new Election of old Members, it is to be feard, unless we keep up a perpetual Watchfulness, will, in another seven years, effect their Designs. The Safety of the Americans in my humble opinion depends upon their pursuing their wise Plan of Union in Principle & Conduct. If we persevere in asserting our Rights, the Time must come probably a Time of War, when our just Claims must be attended to & our Complaints regarded. But if we discoverd the least Disposition to submit our Claims to their Decision, it is my opinion that our Injuries will be increasd then fold. I conclude at present with assuring you that I am with sincere regard
Sir your Friend & hbl servt,
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF MASSACHUSETTS TO OTHER COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE.1
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
PRO OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY
BOSTON Octob 21 1773
The Committee of Correspondence appointed by the House of Representatives of this Province have been not altogether inattentive to the Design of their Institution. We have been waiting for Intelligence from Great Britain from whose injudicious Councils the common Grievances of the Colonies have sprang; in hopes that a Change in the American Department would have producd a happy Change in the measures of Administration; But we are sorry to say, that from the best Accounts that we have obtaind the Ministry have been hitherto so far from radically redressing American Grievances that even the least Relaxation has not been advisd if thought of. On the Contrary, the British Parliament have been prorogud without taking the least Notice of the Affairs of America; while they have been curtailing the Charter of the East India Company in such a Manner & in such a Degree, as to indicate that they are much more intent upon increasing the power & Influence of the Crown than securing Liberties of the Subject. At the same time, this Province has had a very recent Discovery of the unalterd Resolution of the Ministry to pursue their plan of arbitrary Power, in the Kings Answer to the Petitions of our Assembly against the appropriation of the Revenue raisd from the Colonies, for the purpose of rendering our Governor & Judges dependent on the Crown. In his Majestys Answer, we have nothing explicit, but his Resolution to support the supreme Authority of the British parliamt to make Laws binding on the Colonies (altho the petitions were supported by the express Declarations of the Charter of the province) and his great Displeasure, that principles repugnant to that Right were therein held forth. Such an Answer to such a petition affords the strongest Grounds to conclude, that the Ministry are as firmly resolvd as ever to continue the Revenue Acts & apply the tribute extorted by Virtue of them from the Colonies, to maintain the executive powers of the several Governments of America absolutely independent of their respective Legislatures; or rather absolutely dependent on the Crown, which will, if a little while persisted in, end in absolute Despotism.
Such being still the temper of the British Ministry, Such the Disposition of the parliament of Britain under their Direction & Influence, to consider themselves as THE SOVEREIGN of America, Is it not of the utmost Importance that our Vigilance should increase, that the Colonies should be united in their Sentiments of the Measures of Oppposition necessary to be taken by them, and that in whichsoever of the Colonies any Infringments are or shall be made on the common Rights of all, that Colony should have the united Efforts of all for its Support. This we take to be the true Design of the Establishment of our Committees of Correspondence.
There is one thing which appears to us to be an Object worthy of the immediate Attention of the Colonies. Should a War take place, which is thought by many to be near at hand, America will then be viewd by Administration in a Light of Importance to Great Britain. Her Aids will be deemd necessary; her Friendship therefore will perhaps be even courted. Would it not then be the highest Wisdom in the several American Assemblies, absolutely to withhold all kinds of Aid in a general War, untill the Rights & Liberties which THEY OUGHT TO ENJOY are restored, & secured to them upon the most permanent foundation? This has always been the Usage of a spirited House of Commons in Britain, and upon the best Grounds; for certainly protection & Security ought to be the unalterable Condition when Supplys are called for. With Regard to the Extent of Rights which the Colonies ought to insist upon, it is a Subject which requires the closest Attention & Deliberation; and this is a strong Reason why it should claim the earliest Consideration of, at least, every Committee; in order that we may be prepared when time & Circumstances shall give to our Claim the surest prospect of Success. And when we consider how one great Event has hurried on, upon the back of another, such a time may come & such Circumstances take place sooner than we are now aware of. There are certain Rights which every Colony has explicitly asserted, & we trust they will never give up. THAT in particular, that they have the sole & unalienable Right to give & grant their own money & appropriate it to such purposes as they judge proper, is justly deemd to be of the last Importance. But whether even this Right, so essential to our Freedom & Happiness, can remain . . . to us, while a Right is claimed by the British parliament to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever, you will certainly consider with Seriousness. It would be debasing to us after so manly a Struggle for our Rights to be contented with a mere TEMPORARY reliefe. We take the Liberty to present you with the State of a Controversy upon that Subject, between the Governor of this province and the Assembly. And as the Assembly of this or some other Colony may possibly be called into further Consideration of it, we should think our selves happy in a Communication of such further Thoughts upon it, as we are perswaded will upon a . . . occur to your Minds. We are far from desiring that the Connection between Britain & America should be broken. ESTO PERPETUA, is our ardent wish; but upon the Terms only of Equal Liberty. If we cannot establish an Agreement upon these terms, let us leave it to another & wiser Generation. But it may be worth Consideration that the work is more likely to be well done, at a time when the Ideas of Liberty & its Importance are strong in Mens Minds. There is Danger that these Ideas will hereafter grow faint & languid. Our Posterity may be accustomd to bear the Yoke & being inured to Servility they may even bow the Shoulder to the Burden. It can never be expected that a people, however NUMEROUS, will form & execute a wise plan to perpetuate their Liberty, when they have lost the Spirit & feeling of it.
We cannot close without mentioning a fresh Instance of the temper & Design of the British Ministry; and that is in allowing the East India Company, with a View of pacifying them, to ship their Teas to America. It is easy to see how aptly this Scheme will serve both to destroy the Trade of the Colonies & increase the revenue. How necessary then is it that Each Colony should take effectual methods to prevent this measure from having its designd Effects.2
The foregoing Letter was unanimously agreed to by the Committee of Correspondence, and is in their name and by their order Transmitted to you by your most respectfull friends and humble Servants,
T: CUSHING S: ADAMS W: HEATH
P.S. It is the request of the Committee that the Contents of this Letter be not made publick least our Common Enemies should counteract and prevent its design.
___________ 1The origin of this letter appears in the manuscript journal, preserved in the Boston Public Library, of the Committee of Correspondence, consisting of fifteen members, appointed by the House of Representatives of Massachusetts. At a meeting of the committee on June 28, 1773, a sub-committee, consisting of Adams, Hancock, Cushing, Phillips, and Heath, was appointed, to write to the Connecticut Committee of Correspondence and also to the committee of each assembly. The letter to Connecticut appears to have been approved at a meeting of the sub-committee on July 4. At a meeting of the sub-committee on July 15 Adams was asked to draft a letter on general government to the committees of the neighboring governments. This letter was still unwritten on August 19, and on September 29 the sub-committee called a meeting of the full committee for October 20. On that date it was voted expedient to write a circular letter to the other committees, and in the afternoon of the same day Adams and Warren were appointed a sub-committee to draft such a letter. At the afternoon meeting on October 21 a draft was reported, read several times, and accepted; and it was voted that the chairman, with Adams and Heath, should sign the letters. The Journal is printed in Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, 2d ser., vol. iv., pp. 85-90. 2The remainder is not in the autograph of Adams.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON, NOVEMBER 5, 1773.
[Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., pp. 142, 143; a draft of the preamble, in the handwriting of Adams, is in the Mellen Chamberlain collection, Boston Public Library.]
Whereas it appears by an Act of the British Parliament passed in the last Sessions, that the East India Company are by the said Act allowed to export their Teas into America, in such Quantities as the Lord of the Treasury shall Judge proper1: And some People with an evil intent to amuse the People, and others thro' inattention to the true design of the Act, have so contrued the same, as that the Tribute of three Pence on every Pound of Tea is not to be enacted by the detestable Task Masters there2—-Upon the due consideration thereof, RESOLVED, That the Sense of the Town cannot be better expressed on this Occasion, than in the words of certain Judicious Resolves lately entered into by our worthy Brethren the Citizens of Philadelphia—-wherefore
RESOLVED, that the disposal of their own property is the Inherent Right of Freemen; that there can be no property in that which another can of right take from us without our consent; that the Claim of Parliament to tax America, is in other words a claim of Right to buy3 Contributions on us at pleasure——-
2d. That the Duty imposed by Parliament upon Tea landed in America, is a tax on the Americans, or levying Contributions on them without their consent——-
3d. That the express purpose for which the Tax is levied on the Americans, namely for the support of Government, the Administration of Justice, and the defence of His Majestys Dominions in America, has a direct tendency to render Assemblies useless, and to introduce Arbitrary Government and Slavery——-
4th. That a virtuous and steady opposition to the Ministerial Plan of governing America, is absolutely necessary to preserve even the shadow of Liberty, and is a duty which every Freeman in America owes to his Country to himself and to his Posterity——-
5th. That the Resolutions lately come by the East India Company, to send out their Teas to America Subject to the payment of Duties on its being landed here, is an open attempt to enforce the Ministerial Plan, and a violent attack upon the Liberties of America——-
6th. That is is the Duty of every American to oppose this attempt——-
7th. That whoever shall directly or indirectly countenance this attempt, or in any wise aid or abet in unloading receiving or vending the Tea sent or to be sent out by the East India Company while it remains subject to the payment of a duty here is an Enemy to America——-
8th. That a Committee be immediately chosen to wait on those Gentlemen, who it is reported are appointed by the East India Company to receive and sell said Tea, and to request them from a regard to their own characters and the peace and good order of this Town and Province immediately to resign their appointment.
___________ 1At this point the draft includes the words, "without the same having been exposed to sale in the Kingdom of Great Britain." 2The draft reads "here." 3The town record should apparently read "lay."
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF ROXBURY.
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON, Novr 9, 1773.
The Town of Boston has for a few days past been greatly alarmd with hearing of the marching of the Soldiers posted at Castle Island from day to day in Companies through the neighboring Towns armd. The pretence is that they are sickly & require such Exercise; But why then should they be thus armd? It is justly to be apprehended there are other Designs, which may be dangerous to our common Liberty. It is therefore the Request of the Committee of Correspondence for this Town, that you would give us your Company at Faneuil Hall on Thursday next at three o'Clock, joyntly to consult with them on this alarming occasion——-
We are Gentn your Fellow Countrymen,
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp 208, 209.]
BOSTON, Nov. 9th, 1773.
MY DEAR SIR,—-I have but just time to enclose you a newspaper, by which you will see that Lord Sh——-ne was not mistaken when he said that "things began to wear a very serious aspect in this part of the world." I wish that Lord Dartmouth would believe, that the people here begin to think that they have borne oppression long enough, and that if he has a plan of reconciliation he would produce it without delay; but his lordship must know, that it must be such as will satisfy Americans. One cannot foresee events; but from all the observation I am able to make, my next letter will not be upon a trifling subject.
I am with great respect, your friend,
TO THE SELECTMEN OF BOSTON.
[MS., Mellen Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library.1]
BOSTON, Decr 17, 1773
Whereas the Freeholders & other Inhabitants of this Town did at their last Meeting make application to Richard Clarke Esqr & Sons who are supposd to be the persons to whom the East India Companys Tea is to come consignd; And request them to resign their Appointment to which they returnd for Answer that they were uncertain upon what Terms the said Tea would be sent to them, and what Obligations they should be laid under. And Whereas by a Vessell now arrived from London (in which is come a Passenger a Son of the said Mr Clarke) there is Advice that said Tea is very soon expected.
It is therefore the Desire of us the Subscribers that a Meeting of the Town may be called, that another Application may be made to the same persons requesting as before; it being probable that they can now return a definite Anwer.
We are Gentlemen Your humble servts
1All in the autograph of Adams, and signed by Adams and twenty- four others. Cf., Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., p. 147.
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF PLYMOUTH.
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON, Decr 17, 1773
The Come of Correspondence for this Town duly recd your Letter of the 14th & note the important contents. We inform you in great Haste that every Chest of Tea on board the three Ships in this Town was destroyed the last Evening without the least Injury to the Vessels or any other property. Our Enemies must acknowledge that these people have acted upon pure & upright Principle. The people at the Cape will we hope behave with propriety and as becomes Men resolved to save their Country.1
___________ 1At the foot of the draft is written the following, also in the handwriting of Adams: & to Sandwich with this Addition—"We trust you will afford them your immediate Assistance & Advice."
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO OTHER COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE.
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.1]
BOSTON 17th of Decer 1773.
Yesterday we had a greater meeting of the Body than ever, the Country coming in from twenty miles round, & every step was taken, that was practicable for returning the Teas. The moment it was known out of doors that Mr Rotch could not obtain a pass for his Ship by the Castle, a number of people huzza'd in the Street, and in a very little time every ounce of the Teas on board of the Capts Hall, Bruce & Coffin, was immersed in the Bay, without the least injury to private property. The Spirit of the People on this occasion surprisd all parties who view'd the Scene.
We conceived it our duty to afford you the most early advice of this interesting event by express which departing immediately obliges us to conclude.
In the Name of the Come,
1Merely the subscription and addresses are in the autograph of Adams. Noted as sent "by Mr Revere" to "Mr Mifflin & Geo Clymer" at Philadelphia and "Phillip Livingston & Sam Broom" at New York.
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp 212, 213.]
BOSTON, Dec. 25th, 1773.
MY DEAR SIR,—-I wrote you a few days past by Capt. Scott, and then promised to write farther by the next opportunity; but not having heard of the sailing of this vessel till this moment, I have only time to recommend a letter written and directed to you by John Scollay, Esq. a worthy gentleman and one of the selectmen of this town. He desires me to apologise for his addressing a letter to one who is a perfect stranger to him, and to assure you that he is persuaded there is no gentleman in London who has the liberties of Amercia more warmly at heart, or is more able to vindicate them than yourself. You see the dependence we have upon you.
Excuse this SHORT EPISTLE, and be assured that as I am a friend to every one possessed of public virtue, with affection I must be constantly yours,
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp 209-212.]
BOSTON, Dec. 31, 1773.
MY DEAR SIR,—-I am now to inform you of as remarkable an event as had yet happened since the commencement of our struggle for American liberty. The meeting of the town of Boston, an account of which I enclosed in my last, was succeeded by the arrival of the ship Falmouth, Captain Hall, with 114 chests of the East India Company's tea, on the 28th of November last. The next day the people met in Faneuil hall, without observing the rules prescribed by law for calling them together; and although that hall is capable of holding 1200 or 1300 men, they were soon obliged for the want of room to adjourn to the Old South meeting- house; where were assembled upon this important occasion 5000, some say 6000 men, consisting of the respectable inhabitants of this and the adjacent towns. The business of the meeting was conducted with decency, unanimity, and spirit. Their resolutions you will observe in an enclosed printed paper. It naturally fell upon the correspondence for the town of Boston to see that these resolutions were carried into effect. This committee, finding that the owner of the ship after she was unloaded of all her cargo except the tea, was by no means disposed to take the necessary steps for her sailing back to London, thought it best to call in the committees of Charlestown, Cambridge, Brookline, Roxbury, and Dorchester, all of which towns are in the neighborhood of this, for their advice and assistance. After a free conference and due consideration, they dispersed. The next day, being the 14th, inst. the people met again at the Old South church, and having ascertained the owner, they COMPELLED him to apply at the custom house for a clearance for his ship to London with the tea on board, and appointed ten gentlemen to see it performed; after which they adjourned till Thursday the 16th. The people then met, and Mr. Rotch informed them that he had according to their injunction applied to the collector of the customs for a clearance, and received in answer from the collector that he could not consistently with his duty grant him a clearance, until the ship should be discharged of the dutiable article on board. It must be here observed that Mr. Rotch had before made a tender of the tea to the consignees, being told by them that it was not practicable for them at that time to receive the tea, by reason of a constant guard kept upon it by armed men; but that when it might be practicable, they would receive it. He demanded the captain's bill of lading and the freight, both which they refused him, against which he entered a regular protest. The people then required Mr. Rotch to protest the refusal of the collector to grant him a clearance under these circumstances, and thereupon to wait upon the governor for a permit to pass the castle in her voyage to London, and then adjourned till the afternoon. They then met, and after waiting till sun-setting, Mr. Rotch returned, and acquainted them that the governor had refused to grant him a passport, thinking it inconsistent with the laws and his duty to the king, to do it until the ship should be qualified, notwithstanding Mr. Rotch had acquainted him with the circumstances above mentioned. You will observe by the printed proceedings, that the people were resolved that the tea should not be landed, but sent back to London in the same bottom; and the property should be safe guarded while in port, which they punctually performed. It cannot therefore be fairly said that the destruction of the property was in their contemplation. It is proved that the consignees, together with the collector of the customs, and the governor of the province, prevented the safe return of the East India Company's property (the danger of the sea only excepted) to London. The people finding all their endeavours for this purpose thus totally frustrated, dissolved the meeting, which had consisted by common estimation of at least seven thousand men, many of whom had come from towns at the distance of twenty miles. In less than four hours every chest of tea on board three ships which had by this time arrived, THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY-TWO chests, or rather the contents of them, was thrown into the sea, without the least injury to the vessels or any other property. The only remaining vessel which was expected with this detested article, is by the act of righteous heaven cast on shore on the back of Cape Cod, which has often been the sad fate of many a more valuable cargo. For a more particular detail of facts, I refer you to our worthy friend, Dr. Hugh Williamson, who kindly takes the charge of this letter. We have had great pleasure in his company for a few weeks past; and he favoured the meeting with his presence.
You cannot imagine the height of joy that sparkles in the eyes and animates the countenances as well as the hearts of all we meet on this occasion; excepting the disappointed, disconcerted Hutchinson and his tools. I repeat what I wrote you in my last; if lord Dartmouth has prepared his plan let him produce it speedily; but his lordship must know that it must be such a plan as will not barely amuse, much less farther irritate but conciliate the affection of the inhabitants.
I had forgot to tell you that before the arrival of either of these ships, the tea commissioners had preferred a petition to the governor and council, praying "to resign themselves and the property in their care, to his excellency and the board as guardians and protectors of the people, and that measures may be directed for the landing and securing the tea," &c. I have enclosed you the result of the council on that petition. He (the governor) is now, I am told, consulting HIS lawyers and books to make out that the resolves of the meeting are treasonable. I duly received your favours of the 23d June, of the 21st July and 13th October,1 and shall make the best use I can of the important contents.
Believe me to be affectionately your friend,
P. S.—-Your letter of the 28th August is but this moment come to hand. I hope to have leisure to write you by the next vessel. Our friend Dr. Warren has written to you by this2; you will find him an agreeable and useful correspondent.
___________ 1Under date of October 13, 1773, Lee had written Adams: "Every day gives us new light and new strength. At first it was a tender point to question the authority of parliament over us in any case whatsoever; time and you have proved that their right is equally questionable in all cases whatsoever. It was certainly a great stroke, and has succeeded most happily." R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 236, 237. 2Under date of December 21, 1773. The text is Ibid., vol. ii., pp. 262, 263.
TO JOHN PICKERING, JUNIOR.1
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON Jany 8 1774
As the General Assembly will undoubtedly meet on the 26th of this Month, the Negroes whose Petition lies on file and is referrd for Consideration, are very sollicitous for the Event of it. And having been informd that you intended to consider it at your Leisure Hours in the Recess of the Court, they earnestly wish you would compleat a Plan for their Reliefe. And in the mean time, if it be not too much Trouble, they ask it as a favor that you would by a Letter enable me to communicate to them the general outlines of your Design.
I am with sincere Regard, Sir, your humble Servt
1Of Salem Mass. Upon a letter from Pickering to Adams is endorsed in the autograph of Adams: "Letter from Mr J Pickerin an honest & sensible Friend of ye Liberty of his Country."
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Jan 25 1774
The sending the East India Companies Tea into America appears evidently to have been with Design of the British Administration, and to complete the favorite plan of establishing a Revenue in America. The People of Boston and the other adjacent Towns endeavored to have the Tea sent back to the place from whence it came & then to prevent the Design from taking Effect. Had this been done in Boston, as it was done in New York & Philadelphia, the Design of the Ministry would have been as effectually prevented here as in those Colonies and the property would have been saved. Governor Hutchinson & the other Crown officers having the Command of the Castle by which the Ships must have passed, & other powers in their Hands, made use of these Powers to defeat the Intentions of the people & succeeded; in short the Governor who for Art & Cunning as well as an inveterate hatred of the people was inferior to no one of the Cabal; both encouragd & provoked the people to destroy the Tea. By refusing to grant a Passport he held up to them the alternative of destroying the property of the East India Company or suffering that to be the sure means of unhinging the Security of property in general in America, and by delaying to call on the naval power to protect the Tea, he led them to determine their Choice of Difficulties. In this View of the Matter the Question is easily decided who ought in Justice to pay for the Tea if it ought to be paid for at all.
The Destruction of the Tea is the pretence for the unprecedented Severity shown to the Town of Boston but the real Cause is the opposition to Tyranny for which the people of that Town have always made themselves remarkeable & for which I think this Country is much obligd to them. They are suffering the Vengeance of Administration in the Common Cause of America.
RESOLUTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS. MARCH 1,1774.1
[Journal of the House of Representatives, 1773, 1774 p. 219.]
Whereas Peter Oliver,2 Esq; Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, &c. hath declined any more to receive the Grants of this House for his Services, and hath informed this House by a Writing under his Hand, that he hath taken and received a Grant from his Majesty for his Services, from the fifth Day of July 1772, to the fifth day of January 1774; and that he is resolved for the future to receive the Grants from his Majesty that are or shall be made for his said Services, while he shall continue in this Province as Chief Justice:
Therefore, RESOLVED, That this House will not proceed to make a Grant to the said Peter Oliver, Esq; for his Services for the Year past.
___________ 1On March 1, 1774, the House of Representatives voted that Adams should prepare a resolution stating the reason for omitting the usual grant to Peter Oliver. He reported the same day, and his report was accepted. 2For the articles of impeachment against Peter Oliver, see Massachusetts Gazette, March 3, 1774, and Annual Register, 1774, pp. 224-227.
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF MARBLEHEAD.1
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON March 24 1774
The Bearer of this Mr Wm Goddard has brot us Letters from our worthy Brethren the Committees of Correspondence of New York Newport and Providence, recommending to our Consideration the Expediency of making an Effort to constitute & support a Post throughout America in the room of that which is now establishd by an Act of the British Parliament. When we consider the Importance of a Post, by which not only private Letters of Friendship and Commerce but PUBLICK INTELLIGENCE is conveyd from Colony to Colony, it seems at once proper & necessary that such an one should be establishd as shall be under the Direction of the Colonies; more especially when we further consider that the British Administration & their Agents have taken every Step in their Power to prevent an Union of the Colonies which is so necessary for our making a successful opposition to their arbitrary Designs, and which depends upon a free Communication of the Circumstances and Sentiments of each to the others, and their mutual Councils Besides, the present Post Office is founded on an Act of the British Parliament and raises a revenue from us without our Consent, in which View it is equally as obnoxious as any other revenue Act, and in the time of the Stamp Act as well as since it has been pleaded as a Precedent against us. And though we have appeard to acquiesce in it, because the office was thought to be of publick Utility, yet, if it is now made use of for the purpose of stopping the Channels of publick Intelligence and so in Effect of aiding the measures of Tyranny, as Mr Goddard informs us it is, the necessity of substituting another office in its Stead must be obvious. The Practicability of doing this throughout the Continent is to be considerd. We by no means despair of it. But as it depends upon joynt Wisdom & Firmness our Brethren of New York are sollicitous to know the Sentiments of the New England Colonies. It is therefore our earnest Request that you would take this matter so interresting to America into your consideration, & favor us by the return of Mr Goddard with your own Sentiments, and as far as you shall be able to collect them, the Sentiments of the Gentlemen of your Town & more particularly the Merchants and Traders. And we further request that you would, if you shall judge it proper, communicate your Sentiments in a Letter by Mr Goddard to the Committees of Correspondence of New York & Philadelphia &c. It is our present opinion that when a plan is laid for the effectual Establishment and Regulation of a Post throughout the Colonies upon a constitutional Footing, the Inhabitants of this Town will heartily joyn in carrying it into Execution. We refer you for further particulars to Mr Goddard, who seems to be deeply engagd in this attempt, not only with a View of serving himself as a Printer, but equally from the more generous motive of serving the Common Cause of America. We wish Success to the Design and are with cordial Esteem,
Gentlemen, Your Friends & fellow Countrymen,
___________ 1Intended also for the Committees of Correspondence at Salem, Portsmouth and Newbury Port.
TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.
[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 36-39.]
BOSTON, March 25, 1774.
MY DEAR SIR,
While the general court was sitting I received a letter from you relating to the unhappy circumstances the town of Marblehead was then in; but a great variety of business, some of which was very important, prevented my giving you a convincing proof at that time, of the regard with which I am ever disposed to treat your favours. Besides, if it had been in my power to have aided you with advice, I flattered myself, from the information I afterwards had, that the storm, though it raged with so much violence, would soon spend itself, and a calm would ensue. The tumult of the people is very properly compared to the raging of the sea. When the passions of a multitude become headstrong, they generally will have their course: a direct opposition only tends to increase them; and as to reasoning, one may as well expect that the foaming billows will hearken to a lecture of morality and be quiet. The skilful pilot will carefully keep the helm, and so steer the ship while the storm continues, as to prevent, if possible, her receiving injury.
When your petition was read in the house, I was fearful that our enemies would make an ill improvement of it. I thought I could discover in the countenances of some a kind of triumph in finding that the friends of liberty themselves, were obliged to have recourse even to military aid, to protect them from the fury of an ungoverned mob. They seemed to me to be disposed to confound the distinction, between a lawless attack upon property in a case where if there had been right there was remedy, and the people's rising in the necessary defence of their liberties, and deliberately, and I may add rationally destroying property, after trying every method to preserve it, and when the men in power had rendered the destruction of that property the only means of securing the property of ALL.
It is probable that such improvement may have been made of the disorders in Marblehead, to prejudice or discredit our manly opposition to the efforts of tyranny; but I hope the friends of liberty will prevent any injury thereby to the common cause: and yet, I cannot but express some fears, that parties and animosities have arisen among the brethren; because I have just now heard from a gentleman of your town, that your committee of correspondence have resolved no more to act! I am loath to believe, nay, I cannot yet believe, that the gentlemen of Marblehead, who have borne so early and so noble a testimony to the cause of American freedom, will desert that cause, only from a difference of sentiments among themselves concerning a matter which has no relation to it. If my fears are groundless, pray be so kind as to relieve them, by writing to me as soon as you have an opportunity. I shall take it as the greatest act of friendship you can do me. Indeed the matter will soon be put to the trial; for our committee, without the least jealousy, have written a letter to your's, by Mr. Goddard, who is the bearer of this. The contents we think of great importance, and therefore I hope they will have the serious consideration of the gentlemen of your committee.
I am, with strict truth, Your's affectionately,
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF MASSACHUSETTS TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.1
[Seventy-Six Society Publications. Papers Relating to Massachusetts, pp. 186-192. A draft is in the Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library. A manuscript text, with autograph signatures, is in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.]
BOSTON, March 31st, 1774.
By the inclosed Papers you will observe the proceedings of the two Houses of Assembly in the late session with regard to the Justices of the Superior Court. The conduct of Administration in advising an annual Grant of the Crown to the Governor and the Judges whereby they are rendered absolutely dependent on the Crown for their being and support, had justly and very thouroughly alarmed the apprehensions of the people. They clearly saw that this measure would complete the Tragedy of American Freedom, for they could conceive of no state of slavery more perfect, than for a Parliament in which they could have no voice to claim a power of making Laws to bind them in all cases whatever, and to exercise that assumed Power in taking their money from them and appropriating it for the support of Judges who are to execute such laws as that parliament should see fit to make binding upon them, and a Fleet and Army to enforce their subjection to them. No discerning Minister could expect that a people who had not entirely lost the Spirit and Feeling of that Liberty wherewith they had before been made free, would tamely and without a struggle submit to be thus disgraced and enslaved by the most powerful and haughty Nation on Earth. They heard with astonishment that his Majesty, THEIR OWN SOVEREIGN as well as the sovereign of Britain, had been advised by his servants to signify his displeasure at the decent temperate and humble Petitions of their Representatives, for the redress of this intolerable Grievance merely because they held up principles founded in nature, and confirmed to British Subjects by the British Constitution, and to the subjects in this Province by a sacred charter granted to the inhabitants by his illustrious predecessors for themselves their Heirs and successors forever. They regretted that the Influence of the good Lord Dartmouth upon whose exertions they had placed a confidence could not prevail to gain the Royal attention to their just Complaints being assured that could his Majesty be truly informed, that the express intention of the Royal Charter was to establish and confirm to his subjects in this Province all the liberties of his natural born subjects within the Realm, to all Intents, Purposes and Constructions whatsoever, they should soon rejoice in the full redress of their Grievances and that he would revoke his Grants to his Governor and Judges and leave the Assembly to support his Governor in the Province in the way and manner prescribed in the Charter according to ancient and uninterrupted usage and conformable to the true spirit of the British Constitution.
The People however forbore to take any extraordinary Measures for the Removal of this dangerous innovation, and trusted to the Prudence and fortitude of their Representatives by whose Influence four of the Judges have been prevailed upon to renounce the Grants of the Crown and to declare their Resolution to depend upon the Grants of the Assembly for their future services. The Chief Justice has acted a different part. The House of Representatives have addressed the Governor and Council to remove him from his Office; they have impeached him of High Crimes and misdemeanors, the Governor has refused, even though requested by the Council, to appoint a time to determine on the matter, and finally the House have Resolved that they have done all in their Power in their capacity to effect his removal and that the Governor's refusal was presumed to be because he received HIS support from the Crown.
As the Papers inclosed contain so fully the Sentiments of the two Houses concerning this important matter, it is needless to make any observations thereon. The Assembly is prorogued and it is expected will soon be Dissolved. Doubtless the People who in general are greatly agitated with the conduct of the Governor, will AT LEAST speculate very freely upon a subject so interesting to them. They see with resentment the effect of the Governor's independency, That he is resolved to save a favorite (with whom he has a connection by the intermarriage of their children) and therein to set a precedent for future Independent Governors to establish any corrupt officers against the remonstrances of the Representative Body. They despair of any Constitutional remedy, while the Governor of the Province is thus dependant upon Ministers of State against the most flagrant oppressions of a corrupt Officer. They take it for certain that SUCH a Governor will forever screen the conduct of SUCH an officer from examination and prevent his removal, if he has reason to think it is expected he should so do by those upon whose favor he depends. On the other hand his Majesty's Ministers, unless they are blinded by the plausible Colourings of designing men may see, that by the present measures the People are provoked and irritated to such a degree, that it is not in the Power of a Governor(whom they look upon as a mere Instrument of Power) though born and educated in the Country, and for a long time possessed of a great share of the confidence and affections of the People now to carry a single point which they the ministers can recommend to him. And this will always be the case let who will be Governor while by being made totally dependent on the Crown or perhaps more strictly speaking upon the Ministry, he is thus aliened from the People whose good he is and ought to be appointed. In such a state what is to be expected but warm and angry Debates between the Governor and the two Houses (while the Assembly is sitting instead of the joint consultation for the public Welfare) and violent commotions among the People? It will be in vain for any to expect that the people of this Country will now be contented with a partial and temporary relief, or that they will be amused by Court promises while they see not the least relaxation of Grievances. By the vigilance and activity of Committees of Correspondence among the several towns in the Province they have been wonderfully enlightened and animated. They are united in sentiment and their opposition to unconstitutional Measures of Government in become systematical, Colony communicates freely with Colony. There is a common Affection * * * * * * * * * * * * * whole continent is now become united in sentiment and opposition to tyranny. Their old good will and affection for the Parent Country is not however lost, if she returns to her former moderation and good humor their affection will revive. They wish for nothing more than permanent union with her upon the condition of equal liberty. This is all they have been contending for and nothing short of this will or ought to satisfy them. When formerly the Kings of England have encroached upon the Liberties of their Subjects, the subjects have thought it their Duty to themselves and their Posterity to contend with them until they were restored to the footing of the Constitution. The events of such struggles have sometimes proved fatal to Crowned Heads—perhaps they have never issued but Establishments of the People's Liberties. In those times it was not thought reasonable to say, that since the King had claimed such or such a Power the People MUST yield it to him because it would not be for the Honor of his Majesty to recede from his Claim. If the People of Britain must needs flatter themselves that they collectively are the Sovereign of America, America will never consent that they should govern them arbitrarily, or without known and stipulated Rules. But the matter is not so considered here: Britain and the Colonies are considered as distinct Governments under the King. Britain has a Constitution the envy of all Foreigners, to which it has ever been the safety as well of Kings as of subjects steadfastly to adhere. Each Colony has also a Constitution in its Charter or other Institution of Government; all of which agree in this that the fundamental Laws of the British Constitution shall be the Basis. That Constitution by no means admits of Legislation without representation. Why then should the Parliament of Britain which notwithstanding all its Ideas of transcendant Power must forever be circumscribed within the limits of that Constitution, insist upon the right of legislation for the people of America without their having Representation there? It cannot be justified by their own Constituion. The Laws of Nature and Reason abhor it; yet because she has claimed such a Power, her Honor truly is concerned still to assert and excise it, and she may not recede. Will such kind of reasoning bear the test of Examination! Or rather will it not be an eternal disgrace to any nation which considers her Honor concerned to employ Fleets and Armies for the Support of a claim which she cannot in Reason defend, merely because she has once in anger made such a Claim? It is the misfortune of Britain and the Colonies that flagitious Men on both sides the Water have made it their Interest to foment divisions, Jealousies, and animosities between them, which perhaps will never subside until the Extent of Power and Right on each part is more explicitly stipulated than has ever yet been thought necessary, and although such a stipulation should prove a lasting advantage on each side, yet considering that the views and designs of those men were to do infinite mischief and to establish a Tyranny upon the Ruins of a free constitution they deserve the vengeance of the public, and till the memory of them shall be erased by time, they will most assuredly meet with the execrations of Posterity.
Our Lieutenant Governor Oliver is now dead.2 This event affords the Governor a Plea for postponing his voyage to England till further orders. Had the Government by the absence of BOTH devolved on the Council, his Majesty's service (which has been frequently pleaded to give a Colouring to measures destructive of the true Interests of his Subjects) would we are persuaded, have been really promoted. Among other things the Grants of the House which in the late session were repeated for the services of our Agents would have been passed. There is a degree of Insult in the Governor's refusal of his consent to those Grants, for as his refusal is grounded upon the Hopes that our Friends will thereby be discouraged from further serving us, it is as much as to say that there will be no Agents unless the Assembly will be content with such as he shall prescribe for their choice. The House by a Message urged the Governor to enable them to do their Agents Justice but in vain. This and other instances serve to show that the Powers vested in the Governor are exercised to injure and Provoke the People.
We judge it to be the expectation of the House of Representatives that you should warmly solicit the Earl of Dartmouth for his Interest that as well as other instructions which are grievous to us, more particularly those which relate to the disposition of our public * * * * * that which restrains the Governor from consenting * * * * * to the Agents may be recalled. And his Lordship ought to consider his Interest in this particular not as a PERSONAL favor done to you but as a piece of Justice done to the Province; and in the same light we strongly recommend it to your own Consideration especially as we hope for a change in the Government.
We now write to you by the direction of the House of Representatives to the Committee of Correspondence, and are with very great Regard,
In the name of the Committe Sir, Your most humble servants,
___________ 1Signed by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, William Phillips and William Heath. [back] 2Cf. Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, vol. i., pp. 436, 437.
TO JAMES WARREN.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON March 31 1774
MY DEAR SIR,
I have been for some time past waiting for the Arrival of a ship from London, that I might have something of Importance to communicate to you. No ship has yet arrived. I cannot however omit writing to you by our worthy Friend Mr Watson, by whom I recd your obliging Letter of the 27 Instant.
Altho we have had no Arrival from Londn directly to this place, we have heard from thence by the way of Philadelphia as you have observd in the News papers. The Account they first receivd of our opposition to the East India Act, as it is called, particularly the transactions at Liberty Tree, they treated with Scorn & Ridicule; but when they heard of the Resolves of the Body of the people at the old South Meeting house, the place from whence the orders issued for the removal of the Troops in 1770, they put on grave Countenances. No Notice is taken of America in the Kings Speech. Our Tories tell us to expect Regiments [to be] quarterd among us. What Measures an unjudicious Ministry, (to say the least of them) will take, cannot easily at present be foreseen; it will be wise for us to be ready for ALL EVENTS, that WE MAY MAKE THE BEST IMPROVEMENT OF THEM. It is probable that Mr Hutchinson will make the Death of his Brother Oliver a plea for postponing a Voyage to London, and if Troops should arrive IT MAY BE BEST THAT HE SHOULD BE HERE.—I never suffer my Mind to be ever much disturbd with Prospects. Sufficient for the Day is the Evil thereof. It is our Duty at all Hazards to preserve the publick Liberty. Righteous Heaven will graciously smile on every manly and rational Attempt to secure that best of all his Gifts to Man, from the ravishing Hand of lawless & brutal Power.
Mr Watson will inform you, what Steps [the] Come of Correspondence have taken with regard to the Establishment of a Post Office upon constitutional Principles. Mr Goddard, who brot us Letters from New York, Newport & Providence relating to that Subject, is gone with Letters from us to the principal trading Towns as far as Portsmouth. I will acquaint you with the State of the Affair when he returns, and our Come will I doubt not, then write to yours. The Colonies must unite to carry thro such [a] Project, and when the End is effected it will be a pretty grand Acquisition.
I refer you also to Mr Watson, who can inform you respecting one of your Protecters who has been in Town. The Tryumph of your Tories as well as ours will I hope be short. We must not however boast as he that putteth off the Harness. H—n is politically sick and [I] fancy despairs of returning Health. The "law learning" Judge I am told is in the Horrors and the late Lieutenant (joynt Author of a late Pamphlet intitled Letters &c.) a few Weeks ago "died & was buried"—Excuse me from enlarging at present. I intend to convince you that I am "certainly a Man of my Word"—In the mean time with Assurance of unfeigned Friendship for Mrs Warren and your agreable Family, in which Mrs Adams joyns, I remain
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF MARBLEHEAD.1
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with slight modifications, is in J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i. pp. 39-42.]
BOSTON April 2d 1774
Yesterday we receivd your Letter dated the 22d of March, wherein we have the disagreeable Intelligence of your "having resignd the several offices in which you have acted for the Town" of Marblehead, and that you shall "accept them no more—without material Alteration in the Conduct of the Inhabitants."
When we heard of the unhappy Circumstances of that Town—The Contest that had arisen to so great a Degree of Violence on Account of the Hospital lately erected there, it gave us great Concern and Anxiety, lest it might issue to the Prejudice of the Common Cause of American Freedom. We were apprehensive that the Minds of the Zealous Friends of that good Cause, being warmly agitated in such a Controversy, would become thereby disaffected to each other, and that the Advantage which we have hitherto experienced from their united Efforts would cease. We are confirmd that our Fears were not ill grounded, by your relinquishing a Post, which, in our Opinion, and we dare say in the Opinion of your Fellow Townsmen you sustaind with Honor to your selves and Advantage to your Country. But Gentlemen, Suffer us to ask, Whether you well considerd, that although you derivd your Being as a Committee of Correspondence from that particular Town which appointed you, yet in the Nature of your office, while they continued you in it you stood connected in a peculiar Relation with your Country. If this be a just View of it, Should the ill Conduct of the Inhabitants of Marblehead towards you, influence you to decline serving the publick in this office, any more than that of the Inhabitants of this or any other Town? And would you not therefore have continued in that office, though you had been obligd to resign every other office you held under the Town, without Injury to your own Reputation? Besides will the Misfortune end in this Resignation? Does not the Step naturally lead you to withdraw your selves totally from the publick Meetings of the Town, however important to the Common Cause, by which the other firm Friends to that honorable Cause may feel the Want of your Influence and Aid, at a time when, as you well express it "a FATAL Thrust may be aimed at our Rights and Liberties," and it may be necessary that all should appear, & "as one Body" oppose the Design & defeat the Rebel Intent? Should not the Disorders that have prevaild and still prevail in the Town of Marblehead, have been a weighty Motive rather for your taking Measures to strengthen your Connections with the People than otherwise; that you might in Conjunction with other prudent Men, have employed your Influence & Abilities in reducing to the Exercise of Reason those who had been governd by Prejudice and Passion, & they have brought the Contest to an equitable & amicable Issue, which would certainly have been to your own Satisfaction. If Difficulties stared you in the Face, it is a good Maxim NIL DESPERANDUM; and are you sure that it was impracticable for you, by Patience and Assiduity, to have restored "Order & Distinction" and renderd the publick offices of the Town again respectable?
It is difficult to enumerate all the Instances in which our Enemies, as watchful as they are inveterate, will make an ill Improvement of your Letter of resignation. And therefore we earnestly wish that a Method may yet be contrived for the Recalling of it consistent with your own Sentiments. We assure our Selves that personal Considerations will not be sufferd to have an undue Weight in your Minds, when the publick Liberty in which is involvd the Happiness of your own as well as the Children of those who have ill treated you, & whom to rescue from Bondage will afford you the most exalted Pleasure, is in Danger of suffering Injury.
We wish most ardently that by the Exercise of Moderation & Prudence the Differences subsisting among the good People of Marblehead may be settled upon righteous Terms. And as we are informd that the Town at their late Meeting did not see Cause to make Choice of other Gentlemen in your Room in Consequence of your declining to serve any longer as a Committee of Correspondence, we beg Leave still to consider & address you in that Character.
We are with unfeigned Respect,
___________ 1Addressed to "Azor Orne Esqr & other Gentlemen of the Committee of Correspondence for Marblehead."
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 215-220.]
BOSTON, April 4th, 1774.
MY DEAR SIR,—My last letter to you I delivered to the care of Dr. Williamson, who sailed with Capt. —————in December last. The general assembly has since been sitting, and the important subject of the judges of the superior court being made dependent on the crown for thier salaries, was again taken up by the house of representatives with spirit and firmness. The house had in a former session passed divers resolutions expressing their sense of the dangerous tendency of this innovation, and declaring that unless the justices should renounce the salaries from the crown, and submit to a constitutional dependence upon the the assembly for their support, they would proceed to impeach them before the governor and council. One of them, Mr. Trowbridge, very early in the session, in a letter to the speaker, expressed his former compliance with that resolve, which letter was communicated to the house and voted satisfactory. The other four had taken no notice of the resolve. The house therefore having waited from the 26th of January, which was the first day of the session, till the 1st of February, then came to a resolution, that unless they should conform to their order on or before the fourth of the same month, farther proceedings would be had on such neglect. The effect of this resolve was, that three of them, viz:—Hutchinson, (a brother to him who is called governor), ————, —————, made similar declarations to that of Trowbridge, which were also voted satisfactory. Mr. Justice Oliver, who is a brother of the lieutenant-governor, and is connected with the governor by the marriage of their children, came to a different determination; which occasioned a controversy between the governor and the two houses, inserted at large in the enclosed papers. Therein you will see that the governor has treated the petitions, complaints, and remonstrances of the representative body, with haughty contempt. The people view it with deep resentment as an effect of his independency; whereby he is aliened from them, and become a fitter instrument in the hands of the ministry to carry into effect their destructive plans. They are irritated to the highest degree, and despair of any constitutional remedy against the oppressions of a corrupt officer, while the governor, BE HE WHO HE MAY, is thus dependent on ministers of state. They have ever since the trial of Preston and his soldiers been murmuring at the conduct of the superior court, and the partiality which many say is so clearly discovered in causes between revenue officers and the government, abettors, and other subjects. Indeed, the house of representatives two or three years ago passed a resolution that such conduct in several instances had been observed, as appears in their printed journals. To give you some idea of what the temper of that court has been, a lawyer1 of great eminence in the province, and a member of the house of representatives, was thrown over the bar a few days ago, because he explained in a public newspaper the sentiments he had advanced in the house when he had been misrepresented; and a young lawyer of great genius in this town, who had passd the regular course of study, (which is more than can be said of the chief-justice) has been and is still refused by the governor, only because he mentioned the name of Hutchinson with freedom, and that not in court, but in a Boston town-meeting some years before. And to show you from whence this influence springs, I must inform you that not long ago the governor, the lieutenant-governor, and three of the judges, which make a majority of the bench, were nearly related; and even now the governor has a brother there, and is brother-in-law to the chief-justice. Such combinations are justly formidable, and the people view them with a jealous eye. They clearly see through a system formed for their destruction. That the parliament of Britain is to make laws, binding them in all cases whatsoever; that the colonies are to be taxed by that parliament without their own consent; and the crown enabled to appropriate money for the support of the executive and arbitrary powers; that this leaves their own assembly a body of very little significance; while the officers of government and judges, are to be totally independent of the legislature, and altogether under the control of the king's ministers and counselors; and there an union will be effected, as dangerous as it will be powerful; the whole power of government will be lifted from the hands into which the constitution has placed it, into the hands of the king's ministers and their dependents here. This is in a great measure the case already; and the consequences will be, angry debates in our senate, and perpetual tumults and confusions abroad; until these maxims are entirely altered, or else, which God forbid, the spirits of the people are depressed, and they become inured to disgrace and servitude. This has long been the prospect in the minds of speculative men. The body of the people are now in council. Their opposition grows into a system. They are united and resolute. And if the British administration and government do not return to the principles of moderation and equity, the evil which they profess to aim at preventing by their rigorous measures, will the sooner be brought to pass, viz:—THE ENTIRE SEPARATION AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE COLONIES.
Mr. Cushing obliged me with a sight of your letter to him of the 22d Dec. last. I think I am not so clearly of opinion as you seem to be, that "the declaratory act is a mere nullity," and that therefore "if we can obtain a repeal of the revenue acts from 1764, without their pernicious appendages, it will be enough." Should they retract the exercise of their assumed power, you ask when will they be able to renew it? I know not when, but I fear they will soon do it, unless, as your worthy brother in Virginia in a letter I yesterday received from him expresses himself, "we make one uniform, steady effort to secure an explicit bill of rights for British America." Let the executive power and right on each side be therein stipulated, that Britain may no longer have a power or right to make laws to bind us, in all cases whatsoever. While the claim is kept up, she may exercise the power as often as she pleases; and the colonies have experienced her disposition to do it too plainly since she in anger made the claim. Even imaginary power beyond right begets insolence. The people here I am apt to think will be satisfied on no other terms but those of redress; and they will hardly think they are upon equitable terms with the mother country, while by a solemn act she continues to claim a right to enslave them, whenever she shall think fit to exercise it. I wish for a permanent union with the mother country, but only on the principles of liberty and truth. No advantage that can accrue to America from such an union can compensate for the loss of liberty. The time may come sooner than they are aware of it, when the being of the British nation, I mean the being of its importance, however strange it may now appear to some, will depend on her union with America. It requires but a small portion of the gift of discernment for any one to foresee, that providence will erect a mighty empire in America; and our posterity will have it recorded in history, that their fathers migrated from an ISLAND in a distant part of the world, the inhabitants of which had long been revered for wisdom and valour. They grew rich and powerful; these emigrants increased in numbers and strength. But they were at last absorbed in luxury and dissipation; and to support themselves in their vanity and extravagance they coveted and seized the honest earnings of those industrious emigrants. This laid a foundation of distrust, animosity and hatred, till the emigrants, feeling their own vigour and independence, dissolved every former band of connexion between them, and the ISLANDERS sunk into obscurity and contempt.
May I whisper in your ear that you paid a compliment to the speaker when you told him you "always spoke under the correction of his better judgment." I admire what you say to him, and I hope it will have a good impression on his mind; THAT WE SHALL BE RESPECTED IN ENGLAND EXACTLY IN PROPORTION TO THE FIRMNESS AND STRENGTH OF OUR OPPOSITION.
I am sincerely your friend,
As Capt. Wood is now about to sail, there is not time to have copies of the papers; I will send them by the next opportunity. In the mean time I refer you to Dr. Franklin, to whom they are sent by this vessel.
___________ 1Joseph Hawley, Esq., of North Hampton. [back]
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 220, 221.]
BOSTON, April , 1774.
MY DEAR SIR,—Capt. Wood being still detained, I have the opportunity of acknowledging your favour of the 22d Dec. last,1 which is just now come to my hand. As Mr. Cushing received your letter of the same date near three weeks ago, I am at a loss to conjecture the reason of my not receiving it at the same time.
I do not depend much upon Lord Dartmouth's inclination to relieve America, upon terms which we shall think honourable; upon his ability to do it, I have no dependence at all. He might have said with safety, when called upon by Lord Shelburne, that he had prepared a plan to pursue at the hazard of his office; for I have reason to believe it was grounded upon the hopes that we could be prevailed upon, at least impliedly, to renounce our claims. This would have been an acceptable service to the ministry, and would have secured to him his office. No great advantage can be made against us from the letter which you mention to Lord Dartmouth from the two houses of our assembly; for upon a review of it I think the most that is said in it is, that if we are brought back to the state we were in at the close of the last war, we shall be as easy as we then were. I do not like any thing that looks like accommodating our language to the humour of a minister; and am fully of your opinion that "the harmony and concurrence of the colonies, is of a thousand times more importance in our dispute, than the friendship or patronage of any great man in England."
At the request of our friend, Mr. Hancock, I beg your acceptance of an oration delivered by him on the fifth of March last. I intend to write to you again very soon; in the mean time I remain your assured friend,
1R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 238-240.
TO JOHN DICKINSON.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON April 21 1774.
I take the Liberty to inclose an Oration deliverd on the last Anniversary of the 5th of March 1770, by Mr Hancock; which I beg you to accept as a Token of my great Regard for you. This Institution in a great Measure answers the Design of it, which is, to preserve in the Minds of the People a lively Sense of the Danger of standing Armies. We are again threatned with that great Evil; the British Ministry being highly provoked at the Conduct of the People here in destroying the East India Companys Tea. They shut their Eyes to what might appear obvious to them, that the Governors Refusal to suffer it to repass our Castle, compelled to that Extremity. The Disappointment of the Ministry, and, no doubt, the Govrs aggravated Representations, have inflamed them to the highest Degree. May God prepare this People for the Event, by inspiring them with Wisdom and Fortitude! At the same time they stand in Need of all the Countenance that their Sister Colonies can afford them; with whom to cultivate and strengthen an Union, was a great object in View. WE have borne a double Share of ministerial Resentment, in every Period of the Struggle for American Freedom. I hope this is not to be attributed to our having, in general, imprudently acted our Part. Is it not rather owing to our having had constantly, Governors and other Crown officers residing among us, whose Importance depended solely upon their blowing up the flame of Contention? We are willing to submit our Conduct to the Judgment of our Friends, & would gladly receive their Advice.
Coll Lee the Bearer of this Letter and Mr Dalton his Companion, are travelling as far as Maryland. They are Gentlemen of Fortune and Merit; and will be greatly disappointed if they should miss the Pleasure of seeing the common Friend of America, The Pennsylvania Farmer. Allow me, Sir, to recommend them to you, and to assure you that I am with great Sincerity,
Your affectionate Friend and humble servt,
TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.
[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 45, 46.]
BOSTON, May 12, 1774.
MY DEAR SIR,
I duly received your excellent letter of this day, while I was in town-meeting. I read it there, to the great satisfaction of my fellow townsmen, in as full a town-meeting as we have ever had. I think you and the worthy colonel Orne must by no means refuse to come to the general assembly. Every consideration is to give way to the public. I cannot see how you can reconcile a refusal to your own principles. Excuse my honest freedom. I can write no more at present, being now in committee of correspondence upon matters of great importance. This waits on you by Mr. Oliver Wendel, who is one of a committee of this town to communicate with the gentlemen of Salem and Marblehead, upon the present exigency.
I am, in haste, your friend,
TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
[MS., Public Record Office, London.1]
BOSTON 12th May 1774.
I am Desired by the freeholders and other Inhabitants of this Town to enclose you an attested copy of their Vote passed in Town meeting Legally Assembled this day—The Occasion of this meeting is most Alarming: we have receiv'd a Copy of an Act of the British Parliament—which is inclosed, wherein it appears that the Inhabitants of this Town have been Tryed condemn'd and are to be punished by shutting up the Harbour and otherways, without their having been called to Answer for, nay, for ought that appears without their having been accused of any crime committed by them, for no such crime is alleged in the Act—the town of Boston is now Suffering the stroke of Vengeance in the Common cause of America, I hope they will sustain the Blow with Becoming Fortitude, and that the Effect of this cruel act Intended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of all America will by the joint efforts of all be frustrated.
The people receive this Edict with indignation; it is expected by their Enemies, and fear'd by some of their Friends, that this town singly will not be able to support the cause under so severe a Tryal—as the very Being of every Colony considered as a free people depends upon the event a thought so Dishonorable to our Brethren cannot be entertain'd as that this town will be left to struggle alone.
Your Hume St
1The copy from which the text is printed was an enclosure in a letter of Governor Wentworth, dated June 8, 1774.
THE TOWN OF BOSTON TO THE COLONIES.1
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON May 13th : 1774
I am Desired by the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of this Town to enclose you an Attested Copy of their Vote passed in Town meeting legally assembled this day.2 The Occasion of this Meeting is most Alarming: We have receiv'd a Copy of an Act of the British Parliament (which is also inclos'd) wherein it appears that the Inhabitants of this Town have been tryed and condemned and are to be punished by the shutting up of the Harbour, and other Ways, without their having been called to answer for, nay, for aught that appears without their having been even accused of any crime committed by them; for no such Crime is alleged in the Act.
The Town of Boston is now Suffering the Stroke of Vengeance in the Common Cause of America. I hope they will sustain the Blow with becoming fortitude; and that the Effects of this cruel Act, intended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of all America will by the joynt Efforts of all be frustrated.
The People receive this Edict with Indignation. It is expected by their Enemies and feard by some of their Friends, that this Town singly will not be able to support the Cause under so severe a Tryal. As the very being of every Colony, considerd as a free People depends upon the Event, a Thought so dishonorable to our Brethren cannot be entertaind, as that this Town will now be left to struggle alone.
General Gage is just arrivd here, with a Commission to supercede Govr Hutchinson. It is said that the Town of Salem about twenty Miles East of this Metropolis is to be the Seat of Government— that the Commissioners of the Customs and their numerous Retinue are to remove to the Town of Marblehead a Town contiguous to Salem and that this if the General shall think proper is to be a Garrisond Town. Reports are various and contradictory.
I am &c.
Sent to the Come of Correspondence for Connecticutt New York New Jersey & Philadelphia
by Mr Revere—and in that sent to Philadelphia there were Copies of the Vote of the Town inclosd for the Colonies to the Southward of them which they were desired to forward with all possible Dispatch with their own Sentiments.
to Rhode Island Providence p Post Portsmouth p Ditto
to Peyton Randolph Esqr to be communicated by him to the Gentlemen in Virginia which was sent by Mr Perez Moulton as far as Philadelphia to be thence forwarded by the Post.
___________ 1The letter was signed by Adams, but only the annotations at the end are in his autograph. Another draft is also in the Committee of Correspondence Papers. The final text of the letter as sent to the Committee of Correspondence of Connecticut, with the subscription and signature in the autograph of Adams and the body of the letter in the autograph of Thomas Cushing, is in Emmet MS., No. 344, Lenox Library, and is printed in Bulletin of New York Public Library, vol. ii., p. 201. 2Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., pp. 173, 174.
THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF PHILADELPHIA.1
[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]
BOSTON May 13 1774
We have just receivd the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament passd in the present Session whereby the Town of Boston is treated in a Manner the most ignominious cruel and unjust. The Parliament have taken upon them, from the Representations of our Governor & other Persons inimical to and deeply prejudiced, against the Inhabitants, to try, condemn and by an Act to punish them, UNHEARD; which would have been in Violation of NATURAL JUSTICE even if they had an acknowledgd Jurisdiction. They have orderd our port to be entirely shut up, leaving us barely so much of the Means of Subsistance as to keep us from perishing with Cold and Hunger; and it is said, that [a] Fleet of British Ships of War is to block up our Harbour, until we shall make Restitution to the East India Company, for the Loss of their Tea, which was destroyed therein the Winter past, Obedience is paid to the Laws and Authority of Great Britain, and the Revenue is duly collected. This Act fills the Inhabitants with Indignation. The more thinking part of those who have hitherto been in favor of the Measures of the British Government, look upon it as not to have been expected even from a barbarous State. This Attack, though made immediately upon us, is doubtless designd for every other Colony, who will not surrender their sacred Rights & Liberties into the Hands of an infamous Ministry. Now therefore is the Time, when ALL should be united in opposition to this Violation of the Liberties of ALL. Their grand object is to divide the Colonies. We are well informd, that another Bill is to be brought into Parliament, to distinguish this from the other Colonies, by repealing some of the Acts which have been complaind of and ease the American Trade; but be assured, YOU will be called upon to surrender your Rights, if ever they should succeed in their Attempts to suppress the Spirit of Liberty HERE. The single Question then is, Whether YOU consider Boston as now suffering in the Common Cause, & sensibly feel and resent the Injury and Affront offerd to her? If you do, (and we cannot believe otherwise) May we not from your Approbation of our former Conduct, in Defence of American Liberty, rely on your suspending your Trade with Great Britain at least, which, it is acknowledgd, will be a great, but necessary Sacrifice, to the Cause of Liberty, and will effectually defeat the Design of this Act of Revenge. If this should be done, you will please to consider it will be, though a voluntary Suffering, greatly short of what we are called to endure under the immediate hand of Tyranny.