The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III.
by Samuel Adams
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The Committee beg the favor of you, gentlemen, to return their thanks to our worthy brethren of Marble Town, for the valuable donation received from them.

I am, with due acknowledgments for the care you have taken, in the name of the Committee, Gentlemen, your obliged friend and servant,

1 Of New York. [back]


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 277, 278; a text, dated January 20, is in Boston Gazette, January 23, I775, and in Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. i., p. 1172.]

BOSTON, January 13.

The printers in this and the other American Colonies are requested to insert the following in their several News Papers.


The Committee appointed by the Town of Boston, to receive and distribute donations for the charitable purpose of relieving and employing the sufferers by means of the Act of Parliament commonly called the Boston Port-Bill, from a due regard to their own characters and that of the Town under whose appointment they act, as well as for the sake of the said sufferers, who depend upon the continual beneficence of their friends for necessary relief; think themselves obliged, in this public manner, to contradict a slanderous report raised by evil minded persons, spread in divers parts of this Province, and perhaps more extensively through the continent. The report is, that "each Member of the Committee is allowed six shillings, and, as some say, half a guinea, for every day's attendance; besides a commission upon all the donations received, and other emoluments for their trouble." The Committee, therefore, thus openly declare, that the above mentioned report is in every part of it groundless and false ; and that they have hitherto attended and acted in their office, and still continue so to do, without any intention, hope, or desire, of receiving any other reward in this life, but the pleasure which results from a consciousness of having done good.—So satisfied are they of their own DISINTERESTED motives and conduct in this regard, that they can safely appeal to the Omniscient Being for their sincerity in this declaration.

And whereas the committee have this evening been informed, by a letter from the country, of another report equally injurious, viz. that "the Com- mittee have employed poor persons in working for themselves, and gentlemen of fortune with whom they are particularly connected in their private concerns, and paid them out of the donations received "; the Committee do, with the same solemnity, declare the said report to be as false as it is scandalous.

They were early apprehensive that the enemies of TRUTH and LIBERTY, would spare no pains to misrepresent their conduct and asperse their characters ; and therefore, that they might always have it in their power to vindicate themselves, they have constantly kept regular books, containing records of the whole of their proceedings; which books, as the Committee advertised the public some months ago, are open for the inspection of such as are inclined to look into and examine them.

The Committee now challenge any person whatever, to make it appear, that there is a just foundation for such reports. Until this reasonable demand is complied with, they confide in the justice of the public, that no credit will be given to reports, so injurious to the Committee, and to this oppressed and insulted people.

If the friends of truth will inform the Committee of any reports they may hear, tending to defame the Committee, and by that means to discourage further donations for the benevolent purpose of relieving the sufferers above-mentioned, it will be acknowledged as a particular favor.

Sign'd by Order of the Committee,

1 Signed by Samuel Adams as chairman. The authorship is not determined.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON Jan 29 1775


Upon my Return from the Continental Congress at Philadelphia I had the Pleasure of receiving your Letter of the . . . I beg you would attribute my not having acknowledgd the favor before this time, to continual Avocations which the Necessity of the Times have required.

When the cruel Edict for shutting up this Harbour took place, which was in a very short time after we had any notice that such a Measure was intended, the Inhabitants of the Town met in Faneuil Hall and, as you have long ago heard, resolvd to suffer all the hardships intended by it, rather than submit to its unrighteous as well as ignominious Terms. Supported by the most liberal Donations from their Brethren in all the Colonies, they suffer the Suspension of their Trade & Business with Patience and even laugh at this feeble Effort of their Enemies to force them to make the Concessions of Slaves.

The Act for regulating the Government of this Province and the Murder Act as it is commonly called soon followd the Port Act; and General Gage, whether from his own Motives or the Instructions of the Minister, thought proper to assemble all the Kings Troops then on the Continent, in this Town and has declared to the Selectmen & others his Resolution to put the Acts in Execution. The People on the other hand resolve that they will not submit to them and the Continent applauds them herein. The new appointed Councellors and others who have openly avowd the Measures of Administration being conscious that Mr Gage was not mistaken when he publickly declared under his Hand, that the Opposition to these Acts was general through the Province, have fled to this Town for Protection. Thus we appear to be in a state of Hostility. The General with . . . Regiments with a very few Adherents on one side & all the rest of the Inhabitants of the Province backd by all the Colonies on the other! The People are universally disposd to wait till they can hear what Effect the Applications of the Continental Congress will have, in hopes that the new Parliament will reverse the Laws & measures of the old, abolish that System of Tyranny which was pland in 1763 (perhaps before), confirm the just Rights of the Colonies and restore Harmony to the British Empire. God grant they may not be disappointed! Lest they should be, they have been, & are still exercising themselves in military Discipline and providing the necessary Means of Defence. I am well informd that in every Part of the Province there are selected Numbers of Men, called Minute Men—that they are well disciplind & well provided—and that upon a very short Notice they will be able to assemble a formidable Army. They are resolvd however not to be the Aggressors in an open Quarrel with the Troops; but animated with an unquenchable Love of Liberty they will support their righteous Claim to it, to the utmost Extremity. They are filled with Indignation to hear that Hutchinson & their other inveterate Enemies have hinted to the Nation that they are Cowards. Administration may improve this Suggestion to promote their mad purposes, but whenever it is brought to the Test it will be found to be a fatal Delusion. The People are recollecting the Achievements of their Ancestors and whenever it shall be necessary for them to draw their Swords in the Defence of their Liberties, they will shew themselves to be worthy of such Ancestors. I earnestly wish that Lord North would no longer listen to the Voice of Faction. Interested Men whose very Being depends upon the Emoluments derivd to them from the American Revenue, have been artfully deceiving him. Such Men as these, some of them, under a mere pretence of flying to the Army for Protection, have got themselves about General Gage. They are supposd to be perpetually filling his Ears with gross Misrepresentations. Hutchinson who is now in England has the Tongue & the Heart of a Courtier. His Letters to Whately show what his Designs have been and how much he has contributed towards bringing on the present Difficulties. America never will, Britain never ought to forgive him. I know, at least I thought I knew his ambitious and avaritious Designs long before he wrote those Letters. I know the part he bore in the several Administrations of Shirly of Pownal & of Bernard. Pownals Views were generous. I pitied him under his Embarrassments. Even Bernard I can forgive. If Administration are determind still to form their measures from the Information of an inveterate Party, they must look to the Consequences. It will be in vain for others to attempt to undeceive them. If they are disposd to bring Matters to an Accommodation they know the Sense of the Colonies by the Measures of the Continental Congress. If our Claims are just & reasonable they ought to concede to them. To pretend that it is beneath the Dignity of the Nation for them to do that which Justice demands of them is worse than Folly. Let them repeal every American revenue Law—recall standing Armies—restore. . .


[Historical Magazine, 2nd ser., vol. iv., p. 219.]

BOSTON Jany 31 1775


I received your kind letter some time ago, which should have been acknowledged before this time but I beg you would consider that our hands are full. Our "worthy citizen" Mr Paul Revere will explain to you the intelligence which we have just received from England. It puts me in mind of what I remember to have heard you observe, that we may all be soon under the necessity of keeping SHOOTING IRONS. God grant that we may not be brought to extremity or otherwise prepare us for all events.

Mr Tudor has informed me that a report has prevailed in Philadelphia of a Fracas between Mr Cushing and myself at our late Provincial Congress, he showed me your letter; you may depend upon it there is not the least Foundation for the Report. Any Difference between Mr Cushing and me is of very little consequence to the public cause. I take notice of it only as one of the many Falshoods which I know to have been propagated by the Enemies of America. It is also a Misrepresentation that the sect taken notice of for opening their Shops on our late Thanksgiving Day, was that of the People called Quaquers. They were the Disciples of the late Mr Sanderman, who worship God here without the least Molestation according to their own manner, and are in no other Light disregarded here but as it is said they are in general avowed Friends of the Ministerial Measures. This is what I am told, for my own part I know but little or nothing about them. The Different denominations of Christians here (excepting those amongst them who Espouse the cause of our Enemies) are in perfect peace and Harmony, as I trust they always will be.

I have written this letter in very great Haste, while in the Committee of Correspondence and conclude with due Regard to your Spouse, and all friends

Yours affectionately

TO EDWARD ARCHER AND OTHERS.1 [Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 161, 162.]

BOSTON, Feb. 1, 1775.


The Committee appointed to receive and distribute the donations made for the relief and employment of the sufferers by the Port Bill, have received your letter of the 6th December last, inclosing a bill of lading for seven hundred and fifteen bushels corn, thirty-three barrels pork, fifty-eight barrels bread, and ten barrels flour. We are sorry to inform you that the vessel was cast away, but being timely advised of the disaster by Capt. Rysam, we have, though not without considerable expense, the good fortune of saving the most part of the cargo.

The County and Borough of Norfolk, and Town of Portsmouth, who made this charitable donation for the sufferers above mentioned, have the due acknowledgments of this Committee, and their hearty thanks, with assurance that it shall be applied agreeable to the benevolent design. The cheerful accession of the gentlemen of Virginia to the measures proposed by the late Continental Congress, is an instance of that zeal for, and attachment to the cause of America, in which that colony has ever distinguished herself.

This Town is suffering the severest strokes of ministerial vengeance, for their adherence to the same virtuous cause; and while the sister Colonies are testifying their approbation of its conduct, and so liberally contributing for its support, we trust the inhabitants will continue to bear their suffering with a manly fortitude, and preserve a superiority over their insulting enemies.

I am, in the name of the Committee, Gentlemen, your sincere friend and fellow-countryman,

1A committee for the county and borough of Norfolk and town of Portsmouth, Virginia.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 185, 186.]

BOSTON, February 1, 1775.


Your letter of the 29th December last, directed to Mr. Cushing, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Paine and myself, inclosing bill of lading for three hundred twenty-nine and a half bushels wheat, one hundred thirty-five bushels corn, and twenty-three barrels flour, was delivered to us by Capt. Tompkins, and we have laid it before the Committee of this Town appointed to receive and distribute Donations made for the relief and employment of the sufferers by the Port Bill. I am, in the name of the Committee, to desire you to return their hearty thanks to the worthy gentlemen of Henrico County, who have so generously contributed for that charitable purpose, and to assure them, that their donations shall be applied so as duly to answer their benevolent intention.

The Colony of Virginia made an early stand, by their ever memorable Resolves, in 1765, against the efforts of a corrupt British Administration to enslave America, and has ever distinguished herself by her exertions in support of our common rights. The sister Colonies struggled separately, but the Minister himself has at length united them, and they have lately uttered language that will be heard. It is the fate of this Town to drink deep of the cup of ministerial vengeance; but while America bears them witness that they suffer in HER cause, they glory in their sufferings. Being thus supported by HER liberality, they will never ungratefully betray her rights. Inheriting the spirit of their virtuous ancestors, they will, after their example, endure hardships, and confide in an all- gracious Providence. Having been born to be free, they will never disgrace themselves by a mean submission to the injurious terms of slavery. These, Sir, I verily believe to be the sentiments of our inhabitants, and if I am not mistaken, such assistances are to be expected from them, as you assure us are most sincerely and unanimously wished by every Virginian.

I am, in the name of the Committee, Sir, your sincere friend and fellow-countryman,

1Of Henrico County, Virginia.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 182, 183.]

BOSTON, February 1, 1775.


Capt. Tompkins duly delivered your letter, dated Virginia, Chesterfield County, Dec. 1774, directed to Mr. Cushing, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Paine and myself, with a bill of lading inclosed for I,054 bushels of wheat, 376 1/2 bushels corn, and five bushels peas, of which 210 bushels wheat, and 12 1/2 corn we perceive comes from the people of Cumberland. As this Town have appointed a Committee to receive and distribute donations made for the relief and employment of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, for which charitable purpose these donations of your constituents are appropriated, your letter and the bill of lading are assigned to them, and in their name I am now to desire you to accept of their grateful acknowledgments for the benevolent part you have taken, and also to make their returns of gratitude to the worthy Gentlemen of Chesterfield and Cumberland County, for the very Generous assistance they have afforded for the relief of the inhabitants of Boston, yet suffering, as you express it, under cruel oppression for the common cause of America. It is a sense of the dignity of the cause which animates them to suffer with that fortitude which you are pleased candidly to attribute to them; and while they are thus encouraged and supported by the sister Colonies, they will, by God's assistance, rather than injure or stain that righteous cause, endure the conflict to the utmost.

The Committee have received 192 1/2 bushels of wheat, mentioned in your letter, as a donation from the people of Goochland County. You will greatly oblige the Committee if you will return their hearty thanks to their generous friends in that County.

I am, with truth and sincerity, Gentlemen, your respectful friend and humble servant,

1Of Chesterfield County, Virginia.

TO ARTHUR LEE. [R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 223, 224; a text is also in Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. i., p. 1239, and a draft is in Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 14th, 1775.

MY DEAR SIR,—A few days ago I received your letter of the 7th December, and was greatly pleased to find that you had returned from Rome at so critical a time. A sudden dissolution of the late parliament was a measure which I expected would take place. I must needs allow that the ministry have acted a politic part; for if they had suffered the election to be put off till the spring, it might have cost some of them their heads. The new parliament can with a very ill grace impeach them for their past conduct, after having so explicitly avowed it. The thunder of the late speech and the servile answers, I view as designed to serve the purposes of saving some men from the block. I cannot conclude that lord North is upon the retreat, though there seems to be some appearance of it. A deception of this kind would prove fatal to us. Our safety depends upon our being in readiness for the extreme event. Of this the people here are thoroughly sensible, and from the preparations they are making I trust in God they will defend their liberties with dignity. If the ministry have not abandoned themselves to folly and madness the firm union of the colonies must be an important objection. The claims of the colonies are consistent . . . and necessary to their own existence as free subjects, and they will never recede from them. The tools of power here are incessantly endeavouring to divide them, but in vain. I wish the king's ministers would duly consider what appears to me a very momentous truth, that one regular attempt to subdue those in any other colony, whatever may be the first issue of the attempt, will open a quarrel, which will never be closed till what some of THEM affect to apprehend, and we sincerely deprecate, shall take effect. Is it not then high time that they should hearken not to the clamours of passionate and interested men, but to the cool voice of impartial reason ? No sensible minister will think that millions of free subjects, strengthened by such an union, will submit to be slaves; no honest minister would wish to see humanity thus disgraced.

My attendance on the provincial congress now sitting here will not admit of my enlarging at present. I will write you again by the next opportunity, and till I have reason to suspect our adversaries have got some of my letters in their possession. I yet venture to subscribe, yours affectionately,


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 206, 207.]

BOSTON, Feb. 21, 1775.2


Your letter of the 17th of January, written in behalf of the Committee of Correspondence for the Town of Sandwich, came duly to hand. Capt. Tobey, the bearer, was kind enough to deliver to the Committee of this Town, appointed to receive Donations for the relief and employment of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, a charitable collection from the Congregational societies in Sandwich, amounting to nineteen pounds and three pence, for which he has our Treasurer's receipt. I am to desire you, in the name of our Committee, to return their sincere thanks to our worthy brethren, for the kindness they have shown to those sufferers by so generous a contribution for their support under the cruel hand of oppression. It affords us abundant satisfaction to have the testimony of such respectable bodies of men, that the inhabitants of this Town are not sufferers as evil doers, but for "their steady adherence to the cause of liberty," and we cannot but persuade ourselves that the Supreme Being approves our conduct, by whose all powerful influence the British American continent hath been united, and thus far successful, in disappointing the enemies of our common liberty, in their hopes, that by reducing the people to want and hunger, they should force them to yield to their unrighteous demands.

I am, Sir, in the name of the Committee, with sincere good wishes, your friend and countryman,

1Member of the committee of correspondence of Sandwich, Massachusetts. 2The actual date of this letter would appear to have been February 25, from a prior manuscript copy in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society. All letters here printed from the Collections, 4th ser., vol. iv., are contained in a volume of manuscript copies, from which apparently the texts in the Collections were edited. The text of the Collections has been followed in the present volume.


[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON, Feb 21 1775


Agreable to the Order of the Provincial Congress, the Committee of Correspondence of this Town have written Letters to some Gentlemen of Montreal and Quebeck, which are herewith inclosd. We have also sent you Twenty Pounds as directed by the Congress. We hope you will make the utmost Dispatch to Canada, as much depends upon it. We are with sincere good Wishes.

Your humble Servants,

1Of Pittsfield Mass.


[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON, Feb 21 1775


At a Time when the British Colonies in North America are universally complaining of the Oppression of a corrupt Administration, the Necessity and Advantage of a free Communication of Sentiments as well as Intelligence must be obvious to all. Hence it is that the Committee of Correspondence appointed by the Town of Boston, have long been sollicitous of establishing a friendly Intercourse with their Brethren and Fellow Subjects in your Province. Having receivd Direction for this important Purpose from our Provincial Congress sitting at Cambridge on the first of this Instant,2 we take the Liberty of addressing a Letter to you Gentlemen, begging you would be assured that we have our mutual Safety and Prosperity at heart. It is notorious to all the Colonies, that at the Conclusion of the last War, a System was formd for the Destruction of our common Rights & Liberties. The Design of the British Ministry was to make themselves Masters of the Property of the Colonists, and to appropriate their Money in such a Manner as effectually to enslave them. The Ministry had influence enough in Parliament to procure an Act, declaratory of a Right in the King Lords and Commons of Great Britain to make Laws binding his Majestys Subjects in America in all Cases whatsoever; and also to pass other Acts for taxing the American Subjects with the express Purpose of raising a Revenue, and appropriating the same for the Support of Civil Government & defraying the Charges of the Administration of justice in such Colonies where his Majesty should think proper. The Principle upon which these Acts was grounded, is in our opinion totally inconsistent with the Idea of a free Government; for there can be no Freedom where a People is governd by the Laws of a Parliament, in which they have no Share and over which they can have no Controul; and if such a Legislature shall give and grant as much of our Money as it pleases without our Consent in Person or by our Representatives what are we but Bond Servants instead of free Subjects? These Revenue Laws have in their operation been grievous to all the Colonies & this in a particular Manner. Our own property has been extorted from us, and applied to the purpose of rendering our provincial & only Legislature an insignificant Body; and by providing for the Executive & judiciary Powers in the Province independent of the People, to place them under the absolute Power & Controul of a Minister of State. Our righteous and stedfast opposition to this System of Slavery, has been artfully held up to our fellow Subjects in Britain as springing from a latent Design to break off all political Connections with the Parent Country and to set up an independent Government among ourselves. The Letters of Bernard, Hutchinson and Oliver have been detected; by which it appears how great a Share they have had in misrepresenting & calumniating this Country, and in plotting the total Ruin of its Liberties, for the Sake of enriching & aggrandising themselves & their families. The two last named were Natives of the Colony, of ancient families in it, and having by Art & Intrigue gaind a considerable Influence over an unsuspecting People, and thereby a reputation in England, they found Means to get themselves advancd to the highest Seats in this Government; and they improvd these Advantages, to put a period to our free Constitution, by procuring an Act of Parliament to disanul the essential parts of our Charter & constitute an absolute despotick Government in its Stead; fourteen regiments are now assembled in this Capital, and Reinforcements are expected, to put this Act into Execution. The People are determined that this shall not be done. They are united & firmly resolvd to withstand it at the utmost Risque of Life and Fortune. A Scene therefore may open soon, unless the Ministry hearken to the Voice of Reason & Justice, which the Friends of Britain and America must deprecate.

In the same Session of the British Parliament the Act for establishing a Government in the Province of Quebeck was passed; whereby our Brethren & fellow Subjects in that Province are deprived of the most valueable Securities of the British Constitution, for which they wisely stipulated, & which was solemnly Guaranteed to them by the Royal Proclamation. These new Governments of Quebeck and Massachusetts Bay, of a kind nearly alike, though before unheard of under a British King, are looked upon by the other Colonies from Nova Scotia to Georgia, as Models intended for them all; they all therefore consider themselves as deeply concernd to have them abolishd; and it is for this Reason, that, although the Advantage of Delegates from your Province could not be had at the late Continental Congress, the Quebeck bill was considerd then not only as an intollerable Injury to the Subjects in that Province but as a capital Grievance on all. It is an inexpressible Satisfaction to us to hear that our fellow Subjects in Canada, of French as well as English Extract, behold the Indignity of having such a Government obtruded upon them with a resentment which discovers that they have a just Idea of Freedom & a due regard for themselves & their Posterity. They were certainly misrepresented in the most shameful Manner, when, in order to enslave them it was suggested that they were too ignorant to enjoy Liberty. We are greatly pleasd to hear that Remonstrances are already sent to the Court & Parliament of Britain against an Act so disgraceful to human Nature, and Petitions for its repeal. We pray God to succeed such noble Exertions, & that the Blessing of a free Government may be establishd there & transmitted to their latest posterity. The Enemies of American Liberty will surely be chagrind when they find, that the People of Quebeck have in common with other Americans the true Sentiments of Liberty. How confounded must they be, when they see those very Peoples upon whom they depended to aid them in their flagitious Designs, lending their Assistance to oppose them, cheerfully adopting the resolutions of the late Continental Congress & joyning their own Delegates in another, to be held at Philadelphia on the l0th of May next. The Accession of that Colony in particular will add great Reputation & Weight to the Common Cause.

We rejoyce in the opportunity of informing you that the Assembly of the Island of Jamaica have warmly espousd our Interest. We have seen a Copy of their Petition to the King in which they declare . . . .

We promise ourselves that great Good will be the Effect of this ingenuous Application in Behalf of the Northern Colonies.

As it is possible you may not have seen the Kings Speech at the opening of the Parliament we inclose it. Lord Dartmouth in a Circular Letter to the Governors in America, a Copy of which we have seen is pleasd to say "The Resolutions of both Houses to support the great CONSTITUTIONAL Principles by which his Majestys Conduct hath been governd, and their entire Approbation of the Steps his Majesty has taken for carrying into Execution THE LAWS PASSED IN THE LAST SESSION, will, I trust, have the Effect to remove the FALSE IMPRESSIONS which have been made upon the Minds of his Majestys Subjects in America, and put an End to those EXPECTATIONS OF SUPPORT in their UNWARRANTABLE PRETENSIONS, which have been held forth by ARTFUL & DESIGNING MEN." Dated Whitehall Decr 20 1774. What Ideas his Lordship has of the Consistency of the Quebec Act with constitutional Principles, which deprives the Subjects in Canada of those darling Privileges of the British Constitution, JURORS and the HABEAS CORPUS Act, and in all Crown Causes, consigns them over to Laws made without their Consent in person or by their Representatives, perhaps by a Governor & Council dependent upon the Crown for their Places & Support, & to be tryed by Judges equally dependent, we will leave to your Consideration. The Boston Port Bill is another act passed the last Session & it is executed with the utmost Rigour. How consistent was it with the great Principles of the Constitution founded on the Laws of Nature & reason, to punish forty or fifty thousand Persons for what was done in all Probability by only forty or fifty. His Lordship may possibly find it very difficult with his superior understanding to prove that the Destruction of the Tea in Boston was, considering the Circumstances of the Action, morally or politically wrong, or, if he must needs think it was so, could his Lordship judge it inconsistent with the Laws of God for a Tribunal to proceed to try condemn and punish even the Individuals who might be chargd with doing it without giving them an opportunity of being heard or even calling them to answer! Such however is the Policy, the Justice of the British Councils. Such his Lordships Ideas of "great constitutional Principles"! Nothwithstanding the great Confidence of the Noble Lord, we still have the strongest "Expectations of Support," not as his Lordship would have it, in the "unwarrantable Pretensions held forth by artful & designing Men," but in the rational & just Claims of every unpensiond & disinterested Man in this extended Continent.

We beg that you will favor the Committee of Correspondence by the return of this Messenger with your own Sentiments and those of the respectable Inhabitants of your Colony; and shall be happy in uniting with you in the necessary Means of obtaining the Redress of our Common Grievances.

We are Gentlemen with sincere good Wishes,

Your Friends & Countrymen,

1A similar letter was at the same time addressed to residents of Montreal; their reply, dated, April 28, I775, is in Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, pp. 751, 752. Cf., W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., p. 275. 2The session began February 1; the resolution referred to was adopted February 15. Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, p. 100.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 233, 234; the text is also in W. T. Read, Life and Correspondence of George Read, pp. 101, 102.]

BOSTON, Feb. 24, 1775.


By your letter of the 6th instant, directed to Mr. David Jeffries, the Committee of this Town appointed to receive and distribute the donations made for the employment and relief of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, are informed that a very generous collection has been made by the inhabitants of the County of New Castle on Delaware, and that there is in your hands upwards of nine hundred dollars for that charitable purpose. The care you have taken, with our worthy friend Nicholas Vandyke, Esq., in receiving these contributions, and your joint endeavors to have them remitted in the safest and most easy manner, is gratefully acknowledged by our Committee; and they have directed me to request that you would return their sincere thanks to the people of New Castle County, for their great liberality towards their fellow subjects in this place who are still suffering under the hand of oppression and tyranny. It will, I dare say, afford you abundant satisfaction to be informed that the inhabitants of this Town, with the exception only of a contemptible few, appear to be animated with an inextinguishable love of liberty. Having the approbation of all the sister Colonies, and being thus supported by their generous benefactions, they endure the most severe trials, with a manly fortitude which disappoints and perplexes our common enemies. While a great continent is thus anxious for them, and constantly administering to their relief, they can even smile with contempt on the feeble efforts of the British administration to force them to submit to tyranny, by depriving them of the usual means of subsistence. The people of this Province, behold with indignation a lawless army posted in its capital, with a professed design to overturn their free constitution. They restrain their just resentments, in hopes that the most happy effects will flow from the united applications of the Colonies for their relief.

May Heaven grant that the councils of our sovereign may be guided by wisdom, that the liberties of America may be established, and harmony restored between the subjects in Britain and the Colonies,

I am, your very obliged friend and humble servant,


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 191, 192.]

BOSTON, Feb. 28 1775.


Your letter of the 30th December, addressed to John Hancock, Esq., has been laid before the Committee appointed by this Town, to receive and distribute the donations made for the employment and relief of the sufferers by the Act of Parliament, commonly called the Boston Port Bill. I am directed by the Committee to return you their hearty thanks for the care you have generously taken in the disposal of a parcel of corn, (free of charge,) which was shipped for that charitable purpose, by our friends in Essex County, in Virginia, on board the schooner Sally, James Perkins, master, driven by stress of weather to St. Eustatia. An account of sales of the corn was inclosed in your letter, together with a bill of exchange drawn by Mr. Sampson Mears on Mr. Isaac Moses of New York, for one hundred seventy-one pounds, eight shillings, that currency, being the amount thereof.

The opinion you have formed of the inhabitants of this Town, as having so virtuously dared to oppose a wicked and corrupt ministry, in their tyrannical acts of despotism, must needs be very flattering to them. The testimony of our friends so fully in our favor, more especially of those who are not immediately interested in the unhappy contest between Britain and her Colonies, must strongly excite this people to a perseverance in so righteous a cause.

Be pleased, Sir, to accept of due acknowledgments for your kind wishes for our speedy relief, and be assured that I am, (in the name of the Committee,)

Your very obliged friend and humble servant,

___________ 1At St. Eustatia.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 188, 189; the text, dated March 2, 1775, is in Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. ii., p. 16.]


Your letter of the 24th December last to Mr. Cushing and others, by Capt. Tompkins, of the schooner Dunmore, in which was brought several valuable donations from our friends in Virginia, to the sufferers in this Town by the Port Bill, was communicated to the Committee appointed to receive such donations, and by their direction I am to acquaint you that they cheerfully consented, at your request, that the schooner should be discharged at Salem, thinking themselves under obligation to promote her dispatch, more especially as there was unexpected delay in her loading, and you have very generously declined receiving demurrage.

We have repeatedly had abundant evidence of the firmness of our brethren of Virginia in the American cause, and have reason to confide in them that they will struggle hard for the prize now contending for.

I am desired by the Committee to acquaint you that a ship has lately sailed from this place bound to James River, in Virginia; the master's name is Crowel Hatch. When he was building his ship, a proposal was made to him by some of the Committee, to employ the tradesmen of this Town, for which he should receive a recompense by a discount of five per cent on their several bills, but he declined to accept of the proposal. This, you are sensible, would have been the means of his employing our sufferers at their usual rates, and at the same time as cheap to him as if he had got his vessel built by more ordinary workmen from the country. There is also another circumstance which I must relate to you. Capt. Hatch proposed that the Committee should employ our smith, in making anchors for his vessel, at a price by which they could get nothing but their labor for their pains, because he could purchase cast anchors imported here, for the same price, which was refused. At this he was very angry, and (perhaps in a gust of passion) declared in the hearing of several persons of credit, that he was used ill, threatening repeatedly that he would stop all the donations he could, and that no more should come from the place where he was going to, meaning Virginia. These facts the Committee thought it necessary to communicate to you, and to beg the favor of you to use your influence that Capt. Hatch may not have it in his power, (if he should be disposed,) to traduce the Committee and injure the sufferers in this Town, for whose relief our friends in Virginia have so generously contributed.

I am, in the name of the Committee, Sir, your obliged friend and humble servant,

___________ 1James River, Virginia.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 211.] BOSTON, March—1775.

GFNTLEMEN, Your letter of the 23d of January last, directed to the Overseers of the Poor of the Town of Boston, has been laid before the Committee appointed to receive and distribute Donations for the sufferers by that cruel and unrighteous Act of the British Parliament, commonly called the Boston Port Bill. I am now in behalf of this Committee to acknowledge the receipt of seven hundred thirty-six and a quarter bushels wheat, twenty- five bushels Indian corn, three barrels flour, and three barrels bread, shipped on board the schooner Betsey, Capt. John Foster, being a very generous contribution of Spotsylvania County, in Virginia, to those sufferers.

You will be pleased, gentlemen, to return the sincere thanks of the Committee to our friends of that County, for the warm sympathy they have in this instance discovered with their distressed brethren in this Capital. Encouraged by these liberal donations, the inhabitants of this Town still endure their complicated sufferings with patience. As men, they feel the indignities which are offered to them. As citizens, they suppress their just resentment. But I trust in God, that this much injured Colony, when urged to it by extreme necessity, will exert itself at the utmost hazard in the defence of our common rights. I flatter myself that I am not mistaken, while they deprecate that necessity, they are very active in preparing for it.

I am, Gentlemen, in behalf of the Committee, your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman,

1Of Spottsylvania County, Virginia.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON March 4 1775


Till now I did not hear of this opportunity of writing to you. I have therefore only a few Moments before the Vessel sails to give you a short Account of Affairs here. General Gage is still at the head of his Troops with a professd Design to put the regulating & the Murder Acts into Execution. I therefore consider this Man as void of a Spark of Humanity, who can deliberately be the Instrument of depriving our Country of its Liberty, or the people of their Lives in its Defence. We are not however dismayed; believe me this People are prepared to give him a warm Reception if he shall venture to make the bold Attack. I know very well the policy of great Men on your side the Water. They are backward to exert themselves in the Cause of America, lest we should desert our selves and leave them to the Contempt and Ridicule of a Ministry whom they heartily despise. But assure them that though from the Dictates of sound Policy we restrain our just Resentment at the Indignities already offered to us, we shall not fail to resist the Tyranny which threatens us at the utmost risque. The publick Liberty must be preservd though at the Expense of many Lives!

We had the last Lords Day a small Specimen of the military Spirit of our Countrymen in the Town of Salem an Account of which is in the inclosed paper. I am just now told by a Gentleman upon whose Veracity I depend that he knew that Coll L———— at the Governors Table had declared this Account in every part of it to be true, excepting his giving orders to fire.

Every Art has been practicd to intimidate our leading Men on the popular side, at the same time the General is held up by the Friends of Government as a most humane Man, in order to induce the leading Men to behave in such a Manner as to be shelterd under his Banner in Case of Extremity—this may have an Effect on Some, but very few—We keep our Town Meeting alive1 and to-morrow an oration is to be deliverd by Dr Warren. It was thought best to have an experiencd officer in the political field on this occasion, as we may possibly be attackd in our Trenches.

The Town of Marshfield, have lately applied to G. Gage for LEAVE to have a Meeting, according to the Act of Parliament, & have resolvd as you may observe by the inclosd. They will be dealt with according to the Law of the Continental Congress. The Laws of which are more observd throughout this Continent than any human Laws whatever.

Another Congress will meet at Philadelphia in May next. Every Colony has appointed its Delegates (I mean those which did before) except N York, whose Assembly I have just heard have resolvd not to send any. The People of that City & Colony, are infested with Court Scribblers who have labord, perhaps with some Success, to divide them; they are however in general firm, and have with regard to the Arrival of a Ship from London since the first of February, behaved well.—You know their Parliament is septennial—and therefore must be corrupted. It is best that the Tories in their house have acted without Disguise. This is their last Session and the house will, I hope, be purgd at the next Election.

There is a Combination in that Colony of high Church Clergymen & great Landholders—of the former, a certain Dr C is the head; who knows an American Episcopate cannot be establishd and consequently he will not have the pleasure of strutting thro the Colonies in Lawn Sleeves, until the Authority of parliament to make Laws for us binding in all Cases whatever is settled. The Latter are Lords over many Slaves; and are afraid of the Consequences that would follow, if a Spirit of Liberty should prevail among them. This however is so far the Case yt I doubt not the People will chuse Delegates for the Congress, as they did before.—When that Congress meets, it is expected, that they will agree upon a Mode of Opposition (unless our Grievances are redressd) which will render the Union of the Colonies more formidable than ever. Concordia res parvae crescunt.

We have lately opend a correspondence with Canada2 which, I dare say will be attended with great and good Effects. Jonathan Philanthrop under the Signature of Massachutensis, & other pensiond Scribblers have been endeavoring to terrify the people with strange Ideas of Treason & Rebellion, but in vain. The people hold the Invasion of their Rights & Liberties the most horrid rebellion and a Neglect to defend them against any Power whatsoever the highest Treason.

We have almost every Tory of Note in the province, in this Town; to which they have fled for the Generals protection. They affect the Stile of Rabshekeh, but the Language of the people is, "In the Name of the Lord we will tread down our Enemies."

The Army has been very sickly thro the Winter & continue so. Many have died. Many have deserted. Many I believe intend to desert. It is said there are not in all 2200 effective Men. I have seen a true List of the 65th & the Detachment of Royal Irish, in both which there are only 167 Of whom 102 are effective.

___________ 1See Columbia University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, vol. vii., pp. 74, 75. 2 Cf., page 182.

TO .1

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON March 12 1775


I receivd your favor of the 20 Jany by Capt Hunt via New York. I never had the least doubt in my Mind but that the Colony of South Carolina, which has distinguishd itself through all our Struggles for the Establishment of American Liberty, would approve of and support the proceedings of the Continental Congress. I cannot but think that every sensible Man (Whig or Tory) must see that they are well adapted to induce the British Government to do us justice, and I still flatter my self they will operate to that Effect. There are a Set of infamous & atrociously wicked Men, here & there in this Continent, who have been endeavoring to make the Appearance of Divisions among us, in order that our Enemies in Britain may avail themselves of it, and thereby prevent the good Effects of the Decisions of the Congress; but every impartial Man who has gone from America must be able to convince the Nation, that no human Law has ever been more observd than those resolutions.

The people of this Town have at length gone through the Winter with tollerable Comfort. Next to the gracious Interposition of Heaven we acknowledge the unexampled Liberality of our Sister Colonies. If I am called an Enthusiast for it, I cannot help thinking that this Union amoung the Colonies and Warmth of Affection, can be attributed to Nothing less than the Agency of the supreme Being. if we believe that he superintends & directs the great Affairs of Empires, we have reason to expect the restoration and Establishment of the publick Liberties, unless by our own Misconduct we have renderd ourselves unworthy of it; for he certainly wills the Happiness of those of his Creatures who deserve it, & without publick Liberty, we cannot be happy.

Last Monday an Oration was deliverd to a very crowded Audience in this Town in Commemoration of the Massacre perpetrated by Preston and his party on the 5 of March 1770—Many of the Officers of the Army attended. They behaved tollerably well till the Oration was ended, when some of them began a Disturbance, which was soon suppressed & the remaining Business of the Meeting went on as usual.2

On Thursday following a simple Country man was inveigled by a Soldier to bargain with him for a Gun; for this he was put under Guard and the next day was tarred & featherd by some of the Officers and Soldiers of the 47. 1 did not see this military parade, but am told & indeed it is generally said without any Contradiction that I have heard, that the Lt Coll headed the Procession. We are at a Loss to account for this Conduct of a part of the Army in the face of the Sun unless there were good Assurances that the General would connive at it. However he says he is very angry at it. You see what Indignities we suffer, rather than precipitate a Crisis.

I have not time to write any more, only to acquaint you that this Letter will be delivd to you by Mr Wm Savage a son of one of my most valueable Acquaintances. Any Civilities which you may show him will be gratefully acknowledgd by

Your friend,

1Endorsed as "To a Southern Friend." 2Hutchinson, in his diary for September 6, 1775, mentions a call from Colonel James, who left Nantasket July 29, and continues: "He tells an odd story of the intention of the Officers the 5 March that 300 were in the Meeting to hear Dr Warrens oration— that if he had said anything against the King &c an Officer was prepared who stood near, with an Egg to have thrown in his face and that was to have been a signal to draw swords & they would have massacred Hancock Adams & hundreds more & he added he wished they had. I am glad they did not for I think it would have been an everlasting disgrace to attack a body of people without arms to defend themselves. He says one Officer cried Fy Fy. S. Adams immediately asked who dared say so and then said to the Officer he should mark him. The Officer answered and I will mark you. I live at such a place & shall be ready to meet you. Adams said be would go to the General. The Officer said his General had nothing to do with it the Affair was between them two &c." Egerton MS. No. 2662, British Museum.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 84, 85.]

BOSTON, 14 March, 1775.


I am to acquaint you, that immediately after the arrival of the unrighteous and cruel edict for shutting up our harbor, the inhabitants of this Town appointed a Committee to receive and distribute such donations as our friends were making, for the employment and relief of those who would become sufferers thereby.

Your letter of the 19th of September last, directed to Jno Hancock, Esq., or the Overseers of the Poor of the Town of Boston, was laid before the same Committee, enclosing a bill of lading for one thousand and eighty-seven bushels of corn, being part of a very valuable contribution, shipped on board the schooner Sally, James Perkins, master, for the sufferers, from our respectable friends in Essex County, in Virginia. The schooner was by contrary winds driven to the island of St. Eustatia. Mr. Isaac Van Dam,2 a reputable merchant of that place, generously took the care of the corn, and having made sale of it, remitted the amount of the proceeds, (free of all expense,) being one hundred seventy-one pounds 8/, New York currency, in a bill of exchange, drawn on Mr. Isaac Moses, of that city, which we doubt not will be duly honored.

The Committee very gratefully acknowledge their obligations to you, Gentlemen, for your trouble in transmitting this charitable donation, and they request that you would return their sincere thanks to the benevolent people of your County, for their great liberality towards the oppressed inhabitants of this devoted Town.

This is one among many testimonies afforded to us, that the Virginians are warmly disposed to assist their injured brethren and fellow-subjects in this place. This consideration has hitherto encouraged our inhabitants to bear indignities with patience and having the continual approbation of all the Colonies, with that of their own minds, as being sufferers in the common cause of their country, I am fully persuaded of their resolution, by God's assistance, to persevere in the virtuous struggle, disdaining to purchase an exemption from suffering by a tame surrender of any part of the righteous claim of America. May Heaven give wisdom and fortitude to each of the Colonies, and succeed their unremitted efforts, in the establishment of public liberty on an immoveable foundation.

I am, in behalf of our Committee, Gentlemen, your affectionate friend and countryman,

1Archibald Ritchie, Jonathan Lee, and Robert Beverly, of Essex County, Virginia. 2 Cf., page 190.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., p. 263.]

BOSTON, March 14th, 1775.


I am directed by the Committee appointed by this Town, to acquaint you that your bill of exchange, drawn on Jeremiah Lee, Esq., for two hundred pounds Maryland currency, being the amount of a generous collection made by the respectable people of the middle division of Frederick County, for the relief of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, is duly received. Be pleased, Sir, to accept of the Committee's sincere acknowledgments of your kindness in transacting this affair; and if it be not too troublesome permit me to ask the further favor of you, that a collection which the Committee are advised is making by our friends in Cecil County, which will amount to three or four hundred pounds, may in like manner pass through your hands.

I am, Sir, with very great regard, in behalf of the Committee, your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman,

1At Baltimore, Maryland.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., p. 244, 245.]

BOSTON, March 15th, 1775.


I am to acknowledge your letter of the 17th of February last, directed to Mr. Cushing, who is a member of the Committee appointed by this Town to receive and distribute the donations from our friends to the sufferers by the Act of Parliament, commonly called the Boston Port Bill, and to acquaint you that agreeable to your directions, Mr. Sam'l Purviance, Jr., has remitted, in a bill of exchange, the sum of two hundred pounds, your currency, being a contribution from the gentlemen of the Middle Division of Frederick County, in Maryland, for that charitable purpose. You will be pleased to return the hearty thanks of our Committee to those gentlemen for the generous donation, and to assure them that it will be applied to its proper use.

It will doubtless afford them satisfaction to be informed that their brethren in this place endure the sufferings inflicted upon them by that unrighteous and barbarous edict, with patience and fortitude, and that they will continue to bear oppression, and count it all joy so to do, rather than stain their own reputation by a base compliance with the demands of arbitrary power.

With very great regard, I am, in behalf of the Committee, your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman,

1At Frederick Town, Maryland.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 227, 228.]

BOSTON, March 15th, 1775.


The Committee appointed by this Town to receive and distribute Donations made for the relief and employment of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, have received your favor of the 2d of February, directed to the Committee of Correspondence of Boston, whereby you acquaint them that a collection is making by the gentlemen of Cecil County, in Maryland, for those sufferers, and desire to be informed in what way it will be most agreeable to have it remitted to this place. As Mr. Sam'l Purviance, of Baltimore Town, has already obliged us by his kind offices of this kind, the Committee have asked the further favor of him, (if it be most agreeable to you,) that this generous donation may be remitted through his hands.

I am, with sincere regard for our sympathizing brethren in your County, in behalf of the Committee, Gentlemen, your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman,

1The committee of correspondence for Cecil County, Virginia.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a shorter text is in Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. ii., p. 176 ; portions of the letter are printed in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 256, 257, 281.]

BOSTON March [21] 1775


I am much obligd to you for your Favor of the 4th of Feb last by Cap Leighton. From the begining of this great Contest with the Mother Country Virginia has distinguishd herself in Support of American Liberty; and we have abundant Testimony, in the liberal Donations receivd from all parts of that Colony, for the Sufferers in this Town, of their Zeal and Unanimity in the Support of that all important Cause. I have the pleasure to inform you, that the People of this Colony are also firm and united, excepting a few detestable Men most of whom are in this Town. General Gage is still here with Eleven Regiments besides a Detachment from the 59th & 65th, yet it is generally supposd there are not more than 2500 effective Men in all. They have been very sickly thro' the Winter past. Many of them have died and many others have deserted. I have lately seen a joynt List, which I believe to be a true one, of the Royal Irish and the Detachment from the 65th in which the whole Number was 167 & only 102 effective. But though the Number of the Troops are diminishd, the Insolence of the officers (at least some of them) is increased. In private Rencounters I have not heard of a single Instance of their coming off other than second best. I will give you several Instances of their Behavior in publick. On the 6th Instant there was an Adjournment of our Town Meeting when an Oration was deliverd in Commemoration of the Massacre on the 5th of March 1770. I had long expected they would take that Occasion to beat up a Breeze, and therefore (having the Honor of being the Moderator of the Meeting and seeing Many of the Officers present before the Orator came in) I took Care to have them treated with Civility, inviting them into convenient Seats &c that they might have no pretence to behave ill, for it is a good Maxim in Politicks as well as War to put & keep the Enemy in the wrong. They behaved tollerably well till the oration was finishd when upon a Motion made for the Appointmt of another orator they began to hiss, which irritated the Assembly to the greatest Degree, and Confusion ensued. They however did not gain their End, which was apparently to break up the Meeting, for order was soon restored & we proceeded regularly & finishd. I am perswaded that were it not for the Danger of precipitating a Crisis, not a Man of them would have been spared. It was provoking enough to the whole Core that while there were so many Troops stationd here with the Design of suppressing Town Meetings there should yet be a Meeting, for the purpose of delivering an Oration to commemorate a Massacre perpetrated by Soldiers & to show the Danger of Standing Armies. They therefore it seems a few days after vented their passion on a poor simple Countryman the state of whose Case is drawn up by himself and sworn to before a Magistrate as you will see by the inclosd. Thus you see that the practice of tarring & feathering which has so often been exclaimd against by the Tories, & even in the British House of Commons, as inhuman & barbarous, is at length revivd by some of the polite Gentlemen of the British Army, stationd in this place, professedly to prevent Riots. Some Gentlemen of the Town waited on the General on this Occasion. He APPEARD to be angry at it & declared that he knew Nothing about any such Design. He said that he indeed heard an irregular beat of the Drum (for they passed by his House) but thought they were drumming a bad Woman through the Streets! This to be sure would not have been a Riot. The Selectmen of Billerica an Inland town about thirty Miles distant to which the poor abused Man belongs, have since made a remonstrance to the General a Copy of which is inclosd; the General promised them that he would enquire into the Matter, but we hear nothing more about it. Some say that he is affraid of displeasing his Officers & has no Command over them. How this may be I cannot say. If he does not soon punish the officers concernd in this dirty Action, which was done in direct Defiance of their own Articles, one would think it is so. If he does not do it, he must look to his own Commission. Qui non prohibet nec puniit fecit. This Town resents it and have directed their Committee of Correspondence to enquire into this and other Conduct and have Depositions before Magistrates in perpetuam rei Memoriam, to be improvd as Opportunity may offer. A Change of Ministers and proper representations may reduce a Tyrant, at least to the Condition of a private Subject. The People are universally enragd, but from the Motives of sound Policy their resentment is for the present restraind. Last Saturday a Waggon going from this Town into the Country was stopped by the Guards on the Neck, having Nine Boxes of Ball Cartridges which were seisd by the Troops. Application has been made to the General, by a private Gentleman who claimd them as his property. The General told him that he would order them to be markd as such but they could not THEN be deliverd. The Gentleman told him that if they were not soon deliverd he should seek recompence elsewhere. I think you may be satisfied that though "the General has compleated his Fortification" at the only Entrance into the Town by Land, and our Harbour is still shut up, "our People are in good Spirits," and I dare say " the Business of Discipline goes on well."

I have Just received Letters from our mutual Friends in London dated the 24, 26 & 28 Decr & 4 & 7 Jany, some Extracts from which I have thought it necessary to have inserted in our News papers, as youl see by the inclosd. One paragraph which alarms me I have not disclosd to any one, which is this "I have been in the Country with Lord Chatham to shew him the petition of the Congress of which he highly approvd. He is of Opinion that a solemn Renunciation of the Right to TAX on the one side, and an ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE SUPREMACY on the other should accompany the repeal of all the obnoxious Acts. Without that, he says, the Hearts of the two Countries will not openly embrace each other with unfeigned Affection & Reconcilement." In this short Sentence I think it is I easy to see that his Lordships plan of reconciliation is the same now with that which he held forth in his Speech at the time of the repeal of the Stamp Act. However highly I think of his Lordships INTEGRITY I confess I am chagrind to think that he expects an Acknowledgment of the Supremacy in terms on our part. I imagine that after such an Acknowledgment, there may be a variety of Ways by which Great Brittain may enslave us besides taxing us without our Consent. The possibility of it should greatly awaken our Apprehensions. Let us take Care lest America, in Lieu of a Thorn in her foot should have a Dagger in her heart. Our united Efforts have hitherto succeeded. This is not a Time for us to relax our Measures. Let us like prudent Generals improve upon our Success, and push for perfect political Freedom.

Mr John Allston a young Gentleman in my Neighborhood who owns the Vessel in which Cap Leighton returns is also a Passenger on board. His Views are to form Commercial Connections in Virginia. You will excuse me if I bespeak your favorable Notice of him should he fall in your way.

I am with sincere regards Your affectionate Friend & Countryman


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 239, 240.]

BOSTON 21 March, 1775.


I have before me your letter of the 10th of February, directed to Mr. Hancock, Mr. Cushing and myself, inclosing a bill of lading for one thousand and ninety-two bushels of grain, being a generous donation sent by the inhabitants of Westmoreland County, in Virginia, to the sufferers in this Town by the Boston Port Bill. Soon after that barbarous edict arrived, our inhabitants had notice of the kind intentions of our brethren of the other Colonies, towards them, and they appointed a Committee to receive and distribute such donations as should be made. I have their direction to request that you would be pleased to return their grateful acknowledgments to our worthy friends in your County, for this very liberal contribution, and to assure them that it will be disposed of agreeable to their benevolent design.

Your candid opinion of the inhabitants of this Town as having some share in defending the common rights of British America, cannot but be very flattering to them, and it will excite in them a laudable ambition, by their future conduct, to merit the continuance of it. They are unjustly oppressed, but, by the smiles of Heaven and the united friendship and support of all North America, the designs of our enemies to oblige them make base compliances, to the injury of our common cause, have been hitherto frustrated. They bear repeated insults of the grossest kind, not from want of the feelings of just resentment, or spirit enough to make ample returns, but from principles of sound policy and reason. Put your enemy in the wrong, and keep him so, is a wise maxim in politics, as well as in war. They consider themselves as connected with a great continent, deeply interested in their patient sufferings. They had rather, therefore, forego the gratification of revenging affronts and indignities, than prejudice that all important cause which they have so much at heart, by precipitating a crisis. When they are pushed by clear necessity for the defence of their liberties to the trial of arms, I trust in God, they will convince their friends and their enemies, of their military skill and valor. Their constant prayer to God is, to prevent such necessity; but they are daily preparing for it. I rejoice with you, Sir, in most earnestly wishing for the speedy and full restoration of the rights of America, which are violated with so high and arbitrary a hand, and am, in behalf of the Committee, with great respect,

Your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman,

P. S.—Our last accounts from Great Britain, are of the 19th December.


[March, 1775.]

[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 282-284.1]

Brothers,—We, the delegates of the inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, being come together to consider what may be best for you and ourselves to do, in order to get ourselves rid of those hardships which we feel and fear, have thought it our duty to tell you, our good brothers, what our fathers in Great Britain have done and threaten to do with us.

Brothers,—You have heard how our fathers were obliged by the cruelty of their brethren to leave their country; how they crossed the great lake and came here; how they purchased this land with their own money; and how, since that time, they and we, their sons and grandsons, have built our houses and cut down the trees, and cleared and improved the land at their and our own expense; how we have fought for them, and conquered Canada and a great many other places which they have had and have not paid for; after all which and many other troubles, we thought we had reason to hope that they would be kind to us, and allow us to enjoy ourselves, and sit in our own houses, and eat our own victuals in peace and quiet; but alas! our brothers, we are greatly distressed, ar we will tell you our grief; for you, as well as we, are in danger.

Brothers,—Our fathers in Great Britain tell us our land and houses and cattle and money are not our own; that we ourselves are not our own men, but their servants; they have endeavored to take away our money without our leave, and have sent their great vessels and a great many warriors for that purpose.

Brothers,—We used to send our vessels on the great lake, whereby we were able to get clothes and what we needed for ourselves and you; but such has lately been their conduct that we cannot; they have told us we shall have no more guns, no powder to use, and kill our wolves and other game, nor to send to you for you to kill your victuals with, and to get skins to trade with us, to buy your blankets and what you want. How can you live without powder and guns? But we hope to supply you soon with both, of our own making.

Brothers,—They have made a law to establish the religion of the Pope in Canada, which lies so near you. We much fear some of your children may be induced, instead of worshipping the only true God, to pay HIS dues to images made with their own hands.

Brothers,—These and many other hardships we are threatened with, which, no doubt, in the end will equally affect you; for the same reason they would get our lands, they would take away yours. All we want is, that we and you may enjoy that liberty and security which we have a right to enjoy, and that we may not lose that good land which enables us to feed our wives and children. We think it our duty to inform you of our danger, and desire you to give notice to all your kindred; and as we much fear they will attempt to cut our throats, and if you should allow them to do that, there will nobody remain to keep them from you, we therefore earnestly desire you to whet your hatchet, and be prepared with us to defend our liberties and lives.

Brothers,—We humbly beseech that God who lives above, and does what is right here below, to enlighten your minds to see that you ought to endeavor to prevent our fathers from bringing those miseries upon us; and to his good providence we commend you.

1It is here stated that portions of the original draft in the autograph of Adams were in existence.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

NEW YORK May 7 1775


Having an opportunity by a Gentleman going to Braintree I acquaint you that I arrivd in this place yesterday in good Health and Spirits. The City of New York did great Honor to the Delegates of this Province and Connecticutt by raising their Militia to escort them into the City and we have each of us two Centinels at our respective Lodgings. We intend to proceed tomorrow for Philadelphia. My great Concern is for your health and Safety. Pray take the advice of Friends with respect to removing further into the Country. I receivd your Letter of 26th of April & Hannahs of the 19th which gave me much Pleasure. Pray write to me as often as you can. Send me whatever you may hear of my dear imprisond Son.2 Make use of the Money in your hands for your Comfort. I have always been well satisfied in your Prudence. I shall do well enough. I have only time to add that I am my dearest Betsy most affectionately


1Addressed to her at Dedham, Massachusetts. Adams, in 1749, married Elizabeth Checkley (cf. Vol. ii., page 380), who died in 1757. He married, in 1764, Elizabeth Wells (cf. Vol. ii., page 337), who died in 1808. 2An army surgeon; born, 175I; died 1788.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]



Your last Letter to me was dated the 26 of April. I fear you think too much of the Expence of Postage. I beg of you my dear not to regard that, for I shall with the utmost Chearfulness pay for as many Letters as you shall send to me. It was with very great Pleasure that I heard from Dr Church that he met you on the Road and that you were well on the 20th of last Month—that your Mother had been releasd from the Prison Boston. I also have this day been told that you were at Cambridge on Saturday last in good health. It would afford me double Satisfaction to have such Accounts under your own hand. Dr Churchs Servant assures me that he saw my Son at Cambridge the day before he left that place; but the Dr himself tells me that when he saw you (which was after he left Cambridge) you expressd great Concern that he was still in Boston. I am impatient to hear of him and the two Servants,—Pray do not omit writing to me by the next post which passes by your Door—you may inclose your Letter to our Brother Checkley1 at Providence with your Request to him to forward it to me by the Constitutional Post, which he will readily comply with.

I have wrote you five or six Letters since my Departure from Worcester2 the latter End of April. I wish you would inform me how many you have receivd and their Dates.

I have lately receivd a Letter from your Brother Andrew and another from your Brother Samll—they were both well in April last when their Letters were dated and desire their due Regards to your Mother and all friends. I am now my dear to inform you that your Brother Saml (who supposd I should receive his Letter in Boston) desired me to communicate to your Mother the sorrowful News of the Death of her Son Billy on the 7th of April—he had been long ailing, and was at length seizd with the bilious Cholick and died in three days. May God support your Mother and other Relations under this repeated Affliction. Saml writes me that he left no Will and that he will take Care of his Effects— which I think by Law belong to his Mother to whom they will be sent when the Times admit of it. I will write to your Brother at St Eustatia by the first Vessel from this place. I beg you not to suffer your Mind to be overborn with these Tydings. Open the Matter to your Mother with your usual Discretion.

I am confident it will afford you Pleasure to be informd that I am in health. My Duty to your Mother—tell my Daughter & Sister Polly, & Hannah (who I hope is with you) that I love them, and be assured my dear Betsy, that I am with the warmest Affection


___________ 1Cf page 127. 2Cf. John Hancock to Committee of Safety, April 24, 1775. A. E. Brown, Hancock, His Book, p. 196.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]



I have so often wrote to you, without having a single Line in Answer to one of my Letters, that I have doubted whether you have receivd any of them. Had I not heard that you dined with some of my Friends at Cambridge about a fortnight ago I should have suspected that you had changed your Place of Abode at Dedham and that therefore my Letters had not reached you, or I should have been very anxious lest by some bodily Indisposition you were renderd unable to write to me. It is painful to me to be absent from you. As your Letters would in some Measure afford me Reliefe, I beg you would omit no Opportunity of writing. Your Backwardness leads me to apprehend there has something happend which would be disagreable to me to hear. If any ill Accident has befallen my Son or any other person dear to me, I would chuse to hear it. Our Boston Friends are some of them confined in a Garrison, others dispersd I know not where. Pray, my dear, let me know as much about them as you can. I make no Doubt but it will be a pleasure to you to hear that I am in good Health and Spirits. I wish I could consistently inform you what is doing here. I can however tell you that Matters go on, though slower than one could wish, yet agreable to my Mind. My Love to all Friends. I earnestly recommend you and them to the Protection and Blessing of Heaven. The Bearer is waiting for this Letter, I must therefore conclude with assuring you that I am with the greatest Sincerity, my dear Betsy,

Your affectionate husband and Friend

June 17

We have had Occasion to detain the Bearer which gives me the Pleasure of acknowledging your very acceptable and obliging Letter of the 6th Instant. I am rejoycd to hear that you are recoverd from a late Indisposition of Body. I pray God to confirm your Health. I wonder that you have receivd but one Letter from me since I left Worcester. I wrote to you at Hartford and New York and I do not know how often since I came into this City.

It is a great Satisfaction to me to be assured from you that your Mother & Family are out of Boston, and also my boy Job. I commend him for his Contrivance in getting out. Tell him from me to be a good Boy. I wish to hear that my Son and honest Surry were releasd from their Confinement in that Town. I am much pleasd my dear with the good Sense and publick Spirit you discoverd in your Answer to Majr Kains Message—your Concern for my comfortable Subsistence here is very kind and obliging to me—when I am in Want of Money I will write to you.



[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 90, 91.]

PHILADELPHIA, June 22, 1775.


Our patriotic general Washington will deliver this letter to you. The Massachusetts delegates have jointly given to him a list of the names of certain gentlemen, in whom he may place the greatest confidence. Among these you are one. Major-general Lee and major Mifflin accompany the general. They are a triumvirate which will please the circle of our friends. Mifflin is aid-de-camp to the general. I regret his leaving this city; but have the satisfaction of believing that he will add great spirit to our army. Time will not admit of my adding at present more than that I am

Your affectionate friend,


[MS., Collection of John Boyd Thacher, Esq.]

PHILD, June 22, 1775.


Our patriotic General Washington will deliver this Letter to you. The Massachusetts Delegates have jointly given to him a List of the Names of certain Gentlemen, in whom he may place the greatest Confidence. Among these you are one. We have assurd him that he may rely upon such others as you may recommend to him. Excuse my writing to you so short a letter and believe me to be

Your affectionate friend,

Major General Lee and Major Mifflin accompany the General. A Triumvirate you will be pleased With. Cannot our friend Joseph Greenleaf be employd to his own & his Countrys Benefit?


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADA, June 28 1775


Yesterday I receivd Letters from some of our Friends at the Camp informing me of the Engagement between the American Troops and the Rebel Army, in Charlestown. I cannot but be greatly rejoycd at the tryed Valor of our Countrymen, who by all Accounts behavd with an Intrepidity becoming those who fought for their Liberties against the mercenary Soldiers of a Tyrant. It is painful to me to reflect upon the Terror I must suppose you were under on hearing the Noise of War so near you. Favor me, my dear, with an Account of your Apprehensions at that time, under your own hand. I pray God to cover the heads of our Countrymen in every day of Battle, and ever to protect you from Injury in these distracted Times. The Death of our truly amiable and worthy Friend Dr Warren is greatly afflicting. The Language of Friendship is, how shall we resign him! But it is our Duty to submit to the Dispensations of Heaven, "Whose Ways are ever gracious, ever just." He fell in the glorious Struggle for the publick Liberty.

Mr Pitts and Dr Church inform me that my dear Son has at length escapd from the Prison of Boston. I have inclosd a Letter to him, which I desire you would seal and deliver to him, or send it to him if he is not with you. Remember me to my dear Hannah and Sister Polly and to all Friends. Let me know where good old Surry is.

Gage has made me respectable by naming me first among those who are to receive no favor from him. I thoroughly despise him and his Proclamation. It is the Subject of Ridicule here, as you may see by the inclosd which I have taken from this days paper. I am in good health and Spirits. Pray my dear let me have your Letters more frequently—by every opportunity. The Clock is now striking twelve. I therefore wish you a good Night.

Yours most affectionately,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]



As I have no doubt but the Congress will adjourn in a few days, perhaps tomorrow, I do not expect to have another opportunity of writing to you before I set off for New England. The arduous Business that has been before the Congress and the close Application of the Members, added to the Necessity and Importance of their visiting their several Colonies & attending their respective Conventions, have inducd them to make a Recess during the sultry Month of August. My Stay with you must be short, for I suppose the Congress will meet again early in September. I have long ago learnd to deny my self many of the sweetest Gratifications in Life for the Sake of my Country. This I may venture to say to you, though it might be thought Vanity in me to say it to others. I hear that my Constituents have given me the Choice of a Seat in either House of our new Assembly—that is, that Boston have chosen me again one of their Members, and the House have chosen me one of the Council—you know better than I do, whether there be a foundation for the Report. My Constituents do as they please, and so they ought. I never intrigud for their Suffrages,and I never will. I am intimately conscious that I have servd them as well as I could, and I believe they think so themselves. I heartily wish I could serve them better—but the Testimony of my own Conscience and their Approbation, makes me feel my self superior to the Threats of a Tyrant, either at St Jamess or in the Garrison of Boston.

I have receivd a Letter from my Friend Mr Dexter dated the 18 Instant. Present my due Regards to him. He informd me that you had been at his house a few Evenings before and was well, and that you deliverd a Letter to a young Gentleman present, to carry to Cambridge for Conveyance to me. I am greatly mortified in not having receivd it by the Express that brought me his Letter.

Mr Adams2 of Roxbury also wrote me that he had often met with you and was surprised at your Steadiness & Calmness under Tryal. I am always pleasd to hear you well spoken of, because I know it is doing you Justice.

I pray God that at my Return I may find you and the rest of my dear Friends in good health. The Treatment which those who are still in Boston meet with fills me with Grief and Indignation. What Punishment is due to General Gage for his Perfidy!

Pay my proper Respects to your Mother & Family, Mr & Mrs Henshaw, my Son & Daughter, Sister Polly &c. Tell Job and Surry that I do not forget them. I conclude, my dear, with the warmest Affection


P. S. Mr William Barrell will deliver you this Letter—he was kind enough to tell me he would go out of his way rather than not oblige me in carrying it—he boards with us at Mrs Yards, and is a reputable Merchant in this City. Richard Checkley is his Apprentice—you know his Sister Mrrs Eliot. I know you will t[re]at him with due respect.

1Addressed "To Mrs Elizabeth Adams at Dedham, near the Hon Mr Dexters Favord by Mr Barrell." 2Amos Adams; under date of July 18, 1775.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

DEDHAM Septmbr 4 1775.

Receivd of Samuel Adams the following Sums of Money which were deliverd to him by several Gentlemen in Philadelphia for the Benefit of the Poor of Boston, viz

One thousand Dollars delivered to him by . . . Reed Esqr being the Donation of the County of Newcastle on Delaware.

One second Bill of Exchange drawn by Samuel & Robert Purviance on Mess Geyer and Burgess Merchants in Boston for the Sum of L228. 2. 11 and another second Bill, drawn by the said Saml & Robt Purviance on Stephen Hooper, Esqr Mercht in Newbury Port for L78. 2. 1, both payable to the said Adams and amounting to three hundred and Six pounds Pennsylvania Currency, the Donation of Cecil County in Maryland.2

Three hundred and fifty Eight pounds ten shillings and four pence Pennsylvania Currency, being the produce of two sterling Bills of Exchange deliverd to said Adams by Peyton Randolph Esqr the Donations of the City of Williamsburgh and the County of James River in Virginia, viz L239. n. 2p. sterling sold in Philadelphia at 50 p cent and one hundred and fifty pounds Pennsylvania Currency being the produce of a Bill of Exchange for L100 sterling deliverd to said Adams by Patrick Henry Esqr and the Donation of the County of Hannover in Virginia.

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