The Writings of Samuel Adams, volume II (1770 - 1773) - collected and edited by Harry Alonso Cushing
by Samuel Adams
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

If these testimonies would not have been pertinent to the issue of the late trial, I think it necessary to adduce them here, to convince the world of the wretched state this Town had been in; the reason they had to apprehend, while such blood-thirsty inmates were quarter'd among them ; and the necessity they were tinder, constantly to be on their guard, while there were even such exultations at the barbarous "action" of the Evening.

Much was bro't into Court, to show that the Town was in a state of disorder on that Evening, and previous to the Affray at Murray's Barracks; Witnesses were admitted to testify, that they had been met by one and another arm'd with Clubs; but nothing appeared there, to show the Cause and even the necessity of it: Thus, one of the prisoners witnesses testified in Court, that at seven o'clock, going to the South-End of the Town, he met forty or fifty in small parties, four or five in a party; and divers others swore to the same purpose: They did not indeed say, whether they knew them to be Inhabitants; it is as probable, that they were Soldiers, as inhabitants, if not more so; for it was sworn before the Magistrates, by a person of credit, that on the Saturday before, he saw the Soldiers making Clubs.6 Another was ready to testify in Court, that thirty of these Clubs or Bludgeons, were made by the Soldiers, in his own Shop. And in the part of the Town where the before-mentioned witness was going, a gentleman was early in the Evening attacked by two Soldiers, one of them arm'd with a Club, and the other with a broad Sword; the latter struck him, and threatned that he should soon hear more of it.7 It was notorious, that the Soldiers were frequently seen on that Evening, arm'd with Clubs, as well as other Weapons; and the night before, very late, it can be prov'd that forty or fifty of them were seen, thus arm'd, in several parts of the Town in terror of his Majesty's subjects: But in the judgment of some men, every party that was seen with Clubs, or in the modern term, bludgeons, to be sure, must have been inhabitants. It had been testified, that on the Saturday before the fifth of March, the Soldiers, had not only been seen making their Clubs, as is before mentioned, but from what the witness could collect from their conversation, they were resolved to be reveng'd on the Monday.8 If they were in such danger, as some will pretend they were, pray, why were they not kept in their Barracks, especially after eight o'clock, according to their own rules? Instead of this, we find the testimony of a person, who was not an inhabitant of the Town: that being at the South-End on that Evening, exactly at Eight o'Clock, he saw there Eleven Soldiers; an officer met them, and order'd them to appear at their respective places at the time; and if they should see any of the inhabitants of the Town, or any other people not belonging to them, with Arms, Clubs or any other warlike Weapon, more than two being assembled together, to order them to stop: and if they refused, to stop them with their firelocks, and all that should take their part - The officer went Northward and the Soldiers Southward9 - Here were orders discretely given indeed! And well becoming a gentleman, in any command over troops, sent here, as the Minister pretended, to aid the civil Magistrate in keeping the peace; and with directions never to act without one. Will any one suppose, that the Town could be safe, even from this band of Soldiers only; especially while under such direction and influence. This is a single instance -No wonder that when the bells soon after rang as for fire, & the people in that same part of the Town, came into the Street with their Buckets, they were told by some, as a gentleman who was a witness in Court for the prisoners said they were, that they had better bring their Clubs than their Buckets - Such appearances were enough to put the Town in Motion - It is a glaring mistake to say, the Soldiers were in danger from the inhabitants: The reverse is true; the inhabitants were in danger from the Soldiers. - With all the indulgence which was shown, and perhaps ought to have been shown to prisoners at the bar, upon trial for life, not a single instance was prov'd, of abuse offer'd to Soldiers that Evening, previous to the insolent behavior of those who rush'd out of Murray's Barracks, with Cutlasses, Clubs and other Weapons, and fell upon all whom they met: On the contrary, there had been many instances of their insulting and even assaulting the Inhabitants in every part of the Town; and that without Discrimination ; which did not look, as if they design'd to seek revenge, for any former Quarrel, upon particular persons.

As it was said, in Court that the unhappy Persons who fell a sacrifice to the cruel revenge of the Soldiers, had brought their death upon their own heads, I must not omit saying, what I think ought to be said, in behalf of those who cannot now speak for themselves - Mr. Maverick, a young gentleman of a good family and a blameless life, was at supper in the house of one of his friends, and went out when the Bells rang as for fire. Mr. Caldwell, a young seaman and of a good character, had been at School to perfect himself in the art of Navigation; and had just return'd to the house of a reputable person in this town, to whose daughter he made his visits, with the honorable intention of Marriage: He also went out when the bells rang. Mr. Gray was of a good family; he was at his own house the whole of the Evening, saving his going to a neighbour's house to borrow the News-Paper of the day and returning; He went out on the ringing of the bells; and altho' a child swore in Court, that he saw him with a stick, after the bells rang, yet another witness saw him before he got into King-Street without a stick; others saw him in King-Street and testified that he had no stick; and when he was shot, the Witness at whose feet he fell, declared, as is mentioned in a former Paper, that he had no stick, and his arms were folded in his bosom; so that it is probable, the young Witness mistook the person. Mr. Attucks, it is said, was at supper when the bells rang; he went out as others did, to enquire where the fire was; in passing thro' Dock-Square, he saw the affray at Murray's Barracks; and hearing a man say that if any one would join, he would drive the Soldiers into the Barracks, he join'd; & they two were principally concerned in doing that piece of service. Great pains were taken to make it appear that he attacked the Soldiers in King-Street, but the proof fail'd: He was leaning upon his stick when he fell, which certainly was not a threatning posture: It may be supposed that he had as good right, by the law of the land, to carry a stick for his own and his neighbor's defence, in a time of such danger, as the Soldier who shot him had, to be arm'd with musquet and ball, for the defence of himself and his friend the Centinel: And if he at any time, lifted up his weapon of defence, it was surely, not more than a Soldiers levelling his gun charg'd with death at the multitude: If he had killed a Soldier, he might have been hanged for it, and as a traitor too; for even to attack a Soldier on his post, was pronounc'd treason: The Soldier shot Attucks, who was at a distance from him, and killed him,. - and he was convicted of Manslaughter. - As to Mr. Carr, the other deceas'd person, it is doubtful with what intent he came out: He was at the house of one Mr. Field, when the bells rang; Mrs. Field, and another witness who was at the house, declared that Carr went up Stairs, and got his Sword, which he put between his Coat and his Surtout, and it was with difficulty that they prevail'd upon him to lay by his Sword: They could not persuade him to keep in: It does not appear that he took any part in the contest of the Evening: He was soon shot: and tho' dead, he afterwards spoke in Court, by the mouth of another, in favour of the prisoners; declaring among other things already mentioned, that he was a native of Ireland, and had often seen mobs and Soldiers fire upon them there, but never saw them bear half so much before they fired as these did.

The conduct of the Soldiers and of the people in King-Street, shall be the Subject of a future Paper. In the mean time, I must desire Philanthrop, who appear'd in the last Evening Post, if he pleases, to read again what I observ'd upon the case of Killroi in particular, in this Gazette of the 17th Inst;1 and to consider, whether he did me justice in saying, that I had publish'd "the only piece of Evidence produc'd against Killroi and argued upon that alone:" I then publish'd several material pieces of Evidence against him; and upon the whole concluded, that what was called the furor brevis was, in my opinion, of rather too long - a continuance, to come within the indulgence of the law. I then tho't, and I believe I am far from being singular in thinking it; that for a man repeatedly to say, that he had wanted an opportunity of firing upon the inhabitants ever since he had been in the Country and that he would never miss an opportunity of doing it; and afterwards, when forewarn'd against it, to fire upon the inhabitants, kill one man upon the spot, and then unrelentingly attempt to stab another, who had not offer'd him any injury, all which was sworn in open Court: If such a man is not, hostis humanis generis, he discover'd at least, a total want of remorse at the shedding of human blood, as well as rancorous malice from the beginning. Philanthrop further says, that "there was no evidence given in Court" of the wound in Mr. Gray's head; and "that it is, in the highest degree unjust, to blame the Court and jury for not regarding evidence which they never heard": If he will candidly recur to the aforementioned Paper he will find, that I expressly said, that the witness being out of the Province, the evidence of so savage an act of barbarity could not be produc'd in Court; nor did I take it upon me to "blame the Court and Jury for not regarding it " - "I do not charge Philanthrop with a design" to amuse his readers in this, or any other instance; but if he intends to continue the subject, I would advise him to be more cautious lest he misleads them for the future. Again he says "the impossibility of the bayonets being bloody the next morning, is demonstrable from this, that every gun and bayonet of the party was scowered clean that very night"; but to borrow his own words "it is certain no such evidence was given in Court": If this could have been proved, I dare say it would have been done without fail. Philanthrop may suppose it to be true, from its being, as he says, "the constant practice of the army after firing"; but such a vague supposition will not invalidate the oaths of creditable witnesses in open Court, who swore that Killroi's bayonet was bloody, five inches from the point.

To vilify and abuse "the most amiable and respectable characters," I detest from the bottom of my heart: At the same time, I leave it to Philanthrop, or any one who pleases, to write Panegyricks, on the living or the dead.

VINDEX. Dec. 25th.

1 Narrative Appendix p. 68 2 Idem p. 68 3 Idem 69. 4 Idem. 22. 5 Idem.61 6 Idem.4. 7 Idem. 12. 8 Idem. p. 4, This alludes to the affray at the Ropewalks: The Soldiers at Green's Barracks had made three attacks upon the Ropemakers, while they were at work, in revenge, for one of them being told by a hand in the Walk that "if he wanted work he might empty his Vault": Enough, to enkindle the flame of resentment, in the breast of a common Soldier, who of all men has the most delicate sentiments of Honor. Two of the Prisoners were of the party in these noble Exploits, as was testified in Court. 9 Idem. P. 48.


[Boston Gazette, December 31, 1770.]

Messieurs PRINTERS.

I Desire you would correct the following mistake I made in your last paper. I said "there were two only of the witnesses in the late trial that made mention of the tall Gentleman in a red cloak and white wig, viz. Mr. Hunter and Mr. Selkrig": In looking over my minutes, I find there was another, viz. Mr. Archibald Bowman, who also made mention of him. Mr. Bowman testified, that they (the people in dock-square) "stood thick round him some time, and after cried huzza for the main guard"; in which he agreed with Mr. Hunter: But he declared, that he did not remember their striking their sticks at Simpson's Store, & saying, they would do for the Soldiers, tho' Mr. Selkrig, who was with him at the same time, declared, that those words were spoken by numbers at Simpson's Store. Mr. Selkrig mention'd nothing of their saying huzza, &c. From all which we may conclude, that these cries were not general; especially, as other witnesses declared that the people also cried, home, home. Mr. David Mitchelson testified, that "they cried, they would go to the main guard, and that the effect soon followed": But they went not to the main guard, nor was the main guard attack'd thro' the whole evening. He further said, the bells were ringing. - The truth is, the generality of the people of the town thought there was a fire; but not knowing where, they naturally, in passing thro' the main streets, from the north and south parts of the town, stopped in dock square, which is in the center: There, they found there was not fire; but that the soldiers at Murray's barracks, had, if I may use the expression, broke loose. Mr. Selkrig said, that the [people] "made unsuccessful attacks upon the barracks"; but immediately adds, "that he saw nothing" (of the attacks, I suppose; for it was impossible he should see them, there being a stone building between the house in which he was, and the barracks) but that "they went up the alley and came back suddenly"; which corresponds with what another of the prisoners witnesses said, who was on the other side of the stone building, and therefore could see; viz, that the soldiers several times presented their guns at the people: Mr. Selkrig must be candidly suppos'd to intend, that he judg'd the people to have made attacks upon the barracks, and unsuccessfully, from seeing them retreat only: But his conclusion might not be well grounded: It is as natural to conclude that these sudden retreats were occasioned by the soldiers attacking the people, as they had before done; and their levelling their guns and threatning to make a lane thro' them, as was sworn in open court. Mr. Dickson, who was with Mr. Selkrig, and the other Scotch gentleman at Mr. Hunter's house, declared, that "a party came running down the alley, as if they had met with opposition there"; which confirms what Mr. Selkrig had said of their sudden retreats, and strengthens the supposition I have now made.

But the writer in Mr. Draper's paper of the 20th Instant, has not yet fulfilled his promise to "ascertain the person" in a red cloak: I am sollicitous that the publick should know the very man; and the rather, because it has been impudently insinuated, that he was a gentleman in office in this town.

VINDEX. Dec. 27.


[Boston Gazette, January 7, 1771]


I Have taken occasion to mention the unhappy persons, who lost their lives on the fatal fifth of March And I think it must appear to every candid reader, that they were totally unconnected with each other; and that it cannot be even suspected, that either, or to be sure, more than one of them had any ill intention in coming abroad on that evening; much less, that they were combin'd together to do any sort of mischief: Nay, it is even to be doubted, whether they ever had any knowledge of each other. I will further observe, that there was not the shadow of evidence to prove, that any other persons, excepting the Soldiers, had form'd a design to commit disorders at that or any other time: Unless credit is to be given in a court of law, to the hearsay of an hearsay; the story which one man told another at sea, and months after the facts were committed: Evidence which was in vain objected to by the council for the crown; but to the honor of one of the prisoners council was by him interrupted and stopped. This worthy gentleman declared in open court that it was not legal, and that it ought not to have the least weight in the minds of the jurors; upon which it was ruled, that the witness should proceed no further, and he was dismiss'd.

I come now to consider the tragical scene, as it was acted in King-street; in doing which, I shall confine myself chiefly, to the evidence as it was given in court: If I vary from the truth, let Philanthrop, or any one else correct me; it is far from my design: And I am willing to appeal for facts, to the book which Philanthrop has told us of; provided always, that the facts are there stated with impartiality and truth: This I think it necessary to premise, because I find it advertiz'd, that the book is to be publish'd, not by the direction, but with the permission of the court: A distinction, which appears to me to be of some importance.

It may be necessary, first to enquire into the situation the centinel was in, for whose relief the party was said to have afterwards gone down. By the testimony given in court, by Col. Marshall, who had spent the evening at a friend's house in dock- square, it appears that at nine o'clock all was quiet there; and passing thro' Royal - exchange lane into King street, where the centry was, he found all as peaceable there; "the street never clearer," was his expression. It is probable that very soon after this, the difference arose between the centry and the barber's boy; for Col. Marshall testified, that some time after, he heard a distant cry of murder; and it is without doubt the centry struck the boy, with his gun, - It was then that Colonel Marshall saw a party turn out from the main-guard, and soon after another party rush'd thro' Quaker-lane, all arm'd - It is probable, that these were the Soldiers who, as they ran into Cornhill, abus'd the people there, as I have before mention'd: Upon the appearance of these parties, it is said, that the barber's boy, and his fellow- apprentice, ran either into his Master's or a neighbor's shop. - Mr. William Parker, one of the prisoner's witnesses declared, that when he came into King street, which was after the affray began at Murray's barracks, all was quiet and peaceable: But presently the barber's boy, with two or three more, came to the centry - they push'd one another against him (in resentment it is to be suppos'd for) they said, he had knock'd the boy down - In the trial of Capt. Preston, the boy himself swore in Court, that the centry had struck him with his bayonet. Mr. Parker adds, that presently a number, about fifteen, came thro' Silsby's lane, which leads from Murray's barracks, with sticks like pieces of pine in their hands - The most of them small boys, 1 or 2 of them large lubbers, as he called them - they said, let us go to the main-guard; by which it does not appear that they interested themselves in the dispute with the centry, nor does it appear that they molested the main- guard, if they went up to it - Soon after, five or six more came up Royal exchange lane, which also leads from Murray's barracks, with sticks like the others; but neither did the witness say, that these interfered with the centry - Mr. Parker further said, that he went up by Mr. Jackson's corner, and met twenty or thirty more coming out of Cornhill, a good many men among them, some with sticks and some with walking canes - These opened the matter to him; and told him there had been a squabble at Murray's barracks, but that the Soldiers were driven in, and all was over. - These different parties met in a cluster, at and near Quaker lane, and not long after seem'd to disperse; and he soon went off himself, not leaving above twelve or fifteen in the street: And, just as he got home, which might not be more than ten minutes, he heard the bells ring, and the guns discharg'd - No one I believe will dispute the veracity, either of Col. Marshall or Mr. Parker Mr Edward Payne, a merchant of note in this town, was also summoned as a witness for the prisoners, and his testimony will undoubtedly be rely'd upon, by all who know him or his character. Mr. Payne came out after Mr. Parker left the street; for he declared in Court, that at 20 minutes after nine, when the bells rang, he went out into the street, and was told, as Mr. Parker had been, that the soldiers had sallied out of their barracks, and had cut & wounded a number, but were driven in again - He declared that the centinel was walking by himself, and no body near him - so that the barber's boy and his three or four comrades, were at that time gone off - He heard a considerable noise in Cornhill, and a noise of people coming up Silsby's alley - they were inhabitants: Fourteen or fifteen, perhaps twenty, passed by him, some with sticks, others without; as many of the latter as the former - They cried where are they? It is necessary to connect the circumstances, as the facts are related: Here therefore I will remind the reader, that besides the Soldiers that came out of Murray's barracks, and who now may be suppos'd to have been driven in, there was also a party that had issued from the main guard, and another party of Soldiers who came thro' Quaker-lane, all arm'd with naked cutlasses, &c. who went into Cornhill not long before, and there insulted every person they met: These were the men whom the persons mentioned by Mr. Payne, in all probability refer'd to, when they cried, where are they. - Certainly no persons could be tho't blame-worthy, for pursuing a banditti, who had already put a number of peaceable people in great terror of their lives, with a design to prevent their doing further mischief: There is no foundation to suppose, that they had any other design: Yet these are the persons, who, as some would have it, were the faulty cause of the slaughter, that afterwards ensued: It was indeed unfortunate that they happened to take that rout; for Mr. Payne added, that a lad came up and said, that the centry had knock'd down a boy, upon which the people turn'd about, and went directly to the centry: By which, one would think, that they had no design to attack the centry before: and that they would not even have spoken to him, had they not been told that he had injured the boy: Till then, the centry had not been the object of their attention; and I must insist upon it, that they had then as good right by the law, to resent the injury done to the boy, as the party from the main-guard had afterwards, to resent the injury done, if there was any, to the centry - The prudence in either case I will not undertake to vindicate - Mr. Payne further said, he was afraid of what might happen from the peoples surrounding the centry, and wished they might be taken off - He returned to his own door, which is nearly on the opposite side of the street, and there heard the people cry to the centry, fire, damn you, why don't you fire. - I have just observ'd, that Mr. Payne expressed his concern at the peoples surrounding the centry: Mr. Henry Knox, another witness for the prisoners, a young gentleman of a very good reputation, was probably near the centry while Mr. Payne was at his own door - He testified in court, that the people were round the centry, and they said he was going to fire - That he was waving his gun- That he (Mr. Knox) told him, if he fired he must die - That in return he damn'd them, and said, that if they molested him, he would fire - That the boys were damning him and daring him to fire - That he heard one say he would go and knock him down for sweeping (his gun) - that he thought the centry snapped - He added that he saw nothing thrown at the centry, altho' he was near him till after the party came down and Mr. Payne finished his testimony with saying, that he perceived nothing but the talk that led him to think the Soldiers would fire.

Mr. Leigh, and Mr. Frost, both witnesses for the prisoners, testified, that the barber's boy came up to the people, and pointing at the centry, said, here 's the son of a b—ch that knocked me down; upon which one of the witnesses said, the people cried kill him - Both said, that the centry ran to the custom- house steps, knocked at the door, but could not get in - neither of them mention'd any thing thrown at him, nor any attack upon him - he prim'd and loaded his gun and levelled it; told the people to stand off, and called to the main-guard; upon which Capt. Preston and his party came down - Mr. Bulkly, summoned also by the prisoners, testified that he thought the centry was in danger, by the number of people about him, and the noise; and mentioned no other reason for his thinking so - he said that a person told Capt. Preston, that they were killing the centry - This person was probably one Thomas Greenwood, a servant in the custom-house; for he himself declared before the magistrates, that he was in the custom-house, and went from thence to the main-guard, and told one of the Soldiers, if they did not go down to the centry, he was afraid they would hurt him, tho' he had not seen any person insult him - This man, at the same time depos'd, that he saw two or three snow balls fall near the steps of the custom-house, but saw no person throw any stones; tho' he had placed himself in the most convenient room in the house for observation - Mr. Harrison Gray mention'd the people round the centry, making use of opprobrious language, and threatening; but said nothing of their attacking him, or throwing anything at him - Mr. Hinckley declared, that the people went to the centry, and at last some of them cried kill him, but did not see any attempt to hurt him - Mr. Cornwall swore, that he saw snow balls and 2 or 3 oyster shells thrown at the centry, but did not think they hit him - he heard several young gentlemen perswading the people to go off, and believed they all would have gone off, if the Soldiers had not come down - Mr. Helyer declared, that he came into King-street, and saw the centry and twenty or thirty persons - some boys at their diversion - The centry wav'd his gun in a way that had a tendency to exasperate the people - Mr. Brewer saw the centry with his bayonet breast high - a number of boys, twenty or more round him, talking but doing nothing. Mr. Bailey was standing with the centry on the custom-house steps - saw 20 or 30 boys of about 14 years old - they were throwing pieces of ice at him, large and hard enough to hurt him, but did not know whether they hit him. This must appear very strange as he was so near him - his standing with him on the steps, would lead one to think he was an acquaintance of the centry; which is confirmed by another circumstance, for he said that when the party came down, one of the Soldiers put his bayonet to his breast, and the centry told him not to hurt him - Mr. Simpson swore, that the centry knock'd at the customhouse door - that a person came to the door and spoke to him, upon which he turn'd and loaded his gun - There was one witness, and I think but one, who mention'd pieces of sea-coal thrown at the centry; and that was Andrew a Negro - A fellow of a lively imagination indeed! - One, who I believe could tell as good a story even to my lord of H. and give his lordship as circumstantial an account of "the unhappy transaction", as some, who have already had the honor of doing it, & who may think themselves to be Andrew's betters - he is remarkable for telling romantick stories in the circles of his acquaintance - And whether his fancy had beguil'd his own judgment, or whether he had a mind to try his success at painting upon so serious an occasion, or lastly, whether he was resolv'd to do his utmost to save the prisoners, I pretend not to say; but he certainly made some folks believe, that the ashes made of sea-coal burnt with great savings in the adjacent offices, were like the cinders thrown out of a blacksmith's shop -Andrew's evidence, if not his judgment, was greatly rely'd upon; and the more, because his master, who is in truth an honest man, came into court and swore to his character; and further said, that Andrew had told him, that He really believ'd the inhabitants were to blame - It is, I am apt to think, in general true, that no man knows so little of the real character of his servant, as the master himself does: It is well known, that the Negroes of this town have been familiar with the soldiers; and that some of them have been tamper'd with to cut their master's throats: I hope Andrew is not one of these. His character for integrity and even for learning, for he can both read & write, has been upon this occasion wrought to so high a pitch, that I am loth even to hint any thing that may tend to depreciate it; otherwise, I should say, that there are some, whose kitchens Andrew has frequented, who will not give him quite so exalted a character, as others, who had not known him, thought he deserved. - Several others, witnesses for the prisoners testified to the same purpose; that the people encroach'd upon the centry; that he loaded his gun and threatned to fire upon them; and that they in return dared him to fire, and throw'd a few snow balls. Mr. Hall said, that he presented his gun at the people, and they threw snow balls and some oyster-shells at him; and they hit his gun two or three times - Mr. Payne who saw the centry when he was alone, and until the party came up and fired, "perceived nothing but the talk, that he thought would have induced him or any of the Soldiers to fire": Words are not an assault, and could not warrant him to fire: Mr. Knox and others saw nothing thrown at him nor any attack made on him: Mr.——-and some others said, they saw snow balls and other things thrown at him; but it appears very probable, from the course of the evidence, that if any thing was thrown at him, it was not till he had loaded his gun, threatened to fire, & waved it in such a manner as tended to exasperate people; and as Mr. Knox tho't, had snapped his gun. The first assault was made by the centry himself, when upon a foolish provocation in words only, he struck the barber's boy: He renewed the assault, when he loaded his gun and presented it upon the people, threatning to fire upon them: In doing this, he put his Majesty's subjects in terror of their lives, against the law of the land; and they would have been justified in seizing him at least - If he had thought himself in danger, instead of threatning the lives of others, he must first, according to the law of the land, have retreated if he could, and even from his post: Other doctrine, I know, has been strongly inculcated of late, by those who would set up, or tamely yield to, an uncontroulable military power; but I trust in God, it will never be established here: It never can, while the people entertain a just idea of the nature of civil government, and are upon their guard against the daring encroachments of arbitrary, despotic power. The people were inclin'd to disperse, and did disperse, in the beginning of this childish dispute; as appeared by the evidence of Mr. Parker: And notwithstanding the mutual animosity, if the reader pleases, which afterwards arose between the centry and them, they would have finally dispers'd, in the opinion of another witness, if the party had not come down from the main-guard.

VINDEX. Jan. i.

TO STEPHEN SAYRE. [MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.] BOSTON Jany 12 1771


I wrote you p Capt Hall who saild about ten days ago, & then inclosd, some papers publishd in the Boston Gazette upon the Subject of the late Trial of the Soldiers. I now send you duplicates, together with others on the same Subject since publishd. I perceive that Mr Hutchinson is appointed Govr here,1 & it is said he is to have an independent Salary! Is not this perfect Despotism? What can the people of Britain mean, by suffering their great men to enslave their fellow Subjects? Can they think that the plan is confind to America? They will surely find themselves mistaken. I am in haste.

1 "I find by the prints that the Commissions have been published at Boston,14th Inst constituting Lt Gov. Hutch. Governor, and Secrety Oliver Lt Gov. of Massachusetts." - Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles [March 22, 1771], vol. 1., p. 97. "Govr Thomas Hutchinson and Lieut. Govr Andrew Oliver, Esq's., commissions published ; Judges in their robes, and all the Bar in their habbits, Walked in procession." [March 14, 1771], The Diaries of Benjamin Lynde, and of Benjamin Lynde, Jr., p. 201.


[Boston Gazette, January 14, 1771.]


I Have in my last, consider'd the situation and behavior of the centry, and the people that were round him, immediately before the coming down of the Soldiers from the main-guard. Some of the witnesses, sworn in open court, who I believe, are allow'd to be of equal credit with any of the rest, and were present thro' the whole bloody scene, declared, that they perceived nothing thrown at the centry - Nothing but the number of people and the noise they made, that led them to apprehend he was in danger - Nothing but the talk, that induc'd them to think he would fire: Others indeed saw snow balls, and other things thrown at him, after he presented his gun, and wav'd it in an exasperating manner, and threatened to fire: - One in particular, declared, that he saw balls of ice thrown, large & hard enough to hurt any man: It is strange, if he thought the centry in danger, that he should stand so near him, as by his own testimony it is evident he did, till the Soldiers came down: I think, upon the whole, we may fairly conclude, that but few of these things were thrown at him; and that they were in consequence of his loading his gun, & presenting it at the people: It was the opinion of one of the witnesses for the prisoners, that the people would have dispersed, if the soldiers had not come down: It was then unfortunate, that the soldiers were so suddenly order'd down. Whether it was regular, for a captain to take a corporal's command, or was ever done before in the army, I leave others to say, who are better acquainted with the art military, than I pretend to be: If not, it may be difficult to account for Capt. Preston's great readiness to undertake so disagreable and dangerous a task.

In the publick Advertiser, printed in London, the 28th of April last, I have seen a paper called, the Case of Capt. Thomas Preston: It was published in his name, tho' not wholly his own draft; as he declared to a committee of this town, who waited upon him for an explanation of some passages in it,1 which were notoriously false, and grosly reflecting upon some of the magistrates, as well as the people of the town and province. I may hereafter particularly consider this paper, which has had its run thro' Britain and America; and point out the many "faults of partiality" which are contain'd in it: The only reason why I have not already done it, was, because I agreed in the general sentiment of the inhabitants of this town, that nothing of this kind should be publish'd, at so critical a juncture, lest it might be tho't to prejudice the minds of Jurors on a trial for life.2- It may be perhaps more easy, and of full as much importance to the publick, to ascertain the person, who several times alter'd the state of the case; and, as Capt. Preston himself declared, even after it finally came out of his hands, as it would be, to ascertain the person in a red cloke; which the writer in Draper's paper has been so often in vain called upon to do, in fulfillment of his voluntary promise. - In this paper, Capt. Preston, or his friend in his behalf, says, "he sent a non- commission'd officer and twelve men, and very soon follow'd himself:" The witnesses in court, on both sides declared, that Capt. Preston himself came down with the party. Again he says, he followed, "lest the officer and soldiers should be thrown off their guard, and commit some rash act": But, did he restrain them from commiting so rash an act, as firing upon the multitude? - He surely must have observ'd the violent temper which the soldiers discover'd, as "they rushed thro' the people" according to his own account; "upon the trot, in a threatning manner, damning the people and pushing them with their bayonets", as Mr. Knox and others swore in court: He knew their guns were charg'd with ball; he declar'd it at the time, and on the spot, as Mr. Palmes testified: Should he not then, at the very instant, when he must if ever, have been apprehensive, that they would commit some rash act, at least have caution'd them, not to fire, till he himself should give the orders? Instead of this, by his own, or his friend's account, publish'd as his own, we find no such prudent directions to the men under his command; who by the rules of the army, would have been liable to suffer death, if they had disobey'd! What single step did he take, to prevent their committing a rash act, for the sake of which alone, he tells us, he followed down? Not one according to the state of his case, till after they began to fire: "Upon my asking the men, says he, why they fired without orders, they said, they heard the word, fire, and suppos'd it come from me": It seems, it was the apprehension of the Soldiers, that he order'd them to fire; and we must suppose, that the Soldiers were particularly attentive to their commanding officer: But he adds, "I assured them my words were, don't fire"; from hence it is plain that he gave them some order. I am no Soldier, and never desire to be one: But I appeal to those who are, whether the words, "don't fire," are words of command in the British army; and whether there is not some other word which Soldiers are taught to understand, more proper to be given on such an occasion, or, as I chuse to express it, in the heat of action, which would have prevented such rashness, and even put it out of their power to have fired, at least to have done any mischief. These words, I well remember, it was said were made use of in command, at another time, and by another officer of the same regiment; when one of the soldiers, thro' mistake, fired upon the march, in the street, and very nearly effected the death; not to say, the murder of a worthy citizen: The soldier was soon jostled from the reach of civil power; which was a mighty easy thing to be done, as was found by experience, at a time when the first magistrate of the province had publickly declared, that he had no authority over the King's troops, which has since been repeated: The good men of the county however, found a bill of indictment against the officer who commanded the party: But when the matter came upon trial before the superior court, altho' some positively swore that he gave the word, fire, yet because the soldiers swore that his words were don't fire, a doubt arose; and a doubt you know, must turn in favor of the accused party; for the good old maxim is, whether founded in the law of Moses, the common law, the law of nature and reason, or the safety of human societies, better ten villains escape than one honest, harmless man be hang'd- Whether the officer would have so luckily escaped, upon a trial before a court martial, for giving a word of command, unintelligible in a military sense, I very much doubt.. - Capt. Preston further said, that "his intention was not to act offensively, nor even the contrary part, without compulsion": That is, when he should think himself compelled, he was to act defensively; and in what way could he or his soldiers act upon the defence, with muskets charg'd with ball, but by discharging them upon the people, which he must have concluded would have kill'd some of them? No matter, the people were the agressors; and besides, "the King's money was to be protected" as well as the centinel - Here I will acquit Capt. Preston, as a man of too much honor to suggest a known falshood: It has been the constant practice of a certain set of men, meanly to insinuate, that the Americans in their exertions against lawless power, have always had something dishonorable in view: At present, it is the plundering the King's chest; altho' even Greenwood himself, an hired servant in the custom-house, a dependent upon dependents, if he is to be believed, depos'd before the magistrate, that amidst the whole volley, as some would have it, of snow balls, oyster shells, ice, and as Andrew said, sea coal, thrown at the centinel, "not a single Pane of the custom-house windows were broken; nor did he see any person attempt to get into the house, or break even a square of glass " - The soldiers acted defensively, and it seems as tho' Preston thought they were at length compelled to do it; for if it was done against his orders, or barely without his orders, with what propriety could he say to the person of the first character in the province, "I did it to save my men," - A precise answer indeed, to the question put to him; and therefore, I should have thought, not "unsatisfactory," or "imperfect ", as it was afterwards affirmed to have been.

Such were the effects of Capt. Preston's sending the non- commission'd officer and the soldiers to protect the centinel and the King's money; and of his following very soon after, to prevent their committing a rash act: But if Capt. Preston had a right to go to the protection of any man whom he thought in danger, had he or his party a right to engage in an affray, and carry into an incensed mob, as he calls it, weapons which could not be used without killing, and there make use of them as he should judge necessary? Ought he not to have called upon a civil officer, and put himself, and his men, if required, under his direction, before he went upon so desperate a design? Or, does the law of the land, invest every, or any military officer, even of the highest rank, with the right, above all other citizens, of making himself a party in a riot, under a pretence of suppressing it; of carrying with him soldiers arm'd with weapons of death, and making use of them at discretion, without even the presence of a civil officer - This is a point of too much importance to be yielded; for the lives of subjects are not to depend, upon the judgment or discretion, much less upon the will and pleasure, or wanton humour of his Majesty's military servants.

I am sensible, I have heretofore taken up too much room in your useful paper: I shall avoid it at present; and the rather, to afford you the opportunity of inserting an address "to the PROTESTANTS of the three Kingdoms, and the COLONIES"; being the preface to a late publication in London, containing a series of important letters of the Earl of Hillsborough, the Marquiss of Rockingham, and others, from a gentleman whose signature is Pliny, junior.


1 See above, page 14
. 2 See above, page 102.


[Boston Gazette, January 21, 1771.]


As the lives of five of his Majesty's subjects were unfairly lost on the evening of the 5th of March last, it follows that some persons must have been in fault:

The unhappy sufferers, for ought that has ever appeared, were in the peace of God and the King; let their memories then, so far at least as respects this matter, remain unreproach'd. It appeared by the evidence in court, that all the prisoners were present in king street; that they all discharg'd their musquets but one, and his flush'd in the pan; and that the deceas'd were all kill'd by musquet balls. Six of the prisoners were acquitted by the jury, and two were found guilty of manslaughter. In ordinary cases, the publick ought to rest satisfied, with the verdict of a jury; a method of trial, which an Englishman glories in as his greatest security: It is a method peculiar to the English; and as a great writer observes, has been a probable means of their having supported their liberties thro' so many ages past: Among the most substantial advantages arising from trials by juries, there is this incidental one, in this province especially; that by our laws, no man being oblig'd to serve as a juryman more than once in three years, it falls upon the freemen as it were by rotation; by this means, the people in general are in their turns called to that important trust; by attending in courts of law and justice, it is to be presum'd that their minds are there impress'd with a sense of justice; and that they gain that general idea of right or law, which it is necessary that all men in a free country should have. "It is an admirable institution, by which every citizen may be plac'd in a situation, that enables him to contribute to the great end of society, the distributing justice; and it every where diffuses a spirit of true patriotism, which is zealously employed for the publick welfare." I am not about to arraign the late jurors before the bar of the publick: They are accountable to God and their own consciences, and in their day of trial, may God send them good deliverance. But in times when politicks run high, we find by the experience of past ages, it is difficult to ascertain the truth even in a court of law: At such times, witnesses will appear to contradict each other in the most essential points of fact; and a cool conscientious spectator is apt to shudder for fear of perjury: If the jurors are strangers to the characters of the several witnesses, it may be too late for them to make the enquiry, when they are upon their seats: The credibility of a witness perhaps cannot be impeac'd in court, unless he has been convicted of perjury: But an immoral man, for instance one who will commonly prophane the name of his maker, certainly cannot be esteemed of equal credit by a jury, with one who fears to take that sacred name in vain: It is impossible he should in the mind of any man: Therefore, when witnesses substantially differ in their relation of the same facts, unless the jury are acquainted with their different characters, they must be left to meer chance to determine which to believe; the consequence of which, may be fatal to the life of the prisoner, or to the justice of the cause, or perhaps both. It was for this reason, that I was concern'd, when the council for the crown objected the notoriety of the immoral character of a witness, that he was stopped by one of the council on the other side. In a court of justice, it is beneath any character to aim at victory and triumph: Truth, and truth alone is to be sought after.

While the soldiers were passing from the main guard to the custom- house, it did not appear by any of the witnesses, that they were molested by the people; if we except what was mention'd, as having been said by Mr. Car, one of the deceased persons: His doctor testified, that he told him, the "people pelted them as they went along". - The declaration of a dying man commonly carries much weight, and oftentimes, possibly more than it ought: This man's declaration was not made upon oath, nor in the presence of a magistrate: The doctor had a curiosity, as most had, to know how matters were, and enquired of his patient who he thought could inform him; it may be, not expecting to be called to relate it before a court, nine months afterwards, when he might have nothing but memory to recur to: No one disputes the doctor's understanding or integrity: I have before said, that others were ready to testify, that Car gave them a very different account from that which he gave to his doctor: It ought to be remembered, that the unhappy man was laboring under the pains and anxiety occasioned by a mortal wound; and might not be able at all times to attend duly to such questions as were asked him: What makes it highly probable that he must have been mistaken, is, that among the many witnesses, not one on either side, mention'd their seeing the least ill usage offer'd to the soldiers as they pass'd from the main guard; not even Mr. Gridley, whose declared intention was, at the request of some gentlemen, with whom he had been in company, to

It is agreed by the witnesses for the prisoners, who mention'd their seeing the soldiers upon their first coming down, that they loaded their guns, levelled them at the people & began to insult & abuse them, (as indeed they did upon their march); before any just provocation had been offer'd to them. - Mr. Hinckley saw the party come down - they loaded - push'd their bayonets and pricked the people - Mr. Wilkinson also saw the party come down; did not see anything thrown at them, tho' he stood at two or three yards distance - Mr. Murray said they came down and cried make way - Andrew declared, that the party planted themselves at the custom- house - the people gave three cheers - he heard one of the soldiers say, damn you stand back - one of them had like to have prick'd a man as he was passing by, and swore by God he would stab him - several persons were talking with the captain, and a number pressing on to hear what they said; one of the persons talking with the officer said "he is going to fire"; the people shouted and said, he dare not fire; and then they began to throw snow balls. Even by Andrews account, the people were rather curious to know what the soldiers design'd to do, than intent upon doing
them any hurt, untill they were assaulted by them; which I am apt to think is true; because Newtown Prince, another Negro, of whom for my own part I conceive a better opinion than of Andrew, declared, that the Soldiers planted themselves in a circle - their guns breast high -and, the people crowded on, to speak with Capt. Preston - and further, several of the witnesses swore that they themselves talked with the Captain, and one of them caution'd him against firing - Capt. Preston himself also in his printed state of his case says, that he reasoned with "some well behav'd persons": To show that "as he was advanced before the muzzels of their pieces, he must fall a sacrifice if they fired " -and that his ordering them to fire "upon the half cock and charged bayonets would prove him no officer"; all which might be true, and yet in my humble opinion not quite so "satisfactory" as the answer which he afterwards gave to the Lieutenant Governor; for he might, I suppose, in an instant shift his station, and the soldiers, by a proper word of Command, might discharge their musquets without his falling a sacrifice or forfeiting the character of a soldier - Such a manner of reasoning upon their question, whether he intended to order the men to fire, was evasive; and may serve to show Captain Preston's opinion, that however well behav'd these gentlemen were, they were no Soldiers.

I shall now take notice of what the witnesses for the crown testified concerning the behavior of the Soldiers, upon their first arrival at the custom-house. Mr. Austin saw the party come down; the captain was with them; McCauley, one of the prisoners, loaded his gun, push'd at him with his bayonet and damn'd him - He did not observe the people press on - Mr. Bridgham declared, that about a dozen surrounded the Soldiers and struck their guns with their sticks: But he also said the Soldiers were loading at the same time - He further added, that he did not apprehend himself or the Soldiers in any danger by any thing he saw, from whence it may be suppos'd, that as the people struck their guns only, when they might as easily have have knocked them down, their intention was not to hurt them, but rather to prevent their loading - Mr. Brewer saw the party come down - told Captain Preston that every body was about dispersing; in which he agreed with another witness, who was of the opinion that the people would have dispers'd if the Soldiers had not come down; Mr. Brewer added, that Killroi, one of the prisoners, struck him with his bayonet before they formed, and that he saw no blows and nothing thrown before the firing - Mr. Bailey testified, that when the party came down, Carrol one of the prisoners put his bayonet to his breast. Mr. Wilkinson stood at about two yards distance from the Soldiers all the while they were there - He saw no ice nor snow balls thrown; in which he agreed with Mr. Austin - Mr. Fosdick testified, that he was push'd as the party came down - that afterwards they wounded him in the breast - two different bayonets were thrust into his arm - all this while there had been no blows that he saw, nor did he know the cause of their firing - Mr. Palmes saw Capt. Preston at the head of the Soldiers who were drawn up with their guns breast high and their bayonets fixed; and Preston told him they were loaded with powder and ball - I think I have mentioned all the witnesses, who testified in court to what they saw upon the first arrival of the party at the customhouse: And by their testimonies the reader will judge, whether the Soldiers had just provocation to fire upon the people; or whether they were in danger of their lives or had any reason to think they were: On the contrary, whether they did not themselves first assault the people as they were coming from the main guard; and afterwards, by levelling their guns loaded with ball in an exasperating manner at the people; pushing their bayonets at some of them, wounding others and threatning all, even before any injury had been offer'd to them.

I shall conclude what I have to say upon this interesting subject in my next. In the mean time let me assure Philanthrop, that I am fully of his mind, that a true patriot "will not from private views, or by any ways or means foment and cherish groundless fears and jealousies": But perhaps we may not be so well agreed in our determination, when the fears and jealousies of our fellow citizens are groundless - It is I believe the general opinion of judicious men, that at present there are good grounds to apprehend a settled design to enslave and ruin the colonies; and that some men of figure and station in America, have adopted the plan, and would gladly lull the people to sleep, the easier to put it in execution: But I believe Philanthrop would be far from acknowledging that he is of that opinion. The fears and jealousies of the people are not always groundless: And when they become general, it is not to be presum'd that they are; for the people in general seldom complain, without some good reason. The inhabitants of this continent are not to be dup'd "by an artful use of the words liberty and slavery, in an application to their passions," as Philanthrop would have us think they are; like the miserable Italians, who are cheated with the names " Excommunication, Bulls, Crusades," &c. They can distinguish between "realities and sounds"; and by a proper use "of that reason which Heaven has given them ", they can judge, as well as their betters, when there is danger of slavery. They have as high a regard for George the III. as others have, & yet can suppose it possible they may be made slaves, without "enslaving themselves by their own folly and madness"; They can believe, that men who "are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, born and bred among us," may, like Achan, for a wedge of gold, detach themselves from the common interest, and embark in another bottom; in hopes that they, "with their wives and children" will one day stand and see, and enjoy, and triumph, in the ruins of their country: Such instances there have been frequently in times past; and I dare not say, we have not at present, reason enough for "exclaiming with the roman patriot, 0 tempora, 0 mores ". The true patriot therefore, will enquire into the causes of the fears and jealousies of his countrymen; and if he finds they are not groundless, he will be far from endeavoring to allay or stifle them: On the contrary, constrain'd by the Amor Patrae, and from public views, he will by all proper means in his power foment and cherish them: He will, as far as he is able, keep the attention of his fellow citizens awake to their grievances; and not suffer them to be at rest, till the causes of their just complaints are removed. - At such a time Philanthrop's Patriot may be "very cautious of charging the want of ability or integrity to those with whom any of the powers of government are entrusted": But the true patriot, will constantly be jealous of those very men: Knowing that power, especially in times of corruption, makes men wanton; that it intoxicates the mind; and unless those with whom it is entrusted, are carefully watched, such is the weakness or the perverseness of human nature, they will be apt to domineer over the people, instead of governing them, according to the known laws of the state, to which alone they have submitted. If he finds, upon the best enquiry, the want of ability or integrity; that is, an ignorance of, or a disposition to depart from, the constitution, which is the measure and rule of government & submission, he will point them out, and loudly proclaim them: He will stir up the people, incessantly to complain of such men, till they are either reform'd, or remov'd from that sacred trust, which it is dangerous for them any longer to hold. -Philanthrop may tell us of the hazard "of disturbing and inflaming the minds of the multitude whose passions know no bounds": A traitor to the constitution alone can dread this: The multitude I am speaking of, is the body of the people - no contemptible multitude - for whose sake government is instituted; or rather, who have themselves erected it, solely for their own good - to whom even kings and all in subordination to them, are strictly speaking, servants and not masters. "The constitution and its laws are the basis of the public tranquility - the firmest support of the public authority, and the pledge of the liberty of the citizens: But the constitution is a vain Phantom, and the best laws are useless, if they are not religiously observed. The nation ought then to watch, and the true patriot will watch very attentively, in order to render them equally respected, by those who govern, and the people destin'd to obey " - To violate the laws of the state is a capital crime; and if those guilty of it, are invested with authority, they add to this crime, a perfidious abuse of the power with which they are entrusted: "The nation therefore, the people, ought to suppress those abuses with their utmost care & vigilance" - This is the language of a very celebrated author, whom I dare say, Philanthrop is well acquainted with, and will acknowledge to be an authority.

Philanthrop, I think, speaks somewhat unintelligibly, when he tells us that the well being and happiness of the whole depends upon subordination; as if mankind submitted to government, for the sake of being subordinate: In the state of nature there was subordination: The weaker was by force made to bow down to the more powerful. This is still the unhappy lot of a great part of the world, under government: So among the brutal herd, the strongest horns are the strongest laws. Mankind have entered into political societies, rather for the sake of restoring equality; the want of which, in the state of nature, rendered existence uncomfortable and even dangerous. I am not of levelling principles: But I am apt to think, that constitution of civil government which admits equality in the most extensive degree, consistent with the true design of government, is the best; and I am of this opinion, because I agree with Philanthrop and many others, that man is a social animal. Subordination is necessary to promote the purposes of government; the grand design of which is, that men might enjoy a greater share of the blessings resulting from that social nature, and those rational powers, with which indulgent Heaven has endow'd us, than they could in the state of nature: But there is a degree of subordination, which will for ever be abhorrent to the generous mind; when it is extended to the very borders, if not within the bounds of slavery: A subordination, which is so far from conducing "to the welfare and happiness of the whole", that it necessarily involves the idea of that worst of all the evils of this life, a tyranny: An abject servility, which instead of "being essential to our existence as a people," disgraces the human nature, and sinks it to that of the most despicable brute.

I cannot help thinking, that the reader must have observed in Philanthrop's last performance, that a foundation is there laid for a dangerous superstructure: and that from his principles, might easily be delineated a plan of despotism, which however uncommon it may be, for the laws and constitution of the state to be openly and boldly oppos'd, our enemies have long threatened to establish by violence. If Philanthrop upon retrospection shall think so, he will, like a prudent physician, administer an antidote for the poison: If not, I hope the attention of others will be awakened to that excellent maxim, "no less essential in politicks than in morals", principiis obsta. It is impolitick to make the first attempt to enslave mankind by force: This strikes the imagination, and is alarming: "Important changes insensibly happen: It is against silent & slow attacks that a nation ought to be particularly on its guard."

VINDEX. Jan. 15th.

ARTICLE SIGNED VINDEX." [Boston Gazette, January 28, 1771]


In my last, I recollected the testimonies of the witnesses on both sides, who related in court the behavior of the soldiers and the people, on the fatal evening of the fifth of March last. The reader, if he pleases, will judge; whether the people struck the soldiers guns, or threw snow balls or any other thing, or offer'd them the least violence, from their first turning out till they had march'd to the custom-house, abused, threatned, beat and wounded the people, loaded their guns with powder and ball, levelled them, and waved them in an exasperating manner, and gave out that they would fire; for, if Andrew is to be believed, he testified, that when one of the persons talking with the officer, turn'd and said, "they are going to fire ", the people shouted, and said "they dare not fire ", and then they began to throw snow balls. If all these things were done by the soldiers, before the people offer'd them any injury, I would ask, who made the first assault? If there was an unlawful assembly, who were they? Were the people the unlawful assembly, who were collected together, some from an apprehension of fire in the town, and with the necessary preparations, engines and buckets, to have extinguish'd it, if there had been one; others from the more alarming apprehension, that the soldiers had issued from the barracks, as indeed they had done, and that agreable to their threatnings many days before, and their correspondent behavior on that very evening, they were massacreing the inhabitants? Were they, who bore all that insolent and irritating language from the soldiers, as they march'd from the main guard, and before they form'd at the customhouse; who were push'd at, struck with bayonets and wounded, to be charg'd with being the aggressors, because they finally, when they saw them bent upon firing against repeated warnings, took such methods as their understanding dictated to them, in the midst of such a scene, to prevent their "committing so rash an act"? An act, which it was the duty as well as the profess'd design of their officer to have prevented; and which, in the opinion of some, he might have prevented if he would: And yet we find a person of high rank and figure in this province, testifying in court in the case of Capt. Preston, that such was his opinion of the prudence of this same officer, that he should have chosen him out to have commanded upon a like occasion.

I believe, that in ordinary times, if a banditti of men of violence had been seen, with guns loaded and bayonets fix'd, trembling with rage, and ready to fire upon a multitude in the street, it would have been counted meritorious, in any man or number of men, at all events to have disarm'd them; and if death had ensued in the attempt, perhaps it would not have been adjudg'd excuseable homicide or manslaughter. I am sensible it is said by some, that it was the duty of the soldiers to maintain their post: It was sworn by a military officer in court, that "the centinel at the custom-house, was station'd and appointed by the commanding officer, Lieut. Colonel Dalrymple; that they could not stir from their post, and it was at their peril if they did"; and Capt. Preston in his state of the case says, "He sent a party to protect the centinel": But this is military language; to be used in camps and garrison'd towns, not in free cities; in courts martial, and not in courts of common law: It is dangerous to adopt military maxims, however pleasing they may be to some men, and to bring them into use in civil societies: If the centinel had been in danger, as was pretended, the law of the land, to which the most distinguish'd officer in the King's army is subjected, would have protected that centinel: Or, if there had indeed been a dangerous mob, the law would have suppress'd it; and no soldier should have dared to have interfered, as a soldier, without the command of a civil magistrate.

Capt. Preston in his state has said, "The mob still increas'd, and was more outrageous": And what did he say the mob did after they became more outrageous? Why, "they struck their clubs or bludgeons one against another: and called out, come on you rascals, bloody backs, lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare, we know you dare not fire, and much more such language": But surely it will not be said, that all this would justify or excuse their firing: This was after the soldiers had insulted and wounded the people, and had loaded their guns and threatned to fire, as appears by the current evidence; and yet hitherto, by his own account, we find no violence nor even threat offer'd to the soldiers; nothing but hard names and daring them to fire. He adds, "while I was parleying and endeavoring all in my power to perswade them to retire peaceably - they advanced to the points of the bayonets, struck some of them, and even the muzzels of the peices"; which corresponds with the testimonies of some of the witnesses in court before mentioned, who said that while they were loading, the people struck their guns; very probably, however indiscrete it might be, to prevent their firing. He further says "they seem'd to be endeavoring to close in with the soldiers" : This was not mention'd by any witness in court, nor does it seem to be likely: Indeed, I cannot see how Capt. Preston could imagine, that they seem'd to be endeavoring to close in with the soldiers: He says, "he was talking with some well behaved persons, who had asked him whether he intended to order the men to fire": Some of the witnesses mention'd the people's pressing in, and more naturally accounted for it, viz, from a curiosity "to know what was said ". Capt. Preston adds, "while I was thus speaking (with the well behaved persons, and in all likelihood at the very instant, when Andrew testified it was said, they were going to fire) one of the soldiers having received a severe blow with a stick, stepped a little on one side and instantly fired." Upon this, says Capt. Preston, "a general attack was made upon the men": So that there was no general attack, according to his account, till after the firing; which agrees with Mr. Bridgham and other unexceptionable witnesses in court, who declared, that "there was no danger to the soldiers from any thing they saw " — " no molestation, nor any thing which they thought could produce firing": Indeed, one of the witnesses for the prisoners, Mr. Nath. Russell testified, that "the soldiers were in a trembling situation, and seemed to apprehend themselves in immediate danger of death"; but being interrogated, whether their trembling might not be the effect of rage, he replied, perhaps it might proceed both from fear and rage. If there had been such a general attack as Capt. Preston mentions, after one of the soldiers had actually fired, and the others appear'd to be just ready to fire (for they all discharg'd their guns in a few minutes afterwards) it would have been such an appearance as might naturally have been expected; and therefore Capt. Preston, who, as he says, "followed" the party for that very purpose, should have taken more effectual care than he did to have "prevented so rash an act " - There was time enough for him to have at least prevented the continuance of the firing after the first gun was discharg'd, and consequently to have saved the lives of some of his Majesty's subjects ; for Mr. Bridgham testified, that there was half a minute between the first and the second gun.

It seems by the evidence, that Montgomery, one of the prisoners, was the first who fired: It is probable that he was the man, whom Captain Preston mentions, as having received a blow: The witnesses varied in their testimonies concerning this fact: He was struck with a stick, either flung from behind or otherwise: Some say he was knock'd down; others, that he did not fall: Capt. Preston himself said, "he stepped a little on one side": Mr. Palmes, who gave, I think, the clearest account of this matter, declared, that he saw Montgomery struck; he stepped or sallied back, he could not say which - he did not fall; he was sure he was not knock'd down before he fired; he could not be, & he not see it, for his hand was laid familiarly on Capt. Preston's shoulder, and the soldier stood close to the Captain; he added, that he himself knock'd Montgomery down, after they had all fired; and the reason was, that because even then, he was going to prick him with his bayonet. It seems, the rage of passion in the breast of this soldier, like that in Killroi's, had not abated, after discharging his piece upon the people: His thirst was not even then asswaged:' Upon his attempt, after all the firing, and while numbers were dead on the spot before him, to stab Mr. Palmes, he struck with his stick, and knock'd his gun out of his hand; and then he struck the first man he could, which happened to be Preston: A circumstance related by Preston himself, with this difference; he says he received the blow, as he turned to the man who fired, and asked him why he fired without orders; Mr. Palmes said, it was after all the guns were fired: So that if Mr. Palmes was not mistaken, Capt. Preston did not put that necessary question, till after all the firing was over, tho' there was half a minute's distance between the first and second gun! Mr. Palmes spake upon oath in court; Capt. Preston did not: Which of them was the more disinterested person, the reader will judge. Mr. Palmes mentioned a further struggle between him and Montgomery; and the soldier, after the third attempt to stab him, in missing him fell to the ground, and he escaped with his life. - Mr. Danbrook saw Montgomery fire, and two persons fall - Mr. Bass also saw the same soldier fire; was sure he did not fall before he fired; he stood where he must have seen it; he thought he fell afterwards, which co-operates with Mr. Palmes's testimony. - Mr. Burdick went up to one of the soldiers, whom he took to be the bald man (pointing at Montgomery); asked him whether he intended to fire; he answered, yes by the eternal God! A soldier push'd his bayonet at him, upon which he struck at him a violent blow and hit the cock of his gun; he saw but one thing thrown, and that was a short stick ; he heard a ratling, & took it to be the knocking of the soldiers guns together; for the ground was slippery, and they were continually pushing at the people; after the firing, while the people were taking up the dead, the soldiers began to present and cock their guns, and then the officer said don't fire any more. - Andrew declared, that the soldiers were pushing with their bayonets all the time he was there; and that the people (being advis'd so to do before any gun was discharged) seemed to be turning away to leave the soldiers : he gives a very minute account of three or four person's coming round Jackson's corner, with a stout man at their head - his throwing himself in and making a stroke at the officer - their paying upon each others heads - and the soldiers paying upon the heads of the people too; and concludes this part of his narrative, with the soldiers firing: It seems however, to be the account of the contest between Mr. Palmes and Montgomery, after all the firing was over, as related by Mr. Palmes; and wro't up and embellished, in a manner in which Andrew was said to be capable of doing, and sometimes to have done upon occasions of mirth, and to divert company.

It appears from what has been said, that after the Soldiers had repeatedly put the lives of individuals in danger, by pushing them with their bayonets and stabbing them; and had loaded their guns and threatned to fire upon the multitude indiscriminately, and the people had reason to apprehend they were just about to put their threats into execution, by a stick thrown as is most probable, Montgomery received a blow: That this was tho't by him sufficient provocation to fire upon the people, by which one of the witnesses said, two persons were killed; that Capt. Preston, at so alarming a juncture took no method to prevent the rest from firing, if what was testified, in court is to be credited; or, if his own account must be rely'd upon, he exerted no authority over his men, but used expostulations only: "I asked him (who first fired and as soon as he had fired) why he fired without order"; very faintly said indeed, by a gentleman in command, and who had followed the party to "prevent their committing a rash act": What ensued was enough to show, either that he had no command over the men, or that they did not apprehend he was much adverse to their firing; for they soon after fired, and as we are told, without orders - That after they had all fired, Montgomery made three attempts to stab Mr. Palmes, who defended himself, and with difficulty escaped with his life - That the Soldiers had even at that time, again loaded their guns and were then, ready to repeat the bloody "action", and fire upon the people as they were taking care of the dead! Then, for the first time, we hear of a positive order from Capt. Preston "don't fire anymore": His order before should have been, "don't fire by any means ", or some other order equivalent to the last, and more regular perhaps than either. - It further appeared by the evidence in court, that when the first gun was fired, the people began to disperse: Mr. Bridgham, whose testimony I presume, will not be disputed, said "they retired after the first gun": Was it not then "such malignity as might hardly have been expected from barbarians," to continue firing! Astonishing as it may be to humanity, this they did: And being resolved to do further execution, Mr. Williams, a person of known credit, testified, that "they waved their guns at the people as they ran": And what, if possible, is still more barbarous, the last man that fired, as Mr. Bridgham testified, "level'd his gun at a boy, and mov'd it along, with the motion of the lad"; which testimony, if it needs it, is confirmed by that of Mr. Helyer: Both agreed that the lad was not wounded.

"I shall make no further comments; there needs none": I will just say, that however safely Philanthrop may speak, when he tells us, that "no individual can have a right, openly to complain or murmur"; if the times at present were even such, as not to allow one openly to declare the utmost detestation of such slavish doctrine, I would still venture to declare my opinion to all the world, that no individual is bound, nor is it in the power of the tyrants of the earth to bind him, to acquiesce in any decision, that upon the best enquiry, he cannot in his conscience approve of. I pretend not to judge the hearts of men: The "temptations that some men could be under, to act otherwise than conformably to the sentiments of their own hearts" are obvious: But I would ask Philanthrop, whether, if a man should openly say, that those temptations have had their genuine effects, he would not expose himself to have a bill of information filed against him, by the attorney general, and to be dealt with in a summary way.

As it was published to the world by Mr. Draper, that the witnesses in the trial of the custom-house officers, were not credited, I may possibly hereafter, when I shall be more at leisure, make that the subject of a free enquiry.



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. 383.]

BOSTON [March 12] 1771


Your Letter of the 1 Sept 1770 has been laid before the Town of Boston at their annual Meeting & attended to with great Satisfaction, and we are appointed a Committee to return a respectfull Answer. Accordingly we take this Opportunity in Behalf of the Town to acknowledge the kind Sentiments your Letter expresses towards us and to intreat you to employ your Abilities for our Advantage whenever a favorable Opportunity may present. We are very sensible that you have an arduous Task in resisting the Torrent of Oppression & arbitrary Power in Ireland: a kingdom where the brutal power of standing Armies, & the more fatal Influence of pensions & places has left, it is to be feard, hardly any thing more than the Name of a free Constitution. We wish you Strength & fortitude to persevere in patriotick Exertions. Your Labour will meet with its immediate & constant Reward, in the most peaceful & happy Reflections of your own mind amidst the greatest discouragements; and be assured that the Man who nobly vindicates the Rights of his Country & Mankind shall stand foremost in the List of fame.

1 Of Dublin. Cf. Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xxxiv., p. 231. The committee which reported this letter was appointed March 12, and consisted of James Bowdoin, Joseph Warren, Samuel Pemberton, Richard Dana and Adams. Boston Record Commissioners' Report, vol. xviii., p. 46. Franklin wrote to Bowdoin, January 13, 1772: "In Ireland, among the Patriots, I dined with Dr. Lucas." J. Bigelow, Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. iv., p. 439.


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

BOSTON April 19 1771.


Your Letter of the 31 Decr which I receivd by Cap Scott a few days past affords me great Satisfaction; especially as it promises a Correspondence which I dare say will be carried on with an Openness & Sincerity becoming those who are anxiously concernd for the publick Liberty at so alarming a Crisis.1 Perhaps there never was a time when the political Affairs of America were in a more dangerous State; Such is the Indolence of Men in general, or their Inattention to the real Importance of things, that a steady & animated perseverance in the rugged path of Virtue at the hazard of trifles is hardly to be expected. The Generality are necessarily engagd in Application to private Business for the Support of their own families and when at a lucky Season the publick are awakened to a Sense of Danger, & a manly resentment is enkindled, it is difficult, for so many separate Communities as there are in all the Colonies, to agree in one consistent plan of Opposition while those who are the appointed Instruments of Oppression, have all the Means put into their hands, of applying to the passions of Men & availing themselves of the Necessities of some, the Vanity of others & the timidity of all.

I have long thought that a Design has been on foot to render ineffectual the Democratical part of this Government, even before the province was cursd with the Appointment of Bernard, and so unguarded have the people been in former times, so careless in the Choice of their representatives as to send too many who either through Ignorance or Wickedness have favord that Design. Of late the lower house of Assembly have been more sensible of this Danger & supported in some Measure their own Weight, which has alarmd the Conspirators and been in my opinion the true Source of Bernards Complaint against them as having set up a faction against the Kings Authority. The 4 Judges of the Supreme Court, the Secretary & the Kings Attourny who had been Councellors were left out at the annual Election in 1766; this gave great offence to the Govr, and was followd with two Speeches to both Houses perhaps as infamous & irritating as ever came from a Stuart to the English parliamt.2 Happy indeed it was for the Province that such a Man was at the Head of it, for it occasiond such a Jealousy & Watchfulness in the people as prevented their immediate & total Ruin.

The plan however is still carried on tho in a Manner some what different; and that is by making the Governor altogether independent of the People for his Support; this is depriving the House of Representatives of the only Check they have upon him & must consequently render them the Objects of the Contempt of a Corrupt Administration. Thus the peoples Money being first taken from them without their Consent, is appropriated for the Maintenance of a Governor at the Discretion of one in the Kingdom of Great Britain upon whom he absolutely depends for his Support. If this be not a Tyranny I am at a Loss to conceive what a Tyranny is. The House of Representatives did a few days since, grant the Govr the usual Sum for his Support and it is expected that this Matter will be made certain upon his refusal of it. The Govr of New York was explicit at the late Session of their Assembly, upon the like Occasion: But I confess I should not be surprisd if our good Govr, should accept the Grant & discount it out of what he is to receive out of the Kings Chest; thinking it will be conceivd by the Minister as highly meritorious in him, in thus artfully concealing his Independency (for the Apprehension of it is alarming to the people) & saving 1000 Pounds sterling of the revenue at the same time.

While the Representative Body of the people is thus renderd a mere Name, it is . . . considerd that the other Branch of the Legislative tho annually elective, is at the same time subject to the Governors Negative: A Consideration which I doubt not has its full Weight in the minds of some of them at least, whenever any Matter comes before them which they can possibly think will affect the Measures of Administration. You will easily conjecture how far this may tend to annihilate that Branch or produce Effects more fatal.

It seems then that we are in effect to be under the absolute Governm' of one Man - ostensively the Governor of the province but in Reality some other person residing in Great Britain, whose Instructions the Govr must punctually observe upon pain of forfeiting his place. So that any little advantage that might now & then arise from his happening to form Connections with wise Men in the province are totally lost. As Matters are now circumstancd he must associate with Pensioners, Commissioners of the Customs Officers of the Army & Navy, Tools Sycophants &c who together with him are to make such representations as to them shall seem meet, & joyntly if Occasion shall require it, execute such Orders as they shall from time to time receive. Such is to be the happy Government of free British Subjects in America. I will however do Govr Hutchinson the Justice to say that tho he may 3 . . yet he has a very natural Connection with some of the principal Gentlemen Inhabitants of the province for his Excellencys own Brother is a Justice of the Superior Court, & also a Judge of the probate of Wills & he has also a Brother by marriage upon the same superior Bench. Moreover the Lt Govr is his Brother by marriage who has an own Brother & a Brother by marriage who are justices of the Superior Court. As these Gentlemen are Natives of the province it is hoped the Channells of Justice will remain unpolluted notwithstanding his Excellencys other Connections.

1 On January 10, 1771, Lee wrote to Adams: Our friend Mr. Sayre has done me the favour of communicating to me your very obliging invitation to a correspondence."-R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., p. 249. 2 See Vol. I., pages 79, 83. 3 At this point the words "mar a State of Absolute Independency in both Houses of Assembly" are erased in the draft.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with modifications, is in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 296, 297; a text is also in Journal of the House of Representatives, 1770-1771, pp. 241, 242.]

In the House of Representatives April 24 1771

Orderd that Mr Hancock Mr Adams Mr Ingersol of Great Barrington Capt Brown & Capt Darby be a Committee to wait on his Excellency the Governor with the following Answer to his Speech to both Houses at the Opening of this Session.

May it please your Excellency.

The House of Representatives have given all due Attention to your Speech to both Houses at the Opening of this Session.

The violent proceedings of the Spanish Governor of Buenos Ayres in dispossessing his Majestys Subjects of their Settlement at Port Egmont, has raisd the Indignation of all, who have a just Concern for the Honor of the British Crown. Such an Act of Hostility, we conceive could not but be followd with the most spirited Resolution on the part of the British Administration, to obtain a Satisfaction fully adequate to the Insult offerd to his Majesty, & the Injuries his Subjects there have sustaind. Your Excellency tells us that it is probable Satisfaction may have been made; for this Hostile act of the Spaniards: If it is so, the publick Tranquility of his Majestys Dominions so far as it has been disturbd, by this unwarrantable Proceeding, is again restored; and therefore it seems to us reasonable to suppose, that the proposd Plan of Augmentation of Troops on the British Establishment is already receded from ; which renders any Consideration upon that Subject on our part unnecessary.

We owe our Gratitude to his Majesty for his repeated Assurances expressd to your Excellency by his Secretary of State, that the Security of his Dominions in America, will be a principal Object of his most gracious Care & Attention. This Province has frequently in times past expended much Blood & Treasure for the Enlargement as well as the Support of those Dominions: And when our natural & constitutional Rights & Liberties, without which no Blessing can be secure to us, shall be fully restord & establishd upon a firm Foundation, as we shall then have the same Reasons and Motives therefor as heretofore, we shall not fail to continue those Exertions with the utmost Chearfulness & to the Extent of our Ability.

As your Excellency has no particular interior Business of the Province to lay before us, it would have given us no uneasiness, if an End had been put to the present Assembly, rather than to have been again called to this Place: And we are unwilling to admit the Beliefe, that when the Season for calling a new Assembly agreable to the Charter shall arrive, your Excellency will continue an Indignity, & a Grievance so flagrant & so repeatedly remonstrated by both Houses as the Deforcement of the General Assembly of its ancient & Rightful Seat.1

Your Excellency is pleasd to acquaint us in Form, that you have receivd his Majestys Commission appointing you Captain General & Commander in Chiefe in and over the Province. Your having had your Birth & Education in this Province, and sustaind the highest Honors which your Fellow Subjects could bestow, cannot fail to be the strongest Motives with your Excellency to employ those Powers which you are now vested with, for his Majestys real Service & the best Interest of this People. The Duties of the Governor & Governed are reciprocal: And by our happy Constitution their Dependence is mutual: Nothing can more effectually produce & establish that Order and Tranquility in the Province so often disturbd under the late unfortunate Administration: Nothing will tend more to conciliate the Affections of this People, & ensure to your Excellency those Aids which you will constantly stand in Need of from their Representatives, than, as a wise and faithful Administrator to make Use of the publick Power, with a View only to the publick Welfare: And while your Excy shall religiously regard the Constitution of this Province; while you shall maintain its fundamental Laws, so necessary to secure the publick Tranquility, you may be assured, that his Majestys faithful Commons of this Province, will never be wanting in their utmost Exertions to support you in all such measures, as shall be calculated for the publick Good, & to render your Administration prosperous & happy.

1 On April 3 the House had appointed a committee, and on April 4 two committees, in connection with the requests to the Governor to remove the General Court to Boston. Adams was a member of each of these committees.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with modifications, is in Massachusetts State Papers, p. 298; a text is also in Journal of the House of Representatives, 1770-1771, p. 246.]

In the House of Representatives April 25 1771

Orderd that Mr Saml Adams Brig Ruggles Mr Hersy Coll Bowers & Mr Godfrey be a Committee to wait on his Excellency with the following message.

May it please your Excellency.

The House of Representatives after Enquiry of the Secretary cannot be made certain whether you have yet given your Assent to two Bills which were laid before your Excellency early in this Session: The one for granting the Sum of five hundred and Six pounds for your Services when Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chiefe; and the other for granting the usual Sum of Thirteen hundred Pounds to enable your Excellency, as Governor, to carry on the Affairs of this Province.

And as your Excellency was not pleasd to give your Assent to another Bill passd in the last Session of this Assembly, for granting the Sum of three hundred & twenty five pounds for your Services, when in the Chair, as Lieutenant Governor, the House are apprehensive that you are under some Restraint; and they cannot account for it upon any other Principle, but your having Provision for your Support, in some new and unprecedented manner. If the Apprehensions of the House are not groundless, they are sollicitous to be made certain of it, before an End is put to the present Session;2 and think it their Duty to pray your Excellency to inform them, whether any provision is made for your Support, as Governor of this Province, independent of his Majestys Commons in it.

1 On April 24, Adams moved that the House send a message to the Governor asking whether provision had been made for his support independently of the legislature. The motion was carried, and Adams was named as the first member of the committee to prepare such a message. On April 25, he was named as the first of a committee to present the message to the Governor. 2 The General Court was dissolved on April 26.


[Boston Gazette, June 10, 1771.]

Messieurs EDES & GILL,

BENEVOLUS, in Mr. Draper's Gazette seems to have no doubts in his mind, but that "a general air of satisfaction arising from the accounts given in the last Monday's papers of the present state of our publick affairs will shew itself universally thro' the province." I have no inclination to disturb the sweet repose of this placid gentleman; but I must confess I see no cause for such a general air of satisfaction from those accounts, and I will venture to add, that there is no appearance of it in this town - Does Benevolus think it possible for the good people of this province to be satisfied, when they are told by the Governor, as appears by the last Monday's papers, that he is restrained from holding the court in its antient, usual and most convenient place without his Majesty's express leave? Does not the charter say that the Governor shall have the power of acting in this matter "as he shall judge necessary"?

Is it not of great importance to the welfare of the province that the Governor should be vested with such a power, and that he should exercise it without restraint? While he is, or thinks himself fetter'd, by an absolute instruction to hold the assembly out of the town of Boston, to the inconvenience of the members. and the injury of the people, as the present House of Representatives express it, can he be said to have the free exercise of all the powers vested in him by the charter, which is our social compact? Will it yield such a general satisfaction to the people as Benevolus expects, to see their Governor thus embarrass'd in his administration, and to hear him expressly declaring, that he must ask leave, and be determin'd by the judgment of another in the matter in which it is his indispensible duty to act with freedom, and by the determination of his own judgment. - Is not this power devolv'd upon him by the constitution of the province for the good of the people? Is it not a beneficiary grant, and therefore a right of the people? And if instructions may controul him in the exercise of one charter right, may they not controul in the exercise of any or every one? And yet Benevolus would fain have it thought that there is a general satisfaction in the town of Boston arising from this account, and doubts not but it will run thro' the province. Does not the present House of Representatives in their Remonstrance to the Governor against the holding the assembly at Cambridge, instead of "departing from the principles" as Benevolus would insinuate, adopt the remonstrances of the two houses of the last year as founded upon just principles? Do they not tell his Excellency that the holding the assembly at Cambridge "was consider'd as a GRIEVANCE by the people in general in the province; and that while it is continued it will have a tendency to prevent a restoration of that harmony, between the several branches of the general assembly, which is so earnestly to be desired by all good men"? And is it so pleasant a story to be told to the people of the province, that the Governor either cannot, or will not, remove a Grievance of so fatal a tendency, though expressly vested by the charter with the power of doing it if he pleases, without asking leave to do it? How then can Benevolus possibly entertain the least hopes that a general air of satisfaction will run thro' the province? Is not this Instruction a novelty? Was ever a Governor before thus restrain'd? And is it not a mortifying circumstance that a gentleman from whom the clergy of the province, (I mean the goodly number of SEVENTEEN out of near four hundred in the province, full seven eighths of whom never heard that an address was intended) have express'd the most sanguine expectations as being born and educated among us, and who we are told accepted the government with great reluctance, should submit to be shackled with an instruction so grievous to the people while it is obey'd: And if HE is as resolv'd as any other Governor would be, to make Instructions the rule of his governing, and give them the force of laws in this province, as he certainly appears to be, what "distinguishing mark of favor" is it, or what satisfaction can it afford the people in general, that "a native of the province is appointed to preside over it"? - Surely Benevolus must either be totally inadvertent to the accounts of the state of our publick affairs as given to us in the last Mondays papers, or he must have altogether confided in the accounts of a confused writer in the Evening-Post, who in the old stile of the hackney'd writers in Bernard's administration, tells us that FACTION is now at an end; and with an awkward air of gravity insinuates, that the people, after having nobly struggled for their freedom, are, under the benign influence of the present administration, "returning to their right senses ". A firm and manly opposition to the attempts that have been made, and are still making, to enslave and ruin this continent, has always been branded by writers of this stamp, with the name of a FACTION. Governor Bernard used to tell his Lordship, that it was an "expiring faction"; with as little reason it is now said to have given up the ghost: Gladly would some, even of the Clergy, persuade this people to be at ease; and for the sake of peace under the administration of "a son of the province", to acquiesce in unconstitutional revenue acts, arbitrary ministerial mandates, and absolute despotic independent governors, &c. &c. But the time is not yet come; and I am satisfied that, notwithstanding the address of a few who took the opportunity to carry it through, while only the small number of twenty-four were present, there is in that venerable order a great majority, who will not go up to the house of Rimmon, or bow the knee to Baal.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse