ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, June 17, 1771.]
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
It is not very material whether the Address of the Convention of the Clergy, as it is called by the Layman, in Mr. Draper's last Paper, was the Act of seventeen or twenty three Gentlemen, or whether there were only twenty-four or thirty present, when the Vote was procured. - Be it as it may, it is a Question, why this Matter was bro't on and finished so early, and when so small a Number as thirty, if so many, were present. - It is said that after the Address was Voted, the Number increased to Sixty; and upon a Proposal to reconsider the Vote, "not above Ten of that Number voted for such Reconsideration." Allowing this to be the Case, it appears, that not more than one in seven of the Congregational Clergy of this Province were at the Meeting, and in all Probability seven-eighths of that Denomination never heard that an Address was intended; for I am told, that upon a moderate Computation, their Number in the Province is at least upwards of Four-Hundred. I should be glad therefore, if the Reverend Doctor who presided at the Meeting, would inform us, with what Propriety the World is told, that this was "the Address of the Congregational Ministers of the Province."
For my own Part, I pay very little Regard to Addresses to Great Men: Whenever they appear to be but the Breath of Flattery, they must be offensive to the Ears of any Man who has the Feelings of Truth and Sincerity in his own Breast. -There is no Question but the Clergy have a Right to address whom they please; and it is not strange to find some of them ready to make their Compliments to a Governor - It is in Course: But of all Men, we are to expect from them, even upon such Occasions, Examples of that Simplicity and godly Sincerity, which we so often hear them inculcate from the Pulpit - I do not pretend to charge them with a Failure in this Instance: But I cannot help thinking, that rather more of those excellent Christian Graces would have appeared in these Reverend Addressers, if they had ascertained the Number present. This might have prevented a Mistake in many of the distant Readers, who may possibly conceive that "so kind, so affectionate an Address," contained the declared Sentiments of a Majority at least of the "respectable and venerable" Body of the Clergy of the Province; which cannot be true, if in Fact not more than a seventh Part of them knew any Thing about it - I am with due Veneration for "the Congregational Ministers of the Province."
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS
TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.1
[Boston Gazette, July 29, 1771; a text from the Bowdoin MS. is in Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, Ser. I., vol. viii., pp. 468-473.]
PROVINCE OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY,
June 29, 1771.
Your letter of the 5th of February2 has been laid before the House: The contents are important and claim our fixed attention.
We cannot think the doctrine of the right of Parliament to tax us is given up, while an act remains in force for that purpose, and is daily put in execution; and the longer it remains the more danger there is of the people's becoming so accustomed to arbitrary and unconstitutional taxes, as to pay them without discontent; and then, as you justly observe, no Minister will ever think of taking them off, but will rather be encouraged to add others. - If ever the provincial assemblies should be voluntarily silent, on the Parliament's taking upon themselves a power thus to violate our constitutional and Charter Rights, it might be considered as an approbation of it, or at least a tacit consent, that such a power should be exercised at any future time. It is therefore our duty to declare our Rights and our determined Resolution at all times to maintain them: The time we know will come, when they must be acknowledged, established and secured to us and our posterity.
We severely feel the effects, not of a revenue raised, but a tribute extorted, without our free consent or controul. Pensioners and Placemen are daily multiplying; and fleets and standing armies posted in North America, for no other apparent or real purpose, than to protect the exactors and collectors of the tribute; for which they are to be maintained, & many of them in pomp & pride to triumph over and insult an injured people, and suppress if possible, even their murmurs. And there is reason to expect, that the continual increase of their numbers will lead to a proportionable increase of a tribute to support them. What would be the consequence? Either on the one hand, an abject slavery in the people, which is ever to be deprecated; or, a determined resolution, openly to assert and maintain their rights, liberties and privileges. The effects of such a resolution may for some time be retarded by flattering hopes and prospects; and while it is the duty of all persons of influence here to inculcate the sentiments of moderation, it will in our opinion, be equally the wisdom of the British administration, to consider the danger of forcing a free people by oppressive measures into a state of desperation. We have reason to believe that the American Colonies, however they may have disagreed among themselves in one mode of opposition to arbitrary measures, are still united in the main principles of constitutional & natural liberty; and that they will not give up one single point in contest of any importance, tho' they may take no violent measures to obtain them. - The taxing their property without their consent, and thus appropriating it to the purposes of their slavery and destruction, is justly considered, as contrary to and subversive of their original social compact, and their intention in uniting under it: They cannot therefore readily think themselves obliged to renounce those forms of government, to which alone for the advantages imply'd or resulting, they were willing to submit. We are sensible, as you observe, that the design of our enemies in England, as well as those who reside here, is to render us odious as well as contemptible, and to prevent all concern for us in the friends of liberty in England; and perhaps to detach our Sister Colonies from us, and prevent their aid and influence in our behalf, when the projects of oppressing us further and depriving us of our Rights by various violent measures, should be carried into execution. In this however, we flatter ourselves they have failed: But should all the other Colonies become weary of their liberties, after the example of the Hebrews, this Province we trust, will never submit to the authority of an absolute government.
We are now led to take notice of another fatal consequence, which we are under strong apprehensions will follow from these parliamentary revenue laws; and that is, the making the governors of the colonies, and other officers, independent of the people for their support. You tell us there is no doubt of such intention, and that it will be persisted in, if the American revenue is found sufficient. We are the more inclin'd to believe it, not only because the governor of the province of New-York has openly declared it with regard to himself, to the assembly there; but because the present governor of this province has repeatedly refused to accept of the usual grant for his support, tho' he has not been so explicit as to assign a reason for it. The charter of this province recognizes the natural Right of all men to dispose of their property: And the governor here, like all other governors, kings and potentates, is to be supported by the free grants of the Representatives of the people. Every one sees the necessity of this to preserve the balance of power and the freedom of any state: A power without a check, is subversive of all freedom: If therefore the governor, who is appointed by the crown, shall be totally independent of the free grants of the people for his support, where is the check upon his power? He becomes absolute and may act as he pleases: He may make use of his power, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private separate advantage, or any other purpose to which he may be inclined, or instructed by him upon whom alone he depends. Such an independency threatens the very being of a free constitution; and if it takes effect, will produce and firmly establish a tyranny upon its ruin. The act of parliament of the 7 Geo. 3.3 intitled, "An act for granting certain duties in the Colonies, &c." declares That it is expedient that a revenue should be raised in his Majesty's dominions in America, for making more certain and adequate provision for the defraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government in such colonies where it shall be found necessary; and, towards further defreying the expences of defending, protecting and securing the said dominions. - These are the very purposes for which this government by the Charter is empowered to grant taxes: So that by the act aforementioned, the Charter is in effect made void. Agreeable to the design of that act, the governor it seems is first to be made independent; and in pursuance of the plan of despotism, the judges of the land, and all other important civil officers, successively: Next follows an independent military power, to compleat the ruin of our civil liberties. - Let us then consider the power the Governor already has, and his Majesty's negative on all our acts, and judge whether the purposes of tyranny will not be amply answered! Can it be expected that any law will pass here, but such as will promote the favourite design? And the laws already made, as they will be executed by officers altogether dependent on the crown, will undoubtedly be perverted to the worst purposes. The governor of the province, and the principal fortress in it, are probably already thus supported. These are the first fruits of the system: If the rest should follow, it would be only in a greater degree, a violation of our essential, natural rights. For what purpose then will it be to preserve the old forms without the substance? In such a state, and with such prospects, can Britain expect anything but a gloomy discontent in the Colonies? Let our fellow-subjects there recollect, what would have been their fate long ago, if their ancestors had submitted to the unreasonable and uncharitable usurpations, exactions and impositions of the See of Rome, in the reign of Henry the VIII. Soon would they have sunk into a state of abject slavery to that haughty power, which exalteth itself above all that is called God: But they had the true spirit of liberty, and by exerting it, they saved themselves and their posterity; The act of parliament passed in the 25th of that reign,4 is so much to our present purpose, that we cannot omit transcribing a part of it, and refer you to the statute at large. In the preamble it is declared, that "the realm of England hath been and is free from subjection to any man's law but only to such as have been devised, made and ordained within the realm for the wealth of the same." And further, "it standeth therefore with natural equity and good reason, that in every such law humane made within this realm by the said sufferance, consents and customs, your Royal Majesty and your Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons representing the whole state of your realm in this your Majesty's high court of parliament, hath full power and authority, not only to dispense, but also to authorize some elect person or persons to be sent to dispense with those and all other humane laws in this your realm, and with every one of them, as the quality of the persons and matter may require. And also the said laws and every one of them to abrogate, annul, amplify or diminish, as it shall seem to your Majesty and the Nobles and Commons of your realm present in parliament meet and convenient for the wealth of your realm. And because that it is now in these days present seen, that the state, dignity and superiority, reputation and authority of the said imperial crown of this realm, by the long sufferance of the said unreasonable and uncharitable usurpation and exaction is much and sore decayed, and the people of this realm thereby much impoverished." It is then enacted, that "no person or persons of the realm, or of any other his Majesty's dominions, shall from henceforth pay any pensions, censes, portions, peter pence, or any other impositions to the use of the said Bishop of the See of Rome; but that all such pensions, &c. which the said Bishop or Pope hath heretofore taken - shall clearly surcease, and never more be levied or paid to any person or persons in any manner or wise." - Nothing short of the slavery and ruin of the nation would have been the consequence of their submitting to those exactions: And the same will be the fate of America, if the present revenue laws remain, and the natural effect of them, the making governors independent, takes place.
It is therefore with entire approbation that we observe your purpose freely to declare our Rights, and to remonstrate against the least infringement of them. The capital complaint of all North-America, hath been, is now and will be until relieved, a subjugation to as arbitrary a tribute as ever the Romans laid upon the Jews, or their other colonies: The repealing these duties in part is not considered by this house as a renunciation of the measure: It has rather the appearance of a design to sooth us into security in the midst of danger: Any species of tribute unrepealed, will stand as a precedent, to be made use of hereafter as circumstances and opportunity may admit: If the Colonies acquiesce in a single instance, it will in effect be yielding up the whole matter and controversy. We therefore desire it may be universally understood, that altho' the tribute is paid, it is not paid freely: It is extorted and torn from us against our will: We bear the insult and the injury for the present, grievous as it is, with great impatience; hoping that the wisdom and prudence of the nation will at length dictate measures consistent with natural justice and equity: For what shall happen in future, We are not answerable: Your observation is just, that it was certainly as bad policy, when they attempted to heal our differences, by repealing part of the duties only, as it is bad Surgery to leave splinters in a wound which must prevent its healing, or in time occasion it to open afresh.
The doctrine, that no agent ought to be received or attended to by government, who is not appointed by an act of the general court, to which the governor has given his assent, if established, must be attended with very ill consequences; for, besides the just remarks you made upon it, if whatever is to be transacted between the assemblies of the Colonies and the government, is to be done by agents appointed by and under the direction of the three branches, it will be utterly impracticable for an assembly ever to lay before the Sovereign their complaints of grievances occasioned by the corrupt and arbitrary administration of a governor. This doctrine, we have reason to think, was first advanced by governor Bernard, at a time when he became the principal agent in involving the nation and the Colonies in controversy and confusion: Very probably, it now becomes a subject of instruction to governor Hutchinson5 who refuses to confirm the grants of the Assembly to the Agents for the respective houses. In this he carries the point beyond Governor Bernard who assented to grants made in general terms for services performed, without holding up the name of agent: But governor Hutchinson declines his assent even in that form; so that we are reduced to a choice of difficulties, either to have no agent at all, but such as shall be under the influence of the minister; or to find some other way to support an agent than by grants of the general assembly. - But we are fallen into times, when governors of colonies seem to think themselves bound to conform to instructions, without any regard to the civil constitution, or even the public safety.
1 Page 46, note, applies also to the authorship of this letter. 2 J. Bigelow, Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. iv., p. 378. 3 Chap. 46. 4 Chap. 21. The quotation from the statute is inexact. 5 Since the writing of this letter an Instruction of this kind is arrived, which has been communicated by the Governor to his Majesty's Council; and is recorded in their Journal 1
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, July 1, 1771.]
MESSIEURS EDES & GILL,
The Layman, who again appeared in Mr. Draper's last Thursday's Gazette, is sollicitous to know why Candidus "pitched upon the specific Number seventeen, as present at the late Convention of the Clergy, and voting for an Address to his Excellency the Governor; and further, he asks, Whether "it was not purposely done to throw an undeserved Reproach on that reverend Body." - I will endeavour to answer the Layman in a Manner not "militating," as he charges me with having done before, "with my assumed denomination." - I mentioned that "specific number," because I was told by several reverend Gentlemen who were present at the Convention, that the Address was bro't on early, when only twenty-four had got together; and that of this number, seventeen only voted in favor of it. I own I thought it unlucky, that the precise Number seventeen should appear to countenance the Address, because I agree with the Layman that it has of late become an "obnoxious Number." I have Reason to think I was truly informed; if it was a misrepresentation, the Reverend Doctor who presided at the Meeting, may set us right, if he thinks it worth his While. I am still of Opinion, that is immaterial to my Purpose, whether twenty-four or thirty Gentlemen were present, when the Address was carried through; either of those numbers being very inconsiderable, when compared with the whole Number of Congregational Ministers in the Province, which is said to be at least four Hundred. Allowing that the Number, after the Address had passed, was augmented to Sixty, and that Fifty of them were against reconsidering the Matter, it is not certainly to be inferred from thence, that all those Fifty would have voted for an Address, if they had been present when it was first proposed. But however that might be, the Propriety (to say the least) of calling it, An Address of the Congregational Ministers of the Province, when not more than about One in Seven of them were present, or in any Likelihood ever had heard that any Address was intended, yet remains a Question: And I again say, I should be glad to see it reconciled with that Simplicity and Godly Sincerity which we often hear inculcated from the Pulpit. - The Layman supposes, that it is with the Convention as "with other Corporate Bodies, convened at stated Time and Place " - Now other corporate Bodies are notified of the Matters to be transacted at Time & Place; but no Notice was given to "the Congregational Ministers of the Province" that an Address to his Excellency the Governor was to be proposed; and as this is said to be the first Instance of an
Address to a Governor ever made by the Convention, it is not likely that seven-eighths of them, who were absent, ever had it in contemplation. But after all, I would ask, "with Modesty, Decency, and Charity," and with Humility too, all which I take to be excellent Christian Graces, as well as Sincerity; by what Authority is the Convention of the Clergy, as it is called, constituted "a corporate Body"? I am nevertheless, with all due Respect to the Ministers of the Congregational Churches,
P.S. Perhaps an Address of Thanks from the Convention of the Reverend & very venerable Dr. Chauncy, for his excellent Defence of their ecclesiastic Constitution, at a Time when they stood in need of so able a Defender, may be judg'd by some to be rather more in Character than a political Address to the Man in Power C.
Postscript the 2d. I am inform'd that it was first propos'd to address his Excellency at Cambridge, after Dinner on the Day of Election, and that the Reason assign'd for it was, because it had been unjustly asserted that his had stood Sponsor at a Christening - The Truth of which Assertion, however, it is also said, might have been made evident by enquiring of a worthy Clergyman of the Church of England in that Town, C.
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 173-577.]
BOSTON, July 31st, 1771.
Since I received your favour of the 28th of March, I have observed by the London papers that the lord-mayor and alderman are liberated. From the wisdom and firmness which formerly distinguished that opulent and independent city, we expected that when they had so fair an occasion for exerting themselves, the power which has too long oppressed and insulted the nation and the colonies, would have been made to bend. But we have seen complimentary letters and addresses to the imprisoned gentlemen, and their answers; while by a stretch of arbitrary power they have been kept in confinement, till by a prorogation instead of a dissolution, they have been discharged of course. Is this my friend a matter of such triumph? Does it not show that Britons are unfeeling to their condition? Or has brutal force at length become so formidable, that after having in vain petitioned those whose duty it is to redress their grievances, they are afraid to imitate the virtue of their ancestors in similar cases, and redress their grievances themselves?
Mr. Hume, if I mistake not, somewhere says, that if James the Second had had the benefit of the riot-act, and such a standing army as has been granted since his time, it would have been impracticable for the nation to have wrought its own delivery, and establish the constitution of '88. If the people have put it in the power of a wicked and corrupt ministry to make themselves absolute lords and tyrants over them by means of a standing army, we may at present pity them under the misfortune; but future historians will record the story with astonishment and indignation, and posterity, who will share in the fatal effects of their folly and treachery, will accuse them. Has there not for a long time past been reason to apprehend the designs of a restless faction to oppress the nation; and the more easily to affect their purposes, to render the king's government obnoxious, and if possible put an end to a family which has heretofore supported the rights of the nation, its happiness and grandeur?
In this colony we are every day experiencing the miserable effects of arbitrary power. The people are paying the unrighteous tribute, (I wish I could say they were groaning under it, for that would seem as if they felt they are submitting to it,) in hopes that the nation will at length revert to justice. But before that time comes, it is to be feared they will be so accustomed to bondage, as to forget they were ever free. Swarms of locusts and caterpillars are maintained by this tribute in luxury and splendour, and a standing army, (not in the city thank God, since the 5th March 1770, but within call upon occasion). While our independent governor is found to crouch to his superiors, and to look down upon and sneer at those below him, he is from time to time receiving instructions how to govern this people, to govern! rather to harass and insult his country in distress. . .where his adulating priestlings are reminding him he was born and educated, forgetting perhaps if they ever knew, that the tyrants of Rome were the natives of Rome. Among other edicts which have been lately sent to this governor, there is one which prohibits his assenting to any tax-bill, unless the commissioners and other officers, whose salaries are not paid out of moneys granted by this government, are exempted from a tax on the profits of their commissions. Nothing that I can say will heighten the resentment of a man of sense and virtue against such a mandate; and yet our governor would have us think it is a mark of his paternal goodness. Another instruction forbids the governor to give his assent to grants to any agent, unless he is appointed by a law of the province, or a resolve of the assembly, to which his excellency consents. And a third requires him to refuse his assent to a future election of such councillors as shall presume to meet together as a council, without being summoned by him into his presence. These instructions, so humiliating to the council, the secretary by the governor's order has entered on their journals
It has been observed that the nearer any man approaches to an absolute independence, the more he will be flattered; and flattery is always great in proportion as the motives of flatterers are bad. These observations are so disgraceful to human nature that I wish I could say they were not founded in experience. Perhaps there never was a man in this province more flattered, or who bore it better, I mean who was better pleased with it, than Governor Hutchinson. You have seen Miss in her teens, surrounded with dying lovers, praising her gay ribbons, the dimples in her cheeks or the tip of her ear! In imitation of the mother country, whom we are too apt to imitate in fopperies, addresses have been procured and presented to his excellency, chiefly from dependants and expectants. Indeed some of the clergy have run into the stream of civility, which is the more astonishing, when it is considered that they altogether depend upon the ability and good disposition of their parishes for their support. But it is certain that not a fifth part, some say not an eighth part of the clergy, were present. It cannot, therefore, be said to be the language of the body of the clergy, and all ages have seen that some of that order have ever been ready to sacrifice the rights as well as the honoured religion of their country, to the smiles of the great. It is a sore mortification that the independent house of representatives, and the town of Boston have refused to make their compliments to a man, whose administration since the departure of the Nettleham Baronet, they can by no means approve of. From hence you will judge whether these addresses speak the sentiments of the people in general, or are any more than the foul breath of sycophants and hirelings.
The province of North Carolina, by accounts from thence, appears to have been involved in a civil war. It is the general opinion here that the people in the back parts of that province have been greatly oppressed, and that the governor, instead of hearkening to their complaints and redressing their grievances, has raised an army and spilt their blood. This it must be confessed, is treating the people under his government much in the same manner as his superiors have treated the nation and the colonies. But their example may prove dangerous to be followed by a plantation governor. At this distance from Carolina we have not yet received a perfect account from thence. I hope your friends in the adjacent colony of Virginia have wrote you particularly of this important matter. Tryon has arrived at New York, where he is appointed governor. He has already been addressed with all the expressions of court sincerity, and perhaps he may hereafter receive the reward of a baronet for his fidelity and courage. 'When vice prevails and impious men bear sway, the post of honour is the private station.'
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, August 5, 1771.j
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
One who stiles himself, in Mr. Draper's paper, a Layman, having repeatedly endeavoured in vain to make the Public believe, that the paper presented to governor Hutchinson, by about a fifth part, according to his own account, and as others say, not more than an eighth part of the congregational ministers of this province, ought still to be called "an address of the congregational ministers of this province"; and that its being thus represented in the newspapers, did not betray any want of that simplicity and godly sincerity, which we have so often heard inculcated from the pulpit; and what is still more extraordinary in a vindication of reverend addressers, having sneer'd at me for expressing my regard for these and other eminent christian graces, which however, I have reason to hope are the peculiar ornaments of the generality of the ministers of that denomination; I say, after all this, he proceeds to tell us, that there never has been an instance of a majority of the clergy present at any convention; and that the individuals who compose that reverend corporate body, as he would fain have us think it to be, have never before been notified of such political or other matters as a few of them may have taken it into their heads to transact at any future time or place - Are we to infer from thence by any means, that it was fair to call this the address of the body of the congregational ministers of the province? For so it was manifestly intended to be understood, and so it is plain his Excellency himself chose to understand it, as appears by his calling it in his answer, "so kind, so affectionate an address, from so respectable and venerable a body of men " - Aye, but says the Layman, it has been customary for a minority of the congregational ministers of the province, to meet in convention, and address the new governors, without notifying the majority of them, (who have always been absent) of the matter. If this be true, it argues that such former addresses can no more than the last, be fairly called addresses of the body of the clergy, or be so represented or receive - This Layman, as he calls himself, mentions the convention in one of his performances, as acting like "other corporate bodies," at the meetings of which the presence of a majority of the members may not be necessary to warrant their proceedings; but he does not incline to answer my question, viz. When and by whom they were incorporated? But if they had been a corporate body, the members should have been duly warned of the matters to be transacted, as well as the time and place; otherwise, who does not know that their proceedings must be invalid? To be sure if, without such notification, not a sixth part of them should be present, which is the fact, no one in his senses would plead that they could with fairness be called the proceedings of that corporate body - However, thus it has been represented by the Layman: The reverend addressers themselves, call their address, "An address of the ministers of the congregational churches in the province," and his Excellency receives it very kindly, as coming from so "respectable and venerable a body " - Whatever some of those reverend gentlemen, (I care not how small a number is supposed, for I would be tender of the character of the cloth,) I say, whether some of them might not think, that if the address was supposed to be the declared sentiment of the whole body of the clergy of the province, it would be further supposed, to speak the sentiments of the whole body of the people of the province, and whether they were not under this temptation to give their address so pompous an introduction, I will not presume to say; I shall only in my usual way, and with my usual modesty, as the Layman witnesses, ask whether there is not reason to think it. If this was actually the case, I will just remark, that though the body of the people of this province, treat the clergy, as I hope they always will, with all due respect, yet they are not priest-ridden as in some other parts of the world, and I hope in God they never will be - They claim a right of private judgment; and they will always venture to express their own sentiments of men or things, of politicks or religion, against the sentiments of the clergy, whenever they think the clergy in the wrong
This indefatigable Layman threatens to "chastise" me for falshood, in saying I had heard, or "it is said" that this is the first instance of an address ever made to a governor by the convention; but strictly speaking it was truly said, according to his own account; for if a majority of the members which compose the convention, have never met, nor any of the members ever been notified of time, place or matters to be transacted, how can any act be said to have been the act of the convention? But this is not what I intended - I was told, or to use my own words, it was said in my hearing, that this was the first address to a governor ever made by the convention: I understood it to be the first address ever made to a governor by any number of ministers calling themselves the ministers of the congregational churches of this province met in convention: The Layman has convinced me that I was misinformed: Does it follow that I am chargeable with falshood? a gross violation of truth? Fie, fie, Layman! As your client's cause requires the utmost candor, learn to exercise a little of it towards others; it is a shame for you to rail in behalf of the clergy - An instance is bro't of an address to Governor Pownal, and another to Bernard! But in neither of these instances, as the Layman tells us, were the members of the convention notified, or the majority of them present. Perhaps only SEVENTEEN met, and an hour before the usual time, as was said by one of the convention to be the case, when the late address was first carried. The Layman indeed insists upon twenty-four; it is immaterial as I said before, since either of these numbers is inconsiderable, in comparison with 300, some say 400 ministers of that denomination in the province. If the Layman thinks it material, I am sorry the Rev. Dr. who presided at the meeting, though repeatedly requested, will not condescend to ascertain it for him - With regard to addresses to governors upon their promotion, so far as it can be presumed that they are well qualified and well dispos'd to employ their shining talents, (for such they all have, if we are to believe the late addresses here and elsewhere,) and to make themselves "diffusive blessings in their exalted stations," those of the clergy and others, who are so very fond of congratulating, let them congratulate, if they please. I believe many of the clergymen who congratulated the Nettleham baronet, and others besides, have since been fully convinced that they have no reason to pride themselves in it. The truth is, every man in power will be adulated by some sort of men in every country, because he is a man in power - TRYON arrives from the bloody scenes of Alamance, and receives the high encomiums of New York, the clergy as well as others, for having "saved a sister colony" by his noble exploit; and another is flattered as being the "father of his country," and "the delight of an obliged and grateful people," by those very men who now detest the administration of BERNARD whom they had before cannonized, altho' he has assured his noble patron, and many believe it, that this Father of his country is just such an one as himself; that he is pushing forward with the utmost vehemence, tho' in different modes, the same measures, and that he may be depended upon by his Lordship equally with himself. I am with great respect to the congregational ministers,
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS.
[Boston Gazette, August 19, 1771.]
Messieurs Edes & Gill.
It has become of late so fashionable for some persons to make their addresses to every one whom they call a great man, that one can hardly look upon them as the genuine marks of respect to any one who is really a good man. Their addresses seem to spring altogether from political views; and without the least regard to the character or merit of the persons whom they profess to compliment in them. From the observations I have been able to make, I have been led to think that one of their designs in addressing, is to give occasion to my Lord of H- and other great men to think, or at least to say it, whether they think so or not, that the scales have at length fallen from the eyes of the people of this town and province; and that in consequence thereof, they have altered their sentiments, & are become perfectly reconciled to the whole system of ministerial measures; for otherwise, they might argue, could they possibly be so liberal in their addresses and compliments to those persons who are employed, and no question, are very active in carrying those measures into execution. But I should think that if a question of this consequence, namely, Whether the people have altered their sentiments in so interesting a point, is to be decided by their apparent disposition to compliment this or that particular gentleman, because he is employed in the service of administration in America, it would be the fairest method to call a meeting of the inhabitants of the Town, duly notifying them of the occasion of the meeting, and let the matter be fully debated if needbe, and determined by a vote. Every one would then see, if the vote was carried in favour of addressing, or which upon my supposition is the same thing, in favour of the measures of administration, whether it obtain'd by a large or small majority of the whole; and we might come to the knowledge of the very persons, which is much to be desired, as well as the weight of understanding and property on each side.
For my own part, I cannot but at present be of opinion, and "I have reason to believe" that my opinion is well founded, that the measures of the British administration of the colonies, are still as disgustful and odious to the inhabitants of this respectable metropolis in general, as they ever have been: And I will venture further to add, that nothing, in my opinion, can convey a more unjust idea of the spirit of a true American, than to suppose he would even compliment, much less make an adulating address to any person sent here to trample on the Rights of his Country; or that he would ever condescend to kiss the hand which is ready prepared to rivet his own fetters - There are among us, it must be confess'd, needy expectants and dependents; and a few others of sordid and base minds, form'd by nature to bend and crouch even to little great men: - But whoever thinks, that by the most refined art and assiduous application of the most ingenious political oculist, the "public eye" can yet look upon the chains which are forg'd for them, or upon those detestable men who are employ'd to put them on, without abhorrence and indignation, are very much mistaken - I only wish that my Countrymen may be upon their guard against being led by the artifices of the tools of Administration, into any indiscreet measures, from whence they may take occasion to give such a coloring. "There have been, says the celebrated American Farmer, in every age and in every country bad men: Men who either hold or expect to hold certain advantages by fitting examples of SERVILITY to their countrymen: Who train'd to the employment, or self-taught by a natural versatility of genius, serve as decoys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion, to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons. They act consistently in a bad cause. They run well in a mean race. From them we shall learn, how pleasant and profitable a thing it is, to be, for our submissive behavior, well spoken of at St. James's or St. Stephen's, at Guildhall or the Royal Exchange."
We cannot surely have forgot the accursed designs of a most detestable set of men, to destroy the Liberties of America as with one blow, by the Stamp-Act; nor the noble and successful efforts we then made to divert the impending stroke of ruin aimed at ourselves and our posterity. The Sons of Liberty on the 14th of August 1765, a Day which ought to be for ever remembered in America, animated with a zeal for their country then upon the brink of destruction, and resolved, at once to save her, or like Samson, to perish in the ruins, exerted themselves with such distinguished vigor, as made the house of Dogon to shake from its very foundation; and the hopes of the lords of the Philistines even while their hearts were merry, and when they were anticipating the joy of plundering this continent, were at that very time buried in the pit they had digged. The People shouted; and their shout was heard to the distant end of this Continent. In each Colony they deliberated and resolved, and every Stampman trembled; and swore by his Maker, that he would never execute a commission which he had so infamously received
We cannot have forgot, that at the very Time when the stamp-act was repealed, another was made in which the Parliament of Great- Britain declared, that they had right and authority to make any laws whatever binding on his Majesty's subjects in America - How far this declaration can be consistent with the freedom of his Majesty's subjects in America, let any one judge who pleases - In consequence of such right and authority claim'd, the commons of Great Britain very soon fram'd a bill and sent it up to the Lords, wherein they pray'd his Majesty to accept of their grant of such a part as they were then pleas'd, by virtue of the right and authority inherent in them to make, of the property of his Majesty's subjects in America by a duty upon paper, glass, painter's colours and tea. And altho' these duties are in part repeal'd, there remains enough to answer the purpose of administration, which was to fix the precedent. We remember the policy of Mr. Grenville, who would have been content for the present with a pepper corn establish'd as a revenue in America: If therefore we are voluntarily silent while the single duty on tea is continued, or do any act, however innocent, simply considered, which may be construed by the tools of administration, (some of whom appear to be fruitful in invention) as an acquiescence in the measure, we are in extreme hazard; if ever we are so distracted as to consent to it, we are undone.
Nor can we ever forget the indignity and abuse with which America in general, and this province and town in particular, have been treated, by the servants & officers of the crown, for making a manly resistance to the arbitrary measures of administration, in the representations that have been made to the men in power at home, who have always been dispos'd to believe every word as infallible truth. For opposing a threatned Tyranny, we have been not only called, but in effect adjudged Rebels & Traitors to the best of Kings, who has sworn to maintain and defend the Rights and Liberties of his Subjects - We have been represented as inimical to our fellow subjects in Britain, because we have boldly asserted those Rights and Liberties, wherewith they, as Subjects, are made free. -When we complain'd of this injurious treatment; when we petition'd,and remonstrated our grievances: What was the Consequence? Still further indignity; and finally a formal invasion of this town by a fleet and army in the memorable year 1768.
Our masters, military and civil, have since that period been frequently chang'd; and possibly some of them, from principles merely political, may of late have look'd down upon us with less sternness in their countenances than a BERNARD or a . . .: But while there has been no essential alteration of measures, no real redress of grievances, we have no reason to think, nay we deceive ourselves if we indulge a thought that their hearts are changed. We cannot entertain such an imagination, while the revenue, or as it is more justly stiled, the TRIBUTE is extorted from us: while our principal fortress, within the environs of the town, remains garrison'd by regular troops, and the harbour is invested by ships of war. The most zealous advocates for the measures of administration, will not pretend to say, that these troops and these ships are sent here to protect America, or to carry into execution any one plan, form'd for the honor or advantage of Great-Britain. It would be some alleviation, if we could be convinced that they were sent here with any other design than to insult us.
How absurd then must the addresses which have been presented to some particular gentlemen, who have made us such friendly visits, appear in the eyes of men of sense abroad! Or, if any of them have been so far impos'd upon, as to be induc'd to believe that such addresses speak the language of the generality of the people, how ridiculous must the generality of the people appear! On the last supposition, would not a sensible reader of those addresses, upon comparing them with the noble resolutions which this town, this province and this continent have made against SLAVERY, and the just and warm resentment they have constantly shown against EVERY man whatever, who had a mind sordid and base enough, for the sake of lucre, or the preservation of a commission, or from any other consideration, to submit to be made even a remote instrument in bringing and entailing it upon a free and a brave people; upon such a comparison, would he not be ready to conclude, "that we had forgot the reasons which urged us, with unexampled unanimity a few years ago - that our zeal for the public good had worn out, before the homespun cloaths which it had caused us to have made - and, that by our present conduct we condemned our own late successful example! -Although this is altogether supposition, without any foundation in truth, yet, so our enemies wish it may be in reality, and so they intend it shall be - To prevent it, let us ADHERE TO FIRST PRINCIPLES. CANDIDUS.
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, September 9, 1771.]
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
PERHAPS there never was a people who discovered themselves more strongly attached to their natural and constitutional rights and liberties, than the British Colonists on this American Continent - Their united and successful struggles against that slavery with which they were threatened by the stamp-act, will undoubtedly be recorded by future historians to their immortal honor - The assembly of Virginia, which indeed is the most ancient colony, claimed their preeminence at that important crisis, by first asserting their rights which were invaded by the act, and by their spirited resolution to ward off the impending stroke: And they were seconded by all the other colonies, with such unanimity and invincible fortitude, that those who, to their eternal disgrace and infamy, had accepted of commissions to oppress them, were made to shudder at the thought of rendering themselves still more odious to all posterity, by executing their commissions, and publickly to abjure their detestable design of raising their fortunes upon the ruin of their country. Under the influence of the wisest administration which has ever appeared since the present reign began: The hateful act was at length repeal'd; to the joy of every friend to the rights of mankind in Britain, and of all America, except the few who either from the prospect of gain by it, or from an inveterate envy which they had before and have ever since discovered, of the general happiness of the people of America, were the promoters if not the original framers of it. This restless faction could not bear to see the Americans restored to the possession of their rights and liberties, and sitting once more in security under their own vines and their own fig trees: Unwearied in their endeavours to introduce an absolute tyranny into this country, to which they were instigated, some from the principles of ambition or a lust of power, and others from an inordinate love of money which is the root of all evil, and which had before possessed the hearts of those who had undertaken to distribute the stamped papers, they met together in cabal and laid a new plan to render the people of this continent tributary to the mother country - Having finished their part of the plan, their indefatigable Randolph was dispatched to Great-Britain to communicate it to the fraternity there, in order that it might be ripen'd and bro't to perfection: But even before his embarkation, he could not help discovering his own weakness, by giving a broad hint of the design - This parricide pretended that his intention in making a voyage to England at that time, was to settle a private affair of his own; that he had nothing else in view; and that having settled that private affair, he should immediately return, and as he express'd it, lay his bones in his native country. Full of the appearance of love for his country, he express'd the greatest solicitude to do the best service he could for it, while in England; but unluckily drop'd a question, strange and inconsistent as it may appear to the reader, "What do you think, sir, of a small Duty upon divers articles of importation from Great-Britain?" No sooner had he arriv'd in London, than the news was dispatch'd from the friends of America there, of a design to lay a duty upon paper, glass, painter's colours, and tea imported into America, with the sole purpose of raising a revenue - The lucrative commission which he obtain'd while in England, in consequence of the passing of the act of parliament, whereby he was appointed one of the principal managers of this very revenue, affords but little room to doubt what his intention was in his voyage to London, notwithstanding his warm professions of concern for his native country - It is not always a security against a man's sacrificing a country, that he was born and educated in it. The Tyrants of Rome were Natives of Rome. Such men indeed incur a guilt of a much deeper dye, than Strangers, who commit no such violation of duty and of feeling. - There was another of the cabal who embark'd about the same time, but he was call'd out of this life before he reach'd London, and de mortuis nil dico - Of the living I shall speak, as occasion shall call for it, with a becoming freedom.
The whole continent was justly alarmed at the parliament's resuming the measure of raising a revenue in America without their consent, which had so nearly operated the ruin of the whole British empire but a few months before; & that this odious measure should be taken, so soon after the happy coalition between Britain and the colonies which the repeal of the stamp-act had occasion'd for if one may judge by the most likely appearances, the affections of her colonists, were upon this great event, more strongly attached to the mother country if possible, than ever they had been. But the great men there had been made to believe otherwise - Nay the governor of this province had gone such a length as to assure them, that the design of the Americans in their opposition to the stamp-act, was to bring the authority of parliament into contempt - Many of his adherents privately wrote to the same purpose - All which had a tendency to break that harmony, which after the only interruption that had ever taken place and that of short continuance, had been renewed, and doubtless would have been confirmed to mutual advantage for ages, had it not been for that pestilent few, who first to aggrandize themselves and their families, interrupted the harmony, and then to preserve their own importance, took every step their malice could invent, with the advantage they had gain'd of a confidence with the ministry, to prevent it's ever being restored.
Upon the fatal news (fatal, I call it, for I very much fear it will prove so in its consequences, how remote I will not take upon me to predict) upon the news of the passing of another revenue act, the colonies immediately took such measures as were dictated to them, not by passion and rude clamour, but by the voice of reason and a just regard to the safety of themselves and their posterity. The assembly of this province, being the first I suppose who had the opportunity of meeting, prepared and forwarded a humble, dutiful & loyal petition to the King1 and wrote letters to such of the British nobility2 and gentry as had before discovered themselves friends to the rights of America & of mankind, beseeching their interposition and influence on their behalf. At the same time they wrote a circular letter to each of the other colonies3, letting them know the steps they had taken and desiring their advice & joint Assistance - This letter had its different effects; on the one hand, in the deep resentment of my Lord of Hillsborough, who was pleased to call it "a measure of an inflamatory nature - Evidently tending to create unwarrantable combinations, to excite an unjustifiable opposition to the constitutional authority of parliament and to revive unhappy divisions and distractions," &c. While on the other hand, the colonies, as appears by their respective polite answers, receiv'd it with the highest marks of approbation, as a token of sincere affection to them, & a regard to the common safety; and they severally proceeded to take concurrent measures. No one step I believe, united the colonies more than this letter; excepting his lordship's endeavors by his own circular letter to the colonies, to give it a different turn - But however decent and loyal -However warrantable by or rather conformable to the spirit and the written rules of the British constitution, the petitions of right and other applications of the distressed Americans were, they shared the same fate which those of London, Westminster, Middlesex, & other great cities & counties have since met with! No redress of grievances ensued: Not even the least disposition in administration to listen to our petitions; which is not so much to be wondered at, when we consider the temper of the ministry, which was incessantly acted upon by Governor Bernard in such kind of language as this "The authority of the King, the supremacy of parliament, the superiority of government are the real objects of the attack"; while nothing is more certain, than that the house of representatives of this province in their petition to the king, and in all their letters, that in particular which was address'd to the other colonies, the sentiment of which was recogniz'd by them, expressly declare, "that his Majesty's high court of parliament is the supreme legislative power over the whole empire, in all cases which can consist with the fundamental rights of the constitution," and that "it was never questioned in this province, nor as they conceive in any other." They indeed in all their letters insist upon the right of granting their own money, as a right founded in nature, the exercise of which no man ever relinquished to another & remain'd free - A right therefore which no power on earth, not even the acknowledged supreme legislative power over the whole empire hath any authority to divest them of - "The supreme power says Mr. Locke, is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary, over the lives and fortunes of the people - The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent. For the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society; it necessarily supposes and requires that the people should have property, without which they must be supposed to lose that by entering into society, which was the end for which they entered into it. Men therefore in society having property, they have such a right to the goods which by the law of the community are theirs, that no body hath a right to take their substance or any part of it from them without their consent. Without this, they have no property at all: For I have truly no property in that, which another can by right take from me when he pleases, against my consent" - These are the principles upon which alone, the Americans founded their opposition to the late acts of parliament. How then could governor Bernard with any colour of truth declare to a minister of state in general terms, that "the authority of the King, the supremacy of parliament, the superiority of government, were the objects of the attack?" Upon the principles of reason and nature, their opposition is justifiable: For by those acts the property of the Colonists is taken from them without their consent. It is by no means sufficient to console us, that the duty is reduced to the single article of Tea, which by the way is not a fact; but if it should be admitted, it is because the parliament for the present are pleased to demand no more of us: Should we acquiesce in their taking three pence only because they please, we at least tacitly consent that they should have the sovereign controul of our purses; and when they please they will claim an equal right, and perhaps plead a precedent for it, to take a shilling or a pound - At present we have the remedy in our own hands; we can easily avoid paying the TRIBUTE, by abstaining from the use of those articles by which it is extorted from us: - and further, we can look upon our haughty imperious taskmasters, and all those who are sent here to aid and abet them, together with those sons of servility, who from very false notions of politeness, can seek and court opportunities of cringing and fawning at their feet, of whom, thro' favor, there are but few among us: we may look down upon all these, with that sovereign contempt and indignation, with which those who feel their own dignity and freedom, will for ever view the men, who would attempt to reduce them to the disgraceful state of SLAVERY.
I shall continue to send you an account of facts, as my leisure will admit. In the mean time,
I am yours, CANDIDUS.
1 Vol. I., page 162. 2 Vol. I., pages 152, i66, 169, 173, 180. 3 Vol. I., page 184.
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, September 16, 1771.]
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
1 have already mentioned the circular letter written by the house of representatives of this province to the other colonies, dated the 11th of February, 1768; and the very different treatment it met with from the Earl of Hillsborough and the respectable bodies to whom it was addressed. And also the circular letter which his lordship himself was pleased to send to those colonies, wherein he recommended to them "to treat it with the contempt it deserved " - But as the sentiments contained in the letter of the house were so exactly similar to those of the other colonies, and the subject of it was of equal importance to them all, it was not in the power of his lordship to efface the impressions it made, or to disturb that harmony which was the happy effect of it - Vis unita fortior - That union of the colonies in their common danger, by which they became powerful, was the occasion of the greatest perplexity to their enemies on both sides the atlantick; and it has been ever since their constant endeavor by all manner of arts to destroy it. In this, it must be confess'd, they have discovered an unanimity, zeal and
perseverance, worthy to be imitated by those who are embark'd in the cause of American freedom. - It is by united councils, a steady zeal, and a manly fortitude, that this continent must expect to recover its violated rights and liberties.
Such was the resentment which the circular letter enkindled in the breasts of administration, that it was immediately followed by a Mandate from lord Hillsborough to governor Bernard, to require the succeeding house to rescind the resolution which had given birth to it, upon pain of a dissolution of the assembly in case of a refusal. - Governor Bernard added to the severity of this mandate by assuring the house in a message to them, that "if he should be obliged to dissolve the general court, he should not think himself at liberty to call another, till he should receive his Majesty's command for that purpose." - It appeared that administration had been greatly misinformed with regard to the circumstances of this resolution of the house, particularly in a representation that it was brought on when the members present were few, and at the end of the session; and that it was therefore a very unfair proceeding procured by surprize and contrary to the real sense of the house - But the house made it evident in their letter to his lordship afterwards, from their own minutes and journals, that it was the declared sense of a large majority when the house was full - It was the constant practice of governor Bernard and his adherents, to represent the opposition of the house to the pernicious designs of the enemies of the colonies, which generally consisted of full three quarters of the members and sometimes more, as the feeble efforts of an expiring faction.
This direct and peremptory requisition, of a new and strange constructure, and so strenuously urg'd by the governor, was taken into consideration by the house, on the next day after it was laid before them; and as is usual in all matters of importance, was then referred to a large committee further to consider it, and report their opinion of what was expedient to be done: As the governor had assured the house in his message, that "their resolution thereon would have the most important consequences to the province," the committee were the more deliberate in their consultations; very reasonably expecting, that after such an assurance given to the house, the governor would indulge them with sufficient time thoroughly to digest it.However sanguine the expectation of lord Hills-borough might be, through the artful insinuation of governor Bernard that, the "attempts of a desperate faction (as his lordship expressed it) would be discountenanced, and that the execution of the measure recommended would not meet with any
difficulty;" the governor himself, who was fully acquainted with the sentiments of the house, as well as of the generality of the people without doors, had no "grounds to hope" that the requisition would be comply'd with; and therefore as a dissolution was to be the immediate consequence of a refusal, and as his lordship had directed the governor to "transmit to him an account of their proceedings to be laid before his Majesty, to the end that his Majesty might, if he tho't proper, lay the whole matter before his parliament," it might have been well supposed that a longer time was necessary for them to state the reasons of their own conduct, and to set the transactions of the former house, which had been grossly misrepresented, in a true point of light, in order to vindicate themselves, when their whole proceedings should be laid before his Majesty and the parliament.
But before the committee were ready to make their report, the governor sent down a message to the house, signifying that it was full a week since he had laid his Majesty's requisition before them, and that he could not admit of a much longer delay, without considering it as an answer in the negative - Upon which the house, being desirous that the sense of the people concerning this important matter might be known as explicitly as possible, which would also have determined beyond all doubt, their sense of the revenue acts, and the opposition made to them by the American assemblies, requested a recess of the general court, that they might have the opportunity of taking the instructions of their constituents. But though his lordship in his letter to the governor, express'd a satisfaction in "that spirit of decency and love of order which has discovered itself in the conduct of the most considerable of the inhabitants of the province;" and the governor himself in his speech at the close of the preceeding assembly, insinuated that matters had been conducted by a party in the house; and declared that "the evils which threatened this injured country, arose from the machinations of a few, very few discontented men" - "false patriots who were sacrificing their country to the gratification of their own passions," and that it was "by no means to be charged upon the generality of the people," yet he did not think it proper to comply with the request of the house for a recess, that the sentiment of the generality of" this good people," as he calls them in this same speech, might be taken. Had he not the fairest opportunity upon this motion of the house, if there had been any grounds for his representations that the opposition to the revenue acts was confined to a few, very few discontented men, to have made it evident beyond all contradiction? But he dared not rest the matter upon this issue: He knew very well that it would put an end to his darling topic; and that the determination of the generality of the people, would put it out of his power any longer to hold up an expiring faction to administration with success - A low piece of cunning, of which he was a perfect master, and which he had constantly practiced to induce them to a perseverance in their measures.
On the 30th June 1768, the committee, having maturely considered the requisition made to the house in its nature and consequences reported a letter to the Earl of Hillsborough1 his Majesty's secretary of state for the American department, and laid it on the table; wherein they observe to his lordship, that a requisition of such a nature, to a British house of commons had been very unusual and perhaps altogether unprecedented since the revolution: That some very aggravated representations must have been made to his Majesty of the resolution of the former house, to induce him to require this house to rescind it, upon pain of forfeiting their existence - That the people in this province had attended with anxiety to the acts of the British parliament for raising a revenue in America - That this concern was not limited within the circle of a few inconsiderate persons; the most respectable for fortune, rank and station, as well as probity and understanding in the province, with very few exceptions, being alarm'd with apprehensions of the fatal consequences, of a power exercised in any part of the British empire, to command and apply the property of their fellow subjects at discretion: That as all his Majesty's North American subjects were alike affected by those revenue acts, the former house very justly supposed that each of the assemblies on the continent would take such methods of obtaining redress as should be thought by them respectively to be regular and proper; and being desirous that the several applications should harmonize with each other, they resolved on their circular letter; wherein they only acquainted their sister colonies with the measures they had taken, without calling upon them to adopt those measures or any other - That this was perfectly consistent with the constitution, and that, so far from being criminal, or a measure "of an inflammatory nature,' it had a natural tendency to compose his majesty's subjects in the colonies, till they should obtain relief; at a time when it seem'd to be the evident design of a party, they might have said a faction, to prevent calm, deliberate, rational and constitutional measures being pursued, or to stop the distresses of the people from reaching his Majesty's ear, and consequently to precipitate them into a state of desperation. They therefore leave it to his lordship's impartial judgment, whether the representations that had been made of this resolution, were not injurious to the house, and an affront to his Majesty himself. And after proceeding to give his lordship a full detail of all the circumstances relating to the resolution which gave birth to the circular letter, and which they were required to rescind, they add, that they rely upon it that to petition his Majesty will not be deemed by him to be inconsistent with the British constitution; that to acquaint their fellow subjects, involved in the same distress, even if they had invited the union of all America in one joint supplication, would not be discountenanced by his Majesty as a "measure of an inflammatory nature;" and that "when his lordship shall injustice lay a true state of those matters before his Majesty, he will no longer consider them as tending to create unwarrantable combinations, or to excitte an unjustifiable opposition to the constitutional authority of parliament." This is the substance of the letter; which being twice read in the house, was accepted by a large majority of ninety-two out of one hundred and five members, and ordered to be transmitted by the speaker to his lordship as soon as might be. After which it was immediately mov'd, that the question be put, Whether the house would rescind the resolution of the last house which gave birth to the circular letter; and the question being accordingly put, it pass'd in the negative, there appearing on a division upon the question to be seventeen yeas and ninety-two nays. Thus the house determined upon as extraordinary a mandate as perhaps was ever laid before a free assembly. - It is to us, said the house in their message to the governor, altogether incomprehensible, that we should be required on the peril of a dissolution of the great and general court or assembly of this province, to rescind a resolution of a former house of representatives, when it is evident that such resolution has no existence, but as a mere historical fact. Your excellency must know, that the resolution referred to, is, to speak in the language of the common law, not now "executory," but to all intents and purposes "executed." The circular letter has been sent and answered by many of the colonies: These answers are now in the public papers; the public will judge of the proposals, purposes and answers. We could as well rescind those letters as the resolves; and both would be equally fruitless, if by rescinding, as the word properly imports, is meant a repeal and nullifying of the resolution referred to. But if, as is most probable, by the word, rescinding, is intended the passing a vote of this house, in direct and express disapprobation of the measure above mentioned, as "illegal, inflammatory and tending to promote unjustifiable combinations" against his Majesty's peace, crown and dignity, we take the liberty to testify and publickly to declare, that it is the native, inherent and indefeasible right of the subject, jointly or severally, to petition the King for the redress of grievances. - And we are clearly and very firmly of Opinion that the petition of the late dutiful and loyal house, and the other very orderly applications for the redress of grievances, have had the most desirable tendencies and effects - In another part they say, "we cannot but express our deep concern, that a measure of the late house in all respects so innocent, in most so virtuous and laudable, and as we conceive, so truly patriotic, should be represented to administration in the odious light of a party and factious measure," and finally they say, that in refusing to comply with the requisition, "they have been actuated by a conscientious and a clear and determined sense of duty to God, their King, their country, and their latest posterity." This determination of the house gave general satisfaction, not only to the people of this province, but of the other colonies also; as well as the friends of liberty in Britain. It was spoken of by all except the disappointed few, with great applause. Indeed the essential rights of all were involved in the question: A different determination would therefore have been to the last degree infamous and attended with fatal consequences. Not only the right of the subjects jointly to petition for the redress of grievances which all alike suffer, but also that of communicating their sentiments freely to each other upon the subject of grievances, and the means of redress, which was the sole purport of the circular letter, would in effect have been given up. I have often thought that in this time of common distress, it would be the wisdom of the colonists, more frequently to correspond with, and to be more attentive to the particular circumstances of each other. It seems of late to have been the policy of the enemies of America to point their artillery against one province only; and artfully to draw off the attention of the other colonies, and if possible to render that single province odious to them, while it is suffering ministerial vengeance for the sake of the common cause. But it is hoped that the colonies will be aware of this artifice. At this juncture an attempt to subdue one province to despotic power, is justly to be considered as an attempt to enslave the whole. The colonies "form one political body, of which each is a member." -The liberties of the whole are invaded - It is therefore the interest of the whole to support each individual with all their weight and influence. When the legislative of the colony of New-York was suspended, the house of representatives of this province consider'd it "as alarming to all the colonies;" and bore their testimony against it, in a letter to their agent, the sentiments of which they directed him to make known to his Majesty's ministers. - That suspension, says the patriotic Pennsylvania Farmer, is a parliamentary assertion of the supreme authority of the British legislature over these colonies in point of taxation; and is intended to COMPEL New-York into a submission to that authority. It seems therefore to me as much a violation of the liberty of the people of that province, and consequently of all these Colonies, as if the Parliament had sent a number of regiments (which has since been the fate of this province) to be quartered upon them till they should comply. - Whoever, says he, seriously considers the matter, must perceive, that a dreadful stroke is aimed at the liberty of these Colonies: For the cause of one is the cause of all. If the parliament may lawfully deprive New-York of any of its Rights, it may deprive any or all the other Colonies of their Rights; and nothing can so much encourage such attempts, as a mutual inattention to the interests of each other. To divide and thus to destroy, is the first political maxim in attacking those who are powerful by their union. - When Mr. Hampden's ship money cause for three shillings and four pence was tried, all the people of England, with anxious expectation, interested themselves in the important decision: And when the slightest point touching the freedom of a single Colony is agitated, I earnestly wish, that all the rest may with equal ardour support their sister. - These are the generous sentiments of that celebrated writer, whom several have made feeble attempts to answer, but no one has yet done it. May the British American Colonies be upon their guard; and take care lest by a mutual inattention to the interest of each other, they at length become supine and careless of the grand cause of American Liberty, and finally fall a prey to the MERCILESS HAND OF TYRANNY.
I am, Your's, CANDIDUS.
1Vol. I., page 219.
ARTICLE SIGNED "CANDIDUS."
[Boston Gazette, September 23, 1771.]
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
The consequence of the determination of the house of Representatives not to rescind the resolution of the former house, of which I gave you a particular account in my last, was an immediate prorogation of the general assembly, and the next day a dissolution, agreeable to the orders of a minister of state! - Governor Bernard in a subsequent letter to lord Hillsborough, pressed his lordship for further orders respecting the calling a new assembly; and acquainted him that "when the usual time should come, it would be quite necessary that the governor should be able to vouch positive orders for his not calling the assembly, if he was not to do it," and he adds that, "with regard to calling the new assembly in May, it would require much consideration." By the Charter of this province, which is a Compact between the Crown and the People, it is ordained that a General Assembly shall be called on every last Wednesday in May yearly: Did gov. Bernard then think that his lordship, to whom in one instance at least, he had surrendered the power of the governor of the province, could by another order rescind that effectual Right of the Charter? It would in truth require much consideration with one, even of his lordship's peculiar turn of mind, before he would assume an authority to put an end to the constitution of the province: He had gone far enough already. - The Charter further ordains, that the assembly shall be held "at all such other times as the governor shall think fit." Not as lord Hillsborough shall think fit, for he is not the governor. Could the governor think that the people were so stupid as to be satisfied with his vouching - orders for neglecting that which it was his indispensable duty to do as governor of the province; and by neglecting which, either with or without his lordship's orders, there would be an end to the supreme legislative power; the establishing of which, as Mr. Locke says, is the first and fundamental positive law of the commonwealth. The general assembly is constituted by the charter, the legislative of the province; having full power and authority to make all such orders, laws, statutes, &c. not repugnant to the laws of England, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the province. - "The first framers of the government, not being able by any foresight to prefix so just periods of return and duration to the assemblies of the legislative, in all times to come, that might exactly answer all the emergencies of the commonwealth, the best method that could be found, was to trust this to the prudence of one, who was always to be present, and whose business it should be to watch over the commonwealth." Hence the charter provides, that the governor who is to reside in the province, and who, being always present, must be acquainted with the state and exigences of the public affairs, shall have full power and authority to adjourn or dissolve the assembly, and call a new one from time to time as he shall judge necessary: But our governors have of late given up this power of judging - to a minister of state; residing at a thousand leagues distance, and therefore utterly unable to determine, if it was lawful for him to do it, at what time the necessities of the state might require the immediate exertion of legislative power. This ministerial manoeuvre, to speak in modern language, which threatens the destruction of the constitution, will, it is hoped, be the subject of national enquiry, when the present confusion in Britain and America shall, as it must soon, be brought to a happy issue. "The legislative is sacred and unalterable in the hands where the community has fixed it." In this province it is fixed by the community, in the hands of the Governor, Council and House of Representatives: In their hands therefore, it ought to rest sacred and unalterable; to be sure as long as the express conditions of the compact are fulfilled. - Lord Stafford, and many lords and great men before him, suffered death for attempting to overthrow the constitution of the state. - Their crime was called, and I supposed justly called, Treason: It surely could not have been treason therefore, to have disturbed and resisted them in their mad attempts, even though they might have produced the orders of a king - What punishment awaits those who have manifestly attempted to overthrow the constitution of the American colonies, the time which we hope for, and is hastening on, will determine. If the very being of the legislative of this province is for the future to depend upon the mere will and pleasure of an arbitrary minister - if he may take it upon him to dictate such measures as he pleases, and to dissolve them, or which is the same thing, order an obsequious governor to do it, upon their non-compliance with his will and pleasure, surely we have little to boast of in such an assembly. The charter may be taken away in tarts as well as in the whole: And it seems by some later ministerial mandates and measures, as if there was a design to deprive us of our Charter-Rights by degrees. An attempt upon the whole by one stroke would perhaps be thought too bold an undertaking. His lordship could not indeed have chosen a more effectual step to deprive us of the whole benefit of a free constitution, than by attempting to controul the debates and determinations of the House of Representatives, which ought forever to be free, and suspending the legislative power of the province, for their refusing to obey any mandate, especially when it is not only contrary to their judgments and consciences, but, as it appeared to them, absurd. It is a pitiful constitution indeed, which so far from being fixed and permanent as it should be - sacred and unalterable in the hands of those where the community has placed it, depends entirely upon the breath of a minister, or of any man: But it is to be feared from this as well as other more recent instances, that there is a design to rase the foundations of the constitutions of these colonies, and place them upon this precarious and sandy foundation. - I have seen a letter from the agent of this province to the government here, dated so long ago as March the 7th, 1750; wherein he says, "I am afraid there is at bottom in the minds of some, a fixed design of getting a parliamentary sanction of some kind or other, if possible, to the King's instructions on this occasion;" which was the redressing the inconveniencies proceeding from the paper bills. And in another letter of the 12th of April following, he writes, "Since my last, I have found too great reason to confirm my apprehensions, that some persons of consequence here, are determined, if possible, to put the future use of the credit of the several governments of New England, wholly under the power of an instruction; and what tendency that may have to introduce the King's instructions into the government of the other colonies, in other instances, I need not observe This design seems to be conducted with great art." The fears of that watchful agent, there is reason to apprehend, from the perfect good understanding that now exists between the ruling men in the American department, on both sides the atlantic, may very soon be far from appearing groundless. Instructions have of late been so frequent, and in every instance so punctiliously obeyed, that there is reason to fear, unless greater attention is had to them, they soon will be established as rules of administration, not only to governors as servants of the crown, but to legislatures. The enforcing them seems to be conducted with equal art on this side of the water at present, to that with which the original design of introducing them was conducted on the other side, when that agent wrote. They may soon therefore be regarded as fixed laws in the colonies, even without the sanction or intervention of parliament Principiis obsta, is a maxim worth regarding in politics as well as morals, and it is more especially to be observed, when those who are the most assiduous in their endeavours to alter the civil Constitution, are not less so in persuading us to go to sleep and dream that we are in a state of perfect security. - What benefit is it to us to have a governor residing in the province, invested with certain powers of judging -, and acting according to his own judgment, for the good of the people, if he submit to be made a man of wire, & for the sake of preserving the emolument of a governor, with the name only, is turned this way or that, as the minister directs, without any judgment of his own? And of what use can a legislative be to us, without the free exercise of the powers of legislation? Liable to be thrown out of existence for not acting in conformity to the will of another? Can there be any material difference between such a legislative and none at all? The original constitution of this province, the charter, required the convening of a new general assembly in May: The public exigencies might have required it sooner: But governor Bernard was determined in neither of these cases to convene an assembly, if he could but vouch the positive orders of the minister, who had no right or legal authority at all to interpose in the matter. "The using of force upon the people without authority, and contrary to the trust reposed in him that does so, is a state of war with the people;" This is the judgment of one of the greatest men that ever wrote. "If the executive power, being possessed of the power of the commonwealth, shall make use of that force to hinder the meeting and acting of the legislative, when the original constitution or the public exigencies shall require it, the people have a right to reinstate their legislative in the exercise of their power: For having erected a legislative, with an intent they should exercise the power of making laws, either at certain set times or when there is need of it, if they are hindered by any force from what is so necessary to the society, and wherein the safety and preservation of the people consists, they have a right to remove it by force." From this instance of the dissolution of the assembly of this province, as well as that of the suspension of the legislative of New York, for refusing to execute an act of parliament, requiring them to give and grant away their own and their constituents money for the support of a standing army, posterity will form a judgment of the temper of the British administration at that time: Whether a different disposition has since prevailed, will appear from the measures they have taken in general; and particularly from the answers to the addresses, petitions and remonstrances which we have lately seen. One would have thought that the American legislative assemblies had become too harmless bodies to have been the object of ministerial rage, since the passing of acts of parliament for the sole purpose of raising revenues at the expence of the colonists, without their consent, and for appropriating those revenues as they should think proper. The most essential Rights of American legislation, are those of raising and applying their own monies for the support of their own government, and for their own defence: By the late revenue acts, these rights are in effect superseded; the parliament having already granted, such sums as they please, out of the purses of the colonists, for the same purposes. Thus the shadow of legislation only remains to them: Their importance is at an end. They may indeed, as the Pennsylvania farmer observes, whose works I wish every American would read over again, "They may perhaps be allowed to make laws for yoking of hogs or pounding of stray cattle: Their influence will hardly be permitted to extend so high as the keeping roads in repair; as that business may more properly be executed by those who receive the public cash." Their substantial rights and powers, lord Hillsborough himself should know, are as really annihilated by these acts, as they would be, if they were deprived of all existence. "Upon what occasion, says that elegant writer, will the crown ever call our assemblies together, when, the charges of the administration of justice, the support of civil government, and the expences of protecting, defending and securing us, are provided for" by the parliament? "Some few of them may meet of their own accord, by virtue of their several charters: But what will they have to do when they are met? To what shadows will they be reduced? The men, whose deliberations heretofore, had an influence on every matter relating to the liberty and happiness of themselves and their constituents, and whose authority in domestic affairs at least, might well be compared to that of Roman senators, will find their determinations to be of no more consequence than that of constables." - And this will not be the utmost extent of our misery and infamy
TO ARTHUR LEE.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with variations, is in R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 177-183.]
BOSTON Sept 27 1771
I am greatly indebted to you for your several Letters of [the 10th and 14th of June].
To let you know that I am far from being inattentive to the favors you have done me I inclose you a Letter I wrote you some time past, but was prevented putting it in the Bag by an Accident. I have since been confind to my house by Sickness & by a late Excursion into the Country I have fully recoverd my Health.
I take particular Notice of the Reasons you assign for a whole Session of parliamt being spent without one offensive Measure to America. You account for our being flatterd that all Designs against the Charter of the Colony are laid aside, in a manner perfectly corresponding with the Sentiments I had preconceivd of it. The opinion you have formd of the ruling men on both sides the Atlantick, is exactly mine and as I have the most unfavorable Idea of the Heads or the Hearts of the present Administration, I cannot hope for much Good from the Services of any man who can submit to be dependent on them.
I was pleasd with the petition & remonstrance of the City of London - but are not the Ministry lost to all Sensibility to the peoples Complaints, & like the Egyptian Tyrant, do they not harden their Hearts against their repeated Demands for a redress of Grievances. Does it not fully appear not only that they neither fear God nor regard Man, but that they are not even to be wearied, as one of their ancient predecessors was, by frequent Applications. What do you conceive to be the Step next to be taken by an abused people? For another must be taken either by the ministry or the people or in my opinion the nation will fall into that ruin of which they seem to me to be now at the very precipice. May God afford them that Prudence, Strength & fortitude by which they may be animated to maintain their own Liberties at all Events. By your last letter you appear to resolve well; if ever the Spirit of impeaching should rise in Britain. But how is it possible such a Spirit should rise. In all former Struggles the House of Commons has naturally taken Sides with the people against oppressing Ministers & Favorites. But whether that is the Case at present or not, is no secret to the World. We have indeed heard little of the Business of impeaching since the Revolution. A corrupt ministerial Influence has been gradually & too insensibly increasing from that OEra, & is at length become so powerful (for which I think the Nation is particularly beholden to Sir R. Walpole) as to render it impracticable to have even one capital Object of the peoples just Vengeance impeachd. The proposals you were so kind as [to] favor me with, I cannot but highly approve of. I communicated them to two or three intimate & judicious friends who equally approvd of them. But they cannot be carried into Execution till the present parliamt is at an End. And if it is not to be dissolvd before the End of its septennial Duration, is it not to be feard that before its Expiration there will be an End of Liberty. If I mistake not there is an Act of parliamt whereby the Seats of placemen and pensioners in the House of Commons (who were not such at the time of their Election) shall be vacated, & their Electors have a right to the Choice of another if they see proper. Perhaps there never was a time when the Advantages of this Law were more apparent. Would it not then be doing the most important Service to the Cause of Liberty if the Gentlemen of the Bill of Rights, who I pray God may be united in their Councils, would exert their utmost Influence to prevail upon the Constituents of such rotten Members to claim that privilege & make a good Use of it? If there is any Virtue among the people, I should think this might easily be done. If it be impracticable, I fear another general Election wd only serve to convince all of what many are apprehensive, that there is a total Depravation of principles & manners in the Nation, or in other Words that it is already irrecoverably undone.