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THE writings of no one of the leaders of the Ameri 
can Revolution form a more complete expression of 
the causes and justification of that movement than 
do those of Samuel Adams. None of his contempo 
raries was so closely identified with the agitation 
which preceded that crisis, or displayed at that 
time greater facility as a writer or more unquali 
fied devotion to public affairs. In both the politics 
and the literature of the American Revolution his 
writings constitute a distinct and essential element. 
As a recognized leader in the politics of his native 
town, as a member and also as clerk of the Massa 
chusetts House of Representatives, and later as a 
member of the Continental Congress, he was able 
to develop and to maintain a strong, and at times con 
trolling, influence in the affairs of Massachusetts and 
of the new nation. By an active correspondence, by 
the preparation of many official documents, and by 
numberless newspaper articles, he was able to guide 
and to express the sentiment of the American prov 
inces as they prepared for the struggle which divided 
the empire. Throughout that contest, and thereafter 
even in his declining years, Adams remained quite 
continuously in public life, and his later writings 


reflect the influence which he -still exerted. 

Prudence as well as political necessity seems to 
have caused the early destruction of many of the 
papers of Adams. The dispersal of those which re 
mained was more than once threatened, but a large 
number of these were finally lodged permanently 
in the Lenox Library, and there increased by ac 
cessions from other sources. In spite of the lapse 
of time, and the difficulties naturally incident to the 
initial collection of such material, there is now pre 
sented a substantially complete representation of the 
typical and effective literary work of Adams. Doubt 
less a few anonymous or official papers by him, the 
authorship of which is now indeterminate, are omitted, 
and the series of articles in the Independent Adver 
tiser, which are attributed to Adams by Wells, but 
which constitute no part of his real life work, are 
excluded. A few unimportant letters are also ex 
cluded, and the, existence of some obscure texts, 
now owned privately, will probably be brought to 
light by the appearance of this collection. The 
manuscripts contained in that portion of the Bancroft 
collection cited as " Samuel Adams Papers " are to a 
large extent drafts, as that printed on page 34, but 
their very substantial value is shown by the close 
similarity between the draft and the final document, 
as appears from the texts printed at pages 39 and 48. 

The annotations indicating the text from which each 
document has been printed serve to show in detail the 
extent to which this collection has been made possible 
by the assistance of others. Through the courtesy 
of th<> Director of the " New York Public Library, 



Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations," the import 
ant collections in his charge, especially that formed by 
George Bancroft, have been made readily available. 
This portion of the work has been facilitated, in a 
marked degree, by the long-continued and helpful 
attention of Mr. Wilberforce Eames and his efficient 
assistants at the Lenox Library, to whom I am 
under an especial obligation. The privilege of using 
the valuable collections of the Adams family at 
Quincy, Massachusetts, has been promptly granted 
by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, and the opportunity 
has been enhanced by his personal interest and guid 
ance. The Earl of Dartmouth has kindly permitted 
copies to be made of several letters in his collections, 
and Mr. John Boyd Thacher has likewise given 
assistance from his private collection. The unique 
printed and manuscript collections of the Massachu 
setts Historical Society, have proved of material 
value in connection with the work. The officers 
of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and of 
the American Philosophical Society, at Philadelphia, 
have generously thrown open their collections, from 
each of which a number of important texts have been 
secured. By the kindness of the officers of the Con 
necticut Historical Society the Roger Wolcott and 
Oliver Wolcott papers, and also the large and un 
usually varied and interesting correspondence of 
Jeremiah Wadsworth, have been examined, although 
in none of them has been found any manuscript by 
Adams. Important texts have been secured from 
the manuscripts of the Boston Public Library, the rare 
newspaper files of which have also been freely used. 



From his collection, now in the same library, the late 
Mellen- Chamberlain contributed a number of texts. 
Certain manuscript and other materials in the Library 
of Harvard University have been examined, and the 
facilities of the Library of Columbia University have 
throughout the work been at my disposal. Assist 
ance has been secured from public records, notably 
in the Archives Bureau of the State of Massachu 
setts. In the office of the City Clerk of Boston 
access has been granted to the town records and 
original town papers relating to the period of the 
Revolution. In the State Library of New York the 
Clinton Papers and a portion of the colonial manu 
scripts have been examined, and at the Department 
of State use has been made especially of the Papers 
of the Continental Congress. For all the privileges 
thus granted, and for assistance in other quarters, 
I am very grateful. I desire also to express my obli 
gation to Professor Frank J. Goodnow, of Columbia 

H. A. C. 
April 26, 1904. 



To the Representatives of Boston, May 24th . 

Instructions of the town Independence of the House 
Trade Instructions to the agent. 


To the Representatives of Boston, September i8th ? 

^ Instructions of the town Stamp act. 

Resolutions of the Town of Boston, September i8th. 

Appointing a committee to thank Conway and Barre. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, October 23d .\ 

Answer of the House of Representatives Stamp act 
Authority of Parliament Rights of subjects Disturbances in 

Resolutions of the House of Representatives, Octo 
ber 29th 

Rights of subjects. 

&Yo G. W., November iith . 

J*^ ition of colonists to the king Chartefc^rjjghts Repre- 
se. ion Stamp act Rights of colonists. ^^ 

To G. W., November I3th . 

Stamp act. 


To John Smith, December 

Relation of colonies to England Stamp act Rights of 
subjects. 4 

John Smith, December 2Oth ^ ,/ ^. 

Stamp act Disturbances in Boston. 









To Dennys De Berdt, December 2Oth W . . 6r 

.Appointment as agent Acts of Parliament Trade and 
fisheries Rights of colonists Representation. 


To the Town of Plymouth, March 24th ... 71 

Reply of the town of Boston. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 3d . . 74 

Address of House of Representatives Repeal of stamp act 
Public sentiment Elections. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 5th . . 83 

Answer of the House of Representatives Election of Coun 

To Dennys De Berdt, October 22d . . . 89 

Address of town of Boston Attitude of colonists Dis 

To Dennys De Berdt, November nth 97 

Compensation for injuries by rioters. 

To Dennys De Berdt, November . . QO 

Thomas Boylston Compensation Elections. 

To Dennys De Berdt, December 2d . IC v 

Compensation Elections. 

To Christopher Gadsden, December uth:4 108 

Introductory Acts of Parliament. 

To Dennys De Berdt, December i6th . x ! r 

Compensation Provision for troops. 

To Dennys De Berdt, March i6th 

Letter of House of Representatives-Rights of th 
tenant-governor-The charter. 

To Jasper Mauduit, March 1 8th 

Letter of House of Representatives-Accounts as agent. 

To Dennys De Berdt, May 9 tk . 

Acts of the representatives. * ^ 2 




To Dennys De Berdt, January I2th .... ("134 , 

Letter of the House of Representatives Acts and powers of 
Parliament Relation of colonists to king Colonial regu 

To the Earl of Shelburne, January I5th . . . 152 

Letter of the House of Representatives Rights of colonists 
Acts of Parliament. 

To the King, January 2Oth 162 

Petition of the House of Representatives The charter 
Acts of Parliament. 

To the Earl of Shelburne, January 220! . . . 166 

Letter of the House of Representatives Shelburne s corre 
spondence with Bernard. 

To the Marquis of Rockingh^m, January 22d . . 169 

Letter of the House of Representatives Administration of 
-, colonies Acts of Parliament. 

To Lord Camden, January 2Qth .... 173 

Letter of the House of Representatives Rights of colonists 
Powers of Parliament. 

To Dennys De Berdt, January 3Oth . . . .177 

Representation Grant for services. 

To the Earl of Chatham, February 2d . . .180 

Letter of the House of Representatives Acts of Parliament. 

To the Speakers of Other Houses of Representatives, 

February nth. . . . . . . . 184. 

Circular letter of the House of Representatives Taxation 
Powers and acts of Parliament Representation. 

To Henry Seymour Conway, February i$th . . 189 

Letter of the House of Representatives Powers of Parlia 
ment Rights of colonists Representation. 

To the Lords of the Treasury, February I7th . . ; 193 

Letter of the House of Representatives Powers and acts of 
Parliament Representation. 

To the Freeholders of Boston, March I4th . . 199 

Petition Arrears of taxes. 



^Article Signed "A Puritan," April 4th 

Liberty and religion. 

Article Signed "A Puritan," April nth . 

The religious situation. 

Article Signed "A Puritan," April iSth . 

The religious situation. 

"jo Dennys De Berdt, April 2Oth 

Enclosing journals. 

To Dennys De Berdt, May I4th 

Relations of representatives and governor Commissioners of 
customs Manufactures. 

To the Earl of Hillsborough, June 3<Dth 

Letter of the House of Representatives Requisition to re 
scind the circular letter Acts of Parliament Relations with 
the Governor Proceedings of the representatives. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 3Oth . 

Answer of the House of Representatives The circular letter 
Power of the governor. 

Article Signed " Determinatus," August 8th 

Public sentiment Disturbances. 

To Dennys De Berdt, September 2;th 

Letter of the convention of towns Public sentiment 
Reasons for discontent Disturbances. 

To Dennys De Berdt, October 3d 

Arrival of troops. 

Article, Unsigned, October loth 

Billeting act. 

Article, Unsigned, October i^th . 

Military and civil power. 

Article Signed " Candidus," Decehiber 5th 

Commissioners of customs. 

Article Signed " Vindex," December 5th . 

Military power Rights of subjects. 

Article Signed "Candidus," December 12th 

Commissioners of customs. 






2 3 6 




icle Signed " Vindex," December I2th . . 264 

Military power. 

icle Signed " Candidus," December i^th . . 268 

Commissioners of customs. 


icle Signed " Vindex," December igth . . 269 

Standing armies Powers of Parliament. 

x:le Signed " Vindex," December 26th . . . 272 

Standing armies Prerogatives of the crown. 

cle Signed " Candidus," December 26th . . 278 

Commissioners of customs. 


cle Signed " T. Z.," January Qth .... ^282") 

Taxation Stamp act. 

cle Signed " Candidus," January i6th . . . 291 

Commissioners of customs. 

cle Signed " Shippen," January 3<Dth . . . 297 

Proceedings in Parliament Disturbances in Boston Stamp 
act Trade. 

cle, Unsigned, February I3th .... 306 

Military power. 

:le Signed " Candidus," February I3th . . 309 

Commissioners of customs. 

:le Signed " E. A.," February 27th . . . 316 

Rights of subjects Military power. 

he Freeholders of Boston, March I3th . . 319 

Petition Arrears of taxes. 

:le Signed "A Layman," March 27th . . . 322 

Reply to Dr. Seabury Defence of Dr. Chauncy. 

saac Barre, April 8th ...... 332 

Letter of the town of Boston Quartering of troops Mis 
representations of Boston Letters of Bernard. 

:le Signed U A Bostonian," April 24th . . . 336 

Genera Gage Conditions in Boston. 



Article Signed "A Tory," May 1st . . . 339 

Baronetcy of Bernard. 

Vote of Town of Boston, May 5th .... 340 

Presence of troops. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June I3th . . 342 

Answer of the House of Representatives Prerogatives of t"he 
king Military power. 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June igth . . 346 

Letter of the House of Representatives Standing army. 
To the King, June 27th ...... 

Petition of the House of Representatives u - the removal of 
Governor Bernard. 

Answer of Governor Bernard to the Petit ,n for his 
Removal .... 

Notes on the Answer of the Governor . . 368 

To the Governor of Massachusetts, July 1 5th . . 371 

Letter of the House of Representatives Provision for troops 
Tax legislation. 

To Dennys De Berdt, July 3ist 37 

Remonstrance to king as to Bernard. 

Article Signed " Populus," August 28th . 37; 

Non-importation agreement Merchants. 

Article Signed "An Impartialist," September 25th 3 8c 

The assault on Otis. 
Article Signed "Alfred," October 2d . . 3 8f 

Stamp act Policy of Parliament Trade. 

"An Appeal to the World," October i6th - . . 39* 
To Dennys De Berdt, November i6th 44 6 

Employment of troops. 





[MS., Boston F jli Library ; a text appears in Boston Record Commission 
ers Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122.] 

The Com tee appointed ye 15 day of May to prepare 
Instructions for the Representatives report the follow 
ing Draft. 

To Royall Tyler James Otis Thomas Gushing & 

Oxenbridge Thacher Esq rs . 

Your being chosen by the Freeholders & Inhabi 
tants of the Town of Boston to represent them in the 
General Assembly the ensuing year, affords you the 
strongest Testimony of that Confidence which they 
place in your Integrity & Capacity. By this Choice 
they have delegated to you the Power of acting 
in their publick Concerns in general as your own 
Prudence shall direct you ; always reserving to 

1 The committee, which was appointed on May 15, 1764, and which reported 
these instructions on May 24, consisted of Richard Dana, Samuel Adams, John 
Ruddock, Nathaniel Bethune and Joseph Green. 

VOL. I. I. 



themselves the constitutional Right of expressing their 
mind & giving you fresh Instruction upon particular 
Matters as they at any time shall judge proper. 

We therefore your Constituents take this oppor 
tunity to declare our just Expectations from you. 

That you will constantly use your Power & Influ 
ence in maintaining the invaluable Rights & Privi 
leges of the Province, of which this Town is so great 
a Part : As well those Rights which are derivd to us 
by the royal Charter, as those which being prior to & 
independent on it, we hold essentially as free born 
Subjects of Great Brittain. 

That you will endeavor as far as you shall be able 
to preserve that Independence in the House of Rep 
resentatives, which characterizes a free People, & the 
want of which may in a great Measure prevent the 
happy Effects of a free Government : Cultivating as 
you shall have Opportunity that Harmony & Union 
there which is ever desirable to good men when 
founded in Principles of Virtue & publick Spirit ; & 
guarding against any undue weight Avhich may tend 
to disadjust that critical Ballance upon which our 
happy Constitution & the Blessings of it do depend. 
And for this Purpose we particularly recommend it 
to you to use your Endeavors to have a Law passed 
whereby the Seats of such Gentlemen as shall accept 
of Posts of Profit from the Crown or the Governor 
while they are Members of the House shall be vacated, 
agreeable to an Act of the Brittish Parliament, till their 
Constituents shall have the Opportunity of re-electing 
them if they please or of returning others in their room. 
Being Members of the Legislative Body, you will 


have a special Regard to the Morals of this People, 
which are the Basis of publick Happiness ; & en 
deavor to have such Laws made if any are still want- " 
ing as shall be best adapted to secure them : and we 
particularly desire you carefully to look into the Laws 
of Excise, that if the Virtue of the People is endan- 
gerd by the Multiplicity of Oaths therein enjoynd or 
their Trade & Business is unreasonably impeded or 
embarrassd thereby, the Grievance may be redressd. 

As the Preservation of Morals as well as Property 
& Right, so much depends upon the impartial Distri 
bution of Justice, agreable to good & wholesom 
Law : and as the Judges of the Land do depend upon 
the free Grants of the General Assembly for Support ; 
It is incumbent upon you at all times to give your 
Voice for their honorable Maintenance so long as 
they, having in their minds an Indifference to all 
other Affairs, shall devote themselves wholly to the 
Duties of their own Department, and the further 
Study of the Law, by which their Customs Prece 
dents Proceedings & Determinations are adjusted & 

8 You will joyn in any Proposals which may be made 
for the better cultivating the Lands & improving the 
Husbandry of the Province : And as you represent a 
Town which lives by its Trade we expect in a very 
particular Manner that you make it the Object of 
your Attention, to support our Commerce in all its 
just Rights, to vindicate it from all unreasonable Im 
positions & promote its Prosperity Our Trade has 
for a long time labord under great Discouragements ; 
& it is with the deepest Concern that we see such 

4 THE WRITINGS OF [i? 6 4 

further Difficultys coming upon it as will reduce it to 
the lowest Ebb, if not totally obstruct & ruin it. We 
cannot help expressing our Surprize, that when so 
early Notice was given by the Agent of the Intentions 
of the Ministry to burthen us with new Taxes, so little 
Regard was had to this most interesting Matter, that 
the Court was not even called together to consult 
about it till the latter end of y e Year; the Conse 
quence of which was, that Instructions could not be 
sent to the Agent, tho sollicited by him, till the Evil 
had got beyond an easy Remedy. There is now no 
Room for further Delay : We therefore expect that 
you will use your earliest Endeavors in the Gen 1 As 
sembly, that such Methods may be taken as will ef 
fectually prevent these Proceedings against us. By a 
proper Representation we apprehend it may easily be 
made to appear that such Severitys will prove detri 
mental to Great Brittain itself ; upon which Account 
we have Reason to hope that an Application, even for 
a Repeal of the Act, should it be already passd, will 
be successfull. It is the Trade of the Colonys, that 
renders them beneficial to the Mother Country : Our 
Trade, as it is now, & always has been conducted, 
centers in Great Brittain, & in Return for her Manu 
factures affords her more ready Cash, beyond any 
Comparison, than can possibly be expected by the 
most sanguine Promoters of these extraordinary 
Methods. We are in short ultimately yielding large 
Supplys to the Revenues of the Mother Country, 
while we are laboring for a very moderate Subsistence 
for ourselves. But if our Trade is to be curtaild in 
its most profitable Branches, & Burdens beyond all 

1764] SAMUEL ADAMS. 5 

possible Bearing, laid upon that which is sufferd to 
remain, we shall be so far from being able to take off 
the manufactures of Great Brittain, that it will be 
scarce possible for us to earn our Bread. But what 
still heightens our apprehensions is, that these unex 
pected Proceedings may be preparatory to new Taxa 
tions upon us : For if our Trade may be taxed why 
not our Lands ? Why not the Produce of our Lands 
& every thing we possess or make use of ? This we 
apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern 
& tax ourselves It strikes at our Brittish Privileges, 
which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in 
common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives 
of Brittain : If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape 
without our having a legal Representation where they 
are laid, are we not reducd from the Character of free 
Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves ? 

We therefore earnestly recommend it to you to use 
your utmost Endeavors, to obtain in the Gen 1 As 
sembly all necessary Instructions & Advice to our 
Agent at this most critical (Juncture) ; that while he 
is setting forth the unshaken Loyalty of this Province 
& this Town its unrivald Exertions in supporting 
His Majestys Governm* & Rights in this part of 
his Dominions its acknowlegd Dependence upon & 
Subordination to Great Brittain, & the ready Sub 
mission of its Merchants to all just & necessary 
Regulations of Trade, he may be able in the most 
humble & pressing Manner to remonstrate for us all 
those Rights & Privileges which justly belong to us 
either by Charter or Birth. 

As His Majestys other Nothern American Colonys 


are embarkd with us in this most important Bottom, 
we further desire you to use your Endeavors, that 
their Weight may be added to that of this Province : 
that by the united Applications of all who are ag- 
grievd, All may happily obtain Redress 

* You will remember that this Province hath been 
at a very great Expence in carrying on the late War ; 
& that it still lies under a very grievous Burden of 
Debt : You will therefore use your utmost Endeavor 
to promote publick Frugality as one Means to lessen 
the publick Debt. And we recommend as worthy 
your particular Attention, whether Any Expence can 
now be necessary to maintain the Garrison Service 
on our Eastern Frontier : considering that we are 
now in a State of profound Peace ; Our french Ene 
mies being totally subdued ; & there being hardly 
any Remains of the Indian Tribes, ever again to 
annoy us 

All which is submited &c. 

By order of y e Corn s 6 

Ri c DANA. 

The Com tec do further report the following Votes. 
Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to permit 
the Small Pox to prevail in this Town, whereby the 
Inhabitants have been great Sufferers, as well by 
the Extraordinary Expence it hath occasiond, as by 
Loss of Business ; therefore voted that the Repre 
sentatives be desired in behalf of the Town Assembly 
to move that the Gen 1 Assembly would afford us such 
Rehefe under our Distress as they in their great 
Goodness shall think proper. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 7 

Whereas it is conceivcl that the Selectmen of the 
Town are not sufficiently impowerd by the Laws al 
ready in being, to take such Steps as may be neces 
sary to prevent the Inhabitants of other Towns from 
bringing & spreading Infectious Distempers among 
us ; therefore voted that the Representatives be de 
sired to use their Endeavors to obtain such addi 
tional Power to be given to the Selectmen as the 
General Assembly in their wisdom shall think proper 
to invest them with 

The above Report having been read several Times, 
and debate had thereon the Question was put, 
Whether the Town will accept of said Draft of In 
structions Passed in the affirmative. 

The above Report having been read the Question 
was put Whether the Town will accept thereof 
Passed in the affirmative. 


[MS., Office of the City Clerk of Boston ; a modified text is given in Boston 
Record Commissioners Report, vol. 16, pp. 155, 156; a text, as supplied by 
William Cooper, Town Clerk, was printed in the Boston Gazette, September 
23, 1765-] 

To the Hon be James Otis Esq r , Tho s dishing Esq r 

& M r Tho s Gray. 

At a Time when the British American Subjects 
are every where loudly complaining of arbitrary & 

The committee, which was appointed on September 12, 1765, and which 
reported these instructions on September 18, consisted of Samuel Wells, 


. unconstitutional Innovations, the Town of Boston 
1 cannot any longer remain silent, without just Impu 
tation of inexcuseable Neglect. - - We therefore the 
Freeholders & other Inhabitants, being legally as 
sembled in Faneuil Hall, to consider what Steps 
are necessary for us to take at this alarming Crisis, 
think it proper to communicate to you our united 
Sentiments, & to give you our Instruction there 

It fills us with very great Concern to find, that 

Measures have been adopted by the British Ministry, 

& Acts of Parliament made, which press hard upon 

our invalueabkJRjghts & Libertys, & tend greatly 

to distress theTrade~oI~tHe" Province by which we 

have heretofore been able to contribute so large a 

Share towards the enriching of the Mother Country. 

/ But we are more particularly alarmd & astonishd 

/at the Act, called the Stamp Act, by which a very 

^ grievous & we apprehend unconstitutional Tax is to 

1 be laid upon the Colony. 

By the Royal Charter granted to our Ancestors, 
the Power of making Laws for our internal Govern 
ment, & ofjevying_ Taxes x js vested in the General 
Assembly : And by the samejCharter the Inhabitants 
of this-rovince areentifled to all the Rights & Privi- 
leges^jiaturat free-born ^Subjects of Great Britain : 
Thermos.! e^enf^TRi^ht^r British Subjects are 
those^of^b^ing -repi^sentedin the same Body which 
exercises the Pow^^of, Jeyying Taxes upon them, & 

Richard Dana John Rowe, Samuel Adams, John Erring, Jr., Joseph Green and 
Ruddock. A portion of the next to the last paragraph of their report, 
es.zed in the manuscript text, seems not to have been adopted. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 9 

of having their Property tryed by Jurys : These are 
the very Pillars of the British Constitution founded 
in the common Rights of Mankind. It is certain 
that_we were in no Sense represented in trie Parlia 
ment of Great Britain when this Act of Taxation was 
made : Arid it is also certain that this Law admitts 
of our Propertys being tryd, in Controversys arising 
from internal Concerns, by Courts of Admiraltry, 
without a Jury. It follows, that at once, it annihi 
lates the most valueable Privileges of our Charter, 
deprives us of the most essential Rights of Britons, 
& greatly weakens the best Security of our Lives 
Libertys & Estates ; which may hereafter be at the 
Disposal of Judges, who may be Strangers to us, & 
perhaps malicious, mercenary, corrupt & oppressive. 

But admiting that we had no Complaints of this 
Nature, we should still have Reason to except against 
the Inequality of these Taxes : It is well known that 
the People of this Province have not only settled this 
Country, but enlargd & defended the British Domin 
ion in America, with a vast Expence of Treasure & 
Blood : They have exerted themselves in the most 
distinguished Services for their King ; by which they 
have often been reducd to the greatest Distress : And 
in the late War more especially, by their surprizing 
Exertions, they have bro t upon themselves, a Debt 
almost insupportable : And we are well assured, that 
if these expensive Services, for which very little if 
any Advantage hath ever accrued to themselves, to 
gether with the necessary Charge of supporting & 
defending his Majestys Government here, had been 
duly estimated, The Moneys designd to be drawn 



from us by this Act, would have appeard greatly 
beyond our Proportion. 

We look upon it as a peciiliar hardship, that when 
the Representative Body of this Province, had pre- 
pard & sent forward, a decent Remonstrance against 
these Proceedings, while they were depending in the 
House of Commons, it faild of Admittance there : 
And this we esteem the more extraordinary, inasmuch 
as, being unrepresented, it was the only Method 
whereby they could make known, their Objections to 
Measures, in the Event of which their Constituents 
were to be so deeply interested. 

Moreover this Act, if carried into Execution, will 
become a further Grievance to us, as it will afford a 
Precedent for the Parliament to tax us, in all future 
Time, & in all such Ways & Measures, as they shall 
judge meet without our consent. 

We therefore think it our indispensible Duty, in 
Justice to our Selves & Posterity, as it is our un 
doubted Privilege, in the most open & unreservd, but 
decent & respectfull Terms, to declare our greatest 
Dissatisfaction with this Law : And we think it in 
cumbent upon you by no means to joyn in any pub- 
lick Measures for countenancing & assisting in the 
Execution of the same; But tor-tree- your best En 
deavors in the General Assembly, to have the inherent, 
unamenable Riglit^-ef the. -People of this Province, 
assented -<% vindicated &: left upon the publick Re 
cords ; that Posterity may never have Reason to 
charge the present Times, with the Guilt of tamely 
giving them away. 

It affords us the greatest Satisfaction to hear, that 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. u 

the Congress proposd by the House of Representa 
tives of this Province, is consented to by the repre 
sentatives of most of the other Colonys on the 
Continent: We have the warmest Expectations 
from the united Councils of that very respectable 
Comittee : And we may with the strictest Propriety, 
injoyn upon M r Otis, a Member of the same, being 
also one of the Representatives of this Town, to con 
tribute the utmost of his Ability, in having the Rights 
of the Colonys stated in the clearest View, & laid 
before the Parliament ; & in preparing a humble 
Petition to the King, our Sovereign & Father, 
under whose gracious Care & Protection, we have 
the strongest Reason to hope, that the Rights 
of the Colonys in general, & the particular Char 
ter rights of this Province, will be confirmed & per 

We further instruct you, to take particular Care, 
that the best Oeconomy may be used, in expending 
the publick money ; and that no unaccustomd Grants 
may be made to those who serve the Government 
(It is particularly our opinion that a very great Ex- 
pence in maintaining Forts & Garrisons at the East 
ern Parts of the Province may well be saved. For 
as the French in Canada are now totally subdued to 
his Majesty the Indians can no longer be tempted to 
take scalps & Captives, for the sake of making Gains 
of them, as they formerly have done in times of 
Peace, & besides they are themselves reducd to so 
small a number as to render it impracticable for them 
ever to molest us). 

And we in general recommend to your Care, that 


the moneys of the Province drawn from the indi 
viduals of the People at a time when almost every 
Avenue of our Trade is obstructed, may not be 
applyd to any other purposes, under any pretence, of 
necessary contingent Charges, but what are evidently 
intended in the Act for supplying the Treasury 
By order of the Comittee 



18, 1765. 

[MS., Mellen Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library ; a text is in 
Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. 16, p. 157.] 

On a motion made & seconded at the above Meet 
ing it was unanimously voted 

That The Hon bl James Otis Esq, Moderator 
The Hon bl Samuel Wells 
Harrison Grey 
Royal Tyler Esq, 
Joshua Henshaw Esq 
John Rowe Esq & 
M r Samuel Adams 

1 be a Committee to draw up & transmit, by the 
first Opportunity, to the Right Honorable General 
Conway, now one of His Majestys principal Secretarys 
of State, and to Coll Isaac Barre, a member of 
Parliament, several adresses humbly expressing the 
sincere Thanks, of this Metropolis of His Majestys 

1 From this point the manuscript is in the handwriting of Adams. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 13 

ancient & loyal Province of the Massachusetts Bay, 
for their noble, generous & truly patriotic Speeches, 
at the last Session of Parliament, in favor of the 
Colonys, their Rights & Privileges : And that correct 
Copys of the same be desired, that they may be re- 
posited, among our most precious Archives. Also 
voted that those Gentlemens Pictures as soon as they 
can be obtaind, be placd in Faneuil Hall, as a stand 
ing monument, to all Posterity, of the Virtue & Justice 
of our Benefactors, & a lasting Proof of our Gratitude. 


23, 1765. 

[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 43-48-3 2 

May it please your Excellency, 

The House of Representatives have entered into a 
due consideration of your speech to both houses at 
the opening of this session ; and should have earlier 
communicated to your Excellency our sentiments 
thereupon, had not the late sudden and unexpected 
adjournment prevented it. 

We must confess, that after your Excellency had 
called us together in pursuance of the unanimous ad 
vice of a very full Council, we were in hopes you 
would have given the assembly time then to have 
considered the critical state of the province, and 

Ascribed by Hutchinson, Bancroft and Wells to Samuel Adams, and by 
Otis to John Adams. 

2 By this running title will be cited " Speeches of the Governors of Massa 
chusetts, from 1765 to 1775, . . . . , Boston, 1818." 


determined what was proper to be done at so difficult 
and dangerous a conjuncture. 

Your Excellency tells us, that the province seems 
to be upon the brink of a precipice ! A sight of its 
danger is then necessary for its preservation. To 
despair of the commonwealth, is a certain presage of 
its fall. Your Excellency may be assured, that the 
representatives of the people are awake to a sense 
of its danger, and their utmost prudence will not be 
wanting to prevent its ruin. 

We indeed could not have thought that a weak 
ness in the executive power of the province had been 
any part of our danger, had not your Excellency 
made such a declaration in your speech. Certainly 
the General Assembly have done every thing incum 
bent on them ; and laws are already in being for the 
support of his Majesty s authority in the province. 
Your Excellency doth not point out to us any defect 
in those laws ; and yet you are pleased to say, that 
the executive authority is much too weak. Surely 
you cannot mean, by calling the whole legislative, in 
aid of the executive authority, that any new and 
extraordinary kind of power should by law be consti 
tuted, to oppose such acts of violence as your Excel 
lency may apprehend from a people ever remarkable 
for their loyalty and good order ; though at present 
uneasy and discontented. If, then, the laws of the 
province for the preservation of his Majesty s peace 
are already sufficient, your Excellency, we are very 
sure, need not to be told, to whose department it 
solely belongs to appoint a suitable number of magis 
trates to put those laws in execution, or remove them 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 15 

in case of failure of their duty herein. And we hope 
this important trust will remain with safety to the 
province, where the constitution has lodged it. 

Your Excellency is pleased to tell us, that declara 
tions have been made and still subsist, that the act 
of Parliament for granting stamp duties in the colo 
nies, shall not be executed within this province. We 
know of no such declarations. If any individuals of 
the people have declared an unwillingness to subject 
themselves to the payment of the stamp duties and 
choose rather to lay aside all business than make use 
of the stamped papers, as we are not accountable 
for such declarations, so neither can we see anything 
criminal in them. This House has no authority to 
control their choice in this matter ; the act does not 
oblige them to make use of the papers ; it only exacts 
the payment of certain duties for such papers as they 
may incline to use. Such declarations may possibly 
have been made, and may still subsist, very consist 
ently with the utmost respect to the King and 

Your Excellency has thought proper to enumerate 
very minutely the inconveniencies that may arise from 
the stamped papers not being distributed among the 
people ; with respect to some of which your love and 
concern for the province leads you to fear more for 
us than we do for ourselves. We cannot think your 
Excellency would willingly aggravate our dangers ; 
we are not in particular so alarmed, as your Excel 
lency seems to be, with the apprehension of the hand 
of violence being let loose. Your Excellency, upon 
recollection, will find that all papers relative to crown 


matters are exempt from stamps. The persons of his 
Majesty s good subjects will still remain secure from 
injury. That spirit which your Excellency tells us 
attacks reputations and pulls down houses, will yet 
be curbed by the law. The estates of the people will 
remain guarded from theft or open violence. There 
will be no danger of force of arms becoming the only 
governing power. Nor shall we realize what your 
Excellency is pleased to call a state of general out 
lawry. This we think necessary to be observed, 
without a particular consideration of all the conse 
quences which your Excellency fears, to prevent, if 
possible, any wrong impressions from fixing in the 
minds of ill disposed persons, or remove them if 
already fixed. 

You are pleased to say, that the stamp act is an act 
of Parliament, and as such ought to be observed. 
This House, sir, has too great a reverence for the su 
preme legislature of the nation, to question its just 
authority : It by no means appertains to us to pre 
sume to adjust the boundaries of the power of Parlia 
ment ; but boundaries there undoubtedly are. We 
hope we may without offence, put your Excellency in 
mind of that most grievous sentence of excommuni 
cation, solemnly denounced by the church, in the 
name of the sacred trinity, in the presence of King 
Henry the Third, and the estates of the realm, against 
all those who should make statutes, or observe them, 
being made contrary to the liberties of the Magna 
Charta. We are ready to think that those zealous 
advocates for the constitution usually compared their 
acts of Parliament with Magna Charta ; and if it ever 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 17 

happened that such acts were made as infringed upon 
the rights of that charter, they were always repealed. 
We have the same confidence in the rectitude of 
the present Parliament ; and therefore cannot but be 
surprized at an intimation in your speech, that they 
will require a submission to an act as a preliminary 
to their granting relief from the unconstitutional bur 
dens of it ; which we apprehend includes a suggestion 
in it far from your Excellency s design, and supposes 
such a wanton exercise of mere arbitrary power, as 
ought never to be surmised of the patrons of liberty 
and justice. 

Furthermore, your Excellency tells us that the 
right of the Parliament to make laws for the American 
colonies remains indisputable in Westminster. With 
out contending this point, we beg leave just to observe 
that the charter of the province invests the General 
Assembly with the power of making laws for its in 
ternal government and taxation; and that this charter 
has never yet been forfeited. The Parliament has a 
right to make all laws within the limits of their own 
constitution ; they claim no more. Your Excellency 
will acknowledge that there are certain original in 
herent rights belonging to the people, which the Par 
liament itself cannot divest them of, consistent with 
their own constitution : among these is the right of 
representation in the same body which exercises the 
power of taxation. There is a necessity that the sub 
jects of America should exercise this power within 
themselves, otherwise they can have no share in that 
most essential right, for they are not represented in 
Parliament, and indeed we think it impracticable.] 

VOL. I. 2. 


Your Excellency s assertion leads us to think that 
you are of a different mind with regard to this very 
material point, and that you suppose we are repre 
sented ; but the sense of the nation itself seems 
always to have been otherwise. The right of the 
colonies to make their own laws and tax themselves 
has been never, that we know of, questioned ; but 
has been constantly recognized by the King and Par 
liament. The very supposition that the Parliament, 
through the supreme power over the subjects of Brit 
ain universally, should yet conceive of a despotic 
power within themselves, would be most disrespect 
ful ; and we leave it to your Excellency s considera 
tion, whether to suppose an indisputable right in any 
government, to tax the subjects without their con 
sent, does not include the idea of such a power. 

May it please your Excellency, 

Our duty to the King, who holds the rights of all 
his subjects sacred as his own prerogative ; and our 
love to our constituents and concern for their dearest 
interests, constrain us to be explicit upon this very 
important occasion. We beg that your Excellency 
would consider the people of this province as having 
the strongest affection for his Majesty, under whose 
happy government they have felt all the blessings of 
liberty : They have a warm sense of honor, freedom 
and independence of the subjects of a patriot King : 
they have a just value for those inestimable rights 
which are derived to all men from nature, and are 
happily interwoven in the British constitution : They 
esteem it sacrilege for them ever to give them up ; 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 19 

and rather than lose them, they would willingly part 
with every thing else. We deeply regret it, that the 
Parliament has seen fit to pass such an act as the 
stamp act : we flatter ourselves that the hardships of 
it will shortly appear to them in such a point of light 
as shall induce them in their wisdom to repeal it : In 
the meantime we must beg your Excellency to excuse 
us from doing any thing to assist in the execution of 
it : Were we, in order to avoid assertions, to resolve 
what we have to say on this head into mere questions, 
we should with all humility ask, whether it would be 
possible for us to add any weight to an act of that 
most august body the Parliament ? whether it would 
not be construed as arrogance and presumption in us 
to attempt it ? whether your Excellency can reason 
ably expect that the House of Representatives should 
be active in bringing a grievous burden upon their 
constituents ? Such a conduct in us would be to 
oppose the sentiments of the people whom we repre 
sent, and the declared instruction of most of them. 
They complain that some of the most essential rights 
of Magna Charta, to which as British subjects they 
have an undoubted claim, are injured by it : that it 
wholly cancels the very conditions upon which our 
ancestors settled this country, and enlarged his Majes 
ty s dominions, with much toil and blood, and at their 
sole expense : that it is totally subversive of the 
happiest frame of subordinate, civil government, ex 
pressed in our charter, which amply secures to the 
Crown our allegiance, to the nation our connection, 
and to ourselves the indefeasible rights of Britons : 
that it tends to destroy that mutual confidence and 


affection, as well as that equality which ought ever to 
subsist among all his Majesty s subjects in his wide 
and extended empire : that it may be made use of as 
a precedent for their fellow subjects in Britain for the 
future, to demand of them what part of their estates 
they shall think proper, and the whole if they please : 
that it invests a single judge of the admiralty, with a 
power to try and determine their property in contro 
versies arising from internal concerns, without a jury, 
contrary to the very expression of Magna Charta ; 
that no freeman shall be amerced, but by the oath of 
good and lawful men of the vicinage : that it even 
puts it in the power of an informer to carry a supposed 
offender more than two thousand miles for trial ; and 
what is the worst of all evils, if his Majesty s American 
subjects are not to be governed, according to the 
known stated rules of the constitution, as those in 
Britain are, it is greatly to be feared that their minds 
may in time become disaffected ; which we cannot 
even entertain the most distant thought of without 
the greatest abhorrence. We are truly sorry that 
your Excellency has never made it a part of your 
business to form any judgment of this act ; especially 
as you have long known what uneasiness the most 
distant prospect of it gave to his Majesty s good sub 
jects in America, and of this province, of which you 
are substituted to be the head and father. Had your 
Excellency thought it proper to have seasonably en 
tered into a disquisition of the policy of it, you would, 
we doubt not, have seen that the people s fears were 
not without good foundation ; and the love and con 
cern which you profess to have for them, as well as 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 21 

your duty to his Majesty, whose faithful subjects they 
are, might have been the most powerful motives to 
your Excellency to have expressed your sentiments 
of it early enough to those whose influence brought 
it into being. 

We cannot help expressing our great uneasiness, 
that after mentioning some violences committed in 
the town of Boston, your Excellency should ask this 
House whether such proceedings are consistent with 
the dutiful, humble and loyal representations which 
we propose should be made. We are sure your Ex 
cellency will not expressly charge us with encourag 
ing the late disturbances ; and yet to our unspeakable 
surprise and astonishment, we cannot but see, that by 
fair implication it may be argued from the manner of 
expression, that an odium was intended to be thrown 
on the province. We inherit from our ancestors the 
highest relish for civil liberty ; but we hope never 
to see the time when it shall be expedient to counte 
nance any methods for its preservation but such as 
are legal and regular. When our sacred rights are 
infringed, we feel the grievance, but we understand 
the nature of our happy constitution too well, and 
entertain too high an opinion of the virtue and justice 
of the supreme legislature, to encourage any means 
of redressing it, but what are justifiable by the consti 
tution) We must therefore consider it as unkind for 
your Excellency to cast such a reflection on a prov 
ince whose unshaken loyalty and indissoluble at 
tachment to his Majesty s most sacred person and 
government was never before called in question, and 
we hope in God, never will again. We should rather 


have thought your Excellency would have expressed 
your satisfaction in presiding over so loyal a people, 
who in that part of the government where the vio 
lences were committed, before there was time for 
them to be supported by the arm of civil power, and 
even while the supreme magistrate was absent, by 
their own motion raised a spirit and diffused it 
through all ranks, successfully to interpose and put 
a stop to such dangerous proceedings. 

Your Excellency is pleased to recommend a com 
pensation to be made to the sufferers by the late 
disturbances. We highly disapprove of the acts of 
violence which have been committed ; yet till we 
are convinced that to comply with what your Excel 
lency recommends, will not tend to encourage such 
outrages in time to come, and till some good reason 
can be assigned why the losses those gentlemen have 
sustained should be made good, rather than any 
damage which other persons, on any other different 
occasions, might happen to suffer, we are persuaded 
we shall not see our way clear to order such a com 
pensation to be made. We are greatly at a loss 
to know who has any right to require this of us, if we 
should differ from your Excellency in point of its be 
ing an act of justice, which concerns the credit of the 
government. We cannot conceive why it should be 
called an act of justice, rather than generosity, unless 
your Excellency supposes a crime committed by a 
few individuals, chargeable upon a whole community. 

We are very sorry that your Excellency should think 
it needful to intimate that any endeavors have been, 
and may be used, to lessen your credit with this 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 23 

House. Your Excellency cannot but be sensible 
that when the popular pulse beats high for privileges, 
it is no unusual thing for a clamor to be raised 
against gentlemen of character and eminence. We 
can assure you that our judgment of men, especially 
those in high stations, is always founded upon our 
experience and observation. While your Excellency 
is pleased to make your duty to our most gracious 
Sovereign, and a tender regard to the interest of his 
subjects of this province, the rule of your administra 
tion, you may rely upon the readiest assistance that 
this house shall be able to afford you. And you will 
have our best wishes that you may have wisdom 
to strike out such a path of conduct, as, while it 
secures to you the smiles of your Royal Master, will 
at the same time conciliate the love of a free and 
loyal people. 


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 75-77.] 

Whereas the just rights of his Majesty s subjects of 
this Province, derived to them from the British Con 
stitution, as well as the royal charter, have been lately 
drawn into question : in order to ascertain the same, 
this House do unanimously come into the following 
resolves : 

i. Resolved, That there are certain essential rights 
of the British Constitution of government, which are 
founded in the law of God and nature, and are the 
common rights of mankind ; therefore, 


/T2. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province 

are unalienably entitled to those essential rights in 

common with all men : and that no law of society 

can, consistent with the law of God and nature, divest 

them of those rights. 

3. Resolved, That no man can justly take the prop- 
^ erty of another without his consent ; and that upon 

this original principle, the right of representation in 
the same body which exercises the power of mak 
ing laws for levying taxes, which is one of the 
main pillars of the British Constitution, is evidently 

4. Resolved, That this inherent right, together with 
all other essential rights, liberties, privileges, and 
immunities of the people of Great Britain, have been 

./ fully confirmed to them by Magna Charta, and by 
former and by later acts of Parliament, 

5. Resolved, That his Majesty s subjects in Amer- 
j^ 1 ica are, in reason and common sense, entitled to the 

same extent of liberty with his Majesty s subjects in 

6. Resolved, That by the declaration of the royal 
charter of this Province, the inhabitants are entitled 
to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and 
natural subjects of Great Britain to all intents, pur 
poses, and constructions whatever. 

7. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province 
appear to be entitled to all the rights aforementioned 
by an act of Parliament, i3th of Geo. II. 

8. Resolved, That those rights do belong to the 
inhabitants of this Province upon the principle of 
common justice ; their ancestors having settled this 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS, 25 

country at their sole expense, and their posterity 
having approved themselves most loyal and faithful 
subjects of Great Britain. 

9. Resolved, That every individual in the Colonies 
is as advantageous to Great Britain as if he were in 
Great Britain and held to pay his full proportion of 
taxes there ; and as the inhabitants of this Province 
pay their full proportion of taxes for the support of 
his Majesty s government here, it is unreasonable for 
them to be called upon to pay any part of the charges 
of the government there. 

10. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province 
are not, and never have been, represented in the 
Parliament of Great Britain ; and that such a repre 
sentation there as the subjects in Britain do actually 
and rightfully enjoy is impracticable for the subjects 
in America ; and further, that in the opinion of this 
House, the several subordinate powers of legislation 
in America were constituted upon the apprehensions 
of this impracticability. 

11. Resolved, That the only method whereby the 
constitutional rights of the subjects of this Province 
can be secure, consistent with a subordination to the 
supreme power of Great Britain, is by the continued 
exercise of such powers of government as are granted 
in the royal charter, and a firm adherence to the 
privileges of the same. 

12. Resolved, as a just conclusion from some of 
the foregoing resolves, That all acts made by any 
power whatever, other than the General Assembly of 
this Province, imposing taxes on the inhabitants, are 
infringements of our inherent and unalienable rights 


as men and British subjects, and render void the most 
valuable declarations of our charter. 

13. Resolved, That the extension of the powers of 
the Court of Admiralty within this Province is a most 
violent infraction of the right of trials by juries, a 
right which this House, upon the principles of their 
British ancestors, hold most dear and sacred ; it being 
the only security of the lives, liberties, and properties 
of his Majesty s subjects here. 

14. Resolved, That this House owe the strictest 
allegiance to his most sacred Majesty King George 
the Third ; that they have the greatest veneration for 
the Parliament ; and that they will, after the example 
of all their predecessors from the settlement of this 
country, exert themselves to their utmost in support 
ing his Majesty s authority in the Province, in pro 
moting the true happiness of his subjects, and in 
enlarging the extent of his dominion. 

Ordered, That all the foregoing resolves be kept in 
the records of this House, that a just sense of liberty 
and the firm sentiments of loyalty be transmitted to 


[MS., Collections of the Earl of Dartmouth.] 

BOSTON NoV n 1765 


Our good Friend M r Jonathan Mason has com 
municated to us a Letter which he receivd from 
you, wherein you very kindly express yo r Regard, 
for the People of New England, & your Desires to 
serve our civil as well as religious Interests 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 27 

We^needjLQt ..inform y,o.u ..that we are the Descend-"^ 
ents of Ancestors remarkeable for their Zeal for true 
Religion & Liberty : When they found it was no 
longer possible for them to bear any Part in the Sup 
port of this glorious Cause in their Native Country 
England, they transplanted themselves at their own 
very great Expence, into the Wilds of America, tillj 
that Time inhabited only by Savage Beasts & Men : 
Here they resolvd to set up the Worship of God, 
according to their best Judgment, upon the Plan of 
the new Testament ; to maintain it among themselves, 
and transmit it to their Posterity ; & to spread the 
knowledge of Jesus Christ among the ignorant & 
barbarous Natives. As they were prosperd, in their 
Settlement by Him, whose is the Earth & the Full 
ness thereof, beyond all human Expectation, they 
soon became a considerable Object of National At 
tention, & a Charter was granted them by King 
Charles the first. In this Charter, as Bp. Burnet has 
observd, there was a greater Sacredness, than in 
those of the Corporations in England : because Those 
were only Acts of Grace, whereas This was a Con 
tract, between the King & the first Patentees ; They 
promisd the King to enlarge his Dominion, on their 
own Charge, provided that They & their Posterity 
might enjoy such & such Privileges. He adds, that 
They have performd their Part, & for the King to 
deprive their Posterity of the Privileges, therein 
granted, would carry the Face of Injustice in it. 
/Thus we se.eL.that Whatever Governm in general 
( may IxTfounded in, Ours was manifestly founded in 
\ Compact. Of this Charter we were however deprivd, 


in an evil Reign, under Color of Law, but we obtaind 
Another, in Lieu of it, after the Revolution, tho com- 
pard with the former, it is but as the Shadow of the 
Substance, & we enjoy it at this day. 

We may venture to say, that His Majesty has no 
Subjects, more loyall, than those of New England : 
They have always been ready to own the Subordina 
tion of their Governm* to the supreme Legislature 
of Great Britain ; This Subordination is expressd in 
the Charter, which perhaps might be strictly consid- 
erd, as the only Medium of their political Connection 
with the Mother State : For, As their Ancestors emi 
grated at their own Expence, & not the Nations ; As 
it was their own & not a National Act ; so they came 
to & settled a Country which the Nation had no Sort 
of Right in : Hence there might have been a Claim of 
> Independency, which no People on Earth, could have 
I any just Authority or Pretence to have molested. 
But their strong & natural Attachment to their Native 
Country inclind them to have their political Relation 
with her continued ; They were recognizd by her, & 
they & their Posterity, are expressly declard in their 
Charter to be entitled, to all the Libertys & Immu- 
nitys of free & natural Subjects of Great Britain, to 
all Intents Purposes & Constructions whatever : So 
that this Charter is to be lookd upon, to be as sacred 
to them as Magna Charta is to the People of Britain ; 
as it contains a Declaration of all their Rights founded 
in natural Justice. 

By this Charter, we have an exclusive Right to 




make Laws for our own internal Government & Tax 
ation : \And indeed if the Inhabitants here are British 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 29 

Subjects, (& they never can brook to be thought N 
any thing less) it seems necessary that they should / 
exercise this Power within themselves ; for they / 
are not represented in the British Parliam & their 
great Distance renders it impracticable: It is very 
probable that all the subordinate legislative Powers in 
America, were constituted upon the Apprehension of 
this Impracticability : To deprive them then of this 
Power, which would be effectually done, if the Parlia 
ment should make Laws internally to govern & tax 
them, w d appear to be unjust in Another View, as it 
would claim the Obedience from them, & at the same 
time disfranchize them of a most essential Right of 
British Subjects, namely that of_.a RepresentationD 
But to obviate all Apprehensions of our Indepen 
dency, which some Party Writers in England have 
attempted to raise, let it be considerd, What Checks v 
our Power of Legislation is subject to. Our Laws 
must first pass his Majestys Council, who tho elected ) < 
by the People may be negativd by the Chair ; next * 
they must have the Assent of the Governor, before ^ 
they can be in force ; & finally they are to be laid X 5 ^ 
before His Majesty, who in any time during three^ 
years may disannul them at his Royal Will & Pleas- 
ure ; by which means Any thing repugnant to the 
Laws or the Interest of Great Britain will easily be 
prevented. Surely the People in Britain have no 
Reason to envy their fellow Subjects in America these 
restricted Powers of Government. 

And yet, to the Astonishment of the most thought- 
full & judicious among the Colonists, an Act of 
Parliament has lately been made, which in Effect 


vacates their Charters, annihilates their harmless Pow 
ers of Legislation, & leaves them not upon the Footing 
of Subjects. We now have reference to the Stamp 
Act, which has already involvd the Colonys in Con 
fusion & Distress. This Act -is lookd upon as an 
Infringrnent of the rights of Magna Charta, to which 
the Colonists as free Subjects have an undoubted 
Claim. XThere is nothing more certain than that 
every English Subject, has a Right to be represented 
in the same Body which exercises the Power of levy 
ing Taxes^ Now this Act lays an internal Tax upon 
many Thousand Freeholders, who are not & cannot 
be represented in Parliament. It has been alledgd 
by some Writers in England,, as they 
are pleasd to call it, \l^rlually represented ) a Term 
which almost always when it is used, needs Explana 
tion They tell us, that Manchester, Birmingham 
&c, send no Representatives & yet are taxed : But 
Have not those Towns, a Right by the Constitution 
to send Representatives ? Or, if they have wavd 
this Right, Are they not still represented in the 
Shires or Countys to which they belong ? Are not 
their internal Circumstances similar to those of many 
Towns which are represented ? Are they not within 
the Kingdom, & may not their internal Circum 
stances be easily ascertaind to the Parliam* if they 
should be mistaken ? But Americans are at a Thou 
sand Leagues Distance, seperated from Great Britain 
by the wide Atlantic ; & their proportionate Ability 
with the Nation, which must be taken, from an exact 
knowledge of their internal Circumstances, ever vary 
ing in infant Countrys, can no more be judgd of by 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 31 

any Member of Parliam than if they livd in the Moon 
Besides it is the Glory of the Subjects of a British 
King, that they grant him their utmost Aid, of their 
own free Accord : The Colonys have always thus 
contributed to the Extent & some of them even 
beyond their Abilitys, but if we are to be calld upon 
by our Fellow Subjects in Britain, who cannot be 
adequate Judges of our Ability, where is either our 
Honor or Safety, as Subjects ! 

This Act will be very grievous in its Effect, as it 
will very soon carry off the whole Quantity of Specie in 
the Continent : Money is the very Support of Trade ; 
& if the Trade of the Colonys is beneficial to Great JL 
Britain, She must herself very soon feel the ill Effects 
of a Measure, w ch will consume the very Vitals of that 
Trade. Great Britain, can make her Colonys usefull 
to her, by no more effectual Means than by encour 
aging their Trade : Our Dependence is altogether 
upon her Manufactorers, for many of the necessary 
Articles of Life ; & it is Trade only that can furnish 
us with the Means of purchasing them : It is cer 
tainly then more for the Interest of Great Britain to 
encourage the Trade of the Colonys, by which means 
their Riches flow spontaneously into her Lap, than 
to exact Revenues from them at the Expence of 
their Trade./ Upon this Account we cannot help 
mentioning Another Act of Parliamf, which appears 
to us greatly detrimental both to Britain & her Colo- 
nys : The Duty laid by that Act of 3 d p Gall n on 
Molasses is insupportable : The trade to the West 
Indies cannot be carried on with any Profit ; & if 
that should be stopd, one Third Part at least of the 


Fish that is catchd, being fit for no other Market, 
will be good for nothing ; & this Loss upon the Fish 
ing will totally ruin it ; The Effects of which must be, 
that Remittances to Spain Portugal & other Parts 
of Europe thro which Money circulates into Eng 
land, for the Purchase of her Goods of all kinds, 
must cease ; and imagine, Sir, What a Prejudice this 
must be to Great Britain, to prevent so many Thou 
sand from dayly consuming her Manufactures for the 
future. Injshprt the Connection of the Colony s with 
the JVI other Country, their Affection for her, & even 
their Dependence upon her is kept up in a very great 
Measure T)y their Trade with her ; TheParent then 
in this one Instance should be carefull not to teach 
the Children to live without her. 

But consider Sir that Taxes & Duties are laid in 
England upon the Goods that are imported here ; 
Consequently the Consumers here pay a proportiona 
ble Part towards the defreying the Charges of the 
Governm there : And can it be thought equitable 
further to tax us, especially when it is considerd 
what heavy Taxes we are obligd to pay for the Sup 
port of his Majestys Governm here ; for which a 
Debt lys upon this Province, which it will take many 
years to discharge. None of his Majestys Subjects 
have shown a greater readiness to assist, in support 
ing his just Rights & enlarging his Dominion, than 
those of New England : Several Expeditions against 
Canada in former Wars will evidence this : The 
taking Anapolis Royall, & frequently saving it from 
the hand of the Enemy : The successfull Attempt 
against Louisburgh in 1745 which happily procurd a 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 33 

Peace with France : The Removal of the Neutral 
French from Nova Scotia, which was an absolutely 
necessary Step towards the final Reduction of all 
Canada, & which was done by this Province alone, & 
many other signal Services, which have exhausted 
our Treasure & Blood ; for some of which we were 
promisd in the reign of the late Queen Ann, signal 
Marks of Favor ; but have receivd no Compensa 
tions at all till within twenty years past & that not a 
Third part of our actual Expence. Is it not grievous 
then that instead of favors, we should after all that 
we have done, be exposed to the Loss of our Estates 
our Trade, Honor & Liberty ! 

Your kind Disposition towards this suffering Coun 
try will engage us to write you further upon these 
Subjects by the next Opp ty in the mean time, our 
hearty Prayer is that you may be succeeded in all 
your Endeavors to promote the spiritual kingdom of 
Jesus Christ & we remain with all Sincerity 
Your Friends 

& hum 1 serv ts 


P. S. There has lately been a Congress of Cornit- 
tees from the several Houses of Representatives & 
Burgesses on this Continent to prepare an humble 
dutifull & loyall Representation to the King & 
Parliament, which they have done in three several 

The Congress recommended to the several Houses 
of representatives to appoint Each a special Agent 

VOL. I. 3. 


to present these Petitions &c : the representatives of 
this Province have made Choice of Dennis Deberdt 
Esq r of London his good Character & Abilities being 
well known here What more particularly recom 
mended this Gentleman to some leading Members 
was, that he was thought to have the Favor of the 
Earl of Dartmouth, a nobleman of the highest Re 
pute in the Opinion of many Men of Sense & 
Worth It would add very great Weight to the 
Cause of the distressd American Subjects if their 
Circumstances could be fully known to a nobleman 
of his Lordships great Integrity & Understanding 

Ut supra 



TO G w. 

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

BOSTON Nov r 13 1765 


At the request of M r J. M. I have joynd with 
T. C. Esq r in a Letter to you which goes by this 
Conveyance. I have long been convincd of your 
Good Will to Mankind & your particular Regards 
for New Eng d . The free Access which I am informd 
you have with some eminent Personages, may put it 
in your Power to do us Offices of singular kindness. 
New Eng d has had the Misfortune of having many 
Enemys, but He that planted the Vine, seems 
hitherto to have had a watchfull Eye over it. It 
must be confessd we are greatly degenerated, may 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 35 

the Head of the Chh hasten the happy Time of 

The Nation has no doubt before now rec d alarming 
accounts from America. Nothing could have given 
greater Disgust than the Stamp Act. The People are 
in Consternation from one end of the Continent to the 
Other. Whatever the favorers of the Act on your 
side the Water may apprehend, it is certainly es- 
teemd a Grievance in the Opinion of many Thou 
sands of as loyal & quiet Subjects as any under the_j 
Kings Government. Among the many Speculations 
which have been publishd in America upon this 
Subject the impartial reader must discover the 
warmest Sentiments of Duty & Affection to His 
Majesty & his illustrious House. I wish some Gen- 
ious of the Earl of D-rtm th s Goodness & penetra 
tion might find Leisure particularly to attend to this 
Matter, in which I think Great Britain herself as well 
as her Colony, is deeply interested. We stand in 
great Need of some such Advocate in Eng d , as the 
Gov r of this Province has declard, in a Message de- 
liverd to the house of representatives the last Week 
that he has no Pretence to interpose in this business ; 
& that he does not think any Gov r on the Conti 
nent has presumd to express his Sentiments against 
the Act : Which case may be easily supposd, for it is 
not likely that any Gent n in commission, w d chuse to 
express his sentiments against what is said to be a 
favorite Point with a Minister. It is however amus 
ing that those who are substituted by his Majesty to 
be the Patrons of his Subjects in the several Colonys 
should think themselves to be under this Restraint. 


The Ministry & the Parliam 1 no doubt had the 
good of the Colonys as well as the Nation in View ; 
with respect to the Colonys, they are at so great a 
Distance, & having none in England to represent 
them, it cannot be wonderd at if their interest 
should be sometimes mistaken. The Opinion of a 
Gov r will no doubt be of great Weight & candidly 
receivd : if they are silent, the Applications of the 
People will be apt to be thought of little Importance. 
But should these Gent" with a Design to please their 
Superiors express their Minds in favor of any Meas 
ure, the Peoples Uneasiness might then be imputed 
to a discontented or even a factious humour. And 
considering the Imperfection of human Nature, 
This Inclination to flatter a Superior is at least a 
possible Supposition. His Excellency intimates that 
it w d be taking too great a Liberty for him to obtrude 
his Advice to His Majestys Ministers unaskd : But 
with due Submission I cannot easily believe that for 
a Gent n whom his Majesty has honord with the 
Governm 1 over a Province to deliver his Senti 
ments even ag* a Measure which he might think to be 
prejudicial to the People of such a Province w d be 
deemd an Obtrusion. I ask pardon for mentioning 
these things. I honor the Kings Gov r for his royal 
Masters Sake my only View is to hint to you what 
great Disadvantages the American Subjects are un 
der, at so great a Distance from the fountain of Na 
tional Justice, & how much need they stand in of 
friends at Court, when their own Guardians, & those 
who can serve them are silent upon maxims of pru 
dence, thro fear of giving Offence. As I have taken 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 37 

the Liberty to say thus much I feel obligd to in 
close the Papers which contain what passd between 
y e Gov r & y e House of Representatives during the 
last Session of the Gen 1 Court & remain & c . 

S. A. 

In looking over one of the latest London News 
Papers, I find the following Article viz " The Dis 
putes continually arising in y e American Colonys, 
joyned to the Struggles they make for Independence, 
it is thought will induce the British Legislature, to 
new modle their System of governmt & to allow 
them representatives in y e great Council of the Na 
tion." Whether the Writer of this Piece of Intelli 
gence meant only to amuse the Nation I am not able 
to say. he has endeavord to establish two facts, 
one of w ch at least is without any foundation. That 
there are frequently Disputes between adjoyning 
Colonys, about their dividing Line, is true ; but we 
hope they may be settled, as they have always here 
tofore been, without the Necessity of altering their 
System of GovernnV. A very celebrated Writer, the 
Author of the Spirit of Laws, has defined political 
Liberty to be " a Tranquility of Mind arising from 
the Opinion which each Man has of his own Safety." 
Now if a Number of Colonys are to have their Sys 
tem of GovernnV new modeld at Discretion, or even 
to be threatend with it, because such Disputes, as 
subsist wherever Society is, takes place among them, 
there can never be among them any opinion of their 
Safety, from which sh d arise a tranquility of Mind, 
and consequently there can be no Liberty, according 


to the Definition of the beforementiond learned 

This News Writer shoots his Bow at a Venture : 
Where did he learn that y e Colonys were strugling 
for Independence? The Contrary is most certainly 
true : You, Sir, can be a Witness to the Loyalty of 
y e Colonys & their Affection for the Mother Country : 
There is at present no appearance of such disposition 
as this Writer w d insinuate, much less a Struggle for 
Independence ; & I dare say there never will be un 
less Great Britain, shall exert her power to destroy 
their Libertys. This we hope will never be done. 
He tells us "that we are to be allowd representatives 
in the great Council of y e Nation " w ch implys that we 
have no representatives there at present. This is a 
main Argument against a constitutional right of Par- 
liam t to tax us. It is built upon one of the main 
pillars of the British Constitution, the right of repre 
sentation. If the Subject has a constitutional right, 
to be represented in y e body that taxes him, it is but 
altering the Expression of the same Sentiment, to 
say there can be no constitutional right to tax the 
Subject in a body where he is not represented. When 
the Question is asked, Will any one deny that y e Par- 
Ham 1 hath a right to tax the Colonys, it needs only to 
ask again, Are the Colonys represented in Parliam* ? 
The Writers against the Colonys, when they have 
been thus pressed, have been obligd to adopt the 
WordQStrtuaM; but we must first understand what 
they mea!T~by being virtually represented, before we 
can give their Doctrine a serious Consideration. 
There is one thing however w ch perhaps may need 



Explanation. The Colonists depend upon it. As 
their Argument against being taxd by the Parliam 1 , 
because they are not represented, must be allowd to 
be good, to be consistent with the British Constitu 
tion ; yet they are far from desiring a representation, 
for this reason only, because they judge it impracti 
cable for them to be equally & fully represented in 
Parliam 1 . Many things m be said to justify such an 
opinion, w ch perhaps may occasion my troubling you 
with another Letter ; in__mean time allow me just 
to add^that the only way to preserve to y e Colonists 
their rights, asJBritish. ^Subjects, consistent with their 
acknowledgd. Subordination to y e supreme Legisla 
ture of Great Britain, as it appears to me, is to con 
tinue to them the same powers of Governm*, which 
they have hitherto been used to, with y e same Checks 
& no other: This is all they desire: Under their 
several Constitutions of subordinate civil Governm 1 , 
they have from the beginning of their Settlem ts , ap- 
provd themselves faithfull & loyal Subjects, ever ready 
to afford their Mother Country all that Assistance 
w ch can reasonably be expected from them, & there is 
no reason to doubt but under the same Constitution 
they ever will Yours & c 

S. A. 

[MS., Collections of the Earl of Dartmouth.] 

BOSTON Dec 19, 1765 


I should have taken the Liberty of writing to you 
by Vessells which have already saild, had I known 


your Intention to spend the Winter in England Your 
Acquaintance with this Country its civil Constitu 
tion its religious Establishm 1 the Temper, Educa 
tion, Manners & Customs of the People their 
Attachment to & Connection with the Mother 
Country their Trade & the Advantages of it to 
Great Britain, and their ardent Love of civil & 
religious Liberty, makes you an Able Advocate on 
her Behalf ; at a Time when her Friends have every 
Thing to fear for her. 

Perhaps there never was a Time when she stood 
in greater Need of Friends in England, & had less 
Reason to expect them : Not because she has for 
feited them but from the Nature of the unhappy 
Controversy, which has of late arisen between Great 
Britain & her Colonys, while the Prosperity of both 
depends on mutual Affection & Harmony The Na 
tion it seems groaning under the Pressure of a very 
heavy Debt, has thought it reasonable & just that 
the Colonys should bear a Part ; and over & above 
the Tribute which they have been continually pour 
ing- mto her Lap, in the Course of their Trade, she 
now demands an internal Tax - The Colonists com 
plain that this is both burdensom & unconstitutional. 
They alledge, that while the Nation has been con 
tracting this Debt, solely for her own Interest, detachd 
from theirs, they have [been] subduing & settling an 
uncultivated Wilderness, & thereby increasing her 
Power & Wealth at their own Expence, which is em 
inently true with Regard to New England This must 
certainly be esteemd of very great Weight in Point 
of Equity ; for it has always been usual for Mother 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 41 

States, to put themselves to great Expence in settling 
their Colonys, expecting to reap the Advantage of it 
in the Extent of Trade & Empire. But Britain reaps 
all this Advantage without any Expence of her own 
& solely at theirs But_Jt is said that this Tax is 
to discharge the Colonys proportion of Expence in 
carrying on the War in America, which was for their *1 
^pfcn^e Tojjiis it is said, that it does by no Means ~" 
appear, that the War in America was carried on solely 
for the Defence of the Colonys had the Nation been 
only on the defensive here, a much less Expence 
would have been sufficient ; [there was evidently a 
View of making Conquests, & by means thereof es 
tablishing an advantageous Peace for the Nation, or 
perhaps advancing her Dominion & GloryV But 
admiting, that the whole Expence was necessary 
barely for the Defence of the Colonys, they say, they 
have already born their full share in the Aids they 
afforded for the common Cause, & even much beyond 
their Ability which the Parliam seem to have been 
sensible of, when they made us Reimbursments from 
year to year, to relieve us from the Burden under 
which we must otherwise have sunk. gut is there no 
Credit to be given to the New England Colonys who 
not only purchasd these Territory S 

settled them, but have also defended & maintaind 
them for more than a Century past, against the En 
croachments or rather Incursions of those warlike 
Savages, with a Bravery & Fortitude scarcely to be 
equald, & lyithnnt a Farthings Expenr.e to the Na 
tion ? besides which they have always readily joynd 
their Forces, when any Attempts have been made by 


the Government at home, in former Wars, against 
His Majestys Enemys in this Part of the World - 
Often have they unexpected by the Nation, put them 
selves to the Charge, of strengthning the Kings Gar 
risons at a Distance from them, when they would 
otherwise have been unavoidably attackd & lost- 
Anapolis Royall will afford diverse Instances of this 
in the Course of one War The memorable & suc- 
cessfull Expedition against Louisburgh in 1745 was 
undertaken & compleated, at their Expence alone, for 
w ch they were indeed in part recompensd, when the 
Nation was under the Necessity of restoring it as an 
Equivalent to purchase the Peace of Europe. You 
will easily recollect from your knowlege of our His 
tory, Instances of signal & expensive Service done 
by New England for their Mother Country which 

./may serve to convince any candid Person, that we 
{ have born much more than our Proportion of the 

\ national Burden. 

But there are other things which perhaps were 
not considerd when the Nation determind this to be 
but a proportionate Tax upon the Colonys : you are 
sensible Sir, that her Policy has been to oblige the 
Colonys to carry the chief of their Produce there & 
to take off her Manufactures in Return ; & as they 
must conform to her Price both in buying & selling, 
one would think the Advantage she reaps by their 
Trade sufficient. This is at least an indirect Tax- 
But the Nation constantly regulates their Trade, & 
lays it under what Restrictions she pleases The 
Dutys upon the Goods imported from her & con- 
sumd here, together with those which are laid upon 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 43 

almost every Branch of our Trade all which center in 
dry Cash in her Coffers, amount to a very great sum. 
The moneys drawn from us in the way of actual direct 
Tax, by means of these Regulations, it is thought 
will very soon put an End in a great measure to 
Trade, which is the means whereby we are enabled to 
pay them Of this you are as able to judge as any 
Gentleman, & if it be the Case, it certainly requires 
the prudent & impartial Consideration of Great Brit 
ain for all the Advantages she can expect to reap 
from her Colonys, must arise from Commerce, by 
which they have it in their Power to purchase her 
Manufactures Their whole Profits, saving a very 
moderate Subsistence for themselves flow in upon 
her, thro various Channells, besides the Dutys before- 
mentiond. The Stamp Duty, if the Act should be 
enforced, will probably in two or three Years, take 
off the whole of their remaining Cash, and leave them 
none to carry on any Trade at a]l T__wish that Trade 
Policy, as an ingenious Gentleman has expressd. 
was_bgtter understood &; pyprrisr^ by the Mother 
Country with Regard to the Colonys : By Restric 
tions & Dutys she has even now enHancrp.rd the I^oss 
of their Usefulness to her, whereas, by relinquishing 
these^ Dutys, & giving them Indulp-encvs. they might 
even make the the frencb Colony*; in America tribu 
tary to her in the way of Trade, & repay her an 
hirnclred fold, 

If this Tax is demanded of the Colonists as their 
Proportion of the Expence of defending them in the 
late War, it is a Question whether any Regard was 
had to the Sums, they have already advancd for that 


Purpose. This certainly must in Equity have been 
considerd ; from whence else could the Proportion 
be found ? It is probable the Gentlemen in England 
are not sensible of the Burdens on the People here 
on that Account Some Persons here have had yearly 
Demands of two, three & four hundred Pounds ster 
ling & others in proportion in dry Cash, besides sump 
tuary Taxes to support this Cause, & our provincial 
Debt, as is the Case of other Colonys, still lys 
heavy upon us, & is almost insupportable Besides, 
in Infant Countrys, Numbers are to be reckned their 
Riches, and you well know, Sir, what great Numbers 
have been taken off from their Labors & Usefulness 
to the Colonys, as well to recruit the Kings regular 
Troops as to furnish their own Quota In one year 
this Province alone sent out not less than seven 
Thousand Men, all of whom were usefull to the 
Mother Country exclusive of their being Soldiers, as 
they consumd her Manufactures in the Service, while 
in every other Respect but their being Soldiers, tho 
as good as any in the Kings Service, they were more 
than lost to the Province that immediately employd 

But there is another Consideration which. makes 
the^Stamp Act obnoxious to the People here. & that 
annihilates as they apprehend their 

essential Rights ?^ F.ngrlfcVfmen. The first Settlers of 
New England were cruelly persecuted in their Native 
Country at a Time, when the Nation was infatuated 
with Bigotry, & in Consequence the publick Religion 
reducd to mere Form & Ceremony This indued 
them to cross an untryd Ocean & take Shelter in this 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS, 45 

dreary Wilderness Immediately after their Arrival 
here they solemnly recognizd their Allegiance to their 
Sovereign in England, & the Crown graciously ac- 
knowledg d them granted them Charter Privileges, 
& declared them & their Heirs for ever entitled to all 
the Libertys & Immunitys of free & natural born 
Subjects of the Realm The other Colonys are by 
Charter or other Royal Institution thus acknowlegd 
Indeed as they were good Subjects in England, & 
were not prohibited leaving the Kingdom their Re 
moval could not disfranchise them, tho they were 
once told by an haughty Bashaw, you well rem~ber 
who I mean, that they could not expect their Libertys 
would follow them to the Ends of the Earth 

them all the Riht 

Laws of the Mother State-^Thf* Rritigh C nng titntion 
makes no Distinction between ^porl Snhjppfs in P^int 
oLLiberty To talk of British Subjects free, & of 
other British Subjects not so free is absurd, they are 
all alike free The British Constitution is founded in 
the_JPrinciples of Nature and Reason it admits of 
no moj:e Power over the Subject than is necessary 
fonthe Support of Governing which was originally de- 
signd for the Preservation o 

oj Nature Tt^_enga.ges to all Men th p f"H F.njny- 
ment of these Rights, who take Refuge in her 
osome_ Foreigners who have resided a certain 
Time in the Colonys & behaved well & taken the 
Oaths of Allegiance are not only receivd into the 
Arms of her Protection, but by Act of Parliairt are 
also declard to be as free as natural born Subjects ; in 
which Act it is to be observd ; that the Colonists 


as such, & even conggexd Erop1e__after 
swearing Allegiance are also entitled to the__same 
Honor Happiness & Freedom. 

The Question then isjwhat the Rights of free 
Subjects of Britain are jj Without entering into a 
nice Disquisition of the full Extent of these Rights, 
which would require much greater Ability than I 
have, it is sufficient for the present purpose to say, 
that tif rnain Pillars of the British Constitution are 

theJRight of Representation & of Trval by Jurys r 
both of which thgjColonists lose by this Act :_ Their 
Property may be tryd at the Option of Informers the 
most detestable set of Men, in a Court of Admiralty, 
where there is no Jury, & which Courts to say no 
more of them, have been very little reverencd by 
his Majestys good Subjects in America Great Pains 
have been taken by Party Writers in England, who 
in all their Speculations that I have seen discover 
that they know very little about the Colonys, & if 
possible care less than they know I say they have 
taken great Pains to have it understood that we are 
represented in Parliam 1 , but I trust to little Pur 
pose No man of common Sense can easily be made 
to beleive that the Colonys, all together have one 
Representative in the House of Commons, upon 
their own free Election. I am sure this Province 
never returnd a single Member The Arts of Par,- 
Ijam* and the Constitution considers every Individual 
ig the R^fllm as present in that high Court_bv his 
Representative upon his own free Election (see I st 
James the I st ) This is his indisputable Privilege It 
is founded in the eternal Law of Equity It is an 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 47 

original Right of Nature-ANo man jn the State of 
Nflf-nre ran piQfly take Anothers Property without 
his Consent (Thg^Rights of Nature are happily in 
terwoven in the British Constitution It is its Glory 
that it is copyd from Nature It is an essential Part 
of it. that the supreme Power cannot take from anv^ 
man any Part of his Property without his Consentrr-y 
& so jealous is the Nation of Property that since the 
revolution the Power of naming Commissioners for 
the Land Tax is exercisd only by the House of 
Commons yearly (see D r Ellis on spiritual & tem 
poral Liberty). Tf th^r Colonists are free Subjects of 
Britain, whjr r |i no one rlenys r it should seem that the 
Parliament cannot tax them consistent with t^e Con 
stitution, because they are not represented & indeed 
ii^ does not appear to me practicable for them to he 
represented there- As they have ever approvd them 
selves, not only loyal to the Crown but ready on all 
Occasions to afford it their utmost Aid, it seems 
strange that the Wisdom of the Parliam should alter 
the Method of obtaining it They have always here 
tofore granted their Aid to His Majesty upon a Re 
quisition made by Him, with the Consent of their 
Representatives, which is strictly constitutional In 
this way it was their own Free Gift This they es 
teem an Honor which belongs to them as free Sub 
jects, nor is there any Reason to believe they would 
ever have forfeited His Majestys Favor in this Re 
gard This new way tends toj disaffect them to the 
Mother Country, to which you know New England 
especially has always been firmly attachd Like their 
British Ancestors, and I would fain hope their Fellow 


Subjects in Eng d , they are jealous of their Liberty, & 
can never think themselves happy unless thevjire 
free British Subjects-^They are of Opinion that the 
only way to preserve their Rights as such, is tojiaye 
their subordinate Powers of Government rontirmpH 
to them in their full Extent, which cannot he done if 
they are taxed_by: P^rconc who ^n not & cannot 
represent thejr]^, 

I am Sir with all due respect, Your most hum e 
Serv 1 




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


I should have taken the Liberty of writing to 
you by Vessels which have already Sailed, had I 
known it was your Intention to spend the Winter 
in England. Your Acquaintance with this Country, 
its civil Constitution, its religious Establishment, the 
Temper Education, Manners & Customs of the Peo 
ple, their Attachment to as well as Connections 
with the Mother Country, their Trade & the Ad 
vantages of it to Great Britain, their ardent Love of 
Liberty civil & religious, makes you an able Advo 
cate on her behalf at a Time when her Friends have 
everything to fear for her. Perhaps there never was 

1 The preceding text of this letter is that of the manuscript actually sent. 
The following text is that of the draft retained by Adams. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 49 

a time when she stood more in Need of Friends in 
England and had less Reason to expect them. Not 
because she has justly forfeited them, but from the 
Nature of the unhappy Controversy which has of late 
arisen between Great Britain and the Colonies, while 
the Prosperity of both depends upon mutual Affec 
tion *& Harmony. The Nation, it seems, groaning 
under the Pressure of an heavy Debt, has thought it 
reasonable & just that the Colonies should bear a 
Part ; and over & above the Tribute which they have 
been Constantly paying to her in the Course of their 
Trade, she demands an internal Tax which they think 
not only burdensome but unconstitutional. Both the 
Parties are greatly interested. The most powerful 
of them assumes the Right of judging, and the other 
appeals to her Wisdom & Justice. Is there not great 
Reason to fear that such a Judge may be under an 
undue Influence from the Arguments or Feelings 
which his own Interest may suggest or excite. 

The Colonists complain, that while the Nation has 
been contracting this Debt solely for her own Pur 
poses, they have been settling an uncultivated Wil 
derness, & thereby increasing the National Power & 
Wealth at their own Expence ; which is eminently 
true as you are sensible, of the New England Colo 
nies. This must certainly be allowed to be a very 
great Weight in the Scale of Equity, for it has always 
been customary for Mother States to put themselves 
to great Expence in settling their Colonies expecting 
to reap Advantage from an Extent of Trade & 
Empire ; but Britain reaps all this Advantage of the 
N E Colonies at their Expence & without any of 


her own. It is said that this Tax is to discharge the 
Colonies Proportion of the Expence of carrying on 
the War in America which was for their Defence. 
But how does it appear that the War was carried on 
solely for the Defence of America ? Had the Nation 
been only on the Defensive a much less Expence 
would have been sufficient. There was evidently a 
View of Conquest, and thereby, of establishing an 
advantageous Peace, or perhaps of enlarging her Do 
minion. But admitting that the whole Expence was 
necessary for the Defence of the Colonies, they say, 
they have already borne their full Share in the Aids 
they have afforded, which the Nation seems to have ad 
mitted, when she made them Reimbursements from 
year to year in such Sums as they had advanced be 
yond their Proportion. And is there no Credit to be 
given to the N E Colonies, who not only purchased 
these Territories of the Natives, but have defended 
them for above a Century past against the Encroach 
ments of those warlike Savages, with fortitude scarcely 
equalled without a farthing 8 Expence to the Nation ; 
besides which, they have always readily joynd their 
Forces, when any Attempts have been made by the 
Nation in former Wars, against his Majesties Ene 
mies in this part of the World. Unexpected by the 
Nation, they have often put themselves to the Charge 
of Strengthening the Kings Garrisons at a Distance 
from them, when they would otherwise unavoidably 
have been attackd & lost. Annapolis Royal affords 
diverse Instances of this during the Course of 
one War. The memorable & successful Expedition 
against Cape Breton in 1745 was undertaken & com- 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 51 

pleated at their Expence, for which they were indeed 
in part recompensed when the Nation was under the 
Necessity of restoring it as an Equivalent, to pur 
chase the Peace of Europe. You will easily recol 
lect from your own Knowledge of our History, many 
Instances of signal & Expensive Services done to the 
Nation by New England which may serve to con 
vince any candid Man that we have borne much more 
than our proportion of the National Burdens. But 
there are other things which perhaps were not con 
sidered, when the Nation determined this to be but a 
proportionate Tax on the Colonies. You are sensi 
ble Sir, that it has been her Policy to oblige the 
Colonies to carry the Chiefe of their Produce to 
Great Britain & to take off her Manufactures in Re 
turn. And as they must conform to her Price both 
in buying & selling, one would think the Advantage 
she reaps by this Trade would be sufficient. This is 
an indirect Tax. The Nation constantly regulates 
their Trade & lays it under what Restrictions she 
pleases, and the Duties on the Goods imported from 
her & consumed here, together with those which are 
laid on almost every Branch of our Trade all which 
centers in Cash in her Coffers, amount to a very 
great Sum. The Monies drawn from us in the Way 
of actual direct Taxes, by means of those Regula 
tions, it is thought, will very soon put an End to the 
Trade. Of this you are as able to judge as any 
Gentleman ; & if it be the Case, it certainly requires 
prudent & impartial Consideration, for all the Ad 
vantage the Nation can expect to reap from the 
Colonies must arise from Commerce. Their whole 


Profits, saving a moderate Subsistence for them 
selves, flow in upon Her thro various Channels. 
The Stamp Duty, if the Act is continued in force, 
will probably in a very few years take off the whole 
of their Cash, & leave them none to carry on any 
trade at all. I wish that Trade Policy, as a very 
sensible Gentleman has expressed it, was better un 
derstood by the present Rulers in the Mother Country 
with respect to the Colonies. By Restrictions & 
Duties she is even now in Danger of puting an End 
to their Usefulness to her ; whereas by abolishing 
those Duties & giving them Indulgencies they would 
be enabled to repay her an hundred fold. 

If the Colonists are to pay this Tax as their Pro 
portion of the Expence in defending them in the 
late War, I should be glad to know whether any 
Regard was had to the Sums they have already 
advancd for that Purpose ? This certainly ought in 
Equity to have been considerd, or, how could the 
Proportion be found ? It is probable the Gentlemen 
in England are not sensible of the Burdens laid on 
the People on that Account. They have never been 
informd, that Persons here have had yearly De 
mands of two three & four hundred pounds Sterling 
by Way of Taxes, besides sumptuary Laws, to sup 
port this Cause, & our provincial debt (which is the 
Case in other Colonies) still lies heavily upon us & 
is almost insupportable. Besides, in Infant Coun 
tries their Numbers are to be reckond their Riches. 
You well know what great Numbers have been taken 
off from their Labor, & Usefulness in that Way to 
the Colonies, as well to recruit the Kings Regiments 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 53 

as to furnish their own Quotas : In one year this 
Province alone furnishd for the Sea & Land Service 
not less than Seven thousand Men. Those Men 
were useful to the Mother Country, exclusive of their 
being Soldiers, as they consumed her Manufactures 
in the Service ; while in every other Respect but 
their being Soldiers, tho as good as any in the Kings 
Service, they were more than lost to the Province 
that immediately employed them. 

But there is another Consideration which renders 
this Tax still more obnoxious to the Colonies, & that 
is, it totally annihilates their essentials Rights as 
British Subjects. The first Settlers of New England, 
had been persecuted in England at a Time when the 
Nation was intoxicated with Bigotry & the Ideas of 
Ecclesiastical Tyranny. This indued them to cross 
an untried Ocean & take Shelter in a dreary Wilder 
ness. Immediately after their Arrival they recog- 
nizd their Allegiance to the English King & he 
declared them intitled to all the Rights Liberties 
& Immunities of natural born subjects. The other 
Colonies are by Charter or other Royal Institutions 
thus acknowledgd. Indeed as they were good Sub 
jects in England & were not prohibited to leave the 
Kingdom, their Removal could not disfranchise them, 
altho they were told by a haughty Bashaw, you know 
who I mean, they must not expect their Liberties 
would follow them to the Ends of the Earth. They 
undoubtedly brot with them the Rights & Laws of 
the Mother State. The British Constitution makes 
no Distinction between good Subjects with Regard 
to Liberty. To talk of British Subjects who are free 


and of other British Subjects who are not free is 
absurd. They are all alike free. The British Con 
stitution is founded in the Principles of Nature & 
Reason. It admits of no more Power over the 
Subject than is necessary for the Support of Govern 
ment, which was originally designd for the Preserva 
tion of the unalienable Rights of Nature. It engages 
to all Men the full Enjoyment of these Rights, who 
take Refuge in her Bosom. Foreigners who have 
resided a certain time & have behaved well & taken 
the Oaths of Allegiance, by Act of Parliam* are de 
clared to be as free as natural born Subjects (in 
which Act it is to be observed the Colonies are to be 
considerd as such) and even conquerd People after 
swearing Allegiance are intitled to the same Honor 
& Freedom. The Question then is What are those 
Rights ? Without entering into a nice Disquisition 
of their full Extent, which would require much more 
Ability & Knowledge than I am possessd of, it is 
sufficient for the present Purpose to say, that among 
the main Pillars of the British Constitution are the 
Rights of Representation & of Trial by Jury, both 
which the Colonists lose by this Act. Their Prop 
erty may be tried at the Option of Informers, in a 
Court of Admiralty where there is no Jury. Great 
Pains have been taken by Party Writers in England, 
who, in all their Speculations which I have seen, dis 
cover that they know or care but little about the 
Colonists, to cause it to be believd they are repre 
sented in Parliament, but I hope to little Purpose. 
No Man of Common Sense can easily believe, that 
the Colonists have all together one Representative in 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 55 

the British House of Commons of their ozvn free 
Election. The Acts of Parliament & the British 
Constitution consider every individual Person in the 
Realm as present in that high Court by his Repre 
sentative upon his own free Election. Vid. i. Jac. i. 
This is his indispensible Privilege. It is founded on 
the Eternal Law of Equity. It is an Original Right 
of Nature. No Man in the State of Nature can 
justly take anothers Property without his Consent. 
It is an essential Part of the British Constitution that 
the Supreme Power cannot take from any Man any 
part of his Property without his Consent in Person 
or by his Representative. And so jealous is the 
Nation of Property, that since the Revolution the 
Power of naming Commissioners for the Land tax 
is exercisd only by the House of Commons. Vid. 
D r Ellis on temporal & spiritual Liberty. If then the 
Colonists are free Subjects of Britain which no one has 
yet denied, it is unconstitutional for the Parliament to 
tax them because they are not represented in Parlia- 
m 1 , and in my Opinion it ever will be unconstitutional 
because they never can be present in Parliament by 
their Representatives, it being impracticable. 

As the Colonists have ever approvd themselves 
not only loyal Subjects, but ready upon all Occasions 
to afford the Crown their utmost Aid, it seems strange 
to me that Parliament have seen fit, by their Inter 
position, to alter the Manner of requiring it. They 
have always heretofore granted their Aid to his 
Majesty upon a Requisition from him, with the Con 
sent of their Representatives, which is strictly consti 
tutional. In this Way it was their own Free Gift, 


and there is no Reason to believe they would ever 
have incurrd his Majestys Displeasure in this Re 
gard. This new Method will tend to disaffect them 
to the Mother State. Like their British Ancestors, 
they are jealous of their Rights, & they are of Opin 
ion that the only Way to preserve their Rights, is to 
have their Powers of Government continued to them 
in their full Extent, which cannot be, if they are 
taxed by Persons who do not & cannot represent 

I am &c 
S A 

BOSTON, Dec r 2o 1765 
to J. S. Esq r London 


[MS., Collections of the Earl of Dartmouth; an autograph draft is in the 
Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library.] 

BOSTON 2o th 1765 


I have already wrote you by this Opp ty , & must 
beg to be excused for further troubling you. It 
is probable the Conduct of the Colonys, upon the 
Occasion of the Stamp Act may be set in an incandid 
Light, I shall therefore give a briefe Account of them. 
Tj-^pon the first Notice of a Proposal being made for 
the Parliam to tax the Colonys they expressd the 
greatest TTp^pm n^gQ All seemed to have an high 
opinion of the Wisdom as well as Power of the Parl 
which induced many to believe that such a Proposal 
would not finally take Effect. However the Colonys 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 57 

separately took the legal steps r & sent home their 
humble Pef.itinns against it, but to their great Morti 
fication, thn r Petitions were not sustaind r & the 
Reason given was that they were /against a Rill for 
imposing Tavp<L The rectitude off such an objection, *x. 
would have apjx;ard more plainly had the Colonys / 
been fr epresentedj in the House of Commons. As the 
Case was otherwise it might & ought to have been 
urgd, that the very Taxes designd in the Bill were to 
be laid by a Number of Subjects, for their own Ease, 
upon their Fellow Subjects, who could have no other 
Method of making their Circumstances known and 
the Hardships of the Bill upon them, but by humble 
Supplication. To their Astonishment they after 
wards heard that the Rill was passd into a Law a 
Law byjvhich they were taxed hy Persons who were 

& who 

nf nhj-^n jng an adequate Knowledge of 

f^ovfrnors of the Colony. & 

other Officers oi the Crown r their own Agents whp 
haye_sprne of ihem it is to be feard been too often 

p^rh^ps were seeking- some profitably 

This Government however or rather the House of 
Representatives being resolvd to show its Marks of 
Dutifulness to the supreme Power of the Nation, 
& at the same time to collect the whole Strength of 
Reason & Argument, that could be had, naovd for 
ajojJnion of Com^jfrom the several Colonvs to meet 
aTrCewYork, to prepare an humble, dutifull & loyal 
Petition to his Majesty & the Parliam for Reliefe, 


which took Place, 1 & the Petitions have been some 
Time forwarded Copys of which were sent by the 
House of Representatives of this Province to Mr De 
Berdt, whom by a large Majority they chose their 
Agent for this Purpose. The Houses of Representa 
tives and Burgesses generally thro the Continent, 
have imitated the Virginians, in passing Resolves set 
ting forth theilf Rights as Britons & charterd Colo 
nists & upon which (the Virginia Resolves) a Person 
under the Name of William Pimm, but out of his 
Character has harrangued the good People of Engl d . 
but we hope he will get some small Knowledge at 
least of his own Country & the Colonys before 
he again engages his Passions so warmly in the 

/* While the Houses of Representatives were joyntly 

\ consulting the most prudent as well as the legal Steps, 
J the Peoples Minds grew more & more disturbd, under 

I the Apprehension of the Loss of their essential Rights. 

I Events took place much like some that we hear of 
in the quiet Citys of London & Westminster, tho it 
must be confessd there have been some Transactions 
for which even those Mother Cities, have not seen 
occasion to afford Precedents since the year 88, from 
which glorious CEra neither their Right of Repre 
sentation, nor of Jurys nor any other of their essential 
Rights & Charter Privileges have ever been invaded. 
The most publick Marks of Contempt & Ignomy 
have been put upon the Gentlemen appointed to dis- 

1 The journal of the Congress, printed from a manuscript in the papers of 
Caesar Rodney, is in H. Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution, Balti 
more, 1822, pp. 451-461. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 59 

tribute the Stamps through America & even in [the 
West India Islands where it was least expected. The 
people in Boston began by hanging "p thpir St^mp p- 
]\T aster in Rffiortp. This was done mid^T-the Great ^ , 
Tree at ftheL South Part of the Town, which now is 
cgjled the Mj* pp nf T ih^rfyTj It is not likely that they 
had any thing further in View at first, but at Night 
great Numbers, many of them from the Neighboring *\ 
Towns got together & resolvd to make a Sacrifice / f 
of their Pageantry by burning it on Fort Hill. Un- fa> 
Luckily a small Building said to be designd for^a 
Stamp Offirp J qg well as M^jh-il^-r 1 Mansion T^OTIQP ^ 
fe]l in their Way the former of which they demol- / 
isjid, & to the other they did some Dammage but j 
inconsiderable, in Comparison of what might have ^ - 
been expected. This bore so hard upon M r O s Mind \ . 
as to induce him the next Day publickly to declare / 
his Resolution to resign his Office, which gave uni- / 
versal Satisfaction throughout the Country. Such a 
Spirit in all the Colonys excepting Hallifax & Que- 
beck has had the same Effect, & there is not a Man 
who dares to put thp ftrt in Fvprnt-ipn The People 
in England may perhaps think it difficult for us to jus 
tify these Proceedings. I do not now attempt it a[nd] 
yet I will venture to express my Beleife, that if the 
whole?eople of the Nation had thoughttheir essen 
tial unalienable Rights had been invaded by an J\ct 
which is really the Opinion which the 

Ppppk of Am^ri^a hnvf of the Stamp Act 
say, in such a. r^ gfa , gft^r tak 1>n g_p[l tygflJ Steps to nb- 
tn wn Purpose ^./the whole People of Enrland 

Andrew Oliver. 


would have taken the same Steps & jwstifyd them- 
SttfvestO wforh T make no Application. 

Therewas another Transaction in this Town of a 
truly ^2^^jNature which happend about a fort 
night after the other viz on the 26 of August, when 
the Houses of M r Story Deputy reg!" of the Court of 
Vice Admiralty, M r Hallowell Comptroler of the Cus 
tom, & the Lieutenant Governors were attackd, to the 
two former of which some Mischiefe was done, & the 
other has scarce any thing left but the Walls. 1 The 
Cause of this Riot is not known publickly some 
Persons have suggested their private Thoughts of it. 
Be it what it will, \The Town must appear to every 
candid Person to^have had no Concern in it. An 
universal Consternation appeard in the faces of every 
one the next morning, & a meeting of the Inhabi 
tants was in a few hours had, the largest ever known 
on any Occasion, who unanimously declard their De 
testation of it. I voted to assist the Majistrate to 
their utmost in preventing or suppressing any further 
Disorder. I need only to say, to prevent any ill Im 
pressions that may be made of the Town in the Minds 
of sensible Persons, on your Side the Water, that the 
House of Representatives, afterwards in their Mes 
sage to the Gov r (who I should you have told was 
chiefly at the Castle during the Time of these Dis 
turbances) express themselves in the following Terms 
" We should rather have thought your Excy would 
have expressd your Satisfaction in presiding over so 
loyal a People, who in that Part of the Governm 1 

1 Cf * ] Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, vol. iii., p. 14 ; Thomas Hutch-| 
inson, History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, vol. iii., p. 124. 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 61 

where the Violences were committed, before there 
was Time for them to be supported by the Arm of 
civil Power, & even while the Supreme Magistrate was 
absent, by their own Motion raisd a Spirit, & diffusd 
it thro all Ranks, successfully to interpose & put a 
stop to such dangerous Proceedings." 

This Province has since been pretty quiet, but the 
Peoples Opposition to the Stamp Act dayly increases, 
& I believe nothing will ever reconcile them to it. 

I have wrote in great haste, the Vessel being now 
upon sailing. 

I am with very great Esteem 

Your most humble Serv 1 



[MS., Collections of the Earl of Dartmouth ; a portion of this letter is 
printed, under date of December 21, in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 
vol. i., pp. 103-105.] 

BOSTON Dec b f r 2o . h 1765 


The House of Representatives of this Province 
having appointed you their Agent for the Purposes 
mentioned in their Letter to you, is the Occasion 

1 See above, page 22. 

2 Forwarded to the Earl of Dartmouth by Dennys De Berdt, with the state 
ment : "The Inclosed Letter Wrote by Four Members of the Assembly and 
wrote with so much Temper and Candour that it would not I thought be unac 
ceptable to your Lordship." The body of this letter is presumably in the 
hand of a clerk. With reference to the appointment of De Berdt, November 
5. 7, T 765, see W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. So. 


of our writing to you, not indeed by Order, but as in 
dividual Members. The House was so fully informed 
of your Ability and Inclination to serve the Province, 
that your Election was soon determined by a very great 
Majority. We hope you will have receiv d the ad 
vice of your Appointment before this comes to Hand, 
and we may assure you that your Acceptance of the 
Trust, will give general Satisfaction to the good People 

His Majesty s Subjects of this Province, are very 
uneasy at several Acts of Parliament lately made, by 
whichjjieir Trade is greatly obstructed, and unless a 
Remedy is applied, it is feared must soon be ruined. 
It has been very justly observed, that the Advan 
tages drawn from America to Great Britain, are to 
arise from Commerce, and therefore to encourage 
and promote That, is her true Policy : The Profits of 
the Trade of the Colonies, thro its several Channells 
center in Great Britain, and therefore to stop those 
Channels, must be evidently to her Prejudice. This 
will be the Case-while the Sugar Act remains in Force : 
The English West India Islands do not produce suf 
ficient for the Consumption and Trade of the Conti 
nent. To confine us then to those Islands, must 
diminish the Trade. It will in a great Measure even 
dry up its very Source. Our Trade to the West In 
dies, and our Fishery are mutual Supports to each 
other. They are indeed jointly the grand Basis of 
the whole. The Duty of three Pence per Gallon on 
foreign Molasses amounts to a full Prohibition, and 
must soon put a Stop to that Branch. As one third 
Part at least, of all the Fish that is taken is fit for no 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 63 

other Market, it is very easy to conceive how much 
our Fishery must be injured. It is much to be feared 
that so great a Loss of Labour added to the usual 
Expence of carrying it on, will prove a total Discour 
agement to it. The Colonies may in Consequence of 
this be put upon contriving some other Methods, per 
haps to their own greater Advantage, and not so 
beneficial to the Nation. Be that as it may, it is cer 
tain there will be an End to Remittances that are 
now made to Spain, Portugal and other Parts of Eu 
rope, through which a very great part of the Produce 
of America and the Profits of the Trade flow into 
Great Britain, and set her Manufacturers of all Kinds 
to work. By means of the Trade of the Colonies as 
they have hitherto carried it on, Millions of them 
have been enabled Yearly to consume British Manu 
factures.-,^ An Attempt to raise Revenues out of their 
Trade, as .it will in Effect advance the Price of your 
Manufactures, will reduce the People to the Neces 
sity of setting up Manufactures of their own. Their 
Necessity will quicken their Invention, and they will 
become by Degrees less useful, and in Time entirely 
useless to the Mother Country. But we humbly ap 
prehend it would appear too partial for the Nation to 
confine her Views to her own Interest in regulating 
the Trade of her Colonies. There is Justice due to 
them as Subjects as such they have an equal Right 
with the Inhabitants of Britain of making Use of 
Trade and all other honest Means of subsisting and 
enriching themselves. The Nation would show her 
Wisdom in cherishing the Trade of the Colonies, 
while she reaps so large a share of the Profits of it ; 


but to abridge their Trade, even tho it should not be 
an Advantage to her, unless it also evidently appears 
to be carried on to her Prejudice, would not seem to 
be just. 

\^ The Colonists have as great a Regard for Right, 
Liberty and justice as any People under Heaven 
and they generally have Knowledge enough to dis 
cover when their Rights are infringed. If this be 
true, you will own they merit the Esteem of every 
Man of sense in England, especially when it may be 
justly added that they are and ever have been, as 
loyal Subjects as any the King has. They hold 
themselves intitled to all the inherent, unalienable 
Rights of Nature, as Men and to all the essential 
Rights of Britons, as subjects. The common Law of 
England, and the grand leading Principles of the Brit 
ish Constitution have their Foundation in the Laws 
of Nature and universal Reason. Hence one would 
think that British Rights, arp in a great Measure, un- 
alienably, the Rights nf the Colonists, and of a.H Men 
else. The American Subjects are by Charters from 
the__Cro\vn, and other royal Institutions declared in- 
titled to all the Rightsand Privileges of natura] born 
Subjects within the Realm 3,nd with goodJReason; 
for as emigrating Subjects, they brought the Rights 
and Laws of the Mother State with them. Had they 
been conquered, we presume that by the British Con 
stitution, after taking the Oaths of Allegiance, they 
would be acknowledged as free Subjects much more 
when they have been neither Rebels nor Enemies, 
but have greatly merited of their Mother Country, by 
subduing and settling a large Continent, to the amaz- 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 65 

ing Increase of National Power and Wealth. 
it be observed that the New England Provinces were 
Qpt-t-lpH by our Ancestors who came over but little 
more than a Century ago, and they have maintained 
them without one Farthing s Expence to the Crown. 
o.r any private Man in England till the last War, 
when the Nation began to see their real Importance. 
By the Act of 13^ of George the Second, for natural 
izing Foreigners, the Colonists are considered as 
natural born Subjects, and intitled to all the essential 
Rights of such. ^ {The primary, absolute, natural 
Rights of Englishmen as frequently declared in 
of Parliament from Magna Charta to this Day, are 
Personal Security, Personal Liberty and Private Prop 
erty, and to these Rights the Colonists are intitled by 
Charters, by Common Law and by Acts of Parlia 
ment!^? Can it then be wondered at that the Act for 
levymg Stamp Duties upon the Colonies should be 
astonishing to them, since in divers Respects it totally 
annihilates these Rights. It^is a fundamental Prin- 
crgle of the British Constitution that the supreme 
Eower Cannot take irom any Man any Part of his 
Property without his Consent in Person or by Repre 
sentation^ It is certain the Consent of the Colonists 
was in no Sense had in Parliament, nor even asked, 
when this Act was made to tax them. They never 
had the Return of one Member of Parliament, nor a 
single Vote in the Election of one. The Right of 
Tryals by Juries is also justly esteemed a main Pillar 
of the British Constitution, and the best security of 
the Lives, Liberty and Property of the Subjects. 
But by this Act the Property of the American 

VOL. I. 5. 


Subjects is tryable at the option of an Informer by 
Courts of Admiralty without Juries. The Right of 
Representation and the Argument against this Tax 
founded upon it, is so constitutional, that the Writers 
in favour of it, have been put to great Shifts tg_evade 
it. (We have been told that we are x 2^W^#7/y"jrepre- 
sented, but we must desire an Explanation of this 
vague Term, before we can give it a serious Consid 
eration/! We are put upon a Footing with Birming 
ham, Manchester and. other Towns in England, who 
they say, send no Representatives, and yet are taxed 
but have not those Towns a constitutional Right to 
be represented ? and if they chuse to wave it, can that 
be a good Reason for taxing the Colonies without a 
Representation ? Would it not be equally reasona 
ble for the Majority of the Members of Parliament to 
deprive the Constituents of the Minority of the same 
Right, and tax them at Discretion ? But Birming 
ham, and the few Towns who send no Members, can 
not be deemed reasonable Precedents for taxing all 
America, when it is considered that all counties in 
England return Members, and all Freeholders have a 
Vote in their Election, and so in Fact are represented. 
In the Act of the first of James the First, wherein 
/Cthe Parliament recognized their Faith, Obedience 
/ and Loyalty to his Majesty and his royal Progeny, it 
V is declared that in that high Court of Parliament, all 
) the whole Body of the Realm, and every particular 
v^\ Member thereof, either in Person, or by Representa 
tion, upon their own free Election, are by the Laws of 
I this Realm deemed to be personally present, but 
* can it with the least Shadow of Truth be said that 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 67 

the Colonies are there in Person, or by Representa 
tion upon their own free Election ? Yet the general 
superintending Power of the Parliament over the 
whole British Empire is clearly admitted here, so far 
as in our Circumstances is consistent with the Enjoy 
ment of our essential Rights, as Freemen, and Brit 
ish Subjects ; and we humbly conceive that by the 
Constitution, it is no further admissible by Great 
Britain herself. 

Wh^n we pl^?^ fhp Right- n f R ppr^entation. we 
only mean to have our not being- represented upon 
our own free Election considered as a Reason why 
We should not be taxed hy flip Parliament ; and WP^ 

apprehend, that as we are entitled to all the Rights 
of British Subjects, it is a Reason that cannot be 
withstood without Violence to thp. Cnn^fif-nfinn We 
are far however from desiring any Representation 
there, because we think the Colonies cannot be 
equally and fully represented ; and if not equally 
then in Effect not at all. A Representative should 
be T and continue to be well arqnaini-prl with the 
internal Circumstances of the People whom TIP repr^- 
sents. It is often necessary that the Circumstances 
of individual Towns should be brought into Com 
parison with those of the whole so it is in particularly 
when Taxes are in Consideration. The proportionate 
Part of each to the whole can be found only by an 
exact Knowledge of the internal Circumstances of 
each. Now the Colonies are at so great a Distance 
from the Place where the Parliament meets, from 
which they are seperated by a wide Ocean ; and their 
Circumstances are so often and continually varying, 


as is the Case in all Countries not fully settled, that it 
would not be possible for Men, tho ever so well 
acquainted with them at the Begining of a Parlia 
ment, to continue to have an adequate Knowledge 
of them during the Existence of that Parliament. 
If a Representative cannot be supposed to have an 
exact Knowledge of the Abilities of his Constituents. 
in Proportion to the whole, when a general Tax Js 
under Consideration, he cannot be said to represent 
far at least as respects this very essential 
He must be a mere Cypher in the House, 
for he can neither give Yea or Nay, for want of 
material Knowledge^ An unequal Proportion in 
Taxes, may naturally be expected from so partial 
and insufficient a Representation ; which it is most 
likely would be to the Prejudice of the Colonies ; for 
without supposing an undue Byas in the House of 
Commons, which however may possibly hereafter take 
place, it is to be considered that the Taxes of the 
People in Britain will be lighter in Proportion to 
what is laid on the Colonies ; and if what the Colo 
nies ought to bear is a Matter of mere Conjecture, 
it is not likely that the Nation in such a Case would 
form an Estimate to her own Prejudice. In short 
it appears to us that the Nation would not only be 
a Party, but the Judge too, without that Knowledge 
or the Possibility of having it, which would be 
necessary to form a right Judgment, or even any 

at all. / The Stamp Act it <^1f may <^rv^ to 

how liable even the Parliament may be_to err injihis 

important Matter for want of an adequate Knowledge 

of the CircumstancS-j3f the^ 

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 69 

meant only to lay upon them a reasonable Tax. The 
Minister, tho he was at the Pains to get all the In 
formation he could, from some Gentlemen of reputed 
Knowledge of the Colonies, then in England, has 
procured a parliamentary Tax upon them, amounting 
as we are told to a much greater Sum than either he 
or the Parliament, or even those Gentlemen who 
had so lately left the Colonies imagined it would. 
Such Mistakes in point of Taxation we are apt to 
think would generally and unavoidably be made, 
even tho we should be represented as fully as our 
great Distance from England, and different Circum 
stances would admit of. 

The several subordinate Powers of Legislation in 
America seem very probably to have been consti 
tuted upon their being considered as free Subjects 
of England, and the Impossibility of their being 
represented in the Parliament, for which Reason 
these Powers ought to be held sacred. By Means 
thereof that Liberty which they justly claim as their 
Birthright is established. Xojdeprive them of these^ 
subordinate Powers, which is in F.ffprr Hone by tim 
Stamp ^\ct, destroys that Liberty. The Exercise 
of Parliamentary Jurisdiction jn levying- external and 
internal Taxes on the Colonists^ \vhile they are 
not and cannot"^ represente<3T"is"~mconsistent withC C 


any Degree of Freedom. [It brings them under a 

Government essentially Afferent from that which 
their Fellow Subjects in Britain are under. 1 / The 

1 The following erased at this point : " In short the Power over them must 
be despotic, and it is of little consequence to them whether such a Power be in 
the Hands of one or many, the former is indeed more eligible." 



American Powers of Government are rather to be 
considered as Matters of Justice than Favor with 
out them they cannot enjoy that Freedom, which, 
having never forfeited, no Power on Earth has any 
Right to deprive them of. 

The Charter of this Province, invests the Powejuaf 
making Laws for its internal Government in the 
General Assembly. Our Laws are made, with the 
Consent of Representative of rmr own free Election. 
JThe People are all personally present by their Rep 
resentatives, in the Assembly which governs and 
taxes them and thus, the full Enjoyment of those 
essential Rights which justly belong to them as Sub 
jects of Great Britain is preserved-! At the same 
Time that Dependence and Subordination which they 
are ever ready to acknowledge, will appear to be 
effectually secured, when it is considered that their 
Laws must first have the Concurrence of the Council, 
upon whose Election the Chair has a Negative, and 
the Consent of the Governor who is appointed by 
the Crown, before they can be in Force and finally 
they must be laid before his Majesty, who at any 
Time during three Years disanulls them at his Royal 
Pleasure. Here is all the Check which the Nation 
can in Reason desire. A further Controul would 
leave them the Name only of free Subjects. 
> - We find that Attempts have been made to rais e 
a Jealousy in the Nation T that the Colonists are 
struggling for Independence, than which Nothing can 
be more injurious. (_lt is neither their Interest nor 
have they ever shown the least Disposition to be 
independent of Great Britain?"? They have always 

i ;66] SAMUEL ADAMS. 71 

prided themselves in being British Subjects, and have 
with the greatest Cheerfulness done every Thing in 
their Power to promote the common Cause of the 
Nation And We have Reason to believe that they will 
ever remain firmly attached to the Mother Country. 
We are with great Respect 

Your most humble Servants, 

MARCH 24, 1766. 

[Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. 16, pp. 172-174.] 

To the Inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth 


The Inhabitants of the Town of Boston legally 
assembled in Faneuil Hall have receivd with singular 
pleasure, your respectful Address of the i6 th of Jan 
uary last : The warm Sentiments of public Virtue 
which you therein express is a sufficient Evidence, 
that the most ancient Town in New England to 
whose Predecessors this Province in a particular man 
ner is so greatly indebted for their necessary Aids in 
its original Settlement still retain the truly noble 
Spirit of our renowned Ancestors When we recollect 

1 A text, signed also by Edw. Sheafe, is in Papers Relating to Public Events 

in Massachusetts , Philadelphia, 1856, pp. 6-13. 


the ardent love of Religeon and Liberty, which in 
spired the Breasts of those Worthys ; which induced 
them at the Time when Tyranny had laid its oppressive 
Hand on Church and State in their Native Country, 
to forsake their fair Possessions and seek a Retreat in 
this distant Part of the Earth When we reflect upon 
their early care to lay a soiled Foundation for Learn 
ing, even in a Wilderness, as the surest if not the only 
Means of preserving and cherishing the Principles of 
Liberty and Virtue, and transmitting them to us their 
Posterity, our Mind is filled with deep Veneration, 
and we bless and revere their Memory. 

When we consider the immense Cost and Pains 
they were at in subduing, cultivating, and settling 
this Land, with the utmost Peril of their Lives ; and 
the Surprizing increase of Dominion Strength and 
Riches, which has accrued to Great Britain by their 
Expence & Labour we confess we feel an honest 
\ Indignation to think there ever should have been 
any among her Sons, so ungrateful as well as unjust 
and Cruel as to seek their Ruin- 
Instances of this too frequently occur in the past 
History of our Country : The Names of Randolph, 
of Andross and others are handed down to us with 
Infamy ; And the Times in which we live, even these 
very Times, may furnish some future Historian with a 
Catalogue of those, who look upon our rising Great 
ness with an envious eye ; and while we and our 
Sister Colonies, have been exerting our growing 
Strength in the most substantial services to the 
Mother Country, by Art and Intrigue have wickedly 
attempted to deceive her into Measures to enslave 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 73 

us If then Gentlemen, the Inhabitants of this Me 
tropolis, have discovered an invariable Attachment 
to the Principles of Liberty, when it has been in 
vaded : If they have made the most vigorous Exer 
tions for our Country when she has been threatned 
with the Loss of every Thing that has been dear : If 
they have used their utmost Endeavors that she may 
be relieved from those Difficulties, with which She 
is at this Time embarrassed ; If they have taken the 
Legal and warrantable Measures to prevent that 
Misfortune of all others the most to be dreaded, the 
Execution of the Stamp Act ; and as a necessary 
Means of preventing it, have made any Spirited Ap 
plications for opening the Custom House and Courts 
of Justice ; If at the same Time they have bore their 
Testimony against outrageous Tumults and illegal 
proceedings, and given any Example of the Love of 
Peace & good order next to the consciousness of 
having done their Duty is the Satisfaction of meet 
ing with the Approbation of any of their Fellow 

That the Spirit of our venerable Forefathers, may 
revive and be defused through every Community in 
this Land : That Liberty Civil and Religeous, the 
grand Object of their View, may still be felt enjoy d 
& vindicated by the present Generation, and the fair 
Inheritance, transmitted to our latest Posterity, is the 
fervent wish of the Metropolis Submitted by 




[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 76-81.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

The House of Representatives of this province, 
beg leave to return to your Excellency our congratu 
lations upon the repeal of the stamp act ; a most 
interesting and happy event, which has diffused a 
general joy among all his Majesty s loyal and faithful 
subjects throughout this extensive continent. 

This is a repeated and striking instance of our most 

gracious Sovereign s paternal regard for the happiness 

and welfare of all his subjects. We feel upon this 

occasion, the deepest sense of loyalty and gratitude. 

We_arg aburujanlly convinced that our legal and 

Constitutional rights, and Jibe rtiesjwill always be safe 

under his propitious government. We esteem the 

/ relation we have ever stood in with Great Britain, the 

mother country, our happiness and security. We 

/ have reason to confide in the British Parliament, from 

] this happy instance, that all his Majesty s faithful sub- 

/ jects, however remote, are the objects of their pat- 

( ronage and justice. 

When we reflect on the difficulties under which 
this important business labored, and the causes from 
whence they arose, we are truly astonished that they 
have been surmounted ; and we gratefully resent the 
noble and generous efforts of those illustrious patriots 
who have distinguished themselves in our cause. In 
deed, when we look back upon the many dangers 
from which our country hath, even from its first set- 

i 7 66] SAMUEL ADAMS. 75 

tlement, been delivered, and the policy and power of 
those, who have to this day sought its ruin, we are 
sensibly struck with an admiration of Divine good 
ness, and would religiously regard the arm which has 
so often shielded us. 

Upon so joyful an occasion, we were in hopes your 
Excellency would have spread a veil over every dis 
agreeable scene in the late times of public calamity ; 
but to our surprise and astonishment, we find your 
Excellency declaring in your speech, at the opening 
of the General Court, that this cannot be done till a 
better temper and understanding shall prevail in 
general, than there seems to be at present. Though 
your Excellency has seen reason to form so unfavor 
able an opinion of the present times, we beg leave, 
with all humility, to ask, whether so great a liberality 
as you have shown, in your strictures upon them, ha S 
a tendency to make them better ? 

" Private interests and resentments," " popular dis 
content," "unlimited abuse on the most respectable 
characters." These and such like expressions, run 
through a considerable part of your speech. We 
should have been glad if your Excellency had given 
some intimation, at least, that you did not mean to 
cast reflections on either of the two Houses, to whom 
your speech was immediately addressed. We have 
reason to fear, that whatever were your intentions, 
this construction will be put upon it by those who 
would be glad to improve the authority of your Ex 
cellency to our disadvantage. Upon this account, 
we find ourselves under a necessity, explicitly to de 
clare to your Excellency, that no private resentments 


of ours, have intermixed with popular discontent. 
We have no interest detached from, or inconsistent 
with, the common good ; we are far from having any 
" ill purposes" to execute, much less under the "bor 
rowed mask of patriotic zeal," or any other hypocrit 
ical disguise. It has ever been our pride to cultivate 
harmony and union, upon the principles of liberty 
and virtue, among the several branches of the legis 
lature, and a due respect and reverence for his Maj 
esty s representative in the province. We have 
endeavored to solicit integrity and ability to the aid 
of the people, and are very sorry if gentlemen of char 
acter have, by any means, been deterred from serving 
their country, especially in time of danger, when the 
eyes of all might have been upon them for deliver 
ance. A^ such a time, for true patriots to be silent. 
is dangerous. Yonr F.yrHlency tplk ns_xxL.a.n u_n]jrn- 

ie mostjrespect- 

a < ble__characters,_o_3 v hirli yon ha ye _. 

experience yourself.: but you assure us that it has 
not abated your concern for the welfare of the coun 
try, nor prevented your endeavors to promote it. 
e thank your Excellency ; and upon this assurance 
we have reason to hope you have employed your in- 

Yfluence in behalf of this people, at a time when they 
so much stood in need of it, in representing their be- 

; havior, in general, in the most candid and favorable 
view. In this light his Majesty, his Ministry and 
Parliament, have been desirous of viewing it, and 
when this good people shall find that your Excellency 
has served them in so essential a point, they will, we 
are sure, be ready " to recognize you in the united 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 77 

character of a true friend to the province, and a 
faithful servant of the Crown./ 

But, may it please your Excellency, we cannot for 
bear observing, that when you are speaking, as we 
conceive, of the injustice done his Honor the Lieu 
tenant Governor, the last year, your manner of ex 
pression would lead a stranger to think that so horrid 
an act of villany was perpetrated, by the body of this 
people. The infatuation, you tell us, " has been car 
ried to such a degree of injustice, that the princi 
pal object of the fury of the people, was a gentleman 
to whom they were most highly indebted for his 
services in the very cause for which they rose against 
him. Your Excellency, no doubt, means that the 
whole people, and not a part only, were most highly 
indebted to this gentleman for his services, and that 
the particular cause in which he had been engaged, 
concerned them all ; and yet, so infatuated have the 
body of the people been, that they even rose against 
this very gentleman, and made him the object of 
their fury ! Is not this the natural meaning of your 
words ? And will it not, sir, afford matter of triumph 
to the unrelenting enemies of this province, to hear 
the Governor himself declaring that this was the 
" prevailing temper of the people ; " that such was 
their " violent and precipitate measures," and that a 
veil cannot, even now, be drawn over so " disgraceful 
a scene," because the same temper among the people 
in general still prevails. There may, sir, be a general 
popular discontent upon good grounds. The people 
may sometimes have just reason to complain ; your 
Excellency must be sensible, that in such a circum- 


stance, evil minded persons may take the advantage, 
and rise in tumult. This has been too common in 
the best regulated and best disposed cities in Europe. 
Under cover of the night a few villains may do much 
mischief. And such, sir, was the case here ; but the 
virtue of the people themselves finally suppressed the 
mob ; and we have reason to believe, that the unaf 
fected concern which they discover at so tragical a 
scene, their united detestation of it, their spirited 
measures to prevent further disorders, and other cir 
cumstances well known to the honorable gentleman 
himself, have fully satisfied him, that such an imputa 
tion was without reason. But for many months past 
there has been an undisturbed tranquillity in general, 
in this province, and for the greater part of the time, 
merely from a sense of good order in the people, 
while they have been in a great measure deprived of 
the public tribunals, and the administration of justice, 
and so far thrown into a state of nature. 

We are at a loss to conceive your Excellency s 
meaning, when you allude to some proceedings which 
"when known at home you fear will afford matter of 
triumph to those who were for maintaining the stamp 
act, and sorrow and concern to those who procure its 
repeal;" and when you tell us that " the inflamma 
tion of the country has been a grand object with 
some persons," we cannot suppose your Excellency 
would make a public declaration of a matter of such 
importance without good grounds. An attempt to 
inflame a country is a crime of very dark complexion. 
You tell us that a stop has not yet been put to that 
pursuit ; we hope you have taken every prudent and 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 79 

legal step in your own department to prevent it. 
Permit us however, to say, that it is possible you 
may have been misinformed, by persons not well af 
fected to this people, and who would be glad to have 
it thought that we were turbulent and factious, and 
perpetually murmuring, even after every cause of 
complaint is removed. Such characters may still ex 
ist in the persons of some who have taken all occa 
sions from the just resentment of the people, to 
represent them as inflammatory, disaffected and dis 
loyal. Should there be any persons so abandoned, 
as to make it the object of their policy, to inflame 
the minds of the people against a wise, a good, a 
"mild and moderate administration," they may be 
assured of the severest censures of this House as 
soon as they are known. 

But the manner in which you are pleased to ex 
plain the grounds of your testimony against the elec 
tions of the present year, seems to imply that it is 
your opinion that the two Houses have been so far 
influenced by an inflammatory spirit in particular 
persons, as even to make an attack upon the govern 
ment in form. The two Houses proceeded in these 
elections with perfect good humor and good under 
standing ; and as no other business had been trans 
acted when we were favored with your speech, it is 
astonishing to us, that you should think this a time 
to " interrupt the general harmony." We are wholly 
at a loss to conceive how a full, free and fair election 
can be called " an attack upon the government in 
form," " a professed intention to deprive it of its 
best and most able servants," "an ill-judged and ill 


timed oppugnation of the King s authority." These, 
may it please your Excellency, are high and griev 
ous charges against the two Houses, and such as we 
humbly conceive, no crowned head since the revolu 
tion has thought fit to bring against two Houses of 
Parliament. It seems to us to be little short, if any 
thing, of a direct impeachment of the two Houses 
of high treason. Oppugnation of the King s author 
ity is but a learned mode of expression, which re 
duced to plain English, is fighting against the King s 
most excellent Majesty. But what, sir, is the op 
pugnation which we have been guilty of ? We were 
summoned and convened here to give our free suf 
frages at the general election, directed to be annually 
made by the royal charter. We have given our 
suffrages according to the dictates of our conscien 
ces, and the best light of our understanding. It 
was certainly our right to choose, and as clearly 
a constitutional power in your Excellency to dis 
approve, without assigning a reason either before 
or after your dissent.. Your Excellency has thought 
proper to disapprove of some. We are far even 
from suggesting that the country has by this means 
been deprived of its best and ablest servants. We 
have released those of the Judges of the Superior 
Court who had the honor of a seat at the Board, 
from the cares and perplexities of politics, and given 
them opportunity to make still farther advances in 
the knowledge of the law, and to administer right 
and justice within this jurisdiction. We have also 
left other gentlemen more at leisure to discharge the 
duties and functions of their important offices. This 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 81 

surely is not to deprive the government of its best 
and ablest servants, nor can it be called an oppugna- 
tion of any thing, but a dangerous union of legisla 
tive and executive power in the same persons ; a 
grievance long complained of by our constituents, 
and the redress of which some of us had special in 
struction, to endeavor at this very election to 

Your Excellency is pleased to say, that only one 
of all the American petitions " was well received 
and of real use in producing the repeal ; " that peti 
tion was forwarded from this province in season, to 
be presented to the Parliament, before the stamp 
act was passed ; by whose influence the presentation 
of it was so long delayed by Mr. Agent Jackson, 
and omitted through that whole session of parlia 
ment, it is needless for us at present to inquire. 
If it was so well received, as your Excellency tells us 
it was, and of real use in procuring the repeal, there 
is reason to think it might have had its designed 
effect to prevent the passing that act, and saved this 
continent from that distress and confusion in which 
it has been involved. But your Excellency is under 
a mistake, in supposing that this petition, alone, was 
well received and of real use. Those from the late 
general congress, we are informed by our agent Mr. 
Deberdt, were early laid before the Ministry, and 
were well received by them. He tells us, that Mr. 
Secretary Conway kindly undertook to present that, 
which was prepared for his Majesty ; and as the 
royal ear is always open to the distresses of his 
people, we have not the least reason to doubt but 

VOL. I. 6. 


8 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

that so united a supplication of his American sub 
jects was graciously considered by him ; and with 
regard to those to the two Houses of Parliament, 
one of them at least we know was highly approved 
of by the chairman of the committee for American 
affairs, was read in the House of Commons, and sup 
ported by Mr. Pitt ; it was never rejected, and we 
cannot suppose it failed of due attention merely for 
want of form. In truth sir, we look back with the 
utmost pleasure upon the wisdom of the last House 
of Representatives, in proposing such a union of the 
colonies ; and although some have taken great pains 
to lessen the weight and importance of the late con 
gress in the minds of the people, we have the stron 
gest reason to believe that their firm and prudent 
measures had a very great influence in procuring 
this happy repeal. 

You are pleased to make a declaration that " when 
ever an opportunity shall offer to restore harmony 
and union to the provincial councils, you will most 
cordially embrace it." The time, sir, is already 
come ; never was there so happy a juncture, in which 
to accomplish so desirable an end ; and it will be 
the pride of this House to improve it ; with this 
disposition we come together. If any expression or 
sentiment in your speech should have a contrary 
effect, as it will so far defeat our honest intention, 
it will fill us with real concern. Permit us also to 
say, that it will disappoint the expectations of his 
Majesty and the Parliament in repealing the stamp 
act ; for it is most reasonable in them to expect that 
the restoration of the colonies to domestic peace and 

i ;66] SAMUEL ADAMS. 83 

tranquillity will be the happy effect of the establish 
ment of their just rights and liberties. 

When your Excellency shall " be assisted by special 
instruction, and speak to us with greater authority 
than your own," we shall be all attention ; being as 
sured, from past experience, that everything coming 
from his Majesty will be full of grace and truth. 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 88-91.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

THE House have fully considered your Excellency s 
speech of the third instant, and beg leave to observe, 
that as on the one hand no consideration shall ever 
induce us to remit in the least our loyalty and grati 
tude to the best of Kings, so on the other, no unpro 
voked asperity of expression on the part of your 
Excellency can deter us from asserting our undoubted 
charter rights and privileges. One of the principal 
of those is, that of annually choosing his Majesty s 
Council for this province. 

Had the most excellent letter from one of his Maj 
esty s principal Secretaries of State, which has been 
communicated to the House, arrived sooner, it could 
not have prevented the freedom of our elections ; nor 
can we, on the strictest examination of the transac 
tions of the day of our general election, so far as the 
House was concerned, discover the least reason for 
regret. So long as we shall have our charter privi- 


leges continued, we must think ourselves inexcusable, 
if we should suffer ourselves to be intimidated in the 
free exercise of them. This exercise of our rights 
can never, with any color of reason, be adjudged an 
abuse of our liberty. 

Lest we should be at a loss for the proceedings 
and transactions which have given your Excellency 
so much uneasiness, you have been pleased to inform 
us, in express terms, that you " mean the excluding 
from the King s Council the principal Crown Offi 
cers ; men not only respectable in themselves for 
their integrity, their abilities and their fidelity to their 
country, as well as to their King, but also quite 
necessary to the administration of government in the 
very station from whence we have displaced them." 
Had your Excellency thought fit to have favored us 
with your sentiments and opinion of the candidates 
previously to the election, it could not have more 
arrested our attention as a breach of our privileges ; 
and it would surely be as proper to give intimations 
of this kind before, as now the business is past a 
remedy, for this year at least. The Assembly of 
another year will act for themselves, or under such 
influence and direction as they may think fit. The 
two Crown Officers who were of the Honorable 
Board the last year, and not chosen this, are the 
Lieutenant Governor and Secretary. The other gen 
tlemen of the Board last year, who are not chosen 
this, hold only provincial commissions. This province 
has subsisted and flourished, and the administration 
of government has been carried on here entirely to 
the royal approbation, when no Crown Officers had a 

1 766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 85 

seat at the Board, and we trust this may be the case 
again. We find not in the Secretary of State s letter 
the least intimation that it was expected by his Maj- 
jesty or his Ministry, that we should elect into his 
Majesty s Council the principal, or indeed any other 
Crown Officers. For anything that appears in the 
letter, we are left entirely to the exercise of our own 
judgment and best discretion in making our elections 
agreeably to the royal charter. 

If it is not now in our power in so full a manner, 
as will be expected, to show our respectful gratitude 
to the mother country, or to make a dutiful, affec 
tionate return to the indulgence of the King and 
Parliament, it shall be no fault of ours; for this we 
intend and hope, we shall be able fully to effect. 

We cannot persuade ourselves that it must and 
will be understood that those gentlemen were turned 
out, as your Excellency is pleased to express it, for 
their deference to acts of the British Legislature. 
We have given the true reason of this proceeding in 
our answer to your Excellency s first speech of this 
session. We are under no apprehension that when 
the true grounds and reasons of our proceedings are 
known and candidly considered, we shall be in the 
least degree chargeable with unthankfulness and dis 
satisfaction on ground of former heat and prevailing 
prejudice, or on any other ground. 

Your Excellency says, " it is impossible to give 
any tolerable coloring to this proceeding." The in 
tegrity and uprightness of our intentions and conduct 
is such, that no coloring is requisite, and therefore 
we shall excuse ourselves from attempting any. We 


hold ourselves to be quite free in our suffrages ; and 
provided we observe the directions of our charter, 
and the laws of the land, both which we have strictly 
adhered to, we are by no means accountable but to 
God and our own consciences for the manner in 
which we give them. We believe your Excellency 
is the first Governor of this province that ever form 
ally called the two Houses of Assembly to account 
for their suffrages, and accused them of ingratitude 
and disaffection to the Crown, because they had not 
bestowed them on such persons as in the opinion of 
the Governor, were quite necessary to the administra 
tion of government. Had your Excellency been 
pleased in season to have favored us with a list, and 
positive orders whom to choose, we should, on your 
principles have been without excuse. But even the 
most abject slaves are not to be blamed for disobey 
ing their master s will and pleasure when it is wholly 
unknown to them. 

Your Excellency says, " If it should be justified 
by asserting a right, that is, a legal power to choose 
whom we please, without regard to any considerations 
whatever, the justification itself will tend to impeach 
the right." We clearly assert our charter rights of a 
free election. But for your Excellency s definition of 
this right, viz. "a legal power to choose whom we 
please, without regard to any considerations what 
ever," we contend not. We made our elections after 
the most mature and deliberate consideration, and 
had special regard to the qualifications of the candi 
dates, and all circumstances considered, chose those 
we judged most likely to serve his Majesty, and pro- 

1766] , SAMUEL ADAMS. 87 

mote the welfare and prosperity of his people. We 
cannot conceive how the assertion of our clear charter 
right of free election can tend to impeach that right 
or charter. We would hope that your Excellency 
does not mean open and publicly to threaten us with 
a deprivation of our charter privileges, merely for 
exercising them according to our best judgment and 
discretion. As to us, as our charter is, we should 
think it of very little value, if it should be adjudged 
that the sense and spirit of it require the electors 
should be under the absolute direction and control of 
the Chair, even in giving their suffrages. For what 
ever may be our ideas of the wisdom, prudence, mild 
ness and moderation of your administration, of your 
forgiving spirit, yet we are not sure your successor 
will possess those shining virtues. 

We are very sensible that be our right of elec 
tion ever so clear and absolute, there is a distinction 
between a right and the propriety of exercising it. 
This distinction we hope, will apply itself with full 
force, and all its advantage to your Excellency s re 
luctant exertion of the prerogative in disapproving 
six of the gentlemen chosen by the two Houses of 
Assembly. But this being a matter of discretion, is 
solely within your Excellency s breast, and we are 
taught by your just distinction, that such is the gift 
of suffrages. It therefore gives us great pain to have 
our discretion questioned, and our public conduct thus 
repeatedly arraigned. 

Your Excellency has intimated your readiness to 
concur with us in any palliative or expedient to pre 
vent the bad effects of our elections, which you think 


must surely be very hurtful to the province, if it should 
be maintained and vindicated. But, as we are under 
no apprehensions of any such effects, especially when 
we reflect on the ability and integrity of the Council 
your Excellency has approved of, we beg leave to 
excuse ourselves from any unnecessary search after 
palliatives or expedients. 

We thank your Excellency for your kind assurances 
of " using all means to save the credit of this pro 
vince." But we conceive that when the true state of 
the province is represented and known, its credit can 
be in no kind of danger. The recommendation en 
joined by Mr. Secretary Con way s letter, and in con 
sequence thereof made to us, we shall embrace the 
first convenient opportunity to consider and act upon. 
In the mean time cannot but observe, that it is con 
ceived in much higher and stronger terms in the 
speech than in the letter. Whether in thus exceed 
ing, your Excellency speaks by your own authority, 
or a higher, is not with us to determine. 

However, if this recommendation, which your Ex 
cellency terms a requisition, be founded on " so much 
justice and humanity that it cannot be controverted : " 
If "the authority with which it is introduced should pre 
clude all disputation about complying with it," we 
should be glad to know what freedom we have in the 

In answer to the questions which your Excellency 
has proposed with so much seeming emotion, we beg 
leave to declare, that we will not suffer ourselves to 
be in the least influenced by party animosities or 
domestic feuds, let them exist where they may : that 

1 766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 89 

if we can possibly prevent it, this fine country shall 
never be ruined by any person : that it shall be through 
no default of ours, should this people be deprived of 
the great and manifest advantages which the favor 
and indulgence of our most gracious Sovereign and 
his Parliament are even now providing for them. On 
the contrary, that it shall ever be our highest ambition, 
as it is our duty, so to demean ourselves in public and 
private life, as shall most clearly demonstrate our loy 
alty and gratitude to the best of Kings, and thereby 
recommend this people to further gracious marks of 
the royal clemency and favor. 

With regard to the rest of your Excellency s speech, 
we are sorry we are constrained to observe, that the 
general lir and style of its savors much more of an 
act of .ree grace and pardon, than of a parliamentary 
address to the two Houses of Assembly ; and we 
most sincerely wish your Excellency had been pleased 
to reserve it (if needful) for a proclamation. 

OCTOBER 22, 1766. 

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i, Lenox Library ; a modified text appears 
in Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. 16, pp. 191-194.] 


The Freeholders & other Inhabitants of the Town 
of Boston being legally assembled in Faneuil Hall have 
appointed as a Com te to address you in their Behalf 
& to beg your friendly assistance as you shall judge 
necessary in an Affair in which they apprehend their 
Reputation & Interest may be greatly concernd 


Before we proceed to the particular matter which 
is the Occasion of our writing we beg leave to ob 
serve that upon the happy repeal of the late Stamp 
Act, we were informd that our Adversarys had even 
predicted that America would receive the News in a 
manner, haughty & disrespectfull to His Majesty & 
the Parliament And we have seen with astonish 
ment & Indignation, in the Protest of some of the 
Lords against the Repeal, that one Reason of their 
Lordships Protest was, that they had been made 
acquainted that it was the Design of the Americans 
to bring the Authority of Parliament for the future 
into Contempt. We have Reason to believe that the 
Decency which was observd by Persons of every 
rank in all the Colonys in their publick rejoycings 
upon that memorable Occasion has convincd the sen 
sible & impartial Part of the nation that such Appre 
hensions & Predictions were without just Grounds ; 
& we flatter our selves that their Lordships may by 
this time have reason to conclude that their Informa 
tion from this side the Water was at least sudden & 
injudicious, & perhaps the Effect of a deep rooted 
Prejudice against the Colonys, a strong desire to 
have the Act enforcd & a Determination at all Haz 
ards to prevent its repeal. 

"The Truth is, the Colonys who universally pride 
themselves in being British Subjects, & have the 
warmest Sense of the Blessings of the British Con 
stitution, for ever considerd the Act as a Violation of 
that happy Constitution, & they have the Satisfac 
tion of being informd that this Opinion was sup 
ported by a Number of the most illustrious as well as 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS 91 

respectable of both houses of Parliam Tj In this View 
of the nature of the Act the Colonys~first Petitiond 
against it even when it was a Bill but without Success 
& afterwards came into resolutions to transmit to Pos 
terity their Sense of it, with Assurance that if it was 
finally put into Execution it \v d not be with their Con 
sent. The People universally opposd the Act but at 
the same time discoverd the most zealous Attachment 
to his Majestys Person & governm 1 & the strongest 
Affection to their fellow Subjects the People of Great 
Britain. This we know some of our Enemys have 
endeavord to represent as a Paradox,& from an un 
easiness or if they please an opposition to a single 
Act, upon an apprehension of its being unconstitu 
tional, they would inferr a settled Design to bring 
the whole Authority of Parliam 1 into Contempt as if 
it could not possibly be supposd of an affectionate 
& dutifull son whose reverence for his fathers Au 
thority could never be impeachd, that yet in a sin 
gle Instance might see the unreasonableness of his 
Fathers Command & with the deepest regret be even 
ready to refuse Obedience. An Opposition to an 
Act of Parliam merely from a regard to the Consti 
tution cannot surely be lookd upon as a Contempt of 
the Authority of Governm* since Government it self 
is built upon & circumscribd by the Constitution, 
or in other Words to contend for the grand Design & 
Ends for which Governm was originally instituted is 
the best if not the only Way to support its Authority. 
The Colonys were discontented with the Act because 
they thought it overleapt the Bounds of the Consti 
tution that it defeated one of the essential Designs 


qfjGovernm 1 in the Security of Property. l_ If they 
were in an Error it -was an Error of their Judgment/ 
only of which however they have never yet been 
convincd to insinuate that the Opposition to the 
Act was mere pretence & that the Design to the 
Colonys was to weaken the just Authority of Par- 
Ham 1 & by degrees to shake off a constitutional De 
pendence is unsupportable by a single fact or the least 
Shadow of reason ; it is base ungenerous & unjust. 

This Town has always been very carefull during 
the late Times of Calamity to preserve as much as 
possible Good order among its Inhabitants, of which 
they gave an Early Proof when a dangerous Mob 
arose & some Outrages were committed by Persons 
as yet unknown. A good deal of Mischief was done 
as all the World have been told, however after all 
the Exaggerations the whole Dammage is short of 
^4000 but it will appear the less surprizing that 
so much was done when it is considerd that the Mob 
was sudden & unexpected & appeard so furious as 
to occasion a general Consternation, & besides it 
being in the night, it was not easy to distinguish 
between them & the innocent People. Yet the In 
habitants were far from being inactive in their En 
deavors to suppress immediately they made diverse 
Attempts & took every step that could be thought 
of amidst the Confusion. A number went to the 
Gov rs House to take his Excys Orders but he was not 
in town from whence one would conclude that he 
was no more apprehensive of such a tumult from any 
Appearances than others were. If there had been 
any reason to have expected it, we presume his 

iy66l SAMUEL ADAMS. 93 

Exc ys Care for the Peace & Order of the Governm* 
w d have procurd the first Intelligence & that he w d 
have thought it his duty to have been present or 
at least that he w d have taken the necessary Pre 
cautions & given Orders to have prevented it but 
the Inhabitants were left to do the best they could, 
& there is no doubt but much more mischief w d have 
been done if they had not made use of Art & 
Perswasion when they fortunately wanted the Coun 
tenance of his Excys Authority As a town they 
express d their Detestation of such Proceedings 
early the next day and assured the civil Magistrate 
that they were ready to assist to their utmost in 
restoring the Peace of the Town as you will see 
by the inclosd vote & we may venture to assure 
you that the Efforts of Persons of every order & 
Condition in town in Consequence of this Resolution 
was the principal Means of suppressing the Mob 
which was done in one day. Yet we have been 
ungratefully & publickly chargd with being tame 
Spectators of this Outrage & have been told that 
our reputation suffers much in the Opinion of the 
World on this Account. But whatever representa 
tion may have been made to our Prejudice, which 
we think we have some good reason to suspect, our 
most inveterate Enemy dare not openly assert that 
the civil Authority in this County & even thro the 
Province has not as good reason to be assured of 
the Assistance of the People in the legal Exercise 
of Power as in any County in England. 

This leads us to give you an Account of some late 
Occurrences in this Town which is the particular 


.. Occasion of our troubling you with this Letter. A 
few Weeks past the Collector & Comptroller of his 
Majestys Customs for this Port having, as they said, 
an Information that goods illegally imported were 
lodgd in the Custody of one M r Malcomb an In 
habitant of the Town, they accordingly repaird to 
his House accompanied with the Sherriff of the 
County & there demanded an Entry into his Cellars. 
M r Malcomb admitted them into every Apartment, 
saving one which being let he told them the Key 
was not in his Possession. They threatned to enter 
by force, which M r Malcomb told them they must do 
at their Peril however not having sufficient Au 
thority as they apprehended, they then retired, M r 
Malcomb supposing they w d return, determind to 
fasten his house that if they enterd it sh d be 
forceably, being assurd from the Declaration of the 
Person who hired the aforesaid Cellar & his own 
knowlege of the other Apartments that no Countra- 
band Goods were there. The Officers returnd in the 
Afternoon & after some Attempts tho without Violence 
to get an Entry they again retired & came no more. 
His Excy our Gov r has been pleasd to summon 
the Officers & Sherriff before mentiond & some other 
Persons to give their Depositions respecting this 
Matter. The Town thinking it unreasonable & a 
Grievance that Evidences should be taken ex parte 
touching the Conduct of any of their Inhabitants at 
their Meeting Appointed a Com te to wait on the 
Gov r & pray his Excy to give Orders to the Secre 
tary to communicate to the Town Clerk Copys of 
the Depositions, w ch was afterwards done. Upon a 



Perusal of them the Town apprehended that they 
containd a partial Account of the Behavior of the 
People who from mere Curiosity had got together, 
that they tended to corroborate the Designs of our 
Enemy, & might be made the Ground of further 
misrepresentations, & therefore directed their Comt e 
to take the Depositions of other Persons of Credit 
who were present Copys of which together with those 
taken before the Gov r in Council are inclosd. 

It is apprehended that it is his Excys Design to 
transmit his Account of this Matter to the Ministry, 
& therefore the Town beg the favor of you to make 
Enquiry whether he has so done, & in Case he has, 
that you would cause to be laid before the Ministry 
the whole State of the Matter. We have the more 
reason to apprehend that this Step will be taken, 
as things of this Sort have been heretofore done : 
There is a Set of Men in America who are continu 
ally transmitting to the Mother Country odious & 
false Accounts of the Colonys ; which is a Crime 
of the most dangerous Tendency. It is probable 
it has already had its ill Effect in exciting a ground 
less Jealousy in the nation, & may, if not checkd, 
too soon prove fatal to both Countrys. It is not 
long since the Depositions of a Number of Persons 
were clandestinely & illegally taken, in direct terms 
prejudicing the Characters of some Gentlemen of 
fortune & reputation in this Town, and representing 
the Merch ts of the Province in general as setting up 
in Opposition to the Acts of Parliam 1 for the Regu 
lation of Trade, than which nothing can be more 
notoriously false & injurious. One of their De- 


ponents was a Person of the most infamous Charac 
ter, whose name is Richardson. This Fallow has for 
a long time subsisted by the Business of an Informer 
& is said to be such an one as was never encouragd 
under any Administration but such as those Nero 
or Caligula that the Evidence of this detestable 
Person might have its Weight, they gave him the 
Addition of Enquire. We say these Depositions 
were clandestine because they were taken ex parte - 
the Person injurd by them were never notifyd as 
Law & common Equity requires, & the first notice 
they had of them was from their friends on your 
side the Water, after they had made the Impressions 
that were intended. If such mannagements as these 
are allowd, What Man or what Corporation is secure 
from Proscriptions! We must confess that the whole 
Affair in all its Circumstances will appear too trifling 
to claim the Attention of the gov r or the Town, but 
the hopes of defeating the Designs of their Enemys 
& an earnest Desire to stand fair in the Mind of 
their Sovereign & his ministers as well as their 
friends & all good Men at home especially at this 
Juncture : they hope will excuse their giving you 

this Trouble. 1 

I am 

Your most humble servant 

P Order of the Committee. 

P. S. The Town have passed a Vote to reimburst 
any charge in your conducting this Affair 

1 From this point the manuscript draft is not in the autograph of Adams. 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 97 


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

BOSTON Novr n 1766. 


The House of Representatives have receivd 
your several Letters of 28 July, the 6 th Aug 41 & 
19 th Sept r . 2 Your early Care to get their humble 
Address 3 presented to our most gracious Sovereign 
is very agreable to them. It is a great Satisfaction 
to the House, that as this Province is second to no 
one of his Majestys Colonys in Point of Loyalty, 
this publick Testimony of it was the first that arrivd 
on the same Occasion from America. They ac- 
knowlege with all possible Respect & Gratitude the 
Letters they have receivd from their Friends & 
Patrons, & now inclose you their Vote of Thanks to 
several others, whom they had the great Misfortune 
to omit. 

Your Letter of the 6 th of Aug fc mentions Lord 
Darmouth 5 having heard " that this Assembly had 
refusd to make the Indemnification recommended by 
Parliament." The House have the most grateful! 
Sense of his Lordships Concern for us, & beg that 
you would assure his Lordship, that the Informa 
tion he had receivd, was without Grounds. His 
Majestys most gracious & mild Recommendation, 
a Term which his Lordship & our noble & generous 
Patrons took so much Pains to use, was construed 
by the Gov r of this Province into a Requisition pre 
cluding all Deliberation : And his Excy is pleasd 

1 Printed in Massachusetts Stale Papers, p. 101. 

9 Ibid., p. 102. 3 Ibid., pp. 91, 92, 

VOL. I. 7. 


to tell the House 1 that it was expected that Com 
pensation be made to the Sufferers at all Events : 
Such Language from the Chair, to the representa 
tives of a free People, who hold their Right of 
granting their Constituents moneys, uncontroulable, 
must unavoidably be very displeasing; & how far 
it comports with the lenient methods so strongly 
urgd in M r Secretary Conways Letter above a year 
ago, it is needless at present to say. An exact 
Compliance with his Majestys gracious Intentions, 
that every conciliatory Purpose should be pursued, 
could not have faild of producing the most happy 
Effects, in promoting harmony among the several 
Branches of Legislature, ever most earnestly de 
sired, as well as Peace & Quietness among the 
People ; but we are under a Necessity of saying 
that, this Matter of Compensation was always 
mentiond to the House in a Manner derogatory 
to their Honor & in Breach of their Privileges. 
This the House would have been far from mention 
ing now had not his Excy at this Session referrd 
us to his former Speeches on the Subject without 
saying any thing to qualify or soften them. 

The House however was so far from refusing to 
comply with the Kings recommendation, that they 
ever attended to it with the most dutifull respect, 
& referrd the Matter to this Session that in the 
mean time they might have an Opportunity to con 
sult their Constituents, & the Suffer .... make 
Application in a parliamentary Way . . . they 

Governor Bernard to the House of Representatives, June 27, 1766; Mas 
sachusetts State Papers, pp. 94, 95. 

1 766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 99 

have done at this session. The house have in the 
present Session repeatedly & most dispassionately 
considerd M r Secretarys Letter : And observing that 
it is therein declared to be his Majestys most pious 
Resolution that not only Compensation should be 
made to the Sufferers, but the Undutifull Behavior 
of any of his Subjects in the late unhappy times 
should be forgiven & forgot : And being deeply 
impressd with His Majestys Royal Clemency, they 
have framd a Bill for making Compensation & to 
indemnify accordingly. The Bill is publishd by 
Order of the House for the Consideration of the 
People, & there is good reason to expect that the 
Matter will be compleated at our Winter Session. 1 

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


By this Conveyance I have written you in Con 
junction with John Hancock Esq r as a Com 1 of the 
House of Representatives 2 upon a Petition of M r 
Tho s Boylston, who has been a great Sufferer by 
the Mai Conduct of diverse Crown Officers as youl 
see by his papers. I now beg leave as a private 
Individual to acquaint you that his Case is not 
singular. There have been other Instances of the 

1 The bill was finally passed December 6, 1766, and disallowed by the Privy 
Council, May 13, 1767. An elaborate note on the proceedings is in Acts and 
Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts, vol. iv., pp. 931-945. 

3 The manuscript of this letter, consisting of three pages, of which eight lines 
are in the autograph of Adams, is still extant, although privately owned. 

ioo THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

same kind, & if they should multiply, & no re 
dress had, it will not only discourage the Trade 
of America which is really the Trade of Great 
Britain, but also tend to excite a Jealousy in the 
Minds of the People here of the Mother Country 
which every Well wisher to both would carefully 
prevent if possible. Besides as the House have 
written to you that there is good Reason to expect 
that a Compensation to the Sufferers by the late 
Disorders here will be compleated at the Winter 
Session ; When that is done I think a strong Ar 
gument may be deducd therefrom in fav r of M r 
Boylston, for if the Gov 1 here make good the Dam 
ages done to the Officers of the Crown by a Law 
less unknown Rabble, the Justice of the Nation 
will as surely make good the Dammage done to 
a private Subject by their Officers, in Instances, one 
of w ch had but a bare pretence & the other not the 
least Color of Law, especially as in the latter Case 
the Sufferer can have no hopes of Redress but 
from the Lenity of the Government 

Since I have mentiond Compensation, allow me 
to give you a short Acco* of the Manner in which 
that Matter has been conducted here. The Gov r 
first introducd it in a Speech to the House in 
Sept 1 765 1 advising them to make a Compensation 
of their own Accord before any Requisition sh d be 
made to them, to w ch the House replyd that they 
highly disapprovd of the Violences committed, but 
till they were convincd that their making Compen 
sation w d not tend to encourage such Outrages for 

1 September 25, 1765 ; Massachusetts State Papers, p. 42. 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 101 

time to come, & till some good Reason, could be 
assignd, why those Losses sh d be made good, rather 
than, any Damage w ch other Persons on any different 
Occasions m* suffer they could not see their way 
clear & c withal adding that they c d not conceive 
who had any Right to require it of them. 1 

Thus the Matter rested till the next May Session 
when his Excy was displeasd with the two Houses 
for the Elections they had made, 2 & gave them a 
Speech w ch displeasd them as much. At this time 
the Gov r rec d M r Secretary Conways Letter & his 
Majesty s Orders to lay before the Assembly his 
recommendation for making Compensation. The 
Gov r introducd it with another Speech 3 more dis 
pleasing than the former, telling the two Houses 
that they had anticipated the Expectations of the 
King & Parliam* & disappointed them that it was 
not in their Power in so full a Manner to make a 
dutifull & affectionate Return to y e Indulgence of 
the King & Paliamr that they could not avoid 
being chargeable with Unthankfulness on Ground of 
former heats & that it was impossible to give any 
tollerable Coloring to their Proceedings. And in the 
same Speech construing the Kings most gracious 
Recommendation into a Requisition precluding all 

1 October 23, 1765 ; Massachusetts State Papers, p. 48. 

2 The members of the General Court omitted to re-elect to the Council five 
leading members of the government party, Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew 
Oliver, Peter Oliver, Edmund Trowbridge and Benjamin Lynde, all office 
holders, of whom Governor Bernard spoke as the government s "best and 
most able servants, whose only crime is their fidelity to the Crown." 

3 June 3, 1766 ; ibid., p. 81. 

102 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

The House resented this treatm in their Answer. 
However they took the Matter into Consideration & 
acquainted his Excy that they viewd it not as an Act 
of Justice but rather of Generosity, & that they did 
not think they had a Right to dispose of their Con 
stituents Money for such a Purpose without their 
consent. Moreover the Sufferers had not yet applyd 
to them in a parliamentary Way. For these Reasons 
they referrd the further Consideration of the Matter 
to their next Session that they m r consult their Con 
stituents thereupon. After which the Court was pro 
rogued from time to time till the 29 October. 

In this time the People made the Matter of 
Compensation the Topick of their Conversation. 
The Gov rs speeches were publishd & gave them 
great disgust. They were jealous of the Right of 
their Representatives, to make so important a Subject 
as the granting away their Money for such a Purpose, 
a Matter of their own Deliberation & perhaps did not 
so much attend to the Utility of the Measure proposd 
as the Manner in which it was laid before the House 
by the Gov r . This together with another Circum 
stance viz the Sufferers themselves not being the 
most popular men, I am apt to think was the Occa 
sion, that the Generality of the Members of the 
House or rather the Majority of them were instructed 
against making Compensation. 

The Court came together the 29 Ult. & the 
House considerd & debated upon the Subject with 
the greatest Deliberation & Candor. 

The Objections against a Compensation were, 
That Justice did require it as the Province owed the 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 103 

Sufferers Nothing nor was there room for Charity, 
they being not the Objects of it : That the Kings 
Recommendation was grounded on the Opinion & 
resolution of the House of Commons " that we ought 
to make Compensation," but tho the Judgment of 
the House of Commons might be allowd to be supe 
rior in general to that of the House of Representa 
tives, yet this Case might be excepted, they not 
being upon the Spot, & so not acquainted with neces 
sary Circumstances upon which to form a right Judg 
ment ; & therefore no reasonable Exception could be 
taken against the House for not making the Compen 
sation, unless they themselves were of Opinion that 
they ought so to do. Those who were in favor of 
the Question urgd his Majestys very gracious recom 
mendation, & the great Deferrence which ought to 
be paid to it, which was on all sides freely allowd & 
acknowledgd : That the Term recommendation was 
perfectly consistent with our Liberty, upon w ch we 
m* grant our Money freely : That our good Friends 
at home all hoped we should comply, & that our 
Enemys only, hoped we should not : That it was 
of the greatest Importance to both Countrys, that 
a good Understanding & Harmony s hd be preservd 
between Great Britain & her Colonys : And that 
making Compensation w d tend to promote Peace & 
Quietness in the Province. These & other reasons 
were so strongly urgd that the Generality of the 
House seemd to be convincd that it was most eligi 
ble to do it, but the Majority were restraind by In- ~7 
structions to the Contrary, to which in this Country \ 
the strictest regard is had. The House finally agreed 

104 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

upon a Bill to compensate the Sufferers & indemnify 
the offenders w ch appeard to them Exactly conform 
able to His Majestys most benevolent Intentions; 
Which Bill is publishd for the Consideration of the 
People, & it is hoped & expected will pass into a 
Law the next Session. 

I must ask Pardon for taking up so much of your 
Attention & am with very great Esteem 

S r y r most hum 6 Serv 1 

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


I wrote you on the 15 ult by Cap Devenson. I 
then undertook to give you a short Account of the 
several Steps that had been taken by the Gov r & the 
House of Representatives respecting a Compensa 
tion to the late Sufferers the Gen 1 Court was ad- 
journd the 13 & will meet tomorrow on the Day 
of the Adjournm 1 the Gov r communicated to the 
House a Let r he had just rec d from the R Hon the 
Earl of Shelburne in w ch his Lordship tells him, that 
he had rec d his late Letters & their Inclosures & had 
communicated them to his Majesty & that His Ma 
jesty is extremely sorry &C. 1 

You will easily believe that it must be to the great 
est Degree grievous to every loyal & affectionate 
Subject, to be under the Displeasure of Sovereign. 

1 The letter is printed in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 99, 100. 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 105 

And I dare say his Lordships Letter has occasiond 
the utmost Concern in the Mind of every one who 
has seen it, except those who may be supposd to 
have abusd the Province. It is certain that some 
Person has misrepresented us, & many of the best 
sort of People here, are of Opinion that the Person 
who has done it, is under such Obligations to this 
Province as should have made him blush to have 
conceivd a Thought of it. It is often a misfortune 
to the Colonys that those from whom it is expected 
that the most authentic Accounts sh d be transmitted 
of our Character & Circumstances are too much un 
der the Power of Prejudice to be impartial Relators 
of Truth, & yet their Station may be such as easily 
to gain full Credit on your side the Water. You 
cannot wonder Sir that we are very sollicitous to 
know what representations have been made of us 
to His Majesty to occasion his Displeasure, & by 
whom. It seems to be no more than justice that we 
sh d be made acquainted with these things, otherwise 
it is out of the Power of innocent Persons to defend 
themselves against the blackest slander. 

The House of Representatives were told by the 
Gov r in his Speech last May, that they could not 
avoid being chargeable with Unthankfulness to his 
Majesty & the ParlianV on Ground of former heats. 
I never yet heard any good why his Exc y sh d form 
such a Conclusion. It is undeniable that the People 
rec d the News of the repeal of the Stamp Act with 
equal Gratitude & Joy, and the two houses after 
wards met in Gen 1 Assembly with a very happy Dis 
position. It is true their Elections were displeasing 

106 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

to the Gov r , but the Assembly acted agreable to the 
Dictates of their own minds & as they apprehended 
for the publick Good. The Gov r negativd six of 
the Gentlemen elected, 1 as a legal & constitutional 
Power in his hands to maintain the Kings Authority 
ag t what he expressly called an Oppugnation of it. 
It seems y e Assembly omitted several Gen n who had 
before been Councellors, & whom his Excy was very 
fond of upon w ch he was pleasd to tell them, that 
" When the Gov is attackd in form, when there is a 
professd intention to deprive it of its best & ablest 
Serv ts whose only Crime is their fidelity to the Crown 
he could not be indifferent." At the same time he 
declared "that he w d use his utmost Endeavors to 
heal Divisions & bury Animositys." But how easy 
w d it have been to have foreseen that such high re- 
sentm* & sharp Language, must have had a different 
Effect. And so it provd ; for the harmony between 
the Gov r & the People w ch is so necessary for the 
Support of Gov*, & a mutual Confidence w ch was 
greatly interrupted the last year, by means of the Se 
verity of Expression in the Speeches then deliverd, 
seems to me to be irrecoverably lost. But whatever 
Disputes may subsist between y e Gov r & y e People, 
there is most certainly, no ill temper in the least 
Degree prevailing w th regard to his Majesty or the 
Parliam 1 or our happy Connection with the mother 
Country. You are sensible of the Sentiments of y e 
house, expressd in their humble Address to his Maj 
esty, & their Letters to their friends & patrons : You 

1 James Otis as Speaker, and Messrs. Otis, Gerrish, Saunders, Bowers, Spar- 
hawk, and Dexter as Councillors ; May 29, 1766. 

1 766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 107 

may depend upon their Sincerity ; & that no Sever- 
itys here will induce this People to abate their warm 
est Attachm to his Majestys Person family & Gov\ 
their Acknowlegm ts to their illustrious Patrons & their 
affectionate regard to their fellow Subjects in G. B. 
Of this I doubt not you will soon have a fresh In 
stance : for when the Compensation is made, I believe 
it may be truly said that the only motive that c d have 
prevaild in fav r of it, was a sacred Regard to the 
royal recommendation, & a strong desire to gratify 
the Inclinations of our obliging friends. 

It may be necessary before I finish to beg your 
patience while I give you the reasons, w ch probably 
indued the two houses to leave out several Gent of 
undoubted Abilitys who had been Councellors for 
some years before, tho the Assembly differd from 
his Excy in Opinion " that they were quite necessary 
for y e Administrat" of Gov 1 in y e very Stations from 
whence they were displacd." He says that "it must 
& will be understood that they were turnd out for 
their Deferrence to Acts of y e British Legislature." 
His Excy with great Submission ought to have been 
very certain before he gave this as a reason : Indeed 
it must be said he is pretty positive when he adds 
" you will not, you cannot avoid being chargeable 
with unthankfulness on Ground of former heats " and, 
" that it is impossible to give any tollerable Coloring 
to this Proceeding." Now if it was known to our 
friends at home, that there has been for many years 
past a great Uneasiness, that the Lieut Gov r of the 
Province & the Judges of the Superior Court sh d sit 
at the Council Board, as part of the legislative Power, 

io8 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

because it was such a Union of the several Powers of 
Gov 1 in the same Persons, as upon the Principles of 
the best Writers is dangerous to Liberty, I say if this 
was known to our friends, as it was in fact the Case, 
they m* still entertain a favorable Opinion of us, even 
tho they should not approve of our reasoning ; & I 
am perswaded, w d his Majesty be made acquainted 
that the Assembly were governd by such a Motive 
it w d at least serve to remove that Displeasure w ch he 
has discoverd, upon its being represented to him, as 
it is supposd that they acted in Contempt of his 
Authority & left out Gent n for their fidelity to the 
Crown & their Deference to Acts of ParlianV. 

I make no Doubt sir but you will make the best 
Use of the Means your friends may put into your 
Power to vindicate a very loyal but very much injured 
Province & am with strict truth 

Your &c 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library; an incomplete text 
appears in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 132, 133.] 

BOSTON Dec r n 1766 


I have no other Apology for writing a familiar 
Epistle to a Gentleman perfectly a Stranger to me 
than to gratify the request of my good Friend M r 

1 On Gadsden, see E. McCrady, History of South Carolina, 1719-1776, and 
Ibid., 1775-1780, passim. 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 109 

John Hurd who has promisd to deliver this Letter 
with his own hand to him I must refer you, & beg 
you candidly to receive the best Excuse he can make. 
I have indeed often heard, another of my valuable 
friends mention you with great Respect : This Gen 
tleman, M r Otis, had the pleasure of sitting with you 
in the late Congress at New York, & he has fre 
quently told me that you were a zealous Assertor of 
the most important Cause in which the British Colo- 
nys were then struggling. x Happy was it for us that 
a Union was then formd, upon which in my humble 
Opinion the Fate of the Colonys turnd. What a 
Blessing to us has the Stamp Act eventually, or to 
use a trifling word virtually provd, which was calcu 
lated to enslave & ruin us. When the Colonys saw*" 
the common Danger they at the same time saw their 
mutual Dependence & naturally calld in the Assist 
ance of each other, & I dare say such Friendships & 
Connections are establishd between them, as shall 
for the future deter the most virulent Enemy from 
making another ppen Attempt upon their Rights as j 
Men & Subjects. But is there no Reason to fear 
that the Liberty s of the Colonys may be infringd in 
a less observable manner ? The Stamp Act was like 
the sword that Nero wishd for, to have decollated the 
Roman People at a stroke, or like Jobs Sea monster 
in the heightned Language of Young, " who sinks a 
River, & who thirsts again." The Sight of such an 
Enemy at a distance is formidable, while the lurking 
Serpent lies conceald, & not noticd by the unwary 
Passenger, darts its fatal Venom. It is necessary 
then that each Colony should be awake & upon its 


Guard you may ask me what is the Danger I 
answer none from His present Majesty & the Par- 
liamt, in their Intention ^yet such is human Frailty 
that "the best may err sometimes "-V-and consider 
Sir we are remote from the national Parliamt, & un- 
f represented. You are sensible that what are called 

Acts of Trade sensibly affect the Colonys May not 
such Acts be made thro the Inadvertency of our 
friends or for want of suitable Intelligence from the 
Colonys, as may not only injure their Trade but 
wound their Libertys suppose for Instance that 
some time hereafter under the Pretext of Regulating 
Trade only, a revenue should be designd to be raisd 
out of the Colonys, would it signify any thing whether 
it be called a Stamp Act or an Act for the Regulation 
of the Trade of America. I wish there was a Union 
and a Correspondence kept up among the merchts 
thro out the Continent, but I am still upon the Liber 
tys of the Colonys. I should tell you what perhaps 
you know already was I to mention an Act of Par 
liamt I have lately seen, wherein the Gov r & Council 
of any Province where any of his Majestys Troops 
may happen to be are enjoyned to make certain Pro 
vision for them at the Expense of the People of such 
Province. Tell me Sir whether this is not taxing the 
Colonys as effectually as the Stamp Act & if so, either 
we have complaind without Reason, or we have still 
reason to complain. I have heard that George Gren- 
ville was told to his face that he missd it in his poli 
ticks, for he should have stationd a sufficient number 
of Troops in America before he sent the Stamp Act 
among them. Had that been the Case it is possible 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. in 


your Congress mt have been turnd out of Doors. 
New York has had regular troops among them for 
some months. I never could hear a reason given to 
my Satisfaction why they were orderd at least to re 
main there so long ; perhaps I am captious however 
I always lookd upon a standing Army especially in a 
time of peace not only a Disturbance but in every / 
respect dangerous to civil Community. Surely then 
we cannot consent to their quartering among us, & 
how hard is it for us to be obligd to pay our money 
to subsist them. If a number shd happen to come 
into a Province thro Necessity & stand in Need of 
Supplys, as is the Case at present here, is it not a 
Disgrace to us to suppose we should be so wanting in 
humanity, or in regard to our Sovereign as to refuse 
to grant him the aid with our free Consent ? 

I feel a Disposition to hint many things more ; but 
I am at present very much streightened for time & 
besides I am affraid you will think me a very trouble 
some Correspondent; I shall therefore write no more 
till I am encouragd by a Letter from you which will 
very much oblige 

S r y r hum e Serv* 


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

BOSTON Dec r 16 1766 


My last was of the 2 d Ins t . I fear you will think 
me a very troublesome Correspondent!: My only 

f A 

ii2 THE WRITINGS OF [1766 

Inducement to write to you is to let you know Facts 
that take Place here, that you may be the better able 
to defend this Province (for which I am satisfyd you 
have a real Friendship) from Misrepresentations. I am 
very apt to think his Majestys Ministers have some 
times wrong Informations sent to them. This was 
the Case, when Lord Dartmouth was told that the 
Assembly of this Province had refusd to make the 
Compensation recommended by His Majesty. They 
never did refuse it ; & have since done it as you 
will see by the Letter from the House of Represen 

It is probable a specious Account is sent home, of 
a Message from the House to the Council, in w ch the 
House desire to know, by what Authority, Acts of 
Parliam 1 are publishd among the Laws of this Prov 
ince at the Expence of the People ; & possibly 
Occasion will be taken to represent us as casting 
Contempt on the British Legislature. The House are 
[aware of] no Reason for this Message no doubt they 
thought, they had a Right to be consulted in every 
Expence bro t upon their Constituents, even the most 
trifling. The same Reason perhaps indued them to 
enquire whether Provision was made for a Number of 
the Kings Troops lately arrivd here & how. And since 
I have mentiond this Circumstance I would just make 
two Observations, first that the Colonys are under 
Apprehensions of ar-military force to be establishd 
in America, which they look upon as entirely needless 
at present for their Protection, & as dangerous at all 
times to Virtue & Liberty, and secondly, if at any 
time they should happen to arrive in their Way to 

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 113 

their place of Destination, & need Supply, the People 
here would never be unwilling to grant their. Sover 
eign the Aid of their free Accord. They are con- 
cernd that they should be deprivd of this Honor & 
Privilege by an Act of ParlianV which injoyns it to 
be done by the Gov r & Council at their Expence 
this it is apprehended is taxing them as really as was 
designd & w d have been done by the Stamp Act : & 
if so they think they "have as good reason to be un 
easy with this Act as with the other. I sincerely 
wish for the Continuance of a cordial Affection be 
tween the Mother State & her Colonys & I am sure 
nothing will abate it on the part of the Colonys, but 
her Incroachment on her Libertys, of which, as she 
well knows, that of taxing themselves is the most 
essential. Surely she will not blame her Children 
(to take up her own Language) for imitating the 
Parent, who has been for ages past renownd for the 
warmest Attachment to Liberty.- 

The Vessell being just now sailing will not allow 
me to add any more than that I am with Sincerity 
Sir your most humb e Serv* 

Dec r 1 8 th 


Capt Lyde being prevented sailing by a Storm 
gives me an Opportunity of writing further. It is of 
Importance to the Colonys that their Friends should 
be made acquainted with the Grounds of any Dis 
content they may be under with Acts of Parliam* : 
And I may say it is also of Importance to Great 

VOL. I. 8. 

i c 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

Britain her self ; for certainly the best Way for her 
to make her Colonys a real lasting Benefit to her 
is to give them all consistent Indulgence in Trade, & 
to remove any Occasion of their suspecting that 
their Libertys are in danger by the Exertions of the 
Power of Parliament. Their Affection to their Mother 
Country is so great that while they are easy in point 
of Liberty & Trade, nothing can alienate them & as 
to their Trade, the Profits of it center in Britain. 
There is nothing the Colonys are more jealous of 
than the Right of taxing them selves : & this the best 
Judges in the Nation will allow is an essential Right. 
While therefore an Act of ParlianV is in force which 
has the least Appearance of a Design to raise a 
Revenue out of them their Jealousy will be awake. 


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

Mar 1 6 1767 


His Excellency the Gov r of this Province having 
directed the Attendance of the General Assembly, 
at the opening of this Session, as usual in the Coun 
cil Chamber, the House of Representatives were 
surprizd to find the L* Gov r taking a place as a 
Member of the same, in presense of the Governor. 
They judgd it to be a great Impropriety in it self, & 

1 A manuscript copy is in the Lee Papers, vol. i.. pp. 33-35 (Jared Sparks 
collection), Harvard University Library, in the annotations on which it is 
described as a " remarkable letter." The committee which reported this letter 
consisted of Adams, Otis, Hawley, Sheaffe, and Bowers. 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 115 

repugnant to the Constitution & the Letter of the 
Charter ; & therefore highly incumbent on them, in 
the most express & publick Manner to bear their 
Testimony against it. Accordingly they took Oc 
casion to animadvert upon it, in their answer 1 to his 
Excys Speech, which is herewith inclosd together 
with all that has since passd between the Gov r & 
the House upon this very interesting Subject 

Upon a Perusal, you will find, that the House 
observd upon his Honors taking a Seat in the 
General Assembly, when conven d in one place, the 
Gov* being in the Province, & present ; & accord 
ingly they have treated it, in their several Messages 
to the Gov r . His Excy endeavors, in his message 
of Feb 2 to justify the Conduct of the L c Gov r , by 
making a Claim to a Seat in one Branch of the 
Assembly viz in Council. We are of Opinion that 
enough is observd in our reply of Feb, 3 to show 
that it is repugnant to that part of the Charter which 
is designedly declarative of the Gen 1 Court ; from 
the Passage we there recite, it is evident that he is 
not a Member of the General Assembly. & conse 
quently can have no Right to a Seat in either Branch 
of it His Excy is pleasd to say, "that he has always 
understood, that it was countenancd by the Charter, 
for the L c Gov r to have a Seat in Council, "drithout 
a Voice" & referrs the House, by a Report from 
the Secretary, to several Passages in the Charter 
which he apprehends to the Purpose. Let it be just 

1 January 31, 1767 ; Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 103-105. See Thomas 
Hutchinson, History of the Pr<nitut of Masiickuatts Bay, voL iiL, pp. 174-177. 
- February 7th. 3 February i-th. 


observd here that by the Claim of a Seat without a 
Voice, all Pretension to a Right to act in Council, 
& by fair Conclusion to a Seat there is in effect 
given up. The Force of his Excys Reasoning 
seems to be this, The L* Gov r is empowerd by y e 
Charter equally with the Gov r , while his Excy is in 
the Province to administer the Oaths to the re- 
turnd Members : In order to execute that Trust, 
he must necessarily meet them on the Day when 
they are returnd & met to form the Gen 1 Assembly : 
And, because the Duty of his Trust must bring him 
amongst the Representatives, before they themselves 
are qualifyd to sit & act in General Assembly, there 
fore that Power or Authority gives him a Right to 
a Place & Seat in Council at all times during the 
Being of the Gen 1 Assembly, altho the full Exercise 
of that Power must end & be determind, & the 
Trust fully dischargd, before the Representatives 
themselves have a Right to take a place, or do 
any one Act in Gen 1 Assembly & consequently be 
fore the Gen 1 Assembly exists. The Absurdity of 
this way of reasoning, we think must be obvious 
to every man. Is it not as rational to inferr, that 
because the L* Gov r has Power equal with the Gov 
ernors, in the Case mentioned, therefore he has a 
Right to take the Chair, & to hold out the Gov r , 
during the whole Being of the Gen 1 Assembly ? The 
latter is surely as plainly countenancd and included 
in the Premises as the former. And as it is said 
that, in that Paragraph, he has given to him an 
immediate original & inherent Right to administer 
the Oaths to the returnd Members of the House, 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 117 

it may be Matter of curious Enquiry, why it is 
chosen as a Consequence, that a Right to a Place 
or Seat in Council is thereby given, rather than a 
Right to a Seat in the House of Representatives. 
According to this Manner of deducing Inferrences, 
any one may, among the infinite Variety of Pro 
positions, altogether foreign to any given Premises, 
take an absolute & arbitrary Liberty, to infer some 
one favorite Conclusion rather than any other, which 
may not so well suit his humour or Interest. When 
the Imagination is sufferd to rove at Random, & 
Phantoms are made use of to establish Power & 
Authority supported neither by the Charter nor 
by Reason or Necessity, it is not easy to conceive, 
why a Right of still higher Importance, than a Seat 
zvithout a Voice, was not imagind : It was full as 
easy to collect from the Charter, a Right in the 
L Gov r , as such, to a Voice, in Council, or in the 
House of Representatives, or in either, as should 
best suit his Fancy, or in each at different times : 
But perhaps it was judgd prudent to begin with 
lesser Claims, & gradually to advance to greater, 
as imaginary Countenances sh d become more fa 

But should it be admitted that there are ever so 
many Clauses in the Charter, tantamount to the 
most ample Writ of Dedimus Potestatem to the L 
Gov r , giving him the most extensive Authority to 
administer the Gov Oaths to the Freeholders re- 
turnd, & that he has by the Charter even a sole, 
original, direct, immediate & permanent Power given 
to him to administer, the Oaths, to the Gov r and to 


the Council, & all executive Officers, & also the 
Oaths of Office proper for them to take, before 
they enter upon the Execution of their Trust ; and 
further, even admitting that he has Power to ad 
minister the Gov Oaths, to all his Majestys Sub 
jects coming to & residing in the Province, with a 
Power of substituting whomsoever he pleases. The 
whole is but an execittive & ministerial Power, & 
has not the least Connection with a Right to a Seat 
or place in the Gen 1 Assembly ; nor can it have any 
Affinity or Relation to a right to a Seat in the legis 
lative Body or any Branch of it. 

Would any one be thought in his Senses, who 
sh d pretend that because a ministerial officer by 
Virtue of the Kings Writ directed to him should 
have Power & Authority to enter the Dwelling of 
another to summon him to appear at any Court, 
that thereby a Right was given to such Officer to 
take a place or Seat in such house & hold & occupy 
the same ? As well may it be argued, that any 
Person having Authority by Writ of Dedimus to 
administer the Office Oaths to any office belonging, 
has a Right, by such Writ & Authority, to exercise 
the Power & perform the function proper to the 
Person to whom he is thus authorizd to administer 
the Oaths. Surely whoever should claim such Right 
& Power upon such Grounds, must appear to have 
a warm Imagination, or an excessive Love of Power. 

The first Passage in the Charter to which his Excy 
referrs us, as we before observd, is that where the 
Representatives returnd to the Gen 1 Assembly are 
required to take the Oaths "before the Gov r or 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 119 

L t or Deputy Gov r , or any two of the Councellors 
or Assistants who shall be thereunto authorizd & 
appointed by the GovV The Sense of which must 
be, Either that the L l Gov r has a direct original 
& permanent Power while the Gov r is in the Prov 
ince ; Or, that he is impowrd only in the Absence 
of the Gov r : or that his Power is by Dedimus from 
the Gov r , like that of any two of y e Councellors or 
Assistants. The first appears to be an unnecessary 
& unnatural Construction. It supposes an Equality 
of Persons, in every other Respect unequal : It gives 
the L Gov r a Power of acting, with Authority, in 
one Case, equal to that of the Gov r , while he is in 
the Province. The Charter declares that he shall 
have Power & Authority " to do & execute all & 
every such Matters & Things which the Govern" 
might or could lawfully do if he ivere present ; which 
plainly intends that the L* Gov rs Power to act as 
Gov r in any Case, commences & is limited, during 
the Absence of the Gov r . If the Charter intends to 
vest the L l Gov r , in this Instance, with Authority 
equal to that of the Gov r , & the Right of giving the 
Oaths & c is inherent in him, as L* Gov r , the Gov r 
being present, it would be natural to expect that he 
would also, be vested with the same Power of Sub 
stitution, But he is not. 

There is another similar Passage in the Charter, 
which requires all officers elected, to take the Oaths 
& c "before the Gov r the L l or Deputy Gov r , or any 
two or more Councellors ; or such other Person or Per 
sons as shall be appointed thereto by the Gov r ." Now 
if the L Gov r hath an original Right in the one Case, 

120 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

so have the two or more Councellors in the other ; 
the Mode of Expression in both being the same, 
which we must suppose, will be thought to prove too 
much. From all which we think it most natural to 
conclude, that the Power in this Case as in all others, 
is vested in the L c Gov r only in the Absense of the 
Gov r . And at other times it may be delegated to 
him, as it may to the Councellors or any other Per 
son or Persons, by Appointm t from the Gov r . 

Another Passage in the Charter referrd to, is that 
which requires the Gov r , before he undertakes the 
Execution of his Office, to take the Oaths before the 
L l Gov r . But not to mention, that the Gov r ap 
pointed, is not compleatly qualifyd, till he takes the 
Oaths ; & so is not Gov r , & therefore may well be 
considerd as absent ; we need only observe, that the 
Act of giving the Oaths to a Gov r has no Relation 
to a Gen 1 Assembly : It may be done at a time when 
there is really no Gen 1 Assembly existing ; and con 
sequently the Person administering them, cannot be 
considerd to be acting as a Member of the Gen 1 

We are the more astonishd at this Attempt of 
the L l Gov r as at his own Desire he has been so 
lately admitted to the floor of the House, & there 
publickly acknowledgd the generous Compensation 
granted him for his Losses & Sufferings in the late 
times of universal Distress Despair & of Course of 
great Confusion : At the same time he gave the 
highest Assurances of his Affection for his native 
Country, & of the fresh Obligations he felt himself 
under to support the Rights Liberties & Privileges- 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 121 

of his Countrymen : After all this it is truly surpris 
ing that he sh d , make an Attack upon the Charter, & 
endeavor to support a Claim joyntly with his Excy 
which if they attain their Ends has a manifest tend 
ency very unduly to influence & alter if not totally 
to subvert the free Legislative of the Province. 1 

Another Clause or Part of the Charter, which 
tho not taken Notice of in the Secretarys Report 
before mentioned, has been chosen by the zealous 
Advocates for this new vampd Claim of the L Gov 
ernor, as at least countenancing, if not supporting it, 
is that early Passage which ordains, that " there be 
one Gov r , one L c or Deputy Gov r & one Secretary of 
our Province or Territory to be from time to time 
appointed & commissiond by us our Heirs & Succes 
sors & Eight & twenty Assistants or Councellors to 
be advising & assisting to the Gov r of our said Prov 
ince or Territory for the time being as by these pres 
ents is hereafter directed & appointed which said 
Councellors or Assistants are to be constituted elected 
& chosen in such form & manner as hereafter in these 
presents is expressd." This Clause, they say, being 
read without Points, as it stands in the original Char 
ter, admits of the following Construction, viz, That 
the L Gov r is thereby most plainly appointed ordaind 
& authorizd, to be advising & assisting to the Gov r , 
as the said Councellors or Assistants ; & hence they 
inferr, a strange & unnatural Consequence, that the 
L e Gov r has a Right to a Seat in Council, as part of 

1 In the text as printed in the Journal of the House for 1766-1767, pp. 393- 
404, this paragraph is the fourth from the end, and there are certain other 

122 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

the Gen 1 Court or Assembly. It would be surprising, 
were it not a common thing, that for the sake of 
maintaining a darling point, Men of good Sense & 
Judgment should seriously contend for so unfair an 
Exposition of plain Words, & such a foreign & arbi 
trary Consequence from them. Does it not plainly 
& beyond Question appear, Who the Persons are, 
that in the aforementiond Passage, are ordaind to 
be " advising & assisting " to the Gov r by the Appella 
tion given to them ? Is not the Duty & Business of 
" advising and assisting " clearly intimated by their 
being called Counsellors or Assistants ? Is not the 
office of advising & assisting, plainly appropriated & 
limited to the Persons denominated Councellors & 
Assistants ? And would any unprejudicd Person be 
at a Loss for the Meaning, if there was Nothing else 
in the Charter to determine the Sense ? But it is 
evident from other parts of the Charter, who the Per 
sons are, who, in this Clause, are ordaind to be advis 
ing & assisting to the Gov r ; the Clause itself says, 
44 they are authorizd thereto as is hereafter directed & 
appointed " ; now all the matters & things, mentiond 
in any succeeding parts of the Charter, wherein any of 
the Persons mentiond are by the tenor thereof 
to be advising & assisting the Gov r are restraind & 
appropriated, to the Eight & twenty Assistants or 
Councellors, or seven of them at least. The L e Gov r 
is not once named : The Duty & Business is clearly 
assignd & limitted to the Assistants or Councellors ; 
which determins beyond Dispute, who the Persons 
are, who in this Clause are designd to be advising & 
assisting to the Gov r . But if the most extensive 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 123 

Sense contended for by these Gentlemen were ad 
mitted as the genuine meaning of this Clause, would 
the Conclusion they are sollicitous of making, be just, 
& their darling Point, viz a right in the L Gov r to 
a seat & place in Council, as a Branch of the Gen 1 
Court be thereby establishd ? Nothing is more evi 
dent, than that none of the Persons, be they who 
they may, that by the recited Clause, are ordaind to 
be advising & assisting to the Gov r are thereby con 
stituted to belong to the Gen 1 Assembly or any part 
of it, not even the Gov r himself : There is nothing 
said of the Gen 1 Assembly in the Clause, nor is the 
Gen 1 Court or Assembly of the Province of the 
Massachusetts Bay so much as mentiond in any pre- 
ceeding part of the Charter, or any thing that has 
the least Connection with it. The Gen 1 Court of the 
Province is wholly created erected & ordaind in the 
succeeding parts of it ; & there, the Persons of whom 
the Gen 1 Court was to consist are plainly and defin 
itely designated & declared, with express purpose & 
design, that there might be no Doubt or Uncertainty 
concerning the integral parts of the same. Even the 
Gov r himself is not an integral part of that Body, by 
Virtue of the above recited Clause, or any other 
Clause of the Charter preceeding those Parts of it 
w ch designedly erect & constitute the Gen 1 Assembly, 
or are descriptive of it. It must therefore appear 
absurd to attempt to support & establish the L 
Gov rs Claim or Right to a Seat or place in the Coun 
cil as a Part or Branch of the Gen 1 Assembly from 
the recited Clause or any Words of it, because, as is 
before observd neither the Clause nor any Words in 

i2 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

it have any Relation or referrence to the General 

His Excy in his message of the 21 Feb communi 
cated to the House a Letter he had rec d from the L 
Gov r upon this subject, a copy of which is inclosed. 
His Honor begins with saying " I waited on your 
Excy to Council, the first Day of the Session of the 
Gen 1 Court to testify my Respect to your Person & 
to do Honor to the Commission you sustain." If it 
was proper for his Honor to take this Occasion to tes 
tify his Respect to his Excys Person & to do honor to 
his Commission, it would have been equally so, in any 
other Officer holding a Commission under the Crown. 
We cannot but observe that if this was the sole Reason 
of his making his appearance at that time & place, 
there was a great impropriety in his taking the Seat 
of a Councellor and besides, if his Honor designd 
only a mark of Civility & respect to the Gov r , his 
Excy has mistaken the case & aims at supporting a 
Claim which his Honor never designd to make. His 
Honor goes on, " I had frequently been present in 
Council since last Election, & not one member of 
either House ever intimated to me that he was in the 
least Degree dissatisfyd with it." His Honor has 
sometimes been present in Council since the last 
Election, when his Excy was not there, & therefore 
his Appearance then we presume could not be designd 
to show a respect to his Excys Person & c ; However 
the House never Before the Instance referrd to knew 
it in a parliamentary way : We cannot answer for the 
Omission of the Hon Board; but, with pleasure, we 
find that they have since unanimously resolvd that 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 125 

the L Gov r has not a constitutional Right to a seat 
in Council as by their inclosd Vote. " I supposd, 
says his Honor, that there were several Parts of the 
Charter which gave Countenance to it, & that there 
was no part which renderd it improper." This we 
have already in part taken notice of : It is astonishing 
to us, that a Gentleman of his Honors acknowledgd 
Abilities should adopt either of those sentiments. 
There is nothing in the Charter which gives the least 
Countenance to it : And if it is only considerd that 
the Charter limits the number of Councellors to 
twenty eight, & declares of no other Person as Coun 
cellors but such as are elected by the Gen 1 Assembly & 
approvd of by the Gov r , the Impropriety of any other 
Person, of what Character or Station so ever taking 
a seat at the Board must be obvious from the Char 
ter, if what is directly repugnant to it is to be deemd 
an Impropriety. His Honor says " I knew that im 
mediately upon the arrival of the Charter it was the 
Sense of the Gen 1 Court that the L* Gov r had a right 
to be present in Council." We are utterly at a Loss 
to conceive where his Honor gathers the sense of 
the Gen 1 Assembly : There is no Record of it in their 
Books. His Honor indeed mentions a " contempo 
raneous Exposition when the Persons who sollicited 
the Charter & were consulted in framing every part 
of it were then in the Province, together with an un 
interrupted Practice for forty years immediately upon 
it, as sufficient to justify him." No Precedents can 
justify against a manifest Impropriety, & a direct re 
pugnancy to the Constitution & the Letter as well as 
the plainest & necessary sense of the Charter. His 

126 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

Honor goes on " I was not insensible that one & 
but one L* Gov r , my immediate Predecessor, had not 
sat in Council, & I had heard that the Gent n who 
was then Gov r excluded him ; but I heard at the 
same time that this was lookd upon as a mere Act of 
Power, admitting or excluding a L e Gov r , whenever 
the Gov r thought proper." His Honor is here under 
some mistake : Coll Phips was not actually excluded, 
but held out by Gov r Belcher ; by whom Coll Taylor 
had been before excluded. We cannot easily con 
ceive what his Honor intends by a mere Act of 
Power, as we have no Idea of mere Power in the 
Body politick distinct or separate from Right. If 
it was an unwarrantable Act in Gov r Belcher, is 
it not strange that those Gent n should submit to it, 
especially as his Excy tells us they resented it ? Is it 
not still more strange that Coll Phips should not 
revive his claim after M r Belchers Removal, especially 
as M r Shirley who succeeded him was a Gent emi 
nent for his skill in Law, & the Constitution ? Sir 
William Phips, the first Gov r under the present 
Charter, & who brot it with him, was eminent, rather 
for his Integrity & good Fortune than great Abilities. 
It must be his Administration that afforded the con 
temporaneous Exposition which his Honor mentions : 
Doct r Mather a minister of one of our Churches, 
" sollicited" the Charter in Eng d ; & livd in Sir W ms 
time ; how far the minister then thought proper to 
"consult "the Doct r in " framing" the Charter, we 
are not able to say ; this Gent n shone as a Divine 
but not as a Lawyer. Gov r Dudley succeeded Gov r 
Phips : The attention of the Gov c was in his time 
taken up in the Cares of the War in which the 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 127 

Nation was then involvd after him came Govr 

Shute & Burnett, both whose Administrations were 
short, & unfortuneately perplexd with a Dispute of 
another kind ; Gov r Belcher succeeded Gov r Bur 
nett, & he excluded the L e Gov r from a seat at the 
Board. It appears then that M r Belcher was the 
first Gov r , who had either Knowlege, or Leisure 
or Spirit enough to dispute the Right of a Deputy 
Gov r to a seat in Gov fc , when he himself was in the 
Province ; & it is an Evidence that it was then 
thought & has been ever since till now, not an un 
warrantable Act, or as his Honor expresses it u a 
mere act of Power" that for near forty years past 
the L e Gov re have either receded from the Claim, or 
have been held out, but we rather apprehend that it 
was a Practice that crept in, thro Inattention in those 
times than a Right set up & claimd. It is not then 
" the opinion of a single Gov r , but of three at least 
namely, M r Belcher, M r Shirley & M r Pownal who 
came after him all of them Gent n of Learning & one 
of them, as we have observd before, eminent in the 
Profession of the Law. His Honor says, that his 
Excy " never signifyd to him that his Presence in 
Council was disagreable to him." We are sensible 
by his Excys Message that it is not : And we are the 
more surprisd at it, because in our humble opinion, 
the L l Gov r taking a Seat in the Gov e while his Excy 
is in the Province, is by no means showing a Respect 
to his Person or doing honor to his Cofnission and 
it is astonishing to us that his Excy sh d appear to 
vindicate a Claim, which so nearly affects his own 
Honor & Right, as comissiond by his Majesty to be 
Com d in Chief, as well as the Right of the other 

i 2 8 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

Branches of the Gen 1 Court, & of the People, over 
which he presides & governs. His Honor expresses 
his very great Concern "that any thing that relates 
to him, sh d occasion a Difference in Sentiment be 
tween his Excy & the House of Rep ves , at a time 
when every man of every order, ought to contribute 
all that is in his Power to the Restoration of Har 
mony & Tranquility." This might have been pre 
vented, had not his Honor thought fit, at this Juncture, 
to stir up a Claim, founded only on Precedents which 
had slept for near forty years. Precedents alto 
gether unsupportable & which were no sooner objected 
to, than receded from & given up. If his Honor 
means by "the restoration of Harmony & Tranquility" 
a silent & supine submission to an unreasonable & un 
constitutional Claim, we could not wish for it upon 
terms which we think derogatory to the Honor of 
our Sovereign, under whom we hold our Charter, as 
well as the Cofhission which his Excy sustains under 
his Majesty ; and inconsistent with the Duty we owe 
to our Constituents & Posterity to preserve and main 
tain the Rights of that Charter sacred & inviolate. 
Neither this House nor the People are disposd to do 
anything to disturb the publick Tranquility unless it 
is supposed to be done by a necessary adherence to 
& a manly & firm Defence of our constitutional 
Rights & Privileges. His Honor is grieved that " so 
respectable a Body have passd so heavy a judgm 1 
upon his Conduct, without giving him an opportunity 
of justifying or excusing it." If he had thot proper 
to desire the Audience of the House upon the Affair, 
either in person or by Proxy it w d not, he knows it 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 129 

c d not be denyd him, And truly the House m l reason 
ably have expected to have heard from him, upon a 
matter of this Nature & Importance ; Neither our 
Doors nor our Ears ever were or could be shut ag l 
any Pet s or memorial he m* think fit to preferr. In 
stead of w ch he chose to keep himself at a Distance & 
leave it to be negotiated by the Gov r & the Secretary 
with the House. 

We cannot but think this Attempt of his Honor 
the more unnatural as he has so long enjoyd every 
Honor & Favor in the Power of his native Country 
to confer upon him. Some of his high offices are so 
incompatible with others of them, that in all proba 
bility they never will hereafter be, as they never were 
heretofore thus accumulated by any man. This Gen 1 
was for years together L Gov r , Councellor, Chiefe 
Justice of the Provinces & a Judge of the Probate. 
Three of these lucrative as well as honorary Places 
he now enjoys & yet is not content. It is easy to 
conceive how undue an influence the two first must 

The office of a Chief Justice is most certainly in 
compatible with that of a Politician. The cool & 
impartial administrat" of common justice can never 
harmonize with the meanders & windings of a modern 
Politician. The Integrety of the Judge may some 
times embarrass the Politician, but there is infinitely 
more Danger in the long run of the Politician spoil 
ing the good & upright Judge. This has often been 
the Case & in the Course of things may be expected 

As the Gov r & the L r Gov r now firmly persist in 

VOL. I. Q. 

130 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

the Claim & his Excy seems determine! to make a 
representation of this matter home : it is incumbent 
upon us to be particularly attentive to it, tho both of 
them have in Effect desird the present House to remain 
quiet & inactive. We must therefore earnestly rec 
ommend it to you to make it a matter of your spe 
cial Care, & if any Stir should be made about it in 
Eng d , that you w d use your utmost endeavors to pre 
vent any Determination thereon till we can be heard, 
or otherwise that you make the best use you can of 
the papers inclosd. 


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

Pro of Massachusetts Bay 
Boston March 18 1767 


The House of Representatives have taken into 
Consideration your Letter of the 5 of June last. The 
only part of it which concerns either their Justice or 
Honor to take notice of, is that which relates to 
a sufficient & ample Reward for your Services as 
Agent for the Province, in considering which they 
would not willfully err. The Truth is, you have 
always considerd the receiving & paying the Pro 
vince Money as a Business distinct from your Agency, 
& consequently, the Commissions as distinct from 
an allowance for the services of your agency, & 
from thence you inferr, what w d have been much 
beneath the Honor of a house of Representatives, 

1 This letter was read and approved March 19, 1767, when the House ordered 
the Treasurer to draw on Mauduit, in favor of John Hancock, for the balance 
due from the agent, ,1,412:17:6^. 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 131 

that they "studied to affront" you by offering you 
so small a Sum as ^100 a year. The House always 
conceivd otherwise ; they lookd upon you altogether 
in the Light of an Agent ; & had you not been in 
that Capacity, their money w d never have passd 
thro your Hands they therefore considerd what 
was an adequate Reward to your merit, & concluded 
that ^"600 sterling p ann \v d be an ample retalliation 
for your Services & Expences : As therefore you 
had chargd your Commission, the house considerd 
it as so much paid, & determind upon ^"100 a year 
to make up the annual allowance of ^600. Very 
rightly therefore they told you in their former Letter 
that they had allowd you double of what they had 
ever allowd your Predecessor. 1 M r Bollan never was 
allowd more than 300 some times no more than 200 
a year for his Services it is true as he left his 
family & Business to prosecute the Affairs of the 
province it was judgd reasonable to allow his Ex 
pences in London. Your Expences you say have 
amounted to ^300 yearly it remains then that you 
have rec d for your services, equal to the most that 
the Gov 1 ever allowd M r Bollan viz ^"300 a year. 
The House upon the most impartial Consideration 
are of opinion that this is a Sum, by no means de 
rogatory to their Honor to offer in full for your 
Services ; & therefore cannot but conclude that when 
you take Leisure to consider calmly of it you will 
think it perfectly consistent with your Reputation to 
accept of it. We cannot close without observing to 
you that by means of your protesting the Drafts of 

1 This sentence is crossed out in the draft. 

132 THE WRITINGS OF [1767 

our Treasurer, when you had more than sufficient in 
your hands to honor them & pay your self, this Gov- 
ernm t have been put to the Charge of nearly ^100 
sterling which youl please to reflect upon at your 
Leisure. Read & accepted 

[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 139, 140.] 

Boston, May 9, 1767. 

SIR: Your favor of loth February and gih March 
came to hand. It gives me the greatest satisfaction 
to find that this Province stands in an agreeable 
point of light with the Ministry and the Parliament, 
and I hope with our gracious Sovereign himself. 
The nation has no reason to be offended with us, 
or to entertain any jealousy of us. We are naturally 
attached to the people of Great Britain. We esteem 
them, not barely as fellow-subjects, but as brethren 
of the same blood. We can look back a few years, 
and find the same men the fathers of us all. Why 
then should Britain hate America, or they envy her ? 
Our dependence is mutual;; our interest is undivided ; 
one cannot be sensibly injured, but the other must 
feel it. 

I now send you the journal of the House for the 
remaining part of the year. 1 You will find in the be 
ginning of February some messages between the 
Governor and the House relating to the supply of 
about seventy of his Majesty s troops, arrived here 
last fall. Heretofore it has been the practice of this 

1 On December 9, 1766, the Clerk of the House, Adams, was directed to 
supply De Berdt with a copy of its journal. 

1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 133 

government to make provision in such cases by an 
act of their own. Thus they granted to their sov 
ereign the necessary aid of their own free accord, 
which was strictly constitutional ; and I am satisfied 
the people would always be ready cheerfully to make 
such grants upon all future occasions. Does not 
an act of Parliament made to oblige us in this case 
deprive us of our honor as well as our right, and \ 
imply a mistrust of us in the mother country ? It * 
is probable some persons here had induced the 
Ministry to believe it would have been refused by 
us, and argued from thence the necessity of the 
Parliament s interfering. But there is no room for 
such a suggestion. If the question should at any 
time be put, I am persuaded the people would show 
their loyalty in this as they have done in all other 
requests. I wish, if our enemies should put an ill 
construction upon this matter, it might be thus ex 
plained, for it is the truth. The House made you 
a grant for your services for one year, as you will 
see by the journal of March. 1 His Excellency did 
not think proper to sign it ; perhaps he will as 
sign the reason at the May session, when it will 
no doubt be again considered. 

Your constant endeavors to serve this people merit 
their warmest gratitude as well as an ample recom 
pense ; and I hope, sir, you will not fail of an infinitely 
better reward than it is in their power to give you. 

I am, with very great esteem, sir, 

Your sincere friend and humble servant, 

1 March 17, 1767 ; 200 for services to the House during the year ending 
November 5, 1766. 

134 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 124-133 ; a text is in Prior Documents^ pp. 
167-175, and in the Boston Gazette, April 4, 1768.] 


Since the last sitting of the General Court, divers 
acts of Parliament, relating to the colonies, have ar 
rived here ; and as the people of this province had 
no share in the framing those laws, in which they 
are so deeply interested, the House of Representa 
tives, who are constitutionally entrusted by them, as 
the guardians of their rights and liberties, have 
thpught it their indispensable duty, carefully to peruse 
them ; and having so done, to point out such mat 
ters in them, as appear to be grievous to their con 
stituents, and to seek redress. 

The fundamental rules of the constitution are the 
"grand security of all British subjects ; and it is a se 
curity which they are all equally entitled to, in all 
parts of his Majesty s extended dominions. ^ The su 
preme legislative, in every free state, derives its power 
from the constitution ; by the fundamental rules of 
which, it is bounded and circumscribed. As a legis 
lative power is essentially requisite, where any powers 
of government are exercised, it is conceived, the sev 
eral legislative bodies in America were erected, be 
cause their existence, and the free exercise of their 
power, within their several limits, are essentially 
important and necessary, to preserve to his Majesty s 

1 Under this usual title will be cited " A Collection of Interesting, Authen 
tic Papers . . . from 1764 to 1775." London, printed for J. Almon, 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 135 

subjects in America^ the advantages of the funda 
mental laws of the constitution. 

When we mention the rights of the subjects in" 
America, and the interest we have in the British con 
stitution, in common with all other British subjects, 
we cannot justly be suspected of the most distant 
thought of an independency on Great Britain. Some, 
we know, have imagined this of the colonists, and 
others may, perhaps, have industriously propagated 
it, to raise groundless and unreasonable jealousies of 
them ; but it is so far from the truth, that we appre 
hend the colonies would refuse it if offered to them, 
and would even deem it the greatest misfortune to be 
obliged to accept it. They are far from being insen 
sible of their happiness, in being connected with the 
mother country, and of the mutual benefits derived 
from it to both. It is, therefore, the indispensable 
duty of all, to cultivate and establish a mutual har 
mony, and to promote the intercourse of good offices 
between them ; and while both have the free enjoy 
ment of the rights of our happy constitution, there 
will be no grounds of envy and discontent in the one, 
nor of jealousy and mistrust in the other. 
/It is the glory of the British constitution, that it 
nath its foundation in the law of God and nature. It *~\ 
is an essential, natural right, that a man shall quietly 
enjoy, and have the sole disposal of his own property. V 
This right is adopted into the constitution. This 
natural and constitutional right is so familiar to the 
American subjects, that it would be difficult, if possible, 
to convince them, that any necessity can render it just, 
equitable and reasonable, in the nature of things, 


that the Parliament should impose duties, subsidies, 
talliages, and taxes upon them, internal or external, 
for the sole purpose of raising a revenue. The rea 
son is obvious ; because, they cannot be represented, 
and therefore, their consent cannot be constitution 
ally had in Parliament./ 

When the Parliament, soon after the repeal of the 
stamp act, thought proper to pass another act, 1 declar 
ing the authority, power, and right of Parliament, to 
make laws that should be binding on the colonies, 
in all cases, whatever, it is probable that acts for levy 
ing taxes on the colonies, external and internal, 
were included ; for the act made the last year, 2 im- 
-posing duties on paper, glass, &c. as well as the 
sugar acts 3 and the stamp act, are, to all intents and 
purposes, in form, as well as in substance, as much 
revenue acts, as those for the land tax, customs and 
excises in England. The necessity of establishing 
a revenue in America, is expressly mentioned in the 
preambles ; they were originated in the honorable 
House of Commons, as all other money and revenue 
bills are ; and the property of the colonies, with the 
same form, ceremony and expressions of loyalty and 
duty, is thereby given and granted to his Majesty, 
as they usually give and grant their own. But we 
humbly conceive, that objections to acts of this kind, 
may be safely, if decently made, if they are of a dan 
gerous tendency in point of commerce, policy, and 
the true and real interest of the whole empire. It 
may, and if it can, it ought to be made to appear, that 
acts are grievous to the subject, burthensome 

1 6 Geo. III., chap. 12. 2 7 Geo. III., chap. 46. 3 4 Geo. III., chap. 1.5. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 137 

to trade, ruinous to the nation, and tending on the 
whole to injure the revenue of the Crown. And 
surely, if such mighty inconveniencies, evils, and mis 
chiefs, can be pointed out with decency and perspi 
cuity, there will be the highest reason not only to 
hope for, but fully to expect redress. 
/ It is observable, that though many have disregarded 
life, and contemned liberty, yet there are few men who 
do not agree that property is a valuable acquisition, 
which ought to be held sacred. Many have fought, and 
bled, and died for this, who have been insensible to 
all other obligations. Those who ridicule the ideas of 
right and justice, faith and truth among men, will put 
a high value upon money. Property is admitted to 
have an existence, even in the savage state of nature. --/ 
The bow, the arrow, and the tomahawk ; the hunting 
and the fishing ground, are species of property, as 
important to an American savage, as pearls, rubies, 
and diamonds are to the Mogul, or a Nabob in the 
East, or the lands, tenements, hereditaments, mes 
suages, gold and silver of the Europeans. And if 
property is necessary for the support of savage life, it 
is by no means less so in civil society. The Utopian 
schemes of levelling, and a community of goods, are 
as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all 
property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in 
our government unconstitutional. Now, what prop 
erty can the colonists be conceived to have, if their 
money may be granted away by others, without their 
consent ?/This most certainly is the present case ; 
for they were in no sense represented in Parliament, 
when this act for raising a revenue in America was 

138 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

made. The stamp act was grievously complained of 
by all the colonies ; and is there any real difference be 
tween this act and the stamp act ? They were both 
designed to raise a revenue in America, and in the 
same manner, viz. by duties on certain commodities. 
The payment of the duties imposed by the stamp act, 
x might have been eluded by a total disuse of the 
stamped paper ; and so may the payment of these 
s^ duties, by the total disuse of the articles on which 
they are laid ; but in neither case, without difficulty. 
"Therefore, the subjects here, are reduced to the hard 
{ alternative, either of being obliged totally to disuse 
articles of the greatest necessity, in common life, or to 
pay a tax without their consent. 

The security of right and property, is the great end 
of government. I Surely, then, such measures as tend 
to render right and property precarious, tend to de 
stroy both property and government ; for these must 
stand and fall together. It would be difficult, if pos 
sible, to show, that the present plan of taxing the 
colonies is more favorable to them, than that put in 
use here, before the revolution. It seems, by the 
event, that our ancestors were, in one respect, not in 
so melancholy a situation, as we, their posterity, are. 
In those times, the Crown, and the ministers of the 
Crown, without the intervention of Parliament, de 
molished charters, and levied taxes on the colonies, at 
pleasure. Governor Andross, in the time of James II. 
declared, that wherever an Englishman sets his foot, 
all he hath is the King s ; and Dudley declared, at the 
Council Board, and even on the sacred seat of justice, 
that the privilege of Englishmen, not to be taxed 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 139 

without their consent, and the laws of England, would 
not follow them to the ends of the earth. It was, 
also, in those days, declared in Council, that the King s 
subjects in New England did not differ much from 
slaves ; and that the only difference was, that they 
were not bought and sold. But there was, even in 
those times an excellent Attorney General, Sir Wil 
liam Jones, 1 who was of another mind ; and told King 
James, that he could no more grant a commission to 
levy money on his subjects in Jamaica, though a con 
quered island, without their consent, by an Assem- 
bly, than they could discharge themselves from their 
allegiance to the English Crown. But the misfor 
tune of the colonists at present is, that they are taxed 
by Parliament, without their consent. This, while the 
Parliament continues to tax us, will ever render our 
case, in one respect, more deplorable and remediless, 
under the best of Kings, than that of our ancestors 
was, under the worst. They found relief by the inter 
position of Parliament. But by the intervention of 
that very power, we are taxed, and can appeal for re 
lief, from their final decision, to no power on earth ; 
for there is no power on earth above them, j 
/ The original contract between the King and the 
first planters here, was a royal promise in behalf of the 
nation, and which till very lately, it was never ques- 
tioned but the King had a power to make ; namely, that 
if the adventurers would, at their own cost and charge 
and at the hazard of their lives and every thing dear 
to them, purchase a new world, subdue a wilderness, 

1631-1682; solicitor-general, 1673-1675; appointed attorney-general, 
June 25, 1675 ; resigned, November, 1679 ! see below, page 158. 

140 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

and thereby enlarge the King s dominions, they and 
their posterity should enjoy such rights and privi 
leges as in their charters are expressed ; which are, in 
general, all the rights, liberties and privileges of his 
Majesty s natural born subjects within the realm./ The 
principal privilege implied, and in some of their char 
ters expressed, is a freedom from all taxes, but such 
as they shall consent to in person, or by representatives 
of their own free choice and election/ The late King 
James broke the original contract of the settlement 
and government of these colonies ; but it proved 
happy for our ancestors in the end, that he had also 
broken the original compact with his three kingdoms. 
This left them some gleam of hope ; this very thing, 
finally, was the cause of deliverance to the nation 
and the colonies, nearly at the same time ; it was the 
Parliament, the supreme legislative and constitutional 
check on the supreme executive, that in time oper 
ated effects worthy of itself ; the nation and her col 
onies have since been happy, and our princes patriot 
Kings. The law and reason teaches, that the King can 
do no wrong ; and that neither King nor Parliament 
are otherwise inclined than to justice, equity and truth. 
But the law does not presume that the King may not 
be deceived, nor that the Parliament may not be misin 
formed. If, therefore, any thing is wrong, it must be im 
puted to such causes. How far such causes have taken 
place and operated against the colonies, is humbly 
submitted to the revision and reconsideration of aljj> 
<\By the common law, the colonists are adjudged to 
be natural born subjects. / So they are declared by 
royal charter ; and they are so, by the spirit of the 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 141 

law of nature and nations/ No jurist, who has the 
least regard to his reputation in the republic of letters, 
will deny that they are entitled to all the essential 
rights, liberties, privileges and immunities, of his 
Majesty s natural subjects, born within the realm. 
The children of his Majesty s natural born subjects, 
born passing and repassing the seas, have, by sun 
dry acts of Parliament, from Edward the third to this 
time, been declared natural born subjects ; and even 
foreigners, residing a certain time in the colonies, are, 
by acts of Parliament, entitled to all the rights and 
privileges of natural born subjects. And it is re 
markable, that the Act of 13 Geo. II. chap. 7, pre 
supposes that the colonists are natural born subjects ; 
and that they are entitled to all the privileges of such ; 
as appears by the preamble, which we shall now re 
cite. " Whereas the increase of people is the means 
of advancing wealth and strength of any nation or 
country ; and whereas many foreigners and strangers, 
from the lenity of our government and purity of our 
religion, the benefit of our laws, the advantages of 
our trade, and the security of our property, might be 
induced to come and settle in some of his Majesty s 
colonies in America, if they were made partakers of 
the advantages and privileges which natural born sub 
jects of this realm do enjoy." Which plainly shows 
it to be the sense of the nation, that the colonies 
were entitled to, and did actually enjoy, the advan 
tages and privileges of natural born subjects. But 
if it could be admitted as clearly consistent with 
the constitution, for the Parliament of Great Britain 
to tax the property of the colonies, we presume it can 

142 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

be made to appear to be utterly inconsistent with the 
rules of equity that they should, at least at present, 
must be considered, that by acts of Parliament, the 
colonies are prohibited from importing commodities 
of the growth or manufacture of Europe, except from 
Great Britain, saving a few articles. This gives the 
advantage to Great Britain of raising the price of her 
commodities, and is equal to a tax. It is too obvious 
to be doubted, that by the extraordinary demands 
from the colonies of the manufactures of Britain, oc 
casioned by this policy, she reaps an advantage of at 
least twenty per cent, in the price of them, beyond 
what the colonies might purchase them for at foreign 
markets. The loss, therefore, to the colonists, is equal 
to the gain which is made in Britain. This in reality 
is a tax, though not a direct one ; and admitting that 
they take annually from Great Britain, manufactures 
to the value of two millions sterling, as is generally 
supposed, they then pay an annual tax of four hun 
dred thousand pounds, besides the taxes which are 
directly paid on those manufactures in England. The 
same reasoning will hold good with respect to the 
many enumerated articles of their produce, which 
the colonies are restrained, by act of Parliament, from 
sending to any foreign port. By this restraint, the 
market is glutted, and consequently the produce sold, 
is cheaper ; which is an advantage to Great Britain, 
and an equal loss to, or tax upon, the colonists./ Is it 
reasonable, then, that the colonies should be taxed on 
the British commodities here ? especially when it is 
considered, that the most of them settled a wilder 
ness, and, till very lately, defended their settlements 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 143 

without a farthing s expense to the nation. They bore 
their full proportion of the charges of securing and 
maintaining his Majesty s rights in America, in every 
war from their first settlement, without any considera 
tion ; for the grants of Parliament in the last war were 
compensations for an overplus of expense on their 
part. Many of them, and this province in particu 
lar, have always maintained their own frontiers at their 
own expense ; and have also frequently defended his 
Majesty s garrison at Annapolis, when it must other 
wise have been unavoidably lost. The nation, in the 
late war, acquired lands equal in value to all the ex 
pense she had been at in America, from its settle 
ment ; while the trade of the colonies has been only 
" secured and restricted ; " it has not been enlarged, 
though new avenues of beneficial commerce have 
been opened to the mother country. The colonies 
have reaped no share in the lands which they helped 
to conquer, while millions of acres of those very lands 
have been granted, and still are granting, to people who, 
in all probability, will never see, if they settle them. 

The appropriation of the monies, to arise by these 
duties, is an objection of great weight. It is, in the 
first place, to be applied for the payment of the 
necessary charges of the administration of justice, 
and the support of civil government, in such colonies 
where it shall be judged necessary. This House ap 
prehends it would be grievous, and of dangerous 
tendency, if the Crown should not only appoint Gov 
ernors over the several colonies, but allow them such 
stipends as it shall judge proper, at the expense of 
the people, and without their consent. Such a power, 

144 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

under a corrupt administration, it is to be feared, 
would introduce an absolute government in America ; 
at best, it would leave the people in a state of utter 
uncertainty of their security, which is far from being 
a state of civil liberty. The Judges in the several 
colonies do not hold their commissions during good 
behavior. If then they are to have salaries independ 
ent of the people, how easy will it be for a corrupt 
Governor to have a set of Judges to his mind, to de 
prive a bench of justice of its glory, and the people 
of their security. If the Judges of England have in 
dependent livings, it must be remembered, that the 
tenure of their commission is during good behavior, 
which is a safeguard for the people. And besides, they 
are near the throne, the fountain of right and justice ; 
whereas American Judges, as well as Governors, are^ 
at a distance from it. Moreover, it is worth particular 
notice, that in all disputes between power and liberty 
in America, there is danger that the greatest credit will 
always be given to the officers of the Crown, who are 
the men in power. This we have sometimes found by 
experience ; and it is much to be feared, that the na 
tion will fall into some dangerous mistake, if she has 
not already, by too great attention to the represen 
tations of particular persons, and a disregard to others. ~A 

But the residue of these monies is to be applied by 
Parliament, from time to time, for defending, protect 
ing and securing the colonies. If the government 
/at home is apprehensive that the colonists will be 
backward in defending themselves and securing his 
Majesty s territories in America, it must have been j 
egregiously misinformed. We need look back no 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 145 

farther than the last war, for evidence of a contrary 
disposition. They always discovered the most cheer 
ful compliance with his Majesty s requisitions of men 
and money for this purpose. They were then treated 
as free British subjects, and never failed to grant aid 
to his Majesty of their own free accord, to the extent 
of their ability, and even beyond it ; of which the 
Parliament were then so sensible, that they made 
them grants, from year to year, by way of compensa 
tion for extra services. It is not at all to be doubted, 
but if they are still considered upon the footing of 
subjects, they will always discover the same disposi 
tion to exert themselves for his Majesty s service and 
their own defense ; which renders a standing army in 
the colonies a needless expense. Or, if it be ad 
mitted that there may be some necessity for them in 
the conquered province of Canada, where the exer 
cise of the Romish religion, so destructive to civil 
society, is allowed, surely there can be no need of 
them in the bowels of the old colonies, and even in 
cities, where there is not the least danger of a foreign 
enemy, and where the inhabitants are as strongly 
attached to his Majesty s person,, family and govern 
ment, as in Great Britain itself. \ There is an English 
affection in the colonists towards the mother country, 
which will forever keep them connected with her, to 
every valuable purpose, unless it shall be erased by 
repeated unkind usage on her part. ^ As Englishmen, 
as well as British subjects, they have an aversion to 
an unnecessary standing army, which they look upon 
as dangerous to their civil liberties 1 ; and consider 
ing the examples of ancient times, it seems a little 

VOL. I. 10. 

146 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

surprising, that a mother state should trust large 
bodies of mercenary troops in her colonies, at so great 
a distance from her, lest, in process of time, when the 
spirits of the people shall be depressed by the military 
power, another Caesar should arise and usurp the i 
authority of his master. 

The act enabling his Majesty to appoint Commis 
sioners of the Customs to reside in America, has also 
been read in the House. 1 It declares an intention to 
facilitate the trade of America, of which we cannot 
have any great hopes, from the tenor of the commis 
sion. In general, innovations are dangerous ; the 
unnecessary increase of Crown Officers is most cer 
tainly so. These gentlemen are authorized to ap 
point as many as they shall think proper, without 
limitation. This will probably be attended with un 
desirable effects. An host of pensioners, by the arts 
they may use, may in time become as dangerous to 
the liberties of the people as an army of soldiers ; for 
there is a way of subduing a people by art, as well as 
by arms. We are happy and safe under his present 
Majesty s mild and gracious administration ; but the 
time may come, when the united body of pensioners 
and soldiers may ruin the liberties of America. The 
trade of the colonies, we apprehend, may be as easily 
carried on, and the acts of trade as duly enforced, 
without this commission ; and, if so, it must be a very 
needless expense, at the time when the nation and 
her colonies are groaning under debts contracted in 
the late war, and how far distant another may be, \ 
God only knows. 

1 7 Geo. III., chap. 41. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 147 

\There is another act, which, this House appre- / 
hends, must be alarming to all the colonies ; which is 
the act for suspending the legislative power of the As 
sembly of New York on a certain condition. 1 A legis 
lative body, without the free exercise of the powers 
of legislation, is to us incomprehensible. There can 
be no material difference between such a legislative 
and none at all. It cannot be said, that the Assem 
bly of New York hath the free exercise of legislative 
power, while their very existence is suspended upon 
their acting in conformity to the will of another body. 
Such a restriction throughout the colonies, would be 
a short and easy method of annihilating the legisla 
tive powers in America, and by consequence of de 
priving the people of a fundamental right of the con 
stitution, namely, that every man shall be present in 
the body which legislates for him. 

It may not be amiss to consider the tendency of a 
suspension of colony legislation for a non compliance 
with acts of Parliament, requiring a Provincial As 
sembly to give and grant away their own and their 
constituents money for the support of a standing 
army. We cannot but think it hard enough to have 
our property granted away without our consent, with 
out being ordered to deal it out ourselves, as in the 
case of the mutiny act. It must be sufficiently hu 
miliating to part with our property in either of those 
ways, much more in both ; whereby, as loyal subjects 
as any under his Majesty s government, and as true 
lovers of their country as any people whatever, are 
deprived of the honor and merit of voluntarily 

1 7 Geo. III., chap. 59. 

148 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

contributing to the service of both. What is the plain 
language of such a suspension ? We can discover no 
/ more nor less in it than this : If the American assem 
blies refuse to grant as much of their own and their con 
stituents money, as shall from time to time be enjoined 
and prescribed by the Parliament, besides what the 
Parliament directly taxes them, they shall no longer 
have any legislative authority ; but if they comply 
with what is prescribed, they may still be allowed to 
legislate under their charter restrictions. Does not 
political death and annihilation stare us in the face as 
strongly on one supposition as the other ? Equally, 
in case of compliance as of non compliance. 

But let us suppose, for a moment, a series of events 
taking place, the most favorable in the opinion of 
those who are so fond of these new regulations ; that 
all difficulties and scruples of conscience were re 
moved, and that every Representative in America 
should acknowledge a just and equitable right in the 
Commons of Great Britain, to make an unlimited grant 
of his and his constituents property ; that they have a 
clear right to invest the Crown with all the lands in 
the colonies, as effectually as if they had been for 
feited. Would it be possible for them to conciliate 
their constituents to such measures ? Would not the 
attempt suddenly cut asunder all confidence and com 
munication between the representative body and the 
people ? What, then, would be the consequence ? 
Could anything be reasonably expected but dis 
content, despair and rage, against their represen 
tatives, on the side of the people, and on the part 
of the government, the rigorous exertion of civil and 



military power ? The confusion and misery, after such 
a fatal crisis, cannot be conceived, much less described. 
The present regulations and proceedings, with re 
spect to the colonies, we apprehend to be opposite to 
every principle of good, and sound policy. A stand 
ing army, in time of profound peace, is naturally pro 
ductive of uneasiness and discontent among the 
people ; and yet the colonies, by the mutiny act, 
are ordered and directed to provide certain enumer 
ated articles ; and the pains and penalties, in case of 
non compliance, are evident, in the precedent of New 
York. It also appears, that revenue officers are mul 
tiplying in the colonies, with vast powers. The Board 
of Commissioners, lately appointed to reside here, 
have ample discretionary powers given them, to make 
what appointments they please, and to pay the ap 
pointees what sums they please. < The establishment 
of a Protestant Episcopate, in America, is also very 
zealously contended for ; * and it is very alarming to a 
people, whose fathers, from the hardships they suf 
fered, under such an establishment, were obliged to 
fly their native country into a wilderness, in order 
peaceably to enjoy their privileges, civil and religious. 
Their being threatened with the loss of both at 
once, must throw them into a disagreeable situation. 
We hope in God such an establishment will never " 
take place in America, and we desire you would 
strenuously oppose it. The revenue raised in America, 
for ought we can tell, may be constitutionally applied 
towards the support of prelacy, as of soldiers and pen- 

1 Cf. The Anglican Episcopal and the American Colonies, by A. L. Cross, 

150 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

sioners. If the property of the subject is taken from 
him, without his consent, it is immaterial whether it 
be done by one man, or five hundred ; or whether it 
be applied for the support of ecclesiastic or military 
power, or both. J It may be well worth the considera 
tion of the best politician in Great Britain or America, 
what the natural tendency is of a vigorous pursuit of 
these measures. We are not insensible that some 
eminent men, on both sides the water, are less 
friendly to American charters and assemblies, than 
could be wished. It seems to be growing fashionable 
to treat them, in common conversation, as well as in 
popular publications, with contempt. But if we look 
back a few reigns, we shall find that even the august 
assembly, the Parliament, was, in every respect, the 
object of a courtier s reproach. It was even an aph 
orism with King James the First, that the Lords and 
Commons were two very bad copartners with a Mon 
arch ; and he and his successors broke the copartner 
ship as fast as possible. It is certainly unnatural for 
a British politician to expect, that ever the supreme 
executive of the nation can long exist, after the su 
preme legislative shall be depressed and destroyed, 
which may God forbid. ( If the supreme executive 
cannot exist long in Britain, without the support of 
the supreme legislative, it should seem very reason 
able, in order to support the same supreme executive, 
at the distance of a thousand transmarine leagues 
from the metropolis, there should be, in so remote 
dominions, a free legislative, within their charter lim 
itations, as well as an entirely free representative of 
the supreme executive of his Majesty, in the persons 

1 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 151 

of Governors, Judges, Justices, and other executive 
officers ; otherwise strange effects are to be appre 
hended ; for the laws of God and nature are invaria 
ble. A politician may apply or misapply these to a 
multiplicity of purposes, good or bad ; but these laws 
were never made for politicians to alter. Should the 
time ever come, when the legislative assemblies of 
North America shall be dissolved and annihilated, no 
more to exist again, a strange political phenomenon 
will probably appear. All laws, both of police and 
revenue, must then be made by a legislative, at such a 
distance, that without immediate inspiration, the local 
and other circumstances of the governed, cannot pos 
sibly be known to those who give and grant to the 
Crown, what part of the property of their fellow sub 
jects they please. There will then be no Assemblies 
to support the execution of such laws ; and, indeed, 
while existing, by what rule of law or reason, are the 
members of the Colony Assemblies executive offi 
cers ? They have, as Representatives, no commission 
but from their constituents ; and it must be difficult to 
show, why they are more obliged to execute acts of 
Parliament, than such of their constituents as hold no 
commissions from the Crown. The most that can 
be expected from either, is submission to acts of Par 
liament ; or to aid the officers, as individual, or part 
of the posse comitatus, if required. It would seem 
strange to call on the Representatives, in any other 
way, to execute laws against their constituents and 
themselves, which both have been so far from consent 
ing to, that neither were consulted in framing them./ 
Yet it was objected by some, to the American 

152 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

Assemblies, that they neglected to execute the stamp 
act ; and that their resolves tended to raise commo 
tions ; which certainly was not the case here. For all 
the disorders in Boston, in which any damage was 
done to property, happened long before the resolves 
of the House of Representatives here were passed. 

We have reason to believe, that the nation has 
been grossly misinformed with respect to the temper 
and behavior of the colonists ; and jit is to be feared 
that some men will not cease to sow the seeds of jeal 
ousy and discord, till they shall have done irreparable 
mischief. You will do a singular service to both 
countries, if possible, in detecting them. In the 
mean time, we desire you would make known to his 
Majesty s ministers the sentiments of this House, 
contained in this letter, and implore a favorable con 
sideration of America. 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 137-141.] 


The House of Representatives of this his Majesty s 
province, having had experience of your Lordship s 

1 William Petty, first Marquis of Lansdowne (1737-1805); he became Secre 
tary of State for the Southern Department in July, 1766; in January, 1768, 
was relieved of jurisdiction over the American colonies by the creation of a 
third department under Hillsborough; in April, 1768, opposed Hillsborough s 
instructions to Bernard with reference to the circular letter ; resigned, October 
19, 1768. 

2 This letter and six others (to Rockingham, January 22 ; Shelburne, Janu 
ary 22 ; Camden, January 29 ; Chatham, February 2 ; Conway, February 13, 
and to the Commissioners of the Treasury, February 17,) are printed, although 
the authorship of them is not conclusively determined. They form a part of a 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 153 

generous sentiments of his Majesty s most loyal, 
though remote subjects in America, and of your noble 
exertions in their behalf, in the late time of their dis 
tress, beg leave to lay before your Lordship s view the 
new scenes of difficulty which are again opened upon 
us, and to implore your repeated inter-position. 

Your Lordship is not insensible that our fore 
fathers were, in an unhappy reign, driven into this 
wilderness by the hand of power. At their own ex 
pense they crossed an ocean of three thousand miles, 
and purchased an inheritance for themselves and their 
posterity, with the view of propagating the Christian 
religion, and enlarging the English dominion in this 
distant part of the earth. Through the indulgent 
smiles of Heaven upon them, though not without 
hardship and fatigue ; unexperienced, and perhaps 
hardly to be conceived by their brethren and fellow 
subjects in their native land ; and with the constant 
peril of their lives from a numerous race of men, as 
barbarous and cruel, and yet as warlike as any people 
upon the face of the earth, they increased their num 
bers, and enlarged their settlement. They obtained 

series of documents of which four of the most important (the letter to De 
Berdt, January 12, the petition to the King, January 20, the circular letter to 
the other legislatures, February n, and the letter to Hillsborough, June 30,) 
were written by Adams, and of which entire series the production has been 
attributed to him. See J. Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, vol. in., p. 22 ; 
J. Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. vi., pp. 42, 83. 
S. A. Wells, in his unpublished work (1840), claimed that Adams was the 
author of the entire series. All of the letters, except that of June 30, were 
printed in The True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, which was com 
monly credited to Adams. Most of these letters were presented to the House 
by a committee, consisting of Adams, Otis, Gushing, Hawley, Hancock. Sheaffe, 
Bowers, and Dexter, appointed December 30, 1767, " to take under considera 
tion the State of the Province." 

154 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

a charter from King Charles the First, wherein his 
Majesty was pleased to recognize to them a liberty 
to worship God according to the dictates of their 
conscience ; a blessing which in those unhappy times 
was denied to them in their own country ; and 
the rights, liberties, privileges and immunities of his 
natural born subjects within the realm. This charter 
they enjoyed, having punctually fulfilled the condi 
tions of it, till it was vacated, as we conceive arbi 
trarily, in the reign of King Charles the Second. 
After the revolution, that grand era of British liberty, 
when King William and Queen Mary, of glorious 
and blessed memory, were established on the throne, 
the inhabitants of this province obtained another 
charter, in which the most essential rights and privi 
leges, contained in the former, were restored to them. 
Thus blessed with the liberties of Englishmen, they 
continued to increase and multiply, till, as your Lord 
ship knows, a dreary wilderness is become a fruit 
ful field, and a grand source of national wealth and 

By the common law, my Lord, as well as sundry 
acts of Parliament, from the reign of Edward the 
Third, the children of his Majesty s natural born sub 
jects, born passing and repassing the seas, are en 
titled to all the rights and privileges of his natural 
subjects born within the realm. From hence the 
conclusion appears to be indisputable, that the de 
scendants of his Majesty s subjects in the realm, 
who migrated with the consent of the nation, and pur 
chased a settlement with their own treasure and blood, 
without any aid from the nation ; who early acknowl- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 155 

edged their allegiance to the Crown of England, and 
have always approved themselves faithful subjects, 
and in many instances given signal proofs of their 
loyalty to their King, and their firm attachment and 
affection to their mother country ; the conclusion is 
strong, that exclusive of any consideration of their 
charter, they are entitled to the rights and privileges 
of the British Constitution, in common with their 
fellow subjects in Britain. And it is very remark 
ably the sense of the British nation, that they are so, 
as appears by an act of Parliament, made in the I3th 
of his late Majesty, King George the Second. The 
preamble of that act 1 plainly presupposes it ; and the 
purview of the same act enables and directs the Su 
perior Court of Judicature of this province, a court 
erected by the authority of the General Court, to 
naturalize foreigners, under certain conditions ; which 
it is presumed, the wisdom of the Parliament would 
not have empowered any people to do, who were not 
themselves deemed natural born subjects. 

The spirit of the law of nature and nations, sup 
poses, that all the free subjects of any kingdom, are 
entitled equally to all the rights of the constitution ; 
for it appears unnatural and unreasonable to affirm, 
that local, or any other circumstances, can justly de 
prive any part of the subjects of the same prince, of 
the full enjoyment of the rights of that constitution, 
upon which the government itself is formed, and by 
which sovereignty and allegiance are ascertained and 
limited. But your Lordship is so thoroughly ac 
quainted with the extent of the rights of men and of 

1 See above, page 141. 

156 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

subjects, as to render it altogether improper to take 
up any more of your time on this head. 

There are, my Lord, fundamental rules of the con 
stitution, which it is humbly presumed, neither the 
supreme legislative nor the supreme executive can 
alter. In all free states, the constitution is fixed ; it 
is from thence, that the legislative derives its author 
ity ; therefore it cannot change the constitution with 
out destroying its own foundation. If, then, the 
constitution of Great Britain is the common right of 
all British subjects, it is humbly referred to your 
Lordship s judgment, whether the supreme legislative 
of the empire may rightly leap the bounds of it, in 
the exercise of power over the subjects in America, 
any more than over those in Britain. 

When mention is made of the rights of American 
subjects, and the interest they have in the British 
constitution, in common with all other British sub 
jects, your Lordship is too candid and just in your 
sentiments, to suppose that the House have the most 
distant thought of an independency of Great Britain. 
They are not insensible of their security and happi 
ness in their connexion with, and dependence on the 
mother state. These, my Lord, are the sentiments 
of the House, and of their constituents ; and they 
have reason to believe, they are the sentiments of all 
the colonies. Those who are industriously propagat 
ing in the nation a different opinion of the colonists, 
are not only doing the greatest injustice to them, but 
an irreparable injury to the nation itself. 

It is the glory of the British constitution, that it 
has its foundation in the law of God and nature. It 

17681 SAMUEL ADAMS. 157 

is essentially a natural right, that a man shall quietly 
enjoy, and have the sole disposal of his own property. 
This right is ingrafted into the British constitution, 
and is familiar to the American subjects. And your 
Lordship will judge, whether any necessity can render 
it just and equitable in the nature of things, that the 
supreme legislative of the empire, should impose 
duties, subsidies, talliages and taxes, internal or ex 
ternal, for the sole purpose of raising a revenue, upon 
subjects that are not, and cannot, considering their 
local circumstances, by any possibility, be equally 
represented, and consequently, whose consent cannot 
be had in Parliament. 

The security of right and property, is the great 
end of government. Surely, then, such measures as 
tend to render right and property precarious, tend to 
destroy both property and government, for these 
must stand or fall together. Property is admitted to 
have an existence in the savage state of nature ; and 
if it is necessary for the support of savage life, it by 
no means becomes less so in civil society. The 
House intreat your Lordship to consider, whether a 
colonist can be conceived to have any property which 
he may call his own, if it may be granted away by 
any other body, without his consent. And they sub 
mit to your Lordship s judgment, whether this was 
not actually done, when the act for granting to his 
Majesty certain duties on paper, glass and other ar 
ticles, for the sole and express purpose of raising a 
revenue in America, was made. It is the judgment 
of Lord Coke, that the Parliament of Great Britain 
cannot tax Ireland " quia milites ad Parliamentum 

158 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

non mittant" And Sir William Jones an eminent 
jurist, declared it as his opinion, to King Charles the 
Second, that he could no more grant a commission 
to levy money on his subjects in Jamaica, without 
their consent , by an assembly, than they could dis 
charge themselves from their allegiance to the Crown. 
Your Lordship will be pleased to consider that Ire 
land and Jamaica were both conquered; which can 
not be said of any of the colonies, Canada excepted ; 
the argument therefore, is stronger in favor of the 

Our ancestors, when oppressed in the unfortunate 
reign of James the Second, found relief by the inter 
position of the Parliament. But it is the misfortune 
of the colonies at present, that by the intervention 
of that power they are taxed ; and they can appeal 
for relief from their final decision to no power on 
earth, for there is no power on earth above them. 
Your Lordship will indulge the House in expressing 
a deep concern upon this occasion ; for it is the lan 
guage of reason, and it is the opinion of the greatest 
writers on the law of nature and nations, that if the 
parliament should make any considerable change in 
the constitution, and the nation should be voluntarily 
silent upon it, this would be considered as an appro 
bation of the act. 

But the House beg leave to represent to your 
Lordship, that although the right of the Parliament 
to impose taxes on the colonies, without a representa 
tion there, was indisputable, we humbly conceive it 
may be made fully to appear to be unequal that they 
should, at least at present. Your Lordship will be 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 159 

pleased to remember, that by an act of Parliament, 
the colonists are prohibited from importing commo 
dities and manufactures of the growth of Europe, 
saving a few articles, except from Great Britain. 
This prohibition not only occasions a much greater 
demand upon the mother country for her manufac 
tures, but gives the manufacturers there the advan 
tage of their own price ; and can it be questioned, my 
Lord, but the colonists are obliged by means of 
this policy, to purchase the British manufactures at a 
much dearer rate, than the like manufactures would 
be purchased at, if they were allowed to go to foreign 
markets ? It is a loss to the colonists, and an equal 
gain to Great Britain. The same reasoning holds 
good with respect to the many articles of their pro 
duce, which the colonies are restrained by act of Par 
liament from sending to foreign ports. This is in 
reality a tax, though an indirect one, on the colonies ; 
besides the duties of excise and customs laid on the 
manufactures in Great Britain. A celebrated British 
writer on trade, computes the artificial value arising 
from these duties, to be no less than fifty per cent. 
Your Lordship will then form an estimate of the part 
that is paid by the colonies upon the importation 
into America, which is generally said to be at least 
the value of two millions sterling. 

The House is not, at this time, complaining of this 
policy of the mother state ; but beg your Lordship s 
impartial and candid consideration, whether it is not 
grievous to the colonies to be additionally taxed upon 
the commodities of Great Britain here, and to be 
solely charged with the defending and securing his 

160 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

Majesty s colonies, after they have cheerfully borne 
their full proportion of maintaining his Majesty s 
rights in this part of his dominions, and reducing his 
enemies to terms of peace. 

Your Lordship will allow the House to express their 
fears, that the colonies have been misrepresented to 
his Majesty s ministers and Parliament, as having an 
undutiful disposition towards his Majesty, and a dis 
affection to the mother kingdom. It has, till a few 
years past, been the usage for his Majesty s requisi 
tions to be laid before the Representatives of his 
people in America ; and we may venture to appeal 
to your Lordship, that the people of this province 
have been ready to afford their utmost aid for his 
Majesty s service. It would be grievous to his most 
faithful subjects, to be called upon for aid in a man 
ner which implies a mistrust of a free and cheerful 
compliance. And the House intreat your Lordship s 
consideration whether our enemies at least, would 
not infer a want of duty and loyalty in us, when the 
parliament have judged it necessary to compel us by 
laws for that purpose ; as by the late acts for raising 
a revenue in America, and the act for preventing 
mutiny and desertion ; in the latter of which the 
Governor and Council are directed to supply the 
King s troops with enumerated articles, and the peo 
ple are required to pay the expense. But besides 
your Lordship will judge whether the execution of 
this act can comport with the existence of a free 
legislative in America. 

It is unnatural to expect, that the supreme execu 
tive power can long exist, if the supreme legislative 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 161 

should be depressed and destroyed. In order, there 
fore, to support the supreme executive of his Maj 
esty, at so great a distance, in the person of his 
Governor, Judges, and other executive officers, it 
seems necessary that there should be a legislative in 
America as perfectly free, as can consist with a sub 
ordination to the supreme legislative of the whole 
empire. Such a legislative is constituted by the 
royal charter of this province. In this charter, my 
Lord, the King, for himself, his heirs and successors, 
grants to the General Assembly full power and author 
ity to impose and levy proportionable and reasonable 
assessments, rates and taxes, upon the estates and 
persons of the inhabitants, to be issued and disposed 
of, by warrant under the hand of the Governor, with 
the advice and consent of the Council, for the service of 
his Majesty, in the necessary defence and support of 
his government of the province, and the protection 
and preservation of the inhabitants, according to such 
acts as are, or shall be, in force in the province. And 
the House are humbly of opinion, that the legis 
lative powers in the several colonies in America, were 
originally erected upon a conviction, that the sub 
jects there could not be represented in the supreme 
legislative, and consequently that there was a neces 
sity that such powers should be erected. 

It is, by no means, my Lord, a disposition in the 
House to dispute the just authority of the supreme 
legislative of the nation, that induces them thus to 
address your Lordship ; but a warm sense of loyalty 
to their Prince, and, they humbly apprehend, a just 
concern for their natural and constitutional rights. 

VOL. I. II. 

162 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

They beg your Lordship will excuse their trespassing 
upon your time and attention to the great affairs of 
state. They apply to you, as a friend to the rights 
of mankind, and of British subjects. As Americans, 
they implore your Lordship s patronage, and be 
seech you to represent their grievances to the King, 
our Sovereign, and employ your happy influence for 
their relief. 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a slightly modified text is in 
Prior Documents, pp. 175-177, and in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 


Your Majestys faithfull Subjects the Representa 
tives of the Massachusetts Bay, with the warmest 
Sentiments of Loyalty Duty & Affection, beg Leave 
to approach the Throne ; & to lay at your Majestys 
feet their humble Supplications, in Behalf of your dis- 
tressd Subjects the People of the Province. 

Our Ancestors, the first Settlers of this Country 
having with the Royal Consent, which we humbly 
apprehend involves the Consent of the Nation & at 
their own great Expence migrated from the mother 
kingdom, took the possession of this Land, at that 
time a Wilderness, the Right whereof they had pur- 
chasd for a valueable Consideration of the Council 
establishd at Plymouth, to whom it had been granted 

1 This petition was reported by the Speaker from the committee on the state 
of the province on the morning of January 20 ; it was then recommitted, and 
in the afternoon was read paragraph by paragraph, amended and accepted. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 163 

by your Majestys Royal Predecessor King James the 

From the Principles of Loyalty to their Sovereign, 
which will ever warm the Breast of a true Subject, 
tho remote they ever acknowledgd their Allegiance 
to the English Crown, & your Majesty will allow us 
with all humility to say that they & their Posterity 
even to this time have afforded frequent & signal 
Proofs of their Zeal for the Honor & Service of 
their Prince & their firm Attachment to the Parent 

With Toil & Fatigue, perhaps not to be conceivd 
by their Brethren & Fellow Subjects at home, & 
with the constant Peril of their Lives, from a numer 
ous, savage & warlike Race of Men, they began their 
Settlement & God prosperd them. 

They obtaind a Charter from King Charles the 
first, wherein his Majesty was pleasd to grant to them 
& their Heirs & Assigns forever all the Lands therein 
describd, to hold of him & his Royal Successors in 
free & common Spcage, which we humbly conceive is 
as absolute an Estate as the Subject can hold under 
the Crown. And in the same Charter were granted 
to them & their posterity all the Rights Liberties 
Privileges & Immunities of natural Subjects born 
within the Realm. 

This Charter they enjoyd, having as we most hum 
bly conceive punctually complyd with all the Con 
ditions of it, till in an unhappy time it was vacated. 
But after the Revolution, when King William & 
Queen Mary of glorious & blessed Memory were es- 
tablishd on the Throne; In that unhappy Reign 

164 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

when to the Joy of the Nation & its Dependencys, 
the Crown was settled in your Majestys illustrious 
Family, the Inhabitants of this province shard 
in the common Blessing. Then they were indulgd 
with another Charter in which their Majestys were 
pleasd for themselves, their Heirs & Successors to 
grant & confirm to them, as ample Estate in the 
Lands or Territorys as was granted by the for 
mer Charter, together with other the most essential 
Rights & Libertys containd therein : The principal of 
which is that which your Majestys Subjects within 
the Realm have ever held a most sacred Right, of 
being taxed only by Representatives of their own free 

Thus blessd with the Rights of Englishmen, thro 
the indulgent Smiles of Heaven, & under the auspi 
cious Government of your Majesty and your royal 
Predecessors, your people of this province have been 
happy, and your Majesty has acquired a numerous 
Increase of loyal Subjects, a large Extent of Domin 
ion & a new & inexhaustible Source of Commerce 
Wealth & Glory. 

With great Sincerity, permit us to assure your 
Majesty that your Subjects of this Province, ever 
have & still continue to acknowledge your Majestys 
high Court of Parliament, the supreme Legislative 
power of the whole Empire. The superintending 
authority of which is clearly admitted in all Cases, 
that can consist with the fundamental Rights of Na 
ture & the Constitution to which your Majestys 
happy Subjects in all parts of your Empire conceive 
they have a just & equitable Claim. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 165 

It is with the deepest Concern that your humble 
Suppliants would represent to your Majesty, that your 
Parliament, the Rectitude of whose Intentions is 
never to be questiond, has thought proper to pass 
divers Acts imposing Taxes on your Majestys Sub 
jects in America with the sole & express purpose of 
raising a Revenue. If your Majestys Subjects here 
shall be deprivd of the Honor & Privilege of volun 
tarily contributing their Aid to your Majesty in sup 
porting your GovernnV & Authority in the Province 
& defending & securing your Rights & Territorys in 
America, which they have always hitherto done with 
the utmost Cheerfullness ; If these acts of parliament 
shall remain in force and your Majestys commons in 
Great Britain shall continue to exercise the power of 
granting the property of their fellow Subjects in 
this province, your People must then regrett their 
unhappy fate in having only the name left of free 
Subjects. With all humility we conceive that a Rep 
resentation of your Majestys Subjects of this Province 
in the parliam* considering their local Circumstances 
is utterly impracticable. Your Majesty has hereto 
fore been graciously pleasd to order your requisitions 
to be laid before the Representatives of your People 
in the General Assembly who have never faild to af 
ford the necessary Aid to the extent of their Ability, 
& some times beyond it ; & it w d be ever grievous to 
your Majestys faithfull Subjects to be called upon in a 
Way that should appear to them to imply a Distrust 
of their most ready & willing Compliance. 

Under the most sensible Impressions of your Ma 
jestys wise & paternal Care for the Remotest of your 

1 66 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

faithfull Subjects, & in full Dependence on the royal 
Declarations in the Charter of this province, we 
most humbly beseech your Majesty to take our pres 
ent unhappy Circumstances under your royal Con 
sideration, & afford us Reliefe in such Manner as to 
your Majestys great Wisdom & Clemency shall seem 


[Prior Documents, pp. 197-199.] 

My Lord, 

His Excellency Governor Bernard has been 
pleased to give orders to the secretary of this pro 
vince to read to the House of Representatives a 
letter he had received from your Lordship, dated 
Whitehall the i7th of September, 1767;* which hav 
ing done the secretary withdrew, without leaving a 
copy as usual. 

The House were both grieved and astonished to 
find your Lordship under a necessity of expressing 
such unfavourable sentiments of the two Houses of the 
general assembly, as well as of some particular mem 
bers of this House, altogether strangers to you, with 
regard to the election of counsellors in May last. 
They observed, that your Lordship s letter had a 
reference to several of his Excellency s letters, upon 
which your sentiments seemed to be formed : and 
as his Excellency had intimated to the Speaker of 
the House his desire of having a copy of a certain 

1 Printed in the Journal of the House, 1767-1768, appendix, pp. 34, 35. In 
the same appendix are included the other documents of the series. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 167 

letter which the House had directed to be sent to the 
Speakers of the several Houses of Assembly in the 
other colonies, a copy of which it is presumed will be 
laid before your Lordship ; the House appointed a 
committee to wait on his Excellency, and acquaint 
him, that they were ready to lay before him the said 
letter, and their whole proceedings, relating to an 
important affair then before them, if he should desire 
it. And the same committee was directed humbly to 
request his Excellency to favour the House with a 
copy of your Lordship s letter, together with his own 
letters to which it referred. Whereupon messages 
passed between the Governor and the House, which 
the House begs leave to inclose to your Lordship. 

As the House think they have just grounds of sus 
picion, that his Excellency s letters to your Lordship 
contain, at least, an implication of charge and accusa 
tion against them, which they are kept in ignorance 
of, they rely upon your known candour and justice, 
that upon this their humble request, you will be 
pleased to give orders, that copies be laid before the 
House of Representatives ; that they may have the 
opportunity of vindicating themselves and their con 
stituents, and of happily removing from your mind 
an opinion of them, grounded, as your Lordship 
might then reasonably judge, upon good information, 
as having behaved in a manner unbecoming the char 
acter of loyal subjects. They hope you will be so 
favourable as to suspend your farther judgment of 
them, till they can be made acquainted with the mat 
ters that may have been alledged against them, and 
can make their defence. In the mean time they beg 

i68 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

leave just to mention to your Lordship, that the elec 
tions of the last May, so far as this House had a part 
in them, were made with a freedom and deliberation 
suitable to the importance of them : and that they 
were influenced by no motives but the prosperity of 
his Majesty s government, and the happiness of his 
subjects : that the non-election of several gentlemen 
of distinguished character and station, was by no 
means the effect of party prejudice, private resent 
ment, or motives still more blameable ; but the result 
of calm reflection upon the danger that might accrue 
to our excellent constitution, and the liberties of the 
people, from too great an opinion of the legislative, 
executive and judiciary powers of government, which, 
in the opinion of the greatest writers, ought always 
to be kept separate : nor was this a new opinion, 
formed at a certain period ; but it has been the pre 
vailing sentiment of many of the most sensible and 
unexceptionable gentlemen in the province for many 
years past ; upon principles, which your Lordship s 
thorough knowledge of the constitution, and the just 
balance of the several powers of government, this 
House is assured, will justify. And although his 
Excellency was pleased to exercise his undoubted 
right of negativing some of the gentlemen elected, 
the House have had no reason to alter their opinion 
of them, as being unexceptionable in point of ability, 
fortune, and character. They beg pardon for this 
further trouble given to your Lordship, which they 
could not avoid ; being solicitous to set their conduct 
in its true point of light before you ; and they rely 
upon your known justice, that you will intercede with 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 169 

the throne for this province. They are assured, that 
your Lordship will not suffer a province to be mis 
represented, even by persons of station here : and if 
there be any such, they flatter themselves, that their 
removal will render this people happy in the esteem 
of the parent country, and much more so in the 
smiles of the best of Kings. 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 142-144.] 

My Lord, 

The House of Representatives of this his Majesty s 
province, have had the honor of your letter of the yth 
of May last, communicated to them by their Speaker ; 
and thank your Lordship for your condescension, in 
the kind sentiments you are pleased to express of 
his Majesty s good subjects of America, and of this 
province. The establishing the harmony between 
Great Britain and her colonies, is a subject which 
your Lordship had judged worthy of your particular 
attention ; and the exertions which you have made 
for this very important purpose, claims the most 
grateful acknowledgments of this House. Your sen 
timents are so nobly extended beyond the most dis 
tant partial considerations, as must distinguish you 

1 Charles Watson- Wentworth (1730-1782), second marquis of Rockingham ; 
appointed to the treasury department, July 10, 1765 ; head of the administra 
tion, July, 1765-July, 1766. Cf. Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham, 2 vols. 

- Reported from the committee on the state of the province, amended and 

170 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

as a patron of the colonies, a friend to the British 
constitution, and the rights of mankind. 

Your Lordship is pleased to say, that you will not 
adopt a system of arbitrary rule over the colonies ; 
nor do otherwise than strenuously resist, where at 
tempts shall be made to throw off that dependence, 
to which the colonies ought to submit. And your 
Lordship, with great impartiality, adds, " not only 
for the advantage of Great Britain, but for their own 
real happiness and safety." 

This House, my Lord, have the honor heartily to 
join with you in sentiment ; and they speak the lan 
guage of their constituents. So sensible are they of 
their happiness and safety, in their union with, and 
dependence upon, the mother country, that they 
would by no means be inclined to accept of an inde 
pendency, if offered to them. But, my Lord, they 
intreat your consideration, whether the colonies have 
not reason to fear some danger of arbitrary rule over 
them, when the supreme power of the nation have 
thought proper to impose taxes on his Majesty s 
American subjects, with the sole and express pur 
pose of raising a revenue, and without their con 

My Lord, the superintending power of that high 
court over all his Majesty s subjects in the empire, 
and in all cases which can consist with the fundamen 
tal rules of the constitution, was never questioned in 
this province, nor, as the House conceive, in any 
other. But, in all free states, the constitution is 
fixed ; it is from thence, that the supreme legislative, 
as well as the supreme executive derives its author- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 171 

ity. Neither, then, can break through the funda 
mental rules of the constitution, without destroying 
their own foundation. 

It is humbly conceived, that all his Majesty s 
happy subjects, in every part of his wide extended 
dominions, have a just and equitable claim to the 
rights of that constitution, upon which government 
itself is formed, and by which sovereignty and alle 
giance are ascertained and limited. Your Lordship 
will allow us to say, that it is an essential right of a 
British subject, ingrafted into the constitution, or, if 
your Lordship will admit the expression, a sacred and 
unalienable, natural right, quietly to enjoy and have 
the sole disposal of his own property. In conformity 
to this, the acts of the British Parliament declare, 
that every individual in the realm is present in his 
Majesty s high court of Parliament, by himself, or 
his representative, of his own free election. But, my 
Lord, it is apprehended that a just and equal represen 
tation of the subjects, at the distance of a thousand 
transmarine leagues from the metropolis, is utterly 
impracticable. Upon this opinion, this House hum 
bly conceive his Majesty s royal predecessors thought 
it equitable to form subordinate legislative powers in 
America, as perfectly free as the nature of things 
would admit, that so their remote subjects might 
enjoy a right, which those within the realm have 
ever held sacred, of being taxed only by representa 
tives of their own free election. 

The House beg leave to observe to your Lordship, 
that the monies which shall arise by the act for grant 
ing to his Majesty certain duties on paper, glass and 

172 THE WRITINGS OF [176* 

other articles, passed in the last session of Parliament, 
are to be applied, in the first place, for the payment 
of the necessary charges of the administration of jus 
tice, and the support of civil government in such 
colonies as shall be judged necessary ; and the resi 
due for defending, protecting and securing the colo 
nies. They intreat your Lordship s consideration, 
what may be the consequences, in some future time, 
if the Crown, in addition to its right of appointing 
Governors over the colonies, which this House cheer 
fully recognize, should appoint them such stipends as 
it shall judge fit, without the consent of the people, 
and at their expense. And as the Judges of the land 
here do not hold their commissions during good be 
havior, your Lordship will judge, whether it may not 
hereafter happen, that at so great a distance from the 
throne, the fountain of justice, for want of an ade 
quate check, corrupt and arbitrary rule may take 
place, even within the colonies, which may deprive a 
bench of justice of its glory, and the people of their, 
happiness and safety. 

Your Lordship s justice and candor will induce you 
to believe, that what our enemies may have taken oc 
casion to represent to his Majesty s ministers and the 
Parliament, as an undutiful disposition in the colo 
nies, is nothing more than a just and firm attachment 
to their natural and constitutional rights. It is hum 
bly submitted to your Lordship, whether these ideas 
are well founded. And while this province and the 
colonies shall continue, in your Lordship s judgment, 
to be faithful and loyal subjects to his Majesty, they 
rely upon it, that your happy influence will ever be 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 173 

employed to promote the sentiments of tenderness, 
as well as justice, in the parent country. 


[Prior Documents, pp. 185-187.] 

My Lord, 

Your great knowledge of the constitution and laws 
of the nation, of the just extent of parliamentary au 
thority, and the rights of British subjects, is a pre 
vailing inducement to the House of Representatives 
of this his Majesty s province, to address to your 
Lordship, at a time when your attention to the Brit 
ish colonies, their connection with and dependance 
upon the mother state, and their rights as subjects, 
seems to be necessary and important, not to them 
alone, but to the whole empire. 

This House can speak only for the people of one 
province : but no assembly on this continent, it is pre 
sumed, can long be silent, under an apprehension, 
that without the aid of some powerful advocate, the 
liberties of America will soon be no more. 

It is a cause which the House is assured your Lord 
ship has at heart : and the past experience of your pa 
tronage, and the noble exertions you were pleased to 
make for them in a late time of distress, affords the 

1 Charles Pratt, first earl of Camden (1714-1794); appointed chief justice of 
the Court of Common Pleas, December 28, 1761; raised to the peerage as 
Baron Camden, July 17, 1765 ; appointed lord chancellor, July 30, 1766 ; 
created Earl Camden, May 13, 1786. 

2 Reported from the committee on the state of the province, read and 

i 7 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

strongest reason to hope that your happy influence 
will still be employed in their behalf, as far as your 
Lordship shall judge to be right. 

If in all free states, the constitution is fixed, and the 
supreme legislative power of the nation, from thence 
derives its authority ; can that power overleap the 
bounds of the constitution, without subverting its own 
foundation ? If the remotest subjects, are bound by 
the ties of allegiance, which this people and their fore 
fathers have ever acknowledged ; are they not by 
the rules of equity, intitled to all the rights of that 
constitution, which ascertains and limits both sover 
eignty and allegiance ? If it is an essential unal 
terable right in nature, ingrafted into the British 
constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred 
and irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that 
what is a man s own is absolutely his own ; and that 
no man hath a right to take it from him without 
his consent ; may not the subjects of this province, 
with a decent firmness, which has always distinguished 
the happy subjects of Britain, plead and maintain this 
natural constitutional right ? 

The superintending authority of his Majesty s high 
court of parliament over the whole empire, in all cases 
which can consist with the fundamental rights of the 
constitution, was never questioned in this province, 
nor, as this House conceive, in any other : but they 
intreat your Lordship s reflection one moment, on 
an act of parliament passed the last session ; and an 
other in the fourth of his present Majesty s reign ; 
both imposing duties on his subjects in America, 
which as they are imposed with the sole and express 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 175 

purpose of raising a revenue, are, in effect, taxes. The ] 
position, that taxation and representation are insepa 
rable, is founded on the immutable laws of nature : 
but the Americans had no representation in the par 
liament, when they were taxed : are they not then 
unfortunate in these instances, in having that sepa 
rated, which God and nature have joined? Such are 
the local circumstances of the colonies, at the distance 
of a thousand leagues from the metropolis, and sepa 
rated by a wide ocean, as will for ever render a just 
and equal representation in the supreme legislative, 
utterly impracticable. Upon this consideration, it is 
conceived, that his Majesty s royal predecessors 
thought it equitable to form legislative bodies in 
America, as perfectly free as a subordination to the 
supreme legislative would admit of, that the inesti 
mable right of being taxed only by representatives of 
their own free election, might be preserved and se 
cured to their subjects here. The Americans have 
ever been considered by the nation as subjects re 
mote ; and succeeding kings, even to the present 
happy reign, and until these acts were made, have 
always directed their requisitions, to be laid before 
the representatives of their people in America, with 
which this province, and it is presumed, all the other 
colonies, have with the utmost chearfulness complied. 
Must it not then be grievous to subjects, who have in 
many repeated instances afforded the strongest marks 
of loyalty and zeal for the honour and service of their 
sovereign, to be now called upon, in a manner, which 
implies a distrust of a free and willing compliance ? 
Such is the misfortune of the colonists, not only in the 

176 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

instances before-mentioned, but also in the case of 
the act for preventing mutiny and desertion ; which 
requires the governor and council to provide enumer 
ated articles for the King s marching troops, and the 
people to pay the expence. 

This is a great change ; and in its nature delicate 
and important. Your Lordship will form your own 
judgement of the wisdom of making such a change, 
without the most pressing reason, or an absolute ne 
cessity. There can be no necessity, my Lord, as this 
House humbly conceive : the subjects in this province, 
and undoubtedly in all the colonies, however they 
may have been otherwise represented to his Majesty s 
ministers, are loyal : they are firmly attached to the 
mother state : they always consider her interest and 
their own as inseparably interwoven, and it is their 
fervent wish that it may ever so remain : all they de 
sire is, to be restored to the standing upon which they 
were originally put ; to have the honour and privilege 
of voluntarily contributing to the aid of their sover 
eign, when required : they are free subjects ; and it is 
hoped the nation will never consider them as in a 
tributary state. 

It is humbly submitted to your Lordship, whether 
subjects can be said to enjoy any degree of freedom, 
if the crown in addition to its undoubted authority 
of constituting governors, should be authorized to 
appoint such stipends for them, as it shall judge 
proper, at their expence, and without their consent. 
This is the unhappy state to which his Majesty s sub 
jects in the colonies are reduced, by the act for grant 
ing certain duties on paper, and other articles. A 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 177 

power without a check is always unsafe ; and in some 
future time may introduce an absolute government 
into America. The judges of the land here do not 
hold their commissions during good behaviour : is it 
not then justly to be apprehended, that at so great a 
distance from the throne, the fountain of national 
justice, with salaries altogether independent of the 
people, an arbitrary rule may take effect, which shall 
deprive a bench of justice of its glory, and the people 
of their security. 

When a question arises on the public administration, 
the nation will judge and determine in conformity to 
its political constitution : the great end of the British 
constitution is universal liberty ; and this House rests 
assured, that your Lordship s great interest in the 
national councils will always be engaged on the side 
of liberty and truth. 

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


I am to acknowledge your fav r of 17 June, inclos 
ing the several Acts of Parliam passd in the last 
Session relating to America. The House of Repre 
sentatives have written you so fully, in which I have 
the good fortune to have my own private Sentiments 
so exactly expressd, as to render it needless for me 
to say any thing of them in this Letter. The House 
have sent a humble petition to his Majesty, & Rep 
resentations to his Ministers some of which it is 
hoped ere now have come into your hands, & others 

VOL. I. 12. 

178 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

will be soon transmitted to you. It may seem strange 
that these Addresses do not pass thro the Medium of 
the Governor of the Province ; but it is my private 
Opinion that there is a Want of Confidence between 
the Governor & the House which will never be re 
moved as long 1 as this Gentleman is in the Chair. In 
short the whole dependence seems to be altogether 
upon those Noblemen & others, who have heretofore 
distinguishd themselves as the Guardians, under his 
Majesty, of the Rights of British American Subjects. 

You will observe that the House still insist upon 
that inestimable Right of being taxed only by Rep 
resentatives of their own free Election ; which they 
think is infringed by the late Acts for establishing a 
Revenue in America. 

It is by no means to be understood that they desire 
a Representation in ParlianV ; because, by reason of 
local Circumstances it is impracticable that they 
should be equally & fairly represented : There is 
Nothing therefore which I apprehend the Colonys 
w d more dread. 

The few Gentlemen in the House, who did not 
give their Votes declared this as a reason, that they 
feard, if the House should insist, that they could not 
legally be taxed because they were not represented in 
the Parliam , it wd be construed as if they w d be con 
tent to be represented : And I hope you will, as you 
have Opportunity, make it known to the Ministry, 
that the People here, as they always have done, will 
cheerfully afford their utmost Aid for the Honor & 
Service of their Sovereign & the Interest of the 
Mother State, to which they are inviolably attachd. 

1 768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 179 

All they desire is to be placd on the standing, on 
which they were originally put, & to have the Honor 
& Privilege of voluntarily contributing to the Service 
of his Majesty at all times when he shall be gracious 
ly pleasd to order his requisitions to be laid before 
their own Representatives. 

The House yesterday 1 made you a Grant of 600 
sterling for two years Services & the same Sum to 
Rich d Jackson Esq r2 for his services for two years. I 
have not the Honor of a Correspondence with that 
Gentleman, but I think it might not be amiss that he 
as well as you should be made acquainted that every 
member that spoke on these Grants expressd a high 
Sense of the Merit of both your & his Services : & I 
have no Reason but to think they spoke the Senti 
ments of the whole House. Neither of your Ex- 
pences were considerd, as it was thought improper 
till the House sh d receive your several accounts. 

Your Acceptance of the inclosd pamphlets will 
oblige Sir 

Your most humble serv 

1 It was on February I, 1768, that the House voted this appropriation. 

2 Earlier, agent of the province in London; April 24, 1762, he was author 
ized, in the event of the incapacity of Jasper Mauduit, to receive the funds as 
signed to the province by the King in the grant for the support of troops ; 
in 1762, 1763, and 1764, the province treasurer was ordered to draw against 
both Mauduit and Jackson (for a form of draft used, see Acts and Resolves of 
Massachusetts, vol. iv., p. 720) ; on February 5, 1767, after earlier action on 
the matter, the House voted to dismiss Jackson from the agency, and on Feb 
ruary 13 the Governor wrote to the House that Jackson should be paid if dis 
missed ; on March 20, 1767, the secretary of the province, having been ordered 
to attend the House, reported that the Governor had signed the resolution re 
moving Jackson. On February i, 1768, a committee reported to the House 
commending Jackson, and the treasurer was ordered to pay him ^"600 for his 
services from January 24, 1765, to February 5, 1767. On April 30, 177. 
Jackson was appointed counsel to the Board of Trade. 

i8o THE WRITINGS OF [1768 


[Prior Documents, pp. 187, 188.] 

My Lord, 

The particular attention you were pleased to give 
to the interest of the American subjects when their 
rights were in danger, and your noble and successful 
efforts in support of them, have left in the breasts of 
all, the indelible marks of gratitude. The House of 
Representatives of this his Majesty s province, having 
reason to be assured, that in every instance of your 
public conduct, you are influenced by the principles 
of virtue and a disinterested public affection, beg 
leave to manifest to your Lordship, a testimony of 
their full confidence in you, by imploring your repeat 
ed aid and patronage at this time when the cloud 
again gathers thick over them. 

It must afford the utmost satisfaction to the dis 
tressed colonists, to find your Lordship so explicitly 
declaring your sentiments in that grand principle in 
nature, " that what a man hath honestly acquired is 
absolutely and uncontroulably his own." This prin 
ciple is established as a fundamental rule in the Brit 
ish constitution, which eminently hath its foundation 
in the laws of nature ; and consequently it is the 
indisputable right of all men, more especially of a 

1 William Pitt (1708-1778), first earl of Chatham ; member of parliament, 
1735 ; secretary of state, 1756 ; appointed lord privy seal, July 30, 1766, and 
raised to the peerage ; in retirement. May, 1767, until his resignation, October, 
1768. Cf. Correspondence of William Pitt, 4 vols. 

3 Reported from the committee on the state of the province, read paragraph 
by paragraph and accepted. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 181 

British subject, to be present in person, or by repre 
sentation, in the body where he is taxed. 

But however fixed your Lordship and some others 
may be in this cardinal point, it is truly mortifying to 
many of his Majesty s free and loyal subjects, that 
even in the British parliament, that sanctuary of 
liberty and justice, a different sentiment seems of late 
to have prevailed. 

Unwilling to intrude upon your attention to the 
great affairs of state, the House would only refer 
your Lordship to an act passed in the fourth year of 
the present reign, and another in the last session of 
parliament ; both imposing duties on the Americans, 
who were not represented, with the sole and express 
purpose of raising a revenue. What, my Lord, have 
the colonists done to forfeit the character and privi 
lege of subjects, and to be reduced in effect to a 
tributary state ? This House may appeal to the 
nation, that the utmost aid of the people has been 
chearfully given when his Majesty required it : often, 
on their own motion, and when almost ready to suc 
cumb under the expence of defending their own bor 
ders, their zeal has carried them abroad for the honour 
of their sovereign, and the defence of his rights : of 
this, my Lord, not to mention any more, the reduc 
tion of Louisburgh in the year 1745, and the defence 
of his Majesty s garrison at Annapolis, and of all 
Nova Scotia, will be standing monuments. Can 
there then be a necessity for so great a change, and 
in its nature so delicate and important, that instead of 
having the honour of his Majesty s requisitions laid be 
fore their representatives here, as has been invariably 

182 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

the usage, the parliament should now tax them with 
out their consent ? 

The enemies of the colonists, for such they unfortu 
nately have, may have represented them to his Maj 
esty s ministers, and the parliament, as factious, 
undutiful, disloyal : they, my Lord, are equally the 
enemies of Britain : such is your extensive knowledge 
of mankind, and the sentiments and disposition of the 
colonies in general, that this house would freely ven 
ture to rest the character of their constituents in your 
Lordship s judgment : surely it is no ill disposition in 
the loyal subjects of a patriot king, with a decency 
and firmness adapted to their character, to assert their 

The colonies, as this House humbly conceive, can 
not be represented in the British parliament : their 
local circumstances, at the distance of a thousand 
leagues beyond the seas, forbid, and will ever render 
it impracticable : this they apprehend, was the rea 
son that his Majesty s royal predecessors saw fit 
to erect subordinate legislative bodies in America as 
perfectly free as the nature of things would admit, 
that their remotest subjects might enjoy that inesti 
mable right, a representation. Such a legislative is 
constituted by the royal charter of this province. In 
this charter, the King, for himself, his heirs and suc 
cessors, grants to the inhabitants all the lands and 
territories therein described, in free and common 
soccage ; as ample estate as the subjects can hold 
under the crown ; together with all the rights, lib 
erties, privileges, and immunities of his natural sub 
jects born within the realm ; of which the most 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 183 

essential is a power invested in the general assembly 
to levy proportionable and reasonable taxes on the 
estates and persons of the inhabitants, for the service 
of his Majesty, and the necessary defence and support 
of his government of the province, and the protection 
and preservation of the inhabitants. But though they 
were originally, and always, since their settlement, have 
been considered as subjects remote, they have ever 
cherished a warm affection for the mother state, and 
a regard for the interest and happiness of their fellow 
subjects in Britain. If then the colonies are charged 
with the most distant thought of an independency, 
your Lordship may be assured, that, with respect to 
the people of this province, and it is presumed, of all 
the colonies, the charge is unjust. 

Nothing would have prevailed upon the House 
to have given your Lordship this trouble, but the 
necessity of a powerful advocate, when their liberty 
is in danger : such they have more than once found 
you to be ; and as they humbly hope they have 
never forfeited your patronage, they intreat that 
your great interest in the national councils may still 
be employed in their behalf, that they may be re 
stored to the standing of free subjects. 

That your Lordship may enjoy a firm state of 
health, and long be continued a great blessing to the 
nation and her colonies, is the ardent wish of this 

184 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 




[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library ; a text, modified in de 
tails, is in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 134-136, and in Prior 
Documents, pp. 191-193.] 

Pro of Massachusetts Bay, 
Feb ir 1768 


The House of Representatives of this Province 
have taken into their serious Consideration, the 
great difficultys that must accrue to themselves & 
their Constituents, by the operation of several acts 
of Parliament imposing Duties & Taxes on the 
American Colonys. 

As it is a Subject in which every Colony is deeply 
interested they have no reason to doubt but your 
Assembly is deeply impressd with its Importance & 
that such constitutional measures will be come into 
as are proper. It seems to be necessary, that all pos 
sible Care should be taken, that the Representations 
of the several Assembly upon so delicate a point, 
should harmonize with each other : The House 
therefore hope that this letter will be candidly con- 
siderd in no other Light, than as expressing a Dis 
position freely to communicate their mind to a Sister 
Colony, upon a common Concern in the same man- 

1 On January 22, 1768, the House voted that on the following Tuesday it 
would consider the expediency of writing to the other assemblies with reference 
to their joining in a petition to the King. On January 26, the matter was 
referred to the following Thursday. On February 4, the House appointed a 
committee, consisting of Adams, Otis, Gushing, Hawley, Bowers, Dexter, and 
Richmond to "prepare a letter to be transmitted to the several Houses of 
Representatives and Burgesses on the Continent." 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 185 

ner as they would be glad to receive the Sentiments 
of your or any other House of Assembly on the Con 

The House have humbly represented to the minis 
try, their own Sentiments that His Majestys high 
Court of Parliament is the supreme legislative Power 
over the whole Empire : That in all free States the 
Constitution is fixd ; & as the supreme Legislative 
derives its Power & Authority from the Constitution, 
it cannot overleap the Bounds of it without destroy 
ing its own foundation : That the Constitution 
ascertains & limits both Sovereignty & allegiance, 
& therefore, his Majestys American Subjects who 
acknowlege themselves bound by the Ties of Alle 
giance, have an equitable Claim to the full enjoym* 
of the fundamental Rules of the British Constitution. 
That it is an essential unalterable Right in nature, 
ingrafted into the British Constitution, as a funda 
mental Law & ever held sacred & irrevocable by the 
Subjects within the Realm, that what a man has hon 
estly acquird is absolutely his own, which he may 
freely give, but cannot be taken from him without 
his consent : That the American Subjects may there 
fore exclusive of any Consideration of Charter 
Rights, with a decent firmness adapted to the Char 
acter of free men & Subjects assert this natural and 
constitutional Right. 

It is moreover their humble opinion, which they 
express with the greatest Deferrence to the Wisdom 
of the Parliament that the Acts made there impos 
ing Duties on the People of this province with 
the sole & express purpose of raising a Revenue, 

i86 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

are Infringments of their natural & constitutional 
Rights because as they are not represented in the 
British Parliarn His Majestys Commons in Britain 
by those Acts grant their Property without their 

This House further are of Opinion that their 
Constituents considering their local Circumstances 
cannot by any possibility be represented in the Par 
liament, & that it will forever be impracticable that 
they should be equally represented there & conse 
quently not at all ; being seperated by an Ocean of a 
thousand leagues : and that his Majestys Royal Pre 
decessors for this reason were graciously pleasd to 
form a subordinate legislature here that their subjects 
might enjoy the unalienable Right of a Representa 
tion. Also that considering the utter Impracticability 
of their ever being fully & equally represented in 
parliam , & the great Expence that must unavoidably 
attend even a partial representation there, this House 
think that a taxation of their Constituents, even with 
out their Consent, grievous as it is, would be prefer 
able to any Representation that could be admitted 
for them there. 

Upon these principles, & also considering that were 
the right in Parliament ever so clear, yet, for obvious 
reasons it w d be beyond the rules of Equity that their 
Constituents should be taxed on the manufactures of 
Great Britain here, in Addition to the dutys they pay 
for them in England, & other Advantages arising 
to G Britain from the Acts of trade, this House have 
preferrd a humble dutifull & loyal Petition to our 
most gracious Sovereign, & made such Representa- 

1 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 187 

tions to his Majestys Ministers, as they apprehended 
w d tend to obtain redress. -j 

They have also submitted to Consideration whether j 
any People can be said to enjoy any degree of Free 
dom if the Crown in addition to its undoubted Au 
thority of constituting a Gov r , should also appoint 
him such a Stipend as it may judge proper with 
out the Consent of the people & at their Ex- 
pence ; and whether while the Judges of the Land 
& other Civil officers hold not their Commission dur 
ing good Behavior, their having salarys appointed 
for them by the Crown independent of the people 
hath not a tendency to subvert the principles of 
Equity & endanger the Happiness & Security of the 

In addition to these measures the House have 
wrote a Letter to their Agent, M r De Berdt, the 
Sentiments of w ch he is directed to lay before the 
ministry : wherein they take Notice of the hardships 
of the Act for preventing Mutiny & Desertion, 
which requires the Gov r & Council to provide enu 
merated Articles for the Kings marching troops & 
the People to pay the Expences ; & also of the Com 
mission of the Gen n appointed Commissioners of the 
Customs to reside in America, which authorizes them 
to make as many Appointments as they think fit & 
to pay the Appointees what sum they please, for 
whose Mai Conduct they are not accountable from 
whence it may happen that officers of the Crown 
may be multiplyd to such a degree as to become dan 
gerous to the Liberty of the people by Virtue of a 
Commission which doth not appear to this House to 

i88 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

derive any such Advantages to Trade as many have 
been led to expect. 

These are the Sentiments & proceedings of this 
House ; & as they have too much reason to believe 
that the Enemys of the Colonys have represented 
them to his Majestys Ministers & the parl 1 as factious 
disloyal & having a disposition to make themselves 
independent of the Mother Country, they have taken 
occasion in the most humble terms to assure his Maj 
esty & his ministers that with regard to the People 
of this province & as they doubt not of all the colo 
nies the charge is unjust. 

The house is fully satisfyd that your Assembly is 
too generous and enlargd in sentiment, to believe, 
that this Letter proceeds from an Ambition of tak 
ing the Lead or dictating to the other Assemblys : 
They freely submit their opinions to the Judgment 
of others, & shall take it kind in your house to point 
out to them any thing further which may be thought 

This House cannot conclude without expressing 
their firm Confidence in the King our common head 
& Father, that the united & dutifull Supplications of 
his distressd American Subjects will meet with his 
royal & favorable Acceptance. 1 

1 The Appendix of the Journal of the House for 1768 contains the texts of 
the following replies to this letter : February 25, P. Oilman, New Hampshire; 
May 9, Peyton Randolph, Virginia; May 9, Cortland Skinner, New Jersey; 
June n, Zebulon West, Connecticut; June 16, Alexander Wylly, Georgia; 
July 10, P. Manigault, South Carolina; August 5, Metcalfe Bowler, Rhode 
Island. Prior Documents, p. 218, contains the reply of Robert Lloyd, Mary 
land, June 24. Cf. R. Frothingham, Rise of the Republic, pp. 212-230. 

i 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 189 


[Prior Documents, pp. 181-183.] 


The House of Representatives of this his Maj 
esty s province have still the sensible impressions of 
gratitude upon their minds, for the signal and suc 
cessful exertions you were pleased to make for them 
when the liberties of the colonies were in danger. 
And although they do not fall immediately under 
your care in that department, to which his Majesty 
has been graciously pleased to appoint you ; yet your 
known attachment to the rights of subjects, in their 
just extent, the constitutional authority of the su 
preme legislative and the prerogative of the sover 
eign, is a strong inducement to the House, when 
new grievances happen, to implore your repeated aid. 
Conscious of their own disposition, they rely upon 
that candour which is a distinguished mark of your 
character. And however they may have been repre 
sented to his Majesty s ministers as undutiful, turbu 
lent and factious, your sentiments are too generous, 
to impute the expressions of uneasiness under the 
operation of any particular acts of the British par 
liament to a peevish or discontented habit, much 
less to the want of a due veneration for that august 

This House is at all times ready to recognize his 

1 1721-1795 ; field marshal ; member of Parliament almost continuously, 
1741-1784 ; July 8, 1765, secretary of state ; resigned, January 20, 1768. Cf. 
Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., p. 218. 

Reported by the committee on the state of the province, read and accepted. 

190 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

Majesty s high court of parliament, the supreme 
legislative power over the whole empire ; its super 
intending authority, in all cases consistent with the 
fundamental rules of the constitution, is as clearly 
admitted by his Majesty s subjects in this province 
as by those within the realm^ince the constitution 
of the state, as it ought to be, is fixed ; it is humbly 
presumed, that the subjects, in every part of the em 
pire, however remote, have an equitable claim to all 
the advantages of it.^ 

It is the glory of tne British Prince, and the happi 
ness of all his subjects, that their constitution hath 
its foundation in the immutable laws of nature : and 
as the supreme legislative as well as the supreme ex 
ecutive derives its authority from that constitution, 
it should seem that no laws can be made or executed, 
that are repugnant to any essential law in nature. 
Hence a British subject is happily distinguished 
from the subjects of many other states, in a just and 
well grounded opinion of his own safety, which is the 
perfection of political liberty. 

It is acknowledged to be an unalterable law in 
nature, that a man should have the free use and sole 
disposal of the fruit of his honest industry, subject to 
no controul. The equity of this principle seems to 
have been too obvious to be misunderstood by those 
who framed the constitution ; into which it is ingrafted 
as an established law. It is conceived that this prin 
ciple gave rise in early time to a representation in 
parliament ; where every individual in the realm has 
since been, and is still considered by acts of parlia 
ment as present by himself, or by his representative 

i y68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 191 

of his own free election : consequently, the aid af 
forded there to the sovereign is not of the nature of 
a tribute, but the free and voluntary gift of all. 

The House submit to your consideration, whether 
his Majesty s subjects of this province, or any of them, 
can be considered as having been present in par 
liament, when an act of the fourth of his present 
Majesty s reign, and another passed the last session, 
were made. If not, it seems to be conclusive, that, 
as those acts were made with the sole and express 
purpose of raising a revenue out of America, the sub 
jects here are in those instances unfortunately de 
prived of the sole disposal of their property, and the 
honour and privilege of contributing to the aid of 
their sovereign by a free and voluntary gift. 

The people of this province would by no means 
be inclined to petition the parliament for a represen 
tation. /Separated from the mother-country by a 
mighty ocean, and at the distance of three thousand 
miles, they apprehend it is, and ever will be, ut 
terly impracticable that they should be equally rep 
resented there : they have always been considered by 
the nation as subjects remote : and his Majesty s 
royal predecessors were graciously pleased to con 
stitute by charter a subordinate legislative in the pro 
vince, as it is conceived, with a view of preserving to 
their remote subjects the unalienable right of a repre 
sentation. By this charter the lands therein de 
scribed are granted to the inhabitants in free and 
common soccage \y and the general assembly is in 
vested with the power of imposing and levying pro 
portionable and reasonable assessments, rates and 

1 92 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

taxes, upon the estates and persons of the inhabit 
ants, for his Majesty s service, in the necessary de 
fence and support of his government of the province, 
and the protection and preservation of the inhabit 
ants ; and of ordaining and establishing all manner 
of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes 
and ordinances, directions and instructions, either 
with or without penalties, as they shall judge to be 
for the good and welfare of the province : and as a 
sufficient check upon this subordinate power, which 
secures its dependance on the supreme legislative, no 
law can be made repugnant to the laws of England ; 
and all laws that are made, are laid before his Maj 
esty, who at any time during three years after, dis- 
annulls them at his royal pleasure. 

All that is desired by the people of this province, 
is, that they may be restored to their original stand 
ing : they may venture to appeal to the nation, that 
they have never failed to afford their utmost aid 
to his Majesty whenever he hath required it ; and 
they may say it without vanity, that in many in 
stances from their settlement, they have given strik 
ing proofs of their zeal for the honour of their 
sovereign, and their affection for the mother-state. 
Must it not then be grievous to free and loyal subjects, 
to be called upon in a manner which appears to them, 
to divest them of their freedom, and so far to impeach 
their loyalty as to imply a mistrust of their chearful 
compliance with his Majesty s royal requisitions. 

The House also beg leave to submit, whether the 
people can continue free, while the crown in addition 
to its uncontroverted right of appointing a governor, 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 193 

may appoint him such stipends as it shall judge fit, 
at the expence of the people, and without their con 
sent : and whether, while the judges of the land, at 
so great a distance from the throne, the fountain of 


justice, may be altogether independent on the people 
for their support, it may not probably happen, that 
in some future time, the principles of equity may be 
subverted even on the bench of justice, and the peo 
ple deprived of their happiness and security. 

The House could add, that by restraints laid upon 
the American trade by acts of parliament, which 
operate equally to the advantage of Great-Britain 
and the disadvantage of this and the other colonies, 
and the taxes which the inhabitants here eventually 
pay as the consumers of the British manufactures, it 
should seem to be beyond all the rules of equity, that 
these additional burdens should be laid on them. 
But they would not trespass upon your time and 
attention to the great affairs of the nation. They 
beg your candid consideration of the unhappy circum 
stances of the province, and hope, that your great 
interest in the national councils, so far as shall appear 
to you to be just, will be employed on their behalf. 



FEBRUARY 17, 1768. 

[Prior Documents^ pp. 188-191.] 

My Lords, 

The House of Representatives of this his Majesty s 
province beg leave to lay before your Lordships the 

VOL. I. 13. 

194 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

great difficulties to which they are reduced, by the 
operation of divers acts of Parliament, imposing 
duties to be levied on the subjects of the American 
colonies, and made with the sole and express pur 
pose of raising a revenue : and beg the favour of 
your candid judgment and great interest in the na 
tional councils for their redress. 

As their constituents are not in any manner re 
presented in the Parliament, they cannot so much 
wonder, that taxes and burdens are laid upon them, 
which they humbly apprehend could have been 
made to appear to be beyond all bounds of equity 
and proportion ; and this consideration they are sure 
would have had its due weight in the British house 
of commons. 

By act of Parliament, your Lordships are sensible, 
that the colonies are restrained from importing com 
modities, the growth or manufacture of Europe, 
saving a few articles, except from Great Britain : by 
this policy, the demand of British manufactures from 
the colonies is greatly increased ; and the manu 
facturers have the advantage of their own price. 
Hence it appears, that what is gained by the subjects 
in Great Britain, is a loss to those in America ; for 
there can be no doubt, as this House conceive, but 
that if the colonists were allowed to purchase such 
commodities at foreign markets, they might have 
them at a cheaper rate ; or, which is the same thing to 
them, the British manufacturers would be necessitated 
to reduce their price. Thus also, with regard to the 
many articles of their produce, which the colonies 
are by act of Parliament restrained from sending to 

1 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 195 

foreign ports : this occasioned a great plenty of 
American exports, and oftentimes a glut at the 
British markets, which always diminishes the price, 
and makes a loss to the American, and an equal gain 
to the subject in Britain. This regulation, evidently 
designed in favour of those of his Majesty s subjects 
inhabiting in Great Britain, the House is not at this 
time complaining of : but they beg your Lordships 
consideration, whether, in addition to these burdens, 
it is not grievous to their constituents, to be obliged to 
pay duties on British manufactures here : especially 
considering, that, as the consumers of those manu 
factures, they pay a great proportion of the duties 
and taxes laid upon them in Britain. It is computed 
by a late celebrated British writer, that the artificial 
value arising from these duties are not less than fifty 
per cent. Your Lordships will then form an estimate 
of the part that is paid annually upon the importation 
into America, which is generally allowed to be at 
least two millions sterling. So great are the ad 
vantages arising yearly to Great Britain from the 
colonies, most of which, it is said, were settled, and 
have been maintained and defended, till within a 
very few years, solely at their own expence : this 
House can affirm for one province only. 

But the bearing an unequal share of the public 
burthens, though a real grievence, is of but small 
consideration, when compared with another, in the 
mentioning of which, the House begs your Lordship s 
indulgence. The duties levied in America, by virtue 
of the aforementioned acts, were imposed with the 
sole and express purpose of raising a revenue ; and 

196 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

are to be applied, in the first place, for making a 
more certain and adequate provision for the charge 
of the administration of justice, and the support of 
civil government, in such colonies where it shall be 
found necessary ; and the residue is from time to time 
to be disposed of by Parliament, towards defraying 
the necessary expences of defending, protecting, and 
securing the colonies. It is humbly submitted, 
whether his Majesty s commons in Britain have not, 
by these acts, granted the property of their fellow 
subjects in America, without their consent in Parlia 
ment. Your Lordships will allow, that it is an un 
alterable rule in equity, that a man shall have the free 
use and the sole disposal of his property. This origi 
nal principle, to the lasting honour of our British an 
cestors, was in early time ingrafted into the British 
constitution, and is the greatest security, as well 
.as the brightest ornament of a British subject. It 
adds to the real grandeur of the British monarch, 
whose happy subjects have an unshaken opinion of 
their own safety, which is the perfection of political 
liberty : such a constitution shall in future ages be 
admired, when the names of tyrants and their vassals 
shall be alike forgot. This constitution, my Lords, 
is fixed : it is from thence that all power in the state 
derives its authority : therefore, no power can exceed 
the bounds of it without destroying its own founda 
tion. It is conceived, that even the remotest and most 
inconsiderable subject hath an equitable claim to the 
benefit of the fundamental rules of the constitution ; 
for all British subjects are alike free. The blessings 
of the British constitution will for ever keep the sub- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 197 

jects in this province united to the mother state, as 
long as the sentiments of liberty are preserved : but 
what liberty can remain to them, when their prop 
erty, the fruit of their toil and industry, and the 
prop of all their future hopes in life, may be taken 
from them at the discretion of others ? They have 1 
never been backward in affording their aid to his 
Majesty, to the extent of their ability : they can say 
without vanity, and they may be allowed to boast, 
that from the days of their ancestors, no subjects 
have given more signal proofs of zeal for the service 
and honour of their sovereign, and affection for the 
parent country : It has till of late been the invari 
able usage for his Majesty s requisitions to be laid 
before their own representatives ; and their aid has 
not been tributary, but the free and voluntary gift of 
all : the change is in its nature delicate and import 
ant ; your Lordships will judge whether there be any 
necessity or pressing reasons of it : the House are 
not insensible that the colonies have their enemies, 
who may have represented them to his Majesty s 
ministers and the Parliament as seditious, disloyal, 
and disposed to set up an independency on Great 
Britain : but they rely upon the candour of your Lord 
ships judgment : they can affirm, that with regard 
to this province, and, they presume, all the colonies, 
the charge is injurious and unjust ; the superintending 
authority of his Majesty s high court of Parliament, 
the supreme legislative over the whole empire, is as 
clearly admitted here as in Britain ; so far as is consist 
ent with the fundamental rules of the constitution : and, 
it is presumed, it is not further admissable there. 

198 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

The House are humbly in opinion, that a repre 
sentation of their constituents in that high court, by 
reason of local circumstances, will for ever be im 
practicable : and that his Majesty s royal predecessors 
were graciously pleased, by charter, to erect a legis 
lative in the province, as perfectly free as a subor 
dination would admit, that the subjects here might 
enjoy the unalienable right of a representation ; and 
further, that the nation hath ever since considered 
them as subjects, though remote, and conceded to 
the acts of the subordinate legislation. Their charter 
is a check upon them, and effectually secures their 
dependance on Great Britain ; for no acts can be in 
force till the King s governor gives his assent, and 
all laws that are made are laid before his Majesty, 
who at any time, during three years after they are 
made, may disannul them at his royal pleasure : under 
this check the House humbly conceive a representa 
tion in Parliament cannot be necessary for the nation, 
and for many reasons it cannot be eligible to them : 
all they desire is, to be placed on their original stand 
ing, that they may still be happy in the enjoyment of 
their invaluable privileges, and the nation may still 
reap the advantage of their growth and prosperity. 

The House intreat your Lordships patience one 
moment longer, while they just mention the danger 
they apprehend to their liberties, if the crown, in 
addition to its uncontroverted right of appointing a 
governor, should also appoint him a stipend at the 
expence of the people, and without their consent. 
And also, whether, as the judges and other civil 
officers of the province do not hold commissions 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 199 

during good behaviour, there is not a probability that 
arbitrary rule may in some time take effect, to the 
subversion of the principles of equity and justice, 
and the ruin of liberty and virtue. 

It is humbly hoped, that your Lordships will con 
ceive a favourable opinion of the people of the prov 
ince ; and that you will patronize their liberties, so 
far as in your great wisdom and candour you shall 
judge to be right. 


[L. C. Draper, Essay on Autographic Collections, pp. 47, 48 ; Collections, 
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, vol. x., p. 401.] 

To the Free-holders and other Inhabitants of the town 
of Boston, in Annual Town Meeting assembled, 
March i^th, 1768 : 

The Memorial of Samuel Adams showeth : 
That your Memoralist was chosen by said Town 
in the year 1 764, a Collector of Taxes, in which 
capacity he had before served the Town for nine 
years successively and being duly sworn, had the 
Province, Town and County taxes, assessed the same 
year, accordingly committed to him to collect ; at 
the same time he became bound to the Town Treas 
urer, with suretys, in the penal sums of Five thous 
and Pounds for the payment of the same into the 
respective Treasurys. 

1 This petition was "read and largely debated," and the meeting voted 
" that the Prayer of the Petition be granted, and that a further Time of Six 
Months be allowed him for Collecting his Taxes, and that the Treasurer be 
directed to stay Execution untill that Time." See below, page 321. 

200 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

That with all possible diligence, and with his best 
discretion, he attended his duty ; but was greatly re 
tarded by means of the small pox, which then pre 
vailed in the Town, and other obstructions : So that 
he was unable to make any great Progress, till a new 
year came on, when a new Tax was levied, on the same 
Persons who remained indebted to him as aforesaid, 
which Tax was committed to another person to col 
lect. That the Town cannot be unmindful of the 
difficulties which the next year ensued, by Reason of 
the Stamp Act, and the Confusion consequent there 
upon ; which in a great Measure interrupted the 
course of Business of every kind. By all which there 
became a Burden of three years taxes upon those 
Persons, many of them at least, who had not paid 
your Memoralist for the said year 1 764. 

That the Town, the last year, saw fit to direct their 
Treasurer to put the Bond afore d in suit 1 ; which he 
accordingly did, and obtained a Judgment thereon : 
and altho your Mem st has since been able to lessen 
the sum by Payments into the Treasury, yet there 
still remains a large balance due, which your Treas 
urer, if called on, can ascertain. 

Now your Memoralist prays the Town to take the 
matter, with all its circumstances, into candid con 
sideration, and grant him a further Time to collect 
his out-standing Debts, that he may be enabled 
thereby to compleat the Obligation of his Bond : Or 
otherwise, that the Town will do that which to them 
all shall seem good. 

With all due respect to the Town. 

1 Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., pp. 202, 203. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 201 

[Boston Gazette, 1 April 4, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

While the generous Farmer has been employing 
his shining Talents, in awakning a Continent to a 
sense of the Danger their civil Rights are in from in- 
croaching power : While it is grown fashionable, for 
men of ingenuity and public spirit, with a noble ar 
dour, to warn us against a tame submission to the 
iron rods ; and LIBERTY, LIBERTY, is the Cry : I con 
fess I am surpriz d to find, that so little attention 
is given to the danger we are in, of the utter loss 
of those religious Rights, the enjoyment of which 
our good forefathers had more especially in their in 
tention, when they explored and settled this new 

To say the truth, I have from long observation 
been apprehensive, that what we have above every 
thing else to fear, is POPERY : And I now bespeak 
the solemn attention of my beloved Countrymen, to a 
course of Letters which I am preparing, and propose 
to publish in your paper upon the momentous and 
melancholly subject. I expect to be treated with 
sneer and ridicule by those art/id men who have 
come into our country to spy out our Liberties ; and 
who are restless to bring us into Bondage, and can be 
successful only when the people are in a sound sleep : 
from this consideration I hope my readers will not be 
offended, if I now, and then, cry aloud to them with 

1 The Boston Gazette and the Country Journal, Edes and Gill [Benj. Edes ; 
Benj. Edes and Sons]; Boston [Watertown]. 

202 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

a great degree of warmth and pathos : This I shall 
most certainly do, whether they will hear or whether 
they will forbear ; for I cannot even now think on 
the subject without feeling my zeal enkindle. I know 
full well that it is farthest from the imagination of 
some of our solid men and pious Divines, whom I in 
tend particularly to address on the occasion, that 
ever this enlightned continent should become the wor 
shippers of the Beast : But who would have thought 
that the oblig d and instructed Israelites would so 
soon after they were delivered from the Egyptian 
Task-masters, have fallen down before a golden Calf ! 
There is a variety of ways in which POPERY, the 
idolatry of Christians, may be introduced into Amer 
ica ; which at present I shall not so much as hint at, 
but shall point them out hereafter in their proper 
order. Yet, my dear countrymen suffer me at this 
time, in the bowels of my compassion to warn you 
x all, as you value your precious civil Liberty, and 
everything you can call dear to you, to be upon 
your guard against POPERY. My fears of POPERY 
have induced me to travel thro this great continent 
as a spectator, to satisfy myself : And the more I 
know of the circumstances of America, I am sorry to 
say it, the more reason I find to be apprehensive of 
POPERY. Bless me ! could our ancestors look out 
of their graves and see so many of their own sons, 
deck d with the worst of foreign Superfluities, the 
ornaments of the whore of Babylon, how would it 
break their sacred Repose ! But amidst my gloomy 
apprehensions, it is a consolation to me to observe, 
that some of our Towns, maintain their integrity, 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 203 

and show a laudable zeal against POPERY. To do 
honor to those Towns as much as in my power, I in 
tend to publish a List of them. And as I am not 
particularly attach d to any Town in the province, 
but that which gave me birth, I am determin d that 
if any others shall be rous d by my future Lucubra 
tions to oppose POPERY, as I trust and hope they 
will, they shall have the same Notice taken of them 
in another Paper. Your s 


[Boston Gazette, April n, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

As the love of fame operates more or less in every 
human breast, I must acknowledge I have had some 
feelings of it in my own mind, since you were so 
courteous as to publish to the world my last letter : 
I had a consciousness that I was influenced by no 
motives in writing it, but what appeared to me to be 
justifiable and praise-worthy ; and indeed I was un 
der a sort of constraint to mention my fears ; for I 
did verily believe, and I do so still, that much more 
is to be dreaded from the growth of POPERY in 
America, than from Stamp- Acts or any other Acts 
destructive of mens civil rights : Nay, I could not 
help fancying that the Stamp-Act itself was contrived 
with a design only to inure the people to the habit of 
contemplating themselves as the slaves of men ; and 
the transition from thence to a subjection to Satan, is 
mighty easy. 

204 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

As soon as I received your paper, and had read 
my letter, I took my horse and journeyed Eastward 
to be sure not from any superstitious notion I had 
of paying homage to that quarter of the heavens, but 
purely to make a visit to a few old friends, whom I\ 
knew to be inspired with a zeal against POPERY. 

In crossing the ferry, well known by the name of ~~~] 
Charles, I lit of a well-dress d man, who observing an 
uncommon silence among the passengers, and being 
desirous, as I tho t to raise a little innocent chat in a 
circle of folks, who in all likelihood will never meet 
again, he started a question, Whether the river had 
its name in honor to the first or second Charles ? a 
difference of sentiments immediately arose, perhaps 
rather to enliven the conversation, than from an ignor 
ance of so simple a matter in any of the company : 
but the question was soon decided, or rather overset, 
by one of the ferrymen, who with a certain warmth, 
put in his oar, and said that it was not a groat s mat 
ter which of them had the honor of it, for they were 
both Papists ; and he wish d such a trifling circum 
stance as it might seem to be, would not tend to 
bring in POPERY some time or other on both sides 
the river, especially into that town which bears the 
same name. I bethought myself of my list of pro- 
testant towns, and recollected that Charlestown was 
one : Surely, tho t I, there can be no danger of 
Charlestown ; and yet if there be any thing in this 
man s shrewd observation, there is some reason to 
fear that Charlestown is not so much on its guard 
against POPERY as I imagined. I began to be in 
quisitive with myself what could be the meaning of 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 205 

this back-stroke of Mr. Ferryman ; and my great 
anxiety and impatience to know the worst of it, led 
me to whisper in his ear, when I paid him my ferriage, J 
that if he would step into the neighbouring tavern, 
I had something of importance to say to him : No 
sooner were we seated, but I unburthened my mind 
to him Honest friend, said I, what reason have you 
to fear the growth of POPERY in Charlestown ? I 
should not have expected that any one would have 
represented Charlestown as Papists When I made 
use of the word represented, which was purely acci 
dental, and without any particular meaning in me, I 
observed in his looks a certain promptitude to utter 
himself, which induced me to give way to him I 
find, said he, that your mind runs upon Representa 
tives ; why truly the time of election draws near. 
You mistake me, friend, said I, my mind runs upon 
nothing but the danger of POPERY. Very well, he 
reply d, and are we not to chuse sound Protestants/ > 
for our Representatives, as we would avoid the dan 
ger of POPERY ? That s true, said I, you are very 
right ; but did ever a papist represent the town of 
Charlestown ? No, no, said he, no, no, I have noth 
ing to charge on any of our good gentlemen, as pa 
pists ; they come to our meeting every sabbath ; and 
so he went on to speak very handsomely, &c. But 
what do you mean by Popery ? said he : and before I 
had time even to attempt to answer a question of so 
great moment, he explain d it himself, and with looks 
full of meaning, said, that Popery was the worship 
ping of graven images. That s the very thing said I, 
but do any of our Representatives worship graven 

206 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

images? Here he was called to his duty, and I had 
only time to tell him, that I was upon a little excur 
sion into the country, to inquire of some friends 
about POPERY that the hint he had given in the 
ferry-boat had shock d me greatly, and when I re 
turned I should hope he would explain to me his 
mind more fully. 

I then pursued my journey to Medford, where I 
dined, and conversed upon the danger of POPERY 
with a traveller from the western parts of this pro 
vince, who alarmed me very much with a story he 
related, which I shall open to my readers in some of 
my future letters. I communicated to him my de 
sign, and my list of protestant towns he told me 
they were many of them very stanch, but that some 
of them he fear d were not so apprehensive of 
POPERY as they should be ; and particularly men 
tioned them, which I noted in my memorandum 
book, and so we parted. I mounted my horse and 
proceeded to Salem, which town I had heard, 
(whether true or not I cannot tell) had formerly 
been visited by a romish priest, who had used all his 
arts and tricks to draw them from their adherence to 
the protestant cause ; and it was said that he had in 
some measure prevailed, so that they began to won 
der after the beast : But I have reason to believe 
that their eyes are now open, and that they will 
soon convince the world, that they have repented, 
and will do their Jirst works. From Marblehead I 
started away for Haver hill a town once mark d by 
the French and Indian/tf/w& for ruin There I set 
tled a correspondence with a very sensible and hon- 

1 768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 207 

est man, well spirited against POPERY, who assured 
me that some fears I had suggested to him should 
be removed ; and that he would in less than six 
weeks give me a convincing proof that the town of 
Haverhill) at least a very great majority, were ene 
mies to POPERY, or he should much wonder. I in 
tended to have travelled as far east as York. This 
town I have a very great affection for, on account of 
the intimacy I once had with their late very vener 
able and aged pastor, who while he lived was greatly 
instrumental in keeping out POPERY there. The in 
fluence of this good old puritan among his people, 
lasted many years after his death ; and I am told 
that the most of them speak of him to this day with 
great reverence : Some, it is said, have lately set up 
the Image, and have been seen in public company 
with the crucifixes at their breasts; but I do not 
avouch for the truth of it. If it be a fact, I hope the 
town of York, which has always been remarkable 
for stanch puritanism, will take the most effectual 
method to discountenance such glaring appearances 

I shall at present give you no further account of 
this Journey, only that on my return to Charlestown 
I tarried there a night for the sake of further con 
versation with the ferryman, from whom I received 
great light, but little comfort. A few anecdotes 
worthy of notice I shall send you at another time. 

Your s, 


208 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

[Boston Gazette, April 18, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

Last evening, happening to be alone at my fireside, 
for the weather was something colder than usual at 
this season, I rilled my pipe, and seriously ruminated 
upon the momentous subject, which has of late so 
much engag d my thoughts and attention. I began 
to enquire what might be the probable causes of 
POPERY in a land of so much light and knowledge 
as this ; concluding that it would be in vain for me 
to attempt to destroy the noxious weeds, while the 
seed which lay latent, would be continually springing 
up and increasing. While I was deep in contempla 
tion, and just ripe, as I thought, to develop this mys 
tery of iniquity, which I flatter myself I should have 
done to the satisfaction of my protestant readers at 
least, a person rapped suddenly at my door, and my 
servant introduced the very man, the Traveller from 
the western parts of this province, whom I had occa 
sion to make mention of in my last letter. I was not a 
little pleas d to see him, for I was in hopes he was 
come to bring me some accounts of the state of prot 
estantism in those parts, which wou d save me the 
trouble of an intended journey, and herein I was not 
disappointed ; he gave me several curious anecdotes, 
which will serve to enliven as well as to inform and 
instruct my Readers, when I shall publish my pro- 
pos d course of letters Whether this Traveller is 
an inhabitant of Hadley, or was only transiently there, 
or en passant, as the French say, is immaterial to the 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 209 

story I am going to relate. Hadley has in its neigh 
bourhood Northampton and H at field ; the former a 
true blue protestant town, but for the other I cannot 
so positively answer ; it may be it has often been mis 
represented. Be that as it may, there happened to 
meet in this town of Hadley a couple of gentlemen of 
figure ; the one from Northampton, the other from 
H at field ; the one an open plain hearted honest and 
sensible man, the other artful and guarded ; and one 
who seem d to be so very cautious in expressing his 
sentiments that it could hardly be determin d, with 
any certainty, what he meant by what he said : , This 
however may be charitably imputed to a certain 
diffidence, peculiar to some folks, rather than a de 
sign of speaking in the way of double entendre, or in 
plain English, to be double tongud A man who is 
double tongud, if he is not in his heart a friend to 
POPERY, will be oftentimes speaking the language 
of the Beast, whether he is sensible to it or not I 
know not how it is with the Hatfield gentleman ; but in 
his conversation he utter d certain expressions, which 
seem d at least too much to savor of POPERY ; and al- 
tho the other, with his usual and laudable zeal, endeav- 
or d to prevent the ill effects of it, in the mind of a 
Youth who happened to be in the room, yet he was far 
from succeeding in his honest intention ; the young 
gentleman, tho of Strong natural power and a good 
education, suffer d himself to be so far led away that 
he even ventur d afterwards in a public company to 
harangue largely in favor of Images ; to the astonish 
ment of the Traveller, who tho in another apartment, 
was both an eye and ear witness, the doors being 

VOL. I. 14. 

210 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

wide open ; and from him I had the account. The 
story may appear to luke warm protestants to be 
simple and unimportant : but my view in relating it 
is only to show the necessity of prudence : We ought 
to be particularly cautious of what we say about 
Popery before Youth: an Heathen has told us to 
" reverence Youth." This young gentleman, it is" 
said, has well improv d the advantages of his educa 
tion. I hope his good sense and learning, especially 
if he will submit to be directed by the Northampton 
gentleman, will be sufficient to restore him to a right 
way of thinking. When this change shall take place, 
his natural abilities and acquired knowledge, with 
further improvements, the Traveller says, may strongly 
recommend him, as a candidate for a representative 
of the town in which he lives ; but it is hoped they 
will be quite sure that he is well principled, before 
they entrust him with a place of so much consequence, 
at this time especially. 

While I was entertaining, or I may rather say, was 
entertained by my honest guest, my servant bro t me \ 
a letter directed, To the Puritan to be delivered with 
speed, which I found upon unsealing it, was dated at 
Mendon, in the county of Worcester ; I read it, and 
folded it up, and having noted in my memorandum 
book, the letter from Mendon to be answered without 
delay, I returned to the traveller, who, after repeated 
whiffs, striving to recover his pipe which he had 
almost lost, occasioned as I afterwards perceived, by 
deep cogitation in my absence, he turned upon me 
with a most significant look; Did you know, said 
he, that we had POPES BULLS in the country f 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 211 

The question was like a peal of thunder in my ears. 
It gave me as sudden a shock as if I had been under 
the force of Electricity. After recovering myself 
a little, the POPES BULLS ! said I, what can you 
mean ? Nothing more or less said he ; but don t be 
over-frightened ; whatever tragical ideas you may 
entertain, the story, as I shall relate it, will end 
comically ; and to make it short, take it as follows : 
While I was in the town of Hardwick, said he, in my 
journey downwards Here he was interrupted by 
the cry of fire in the street, which hurried us both 
out, and after tarrying to assist in extinguishing it, 
which to be sure at first threatened Desolation, in 
the crowd I missed the Traveller, and was in hopes 
of finding him at my house ; but I was disappointed, 
he had return d from the fire, but was gone again. 
He left however a Billet, in which he apologiz d for 
his sudden departure, and promis d to renew his visit 
in a few days, and finish his story about the Popes 
Bulls ; which it is very like will be worth notice in 
some future paper. Your s 


P. S. I have heard, within this Day or two, that 
a certain Gentleman of weight, has taken umbrage at 
my last letter, thinking that a part of it was particu 
larly pointed at him. Thus I have been told that it 
is no uncommon thing for persons under the ministry 
of a pungent preacher, to fancy that the Clergyman, 
to use their own expression, preaches at them. This 
must proceed, either from an unaccountable and un 
reason able jealousy, or from a consciousness somewhat 

212 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

like to that which David felt, when Nathan said 
unto him, " Thou art the man." To prevent any 
suspicion of this kind for the future, which will be a 
great discouragement to me in the prosecution of my 
intended work, I shall only say, that I am too much 
of a stranger to particular characters, to pretend to 
settle that of any one person in the province, from 
the highest to the lowest. And I appeal to all my 
courteous readers, except the gentleman aforesaid, 
whether anything said in my last letter, or even hint 
ed at, could lead into a discrimination between one 
person and another, among those I mean who are 
zealous to prevent the worshipping of images in the 
land. If any are wavering in these perilous times, 
their neighbours and others, who know them to be so, 
will form such opinions of them as they please, with 
out being influenced one way or the other, by any 
thing I have said, or shall say, and I may add, can 
say If this gentleman is in such a state of mind, 
and let it be observed I do not say he is, I truly 
pity him, and shall take upon me to recommend to 
him to labor to get his doubts removed ; for it is 
worth the serious consideration of ALL that a man 
who WAVERS, is but a step from a TOTAL APOSTACY ! 

[S. A. Wells, Samuel Adams and the American Revolution^ vol. i., p. 135.] 


I have sent you by M r Edward Church a passen 
ger with Capt. Wilson the Journals of the House of 

1 A manuscript work in three volumes, in the Bancroft Collection, Lenox 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 213 

Representatives of the Last year ; the letters &c in 
the Appendix I hope you have rec d ere now. 1 I 
think they contain the true sentiments & spirit of the 
most judicious & numerous part of this province. 
The manner & event of their reception in England 
is a matter of great expectation here. I wish Great 
Britain may not be deceived with regard to the Colo 
nies to her own prejudice by the false, very false rep 
resentations of her & their enemies on this side the 
water. The vessel is now on the point of sailing, 
which prevents my writing my sentiments fully. M r 
Church is a gentleman of integrity & ingenuity. 
You may therefore rely on such intelligence as he 
may give you of the circumstances of things here. 

I am in haste &c 


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society, vol. I. A similar letter, 
in draft form, is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.] 

BOSTON, May 14, 1768. 


By M r Edward Church a Passenger in Capt Will- 
son who saild the 24 th ult. I sent you the Journals 
of the House of Representatives for the year past. 
There cannot be a better Evidence of the Modera 
tion & good temper, with which y e Affairs of the last 
Session, for the greater part of it, were conducted, 
than the Governors Speech to the two Houses, when 

1 The of Representatives, on February 12, directed that a copy of the 
circular letter should be sent to De Berdt. 

2i 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

it ended. The House of Representatives were con 
stantly attentive to the late Acts of Parliament, & 
almost their whole time was employd in preparing a 
Petition to his Majesty & Letters to his Ministers 
&c. Nothing extraordinary passd between the Gov 
ernor & the House, who seemd determind to carry 
on Business without giving his Excellency the least 
Uneasiness that could possibly be avoided. As an 
Instance, they readily complyd with his Request for 
a further Establishment for Fort Pownal at the East 
ward ; which I am satisfied was done rather to gratify 
the Governor at this Juncture, than from an Appre 
hension of the real Necessity of it. His Excellency 
in the Speech above referrd to, complains, that the 
Lovers of Contention have sought an Occasion of 
reviving it. It is not difficult to find by the journals, 
what gave occasion of Uneasiness in the latter part of 
the Session. Had the Governor conceald from the 
House, the Letter he had receivd from Lord Shel- 
burne, which it does not appear he was under any 
sort of Necessity of disclosing to them, all things 
would have gone on quietly ; But when they found 
that his Lordship had passd a Censure upon their 
Conduct, grounded upon Information he had receivd, 
& probably as they thought, by his Excellencys own 
Letters, it is not to be wonderd at, that they judgd 
it necessary to take Measures to set their Conduct 
right in the Mind of a Nobleman of his Lordships 
Dignity Character and Rank in his Majestys Service ; 
especially as it appeard by the Letter that his Maj 
esty himself had approvd of y e Governors negativing 
some of the Gentlemen they had elected as Councel- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 215 

lors, as being done with due Deliberation & Judg 
ment. The Steps which the House took were no 
other than common Sense as I apprehend would 
dictate to any private Gentleman in a similar Case. 
They are publishd for the World to judge, if there 
was any Contention in the Matter, to whom the 
Blame ought to be imputed. It is observeable that 
where there is a total Want of Confidence between a 
Governor & the People, which appears to me to be 
the Case in this Province at present, Suspicions of 
each other will often take place & operate to disturb 
the publick Tranquility, and hinder the Affairs of his 
Majestys Government in the Province from being 
carried on so prosperously as all good Men would 
wish for. How far the Jealousys of the House in 
the present Case of his Excellencys having misrep 
resented them to his Majesty, as acting from un 
worthy Views & Motives in their Elections is to be 
justifyd by his Lordships Letter, disinterested Per 
sons will judge. Such kind of Jealousy has long 
been in the Minds of very many, if not the greater 
part of the People ; and I am perswaded that noth 
ing will remove it from the minds of by far the 
greater part of those persons who constituted that 
House, but a Sight of his Excellencys Letters ; or 
a Declaration from His Lordship, if he will con 
descend to give it, to the contrary. That House has 
since been dissolvd, according to Custom, & a new 
one will be returnd this month ; I have no Reason to 
think that a Cordiality will ever subsist between the 
present Governor & the Representatives of the peo 
ple : Harmony upon the Principles of Liberty & 

2i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

Virtue is much to be desired ; but Prejudices have 
taken so deep Root that it is not to be expected: 
Which side soever is in fault, if the Prejudice be in 
vincible, his Majestys Government must be impeded, 
& both the Governor & the People must be un 
happy. I now speak my mind with an unreservd 
freedom, & I hope with Candor & Impartiality, & 
not indecently; for tho I can by no means say that I 
am captivated with his Excellencys Administration, I 
should always rejoyce in his Prosperity ; & were he 
my Patron or Father, my Regards for his Ease & 
Comfort as well as for the People would induce me 
to wish for his Removal to another Government. 

The Board of Commissioners of the Customs here \ 
is extremely disgustfull to the people ; they are neg 
lected by Men of Fortune and Character & are viewd 
in general in no better a Light than the late Com 
missioners of the Stamps ; They appear to be a use 
less & very expensive set of officers, & the Arrival 
of their Appendages from time to time with large 
Salarys, together with the many Officers of inferior 
Class, which they have created, since they came here, 
alarm the People with disagreable Apprehensions. 
The Ideas of their being designd to facilitate trade are 
now altered ; & they are considerd as the Regulators 
of a Revenue raisd out of the People without their 
Consent & therefore unconstitutional, & oppressive. 
Besides it is apprehended that in a very little time 
they will have an Influence that will be justly for 
midable. By appointing as many officers under them 
as they please, for whose Support it is said they may 
sink the whole Revenue, they may have it in their 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 217 

power to form such a Connection as to make them 
selves terrible to the Liberties of the People. There \ 
is an anxious Expectation of the Event of the Peti 
tion & Letters sent home ; It is hoped by the most 
thinking & judicious here that the Revenue Acts 
will be repeald and the Commissioners recalled ; If 
this should not take place, it is hard to say what may 
be the Consequence ; While America enjoyd her 
Liberties, Great Britain reapd the Profits of her 
Trade & had her warmest Affection ; But if her Lib 
erties are violated by the Mother Country, & her 
Trade rescinded, where is the Band of mutual 
Affection ! 

The Resolution of the Americans, which had its 
Rise in this Town, not to make use of foreign super- 
fluitys, I perceive by the London Prints, is disre 
garded there as a mere Puff, because upon Enquiry 
it was found that the Merchants had not stopd their 
Orders for such kind of Articles, & there have been 
the usual Exportations to America this Spring. But 
I wish that this Matter was considerd with a little 
more Attention ; for altho it is very probable that 
many Persons may break through their Agreement, 
yet there is no Doubt in my mind but such numbers 
will adhere to it, as must affect the British Manufac 
turers. There is certainly such a Disposition among 
the People to furnish themselves with the American 
Manufactures as never was known before ; & there 
have been late Instances of the Manufacture of a 
Variety of Articles much beyond Expectation. It is 
well known what large Quantitys of the British Man 
ufactures are annually consumd in America. Could 

2i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

Great Britain endure a total Stop of this Consump 
tion ! or What part of it would she be willing should 
be saved ? Will not the making of one Peice of 
Woolen Cloth encourage the making of Another ? 
And if this Spirit of manufacturing is excited by Re 
sentment as some of your Writers alledge, is it natural 
to suppose it will stop short of the utmost Possibility ? 
Can any Man in England or America ascertain the 
Bounds ? Will it not affect the Mother Country in 
proportion to the Extent of it ? But there is another 
Consideration of great Weight ; Let the Importa 
tions from Britain be ever so large, the Trade of 
America is so embarrassd & burthend, that it will 
not afford the People the Ability of wearing fine 
Cloaths, and paying for them, so that in the Course 
of things the Importations must cease thro Necessity. 
I pray God, that those who conduct the Affairs of 
the Nation may be endowd with true Wisdom that 
all measures destructive to the common Interest may 
be reservd, that Fomentors of Division on both 
sides the Atlantick may be detected & punishd, that 
Great Britain & the Colonys may thorowly under 
stand their mutual Interest & Dependence, that Har 
mony may be cultivated between them, & that they 
may long flourish in one undivided Empire. 
I am with great Regard 

Your most humble Servant 

June 6 1768- 

The bearer of this Letter, M r John Jeffries is a 
young Gentleman of a Liberal Education, & of a good 

1 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 219 

family here. He is the Son of M r David Jeffries, 
a Gentleman highly esteemd by good Men ; whose 
anxiety for his only Son leads him to seek the Occa 
sional Advice of Men of Religion Age & Experience 
in London, where he will be a Stranger. To gratify 
the Fathers request I mention him to you in particu 
lar. As I am influencd by motives of friendship to 
one, sollicitous for his Sons spiritual as well as tem 
poral Interest, I hope you will excuse the freedom 
taken by Your humble Serv 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 151-156 ; printed in the Boston Gazette, 

July 18, 1768.] 

My Lord, 

His Excellency the Governor of this province, has 
been pleased to communicate to the House of Repre 
sentatives, extracts of a letter he had received from 

1 Wills Hill (1718-1793), first marquis of Downshire ; member of parlia 
ment, 1741-1756 ; raised to the peerage as Lord Harwich, 1756 ; appointed 
president of the Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations, September 10, 1763 ; 
resigned, July, 1765 ; held the same office again for a few months in 1766 ; 
appointed secretary of state for the colonies and also president of the Board of 
Trade, January 20, 1768 ; resigned both offices in August, 1772, being suc 
ceeded by Lord Dartmouth. 

2 John Eliot, who as corresponding secretary of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society had opportunity for accurate information, wrote as to Adams s author 
ship of this letter: " His draft was accepted by the house of representatives : 
and, without any alterations, sent to that nobleman ; . . ." Biographical 
Dictionary, Boston, 1809, p. 9. See above, page 152, note 2. 

This letter was reported to the House June 30, was read twice and accepted 
by a vote of 92 to 17. It " was distinctly read to the members several times." 
Prior Documents, p. 205. The next act of the House was its refusal, by a 
vote of 92 to 17, to rescind the resolutions with reference to the Circular 
Letter of February n, 1768. 

220 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

your Lordship, dated Whitehall, 22d of April, 1768; 
wherein it is declared to be the royal pleasure, that he 
should require of them, in his Majesty s name, to re 
scind the resolution, which gave birth to a circular 
letter from the Speaker of the last House, and to de 
clare their disapprobation of, and dissent to, that rash 
and hasty proceeding. 

The House are humbly of opinion, that a requisition 
from the throne, of this nature, to a British House of 
Commons, has been very unusual ; perhaps there has 
been no such precedent since the revolution. If this 
be the case, some very aggravated representations of 
this measure, must have been made to his Majesty, to 
induce him to require of this House, to rescind a res 
olution of a former House, upon pain of forfeiting 
their existence. For, my Lord, the House of Repre 
sentatives, duly elected, are constituted by the royal 
charter, the representative body of his Majesty s faith 
ful commons of this province, in the General Assem 
bly. Your Lordship is pleased to say, that his 
Majesty considers this step " as evidently tending to 
create unwarrantable combinations, and to excite an 
unjustifiable opposition to the constitutional authority 
of Parliament." The House, therefore, thought it 
their indispensable duty, immediately to revise the 
letter referred to ; and carefully to recollect as far as 
they were able, the sentiments which prevailed in the 
House, to induce them to revert to, and resolve on 
the measure. 

It may be necessary to observe, that the people in 
this province have attended, with a deep concern, to 
the several acts of the British Parliament, which im- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 221 

pose duties and taxes on the colonies ; not for the 
purpose of regulating the trade, but with the sole in 
tention of raising a revenue. This concern, my Lord, 
so far from being limited within the circle of a few in 
considerate persons, is become universal. The most 
respectable for fortune, rank and station, as well as 
probity and understanding, in the province, with very 
few exceptions, are alarmed with apprehensions of 
the fatal consequences of a power exercised in any 
one part of the British empire, to command and ap 
ply the property of their fellow subjects at discretion. 
This consideration prevailed on the last House of 
Representatives, to resolve on a humble, dutiful, and 
loyal petition to the King, the common head and 
father of all his people, for his gracious interposition, 
in favor of his subjects of this province. If your 
Lordship, whom his Majesty has honored with the 
American department, has been instrumental in pre 
senting a petition, so interesting to the well being of 
his loyal subjects here, this House beg leave to make 
their most grateful acknowledgements, and to implore 
your continued aid and patronage. 

As all his Majesty s North American subjects are I 
alike affected by these parliamentary revenue acts, the 
former House very justly supposed, that each of the 
Assemblies on the continent, would take such meth 
ods 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 cir 
cular letter ; wherein their only view seems to be, to 
advertise their sister colonies of the measures they 

222 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

had taken upon a common and important concern, 
without once calling upon them to adopt those meas 
ures, or any other. 

Your Lordship, surely, will not think it a crime in 
that House, to have taken a step, which was per 
fectly consistent with the constitution ; and had a nat 
ural tendency to compose the minds of his Majesty s 
subjects of this and his other colonies, until, in his 
royal clemency, he should afford them relief, at a time, 
when it seemed to be the evident design of a party, 
to prevent calm, deliberate, rational and constitu 
tional measures from 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, and melancholy extremity. Thus, my 
Lord, it appears to this House ; and your Lordship 
will impartially judge, whether a representation of it 
to his Majesty as a measure " of an inflammatory 
nature "-as a step evidently tending " to create un- j 
warrantable combinations," and, " to excite an unjus 
tifiable opposition to the constitutional authority of 
the Parliament," be not injurious to the representa 
tives of this people, and an affront to his Majesty 

An attempt, my Lord, to impress your royal mind, 
with a jealousy of his faithful subjects, for which there 
are no just grounds, is a crime of the most malignant 
nature ; as it tends to disturb and destroy that mutual 
confidence between the Prince and the subjects, 
which is the only true basis of public happiness and 
security ; your Lordship, upon inquiry, may find that 
such base and wicked attempts have been made. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 223 

It is an inexpressible grief to the people of this 
province, to find repeated censures falling upon 
them, not from ministers of state alone, but from maj 
esty itself, grounded on letters and accusations from 
the Governor, a sight of which, though repeatedly 
requested of his Excellency, is refused. There is no 
evil of this life, which they so sensibly feel, as the 
displeasure of their Sovereign. It is a punishment 
which they are assured, his Majesty would never in 
flict, but upon a representation of the justice of it, 
from his servants, whom he confides in. Your Lord 
ship will allow the House to appeal to your own 
candor, upon the grievous hardship of their being 
made to suffer so severe a misfortune, without ever 
being called to answer for themselves, or even made 
acquainted with the matters of charge alleged against 
them : A right, which, by the common rules of so 
ciety, founded in the eternal laws of reason and 
equity, they are justly entitled to. The House is 
not willing to trespass upon your patience. They 
could recite numbers of instances, since Governor 
Bernard has been honored by his Majesty, to preside 
over this province, of their suffering the King s dis 
pleasure, through the instrumentality of the Gover 
nor, intimated by the Secretary of State, without the 
least previous notice, that they had ever deviated 
from the path of their duty. This, they humbly con 
ceive, is just matter of complaint, and it may serve to 
convince your Lordship, that his Excellency has not 
that tender feeling for his Majesty s subjects, which is 
characteristic of a good Governor, and of which the 
Sovereign affords an illustrious example. 

224 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

It is the good fortune of the House, to be able to 
show, that the measure of the last House, referred to 
in your Lordship s letter to the Governor, has been 
grossly misrepresented, in all its circumstances. And 
it is matter of astonishment, that a transaction of the 
House, the business of which, is constantly done in 
the open view of the world, could be thus colored ; a 
transaction which, by special order of the House, was 
laid before his Excellency, whose duty to his Majesty 
is, at least, not to misinform him. 

His Excellency could not but acknowledge, in jus 
tice to that House, that moderation took place in the 
beginning of the session. This is a truth, my Lord. 
It was a principle with the House, to conduct the 
affairs of government in this department, so as to 
avoid the least occasion of offence. As an instance 
of their pacific disposition, they granted a further 
establishment for one of his Majesty s garrisons in 
the province, rather to gratify his Excellency, who 
had requested it, than from a full conviction of its 
necessity. But your Lordship is informed, that this 
moderation "did not continue;" and that, " instead 
of a spirit of prudence and respect for the constitu 
tion, which seemed at that time to influence the con 
duct of a large majority of the members, a thin House 
at the end of the session, presumed to revert to, and 
resolve on a measure of an inflammatory nature ; " 
that it was an "unfair proceeding " " contrary to 
the real sense of the House;" and "procured by sur 
prise." My Lord, the journals and minutes of the 
House will prove the contrary of all this. And to 
convince your Lordship, the House beg leave to lay 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 225 

before you, the several resolutions relating to these 
matters, as they stand recorded. 

The House having finished their petition to the 
King, and their letters to divers of his Majesty s 
ministers; a motion was regularly made on the 2ist 
of January, 1 which was the middle of the session, and 
a resolution was then taken, to appoint a time to con 
sider the expediency of writing to the Assemblies of 
the other colonies on this continent, with respect to 
the importance of their joining with them, in petition 
ing his Majesty at this time. Accordingly, on the 
day assigned, there being eighty-two members pres 
ent, a number always allowed to be sufficient to make 
a full House, the question was debated ; in conse 
quence of which, a motion took place, that letters be 
wrote to the several Assemblies of the provinces and 
colonies on the continent, acquainting them, that the 
House had taken into consideration, the difficulties 
to which they are, and must be reduced, by the opera 
tion of the late acts of Parliament, for levying duties 
and taxes on the colonies ; and have resolved on 
a humble, dutiful and loyal petition to his Majesty, 
for redress ; and also upon proper representations to 
his Majesty s ministers on the subject. And to de 
sire, that they would severally take such constitu 
tional measures thereupon, as they should judge most 
proper. And the question upon the motion, passed 
in the negative. On Thursday, the 4th of February, 
it was moved in the House, that the foregoing ques 
tion be considered, so far as to leave it at large ; and 
conformable to a standing rule of the House, that no 

1 See above, page 184. 

VOL. I. 15. 

226 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

vote or order shall be reconsidered at any time, unless 
the House be as full, as when such vote or order was 
passed ; the number in the House was called for, and 
it appearing that eighty-two members were present, 
the question was put, and passed in the affirmative, 
by a large majority ; and by an immediately subse 
quent resolve, the first vote was ordered to be erased. 
The same day, the resolution which gave birth to the 
circular letter, took place, a question being regularly 
moved and fairly debated, whether the House would 
appoint a committee to prepare a letter, to be sent to 
each of the Houses of Representatives and Burgesses 
on the continent, to inform them of the measures 
which this House has taken, with regard to the diffi 
culties arising from the acts of Parliament for levying 
duties and taxes on the American colonies, and re 
port to the House, which passed in the affirmative ; 
and a committee was appointed accordingly. This 
committee, after deliberating a week, reported the 
letter, which was read in the House, and accepted, 
almost unanimously ; and fair copies of the same 
were ordered to be taken, for the Speaker to sign, and 
forward as soon as might be. And this day, there 
were eighty-three members in the House. 

The day following, 1 an order passed, that a fair copy 
of the letter be transmitted to Dennis De Berdt, Esq. 
in London. The design of which was, that he might be 
able to produce it, as necessity might require, to pre 
vent any misrepresentation of its true spirit and design. 

On Saturday, the i3th of February, in order that 
that no possible occasion might be taken by the Gov- 

1 February 12, 1768. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 227 

ernor, to think, that the debates and resolutions were 
designed to be kept a secret from his Excellency, the 
House came to the following resolution, viz. : Whereas 
this House hath directed, that a letter be sent to the 
several Houses of Representatives and Burgesses of 
the British colonies on the continent, setting forth 
the sentiments of this House, with regard to the 
great difficulties that must accrue by the operation of 
divers acts of Parliament, for levying duties and taxes 
on the colonies, with the sole and express purpose of 
raising a revenue ; and their proceedings thereon, in 
a humble, dutiful, and loyal petition to the King, and 
such representations to his Majesty s ministers, as 
they apprehend, may have a tendency to obtain re 
dress : And whereas it is the opinion of this House, 
that all effectual methods should be taken, to culti 
vate harmony between the several branches of this 
government, as being necessary to promote the pros 
perity of his Majesty s government in this province ; 
Resolved, That a committee wait on his Excellency 
the Governor, and acquaint him, that a copy of the 
letter aforesaid, will be laid before him, as soon as it 
can be drafted ; as well as of all the proceedings of 
this House, relative to said affair, if he shall desire it. 
And a committee was appointed, who waited on his 
Excellency accordingly. On Monday following, the 
House resolved on the establishment already men 
tioned, which is observed, only to shew your Lord 
ship, that there was, at this time, no disposition in the 
House, " to revive unhappy divisions and distrac 
tions, so prejudicial to the true interest of Great 
Britain and the colonies." 

228 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

The House beg leave to apologize to your Lord 
ship, for the trouble given you in so particular a nar 
ration of facts ; which they thought necessary to satisfy 
your Lordship, that the resolution of the last House, 
referred to by your Lordship, was not an unfair pro 
ceeding, procured by surprise in a thin House, as his 
Majesty has been informed ; but the declared sense 
of a large majority, when the House was full : That 
the Governor of the province was made fully ac 
quainted with the measure ; and never signified his 
disapprobation of it to the House, which it is pre 
sumed, he would have done, in duty to his Majesty, if 
he had thought it was of evil tendency : And, there 
fore, that the House had abundant reason to be con 
firmed in their own opinion of the measure, as being 
the production of moderation and prudence. And the 
House humbly rely on the royal clemency, that to 
petition his Majesty will not be deemed by him to be 
inconsistent with a respect to the British constitution, 
as settled at the revolution, by William the Third : 
That to acquaint their fellow subjects, involved in 
the same distress, of their having done so, in full 
hopes of success, even if they had invited the union 
of all America in one joint supplication, would not be 
discountenanced by our gracious Sovereign, as a 
measure of an inflammatory nature : That when 
your Lordship shall, in justice, lay a true statement 
of these matters before his Majesty, he will no longer 
consider them as tending to create unwarrantable 
combinations, or excite an unjustifiable opposition to 
the constitutional authority of the Parliament : That 
he will then clearly discern, who are of that desperate 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 229 

faction, which is continually disturbing the public 
tranquility ; and, that while his arm is extended for 
the protection of his distressed and injured subjects, he 
will frown upon all those, who, to gratify their own 
passions, have dared even to attempt to deceive him ! 
The House of Representatives of this province, 
have more than once, during the administration of 
Governor Bernard, been under a necessity of intreat- 
ing his Majesty s ministers to suspend their further 
judgment upon such representations of the temper of 
the people, and the conduct of the Assembly, as they 
were able to make appear to be injurious. The same 
indulgence, this House now beg of your Lordship ; 
and beseech your Lordship to patronize them so far, 
as to make a favorable representation of their con 
duct to the King our Sovereign ; it being the highest 
ambition of this House, and the people whom they 
represent, to stand before his Majesty in their just 
character, of affectionate and loyal subjects. 


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 147-150.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

The House of Representatives of this his Majesty s 
ancient and loyal province of the Massachusetts Bay, 

1 On June 22d Adams was appointed one of the committee which on June 
3Oth reported this letter. The report was adopted immediately after the vote 
of the House refusing to rescind the circular letter of February nth. The 
General Court was prorogued on the day this message was sent to the Governor. 
The text is printed in the Journal of the House, pp. 91-94. See W. V. Wells. 
Life of Samuel A dams \ vol. i., p. 196. 

2 3 o THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

have, with the greatest deliberation, considered your 
messages of the 2ist and 24th instant, with the sev 
eral extracts from the letter of the right honorable 
the Earl of Hillsborough, his Majesty s principal 
Secretary of State for North American affairs, dated 
the 22d of April last, which your Excellency has 
thought fit to communicate. We have also received 
the written answer which your Excellency was pleased 
to give the committee of this House, directed to wait 
on you the 2Qth instant, with a message, humbly re 
questing a recess, that the members might be favored 
with an opportunity to consult their constituents, at 
this important crisis, when a direct and peremptory 
requisition is made, of a new and strange construc- 
ture, and so strenuously urged, viz. that we should 
immediately rescind the resolution of the last House, 
to transmit circular letters to the other British colo 
nies on the continent of North America, barely inti 
mating a desire that they would join in similar dutiful 
and loyal petitions to our most gracious Sovereign, 
for the redress of the grievances occasioned by sun 
dry late acts of Parliament, calculated for the sole 
purpose of raising a revenue in America. 

We have most diligently revised, not only the said 
resolution, but also the circular letter, written and 
sent in consequence thereof; and after all, they both 
appear to us to be conceived in terms not only pru 
dent and moderate in themselves, but respectful to 
that truly august body, the Parliament of Great 
Britain, and very dutiful and loyal in regard to his 
Majesty s sacred person, crown and dignity ; of all 
which, we entertain sentiments of the highest rever- 


ence and most ardent affection ; and should we ever 
depart from these sentiments, we should stand self 
condemned as unworthy the name of British subjects, 
descended from British ancestors, intimately allied 
and connected in interest and inclination with our 
fellow subjects, the commons of Great Britain. 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 have been represented to adminis 
tration in the odious light of a party and factious 
measure, and that pushed through by reverting in a 
thin House to, and reconsidering, what in a full as 
sembly, had been rejected. It was, and is a matter 
of notoriety, that more than eighty members were 
present at the reconsideration of the vote against 
application to the other colonies. The vote for re 
consideration was obtained by a large majority. It 
is, or ought to be well known, that the presence of 
eighty members makes a full House, this number 
being just double that, by the royal charter of the 
province, required to constitute the third branch of 
our Colony Legislature. Your Excellency might have 
been very easily informed, if you was not, that the 
measures of the late House, in regard to sundry acts 
of the late Parliament, for the sole purpose of raising 
a North American revenue, were generally carried by 
three to one ; and we dare appeal to your Excellency 
for the truth of this assertion, namely, that there 
were many persons in the majority, in all views, as 
respectable as the very best of the minority ; that so 
far from any sinister views, were the committee of 

232 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

the late House, appointed and directed to take into 
their most serious consideration, the then present 
state of the province, from going into any rash or 
precipitate measures, that they, for some days, actu 
ally delayed their first report, which was a letter to 
Mr. Agent De Berdt, on this candid and generous 
principle, that those who were reasonably presup 
posed to be most warmly attached to all your Excel 
lency s measures, especially those for furthering, and, 
by all means, enforcing the acts for levying the North 
American revenue, might be present, and a more 
equal contest ensue. It would be incredible, should 
any one assert that your Excellency wanted a true 
information of all these things, which were not done, 
or desired to be hid in a corner, but were notoriously 
transacted in the open light, at noon day. It is, to 
us, 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 Repre 
sentatives, when it is evident, that resolution has no \ 
existence, but as a mere historical fact. 

Your Excellency must know, that the resolution j 
referred to, is, to speak in the language of the com 
mon law, not now executory," but, to all intents and 
purposes, " executed." The circular letters have been 
sent, and many of them have been answered 1 ; those 
answers are now in the public papers ; the public, the 
world, must and will, judge of the proposals, purposes 
and answers. We could as well rescind those letters 
as the resolves ; and both would be equally fruitless, 

J See above, page 188. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 233 

if, by rescinding, as the word properly imports, is 
meant a repeal and nullifying the resolution referred 
to. But, if, as most probable, by the word rescind 
ing, is intended a passing a vote of this House, in 
direct and express disapprobation of the measure 
above mentioned, as "illegal, inflammatory, and tend 
ing to promote unjustifiable combinations against his 
Majesty s peace, crown, and dignity," we must take 
the liberty to testify, and publicly to declare, that we 
take it to be the native, inherent, and indefeasible 
right of the subject, jointly or severally, to petition 
the King for the redress of grievances ; provided al 
ways, that the same be done in a decent, dutiful, and 
constitutional way, without tumult, disorder, or con 
fusion. Furthermore, we are also humbly, but very 
clearly and very firmly of opinion, that the petition 
of the late dutiful and loyal House to his Majesty, 
and their other very orderly applications for the re 
dress of grievances, have had the most desirable 
tendencies and effects to keep men s minds in ease 
and quiet. We must be excused, in thinking that 
the people were, in truth, patiently waiting for the 
meeting of a new Parliament, and their measures, 
and his Majesty s pleasure ; and it is probable, they 
would every where have thus waited the event, had 
it not been revealed here, that the late provincial ap 
plication for redress of grievances, were somehow, 
strangely obstructed, and the province, in conse 
quence of misinformation and misrepresentation, most 
unfortunately fallen under the royal displeasure ; and 
to complete this misfortune, it was not only divulged 
to the other colonies, but some of them actually 

234 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

received the information before it was made known 
here, that the House had been accused to his Maj 
esty, or his ministers, or fallen under the displeasure 
of the one, or the censure of the other. 

On the whole, sir, we will consider his most sacred 
Majesty, under God, as our King, and best protector, 
and common father, and shall ever bear him true and \ 
faithful allegiance^ 

We also regard your Excellency as the representa- ~ i 
tive of the greatest potentate on earth ; and at all 
times have been, and shall be, as far as was, or is, or 
could consist with the indefeasible purposes of pre 
serving life, liberty and property, most ready and 
willing, to treat you with all that respect, justly due 
to your high rank and station. But we are con 
strained to say, that we are disagreeably convinced, 
that your Excellency entertains not that paternal re 
gard for the welfare of the good people of this prov 
ince, which you have sometimes been pleased to 
profess, and which they have at all times, an irre 
fragable right to expect from their Governor. Your 
Excellency has thought fit, not only to deny us a 
recess, to consult our constituents in regard to the 
present requisition, but hath assured us, in effect, 
that you shall take silence, at least a delay, not as 
usual, for a consent, but for a denial. You have also 
thought fit to inform us, that you cannot think your 
self at liberty, in case of the dissolution of this, to 
call another Assembly, without the express orders of 
his Majesty, for that purpose ; and at the same time, 
your Excellency has been pleased to assure us, that 
you have communicated the whole of Lord Hills- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 235 

borough s letter, and your instructions, so far as 
relates to the requisition. In all this, however, we 
cannot find, that your Excellency is more than di 
rected to dissolve the present Assembly, in case of a 
non-compliance on the part of the House. If the 
votes of the House are to be controlled by the 
direction of a minister, we have left us but a vain 
semblance of liberty. We know it to be the just 
prerogative of the Crown, at pleasure to dissolve a 
Parliament ; we are also sensible, that, consistently 
with the great charter of this province, your Excel 
lency, when you shall think fit, with or without the 
intervention of a minister, can dissolve the great and 
General Court of this colony, and that, without the 
least obligation to convene another within the year. 1 
But, should it ever grow into use, for any ill disposed 
Governor of the province, by means of a mistaken 
or wilful wrong state of facts, to procure orders for a 
dissolution, the same charter will be of no value. 

We take this opportunity, faithfully to represent t 
your Excellency, that the new revenue acts and meas 
ures, are not only disagreeable to, but in every view, 
are deemed an insupportable burthen and grievance, 
with a very few exceptions, by all the freeholders and 
other inhabitants of this jurisdiction. And we beg 
leave, once for all, to assure your Excellency, that 
those of this opinion, are of " no party, or expiring 
faction." They have, at all times, been ready to de 
vote their time and fortunes to his Majesty s service. 
Of loyalty, this majority could as reasonably boast, 

1 On the day following that on which this message was sent to the Governor 
he dissolved the General Court by proclamation. 

236 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

as any who may happen to enjoy your Excellency s 
smiles. Their reputation, rank and fortune, are, at 
least, equal to those who may have been sometimes 
considered as the only friends to good government ; 
while some of the best blood in the colony, even in 
the two Houses of Assembly, lawfully convened, and 
duly acting, have been openly charged with the un 
pardonable crime of oppugnation against " the royal 
authority." We have, now, only to inform your Ex 
cellency, that this House have voted not to rescind, 
as required, the resolution of the last House ; and 
that, on a division on the question, there were ninety- 
two nays, and seventeen yeas, fn all this, we have 
been actuated by a conscientious, and, finally, a clear 
and determined sense of duty to God, to our King, 
our country, and our latest posterity ; and we most 
ardently wish, and humbly pray, that in your future 
conduct, your Excellency may be influenced by the 
same principled 

[Boston Gazette, August 8, 1768.] 

. JMessieurs EDES & GILL, 

It is said that our brethren at Halifax, are under 
such dismal apprehensions of our being upon the 
point of ruin by mobs and tumults, that a certain gen 
tleman there has seen fit, to order his interest out of 
the hands of a merchant of worth and credit, and 
committed it to the care of the boatswain of his Maj 
esty s ship Romney, still riding in this harbour. How 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 237 

far these apprehensions will be strengthened by his 
Excellency s Proclamation in the last Thursday paper, 
every reader is as capable of judging as I am. It is 
certainly a grievous hardship that we should be so 
grossly misrepresented ; and if these falsehoods make 
such impressions on the minds of persons so near to 
us as Halifax, it cannot be wondered at, if the mother- 
country at the distance of a thousand leagues, should 
think that we are in a state of confusion, equal to 
what we hear from the orderly and very polite cities 
of London and Westminster. There, we are told, is 
the Weavers mob, the Seamens mob, the Taylors 
mob, the Coal miners mob, and some say, the Clergys 
mob ; and in short it is to be feared the whole king 
dom, always excepting the and the P 1, 

will unite in one general scene of tumult : I sincerely 
pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation and 
her colonies, whose interest if she would open her 
eyes she would clearly discern to be undivided. 
If it be a truth, as I take it to be, that the people are 
seldom if ever discontented, without just cause, we 
may conclude, that the wheels of good government 
there are somewhat cloged, which it is to be hoped 
the wisdom of the nation will discover and remedy. 
That the people of this province are universally un 
easy, all must allow ; but that they are dispos d to be 
mobbish, I utterly deny, and take it upon me to say, 
that to assert it is a vile abuse of them. What in 
stance can be produced to show that the peace and 
good order of the province hath been of late greatly 
interrupted by the riots and tumults, which have 
taken place in divers towns within the same ? I have 

238 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

never heard of any, and I question whether there can 

be one mentioned to justify the assertion. If we are 
pointed to a stirring that was made in this town about 
two months ago, let us consider the circumstances 
which previously took place. Can any one be sur 
prized, that when property was violently seized, under 
a pretence of law, at an unseasonable time, at or after 
sunset, by the aid of military power, a power ever 
* dreaded by all the lovers of the peace and good order 

\ of the province, and without any reason assigned 
or apparent : Is it at all surprizing that such ill- 
timed, violent and unheard of proceedings, should ex 
cite the resentment even of the better sort of people 
|n the town. What was the mighty consequence ? a 
few persons appeared to resent it, and after break 
ing a few panes of glass, by the influence of the in 
habitants, they dispersed without doing any further 

J damage : The gent, commissioners three days after 
took it into their heads to go down to the castle, 
where they have since resided, and the town has been 
;in perfect peace, and I believe will so remain, at least 
till they return. I am not now justifying even this 
little inconsiderable rising of the people ; nor is it my 
business that I know of to condemn it. I appeal to 
the world, upon this short but full relation of the facts, 
whether there was not an acknowledgment due to the 
inhabitants of the town, for their disposition to main 
tain good order, which by the way they have upon all 
proper occasions discovered, rather than a necessity 
of calling upon them, as tho they had been deficient, 
to exert themselves in promoting it. The vessel 
seized was the property of a private gentleman, a 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 239 

merchant, but the manner in which she was seized \ 
was judg d a public affront, an unwarrantable action ; 
yet the people suppressed their just resentment: 
And tho they have had the mortification of seeing 
ever since, the seized plunder secured under the 
mouths of hundreds of cannon, when it ought to have 
been in the care of the civil officers, and would have 
been full as safe there, they have hitherto waited with 
patience, in expectation that justice, JUSTICE will be 
done, even in the court of admiralty. The represen 
tation made by William Tyng, Esq ; Sheriff of Cum 
berland, may be true, and it doubtless answered a very 
good purpose, to publish to the world that the two 
men rescued from the Goal there had been convicted 
of a riot : but I would very submissively ask, whether 
a riot in the county of Cumberland, the most distant 
county in the eastern part of the province, and near 
two hundred miles from the Centre or the Capital, is a 
sufficient reason for asserting that the peace and good 
order of the province has been greatly interrupted by 
Riots and Tumults, when in all probability ninety- 
nine in an hundred never heard of it, and of those _. 
who had ninety-nine in an hundred detested it. If 
the civil government has lost its " Vigor and Firmness" 
I dare say it is by no means to be imputed to the want 
of readiness in the people to support the civil officers 
in the diie execution of the Law there must be some 
other cause, which I have never yet seen inserted in 
any proclamation^\\i^ People of this Province are 
enlightened TheyTcnow how to distinguish, and I 
pray God they ever may, between the due execution 
of the laws of the land, and the exercise of new 

240 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

invented, strange, unconstitutional Powers, repugnant j 
to the British Constitution and the Charter of the 
Province So deep rooted is their abhorrence of such 
powers as these, that I question whether civil, mili 
tary or ecclesiastick authority united, will ever be 
sufficient to induce them to yield the least assistance 
in support of them I am no friend to " Riots, Tu 
mults and unlawful Assemblies" I take upon me to 
say, any more than his Excellency is : But when the 
People are oppress d, when their Rights are infring d, 
when their property is invaded, when taskmasters 
are set over them, when unconstitutional acts are 
executed by a naval force before their eyes, and they 
are daily threatened with military troops, when their 
legislative is dissolv d ! and what government is left, is 
as secret as a Divan, when placemen and their under 
lings swarm about them, and Pensioners begin to make 
an insolent appearance in such circumstances the peo 
ple will be discontented, and they are not to be blamed 
their minds will be irritated as long as they have any 
sense of honor, liberty and virtue In such Circum 
stances, while they have the spirit of freedom, they 
will boldly assert their freedom ; and they are to 
be justify d in so doing I know very well that to 
murmur, or even to whisper a complaint, some men 
call a riotous spirit. But they are in the right of it to 
complain, and complain ALOUD. And they will com 
plain, till they are either redress d, or become poor 
deluded miserable ductile Dupes, fitted to be made^J 
the slaves of dirty tools of arbitrary power. 


1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 241 



[Boston Gazette, October 10, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

You are desired to publish in your next Paper the 
following true Copy of a Letter transmitted to 
DENNYS DEBERDT Esq ; in London, by Order of the 
late Convention, consisting of Committees from Ninety- 
eight Towns, many of them the most wealthy and 
numerous in the Province, and eight Districts. 


A. B. 

BOSTON, September 27, 1768. 

SIR, _- 

THE inhabitants of a number of towns within this / 
province, having, at their several Town meetings 
legally called, taken under their most mature con 
sideration, the great and prevailing uneasiness among 
the people of the province in general : arising from 
an apprehension that their charter and constitutional 
rights and liberties are infringed by the late acts of 
parliament for the raising a revenue in America with 
out their consent ; and also from the immediate pros 
pect of a standing army to enforce the execution of 
these acts, at this time, when they may reasonably 

1 The convention which authorized this letter met in Boston, September 22d, 
1768, as a result of the action on September I3th of the Boston town meeting. 
According to Well , not only this letter but also the petition to the King, were 
written by Adams. W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. 217. 
Adams was clerk of the convention, and, with Otis, Hancock, and Cushing, 
represented Boston. Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., pp. 263, 

VOL. I. 16. 

242 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

hope the late dutiful and loyal supplications of their 
Representatives, for a redress of the grievance, is un 
der the consideration of our gracious Sovereign, from 
whose wisdom & clemency they expect relief : And 
being deprived of the benefit of a general assembly, 
his excellency the Governor having dissolved the 
same at an unusual season, and in an unusual manner, 
declaring that he does not think himself at liberty to 
call a new one, till he shall receive further orders 
from his Majesty. The said towns have severally 
made choice of Committees to meet together, consult 


and advise to such measures as may tend to promote 
the peace and good order of his Majesty s subjects in 
this province, at so alarming and distressing a crisis. 

And being conven d for the purpose aforesaid at 
Boston, we have taken the earliest opportunity to as 
sure the Governor of the province, and the world, 
in our Petition offered to his Excellency, which we 
caused immediately to be published, and is herewith 
inclosed, to disclaim all pretensions to any authorita 
tive and governmental acts. And you will please to 
observe, by a copy of our whole proceedings now sent 
to you, that we have strictly adhered to the express 
design of our convention. 

We have taken the liberty to write to you, as a 
known friend to the province, and to beg the favour 
of you to use your kind endeavour to prevent any 
misrepresentations of our meeting and proceedings, 
which our enemies may be ready to make. We flatter 
ourselves you may be enabled from this instance, to 
afford to his Majesty s ministers, and the good people 
of Britain, a fresh token of the loyalty of our respec- 

i 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 243 

tive towns to his Majesty, their attachment to his 
government, and love of peace and good order. 

We wish and pray for the happy time, when a 
national attention shall be given to the grievances 
we labor under, and the true source of them. When 
such a period shall come, we are persuaded that the 
union and harmony which has hitherto subsisted be 
tween Great Britian and the Colonies, and upon 
which the welfare of both undoubtedly depends, will 
be confirmed and established. 

The present discontent we apprehend originally 
arose from the nation s having been informed of the 
ability of the people here to pay considerable duties ^ 
and taxes. Whoever made such a representation, / 
surely did not attend duly to the heavy load of debt 
lying upon this province, incurred chiefly by our 
expenses in defending and enlarging his Majesty s 
American territories in the last war, which was borne 
by the people with the greatest alacrity. The nation 
being itself involv d in a heavy debt, was easily in 
duced to avail itself of the suppos d affluence of the 
Colonies, and unfortunately, as they apprehend, took j 
such a measure as will naturally awaken the jealousy 
of every free and sensible people , namely, by passing 
acts to tax them without their consent. The late 
Stamp-Act made for this purpose, was indeed re 
pealed : But other acts of the same nature and ten 
dency, tho perhaps not so apparently obnoxious, are 
in full force, and daily executing. 

The people in consequence complain d of these acts 
as being abridgments of such constitutional Rights as 
are laid deep in the foundation of nature : But these 

244 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

complaints have been represented as arising from a 
spirit of faction, disloyalty and rebellion. Their most 
dutiful and loyal petitions to his Majesty, they have 
been inform d by the last advice from London, had 
not reached the royal presence : Nay, his Majesty, 
as they are told, has been assured that his subjects of 
this province have even attempted to excite the same 
spirit among his other colonies, by a circular letter, 
the only purport of which was to acquaint them of 
their having petitioned for relief from the common 
grievance, with hopes of success from the royal 

In order to raise the jealousy of the nation, the 
most trifling incidents have been wrought up to the 
highest pitch of aggravation, by persons who still find 
means to gain a credit there. We shall only recur to 
the most recent instances. 

On the 1 8th of March last, being the anniversary 
of the repeal of the Stamp-Act, and observed as a 
day of rejoicing, a few disorderly persons mostly 
boys, assembled in the evening, paraded some of the 
streets, and finally repaired to the House of John 
Williams, Esq., the inspector-general. Whether their 
design was to do him an injury or not, by his address 
and soft treatment of them, together with the inter 
position of some of the neighbouring householders, 
they soon retir d & dispers d, without doing any mis 
chief at all. His Majesty s Council, in their answer 
co the Governor, which is inclos d, have declared this 
to be too inconsiderable to make it a subject of repre 
sentation ; and that it could not have been made the 
subject of so injurious an one, but by persons disposed 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 245 

to bring misery and distress upon the town and prov 
ince ; and their declaration it is said has given great 
offence to the Governor. 

There was indeed on the loth of June following, 
something that had rather more of the appearance of 
riot, but it was only of a few hours existence, and 
with very little mischief. But as we are informed, 
that the town of Boston have already given you a 
full account of this affair, supported by affidavits, we 
shall not give you the further trouble of reciting it, 
but refer you to their letter. 1 It is however to be 
observed, that if the inhabitants of that town had 
been dispos d to give the least countenance to this 
riot, so exasperated were the people at the extraordi 
nary and unusual exertion of the naval power, when 
there could be no apprehension that the King s offi 
cers would be in the least measure molested in the 
due execution of lawful power ; as well as the haughty 
behavior of the commissioners of the customs, that 
the least countenance would have been sufficient to 
have led them on to extremities but they sooth d 
them and the people soon dispers d after having 
broke a few panes of glass, not to the value of five 
pounds. We cannot help taking notice here, of a 
notorious instance of the inveterate temper of our 
enemies, in a representation made in a certain letter, \ 
of this riotous assembly s having burnt a beautiful \ 
barge belonging to the collector of the customs, be- f 
fore Mr. Hancock s door. As this worthy gentleman V 
sustains a public character, and is one of the principal 
inhabitants in the province, it is apparent that the 

1 Cf. Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., p. 257. 

246 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

malice of the writer of that letter was not confin d to 
a single gentleman, but extended to the public. The 
truth is, the barge was burnt on a common, 1 sur 
rounded with gentlemen s seats ; and the scene could 
not be said to be before Mr. Hancock s door, any 
more than before the doors of divers other gentle 
men in the neighbourhood. The mean insinuation 
that was done under the influence of Mr. Hancock, 
is so far from the least shadow of truth, that it is no 
torious here, that the tumult was finally dispers d, 
principally by his exertions, animated by his known 
regard to peace and good order. His Majesty s 
Council afterwards gave a just account of the occa 
sion of that riot, and repeatedly desired that the 
Governor would order the same to be made public, 
but without success. 2 

Care was taken, however, by those, who, to speak 
in the softest terms, are unfriendly to us, to transmit 
this affair to the nation in so aggravated a light, as 
to incense to a high degree. ( And we cannot indeed 
wonder, that when such false representations are 
made by persons, as we have reason to believe, of 
rank and figure here, our mother country should for 
a while give credit to them, and under an apprehen 
sion of a general insurrection, should send a military 
force to subdue a people, if we may be allowed to 
say it, at least as orderly and well-affected, as sen 
sible of their just rights, and yet as patient under 
oppression, till they can be constitutionally relieved, . 
as any in his Majesty s empire.) 

1 T. Hutchinson, History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, vol. iii., p. 
191, confirms this. 2 See Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 156, 157. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 247 


/ Nothing, we apprehend, is wanting, to restore a 
much desired harmony, but for his Majesty s subjects, 
on both sides the atlantic, fully to explain themselves 
to each other, which is not likely to be done thro the 
medium of interested and designing men : Such men 
would not scruple to raise their fortunes, tho at the 
ruin of the empire. Could such men be removed, 
the nation, attentive to the calm voice of reason, 
which we humbly apprehend has been uttered by the 
colonies, would soon view their disposition, we may 
at least be allowed to say, that of this province, in its 
just light, and be convinced, that it is their warmest 
inclination, as well as in their power, to add strength 
and riches to the mother state, and administer to the 
splendor of the British crown. 

Thus^we have given you _a_fulTa.ccQunt of the occa 
sion, n at u remand design of our convening ; which is 
by no means tn assume, to ourselves any authority of 
government ; but only as a number of private fellow- 
subjects met together, to consult and advise the most 
effectual measures to promote the peace and good 
order of his Majesty s subjects at this very difficult 
and distressing time. 

We herewith inclose to you an humble, dutiful and 
loyal petition to our most gracious Sovereign, which 
we beg the favour of you to present to his Majesty 
in person, as speedily as possible. 
We rest, in strict truth, 

and with great Respect, &c. 


248 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 


[MS., collections of the Earl of Dartmouth; a draft is in the Samuel Adams 
Papers, Lenox Library.] 

BOSTON OctoT 3 d 1768 

The Troops which you mention d in your Letter 
to the late Speaker, arrivd last week. Barraks are 
provided for them at the Castle, which is within the 
Limits of the Town sufficient to contain more than 
their Number. Governor Barnard [sic] in opposition 
to the unanimus advice of his Council insists upon 
their being Quartered in the Body of the Town they 
remain this day unprovided with any other Quarters. 

The People in general as you may naturally sup 
pose are utterly averse to their continuing among 
them, yet such was their humanity towards them that 
they were content to shelter them from the open air 
for a Night or two even in their City Hall what will 
be the event of, I had almost said the obstinacy of 
the Governor against the sense of a provoked people, 
God only knows ! The Revenue be it just or not is 
not at all affected in this struggle. It has been paid 
without interruption during the Retirement of the 
Commissioners, to the Castle which was of their own 
Accord and some suspect was to make an appearance 
and a plausible pretence to the Nation. 

The Troops are hitherto orderly, the Inhabitants 
preserve their Peace and patience. The late Con 
vention has no doubt contributed much towards it, 
they however look upon their situation, being sur 
rounded with Men of War hostile at least in ap 
pearance, and the determination of the Governor to 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 249 

quarter Soldiers upon them when there are Barraks 
provided according to Act of Parliament which was 
made undoubtedly to prevent such a Calamity to 
be a new & intolerable Grievance. They are re 
solved not to pay their Money without their own 
consent and are more than ever determin d to relin 
quish every article however dear that comes from 
Britain, till the Acts are repeal d and the Troops re- 
mov d. May God preserve the Nation from being 
greatly injured if not finally ruin d by the Vile in- N 
sinuations of wicked men in America. __j 

I am in haste &c. 

[Boston Gazette, October 10, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

Please to insert the following. 

Cedant Arma Togcz. 

By the act of Parliament providing for the quar 
tering and billeting his Majesty s troops, the civil 
officers and NO OTHERS are empower d " and required 
to quarter and billet the officers and soldiers in his 
Majesty s service IN THE BARRACKS PROVIDED in the 
Colonies, and if there shall not be sufficient room in 
the said Barracks for the Officers and Soldiers, THEN 
AND IN SUCH CASE ONLY, to quarter and billet the 
residue " of them in the inns, livery stables and other 
houses mentioned in said act. 

If then this act of Parliament is to be the rule, 

250 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

which it is presum d the gentlemen of the army will 
not deny, it evidently follows, first, That the military 
officers have no concern at all in quartering them 
selves and the soldiers, this being done by the civil 
officers and no others : And secondly, that as many of 
the officers and soldiers as the Barracks will contain, 
MUST BE quarter d in them, and the residue if any in 
the inns, &c. The Barracks at the Castle are suffi 
cient to contain MORE THAN THE WHOLE NUMBER of 
troops now in town, and ARE EMPTY ; it therefore ap 
pears to a common understanding^ to be CONTRARY 
to the act of parliament, for any of them to be either 
encamp d or quarter d in the body of the town Is it 
not then astonishing that the City Hall and even the 
SENATE HOUSE should be for more than a week past 
put to an use, so ABHORRENT from the original and 
true intent of them, when the Barracks at the Castle, 
the original and true and legal intent of which is to 
receive and lodge the officers and troops, are READY 
FOR THE PURPOSE ! To say that the officers have a 
right to hire quarters for the troops among the in 
habitants, and that Mr. M y and others have 

been officious enough to rent them, will not be suffi 
cient to reconcile this matter for the act further 
says, "that if any military officer shall take UPON 
HIMSELF to quarter soldiers in any of his Majesty s 
dominions in America, OTHERWISE than is limitted 
and allow d in this act, &c. he shall be ipso facto 
cashier d, and be utterly disabled to have or hold any 
military employment in his Majesty s service." Will 
any one say that when a military officer hires Mr. 
Murray s or any other man s house to quarter his 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 251 

soldiers in, he does not TAKE UPON HIMSELF to quar 
ter them OTHERWISE than is limited in the act of par 
liament ? In short, the act of parliament as all other 
good laws are, was made for the general advantage, 
and appears to be as much design d for the preserva 
tion of the peace and good order of the Citizens, as for 
the comfort of the soldiery there seems to be a 
contract fully imply d in it, that if the government 
would provide Barracks for the King s troops, then 
they should not suffer the inconvenience of their be 
ing quarter d in their towns : Such Barracks are 
provided by this government at a very considerable 
expence, & are now empty ; therefore the inhabitants 
of this town are in JUSTICE as well as BY LAW secured 
from the inconvenience of having troops quarter d 
among them in any case whatever, at least TILL THOSE 
BARRACKS ARE FULL Magna est Lex et Prcevalebit. 


[Boston Gazette, October 17, 1768.] 


Messieurs EDES & GILL, 
Please to insert the following. 

" WHERE Law ends, (says Mr. Locke) TYRANNY 
begins, if the Law be transgress d to anothers harm " : 
No one I believe will deny the truth of the observa 
tion, and therefore I again appeal to common sense, 
whether the act which provides for the quartering 
and billeting the King s troops, was not TRANSGRESS D, 

252 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

when the barracks at the Castle WHICH ARE SUFFI 
CIENT TO CONTAIN MORE than the whole number of 
soldiers now in this town, were ABSOLUTELY REFUS D : 
This I presume cannot be contested. Should any one 
say that the law is not transgres d " to anothers harm" 
the assertion I dare say would contradict the feelings 
of every sober householder in the town., No man 
can pretend to say that the peace and good order of 
the community is so secure with soldiers quartered in 
thejwdy of a city as without them. Besides, where 
military power is introduced, military maxims are 
propagated and adopted, which are inconsistent with 
and must soon eradicate every idea of civil govern- 
ment Do we not already find some persons weak 
enough to believe, that an officer is obliged to obey 
the orders of his superior, tho it be even AGAINST 
the law ! And let any one consider whether this doc 
trine does not directly lead even to the setting up 
that superior officer, whoever he may be, as a tyrant. 
It is morever to be observ d that military government 
and civil, are so different from each other, if not op 
posite, that they cannot long subsist together. Sol 
diers are not govern d properly by the laws of their 
country, but by a law madey^r them only : This may 
in time make them look upon themselves as a body 
of men different from the rest of the people ; and as 
they and they only have the sword in their hands, 
they may sooner or later begin to look upon them 
selves as the LORDS and not the SERVANTS of the 
people : Instead of enforcing the execution of law, 
which by the way is far from being the original 
intent of soldiers, they may refuse to obey it them- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 253 

selves :\ Nay, they may even make laws for thern- 
setves/and enforce them by the power of the sword ! -^ 
Such instances are not uncommon in history, and 
they always will happen when troops are put under 
the direction of an ambitious or a covetous governor ! 
And if there is any reason for fear that this may be 
the consequence of a transgression of the act of par 
liament, it is a transgression not "to the harm" of 
individuals only, but of THE PUBLICK. It behoves 
the publick then to be aware of the danger, and like 
sober men to avail themselves of the remedy of the 
law, while it is in their power. / It is always safe to 
ADHERE TO THE LAW, and to keep every man of every 
denomination and character WITHIN ITS BOUNDS Not 
to do this would be in the highest degree IMPRUDENT : 
^/Whenever it becomes a question in prudence, whether 
we shall make use of legal and constitutional methods 
to prevent the incroachments of ANY KIND OF POWER, 
what will it be but to depart from the straight line, to 
give up the LAW and the CONSTITUTION, which is fixed 
and stable, and is the collected and long digested senti 
ment OF THE WHOLE, and to substitute in its room the 
opinion of individuals, than which nothing can be more 
uncertain : The sentiments of men in such a case 
would in all likelihood be as various as their senti 
ments in religion or anything else ; and as there 
would then be no settled ride for the publick to ad 
vert to, ^he safety of the people would probably be at 
an end. 

254 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 


[Boston Evening Post* December 5, 1768. ] 

Messrs. FLEETS. 

I must desire you ll not publish my Piece sent you 
for last Monday, till you hear further from me ; tho 
I am determined to finish my first plan, in such man 
ner, and at such times as I may see convenient I 
will only add at this juncture, a striking anecdote of 
Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of Wales ; who was 
tried for a RAPE, in Glamorganshire, as a prepara 
tory for one of the Gentlemen I shall speak of next 
(tho I would not have Mr. [Froth] imagine that 
I have half done with him. ) 

Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of Wales, was bro t 
to the Bar the Cryer calls Shan ap Morgan 
Shan ap Morgan Shan ap Morgan, did not answer, 
but mutter d odds poddikins hur won t answer to 
that. The Cryer called Shan ap Morgan ( a second 
time ) still Shan ap Morgan mutter d, odds poddikins 
hur won t answer to that. The Cryer then call d, 
Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of Wales. Upon 
which Shan ap Morgan briskly answer d here hur 
is. Well Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of Wales, 
how will you be tried. Shan ap Morgan answer d, 
by the twelve Apostles. Upon which the Judge 
said, then Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of Wales, 
you would stay till the day of Judgment to which 
Shan ap Morgan shrewdly reply d An please your 
Worship hur is in no hurry hur is in no hurry. 


1 This series by " Candidus" is attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells, Life 
of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. 224. 2 Published by T. and J. Fleet. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 255 

\Boston Gazette, December 5, 1768.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

Please to insert the following. 

I Can very easily believe that the officers of the 
regiments posted in this town, have been inform d 
by our good friends that the inhabitants are such a 
rude unpolish d kind of folks, as that they are in 
danger, at least of being affronted during their resi 
dence here ; and therefore their placing centinels at 
their respective dwellings seems to be a natural pre 
caution, and under that apprehension may be a 
necessary step to guard their persons from injury. 
Or if it be only a piece of respect or homage every 
where shown to the superior officers of the army, it 
is a matter which concerns no other persons that I 
know of, I am sure it is no concern of mine : In this 
view it is a military custom, in no way interfering 
with, obstructing or infringing the common rights of 
the community. But when these gentlemens at 
tendants take upon them to call upon every one, who 
passes by, to know Who comes there as the phrase is, 
I take it to be in the highest degree impertinent, 
unless they can shew a legal authority for so doing. 
There is something in it, which looks as if the 
town was altogether under the government & con- 
troul of the military power : And as long as the in 
habitants are fully perswaded that this is not the case 
at present, and moreover hope and believe that it 
never will, it has a natural tendency to irritate the 
minds of all who have a just sense of honor, and 

256 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

think they have the privilege of walking the streets 
without being controul d. 

I have heard that some of these attendants, when 
question d by gentlemen who have tho t themselves 
affronted in this manner, have pleaded orders from 
their officers : This I am not apt to believe ; but 
should I be under a mistake, the question still occurs, 
What right have their officers to give them such 
orders in this town ? It is a question which appears 
to me to be of present importance, and ought to be 
decided : For if the gentlemen of the army should 
differ in their sentiments respecting this matter, from 
the inhabitants and freemen of the town, the posting 
a standing army among us, especially as it is without 
and against our consent, instead of preventing tu 
mults, which it is said was the profess d design of the 
troops being sent for, and ordered here, it is to 
be feared, will have a tendency quite the reverse 
I am informed that not less than nine gentlemen of 
character, some of them of the first families in this 
province, were stop d and put under guard the other 
evening, for refusing to submit to this military nov 
elty): And still more alarming, that one of his 
Majesty s Council, was stop d in his chariot in the 
daytime, when going out of town, under a flimsy pre 
tence that possibly he might have conceal d a deserter 
in his chariot, and was treated with insolence. The 
hon. gentleman I dare say felt his resentment kindle ; 
and every one who hears of so high handed an insult 
must feel anger glowing in his breast. I forbear to 
mention the constant practice of challenging, as it is 
called, the country people when passing and repass- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 257 

ing, upon their lawful business, thro the gates of the 
city, where a guard house is erected, upon land 
belonging to the publick, and it is commonly said, 
without the leave, or even asking the leave of the 
publick ! 

Are we a garrison d town or are we not ? If we are, 
let us know by whose authority and by whose influence 
we are made so : If not, and I take it for granted we 
are not, let us then assert & maintain the honor 
the dignity of free citizens and place the military, 
where all other men are, and where they always 
ought & always will be plac d in every free country, 
at the foot of the common law of the land. To sub 
mit to the civil magistrate in the legal exercise of 
power is forever the part of a good subject : and to 
answer the watchmen of the town in the night, may 
be the part of a good citizen, as well as to afford 
them all necessary countenance and support : But, 
to be called to account by a common soldier, or any 
soldier, is a badge of slavery which none 6ut a slave 
will weaA 

It was an article of complaint in the memorable 
petition of rights, in the reign of King Charles the 
first, that certain persons exercis d " a power to pro 
ceed within the land according to the justice of mar 
tial law" even against soldiers, " by such summary 
course and order as is agreeable to martial law, and 
as is used in armies in the time of war. ," And by the 
bill of rights it is declared that " the raising and 
keeping a standing army within the kingdom in a 
time of peace is against law. It seems that in the 
reign of K. Charles the first it was look d upon to be 

VOL. I. 17. 

258 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

" against the form of the great charter and law of 
the land " that any man within the land, tho a soldier 
or mariner, should be judg d and executed by the 
martial law; "lest by color thereof, any of his Maj 
esty s subjects be destroy d or put to death contrary 
to the law or franchise of the land " : and therefore 
the lords and commons, the guardians of the people, 
demanded of the King as their right, and according 
to the laws and statutes of the realm, the revoking 
and annulling of the commissions which he had 
illegally issued for such purpose, and even that 
Prince revok d and annull d them. 

Is there anyone who dares to say that Americans 
have not the rights of subjects ? Is Boston disfran 
chised ? When, and for what crime was it done ? If 
not, Is it not enough for us to have seen soldiers and 
mariners forejudg d of life and executed within the 
body of the county by martial law f Are citizens to 
be called upon, threatned, ill used at the word of the 
soldiery, and put under arrest, by pretext of the law 
military, in breach of the fundamental rights of sub 
jects, and contrary to the law and franchise of the 
land ? And are the inhabitants of this town still to 
be affronted in the night as well as the day by sol 
diers arm d with muskets and fix d bayonets ? Are 
these the blessings of government ? Is this the 
method to reconcile the people to the temper of the 
present administration of government in this prov 
ince ?, Will the spirits of people as yet unsubdued 
by fyranny, unaw d by the menaces of arbitrary 
power, submit to be govern d by military force ? No, 
us rouze our attention to the common law, which 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 259 

is our birthright our great security against all kinds 
of insult & oppression The law, which when rightly 
used, is the curb and the terror of the haughtiest 
tyrant Let our magistrates execute the good and 
wholesome laws of the land with resolution and 
an intrepid firmness aided by the posse comitatus, 
the body of the county, which is their only natural 
and legal strength, they will see their authority re- 
vers d : The boldest transgressors will then tremble 
before them, and the orderly and peaceable inhabitants 
will be restored to the rights, privileges and immuni- i 

ties of free subjects 


[Boston Evening Post, December 12, 1768.] 

Ecce negas jurasque mihi per templa tonantis ; 
Non credo : jura, verpe,per Anchialum. 
Swear tho thou dost by Jove, thou wilt deceive: 
Swear by Anchialus; I 11 then believe. 


I Would not have it imagined that Mr. (Froth) 

was a person of so much consequence, as to be the 

first planner of a B d of C s for the American 

department ; by no means, it was talked of long be 
fore his last peregrination to England ; but thus far 
I will be bold to say, that though it had been thought 
of previous to his arrival there ; yet I firmly believe 
it would not have been hurry d on in the precipitate 
manner it was ; nor would the first plan (which in my 
humble opinion was the most feasible) have been 

260 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

alter d ; had it not been for the fawning, cringing, 
perfidious rhetorick of this Basilisk with his patron- 
Shew me the man in this province, or on this conti 
nent who knows him, that will not allow, he is the 
most insincere, plausible, and insinuating of mankind, 
and yet such is the art of the man, that let any person 
thus well acquainted with him, give him but a few 
moments of his company (Froth) is sure to catch 
him the poor Gentleman comes away deluded (in 
spight of his senses) nay absolutely satisfied that not 
only he, but all the world have abused and injured 
the poor innocent Mr. - - (Froth) so that upon the 
whole Mr. C - T w d 1 (being but mortal) tho 
confessedly a very great statesman, was caught by 
this Sycophant, as he has and daily catches others. 

" My dear Sir (quoth the Squire) believe me, Bos 
ton Boston is the spot for the B d of C s. I 

pawn my honor, that there there is the nest of cor 
ruption ; I have known it to be so for some years." 

But Mr. (Froth) took particular care not to 

mention that he was as great a smuggler as any in 
that province (if knowing such acts to be done, and 
taking hush money makes an officer an accessory). 

The first plan of a B d of C s for the Ameri 
can department was in order to ease the old B d 
of C s of part of its burden (the business from this 
vast continent daily increasing, so as to retard the 
general business of the revenue) and was intended to 
be placed in London, in order to be near the 
Tr s y, which every one knows is the ultimatum 

1 Charles Townshend. 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 261 

of revenue matters : And thus far it must be allowed 
to be highly necessary but how to account for Mr. 
C s T w d s mistake (except as already ac 
counted for) is amazing nor can there be a greater 
proof of Mr. - - (Froth s) influence with his Patron, 

than the B d s being ordered to Boston 

(Charles) had a House there ; he had a large Field 
of revenge to satisfy he had some conveniences in 
the country (I won t say unnatural ones) he had his 
old friend the Great Officer to support him and 
above all, he had the pleasure of being now equal 
with his quondam commanding officer ; for whom he 
has a very great regard indeed : besides many other 
weighty reasons needless to mention at present. 
I say, how Mr. C s T w d, who was thought 
to have (and undoubtedly had) a universal knowledge 
of the continent of America, could be so grossly mis 
taken as to fix a B d of C s almost at one end 
of it, is amazing : Nothing but his being fascinated 
by Mr. - - (Froth) can account for it for it is very 
well known, that any grievances arising in revenue 
matters, in most of the southern colonies, can get to 

England, be there determined by the B d of 

C s (or T s y if necessary) and an answer re 
turned to them, before it can more than arrive at 
Boston at least for seven months in the year this 
is one grand, I may say insurmountable difficulty, 
that renders the plan futile, and to add to its futility, 
I will make bold to mention one or two more of this 
B d s constructing. 

This American B d of C s, in order to ape 
the B d in London (not having judgment suf- 

262 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

ficient to discriminate between the difference of coun 
tries) has laid the officers of the revenue under the 
inhuman necessity of employing an agent or agents 
to receive their salaries in Boston (instead of being 
paid at their respective ports) I say inhuman, be 
cause many of them have very small stipends and 
little or no fees ; and by their great distance from 
Boston, the want of a currency exchange, and the in 
tolerable delay of this B d, are many months before 
they can get a farthing, and when they do, it is at such 
a loss that what remains will not half maintain them 
and their families. 

The next is the multiplicity of officers this B d 
creates, by way of serving the crown I dare say it 
will appear, upon sending their accompts home, that 
many officers have been added to the revenue, since 
the commencement of their power ; many charges 
have arisen in consequence thereof, and no additional 
revenue has been received in proportion to counter 
balance those extra expences: So far from it that, I 
am told, when the officers on the establishments and 
incidental lists are paid up (without mentioning at 
large the incidental charges accruing from this 
B d s late campaign to Castle William, which I 
am certain in the end will be known at the other 
side the water to be an entire scheme of Mr. - 
(Froth) &c. in order to draw troops to this quarter to 
support them in their unwarrantable proceedings) 
little or nothing will remain; I am assured, not 
enough to pay the six hundred per annum, talked of 
for four judges of admiralty on this continent Thus 
far then Mr. (Froth) and his adherents have 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 263 

been of infinite service to the crown ; and will, I dare 
say, do more, are they but allowed to proceed. 

Before I quit this Gentleman, I must mention one 
very striking instance of his great regard for the ser 
vice of the crown ; especially upon the first institution 
of this American B d of C s ; which, consid 
ering the unpopularity and novelty, certainly required 
a great deal of discretion and good management in 
the members of it, in order to its first establishment. 

This Gentleman, through his interest with Mr. 

C s T w d ( which must now appear to have 

been very great ) procured a ship at the expence of 
government to bring him, two other members of 
the B d and their families, with many others be 
longing to their department, to Boston It is notori 
ously known that this Proteus ( during the passage ) 
left no stone unturned to poison the minds of every 
officer on board ; particularly his two Brethren ; 
who by the time they arrived in Boston, were charged 
so high with prejudice and resentment against the 
People ( though never here before ) that from their 
first landing they did not even condescend to treat 
the principal people in the place with common 
decency This, assuredly was setting out with the 
utmost propriety for the good of the service ; and 
such men, undoubtedly, are very fit instruments to 
promote the public good : Indeed, if conducting 
themselves with a bearish insolence and intolerable 
haughtiness is to be the standard of their merit, I 
don t think, if Great-Britain was to be searched, two 
abler officers could be found, for the purpose. Will 
those Gentlemen have effrontery enough to contradict 

264 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

this ? Can they deny that their whole forte (from 
their first sitting) was to enter into and make a 
party against particular persons ? Have they not 
spent the major part of their time in politics and 
cabals ? Had they not several private meetings 
( before their unaccountable flight for Castle William) 
of such a secret and important nature as to have a 
man with a drawn sword to guard their door ? Did 
they not turn out several worthy honest officers, 
merely to affront the person who had appointed 
them and to irritate the people ? But those are 
strictures I shall dwell upon at large hereafter. 


[Boston Gazette, December 12, 1768.] 


IT is a very improbable supposition, that any peo 
ple can long remain free, with a strong military 
power in the very heart of their country : Unless 
that military power is under the direction of the 
people, and even then it is dangerous. History, 
both ancient and modern, affords many instances of 
the overthrow of states and kingdoms by the power 
of soldiers, who were rais d and maintain d at first, 
under the plausible pretence of defending those very 
liberties which they afterwards destroyed. Even 
where there is a necessity of the military power, 
within the land, which by the way but rarely happens, 
a wise and prudent people will always have a watch 
ful & a jealous eye over it ; for the maxims and rules 

1 768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 265 

of the army, are essentially different from the genius 
of a free people, and the laws of a free government. 
Soldiers are used to obey the absolute commands of 
their superiors : It is death for them, in the field, 
to dispute their authority, or the rectitude of their 
orders ; and sometimes they may be shot upon the 
spot without ceremony. The necessity of things 
makes it highly proper that they should be under the 
absolute controul of the officer who commands them ; 
who saith unto one come, and he cometh, and to 
another go, and he goeth. Thus being inured to 
that sort of government in the field and in the time 
of war, they are too apt to retain the same idea, when 
they happen to be in civil communities and in a time 
of peace : And even their officers, being used to a 
sort of sovereignty over them, may sometimes forget, 
that when quartered in cities, they are to consider 
themselves & their soldiers, in no other light than 
as a family in the community ; numerous indeed, 
but like all other families and individuals, under the 
direction of the civil magistrate, and the controul of 
the common law Like them, they are to confine their 
own rules and maxims within their own circle ; nor 
can they be suppos d to have a right or authority to 
oblige the rest of the community or any individuals, 
to submit to or pay any regard to their rules and 
maxims, any more than one family has to obtrude 
its private method of ceconomy upon another. 

It is of great importance, and 1 humbly conceive 
it ought to be the first care of the community, when 
soldiers are quartered among them, by all means to 
convince them, that they are not to give law, but to 

266 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

receive it : It is dangerous to civil society, when the 
military conceives of it self as an independent body, 
detach d from the rest of the society, and subject to 
no controul : And the danger is greatly increased 
and becomes alarming, when the society itself yields 
to such an ill grounded supposition : If this should 
be the case, how easy would it be for the soldiers, if 
they alone should have the sword in their hands, to 
use it wantonly, and even to the great annoyance and 
terror of the citizens, if not to their destruction. 
What should hinder them, if once it is a given point, 
that the society has no law to restrain them, and they 
are dispos d to do it ? And how long can we imagine 
it would be, upon such a supposition, before the 
tragical scene would begin ; especially if we consider 
further, how difficult it is to keep a power, in its 
nature much less formidable, and confessedly limited, 
within its just bounds ! That constitution which 
admits of a power without a check, admits of a tyr 
anny : And that people, who are not always on their 
guard, to make use of the remedy of the constitution, 
when there is one, to restrain all kinds of power, and 
especially the military, from growing exorbitant, 
must blame themselves for the mischief that may 
befall them in consequence of their inattention : Or 
if they do not reflect on their own folly, their pos 
terity will surely curse them, for entailing upon them 
chains and slavery. 

I am led to these reflections from the appearance 
of the present times ; when one wou d be apt to 
think, there was like to be a speedy change of the 
civil, for a military government in this province. No 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 267 

one I believe can be at a loss to know, by whose in 
fluence, or with what intentions, the troops destin d 
for the defence of the colonies, have been drawn off, 
so many of them, from their important stations, and 
posted in this town. Whether they are to be con- 
sider d as marching troops, or a standing army, will 
be better determined, when the minister who has 
thus dispos d of them, or G. B d, or the Commis 
sioners of the customs, if he or they sent for them, 
shall explain the matter ; as they who did send for 
them, assuredly will, to Britain and America. I dare 
challenge them, or any others to prove that there 
was the least necessity for them here, for the pro- 
fess d purpose of their coming, namely to prevent 
or subdue rebels and traitors : I will further ven 
ture to affirm, that he must be either a knave or 
a fool, if he has any tolerable acquaintance with the 
people of this town and province, nay, that he must 
be a traitor himself who asserts it. I know very well, 
that the whole continent of America is charg d by 
some designing men with treason and rebellion, for 
vindicating their constitutional and natural rights : 
But I must tell these men on both sides the atlantic, 
that no other force but that of reason & sound argu 
ment on their part, of which we have hitherto seen 
but precious little, will prevail upon us, to relinquish 
our righteous claim : Military power is by no means 
calculated to convince the understandings of men : 
It may in another part of the world, affright women 
and children, and perhaps some weak men out of 
their senses, but will never awe a sensible American 
tamely to surrender his liberty. Among the brutal 

268 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

herd the strongest horns are the strongest laws ; and 
slaves, who are always to be rank d among the ser 
vile brutes, may cringe, under a tyrant s brow : But 
to a reasonable being, one I mean who acts up to his 
reason, there is nothing in military atchievement, any 
more than in knight errantry, so terrifying as to in 
duce him to part with the choicest gift that Heaven 
bestows on man. 

But whatever may be the design of this military 
appearance ; whatever use some persons may intend 
and expect to make of it : This we all know, and 
every child in the street is taught to know it ; that 
while a people retain a just sense of Liberty, as 
blessed be God, this people yet do, the insolence of 
power will for ever be despised ; and that in a city, 
in the midst of civil society, especially in a time of 
peace, soldiers of all ranks, like all other men, are to 
be protected, govern d, restrain d, rewarded or pun- \ 
ish d by the Law of the Land. 


[Boston Evening Post, December 19, 1768.] 

CANDIDUS informs the Public, that the Reason he 
has not as yet favored them with the genuine history 
of Shan ap Morgan Shentleman of Wales, is the great 
difficulty he finds in ascertaining the true genealogy of 
that Gentleman ; being thoroughly sensible of the 
absolute necessity of a very nice scrutiny in this par 
ticular ; the Gentlemen of that Country being always 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 269 

very tenacious of their Petigry : but makes not the 
least doubt he shall be able to publish it with some 
very curious anecdotes to the satisfaction of both 
Shan ap Morgan Shentleman of Wales, and the public, 
in a very little time. 

[Boston Gazette, December 19, 1768.] 

THE raising and keeping a standing army within 
the kingdom, in a time of peace, unless it be with the 
consent of Parliament, is Against Law. This is a 
declaration of the Right of every British subject, 
solemnly recogniz d by the parliament, immediately 
after the glorious revolution by William the third. 
It stands recorded, as one of the first things done, 
after that friend to the common Rights of mankind, 
that great deliverer of the nation from popery and 
slavery, and his royal consort were fixed on the 
throne : When the constitution was again restored 
and settled on its own basis, which indeed is the only 
true basis of all government, the laws of God and 
nature. -For government is an ordinance of Heaven^ - 
design d by the all-benevolent Creator, for the general 
happiness of his rational creature, man. > 

The consent of parliament necessarily implies the 
consent of the people : For the people are always 
present in parliament by themselves or their repre 
sentatives. I know very well, that some of the late 
contenders for a right in the British parliament to 

270 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

the Americans, who are not and cannot be repre 
sented there, have denied this : When pressed with 
that fundamental principle of nature and the con 
stitution, thatAvhat is a man s own, is absolutely his 
own, and that no man can have a right to take it 
from him without his consent, they have alleg d & 
would fain have us believe, that by far the greater 
part of the people in Britain, are excluded the Right 
of chusing their representatives and yet are taxed ; 
and therefore that they are taxed without their con 
sent. Had not this doctrine been repeatedly urged, 
I should have thought the bare mentioning it would 
have opened the eyes of the people there, to have 
seen where their pretended advocates were leading 
them: \That m order to establish a right in the 
people in England to enslave the colonists, under a 
plausible shew of great zeal for the honor of the 
nation, they are driven to a bold assertion at all 
adventures, that truly the greater part of the nation 
are themselves subject to the same yoke of bondage. 
What else is it but saying that the greater part of the 
people in Britain are slaves ? For if the fruit of all 
their toil and industry, depends upon so precarious a 
tenure, as the will of a few, what security have they 
for the utmost farthing ? What are they, but slaves, 
delving with the sweat of their brows, not for the 
benefit of themselves, but their masters ? After all 
the fine things that have been said of the British con 
stitution, and the boasted freedom and happiness of 
the subjects who live under it, will they thank these 
modern writers, these zealous assertors of the honor 
of the nation, for reducing them to a state, inferior 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 271 

to that of indented servants, who generally contract 
for a maintenance at least, for their labor. } 

Whatever air of significance these gentlemen may 
put on, their assertion, made with so much seeming 
gravity, I believe, when examined, will appear to be 
without the least foundation in reason : It is against 


the plain and obvious rule of equity, whereby the 
industrious man is intitled to the fruits of his indus 
try : It weakens the best cement of society, as it 
renders all property precarious : And it destroys the 
very end for which alone men can be supposed to 
submit to civil government, which is not for the sake 
of exalting one man, or a few men, above their equals, 
that they may be maintained in splendour and great 
ness ; but that each individual, under the joint protec 
tion of the whole community, may be the Lord of his 
own possession, and sit securely under his own vine. J 
The assertion, that the greater part of the people of 
England are excluded a representation of their own 
free election, is so far from being the truth, that the 
contrary is indisputably evident from the whole tenor 
of the common law, and divers acts of Parliament, 
recognizing & confirming the same ; wherein it is ex 
pressly declared, that every individual within the 
realm, is present in parliament, in person, or by a 
representative of his own free election. If any one 
should doubt of the truth of a proposition so much 
contended for, as weir as gloried in, by every sensible 
Briton, I would refer him to my Lord Coke, 2 Inst. 
for his satisfaction. If then, one essential part of 
the parliament consists of the representatives of the 
whole commonalty of Britain, chosen by themselves, it 

272 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

follows, that the consent of the Parliament implies the 
consent of the body of the people : Unless that body 
should themselves out of doors agree, that their rep 
resentatives had materially mistaken their true senti 
ments, or otherwise misrepresented them. Hence 
appears the security derived from the British consti 
tution to the British jubj^ects : Each of whom being 
a constituent part of the public, enjoys his natural 
unalienable right of offering the whole force of his 
reason, for or against any public measure : And as the 
raising and posting a standing army among them, is, 
in many respects, inconvenient, and always dangerous 
to civil liberty, the people have an indefeasible right 
to judge of its necessity : And therefore it is an es 
tablished point, that it never can be done, consistent 
with the law and the constitution, in a time of peace, 
unless the body of the people, by their representatives 
in parliament, shall judge it to be necessary or con 
venient, and accordingly Consent To It. 



[Boston Gazette, December 26, 1768.] 


A STANDING Army, is an army rais d, and kept within 
the community, to defend it against any sudden 
attacks.- If it be ask d who is to judge, when the com 
munity is in danger of such attacks ? one would natu 
rally answer, The community itself : For who can 
be more proper judges of it than they, for whose safety 
alone, and at whose expence alone, they are kept and 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 273 

maintain d. The people, while they enjoy the bless 
ings of freedom, and the security of their property, 
are generally early enough in their apprehension of 
common danger ; especially when it is so threatening 
as to require the military aid : And their judgment of 
the necessity or expediency of a standing army, is 
generally, at least as honest, as that of their superiors. 
Indeed, in arbitrary governments, and alas, how few 
are there in the world, that are not so ! the people 
give up the power of judging in this matter, as well 
as in all other matters of public concern, to their gov 
ernors ; who always sooner or later, instead of govern 
ors, make themselves their masters and tyrants, and 
even their executioners : And this change is com 
monly bro t on by the means of standing armies. 

t in free governments, the people have an influ 
ence in publick affairs ; and they always will, so far at 
least, as to prevent their being ruin d, by the avarice, 
ambition, humour, caprice, or violence, of one man or 
a^ few men, whose interest it may be to ruin them. 
^Thanks be to Heaven, the government of Great- 
Britain has still its proportion of a democracy : The 
people have their share in the legislature, and no law 
can be made, nor any publick measures taken, which 
can affect their interest, without their consent. 

It is an undeniable truth, that a standing army never 
can be raised and kept within the kingdom, in a time 
of peace/consistent with the constitution, without the 
consent of the people, by their representatives in 
parliament \ / If it should be enquired, whether the 
Americans 4ver did or ever could consent in parlia 
ment to the raising and keeping a standing army 

274 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

among them ; the question may be solv d, when it is 
determin d whether they ever did or ever could con 
sent in parliament, to the acts for raising a revenue 
upon paper, glass, tea, molasses and other articles im 
ported, or to the late stamp act : /And upon this de 
cision also, diverse other questions may be determin d ; 
such as, whether the Americans are entitled to such 
of the rights of the British constitution as are founded 
in nature and reason ? Whether they have ever for 
feited those rights ? Or whether they are unright 
eously invaded A 

I have heard it said, that these troops are marching 
troops, and therefore they cannot be called standing 
armies ; which to be sure is arguing very conclusively, 
for there is, in some respects, a manifest difference 
between them. Their marchings and countermarch- 
ings, have hitherto been inexplicable to many persons 
of a common understanding ; and were it a time of 
war, one might expect to see or hear of some notable 
display of military skill and valor very soon : But as 
it is at present a time of profound peace, we ought 
not in reason to entertain thoughts of that kind ; es 
pecially as the troops are drawn in from the outposts, 
where, if at all, ther<? can be any prospect of an attack 
from the enemy : /We must therefore be content to 
wait a little longer ; when without doubt we shall hear 
the present measures accounted for, from the con 
summate wisdom and policy of the American depart 
ment, to the honor of the British nation, and the 
astonishment of all Europe^ 

V^The British parliament, with an entire and well 
grounded confidence in the best of Kings, have con- 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 275 

sented to the raising and keeping a considerable 
standing army in this time of peace : And it is the 
prerogative of the crown to march this army into 
any part of the dominions. The prerogative is a 
power vested in the crown by the constitution, for 
the safety of the people : And it is a power, which 
is never to be exerted, but when the safety of the 
people requires it : So wise and gracious a prince 
as now fills the throne, we may rely upon it, will 
never exercise that power to the injury of his sub 
jects. The time has been, in former reigns, when 
such a confidence would have been abused, and such 
an army made use of, not to defend the nation, but 
to destroy its liberties. A part of this army is de- 
sign d for the protection and defence of the colonies ; 
the new-conquered provinces may need that pro 
tection and defence, and our brethren and fellow sub 
jects in Halifax, it is said, are uneasy without troops : 
We may safely depend on the wisdom and goodness 
of his present Majesty, that those troops will always 
be employed strictly for that purpose : Vput as the 
Americans are so unfortunate as to have no voice in 
the raising and disposing of troops for the defence of 
America, and especially as they are at so great a dis 
tance from the throne ; the time may come, in some 
future reign, when a favourite minister may gain 
such an ascendency over his master, as to have it in 
his power to trifle with the royal prerogative ; at 
least to dispose of the army in America as he pleases : 
With an air of sovereignty, he may dismantle gar 
risons, remove the troops from those stations where 
alone the service of the public may call for them, and 

276 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

order them to be marched into the very heart of well 
settled provinces, and quartered even in cities in a 
time of profound peace ; there to erect standing ar 
mies, or at least to maintain such a military force, as 
he may think sufficient to awe the civil authority, and 
subdue the people of America to his schemes of arbi 
trary and despotic power. 

But if these troops are marching troops, that is, if 
they are only marching thro this town to the frontier 
garrisons, the places of their destination, how is it 
that we are told by some who I believe are in the 
secret, that they are ordered here to suppress riots 
and tumults ? This I should think has rather the 
appearance of a standing army, designed to be es 
tablished in the province. It is said that they have 
strict orders " to preserve the peace " :^ Are then the 
military gentlemen constituted the conservators of 
the peace in a civil government ? No, but they are 
" to act under the civil magistrate," and this is said 

to be the declaration of lord H h 1 himself : Has 

his lordship then been told, and does he believe it, 
that the civil magistrates of the province have been 
deserted by the people, their only constitutional aid, 
in the legal exercise of power, and that a military 
force is become necessary to support the King s 
authority in it? If he has, he has been egregiously 
deceived, and the people have been grossly abused : 
His Majesty s council of the province, who must be 
allowed to be at least impartial judges, have declared 
otherwise. But further, " as much lenity will be 
shown to the people " by these troops acting under 

1 Hillsborough. 

i 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 277 

the civil magistrate " as the nature of things will ad 
mit " : This is the insulting language of the enemies, 
and it is adopted by the weak friends of America : 
then we are deemed delinquents, but thro his 
1-d-h-p s favor the subjects of lenity. Who, that has 
a spirit of resentment can read their letters without 
indignation and contempt ? Which serve more and 
more to evince the truth, that we have been repre 
sented to the nation as seditious, disloyal and even 
upon the very eve of rebellion ! I expect to be told, 
in the stile of the officer in the navy, who it is said 
writes to his friend in Philadelphia, that " the Bos- 
tonians have behaved in a most haughty manner 
and have flown in the face of the mother country." 
This is the common place language of the whole 

/ I O O 

party ^ But I challenge them all to show a single in 
stance of the conduct of the town of Boston, that is 
not fully consistent with the character they justly 
bear ; as a people of unspotted loyalty to their 
sovereign, as well as tenacious of those sacred rig-hts 
and liberties wherewith God hath made them free/ 

It is not my present purpose, to confute the false 
representations that have been made of the people 
of this town and province, and indeed of all America, 
to induce such extraordinary measures. I will appeal 
to the consciences of all those who have made them, 
if their consciences are not already seared, as with a 
red hot iron, that they are scandalous, false and to 
the greatest degree malicious : Before such meas 
ures were taken it behoved the m r 1 to enquire, and 
a faithful m r would have thoro ly & impartially 


278 THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

enquired, whether such representations were true or 
false : Surely a continent of subjects, who have al 
ways been loyal as well as brave ; who have in recent 
instances during the late war, distinguished their 
loyalty, and their affection to the mother country by 
their bravery, are not to be treated as rebels, till they 
iare proved to be so : And I humbly presume, that a 
matter of this nature and importance ought not to 
rest on the bare ipse dixit of a man, who from his 
first coming into America, has proved himself the 
greatest enemy to the people in it, by open repeated 
lander to their faces, as well as private malice. 
he time will, I hope, before long come, when the 
mist that has been cast over the eyes of Britain, will 
be dispersed as with the light & heat of the sun : 
Then she will clearly see into the base art that has 
been used to deceive and ruin her, and will resent it 
to the confusion of all those who have used it. , 


[Boston Evening Post, December 26, 1768.] 


HAVING determined (from my first publication) 
not to deviate from the strictest rules of impartiality, 
during my scrutinizing into the individuals that con 
stitute the A n B d of C s ; I to my very 
great mortification find it utterly impossible to pro 
ceed with the history of Mr. (Shan ap Morgan 

Shentleman of Wales) as high up as his Birth and 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 279 

Parentage, which was what I proposed to have done, 
had it been attainable : I must indeed own I have 
been led into a very gross error on his account ; 
taking it for granted that Mr. - - (Shan ap Morgan) 
in conformity to the ancient & modern usage of his 
countrymen, had brought his Petigry with him, an 
instance never being known (before this) in the 
annals of Europe of any Welshman s quitting his 
country, without at least a Portmanteau full of the 
Petigry of his Family ; which (by way of abridgment) 
seldom fails running up as far as Owen Tudor. 
Indeed I have been informed by a very worthy 
Welsh Gentleman now in this town, that the better 
sort never travel with less than fifteen hundred vol 
umes in folio ; but unfortunately for me at this crit 
ical juncture, I find that Mr. - - (Shan ap Morgan 
Shentleman of Wales) set out from Mongomeryshire 
without a single sheet of his : Whether this was 
owing to an accidental fire that destroyed the Man 
sion-house (and of consequence the records of the 
family, for the largest and best room in the house is 
always set apart for that purpose) or that the Rats 
destroyed them for want of better food ; or whether 
they ever had any existance, I know not ; let that 
be as it may, I am under the disagreeable necessity 
of skipping over the geneological part of this Gentle 
man s history as nimbly as the briskest native of 
Wales over its most rugged mountains, in order to 
arrive at the critical period of his being hired (by a 
Welsh Attorney) as a hackney boy to write Warrants 
& learn to read Acts of Parliament. 

As impartiality is the darling I have adopted, I 

2 8o THE WRITINGS OF [1768 

should have been vastly happy to have had it in my 
power to trace this Gentleman up to the Tudors or 
Winns : but as that (upon my plan) is totally inad 
missible ; I must content myself with finding him em 
ployed as before recited with his Welsh Attorney ; 
who after taking an infinity of pains to instruct him 
so as to enable him to read Acts of Parliament and 
copy Warrants tolerably well, found to his unspeak 
able disappointment that Mr. - - (Shan ap Morgan) 
grew very talkative ; opinionated ; and intolerably 
ignorant and wrong-headed ; so much so, that he was 
very glad to dismiss him at the end of five months 
with a hearty drubbing ; the impression of which 
(some say) he has never got the better of to this 

day. Immediately after his dismission Mr. (Shan 

ap Morgan) travell d up to London and lived there 
some time (I can t say how long) as other Gentle 
men do, upon his means : some say he plyed with 
his countrymen in the Sedan way (but I do not aver 
this for truth) The next thing we know of him, is 
his advertising at the New England Coffee-house in 
order to get a berth as Clerk to any skipper bound to 
the coast of Guinea that would please to ship him. 
Here again unluckily, I must lose sight of Mr. - 
(Shan ap Morgan Shentleman of Wales) till his 
embarkation for America with a very worthy country 
man of his (as an Officer in the Revenue) who 
through good nature, and the utmost humanity, 
smuggled him and what baggage he had (exclusive 
of his Petigry) on board ship, in order to prevent 
both from falling into the hands of the Philistians. 
On his first arrival, to my knowledge, he had at 

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 281 

least the appearance of much humility ; tho it was 
observed at the same time that he looked wild and 

confused : however Mr. (Shan ap Morgan) in a 

very little time waxed fat and kicked his five 

months instruction from his Mongomeryshire At 
torney, began now to break out ; he thought it im 
possible that the people of N- 1, of which place he 

was C r (under a very severe rider) could know 

any thing of Acts of Parliament, or any other kind 
of literature and in short, in a very little time Mr. 

(Shan ap Morgan Shentleman of Wales) turned 

out a very tyrant ; harrassed the merchants out of 
their lives, with a continual unintelligible jargon 
about Acts of Trade, and false quotations ; grew 
fat ; began to dress well ; and carry a great air of 
importance nay began to fortune hunt but without 
success And here I shall quit him at present, to 
assure my readers, that I esteem the liberty of the 
press (within its proper limits) as the greatest bless 
ing to the good, and the severest scourge to the 
licentious, and in no other manner will I ever use it ; 
having a thorough detestation to licentiousness of all 
denominations ; nor shall threats from men in power, 
or any mean underhand methods of revenge pre 
vent me from exposing the abuse of the power put 
into their hands. In time I will shew the conduct of 
these men in proper colours, chusing to finish with 
them as individuals before I take notice of their 
publick conduct in a particular manner. 


282 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

[Boston Gazette, January 9, 1769.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

IT seems to be generally agreed, that every man 
who is taxed has a right to be present in person or 
by his own representative, in the body that taxes him ; 
or as Lord Carnbden has expressed it, that " taxation 
and representation are inseparable." A man s prop 
erty is the fruit of his industry ; and if it may be taken 
from him under any pretence whatever, at the will of 
another, he cannot be said to be free, for he labors 
like a bond slave, not for himself, but for another : 
Or supposing his property comes by inheritance or 
free gift, it is absolutely his own, and it cannot rightly 
be taken from him without his consent. This I take to 
be the commonly receiv d opinion, concerning liberty, 
as it regards taxation : And it is moreover generally 
understood, that upon this opinion the very being of 
a free government depends. The writer who signs 
Z. T. in the two last Evening-Posts, thinks it very 
hard that " he and others should be treated with 
sneers and ridicule, and as enemies of their country 
for not falling in with the commonly receiv d opinion 
of liberty and taxation " ; but till he makes it appear 
that it is not a just and very important opinion, he has 
no reason for his complaint. 

He tells us that in the year 1764, " it was proposed 
in Parliament to tax the colonies for the charge of 
their government and defence "; and intimates the rea 
son " The nation being then more than 140 millions 
in debt ; which was above 60 millions more than it was 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 283 

the last war. " I would ask this gentleman, whether 
the old settled colonies, or particularly whether this 
province ever put the nation to a farthing s expence for 
its government or defence, from the first settlement of 
it to this day ? If he can prove it ever did, he will do 
that which no one has been able to do before ; but if 
he cannot, and I presume he cannot, the reason he 
offers why the colonies or particularly why this prov 
ince, should be obliged to pay any part of the na 
tional debt, is of no validity : But he seems to be 
aware of this himself ; and therefore advances another 
reason why it was propos d that the parliament should 
tax America, viz. to defend the conquered provinces 
44 which ought not to be left without troops." And it 
was not reasonable that, " England after having run 
so deeply in debt for acquiring them, should now tax 
itself for the maintenance of them." But did Eng 
land alone run deeply in debt in conquering the 
French in America ? Did not the colonies bear a 
great share in the expence of it ? Undoubtedly : 
Why then should not England tax herself at least for 
a part of the maintenance of them ? Because " great 
stability and security was given thereby to all the 
American governments." Was Canada conquered 
then only for the sake of giving stability and security 
to the American governments? Had Great Britain 
no view to her own profit ? to the advancement of her 
own glory, the increase of her trade, and the enlarge 
ment of her empire ? Has she not the sole advantage 
of the trade, and the immense tracts of land which the 
colonies helped her to conquer ? And is it a sufficient 
reason why they should pay the whole expence of 

284 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

defending these acquisitions, because stability and se 
curity was given to them by means of the conquest, 
after they had pushed their settlements to the infinite 
advantage of the mother country, at their own ex- 
pence and in continual wars with the French and In 
dian enemies some of them for a century and a half ! 
But the plan is laid : " 10,000 troops must be kept 
up in America," the charge of them only computed at 
,250,000, and the charge of troops and government, 
.350,000 per annum, and " considering the distress 
of the nation, none could expect to prevail against a 
tax on the colonies." And further " all that Mr. 
Grenville desired was, that America would bear the 
charge of its own government and defence." In pur 
suance of this plan, the stamp act, he tells us, pass d 
the house of commons ; but " in complaisance to the 
colonies, and as Mr. Grenville expressed it, to consult 
their ease, quiet and good-will, it was hung up till 
the next year, to give them the opportunity to pass it 
themselves or some other equivalent." This then was 
the state of the case ; the house of commons was re- 
solv d to propose to the colonies, that they should tax 
themselves ,350,000 sterling a year for the main 
tenance of 10,000 troops to be kept up in America, and 
for the support of their own government, (which they 
had always before honorably supported) or they would 
tax them by the passing of the stamp act : And our 
writer, by way of question, expresses his surprise that 
instead of " considering the distress of the nation, and 
\htjustness of the demand, the legality of their right 
to tax us was disputed, and we proceeded boldly to 
assert what we called our liberties." But he ought to 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 285 

have shown that the colonies could be said to be free 
in either case proposed, or in the one more than in the 
other ; and until he does this, he cannot reasonably 
find fault with them for thinking the propos d alter 
native a just occasion to awaken their attention, & 
-that it was high time for them boldly to assert what 
they knew to be their indefeasible right, viz. to grant 
their aid with a free consent & without constraint. I 
never yet heard it said, that a man who had his purse 
demanded of him by a superior power, acted freely, 
tho he delivered it with his own hand, instead of 
waiting for it to be taken from him by force : His will 
and consent certainly cannot be at all concerned in the 

Our writer tells us that the " stamp-act being hung 
up (in its state of a bill) for a year, might have fav 
oured us with time to plead our cause, and he doubts 
not but we might have been freed from the greatest 
part of those charges " ; But does he not consider, 
that in pleading our cause, as he terms it, we im 
plicitly put it in the power of others to be the judges 
whether they shall tax us without our consent ; for I 
do not find among the pleadings which he would 
have had us to make, there is any thing that looks 
like a saving of our right. And supposing that after 
having pleaded our cause, in the manner in which he 
would have had us to have done it, we should not 
have prevailed upon them to have receded from their 
purpose of taxing us if we did not tax ourselves ; 
would they not have done it with a much better 
grace, and told us that we ought not surely to com 
plain, since in pleading our cause before them, we 

286 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

left it to their sole judgment and decision, whether 
they had not the right to tax us, or which is the same 
thing, oblige us to tax ourselves, and they had 
determined that they had the right. This it must be 
own d would have afforded a happy precedent for all 

But this matter it seems was already determined ; 
for he tells us that " the parliament previous to the 
repeal resolved that they had a right to tax us " ; If 
his inference is, that they really had the right, 
because they resold d that they had, I shall only say, 
that his reasoning is much like that of a late letter 
writer from London, whose wonderful performance, 
if I mistake not, was inserted in all our news papers, 
who says that " when an act of parliament is once 
pass d, it becomes a part of the constitution." This 
I confess, at once shuts the mouths of all Americans 
from complaining of revenue acts, or any other acts 
of parliament as unconstitutional; for what is an 
essential part of the constitution, I think, cannot be 

Our writer intimates very strongly, that the repeal 
of the stamp act was a matter of favor rather than 
justice to the colonies that the act itself was the 
discipline of a tender and prudent parent that the 
colonies in opposing it, discover the symptoms of dis 
traction that the repeal was derogatory to the honor 
of the parliament, but it was done to give the colo 
nies time to come to reason that instead of this, 
their obstinate temper, manifested by assuming and 
insulting airs, has made TROOPS necessary for the 
order of society : All which no doubt entitles him to 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 287 

m 1 1 favor, with a pension of two hundred a year, or 
at least a place under the right worshipful the 
American b d of C m rs. 

After all, he acknowledges that " there is a great 
deal of justice and propriety in the case, that the sub 
jects taxed should give their consent by their repre 
sentatives " ; but he fears that if our plea stands good, 
that the parliament cannot tax us now, it will hold 
Sfood at another time ; and therefore he would have 


had us, against the time to come, when he supposes 
we may " become equal to a fourth part of the whole ", 
to acknowledge that they had the right to tax us, 
whenever we should refuse to tax ourselves, for such 
sums as they shall think proper to demand of us ; 
and if the matter had been " thus stated and pleaded 
in a public manner", he apprehends, "it would have 
influenced the people in the colonies to have made a 
different choice of persons to represent them ", and 
things would have taken a different turn . Perhaps 
it would have pleas d this writer if they had chosen 
persons who would have given up the whole dispute 
about the right ; for I cannot see that there is any 
difference, with regard to the right in question, be 
tween the Americans consenting forever hereafter to 
tax themselves such sums as the parliament of Great 
Britain shall apportion them to pay, and their con 
senting that the parliament shall tax them as well as 
apportion the sum : The mode of taxation in the 
"one case, might have been allowed to the Americans, 
and that is generally allow d even to an enemy in 
the case of military contribution; but the right of 

1 ministerial. 

288 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

consenting to the taxation itself would be given up ; 
and in that case would not the colonies be tributary 
to the people of Great-Britain, instead of fellow 
subjects, co-equal in dignity and freedom. 

Our writer says, that " if such grants and privileges 
as are pleaded by the Colonists, (such as Charters, 
&c.) may ever exempt them from paying such a pro 
portion of taxes, it must be concluded that the em 
pire is founded on unjust principles, which needs a 
reform, in order to make an equality among the sub 
ject." But he seems to be too apt to forget that 
the rights of nature, as well as the constitution of 
Great- Britain, exempts the subjects from paying any 
money at all, upon any account, without their con 
sent. This is one of the principles upon which the 
British empire is founded, and has stood firmly for 
many ages ; if this writer thinks it needs a reform to 
make an eqiiality, surely his proposal that one part of 
the empire should consent that the other should be 
the lords proprietors, has no tendency to promote an 
equality among the subjects He tells us that 
^formerly the Right of taxation was in the King only 
<v~ I should have been glad if he had pointed us to 
j that time We know that Kings, even English 
- Kings, have lost their crowns and their heads for 
assuming such a right. T is true, this strange claim 
has occasioned much contention, and it always will, 
as long as the people understand the great charter of 
nature upon which Magna Charta itself is founded 
\ ^ No man can take another s property from him 
\^ without his consent This is the law of nature, and 
a violation of it is the same thing whether it be done 


1769] SAMUEL ADAMS, f 289 

by one man who is called a King or by five hundred 
of another denomination. He tells us that by 
Magna Charta & the Bill of Rights, " the King may 
tax his sjubJs with the cons^nt_oi_2arliament n \_ 
deny _ it- The-J^jn^jiever taxes his subjects they \ 
gr a n t_Jinn_theiji^^ 

tax_ themselves in jjieir own mode. ^Taxation is 
their own v^^n^ry^)y\^ if I may be allow d the 
expression, ^sovereign acj^ it is a gift of the people 
to the ^zVz^^Indeed the law whereby each indi- J 
vidual becomes oblig d to pay his share of the sum 

which he has consented to give to the King, is the \ 
joint act of King, Lords and Commons. The people * J 
of Great-Britain are always in the parliament of 
Great-Britain by their representatives therefore the 
consent of parliament is the consent of the people 
but the people of America never were repre 
sented in the parliament of Great-Britain, conse 
quently the consent of the commons of Great-Britain 
to tax them cannot be said to be their consent. His 
conclusion therefore that our rights are in no wise \ 
infring d, because as he says we are taxed by the King 
with the consent of the British parliament, admitting 
that it were so, evidently fails This writer seems i 
to be very zealous for the power of parliament, but / 
to use his own words " certainly ignorant of what \y 
is founded upon." 

In his conclusion he finds fault with the people for 
giving out "that they will defend their liberties at \ 
the peril of their lives " ; he indeed says it is the 
language of a party only, but I hope, nay I believe 
he is mistaken I hope it is the resolution of the 

VOL. I. IQ. 

2 9 o THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

whole people of America, when called, to defend their 
liberties at the peril of their lives He talks very 
loosely and strangely of opposing the landing of the 
King s troops a thing which never I suppose existed 
in the minds of any, but those who wish d for it, that 
they might have an occasion of justifying the repre 
sentations they had made of this people as rebellious 

However, he acknowledges that in some cases, 
"if there had open d any prospect of succeeding 
by opposition, he should have readily join d in the 
cause of his country against such oppression " Pray 
who joins now in the party who give out that they 
will defend their liberties at the peril of their lives ? 

I suppose in this case he would have us to 
understand that he would have acted boldly and 
risqued his life but he says his opposition must be 
" in case of unreasonable exertions of the power of 
parliament", of which he will judge for himself 
before he makes opposition ; and pray why will he 
not give others the like liberty ? but I would advise 
him and all others who talk after this manner, if 
there be any besides him, to take care that the cause 
is just, upon which alone they may depend for 
success ; and moreover to be sure that this is the 
mind of the publick, without which they cannot 
flatter themselves with even a prospect of success. 
It is not likely however that he would have joined 
with all his countrymen against the board of commis 
sioners, for he declares his opinion that " the true 
British spirit would have been lost, if the ministry 
had not exerted the power of the nation for their 
relief", when they had voluntarily, and to serve the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 291 

turn, immured themselves in Castle-William. I desire 
to know before I conclude, how long the ministry has 
had authority to exert the power of the nation this I 
always tho t belong d to the parliament generally, in 
some cases to the King, but I never heard that the 
power of the nation was left in the hands of the 
ministry, but so it is according to our writer, who 
would have looked upon the present exertions of 
power in America to be neither parliamentary, nor 
legal, but merely ministerial. The ministry he says 
has exerted the power of the nation, by which he 
must mean its military power, for the relief of the 
commissioners of the customs ; I suppose in his 
next he will acknowledge, what I really believe to be 
true, that it was done by their special application. 

{Boston Evening Post, January 16, 1769.] 

Nor Law, nor Cavalcade of Ho born , 
Could render half a grain less stubborn, 
For he at any time would hang, 
For tk opportunity f harangue ; 
And rather on a gibbet dangle, 
Than miss his dear delight to -wrangle ; 
In which his parts were so accomplisht, 
That right or wrong he ne er was non plust ; 
But still his tongue ran on, the less 
Of weight it bore, with greater ease, 
And with its everlasting clack 
Set all mens ears upon the rack. 


As, // faut de / Argent was the principle upon 
which Mr. - (Shan ap Morgan, Shentleman of 

292 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Wales) smuggled himself into America, he very soon 
found that a tyrannical and doggerel behaviour 
(back d with a very insignificant smattering of the 
law) would by no means answer the great end he 
proposed to himself in the pecuniary way ; this 
single consideration was fully sufficient to induce him 
speedily to alter his conduct he therefore in a very 
little time made the trade more convenient to the people, 
many cargoes were suffered to be landed for proper 
considerations ; and others (by agreement) went 
through & prosecution for the p.enalty of one hundred 
pounds sterling, for discharging their cargoes without 
reporting ; one third of which fell to his share : 
Such were the avenues thro which Mr. - - (Shan 
ap Morgan) gallop d in the lucrative way ; insomuch 
that in the plenitude of his importance (when iipon 
the fortune hunting scheme, which he very often 
attempted tho in vain) he assured the ladies and 
their friends, that his employment was worth him 
twelve hundred pounds sterling per ann. and I am 
certain it was thought to be so to him, in the/#//2 
he was then in ; tho I am very well informed, by the 
number of ships belonging to that port, as well as by 
the accounts given by \\% predecessor and successor, 
it may be honestly worth between four and five 
hundred pounds sterl. and no more. This difference, 
tho very considerable, will not be wondered at, when 
I assure my readers, that the then fee for a vessel s 
entering was from tivelve to twenty Joes In this 

golden path continued Mr. (Shan ap Morgan- 

Shentleman of Wales) till fear began to outstrip 
avarice, and startle him by whispering in his ear, 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 293 

what might happen the question that then arose in 
his mind was, what step should be taken ; there 
there lay the poize ; at last Mr. (Shan ap Mor 
gan) conceived a thought of writing home against 

the C y in the severest terms ; not supposing it 

probable he should continue long there after such 
practices the only difficulty that remained, was to 
know how to draw up his historical narrative equal 
to the malevolence of his heart ; and this, it is certain 
(with his want of ability) would have been a total 
bar to his proceedings, had he not fortunately 
stumbled on one Kennedy Scott (a man of some 
talents at drawing up papers) then wandering about 
this continent. 

This representation against the C y accord 
ingly went home ; and I was well informed by a 
Gentleman of veracity (last summer from London) 
who had seen it there, that Mr. - (Shan ap Mor 
gan, Shentleman of Wales) is by no means equal to 
such performance. I would be understood to mean, 
as to the mode not the matter. 

Affairs at home taking such an extraordinary turn 
as they did, thro the impression of Verres and 
others, was a very lucky circumstance to Mr. 
(Shan ap Morgan) for the people were at that time 
ready to receive any unfavourable representation 
from this country ; accordingly, those from this Gen 
tleman made with a view to save himself from im 
mediate perdition, built him up a character, as a man 
that was really a good servant of the cr n ; and to 
his very great astonishment, in a little time, was 
informed he was appointed a C r ; this too at a 

294 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

time when he daily expected to be called to account 
for his venal and corrupt conduct : Nay, I have been 

well assured by several of the first people in N 1, 

that it was their firm opinion, from his appearance 
and conduct, (a little before he heard of his new ap 
pointment) that he was meditating his escape out of 
his M sty s d ons, and I will be bold to say that 
this extraordinary appointment was as astonishing 
to those who were acquainted with his venality as 
it was to him. 

Before I bring this gentleman on the carpet at 
B n, as a C r, I shall take the liberty to men 
tion one more very striking instance of his virtue, as 
a man, and greater thirst for the service of the r-v-e, 
as an officer. 

It is very well remembered that Mr. - (Shan ap 
Morgan) thro a warmth of constitution, or rather 
from a desire to erect a character at the other side 
the water (at that critical juncture) made a violent 
attack upon the virtue of a very honest inhabitant s 
daughter at N t, the consequence of which he 
very well knew would give him a sanction to fly on 
board his M- sty s ship, then in that harbour 
(the temper of the people being rather inflamed by 
the contest about the stamp-act) the event termi 
nated as he could wish ; threats ran high against him, 
which he was determined to take the advantage of, and 
accordingly fled on board the K g s ship, taking 
care immediately after to acquaint his superior officer, 

and the B d of C s, that the persecution of 

the people ( for merely doing his duty with strictness 
& fidelity ) had drove him on board the K g s ship 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 295 

in order to save his life If this is not as true as the 
rest of my strictures (which I dare say he will not 
venture to contradict) let him confront it. 

Mr. {Shan ap Morgans} first arrival at 
B n, and his particular conduct upon entering 
into his important office, shall be deferred to another 

The next thought that struck him (after getting 
his brethren blindly noosed to his purpose) was to 
endeavour to soften the resentment of the R d- 
Isl rs. Nothing, that we hear of, has been done 
to, or said of, that p-rt, since his new appointment, 
but every thing kept quiet least some should squeak. 

I remember very well, during the C s excursion 

to C st e W m, to have seen a paragraph in 
the newspapers, mentioning somebody s intention of 

collecting a large number of depositions in R d- 

I d government, in order to send home against 

Mr. (Shan ap Morgan) which alarmed him to 

such a degree, that notwithstanding his critical sit 
uation at the c st e (as the world was then made to 
believe) this Gentleman and a very useful person 
much suited to do dirty work for any that would em 
ploy him (I think he was called the Ram Cat) set 
out, as was pretended, for the eastern part of this 
province, but being quite strangers to the country, 
and much greater to the points of the compass, they 

fortunately for Mr. (Shan ap Morgan) arrived 

at Pr d ce in R d-I d government, where 

it s universally known they cut a very respectable fig 
ure ; and for that time put a stop to the exportation 
of the intended depositions. But when 1 ] those people 

296 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

shall come to know the particulars of Mr. - - (Shan 
ap Morgans) representations home against them 
(which procured him his new appointment) I should 
imagine the cat will be let out of the bag ; especially if 

G 1 will make it safe for the briber to discover 

the bribed ; for the Gentleman who read those repre 
sentations in London last summer, assured me it was 
impossible to conceive them in more false, wicked and. 
injurious colours. 

I must once more declare that my motive for un 
dertaking the disagreeable task of bringing the 
public and private characters of those Gentlemen 
upon the carpet does not proceed from a motive of 
private pique or resentment ; but in order to make 
it appear that they are by no means proper persons 
to be intrusted with the very important employ they 

now sustain ; to the prejudice of the m r c try, 

and the backwarding the views of adm st n. I 
must own I have been grieved to think that the char 
acters and conduct of those Gentlemen (Charles 
Froth, Esq: and Mr. Shan ap Morgan in particular) 
have been such as not to admit of their being treated 
with that respect and attention their employments 
entitle them to : Nor have I the least doubt remain 
ing, had proper and respectable men filled their 
places, that adm st n would have been free from 
the many embarrassments that at present procure 
them so much trouble and uneasiness ; I must take 
the liberty to say, that had his Majesty s dominions 
been searched to find out men more thoroughly dis 
gusting to his American subjects (from the knowl 
edge they have of their venal conduct) they could 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 297 

not have been found but in those very persons : 
Not that I would have it imagined, upon any ac 
count, that I mean to throw the least slur on the 
intention of adm s n ; but that this unfortunate 
choice must have arisen from a want of knowing 
the individuals that have pester d them with appli 
cations from this side the water for employments, 
at the expence of truth and honour ; the distance 
between this continent and the mother country ren 
dering the characters of men and things very uncer 
tain, and of consequence for the most part fallacious. 



[Boston Gazette, January 30, 1769.] 

I Cannot forbear making a few observations on the 
curious and laboured account of the sentiments of the 
British government, and the debates in the house of 
Commons on American affairs given in the Court 
Gazette of Thursday last. What pains are taken to 
make us believe contrary to the latest and most au 
thentic advices from home, that the affairs of America 
in general, and particularly of this province, are in a 
situation almost desperate, only because a few among 
us have done every thing in their power to make them 
so, and cannot endure the thoughts of not having 
their own prophecies fulfilled, their misrepresenta 
tions successful, and their malevolence gratified. It 
seems that of late administration has not only adopted 
implicitly the accounts of facts, but the reasonings 
upon them, and even governmental measures, as they 

298 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

have been stated, and suggested by a few of its serv 
ants on this side the water: Hence the embarrass 
ments of the ministry, and the perplexity of the 
nation, from the unnatural contest with the colonies, 
at a season when the circumstances of Europe require 
the most perfect union at home, to give weight to 
our negotiations, and awe to those who might wish to 
disturb our repose. 

The tenor of his Majesty s speech at the opening 
of parliament, as it respects America, is easily ac 
counted for, from the Budget which about that time 
was received from hence. The Ministry seem d to 
believe, at the first opening of the Budget, that the 
proceedings of a certain town in America, were not 
only to the highest degree seditious, but nothing 
short of treason itself ; and that they had full evi 
dence of all this in their hands. Tho the people at 
a distance from the seat of government are always 
under great disadvantages, with respect to a fair state 
of their case, in any disputes between them and the 
servants of the crown, yet Truth very soon so far 
made its own way, that upon a closer inspection into 
affairs, the charge appeared to be laid too high : 
Nor is there a person either in or out of parliament, 
who has justly stated or proved, one single act of that 
town, as a public body, to be, I will not say treason 
able or seditious, but even at all illegal : nor is it in 
the power of any man, either on this or the other side 
the atlantic, to do it. 

New vouchers, we are told, are called for from 
authority : This is no favourable symptom to the 
sudden and warm accusers ; for I believe there are 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 299 

more than one, who may find it an Augean enter- 
prize, to support their own representation. For it is 
certainly beyond human art and sophistry to prove 
that British subjects, to whom the privilege of possess 
ing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights, 
and, who live in a province where the law requires 
them to be equip d with arms, &c. are guilty of an 
illegal act, in calling upon one another to be provided 
with them, as the law directs. But if some are bold 
and base enough, where the interest of a whole coun 
try is at stake, to penetrate into the secrets of the 
human breast, to search for crimes, and to impute the 
worst of motives to actions strictly legal, whatever 
may be thought of their expediency, it is easy to re 
criminate in the same way ; and one man has as good 
reason to affirm, that a few, in calling for a military force 
under pretence of supporting civil authority, secretly 
intended to introduce a general massacre, as another 
has to assert, that a number of loyal subjects, by calling 
upon one another to be provided with arms, according 
to law, intended to bring on an insurrection. 

It will be equally difficult to prove it illegal, for a 
number of British subjects, to invite as many of their 
fellow-subjects as they please, to convene and consult 
together, on the most prudent and constitutional 
measures for the redress of their grievances ; or that 
such an assembly had actually assumed the powers of 
government, when they actually disclaimed all such 
powers, and united in recognizing their subjection to 
government, by humble petitions and remonstrances, 
and by encouraging their fellow-subjects in their loyalty 
and good Order. 

300 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

The true state of things, we may suppose began to 
appear, under all the clouds that had been thrown 
over it, even before the addresses of the Lords and 
Commons were wrote : Accordingly, these addresses, 
as Mr. Burk said in the House of Commons, were as 
usual, " Copies, but fainter than the original." And 
as different accounts were compared, and things cooly 
considered, the bitter spirit of resentment, occasioned 
by misinformation and misapprehension, daily sub 
sided ; and threatnings of state-prisoners to be sent 
from hence, of disfranchizing the town, and of vacat 
ing the province charter, are no more believed, to the 
disappointment and vexation of those, who have em 
ployed every art to realize such a scene, and have an 
ticipated it, with a foolish air of triumph, that must 
have been regarded with contempt, did not the malice 
of it awaken our indignation. 

The Gazette account of last Thursday, which I 
take to have been labor d by top hands, tells us, " that 
from the King s speech and the addresses of the two 
houses, may be collected the sense of the whole na 
tion, and of all parties." Nothing can be more ex 
travagant than such an assertion : Are the sentiments 
of the Ministry, or the majority of both houses of 
parliament, always agreeable to those of the majority 
of the nation ? Did not the last parliament pass op 
posite acts respecting America, just as the ministry 
changed ? Were all parties agreed in reply to the late 
speech from the throne ! Was there not an objection 
made in the House of Commons against voting thanks 
for the measures that had been pursued, lest this 
should be taken as an implicit adoption of those meas- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 301 

ures ? And, Did not Lord North the chief manager 
for the minister, declare, that this expression was only 
designed as a proper and respectful compliment to the 
throne, and by no means to preclude a free consider 
ation of those measures? Under this explanation 
from the ministry themselves, it pass d the House: 
And yet it is asserted by many, that this mere com 
pliment to Majesty, was the unanimous sanction of 
parliament, to all that had been done relative to 
America ! 

We are further told, that the behaviour of the 
people of Boston was stated. W T e wish it had been 
stated fairly : We only want a candid hearing, and then 
this much deserving, but much abused town, which has 
been severely tried, by the most irritating conduct on 
the part of its enemies, and unjustly charg d as a town 
with the crimes, of some base, and unknown persons, 
would appear truly respectable. 

After all, mobs and riots in this capital, are the 
pretence, rather than the true cause of the bitterness 
express d against it : Tumults at least equally il 
legal have happen d in other places, but the repre 
sentations of them have been more just and kind : It is 
the part this town has taken on the side of liberty, and 
its noble exertions in favor of the Rights of America, 
that has render d it so obnoxious to the tools of 
power. But the people of Boston are charg d with 
" ingratitude for the repeal of the stamp act ! And 
because some refus d to make compensation to the 
sufferers in behalf of that act, and others did it with an 
ill grace ! "- What awful confusion is here to make 
a single town odious ? Were the people of Boston ever 


302 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

apply d to for a compensation ? Did not the requisition 
come to the general assembly ; in which there were 
only four members for Boston ? Did not these mem 
bers unite with the general assembly in granting 
Ample compensation ? Was not this a free, generous 
act ? Could any power on earth, constitutionally, 
oblige the province of the town to pay the damages 
done by unknown rioters ? Has the parliament done 
this in the late riots in England ? Did Rhode-Island 
make compensation, tho called upon as this province 
was? Are Howard and Moffat 1 compensated to this 
day by that colony ? What has it suffer d for a re 
fusal ? It has been complimented for its loyalty and 
good order in one of Lord Hillsborough s circular 
letters with a view to induce it to treat with con 
tempt this province which had compensated : But 
Rhode-Island had sense and vertue to despise the 
ridiculous Lure, and generosity not to withdraw its 
aid from the common cause. Without saying any 
thing more upon this point, we may venture to appeal 
to the candid world, where the ingratitude lies ! 

As to the repeal of the stamp act, tho the people | 
of this province and America universally regarded this 
act as an infraction of their constitutional rights, and 
consequently humbly claim d the repeal as a point of 
Equity, they yet received it with as much gratitude 
as if it had been a free gift. They bless d their Sov 
ereign They rever d the wisdom and goodness of the 
British parliament They felt themselves happy, till 
new acts, equally unconstitutional were made, and 


*" Martin Howard and Thomas Moffatt. See Records of the Colony of Rhode 

Island, vol. vi., p. 590 ; vol. vii., p. 2OO. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 303 

severities impos d upon trade, unknown even at the 
time of the stamp act. But it seems we are unpar- r" 
donable for not being thankful for the removal of one 
burthen, after another is laid upon us by the same 
hands, equally hard to bear L How contemptible is 
such reasoningT[ What an affront to common sense ! 
I never heard of such discourse in parliament till I 
saw our Court Paper ; and can these persons be friends 
to the leading men in government, who represent them \ 
as reasoning in such a manner ? 

Aye, but the agreement of the merchants not t<>/ 
import goods was said to be an " hostility not prac 
tised by nations at war ! "- -This then was as bad, 
or worse than the Convention ; tho neither Boston 
nor this province happen to be alone in such an 
agreement. But why did not G. B. send repre- 
hensory letters to the merchants ? Why were not 
the calamities which have been so liberally threatned 
against us, represented as a punishment of this hos 
tile act, and not wholly laid upon the Convention 
and the proceedings of the town of Boston ! It 
might doubtless have been done with equal wis 
dom & justice. This step of the merchants however 
has been approv d and applauded by our most judi 
cious friends at home, and even by British merchants, 
contrary to their own interest : It has universally 
been regarded as legal, and the most effectual meas 
ure for redress : Aye, there s the stick ; it is be 
cause it is likely to prove so effectual, that some men, 
wou d wheedle or frighten us out of it. I remember 
well, it was highly recommended by some in the time 
of the stamp act ; not, I believe, because they wish d 

304 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

it success, but because, perhaps they thought it cou d 
never be accomplished : Just so, they advis d to 
humble petitions to the King and parliament, and 
then endeavor d to defeat them, by suggesting to the 
ministry, that an agent for the house alone, could not 
properly present their own petition. From hence 
arises one of Lord Hillsborough s present Perplex 
ities ; and if the agent for the house does his duty, 
his Lordship must use his utmost dexterity to parry 

the blow. 


But, Boston " may be depriv d of all its trade, and 
made a village " ; Sad indeed ! And so may New- 
York, and all the trading towns on the American 
continent ; and what then ? Why then, Bristol, and 
Liverpool, and London itself, may become villages 
too. Was this said in parliament, or, was the threat- 
ning moulded here to excite ridicule ? Could a 
British politician, finding public credit suffering at 
such a critical season from the unsettled state of 
America, ever imagine that the nation might be reme 
died, by turning our sea-ports into villages. The 
Compiler goes on to inform us, that Gov. Ber 
nard has been spoken of with great respect ; and so 
has Mr. Otis, and compared to the Pyms, the Hamp- 
dens, the Shippens, and the Sir John Barnard s of Brit 
ain. But poor G. B , it was judiciously observed 
in the house of Commons, has had some very un 
common difficulties to contend with : Mr. Otis and 
his compatriots have doubtless had none ! No toils 
no self-denials no threatnings no tempting baits 
no ; all the virtue is on one side Vertue was 
never known to be separated from power or 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 305 

profit ; it is all engrossed by the graspers of 
honorable and lucrative places. But what are 

these great difficulties on the G r s part why 

truly, the election of Councellors in part by the rep 
resentatives of the people, and the return of Juries 
by the Town, and not by the Sheriffs, who are of 
his own appointment ! I am sorry that some of 
the most valuable privileges of this province shou d 
prove so great difficulties, to Governor Bernard, but 
can by no means wish them annihilated for the sake 
of giving him ease. I never heard that they were 
quite so offensive to any of his predecessors, and 
cannot think they ever will be to so much as one of 
his successors : The province has been and may be "I 
again quietly and happily govern d, while these ter 
rible difficulties have subsisted in their full force. 
They are indeed wise checks upon power in favor of 
the people ; but Power vested in some men, can 
brook no check : To assert the most undoubted 
Rights of human nature, and of the British Consti 
tution, They deem Faction ; and having embarrass d 
a free government, by their own impolitic measures, 
they fly to the military power, which with equal 
justice and spirit was said in the late debate in the 
House of Commons, to be "the last resource of 
Ignorant Despotism." But force is no very suitable 
means of changing the sentiments of the people : It 
is rather adapted to rivet and confirm them. Arms 
ought to be very cautiously employed, even against 
faction, which they have often increased rather than 
quelled. The present Uneasiness in America has 
been falsely and insolently called by this odious 

VOL. I. 20. 

306 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

name : Can any man suppose, the almost universal 
complaints of a people, to deserve this appellation ? 
As well might the general uneasiness that introduced 
the revolution by William the Third, and that set 
tled the succession in the illustrious house of Han 
over, be called A Faction ! SHIPPEN. 


[Boston Gazette, February 13, 1769.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

In Draper s 1 last paper we find SALUST astonished 
beyond his own expression, at reading a piece in the 
Boston Gazette (URBANUS) The author, he says 
" seems offended with the Soldiery in the town, for 
their ready assistance at the late fire " : He is sorry 
" when ignorance or malice brings a cloud upon any 
of their virtues," viz. the military He " sincerely 
wishes to see, more frequent instances of that hu 
manity which subjected them to the displeasure of 
URBANUS "- " They generously joined the general con 
cern"- And he assures us, "that at three o clock in 
the morning, the soldiers appeared as numerous and 
vigilant as the inhabitants." If Salust has got over 
his fit of astonishment, he may find upon a more calm 
perusal, that Urbanus said full as much as all this in 
a very few words, viz. u by the joint endeavours and 
activity of the inhabitants and the soldiery unarmed, 
the fire was happily extinguished." Salust expressly 
mentions the industry of the soldiers, but seems rather 

1 The Massachusetts Gazette and the Boston Weekly News Letter, published 
at Boston by Richard Draper. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 307 

to leave his distant readers to guess at that of the in 
habitants ; Urbanus openly and generously attributes 
the success to the merit of both Salust says that "at 
three o clock the soldiers were as numerous as the in 
habitants." Urbanus did not chuse to assert such a 
thing, because I suppose he did not think it was in 
fact true ; nor could it be expected, as the number 
of soldiers in town bears not near an equal proportion 
with that of the inhabitants. It is hoped that Salust 
does not here intend to insinuate that many of the 
inhabitants deserted the cause : If he does, he is not 
quite so candid as Urbanus is, who says that " the 
fire was happily extinguished by the joint endeavours 
of the inhabitants and soldiers," without the least inti 
mation of an abatement of zeal in any Salust takes 
this occasion to tell us, that in the army and navy, there 
are "silly boys, fools and madmen."- Urbanus uses 
no such opprobrious language of the army or navy, or 
any man ; from whence the reader will judge whether 
it most concerns Salust or Urbanus to set about " the 
removal of pride, vain-glory or hypocrisy," without 
which it is confessed " reason will (not) have fair play." 
You may possibly think, Messieurs Printers, that 
it is a mispense of your time to print the foregoing : 
My only design is to show that Urbanus, whoever he 
may be, was fair and unexceptionable in his relation 
of facts ; and that Salust had no reason to charge him 
with being displeased at an instance of humanity ! 
when he only finds fault with the " picquet guards 
being ordered out with their firelocks and bayonets " : 
A piece of conduct in the military which gave great 
offence to many besides Urbanus^ who generously 

308 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

tells us that " the officer marched them off as soon as 
he was properly spoken to," or informed by the town 
officers. If Salust means "by the ready assistance 
of the soldiery," the turning out the picquets it may 
properly be asked, what assistance they were to afford ? 
Urbanus tells us, and Salust does not deny it, " that 
the General was fully informed of the regulations of 
the town on these occasions, by the firewards, some 
time ago, and that the turning out the guards was not 
agreeable to their just expectation," from whence it 
is natural to conclude, that this matter was particu 
larly explained to him. How it came to pass that 
they made their appearance armed, is not my busi 
ness to enquire : But as Urbanus takes offence at 
no other part of the conduct of the military, Salust 
must mean such an appearance, when he speaks of 
Urbanus his being offended with their ready assistance, 
hzimanity, vigilance, &c It is a regulation of the 
town, by long and approved custom, for the friends 
of persons in danger, formed into separate fire-socie 
ties, to take care of their moveable estate ; so that we 
are happily free from any necessity of an armed force 
for that purpose, and the exactest military discipline 
can be of no service in supplying or working an en 
gine. But possibly Salust is highly delighted with 
military parade ; if so, he cannot surely be at a loss 
for opportunity to gratify his darling passion even on 
Sundays ! Or it may be Salust would insinuate the 
danger of the inhabitants mobbing and rioting, and 
the necessity from thence of military power ; this 
supposition seems to be favour d by the message said 
to have been sent with all possible dispatch (perhaps 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 39 

by Salust himself, I know not who) " to assure the 
General that indeed it was no riot, it was only a 
fire " : But if it had been a riot, What business ivould 
armed soldiers have there, until COMMANDED BY THE 
CIVIL POWER ? It seems to be a prevailing opinion 
with some folks, that there cannot be a collection of 
persons in this town, even upon the most necessary 
occasions, but there must needs be danger of a mob ; 
and then forsooth, the military must make their ap 
pearance of their own meer motion, ready cock d & 
prim d, to prevent it. I expect if this opinion should 
further prevail, very soon to see the picquet guards 
drawn up before our church doors in time of divine 
service, to keep the people from mobbing, when the 
assemblies are dismissed. If his excellency should 
ever think himself at liberty to call another general 
court, and suffer them to meet in this metropolis, and 
the members of either house should happen to be 
dispos d to FACTION, as has been said of them in times 
past, it is lucky enough, that the main guard, being 
already fix d near the court-house, the soldiers may 
afford as " ready assistance," with their arms and 
bayonets, to awe the assembly, as the picquet guard 
did at the late fire. 

[Boston Evening Post, February 13, 1769.] 

Spemque, metumque, inter dubit, sett vivere credant, 
Sive extrema pati, . . . VIRGIL. 

As I have already delineated the convenient prin 
ciples and adroit abilities of the most conspicuous 

310 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

individuals that constitute the A n B d of 

C s, I must apologize to the public, for not ful 
filling my original design of giving a sketch of every 
individual of them ; previous to considering them as a 

B d ; (not that matter is, by any means, wanting, 

either as to Mr. - (Parody) or the well-looking, 
lively Westminster church warden ; as there are many 
curious anecdotes, with which I am very well ac 
quainted, that would serve to amuse the public, and 
emblazon each individual) but as those Gentlemen 
have never had opportunity to intermeddle with the 
political affairs of this country, previous to the com 
mencement of their present powers, as C s, I am 
apprehensive it would rather convey an appearance 
of unnecessarily finding fault ; and that merely for 
the sake of reviling which I thoroughly detest and 

On this consideration then, I shall pass them over 
as individuals and proceed to canvass their conduct 

as a B d ; in doing which, I shall endeavour to 

treat the subject with the utmost tenderness and can 
dour ; my intent being merely to investigate the 
truth, and submit it to the impartial public. 

In the first place, it will appear, before I finish 

with their H rs, that they had no real intention, 

from their first sitting as a B d, to harmonize 
with each other ; therefore had not the true interest 
of the r v e at heart. In the next place, it will 
appear, that instead of confining themselves within 
the true intent and meaning of their appointment, 
they have over-leaped the bounds prescribed them 
by the L ds of the T ry, and commenced 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 311 

Politicians, Party-men, and M n s of S te ; nay, 
that they have arrogated to themselves, even the 
authority of L ds of the T- ry, and that 
purely from a motive of satisfying an unjustifiable 
peek and prejudice against respectable men, who (ifs 
said) acted under them with honour and honesty. 

These H b e Gentlemen had not met more 
than once or twice as a B d, before they disputed 
the powers of the officer who was at the head of the 
r v e here, long before the commencement of 
theirs (having appointed, during his being in office, 
inferior off rs to places that had for a long standing 
been customary) Nor, did their canvassing such 
authority, arise in any degree through complaints 
made of the bad conduct, or venality of the individ 
uals, or the impropriety of their appointments ; but 
merely in order to create ill blood with a member of 
their B d, who was looked upon by them as too 
great a check to their intended plans of operation 

(two of that B d having been under him, whose 

wings, it s said, would have been certainly dipt, long 
e er now, had he been a man as revengeful, ill-prin 
cipled, and unfeeling, as those h ble Gentlemen) 
-This conduct is partly accounted for in a former 
publication ; wherein I say, " that the minds of the 

two C s, who came over with the high-finished 

Mr. (FrotJi) were poisoned by him during the 

passage. " 

Who so disgustful f who so great an eye-sore to the 
v n / and c rrpt, as he that knows their 
v n / ty and baseness of heart ? Who so Jit an ob 
ject for them to glut their revenge and malice on f or, 

3i2 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

who so great a BAR to the execution of their wicked 
purposes ? 

Mr. F lor r s appointment, it s true, was from this 
person : but, assuredly those Gentlemen will not pre 
sume to say that it was of his constructing / they most 
certainly know, and must confess, that such an offi r, 
with the same powers Mr. F r had, has resided at 
N t k t for more than forty years. I challenge 
those h ble men, to shew one instance of Mr. F - s 
venality, or neglect of duty ; I only heartily wish the 
best of them stood so fair, in the estimation of the 
honest part of mankind, as this person. 

Mr. F r made a very valuable seizure of tea ; 
and as a good offi r should do (after securing if) ac 
quainted their High Mightinesses with it. He was at 
first ordered to prosecute ; but before he could file his 
libel, those honest gentlemen gave orders to the 
c p r of B n to reseize it ; alledging that Mr. 
F r had no right to seize ; but those h ble 
men denied giving such orders ; however, that was 
very soon found to be false. Had those gentlemen 
given such directions merely from a point of duty, 
would they ever have denied their having done so ? 
Surely they would not : If they did it through pusil 
lanimity, are not they unfit for such off-ce ? If 
through chicanery, they are still less unqualified. 

Surely the consequence of calling the validity of 
Mr. F r s seizing in question was highly improper, 
in a country where people are rather apt to make use 
of every opportunity thrown in their way to weaken 
the authority of the r v e off rs ; many were on 
the point of using this extraordinary opinion of their 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 313 

H n s to their own advantage and the prejudice of 
the cr n ; in short, it was near being a means of the 
people s doubting the validity of the powers those 
H ble Gentlemen brought over respecting them 
selves. Never were there more impolitick and plaus 
ible weapons thrown into the hands of a discontented 
people, than those, at a most critical juncture. 

Nor did those H ble Gentlemen stop here with Mr. 
F r ; through revenge for not tamely and impli 
citly giving up all right and title to this seizure, they 
narrowly watched his proceedings in the House of 
Representatives (of which he was a member and 
towards the end of the sessions, found sufficient 
ground (as they say) upon which they should dismiss 
him from his employment ; the validity of which asser 
tion is now left to the impartial reader. 

Mr. F r having voted for the encouragement of 
morality, good order and ceconomy among his constitu 
ents, was, in consequence of such a high offence, sent 
for by the H ble B d of C- s, and interro 
gated by Mr. - , whether he had thus voted ? 
Upon his answering in the affirmative, he was informed 
by this respectable Gentleman that his M j sty 
had no further service for him ; and was accordingly 
dismissed : A truly ministerial stile this ; very be 
coming the mouth of a v n 1 off r, and a very 
ignorant attorney s boy O tempora, O mores ! Was 
this official! Was this common honesty? Was this 
doing service to the cr-wn and the common cause ? 
Was it not arrogating to themselves more than minis 
terial authority . 

Had these steps taken place through the ignorance 

314 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

of those h ble men to the spirit of the people, & the 
critical situation of the times ; there might have been 
some excuse for such conduct ; but as that can by no 
means be admitted, what other light can be thrown 
upon such very extraordinary measures, but that of 
the very hue ? 

I shall now take a view of the proceedings and 
very disinterested conduct of those h le gentlemen 
in seizing the sloop L b y. 

What Mr. H c k s 1 conduct might have been, 
either previous, or subsequent to this seizure, is not 
for me to concern myself with ; my view being wholly 
confined to the extraordinary proceedings of the 
B d of C s. 

It is obvious, that Mr. - - (Shan ap Morgan) and 
the unparalleled - - (Squire Froth) had concerted 
matters (at their private meetings) in such manner, as 
at all events to give an alarm to people in power at the 
other side the water ; in order to be protected by an 
armed force ; as will clearly appear in the sequel. 

Upon Mr. - - (ap Morgans) going to the C 11 r 
of B s n at almost sun set, to order him to seize the 
sloop L b y ; that Gentleman argued (with just 
ness and good sense) the impropriety of such a step, at 
that very unseasonable time. Saying, that the lower 
class of people were then returning from work ; and 
that proceeding to such business, may be attended 
with bad consequences ; but, that it should be 
done the next morning : Upon which, Mr. - 
{Morgan) replied with his usual ferocity, that he 

1 Hancock. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS, 315 

must answer for it the next day to the B d if he 
did not do it. The C 11 r upon this wise repri 
mand, immediately proceeded to do his duty; and I 
am confident, might have concluded it without -any 
very material resistance ; had it not been determin d by 
those gentlemen ; (in order to irritate the people al 
ready heated, by their indiscreet conduct) to order 
(by their emissary) the seizure to be towed alongside of 
the K g*s ship, whose boats and men had been pre 
pared for that purpose, previous to the making such 
seizure ; a certain indication of the evil purpose of 
those gentlemen, in order to stir up commotions 
among the people to answer their wicked machi 

Here open d the ever memorable campaign in 
which, the Generals, (FrotK) and (ap Morgan) were 
the chief leaders. The scheme took according to 
their plan of operation ; this extraordinary proceed 
ing brought on the attack upon Mr. H 1 II, 1 but 
not the least attempt upon the C rs, nor do I 
believe, it was ever intended ; however, those ex 
pert gentlemen taking the advantage of this impru 
dent step of the lowest of the people, fled on board 

the K g s sh p by way of safety where there was 

no danger ; indeed General (ap Morgan} had been 
used to such kind of retreats before now ; as has 
been mentioned heretofore. As I have followed 
those Gentlemen up, till their ever memorable flight 
on board the K - s ship, I shall at present take my 
leave of them ; not doubting in the least that I shall 

1 Benjamin Hallowell, Jr. .comptroller of the customs. See below, page 407. 

316 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

be able to give as good an account of them by water 
as by land, &c. &cs 


[Boston Gazette, February 27, 1769.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

IN the days of the STUARTS,, it was look d upon 
by some men as a high degree of prophaness, for 
any subject to enquire into what was called the 
mysteries of government : James the first thun 
dered his anathema against Dr. Cowel, for his 
daring presumption in treating of those mysteries ; 
and forbad his subjects to read his books, or even 
to keep them in their houses. ^Jn those days pas 
sive obedience, non-resistance, the divine hereditary 
right of kings, and their being accountable to God 
alone, were doctrines generally taught, believ d and 
practiced : But behold the sudden transition of 
human affairs ! In the very next reign the people 
assum d the right of free enquiry, into the nature 
and end of government, and the conduct of those 
who were entrusted with itK Laud and Strafford 
were bro t to the block ; and after the horrors of a 
civil war, in which some of the best blood of the na 
tion was spilt as water upon the ground, they finally 
called to account, arraign d, adjudg d, condemn d and 

1 As to John Robinson, collector at Newport, Cf. Records of the Colony of 
Rhode Island, vol. vi., pp. 453-455, 458, 459, 532. The other commissioners 
were William Burch, Henry Hulton, Charles Paxton and J. Temple. Abishai 
Folger, who is mentioned, was earlier a Representative from Shelburne, Nan- 
tucket county. 


1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 317 

even executed the monarch himself ! and for a time 
held his son and heir in exile. The two sons of 
Charles the first, after the death of Oliver Cromwell, 
reigned in their turns ; but by copying after their 
father, their administration of government was 
grievous to their subjects, and infamous abroad. 
Charles the second indeed reign d till he died ; but 
his brother James was oblig d to abdicate the throne, 
which made room for William the third, and his 
royal consort Mary, the daughter of the unfortunate 
James-jfii his was the fate of a race of Kings, bigotted 
to the greatest degree to the doctrines of slavery 
and regardless of the natural, inherent, divinely 
hereditary and indefeasible rights of their subjects. ^r- 
At the revolution, the British constitution was again 
restor d to its original principles, declared in the bill 
of rights ; which was afterwards pass d into a law, 
and stands as a bulwark to the natural rights of sub 
jects. " To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Black- 
stone, when actually violated or attack d, the subjects 
of England are entitled first to the regular adminis 
tration andl/r^ course of justice in the courts of law 
next to the right of ^petitioning the King and par- 
liament^pr redress of grievances and lastly, to the 
right <&naving and using arms for self-preservation 
and defence." <These he calls " auxiliary subordinate 
rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect 
and maintain inviolate the three great and primary 
rights of personal security, personal liberty and private 
property " :/ And that of having arms for their de 
fence he tells us is " a public allowance, under due 
restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and 

3i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

self preservation, when the sanctions of society and 
laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of 
oppression." How little do those persons attend to 
the rights of the constitution, if they know anything 
about them, who find fault with a late vote of this 
town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide them 
selves with arms for their defence at any time ; but 
more especially, when they had reason to fear, there 
would be a necessity of the means of self preservation 
against the violence of oppression. Every one knows 
that the exercise of the military power is forever 
dangerous to civil rights ; and we have had recent in 
stances of violences that have been offer d to private 
subjects, and the last week, even to a magistrate in 
the execution of his office! Such violences are no 
more than might have been expected from military 
troops: A power, which is apt enough at all times 
to take a wanton lead, even when in the midst of civil 
society ; but more especially so, when they are led to 
believe that they are become necessary, to awe a 
spirit of rebellion, *zx\& preserve peace and good order. 
x But there are some persons, who would, if possibly 
they could, perswade the people never to make use 
of their constitutional rights or terrify them from 
doing it. No wonder that a resolution of this town 
to keep arms for its own defence, should be repre 
sented as having at bottom a secret intention to 
oppose the landing of the King s troops : when those 
very persons, who gave it this colouring, had before 
represented the peoples petitioning their Sovereign, 
as proceeding from a factious and rebellious spirit ; 
and would now insinuate that there is an impro- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 319 

priety in their addressing even a plantation Gov 
ernor upon public business Such are the times 
we are fallen into ! 

E. A. 

BOSTON. 1 MARCH 13, 1769. 

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with variations, is in New 
England Hist, and Gen. Reg.) vol, xlv., pp. 27, 28.] 

To the Freeholders &other Inhabitants of the Town 
of Boston, in Town Meeting assembled March 1 769. 

The Petition of Samuel Adams of said Boston 

That your Petitioner was chosen by the Town, a 
Collector of Taxes, annually, from the year 1756 
to the year 1764, inclusive: That, notwithstanding 
all his Care & pains to collect the same, a number 
of Persons, chargd with their respective taxes, in 
each of the aforesaid years, besides those whose 
taxes were abated by the Assessors, were thro 
Poverty and Misfortune, unable to make Payment 
to him. 

1 At the town meeting on March 13, this petition was read and "after a full 
and long debate had thereon ; it was moved & the Question accordingly put 
That a Committee be appointed to take M r Adams s Petition into Consideration, 
and Report as soon as may be ; which passed in the Negative Also moved 
that the List of Outstanding Taxes exhibited by said M r Adams to the Select 
men be read in this Meeting ; which Question being put Passed in the Negative 
Then a Motion was made and seconded, that the Prayer of the Petition be 
granted, and that a Person be now chosen to receive the said List, and Collect 
the Outstanding Taxes, and the Question being accordingly put Passed in the 
Affermative by a very great majority " Boston Record Commissioners Report, 
vol. 16, pp. 271, 272. See also Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massa 
chusetts, vol. v., pp. 55, 56. 

320 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

That particularly, in the year 1760, a terrible fire 
happend, which is well rememberd by the Town, & 
raged with great Desolation in his Ward ; which ren- 
derd it exceeding difficult, for the suffering Persons 
who were then indebted to him, for former taxes, to 
discharge the same. 

And in the year 1 764, another Misfortune arose, 
by the spreading of the small Pox in the Town, 
which reduced it to great Distress ; and in a great 
Measure put it out of his Power, to make any Col 
lections, from the Spring to the Fall the most 
successfull Season of the year. 

By these Misfortunes your Petitioner was brot into 
discouraging Circumstances ; inasmuch as the De 
mands of the several Treasurers, were continually 
more pressing upon him, than were the Abilities of 
those, upon whom he depended, to enable him to 
answer them : By which means he was often put to 
considerable Expence ; and was obligd finally, con 
trary to his Judgment in ordinary Cases, to make use 
of the first Moneys he could collect, in a new year, to 
make good the Deficiency of the former ; which left 
him the Gleanings of the whole, if he may so express 
it, to depend upon for his last Payments. 

Your Petitioner further represents to the Town ; 
That the whole Amount of Sums committed to him to 
collect in the years aforesaid is upwards of fifty one 
thousand Pounds, Lawfull Money ; for the collecting 
the chiefe part of which, the stipulated premium has 
been three & three quarters p Cent only : That having 
satisfyed the Demands of the several Treasurers for 
all the said years, except the last, viz 1 764 ; The Prov- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 321 

ince Treasurer issued Execution against him for the 
sum of ,2009-8-8, due to the province for said year: 
And afterwards the Town Treasurer, by Order of 
the Town, put his Bond in suit, & recoverd Judg 
ment for the sum due, but by the Indulgence of the 
Town, Execution was stayed. 1 

Furthermore, your Petitioner would represent, 
That according to the Expectation of the Town, 
he has lodgd with the Selectmen, a List of his out 
standing Debts ; which allowing for unavoidable Errors 
which may happen, on so large a Sum & in so great a 
number of hands, is to the best of his knowlege 
and as he verily thinks, a true List of Debts : And 
altho the Amount of this List, is far from being 
sufficient to discharge the whole of his Arrears ; yet 
he would suggest to the Town, that he has a pros 
pect of receiving a Sum, which together with the said 
List will be fully equal to the same, as will appear by 
the State of Accounts herewith exhibited. 

Now your Petitioner, having long labourd under a 
heavy Burden, to which he has often been even ready 
to yield, makes this prayer to the Town, the Grant 
ing of which he will ever acknowlege as a singular 
favor, Namely That upon his making payment of 
the Sum of the Town would order him 

a final Discharge, & at this meeting appoint some 
meet Person 2 to receive the List exhibited, & collect 

1 March 14, 1768, the town voted to allow Adams an additional period of 
six months for the collection of outstanding taxes, and on March 22, 1768, the 
town appointed Otis, Dana, Hancock, and Kent a committee to request the 
Province Treasurer and the sheriff to stay proceedings for six months. 

* Robert Pierpoint was forthwith chosen, and the action was confirmed by 
the Legislature. Acts of 1769, chap. 3. 

VOL. I. 21. 

322 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

and pay into the Treasurys the outstanding Debts 
aforesaid. With his best Wishes for the Town 

Your Petitioner subscribes 

[Boston Gazette, March 27, 1769.] 

Messieurs. EDES & GILL, 

I desire yoit would insert the following Letter in 
your next Paper : A nd though the Person to whom it 
is addressed, among other studied Affronts to Dr. 

Ch -y, omitted to give him his proper Title ; yet as I 

have heard that he is a Minister of the Church of Eng 
land, which one would not however have guessed, from 
his abusive Writings, I shall for the Sake of Decency, 

To the Reverend Mr. S. Seabury? one of the Writers 

in a New York Paper. 

The treatment which you have given in your late 
publications to a rev. gentleman of this town, who has 
for many years been justly esteem d for his great 
learning and piety, allow me to assure you, has very 
much offended those, whom if I could suppose you 
had any sense of worth, you would have been loth to 
have displeas d. The honest and sensible of every 
denomination, even those of your own perswasion, 
are asham d of your calumniating pen : while only 
the bigotted and prophane, whose applause is censure, 
are exulting in your feeble attempt to injure a char- 

1 Cf. Life and Correspondence of Samtiel Seabury, by E. E. Beardsley. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 323 

acter, which they have ever rever d, but could never 
impeach. Such unworthy behavior in you Mr. Sea- 
bury will justify a greater freedom than one would in 
cline to take with a gentleman of your suit: I shall 
therefore make no hesitation in telling you that your 
attempt is vain and fruitless ; Your malice has for 
once prov d harmless ; your awkward raillery serves 
only to render you ridiculous your fancied wit is 
but " giddy dulness"; and to mortify your touring 
vanity, it must and will be said of Mr. ,S. Seabury, as 
the poet sings of his brother diver, " He sinks pre 
cipitately dull" 

I cannot suppose that the candid Public expects, 
that Dr. Chauncy will make any reply to your last 
rude letter. " Answer not a fool according to his 
folly," one of your profession ought to know, was the 
advice of a man of prudence : and you may remember 
the reason subjoin d ; " Lest he be wise in his own 
conceit." A foible one can easily impute to Mr. Sea- 
bury, who calls himself " an occasional correspondent" 
of the merry squire Tickle, and has recommended 
himself, as one of his triumphant auxiliaries, for hav 
ing, as he declares himself, " laid his antagonist fairly 
on his back." But you should remember, that he who 
writes to the publick must expect that the publick 
will form their own sentiments of what he writes ; 
and they often pass a very different judgment from 
that which a fond scribbler makes of his own perform 
ances : It is possible Mr. Seabury that could you 
have been admitted into the circles of men of sense 
where you live, and heard their opinion of that very 
whip which you so confidently boasted of, I say, it is 

324 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

(tho perhaps barely) possible it would have in some 
degree allay d your vanity and self applause. 

It seems that a certain grubstreet writer in Mr. 
Gaine s paper, whether Mr. Seabury or not I will not 
pretend to say, had charg d Dr. Ch y in plain 
terms with "many falshoods"; and particularly in 
saying that " all the candidates for holy orders in the 
church of England have the expence of their voyages 
home paid by the Society, &c." A gentleman who 
declares himself to be a member of the church of 
England and of the Society, from a manly and disin 
terested regard to truth, and without designing to 
enter into a controversy, laid open the unfairness of 
this scribbler ; and by a just quotation from the Dr s 
pamphlet shows that he did not say that such candi 
dates have in fact the expences of their voyages home 
paid, but that the Society had "assured them that 
their expences in going to England and returning 
from thence should be defray d by them. "--That the 
Society did actually lay themselves under such an 
obligation appears by a pamphlet entitled an account 
of the Society for propagating the gospel in foreign 
parts publish d in 1706, which expressly mentions 
such an order ; and this order was afterwards con- 
firm d by a subsequent order of the Society to repub- 
lish the same pamphlet, as appears by an abstract of 
the proceedings of the Society annexed to Dr. Ken- 
nett s sermon publish d in the year 1712 So that 
unless any one can make it appear that the Society 
have since revok d that order, which I presume can 
not be done, it is plain that the Dr. spoke the truth, 
and therefore ought not to have been charg d with 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 325 

falshood Now Mr. Seabury, to use your own lan 
guage, " indulge me in one supposition" " and remem 
ber it is only a supposition." Suppose that you 
yourself were this unfair story-teller, and that you 
had " very decently for a Clergyman "charg d the Dr. 
with saying what he never did say, and what you 
should affirm was not true, might not I upon the sup 
position retort upon you, with as much justice as 
in a similar case you have done the Dr, and say 
that in your opinion " prevarication and lying in a 
good cause" (where Episcopacy is concern d) "is 

But should I or any one else be so very candid as 
to suppose that you are not the author of the afore 
said scandalous libel against the Dr, would it with 
certainty be concluded from such a supposition only 
that you were not ? I believe none would draw such 
a conclusion. By parity of reason then no man 
would conclude that you were the author merely 
because another had said that he supposd Mr. 
S b ry wrote it ; and if you thought that no one 
clergyman but yourself could be intended by the 
gutted name, and that it was a scandal to you to be 
even suspected of having written such a base false 
hood as it certainly was, would not a short declaration 
to the contrary publish d by you with a spirit of 
meekness, becoming a minister of religion, have 
remov d all suspicion of it ? If your character stands 
fair in your neighbourhood where you are known, 
such a declaration wou d have been sufficient to have 
vindicated you ; and " the good people far and wide", 
most of whom in all likelihood had never heard of 

326 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

you before, wou d have been satisfy d that the gen 
tleman who wrote the letter was either mistaken in 
his supposition that you were the man, or that by the 
gutted name he did not intend Mr. Seabury, but 
some other person ; unless perhaps Mr. Seabury s 
professing to be an occasional writer in Mr. Tickle s 
harmless and chaste paper might leave some room to 
doubt of the sincerity of his declaration Had you 
thus acted, you would have discovered an openess 
and simplicity becoming your station. But by your 
conduct, it plainly appears that your design was not 
altogether to clear your own character, but to wound 
the Dr s, who never did you any harm and by 
bringing a railing accusation against him, you have 
attacked him with a weapon which he does not care 
to employ for as archbishop Tillotson, upon Michael 
the archangel declining to bring a railing accusation 
against the Devil, finely observes, had they fought 
at that weapon, Satan would certainly have been too 
hard for the archangel. By such treatment, you have, 
Mr. Seabury "aye you have," to borrow from your 
own polite manner of addressing, forfeited all right to 
the credit of the publick, when you affirm that you 
were not the author of the first scandalous abuse of 
the Dr; for there is nothing to prove your innocence 
in this particular, but your own affirmation, and you 
yourself refuse to admit in a similar case, a much 
stronger proof, I mean the affirmation of Dr. Chauncy. 
It is particularly base in you, and let me tell you, 
has exposed you to the just censure of the good 
people far and wide, to insinuate that the Doctor 
had a design to impose upon the world, by " suffixing " 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 327 

the letters B.W. to his friend s anonimous epistle ; 
in order that it might be believed to be written by 
Benning Wentworth, Esq 1 ; a gentleman who resides 
in Portsmouth, and is a member of the Society 
Hereupon you take upon yourself to charge him in 
effect with nothing less than forgery, by introducing 
as similar to it, a story of John a Nokes and Tom 
a Stiles, which you tell us with a ridiculous affectation 
of ease and humour. John a Nokes you say was 
indicted for forging and fixing the name of Tom a 
Stiles to a Bank Note, and after accommodating 
every circumstance of the story as nearly as you 
could to the Dr s case, you conclude with saying, 
that " in such a case a man might chance (mark d for a 
pun) to suffer the penalty the law inflicts for forgery." 
Let me now ask you Mr. Seabury, whether you did 
not design that the reader should understand this 
case to be exactly parallel with the Dr s? If you 
did not, it was impertinent for you to mention it 
but if you did, what was it but holding up the 
Dr. to the world in the same light with a villain 
who in your opinion was guilty of forgery? And is 
not this a mean and rascally way of attacking a 
gentleman s character? Does it not show plainly 
that you dare not speak out what the malignancy of 
your heart had dictated, and that you were more 
afraid of the lash of the law, than the just censures of 
good men or even the remonstrances of your own 
mind and all this was said immediately after you 
had endeavoured to exculpate yourself from an ac 
cusation of having charged the Dr. with forgery 

1 Governor of New Hampshire, 1741-1766. 

328 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

This is just such bare-faced shuffling as is before 
hinted at, when in your Letter you insinuate that Dr. 
Ch y had u some thirty or more years ago 
preached a sermon in justification of prevaricating 
and lying and then tell us that it is all supposition, 
and that possibly you fixed upon the particular instance 
of preaching, by the same kind of chance that directed 
the Dr. to the two Letters B.W. while you were at 
the same time endeavouring to make it appear that 
he could not but have a particular and wicked design 
in chusing them ; though while you have managed 
your cause with the heart, you have evidently dis 
covered that you want the head, of a Jesuit. But to 
the story of Tom a Stiles. Pray Mr. Seabury, is 
there no difference between one man s affixing two 
letters of the alphabet to an anonymous letter, and 
another s writing the real name of a person at full 
length, as in the case you mention Does B.W. as 
certainly denote Banning Wentworth, as T-o-m a 
S-t-i-1-e-s denotes Tom a Stiles Your pretended 
parallel then, illucidates nothing but the baseness 
of your intention, and the malignancy of your 
heart. But you say that the person was described, 
as a member of the Society, and no other name 
on the Society s list had B.W. for its initials; 
therefore the Dr. must intend that Benning Went 
worth should be thought to be the writer of the letter 
signed B.W. The Dr. tells us that " he had no 
view in the choice of those letters, but to avoid the 
name of the real author," which he had a right to 
conceal ; and every one who is acquainted with the 
Dr. or knows his character will believe him Besides 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 329 

there are no two letters in the alphabet but may be 
the initials of some person, and probably of some 
member of the society ; and therefore had any other 
two letters been thought of, it might have given the 
same umbrage to some such jealous head as Mr. Sea- 
bury And he may stretch his imagination as much as 
he pleases, to account for the choice of two such distant 
letters in the alphabet, as B & W, perhaps after all, 
it may be supposd by those who have not seen the 
Dr s explanation of his own view, that it was design d 
to set fools to guessing To the immortal honor of 
Mr. Seabury, it has occasionally produced a speci 
men of his excellent knack at punning, which will 
entitle him to the character of the facetious 3*. Sea- 
bury of punning memory. 

But I would ask you, Mr. Seabury, Did you not 
see the Doctor s letter to Mr. Rodgers of New-York, 
wherein he expressly declares, that the letter sign d 
B.W. was written and put into his hands by an in 
habitant of the town of Boston f Could you then 
without breach of charity think it was wrote by a 
gentleman who is not an inhabitant of Boston, but of 
Portsmouth, even though the Printer told you, as I 
suppose he honestly believed, that it was wrote by 
Benning Wentworth, Esq ; This perhaps you 11 say 
was a private letter, and therefore could not be satis 
factory to the Public who had never seen it allowed 
But did not the Dr. as soon as he was put in mind, 
tho in a very indecent manner by you, that Benning 
Wentworth, Esq ; was a member of the Society, in 
order to prevent the appropriation of the letter to 
that gentleman, take the first opportunity, publickly 

330 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

to declare, that he had no such intention ? that he 
never before knew that he was a member of the 
society that his friend who put the letter into his 
hands, allowed him to make what use of it he pleased 
that as it had neither date nor signature, he was 
pleased to put one to it, and send it to be published 
in New- York, to detect the falshood of one Mr. 
S b ry, as the author no doubt for some good 
reason supposed ; and that by mere accident he sub 
joined the signature B.W. without a tho t of Benning 
Wentworth, Esq ; tho they happened, or to use a 
low pun of Mr. Seabury, chanced to be the initials of 
that gentleman s name Could any thing be more 
ingenuous It was strictly agreeable to the Dr s 
remarkable honesty and candor ; and I dare say, was 
satisfactory to the hon. gentleman himself, as well as 
all the good people far and wide Little then, very 
little needs the Dr. to trouble himself with what Mr. 
Seabury or any other angry and railing scribbler may 
think of it. He must indeed be out of his senses to 
have attempted a fallacy, which he might have been 
assured could easily and would certainly have been 
detected. Did ever any man before Mr. Seabury, 
who had any sense of his own character, so expose 
himself to the Publick, as strongly to insinuate, while 
he did not dare to affirm it, that a gentleman was 
chargeable with FORGERY, merely for affixing to a 
paper, in a publick dispute, that had been carried on 
by anonimous writers, two letters of the alphabet, which 
happen d to be the initials of another gentleman s 
name If this were allow d, what character would be 
safe ? But it would be ridiculous to attempt a for- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 331 

mal proof that such treatment must be to the highest 
degree base & infamous. 

I shall not think it worth my while to remark 
upon your pert behaviour towards your superior, and 
a gentleman who is your Father in age. I know the 
Dr. will freely forgive you this wrong ; tho I think 
it not improper to tell you that a spark of modesty 
at least, would be more becoming my young gentle 
man Your stile and manner will never make you a 
model for elegance But this is below notice Truth 
Good humour and good breeding Mr. Seabury, 
and let me add, Rev. Sir, the simplicity and godly 
sincerity which the gospel requires, would have 
aton d for all your defects as a fine writer : Here 
you have grosly fail d : Impell d as I am afraid by 
the vain hope of becoming a smart disputant It is 
apparent that the letter sign d B.W. which has so 
much inflam d your resentment, is perfect modesty 
in comparison with the other suppos d to be written 
by Mr. ^ b ry : And will not the world judge, 
from the virulence which you have discover d in your 
letters to the Dr. imder your own hand, that you 
were fully capable of such a performance. The man 
who can wantonly lay such a heap of gross charges 
as fraud, forgery, villainy, scandal, falshood, base 
ness, all in a breath upon a gentleman of a long 
established character, only for proving to the world 
that Mr. S b ry or some one else had publickly 
and wilfully uttered a slanderous falshood of him ; 
I say such a man, in my opinion, would not scruple 
to publish any defamation I shall therefore advise 
you Mr. Seabury to retire into your study if you have 

332 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

such an apartment, reflect upon what you have wrote, 
and let your next occasional epistle to squire Tickle 
be an humble and penitent acknowledgement to the 
Dr. and to the publick also, whom you have grosly 
affronted : For however disagreable it may be to you 
to hear it repeated, your loud and indecent brawling, 
as far as it has been attended to, has certainly " dis 
turbed the quiet of this country." Your s, 


Boston , March 23, 7769. 

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

BOSTON April 8 1769 

SIR- n 

I have the honor of inclosing to you, by the Direc 
tion of the Town of Boston, 2 their humble dutifull & 
loyal Petition to the Throne, for a redress of their 
Grievances ; & to request that you would do them 
the singular favor, of presenting it with your own 
hand to his Majesty. 

You are not insensible Sir, how greatly distressing 
it must be to a free People, to have Troops quarterd 
in the very heart of their City, exercising a Discipline, 
with all the Severity which may be necessary in a 
Garrison : Such is the misfortune of this Town ; 
and these Troops, it is said were orderd to be here 
at this time, because the State of the Town was such, 

1 1726-1802; member of Parliament, 1761-1790, through the influence of 
Shelburne ; vice-treasurer for Ireland and privy councillor under the adminis 
tration of Pitt. 

J Cf. Boston Record Commit siongrs Report, vol. xvi., p. 274. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 333 

as required the military Aid to protect the Kings 
Officers & preserve the peace. And what greatly 
adds to the misfortune of the Town, is a well 
grounded Intelligence, that the R l Hon. the House 
of Lords have had such Accounts before them, as to 
induce their Lordships to pass a Censure upon the 
Town, as having been in a State of Disorder & 

Conscious of their own Innocence and under the 
strongest Apprehension, that they have been greatly 
misrepresented to his Majestys Ministers, by some 
of the principal Servants of the Crown & others 
here, whose Stations & Connections may give them 
weight, it is the earnest Desire of the Town, that 
you w d employ your great Influence to remove from 
the mind of our Sovereign his ministers & parlia 
ment the unfavorable Sentiments that have been 
formd, of their Conduct ; or at least to obtain for 
them the Knowledge of their accusers & the matters 
alledgd against them, and an opportunity of vindicat 
ing themselves. 

Such a generous Interposition, in Behalf of this 
much distressd & injurd, tho truly loyal Town, will 
add to the obligations, which they are already under 
to you, of which they will always retain a gratefull 

It has been long apprehended that the publick 
transactions & general State of the Town as well as 
the Behavior of particular persons have been greatly 
misrepresented to his Majestys Ministers by some of 
the principal Servants of the Crown & others here, 
whose Stations Connections may give them weight. 

334 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Can it be imagind Sir that Administration could en 
tertain an opinion of the Town as being in a State of 
Disobedience to all Law & Gov 1 & in Consequence 
thereof order the military power to the aid of civil 
authority, but from what was judgd the best Intelli 
gence, transmitted by persons in the highest Trust & 
Confidence & from whom the most impartial Ac 
counts are always to be expected. These Appre 
hensions are greatly strengthend by the unexpected 
favor of a Gentleman of Character in London who 
has been so kind as to procure & transmit to his 
Majestys Council of the province certain Letters from 
Governor Bernard to the Earl of Hillsborough to 
gether with one from General Gage to the same 
noble Lord. 1 These Letters have represented the 
proceedings of the Council in such a Light, as alarms 
their Attention : And the Character of the Town is 
so deeply affected by them, as to evince the propriety 
of the prayer of the petition that they may be favord 
with Copies of all Gov r Bernards Letters, the Me 
morials of the Commissioners of the Customs here 
& other papers of the same Import. In short Sir 
the Representative Body of the province for years 
past, from Extracts of Letters from the principal 
Secretarys of State to Gov r Bernard occasionally 
laid before them, have seen reason to conclude that 
their own publick Conduct & the Behavior of their 
Constituents, have been unfairly represented even 
to his Majesty himself, by which they have unfor 
tunately sufferd the royal Displeasure. Upon such 
occasions they have thought it their inclispensible 

1 See below, page 398. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 335 

Duty, to intreat his Majestys Ministers that no Rep 
resentations might further operate against them till 
they should be made acquainted with their nature 
& tendency & answer for themselves. Such a request 
tho never granted, must be allowed to be highly rea 
sonable : for the world will judge, whether it is con 
sistent with the plainest rules of Law and Justice, to 
condemn persons unheard, especially upon the Evi 
dence of those who have made them selves a party, & 
whose Being, at least the Being of their Importance, 
depends either upon their Secrecy, or a manly Sup 
port of their Testimony. 

It is said that Gov r Bernard has expressd an Un 
easiness that Letters wrote by him in Confidence 
should be made publick. Whether this be fact or 
not I will not pretend to say ; but surely Justice 
loudly called for the publication of those Letters at 
least so far as that his Majestys Council of this prov 
ince & the Town sh d be apprisd of their Contents. 
There are some things in them which it can be made 
clearly to appear, are very gross & material Mistakes. 
It is a very great Misfortune, when there is no sort 
of Confidence, to say the least, between a Gov r of a 
Province & the people over whom he presides ; Gen 
eral Gage very probably, formd his opinion of the 
Town upon the Informations of Gov r Bernard ; which 
in truth is the highest, & ought to be the best Au 
thority in the Province. Upon less Authority it w d 
seem very extraordinary that a Gentleman who had 
resided but a few Weeks in the Town in which time 
there had not been the least Disorder, sh d positively 
declare to a Minister of State that " in truth there is 

336 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

very little Gov* in Boston." That "the Town & 
the province had a very long time been influenced by 
mad people." That their intentions at their Town 
Meetings, before his residence in the Town were sus 
picious, & that he was happy, the Troops from Hali 
fax arrivd at the time they did 

[Boston Gatette, April 24, 1769.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

GENERAL Gage in his letter to the Earl of Hills- 
borough, is pleased to tell his Lordship that " in truth 
there is very little government in Boston " ; that " their 
Intentions were suspicious"; and That, "he was 
happy the Troops from Halifax arrived at the time they 
did " Some Gentlemen might perhaps have been a 
little more cautious of coming to such a Conclusion, 
and of writing to a minister of state an article of intel 
ligence, which most certainly must affect the Repose 
of the Sovereign as well as the Happiness of the Sub 
jects There was not the least Disturbance in this 
town during the short time of the General s residence 
in it, except what was occasion d by the happy arrival 
of those troops from Halifax No man s station 
ought to exempt him from being called upon by a 
loyal people, either to make good or retract his 
Charge against them as being " suspicious " in their 
"intentions," at an open legal meeting: and I dare 
challenge the General to prove by fair argument that 
the publick transactions of the Town on the i3th of 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 337 

September last, 1 or the subsequent proceedings of the 
Convention, were " dangerous " as he is pleas d to call 
them, or that they in the least Degree militated with 
any Law or the British Constitution : As these tran 
sactions were all made publick to the world, it is pre- 
sum d that the General read them and well consider d 
them before he form d his own judgment, especially 
as he tho t proper to communicate his judgment to his 
Majesty s minister ; and therefore it is with great pro 
priety expected that he will candidly publish the Rea 
sons, upon which he grounded his Judgment, or he 
must allow the impartial part of mankind in Britain 
as well as America to conclude that it was not well 
founded. With respect to the general state of the 
town and province, the absurdity of the Opinions of 
his Majesty s Council, and the Behaviour of the Jus 
tices of the peace, of all which the General writes 
with great freedom, it is probable that he had his In 
formation from Governor BERNARD, and his few ad 
herents in the province. This it must be own d is the 
highest authority, but it may not be the best. If 
General Gage had turn d a little of his attention to the 
publick Writings of the General Assembly of the 
province, throughout the greater part of Governor 
Bernard s administration, he would have found that 
there had been a constant Jealousy among the Gen 
erality of the People in every part of the province, 
that the national Resentment against this Colony in 
particular, was owing to the Misrepresentations of the 
Governor himself ; and this might have induced the 
General to have used some Caution how he entertain d 

VOL. I. 22. 

1 See above, page 241. 

338 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

an ill opinion of the people, but especially how he 
founded his representations to a minister of state of 
their temper and behaviour, altogether upon the De 
claration of Governor Bernard and his friends ; for 
when Contests run high, the proverb, however homely 
it may be, will be allow d by impartial men to be just, 
that "one story is good, until another is told." If 
good King David was in haste when he once said 
that all men were Liars ; yet surely the General has 
studied mankind more thorowly, than to suppose it 
altogether impossible for a Governor of a province to 
misrepresent and abuse the people even to the Ear 
of Majesty itself. The History of his own ; times may 
confute such an opinion : And should it finally ap 
pear by the states of facts sent home in the last ship, 
by his Majesty s Council and the Town of Boston, 
that Governor Bernard, is an instance of the Truth of 
it, I would only ask, upon a candid supposition that 
the General grounded his Letter upon what such a 
Governor told him, What Reparation he can make 
without publickly acknowledging his mistake ? If the 
General has characterized the Town and Province 
upon his own observation, I appeal to the candid 
world, whether the bare affirmation of a Gentleman, 
unsupported by any Evidence, can be deem d suf 
ficient to blast the Reputation of a Province. 


1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 339 

[Boston Gazette, May I, 1769.] 

To Sir , 

As an individual Inhabitant of this Province, tho 
obscure and mean, I beg leave to present my con 
gratulatory Compliment to your - on the high 
honor you now sustain, of a BARONET of Great- 
Britain. This is a Promotion which the friends of 
Government, or which is the same thing, your own 
friends have long thought you justly merited : And 
even your enemies and the factious Leaders them 
selves must confess, that the eminent Services you 
have done for ti\t present M y have been such as 

my L of H that Patron of true worth could 

not have fail d to set forth in the most distinguishing 
point of light. YOUR Promotion, Sir, reflects an 
honor on the Province itself : An Honor which has 
never been conferr d upon it, since the thrice happy 
administration of Sir EDMOND ANDROSS, of precious 
memory, who was also a BARONET ; nor have the un- 
remitted Endeavors of that very amiable and truly 
patriotick Gentleman, to render the most substantial 
and lasting Services to this people, upon the plan of 

a wise and uncorrupt set of M rs, been ever par- 

allelled, till since you adorn d the Ch r. Your 

own Letters will serve to convince the World, and 
the latest Posterity, that while you have constantly 
preserved a sacred and inviolable Regard to punctil- 
lious TRUTH, in every Representation which you have 
made of the people of your G , you have care- 

1 Francis Bernard, Baronet of Nettleham. See below, page 378. 

340 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

fully endeavor d to give the most favorable Colour 
ing to their Conduct and Reputation ; And the 
Tenderness which you have ever remarkably felt for 
their civil Rights as well as their Religion, will not 
admit of the least Room to question, but that even 
the Influence you have evidently employ d with 
Success, to introduce a MILITARY Power, and the 
unwearied Pains you took to get them quarter d 
in the Body of the Town, sprang from your Piety 
and Benevolence of Heart Pity it is that you have 
not a PENSION to support your Title : But an as 
sembly well chosen, may supply that want even to 
your wish. Should this fail, a late Letter, said to 
have strongly recommended a Tax upon the IM 
PROVED LANDS of the Colonies, may be equally 
successful with the other Letters of the like Nature, 
and FUNDS SUFFICIENT may be rais d for the Use 
and Emolument of yourself and friends, without a 
Dependence upon a " military establishment sup 
ported by the Provinces at Castle-William." I am, 
Sir, with the most profound Respect, and with the 
sincerest Wishes for your further Exaltation, the 
most servile of all your Tools. 



[MS., Boston City Clerk s Office ; a text, with variations, is in Boston Record 
Commissioners 1 Report, vol. xvi, p. 278.] 

Voted that The Town before they proceed upon 
the Business of this Day, do make, & order to be 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 341 

enterd upon their records, the following Declara 
tion of their Rights & the Freedom of their Elec 
tions viz 

The Selectmen having acquainted the Town that 
they had waited on General Mackay, Commander 
of his Majesty s forces quarterd here, to inform him 
that the Choice of persons to represent the Town in 
the General Assembly was coming on, & to claim in 
Behalf of the Town the full Right of British Free 
holders & Subjects upon so important an Occasion, 
founded in the Principles of the British Constitution. 

The Selectmen having also acquainted the Town 
that the General had declared that it was not in 
his power to march the Troops out of the Town 
upon this occasion, or any further to comply with 
this Claim, than by confining the Troops to the 
Barracks, which he engaged to do. 

The Town, tho they receive this reply as a 
Concession on the part of the General, in favor 
of the Justice of their Claim, yet as the measure 
of confining the troops to their Barracks only, & not 
removing them out of Town is by no means adequate 
to the Extent of their right, they cannot proceed 
to the Election, without declaring their clear & full 
Sense, that the residence of an armed force in 
the Town, during an Election of so great Import 
ance, is a gross Infringment of their constitutional 
Rights ; at the same time protesting, that their pro 
ceeding to an Election under such a Circumstance, 
is wholly from necessity, & not to be considered 
as a precedent at any time hereafter, or construed 
as a voluntary receeding from the incontestible 

342 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

rights of British Subjects & freeholders in so in 
teresting an Affair. 

THE GOVERNOR. 1 JUNE 13, 1769. 

[Massachttsetts State Papers, pp. 169-171.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

The House of Representatives have duly consid 
ered your message of the 3ist of May, 2 and are sorry 
to find your Excellency declaring, that you " have no 
authority over his Majesty s ships in this port, or his 
troops within this town ; and that you can give no 
orders for the removal of the same." 

We clearly hold, that the King s most excellent 
Majesty, to whom we have, and ever shall bear, and, 
since the convening of this present Assembly, we 
have sworn true and faithful allegiance, is the supreme 
executive power through all the parts of the British 
empire ; and we are humbly of opinion, that, within 
the limits of this colony and jurisdiction, your Excel 
lency is the King s Lieutenant and Captain General 
and Commander in Chief, in as full and ample a man 
ner, as is the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or any 

1 Attributed to Adams by S. A. Wells : Samuel Adams and the American 
Revolution , vol. i., p. 170. Adams was one of the committee, appointed June 
1st, to consider the governor s message of May 3ist. The committee, which 
included Otis, Warren, Hancock, and Hawley, reported on June 2d, but its report 
was not accepted. The committee reported again on June 6th, and its report 
was considered on the four following days ; after having been amended the 
report was accepted on June I3th. The answer is printed in the Journal of 
the House, pp. 18, 19. 

2 Massachusetts State Papers, p. 168. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 343 

other his Majesty s Lieutenants, in the dominions 
to the realm of Great Britain appertaining. 

From thence, we think, it indubitably follows, that 
all officers, civil and military, within this colony, are 
subject to the order, direction and control of your Ex 
cellency, so far at least, as is necessary for the safety 
of the people and the security of the privilege of this 
House, as they are to the King s Majesty within the 
realm. And though we admit, that peace and war are 
in the King s hand, and that it is an indisputable part 
of the royal prerogative, necessary for the preservation 
of the Commonwealth, as all other well grounded 
prerogative powers are That to destine the fleets, 
and march the armies of the state to any part of the 
world, where they may be necessary for the defence 
and preservation of the society, belongs to the 
Crown /yet it is impossible to believe, that a military 
power, or a standing army, procured and stationed 
here, in consequence of misrepresentations of the 
duty and loyalty of his Majesty s subjects of the prov 
ince, and suddenly quartered, not only contrary to 
act of Parliament, and to every principle of reason, jus 
tice and equity, but accompanied with every mark of 
contempt, reproach and insult, to as brave and loyal 
a people as ever served a Prince, can be uncontrol- 
able by the Supreme Executive of the province ; 
which, within the limits of the same, is the just and 
full representative of the Supreme Executive of the 
whole empire. 

It is well known, that it is no uncommon thing for 
disturbances to happen in populous cities ; and such 
as have unfortunately taken place in this province, 

344 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

have been greatly misrepresented. We have not 
only been told of, but all parts of the empire have 
been alarmed with apprehensions of danger to his 
Majesty s government, in North America, in general, 
and this province in particular, by reason of the most 
exaggerated accounts of certain disturbances, which, 
however, have, in every instance, been far, very far, 
from being carried to that atrocious and alarming 
length to which many have been in Britain, at the very 
gates of the palace and even in the royal presence. 

It is most certain, that every subject has a right to 
have the rules of his duty, obedience and allegiance, 
clearly defined and determined. /Hence it may be 
inferred, that very miserable is the servitude of those, 
who know not whether they are subject to an absolute 
power, civil or military, or both ; as may most effect 
ually prosper the machinations and fulfil the purposes of 
despotism. It must be obvious to all jurists, and to 
every man endued with an ordinary understanding, 
that the dojctrine your Excellency has been pleased to 
advance, in your answer to the message of the House, 
involves us in that state, which is called, by the 
learned, imperium in imperio, or at least establishes 
a military power here, uncontrolable by any civil 
authority in the province. 

It has been publicly said, that the military power is 
become necessary in this colony, to aid and support 
civil government, for which we have no less authority 
than the resolutions of the two Houses of Parliament, 
and the declaration of one of his Majesty s principal 
Secretaries of State. The use of the military power 
to enforce the execution of the laws, is, in the opinion 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 345 

of this House, inconsistent with the spirit of a free 
constitution, and the very nature of government. 
Nor can there be any necessity for it ; for the body of 
the people, the posse comitatus, will always aid the 
magistrate in the execution of such laws as ought to 
be executed. The very supposition of an unwilling 
ness in the people in general, that a law should be 
executed, carries with it the strongest presumption, 
that it is an unjust law ; at least, that it is unsalutary. 
It cannot be their law; for, by the nature of a free 
constitution, the people must consent to laws, before 
they can be obliged, in conscience, to obey them. In 
truth, no law, however grievous, has been opposed in 
the execution of it, in this province ; and yet, a mili 
tary power is sent here, purposely to aid in the execu 
tion of the laws. And what adds to the injustice of 
those who procured this armament, is, that it was 
procured at the very time when/the people were duti 
fully supplicating the throne for redress of grievances, 
occasioned by acts of Parliament, for the purpose of 
raising a revenue in Americat VWe think we can 
infer, from your Excellency s declaration, that this 
military force is uncontrolable by any authority in the 
province. It is, then, a power without any check 
here ; and therefore so far absolute. An absolute 
power, which has the sword constantly in its hand, 
may exercise a vigorous severity whenever it pleases. 
What privilege, what security, is then left to this 
House, whose very existence, to any purpose, de 
pends upon its privilege and security. Nothing re 
mains in such a state, if no redress can be had from 
the King s Lieutenant in the province, but that the\ 

346 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

oppressed people unite in laying their fervent and ) 
humble petition before their gracious Sovereign. 

TO THE GOVERNOR. 1 JUNE 19, 1769. 

[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 172, 173.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

As you have not thought proper, in your reply 2 to 
the message of this House, of the i3th instant, to 
throw any light on the subject, or invalidate the 
principles we therein advanced, your Excellency will 
allow us to conclude, that those principles were well 
grounded, and that there is no reason for us to alter 
our sentiments on this interesting point. 

You are pleased to intimate, that much time and 
treasure has been spent in determining a merely 
speculative question. The House regard a standing 
army, posted within the province, in a time of the 
most profound peace, and uncontrolable by any au 
thority in it, as a dangerous innovation ; and a guard 
of soldiers, with cannon planted at the doors of the 
State House, while the General Assembly was there 
held, as the most pointed insult ever offered to a free 
people, and its whole Legislative. This, sir, and not 
the question of your Excellency s authority to remove 

1 Attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i, p. 
257. The committee which reported this answer included Adams, Otis, Han 
cock, and Gushing. The answer was printed in the Journal of the House, 
pp. 23, 24. 

2 Delivered on June I5th, the last day the General Court met at Boston prior 
to the adjournment, by the Governor, to Cambridge. Massachusetts State 
Papers , pp. 171, 172. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 347 

his Majesty s ships out of the harbor, or his troops 
out of the town of Boston, was the principal cause of 
the " non activity of the Assembly. " Had your Ex 
cellency felt for the Assembly, and the people over 
whom you preside, even though you had supposed 
yourself not properly authorized, you would have 
employed your influence, at least, for the removal 
of this grievance ; especially as his Majesty s Coun 
cil, as well as this House, had before expressed to 
your Excellency their just indignation at so un 
precedented an affront. But, instead of the least 
abatement of this military parade, the General As 
sembly has been made to give way to an armed 
force, as the only means in your power to remove 
the difficulty we justly complained of. Your Ex 
cellency has ordered a removal of the General As 
sembly itself, from its ancient seat and place, where 
the public business has generally been done with 
the greatest convenience, ease and despatch. It is 
with pain, that we are obliged here to observe, that 
the very night after this adjournment was made, the 
cannon were removed from the Court House, as 
though it had been designed, that so small a circum 
stance of regard should not be paid to the Assembly, 
when convened by the royal authority, and for his 
Majesty s service in the colony. 

You are pleased to pass a censure upon this House, 
in saying, that " you cannot sit still and see such a 
waste of time and treasure to no purpose." Those 
alone are answerable for any expense of time and 
treasure on this occasion, who have brought us 
into such a situation, as has hitherto rendered our 

348 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

proceeding to business incompatible with the dignity, 
as well as the freedom of this House. No time can 
better be employed, than in the preservation of the 
rights derived from the British constitution, and in 
sisting upon points, which, though your Excellency 
may consider them as non essential, we esteem its 
best bulwarks. No treasure can be better expended, 
than in securing that true old English liberty, which 
gives a relish to every other enjoyment. These, we 
have the satisfaction to believe, are the sentiments of 
our constituents, to whom alone we are accountable 
how we apply their treasure ; and we are fully per 
suaded, from what we have already heard, that, not 
withstanding the apparent design of your message to 
prejudice their minds against us, what your Excel 
lency has been pleased to call our "non activity", 
will receive their approbation, rather than their 
censure ; for an entire fortnight, spent in silence, or 
a much longer time, cannot be displeasing to them, 
when business could not be entered upon, but at the 
expense of their rights and liberties, and the privilege 
of this House. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 349 


[Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America; and the Principles 
of Law and Polity, applied to the American Colonies. Written by Governor 
Bernard, at Boston, In the Years 1763, 4,3, 6, 7, and 8. London, 1774. pp. 

The Petition of the House of Representatives of 
Massachusef s-Bay To The King s Most Excellent 

Most Gracious Sovereign, 

We your Majesty s most dutiful and faithful sub 
jects the Representatives of your ancient and loyal 
Colony of the Massachusef s-Bay; impressed with the 
deepest gratitude to ALMIGHTY GOD, for calling to J 
the British Succession your illustrious Family ; and so 
firmly establishing your Majesty on the throne of 
your Royal Progenitors ; and being abundantly con 
vinced of your Majesty s grace and clemency ; most 
humbly implore the Royal favor, while we briefly 
represent our grievances, which your Majesty alone 
under GOD can redress. 

We are constrained in duty to your Majesty, and 
in faithfulness to our Constituents, to lay before your 
Majesty our complaints of his Excellency Sir Francis 
Bernard, Baronet, your Majesty s Governor of this 
Colony, whose whole Administration appears to have 

1 Adams was a member of the committee on the state of the province, ap 
pointed June 19, 1769, which reported on June 2ist, and again on June 27th, 
when the report was unanimously accepted, ninety-five members being present. 
The petition is printed in the Journal of the House, pp. 85-87. The authorship 
is not exactly determined. Adams was also one of the committee, appointed 
July 8th, to prepare evidence in support of the petition. As to the result, see 
below, page 354. 

350 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

been repugnant not only to your Majesty s service, | 
and the welfare of your subjects in the Colony, but 
even to the first principles of the British Consti 

1. From his first arrival here, he has in his Speeches 
and other public Acts treated the Representative 
body with contempt. 

2. He has in his public Speeches charged both 
Houses of the General Assembly expressly with 
oppugnation against the Royal Authority ; declaring 
that they had left Gentlemen out of the Council only 
for their fidelity to the Crown. 

3. He has from time to time indiscreetly and wan 
tonly exercised the prerogative of the Crown, in the 
repeated negative of Councellors of an unblemished 
reputation, and duly elected by a great majority ; 
some of them by the unanimous suffrage of both 
Houses of Assembly. 

4. He has declared that certain seats at the Coun 
cil board shall be kept vacant, till certain Gentlemen, 
who are his favourites, shall be re-elected. 

5. He has unconstitutionally interfered with and 
unduly influenced elections, particularly in the choice 
of an Agent for the Colony. 

6. He has very abruptly displaced divers Gentle- 
men of worth, for no apparent reason, but because | 
they voted in the General Assembly with freedom^! 
and against his measures. 

7. He has in an unwarrantable manner taken upon 
himself the exercise of your Majesty s Royal Preroga 
tive, in granting a charter for a College ; contrary to 
an express vote of the House of Representatives, 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 351 

and without even asking the advice of your Majesty s 

8. He has practiced sending over depositions to 
the Ministry, privately taken against Gentlemen of 
character here, without giving the persons accused 
the least notice of his purposes and proceedings. 

9. He has very injuriously represented your Maj 
esty s loving subjects of this Colony, in general, as 
having an ill temper prevailing amongst them ; as 
disaffected to your Majesty s Government, and in- "~~ 
tending to bring the authority of Parliament into 
contempt. And, by such false representations, he 
has been greatly instrumental, as this House humbly 
conceive, in exciting jealousies, and disturbing that 
harmony and mutual affection which before happily 
subsisted, and we pray GOD may again subsist, be 
tween you Majesty s subjects in Great Britain and 

10. He has, in his letters to one of your Majesty s 
Ministers, unjustly charged the majority of your 
Majesty s faithful Council in the Colony with having 
avowed the principles of opposition to the authority 
of Parliament, and acted in concert with a party from 
whence such opposition originated. 

TI. He has also, in his letter to another of your 
Majesty s Ministers falsely declared that a plan was 
laid, and a number of men actually inrolled in the 
town of Boston, to seize your Majesty s Castle 
William, in the harbour of the same, out of your j 
Majesty s hands. 

12. Such Representations of the state and circum 
stances of this Colony, from a Gentleman of the 

352 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

highest trust in it, will of necessity be received with i 
full credit, till they are made to appear false. And 
in consequence, thereof, your Majesty s true and 
loyal subjects have suffered the reproach as well as 
other hardships of having a military force stationed 
here, to support your Majesty s authority, and the 
execution of the laws; which measure has been ap 
proved of by your Majesty s two Houses of Parlia 
ment, as appears in their resolutions, That the town of 
Boston has been in a state of disorder and confusion ; 
and that the circumstances of the Colony were such 
as required a military force for the purposes above- 

13. Having been a principal instrument, as we ap 
prehend, in procuring this military force, your Maj 
esty s said Governor, in an unprecedented manner, 
and as though he had designed to irritate to the highest 
degree, ordered the very room which is appropriated jj 
for the meeting of the Representatives of the General 
Assembly, which was never used for any other purpose, 
and where their Records are kept, to be employed as a 
barrack for the common soldiers ; and the centinels 
were so posted, as that your Majesty s Council, and 
the Justices of the court of common law, were daily 
interrupted, and even challenged, in their proceeding 
to the business of their several departments. 

14. He endeavored, contrary to the express de 
sign of an Act of Parliament, to quarter your Majesty s 
troops in the body of the town of Boston, while the 
barracks, provided by the Government at the Castle, 
within the Town, remained useless ; and, for pur 
poses manifestly evasive of the said Act, he unwar- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 353 

; -1 

rantably appointed an officer to provide quarters for 
the troops, otherwise than is therein prescribed. 

15. After having dissolved the General Assembly 
at a most critical season, and while they were em 
ployed in the most necessary and important business, 
he arbitrarily refused to call another for the space of 
ten months, and until the time appointed in the 
Royal Charter for the calling a General Assembly, 
against the repeated and dutiful petitions of the 

1 6. It appears by his letters to the Earl of Hills- i 
borough, your Majesty s Secretary of State, that he 
has endeavoured to overthrow the present constitution 
of Government in this Colony, and to have the people 
deprived of their invaluable Charter Rights, which 
they and their ancestors have happily enjoyed under 
your Majesty s administration, and those of your -* 
Royal Predecessors. 

17. By the means aforesaid, and many other that 
might be enumerated, he has rendered his Adminis 
tration odious to the whole body of the people, and 
has entirely alienated their affections from him, and 
thereby wholly destroyed that confidence in a Gover 
nor, which your Majesty s service indispensably re 

Wherefore we most humbly intreat your Majesty, 
that his Excellency Sir Francis Bernard Baro 
net, may be for ever removed from the Govern 
ment of this Province : and that your Majesty 
would be graciously pleased to place one in his 
stead, worthy to serve the greatest and best Monarch 
on earth. 

VOL. I. 23. 

354 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

And the Representatives of the Colony of Massa- 
ckusefs Bay, as in duty bound, shall ever pray. 
In their name, and by their order, signed 



[Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America, pp. 95-115.] 

The Answer of Sir Francis Bernard, Bart. Gover 
nor of his Majesty s Province of Massachuset s Bay, 
To The Complaint preferred against him by the 
House of Representatives of the said Province, now 
depending before his Majesty in Council. 1 

THIS Respondent protesting against the uncertainty, generality, 
irrelevancy, and insufficiency of the said complaint, and against 
his being required to make any unnecessary, superfluous, or im 
practicable proofs; particularly proofs of the negative of such 
assertions in the said complaint as are not supported by any 
evidence, and by their generality and want of particular alle 
gations are incapable of negative proofs; and also protesting 
against the unfair practices used by the complainants, or at least 
by the Speaker and Clerk of the said House, to deprive him of 
the benefit of such evidence, both written and verbal, as was to 

1 The matter was finally brought on for hearing before a committee of the 
Privy Council on February 28, 1770, when the Governor and counsel attended 
with evidence to support the allegations of the answer. The agent offered no 
proof in support of the complaint, and asked an adjournment for seven 
months, which the committee refused to grant, and determined that " the sev 
eral charges . . . are groundless, vexatious, and scandalous, and that the 
said petition ought to be dismissed." The report of the committee was ap 
proved by the King in Council, March 14, 1770. Select Letters, pp. 124-130. 
Cf. T. Hutchinson, History of the Province of Massachusetts, vol. iii., pp. 
246, 247. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 355 

be had only at Boston, by refusing to give him a copy of the said 
complaint, from the 271)1 day of June, 1769, when the said com 
plaint passed the house, unto the 27th day of July, being but 
three days before the day fixed for his departure to England, 
although he frequently applied to the Speaker of the House for 
such a copy, of the truth of which he is ready to make oath: to 
the complaint, or to such part thereof as is material for him to 
answer to, answereth as followeth: 

And, first, the Respondent begs leave to observe of the com 
plaint, that it had its origination in a resentment against the Re 
spondent, for his being charged with certain orders of his Majesty 
relating to the House of Representatives, and his declaring his 
intention to obey such orders. This will appear from the 
Journals of the House of Representatives, where it will be seen, 
that on June 2ist, 1768, the Respondent sent a message, 1 inclos 
ing an extract of a letter from the Secretary of State to him the 
Respondent, signifying his Majesty s pleasure, That he should re 
quire the House to rescind a resolution of a former House, and 
declare their disapprobation of the same. On June 23d, a the 
House desired the Respondent would give them a copy of the 
other part of the Secretary of State s letter. On June 24th, 3 the 
Respondent sent a copy of the other part of the letter, by which 
he was ordered, in case of refusal, to dissolve the Assembly ; and 
said, that, if they obliged him to it, he must obey his orders. On 
June 3oth, the House passed a vote, that they would not rescind, 
&c. and passed an answer to the Respondent 4 to that purpose ; 
immediately after which, they appointed a committee 5 to prepare 
a petition to the king to remove the governor. The petition 
being ready prepared, was immediately reported and read ; and 
upon debate, it being objected that there was no proof of the 
facts alledged, the petition was re-committed, and the committee 
was ordered to bring evidence in support of divers articles. 
Thus it rested until a new assembly met in May, 1769, when this 

1 Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 145, 146. 

8 Ibid., p. 146. * Ibid., pp. 146, 147. 4 See above, page 229. 

5 This committee consisted of Samuel Adams, James Otis of Boston, Col. 
James Otis of Barnstable, Bowers, and Hancock. The text as first reported is 
in Journal of the House, pp. 95, 96. 

356 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

complaint was revived, with some little alteration, and some addi 
tional articles arising from new facts ; and notwithstanding it had 
been before rejected for want of proof, it was now admitted with 
out any proof, and passed the House the 27th day of June, 1769. 
It has been since circulated throughout America and Great Brit 
ain, in news-papers, magazines and pamphlets ; it has been com 
mented upon, and argued from, as true, in different papers ; and the 
Respondent has been called upon, by anonymous writers, to an 
swer this complaint before the public, whilst he was endeavouring 
to obtain a hearing of it before the King in Council, and the 
agent for the Complainants was doing all he could to prevent it, 
under a pretence of waiting for proofs. 

1. And the Respondent, further answering, saith, That the 
first article is notoriously untrue, it being well known to all who 
are acquainted with the government of Massachusetts Bay , that 
from the time of the present governor s (the Respondent s) en 
tering upon that government, which was in August, 1760, until 
the opposition made to the stamp-act, which began in the year 
1765, a very good understanding and agreement of sentiments 
and actions between the governor and the assembly, in both its 
branches, continually prevailed ; of which the Journals of the 
House afford many pregnant proofs. But, after the opposition 
to the Parliament was adopted by the House of Representatives, 
it became impossible for the Respondent, or any governor, to do 
his duty and preserve his popularity. 

2. The Respondent admits, that he did declare that the Gen 
eral Assembly left gentlemen out of the Council only for their 
fidelity to the Crown ; and if this is to be deemed oppugnation 
against the royal authority, he admits this article to be true. 
And to justify such declaration he observes, that, upon the 
election of counsellors in May 1766 (which was about a month 
after they had received advice of the repeal of the stamp-act), 
the majority of the General Assembly turned out the lieutenant 
governor (who was also chief justice of the province), the secre 
tary, two other judges of the superior court, and the attorney 
general, all of them men of irreproachable characters, and high 
estimation among the people. 1 There was no accounting for the 

1 See above, page 101. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 357 

depriving the government of the service of men of such high of 
fices, and known abilities and integrity, but from an intention to 
lower the King s authority in the government, and reduce the 
royalty of it to a mere form, and vest all the real power in the 
people. That this was and is still the intention, has been since 
made plain by further proceedings in subsequent elections, in 
which every counsellor who has been known, believed, or even 
suspected to be disposed to support the authority of the King and 
Parliament of Great Britain, or the royal rights of the provincial 
government, has been turned out of the Council. The Respon 
dent begs leave to refer to a list of counsellors who have been 
thus turned out at the four last elections, which, by an inquiry 
into the character of the persons from those who are acquainted 
with the province, will fully prove the assertions above men 

3. The Respondent admits, that, since the exclusion of the 
lieutenant governor, secretary, judges, and attorney general, 
from the council, he has repeatedly used the right given to the 
governor by the charter, of negativing persons elected for coun 
sellors, and returned to him for his approbation ; but he denies 
that he has acted therein indiscreetly or wantonly, or upon any 
other motive than that of promoting the King s service. 1 He has, 
from time to time, signified to his Majesty s Ministers the prin 
ciples upon which he formed his conduct in this respect, and has 
had the honor to have such conduct approved of by his Majesty, 
as was signified to him by the Earl of Shelburne, at that time 
one of his Majesty s principal secretaries of state, by his letter 
dated Sept. 17, 1767, which was after the second time of his exer 
cising his negative; 3 from which letter he begs leave to insert the 
following words : 

" I have the pleasure to signify to you his Majesty s approba 
tion of your conduct, and to acquaint you, that he is graciously 

1 After the last election during his administration, Governor Bernard, on 
June i, 1769, disapproved eleven of those chosen to the Council by the Gen 
eral Court. 

2 At the election of 1767, Governor Bernard disapproved six of those elected 
to the Council ; all were again chosen, and five of them were a second time dis 
approved by the Governor. 

358 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

pleased to approve of your having exerted the power lodged in 
you by the constitution of the province of Massachusetts Bay, of 
negativing counsellors in the late elections, which appears from 
your several letters to have been done with due deliberation and 

4. The Respondent denies this article to be true, so far as it 
relates to the inforcing the re-election of his favorites; for he has 
no favorites in respect to the government, but such as have 
recommended themselves by fidelity to the King, and ability to 
serve him. In this light the lieutenant governor and the secre 
tary may be considered as his favorites ; and if such declaration 
was made, it was in favor of them and them only : and he believes 
he did make such declaration upon the following account. 
Upon the exclusion of these two gentlemen from the Council (of 
which they had been members for many years, and by their par 
ticular functions, as well as their knowledge of the public busi 
ness, were become almost necessary to that body) upon inquiry 
into the constitution of the present government, it appeared from 
the usage under the former charter, from considerations pre 
vious to the granting the present charter, from the words of 
the charter itself, and from the practice of first year after the 
opening the charter, that the lieutenant governor and the secre 
tary had a right to seats and voices in the Council in virtue of 
their offices, and without being elected thereto, and did actually 
enjoy such right for one year as aforesaid. But upon the election 
of a new Council at the end of the first year, the assembly elected 
the lieutenant governor and the secretary among the twenty- 
eight elective councellors, instead of permitting them to be super- 
added to the elective counsellors, as was designed by the charter, 
and practised the year before. The lieutenant governor and 
secretary acquiescing in this, probably from their unwillingness 
to dispute with the assembly, upon whom they were dependent, 
submitted to take their seats as elected counsellors, instead of 
official members of the Council. And this method prevailing 
ever after, the King has, by these means, been deprived of the 
service of his lieutenant governor and secretary, the nomination 
of whom he had reserved to himself, in his council, where it ap 
pears to have been intended they should have seats in virtue of 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 359 

their offices. And great detriment has arose to his Majesty s 
government by their being excluded the Council at particular 
times, when they have been most wanted, as for late years has 
been very observable. The Respondent therefore having dis 
covered this usurpation, and finding it too much confirmed by 
time, for him of himself to undertake to restore the lieutenant 
governor and secretary to their rights, did transmit an account of 
it to the King s Ministers, and did mention the same to the 
Council of the Province, or some of them ; at the same time de 
claring, that as the lieutenant governor and secretary had an 
inherent right from their offices to seats in the council, though 
they had usually been reckoned among the twenty-eight elected, 
he should not suffer their seats among the twenty-eight to be 
filled up by other persons till they were restored to their official 
seats without the twenty-eight. This he did, in order to leave 
it open to the assembly to restore them to their seats in the usual 
way at any time when they should see the impropriety of their 
being excluded. 

5. The Respondent says, That he believes there never was a 
governor that less interfered with elections than he has done ; so 
that he knows not what to refer this charge to, unless it is his 
recommending a provincial agent in the year 1765. This he 
did, and certainly had a right to do, as the provincial agent 
is the agent of the whole general court, of which the gov 
ernor is a part, and must be consented to and commissioned by 
the governor before his appointment is complete. The gen 
tleman he recommended was accordingly chosen, and served the 
province for two years, and was the most able and respectable 
agent that the province ever had. 

6. The governor of Massachusetts Bay has no power to dis 
place civil officers, without the consent of the Council; and 
hence it is, that many persons hold their offices in that province, 
who ought to have been displaced long ago. He has indeed a 
free power over military officers ; but has made very little use 
of it, except in superseding some few commissions of persons 
who professed and abetted such principles as made them very 
unfit to have military commands under the King. 

7. The Respondent never had any doubt but that he had a 

360 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

right to grant charters of incorporation under the King s seal, of 
which he is the keeper, as is practised by all other royal gov 
ernors in America. And he did once, some years ago, order a 
charter to be made out for establishing a collegiate school in the 
extreme parts of the province, upon the petition of divers re 
spectable persons inhabitants of the said parts, who were ready 
to endow the said school. But understanding that the proposed 
charter gave umbrage to the college at Cambridge near Boston, he, 
upon that account only, and not out of any doubt of his power to 
grant such a charter, or the reasonableness and propriety of the 
charter prayed for, put a stop to the same being issued : and this 
is the only charter that was ever agitated before him since he 
has been governor of that province. 

8. The Respondent knows not what depositions are here 
referred to, except it may be those which it may be supposed he 
has transmitted to his Majesty s Ministers, in obedience to his 
Majesty s commands, signified to him for that purpose. And he 
is sorry to say, that he has not done so much in that respect as 
may have been expected of him : for when he received such 
commands, he found the intimidation which the faction by their 
former outrages had raised in Boston so great and universal, that 
there was a general unwillingness in people of all kinds to give a 
formal testimony against any of the factious party, even of facts 
which they made no scruple to declare their knowledge of in the 
course of common conversation. And therefore, having no power 
to oblige people to give testimony, and finding it impracticable to 
procure voluntary evidence, he could not execute the King s 
commands with that punctuality with which he has always been 
desirous to distinguish himself in all acts of duty. 

And here it may be proper to observe, that the preceding arti 
cle, and all the following articles, are charges against him for 
doing acts which were dictated to him either by the duty of his 
office, or by his Majesty s instructions given under his sign man 
ual, or by his special commands signified by his secretary of 
state. And in all cases, where the Respondent is charged with 
acts which were known to be done in obedience to his Majesty s 
instructions, or his special orders, he cannot consider himself to 
be chargeable with such acts ; but such charge must be under- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 361 

stood to be, and to be intended to be, directed immediately 
against his Majesty s administration. Under this rule he will 
proceed to consider the following articles. 

9. It is the duty of a governor to report to his Majesty all 
transactions by which the honour of his crown, the authority of 
his government, and the welfare of the province may be affected. 
The Respondent has not only had this duty prescribed to him 
by his general instructions, but has been often reminded of it in 
the letters of his Majesty s secretaries of state. In doing this, 
he has shewn a disposition the very contrary to that of misrep 
resenting his Majesty s loving subjects of the Colony in general, 
and has endeavoured to apologize for them where he could do it, 
by drawing a line between the few who have been authors of the 
present troubles, and their deluded followers, and distinguishing 
between the wickedness of the one, and the credulity and in 
timidation of the other. He has always had a most earnest de 
sire to remove jealousies, and restore that harmony and mutual 
affection which ought to subsist between Great Britain and 
America. He used all the means in his power to prevent a 
breach of a good understanding between the two countries ; and 
for that purpose, when the stamp-act was first agitated, not 
withstanding he had reason to believe that the Bill was strongly 
adopted by the Ministry, he wrote a letter to the Secretary of 
State, urging many reasons which occurred to him, against its 
passing into a law, with a freedom which nothing but a con 
sciousness of his integrity, a sense of his duty to both countries, 
and a desire to prevent any uneasiness between them, could have 
supported. Afterwards, when the repealing the act was in con 
templation, he gave his testimony for the repeal, both in his 
public and his private letters. He has been always ready to join 
with the Assembly in any measures for reconciling the two coun 
tries, which were consistent with his duty. But of late he has 
seen no opening for it ; for, by the convulsions which happened 
upon account of the stamp-act, and their consequences, the man 
agement of the public affairs of the Province has got into the 
hands of a party whose principles and practices are the very re 
verse of those of conciliation. 

10. The Respondent s report of the proceedings of the 

362 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Council, from whence their opposition to the authority of Parlia 
ment has been inferred, was fully supported by authentic papers. 
And though it has been since made a subject of argument, yet not 
one material fact, alledged by him, has been positively denied. 

11. The account of a design to seize Castle William is ex 
pressly mentioned, net to be related as a certain fact, but only 
as reported and believed. Under such circumstances, it would 
have been an inexcusable neglect of duty in the Respondent, 
not to have informed the Secretary of State of a credited re 
port of so interesting a nature. But, as he had no positive 
proof of the fact, he did not accuse any person by name. 
The truth is, he had intelligence, which he could not make 
a public use of, sufficient to induce him to believe that report 
then, and has since had occasion to confirm himself in such 
belief ; but he has not been able to obtain positive proof of 
the fact, for the reasons given in his answer to the eighth 

12. This is one of those Articles beforementioned, which passes 
by the Respondent, and attacks the Administration and the two 
Houses of Parliament; charging the first with ordering troops to 
be stationed at Boston, and the two last with passing resolutions 
without sufficient grounds to justify such proceedings. Whereas 
it is notorious, that the sending troops to Boston, and the reso 
lutions of the two Houses of Parliament, were founded upon 
undoubted and indisputable facts, supported by a variety of 
evidence, drawn for the most part from authentic papers, and 
in no way depending upon meer sayings and opinions of the 

13. The preamble of this Article, whereby the Respondent is 
charged with being a principal instrument in procuring the mili 
tary force which was sent to Boston, has since been falsified by 
the party publishing the Respondent s letters, from some of 
which it appears, that he absolutely refused to apply for troops, 
unless the Council would join with him in it; which they re 
fusing to do, he never applied for troops. As for the charge 
itself, the fact was this: Having received his Majesty s orders 
to take every necessary step for the accommodation of his troops 
at Boston, he applied to the Council, to the Select- men of the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 363 

town, and to all the Justices in the town, whom he called to 
gether for that purpose, being all the persons that could be 
pointed out by Act of Parliament for quartering soldiers, sev 
erally and separately desiring them to provide quarters for the 
soldiers. This they all refused to do; so that when the Com 
manding Officer found himself obliged to land two regiments at 
Boston, there were no quarters for them. Whereupon the Com 
manding Officer applying to the Respondent to provide a cov 
ering for one of the regiments, who had no camp-equipage with 
them, until they could hire buildings at the King s expence to 
make barracks of; the Respondent assigned to them several rooms 
in the town-house, which were not then in use, among which was 
the Representatives chamber; and there the regiment remained, 
without any inconvenience to the public, or any persons whatso 
ever, until barracks were provided for them. What enhances the 
falsity and virulence of this charge is, that the party who has pre 
ferred it, knew that the Respondent acted in this business under 
the King s special orders, and that his Majesty has since been 
pleased to signify his full approbation of his conduct, under the 
difficulties that were continually thrown in his way. And yet 
they have had the boldness, in this indirect manner, to arraign 
his Majesty s Administration for issuing orders, with which the 
Respondent had nothing to do but to obey. 

14. This Article is of the same complexion with the preced 
ing, but much more false and prevaricating. The fact upon 
which it is founded is this: The King ordered two regiments, to 
be sent from Ireland, to be landed at Boston ; and also ordered 
two other regiments to be sent from Halifax to Boston. The two 
regiments from Halifax arrived first; and the Commanding Offi 
cer, signifying to the Respondent that he had orders to station both 
those regiments at Boston, demanded quarters. The Respondent 
consulted the Council, and by their advice applied to the Select 
men of the town, and then to the Justices of the Peace, and last 
of all to the Council themselves: but they all refused to assign 
any quarters to the two regiments, under different pretences ; the 
principal of which was, that they ought to be quartered at the 
castle, upon an island, distant from the town of Boston three 
miles by sea and seven miles by land, where there were barracks 

364 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

that would hold only one regiment, and that but inconveniently, 
as has been since proved. And though the impossibility of quar 
tering four regiments in barracks that could hold but one, and 
the impropriety of quartering troops in an island distant from 
Boston, which were expressly ordered to be stationed at Boston, 
were urged again and again, they still persisted in refusing quar 
ters: wherefore the Commander in Chief found himself obliged 
to hire buildings, and fit them up for barracks, at the King s ex- 
pence, for three of the regiments, after having assigned the bar 
racks at the castle for the other regiment. And endeavours were 
used to defeat even this, the only method left for executing the 
King s commands; for it was given out by the faction, that if any 
soldiers were put into such barracks, the Officers commanding 
such soldiers would be prosecuted for quartering soldiers without 
the interposition of a Magistrate, contrary to the Mutiny Act, 
and, being convicted thereof by two Justices, would incur the 
penalty of being cashiered. To prevent this abuse of the Act, 
the Respondent, at the request of General Gage, Commander in 
Chief, granted a commission to an Officer of his to place the sol 
diers in the barracks, which should be provided for them at the 
King s expence. And this is the fact upon which the charge 
against the Respondent, for evasively appointing an Officer to pro 
vide quarters for the troops otherwise than is prescribed by the 
Act, is founded. The Respondent is sorry that he is obliged, by 
the designed generality of the charge, in his defence thereto, to 
state such a detail of untruths, prevarications, and contempt of 
law and authority, in the promoters of the accusation against 
him: but it is all to be accounted for by the propagation of one 
maxim, which originated with the faction, and has lately been 
adopted by the House of Representatives, That the King has no 
right to order any of his troops into any of the American Prov 
inces, without being first authorized so to do by an Act of the 
Provincial Assembly. And from this pretension the transition is 
easy to the presumption of petitioning the King to punish an 
officer of his, for obeying his commands, and assisting to carry 
his orders into execution. 

15. The facts, upon which this Article is founded, are these: 
In June, 1768, while the Assembly of the Province was sitting, 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 365 

the Respondent received a letter from the Secretary of State, 
signifying the King s pleasure, that he should require the House of 
Representatives to rescind a resolution passed in a former House, 
and to declare their disapprobation of it; and if they should 
refuse to comply, that he should immediately dissolve them. He 
communicated to the House the first part of the letter, contain 
ing the requisition; and upon their desiring a copy of the whole 
letter, he communicated to them the other p art of the letter, con 
taining the provisional order to dissolve them. The House took 
nine days to consider of this requisition; and in that time passed 
all the necessary public bills, and particularly the Tax-bill, which 
the Governor reminded them of passing, previously to their giv 
ing their answer; informing them, That, if he should be obliged 
to dissolve them, he should not be at liberty to call another As 
sembly till he received his Majesty s commands for that purpose. 
The House at length giving their answer, by which they refused 
to comply with his Majesty s requisition, he dissolved them, as he 
was in duty bound to do. And having received his Majesty s 
commands not to call a new Assembly until the May following, 
being the time appointed by the charter, he obeyed that order 
also. These are the true facts upon which this Article is founded; 
and they were all known to the Complainants at the time when 
they presumed to petition his Majesty to punish a servant of his, 
for what he did wholly in obedience to his Majesty s express 

16. It is the undoubted duty of a Governor to accompany 
his reports of interesting proceedings in his Province, with his 
own opinion of them ; and it is indispensable, when he is giving 
an account of disorders in his government, to endeavour to trace 
the causes of them, and to point out the remedies. In the Prov 
ince of Massachusetts Bay, when civil authority was reduced so 
low as to have nothing left but the form of a government, and 
scarce even that, an enquiry into the causes of so great a weak 
ness in the governing powers was unavoidable ; and there was no 
entering upon such an enquiry, without observing upon the ill 
effects of that part of the constitution of that government, whereby 
the appointment of the Council is left to the people, to be made 
by annual election ; and yet the Royal Governor, in all Acts of 

366 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

prerogative, is subject to the controul of the Democratical Coun 
cil. This solecism in policy has been as hurtful in practice as it 
is absurd in theory, and it is the true cause of the extreme imbe- 
cillity of the power of the crown in this government, at times 
when the exertion of it is most wanted. This is not an observa 
tion of a new date; it is of many years standing ; and the avowal 
of the Respondent s opinion on this occasion, is not to be 
reckoned from the date of his letter to the Earl of Hillsborough: 
he has made no scruple to declare his sentiments upon this subject, 
ever since he has felt the effects which the popular constitution 
of the Council has had upon the Royalty of the government, 
which is above three years ago ; within which time, he has seen 
the King deprived of the service of every man at the Council 
Board, who has had resolution enough to disapprove the oppo 
sition to the authority of the King and the Parliament, and their 
supremacy over the American Colonies. This, and this only, 
is the foundation of the charge of his endeavouring to overthrow 
the charter ; whereas his real desire has been, that the charter 
should have a more durable stability, by means of a necessary 
alteration, without which, he is persuaded it cannot have a much 
longer duration; as the abuse of the appointment of the Council 
now prevailing, must oblige the Parliament to interfere sooner 
or later. And therefore he is persuaded, that, in avowing this 
opinion, he has acted not only as a faithful servant of the King, 
and a true subject of Great Britain^ but also as a real friend of 
Massachusetts Bay, whose true interest it is, to have its govern 
ment so confirmed and established, that it may not be liable to 
be continually disturbed and disgraced by factious and design 
ing men, as it is at present. 

17. The Respondent denies, that by the means mentioned in 
the aforesaid complaint, or by any other means, he has rendered 
his Administration odious to the whole body of the people. He 
denies, that the opinion of the whole people of that Province can 
now be taken and ascertained, labouring as it does at present, 
under the baneful influence of a desperate faction, who, by 
raising groundless fears and jealousies, by deluding one part of 
the people, and by intimidating the other part, has destroyed all 
real freedom, not only of action, but even of sentiment and 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 367 

opinion. But the Respondent doubts not but that his Admin 
istration has been approved by the generality of the best and 
most respectable men in the Province ; and assures himself, that 
notwithstanding that, in the course of the late disputes, he has 
been obliged by his duty to give his testimony against some 
popular prejudices, when the present infatuation shall cease, and 
truth and reason shall be allowed to interpose, he shall be 
acknowledged to have been a faithful servant of the King, and 
a real friend of the people. In the mean time, having been hon 
oured with his Majesty s approbation of his whole conduct, and 
that of the two Houses of Parliament of some principal parts of 
it, he shall leave it to the Province of Massachusetts Bay to do 
him justice at their own time; and shall commit himself to the 
disposal of his Majesty, as it shall be thought best for his ser 
vice, in perfect confidence, that he shall not suffer for sacrificing 
his interest to his fidelity. 

And the Respondent, for proof of such allegations in this 
answer as shall require it, begs leave to refer to his Majesty s 
instructions 1 ; to the letters of his Secretaries of State and Com 
missioners for Trade and Plantations, directed to him the Re 
spondent ; to the Acts of the Council of the Province ; to the 
Journals of the House of Representatives ; to his own letters to 
his Majesty s Secretaries of State and Commissioners for Trade 
and Plantations (which letters, being wrote without any probable 
view of their being used for this purpose, he humbly submits 
ought to be admitted as evidence, especially of his intention and 
meaning, upon which great part of the complaint against him is 
made to depend) ; and to such other evidence as he shall be able 
to procure here, after having been, by the practices of the mana 
gers of the accusation against him, prevented having the benefit 
of such evidence as was to be had in the Province of Massachu- 
sefs Bay. 

1 For a form of such instructions, see those given to Bernard as governor of 
New Jersey, a draft of which is reprinted in E. B. Greene, The Provincial 
Governor, pp. 234260. 

368 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; written by Adams on the 
margin of a pamphlet, containing the Petition and Answer, entitled Copy of the 
Complaint of the House of Representatives of Massachusefs-Bay, against Sir 
Francis Bernard : with Sir Francis Bernard s Answer. 15 pp.] 

As the Complaint of the House of Representatives, 
with Governor Bernards Answer is made publick, it 
is presumed it now lies as an Appeal to the Reader, 
& that every Man has a right to make his own obser 
vations on them & lay them before the impartial pub- 
lick if he pleases. I shall therefore as an individual 
member of an injurd & insulted Community, offer 
such remarks as have occurd to my mind with unre- 
servd freedom, with Decency & Truth. The Re 
spondent in the beginning of his Answer discovers a 
manifest Intention to prejudice the reader ag t the 
Complainants as having been guilty of unfair prac 
tices in denying him a Copy of the Complaint, 
whereby he was deprivd of the Benefit of such Evi 
dence as was to be had only at Boston : This is far 
from being a true representation of facts: On the 
contrary, the Gov r neither by himself nor by any 
other person gave the least Intimation to the House 
while the Assembly was sitting of his Desire to have 
a Copy of the Complaint. Therefore the Charge of 
unfair practices used by the Complainants in this re 
gard is without the least foundation of truth : And 
further neither the Gov r nor any one for him or by 
his Direction ever applyd to the Clerk of the House 
for such Copy, either while the Assembly was sitting 
or from the time of its Dissolution on the July 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 369 

untill a very few days before the Gov r embarkd for 
London : Then indeed M r Cotton the Deputy Sec 
retary applyd for it in the Name of the Gov r & upon 
the first Notice the Clerk orderd a Copy to be imme 
diately made out & it was done accordingly to the 
truth of which he is ready to make oath, & M r Cotton 
can no doubt, if needful, confirm his testimony. 

The respondent says that the Complaint had its 
origination in a resentment against him for his being 
chargd with certain orders &c ; & referrs the reader 
to a Message of his, requiring the House to rescind a 
resolution of a former house upon which the circular 
Letter, so obnoxious to the Gov r had been founded 
Here again the Gov r is grossly mistaken ; The House 
did not so much if at all repent his being chargd 
with certain orders from his Majesty or his declaring 
his Intention to obey them. It was the unfair prac 
tices he had used, & the gross misrepresentations he 
had made to his Majestys Ministers, of the Conduct 
& Temper of the former house, to procure such or 
ders, that increasd the resentment of the House 
which had before been inclind to be against him by 
means of the same kind of practices he had used be 
fore These unfair practices were made fully to appear 
to the House from their own Minutes & Journals 
particularly it was evident from those Minutes & 
Journals that the resolution in Question was passd in 
the very height of the Session & in a very full House, 
contrary to what the Gov r had asserted to the Minis 
ter, that it was done in a thin House & at the End of 
the Session. Whether this and other misrepresenta 
tions were made with the wicked Design to deceive 

VOL. I. 24. 

370 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

his M y himself & draw the royal Displeasure on 

the province, every reader will easily determine. This 
was the opinion of the House, & it is by no means 
strange that after such provocations the patience of 
this people which had been extended beyond Exam 
ple sh d come to an End & their representatives 
resolve on a Complaint ag* Gov r Bernard & a hum 
ble petition to his Majesty forever to remove him 
from the Gov of this province. The respondent ob 
serves that " it being objected that there was no proof 
of the facts alledgd, the pet n was recommitted to the 
Com 6 to bring in Evidence in Support of divers Arti 
cles." The Truth is the House had voted a Number 
of Articles of Comp 4 in the pet n upon the clearest 
proof of the facts & therefore it could not be recom- 
itted as the Gov r says upon its being objected that 
there was no proof. But for the fuller Satisfaction of 
several Members the Com was orderd to bring in 
further proof respecting divers Articles, but the Gov r 
very much to his lasting Honor prevented it by an 
immediate & timely Dissolution of the Assembly. 

The respondent says that from the time of his en 
tering upon the Gov e till the year 1765 there was a 
good Understanding between him & the Assembly 
& further that the Journals of the House afford 
many pregnant Proofs of it. I am apt to believe not 
many : It w d be strange if in the Course of Nine 
years there sh d not be a few Instances wherein a 
Gov r & his Assembly have agreed, especially in the 
Honey Season of Administration And if there are 
some proofs of it in the Journals the House have 
shown their Candor & it may serve as an Instance of 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 371 

a certain truth that this People has always shown a 
Disposition to preserve an harmony with the King s 
Gov r until repeated Acts of 111 usage on his part have 
unavoidably made a Breach This is remarkeable with 
regard to Gov r Bernard himself. Since we are now 
upon the Article of Charge ag e him that in his 
Speeches & other publick Acts he treated the repre 
sentative Body with Contempt Is it not notorious 
that in one of his first Speeches he chargd not the re 
presentatives only but both Houses & the Body of 
the People with 

1 1 sh d be glad to be informd what has made it his 
Duty to give his own opinion he was of another 
mind when he did his Speech Anno 1765. 

Royalty contrould by Democracy is a Solecism in 

TO THE GOVERNOR. 2 JULY 15, 1769. 

[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 184-187.] 

May it please your Excellency, 

The House of Representatives have contemplated 
your several messages of the 6th 3 and i2th 4 instant, 
as fully as the time, to which you were pleased to 

1 The two concluding notes are written opposite paragraph 16 of the answer. 

Attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. 
262. The committee, of which Adams, Otis, Hancock, and Hawley were mem 
bers, was appointed July I2th, and was directed to sit forthwith. The answer 
is printed in the Journal of the House, pp. 80-83. 

3 Massachusetts State Papers, p. 183. 4 /<fo/.,pp. 183, 184. 

372 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

limit them, would admit. And as General Gage s 
letter on this subject, dated I5th of May, of which we 
were favored with an extract only, must have been 
received before the meeting of the General Assem 
bly, we think it very extraordinary that your Excel 
lency should suffer five or six weeks to elapse, before 
you thought proper to give us the least intimation of 
this matter. It is also surprizing, that, as the Barrack 
Master General, Colonel Robinson, was in Boston 
near a month, the greater part of which time, the 
General Assembly was sitting, we never before heard 
of the " demand " which he had " the honor to make," 
as he is pleased to express himself, in his letter to 
your Excellency, of the i8th of June. It is wonder 
ful indeed, that this House should have no notice of 
that demand, till the 6th instant, and that a quicken 
ing message should so soon follow. Between these 
messages, Lord s day intervening, the House had ad 
journed, as usual, from Saturday to Monday. But it 
is truly astonishing, that when the gracious desires of 
majesty itself, of aids in men and money in the late 
war, in which we freely bled with our fellow subjects 
and brethren of Great Britain, as well as of America ; 
and on less arduous occasions have, with royal clem 
ency and great condescension, ever been intimated in 
the form only of a requisition, the Barrack Master 
General should hold so high and peremptory a tone 
as the word demand^ must necessarily imply. The in 
dignity, thus offered to your Excellency s commission, 
would have been an affair entirely between your Ex 
cellency and the Barrack Master General, had it not 
been communicated to us as an appendage, nor ac- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 373 

companied your message of the 6th instant, the sub 
ject of which, we shall now, more immediately 

The public proceedings of this House, we trust, 
will sufficiently evince to the whole world, and to all 
posterity, the idea we entertain of the sudden intro 
duction of a fleet and army here ; of the unparal 
leled methods used to procure this armament ; and of 
the indefatigable pains of your Excellency, and a few 
interested persons, to keep up a standing force here, 
by sea and land, in a time of profound peace, under 
the mere pretence, of the necessity of such a force, to 
aid the civil authority. But were it a time of war, 
and the necessity of such a force ever so great, of 
which it is admitted, the King, by virtue of his un 
doubted prerogative of marching his armies, and 
directing his fleets to any part of his realms or do 
minions, is the sole judge ; yet, sir, it should be re 
membered, that the very nature of a free constitution, 
requires that those fleets and those armies should be 
supported only by the aids voluntarily granted by the 
Commons. Thus, till very lately, they have been 
supported, not only in Great Britain and Ireland, but 
in all the British dominions. 

May it please your Excellency, we are constrained 
to be very explicit upon the funds proposed, and the 
law alluded to, both in your message of the 6th in 
stant, and in the extract of General Gage s letter be 
fore us. By funds, we presume, is meant a provision 
for the reimbursement of such expenses as have been 
occasioned, or may accrue, in consequence of quarter 
ing the troops here ; and by law, is meant the mutiny 

374 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

act, so commonly called, which was passed in the 6th 
year of the reign of our most gracious Sovereign. 
By this act, it is declared, "the officers and soldiers 
quartered, as therein more particularly expressed, 
shall, from time to time, be furnished and supplied 
by a person or persons, to be authorized or appointed 
for that purpose by the Governor and Council of each 
respective province ; or upon the neglect or refusal 
of such Governor and Council, in any province, then 
by two or more Justices of the Peace, residing in or 
near the place" of quartering, with "fire," and other 
enumerated articles. And that the respective prov 
inces shall " repay such person or persons, all such 
sum or sums of money, by him or them paid, for the 
taking, hiring, and fitting up uninhabited houses, and 
for furnishing the officers and soldiers therein, and in 
the barracks," with " fire," and the other enumerated 
articles. And such sum or sums are, by said act, re 
quired to be " raised in such manner as the public 
charges for the provinces respectively are raised." 
And it is also further declared by said act, that " the 
extraordinary expense of carriages to be paid by the 
province or colony where the same shall arise." 

From hence it is obvious, that a Governor and 
Council have no more right, by this act, to draw 
money out of a colony treasury, than the two justices 
mentioned therein. The duty prescribed, is entirely 
confined to the appointment of a person or persons, 
to furnish and supply the articles in said act men 
tioned. Such is the unreasonableness and severity of 
this act, that it leaves to the Assemblies not the least 
color of a privilege, but only the pitiful power to 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 375 

raise the sums in such manner as the public charges 
of the provinces are respectively raised. Hence it is 
manifest, how unwarrantably the Governor and Coun 
cil have acted, in the payments they have ordered be 
tween the dissolution of the last year s Assembly and 
the convening of this, for articles furnished his Maj 
esty s 65th regiment, lately quartered in the barracks, 
at Castle William ; for it is known, there was no fund 
provided, consequently, there could be no appropria 
tion made by the General Court for that purpose. 

We shall now, with your Excellency s leave, take a 
nearer view of the act of Parliament above mentioned. 
The whole continent has, for some years past, been 
distressed with what are called acts for imposing taxes 
on the colonists, for the express purpose of raising a 
revenue ; and that, without their consent in person, 
or by representative. This subject has been so fully 
handled by the several Assemblies, and in the publi 
cations that have been made, that we shall be as brief 
as possible upon that head ; but we take leave to ob 
serve, that in strictness, all those acts may be rather 
called acts for raising a tribute in America, for the 
further purposes of dissipation among placemen and 
pensioners. And, if the present system of measures 
should be much further pursued, it will soon be very 
difficult, if possible, to distinguish the case of widows 
and orphans in America, plundered by infamous in 
formers, from those who suffered under the adminis 
tration of the most oppressive of the Governors of 
the Roman provinces, at a period, when that once 
proud and haughty republic, after having subjugated 
the finest kingdoms in the world, and drawn all the 

376 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

treasures of the east to imperial Rome, fell a sacrifice 
to the unbounded corruption and venality of its gran 
dees. But of all the new regulations, the stamp act 
not excepted, this under consideration, is the most 
excessively unreasonable. For, in effect, the yet free 
Representatives of the free Assemblies of North 
America, are called upon to repay, of their own and 
their constituents money, such sum or sums, as per 
sons over whom they can have no check or control, 
may be pleased to expend ! As Representatives, we 
are deputed by the people, agreeable to the royal 
charter and laws of this province. By that charter 
and the nature of our trust, we are only empowered 
to "grant such aids," and "levy such taxes for his 
Majesty s service, as are reasonable ; " of which, if we 
are not free and independent judges, we can no longer 
be free Representatives, nor our constituents free 
subjects. If we are free judges, we are at liberty to 
follow the dictates of our own understanding, without 
regard to the mandates of another ; much less can 
we be free judges, if we are but blindly to give as 
much of our own and of our constituents substance, 
as may be commanded, or thought fit to be expended, 
by those we know not. 

Your Excellency must, therefore, excuse us, in this 
express declaration, that as we cannot, consistently 
with our honor, or interest, and much less with the 
duty we owe our constituents, so we shall never 
make provision for the purposes in your several 
messages above mentioned. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 377 


[S. A. Wells, Samuel Adams and the American Revolution, vol. i., p. 192.] 

BOSTON July 31, 1769. 


By Captain Hood you have a letter from the 
House of Representatives signed by the Speaker, 
inclosing a remonstrance to his Majesty against 
Governor Bernard. 1 Such a measure unanimously 
voted in a full House consisting of one hundred and 
nine members, forty of whom by the charter make a 
quorum, is sufficient to justify what I wrote you form 
erly, that I thought it impossible he should ever re 
cover the affections of the people. Indeed it never 
appeared to me that the conciliating their affections 
was any part of his view. If he had had this in 
contemplation he would never have attached himself 
to a small party, of which the people, even the bet 
ter sort of them, had the most contemptible idea. 
Whether the governor herein discovered that he had -1 
conceived a deep rooted prejudice against the people j 
or that he was totally ignorant of the only method to 
secure his own happiness, and promote his Majesty s 
real service in the Province, I will not pretend to 
say : This I believe must be acknowledged by all, 
that the surest refuge of a monarch himself is, under 
God, in the bosom of his subjects. The Speaker has 
written you particularly which leaves me the less to 
say. I shall send you the journal of the House as 
soon as it can be got thro the press. 

I am, sir, your humble servant, 

1 Governor Bernard returned to England at this time. Cf. W. V. Wells. 
Life of Samuel Adams ; vol. i., p. 267 ; T. Hutchinson, Historv of tJie Prov 
ince of Massachusetts, vol. iii., p. 253. 

378 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

\Boston Gazette \ August 28, 1769.] 

The infamous Baronet of Nettleham, 1 in one of 
his curious Letters lately imported, has ventured to 
affirm, that numbers of the Merchants of Boston who 
fhad subscribed the Agreement for a Non-importation 
j of British Goods never intended to comply with the 
| Terms of it. A very genteel Compliment indeed to 
the Body of Merchants ! But it was necessary that his 
Lordship to whom he wrote should be induced if pos 
sible to believe it, and therefore he roundly and im 
pudently asserted, whether he believed it himself or 
not. He very well knew, that this Agreement if strict 
ly adhered to, would effectually influence the Repeal 
of the Parliamentary Revenue Acts ; and as his own 
Interest would be deeply wounded by the Event, 
and his sanguine Expectations of Gain cut off, for 
he had promised himself two or three Thousand 
sterling per annum out of the American Revenue, he 
made no Scruple, according to his Manner, to sacri 
fice the Reputation of Men, infinitely better than 
himself, to prevent it. The Baronet has indeed in 
his Letters calumniated, not the Merchants only, but 
the Town and Province, and the most respectable 
Bodies in it: Whether at his Departure, he fixed ^ 
upon one John Mem, as a Person hardy enough to 
go through thick and thin to support his Calumnies, 
I pretend not certainly to know ; or whether this 
Man is made a Tool by the band of Placemen and 
v ^Pensioners here, is a Matter which I cannot yet 

1 In April, 1769, Governor Bernard had been created Baronet of Nettleham. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 379 

vouch for, and therefore in tenderness to this Stran 
ger I shall not even hint such a thing to the public. 
Certain it is however that this said John Mein is tak 
ing abundance of pains to make it appear as if the 
Baronet s prediction was fulfilling apace, and that a 
number of the Merchants who subscribed, had broke 
through their Agreement, and thereby violated their 
faith voluntarily plighted to the whole American 
publick ! I am very solicitous for the Honor of the 
Merchants of Boston, my fellow Citizens, but much 
more for my Country, the Salvation of which very 
much depends upon their punctually fulfilling their 
Agreement : And therefore I must confess I was at 
first greatly alarmed at the formidable Attack which 
this same John Mein seemed to have made upon 
both. I was particularly concerned to find a Mer 
chant of the first Character and one who had always 
distinguished himself in the List .of Patriots, so lost 
to himself, his Connections in trade and his Country, 
as to import 100 pieces of British Linnens, in direct 
violation of his own Agreement. Thus it was repre 
sented in the Boston Chronicle ; but how unlucky it 
is for John Mein, that the Truth of his publication 
should be so soon called in Question ! And as it 
now appears to the World, beyond Contradiction, by 
the Oath of Mr. William Palfrey a Person of un 
doubted Veracity, that these 100 pieces of British 
Linnen were in reality so many pieces of Russia Duck, 
an allowed Article, will not the impartial publick at 
once say that John Mein has committed Leasing 
making, contrary to the Laws of his own Nation, and 
be ready to charge him with as perverse a Misrepre- 

380 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

sentation as ever the Nettleham Baronet himself was 
guilty of. I have been told of so many other De 
ceptions of the same kind in the several publications 
of this over zealous Man, that for my own part I 
must have better Authority than his before I shall give 
my Credence .to any Tale that may hereafter come 
from his Press I would desire Mr. Mein to accept a 
Word of Caution, not to set himself in Opposition to 
an awakened, an enlightened and a Determined Conti 
nent, lest he be found to kick against the Pricks I 
had also a word of serious Advice to the two young 
Gentlemen who bring up the Rear in the very igno 
ble List of Importers by the Name of Hutchinson, 
whose ill advised Conduct I am particularly aston 
ished at ; but for want of Leisure I must at present 
omit it. 

Your s, 


[Boston Gazette, September 25, 1769.] 

Messieurs PRINTERS, 

Mr. Robinson l seems highly to resent it, that there 
should be the least suspicion of a preconcerted plan to 
assassinate Mr. Otis, when he was so ungenerously 
assaulted in the Coffee-room ; but the impartial public 
will form its own judgment of this matter, founded 
upon more substantial Evidence than the Declara- 

1 One of the Commissioners of Customs. See above, page 316. 


1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 381 

tion of an unknown By-stander. I am sorry there 
should be room for any suspicion of this kind ; but 
when I hear it affirm d that preparation was made 
that very day for a dust that was to be kickd up in the 
Evening, when I am told that one dirty fellow was 
known to furnish another dirty fellow with a sword 
for the purpose and that boats were in readiness to 
carry off certain persons at a minutes warning, I must 
confess it looks as if business of a very extraordinary 
nature was intended. It certainly cannot be ac 
counted for upon any principle of honor, that many 
persons in the company should be suffer d to crowd 
in upon Mr. Otis on purpose to hinder his making 
use of his own strength ; pushing & pulling him as 
Mr. Gridley declares upon oath " to prevent his 
beating Mr. Robinson " who had attack d him, as in 
all likelihood he would otherwise have done. When 
we find one witness of undoubted veracity swearing 
that means were used to prevent Mr. Otis improving 
the advantage he manifestly had over his antagonist ; 
others, that under these circumstances, a number of 
sticks at once were over Mr. Otis s head a drawn 
sword the cry in the room G d d n him, mean 
ing Mr. Otis, 1 knock him down kill him kill him 
all which has already been depos d by credible wit 
nesses upon oath before the magistrate Can any one 
from such declarations of impartial men, entertain the 
least doubt but that some persons in the company 
had a design to assassinate Mr. Otis ? since they not 
only called upon each other to kill him, but were 
actually endeavoring to perpetrate the murder by 

William Tudor, Life of James Otis, pp. 362, 503. 

382 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

the utmost of their power. And when we are also 
assured by the testimony of another disinterested wit 
ness, that he heard a certain person talking of a wager 
he had lost upon the issue of the matter, can there be 
any scruple that it was a preconcerted plan ! This 
same certain person has of late been uncommonly 
officious in the cause of C rs, and his name will 
ere long be expos d Whether Mr. Robinson was 
privy to any such plan he best knows himself. I 
do not charge him with it. If he had agreed to 
Mr. Otis s proposal to go abroad or withdraw to a 
private place, and there decide the controversy be 
tween them, or if he had propos d it himself, instead of 
attacking him in a public company, he would in my 
opinion have acted the part of a Gentleman and a 
man of Courage ; and no one I suppose would suspect 
that he had the least intention to avail himself of 
foul play. 

Mr. Robinson takes a great deal of pains to have 
it believ d that there was no foul play. He tells the 
public that " no man besides himself struck Mr. Otis, 
or even offer d him the least unfair play." Mr. 
Gridley, in direct contradiction to what Mr. Robinson 
asserts, upon oath declares, that there was " foul 
play," and that he protested against the " dirty usage " 
which Mr. Otis receiv d. I shall for my own part al 
ways place a greater confidence in what is said by an 
indifferent person than the assertion of a party Mr. 
Robinson indeed says that Mr. Gridley made himself 
a party ; but one of his own witnesses has declar d 
upon oath that he apprehended Mr. Gridley s design 
was to separate the parties or see fair play ; which by 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 383 

no means places him in the light of a party man Mr. 
Robinson may entertain what opinion he pleases of 
his By-Stander, and so will the public ; it will be a 
difficult matter, if possible, for him, by any deposi 
tions, which by the way he promis d us in the course 
of last week, to invalidate the testimony of Mr. 
Gridley, in the minds of any who know him. Mr. 
Robinson moreover says, that he laid aside his own 
sword, upon seeing Mr. Otis without one. One 
would from hence conclude, that Mr. Robinson had, 
in this instance, acted like a man who, to use his own 
expression, " had nice sentiments of honor." But cir 
cumstances seem throughout the whole of this matter, 
to turn up unluckily for Mr. Robinson. Some of the 
first Surgeons in this city attended Mr. Otis, and 
upon a thoro examination of the wound he received 
in his forehead, which was given by Mr. Robinson, 
according to his own and his By-Stander s account, 
they were all clear in their judgment, that it was the 
cut of an edged weapon. Did Mr. Robinson then 
borrow another sword, after he had, like a man of 
nice sentiments of honor, laid aside his own, because 
Mr. Otis was without one ? Or rather, did not some 
other person strike Mr. Otis, and that with an edged 
weapon ? This indeed is contrary to Mr. Robinson s 
and his good friend the By-Stander s account of the 
matter ; but one or the other of these must be the con 
clusion, if the judgment of the Surgeons is of any 
weight, and they have as nice sentiments of honor, as 
even Mr. Robinson himself, and I dare say, are able 
to defend their judgment. Mr. Robinson may take 
his choice, either to acknowledge that he had the 

384 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

assistance of one at least, who fought too with an edged 
weapon, in the combat with Mr. Otis, which the By- 
Stander pertly says ended greatly to the disadvantage 
of Mr. Otis ; or else, that he was not sincere with the 
Public in saying that he laid by his own sword, when 
he found Mr. Otis without one ; for if he made use of 
a sword, it was immaterial whether it was his own or 
another man s. 

The By-Stander roundly asserts that twenty gen 
tlemen in the room can prove that " neither sword, 
cutlass or other edged weapon whatever was seen 
drawn." But the ill luck of Mr. Robinson attends 
this man, who seems to make himself a swift witness 
in the matter. I would just observe that if this By- 
Stander is as active in his limbs, as he appears to be in 
his tongue, which is called an imruly evil, he might for 
aught I know be a match for Broughton himself ; and 
perhaps he may have lent a fist too, when " the brisk 
manual exercise," as he tells us, ensued ; which might en 
title him to be present at Squire Froths, where some 
of the perpetrators rendezvouz d, and mutual congrat 
ulations, as fame reports, pass d on the grand occasion. 
But this by way of digression wherein I could have 
mentioned several curious anecdotes concerning the 
Esqrs dismal apprehensions the next morning, (hav 
ing I suppose been worried in his dreams in the night) 
together with his sage advice to the peace-officers, by 
no means to attempt to serve a precept on board a 
man of war ; telling them it would be hazardous, and 
that men of war were lawless, perhaps the Esquire 
means privileged places. But these things shall be 
related in due season.- -Twenty Gentlemen, says the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 385 

By-Stander, (modestly eno ) " can prove that neither, 
sword, cutlass, or other edged weapon whatever was 
seen drawn." How easily may the By-Stander and 
his twenty gentlemen be confuted by the positive tes 
timony of one person of credit, who swore the other 
day before Mr. Justice Murray, " that a sword was 
drawn"; and this by the way serves to confirm the 
judgment of the Surgeons. Esquire Murray has 
had the honor of being mentioned to Lord Hills- 
borough by the Nettleham Baronet as a " fit person " 
for a reforming Magistrate ; and to my knowledge he 
took great care that justice should be done to Mr. 
Robinson. I will not say that he appear d partial, 
much less very partial in his favour, for that wou d 
expose me to his Worship s resentment, which I very 
much dread this I will say, tho Mr. Robinson need 
not be told of it, that he used the utmost Caution in 
admitting questions that should seem to prejudice his 
cause, when he chose to think them in the least degree 
impertinent or improper, and no one can blame his 
Worship for that ! But to return to the By-Stander ; 
\ if twenty gentlemen can prove that " neither Sword 
i Cutlass, or any other edg d Weapon whatever was 
seen drawn " is it not somewhat strange, that besides 
a number of sticks, a scabbard should be found on the 
ifloor, by a person who happened to enter the room 
isoon after the affray ended ? Whether it was a scab 
bard belonging to the sword that was seen drawn in 
the hand of a person dressed in green, or another, is 
not very material If any one doubts of the truth of 
what I have now related, I appeal to Mr. Otis a 
eputy-Sheriff in this Town who has the scabbard in 

386 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

his possession, where the owner if he thinks proper 
may apply for it. 

This By-stander deals much in negative Evidence ; 
he says the " Words Kill him, were not once heard 
during the whole engagement": Unfortunately for 
him he is again confronted by a person upon Oath. 
Mr. Grid ley swears that he heard " divers voices hol 
low out Kill him! Kill him! and he makes no 
doubt they meant said Otis." But Mr. Robinson has 
promis d, and I now call upon him to fulfil his promise, 
"to give the public an opportunity of judging" 
whether the bare Word of this By-stander, who con 
ceals his Name, or the oath of Mr. Gridley taken be 
fore two Magistrates, is more deserving of Credit. 

Your s, 


[Boston Gazette, October 2, 1769.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

LET us take a short retrospect of American affairs 
-The opposition which the Colonies made to the 
detestable stamp-act in the year 1765, finally operated 
its repeal I am induced to call it a detestable act, 
not from a warmth of resentment against a measure 
which had it taken effect must have involv d this 
whole Continent in perfect absolute slavery, but from 
the cool dictates of reason. ^ For tho it was soon re- 
peal d, it yet created such" a jealousy between the 
mother country and the colonies, as it is to be fear d 

^.^^r^r jsatf^" 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 387 

will never wholly subside ; and for aught the promo 
ters of if can tell will finally end in the ruin of the most 
glorious Empire the sun ever shone upon, or at least 
may accelerate consequences, arising from American 
independence, which, whenever they happen, will be 
fatal to Britain herself. As a condition of the re 
peal the friends of the American cause, which was 
the cause of liberty, in the British house of commons, 
were oblig d to yield to a proposal ; that an act 
should be passed expressly declaring a right in the 
King, Lords and Commons of Great Britain to make 
laws which shall be binding on the colonies in all 
cases whatever-r^The Americans, who not long be 
fore were viewed by the people of Britain in no bet 
ter a character than the tawny aboriginal natives, 
were not so void of understanding, as to overlook the 
latent meaning of this act they clearly understood 
the true intention of the words, " in all cases what 
ever" , and that a right of making revenue laws bind 
ing on the colonies was necessarily included. Thus 
Great Britain, instead of burying in eternal oblivion, 
a claim so repugnant to the laws of reason and 
equity, and therefore so obnoxious to all the colo 
nies, was induced at that critical season, and as I con 
ceive, contrary to all the rules of sound policy, as far 
as she could, to establish it : And while she was thro 
necessity, about to repeal one law for taxing the 
colonies, without their consent, she at the same time 
held up to them a claim, and in effect told them, that 
she was resolved to make another, or a thousand 
more, whenever she should be pleas d to exercise theT> 
right she had assum d Such were the councils which 

3 88 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

ruled in Britain then, and we all know what they 
have been since. 

The Americans, for the sake of restoring harmony, 
chose to treat this act with silence, at least till ne 
cessity should oblige them to remonstrate the ill effects 
of it. The repeal of the stamp-act was receiv d __j 
with universal joy ; and perhaps future histo 
rians may say of the colonists, as has been said 
of the people of Britain upon another occasion in a 
former period, that they were "mad with loyalty" 
Addresses were offered to our most gracious Sov 
ereign on the occasion, and letters of thanks were 
sent to the patriots who had signaliz d themselves as 
instruments in bringing on this happy event The 
commerce with Great-Britain which had been stop d 
was again reviv d upon the additional motive of 
gratitude, and such steps were taken as might prob 
ably lead the mother country, in the height of her 
glory to imagine, that the Americans look d upon 
the repeal as a singular & unmerited favor : It must 
be own d they seem d too unmindful of the right they 
had on their part claim d, of a total exemption from 
taxes not rais d with their own free consent ; and 
that the repeal was nothing more, upon their own 
principles, than the removal of a burden which they 
were under no manner of obligation to bear I men 
tion these things to show that the colonies were at 
that time heartily dispos d to a reconciliation with the 
mother country, and that she has not the least reason 
to complain of them that differences still unhappily 
subsist between them and if Britain herself would 
now and then recollect, she might perhaps correct 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 389 

some past errors &&& follies, which might tend to re 
store that mutual affection which all good men wish 
for, and she herself, however she may now think of 
the matter, may one day want Power is intoxicating ; 
and those who are possess d of it too often grow vain 
and insolent ; we have daily instances of this in par 
ticular persons ; and a haughty nation inebriated 
with power, like a drunken man upon a precipice, 
may fall into inevitable ruin, when the friendly hand 
of a child, if present, might have led him from 

But tho the colonies were so well dispos d to 
wards the mother country, it must not be forgot that 
there was a cursed Cabal, principally residing in this 
town, who having been disappointed in their expec 
tations of the sweets of the stamp-act, were perpet 
ually intriguing to bring about another parliamentary 
tax-act ; for no other purpose than that they might 
feast and fatten themselves upon the spoils and plun- 
der of the people and I am persuaded the nation 
would not have been so impolitick as to have pass d 
another revenue act for the colonies so soon after 
the confusion which the stamp-act had occasioned 
on both sides the water, had not this Cabal found 
means to induce the men in power at home to be- 
1 lieve, that the opposition to that act was "afactwn" 
that rag d indeed for a while, but was then an "ex 
piring faction"; and that the generality of the 
people, now under the influence of the "better sort", 
and those whom they were pleas d to call the 
"friends of government" who "feared GOD and 
honor d the King", were become perfectly reconciled 

39 o THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

to the measure, and the experiment might be tried 
with safety and success What a pity it is that great 
men are so ready to yield implicit faith to the idle re 
ports of their tools and dependents, in matters that 
concern the welfare of millions, and the very existence 
of states ! But great men are not always wise ! and - 
we may safely add from the experience of the world, 

that they are not always good. Perhaps the M y 

themselves were glad to receive these accounts from 
their wretched hirelings, as they might make a plaus 
ible foundation on which to build a plan for their 
own future wealth and greatness, however distressing 
to the Colonies, and ruinous to the nation. This 
may be tho t a little rude for an American pen ; but 

Britain has too often seen a corrupt M y under 

the best of kings. There have indeed sometimes 
been instances of favourites torn as it were from the 
arms of - , and made to suffer the vengence of an 
injured People. I never could conceive what should 
induce a free independent British house of Commons 
to pass a Bill so repugnant to the British constitution, 
as well as natural right and justice, as a bill for con 
trolling the property of millions without their con 
sent ! But I have been lately told that an opinion 
prevails in that country, that an act of parliament 
when once passed, becomes a part of the constitution, 
and that such a bill was perfectly reconcileable with 
their own Ideas of the act before-mentioned, declar 
ing a right in the British parliament, to make laws 
binding on the Colonies in all cases whatever, and 
consequently in their opinion a constitutional bill- 
Whatever was the motive, we find to our astonish- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 391 

ment, that in addition to the act of 4 Geo. 3. com 
monly called the Molasses-act, another American 
revenue-law was made, and the Colonies were again 
taxed without their consent, by those who never did 
and never can represent them. Let me ask the 
Cabal, whether the Colonies in general are perfectly 
reconciled to this act They now see the contrary 
with grief and despair, and they may e re long see it 
with terror and amazement. The Colonies are more 
than ever united in a determined opposition to these 
acts, and I hope in God they will continue their 
opposition to them, till they are all repealed till the 
Locust and the Caterpillars which now swarm among 
us, are driven off like chaff, and every American 
grievance is redressed. Their union & firmness I am 
sure will continue as long as they have a feeling of 
their own dignity and their own rights ; and there is 
no reason to fear that this feeling will ever be ex- 
tinguish d in their breasts, while they remain a vir 
tuous and a sensible people. Their opposition has 
been prudent & legal, what single step has been 
taken that cannot fully be justify d by the Laws 
of their country They have publickly remonstrated 
their grievances to the world, and humbly petition d 
their Sovereign for redress : But their very petitions 
have been represented by the Cabal insolently and 

treasonably represented even to his M y himself, 

as the last efforts of a dying faction Indeed the 
Cabal have since alter d their tone ; and either really 
hagg d in their consciences, or pretending to fear 
where no fear was, instead of an expiring faction, 
they have since represented the colonies in general 

392 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

and this town in particular, as upon the eve of an in 
surrection, and that there was a necessity of the act 
ual exertion of military power to prevent it they 

have set forth to the L ds of the T y the 

necessity of two or three regiments to guard their 
persons, and wrote to the commanding officers at 
Halifax for troops and ships of war to restore and 
support government in the town of Boston I appeal 
to their own letters lately publish d for the truth of 
what I assert, and in consequence of these very 
letters, (so weak and credulous or so wicked & aban- 

don d were the M y) troops were sent, which 

took the possession of this city in a manner unheard 
of but in an enemies town, and with orders What 
shall I say ! I shudder at the thought ! Surely " no 
provincial magistrate could be found, so steel d 
against the sensations of humanity and justice, as 
wantonly to order troops to fire on an unarm d popu 
lace, and (more than) repeat in Boston the tragic 
scene exhibited in St. George s field ? " 

Let any one imagine the distress of this people a A 
free city, I mean once free and still entitled to its 
freedom, reduc d to the worst of tyranny an aggra 
vated tyranny ! Was not an army of placemen and 
pensioners sufficient, who would eat us up as they eat 
bread, but an array of soldiers must be stationed in 
our very bowels Where is the bill of rights, magna 
charta and the blood of our venerable forefathers ! 
In this dilemma to what a dreadful alternative were 
we reduc d ! To resist this tyranny, or, submit to 
chains The one might have been done with the 
greatest ease, for what was an handful of troops to 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 393 

subdue a large country surely two or three regi 
ments could never have been intended "to exterminate 
the inhabitants of this province." And it could not 
be expected that such a petty armament could pro 
duce any other effect than that of " inspiring the 
people with resentment " " those who imagined 
that the inhabitants of Boston would oppose the 
landing of the King s troops knew very little of their 
temper or design ", and yet I believe the thought of 
finally submitting to chains was never suffer d to 
harbour in their hearts God forbid that free coun 
tries should ever again yield again to tyranny ! This 
has long been the unhappy fate of the world, while it 
was overspread with ignorance and invelop d in dark 
ness: Mankind I hope are now become too enlight 
ened to suffer it much longer. 

The colonies have since had a temporary relief 
from the alternative before mentioned, by the publick 
spirited proposal of the merchants in the several gov 
ernments, to withdraw their commercial connections 
with the merchants and manufacturers of Great 
Britain ; which is esteem d by all judicious and well- 
dispos d persons as a noble sacrifice of their own 
private rights and a well-chosen expedient for the re 
covery of \hepublick rights of their country. It is 
not to be wonder d at that this salutary measure 
should be violently oppos d by the Cabal, and their 
abandoned instruments ; and we find BERNARD early 
endeavoring to prevent its taking an impression on 
the other side the water, by falsely suggesting to the 
minister of state that numbers who had sign d this 
generous agreement " did not intend to comply with 

394 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

it ", but that there were " still remaining enough of 
the most respectable merchants of this town, non-sub 
scribers, to defeat the scheme, even if the subscribers 
were to keep to their promise " This number is 
reduced to a few men, in themselves of very incon 
siderable weight, who have had the honor of being 
enroll d for some weeks past in your reputable 
paper Sorry I am to find that the family of our 
present c rn d r in chief & its connections 
make so great a part of that very ignoble list ; a 
family which owes a gratitude as it owes its greatness 
to this despised people, which till very lately have 
lavish d upon it all its honors and lucrative places ; 
& family which, if unfeeling to all other obligations, 
should surely have remember d the unexampled act 
of generosity done to it by the commons of this 
province not more than three years since ; which 
they were under no obligation to do in law, or in 
justice ; nor in gratitude, that I could ever learn : 
And this act of pure generosity should the rather 
have been remember d by \hefamily, considering the 
warm prof essions then made ; from whence those who 
thought them sincere, form d the greatest expectation 
of the most ardent zeal and vigorous efforts in favor 
of the invaded RIGHTS of this country But How 
mutable is the heart of man ! Yea, it is deceitful 
above all things What, in less than a month, fol- 
low d these professions, it is not in my power, were 
I dispos d to do it, to hide in the darkness of oblivion 
Littera scripta manet there, it must stand in the 
full view of posterity, which for the most part marks 
with the greatest precision the characters of those who 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 395 

have livd \ Animated no doubt by the example, and 
encourag d by the steady attachment of this family 
to the late ministerial measures, a Factor from Lon 
don is daily expected in the next ship, and as it is said 
under ministerial favor, with a very large importation 
of British manufactures Good God ! How much 
longer is it expected that the patience of this injured 
country shall hold out ! Have we not already been 
sufficiently provok d ? Is it possible that any man 
should have the effrontery, against the united Reso 
lutions of a Continent, to import and vend its bane\ 
Unparrall d presumption ! Shall a stranger dare to 
be the tool of the Cabal, and the instrument of over 
setting a measure upon the success of which the 
hopes of millions are suspended ! What a degree 
of intolerable vanity and insolence is here ! Shall 
this man avail himself, and make a precedent for 
others, to avail themselves, of the sacrifice which 
our own merchants and tradesmen have voluntarily 
made for the publick good, and hereafter wrest that 
part of the trade out of their hands, whenever the 
safety of the country shall admit of its being again 
carried on ! What man will purchase goods of such 
a bold intruder ! Who will not look upon him as 
a publick enemy, and treat him with the marks of 
contempt and hatred ! But contemptible and odious 
as he must appear, yet in comparison with those few 
NATIVES of the country, and blessed be God there 
are but few, who can pride themselves in the im 
portations they have made, and impudently boast 
of their success, in comparison I say, with such par 
ricides as these, a stranger must, in an impartial eye 
appear, even innocent \ ALFRED. 

396 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 



Printed and Sold by Edes and Gill, 
in Queen-Street, Boston, 1769. 

[2] * At a Meeting of the Town of Boston? legally 
assembled, on Wednesday October the $th, and thence 
continued by Adjournment to Wednesday October 18, 

The following Remarks, upon the Letters written 
by Governor Bernard, and others, were ordered to 
be published ; and the Committee were directed re 
spectfully to transmit a printed Copy of the same to 
the following Gentlemen, viz. The Honorable Col. 
Isaac Barre", Esq ; a Member of Parliament; His 
Excellency Thomas Pownal, Esq ; late Governor of 
this Province, and a Member of Parliament ; Ben- 

1 The original pagination is thus indicated. 

2 The resolutions of the town, printed at the end of the pamphlet, are in 
Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., pp. 299, 300; a text of the 
pamphlet is in ibid., pp. 303-325. The text here used is that of the original 
edition of 1769. 

On October 4, 1769, at a meeting of the town of Boston, it was "unani 
mously Voted, That the Thanks of the Town be and hereby are given to 
William Bollan Esq. for his generous care in transmitting to the Selectmen 
authentick Copies of Letters wrote to his Majestys Ministers of State, by Gov 
ernor Bernard, General Gage, Commodore Hood and others, and also of 
several Memorials of the Commissioners of the Customs in America In which 
Letters and Memorials the Disposition and Conduct of the Inhabitants of the 
Town have been grossly misrepresented to their Sovereign, in Consequence 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 397 

jamin Franklin, Esq ; Doctor of Laws ; William 
Bollan, Esq ; Agent for his Majesty s Council of this 
Province ; Dennys DeBerdt, Esq ; Agent for the 
House of Representatives, and Barlow Trecothick, 
Esq ; Alderman of the City of London, and a Mem 
ber of Parliament. 


William Cooper, Town-Clerk. 

[3] AN 
APPEAL, &c. 

The Town of Boston having by the generous Care 
of William Bollan, Esq ; formerly a very worthy In 
habitant in it, but now a Resident in London, receiv d 
authentick Copies of Letters, Memorials, &c. written 
by Governor Bernard, General Gage, Commodore 
Hood, the Commissioners of the American Board of 

whereof they have been sensibly affected with the Marks of his Majestys Dis 
pleasure And that the Moderator be directed to transmit the Vote of Thanks 
to M r - Bollan, for so seasonable and important a service. Also 
" Voted, unanimously, that 

The Hon ble - Thomas Gushing Esq. 

M r - Samuel Adams 

John Adams Esq. 
The Hon ble - James Otis Esq. 

D r - Joseph Warren 

Richard Dana Esq. 

Joshua Henshaw Esq. 

Joseph Jackson Esq. 

Benjamin Kent Esq. 

"be and hereby are Appointed a Committee to Consider what Measures are 
proper to be taken to vindicate the Character of the Town from the false and 
injurious representations contained in the Letters & Memorials aforesaid, and 
Report at the Adjournment of this Meeting 

The committee reported at the morning session on October 18; the report 
was recommitted, and the committee was requested to report again in the 
afternoon, which was done. 

398 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Customs and others, 1 and laid before the Parliament ; 
which contain many base Insinuations and virulent 
Charges of an high Nature against the Town : The 
Freeholders and Inhabitants in a legal Town Meet 
ing assembled for the Purpose, have considered the 
same. As they have not yet been favor d with 
the particular Vouchers, if indeed these Gentle 
men have produc d any to the Ministry before whom 
they laid their Accusations, it cannot be expected 
they should be enabled to make so full a Vindication 
of the Town as otherwise they might : They have 
however endeavor d to extract from these Writings, 
so far as the Town is concern d in them, and to lay 
before the Publick their true Spirit : From whence [\ 
it will appear how restless Governor Bernard and his 
Associates have been in their malicious Intrigues to 
traduce not this Town and Province, alone, but the J 
whole British American Continent. 

In his Letter to the Earl of Shelburne, dated 
March igth 1768, he tells his Lordship, that " he 
sees such an Opposition to the Commissioners and 
/ their Officers, and such a Defiance to the Authority 
by which they are appointed, continually growing, 
that he can no longer excuse his informing his Lord 
ship of the Detail of the Facts, from whence the 
most dangerous Consequences are to be expected." 

1 Letters to the Ministry from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Com 
modore Hood. And also Memorials to the Lords of the Treasury, from the 
Commissioners of the Customs. Boston, Edes and Gill, 1769, pp. 108. This 
volume contains extracts from the letters of Bernard, beginning with that to 
Shelburne of January 21, 1768, and ending with that to Hillsborough of 
October 14, 1768, and also considerable material relating to the seizure of the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 399 

It is ob-[4] serveable here, how artfully he connects 
an Opposition to the Commissioners with a Defiance 
of the Authority by which they are appointed ; and 
this with an apparent Design to represent this Town 
as disaffected to his Majesty s Government in gen 
eral, than which nothing can be more false and ma 
licious. That the People should entertain the high 
est Disgust of a Board, instituted to superintend a 
Revenue to be rais d from them without their Con 
sent, which was and still is exacted with the utmost 
Rigor, is natural ; after they had so loudly as well as 
justly complain d of the Revenue itself, as depriving 
them of the very Idea of Liberty : But it cannot be 
said with the least Appearance of Truth that they set 
at Defiance the King s Authority, at the very Time 
when they were actually yielding Obedience to those 
Revenue Laws, under all the Hardships of them, and 
were patiently waiting for the happy Issue of their 
just Complaints, and their humble Petitions to their 
Sovereign for the Redress of their Grievances. The 
Commissioners had however at that Time surely 
no reasonable Grounds to expect any Injury to their 
Persons or Interruption in their Office ; for they had 
been more than four Months in the Town, without 
the least Danger of this Kind, altho they had from 
their first Arrival discover d such an Arrogance & 
Insolence of Office, as led many Persons to appre 
hend, that they aim d at nothing less than provoking 
the People to such a Degree of Intemperance as to 
make an Appearance of it. But being disappointed 
in this, mere Shifts and Pretensions are to be sought 
after ; and accordingly we find Mr. Bernard beginning 

400 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

his "Detail " to his Lordship with telling him there 
had been " frequent Reports of Insurrections in 
tended, in which it had been said, the Houses of one 
or more of the Commissioners were to be pulled 
down." The Governor, it is to be observed, relies 
much upon Reports in his Letters even to Ministers 
of State, while few if any among us ever heard of 
such Reports : He does not so much as attempt to 
make it appear to his Lordship that these frequent 
Reports were brought to him by Persons of Credit, 
or that they were well grounded ; and it is very much 
to be questioned, whether he received his Intelligence 
from any other Persons, but the Commissioners 
themselves, their Dependents and Expectants, the 
Number of whom are increas d to an enormous De 
gree, more than sufficient to devour the whole Rev 
enue, and many of them are of the most abandon d 
Characters. [5] 

But to give a Colouring to these Ideas of an In 
surrection, there must be something more alledged 
than barely that there had been frequent Reports of 
its being intended ; and therefore his Lordship is 
told of an Event which in Fact took place as some 
few remember, but the Story is wrought up by the 
Governor with all the Strokes of masterly Invention 
to serve the Purpose. " A Number of Lads, says 
he, paraded the Town with a Drum and Horn." 
And what possible Harm could there be in that? 
Why among other Houses " they passed by the 
Council-Chamber when he was sitting in Council : " 
And did they stop to insult the Governor and Coun 
cil ? Such a Circumstance would doubtless have em- 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 401 

bellished his Excellency s Narrative. Their passing 
by however carried the Air of an Insult, tho in all 
Likelihood the unlucky Boys might not know that his 
Excellency was there. But they had " assembled be 
fore Mr. Paxton s House," and lest it should be for 
got, his Lordship is reminded that Mr. Paxton is " a 
Commissioner. " And did they do Mr. Paxton the 
Commissioner any injury ? Yes truly ; " they huzza d," 
and went off. Then they " invested Mr. Burch s 
House," and his Lordship is also told, that Mr. 
Burch is " another Commissioner, " and " his Lady 
and Children were obliged to go out of the Back 
Door to avoid the Danger that was threaten d ; " so 
that they were not threatened with Mischief, but 
with Danger only. It has been usual for the Com 
missioners to affect an Apprehension of Danger to 
themselves and their Families, to serve the Purposes 
they had in View. There is indeed no accounting 
for the real Fears of Women and Children : The 
Ladies however can sometimes vie with their Hus 
bands in Intrigue, and are thoroughly vers d in the 
Art even of political Appearance. And it is said 
that all are Politicians in this Country : Whether 
this Lady, whom Gov. Bernard has politely ushered 
into the View of the Public, really thought herself in 
Danger or not, it is incumbent on him to show that 
there were just Grounds for her Apprehensions, that 
Mr. Burch s House was in Fact "invested," and that 
" the most dangerous Consequences were to be ex 
pected." The World may be assured, there was not 
the least Appearance of this Kind ; and yet, these 
are Mr. Bernard s own Declarations to his Majesty s 

VOL. I. 26. 

402 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Ministers, grounded upon vague & idle Reports, be 
neath one of his Rank [6] and Station to take any 
notice of, & especially with a Design to misrepresent. 
He expresses a Surprize, & surely he must counter 
feit it, that this Matter of " the Parade with the 
Drum and Horn," was after all treated as the Diver 
sion of a few Boys, as it is still thought to have been 
by all who can remember so trifling an Occurrence, 
except the Governor and his Adherents the Diver 
sion of a few innocent, tho perhaps vulgar Boys, who 
neither did nor intended to do the least Harm to 
them or any other Persons, nor were they able to 
effect it, if they had such a Design. But after this, 
says Mr. Bernard, " it was reported, that the Insurrec 
tion was postponed till the i8th of March " -The Idea 
is still kept up of a designed Insurrection, how else 
could it be postponed! and " two Persons, says he, 
one of them Mr. Paxton, a Commissioner, were men 
tioned as devoted to the Resentment of the Mob." 
It is strange that no Persons should have heard of 
all this but the Governor and his Informers ; for he 
tells his Lordship that he "took all the Pains he 
could to discover the Truth of this Report " ; and 
" on the very Day before, he spoke with the most 
knowing Men he could procure ", who had heard 
nothing about the Matter. At length, however, 
" late in the Evening, he had certain Advice that 
Effigies were prepared, but it was too late to do 
any Thing, and his Information was of that Nature, 
he could not make Use of it in Public k." To induce 
his Lordship however to believe that the Reports of 
the Insurrection, which was postponed to the i8th of 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 403 

March, with every Circumstance as just now related, 
were well grounded, he tells him, as if it was designed 
to be the Prelude to the whole, that " early in the 
Morning the Sheriff informed him that the Effigies of 
Mr. Paxton and Mr. Williams were in Truth hanging 
upon Liberty-Tree " ! There was in the Time of it, 
a strong Suspicion in the Minds of many, that these 
Effigies were hung up by some particular Persons on 
that Day (which was to be observed as a Day of Fes 
tivity), with a Design to give a Colouring to just such 
a Representation as Gov. Bernard now makes. 
There are Persons here capable of playing such a 
Game ; and there are some Circumstances which 
make it appear that such a Suspicion was not ground 
less. Particularly it is difficult to account for Gov 
ernor Bernard s neglecting to give Orders to prevent 
their being hung up after he certainly knew it was 
[7] intended ; and that he should pretend it was 
too late the Evening before ; but especially, his not 
chusing to make Use of his Information, or it may 
rather be supposed his Informants Name is pub- 
lick, unless it was thro Fear of discovering the 
Plot, is dark and unaccountable If there was a De 
sign of this Nature, it must have been truly mor 
tifying to those who were in the Secret, that the 
Design was so soon frustrated : For before the 
Governor could meet his Council, which he had 
prudently " the Day before summoned to meet, " 
and while he was sending round to get them to 
gether as soon as possible it might be ; amidst all 
these careful Preparations, the Effigies, says the Gov 
ernor, " were taken down by some of the Neighbours 


4 o 4 / THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

without Opposition " ! Their being thus, perhaps 
unexpectedly, taken down, is sufficient to evince 
the good Disposition of the Inhabitants in general : 
That They were not in the Plan of an Insurrection, 
whoever else might be, and that the Governor there 
fore might with Safety, if he had been so inclirid, make 
use of his Information in Public It might possibly in 
deed have totally overthrown his Design in writing 
this very Letter to his Lordship. 

But the best Improvement is to be made of every 
Appearance : Accordingly the Governor hastens to 
his Council, who were then met, agreeable to his Ap 
pointment the Day before, and there he tells his Lord 
ship, he " set forth in strong Terms the Attrociousness 
of this Insult ; the Danger of its being followed by 
actual Violence, and the Necessity there was of pro 
viding for the Peace of the Town." However attro- 
cious the Insult might be, where could be the Danger 
of its being followed by actual Violence, when some 
of the Inhabitants themselves, had taken down the 
Effigies, with, at least the tacit Consent of the whole 
Community ; for it was done without the Opposition 
expected, perhaps hoped for : And what Necessity 
of providing for the Peace of the Town, when the 
People already discover d so peaceable a Disposition. 
It would doubtless have pleas d the Governor well, if 
his Council had advis d to some severe Measures ; 
such as might have afforded a firmer Foundation for 
him to have represented the Town as upon the Eve 
of an Insurrection, than groundless Reports or Infor 
mations, from his own Pimps, which it was not pru 
dent [8] for him to make use of in publick. But "all 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 405 

he could say " to that Purpose, tho he strove hard for 
it, " made no Impression on the Council;" They, 
says he, " persever d in treating the Affair as of no 
Consequence," as well they might ; for it is question 
able after all, whether there was the least Apprehen 
sion then of any Commotion even in the Mind of the 
Governor himself, whatever were his Pretensions. 
The Commissioners however took this Opportunity 
" of setting forth the Danger they apprehended "; 
and the Governor, very readily no doubt, took the 
Occasion to acquaint the King s Minister, that he 
had receiv d a Letter from the Commissioners, " de 
siring the Protection of the Government 

Mr. Bernard proceeds in his Narrative, and enter 
tains his Lordship with a very minute Account of the 
Celebration of the Anniversary of the Repeal of the 
Stamp-Act; and "the terrible Night it produc d"- 
to Mr. Burch, one of the Commissioners, and his Lady 
and Children who had mov d to his House for Safety ; 
" to the Lieutenant-Governor and the Sheriff of 
the County who were also with him " ; and in fine to 
all " those who thought themselves Objects of the 
popular Fury." It may be here observed as in gen 
eral true, that no Man has Reason to fear the popu 
lar Fury, but he who is conscious to himself of having 
done that which has expos d him to their just Resent 
ment -The Governor himself owns that "the Se 
lectmen of the Town " and " some others," and even 
the Gentlemen who dined at two Taverns near the 
Town-House, upon the Occasion of the Day "took 
great Pains that the Festivity should not produce a 
Riot." There is no Reason to suppose this was 

406 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

mention d for the Sake of giving a Credit to any of 
those Gentlemen, but rather to insinuate that the Peo 
ple were so outrageously dispos d as that they could 
not be restrain d even by their own Leaders ; for most 
of those whom the Governor had honor d with that 
Character were present. The Truth is, none of them 
were apprehensive that their Festivity would produce 
a Riot ; but they were careful to prevent the lighting 
a Bonfire, because the Governor had constantly rep 
resented that as " the usual Signal for a Mob " ; and 
the Joys of the Evening among the lower Sort, which 
however innocent [9] are sometimes noisy, would of 
Course be represented as riotous. And thus he did 
in Fact represent it to his Lordship ; for he tells him 
that " many Hundreds of People of all Kinds, Sexes 
and Ages, paraded the Streets with Yells and 

Outcries" That they " invested Mr. Williams s 

House"- -That "at two different Times about Mid 
night they made Outcries about Mr. Paxton s House ". 
And tho after all, he owns it was " out of mere Wan 
tonness", yet he says the whole made it a terrible 
Night". This is Painting indeed, much beyond the 
Life : But Mr. Bernard has the Art in Perfection. 
He could not however perswade even General Gage, 
to give it such a Colouring ; for the General in his 
Letter to Lord Hillsborough dated Boston the 3ist 
of October 1 768, tells his Lordship quite otherwise ; 
and that "according to the best Information he had 
been able to procure, the Disturbance in March 
(which was this very Instance) far from being " terri 
ble as the Governor represents it, was in Truth "tri 
fling". This being the Account given by one of the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 407 

principal Servants of the Crown in America, and who 
has discover d himself far from being partial in favor 
of the Town, it is needless to add any Thing further 
on this Head Trifling as indeed this " Disturb 
ance" was, such Improvements were made of it by 
Governor Bernard and others, that it occasion d the 
ordering two Regiments from Halifax to this Town 
for a Purpose for which the military Power was cer 
tainly never design d ; a very dangerous Purpose, and 
abhorrent to the British Constitution and the Spirit 
of a free Government, namely to Support the Civil 
Authority A Measure which has caus d continual 
Terror to his Majesty s peaceable Subjects here, and 
has been productive of more Disturbance and Confu 
sion than has been known in the Memory of any now 
living, or than is recorded by any Historian, even the 
most partial against this Country. 

We shall now take Notice of Governor Bernard s 
Letter to the Earl of Hillsborough, dated Boston, 
June n, 1768, wherein he gives his Lordship an 
Account " of a great Riot that happened in this Town 
the preceding Evening." And it must be confess d 
there was a Riot on that Evening, which is by no 
means to be justify d. It was however far from being 
so great an one as the Governor represents it to [ioj 
be. The Collector and Comptroller of the Customs 
indeed represent it as a " numerous Mob," 1 but they 
being particularly interested, their Fears might de 
ceive them. It was not a numerous Mob ; nor was it 
of long Continuance, neither was there much Mischief 

1 Affidavit of Benjamin Hallowell, Jr., Comptroller of Customs at Boston. 
Letters to the Ministry, p. 92. 

4 o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

done. It was occasioned by the unprecedented & 
unlawful Manner of seizing a Vessel by the Collector 
and Comptroller : And considering their illegal Pro 
ceedings in making the Seizure, attended with the 
most irritating Circumstances which occasioned this 
Mob the intolerably haughty Behaviour which the 
Commissioners who ordered this Seizure, had con 
stantly before discovered towards the People the 
frequent Threats which had been given out, that the 
Town should be put under a Military Government, 
and the armed Force actually employ d as a Prelude 
to it, it cannot be wondered at, that in a populous 
Town, such high Provocations, and the sudden Exer 
tion of Lawless Power, should excite the Resentment 
of some Persons beyond the Bounds of Reason, and 
carry them into Excess. We cannot state the Cir 
cumstances of this Affair with greater Impartiality, 
than by reciting the Sentiments of his Majesty s 
Council after two Days Enquiry and Consideration, 
in their own Expressions, viz. 

"His Excellency having laid before the Board a 
Representation of some Transactions relating to, and 
in Consequence of the Disorders in the Town of Bos 
ton on the Evening of the loth of June last, the Board 
think it necessary in Justice to the Town and Province, 
and in Vindication of themselves, to make some Ob 
servations thereon, and to give a fuller Representation 
than is contained in the Paper laid before the Board. 

" With Regard to the said Disorders, it is to be ob 
served that they were occasioned by the making a 
Seizure (in a Manner unprecedented) in the Town of 
Boston on the said loth of June, a little before Sun- 



set, when a Vessel was seized by several of the Officers 
of the Customs ; and immediately after, on a Signal 
given by one of said Officers, in Consequence of a 
preconcerted Plan, several armed Boats from the 
Romney Man of War took Possession of her, cut her 
Fasts, and carried her from the Wharff where she 
lay, into the Harbour, along side the Romney ;[ii] 
which occasioned a Number of People to be collected, 
some of whom, from the Violence and Unprecedent- 
edness of the Procedure with Regard to the taking 
away of the said Vessel, and the Reflection thereby 
implied upon the Inhabitants of the Town as disposed 
to rescue any Seizure that might be made, took Occa 
sion to insult and abuse the said Officers, and after 
wards to break some of the Windows of their Dwell- 
ing-Houses, and to commit other Disorders. Now, 
tho the Board have the utmost Abhorrence of all 
such disorderly Proceedings, and would by no Means 
attempt to justify them, they are obliged to mention 
the Occasion of them, in order to shew, that however 
culpable the said disorderly Persons were, the Officers 
who seized, or those by whose Orders such unusual 
and violent Measures as were pursued in seizing and 
taking away the said Vessel, were not faultless : It 
being highly probable that no such Disorders would 
have been committed, if the Vessel had not been with 
an armed Force, and with many Circumstances of 
Insult and Threats, carried away from the Wharff." 

The Council further say, " With Regard to what 
happen d on the loth of June, it seems to have 
sprung wholly from the Persons who complain of it, 
by the Plan laid and the Orders given for making the 

4 io THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Seizure aforesaid, and carrying it away by an armed 
Force. Which Circumstances, together with the 
Time of Day of seizing the Vessel, makes it seem 
probable that an Uproar was hoped for and intended 
to be occasioned by the Manner of Proceeding in 
making the Seizure." 

From this impartial State of the Matter, it must 
evidently appear to every candid Mind, that the 
Opposition was made, not at all to the seizing of the 
Vessel by the Officers of the Customs, but wholly to 
the Mariner in which it was secured ; and that if it 
had been done in the usual Manner, as the Council 
afterwards say, " it would have remain d secure in the 
Hands of the Officers"- -This corresponds with the 
Commissioners own Account ; for they say in their 
Letter to Governor Bernard, June I2, 1 that they 
received a verbal Message from the People to the 
following Purpose, " that if the Sloop seiz d was 
bro t back [12] to Mr. Hancock s Wharff, upon Se 
curity given to answer the Prosecution, the Town 
might be kept quiet". But this pacific Proposal, 
tho brought to them as they acknowledge "by a 
Person of Credit", they expresly declare "appear d 
to them as a Menace", and it was in Fact one of their 
very Reasons for requesting the Governor to give 
Directions that they might be received into the 
Castle for Protection So totally regardless were they 
of the Peace of the Town, and so excessively fond of 
being thought by others as important as they fancied 
themselves to be, that when this reasonable and 
timely Proposal was brought to them even by a 

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 95, 96. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 411 

Person of Credit in their oivn Esteem, they haughtily 
reply d, that " they gave no Answers to verbal Mes 
sages ", which plainly indicated either a Wantonness 
of Power in them beyond all Bounds, or the Hopes 
if not the Intentions of a further Uproar. 

Governor Bernard tells his Lordship that this Riot 
" had very bad Consequences ", which is undoubtedly 
true : The exaggerated Accounts which he and the 
Commissioners gave of it to the Ministry, and their 
taking Occasion to represent the Town itself as in a 
State of Disobedience to all Law and Authority, and 
indeed the whole Continent as ripe for a Revolt, 
were attended with the worst of Consequences to the 
Town. The Commissioners say in plain Terms that 
there had been a long & extensive Plan of Resist 
ance to the Authority of Great-Britain", and that 
"the Seizure refered to "had hastened the People of 
Boston to the Commission of actual Violence sooner 
than was intended ". Such inflammatory Represen 
tations as these had the Effects which they had long 
wish d-for ; and induc d the Ministry to order two 
other Regiments to this Town ; the Consequence of 
which, if they or any of them are continued, it is to 
be fear d, far from reconciling the People to the 
present Measures of Administration, will only in 
crease their Discontent, and even alienate their 

The Governor in the Postscript to his Letter, June 
I3, 1 mentions his having Intelligence from the Com 
missioners of some Particulars from whence they 
concluded, that they were immediately expos d to 

1 Letters to the Ministry^ p. 21. 

4 i2 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

further Violences, and desir d Protection at the 
Castle. This Intelligence is contain d in their Letter 
of June 12, just now mention d, wherein [13] they 
take upon themselves to charge the Government 
with having used no Measures for securing the Peace 
of the Town, alledging in general Terms that "there 
was the strongest Reason to expect further Violences." 
And they further say, that " His Excellency himself 
had acquainted them that Boston was no Place of 
Safety for them" . Here we see that the Intelligence 
which the Governor represents to his Lordship as 
having been receiv d by him from the Commissioners, 
he first communicated to them ; and thereupon they 
grounded their pretended Fears in their Letter to 
him, and desire the Protection of the Government. 
This is all of a Piece, and may serve to explain the 
frequent Rumours of an Insurrection, mention d in a 
former Letter, and from what Quarter these frequent 
Rumours came. It shows the Combination, and the 
settled Design, of the Governor and the Commis 
sioners, to blacken the Character of the Town ; and 
how dextrously they can play into each others Hands 
-The Governor the next Day, June I3, 1 wrote to 
the Commissioners, and acquainted them, that " hav 
ing communicated their Letter of the i2th to the 
Council, they desired him to inform them that during 
the Sitting of the Council on Saturday Morning, 
there was no Reason at all given to expect further 
Violences, and that there was no Apprehension either 
in the Governor or the Council of an immediate 
Danger." It is incumbent on the Governor, or his 

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 98, 99. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 413 

Friend, if he has any, to reconcile this with what he 
had before told the Commissioners, " that Boston 
was no Place of Safety for them". It seems Gov. 
Bernard was perpetually teizing the Council with the 
Commissioners vague Reports of an Insurrection, 
and of the Danger they were in ; and indeed it ap 
pears to be the main Point in View to perswade the 
Council if possible into a Belief of it, or if not, to 
form a Complaint to the Ministry that they were 
negligent of their Duty in not advising to proper 
Measures for the Protection of the Commissioners ; 
and from thence to enforce a Necessity of military 
Force to restore and support Government in 
Boston Why did he not lay before the Council the 
Particulars, which he tells his Lordship he had re- 
ceiv d from the Commissioners, from whence they 
concluded that they were expos d to further Violences? 
This we hear nothing of ; perhaps the Intelligence, 
like that which he mentions in a [14] former Letter, 
" was of such a Nature that he could not make use 
of it in Publick." He indeed tells the Commissioners 
that "he had inform d the Council of their present 
Apprehensions of further Violences, and that they 
were then taking the same into Consideration." But 
he should have fairly represented this Matter to the 
Commissioners, and told them that the Council had 
already taken the same into Consideration, and come 
to a Conclusion, as in Fact they had ; for by their 
own Minutes we find, that "the Matter being fully 
debated, it appeared to the Board that there was no 
immediate Danger of fresh Disturbances." They at 
the same Time advis d that the Matter shouldbe laid 

4 i4 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

before the General Court then Sitting, and postponed 
the Consideration of it by them, as of Council to the 
Governor, till the Effect of such a Proposal should 
be known. All this the Governor knew ; how then 
could he consistently say that they were then taking 
it into Consideration. He tells Lord Hillsborough 
that " He was against the business being laid before 
the General Court, but was oblig d to give it up "; 
and that "he had many Objections to the Measure." 
He knew very well that the drawing this Matter into 
open Day-Light, would effectually defeat his Design ; 
and that the Intention of bringing the Council, if 
possible, to join with the Governor in requiring the 
military Force, or accusing them of Negligence in 
Case they did not, would thereby be entirely frus 
trated. The removing the Business to the General 
Court, he tells his Lordship, was however, upon one 
Consideration, not "entirely to his Dissatisfaction;" 
for he says, it was then in a great Measure " taken 
out of his Hands"; and he concludes, that "as he 
cannot conduct this Business as it ought to be," or 
rather as he chose it should be, "it may be best for 
him to have but little Hand in it." 1 It may not be 
amiss here to recite the Declaration of his Majesty s 
Council at a full Board on the 2Qth of July, six Weeks 
after the Commissioners voluntary Exile to the Cas 
tle in Consequence of these pretended Apprehensions 
of further Violences. The Council say, "the Com 
missioners were not oblig d to quit the Town ; there 
never had been any Insult offered to them ; their 
quitting the Town was a voluntary Act of their own ; 

1 Letters to the Ministry, p. 24. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 415 

we do not apprehend there was any sufficient Ground 
for their quitting it ; and, when they [15] had quitted 
it, and were at the Castle, there was no Occasion for 
Men of War to protect them." Such an Authority, 
will, no doubt, be deem d sufficient to vindicate the 
Town from this Aspersion ; especially, As the Coun 
cil had then had Time cooly to recollect the Matter : 
As they had born their full Testimony against the 
Disorders, and taken every Step which belong d to 
their Department, to bring the Offenders to condign 
Punishment : But more especially, as that very 
Board had always before supported the Governor s 
Measures to the utmost Extent that their Con 
sciences would allow, and many Times against the 
general Sentiments of the People, for which they had 
gain d the Governor s Applause, and his particular 
Recommendations to his Majesty s Minister ; and he 
himself could at this Time have no other Exception 
to any Part of their Conduct, but their Opposition to 
his favorite Plan, to introduce a military Government 
into the Town, without the least Colour of Necessity, 
and thereby to break thro the Mounds, and tear up 
the very Foundation of the civil Constitution. 

The Governor in his Letter to Lord Hillsborough 
of the I4th of June, being resolved to give his Lord 
ship an exact Detail of every Occurrence " from 
whence the most dangerous Consequences are to be 
expected," takes Occasion to mention "a Paper stuck 
up on Liberty Tree." This Paper, he had said in his 
Letter of the i3th, contain d "an Invitation of the 
Sons of Liberty to meet at Six o Clock to clear the 
Land of the Vermin which were come to devour 

4 i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

them." A very innocent, if not a laudable Proposal, 
for which the Country should think itself oblig d to 
them, to be sure if they could have effected their De- 
sign. But in this Letter it is called " a violent and 
virulent Invitation to rise that Night to clear the 
County of the Commissioners & their Officers, to 
avenge themselves of the Custom-house Officers, & 
put one of them to Death ? " And, still more alarm 
ing, "there were also some indecent Threats against 
the Governor ! " Could the Governor think that by 
the Vermin that were come to devour the Land they 
meant his Excellency and the Commissioners ! But 
perhaps the Mind of the Sheriff who brought this 
Information to the Governor was somewhat agitated 
with the Fears of an Insurrection ; and moreover, we 
may presume that he had not seen the Paper himself, 
but took it from Report, in Conformity to the Exam 
ple of the [16] Governor, who believ d or pretended to 
believe every Word of it, till he had the mortifying 
Sight of the true Contents of this very important 
Paper ; of which the following as he himself at length 
tells his Lordship is "an exact Copy" viz. Boston, 
June 13, 1768. The Sons of Liberty request all 
those who in this Time of Oppression and Distraction 
wish well to and would promote the Peace, Good- 
Order and Security of the Town and Province, 
to assemble at Liberty-Hall under Liberty Tree 
on Tuesday the 14th Instant, at Ten o Clock 1 pre 
cisely. 2 It might have been suppos d that so 

1 The word "forenoon" appears here in the copy of the notice as incor 
porated in Bernard s letter, in Letters to the Ministry, p. 23. 

2 The draft in the autograph of Adams (Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Li 
brary) begins at this point, and continues, with many variations of detail, into 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 417 

harmless a Thing would have given Offence to none. 
In the first Place, the Matters alledg d in it were con 
fessedly true : That this was a Time of Oppression, 
the People all felt : That it was a Time of Distrac 
tion, the Governor and the Commissioners loudly pro- 
claim d : A Design then at such a Time to promote 
the Peace, Good-Order, and Security of the Town, 
was at least unexceptionable. But the Governor 
complains that " it was not considered as an Implica 
tion of Danger " : Strange would it have been indeed, 
if so salutary a Proposal as the promoting the Peace,^ 
Good-Order and Security of the Town had been thus 
considered. " Neither, says he, was the Impropriety 
of the Sons of Liberty appointing a Meeting to secure 
the Peace of the Town, when the Governor and Coun 
cil were sitting upon that Business, and seemly to little 
Purpose, taken much Notice of." But surely if the 
Governor and Council could be supposed to be sitting 
upon siich Business, at such a Time, and seemingly to 
little Purpose, there could be no great Impropriety in 
other Peoples undertaking it. But without adopting 
by any Means the Measure, Is not here a striking In 
stance of the Disposition of Governor Bernard, and 
some others, to receive with the greatest Avidity the 
most aggravated Accounts of every trifling Occur 
rence that has happened, and without any Enquiry, 
to paint them to the Ministry in the deepest 1 Colours ! 
Behold a Meeting, the profess d Design of which was 
to promote the Peace, Good-Order and Security of 

page 28 of the text of the original edition. Tudor, however, claimed that it 
was the " joint production " of Otis and Adams. Life of James Otis, p. 366. 
1 The draft reads "highest." 

VOL. I. 27. 

4 i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

the Town, and that in open Day-Light, represented 
to the King s Minister as a Meeting design d to be 
held at six o Clock, near Sun-set, 1 in one Letter ; and 
in another the next Day, " a most violent and virulent 
Invitation to rise that Night ! and clear the Country 
of the Commissioners, threaten the Governor, and 
[17] commit Murder " ! In Consequence of which he 
tells the Council, there is " no Time to enquire into 
the Particulars of the former Riot ". They are to 
be hurried to Measures to provide for \h& Peace of the 
Town;" and to prevent "new Disturbances premedi 
tated " and " immediately threatned " ; and his Lord 
ship is to be forthwith inform d of it. Certainly, every 
candid Person will from hence be inclin d to believe 
all that Governor Bernard relates to the Prejudice 
of this Town, or any particular Persons, with Great 

His Letter of the i6th of June, 2 for he seem d to 
be almost every Day employ din writing his "Detail 
of common Reports, gives the Earl of Hillsborough 
an Account of "the Meeting at Liberty-Tree in pur 
suance of the printed Notice ". And after entertaining 
his Lordship with a particular tho awkard and in 
consistent description of the Tree, the vast Heighth 
of the Flag Staff, and the Design of hoisting the 
Flag, namely "for a Signal," which to be sure must 
be a Discovery quite new to his Lordship, he proceeds 
to say ; that " at least 4000 Men assembled ", that 

1 In place of the following nine words, the draft reads : with a design to 
clear the Land of Vermin for these are the Expressions of the first Letter & the 
next day explaind & called." 

* Letters to the Ministry, pp. 25-27. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 419 

" the principal Gentlemen attended to engage the 
lower People to concur in Measures for Peace and 
Quiet ", which was the profess d End of their Meeting 
that " one of the Selectmen was chosen Moderator 
or Chairman" that they adjourn d to the Town- Hall " 
for the Accommodation of so large a Number. 
And there it being "objected that they were not a 
legal Meeting " they adjourn d to the Afternoon," he 
should have said, broke up; and the Selectmen in 
stead of " legalizing the Assembly" as it is oddly ex- 
press d, call d a Town-Meeting agreeable to the Di 
rections of the Law, to meet in the Afternoon. All 
this was certainly an innocent Proceeding, and the 
Governor himself, it is presumed did not think other 
wise, for it happens for once, that he makes no par 
ticular Remarks upon it ; and if it should be said of 
them, that they met seemingly to little Purpose, it 
might be said truly enough ; but it is to be remem 
bered, that another Assembly, with their Chairman 
at their Head, if the Governor s ludicrous Account of 
the Meeting of that very respectable Body could be 
credited, might in that Respect keep them in Coun 
tenance. But innocent as it was, 1 the Governor did 
not chuse it should be [18] thought that he view d it 
in that Light, and therefore told the Council, and his 
Lordship afterwards, that " had it been the first Busi 
ness of the Kind, he should have asked their Advice, 
whether he should not send to the General for 
Troops" \ And to show his own excessive Fondness 
for so arbitrary and violent a Measure, he adds, that 

1 The draft at this point includes the words : both in its Effects & professd 
Design ". 

420 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

"he was ready to do it, if any one Gentleman would 
propose it ! " 

The Governor then proceeds to give a Detail of 
the Meeting of the Town in the Afternoon ; in which 
he tells his Lordship, that " many wild and violent 
Proposals were made." It ought here to be ob 
served, that Governor Bernard constantly represents 
Bodies of Men, even the most respectable, by Pro 
posals made by Individuals, which have been mis- I 
represented by Pimps and Parasites, and perhaps._\ 
aggravated by himself, instead of allowing them to 
stand or fall by their own Conclusions Can any 
Thing be more base, more contrary to Equity than 
this ? What should we think of the most respectable 
Corporations at Home what even of both Houses 
of Parliament, if they were to be judged of by every 
Motion that has been made, or every Expression that 
has drop d from Individuals in the Warmth of De 
bates. If it had been true that such Proposals were 
made, nay, if measures that could not have been alto 
gether justified, had been even adopted by the Town, 
at a Time when every Art had been practiced to 
irritate the People, and inflame their Minds, the can 
did Part of Mankind would have been ready to over 
look it. The Governor has often been observed to 
discover an Aversion to free Assemblies : No Wonder 
then that he should be so particularly disgusted at a 
legal Meeting of the Town of Boston, where a noble 
Freedom of Speech is ever expected and maintained : 
An Assembly of which it may be justly said, to borrow 
the Language of the ancient Roman, with a little Vari- 

1 Most of the remainder of page 18 is lacking in the draft. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 421 

ation, S entire quae volunt et quae senticat dicere licet, 
They think as they please, and speak as they think. 
Such an Assembly has ever been the Dread often the 
Scourge of Tyrants But these " wild and violent 
Proposals," which no one can recollect but the Gover 
nor, and perhaps his Informers, it seems were " warded 
off" as the Governor is pleas d to express it, from 
whence it may be suppos d that Prudence directed at 
this Meeting, " ori[i9]ginated and compos d as (he 
says) it was " By these Expressions it is conceiv d, 
he would intimate to his Lordship that it was both il 
legal and tumultuous ; and if that was his real Inten 
tion, the Insinuation was both false and injurious. 
The Meeting was "originated" as the Law directs, 
and nothing was there concluded upon according to 
the Governor s own Account, but the Appointment 
of a Committee, which he himself says " in general 
was very respectable," to wait on him "with a Peti 
tion"; the receiving his Answer, as he is pleas d to 
say, with " universal Approbation " ! writing a Letter 
to a Friend, and voting such Instructions as they tho t 
proper to their Representatives. After which he tells 
his Lordship they "broke up quietly" and the Meet 
ing ended." But notwithstanding this quiet and as 
may be concluded by the Governor s Account of it, 
coalziing Town Meeting, which consisted of so large 
a Number, and among whom he himself was so " popu 
lar" that even "the Moderator declared that he 
really believ d he was a Well-wisher to the Province." 
(Thus saith Governor Bernard, but no one remembers 
or believes it) yet all this will not avail to soften his 
Mind or alter his Intentions. And altho he tells his 

422 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Lordship "the Romney and a Sloop of 16 Guns just 
come in will compleat the Command of all the Ap 
proaches to the Castle, and other Ships of War are 
expected, so that the Security of the Commissioners 
is effectually provided for " ; yet the favorite Point 
will not be carried, till the long-wish d-for Troops ar 
rive, to enforce his arbitrary Designs, and suppress 
the Spirit of Liberty. And now is the Time, if ever, 
to press the Matter : Every Hand therefore must be 
set to work, and nothing will serve the Cause like 
continually holding up the idea of an Insurrection. 
Accordingly we find one of the Auxiliaries, whose 
Letter, tho anonimous, has Credit enough to appear 
in the List laid before Parliament, says "It is my _ 
Opinion that the Promoters of the present Evils arey 
..ready to unmask, and openly to discover their long and 
latent Design to REBEL" and "involve this Coun 
try in Blood and Horror"! Another anonimous 
Writer, who is said to be " well acquainted with the 
State of the Town of Boston", says, that "He ob 
serves a Sourness in the Minds of the People in gen 
eral", and adds, "He that runs may read, that without 
[20] speedy Interposition, a great Storm will arise." 
The Collector and Comptroller of the Customs men 
tion with deep Concern, as they affect to express them 
selves, "that a general Spirit of INSURRECTION pre 
vails, not only in the Town, but throughout the whole 
Provinces ."* The Commissioners themselves, in their 
Letter to General Gage, tell him, " that it is utterly 
impossible to carry on the Business of the Revenue 
in the Town of Boston, from the outrageous Behavior 

1 Letters to the Ministry, p. 101. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 423 

of the People : " They acquaint the General " of the 
alarming State of Things in the Town, and desire 
him to give them Protection." And tho Gov. Ber 
nard, when not so much on his Guard, or perhaps 
under some little Compunction of Mind, in his Letter 
to the Commissioners, June 13, gently chides them 
for their ill-grounded Fears, and tells them" he is very 
sorry that they think themselves so much in Danger 
in Boston (which he had before said was no Place of 
Safety for them) as to think it unsafe for them to re 
side there " ; notwithstanding all this, yet in the Let 
ter we are now considering, which was written nearly 
at the same Time, he positively assures his Lordship, 
that " if there is not a REVOLT, the Leaders must 
falsify their Words and change their Purposes." Per 
haps he would have been more consistent if he had 
imagined these Letters would ever have seen the 
Light. He concludes his Letter with mentioning a 
a few more " Papers stuck up on the Town House". 
No Evidence however appears to have accompanied 
all these heavy Charges upon a whole Community: 
But Gov. Bernard and others seem to have con 
ducted their Proscriptions as if they could have, even 
foreseen that the bold Assertions of Persons appar 
ently inimical to a Country, anonimous Letters, Street 
Conversation picked up by Pimps and Spies, and 
Papers stuck by no one knows whom on a publick 
Building, would be of so much Weight as to influence 
the Measures of Administration ! Can any Person 
believe this a just Representation, when Governor 
Bernard with all his industry and Aid has not been 
able to furnish Proof that any Body or Combination 

4 2 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

of Men, or even a single Person, had incur d a legal 
Penalty, if we except the Disturbances that happen d 
on March and June already considered. 

The Governor in his Letter of the Qth of July in 
forms his Lordship of a Mancevre, as he calls it, of the 
Sons of [21] Liberty ; a Number of them going out 
of Boston at the close of a certain Day in Parties, 
and meeting on each Side of a House in Roxbury, 
which Mr. Robinson (and his Lordship must be in- 
form d that he also was one of the Commissioners) 
had lately hired, with an Intention to surprize him 
and prevent his Escape ; but he being at the Castle, 
where the Commissioners had been driven for Safety, 
they did nothing but plunder his Fruit Trees. l This 
is a very solemn Account indeed ; but he never laid 
this " Mancevre of the Sons of Liberty", extraordi 
nary as it was, before the Council, which he never 
fail d to do on like Occasions ; thinking possibly, that 
respectable Body might be of Opinion, that a Gentle 
man of any political Party may be supposed to have 
had his Orchard or Fruit Gardens robb d by liquorish 
Boys, without making a formal Representation before 
his Majesty s first Ministers of State. As the Gov 
ernor will still have it that the Commissioners were 
"driven to the Castle for Safety", we take Occasion 
to observe here, that it was notorious, that they fre 
quently landed on the Main, and made Excursions 
into the Country ; visiting the Lieutenant-Governor 

1 In place of the following seven words the draft reads : " If there is any foun 
dation for this Story, which is very improbable, it being at this time a piece of 
News in the Town no doubt it is greatly exaggerated to serve the purpose which 
the Gov r had constantly in view." 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 425 

and other Gentlemen at their Seats, where it would 
have been easy to have seized them if any Injury had 
been intended them ; which as his Majesty s Council 
very justly have observed, " demonstrated the Insin 
cerity of their Declarations", as it did those of the 
Governor " that they immured themselves at the 
Castle for Safety ". 

Another Part of the Detail in this Letter is the 
Rescue of a Vessel which had been seiz d by the Cus- 
tom-House Officers. It seems by Governor Bernard s 
Account, it had been " thought proper to try an Ex 
periment " ; for says he, " When the Sloop was seiz d 
which occasion d the Riot, and in Consequence of 
which the Commissioners were oblig d to leave the 
Town, the greatest Part of the Resentment was ex- 
press d against the putting her under the Care of 
the Man of War " ; which was very true, and he 
might have also said, the making the Seizure with an 
armed Force, 1 and therefore, he adds, "when this 
Schooner was seiz d, it was left at the Wharff, under 
no other Care but two Custom-House Officers", in 
hopeful, no Doubt, if not certain Expectation that 
the Rescue would be made, from [22] whence it might 
possibly be made to appear that the Resentment 
against the Proceedings of the Custom-House Offi 
cers in the former Instance, as being violent and ille 
gal, was mere Pretence. The Rescue was made, and 
it was universally displeasing to the Town. The 
Governor says, " this very Molasses was the next 
Day return d," and tells his Lordship, that " the Se- 

1 At this point the draft includes the words : "which was unprecedented ille 
gal & justly alarming." 

426 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

lectmen of the Town sent for the Master of the 
Schooner," and " ordered him to return it, under Pain 
of the Displeasure of the Town " ; which is a gross 
Misrepresentation of the Matter and artfully de 
signed to prepare for the subsequent ungenerous Re 
mark, that " all Government is now in the Hands of 
the People." A good Magistrate would have re 
joiced in this Instance of the People s voluntarily af 
fording their Aid in the Recovery of the King s Due, 
which had been rescued from him, without torturing 
his Invention to find an ill-natured Construction for 
it: But Gov. Bernard is disturb d that "the Hu 
mour of the People," which he says this was done "to 
please," should ever coincide with their Duty to their 
Sovereign The voluntary Association of the People 
to promote Peace and good Order, he had before 
said "carried an Implication of Danger" to the Gov 
ernment ; and now, when they seem to unite in taking- 
Measures for the Execution of a Law, altho in 
its Nature disagreeable to the People, why truly " the 
Government is in the Hands of the People, and not 
of those deputed by the King, or under his Au 
thority." But if the People had a View to save their 
own Reputation in this Piece of Service to the 
Crown, as the Governor intimates, surely he will not 
say it was "ill-judged" or "ill-timed." The Truth 
is, they had a particular View at this Time to pre 
vent Governor Bernard s improving this Rescue, 
which they were in no Sort concerned in, to the 
Prejudice of the Town, as had been his constant 
Practice in other Cases, and as it now evidently ap 
pears he intended : And it was certainly a wise 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 427 

Precaution ; tho a candid Mind will by no Means 
exclude any other good Intentions. We cannot for 
bear taking Notice here with Freedom, of a very ex 
traordinary Assertion of Governor Bernard, in this 
Letter to his Lordship, That " every Seizure made, 
or attempted to be made on Land at Boston for these 
three Years past, before these two Instances, had been 
violently rescued or prevented." An As- [23] sertion 
so notoriously false, that few Men could have made 
it without Blushing ; and we may suppose even Gov 
ernor Bernard himself would not have made it, had 
he apprehended it would ever have become Public.* 
The Officers of the Customs themselves will not 
venture to affirm it. If the Assertion is true, his 
Majesty s Council must have been egregiously mis 
taken when they declare that " no Instance can be al- 
ledg d of any Vessel seiz d or any Seizure whatever in 
the Town of Boston being rescued out of the Hands 
of the Officers, except what took Place here on the 
8th of July Instant, when a Quantity of Molasses 
(this very Molasses) having been seiz d, was taken 
away from the Officers who had Charge of it ; which 
unwarrantable Proceeding being universally con- 
demn d, the Molasses was very soon return d " . As 

* It is remarkable that Governor Bernard, not long before these 
Letters were made public, expressed to a certain Gentleman, his ear 
nest Wish, that the People of this Province could have a Sight of all 
his Letters to the Ministry, being assured that they would thereby be 
fully convinced that he was a Friend to the Province Indeed he made 
a Declaration to the same Purpose, in one of his public Speeches to 
the House of Representatives. Upon the Arrival of the Letters how 
ever, he discovered, as some say, a certain Paleness, and complained 
of as an Hardship that his Letters, wrote in Confidence, should be ex- 
pos d to the View of the Public. A striking Proof of the Baseness, 
as well as the Perfidy of his Heart ! 

428 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

this base Story was invented and told by Gov. Ber 
nard, with the sole Intention of casting an Odium 
upon the Town, we have Reason to expect his Re 
traction of it ; or he must bear the Reproaches of 
an highly injur d Community, and the just Cen 
sures of all impartial Men. After these false and 
injurious Assertions, he thinks it a proper Time to 
acquaint his Lordship, that the one Regiment which 
he had the flattering Expectation of, from a Letter he 
had receiv d from General Gage, " tho it might secure 
the Castle, would not be sufficient to awe the Town"; 
which was in Effect asking for more. Thus we see 
the Means which Governor Bernard and his Confed 
erates have been incessantly using to accomplish their 
Designs ; and strange as it may in some better Times 
hereafter appear, these Means and these very Instru 
ments at Length prevail d to introduce a military 
Power into this Town A Power which is daily 
trampling on our Laws, contemning our [24] Religion, 
and invading the Rights both of Persons and Prop 
erty A Power by which a truly loyal but long- 
abus d and highly provok d Community, is, not indeed 
awed, but distress d And were it not for the certain 
Advice that our humble and dutiful Supplications 
have at Length reach d the Royal Hand, we should 
be reduc d even to a State of Desperation ! 

Governor Bernard in his Letter to Lord Hills- 
borough of the 1 6th of September, 1 begins with ac 
quainting his Lordship with \htprudent Methods he 
took, to communicate the Expectation of the Troops 
gradually, for Fear of certain ill Effects that might 

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 52-56. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 429 

arise from their sudden Arrival. And no wonder 
that the Man who had long been representing a 
whole Country as Rebels ; and had been one of the 
principal Instruments in bringing such a Curse upon 
it, should at that Juncture be under some Apprehen 
sions of Danger. In his last Letter he talks of his 
personal Courage, and tells Lord Hillsborough that 
" he did not feel his own Firmness of Mind to fail " : 
He also mentions " the spirited Condiict of the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor ; and with Pleasure assures his 
Lordship that " he could depend upon his Resolution 
and Steadiness as much as he could upon his own "/ 
from whence he concludes that " there would be no 
want of a due Enforcement of the Laws to the Cor 
rection of the present Abuses " : But now he seems 
to be conscious of Fear ! Happy was it for him, that 
he was in the Hands of a People ; who attended to 
the Dictates of sound Policy, Religion and Loyalty- 
He first opens this Matter to one of the Council, and 
tells him that "he had private Advice that Troops 
were order d hither, but that he had no publick 
Orders about it himself"; and he observes that "it 
quickly was very thoro ly circulated all over the 
Town," and the Faction immediately took the 
Alarm ". By this he would insinuate that the better 
Sort of the People, and even the Generality of the 
Town, were well enough pleas d with it. If the Fac 
tion only took the Alarm, the Generality of the Town 
must have been included in the Faction : For in Truth, 
he had the Mortification of seeing the whole Body 
of the People, saving his own very few Adherents 
who were properly an implacable Faction, thoro ly 



awakened and alarm d at the sudden Ex- [25] -pecta- 
tion of a military Force, which had indeed been often 
threatned by this Faction, but few realiz d it before 
And now the Pimps were all immediately sent out, 
who no Doubt were rewarded in Proportion to their 
Success in the Business ; and the Governor soon had 
Intelligence brought to him of the Conversation of 
"private Companies : And that in one " it was the 
general Opinion to raise the Country and oppose the 
Troops " ; in another " it was resolv d to surprize and 
take the Castle ". How ridiculously impertinent must 
he appear in the Eyes of Men of Sense, after all 
to acquaint his Lordship, that "he does not relate 
these Accounts as certain Facts." To what Purpose 
then did he relate them at all ! It seems that he was 
full as designing, in communicating to Lord Hills- 
borough, as he was in communicating to the People, 
tho his Designs were different : For the People 
were not to be told the whole that the Governor 
knew to be true ; but his Lordship was to be induc d 
to believe more : In either Case if the Purpose could 
be served, Sincerity was out of the Question. Un 
certain however as these Facts were, his Lordship is 
informed, that they were yet "believed" ! Strange, 
as they were said to be Facts of Yesterday, that no 
one, after all the Pains that had been taken, could 
make them certain ; and if they were not to be made 
certain, stranger still that any in their Senses should 
believe them. Some Men are very apt to believe that 
which they wish were true : This no doubt is the 
present Case. And besides, we are to remember, 
that more than two Regiments were wanted to awe 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 431 

the Town; and if the Governor could boldly say, 
that these Reports, vague as they were, had obtained 
any Credit here, no Matter by whom believed, they 
would have some Weight. But he must be presumed 
to think very injudiciously of the Head or the Heart 
of a Minister of State, to suppose that such an undi 
gested and ridiculous Account of Things would in 
fluence his Measures. Nothing, we should think, 
but the great Candor which has ever appeared in 
Lord Hillsborough towards Governor Bernard, could 
have prevented his severest Censure. But admitting 
they were true, which was by no Means the Case, 
certainly the Town is not accountable for what one 
of his Excellencies Spies might have overheard in a 
"private Company. "-Let us then consider the Ac 
count the Governor [26] gives of the public Conduct 
of the Town, at a Meeting legally called on Monday 
September 12. And first he says, "at the Hall the 
Faction appeared surrounded with all its Forces " ; 
and an Appearance very decent at least, it seems, they 
were capable of making according to the Governor s 
Account. For he tells his Lordship, " a Set of 
Speeches by the Chiefs of the Faction, and no one 
else, followed in such Order and Method, that every 
Thing both as to Matter and Order, seem d to have 
been preconcerted ; " while alas ! the " very few prin 
cipal Gentlemen there," the better Sort in the Gov 
ernor s Estimation, appeared " as curious, perhaps 
anxious Spectators " ! Where is now the little Re 
mains of an expiring Faction, which he had so often 
told the World of ? The Tone is wonderfully altered ; 
the Body of the People are now truly represented as 

432 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

united firm and regular in their Opposition to his 
Measures, while his own few partizans, who yet must 
be stiled " the principal Gentlemen" tho expecting 
every Moment to be " surrounded with all their 
Forces," appeared inquisitive and anxious for the 
Event ! But nothing was resolved upon, says the 
Governor, but to put two Questions to me, and ap 
point a general Committee to consider and report." 
The main Question to the Governor was, Whether 
he had certain Expectation of the Troops ? To 
which he answered with an artful Ambiguity that he 
had private Advice, but no publick Orders about it. 
His private Advice might have been certain ; or he 
might have had authentick publick Advice without 
publick Orders about it, for General Gage was Com 
mander in Chief of the King s Forces. Being how 
ever somewhat press d by the Committee who 
waited on him, he discover d a Duplicity for which 
he has a peculiar Talent, and said, that he would not 
have the Town certainly expect the Troops ; altho 
he then expected them himself, and fully believ d 
they were on their Passage from Halifax ; and in this 
Letter to Lord Hillsborough he tells him, that it was 
at that very Time his Intention to communicate these 
Expectations of them gradually His Account of 
divers Speeches made in the Town Meeting is as un 
certain, and with Regard to some of them, as untrue, 
as the Intelligence he had receiv d of the private 
Conversation : Perhaps it was carried to him by the 
same Hands, as some of his principal Gentlemen 
were there. [27] The Resolves and Determinations of 
this Meeting, as the Governor says, were published 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 433 

to the World ; and they remain on the Records of 
the Town that Posterity may judge of them. The 
Town has seen no Reason since to revoke these Re 
solves, notwithstanding they have been sentenc d as 
" very dangerous Resolves, procured by mad People ", 
by so exquisite a Judge, in Matters which regard 
civil Government, as well as so polite a Gentleman 
as General Gage. The Governor himself has been 
since respectfully requested by the Selectmen, in Be 
half of the Town, to shew in what Respect the Re 
solves and Proceedings of this very Meeting had 
militated with Law ; but he declined it : And we 
believe he declin d it, because he was not able to do 
it. Spirited indeed they were, but not too spirited 
for the Times. When the Constitution is threatened, 
the Principles of the Constitution must, if ever, be 
asserted and supported The Governor indeed takes 
Notice of our Claim to a certain Clause in the Bill 
of Rights as "a large Stride " : But as we are free 
British Subjects, we claim all that Security against 
arbitrary Power, to which we are entitled by the 
Law of God and Nature, as well as the British Con 
stitution. And if a Standing Army may not be post 
ed upon the Subjects in one Part of the Empire, in 
a Time of Peace, without their Consent, there can 
be no Reason why it should in any other ; for all 
British Subjects are or ought to be alike free. 

The Governor in a former Letter to Lord Hillsbor- 
ough mention d the Selectmens ordering the Arms 
belonging to the Town to be brought out and clean d ; 
and to make something of the Story, he told him that 
" they were expos d some Hours at the Town House " : 

VOL. I. 28. 

434 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

In this Letter he says " these Arms were deposited 
in Chests, and laid upon the Floor of the Town Hall 
to remind the People of the Use of them ". Could any 
one besides Governor Bernard, descend to so pitiful 
an Artifice as to insinuate that these Arms were 
clean d, expos d to the People, and finally laid on the 
Floor of the Hall at this Juncture, to induce his Lord 
ship to believe, that these were the Forces with which ] 
the Faction appear d surrounded ", and that the Se 
lectmen who are the principal City Magistrates, and 
the leading Part of the Town itself, were actually in 
the Plan which he had just before mentioned, as con 
certed in one of the private Meetings, " to raise the 
Country & oppose the Troops " : And [28] that 
these Arms deposited in Chests were laid on the 
Floor of the Hall, to " remind the People of the Use 
of them," and inspirit them for the Purpose of oppos 
ing the Troops. Whereas the simple Truth of the 
Matter is, these Arms had for many Years been de 
posited in Chests and laid on the Floor of the Town 
Hall ; but the Hall itself being burnt a few Years ago, 
the Arms were sav d from the Ruins and carried to 
the Town House : After the Hall was Re-built the 
Town ordered their Removal there ; and tho it hap- 
pen d to be done at a Juncture when the Governor 
and his Confederates talked much of the Town s re 
volting, there was no other Thought in the Minds of 
any, except the Governor and a few more, and it is a 
Question whether even he, or they, really thought 
otherwise, but to lodge them in their proper and 
usual Place. 

We cannot help taking Notice how very exact the 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 435 

Governor sometimes is even in the choice of Words, 
in his " Detail of Facts " to a Minister of State : 
An Instance of which we have now before us, wherein 
he mentions to his Lordship his inclosing " a blank 
Copy of the Precept (as he is pleas d to call it) which 
the Selectmen have used," it is a Wonder it was not 
issued, for that would have made it appear more format, 
"in calling together the Convention"; from whence 
he takes Occasion to say, it was " a daring Assump 
tion of the Royal Authority." Here then is the Trea 
son and Misprision of Treason, or a Part of it at least, 
about which there has been such an Eclat of late ; for 
which the Governor tells his Lordship in his Detail 
of the Convention, every Well-wisher of the Prov 
ince, of whom he is doubtless one, " most devoutly 
desires the Charter may be forfeited " And some of 
the Leaders were to be sent to England to be tried 
there Nay, his Lordship, or some one of his Maj 
esty s Servants is informed that they expected it 
themselves ; for Commodore Hood in one of his 
short and pithy Epistles, says, " they were alarm d, 
and expected nothing less than a Voyage to England 
against their Inclinations". But his Lordship s deep i 
Penetration might have discover d that this " Precept / 
to call a Convention " was nothing more than a. friendly 
circular Letter to the Selectmen of the several Towns 
in the Province, desiring them to propose to their re 
spective Towns the sending Committees, to join with 
those of the Town of Boston, in consulting Measures 
to promote Peace and good [29] Order : which was 
so far from an Assumption of the Royal Author 
ity, that it assumed not the least Shadow of any 

436 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Authority whatever This very innocent Measure of 
the Town in " calling together a Convention " as the 
Governor expresses it, which he so highly censures, 
and upon the Promoters of which he loudly calls for the 
national Vengeance, was most certainly attended with 
all the happy Effects for which it was propos d : For 
the general Sentiments of the Province were thereby 
collected, which could not otherwise have been done ; 
the Governor having arbitrarily dissolv d the General 
Assembly, and positively refus d to call another, 
against the dutiful Petition of the Convention itself, 
as well as of the Town, even before they propos d or 
thought of it The several Towns having the Oppor 
tunity of conferring together by their Committees, 
had the same Effects which followed a certain circu 
lar Letter, which formerly so perplex d his Excellency ; 
for the People became the more united in the Meas 
ures proper to be taken for the Preservation of their 
common Rights at so critical and alarming a Junc 
ture. And tho the Governor says "at the Fountain 
Head it was intended to provoke Resentment ", yet 
to this very Measure has been imputed, in some small 
Degree at least, whether justly or not, it becomes 
not this Town to say, that Prudence as well as Firm 
ness and Perseverance in the Cause of Liberty, of 
which it is hoped this Country will forever avail 
itself. Even Governor Bernard cannot but own that 
the Convention discover d " Moderation " and " a 
temperate Conduct ", which is far from being incon 
sistent with true Fortitude : But he is not willing 
that the Town of Boston should " assume the Merit 
of it". They are very far from a Disposition thus 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 437 

to assume : They are content to have that Share of 
Merit which their beloved Countrymen are willing 
they should have. And tho he would insinuate to 
his Lordship with his usual Cunning, that there was 
at the Convention an essential Difference of Senti 
ments between the Town and the Country ; and that 
" many of the Deputies came down with a Disposition 
and Instructions to prevent the Bostoners (as he ele 
gantly expresses himself) involving the Province in 
the Consequences of their own mad Devices " ; and 
that many of them " were from the beginning sensi 
ble of the Impropriety and Danger of this Proceed 
ing"; His Lordship, as "they printed what they 
[30] did ", has no Doubt been since convinced, that 
they were united in their Sentiments of the common 

But this very peaceable Proposal, the Governor 
thinks, exceeded the " Great Rebellion when it was 
at the highest, and the Confusion arising therefrom 
most urgent for some extraordinary Measures". 
Here is the Burden of the Song extraordinary 
Measures ! And surely his Lordship must propose 
some very extraordinary Measures to chastise a 
greater than the Great Rebellion, even when it was 
at the highest Not content with pouring forth this 
Torrent of Zeal, the Governor still presses upon his 
Lordship ; and assures him that " unless it is pre 
vented by some Power from without, not only the 
Crown Officers will be excluded", but "every Ingre 
dient of Royalty" in the Government of the Prov 
ince will be totally destroy d What Rhetorick ! to 
arrest his Lordship s Attention, and hurry him on to 

438 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

conclude with the Governor, that " the Force already 
order d by General Gage, viz. two Regiments, will 
not be sufficient". In Order still to heighten the 
Ideas of an intended Rebellion, the Governor adds, 
41 It is now a great Question whether the King s 
Troops will be suffer d to enter the Town or not ". 
And " the Design against the Castle is now so well 
known that it is probable that the very Names of the 
People who were enroll d for that Service to the 
Number of Five Hundred, or of the Chiefs of them 
will be discover d ". It is pretty remarkable the Gov 
ernor in the former Part of this Letter inform d his 
Lordship, that he did not relate this very Account as 
a certain Fact ; his Spies must then make very quick 
Rotations, and the Intelligence flow in very fast, to 
be so well assured of it before he concluded ; or the 
Governor must be so unfortunate, perhaps not having 
Time in the Multiplicity of his Affairs, to keep a 
regular Diary, as to forget what he had wrote, and 
as we every now and then find it happens, in the 
"overflowings" of his Zeal, to be inconsistent with 

It would be an endless Task to take particular No 
tice of every false and injurious Representation con- 
tain d in these voluminous Letters.* No one can 

* Indeed it might be said, the whole World would not contain all the 
Remarks that might be justly made upon them. One instance how 
ever seems to have been overlooked by the Town ; and as it is an in 
stance of importance, it is hoped, its being notic d in the Margin will 
not be thought amiss. The Governor, after having prevail d upon the 
Council, at a very thin Board, and by a Majority of One out of only 
Eleven Gentlemen present, to advise to the clearing the Manufactory- 
House in Boston, for the Reception of a Part of the two Irish Regi 
ments then expected ; in his Letter to Lord Hillsborough of Nov. ist, 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 439 

read them without being [31] astonish d at seeing a 
person in so important a Department as Governor 
Bernard sustain d, descending in his Letters to [32] 
a Minister of State, to such Trifling Circumstances, 
and such slanderous Chit-chat : Boasting, as he does 
in one of his Letters of his over-reaching those with 
whom he was transacting publick Business ; and in 

he gives him an Account of the Steps he had order d for the Removal 
of the Families out of the House. And it seems, that the Governor, by 
a Power which he has assumed, appointed the Sheriff and two of his 
Deputies, Bailiffs for the Governor and Council, for the Purpose : 
These Families however, refus d to submit to such Authority, even 
tho the Chief Justice himself condescended to go with the Sheriff, and 
advis d them to give up the House. The Sheriff upon the third At 
tempt says the Governor, " finding the Window open, enter d ; upon 
which the People gathered about him and shut him up ; he then 
made a Signal, to an Officer who was without, who brought a Party of 
Soldiers, who took Possession of the Yard of the Building, and reliev d 
the Sheriff from his Confinement " This is the Governor s Account of 
the Matter ; but others give a very different Account of it, and say 
that the Sheriff attempted a forceable Entry, and was resisted by the 
People within the House ; and by them only : Certain it is, that one of 
them commenced an Action of Trespass against the Sheriff; but what 
became of the Action the Records of the Court of Common Pleas will 
best show : It is also certain that an Officer, a Military Officer, was 
without and at Hand; and upon a Signal from the Sheriff, bro t a 
Party of Soldiers, the whole Regiment being then encamped in Sight 
on the Common ; and the Soldiers (not the Inhabitants as the Gover 
nor asserts) " kept the House blockaded all that Day and best Part of 
the next." It is further certain, and it may be attested by the Oaths 
of divers Persons of Credit, that Offers were made to the Sheriff, of suf 
ficient Aid in the legal Execution of his Office, if he would dismiss the 
Troops ; illegal Steps being at the same Time excepted against 
Great Numbers of People during the Seige as it may be properly called, 
were collected in the Street, which is as spacious as in any Part of the 
Town, but the Governor owns they did no Mischief : He indeed repre 
sents it in his usual Manner, as a GREAT MOB assembled with some of 
the Chiefs of the Faction, intimating thereby as in his former Letters 
44 an intended Insurrection ": The General on the other Hand says the 
Matter " occasion d a little Disturbance of no Consequence "; but 
takes Care to add, that " it serv d to show a most obstinate Spirit of 

440 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Order to prejudice the most respectable Bodies, 
meanly /ticking from Individuals belonging to those 
Bodies, what has been drop d in the Course of Busi 
ness or Debate: Journalizing every idle Report 
brought to him, and in short acting the Part of a 
Pimp rather than a Governor. As these Letters, 
being now made public, will be a monument of Dis- 

Opposition to every Measure of Government " The Governor further 
says, the Inhabitants "were very abusive to the Soldiers"; The 
Contrary is most certainly and notoriously true. He says also, That 
"the Soldiers were withdrawn on the Evening of the second Day ": 
So far is this from Truth, that the Guard of Soldiers to whose Custody 
the Sheriff committed the Cellar of the House, which he had got the 
Possession of, kept their post a much longer Time ; and Application 
was made to divers of his Majesty s Justices of the Peace for their Re 
moval by tlie Force of Law near three Weeks after. And again the Gov 
ernor says, that "this Building was kept filled with the Outcast of the 
Workhouse, to prevent its being used for the Accommodation of the 
King s Troops "; Which is contradicted by the Oaths of all the Over 
seers of the Poor, who must have known it if it had been true, for the 
Care and Government of the Workhouse is by Law vested in them. 
The Truth is, the People gathered upon this extraordinary Occasion, 
but were very peaceable ; some few it may be to carry Intelligence to the 
Governor, but by far the greater Part, from a just Abhorrence of this 
Measure of Government, to borrow the General Expression, and an 
Anxiety for the Event of this first open and avow d Effort of Military 
TYRANNY I The Governor declares, that the Council who were alarm d 
at the Violence of this Proceeding, must have known that the Entry 
" could not have been made without Force ; " and he sufficiently ex 
plains what sort of Force he meant, in the Reason he gives, why the 
Soldiers were withdrawn for that Time, which was, because "the 
Building was not immediately wanted", the Irish Regiments, for 
whom it was design d, as was pretended, not being yet arriv d. Per 
haps the Governor gives this circumstantial Account to his Lordship 
to confirm what he had before said, that " Two Regiments were not 
sufficient to AWE THE TOWN ! This Attack upon the Security of 
People s Dwelling-Houses, was as violent as has ever been known even 
under the most despotick Governments, tho happily it proved unsuc 
cessful. This is one of the bright Glories of BERNARD S Administration : 
He who with so much Readiness and exact Propriety afforded the Aid 
of his Advice, and PREJUDG D the Matter, claims however his Share 
in the Annals of Fame. 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 441 

grace to him, it cannot be suppos d that any Honor 
can be deriv d from them, to those great Men to whom 
they were addressed. [33] 

Notwithstanding the Town have been oblig d in 
Justice to themselves, to say thus much in their own 
Vindication, we should yet be glad, that the ancient 
and happy Union between Great-Britain and this 
Country, which Governor Bernard has so industri 
ously labor d to interrupt, might be restor d. Some 
have indeed flatter d themselves with the Prospect of 
it; as Intelligence is said to have been receiv d from 
Administration, that all the Revenue Acts would be 
repealed : But as it since appears by Lord Hills- 
borough s own Account, that nothing more is in 
tended, than the taking off the Duties on Paper, 
Glass, and Painter s Colours, upon commercial Prin 
ciples only ; if that is all, it will not give Satisfaction : 
It will not even relieve the Trade from the Burdens 
it labours under ; much less will it remove the 
Grounds of Discontent, which runs thro the Conti 
nent, upon much higher Principles. Their Rights 
are invaded by these Acts ; therefore untill they are 
all repeal d, the Cause of their just Complaints can 
not be remov d : In short, the Grievances which lie 
heavily upon us, we shall never think redress d, till 
every Act, pass d by the British Parliament for the 
express Purpose of raising a Revenue upon us with 
out our Consent, is Repeal d ; till the American 
Board of Commissioners of the Customs is dissolv d ; 
the Troops recall d, and Things are restor d to the 
State they were in before the late extraordinary Meas 
ures of Administration took Place. 

442 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Besides these Letters of Governor Bernard, we find 
others written by General Gage, and Commodore 
Hood. And we cannot but observe, that altho both 
these Gentlemen were perfect Strangers in the Town, 
they have yet taken such extraordinary Freedoms, 
and the General in particular has wrote in such a 
positive Strain, as must unavoidably give high Dis 
gust to every Reader of Candor and Impartiality. 
If these Gentlemen received the Character of the 
Town, or of any of its Individuals, from Governor 
Bernard, as we are ready to think they did, they must 
have been long before convinced, if they knew any 
Thing at all of the State of the Town, that the Gov 
ernor was too deeply interested in misrepresenting, to 
be credited in a Point of that Importance ; and there 
fore common Justice would have dictated a Suspen 
sion of their publick Testimony to the Prejudice of a 
Community, till they could have had [34] the Oppor 
tunity of doing it upon impartial Enquiry, or their 
own Observation The General seems to have early 
imbib d some Sort of a Prejudice against a Town, that 
had been before prejudiced in his Favor : For the 
Governor in one of his Letters to Lord Hillsborough 
acquaints him, that the General "had sent Capt. 
Montresor from New York, to assist the Forces as 
Engineer, and enable them to RECOVER and maintain 
the Castle, and such other Posts as they could secure ", 
upon Intelligence that the People in and about Bos 
ton had revolted. Now even the Gov. himself de 
clares this to be a mistake, and says that Things were 
not quite " so bad as that came to." As there are two 
constant and regular Posts between this Town and 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 443 

New-York, each of which carries Intelligence from the 
one to the other in the Course of a Week ; and more 
especially as he might reasonably expect authentick 
Accounts of a Matter of such Importance, by Express 
in a shorter Time ; it is strange, if the General s 
Mind was unbias d, that he should so strongly rely 
upon private Advice, as to form his Measures from 
them, which the Governor asserts. It was a Measure 
of Importance, as it issued, to the Town : for Col. 
Dalrymple who had the Command of the Regiments, 
from the A^Uhority of these new Orders, as the Gov 
ernor declares, tho t proper to alter the Plan, which 
was to land only one, and landed both the Regiments 
in Boston without Loss of Time. Perhaps it was 
under the Impression of these private Advices, and 
" the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Town 
Meeting", which the Governor also mentions as influ 
ential on the General s Measures, and which possibly 
was a Narrative of the Governor s own writing, that 
so wrought upon the General s Imagination, as to in 
duce him to give his Opinion to his Lordship that the 
" Intentions of the Town were suspicious, and that 
he was happy the Troops from Halifax arriv d at 
the Time they did " ! These and many such like 
unprovoked Expressions are to be found in the Let 
ters of both these Gentlemen, and especially the 
General s ; but as they partake of a full Portion of 
the Spirit of Governor Bernard s, and as the sense 
of this Province fully appears in the late spirited 
Resolves of the House of Representatives, we shall 
avoid troubling the Publick with particular Remarks 
upon them, and to borrow an Expression of great 

444 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 

Authority, " treat them with the Contempt they de 
serve". [35] 

The Town of BOSTON, at their meeting before-men- 
tion d, came into the following Resolutions, viz. 

RESOLVED, That the Letters and Memorials of 
Governor Bernard and the Commissioners of the Cus 
toms in America, transmitted by them respectively to 
his Majesty s Ministers, and laid before the Parlia 
ment of Great-Britain, authentick Copies of which are 
now before this Town ; had a Tendency to deceive 
the Ministry and lead them unavoidably to misinform 
his Majesty, with Regard to the Affections and 
Loyalty of his American subjects in general : And 
that the said Governor Bernard and the Commis 
sioners have particularly, in their Letters and Mem 
orials before-mentioned, [36] discover d an implacable 
Enmity to this Town, and the most virulent Endeav 
ours to traduce it even to his Majesty himself ; by 
Means whereof the Inhabitants very sensibly feel the 
Displeasure of their Gracious Sovereign. 

RESOLVED, That this Town have Reason to rejoice in 
the Measure taken by the Honorable House of Repre 
sentatives, in the last Session of the General Assembly; 
by so seasonably preferring their Dutiful and Loyal 
Petition to his Majesty, for the removal of Governor 
Bernard/i?rz/r from the Government of this Province : 
And the Town take this Opportunity to express their 
most ardent Wish ; that the Prayer of said Petition to 
his Majesty may be graciously heard and granted. 

RESOLVED, That General Gage and Commodore 
Hood in their several Letters to his Majesty s Minis 
ters and Servants, authentick Copies of which are 

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 445 

now before this Town, have discover d an unreasonable 
Prejudice against the Town. And the General in 
particular, in declaring in his Letter to the Right 
Hon. the Earl of Hillsborough, one of his Majesty s 
Secretaries of State that " in Truth there was very 
little Government in Boston ; and in making Use of 
other Expressions alike severe, has done great Injus 
tice to the [37] Town, and an irreparable Injury. 
And it is moreover the Opinion of the Town, that the 
Readiness he has discover d to receive unfavorable 
Impressions of it, and the publick Testimony he was 
prevail d upon to bear against it, before he could 
have Time to make an impartial Enquiry, betray d a 
want of Candor unbecoming his Station and Character. 
RESOLVED, That many of the Letters and Memor 
ials aforesaid are false, scandalous, and infamous 
Libels upon the Inhabitants of this Town, Province 
and Continent, of the most virulent and malicious, as 
well as dangerous and pernicious Tendency : And 
that the Selectmen be and hereby are directed to 
apply and complain to proper Authority, that the 
wicked Authors of those incendiary Libels, may be 
proceeded with according to Law, and brought to 
condign Punishment. 1 

The Reader is desired to correct the following, and any other Mis 
takes of the Press. 

Page 7. line 4, for is read in. 

Page 1 8. line 8 from bottom, for senticat, in some of the Copies, 
read sentiunt. 

1 The town also " Voted, That Messrs. Edes and Gill have the Printing of 
the vindication of the Town of Boston from the many false and malicious As 
persions contained in Governor Bernard, and others Letters &c. as Reported 
by the Committee" The House of Representatives had, on June 23, 1769, 
designated this firm to be public printers. 

446 THE WRITINGS OF [1769 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library; a text, dated Nov. 

16, 1769, appears in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 

vol. i., pp. 288, 289.] 

BOSTON Nov r 6 1769 

S r 

I rec d your fav r by M r Reed, whose good Sense, 
agreable Conversation & polite Behavior entitle him 
to very great respect & Esteem among the best part 
of the World. 

It is with Astonishment & Indignation that the 
Americans contemplate the folly of the British Minis 
try, in employing Troops which have heretofore been 
the Terror of the Enemies to Liberty, only to parade 
the Streets of Boston ; & by their ridiculous merry 
Andrew Tricks to become the objects of the Con 
tempt even of Women & Children. If the noble 
Corsicans were not worthy the least of their Attention, 
surely they ought to have been alarmd at the large 
Strides which the french & Spaniards the inveterate 
foes to Britain, are making towards the recovery of 
their lost Territorys in America. One Winter more 
trifled away, or worse than trifled in fruitless Endeav 
ours to enslave a people, who are more than ever re- 
solvd to be free, may afford those powers the 
opportunity of completing a plan already begun, & 
finishing a Stroke in America which may awaken the 
Attention of Britain in vain. We tremble for her 
fate we wish her prosperity we hope she will soon 

1 On July 13, 1769, De Berdt had been appointed by the House agent for one 
year, but he died before the expiration of the term. On November i, 1770, the 
House passed a resolution directing the payment to his executor of ^"750 for 
services from November, 1767, to May, 1770. See above pages, 34, 61. 




employ herself to much nobler purposes than picking 
up pins & pebbles. Those who have succeeded in 
their Endeavors to alienate the Affections of her Col 
onies have servd her Enemies in the very point they 
could have wishd for. Britain may fall sooner than 
she is aware ; while her Colonies who are struggling 
for Liberty may survive her fate & tell the Story to 
their Childrens Children. 

I conclude in haste 

Yours &c 



Attention is called to the following slight misprints in the earlier pages of 
this volume, which have been occasioned by an inadvertence in the manu 
facturing office : 

Page 6, line 28, for Assembly read humbly. 

" 52, " 22, after people read here. 
91, 4, after to read their. 

" 92, " 5, for to read of. 

" 92, " 25, after suppress read it. 

" 93 > * *7i teforftowa. read the. 

" 96, " 10, for person read persons. 

" 102, " 32, after did read not. 

"105, " 27, after good read reason. 

" 149, " 31, for Episcopal read Episcopate. 

" I 77i " 3> f or ere now have read have ere now. 

"178, " 17, after in read the. 

"178, " 28, before have read may. 

"185, " 4, for The read This. 

" 185, " 20, for has read hath. 

" 1 86, " 14, _/<?r legislature read legislative. 

" 187, " 3, before to raz</it. 

" 187, * 7, /i?r may read shall. 


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