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To James Otis, March igth I 

Political Activity of Mr. Bacon. 

*i/To the Town of Boston, March 23rd .... 3 

Report of Resolutions in Reply to Governor Legality of 
Town-Meetings Right of Petition Supremacy of Parliament. 

*.To John Dickinson, March 2/th . . . . 13 

Controversy with Governor. 

w To Committee of Correspondence of Littleton, March 

3 ist . . r4 

Acknowledgment of Co-operation. 

To Nathan Sparkawk, March 3ist . . . 16 

Political Activity of Rutland. 

To Thomas Mig^ill, 7th 17 

Political Activity of Rowley. 

^To Arthur Lee, April.pth 1-8 

Election to Society of Bill of Rights Effects of November 
Town-Meeting Controversy with Governor Attitude of 
Lord Dartmouth Position of Hancock. 

^To Richard Henry Lee, April loth -"$" . . . 25 

Position of Colonies Activity of Friends of Liberty Re- 
solves of Virginia Courts in Rhode Island. 

Article Signed rt Candidus, * April 1 2th . 28 

November Town-Meeting Controversy with Governor. 

To John Wadsworth, April i3th .... 32 

Action of Duxbury. 

To Ezra Whitmarsh, April I3th 33 

Political Activity of Weymouth. 



To Joseph North, April/I3th 3/j. 

Votes of Gardnerstown. 

To Josiah Stone, April* 1 3th 35 

Political Activity of Framingham. 

t To Arthur Lee, April 22nd 36 

Position of Hancock and of Otis. 

I To Arthur Lee, May 6th 37 

Practice of Instructing Representatives Controversy with 

To Selectmen of Boston, May I4th .... 39 

Declining Election as Moderator. 

^To Arthur Lee, May I ;th 39 

Meeting of General Assembly Letters of Hutchinson. 

/To Arthur Lee, June I4th-^ 40 

Letters of Hutchinson and Oliver. 

To Elijah Morton, June I9th 41 

Resolves of Hatfield Unity of Colonists. 

* To Arthur Lee, June 2 ist 44 

Letters of Hutchinson Action of House of Representatives. 

To the King, June 23 rd-^,.*^ 45 

Petition for Removal of Hutchinson and Oliver. 

"To Arthur Lee, June 28th 48 

Action of House of Representatives on Letters Attitude of 
Public Independence of Judiciary. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Worcester, Sep 
tember nth . . 50 

Activity of Committees of Correspondence Independence of 

^ To Joseph Hawley, October 4trT:r .... 52 

Disposition of Administration Controversy with Governor 
Grievances of Colonists. 

To Joseph Hawley, Oqtober I3th . . . . 58 

Character of Lord Dartmouth Plans of Administration. 

Committees of Correspondence, October 2ist >. . 62 

Circular of Massachusetts Committee Attitude of Ministry 
and Parliament Rights of Colonists. 


^/Resolutions of Town of Boston, November 5th -^ . 67 

Duty upon Tea. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Roxbury, No 
vember Qth 69 

Activity of Troops Call for Conference. 

To Arthur Lee, November 9th ..... 70 

Political Situation. 

*To Selectmen of Boston/ November I7th ... 71 

Petition for Town-Meeting for Action upon Tea. 

To Committee of Plymouth, December I7th . . 71 

Report on Tea. 

To Committees of Correspondence, December I7th . 72 

Report on Disposal of Tea. 

To Arthur Lee, December 2$th .... 73 

Recommending John Scollay. 

..To Arthur Lee, December 3ist . . . . 73 

Boston Town-Meeting Action on Tea. 

"To John Pickering, January 8th .... .78 

Petition of Negroes. 

-To Arthur Lee, January 25th . . . . . 78 

Destruction of Tea. 

Resolution of House of Representatives, March 1st . 80 

Refusing Grant to Peter Oliver. 

To Committee of. Correspondence of Marblehead, 

March 24th . .80 

Proposal of Continental Post. 

To Elbridge Gerry, March 25th .... 82 

Political Disorders in Marblehead. 

To Benjamin Franklin, March 3ist 85 

Independence of Judiciary Controversy with Governor 
Rights of Colonists. 

To James Warren, March 3ist 7* .... 92 

Political Comments Continental Post. 


To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, 

April 2nd 94 

Local Politics in Marblehead Effect of Committee s 

-V To Arthur Lee, April 4th 97 

Independence of Judiciary Attitude of Governor Re 
lations with England. 

To Arthur Lee, April 103 

Disposition of Lord Dartmouth. 

To John Dickinson, April 2ist . . . . 104 

Oration of Hancock Course of Massachusetts. 

JTo Elbridge Gerry, May I2th 105 

Duty of Political Service. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Portsmouth, 

May I2th 106 

Action of Boston on Port Bill/ 

To the Colonies, May I3th . . . . .107 

Appeal of Boston The Port Act Arrival of Gage. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Philadelphia, 

May 1 3th * ,. . . . . . . .109 

Port Act. 

, To James Warren, May I4th -"% . . . . in 

Port Act Attitude of Public Action of Boston. 

To Silas Deane, May iSth 114 

Response to Connecticut Committee Co-operation of Colo 

JTo Stephen Hopkins, May i8th . . . . 116 

Port Act Need of Co-operation. 

To Arthur Lee, May 1 8th 117 

Port Act. 

To Elbridge Gerry, May 2Oth . . . . .119 
Port Act Attitude of New a York. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, 

May 22nd ........ 120 

Attitude of New York. 



*To Charles Thomson, May 3oth. . . .< .122 

Function of Committee of Correspondence Dependence 
upon Merchants Address to Hutchinson. 

To Silas Deane, May3ist ..... 125 

Political Plans Adjournment of Legislature. 

cTo William Checkley, June 1st .... 127 

Birth of Daughter Position of Boston. 

"Resolution of House of Representatives, June i/th 129 

Need of Relief of Boston and Charlestown. 

To Elbridge Gerry, June 22nd . . . . .130 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

Article Signed " Candidus," June 2/th . . .130 

Trade Policy. 

To Charles Thomson, June 3Oth. .... 133 

Disposal of Donations. 

"To Committee of Correspondence of Norwich, July 

nth . . . 134 

Acknowledgment of Support. 

To Richard Henry Lee, July 1 3th . . . .136 

Port Act Policy of Lord North Attitude of Public. 

To Noble Wymberley Jones, July i6th . . -139 

Acknowledgment of Co-operation. 

To Christopher Gadsden, July i8th .... 14*1 

Effect of Acts of Parliament. 

To Christopher Gadsden and L. Clarkson, July i8th 143 

Acknowledgment of Assistance Efforts of Colonists. 

To Committee of Correspondence of Colrain, July 

1 8th 145 

Non-Consumption Agreement. 

**To Andrew Elton Wells, July 25th .... 146 

Condition of Boston. 

To Peter Timothy, July 2/th 147 

Boston Circular Letter Shipment of Axes. 

To Fisher Gay, July 2Qth . . . . . 148 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 



To Ezekiel Williams, July 2pth 149 

Acknowledgment of Assistance 

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, 

August 2nd . . . . . . . ib 

Attitude of Colonists to Boston. 

To Joseph Gilbert, August 3rd .... i2 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To Fisher Gay, August 4th . . . . .153 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

^To Committee of Correspondence of Boston, Sep 
tember I4th 134 

Proceedings of Continental Congress Middlesex Resolves 
Opposition to Administration Position of Committee. 

*^To Charles Chauncy,- September igth . . .1^5 

Suffolk Resolves. 

>To Joseph Warren, September . . . .156 

Government in Massachusetts. 

*To Joseph Warren, September 25th . . . .15.7 

Need of Co-operation Action of Continental Congress. 


/To General Gage, October^ . . 159 

Petition of Continental Congress Acts of Parliament Forti 
fications at Boston Indignities to Citizens. 

* To Thomas Young, October i/th .... 162 

Military Preparation Resolves of Continental Congress. 

To Peter V. Livingston, November 2 ist . . . 164 

Shipment from South Carolina. 

To Union Club, December i6th .... 164 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 


To Peter T. Curtenius, January Qth .... 165 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To the Public, January I3th . . . . .167 

Statement of Donations Committee Reply to Criticisms. 


ITo Arthur Lee, January 2Qth ^f 169 

Port Act Massachusetts Act Effect of Military Force 
Attitude of Colonists. 

a To Stephen Collins, January 3 1st .... 172 

Report of Personal Disagreements Religious Liberty. 

To Edward Archer, -February ist . . . .174 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

^.To Richard Randolph, February 1st . . .175 

Acknowledgment of Assistance Virginia Resolves of 1765. 

To Benjamin ,Watkins and Archibald Gary, Feb 
ruary ist . . . . . . . .17-6 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To Jonathan Tabb, February 7th . . . .178 

Acknowledgment of Assistance Attitude of Colonists to 

/To Arthur Lee, February I4th fii . . .179 

English Politics Attitude of Colonists. 

To Joseph Nye, February 2 1st 18-1 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To John Brown, February 2ist . . . .182 

Enclosing letter to Quebec. 

JTo Inhabitants of Quebec, February 2ist . . 182 

Statement of Situation by Committee of Correspondence 
Design and Conduct of Ministry Acts of Parliament Letters 
of Bernard and Hutchinson Quebec Act Attitude of Jamaica 
King s Speech. 

To George Read, February 24th . . . .189 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To Isaac Van Dam, February 28th *. 190 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To William Black, 191 

Shipment from Virginia Advice concerning Captain Hatch. 

To Chartes Dick, March 193 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To Arthur Lee, March 4th 194 

Conduct of Military Force Action of Marshfield Dis 
affection in New York Correspondence with Canada Tories. 


<*To , March I2th x . 198 

Attitude of South Carolina Spirit in Boston Massacre 

To Jonathan Upshaw, Majch I4th .... 200 

Acknowledgment of Assistance Attitude of Virginia. 

To Samuel Purviance, March i/j-th .... 202 

Acknowledgment of Remittance. 

To Jonathan Hanson, March I5th . . . 2Og 

Acknowledgment of Assistance. 

To Jonathan Veazey, March I5th .... 204 

Directions as to Donations. 

To Richard Henry Lee> March 2 ist .... 205 

Military Force in Boston Massacre Oration Conduct of 
Troops Course of Administration. 

To Jonathan Augustine Washington, March 2 ist . 210 

Acknowledgment of Assistance Purpose of Boston. 

^ To the Mohawk Indians, March . . . .211 

Address of Massachusetts Delegates. 

* To Mrs. Adams, May ;th 214. 

Reception in New York. 

VTo Mrs. Adams, June loth 215 

Family Affairs. 

To Mrs. Adams, June i6th . . . . .217 

Personal Comments Family Affairs. 

To Elbridge Gerry, June 22nd 218 

Recommendations to Washington. 

To James Warren, June 22nd 219 

Recommendations to Washington. 

9 To Mrs. Adams, June 28th 22p 

Engagement at Bunker Hill Death of Joseph Warren 
Proclamation of Gage. 

*To Mrs. Adams, July $oth 22.1 

Recess of Congress Election to Legislature. 

From Moses Gill, September 4th .... 223 

Receipt of Amounts paid to Adams. 



To Elbridge Gerry, September 26th .... 226 

Journey to Philadelphia Need of Information Character of 

To Mrs. Adams, October 2oth ..... 227 

Affairs of the Country Schuyler and Arnold. 

To Elbridge Gerry, October 2Qth .... 229 

Militia Bill Continental Army Need of Legislation. 

To James Warren, November 4th . . . 232 

Need of Powder Military Affairs Governments of New 
Hampshire and South Carolina Trade Regulations Govern 
ment of Massachusetts. 


jTo Mrs. Adams, November 7th * 239 

Conduct of Enemy. 

To James Bowdoin, November i6th . . . 240 

Petition of Congress Plans of Administration. 

To James Otis, November 23rd 2-42 

Opinion of Delegates as to Militia Legislation. 

<To Jafties Warren, December 26th ^. . . . 243 

Government of Massachusetts Character^of the People. 

To EHbridge Gerry, January 2nd .... 246 

Legislative Control of Military Force Character of Repre 

Resolutions of Continental Congress, January 5th . 248 

Imprisonment of James Lovell. 

To James Warren, January 7th .... 250 

Establishment of Militia Powder Confederation Attack 
on Norfolk. 

r To James Warren, January loth .... 254 

Trade Regulations Imprisonment of Lovell. 

John Pitts, January I2th ..... 25,5 

Value of Correspondence King s Speech. 

James Sullivan, January I2th ^- . . . . 257 

King s Speech. 


To John Adams, January 1 5th 258 

Portsmouth Instructions Independence Pay of Massachu 
setts Troops. 

,- Article Signed^ Candidus," February 3rd y . . 261 

Dependence of the Colonies. 

To Mrs. Adarqs, February 26th 266 

Duty in Congress Oration on Montgomery. 

To James War/en, March 8th 268 

Political Comments on Colleague. 

1 Jo Mrs. Adams, JVtarch loth 270 

Personal Affairs. 

To Joseph Palmer, April 2nd . . . . .271 

Effect of Adopting New England Army Military Affairs 
Evacuation of Boston. 

*|jo Samuel Cooper, April 3rd 273 

Plans of Administration Evacuation of Boston Foreign 
Affairs Independence. 

*JJ>o Joseph Hawley, April i$th .... 277 

Military Affairs Necessity for Declaration of Independence. 

^Jpo Samuel Cooper, April 3Oth . . .281 

Views on Independence Formation of State Governments. 

To John Scollay, April 30th 285 

Evacuation of Boston Public Morals Defenceless Condition 
of New England. 

JTo James Warren, May I2th 288 

Safety of Boston State of the Eastern District. 

To George Washington, May I5th .... 290 

Proposed Road to Montreal Defences of Boston. 

To Horatio Gates, June loth 291 

Military Affairs at Boston Purposes of the Enemy. 

To Perez Morton, June ...... 293 

Allowance for Services. 

Josepty Hawley, July 9th ..... 294 

Reverses in Canada New Jersey Campaign Declaration of 

Richard Henry Lee, July 1 5th .... 296 

Schuyler and Gates Arrival of Howe Declaration of Inde 
pendence Confederation. 



*! To James Warren, July i6th ..... 299 

Effect of Declaration of Independence Constitution of Vir 

To James Warren, July I ;th 300 

Urgent Need of Troops. 

To John Pitts, July I ;th 300 

Declaration of Independence. 

To Samuel Cooper, July 2Oth ..... 301 

South Carolina Campaign Howe s Circular Letter. 

To Benjamin Kent, July 2/th .... 303 

Work of Congress Declaration of Independence New State 

To Joseph Trumbull, August 3rd .... 366 

Affairs of the Northern Department Legislation on Com 
missary Department. 

To John Adams, August I3th .... 309 

Military Affairs. 

To John Adams, August i6th .... 310 

Military Affairs The Northern Campaign. 

To John Adams, September i6th . . . .311 

Form of Government of Massachusetts Military Affairs 
Negotiations with Howe. 

To John Adams, September 3Oth . . . -313 

Conference with Howe Public Attitude toward Inde 

To Samuel Mather, October 26th . . . .316 

Military Affairs at New York. 

To Mrs. Adams, November I4th . . . .318 

Northern Campaign Military Affairs Application of 
Brother-in-law Exchange of Lovell. 

po Mrs. Adams, November 29th R^ . . . 320 

Character of Americans Howe s Proclamation. 

To James Warren, November 29th .... 32 ! 

Supply of Clothing New York Campaign. 

To James Warren, December 4th .... 322 

Massachusetts Legislature Conduct of the Colonists Con 
ditions in Pennsylvania, 



Mrs. Adams, December 9th , .... 324 

Personal Reflections. 

To George Washington, December I2th . . . 326 

Rhode Island Campaign. 

To Mrs. Adams, December igth .... 327 

Adjournment of Congress to Baltimore Inaction of the 
Population New Jersey Campaign. 

To James Warren, December 25th .... 329 

Military Operations. 

To Mrs. Adams, December 26th .... 333 

Aid of Samuel Purviance Attitude of New Jersey. 

To Council of Massachusetts, December 3oth . . 335 

Need of Ordnance. 

To Walter Stewart, December 3Oth .... 336 

Instructions as to Ordnance. 

To James Warren, December 3 ist .... 337 

Foreign Relations Military Affairs 

To Arthur Lee, January 2nd ..... 339 

Resumption of Correspondence Political Situation. 

To James Warren, January 8th .... 340 

Military Operations. 

To John Adams, January 9th ..... 342 

Removal of Congress Military Operations. 

, To James Warren,. January i6th .... 346 

Representation in Congress Attitude of Massachusetts 

To Mrs. Adams, January 29th .... 348 

Correspondence Effect of War News Charity Death of 
Mr. Checkley. 

To James Warren, ^February ist .... 350 

Conference of New England Committees Management of 
War Supplies. 

To Samuel Cooper, February 4th .... 353 

King s Speech. 


To James Warren, February loth . . . -355 

Account of Expenses. 

To Walter Stewart* February 1 2th . . . -357 

Price of Ordnance. 

To Jonathan Trumbull, February I2th . . . 357 

Use of Connecticut Ordnance. 

To John Pitts, February I5th ..... 359 

Activity of Tories. 

To James Warren, February i6th .... 366 

Activity of Tories Case of General Lee. 

To Mrs. Adams, March igth ..... 362 

News from France Attitude toward Son Effect of Trade 

To John Scollay, March 2Oth ..... 365 

Regulating Act. 

To Mrs. Adams, April 1st ...... 367 

Assistance from France Arrest of Spy. 

To NathanaeL Grene, May I2th .... 3/0 

Military Policy. 

To Mrs. Adams, June I7th ..... 3,72 

Military Operations. 

To James Warrei\, June i8th ..... 373 

Introducing William Whipple Massachusetts Election 
Military Affairs. 

To James Warren, June 23rd ..... 37,5 

New Jersey Campaign. 

To Richard Henr^Lee, June 26th .... 376 

New Jersey Campaign Progress in Congress. 

To James Warren,\June 3Oth ..... 379 

Postal Facilities Confederation Massachusetts Constitu 
tional Convention. 

To Arthur Lee, July 4th ...... 382 

New Jersey Campaign. 

To Samuel Hewes, July 7th ..... 384 

Major Ward New Jersey Campaign. 

To John Pitts, July 8th ...... 385 

Interruption of Correspondence. 


To Richard Henry Lee, July 1 5th .... 386 

New Jersey Campaign Schuyler and Gates. 

To Samuel Cooper, July I5th 388 

Northern Campaign. 

To Richard Henry Lee, July 22nd .... 389 

Confederation Northern Campaign Distribution of Forces. 

To Paul Revere, July 28th 393 

Ranking of Artillery Regiments. 

To James Warren, July 3 ist 395 

Attitude of Congress to Schuyler Northern Campaign 
Participation of New England Hostile Fleet. 

To James Warren, August ist 398 

Northern Campaign. 

To Mrs. Adams, August 2nd 399 

Course of Hostile Fleet. 

To Samuel Freeman, August 5th .... 400 

Foreign Relations Northern Campaign. 

To John Langdon, August /th .... 401 

Course of Hostile Fleet Northern Campaign. 

To Mrs. Adams, August 8th 403 

Appointment of Gates. 

To Roger Sherman, August nth .... 404 

Northern Campaign Letters of Schuyler. 

To James Warren, August 1 2th .... 406 

Letter of Schuyler. 

To William Heath, August 1 3th .... 407 

Northern Campaign. 

To Mrs. Adams, August I9th 408 

Course of Hostile Fleet. 

To Henry Bromfield, September 2nd . . . 4icx 

Introducing Henry Crouch Howe s Army. 

To Mrs. Adams, September i;th . . . . 411, 

Northern Campaign. 

To Arthur Lee, October 26th . . . . . 412. 

Resumption of Correspondence LaFayette. 


To Horatio Gates . . . . . . . 4*3 

Surrender of Burgoyne. 

Resolution of Continental Congress, November ist . 4.1*4 


To John Adams, December 8th .... 416 

Re-election to Congress Conduct of Colleagues Work of 
Massachusetts Legislature. 

To Henry Laurens, December ..... 418 

Articles of Confederation. 




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

BOSTON, March igth 1773 


I have the honor of joining with my brethren the 
Committee of Correspondence for the town in a letter 
to you, which the bearer of this is chargd with & will 
deliver to you. 

The occasion is somewhat singular. Our Brother 
M r William Molineux, a few days ago receiv d an 
anonymous letter dated Barnstable &.c, in which men 
tion is made of some rude Aspersions cast upon the 
characters of himself and several others of our Com 
mittee by your Representative M r Bacon in a public 
meeting of your Town. As the intelligence was thus 
uncertain the Committee would fain hope that it was 
impossible for one of M r Bacon s station in life to act 
so unjustifiable a part ; especially after the handsome 
things which he had the credit of saying of every one 
of Committee upon a late occasion in the House of 
Representatives. Admitting however, that this might 
be the case, they thought it prudent to address you, 

VOL. III. 1. 


as the Moderator of your meeting, and it is their de 
sire, if you judge there is a proper foundation for this 
letter and not otherwise, to obtain the consent of the 
Town that it should be openly read in the meeting at 
the ensuing adjournment. This the Committee refer to 
your known discretion, as they cannot place a full de 
pendence upon an anonymous letter, although there are 
some circumstances that may seem to corroborate it. 

As there is no measure which tends more to discon 
cert the Designs of the enemies of the public liberty, 
than the raising Committees of Correspondence in 
the several towns throughout the Province, it is not to 
be wondered at that the whole strength of their oppo 
sition is aim d against it. Whether M r B. is of this 
character is a question in which his Constituents ought 
certainly to satisfy themselves beyond a reasonable 
doubt. A man s professions may be as he pleases ; 
but I honestly confess I cannot easily believe him to 
be a sincere friend to his Country, who can upon any 
consideration be prevail d upon to associate with so 
detestable an enemy to it as I take a Boston born (I 
cannot say educated) Commissioner of Customs to be. 

I am with great regard for your family and con 
nexions in B[arnstable.] 

Sir your assured Friend 
& most humble servant 

P. S. If there is not foundation for what is asserted 
in the anonymous letter, we desire that you will not 
only not read our letter in your meeting but also not 
let the original or a copy of it go out of your hands, 
but return it by the first opportunity. 

ut supra 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 3 


[MS., Boston Public Library; the text, with slight variations, was printed in 
the Boston Gazette, March 29, 1773, in the Massachusetts Spy, March 25, 1773, 
and in Boston Record Commissioner s Report, vol. xviii., pp. 120125.] 

At a legal Meeting of the Freeholders and other 
Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, at Faneuil-Hall 
on Monday the 8th of March 1773, and continued by 
Adjournment to the 23d instant. 

Mr. Samuel Adams acquainted the Moderator, that 
he was directed by a Committee (of which he was 
Chairman) to make a report ; and the same was read 
as follows, viz. 1 

The Committee appointed " to consider what is 
proper to be done, to vindicate the Town from the 
gross Misrepresentations & groundless Charges in his 
Excellencys Message to both Houses " of the General 
Assembly "respecting the Proceedings of the Town 
at their last Meeting ", beg Leave to report. 

That having carefully looked over the several 
Speeches of the Governor of the Province, to the 
Council and House of Representatives, in the last 
Session of the General Assembly, they find that his 
Excellency has plainly insinuated ; 
First, that the said Meeting of the Town was illegal 
in itself. 

Secondly, that the Points therein determind were 
such, as the Law gives the Inhabitants of Towns in 
their Corporate Capacity no Power to act upon ; and 
therefore that the Proceedings of said Meeting were 
against Law. And, 
Thirdly, that the Inhabitants thus assembled ad- 

1 The preceding portion is in the Gazette, but not in the manuscript draft. 


vanced and afterwards publishd to the World, such 
Principles as have a direct Tendency to alienate the 
Affections of the People from their Sovereign : And 
he plainly asserts, that they "denied in the most ex 
press terms the Supremacy of Parliament, and invited 
every other Town & District in the Province to adopt 
the same Principles." 

We have therefore thought it necessary to recur to 
the Methods taken for calling said Meeting. And 
they find that three Petitions were prefer d to the 
Select Men, signd by 198 respectable Freeholders 
and Inhabitants, making Mention of a Report that 
then prevaild, & which since appears to have been 
well grounded, that Salaries were allowd to be paid 
to the Justices of the Superior Court of the Province 
by Order of the Crown ; whereby they were to be 
made totally independent of the General Assembly 
and absolutely dependent on the Crown ; and setting 
forth their Apprehensions that such an Establishment 
would give a finishing Stroke to the System of Tyr 
anny already begun, and compleat the Ruin of the 
Liberties of the People. And therefore earnestly re 
questing the Selectmen to call a Meeting, that this 
Matter might be duly considerd by the Town, and 
such Measures taken as the Necessity and Importance 
thereof required. Whereupon the Selectmen issued 
a Warrant for calling a Meeting accordingly. All 
which was strictly agreable to the Laws of this Prov 
ince, and the Practice of this and other Towns from 
the earliest times. 

By an Act of this Province made in the fourth year 
of William & Mary it is enacted, that " when and so 


often as there shall be Occasion of a Town Meeting 
for any Business of publick Concernment to the Town 
there to be done, the Constable or Constables of such 
Town, by Order of the Selectmen or major Part of 
them, or of the Town Clerk by their Order in each 
respective Town within this Province shall warn a 
Meeting of such Town " &C. 1 And by another Act 
made in the 2 Geo. I. it is enacted that " When and 
so often as ten or more of the Freeholders of any 
Town shall signify under their hands to the Selectmen 
their desire to have any Matter or thing inserted into 
a Warrant for calling a Town Meeting, the Selectmen 
are hereby required to insert the same in the next 
Warrant they shall issue for the Calling a Town 
Meeting." 2 

But were there no such Laws of the Province or 
should our Enemies pervert these & other Laws made 
for the same Purpose, from their plain and obvious 
Intent and Meaning, still there is the great and per 
petual Law of Self preservation to which every nat- \ 
ural Person or corporate Body hath an inherent Right 
to recur. This being the Law of the Creator, no 
human Law can be of force against it : And indeed it . 
is an Absurdity to suppose that any such Law could 
be made by Common Consent, which alone gives valid 
ity to human Laws. If then the "Matter or Thing" 
viz the fixing Salaries to the Offices of the Judges of 
the Superior Court as aforesaid, was such as threatned 
the Lives, Liberties and Properties of the People, 
which we have the Authority of the greatest Assembly 

1 Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, vol. i., pp. 64, 68. 

2 Ibid., vol. ii., p. 30. 


of the Province to affirm, The Inhabitants of this 
or any other Town had certainly an uncontrovertable 
right to meet together, either in the Manner the Law 
has prescribed, or in any other orderly Manner, joyntly 
to consult the necessary Means of their own Preserva 
tion and Safety. The Petitioners wisely chose the 
Rule of the province Law, by applying to the Select 
men for a Meeting ; and they, as it was their Duty to 
do, followed the same Rule and called a Meeting 
accordingly. We are therefore not a little surprizd, 
that his Excellency, speaking of this and other prin 
cipal Towns, should descend to such an artful Use of 
Words, that a "Number of Inhabitants have assembled 
together, and having assumed the Name of legal 
Town Meetings" &c. Thereby appearing to have a 
Design to lead an inattentive Reader to believe, that 
no Regard was had to the Laws of the Province in 
calling these Meetings, and consequently to consider 
them as illegal & disorderly. 

The Inhabitants being met, and for the Purpose 
aforesaid, the Points determind, his Excellency says, 
"were such as the Law gives the Inhabitants of Towns 
in their corporate Capacity no Power to act upon." 
It would be a sufficient Justification of the Town to 
say, that no Law forbids the Inhabitants of Towns in 
their corporate Capacity to determine such Points as 
were then determined. And if there was no positive 
legal Restraint upon their Conduct, it was doing them 
an essential injury, to represent it to the World as 
illegal. Where the Law makes no special Provision 
for the common Safety, the People have a Right to 
consult their own Preservation ; and the necessary 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 7 

Means to withstand a most dangerous attack of arbi 
trary Power. 1 At such a time, it is but a pitiful 
Objection to their thus doing, that the Law has not 
expressly given them a Power to act upon such Points. 
This is the very language of Tyranny : And when 
such Objections are offerd, to prevent the Peoples 
meeting together in a Time of publick Danger, it 
affords of it self just Grounds of Jealousy that a Plan 
is laid for their Slavery. 

The Town enterd upon an Inquiry into the Grounds 
of a Report, in which the common Safety was very 
greatly interested. They made their Application to 
the Governor, a fellow Citizen as well as the first 
Magistrate of the Province ; but they were informd 
by his Excellency, that " it was by no means proper 
for him " " to acquaint them whether he had or had 
not receivd any Advices relating to the publick Affairs 
of the Government of the Province." Their next 
Determination was, to petition the Governor, that the 
General Assembly might be allowd to meet at the 
time to which it then stood prorogud : But his Excel 
lency refused to grant this Request, lest it should be 
"encouraging the Inhabitants of other Towns to as 
semble " " to consider of the Necessity or Expediency 
of a Session of the General Assembly." Hitherto the 
Town had determind upon no Point but only that of 
petitioning the Governor. And will his Excellency 
or any one else affirm, that the Inhabitants of this or 
any other Town, have not a Right in their corporate 
Capacity to petition for a Session of the General As- 

1 At this point the draft originally included the words: " when they see it ap 
proaching them with hasty Strides." 


sembly, merely because the Law of this Province, that 
authorizes Towns to assemble, does not expressly 
make that the Business of a Town Meeting? It is 
the Declaration of the Bill of Rights, founded in 1 
Reason, that it is the Right of the Subjects to petition 
the King : But it is apparent in his Excellencys An 
swer, that the Inhabitants of this Town were in Effect, 
denied, in one Instance at least, the Right of petition 
ing his Majestys Representative. Which was the 
more grievous to them, because the Prayer of their 
Petition was nothing more, than that the General As 
sembly might have the Opportunity of enquiring of 
the Governor into the Grounds of the Report of an 
intolerable Grievance, which his Excellency had be 
fore strongly intimated to them, it was not in his 
Power to inform them of, "consistent with Fidelity to 
the Trust which his Majesty had reposed in him." 

We have been the more particular in reciting the 
Transactions of that Meeting thus far, in order that 
the Propriety and Necessity of the further proceed 
ings of the same Meeting may appear in a true Point 
of Light. 

His Excellency having thus frownd upon the 
reasonable Petitions of the Town ; And they, having 
the strongest Apprehensions, that in Addition to, or 
rather in Consequence of other Grievances not re- 
dressd, a mortal Wound would very soon be given to 
the civil Constitution of the province ; and no Assur 
ance of the timely Interposition of the General Assem 
bly, to whose Wisdom they were earnestly sollicitous 
to refer the whole Matter, The Town thought it ex- 

1 At this point the draft originally included the words: " Nature and." 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 9 

pedient to state as far as they were able the Rights of 
the Colonists & of this Province ; to enumerate the 
Infringements on those Rights, & in a circular Letter 
to each of the Towns & Districts in the province, to 
submit the same to their Consideration : That the 
Subject might be weighd as its Importance required, 
& the collected Wisdom of the whole people as far as 
possible obtaind. At the same [time], not " calling 
upon " those Towns & Districts " to adopt their Prin 
ciples " as his Excellency in one of his Speeches 
affirms, but only informing them that " a free Com 
munication of their Sentiments to this Town of our 
common Danger was earnestly sollicited & would be 
gratefully receivd. We may justly affirm that the 
Town had a Right at that Meeting, to communicate 
their Sentiments of Matters which so nearly concernd 
the publick Liberty & consequently their own Preser 
vation. They were matters of " publick Concern 
ment " to this & every other Town & even Individual 
in the province. Any Attempt therefore to obstruct 
the Channel of publick Intelligence in this way, argues 
in our opinion, a Design to keep the people in Ignor 
ance of their Danger that they may be the more 
easily & speedily enslaved. It is notorious to all the 
World, that the Liberties of this Continent & espe 
cially of this province, have been systematically & 
successfully invaded from Step to Step ; Is it not 
then, to say the least justifiable, in any Town as part 
of the great whole, when the last Effort of Tyranny is 
about to be made, to spread the earliest Notice of it 
far & wide, & hold up the iniquitous System in full 
View. It is a great Satisfaction to us, that so many 


of the respectable Towns in the province, and we may 
add Gentlemen of figure in other Colonies, have ex- 


pressd, & continue to express themselves much pleasd 
with the Measure ; and we encourage ourselves from 
the manifest Discovery of an Union of Sentiments in 
this province, which has been one happy fruit of the 
Measure, there will be the united Efforts of the whole 
in all constitutional & proper Methods to prevent the 
entire ruin of our Liberties. 

His Excellency is pleasd to say in one of his 
Speeches, that the Town have u denied in the most 
express Terms the Supremacy of Parliament." It 
is fortunate for the town that they made Choice of 
the very Mode of Expression, which the present 
House of Representatives in their Wisdom made use 
of in stating the Matter of Controversy between the 
Governor & them : And after what they have ad 
vanced upon the Subject, it appears to us impossible 
to be shown that the Parliament of Great Britain can 
exercise "the Powers of Legislation for the Colonists 
in all Cases whatever " consistently with the Rights 
which belong to the Colonists as Men as Christians 
& as Subjects, or without destroying the foundation 
of their own Constitution. If the Assertion that the 
Parliament hath no right to exercise a Power in cases 
where it is plain they have no right, hath a direct 
Tendency to alienate the Affections of the People 
from their Sovereign, because He is a constituent 
part of that parliament, as seems to be his Excellen- 
cys Manner of reasoning, it follows as we conceive, 
that there must never be a complaint of any assump 
tion of power in the Parliam 1 , or petition for the repeal 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. n 

of any Law made repugnant to the Constitution, lest 
it should tend to alienate the Affections of the people 
from their Sovereign ; but we have a better Opinion 
of our fellow Subjects than to concede to such Con 
clusions. We are assured they can clearly see, that a 
Mistake in Principle may consist with Integrity of 
Heart ; And for our parts we shall ever be inclined to 
attribute the Grievances of various Kinds which his 
Majestys American Subjects have so long sufferd, to 
the Weakness or Wickedness of his Ministers & Ser 
vants, and not to any Disposition in Him to injure 
them. And we yet perswade our selves that could 
the Petitions of his much aggrievd Subjects be trans 
mitted to his Majesty thro the Hands of an honest 
impartial Minister, we should not fail of ample redress. 
His Excellencys Argument seems to us to be rather 
straind, when he is attempting to show, that we have 
"invited every other Town & District to adopt our 
Principles ". It is this. The Town says If it should be 
the general Voice of the Province that the Rights as 
stated do not belong [to] them, trusting however that 
this cannot be the Case, they shall lament the Ex 
tinction of Ardor for civil & religious Liberty ; There 
fore says his Excellency The Town invited them to 
adopt their principles. Could it possibly be supposd 
that when his Excy had declared to the whole Pro 
vince that we had invited every other Town and Dis 
trict in the province to adopt the same Principles he 
intended to avail himself of such an Explanation ! 
Much the same Way of reasoning follows, (though it 
would not be to the Reputation of the other Towns 
if it should have any Weight). That because their 


consequent Doings were similar to those of this 
Town therefore they understood that they were in 
vited to adopt the same Principles, & therefore they 
were thus invited to adopt them. 

Upon the whole, There can be no room to doubt 
but that every Town which has thought it expedient 
to correspond with this on the Occasion have acted 
their own Judgment & expressd their own principles : 
It is an unspeakeable Satisfaction to us that their 
Sentiments so nearly accord with ours, and it adds a 
Dignity to our Proceedings, that when the House of 
Representatives were called upon by the Governor 
to bear their Testimony against them, as " of a dan 
gerous Nature & Tendency," they saw reason to de 
clare that " they had not discoverd that the Principles 
advanced by the Town of Boston were unwarrantable 
by the Constitution." 

The foregoing Report was accepted in the Meet 
ing, Nemine Contradicente, and ordered to be re 
corded in the Town s Book, as the Sense of the 
Inhabitants of this Town. 

It was also Voted, That said Report be printed in 
the several News-Papers, and that the Committee of 
Correspondence be directed to transmit a printed 
Copy thereof to such Towns and Districts as they 
have or may correspond with. 

Attest. WILLIAM COOPER, Town-Clerk. 

1 The following portion, from the Gazette, is not in the autograph draft by 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 13 

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

BOSTON March 27 1773. 


I take the Liberty of inclosing an Oration deliv 
ered by D r Benjamin Church on the Anniversary of 
the 5 th of March 1770, which I beg the favor of you 
to accept. 

The Proceedings of our General Assembly at their 
last Session, you may perhaps have seen in the News 
papers. Our Governor in a manner forcd the As 
sembly to express their Sentiments of so delicate 
though important a Subject as the supreme Authority 
of the Parliament of Great Britain over the Colonies. 
The Silence of the other Assemblies of late upon every 
Subject that concerns the joynt Interest of the Colo 
nies, renderd it somewhat difficult to determine what 
to say with Propriety. As the Sense of the Colonies 
might possibly be drawn from what might be advanced 
by this Province, you will easily conceive, that the 
Assembly would rather have chosen to have been 
silent till the Sentiments of at least Gentlemen of 
Eminence out of this province could be known ; at 
the same time that Silence would have been construed 
as the Acknowledgment of the Governor s Principles 
and a Submission to the fatal Effects of them. What 
will be the Consequence of this Controversy, Time 
must determine. If the Governor enterd into it of 
his own Motion, as I am apt to believe he did, he 
may not have the Approbation of the Ministry for 
counteracting what appears to me to have been for 
two years past their favorite Design, to keep the 


Americans quiet & lull them into Security. Could 
your Health or Leisure admit of it, a publication of 
your Sentiments on this & other Matters of the most 
interresting Importance would be of substantial Ad 
vantage to your Country. Your Candor will excuse 
the freedom I take in this repeated Request. An 
Individual has some Right, in behalf of the publick, 
still to urge the Assistance of those who have hereto 
fore approvd themselves its ablest advocates. 

I shall take it as a favor if you will present the 
other inclosed Oration to M r Reed, whom I once had 
the pleasure of conversing with in this place, & to 
whom I would have wrote by this unexpected Oppor 
tunity, but am prevented by the Hurry of the Bearer. 
I am Sir with sincere Regards 

Your most humble serv 1 

M r J[osiah] Q[uincy] a young Gent 1 but eminent 
here in the profession of the law is soon expected to 
arrive at Philadelphia from South Carolina. Could 
he be introducd into the Company of M r Dickinson 
& M r Reed he would esteem himself honord and his 
Conversation m* not be unentertaining even to them. 


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

BOSTON March 31 1773 


The Committee of Correspondence of the Town 
of Boston gratefully acknowledge your Letter of the 

1 Addressed "To Deacon Oliver Hoar Cap Jonathan Reed & M r Aaron 
Savit a Com* of Correspondence of the Town of Littleton." 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 15 

2 Instant accompanied with the declared Sentiments 
of the Town of Littleton at a legal meeting on the 
first of February. 

The Sense which that Town has expressd of the 
Excellency of the British Constitution of Govern 
ment, which appears eminently to have its founda 
tion in nature, and of the Rights which are secured 
to the Inhabitants of this province by the Charter, is,, 
an evident token of their readiness " always to joyn V 
in every regular & constitutional method to preserve^ 
the common Liberty." 

We are perswaded that the Town whom we have 
the Honor to serve, although calumniated by the 
virulent Enemies of the province and of America, 
have nothing in view but to assist in " endeavoring 
to preserve our happy civil Constitution free from 
Innovation & maintain it inviolate" and we esteem 
our selves happy that the Town has receivd the Ap 
probation of so many of their respectable Brethren 
in the Country, & particularly the Inhabitants of 
Littleton. The agreable manner in which you have 
communicated to us their Sentiments lays [us] under 
great obligation. We heartily joyn with you in 
wishing that Peace & Unity may be established in 
America, upon the permanent Foundations of Liberty 
& Truth. 



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

BOSTON March 31 1773 


Your attested Copy of the proceedings of Rutland 
District has been receivd and read by the Com e of 
Correspondence for the Town of Boston. It affords 
us an unspeakeable Satisfaction to find so great a 
Number of the Towns & Districts in the province ex 
pressing a just Resentment at the repeated Attacks 
that have been made on the publick Liberty by a 
corrupt Administration and their wretched Tools & 
Dependents. Your District, in the Opinion of this 
Committee has very justly held up the publick Griev 
ances of America in one short but full View ; first 
the power assumed by the British parliament (in 
which we cannot be represented) to tax us at pleas 
ure ; and then their appropriating such taxes, to ren 
der the executive power of the province independent 
of the Legislative, or more properly speaking abso 
lutely dependent on the Crown. It was impossible 
for the Conspirators against our invalueable Rights, 
with all their Art & Assiduity, to prevent our sensible 
Brethren in the Country from seeing the fatal Ten 
dency of so dangerous an Innovation : And in a 
Virtuous Country it requires only a Sight of such 
daring Incroachments, to produce a manly & effectual 
Opposition to them. We applaud the patriotick De 
termination of the District of Rutland " that it is of 
the utmost Importance that the Inhabitants of this 

1 Clerk of the District of Rutland, Worcester County. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 17 

province stand firm as one man to support & main 
tain all their just Rights & Privileges." Such a reso 
lution when general among the people can seldom 
fail to reduce the most haughty Invaders of the com 
mon Rights to a Submission to Reason. 


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

BOSTON April 7 1773 


We the Committee of Correspondence for the 
Town of Boston, acknowledge the very obliging 
Letter to said town, signd by yourself & transmitted 
to us by order of the Town of Rowley. 

It gives us great pleasure to find that the proceed 
ings of the Town we have the Honor to serve, have 
been so acceptable to our worthy & much esteemed 
Brethren of Rowley. This cannot fail to animate the 
Metropolis in every laudable Exertion for the com 
mon Cause of Liberty. The ardent Zeal of your 
Town for that all interresting Cause, expressd in their 
Letter and their judicious Instructions to their Rep 
resentative which accompany it, afford us a very strong 
Assurance of the high Esteem they have of our 
invalueable Rights & their deep Sense of the Griev 
ances we labour under. We joyn with them in sup 
plicating Almighty God for his Direction Assistance 

1 Addressed as " late Moderator of a Meeting of the Freeholders other In 
habitants of the Town of Rowley held by Adjournment the third of February 


VOL. in. 2. 


& Blessing in every laudable Effort that may be made 
for the securing to our Selves & posterity the free & 
full Enjoyment of those precious Rights & privileges 
for which our renowned forefathers expended so 
much Treasure & Blood. 



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; a text with modifications is in 
R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 197-203 ; printed also in the 
Boston Gazette, May 23, 1774.] 

BOSTON 9 April 1773. 

I must by no means omit to request you to present 
my most respectful Complim ts to the Society of the 
Bill of Rights and return them my hearty Thanks for 
the great Honor they have done me in admitting 
me one of their Members. The Gentlemen may be 
assured that this unexpected mark of their Respect 
adds to the Obligation which I have ever held myself 
under, to employ the small Share of Ability which 
God has given me, in vindicating the Rights of my 
Country & of Mankind. 

I can now assure you, that the Efforts of this Town 
at their Meeting in November last, have had Effects 
which are extremely mortifying to our petty Tyrants. 
Every Art & every Instrument was made use of to 
prevent the Meetings of the Towns in the Country 
but to no purpose. It is no Wonder that a Measure 
calculated to promote a Correspondence and a free 
Communication among the people, should awaken 
Apprehensions ; for they well know that it must de- 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 19 

tect their Falshood in asserting that the people of this 
Country were satisfied with the Measures of the 
British parliament and the Administration of Govern 
ment. ^Our Governor has in my Opinion merited 
greatly of the Ministry by his constant Endeavors, 
though in vain, to sooth & quiet the people & per- 
swade them to think there were no Grievances that 
might "be seen felt or understood. / And when the 
House of Representatives in the last May Session, by 
almost a unanimous Vote remonstrated against his 
Independency, he, without the least Foundation in 
Truth, & for no other Reason that I can conceive 
but to give Countenance to his Patron Hillsborough, 
or to establish himself in his Governm 1 which he 
rec d with so great Reluctance, did not scruple in his 
Speech at the Close of that Session, to insinuate that 
the House was under the Influence of a few factious 
members. No Speech of Bernards ever gave greater 
Disgust to the People, nor with more reason. X 

There has been another Session of the Gen 1 As 
sembly, w ch began unexpectedly on the 6 th of Jan y 
last. It is my Opinion that it would have been post 
poned, as usual of late, till near the Close of our 
political Year, had it not been for the Boston Town 
Meeting ; I mean to prevent the designd Effects of 
it, by giving an occasion to the small Jobbers in the 
Country to say, that " however expedient it might 
have been for them to have had their meetings be 
fore, it now becomes unnecessary & improper since 
their representatives are soon to meet in Gen 1 As 
sembly." This had an Influence in some Towns ; and 
his Excellency, I suppose judgd it more probable that 


he should be able to mannage the Members of the 
House and prevail upon them "to joyn with him in 
bearing Testimony against the unwarrantable Pro 
ceedings of Boston," if they came together without 
having the explicit Sentiments of their Constituents. 

At the Meeting of the Assembly, he thought proper 
to open a Controversy with the two Houses, for which 
I think Hillsbro would not thank him ; for he has 
thereby defeated the favorite Design of the Ministry, 
which was to lull the people into Security, and for 
the effecting of which Design, he had before thought 
himself, or endeavord to make Administration believe 
he was entitled to so great a Share of Merit. It has 
been publishd in most of the Newspapers in the Con 
tinent & engages much of the Attention of the other 
Colonies. This, together with y e proceedings of a 
contemptible Town meeting, has awakned the Jeal 
ousy of all, & has particularly raised y e Spirit of the 
most ancient & patriotick Colony of Virginia. Their 
manly Resolves have been transmitted to the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives in a printed Sheet 
of their Journals ; and our Com 6 of Correspondence 
have circulated Copies of them into every Town & 
District through the Province. 1 

I wish I could hear more of Lord D. to qualify 
him for his high office, than merely that he is a good 
Man. Goodness I confess is an essential, tho too 
rare a Qualification of a Minister of State. Possibly 
I may not have been informd of the whole of his 
Lordships Character. Without a Greatness of Mind 

1 An original print of this circular letter, dated April 9, 1773, is in the Lenox 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 21 

adequate to the Importance of his Station, I fear he 
may find himself embarrassd with his present Con 
nections. It can easily be conceivd what principle 
induced Lord North to recommend to that Depart 
ment a Nobleman characterizd in America for Piety ; 
but what could prevail on his Lordship to joyn with 
such Connections, unless he had a Consciousness that 
his own Abilities were sufficient to defeat the plans 
of a corrupt Administration, I am not able to con 
ceive. It might be well for his Lordship to be as 
sured, that there is now a fairer prospect than ever of 
an Union among the Colonies, which his predecessor ^ 
did & had reason to dread, tho he affected to de 
spise it. Should the Correspondence proposd by Vir 
ginia produce a Congress ; and that an Assembly of 
States, it would require the Head of a very able 
Minister to treat with so respectable a Body. This 
perhaps is a mere fiction in the Mind of a political 
Enthusiast. Ministers of State are not to be dis- 
turbd with Dreams. 

I must now acknowledge your agreeable Letter of 
the 24 of Dec 1 . 1 I cannot wonder that you almost 
despair of the British Nation. Can that people be 
saved from Ruin, who carry their Liberties to market 
& sell them to the highest Bidder ? But America." 
" shall rise full plumed and glorious from her Mothers\ 

Our House of Representatives have sent a Letter 
to Lord Dartmouth. This must without Question 
be a wise measure, though I must own I was not 
in it. I feard it would lead the people to a false 

1 R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 224-226. 


Dependence ; I mean upon a Minister of State, when it 
ought to be placed, with Gods Assistance, upon them 
selves. You cannot better prepare him for the rep 
resentations of the House, than as you propose, by 
giving him a proper Idea of Hutchinson. I am much 
obligd to you for your Intention to hold up to the 
publick the Generosity of my esteemed friend Mr. 
Otis. I wish I could assure you that he is perfectly 

April 12. 

This day I have the pleasure of receiving yours of 
the 25 of Jan 7 . 1 Your putting me in mind of the 
Honor done me by the Society of the Bill of Rights 
is very kind. I ought sooner to have acknowledgd 
it. My omitting it was owing to being in a Hurry 
when I last wrote to you. I am sensible I am not one 
of the most regular Correspondents ; perhaps not so 
as I should be. I duly rec d tho I think not by M r 
Storey, the Letter which inclosed the Answer to the 
Resolution of the Gov r & Council against Junius 
Americanus, which I immediately publishd in the 
Boston Gazette. It was read with great Satisfaction 
by Men of Sense & Virtue. I am heartily glad to 
find that the proceedings of this Town are so pleas 
ing to you. I have heard that L d Dartmouth rec d 
one of our pamphlets with Coolness & expressd his 
Concern that the Town had come into such Measures. 
His Lordship probably will be much surprizd to find 
a very great Number of the Towns in this province 
(& the Number is daily increasing) concurring fully 
in Sentiments with this Metropolis ; expressing Loy- 

i R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 226-228. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 23 

alty to the King & Affection to the Mother Country 
but at the same time a firm Resolution to maintain! 
their constitutional Rights & Liberties. I send you 
the proceedings of one town, which if you think 
proper you may publish as a Specimen of the whole, 
for the Inspection of an Administration either misin- 
formd & credulous to the greatest Degree of human 
Weakness, or Obstinate in wilfull Error. They have 
lately employd Eight Regiments of British Troops to 
bring an handful of unfortunate Carribs to a Treaty 
dishonorable to the Nation. How many Regiments 
will be thought necessary to penetrate the Heart of a 
populous Country & subdue a sensible enlightned & 
brave people to the ignominious Terms of Slavery ? 
Or will his Lordships superior Wisdom direct to more 
salutary Measures, and by establishing Freedom in 
every part of the Kings extensive Dominions, restore 
that mutual Harmony & Affection which alone is 
wanting to build up the greatest Empire the World 
has ever yet seen. 

Mr. Wilkes was certainly misinformd when he was 
told that M r H. had deserted the Cause of Liberty. 
Great pains had been taken to have it thought to 
be so ; and by a scurvy Trick of lying the Adversaries 
effected a Coolness between that Gent n & some others 
who were zealous in that Cause. But it was of short 
Continuance, for their falshood was soon detected. 
Lord Hillsbro I suppose was early informd of this 
imaginary Conquest ; for I have it upon such Grounds 
as I can rely upon, that he wrote to the Gov r telling 
him that he had it in Command from the highest Au 
thority to enjoyn him to promote M r H. upon every 


Occasion. Accordingly, tho he had been before 
frownd upon & often negativd both by Bernard & 
Hutchinson the latter, who can smile sweetly even 
upon the Man he hates, when he is instructed or it is 
his Interest so to do, fawnd & flatterd one of the 
Heads of the faction, & at length approvd of him 
when he was elected a Councellor last May. To 
palliate this inconsistent Conduct it was previously 
given out that M r H had deserted the faction, & be 
came as they term each other, a Friend to Governm 1 . 
But he had Spirit enough to refuse a Seat at the 
Board, & continue a Member of the House, where he 
has in every Instance joyned with the friends of the 
Constitution in Opposition to the Measures of a Cor 
rupt Administration ; & in particular no one has dis- 
coverd more firmness against the Independency of 
the Gov r & the Judges than he. 

I have mentiond to M r Cushing the Hint in your last 
concerning his not answering your Letter. I believe 
he will write you soon. The Gratitude of the friends 
to Liberty towards M r Otis for his eminent Services 
in times past induces them to take all Occasions to 
show him Respect. I am much obligd to you for the 
friendship you have discoverd for him, in holding up 
to the View of the Publick his Generosity to Robinson. 

Your Brother in Virginia has lately honord me with 
a Letter ; & I intend to Cultivate a Correspondence 
with him, which I am sure will be much to my 

As you have confided in me to recommend one 
or more Gentlemen of this place as Candidates for the 
Society of the Bill of Rights, I can with the greatest 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 25 

Integrity nominate my two worthy & intimate Friends 
J Adams & J Warren Esq rs ; the one eminent in the 
profession of the Law & the other equally so in that of 
physick. Both of them men of an unblemishd moral 
Character & Zealous Advocates for the Common 
Rights of Mankind. 


[MS., American Philosophical Society; a text is in R. H. Lee, Life of 
Richard Henry Lee, vol. i., pp. 88-90, and a draft is in the Samuel Adams 
Papers, Lenox Library.] 

BOSTON April 10 1773 


Your Letter to me of the 4th Feb last, I receivd 
with singular Pleasure ; not only because I had long 
wishd for a Correspondence with some Gentleman in 
Virginia, but more particularly because I had fre 
quently heard of your Character and Merit, as a 
warm Advocate for Virtue and Liberty. 

I have often thought it a Misfortune, or rather 
a Fault in the Friends of American Independeqcje 
and Freedom, their not taking Care to open every 
Channel of Communication. The Colonies are all 
embarkd in the same bottom. The Liberties of all 
are alike invaded by the same haughty Power : The 
Conspirators against their common Rights have in 
deed exerted their brutal Force, or applied their insid 
ious Arts, differently in the several Colonies, as they 
thought would best serve their Purpose of Oppres 
sion and Tyranny. How necessary then is it ; that 
All should be early acquainted with the particular 


Circumstances of Each, in Order that the Wisdom & 
Strength of the whole may be employd upon every 
proper Occasion. We have heard of Bloodshed & 
even civil War in our Sister Colony North Carolina ; 
And how strange is it, that the best Intelligence we 
have had of that tragical Scene, has been brought to 
us from England ! 

This Province, and this Town especially, have suf- 
ferd a great Share of Ministerial Wrath and Inso 
lence : But God be thanked, there is, I trust, a Spirit 
prevailing, which will never submit to Slavery^ The 
Compliance of New York in making annual Pro 
vision for a military Force designed to carry Acts of 
Tyranny into Execution : The Timidity of some 
Colonies and the Silence of others is discouraging : 
But the active Vigilance, the manly Generosity and 
the Steady Perseverance of Virginia and South Caro 
lina, gives us Reason to hope, that the Fire of true 
Patriotism will at length spread throughout the Con 
tinent ; the Consequence of which must be the Acqui 
sition of all we wish for. 

The Friends of Liberty in. this Town have lately 
made a successful Attempt to obtain the explicit po 
litical Sentiments of a great Number of the Towns in 
this Province ; and the Number is daily increasing. 
The very Attempt was alarming to the Adversaries ; 
and the happy Effects of it are mortifying to them. 
I would propose it for your Consideration, Whether 
the Establishment of Committees of Correspondence 
among the several Towns in every Colony, would 
not tend to promote that General Union, upon which 
the Security of the whole depends. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 27 

The Reception of the truly patriotick Resolves of 
the House of Burgesses of Virginia gladdens the 
Hearts of all who are Friends to Liberty. Our 
Committee of Correspondence had a special Meeting 
upon this Occasion, and determined immediately to 
circulate printed Copies in every Town in this Prov 
ince, in order to make them as extensively useful as 
possible. I am desired by them to assure you of 
their Veneration for your most ancient Colony, and 
their unfeigned Esteem for the Gentlemen of your 
Committee. This indeed is a small Return ; I hope 
you will have the hearty Concurence of every Assem 
bly on the Continent. It is a Measure that I think 
must be attended with great and good Consequences. 

Our General Assembly is dissolved ; and Writs 
will soon be issued according to the Charter for a 
new Assembly to be held on the last Wednesday in 
May next. I think I may almost assure you that 
there will be a Return of such Members as will heart 
ily cooperate with you in your spirited Measures. 

The most enormous Stride in erecting what may 
properly be called a Court of Inquisition in America, 
is sufficient to excite Indignation even in the Breast 
the least capable of feeling. I am expecting an au- 
thentick Copy of that Commission, which I shall send 
to you by the first opportunity after I shall have re- 
ceivd it. The Letter from the new Secretary of 
State to the Governor of Rhode Island, which possi 
bly you may have seen in the News papers, may be 
depended upon as genuine. I receivd it from a Gen 
tleman of the Council in that Colony, who took it 
from the Original. I wish the Assembly of that little 


Colony had acted with more firmness than they have 
done ; but as the Court of Enquiry is adjournd, they 
may possibly have another Tryal. 

I have a thousand things to say to you, but am 
prevented by Want of Time ; having had but an 
hours Notice of this Vessels sailing. I cannot how 
ever conclude without assuring you, that a Letter 
from you as often as your Leisure will permit of 
it, will lay me under great Obligations. 
I am in strict Truth 

Your most humble serv 1 

[Boston Gazette, April 12, 1773.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

PERHAPS no measure that has been taken by the 
Town of Boston during our present Struggles for 
Liberty, has thwarted the designs of our enemies 
more than their Votes and Proceedings on the 2Oth 
of November last. 1 If we take a Retrospect of two or 
three Years past, we shall find that what our "pre 
tended patriots", as they were stiled in the . Court 
Gazette, so zealously forewarn d us of, has since turn d 
out to be a Fact ; that every art would be made use 
of to lull the people of this Province and Continent 
into Security, in order that the Conspirators against 
our Rights and Liberties might carry on their 
Schemes and compleat their system of Tyranny with- 

^ l Volume II., page 350. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 29 

out Opposition or Molestation. The first part of 
their plan, they imagined they had finish d ; that is, 
the Establishment of a Revenue : And though this 
was far from being sufficient to answer their whole 
purpose, they thought that if they could put the 
people to sleep, they might the more easily add to 
this revenue, at some future time, and plead the 
present submission for a precedent. They therefore 
began upon the second and equally important part of 
their plan, which was to appropriate the revenue they 
had rais d, to set up an Executive, absolutely inde 
pendent of the legislative, which is to say the least, 
the nearest approach to absolute Tyranny. 

The Governor, who was the first American Pen 
sioner, had now an exhorbitant Salary allowed him 
out of the monies extorted from the people : And 
although this was directly repugnant to the obvious 
meaning, if not the very letter of the Charter, much 
was said by Chronus and the Tribe of ministerial 
Writers in Mr. Draper s paper, to reconcile it to the 
people. But the people, whom they generally in 
their incubrations treated with an air of contempt, as 
an unthinking herd, had a better understanding of 
things than they imagined they had. They were 
almost universally disgusted with the Innovation, 
while the advocates for it were yet endeavoring to 
make the world believe, that the opposition to it arose 
from a few men only, of "no property" and " desper 
ate fortunes," who were "endeavouring to bring things 
into confusion, that they might have the advantage 
of bettering their fortunes by plunder." Little did 
they think that it was then known, as it now appears 

3 o THE WRITINGS OF [1773 

in fact, that those who were assiduously watching for 
places, preferment and pensions, were in truth the 
very men of no property, and had no other way of 
mending their shattered fortunes, but by being the 
sharers in the spoils of their country. 

Scarcely had the General Assembly the opportunity 
of expressing their full Sentiments of the mischievous 
tendency, of having a Governor absolutely depend 
ent on the Crown for his being and support, before 
the alarming News arriv d of the Judges of the 
Superior Court being placed in the same Situation. 
This Insolence of Administration was so quickly re 
peated, no doubt from a full perswasion of the truth 
of the accounts received from their infatuated tools 
on this side of the atlantick, that the temper of the 
people would now admit of the experiment. But the 
News was like Thunder in the ears of all but a de 
testable and detested few : Even those who had been 
inclin d to think favorably of the Governor and the 
Judges were alarm d at it. And indeed what honest 
and sensible man or woman could contemplate it with 
out horror ! We all began to shudder at the Pros 
pect of the same tragical Scenes being acted in this 
Country, which are recorded in the English History 
as having been acted when their Judges were the 
meer Creatures, Dependents and tools of the Crown. 
Such an indignation was discover d and express d by 
almost every one, at so daring an Insult upon a free 
people, that it was difficult to keep our Resentment 
within its proper bounds. Many were ready to call 
for immediate Vengeance, perhaps with more zeal 
than discretion : How soon human Prudence and 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 31 

Fortitude, directed by the wise and righteous Gover 
nor of the world, may point out the time and the means 
of successfully revenging the wrongs of America, I 
leave to those who have been the Contrivers and 
Abbettors of these destructive Measures, seriously 
to consider. I hope and believe that I live in a 
Country, the People of which are too intelligent and 
too brave to submit to Tyrants : And let me remind 
the greatest of them all, " there is a degree of patience 
beyond which human Nature will not bear" ! 

Amidst the general Anxiety the memorable Meet 
ing was called, with Design that the Inhabitants 
might have the Opportunity, of expressing their 
Sense calmly and dispassionately ; for it is from such, 
a Temper of Mind, that we are to expect a rational,] 
manly and successful Opposition to the ruinous Plans! 
of an abandoned Administration : And it is for thisj 
Reason alone, that the petty Tyrants of this Country} 
have always dreaded and continue still to dread, aj 
regular Assembly of the People. 

The desirable Effects of this Meeting, contemp 
tible as it was at first represented to be, together with 
the Prospect of what may be further expected from 
it, may possibly be the subject of a future Paper. 



April 10, 1773. 

3 2 



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

BOSTON April 13 1773 


The Committee of Correspondence of the Town of 
Boston have receivd a Letter from the respectable 
Inhabitants of the Town of Duxborough. Nothing 
can afford us greater pleasure than to find so noble a 
Spirit of Opposition to the Efforts of arbitrary power 
prevailing in so great a number of Towns in this 
province. And it gives us a particular Satisfaction 
that our worthy Brethren of Duxborough, who are 
settled upon the very spot which was first cultivated 
by our renowned Ancestors, inherit so great a Share 
of their heroick Virtues. It is as you justly observe 
an Affront to the Understanding of our Ancestors to 
suppose, that when they took possession of this 
Country, they consented, even tacitly, to be subject 
to the unlimited Controul of a Government without 
a Voice in it, the merciless Oppression of which was 
intolerable even when they had a Voice there. Your 
just Resentment of the Injuries done to us by the 
British parliament more especially in giving & grant 
ing our property & appropriating it to the most de 
structive purposes, without our Consent, and your 
resolution to oppose Tyranny in all its forms is 
worthy the Imitation of this Metropolis. We wish 
for & hope soon to see that Union of Sentiments in 
the several Towns throughout this province & in the 
American Colonies which shall strike a Terror in the 

1 Town Clerk of Duxbury. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 33 

hearts of those who would enslave us ; and together 
with a Spirit of union may God inspire us with that 
ardent Zeal for the support of religious & civil Lib 
erty which animated the Breasts of the first Settlers 
of the old Colony of Plymouth from whom the native 
Inhabitants of Duxborough have lineally descended. 
After the Example of those renowned Heroes, whose 
memory we revere, let us gloriously defend our Rights 
& Liberties, & resolve to transmit the fair Inherit 
ance they purchased for us with Treasure & Blood to 
their latest posterity. 


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

[April 13, 1773.] 


The Selectmen of this Town have handed to us an 
attested Copy of a letter directed to them by order 
of the ancient Town of Weymouth. As it is the 
particular Department of the Committee of Corre 
spondence appointed by the Town, to return an 
Answer to this Letter we chearfully embrace the 
Opportunity ; and acknowledge the Candor of our 
Brethren of Weymouth in giving any Attention to 
the proceedings of this Town. The Town of Boston 
are deeply sensible that our publick Affairs as you 
justly observe are in a critical Scituation : yet our 
Intention was, not to obtrude their Opinions upon 
their Fellow-Countrymen, as has been injuriously 

1 Town Clerk of Weymouth. 


said, but to be informd, if possible of their real Senti 
ments, at a time when it was publickly & repeatedly 
given out that this Country in general was perfectly 
reconciled to the measures of the British Administra 
tion. It affords us pleasure to find it to be the Sense 
of the Town of Weymouth that " Encroachments are 
made upon our Rights & Liberties," & that they are 
" disposed at all times to unite in every lawful & 
proper measure for obtaining a redress of our Griev 
ances." Many of the Towns in this province have 
expressd a just Abhorrence of the Attempts that 
have been & still are made to deprive us of our in 
estimable rights. Their good Sense & generous 
Zeal for the common Liberty is highly animating & 
we would wish to emulate it. We are sensible that 
" much Wisdom is necessary to conduct us right, " 
and we joyn in earnestly supplicating " that Wisdom 
which is from above." The Friendship to this Town 
expressd in your Letter Jays us under great Obliga 
tions. No greater Blessing can be desired by this 
Community than " Peace Prosperity & Happiness, " 
and the Enjoyment of this Blessing depends upon 
civil & religioiis Liberty. 


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

BOSTON April 13 1773 


The Votes of the plantation of Gardnerstown have 
been laid before the Committee of Correspondence 

1 Clerk of the " plantation " of Gardnerstown. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 35 

of the Town of Boston by M r Samuel Adams to 
whom you were so kind as to transmit them. The 
notice which your plantation have taken of the State 
of the Rights & Grievances of this people publishd 
by this metropolis gives us great pleasure. So 
thorough a Sense of Liberty civil & religious so 
early discoverd in an Infant Body, affords an agre- 
able prospect that the good Cause will be nobly de 
fended & maintaind by it, when it shall arrive to a 
State of Maturity. We wish you the Blessings of 
Heaven in your Settlement ; and we will exert our 
small Share of Influence in getting you protected 
from the savage hand of Tyranny, with which the 
whole British America has so long been contending. 
The resolves of the patriotick Assembly of Virginia 
accompany this Letter, & we doubt not you will par 
take of the general Joy they have given to all the 
friends of American Independence & freedom. 


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

BOSTON April 13 1773 


Your attested Copy of the proceedings of the Town 
of Framingham at a legal meeting on the 15 th of 
March last has been receivd by the Committee of 
Correspondence of the Town of Boston. 

The just resentment which your Town discovers at 
the power of Legislation for the Colonists assumed 

1 Town Clerk of Framingham. 


by the British Parliament, and its exerting that power 
in raising a revenue and applying it to purposes re 
pugnant to the common Safety, and the resolution 
of that town to defend our rights & Liberties pur- 
chasd with so much Blood & Treasure, must do them 
honor in the Estimation of all who place a true Value 
upon those inestimable Blessings. May He who 
gave this Land to our worthy forefathers, animate us 
their posterity to defend it at all Hazards ; and while 
we would not lose the Character of loyal Subjects to 
a prince resolvd to protect us, we will yet never 
forfeit that of Men determined to be free. 


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 203, 204.] 

BOSTON, April 22nd. 1773. 

MY ESTEEMED FRIEND, I have written you a long 
epistle by this conveyance, and yet as the vessel is 
detained by a contrary wind, I cannot help indulging 
the mood I am in to chat a little more with you. 
When I mentioned Mr. Hancock in my last, I forgot 
to tell you that he is colonel of a company, called the 
governor s company of cadets. Perhaps in this view 
only he was held up to Mr. Wilkes, when he was in 
formed that he had deserted the cause. But it should 
be known it is not in the power of the governor to 
give a commission for that company to whom he 
pleases as their officers are chosen by themselves. 
Mr. Hancock was elected by an unanimous vote ; 
and a reluctance at the idea of giving offence to an 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 37 

hundred gentlemen, might very well account for the 
governor giving the commission to Mr. H., without 
taking into consideration that most powerful of all 
other motives, an instruction, especially at a time 
when he vainly hoped he should gain him over. I 
have been the more particular, because I know our 
adversaries avail themselves much by propagating 
reports that persons who have signalized themselves 
as patriots have at length forsaken their country. Mr. 
Otis yesterday was engaged in a cause in the ad 
miralty on the side of Dawson, commander of one of 
the king s cutters. At this some of the minions of 
power triumph, and say they have got over to their 
side the greatest champion of our cause. I have not 
yet discovered in the faces of their masters, an air of 
exultation at this event ; and indeed how can they 
boast of the acquisition of one, whom they themselves 
have been the most ready to expose as distracted. 

I send you a complete printed copy of our contro 
versy with the governor, at the end of which you will 
observe some errors noted which escaped the press. 

This letter goes under care of Mr. Cushing s to 
Dr. Franklin. The franks you favoured me with I 
shall make use of as necessity shall require. 

I am yours affectionately, 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 204, 205.] 

BOSTON, May 6th, 1773. 

MY DEAR SIR, My last letter to you I sent by 


Capt. Symmes, who sailed a few days ago. This 
town met yesterday, and made choice of their repre 
sentatives for the year ensuing. Enclosed is a copy of 
the town s instructions. 1 It is a very common practice 
for this town to instruct their representatives ; which 
among other good purposes serves to communicate 
their sentiments and spirit to the other towns, and 
may be looked upon as fresh appeals to the world. 
I perceive by the late London newspapers that the 
governor s first speech had arrived there, and had been 
very sensibly remarked upon by Junius Americanus . 
This warm and judicious advocate for the province 
I apprehend was mistaken in saying, that the supreme 
authority of the British parliament to legislate forces 
has been always acknowledged here ; when he reads the 
answer of the house to the speech, he will find the con 
trary clearly shown, even from Gov. Hutchinson s 
history. What will be the consequence of this con 
troversy, time must discover ; it must be placed to the 
credit of the governor, that he has quickened a spirit 
of enquiry into the nature and end of government, and 
the connexion of the colonies with Great Britain, which 
has for some time past been prevailing among the 
people. Magna est veritas et prevalebit ; I believe it 
will be hardly in the power even of that powerful nation 
to hold so inquisitive and increasing a people long in 
a state of slavery. 

Pray write to me as often as you can find leisure, 
and be assured I am sincerely your friend and servant, 

1 The text is in Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xviii. , pp. 131-134. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 39 


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., p. 70; printed also in the 
Historical Magazine, vol. vii.,p. January, 20, 1863.] 

BOSTON, May 14, 1773. 


I must beg the favor of you to present my un 
feigned regards to the town, and acquaint them that, 
by reason of bodily indisposition, I am unable to dis 
charge the duty they have been pleased to assign me 
as moderator of their meeting, which is to be held this 
day by adjournment. I am much obliged to the 
town for the honor done me, and esteem it a very 
great misfortune whenever it is not in my power 
to render them services proportionate to my own 

With all due respect, I remain, gentlemen, 

Your friend and fellow-citizen, 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; a text with modifications is in 
R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 205, 206.] 

BOSTON May 17, 1773. 


My last went by Cap Calef, and inclosd a Copy of 
the Instructions of this Town to their representa 
tives. Our General Assembly will meet next Week, 
what kind of a Budget the Gov r will then open is un 
certain ; It is whispered that he intends to bring 
about a Coalition of parties, but how he will attempt 


it I am at a loss to conceive. Surely he cannot think 
that the Body of this people will be quieted till there 
is an End put to the Oppressions they are under ; 
and he dares not to propose a Coalition on these 
Terms because it would disgust those who are the 
Instruments of & Sharers in the Oppression./ Besides 
I am inclind to think he never will be able to recover 
so much of the Confidence of the people as to make 
his Administration easy. A few of his Letters we 
have seen, but are restraind at present from publish 
ing them. Could they be made generally known, his 
Friends must desert him. It is a pity when the most 
important Intelligence is communicated with such 
Restrictions, as that it serves rather to gratify the 
Curiosity of a few than to promote the publick good. 
I wish we could see the Letters he has written since 
his Advancement to the Government. His friends 
give out that they are replete with tenderness to the 
province ; If so, / speak with Assiirance, they are 
the reverse of those he wrote before. 

I send you for your Amusement the Copy of a 
Vote passd by this Town at the Adjournment of their 
Meeting a few days ago and remain with Sincerity 
your friend. 

You cannot write me too often. 


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., p. 192, under date of June 14, 1772.] 

BOSTON, June I4th, [1773.] 

DEAR SIR, I now enclose letters written by 

Thomas Hutchinson and Oliver and others of 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 41 

less importance, the originals of which have been laid 
before the house of representatives. 1 The house have 
already resolved, by a majority of 101 out of 106 
members, that the design and tendency of them is to 
subvert the constitution and introduce arbitrary poweo" 
into the province. They are now in the hands of a 
committee to consider them farther, and report what 
is still proper to be done. 

I think there is now a full discovery of a combina-N 
tipn of persons who have been the principal movers, 
in all the disturbance, misery, and bloodshed, which 
has befallen this unhappy country. The friends of 
our great men are much chagrined. 

I am much engaged at present, and will write you 
more fully by the next opportunity. In the mean 
time believe me to be with great esteem your un 
feigned friend, 

Wednesday, June i6th, 1773. The enclosed re 
solves are to be considered by the house this after 


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

BOSTON June 19 1773 


The judicious and manly Resolves of the Town of 
Hatfield, passd at the Adjournment of a legal meet- 

1 See Journal of the House of Representatives, /p7J-/77^, under dates of June 
2, 3, 10, 16, 21, 22, 26, 28, 1773 ; cf. Bigelow, Complete Works of Benjamin 
Franklin, vol. v., pp. 147-150, 152, 153, 205-207. 

2 Town clerk of Hatfield. 


ing on the 31 of May last, have been laid before the 
Com 6 of Correspondence for the Town of Boston. It 
affords us very great Satisfaction to find that the At 
tempts of this Town to state the common Rights of 
this Colony & the many grievances we labor under 
have been judgd by our Brethren of Hatfield to be 
an acceptable Service ; and the Thanks of that Town 
does great Honor to the metropolis. It has been the 
unremitted Endeavor of the Invaders of our Rights 
& the Tools they have employed, to prevail on the 
people to believe that there have been no Infringe 
ments made upon them ; and the artful Publications 
which have frequently issued from one of the presses 
in this Town in particular, had perhaps in some degree 
answerd their purpose. But we have the pleasure 
to assure you, that the Letters we have lately receivd 
from every part of the province, breath the true Sen 
timents & Spirit of Liberty. There seems to be in 
every town, an apprehension of fatal Consequences 
from "the illegal & unconstitutional measures which 
have been adopted, (as you justly express it) by the 
British ministry." Your Expression is indeed perti 
nent; for it has as we think abundantly appeard 
since you wrote, by some extraordinary Letters which 
have been publishd, that the plan of our Slavery was 
concerted here, & properly speaking " adopted by the 
British ministry." The plan indeed is concise ; first 
to take the people s money from them without their 
Consent & then to appropriate that money for the 
purpose of supporting an Executive independent of 
them and under the absolute Controul of the Crown 
or rather of the ministry. It was formerly the saying 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 43 

of an English Tyrant " Let me have Judges at my 
Command & make what Laws you please." Andl 
herein he judgd wisely for his purpose, for what 
Security can the people expect from the most salutary 
Laws if they are to be executed by the absolute De- 
pendents_oX__a__JiiQjnarch. The nation cannot then 
wonder that not only the several Towns of this prov 
ince in their more private Departments, but the 
Representative body of the people in General Court 
assembled, are so greatly alarmd at this finishing 
Stroke of the System of Tyranny. That Union of 
Sentiments among the freemen of this Colony, that 
firmness, and Resolution to make every constitutional 
Stand against the Efforts of a corrupt administration 
which appears in the proceedings of so many Towns 
already publishd to the World, must afford full con 
viction to the Earl of Dartmouth that the opposition 
is not, as was represented to his predecessor in office, 
an expiring Faction. That the People of this prov 
ince thus animated with a laudable Zeal, may be di 
rected to the wisest measures for the Defence & 
Support of their common Liberty is the ardent wish 
of this Committee. 

We are with the warmest affection for our Country, 
and a due regard to the Town of Hatfield 


your assured friends 
& humble Servants, 



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; a text with modifications is in 
R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 206, 207.] 

BOSTON June 21 1773 


I wrote in very great Haste a few days ago, and 
then inclosd a printed Copy of Letters signd Tho 
Hutchinson, And w Oliver & others, with a Copy of 
certain Resolutions formd by a Committee and brot 
into the House of Representatives. Those Resolu 
tions have been since considerd by the House and 
with little Variation adopted as you 1 see by the 
inclosd. Upon the last Resolve there was a Division 
85 to 28 since which five of the minority alterd their 
minds, and two other members came into the House 
and desird to be counted so that finally there were 93 in 
favor & 22 against it. Many if not most of the latter 
voted for all the other resolves. A Petition & Re 
monstrance against Hutchinson & Oliver will be brot 
in I suppose this Week. 4JCj$hould think enough ap 
pears by these Letters to show that the plan for the 
ruin of American Liberty was laid by a few men 
born & educated amongst us, & governd by Avarice 
& a Lust of powejr^7 Could they be removed from 
his Majestys Service and Confidence here, effectual 
Measures might then be taken to restore, " placidam 
sub Libertate Quietam." Perhaps however you may 
^think it necessary that some on your side the Water 
should be impeachd & brot to condign punishment. 
In this I shall not differ with you. 

I send you our last Election Sermon delivered by 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 45 

M r Turner. The Bishop of S c Asaphs I have read 
with singular pleasure. 

I remain sincerely your friend, 


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

Province of Massachusetts Bay June 23 I773 1 

To the Kings most Excellent Majesty 

Most Gracious Sovereign 

We your Majestys most loyal Subjects the Repre 
sentatives of your ancient Colony, in General Court 
legally assembled, by Virtue of your Majestys Writ 
under the Hand and Seal of the Governor beg leave 
to lay this our humble Petition before your Majesty ; 
earnestly beseeching that in your Royal Clemency, 
your Majesty would . . . 

Nothing but a Sense of the Duty we owe to our 
Sovereign, and the Obligation we are under to con 
sult the Peace and Safety of the Province, could 
induce us to remonstrate to your Majesty, the Mai- 
Conduct of those, who, having been born & educated 
and constantly resident in the Province and who 
formerly have had y e Confidence & were loaded with y e 
honours of this People, your Majesty, we conceive, 
from the purest Motives of rendering the People most 
happy, was graciously pleasd to advance to the high 
est places of Trust and Authority in the province. 

1 Adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 80 to 1 1, after a motion 
to refer its consideration to the next session had been defeated by a vote of 
73 to 13. 


. It has been with the greatest Concern and Anxiety, 
that your Majestys humble Petitioners have seen 
Discords & Animosities too long subsisting between 
your Subjects of the Parent State & those of the 
Colonies : And we have trembled with Apprehen 
sions that the Consequences naturally arising there 
from must at length prove fatal to both Countries. 

Your Majesty will permit us humbly to suggest, 
that your Subjects here have been naturally indued 
to believe, that the Grievances they have sufferd and 
still continue to suffer by the late measures of the 
British Administration, have been occasioned by your 
Majestys ministers & principal Servants being unfor 
tunately for us, either under strong prejudices against 
us, or misinformd in certain Facts of very interrest- 
ing Importance to us. It is for this Reason that 
former Houses of Representatives have from time to 
time prepared a true State of facts to be laid before 
your Majesty ; but their Petitions it is presumed, 
have by some means been prevented from reaching 
your Royal Hand. 

/Your Majestys Petitioners have at length had be 
fore them certain Papers, from which, they conceive 
it * may be made manifestly to appear that there has 
long been a Combination 2 of evil Men in this province, 
who have contemplated Measures and formd a Plan, 
to raise their own Fortunes and advance them 
selves to Posts of Power Honor & Profit, to the 
Destruction of the Character of the province, at 

1 As an alternative to the following six words, the draft has also, interlined, 
4i is most reasonable to Suppose." 

2 The draft has also "Conspiracy," interlined. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 47 

the Expence of the Quiet of the Nation and to 
the annihilating of the Rights & Liberties of the 
American Colonies. 

And we do with all due Submission to your Maj 
esty, beg Leave particularly to complain of the Con 
duct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson Esq r 
Governor, and the Hon be Andrew Oliver Esq r Lieu 
tenant Governor of this province, as having a natural 
& efficacious Tendency to interrupt & alienate the 
Affections of your Majesty our Rightful Sovereign 
from this your loyal province ; to destroy that Har 
mony & Good Will between Great Britain and this 
Colony which every honest Subject would wish to 
establish ; to excite the Resentment of the British 
Administration against this Province ; to defeat the 
Endeavors of our Agents & Friends to serve us by a 
fair Representation of our State of facts ; and to 
prevent our humble and repeated Petitions from 
reaching the Ear of your Majesty & having their de 
sired Effect. And finally that the said Tho s Hutch 
inson & Andrew Oliver have been some of the chiefe 
Instruments in the Introduction of a Fleet and. Army 
into this province to establish & perpetuate their 
plans ; whereby they have not only been greatly 
instrumental of disturbing the peace & Harmony of 
the Government and causing unnatural & hateful 
Discords and Animosities between the several parts 
of your Majestys Dominions, but are justly charge 
able with all that Corruption of Morals in this Pro 
vince, and all that Confusion Misery and Bloodshed 
which have been the natural Effects of the posting of 
Troops in a populous Town. 


We do therefore most humbly beseech your Maj 
esty, to give order that Time may be allowed to us to 
support these our complaints by our Agents and 
Council. And as the said Tho s Hutchinson Esq r 
and Andrew Oliver Esq r have by their above men- 
tiond Conduct and otherwise rendered themselves 
justly obnoxious to your Majestys loving Subjects, 
we pray that your Majesty will be graciously pleasd 
to remove them from their posts in this Government, 
and place such good and faithful men in their Stead 
as, your Majesty in your great Wisdom shall think 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text with modifications is in 
R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 207, 208.] 

BOSTON June 28, 1773. 

Dear Sir, 

My last was by Cap. Collson by the way of 
Bristol, inclosd in a frankd Cover. I then informd 
you of the passing of a Number of Resolves in 
the House of Representatives upon certain Letters 
that had been under their Consideration. Since 
which the House have by a Division of -f~|, voted a 
Petition & Remonstrance to the King praying that 
Gov r Hutchinson & L l Gov r Oliver may be removd 
from their Posts. A Copy of which is sent to D r 
Franklin by this Vessel, who is directed to apply to 
Arthur Lee, Esq r and any other Gentleman as Coun 
cil. Upon my motion the D r was directed to make 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 49 

application to you solely ; but the next Day it was 
questiond in the House whether you were yet 
initiated into the Practice of Law, and the Addition 
was made upon a Doubt which I was sorry I had it 
not in my Power to remove. However, you must 
be applyd to ; Every Friend of Liberty, or which is 
the same thing, nine-tenths of the House having the 
greatest Confidence in your Integrity and Abilities. 

You have herewith inclosd a Copy of the proceedings 
of the Council upon the same Subject. 

The People are highly incensd against the two im- 
peachd Gentlemen. They have entirely lost the Es 
teem of the publick. Even some of their few friends 
are ashamd to countenance them. The Gov r , as he 
has been one of the most obligd, has provd himself to 
be a most ungrateful man. He appears to me to be 
totally disconcerted. I wish I could say humbled. 

The House are now considering the Independency 
of the Judges; A Matter which every day grows still 
more serious, and employs much of the Attention of 
the People without Doors, as well as of the Members 

of the House. I wish Lord Dartmouth & the rest 


of the Great officers of the Crown could be prevaild 
upon duly to consider that British Americans cannot 
long endure a State of Tyranny. 

I expect the Gen 1 Assembly will be up in a few 
Days. 1 I will then write you more particularly. In 
the mean time I remain 

Your Friend, 

1 The General Court was prorogued June 29, to meet September 15; but the 
next session did not begin until January 26, 1774. 
VOL. III. 4 



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

BOSTON, Septem r n, 1773 


The happy fruit of the Appointment of Committees 
of Correspondence in almost every Town in this prov 
ince, is the Advantage that Each has of communicating 
any Matter of common Concern & Importance to a 
chosen Number of Men zealous for thepublick Liberty, 
in any particular Town or County, where it may be 
specially requisite that such Intelligence sh d be given. 
In order to support our Cause, it is necessary that we 
attend to every part of the plan which our Enemies 
have concerted against it. In making Laws & raising 
revenues from us without our Consent, a Design is 
evidently apparent to render an American Legislative 
of little Weight ; and in appropriating such revenues 
to the support of Governor & Judges, it as evidently 
appears that there is a fixd Design to make our Ex 
ecutive dependent upon them & subservient to their 
own purposes. Every method is therefore to be usd 
that is practicable, in opposition to these two capital 
Grievances, which are the fountain from whence every 
other Grievance flows. All the Judges of the Superior 
Court, except the Chiefe Justice have receivd the 
Grants out of the province Treasury in full ; but this 
by no means makes it certain whether they intend for 
the future to depend upon the Crown for Support or 
upon the Grants of the Gen 1 Assembly. Indeed one 
of them viz M r Trowbridge has explicitly declared to 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 51 

the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he 
will receive his Salary from the province only, so long 
as he shall hold his Commission. The Chiefe Justice 
(Oliver) has been totally silent. So that neither of 
them except M r Trowbridge has yet thought proper 
to comply with the just Expectation & Demand of the 
House of Representatives, upon which the Safety, & 
therefore we trust the Quiet of this people depends. 

The Court is now sitting here ; and the Grand Jury 
have presented a Memorial to them, setting forth as 
we are informd, the Contempt with which the Grand 
Juries of the province have been treated in the Letters 
of Gov r Hutchinson & others ; asserting the Inde 
pendence of Grand Juries as being accountable to none 
but God & their own Consciences for their Conduct ; 
claiming to themselves equal protection with the 
Court, & expecting v that effectual measures will be 
taken to secure that most valueable Branch of our civil 
Constitution, from further Contempt. They have 
also represented to the Court, the great Uneasiness in 
the Minds of the people of this County & as they 
conceive of the whole province, by reason of the un 
certainty that yet remains, respecting the Dependence 
of the Judges on the Crown for Support, & their own 
Doubts & Difficulties on this Account ; & they pray 
that the Court w d come to an explicit & publick 
Declaration thereupon. 

This is the Substance of the Matter. We shall en 
deavor to obtain a correct Copy, & in that Case you 
will see it publishd in the newspapers. In the mean 
time we would propose to you whether it would not 
be serving the Cause if every County would take 


similar Measures. And as the Court is to sit next in 
your County, 1 & yours is the principal Town we have 
written to your Committee only on this Subject, leav 
ing it to your Discretion & good Judgment to take 
such methods as shall be most proper. 


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

BOSTON Oct. 4 th 1773 


I can not omit this Opportunity of submitting to 
your Judgment, the Ideas I have of the present Dis 
position of the British Administration towards this 
Country; and I the rather do it at this time, because 
as Matters seem to me to be drawing to a Crisis, it 
is of the greatest Importance that we should have a 
right Understanding of their Sentiments and Designs. 
The "wild and extravagant Notions" (as they have 
been lately called) of the supreme Authority of 
Parliament " flowing from the Pen of an House of 
Representatives " has greatly chagrind them ; as they 
apprehend it has been the means of awakning that 
Spirit of Opposition to their Measures, which from 
the Information their Tools on this side of the Water 
had given them, and the Confidence they had placed 
in the Art and Address of M r Hutchinson, they had 

1 Cf . Columbia University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, 
vol. vii., p. 58. 

2 The political leader of Northampton, Massachusetts. His Broken Hints " 
is in Niles, Principles and Acts, p. 324. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 53 

flatterd themselves, had subsided, & would soon 
be extinguished. At the same time they are very 
sensible, that the impartial Part of the Nation, con 
sidering that the House were in a Manner forced to 
express their own Sentiments on the Subject, be they 
what they might, with Freedom are ready to excul 
pate them, and lay the whole Blame, if there be any, 
upon the Governor, for his Imprudent Zeal in bring 
ing a Matter into open Controversy which the Ministry 
had hoped to have settled in a silent Way. It is my 
Opinion that the present Administration even though 
the very good Lord Dartmouth is one of them, are as 
fixed in their Resolutions to carry this favorite point 
as any of their Predecessors have been ; I mean to 
gain from us an implicit Acknowledgment of the 
Right of Parliament to make Laws binding upon us 
in all Cases whatever. The King who you know de 
termines by their Advice, has expressd his Dis 
pleasure at our late petitions because they held up 
Rights repugnant to this Right. Some of our Poli 
ticians would have the People believe that Adminis 
tration are disposd or determind to have all the 
Grievances which we complain of redressd, if we will 
only be quiet. But this I apprehend would be a fatal 
Delusion ; for I have the best Assurances, that if the 
King himself should make any Concessions or take 
any Steps contrary to the Right of Parliam 1 to tax us, 
he would be in Danger of embroiling himself with the 
Ministry ; and that under the present Prejudices of 
all about him, even the recalling an Instruction to the 
Governor is not yet likely to be advisd. Lord Dart 
mouth has indeed lately said in the House of Lords 


as I have it from a Gentleman in London who re- 
ceivd the Information from a peer who was present, 
that " he had formd his plan of Redress, which he was 
determind to carry at the Hazard of his office." But 
his Lordship might very safely make this Promise ; 
for from all that I have heard, his Plan of Redress is 
built very much upon the Hopes that we may be pre- 
vaild upon, at least implicitly to yield up the Right, 
of which his Lordship is as fixd in his Opinion, as 
any other Minister. This I conceive they have had 
in view from the year 1 763 ; and we may well re 
member, that when the Stamp Act was repeald, our 
^Friends in Parliam 1 submitted as a Condition of the 
; Repeal, that the declaratory Act as it is called should 
Ibe passed, declaratory of the Right & Authority of 
/ Parliament to make Laws binding upon us in all 
U Cases whatever. Till that time the Dispute had been 

limitted to the Rio^ht of Taxation. By assuming the 

i I > j t> 

\j Power of making Laws for America in all Cases, at 
the time when the Stamp Act was repeald it was pro 
bably their Design to secure, as far as they could do 
it by an Act of their own, this particular Right of 
Taxation thinking at the same time that if they could 
once establish the Precedent in an Instance of so 
much importance to us, as that of taking our Money 
from us, they should thenceforward find it very easy 
to exercise their pretended Right in every other Case. 
For this Purpose in the very next Session if I mistake 
not, they passed another revenue Act, for America ; 
which they have been endeavoring to support by 
military parade, as well as by other Means, at an Ex- 
pence to the Nation, as it is said of more than the 

l\A. *A 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 55 

revenue yielded. And yet, in order to induce us to 
acquiesce in or silently to submit .to their Exercise of 
this Right, they have even condescended to meet us 
half way (as it was artfully given out) and lessened 
this Revenue by taking off the Duty on Glass & 
several other Articles. M r George Grenville declared 
that he would be satisfied with a peper Corn, but that 
he must have three; which shows that he had a 
stronger Sense of the Importance of establishing the 
Power of Parliament, or as his own Words were, " of 
securing the Obedience of the Colonies " than barely 
of a Revenue. /The Acknowledgment on our part of the 
Right of Parliament has been their invariable Object: 
And could they now gain this Acknowledgment fromx 
us, tho it were but implicitly, they would willingly sacri- \ 
fice the present revenue by a repeal of the Acts, and I 
for the present redress all our Grievances. I have 
been assured that a Question has of late been pri 
vately put by one in Administration upon whom much 
Dependence is had by some persons, to a Gentleman 
well acquainted with the Sentiments of the People of 
this Province, Whether the present House of Repre 
sentatives could not be prevaild on to rescind the 
Answers of the last House to the Governors Speeches 
relative to the supreme Authority of Parliament ; 
which Answers have been lookd upon as a Bar in the 
Way of a Reconciliation and being informd that such 
a measure on our part could by no means be expected, 
I am apprehensive that Endeavors will be used to 
draw us into an incautious mode of Conduct which 
will be construed as in Effect receding from the Claim 
of Rights of which we have hitherto been justly so 


tenacious. It has been given out, I suspect from the 
Secrets of the Cabinet, that if we will now send home 
decent temperate & dutiful petitions, even our im 
aginary Grievances shall be redressd ; but let us con 
sider what Ideas Administration have of Decency 
Temperance & Dutifulness as applyd to this Case. 
Our late petitions against the Independency of the 
Governor & Judges were deemd indecent intemperate 
& undutiful, not because they were expressd in ex 
ceptionable Words, but because it was therein said 
that by the Charter it plainly appeard to us to be 
intended by the Royal Grantors that the General As 
sembly should be the constituted Judge of the ade 
quate Support of the Government of the province 
and the Ways & Means of providing for the same ; 
and further that this operation of an Act of parlia 
ment, by which the People are taxed & the money is 
appropriated & used for that purpose, derogates from 
one of the most sacred Rights granted in the Charter, 
& most essential to the Freedom of the Constitu 
tion, & divests the Gen 1 Assembly of a most important 
part of legislative Power and Authority expressly 
granted therein, and necessary for the Good and Wel 
fare of the province & the Support and Government 
of the same. The- Subject Matter of our Complaint 
was, not that a Burden greater than our proportion 
was laid upon us by Parliament; such a Complaint 
we might have made salva Authoritate parliamentaria: 
But that the Parliament had assumed & exercisd the 
power of taxing us & thus appropriating our money, 
when by Charter it was the exclusive Right of the 
General Assembly. We could not otherwise have 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 57 

explaind to his Majesty the Grievance which we meant 
to complain of ; and yet he is pleasd in his answer to 
declare that he has well weighd the Subject Matter 
of the petitions and is determined to support the 
Constitution and to resist with firmness every At 
tempt to derogate from the Authority of the supreme 
Legislature. Does not this imply that the parlia 
ment is the supreme Legislature & its Authority over 
the Colonies the Constitution? And that until we 
frame our petitions so as that it may fairly be con 
strued that we have at least tacitly conceded to it we 
may expect they will be still disregarded or frownd 
upon as being not decent temperate and dutifull ? We 
may even be allowd to claim certain Rights and 
exercise subordinate powers of Legislation like the 
Corporations in England, subject to the universal 
Controul of ParlianV, and if we will implicitly acknow 
ledge its Right to make Laws binding upon us in all 
Cases whatever, that is, its absolute Sovereignty over 
us the Acts we shall then complain of as burdensome 
to us, shall be repeald, all Grievances redressd, and 
Administration will flatter us that the right shall 
never be exercisd but in a Case of absolute necessity 
which shall be apparent to every judicious man in the 
Empire. To induce us to be thus submissive beyond 
the bounds of reason & Safety their Lordships will 
condescend to be familiar with us and treat us with 
Cakes & Sugar plumbs. But who is to determine 
when the necessity shall be thus apparent? Doubt 
less the Parliam 1 , which is supposd to be the supreme 
Legislature will claim that prerogative; and then 
they will for ever make Laws for us when they think 


proper. Or if the several Colony Assemblies are to 
signify that such necessity is apparent to every wise 
man within their respective Jurisdictions before the 
parlianV shall exercise the Right, the point will be 
given up to us in Effect, that the Parliam 1 shall not 
make a Law binding upon us in any Case until we 
shall consent to it, which their Lordships can in no 
wise be thought to intend. 

But I must break off this abruptly. I intend to 
write you further. In the meantime I must beg to 
be indulgd with your Thots on these matters & 
remain with great regard, 



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

BOSTON Octob 13 1773 


I lately wrote you a long Epistle upon our political 
Affairs; and although I fear I have put your patience 
to the Tryal, I can not withstand a strong Inclination 
to communicate more of my mind to you on the same 
Subject. Perhaps it may be of Service to you, as it 
may afford you an opportunity of exercising that 
Charity or Candor which " beareth all things." 

I have taken some pains to enquire into the true 
Character of the Minister in the American Depart 
ment. And I find that all allow him to be a good 
man. Goodness has rarely I fear been of late the 
Characteristick of his Majestys Ministers ; for which 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 59 

reason his Lordship is to be sure the more highly to 
be prizd. But it seems veryfnecessary that Men in 
such elevated Stations should be great as well as good. 
The Promotion of a nobleman to this Department, 
who is famed in America for his Piety is easily ac 
counted for on the principles of modern Policy. How 
ever illy we may deserve it, the great men in England 
have an opinion of us as being a mightily religious 
People. Surely then it must be supposd that we 
shall place an entire Confidence in a Minister of the 
same Character. We find it is so in fact. How many 
were filled with the most sanguine Expectations, when 
they heard that the good Lord Dartmouth was en 
trusted with a Share in Administration ? Little did 
they think that if his Lordship did not come in upon 
express terms, which however is doubted by some, yet 
without a Greatness of mind equal, perhaps superior 
to his Goodness, it will be impossible for him singly 
to stem the Torrent of Corruption. This requires 
much more Fortitude than I yet believe he is possessd 
of. Fain would I have him treated with great Decency 
& Respect, both for the Station he is in and the Char 
acter he sustains; but considering with whom he is 
connected, I confess that in regard to any power he 
will have substantially to serve us, I am an Infidel. 

I do not agree with some of our Politicians who tell 
us that the Ministry are "sick of their Measures." I 
cannot but wonder that any prudent Man should be 
lieve this, while he sees not the least Relaxation of 
measures; but instead of it new Insult & Abuse. Is 
the Act of Parliament, made the last year, and the 
Appointment of Commissioners with Instructions to 


put it in full Execution in the Rhode Island Affair, a 
Ground of such a Beliefe ? Can we think the East 
India Company are so satisfied that Administration 
are disposd to give up their Designs of establishing 
Arbitrary Power, when no longer ago than the last 
Session of Parliament they effected the Deprivation 
of their Charter Rights, whereby they have acquired 
so great an Addition of Power & Influence to the 
Crown ? Or are such Hopes to be gatherd from the 
Treatment given to our own Petitions the last May, 
when they were discountenancd for no other Reason 
but because the Rights of our Charter were therein 
pleaded as a Reason against a measure which if a little 
while persisted in, will infallibly establish a Despotism 
in the End ? Surely this is not a time for us to tes 
tify the least Confidence in the Spirit of the British 
Government, or from flattering Hopes that their de 
signs are to alter measures, to trust to their Discretion 
or good Will. 

I am apt to think that Ministry have two great 
Events in Contemplation both which in all probability 
will take place shortly. The one is a War & the other 

new Election of Parliament Men. In order to im 
prove these Events to their own purpose, it will be 
come necessary to sooth & flatter the Americans 
with Hopes of Reliefe. In Case of a War, America 
if in good Humour will be no contemptible Ally. 
She will be able by her Exertions to annoy the Enemy 
much. Her aid will therefore be courted. And to 
bring her into this good Humour, the Ministry must 
be lavish in promises of great things to be done for 
her. Perhaps some Concessions will be made ; but 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 61 

these Concessions will flow from policy not from 
Justice. Should they recall their Troops from the 
Castle, or do twenty other seemingly kind things, we 
ought never to think their Designs are benevolent to 
ward us, while they continue to exercise the pretended 
Right to tax us at their pleasure, and appropriate our 
money to their own purposes. And this they have 
certainly no Thought at present of yielding up. With 
regard to the Election of another House of Commons, 
that will not take place within these Eighteen months 
unless a Dissolution of parliam should happen before ; 
which has indeed been hinted, & may be the move 
ment in order suddenly to bring on the Election 
before the People are prepared for it. We are to sup 
pose that an Attempt will be made to purchase the 
Votes of the whole Kingdom. This will require much 
Time and dexterous Management. The Ministry 
have in a great Measure lost the Influence of London 
and other great Corporations as well as that of the 
East India Company by their late Treatment of that 
powerful Body, whom Lord North now finds it neces 
sary to coax and pascify. They will therefore be glad 
to sooth America into a State of Quietness, if they 
can do it without conceding to our Rights, that they 
may have the Aid of the Friends of America when the 
new Election comes on. And that America has many 
Friends among the Merchants & Manufacturers the 
Country Gentlemen & especially the Dissenters from 
the establishd Church I am so well informd that I 
cannot doubt. The last of these are so from generous 
the others from private & selfish Principles. Such 
Considerations as these will be strong Inducements 


[to] them to make us fair & flattering Promises for the 
present; but Nothing I think will be so dangerous as 
for the Americans to withdraw their Dependence upon 

] themselves & place it upon those whose constant En 
deavor for ten years past has been to enslave us, & 
who, if they can obtain a new Election of old Mem 
bers, it is to be feard, unless we keep up a perpetual 
Watchfulness, will, in another seven years, effect their 
Designs. The Safety of the Americans in my humble 
opinion depends upon their pursuing their wise Plan 
of Union in Principle & Conduct. If we persevere in 
asserting our Rights, the Time must come probably a 
Time of War, when our just Claims must be attended 
to & our Complaints regarded. But if we discoverd 
the least Disposition to submit our Claims to their 
Decision, it is my opinion that our Injuries will be in- 

\ creasd ten fold. I conclude at present with assuring 

(^ you that I am with sincere regard 

Sir your Friend & hbl serv 1 , 


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

BOSTON Octob 21 1773 


The Committee of Correspondence appointed by 
the House of Representatives of this Province have 

iThe origin of this letter appears in the manuscript journal, preserved in the 
Boston Public Library, of the Committee of Correspondence, consisting of fifteen 
members, appointed by the House of Representatives of Massachusetts. At a 
.meeting of the committee on June 28, 1773, a sub-committee, consisting of 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 63 

been not altogether inattentive to the Design of their 
Institution. We have been waiting for Intelligence 
from Great Britain from whose injudicious Councils 
the common Grievances of the Colonies have sprang ; 
in hopes that a Change in the American Department 
would have producd a happy Change in the meas 
ures of Administration ; But we are sorry to say, 
that from the best Accounts that we have ob- 
taind the Ministry have been hitherto so far from 
radically redressing American Grievances that even 
the least Relaxation has not been advisd if thought 
of. On the Contrary, the British Parliament have 
been prorogud without taking the least Notice of the 
Affairs of America ; while they have been curtailing 
the Charter of the East India Company in such a 
Manner & in such a Degree, as to indicate that they 
are much more intent upon increasing the power & 
Influence of the Crown than securing the Liberties 
of the Subject. At the same time, this Province has 
had a very recent Discovery of the unalterd Reso 
lution of the Ministry to pursue their plan of arbitrary 

Adams, Hancock, Gushing, Phillips, and Heath, was appointed, to write to 
the Connecticut Committee of Correspondence and also to the committee of each 
assembly. The letter to Connecticut appears to have been approved at a meet 
ing of the sub-committee on July 4. At a meeting of the sub-committee on 
July 15 Adams was asked to draft a letter on general government to the com 
mittees of the neighboring governments. This letter was still unwritten on 
August 19, and on September 29 the sub-committee called a meeting of the full 
cpmmittee for October 20. On that date it was voted expedient to write a 
circular letter to the other committees, and in the afternoon of the same day 
Adams and Warren were appointed a sub-committee to draft such a letter. At 
the afternoon meeting on October 21 a draft was reported, read several times, 
and accepted ; and it was voted that the chairman, with Adams and Heath, 
should sign the letters. The Journal is printed in Proceedings of Massachusetts 
Historical Society, 2d ser., vol. iv., pp. 85-90. 

6 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1773 

Power, in the Kings Answer to the Petitions of our 
Assembly against the appropriation of the Revenue 
raisd from the Colonies, for the purpose of rendering 
our Governor & Judges dependent on the Crown. 
In his Majestys Answer, we have nothing explicit, 
but his Resolution to support the supreme Authority 
of the British parliam 1 to make Laws binding on the 
Colonies (altho the petitions were supported by the 
express Declarations of the Charter of the province) 
and his great Displeasure, that principles repugnant 
to that Right were therein held forth. Such an 
Answer to such a petition affords the strongest 
Grounds to conclude, that the Ministry are as firmly 
resolvd as ever to continue the Revenue Acts & 
apply the tribute extorted by Virtue of them from the 
Colonies, to maintain the executive powers of the 
several Governments of America absolutely in 
dependent of their respective Legislatives ; or 
rather absolutely dependent on the Crown, which 
will, if a little while persisted in, end in absolute 

Such being still the temper of the British Ministry, 
Such the Disposition of the parliament of Britain 
under their Direction & Influence, to consider them 
selves as the Scvere^n^o^J^merica, Is it not of the 
utmost Importance that our Vigilance should increase, 
that the Colonies should be united in their Sentiments 
of the Measures of Opposition necessary to be taken 
by them, and that in whichsoever^ the Colonies any 
Infringments are or shall be made on the common 
Rights of all, that Colony should have the united 
Efforts of all for its^Support. This we take to be the 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 65 

true Design of the Establishment of our Committees 
of Correspondence. 

There is one thing which appears to us to be an 
Object worthy of the immediate Attention of the * 
Colonies. Should a War take place, which is thought 
by many to be near at hand, America will then be 
viewd by Administration in a Light of Importance to 
Great Britain. Her Aids will be deemd necessary ; 
her Friendship therefore will perhaps be even courted. 
Would it not then be the highest Wisdom in the sev 
eral American Assemblies, absolutely to withhold all 
kinds of Aid in a general War, untill the Rights & 
Liberties which they ought to enjoy are restored, & 
secured to them upon the most permanent founda 
tion ? This has always been the Usage of a spirited 
House of Commons in Britain, and upon the best 
Grounds ; for certainly protection & Security ought 
to be the unalterable Condition when Supplys are 
called for. With Regard to the Extent of Rights 
which the Colonies ought to insist upon, it is a 
Subject which requires the closest Attention & De 
liberation ; and this is a strong Reason why it should 
claim the earliest Consideration of, at least, every 
Committee ; in order that we may be prepared when 
time & Circumstances shall give to our Claim the 
surest prospect of Success. And when we consider 
how one great Event has hurried on, upon the back 
of another, such a time may come & such Circum 
stances take place sooner than we are now aware 
of. There are certain Rights which every Colony 
has explicitly asserted, & we trust they will never give 
up. That in particular, that they have the sole & 

VOL. Ill, 5. 


unalienable Right to give & grant their own money 
& appropriate it to such purposes as they judge 
proper, is justly deemd to be of the last Importance. 
But whether even this Right, so essential to our Free 
dom & Happiness, can remain ... to us, while 
a Right is claimed by the British parliament to make 
Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever, you will 
certainly consider with Seriousness. It would be de 
basing to us after so manly a Struggle for our Rights 
to be contented with a mere temporary reliefe. We 
take the Liberty to present you with the State of 
a Controversy upon that Subject, between the Gov 
ernor of this province and the Assembly. And as 
the Assembly of this or some other Colony may pos 
sibly be called into a further Consideration of it, we 
should think our selves happy in a Communication of 
such further Thoughts upon it, as we are perswaded 
will upon a ... occur to your Minds. We are 
v far from desiring that the Connection between Britain 
& America should be broken. Esto perpetua, is our 
ardent wish; but upon the Terms only of Equal Lib 
erty. If we cannot establish an Agreement upon 
these terms, let us leave it to another & wiser Gen 
eration. But it may be worth Consideration that the 
work is more likely to be well done, at a time when 
the Ideas of Liberty & its Importance are strong in 
Mens Minds. There is Danger that these Ideas will 
hereafter grow faint & languid. Our Posterity may 
be accustomd to bear the Yoke & being inured to 
Servility they may even bow the Shoulder to the 
Burden. It can never be expected that a people, how 
ever numerous, will form & execute a wise plan to 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 67 

perpetuate their Liberty, when they have lost the 
Spirit & feeling of it. 

We cannot close without mentioning a fresh In 
stance of the temper & Design of the British Minis 
try ; and that is in allowing the East India Company, 
with a View of pacifying them, to ship their Teas to 
America. It is easy to see how aptly this Scheme 
will serve both to destroy the Trade of the Colonies 
& increase the revenue. How necessary then is it 
that Each Colony should take effectual methods to 
prevent this measure from having its designd Effects. 1 


The foregoing Letter was unanimously agreed to 
by the Committee of Correspondence, and is in their 
name and by their order Transmitted to you by your 
most respectfull friends and humble Servants, 

P.S. It is the request of the Committee that the Con 
tents of this Letter be not made publick least our Com 
mon Enemies should counteract and prevent its design. 

NOVEMBER 5, 1773. 

[Boston Record Commissioners 1 Report, vol. xviii., pp. 142, 143 ; a draft of 
the preamble, in the handwriting of Adams, is in the Mellen Chamberlain col 
lection, Boston Public Library.] 

Whereas it appears by an Act of the British Parlia 
ment passed in the last Sessions, that the East India 
Company are by the said Act allowed to export their 
Teas into America, in such Quantities as the Lord of 

1 The remainder is not in the autograph of Adams. 


the Treasury shall Judge proper 1 : And some People 
with an evil intent to amuse the People, and 
others thro inattention to the true design of the Act, 
have so construed the same, as that the Tribute of 
three Pence on every Pound of Tea is not to be en 
acted by the detestable Task Masters there 2 Upon 
the due consideration thereof. Resolved, That the 
Sense of the Town cannot be better expressed on this 
Occasion, than in the words of certain Judicious Re 
solves lately entered into by our worthy Brethren the 
Citizens of Philadelphia wherefore 
^Resolved, that the disposal of their own property is 
the Inherent Right of Freemen ; that there can be no 
property in that which another can of right take from 
us without our consent ; that the Claim of Parliament 
to tax America, is in other words a claim of Right to 
buy 3 Contributions on us at pleasure - 

2 d - That the Duty imposed by Parliament upon Tea 
landed in America, is a tax on the Americans, or levying 
* Contributions on them without their consent - 

3 d - That the express purpose for which the Tax is 
levied on the Americans, namely for the support of 
Government, the Administration of Justice, and the 
defence of His Majestys Dominions in America, has 
a direct tendency to render Assemblies useless, and to 
introduce Arbitrary Government and Slavery - 

4 th - That a virtuous and steady opposition to the 
Ministerial Plan of governing America, is absolutely 
necessary to preserve even the shadow of Liberty, and 

1 At this point the draft includes the words, " without the same having been 
exposed to sale in the Kingdom of Great Britain." 

2 The draft reads " here." 

3 The town record should apparently read " lay." 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 69 

is a duty which every Freeman in America owes to his 
Country to himself and to his Posterity - 

5 th That the Resolutions lately come by the East 
India Company, to send out their Teas to America 
Subject to the payment of Duties on its being landed 
here, is an open attempt to enforce the Ministerial 
Plan, and a violent attack upon the Liberties of 

6 th - That it is the Duty of every American to oppose 
this attempt - 

7 th - That whoever shall directly or indirectly coun 
tenance this attempt, or in any wise aid or abet in 
unloading receiving or vending the Tea sent or to be 
sent out by the East India Company while it remains 
subject to the payment of a duty here is an Enemy 
to America 

8 th - That a Committee be immediately chosen to 
wait on those Gentlemen, who it is reported are ap 
pointed by the East India Company to receive and 
sell said Tea, and to request them from a regard to 
their own characters and the peace and good order of 
this Town and Province immediately to resign their 




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

BOSTON Novr 9, 1773. 


The Town of Boston has for a few days past been 
greatly alarmd with hearing of the marching of the 
Soldiers posted at Castle Island from day to day in 


Companies through the neighboring Towns armd. 
The pretence is that they are sickly & require such 
Exercise ; But why then should they be thus armd? 
It is justly to be apprehended there are other Designs, 
which may be dangerous to our common Liberty. It 
is therefore the Request of the Committee of Corre 
spondence for this Town, that you would give us your 
Company at Faneuil Hall on Thursday next at three 
o Clock, joyntly to consult with them on this alarm 
ing occasion - 

We are Gent n 

your Fellow Countrymen, 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, voK ii., pp. 208, 209.] 

BOSTON, Nov. gth, 1773. 

MY DEAR SIR, I have but just time to enclose you 
a newspaper, by which you will see that Lord Sh ne 
was not mistaken when he said that "things began to 
wear a very serious aspect in this part of the world." 
I wish that Lord Dartmouth would believe, that the 
people here begin to think that they have borne op 
pression long enough, and that if he has a plan of 
reconciliation he would produce it without delay ; but 
his lordship must know, that it must be such as will 
satisfy Americans. One cannot foresee events ; but 
from all the observation I am able to make, my next 
letter will not be upon a trifling subject. 

I am with great respect, your friend, 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 71 

[MS., Mellen Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library. 1 ] 

BOSTON Nov r 17, 1773 


Whereas the Freeholders & other Inhabitants of 
this Town did at their last Meeting make application 
to Richard Clarke Esq[ & Sons who are supposd to 
be the persons to whom the East India Companys 
Tea is to come consignd ; And request them to resign 
their Appointment to which they returnd for Answer 
that they were uncertain upon what Terms the said 
Tea would be sent to them, and what Obligations 
they should be laid under. And Whereas by a Ves- 
sell now arrived from London (in which is come a 
Passenger a Son of the said M r Clarke) there is Advice 
that said Tea is very soon expected. 

It is therefore the Desire of us the Subscribers 
that a Meeting of the Town may be called, that an 
other Application may be made to the same persons 
requesting as before ; it being probable that they can 
now return a definite Answer. 

We are Gentlemen 

Your humble serv ts 


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

BOSTON Dec r 17, 1773 


The Com 6 of Correspondence for this Town duly 
rec d your Letter of the 14 th & note the important Con- 

1 All in the autograph of Adams, and signed by Adams and twenty- four 
others. Cf. , Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xviii., p. 147. 

Ij." . \ > 
Vi ; 


tents. We inform you in great Haste that every 
Chest of Tea on board the three Ships in this Town 
was destroyed the last Evening without the least In 
jury to the Vessels or any other property. Our Ene- 
<Xrnies must acknowledge that these people have acted 
.upon pure & upright Principle. The people at the 
Cape will we hope behave with propriety and as be 
comes Men resolved to save their Country. 1 


[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library. 2 ] 

BOSTON 17 th Dece r 1773. 


Yesterday we had a greater meeting of the Body 
than ever, the Country coming in from twenty miles 
round, & every step was taken, that was practicable 
for returning the Teas. The moment it was known 
out of doors that M r Rotch could not obtain a pass 
for his Ship by the Castle, a number of people huz- 
za d in the Street, and in a very little time every 
ounce of the Teas on board of the Cap ts Hall, Bruce 
& Coffin, was immersed in the Bay, without the least 
injury to private property. The Spirit of the People 
on this occasion surprisd all parties who view d the 

We conceived it our duty to afford you the most 

1 At the foot of the draft is written the following, also in the handwriting of 
Adams : & to Sandwich with this Addition " We trust you will afford them 
your immediate Assistance & Advice." 

2 Merely the subscription and addresses are in the autograph of Adams. 
Noted as sent " by M r Revere" to " M r Mifflin & Geo Clymer" at Philadel 
phia and " Phillip Livingston & Sam Broom" at New York. 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 73 

early advice of this interesting event by express which 
departing immediately obliges us to conclude. 
In the Name of the Com 6 , 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 212, 213.] 

BOSTON, Dec. 25th, 1773. 

MY DEAR SIR, I wrote you a few days past by 
Capt. Scott, and then promised to write farther by 
the next opportunity ; but not having heard of the 
sailing of this vessel till this moment, I have only 
time to recommend a letter written and directed to 
you by John Scollay, Esq. a worthy gentleman and 
one of the selectmen of this town. He desires me to 
apologise for his addressing a letter to one who is a 
perfect stranger to him, and to assure you that he is 
persuaded there is no gentleman in London who has 
the liberties of America more warmly at heart, or is 
more able to vindicate them than yourself. You see 
the dependence we have upon you. 

Excuse this short epistle, and be assured that as I 
am a friend to every one possessed of public virtue, 
with affection I must be constantly yours, 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 209-212.] 

BOSTON, Dec. 31, 1773. 

MY DEAR SIR, I am now to inform you of as 
remarkable an event as has yet happened since the 


commencement of our struggle for American liberty. 
The meeting of the town of Boston, an account of 
which I enclosed in my last, was succeeded by the 
arrival of the ship Falmouth, Captain Hall, with 114 
chests of the East India Company s tea, on the 28th 
of November last. The next day the people met in 
Faneuil hall, without observing the rules prescribed by 
law for calling them together ; and although that hall is 
capable of holding 1200 or 1300 men, they were soon 
obliged for the want of room to adjourn to the Old 
South meeting-house; where were assembled upon this 
important occasion 5000, some say 6000 men, con 
sisting of the respectable inhabitants of this and the 
adjacent towns. The business of the meeting was 
conducted with decency, unanimity, and spirit. Their 
resolutions you will observe in an enclosed printed 
paper. It naturally fell upon the correspondence for 
the town of Boston to see that these resolutions were 
carried into effect. This committee, finding that the 
owner of the ship after she was unloaded of all her 
cargo except the tea, was by no means disposed to 
take the necessary steps for her sailing back to 
London, thought it best to call in the committees 
of Charlestown, Cambridge, Brookline, Roxbury, and 
Dorchester, all of which towns are in the neighbour 
hood of this, for their advice and assistance. After a 
free conference and due consideration, they dispersed. 
The next day, being the i4th, inst. the people met 
again at the Old South church, and having ascertained 
the owner, they compelled him to apply at the custom 
house for a clearance for his ship to London with the 
tea on board, and appointed ten gentlemen to see it 

1773] SAMUEL ADAMS. 75 

performed ; after which they adjourned till Thursday 
the 1 6th. The people then met, and Mr. Rotch in 
formed them that he had according to their injunction 
applied to the collector of the customs for a clearance, 
and received in answer from the collector that he 
could not consistently with his duty grant him a clear 
ance, until the ship should be discharged of the duti 
able article on board. It must be here observed that 
Mr. Rotch had before made a tender of the tea to the 
consignees, being told by them that it was not prac 
ticable for them at that time to receive the tea, by 
reason of a constant guard kept upon it by armed 
men ; but that when it might be practicable, they 
would receive it. He demanded the captain s bill of 
lading and the freight, both which they refused him, 
against which he entered a regular protest. The 
people then required Mr. Rotch to protest the refusal 
of the collector to grant him a clearance under these 
circumstances, and thereupon to wait upon the gov 
ernor for a permit to pass the castle in her voyage to 
London, and then adjourned till the afternoon. They 
then met, and after waiting till sun-setting, Mr. Rotch 
returned, and acquainted them that the governor had 
refused to grant him a passport, thinking it incon 
sistent with the laws and his duty to the king, to do 
it until the ship should be qualified, notwithstanding 
Mr. Rotch had acquainted him with the circumstances 
above mentioned. You will observe by the printed 
proceedings, that the people were resolved that the 
tea should not be landed, but sent back to London in ., 
the same bottom ; and the property should be safe 
guarded while in port, which they punctually per- 


formed. It cannot therefore be fairly said that the 
destruction of the property was in their contemplation. 
It is proved that the consignees, together with the 
collector of the customs, and the governor of the 
province, prevented the safe return of the East India 
Company s property (the danger of the sea only ex- 
cepted) to London. The people finding all their 
endeavours for this purpose thus totally frustrated, dis 
solved the meeting, which had consisted by common 
estimation of at least seven thousand men, many of 
whom had come from towns at the distance of twenty 
miles. In less than four hours every chest of tea on 
board three ships which had by this time arrived, 
three hundred and forty-two chests, or rather the con 
tents of them, was thrown into the sea, without the 
least injury to the vessels or any other property. 
The only remaining vessel which was expected with 
this detested article, is by the act of righteous heaven 
cast on shore on the back of Cape Cod, which has 
often been the sad fate of many a more valuable 
cargo. For a more particular detail of facts, I refer 
you to our worthy friend, Dr. Hugh Williamson, who 
kindly takes the charge of this letter. We have had 
great pleasure in his company for a few weeks past ; 
and he favoured the meeting with his presence. 

You cannot imagine the height of joy that sparkles 
in the eyes and animates the countenances as well as 
the hearts of all we meet on this occasion ; excepting 
the disappointed, disconcerted Hutchinson and his 
tools. I repeat what I wrote you in my last ; if lord 
Dartmouth has prepared his plan let him produce 
it speedily ; but his lordship must know that it must 



be such a plan as will not barely amuse, much less 
farther irritate but conciliate the affection of the 

I had forgot to tell you that before the arrival of 
either of these ships, the tea commissioners had 
preferred a petition to the governor and council, 
praying "to resign themselves and the property in 
their care, to his excellency and the board as guard 
ians and protectors of the people, and that measures 
may be directed for the landing and securing the 
tea," &c. I have enclosed you the result of the 
council on that petition. He (the governor) is now, 
I am told, consulting his lawyers and books to make 
out that the resolves of the meeting are treasonable. 
I duly received your favours of the 23d June, of the 
2ist July and i3th October, 1 and shall make the best 
use I can of the important contents. 

Believe me to be affectionately your friend, 

P.S. Your letter of the 28th August is but this 
moment come to hand. I hope to have leisure to 
write you by the next vessel. Our friend Dr. Warren 
has written to you by this 2 ; you will find him an 
agreeable and useful correspondent. 

1 Under date of October 13, 1773, Lee had written to Adams : " Every day 
gives us new light and new strength. At first it was a tender point to question*\ 
the authority of parliament over us in any case whatsoever ; time and you have V 
proved that their right is equally questionable in all cases whatsoever. It was f 
certainly a great stroke, and has succeeded most happily." R. H. Lee, Life * 
of Arthur Lee, vol i., pp. 236, 237. 

9 Under date of December 21, 1773. The text is in Ibid., vol. ii., pp. 
262, 263. 



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

BOSTON Janv 8 1774 


As the General Assembly will undoubtedly meet 
on the 26 th of this Month, the Negroes whose Petition 
lies on file and is referrd for Consideration, are very 
sollicitous for the Event of it. And having been 
mformd that you intended to consider it at your 
Leisure Hours in the Recess of the Court, they 
earnestly wish you would compleat a Plan for their 
Reliefe. And in the mean time, if it be not too much 
Trouble, they ask it as a favor that you would by a 
Letter enable me to communicate to them the general 
outlines of your Design. 

I am with sincere Regard, 

Sir, your humble Serv 1 

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

Jan 25 1774 

The sending the East India Companies Tea into 
America appears evidently to have been with 
Design of the British Administration, and to com 
plete the favorite plan of establishing a Revenue in 
America. The People of Boston and the other 
adjacent Towns endeavored to have the Tea sent 
back to the place from whence it came & then to 

1 Of Salem, Mass. Upon a later letter from Pickering to Adams is endorsed 
in the autograph of Adams : " Letter from M r J Pickerin an honest & sensible 
Friend of y e Liberty of his Country." 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 79 

prevent the Design from taking Effect. Had this 
been done in Boston, as it was done in New York 
& Philadelphia, the Design of the Ministry would 
have been as effectually prevented here as in 
those Colonies and the property would have been 
saved. Governor Hutchinson & the other Crown 
officers having the Command of the Castle by which 
the Ships must have passed, & other powers in 
their Hands, made use of these Powers to defeat 
the Intentions of the people & succeeded ; in short 
the Governor who for Art & Cunning as well as 
an inveterate hatred of the people was inferior to 
no one of the Cabal ; both encouragd & provoked 
the people to destroy the Tea. By refusing to 
grant a Passport he held up to them the alternative 
of destroying the property of the East India Com 
pany or suffering that to be the sure means of 
unhinging the Security of property in general in 
America, and by delaying to call on the naval power 
to protect the Tea, he led them to determine their 
Choice of Difficulties. In this View of the Matter 
the Question is easily decided who ought in Justice 
to pay for the Tea if it ought to be paid for at all. 

The Destruction of the Tea is the pretence for 
the unprecedented Severity shown to the Town of 
Bostan^but the real Cause is the opposition to\ 
Tyranny for which the people of that Town haveV 
always made themselves remarkeable & for which/ 
I think this Country is much obligd to them. b(They 
are suffering the Vengeance of Administration in 
the Common Cause of America. 



[Journal of the House of Representatives , 7773, I 774-> P- 2I 9-] 

Whereas Peter Oliver. 2 Esq ; Chief Justice of the 
Superior Court of Judicature, &c. hath declined any 
more to receive the Grants of this House for his 
Services, and hath informed this House by a Writing 
under his Hand, that he hath taken and received 
a Grant from his Majesty for his Services, from the 
fifth Day of July 1772, to the fifth day of January 
1774; and that he is resolved for the future to re 
ceive the Grants from his Majesty that are or shall 
be made for his said Services, while he shall continue 
in this Province as Chief Justice : 

Therefore, Resolved, That this House will not 
proceed to make a Qrant to the said Peter Oliver, 
Esq ; for his Services for the Year past. 


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

BOSTON March 24 1774 


The Bearer of this M r W m Goddard has brot us 
Letters from our worthy Brethren the Committees of 
Correspondence of New York Newport and Provi 
dence, recommending to our Consideration the Expe- 

1 On March I, 1774, the House of Representatives voted that Adams should 
prepare a resolution stating the reason for omitting the usual grant to Peter 
Oliver. He reported the same day, and his report was accepted. 

2 For the articles of impeachment against Peter Oliver, see Massachusetts 
Gazette, March 3, 1774, and Anmtal Register, 1774, PP- 224-227. 

3 Intended also for the Committees of Correspondence at Salem, Portsmouth 
and Newbury Port. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 81 

diency of making an Effort to constitute & support 
a Post throughout America in the room of that which 
is now establishd by an Act of the British Parliament. 
When we consider the Importance of a Post, by which 
not only private Letters of Friendship and Commerce 
but publick Intelligence is conveyd from Colony to 
Colony, it seems at once proper & necessary that 
such an one should be establishd as shall be under the 
Direction of the Colonies ; more especially when we 
further consider that the British Administration & 
their Agents have taken every Step in their Power 
to prevent an Union of the Colonies which is so 
necessary for our making a successful opposition to 
their arbitrary Designs, and which depends upon a 
free Communication of the Circumstances and Senti 
ments of each to the others, and their mutual Councils 
Besides, the present Post Office is founded on an Act 
of the British Parliament and raises a revenue from 
us without our Consent, in which View it is equally 
as obnoxious as any other revenue Act, and in the 
time of the Stamp Act as well as since it has been 
pleaded as a Precedent against us. And though we 
have appeard to acquiesce in it, because the office was 
thought to be of publick Utility, yet, if it is now made 
use of for the purpose of stopping the Channels of 
publick Intelligence and so in Effect of aiding the 
measures of Tyranny, as M r Goddard informs us it 
is, the necessity of substituting another office in its 
Stead must be obvious. The Practicability of doing 
this throughout the Continent is to be considerd. 
We by no means despair of it. But as it depends 
upon joynt Wisdom & Firmness our Brethren of 


New York are sollicitous to know the Sentiments of 
the New England Colonies. It is therefore our 
earnest Request that you would take this matter so 
interresting to America into your consideration, & 
favor us by the return of M r Goddard with your own 
Sentiments, and as far as you shall be able to collect 
them, the Sentiments of the Gentlemen of your Town 
& more particularly the Merchants and Traders. And 
we further request that you would, if you shall judge it 
proper, communicate your Sentiments in a Letter by 
M r Goddard to the Committees of Correspondence of 
New York & Philadelphia &c. It is our present 
opinion that when a plan is laid for the effectual 
Establishment and Regulation of a Post throughout 
the Colonies upon a constitutional Footing, the Inhab 
itants of this Town will heartily joyn in carrying it 
into Execution. We refer you for further particulars 
to M r Goddard, who seems to be deeply engagd in 
this attempt, not only with a View of serving himself 
as a Printer, but equally from the more generous 
motive of serving the Common Cause of America. 
We wish Success to the Design and are with cordial 


Your Friends & fellow Countrymen, 

[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 36-39.] 

BOSTON, March 25, 1774. 


While the general court was sitting I received a 
letter from you relating to the unhappy circumstances 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 83 

the town of Marblehead was then in ; but a great 
variety of business, some of which was very import 
ant, prevented my giving you a convincing proof at 
that time, of the regard with which I am ever disposed 
to treat your favours. Besides, if it had been in my 
power to have aided you with advice, I flattered my 
self, from the information I afterwards had, that the 
storm, though it raged with so much violence, would 
soon spend itself, and a calm would ensue. The 
tumult of the people is very properly compared to the 
raging of the sea. When the 

become headstrong, they generally will have their 
course : a direct opposition only tends to increase 
them ; and as to reasoning, one may as well expect 
that the foaming billows will hearken to a lecture of 
morality and be quiet. The skilful pilot will care 
fully keep the helm, and so steer the ship while the 
storm continues, as to prevent, if possible, her receiv 
ing injury. 

When your petition was read in the house, I was 
fearful that our enemies would make an ill improve 
ment of it. I thought I could discover in the counte 
nances of some a kind of triumph in finding that the 
friends of liberty themselves, were obliged to have re 
course even to military aid, to protect them from the 
fury of an ungoverned mob. They seemed to me to 
be disposed to confound the distinction, between a 
lawless attack upon property in a case where if there 
had been right there was remedy, and the people s 
rising in the necessary defence of their liberties, and 
deliberately, and I may add rationally destroying 
property, after trying every method to preserve it, and 


when the men in power had rendered the destruction 
of that property the only means of securing the prop 
erty of all. 

It is probable that such improvement may have 
been made of the disorders in Marblehead, to preju 
dice or discredit our manly opposition to the efforts 
of tyranny ; but I hope the friends of liberty will pre 
vent any injury thereby to the common cause : and 
yet, I cannot but express some fears, that parties and 
animosities have arisen among the brethren ; because 
I have just now heard from a gentleman of your 
town, that your committee of correspondence have 
resolved no more to act ! I am loath to believe, nay, 
I cannot yet believe, that the gentlemen of Marble- 
head, who have borne so early and so noble a testi 
mony to the cause of American freedom, will desert 
that cause, only from a difference of sentiments among 
themselves concerning a matter which has no relation 
to it. If my fears are groundless, pray be so kind as to 
relieve them, by writing to me as soon as you have an 
opportunity. I shall take it as the greatest act of 
friendship you can do me. Indeed the matter will soon 
be put to the trial ; for our committee, without the least 
jealousy, have written a letter to your s, by Mr. God- 
dard, who is the bearer of this. The contents we 
think of great importance, and therefore I hope they 
will have the serious consideration of the gentlemen 
of your committee. 

I am, with strict truth, 

Your s affectionately, 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 85 


[Seventy- Six Society Publications. Papers Relating to Massachusetts, pp. 
186-192. A draft is in the Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox 
Library. A manuscript text, with autograph signatures, is in the library of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society.] 

BOSTON, March 3ist, 1774. 

SIR : 

By the inclosed Papers you will observe the pro 
ceedings of the two Houses of Assembly in the late 
session with regard to the Justices of the Superior 
Court. The conduct of Administration in advising 
an annual Grant of the Crown to the Governor and 
the Judges whereby they are rendered absolutely de 
pendent on the Crown for their being and support, 
had justly and very thoroughly alarmed the appre 
hensions of the people. They clearly saw that this 
measure would complete the Tragedy of American 
Freedom, for they could conceive of no state of sla 
very more perfect, than for a Parliament in which they 
could have no voice to claim a power of making Laws 
to bind them in all cases whatever, and to exercise 
that assumed Power in taking their money from them 
and appropriating it for the support of Judges wfyo 
are to execute such laws as that parliament should 
see fit to make binding upon them, and a Fleet and 
Army to enforce their subjection to them. No dis 
cerning Minister could expect that a people who had. 
not entirely lost the Spirit and Feeling of that Lib 
erty wherewith they had before been made free, would 
tamely and without a struggle submit to be thus dis 
graced and enslaved by the most powerful and haughty 

1 Signed by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, William Phillips and William 


Nation on Earth. They heard with astonishment 
that his Majesty, their own sovereign as well as the 
sovereign of Britain, had been advised by his servants 
to signify his displeasure at the decent temperate and 
humble Petitions of their Representatives, for the re 
dress of this intolerable Grievance merely because 
they held up principles founded in nature, and con 
firmed to British Subjects by the British Constitution, 
and to the subjects in this Province by a sacred char 
ter granted to the inhabitants by his illustrious pre 
decessors for themselves their Heirs and successors 
forever. They regretted that the Influence of the 
good Lord Dartmouth upon whose exertions they 
had placed a confidence could not prevail to gain the 
Royal attention to their just Complaints being as 
sured that could his Majesty be truly informed, that 
the express intention of the Royal Charter was to 
establish and confirm to his subjects in this Province 
all the liberties of his natural born subjects within the 
Realm, to all Intents, Purposes and Constructions 
whatsoever, they should soon rejoice in the full re 
dress of their Grievances and that he would revoke 
his Grants to his Governor and Judges and leave the 
Assembly to support his Governor in the Province in 
the way and manner prescribed in the Charter accord 
ing to ancient and uninterrupted usage and conform 
able to the true spirit of the British Constitution. 

The People however forbore to take any extraor 
dinary Measures for the Removal of this dangerous 
innovation, and trusted to the Prudence and forti 
tude of their Representatives by whose Influence four 
of the Judges have been prevailed upon to renounce 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 87 

the Grants of the Crown and to declare their Resolu 
tion to depend upon the Grants of the Assembly for 
their future services. The Chief Justice has acted a dif 
ferent part. The House of Representatives have 
addressed the Governor and Council to remove him 
from his Office ; they have impeached him of High 
Crimes and misdemeanors, the Governor has refused, 
even though requested by the Council, to appoint a 
time to determine on the matter, and finally the House 
have Resolved that they have done all in their Power 
in their capacity to effect his removal and that the 
Governor s refusal was presumed to be because he 
received his support from -the Crown. 

As the Papers inclosed contain so fully the Senti 
ments of the two Houses concerning this important 
matter, it is needless to make any observations 
thereon. The Assembly is prorogued and it is 
expected will soon be Dissolved. Doubtless the 
People who in general are greatly agitated with the 
conduct of the Governor, will at least speculate very 
freely upon a subject so interesting to them. They 
see with resentment the effect of the Governor s in 
dependency, That he is resolved to save a favorite 
(with whom he has a connection by the intermarriage 
of their children) and therein to set a precedent for 
future Independent Governors to establish any cor 
rupt officers against the remonstrances of the Repre 
sentative Body. They despair of any Constitutional 
remedy, while the Governor of the Province is thus 
dependant upon Ministers of State against the 
most flagrant oppressions of a corrupt Officer. They 
take it for certain that such a Governor will forever 


screen the conduct of such an officer from examination 
and prevent his removal, if he has reason to think it 
is expected he should so do by those upon whos^e 
favor he depends. On the other hand his Majesty s 
Ministers, unless they are blinded by the plausible 
Colourings of designing men may see, that by the 
present measures the People are provoked and irri 
tated to such a degree, that it is not in the Power of 
a Governor (whom they look upon as a mere Instru 
ment of Power) though born and educated in the 
Country, and for a long time possessed of a great 
share of the confidence and affections of the People 
now to carry a single point which they the ministers 
can recommend to him. And this will always be the 
case let who will be Governor while by being made 
totally dependent on the Crown or perhaps more 
strictly speaking upon the Ministry, he is thus aliened 
from the People for whose good he is and ought to 
be appointed. In such a state what is to be expected 
but warm and angry Debates between the Governor 
and the two Houses (while the Assembly is sitting 
instead of the joint consultation for the public Wel 
fare) and violent commotions among the People ? It 
will be in vain for any to expect that the people of 
this Country will now be contented with a partial and 
temporary relief, or that they will be amused by 
Court promises while they see not the least relaxation 
of Grievances. By the vigilance and activity of 
Committees of Correspondence among the several 
towns in the Province they have been wonderfully 
enlightened and animated. They are united in sen 
timent and their opposition to unconstitutional Meas- 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 89 

ures of Government is become systematical, Colony 
communicates freely with Colony. There is a com 
mon Affection ***** * 

whole continent is 

now become united in sentiment and opposition to 
tyranny. Their old good will and affection for the 
Parent Country is not however lost, if she returns to 
her former moderation and good humor their affection] 
will revive. They wish for nothing more than per- * 
manent union with her upon the condition of equal . 
liberty. This is all they have been contending for/ 
and nothing short of this will or ought to satisfy 
them. When formerly the Kings of England have 
encroached upon the Liberties of their Subjects, the 
subjects have thought it their Duty to themselves and 
their Posterity to contend with them until they were 
restored to the footing of the Constitution. The 
events of such struggles have sometimes proved 
fatal to Crowned Heads perhaps they have never 
issued but Establishments of the People s Liberties. 
In those times it was not thought reasonable to say, 
that since the King had claimed such or such a 
Power the People must yield it to him because it 
would not be for the Honor of his Majesty to recede 
from his Claim. If the People of Britain must needs 
flatter themselves that they collectively are the 
Sovereign of America, America will never consent 
that they should govern them arbitrarily, or without 
known and stipulated Rules. But the matter is not so 
considered here : Britain and the Colonies are con 
sidered as distinct Governments under the King. 
Britain has a Constitution the envy of all Foreigners, 


to which it has ever been the safety as well of Kings 
as of subjects steadfastly to adhere. Each Colony 
has also a Constitution in its Charter or other Insti 
tution of Government ; all of which agree in this that 
the fundamental Laws of the British Constitution 
shall be the Basis. That Constitution by no means 
admits of Legislation without representation. Why 
then should the Parliament of Britain which not 
withstanding all its Ideas of transcendant Power 
must forever be circumscribed within the limits of that 
Constitution, insist upon the right of legislation for 
the people of America without their having Re- 
: presentation there ? It cannot be justified by their 
own Constitution. The Laws of Nature and Reason 
abhor it ; yet because she has claimed such a Power, 
her Honor truly is concerned still to assert and ex 
cise it, and she may not recede. Will such kind of 
reasoning bear the test of Examination ! Or rather 
will it not be an eternal disgrace to any nation which 
considers her Honor concerned to employ Fleets and 
Armies for the Support of a claim which she cannot 
in Reason defend, merely because she has once in 
anger made such a Claim? It is the misfortune of 
Britain and the Colonies that flagitious Men on both 
sides the Water have made it their Interest to foment 
divisions, Jealousies, and animosities between them, 
which perhaps will never subside until the Extent of 
Power and Right on each part is more explicitly 
stipulated than has ever yet been thought necessary, 
and although such a stipulation should prove a 
lasting advantage on each side, yet considering that 
the views and designs of those men were to do infinite 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 91 

mischief and to establish a Tyranny upon the Ruins of 
a free constitution they deserve the vengeance of the 
public, and till the memory of them shall be erased by 
time, they will most assuredly meet with the exe 
crations of Posterity. 

Our Lieutenant Governor Oliver is now dead. 1 
This event affords the Governor a Plea for postponing 
his voyage to England till further orders. Had the 
Government by the absence of both devolved on the 
Council, his Majesty s service (which has been fre 
quently pleaded to give a Colouring to measures de 
structive of the true Interests of his Subjects) would 
we are persuaded, have been really promoted. Among 
other things the Grants of the House which in the 


late session were repeated for the services of our 
Agents would have been passed. There is a degree 
of Insult in the Governor s refusal of his consent to 
those Grants, for as his refusal is grounded upon the 
Hopes that our Friends will thereby be discouraged 
from further serving us, it is as much as to say that 
there will be no Agents unless the Assembly will 
be content with such as he shall prescribe for their 
choice. The House by a Message urged the Gover 
nor to enable them to do their Agents Justice but in 
vain. This and other instances serve to show that 
the Powers vested in the Governor are exercised to 
injure and Provoke the People. 

We judge it to be the expectation of the House of 
Representatives that you should warmly solicit the 
Earl of Dartmouth for his Interest that as well as 
other instructions which are grievous to us, more 

1 Cf. Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, vol. i., pp. 436, 437. 


particularly those which relate to the disposition of 
our public that which 

restrains the Governor from consenting 

to the Agents may be recalled. 

And his Lordship ought to consider his Interest in 
this particular not as a personal favor done to you 
but as a piece of Justice done to the Province ; and 
in the same light we strongly recommend it to your 
own Consideration especially as we hope for a change 
in the Government. 

We now write to you by the direction of the 
House of Representatives to the Committee of 
Correspondence, and are with very great Regard, 

In the name of the Committee 

Your most humble servants, 

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

BOSTON March 31 1774 


I have been for some time past waiting for the 
Arrival of a ship from London, that I might have 
something of Importance to communicate to you. 
No ship has yet arrived. I cannot however omit 
writing to you by our worthy Friend M r Watson, by 
whom I rec d your obliging Letter of the 27 Instant. 

Altho we have had no Arrival from Lond n directly 
to this place, we have heard from thence by the way of 
Philadelphia as you have observd in the News papers. 
The Account they first receivd of our opposition to 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 93 

the East India Act, as it is called, particularly the 
transactions at Liberty Tree, they treated with Scorn & 
Ridicule ; but when they heard of the Resolves of the 
Body of the people at the old South Meeting house, 
the place from whence the orders issued for the 
removal of the Troops in 1770, they put on grave 
Countenances. No Notice is taken of America in 
the Kings Speech. Our Tories tell us to expect 
Regiments [to be] quarterd among us. What Measures 
an injudicious Ministry, (to say the least of them) will 
take, cannot easily at present be foreseen ; it will be 
wise for us to be ready .for all Events, that we may 
make the best Improvement of them. It is probable 
that M r Hutchinson will make the Death of his 
Brother Oliver a plea for postponing a Voyage to 
London, and if Troops should arrive it may be best 
that he should be here. I never suffer my Mind to be 
ever much disturbd with Prospects. Sufficient for 
the Day is the Evil thereof. It is our Duty at all 
Hazards to preserve the publick Liberty. Righteous 
Heaven will graciously smile on every manly and 
rational Attempt to secure that best of all his Gifts 
to Man, from the ravishing Hand of lawless & 
brutal Power. 

M r Watson will inform you, what Steps [the] Com 6 
of Correspondence have taken with regard to the 
Establishment of a Post Office upon constitutional 
Principles. M r Goddard, who brot us Letters from 
New York, Newport & Providence relating to that 
Subject, is gone with Letters from us to the principal 
trading Towns as far as Portsmouth. I will acquaint 
you with the State of the Affair when he returns, and 


our Com 6 will I doubt not, then write to yours. The 
Colonies must unite to carry thro such [a] Project, and 
when the End is effected it will be a pretty grand 

I refer you also to M r Watson, who can inform you 
respecting one of your Protecters who has been in 
Town. The Tryumph of your Tories as well as ours 
will I hope be short. We must not however boast as 
he that putteth off the Harness. H n is politically 
sick and [I] fancy despairs of returning Health. The 
" law learning " Judge I am told is in the Horrors and 
the late Lieutenant (joynt Author of a late Pamphlet 
intitled Letters &c.) a few Weeks ago " died & was 
buried "- Excuse me from enlarging at present. I 
intend to convince you that I am " certainly a Man 
of my Word" In the mean time with Assurance of 
unfeigned Friendship for M rs Warren and your agre- 
able Family, in which M rs Adams joyns, I remain 

Yours Affectionately, 


[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with 
slight modifications, is in J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 

BOSTON April 2d 1774 


Yesterday we receivd your Letter dated the 22 d of 
March, wherein we have the disagreeable Intelligence 
of your " having resignd the several offices in which 
you have acted for the Town " of Marblehead, and 

Addressed to "Azor Orne Esq r & other Gentlemen of the Committee of 
Correspondence for Marblehead." 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 95 

that you shall " accept them no more without mate 
rial Alteration in the Conduct of the Inhabitants." 

When we heard of the unhappy Circumstances of 
that Town The Contest that had arisen to so great 
a Degree of Violence on Account of the Hospital 
lately erected there, it gave us great Concern and 
Anxiety, lest it might issue to the Prejudice of the 
Common Cause of American Freedom. We were 
apprehensive that the Minds of the Zealous Friends 
of that good Cause, being warmly agitated in such a 
Controversy, would become thereby disaffected to 
each other, and that the Advantage which we have 
hitherto experienced from their united Efforts would 
cease. We are confirmd that our Fears were not ill 
grounded, by your relinquishing a Post, which, in our 
Opinion, and we dare say in the Opinion of your 
Fellow Townsmen you sustaind with Honor to your 
selves and Advantage to your Country. But Gentle 
men, Suffer us to ask, Whether you well considerd, 
that although you derivd your Being as a Committee 
of Correspondence from that particular Town which 
appointed you, yet in the Nature of your office, while 
they continued you in it you stood connected in a pe 
culiar Relation with your Country. If this be a just 
View of it, Should the ill Conduct of the Inhabitants 
of Marblehead towards you, influence you to decline 
serving the publick in this office, any more than that 
of the Inhabitants of this or any other Town ? And 
would you not therefore have continued in that office, 
though you had been obligd to resign every other 
office you held under the Town, without Injury to 
your own Reputation ? Besides will the Misfortune 


end in this Resignation ? Does not the Step natur 
ally lead you to withdraw your selves totally from the 
publick Meetings of the Town, however important to 
the Common Cause, by which the other firm Friends 
to that honorable Cause may feel the Want of your 
Influence and Aid, at a time when, as you well ex 
press it "a fatal Thrust may be aimed at our Rights 
and Liberties," and it may be necessary that all should 
appear, & "as one Body" oppose the Design & de 
feat the Rebel Intent? Should not the Disorders 
that have prevaild and still prevail in the Town of 
Marblehead, have been a weighty Motive rather for 
your taking Measures to strengthen your Connections 
with the People than otherwise ; that you might in 
Conjunction with other prudent Men, have employed 
your Influence & Abilities in reducing to the Exer 
cise of Reason those who had been governd by Pre 
judice and Passion, & they have brought the Contest 
to an equitable & amicable Issue, which would cer 
tainly have been to your own Satisfaction. If Diffi 
culties stared you in the Face, it is a good Maxim 
Nil desperandum ; and are you sure that it was im 
practicable for you, by Patience and Assiduity, to 
have restored " Order & Distinction " and renderd 
the publick offices of the Town again respectable ? 

It is difficult to enumerate all the Instances in 
which our Enemies, as watchful as they are inveter 
ate, will make an ill Improvement of your Letter of 
resignation. And therefore we earnestly wish that a 
Method may yet be contrived for the Recalling of it 
consistent with your own Sentiments. We assure 
our Selves that personal Considerations will not be 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 97 

sufferd to have an undue Weight in your Minds, when 
the publick Liberty in which is involvd the Happi 
ness of your own as well as the Children of those who 
have ill treated you, & whom to rescue from Bondage 
will afford you the most exalted Pleasure, is in Danger 
of suffering Injury. 

We wish most ardently that by the Exercise of 
Moderation & Prudence the Differences subsisting 
among the good People of Marblehead may be settled 
upon righteous Terms. And as we are informd that 
the Town at their late Meeting did not see Cause to 
make Choice of other Gentlemen in your Room in 
Consequence of your declining to serve any longer as 
a Committee of Correspondence, we beg Leave still 
to consider & address you in that Character. 

We are with unfeigned Respect, 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 215-220.] 

BOSTON, April 4th, 1774. 

MY DEAR SIR, My last letter to you I delivered to 
the care of Dr. Williamson, who sailed with Capt. 
in December last. The general assembly 
has since been sitting, and the important subject of 
the judges of the superior court being made depend 
ent on the crown for their salaries, was again taken 
up by the house of representatives with spirit and 
firmness. The house had in a former session passed 
divers resolutions expressing their sense of the 
dangerous tendency of this innovation, and declar 
ing that unless the justices should renounce the sal- 

VOL. III. 7 


aries from the crown, and submit to a constitutional 
dependence upon the assembly for their support, 
they would proceed to impeach them before the gov 
ernor and council. One of them, Mr. Trowbridge, 
very early in the session, in a letter to the speaker, 
expressed his former compliance with that resolve, 
which letter was communicated to the house and voted 
satisfactory. The other four had taken no notice of 
the resolve. The house therefore having waited from 
the 26th of January, which was the first day of the 
session, till the ist of February, then came to a 
resolution, that unless they should conform to their 
order on or before the fourth of the same month, 
farther proceedings would be had on such neglect. 
The effect of this resolve was, that three of them, 
viz: Hutchinson, (a brother to him who is called 
governor), , , made similar de 

clarations to that of Trowbridge, which were also 
voted satisfactory. Mr. Justice Oliver, who is a 
brother of the lieutenant-governor, and is connected 
with the governor by the marriage of their children, 
came to a different determination; which occasioned 
a controversy between the governor and the two 
houses, inserted at large in the enclosed papers. 
Therein you will see that the governor has treated 
the petitions, complaints, and remonstrances of the re 
presentative body, with haughty contempt. The 
people view it with deep resentment as an effect of 
his independency; whereby he is aliened from them, 
and become a fitter instrument in the hands of the 
ministry to carry into effect their destructive plans. 
They are irritated to the highest degree, and despair 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 99 

of any constitutional remedy against the oppressions 
of a corrupt officer, while the governor, be he who he 
may, is thus dependent on ministers of state. They 
have ever since the trial of Preston and his soldiers 
been murmuring at the conduct of the superior court, 
and the partiality which many say is so clearly dis 
covered in causes between revenue officers and the 
government, abettors, and other subjects. Indeed, the 
house of representatives two or three years ago 
passed a resolution that such conduct in several in 
stances had been observed, as appears in their printed 
journals. To give you some idea of what the temper 
of that court has been, a lawyer 1 of great eminence in 
the province, and a member of the house of repre 
sentatives, was thrown over the bar a few days ago, 
because he explained in a public newspaper the 
sentiments he had advanced in the house when he had 
been misrepresented ; and a young lawyer of great 
genius in this town, who had passed the regular 
course of study, (which is more than can be said of 
the chief-justice) has been and is still refused by the 
governor, only because he mentioned the name of 
Hutchinson with freedom, and that not in court, but 
in a Boston town-meeting some years before. And 
to show you from whence this influence springs, I 
must inform you that not long ago the governor, the 
lieutenant-governor, and three of the judges, which 
make a majority of the bench, were nearly related ; 
and even now the governor has a brother there, and 
is brother-in-law to the chief-justice. Such combi 
nations are justly formidable, and the people view 

1 Joseph Hawley, Esq., of North Hampton. 

ioo THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

them with a jealous eye. They clearly see through 
a system formed for their destruction. That the 
parliament of Britain is to make laws, binding them in 
all cases whatsoever; that the colonies are to be taxed 
by that parliament without their own consent; and the 
crown enabled to appropriate money for the support 
of the executive and arbitrary powers; that this leaves 
their own assembly a body of very little significance; 
while the officers of government and judges, are to be 
totally independent of the legislature, and altogether 
under the control of the king s ministers and counsel 
lors; and there an union will be effected, as dangerous 
as it will be powerful; the whole power of government 
will be lifted from the hands into which the consti 
tution has placed it, into the hands of the king s min 
isters and their dependents here. This is in a great 
measure the case already ; and the consequences will 
be, angry debates in our senate, and perpetual tumults 
and confusions abroad ; until these maxims are en 
tirely altered, or else, which God forbid, the spirits of 
the people are depressed, and they become inured to 
disgrace and servitude. This has long been the 
prospect in the minds of speculative men. The body 
of the people are now in council. Their opposition 
grows into a system. They are united and resolute. 
And if the British administration and government do 
not return to the principles of moderation and equity, 
the evil which they profess to aim at preventing by 
their rigorous measures, will the sooner be brought to 
pass, viz:- the entire separation and independence of 
the colonies. 

Mr. Gushing obliged me with a sight of your letter 


1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 101 

to him of the 226. Dec. last. I think I am not so 
clearly of opinion as you seem to be, that " the decla 
ratory act is a mere nullity, " and that therefore " if 
we can obtain a repeal of the revenue acts from 
1 764, without their pernicious appendages, it will be 
enough. " Should they retract the exercise of their 
assumed power, you ask when will they be able to 
renew it ? I know not when, but I fear they will soon 
do it, unless, as your worthy brother in Virginia in a 
letter I yesterday received from him expresses him 
self, " we make one uniform, steady effort to secure 
an explicit bill of rights for British America. " Let 
the executive power and right on each side be therein 
stipulated, that Britain may no longer have a power 
or right to make laws to bind us, in all cases whatso 
ever. While the claim is kept up, she may exercise 
the power as often as she pleases ; and the colonies 
have experienced her disposition to do it too plainly 
since she in anger made the claim. Even imaginary 
power beyond right begets insolence. The people 
here I am apt to think will be satisfied on no other 
terms but those of redress ; and they will hardly think 
they are upon equitable terms with the mother 
country, while by a solemn act she continues to claim 
a right to enslave them, whenever she shall think fit 
to exercise it. I wish for a permanent union with 
the mother country, but only on the principles of 
liberty and truth. No advantage that can accrue to 
America from such an union can compensate for the 
loss of liberty. The time may come sooner than they 
are aware of it, when the being of the British nation, 
I mean the being of its importance, however strange 

102 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

it may now appear to some, will depend on her union 
with America. It requires but a small portion of the 
gift of discernment for any one to foresee, that provi 
dence will erect a mighty empire in America ; and 
our posterity will have it recorded in history, that 
their fathers migrated from an island in a distant part 
of the world, the inhabitants of which had long been 
revered for wisdom and valour. They grew rich and 
powerful ; these emigrants increased in numbers and 
strength. But they were at last absorbed in luxury 
and dissipation ; and to support themselves in their 
vanity and extravagance they coveted and seized the 
honest earnings of those industrious emigrants. This 
laid a foundation of distrust, animosity and hatred, 
till the emigrants, feeling their own vigour and 
independence, dissolved every former band of con 
nexion between them, and the islanders sunk into 
obscurity and contempt. 

May I whisper in your ear that you paid a compli 
ment to the speaker when you told him you " always 
spoke under the correction of his better judgment. " 
I admire what you say to him, and I hope it will have 
a good impression on his mind ; that we shall be re 
spected in England exactly in proportion to the firmness 
and strength of our opposition. 

I am sincerely your friend, 

As Capt. Wood is now about to sail, there is not 
time to have copies of the papers ; I will send them 
by the next opportunity. In the mean time I refer 
you to Dr. Franklin, to whom they are sent by this 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 103 

[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 220, 221.] 

BOSTON, April , 1774. 

MY DEAR SIR, Capt. Wood being still detained, 
I have the opportunity of acknowledging your favour 
of the 22d Dec. last, 1 which is just now come to my 
hand. As Mr. Gushing received your letter of the 
same date near three weeks ago, I am at a loss to 
conjecture the reason of my not receiving it at the 
same time. 

I do not depend much upon Lord Dartmouth s 
inclination to relieve America, upon terms which we 
shall think honourable ; upon his ability to do it, I 
have no dependence at all. He might have said with 
safety, when called upon by Lord Shelburne, that he 
had prepared a plan to pursue at the hazard of his 
office ; for I have reason to believe it was grounded 
upon the hopes that we could be prevailed upon, at 
least impliedly, to renounce our claims. This would 
have been an acceptable service to the ministry, and 
would have secured to him his office. No great ad 
vantage can be made against us from the letter which 
you mention to Lord Dartmouth from the two houses 
of our assembly; for upon a review of it I think the 
most that is said in it is, that if we are brought back 
to the state we were in at the close of the last war, we 
shall be as easy as we then were. I do not like any 
thing that looks like accommodating our language to 
the humour of a minister ; and am fully of your opinion 
that " the harmony and concurrence of the colonies, is 
of a thousand times more importance in our dispute, 

1 R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 238-249. 

jo 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

than the friendship or patronage of any great man in 

At the request of our friend, Mr. Hancock, I beg 
your acceptance of an oration delivered by him on the 
fifth of March last. I intend to write to you again 
very soon ; in the mean time I remain your assured 

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

BOSTON April 21 1774 


I take the Liberty to inclose an Oration deliverd on 
the last Anniversary of the 5 th of March 1770, by 
M r Hancock ; which I beg you to accept as a Token 
of my great Regard for you. This Institution in a 
great Measure answers the Design of it, which is, to 
preserve in the Minds of the People a lively Sense of 
the Danger of standing Armies. We are again threat- 
ned with that great Evil ; the British Ministry being 
highly provoked at the Conduct of the People here in 
destroying the East India Companys Tea. They shut 
their Eyes to what might appear obvious to them, that 
the Governors Refusal to suffer it to repass our Castle, 
compelled to that Extremity. The Disappointment 
of the Ministry, and, no doubt, the Gov rs aggravated 
Representations, have inflamed them to the highest 
Degree. May God prepare this People for the Event, 
by inspiring them with Wisdom and Fortitude ! At 
the same time they stand in Need of all the Counte 
nance that their Sister Colonies can afford them ; with 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 105 

whom to cultivate and strengthen an Union, was a 
great object in View. We have borne a double Share 
of ministerial Resentment, in every Period of the Strug 
gle for American Freedom. I hope this is not to be 
attributed to our having, in general, imprudently acted 
our Part. Is it not rather owing to our having had 
constantly, Governors and other Crown officers resid 
ing among us, whose Importance depended solely 
upon their blowing up the flame of Contention ? We 
are willing to submit our Conduct to the Judgment of 
our Friends, & would gladly receive their Advice. 

Coll Lee the Bearer of this Letter and M r Dalton 
his Companion, are travelling as far as Maryland. 
They are Gentlemen of Fortune and Merit ; and will 
be greatly disappointed if they should miss the Pleas 
ure of seeing the common Friend of America, The 
Pennsylvania Farmer. Allow me, Sir, to recommend 
them to you, and to assure you that I am with great 

Your affectionate Friend and humble serv 1 , 

[J.T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 45, 46.] 

BOSTON, May 12, 1774. 


I duly received your excellent letter of this day, 
while I was in town-meeting. I read it there, to the 
great satisfaction of my fellow townsmen, in as full a 
town-meeting as we have ever had. I think you and 
the worthy colonel Orne must by no means refuse to 
come to the general assembly. Every consideration 

io6 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

is to give way to the public. I cannot see how you 
can reconcile a refusal to your own principles. Excuse 
my honest freedom. I can write no more at present, 
being now in committee of correspondence upon 
matters of great importance. This waits on you by 
Mr. Oliver Wendel, who is one of a committee of this 
town to communicate with the gentlemen of Salem 
and Marblehead, upon the present exigency. 
I am, in haste, your friend, 


[MS., Public Record Office, London. l ] 

BOSTON 1 2th May 1774. 


I am Desired by the freeholders and other Inhab 
itants of this Town to enclose you an attested copy 
of their Vote passed in Town meeting Legally 
Assembled this day The Occasion of this meeting 
is most Alarming : we have receiv d .a Copy of an 
Act of the British Parliament which is inclosed, 
wherein it appears that the Inhabitants of this Town 
have been Tryed condemn d and are to be punished 
by shutting up the Harbour and otherways, without 
their having been called to Answer for, nay, for ought 
that appears without their having been accused of 
any crime committed by them, for no such crime is 
alleged in the Act the town of Boston is now Suf- 
f - fering the stroke of Vengeance in the Common cause 
of. America, I hope they will sustain the Blow with 

1 The copy from which the text is printed was an enclosure in a letter of 
Governor Wentworth, dated June 8, 1774. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 107 

Becoming Fortitude, and that the Effect of this cruel 
act Intended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of 
all America will by the joint efforts of all be frustrated. 
The people receive this Edict with indignation ; it 
is expected by their Enemies, and fear d by some of 
their Friends, that this town singly will not be able 
to support the cause under so severe a Tryal as the 
very Being of every Colony considered as a free 
people depends upon the event a thought so Dishonor 
able to our Brethren cannot be entertain d as that , 
this town will be left to struggle alone. 

Your Hum 6 S* 

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

BOSTON May 13 th : 1774 

I am desired by the Freeholders and other Inhab 
itants of this Town to inclose you an Attested Copy 
of their Vote, passed in Town Meeting legally assem 
bled this day. 2 The Occasion of this Meeting is most 
alarming : We have receivd the Copy of an Act of 
the British Parliament (which is also inclos cl) wherein 
it appears that the Inhabitants of this Town have 
been tryed and condemned and are to be punished 
by the shutting up of the Harbour, and other Ways, 
without their having been called to answer for, nay, 

1 The letter was signed by Adams, but only the annotations at the end are in 
his autograph. Another draft is also in the Committee of Correspondence 
Papers. The final text of the letter as sent to the Committee of Correspond 
ence of Connecticut, with the subscription and signature in the autograph of 
Adams and the body of the letter in the autograph of Thomas Cushing, is in 
Emmet MS., No. 344, Lenox Library, and is printed in Bulletin of New York 
Public Library, vol. ii., p. 201. 

^Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xviii., pp. 173, 174. 

io8 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

for aught that appears without their having been even 
accused of any crime committed by them ; for no such 
Crime is alledgd in the Act. 

The Town of Boston is now Suffering the Stroke of 
Vengeance in the Common Cause of America. I 
hope they will sustain the Blow with a becoming for 
titude ; and that the Effects of this cruel Act, in 
tended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of all 
America will by the joynt Efforts of all be frustrated. 
The People receive this Edict with Indignation. It 
is expected by their Enemies and feard by some of 
their Friends, that this Town singly will not be able 
to support the Cause under so severe a Tryal. As 
the very being of every Colony, considerd as a free 
People depends upon the Event, a Thought so dis 
honorable to our Brethren cannot be entertaind, as 
that this Town will now be left to struggle alone. 

General Gage is just arrivd here, with a Commis 
sion to supercede Gov r Hutchinson. It is said that 
the Town of Salem about twenty Miles East of this 
Metropolis is to be the Seat of Government that the 
Commissioners of the Customs and their numerous 
Retinue are to remove to the Town of Marblehead a 
Town contiguous to Salem and that this if the Gen 
eral shall think proper is to be a Garrisond Town. 
Reports are various and contradictory. 

I am &c. 
Sent to the Com 6 of Correspondence for 

Connecticutt ^ by M r Revere and in that sent 
New York I to Philadelphia there were Cop- 

New Jersey f ies of the Vote of the Town 

& Philadelphia J inclosd for the Colonies to the 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 109 

Southward of them which they 
were desired to forward with all 
possible Dispatch with their own 


Rhode Island ) p 

Providence f 

Portsmouth p Ditto 

to Peyton Randolph Esq r to be communicated by him 
to the Gentlemen in Virginia which was sent by M r 
Perez Moulton as far as Philadelphia to be thence 
forwarded by the Post. 



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

BOSTON May 13 1774 


We have just receivd the Copy of an Act of 
the British Parliament passd in the present Session 
whereby the Town of Boston is treated in a Manner 
the most ignominious cruel and unjust. The Parlia- 
ament have taken upon them, from the Represen 
tations of our Governor & other Persons inimical to 
and deeply prejudiced against the Inhabitants, to try, 
condemn and by an Act to punish them, unheard ; 
which would have been in Violation of natural Justice 

i Intended also for the Committees of Correspondence of New York, New 
Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Portsmouth. An endorsement upon the 
draft also states that it was written with the concurrence of the Committees of 
Correspondence of Charlestown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, Roxbury, 
Dorchester, Lexington, and Lynn. Cf. Proceedings, Bostonian Society, 1891, 

PP. 39. 40. 


even if they had an acknowledgd Jurisdiction. They 
have orderd our port to be entirely shut up, leaving 
us barely so much of the Means of Subsistence as to 
keep us from perishing with Cold and Hunger; and 
it is said, that [a] Fleet of British Ships of War is to 
block up our Harbour, until we shall make Restitu 
tion to the East India Company, for the Loss of their 
Tea, which was destroyed therein the Winter past, 
^ Obedience is paid to the Laws and Authority of 
1 Great Britain, and the Revenue is duly collected. 
This Act fills the Inhabitants with Indignation. The 
more thinking part of those who have hitherto been 
in favor of the Measures of the British Government, 
look upon it as not to have been expected even from 
a barbarous State. This Attack, though made immedi 
ately upon us, is doubtless designd for every other 
Colony, who will not surrender their sacred Rights & 
Liberties into the Hands of an infamous Ministry. 
Now therefore is the Time, when all should be united 

v^ r^, 

in opposition to this Violation of the Liberties of all. 
Their grand object is to divide the Colonies. We 
are well informd, that another Bill is to be brought 
into Parliament, to distinguish this from the other 
Colonies, by repealing some of the Acts which have 
been complaind of and ease the American Trade ; 
but be assured, you will be called upon to surrender 
your Rights, if ever they should succeed in their At 
tempts to suppress the Spirit of Liberty here. The 
single Question then is, Whether you consider Boston 
as now suffering in the Common Cause, &. sensibly 
feel and resent the Injury and Affront offerd to her? 
If you do, (and we cannot believe otherwise) May 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. in 

w not from your Approbation of our former Con 
duct, irr Defence of American Liberty, rely on your 
suspending your Trade with Great Britain at least, j 
which, it is acknowledgd, will be a great, but ne- N 

cessary Sacrifice, to the Cause of Liberty, and will 
effectually defeat the Design of this Act of Revenge. 
If this should be done, you will please to consider it 
will be, though a voluntary Suffering, greatly short 
of what we are called to endure under the immediate 
hand of Tyranny. 

We desire your Answer by the Bearer ; and after 
assuring you, that, not in the least intimidated by 
this inhumane Treatment we are still determind to 
maintain to the utmost of our Abilities the Rights of 
America we are, 

your Friends & Fellow Countrymen, 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser. , vol. iv., pp. 390-392 ; 

a draft, with several variances, is in the Samuel Adams Papers, 

Lenox Library.] 

BOSTON, May 14, 1774. 


This Town has received the Copy of an Act of the 
British Parliament, wherein it appears that we have 
been tried and condemned, and are to be punished, by 
the shutting up of the harbor and other marks of 
revenge, until we shall disgrace ourselves by servilely 
yielding up, in effect, the just and righteous claims of 
America. If the Parliament had a Right to pass such 
an edict, does it not discover the want of every moral 

ii2 THE WRITINGS OF 1774] 

principle to proceed to the destruction of a commu 
nity, without even the accusation of any crime com 
mitted by such community ? And for any thing that 
appears, this is in fact the case. There is no crime 
alleged in the Act, as committed by the Town of 
Boston. Outrages have been committed within the 
Town, and therefore the community, as such, are to 
be destroyed, without duly inquiring whether it de 
served any punishment at all. Has there not often 
been the same kind of reason why the Port of London 
should be shut up, to the starving of hundreds of 
thousands, when their own mobs have surrounded 
the Kings Palace ? But such are the councils of a 
nation, once famed and revered for the character of 
humane just and brave. 

The people receive this cruel edict with abhorrence 
and indignation. They consider themselves as suf 
fering the stroke ministerial I may more precisely 
say, Hutchinsonian vengeance, in the common cause 
of America. I hope they will sustain the blow 
with a becoming fortitude, and that the cursed de 
sign of intimidating and subduing the spirits of all 
America, will, by the joint efforts of all, be frustrated. 
It is the expectation of our enemies, and some of our 
friends are afraid, that this Town, singly, will not be 
able to support the cause under so severe a trial. 
Did not the very being of every sea-port town, and 
indeed of every Colony, considered as a free people, 
depend upon it, I would not even then entertain a 
thought so dishonorable of them as that they would 
leave us now to struggle alone. 

I enclose you a copy of a vote, passed by this Town 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 113 

at a very full meeting yesterday, which stands ad 
journed till Wednesday next, to receive the report of 
a committee appointed to consider what is proper 
further to be done. The inhabitants in general abhor 
the thought of paying for the tea, which is one condi 
tion upon which we are to be restored to the grace 
and favor of Great Britain. Our Committee of Cor 
respondence have written letters to our friends in the 
Southern Colonies, and they are about writing to the 
several towns in this Province. The merchants of 
Newburyport have exhibited a noble example of public 
spirit, in resolving that, if the other sea-port Towns 
in this Province alone, will come into the measure, 
they will not trade to the southward of South Caro 
lina, nor to any part of Great Britain and Ireland, till 
the harbor of Boston is again open and free ; or till 
the disputes between Britain and the Colonies are 
settled, upon such terms as all rational men ought to 
contend for. This is a manly and generous resolu 
tion. I wish Plymouth, which has hitherto stood 
foremost, would condescend to second Newburyport. 
Such a determination put into practice would alter the 
views of a nation, who are in full expectation that 
Boston will be unthought of by the rest of the conti 
nent, and even of this Province, and left, as they are 
devoted, to ruin. The heroes who first trod on your 
shore, fed on clams and muscles, and were contented. 
The country which they explored, and defended with 
their richest blood, and which they transmitted as an 
inheritance to their posterity, affords us a super 
abundance of provision. Will it not be an eternal 
disgrace to this generation, if it should now be sur- 

VOL. III. 8. 

ii4 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

rendered to that people who, if we might judge of them 
by one of their laws, are barbarians. Impius haec tarn 
culta novalia miles habebit f Barbarus has segetes ? 
If our brethren feel and resent the affront and injury 
now offered to this town ; if they realize of how great 
importance it is to the liberties of all America that 
Boston should sustain this shock with dignity ; if they 
recollect their own resolutions, to defend the public 
liberty at the expense of their fortunes and lives, they 
cannot fail to contribute their aid by a temporary sus 
pension of their trade. 

I am your friend, 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with variations, is in 
Correspondence of Samuel B. Webb^ W. C. Ford, vol. i., pp. 23, 24.] 

BOSTON May 18 1774 


The Committee of Correspondence for the Town 
of Boston have had before them a Letter signd by 
yourself in behalf of the Committee of the Hon bl 
House of Deputies of the Colony of Connecticutt, and 
I am desired by our Committee to return them their 
hearty Thanks, for the readiness they discover to sup 
port this Town, now called to stand in the Gap and 
suffer the vengeful Stroke of the hand of Tyranny, or, 
which God forbid, succumb under it. I trust in God, 
we shall never be so servile as to submit to the igno 
minious Terms of the cruel Edict ; aided by our Sister 
Colonies, we shall be able to acquit ourselves, under 
this severe Tryal, with Dignity. But that Aid must 

Addressed to Deane at Hartford, Connecticut. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 115 

be speedy, otherwise we shall not be able to keep up 
the Spirits of the more irresolute amongst us, before 
whom the crafty Adversaries are already holding up 
the gri-m Picture of Want and Misery. It is feard 
by the Committee that a Conferrence of Committees 
of Correspondence from all the Colonies, cannot be 
had speedily enough to answer for the present Emer 
gency. If your hon bl Committee shall think it proper 
to use their Influence with the Merchants in the Sea 
port Towns in Connecticutt to withhold & prevail 
with those of each town for themselves their Trade 
with Great Britain and Ireland and every Part of the 
West Indies, to commence at a certain time (say on the 
14 th June next) it will be a great Sacrifice indeed, but 
not greater than Americans have given the World 
Reason to expect from them when called to offer it 
for the preservation of the publick Liberty. One 
years virtuous forbearance w d succeed to our wishes. 
1 What would this be in Comparison with the Sacrifice 
our renowned Ancestors made that they might quietly 
enjoy their Liberties civil & religious ? They left, 
many of them, affluence in their Native Country, 
crossd an untryed Ocean, encounterd the Diffi 
culties of cultivating a howling wilderness, defended 
their Infant Settlements against a most barbarous 
Enemy with their richest Blood. 

Your Sentiment that Boston is " suffering in the 
common Cause " is just and humane. Your obliging- 
Letter has precluded any Necessity of urging your 
utmost Exertions, that Connecticut may at this 
Juncture act her part in the Support of that common 

1 The following two sentences are stricken out in the draft. 


Cause, though the Attack is made more immediately 
on the Town of Boston. Being at present pressd for 
time I cannot write so largely as I feel disposd to do. 
I must therefore conclude with assuring you that I 
am with very great Regard for your Com 6 

your sincere Friend and Fellow Countryman, 

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

BOSTON May 18 1774 


You have without Doubt heard of the Edict of the 
British Parliament to shut up the Harbour of Boston, 
the Injustice & Cruelty of which cannot be parralled[sic] 
in the English History. Injustice, in trying condemn 
ing and punishing upon the mere Representations of 
interrested Men, without calling the Party to answer ; 
and Cruelty in the Destruction of a whole Commu 
nity only because it is alledgd that Outrage has been 
committed in it, without the least Enquiry whether 
the Community have been to blame. The Town of 
Boston now suffer the Stroke of ministerial Ven 
geance in the Common Cause of America ; and I 
hope in God they will sustain the Shock with Dig 
nity. They do not conceive that their Safety con 
sists in their Servile Compliance with the ignominious 
Terms of this barbarous Act. Supported by their 
Brethren of the Sister Colonies I am perswaded they 
will nobly defeat the diabolical Designs of the^com- 

1 See vol. ii., page 389. Cf. Frothingham, Life of Joseph Warren, pp. 
312, 313. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 117 

mon Enemies. If the Spirit of American Liberty is 
suppressd in this Colony, which is undoubtedly the 
Plan, where will the Victory lead to and end ? I need 
not urge upon you the Necessity of the joynt Efforts 
of all in the Defence of this single Post. I know your 
great Weight and Influence in the Colony of Rhode 
Island, and intreat that you would now employ it for 
the common Safety of America. I write in great 
Haste and am with sincere affection, 

Your friend, 

I shall esteem a Letter from you a very great favor. 


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 221-223 ; a draft is in the 
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text is in Force, American Archives, 
4th ser., vol. i., p. 332.] 

BOSTON, May i8th, 1774. 

MY DEAR SIR, The edict of the British parlia 
ment, commonly called the Boston Port Act, came 
safely to my hand. For flagrant injustice and bar 
barity, one might search in vain among the archives 
of Constantinople to find a match for it. But what 
else could have been expected from a parliament, too 
long under the dictates and control of an administra 
tion, which seems to be totally lost to all sense and 
feeling of morality, and governed by passion, cruelty, 
and revenge. For us to reason against suck an act, 
would be idleness. Our business is to find means to 
evade its malignant design. The inhabitants view it, 
not with astonishment, but indignation. They dis 
cover the utmost contempt of the framers of it ; while 
they are yet disposed to consider the body of the 


nation (though represented by such a parliament) in 
the character they have sustained heretofore, humane 
and generous. They resent the behaviour of the 
merchants in London, those I mean who receive their 
bread from them, in infamously deserting their cause 
at the time of extremity. They can easily believe 
that the industrious manufacturers, whose time is 
wholly spent in their various employments, are misled 
and imposed upon by such miscreants as have un 
gratefully devoted themselves to an abandoned min 
istry, not regarding the ruin of those who have been 
their best benefactors. But the inhabitants of this 
town must and will look to their own safety, which 
they see does not consist in a servile compliance 
with the ignominious terms of this barbarous edict. 
Though the means of preserving their liberties should 
distress and even ruin the British manufacturers, they 
are resolved (but with reluctance) to try the experi 
ment. To this they are impelled by motives of self- 
preservation. They feel humanely to those who must 
surfer, but being innocent are not the objects of their 
revenge. They have already called upon their sister 
colonies, (as you will see by the enclosed note) who 
not only feel for them as fellow-citizens, but look 
upon them as suffering the stroke of ministerial ven 
geance in the common cause of America ; that cause 
which the colonies have pledged themselves to each 
other not to give up. In the mean time I trust in 
God this devoted town will sustain the shock with 
dignity ; and supported by their brethren, will glori 
ously defeat the designs of their common enemies. 
Calmness, courage, and unanimity prevail. While 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 119 

they are resolved not tamely to submit, they will by 
refraining from any acts of violence, avoid the snare 
that they discover to be laid for them, by posting regi 
ments so near them. I heartily thank you for your 
spirited exertions. Use means for the preservation 
of your health. Our warmest gratitude is due to 
lords Camden and Shelburne. Our dependence is 
upon the wisdom of the few of the British nobility. 
We suspect studied insult, in the appointment of the 
person who is commander-in-chief of the troops in 
America to be our governor ; and I think there ap 
pears to be in it more than a design to insult upon 
any specious pretence. We will endeavour by cir 
cumspection and sound prudence, to frustrate the di 
abolical designs of our enemies. 

I have written in haste, and am affectionately your 

[J.T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 46, 47.] 

BOSTON, May 20, 1774. 


I have just time to acquaint you that yesterday 
our committee of correspondence received an express 
from New York, with a letter from thence, dated the 
1 5th instant, informing that a ship arrived there after 
a passage of twenty-seven days from London, with 
the detested act for shutting up this port ; that the 
citizens of New York resented the treatment of Boston, 
as a most violent and barbarous attack on the rights 
of all America ; that the general cry was, let the port 
of New York voluntarily share the fate of Boston ; 

120 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

that the merchants were to meet on Tuesday last, and 
it was the general opinion that they would entirely 
suspend all commercial connexion with Great Britain, 
and not supply the West Indies with hoops, staves, 
lumber, &c. ; that they hoped the merchants in this 
and every colony would come into the measure, as it 
was of the last importance. 

Excuse me, I am in great haste, 

Your friend, 


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

BOSTON May 22 1774 


We have just receivd your favor of this Date by 
the Hands of M r Foster. We cannot too highly 
applaud your Sollicitude & Zeal in the Common 
Cause. The News you mention as having been 
receivd here from New York by the Post is without 
Foundation. We have receivd a Letter from New 
York dated the Day before the Post came out from 
that City, advising us that there was to be a meeting 
of the merchants there on the Tuesday following (last 
Tuesday) that by a Vessel which had arrivd there from 
London the Citizens had receivd the barbarous Act 
with Indignation that no Language could express 
their Abhorrence of this additional Act of Tyranny 
to all America that they were fully perswaded that 
America was attackd & intended to be enslavd by 
their distressing & subduing Boston that a Compli- 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 121 

ance with the provision of the Act will only be a 
temporary Reliefe from a particular Evil, which must 
end in a general Calamity that many timid People 
in that City who have interrested themselves but very 
little in the Controversy with Great Britain express 
the greatest resentment at the Conduct of the Ministry 
to this Town and consider the Treatment as if done 
to them and that this is the general Sense of the 
Inhabitants that it was the general Talk that at the 
Meeting of the Merchants it would be agreed to 
suspend commercial Connection with Great Britain 
also to stop the Exportation of Hoops Staves 
Heading & Lumber to the English Islands, & export 
no more of those Articles to foreign Islands than will 
be sufficient to bring home the Sugar Rum & Mo 
lasses for the Return of American Cargoes, and we 
are to be advisd of the Result of the meeting, which 
we expect very soon. The Express which we sent to 
New York had not arrivd when this left the City. 

We have receivd Letters by the post from Portsm 1 
in New Hampshire, from Hartford Newport Provi 
dence Westerly &c. all expressing the same Indig 
nation and a Determination to joyn in like measures- 
restrictions on their Trade. 

Hutchinsons minions are endeavoring to promote 
an address to him. The professd design is to desire 
his Friendship ; but we take it rather to be a Design 
of his own, that when he arrives in England he may 
have the Shaddow of Importance. It is carried on in 
a private Way and is said to be signd by not fifty- 
Names of little Significance here may serve to make 
a Sound abroad. 

122 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

We are sorry to hear that M r Hooper is throwing 
his Weight & Influence into the Scale against us. 
We can scarcely believe it. If it be true we would 
desire to know of him whether he would advise the 
Town of Boston to give up the rights of America. 

We conclude in haste, 

We are credibly informd that in the address to 
Hutchinson are these remarkeable Words "We see 
no harm in your Letters and approve of them." The 
most intelligent & respectable merchants among 
those who have been reputed Tories have refused 
to sign it. 

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

BOSTON May 30 1774 


I receivd your very obliging Letter by the hands of 
M r Revere. I thank you for the warm Affection you 
therein express for this Town, your Zeal for the 
Common Cause of America, and your prudent and 
salutary Advice. I hope in God that this People will 
sustain themselves under their pressing Difficulties 
with Firmness. It is hard to restrain the Resentment 
of some within the proper Bounds, and to keep others 
who are more irresolute from sinking. While we are 
resolved not tamely to comply with the humiliating 
terms of the barbarous Edict, I hope, by refraining 
from every Act of Violence we shall avoid the Snare 
that is laid for us by the posting of Regiments so 

1 Later secretary of the Continental Congress. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 123 

near us. We shall endeavor by Circumspection to 
frustrate the diabolical Designs of our Enemies. 

Our Committee of Correspondence will write an 
Answer to the Letter they receivd from yours by this 
opportunity. In order that you may have an Under 
standing of our Appointment I think it necessary to 
inform you, that we are a Committee, not of the Trade, 
but of the whole Town ; chosen to be as it _ were out- 
guards to watch the Designs of our Enemies. We 
were appointed near two years ago, and have a Cor 
respondence with almost every Town in the Colony. 
By this Means we have been able to circulate the 
most early Intelligence of Importance to our Friends 
in the Country, & to establish an Union which is 
formidable to our Adversaries. 

But it is the Trade that we must at present depend 
upon for that speedy Reliefe which the Necessity of 
this Town requires. The Trade will forever be 
divided when a Sacrifice of their Interest is called for. 
By far the greater part of the Merchants of this place 
are & ever have been steadfast in the Cause of their 
Country; but a small Number may defeat the good 
Intentions of the rest, and there are some Men among 
them, perhaps more weak than wicked, who think it 
a kind of Reputation to them to appear zealous in 
Vindication of the Measures of Tyranny, and these it 
is said are tempted by the Commissioners of the Cus 
toms, with Indulgencies in their Trade. Nevertheless 
it is of the greatest Importance that some thing should 
be done for the immediate Support of this Town.f^ 
Congress is of absolute Necessity in my Opinion, but 
from the length of time it will take to bring it to pass, 


I fear it cannot answer for the present Emergency. 
The Act of Parliament shuts up our Port. Is it not 
necessary to push for a Suspension of Trade with 
Great Britain as far as it will go, and let the yeomanry 
(whose Virtue must finally save this Country) resolve 
to desert those altogether who will not come into the 
Measure. This will certainly alarm the Manufacturers 
in Britain, who felt more than our Enemies would 
allow, the last Nonimportation Agreement. The 
virtuous forbearance of the Friends of Liberty may 
be powerful enough to command Success. Our 
Enemies are already holding up to the Tradesmen the 
grim Picture of Misery and Want, to induce them to 
yield to Tyranny. I hope they will not prevail upon 
them but this is to be feard, unless their Brethren in 
the other Colonies will agree upon Measures of speedy 
Support and Reliefe. 

It gives me the greatest pleasure to find our worthy 
Friend the Farmer 1 at the head of a respectable 
Committee. Pray let him know that I am fully of 
his Sentiments. Violence & Submission would at 
this time be equally fatal. 

I write in the utmost haste. 

Your affectionate Friend, 

You will see in some of our Papers of this day an 
infamous Address to Hutchinson signd by a Num 
ber who call themselves Merchants Traders & others. 
In this List of Subscribers are containd the Names 
of his party taken after abundance of Pains from 
every Class of Men down to the lowest. I verily 

1 John Dickinson. Cf., page 104. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 125 

believe I could point out half a Score Gentlemen in 
Town able to purchase the whole of them. For 
their understanding I refer you to the Address itself. 
There is also another Paper of this Kind subscribed 
by those who call themselves Lawyers. It was re 
fused with Indignation by some who for Learning 
& Virtue are acknowledgd to be the greatest Orna 
ments of that Profession. The Subscribers are taken 
from all parts of the Province. A few of them are 
allowed to be of Ability others of none others have 
lately purchasd their Books and are now about to 
read. This List you will observe is headed by one 
of our Judges of the Admiraltry, & seconded by 
another there is also the Solicitor General (a Wed- 
derburne in Principle but not equal to him in Ability) 
the Advocate General & & c . The whole Design 
of these Addresses is to prop a sinking Character in 


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

BOSTON May 31 1774 


I receivd your favor of the 26 Instant by the hands 
of M r Revere. I am glad to find that it is fully the 
Opinion of your Committee, that some immediate 
and effectual Measures are necessary to be taken for 
the Support of this Town. I have just now received 
Intelligence (and I am apt to believe it) that several 
Regiments are to be posted in the Town. What 
can this mean but to pick a Quarrel with the Inhabit- 

126 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

ants, and to provoke them to take some violent Steps 
from whence they may have a specious Pretence to 
carry Matters to the greatest Extremity. We shall 
be hard pressd ; and it will be difficult for us to pre 
serve among the people that GEquanimity which is 
necessary in such arduous Times. The only Way 
that I can at present think of to bring the Ministry 
to their Senses, is to make the people of Great Brit 
ain share in the Misfortunes which they bring upon 
us ; and this cannot be done so speedily as the Emer 
gency calls for, but by a Suspension of Trade with 
them. I think that should be pushd as far as it will go 
& as speedily as possible. Although the interrested 
& disaffected Merchants should not come into it, 
great Success may attend it. Let the yeomanry of 
the Continent, who only, under God, must finally 
save this Country, break off all commercial Connec 
tion whatever with those who will not come into it. 
A Congress appears to me to be of absolute Neces 
sity, to settle the Dispute with Great Britain if she 
by her violent and barbarous Treatment of us, should 
not totally quench our Affection for her, and render 
it impracticable. I hope no Hardships will ever in 
duce America to submit to voluntary Slavery. I 
wish for Harmony between Britain & the Colonies ; 
but only upon the Principles of Equal Liberty. 

Our Assembly was unexpectedly adjournd on Sat 
urday last till the seventh of June, then to meet at 
Salem. By this Means I am prevented mentioning 
a Congress to the Members. I wish your Assembly 
could find it convenient to sit a fortnight longer, that 
we might if possible act in Concert. This however 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 127 

is a sudden Thought. I have written in the utmost 
haste, and conclude, with great Regard to the Gentle 
men of the Committee. 

Your Friend & fellow Countryman, 

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

BOSTON June i 1774 


It was with singular pleasure that I rec d a Letter from 
you by M r Howe, and another since by your worthy 
Townsman. I began to think you had at last entirely 
forgot me. I sincerely congratulate you on the birth 
of a Daughter. May God preserve her life & make 
her a Blessing in the World. Assure M rs Checkley 
of our kind Regards for her. I hope she will enjoy 
a better State of Health than she has had in time 
past. You have now devolvd upon you the weighty 
Cares of a Parent ; you will perhaps find it difficult 
" to train up the Child in the way it should go " in an 
Age of Levity Folly and Vice. Doubtless you will 
consider your self more interrested than ever in the 
Struggles of your Country for Liberty, as you hope 
your Infant will outlive you, and share in the Event. 
Your native Town which I am perswaded is dear to 
you, is now suffering the Vengeance of a cruel and 
tyrannical Administration ; and I can assure you 
she suffers with Dignity. She scorns to own herself 
the Slave of the haughtiest nation on earth ; and 
rather than submit to the humiliating Terms of an 

128 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

Edict, barbarous beyond Precedent under the most 
absolute monarchy, I trust she will put the Malice of 
Tyranny to the severest Tryal. It is a consolatory 
thought, that an Empire is rising in America, and 
will not this first of June be rememberd at a time, 
how soon God knows ! when it will be in the power of 
I this Country amply to revenge its Wrongs. If Brit 
ain by her multiplied oppressions is now accelerating 
that Independency of the Colonies which she so much 
dreads, and which in process of time must take place, 
who will she have to blame but herself ? We live in 
an important Period, & have a post to maintain, to 
desert which would be an unpardonable Crime, and 
would entail upon us the Curses of posterity. The 
infamous Tools of Power are holding up the picture 
of Want and Misery; but in vain do they think to 
intimidate us ; the Virtue of our Ancestors inspires 
us they were contented with Clams & Muscles. 
For my own part, I have been wont to converse with 
poverty ; and however disagreable a Companion she 
may be thought to be by the affluent & luxurious who 
never were acquainted with her, I can live happily 
with her the remainder of my days, if I can thereby 
contribute to the Redemption of my Country. 

The naval Power of Britain has blocked up this 
Harbour ; but the Laws of Nature must be alterd, 
before the port of Salem can become an equivalent. 
The most remote inland Towns in the province feel 
the want of a mart, & resent the Injury done to 
themselves in the Destruction of Boston. The British 
Minister appears to me to be infatuated. Every step 
he takes seems designd by him to divide us, while 

NJJtJr -" 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 129 

the necessary Tendency is to unite. Our Business is 
to make Britain share in the miseries which she 
has unrighteously brought upon us. She will then 
see the Necessity of returning to moderation & 



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


Whereas the Towns of Boston and Charlestown are 
at this time suffering under the Hand of Power, by 
the shutting up the Harbour by an armed Force, 
which in the opinion of this House is an Invasion of 
the said Towns evidently designd to compel the In 
habitants thereof to a Submission to Taxes imposed 
upon them without their Consent : And Whereas it 
appears to this House that this Attack upon the said 
Towns for the Purpose aforesaid is an Attack made 
upon this whole Province & Continent which threat 
ens the total Destruction of the Liberties of all 
British America : It is therefore Resolvd as the clear 
opinion of this House, that the Inhabitants of the 
said Towns ought to be relievd ; and this House do 
recommend to all, and more especially to [the] In 
habitants of this Province to afford them speedy and 
constant Reliefe in such Way and Manner as shall be 
most suitable to their Circumstances till the sense & 

VOL. III. 9. 

130 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

advice of our Sister Colonies shall be known : In full 
Confidence that they will exhibit Examples of Pa 
tience Fortitude and Perseverance, while they are 
thus called to endure this oppression, for the Preser 
vation of the Liberties of their Country. 
After Debate accepted 


[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 48, 49.] 

BOSTON, June 22, 1774. 


The committee of correspondence take this first 
opportunity to make their most grateful aknowledg- 
ments of the generous and patriotic sympathy of our 
brethren, the worthy merchants and traders of the 
town of Marblehead, as well those who have already 
subscribed for our relief, as those who express their 
readiness to serve the trade of Boston. Our sense 
of their favour, as it respects individuals, is strong 
and lively ; but the honour and advantage thereby 
derived to the common cause of our country, are so 
great and conspicuous, that private considerations 
of every kind recede before them. 

[Boston Gazette, June 27, 1774.] 

Messieurs EDES & GILL, 

FROM an Extract of a Letter from a Southern 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 131 

Colony, and the Publications in last Thursday s Gaz 
ette, it is very evident a Scheme has been concerted 
by some Persons to frustrate any Attempts that might 
be made to suspend our Trade with Great-Britain, 
till our most intolerable Grievances are redressed. 
The Scheme appears to be, to seem to agree to the 
Suspension in Case all agreed, and then by construing 
some Passage in a Letter from the Committee of 
another Province, that they had not agreed, to declare 
that the conditional Signers were not holden. A 
GAME or two of such Mercantile Policy would soon 
have convinced the World that Lord North had a 
just Idea of the Colonies ; and that notwithstanding 
their real Power to prove a Rope of Hemp to him, 
they were a Rope of Sand in Reality, among them 
selves. I would beg Leave to ask the voluminous 
Querists referr d to. whether they conceive a Non- 
consumption Agreement would ever have been tho t 
of in the Country, could our Brethren there have 
persuaded themselves that the Merchants were in 
earnest to suspend Trade the little Time there was 
between our receiving the Port Bill, and the Appoint 
ment of a Congress, or any other general Measure 
come into, from which a radical Relief might be 
expected ? 2. Whether the Trade in their last Meet 
ing declaring, That their conditional Agreement was 
dissolved, on Pretence that Advices from New York 
and Philadelphia were totally discouraging, was not 
highly unbecoming a People whose peculiar Circum 
stances rendered it their duty to stop their Trade to 
Great Britain the Moment the Port-Bill reached the 
Shore of America ? 3. Whether they conceive the 

132 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

Committee of Boston planned the Non-consumption 
Agreement, and sent it first into the Country for their 
Adoption ? or rather, whether the Country, enraged 
at their preposterous Management, did not originate 
the Plan and press the Committee to have it digested, 
printed and recommended throughout the Colony ? 
4. I would enquire whether a Backwardness in the 
Province, actually suffering, to come into the only 
peaceful Measure that remains for our Extrication 
from Slavery, would not naturally excuse every other 
Province from taking one Step for the common Sal 
vation ? 5. Whether in that Case all the Trade of 
the Province, whether consisting of Spring, Summer 
or Fall Importations, would in the End be worth an 
Oyster-Shell ? 6. Whether all the Bugbears started 
against the Worcester Covenant, as holding up the 
taking a solemn Oath to "withdraw all Commercial 
Connexions," which our honest Commentators tell the 
People means even to deny buying or selling Greens 
or Potatoes to them, does not betray a great want of 
that Candor and manly Generosity, which is expected 
from well-bred and reasonable Citizens ? 7. Whether 
the suggestion that the Boston Merchants ceasing to 
Import, will throw the Trade into the Hands of Im 
porters in other Provinces, is not utterly unbecoming 
an Inhabitant of that Town, into which the Benefi 
cence of the whole Continent is ready to flow in the 
most exemplary Manner ? For Shame ! Self Interested 
Mortals, cease to draw upon your worthy Fellow 
Citizens the just Resentment of Millions. If there 
may be Some Punctilios wrong in the Non-consump 
tion Agreement, the united Wisdom of the Continent 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 133 

will surely be capable of setting Matters right at the 
general Congress ; and no Gentleman Trader, be his 
Haste ever so great to get Rich, need distress himself 
so mightily about the Profits of one Fall-Importation, 
if the constant Clamour of the Trade for two Years 
past, that they did Business for nothing, had any 


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

BOSTON JUNE 30 1774 


Your Letter by order of your Committee directed 
to M r Cooper with the inclosed Resolves came to my 
hand this day. I shall as soon as possible call a Com 
mittee of the Town who are appointed to consider of 
Ways and Means for the Employment of the poor, 
and to appropriate and distribute such Donations as 
our generous friends shall make for the Reliefe of 
those Inhabitants who may be deprivd of the Means 
of Subsistence by the Operation of the Port Bill. 
This Committee consists of the standing Overseers of 
the poor who are to act in Concert with others who 
had been before appointed for the purposes above 
mentiond, as you will observe by the inclosed Votes 
of the Town. The principal Reason assignd in the 
Vote for joyning the Overseers is because by an Act 
of this province they are a corporate body empowerd 
to receive Monies &c for the Use of the poor, but 
those Gentlemen have since informd the others of 

134 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

the joynt Committee that they cannot consistently 
with the Act of their Incorporation admit of any but 
their own Body in the Distribution of the Monies 
that may at any time come into their hands for the 
Use of the poor. They are heartily desirous of acting 
in Concert agreable to the Vote of the Town but 
consider themselves as under Restraint by the Law. 
The Donors may if they please consign their Dona 
tions to any one Gentleman (William Phillips Esq r ) 
to be appropriated for the Employment or Relief e of 
such Inhabitants of the Town of Boston as may be 
deprived of the Means of Subsistence by the Oper 
ation of the Act of Parliament commonly stiled the 
Boston Port Bill, at the best Discretion of the Over 
seers of the poor of Boston joynd by a Committee 
appointed by said Town to consider of Ways and 
Means for the Employment of the poor. 

I have given my private Sentiment, and am with 
great Respect & Gratitude to the Gent 1 of the City 
& County of Philadelphia, 

Your friend & fellow Countryman, 1 

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

BOSTON July n 1774. 


Your obliging Letter directed to the Committee of 
Correspondence for the Town of Boston came just 

1 In the interval before the date of the next letter an article signed " Can- 
didus " was published in the Massachusetts Spy, July 7, 1774. This is attrib 
uted to Adams by W. V. Wells, and portions are printed in his Life of 
Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 187, 197. 
Addressed to "Jed Huntington, Chris Leffingwell, Theoph Rogers Esq rs . 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 135 

now to my hand ; and as the Gentleman who brought 
it is in haste to return, I take the Liberty of writing 
you my own Sentiments in Answer, not doubting but 
they are concurrent with those of my Brethren. I 
can venture to assure you that the valueable Donation 
of the worthy Town of Norwich will be receivd by 
this Community with the warmest Gratitude and dis- 
posd of according to the true Intent of the generous 
Donors. The Liberality of the Sister Colonies will 
I trust support & comfort the Inhabitants under the 
pressure of enormous Power, & enable them to en 
dure affliction with that Dignity which becomes those 
who are called to suffer in the Cause of Liberty & 
Truth. The Manner of transmitting the Donation 
will be left to your Discretion ; and that it may be con 
ducted according to the Inclination of the Town, I 
beg Leave to propose, that it be directed to some one 
Gentleman (say William Phillips Esq r ) to be disposd 
of for the Employment or Reliefe of such Inhabitants 
of the Town of Boston as may become Sufferers by 
means of an Act of the British Parliament called the 
Boston Port bill, at the Discretion of the Overseers of 
the Poor of said Town joynd with a Committee ap 
pointed to consider of Ways & Means for the Em- 
ploym 1 of such Poor. The Part which the Town of 
Norwich takes in this Struggle for American Liberty 
is truly noble ; and this Town rejoyces with you in 
the Harmony Moderation & Vigor which prevails 
throughout the united Colonies. 

You may rely upon it that there is no Foundation 
for the Report that the Opposition gains Ground upon 
us. The Emissaries of a Party which is now reduced 

136 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

to a very small Number of Men, a great Part of 
whom are in Reality Expectants from & in Connec 
tion with the Revenue, are daily going out with such 
idle Stories ; but whoever reads the Accounts of the 
Proceedings of our Town Meetings, which I can 
assure you have been truly stated in the News papers 
under the hand of the Town Clerk, will see that no 
Credit is due to such Reports. 

I shall lay your Letter before the Committee of 
Correspondence who will write to you by the first 
opportunity. In the mean time I am in Sincerity 
Your obliged Friend & 

Fellow Countryman, 


[MS., American Philosophical Society 1 ; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Paper, 
Lenox Library; an undated text is in R. H. Lee, Life of R, H. Lee, vol. 
i., pp. 99-101.] 

BOSTON July 15* 1774 

I have lately been favour d with three Letters from 
you, and must beg you to attribute my omitting to 
make a due Acknowledgment till this Time, to a Mul 
tiplicity of Affairs to which I have been oblig d to 
give my constant Attention. 

The unrighteous and oppressive Act of the British 
Parliament for shutting up this Harbour, although 
executed with a Rigour beyond the Intent even of 
the Framers of it, has hitherto faild, and I believe 
will continue to fail of the Effect which the Enemies 

! In this instance the body of the letter actually sent, from which this text is 
taken, is not in the autograph of Adams, only the subscription, signature, and 
address being in his hand. The draft is wholly in his autograph. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 137 

of America flatter d themselves it would have. The 
Inhabitants still wear chearful countenances. Far 
from being in the least Degree intimidated they are 
resolved to undergo the greatest Hardships, rather 
than Submit in any Instance to the Tyrannical Act. 
They are daily encouraged to persevere, by the Intelli 
gence which they receive from their Brethren not of 
this Province only, but of every other Colony, that 
they are consider d as suffering in the common Cause ; 
and the Resolution of all, to support them in the Con 
flict. Lord North had no Expectation that we should 
be thus Sustained ; on the Contrary he trusted that 
Boston would be left by all her Friends to Struggle 
and fall alone. He has therefore made no Prepar 
ation for the Effects of an Union. From the In 
formation I have had from Intelligent Persons in 
England, I verily believe the Design was to seize some 
Persons here, and send them Home ; but the Steadi 
ness and Prudence of the People, and the unexpected 
Union of the Colonies, evidenced by liberal Contribu 
tions for our Support, have disconcerted them ; and 
they are at a loss how to proceed further. Four 
Regiments are now encamp d on our Common, and 
more are expected ; but I trust the People will, by a 
circumspect Behavior, prevent their taking occasion 
to Act. The Port Bill, is follow d by two other Acts 
of the British Parliament ; >the one for regulating the 
Government of this Province, or rather totally to 
destroy our free Constitution and substitute an abso 
lute Government in its Stead ;*the other for the more 
impartial Administration of Justice or as some term 
it for the screening from Punishment any Soldier who 

138 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

shall Murder an American for asserting his Right. A 
Submission to these Acts will doubtless be requir d 
and expected ; but whether General Gage will find it 
an easy thing to force the People to submit to so 
great and fundamental a Change of Government, is a 
Question I think, worthy his Consideration Will 
the People of America consider these measures, as 
Attacks on the Constitution of an Individual Province 
in which the rest are not interested ; or will they view 
the model of Government prepar d for us as a Sistem 
for the whole Continent. Will they, as unconcern d 
Spectators, look upon it to be design d only to top off 
the exuberant Branches of Democracy in the Consti 
tution of this Province? Or, as part of a plan to 
reduce them all to Slavery ? These are Questions, in 
my Opinion of Importance, which I trust will be 
thoroughly weighed in a general Congress. May 
God inspire that intended Body with Wisdom and 
Fortitude, and unite and Prosper their Councils ! 

The People of this Province are thoroughly Sensi 
ble of the Necessity of breaking off all Commercial 
Connection with the Country, whose political Coun 
cils direct to Measures to enslave them. They how 
ever the Body of the Nation, are being kept in 
profound Ignorance of the Nature of the Dispute be 
tween Britain and the Colonies ; and taught to believe 
that we are a perfidious & rebellious People. 

It is with Reluctance that they come into any 
Resolutions, which must distress those who are not 
the objects of their Resentment but they are urg d 
to it from Motives of Self-preservation, and therefore 
are signing an agreement in the several Towns, not 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS 139 

to consume any British Goods which shall be imported 
after the last of August next ; and that they may not 
be impos d upon, they are to require an Oath of those 
from whom they shall hereafter purchase such Goods. 
It is the Virtue of the Yeomanry that we are chiefly 
to depend upon. Our Friends in Maryland talk of 
withholding the Exportation of Tobacco ; this was 
first hinted to us by the Gentlemen of the late House 
of Burgesses of Virginia who had been called together 
after the Dissolution of your Assembly This would 
be a Measure greatly interesting to the Mother 

Should America hold up her own Importance to 
the Body of the Nation and at the same Time agree 
in one general Bill of Rights, the Dispute might be 
settled on the Principles of Equity and Harmony 
restored between Britain and the Colonies. 
I am with great Regard 

Your Friend & Fellow Countryman 


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

BOSTON July 16 1774 


Having receivd Information that the respectable 
Inhabitants of the Town of Savannah have expressd 
a Degree of Uneasiness, as considering themselves 
neglected in the general Application which the dis- 
tressd Town of Boston have made to the Colonies in 

1 Of Savannah, Georgia. Cf., C. C. Jones, Biographical Sketches, pp. 124- 
136; and C. C. Jones, History of Georgia, vol. ii., p. 166 &nd passim. 

140 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

America for Advice and Assistance in their present 
painful Struggle with the hand of Tyranny, I beg 
Leave to assure you that by express Direction of the 
Town of Boston a Letter was addressd to the Gen 
tlemen of Savannah upon the first Intelligence of the 
detestable Port Bill. Permit me to add Gentlemen 
that the Committee of Correspondence for the Town 
of Boston at whose Request I now write, set too high 
a Value upon your Advice and esteem a general 
Union of too great Importance, to neglect any Steps 
at this alarming Crisis, which may have a Tendency 
to effect so desirable a Purpose. 

They have this additional Motive to invite all the 
Colonies into one firm Band of Opposition to the 
oppressive Measures of the British Administration, 
that they look upon this Town as conflicting for all. 
The Danger is general ; and should we succumb under 
the heavy Rod now hanging over us, we might be 
esteemd the base Betrayers of the Common Interest. 

We are informd that the Infant Colony of West 
Florida has contended for the Right of an annual 
Choice of Representatives. A noble Exertion cer 
tainly if it has taken place. Being your Neighbors, 
be pleasd to convey to them our warmest Regards, 
and encourage them in the Pursuit of so important an 

Your Correspondence with the Committee of this 
Town will always be esteemd a singular Gratification. 

I am in their Behalf 


Your Friend and 

Fellow Countryman 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 141 


Having had your Name and Character mentiond 
to me as a warm and able Friend to the Liberties of 
America, I have taken the Liberty to address the 
foregoing Letter to your Patronage & beg the favor 
of you to communicate the same to the other Friends 
of Liberty in Georgia and to assure you that I am 
with very great Regard, 

Your very humble Serv*, 

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

BOSTON July 18 1774 


I have lately receivd several Letters from you for 
which I am much obliged. It cannot but afford 
Pleasure to an observing American to find, that the 
British Administration, by every Measure they take 
for the Suppression of the Spirit of Liberty in the 
Colonies, have promoted, till they have at length es 
tablished a perfect Union ; which, if it continues, must 
effect the Destruction of their cursed Plans of arbi 
trary Power. The Boston Port bill is a parliament 
ary Punishment of this People, designd, as Lord North 
expressd himself, to convince America that they are 
in earnest. What will his Lordship think, when 
he finds, that his " spirited Measures " have not 
the designd Effect, w ch was to intimidate us that 
America is also in Earnest and the whole Continent 
united in an effectual Measure, which they have always 

1 C/., Vol. i., page 108. 

i 4 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

in their Power to adopt, to distress the Trade of 
Britain, & thereby bring her to her Senses. The 
Premier little thought of this united Resentment, and 
therefore has made no Preparation against the Effects 
of it. He promisd himself that the Colonies would 
view the fate of Boston as unconcernd Spectators, 
and leave her to fall under the Scourge of ministerial 
Vengeance. The noble and generous Part which all 
are taking & particularly South Carolina on this 
Occasion must convince him that the British Colo 
nists in North America are an inseperable Band 
of Brothers, each of whom resents an Attack upon 
the Rights of one as an Attack upon the Rights of 
all. The Port bill is followed by two others ; One 
for cutting the Charter of this Province into Shivers, 
and the other to encourage Murderers by skreening 
them from Punishment. What short Work these 
modern Politicians make with solemn Compacts 
founded on the Faith of Kings ! The Minds of this 
People can never be reconciled to so fundamental a 
Change of their civil Constitution ; and I should think 
that General Gage, allowing that he has but a small 
Share of Prudence, will hardly think of risqueing 
the horrible Effects of civil War, by suddenly attempt 
ing to force the Establishm* of a Plan of civil Gov 
ernment which must be shocking to all the other 
Colonies even in the Contemplation of it ; but the 
more so, as they must consider themselves to be 
deeply interrested in the Attempt. I pray God 
that he may not wantonly exercise the exorbitant 
Power intended to be, if not already, put into his 
Hands. If the Wrath of Man is a little while 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 143 

restraind, it is possible that the united Wisdom of 
the Colonists, may devise Means in a peaceable Way, A 
not only for the Restoration of their own Rights and I 
Liberties, but the Establishment of Harmony with/ 
Great Britain, which certainly must be the earnestj 
Desire of Wise and good Men. I am 

Yours affectionately, 


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

BOSTON July 18 1774 


We have received your polite and obliging Letter 
of the 28 June inclosing Bill of lading for 194 whole 
& 21 half barrills Rice on board the sloop Mary John 
Dove Master which is safely arrived at Salem. So 
very generous a Donation of twenty Gentlemen only 
of the Town of Charlestown, towards the Reliefe of 
the Sufferers by the cruel & oppressive Port bill, 
demands our most grateful Acknowledgments ; and 
the Assurances you give us of the kind Disposition 
of our worthy Friends in South Carolina towards the 
Inhabitants of this Town will, we are perswaded, 
greatly encourage them to bear up under that oppres 
sive Ministerial Vengeance which they are now called 
to endure for the common Cause of America. Sup 
ported as we are by our Brethren in all the Colonies, 
we must be ungrateful to them as well as lost to the 
feelings of publick Virtue should we comply with the 
Demands to surrender the Liberty of America. We 
think you may rely upon it that the People of [this] 

144 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

Province in general will joyn in any proper M[easures] 
that may be proposed for the restoration & Establish 
ment of the Rights of America, and of that Harmony 
with the Mother Country upon the principles of equal 
Liberty so much desired by all wise & good Men. , A 
Non Importation of British Goods is (with a few Ex 
ceptions) universally thought a salutary and an effica- 
tious Measure ; and in order to effectuate such a Meas_ 
ure the yeomanry in the Country (upon whom under 
God we are to depend) are signing agreements to re 
strict themselves from purchasing & consuming them. 
We applaud and at the same time [are] animated 
by the patriotick Spirit of our Sister Colonies. Such 
an union we believe was little expected by Lord North 
and we have Reason to hope therefore that he has 
not thought of making any Preparation against the 
Effects of it. The Resolution & Magnanimity of the 
Colonists and the Firmness Perseverance & Prudence 
of the People of this insulted Town astonishes our 
Adversaries, & we trust will put them to a Loss -how 
to proceed further. 

We shall dispose of the valueable Donation as you 
direct, in such Manner as we shall judge most con- 
ducible to the Intention of the generous Donors, to 
whom be pleasd to present our kind Regards and be 
assured we are Gentlemen their and your sincere & 
obliged Friends and 

Fellow Countrymen 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 145 


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

BOSTON July 18 1774 


We receivd your favor by the hand of M r Wood, 
and observe the Art of the Tories in your part of the 
Province to make the People believe the Non Con 
sumption Agreement is a Trick of the Merchants of 
this Town, that they may have the Advantage of 
selling off the Goods they have on hand at an exorbi 
tant Rate. So far is this from the Truth, that the 
Merchants importing Goods from England, a few 
excepted, were totally against the Covenant. They 
complaind of it in our Town Meeting as a Measure 
destructive to their Interest. Some of them have 
protested against it as such ; and they are now using 
their utmost Endeavors to prevent it. Can it then 
be rationally said by the Advocates for Tyranny 
that it is a Plan laid by the Merchants ? The Enemies 
v of our Constitution know full well that if there are 
no Purchasers of British Goods there will be no 
Importers. On the Contrary if the People in the 
Country will purchase there are People in the City 
avaricious enough to import. Hence it is that they 
are so agitated with the Non Consumption Agree 
ment that they will not hesitate at any rate to 
discredit it. 

We highly applaud your Zeal for the Liberties of 
your Country and are with great Regard 

Your friends & fellow Countrymen, 

VOL. III. 10. 

146 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

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

BOSTON July 25 1774 

MY DEAR BROTHER "* fu, -^j 

I beg you to believe me when I tell you that inces 
sant publick Business has prevented my writing to 
you as often as my own Inclination would lead me 
to do it. I assure you I feel an exquisite Pleasure in 
an epistolary Chat with a private Friend, and I never 
contemplate a little Circle but I place you and your 
Spouse as two, or I had rather say, one. But con 
sider my Brother, or to use a dearer Apellation my 
Friend, consider our Native Town is in Disgrace. 
She is suffering the Insolence of Power. But she 
prides herself in being calld to suffer for the Cause 
of American Freedom and rises superior to her proud 
oppressors, she suffers with Dignity ; and while we 
are enduring the hard Conflict, it is a Consolation to 
us that thousands of little Americans who cannot at 
present distinguish between the Right hand & the 
left, will reap the happy Fruits of it ; and among 
these I bear particularly in my mind my young 
Cousins of your Family. 

Four Regiments are encampd upon our Common, 
while the Harbour is blockd up by Ships of War. 
Nothing is sufferd to be waterborn in the Harbour 
excepting the Wood and Provisions brot in to keep 
us from actually perishing. By such Oppressions the 
British Administration hope to suppress the Spirit of 
Liberty in this place ; but being encouragd by the 

1 Cf., Vol. II., page 337. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 147 

generous Supplys that are daily Sent to us the Inhabi 
tants are determind to hold out and appeal to the 
Justice of the Colonies & of the World trusting in 
God that these things shall be overruled for the 
Establishment of Liberty Virtue & Happiness in 
America Your Sister is in tollerable Health and 
together with my Son & Daughter send their affection 
ate respects to your self M rs Wells & your family 
I am sincerely 


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

BOSTON July 27 1774 


I wrote to you by this Conveyance ; since which 
nothing new has occurred here, saving that this Town 
a ta legal Meeting yesterday 2 orderd a circular Letter 
to be sent to all the Towns and Districts in the 
province a Copy of which is inclosed. If the two 
Acts therein referrd to take place, there will not be 
even the Shadow of Liberty left in this Province ; and 
our Brethren of the Sister Colonies will seriously con 
sider whether it be not the Intention of a perverse 
Administration to establish the same System of 
Tyranny throughout the Colonies. There will shortly 
be forty or fifty dozen of Hoes and Axes shipd to 
your address by a worthy citizen & Merchant of this 
Town M r Charles Miller The Makers are Men of 
approvd Skill and fidelity in their Business and will 

Cf. Vol. II., page 64. 

2 Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xviii., pp. 186, 187. 

148 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

warrant their Work by affixing their names thereon- 
The original Cost of the Axes will be 4<D/ & the Hoes 
36/ sterling p r Dozen, and I dare say they will be in 
every respect better than any imported from abroad. 
I am with due Regard 

Y r friend & Countryman 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv. , pp. 14, 15.} 

BOSTON, July 2gth, 1774. 


I am desired by the Committee of the Town of 
Boston, appointed to receive the Donations made by 
our sympathizing brethren, for the employment or 
relief of such inhabitants of this Town as are more 
immediate sufferers by the cruel act of Parliament 
for shutting up this harbor, to acquaint you that our 
friend, Mr. Barrett, has communicated to them your 
letter of the 25th instant, advising that you have 
shipped, per Captain Israel Williams, between three 
and four hundred bushels of rye and Indian corn for 
the above mentioned purpose, and that you have the 
subscriptions still open, and expect after harvest to 
ship a much larger quantity. Mr. Barrett tells us, 
that upon the arrival of Captain Williams, he will 
endorse his bill of lading or receipt to us. 

The Committee have a very grateful sense of the 
generosity of their friends in Farmington, who may 
depend upon their donations being applied agreeable 
to their benevolent intention, as it is a great satisfac- 

1 A member of the committee of Farmington, Connecticut. 

r 7 74] SAMUEL ADAMS. 149 

tion to the Committee to find the Continent so united 
in opinion. The Town of Boston is now suffering" 
for the common liberties of America, and while they 
are aided and supported by their friends, I am per 
suaded they will struggle through the conflict, firm 
and steady. 

I am, with very great regard, Gentlemen, 

Your friend and countryman, 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 19, 20.] 

BOSTON, July 29th, 1774. 


Your very obliging letter of the 25th instant, 
directed to the Selectmen or Overseers of the Poor 
of the Town of Boston, has been by them communi 
cated to a Committee of this Town appointed to 
receive the donation made for the employment or 
relief of such inhabitants as are or may be more im 
mediate sufferers by the cruel Act of Parliament for 
shutting up our harbor. This, at the desire and in 
the name of this Committee, I am very gratefully to 
acknowledge the generosity of the Town of Wethers- 
field, in the donation made by them, for the purpose 
above mentioned, consisting of 34f bushels of wheat, 
248^ of rye, and 390 of Indian corn, which your letter 
informs is forwarded by Capt. Israel Williams, and 
for their kind intentions still further. They may be 
assured that their beneficence will be applied to the 

> Of Wethersfield, Connecticut. 

150 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

purpose for which they have designed it. This Town 
is suffering the stroke of ministerial vengeance, as 
they apprehend, for the liberties of America, and it 
affords them abundant satisfaction to find that they 
have the concurrent sentiments of their brethren in 
the sister Colonies in their favor, evidenced by the 
most liberal acts of munificence for their support. 
While they are thus encouraged and supported, I 
trust they will never be so ungrateful to their friends, 
as well [as] so lost to a sense of virtue, as to "give 
up the glorious cause." They have need of wisdom 
and fortitude to confound the devices of their enemies, 
and to endure the hard conflict with dignity. They 
rejoice in the approaching general American Con 
gress, and trust that, by the divine direction and bless 
ing, such measures will be taken as will " bring about 
a happy issue of the present glorious struggle," and 
secure the rights of America upon the permanent 
principles of equal liberty and truth. 

I am, with very great regard to the Gentlemen of 
your Committee, Sir, your friend and fellow-country 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 30-32.] 

BOSTON, August 2d, 1774. 


The Commitee for Donations yesterday received 
your kind letter, by the hands of Mr. Gatchel, ac- 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 151 

quainting them of the very generous present made to 
the sufferers in this Town by the unrighteous and 
cruel Act of the British Parliament, commonly called 
the Port Bill. They had before received one barrel of 
olive oil. Mr. Gatchel delivered them 39 is. $d. in 
cash, and this day the fish in eleven carts, and the 
remainder of the oil came to hand. I am desired by 
that Committee to express their warmest gratitude to 
the Gentlemen of Marblehead, who have so liberally 
contributed on this occasion, and to assure them that 
it will be applied in a manner agreeable to the inten 
tion of the charitable donors. 

It was in all probability the expectation of Lord 
North, the sister Colonies would totally disregard the 
fate of Boston, and that she would be left to suffer 
and fall alone. Their united resolution, therefore, to 
support her in the conflict, will, it is hoped, greatly 
perplex him in the further prosecution of his oppres 
sive measures, and finally reduce him to the necessity 
of receding from them. While we are thus aided by 
our brethren, you may depend upon it that we shall 
not disgrace the common cause of America, by any 
submissions to the barbarous edict. Our inhabitants 
still wear cheerful countenances, and they will be 
supported by the beneficence of our friends, notwith 
standing one of your addressers meanly insinuated to 
a gentleman of South Carolina, at Salem, yesterday, 
that they would receive no benefit from the large dona 
tion of rice received from that place. Such an intima 
tion discovers a degree of depravity of heart which can 
not easily be expressed. I have received a letter from 
your [Committee] to our Committee of Correspond- 

152 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

ence, which I shall lay before them at their meeting 
this evening. 

I am, in behalf of the Committee of Donations, 
Gentlemen, your friend and fellow-countryman, 

P. S. Mr. Phillips, a carter, with about fifteen 
quintals of fish and the remainder of the oil, is not 
yet come in, but is expected every hour. 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., p. 37.] 

BOSTON, August 3d, 1774. 


The Committee appointed by this Town to receive 
donations for the relief of our poor, suffering by the 
shutting up this port, have this day received by the 
hands of Mr. Roger Wellington, 8| bushels of rye 
and 10 bushels Indian corn, as a donation from sev 
eral gentlemen of Brookfield ; but as we received no 
letter advising us who we are particularly obliged to 
for this kind present, we take this opportunity to 
request you will please to return the sincere thanks 
of this Town to all those Gentlemen that contributed 
towards this donation. We esteem it a confirmation of 
that union and friendship which subsists at this time, 
and is of the utmost importance to secure the rights 
and liberties of this Province and indeed of all Amer 
ica. We shall endeavor to distribute the donations of 
our friends to the best advantage to promote indus 
try and harmony in this Town. Wishing you the 
rewards that attend the generous, 

We are, with great respect and gratitude, Sir, your 
friends and servants, 

1 Of Brookfield, Massachusetts. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 153 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 15, 16.] 

BOSTON, August 4th, 1774. 


Your favor of 25th July, directed to John Barrett, 
Esq., has been laid before the Committee to receive 
and distribute Donations, and has been answered, 
July 29th, 1 which [we] trust you will duly receive. 
Since which Capt. Williams has arrived and delivered 
to the Committee s Treasurer, one hundred and six 
teen and half bushels of rye, and one hundred and 
ninety bushels of Indian corn, as a donation from our 
generous, patriotic friends in Farmington. This Com 
mittee, in the name of the Town, return you and our 
other friends their most grateful acknowledgments, 
and assure [you we] shall do our utmost to distribute 
it, agreeable to the benevolent intentions of the con 
tributors. As Capt. Williams brought us no letter, 
nor had any particular directions about the freight 
of the grain, the Committee immediately agreed to 
pay the same, and offered it to Capt. Williams, but he 
chose rather to suspend the receiving of it until fur 
ther day. You may be assured that the friends of 
Liberty and a righteous government are firm and 
steady to the common cause of American rights. We 
are in hopes to keep our poor from murmuring, and 
that, by the blessing of Heaven, we shall shortly be 
confirmed in that freedom for which our ancestors 
entered the wilds of America. 

With the greatest respect we are, Sir, your friends 
and fellow-countrymen. By order of the Committee 

1 Cf. page 148. 

154 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

appointed to receive Donations for the employment 
or relief of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill. 

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

PHILAD E Sept. 14 1774. 


I have been waiting with great Impatience for a 
Letter from the Committee of Correspondence for the 
Town of Boston upon whose Wisdom and Judgment 
I very much rely. The Congress is resolved into 
Committees and Sub-Committees and all seem fully 
sensible of the intolerable Grievances which the Col 
onies are struggling under, and determined to procure 
effectual redress. The Subject Matter of their De 
bates I am restraind upon Honor from disclosing at 
present ; but I may assure you that the Sentiments of 
the Congress hitherto discoverd and the Business 
assignd to the several Committees are such as per 
fectly coincide with your Expectations. 

The Spirit of our Countrymen does them great 
Honor Our Brethren of the County of Middlesex 
have resolvd nobly, and their resolutions 1 are read by 
the several Members of this Body with high Applause. 

It is generally agreed that an opposition to the new 
Mode of Government ought to be maintaind. A 
warm Advocate for the Cause of Liberty to whom 
America is much obligd for his former Labors told 
me that he was fully of Opinion that no officer under 
the new Establishment ought to be acknowledgd ; on 

1 The proceedings are in Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachu 
setts, pp. 609-614. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 155 

the other hand that each of them should be warned 
against exercising any Authority upon pain of the 
utmost Resentment of the people. It is therefore 
greatly to his Satisfaction to observe the Measures 
that have been taken. I am pleasd to hear that a 
provincial Congress is proposd, and cannot but prom 
ise my self that the firm manly and persevering 
Opposition of that single province will operate to the 
total frustration of the villainous Designs of our 
Tyrants and their Destruction. 

I hope the Committee will continue to act up to 
their Dignity and Importance.- I am yet of Opinion 
that Heaven will honor them with a great Share of 
the Merit of saving the Rights of all America. May 
God inspire them with Wisdom & Fortitude. I must 
beg them to excuse this hasty Effusion of an honest 
heart, having been just now (while in a Committee) 
informd that a Vessell is immediately about to sail to 
Marblehead. Pray let me hear from the Committee- 
being as you all know a Man of Fortune, you need 
not fear puting me to the Expence of postage- 
direct to M r Sam 1 Smith and Sons Merch ts in this 
City. I conclude with my warmest Prayers to the 
Supreme Being for the Salvation of our Country, 
your Friend Fellow Countryman & Fellow Labourer, 

[Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. i., p. 793.] 

PHILADELPHIA, September 19, 1774. 


I have had the pleasure of receiving a letter from 

1 The date is given as September 18 in Frothingham, Life and Times of Jo 
seph Warren, p. 367. 

156 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

you since my arrival in this city. Our friend, Mr. 
Quincy, informed me before I left Boston, of his in 
tention to take passage for England. I am persuaded 
he may do great service to our country there. Agree 
ably to his and your requests, I have desired gentle 
men here to make him known to their friends and 

Last Friday Mr. Revere brought us the spirited and 
patriotick Resolves of your County of Suffolk. 1 We 
laid them before the Congress. They were read with 
great applause, and the Enclosed Resolutions were 
unanimously passed, which give you a faint idea of 
the spirit of the Congress. I think I may assure you 
that America will make a point of supporting Boston 
to the utmost. I have not time to enlarge, and must 
therefore conclude with assuring you that I am, with 
great regard, your affectionate and humble servant, 


[R. Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren, p. 377 ; a draft is in 
the Lenox Library.] 

PHILADELPHIA, September, 1774. 


Your letter of the 12 th instant, directed to Mr. 
Cushing and others, came duly to hand. The subject 
of it is of the greatest importance. It is difficult, at 
this distance, to form a judgment, with any degree 
of accuracy, of what is best to be done. The eastern 
and western counties appear to differ in sentiment 
with regard to the two measures mentioned in your 
letter. This difference of sentiment might produce 

1 Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts t pp. 601-609. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 157 

opposition, in case either part should be taken. Yoja 
know the vast importance of union. That union is 
most likely to_bejobtained by a consultation of depu 
ties from jhe several towns, either in a House of 
Representatives or a Provincial Congress. But the 
question still remains, which measure to adopt. It is 
probable that the people would be most united, as 
they would think it safest, to abide by the present 
form of government, I mean according to the char 
ter. The governor has been appointed by the Crown, 
according to the charter ; but he has placed himself ) 
at the head of a different constitution. If the only / 
constitutional council, chosen last May, have honesty / 
and courage enough to meet with the representatives I 
chosen by the people by virtue of the last writ, and V 
jointly proceed to the public business, would it not f 
bring the governor to such an explicit conduct as 
either to restore the general assembly, or give the two 
Houses a fair occasion to declare the chair vacant? 
In which case the council would hold it till another 
governor should be appointed. This would immedi 
ately reduce the government prescribed in the charter; 

and the people would be unked in what they would 
easily see to be a constitutional opposition to tyranny. 

You kndw^here is a charm in the word " consti 


[R. Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren, pp. 377, 378 ; a draft 
is in the Lenox Library.] 

PHILADELPHIA, September 25, 1774. 

MY DEAR SIR, I wrote you yesterday by the post. 

158 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

A frequent communication at this critical conjuncture 
is necessary. As the all-important Americar^cause so 
muchjfepends U p On each colony s^acting- agreeably to 
the sentiments of the whole, it must be useful to you 
to knowthe sentiments which are entertained here of 
the temper and conduct of our province. Heretofore 
we have been accounted by many, intemperate and 
rash ; but now we are universally applauded as cool and 
judicious, as well as spirited and brave. This is the 
character we sustain in congress. There is, however, 
a certain degree of jealousy in the minds of some, 
that we aim at a total independency, not only of the 
mother-country, but of the colonies too ; and that, as 
we are a hardy and brave people, we shall in time 
overrun them all. However groundless this jealousy 
\ may be, it ought to be attended to, and is of weight 
in your deliberations on the subject of your last letter. 
\ spent yesterday afternoon and evening with Mr. 
Dickinson. He is a true Bostonian.\ It is his opinion, 
that, if Boston can safely remain on the defensive, the 
liberties of America, which that town has so nobly 
contended for, will be secured. The congress have, in 
their resolve of the I7th instant, given their sanction 
to the resolutions of the county of Suffolk, one of 
which is to act merely on the defensive, so long as such 
conduct may be justified by reason and the principles 
of self-preservation, but no longer. They have great 
dependence upon your tried patience and fortitude. 
They suppose you mean to defend your civil consti 
tution. \ They strongly recommend perseverance in a 
firm and temperate conduct, and give you a full 
pledge of their united efforts in your behalf. They 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 159 

have not yet come to final resolutions. It becomes 
them to be deliberate. I have been assured, in private 
conversation with individuals, that, if you should be 
driven to the necessity of acting in the defence of 
your lives or liberty, you would be justified by their 
constituents, and openly supported by all the means 
in their power ; but whether they will ever be pre 
vailed upon to think it necessary for you to set up 
another form of government, I very much question, 
for the reason I have before suggested. It^is of the 
greatest-aiiirjprtance, that the American opposition 
should be .united, and that it should be conducted so 
as to concur with the opposition of our friends in 

BER, I774-] 

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


The Delegates from his Majestys several Colonies 

of New Hampshire 

* * # # * * * 

assembled in general Congress in the City of Phila 
delphia take the Liberty of addressing you upon Sub 
jects of the last Importance, to your own Character, 
Happiness and Peace of Mind, to his Majestys Ser- 

1 Endorsed : " This was offered to the Co m ittee of Congress to be reported 
as a Remonstrance to Gen 1 Gage." On October 6, 1774, Adams, Lynch and 
Pendleton were appointed a committee to draft a letter to General Gage. The 
committee reported October 10 ; the letter was amended and ordered to be 
signed. The text, dated October 10, 1774, and finally approved October u, 
is in Journals of Continental Congress (Edit, of 1904), vol. i., pp. 60, 61. The 
reply of Gage is in ibid., pp. 114, 115. 

160 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

vice, to the Wellfare of that Province over which you 
preside and of all North America, and, perhaps, of the 
whole British Empire. 

The Act of the British Parliament for shutting up 
the Harbour of Boston is universally deemd to be 
^unjust and cruel ; and the World now sees with As 
tonishment & Indignation the Distress which the 
Inhabitants of that loyal though devoted Town are 
suffering under the most rigid Execution of it. 

There are two other Acts passed in the present 
Session of Parliament, the one for regulating the 
Government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay 
and the other entitled an Act for the more impartial 
Administration of Justice in the same Province ; the 
former of these Acts was made with the professed 
Purpose of materially altering the Charter of that 
Province granted by his Majesties Royal Predecessors 
King William & Queen Mary for themselves their 
Heirs &c forever ; and both or either of them if put 
into Execution will shake the Foundations of that 
free & happy Constitution which is the Birthright of 
English Subjects, and totally destroy the inestimable 
Blessing of Security in Life Liberty and Property. 

By your own Acknowledgment, the refusal of the 
People to yield obedience to these Acts is far from 
being confind to a Faction in the Town of Boston. It 
is general through the province. And we do now 
assure your Excellency, that this Refusal is vindicable, 
in the opinion of this Congress, by the Laws of 
Reason and Self preservation ; and the People ought 
to be and will be supported in it by the united Voice 
and Efforts of all America. 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 161 

We are fully convinced 
and Province of the Massachusetts Bay are suffering 
in the righteous Cause of America, while they are 
nobly exerting themselves in the most spirited opposi 
tion to those oppressive Acts of Parliament and, 
Measures of Administration which aTe~caIcutafe3"tOj 
annihilate our most sacred & invalueable Rights. / 

It is with the deepest Concern that we observe, 
that while this Congress are deliberating on the most 
effectual Measures for the restoration of American 
Liberty and a happy Harmony between the Colonies 
and the parent State, so essentially necessary to both, 
your Excellency is erecting Fortifications round the 
Town of Boston, whereby well grounded Jealousies 
are excited in the Minds of his Majesties faithful 
Subjects and apprehensions that all Communication 
between that Town & the Country will be cut off, or 
that this Freedom will be enjoyed at the Will of an 

Moreover we would express to your Excellency the 
just Resentment which we feel at the Indignities 
offerd to our worthy fellow Citizens in Boston 
and the frequent Violations of private property by 
the Soldiers under your Command. These Enor- 
m ities cornmi tted_by^^stg.nd i n^_jJL!ZQy I _in LJGllL.QpinJ.O" , 
u ^l?^ l ilb r ^25^5^ t^l-^LMI ^ jjjne_of Peace, .areird tat- 
ing in the greatest Degree, and if not remedied, will 
endangeF the involving all America in the Horrors of 
a civil War ! Your Situation Sir is extremely critical. 
A rupture between the Inhabitants of the Province 
"over which you preside and the Troops under your 
Command would produce Consequences of the most 


162 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 

serious Nature : A Wound whichjvvould never be^ 
healji !/ It would probably establish Animosities 
between Great Britain & the Colonies which time 
would never eradicate ! In order therefore to quiet 
the Minds & remove the Jealousies of the people, 
that they may not be driven to such a State of 
Desperation as to quit the Town & fly for Shelter to 
their Friends and Countrymen, we intreat you from 
the Assurance we have of the peaceable Disposition 
of the Inhabitants to desist from further fortifications 
of the Town, and to give orders that a free & safe 
Communication between them & the country may be 
restored & continued. 

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

PHILADELPHIA Octob [17] 1774 


I have receivd your favors of 2Q th Sept and 
II th Instant, the latter of which is just come to 
hand. The Affidavit inclosd confirms the report 
in Boston about the beginning of July, of a Mans 
being seizd by the Soldiery, put under Guard & 
finally sent to England. But what Remedy can 
the poor injurd Fellow obtain in his own Country 
where inter Arma silent Leges ! I have written to our 
Friends to provide themselves without Delay with 
Arms & Ammunition, get well instructed in the mili 
tary Art, embody themselves & prepare a complete 
Set of Rules that they may be ready in Case they are 
called to defend themselves against the violent At- 

1774] SAMUEL ADAMS. 163 

tacks of Despotism. Surely the Laws of Self Preser 
vation will warrant it in this Time of Danger & 
doubtful Expectation. One cannot be certain that a 
distracted Minister will yield to the Measures taken 
by the Congress, though they should operate the 
Ruin of the National Trade, until he shall have made 
further Efforts to lay America, as he impiously 
expressd it "prostrate at his Feet." 

I believe you will have seen before this reaches 
you, some further Resolves of the Congress relative 
to my native Town & Province together with a Letter 
to Gage. They were sent to the Com 6 of Corre 
spondence in Boston by M r Revere who left us a 
Week ago, and I suppose are or will be publishd in 
the papers you will therein see the sense of the 
Gentlemen here of the Conduct of the General and the 
" dignified Scoundrels," and of the opposition made 
to the tyrannical Acts. I think our Countrymen dis 
cover the Spirit of Rome or Sparta. I admire in 
them that Patience which you have often heard one 
say is characteristick of the Patriot. I regretted your 
Removal from Boston when you first informd me of 
it, but I trust it will be for the publick Advantage. 
Wherever you may be I am very sure you will im 
prove your ten Talents for the publick Good. I pray 
God to direct and reward you. 

I am with due regard to M rs Young, 

affectionately yours, 

164 THE WRITINGS OF [1774 


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

BOSTON 21 Nov r 1774 


When I was at New York in August Last I was in- 
formd by a Gentleman of that City (I think it was 
yourself but am not certain of it) that a Quantity of 
Rice had arrivd from South Carolina consignd to his 
Care for the Benefit of the Sufferers in this Town by 
Means of the Port Bill. If it is under your Direction, 
I am very sure it will be disposd of in the best Man 
ner for the benevolent Use for which it was intended. 
My only Design in troubling you with this Letter is 
to be ascertaind of the Matter, and of the Situation the 
Rice is in, having been also informd, if I mistake not, 
that some of it had been dammaged. A Line from 
you by the Post will much oblige me. 
I am with great Respect 

Sir your most humble Servant, 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 168, 

BOSTON, i6th December, 1774. 


I am directed by the Committee of the Town of 
Boston, appointed to receive and distribute the dona 
tions that are made for the relief and employment of 
such as are, or may become sufferers by means of the 
Boston Port Bill, to return their sincere thanks to the 
members of the Union Club, in the Town of Salem, for 

1 Of New York. 

2 Of Salem, Massachusetts. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 165 

the generous contribution they made, and transmitted 
by their worthy brother, Mr. Samuel King. It is an 
unspeakable consolation to the inhabitants of this de 
voted Town, that amidst the distress designed to have 
been brought upon them by an inhuman, as well as 
arbitrary Ministers, there are many whose hearts and 
hands are open for their relief. You, gentlemen, are 
among the happy number of those, of whom it is said, 
the blessing of him that is ready to perish hath come 
upon us, and through your liberality the widow s heart 
to sing for joy. 

Our friends have enabled us to bear up under op 
pression, to the astonishment of our enemies. May 
Heaven reward our kind benefactors ten-fold ; and 
grant to us wisdom and fortitude, that during this hard 
conflict we may behave as becomes those who are 
called to struggle in so glorious a cause ; and, by our 
patience and perseverance, at length frustrate the de 
signs of our country s inveterate foes. You may rely 
upon it that your donation will be applied by the 
Committee to the benevolent purpose for which you 
intended it. 

Be assured that I am, in truth and sincerity, your 
friend and humble servant, 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv. , p. 165; 
a text, with slight changes, is in Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. i., 
pp. 1106, 1107.] 

BOSTON, Jan. gth, 1775. 


The Committee appointed by the inhabitants of 

1 Of New York. 

166 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

this Town, to receive and distribute the donations of 
our friends for the benefit of the sufferers by the 
Boston Port Bill, acknowledge your several favors of 
yth and iyth of December last, enclosing invoices of 
flour, &c., amounting, with charges, to one thousand 
and sixty-two pounds, 9/6, which, agreeable to your 
kind wishes, are come safe to hand. I am directed by 
the Committee to request that you would assure our 
benefactors, the citizens of New York, of their warmest 
gratitude for the very seasonable relief they have 
afforded to their afflicted brethren in this place, by 
such generous donations, in this most difficult time of 
the year. While we acknowledge the superintendency 
of divine Providence, we feel our obligations to the 
sister Colonies. By their liberality, they have greatly 
chagrined the common enemies of America, who 
flattered themselves with hopes that before this day 
they should starve us into a compliance with the 
insolent demands of despotic power. But the people, 
relieved by your charitable contributions, bear the 
indignity with becoming patience and fortitude. They 
are not insensible of the injuries done them as men, 
as well as free Americans ; but they restrain their just 
resentment from a due regard to the common cause. 

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

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

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 167 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 277, 
278 ; a text, dated January 20, is in Boston Gazette, January 23, 1775, and in 
Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. i., p. 1172.] 

BOSTON, January 13. 

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


The Committee appointed by the Town of Boston, 
to receive and distribute donations for the charitable 
purpose of relieving and employing the sufferers by 
means of the Act of Parliament commonly called the 
Boston Port-Bill, from a due regard to their own 
characters and that of the Town under whose appoint 
ment they act, as well as for the sake of the said 
sufferers, who depend upon the continual beneficence 
of their friends for necessary relief ; think themselves 
obliged, in this public manner, to contradict a slan 
derous report raised by evil minded persons, spread 
in divers parts of this Province, and perhaps more 
extensively through the continent. The report is, 
that " each Member of the Committee is allowed six 
shillings, and, as some say, half a guinea, for every 
day s attendance ; besides a commission upon all the 
donations received, and other emoluments for their 
trouble." The Committee, therefore, thus openly 
declare, that the above mentioned report is in every 
part of it groundless and false ; and that they have 

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

i68 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

hitherto attended and acted in their office, and still 
continue so to do, without any intention, hope, or 
desire, of receiving any other reward in this life, but 
the pleasure which results from a consciousness of 
having done good. So satisfied are they of their own 
disinterested motives and conduct in this regard, that 
they can safely appeal to the Omniscient Being for 
their sincerity in this declaration. 

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

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

The Committee now challenge any person what 
ever, to make it appear, that there is a just founda 
tion for such reports. Until this reasonable demand 
is complied with, they confide in the justice of the 
public, that no credit will be given to reports, so 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 169 

injurious to the Committee, and to this oppressed 
and insulted people. 

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

Sign d by Order of the Committee, 

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

BOSTON Jan 29 1775 


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

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

170 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

The Act for regulating the Government of this 
Province and the Murder Act as it is commonly 
called soon followd the Port Act ; and General Gage, 
whether from his own Motives or the Instructions of 
the Minister, thought proper to assemble all the 
Kings Troops then on the Continent, in this Town 
and has declared to the Selectmen & others his Reso 
lution to put the Acts in Execution. The People on 
the other hand resolve that they will not submit to 
them and the Continent applauds them herein. The 
new appointed Councellors and others who have 
openly avowd the Measures of Administration being 
conscious that M r Gage was not mistaken when he 
publickly declared under his Hand, that the Oppo 
sition to these Acts was general through the Province, 
have fled to this Town for Protection. Tkus_j&e 
appear to be jo- a^ state of rjLpstiJitv, The General 
with . . . Regiments with a very few Adherents on 
one side & all the rest of the Inhabitants of the Pro- 
vi nce backd by all the Colonies on the other ! The 
People are universally disposd to wait till they can 
hear what Effect the Applications of the Continental 
Congress will have, in hopes that the new Parliament 
will reverse the Laws & measures of the old, abolish 
t hat^S y sj^nj^^ 

; (perhaps before), confirm the just Rights of the 
( Colonies and restore Harmony to the British Empire. 

* God grant they may not be disappointed ! Lest they 
should be, they have been, & are still exercising 
themselves in military Discipline and providing the 
necessary Means of Defence. I ^^ajnjv^UJxLfottii^that 
in every Part of the Provifl^^^there__are selected 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 171 

Men, called Minute Men^ 

well d i s c ipluiJjS^^ on a 

very shod^Nodcejthey \yjll_be jLble_to_assejnble a 
forrnidable_Aniiy. They are resolvd however not tov 
be the Aggressors in an open Quarrel with the j 
Troops ; but animated with an unquenchable Love / 
of Liberty they will support their righteous Claim to 
it, to the utmost Extremity. They are filled with 
Indignation to hear that Hutchinson & their other 
inveterate Enemies have hinted to the Nation that 
they are Cowards. Administration may improve this 
Suggestion to promote their mad purposes, but when 
ever it is brought to the Test it will be found to be a 
fatal Delusion. The People are recollecting the 
Achievements of their Ancestors and whenever it 
shall be necessary for them to draw their Swords 
in the Defence of their Liberties, they will shew 
themselves to be worthy of such Ancestors. I ear 
nestly wish that Lord North would no longer listen to 
the Voice of Faction. Interested Men whose very 
Being depends upon the Emoluments derivd to them 
from the American Revenue, have been artfully de 
ceiving him. Such Men as these, some of them, under 
a mere pretence of flying to the Army for Protection, 
have got themselves about General Gage. They are 
supposd to be perpetually filling his Ears with gross 
Misrepresentations. FJjjtcJiirisj^rj^^ 
land has the Tongue 8^the H^art of a Courtier. His 
Lettersjto Whately show what his Designs have been 
and Jbow much he has contributed towards bringing 
oix^the_j3resent DtfricuTties, America never will, 
Britain never ought to forgive him. I know, at least 

172 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

I thought I knew his ambitious and avaritious De 
signs long before he wrote those Letters. I know 
the part he bore in the several Administrations of 
Shirly of Pownal & of Bernard. Pownal 5 Views were 
generous. I pitied him under his Embarrassments. 
Even Bernard I can forgive. If Administration are 
determind still to form their measures from the In 
formation of an inveterate Party, they must look to 
the Consequences. It will be in vain for others 
to attempt to undeceive them. If they are disposd to 
bring Matters to an Accommodation they know the 
Sense of the Colonies by the Measures of the Con 
tinental Congress. If our Claims are just & reason 
able they ought to concede to them. To pretend 
that it is beneath the Dignity of the Nation for them 
to do that which Justice demands of them is worse 
than Folly. Let them repeal every American revenue 
Law recall standing Armies restore . . . 


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

BOSTON Jany 31 1775 


I received your kind letter some time ago, which 
should have been acknowledged before this time but 
I beg you would consider that our hands are full. 
Our " worthy citizen" M r Paul Revere will explain to 
you the intelligence which we have just received from 
England. It puts me in mind of what I remember 
to have heard you observe, that we may all be soon 
under the necessity of keeping Shooting Irons. God 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 173 

grant that we may not be brought to extremity or 
otherwise prepare us for all events. 

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

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

Yours affectionately 

174 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 161, 162.] 

BOSTON, Feb. i, 1775. 


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

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

This Town is suffering the severest strokes of min 
isterial vengeance, for their adherence to the same 
virtuous cause; and while the sister Colonies are testi 
fying their approbation of its conduct, and so liberally 
contributing for its support, we trust the inhabitants 

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

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS, 175 

will continue to bear their suffering with a manly 
fortitude, and preserve a superiority over their insult 
ing enemies. 

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

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

BOSTON, February i, 1775. 


Your letter of the 2Qth December last, directed to 
Mr. Gushing, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Paine and myself, 
inclosing bill of lading for three hundred twenty-nine 
and a half bushels wheat, one hundred thirty-five 
bushels corn, and twenty-three barrels flour, was de 
livered to us by Capt. Tompkins, and we have laid 
it before the Committee of this Town appointed to 
receive and distribute Donations made for the relief 
and employment of the sufferers by the Port Bill. I 
am, in the name of the Committee, to desire you to 
return their hearty thanks to the worthy gentlemen 
of Henrico County, who have so generously con 
tributed for that charitable purpose, and to assure 
them that their donations shall be applied so as duly 
to answer their benevolent intention. 

The Colony of Virginia made an early stand, by 
their ever memorable Resolves, in 1765, against the 
efforts of a corrupt British Administration to enslave 
America, and has ever distinguished herself by her 
exertions in support of our common rights. The 

1 Of Henrico County, Virginia. 

176 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

sister Colonies struggled separately, but the Minister 
himself has at length united them, and they have 
lately uttered language that will be heard. It is the 
fate of this Town to drink deep of the cup of minis 
terial vengeance ; but while America bears them 
witness that they suffer in her cause, they glory in 
their sufferings. Being thus supported by her liberal 
ity, they will never ungratefully betray her rights. 
Inheriting the spirit of their virtuous ancestors, they 
will, after their example, endure hardships, and con 
fide in an all-gracious Providence. Having been born 
to be free, they will never disgrace themselves by a 
mean submission to the injurious terms of slavery. 
These, Sir, I verily believe to be the sentiments of 
our inhabitants, and if I am not mistaken, such assist 
ances are to be expected from them, as you assure 
us are most sincerely and unanimously wished by 
every Virginian. 

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


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

February i, 1775. 


Capt. Tompkins duly delivered your letter, dated 
Virginia, Chesterfield County, Dec. 1774, directed to 
Mr. Cushing, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Paine and myself, 
with a bill of lading inclosed for 1,054 bushels of 
wheat, 376 1/2 bushels corn, and five bushels peas, 

i Of Chesterfield County, Virginia. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 177 

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

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

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

VOL. III. 12. 

178 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., p. 174.] 

BOSTON, February 7th, 1775. 


I duly received your letter of the i6th December, 
1774, directed to Mr. Jno. Adams, and myself, ac 
quainting us of a donation made to the sufferers in 
this Town by the Boston Port Bill, and desiring us to 
order it into such a channel as that it may be pro 
ductive of the end proposed. I have accordingly 
laid your letter before a Committee appointed by the 
Town to receive and distribute donations made for 
that benevolent purpose, and am now, in their name, 
to thank you for the care you have taken, and the 
gentlemen of Amelia and Dinwiddie Counties, for 
their generous donations, assuring them that it shall 
be applied for the benefit of those sufferers, agreeable 
to their design. 

It affords great satisfaction to the Committee, to 
have your testimony that the spirited conduct which 
the people of Boston have maintained in a time of 
oppression, and their great perseverance in the cause 
of American liberty, has entitled them to the assist 
ance of their fellow-subjects in the other Colonies. 
While the^ vjju^u^tradesmen^ind otherajn this Town 
are struggling under the hand of tyranny for their 
adherence to so great a cause^ our friends in all the 
other^Colonies have shown an equal attachment to 

"""""I ..... i. " " ""x^^ __ _ __ ___ ^-* ! ...... " ~* __ ^ .^, 

liberal contributions to 

alleyiate^their sufferings. Thus united and resolved 

1 Of Amelia and Dinwiddie, Virginia. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 179 

to aid each other, may not the Colonies indulge a 
prospect that, under the influence of divine Provi 
dence, the plans of a corrupt and infatuated British 
Administration to enslave them, will soon be defeated, 
and that the restoration and establishment of the 
liberties of America may be the happy fruits of all our 
sufferings, is the ardent wish of the Committee, in 
whose behalf I subscribe, 

Gentlemen, your affectionate friend, and obliged 
humble servant, 


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

CAMBRIDGE, Feb. i4th, 1775. 

MY DEAR SIR, A few days ago I received your 
letter of the 7th December, and was greatly pleased 
to find that you had returned from Rome at so critical 
a time. A sudden dissolution of the late parliament 
was a measure which I expected would take place. I 
must needs allow that the ministry have acted a politic 
part ; for if they had suffered the election to be put 
off till the spring, it might have cost some of them 
their heads. The new parliament can with a very ill 
grace impeach them for their past conduct, after 
having so explicitly avowed it. The thunder of the 
late speech and the servile answers, I view as designed 
to serve the purposes of saving some men from the 
block. I cannot conclude that lord North is upon 
the retreat, though there seems to be some appear 
ance of it. A deception of this kind would prove 

i8o THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

fatal to us. OjLirLaet}Mdj^ds_^ in 

r^admessjgr the extreme event. Qj this the people 
here are thoroughly sensible, and from the prepara- 
tiotis_they_are magmg^ Intrust in God they will defend 
their liberties with dignity. If the ministry have not 
abandoned themselves to folly and madness the firm 
union of the colonies must be an important objection. 
The claims of the colonies ^re consistent ^_._ . . and 
necessary to their own existence as free subjects, and 
they jwillnejv^r_j^c^de_from them. The tools of 
power here are incessantly endeavouring to divide 
them, but in vain. I wish the king s ministers would 
duly consider what appears to me a very momentous 
truth, that one regular attempt to subdue those in 
any other colony, whatever may be the first issue of 
the attempt, will open a quarrel, which will never be 
closed till what some of them affect to apprehend, 
and we sincerely deprecate, shall take effect. Is it 
not then high time that they should hearken not to 
the clamours of passionate and interested men, but to 
the cool voice of impartial reason ? No sensible 
minister will think that millions of free subjects, 
strengthenexT T5y"lsucri an union, will submit to be 
slavesj ng honest minister would wish to see humanity 
thus disgraced;""" 

____ Q - 

My attendance on the provincial congress now sit 
ting here will not admit of my enlarging at present. 

I will write you again by the next opportunity, and 
till I have reason to suspect our adversaries have got 
some of my letters in their possession. I yet venture 
to subscribe, yours affectionately, 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 181 


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

BOSTON, Feb. 21, 1775. 2 


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

1 Member of the committee of correspondence of Sandwich, Massachusetts. 

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

i8 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

in disappointing the enemies of our common liberty, 
in their hopes, that by reducing the people to want 
and hunger, they should force them to yield to their 
unrighteous demands. 

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


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

BOSTON Feb 21 1775 


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

Your humble Servants, 


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

BOSTON Feb 21 1775 


At a Time when the British Colonies in North 

1 Of Pittsfield, Mass. 

2 A similar letter was at the same time addressed to residents of Montreal ; 
their reply, dated, April 28, 1775, is in Journals of each Provincial Congress 
of Massachiisetts, pp. 751, 752. C/., W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 
vol. ii., p. 275. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 183 

America are universally complaining of the Oppres 
sion of a corrupt Administration, the Necessity and 
Advantage of a free Communication of Sentiments 
as well as Intelligence must be obvious to all. Hence 
it is that the Committee of Correspondence appointed 
by the Town of Boston, have long been sollicitous of 
establishing a friendly Intercourse with their Breth 
ren and Fellow Subjects in your Province. Having 
receivd Direction for this important Purpose from our 
Provincial Congress sitting at Cambridge on the first 
of this Instant, 1 we take the Liberty of addressing a 
Letter to you Gentlemen, begging you would be as 
sured that we have our mutual Safety and Prosperity 
at heart. It is notorious to all the Colonies, that at 
the Conclusion of the last War, a System was formd 
for the Destruction of our common Rights & Liber 
ties. The Design of the British Ministry was to make 
themselves Masters of the Property of the Colonists, 
and to appropriate their Money in such a Manner as 
effectually to enslave them. The Ministry had influ 
ence enough in Parliament to procure an Act, declar 
atory of a Right in the King Lords and Commons of 
Great Britain to make Laws binding his Majestys 
Subjects in America in all Cases whatsoever ; and 
also to pass other Acts for taxing the American Sub 
jects with the express Purpose of raising a Revenue, 
and appropriating the same for the Support of Civil 
Government & defraying the Charges of the Admin 
istration of Justice in such Colonies where his Majesty 
should think proper. The Principle upon which these 

1 The session began February I ; the resolution referred to was adopted 
February 15. Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts , p, 100. 

1 84 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Acts was grounded, is in our opinion totally incon 
sistent with the Idea of a free Government ; for there 
can be no Freedom where a People is governd by 
the Laws of a Parliament, in which they have no 
Share and over which they can have no Controul ; and 
if such a Legislature shall give and grant as much of 
our Money as it pleases without our Consent in Per 
son or by our Representatives what are we but Bond 
Servants instead of free Subjects ? These Revenue 
Laws have in their operation been grievous to all the 
Colonies & this in a particular Manner. Our own 
property has been extorted from us, and applied to 
the purpose of rendering our provincial & only Leg 
islature an insignificant Body ; and by providing for 
the Executive & judiciary Powers in the Province in 
dependent of the People, to place them under the 
absolute Power & Controul of a Minister of State. 
Our righteous and stedfast opposition to this System 
of Slavery, has been artfully held up to our fellow 
Subjects in Britain as springing from a latent Design 
to break off all political Connections with the Parent 
Country and to set up an independent Government 
among ourselves. The Letters of Bernard, Hutchin- 
son and Oliver have been detected ; by which it 
appears how great a Share they have had in misrep 
resenting & calumniating this Country, and in plot 
ting the total Ruin of its Liberties, for the Sake of 
enriching & aggrandising themselves & their families. 
The two last named were Natives of the Colony, of 
ancient families in it, and having by Art & Intrigue 
gaind a considerable Influence over an unsuspecting 
People, and thereby a reputation in England, they 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 185 

found Means to get themselves advancd to the high 
est Seats in this Government ; and they improvd 
these Advantages, to put a period to our free Consti 
tution, by procuring an Act of Parliament to disanul 
the essential parts of our Charter & constitute an 
absolute despotick Government in its Stead ; fourteen 
regiments are now assembled in this Capital, and Re 
inforcements are expected, to put this Act into Exe 
cution. The People are determined that this shall 
not be done. They are united & firmly resolvd to 
withstand it at the utmost Risque of Life and For 
tune. A Scene therefore may open soon, unless the 
Ministry hearken to the Voice of Reason & Justice, 
which the Friends of Britain and America must 

In the same Session of the British Parliament the 
Act for establishing a Government in the Province of 
Ouebeck was passed ; whereby our Brethren & fel 
low Subjects in that Province are deprived of the 
most valueable Securities of the British Constitution, 
for which they wisely stipulated, & which was sol 
emnly guaranteed to them by the Royal Proclamation. 
These new Governments of Quebeck and Massachu 
setts Bay, of a kind nearly alike, though before un 
heard of under a British King, are looked upon by the 
other Colonies from Nova Scotia to Georgia, as Mod 
els intended for them all ; they all therefore consider 
themselves as deeply concernd to have them abol- 
ishd; and it is for this Reason, that, although the Ad 
vantage of Delegates from your Province could not 
be had at the late Continental Congress, the Quebeck 
bill was considerd then not only as an intolerable 

186 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Injury to the Subjects in that Province but as a capi 
tal Grievance on all. It is an inexpressible Satisfac 
tion to us to hear that our fellow Subjects in Canada, 
of French as well as English Extract, behold the In 
dignity of having such a Government obtruded upon 
them with a resentment which discovers that they 
have a just Idea of Freedom & a due regard for them 
selves & their Posterity. They were certainly mis 
represented in the most shameful Manner, when, in 
order to enslave them it was suggested that they were 
too ignorant to enjoy Liberty. We are greatly pleasd 
to hear that Remonstrances are already sent to the 
Court & Parliament of Britain against an Act so dis 
graceful to human Nature, and Petitions for its repeal. 
We pray God to succeed such noble Exertions, & 
that the Blessing of a free Government may be estab- 
lishd there & transmitted to their latest posterity. 
The Enemies of American Liberty will surely be cha- 
grind when they find, that the People of Quebeck 
have in common with other Americans the true Sen 
timents of Liberty. How confounded must they be, 
when they see those very Peoples upon whom they 
depended to aid them in their flagitious Designs, lend 
ing their Assistance to oppose them, chearfully adopt 
ing the resolutions of the late Continental Congress 
& joyning their own Delegates in another, to be held 
at Philadelphia on the io th of May next. The Acces 
sion of that Colony in particular will add great Repu 
tation & Weight to the Common Cause. 

We rejoyce in the opportunity of informing you 
that the Assembly of the Island of Jamaica have 
warmly espousd our Interest. We have seen a Copy 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 187 

of their Petition to the King in which they declare 

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

As it is possible you may not have seen the Kings 
Speech at the opening of the Parliament we inclose 
it. Lord Dartmouth in a Circular Letter to the Gov 
ernors in America, a Copy of which we have seen is 
pleasd to say " The Resolutions of both Houses to 
support the great Constitutional Principles by which 
his Majestys Conduct hath been governd, and their 
entire Approbation of the Steps his Majesty has taken 
for carrying into Execution the Laws passed in the 
last Session, will, I trust, have the Effect to remove 
the false Impressions which have been made upon the 
Minds of his Majestys Subjects in America, and put 
an End to those Expectations of Support in their im- 
warrantable Pretensions, which have been held forth 
by artful & designing Men" Dated Whitehall Dec r 
20 1774. What Ideas his Lordship has of the Con 
sistency of the Quebec Act with constitutional Prin 
ciples, which deprives the Subjects in Canada of those 
darling Privileges of the British Constitution, Jurors 
and the habeas Corpus Act, and in all Crown Causes, 
consigns them over to Laws made without their Con 
sent in person or by their Representatives, perhaps 
by a Governor & Council dependent upon the Crown 
for their Places & Support, & to be tryed by Judges 
equally dependent, we will leave to your Considera 
tion. The Boston Port Bill is another act passed the 
last Session & it is executed with the utmost Rigour. 

1 88 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

How consistent was it with the great Principles of 
the Constitution founded on the Laws of Nature & 
reason, to punish forty or fifty thousand Persons for 
what was done in all Probability by only forty or fifty. 
His Lordship may possibly find it very difficult with 
his superior understanding to prove that the Destruc 
tion of the Tea in Boston was, considering the Cir 
cumstances of the Action, morally or politically wrong, 
or, if he must needs think it was so, could his Lord 
ship judge it inconsistent with the Laws of God for a 
Tribunal to proceed to try condemn and punish even 
the Individuals who might be chargd with doing it 
without giving them an opportunity of being heard 
or even calling them to answer ! Such however is 
the Policy, the Justice of the British Councils. Such 
his Lordships Ideas of "great constitutional Princi 
ples " ! Nothwithstanding the great Confidence of 
the Noble Lord, we still have the strongest " Expec 
tations of Support," not as his Lordship would have 
it, in the " unwarrantable Pretensions held forth by 
artful & designing Men," but in the rational & just 
Claims of every unpensiond & disinterested Man in 
this extended Continent. 

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

We are Gentlemen with sincere good Wishes, 
Your Friends & Countrymen, 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 189 


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv., pp. 233, 234 ; 

the text is also in W. T. Read, Life and Correspondence of 

George Head, pp. 101, 102.] 

BOSTON, Feb. 24, 1775. 


By your letter of the 6th instant, directed to Mr. 
David Jeffries, the Committee of this Town appointed 
to receive and distribute the donations made for the 
employment and relief of the sufferers by the Boston 
Port Bill, are informed that a very generous col 
lection has been made by the inhabitants of the 
County of New Castle on Delaware, and that there 
is in your hands upwards of nine hundred dollars for 
that charitable purpose. The care you have taken, 
with our worthy friend Nicholas Vandyke, Esq., in 
receiving these contributions, and your joint en 
deavors to have them remitted in the safest and 
most easy manner, is gratefully acknowledged by our 
Committee ; and they have directed me to request 
that you would return their sincere thanks to the 
people of New Castle County, for their great lib 
erality towards their fellow subjects in this place who 
are still suffering under the hand of oppression and 
tyranny. It will, I dare say, afford you abundant 
satisfaction to be informed that the inhabitants of 
this Town, with the exception only of a contemptible 
few, appear to be animated with an inextinguishable 
love of liberty. Having the approbation of all the 
sister Colonies, and being thus supported by their 
generous benefactions, they endure the most severe 
trials, with a manly fortitude which disappoints and 
perplexes our common enemies. While a great con- 

1 9 o THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

tinent is thus anxious for them, and constantly ad 
ministering to their relief, they can even smile with 
contempt on the feeble efforts of the British ad 
ministration to force them to submit to tyranny, by 
depriving them of the usual means of subsistence. 
The people of this Province, behold with indignation 
a lawless army posted in its capital, with a professed 
design to overturn their free constitution. They re 
strain their just resentments, in hopes that the most 
happy effects will flow from the united applications of 
the Colonies for their relief. 

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

I am, your very obliged friend and humble servant, 


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

BOSTON, Feb. 28, 1775. 


Your letter of the 3Oth December, addressed to 
John Hancock, Esq., has been laid before the Com 
mittee appointed by this Town, to receive and dis 
tribute the donations made for the employment and 
relief of the sufferers by the Act of Parliament, com 
monly called the Boston Port Bill. I am directed by 
the Committee to return you their hearty thanks for 
the care you have generously taken in the disposal of 
a parcel of corn, (free of charge,) which was shipped 

At St. Eustatia. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 191 

for that charitable purpose, by our friends in Essex 
County, in Virginia, on board the schooner Sally, 
James Perkins, master, driven by stress of weather to 
St. Eustatia. An account of sales of the corn was 
inclosed in your letter, together with a bill of ex 
change drawn by Mr. Sampson Mears on Mr. Isaac 
Moses of New York, for one hundred seventy-one 
pounds, eight shillings, that currency, being the 
amount thereof. 

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

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


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


Your letter of the 24th December last to Mr. Cush- 
ing and others, by Capt. Tompkins, of the schooner 

1 James River, Virginia. 

192 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Dunmore, in which was brought several valuable 
donations from our friends in Virginia, to the suf 
ferers in this Town by the Port Bill, was communi 
cated to the Committee appointed to receive such 
donations, and by their direction I am to acquaint 
you that they cheerfully consented, at your request, 
that the schooner should be discharged at Salem, 
thinking themselves under obligation to promote her 
dispatch, more especially as there was unexpected 
delay in her loading, and you have very generously 
declined receiving demurrage. 

We have repeatedly had abundant evidence of the 
firmness of our brethren of Virginia in the American 


cause, and have reason to confide in them that they 
will struggle hard for the prize now contending for. 

I am desired by the Committee to acquaint you 
that a ship has lately sailed from this place bound to 
James River, in Virginia ; the master s name is Crowel 
Hatch. When he was building his ship, a proposal 
was made to him by some of the Committee, to employ 
the tradesmen of this Town, for which he should 
receive a recompense by a discount of five per cent 
on their several bills, but he declined to accept of the 
proposal. This, you are sensible, would have been 
the means of his employing our sufferers at their 
usual rates, and at the same time as cheap to him as 
if he had got his vessel built by more ordinary work 
men from the country. There is also another circum 
stance which I must relate to you. Capt. Hatch 
proposed that the Committee should employ our 
smith, in making anchors for his vessel, at a price 
by which they could get nothing but their labor for 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 193 

their pains, because he could purchase cast anchors 
imported here, for the same price, which was refused. 
At this he was very angry, and (perhaps in a gust of 
passion) declared in the hearing of several persons of 
credit, that he was used ill, threatening repeatedly 
that he would stop all the donations he could, and 
that no more should come from the place where he 
was going to, meaning Virginia. These facts the 
Committee thought it necessary to communicate to 
you, and to beg the favor of you to use your influence 
that Capt. Hatch may not have it in his power, (if he 
should be disposed,) to traduce the Committee and 
injure the sufferers in this Town, for whose relief our 
friends in Virginia have so generously contributed. 

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



[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol. iv.,p. 211.] 

BOSTON, March 1775. 


Your letter of the 23d of January last, directed to 
the Overseers of the Poor of the Town of Boston, 
has been laid before the Committee appointed to 
receive and distribute Donations for the sufferers by 
that cruel and unrighteous Act of the British Parlia 
ment, commonly called the Boston Port Bill. I am 
now in behalf of this Committee to acknowledge the 
receipt of seven hundred thirty-six and a quarter 

1 Of Spottsylvania County, Virginia. 
VOL. in. 13. 

194 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

bushels wheat, twenty-five bushels Indian corn, three 
barrels flour, and three barrels bread, shipped on 
board the schooner Betsey, Capt. John Foster, being 
a very generous contribution of Spotsylvania County, 
in Virginia, to those sufferers. 

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

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

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

BOSTON March 4 1775 


Till now I did not hear of this opportunity of 
writing to you. I have therefore only a few Moments 
before the Vessel sails to give you a short Account of 
Affairs here. General Gage is still at the head of his 
Troops with a professd Design to put the regulating 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 195 

& the Murder Acts into Execution. ^therefore^cQB- 
sider this Man asjyoid of a Spark of Humanity, who 
can deliberately be the Instrument of depriving our 
Country of its Liberty, or the people of their Lives in 
its Defence,. We are not however dismayed ; believe 
me this People are prepared to give him a warm Re 
ception if he shall venture to make the bold Attack. 
I know very well the policy of great Men on 
your side the Water. They are backward to exert 
themselves in the Cause of America, lest we should 
desert our selves and leave them to the Contempt and 
Ridicule of a Ministry whom they heartily despise. 
But assure them that though from the Dictates of 
sound Policy we restrain our just Resentment at the 
Indignities already offered to us, we shall not fail 
to resist the Tyranny which threatens us at the 
utmost risque. The publick Liberty must be preservd 
though at the Expense of many Lives ! 

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

Every Art has been practicd to intimidate our 
leading Men on the popular side, at the same time 
the General is held up by the Friends of Govern 
ment as a most humane Man, in order to induce the 
leading Men to behave in such a Manner as to be 
shelterd under his Banner in Case of Extremity this 

196 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

may have an Effect on Some, but very few We keep 
our Town Meeting alive 1 and to-morrow an oration 
is to be deliverd by D r Warren. It was thought 
best to have an experiencd officer in the political 
field on this occasion, as we may possibly be attackd 
in our Trenches. 

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

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

There is a Combination in that Colony of high 
Church Clergymen & great Landholders of the 
former, a certain D r C is the head ; who knows an 

1 See Columbia University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, 
vol. vii., pp. 74, 75. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 197 

American Episcopate cannot be establishd and conse 
quently he will not have the pleasure of strutting thro 
the Colonies in Lawn Sleeves, until the Authority of 
parliament to make Laws for us binding in all Cases 
whatever is settled. The Latter are Lords over 
many Slaves ; and are afraid of the Consequences 
that would follow, if a Spirit of Liberty should pre 
vail among them. This however is so far the Case 
y l I doubt not the People will chuse Delegates for 
the Congress, as they did before. When that Con 
gress meets, it is expected, that they will agree upon a 
Mode of Opposition (unless our Grievances are 
redressd) which will render the Union of the Colonies 
more formidable than ever. Concordia res parvse 

We have lately opend a correspondence with 
Canada 1 which, I dare say will be attended with 
great and good Effects. Jonathan Philanthrop under 
the Signature of Massachutensis, & other pensiond 
Scribblers have been endeavoring to terrify the peo 
ple with strange Ideas of Treason & Rebellion, but 
in vain. The people hold the Invasion of their Rights 
& Liberties the most horrid rebellion and a Neg 
lect to defend them against any Power whatsoever 
the highest Treason. 

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

The Army has been very sickly thro the Winter 

1 Cf. t page 182. 

198 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

& continue so. Many have died. Many have de 
serted. Many I believe intend to desert. It is said 
there are not in all 2200 effective Men. I have seen 
a true List of the 65 th & the Detachment of Royal 
Irish, in both which there are only 167 of whom 102 
are effective. 

To . 

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

BOSTON March 12 1775 


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

1 Endorsed as " To a Southern Friend." 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 199 

The people of this Town have at length gone 
through the Winter with tollerable Comfort. Next 
to the gracious Interposition of Heaven we acknow 
ledge the unexampled Liberality of our Sister Colo 
nies. Ifl am called an Enthusiast for it^J cannoLhelp 
thinking that this. T TntQn___ainong_ the Colonies__and 
WarmUjLaL Affection, can Jbe_attributed to Nothing 
less than^the Agency of the supreme Being. If we 
believe that he superintends & directs the great Af 
fairs of Empires, we have reason to expect the restora 
tion and Establishment of the publick Liberties, unless 
by our own Misconduct we have renderd ourselves 
unworthy of it ; for he certainly wills the Happiness 
of those of his Creatures who deserve it, & without 
publick Liberty, we cannot be happy. 
* Last Monday an Oration was deliverd to a very 
crowded Audience in this Town in Commemoration 
of the Massacre perpetrated by Preston and his party 
on the 5 of March 1770 Many of the Officers of the 
Army attended. They behaved tollerably well till the 
Oration was ended, when some of them began a Dis 
turbance, which was soon suppressed & the remain 
ing Business of the Meeting went on as usual. 1 

1 Hutchinson, in his diary for September 6, 1775, mentions a call from Colo 
nel James, who left Nantasket July 29, and continues : " He tells an odd story 
of the intention of the Officers the 5 March that 300 were in the Meeting to 
hear D r Warrens oration that if he had said anything against the King &c an 
Officer was prepared who stood near, with an Egg to have thrown in his face 
and that was to have been a signal to draw swords & they would have massacred 
Hancock Adams & hundreds more & he added he wished they had. I am glad 
they did not for I think it would have been an everlasting disgrace to attack a 
body of people without arms to defend themselves. He says one Officer cried 
Fy Fy. S. Adams immediately asked who dared say so and then said to the 
Officer he should mark him. The Officer answered and I will mark you. I 

200 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

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

I have not time to write any more, only to acquaint 
you that this Letter will be deliv d to you by M r W m 
Savage a son of one of my most valueable Acquain 
tances. *Any Civilities which you may show him 
will be gratefully acknowledgd by 

Your friend, 


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

BOSTON, 14 March, 1775. 


I am to acquaint you, that immediately after 
the arrival of the unrighteous and cruel edict for 
shutting up our harbor, the inhabitants of this Town 

live at such a place & shall be ready to meet you. Adams said he would go 
to the General. The Officer said his General had nothing to do with it the 
Affair was between them two &c." Egerton MS. No. 2662, British Museum. 
1 Archibald Ritchie, Jonathan Lee, and Robert Beverly, of Essex County, 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 201 

appointed a Committee to receive and distribute such 
donations as our friends were making, for the employ 
ment and relief of those who would become sufferers 

Your letter of the igth of September last, directed 
to Jno. Hancock, Esq., or the Overseers of the Poor 
of the Town of Boston, was laid before the same 
Committee, inclosing a bill of lading for one thousand 
and eighty-seven bushels of corn, being part of a very 
valuable contribution, shipped on board the schooner 
Sally, James Perkins, master, for the sufferers, from 
our respectable friends in Essex County, in Virginia. 
The schooner was by contrary winds driven to the 
island of St. Eustatia. Mr. Isaac Van Dam, 1 a repu 
table merchant of that place, generously took the care 
of the corn, and having made sale of it, remitted the 
amount of the proceeds, (free of all expense,) being 
one hundred seventy-one pounds 8/, New York cur 
rency, in a bill of exchange, drawn on Mr. Isaac Moses, 
of that city, which we doubt not will be duly honored. 

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

This is one among many testimonies afforded to us, 
that the Virginians are warmly disposed to assist their 
injured brethren and fellow-subjects in this place. 
This consideration has hitherto encouraged our in- 

1 C/., page 190. 

202 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

habitants to bear indignities with patience, and 
having the continual approbation of all the Colonies, 
with that of their own minds, as being sufferers in the 
common cause of their country, I am fully persuaded 
of their resolution, by God s assistance, to persevere 
in the virtuous struggle, disdaining to purchase an 
exemption from suffering by a tame surrender of any 
part of the righteous claim of America. May Heaven 
give wisdom and fortitude to each of the Colonies, 
and succeed their unremitted efforts, in the establish 
ment of public liberty on an immoveable foundation. 
I am, in behalf of our Committee, Gentlemen, your 
affectionate friend and countryman, 


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

BOSTON, March I4th, 1775. 


I am directed by the Committee appointed by this 
Town, to acquaint you that your bill of exchange, 
drawn on Jeremiah Lee, Esq., for two hundred 
pounds Maryland currency, being the amount of a 
generous collection made by the respectable people 
of the middle division of Frederick County, for the 
relief of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, is duly 
received. Be pleased, Sir, to accept of the Commit 
tee s sincere acknowledgments of your kindness in 
transacting this affair ; and if it be not too trouble 
some, permit me to ask the further favor of you, that 

1 At Baltimore, Maryland. 

17751 SAMUEL ADAMS. 203 

a collection which the Committee are advised is mak 
ing by our friends in Cecil County, which will amount 
to three or four hundred pounds, may in like manner 
pass through your hands. 

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


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

BOSTON, March isth, 1775. 


I am to acknowledge your letter of the i7th of 
February last, directed to Mr. Cushing, who is a 
member of the Committee appointed by this Town to 
receive and distribute the donations from our friends 
to the sufferers by the Act of Parliament, commonly 
called the Boston Port Bill, and to acquaint you that 
agreeable to your directions, Mr. Sam l Purviance, Jr., 
has remitted, in a bill of exchange, the sum of two 
hundred pounds, your currency, being a contribution 
from the gentlemen of the Middle Division of Fred 
erick County, in Maryland, for that charitable pur 
pose. You will be pleased to return the hearty 
thanks of our Committee to those gentlemen for the 
generous donation, and to assure them that it will be 
applied to its proper use. 

It will doubtless afford them satisfaction to be in 
formed that their brethren in this place endure the 
sufferings inflicted upon them by that unrighteous 

1 At Frederick Town, Maryland. 

204 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

and barbarous edict, with patience and fortitude, and 
that they will continue to bear oppression, and count 
it all joy so to do, rather than stain their own reputa 
tion by a base compliance with the demands of arbi 
trary power. 

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


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

BOSTON, March isth, 1775. 


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

I am, with sincere regard for our sympathizing 
brethren in your County, in behalf of the Committee, 

1 The committee of correspondence for Cecil County, Virginia. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 205 

Gentlemen, your obliged and affectionate friend and 


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

BOSTON Mar [21] 1775 


I am much obligd to you for your Favor of the 
4 th of Feb last by Cap Leighton. From the be- 
gining of this great Contest with the Mother 
Country Virginia has distinguishd herself in Sup 
port of American Liberty ; and we have abundant 
Testimony, in the liberal Donations receivd from all 
parts of that Colony, for the Sufferers in this Town, 
of their Zeal and Unanimity in the Support of that all 
important Cause. I have the pleasure to inform you, 
that the People of this Colony are also firm and united, 
excepting a few detestable Men most of whom are in 
this Town. General Gage is still here with Eleven 
Regiments besides a Detachment from the 59 th & 
65 th , yet it is generally supposd there are not more 
than 2500 effective Men in all. They have been very 
sickly thro the Winter past. Many of them have 
died and many others have deserted. I have lately 
seen a joynt List, which I believe to be a true one, 
of the Royal Irish and the Detachment from the 65 th 
in which the whole Number was 167 & only 102 ef 
fective. But though the Number of the Troops are 
diminishd, the Insolence of the officers (at least some 

206 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

of them) is increased. In private Rencounters I have 
not heard of a single Instance of their coming off other 
than second best. I will give you several Instances 
of their Behavior in publick. On the 6 th Instant there 
was an Adjournment of our Town Meeting when 
an Oration was deliverd in Commemoration of the 
Massacre on the 5 th of March 1770. I had long ex 
pected they would take that Occasion to beat up a 
Breeze, and therefore (having the Honor of being the 
Moderator of the Meeting and seeing Many of the 
Officers present before the Orator came in) I took 
Care to have them treated with Civility, inviting them 
into convenient Seats &c that they might have no 
pretence to behave ill, for it is a good Maxim in 
Politicks as well as War to put & keep the Enemy in 
the wrong. They behaved tollerably well till the 
oration was finishd when upon a Motion made for 
the Appointm 1 of another orator they began to hiss, 
which irritated the Assembly to the greatest Degree, 
and Confusion ensued. They however did not gain 
their End, which was apparently to break up the 
Meeting, for order was soon restored & we proceeded 
regularly & finishd. I am perswaded that were it 
not for the Danger of precipitating a Crisis, not a 
Man of them would have been spared. It was pro 
voking enough to the whole Core that while there 
were so many Troops stationd here with the Design 
of suppressing Town Meetings there should yet be a 
Meeting, for the purpose of delivering an Oration to 
commemorate a Massacre perpetrated by Soldiers & 
to show the Danger of Standing Armies. They there 
fore it seems a few days after vented their passion on 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 207 

a poor simple Countryman the state of whose Case 
is drawn up by himself and sworn to before a Magis 
trate as you will see by the inclosd. Thus you see 
that the practice of tarring & feathering which has so 
often been exclaimd against by the Tories, & even 
in the British House of Commons, as inhuman & 
barbarous, is at length revivd by some of the polite 
Gentlemen of the British Army, stationd in this 
place, professedly to prevent Riots. Some Gentle 
men of the Town waited on the General on this 
Occasion. He appeard to be angry at it & declared 
that he knew Nothing about any such Design. He 
said that he indeed heard an irregular beat of the 
Drum (for they passed by his House) but thought 
they were drumming a bad Woman through the 
Streets ! This to be sure would not have been a Riot. 
The Selectmen of Billerica an Inland town about 
thirty Miles distant to which the poor abused Man 
belongs, have since made a remonstrance to the Gen 
eral a Copy of which is inclosd ; the General promised 
them that he would enquire into the Matter, but we 
hear nothing more about it. Some say that he is affraid 
of displeasing his Officers & has no Command over 
them. How this may be I cannot say. If he does 
not soon punish the officers concernd in this dirty 
Action, which was done in direct Defiance of their 
own Articles, one would think it is so. If he does 
not do it, he must look to his own Commission. Qui 
non prohibet nee puniit fecit. This Town resents it 
and have directed their Committee of Correspondence 
to enquire into this and other Conduct and have 
Depositions before Magistrates in perpetuam rei 

208 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Memoriam, to be improvd as Opportunity may offer. 
A Change of Ministers and proper representations may 
reduce a Tyrant, at least to the Condition of a private 
Subject. The People are universally enragd, but from 
the Motives of sound Policy their resentment is for 
the present restraind. Last Saturday a Waggon going 
from this Town into the Country was stopped by the 
Guards on the Neck, having Nine Boxes of Ball Cart 
ridges which were seisd by the Troops. Application 
has been made to the General, by a private Gentle 
man who claimd them as his property. The General 
told him that he would order them to be markd as such, 
but they could not then be deliverd. The Gentleman 
told him that if they were not soon deliverd he should 
seek recompence elsewhere. I think you may be satis 
fied that though " the General has compleated his 
Fortification" at the only Entrance into the Town by 
Land, and our Harbour is still shut up, "our People 
are in good Spirits," and I dare say " the Business of 
Discipline goes on well." 

I have just received Letters from our mutual Friends 
in London dated the 24, 26 & 28 Dec r & 4 & 7 Jan y , 
some Extracts from which I have thought it necessary 
to have inserted in our News papers, as youl see by 
the inclosd. One paragraph which alarms me I have 
not disclosd to any one, which is this " I have been 
in the Country with Lord Chatham to shew him the 
petition of the Congress of which he highly approvd. 
He is of Opinion that a solemn Renunciation of the 
Right to tax on the one side, and an Acknowledgment 
of the Supremacy on the other should accompany the 
repeal of all the obnoxious Acts. Without that, he 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 209 

says, the Hearts of the two Countries will not openly 
embrace each other with unfeigned Affection & Re 
concilement." In this short Sentence I think it is 
easy to see that his Lordships plan of reconciliation 
is the same now with that which he held forth in his 
Speech at the time of the repeal of the Stamp Act. 
However highly I think of his Lordships Integrity I 
confess I am chagrind to think that he expects an 
Acknowledgment of the Supremacy in terms on our 
part. I imagine that after such an Acknowledgment, 
there may be a variety of Ways by which Great Brit- 
tain may enslave us besides taxing us without our 
Consent. The possibility of it should greatly awaken 
our Apprehensions. Let us take Care lest America, 
in Lieu of a Thorn in her foot should have a Dagger 
in her heart. Our united Efforts have hitherto suc 
ceeded. This is not a Time for us to relax our Meas 
ures. Let us like prudent Generals improve upon our 
Success, and push for perfect political Freedom. 

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

Your affectionate Friend & Countryman 

VOL. III. 14, 

210 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 


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

BOSTON, 21 March, 1775. 


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

Your candid opinion of the inhabitants of this Town, 
as having some share in defending the common rights of 
British America, cannot but be very flattering to them, 
and it will excite in them a laudable ambition, by their 
future conduct, to merit the continuance of it. They 
are unjustly oppressed, but, by the smiles of Heaven 
and the united friendship and support of all North 
America, the designs of our enemies to oblige them to 
make base compliances, to the injury of our common 
cause, have been hitherto frustrated. They bear re 
peated insults of the grossest kind, not from want of 
the feelings of just resentment, or spirit enough to 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 211 

make ample returns, but from principles of sound 
policy and reason. Put your enemy in the wrong, 
and keep him so, is a wise maxim in politics, as well as 
in war. They consider themselves as connected with 
a great continent, deeply interested in their patient 
sufferings. They had rather, therefore, forego the 
gratification of revenging affronts and indignities, than 
prejudice that all important cause which they have so 
much at heart, by precipitating a crisis. When they 
are pushed by clear necessity for the defence of their 
liberties to the trial of arms, I trust in God, they will 
convince their friends and their enemies, of their mil 
itary skill and valor. Their constant prayer to God 
is, to prevent such necessity ; but they are daily pre 
paring for it. I rejoice with you, Sir, in most earnestly 
wishing for the speedy and full restoration of the rights 
of America, which are violated with so high and ar 
bitrary a hand, and am, in behalf of the Committee, 
with great respect, 
Your obliged and affectionate friend and countryman, 

P. S. Our last accounts from Great Britain, are of 
the i Qth December. 

[MARCH, 1775.] 

[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 282-284. J ] 

Brothers, We, the delegates of the inhabitants of 
the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, being come 
together to consider what may be best for you and 

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

212 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

ourselves to do, in order to get ourselves rid of those 
hardships which we feel and fear, have thought it 
our duty to tell you, our good brothers, what our 
fathers in Great Britain have done and threaten to 
do with us. 

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

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

Brothers, We used to send our vessels on the 
great lake, whereby we were able to get clothes and 
what we needed for ourselves and you ; but such has 
lately been their conduct that we cannot ; they have 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 213 

told us we shall have no more guns, no powder to 
use, and kill our wolves and other game, nor to send 
to you for you to kill your victuals with, and to get 
skins to trade with us, to buy your blankets and what 
you want. How can you live without powder and 
guns ? But we hope to supply you soon with both, 
of our own making. 

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

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

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

2i 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

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

NEW YORK May 7 1775 


Having an opportunity by a Gentleman going to 
Braintree I acquaint you that I arrivd in this place 
yesterday in good Health and Spirits. The City of 
New York did great Honor to the Delegates of this 
/ Province and Connecticutt by raising their Militia to 
escort them into the City and we have each of us two 

Centinels at our respective Lodgings. \fe intend to 
groceedjjjiinorrow forJPhiladelphia. My great Con 
cern is for youTTiealth and Safety. Pray take the 
advice. ...... of Friends with respect to removing further 

irito^^e^^untry. I receivd your Letter of 26 of 
April & Hannahs of the 19 th which gave me much 
Pleasure. Pray write to me as often as you can. 
iend me what^er_you_may heanof niy^dear jmprisond 
^on.^ Make use of the Money in your hands for 
your Comfort. I have always been well satisfied in 
your Prudence. I shall do well enough. I have 
only time to add that I am my dearest Betsy most 


1 Addressed to her at Dedham, Massachusetts. Adams, in 1749, married 
Elizabeth Checkley (cf. Vol. ii., page 380), who died in 1757. He married, in 
1764, Elizabeth Wells (cf. Vol. ii., page 337), who died in 1808. 

2 An army surgeon ; born, 1751 ; died 1788. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 215 

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

PHILADELPHIA June 10 1775 


Your last Letter to me was dated the 26 of April. 
I fear you think too much of the Expence of Post 
age. I beg of you my dear not to regard that, for I 
shall with the utmost Chearfulness pay for as many 
Letters as you shall send to me. It was with very 
great Pleasure that I heard from D r Church that he 
met you on the Road and that you were well on the 
20 th of last Month that your Mother had been 
releasd from the Prison Boston. I also have this day 
been told that you were at Cambridge on Saturday 
last in good health. It would afford me double Satis 
faction to have such Accounts under your own hand. 
D r Church 8 Servant assures me that he saw my Son 
at Cambridge the day before he left that place ; but 
the D r himself tells me that when he saw you (which 
was after he left Cambridge) you expressd great 
Concern that he was still in Boston. I am impatient 
to hear of him and the two Servants, Pray do not 
omit writing to me by the next post which passes by 
your Door you may inclose your Letter to our 
Brother Checkley l at Providence with your Request 
to him to forward it to me by the Constitutional 
Post, which he will readily comply with. 

I have wrote you five or six Letters since my De 
parture from Worcester 2 the latter End of April. I 

l Cf page 127. 

9 Cf. John Hancock to Committee of Safety, April 24, 1775. A. E. Brown, 
Hancock, His Book, p. 196. 

216 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

wish you would inform me how many you have re- 
ceivd and their Dates. 

I have lately receivd a Letter from your Brother 
Andrew and another from your Brother Sam 11 they 
were both well in April last when their Letters were 
dated and desire their due Regards to your Mother 
and all friends. I am now my dear to inform you that 
your Brother Sam 1 (who supposd I should receive his 
Letter in Boston) desired me to communicate to your 
Mother the sorrowful News of the Death of her Son 
Billy on the 7 th of April he had been long ailing, 
and was at length seizd with the bilious Cholick and 
died in three days. May God support your Mother 
and other Relations under this repeated Affliction. 
Sam 1 writes me that he left no Will and that he will 
take Care of his Effects which I think by Law be 
long to his Mother to whom they will be sent when the 
Times will admit of it. I will write to your Brother 
at S l Eustatia by the first Vessel from this place. I 
beg you not to suffer your Mind to be overborn with 
these Tydings. Open the Matter to your Mother 
with your usual Discretion. 

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


1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 217 

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

PHILADELPHIA June 16 1775 

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

218 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

assuring you that I am with the greatest Sincerity, 
my dear Betsy, 

Your affectionate husband and Friend 

June 17 

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

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


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

PHILADELPHIA, June 22, 1775. 


Our patriotic general Washington will deliver this 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 219. 

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

Your affectionate friend, 

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

PHIL D June 22 1775 


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

Your affectionate friend, 

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

220 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

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

PHILAD A June 28 1775 


Yesterday I receivd Letters from some of our 
Friends~aT~tHe Camp""TnForming me of the Engage 
ment betweerT thej^merican ,Troops_and the Rebel 
Army, in Charlestown. \ I cannot but be greatly re- 

--- " lPv. ^^ 

joyed at the tryed Valorol our Countrymen, who by 
all Accounts behavd with an Intrepidity becoming 
those who fought for their J^iberties against the 
mercenary Soldiers of a Tyrantj It is painful to me 
to reflect upon the Terror I must suppose you were 
under on hearing the Noise of War so near you. 
Favor me, my dear, with an Account of your Ap 
prehensions at that time, under your own hand. I 
pray God to cover the heads of our Countrymen in 
every day of Battle, and ever to protect you from 
Injury in these distracted Times. The Death of our 
truly amiable and worthy Friend D r Warren is greatly 
afflicting. The Language of Friendship is, how shall 
we resign him ! But it is our Duty to submit to the 
Dispensations of Heaven, " Whose Ways are ever 
gracious, ever just." He fell in the glorious Struggle 
for the publick Liberty. 

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

:-, . 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 221 

Gage has made me respectable by naming me 
among those who are to receive no favor from him. 

I thoroughly despise him and his Proclamation. It 
is the Subject of Ridicule here, as you may see by 
the inclosd which I have taken from this days paper. 
I am in good health and Spirits. Pray my dear let 
me have your Letters more frequently by every 
opportunity. The Clock is now striking twelve. I 
therefore wish you a good Night. 

Yours most affectionately, 


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

PHILADELPHIA July 30 1775 


As I have no doubt but the Congress will adjourn 
in a few days, perhaps tomorrow, I do not expect to 
have another opportunity of writing to you before I set 
off for New England. The arduous Business that has 
been before the Congress and the close Application of 
the Members, added to the Necessity and Importance 
of their visiting their several Colonies & attending 
their respective Conventions, have indued them to 
make a Recess during the sultry Month of August. 
My Stay with you must be short, for I suppose the 
Congress will meet again early in September. I have 

m y se ^ niany -o thL_sweetest 

1>n Ejor the__Sake-QLLjmy Country. 

1 Addressed " To M re . Elizabeth Adams at Dedham, near the Hon M r 
Dexters Favord by M r Barrell." 

222 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

This I may venture to say to you, though it might be 
thought Vanity in me to say it to others. I hear that 
my Constituents have given me the Choice of a Seat 
in either House of our new Assembly that is, that 
Boston have chosen me again one of their Members, 
and the House have chosen me one of the Council 
you know better than I do, whetner there be a founda 
tion for the Report. My Constituents do as they 
please, and so they ought. I never intrigud for their 
Suffrages, and I never will. I^am intimately consciqus 
that I have servd the^n__as_.well_ as I could, and I be- 
lie^ve "trieV think so themselves. I heartily wish I 

""^- , "** 

could serve them better -but the Testimony of my 
own Conscience aruLtheir ; Approbatix)-n r inakes me feel 
my self superior to the Threats of a. Tyrant, either at 
S James 5 or in the Garrison of Boston. 

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

M r Adams 1 of Roxbury also wrote me that he had 
often met with you and was surprised at your Steadi- 
\ ness & Calmness under Tryal I am always pleasd 
\ to hear you well spoken of, because I know it is doing 
you Justice. 

I pray God that at my Return I may find you and 
the rest of my dear Friends in good health. The 

1 Amos Adams ; under date of July 18, 1775. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 223 

Treatment which those who are still in Boston meet 
with fills me with Grief and Indignation. What Pun 
ishment is due to General Gage for his Perfidy ! 

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


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


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

DEDHAM Septmb r 4 1775. 

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

One thousand Dollars delivered to him by ... 
Reed Esq r being the Donation of the County of New 
castle on Delaware. 

One second Bill of Exchange drawn by Samuel 
& Robert Purviance on Mess Geyer and Burgess 
Merchants in Boston for the Sum of ^228. 2. n and 

1 Wholly in the autograph of Adams, except the signature. 

224 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

another second Bill, drawn by the said Sam 1 & Rob 1 
Purviance on Stephen Hooper, Esq r Merch in New- 
bury Port for ?&. 2. i , both payable to the said Adams 
and amounting to three hundred and Six pounds Penn 
sylvania Currency, the Donation of Cecil County in 
Maryland. 1 

Three hundred and fifty Eight pounds ten shillings 
and four pence Pennsylvania Currency, being the pro 
duce of two sterling Bills of Exchange deliverd to 
said Adams by Peyton Randolph Esq r the Donations 
of the City of Williamsburgh and the County of 
James River in Virginia, viz ^239. n. 2p. sterling 
sold in Philadelphia at 50 p cent and one hundred 
and fifty pounds Pennsylvania Currency being the 
produce of a Bill of Exchange for ,100 sterling deliv 
erd to said Adams by Patrick Henry Esq r and the 
Donation of the County of Hannover in Virginia. 

Seventy pounds Pennsylvania Currency deliverd to 
said Adams by M r Moor Fyrman and the Donation 
of the County of Hunterdon in New Jersey. 

Thirteen ounces fourteen pennyweight and twenty 
Grains of Gold deliverd to the said Adams by ... 
Jefferson Esq r and is the Donation of the County of 
Lancaster in Virginia. 

Four ounces and Nineteen pennyweight of Gold 
and two pistarenes being the Donation of the County 
of Amherst in Virginia. 

Four ounces two pennyweight and five Grains of 
Gold, five ounces ten pennyweight and six Grains of 
Silver, and fifty-seven Dollars, the Donation of King 

1 C/. page 204. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 225 

William County in Virginia Contain g 51. 5. 4 Phil a 

Fifty-one pounds fifteen Shillings & nine pence 
Pennsylvania Currency deliverd to him by M r Wine- 
coop and is the Donation of the County of Bucks in 

One hundred and seventy Eight pounds fourteen 
shillings and Nine pence deliverd to said Adams by 
James Willson Esq r , being Pennsylvania Currency 
and the Donation of the County of Cumberland in 

Also a Bill drawn by Eliezer Callander on William 
Shattuck, Merchant in Watertown for forty Eight 
pounds Sixteen Shillings and nine pence Virginia 
Currency payable to Charles Dick 1 Charles Washing 
ton and George Thornton Esq rs and by them indorsd, 
being the Donation of the County of Augusta, in 

All which Sums of Money and Bills as aforesaid I 
have receivd of the said Samuel Adams in behalf of 
the Committee appointed by the General Assembly of 
this Colony at the last Session, to receive Donations 
that are or have been made, for the Reliefe of the poor 
Sufferers by the Boston Port bill and others in the 
Town of Boston and Colony of the Massachusetts 

MOSES GILL, Treasurer to s d Committee. 

1 Cf. page 193. 

VOL. III. 15. 

226 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 


[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 113, 114; the text is 
in Force, American Archives, 4th ser. , vol. iii., p. 806.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 26, 1775. 


I arrived in this city on the I2th instant, having 
rode full three hundred miles on horseback, an exer 
cise which I have not used for many years past. I 
think it has contributed to the establishment of my 
health, for which I am obliged to my friend Mr. John 
Adams, who kindly offered me one of his horses the 
day after we sat off from Watertown. 

I write you this letter, principally to put you in 
mind of the promise you made me to give me intelli 
gence of what is doing in our assembly and the camp. 
Believe me, sir, it is of great importance that we 
should be informed of every circumstance of our 
affairs. The eyes of friends and foes are attentively 
fixed on our province, and if jealousy or envy can 
sully its reputation, you may depend upon it they 
will not miss the opportunity. It behoves our friends, 
therefore, to be very circumspect, and in all their 
public conduct to convince the world, that they are 
influenced not by partial or private motives, but alto 
gether with a view of promoting the public welfare. 

Some of our military gentlemen have, I fear, dis 
graced us ; it is then important that every anecdote 
that concerns a man of real merit among them, and 
such I know there are, be improved, as far as decency 
will admit of it, to their advantage and to the honour 
of a colony, which, for its zeal in the great cause, as 
well as its sufferings, deserves so much of America, 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 227 

Until I visited head quarters at Cambridge, I had 
never heard of the valour of Prescott at Bunker s 
hill, nor the ingenuity of Knox and Waters in plan 
ning the celebrated works at Roxbury. We were 
told here that there were none in our camp who 
understood the business of an engineer, or any thing 
more than the manual exercise of the gun. This we 
had from great authority, and for want of more cer 
tain intelligence were obliged at least to be silent. 
There are many military geniuses at present unem 
ployed and overlooked, who I hope, when the army 
is new modelled, will be sought after and invited into 
the service of their country. They must be sought 
after, for modest merit declines pushing itself into 
public view. I know your disinterested zeal, and 
therefore need add no more than to assure you that I 
am with cordial esteem, 

Your friend, 

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

PHILADELPHIA Octob"- 2o t h I775. 1 


I have not yet receivd a Letter from you, altho it 
is more than seven Weeks since I left you. I do not 
mean to chide you, for I am satisfied it is not your 
Fault. Your Want of Leisure or opportunity to 
write to me, or perhaps the Miscarriage of your 

1 A letter by Adams, on the same date, to William Heath has recently been 
printed in Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 7th ser., vol. iv., pp. 

228 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Letters, is certainly a Misfortune to me, for the Re 
ceipt of them would serve to alleviate my Cares. I 
have wrote you several times since my Arrival here. 
In my last I gave you a particular Account of our 
latest Intelligence from England, which I [rely upon ;] 
it came from a Correspondent whose [Connections] 
have always afforded him the Opportunity of giving 
me the earliest and best Advice. 

The Affairs of our Country are at this Moment in 
the most critical Scituation. Every Wheel seems now 
to be in Motion. I am so fully satisfied in the Justice 
of our Cause, that I can confidently as well as de 
voutly pray, that the righteous Disposer of all things 
would succeed our Enterprises. If he suffers us to 
be defeated in any or all of them I shall believe it to 
be for the most wise and gracious Purposes and shall 
heartily acquiesce in the Divine Disposal It is an 
unspeakable Consolation to an Actor upon the pub- 
lick Stage, when, after the most careful Retrospect, 
he can satisfy himself that he has had in his View no 
private or selfish Considerations, but has ever been 
[guided] by the pure Motive of serving his Country, 
and delivering it from the rapacious Hand of a 

I am exceedingly anxious to hear from our North 
ern and Eastern Armies. Much, I was going to say, 
All depends upon the military Virtue of Schuyler and 
Arnold. If they do what they can, it will be all in 
Reason their Country ought to expect from them. 
Mortals cannot command Success. Should they 
succeed, (God grant they may !) the plan which our 
Enemies have laid for the Destruction of the New 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 229 

England Colonies, and in the Event of all the rest, 
will be defeated. 

Pray, my dear, let me hear from you soon. I am 
greatly concernd for your Security & happiness, 
and that of my Family. I wrote to my Daughter 
yesterday. Pay my particular Regards to Sister 
Polly. Tell my Domesticks individually that I re 
member them. I pray God to bless you all. 


[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 119-122; the text is in 
Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. iii., p. 1248.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 1775. 


I wrote to you a few days ago by young Mr. 
Brown, and then acknowledged your favour of the 
9th instant. 

You tell me that a committee of both houses of as 
sembly is appointed to bring in a militia bill. I am 
of your opinion, that this matter requires great atten 
tion, and I wish with you to see our militia formed 
not only into battalions, but also brigades. But 
should we not be cautious of putting them under the 
direction of the generals of the continent, at least 
until such a legislative shall be established over all 
America, as every colony shall consent to ? 

The continental army is very properly under the 
direction of the continental congress. Possibly, if 
ever such a legislative should be formed, it may 
be proper that the whole military power in every 
Colony should be under its absolute direction. 

230 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

Be that as it may, will it not till then be pru 
dent that the militia of each colony should be 
and remain under the sole direction of its own 
legislative, which is and ought to be the sover 
eign and uncontrollable power within its own lim 
its or territory ? I hope our militia will always be 
prepared to aid the forces of the continent in this 
righteous opposition to tyranny. But this ought to 
be done upon an application to the government of 
the colony. Your militia is your natural strength, 
which ought under your own direction to be em 
ployed for your own safety and protection. It is a 
misfortune to a colony to become the seat of wan It 
is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to 
have an army stationed among them, over which they 
have no control. There is at present a necessity for 
it ; the continental army is kept up within our colony, 
most evidently for our immediate security. But it 
should be remembered that history affords abundant 
instances of established armies making themselves the 
masters of those countries, which they were designed 
to protect. There may be no danger of this at pre 
sent, but it should be a caution not to trust the whole 
military strength of a colony in the hands of com 
manders independent of its established legislative. 

It is now in the power of our assembly to establish 
many wholesome laws and regulations, which could 
not be done under the former administration of gov 
ernment. Corrupt men may be kept out of places of 
public trust ; the utmost circumspection I hope will be 
used in the choice of men for public officers. It is to 
be expected that some who are void of the least 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 231 

regard to the public, will put on the appearance and 
even speak boldly the language of patriots, with the 
sole purpose of gaining the confidence of the public, 
and securing the loaves and fishes for themselves or 
their sons or other connexions. Men who stand 
candidates for public posts, should be critically traced 
in their views and pretensions, and though we would 
despise mean and base suspicion, there is a degree of 
jealousy which is absolutely necessary in this degen 
erate state of mankind, and is indeed at all times to 
be considered as a political virtue. It is in your 
power also to prevent a plurality of places incom 
patible with each other being vested in the same per 
sons. This our patriots have loudly and very justly 
complained of in time past, and it will be an everlast 
ing disgrace to them if they surfer the practice to con 
tinue. Care I am informed is taking to prevent the 
evil with as little inconvenience as possible, but it is 
my opinion that the remedy ought to be deep and 

After all, virtue is the surest means of securing the 
public liberty. I hope you will improve the golden 
opportunity of restoring the ancient purity of princi 
ples and manners in our country. Every thing that 
we do, or ought to esteem valuable, depends upon it. 
For freedom or slavery, says an admired writer, will 
prevail in a country according as the disposition and 
manners of the inhabitants render them fit for the 
one or the other. 

P.S. Nov. 4th. Yesterday the colours of the ;th 
regiment were presented to the Congress. They 

232 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

were taken at Fort Chamblee ; the garrison surren 
dered prisoners of war to Major Brown of the Massa 
chusetts forces, with one hundred and twenty-four 
barrels of gunpowder ! May heaven grant us further 

success. 1 

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

PHILAD a Novr 4 1775 


I thank you heartily for your acceptable Letter 
of the 23 d of Octob by Fessenden. It is very 
afflicting to hear the universal Complaint of the Want 
of that necessary Article Gun powder especially in the 

1 In the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library, is the draft of a letter, en 
dorsed as to James Warren, the body of which is almost identical with the 
foregoing. The postscript, however, is as follows : 

Nov r 4 th 

My Time is so little at my own Disposal that I am obligd to improve a 
Moment as I can catch it to write to a Friend. I wish I was at Liberty to 
communicate to you some of our Proceedings, but I am restraind, and though 
it is painful to me to keep Secrets from a few confidential Friends, 1 am re- 
solvd that I will not violate my Honor. I may venture to tell you one of our 
Resolutions which in the Nature of it must be immediately made publick, and 
that it is to recommend to our Sister Colony of N Hampshire to exercise Gov 
ernment in such a form as they shall judge necessary for the preservation of 
peace and good order, during the continuance of the present Contest with 
Britain. This I would not have you mention abroad till you see it published 
or hear it publickly talkd of. The Government of the N England Colonies I 
suppose will soon be nearly on the same Footing, and I am of opinion that it 
will not be long before every Colony will see the Necessity of setting up 
Government within themselves for reasons that appear to me to be obvious. 

Yesterday the Congress was presented with the Colors of the 7th Regiment 
taken at Fort Chamblee which was a few days ago surrendered to Major 
Brown One hundred &> twenty four Barrils of Gun powder May Heaven 
grant us further success. I am 

Your affectionate Friend, 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 233 

Camp before Boston. I hope however that this 
Want will be soon supplied, and God grant that a 
good Use may be made of it. 

The Congress yesterday was presented with the 
Colours of the 7 th Regiment taken in Fort Chamblee, 
which is surrenderd to Major Brown. The Acquisi 
tion of 124 Barrils of powder gives a happy Turn to 
our Affairs in that Quarter, the Success of which I 
almost began to despair of. 

The Gentlemen who have lately returnd from the 
Camp, may, perhaps all of them entertain a more 
favorable Opinion of our Colony. I may possibly be 
partial in saying, not more favorable than it deserves. 

In Addition to the Continental Army four new 
Battalions are to be raisd viz three for the Defence 
of S Carolina & one for Georgia. These, with 1000 
men before orderd for N Carolina, with the Assist 
ance of provincial Forces, it is hoped will be sufficient 
to defend the three southermost Colonies. 

It is recommended to N Hampshire to form a 
Governm to their liking during this Contest ;* and S 
Carolina is allowd to do the same if they judge it 
necessary. 2 I believe the Time is near when the most 
timid will see the absolute Necessity of every one of 
the Colonies setting up a Governm 1 within it self. 

No Provisions or Produce is to be exported from 
any of the united Colonies to any part of the World 
till the I st of March next, except for the Importation 
of Arms and Ammunition, and for Supplys from one 
Colony to another under the Direction of Committees ; 

1 Vote of November 3, 1775 ; Journals (1904 edit.) vol. iii., p. 319. 
1 Vote of November 4, 1775 ; ibid., vol. iii., p. 326. 

234 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

and a further Exception of live Stock under the first 
head, and Horses are allowd to be sent to the foreign 
West Indies. We shall by the Spring know the full 
Effects of our Non exportation Agreement in the 
West Indies. Perhaps Alliances may be formd with 
foreign Powers and Trade opend to all the World, 
Great Britain excepted. 

You will possibly think I have set my self down to 
furnish a few Paragraphs for Edes & Gills News 
Paper * ; and what is still more that I am betraying 
the Secrets of the Congress. I confess I am giving 
my Friend as much Information as I dare, of things 
which are of such a Nature as that they cannot long 
be kept secret, and therefore I suppose it never was 
intended they should be. I mention them however 
in Confidence that you will not publish them. I wish 
I was at Liberty to tell you many of the Transactions 
of this Body ; but I am restraind by the Ties of 
Honor and tho it is painful to me, you know, to keep 
Secrets, I will not violate my Honor to relieve my 
self or please my Friend. 

We live my Friend in a most important Age, w ch 
demands that every Moment should be improvd to 
some serious Purpose. It is the Age of George the 
Third, and to do Justice to our most gracious King, 
I will affirm it as my opinion, that his Councils 
and Administration will necessarily produce the 
grandest Revolutions the World has ever seen. The 
Wheels of Providence seem to be in their swiftest 
Motion. Events succeed each other so rapidly, that the 
most industrious and able politicians can scarcely im- 

1 The Boston Gazette. 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 235 

prove them to the full Purposes for which they seem to 
be designd. You must send your best Men here ; 
therefore recall me from this Service. Men of mod 
erate Abilities, especially when weakned with Age are 
not fit to be employd in founding Empires. 

Let me talk with you a little about the Affairs 
of our own Colony. I perswade my self, my dear 
Friend, that the greatest Care and Circumspection 
will be used to conduct its internal Police with 
Wisdom and Integrity. The Eyes of Mankind will 
be upon you to see whether the Government, which 
is now more popular than it has been for many years 
past, will be productive of more Virtue moral and 
political. We may look up to Armies for our Defence, 
but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible 
that any State sh d long remain free, where Virtue 
is not supremely honord. This is as seasonably as 
it is justly said by one of the most celebrated 
Writers of the present time. Perhaps the Form of 
Governm now adopted & set up in the Colony may 
be permanent. Should it be only temporary the 
golden opportunity of recovering the Virtue & reform 
ing the Manners of our Country should be indus 
triously improvd. Our Ancestors in the most early 
Times laid an excellent Foundation for the security 
of Liberty by setting up in a few years after their 
Arrival a publick Seminary of Learning ; and by 
their Laws they obligd every Town consisting of a 
certain Number of Families to keep and maintain 
a Grammar School. I shall be very sorry, if it be 
true as I have been informd, that some of our 
Towns have dismissd their Schoolmasters, alledging 

236 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

that the extraordinary Expence of defending the 
Country renders them unable to support them. I 
hope this Inattention to the Principles of our Fore 
fathers does not prevail. If there should be any 
Danger of it, would not the leading Gentlemen do 
eminent Service to the Publick, by impressing upon 
the Minds of the People, the Necessity & Importance 
of encouraging that System of Education, which in 
my opinion is so well calculated to diffuse among 
the Individuals of the Community the Principles of 
Morality, so essentially necessary to the Preserva 
tion of publick Liberty. 

There are Virtues & vices which are properly called 
political. " Corruption, Dishonesty to ones Country 
Luxury and Extravagance tend to the Ruin of States." 
The opposite Virtues tend to their Establishment. 
But " there is a Connection between Vices as well 
as Virtues and one opens the Door for the Entrance 
of another." Therefore " Wise and able Politicians 
will guard against other Vices," and be attentive to 
promote every Virtue. He who is void of virtuous 
Attachments in private Life, is, or very soon will 
be void of all Regard for his Country. There is 
seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying 
his Country, who had not before lost the Feeling 
of moral Obligations in his private Connections. 
Before was detected of holding a criminal 
Correspondence with the Enemies of his Country, 
his Infidelity to his Wife had been notorious. Since 
private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though 
not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how 
much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost 


Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Princi 
ples of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even 
of Children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and 
that the wise Institutions of our Ancestors for these 
great Purposes be encouragd by the Government. 
For no People will tamely surrender their Liberties, 
nor can any be easily subdued, when Knowledge 
is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, 
when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd 
in their Manners, they will sink under their own 
Weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. 

There are other things which I humbly conceive 
require and therefore I trust will have the most seri 
ous Consideration of the Government. We have here 
tofore complaind, and I think justly, that bad Men 
have too often found their Way into places of publick 
Trust. " Nothing is more essential to the Estab 
lishment of Manners in a State than that all Persons 
employd in Places of Power and Trust be Men of 
unexceptionable Characters. The Publick cannot be 
too curious concerning the Characters of publick 
Men " -We have also complaind that a Plurality 
of Places incompatible with each other have some 
times been given to one Person. If under the former 
Administration, there was no Danger to be appre 
hended from vesting the different Powers of Governm* 
in the same Persons, why did the Patriots object to it ? 
If Danger is always to be apprehended from it, should 
we not, by continuing the Practice, too much imitate 
the degenerate Romans, who upon the Fall of Julius 
set up Augustus. " They changd indeed their Mas 
ters, and when they had destroyd the Tyrant sufferd 

238 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

the Tyranny to continue " -Tell me if you can, how 
a Judge of Probate can consistently sit at the Council 
Board and joyn in a Determination there upon an 
Appeal from his own Judgment. Perhaps I may 
view another Appointment, being personally inter- 
rested in it, with a more partial Eye. But you may 
well remember that the Secretary of the Colony 
declind taking a Seat at the Council Board to which 
he had been elected prior to his Appointment until 
in the House of Representatives he had publickly 
requested their opinion of the Propriety of it ; and an 
eminent and truly patriotick Member had explicitly 
declared it as his opinion, that as the Place was not 
then as it formerly had been the Gift of the Crown 
but of the People, there was no Impropriety in his 

holding it. Major H 1 has as much of the 

stern Virtue and Spirit of a Roman Censor as any 
Gentleman I ever conversd with. The Rest of the 
Members were silent. The Appointment of the Sec 
retary and his Election to a Seat at the Board were 
both made in the Time of his Absence from the 
Colony, and without the Sollicitation of any of 
his Friends that he knows of. Most assuredly with 
out his own. As he is resolvd never wittingly to 
disgrace himself or his Country, he still employs his 
Mind on the Subject, and wishes for your candid and 
impartial Sentiments. 

I fear I have greatly trespassd on your Leisure, 
and therefore conclude with my best Regards to the 
Circle of Friends to our Country in Watertown, as 
suring you that I am very affectionately, 


1 Joseph Hawley. 

i 7 75] SAMUEL ADAMS. 239 

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

PHILAD A Nov r 7 th 1775 

My last Letter to you I sent by young M r Gowen 
Brown who left this place about a fortnight ago. I 
know not how many I have written. I wish you 
would send me the Dates of those you have receivd, 
in your next. 

My Son informs me in a late Letter, that you were 
about removing to little Cambridge. I am exceed 
ingly pleasd with it, because I am sure you could 
not be comfortable in your house at Dedham in the 
cold Season. When we shall return to our Habita 
tion in Boston, if ever, is uncertain. The Barbarifr 
of our Enemies in the Desolations they have wantonly 
made at Falmouth and elsewhere, is a Presage of 
what will probably befall that Town which has so 
long endur d the Rage of a merciless Tyrant. It ha; 
disgracd the Name of Britain, and added to the 
Character of the Ministry, another indelible Mark of 
Infamy. \Ye must_b_i^ the .Loss of 
all things in this~JJf.e,. rather than tamely surrender 
the publics-Liberty. Th^_JBy pq f t-.he_-EgQ.p1p of 
Britain seemJo--b^Ja^_d,Qsed--; if they should ever 
be opened they will rejpyce, and thank the Americans 
for resisting a Tyranny^whjgK" is mainfestly intended 
to overwkeliruthem^and ... the whole British Empi re. 
^Righteoiis^Heavea^will surely smile^ on a Cause so 
righteous as ours is, and our Country, if it does its 
Duty will see an End to its Oppressions. Whether 
I shall live to rejoyce with the Friends of Liberty 

240 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

and Virtue, my fellow Laborers in the Common 
Cause, is a Matter of no Consequence. I will en 
deavor by Gods Assistance, to act my little part well 
to approve my self to Him, and trust every thing 
which concerns me to his all-gracious Providence. 

The Newspapers will give you an Account of the 
Surrender of the Garrison at Fort Chambly to Major 
Brown of the Massachusetts. The Colors of the 
7th Regiment were taken there and were brought 
to the Congress on Fryday last. 

I wrote to my Daughter not long ago. I hope she 
has receivd the Letter. Remember me to her and 
to Sister Polly and all the other Friends. 

You will believe, my dear Betsy, without the 
Formality of my repeating it to you, that I am, 

most affectionately, 



[Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, 1st ser., vol. xii., pp. 226, 227.] 

PHILADELPHIA. Nov. 16. 1775. 

SIR, I embrace this opportunity of writing to you 
by your son, whose unexpected arrival from London 
the last week gave me much pleasure. He seems in 
a great degree to have recovered his health ; & I 
dare say it will be still more satisfactory to you to 
find, that he is warmly attached to the Rights of his 
Country & of mankind. Give me leave to con 
gratulate you, & also to express to you the joy I feel 
on another occasion ; which is, that your own health 
is so far restored to you, as to enable you again, & 
at so important a crisis, to aid our Country with your 

i 7 7s] SAMUEL ADAMS. 241 

council. For my own part, I had even buried you, 
though I had not forgot you. I thank God who had 
disappointed our fears ; & it is my ardent prayer that 
your health may be perfectly restored & your eminent 
usefulness long continued. 

We live, my Dear Sir, in an important age an 
age in which we are called to struggle hard in sup 
port of the public Liberty. The conflict, I am satis 
fied, will the next spring be more severe than ever. 
The Petition of Congress has been treated with in 
solent contempt. I cannot conceive that there is any 
room to hope from the virtuous efforts of the people 
of Britain. They seem to be generally unprincipled 
and fitted for the yoke of arbitrary power. The op 
position of the few is feeble and languid while the 
Tyrant is flushed with expectations from his fleets & 
armies, & has, I am told, explicitly declared, that 
" Let the consequences be what they may, it is his 
unalterable determination, to compel the colonists to 
absolute obedience." 

The plan of the British Court, as I was well in 
formed the last winter, was, to take possession of 
New York, make themselves masters of Hudson s 
River & the Lakes, cut off all communication between 
the Northern & Southern Colonies, & employ the 
Canadians upon whom they greatly relied, in dis 
tressing the frontiers of New England. Providence 
has smiled upon our northern expedition. Already 
St. Johns is reduced, & if we gain the possession of 
all Canada this winter, of which there is a fair pros 
pect, their design, so far as it respects this part of 
their plan, will be totally frustrated. 

VOL. III. 16 

242 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

I will not further trespass upon your time. If you 
can find leisure, a letter from you will exceedingly 
oblige me, for you may believe me when I assure you 
that I am with the greatest esteem 

Your Friend and very humble Servant, 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; a certified copy is in the Mas 
sachusetts Archives, 194 : 160 ; and a text is in Force, American Archives, 4th 
ser., vol. iii, p. 1654, and in Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts 
Bay, vol, v., pp. 524, 525.] 



Having maturely considerd your Letter of the i I th 
of Nov r written in the Name & by order of the Hon b 
the Council of the Massachusetts Bay & directed to 
the Delegates of that Colony, 2 and consulted with my 
Colleagues 3 thereon, I beg Leave to offer it as my 
opinion, that the Resolve of Congress passed on the 9 th 
of June last relative to establishing Civil Government 
must be superseeded by the subsequent resolve of the 
3 of July following so far as they appear to militate 
with each other. By the last of these Resolves the 
Conventions, or Assemblies of the several Colonies 
annually elective are at their Discretion either to adopt 
the Method pointed out for the regulation of their 
Militia in whole or in part or to continue their former 
Regulations as they on Consideration of all Circum 
stances shall think fit ; It seems manifest therefore 

1 Addressed as President of the Council of Massachusetts Bay. 

2 The words " in the Continental Congress " were here stricken from the draft. 

3 Originally " Brethren." 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 243 

that the Hon bl Council are under no restraint from 
yielding to the Hon bl House a Voice .... them in 
the Choice of the Militia officers in the Colony. 

I am prevaild upon to believe that this is the Sense 
of the Congress because they have lately recommended 
to the Colony of New Hampshire to set up & exercise 
Government in such form as they shall judge most 
conducive to the promotion of peace & good order 
among themselves without Restriction of any kind. 

As the Hon Board have been pleasd to direct us to 
give our opinion either with or without consulting our 
Brethren of the Congress as we shall judge best, I 
hope I shall be justified in declining on my part to 
have the Matter laid before Congress for Reasons 
which were of Weight in my own Mind ; and indeed 
I am of opinion that the Congress would not chuse to 
take any order of that kind, they having constantly 
declind to determine on any Matter which concerns 
the internal Police of either of the united Colonies. 

It is my most ardent Wish that a cordial Agreement 
between the two Houses may ever take place, and more 
especially in the Establishment of the Militia, upon 
which the Safety of the Colony so greatly depends. 
I am with all due regards to the Hon bl Board, 

Sir, your most humble Servant, 


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

PHILADELPHIA Dec r 26 1775 


I have receivd your obliging Letter of the 5 th Inst 
by Fessenden for which I am very thankful to you. 

244 THE WRITINGS OF [1775 

The present Government of our Colony, you tell me, 
is not considerd as permanent. This affords the strong 
est Motive to improve the Advantages of it, while it 
continues. May not Laws be made and Regulations 
establishd under this Government, the salutary Ef. 
fects of which the People shall be so convincd of from 
their own Experience, as never hereafter to suffer 
them to be repeald or alterd. But what other Change 
is expected ? Certainly the People do not already 
hanker after the Onions & the Garlick ! They cannot 
have so soon forgot the Tyranny of their late Gov 
ernors, who, being dependent upon and the mere 
Creatures of a Minister of State, and subservient to 
his Inclinations, have forbid them to make such Laws 
as would have been beneficial to them or to repeal 
those that were not. But, I find every where some 
Men, who are affraid of a free Government, lest it 
should be perverted, and made Use of as a Cloke for 
Licenciousness. The fear of the Peoples abusing their 
Liberty is made an Argument against their having the 
Enjoyment of it ; as if any thing were so much to be 
dreaded by Mankind as Slavery. But the Bearer M r 
Bromfield, of whose Departure I did not know, till a 
few Minutes past, is waiting. I can therefore say no 
more at present but that I am, 

Your affectionate Friend, 

M r Bromfield who went in a Stage Coach, set off 
before I could close my Letter. I shall therefore for 
ward it by the Post or any other Conveyance that may 
next offer. Your last Letter informd |me that "the 

1775] SAMUEL ADAMS. 245 

late Conduct of the - had weakned that Con 
fidence & Reverence necessary to give a well disposd 
Government its full operation and Effect." I am sorry 
for it ; and presume it is not to be imputed to a fault 
in the Institution of that order but a Mistake in the 
Persons of whom it is composd. All Me_n arej^ondjoi 
Power. It is difficult for us to be prevaild upon to 
believe that we possess more than belongs to us. Even 
publick Bodies of men legally constituted are too prone 
to covet more Power than the Publick hath judgd it 
safe to entrust them with. It is happy when their 
Power is not only subject to Controul while it is exer- 
cisd, but frequently reverts into the hands of the 
People from whom it is derivd, and to whom Men in 
Power ought for ever to be accountable. That ven 
erable Assembly, the Senate of Areopagus in Athens, 
whose Proceedings were so eminently upright and im 
partial that we are told, even " foreign States, when 
any Controversies happend among them, would vol 
untarily submit to their Decisions," " not only their 
Determinations might be called into Question and if 
need was, retracted by an Assembly of the People, but 
themselves too, if they exceeded the due Bounds of 
Moderation were liable to account for it." At present 
our Council as well as our House of Representatives 
are annually elective. Thus far they are accountable 
to the people, as they are lyable for Misbehavior to 
be discarded ; but this is not a sufficient Security 
to the People unks,s_they are themselves >utr4u$us* * If 
we wish for " another Change," must it not be a Change 
of Manners? If the youth>re-e^reJLully. educated If 
the jPrJBciles-^f-M^mlltL-aistronl inculcated on 

246 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

of jhe_Qple the End and Design of 
Government clearly understood and the Love of our 

Passion, uncorrupted Men will 


then be qhosen for the representatives of the People. 
These will elect Men of distinguishd Worth to sit at 
the Council Board, and in time we may hope, that in 
the purity of their Manners, the Wisdom of their Coun 
cils, and the Justice of their Determinations our Senate 
may equal that of Athens, which was said to be " the 
most sacred and venerable Assembly in all Greece. 
I confess, I have a strong desire that our Colony 
should excell in Wisdom and Virtue. If this proceeds 
from Pride, is it not ...... Pride ? I am willing 

that the same Spirit of Emulation may pervade every 
one of the Confederated Colonies. But I am calld 
off and must conclude with again assuring you that 
I am, with the most friendly Regards to M rs Warren, 
very affectionately, 



[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 125-127; a text is in 
Force, American Archives, 4th ser., vol. iv., p. 541 ; and a draft is in the 
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 2, 1776. 


Your very acceptable letter of the I3th of De 
cember is now before me. Our opinions of the 
necessity of keeping the military power under the 
direction arid control of the legislative, I always 
thought were alike. It was far from my intention in 
my letter to you on the subject, to attempt the cor- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 247 

recting any imagined errour in your judgment, but 
rather shortly to express my own apprehensions at 
this time, when it is become necessary to tolerate that 
power, which is always formidable, and has so often 
proved fatal to the liberties of mankind. 

It gives me great satisfaction to be informed, that 
the members of the house of representatives are 
possessed of so warm a spirit of patriotism, as that 
" an enemy to America may as well attempt to scale 
the regions of bliss, as to insinuate himself into their 
favour." Whatever kind of men maybe denominated 
enemies to their country, certainly he is a very inju 
dicious friend to it, who gives his suffrage for any 
man to fill a public office, merely because he is rich ; 
and yet you tell me there are recent instances of this 
in our government. I confess it mortifies me greatly. 
The giving such a preference to riches is both dis 
honourable and dangerous to a government. It is 
indeed equally dangerous to promote a man to a 
place of public trust only because he wants bread, but 
I think it is not so dishonourable ; for men may be 
influenced to the latter from the feelings of humanity, 
but the other argues a base, degenerate, servile 
temper of mind. I hope our country will never see 
the time, when either riches or the want of them will 
be the leading considerations in the choice of public 
officers. Whenever riches shall be deemed a neces 
sary qualification, ambition as well as avarice will 
prompt men most earnestly to thirst for them, and it 
will be commonly said, as in ancient times of de 

Quserenda pecunia primum est, 

Virtus post nummos. 

248 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

"Get money, money still, 
And then let virtue follow if she will." 

I am greatly honoured, if my late letter has been 
acceptable to the house. I hope the militia bill, to 
which that letter referred, is completed to the satis 
faction of both houses of the assembly. 

The account you give me of the success our people 
meet with in the manufacture of salt-petre is highly 
pleasing to me. I procured of a gentleman in the 
colony of New- York, the plan of a powder mill, which 
I lately sent to Mr. Revere. I hope it may be of 
some use. 

I have time at present only to request you to write 
to me by the post, and to assure that I am 
Your affectionate friend, 

JANUARY 5, 1776.! 

[W, V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 342, 343 ; a text is in 
Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress edition), vol. iv., 
PP. 32, 33-] 

The committee appointed to consider the letter of 
General Washington, dated the i8th of December, 
and the enclosed papers, brought in a report upon 
that part which relates to James Lovell, who has long 
been, and still is, detained a close prisoner in Boston, 
by order of General Howe, which, being taken into 
consideration, was agreed to, and is as follows : 

That it appears to your committee that the said 

1 See below, page 254. Wells, at vol. ii., pp. 364-366, prints certain resolu 
tions of the Continental Congress of January 2, 1776, attributing them to 

1 7 76] SAMUEL ADAMS. 249 

Mr. Lovell hath for years past been an able advocate 
for the liberties of America and mankind ; that by his 
letter to General Washington, which is a part of said 
enclosed papers, he exhibits so striking an instance of 
disinterested patriotism, as strongly recommends him 
to the particular notice of this continent. 

Whereupon, Resolved, That Mr. James Lovell, an 
inhabitant of Boston, now held a close prisoner there 
by order of General Howe, has discovered under the 
severest trials the warmest attachment to public lib 
erty, and an inflexible fidelity to his country; that by 
his late letter to General Washington he has given 
the strongest evidence of disinterested public affec 
tion, in refusing to listen to terms offered for his 
relief, till he could be informed by his countrymen 
that they were compatible with their safety and honor. 

Resolved, That it is deeply to be regretted that a 
British general can be found degenerate enough, so 
ignominiously and cruelly to treat a citizen who is so 
eminently virtuous. 

Resolved, That it be an instruction to General 
Washington to make an offer of Governor Skene in 
exchange for the said Mr. Lovell and his family. 

Resolved, That General Washington be desired to 
embrace the first opportunity which may offer of 
giving some office to Mr. Lovell equal to his abilities, 
and which the public service may require. 

Ordered, That a copy of the foregoing resolutions 
be transmitted to the General as speedily as possible. 

250 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; Cf. R. Frothingham, Rise of 
the Republic, p. 470.] 

PHILAD A Janv 7 1776 


I verily believe the Letters I write to you are three, 
to one I receive from you however I consider the 
Multiplicity of Affairs you must attend to in your 
various Departments, and am willing to make due 
Allowance. Your last is dated the iQ th of December. 
It contains a List of very important Matters lying 
before the General Assembly. I am much pleased 
to find that there is an End to the Contest between 
the two Houses concerning the Establishment of the 
Militia and that you are in hopes of making an 
effectual Law for that Purpose. It is certainly of the 
last Consequence to a free Country that the Militia, 
which is its natural Strength, should be kept upon 
the most advantageous Footing. A standing Army, 
however necessary it may be at some times, is always 
dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers 
are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct 
from the rest of the Citizens. They have their Arms 
always in their hands. Their Rules and their Disci 
pline is severe. They soon become attachd to their 
officers and disposd to yield implicit Obedience to 
their Commands. Such a Power should be watchd 
with a jealous Eye. I have a good Opinion of the 
principal officers of our Army. I esteem them as 
Patriots as well as Soldiers. But if this War contin 
ues, as it may for years yet to come, we know not 
who may succeed them. Men who have been long 
subject to military Laws and inured to military Cus- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 251 

toms and Habits, may lose the Spirit and Feeling of 
Citizens. And even Citizens, having been used to 
admire the Heroism which the Commanders of their 
own Army have displayd, and to look up to them as 
their Saviors may be prevaild upon to surrender to 
them those Rights for the protection of which against 
Invaders they had employd and paid them. We 
have seen too much of this Disposition among some 
of our Countrymen. The Militia is composd of free 

Citizens. There is therefore no Danger of their 


making use of their Power to the destruction of their 
own Rights, or suffering others to invade them. I 
earnestly wish that young Gentlemen of a military 
Genius (& many such I am satisfied there are in our 
Colony) might be instructed in the Art of War, and 
at the same time taught the Principles of a free Gov 
ernment, and deeply impressd with a Sense of the 
indispensible Obligation which every member is 
under to the whole Society. These might be in 
time fit for officers in the Militia, and being thor- 
owly acquainted with the Duties of Citizens as 
well as Soldiers, might be entrusted with a Share in 
the Command of our Army at such times as Neces 
sity might require so dangerous a Body to exist. 

I am glad that your Attention is turnd so much to 
the Importation of Powder & that the manufacture 
of Salt-petre is in so flourishing a way. I cannot 
think you are restraind from exporting fish to Spain, 
by the resolve of Congress. I will make myself more 
certain by recurring to our Records when the Sec 
retary returns tomorrow, he being at this time (6 
o clock P. M.) at his House three miles from Town ; 

252 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

and I will inform you by a Postscript to this Letter, 
or by another Letter p Post. I have the Pleasure 
to acquaint you that five Tons of Powder certainly 
arrivd at Egg harbour the Night before last besides 
two Tons in this River a part of it is consignd to 
the Congress the rest is private property, partly 
belonging to M r Tho s Boylston and partly to a Gen 
tleman in this City. Congress has orderd the whole 
to be purchasd for publick Use. We are also in- 
formd that 6 Tons more arrivd a few days ago in 
New York which I believe to be true. But better 
still a Vessel is certainly arrivd in this River with 
between 50 & 60 Tons of Salt petre. This I sup 
pose will give you more Satisfaction for the present 
than telling you Congress News as you request. 

You ask me " When you are to hear of our Con 
federation?" I answer, when some Gentlemen (to 
use an Expression of a Tory) shall "feel more bold." 
You know it was formerly a Complaint in our Colony, 
that there was a timid kind of Men who perpetually 
hinderd the progress of those who would fain run 
in the path of Virtue and Glory. I find wherever I 
am that Mankind are alike variously classd. I can 
discern the Magnanimity of the Lyon the Generosity 
of the Horse the Fearfulness of the Deer and the 
Cunning of the Fox> I had almost overlookd the 
Fidelity of the Dog. But I forbear to indulge my 
rambling Pen in this Way lest I should be thought 
chargeable with a Design to degrade the Dignity of 
our nature by comparing Men with Beasts. Let me 
just observe that I have mentiond only the more ex 
cellent Properties that are to [be] found among Quad- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 253 

rupeds. Had I suggested an Idea of the Vanity of 
the Ape the Tameness of the Ox or the stupid Ser 
vility of the Ass I might have been lyable to Censure. 
Are you sollicitous to hear of our Confederation ? 
I will tell you. It is not dead but sleepeth. A Gen 
tleman of this City told me the other day, that he 
could not believe the People without doors would 
follow the Congress passibus czquis if such Measures 
as some called spirited were pursued. It put me in 
mind of a Fable of the high mettled horse and the dull 
horse. My excellent Colleague M r J. A. can repeat 
this fable to you ; and if the Improvement had 
been made of it which our very valueable Friend Coll 
M proposd, you would have seen that Confed 
eration compleated long before this time. I do not 
despair of it since our Enemies themselves are 
hastening it. While I am writing an Express has 
come in from Baltimore in Maryland with the Depo 
sition of Cap Horn of the Snow bird belonging to 
Providence. The Deponent says that on Monday 
the first Instant, he being at Hampton in Virginia 
heard a constant firing of Cannon that he was in- 
formd a Messenger had been sent to enquire where 
the firing was who reported that the ships of War 
were cannonading the Town of Norfolk that about 
the Middle of the Afternoon they saw the smoke 
ascending from Norfolk as they supposd that he 
saild [from] Hampton the Evening of the same day 
and the firing continued till the following afternoon. 
This will prevail more than a long train of Reason 
ing to accomplish a Confederation and other Matters 

254 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

which I know your heart as well as mine is much set 

I forgot to tell you that a Vessel is arrivd in 
Maryland having four thousand yards of Sail Cloth 
an Article which I hope will be much in Demand 
in America. 

Adieu my Friend, 

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

PHILADELPHIA January 10 1776 


I wrote to you the 7 th Instant by M r Anthony by the 
way of Providence, and should not so soon have trou 
bled you with another Letter, but to inform you that 
upon looking over the Journals of Congress I find 
that the Recommendation of the 26 th of October to 
export Produce for a certain Purpose is confind to 
the foreign West Indies and the Resolution to stop 
all Trade till the first of March is subsequent to it. 
This last Resolution prevents your exporting mer 
chantable Fish to Spain, for the purpose mentiond, 
which I am satisfied was not intended, because I am 
very certain the Congress means to encourage the Im 
portation of those necessary Articles under the Direc 
tion of proper Persons, from every part of the World. 
I design to propose to my Colleagues to joyn with me 
in a Motion, to extend the Recommendation so as to 
admit of exporting fish to any Place besides the for 
eign West Indies. 

A few days ago, being one of a Committee to con 
sider General Washington s last Letter to Congress, 

2 See above, page 248. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 255 

I proposd to the Committee and they readily con 
sented to report the Inclosd Resolution 1 which were 
unanimously agreed to in Congress. The Committee 
reported that a certain sum should be paid to M r 
[Lovell] out of the military Chest towards enabling 
him to remove himself & his Family from Boston, but 
the Precedent was objected to and the last Resolve 
was substituted in its stead. The Gentlemen present 
however contributed and put into my hands Eighty- 
two Dollars for the Benefit of M rs [Lovell], which I 
shall remit either in Cash or a good Bill. I hope I 
shall soon be so happy as to hear that he is releasd 
from Bondage. I feel very tenderly for the rest of my 
fellow Citizens who are detaind in that worst of 
Prisons. Methinks there is one Way speedily to re 
lease them all. 



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

PHILAD C Jany 21 1776 


It is a long time since I had the pleasure of receiv 
ing a Letter from you. I flatter myself that you still 
place me among your Friends. I am not conscious of 
having done any thing to forfeit your Regards for me 
and therefore I will attribute your Omission not to a 
designd Neglect, but to a more probable Cause, the 
constant Attention you are called upon to give to the 
publick Affairs of our Colony. It is for this Reason 

1 Of Boston. In the preceding year he had been a member of the second 
and third provincial congresses of Massachusetts. 

256 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

that I make myself easy, though one post arrives and 
one Express after another without a Line from you ; 
assuring myself that your Time is employd to much 
better purpose than writing to or thinking of me. I 
speak Truth when I tell you, that I shall be exceed 
ingly gratified in receiving your Favors, whenever your 
Leisure may admit of your suspending your Atten 
tion to Matters of greater Importance. I will add that 
your Letters will certainly be profitable to me ; for I 
shall gain that Intelligence and Instruction from them 
which will enable me the better to serve the Publick in 
the Station I am placed in here. Give me Leave to 
tell you therefore, that I think it is a part of the Duty 
you owe to our Country to write to me as often as 
you can. 

You have seen the most \ gracious Speech Most 
Gracious! How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant 
pervert the plain Meaning of Words ! It discovers, 
to be sure, the most benevolent & humane Feelings of 
its Author. I have heard that he is his own Minister 
that he follows the Dictates of his own Heart. If so, 
why should we cast the odium of distressing Mankind 
upon his Minions & Flatterers only. Guilt must lie 
at his Door. Divine Vengeance will fall on his head; 
for all-gracious Heaven cannot be an indifferent Spec 
tator of the virtuous Struggles of this people. 

In a former Letter I desired you to acquaint me of 
your Father s health and the Circumstances of the 
Family. I have a very great Regard for them and 
repeat the Request. Adieu, 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 257 

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

PHILADE Jany 12 1776 


Your very acceptable Letter of the 3 d Ins duly 
came to hand. I thank you heartily for the favor 
and shall be much obligd to you if you will write to 
me as often as your Leisure will admit of it. 

It gave me pain to be informd by you, that by 
an unlucky Circumstance you were prevented from 
executing a plan, the Success of which would have 
afforded you Laurels, and probably in its immediate 
Effects turnd the present Crisis in favor of our Coun 
try. We are indebted to you for your laudable 
Endeavor ; Another Tryal will, I hope, crown your 
utmost Wish. 

I have seen the Speech which is falsly & shame 
fully called most gracious. It breathes the most 
malevolent Spirit, wantonly proposes Measures cal 
culated to distress Mankind, and determines my 
Opinion of the Author of it as a Man of a wicked 
Heart. What a pity it is, that Men are become so 
degenerate and servile, as to bestow Epithets which 
can be appropriated to the Supreme Being alone, upon 
Speeches & Actions which will hereafter be read & 
spoken of by every Man who shall profess to have 
a spark of Virtue & Honor, with the utmost Con 
tempt and Detestation. WhaLJiave ^we^ta expect 
f r Q gL_ Bljtai r> , b \ i t__C.hgjn s & Slavery ? I hope we 
shall ""actTtKe par t^which the great Law of Nature 
points out. It is high time that we should assume 

1 Of Biddeford; a member of each provincial congress of Massachusetts. 

VOL. III. 17- 

258 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

that Character, which I am sorry to find the Capital 
of your Colony has publickly and expressly disavowd. 
It is my most fervent prayer to^Al mighty God, that 
hejwoujcLdjrect andjprosper the Councils of America, 
inspire her^Armies with true Courage, shield them in 
every Instance of Danger and lead them on to Victory 

I am y r affectionate Friend, 


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy ; a modified text is in John Adams, Works, vol. 
ix., pp. 371-373, and a draft is in the Lenox Library.] 

PHILAD E Jan^ 15 1776. 

Altho I have at present but little Leisure, I can 
not omit writing you a few Lines by this Express. 

I have seen certain Instructions which were given 
by the Capital of the Colony of New Hampshire to 
its Delegates in their provincial Convention, 1 the 
Spirit of which I am not altogether pleasd with. 
There is one part of them at least, which I think 
discovers a Timidity which is unbecoming a People 
oppressd and insulted as they are, and who at their 
own request have been advisd & authorizd by Con- 
Egress to set up and exercise Government in such 
form as they should judge most conducive to their 
own Happiness. It is easy to understand what they 
mean when they speak of " perfecting a form of Gov 1 
stable and permanent " -They indeed explain them 
selves by saying that they " should prefer the Gov* of 

1 Cf. New Hampshire Provincial Papers, vol. vii., pp. 701, 702. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 259 

Congress, (their provincial Convention) till quieter 
times." The Reason they assign for it, I fear, will 
be considerd as showing a Readiness to condescend 
to the Humours of their Enemies, and their publickly 
expressly & totally disavowing Independency either 
on the Nation or the Man who insolently & per- 
severingly demands the Surrender of their Liberties 
with the Bayonet pointed at their Breasts may be 
construed to argue a Servility & Baseness of Soul 
for which Language doth not afford an Epithet. It 
is by indiscrete Resolutions and Publications that the 
Friends of America have too often given occasion to 
their Enemies to injure her Cause. I hope however 
that the Town of Portsmouth doth not in this In 
stance speak the Sense of that Colony. I wish, if it 
be not too late, that you would write your Senti 
ments of the Subject to our worthy Friend M r L 
who I suppose is now in Portsmouth. If that 
Colony should take a wrong Step, I fear it w<3uld - 
wholly defeat a Design which, I confess I have much 
at heart. 

A motion was made in Congress the other Day to 
the following purpose that whereas we had been 
chargd with aiming at Independency, a Com te should 
be appointed to explain to the People at large the 
Principles & Grounds of our Opposition &c. The 
Motion alarmd me. I thought Congress had already 
been explicit enough, & was apprehensive that we 
might get our selves upon dangerous Ground. Some 
of us prevaild so far as to have the Matter postpond 
but could not prevent the assigning a Day to con 
sider it. I may perhaps have been wrong in opposing 

260 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

this Motion, and I ought the rather to suspect it, be 
cause the Majority of your Colony as well as of the 
Congress were of a different Opinion. 

I had lately some free Conversation with an emi 
nent Gentleman whom you well know, and whom 
your Portia, in one of her Letters, admired if I recol 
lect right, for his expressive Silence, about a Con 
federation A Matter which our much valued Friend 
Col 1 W - is very sollicitous to have compleated. 
We agreed that it must soon be brought on, & that 
if all the Colonies could not come into it, it had better 
be done by those of them that inclind to it. I told 
him that I would endeavor to unite the New England 
Colonies in confederating, if none of the rest would 
joyn in it. He approvd of it, and said, if I succeeded, 
he would cast in his Lot among us. 


Jan* 1 6 th 

As this Express did not sett off yesterday, accord 
ing to my Expectation, I have the Opportunity of 
acquainting you that Congress has just receivd a 
Letter from General Washington inclosing the Copy 
of an Application of our General Assembly to him to 
order payment to four Companies stationd at Brain- 
tree Weymouth & Hingham. The General says 
they were never regimented, & he can not comply 
with the Request of the Assembly without the Direc 
tion of Congress. A Com 6 is appointed to consider 
the Letter, of which I am one. I fear there will be a 
Difficulty, and therefore I shall endeavor to prevent 
a Report on this part of the Letter, unless I shall see 
a prospect of Justice being done to the Colony, till I 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 261 

can receive from you authentick Evidence of those 
Companies having been actually employed by the 
continental officers, as I conceive they have been, in 
the Service of the Continent. I wish you w d inform 
me whether the two Companies stationd at Chelsea 
& Maiden were paid out of the Continents Chest. I 
suppose they were, and if so, I cannot see Reason 
for any Hesitation about the paym 1 of these. I wish 
also to know how many Men our Colony is at the 
Expence of maintaining for the Defence of its Sea 
Coasts. Pray let me have some Intelligence from 
you, of the Colony which we represent. You are 
sensible of the Danger it has frequently been in of 
suffering greatly for Want of regular information. 


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams? vol. ii., pp. 360-363.] 

[February 3, 1776.] 

Wheii the little pamphlet, entitled " Common 
Sense," first made its appearance in favor of that 
so often abjured idea of independence upon Great 
Britain, I was informed that no less than three gentle 
men of respectable abilities were engaged to answer 
it. As yet, I have seen nothing which directly pre 
tends to dispute a single position of the author. The 
oblique essay in Humphrey s paper, and solemn 
" Testimony of the Quakers," however intended, hav 
ing offered nothing to the purpose, I shall take leave 
to examine this important question with all candor 
and attention, and submit the result to my much 
interested country. 

Wells, at vol. ii., pp. 349-352, prints an article entitled " An Earnest Appeal 
to the People," and signed " Sincerus," attributing the authorship to Adams. 

262 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Dependence of one man or state upon another is 
either absolute or limited by some certain terms of 
agreement. The dependence of these Colonies, which 
Great Britain calls constitutional, as declared by acts 
of Parliament, is absolute. If the contrary of this be 
the bugbear so many have been disclaiming against, 
I could wish my countrymen would consider the con 
sequence of so stupid a profession. If a limited de 
pendence is intended, I would be much obliged to any 
one who will show me the Britannico- American Magna 
Charta, wherein the terms of our limited dependence 
are precisely stated. If no such thing can be found, 
and absolute dependence be accounted inadmissible, 
the sound we are squabbling about has certainly no 
determinate meaning. If we say we mean that kind 
of dependence we acknowledged at and before the 
year 1763, I answer, vague and uncertain laws, and 
more especially constitutions, are the very instru 
ments of slavery. The Magna Charta of England 
was very explicit, considering the time it was formed, 
and yet much blood was spilled in disputes concerning 
its meaning. 

Besides the danger of an indefinite dependence 
upon an undetermined power, it might be worth while 
to consider what the characters are on whom we are 
so ready to acknowledge ourselves dependent. The 
votaries of this idol tell us, upon the good people of 
our mother country, whom they represent as the most 
just, humane, and affectionate friends we can have in 
the world. Were this true, it were some encourage 
ment ; but who can pretend ignorance, that these just 
and humane friends are as much under the tyranny 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 263 

of men of a reverse character as we should be, could 
these miscreants gain their ends ? I disclaim any 
more than a mutual dependence on any man or 
number of men on earth ; but an indefinite depen 
dence upon a combination of men who have, in the 
face of the sun, broken through the most solemn cove 
nants, debauched the hereditary, and corrupted the 
elective guardians of the people s rights ; who have, 
in fact, established an absolute tyranny in Great 
Britain and Ireland, and openly declared themselves 
competent to bind the Colonies in all cases whatso 
ever, I say, indefinite dependence on such a combina 
tion of usurping innovators is evidently as dangerous 
to liberty, as fatal to civil and social happiness, as any 
one step that could be proposed even by the destroyer 
of men. The utmost that the honest party in Great 
Britain can do is to warn us to avoid this dependence 
at all hazards. Does not even a Duke of Grafton 
declare the ministerial measures illegal and dan 
gerous ? And shall America, no way connected with 
this Administration, press our submission to such 
measures and reconciliation to the authors of them ? 
Would not such pigeon-hearted wretches equally for 
ward the recall of the Stuart family and establishment 
of Popery throughout Christendom, did they consider 
the party in favor of those loyal measures the strong 
est ? Shame on the men who can court exemption 
from present trouble and expense at the price of their 
own posterity s liberty ! The honest party in Eng 
land cannot wish for the reconciliation proposed. It 
is as unsafe to them as to us, and they thoroughly 
apprehend it. What check have they now upon the 

264 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Crown, and what shadow of control can they pretend, 
when the Crown can command fifteen or twenty 
millions a year which they have nothing to say to ? 
A proper proportion of our commerce is all that can 
benefit any good man in Britain or Ireland ; and God 
forbid we should be so cruel as to furnish bad men 
with the power to enslave both Britain and America. 
Administration has now fairly dissevered the danger 
ous tie. Execrated will he be by the latest posterity 
who again joins the fatal cord ! 

" But," say the puling, pusillanimous cowards, " we 
shall be subject to a long and bloody war, if we de 
clare independence." On the contrary, I affirm it the 
only step that can bring the contest to a speedy and 
happy issue. By declaring independence we put our 
selves on a footing for an equal negotiation. Now 
we are called a pack of villainous rebels, who, like the 
St. Vincent s Indians, can expect nothing more than 
a pardon for our lives, and the sovereign favor respect 
ing freedom, and property to be at the King s will. 
Grant, Almighty God, that I may be numbered with 
the dead before that sable day dawns on North 

All Europe knows the illegal and inhuman treat 
ment we have received from Britons. All Europe 
wishes the haughty Empress of the Main reduced to 
a more humble deportment. After herself has thrust 
her Colonies from her, the maritime powers cannot be 
such idiots as to suffer her to reduce them to a more 
absolute obedience of her dictates than they were 
heretofore obliged to yield. Does not the most 
superficial politician know, that while we profess our- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 265 

selves the subjects of Great Britain, and yet hold 
arms against her, they have a right to treat us as 
rebels, and that, according to the laws of nature 
and nations, no other state has a right to interfere in 
the dispute ? But, on the other hand, on our declara 
tion of independence, the maritime states, at least, will 
find it their interest (which always secures the ques 
tion of inclination) to protect a people who can be so 
advantageous to them. So that those shortsighted poli 
ticians, who conclude that this step will involve us in 
slaughter and devastation, may plainly perceive that 
no measure in our power will so naturally and effectu 
ally work our deliverance. The motion of a finger of 
the Grand Monarch would produce as gentle a temper 
in the omnipotent British minister as appeared in the 
Manilla ransom and Falkland Island affairs. From 
without, certainly, we have everything to hope, nothing 
to fear. From within, some tell us that the Presby 
terians, if freed from the restraining power of Great 
Britain, would overrun the peaceable Quakers in this 
government. For my own part, I despise and detest 
the bickerings of sectaries, and am apprehensive of 
no trouble from that quarter, especially while no 
peculiar honors or emoluments are annexed to either. 
I heartily wish too many of the Quakers did not give 
cause of complaint, by endeavoring to counteract 
the measures of their fellow-citizens for the common 
safety. If they profess themselves only pilgrims here, 
let them walk through the men of this world without 
interfering with their actions on either side. If they 
would not pull down kings, let them not support 
tyrants ; for, whether they understand it or not, there 

266 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

is, and ever has been, an essential difference in the 

Finally, with M. de Vattel, I account a state amoral 
person, having an interest and will of its own ; and I 
think that state a monster whose prime mover has an 
interest and will in direct opposition to its prosperity 
and security. This position has been so clearly 
demonstrated in the pamphlet first mentioned in this 
essay, that I shall only add, if there are any argu 
ments in favor of returning to a state of dependence 
on Great Britain, that is, on the present Adminis 
tration of Great Britain, I could wish they were 
timely offered, that they may be soberly considered 
before the cunning proposals of the Cabinet set all 
the timid, lazy, and irresolute members of the com 
munity into a clamor for peace at any rate. 


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

PHILAD A Feb y 26 1776 

I have been impatiently waiting for a Letter from 
you. I think your last was dated the 2 I st of January 
you cannot do me a greater Pleasure than by writing 
to me often. It is my Intention to make you a Visit 
as soon as the Roads which are now excessively bad 
shall be settled. Perhaps it may be not before April. 
I have tarried through the Winter, because I thought 
my self indispensibly obligd so greatly to deny my 
self. Some of my Friends here tell me that I ought 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 267 

not to think of leaving this City at so critical a Season 
as the Opening of the Spring, but I am happy in the 
Return of M r Adams with M r Gerry and in being 
assured that my Absence from Duty for a short time 
may be dispensd with and though I am at present in 
a good State of Health, the Jaunt may be necessary 
for the Preservation of it. Whenever I shall have 
the pleasure of seeing you, to me it will be inexpres 
sible, and I dare say our Meeting, after so long an 
Absense, will not be disagreeable to you. 

I have nothing new to write to you. In one of 
your Letters you told me that D r C had requested 
that I would sometimes write you on the Politicks of 
this place, and that he might see my Letters of that 
kind. Pay my due Regards to the Doctor when you 
see him & tell him that I can scarsely find time to 
write you even a Love Letter. I will however for 
once give you a political Anecdote. D r Smith Provost 
of the College here, by the Invitation of the Conti 
nental Congress, lately deliverd a funeral Oration on 
the gallant General Montgomery who fell at the 
Walls of Quebec. Certain political Principles were 
thought to be interwoven with every part of the 
Oration which were displeasing to the Auditory. It 
was remarkd that he could not even keep their Atten 
tion. A Circle of Ladies, who had seated themselves 
in a convenient place on purpose to see as well as 
hear the Orator, that they might take every Advan 
tage for the Indulgence of Grief e on so melancholly 
an Occasion, were observd to look much disappointed 
and chagrind. The next day a Motion was made 
in Congress for requesting a Copy for the Press. 

268 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

The Motion was opposd from every Quarter, and 
with so many Reasons that the Gentleman who made 
the Motion desired Leave to withdraw it. Such was 
the fate of that Oration which is celebrated in the 
Newspapers of this City, perhaps by some one of the 
Orators Friends for I will not presume that he was 
privy to the Compliment paid to it as " very animated 
and pat he tick." 


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

PHILAD E March 8 1776 


I now sit down just to acknowledge the Receipt of 
your favor of the 14 th of Feb y , and to mention to you a 
Matter which considerd in it self may appear to be of 
small Moment but in its Effects may be mischiev 
ous. I believe I may safely appeal to all the Letters 
which I have written to my Friends since I have 
been in this City to vindicate my self in affirming 
that I have never mentiond M r C or referrd to his Con 
duct in any of them, excepting one to my worthy 
Colleague M r A when he was at Watertown a few 
Weeks ago, in which I informd him of the side M r 
C had taken in a very interresting Debate ; and 
then I only observd that he had a Right to give his 
opinion whenever he was prepard to form one. Yet 
I have been told that it has been industriously reported 
that M r J A & my self have been secretly writing to 
his Prejudice and that our Letters had operated to his 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 269 

being superceded. So fully perswaded were Gentle 
men of the Truth of this Report, and M r D of N Y 
in particular whom I have heard express a warm 
Affection for M r C, that he seemd scarcely willing to 
credit me when I contradicted it. Whether the re 
port and a Beliefe of it engagd the confidential 
Friends of M r C to open a charitable Subscription in 
Support of his Character, I am not able to say. If it 
was so, they ought in Justice to him to have made 
themselves certain of the Truth of it ; for to offer Aid 
to the Reputation of a Gentleman without a real Ne 
cessity is surely no Advantage to it. A Letter was 
handed about addressed to M r C. The Contents I 
never saw his Friends signd it. Other Gentlemen at 
their request also set their hands to it, perhaps with 
as much Indifference as a Man of Business would give 
a shilling to get rid of the Importunity of a Beggar. 
I hear it is supposd in Watertown to be an Address 
of Thanks from the Congress to M r C for his eminent 
Services, in which his recall from Business here is 
mentiond with Regret but this is most certainly a 
Mistake. The Gentlemen signd it in their private 
Capacity. With Submission they should not have ad- 
dressd it to another Person or publishd it to the 
World after the Manner of other Addressers ; for if 
they intended it to recommend M r C to his own Con 
stituents, was it not hard to oblige him to blow the 
Trumpet himself which they had prepared to sound 
his Praise. But Maj r Osgood is in haste. I must 
therefore drop this Subject for the present and con 
clude with assuring you that I am affectionately yours, 

270 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

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

PHILADELPHIA March io th 1776 


I arrivd in this City from Baltimore last Saturday. 
Having been indisposd there so as to be obligd to 
keep my Chamber ten days, I was unable to travel 
with my Friends, but through the Goodness of God I 
have got rid of my Disorder and am in good Health. 
M rs Ross, at whose House I took Lodging in Balti 
more treated me with great Civility and Kindness and 
was particularly attentive to me in my Sickness, and 
Wadsworth is as clever a young Man, as I ever met 
with. Tell M r Collson, if you see him, he more than 
answers my Expectation even from the good Charac 
ter he gave me of him. 

I hope, my dear, that you and my Family enjoy a 
good Share of Health. It is my constant & ardent 
Prayer that the best of Heavens Blessings may rest 
on you and on them. I lately receivd a Letter from 
my Son, and since I came to this Place, General Mor 
ris of New York tells me he frequently saw him at 
Peeks Kill, and that he behavd well. Nothing 
gives me greater Satisfaction than to hear that he sup 
ports a good Reputation. I hope my Friends do not 
flatter me. 

I am greatly disappointed in not receiving your last 
Letter. It was owing to the Friendship of M r Han 
cock who took it up in this place, and not expecting 
my Return from Baltimore so soon, he forwarded it 
by a careful hand who promisd him to deliver it to 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 271 

me there. I shall receive it in a day or two by the 
Post. Pray write to me by every opportunity and 
believe me to be, 

Your affectionate, 

P. S. 

Just as I was going to close this Letter I receivd 
from Baltimore your kind Letter of the 26 th of Janu 
ary. The Post being now ready to set off I have only 
time to acknowledge the favor. 

March 12 th 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; apart of the letter is in 
New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. xxx., p. 310 ; a 
portion of the text is in W. C. Ford, Writings of George Washington, vol. iii., 
p. 103, from -MS. owned by Mrs. J. S. H. Fogg.] 

PHIL AD April 2 1776 


I am yet indebted to you for the obliging Letter I 
received from you some Months ago. The Subject 
of it was principally concerning a young Gentleman 
whom I personally know, and whose Merit in my 
opinion intitles him to singular Notice from his 
Country. This may seem like Flattery you may 
be assured it is not nor indeed do I know how 
to flatter. Words however are oftentimes, though 
spoken in Sincerity, but Wind. If I had had it in my 
Power substantially to have servd that young Gentle 
man you would have long ago heard from me. The 
Want of that opportunity causd me to lay down my 

1 Of Braintree. A member of each provincial congress of Massachusetts. 

272 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

pen divers times after I had even begun to write to 
you you will not therefore, I hope, construe my 
long Delay as the least Want of that just Regard 
which I owe to you. 

Many Advantages arose to our Colony by the Con 
gress adopting the Army raisd in N Eng d the last 
Spring but among the Misfortunes attending it this 
was one, namely that it being now a Continental Army, 
the Gentlemen of all Colonies had a Right to and 
put in for a Share in behalf of their Friends in filling 
up the various offices. By this means it was thought 
that military knowledge and Experience as well 
as the military Spirit would spread thro the Colonies 
and besides that they would all consider themselves 
the more interrested in the Success of our Army and 
in providing for its support. But then there was the 
less Room for Persons who were well worthy of 
Notice in the Colonies which had first raisd the 
Army. This was the Cause why many of our Friends 
were discontented who did not advert to it. When 
the Quarter Master was appointed, I question whether 
any of your Friends knew, I am sure I did not, that 
the Gentleman I have referrd to sustaind that office ; 
there was therefore no designd Neglect of him here. 
M r M s Character stood so high that no Gentleman 
could hesitate to put him into a place which was 
understood to be vacant & which he was so well 
qualified to fill. The Truth is, we have never had 
that Information from our Friends at Watertown of 
the State of things which we have thought we had 
good reason to expect from them. I do assure you I 
have often been made acquainted with the State of 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 273 

Affairs in our Colony, as well as I could from Letters 
shown to me by Gentlemen of other Colonies. I do 
not mention this without duly considering that the 
Attention of our Friends must have been turnd to a 
great Variety of Business. 

I heartily congratulate you upon the sudden and 
important Change of our Affairs in the Removal of 
the Barbarians from the Capital. uWe owe our grate 
ful Acknowledgments to him who is, as he is fre 
quently stiled in sacred Writ "The Lord of Hosts" 
"The God of Armies" We have not yet been 
informd with Certainty what Course the Enemy have 
steerd.J/ 7 ! hope we shall be upon our Guard against 
future Attempts. Will not Care be taken immedi 
ately to fortify the Harbour & thereby prevent the 
Entrance of Ships of War ever hereafter? But I am 
called to Duty and must break off abruptly. 

Adieu my Friend and be assured I am affection 
ately yours, 

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

PHILAD A April 3 1776. 


I lately rec d a very obliging Letter from you for 
which I now return you my hearty Thanks. I wish 
your Leisure would admit of your frequently favoring 
me with your Thoughts of our publick Affairs. I do 
assure you I shall make use of them, as far as my 
Ability shall extend, to the Advantage of our Coun 
try. If you please, I will employ a few Minutes in 
giving you my own Ideas, grounded on the best In 
telligence I have been able to obtain. 

VOL. III.-I8. 

274 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Notwithstanding Shame and Loss attended the 
Measures of the British Court the last Summer and 
Fall, yet by the latest Accounts rec d from our 
Friends in that Country, it appears that they are 
determind to persevere. They then reckond (in 
December) upon having 20,000 Troops in America 
for the next Campaign. Their Estimate was thus 
6000 in Boston 7000 to go from Ireland 3000 
Highlanders raising under General Frazier and the 
rest to be in Recruits of the 7000 from Ireland, we 
are told, that 3000 were to sail for Virginia and 
North Carolina & were expected to be on that Coast 
in March or the Beginning of April. It is probable 
then that the Ministry have not quitted the Plan which 
they had agreed upon above a twelvemonth ago ; 
which was, to take Possession of New York make 
themselves Masters of Hudsons River & the Lakes, 
thereby securing Canada and the Indians cut off all 
Communication between the Colonies Northward & 
Southward of Hudsons River, and thus to subdue 
the former in hopes by instigating the Negroes to 
make the others an easy Prey. Our Success, a great 
Part of which they had not then heard of, it is to be 
hoped has renderd this Plan impracticable ; yet it is 
probable that the main Body of these Troops is 
designd to carry it into Execution, while the rest 
are to make a Diversion in the Southern Colonies. 
Those Colonies, I think, are sufficiently provided for. 
Our Safety very much depends upon our Vigilance & 
Success in N York & Canada. Our Enemies did 
not neglect Hudsons River the last year. We know 
that one of their Transports arrivd at N York, but 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 275 

Gage, seizd with a Panick orderd that & the other 
Transports destind for that Place, to Boston. I 
have ever thought it to be their favorite Plan ; not 
only because it appeard to me to be dictated by 
sound Policy, but because from good Intelligence 
which I receivd from England the last Winter, 
they revivd it after it had been broken in upon by 
Gage, and sent Tryon to New York to remove every 
obstacle in the Way of landing the Troops there, and 
to cooperate with Carleton in the Execution of it. 
The Kings Troops have now abandond Boston, 
on which I sincerely congratulate you. We have not 
yet heard what Course they have steerd. I judge for 
Hallifax. They may return if they hear that you are 
off your Guard. Or probably they may go up S* 
Lawrence River as early as the Season will admit of 
it. Does it not behove N England to secure her self 
from future Invasions, while the Attention of Con 
gress is turnd to N York & Canada. We seem to 
have the Game in our own hands ; if we do not 
play it well, Misfortune will be the Effect of our 
Negligence and Folly. The British Court sollic- 
ited the Assistance of Russia ; but we are informd 
that they faild of it through the Interposition of 
France by the Means of Sweden. The ostensible 
Reason on the Part of Russia was, that there was no 
Cartel settled between Great Britain and America ; 
the Want of which will make every Power reluctant 
in lending their Troops. France is attentive to this 
Struggle and wishes for a Separation of the two 
Countries. I am in no Doubt that she would with 
Chearfulness openly lend her Aid to promote it, if 

276 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

America would declare herself free and independent ; 
for I think it is easy to see what great though differ 
ent Effects it would have in both those Nations. 
Britain would no longer have it in her Power to 

Is not America already independent? Why then 
not declare it? Upon whom was she ever supposd 
to be dependent, but upon that Nation whose most 
barbarous Usage of her, & that in multiplied Instan 
ces and for a long time has renderd it absurd ever 
to put Confidence in it, & with which she is at this 
time in open War. Can Nations at War be said to be 
dependent either upon the other ? I ask then again, 
why not declare for Independence? Because say 
some, it will forever shut the Door of Reconciliation. 
Upon what Terms will Britain be reconciled with 
America? If we may take the confiscating Act of 
ParlianV or the Kings last Proclamation for our 
Rule to judge by, she will be reconciled upon our 
abjectly submitting to Tyranny, and asking and 
receiving Pardon for resisting it. Will this redound 
to the Honor or the Safety of America? Surely 
no. By such a Reconciliation she would not only 
in the most shameful Manner acknowledge the 
Tyranny, but most wickedly, as far as would be in 
her Power, prevent her Posterity from ever hereafter 
resisting it. 

But the Express now waits for this Letter. I must 
therefore break off. I will write to you again by an 
other opportunity. Pay my Respects to the Speaker 
pro Temp, and tell him that I have never receivd a 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 277 

Line from him since I have been in this City. My 
Respects are also due to M r S P S, 1 from whom I 
yesterday receivd a kind Letter, which I shall duly 
acknowledge to him when I have Leisure to write. 
Give me Leave to assure you that I am with the 
most friendly Regards for your Lady & Family very 


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

PHILAD E April 15 1776 


Your obliging Letter of the I st Inst 1 came duly to 
my hand. So early as the last Winter was a twelve 
month past I was informd by a worthy and very intel 
ligent Friend in London, that the Subduction of the 
New England Colonies was the first Object of our 
Enemies. This was to be effected, in a Manner coin 
cident with your Ideas, by establishing themselves on 
Hudsons River. They were thereby at once to se 
cure Canada and the Indians, give Support and Pro 
tection to the numerous Tories in New York, supply 
their Army at Boston with Provisions from that 
Colony and intirely prevent the southern from afford 
ing any Aid to those invaded Colonies. This Plan 
was in my opinion undoubtedly dictated by sound 
Policy ; and it would have been put in Execution the 
last Summer, had not the necessities to which Gage 
was reducd & his Apprehensions from our having a 

1 Samuel P. Savage. 

278 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

formidable Army before Boston, obligd him to break 
in upon it. They did not neglect Hudsons River the 
last year ; for we know that two of their Transports 
actually arrivd at New York ; But these were im 
mediately orderd by Gage, together with the rest of 
the Fleet to Boston. My Friend in London whose 
Intelligence I have never yet found to fail, informd 
me the last Fall, that our Enemies did not quit this 
Plan. Upon hearing that it had been thus inter 
rupted, they revivd it, and sent Tryon to New York 
to keep the People there in good Humour and coop 
erate with Carleton in the Execution of it. They 
reckond the last Winter upon having 20,000 Troops 
in America for the ensuing Campaign, of which 3000 
were to go to Virginia or one of the Carolinas. 
These last I suppose are designd for a Diversion, 
while the main Body of all the Troops they will be 
able to send, will be employd in executing their 
original & favorite Plan. Thus, my Friend, I am yet 
happy in concurring with you in Sentiments ; and I 
shall persevere in using the small Influence I have 
here, agreable to your repeated Advice, " to prevent 
the Enemies establishing themselves & making 
Advances on Hudson & S l Lawrence Rivers." 

The Mercenary Troops have at length abandond 
Boston on which, I perceive, you will not allow me 
yet to give you Joy. May I not however advise, 
that the favorable opportunity which this important 
Event, added to the Season of the year has offerd, be 
improvd in fortifying the Harbour so as to render it 
impracticable for the Enemies Ships to enter it here 
after. I hope this fortunate Change of Affairs has 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 279 

not put you off your Guard. Should you not im 
mediately prepare against future Invasions, which 
may be made upon you before you are aware ? Your 
Sea Coasts must still be defended. We shall soon 
realize the Destination of the Enemies Forces. 
Those under the Command of General Howe will 
probably remain at Hallifax till the Season of the 
year will admit of their going up S* Lawrence River. 
The Troops coming from Ireland may be destind to 
New York & will expect to get Possession there. 
At least they will attempt it. A failure may lead 
their Views back to Boston ; for I am in no Appre 
hensions that they will think of subduing the Southern 
Colonies till they shall have first subdued those of 
the North. The Southern Colonies, I think, are 
sufficiently provided for, to enable them to repell any 
Force that may come against them the ensuing 
Summer. Our Safety therefore much depends upon 
the Care which New England shall take for her own 
Preservation and our Vigilance and Success in New 
York and Canada. There are Forces enough already 
orderd to answer all our Purposes. Our business is, 
to imitate our Enemies in Zeal Application & Perse 
verance in carrying our own Plans into Execution. 

I am perfectly satisfied with the Reasons you offer 
to show the Necessity of a publick & explicit Declara 
tion of Independency. I cannot conceive what good 
Reason can be assignd against it. Will it widen the 
Breach ? This would be a strange Question after we 
have raised Armies and fought Battles with the British 
Troops, set up an American Navy, permitted the In 
habitants of these Colonies to fit out armed Vessels 

280 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

to cruize on all Ships & c belonging to any of the In 
habitants of Great Britain declaring them the Enemies 
of the united Colonies, and torn into Shivers their 
Acts of Trade, by allowing Commerce subject to Reg 
ulations to be made by our selves with the People of 
all Countries but such as are Subjects of the British 
King. It cannot surely after all this be imagind that 
we consider our selves or mean to be considerd by 
others in any State but that of Independence. But 
moderate Whigs are disgusted with our mentioning 
the Word ! Sensible Tories are better Politicians. 
They know, that no foreign Power can consistently 
yield Comfort to Rebels, or enter into any kind of 
Treaty with these Colonies till they declare them 
selves free and independent. They are in hopes that 
by our protracting this decisive Step we shall grow 
weary of War ; and that for want of foreign Connec 
tions and Assistance we shall be driven to the Neces 
sity of acknowledging the Tyrant and submitting to 
the Tyranny. These are the Hopes and Expecta 
tions of Tories, while moderate Gentlemen are 
flattering themselves with the Prospect of Recon 
ciliation when the Commissioners that are talked of 
shall arrive. A mere Amusement indeed ! When 
are these Commissioners to arrive ? Or what Terms 
of Reconciliation are we to expect from them that 
will be acceptable to the People of America? Will 
the King of Great Britain empower his Commis 
sioners even to promise the Repeal of all or any of 
their obnoxious and oppressive Acts ? Can he do it ? 
Or if he could, has he ever yet discoverd a Disposi 
tion which shew the least Degree of that princely 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 281 

Virtue, Clemency ? I scruple not to affirm it as my 
Opinion that his heart is more obdurate, and his Dis 
position towards the People of America is more un 
relenting and malignant than was that of Pharaoh 
towards the Israelites in Egypt. But let us not 
be impatient. It requires Time to convince the 
doubting and inspire the timid. Many great 
Events have taken place " since the stopping the 
Courts in Berkshire" Events at that time unfore 
seen. Whether we shall ever see the Commis 
sioners is Matter of Uncertainty. I do not, I never 
did expect them. If they do come the Budget 
must open and it will be soon known to all whether 
Reconciliation is practicable or not. If they do not 
come speedily, the hopes which some Men entertain 
of reconciliation must vanish. I am my dear Sir 
very respectfully, 


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

PHILAD A April 30 1776 


I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of 
the 1 8th Instant by the Post. The Ideas of Inde 
pendence spread far and wide among the Colonies. 
Many of the leading Men see the absurdity of sup 
posing that Allegiance is due to a Sovereign who has 
already thrown us out of his Protection. South 
Carolina has lately assumd a new Government. The 
Convention of North Carolina have unanimously 

282 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

agreed to do the same & appointed a Committee to 
prepare & lay before them a proper Form. They 
have also revokd certain Instructions which tied the 
Hands of their Delegates here. Virginia whose 
Convention is to meet on the third of next month 
will follow the lead. The Body of the People of 
Maryland are firm. Some of the principal Members 
of their Convention, I am inclind to believe, are timid 
or lukewarm but an occurrence has lately fallen out 
in that Colony which will probably give an agreable 
Turn to their affairs. Of this I will inform you at a 
future time when I may be more particularly instructed 
concerning it. The lower Counties on Delaware are 
a small People but well affected to the Common 
Cause. In this populous and wealthy Colony polit 
ical Parties run high. The News papers are full of 
the Matter but I think I may assure you that Com 
mon Sense, prevails among the people a Law has 
lately passed in the Assembly here for increasing the 
Number of Representatives and tomorrow they are to 
come to a Choice in this City & diverse of the Coun 
ties by this Means it is said the representation of 
the Colony will be more equal. I am told that a 
very popular Gentleman who is a Candidate for one 
of the back Counties has been in danger of losing his 
Election because it was reported among the Electors 
that he had declared his Mind in this City against 
Independence. I know the political Creed of that 
Gentleman. It is, so far as relates to a Right of the 
British Parliament to make Laws binding the Colo 
nies in any Case whatever, exactly correspondent 
with your own. I mention this Anecdote to give 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 283 

you an Idea of the Jealousy of the People & their 
Attention to this Point. The Jerseys are agitating 
the great Question. It is with them rather a Matter 
of Prudence whether to determine till some others 
have done it before them. A Gentleman of that 
Colony tells me that at least one half of them have 
N Eng d Blood running in their Veins be this as it 

o o 

may their Sentiments & Manners are I believe similar 
to those of N England. I forbear to say any thing 
of New! York, for I confess I am not able to form 
any opinion of them. I lately rec d a Letter from a 
Friend in that Colony informing me that they would 
soon come to a Question of the Expediency of taking 
up Government ; but to me it is uncertain what they 
will do. I think they are at least as unenlightned 
in the Nature & Importance of our political Disputes 
as any one of the united Colonies. I have not men- 
tiond our little Sister Georgia ; but I believe she is as 
warmly engagd in the Cause as any of us, & will do 
as much as can be reasonably expected of her. I was 
very sollicitous the last Fall to have Governments set 
up by the people in every Colony. It appears to me 
to be necessary for many reasons. When this is done, 
and I am inclind to think it will be soon, the Colonies 
will feel their Independence the Way will be pre 
pared for a Confederation, and one Government may 
be formd with the Consent of the whole a distinct 
State composd of all the Colonies with a common 
Legislature for great & General Purposes. This I 
was in hopes would have been the Work of the last 
Winter. I am disappointed but I bear it tollerably 
well. I am disposd to believe that every thing is 

284 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

orderd for the best, and if I do not find my self 
chargeable with Neglect I am not greatly chagrind 
when things do not go on exactly according to my 
mind. Indeed I have the Happiness of believing that 
what I most earnestly wish for will in due time be 
effected. We cannot make Events. Our Business 
is wisely to improve them. There has been much to 
do to confirm doubting Friends & fortify the Timid. 
It requires time to bring honest Men to think & 
determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind 
are governed more by their feelings than by reason. 
Events which excite those feelings will produce 
wonderful Effects. The Boston Port bill suddenly 
wrought a Union of the Colonies which could not be 
brot about by the Industry of years in reasoning on 
the necessity of it for the Common Safety. Since 
the memorable 19 th of April one Event has brot 
another on, till Boston sees her Deliverance from 
those more than savage Troops upon which the exe 
crable Tyrant so much relyed for the Completion of 
his horrid Conspiracys and America has furnishd her 
self with more than seventy Battalions for her 
Defence. The burning of Norfolk & the Hostilities 
committed in North Carolina have kindled the resent 
ment of our Southern Brethren who once thought 
their Eastern Friends hot headed & rash ; now indeed 
the Tone is alterd & it is said that the Coolness & 
Moderation of the one is necessary to allay the heat 
of the other. There is a reason that w d induce one 
even to wish for the speedy arrival of the British 
Troops that are expected at the Southward. I think 
our friends are well prepared for them, & one Battle 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 285 

would do more towards a Declaration of Indepen 
dency than a long chain of conclusive Arguments in 
a provincial Convention or the Continental Congress. 
I am very affectionately yours, 


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



While I was sitting down to write you a friendly 
Letter I had the pleasure of receiving your Favor of 
the 22 Instant by the Post. My Intention was to 
congratulate you and your Brethren the Selectmen, 
upon the precipitate Flight of the British Army & its 
Adherents from the Town of Boston, and to urge on 
you the Necessity of fortifying the Harbour so as 
that the Enemies Ships might never approach it here 
after. Our grateful Acknowledgments are due to the 
Supreme Being who has not been regardless of the 
multiplied Oppressions which the Inhabitants of that 
City have sufferd under the Hand of an execrable 
Tyrant. Their Magnanimity & Perseverance during 
the severe Conflict has afforded a great Example to 
the World, and will be recorded by the impartial His 
torian to their immortal Honor. They are now 
restored to their Habitations & Privileges ; and as 
they are purgd of those Wretches a Part of whose 
Policy has been to corrupt the Morals of the People, 
I am perswaded they will improve the happy oppor 
tunity of reestablishing ancient Principles and Purity 
of Manners I mention this in the first place because 

286 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

I fully agree in Opinion with a very celebrated 
Author, that " Freedom or Slavery will prevail in a 
(City or) Country according as the Disposition & 
Manners of the People render them fit for the one or 
the other"; and I have long been convincd that our 
Enemies have made it an Object, to eradicate from 
the Minds of the People in general a Sense of true 
Religion & Virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily 
to carry their Point of enslaving them. Indeed my 
Friend, this is a Subject so important in my Mind, 
that I know not how to leave it. Revelation assures 
us that " Righteousness exalteth a Nation " Com 
munities are dealt with in this World by the wise and 
just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes 
them according to their general Character. The dim 
inution of publick Virtue is usually attended with that 
of publick Happiness, and the publick Liberty will 
not long survive the total Extinction of Morals. 
" The Roman Empire, says the Historian, must have 
sunk, though the Goths had not invaded it. Why ? 
Because the Roman Virtue was sunk." Could I be 
assured that America would remain virtuous, I would 
venture to defy the utmost Efforts of Enemies to 
subjugate her. You will allow me to remind you, 
that the Morals of that City which has born so great 
a Share in the American Contest, depend much upon 

/ the Vigilance of the respectable Body of Magistrates 

v of which you are a Member. 

I am greatly concernd at the present defenceless 
State of Boston, & indeed of the whole Eastern Dis 
trict which comprehends New England. We have 
aoplied for and obtaind a Committee of Congress to 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 287 

consider the State of that District. In the mean 
time I hope the General Assembly and the Town are 
exerting- themselves for the Security of the Harbour. 
I could indeed earnestly wish that the Inhabitants of 
Boston, who have so long born the Heat & Burden 
of the Day might now have some Respite. But this 
is uncertain. Their generous Exertions in the Amer 
ican Cause, have renderd them particularly obnoxious 
to the Vengeance of the British Tyrant. It is there 
fore incumbent on them to be on their Guard, and to 
use the utmost Activity in putting themselves in a 
Posture of Defence. 

I trust their Spirits are not depressd by the Injuries 
they have sustaind. The large Experience they have 
had of military Tyranny should rather heighten their 
Ideas of the Blessings of civil Liberty and a free 
Government. While their own Troops are posted 
among them for their Protection, they surely will not 
lose the Feelings and resign the Honor of Citizens to 
the military ; but remember always that standing 
Armies are formidable Bodies in civil Society, & the 
Suffering them to exist at any time is from Necessity, 
& ought never to be of Choice. 

It is with heartfelt Pleasure that I recollect the 
Meetings I have had with my much esteemd Fellow 
Citizens in Faneuil Hall, and I am animated with 
the Prospect of seeing them again in that Place 
which has long been sacred to Freedom. There I 
have seen the Cause of Liberty & of Mankind 
warmly espousd & ably vindicated ; and that, at Times 
when to speak with Freedom had become so dan 
gerous, that other Citizens possessd of less Ardour, 

288 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

would have thought themselves excusable in not 
speaking at all. 

Be so kind as to pay my due Respects to my 
Friends & be assured that I am with the most 
friendly Regards for M rs - Scollay & Family, 

Very affectionately, 


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

PHILADA May 12 1776 


I had the pleasure of receiving your very friendly 
Letter of the 2 d Instant by a M r Parks. I can readily 
excuse your not writing to me so often as I could 
wish to receive your Letters, when I consider how 
much you are engagd in the publick Affairs ; and 
so you must be while your Life is spared to your 
Country. I am exceedingly concernd to find by your 
Letter as well as those of my other Friends that 
so little attention has been given to a Matter of 
such weighty Importance as the fortifying the Har 
bour of Boston. To what can this be attributed ? 
Is it not wise to prevent the Enemies making Use 
of every Avenue especially those which lead into 
the Capital of our Country. I hope no little party 
Animosities even exist much less prevail in our 
Councils to obstruct so necessary a Measure. Such 
Contentions you well remember that Fiend Hutchin- 
son & his Confederates made it their constant Study 
to stir up between the friends of the Colony in the 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 289 

different parts of it, in order to prevent their joynt 
Exertions for the Common Good. Let us with great 
Care avoid such Snares as our Enemies have hereto 
fore laid for our ruin, and which we have found by 
former Experience have provd too successfull to their 
wicked purposes. This will, I think be an important 
Summer to America ; I confide therefore in the Wis 
dom of our Colony, and that they will lay aside the 
Consideration of smaller Matters for the present, and 
bend their whole Attention to the necessary Means 
for the common Safety. I hope the late Situation of 
Boston is by this time very much alterd for the better ; 
if not, it must needs be a strong Inducement to the 
Enemy to reenter it, and whether we ought not by all 
means in our Power to prevent it, I will leave to you 
and others to judge. 

Yesterday the Congress resolvd into a Committee 
of the whole to take under Consideration the report 
of a former Committee appointed to consider the 
State of the Eastern District which comprehends New 
Eng d . It was then agreed that the Troops in Boston 
be augmented [to] Six Thousand. The Question lies 
before the Congress and will be considerd tomorrow. 
I am inclind to think the Vote will obtain. [But] 
what will avail the ordering additional Regiments 
if Men will not inlist ? Do our Countrymen want 
animation at a time when [all] is at Stake ! Your 
Presses have been too long silent. What are your 
Committees of Correspondence about ? I hear Noth 
ing of circular Letters of joynt Committees, &c. 
Such Methods have in times past raised [the] Spirits 
of the people drawn off their Attention from pick- 


2 9 o THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

ing up Pins, & directed their Views to great objects 
But, not having had timely Notice of the Return of 
this Express, I must conclude (with my earnest prayers 
for the recovery of your Health,) very affectionately, 



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

PHILAD A May 15 1776 


It was not till the Beginning of this Month that I 
had the Honor of receiving your Favor of the 22 d of 
March, respecting a Proposition of Coll Baillie for 
opening a Road from Connecticutt River to Montreal. 
The President, soon after, laid before Congress your 
Letter of the 5 th , a Paragraph of which referrs to the 
same Subject. The Resolution of Congress thereon 
has, I presume, before this Time been transmitted to 
you by him ; by which it appears that they have fully 
concurrd with you in Opinion of the Utility of the 
Measure proposd. 

I beg Leave by this Opportunity to acquaint your 
Excellency, that the Letters I have receivd from 
some Gentlemen of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay 
express great Concern at the present defenceless state 
of the Town of Boston, while they are not without 
Apprehension of another Visit from the Enemy. 
They thought themselves extremely happy in your 
Presense there, and regretted very much the Neces 
sity of your Departure, to which Nothing reconciles 
them, but their earnest Desire that the general 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 291 

Service may be promoted. Congress have resolvd 
that the five Battalions in that Colony be filled up, 
and new ones raisd for the Defence of the Eastern 
District. As two General Officers will be sent 
thither, it would, I am perswaded, give great Satis 
faction to the People, if Generals Gates and Mifflin 
might be fixed upon. This however, I chearfully 
submit to your Excellencys Judgment and Deter 
mination ; being well assurd, that the Safety of that 
distressd City will have as full a Share of your Atten 
tion as shall be consistent with the good of the whole. 
I have the Honor to be with very great Esteem and 

Your Excellencys most humb e serv , 

[MS., Lenox Library.] 

PHILAD E June 10 1776 


Your Favor of the 8 th Instant was brought to me 
by Express. I am exceedingly concernd that a Gen 
eral Officer is not yet fixed upon to take the Com 
mand of the Troops in Boston ever since the Enemy 
abandond that place I have been apprehensive that 
a renewed attack would probably be made on some 
part of Massachusetts Bay. Your Reasons clearly 
show that it will be the Interest of the Enemy to 
make a grand push there if they are not properly pro 
vided for a Defence. Congress judgd it necessary 
that a Major & Brig r Gen 1 should be sent to Boston 
or they would not have orderd it three Weeks ago. 
The Wish of the Colony with regard to particular 

292 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Gentlemen has been repeatedly urgd, and I thought 
that an appointment which has been made since you 
left us would have given a favorable Issue to our re 
quest. The Necessity of your taking the Command 
in the Eastern District immediately, has been in my 
mind most pressing since I have been informd by 
your Letter that your Intelligence in respect to the 
Attack on the Massachusetts is direct & positive. 

It will be a great Disappointment to me if General 
Mifflin does not go with you to Boston. I believe 
that to prevent the apparent necessity for this, Gen 1 
Whitcomb was thrown into View. He is indeed in 
many respects a good Man, but to the other I think 
the preference must be given. 

The Hint you gave me when I last saw you re 
specting the Enemies offering to treat, I have revolvd 
in my Mind. It is my opinion that no such offers 
will be made but with a Design to take Advantage 
by the Delay they may occasion. We know how 
easily our people, too many of them, are still amusd 
with vain hopes of reconciliation. Such Ideas will, 
no doubt, be thrown out to them, to embarrass the 
Army as others have been ; but I conceive that the 
General in whose Wisdom & Valor I confide, will, 
without Hesitation employ all his Force to annoy & 
conquer immediately upon the Enemies Approach. 
We want our most stable Councellors here. To send 
Gentlemen of indecisive Judgments to assist as field 
Deputies would answer a very ill purpose. The sole 
Design of the Enemy is to subjugate America. I 
have therefore no Conception that any terms can be 
offerd but such as must be manifestly affrontive. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 293 

Should those of a different Complexion be proposd, 
under the hand of their Commanding officer, the Gen 
eral will have the opp ty of giving them in to Congress 
in the space of a Day. This I imagine he will think 
it prudent to do at the same time, I am very sure, 
he will give no Advantage to the Enemy, and that 
he will conduct our affairs in so critical a Moment in 
a Manner worthy of himself. 

I am affectionately yours, 

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

PHILAD A June 1776 


When I was at Watertown in August last the Gen 
eral Assembly being then sitting, a Crowd of Business 
prevented our coming to an Agreement respecting an 
Allowance adequate to your Services in the Secre 
taries Office, or even conversing upon the Subject. 
I have been very easy about it, because I have never 
had the least Doubt of your Integrity and Honor. 
Publick Affairs have demanded so much of my Atten 
tion here that I have scarcely had Time to spend a 
Thought on my domestick Concerns. But I am 

apprehensive that M rs A will soon be in Want of 

Money for her Support, if that is not already her 
Case. I shall therefore be much obligd to you if 
you will let her have such a part of the Fees you 
may have receivd as you can conveniently spare. 
Her Receipt shall be acknowledgd by me. And as I 

1 Cf. , page 109. His name appears as " Morton " in Acts and Resolves of the 
Province of Massachusetts, vol. v. He was deputy secretary under Adams. 

294 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

foresee that I shall not have the opportunity of visit 
ing my Friends in New England so soon as I have 
intended, you will further oblige me by sending me 
an Account of the Monies paid into the office to 
gether with your own opinion of what may be a 
reasonable and generous Allowance for your Service. 
I am with great Esteem & Affection, 

Your Friend & hbl Serv 

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

PHILADE July 9 1776 


I should sooner have acknowledgd the Receipt of 
your Letters dated at Northampton & Springfield the 
1 7 th and 22 d of May, had I not expected that before 
this Time I should have had the pleasure of seeing 
and conversing with you but Business here has been 
so pressing and important, that I have not thought it 
consistent with my Duty as yet to absent myself. 

Our repeated Misfortunes in Canada have greatly 
chagrind every Man who wishes well to America. I 
dare not at present communicate to you what I take to 
have been the real Causes of these Disasters. Some 
of them indeed must be obvious to any Man who has 
been attentive to that Department. Our secret Ene 
mies have found Means to sow the Seeds of Discord 
& Faction there and Heaven has sufferd the small 
Pox to prevail among our Troops. It is our Duty to 
try all Means to restore our Affairs to a good Footing 
but I despair of that being effected till next Winter. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 295 

To be acting merely on the defensive at the Time 
when we should have been in full possession of that 
Country is mortifying indeed. The Subject is disgust 
ing to me. I will dismiss it. 

How[e] is arrivd, as you have heard, with his 
Troops at New York. The People in this Colony 
& the Jerseys are in Motion and if the New England 
Militia joyn our Army with their usual Alertness & 
Spirit, I have no doubt but the Enemy will meet with 
a warm Reception. A few days may probably bring 
on an Event which will give a favorable Turn to our 

The Congress has at length declared the Colonies h 
free and independent States. Upon this I congratu 
late you, for I know your heart has long been set 
upon it. Much I am affraid has been lost by delaying 
to take this decisive Step. It is my opinion that 
if it had been done Nine months ago we might have 
been justified in the Sight of God and Man, three 
Months ago. 1 If we had done it then, in my opinion 
Canada would [by] this time have been one of the 
united Colonies ; but " Much is to be endurd for the 
hardness of Mens hearts." We shall now see the Way 
clear to form a Confederation, contract Alliances & 
send Embassadors to foreign Powers & do other Acts 
becoming the Character we have assumd. Adieu my 
Friend. Write to me soon. 

1 The first thirteen words of this sentence are crossed out in the draft. 

296 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


[MS., American Philosophical Society; a draft is in the Samuel Adams 
Papers, Lenox Library ; and a text is in R. H. Lee, Life of R. H. Lee, vol. i., 
pp. 182-184.] 

PHILADA July 15 1776 


I must acknowledge that when you left Congress I 
gave you Reason to expect a Letter from me before 
this Time. You will not, I am very certain, attribute 
my omission to the Want of a most cordial Esteem for 
you. The Truth is, I hardly knew how to write with 
out saying something of our Canadian Affairs ; and 
this is a Subject so thoroughly mortifying to me, that 
I could wish totally to forget all that has past in that 
Country. Let me however just mention to you that 
Schuyler & Gates are to command the Troops to be 
employ d there ; the former, while they are without, 
and the latter, while they are within the Bounds of 
Canada. Admitting both these Generals to have the 
military Accomplishments of Marlborough and Eu 
gene, I cannot conceive that such a Disposition of 
them can be attended with any happy Effects, unless 
Harmony subsists between them. Alass! I fear this 
is not the Case Already Disputes have arisen, which 
they have referrd to Congress ! And though they ap 
pear to treat each other with a Politeness becoming 
their Rank, in my Mind, Altercations between Com 
manders who have Pretensions so nearly equal, I mean 
in Point of Command, forebode a Repetition of 
Misfortunes I sincerely wish my Apprehensions may 
prove to be groundless. 

General Howe, as you have heard, is arrivd at New 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 297 

York. He has brought with him from 8 to 10,000 
Troops. Lord Howe arrivd the last Week, and the 
whole Fleet is hourly expected. The Enemy landed 
on Staten Island. Nothing of Importance has been 
done, saving that last Friday at about three in the 
Afternoon a 40 and a 20 Gun Ship with several Ten 
ders, taking the Advantage of a fair and fresh Gale 
and flowing Tide, passd by our Forts as far as the 
Encampment at Kings bridge. General Mifflin who 
commands there Jn a Letter of the 5 Instant informd 
us he had twenty one Cannon planted and hoped in a 
Week to be formidable. Reinforcements are arrivd 
from N England, and our Army are in high Spirits. 
I am exceedingly pleasd with the calm & determind 
Spirit, which our Commander in Chiefe has discoverd 
in all his Letters to Congress. May Heaven guide 
and prosper Him ! The Militia of the Jerseys Penn 
sylvania & Maryland are all in Motion General 
Mercer commands the flying Camp in the Jerseys. 
We have just now appointed a Committee to bring in 
a Plan for Reinforcement to compleat the Number of 
20,000 Men to be posted in that Colony. 

Our Declaration of Independency has given Vigor 
to the Spirits of the People. Had this decisive Meas 
ure been taken Nine Months ago, it is my opinion 
that Canada would at this time have been in our hands. 
But what does it avail to find fault with what is past. 
Let us do better for the future. We were more for 
tunate than expected in having 12 of the 13 Colonies 
in favor of the all important Question. The Dele 
gates of N York were not impowered to give their 
Voice on either Side. Their Convention has since 

298 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

acceeded to the Declaration & publishd it even before 
they receivd it from Congress. So mighty a Change 
in so short a Time! N Jersey has finishd their Form 
of Government, a Copy of which I inclose. They 
have sent us five new Delegates, among whom are 
D r Witherspoon & Judge Stockden. 1 All of them 
appear to be attachd to the American Cause. A Con 
vention is now meeting in this City to form a Consti 
tution for this Colony. They are empowerd by their 
Constituents to appoint a new Committee of Safety to 
act for the present & to chuse new Delegates for 
Congress. I am told there will be a Change of Men, 
and if so, I hope for the better. 

A Plan for Confederation has been brot into 
Congress w ch I hope will be speedily digested and 
made ready to be laid before the several States 
for their approbation. A Committee has 
now under Consideration the Business of foreign 

It is high time for us to have Ambassadors in for 
eign Courts. I fear we have already sufferd too much 
by Delay. You know upon whom our Thoughts were 
turnd when you was with us. 

I am greatly obligd to you for favoring me with the 
Form of Govern 1 agreed upon by your Countrymen. 
I have not yet had time to peruse it, but dare say it 
will be a Feast to our little Circle. The Device on 
your great Seal pleases me much. 

Pray hasten your Journey hither. Your Country 
most pressingly sollicits, or will you allow me to say, 
demands your Assistance here. I have written in 

1 Stockton. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 299 

great haste. Adieu to my dear Sir, and be assured 
that I am very Affectionately, 

Your Friend, 

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

PHILAD July 16 76 


There is no Necessity of my troubling you with a 
long Epistle at present, for my very worthy Friend 
and Colleague 1 who kindly takes the Charge of this 
will fully inform you of the State of Affairs here. He 
will tell you some things which I have often wishd 
to communicate to you, but have not thought it 
prudent to commit to writing. 

Our Declaration of Independence has already been 
attended with good Effects. It is fortunate beyond 
our Expectation to have the Voice of every Colony 
in favor of so important a Question. 

I inclose you the Form of a Constitution which the 
Convention of Virginia have agreed upon for that 
Colony. It came to my hand yesterday by the Post, 
and I spare it to you, although I have not had time 
to peruse it. I suppose there are other Copies in 
Town. Adieu. 

1 John Adams. 

300 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

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

PHILAD A July 17 1776 


By this Express the General Assembly will receive 
the most earnest Recommendation of Congress to 
raise & send with all possible Speed the 2000 Men 
requested of them for New York above a Month ago. 
There never was a more pressing Necessity for their 
Exertions than at present. Our Army in N. Y. con 
sists of not more than half the number of those which 
we have reason to expect will in a very short Time 
be ready to attack them and to this let me add that 
when we consider how many disaffected Men there 
are in that Colony, it is but little better than an Ene 
mies Country. I am sensible this is a busy Season 
of the year, but I beg of you to prevail on the People 
to lay aside every private Concern and devote them 
selves to the Service of their Country. If we can 
gain the Advantage of the Enemy this Campaign we 
may promise ourselves Success against every Effort 
they will be able to make hereafter. But I need not 
multiply words. I am sure your Mind is fully im- 
pressd with the Importance of this Measure. Adieu 
my Friend, the Express waits 

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

[PHILADELPHIA, July 17, 1776] 


You were informd by the last Post that Congress 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 301 

had declared the thirteen united Colonies free & 
independent States. It must be allowd by the im 
partial World that this Declaration has not been 
made rashly. The inclosd Catalogue of Crimes of 
the deepest Dye, which have been repeatedly perpe 
trated by the King will justify us in the Eyes of 
honest & good Men. By multiplied Acts of Oppres 
sion & Tyranny he has long since forfeited his Right 
to govern. The Patience of the Colonies in endur 
ing the most provoking Injuries so often repeated 
will be Matter of Astonishm . Too Much I fear has 
been lost by Delay, but an accession of several Col 
onies has been gaind by it. The Delegates of every 
Colony were present & concurrd in this important 
Act ; except those of N. Y. who were not authorizd 
to give their Voice on the Question, but they have 
since publickly said that a new Convention was soon 
to meet in that Colony & they had not the least 
Doubt of their acceeding to it. Our Path is now 
open to form a plan of Confederation & propose 
Alliances with foreign States. I hope our Affairs 
will now wear a more agreable Aspect than they 
have of late. 

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

PHILADA July 20 1776 


I have the Pleasure of informing you, that the 
Continental Troops under the Command of Major 
Gen 1 Lee, have tryumphd over the British Forces 

3 02 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

in South Carolina, the particulars of which you 
have in the inclosd Paper. I trust this Blow has 
given so great a Check to the Power of the Enemy 
as to prevent their doing us any material Injury 
in that part of America. We look towards New 
York, and earnestly Pray that God would order 
a decisive Event in our Favor there you must have 
earlier Intelligence from time to time of the Circum 
stances of our Affairs in that Department than you 
can have from this place. Yesterday Circular Let 
ters with inclosd Declarations from Lord Howe to 
the late Governors of New Jersey & the Colonies 
Southward as far as Georgia, were laid before Con 
gress. As they were orderd to be publishd, I have 
the Opportunity of transmitting a printed Copy of 
them for your Amusement. There were also Letters 
from London to private Persons probably procured 
if not dictated by the British Ministry and written with 
a manifest Intention to form a Party here in favor of 
his Lordship, to induce People to believe that he is a 
cordial Friend to America, and that he is empowerd 
to offer Terms of Accommodation acceptable to the 
Colonists. But it is now too late for that insidious 
Court to play such Tricks with any reasonable Hopes 
of Success. The American States have declard 
themselves no longer the Subjects of the British 
King. But if they had remaind such, the Budget is 
now opened to the World, and the People see with 
their own Eyes, with how much Magnanimity the 
Prince offers them Pardon on Condition that they 
will submit to be his abject Slaves. 

I was informd in a Letter I rec d from London last 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 303 

March, that this very Nobleman declind to accept 
the Commission until he should be vested with Au 
thority to offer to us honorable Terms that he made 
a Merit of it. And yet he now comes with Terms 
disgraceful to human Nature. If he is a good kind 
of Man, as these Letters import, I am mistaken if he 
is not weak & ductile. He has always voted, as I am 
told, in favor of the Kings Measures in Parliament, 
and at the same time professd himself a Friend to 
the Liberties of America! He seems to me, either 
never to have had any good Principles at all, or not 
to have had Presence of Mind openly and uniformly 
to avow them. I have an Anecdote which I will com 
municate to you at another Time at present I have 
not Leisure. 

Pray let me have a Letter from you soon. You 
cannot do me a greater Act of Kindness or more sub 
stantially serve me than by writing often. 
I am affectionately, 

Your Friend, 

Will you be kind enough to let my Family know 
that I am in health. I wish you w d present my 
most respectful Comp ts to my very venerable Friend 
D C- y. 1 I hope the worthy old Gentleman is 
yet in Health & Spirits. 

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

PHILAD July 27 1776 

I must beg you to impute to the true Reason my 

1 Cf., page 155. 

304 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

not having yet acknowledgd & answerd your very 
obliging Letter of the 24 May. The Want of Leisure 
often prevents my indulging the natural Inclination 
of my Mind to converse with my distant Friends by 
familiar Epistles ; for however unequal I feel my self 
to the Station in which our Country has placed me 
here, I am indispensibly obligd to attend the Duties 
of it with Diligence. 

It has been difficult for a Number of persons sent 
from all parts of so extensive a Territory and repre 
senting Colonies (or as I must now call them States) 
which in many Respects have had different Interests 
& Views, to unite in Measures materially to affect 
them all. Hence our Determinations have been 
necessarily slow. We have however gone on from 
Step to Step, till at length we are arrivd to per 
fection, as you have heard, in a Declaration of In 
dependence. Was there ever a Revolution brot 
about, especially so important as this without great 
internal Tumults & violent Convulsions ! The Dele 
gates of every Colony in Congress have given their 
Voices in favor of the great Question, & the People 
I am told, recognize the Resolution as though it were 
a Decree promulgated from Heaven. I have thot 
that if this decisive Measure had been taken six 
months earlier, it would have given Vigor to our 
Northern Army & a different Issue to our military 
Exertions in Canada. But probably I was mistaken. 
The Colonies were not then all ripe for so momentous 
a Change. It was necessary that they sh d be united, 
& it required Time & patience to remove old pre 
judices, to instruct the unenlightend, convince the 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 305 

doubting and fortify the timid. Perhaps if our 
Friends had considerd how much was to be pre 
viously done they w d not have been, as you tell me 
some of them were, " impatient under our Delay." 

New Gov ts are now erecting in the several Amer 
ican States under the Authority of the people. Mon 
archy seems to be generally exploded. And it is not 
a little surprizing to me, that the Aristocratick Spirit 
which appeard to have taken deep Root in some of 
them, now gives place to that of Democracy, You 
justly observe that " the Soul or Spirit of Democracy 
is Virtue" No State can long preserve its Liberty 
" where Virtue is not supremely honord." I flatter 
my self you are mistaken in thinking ours is so very 
deficient, and I do assure you, I find reliefe in sup 
posing your Colouring is too high. But if I deceive 
my self in this most essential point, I conjure you 
and every Man of Influence by Example and by all 
Means to stem the Torrent of Vice, which, as a cele 
brated Author tells us, "prevailing would destroy, 
not only a Kingdom or an Empire, but the whole 
moral Dominion of the Almighty throughout the 
Infinitude of Space." I have Time only to add that 
I am very affectionately, 


VOL. III. 2O, 

306 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


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

PHILAD E Aug* 3 1776 2 


Our Friend Coll W brought & deliverd to me your 
Letterof the July directed to M r J. A. and myself. The 
Inclosures clearly show the deplorable State of our Af 
fairs in the Northern Department and it is easy to see 
the Source of them. I am fully of opinion that one Man 
must be removd to some other Department, to put an 
End to our Misfortunes there but this has hitherto 
been impracticable, though it has been attempted and 
urgd. A little Time may perhaps unravel Mysteries 
and convince Gentlemen that they have been under 
certain Prejudices to which the wisest Men are lyable. 
It appears to me very extraordinary that M r L. should 
insist upon acting after being apprizd of the Resolve 
of Congress, and it is still more extraordinary that he 

1 Addressed to him at New York ; commissary-general of the continental 

2 At this point reference should be made to the pamphlet entitled " An Ora 
tion delivered at the State House in Philadelphia ... on Thursday, the ist 
of August, 1776, by Samuel Adams." This was "reprinted" at London, and 
the text is given in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel A dams , vol. iii., pp. 405-422. 
Wells, at vol. ii., p. 440, states briefly the reasons why he does not credit the 
production to Adams. See also, against its authenticity, Proceedings of Mas 
sachusetts Historical Society, ist ser., vol. xiii., p. 451. The text has been 
published, with no allusion to its doubtful origin, as recently as 1900, in The 

World" 1 * Orators, edited by Guy C. Lee, vol. viii., pp. 239-265. John Eliot 
of Boston apparently had the matter in mind when he wrote to Jeremy Bel- 
knap, June 17, 1777 : " M r S. Adams is a gentleman who hath sacrificed an 
immense fortune in the service of his country. He is an orator likewise, & 
there is a famous oration upon the independance of America, which, it is said, 
he delivered at Philadelphia, January, 1776, but which was never seen in Amer 
ica before." Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 6th ser., vol. iv., 
pp. 124, 125. Cf.\ Sabin, Bibliotheca Americana, No. 344. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 307 

meets with the Support of .... in such Conduct. 
I am very sure that our Affairs must greatly suffer if 
he is allowd to persist in so doing, and your Reputa 
tion as well as the Good of the Service may be at 
Stake. I think it would not be amiss for you to State 
the Matter to the General by which means it might 
be laid before Congress. You are the best Judge of 
the part proper for you to act on this occasion in your 
own Department but I shall certainly do all in my 
Power to have the Evils you mention corrected. I 
have communicated your Letter to several Gentlemen 
who will joyn with me in every practicable Method for 
this purpose. Congress have this day passd several 
Resolutions which I hope tend to this good Effect. 
Paymasters & Deputy Paymasters are to make weekly 
Returns to Congress of the State of the Military 
Chests under their Direction. Jon n Trumble Esqr 
Pay Master in the Northern Department is to transmit 
as soon as possible an Ace* of all the Monies which 
have passed through his Hands. Commissaries & 
Dep y Comss ys Gen 1 in the several Departments are to 
transmit to Congress weekly Acco ts of Monies they 
receive of Pay Masters or their Deputies Quarter 
Masters & Deputy Q r Masters to do the same and 
the Commanding Officers in Each Departm 1 are to 
make monthly returns to Congress of the Drafts they 
make on the respective Paymasters. Com ry General, 
Q r Masters Gen 1 & their Deputies to make monthly 
Returns at least of Stores in their Possession & the 
Distribution of them. These Resolutions perhaps may 
not please every Body, but if they are duly executed, 
they may detect Mistakes or Frauds if any should 

308 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

happen. As to what has happend in Canada & near 
it, some person is in my opinion most egregiously to 
blame, and, to use a homely Proverb, the Saddle has 
been laid, or attempted to be laid on the wrong horse. 
I hope that by strict Scrutiny the Causes will be found 
out and the guilty Man made to suffer. My Regards 
to Gen 1 Mifflin & all Friends. 

I am respectfully, 


Since writing the foregoing I have turnd to the 
printed Journals of Congress and find that on the i; th 
of July 1775 Walter Livingston Esq was appointed 
" Commissary of Stores & provisions for the New 
York Departm* during \hepresent Campaign." Upon 
what Grounds then does he speak of himself as vested 
by Congress with full powers to act till revo&d? The 
last Campaign w ch limitted his power to act, isfinishd. 
Under what pretence can he be supported by his 
Patron, especially since by the Resolution of Congress 
of the 8 th of July last, you have " full Power to supply 
both Armies, that upon the Lakes as well as that at 
N Y, & also to appoint & employ such persons under 
you & to remove any Deputy Commissary as you 
shall think proper & expedient," 1 and for this express 
Reason " it being absolutely necessary that the Supply 
of both Armies sh d be under one Direction." Has not 
Gen 1 S - seen this Resolution ? or if he has seen it, 
Does he judge that the Supply of the two Armies sh d 
be under different Directions, & undertake to order 
accordingly ? If the Persons whom you send to act 

1 Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress edition), vol. 
v., p. 527. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 309 

under you in the Northern Army are confined & lim- 
itted by any other Person after they arrive there, unless 
by order of Congress, & without giving you Notice in 
Case such order sh d be made, we must expect a 
Repetition of the most mortifying Disappointments. 
Upon my Word I think it your Duty to remonstrate 
this, either to the Commander in Chief or to the 
Congress. The former I should suppose you would 



[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a text is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel 
Adams, vol. ii.,p. 441.] 

PRINCETOWN Aug* 13 1776 


Before this reaches you, 1 you will have heard of 
the Arrival of near an hundred more of the Enemies 
ships. There are too many Soldiers now in Philad a 
waiting for Arms. Is it not of the utmost Impor 
tance that they should march even without Arms, 
especially as they may be furnishd with the Arms of 
those who are sick at N York. Would it not be do 
ing great Service to the Cause at this time if you w d 
speak to some of the Com 6 of Safety of Pennsylva 
nia relative to this matter. I write in haste. The 
Bearer will inform you of the State of things. 
Your Friend, 

1 Addressed to John Adams at Philadelphia. 

310 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy ; a portion of the text is in W. V. Wells, 
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., p. 442.] 

N YORK Augt 16 1776 


I sit down to write in great Haste as the post is 
just going. I reachd P. Ferry on Tuesday Six 
Clock P M & passd over the next morning found 
the Gen 1 & his family in Health & spirits. Indeed 
every Officer & Soldier appears to be determind. 
I have not had Opp ty to view the Works here, but I 
am told they are strong & will be well defended 
whenever an Attack is made which is expected daily. 
I see now more than I ever did the Importance of 
Congress attending immediately to Inlistments for 
the next Campaign. It would be a pity to lose your 
old Soldiers. I am of Opinion that a more generous 
Bounty sh d be given, 20 Dollars & 100 Acres of 
Land for three years at least but enough of this 
The State of our Northern Army mends apace. 
The Number of invalids decreases. Harmony pre 
vails. They carry on all kinds of Business within 
themselves. Smiths Armourers Carpenters Turners 
Carriage Makers Rope Makers &c &c they are well 
provided with. There were at Tyconderoga Aug 1 1 2 
2,668 Rank & file fit for Duty at Crown Point & 
Skeensborough 750, in Hospital 1,110 L Whitte- 
more returnd from his Discoveries he left S e Johns 
July 30 saw 2000 or 2500 at that place & Chamblee. 
Stores coming on from Montreal counted 30 Bat- 
teaus. No Vessell built or building. This Acco* 
may I think be depended upon. In my opinion 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 311 

we are happy to have G Gates there. The Man 
who has the Superintendency of Indian Affairs 
the nominal Command of the Army is the real 
Contractor & Quarter Master Gen 1 &c &c has too 
many Employm ts to attend to the reform of such an 
Army besides the Army can confide in the Valor & 
military Skill & Accomplishments of Gates Sat 
Verbum Sapienti ; pray write me & let me know 
how the Confed. &c goes on. Major Meigs a brave 
officer & a Prisoner taken at Quebeck is at this time, 
as I suppose, at Philadelphia he wishes to be ex 
changed such an Officer would be very usefull here. 
I wish you w d give him your Assistance. I propose 
to sett off tomorrow for the Eastward. 


Cap Palmer is in this City waiting for inlisting 
orders. I wish the Rank of the Navy officers was 
settled & the Commissions made out. Cap 1 Dear- 
borne of N Hampshire is in the same Predicament 
with Major Meigs. Coll Whipple who now sends his 
Regards to you, is very desirous that he may also be 
exchangd his Character is remarkeably good as 
Maj Meigs can inform you. 


[MS., Adams Papers. Quincy; a text is in John Adams, Works, vol. ix., pp. 


Boston Sept 16 1776 


I very gratefully acknowledge the Receipt of your 
Letter dated the of August. I should have written 

312 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

to you from this place before, but I have not had 
Leisure. My Time is divided between Boston & 
Watertown, and though we are not engagd in Mat 
ters of such Magnitude as now employ your Mind, 
there are a thousand things which call the Attention of 
every Man who is concernd for his Country. Our 
Assembly have appointed a Committee to prepare a 
Form of Government they have not yet reported. 
I believe they will agree in two legislative Branches 
their great Difficulty seems to be to determine upon 
a free and adequate Representative, they are at pre 
sent an unwieldy Body. I will inform you more of 
this when I shall have the Materials. The Defence of 
this Town you know has lain much upon our Minds. 
Fortifications are erected upon several of the Islands, 
which I am told require at least 8000 Men. You shall 
have a particular Account when I am at Leisure, by 
my Manner of writing you may conclude that I am now 
in haste. I have receivd no Letter from Philad 6 or 
New York since I was favord with yours, nor can I 
find that any other Person has. It might be of Advan 
tage to the common Cause for us to know what is do 
ing at both those important places. We have a Report 
that a Committee is appointed (as the expression is) 
"to meet the Howes," and that you are one. This, 
without Flattery gave me pleasure. I am indeed at a 
Loss to conclude how such a Movement could be 
made consistent with the Honor of the Congress, but I 
have such an Opinion of the Wisdom of that Body, 
that I must not doubt of the Rectitude of the Meas 
ure. I hope they will be vigilant and firm, for I am 
told that Lord Howe is, though not a great man, an 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 313 

artful Courtier. May God give us Wisdom Fortitude 
Perseverance and every other virtue necessary for 
us to maintain that Independence which we have as 
serted. It would be ridiculous indeed if we were to 
return to a State of Slavery in a few Weeks after we 
had thrown off the Yoke and asserted our Indepen 
dence. The Body of the people of America, I am per- 
swaded, would resent it but why do I write in this 
Stile I rely upon the Congress & the committee. 
I wish however to know a little about this Mat 
ter, for I confess I cannot account for it to my own 
Mind. I will write to you soon in the mean time, 

What has been the Issue of the Debates upon a 
weighty Subject when I left you, and another Matter 
(you know what I mean) of great Importance? Is it 
not high time they were fmishd? 

Pay my due Regards to the President Mess Paine l 
& Gerry 2 Coll Lees and other Friends. 


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a text is in John Adams, Works, vol. ix., pp. 

446, 447.] 

BOSTON Sept 30 1776 

I am much obligd to you for your two Letters of 
the 8 th & 14 th of this Month, which I receivd, to 
gether, by the last Post. The Caution given in the 
first of these Letters was well designd ; and had it 

1 Robert Treat Paine. 

2 A portion of a letter by Samuel Adams to Gerry, dated September 23, 1776, 
is printed in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 447, 448. 

314 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

come to me as early as you had Reason to expect it 
would, I should have been relievd of a full fortnights 
Anxiety of Mind. I was indeed greatly "concernd" 
for the Event of the proposd Conference with Lord 
Howe. It is no Compliment when I tell you, that I 
fully confided in the Understanding and Integrity of 
the Gentlemen appointed by Congress ; but being 
totally ignorant of the Motives which indued such a 
Measure, I was fearful lest we might be bro t into a 
Situation of great Delicacy and Embarrassment. I 
perceive that his Lordship would not converse with 
you as Members of Congress or a Committee of that 
Body ; from whence I concluded that the Conference 
did not take its Rise on his part. As I am unac 
quainted with its Origination and the Powers of the 
Committee, I must contemplate the whole Affair as a 
Refinement in Policy beyond my Reach, and content 
myself with remaining in the Dark, till I have the Pleas 
ure of seeing you, when, I trust, the Mystery will be 
fully explaind to me. Indeed I am not so sollicitous to 
know the Motives from whence this Conference 
sprang, or the Manner in which it was brought up, 
as I am pleasd with its Conclusion. The Sentiments 
and Language of the Committee, as they are related 
to me, were becoming the Character they bore. They 
mannagd with great Dexterity. They maintaind the 
Dignity of Congress, and in my Opinion, the Inde 
pendence of America stands now on a better footing 
than it did bef6re. It affords me abundant Satisfac 
tion, that the Minister of the British King, commis- 
siond to require and fondly nourishing the Hopes of 
receiving the Submission of America, was explicitly 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS 315 

and authoritatively assured, that neither the Commit 
tee nor that Congress which sent them had Authority 
to treat in any other Capacity than as Independent 
States. His Lordship, it seems, "has no Instruction 
on that Subject." We must therefore fight it out, and 
trust in God for Success. I dare assure my self, that 
the most effectual Care has before this time been 
taken, for the Continuance and Support of our 
Armies, not only for the Remainder of the present, 
but for a future year. The People will chearfully sup 
port their Independence to the utmost. Their Spirits 
will rise upon their knowing the Result of the late 
Conference. It has, you may depend upon it, been a 
Matter of great Expectation. Would it not be at 
tended with a good Effect, if an Account pf it was 
publishd by Authority of Congress ? It would, I should 
think, at least put it out of the Power of disaffected 
Men (and there are some of this Character even here) 
to amuse their honest Neighbors with vain hopes of 

I wish that Congress would give the earliest Notice 
to this State, of what may be further expected to be 
done here for the Support of the Army. The Season 
is advancing or rather passing fast. I intended when 
I sat down to have written you a long Epistle, but I 
am interrupted. I have a thousand Avocations which 
require my Attention. Many of them, are too trifling 
to merit your Notice. Adieu, my Friend. I hope to 
see you soon. 

316 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


[MS., Dreer Collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; a text is in the 
Emmet Collection, Lenox Library ; and a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers, 
Lenox Library.] 

PHILAD A Octob 26 1776 


On the Evening of the 24 th Instant I arrivd in good 
health in this City I give you this Information in 
Compliance with my Word, and flattering my self that 
I shall very soon be favord with a Letter from you 
I will promise to give you hereafter as much Intelli 
gence as the Secrecy to which I am in honour bound 
will allow. 

I met with Nothing disagreable in my Journey, 
saving my being prevented from passing through the 
direct Road in East Chester, the Enemy having taken 
Possession of the Ground there Our Army is ex 
tended in several Encampments from Kings Bridge 
to White Plains which is 12 or 15 Miles Northward, 
commanded by the Generals Lord Sterling, Bell (of 
Maryland) Lincoln, M c Dougal, Lee, Heath & Putnam 
I mention them, I think, in the order as they are 
posted from the Plains to the Bridge The Generals 
Head Quarters are now at Valentine Hill about the 
Center of the Encampments. The Army is in high 
Spirits and wish for Action. There have been sev 
eral Skirmishes ; one on Fryday the i8 th in which the 
Massachusetts Regiment commanded by Coll Glover 
distinguishd their Bravery and they have receivd the 
Thanks of the General. In this Rencounterthe Enemy 
sustaind a considerable Loss, it is said not less than 
700 Men Another on the Night of the 2i st . The in- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 317 

famous Major Rogers with about 400 Tories of Long 
Island, having advancd towards Mareneck 1 on the 
Main, was defeated by a Party of ours with the Loss 
of 36 Prisoners besides killed & wounded. This valiant 
Hero was the first off the Field Such Skirmishes, if 
successful on our Part, will give Spirit to our Soldiers 
and fit them for more important and decisive Action, 
which I confess I impatiently wish for. I have said 
that our Soldiers are in high Spirits ; I add, that so 
far as I can learn the Character of the General officers 
of the Enemys Army, we at least equal them in this 
Instance, we have an excellent Commissary & Quarter 
Master General, officers of great Importance Miffiin, 
who servd so much to our Advantage in the latter of 
these Employments, has condescended to take it again 
though he had been promoted to the Rank & Pay of 
a Brigadier General The Enemy is posted in a rough 
hilly Country, the Advantages of which Americans 
have convincd them they know how to improve- 
Under all these Circumstances I should think that 
the sooner a General Battle was brot on, the better ; 
but I am no Judge in military Matters. 

An interresting Affair, about which a Circle of 
Friends whom I had the Pleasure of meeting at D r 
Chauncys, is finishd, I think, agreably to their Wishes 
I can only add at present that I am with the most 
cordial Esteem, 

Sir your assured Friend 

& very humble Servant 

1 Mamaroneck. 

3 i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

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

PHILAD A Nov r 14^ 1776 


I wrote to you within a Day or two after my Arri 
val here by an Express. I cannot say that I was 
not disappointed in not receiving a Line from you by 
the last Post, as I thought I had Reason to expect. 
While I am absent from you I am continually anx 
ious to know the State of your Health. I must there 
fore beg you to write to me often. I have not for many 
years enjoyd a greater Share of that invalueable 
Blessing than I have since I left Boston. I believe 
the Journey on Horseback has been greatly benefi 
cial to me. 

We have lately receivd Intelligence from the 
Northern Army of certain Movements of the Enemy 
in that Quarter, of which you will see an Account in 
the inclosd News Paper. This day we have further 
Intelligence that they have totally abandond Crown 
Point & retreated into Canada. We have also just 
receivd a Letter from a Gentleman living on the 
Sea Coasts of New Jersey informing us that near 100 
Sail of the Enemies Ships with two Frigates & a 
fifty Gun Ship were seen steering to the Eastward. 
It is supposd they are bound to England. We had 
before heard that the whole Force of the Enemy had 
marchd unexpectedly & precipitately into the City of 
New York. This evening an Express is come in 
from General Greene who commands on this Side 
the North River in the Jersys with Advice that ten 
thousand of the Enemies Troops were embarkd, 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 319 

and that it was given out that they were destind to 
South Carolina. This may be a Feint. Possibly they 
may be coming to this City, which in my Opinion is 
rather to be desired, because the People of this State 
are more numerous than that of South Carolina. In 
either Case however I dare say that a good Account 
will be given of them. It is said that Lord Dun- 
more is to take the Command. If this be true, it 
looks as if they were going to Virginia. Be it as it 
may, the withdrawing so great a Part of their Troops 
from New York, it is hoped, will make it an easy 
matter for our Army to conquer the Remainder. 

It has not been usual for me to write to you of 
War or Politicks, but I know how deeply you have 
always interrested yourself in the Welfare of our Coun 
try and I am disposd to gratify your Curiosity. Be 
sides you will hope that from these Movements 
of our Enemies a Communication between Boston 
and Philadelphia will be more safe and we may the 
more frequently hear from each other. 

Nov r 17 th I wish you would acquaint your Brother 
Sammy that General Mifflin is now Quartermaster 
General in Room of Coll Moylan that when I was 
at Head Quarters I mentiond to the General the 
treatment your Brother had met with. He told me 
that he would have him state the Matter to him in 
Writing and that he would endeavor to have Justice 
done to him. The Letter your Brother formerly 
wrote to me I left at Boston. If he will give me a 
full Account of the Matter in another Letter, I will 
state it to General Mifflin, but the Circumstances of 
things are such at present that I would not have him 

320 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

depend on its being immediately attended to. I will 
however do all in my power to serve him. 

Our Friend M r Lovell 1 is at last exchangd. We 
receivd a Letter from him two or three days ago. 
Probably before this reaches you he will have arrivd 
at Boston. Pray remember me to my Daughter, 
Sister Polly with the rest of my Family & Friends, 
and be assured that I am most sincerely & affection 



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

PHILADELPHIA Novr 29 1776 


I take this Opportunity by M r Chamberlain to 
acquaint you that I am in good health & Spirits. This 
Intelligence, I flatter myself, will not be disagreable 
to you. I have not receivd a Line from you since I 
left Boston which gives me Reason to suspect that 
your Letters may have fallen into wrong hands. 

Traveling, it seems, is of late become somewhat dan 
gerous ; should this be intercepted and be seen by the 
two Brothers, 2 they will have an opportunity of know 
ing that I am still most firmly attachd to the best 
Cause that virtuous Men contend for, and that I 
am animated with the full Perswasion that righteous 
Heaven will support the Americans if they persevere 
in their manly Struggles for their Liberty. I have no 

1 Cf. page 248. 

2 Presumably Admiral Howe and General Howe. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 321 

Reason to suspect the Virtue of the Generality of my 
Countrymen. There are indeed Poltrons & Trayters 
everywhere. I do not therefore think it strange, that 
some such Characters are to be found in this City, but 
the Indignation of the People kindles at the expected 
approach of the Enemies Army, and every proper 
Measure is taking to meet them on the Road and stop 

their wild Career. -I am told that Lord Howe has 

lately issued a Proclamation offering a general Pardon 
with the Exception of only four Persons viz D r Franklin 
Coll Richard Henry Lee M r John Adams & my self. I 
am not certain of the Truth of this Report. If it be a 
Fact I am greatly obligd to his Lordship for the flat 
tering opinion he has given me of my self as being a 
Person obnoxious to those who are desolating a once 
happy Country for the sake of extinguishing the re 
maining Lamp of Liberty, and for the singular Honor 
he does me in ranking me with Men so eminently 

I hope you will write to me by every opportunity. 
Pay my due Respects to my Family and Friends and 
be assured that I am most affectionately, 


[MS., Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library.] 

PHILAD H Nov r 29 1776 


I inclose a Resolve 1 passd in Congress and at- 

*A marginal postscript, in the autograph of Adams, reads : " Pray deliver the 
inclosd, if your Leisure will admit with your own hand." 

VOL. III. 21 

322 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

tested by the Secretary which I doubt not the Hon bl 
House of Representatives will duly regard. Indeed 
I am in hopes your Committee for providing Cloath- 
ing & c for the Army have already in a great Measure 
answerd the Request. You will have heard of the 
Scituation of the Armies before this will reach you. A 
Part of the Enemy have got on this Side of Hud- 
sons River, but I dare say you will have a good Ac 
count of them. I am more chagrind at the Disgrace 
than the Loss we have met with by the Surrender of 
Forts Washington & Lee. They should not have 
cost the Enemy less than thousands of their Troops. 
After all, what have the mighty Victors gaind? a 
few Miles of Ground at the Expence of many Mil 
lions of their Treasure & the Effusion of much of 
their Blood. But we must stop their Career. This 
I am satisfied can & will be done. M r Gerry writes 
to you by this opportunity therefore I need not add 
more than that I am very affectionately, 



[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 452-454 ; an incom 
plete text.] 

[PHILADELPHIA, December 4, 1776.] 

It affords me singular pleasure to be informed that 
our General Assembly is now sitting in Boston. I 
have been of opinion that the public business could 
be done with more despatch there than elsewhere. 
"You have appointed a committee of war," with very 
extensive powers, "and appropriated to their disposi- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 323 

tion two hundred thousand pounds to purchase every 
thing necessary to carry on the war with vigor next 
year." I heartily rejoice to hear this. I hope the 
committee are men of business, and will make a good 
use of the powers and moneys they are intrusted 
with. Let me tell you, that every nerve must be 
strained to resist the British tyrant, who, in despair 
of availing himself of his own troops which lately he 
so much prided himself in, is now summoning the 
powers of earth and hell to subjugate America. The 
lamp of liberty burns there and there only. He sees 
it, and is impatient even to madness to extinguish it. 
It is our duty, at all hazards, to prevent it. 

But I am sensible I need not write you in this 
style. You and the rest of my countrymen have 
done, and I have no doubt will continue to do, your 
duty in defence of a cause so interesting to mankind. 
It is with inexpressible pleasure that I reflect that the 
mercenary forces of the tyrant have for two years in 
vain attempted to penetrate the Eastern Colonies ; 
there our enemies themselves, and those who hate us, 
acknowledge that the rights of man have been de 
fended with bravery. And did not South Carolina 
nobly withstand the efforts of tyranny ? She did. 
Virginia, too, and North Carolina, have in their turn 
acted with a spirit becoming the character of Ameri 
cans. But what will be said of Pennsylvania and the 
Jerseys ? Have they not disgraced themselves by 
standing idle spectators while the enemy overran a 
great part of their country ? They have seen our 
army unfortunately separated by the river, retreating 
to Newark, to Elizabethtown, Woodbridge, Bruns- 

3 2 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

wick, and Princeton. The enemy s army were, by the 
last account, within sixty miles of this city. If they 
were as near Boston, would not our countrymen cut 
them all to pieces or take them prisoners ? But by 
the unaccountable stupor which seems to have per 
vaded these States, the enemy have gained a triumph 
which they did not themselves expect. A triumph, 
indeed ! Without a victory ! Without one laurel to 
boast of ! For Bunker s Hill they fought and bled. 
They sacrificed their bravest officers, and we wished 
them twenty such victories. But the people of the Jer 
seys have suffered them to run through their coun 
try without the risk of even a private soldier ! They 
expended their ammunition at trees and bushes as 
they marched ! But I hear the sound of the drum. The 
people of Pennsylvania say of themselves, that they 
are slow in determining, but vigorous in executing. I 
hope that we shall find both parts of this prediction to 
be just. They say, We are now determined, and 
promise to bring General Howe to a hearty repent 
ance for venturing so near them. I have the pleasure 
to tell you that, within a few days past, they have 
made a spirited appearance. In spite of Quakers, 
Proprietarians, timid Whigs, Tories, petit-maitres, and 
trimmers, there is a sufficient number of them in arms 
resolved to defend their country. Many of them are 
now on the march. Heaven grant they may be hon 
orable instruments to retrieve the reputation of their 
countrymen and reduce Britain to a contemptible 
figure at the end of this campaign. 

I am glad to hear our harbor looks so brilliant. / 
hope it is fortified against every attempt of the enemy 
next spring. 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 325 

In your letters, you ask me two important ques 
tions. I dare not repeat them. With regard to the 
last, you will understand me when I tell you, let not 
your mind be troubled about it. 

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

PHILADELPHIA Dec r 9 1776 


My last by M r Pliarne I hope you will have receivd 
before this reaches you. I am still in good Health 
and Spirits, although the Enemy is within Forty Miles 
of this City. I do not regret the Part I have taken in 
a Cause so just and interresting to Mankind. I must 
confess it chagrins me greatly to find it so illy sup 
ported by the People of Pennsylvania and the Jerseys. 
They seem to me to be determind to give it up but 
I trust that my dear New England will maintain it at 
the Expence of every thing dear to them in this Life 

they know how to prize their Liberties. May 
Heaven bless them ! It is not yet determind to what 
place to adjourn the Congress, if it should be neces 
sary to move. Wherever I may be, I shall write to 
you by every Opportunity. M r Brown who carries 
this Letter will give you a particular Account of the 
Circumstances of things here to him I refer you. 
Pray remember me to my Daughter, Sister Polly, the 
rest of my Family & Friends. I hope the Life of our 
valueable Friend M rs March will yet be spared. She 
is indeed a good Woman. Tell my worthy Neighbor 
M r Preston, that I rejoyce to hear of his honorable 
Appointment. I hope & believe he will use his office 

326 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

well. I wish to have a Letter from you. You can 
not imagine how highly I prize such a Favor. My 
daily Prayer is for your Safety, & Happiness in this 
Life & a better. Adieu, my dear. You cannot doubt 
the sincere & most cordial Affection of, 


Dec r ii 

Since writing the above I have receivd your Letter 
of the 9 th of Nov r , for which I am much obligd to you. 
If this City should be surrenderd, I should by no 
means despair of our Cause. It is a righteous Cause 
and I am fully perswaded righteous Heaven will suc 
ceed it. Congress will adjourn to Baltimore in Mary 
land, about 1 20 Miles from this place, when Necessity 
requires it and not before. It is agreed to appoint a 
Day of Prayer, & a Corn 6 will bring in a Resolution 
for that purpose this day. I wish we were a more 
religious People. That Heaven may bless you here & 
hereafter is the most ardent Prayer of, my dear, most 



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

PHILADELPHIA Dec r 12 1776 


We are this moment informd by a Gentleman who 
is Brother of Coll Griffin, and has lately been at New 
York, that a Body of ten thousand of the Enemies 
Troops had actually arrivd at Rhode Island. As Con 
gress is now adjournd to Baltimore in Maryland, and 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 327 

the President and the Board of War are not in Town, 
we think it our Duty to send you this Intelligence ; 
and as there is no General Officer in that Department, 
we refer it to your Consideration whether the Service 
does not absolutely require that one be immediately 
sent to take the Command of Troops that may be 
raisd there to repel the Progress of the Enemy. 

If Major General Gates or Green, 1 who are greatly 
belovd in that Part of America with a suitable Num 
ber of Brigadiers could be spared for this Service, it 
would be attended with another Advantage, that of 
facilitating the new Inlistments. 

We intreat your Attention to this important Matter, 
and are with great Respect, 

Sir your very humble Servants, 2 

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


Dec r 1 9 th 1776 


The Day before yesterday I arrivd in this Place 
which is One hundred Miles from Philadelphia. The 
Congress had resolvd to adjourn here when it should 
become absolutely necessary and not before. This 
sudden Removal may perhaps be wonderd at by 
some of my Friends, but was not without the advice 
of Generals Putnam & Mifflin, who were at Philadel- 

1 The words " or Green l? and " with a suitable number of Brigadiers," were 
added by interlineations in the first draft. 

2 Signed by Adams, Elbridge Gerry, William Ellery, and William Whipple. 

328 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

phia to take Measures for its Preservation from the 
Enemy. For my own part, I had been used to 
Alarms in my own Country, and did not see the 
Necessity of removing so soon, but I suppose I mis- 
judgd because it was otherwise ruled. It must be 
confessd that deliberative Bodies should not sit in 
Places of Confusion. This was heightned by an un 
accountable Backwardness in the People of the Jer 
seys & Pennsylvania to defend their Country and 
crush their Enemies when I am satisfied it was in 
their Power to do it. The British as well as Hessian 
officers have severely chastisd them for their Folly. 
We are told that such savage Tragedies have been 
acted by them without Respect to Age or Sex as 
have equaled the most barbarous Ages & Nations of 
the World. Sorry I am that the People so long re- 
fusd to harken to the repeated Calls of their Country. 
They have already deeply staind the Honor of 
America, and they must surely be as unfeeling as 
Rocks if they do not rise with Indignation and re 
venge the shocking Injuries done to their Wives and 
Daughters. Great Britain has taught us what to ex 
pect from Submission to its Power. No People ever 
more tamely surrenderd than of that Part of the Jer 
seys through which the Enemy marchd. No oppo 
sition was made. And yet the grossest Insults have 
been offerd to them, and the rude Soldiery have 
been sufferd to perpetrate Deeds more horrid than 
Murder. If Heaven punishes Communities for their 
Vices, how sore must be the Punishment of that 
Community who think the Rights of human Nature 
not worth struggling for and patiently submit to Ty- 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 329 

ranny. I will rely upon it that New England will 
never incur the Curse of Heaven for neglecting to 
defend her Liberties. I pray God to increase their 
Virtue and make* them happy in the full and quiet 
Possession of those Liberties they have ever so highly 
prizd. Your Wellfare, my dear, is ever near my heart. 
Remember me to my Daughter Sister Polly & the 
rest of my Family and Friends. I am in high Health 
& Spirits. Let me hear from you often. Adieu, 

Mr. Hancock is just now arrivd with his Family 
all in good health. 

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



Although I have been continually writing to you, 
I have had the Pleasure of receiving only one Letter 
from you since I left New England. The Congress 
is here, scituated conveniently enough and doing Busi 
ness. You will ask me perhaps, How we came here. 
I confess I did not see the Necessity of removing so 
soon ; but I must think I misjudgd because it was 
ruled otherwise, not indeed until the Opinions of 
Putnam & Mifflin then in Philadelphia, had been 
taken. The Truth is, the Enemy were within seven 
teen Miles of us, and it was apprehended by some 
that the People of Pennsylvania, influenced by Fear 
Folly or Treachery, would have given up their Capi 
tal to appease the Anger of the two Brothers & atone 
for their Crime in suffering it to remain so long the 

330 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Seat of Rebellion. We are now informd that they 
have at length bestirrd themselves and that hundreds 
are daily flocking to Gen 1 Washingtons Camp, so that 
it is hoped if our Army pursues as expeditiously as 
they have retreated, they will take them all Prisoners 
before they can reach the Borders of Hudsons River. 
We have this day receivd a Letter from General 
Schuyler, which has occasiond the passing a Resolu 
tion, forwarded to you, I suppose by this opportunity. 
The General says he is informd that the Levies are 
making very tardily. I hope he has been misin- 
formd. It is certainly of the greatest Importance 
that New England in a particular Manner should be 
very active in Preparation to meet the Enemy early 
in the Spring. The British Tyrant will not quit his 
darling Plan of subduing that Country. The Intent 
of the Enemy seems to me to be to attack it on all 
Sides. Howes Troops have penetrated this way far 
beyond his Expectations ; I flatter myself they will be 
driven back to New York & winter there. Carleton 
will, unless prevented by an immediate Exertion of 
New England, most certainly possess himself of 
Tyconderoga as soon as Lake Champlain shall be 
frozen hard enough to transport his Army. Clinton 
it is said is gone to Rhode Island with 8 or 10 thou 
sand to make Winter Quarters there. The infamous 
Behavior of the People of Jersey & Pennsylvania 
will give fresh Spirits to the British Court and afford 
them a further Pretence to apply to every Court in 
Europe where they can have any Prospect of Success. 
Russia has already been applied to. Their whole 
Force will be poured into N England for they take 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 331 

it for granted that having once subdued those stub 
born States, the rest will give up without a Struggle. 
They will take Occasion from what has happend in 
Jersey to inculcate this Opinion. How necessary is 
it then for our Countrymen to strain every Nerve to 
defeat their Design. The Time is short. Let this 
be the only Subject of our Thoughts and Consulta 
tion. Our Affairs in France wear a promising Aspect. 
Let us do our Duty and defend the fair Inheritance 
which our Fathers have left us our pious Forefathers 
who regarded Posterity & fought and bled that they 
might transmit to us the Blessing of Liberty. 

When we first heard at Philadelphia of Clintons 
having saild to Rhode Island, M r Gerry and myself 
joynd with Coll Whipple of New Hampshire & M r 
Ellery of Rhode Island in a Letter to Gen 1 Washing 
ton and proposed to him the sending Gen Gates or 
Greene with a suitable number of Brigadiers to take 
the Command in the Eastern Departm . [In] his- 
answer which we receivd in this place he tells us he 
has orderd M Gen 1 Spencer & B Gen 1 Arnold to re 
pair thither who he hopes may be sufficient to head 
the yeomanry of that Country & repel the Enemy 
in their attempts to gain possession of that part of 
the Continent. He [adds] that he will if possible 
send some other Brigadiers, and says Gen Wooster 
is also at hand. 

I wrote to you after my Arrival at Philad 6 & inclosd 
a Resolution of Congress relative to the procuring of 
cloathing in N E for the Army. In another Letter 
I gave you a hint which I think of great Importance 
if the Measure proposd [be] practicable. I hope 

332 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

both these Letters were duly receivd by you. You 
cannot, my dear Sir, do me a greater Kindness than 
by writing to me. I suffer much thro want of Intelli 
gence from N E ; I pray you therefore let your 
Letters to me be very frequent. 

I am very cordially your friend, 

By a late Letter from London written by a Gent n 
upon whose Intelligence I greatly rely a Treaty is 
on foot with Russia to furnish Britain with 20 or 
30,000 troops. Levies are making with all possible 
Industry in Germany & in Britain & Ireland from 
where it is expected that 20,000 will be raisd. It 
[is] indeed to be supposd that, as usual, a greater Ap 
pearance will be made on paper than they will realize. 
But let us consider that they realizd in America 
the last year 35,000, and do without doubt 
. . . . they lose because they are able to do it, 
we may then set down their actual force in America 
by May or June next at least 55 and probably 60,000. 

We have the pleasure of hearing that a valueable 
Prize is arrivd at [Boston] among the rest of her 
Cargo 10,000 Suits of Cloaths ! A most fortunate 
Prize for us, especially as she is said to be the last of 
8 Vessels taken bound to Quebec. However while 
we are pleasing ourselves with the Acquisition we 
should remember that the Want of those supplys will 
be a strong Stimulus to Carleton to make an early & 
bold push over the Champlain in hopes of furnishing 
himself at Albany ; & increases the Necessity of 
the Eastern States sending their Troops to Tycon- 
deroga immediately to supply the places of those who 


1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 333 

will return home, when the time of their Inlistments 
shall expire. I have good Information from England 
that a certain Capt n Furze who [was] in Boston the 
last year & gaind the Confidence & rec d the Civilities 
of the People ; when he returnd gloried in the De 
ception & carried Intelligence to the British Ministry, 
particularly of the Fortifications in & about Boston. 
Some of the People may remember him. How care 
ful ought we to be lest while we mean only innocent 
Civility, we expose our Councils & Operations to 

I remain very cordially your friend, 

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



I have written to you once since I arrivd here, and 
am determind to omit no opportunity, because I 
flatter myself you will at all times be gratified in 
hearing from me. I am at present in good health 
and am exceedingly happy in an Acquaintance with 
M r Samuel Purviance a Merchant of this Place, with 
whom I have indeed before corresponded, but I 
never saw him till I came here. He is a sensible, 
honest and friendly Man, warmly attachd to the 
American Cause, and has particularly endeard him 
self to me by his great Assiduity in procuring Reliefe 
in this part of the Continent for the Town of Boston 
at a Time when her Enemies would have starvd her 
by an oppressive Port bill. 

334 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

Just now I receivd a Letter from my Son dated the 
7 th Instant ; he tells me he had very lately heard from 
his Sister and that she and the rest of my Family 
were well. I pray God to continue your Health and 
protect you in these perilous times from every kind 
of Evil. The Name of the Lord, says the Scripture, 
is a strong Tower, thither the Righteous flee and are 
safe. Let us secure his Favor, and he will lead us 
through the Journey of this Life and at length receive 
us to a better. 

We are now informd that the People of Jersey & 
Pennsylvania are in Possession of their Understand 
ing and that they are turning out in great Numbers 
to the Assistance of General Washington. Had they 
done this early they would not have so deeply staind 
the Reputation of America. However I shall hardly 
think they will do their Duty at last if they suffer the 
Enemy to return without paying dearly for the bar 
barous Outrages they have committed in the Country, 
without Regard to Age or Sex. 

Our Affairs in France & Spain wear a pleasing 
Aspect, but human Affairs are ever uncertain. I 
have strongly recommended to my Friends in New 
England to spare no Pains or Cost in preparing to 
meet the Enemy early in the Spring. We have a 
righteous Cause, and if we defend it as becomes us, 
we may expect the Blessing of Heaven. 

Remember me to my Daughter, Sister Polly & the 
rest, of my Family & Friends. Adieu, my dear, 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 335 

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

BALTIMORE Dec r 30 1776 


Being a Committee of Congress we are directed to 
employ some suitable Person to make Application to 
your Honorable Board for certain Ordnance and 
other Stores, which have been represented by Gen 
eral Schuyler as immediately necessary for the Use 
of the Northern Army. We accordingly send for 
ward Coll Stewart, who will lay before the Board 
such Stores as are wanted ; which we hope may be 
procurd on just and equitable Terms, and transported 
with all possible Dispatch to General Schuyler, whose 
Receipt will be duly acknowledgd by Congress. 

We need not urge the great Importance of having 
our Army in that Quarter well furnishd with every 
necessary Article, there being not the least Reason 
to doubt of General Carletons Intentions as early as 
possible to push his Forces into the Eastern States, or 
of his Success in such an Attempt unless seasonably 

It is therefore our earnest Request that you would 
afford Coll Stuart every possible advice & assistance 
in the Prosecution of this Business, and furnish him 
with such Money as he may have need of for the 
purpose in which Case your Draft on the President 
of the Congress will be duly honord. 

We are with the most cordial Esteem 

your most obedient 

& very humble Servants 

336 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; a portion is printed in W. V. 
Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 450, 451.] 



We are a Committee of Congress 1 authorize! and 
directed to appoint some suitable Person to apply to 
M r Livingston Owner of a Furnace in the State of 
New York, and to Governor Trumbull who has the 
Direction of the Furnace in the State of Connecticutt 
also to the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay, 
to procure such Cannon and Ordnance Stores, as 
General Schuyler has represented to be immediately 
necessary for the use of the Army in the Northern 

We know of no one in whom we can more chearfully 
confide, for the Performance of this important Business 
than your self ; and therefore we request you to under 
take it, as Major General Gates has assured us, that 
it is not inconsistent with the General Service, or the 
Duty of that Station which you hold under his im 
mediate Command. 

You have herewith a List of the Ordnance and 
Ordnance Stores that are wanted ; and you will be 
pleasd to make your first Application to M r Living 
ston for such of the Cannon and Stores as he can 
furnish. You will then apply to Governor Trumbull, 
to be furnishd by him with the Remainder, to be sent 
to General Schuyler as early as possible this Winter. 

For the Ordnance Stores we depend chiefly upon 

1 The members of the committee were Adams, Lee, Harrison, Whipple and 

1776] SAMUEL ADAMS. 337 

the Massachusetts Bay; and desire you to make Appli 
cation to the Council of that State; although we would 
by no means restrain you in Endeavors to procure them 
in New York Connecticutt or elsewhere. 

We doubt not but you will provide these Necessa 
ries with all possible Dispatch, and at reasonable Rates ; 
and we desire you to give Notice to General Schuyler 
and to us of the Success you may meet with in your 
several Applications. 

We would inform you that Congress has contracted 
for Cannon to be cast in this State at the Rate of Thirty 
Six pounds ten shillings p Ton. And the highest price 
that has been given in Pennsylvania is Forty Pounds. 
We desire and expect you will purchase them at the 
lowest Rate you can. The Proof of the Cannon must 
be according to the Woolwich Practice. 


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

BALTIMORE Dec r 31. 1776 


I am determind to omit no Opportunity of writing 
to you, although I of late very seldom receive a Favor 
from you. Your second Letter I receivd a few days 
ago inclosing Copies of Papers from Spain. I am 
much obligd to you for them. Our Affairs in Europe 
look well, and additional Measures are taking here to 
establish them in that Part of the World on a solid 
Foundation. I assure you Business has been done 

VOL. III. 22. 

338 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

since we came to this Place more to my Satisfaction 
than any or every thing done before, excepting the 
Declaration of Independence which should have been 
made immediately after the 19 th of April 75. Our 
ministers abroad are directed to assure foreign Courts 
that notwithstanding the artful & insidious Represen 
tations of the Emissaries of the British Court to the 
Contrary, the Congress and People of America are 
determind to maintain their Independence at all 
Events. This was done before the late Success in 
the Jerseys, of which you will have doubtless had In 
telligence before this Letter reaches you. I now think 
that Britain will soon make a most contemptible 
Figure in America & Europe but we must still make 
our utmost Exertions. Pray let the Levies required 
of our State be raisd with all possible Expedition. By 
this Conveyance you will have a Resolution giving 
large Powers to General Washington for a limited 
Season. It became in my opinion necessary. The 
Hint I gave you some time ago, I still think very im 
portant. General Gates arrivd here yesterday. I have 
conversd with him upon it. He told me he had con- 
ceivd the Idea before and wishes the Measure may [be] 
tryed. It requires Secrecy and Dispatch. L c Coll 
Steward will set off tomorrow with Directions to pro 
ceed as far as Boston to purchase Ordnance & other 
Stores if they cannot be procured elsewhere. He is 
General Gates Aid de Camp & is very clev[er.] I 
wish you would take Notice of him. 

But I am now called off. Adieu my Friend, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 339 


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 225, 226 ; a draft is in the 
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.] 


MY DEAR SIR, It has been altogether from a re 
gard to your safety that I have restrained myself from 
continuing on my part that correspondence which you 
was obliging enough to indulge for several years. I 
know very well that your avowal of and warm attach 
ment to the cause of justice and truth, have rendered 
you exceedingly obnoxious to the malice of the British 
king and his ministers ; and that a letter written by a 
zealous asserter of that cause addressed to you while 
you was in their power, would have brought upon you 
the resentment of that most cruel and vindictive court. 
But I cannot omit this opportunity of writing to you 
after so long a silence, to assure you that I am most 
heartily engaged according to my small ability, in sup 
porting the rights of America and of mankind. 

In my last letter to you near two years ago, I ven 
tured to give you my opinion that if the British troops 
then in Boston, should attempt to march out in an 
hostile manner, it would most surely effect a total and 
perpetual separation of the two countries. This they 
did in a very short time ; and the great event has since 
taken place, sooner indeed than I expected it would, 
though not so soon, in my opinion, as in justice it 
might, and in sound policy, it ought. But there is a 
timidity in our nature which prevents our taking a 
decisive part in the critical time, and very few have 
fortitude enough to tell a tyrant they are determined 

340 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

to be free. Our delay has been dangerous to us, yet 
it has been attended with great advantage. It has af 
forded to the world a proof, that oppressed and insulted 
as we were, we are very willing to give Britain an op 
portunity of seeing herself, and of correcting her own 
errors. We are now struggling in the sharp conflict ; 
confiding that righteous heaven will not look with an 
indifferent eye upon a cause so manifestly just, and so 
interesting to mankind. 

You are now called to act in a still more enlarged 
sphere. Go on, my friend, to exert yourself in the 
cause of liberty and virtue. You have already the 
applause of virtuous men, and may be assured of the 
smiles of heaven. 

Your brother, Mr. R. H. Lee, will give you a par 
ticular account of our affairs in America ; nothing 
therefore remains for me to add, but that I am your 
very affectionate friend, 

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

BALTIMORE Jany 8 th 1777 


I have several times referrd you to a Hint which I 
gave you not long ago, and which I have not thought 
prudent to repeat lest by an Accident my Letters 
should be intercepted. I have still the same opinion 
of the Importance of the Affair, but having spent this 
Evening with General Gates and conversd with him 
upon that and other Matters, we have concluded upon 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 34* 

a more sure Way of effecting it than the Way I pro- 
posd to you. I wish therefore if you have already 
communicated it to any one of our Friends, that you 
would injoyn them to close Secrecy, and that it may 
be even forgot till the Event of it shall be known to 
the World. 

I am much pleasd to find that the New England 
Troops have so great a Share in the Honor of the 
late Action in the Jerseys. General Gates speaks 
very highly of the Militia you sent him last Fall. He 
applauds greatly their Zeal for the Cause and par 
ticularly their Readiness to tarry in the Service after 
the Expiration of the Term of their Inlistments in 
November, and tells me he gave them an honorable 
Discharge. I have not the Pleasure of knowing 
General Bricket but he mentions him to me as a 
worthy & good officer. 

We have further good Accounts from our Army 
which are credited although they are not yet authen 
ticated. I verily believe that the Incursions of the 
Enemy into the Jerseys will be in the Event much to 
our Advantage, and that this Campaign will end 
gloriously on our side ; I never will be sanguine in 
my Expectation for I know the Events of War are 
uncertain, but there seems to be an enterprizing Spirit 
in our Army which I have long wishd to see and 
without which we may not expect to do great Things. 
The same enterprizing Spirit also takes place here. 
We have done things which I would not have flatterd 
my self with the least hope of doing a Month ago. 
This Express will carry to the Council a Resolution 
which I presume will of course be communicated to 

342 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

you. In my next I will give you a very particular & 
good reason why it is not communicated to you in this 
Letter. We understand that by the Enemies Treat 
ment of General Lee there appears to be a Design 
to consider him as a deserter & take away his Life. 
Congress have directed General Washington to ac 
quaint Howe that if this is his Intention five of the 
Hessian field officers now in our hands together with 
L l Col 1 Campbell shall be detained & sacrificd as 
an Atonement for his Blood should the Matter be 
carried to that Extremity ; and this Resolution will 
most undoubtedly in my opinion be executed in full 


[John Adams, Works, vol. ix., pp. 448-450.] 

BALTIMORE, 9 January, 1777. 

I have every day for a month past been anxiously 
expecting the pleasure of seeing you here, but now 
begin to suspect you do not intend to give us your 
assistance in person. I shall therefore do all that lies 
in my power to engage your epistolary aid. You will 
by every opportunity receive my letters, and, I dare 
say, you will be so civil as to answer at least some of 

I have given our friend Warren, in one of my let 
ters to him, the best reason I could for the sudden 
removal of Congress to this place. Possibly he may 
have communicated it to you. I confess it was not 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 343 

agreeable to my mind ; but I have since altered my 
opinion, because we have done more important busi 
ness in three weeks than we had done, and I believe 
should have done, at Philadelphia, in six months. 
As you are a member of Congress, you have a right 
to know all that has been done ; but I dare not com 
mit it to paper at a time when the safe carriage of 
letters is become so precarious. One thing I am 
very solicitous to inform you, because I know it will 
give you great satisfaction. If you recollect our con 
versation at New Haven, I fancy you will understand 
me when I tell you, that to one place we have added 
four, and increased the number of persons from three 
to six. I hate this dark, mysterious manner of writing, 
but necessity requires it. 

You have heard of the captivity of General Lee. 
Congress have directed General Washington to offer 
six Hessian field-officers in exchange for him. It is 
suspected that the enemy choose to consider him as 
a deserter, bring him to trial in a court-martial, and 
take his life. Assurances are ordered to be given to 
General Howe, that five of those officers, together 
with Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, will be detained, 
and all of them receive the same measure that shall 
be meted to him. This resolution will most certainly 
be executed. 

We have this day passed a recommendation to the 
Council of Massachusetts Bay of a very important 
nature. It will be sent by this express to the Council, 
to whom I refer you for a perusal of it. 

Our affairs in France and Spain wear a promising 
aspect, and we have taken measures to put them on a 

344 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

respectable footing in other parts of Europe ; and I 
flatter myself too much if we do not succeed. 

The progress of the enemy through the Jerseys 
has chagrined me beyond measure ; but I think we 
shall reap the advantage in the end. We have already 
beat a part of their army at Trenton, and the inclosed 
paper will give you a farther account which we credit, 
though not yet authenticated. The late behavior of 
the people of Jersey was owing to some of their lead 
ing men, who, instead of directing and animating, 
most shamefully deserted them. When they found a 
leader in the brave Colonel Ford, they followed him 
with alacrity. They have been treated with savage 
barbarity by the Hessians, but I believe more so by 
Britons. After they have been most inhumanly used 
in their persons, without regard to sex or age, and 
plundered of all they had, without the least compen 
sation, Lord Howe and his brother (now Sir William, 
knight of the Bath) have condescended to offer them 
protections for the free enjoyment of their effects. 

You have seen the power with which General 
Washington is vested for a limited time. Congress 
is very attentive to the northern army, and care is 
taken effectually to supply it with every thing neces 
sary this winter for the next campaign. General 
Gates is here. How shall we make him the head of 
that army ? 

We are about establishing boards of war, ordnance, 
navy, and treasury, with a chamber of commerce, each 
of them to consist of gentlemen who are not mem 
bers of Congress. By these means, I hope, our busi 
ness will be done more systematically, speedily, and 

17773 SAMUEL ADAMS. 345 

Great and heavy complaints have been made of 
abuse in the Director-General s department in both 
our armies ; some, I suppose, without grounds, others 
with too much reason. I have no doubt but as soon 
as a. committee reports, which is expected this day, 
both Morgan and Stringer will be removed, as I think 
they ought. 1 

To the eighty-eight battalions ordered to be raised, 
sixteen are to be added, which, with six to be raised 
out of the continent at large, will make one hundred 
and ten, besides three thousand horse, three regi 
ments of artillery, and a company of engineers. We 
may expect fifty or sixty thousand of the enemy in 
June next. Their design will still be to subdue the 
obstinate States of New England. It was the in 
tention that Carleton should winter in Albany, Howe 
in New York, and Clinton at Rhode Island, that, 
with re-enforcements in the spring, they might be 
ready to attack New England on all sides. I hope 
every possible method will be used to quicken the 
new levies, and that the fortifications in the harbor of 
Boston will be in complete readiness. Much will 
depend upon our diligence this winter. 

The attention of Congress is also turned to the 
southward. Forts Pitt and Randolph are to be gar 
risoned, and provisions laid up for two thousand men, 
six months. By the last accounts from South Caro 
lina, we are informed that late arrivals have supplied 
them with every thing necessary for their defence. 

1 Dr. John Morgan, director general, and Dr. Samuel Stringer, director of 
hospitals in the northern department, were removed from office January 9 by 
the Continental Congress. 

346 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

I have written in great haste, and have time only 
to add, that I am, with sincere regards to your lady 
and family, very cordially your friend, 

P. S. Dr. Morgan and Dr. Stringer are dismissed 
without any reason assigned, which Congress could 
of right do, as they held their places during pleasure. 
The true reason, as I take it, was the general dis 
gust, and the danger of the loss of an army arising 

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

BALTIMORE Jan y 16 1777 


We receivd by M r Williams a Letter from the 
Council of Massachusetts Bay, requesting a Sum of 
Money for Payment of Bounties to the Troops to 
be raisd in that State. Accordingly three hundred 
thousand Dollars are orderd for that Purpose, which 
will be forwarded to the Paymaster as soon as it can 
conveniently be done. 

I observe that our Assembly have made it neces 
sary, that three of their Delegates should be present 
and concurring in Sentiment before the Voice of our 
State can be taken on any Question in Congress. I 
could have wishd it had been otherwise. Only three 
of your Delegates are now present. So it may hap 
pen at other times. One of them may be sick ; he 
may be on a Committee, or necessarily absent on 
publick Business ; in which Case our State will not 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 347 

be effectually represented. While I am writing at 
the Table, M r Gerry is necessarily employd on the 
Business of the Publick at home, and the two present 
cannot give the Sense of the State upon a Matter 
now before Congress. Were all the three present, 
one Dissentient might controul the other two so far 
as to oblige them to be silent when the Question is 
called for. Indeed the Assembly have increasd the 
Number of Delegates to Seven. But I submit the 
Matter, as it becomes me, to my Superiors. 

Major Hawley and my other patriotick Fellow 
Laborers, Are they alive and in Health ? I have not 
receivd a Line from any of them excepting my worthy 
Friend M r Nath 1 Appleton, whose Letter I will ac 
knowledge to him by the first opportunity. My 
Friends surely cannot think I can go through the 
arduous Business assignd to me here without their 
Advice and Assistance. I do not know whether you 
ever intend to write to me again. Assure the Major 
from me, that a few more of his "broken Hints" will 
be of eminent Service to me. 1 

You cannot imagine how much I am pleasd with 
the Spirit our Assembly have discoverd. They seem 
to have put every County into Motion. This fore 
bodes in my Mind that something great will be done. 
I have not, since this Contest began, had so happy 
Feelings as I now have. I begin to anticipate the 
Establishment of Peace on such Terms as independent 
States ought to demand ; and I am even now contem 
plating by what Means the Virtue of my Country 
men may be secured for Ages yet to come. Virtue, 

1 Cf., page 52. 

348 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

which is the Soul of a republican Government. But 
future Events, I have learnd by Experience, are un 
certain ; and some unlucky Circumstance may before 
long take Place, which may prove sadly mortifying 
to me. But no such Circumstance can deprive me 
of the Pleasure I enjoy, in seeing at a Distance, 
the rising Glories of this new World. Adieu my 
Friend. Believe me to be unfeignedly yours, 


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

BALTIMORE Jan 2g th 1777. 


Yesterday I had the Pleasure of receiving two Letters 
from you by the same hand, dated the 9 th and 22 d of 
December. And just now a Letter is deliverd to me 
from my Friend M r Bradford, dated the *3 th of this 
Month, wherein I am informd that you was then in 
good Health and Spirits. If you had not told me that 
you had written to me Six Letters since I left Boston, 
I should have suspected that you did not keep a good 
Look out for Expresses which come this Way. I have 
now receivd only four of them. The others may pos 
sibly have fallen into the Hands of the Lords Protectors 
of America. There is one Way in which you may 
probably make up the Loss to me, and that is by writ 
ing oftener. I assure you, it would not be troublesome 
to me to receive half a Dozen Letters from you at one 

You tell me you was greatly alarmd to hear that 
General Howe s Army was on the March to Philadel- 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 349 

phia. I have long known you to be possessd of much 
Fortitude of Mind. But you are a Woman, and one 
must expect you will now and then discover Timidity 
so natural to your Sex. I thank you, my Dear, most 
cordially for the Warmth of Affection which you ex 
press on this Occasion, for your Anxiety for my Safety 
and your Prayers to God for my Protection. The Man 
who is conscientiously doing his Duty will ever be pro 
tected by that Righteous and all powerful Being, and 
when he has finishd his Work he will receive an ample 
Reward. I am not more convincd of any thing than 
that it is my Duty, to oppose to the utmost of my 
Ability the Designs of those who would enslave my 
Country ; and with Gods Assistance I am resolvd to 
oppose them till their Designs are defeated or I am 
called to quit the Stage of Life. 

I am glad to hear that the Winter has been in a 
remarkable Degree so favorable in New England, be 
cause it must have lessend the .... been increasd 
.... the Poor, is in Holy Writ coupled with him who 
oppresses them. Be you warm and be you cloathd, 
without administering the necessary Means, is but cold 
Consolation to the miserable. I am glad you have 
given Shelter to M rs A. who had not where to lay her 
Head. She deservd your Notice, and she has more 
than rewarded you for it in being, as you say she is, 
grateful. Whenever you see a poor Person grateful, 
you may depend upon it, if he were rich he would be 
charitable. We are not however, to seek Rewards in 
this Life, for Deeds of Charity, but rather imitate the 
all merciful Being, of whom, if I mistake not, it is said 
in Scripture, that he doth Good to the Evil and 


unthankful. There is indeed no such Thing as dis- 
interrested Benevolence among Men. Self Love and 
social, as Pope tells us, is the same. The truly char 
itable Man partakes of the Feelings of the wretched 
wherever he sees the Object, and he relieves himself 
from Misery by relieving others. 

I am greatly grievd for the Loss we have met with 
in the Death of M r Checkley. From the Account you 
give me of the Nature & Extent of his Disorder, I 
conclude he must have died before this Time. He was 
indeed a valueable Relation and Friend. Have you 
lately heard from your Brother at S l Eustatia ? 

We have no News here. The Events which take 
place in the Jerseys must be known in Boston before 
you can be informd of them from this Place. There 
is a Report that a Party of the Jersey Militia fell in 
with a larger Party of the Enemy, killed about twenty 
and took a greater Number Prisoners besides fifty three 
Waggons and Provisions. This is believd. It is also 
said that General Heath has taken Fort Washington. 
If it be so, we shall soon have the News confirmd. . . 

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

BALTIMORE Feb. i, 1777. 


The Proceedings of the Committees of the four New 
England States have been read in Congress and are 
now under the Consideration of a Committee of the 
whole. They are much applauded as being salutary 
and wise. I had heard that one of your Delegates 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 351 

at that Convention had written a long Letter to his 
Friend and Confident here, and hearing it whisperd 
that the Massachusetts State disapprovd of the Pro. 
ceedings, I was led to ask the Gentleman who had 
receivd the Letter concerning it. He confirmd it 
and said that not only the Trade but the landed Gen 
tlemen in the House of Representatives were san 
guine against it. I beg d him to let me see his Letter 
but he refusd in a kind of Pet, telling me it was a 
private Letter, & leaving me to conjecture whether I 
had really been impertinent in asking a Sight of his 
Letter or whether the Contents of it were such as it 
was not proper for me to see. You will easily con 
ceive what a Scituation a Man must be in here, who 
having receivd no Intelligence of the Sentiments of 
his Constituents himself is obligd in vain to ask 
of another upon what Principles they have disapprovd 
of a Measure if in truth they did disapprove of it, of 
which he is called to give his own opinion. You 
may see, my Friend, from this Instance, the Ne 
cessity of your writing to me oftener. When I was 
told upon the forementiond occasion, that I should 
be intitled to see the Letters of another whenever I 
should be disposd to show those which I receive my 
self, I could have truly said that I had scarcely receivd 
any. Two only from you in the Space of near four 
Months. But I have no Claim to your Favors, 
however much I value them, unless perhaps upon the 
Score of my having neglected not a single Opportunity 
of writing to you. Your omitting even to acknow 
ledge the Receipt of my Letters, I might indeed con 
strue as a silent Hint that they were displeasing to you, 

352 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

but I will not believe this till I have it under your 
own hand. While I am writing your very agreable 
Letter is brought to me by M r Lovell. You therein 
speak, as you ever have done, the Language of my Soul. 
M r Adams tells me you are President of the Board of 
War ; I am therefore indued to recall what I have 
just now said which you may construe as an implied 
Censure for your not having written to me oftener. 
I am sure you must have a great Deal of Business in 
your hands. I am not however sorry to hear it, pro 
vided your Health is not injurd by it. I pray God 
to preserve the Health of your Body and the Vigor 
of your Mind. We must chearfully deny our selves 
domestick Happiness and the sweet Tranquility of 
private Life when our Country demands our Services. 
Give me Leave to hint to you my Opinion that it 
would be a Saving to our State* in the Way of Sup 
ply if the Board of War would consign the Cargos 
w ch they order here to a Merchant of good Character 
rather than to the Master of the Vessell possibly 
there may be Exceptions, But I have Reason to 
think a Cargo which arrivd about a fortnight ago 
consisting chiefly as I am told of Rum & Sugars was 
sold at least 30 p O under what it w d have fetched 
if it had been under the Direction of a Person ac 
quainted in the place, and Flour is purchasing by the 
Person who bought the Cargo at an unlimitted Price. 
I am perswaded that if you had by a Previous Letter 
directed a Cargo to be procured here you might have 
had it 20 p Cent cheaper. If the Board should be 
of my Mind, I know of no Gentlemen whom I would 
recommend more chearfully than Mess Samuel & 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 353 

Robert Purvyance they are Merchants of good 
Character, honest & discrete Men, and warmly at- 
tachd to our all important Cause. But I get out of 
my Line when I touch upon Commerce, it is a Sub 
ject I never understood. Adieu my dear Friend. 
Believe me to be yours, 

P. S. I forgot to tell you that, a fair occasion 
offering, I moved in Congress that the eldest Son of 
our deceasd friend Gen 1 Warren m e be adopted by 
the Continent & educated at the publick Expence. 
The Motion was pleasing to all and a Corn 6 is ap 
pointed to prepare a Resolve. Monuments are also 
proposd in Memory of him & Gen 1 Mercer whose 
youngest Son is also to be adopted & educated. But 
these things I would not have yet made publick. 


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

BALTIMORE Feb 4 th 1777 


I send you the inclosd Speech for your Amusement. 
One or two Remarks you will observe are made upon 
it. There is Room for many more. I wish some in 
genious Pen might be employd. The Contest with 
America, it seems, is now confessd by the British 
Monarch to be u arduous." I think he greatly deceives 
himself, if he does not expect it will be more so. In 
deed he sees it ; for we must, says he, " at all Events 
prepare for another Campaign." " If their Treason is 
sufferd to take Root, much Mischief will grow out 

VOL. III. 23. 

354 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

of it to the present System of all Europe." Here we 
have the Authority of a King s (not a very wise one 
I confess) to affirm, that the War between Britain and 
the united States of America will affect the Ballance 
of Power in Europe. Will not the different Powers 
take different Sides to adjust the Ballance to their 
different Interests ? "I am using my utmost En 
deavors to conciliate the unhappy Differences between 
two Neighboring Powers." If he is still using his 
Endeavors, it seems, the Differences are not yet made 
up. " I continue to receive Assurances of Amity 
from the several Courts in Europe "- But he adds 
" It is expedient we should be in a respectable State 
of Defence at home." If he has such Assurances of 
the Continuance of Amity in Europe, why is it so 
expedient at this time to be in a respectable State 
of Defence at home ? Surely he cannot think the 
American Navy yet so formidable, as to demand this 
Caution. Or is he at length become wise enough to 
attend to a good old Maxim, In Peace prepare for 
War. By his prefixing a "Notwithstanding" to his 
" fair Prospect," and his being manifestly hard pressd 
with " the present Scituation of Affairs" in America, I 
am led to conclude, that he looks upon his " Assur 
ances of Amzty" asthe mere Compliments of a Court; 
and that he strongly apprehends, the Quarrel he has 
plungd himself into with America hath excited a Curi 
osity and a Watchfulness in some of the Powers of 
Europe, which will produce a contrary Effect. I am 
with very great Esteem, 

Your assured Friend 

and humble Servant, 

!777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 355 

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

BALTIMORE Feb 10, 1777 


I beg Leave to inclose my Account of Expences 
from the 26 th of April 1775 to the 27 of Aug 1776 
amounting to. ... 

I intended to have laid it before the House of Rep 
resentatives when I was last in New England, but the 
sudden Adjournment of the General Assembly in 
September last, and my Hurry in preparing for my 
Journey hither after its sitting again in October pre 
vented my doing it. 

When I sat off from Lexington after the memora 
ble Battle there, I had with me only the Cloaths on 
my back, which were very much worn, those which I 
had provided for my self being then in Boston, and it 
was out of my Power at that time to recover them. 
I was therefore under a Necessity, of being at an ex 
traordinary Expense, to appear with any kind of De 
cency for Cloathing & Linnen after my Arrival in this 
City, which I think makes a reasonable Charge of 
Barrils Leonards and Stilles Bills in my Acco 1 . 

It may perhaps be necessary to say something of the 
Charge of Horse hire in the last Article. When I 
left Watertown in September 75, two Horses were 
deliverd to me out of the publick Stable for my self 
& my Servant, by Order of Hon bl Council. They 
were very poor when I took them and both tired on 
the Road as you will see in my Account. One of 
them afterwards died in Philadelphia, which obligd 

356 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

me to purchase another in that place, and with this 
Horse I returned to Boston last Fall. His being my 
own Property, having purchasd him without Charge 
to my Constituents, I think gives me a just Right to 
make a Charge of Horse Hire, which is left to be 
carried out in a reasonable Sum. M r A says he is 
obligd to allow seven pounds 10 s for the Hire of 
each of his Horses to Philadelphia. 

I shall take it as a favor if you will present the Ac 
count to the Hon bl House, and acquaint the Commit 
tee to whom it may be referrd, with the Reasons of 
the Charges above mentiond, and make any other 
Explanations which you may judge necessary. M rs A 
has the Vouchers, to whom I beg you would apply for 
them in Person before you present the Account. I 
wish it may be settled as soon as the House can con 
veniently attend to it. If an Allowance for my Serv 
ices is considerd at the same time, you will please to 
be informd that I sat off from Lexington or Worces 
ter on the 26 th of April 75 and returnd on the 14 of 
August following. And again I sat off from Water- 
town on the I st of Sept 75 and returnd to Boston on 
the 27 th of August 76. 

I have troubled you with this Epistle of Horse hire 
and Shop Goods at a Time when, no Doubt, your 
Attention is called to Affairs of the greatest Concern 
to our Country. Excuse me, my dear Friend for 
once, and be assured that I am your affectionate, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 357 

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

BALTIMORE Feb 12 1777 


I receivd by M r Babcock, your Letter dated Leba 
non Jan y 23, communicated the same to the Com 
mittee and afterward laid it before Congress. The 
Price of the Cannon at Salisbury 1 so much exceeds 
that at which it is set in a Contract enterd into by 
Congress with the Owners of a Foundery in this 
State, that Congress have thought proper not to 
allow it, but have directed the Committee to request 
Governor Trumbull to lend them, to be returnd or 
others in Lieu of them as soon as possible. The 
Com 6 have written accordingly ; and I think it neces 
sary to give you Notice of the Sense of Congress 
relating to the Price of Cannon as early as possible, 
that you may govern yourself thereby in your further 
Execution of your Commission. I am &c 

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

BALTIMORE i2 th Feb 1777 


The Committee on the Affairs in the Northern 
Department having laid before Congress a Letter 
receivd from Col Stewart who was sent by them 
agreable to Order of Congress, to procure Cannon, 
wherein he informs that there is a Quantity of 

1 Connecticut. 

2 Governor of Connecticut. 

358 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

Cannon at Salisbury Foundery which the Governor 
& Council of Connecticutt are willing to dispose of to 
the Continent, but demand the Price of seventy 
Pounds Lawful Money p Ton for 18 & 9 pounders 
and Eighty Pounds Lawfull Money pr Ton for 6, 4 
& 3 pounders, it is an Order of Congress {hat the 
Committee aforesaid write to Gov r Trumbull & inform 
him of the Contracts enterd into by Congress, state 
to him the Prejudice it will do to those Contracts and 
the ill Effects that must ensue to the Continent, 
should so high a Price be given for these Cannon, 
and request him to lend the Cannon, which are much 
wanted for the Defence of Ticonderoga, and assure 
him that Congress will return them or others in Lieu 
of them as soon as possible. 

Your Honor will please to be informd that Congress 
have enterd into a Contract with the Owners of a 
Foundery in the State of Maryland for 1000 Tons of 
Cannon from 32 down to 4 pounders to be deliverd 
in such proportion as Congress shall require at ^36 
i os p Ton accounting Dollars at 7/6. 

The Prejudice which will be done to this Contract 
if so high a Price should now be given for the Cannon 
at Salisbury, must be obvious. It will be an Example 
for all others to demand the like Prices ; and more 
over it may afford a Pretext for those who wish for 
Occasions to spread Jealousy and Discord among the 
united States, to say, that the State of Connecticutt 
have in this Instance taken Advantage of the Ne 
cessity of the Continent. As there is no Reason to 
entertain so unworthy a Sentiment of that State we 
earnestly hope that no Circumstance may take place 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 359 

which might gratify the Inclinations of our insidi 
ous Enemies to do an Injury to our common Cause. 
We are with the greatest Respect your honors most 
obedient & very hbl Serv tsl 



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

BALTIMORE Feb 15 1777 


I am favord with yours of the 2 1 of December for 
which I am much obligd to you. I am much concernd 
to hear that the Tories in Boston & Massachusetts 
Bay have lately grown insolent & that no Measures 
are taken to suppress their Insolence. They are the 
most virulent, & I am of Opinion, the most danger 
ous Enemies of America. They do not indeed openly 
appear in Arms, but they do more Mischief secretly. 
I am very apprehensive that they greatly operate to 
the preventing Inlistments and doing other essential 
Injury to our Cause. If they are not properly dealt 
with, I am perswaded, the Publick will much regret 
the Omission very soon. I do not wish for needless 
Severities ; but effectual Measures, and severe ones 
if others are insufficient, to prevent their pernicious 
Councils & Machinations, I think ought to be taken, 
and that without any Delay. It will be Humanity 
shown to Millions, who are in more Danger of being 
reducd to thraldom & Misery by those Wretches than 
by British & Hessian Barbarians.] I cannot conceive 
why a Law is not made declaratory of Treason & 

1 Signed by Adams, R. H. Lee, Wm. Whipple, and Thomas Hayward. 

360 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

other Crimes & properly to punish those who are 
guilty of them. If to conspire the Death of a King 
is Treason and worthy of Death, surely a Conspiracy 
to ruin a State deserves no less a Punishment. J: 
have Reason to think you have a Number of such 
Conspirators among you ; and believe me, you will 
soon repent of it, if you do not speedily take Notice 
of them. But let me ask you my Friend, Whether 
some of the late Addressers, Protesters and Asso- 
ciators, are not seen in the Circles, in the Houses 
and at the Tables of Whigs ? Is there not Reason 
to expect that those who exiled themselves thro Fear 
of the just Vengeance of their Countrymen will be 
invited by the kind Treatment of those who have 
equal Reason to dread that Vengeance, to return 
into the Bosom of their much injurd Country. But 
I need add no more. Believe me to be cordially, 

Your Friend, 


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

BALTIMORE Feb 16 1777 


A few days ago a small Expedition was made under 
the Authority of this State, aided by a Detachment of 
Continental Regulars to Suppress the Tories in the 
Counties of Somerset & Worcester on the Eastern 
Shore of Chessapeak, where they are numerous & 
have arisen to a great Pitch of Insolence. We this 
day heard rumors that one of their Principals, a Doctor 
Cheyney, is taken & we hope to hear of the Business 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 361 

being effectually done very soon. In my opinion, much 
more is to be apprehended from the secret Mach 
ination of these rascally People, than from the open 
Violence of British & Hessian Soldiers, whose Success 
has been in a great Measure owing to the Aid they 
have receivd from them. You know that the Tories 
in America have always acted upon System. Their 
Head Quarters used to be in Boston more lately in 
Philadelphia. They have continually embarrassd the 
publick Councils there, and afforded Intelligence Ad 
vice & Assistance to General Howe. Their Influence 
is extended thro-out the united States. Boston has 
its full share of them and yet I do not hear that Meas 
ures have been taken to suppress them. On the 
Contrary I am informd that the Citizens are grown so 
polite as to treat them with Tokens of Civility and 
respect. Can a Man take fire into his Bosom and not 
be burnd ? Your Massachusetts Tories communicate 
with the Enemy in Britain as well as New York. They 
give and receive Intelligences from whence they early 
form a Judgment of their Measures. I am told they 
discoverd an Air of insolent Tryumph in their Coun 
tenances, and saucily enjoyd the Success of Howes 
Forces in Jersey before it happend. Indeed, my 
Friend, if Measures are not soon taken, and the most 
vigorous ones, to root out these pernicious Weeds, 
it will be in vain for America to persevere in this 
glorious Struggle for the publick Liberty. 

General Howe has declared his Intentions that Gen 
eral Lee shall be tried by the Laws of his Country. 
So he is considerd as a Deserter from the British 
Army. You know the Resolution of Congress con- 

362 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

cerning this Matter. It is my Opinion that L Col 
Campbell ought immediately to be secured. He is to 
be detaind as one upon whom Retalliation is to be 
made. Would you believe it, that after the shocking 
Inhumanity shown to our Countrymen in the Jerseys, 
plundering Houses, cruelly beating old Men, ravishing 
Maids, murdering Captives in cold Blood & sistemat- 
ically starving Multitudes of Prisoners under his own 
Eyes in New York this humane General totally disa 
vows even his winking at the Tragedy and allows that 
a few Instances may have happend which are rather 
to be lamented. 

Congress is now busy in considering the report of 
the joynt Com tee of the Eastern States. A curious De 
bate arose on this Subject, which I have not time now 
to mention. I will explain it to you in my next. 

Adieu my Friend, 

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

PHILAU E March 19 1775 


I wrote to you by the last Post, and am resolvd to 
write by every Post as well as other opportunities. 
If I have Nothing more to say to you, I flatter my 
self you will be pleasd when I have it in my Power 
to tell you, as I now do, that I am in good Health and 
Spirits. I must remind you that the last Letter I re- 
ceivd from you is dated the 26 th of January. I am 
in daily Expectation of receiving another. You do 

T77?] SAMUEL ADAMS. 363 

not conceive with how much Satisfaction I read your 
Letters. I wish therefore that you would not omit 
writing to me by the Post if other safe Opportunities 
do not present. 

Yesterday we receivd a very agreeable Letter from 
Doctor Franklin dated at Nantes (in France) the 8 th> 
of December. By this Letter, things appear in a very 
favorable Light to America in that Kingdom. A 
general War was thought to be unavoidable. The 
Differences between Spain & Portugal were not set 
tled, although the British Monarch (as he tells his 
Parliament) had been using his Endeavors for that 
Purpose. The Passengers tell us it is the Determi 
nation of the Court of France to prevent the Russian 
Troops from coming to America, and that General 
Howe can expect no Reinforcement of foreign Mer 
cenaries this year. It is however the Wisdom of 
America to prepare for the most formidable Attacks. 
I am sorry to tell you that the Vessel which brought 
us this Intelligence was taken near the Capes of Del 
aware, having Goods on board belonging to the Con 
tinent, to what Value is not yet ascertaind. We 
must expect Misfortunes and bear them. I make no 
Doubt but this Contest will end in the Establishment 
of American Freedom & Independence. 

I lately received two Letters from my Son. He 
writes me that he is in good Health. The Affairs of 
the Department he is in, will soon be settled on a new 
Plan, when his Friends here say he shall be provided 
for. I have told him he must expect to derive no Ad 
vantage in point of Promotion from his Connection 
with me, for it is well known I have ever been averse 

364 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

to recommending Sons or Cousins. Yet I am far 
from being indifferent towards him. I feel the affec 
tion of a Father. It gives me inexpressible Pleas 
ure to hear him so well spoken of. I hope I am not, 
indeed I have no Reason to think that I am flatterd 
and deceivd. 

In a former Letter you informd that our valueable 
Brother M r Checkley was dangerously ill and his 
Life despared of. I have heard Nothing of him since, 
although I have enquired of Persons who came from 
Providence. My worthy Friend Col 1 Henshaw you 
tell me, still lives, beyond the Expectation of his Phy 
sician and Friends. I did not promise my self the 
Pleasure of ever seeing him again in this World when 
I left Boston. But M r Checkley was by many years 
younger, and in high Health when I visited him at 

I have been told that the Law lately made in our 
State has been attended with ill Consequences, and 
that the Inhabitants of Boston were in Danger of be 
ing starvd for Want of the necessary Articles of living 
from the Country ; but a Letter I have just receivd 
from a Friend upon whom I greatly rely, assures me 
that it is likely to answer the good Purposes intended. 
Pray, my Dear, let me know whether you live accord 
ing to your own Wishes. I am very sollicitous con 
cerning you. Tell my Daughter and Sister Polly that 
I daily think of them. Remember me to each of my 
Family and other Friends. I am 

Your affectionate 

After perusing the inclosd, you 
will seal and send it to Miss Scollay. 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 365 

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

PHILAD E March 2O th 1777 


I am to acknowledge your Favor of the 22 d of Fetx 
which I receivd a few days ago. The Act for regu 
lating Prices, you tell me has made a great Convulsion 
especially in Boston. I am exceedingly sorry to hear 
that Dissentions should arise in a Community, re- 
markeable for its publick Spirit, and which has hereto 
fore by the united Exertions of Individuals repeatedly 
done essential Services in Support of the Liberties of 
America. Is it indeed true, my Friend, that " Self 
Denial is a Virtue rarely to be seen among you " ? 
How great a Change in a few years ! The Self De 
nial of the Citizens of Boston, their Patience and 
long Suffering under the cruel Oppression of the 
Port bill was astonishing both to their Friends and 
their Enemies. Their Firmness and Resolution in 
that severe Conflict, and the Chearfulness with which 
they endurd the Loss of all things, rather than the 
publick Liberty should suffer by their Submission, 
will be handed down to their Honour in the impartial 
History. God forbid that they should so soon forget 
their own generous Feelings for the Publick and for 
each other, as to set private Interest in Competition 
with that of the great Community. The Country 
and the Town, you tell me, mutually complain of 
each other. I well remember it was the Artifice of 
our common Enemies to foment such Divisions but 
by the social Interviews of Committees of Corre 
spondence and other Means the Affections of the 

366 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

Town & Country were conciliated. Indeed there is 
no Time for angry Disputes. While the publick 
Liberty is in Danger, and every thing that is sacred 
is threatned, the People should, if ever, be in perfect 
good humour. At such a Time Citizens should not 
be over sollicitous concerning their seperate Interests. 
There should rather be an Emulation to excell each 
other in their Exertions for the Safety of our Coun 
try. I confess I am not sufficiently informd to make 
up a Judgment for myself of the Utility of the Act in 
every Particular. Perhaps it would have been better 
if those necessary Articles of Life for the Supply of 
which you depend upon the Southern Colonies had 
been put upon a Footing with other imported Ar 
ticles. As the Price of Flour for Instance is not 
limitted in these States, I cannot see how it can be 
fixed at a certain Rate in New England without 
Danger of injuring the Importer, or altogether pre 
venting the necessary Supply of Bread. The Com 
mittees of the middle States I am told are now met, 
and if they should agree to regulate the Prices of 
their produce it may put it in the power of our Gen 
Assembly to fix them at such Rates as to enable the 
Merchants to supply the Town without Loss to 

I observe what you have written concerning the 
Supply of the Army with your Mannufacture. Such 
Matters are out of my Line, but you may assure your 
self I shall endeavor to promote your Interest as far 
as it may be in my Power, for I am, 

Your unfeigned Friend, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 367 

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

PHILAD A April I st 1777 


I wrote to you the Week before last by the Post 
and since by a M r Vose of Boston. I wish to hear of 
your having receivd both those Letters, especially 
the last for a Reason which must be obvious to you 
if you have seen its Contents. 

We have receivd the important Intelligence from 
New Hampshire of the Arrival of a Vessel from 
France with near twelve thousand Stands of Arms 
and a great Quantity of Powder &c. I congratulate 
my Country on the occasion. By this Vessel I have 
a Letter from my much esteemed Friend A. L. I 
will recite to you some Passages in his Letter because 
I recollect with how much Pleasure you used to read 
those which I formerly receivd from him, and be 
cause I think the Spirit with which he writes and the 
Intelligence containd in his Letter, will afford Satis 
faction to you and the Circle of our Friends. " It is 
certain, says he, that the Peace of Europe hangs 
upon a Cobweb. It is certain that, Portugal & 
Russia excepted, all Europe wishes us Success. The 
Ports of France, Spain and the Mediterranean are 
open to us on the Terms of Neutrality. We have 
already receivd a Benevolence in this Country, which 
will enable us to Expedite and augment the Stores 
necessary for your Defence." The Benevolence 
he refers to, is a voluntary Loan of a Sum of Money 
in France, without Interest, and to be paid as soon 

368 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

as it can conveniently be done after a Peace shall 
be establishd. You may now remember what I 
wrote you from Baltimore in December last. I 
think we shall soon reap the happy Fruits of the De 
terminations of Congress at that time. My Friend 
tells me " It is with Pleasure he revives a Corre 
spondence which the particular Situation of Affairs 
has so long interrupted." His Letter is dated in 
Paris the 2i st of January. I had before written to 
him on the 2 d of the same Month, being then fully 
satisfied that mine, if no ill Accident happend, would 
find him in that Place. I then observd to him that 
our Country had called him to act in a more en 
larged Sphere. He soon after informs me that he 
had " obeyed the Call of Congress into the immediate 
Service of our Country." What this Service is our 
Friends will conjecture. You may assure them that 
Matters merely commercial are not in the Line of his 
Genius. In my Letter, I remark to him that our 
Country is now enduring the sharp Conflict, con 
fiding that righteous Heaven will never look with an 
indifferent Eye upon a Cause so manifestly just, and 
so interresting to Mankind. In his Letter, he tells 
me with the Spirit of Prediction " When with Roman 
Fortitude & Magnanimity we refuse to treat with 
Hannibal at our Gates, he looks forward to Roman 
Greatness." I am perswaded that these united States 
will never treat with any Power which will not ac 
knowledge their Independence. The Inhabitants of 
Boston, who have heretofore acted so disinterrested 
and patriotick a Part will Surely persevere in support, 
ing this all important Cause. America has already 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 369 

the Applause of the virtuous and the brave. If we 
are not wanting to ourselves, we may be assured of 
the Smiles of Heaven. However ready some of the 
Powers of Europe may be to aid us in this glorious 
Struggle, it will certainly in the End be best for us, 
if we can save ourselves by our own Exertions. Our 
Sufferings will indeed be greater if we are left to our 
selves, but the more dearly we purchase our Liberties, 
the more we shall prize them and the longer we shall 
preserve them. 

Yesterday an unhappy Man was executed here for 
attempting to entice some of the Pilots to enter into 
the Service of Lord Howe. He was first examined 
by the Board of War, and afterwards tried by a 
Court Martial and condemned. The Pilots pretended 
to him that they were in earnest till the Bargain was 
made and he had given them the Bribe. They then 
seizd him and had him committed to Goal. Before 
his Execution the whole Proceedings of the Court 
were laid before Congress and the Judgment was ap- 
provd of. The Evidence against him was full and 
clear, but not more so than his own Confession. He 
said that he had been at New York about a Month 
before he was detected, and that M r Galloway, a 
Man of Fortune & a noted Tory in this State, who 
last Winter went over to the Enemy, was his Adviser 
there. No Doubt there were others here who secretly 
abetted & supported him. Some ordinary Persons, 
I am told have disappeard since this Mans De 

It has been reported here these few days past that 
Lord Howe is gone to England, and it is thought by 

VOL. iii. 24. 

370 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

some to be probable upon this Circumstance that a 
new Proclamation has made its Appearance signd 
William Howe only. 

I am informd that General Carleton and his Brother 
have been very ill used and are greatly disgusted 
with the British Court. That Lord George Sackvill 
and all the Scotch hate them, and they him. You 
remember the old Proverb. 

I am afraid, my dear, I have tired your Patience 
with a Letter altogether upon political Matters. I 
have only time to tell you that I remain in good 
Health & Spirits Believe me 

Your affectionate 

April 2 d 

Your Kind Letter of the I9 th of March is just come 
to my hand 

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

PHiLAD E May 12 1777 


Amidst your Hurry of Business and my own, I can 
not help withdrawing myself for a Moment to throw 
on paper a single Sentiment for your Consideration. 
Europe and America seem to be applauding our Imi 
tation of the Fabian Method of carrying on this War 
without considering as I conceive the widely different 
Circumstances of the Carthaginian & the British Gen 
erals. It will recur to your Memory that the Faction 

1 Addressed to General Greene at Morristown, New Jersey. 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 371 

of Hanno in Carthage prevented Hannibals receiving 
the Supplys from them which he had a Right to ex 
pect and his Necessities requird. This left him to 
the Resources of his own Mind, and obligd him to 
depend upon such Supplys as he could procure from 
the Italians. Under such a Circumstance, it was the 
Wisdom of Fabius to put himself in the State of De 
fence but by no means of Inactivity by keeping a 
watchful Eye upon Hannibal and cutting off his for- 
raging & other Parties by frequent Skirmishes he had 
the strongest Reason to promise himself the Ruin of 
his Army without any Necessity of risqueing his own 
by a general Engagement. But General Howe (who 
by the way I am not about to compare to Hannibal as 
a Soldier) has at all times the best Assurances of Sup 
plies from Britain. There is no Faction there to dis 
appoint him and the British Navy is powerful enough 
to protect Transports & provision Vessels coming to 
him. Hannibal despaird of Reinforcements from Car 
thage, but Howe has the fullest Assurances of early 
reinforcements from Britain & cannot fail of receiving 
them, unless a general War has taken place which I 
think is at least problematical. They are expected 
every Day. Would Fabius, if he were his Enemy, pur 
sue the Method he tookwith the Carthaginian General? 
Would he not rather attend to the present Circum 
stances, and by destroying the Army in Brunswick 
prevent as much as possible the Enemy increasing in 
Strength even if reinforcements should arrive or put- 
ing a total End to the Campaign if they should not. 
I am sensible our own Circumstances have been such, 
thro the Winter past, as to make it impracticable to 

372 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

attempt any thing, but I hope we are or shall be very 
soon in a Condition to take a decisive part, and I do 
not entertain any Doubt but we shall see such an en- 
terprizing Spirit as will confound our Enemies and 
give Assurances to the Friends of Liberty & Mankind 
that we still retain a just Sense of our own Dignity 
and the Dignity of our Cause and are resolvd by 
God s Assistance to support it at all Hazzards. 

I am, & c 

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

PHILAD E JUNE 17, 1777 


I am disappointed in not receiving a Letter from 
you by yesterdays Post. The Fears you expressd in 
your last of the Arrival of Burgoin gave me Uneasi 
ness. We receivd Advice from our Friends in France 
which gave us some Reason to apprehend the Inten 
tion of the Enemy was to attack Boston, and we 
thought it necessary to give timely Notice of it. I 
hope the People there will always be so much on their 
Guard as to prepare for the worst, but I think you 
will not be in Danger this Summer. This City has 
been given out as their Object. Last Saturday Gen 
eral Howe with the main Body of his Army marchd 
from Brunswick to Somerset Court House about 8 
Miles on the Road to Cariel s Ferry with an Inten 
tion as it was thought to cross the Delaware there, 
but Gen 1 Sullivan with about three thousand Regulars 
and Militia got Possession of the post there. The 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 373 

Jersey Militia are coming out with great Spirit and I 
think the progress of the Enemy in that way is effect 
ually stopped Col 1 Whipple will set off tomorrow for 
Boston & Portsmouth. If I can possibly get time I 
will write by him. I am now in great Haste. I hope 
you duly receivd my last inclosing one to Henry 
Gardner Esq., 1 and that the Matter therein mentioned 
is settled to your Advantage. Give my Love to 
my Daughter Sister Polly & c . Write to me by 
every Post. Adieu my dear & believe me to be 
most affectionately, 


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

PHILAD A June 18 1777 


This Letter will be deliverd to you by my worthy 
Friend Col Whipple a Delegate of the State of New 
Hampshire. He is a Gentleman of Candor, and 
wishes he could have the opportunity of conversing 
freely with some one of Influence in the Massa 
chusetts Bay upon Matters concerning that State 
particularly. To whom could I recommend him on 
this Occasion with more Propriety than to your self, 
He will be able to give you such Information of Per 
sons and Things as one would not chuse to throw on 
Paper in this precarious Time when an Accident 
might turn the Intelligence into a wrong Channel. 

I observe by the Boston Papers last brought to us, 

1 Treasurer of Massachusetts. 

374 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

that you are again placed in the Chair of the House 
of Representatives, with which I am well pleasd. 
M r Paine Speaker pro Temp. M r Hancock first 
Member of the Boston Seat and M r T. Gushing a 
Councellor at large I have the Honor of knowing 
but few of the Members of the House. I hope my 
Countrymen have been wise in their Elections and I 
pray God to bless their Endeavors for the establish 
ment of publick Liberty Virtue & Happiness. 

You will hear before this will reach you of the 
Motions of the Enemy. It has been the general 
Opinion for many Months past that this City is the 
Object. Should they gain this Point what will it 
avail them unless they beat our Army. This I am 
fully perswaded they will not do. My Wish is that 
our Army may beat them, because it would put a 
glorious End to the present Campaign & very prob 
ably the War. I confess I have always been so very 
wrong headed as not to be over well pleasd with 
what is called the Fabian War in America. I con 
ceive a great Difference between the Situation of the 
Carthaginian & the British Generals. But I have no 
Judgment in military Affairs, and therefore will leave 
the Subject to be discussd, as it certainly will be, by 
those who are Masters of it. I can not conclude this 
Epistle without thanking you for your Care in carry 
ing a Matter in which I was interrested through the 
General Assemby of which I have been informd by 
our Friend M r . 

I wish to hear from you. Adieu my Friend, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 375 

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

PHILAD A June 23 1777 


I wrote to you a few days ago by Col Whipple 
with whom I hope you will have free Conversation. 
As he must have been not far from the Spot, he can 
give you a more particular Acco than has yet been 
handed to us, of the late Scituation & Movements of 
the two Armies. The main Body of our Army was 
encampd at Middle Brook, and a considerable Force 
consisting of Continental Troops and Militia lay at a 
place called Sourland Hills within 6 Miles of the 
Enemy who were posted at Somersett Court House 
9 miles on this Side of Brunswick. The Right of the 
Enemy was at Brunswick & their Left at Somersett. 
They were well fortified on the Right and had the 
Raritan River in front and Millstone on the left. In 
this Situation General W. tho t an Attack upon them 
would be attended with bad Consequences. His 
Design was to collect all the forces that c d possibly be 
drawn from other Quarters so as to reduce the Se 
curity of his Army to the greatest Certainty & to be in 
a Condition to embrace any fair opp ty that m* offer to 
make an Attack on advantageous terms. In the 
mean time by light bodies of Militia seconded & 
encouragd by a few Continental Troops to harrass 
& diminish their Numbers by continual Skirmishes. 
But the Enemy made a sudden Retreat to Brunswick 
and from thence with great Precipitation tow ds Amboy 
All the Continental Troops at Peeks Kill except the 

376 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

number necessary for the Security of the Post were 
orderd to hasten on to the Army in Jersey & a part 
of them had joynd. I am not disposd to ascribe 
great military Skill to Gen 1 Howe, but if he designd 
to draw the whole of our Forces from the East to the 
West Side of Hudsons River, in order to gain advan 
tage by suddenly crossing the River with his own 
Army I cannot but hope they will be cut off & his 
Design frustrated. Great Credit is due to the Jersey 
Militia who have turnd out with spirit & alacrity. I 
congratulate you on the Success of our State Vessels 
of War. 

Will you be so kind as to call on M rs A & let her 
know that you have rec d this Letter, for she charges 
me with not writing to my Friends so often as she 
thinks I ought. 

The Watchman tells me tis past 12 o Clock. 

Adieu my dear friend. 


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society; portions are printed in 
W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 470, 471, 475.] 

PHILAD A June 26 1777. 


I intended to have written to you by the last Post, 
but being under a Necessity of dispatching some Let 
ters to Boston by the Eastern Post which went off the 
same day I was prevented. When you left this City 
you may remember the Enemy was at Brunswick and 
our Army at a place called Middlebrook about 9 Miles 
North of Brunswick Since which General Howe who 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 377 

had joyned his Army marchd suddenly from thence 
with Design as it was generally believd to make a rapid 
Push for Philadelphia, but he disappointed the Hopes 
of some and the fears of others by halting at Somerset 
Court House about 9 Miles on the Road leading to 
Caryels Ferry. General Sullivan who you know had 
been at Princeton made a quick March to cover our 
Boats at the Ferry and by retarding Howe s March 
to give an opportunity to our Army to come up & 
attack them. But the Enemy continuing at Somerset 
Sullivan advancd with a considerable Force consist 
ing of Continental Troops and Militia&posted himself 
at a place called Sourland hills within six Miles of 
Somerset Court house. The Enemy were very 
strongly posted, their Right at Brunswick & their Left 
at Somerset well fortified on the Right and having the 
Raritan in front and Millstone on the Left. In this 
Scituation Gen 1 W. did not think it prudent to attack 
them as it did not appear to him to be warranted by 
a sufficient prospect of Success and he thought it might 
be attended with ruinous Consequences. The Design 
then was to reduce the Security of his Army to the 
greatest Certainty by collecting all the Forces that 
could be drawn from other Quarters, so as to be in a 
Condition of embracing any fair opportunity that m l 
offer to make an Attack on Advantageous Terms, and 
in the mean time by light Bodies of Militia seconded 
& encouragd by a few continental Troops to harrass & 
diminish their Numbers by continual Skirmishes But 
the Enemy made an unexpected Retreat to Brunswick, 
and afterwards with great Precipitation to Amboy. 
June 29- - On Wednesday last the Enemy re- 

378 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

inforcd, as it is said, with Marines, marchd from 
Amboy, through a Road between Brunswick and 
Elizabeth Town to a place called Westfield about 10 
Miles, with Design as it is supposd to cut off our Light 
Troops and bring on a General Battle, or to take 
Possession of the High Land back of Middlebrook ; 
for which last purpose Westfield was the most con 
venient Route and it was also a well chosen Spot from 
whence to make a safe Retreat in Case he should fail 
of gaining his Point. On this march they fell in with 
General Maxwell who thought it prudent to retreat to 
our main Army then at Quibbletown from whence Gen 1 
W. made a hasty march to his former Station and 
frustrated the supposd Design of the Enemy. I have 
given you a very general Narrative of the different 
Situation & Movements of the two Armies, without 
descending to the particulars, because we have not as 
yet an Authentick Account, and one cannot depend 
upon the many stories that are told. I think I may 
assure you that our Army is in high Spirits and is daily 
growing more respectable in point of Numbers. 

We are going on within Doors with Tardiness 
enough. A Thousand and [one] little Matters too often 
throw out greater ones. A kind of Fatality still pre 
vents our proceeding a Step in the important affair of 
Confederation Yesterday and the day before was 
wholly spent in passing Resolutions to gratify N. Y. 
or as they say to prevent a civil War between that 
State and the Green Mountain Men A Matter which 
it is not worth your while to have explaind to you. 
Mons r D Coudray 5 affair is still unsettled. The four 
french Engineers are arrivd. They are said to be very 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 379 

clever but disdain to be commanded by Coudray. M r 
Com r D - continuing to send us french German & 
Prussian officers with authenticated Conventions and 
strong recommendations. The military Science, for 
your Comfort, will make rapid Progress in America. 
Our Sons and Nephews will be provided for in the 
Army and a long and moderate War will be their happy 
Portion. But who my Friend, would not wish for peace. 
May I live to see the publick Liberty restored and the 
Safety of our dear Country secured. I should then 
think I had enjoyd enough and bid this World Adieu. 


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

PHILAD E June 30 1777 


I have the Pleasure of receiving your friendly 
Letter of the 16 Instant, and have little more than 
time enough barely to acknowledge the favor. There 
is an unaccountable Uncertainty in the Conduct of 
the Post office. About a month ago I remonstrated 
to the Post Master General that the time allowd the 
Eastern Delegates to answer the Letters they receivd 
by the post (being on the Monday between 9 & 2) 
was altogether spent in Congress, and requested that 
we might have one Evening for the purpose. He 
granted it and the Post has been since detaind till 
tuesday Morning, but I am now informd that the 
former Regulation is revivd, for what Reason I know 
not, and our Letters must be ready at two o Clock. I 

380 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

do assure you I should hardly forgive my self, could 
I reflect upon my having once neglected to write to 
so valueable a Friend as you. 

You wish to hear "how our Confederation goes 
on." I do not wonder at your Anxiety to have it 
completed, for it appears to me to be a Matter of 
very great Importance. We every now and then 
take it into Consideration, but such a Variety of Af 
fairs have continually demanded the Attention of 
Congress that it has been impracticable hitherto to 
get thro it. There are but two or three things which 
in my opinion will be the Subjects of much further 
Debate, and upon these I believe most if not all the 
Members have already made up their Minds. One 
is what Share of Votes each of the States, which 
differ so much in Wealth & Numbers, shall have in 
determining all Questions. Much has been said 
upon this weighty Question upon the decision of 
which depends the Union of the States and the 
.Security of the Liberty of the whole. Perhaps it 
would be more easy for a disinterrested Foreigner to 
see, than for the united States to fix upon, the Prin 
ciples upon which this Question ought in Equity to 
be decided. The Sentiments in Congress are not 
various, but as you will easily conceive opposite. 
The Question was very largely debated a few days 
ago, and I am apt to think it will tomorrow be de- 
termind that each State shall have one Vote, but 
that certain great & very interresting Questions, shall 
have the concurrent Votes of nine States for a Deci 
sion. Whether this Composition will go near towards 
the Preservation of a due Ballance I wish you would 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 381 

consider, for if your Life & Health is spared to your 
Country, you will have a great Share in the Deter 
mination of it hereafter. You have later Advices 
from abroad than we. Our last Intelligence I gave 
you pretty minutely in a Letter which I sent & 
suppose was deliverd to you by Cap 1 Collins. 

I find by the News papers that the Gen 1 Assembly 
under the Denomination of a Convention are form 
ing a new Constitution. 1 This is a momentous Busi 
ness, I pray God to direct you. Shall I be favord 
with your own & others Sentiments upon it. I am 
greatly afflicted to hear that angry Disputes have 
arisen among my dear Countrymen, at a time es 
pecially when perfect good Humour should subsist 
and every Heart and Tongue & Hand should be 
united in promoting the Establishment of publick 
Liberty & securing the future Safety & Happiness of 
our Country. I am sure you will cultivate Harmony 
among those who Love the Country in Sincerity. 
With regard to others I will say in the apostolick 
Language "I would they were all cut off" (banishd 
at least) "that trouble you." 

Will it too much infringe upon your precious time 
to acquaint M rs A that I am in good health & Spirits, 
and have not opportunity to write to her by this 
post. I am with the most friendly regards to your 
Lady & Family very affectionately your Friend, 

i Columbia University Studies in History \ Economics, and Public Law, vol. 
vii., pp. 194-226. 

382 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

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

PHILAD E July 4 1777 


I did myself the Honor to write to you on the 2 d 
of Jan y last since which your favor of the 2i st of the 
same month from Paris came to my Hand. You 
have supposd that this Campaign would put General 
Howe, after the Junction with Burgoyne in Posses 
sion of the States of New York, New Jersey Penn 
sylvania & the Delaware with Rhode Island as his 
Center of Attack upon the States of New England; 
you have even considerd such a situation of things as 
almost certain. But I have now the Satisfaction of 
informing you that General Howe has found it neces 
sary to withdraw all his Troops from New Jersey, and 
I am of Opinion that it is impracticable for him to 
distribute his Troops among the States you have 
mentiond in sufficient Numbers to keep possession of 
them and afford enough to attack the New England 
States with the least Prospect of subduing them. I 
have thought that the Impression which the Enemy 
made the last Winter on the State of New Jersey was 
owing to favorable Circumstances which then took 
place, and was not in pursuance of the original Plan. 
The Time for which our Troops were inlisted had ex 
pired our Army was reducd to a mere handful and 
General Howe had flatterd himself that the middle 
States were so generally disaffected to our Cause as 
to render their total Submission practicable & easy. 
He therefore made a vigorous push in the Depth of 

i 7 77l SAMUEL ADAMS. 383 

Winter as far as Trenton upon Delaware, and there 
cantond his Troops with a Design probably of avail 
ing himself of this City early in the Spring before we 
should be able to collect a force sufficient to prevent 
it. But General Washington, having gaind a signal 
Advantage by an Attack as you have heard obligd 
him to retreat and make his remaining Winter Quar 
ters in Brunswick, since which the Vigilance & Activ 
ity of the people of Jersey who by frequent Skirmishes 
have lessend his Army, has given him reason to alter 
his opinion of their Disposition & his removing from 
thence has I think afforded sufficient Proof that he has 
not been able by Arts or Arms to conquer even one 
of our smallest States. What his next Step will be is 
uncertain, perhaps he may embark his Troops for 
Philadelphia, or more probably he may attempt a Junc 
tion with Burgoyne. If the first, has he to expect 
more Laurels or better Success than he gaind in Jer 
sey? Or, if the latter should be his Choice judge 
what must be his Prospect. Burgoyne who it is said 
cannot muster more than 7 or 8 thousand will be op- 
posd by our Northern Army & I hope overwhelmd be 
fore they can reach Albany. Howe will be followd 
close by the Army under the immediate Command of 
G W, at present more than equal it in number, in 
high Spirits, full of the Idea of Victory and daily in 
creasing. Under these unpromising Circumstances 
should he even complete a Junction, he will then have 
to begin an attempt of the most arduous Business of 
conquering the whole Army of the united States to 
gether with the numerous, hardy & stubborn Militia 
of New England. These are my Views of the present 

384 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

State of our military affairs, and I am perswaded, 
when I reflect on the Spirit & Valor discoverd in my 
Countrymen of Georgia So & No Carolina Virginia 
& Jersey to say nothing of Lexington & Bunker Hill 
in my own dear native State, Great Britain will ever 
show her self feeble in her Efforts to conquer America. 
I beg you to write to me full as often as you may find 
Leisure, and for my own part I feel a Disposition al 
most to persecute you with my Letters but I must 
conclude with congratulating you on this first Anni 
versary of American Independence, and assuring you 
that I am unfeignedly and very affectionately, 

Your Friend, 

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

PHILADEL A July 7 1777 


I intreat you to ascribe my not having yet ac- 
knowledgd the Receipt of your favor 1 to the true 
Cause, a perpetual Hurry of affairs. I have not been 
unmindful of its Contents. Major Ward, as you 
have heard, is appointed Commissary General of 
Musters with the Rank and Pay of a Colonel. I have 
long known him a Man of Sense and a zealous and 
steady Patriot, in Times less promising than the pres 
ent ; and the Part he took on the ever memorable 
19 th of April 75, together with the Experience he has 
gaind by constant Application ever since in the milita- 

: Of March 25, 1777. 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 385 

ry Line, intitles him to particular Notice. I will bear 
in my Memory the Hint given in the Close of your Let 
ter. If at any Time I may have it in my power to render 
benefit to a Friend by puting him in the Way of serv 
ing our Country it will afford me double Satisfaction. 
You will have heard before this reaches you that 
General Howe has at length drawn all his Forces 
from the State of Jersey to New York. It is the 
Business of General Washington to penetrate his fu 
ture Design. This City has been threatned for some 
Months past ; if he ever had such an Intention, it is 
probable he has now laid it aside, and that he will at 
tempt to force a Junction with Burgoyne, and subdue 
the Eastern States. [But] why should I hazzard a 
Conjecture of this kind who profess no Skill in mili 
tary affairs. I hope my Countrymen are prepared to 
give the Enemy a proper Reception whenever they 
may be attackd ! 

I have written you a friendly Letter though a short 
one short for want of time to write more. I have 
twenty things to say to you but at present must con 
clude with most respectful Compl ts to your Lady 
Family & Connections very cordially your friend, 


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

PHILAD E July 8 1777 


I do not recollect to have receivd a Letter from 
[you] of a later Date than the 25 of Dec r last, although 

VOL. IV. 25. 

3 86 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

I have been since writing to you as often as I co d find 
Leisure. I do not know that I have by any thing I 
have written given you just Cause of offence. If you 
think otherwise pray let me know it, and I will make 
as full Atonement as I am able, for I do assure you I 
wish to continue a friendly epistolary Correspondence 
with you. Be so kind as to write me by the very next 
Post and assure yourself that I am unfeignedly and 
most cordially, 

Y r Friend, 

[MS., Emmet Collection, Lenox Library.] 

PHILAD E July 15 1777 


I wrote to you a Fortnight ago in so great Haste 
that I had not time to transcribe or correct it and 
relied on your Candor to overlook the slovenly Dress 
in which it was sent to you. You have since heard 
that our Friends in Jersey have at length got rid of 
as vindictive and cruel an Enemy as ever invaded any 
Country. It was the opinion of General Gates that 
Howes advancing to Somerset Court House was a 
Feint to cover the Retreat of his Battering Train, 
ordinary Stores and heavy Baggage to Amboy. I 
confess I can not help yet feeling myself chagrind, 
that in more .... diminish his paltry Army 
in that State. If their Militia, among whom so great 
an Animation prevaild, had been let loose upon the 
Enemy, who knows but that they w d have destroyd 
their Army, or at least, so far have weakend it as to 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 387 

have put a glorious End to this Campaign, and perhaps 
the War ? I will acknowledge that my Temper is 
rather sanguine. I am apt to be displeasd when I 
think our Progress in War and in Politicks is Slow. 
I wish to see more of an enterprizing Spirit in the 
Senate and the Field, without which, I fear our 
Country will not speedily enjoy the Fruits of the 
present Conflict an establishd Independence and 
Peace. I cannot applaud the Prudence of the Step, 
when the People of Jersey were collected, and in 
spired with Confidence in themselves & each other, 
to dismiss them as not being immediately wanted, 
that they might go home in good Humour and be 
willing to turn out again in any other Emergency. I 
possess not the least Degree of Knowledge in military 
Matters, & therefore hazzard no opinion. I recol 
lect however that Shakespear tells us, there is a Tide 
in human Affairs, an Opportunity which wise Men 
carefully watch for and improve, and I will never 
forget because it exactly coincides with my religious 
opinion and I think is warranted by holy writ, that 
" God helps those who help themselves." 

We have letters from General Schuyler in the 
Northern Department giving us an Account of the 
untoward Situation of our Affairs in that Quarter & 
I confess it is no more than I expected, when he was 
again intrusted with the Command there. You re 
member it was urged by some that as he had a large 
Interest and powerful Connections in that Part of the 
Country, no one could so readily avail himself of 
Supplys for an Army there, than he. A most sub 
stantial Reason, I think, why he should have been 

388 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

appointed a Quartermaster or a Commissary. But it 
seems to have been the prevailing Motive to appoint 
him to the Chief Command ! You have his Account 
in the inclosed Newspaper, which leaves us to guess 
what is become of the Garrison. It is indeed droll 
enough to see a General not knowing where to find 
the main Body of his Army. Gates is the Man of 
my Choice. He is honest and true, & has the Art of 
gaining the Love of his Soldiers principally because he 
is always present with them in Fatigue & Danger. 
But Gates has been disgusted ! We are however 
waiting to be relievd from this disagreeable State of 
uncertainty, by a particular Account of Facts from 
some Person who was near the Army who trusts riot 
to Memory altogether, lest some Circumstances may 
be omitted while others are misapprehended. 

I rejoyce in the Honors your Country has done 
you. Pray hasten your Journey hither. 

Your very affectionate, 

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

PHILAD E July 15 1777 


Before this reaches you, it is probable you will 
have heard of the untoward Turn our Affairs have 
taken at the Northward. I confess it is not more 
than I expected when Gen 1 Schu r was again intrusted 
with the Command there. But it was thought by 
some Gentlemen that as he had a great Interest & 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 389 

large Connections in that Part of the Country, he 
coulcl more readily avail himself of Supplys for an 
Army there as well as Reinforcements if wanted upon 
an Emergency, than any other Man. You have the 
Account in the inclosed Paper, which leaves us to 
guess what is become of the Garrison. There is 
something droll enough in a Generals not knowing 
where to find the main Body of his Army. Gates is 
the Man I should have chosen. He is honest and true, 
& has the Art of gaining the Love of his Soldiers, 
principally because he is always present and shares 
with them in Fatigue & Danger. We are hourly ex 
pecting to be relievd from a disagreable State of 
Uncertainty by a particular Relation of Facts. This 
Account, as you are told, is related upon Memory, & 
therefore some Circumstances may be omitted, others 
misapprehended. But the Post is just going, & I 
have time only to acknowledge the Receipt of your 
favor of the 12 of June & beg you would write to 
me often. 

I am affectionately, 

Your friend, 


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library ; the text, dated July 12, 1777, is 
in VV. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 484-486.] 

PHILAD A July 22 1777 


Your very acceptable Letter of the 12 th came to my 
hand yesterday. The Confederation, is most certainly 
an important Object, and ought to be attended to 

390 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

& finishd speedily. I moved the other Day and urgd 
that it might then be brought on ; but your Colleague 
Col H opposed and prevented it, Virginia not being 
represented. It is put off till you shall arrive ; you 
see therefore the Necessity of your hastening to 

We have still further & still confused Accounts from 
the Northward. Schuylers Letters are rueful indeed ! 
even to a great Degree, and with such an awkward 
Mixture as would excite one to laugh in the Midst of 
Calamity. He seems to contemplate his own Happi 
ness in not having had much or indeed any Hand in 
the unhappy Disaster. He throws Blame on S l Clare 
in his Letter of July 9 th . " What adds to my Distress 
is, that a Report prevails that I had given orders for 
the Evacuation of Tyconderoga, whereas not the most 
distant Hint of any such Intention can be drawn from 
any of my Letters to General Sinclare or any other 
Person whatever." He adds " What could induce the 
General Officers to a Step that has ruind our Affairs 
in that Quarter, God only knows." And indeed Sin- 
clares own Letter of the 3O th of June dated at Ty. would 
induce one to be of the same Opinion, for he there 
says " My People are in the best Disposition possible 
and I have no Doubt about giving a good Account of 
the Enemy should they think proper to attack us." 
Other Parts of his Letter are written in the same spir 
ited Stile. The General Officers blame N E for not 
furnishing their Quota of Troops. It is natural for 
Parties to shift the Faultfro mone to the other; andyour 
Friend General Steven, who seems desirous of clearing 
his Countryman from all Blame, in a Letter to your 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 391 

Brother says " Eight thousand Men were thought 
adequate to the Purpose. They ( N E ) furnishd 
about three thousand for Want of the Quota the 
Place is lost & they stand answerable for the Con 
sequences." The General forgets that five of the 
ten Regiments orderd from Mass. Bay were counter 
manded and are now at Peeks Kill. I will give you 
an Abstract of the Forces at Ty & Mount Indepen 
dence the 25 th of June taken from the Muster-master 
General Col Varicks Return. 

Fit for Duty of the 9 Continental Regi 
ments Commissiond & Non commis- 
siond & Staff Officers included 2 73& 

Col Wells & Leonard s Regiments of 
Militia [their time expired the 6 th of 

; J ul y] 637 

Col Long s Regim 1 of Militia [engagd 

to i st of Aug 1 ] 199 

Major Stephens Corps of Artillery 151 

5 Companies of Artificers 178 

Whitcombs Aldrichs & Lees Rangers 70 

Men at Out Posts not included in the 

Above 218 

Sick in Camp and Barracks 342 


Besides a Number of Recruits belonging to the 
Continental Regiments arriv d at Ty. between the i8 th 
& 29 th of June, that are not included in the above Ab 
stract. General Schuyler in his Letter of the 9 th of 



July says, " I am informd from undoubted Authority 
that the Garrison was reinforced with twelve Hundred 
Men at least, two days before the Evacuation." When 
the Commander in chiefe writes in so positive Terms, 
one would presume upon his certain knowledge of 
Facts ; but as he was not present with his Army, let us 
suppose (though it does not seem probable by the 
general gloomy Cast of his Letters) that he has over 
rated the Numbers, and set down 967 and it would 
complete the Number of 5500. Deduct the sick 
342, and I am willing also to deduct the two " licen 
tious and disorderly " Regiments from Massachusetts 
who left Sinclare, though he acknowledges they kept 
with him two days upon the March, and there re- 
maind near five thousand. Mentioning this yester 
day in a publick Assembly, I was referrd to the Gen 
erals Information to his Council of War, who says 
" the whole of our Force consisted of two thousand & 
Eighty nine effective Rank & file." But allowing this 
to be the Case, Is an Army the worse for having more 
than one half of its Combatants Officers ? 

Notwithstanding Nothing is said of it in the publick 
Letters Gen 1 Sinclair writes to his private Friend that 
the Enemy came up with the Rear of the retreating 
Army, & a hot Engagement ensued. Other Accounts 
say that many were killed on both sides, that our 
Troops beat off the Enemy & that Col Francis of the 
Massachusetts & some of his officers were among 
the slain. 

I shall not write you any more Letters for I hope 
to see you soon. 

Adieu my Friend, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 393 

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

PHILAD E July 28 1777 


I receivd your favor of the 26 th of June and also 
one from Col Crafts of the same Date. I wrote to 
him by the Return of the Post & desired him to com 
municate the Contents to you. I conversd with M r 
J A upon the Subject of your Letter, and we ven- 
turd, both of us, to step out of the Line of strict 
order in a Debate in Congress the other day, to 
bring your Regiment of Artillery into View. It oc- 
casiond a Conversation in the House in which we 
had a Opportunity of acquainting the Members of 
the long Standing of that Regiment & the Seniority 
of its Officers. But still it was considerd as a Regi 
ment raisd by a State & not by the Continent. And 
though we caused the Merit of it to be well under 
stood & it was acknowledgd in the House, the Dif 
ficulty of altering the Regulation you refer to appeard 
so evidently in the Minds of the Gentlemen, that we 
waved making any Motion at that time, because we 
apprehended that the Issue would be unfavorable. 
Indeed I am of Opinion that Congress will not be in 
duced to make the Alteration you wish for, until it 
shall become a Continental Regiment. In that Case, 
I am apt to think there would be no Difficulty with 
Regard to the Seniority of other Regiments which 
have been raisd since, over yours. But till that is 
done, it is feared that an Alteration in this Instance 
would cause Discontent in other States, where it is 

394 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

said there are Instances similar. A Regiment of 
Artillery raisd in this State under Command of Col 
Procter was lately taken into Continental Service 
and the Commissions were dated at the time they 
were raisd. It was upon this Occasion that Col 
Crafts Regiment was mentiond ; and I suppose that 
Regiment w d be admitted on the same terms. But I 
think I foresee an insuperable Obstacle in that Case. 
If any thing can be done consistently with the gen 
eral Service, to show Honor, but especially to do 
Justice to the Regiment of Artillery in Boston,^ I 
shall not fail to push it as far as I may have Influ 
ence. My fellow Citizens well know that I have 
never been indifferent to them. I am thought here 
in a great Degree partial in their Favour. I have in 
particular a Predilection for that Regiment. But my 
Friend, let me intreat you and the Gentlemen of 
your Core, above all other feelings to cherish those 
of the virtuous Citizen. I will allow that the Ambi 
tion of the Soldier is laudable. At such a Crisis as 
this it is necessary. But may it not be indulgd to 
Excess? This War we hope will be of short Dura 
tion. We are contending, not for Glory, but for 
Liberty Safety & Happiness of our Country. The 
Soldier should not lose the Sentiments of the Patriot; 
and the Pride of Military Rank as well as civil Pro 
motion should forever give Way to the publick Good. 
Be assured that I am very cordially, 

Your Friend, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 395 

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

PHILAD E July 31 1777 


It is a long time since I had the pleasure of a 
Letter from you. I have not heard your opinion of 
the Evacuation of Tyconderoga. You are doubtless 
chagrind as much as I am. It is ascribd to different 
Causes. Congress is determined that the true Reasons 
shall be enquird into, and the Conduct of the General 
Officers. Sch rs friends are endeavoring to clear 
him from all Blame, because, say they, he was not 
there. This is true, and as it was well known, that 
he had never been used to keep himself near his 
Army, perhaps it may be pertinently asked, Why He 
was pitchd upon to take the Command. Your Dele 
gates, I can assure you, were utterly against it. And 
Notwithstanding it was publishd in some of the Boston 
News papers, said to be warranted by a Letter from 
this City, that Sch r had the entire Confidence of 
Congress, there were five only of 1 1 States present, 
in favor of it. The paper I think was of the 5 of 
June. I wish I could know who gave the Letter to 
the Printer. In order, I suppose, to give Credit 
to that Letter, there was another publication in the 
papers here, informing the World, that when he set 
off for the Northern Department he was accompanied 

by and several other Members of C , which 

I take for granted is true. These are trifling political 
Manoeuvres similar to those which we have seen prac- 
ticd in the Mass Bay when a prop was wanted for a 

396 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

sinking Character. You may think them not worth 
your Notice. Excuse my troubling you with them. 
Cunning Politicians often make use of the Names of 
Persons, & sometimes of the Persons themselves who 
have not the least Suspicion of it, to serve their own 
Purposes. When I mentiond 5 out of 1 1 I sh d have 
explaind my self. There were 5 for the measure 4 
against it & 2 divided. Had not the state of Rhode 
Island been at that Juncture accidentally unrepre 
sented there w d have been an equal Division, which 
w d have prevented the Measure. The most important 
Events sometimes depend upon small Circumstances. 
Some Gent n of the State of N Y are exceedingly 
attachd to Gen 1 Sch r . They represent him as Instar 
Omnium in the Northern Departm 1 . But after all 
that has been said, I conceive of him, as I have for a 
long time, excellently well qualified for [a] Com 
missary or Quartermaster. The N E Delegates were 
(perhaps one excepted) to a Man against his having 
the Command of that Army. But [of] this I will 
write particularly in another Letter. 

I am not willing to prejudge ; but I must say, it is 
difficult to reconcile the sudden Evacuation of the 
Fortress with the previous flattering Letters of Gen 
eral S c Clair. In one of his Letters written but a few 
days before, he says, " My People are in the best Dis 
position possible, and I have no Doubt about giving 
a good Account of the Enemy if they shall think 
proper to attack us." He has been esteemd here a 
good Officer, & in his Letter he bespeaks the Candor 
of the publick till he can be heard. Pains will be 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 397 

taken to lay the Blame upon the N E States, for not 
furnishing a sufficient Quota of Men. I wish there 
fore you w d procure for me an authentick Acco 1 of the 
Number of Men, both regular & Militia, sent to the 
Northward from our State, and how they were cloathd 
and armd. You may remember that Congress recom 
mended it to the Eastern States, some time, I think 
in Dec r last, to send a Reinforcem 1 of 4500 Militia to 
Ty. to remain there till they co d be replaced by Con 
tinental Troops then raising. I have never been in- 
formd of the Effect of that Recommendation ; or if I 
have been informd I do not recollect it. Pray put it 
in our Power to state Facts precisely so far as they 
regard our State. It is agreed on all sides that a 
Fault lies somewhere. I hope the Truth will be 
thoroughly investigated, and, to use the homely 
Proverb, the Saddle laid on the right Horse. 

We are looking every hour for the Arrival of the 
Enemy in this River. 255 sail were seen on Wed 
nesday last steering from the Hook S. E. Seventy 
sail were seen from the shore near Egg Harbour & 
about 1 5 or 20 Leagues from these Capes on Saturday 
steering the same Course the Wind ag them. They 
co d not come here at a better time. G Washington 
is drawing his Troops into this Neighborhood. Some 
of them are arrivd. But as the Enemy has the Ad 
vantage of us by Sea, it s too easy for them to oblige 
us to harrass our Men by long & fruitless Marches, 
and I sh d not wonder to hear that they have tackd 
about & gone Eastward. I hope my Countrymen 
are prepared. Let brotherly Love continue. 


398 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

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

PHILAD Aug 1 i 77 

D R S R 

I wrote to you on the 3O th Ult by M r Bruce who did 
not leave the City on that Day as I expected. His 
Stay gives me an Opp ty of acquainting you that an 
Express who left the Capes yesterday informs us that 
the enemies ships all went out to Sea in the morning 
steering E N E supposd to be going to Hudsons River 
Rh Island or Boston. M r B will give you as particular 
an Ace as I can. I therefore refer you to him. This 
is what I expected. I trust you are upon your Guard. 
Con. has orderd an Enquiry be made into the reasons 

.... that Sch r S l Clair repair to 

Head Q rs & that G W order such Gen 1 officer as he 
shall think proper immediately to repair to the N n 
Departm* to relieve Sch r in his Command there. A 
Com 6 is appointed to digest & rep 1 the Mode of con 
ducting the Enquiry. 

It appears to me difficult to account for the Evacua 
tion of these posts even upon the principle of Cowardice. 
The whole Conduct seems to carry the evident Marks 
of Deliberation & Design. 

If we are vigilant active spirited & decisive, I yet 
flatter my self, notwithstanding the present vexatious 
Situation of our Aff rs at the northw d we shall humble 
our Enemies this Campaign. I am truly mortified at 
their leaving this place because I think we were fully 
prepared for it, & I believe the Cowardly Rascals knew 
it. May Heaven prosper our Righteous Cause. Adieu, 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 399 

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

PHILAD. 2 d Aug* 1777 


M r Bruces tarrying in this City longer than I ex 
pected, affords me an Opportunity of giving you a 
second short Letter by him. The Enemies Fleet 
have left these Capes & it is supposd they are gone 
either to N York or N England. Secure a Place in 
the Country to which you may Retreat in case there 
sh d be a Necessity for it. Preserve your usual Steadi 
ness of Mind. Take the Advice of those who are 
your and my Friends with Regard to removing. I 
hope there will be no Necessity for it. I am truly 
sorry the .... have not made this City their Ob 
ject, as they .... long threatend. I think we were 
fully prepared to receive them. Perhaps Providence 
designs that N England shall have the Honor of giv 
ing them the decisive Blow. May Heaven prosper 
our righteous Cause, in such Way and by such Instru 
ments as to his infinite Wisdom shall seem meet. 
I am in good Health and Spirits. 

Adieu my dear, 

1 For a letter on this date by Adams to Washington, see W. V. Wells, 
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., p. 487; cf. Sparks, Writings of Washington , 
vol. v., p. 14; Ford, Writings of Washington, vol. vi., p. 4. 

400 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

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

[August 5, 1777] 

D R SiR 

I have had the pleasure of receiving several Letters 
from you, and I thank you for the Intelligence therein 
communicated to me. I beg you will continue your 
favors although it may not be in my Power to ballance 
the Account. 

Our Affairs are now in a critical Situation. There 
is strong Reason however to Promise ourselves by the 
Assistance of Heaven a favorable Issue. Men of Vir 
tue throughout Europe heartily wish well to our 
Cause. They look upon it, as indeed it is, the Cause 
of Mankind. Liberty seems to be expelled from every 
other part of the Globe & the Prospect of our afford 
ing an Asylum for its Friends in this new World, gives 
them universal Joy. France & Spain are in reality 
though not yet openly yielding us Aid. Nevertheless, 
it is my Opinion, that it would be more for the future 
Safety as well as the Honor of the united States of 
America, if they would establish their Liberty & Inde 
pendence, with as little foreign Aid as possible. If 
we can struggle through our Difficulties & establish 
our selves alone we shall value our Liberties so dearly 
bought, the more, and be the less obligd & conse 
quently the more independent on others. Much de 
pends upon the Efforts of this year. Let us therefore 
lay aside the Consideration of every Subject, which 
may tend to a Disunion. The Reasons of the late 
Conduct of our General Officers at Ty, must endure a 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 401 

strict Scrutiny. Congress have orderd an Enquiry & 
for this purpose Generals Schuyler & St. Clair are 
orderd to Head Quarters. Gates immediately takes 
the Command of the Northern Army. He gains the 
Esteem of the Soldiers and his Success in restoring 
the Army there the last year from a State of Confusion 
& Sickness to Health & good order, affords a flatter 
ing Prospect. In my opinion he is an honest & able 
Officer. Bad as our Affairs in that Quarter appear to 
be, they are not ruinous. Reinforcem ts of regular 
Troops are already gone from Peeks Kill, and I hope 
the brave N E Militia will joyn in sufficient Numbers, 
to damp the Spirits of Burgoin. One grand Effort 
now may put an End to this Conflict. 

I am& c 


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

PHILAD E August 7, 1777 


Major Bass will be kind enough to deliver to you 
this Letter. He brought me a very friendly Message 
from you, for which I return you my hearty Thanks. 
If I had Inclination or Leisure to write a Letter of 
Compliment, I am sure you would not be pleasd with 
it. The Times are very serious; our Affairs are in a 
critical Situation. The Enemy, after long promising 
a Visit to this City, made an Appearance last Week 
near the Capes of Delaware. But they have not been 
seen these six days past. The Hounds are in fault 

1 Of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; member of the Continental Congress. 
VOL. iv. 26, 

402 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

and have lost Scent of them. We shall hear where 
they engage, I dare say, before long. It belongs to the 
military Gentlemen to frustrate their Design. I think 
they could not have come here in a better time, 
because we were well prepared for them. General 
Washington had drawn his Forces into the Neighbor 
hood of this Place, and I verily believe, the people 
here, divided and distracted as they are about their 
internal Government, would have joynd in sufficient 
Numbers to have given a good Account of them. 

The shameful Defeat of our Forces at Ticonderoga 
is not more distressing to us than it is vexatious. A 
thorough Scrutiny into the Causes of it must and will 
be made. For this Purpose Schuyler and S l Clair are 
orderd to Head Quarters. I confess I cannot at pres 
ent account for it even upon the Principle of Cowardice. 
There seems to me to be the evident Marks of Design. 
Bad as our Affairs are in that Quarter they are not 
desperate. Gates is gone to take the Command.. He 
is an honest and able officer ; always belovd by his 
Soldiers because he always shares with them in Fatigue 
and Danger. This has not been said of his immediate 
Predecessor. I hope the N England States will once 
more make a generous Exertion, and if they do I am 
deceivd if Burgoyns Prosperity does not soon prove 
his Ruin. 

Our Intelligence from Europe is very flattering to 
us. The virtuous and sensible there universally wish 
well to our Cause. They say we are fighting for the 
Liberty and Happiness of Mankind. We are at least, 
contending for the Liberty & Happiness of our own 



Country and Posterity. It is a glorious Contest. We 
shall succeed if we are virtuous, I am infinitely more 
apprehensive of the Contagion of Vice than the Power 
of all other Enemies. It is the Disgrace of human 
Nature that in most Countries the People are so de- 
bauchd, as to be utterly unable to defend or enjoy 
their Liberty. 

Pay my respects to Co Whipple. He promisd to 
write to me. I hope he will soon have Leisure to fulfill 
his promise. A Letter from you would oblige me 
much. Adieu. 

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

PHILAD A Aug t 8 1777 


I have lately written to you by every Opportunity 
and am determined to omit none for the future, till I 
shall have the Pleasure of seeing you, which I intend 
some time in the Fall. We have heard Nothing of 
the Enemies Fleet since this Day Week. General 
Gates is gone to take the Command of the Northern 
Army in the Room of Schuyler . . . Gates has al 
ways been belovd by his Soldiers & I hope will restore 
our Affairs there ; for although they are in a Situation 
bad enough I do not think them desperate. He is 
empowerd to call on the N England Militia, who I 
hope will once more make a generous Effort. If they 
do, I am mistaken if Burgoyns present Success does 
not [prove his ruin.] A Change of Officers, I dare 



say, will give new Spirits [to] the Men. But I forget 
that I am writing [to] a female upon the Subject of 
War. I know your whole Soul is engagd in the 
great Cause. May Heaven prosper it! Adieu my 

My Respects to my 
Family & Friends. 


[MS., Library of Massachusetts Historical Society ; a draft is in the Lenox 


PHILAD A Aug* n. 1777 


I duly receivd your obliging Letter of the II th of 
July. I thank you for the favor, and beg you to con 
tinue to write to me as often as your Leisure will 
admit of it. The Rumour you mention d has since 
appeard to be a serious Fact. We have lost Ti[c]on- 
deroga, and as far as I can yet judge, shamefully : I 
was going to add, vilainously ; for indeed I cannot 
account for it, but upon the worst of Principles. The 
whole appears to me to carry the evident Marks of 
Design. But I hope & believe it will undergo the 
strictest Scrutiny. The People at large ought not, 
they will not be satisfied, until a thorough Inquiry is 
made into the Causes of an Event in which their 
Honor and Safety is so deeply interested. The only 
Letter receivd by Congress from S l Clair, you have 
seen publishd under their Sanction. Schuyler has 
written a Series of weak & contemptible Things in a 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 405 

Stile of Despondence which alone, I think, is suffi 
cient for the Removal of him from that Command ; 
for if his Pen expresses the true Feelings of his 
Heart, it cannot be expected that the bravest Vet 
erans would fight under such a General, admitting 
they had no Suspicion of Treachery. In a Letter 
dated the 4 th Instant at Still Water, he writes in a 
Tone of perfect Despair. He seems to have no Con 
fidence in his Troops, nor the States from whence 
Reinforcements are to be drawn. A third Part of 
his Continental Troops, he tells us, consists " of Boys 
Negroes & aged Men not fit for the Field or any 
other Service." " A very great Part of the Army 
naked without Blanketts ill armed and very de 
ficient in Accoutrements : without a Prospect of Re- 
liefe." " Many, too Many of the Officers wo d be a 
Disgrace to the most contemptible Troops that ever 
was collected." The Exertions of others of them of 
a different Character " counteracted by the worthless." 
" Gen 1 Burgoyne is bending his Course this Way. 
He will probably be here in Eight Days, and unless 
we are well reinforced " (which he does not expect) 
"as much farther as he pleases to go."- Was ever 
any poor General more mortified ! But he has by this 
Time receivd his Quietus. Gates takes the Command 
there, agreeably to what you tell me is the Wish of 
the People ; and I trust our Affairs in that Quarter 
will soon wear a more promising Aspect. 

The Enemies Ships, upwards of 200 sail, after 
having been out of Sight six Days, were discoverd on 
Thursday last, off Sinapuxint 15 Leagues from the 

4 o6 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

Capes of Delaware Steering towards Chesapeake 

Your Friends here are well, except Col Williams, 
who has been confined a few days, but is growing 
better. I have a thousand things to say to you, but 
must defer it to other Opportunities, & conclude in 
Haste, with friendly Regards to your Family, very 
affectionately yours, 


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

PHIL A Aug 1 12 1777 


The inclosd is an attested Copy of Gen 1 Schuylers 
Letter to the President of the Congress. It needs 
no Comment. How far the Massachusetts state de 
serves the Strictures therein made, you can tell. I 
send it to you for the Perusal of the Members of 
your Hon bl House. If they have sent into the Army, 
Boys Negroes & Men too aged to be fit for any Ser 
vice they will lay their Hands upon their Mouths. If 
not, I hope some decent but keen Pen will vindicate 
them from that & other Aspersions. This, like all 
his other Letters, is written in such a desponding 
Stile, that it is no Wonder if Soldiers decline fight 
ing under him, though they may be under no Ap 
prehension of Treachery. But he has by this time 
receivd his Quietus, at least till he can give a good 
Account of his Conduct. Gates has gone to take the 
Command, and our Affairs in that Quarter, I dare 
say will soon wear another Face. 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 407 

The Enemies Fleet have been again seen 200 sail 
off Sinipunxint 15 Leagues South of the Capes of 
Delaware. I think I have now a just Demand upon 
you for a Letter. I shall be disappointed if I do not 
receive one by the next Post. Adieu my Friend. 


[MS., Library of Massachusetts Historical Society; the text has recently 
been printed in Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 7th ser., vol. 
iv., p. 140.] 

PHILAD E Aug 1 13 th 1777 


The Surrender of Tyconderoga has deeply wounded 
our Cause. The Grounds of it must be thoroughly 
inquired into. The People at large have a Right to 
demand it. They do demand it and Congress have 
orderd an Inquiry to be made. This Matter must be 
conducted with Impartiality. The Troops orderd 
for the Defence of that Post were chiefly from New 
England. It is said there was a great Deficiency in 
Numbers and General Schuyler tells us that a third 
Part of the Army there were Boys Negroes and aged 
Men not fit for the Field or indeed any other Ser 
vice, that a great Part of them were naked, without 
Blanketts, ill armed & very deficient in Accoutre 
ments. Such is the Picture he draws. I wish to 
know as soon as possible, how many Men actually 
marchd for that place from N E, & particularly from 
Massachusetts Bay. What Quantity of Cloathing 
was sent for them & under whose Care ; and how 

1 Major General in the continental army. 

4 o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

they were furnishd with Arms & Accoutrements. In 
short I am desirous of being informd by you as mi 
nutely as possible, of the part taken by Muster Mas 
ters Quartermasters Cloathiers & their Agents and all 
other Persons employed in making and providing for 
the Army in the Northern Department, as far as it 
has properly fallen under your Notice & Direction. 
Excuse me for giving you this Trouble & be assured 
that I am very cordially, 

your Friend, 

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

PHILAD E Aug 19 1777 


I was favord with yours of the 2 d of this Month by 
yesterdays Post. I am much obligd to you for writing 
to me so often, and hope you will not omit any future 
opportunity. [One] or another of my Boston Friends 
write to me by every Post, [so] that I think I 
should be informd if any extraordinary Accident 
should happen to my Family, but I am never so 
well satisfied as when I receive one from you. I am 
in continual Anxiety for your Safety, but am happy 
in committing you to the Protection of all gracious 
Heaven. May He be your Refuge in every Time of 
Distress ! I had before heard that the Enemies Fleet 
was seen off Cape Ann. We had an Account of it 
[by] an Express from General Heath, who con 
tradicted it the [same] Day by another Express. 

i 7 77] SAMUEL ADAMS. 409 

Indeed I did not give Credit to .... News for 
the British Ships were seen off the Maryland Shore 
on the first of August, the very day on which they 
were reported to have been seen off Cape Ann. 
Having the Command of the Sea, they have it in 
their Power to give frequent Alarms to our Seaport 
Towns. We have not heard of them since, and it is 
the opinion of some that they are gone to South 
Carolina, but as it is altogether uncertain where they 
will go, it is prudent to be ready to receive them 
in every Place. It is a Question with me whether 
they have any Plan upon which they can depend 
themselves. I pray God that [their] Councils may 
be confounded. 

I earnestly hope with you, my Dear, that our 
. . . . Life is not always to live at this Distance 
from each [other] but that we shall see the happy 
Day when Tyranny [shall] be subdued and the Lib 
erty of our Country shall be settled upon a permanent 
Foundation. If this is not to be accomplishd in our 
Day, May we hereafter meet our virtuous Friends in 
that blessd Region, where the wicked shall cease from 

My Love to my dear Daughter, Sister Polly & the 
rest of my Family & Friends. Tell my Servants I 
thank them for their kind Remembrance of me. I 
am, my dear, ever yours, 

I have sent the Letter to 
Capt M. inclosd in one 
to D r F. 

4 io THE WRITINGS OF [1777 


[Publications of Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. vi., pp. 78, 79.] 

PHILAD A Sept 2, 1777. 


I am requested by a Member of Congress from 
South Carolina for whom I have a particular Regard, 
to introduce his Friend M r Henry Crouch to some of 
my Boston Friends. He is a Merchant of Charles- 
town and will set off on a Visit your Way tomorrow. 
I take the Liberty of addressing a Letter to you by 
him. Your friendly Notice of him will greatly oblige 

I heartily congratulate you on the happy Change of 
our Affairs at the Northward. The Feelings of a 
Man of Burgoyne s Vanity must be sorely touched 
by this Disappointment. 

Howe s Army remains near where they first landed 
and is supposed to be ten thousand fit for Duty. Wash 
ington s Army exceeds that Number, is in health & 
high Spirits, and the Militia have joynd in great 
Numbers, well equip d and ambitious to emulate the 
Valor of their Eastern Brethren. Our light Troops 
are continually harrassing the Enemy. The Day 
before yesterday they attack d their out Posts & 
drove them in, killing & wounding a small Number. 
By the last Account we had taken about seventy 
Prisoners without any Loss on our side. Our Affairs 
are at this Moment very serious and critical. We are 
contending for the Rights of our Country and Man 
kind May the Confidence of America be placed in 

17771 SAMUEL ADAMS. 411 

the God of Armies ! Please to pay my due Respects 
to my old Friend M r Phillips & his Family and be 
assured that I am very cordially 


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

PHILAD A Sept 17, 1777 


Your kind Letter of the 29 th of August is now 
before me. You therein take a very proper Notice of 
the signal Success of our Affairs at the Northward. 
I hope my Countrymen are duly sensible of the obli 
gation they are under to Him from whose Hand, as 
you justly observe, our Victory came. We had a 
Letter from General Gates yesterday, from which we 
every hour expect another great Event from that 
Quarter. The two Armies this way had an obsti 
nate Engagement last Thursday. The Enemy have 
gaind a Patch of Ground but from all Accounts they 
have purchasd it as dearly as Bunkers Hill. Two or 
three more such Victories would totally ruin their 
Army. Matters seem to be drawing to a Crisis. The 
Enemy have had enough to do to dress their wounded 
and bury their dead. Howe still remains near the 
Field of Battle. Gen 1 Washington retreated with his 
Army over the River Schuilkill through this city as 
far as .... and we are every day expecting an 
other battle. May Heaven favor our righteous- 

412 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

Cause and grant us compleat Victory. Both the 
Armies are about 26 miles from this City. 

I am pleasd to hear that Col Crafts invited M r 
Thacher to preach a Sermon to his Regiment. He 
discoverd the true Spirit of a New England officer. 
I dare say it was an animating Discourse. Religion 
has been & I hope will continue to be the ornament 
of N. England. While they place their Confidence 
in Go they will not fail to be an happy People. 

I am exceedingly rejoycd to hear that Miss Hatch 
is in hopes of recovering her Health. 

Remember me, my dear, to my Family and Friends. 
I am in good Health & Spirits and remain with the 
warmest Affection 


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 228, 229.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Oct.^zfah, 1777. 

MY DEAR SIR, Your several letters, with their en 
closures, came to my hand. And although I have not 
hitherto acknowledged to you the receipt of them, I 
assure you I have been and am still improving the 
intelligence you have given me to the best of my pow 
ers, for the advantage of this country. From our for 
mer correspondence you have known my sentiments. 
I have not altered them in a single point, either with 
regard to the great cause we are engaged in, or to you, 
who have been an early, vigilant, and active supporter 
of it. While you honour me with your confidential 
letters, I feel and will freely express to you my obliga- 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 413 

tion. To have answered them severally, would have 
led me to subjects of great delicacy ; and the miscar 
riage of my letters might have proved detrimental to 
our important affairs. It was needless for me to run 
the risk for the sake of writing ; for I presume you 
have been made fully acquainted with the state of our 
public affairs by the committee. And as I have con 
stantly communicated to your brother R. H. the 
contents of your letters to me, it was sufficient on that 
score for him only to write, for he thinks as I do. 

The Marquis de la Fayette, who does me the honour 
to take this letter, is this moment going ; which leaves 
me time only to add, that I am and will be your friend, 
because I know you love our country and mankind. 

I beg you to write to me by every opportunity. 

Adieu, my dear sir, 

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

[ 1777] 


I have had the Honor of laying before the Council 
Board of this State your Letter of the 19 th of October, 
inclosing Copy of a Convention by which the British 
L* Gen 1 Burgoyne surrendered himself & his whole 
Army on the 17 of the same Month into your Hands. 
The repeated Instances of the Success of the Ameri 
can Army in the Northern Department reflect the 
highest Honor on yourself & the gallant officers & 
Soldiers under your Command. The Board congrat- 

4 i4 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

ulate you on this great Occasion ; and while the Merit 
of your signal Services remains recorded in the faithful 
Breasts of your Countrymen, the warmest Gratitude 
is due to the God of Annies, who has vouchsafed 
in so distinguished a Manner to favor the Cause of 
America & of Mankind. 

I have the Honor to be 
in the Name of the Council Board, 
Sir & c 

[NOVEMBER I, 1777.] 

[MS., Papers of the Continental Congress. Reports of Committees, 
No. 24, p. 431.] 

Forasmuch as it is the indispensible Duty of all 
Men, to adore the superintending Providence of Al 
mighty God : To acknowledge with Gratitude their 
Obligation to Him for Benefits receivd, and to im 
plore such further Blessings as they stand in Need 
of : And, it having pleased Him in his abundant 
Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable 
Bounties of His common Providence ; but also to 
smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and neces 
sary War for the Defence and Establishment of our 
unalienable Rights and Liberties. Particularly in 
that He hath been pleased, in so great a Measure 
to prosper the Means used for the Support of our 
Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal 

It is therefore recommended to the Legislative or 
Executive Powers of these United States, to set 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 415 

apart Thursday the Eighteenth Day of December, 
next, for solemn Thanksgiving and Praise. That at 
one Time, and with one Voice, the good People may 
express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and 
consecrate themselves to the Service of their divine 
Benefactor. And, that together with their sincere 
Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may joyn the 
penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby 
they had forfeited every Favor ; and their humble & 
earnest Supplication that it may please God through 
the Merits of Jesus Christ mercifully to forgive and 
blot them out of Remembrance. That it may please 
Him, graciously to afford His Blessing on the Gov 
ernments of these States respectively, and prosper 
the publick Council of the whole. To inspire our 
Commanders both by Land and Sea, & all under 
them with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may 
render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of 
Almighty God, to secure for these United States, 
the greatest of all human Blessings, Independence and 
Peace. That it may please Him, to prosper the 
Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the 
Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet 
yield its Increase. To take Schools and Seminaries 
of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Prin 
ciples of true Liberty, Virtue, & Piety, under His 
nurturing Hand ; and to prosper the Means of Relig 
ion for the Promotion and Enlargement of that King 
dom which consisted! " in Righteousness Peace and 
Joy in the Holy Ghost." 

And it is further recommended, that servile Labor, 
and such Recreation as, though at other times inno- 

4 i 6 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

cent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Ap 
pointment, may be omitted on so solemn an occasion. 

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

BOSTON Dec r 8 1777 


I heartily thank you for your two favors of the 1 2 th 
& 1 8 th of Novem r , the former of which gave me a piece 
of Intelligence which I thought proper to give the 
Publick through the News paper. 

Unluckily for me, on my Arrival here, I found the 
General Assembly sitting, and consequently I am 
plungd in publick Business sooner than I could wish 
to have been. Among other things I have the Satis 
faction of informing you of your Reelection as a 
Member of Congress. Your old Colleagues are all 
again chosen. I honestly told some of our Country 
men that I thought it incumbent on them thorowly 
to acquaint themselves with the Character and Con 
duct of those who represent them at the Distance of 
four hundred Miles ; but I fear they are too unsuspect 
ing. What do frequent Elections avail, without that 
Spirit of Jealousy & Strict Inquiry which alone can 
render such Elections any Security to the People ? 
But surely the more implicit the Confidence of the 
Publick is, the more circumspect ought those to be, 
who are entrusted with publick Affairs. 

M r came to this Town with great Pomp, and 

was receivd by the military and naval Gentlemen, as 

1777] SAMUEL ADAMS. 417 

I am informd, with equal Ceremony. His Colleagues 
arrivd in the Dusk of the Evening and without Obser 
vation. He is the most happy who has the greatest 
Share of the Affections of his Fellow Citizens, with 
out which, the Ears of a sincere Patriot are ever deaf 
to the Roaring of Cannon and the Charms of Mustek. 
I have not seen nor heard of any Dangers on the 
Road that should require Guards to protect one. It 
is pretty enough in the Eyes of some Men, to 
see the honest Country Folks gapeing & star 
ing at a Troop of Light Horse. But it is well if it 
is not some times attended with such Effects as 
one would not so much wish for, to excite the Con 
tempt of the Multitude, when the Fit of gazing is 
over, instead of the much longd for Hosannas. 

I have not been long enough in Town to be able to 
give you a full Account of the Affairs of this State. 
The Assembly are interresting themselves as much as 
possible for the Supply of our Army a small parcel 
of Cloathing is ready to be sent, which is intended for 
the Troops of this State. It is proposd that they 
shall purchase them at the first Cost and Charges, 
but not yet determined. The late Commissary Gen 
eral Col Trumbull came to Town a few days ago. I 
have not yet seen him. Your Affairs in that Depart 
ment suffer for want of a Commissary of Issues in the 
Eastern District to receive the provisions in Col 
Trumbull s Hands. The two Houses have requested 
him to deliver to M r Colt who is also here, 12000 
bushells of Salt belonging to the Continent in this 
State, and have authorizd a good Man to furnish him 
with Waggons, & to impress them if they cannot be 

4i 8 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

otherwise procured. I fear if the Commissaries De 
partment is not soon alterd, a dangerous Convulsion 
will take place. Pray attend to this. 

I had the pleasure of waiting on your Lady yester 
day. She & her little Flock, or as I might better 
express it, her great Flock of little Folks are in good 
Health, as I suppose she will inform you in a Letter 
which I hope to inclose in this. 

Be so kind as to pay my warm Respects to M r 
Gerry and Dana General Roberdeau the two Col 
Lees and many others, not forgetting the Connecti- 
cutt Gentlemen and all who may enquire after me. 
Among these I flatter myself I shall not be forgotten 
by the worthy Ladies in the Generals Family. Pray 
make my very respectful Compliments together 
with those of my Spouse to them, and assure them 
that I have a most grateful Remembrance of the 
many Civilities I receivd from them. May Heaven 
bless them and the little Folks under their Charge. 

[MS., Massachusetts Archives.] 


I have the Honor to acquaint you that your Letter 
of the 28 th of Nov r inclosing Articles of Confederation 
and diverse Resolutions of Congress have been laid 
before the General Assembly of this State. But the 
Assembly having previously requested the Coun- 

^resident of the Continental Congress. , 




oil to order an Adjournment, and many of the 
Members having returnd to their respective Homes, 
the Council have adjournd the Assembly to a short 
Day when it is expected there will be a full Meeting ; 
and the important matters above mentiond will be 
taken under due consideration. 

I am in the Name of the Council 


your most hbl serv 1 








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