The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III.
by Samuel Adams
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To James Otis, March 19th . . . Political Activity of Mr. Bacon.

To the Town of Boston, March 23rd . . . Report of Resolutions in Reply to Governor—Legality of Town Meetings—Right of Petition—Supremacy of Parliament.

To John Dickinson, March 27th . . . Controversy with Governor.

To Committee of Correspondence of Littleton, March 31st . . . Acknowledgment of Co-operation.

To Nathan Sparhawk, March 31st . . . Political Activity of Rutland.

To Thomas Mighill, April 7th . . . Political Activity of Rowley.

To Arthur Lee, April 9th . . . 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 10th . . . Position of Colonies—Activity of Friends of Liberty—Resolves of Virginia—Courts in Rhode Island.

Article Signed "Candidus," April 12th . . . November Town-Meeting—Controversy with Governor.

To John Wadsworth, April 13th . . . Action of Duxbury.

To Ezra Whitmarsh, April 13th . . . Political Activity of Weymouth.

To Joseph North, April 13th . . . Votes of Gardnerstown.

To Josiah Stone, April 13th . . . Political Activity of Framingham.

To Arthur Lee, April 22nd . . . Position of Hancock and of Otis.

To Arthur Lee, May 6th . . . Practice of Instructing Representatives—Controversy with Governor.

To Selectmen of Boston, May 14th . . . Declining Election as Moderator.

To Arthur Lee, May 17th . . . Meeting of General Assembly—Letters of Hutchinson.

To Arthur Lee, June 14th . . . Letters of Hutchinson and Oliver.

To Elijah Morton, June 19th . . . Resolves of Harfield—Unity of Colonists.

To Arthur Lee, June 21st . . . Letters of Hutchinson—Action of House of Representatives.

To the King, June 23rd . . . Petition for Removal of Hutchinson and Oliver.

To Arthur Lee, June 28th . . . Action of House of Representatives on Letters—Attitude of Public—Independence of Judiciary.

To Committee of Correspondence of Worcester, September 11th . . . Activity of Committees of Correspondence—Independence of Judiciary.

To Joseph Hawley, October 4th . . . Disposition of Administration—Controversy with Governor— Grievances of Colonists.

To Joseph Hawley, October 13th . . . Character of Lord Dartmouth—Plans of Administration.

To Committees of Correspondence, October 21st . . . Circular of Massachusetts Committee—Attitude of Ministry and Parliament—Rights of Colonists.

Resolutions of Town of Boston, November 5th . . . Duty upon Tea.

To Committee of Correspondence of Roxbury, November 9th . . . Activity of Troops—Call for Conference.

To Arthur Lee, November 9th . . . Political Situation.

To Selectmen of Boston, November 17th . . . Petition for Town-Meeting for Action upon Tea.

To Committee of Plymouth, December 17th . . . Report on Tea.

To Committees of Correspondence, December 17th . . . Report on Disposal of Tea.

To Arthur Lee, December 25th . . . Recommending John Scollay.

To Arthur Lee, December 31st . . . Boston Town-Meeting—Action on Tea.


To John Pickering, January 8th . . . Petition of Negroes.

To Arthur Lee, January 25th . . . Destruction of Tea.

Resolution of House of Representatives, March 1st . . . Refusing Grant to Peter Oliver.

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, March 24th . . . Proposal of Continental Post.

To Elbridge Gerry, March 25th . . . Political Disorders in Marblehead.

To Benjamin Franklin, March 31st . . . Independence of Judiciary—Controversy with Governor—Rights of Colonists.

To James Warren, March 31st . . . Political Comments—Continental Post.

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, April 2nd . . . Local Politics in Marblehead—Effect of Committee's Resignation.

To Arthur Lee, April 4th . . . Independence of Judiciary—Attitude of Governor—Relations with England.

To Arthur Lee, April . . . Disposition of Lord Dartmouth.

To John Dickinson, April 21st . . . Oration of Hancock—Course of Massachusetts.

To Elbridge Gerry, May 12th . . . Duty of Political Service.

To Committee of Correspondence of Portsmouth, May 12th . . . Action of Boston on Port Bill.

To the Colonies, May 13th . . . Appeal of Boston—The Port Act—Arrival of Gage.

To Committee of Correspondence of Philadelphia, May 13th . . . Port Act.

To James Warren, May 14th . . . Port Act—Attitude of Public—Action of Boston.

To Silas Deane, May 18th . . . Response to Connecticut Committee—Co-operation of Colonists.

To Stephen Hopkins, May 18th . . . Port Act—Need of Co-operation.

To Arthur Lee, May 18th . . . Port Act.

To Elbridge Gerry, May 20th . . . Port Act—Attitude of New York.

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, May 22nd . . . Attitude of New York.

To Charles Thomson, May 30th . . . Function of Committee of Correspondence—Dependence upon Merchants—Address to Hutchinson.

To Silas Deane, May 31st . . . Political Plans—Adjournment of Legislature.

To William Checkley, June 1st . . . Birth of Daughter—Position of Boston.

Resolution of House of Representatives, June 17th . . . Need of Relief of Boston and Charlestown.

To Elbridge Gerry, June 22nd . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

Article Signed "Candidus," June 27th . . . Trade Policy.

To Charles Thomson, June 30th . . . Disposal of Donations.

To Committee of Correspondence of Norwich, July 11th . . . Acknowledgment of Support.

To Richard Henry Lee, July 13th . . . Port Act—Policy of Lord North—Attitude of Public.

To Noble Wymberly Jones, July 16th . . . Acknowledgment of Co-operation.

To Christopher Gadsen, July 18th . . .

To Christopher Gadsen and L. Clarkson, July 18th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance—Efforts of Colonists.

To Committee of Correspondence of Colrain, July 18th . . . Non-Consumption Agreement.

To Andrew Elton Wells, July 25th . . . Condition of Boston.

To Peter Timothy, July 27th . . . Boston Circular Letter—Shipment of Axes.

To Fisher Gay, July 29th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Ezekiel Williams, July 29th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Committee of Correspondence of Marblehead, August 2nd . . . Attitude of Colonists to Boston.

To Joseph Gilbert, August 3rd . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Fisher Gay, August 4th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Committee of Correspondence of Boston, September 14th . . . Proceedings of Continental Congress—Middlesex Resolves— Opposition to Administration—Position of Committee.

To Charles Chauncy, September 19th . . . Suffolk Resolves.

To Joseph Warren, September . . . Government in Massachusetts.

To Joseph Warren, September 25th. . . Need of Co-operation—Action of Continental Congress.

To General Gage, October . . . Petition of Continental Congress—Acts of Parliament— Fortifications at Boston—Indignities to Citizens.

To Thomas Young, October 17th . . . Military Preparation—Resolves of Continental Congress.

To Peter V. Livingston, November 21st . . . Shipment from South Carolina.

To Union Club, December 16th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.


To Peter T. Curtenius, January 9th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To the Public, January 13th . . . Statement of Donations Committee—Reply to Criticisms.

To Arthur Lee, January 29th . . . Port Act—Massachusetts Act—Effects of Military Force—Attitude of Colonists.

To Stephen Collins, January 31st . . . Report of Personal Disagreements—Religious Liberty.

To Edward Archer, February 1st . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Richard Randolph, February 1st . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance—Virginia Resolves of 1765.

To Benjamin Watkins and Archibald Cary, February 1st . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Jonathan Tabb, February 7th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance—Attitude of Colonists to Boston.

To Arthur Lee, February 14th . . . English Politics—Attitude of Colonists.

To Joseph Nye, February 21st . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To John Brown, February 21st . . . Enclosing letter to Quebec.

To Inhabitants of Quebec, February 21st . . . 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 . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Isaac Van Dam, February 28th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To William Black,. . . Shipment from Virginia—Advice concerning Captain Hatch.

To Charles Dick, March . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Arthur Lee, March 4th. . . Conduct of Military Force—Action of Marshfield—Disaffection in New York—Correspondence with Canada—Tories.

To —————, March 12th . . . Attitude of South Carolina—Spirit in Boston—Massacre Oration.

To Jonathan Upshaw, March 14th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance—Attitude of Virginia.

To Samuel Purviance, March 14th . . . Acknowledgment of Remittance.

To Jonathan Hanson, March 15th . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance.

To Jonathan Veazey, March 15th . . . Directions as to Donations.

To Richard Henry Lee, March 21st . . . Military Force in Boston—Massacre Oration—Conduct of Troops— Course of Administration.

To Jonathan Augustine Washington, March 21st . . . Acknowledgment of Assistance—Purpose of Boston.

To the Mohawk Indians, March . . . Address of Massachusetts Delegates.

To Mrs. Adams, May 7th . . . Reception in New York.

To Mrs. Adams, June 10th . . . Family Affairs.

To Mrs. Adams, June 16th . . . Personal Comments—Family Affairs.

To Elbridge Gerry, June 22nd . . . Recommendations to Washington.

To James Warren, June 22nd . . . Recommendations to Washington.

To Mrs. Adams, June 28th . . . Engagement at Bunker Hill—Death of Joseph Warren—Proclamation of Gage.

To Mrs. Adams, July 30th . . . Recess of Congress—Election to Legislature.

From Moses Gill, September 4th . . . Receipt of Amounts paid to Adams.

To Elbridge Gerry, September 26th . . . Journey to Philadelphia—Need of Information—Character of Officers.

To Mrs. Adams, October 20th . . . Affairs of the Country—Schuler and Arnold.

To Elbridge Gerry, October 29th . . . Militia Bill—Continental Army—Need of Legislation.

To James Warren, November 4th . . . Need of Powder—Military Affairs—Governments of New Hampshire and South Carolina—Trade Regulations—Government of Massachusetts.

To Mrs. Adams, November 7th . . . Conduct of Enemy.

To James Bowdoin, November 16th . . . Petition of Congress—Plans of Administration.

To James Otis, November 23rd . . . Opinion of Delegates as to Militia Legislation.

To James Warren, December 26th . . . Government of Massachusetts—Character of the People.


To Elbridge Gerry, January 2nd . . . Legislative Control of Military Force—Character of Representatives.

Resolutions of Continental Congress, January 5th . . . Imprisonment of James Lovell.

To James Warren, January 7th . . . Establishment of Militia—Powder—Confederation—Attack on Norfolk.

To James Warren, January 10th . . . Trade Regulations—Imprisonment of Lovell.

To John Pitts, January 12th . . .

To James Sullivan, January 12th . . . King's Speech.

To John Adams, January 15th . . . Portsmouth Instructions—Independence—Pay of Massachusetts Troops.

Article Signed "Candidus," February 3rd . . . Dependence of the Colonies.

To Mrs. Adams, February 26th . . . Duty in Congress—Oration on Montgomery.

To James Warren, March 8th . . . Political Comments on Colleague.

To Mrs. Adams, March 10th . . . Personal Affairs.

To Joseph Palmer, April 2nd . . . Effect of Adopting New England Army—Military Affairs—Evacuation of Boston.

To Samuel Cooper, April 3rd . . . Plans of Administration—Evacuation of Boston—Foreign Affairs— Independence.

To Joseph Hawley, April 15th . . . Military Affairs—Necessity for Declaration of Independence.

To Samuel Cooper, April 30th . . . Views of Independence—Formation of State Governments.

To John Scollay, April 30th . . . Evacuation of Boston—Public Morals—Defenceless Condition of New England.

To James Warren, May 12th . . . Safety of Boston—State of the Eastern District.

To George Washington, May 15th . . . Proposed Road to Montreal—Defences of Boston.

To Horatio Gates, June 10th . . . Military Affairs at Boston—Purposes of the Enemy.

To Perez Morton, June . . . Allowance for Services.

To Joseph Hawley, July 9th . . . Reverses in Canada—New Jersey Campaign—Declaration of Independence.

To Richard Henry Lee, July 15th . . . Schuyler and Gates—Arrival of Howe—Declaration of Independence- -Confederation.

To James Warren, July 16th . . . Effect of Declaration of Independence—Constitution of Virginia.

To James Warren, July 17th . . . Urgent Need of Troops.

To John Pitts, July 17th . . . Declaration of Independence.

To Samuel Cooper, July 20th . . . South Carolina Campaign—Howe's Circular Letter.

To Benjamin Kent, July 27th . . . Work of Congress—Declaration of Independence—New State Governments.

To Joseph Trumbull, August 3rd . . . Affairs of the Northern Department—Legislation on Commissary Department.

To John Adams, August 13th . . . Military Affairs.

To John Adams, August 16th . . . Military Affairs—The Northern Campaign.

To John Adams, September 16th . . . Form of Government of Massachusetts—Military Affairs— Negotiations with Howe.

To John Adams, September 30th . . . Conference with Howe—Public Attitude toward Independence.

To Samuel Mather, October 26th . . . Military Affairs at New York.

To Mrs. Adams, November 14th . . . Northern Campaign—Military Affairs—Application of Brother-in- law—Exchange of Lovell.

To Mrs. Adams, November 29th . . . Character of Americans—Howe's Proclamation.

To James Warren, November 29th . . . Supply of Clothing—New York Campaign.

To James Warren, December 4th . . . Massachusetts Legislature—Conduct of the Colonists—Conditions in Pennsylvania.

To Mrs. Adams, December 9th . . . Personal Reflections.

To George Washington, December 12th . . . Rhode Island Campaign.

To Mrs. Adams, December 19th . . . Adjournment of Congress to Baltimore—Inaction of the Population- -New Jersy Campaign.

To James Warren, December 25th . . . Military Operations.

To Mrs. Adams, December 26th . . . Aid of Samuel Purviance—Attitude of New Jersey.

To Council of Massachussetts, December 30th . . . Need of Ordnance.

To Walter Stewart, December 30th . . . Instructions as to Ordnance.

To James Warren, December 31st . . . Foreign Relations—Military Affairs.


To Arthur Lee, January 2nd . . . Resumption of Correspondence—Political Situation.

To James Warren, January 8th . . . Military Operations.

To John Adams, January 9th . . . Removal of Congress—Military Operations.

To James Warren, January 16th . . . Representation in Congress—Attitude of Massachusetts Legislature.

To Mrs. Adams, January 29th . . . Correspondence—Effect of War News—Charity—Death of Mr. Checkley.

To James Warren, February 1st . . . Conference of New England Committees—Management of War Supplies.

To Samuel Cooper, February 4th . . . King's Speech.

To James Warren, February 10th . . . Account of Expenses.

To Walter Stewart, February 12th . . . Price of Ordnance.

To Jonathan Trumbull, February 12th . . . Use of Connecticut Ordnance.

To John Pitts, February 15th . . . Activity of Tories.

To James Warren, February 16th . . . Activity of Tories—Case of General Lee.

To Mrs. Adams, March 19th . . . News from France—Attitude toward Son—Effect of Trade Legislation.

To John Scollay, March 20th . . . Regulating Act.

To Mrs. Adams, April 1st . . . Assistance from France—Arrest of Spy.

To Nathaniel Greene, May 12th . . . Military Policy.

To Mrs. Adams, June 17th . . . Military Operations.

To James Warren, June 18th . . . Introducing William Whipple—Massachusetts Election-Military Affairs.

To James Warren, June 23rd . . . New Jersey Campaign.

To Richard Henry Lee, June 26th . . . New Jersey Campaign—Progress in Congress.

To James Warren, June 30th . . . Postal Facilities—Confederation—Massachusetts Constitutional Convention.

To Arthur Lee, July 4th . . . New Jersey Campaign.

To Samuel Hewes, July 7th . . . Major Ward—New Jersey Campaign.

To John Pitts, July 8th . . . Interruption of Correspondence.

To Richard Henry Lee, July 15th . . . New Jersey Campaign—Schuyler and Gates.

To Samuel Cooper, July 15th . . . Northern Campaign.

To Richard Henry Lee, July 22nd . . . Confederation—Northern Campaign—Distribution of Forces.

To Paul Revere, July 28th . . . Ranking of Artillery Regiments.

To James Warren, July 31st . . . Attitude of Congress to Schuyler—Northern Campaign— Participation of New England—Hostile Fleet.

To James Warren, August 1st . . . Northern Campaign.

To Mrs. Adams, August 2nd . . . Course of Hostile Fleet.

To Samuel Freeman, August 5th . . . Foreign Relations—Northern Campaign.

To John Langdon, August 7th . . . Course of Hostile Fleet—Northern Campaign.

To Mrs. Adams, August 8th . . . Appointment of Gates.

To Roger Sherman, August 11th . . . Northern Campaign—Letters of Schuyler.

To James Warren, August 12th . . . Letter of Schuyler.

To William Heath, August 13th . . . Northern Campaign.

To Mrs. Adams, August 19th . . . Course of a Hostile Fleet.

To Henry Bromfield, September 2nd . . . Introducing Henry Crouch—Howe's Army.

To Mrs. Adams, September 17th . . . Northern Campaign.

To Arthur Lee, October 26th . . . Resumption of Correspondence—LaFayette.

To Horatio Gates, . . . . . . Surrender of Burgoyne.

Resolution of Continental Congress, November 1st . . . Thanksgiving.

To John Adams, December 8th . . . Re-election to Congress—Conduct of Colleagues—Work of Massachusetts Legislature.

To Henry Laurens, December . . . Articles of Confederation.



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

BOSTON, March 19th 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 Mr William Molineux, a few days ago receiv'd an ANONYMOUS letter dated Barnstable &.c, in which mention is made of some rude Aspersions cast upon the characters of himself and several others of our Committee by your Representative Mr 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 Mr 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, as the Moderator of your meeting, and it is their desire, 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 dependence upon an anonymous letter, although there are some circumstances that may seem to corroborate it.

As there is no measure which tends more to disconcert 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 opposition is aim'd against it. Whether Mr 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 conexions 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


[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. 120-125.]

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 advanced 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 express 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 Tyranny already begun, and compleat the Ruin of the Liberties of the People. And therefore earnestly requesting 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 Province, 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.2 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."3

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 perpetual Law of Self preservation to which every natural 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 validity 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 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 Preservation and Safety. The Petitioners wisely chose the Rule of the province Law, by applying to the Selectmen for a Meeting; and they, as it was their Dudty to do, followed the same Rule and called a Meeting accordingly. We are therefore not a little suprizd, that his Excellency, speaking of this and other principal 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 Means to withstand a most dangerous attack of arbitrary Power.4 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 them stood prorogud: But his Excellency refused to grant this Request, lest it should be "encouraging the Inhabitants of other Towns to assemble" "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 Assembly, 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 in5 Reason, that it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King: But it is apparent in his Excellencys Answer, that the Inhabitants of this Town were in Effect, denied, in one Instance at least, the Right of petitioning his Majestys Representative. Which was the more grievous to them, because the Prayer of their Petition was nothing more, than that the General Assembly might have the Opportunity of enquiring of the Governor into the Grounds of the Report of an intollerable Grievance, which his Excellency had before 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 proceedings 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 redressd, a mortal Wound would very soon be given to the civil Constitution of the province; and no Assurance of the timely Interposition of the General Assembly, to whose Wisdom they were earnestly sollicitous to refer the whole Matter, The Town thought it expedient 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 Principles" as his Excellency in one of his Speeches affirms, but only informing them that "a free Communication 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 Preservation. They were matters of "publick Concernment" 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 Ignorance 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 & especially 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 expressd, & 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 "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 advanced 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 Excellencys Manner of reasoning, it follows as we conceive, that there must never be a complaint of any assumption of power in the Parliamt, or petition for the repeal 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 Conclusions. 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 & Servants, 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 transmitted 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 Extinction of Ardor for civil & religious Liberty; THEREFORE 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 Province that we had invited every other Town and District 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 invited 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 dangerous Nature & Tendency," they saw reason to declare that "they had not discoverd that the Principles advanced by the Town of Boston were unwarrantable by the constitution."6

The foregoing Report was accepted in the Meeting, Nemine Contradicente, and ordered to be recorded 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.



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

2Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, vol. i., pp. 64, 68.

3Ibid., p. 30.

4At this point the draft originally included the words: "when they see it approaching them with hasty Strides."

5At this point the draft originally included the words: "Nature and."

6The following portion, from the Gazette is not in the autograph draft by Adams.


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

BOSTON, March 27 1773


I take the Liberty of inclosing an Oration delivered by Dr Benjamin Church on the Anniversary of the 5th 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 Assembly 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 Colonies, 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 Advantage 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 heretofore approvd themselves its ablest advocates.

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

I am Sir with sincere Regards Your most humble servt

Mr J[osiah] Q[uincy] a young Gentl 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 Mr Dickinson & Mr Reed he would esteem himself honord and his Conversation mt 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 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 Government, which appears eminently to have its foundation 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 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 Approbation 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. ___________

1Adressed "To Deacon Oliver Hoar Cap Jonathan Reed & Mr Aaron Savit a Come of Correspondence of the Town of Littletown."


[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 Come 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 expressing 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 Grievances 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 pleasure; and then their appropriating such taxes, to render the executive power of the province independent of the Legislature, or more properly speaking absolutely 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 Tendency 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 Determination of the District of Rutland "that it is of the utmost Importance that the Inhabitants of this province stand firm as one man to support & maintain all their just Rights & Privileges." Such a resolution when general among the people can seldom fail to reduce the most haughty Invaders of the common Rights to a Submission to Reason. ___________

1Clerk of the District of Rutland, Worcester County.


[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 proceedings 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 common Cause of Liberty. The ardent Zeal of your Town for that all interresting Cause, expressd in their Letter and their judicious Instructions to their Representative which accompany it, afford us a very strong Assurance of the high Esteem they have of our invalueable Rights & their deep Sense of the Grievances we labour under. We joyn with them in supplicating Almighty God for his Direction Assistance & 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.

1Addressed as "late Moderator of a Meeting of the Freeholders & other Inhabitants of the Town of Rowley held by Adjournment the third of February 1773."


[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 Complimts 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 & 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 Correspodence and a free Communication among the people, should awaken Apprehensions; for they well know that it must detect their Falshood in asserting that the people of this Country were satisfied with the Measures of the British parliament and the Administration of Government. Our Governor has in my Opinion merited greatly of the Ministry by his constant Endeavors, though in vain, to sooth & quiet the people & perswade 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 Governmt which he recd 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.

There has been another Session of the Genl Assembly, wch began unexpectedly on the 6th of Jany last. It is my Opinion that it would have been postponed, 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 before, it now becomes unnecessary & improper since their representatives are soon to meet in Genl Assembly." 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 Proceedings 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 Continent & engages much of the Attention of the other Colonies. This, together with ye proceedings of a CONTEMPTIBLE Town meeting, has awakned the Jealousy of all, & has particularly raised ye 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 Come 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 adequate to the Importance of his Station, I fear he may find himself embarrassd with his present Connections. It can easily be conceivd what principle induced Lord North to recommend to that Department a Nobleman characterized 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 conceive. It might be well for his Lordship to be assured, 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 despise it. Should the Correspondence proposd by Virginia 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 disturbd with Dreams.

I must now acknowledge your agreeable Letter of the 24 of Decr.2 I cannot wonder that you almost depair 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 Ashes."

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 Dependence; I mean upon a Minister of State, when it ought to be placed, with Gods Assistance, upon THEMSELVES. You cannot better prepare him for the representatives 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 recoverd.

April 12.

This day I have the pleasure of receiving yours of the 25 of Jany.3 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 recd tho I think not by Mr Storey, the Letter which inclosed the Answer to the Resolution of the Govr & 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 pleasing to you. I have heard that Ld Dartmouth recd 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 Loyalty 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 misinformd & 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 populus Country & subdue a sensible enlightned & brave people to the ignominious Terms of Slavery? Or will his Lordships superior Wisdom direct to more salutory 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 Mr 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 Gentn & some others who were zealous in that Cause. But it was of short Continuance, for their falsehood 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 Govr telling him that he had it in Command from the HIGHEST AUTHORITY to enjoyn him to promote Mr 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 Mr H had deserted the faction, & became as they term each other, a Friend to Governmt. 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 Constituion in Opposition to the Measures of a Corrupt Administration; & in particular no one has discoverd more firmness against the Independency of the Govr & the Judges than he.

I have mentiond to Mr Cushing the Hint in your last concerning his not answering your Letter. I believe he will write to you soon. The Gratitude of the friends to Liberty towards Mr 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 Advantage.

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 my two worthy & intimate Friends J Adams & J Warren Esqrs; 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.

1An original print of this circular letter, dated April 9, 1773, is in the Lenox Library. 2R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 224-226. 3R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 226-228. ___________


[MS., American Philosophical Society; a text is in R. H. Lee, Life of Richard Henry Lee, vol. I., pp. 88-90, and a draft in 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 frequently 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 Independence 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 indeed exerted their brutal Force, or applied their insidious Arts, differently in the several Colonies, as they thought would best serve their Purpose of Oppression 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 sufferd a great Share of Ministerial Wrath and Insolence: 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 Provision 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 Carolina, gives us Reason to hope, that the Fire of true Patriotism will at length spread throughout the Continent; the Consequence of which must be the Acquisition of all we wish for.

The Friends of Liberty in this Town have lately made a successful Attempt to obtain the explicit political 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.

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 Province, 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 Assembly 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 heartily 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 authentick Copy of that Commission, which I shall send to you by the first opportunity after I shall have receivd it. The Letter from the new Secretary of State to the Governor of Rhode Island, which possibly you may have seen in the News papers, may be depended upon as genuine. I receivd it from a Gentleman 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 however 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 Sir Your most humble servt


[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 20th of November last.1 If we take a Retrospect of two or three Years past, we shall find that what our "PRETENDED 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 without Opposition or Molestation. The first part of their plan, they imagin'd 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 independent of the legislative, which is to say the least, the nearest approach to absolute Tyranny.

The Governor, who was the first American PENSIONER, 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 "desperate fortunes," who were "endeavoring 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 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 thier 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 dependent 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 repeated, 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 detestable 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 without horror! We all began to shudder at the Prospect 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 Fortitude, directed by the wise and righteous Governor 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 Meeting 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 this Reason alone, that the petty Tyrants of this Country have always dreaded and continue still to dread, a regular Assembly of the People.

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

Your's, CANDIDUS. April 10, 1773.

1Volume II., page 350. [back]

THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO JOHN WADSWORTH.1 [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 intollerable even when they had a Voice there. Your just Resentment of the Injuries done to us by the British parliament more especially in giving & granting our property & appropriating it to the most destructive 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 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 Liberty 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 & Liberites, & resolve to transmit the fair Inheritance they purchased for us with Treasure & Blood to their latest posterity. 1Town Clerk of Duxbury.


[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 Correspondence 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 said, but to be informd, if possible of their real Sentiments, at a time when it was publickly & repeatedly given out that this Country in general was perfectly reconciled to the measures of the British Administration. 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 Grievances." 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 inestimable 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 lays us under great Obligations. No greater Blessing can be desired by this Community than "Peace Prosperity & Happiness," and the Enjoyment of this Blessing depends upon CIVIL & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.

___________ 1Town Clerk of Weymouth.


[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 of the Town of Boston by Mr 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 agreable prospect that the good Cause will be nobly defended & 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 partake of the general Joy they have given to all the friends of American Independence & freedom.

1Clerk of the "plantation" of Gardnerstown. [back]


[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 15th 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 by the British Parliament, and its exerting that power in raising a revenue and applying it to purposes repugnant to the common Safety, and the resolution of that town to defend our rights & Liberties purchasd 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.

___________ 1Town Clerk of Framingham.


[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 informed 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 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 admiralty 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 controversy 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 representatives 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 contrary clearly shown, even from Gov. Hutchinson's history. What will be the consequence of this controversy, 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,

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


[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 unfeigned regards to the town, and acquaint them that, by reason of bodily indisposition, I am unable to discharge 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 inclination.

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, 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 representatives. Our General Assembly will meet next Week, what kind of a Budget the Govr will then open is uncertain; 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 inclined 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 publishing 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, I SPEAK WITH ASSURANCE, 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 14th, [1773.]

DEAR SIR,——-I now enclose letters written by Thomas Hutchinson and Oliver——-and others of 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 power 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 combination 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 unfeigned friend,

Wednesday, June 16th, 1773.—-The enclosed resolves are to be considered by the house this afternoon.

___________ 1See Journal of the House of Representatives, 1773-1774, 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.


[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 meeting on the 31 of May last, have been laid before the Come of Correspondence for the Town of Boston. It affords us very great Satisfaction to find that the Attempts 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 Infringements 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 Sentiments & 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 pertinent; 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 the ministry. It was formerly the saying of an English Tyrant "Let me have Judges at my Command & make what Laws you please." And 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 Dependents of a monarch. The nation cannot then wonder that not only the several Towns of this province 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 conviction 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 province thus animated with a laudable Zeal, may be directed 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

Sir your assured friends & humble Servants,

1Town Clerk of Hatfield. [back]


[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, Andw Oliver & others, with a Copy of certain Resolutions formd by a Committee and brot into the House of Representatives. Those Resolutions have been since considerd by the House and with little Variation adopted as youl 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 & Remonstrance against Hutchinson & Oliver will be brot in I suppose this Week. I should think enough appears 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 power. 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 Mr Turner. The Bishop of St Asaphs I have read with singular pleasure.

I remain sincerely your friend,


JUNE 23, 1773.

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

Province of Massachusetts Bay June 23 17731

To the Kings most Excellent Majesty

Most Gracious Sovereign

We your Majestys most loyal Subjects the Representatives 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 consult the Peace and Safety of the Province, could induce us to remonstrate to your Majesty, the MalConduct of those, who, having been born & educated and constantly resident in the Province and who formerly have had ye Confidence & were loaded with ye 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 highest places of Trust and Authority in the province.

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

Your Majesty will permit us humbly to suggest, that your Subjects here have been naturally inducd 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 unfortunately for us, either under strong prejudices against us, or misinformd in certain Facts of very interresting 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 before them certain Papers, from which, they conceive it2 may be made manifestly to appear that there has long been a Combination3 of evil Men in this province, who have contemplated Measures and formd a Plan, to raise their own Fortunes and advance themselves to Posts of Power Honor & Profit, to the Destruction of the Character of the province, at 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 Majesty, beg Leave particularly to complain of the Conduct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson Esqr Governor, and the Honbe Andrew Oliver Esqr Lieutenant 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 Harmony & 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 desired Effect. And finally that the said Thos Hutchinson & 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 chargeable with all that Corruption of Morals in this Province, and all that Confusion Misery and Bloodshed which have been the natural Effects of the posting of Troops in a populous Town.

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