The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III.

Part 2 out of 7

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

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.

We do therefore most humbly beseech your Majesty, to give order
that Time may be allowed to us to support these our complaints by
our Agents and Council. And as the said Thos Hutchinson Esqr and
Andrew Oliver Esqr have by their above mentiond 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 fit----------

1Adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 80 to 11,
after a motion to refer its consideration to the
next session had been defeated by a vote of 73 to13.
2As an alternative to the following six words, the draft has
also, interlined, "is most reasonable to Suppose."
3The draft has also "Conspiracy," interlined.


[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 82/12, voted a Petition & Remonstrance to
the King praying that Govr Hutchinson & Lt Govr Oliver may be
removd from their Posts. A Copy of which is sent to Dr Franklin
by this Vessel, who is directed to apply to Arthur Lee, Esqr and
any other Gentleman as Council. Upon my motion the Dr was
directed to make 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 impeachd Gentlemen.
They have entirely lost the Esteem of the publick. Even some of
their few friends are ashamd to countenance them. The Govr, 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

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

Your Friend,

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


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

BOSTON, Septemr 11, 1773


The happy fruit of the Appointment of Committees of
Correspondence in almost every Town in this province, is the
Advantage that Each has of communicating any Matter of common
Concern & Importance to a chosen Number of Men zealous for the
publick Liberty, in any particular Town or County, where it may
be specially requisite that such Intelligence shd 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 Executive 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 Genl Assembly. Indeed one of them viz
Mr Trowbridge has explicitly declared to 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 Mr 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 Govr Hutchinson & others; asserting the
Independence 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 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 uncertainty 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 wd come to an explicit & publick Declaration

This is the Substance of the Matter. We shall endeavor 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, leaving it to your Discretion & good
Judgment to take such methods as shall be most proper.

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


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

BOSTON Oct. 4th 1773


I can not omit this Opportunity of submitting to your Judgment,
the Ideas I have of the present Disposition 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 Mr Hutchinson, they had flatterd
themselves, had subsided, & would soon be extinguished. At the
same time they are very sensible, that the impartial Part of the
Nation, considering 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 exculpate them, and lay the
whole Blame, if there be any, upon the Governor, for his
Imprudent Zeal in bringing 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 Darmouth 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 determines by their Advice, has
expressd his Displeasure at our late petitions because they held
up Rights repugnant to this Right. Some of our Politicians would
have the People believe that Administration 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 Parliamt 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
Dartmouth has indeed lately said in the House of Lords as I have
it from a Gentleman in London who receivd 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 prevaild 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 1763; and we may well remember, that when
the Stamp Act was repeald, our Friends in Parliamt submitted as a
Condition of the Repeal, that the declaratory Act as it is called
should be passed, declaratory of the Right & Authority of
Parliament to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases whatever.
Till that time the Dispute had been limitted to the Right of
Taxation. By assuming the Power of making Laws for America IN ALL
CASES, at the time when the Stamp Act was repeald it was probably
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
Expence to the Nation, as it is said of more than the 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. Mr 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 from us, tho it were but implicitly,
they would willingly sacrifice the PRESENT revenue by a repeal of
the Acts, and FOR THE PRESENT redress all our Grievances. I have
been assured that a Question has of late been privately 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
Representatives 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 imaginary Grievances
shall be redressd; but let us consider 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 exceptionable 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 Assembly should
be the constituted Judge of the adequate 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
parliament, 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 Constituion, & divests the Genl Assembly of a
most important part of legislative Power and Authority expressly
granted therein, and necessary for the Good and Welfare 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
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 Attempt to derogate from the Authority of the
supreme Legislature. Does not this imply that the parliament is
the supreme Legislature & its Authority over the Colonies of the
Constitution? And that until we frame our petitions so as that it
may fairly be construed 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 Parliamt, and if we will implicitly
acknowledge its Right to make Laws binding upon us in all Cases
whatever, that is, its absolute Sovereignty over us the Acts we
shall them 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? Doubtless the Parliamt,
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 parliamt shall exercise
the Right, the point will be given up to us in Effect, that the
Parliamt 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,


1The political leader of Northhampton, Massachusetts. His "Broken
Hints" is in Niles, Principles and Acts, p. 324.


[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 on 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 Department. And I find that all allow
him to be a good man. Goodness has rarely I fear been of late the
Chracteristick of his Majestys Ministers; for which reason his
Lordship is to be sure the more highly to be prizd. But it seems
very necessary 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 accounted for on
the principles of modern Policy. However illy we may deserve it,
the great men in England have an opinion of us as being a
mightily religious People. Surely than it must be supposd that we
shall place an entire Confidence in a Minister of the same
Character. We find it so in fact. How many were filled with the
most sanguine Expectations, when they heard that the good Lord
Dartmouth was entrusted 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 possesd of.
Fain would I have him treated with great Decency & Respect, both
for the Station he is in and the Character 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

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 believe 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 testify the least
Confidence in the Spirit of the British Government, or from
flattering Hopes that their designs 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 a new Election of
Parliament Men. In order to improve these Events to their own
purpose, it will become 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 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 toward 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 parliamt should happen before; which has indeed
been hinted, & may be the movement in order suddenly to bring on
the Election before the People are prepared for it. We are to
suppose 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 necessary 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
Endeavor for ten years past has been to enslave us, & who, if
they can obtain a new Election of old Members, 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 increasd
then fold. I conclude at present with assuring you that I am with
sincere regard

Sir your Friend & hbl servt,


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


BOSTON Octob 21 1773


The Committee of Correspondence appointed by the House of
Representatives of this Province have 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 measures of Administration;
But we are sorry to say, that from the best Accounts that we have
obtaind 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
Liberties of the Subject. At the same time, this Province has had
a very recent Discovery of the unalterd Resolution of the
Ministry to pursue their plan of arbitrary 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 parliamt 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 independent of their respective Legislatures;
or rather absolutely dependent on the Crown, which will, if a
little while persisted in, end in absolute Despotism.

Such being still the temper of the British Ministry, Such the
Disposition of the parliament of Britain under their Direction &
Influence, to consider themselves as THE SOVEREIGN of America, 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 Oppposition necessary to be taken by them, and
that in whichsoever of 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
true Design of the Establishment of our Committees of

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 several 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 foundation? 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 & Deliberation;
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 Circumstances 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 & 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 Freedom & 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 debasing 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
Governor of this province and the Assembly. And as the Assembly
of this or some other Colony may possibly be called into 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 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 Liberty. If we cannot establish an Agreement upon
these terms, let us leave it to another & wiser Generation. 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,
however NUMEROUS, will form & execute a wise plan to perpetuate
their Liberty, when they have lost the Spirit & feeling of it.

We cannot close without mentioning a fresh Instance of the temper
& Design of the British Ministry; 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.2


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


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

1The 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 Adams,
Hancock, Cushing, 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 meeting 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 committees 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 committee 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.
2The remainder is not in the autograph of Adams.


[Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., pp. 142, 143;
a draft of the preamble, in the handwriting of Adams, is in the
Mellen Chamberlain collection, Boston Public Library.]

Whereas it appears by an Act of the British Parliament 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 the Treasury shall Judge proper1: And some People
with an evil intent to amuse the People, and others thro'
inattention to the true design of the Act, have so contrued the
same, as that the Tribute of three Pence on every Pound of Tea is
not to be enacted by the detestable Task Masters there2---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 Resolves 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 buy3 Contributions on us at pleasure-----

2d. 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-----

3d. 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-----

4th. That a virtuous and steady opposition to the Ministerial
Plan of governing America, is absolutely necessary to preserve
even the shadow of Liberty, and is a duty which every Freeman in
America owes to his Country to himself and to his Posterity-----

5th. 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

6th. That is is the Duty of every American to oppose this

7th. That whoever shall directly or indirectly countenance 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-----

8th. That a Committee be immediately chosen to wait on those
Gentlemen, who it is reported are appointed 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 appointment.

1At this point the draft includes the words, "without the same
having been exposed to sale in the Kingdom of
Great Britain."
2The draft reads "here."
3The town record should apparently read "lay."


[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 Correspondence 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 alarming occasion-----

We are Gentn
your Fellow Countrymen,


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

BOSTON, Nov. 9th, 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
oppression 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,


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

BOSTON, Decr 17, 1773


Whereas the Freeholders & other Inhabitants of this Town did at
their last Meeting make application to Richard Clarke Esqr & 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
Vessell now arrived from London (in which is come a Passenger a
Son of the said Mr 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 another Application may be made
to the same persons requesting as before; it being probable that
they can now return a definite Anwer.

We are Gentlemen
Your humble servts

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


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

BOSTON, Decr 17, 1773


The Come of Correspondence for this Town duly recd your Letter of
the 14th & note the important contents. 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 Injury to
the Vessels or any other property. Our Enemies must acknowledge
that these people have acted upon pure & upright Principle. The
people at the Cape will we hope behave with propriety and as
becomes Men resolved to save their Country.1

1At 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."


[MS., Committee of Correspondence Papers, Lenox Library.1]

BOSTON 17th of Decer 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 Mr Rotch could not obtain a pass for
his Ship by the Castle, a number of people huzza'd in the Street,
and in a very little time every ounce of the Teas on board of the
Capts 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 Scene.

We conceived it our duty to afford you the most early advice of
this interesting event by express which departing immediately
obliges us to conclude.

In the Name of the Come,

1Merely the subscription and addresses are in the autograph of
Adams. Noted as sent "by Mr Revere" to "Mr Mifflin & Geo Clymer"
at Philadelphia and "Phillip Livingston & Sam Broom" at New York.


[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 Amercia more warmly at heart, or is more able to
vindicate them than yourself. You see the dependence we have upon

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 had 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, consisting 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
neighborhood of this, for their advice and assistance. After a
free conference and due consideration, they dispersed. The next
day, being the 14th, 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
performed; after which they adjourned till Thursday the 16th. The
people then met, and Mr. Rotch informed 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 clearance, until the ship should be discharged of the dutiable
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 practicable 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 governor 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 inconsistent 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 performed. 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 excepted) to London. The people finding all their
endeavours for this purpose thus totally frustrated, dissolved
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 contents 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 inhabitants.

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
guardians 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 21st July and 13th
October,1 and shall make the best use I can of the important

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 this2; you will find him
an agreeable and useful correspondent.

1Under date of October 13, 1773, Lee had written 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 proved that their right is equally
questionable in all cases whatsoever. It was certainly a great
stroke, and has succeeded most happily." R. H. Lee, Life of
Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 236, 237.
2Under date of December 21, 1773. The text is Ibid., vol. ii.,
pp. 262, 263.

Regina Azucena


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

BOSTON Jany 8 1774


As the General Assembly will undoubtedly meet on the 26th 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 informd 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 Servt

1Of Salem Mass. Upon a letter from Pickering to Adams is endorsed
in the autograph of Adams: "Letter from Mr J Pickerin an honest &
sensible Friend of ye Liberty of his Country."


[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 complete 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 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 Company 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

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

MARCH 1,1774.1

[Journal of the House of Representatives, 1773, 1774 p. 219.]

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 receive 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
Grant to the said Peter Oliver, Esq; for his Services for the
Year past.

1On March 1, 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.
2For the articles of impeachment against Peter Oliver, see
Massachusetts Gazette, March 3, 1774, and Annual Register, 1774,
pp. 224-227.


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

BOSTON March 24 1774


The Bearer of this Mr Wm Goddard has brot us Letters from our
worthy Brethren the Committees of Correspondence of New York
Newport and Providence, recommending to our Consideration the
Expediency 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 Sentiments 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 Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr 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 Inhabitants of this Town will
heartily joyn in carrying it into Execution. We refer you for
further particulars to Mr 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 Esteem,

Your Friends & fellow Countrymen,

1Intended also for the Committees of Correspondence at Salem,
Portsmouth and Newbury Port.


[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 the town of Marblehead was
then in; but a great variety of business, some of which was very
important, 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 myself, 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 passions of a multitude 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 carefully keep the helm, and
so steer the ship while the storm continues, as to prevent, if
possible, her receiving injury.

When your petition was read in the house, I was fearful that our
enemies would make an ill improvement of it. I thought I could
discover in the countenances of some a kind of triumph in finding
that the friends of liberty themselves, were obliged to have
recourse 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 property of ALL.

It is probable that such improvement may have been made of the
disorders in Marblehead, to prejudice or discredit our manly
opposition to the efforts of tyranny; but I hope the friends of
liberty will prevent 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
Marblehead, who have borne so early and so noble a testimony 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. Goddard, 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

I am, with strict truth,
Your's affectionately,


[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 31st, 1774.


By the inclosed Papers you will observe the proceedings 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 dependent on the
Crown for their being and support, had justly and very
thouroughly alarmed the apprehensions of the people. They clearly
saw that this measure would complete the Tragedy of American
Freedom, for they could conceive of no state of slavery 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
who 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 discerning Minister could expect that a
people who had not entirely lost the Spirit and Feeling of that
Liberty wherewith they had before been made free, would tamely
and without a struggle submit to be thus disgraced and enslaved
by the most powerful and haughty 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 redress of this intolerable
Grievance merely because they held up principles founded in
nature, and confirmed to British Subjects by the British
Constitution, and to the subjects in this Province by a sacred
charter granted to the inhabitants by his illustrious
predecessors 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 assured
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
redress 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 according to ancient and uninterrupted usage and
conformable to the true spirit of the British Constitution.

The People however forbore to take any extraordinary Measures for
the Removal of this dangerous innovation, and trusted to the
Prudence and fortitude of their Representatives by whose
Influence four of the Judges have been prevailed upon to renounce
the Grants of the Crown and to declare their Resolution to depend
upon the Grants of the Assembly for their future services. The
Chief Justice has acted a different 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 Sentiments 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
independency, 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 corrupt officers against the remonstrances of the
Representative 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 whose 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
irritated to such a degree, that it is not in the Power of a
Governor(whom they look upon as a mere Instrument 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 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 Welfare) 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 sentiment and their opposition to
unconstitutional Measures of Government in become systematical,
Colony communicates freely with Colony. There is a common
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 permanent
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 considered 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
Institution 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
notwithstanding 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 Representation there? It cannot be justified by
their own Constituion. 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 excise 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 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
execrations of Posterity.

Our Lieutenant Governor Oliver is now dead.2 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
frequently pleaded to give a Colouring to measures destructive 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 Governor 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 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

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 Committe
Your most humble servants,

1Signed by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, William Phillips and
William Heath. [back]
2Cf. Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, vol. i., pp. 436, 437.


[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 Mr Watson, by whom I
recd your obliging Letter of the 27 Instant.

Altho we have had no Arrival from Londn 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 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 unjudicious 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
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.

Mr Watson will inform you, what Steps [the] Come of
Correspondence have taken with regard to the Establishment of a
Post Office upon constitutional Principles. Mr 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 Come 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 Mr 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 Mrs Warren and your agreable Family, in which Mrs 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. 39-42.]

BOSTON April 2d 1774


Yesterday we receivd your Letter dated the 22d 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 that you shall "accept them no more--without
material 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 Gentlemen, 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 peculiar
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 naturally
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
express 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 & defeat 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
Exercise of Reason those who had been governd by Prejudice and
Passion, & they have brought the Contest to an equitable &
amicable Issue, which would certainly have been to your own
Satisfaction. If Difficulties stared you in the Face, it is a
good Maxim NIL DESPERANDUM; and are you sure that it was
impracticable 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 inveterate, 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 sufferd to
have an undue Weight in your Minds, when the publick Liberty in
which is involvd the Happiness 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,

1Addressed to "Azor Orne Esqr & other Gentlemen of the Committee
of Correspondence for Marblehead."


[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 dependent
on the crown for thier 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 declaring that
unless the justices should renounce the salaries from the crown,
and submit to a constitutional dependence upon the the assembly
for their support, they would proceed to impeach them before the
governor 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
1st 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 declarations 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 representative 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 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 discovered 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 instances had been observed, as
appears in their printed journals. To give you some idea of what
the temper of that court has been, a lawyer1 of great eminence in
the province, and a member of the house of representatives, 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 passd 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 combinations are justly formidable, and the
people view 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 counselors; 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
constitution has placed it, into the hands of the king's
ministers 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 entirely 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

Mr. Cushing obliged me with a sight of your letter to him of the
22d Dec. last. I think I am not so clearly of opinion as you seem
to be, that "the declaratory act is a mere nullity," and that
therefore "if we can obtain a repeal of the revenue acts from
1764, 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 himself, "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
whatsoever. 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 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 providence 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
connexion between them, and the ISLANDERS sunk into obscurity and

May I whisper in your ear that you paid a compliment 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

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 vessel.

1Joseph Hawley, Esq., of North Hampton. [back]


[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. Cushing 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 advantage 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,
than the friendship or patronage of any great man in England."

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 friend,

1R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. i., pp. 238-240.


[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 5th of March 1770, by Mr 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 threatned 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 Govrs 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 Countenance that
their Sister Colonies can afford them; with 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
Struggle 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 residing 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 Mr 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 Pleasure 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 Sincerity,

Your affectionate Friend and humble servt,



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