The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III.

Part 3 out of 7

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

BOSTON, May 12, 1774.


I duly received your excellent letter of this day, while I was in
town-meeting. I read it there, to the great satisfaction of my
fellow townsmen, in as full a town-meeting as we have ever had. I
think you and the worthy colonel Orne must by no means refuse to
come to the general assembly. Every consideration is to give way
to the public. I cannot see how you can reconcile a refusal to
your own principles. Excuse my honest freedom. I can write no
more at present, being now in committee of correspondence upon
matters of great importance. This waits on you by Mr. Oliver
Wendel, who is one of a committee of this town to communicate
with the gentlemen of Salem and Marblehead, upon the present

I am, in haste, your friend,


[MS., Public Record Office, London.1]

BOSTON 12th May 1774.


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

The people receive this Edict with indignation; it is expected by
their Enemies, and fear'd by some of their Friends, that this
town singly will not be able to support the cause under so severe
a Tryal--as the very Being of every Colony considered as a free
people depends upon the event a thought so Dishonorable to our
Brethren cannot be entertain'd as that this town will be left to
struggle alone.

Your Hume St

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


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

BOSTON May 13th : 1774

I am Desired by the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of this
Town to enclose you an Attested Copy of their Vote passed in Town
meeting legally assembled this day.2 The Occasion of this Meeting
is most Alarming: We have receiv'd a Copy of an Act of the
British Parliament (which is also inclos'd) wherein it appears
that the Inhabitants of this Town have been tryed and condemned
and are to be punished by the shutting up of the Harbour, and
other Ways, without their having been called to answer for, nay,
for aught that appears without their having been even accused of
any crime committed by them; for no such Crime is alleged in the

The Town of Boston is now Suffering the Stroke of Vengeance in
the Common Cause of America. I hope they will sustain the Blow
with becoming fortitude; and that the Effects of this cruel Act,
intended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of all America will
by the joynt Efforts of all be frustrated.

The People receive this Edict with Indignation. It is expected by
their Enemies and feard by some of their Friends, that this Town
singly will not be able to support the Cause under so severe a
Tryal. As the very being of every Colony, considerd as a free
People depends upon the Event, a Thought so dishonorable to our
Brethren cannot be entertaind, as that this Town will now be left
to struggle alone.

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

I am &c.

Sent to the Come of Correspondence for
Connecticutt New York New Jersey & Philadelphia

by Mr Revere--and in that sent to Philadelphia there were Copies
of the Vote of the Town inclosd for the Colonies to the
Southward of them which they were desired to forward with all
possible Dispatch with their own Sentiments.

Rhode Island Providence p Post Portsmouth p Ditto

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

1The letter was signed by Adams, but only the annotations at the
end are in his autograph. Another draft is also in the Committee
of Correspondence Papers. The final text of the letter as sent to
the Committee of Correspondence of Connecticut, with the
subscription and signature in the autograph of Adams and the body
of the letter in the autograph of Thomas Cushing, is in Emmet
MS., No. 344, Lenox Library, and is printed in Bulletin of New
York Public Library, vol. ii., p. 201.
2Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., pp. 173, 174.


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

BOSTON May 13 1774


We have just receivd the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament
passd in the present Session whereby the Town of Boston is
treated in a Manner the most ignominious cruel and unjust. The
Parliament have taken upon them, from the Representations of our
Governor & other Persons inimical to and deeply prejudiced,
against the Inhabitants, to try, condemn and by an Act to punish
them, UNHEARD; which would have been in Violation of NATURAL
JUSTICE even if they had an acknowledgd Jurisdiction. They have
orderd our port to be entirely shut up, leaving us barely so much
of the Means of Subsistance as to keep us from perishing with
Cold and Hunger; and it is said, that [a] Fleet of British Ships
of War is to block up our Harbour, until we shall make
Restitution to the East India Company, for the Loss of their Tea,
which was destroyed therein the Winter past, Obedience is paid to
the Laws and Authority of Great Britain, and the Revenue is duly
collected. This Act fills the Inhabitants with Indignation. The
more thinking part of those who have hitherto been in favor of
the Measures of the British Government, look upon it as not to
have been expected even from a barbarous State. This Attack,
though made immediately upon us, is doubtless designd for every
other Colony, who will not surrender their sacred Rights &
Liberties into the Hands of an infamous Ministry. Now therefore
is the Time, when ALL should be united in opposition to this
Violation of the Liberties of ALL. Their grand object is to
divide the Colonies. We are well informd, that another Bill is to
be brought into Parliament, to distinguish this from the other
Colonies, by repealing some of the Acts which have been complaind
of and ease the American Trade; but be assured, YOU will be
called upon to surrender your Rights, if ever they should succeed
in their Attempts to suppress the Spirit of Liberty HERE. The
single Question then is, Whether YOU consider Boston as now
suffering in the Common Cause, & sensibly feel and resent the
Injury and Affront offerd to her? If you do, (and we cannot
believe otherwise) May we not from your Approbation of our former
Conduct, in Defence of American Liberty, rely on your suspending
your Trade with Great Britain at least, which, it is acknowledgd,
will be a great, but necessary Sacrifice, to the Cause of
Liberty, and will effectually defeat the Design of this Act of
Revenge. If this should be done, you will please to consider it
will be, though a voluntary Suffering, greatly short of what we
are called to endure under the immediate hand of Tyranny.

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

your Friends & Fellow Countrymen,

1Intended also for the Committees of Correspondence of New York,
New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Portsmouth. An
endorsement upon the draft also states that it was written with
the concurrence of the Committees of Correspondence of
Charlestown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, Roxbury, Dorchester,
Lexington, and Lynn. Cf. Proceedings, Bostonian Society, 1891,
pp. 39, 40.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol.
iv., pp. 390-392; a draft, with several variances, is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON, May 14, 1774.


This Town has received the Copy of an Act of the British
Parliament, wherein it appears that we have been tried and
condemned, and are to be punished, by the shutting up of the
harbor and other marks of revenge, until we shall disgrace
ourselves by servilely yielding up, in effect, the just and
righteous claims of America. If the Parliament had a Right to
pass such an EDICT, does it not discover the want of every moral
principle to proceed to the destruction of a community, without
even the accusation of any crime committed by such community? And
for any thing that appears, this is in fact the case. There is no
crime alleged in the Act, as committed by the Town of Boston.
Outrages have been committed within the Town, and therefore the
community, as such, are to be destroyed, without duly inquiring
whether it deserved any punishment at all. Has there not often
been the same kind of reason why the Port of London should be
shut up, to the starving of hundreds of thousands, when their own
mobs have surrounded the Kings Palace? But such are the councils
of a nation, once famed and revered for the character of humane
just and brave.

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

I enclose you a copy of a vote, passed by this Town at a very
full meeting yesterday, which stands adjourned till Wednesday
next, to receive the report of a committee appointed to consider
what is proper further to be done. The inhabitants in general
abhor the thought of paying for the tea, which is one condition
upon which we are to be restored to the grace and favor of Great
Britain. Our Committee of Correspondence have written letters to
our friends in the Southern Colonies, and they are about writing
to the several towns in this Province. The merchants of
Newburyport have exhibited a noble example of public spirit, in
resolving that, if the other sea-port Towns in this Province
alone, will come into the measure, they will not trade to the
southward of South Carolina, nor to any part of Great Britain and
Ireland, till the harbor of Boston is again open and free; or
till the disputes between Britain and the Colonies are settled,
upon such terms as all rational men ought to contend for. This is
a manly and generous resolution. I wish Plymouth, which has
hitherto stood foremost, would condescend to second Newburyport.
Such a determination put into practice would alter the views of a
nation, who are in full expectation that Boston will be unthought
of by the rest of the continent, and even of this Province, and
left, as they are devoted, to ruin. The heroes who first trod on
your shore, fed on clams and muscles, and were contented. The
country which they explored, and defended with their richest
blood, and which they transmitted as an inheritance to their
posterity, affords us a superabundance of provision. Will it not
be an eternal disgrace to this generation, if it should now be
surrendered to that people who, if we might judge of them by one
of their laws, are barbarians. IMPIUS HAEC TAM CULTA NOVALIA
resent the affront and injury now offered to this town; if they
realize of how great importance it is to the liberties of all
America that Boston should sustain this shock with dignity; if
they recollect their own resolutions, to defend the public
fail to contribute their aid by a temporary suspension of their

I am your friend,


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

BOSTON May 18 1774


The Committee of Correspondence for the Town of Boston have had
before them a Letter signd by yourself in behalf of the Committee
of the Honbl House of Deputies of the Colony of Connecticutt, and
I am desired by our Committee to return them their hearty Thanks,
for the readiness they discover to support this Town, now called
to stand in the Gap and suffer the vengeful Stroke of the hand of
Tyranny, or, which God forbid, succumb under it. I trust in God,
we shall never be so servile as to submit to the ignominious
Terms of the cruel Edict; aided by our Sister Colonies, we shall
be able to acquit ourselves, under this severe Tryal, with
Dignity. But that Aid must be speedy, otherwise we shall not be
able to keep up the Spirits of the more irresolute amongst us,
before whom the crafty Adversaries are already holding up the
grim Picture of Want and Misery. It is feard by the Committee
that a Conferrence of Committees of Correspondence from all the
Colonies, cannot be had speedily enough to answer for the present
Emergency. If your honbl Committee shall think it proper to use
their Influence with the Merchants in the Sea port Towns in
Connecticutt to withhold--& prevail with those of each town for
themselves--their Trade with Great Britain and Ireland and every
Part of the West Indies, to commence at a certain time (say on
the 14th June next) it will be a great Sacrifice indeed, but not
greater than Americans have given the World Reason to expect from
them when called to offer it for the preservation of the publick
Liberty.One years virtuous forbearance wd succeed to our wishes.
2What would this be in Comparison with the Sacrifice our renowned
Ancestors made that they might quietly enjoy their Liberties
civil & religious? They left, many of them, affluence in their
Native Country, crossd an untryed Ocean, encounterd the
Difficulties of cultivating a howling wilderness, defended their
Infant Settlements against a most barbarous Enemy with their
richest Blood.

Your Sentiment that Boston is "suffering in the common Cause" is
just and humane. Your obliging Letter has precluded any Necessity
of urging your utmost Exertions, that Connecticut may at this
Juncture act her part in the Support of that common Cause,
though the Attack is made more immediately on the Town of Boston.
Being at present pressd for time I cannot write so largely as I
feel disposd to do. I must therefore conclude with assuring you
that I am with very great Regard for your Come


your sincere Friend and Fellow Countryman,

1Addressed to Deane at Hartford, Connecticut.
2The following two sentences are stricken out in the draft.


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

BOSTON May 18 1774


You have without Doubt heard of the Edict of the British
Parliament to shut up the Harbour of Boston, the Injustice &
Cruelty of which cannot be parralled [sic] in the English
History. Injustice, in trying condemning and punishing upon the
mere Representations of interrested Men, without calling the
Party to answer; and Cruelty in the Destruction of a whole
Community only because it is alledgd that Outrage has been
committed in it, without the least Enquiry whether the Community
have been to blame. The Town of Boston now suffer the Stroke of
ministerial Vengeance in the Common Cause of America; and I hope
in God they will sustain the Shock with Dignity. They do not
conceive that their Safety consists in their Servile Compliance
with the ignominious Terms of this barbarous Act. Supported by
their Brethren of the Sister Colonies I am perswaded they will
nobly defeat the diabolical Designs of the common Enemies. If the
Spirit of American Liberty is suppressd in this Colony, which is
undoubtedly the Plan, where will the Victory lead to and end? I
need not urge upon YOU the Necessity of the joynt Efforts of all
in the Defence of this single Post. I know your great Weight and
Influence in the Colony of Rhode Island, and intreat that you
would now employ it for the common Safety of America. I write in
great Haste and am with sincere affection,

Your friend,
I shall esteem a Letter from you a very great favor.

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


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

BOSTON, May 18th, 1774.

MY DEAR SIR,--The edict of the British parliament, commonly
called the Boston Port Act, came safely to my hand. For flagrant
injustice and barbarity, one might search in vain among the
archives of Constantinople to find a match for it. But what else
could have been expected from a parliament, too long under the
dictates and control of an administration, which seems to be
totally lost to all sense and feeling of morality, and governed
by passion, cruelty, and revenge. For us to reason against SUCH
an act, would be idleness. Our business is to find means to evade
its malignant design. The inhabitants view it, not with
astonishment, but indignation. They discover the utmost contempt
of the framers of it; while they are yet disposed to consider the
body of the nation (though represented by such a parliament) in
the character they have sustained heretofore, humane and
generous. They resent the behaviour of the merchants in London,
those I mean who receive their bread from them, in infamously
deserting their cause at the time of extremity. They can easily
believe that the industrious manufacturers, whose time is wholly
spent in their various employments, are misled and imposed upon
by such miscreants as have ungratefully devoted themselves to an
abandoned ministry, not regarding the ruin of those who have been
their best benefactors. But the inhabitants of this town must and
will look to their own safety, which they see does not consist in
a servile compliance with the ignominious terms of this barbarous
edict. Though the means of preserving their liberties should
distress and even ruin the British manufacturers, they are
resolved (but with reluctance) to try the experiment. To this
they are impelled by motives of self-preservation. They feel
humanely to those who must suffer, but being innocent are not the
objects of their revenge. They have already called upon their
sister colonies, (as you will see by the enclosed note) who not
only feel for them as fellow-citizens, but look upon them as
suffering the stroke of ministerial vengeance in the common cause
of America; that cause which the colonies have pledged themselves
to each other not to give up. In the mean time I trust in God
this devoted town will sustain the shock with dignity; and
supported by their brethren, will gloriously defeat the designs
of thier common enemies. Calmness, courage, and unanimity
prevail. While they are resolved not tamely to submit, they will
by refraining from any acts of violence, avoid the snare they
they discover to be laid for them, by posting regiments so near
them. I heartily thank you for your spirited exertions. Use means
for the preservation of your health. Our warmest gratitude is due
to lords Camden and Shelburne. Our dependence is upon the wisdom
of the few of the British nobility. We suspect studied insult, in
the appointment of the person who is commander-in-chief of the
troops in America to be our governor; and I think ther appears to
be in it more than a design to insult upon any specious pretence.
We will endeavour by circumspection and sound prudence, to
frustrate the diabolical designs of our enemies.

I have written in haste, and am affectionately your friend,


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

BOSTON, May 20, 1774.


I have just time to acquaint you that yesterday our committee of
correspondence received an express from New York, with a letter
from thence, dated the 15th instant, informing that a ship
arrived there after a passage of twenty-seven days from London,
with the detested act for shutting up this port; that the
citizens of New York resented the treatment of Boston, as a most
violent and barbarous attack on the rights of all America; that
the general cry was, let the port of New York voluntarily share
the fate of Boston; that the merchants were to meet on Tuesday
last, and it was the general opinion that they would entirely
suspend all commercial connexion with Great Britain, and not
supply the West Indies with hoops, staves, lumber, &c.; that they
hoped the merchants in this and every colony would come into the
measure, as it was of the last importance.

Excuse me, I am in great haste,
Your friend,


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

BOSTON May 22 1774


We have just receivd your favor of this Date by the Hands of Mr
Foster. We cannot too highly applaud your Sollicitude & Zeal in
the Common Cause. The News you mention as having been receivd
here from New York by the Post is without Foundation. We have
receivd a Letter from New York dated the Day before the Post came
out from that City, advising us that there was to be a meeting of
the merchants there on the Tuesday following (last Tuesday)--that
by a Vessel which had arrivd there from London the Citizens had
receivd the barbarous Act with Indignation--that no Language
could express their Abhorrence of this additional Act of Tyranny
to all America--that they were fully perswaded that America was
attackd & intended to be enslavd by their distressing & subduing
Boston--that a Compliance with the provision of the Act will only
be a temporary Reliefe from a particular Evil, which must end in
a general Calamity--that many timid People in that City who have
interrested themselves but very little in the Controversy with
Great Britain express the greatest resentment at the Conduct of
the Ministry to this Town and consider the Treatment as if done
to them--and that this is the general Sense of the Inhabitants--
that it was the general Talk that at the Meeting of the Merchants
it would be agreed to suspend commercial Connection with Great
Britain--also to stop the Exportation of Hoops Staves Heading &
Lumber to the English Islands, & export no more of those Articles
to foreign Islands than will be sufficient to bring home the
Sugar Rum & Molasses for the Return of American Cargoes, and we
are to be advisd of the Result of the meeting, which we expect
very soon. The Express which we sent to New York had not arrivd
when this left the City.

We have receivd Letters by the post from Portsmt in New
Hampshire, from Hartford Newport Providence Westerly &c. all
expressing the same Indignation and a Determination to joyn in
like measures--restrictions on their Trade.

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

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

We conclude in haste,

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


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

BOSTON May 30 1774


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

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

But it is the Trade that we must at present depend upon for that
SPEEDY Reliefe which the Necessity of this Town requires. The
Trade will forever be divided when a Sacrifice of their Interest
is called for. By far the greater part of the Merchants of this
place are & ever have been steadfast in the Cause of their
Country; but a small Number may defeat the good Intentions of the
rest, and there are some Men among them, perhaps more weak than
wicked, who think it a kind of Reputation to them to appear
zealous in Vindication of the Measures of Tyranny, and these it
is said are tempted by the Commissioners of the Customs, with
Indulgencies in their Trade. Nevertheless it is of the greatest
Importance that some thing should be done for the immediate
Support of this Town. A Congress is of absolute Necessity in my
Opinion, but from the length of time it will take to bring it to
pass, I fear it cannot answer for the present Emergency. The Act
of Parliament shuts up our Port. Is it not necessary to push for
a Suspension of Trade with Great Britain as far as it will go,
and let the yeomanry (whose Virtue must finally save this
Country) resolve to desert those altogether who will not come
into the Measure. This will certainly alarm the Manufacturers in
Britain, who felt more than our Enemies would allow, the last
Nonimportation Agreement. The virtuous forbearance of the Friends
of Liberty may be powerful enough to command Success. Our Enemies
are already holding up to the Tradesmen the grim Picture of
Misery and Want, to induce them to yield to Tyranny. I hope they
will not prevail upon them but this is to be feard, unless their
Brethren in the other Colonies will agree upon Measures of SPEEDY
Support and Reliefe.

It gives me the greatest pleasure to find our worthy Friend the
Farmer2 at the head of a respectable Committee. Pray let him know
that I am fully of his Sentiments. Violence & Submission would at
this time be equally fatal.

I write in the utmost haste.

Your affectionate Friend,

You will see in some of our Papers of this day an infamous
Address to Hutchinson signd by a Number who call themselves
Merchants Traders & others. In this List of Subscribers are
containd the Names of his party taken after abundance of Pains
from every Class of Men down to the lowest. I verily believe I
could point out half a Score Gentlemen in Town able to purchase
the whole of them. For their understanding I refer you to the
Address itself. There is also another Paper of this Kind
subscribed by those who call themselves Lawyers. It was refused
with Indignation by some who for Learning & Virtue are
acknowledgd to be the greatest Ornaments of that Profession. The
Subscribers are taken from all parts of the Province. A few of
them are allowed to be of Ability--others of none--others have
lately purchasd their Books and are now about to read. This List
you will observe is headed by one of our Judges of the
Admiraltry, & seconded by another--there is also the Solicitor
General (a Wedderburne in Principle but not equal to him in
Ability) the Advocate General &c &c. The whole Design of these
Addresses is to prop a sinking Character in England.

1Later secretary of the Continental Congress.
2John Dickinson. Cf., page 104.


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

BOSTON May 31 1774


I receivd your favor of the 26 Instant by the hands of Mr Revere.
I am glad to find that it is fully the Opinion of your Committee,
that some immediate and effectual Measures are necessary to be
taken for the Support of this Town. I have just now received
Intelligence(and I am apt to believe it) that several Regiments
are to be posted in the Town. What can this mean but to pick a
Quarrel with the Inhabitants, and to provoke them to take some
violent Steps from whence they may have a specious Pretence to
carry Matters to the greatest Extremity. We shall be hard pressd;
and it will be difficult for us to preserve among the people that
Equanimity which is necessary in such arduous Times. The only Way
that I can at present think of to bring the Ministry to their
Senses, is to make the people of Great Britain share in the
Misfortunes which they bring upon us; and this cannot be done so
speedily as the Emergency calls for, but by a Suspension of Trade
with them. I think that should be pushd as far as it will go & as
speedily as possible. Although the interrested & disaffected
Merchants should not come into it, great Success may attend it.
Let the yeomanry of the Continent, who only, under God, must
finally save this Country, break off all commercial Connection
whatever with those who will not come into it. A Congress appears
to me to be of absolute Necessity, to settle the Dispute with
Great Britain if she by her violent and barbarous Treatment of
us, should not totally quench our Affection for her, and render
it impracticable. I hope no Hardships will ever induce America to
submit to voluntary Slavery. I wish for Harmony between Britain &
the Colonies; but only upon the Principles of Equal Liberty.

Our Assembly was unexpectedly adjournd on Saturday last till the
seventh of June, then to meet at Salem. By this Means I am
prevented mentioning a Congress to the Members. I wish your
Assembly could find it convenient to sit a fornight longer, that
we might if possible act in Concert. This however is a sudden
Thought. I have written in the utmost haste, and conclude, with
great Regard to the Gentlemen of the Committee.


Your Friend & fellow Countryman,


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

BOSTON June 1 1774


It was with singular pleasure that I recd a Letter from you by Mr
Howe, and another since by your worthy Townsman. I began to think
you had at last entirely forgot me. I sincerely congratulate you
on the birth of a Daughter. May God preserve her life & make her
a Blessing in the World. Assure Mrs Checkley of our kind Regards
for her. I hope she will enjoy a better State of Health than she
has had in time past. You have now devolvd upon you the weighty
Cares of a Parent; you will perhaps find it difficult "to train
up the Child in the way it should go" in an Age of Levity Folly
and Vice. Doubtless you will consider your self more interrested
than ever in the Struggles of your Country for Liberty, as you
hope your Infant will outlive you, and share in the Event. Your
native Town which I am perswaded is dear to you, is now suffering
the Vengeance of a cruel and tyrannical Administration; and I can
assure you she suffers with Dignity. She scorns to own herself
the Slave of the haughtiest nation on earth; and rather than
submit to the humiliating Terms of an Edict, barbarous beyond
Precedent under the most absolute monarchy, I trust she will put
the Malice of Tyranny to the severest Tryal. It is a consolatory
thought, that an Empire is rising in America, and will not THIS
first of June be rememberd at a time, how soon God knows! when it
will be in the power of this Country amply to revenge its Wrongs.
If Britain by her multiplied oppressions is now accelerating that
Independency of the Colonies which she so much dreads, and which
in process of time must take place, who will she have to blame
but herself? We live in an important Period, & have a post to
maintain, to desert which would be an unpardonable Crime, and
would entail upon us the Curses of posterity. The infamous Tools
of Power are holding up the picture of Want and Misery; but in
vain do they think to intimidate us; the Virtue of our Ancestors
inspires us--they were contented with Clams & Muscles. For my
part, I have been wont to converse with poverty; and however
disagreable a Companion she may be thought to be by the affluent
& luxurious who never were acquainted with her, I can live
happily with her the remainder of my days, if I can thereby
contribute to the Redemption of my Country.

The naval Power of Britain has blocked up this Harbour; but the
Laws of Nature must be alterd, before the port of Salem can
become an equivalent. The most remote inland Towns in the
province feel the want of a mart, & resent the Injury done to
themselves in the Destruction of Boston. The British Minister
appears to me to be infatuated. Every step he takes seems designd
by him to divide us, while the necessary Tendency is to unite.
Our Business is to make Britain share in the miseries which she
has unrighteously brought upon us. She will then see the
Necessity of returning to moderation & Justice.



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


Whereas the Towns of Boston and Charlestown are at this time
suffering under the Hand of Power, by the shutting up the Harbour
by an armed Force, which in the opinion of this House is an
Invasion of the said Towns evidently designd to compel the
Inhabitants thereof to a Submission to Taxes imposed upon them
without their Consent: And Whereas it appears to this House that
this Attack upon the said Towns for the Purpose aforesaid is an
Attack made upon this whole Province & Continent which threatens
the total Destruction of the Liberties of all British America: It
is therefore Resolvd as the clear opinion of this House, that the
Inhabitants of the said Towns ought to be relievd; and this House
do recommend to all, and more especially to [the] Inhabitants of
this Province to afford them speedy and constant Reliefe in such
Way and Manner as shall be most suitable to their Circumstances
till the sense & advice of our Sister Colonies shall be known: In
full Confidence that they will exhibit Examples of Patience
Fortitude and Perseverance, while they are thus called to endure
this oppression, for the Preservation of the Liberties of their

After debate accepted


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

BOSTON, June 22, 1774.


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


[Boston Gazette, June 27, 1774.]

Messieurs EDES & GILL,

From an Extract of a Letter from a Southern Colony, and the
Publications in last Thursday's Gazette, it is very evident a
Scheme has been concerted by some Persons to frustrate any
Attempts that might be made to suspend our Trade with Great-
Britain, till our most intolerable Grievances are redressed. The
Scheme appears to be, to SEEM to agree to the Suspension in Case
all agreed, and then by construing some Passage in a Letter from
the Committee of another Province, that they had NOT AGREED, to
declare that the conditional Signers were NOT HOLDEN. A GAME or
two of such Mercantile Policy would soon have convinced the World
that Lord North had a just Idea of the Colonies; and that
notwithstanding their real Power to prove a Rope of Hemp to him,
they were a Rope of Sand in Reality, among themselves. I would
beg Leave to ask the voluminous Querists referr'd to. whether
they conceive a Non-consumption Agreement would ever have been
tho't of in the Country, could our Brethren there have persuaded
themselves that the Merchants were in earnest to suspend Trade
the little Time there was between our receiving the Port Bill,
and the Appointment of a Congress, or any other general Measure
come into, from which a radical Relief might be expected? 2.
Whether the Trade in their last Meeting declaring, That their
CONDITIONAL Agreement was DISSOLVED, on Pretence that Advices
from New York and Philadelphia were totally discouraging, was not
highly unbecoming a People whose peculiar Circumstances rendered
it their duty to stop their Trade to Great Britain the Moment the
Port-Bill reached the Shore of America? 3. Whether they conceive
the Committee of Boston planned the Non-consumption Agreement,
and sent it first into the Country for their Adoption? or rather,
whether the Country, enraged at their preposterous Management,
did not originate the Plan and press the Committee to have it
digested, printed and recommended throughout the Colony? 4. I
would enquire whether a Backwardness in the Province, actually
suffering, to come into the only peaceful Measure that remains
for our Extrication from Slavery, would not naturally excuse
every other Province from taking one Step for the common
Salvation? 5. Whether in that Case all the Trade of the Province,
whether consisting of Spring, Summer or Fall Importations, would
in the End be worth an Oyster-Shell? 6. Whether all the Bugbears
started against the Worcester Covenant, as holding up the taking
a solemn Oath to "withdraw all Commercial Connexions," which our
honest Commentators tell the People means even to deny buying or
selling Greens or Potatoes to them, does not betray a great want
of that Candor and manly Generosity, which is expected from well-
bred and reasonble Citizens? 7. Whether the suggestion that the
Boston Merchants ceasing to Import, will throw the Trade into the
Hands of Importers in other Provinces, is not utterly unbecoming
an Inhabitant of that Town, into which the Beneficence of the
whole Continent is ready to flow in the most exemplary Manner?
For Shame! Self Interested Mortals, cease to draw upon your
worthy Fellow Citizens the just Resentment of Millions. If there
may be Some Punctilios wrong in the Non-consumption Agreement,
the united Wisdom of the Continent will surely be capable of
setting Matters right at the general Congress; and no Gentleman
Trader, be his Haste ever so great to get Rich, need distress
himself so mightily about the Profits of one Fall-Importation, if
the constant Clamour of the Trade for two Years past, that they
did Business for nothing, had any Foundation.



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

BOSTON June 30 1774


Your Letter by order of your Committee directed to Mr Cooper with
the inclosed Resolves came to my hand this day. I shall as soon
as possible call a Committee of the Town who are appointed to
consider of Ways and Means for the Employment of the poor, and to
appropriate and distribute such Donations as our generous friends
shall make for the Reliefe of those Inhabitants who may be
deprivd of the Means of Subsistence by the Operation of the Port
Bill. This Committee consists of the standing Overseers of the
poor who are to act in Concert with others who had been before
appointed for the purposes above mentiond, as you will observe by
the inclosed Votes of the Town. The principal Reason assignd in
the Vote for joyning the Overseers is because by an Act of this
province they are a corporate body empowerd to receive Monies &c
for the Use of the poor, but those Gentlemen have since informd
the others of the joynt Committee that they cannot consistently
with the Act of their Incoporation admit of any but their own
Body in the Distribution of the Monies that may at any time come
into their hands for the Use of the poor. They are heartily
desirous of acting in Concert agreable to the Vote of the Town
but consider themselves as under Restraint by the Law. The Donors
may if they please consign their Donations to any one Gentleman
(William Phillips Esqr) to be appropriated for the EMPLOYMENT or
RELIEFE of such Inhabitants of the Town of Boston as may be
deprived of the Means of Subsistence by the Operation of the Act
of Parliament commonly stiled the Boston Port Bill, at the best
Discretion of the Overseers of the poor of Boston joynd by a
Committee appointed by said Town to consider of Ways and Means
for the Employment of the poor.

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

Your friend & fellow Countryman,1

1In the interval before the date of the next letter an article
signed "Candidus" was published in the Massachusetts
Spy, July 7, 1774. This is attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells,
and portions are printed in his Life of Samuel
Adams, vol. ii., pp. 187,197.


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

BOSTON July 11 1774.


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

You may rely upon it that there is no Foundation for the Report
that the Opposition gains Ground upon us. The Emissaries of a
Party which is now reduced to a very small Number of Men, a great
Part of whom are in Reality Expectants from & in Connection with
the Revenue, are daily going out with such idle Stories; but
whoever reads the Accounts of the Proceedings of our Town
Meetings, which I can assure you have been truly stated in the
News papers under the hand of the Town Clerk, will see that no
Credit is due to such Reports.

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

Your obliged Friend &
Fellow Countryman,

1Addressed to "Jed Huntington, Chris Leffingwell, Theoph Rogers


[MS., American Philosophical Society1; a draft is in the Samuel
Adams Papers, Lenox Library; an undated text is in R. H. Lee,
Life of R. H. Lee, vol. i., pp. 99-101.]

BOSTON July 15th 1774

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

The unrighteous and oppressive Act of the British Parliament for
shutting up this Harbour, although executed with a Rigour beyond
the Intent even of the Framers of it, has hitherto faild, and I
believe will continue to fail of the Effect which the Enemies of
America flatter'd themselves it would have. The Inhabitants still
wear chearful countenances. Far from being in the least Degree
intimidated they are resolved to undergo the greatest Hardships,
rather than Submit in any Instance to the Tyrannical Act. They
are daily encouraged to persevere, by the Intelligence which they
receive from their Brethren not of this Province only, but of
every other Colony, that they are consider'd as suffering in the
common Cause; and the Resolution of ALL, to support them in the
Conflict. Lord North had no Expectation that we should be thus
Sustained; on the Contrary he trusted that Boston would be left
by all her Friends to Struggle and fall alone.--He has therefore
made no Preparation for the Effects of an Union. From the
Information I have had from Intelligent Persons in England, I
verily believe the Design was to seize some Persons here, and
send them Home; but the Steadiness and Prudence of the People,
and the unexpected Union of the Colonies, evidenc'd by liberal
Contributions for our Support, have disconcerted them; and they
are at a loss how to proceed further. Four Regiments are now
encamp'd on our Common, and more are expected; but I trust the
People will, by a circumspect Behavior, prevent their taking
occasion to Act. The Port Bill, is follow'd by two other Acts of
the British Parliament; the one for regulating the Government of
this Province, or rather totally to destroy our free Constitution
and substitute an absolute Government in its Stead; the other for
the more IMPARTIAL Administration of Justice or as some term it
for the screening from Punishment any Soldier who shall Murder an
American for asserting his Right. A Submission to these Acts will
doubtless be requir'd and expected; but whether General Gage will
find it an easy thing to FORCE the People to submit to so great
and fundamental a Change of Government, is a Question I think,
worthy his Consideration--Will the People of America consider
these measures, as Attacks on the Constitution of an Individual
Province in which the rest are not interested; or will they view
the model of Government prepar'd for us as a Sistem for the whole
Continent. Will they, as unconcern'd Spectators, look upon it to
be design'd only to top off the exuberant Branches of Democracy
in the Constitution of this Province? Or, as part of a plan to
reduce them all to Slavery? These are Questions, in my Opinion of
Importance, which I trust will be thoroughly weighed in a general
Congress.--May God inspire that intended Body with Wisdom and
Fortitude, and unite and Prosper their Councils!

The People of this Province are thoroughly Sensible of the
Necessity of breaking off all Commercial Connection with the
Country, whose political Councils direct to Measures to enslave
them. They however THE BODY of the Nation, are being kept in
profound Ignorance of the Nature of the Dispute between Britain
and the Colonies; and taught to believe that we are a perfidious
& rebellious People.

It is with Reluctance that they come into any Resolutions, which
must distress those who are not the objects of their Resentment
but they are urg'd to it from Motives of Self-preservation, and
therefore are signing an agreement in the several Towns, not to
consume any British Goods which shall be imported after the last
of August next; and that they may not be impos'd upon, they are
to require an Oath of those from whom they shall hereafter
purchase such Goods. It is the Virtue of the Yeomanry that we are
chiefly to depend upon. Our Friends in Maryland talk of
withholding the Exportation of Tobacco; this was first hinted to
us by the Gentlemen of the late House of Burgesses of Virginia
who had been called together after the Dissolution of your
Assembly--This would be a Measure greatly interesting to the
Mother Country.

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

I am with great Regard
Your Friend & Fellow Countryman,

1In this instance the body of the letter actually sent, from
which this text is taken, is not in the autograph of
Adams, only the subscription, signature, and address being in his
hand. The draft is wholly in his autograph.


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

BOSTON July 16 1774


Having receivd Information that the respectable Inhabitants of
the Town of Savvannah have expressd a Degree of Uneasiness, as
considering themselves neglected in the general Application which
the distressd Town of Boston have made to the Colonies in America
for Advice and Assistance in their present painful Struggle with
the hand of Tyranny, I beg Leave to assure you that by express
Direction of the Town of Boston a Letter was addressd to the
Gentlemen of Savannah upon the first Intelligence of the
detestable Port Bill. Permit me to add Gentlemen that the
Committee of Correspondence for the Town of Boston at whose
Request I now write, set too high a Value upon your Advice and
esteem a general Union of too great Importance, to neglect any
Steps at this alarming Crisis, which may have a Tendency to
effect so desirable a Purpose.

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

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

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

I am in their Behalf
Your Friend and
Fellow Countryman


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

Your very humble Servt,

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


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

BOSTON July 18 1774


I have lately receivd several Letters from you for which I am
much obliged. It cannot but afford Pleasure to an observing
American to find, that the British Administration, by every
Measure they take for the Suppression of the Spirit of Liberty in
the Colonies, have promoted, till they have at length established
a perfect Union; which, if it continues, must effect the
Destruction of their cursed Plans of arbitrary Power.--The Boston
Port bill is a parliamentary Punishment of this People, designd,
as Lord North expressd himself, to convince America that they are
in earnest.--What will his Lordship think, when he finds, that
his "spirited Measures" have not the designd Effect, wch was to
intimidate us--that America is also IN EARNEST and the whole
Continent united in an effectual Measure, which they have always
in their Power to adopt, to distress the Trade of Britain, &
thereby bring her to her Senses. The Premier little thought of
this united Resentment, and therefore has made no Preparation
against the Effects of it. He promisd himself that the . . . ,
and leave her to fall under the Scourge of ministerial Vengeance.
The noble and generous Part which all are taking & particularly
South Carolina on this Occasion must convince him that the
British Brothers, each of whom resents an Attack upon the Rights
of one as an Attack upon the Rights of all. The Port bill is
followed by two others; One for cutting the Charter of this
Province into Shivers, and the other to encourage Murderers by
skreening them from Punishment. What short Work these modern
Politicians make with solemn Compacts founded on the Faith of
Kings! The Minds of this People can never be reconciled to so
fundamental a Change of their civil Constitution; and I should
think that General Gage, allowing that he has but a small Share
of Prudence, will hardly think of risqueing the horrible Effects
of civil War, by suddenly attempting to force the Establishmt of
a Plan of civil Government which must be shocking to all the
other Colonies even in the Contemplation of it; but the more so,
as they must consider themselves to be deeply interrested in the
Attempt.--I pray God that he may not wantonly exercise the
exorbitant Power intended to be, if not already, put into his
Hands.--If the Wrath of Man is a little while restraind, it is
possible that the united Wisdom of the Colonists, may devise
Means in a peaceable Way, not only for the Restoration of their
own Rights and Liberties, but the Establishment of Harmony with
Great Britain, which certainly must be the earnest Desire of Wise
and good Men. I am

Yours affectionately,t,

1Cf., Vol. i., page 108. [back]


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

BOSTON July 18 1774


We have received your polite and obliging Letter of the 28 June
inclosing bill of lading for 194 whole & 21 half barrills Rice on
board the sloop of Mary John Dove Master which is safely arrived
at Salem. So very generous a Donation of twenty Gentlemen only of
the Town of Charlestown, towards the Reliefe of the Sufferers by
the cruel & oppressive Port bill, demands our most grateful
Acknowledgments; and the Assurances you give us of the kind
Disposition of our worthy Friends in South Carolina towards the
Inhabitants of this Town will, we are perswaded, greatly
encourage them to bear up under that oppressive Ministerial
Vengeance which they are now called to endure for the common
Cause of America. Supported as we are by our Brethren in all the
Colonies, we must be ungrateful to them as well as lost to the
feelings of publick Virtue should we comply with the Demands to
surrender the Liberty of America. We think you may rely upon it
that the People of [this] Province in general will joyn in any
proper M[easures] that may be proposed for the restoration &
Establishment of the Rights of America, and of that Harmony with
the Mother Country upon the principles of equal Liberty so much
desired by all wise & good Men. A Non Importation of British
Goods is (with a few Exceptions) universally thought a salutary
and an efficatious Measure; and in order to effectuate such
a Measure the yeomanry in the Country (upon whom under God we are
to depend) are signing agreements to restrict themselves from
purchasing & consuming them. We applaud and at the same time
[are] animated by the patriotick Spirit of our Sister Colonies.
Such an union we believe was little expected by Lord North and we
have Reason to hope therefore that he has not thought of making
any Preparation against the Effects of it. The Resolution &
Magnanimity of the Colonists and the Firmness Perseverance &
Prudence of the People of this insulted Town astonishes our
Adversaries, & we trust will put them to a Loss how to proceed

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

Fellow Countrymen,


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

BOSTON July 18 1774


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

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

Your friends & fellow Countrymen,


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

BOSTON July 25 1774


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

Four Regiments are encampd upon our Common, while the Harbour is
blockd up by Ships of War. Nothing is sufferd to be waterborn in
the Harbour excepting the Wood and Provisions brot in to keep us
from actually perishing. By such Oppressions the British
Administration hope to suppress the Spirit of Liberty in this
place; but being encouragd by the generous Supplys that are daily
Sent to us the Inhabitants are determind to hold out and appeal
to the Justice of the Colonies & of the World--trusting in God
that these things shall be overruled for the Establishment of
Liberty Virtue & Happiness in America--Your Sister is in
tollerable Health and together with my Son & Daughter send their
affectionate respects to your self Mrs Wells & your family--I am


1Cf., Vol. II., page 337. [back]


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

BOSTON July 27 1774


I wrote you by this Conveyance; since which nothing new has
occurred here, saving that this Town at a legal Meeting
yesterday2 orderd a circular Letter to be sent to all the
Towns and Districts in the province a Copy of which is inclosed.
If the two Acts therein referrd to take place, there will not be
even the Shadow of Liberty left in this Province; and our
Brethren of the Sister Colonies will seriously consider whether
it be not the Intention of a perverse Administration to establish
the same System of Tyranny throughout the Colonies. There will
shortly be forty or fifty dozen of Hoes and Axes shipd to your
address by a worthy citizen & Merchant of this Town Mr Charles
Miller--The Makers are Men of approvd Skill and fidelity in their
Business and will warrant their Work by affixing their names
thereon--The original Cost of the Axes will be 40/ & the Hoes 36/
sterling pr Dozen, and I dare say they will be in every respect
better than any imported from abroad.

I am with due Regard

Yr friend & Countryman

1Cf., Vol. II., page 64. [back]
2Boston Record Commissioner's Report, vol. xviii., pp. 186, 187.


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

BOSTON, July 29th, 1774.


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

The Committee have a very grateful sense of the generosity of
their friends in Farmington, who may depend upon their donations
being applied agreeable to their benevolent intention, as it is a
great satisfaction to the Committee to find the Continent so
united in opinion. The Town of Boston is now suffering for the
common liberties of America, and while they are aided and
supported by their friends, I am persuaded they will struggle
through the conflict, firm and steady.

I am, with very great regard, Gentlemen,

Your friend & countryman,

1A member of the committee of Farmington, Connecticut. [back]


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

BOSTON, July 29th, 1774.


Your very obliging letter of the 25th instant, directed to the
Selectmen or Overseers of the Poor of the Town of Boston, has
been by them communicated to a Committee of this Town appointed
to receive the donation made for the employment or relief of such
inhabitants as are or may be more immediate sufferers by the
cruel Act of Parliament for shutting up our harbor. This, at the
desire and in the name of this Committee, I am very gratefully to
acknowledge the generosity of the Town of Wethersfield, in the
donation made by them, for the purpose above mentioned,
consisting of 343/4 bushels of wheat, 2481/2 of rye, and 390 of
Indian corn, which your letter informs is fowarded by Capt.
Israel Williams, and for their kind intentions still further.
They may be assured that their beneficence will be applied to the
purpose for which they have designed it. This Town is suffering
the stroke of ministerial vengeance, as they apprehend, for the
liberties of America, and it affords them abundant satisfaction
to find that they have the concurrent sentiments of their
brethren in the sister Colonies in their favor, evidenced by the
most liberal acts of munificence for their support. While they
are thus encouraged and supported, I trust they will never be so
ungrateful to their friends, as well [as] so lost to a sense of
virtue, as to "give up the glorious cause." They have need of
wisdom and fortitude to confound the devices of their enemies,
and to endure the hard conflict with dignity. They rejoice in the
approaching general American Congress, and trust that, by the
divine direction and blessing, such measures will be taken as
will "bring about a happy issue of the present glorious
struggle," and secure the rights of America upon the permanent
principles of equal liberty and truth.

I am, with very great regard to the Gentlemen of your Committee,

Sir, your friend and

1 Of Wethersfield, Connecticut. [back]


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

BOSTON, August 2d, 1774.


The Commitee for Donations yesterday received your kind letter,
by the hands of Mr. Gatchel, acquainting them of the very
generous present made to the sufferers in this Town by the
unrighteous and cruel Act of the British Parliament, commonly
called the Port Bill. They had before received one barrel of
olive oil. Mr. Gatchel delivered them L 39 Is. 3d. in cash, and
this day the fish in eleven carts, and the remainder of the oil
came to hand. I am desired by that Committee to express their
warmest gratitude to the Gentlemen of Marblehead, who have so
liberally contributed on this occasion, and to assure them that
it will be applied in a manner agreeable to the intention of the
charitable donors.

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

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


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


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

BOSTON, August 3d, 1774.


The Committee appointed by this Town to receive donations for the
relief of our poor, suffering by the shutting up this port, have
this day received by the hands of Mr. Roger Wellington, 81/2
bushels of rye and 10 bushels Indian corn, as a donation from
several gentlemen of Brookfield; but as we received no letter
advising us who we are particularly obliged to for this kind
present, we take this opportunity to request you will please to
return the sincere thanks of this Town to all those Gentlemen
that contributed towards this donation. We esteem it a
confirmaiton of that union and friendship which subsists at this
time, and is of the utmost importance to secure the rights and
liberties of this Province and indeed of all America. We shall
endeavor to distribute the donations of our friends to the best
advantage to promote industry and harmony in this Town. Wishing
you the rewards that attend the generous,

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

1 Of Brookfield, Massachusetts.


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

BOSTON, August 4th, 1774.


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

With the greatest respect we are, Sir, your friends and fellow-
countrymen. By order of the Committee appointed to receive
Donations for the employment or relief of the sufferers by the
Boston Port Bill.

1Cf. page 148.


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

PHILADE Sept. 14 1774.


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

The Spirit of our Countrymen does them great Honor--Our Brethren
of the County of Middlesex have resolvd nobly, and their
resolutions1 are read by the several Members of this Body with
high Applause.

It is generally agreed that an opposition to the new Mode of
Government ought to be maintaind. A warm Advocate for the Cause
of Liberty to whom America is much obligd for his former Labors
told me that he was fully of Opinion that no officer under the
new Establishment ought to be acknowledgd; on the other hand that
each of them should be warned against exercising any Authority
upon pain of the UTMOST Resentment of the people. It is therefore
greatly to his Satisfaction to observe the Measures that have
been taken. I am pleasd to hear that a provincial Congress is
proposd, and cannot but promise my self that the firm manly and
persevering Opposition of that single province will operate to
the total frustration of the villainous Designs of our Tyrants
and their Destruction.

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

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


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

PHILADELPHIA September 19, 1774.


I have had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you since my
arrival in this city. Our friend, Mr. Quincy, informed me before
I left Boston, of his intention to take passage for England. I am
persuaded he may do great service to our country there. Agreeably
to his and your requests, I have desired gentlemen here to make
him known to their friends and correspondents.

Last Friday Mr. Revere brought us the spirited and patriotick
Resolves of your County ofSuffolk.2 We laid them before the
Congress. They were read with great applause, and the Enclosed
Resolutions were unanimously passed, which give you a faint idea
of the spirit of the Congress. I think I may assure you that
America will make a point of supporting Boston to the utmost. I
have not time to enlarge, and must therefore conclude with
assuring you that I am, with great] regard, your affectionate and
humble servant,

1The date is given as September 18 in Frothingham, Life and Times
of Joseph Warren, p. 367.
2Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, pp. 601-


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

PHILADELPHIA, September, 1774.


Your letter of the 12th instant, directed to Mr. Cushing and
others, came duly to hand. The subject of it is of great
importance. It is difficult, at this distance, to form a
judgment, with any degree of accuracy, of what is best to be
done. The eastern and western counties appear to differ in
sentiment with regard to the two measures mentioned in your
letter. This difference of sentiment might produce opposition, in
case either part should be taken. You know the vast importance of
union. That union is most likely to be obtained by a consultation
of deputies from the several towns, either in a House of
Representatives or a Provincial Congress. But the question still
remains, which measure to adopt. It is probable that the people
would be most united, as they would think it safest, to abide by
the present form of government,--I mean according to the charter.
The governor has been appointed by the Crown, according to the
charter; but he has placed himself at the head of a different
constitution. If the only constitutional council, chosen last
May, have honesty and courage enough to meet with the
representatives chosen by the people by virtue of the last writ,
and jointly proceed to the public business, would it not bring
the governor to such an explicit conduct as either to restore the
general assembly, or give the two Houses a fair occasion to
declare the chair vacant? In which case the council would hold it
till another governor should be appointed. This would immediately
reduce the government prescribed in the charter; and the people
would be united in what they would easily see to be a
constitutional opposition to tyranny. You know there is a charm
in the word "constitutional."


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

PHILADELPHIA, September 25, 1774.

MY DEAR SIR,--I wrote you yesterday by the post. A frequent
communication at this critical conjuncture is necessary. As the
all-important American cause so much depends upon each colony's
acting agreeably to the sentiments of the whole, it must be
useful to you to know the sentiments which are entertained here
of the temper and conduct of our province. Heretofore we have
been accounted by many, intemperate and rash; but now we are
universally applauded as cool and judicious, as well as spirited
and brave. This is the character we sustain in congress. There
is, however, a certain degree of jealousy in the minds of some,
that we aim at a total independency, not only of the mother-
country, but of the colonies too; and that, as we are a hardy and
brave people, we shall in time overrun them all. However
groundless this jealousy may be, it ought to be attended to, and
is of weight in your deliberations on the subject of your last
letter. I spent yesterday afternoon and evening with Mr
Dickinson. He is a true Bostonian. It is his opinion, that, if
Boston can safely remain on the defensive, the liberties of
America, which that town has so nobly contended for, will be
secured. The congress have, in their resolve of the 17th instant,
given their sanction to the resolutions of the county of Suffolk,
one of which is to act merely on the defensive, so long as such
conduct may be justified by reason and the principles of self-
preservation, but NO LONGER. They have great dependence upon your
tried patience and fortitude. They suppose you mean to defend
your civil constitution. They strongly recommend perseverance in
a firm and temperate conduct, and give you a full pledge of their
united efforts in your behalf. They have not yet come to final
resolutions. It becomes them to be deliberate. I have been
assured, in private conversation with individuals, that, if you
should be driven to the necessity of acting in the defence of
your lives or liberty, you would be justified by their
constituents, and openly supported by all the means in their
power; but whether they will ever be prevailed upon to think it
necessary for you to set up another form of government, I very
much question, for the reason I have before suggested. It is of
the greatest importance, that the American opposition should be
united, and that it should be conducted so as to concur with the
opposition of our friends in England. Adieu,


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



The Delegates from his Majestys several Colonies of New Hampshire
* * * * * * * * * * * assembled in general Congress in the City
of Philadelphia take the Liberty of addressing you upon Subjects
of the last Importance, to your own Character, Happiness and
Peace of Mind, to his Majestys Service, to the Wellfare of that
Province over which you preside and of all North America, and,
perhaps, of the whole British Empire.

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

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

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

We are fully convinced that the Town of Boston and Province of
the Massachusetts Bay are suffering in the righteous Cause of
America, while they are nobly exerting themselves in the most
spirited opposition to those oppressive Acts of Parliament and
Measures of Administration which are calculated to annihilate our
most sacred & invalueable Rights.

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

Moreover we would express to your Excellency the just Resentment
which we feel at the Indignities offerd to our worthy fellow
Citizens in Boston and the frequent Violations of private
property by the Soldiers under your Command. These Enormities
committed by a standing Army, in our opinion, unlawfully posted
there in a time of Peace, are irritating in the greatest Degree,
and if not remedied, will endanger the involving all America in
the Horrors of a civil War! Your Situation Sir is extremely
critical. A rupture between the Inhabitants of the Province over
which you preside and the Troops under your Command would produce
Consequences of the most serious Nature: A Wound which would
never be heald! It would probably establish Animosities between
Great Britain & the Colonies which time would never eradicate! In
order therefore to quiet the Minds & remove the Jealousies of the
people, that they may not be driven to such a State of
Desperation as to quit the Town & fly for Shelter to their
Friends and Countrymen, we intreat you from the Assurance we have
of the peaceable Disposition of the Inhabitants to desist from
further fortifications of the Town, and to give orders that a
free & safe Communication between them & the country may be
restored & continued.

1Endorsed: "This was offered to the Comittee of Congress to be
reported as a Remonstrance to Genl Gage." On October 6, 1774,
Adams, Lynch and Pendleton were appointed a committee to draft a
letter to General Gage. The committee reported October 10; the
letter was amended and ordered to be signed. The text, dated
October 10, 1774, and finally approved October 11, is in Journals
of Continental Congress (Edit. of 1904), vol. i., pp. 60, 61. The
reply of Gage is in ibid., pp. 114, 115.


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

PHILADELPHIA Octob [17] 1774.


I have receivd your favors of 29th Sept and 11th Instant, the
latter of which is just come to hand. The Affidavit inclosd
confirms the report in Boston about the beginning of July, of a
Mans being seizd by the Soldiery, put under Guard & finally sent
to England. But what Remedy can the poor injurd Fellow obtain in
his own Country where INTER ARMA SILENT LEGES! I have written to
our Friends to provide themselves without Delay with Arms &
Ammunition, get well instructed in the military Art, embody
themselves & prepare a complete Set of Rules that they may be
ready in Case they are called to defend themselves against the
violent Attacks of Despotism. Surely the Laws of Self
Preservation will warrant it in this Time of Danger & doubtful
Expectation. One cannot be certain that a distracted Minister
will yield to the Measures taken by the Congress, though they
should operate the Ruin of the National Trade, until he shall
have made further Efforts to lay America, as he impiously
expressd it "prostrate at his Feet."

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

I am with due regard to Mrs Young,

affectionately yours,


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

BOSTON 21 Novr 1774


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

I am with great Respect

Sir your most humble Servant,

1Of New York.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., vol.
iv., pp. 168, 169.]

BOSTON, 16th December, 1774.


I am directed by the Committee of the town of Boston, appointed
to receive and distribute the donations that are made for the
relief and employment of such as are, or may become sufferers by
means of the Boston Port Bill, to return their sincere thanks to
the members of the Union Club, in the Town of Salem, for the
generous contribution they made, and transmitted by their worthy
brother, Mr. Samuel King. It is an unspeakable consolation to
the inhabitants of this devoted Town, that amidst the distress
designed to have been brought upon them by an inhuman, as well as
arbitrary Ministers, there are many whose hearts and hands are
open for their relief. You, gentlemen, are among the happy number
of those, of whom it is said, the blessing of him that is ready
to perish hath come upon us, and through your liberality the
widow's heart to sing for joy.

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

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

1Of Salem, Massachusetts.

Regina Azucena


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text is in Historical
Magazine, 1st ser., vol ii., pp. 196, 197.]

BOSTON, Jan. 9th, 1775.


The Committee appointed by the inhabitants of this Town, to
receive and distribute the donations of our friends for the
benefit of the sufferers by the Boston Port Bill, acknowledge
your several favors of 7th and 17th of December last, enclosing
invoices of flour, &c., amounting, with charges, to one thousand
and sixty-two pounds, 9/6, which, agreeable to your kind wishes,
are come safe to hand. I am directed by the Committee to request
that you would assure our benefactors, the citizens of New York,
of their warmest gratitude for the very seasonable relief they
have afforded to their afflicted brethren in this place, by such
generous donations, in this most difficult time of the year.
While we acknowledge the superintendency of divine Providence, we
feel our obligations to the sister Colonies. By their liberality,


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