Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

. (page 8 of 73)
Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 8 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

more awful to me than this (however great) by which I have
been condemned.

" 2dly. That it is more regular, constitutional and conformable
to the constant practice of the colonies to have their petitions
and remonstrances to the King and Parliament of Great Britain
signed by the Speaker of their House.


" 3dly. That the signing said addresses by the committees of
the several colonies which attended the congress, and who were
empowered to sign the same, could by no construction come up
to a general address from the colonies, as the committees from
the colonies of South Carolina, Connecticut, and New York,
were not empowered, and therefore could not sign, and the
colonies of Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Caro-
lina, and Georgia, did not send committees to the congress, and
some had no regular appointment, so that in this respect it was
but a very partial signing ; and therefore it was more agreeable
to the instructions of this house to their committee, after havinir.
conformable not only to the spirit but to the very words of their
instructions, ' to unite in sentiments and agree upon such repre-
sentations as may tend to preserve our rights and privileges,' to
return the same to the house for their approbation ; especially as
We knew the house was then sitting, and as I then apprehended,
and in fact would have been the case, little or no time would have
been lost.

" 4thl3^ A matter of so great importance to the colonies and
of so delicate a nature as the open and avowed claim of an ex-
clusive right of taxation (however true) to be asserted in ad-
dresses to the King and Parliament for relief from an Act made
by this very Parliament was a measure I could not bring myself
to adopt, as at my appointment to this service, upon motion
made, I could not obtain an explanation on that point, nor did I
think it was then the sense of this house : I therefore thousfht it
my duty, and most respectful to the house to report the draughts
agreed upon for their acceptance.

" 5thly. In my apprehension those addresses would have had
greater weight, and would have been more favorably received by
the King and Parliament, had they been authenticated by the
suflprages of the various houses of representatives and burgesses
throughout the continent, and signed by their respective speakers.

" As to the charge of leaving the congress before the business
was completed, I beg leave to say, that after the draughts were
completed, and the petition to his Majesty was laid before me,
such difficulties arose in my mind as that in its present form I
could not bring myself to sign ; and the reasons for reporting the
draughts to the several assemblies operating so strongly on my
mind I made some exceptions to the gentlemen of the congress
on the address to his IMajesty and offered some general reasons
for the expediency of reporting the draughts to our respective


assemblies, in which I was seconded by divers members, and
which occasioned a long and warm debate ; upon which it was
determined by a vote that the address to his Majesty, which was
at that time in a fair draught, together with those to the Lords
and Commons, should be laid on the table the next morning, in the
form they had before passed the congress and been entered upon
the journal, to be signed by such of the members as thought
proper. I then acquainted the congress that I proposed to go
out of town early the next morning ; and after the congress was
adjourned to the next morning I took my leave of the members,
which was on Thursday evening the 24*^ October, when I con-
cluded all the business of the congress was entirely finished,
except the bare signing, which, for the reasons given, I had re-

"Mb. Speaker, This honorable House have adjudged my
reasons insufficient to support my conduct ; and I feel the weight
of their indignation. I have, Sir, more than once trembled under
a sense of my own insufficiency to support the dignity of the
high trust, with which my country unasked has honoured me; and
to answer their just expectations in the discharge of them.
Their candour has heretofore estimated mj'^ services rather by the
integrity of my heart than the clearness of my head ; this up-
rightness they have not only been pleased to accept, but bounti-
fully to reward. When this house honoured rae with this
appointment, in undertaking it I promised myself the same
indulgence. I have exercised the same freedom of judgment, I
have attended the duty with the same diligence, I have been
actuated with the same love to my country and its liberties, I
have acted with the same singleness and uprightness of intention,
and with the same ardent desire to serve the publick weal, which
I have ever made the rule of my conduct : But alas ! 1 meet
with a very different reward."

Before printing these reasons, Brigadier Ruggles submitted
them to his immediate constituents at a town meeting, March 3,
1766 ; and it is not surprising that " after Brigadier Ruggles' read-
ing the reasons he exhibited to the General Court for not signing
the petitions drew at the late Congress at New York to his
JMajesty &c. the town voted [that they were] in their opinion
sufficient to vindicate his conduct." They did not lose their
confidence in him as a patriot, and a true friend to his country
as well as to his king ; and for four years longer, continued to
elect him as their representative in the General Court.


The publication of the Stamp Act produced great excitement
in Boston, and some grossly violent deeds of the populace were
the natural result. In August, 1765, by hanging him in effigy,
breaking into his house, and destroying part of his furniture,
some of the inhabitants had induced Mr. Secretary Oliver to
promise that he would not act as Distributor of Stamps ; and on
the evening of the 26th of the same mouth they attacked the
house of Lieutenant-governor Hutchinson, who had rendered
himself extremely obnoxious by his subserviency to tlie British
ministry, and " destroyed, carried away, or cast into the street,
every thing that was in the house ; demolished every part of it,
except the walls, as far as lay in their power ; and had begun to
break away the brick-work. The damage was estimated at about
twenty-five hundred pounds sterling, without any regard to a
great collection of public as well as private papers in the posses-
sion and custody of the Lieutenant-governor." ^ The Governor
recommended that the General Court should provide compensa-
tion to the sufferers, but the court declined to act. A year later,
however, the odious Stamp Act was repealed, and a demand was
made by the British government that the loss should be made
good. The General Court, after long debate, enacted a resolve,
granting compensation to the sufferers, and at tlie same time a
free pardon to all " who had been guilty of any crimes or offences
against law, occasioned by the late troubles." This act was dis-
approved by the King, but the money was paid and no prosecu-
tions of offenders followed. ^

Meanwhile, before the final settlement of this affair, this town
expressed an opinion : —

" At a town-meeting in Hardwick duly warned the IS*^** day
of August A. D. 1766, first chose Deac. Joseph Allen, Modera-
tor. 2d, Voted to give the following instructions to Timothy
Ruggles, Esq., the present representative of said [town], re-
pecting the indemnification of the late sufferers by riots and
tumults in the town of Boston. — First. We reflect upon the
disorders that from time to time have been perpetrated to the
great terror of the good people of that town, "in evil example to
others, and the great loss and damage that some of them have
sustained, with the utmost abhorrence, hereby declai'ing our
greatest readiness to do every thing in our power that justice be
done to those unhappy sufferers, as well as the persons concerned
in the perpetration of those horrid crimes. — Secondly. That at

1 Hutchinson's Hist. Mass., iii. 124. 2 ^d^^ [\i 158-160.



any sessions of the General Court, while you are a member
thereof, you use your utmost endeavors that the persons con-
cerned in those crimes be discovered and discountenanced by all
proper and lawful means, that they and their accomplices be
obliged to make good all damages to the sufferers. — Thirdly.
In case of their inability, that you use your endeavors that those
damages be made good by the town of Boston, as we have been
informed that numbers of the inhabitants were spectators of
these horrid scenes, without interposition to prevent them. —
Fourthl3^ You are not to [consent to] the moneys being paid
out of the Province Treasury, to make good those losses,
unless at the same time it be resolved by the House that it shall
be added to the taxes of the town of Boston, and collected ac-
cordingly. — Fifthly. That you take due care that the damages
be justly stated and estimated, and no more be voted to any
person [than] the loss he really sustained."

The town acted once more on this subject. At a town-meeting,
November 28, 1766, under a warrant " to consider of a Bill pend-
ing in the House of Representatives of this Province, entitled
' An Act for granting compensation to the sufferers, and of free
and general pardon, indemnity and oblivion, to the offendei's, in
the late riots,' — Voted, that, as it appears to tlie said town to be
his jNIajesties most gracious intention that compensation should
be made to the sufferers in said Bill mentioned, that Timothy
Ruggles, Esq., the present Representative of said Hardwick do
vote for the substance of said Bill, and that he use his influence
to obtain an Act of the General Court, which [he] shall think
has the most proper tendency to prevent future disturbances.
As to the other parts of said Bill, we leave it to his discretion
to act as he may think proper and best for the interest of the

Among the measures adopted by the " Sons of Liberty," in
this controversy with the British government, was substantially
the non-consumption of foreign goods. This was designed to
produce a twofold effect ; it would prevent the government from
obtaining any revenue under the form of duties, and would tend
to create dissatisfaction among the English manufacturers, and
enlist them against the oppressive acts of Parliament. For this
purpose, a preamble and two resolutions, so carefully and guard-
edly drawn that they might not have attracted notice under other
circumstances, were reported by a committee consisting of the


Speaker, Samuel Adams, Samuel Dexter, Ebenezer Thayer, and
John Hancock, and adopted by the House of Representatives,
February 26, 1768, by a vote of eighty-one in the affirmative
against a single negative, to wit : " Whereas the happiness and
well-being of civil communities depend upon industry, economy,
and good morals, and this house taking into consideration the
great decay of the trade of the province, the scarcity of money,
the heavy debt contracted in the late war, which still remains on
the people, and the great difficulties to which they are by these
means reduced ;

" Resolved, That this house will use their utmost endeavors,
and enforce their endeavors by example, in suppressing extrava-
gance, idleness, and vice, and promoting industry, economy, and
good morals, in their respective towns.

" And in order to prevent the unnecessary exportation of
money, of which this province has been of late so much drained,
it is further Resolved, That this house will by all prudent means
endeavor to discountenance the use of foreign superfluities, and
to encourage the manufactures of this province."

Brigadier Ruggles requested liberty to enter upon the Journal
of the House his reasons for dissent ; but his request was refused.
He therefore caused them to be printed in the " Boston Chroni-
cle," March 7, 1768 : —

"Province of Massachusetts Bay, Feb. 29, 1768. Mr. Speaker,
The honorable house of representatives of this province, on the
26th instant, having resolved that they will use their utmost
endeavors, and enforce the same by example, in suppressing ex-
travagance, idleness, and vice, and promoting industry, economy,
and good morals in their respective towns. And in order to pre-
vent the unnecessary exportation of money, of which the province
has of late been so much drained, they further resolved that they
would by all prudent means endeavor to discountenance the use
of foreign superfluities, and to encourage the manufactures of this

" The passing said resolutions being determined by yea and
nay, the representative of the town of Hardwicke being the only
one who answered nay to the question put for passing said reso-
lutions, begs leave to explain himself upon his dissenting answer,
and says, that he had no objection to the resolution of endeavor-
ing to suppress extravagance, idleness, and vice, and promot-
ing industry, economy, and good morals, but was pleased with


the appearance of such necessary reformation ; nor has he any
objection to the encouraging any manufactures ^ which do not
interfere with those of the mother country, but on the contrary
might be beneficial to both that and this country. But as it is
generally supposed that the true interest of this province consists
in the cultivation of a good harmony with their mother country,
the improvement of the land, and the encouragement of a legal
trade, it is humbly apprehended it cannot be for the interest of
tbis people to encourage manufactures in general, for the follow-
ing reasons : —

" 1. Because in all countries, manufactures are set up at the
expense of husbandry, or other general employment of the peo-
ple ; and if they have not peculiar advantages over husbandry,
they will, by discouraging the latter, do the country more harm
than good.

" 2. That in this country, manufactures are so far from having
peculiar advantages that they lie under insurmountable difficul-
ties, of which thinness of people, and the consequence of it, high
price of labor, are the chief ; and therefore they can never balance
the mischief they will do by taking the hands off the husbandry
and fishery.

" 3. That at all times it behoves us to avoid setting up any busi-
ness which may be detrimental to the mother countiy, as the
preservation of a good understanding between Great Britain and
her colonies is essential to the welfare of both.

" 4. That at the time when we are petitioning for redress, to
give particular encouragement to manufactures will look like a
threat against and a defiance of Great Britain, and will bring a
resentment against the province, as it is said the like proceedings
have already done against the town of Boston.

" 5. That if by these and other means, an actual breach should
be made between Great Britain and her colonies in general, or
this in particular, whoever gets the victory, we are undone.
Wherefore he humbly begs leave to enter his dissent to the said
resolution, and to pray that it may be entered in the Journal.

" Timothy Ruggles.

" In the House of Representatives 29th Feb. 1768. The hon-
orable Timothy Ruggles, Esq., offered this paper to the house.

' Domestic manufactures were encour- stand on the ground where it is now
aged by the town; and it was voted, 17th built, provided we have a good workman,
November, 1774, "that the hatter's shop and one that minds his business."


And the question being put wliether the same shall be entered on
the journals of the house, past in the negative.

" Attest Samuel Adams, Clerk."

The resolutions to which Brigadier Ruggles dissented were
doubtless consistent with the intention cherished by many, though
not 3fet openly avowed, — to dissolve all political connection with
the mother country, and to become independent ; but he was
right in describing them as inconsistent with an honest desire for
"the preservation of a good understanding between Great Britain
and her colonies," and as tending to produce "an actual breach "
between them. And although rich and abundant blessings in
due time resulted from that " breach," his prediction of its im-
mediate disastrous results was substantially accurate. The new-
born nation came out of the conflict financially " ruined ; " it was
utterly bankrupt, and was compelled to repudiate its debt to its
own citizens, and to refuse payment of its " bills of credit," which
it had issued as money to defray the expense of the long war.
The inability of the colonists to become successful rivals of Great
Britain in general manufactures was also correctly stated. They
might make and wear homesjDun cloth, if they chose to do so ;
but they could not manufacture the finer goods, except at a cost
greatly exceeding that of the imported articles. The causes of
this inability, assigned by Brigadier Ruggles, long remained oper-
ative. It was nearly half a century before general manufactures
became prosperous in this country, and even then only because
they were sustained by a subsidy, or artificial aid, called " pro-
tection," in the form of a high tariff of duties on foreign manu-
factured goods; indeed a full century elapsed before they could
successf ulh^ compete in foreign markets with similar goods manu-
factured in Europe.

Up to this time, and for two years afterwards, the inhabitants
of Hardwick evidently hoped for a peaceful solution of the con-
troversy between the Province and the British Parliament, and
manifested their approval of the method pursued by Brigadier
Ruggles for the attainment of that result, as in 1770, for the fif-
teenth time, they again elected him as their representative in the
General Court. They also associated with him, Daniel Oliver,^ a

1 Son of Andrew Oliver, who grad. H. died in 1774. Daniel, tlie son, grad. H.
C. 1724, was successively Secretary and C. 1762, became a refugee, and died in
Lieutenant-governor of the Province, and England in 1826.


young lawyer whom he had introduced into practice here, and
who was known to agree with him in pohtics. About this time,
however, they seem to have lost confidence in the measures here-
tofore adopted, though they still desired a reconciliation with
Great Britain, rather than a separation. In 1771 and 1772 they
sent no representative ; but in 1773 they elected Paul iNIandell,
a man of less dignity than Brigadier Ruggles, but of different pol-
itics, and equally resolute in their maintenance.

May 19, 1773 : At a town-meeting, it was "Voted, That rela-
tive to the Book ^ sent from Boston, that our rights and privileges
are infringed upon.

" Chose a committee of seven men, viz., Capt. William Paige,
Stephen Rice, Daniel Warner, Thomas Robinson, Asa Whitcomb,
Ebenezer Washburn, and Ens. Edward Ruggles, to draw up in-
structions for our representative, and lay them before the town
on the 14"^ day of June next, at one o'clock afternoon."

June 14, 1773. The committee reported instructions, which
were adopted : —

" To Capt. Paul Mandell, Representative for the town of Hard-
wick. We esteem it of very great importance that our natural
and constitutional rights, as men, as Christians, and as subjects,
be preserved inviolate ; so any alarm of their being unjustly ar-
rested from us, — more especially as they are privileges that were
purchased by the blood and treasure of our worthy and renowned
ancestors, and handed down as a free and good right of inheritance
to us, their posterity, — torn away by an oppressing hand, fills us
not onlj"^ with fear, concern and grief, but also warms our breasts,
and will ever engage us to join with our aggrieved brethren, not
only of this, but also with those of our neighboring colonies, in
pursuing every lawful and prudent method whereby we may
obtain redress, which we look upon to be our duty and interest at
a time thus melancholy and distressing. Beholding innovations
that have been already made on our natural and constitutional
rights, the perplexities in which our public affairs are involved,
the heavy burdens under which we together with by far the
greatest part of these American Colonies are groaning on ac-

1 This" Book "was issued by the Com- towns in the province and to the world, as

mittee of Correspondence elected by the the sense of this town, with the iiifringe-

town of Boston, November 2, 1772, "to ments and violations thereof that have

state the rights of the colonies, and of this been, or from time to time may be made ;

province in particular, as men, as chris- also requesting of each town a free com-

tians, and as subjects; to communicate mnnication of their sentiments on this

and publish the same to the several subject."


count hereof, and as yet unheard complaining of, give us great
reason to look forward to that distressing day when the plan of
Despotism which we fear the enemies of our invaluable rights
have concerted shall be accomplished, which no sooner than it
should take place must involve us and our posterity in a state of
slavery, and we and they viewed in no other point of light than
machines of mere arbitrary power and lawless ambition ; the
thought of which will not suffer us any longer to conceal our im-
patience, secrete our sentiments, or neglect using all lawful and
constitutional measures to quiet our fears, redress our grievances,
and prevent if possible that [which], should it take place, would
of consequence, involve us and our posterity in a state of abject
slavery. As, therefore, we, the inhabitants of the town of Hard-
wick, have made choice of you. Sir, to represent us in the Great
and General Court of this Province, this present year, do repose
confidence in you, and expect you will exert yourself in every
proper and constitutional way for the securing and maintaining
our rights and privileges, and for the supporting our ancient
happy form of government. Although the situation of our affairs
with respect to the state of the colonies, and this in particular,
has of late and still does wear a dark and gloomy aspect, in our
opinion threatening the ruin of our happy constitution, [we]
however rejoice that we are not as yet denied the privilege of
choosing some person from among us, to represent us in the Great
and General Court of this Province ; and although the repre-
sentative body have not heretofore had that regard paid to them
which we earnestly wished for, and had just reason to expect
from the order of happy constitution (which has been greatly
discouraging to us in choosing any person to represent us, fearing
lest that the original purposes designed would fail of being an-
swered hereby), j'^et having a respect to and looking upon our-
selves under indispensable obligations to do all we can to main-
tain and defend that good and orderly government by which the
people of this province have been long distinguished, — we send
you forth, and recommend to your vigilance, wisdom, and integ-
rity, the important concerns of this aggrieved and oppressed peo-
ple ; taking it for granted that a regard to your own honor and
interest, as well as a regard to the honor and welfare of those
who have chosen you to represent them, will make you truly
attentive to every thing that shall tend to secure us in a free
and full enjoyment of all our constitutional rights, carefully
guarding against and vigorously opposing (as you would never


betray 3'our constituents nor prove unfaithful to your trust) every
thing and every attempt that shall naturally tend to destroy our
ancient privileges ; and that you will never give up that right
into the power of others, wdiich the law of God, nature, and na-
tions hath invested us with. And as we are of opinion that the
most likely and effectual way to gain the Royal ear, and obtain
a redress of our grievances, is by petitioning our most gracious
Sovereign in all proper and constitutional ways, and at all times
proving ourselves loyal and dutiful subjects, so we particularly
recommend this to your serious consideration, hoping you will
always be ready to join with others in this and all other measures
that shall be likely to relieve us in the most easy and happy man-
ner, and most effectually secure our invaluable rights and privi-
leges, and restore that mutual harmony and confidence between
the British nation and the American colonies, which we look
upon to be of the utmost importance and necessity to secure the
emolument and welfare of both ; and in this way we hope (under

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 8 of 73)