Samuel Adams.

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THE writings of no one of the leaders of the Ameri
can Revolution form a more complete expression of
the causes and justification of that movement than
do those of Samuel Adams. None of his contempo
raries was so closely identified with the agitation
which preceded that crisis, or displayed at that
time greater facility as a writer or more unquali
fied devotion to public affairs. In both the politics
and the literature of the American Revolution his
writings constitute a distinct and essential element.
As a recognized leader in the politics of his native
town, as a member and also as clerk of the Massa
chusetts House of Representatives, and later as a
member of the Continental Congress, he was able
to develop and to maintain a strong, and at times con
trolling, influence in the affairs of Massachusetts and
of the new nation. By an active correspondence, by
the preparation of many official documents, and by
numberless newspaper articles, he was able to guide
and to express the sentiment of the American prov
inces as they prepared for the struggle which divided
the empire. Throughout that contest, and thereafter
even in his declining years, Adams remained quite
continuously in public life, and his later writings


reflect the influence which he -still exerted.

Prudence as well as political necessity seems to
have caused the early destruction of many of the
papers of Adams. The dispersal of those which re
mained was more than once threatened, but a large
number of these were finally lodged permanently
in the Lenox Library, and there increased by ac
cessions from other sources. In spite of the lapse
of time, and the difficulties naturally incident to the
initial collection of such material, there is now pre
sented a substantially complete representation of the
typical and effective literary work of Adams. Doubt
less a few anonymous or official papers by him, the
authorship of which is now indeterminate, are omitted,
and the series of articles in the Independent Adver
tiser, which are attributed to Adams by Wells, but
which constitute no part of his real life work, are
excluded. A few unimportant letters are also ex
cluded, and the, existence of some obscure texts,
now owned privately, will probably be brought to
light by the appearance of this collection. The
manuscripts contained in that portion of the Bancroft
collection cited as " Samuel Adams Papers " are to a
large extent drafts, as that printed on page 34, but
their very substantial value is shown by the close
similarity between the draft and the final document,
as appears from the texts printed at pages 39 and 48.

The annotations indicating the text from which each
document has been printed serve to show in detail the
extent to which this collection has been made possible
by the assistance of others. Through the courtesy
of th<> Director of the " New York Public Library,



Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations," the import
ant collections in his charge, especially that formed by
George Bancroft, have been made readily available.
This portion of the work has been facilitated, in a
marked degree, by the long-continued and helpful
attention of Mr. Wilberforce Eames and his efficient
assistants at the Lenox Library, to whom I am
under an especial obligation. The privilege of using
the valuable collections of the Adams family at
Quincy, Massachusetts, has been promptly granted
by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, and the opportunity
has been enhanced by his personal interest and guid
ance. The Earl of Dartmouth has kindly permitted
copies to be made of several letters in his collections,
and Mr. John Boyd Thacher has likewise given
assistance from his private collection. The unique
printed and manuscript collections of the Massachu
setts Historical Society, have proved of material
value in connection with the work. The officers
of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and of
the American Philosophical Society, at Philadelphia,
have generously thrown open their collections, from
each of which a number of important texts have been
secured. By the kindness of the officers of the Con
necticut Historical Society the Roger Wolcott and
Oliver Wolcott papers, and also the large and un
usually varied and interesting correspondence of
Jeremiah Wadsworth, have been examined, although
in none of them has been found any manuscript by
Adams. Important texts have been secured from
the manuscripts of the Boston Public Library, the rare
newspaper files of which have also been freely used.



From his collection, now in the same library, the late
Mellen- Chamberlain contributed a number of texts.
Certain manuscript and other materials in the Library
of Harvard University have been examined, and the
facilities of the Library of Columbia University have
throughout the work been at my disposal. Assist
ance has been secured from public records, notably
in the Archives Bureau of the State of Massachu
setts. In the office of the City Clerk of Boston
access has been granted to the town records and
original town papers relating to the period of the
Revolution. In the State Library of New York the
Clinton Papers and a portion of the colonial manu
scripts have been examined, and at the Department
of State use has been made especially of the Papers
of the Continental Congress. For all the privileges
thus granted, and for assistance in other quarters,
I am very grateful. I desire also to express my obli
gation to Professor Frank J. Goodnow, of Columbia

H. A. C.
April 26, 1904.



To the Representatives of Boston, May 24th .

Instructions of the town Independence of the House
Trade Instructions to the agent.


To the Representatives of Boston, September i8th ?

^ Instructions of the town Stamp act.

Resolutions of the Town of Boston, September i8th.

Appointing a committee to thank Conway and Barre.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, October 23d .\

Answer of the House of Representatives Stamp act
Authority of Parliament Rights of subjects Disturbances in

Resolutions of the House of Representatives, Octo
ber 29th

Rights of subjects.

&Yo G. W., November iith .

J*^ ition of colonists to the king Chartefc^rjjghts Repre-
se. ion Stamp act Rights of colonists. ^^

To G. W., November I3th .

Stamp act.


To John Smith, December

Relation of colonies to England Stamp act Rights of
subjects. 4

John Smith, December 2Oth ^ ,/ ^.

Stamp act Disturbances in Boston.









To Dennys De Berdt, December 2Oth W . . 6r

.Appointment as agent Acts of Parliament Trade and
fisheries Rights of colonists Representation.


To the Town of Plymouth, March 24th ... 71

Reply of the town of Boston.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 3d . . 74

Address of House of Representatives Repeal of stamp act
Public sentiment Elections.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 5th . . 83

Answer of the House of Representatives Election of Coun

To Dennys De Berdt, October 22d . . . 89

Address of town of Boston Attitude of colonists Dis

To Dennys De Berdt, November nth 97

Compensation for injuries by rioters.

To Dennys De Berdt, November . . QO

Thomas Boylston Compensation Elections.

To Dennys De Berdt, December 2d . IC v

Compensation Elections.

To Christopher Gadsden, December uth:4 108

Introductory Acts of Parliament.

To Dennys De Berdt, December i6th . x ! r

Compensation Provision for troops.

To Dennys De Berdt, March i6th

Letter of House of Representatives-Rights of th
tenant-governor-The charter.

To Jasper Mauduit, March 1 8th

Letter of House of Representatives-Accounts as agent.

To Dennys De Berdt, May 9 tk .

Acts of the representatives. * ^ 2




To Dennys De Berdt, January I2th .... ("134 ,

Letter of the House of Representatives Acts and powers of
Parliament Relation of colonists to king Colonial regu

To the Earl of Shelburne, January I5th . . . 152

Letter of the House of Representatives Rights of colonists
Acts of Parliament.

To the King, January 2Oth 162

Petition of the House of Representatives The charter
Acts of Parliament.

To the Earl of Shelburne, January 220! . . . 166

Letter of the House of Representatives Shelburne s corre
spondence with Bernard.

To the Marquis of Rockingh^m, January 22d . . 169

Letter of the House of Representatives Administration of
-, colonies Acts of Parliament.

To Lord Camden, January 2Qth .... 173

Letter of the House of Representatives Rights of colonists
Powers of Parliament.

To Dennys De Berdt, January 3Oth . . . .177

Representation Grant for services.

To the Earl of Chatham, February 2d . . .180

Letter of the House of Representatives Acts of Parliament.

To the Speakers of Other Houses of Representatives,

February nth. . . . . . . . 184.

Circular letter of the House of Representatives Taxation
Powers and acts of Parliament Representation.

To Henry Seymour Conway, February i$th . . 189

Letter of the House of Representatives Powers of Parlia
ment Rights of colonists Representation.

To the Lords of the Treasury, February I7th . . ; 193

Letter of the House of Representatives Powers and acts of
Parliament Representation.

To the Freeholders of Boston, March I4th . . 199

Petition Arrears of taxes.



^Article Signed "A Puritan," April 4th

Liberty and religion.

Article Signed "A Puritan," April nth .

The religious situation.

Article Signed "A Puritan," April iSth .

The religious situation.

"jo Dennys De Berdt, April 2Oth

Enclosing journals.

To Dennys De Berdt, May I4th

Relations of representatives and governor Commissioners of
customs Manufactures.

To the Earl of Hillsborough, June 3<Dth

Letter of the House of Representatives Requisition to re
scind the circular letter Acts of Parliament Relations with
the Governor Proceedings of the representatives.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June 3Oth .

Answer of the House of Representatives The circular letter
Power of the governor.

Article Signed " Determinatus," August 8th

Public sentiment Disturbances.

To Dennys De Berdt, September 2;th

Letter of the convention of towns Public sentiment
Reasons for discontent Disturbances.

To Dennys De Berdt, October 3d

Arrival of troops.

Article, Unsigned, October loth

Billeting act.

Article, Unsigned, October i^th .

Military and civil power.

Article Signed " Candidus," Decehiber 5th

Commissioners of customs.

Article Signed " Vindex," December 5th .

Military power Rights of subjects.

Article Signed "Candidus," December 12th

Commissioners of customs.






2 3 6




icle Signed " Vindex," December I2th . . 264

Military power.

icle Signed " Candidus," December i^th . . 268

Commissioners of customs.


icle Signed " Vindex," December igth . . 269

Standing armies Powers of Parliament.

x:le Signed " Vindex," December 26th . . . 272

Standing armies Prerogatives of the crown.

cle Signed " Candidus," December 26th . . 278

Commissioners of customs.


cle Signed " T. Z.," January Qth .... ^282")

Taxation Stamp act.

cle Signed " Candidus," January i6th . . . 291

Commissioners of customs.

cle Signed " Shippen," January 3<Dth . . . 297

Proceedings in Parliament Disturbances in Boston Stamp
act Trade.

cle, Unsigned, February I3th .... 306

Military power.

:le Signed " Candidus," February I3th . . 309

Commissioners of customs.

:le Signed " E. A.," February 27th . . . 316

Rights of subjects Military power.

he Freeholders of Boston, March I3th . . 319

Petition Arrears of taxes.

:le Signed "A Layman," March 27th . . . 322

Reply to Dr. Seabury Defence of Dr. Chauncy.

saac Barre, April 8th ...... 332

Letter of the town of Boston Quartering of troops Mis
representations of Boston Letters of Bernard.

:le Signed U A Bostonian," April 24th . . . 336

Genera Gage Conditions in Boston.



Article Signed "A Tory," May 1st . . . 339

Baronetcy of Bernard.

Vote of Town of Boston, May 5th .... 340

Presence of troops.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June I3th . . 342

Answer of the House of Representatives Prerogatives of t"he
king Military power.

To the Governor of Massachusetts, June igth . . 346

Letter of the House of Representatives Standing army.
To the King, June 27th ......

Petition of the House of Representatives u - the removal of
Governor Bernard.

Answer of Governor Bernard to the Petit ,n for his
Removal ....

Notes on the Answer of the Governor . . 368

To the Governor of Massachusetts, July 1 5th . . 371

Letter of the House of Representatives Provision for troops
Tax legislation.

To Dennys De Berdt, July 3ist 37

Remonstrance to king as to Bernard.

Article Signed " Populus," August 28th . 37;

Non-importation agreement Merchants.

Article Signed "An Impartialist," September 25th 3 8c

The assault on Otis.
Article Signed "Alfred," October 2d . . 3 8f

Stamp act Policy of Parliament Trade.

"An Appeal to the World," October i6th - . . 39*
To Dennys De Berdt, November i6th 44 6

Employment of troops.





[MS., Boston F jli Library ; a text appears in Boston Record Commission
ers Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122.]

The Com tee appointed ye 15 day of May to prepare
Instructions for the Representatives report the follow
ing Draft.

To Royall Tyler James Otis Thomas Gushing &

Oxenbridge Thacher Esq rs .

Your being chosen by the Freeholders & Inhabi
tants of the Town of Boston to represent them in the
General Assembly the ensuing year, affords you the
strongest Testimony of that Confidence which they
place in your Integrity & Capacity. By this Choice
they have delegated to you the Power of acting
in their publick Concerns in general as your own
Prudence shall direct you ; always reserving to

1 The committee, which was appointed on May 15, 1764, and which reported
these instructions on May 24, consisted of Richard Dana, Samuel Adams, John
Ruddock, Nathaniel Bethune and Joseph Green.

VOL. I. I.



themselves the constitutional Right of expressing their
mind & giving you fresh Instruction upon particular
Matters as they at any time shall judge proper.

We therefore your Constituents take this oppor
tunity to declare our just Expectations from you.

That you will constantly use your Power & Influ
ence in maintaining the invaluable Rights & Privi
leges of the Province, of which this Town is so great
a Part : As well those Rights which are derivd to us
by the royal Charter, as those which being prior to &
independent on it, we hold essentially as free born
Subjects of Great Brittain.

That you will endeavor as far as you shall be able
to preserve that Independence in the House of Rep
resentatives, which characterizes a free People, & the
want of which may in a great Measure prevent the
happy Effects of a free Government : Cultivating as
you shall have Opportunity that Harmony & Union
there which is ever desirable to good men when
founded in Principles of Virtue & publick Spirit ; &
guarding against any undue weight Avhich may tend
to disadjust that critical Ballance upon which our
happy Constitution & the Blessings of it do depend.
And for this Purpose we particularly recommend it
to you to use your Endeavors to have a Law passed
whereby the Seats of such Gentlemen as shall accept
of Posts of Profit from the Crown or the Governor
while they are Members of the House shall be vacated,
agreeable to an Act of the Brittish Parliament, till their
Constituents shall have the Opportunity of re-electing
them if they please or of returning others in their room.
Being Members of the Legislative Body, you will


have a special Regard to the Morals of this People,
which are the Basis of publick Happiness ; & en
deavor to have such Laws made if any are still want- "
ing as shall be best adapted to secure them : and we
particularly desire you carefully to look into the Laws
of Excise, that if the Virtue of the People is endan-
gerd by the Multiplicity of Oaths therein enjoynd or
their Trade & Business is unreasonably impeded or
embarrassd thereby, the Grievance may be redressd.

As the Preservation of Morals as well as Property
& Right, so much depends upon the impartial Distri
bution of Justice, agreable to good & wholesom
Law : and as the Judges of the Land do depend upon
the free Grants of the General Assembly for Support ;
It is incumbent upon you at all times to give your
Voice for their honorable Maintenance so long as
they, having in their minds an Indifference to all
other Affairs, shall devote themselves wholly to the
Duties of their own Department, and the further
Study of the Law, by which their Customs Prece
dents Proceedings & Determinations are adjusted &

8 You will joyn in any Proposals which may be made
for the better cultivating the Lands & improving the
Husbandry of the Province : And as you represent a
Town which lives by its Trade we expect in a very
particular Manner that you make it the Object of
your Attention, to support our Commerce in all its
just Rights, to vindicate it from all unreasonable Im
positions & promote its Prosperity Our Trade has
for a long time labord under great Discouragements ;
& it is with the deepest Concern that we see such


further Difficultys coming upon it as will reduce it to
the lowest Ebb, if not totally obstruct & ruin it. We
cannot help expressing our Surprize, that when so
early Notice was given by the Agent of the Intentions
of the Ministry to burthen us with new Taxes, so little
Regard was had to this most interesting Matter, that
the Court was not even called together to consult
about it till the latter end of y e Year; the Conse
quence of which was, that Instructions could not be
sent to the Agent, tho sollicited by him, till the Evil
had got beyond an easy Remedy. There is now no
Room for further Delay : We therefore expect that
you will use your earliest Endeavors in the Gen 1 As
sembly, that such Methods may be taken as will ef
fectually prevent these Proceedings against us. By a
proper Representation we apprehend it may easily be
made to appear that such Severitys will prove detri
mental to Great Brittain itself ; upon which Account
we have Reason to hope that an Application, even for
a Repeal of the Act, should it be already passd, will
be successfull. It is the Trade of the Colonys, that
renders them beneficial to the Mother Country : Our
Trade, as it is now, & always has been conducted,
centers in Great Brittain, & in Return for her Manu
factures affords her more ready Cash, beyond any
Comparison, than can possibly be expected by the
most sanguine Promoters of these extraordinary
Methods. We are in short ultimately yielding large
Supplys to the Revenues of the Mother Country,
while we are laboring for a very moderate Subsistence
for ourselves. But if our Trade is to be curtaild in
its most profitable Branches, & Burdens beyond all


possible Bearing, laid upon that which is sufferd to
remain, we shall be so far from being able to take off
the manufactures of Great Brittain, that it will be
scarce possible for us to earn our Bread. But what
still heightens our apprehensions is, that these unex
pected Proceedings may be preparatory to new Taxa
tions upon us : For if our Trade may be taxed why
not our Lands ? Why not the Produce of our Lands
& every thing we possess or make use of ? This we
apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern
& tax ourselves It strikes at our Brittish Privileges,
which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in
common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives
of Brittain : If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape
without our having a legal Representation where they
are laid, are we not reducd from the Character of free
Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves ?

We therefore earnestly recommend it to you to use
your utmost Endeavors, to obtain in the Gen 1 As
sembly all necessary Instructions & Advice to our
Agent at this most critical (Juncture) ; that while he
is setting forth the unshaken Loyalty of this Province
& this Town its unrivald Exertions in supporting
His Majestys Governm* & Rights in this part of
his Dominions its acknowlegd Dependence upon &
Subordination to Great Brittain, & the ready Sub
mission of its Merchants to all just & necessary
Regulations of Trade, he may be able in the most
humble & pressing Manner to remonstrate for us all
those Rights & Privileges which justly belong to us
either by Charter or Birth.

As His Majestys other Nothern American Colonys


are embarkd with us in this most important Bottom,
we further desire you to use your Endeavors, that
their Weight may be added to that of this Province :
that by the united Applications of all who are ag-
grievd, All may happily obtain Redress

* You will remember that this Province hath been
at a very great Expence in carrying on the late War ;
& that it still lies under a very grievous Burden of
Debt : You will therefore use your utmost Endeavor
to promote publick Frugality as one Means to lessen
the publick Debt. And we recommend as worthy
your particular Attention, whether Any Expence can
now be necessary to maintain the Garrison Service
on our Eastern Frontier : considering that we are
now in a State of profound Peace ; Our french Ene
mies being totally subdued ; & there being hardly
any Remains of the Indian Tribes, ever again to
annoy us

All which is submited &c.

By order of y e Corn s 6

Ri c DANA.

The Com tec do further report the following Votes.
Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to permit
the Small Pox to prevail in this Town, whereby the
Inhabitants have been great Sufferers, as well by
the Extraordinary Expence it hath occasiond, as by
Loss of Business ; therefore voted that the Repre
sentatives be desired in behalf of the Town Assembly
to move that the Gen 1 Assembly would afford us such
Rehefe under our Distress as they in their great
Goodness shall think proper.


Whereas it is conceivcl that the Selectmen of the
Town are not sufficiently impowerd by the Laws al
ready in being, to take such Steps as may be neces
sary to prevent the Inhabitants of other Towns from
bringing & spreading Infectious Distempers among
us ; therefore voted that the Representatives be de
sired to use their Endeavors to obtain such addi
tional Power to be given to the Selectmen as the
General Assembly in their wisdom shall think proper
to invest them with

The above Report having been read several Times,
and debate had thereon the Question was put,
Whether the Town will accept of said Draft of In
structions Passed in the affirmative.

The above Report having been read the Question
was put Whether the Town will accept thereof
Passed in the affirmative.


[MS., Office of the City Clerk of Boston ; a modified text is given in Boston
Record Commissioners Report, vol. 16, pp. 155, 156; a text, as supplied by
William Cooper, Town Clerk, was printed in the Boston Gazette, September
23, 1765-]

To the Hon be James Otis Esq r , Tho s dishing Esq r

& M r Tho s Gray.

At a Time when the British American Subjects
are every where loudly complaining of arbitrary &

The committee, which was appointed on September 12, 1765, and which
reported these instructions on September 18, consisted of Samuel Wells,


. unconstitutional Innovations, the Town of Boston

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 31)