Copyright
Samuel Adams.

The writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) online

. (page 10 of 31)
Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Honor & Favor in the Power of his native Country
to confer upon him. Some of his high offices are so
incompatible with others of them, that in all proba
bility they never will hereafter be, as they never were
heretofore thus accumulated by any man. This Gen 1
was for years together L Gov r , Councellor, Chiefe
Justice of the Provinces & a Judge of the Probate.
Three of these lucrative as well as honorary Places
he now enjoys & yet is not content. It is easy to
conceive how undue an influence the two first must
give.

The office of a Chief Justice is most certainly in
compatible with that of a Politician. The cool &
impartial administrat" of common justice can never
harmonize with the meanders & windings of a modern
Politician. The Integrety of the Judge may some
times embarrass the Politician, but there is infinitely
more Danger in the long run of the Politician spoil
ing the good & upright Judge. This has often been
the Case & in the Course of things may be expected
again.

As the Gov r & the L r Gov r now firmly persist in



VOL. I. Q.



130 THE WRITINGS OF [1767

the Claim & his Excy seems determine! to make a
representation of this matter home : it is incumbent
upon us to be particularly attentive to it, tho both of
them have in Effect desird the present House to remain
quiet & inactive. We must therefore earnestly rec
ommend it to you to make it a matter of your spe
cial Care, & if any Stir should be made about it in
Eng d , that you w d use your utmost endeavors to pre
vent any Determination thereon till we can be heard,
or otherwise that you make the best use you can of
the papers inclosd.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS TO
JASPER MAUDUIT.

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

Pro of Massachusetts Bay
Boston March 18 1767

SIR

The House of Representatives have taken into
Consideration your Letter of the 5 of June last. The
only part of it which concerns either their Justice or
Honor to take notice of, is that which relates to
a sufficient & ample Reward for your Services as
Agent for the Province, in considering which they
would not willfully err. The Truth is, you have
always considerd the receiving & paying the Pro
vince Money as a Business distinct from your Agency,
& consequently, the Commissions as distinct from
an allowance for the services of your agency, &
from thence you inferr, what w d have been much
beneath the Honor of a house of Representatives,

1 This letter was read and approved March 19, 1767, when the House ordered
the Treasurer to draw on Mauduit, in favor of John Hancock, for the balance
due from the agent, ,1,412:17:6^.



1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 131

that they "studied to affront" you by offering you
so small a Sum as ^100 a year. The House always
conceivd otherwise ; they lookd upon you altogether
in the Light of an Agent ; & had you not been in
that Capacity, their money w d never have passd
thro your Hands they therefore considerd what
was an adequate Reward to your merit, & concluded
that ^"600 sterling p ann \v d be an ample retalliation
for your Services & Expences : As therefore you
had chargd your Commission, the house considerd
it as so much paid, & determind upon ^"100 a year
to make up the annual allowance of ^600. Very
rightly therefore they told you in their former Letter
that they had allowd you double of what they had
ever allowd your Predecessor. 1 M r Bollan never was
allowd more than 300 some times no more than 200
a year for his Services it is true as he left his
family & Business to prosecute the Affairs of the
province it was judgd reasonable to allow his Ex
pences in London. Your Expences you say have
amounted to ^300 yearly it remains then that you
have rec d for your services, equal to the most that
the Gov 1 ever allowd M r Bollan viz ^"300 a year.
The House upon the most impartial Consideration
are of opinion that this is a Sum, by no means de
rogatory to their Honor to offer in full for your
Services ; & therefore cannot but conclude that when
you take Leisure to consider calmly of it you will
think it perfectly consistent with your Reputation to
accept of it. We cannot close without observing to
you that by means of your protesting the Drafts of

1 This sentence is crossed out in the draft.



132 THE WRITINGS OF [1767

our Treasurer, when you had more than sufficient in
your hands to honor them & pay your self, this Gov-
ernm t have been put to the Charge of nearly ^100
sterling which youl please to reflect upon at your
Leisure. Read & accepted



TO DENNYS DE BERDT.
[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 139, 140.]

Boston, May 9, 1767.

SIR: Your favor of loth February and gih March
came to hand. It gives me the greatest satisfaction
to find that this Province stands in an agreeable
point of light with the Ministry and the Parliament,
and I hope with our gracious Sovereign himself.
The nation has no reason to be offended with us,
or to entertain any jealousy of us. We are naturally
attached to the people of Great Britain. We esteem
them, not barely as fellow-subjects, but as brethren
of the same blood. We can look back a few years,
and find the same men the fathers of us all. Why
then should Britain hate America, or they envy her ?
Our dependence is mutual;; our interest is undivided ;
one cannot be sensibly injured, but the other must
feel it.

I now send you the journal of the House for the
remaining part of the year. 1 You will find in the be
ginning of February some messages between the
Governor and the House relating to the supply of
about seventy of his Majesty s troops, arrived here
last fall. Heretofore it has been the practice of this

1 On December 9, 1766, the Clerk of the House, Adams, was directed to
supply De Berdt with a copy of its journal.



1767] SAMUEL ADAMS. 133

government to make provision in such cases by an
act of their own. Thus they granted to their sov
ereign the necessary aid of their own free accord,
which was strictly constitutional ; and I am satisfied
the people would always be ready cheerfully to make
such grants upon all future occasions. Does not
an act of Parliament made to oblige us in this case
deprive us of our honor as well as our right, and \
imply a mistrust of us in the mother country ? It *
is probable some persons here had induced the
Ministry to believe it would have been refused by
us, and argued from thence the necessity of the
Parliament s interfering. But there is no room for
such a suggestion. If the question should at any
time be put, I am persuaded the people would show
their loyalty in this as they have done in all other
requests. I wish, if our enemies should put an ill
construction upon this matter, it might be thus ex
plained, for it is the truth. The House made you
a grant for your services for one year, as you will
see by the journal of March. 1 His Excellency did
not think proper to sign it ; perhaps he will as
sign the reason at the May session, when it will
no doubt be again considered.

Your constant endeavors to serve this people merit
their warmest gratitude as well as an ample recom
pense ; and I hope, sir, you will not fail of an infinitely
better reward than it is in their power to give you.

I am, with very great esteem, sir,

Your sincere friend and humble servant,

1 March 17, 1767 ; 200 for services to the House during the year ending
November 5, 1766.



134 THE WRITINGS OF [1768

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS TO
DENNYS DE BERDT. JANUARY 12, 1768.

[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 124-133 ; a text is in Prior Documents^ pp.
167-175, and in the Boston Gazette, April 4, 1768.]

SIR,

Since the last sitting of the General Court, divers
acts of Parliament, relating to the colonies, have ar
rived here ; and as the people of this province had
no share in the framing those laws, in which they
are so deeply interested, the House of Representa
tives, who are constitutionally entrusted by them, as
the guardians of their rights and liberties, have
thpught it their indispensable duty, carefully to peruse
them ; and having so done, to point out such mat
ters in them, as appear to be grievous to their con
stituents, and to seek redress.

The fundamental rules of the constitution are the
"grand security of all British subjects ; and it is a se
curity which they are all equally entitled to, in all
parts of his Majesty s extended dominions. ^ The su
preme legislative, in every free state, derives its power
from the constitution ; by the fundamental rules of
which, it is bounded and circumscribed. As a legis
lative power is essentially requisite, where any powers
of government are exercised, it is conceived, the sev
eral legislative bodies in America were erected, be
cause their existence, and the free exercise of their
power, within their several limits, are essentially
important and necessary, to preserve to his Majesty s

1 Under this usual title will be cited " A Collection of Interesting, Authen
tic Papers . . . from 1764 to 1775." London, printed for J. Almon,
1777.



1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 135

subjects in America^ the advantages of the funda
mental laws of the constitution.

When we mention the rights of the subjects in"
America, and the interest we have in the British con
stitution, in common with all other British subjects,
we cannot justly be suspected of the most distant
thought of an independency on Great Britain. Some,
we know, have imagined this of the colonists, and
others may, perhaps, have industriously propagated
it, to raise groundless and unreasonable jealousies of
them ; but it is so far from the truth, that we appre
hend the colonies would refuse it if offered to them,
and would even deem it the greatest misfortune to be
obliged to accept it. They are far from being insen
sible of their happiness, in being connected with the
mother country, and of the mutual benefits derived
from it to both. It is, therefore, the indispensable
duty of all, to cultivate and establish a mutual har
mony, and to promote the intercourse of good offices
between them ; and while both have the free enjoy
ment of the rights of our happy constitution, there
will be no grounds of envy and discontent in the one,
nor of jealousy and mistrust in the other.
/It is the glory of the British constitution, that it
nath its foundation in the law of God and nature. It *~\
is an essential, natural right, that a man shall quietly
enjoy, and have the sole disposal of his own property. V
This right is adopted into the constitution. This
natural and constitutional right is so familiar to the
American subjects, that it would be difficult, if possible,
to convince them, that any necessity can render it just,
equitable and reasonable, in the nature of things,




THE WRITINGS OF [1768

that the Parliament should impose duties, subsidies,
talliages, and taxes upon them, internal or external,
for the sole purpose of raising a revenue. The rea
son is obvious ; because, they cannot be represented,
and therefore, their consent cannot be constitution
ally had in Parliament./

When the Parliament, soon after the repeal of the
stamp act, thought proper to pass another act, 1 declar
ing the authority, power, and right of Parliament, to
make laws that should be binding on the colonies,
in all cases, whatever, it is probable that acts for levy
ing taxes on the colonies, external and internal,
were included ; for the act made the last year, 2 im-
-posing duties on paper, glass, &c. as well as the
sugar acts 3 and the stamp act, are, to all intents and
purposes, in form, as well as in substance, as much
revenue acts, as those for the land tax, customs and
excises in England. The necessity of establishing
a revenue in America, is expressly mentioned in the
preambles ; they were originated in the honorable
House of Commons, as all other money and revenue
bills are ; and the property of the colonies, with the
same form, ceremony and expressions of loyalty and
duty, is thereby given and granted to his Majesty,
as they usually give and grant their own. But we
humbly conceive, that objections to acts of this kind,
may be safely, if decently made, if they are of a dan
gerous tendency in point of commerce, policy, and
the true and real interest of the whole empire. It
may, and if it can, it ought to be made to appear, that
acts are grievous to the subject, burthensome



1 6 Geo. III., chap. 12. 2 7 Geo. III., chap. 46. 3 4 Geo. III., chap. 1.5.



1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 137

to trade, ruinous to the nation, and tending on the
whole to injure the revenue of the Crown. And
surely, if such mighty inconveniencies, evils, and mis
chiefs, can be pointed out with decency and perspi
cuity, there will be the highest reason not only to
hope for, but fully to expect redress.
/ It is observable, that though many have disregarded
life, and contemned liberty, yet there are few men who
do not agree that property is a valuable acquisition,
which ought to be held sacred. Many have fought, and
bled, and died for this, who have been insensible to
all other obligations. Those who ridicule the ideas of
right and justice, faith and truth among men, will put
a high value upon money. Property is admitted to
have an existence, even in the savage state of nature. - /
The bow, the arrow, and the tomahawk ; the hunting
and the fishing ground, are species of property, as
important to an American savage, as pearls, rubies,
and diamonds are to the Mogul, or a Nabob in the
East, or the lands, tenements, hereditaments, mes
suages, gold and silver of the Europeans. And if
property is necessary for the support of savage life, it
is by no means less so in civil society. The Utopian
schemes of levelling, and a community of goods, are
as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all
property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in
our government unconstitutional. Now, what prop
erty can the colonists be conceived to have, if their
money may be granted away by others, without their
consent ?/This most certainly is the present case ;
for they were in no sense represented in Parliament,
when this act for raising a revenue in America was



138 THE WRITINGS OF [1768

made. The stamp act was grievously complained of
by all the colonies ; and is there any real difference be
tween this act and the stamp act ? They were both
designed to raise a revenue in America, and in the
same manner, viz. by duties on certain commodities.
The payment of the duties imposed by the stamp act,
x might have been eluded by a total disuse of the
stamped paper ; and so may the payment of these
s^ duties, by the total disuse of the articles on which
they are laid ; but in neither case, without difficulty.
"Therefore, the subjects here, are reduced to the hard
{ alternative, either of being obliged totally to disuse
articles of the greatest necessity, in common life, or to
pay a tax without their consent.

The security of right and property, is the great end
of government. I Surely, then, such measures as tend
to render right and property precarious, tend to de
stroy both property and government ; for these must
stand and fall together. It would be difficult, if pos
sible, to show, that the present plan of taxing the
colonies is more favorable to them, than that put in
use here, before the revolution. It seems, by the
event, that our ancestors were, in one respect, not in
so melancholy a situation, as we, their posterity, are.
In those times, the Crown, and the ministers of the
Crown, without the intervention of Parliament, de
molished charters, and levied taxes on the colonies, at
pleasure. Governor Andross, in the time of James II.
declared, that wherever an Englishman sets his foot,
all he hath is the King s ; and Dudley declared, at the
Council Board, and even on the sacred seat of justice,
that the privilege of Englishmen, not to be taxed



1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 139

without their consent, and the laws of England, would
not follow them to the ends of the earth. It was,
also, in those days, declared in Council, that the King s
subjects in New England did not differ much from
slaves ; and that the only difference was, that they
were not bought and sold. But there was, even in
those times an excellent Attorney General, Sir Wil
liam Jones, 1 who was of another mind ; and told King
James, that he could no more grant a commission to
levy money on his subjects in Jamaica, though a con
quered island, without their consent, by an Assem-
bly, than they could discharge themselves from their
allegiance to the English Crown. But the misfor
tune of the colonists at present is, that they are taxed
by Parliament, without their consent. This, while the
Parliament continues to tax us, will ever render our
case, in one respect, more deplorable and remediless,
under the best of Kings, than that of our ancestors
was, under the worst. They found relief by the inter
position of Parliament. But by the intervention of
that very power, we are taxed, and can appeal for re
lief, from their final decision, to no power on earth ;
for there is no power on earth above them, j
/ The original contract between the King and the
first planters here, was a royal promise in behalf of the
nation, and which till very lately, it was never ques-
tioned but the King had a power to make ; namely, that
if the adventurers would, at their own cost and charge
and at the hazard of their lives and every thing dear
to them, purchase a new world, subdue a wilderness,

1631-1682; solicitor-general, 1673-1675; appointed attorney-general,
June 25, 1675 ; resigned, November, 1679 ! see below, page 158.



140 THE WRITINGS OF [1768

and thereby enlarge the King s dominions, they and
their posterity should enjoy such rights and privi
leges as in their charters are expressed ; which are, in
general, all the rights, liberties and privileges of his
Majesty s natural born subjects within the realm./ The
principal privilege implied, and in some of their char
ters expressed, is a freedom from all taxes, but such
as they shall consent to in person, or by representatives
of their own free choice and election/ The late King
James broke the original contract of the settlement
and government of these colonies ; but it proved
happy for our ancestors in the end, that he had also
broken the original compact with his three kingdoms.
This left them some gleam of hope ; this very thing,
finally, was the cause of deliverance to the nation
and the colonies, nearly at the same time ; it was the
Parliament, the supreme legislative and constitutional
check on the supreme executive, that in time oper
ated effects worthy of itself ; the nation and her col
onies have since been happy, and our princes patriot
Kings. The law and reason teaches, that the King can
do no wrong ; and that neither King nor Parliament
are otherwise inclined than to justice, equity and truth.
But the law does not presume that the King may not
be deceived, nor that the Parliament may not be misin
formed. If, therefore, any thing is wrong, it must be im
puted to such causes. How far such causes have taken
place and operated against the colonies, is humbly
submitted to the revision and reconsideration of aljj>
<\By the common law, the colonists are adjudged to
be natural born subjects. / So they are declared by
royal charter ; and they are so, by the spirit of the



1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 141

law of nature and nations/ No jurist, who has the
least regard to his reputation in the republic of letters,
will deny that they are entitled to all the essential
rights, liberties, privileges and immunities, of his
Majesty s natural subjects, born within the realm.
The children of his Majesty s natural born subjects,
born passing and repassing the seas, have, by sun
dry acts of Parliament, from Edward the third to this
time, been declared natural born subjects ; and even
foreigners, residing a certain time in the colonies, are,
by acts of Parliament, entitled to all the rights and
privileges of natural born subjects. And it is re
markable, that the Act of 13 Geo. II. chap. 7, pre
supposes that the colonists are natural born subjects ;
and that they are entitled to all the privileges of such ;
as appears by the preamble, which we shall now re
cite. " Whereas the increase of people is the means
of advancing wealth and strength of any nation or
country ; and whereas many foreigners and strangers,
from the lenity of our government and purity of our
religion, the benefit of our laws, the advantages of
our trade, and the security of our property, might be
induced to come and settle in some of his Majesty s
colonies in America, if they were made partakers of
the advantages and privileges which natural born sub
jects of this realm do enjoy." Which plainly shows
it to be the sense of the nation, that the colonies
were entitled to, and did actually enjoy, the advan
tages and privileges of natural born subjects. But
if it could be admitted as clearly consistent with
the constitution, for the Parliament of Great Britain
to tax the property of the colonies, we presume it can



142 THE WRITINGS OF [1768

be made to appear to be utterly inconsistent with the
rules of equity that they should, at least at present,
must be considered, that by acts of Parliament, the
colonies are prohibited from importing commodities
of the growth or manufacture of Europe, except from
Great Britain, saving a few articles. This gives the
advantage to Great Britain of raising the price of her
commodities, and is equal to a tax. It is too obvious
to be doubted, that by the extraordinary demands
from the colonies of the manufactures of Britain, oc
casioned by this policy, she reaps an advantage of at
least twenty per cent, in the price of them, beyond
what the colonies might purchase them for at foreign
markets. The loss, therefore, to the colonists, is equal
to the gain which is made in Britain. This in reality
is a tax, though not a direct one ; and admitting that
they take annually from Great Britain, manufactures
to the value of two millions sterling, as is generally
supposed, they then pay an annual tax of four hun
dred thousand pounds, besides the taxes which are
directly paid on those manufactures in England. The
same reasoning will hold good with respect to the
many enumerated articles of their produce, which
the colonies are restrained, by act of Parliament, from
sending to any foreign port. By this restraint, the
market is glutted, and consequently the produce sold,
is cheaper ; which is an advantage to Great Britain,
and an equal loss to, or tax upon, the colonists./ Is it
reasonable, then, that the colonies should be taxed on
the British commodities here ? especially when it is
considered, that the most of them settled a wilder
ness, and, till very lately, defended their settlements



1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 143

without a farthing s expense to the nation. They bore
their full proportion of the charges of securing and
maintaining his Majesty s rights in America, in every
war from their first settlement, without any considera
tion ; for the grants of Parliament in the last war were
compensations for an overplus of expense on their
part. Many of them, and this province in particu
lar, have always maintained their own frontiers at their
own expense ; and have also frequently defended his
Majesty s garrison at Annapolis, when it must other
wise have been unavoidably lost. The nation, in the
late war, acquired lands equal in value to all the ex
pense she had been at in America, from its settle
ment ; while the trade of the colonies has been only
" secured and restricted ; " it has not been enlarged,
though new avenues of beneficial commerce have
been opened to the mother country. The colonies
have reaped no share in the lands which they helped
to conquer, while millions of acres of those very lands
have been granted, and still are granting, to people who,
in all probability, will never see, if they settle them.

The appropriation of the monies, to arise by these
duties, is an objection of great weight. It is, in the
first place, to be applied for the payment of the
necessary charges of the administration of justice,
and the support of civil government, in such colonies
where it shall be judged necessary. This House ap
prehends it would be grievous, and of dangerous
tendency, if the Crown should not only appoint Gov
ernors over the several colonies, but allow them such
stipends as it shall judge proper, at the expense of



Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 31)