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vailing inducement to the House of Representatives
of this his Majesty s province, to address to your
Lordship, at a time when your attention to the Brit
ish colonies, their connection with and dependance
upon the mother state, and their rights as subjects,
seems to be necessary and important, not to them
alone, but to the whole empire.

This House can speak only for the people of one
province : but no assembly on this continent, it is pre
sumed, can long be silent, under an apprehension,
that without the aid of some powerful advocate, the
liberties of America will soon be no more.

It is a cause which the House is assured your Lord
ship has at heart : and the past experience of your pa
tronage, and the noble exertions you were pleased to
make for them in a late time of distress, affords the

1 Charles Pratt, first earl of Camden (1714-1794); appointed chief justice of
the Court of Common Pleas, December 28, 1761; raised to the peerage as
Baron Camden, July 17, 1765 ; appointed lord chancellor, July 30, 1766 ;
created Earl Camden, May 13, 1786.

2 Reported from the committee on the state of the province, read and

i 7 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1768

strongest reason to hope that your happy influence
will still be employed in their behalf, as far as your
Lordship shall judge to be right.

If in all free states, the constitution is fixed, and the
supreme legislative power of the nation, from thence
derives its authority ; can that power overleap the
bounds of the constitution, without subverting its own
foundation ? If the remotest subjects, are bound by
the ties of allegiance, which this people and their fore
fathers have ever acknowledged ; are they not by
the rules of equity, intitled to all the rights of that
constitution, which ascertains and limits both sover
eignty and allegiance ? If it is an essential unal
terable right in nature, ingrafted into the British
constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred
and irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that
what is a man s own is absolutely his own ; and that
no man hath a right to take it from him without
his consent ; may not the subjects of this province,
with a decent firmness, which has always distinguished
the happy subjects of Britain, plead and maintain this
natural constitutional right ?

The superintending authority of his Majesty s high
court of parliament over the whole empire, in all cases
which can consist with the fundamental rights of the
constitution, was never questioned in this province,
nor, as this House conceive, in any other : but they
intreat your Lordship s reflection one moment, on
an act of parliament passed the last session ; and an
other in the fourth of his present Majesty s reign ;
both imposing duties on his subjects in America,
which as they are imposed with the sole and express

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 175

purpose of raising a revenue, are, in effect, taxes. The ]
position, that taxation and representation are insepa
rable, is founded on the immutable laws of nature :
but the Americans had no representation in the par
liament, when they were taxed : are they not then
unfortunate in these instances, in having that sepa
rated, which God and nature have joined? Such are
the local circumstances of the colonies, at the distance
of a thousand leagues from the metropolis, and sepa
rated by a wide ocean, as will for ever render a just
and equal representation in the supreme legislative,
utterly impracticable. Upon this consideration, it is
conceived, that his Majesty s royal predecessors
thought it equitable to form legislative bodies in
America, as perfectly free as a subordination to the
supreme legislative would admit of, that the inesti
mable right of being taxed only by representatives of
their own free election, might be preserved and se
cured to their subjects here. The Americans have
ever been considered by the nation as subjects re
mote ; and succeeding kings, even to the present
happy reign, and until these acts were made, have
always directed their requisitions, to be laid before
the representatives of their people in America, with
which this province, and it is presumed, all the other
colonies, have with the utmost chearfulness complied.
Must it not then be grievous to subjects, who have in
many repeated instances afforded the strongest marks
of loyalty and zeal for the honour and service of their
sovereign, to be now called upon, in a manner, which
implies a distrust of a free and willing compliance ?
Such is the misfortune of the colonists, not only in the


instances before-mentioned, but also in the case of
the act for preventing mutiny and desertion ; which
requires the governor and council to provide enumer
ated articles for the King s marching troops, and the
people to pay the expence.

This is a great change ; and in its nature delicate
and important. Your Lordship will form your own
judgement of the wisdom of making such a change,
without the most pressing reason, or an absolute ne
cessity. There can be no necessity, my Lord, as this
House humbly conceive : the subjects in this province,
and undoubtedly in all the colonies, however they
may have been otherwise represented to his Majesty s
ministers, are loyal : they are firmly attached to the
mother state : they always consider her interest and
their own as inseparably interwoven, and it is their
fervent wish that it may ever so remain : all they de
sire is, to be restored to the standing upon which they
were originally put ; to have the honour and privilege
of voluntarily contributing to the aid of their sover
eign, when required : they are free subjects ; and it is
hoped the nation will never consider them as in a
tributary state.

It is humbly submitted to your Lordship, whether
subjects can be said to enjoy any degree of freedom,
if the crown in addition to its undoubted authority
of constituting governors, should be authorized to
appoint such stipends for them, as it shall judge
proper, at their expence, and without their consent.
This is the unhappy state to which his Majesty s sub
jects in the colonies are reduced, by the act for grant
ing certain duties on paper, and other articles. A

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 177

power without a check is always unsafe ; and in some
future time may introduce an absolute government
into America. The judges of the land here do not
hold their commissions during good behaviour : is it
not then justly to be apprehended, that at so great a
distance from the throne, the fountain of national
justice, with salaries altogether independent of the
people, an arbitrary rule may take effect, which shall
deprive a bench of justice of its glory, and the people
of their security.

When a question arises on the public administration,
the nation will judge and determine in conformity to
its political constitution : the great end of the British
constitution is universal liberty ; and this House rests
assured, that your Lordship s great interest in the
national councils will always be engaged on the side
of liberty and truth.

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


I am to acknowledge your fav r of 17 June, inclos
ing the several Acts of Parliam passd in the last
Session relating to America. The House of Repre
sentatives have written you so fully, in which I have
the good fortune to have my own private Sentiments
so exactly expressd, as to render it needless for me
to say any thing of them in this Letter. The House
have sent a humble petition to his Majesty, & Rep
resentations to his Ministers some of which it is
hoped ere now have come into your hands, & others

VOL. I. 12.


will be soon transmitted to you. It may seem strange
that these Addresses do not pass thro the Medium of
the Governor of the Province ; but it is my private
Opinion that there is a Want of Confidence between
the Governor & the House which will never be re
moved as long 1 as this Gentleman is in the Chair. In
short the whole dependence seems to be altogether
upon those Noblemen & others, who have heretofore
distinguishd themselves as the Guardians, under his
Majesty, of the Rights of British American Subjects.

You will observe that the House still insist upon
that inestimable Right of being taxed only by Rep
resentatives of their own free Election ; which they
think is infringed by the late Acts for establishing a
Revenue in America.

It is by no means to be understood that they desire
a Representation in ParlianV ; because, by reason of
local Circumstances it is impracticable that they
should be equally & fairly represented : There is
Nothing therefore which I apprehend the Colonys
w d more dread.

The few Gentlemen in the House, who did not
give their Votes declared this as a reason, that they
feard, if the House should insist, that they could not
legally be taxed because they were not represented in
the Parliam , it wd be construed as if they w d be con
tent to be represented : And I hope you will, as you
have Opportunity, make it known to the Ministry,
that the People here, as they always have done, will
cheerfully afford their utmost Aid for the Honor &
Service of their Sovereign & the Interest of the
Mother State, to which they are inviolably attachd.

1 768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 179

All they desire is to be placd on the standing, on
which they were originally put, & to have the Honor
& Privilege of voluntarily contributing to the Service
of his Majesty at all times when he shall be gracious
ly pleasd to order his requisitions to be laid before
their own Representatives.

The House yesterday 1 made you a Grant of 600
sterling for two years Services & the same Sum to
Rich d Jackson Esq r2 for his services for two years. I
have not the Honor of a Correspondence with that
Gentleman, but I think it might not be amiss that he
as well as you should be made acquainted that every
member that spoke on these Grants expressd a high
Sense of the Merit of both your & his Services : & I
have no Reason but to think they spoke the Senti
ments of the whole House. Neither of your Ex-
pences were considerd, as it was thought improper
till the House sh d receive your several accounts.

Your Acceptance of the inclosd pamphlets will
oblige Sir

Your most humble serv

1 It was on February I, 1768, that the House voted this appropriation.

2 Earlier, agent of the province in London; April 24, 1762, he was author
ized, in the event of the incapacity of Jasper Mauduit, to receive the funds as
signed to the province by the King in the grant for the support of troops ;
in 1762, 1763, and 1764, the province treasurer was ordered to draw against
both Mauduit and Jackson (for a form of draft used, see Acts and Resolves of
Massachusetts, vol. iv., p. 720) ; on February 5, 1767, after earlier action on
the matter, the House voted to dismiss Jackson from the agency, and on Feb
ruary 13 the Governor wrote to the House that Jackson should be paid if dis
missed ; on March 20, 1767, the secretary of the province, having been ordered
to attend the House, reported that the Governor had signed the resolution re
moving Jackson. On February i, 1768, a committee reported to the House
commending Jackson, and the treasurer was ordered to pay him ^"600 for his
services from January 24, 1765, to February 5, 1767. On April 30, 177.
Jackson was appointed counsel to the Board of Trade.



[Prior Documents, pp. 187, 188.]

My Lord,

The particular attention you were pleased to give
to the interest of the American subjects when their
rights were in danger, and your noble and successful
efforts in support of them, have left in the breasts of
all, the indelible marks of gratitude. The House of
Representatives of this his Majesty s province, having
reason to be assured, that in every instance of your
public conduct, you are influenced by the principles
of virtue and a disinterested public affection, beg
leave to manifest to your Lordship, a testimony of
their full confidence in you, by imploring your repeat
ed aid and patronage at this time when the cloud
again gathers thick over them.

It must afford the utmost satisfaction to the dis
tressed colonists, to find your Lordship so explicitly
declaring your sentiments in that grand principle in
nature, " that what a man hath honestly acquired is
absolutely and uncontroulably his own." This prin
ciple is established as a fundamental rule in the Brit
ish constitution, which eminently hath its foundation
in the laws of nature ; and consequently it is the
indisputable right of all men, more especially of a

1 William Pitt (1708-1778), first earl of Chatham ; member of parliament,
1735 ; secretary of state, 1756 ; appointed lord privy seal, July 30, 1766, and
raised to the peerage ; in retirement. May, 1767, until his resignation, October,
1768. Cf. Correspondence of William Pitt, 4 vols.

3 Reported from the committee on the state of the province, read paragraph
by paragraph and accepted.

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 181

British subject, to be present in person, or by repre
sentation, in the body where he is taxed.

But however fixed your Lordship and some others
may be in this cardinal point, it is truly mortifying to
many of his Majesty s free and loyal subjects, that
even in the British parliament, that sanctuary of
liberty and justice, a different sentiment seems of late
to have prevailed.

Unwilling to intrude upon your attention to the
great affairs of state, the House would only refer
your Lordship to an act passed in the fourth year of
the present reign, and another in the last session of
parliament ; both imposing duties on the Americans,
who were not represented, with the sole and express
purpose of raising a revenue. What, my Lord, have
the colonists done to forfeit the character and privi
lege of subjects, and to be reduced in effect to a
tributary state ? This House may appeal to the
nation, that the utmost aid of the people has been
chearfully given when his Majesty required it : often,
on their own motion, and when almost ready to suc
cumb under the expence of defending their own bor
ders, their zeal has carried them abroad for the honour
of their sovereign, and the defence of his rights : of
this, my Lord, not to mention any more, the reduc
tion of Louisburgh in the year 1745, and the defence
of his Majesty s garrison at Annapolis, and of all
Nova Scotia, will be standing monuments. Can
there then be a necessity for so great a change, and
in its nature so delicate and important, that instead of
having the honour of his Majesty s requisitions laid be
fore their representatives here, as has been invariably


the usage, the parliament should now tax them with
out their consent ?

The enemies of the colonists, for such they unfortu
nately have, may have represented them to his Maj
esty s ministers, and the parliament, as factious,
undutiful, disloyal : they, my Lord, are equally the
enemies of Britain : such is your extensive knowledge
of mankind, and the sentiments and disposition of the
colonies in general, that this house would freely ven
ture to rest the character of their constituents in your
Lordship s judgment : surely it is no ill disposition in
the loyal subjects of a patriot king, with a decency
and firmness adapted to their character, to assert their

The colonies, as this House humbly conceive, can
not be represented in the British parliament : their
local circumstances, at the distance of a thousand
leagues beyond the seas, forbid, and will ever render
it impracticable : this they apprehend, was the rea
son that his Majesty s royal predecessors saw fit
to erect subordinate legislative bodies in America as
perfectly free as the nature of things would admit,
that their remotest subjects might enjoy that inesti
mable right, a representation. Such a legislative is
constituted by the royal charter of this province. In
this charter, the King, for himself, his heirs and suc
cessors, grants to the inhabitants all the lands and
territories therein described, in free and common
soccage ; as ample estate as the subjects can hold
under the crown ; together with all the rights, lib
erties, privileges, and immunities of his natural sub
jects born within the realm ; of which the most

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 183

essential is a power invested in the general assembly
to levy proportionable and reasonable taxes on the
estates and persons of the inhabitants, for the service
of his Majesty, and the necessary defence and support
of his government of the province, and the protection
and preservation of the inhabitants. But though they
were originally, and always, since their settlement, have
been considered as subjects remote, they have ever
cherished a warm affection for the mother state, and
a regard for the interest and happiness of their fellow
subjects in Britain. If then the colonies are charged
with the most distant thought of an independency,
your Lordship may be assured, that, with respect to
the people of this province, and it is presumed, of all
the colonies, the charge is unjust.

Nothing would have prevailed upon the House
to have given your Lordship this trouble, but the
necessity of a powerful advocate, when their liberty
is in danger : such they have more than once found
you to be ; and as they humbly hope they have
never forfeited your patronage, they intreat that
your great interest in the national councils may still
be employed in their behalf, that they may be re
stored to the standing of free subjects.

That your Lordship may enjoy a firm state of
health, and long be continued a great blessing to the
nation and her colonies, is the ardent wish of this





[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library ; a text, modified in de
tails, is in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 134-136, and in Prior
Documents, pp. 191-193.]

Pro of Massachusetts Bay,
Feb ir 1768


The House of Representatives of this Province
have taken into their serious Consideration, the
great difficultys that must accrue to themselves &
their Constituents, by the operation of several acts
of Parliament imposing Duties & Taxes on the
American Colonys.

As it is a Subject in which every Colony is deeply
interested they have no reason to doubt but your
Assembly is deeply impressd with its Importance &
that such constitutional measures will be come into
as are proper. It seems to be necessary, that all pos
sible Care should be taken, that the Representations
of the several Assembly upon so delicate a point,
should harmonize with each other : The House
therefore hope that this letter will be candidly con-
siderd in no other Light, than as expressing a Dis
position freely to communicate their mind to a Sister
Colony, upon a common Concern in the same man-

1 On January 22, 1768, the House voted that on the following Tuesday it
would consider the expediency of writing to the other assemblies with reference
to their joining in a petition to the King. On January 26, the matter was
referred to the following Thursday. On February 4, the House appointed a
committee, consisting of Adams, Otis, Gushing, Hawley, Bowers, Dexter, and
Richmond to "prepare a letter to be transmitted to the several Houses of
Representatives and Burgesses on the Continent."

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 185

ner as they would be glad to receive the Sentiments
of your or any other House of Assembly on the Con

The House have humbly represented to the minis
try, their own Sentiments that His Majestys high
Court of Parliament is the supreme legislative Power
over the whole Empire : That in all free States the
Constitution is fixd ; & as the supreme Legislative
derives its Power & Authority from the Constitution,
it cannot overleap the Bounds of it without destroy
ing its own foundation : That the Constitution
ascertains & limits both Sovereignty & allegiance,
& therefore, his Majestys American Subjects who
acknowlege themselves bound by the Ties of Alle
giance, have an equitable Claim to the full enjoym*
of the fundamental Rules of the British Constitution.
That it is an essential unalterable Right in nature,
ingrafted into the British Constitution, as a funda
mental Law & ever held sacred & irrevocable by the
Subjects within the Realm, that what a man has hon
estly acquird is absolutely his own, which he may
freely give, but cannot be taken from him without
his consent : That the American Subjects may there
fore exclusive of any Consideration of Charter
Rights, with a decent firmness adapted to the Char
acter of free men & Subjects assert this natural and
constitutional Right.

It is moreover their humble opinion, which they
express with the greatest Deferrence to the Wisdom
of the Parliament that the Acts made there impos
ing Duties on the People of this province with
the sole & express purpose of raising a Revenue,


are Infringments of their natural & constitutional
Rights because as they are not represented in the
British Parliarn His Majestys Commons in Britain
by those Acts grant their Property without their

This House further are of Opinion that their
Constituents considering their local Circumstances
cannot by any possibility be represented in the Par
liament, & that it will forever be impracticable that
they should be equally represented there & conse
quently not at all ; being seperated by an Ocean of a
thousand leagues : and that his Majestys Royal Pre
decessors for this reason were graciously pleasd to
form a subordinate legislature here that their subjects
might enjoy the unalienable Right of a Representa
tion. Also that considering the utter Impracticability
of their ever being fully & equally represented in
parliam , & the great Expence that must unavoidably
attend even a partial representation there, this House
think that a taxation of their Constituents, even with
out their Consent, grievous as it is, would be prefer
able to any Representation that could be admitted
for them there.

Upon these principles, & also considering that were
the right in Parliament ever so clear, yet, for obvious
reasons it w d be beyond the rules of Equity that their
Constituents should be taxed on the manufactures of
Great Britain here, in Addition to the dutys they pay
for them in England, & other Advantages arising
to G Britain from the Acts of trade, this House have
preferrd a humble dutifull & loyal Petition to our
most gracious Sovereign, & made such Representa-

1 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 187

tions to his Majestys Ministers, as they apprehended
w d tend to obtain redress. -j

They have also submitted to Consideration whether j
any People can be said to enjoy any degree of Free
dom if the Crown in addition to its undoubted Au
thority of constituting a Gov r , should also appoint
him such a Stipend as it may judge proper with
out the Consent of the people & at their Ex-
pence ; and whether while the Judges of the Land
& other Civil officers hold not their Commission dur
ing good Behavior, their having salarys appointed
for them by the Crown independent of the people
hath not a tendency to subvert the principles of
Equity & endanger the Happiness & Security of the

In addition to these measures the House have
wrote a Letter to their Agent, M r De Berdt, the
Sentiments of w ch he is directed to lay before the
ministry : wherein they take Notice of the hardships
of the Act for preventing Mutiny & Desertion,
which requires the Gov r & Council to provide enu
merated Articles for the Kings marching troops &
the People to pay the Expences ; & also of the Com
mission of the Gen n appointed Commissioners of the
Customs to reside in America, which authorizes them
to make as many Appointments as they think fit &
to pay the Appointees what sum they please, for
whose Mai Conduct they are not accountable from
whence it may happen that officers of the Crown
may be multiplyd to such a degree as to become dan
gerous to the Liberty of the people by Virtue of a
Commission which doth not appear to this House to


derive any such Advantages to Trade as many have

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