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purposes, " executed." The circular letters have been
sent, and many of them have been answered 1 ; those
answers are now in the public papers ; the public, the
world, must and will, judge of the proposals, purposes
and answers. We could as well rescind those letters
as the resolves ; and both would be equally fruitless,

J See above, page 188.

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 233

if, by rescinding, as the word properly imports, is
meant a repeal and nullifying the resolution referred
to. But, if, as most probable, by the word rescind
ing, is intended a passing a vote of this House, in
direct and express disapprobation of the measure
above mentioned, as "illegal, inflammatory, and tend
ing to promote unjustifiable combinations against his
Majesty s peace, crown, and dignity," we must take
the liberty to testify, and publicly to declare, that we
take it to be the native, inherent, and indefeasible
right of the subject, jointly or severally, to petition
the King for the redress of grievances ; provided al
ways, that the same be done in a decent, dutiful, and
constitutional way, without tumult, disorder, or con
fusion. Furthermore, we are also humbly, but very
clearly and very firmly of opinion, that the petition
of the late dutiful and loyal House to his Majesty,
and their other very orderly applications for the re
dress of grievances, have had the most desirable
tendencies and effects to keep men s minds in ease
and quiet. We must be excused, in thinking that
the people were, in truth, patiently waiting for the
meeting of a new Parliament, and their measures,
and his Majesty s pleasure ; and it is probable, they
would every where have thus waited the event, had
it not been revealed here, that the late provincial ap
plication for redress of grievances, were somehow,
strangely obstructed, and the province, in conse
quence of misinformation and misrepresentation, most
unfortunately fallen under the royal displeasure ; and
to complete this misfortune, it was not only divulged
to the other colonies, but some of them actually


received the information before it was made known
here, that the House had been accused to his Maj
esty, or his ministers, or fallen under the displeasure
of the one, or the censure of the other.

On the whole, sir, we will consider his most sacred
Majesty, under God, as our King, and best protector,
and common father, and shall ever bear him true and \
faithful allegiance^

We also regard your Excellency as the representa- ~ i
tive of the greatest potentate on earth ; and at all
times have been, and shall be, as far as was, or is, or
could consist with the indefeasible purposes of pre
serving life, liberty and property, most ready and
willing, to treat you with all that respect, justly due
to your high rank and station. But we are con
strained to say, that we are disagreeably convinced,
that your Excellency entertains not that paternal re
gard for the welfare of the good people of this prov
ince, which you have sometimes been pleased to
profess, and which they have at all times, an irre
fragable right to expect from their Governor. Your
Excellency has thought fit, not only to deny us a
recess, to consult our constituents in regard to the
present requisition, but hath assured us, in effect,
that you shall take silence, at least a delay, not as
usual, for a consent, but for a denial. You have also
thought fit to inform us, that you cannot think your
self at liberty, in case of the dissolution of this, to
call another Assembly, without the express orders of
his Majesty, for that purpose ; and at the same time,
your Excellency has been pleased to assure us, that
you have communicated the whole of Lord Hills-

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 235

borough s letter, and your instructions, so far as
relates to the requisition. In all this, however, we
cannot find, that your Excellency is more than di
rected to dissolve the present Assembly, in case of a
non-compliance on the part of the House. If the
votes of the House are to be controlled by the
direction of a minister, we have left us but a vain
semblance of liberty. We know it to be the just
prerogative of the Crown, at pleasure to dissolve a
Parliament ; we are also sensible, that, consistently
with the great charter of this province, your Excel
lency, when you shall think fit, with or without the
intervention of a minister, can dissolve the great and
General Court of this colony, and that, without the
least obligation to convene another within the year. 1
But, should it ever grow into use, for any ill disposed
Governor of the province, by means of a mistaken
or wilful wrong state of facts, to procure orders for a
dissolution, the same charter will be of no value.

We take this opportunity, faithfully to represent t
your Excellency, that the new revenue acts and meas
ures, are not only disagreeable to, but in every view,
are deemed an insupportable burthen and grievance,
with a very few exceptions, by all the freeholders and
other inhabitants of this jurisdiction. And we beg
leave, once for all, to assure your Excellency, that
those of this opinion, are of " no party, or expiring
faction." They have, at all times, been ready to de
vote their time and fortunes to his Majesty s service.
Of loyalty, this majority could as reasonably boast,

1 On the day following that on which this message was sent to the Governor
he dissolved the General Court by proclamation.


as any who may happen to enjoy your Excellency s
smiles. Their reputation, rank and fortune, are, at
least, equal to those who may have been sometimes
considered as the only friends to good government ;
while some of the best blood in the colony, even in
the two Houses of Assembly, lawfully convened, and
duly acting, have been openly charged with the un
pardonable crime of oppugnation against " the royal
authority." We have, now, only to inform your Ex
cellency, that this House have voted not to rescind,
as required, the resolution of the last House ; and
that, on a division on the question, there were ninety-
two nays, and seventeen yeas, fn all this, we have
been actuated by a conscientious, and, finally, a clear
and determined sense of duty to God, to our King,
our country, and our latest posterity ; and we most
ardently wish, and humbly pray, that in your future
conduct, your Excellency may be influenced by the
same principled

[Boston Gazette, August 8, 1768.]

. JMessieurs EDES & GILL,

It is said that our brethren at Halifax, are under
such dismal apprehensions of our being upon the
point of ruin by mobs and tumults, that a certain gen
tleman there has seen fit, to order his interest out of
the hands of a merchant of worth and credit, and
committed it to the care of the boatswain of his Maj
esty s ship Romney, still riding in this harbour. How

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 237

far these apprehensions will be strengthened by his
Excellency s Proclamation in the last Thursday paper,
every reader is as capable of judging as I am. It is
certainly a grievous hardship that we should be so
grossly misrepresented ; and if these falsehoods make
such impressions on the minds of persons so near to
us as Halifax, it cannot be wondered at, if the mother-
country at the distance of a thousand leagues, should
think that we are in a state of confusion, equal to
what we hear from the orderly and very polite cities
of London and Westminster. There, we are told, is
the Weavers mob, the Seamens mob, the Taylors
mob, the Coal miners mob, and some say, the Clergys
mob ; and in short it is to be feared the whole king
dom, always excepting the and the P 1,

will unite in one general scene of tumult : I sincerely
pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation and
her colonies, whose interest if she would open her
eyes she would clearly discern to be undivided.
If it be a truth, as I take it to be, that the people are
seldom if ever discontented, without just cause, we
may conclude, that the wheels of good government
there are somewhat cloged, which it is to be hoped
the wisdom of the nation will discover and remedy.
That the people of this province are universally un
easy, all must allow ; but that they are dispos d to be
mobbish, I utterly deny, and take it upon me to say,
that to assert it is a vile abuse of them. What in
stance can be produced to show that the peace and
good order of the province hath been of late greatly
interrupted by the riots and tumults, which have
taken place in divers towns within the same ? I have


never heard of any, and I question whether there can

be one mentioned to justify the assertion. If we are
pointed to a stirring that was made in this town about
two months ago, let us consider the circumstances
which previously took place. Can any one be sur
prized, that when property was violently seized, under
a pretence of law, at an unseasonable time, at or after
sunset, by the aid of military power, a power ever
* dreaded by all the lovers of the peace and good order

\ of the province, and without any reason assigned
or apparent : Is it at all surprizing that such ill-
timed, violent and unheard of proceedings, should ex
cite the resentment even of the better sort of people
|n the town. What was the mighty consequence ? a
few persons appeared to resent it, and after break
ing a few panes of glass, by the influence of the in
habitants, they dispersed without doing any further

J damage : The gent, commissioners three days after
took it into their heads to go down to the castle,
where they have since resided, and the town has been
;in perfect peace, and I believe will so remain, at least
till they return. I am not now justifying even this
little inconsiderable rising of the people ; nor is it my
business that I know of to condemn it. I appeal to
the world, upon this short but full relation of the facts,
whether there was not an acknowledgment due to the
inhabitants of the town, for their disposition to main
tain good order, which by the way they have upon all
proper occasions discovered, rather than a necessity
of calling upon them, as tho they had been deficient,
to exert themselves in promoting it. The vessel
seized was the property of a private gentleman, a

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 239

merchant, but the manner in which she was seized \
was judg d a public affront, an unwarrantable action ;
yet the people suppressed their just resentment:
And tho they have had the mortification of seeing
ever since, the seized plunder secured under the
mouths of hundreds of cannon, when it ought to have
been in the care of the civil officers, and would have
been full as safe there, they have hitherto waited with
patience, in expectation that justice, JUSTICE will be
done, even in the court of admiralty. The represen
tation made by William Tyng, Esq ; Sheriff of Cum
berland, may be true, and it doubtless answered a very
good purpose, to publish to the world that the two
men rescued from the Goal there had been convicted
of a riot : but I would very submissively ask, whether
a riot in the county of Cumberland, the most distant
county in the eastern part of the province, and near
two hundred miles from the Centre or the Capital, is a
sufficient reason for asserting that the peace and good
order of the province has been greatly interrupted by
Riots and Tumults, when in all probability ninety-
nine in an hundred never heard of it, and of those _.
who had ninety-nine in an hundred detested it. If
the civil government has lost its " Vigor and Firmness"
I dare say it is by no means to be imputed to the want
of readiness in the people to support the civil officers
in the diie execution of the Law there must be some
other cause, which I have never yet seen inserted in
any proclamation^\\i^ People of this Province are
enlightened TheyTcnow how to distinguish, and I
pray God they ever may, between the due execution
of the laws of the land, and the exercise of new


invented, strange, unconstitutional Powers, repugnant j
to the British Constitution and the Charter of the
Province So deep rooted is their abhorrence of such
powers as these, that I question whether civil, mili
tary or ecclesiastick authority united, will ever be
sufficient to induce them to yield the least assistance
in support of them I am no friend to " Riots, Tu
mults and unlawful Assemblies" I take upon me to
say, any more than his Excellency is : But when the
People are oppress d, when their Rights are infring d,
when their property is invaded, when taskmasters
are set over them, when unconstitutional acts are
executed by a naval force before their eyes, and they
are daily threatened with military troops, when their
legislative is dissolv d ! and what government is left, is
as secret as a Divan, when placemen and their under
lings swarm about them, and Pensioners begin to make
an insolent appearance in such circumstances the peo
ple will be discontented, and they are not to be blamed
their minds will be irritated as long as they have any
sense of honor, liberty and virtue In such Circum
stances, while they have the spirit of freedom, they
will boldly assert their freedom ; and they are to
be justify d in so doing I know very well that to
murmur, or even to whisper a complaint, some men
call a riotous spirit. But they are in the right of it to
complain, and complain ALOUD. And they will com
plain, till they are either redress d, or become poor
deluded miserable ductile Dupes, fitted to be made^J
the slaves of dirty tools of arbitrary power.


1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 241



[Boston Gazette, October 10, 1768.]

Messieurs EDES & GILL,

You are desired to publish in your next Paper the
following true Copy of a Letter transmitted to
DENNYS DEBERDT Esq ; in London, by Order of the
late Convention, consisting of Committees from Ninety-
eight Towns, many of them the most wealthy and
numerous in the Province, and eight Districts.


A. B.

BOSTON, September 27, 1768.

SIR, _-

THE inhabitants of a number of towns within this /
province, having, at their several Town meetings
legally called, taken under their most mature con
sideration, the great and prevailing uneasiness among
the people of the province in general : arising from
an apprehension that their charter and constitutional
rights and liberties are infringed by the late acts of
parliament for the raising a revenue in America with
out their consent ; and also from the immediate pros
pect of a standing army to enforce the execution of
these acts, at this time, when they may reasonably

1 The convention which authorized this letter met in Boston, September 22d,
1768, as a result of the action on September I3th of the Boston town meeting.
According to Well , not only this letter but also the petition to the King, were
written by Adams. W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p. 217.
Adams was clerk of the convention, and, with Otis, Hancock, and Cushing,
represented Boston. Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., pp. 263,

VOL. I. 16.


hope the late dutiful and loyal supplications of their
Representatives, for a redress of the grievance, is un
der the consideration of our gracious Sovereign, from
whose wisdom & clemency they expect relief : And
being deprived of the benefit of a general assembly,
his excellency the Governor having dissolved the
same at an unusual season, and in an unusual manner,
declaring that he does not think himself at liberty to
call a new one, till he shall receive further orders
from his Majesty. The said towns have severally
made choice of Committees to meet together, consult


and advise to such measures as may tend to promote
the peace and good order of his Majesty s subjects in
this province, at so alarming and distressing a crisis.

And being conven d for the purpose aforesaid at
Boston, we have taken the earliest opportunity to as
sure the Governor of the province, and the world,
in our Petition offered to his Excellency, which we
caused immediately to be published, and is herewith
inclosed, to disclaim all pretensions to any authorita
tive and governmental acts. And you will please to
observe, by a copy of our whole proceedings now sent
to you, that we have strictly adhered to the express
design of our convention.

We have taken the liberty to write to you, as a
known friend to the province, and to beg the favour
of you to use your kind endeavour to prevent any
misrepresentations of our meeting and proceedings,
which our enemies may be ready to make. We flatter
ourselves you may be enabled from this instance, to
afford to his Majesty s ministers, and the good people
of Britain, a fresh token of the loyalty of our respec-

i 7 68] SAMUEL ADAMS. 243

tive towns to his Majesty, their attachment to his
government, and love of peace and good order.

We wish and pray for the happy time, when a
national attention shall be given to the grievances
we labor under, and the true source of them. When
such a period shall come, we are persuaded that the
union and harmony which has hitherto subsisted be
tween Great Britian and the Colonies, and upon
which the welfare of both undoubtedly depends, will
be confirmed and established.

The present discontent we apprehend originally
arose from the nation s having been informed of the
ability of the people here to pay considerable duties ^
and taxes. Whoever made such a representation, /
surely did not attend duly to the heavy load of debt
lying upon this province, incurred chiefly by our
expenses in defending and enlarging his Majesty s
American territories in the last war, which was borne
by the people with the greatest alacrity. The nation
being itself involv d in a heavy debt, was easily in
duced to avail itself of the suppos d affluence of the
Colonies, and unfortunately, as they apprehend, took j
such a measure as will naturally awaken the jealousy
of every free and sensible people , namely, by passing
acts to tax them without their consent. The late
Stamp-Act made for this purpose, was indeed re
pealed : But other acts of the same nature and ten
dency, tho perhaps not so apparently obnoxious, are
in full force, and daily executing.

The people in consequence complain d of these acts
as being abridgments of such constitutional Rights as
are laid deep in the foundation of nature : But these


complaints have been represented as arising from a
spirit of faction, disloyalty and rebellion. Their most
dutiful and loyal petitions to his Majesty, they have
been inform d by the last advice from London, had
not reached the royal presence : Nay, his Majesty,
as they are told, has been assured that his subjects of
this province have even attempted to excite the same
spirit among his other colonies, by a circular letter,
the only purport of which was to acquaint them of
their having petitioned for relief from the common
grievance, with hopes of success from the royal

In order to raise the jealousy of the nation, the
most trifling incidents have been wrought up to the
highest pitch of aggravation, by persons who still find
means to gain a credit there. We shall only recur to
the most recent instances.

On the 1 8th of March last, being the anniversary
of the repeal of the Stamp-Act, and observed as a
day of rejoicing, a few disorderly persons mostly
boys, assembled in the evening, paraded some of the
streets, and finally repaired to the House of John
Williams, Esq., the inspector-general. Whether their
design was to do him an injury or not, by his address
and soft treatment of them, together with the inter
position of some of the neighbouring householders,
they soon retir d & dispers d, without doing any mis
chief at all. His Majesty s Council, in their answer
co the Governor, which is inclos d, have declared this
to be too inconsiderable to make it a subject of repre
sentation ; and that it could not have been made the
subject of so injurious an one, but by persons disposed

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 245

to bring misery and distress upon the town and prov
ince ; and their declaration it is said has given great
offence to the Governor.

There was indeed on the loth of June following,
something that had rather more of the appearance of
riot, but it was only of a few hours existence, and
with very little mischief. But as we are informed,
that the town of Boston have already given you a
full account of this affair, supported by affidavits, we
shall not give you the further trouble of reciting it,
but refer you to their letter. 1 It is however to be
observed, that if the inhabitants of that town had
been dispos d to give the least countenance to this
riot, so exasperated were the people at the extraordi
nary and unusual exertion of the naval power, when
there could be no apprehension that the King s offi
cers would be in the least measure molested in the
due execution of lawful power ; as well as the haughty
behavior of the commissioners of the customs, that
the least countenance would have been sufficient to
have led them on to extremities but they sooth d
them and the people soon dispers d after having
broke a few panes of glass, not to the value of five
pounds. We cannot help taking notice here, of a
notorious instance of the inveterate temper of our
enemies, in a representation made in a certain letter, \
of this riotous assembly s having burnt a beautiful \
barge belonging to the collector of the customs, be- f
fore Mr. Hancock s door. As this worthy gentleman V
sustains a public character, and is one of the principal
inhabitants in the province, it is apparent that the

1 Cf. Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., p. 257.


malice of the writer of that letter was not confin d to
a single gentleman, but extended to the public. The
truth is, the barge was burnt on a common, 1 sur
rounded with gentlemen s seats ; and the scene could
not be said to be before Mr. Hancock s door, any
more than before the doors of divers other gentle
men in the neighbourhood. The mean insinuation
that was done under the influence of Mr. Hancock,
is so far from the least shadow of truth, that it is no
torious here, that the tumult was finally dispers d,
principally by his exertions, animated by his known
regard to peace and good order. His Majesty s
Council afterwards gave a just account of the occa
sion of that riot, and repeatedly desired that the
Governor would order the same to be made public,
but without success. 2

Care was taken, however, by those, who, to speak
in the softest terms, are unfriendly to us, to transmit
this affair to the nation in so aggravated a light, as
to incense to a high degree. ( And we cannot indeed
wonder, that when such false representations are
made by persons, as we have reason to believe, of
rank and figure here, our mother country should for
a while give credit to them, and under an apprehen
sion of a general insurrection, should send a military
force to subdue a people, if we may be allowed to
say it, at least as orderly and well-affected, as sen
sible of their just rights, and yet as patient under
oppression, till they can be constitutionally relieved, .
as any in his Majesty s empire.)

1 T. Hutchinson, History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, vol. iii., p.
191, confirms this. 2 See Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 156, 157.

1768] SAMUEL ADAMS. 247


/ Nothing, we apprehend, is wanting, to restore a
much desired harmony, but for his Majesty s subjects,
on both sides the atlantic, fully to explain themselves
to each other, which is not likely to be done thro the
medium of interested and designing men : Such men
would not scruple to raise their fortunes, tho at the
ruin of the empire. Could such men be removed,
the nation, attentive to the calm voice of reason,
which we humbly apprehend has been uttered by the
colonies, would soon view their disposition, we may
at least be allowed to say, that of this province, in its
just light, and be convinced, that it is their warmest
inclination, as well as in their power, to add strength
and riches to the mother state, and administer to the
splendor of the British crown.

Thus^we have given you _a_fulTa.ccQunt of the occa
sion, n at u remand design of our convening ; which is
by no means tn assume, to ourselves any authority of
government ; but only as a number of private fellow-

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