Copyright
Samuel Adams.

The writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) online

. (page 21 of 31)
Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


mediate perdition, built him up a character, as a man
that was really a good servant of the cr n ; and to
his very great astonishment, in a little time, was
informed he was appointed a C r ; this too at a



294 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

time when he daily expected to be called to account
for his venal and corrupt conduct : Nay, I have been

well assured by several of the first people in N 1,

that it was their firm opinion, from his appearance
and conduct, (a little before he heard of his new ap
pointment) that he was meditating his escape out of
his M sty s d ons, and I will be bold to say that
this extraordinary appointment was as astonishing
to those who were acquainted with his venality as
it was to him.

Before I bring this gentleman on the carpet at
B n, as a C r, I shall take the liberty to men
tion one more very striking instance of his virtue, as
a man, and greater thirst for the service of the r-v-e,
as an officer.

It is very well remembered that Mr. - (Shan ap
Morgan) thro a warmth of constitution, or rather
from a desire to erect a character at the other side
the water (at that critical juncture) made a violent
attack upon the virtue of a very honest inhabitant s
daughter at N t, the consequence of which he
very well knew would give him a sanction to fly on
board his M- sty s ship, then in that harbour
(the temper of the people being rather inflamed by
the contest about the stamp-act) the event termi
nated as he could wish ; threats ran high against him,
which he was determined to take the advantage of, and
accordingly fled on board the K g s ship, taking
care immediately after to acquaint his superior officer,

and the B d of C s, that the persecution of

the people ( for merely doing his duty with strictness
& fidelity ) had drove him on board the K g s ship



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 295

in order to save his life If this is not as true as the
rest of my strictures (which I dare say he will not
venture to contradict) let him confront it.

Mr. {Shan ap Morgans} first arrival at
B n, and his particular conduct upon entering
into his important office, shall be deferred to another
opportunity.

The next thought that struck him (after getting
his brethren blindly noosed to his purpose) was to
endeavour to soften the resentment of the R d-
Isl rs. Nothing, that we hear of, has been done
to, or said of, that p-rt, since his new appointment,
but every thing kept quiet least some should squeak.

I remember very well, during the C s excursion

to C st e W m, to have seen a paragraph in
the newspapers, mentioning somebody s intention of

collecting a large number of depositions in R d-

I d government, in order to send home against

Mr. (Shan ap Morgan) which alarmed him to

such a degree, that notwithstanding his critical sit
uation at the c st e (as the world was then made to
believe) this Gentleman and a very useful person
much suited to do dirty work for any that would em
ploy him (I think he was called the Ram Cat) set
out, as was pretended, for the eastern part of this
province, but being quite strangers to the country,
and much greater to the points of the compass, they

fortunately for Mr. (Shan ap Morgan) arrived

at Pr d ce in R d-I d government, where

it s universally known they cut a very respectable fig
ure ; and for that time put a stop to the exportation
of the intended depositions. But when 1 ] those people



296 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

shall come to know the particulars of Mr. - - (Shan
ap Morgans) representations home against them
(which procured him his new appointment) I should
imagine the cat will be let out of the bag ; especially if

G 1 will make it safe for the briber to discover

the bribed ; for the Gentleman who read those repre
sentations in London last summer, assured me it was
impossible to conceive them in more false, wicked and.
injurious colours.

I must once more declare that my motive for un
dertaking the disagreeable task of bringing the
public and private characters of those Gentlemen
upon the carpet does not proceed from a motive of
private pique or resentment ; but in order to make
it appear that they are by no means proper persons
to be intrusted with the very important employ they

now sustain ; to the prejudice of the m r c try,

and the backwarding the views of adm st n. I
must own I have been grieved to think that the char
acters and conduct of those Gentlemen (Charles
Froth, Esq: and Mr. Shan ap Morgan in particular)
have been such as not to admit of their being treated
with that respect and attention their employments
entitle them to : Nor have I the least doubt remain
ing, had proper and respectable men filled their
places, that adm st n would have been free from
the many embarrassments that at present procure
them so much trouble and uneasiness ; I must take
the liberty to say, that had his Majesty s dominions
been searched to find out men more thoroughly dis
gusting to his American subjects (from the knowl
edge they have of their venal conduct) they could



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 297

not have been found but in those very persons :
Not that I would have it imagined, upon any ac
count, that I mean to throw the least slur on the
intention of adm s n ; but that this unfortunate
choice must have arisen from a want of knowing
the individuals that have pester d them with appli
cations from this side the water for employments,
at the expence of truth and honour ; the distance
between this continent and the mother country ren
dering the characters of men and things very uncer
tain, and of consequence for the most part fallacious.

CANDIDUS.



ARTICLE SIGNED

[Boston Gazette, January 30, 1769.]

I Cannot forbear making a few observations on the
curious and laboured account of the sentiments of the
British government, and the debates in the house of
Commons on American affairs given in the Court
Gazette of Thursday last. What pains are taken to
make us believe contrary to the latest and most au
thentic advices from home, that the affairs of America
in general, and particularly of this province, are in a
situation almost desperate, only because a few among
us have done every thing in their power to make them
so, and cannot endure the thoughts of not having
their own prophecies fulfilled, their misrepresenta
tions successful, and their malevolence gratified. It
seems that of late administration has not only adopted
implicitly the accounts of facts, but the reasonings
upon them, and even governmental measures, as they



298 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

have been stated, and suggested by a few of its serv
ants on this side the water: Hence the embarrass
ments of the ministry, and the perplexity of the
nation, from the unnatural contest with the colonies,
at a season when the circumstances of Europe require
the most perfect union at home, to give weight to
our negotiations, and awe to those who might wish to
disturb our repose.

The tenor of his Majesty s speech at the opening
of parliament, as it respects America, is easily ac
counted for, from the Budget which about that time
was received from hence. The Ministry seem d to
believe, at the first opening of the Budget, that the
proceedings of a certain town in America, were not
only to the highest degree seditious, but nothing
short of treason itself ; and that they had full evi
dence of all this in their hands. Tho the people at
a distance from the seat of government are always
under great disadvantages, with respect to a fair state
of their case, in any disputes between them and the
servants of the crown, yet Truth very soon so far
made its own way, that upon a closer inspection into
affairs, the charge appeared to be laid too high :
Nor is there a person either in or out of parliament,
who has justly stated or proved, one single act of that
town, as a public body, to be, I will not say treason
able or seditious, but even at all illegal : nor is it in
the power of any man, either on this or the other side
the atlantic, to do it.

New vouchers, we are told, are called for from
authority : This is no favourable symptom to the
sudden and warm accusers ; for I believe there are



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 299

more than one, who may find it an Augean enter-
prize, to support their own representation. For it is
certainly beyond human art and sophistry to prove
that British subjects, to whom the privilege of possess
ing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights,
and, who live in a province where the law requires
them to be equip d with arms, &c. are guilty of an
illegal act, in calling upon one another to be provided
with them, as the law directs. But if some are bold
and base enough, where the interest of a whole coun
try is at stake, to penetrate into the secrets of the
human breast, to search for crimes, and to impute the
worst of motives to actions strictly legal, whatever
may be thought of their expediency, it is easy to re
criminate in the same way ; and one man has as good
reason to affirm, that a few, in calling for a military force
under pretence of supporting civil authority, secretly
intended to introduce a general massacre, as another
has to assert, that a number of loyal subjects, by calling
upon one another to be provided with arms, according
to law, intended to bring on an insurrection.

It will be equally difficult to prove it illegal, for a
number of British subjects, to invite as many of their
fellow-subjects as they please, to convene and consult
together, on the most prudent and constitutional
measures for the redress of their grievances ; or that
such an assembly had actually assumed the powers of
government, when they actually disclaimed all such
powers, and united in recognizing their subjection to
government, by humble petitions and remonstrances,
and by encouraging their fellow-subjects in their loyalty
and good Order.



300 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

The true state of things, we may suppose began to
appear, under all the clouds that had been thrown
over it, even before the addresses of the Lords and
Commons were wrote : Accordingly, these addresses,
as Mr. Burk said in the House of Commons, were as
usual, " Copies, but fainter than the original." And
as different accounts were compared, and things cooly
considered, the bitter spirit of resentment, occasioned
by misinformation and misapprehension, daily sub
sided ; and threatnings of state-prisoners to be sent
from hence, of disfranchizing the town, and of vacat
ing the province charter, are no more believed, to the
disappointment and vexation of those, who have em
ployed every art to realize such a scene, and have an
ticipated it, with a foolish air of triumph, that must
have been regarded with contempt, did not the malice
of it awaken our indignation.

The Gazette account of last Thursday, which I
take to have been labor d by top hands, tells us, " that
from the King s speech and the addresses of the two
houses, may be collected the sense of the whole na
tion, and of all parties." Nothing can be more ex
travagant than such an assertion : Are the sentiments
of the Ministry, or the majority of both houses of
parliament, always agreeable to those of the majority
of the nation ? Did not the last parliament pass op
posite acts respecting America, just as the ministry
changed ? Were all parties agreed in reply to the late
speech from the throne ! Was there not an objection
made in the House of Commons against voting thanks
for the measures that had been pursued, lest this
should be taken as an implicit adoption of those meas-



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 301

ures ? And, Did not Lord North the chief manager
for the minister, declare, that this expression was only
designed as a proper and respectful compliment to the
throne, and by no means to preclude a free consider
ation of those measures? Under this explanation
from the ministry themselves, it pass d the House:
And yet it is asserted by many, that this mere com
pliment to Majesty, was the unanimous sanction of
parliament, to all that had been done relative to
America !

We are further told, that the behaviour of the
people of Boston was stated. W T e wish it had been
stated fairly : We only want a candid hearing, and then
this much deserving, but much abused town, which has
been severely tried, by the most irritating conduct on
the part of its enemies, and unjustly charg d as a town
with the crimes, of some base, and unknown persons,
would appear truly respectable.

After all, mobs and riots in this capital, are the
pretence, rather than the true cause of the bitterness
express d against it : Tumults at least equally il
legal have happen d in other places, but the repre
sentations of them have been more just and kind : It is
the part this town has taken on the side of liberty, and
its noble exertions in favor of the Rights of America,
that has render d it so obnoxious to the tools of
power. But the people of Boston are charg d with
" ingratitude for the repeal of the stamp act ! And
because some refus d to make compensation to the
sufferers in behalf of that act, and others did it with an
ill grace ! "- What awful confusion is here to make
a single town odious ? Were the people of Boston ever

,J
it



302 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

apply d to for a compensation ? Did not the requisition
come to the general assembly ; in which there were
only four members for Boston ? Did not these mem
bers unite with the general assembly in granting
Ample compensation ? Was not this a free, generous
act ? Could any power on earth, constitutionally,
oblige the province of the town to pay the damages
done by unknown rioters ? Has the parliament done
this in the late riots in England ? Did Rhode-Island
make compensation, tho called upon as this province
was? Are Howard and Moffat 1 compensated to this
day by that colony ? What has it suffer d for a re
fusal ? It has been complimented for its loyalty and
good order in one of Lord Hillsborough s circular
letters with a view to induce it to treat with con
tempt this province which had compensated : But
Rhode-Island had sense and vertue to despise the
ridiculous Lure, and generosity not to withdraw its
aid from the common cause. Without saying any
thing more upon this point, we may venture to appeal
to the candid world, where the ingratitude lies !

As to the repeal of the stamp act, tho the people |
of this province and America universally regarded this
act as an infraction of their constitutional rights, and
consequently humbly claim d the repeal as a point of
Equity, they yet received it with as much gratitude
as if it had been a free gift. They bless d their Sov
ereign They rever d the wisdom and goodness of the
British parliament They felt themselves happy, till
new acts, equally unconstitutional were made, and

"""

*" Martin Howard and Thomas Moffatt. See Records of the Colony of Rhode

Island, vol. vi., p. 590 ; vol. vii., p. 2OO.



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 303



severities impos d upon trade, unknown even at the
time of the stamp act. But it seems we are unpar- r"
donable for not being thankful for the removal of one
burthen, after another is laid upon us by the same
hands, equally hard to bear L How contemptible is
such reasoningT[ What an affront to common sense !
I never heard of such discourse in parliament till I
saw our Court Paper ; and can these persons be friends
to the leading men in government, who represent them \
as reasoning in such a manner ?

Aye, but the agreement of the merchants not t<>/
import goods was said to be an " hostility not prac
tised by nations at war ! "- -This then was as bad,
or worse than the Convention ; tho neither Boston
nor this province happen to be alone in such an
agreement. But why did not G. B. send repre-
hensory letters to the merchants ? Why were not
the calamities which have been so liberally threatned
against us, represented as a punishment of this hos
tile act, and not wholly laid upon the Convention
and the proceedings of the town of Boston ! It
might doubtless have been done with equal wis
dom & justice. This step of the merchants however
has been approv d and applauded by our most judi
cious friends at home, and even by British merchants,
contrary to their own interest : It has universally
been regarded as legal, and the most effectual meas
ure for redress : Aye, there s the stick ; it is be
cause it is likely to prove so effectual, that some men,
wou d wheedle or frighten us out of it. I remember
well, it was highly recommended by some in the time
of the stamp act ; not, I believe, because they wish d



304 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

it success, but because, perhaps they thought it cou d
never be accomplished : Just so, they advis d to
humble petitions to the King and parliament, and
then endeavor d to defeat them, by suggesting to the
ministry, that an agent for the house alone, could not
properly present their own petition. From hence
arises one of Lord Hillsborough s present Perplex
ities ; and if the agent for the house does his duty,
his Lordship must use his utmost dexterity to parry

the blow.

.

But, Boston " may be depriv d of all its trade, and
made a village " ; Sad indeed ! And so may New-
York, and all the trading towns on the American
continent ; and what then ? Why then, Bristol, and
Liverpool, and London itself, may become villages
too. Was this said in parliament, or, was the threat-
ning moulded here to excite ridicule ? Could a
British politician, finding public credit suffering at
such a critical season from the unsettled state of
America, ever imagine that the nation might be reme
died, by turning our sea-ports into villages. The
Compiler goes on to inform us, that Gov. Ber
nard has been spoken of with great respect ; and so
has Mr. Otis, and compared to the Pyms, the Hamp-
dens, the Shippens, and the Sir John Barnard s of Brit
ain. But poor G. B , it was judiciously observed
in the house of Commons, has had some very un
common difficulties to contend with : Mr. Otis and
his compatriots have doubtless had none ! No toils
no self-denials no threatnings no tempting baits
no ; all the virtue is on one side Vertue was
never known to be separated from power or



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 305

profit ; it is all engrossed by the graspers of
honorable and lucrative places. But what are

these great difficulties on the G r s part why

truly, the election of Councellors in part by the rep
resentatives of the people, and the return of Juries
by the Town, and not by the Sheriffs, who are of
his own appointment ! I am sorry that some of
the most valuable privileges of this province shou d
prove so great difficulties, to Governor Bernard, but
can by no means wish them annihilated for the sake
of giving him ease. I never heard that they were
quite so offensive to any of his predecessors, and
cannot think they ever will be to so much as one of
his successors : The province has been and may be "I
again quietly and happily govern d, while these ter
rible difficulties have subsisted in their full force.
They are indeed wise checks upon power in favor of
the people ; but Power vested in some men, can
brook no check : To assert the most undoubted
Rights of human nature, and of the British Consti
tution, They deem Faction ; and having embarrass d
a free government, by their own impolitic measures,
they fly to the military power, which with equal
justice and spirit was said in the late debate in the
House of Commons, to be "the last resource of
Ignorant Despotism." But force is no very suitable
means of changing the sentiments of the people : It
is rather adapted to rivet and confirm them. Arms
ought to be very cautiously employed, even against
faction, which they have often increased rather than
quelled. The present Uneasiness in America has
been falsely and insolently called by this odious



VOL. I. 20.



306 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

name : Can any man suppose, the almost universal
complaints of a people, to deserve this appellation ?
As well might the general uneasiness that introduced
the revolution by William the Third, and that set
tled the succession in the illustrious house of Han
over, be called A Faction ! SHIPPEN.



ARTICLE UNSIGNED.

[Boston Gazette, February 13, 1769.]

Messieurs EDES & GILL,

In Draper s 1 last paper we find SALUST astonished
beyond his own expression, at reading a piece in the
Boston Gazette (URBANUS) The author, he says
" seems offended with the Soldiery in the town, for
their ready assistance at the late fire " : He is sorry
" when ignorance or malice brings a cloud upon any
of their virtues," viz. the military He " sincerely
wishes to see, more frequent instances of that hu
manity which subjected them to the displeasure of
URBANUS "- " They generously joined the general con
cern"- And he assures us, "that at three o clock in
the morning, the soldiers appeared as numerous and
vigilant as the inhabitants." If Salust has got over
his fit of astonishment, he may find upon a more calm
perusal, that Urbanus said full as much as all this in
a very few words, viz. u by the joint endeavours and
activity of the inhabitants and the soldiery unarmed,
the fire was happily extinguished." Salust expressly
mentions the industry of the soldiers, but seems rather

1 The Massachusetts Gazette and the Boston Weekly News Letter, published
at Boston by Richard Draper.



1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 307

to leave his distant readers to guess at that of the in
habitants ; Urbanus openly and generously attributes
the success to the merit of both Salust says that "at
three o clock the soldiers were as numerous as the in
habitants." Urbanus did not chuse to assert such a
thing, because I suppose he did not think it was in
fact true ; nor could it be expected, as the number
of soldiers in town bears not near an equal proportion
with that of the inhabitants. It is hoped that Salust
does not here intend to insinuate that many of the
inhabitants deserted the cause : If he does, he is not
quite so candid as Urbanus is, who says that " the
fire was happily extinguished by the joint endeavours
of the inhabitants and soldiers," without the least inti
mation of an abatement of zeal in any Salust takes
this occasion to tell us, that in the army and navy, there
are "silly boys, fools and madmen."- Urbanus uses
no such opprobrious language of the army or navy, or
any man ; from whence the reader will judge whether
it most concerns Salust or Urbanus to set about " the
removal of pride, vain-glory or hypocrisy," without
which it is confessed " reason will (not) have fair play."
You may possibly think, Messieurs Printers, that
it is a mispense of your time to print the foregoing :
My only design is to show that Urbanus, whoever he
may be, was fair and unexceptionable in his relation
of facts ; and that Salust had no reason to charge him
with being displeased at an instance of humanity !
when he only finds fault with the " picquet guards
being ordered out with their firelocks and bayonets " :
A piece of conduct in the military which gave great
offence to many besides Urbanus^ who generously



308 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

tells us that " the officer marched them off as soon as
he was properly spoken to," or informed by the town
officers. If Salust means "by the ready assistance
of the soldiery," the turning out the picquets it may
properly be asked, what assistance they were to afford ?
Urbanus tells us, and Salust does not deny it, " that
the General was fully informed of the regulations of
the town on these occasions, by the firewards, some
time ago, and that the turning out the guards was not
agreeable to their just expectation," from whence it
is natural to conclude, that this matter was particu
larly explained to him. How it came to pass that
they made their appearance armed, is not my busi
ness to enquire : But as Urbanus takes offence at
no other part of the conduct of the military, Salust
must mean such an appearance, when he speaks of
Urbanus his being offended with their ready assistance,
hzimanity, vigilance, &c It is a regulation of the
town, by long and approved custom, for the friends
of persons in danger, formed into separate fire-socie
ties, to take care of their moveable estate ; so that we
are happily free from any necessity of an armed force
for that purpose, and the exactest military discipline
can be of no service in supplying or working an en
gine. But possibly Salust is highly delighted with
military parade ; if so, he cannot surely be at a loss
for opportunity to gratify his darling passion even on
Sundays ! Or it may be Salust would insinuate the



Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 31)