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danger of the inhabitants mobbing and rioting, and
the necessity from thence of military power ; this
supposition seems to be favour d by the message said
to have been sent with all possible dispatch (perhaps

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 39

by Salust himself, I know not who) " to assure the
General that indeed it was no riot, it was only a
fire " : But if it had been a riot, What business ivould
armed soldiers have there, until COMMANDED BY THE
CIVIL POWER ? It seems to be a prevailing opinion
with some folks, that there cannot be a collection of
persons in this town, even upon the most necessary
occasions, but there must needs be danger of a mob ;
and then forsooth, the military must make their ap
pearance of their own meer motion, ready cock d &
prim d, to prevent it. I expect if this opinion should
further prevail, very soon to see the picquet guards
drawn up before our church doors in time of divine
service, to keep the people from mobbing, when the
assemblies are dismissed. If his excellency should
ever think himself at liberty to call another general
court, and suffer them to meet in this metropolis, and
the members of either house should happen to be
dispos d to FACTION, as has been said of them in times
past, it is lucky enough, that the main guard, being
already fix d near the court-house, the soldiers may
afford as " ready assistance," with their arms and
bayonets, to awe the assembly, as the picquet guard
did at the late fire.

[Boston Evening Post, February 13, 1769.]

Spemque, metumque, inter dubit, sett vivere credant,
Sive extrema pati, . . . VIRGIL.

As I have already delineated the convenient prin
ciples and adroit abilities of the most conspicuous


individuals that constitute the A n B d of

C s, I must apologize to the public, for not ful
filling my original design of giving a sketch of every
individual of them ; previous to considering them as a

B d ; (not that matter is, by any means, wanting,

either as to Mr. - (Parody) or the well-looking,
lively Westminster church warden ; as there are many
curious anecdotes, with which I am very well ac
quainted, that would serve to amuse the public, and
emblazon each individual) but as those Gentlemen
have never had opportunity to intermeddle with the
political affairs of this country, previous to the com
mencement of their present powers, as C s, I am
apprehensive it would rather convey an appearance
of unnecessarily finding fault ; and that merely for
the sake of reviling which I thoroughly detest and

On this consideration then, I shall pass them over
as individuals and proceed to canvass their conduct

as a B d ; in doing which, I shall endeavour to

treat the subject with the utmost tenderness and can
dour ; my intent being merely to investigate the
truth, and submit it to the impartial public.

In the first place, it will appear, before I finish

with their H rs, that they had no real intention,

from their first sitting as a B d, to harmonize
with each other ; therefore had not the true interest
of the r v e at heart. In the next place, it will
appear, that instead of confining themselves within
the true intent and meaning of their appointment,
they have over-leaped the bounds prescribed them
by the L ds of the T ry, and commenced

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 311

Politicians, Party-men, and M n s of S te ; nay,
that they have arrogated to themselves, even the
authority of L ds of the T- ry, and that
purely from a motive of satisfying an unjustifiable
peek and prejudice against respectable men, who (ifs
said) acted under them with honour and honesty.

These H b e Gentlemen had not met more
than once or twice as a B d, before they disputed
the powers of the officer who was at the head of the
r v e here, long before the commencement of
theirs (having appointed, during his being in office,
inferior off rs to places that had for a long standing
been customary) Nor, did their canvassing such
authority, arise in any degree through complaints
made of the bad conduct, or venality of the individ
uals, or the impropriety of their appointments ; but
merely in order to create ill blood with a member of
their B d, who was looked upon by them as too
great a check to their intended plans of operation

(two of that B d having been under him, whose

wings, it s said, would have been certainly dipt, long
e er now, had he been a man as revengeful, ill-prin
cipled, and unfeeling, as those h ble Gentlemen)
-This conduct is partly accounted for in a former
publication ; wherein I say, " that the minds of the

two C s, who came over with the high-finished

Mr. (FrotJi) were poisoned by him during the

passage. "

Who so disgustful f who so great an eye-sore to the
v n / and c rrpt, as he that knows their
v n / ty and baseness of heart ? Who so Jit an ob
ject for them to glut their revenge and malice on f or,


who so great a BAR to the execution of their wicked
purposes ?

Mr. F lor r s appointment, it s true, was from this
person : but, assuredly those Gentlemen will not pre
sume to say that it was of his constructing / they most
certainly know, and must confess, that such an offi r,
with the same powers Mr. F r had, has resided at
N t k t for more than forty years. I challenge
those h ble men, to shew one instance of Mr. F - s
venality, or neglect of duty ; I only heartily wish the
best of them stood so fair, in the estimation of the
honest part of mankind, as this person.

Mr. F r made a very valuable seizure of tea ;
and as a good offi r should do (after securing if) ac
quainted their High Mightinesses with it. He was at
first ordered to prosecute ; but before he could file his
libel, those honest gentlemen gave orders to the
c p r of B n to reseize it ; alledging that Mr.
F r had no right to seize ; but those h ble
men denied giving such orders ; however, that was
very soon found to be false. Had those gentlemen
given such directions merely from a point of duty,
would they ever have denied their having done so ?
Surely they would not : If they did it through pusil
lanimity, are not they unfit for such off-ce ? If
through chicanery, they are still less unqualified.

Surely the consequence of calling the validity of
Mr. F r s seizing in question was highly improper,
in a country where people are rather apt to make use
of every opportunity thrown in their way to weaken
the authority of the r v e off rs ; many were on
the point of using this extraordinary opinion of their

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 313

H n s to their own advantage and the prejudice of
the cr n ; in short, it was near being a means of the
people s doubting the validity of the powers those
H ble Gentlemen brought over respecting them
selves. Never were there more impolitick and plaus
ible weapons thrown into the hands of a discontented
people, than those, at a most critical juncture.

Nor did those H ble Gentlemen stop here with Mr.
F r ; through revenge for not tamely and impli
citly giving up all right and title to this seizure, they
narrowly watched his proceedings in the House of
Representatives (of which he was a member and
towards the end of the sessions, found sufficient
ground (as they say) upon which they should dismiss
him from his employment ; the validity of which asser
tion is now left to the impartial reader.

Mr. F r having voted for the encouragement of
morality, good order and ceconomy among his constitu
ents, was, in consequence of such a high offence, sent
for by the H ble B d of C- s, and interro
gated by Mr. - , whether he had thus voted ?
Upon his answering in the affirmative, he was informed
by this respectable Gentleman that his M j sty
had no further service for him ; and was accordingly
dismissed : A truly ministerial stile this ; very be
coming the mouth of a v n 1 off r, and a very
ignorant attorney s boy O tempora, O mores ! Was
this official! Was this common honesty? Was this
doing service to the cr-wn and the common cause ?
Was it not arrogating to themselves more than minis
terial authority .

Had these steps taken place through the ignorance


of those h ble men to the spirit of the people, & the
critical situation of the times ; there might have been
some excuse for such conduct ; but as that can by no
means be admitted, what other light can be thrown
upon such very extraordinary measures, but that of
the very hue ?

I shall now take a view of the proceedings and
very disinterested conduct of those h le gentlemen
in seizing the sloop L b y.

What Mr. H c k s 1 conduct might have been,
either previous, or subsequent to this seizure, is not
for me to concern myself with ; my view being wholly
confined to the extraordinary proceedings of the
B d of C s.

It is obvious, that Mr. - - (Shan ap Morgan) and
the unparalleled - - (Squire Froth) had concerted
matters (at their private meetings) in such manner, as
at all events to give an alarm to people in power at the
other side the water ; in order to be protected by an
armed force ; as will clearly appear in the sequel.

Upon Mr. - - (ap Morgans) going to the C 11 r
of B s n at almost sun set, to order him to seize the
sloop L b y ; that Gentleman argued (with just
ness and good sense) the impropriety of such a step, at
that very unseasonable time. Saying, that the lower
class of people were then returning from work ; and
that proceeding to such business, may be attended
with bad consequences ; but, that it should be
done the next morning : Upon which, Mr. -
{Morgan) replied with his usual ferocity, that he

1 Hancock.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS, 315

must answer for it the next day to the B d if he
did not do it. The C 11 r upon this wise repri
mand, immediately proceeded to do his duty; and I
am confident, might have concluded it without -any
very material resistance ; had it not been determin d by
those gentlemen ; (in order to irritate the people al
ready heated, by their indiscreet conduct) to order
(by their emissary) the seizure to be towed alongside of
the K g*s ship, whose boats and men had been pre
pared for that purpose, previous to the making such
seizure ; a certain indication of the evil purpose of
those gentlemen, in order to stir up commotions
among the people to answer their wicked machi

Here open d the ever memorable campaign in
which, the Generals, (FrotK) and (ap Morgan) were
the chief leaders. The scheme took according to
their plan of operation ; this extraordinary proceed
ing brought on the attack upon Mr. H 1 II, 1 but
not the least attempt upon the C rs, nor do I
believe, it was ever intended ; however, those ex
pert gentlemen taking the advantage of this impru
dent step of the lowest of the people, fled on board

the K g s sh p by way of safety where there was

no danger ; indeed General (ap Morgan} had been
used to such kind of retreats before now ; as has
been mentioned heretofore. As I have followed
those Gentlemen up, till their ever memorable flight
on board the K - s ship, I shall at present take my
leave of them ; not doubting in the least that I shall

1 Benjamin Hallowell, Jr. .comptroller of the customs. See below, page 407.


be able to give as good an account of them by water
as by land, &c. &cs


[Boston Gazette, February 27, 1769.]

Messieurs EDES & GILL,

IN the days of the STUARTS,, it was look d upon
by some men as a high degree of prophaness, for
any subject to enquire into what was called the
mysteries of government : James the first thun
dered his anathema against Dr. Cowel, for his
daring presumption in treating of those mysteries ;
and forbad his subjects to read his books, or even
to keep them in their houses. ^Jn those days pas
sive obedience, non-resistance, the divine hereditary
right of kings, and their being accountable to God
alone, were doctrines generally taught, believ d and
practiced : But behold the sudden transition of
human affairs ! In the very next reign the people
assum d the right of free enquiry, into the nature
and end of government, and the conduct of those
who were entrusted with itK Laud and Strafford
were bro t to the block ; and after the horrors of a
civil war, in which some of the best blood of the na
tion was spilt as water upon the ground, they finally
called to account, arraign d, adjudg d, condemn d and

1 As to John Robinson, collector at Newport, Cf. Records of the Colony of
Rhode Island, vol. vi., pp. 453-455, 458, 459, 532. The other commissioners
were William Burch, Henry Hulton, Charles Paxton and J. Temple. Abishai
Folger, who is mentioned, was earlier a Representative from Shelburne, Nan-
tucket county.


1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 317

even executed the monarch himself ! and for a time
held his son and heir in exile. The two sons of
Charles the first, after the death of Oliver Cromwell,
reigned in their turns ; but by copying after their
father, their administration of government was
grievous to their subjects, and infamous abroad.
Charles the second indeed reign d till he died ; but
his brother James was oblig d to abdicate the throne,
which made room for William the third, and his
royal consort Mary, the daughter of the unfortunate
James-jfii his was the fate of a race of Kings, bigotted
to the greatest degree to the doctrines of slavery
and regardless of the natural, inherent, divinely
hereditary and indefeasible rights of their subjects. ^r-
At the revolution, the British constitution was again
restor d to its original principles, declared in the bill
of rights ; which was afterwards pass d into a law,
and stands as a bulwark to the natural rights of sub
jects. " To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Black-
stone, when actually violated or attack d, the subjects
of England are entitled first to the regular adminis
tration andl/r^ course of justice in the courts of law
next to the right of ^petitioning the King and par-
liament^pr redress of grievances and lastly, to the
right <&naving and using arms for self-preservation
and defence." <These he calls " auxiliary subordinate
rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect
and maintain inviolate the three great and primary
rights of personal security, personal liberty and private
property " :/ And that of having arms for their de
fence he tells us is " a public allowance, under due
restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and


self preservation, when the sanctions of society and
laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of
oppression." How little do those persons attend to
the rights of the constitution, if they know anything
about them, who find fault with a late vote of this
town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide them
selves with arms for their defence at any time ; but
more especially, when they had reason to fear, there
would be a necessity of the means of self preservation
against the violence of oppression. Every one knows
that the exercise of the military power is forever
dangerous to civil rights ; and we have had recent in
stances of violences that have been offer d to private
subjects, and the last week, even to a magistrate in
the execution of his office! Such violences are no
more than might have been expected from military
troops: A power, which is apt enough at all times
to take a wanton lead, even when in the midst of civil
society ; but more especially so, when they are led to
believe that they are become necessary, to awe a
spirit of rebellion, *zx\& preserve peace and good order.
x But there are some persons, who would, if possibly
they could, perswade the people never to make use
of their constitutional rights or terrify them from
doing it. No wonder that a resolution of this town
to keep arms for its own defence, should be repre
sented as having at bottom a secret intention to
oppose the landing of the King s troops : when those
very persons, who gave it this colouring, had before
represented the peoples petitioning their Sovereign,
as proceeding from a factious and rebellious spirit ;
and would now insinuate that there is an impro-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 319

priety in their addressing even a plantation Gov
ernor upon public business Such are the times
we are fallen into !

E. A.

BOSTON. 1 MARCH 13, 1769.

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text, with variations, is in New
England Hist, and Gen. Reg.) vol, xlv., pp. 27, 28.]

To the Freeholders &other Inhabitants of the Town
of Boston, in Town Meeting assembled March 1 769.

The Petition of Samuel Adams of said Boston

That your Petitioner was chosen by the Town, a
Collector of Taxes, annually, from the year 1756
to the year 1764, inclusive: That, notwithstanding
all his Care & pains to collect the same, a number
of Persons, chargd with their respective taxes, in
each of the aforesaid years, besides those whose
taxes were abated by the Assessors, were thro
Poverty and Misfortune, unable to make Payment
to him.

1 At the town meeting on March 13, this petition was read and "after a full
and long debate had thereon ; it was moved & the Question accordingly put
That a Committee be appointed to take M r Adams s Petition into Consideration,
and Report as soon as may be ; which passed in the Negative Also moved
that the List of Outstanding Taxes exhibited by said M r Adams to the Select
men be read in this Meeting ; which Question being put Passed in the Negative
Then a Motion was made and seconded, that the Prayer of the Petition be
granted, and that a Person be now chosen to receive the said List, and Collect
the Outstanding Taxes, and the Question being accordingly put Passed in the
Affermative by a very great majority " Boston Record Commissioners Report,
vol. 16, pp. 271, 272. See also Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massa
chusetts, vol. v., pp. 55, 56.


That particularly, in the year 1760, a terrible fire
happend, which is well rememberd by the Town, &
raged with great Desolation in his Ward ; which ren-
derd it exceeding difficult, for the suffering Persons
who were then indebted to him, for former taxes, to
discharge the same.

And in the year 1 764, another Misfortune arose,
by the spreading of the small Pox in the Town,
which reduced it to great Distress ; and in a great
Measure put it out of his Power, to make any Col
lections, from the Spring to the Fall the most
successfull Season of the year.

By these Misfortunes your Petitioner was brot into
discouraging Circumstances ; inasmuch as the De
mands of the several Treasurers, were continually
more pressing upon him, than were the Abilities of
those, upon whom he depended, to enable him to
answer them : By which means he was often put to
considerable Expence ; and was obligd finally, con
trary to his Judgment in ordinary Cases, to make use
of the first Moneys he could collect, in a new year, to
make good the Deficiency of the former ; which left
him the Gleanings of the whole, if he may so express
it, to depend upon for his last Payments.

Your Petitioner further represents to the Town ;
That the whole Amount of Sums committed to him to
collect in the years aforesaid is upwards of fifty one
thousand Pounds, Lawfull Money ; for the collecting
the chiefe part of which, the stipulated premium has
been three & three quarters p Cent only : That having
satisfyed the Demands of the several Treasurers for
all the said years, except the last, viz 1 764 ; The Prov-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 321

ince Treasurer issued Execution against him for the
sum of ,2009-8-8, due to the province for said year:
And afterwards the Town Treasurer, by Order of
the Town, put his Bond in suit, & recoverd Judg
ment for the sum due, but by the Indulgence of the
Town, Execution was stayed. 1

Furthermore, your Petitioner would represent,
That according to the Expectation of the Town,
he has lodgd with the Selectmen, a List of his out
standing Debts ; which allowing for unavoidable Errors
which may happen, on so large a Sum & in so great a
number of hands, is to the best of his knowlege
and as he verily thinks, a true List of Debts : And
altho the Amount of this List, is far from being
sufficient to discharge the whole of his Arrears ; yet
he would suggest to the Town, that he has a pros
pect of receiving a Sum, which together with the said
List will be fully equal to the same, as will appear by
the State of Accounts herewith exhibited.

Now your Petitioner, having long labourd under a
heavy Burden, to which he has often been even ready
to yield, makes this prayer to the Town, the Grant
ing of which he will ever acknowlege as a singular
favor, Namely That upon his making payment of
the Sum of the Town would order him

a final Discharge, & at this meeting appoint some
meet Person 2 to receive the List exhibited, & collect

1 March 14, 1768, the town voted to allow Adams an additional period of
six months for the collection of outstanding taxes, and on March 22, 1768, the
town appointed Otis, Dana, Hancock, and Kent a committee to request the
Province Treasurer and the sheriff to stay proceedings for six months.

* Robert Pierpoint was forthwith chosen, and the action was confirmed by
the Legislature. Acts of 1769, chap. 3.

VOL. I. 21.


and pay into the Treasurys the outstanding Debts
aforesaid. With his best Wishes for the Town

Your Petitioner subscribes

[Boston Gazette, March 27, 1769.]

Messieurs. EDES & GILL,

I desire yoit would insert the following Letter in
your next Paper : A nd though the Person to whom it
is addressed, among other studied Affronts to Dr.

Ch -y, omitted to give him his proper Title ; yet as I

have heard that he is a Minister of the Church of Eng
land, which one would not however have guessed, from
his abusive Writings, I shall for the Sake of Decency,

To the Reverend Mr. S. Seabury? one of the Writers

in a New York Paper.

The treatment which you have given in your late
publications to a rev. gentleman of this town, who has
for many years been justly esteem d for his great
learning and piety, allow me to assure you, has very
much offended those, whom if I could suppose you
had any sense of worth, you would have been loth to
have displeas d. The honest and sensible of every
denomination, even those of your own perswasion,
are asham d of your calumniating pen : while only
the bigotted and prophane, whose applause is censure,
are exulting in your feeble attempt to injure a char-

1 Cf. Life and Correspondence of Samtiel Seabury, by E. E. Beardsley.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 323

acter, which they have ever rever d, but could never
impeach. Such unworthy behavior in you Mr. Sea-
bury will justify a greater freedom than one would in
cline to take with a gentleman of your suit: I shall
therefore make no hesitation in telling you that your
attempt is vain and fruitless ; Your malice has for
once prov d harmless ; your awkward raillery serves
only to render you ridiculous your fancied wit is
but " giddy dulness"; and to mortify your touring
vanity, it must and will be said of Mr. ,S. Seabury, as
the poet sings of his brother diver, " He sinks pre
cipitately dull"

I cannot suppose that the candid Public expects,
that Dr. Chauncy will make any reply to your last
rude letter. " Answer not a fool according to his
folly," one of your profession ought to know, was the
advice of a man of prudence : and you may remember
the reason subjoin d ; " Lest he be wise in his own
conceit." A foible one can easily impute to Mr. Sea-
bury, who calls himself " an occasional correspondent"
of the merry squire Tickle, and has recommended
himself, as one of his triumphant auxiliaries, for hav
ing, as he declares himself, " laid his antagonist fairly
on his back." But you should remember, that he who
writes to the publick must expect that the publick
will form their own sentiments of what he writes ;
and they often pass a very different judgment from
that which a fond scribbler makes of his own perform
ances : It is possible Mr. Seabury that could you
have been admitted into the circles of men of sense
where you live, and heard their opinion of that very
whip which you so confidently boasted of, I say, it is


(tho perhaps barely) possible it would have in some
degree allay d your vanity and self applause.

It seems that a certain grubstreet writer in Mr.

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 31)