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point of light. YOUR Promotion, Sir, reflects an
honor on the Province itself : An Honor which has
never been conferr d upon it, since the thrice happy
administration of Sir EDMOND ANDROSS, of precious
memory, who was also a BARONET ; nor have the un-
remitted Endeavors of that very amiable and truly
patriotick Gentleman, to render the most substantial
and lasting Services to this people, upon the plan of

a wise and uncorrupt set of M rs, been ever par-

allelled, till since you adorn d the Ch r. Your

own Letters will serve to convince the World, and
the latest Posterity, that while you have constantly
preserved a sacred and inviolable Regard to punctil-
lious TRUTH, in every Representation which you have
made of the people of your G , you have care-

1 Francis Bernard, Baronet of Nettleham. See below, page 378.


fully endeavor d to give the most favorable Colour
ing to their Conduct and Reputation ; And the
Tenderness which you have ever remarkably felt for
their civil Rights as well as their Religion, will not
admit of the least Room to question, but that even
the Influence you have evidently employ d with
Success, to introduce a MILITARY Power, and the
unwearied Pains you took to get them quarter d
in the Body of the Town, sprang from your Piety
and Benevolence of Heart Pity it is that you have
not a PENSION to support your Title : But an as
sembly well chosen, may supply that want even to
your wish. Should this fail, a late Letter, said to
have strongly recommended a Tax upon the IM
PROVED LANDS of the Colonies, may be equally
successful with the other Letters of the like Nature,
and FUNDS SUFFICIENT may be rais d for the Use
and Emolument of yourself and friends, without a
Dependence upon a " military establishment sup
ported by the Provinces at Castle-William." I am,
Sir, with the most profound Respect, and with the
sincerest Wishes for your further Exaltation, the
most servile of all your Tools.



[MS., Boston City Clerk s Office ; a text, with variations, is in Boston Record
Commissioners 1 Report, vol. xvi, p. 278.]

Voted that The Town before they proceed upon
the Business of this Day, do make, & order to be

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 341

enterd upon their records, the following Declara
tion of their Rights & the Freedom of their Elec
tions viz

The Selectmen having acquainted the Town that
they had waited on General Mackay, Commander
of his Majesty s forces quarterd here, to inform him
that the Choice of persons to represent the Town in
the General Assembly was coming on, & to claim in
Behalf of the Town the full Right of British Free
holders & Subjects upon so important an Occasion,
founded in the Principles of the British Constitution.

The Selectmen having also acquainted the Town
that the General had declared that it was not in
his power to march the Troops out of the Town
upon this occasion, or any further to comply with
this Claim, than by confining the Troops to the
Barracks, which he engaged to do.

The Town, tho they receive this reply as a
Concession on the part of the General, in favor
of the Justice of their Claim, yet as the measure
of confining the troops to their Barracks only, & not
removing them out of Town is by no means adequate
to the Extent of their right, they cannot proceed
to the Election, without declaring their clear & full
Sense, that the residence of an armed force in
the Town, during an Election of so great Import
ance, is a gross Infringment of their constitutional
Rights ; at the same time protesting, that their pro
ceeding to an Election under such a Circumstance,
is wholly from necessity, & not to be considered
as a precedent at any time hereafter, or construed
as a voluntary receeding from the incontestible


rights of British Subjects & freeholders in so in
teresting an Affair.

THE GOVERNOR. 1 JUNE 13, 1769.

[Massachttsetts State Papers, pp. 169-171.]

May it please your Excellency,

The House of Representatives have duly consid
ered your message of the 3ist of May, 2 and are sorry
to find your Excellency declaring, that you " have no
authority over his Majesty s ships in this port, or his
troops within this town ; and that you can give no
orders for the removal of the same."

We clearly hold, that the King s most excellent
Majesty, to whom we have, and ever shall bear, and,
since the convening of this present Assembly, we
have sworn true and faithful allegiance, is the supreme
executive power through all the parts of the British
empire ; and we are humbly of opinion, that, within
the limits of this colony and jurisdiction, your Excel
lency is the King s Lieutenant and Captain General
and Commander in Chief, in as full and ample a man
ner, as is the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or any

1 Attributed to Adams by S. A. Wells : Samuel Adams and the American
Revolution , vol. i., p. 170. Adams was one of the committee, appointed June
1st, to consider the governor s message of May 3ist. The committee, which
included Otis, Warren, Hancock, and Hawley, reported on June 2d, but its report
was not accepted. The committee reported again on June 6th, and its report
was considered on the four following days ; after having been amended the
report was accepted on June I3th. The answer is printed in the Journal of
the House, pp. 18, 19.

2 Massachusetts State Papers, p. 168.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 343

other his Majesty s Lieutenants, in the dominions
to the realm of Great Britain appertaining.

From thence, we think, it indubitably follows, that
all officers, civil and military, within this colony, are
subject to the order, direction and control of your Ex
cellency, so far at least, as is necessary for the safety
of the people and the security of the privilege of this
House, as they are to the King s Majesty within the
realm. And though we admit, that peace and war are
in the King s hand, and that it is an indisputable part
of the royal prerogative, necessary for the preservation
of the Commonwealth, as all other well grounded
prerogative powers are That to destine the fleets,
and march the armies of the state to any part of the
world, where they may be necessary for the defence
and preservation of the society, belongs to the
Crown /yet it is impossible to believe, that a military
power, or a standing army, procured and stationed
here, in consequence of misrepresentations of the
duty and loyalty of his Majesty s subjects of the prov
ince, and suddenly quartered, not only contrary to
act of Parliament, and to every principle of reason, jus
tice and equity, but accompanied with every mark of
contempt, reproach and insult, to as brave and loyal
a people as ever served a Prince, can be uncontrol-
able by the Supreme Executive of the province ;
which, within the limits of the same, is the just and
full representative of the Supreme Executive of the
whole empire.

It is well known, that it is no uncommon thing for
disturbances to happen in populous cities ; and such
as have unfortunately taken place in this province,


have been greatly misrepresented. We have not
only been told of, but all parts of the empire have
been alarmed with apprehensions of danger to his
Majesty s government, in North America, in general,
and this province in particular, by reason of the most
exaggerated accounts of certain disturbances, which,
however, have, in every instance, been far, very far,
from being carried to that atrocious and alarming
length to which many have been in Britain, at the very
gates of the palace and even in the royal presence.

It is most certain, that every subject has a right to
have the rules of his duty, obedience and allegiance,
clearly defined and determined. /Hence it may be
inferred, that very miserable is the servitude of those,
who know not whether they are subject to an absolute
power, civil or military, or both ; as may most effect
ually prosper the machinations and fulfil the purposes of
despotism. It must be obvious to all jurists, and to
every man endued with an ordinary understanding,
that the dojctrine your Excellency has been pleased to
advance, in your answer to the message of the House,
involves us in that state, which is called, by the
learned, imperium in imperio, or at least establishes
a military power here, uncontrolable by any civil
authority in the province.

It has been publicly said, that the military power is
become necessary in this colony, to aid and support
civil government, for which we have no less authority
than the resolutions of the two Houses of Parliament,
and the declaration of one of his Majesty s principal
Secretaries of State. The use of the military power
to enforce the execution of the laws, is, in the opinion

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 345

of this House, inconsistent with the spirit of a free
constitution, and the very nature of government.
Nor can there be any necessity for it ; for the body of
the people, the posse comitatus, will always aid the
magistrate in the execution of such laws as ought to
be executed. The very supposition of an unwilling
ness in the people in general, that a law should be
executed, carries with it the strongest presumption,
that it is an unjust law ; at least, that it is unsalutary.
It cannot be their law; for, by the nature of a free
constitution, the people must consent to laws, before
they can be obliged, in conscience, to obey them. In
truth, no law, however grievous, has been opposed in
the execution of it, in this province ; and yet, a mili
tary power is sent here, purposely to aid in the execu
tion of the laws. And what adds to the injustice of
those who procured this armament, is, that it was
procured at the very time when/the people were duti
fully supplicating the throne for redress of grievances,
occasioned by acts of Parliament, for the purpose of
raising a revenue in Americat VWe think we can
infer, from your Excellency s declaration, that this
military force is uncontrolable by any authority in the
province. It is, then, a power without any check
here ; and therefore so far absolute. An absolute
power, which has the sword constantly in its hand,
may exercise a vigorous severity whenever it pleases.
What privilege, what security, is then left to this
House, whose very existence, to any purpose, de
pends upon its privilege and security. Nothing re
mains in such a state, if no redress can be had from
the King s Lieutenant in the province, but that the\


oppressed people unite in laying their fervent and )
humble petition before their gracious Sovereign.


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 172, 173.]

May it please your Excellency,

As you have not thought proper, in your reply 2 to
the message of this House, of the i3th instant, to
throw any light on the subject, or invalidate the
principles we therein advanced, your Excellency will
allow us to conclude, that those principles were well
grounded, and that there is no reason for us to alter
our sentiments on this interesting point.

You are pleased to intimate, that much time and
treasure has been spent in determining a merely
speculative question. The House regard a standing
army, posted within the province, in a time of the
most profound peace, and uncontrolable by any au
thority in it, as a dangerous innovation ; and a guard
of soldiers, with cannon planted at the doors of the
State House, while the General Assembly was there
held, as the most pointed insult ever offered to a free
people, and its whole Legislative. This, sir, and not
the question of your Excellency s authority to remove

1 Attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i, p.
257. The committee which reported this answer included Adams, Otis, Han
cock, and Gushing. The answer was printed in the Journal of the House,
pp. 23, 24.

2 Delivered on June I5th, the last day the General Court met at Boston prior
to the adjournment, by the Governor, to Cambridge. Massachusetts State
Papers , pp. 171, 172.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 347

his Majesty s ships out of the harbor, or his troops
out of the town of Boston, was the principal cause of
the " non activity of the Assembly. " Had your Ex
cellency felt for the Assembly, and the people over
whom you preside, even though you had supposed
yourself not properly authorized, you would have
employed your influence, at least, for the removal
of this grievance ; especially as his Majesty s Coun
cil, as well as this House, had before expressed to
your Excellency their just indignation at so un
precedented an affront. But, instead of the least
abatement of this military parade, the General As
sembly has been made to give way to an armed
force, as the only means in your power to remove
the difficulty we justly complained of. Your Ex
cellency has ordered a removal of the General As
sembly itself, from its ancient seat and place, where
the public business has generally been done with
the greatest convenience, ease and despatch. It is
with pain, that we are obliged here to observe, that
the very night after this adjournment was made, the
cannon were removed from the Court House, as
though it had been designed, that so small a circum
stance of regard should not be paid to the Assembly,
when convened by the royal authority, and for his
Majesty s service in the colony.

You are pleased to pass a censure upon this House,
in saying, that " you cannot sit still and see such a
waste of time and treasure to no purpose." Those
alone are answerable for any expense of time and
treasure on this occasion, who have brought us
into such a situation, as has hitherto rendered our


proceeding to business incompatible with the dignity,
as well as the freedom of this House. No time can
better be employed, than in the preservation of the
rights derived from the British constitution, and in
sisting upon points, which, though your Excellency
may consider them as non essential, we esteem its
best bulwarks. No treasure can be better expended,
than in securing that true old English liberty, which
gives a relish to every other enjoyment. These, we
have the satisfaction to believe, are the sentiments of
our constituents, to whom alone we are accountable
how we apply their treasure ; and we are fully per
suaded, from what we have already heard, that, not
withstanding the apparent design of your message to
prejudice their minds against us, what your Excel
lency has been pleased to call our "non activity",
will receive their approbation, rather than their
censure ; for an entire fortnight, spent in silence, or
a much longer time, cannot be displeasing to them,
when business could not be entered upon, but at the
expense of their rights and liberties, and the privilege
of this House.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 349


[Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America; and the Principles
of Law and Polity, applied to the American Colonies. Written by Governor
Bernard, at Boston, In the Years 1763, 4,3, 6, 7, and 8. London, 1774. pp.

The Petition of the House of Representatives of
Massachusef s-Bay To The King s Most Excellent

Most Gracious Sovereign,

We your Majesty s most dutiful and faithful sub
jects the Representatives of your ancient and loyal
Colony of the Massachusef s-Bay; impressed with the
deepest gratitude to ALMIGHTY GOD, for calling to J
the British Succession your illustrious Family ; and so
firmly establishing your Majesty on the throne of
your Royal Progenitors ; and being abundantly con
vinced of your Majesty s grace and clemency ; most
humbly implore the Royal favor, while we briefly
represent our grievances, which your Majesty alone
under GOD can redress.

We are constrained in duty to your Majesty, and
in faithfulness to our Constituents, to lay before your
Majesty our complaints of his Excellency Sir Francis
Bernard, Baronet, your Majesty s Governor of this
Colony, whose whole Administration appears to have

1 Adams was a member of the committee on the state of the province, ap
pointed June 19, 1769, which reported on June 2ist, and again on June 27th,
when the report was unanimously accepted, ninety-five members being present.
The petition is printed in the Journal of the House, pp. 85-87. The authorship
is not exactly determined. Adams was also one of the committee, appointed
July 8th, to prepare evidence in support of the petition. As to the result, see
below, page 354.


been repugnant not only to your Majesty s service, |
and the welfare of your subjects in the Colony, but
even to the first principles of the British Consti

1. From his first arrival here, he has in his Speeches
and other public Acts treated the Representative
body with contempt.

2. He has in his public Speeches charged both
Houses of the General Assembly expressly with
oppugnation against the Royal Authority ; declaring
that they had left Gentlemen out of the Council only
for their fidelity to the Crown.

3. He has from time to time indiscreetly and wan
tonly exercised the prerogative of the Crown, in the
repeated negative of Councellors of an unblemished
reputation, and duly elected by a great majority ;
some of them by the unanimous suffrage of both
Houses of Assembly.

4. He has declared that certain seats at the Coun
cil board shall be kept vacant, till certain Gentlemen,
who are his favourites, shall be re-elected.

5. He has unconstitutionally interfered with and
unduly influenced elections, particularly in the choice
of an Agent for the Colony.

6. He has very abruptly displaced divers Gentle-
men of worth, for no apparent reason, but because |
they voted in the General Assembly with freedom^!
and against his measures.

7. He has in an unwarrantable manner taken upon
himself the exercise of your Majesty s Royal Preroga
tive, in granting a charter for a College ; contrary to
an express vote of the House of Representatives,

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 351

and without even asking the advice of your Majesty s

8. He has practiced sending over depositions to
the Ministry, privately taken against Gentlemen of
character here, without giving the persons accused
the least notice of his purposes and proceedings.

9. He has very injuriously represented your Maj
esty s loving subjects of this Colony, in general, as
having an ill temper prevailing amongst them ; as
disaffected to your Majesty s Government, and in- "~~
tending to bring the authority of Parliament into
contempt. And, by such false representations, he
has been greatly instrumental, as this House humbly
conceive, in exciting jealousies, and disturbing that
harmony and mutual affection which before happily
subsisted, and we pray GOD may again subsist, be
tween you Majesty s subjects in Great Britain and

10. He has, in his letters to one of your Majesty s
Ministers, unjustly charged the majority of your
Majesty s faithful Council in the Colony with having
avowed the principles of opposition to the authority
of Parliament, and acted in concert with a party from
whence such opposition originated.

TI. He has also, in his letter to another of your
Majesty s Ministers falsely declared that a plan was
laid, and a number of men actually inrolled in the
town of Boston, to seize your Majesty s Castle
William, in the harbour of the same, out of your j
Majesty s hands.

12. Such Representations of the state and circum
stances of this Colony, from a Gentleman of the


highest trust in it, will of necessity be received with i
full credit, till they are made to appear false. And
in consequence, thereof, your Majesty s true and
loyal subjects have suffered the reproach as well as
other hardships of having a military force stationed
here, to support your Majesty s authority, and the
execution of the laws; which measure has been ap
proved of by your Majesty s two Houses of Parlia
ment, as appears in their resolutions, That the town of
Boston has been in a state of disorder and confusion ;
and that the circumstances of the Colony were such
as required a military force for the purposes above-

13. Having been a principal instrument, as we ap
prehend, in procuring this military force, your Maj
esty s said Governor, in an unprecedented manner,
and as though he had designed to irritate to the highest
degree, ordered the very room which is appropriated jj
for the meeting of the Representatives of the General
Assembly, which was never used for any other purpose,
and where their Records are kept, to be employed as a
barrack for the common soldiers ; and the centinels
were so posted, as that your Majesty s Council, and
the Justices of the court of common law, were daily
interrupted, and even challenged, in their proceeding
to the business of their several departments.

14. He endeavored, contrary to the express de
sign of an Act of Parliament, to quarter your Majesty s
troops in the body of the town of Boston, while the
barracks, provided by the Government at the Castle,
within the Town, remained useless ; and, for pur
poses manifestly evasive of the said Act, he unwar-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 353

; -1

rantably appointed an officer to provide quarters for
the troops, otherwise than is therein prescribed.

15. After having dissolved the General Assembly
at a most critical season, and while they were em
ployed in the most necessary and important business,
he arbitrarily refused to call another for the space of
ten months, and until the time appointed in the
Royal Charter for the calling a General Assembly,
against the repeated and dutiful petitions of the

1 6. It appears by his letters to the Earl of Hills- i
borough, your Majesty s Secretary of State, that he
has endeavoured to overthrow the present constitution
of Government in this Colony, and to have the people
deprived of their invaluable Charter Rights, which
they and their ancestors have happily enjoyed under
your Majesty s administration, and those of your -*
Royal Predecessors.

17. By the means aforesaid, and many other that
might be enumerated, he has rendered his Adminis
tration odious to the whole body of the people, and
has entirely alienated their affections from him, and
thereby wholly destroyed that confidence in a Gover
nor, which your Majesty s service indispensably re

Wherefore we most humbly intreat your Majesty,
that his Excellency Sir Francis Bernard Baro
net, may be for ever removed from the Govern
ment of this Province : and that your Majesty
would be graciously pleased to place one in his
stead, worthy to serve the greatest and best Monarch
on earth.

VOL. I. 23.


And the Representatives of the Colony of Massa-
ckusefs Bay, as in duty bound, shall ever pray.
In their name, and by their order, signed



[Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America, pp. 95-115.]

The Answer of Sir Francis Bernard, Bart. Gover
nor of his Majesty s Province of Massachuset s Bay,
To The Complaint preferred against him by the
House of Representatives of the said Province, now
depending before his Majesty in Council. 1

THIS Respondent protesting against the uncertainty, generality,
irrelevancy, and insufficiency of the said complaint, and against
his being required to make any unnecessary, superfluous, or im
practicable proofs; particularly proofs of the negative of such
assertions in the said complaint as are not supported by any
evidence, and by their generality and want of particular alle
gations are incapable of negative proofs; and also protesting
against the unfair practices used by the complainants, or at least
by the Speaker and Clerk of the said House, to deprive him of
the benefit of such evidence, both written and verbal, as was to

1 The matter was finally brought on for hearing before a committee of the
Privy Council on February 28, 1770, when the Governor and counsel attended
with evidence to support the allegations of the answer. The agent offered no
proof in support of the complaint, and asked an adjournment for seven
months, which the committee refused to grant, and determined that " the sev

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 31)