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eral charges . . . are groundless, vexatious, and scandalous, and that the
said petition ought to be dismissed." The report of the committee was ap
proved by the King in Council, March 14, 1770. Select Letters, pp. 124-130.
Cf. T. Hutchinson, History of the Province of Massachusetts, vol. iii., pp.
246, 247.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 355

be had only at Boston, by refusing to give him a copy of the said
complaint, from the 271)1 day of June, 1769, when the said com
plaint passed the house, unto the 27th day of July, being but
three days before the day fixed for his departure to England,
although he frequently applied to the Speaker of the House for
such a copy, of the truth of which he is ready to make oath: to
the complaint, or to such part thereof as is material for him to
answer to, answereth as followeth:

And, first, the Respondent begs leave to observe of the com
plaint, that it had its origination in a resentment against the Re
spondent, for his being charged with certain orders of his Majesty
relating to the House of Representatives, and his declaring his
intention to obey such orders. This will appear from the
Journals of the House of Representatives, where it will be seen,
that on June 2ist, 1768, the Respondent sent a message, 1 inclos
ing an extract of a letter from the Secretary of State to him the
Respondent, signifying his Majesty s pleasure, That he should re
quire the House to rescind a resolution of a former House, and
declare their disapprobation of the same. On June 23d, a the
House desired the Respondent would give them a copy of the
other part of the Secretary of State s letter. On June 24th, 3 the
Respondent sent a copy of the other part of the letter, by which
he was ordered, in case of refusal, to dissolve the Assembly ; and
said, that, if they obliged him to it, he must obey his orders. On
June 3oth, the House passed a vote, that they would not rescind,
&c. and passed an answer to the Respondent 4 to that purpose ;
immediately after which, they appointed a committee 5 to prepare
a petition to the king to remove the governor. The petition
being ready prepared, was immediately reported and read ; and
upon debate, it being objected that there was no proof of the
facts alledged, the petition was re-committed, and the committee
was ordered to bring evidence in support of divers articles.
Thus it rested until a new assembly met in May, 1769, when this

1 Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 145, 146.

8 Ibid., p. 146. * Ibid., pp. 146, 147. 4 See above, page 229.

5 This committee consisted of Samuel Adams, James Otis of Boston, Col.
James Otis of Barnstable, Bowers, and Hancock. The text as first reported is
in Journal of the House, pp. 95, 96.


complaint was revived, with some little alteration, and some addi
tional articles arising from new facts ; and notwithstanding it had
been before rejected for want of proof, it was now admitted with
out any proof, and passed the House the 27th day of June, 1769.
It has been since circulated throughout America and Great Brit
ain, in news-papers, magazines and pamphlets ; it has been com
mented upon, and argued from, as true, in different papers ; and the
Respondent has been called upon, by anonymous writers, to an
swer this complaint before the public, whilst he was endeavouring
to obtain a hearing of it before the King in Council, and the
agent for the Complainants was doing all he could to prevent it,
under a pretence of waiting for proofs.

1. And the Respondent, further answering, saith, That the
first article is notoriously untrue, it being well known to all who
are acquainted with the government of Massachusetts Bay , that
from the time of the present governor s (the Respondent s) en
tering upon that government, which was in August, 1760, until
the opposition made to the stamp-act, which began in the year
1765, a very good understanding and agreement of sentiments
and actions between the governor and the assembly, in both its
branches, continually prevailed ; of which the Journals of the
House afford many pregnant proofs. But, after the opposition
to the Parliament was adopted by the House of Representatives,
it became impossible for the Respondent, or any governor, to do
his duty and preserve his popularity.

2. The Respondent admits, that he did declare that the Gen
eral Assembly left gentlemen out of the Council only for their
fidelity to the Crown ; and if this is to be deemed oppugnation
against the royal authority, he admits this article to be true.
And to justify such declaration he observes, that, upon the
election of counsellors in May 1766 (which was about a month
after they had received advice of the repeal of the stamp-act),
the majority of the General Assembly turned out the lieutenant
governor (who was also chief justice of the province), the secre
tary, two other judges of the superior court, and the attorney
general, all of them men of irreproachable characters, and high
estimation among the people. 1 There was no accounting for the

1 See above, page 101.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 357

depriving the government of the service of men of such high of
fices, and known abilities and integrity, but from an intention to
lower the King s authority in the government, and reduce the
royalty of it to a mere form, and vest all the real power in the
people. That this was and is still the intention, has been since
made plain by further proceedings in subsequent elections, in
which every counsellor who has been known, believed, or even
suspected to be disposed to support the authority of the King and
Parliament of Great Britain, or the royal rights of the provincial
government, has been turned out of the Council. The Respon
dent begs leave to refer to a list of counsellors who have been
thus turned out at the four last elections, which, by an inquiry
into the character of the persons from those who are acquainted
with the province, will fully prove the assertions above men

3. The Respondent admits, that, since the exclusion of the
lieutenant governor, secretary, judges, and attorney general,
from the council, he has repeatedly used the right given to the
governor by the charter, of negativing persons elected for coun
sellors, and returned to him for his approbation ; but he denies
that he has acted therein indiscreetly or wantonly, or upon any
other motive than that of promoting the King s service. 1 He has,
from time to time, signified to his Majesty s Ministers the prin
ciples upon which he formed his conduct in this respect, and has
had the honor to have such conduct approved of by his Majesty,
as was signified to him by the Earl of Shelburne, at that time
one of his Majesty s principal secretaries of state, by his letter
dated Sept. 17, 1767, which was after the second time of his exer
cising his negative; 3 from which letter he begs leave to insert the
following words :

" I have the pleasure to signify to you his Majesty s approba
tion of your conduct, and to acquaint you, that he is graciously

1 After the last election during his administration, Governor Bernard, on
June i, 1769, disapproved eleven of those chosen to the Council by the Gen
eral Court.

2 At the election of 1767, Governor Bernard disapproved six of those elected
to the Council ; all were again chosen, and five of them were a second time dis
approved by the Governor.


pleased to approve of your having exerted the power lodged in
you by the constitution of the province of Massachusetts Bay, of
negativing counsellors in the late elections, which appears from
your several letters to have been done with due deliberation and

4. The Respondent denies this article to be true, so far as it
relates to the inforcing the re-election of his favorites; for he has
no favorites in respect to the government, but such as have
recommended themselves by fidelity to the King, and ability to
serve him. In this light the lieutenant governor and the secre
tary may be considered as his favorites ; and if such declaration
was made, it was in favor of them and them only : and he believes
he did make such declaration upon the following account.
Upon the exclusion of these two gentlemen from the Council (of
which they had been members for many years, and by their par
ticular functions, as well as their knowledge of the public busi
ness, were become almost necessary to that body) upon inquiry
into the constitution of the present government, it appeared from
the usage under the former charter, from considerations pre
vious to the granting the present charter, from the words of
the charter itself, and from the practice of first year after the
opening the charter, that the lieutenant governor and the secre
tary had a right to seats and voices in the Council in virtue of
their offices, and without being elected thereto, and did actually
enjoy such right for one year as aforesaid. But upon the election
of a new Council at the end of the first year, the assembly elected
the lieutenant governor and the secretary among the twenty-
eight elective councellors, instead of permitting them to be super-
added to the elective counsellors, as was designed by the charter,
and practised the year before. The lieutenant governor and
secretary acquiescing in this, probably from their unwillingness
to dispute with the assembly, upon whom they were dependent,
submitted to take their seats as elected counsellors, instead of
official members of the Council. And this method prevailing
ever after, the King has, by these means, been deprived of the
service of his lieutenant governor and secretary, the nomination
of whom he had reserved to himself, in his council, where it ap
pears to have been intended they should have seats in virtue of

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 359

their offices. And great detriment has arose to his Majesty s
government by their being excluded the Council at particular
times, when they have been most wanted, as for late years has
been very observable. The Respondent therefore having dis
covered this usurpation, and finding it too much confirmed by
time, for him of himself to undertake to restore the lieutenant
governor and secretary to their rights, did transmit an account of
it to the King s Ministers, and did mention the same to the
Council of the Province, or some of them ; at the same time de
claring, that as the lieutenant governor and secretary had an
inherent right from their offices to seats in the council, though
they had usually been reckoned among the twenty-eight elected,
he should not suffer their seats among the twenty-eight to be
filled up by other persons till they were restored to their official
seats without the twenty-eight. This he did, in order to leave
it open to the assembly to restore them to their seats in the usual
way at any time when they should see the impropriety of their
being excluded.

5. The Respondent says, That he believes there never was a
governor that less interfered with elections than he has done ; so
that he knows not what to refer this charge to, unless it is his
recommending a provincial agent in the year 1765. This he
did, and certainly had a right to do, as the provincial agent
is the agent of the whole general court, of which the gov
ernor is a part, and must be consented to and commissioned by
the governor before his appointment is complete. The gen
tleman he recommended was accordingly chosen, and served the
province for two years, and was the most able and respectable
agent that the province ever had.

6. The governor of Massachusetts Bay has no power to dis
place civil officers, without the consent of the Council; and
hence it is, that many persons hold their offices in that province,
who ought to have been displaced long ago. He has indeed a
free power over military officers ; but has made very little use
of it, except in superseding some few commissions of persons
who professed and abetted such principles as made them very
unfit to have military commands under the King.

7. The Respondent never had any doubt but that he had a


right to grant charters of incorporation under the King s seal, of
which he is the keeper, as is practised by all other royal gov
ernors in America. And he did once, some years ago, order a
charter to be made out for establishing a collegiate school in the
extreme parts of the province, upon the petition of divers re
spectable persons inhabitants of the said parts, who were ready
to endow the said school. But understanding that the proposed
charter gave umbrage to the college at Cambridge near Boston, he,
upon that account only, and not out of any doubt of his power to
grant such a charter, or the reasonableness and propriety of the
charter prayed for, put a stop to the same being issued : and this
is the only charter that was ever agitated before him since he
has been governor of that province.

8. The Respondent knows not what depositions are here
referred to, except it may be those which it may be supposed he
has transmitted to his Majesty s Ministers, in obedience to his
Majesty s commands, signified to him for that purpose. And he
is sorry to say, that he has not done so much in that respect as
may have been expected of him : for when he received such
commands, he found the intimidation which the faction by their
former outrages had raised in Boston so great and universal, that
there was a general unwillingness in people of all kinds to give a
formal testimony against any of the factious party, even of facts
which they made no scruple to declare their knowledge of in the
course of common conversation. And therefore, having no power
to oblige people to give testimony, and finding it impracticable to
procure voluntary evidence, he could not execute the King s
commands with that punctuality with which he has always been
desirous to distinguish himself in all acts of duty.

And here it may be proper to observe, that the preceding arti
cle, and all the following articles, are charges against him for
doing acts which were dictated to him either by the duty of his
office, or by his Majesty s instructions given under his sign man
ual, or by his special commands signified by his secretary of
state. And in all cases, where the Respondent is charged with
acts which were known to be done in obedience to his Majesty s
instructions, or his special orders, he cannot consider himself to
be chargeable with such acts ; but such charge must be under-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 361

stood to be, and to be intended to be, directed immediately
against his Majesty s administration. Under this rule he will
proceed to consider the following articles.

9. It is the duty of a governor to report to his Majesty all
transactions by which the honour of his crown, the authority of
his government, and the welfare of the province may be affected.
The Respondent has not only had this duty prescribed to him
by his general instructions, but has been often reminded of it in
the letters of his Majesty s secretaries of state. In doing this,
he has shewn a disposition the very contrary to that of misrep
resenting his Majesty s loving subjects of the Colony in general,
and has endeavoured to apologize for them where he could do it,
by drawing a line between the few who have been authors of the
present troubles, and their deluded followers, and distinguishing
between the wickedness of the one, and the credulity and in
timidation of the other. He has always had a most earnest de
sire to remove jealousies, and restore that harmony and mutual
affection which ought to subsist between Great Britain and
America. He used all the means in his power to prevent a
breach of a good understanding between the two countries ; and
for that purpose, when the stamp-act was first agitated, not
withstanding he had reason to believe that the Bill was strongly
adopted by the Ministry, he wrote a letter to the Secretary of
State, urging many reasons which occurred to him, against its
passing into a law, with a freedom which nothing but a con
sciousness of his integrity, a sense of his duty to both countries,
and a desire to prevent any uneasiness between them, could have
supported. Afterwards, when the repealing the act was in con
templation, he gave his testimony for the repeal, both in his
public and his private letters. He has been always ready to join
with the Assembly in any measures for reconciling the two coun
tries, which were consistent with his duty. But of late he has
seen no opening for it ; for, by the convulsions which happened
upon account of the stamp-act, and their consequences, the man
agement of the public affairs of the Province has got into the
hands of a party whose principles and practices are the very re
verse of those of conciliation.

10. The Respondent s report of the proceedings of the


Council, from whence their opposition to the authority of Parlia
ment has been inferred, was fully supported by authentic papers.
And though it has been since made a subject of argument, yet not
one material fact, alledged by him, has been positively denied.

11. The account of a design to seize Castle William is ex
pressly mentioned, net to be related as a certain fact, but only
as reported and believed. Under such circumstances, it would
have been an inexcusable neglect of duty in the Respondent,
not to have informed the Secretary of State of a credited re
port of so interesting a nature. But, as he had no positive
proof of the fact, he did not accuse any person by name.
The truth is, he had intelligence, which he could not make
a public use of, sufficient to induce him to believe that report
then, and has since had occasion to confirm himself in such
belief ; but he has not been able to obtain positive proof of
the fact, for the reasons given in his answer to the eighth

12. This is one of those Articles beforementioned, which passes
by the Respondent, and attacks the Administration and the two
Houses of Parliament; charging the first with ordering troops to
be stationed at Boston, and the two last with passing resolutions
without sufficient grounds to justify such proceedings. Whereas
it is notorious, that the sending troops to Boston, and the reso
lutions of the two Houses of Parliament, were founded upon
undoubted and indisputable facts, supported by a variety of
evidence, drawn for the most part from authentic papers, and
in no way depending upon meer sayings and opinions of the

13. The preamble of this Article, whereby the Respondent is
charged with being a principal instrument in procuring the mili
tary force which was sent to Boston, has since been falsified by
the party publishing the Respondent s letters, from some of
which it appears, that he absolutely refused to apply for troops,
unless the Council would join with him in it; which they re
fusing to do, he never applied for troops. As for the charge
itself, the fact was this: Having received his Majesty s orders
to take every necessary step for the accommodation of his troops
at Boston, he applied to the Council, to the Select- men of the

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 363

town, and to all the Justices in the town, whom he called to
gether for that purpose, being all the persons that could be
pointed out by Act of Parliament for quartering soldiers, sev
erally and separately desiring them to provide quarters for the
soldiers. This they all refused to do; so that when the Com
manding Officer found himself obliged to land two regiments at
Boston, there were no quarters for them. Whereupon the Com
manding Officer applying to the Respondent to provide a cov
ering for one of the regiments, who had no camp-equipage with
them, until they could hire buildings at the King s expence to
make barracks of; the Respondent assigned to them several rooms
in the town-house, which were not then in use, among which was
the Representatives chamber; and there the regiment remained,
without any inconvenience to the public, or any persons whatso
ever, until barracks were provided for them. What enhances the
falsity and virulence of this charge is, that the party who has pre
ferred it, knew that the Respondent acted in this business under
the King s special orders, and that his Majesty has since been
pleased to signify his full approbation of his conduct, under the
difficulties that were continually thrown in his way. And yet
they have had the boldness, in this indirect manner, to arraign
his Majesty s Administration for issuing orders, with which the
Respondent had nothing to do but to obey.

14. This Article is of the same complexion with the preced
ing, but much more false and prevaricating. The fact upon
which it is founded is this: The King ordered two regiments, to
be sent from Ireland, to be landed at Boston ; and also ordered
two other regiments to be sent from Halifax to Boston. The two
regiments from Halifax arrived first; and the Commanding Offi
cer, signifying to the Respondent that he had orders to station both
those regiments at Boston, demanded quarters. The Respondent
consulted the Council, and by their advice applied to the Select
men of the town, and then to the Justices of the Peace, and last
of all to the Council themselves: but they all refused to assign
any quarters to the two regiments, under different pretences ; the
principal of which was, that they ought to be quartered at the
castle, upon an island, distant from the town of Boston three
miles by sea and seven miles by land, where there were barracks


that would hold only one regiment, and that but inconveniently,
as has been since proved. And though the impossibility of quar
tering four regiments in barracks that could hold but one, and
the impropriety of quartering troops in an island distant from
Boston, which were expressly ordered to be stationed at Boston,
were urged again and again, they still persisted in refusing quar
ters: wherefore the Commander in Chief found himself obliged
to hire buildings, and fit them up for barracks, at the King s ex-
pence, for three of the regiments, after having assigned the bar
racks at the castle for the other regiment. And endeavours were
used to defeat even this, the only method left for executing the
King s commands; for it was given out by the faction, that if any
soldiers were put into such barracks, the Officers commanding
such soldiers would be prosecuted for quartering soldiers without
the interposition of a Magistrate, contrary to the Mutiny Act,
and, being convicted thereof by two Justices, would incur the
penalty of being cashiered. To prevent this abuse of the Act,
the Respondent, at the request of General Gage, Commander in
Chief, granted a commission to an Officer of his to place the sol
diers in the barracks, which should be provided for them at the
King s expence. And this is the fact upon which the charge
against the Respondent, for evasively appointing an Officer to pro
vide quarters for the troops otherwise than is prescribed by the
Act, is founded. The Respondent is sorry that he is obliged, by
the designed generality of the charge, in his defence thereto, to
state such a detail of untruths, prevarications, and contempt of
law and authority, in the promoters of the accusation against
him: but it is all to be accounted for by the propagation of one
maxim, which originated with the faction, and has lately been
adopted by the House of Representatives, That the King has no
right to order any of his troops into any of the American Prov
inces, without being first authorized so to do by an Act of the
Provincial Assembly. And from this pretension the transition is
easy to the presumption of petitioning the King to punish an
officer of his, for obeying his commands, and assisting to carry
his orders into execution.

15. The facts, upon which this Article is founded, are these:
In June, 1768, while the Assembly of the Province was sitting,

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 365

the Respondent received a letter from the Secretary of State,
signifying the King s pleasure, that he should require the House of
Representatives to rescind a resolution passed in a former House,
and to declare their disapprobation of it; and if they should
refuse to comply, that he should immediately dissolve them. He
communicated to the House the first part of the letter, contain
ing the requisition; and upon their desiring a copy of the whole
letter, he communicated to them the other p art of the letter, con
taining the provisional order to dissolve them. The House took
nine days to consider of this requisition; and in that time passed

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