Samuel Adams.

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enroll d for some weeks past in your reputable
paper Sorry I am to find that the family of our
present c rn d r in chief & its connections
make so great a part of that very ignoble list ; a
family which owes a gratitude as it owes its greatness
to this despised people, which till very lately have
lavish d upon it all its honors and lucrative places ;
& family which, if unfeeling to all other obligations,
should surely have remember d the unexampled act
of generosity done to it by the commons of this
province not more than three years since ; which
they were under no obligation to do in law, or in
justice ; nor in gratitude, that I could ever learn :
And this act of pure generosity should the rather
have been remember d by \hefamily, considering the
warm prof essions then made ; from whence those who
thought them sincere, form d the greatest expectation
of the most ardent zeal and vigorous efforts in favor
of the invaded RIGHTS of this country But How
mutable is the heart of man ! Yea, it is deceitful
above all things What, in less than a month, fol-
low d these professions, it is not in my power, were
I dispos d to do it, to hide in the darkness of oblivion
Littera scripta manet there, it must stand in the
full view of posterity, which for the most part marks
with the greatest precision the characters of those who

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 395

have livd \ Animated no doubt by the example, and
encourag d by the steady attachment of this family
to the late ministerial measures, a Factor from Lon
don is daily expected in the next ship, and as it is said
under ministerial favor, with a very large importation
of British manufactures Good God ! How much
longer is it expected that the patience of this injured
country shall hold out ! Have we not already been
sufficiently provok d ? Is it possible that any man
should have the effrontery, against the united Reso
lutions of a Continent, to import and vend its bane\
Unparrall d presumption ! Shall a stranger dare to
be the tool of the Cabal, and the instrument of over
setting a measure upon the success of which the
hopes of millions are suspended ! What a degree
of intolerable vanity and insolence is here ! Shall
this man avail himself, and make a precedent for
others, to avail themselves, of the sacrifice which
our own merchants and tradesmen have voluntarily
made for the publick good, and hereafter wrest that
part of the trade out of their hands, whenever the
safety of the country shall admit of its being again
carried on ! What man will purchase goods of such
a bold intruder ! Who will not look upon him as
a publick enemy, and treat him with the marks of
contempt and hatred ! But contemptible and odious
as he must appear, yet in comparison with those few
NATIVES of the country, and blessed be God there
are but few, who can pride themselves in the im
portations they have made, and impudently boast
of their success, in comparison I say, with such par
ricides as these, a stranger must, in an impartial eye
appear, even innocent \ ALFRED.




Printed and Sold by Edes and Gill,
in Queen-Street, Boston, 1769.

[2] * At a Meeting of the Town of Boston? legally
assembled, on Wednesday October the $th, and thence
continued by Adjournment to Wednesday October 18,

The following Remarks, upon the Letters written
by Governor Bernard, and others, were ordered to
be published ; and the Committee were directed re
spectfully to transmit a printed Copy of the same to
the following Gentlemen, viz. The Honorable Col.
Isaac Barre", Esq ; a Member of Parliament; His
Excellency Thomas Pownal, Esq ; late Governor of
this Province, and a Member of Parliament ; Ben-

1 The original pagination is thus indicated.

2 The resolutions of the town, printed at the end of the pamphlet, are in
Boston Record Commissioners Report, vol. xvi., pp. 299, 300; a text of the
pamphlet is in ibid., pp. 303-325. The text here used is that of the original
edition of 1769.

On October 4, 1769, at a meeting of the town of Boston, it was "unani
mously Voted, That the Thanks of the Town be and hereby are given to
William Bollan Esq. for his generous care in transmitting to the Selectmen
authentick Copies of Letters wrote to his Majestys Ministers of State, by Gov
ernor Bernard, General Gage, Commodore Hood and others, and also of
several Memorials of the Commissioners of the Customs in America In which
Letters and Memorials the Disposition and Conduct of the Inhabitants of the
Town have been grossly misrepresented to their Sovereign, in Consequence

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 397

jamin Franklin, Esq ; Doctor of Laws ; William
Bollan, Esq ; Agent for his Majesty s Council of this
Province ; Dennys DeBerdt, Esq ; Agent for the
House of Representatives, and Barlow Trecothick,
Esq ; Alderman of the City of London, and a Mem
ber of Parliament.


William Cooper, Town-Clerk.

[3] AN

The Town of Boston having by the generous Care
of William Bollan, Esq ; formerly a very worthy In
habitant in it, but now a Resident in London, receiv d
authentick Copies of Letters, Memorials, &c. written
by Governor Bernard, General Gage, Commodore
Hood, the Commissioners of the American Board of

whereof they have been sensibly affected with the Marks of his Majestys Dis
pleasure And that the Moderator be directed to transmit the Vote of Thanks
to M r - Bollan, for so seasonable and important a service. Also
" Voted, unanimously, that

The Hon ble - Thomas Gushing Esq.

M r - Samuel Adams

John Adams Esq.
The Hon ble - James Otis Esq.

D r - Joseph Warren

Richard Dana Esq.

Joshua Henshaw Esq.

Joseph Jackson Esq.

Benjamin Kent Esq.

"be and hereby are Appointed a Committee to Consider what Measures are
proper to be taken to vindicate the Character of the Town from the false and
injurious representations contained in the Letters & Memorials aforesaid, and
Report at the Adjournment of this Meeting

The committee reported at the morning session on October 18; the report
was recommitted, and the committee was requested to report again in the
afternoon, which was done.


Customs and others, 1 and laid before the Parliament ;
which contain many base Insinuations and virulent
Charges of an high Nature against the Town : The
Freeholders and Inhabitants in a legal Town Meet
ing assembled for the Purpose, have considered the
same. As they have not yet been favor d with
the particular Vouchers, if indeed these Gentle
men have produc d any to the Ministry before whom
they laid their Accusations, it cannot be expected
they should be enabled to make so full a Vindication
of the Town as otherwise they might : They have
however endeavor d to extract from these Writings,
so far as the Town is concern d in them, and to lay
before the Publick their true Spirit : From whence [\
it will appear how restless Governor Bernard and his
Associates have been in their malicious Intrigues to
traduce not this Town and Province, alone, but the J
whole British American Continent.

In his Letter to the Earl of Shelburne, dated
March igth 1768, he tells his Lordship, that " he
sees such an Opposition to the Commissioners and
/ their Officers, and such a Defiance to the Authority
by which they are appointed, continually growing,
that he can no longer excuse his informing his Lord
ship of the Detail of the Facts, from whence the
most dangerous Consequences are to be expected."

1 Letters to the Ministry from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Com
modore Hood. And also Memorials to the Lords of the Treasury, from the
Commissioners of the Customs. Boston, Edes and Gill, 1769, pp. 108. This
volume contains extracts from the letters of Bernard, beginning with that to
Shelburne of January 21, 1768, and ending with that to Hillsborough of
October 14, 1768, and also considerable material relating to the seizure of the

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 399

It is ob-[4] serveable here, how artfully he connects
an Opposition to the Commissioners with a Defiance
of the Authority by which they are appointed ; and
this with an apparent Design to represent this Town
as disaffected to his Majesty s Government in gen
eral, than which nothing can be more false and ma
licious. That the People should entertain the high
est Disgust of a Board, instituted to superintend a
Revenue to be rais d from them without their Con
sent, which was and still is exacted with the utmost
Rigor, is natural ; after they had so loudly as well as
justly complain d of the Revenue itself, as depriving
them of the very Idea of Liberty : But it cannot be
said with the least Appearance of Truth that they set
at Defiance the King s Authority, at the very Time
when they were actually yielding Obedience to those
Revenue Laws, under all the Hardships of them, and
were patiently waiting for the happy Issue of their
just Complaints, and their humble Petitions to their
Sovereign for the Redress of their Grievances. The
Commissioners had however at that Time surely
no reasonable Grounds to expect any Injury to their
Persons or Interruption in their Office ; for they had
been more than four Months in the Town, without
the least Danger of this Kind, altho they had from
their first Arrival discover d such an Arrogance &
Insolence of Office, as led many Persons to appre
hend, that they aim d at nothing less than provoking
the People to such a Degree of Intemperance as to
make an Appearance of it. But being disappointed
in this, mere Shifts and Pretensions are to be sought
after ; and accordingly we find Mr. Bernard beginning


his "Detail " to his Lordship with telling him there
had been " frequent Reports of Insurrections in
tended, in which it had been said, the Houses of one
or more of the Commissioners were to be pulled
down." The Governor, it is to be observed, relies
much upon Reports in his Letters even to Ministers
of State, while few if any among us ever heard of
such Reports : He does not so much as attempt to
make it appear to his Lordship that these frequent
Reports were brought to him by Persons of Credit,
or that they were well grounded ; and it is very much
to be questioned, whether he received his Intelligence
from any other Persons, but the Commissioners
themselves, their Dependents and Expectants, the
Number of whom are increas d to an enormous De
gree, more than sufficient to devour the whole Rev
enue, and many of them are of the most abandon d
Characters. [5]

But to give a Colouring to these Ideas of an In
surrection, there must be something more alledged
than barely that there had been frequent Reports of
its being intended ; and therefore his Lordship is
told of an Event which in Fact took place as some
few remember, but the Story is wrought up by the
Governor with all the Strokes of masterly Invention
to serve the Purpose. " A Number of Lads, says
he, paraded the Town with a Drum and Horn."
And what possible Harm could there be in that?
Why among other Houses " they passed by the
Council-Chamber when he was sitting in Council : "
And did they stop to insult the Governor and Coun
cil ? Such a Circumstance would doubtless have em-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 401

bellished his Excellency s Narrative. Their passing
by however carried the Air of an Insult, tho in all
Likelihood the unlucky Boys might not know that his
Excellency was there. But they had " assembled be
fore Mr. Paxton s House," and lest it should be for
got, his Lordship is reminded that Mr. Paxton is " a
Commissioner. " And did they do Mr. Paxton the
Commissioner any injury ? Yes truly ; " they huzza d,"
and went off. Then they " invested Mr. Burch s
House," and his Lordship is also told, that Mr.
Burch is " another Commissioner, " and " his Lady
and Children were obliged to go out of the Back
Door to avoid the Danger that was threaten d ; " so
that they were not threatened with Mischief, but
with Danger only. It has been usual for the Com
missioners to affect an Apprehension of Danger to
themselves and their Families, to serve the Purposes
they had in View. There is indeed no accounting
for the real Fears of Women and Children : The
Ladies however can sometimes vie with their Hus
bands in Intrigue, and are thoroughly vers d in the
Art even of political Appearance. And it is said
that all are Politicians in this Country : Whether
this Lady, whom Gov. Bernard has politely ushered
into the View of the Public, really thought herself in
Danger or not, it is incumbent on him to show that
there were just Grounds for her Apprehensions, that
Mr. Burch s House was in Fact "invested," and that
" the most dangerous Consequences were to be ex
pected." The World may be assured, there was not
the least Appearance of this Kind ; and yet, these
are Mr. Bernard s own Declarations to his Majesty s

VOL. I. 26.


Ministers, grounded upon vague & idle Reports, be
neath one of his Rank [6] and Station to take any
notice of, & especially with a Design to misrepresent.
He expresses a Surprize, & surely he must counter
feit it, that this Matter of " the Parade with the
Drum and Horn," was after all treated as the Diver
sion of a few Boys, as it is still thought to have been
by all who can remember so trifling an Occurrence,
except the Governor and his Adherents the Diver
sion of a few innocent, tho perhaps vulgar Boys, who
neither did nor intended to do the least Harm to
them or any other Persons, nor were they able to
effect it, if they had such a Design. But after this,
says Mr. Bernard, " it was reported, that the Insurrec
tion was postponed till the i8th of March " -The Idea
is still kept up of a designed Insurrection, how else
could it be postponed! and " two Persons, says he,
one of them Mr. Paxton, a Commissioner, were men
tioned as devoted to the Resentment of the Mob."
It is strange that no Persons should have heard of
all this but the Governor and his Informers ; for he
tells his Lordship that he "took all the Pains he
could to discover the Truth of this Report " ; and
" on the very Day before, he spoke with the most
knowing Men he could procure ", who had heard
nothing about the Matter. At length, however,
" late in the Evening, he had certain Advice that
Effigies were prepared, but it was too late to do
any Thing, and his Information was of that Nature,
he could not make Use of it in Public k." To induce
his Lordship however to believe that the Reports of
the Insurrection, which was postponed to the i8th of

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 403

March, with every Circumstance as just now related,
were well grounded, he tells him, as if it was designed
to be the Prelude to the whole, that " early in the
Morning the Sheriff informed him that the Effigies of
Mr. Paxton and Mr. Williams were in Truth hanging
upon Liberty-Tree " ! There was in the Time of it,
a strong Suspicion in the Minds of many, that these
Effigies were hung up by some particular Persons on
that Day (which was to be observed as a Day of Fes
tivity), with a Design to give a Colouring to just such
a Representation as Gov. Bernard now makes.
There are Persons here capable of playing such a
Game ; and there are some Circumstances which
make it appear that such a Suspicion was not ground
less. Particularly it is difficult to account for Gov
ernor Bernard s neglecting to give Orders to prevent
their being hung up after he certainly knew it was
[7] intended ; and that he should pretend it was
too late the Evening before ; but especially, his not
chusing to make Use of his Information, or it may
rather be supposed his Informants Name is pub-
lick, unless it was thro Fear of discovering the
Plot, is dark and unaccountable If there was a De
sign of this Nature, it must have been truly mor
tifying to those who were in the Secret, that the
Design was so soon frustrated : For before the
Governor could meet his Council, which he had
prudently " the Day before summoned to meet, "
and while he was sending round to get them to
gether as soon as possible it might be ; amidst all
these careful Preparations, the Effigies, says the Gov
ernor, " were taken down by some of the Neighbours


4 o 4 / THE WRITINGS OF [1769

without Opposition " ! Their being thus, perhaps
unexpectedly, taken down, is sufficient to evince
the good Disposition of the Inhabitants in general :
That They were not in the Plan of an Insurrection,
whoever else might be, and that the Governor there
fore might with Safety, if he had been so inclirid, make
use of his Information in Public It might possibly in
deed have totally overthrown his Design in writing
this very Letter to his Lordship.

But the best Improvement is to be made of every
Appearance : Accordingly the Governor hastens to
his Council, who were then met, agreeable to his Ap
pointment the Day before, and there he tells his Lord
ship, he " set forth in strong Terms the Attrociousness
of this Insult ; the Danger of its being followed by
actual Violence, and the Necessity there was of pro
viding for the Peace of the Town." However attro-
cious the Insult might be, where could be the Danger
of its being followed by actual Violence, when some
of the Inhabitants themselves, had taken down the
Effigies, with, at least the tacit Consent of the whole
Community ; for it was done without the Opposition
expected, perhaps hoped for : And what Necessity
of providing for the Peace of the Town, when the
People already discover d so peaceable a Disposition.
It would doubtless have pleas d the Governor well, if
his Council had advis d to some severe Measures ;
such as might have afforded a firmer Foundation for
him to have represented the Town as upon the Eve
of an Insurrection, than groundless Reports or Infor
mations, from his own Pimps, which it was not pru
dent [8] for him to make use of in publick. But "all

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 405

he could say " to that Purpose, tho he strove hard for
it, " made no Impression on the Council;" They,
says he, " persever d in treating the Affair as of no
Consequence," as well they might ; for it is question
able after all, whether there was the least Apprehen
sion then of any Commotion even in the Mind of the
Governor himself, whatever were his Pretensions.
The Commissioners however took this Opportunity
" of setting forth the Danger they apprehended ";
and the Governor, very readily no doubt, took the
Occasion to acquaint the King s Minister, that he
had receiv d a Letter from the Commissioners, " de
siring the Protection of the Government

Mr. Bernard proceeds in his Narrative, and enter
tains his Lordship with a very minute Account of the
Celebration of the Anniversary of the Repeal of the
Stamp-Act; and "the terrible Night it produc d"-
to Mr. Burch, one of the Commissioners, and his Lady
and Children who had mov d to his House for Safety ;
" to the Lieutenant-Governor and the Sheriff of
the County who were also with him " ; and in fine to
all " those who thought themselves Objects of the
popular Fury." It may be here observed as in gen
eral true, that no Man has Reason to fear the popu
lar Fury, but he who is conscious to himself of having
done that which has expos d him to their just Resent
ment -The Governor himself owns that "the Se
lectmen of the Town " and " some others," and even
the Gentlemen who dined at two Taverns near the
Town-House, upon the Occasion of the Day "took
great Pains that the Festivity should not produce a
Riot." There is no Reason to suppose this was


mention d for the Sake of giving a Credit to any of
those Gentlemen, but rather to insinuate that the Peo
ple were so outrageously dispos d as that they could
not be restrain d even by their own Leaders ; for most
of those whom the Governor had honor d with that
Character were present. The Truth is, none of them
were apprehensive that their Festivity would produce
a Riot ; but they were careful to prevent the lighting
a Bonfire, because the Governor had constantly rep
resented that as " the usual Signal for a Mob " ; and
the Joys of the Evening among the lower Sort, which
however innocent [9] are sometimes noisy, would of
Course be represented as riotous. And thus he did
in Fact represent it to his Lordship ; for he tells him
that " many Hundreds of People of all Kinds, Sexes
and Ages, paraded the Streets with Yells and

Outcries" That they " invested Mr. Williams s

House"- -That "at two different Times about Mid
night they made Outcries about Mr. Paxton s House ".
And tho after all, he owns it was " out of mere Wan
tonness", yet he says the whole made it a terrible
Night". This is Painting indeed, much beyond the
Life : But Mr. Bernard has the Art in Perfection.
He could not however perswade even General Gage,
to give it such a Colouring ; for the General in his
Letter to Lord Hillsborough dated Boston the 3ist
of October 1 768, tells his Lordship quite otherwise ;
and that "according to the best Information he had
been able to procure, the Disturbance in March
(which was this very Instance) far from being " terri
ble as the Governor represents it, was in Truth "tri
fling". This being the Account given by one of the

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 407

principal Servants of the Crown in America, and who
has discover d himself far from being partial in favor
of the Town, it is needless to add any Thing further
on this Head Trifling as indeed this " Disturb
ance" was, such Improvements were made of it by
Governor Bernard and others, that it occasion d the
ordering two Regiments from Halifax to this Town
for a Purpose for which the military Power was cer
tainly never design d ; a very dangerous Purpose, and
abhorrent to the British Constitution and the Spirit
of a free Government, namely to Support the Civil
Authority A Measure which has caus d continual
Terror to his Majesty s peaceable Subjects here, and
has been productive of more Disturbance and Confu
sion than has been known in the Memory of any now
living, or than is recorded by any Historian, even the
most partial against this Country.

We shall now take Notice of Governor Bernard s
Letter to the Earl of Hillsborough, dated Boston,
June n, 1768, wherein he gives his Lordship an
Account " of a great Riot that happened in this Town
the preceding Evening." And it must be confess d
there was a Riot on that Evening, which is by no
means to be justify d. It was however far from being
so great an one as the Governor represents it to [ioj
be. The Collector and Comptroller of the Customs
indeed represent it as a " numerous Mob," 1 but they
being particularly interested, their Fears might de
ceive them. It was not a numerous Mob ; nor was it
of long Continuance, neither was there much Mischief

1 Affidavit of Benjamin Hallowell, Jr., Comptroller of Customs at Boston.
Letters to the Ministry, p. 92.

4 o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

done. It was occasioned by the unprecedented &
unlawful Manner of seizing a Vessel by the Collector
and Comptroller : And considering their illegal Pro
ceedings in making the Seizure, attended with the
most irritating Circumstances which occasioned this
Mob the intolerably haughty Behaviour which the
Commissioners who ordered this Seizure, had con
stantly before discovered towards the People the
frequent Threats which had been given out, that the
Town should be put under a Military Government,
and the armed Force actually employ d as a Prelude
to it, it cannot be wondered at, that in a populous
Town, such high Provocations, and the sudden Exer
tion of Lawless Power, should excite the Resentment
of some Persons beyond the Bounds of Reason, and
carry them into Excess. We cannot state the Cir
cumstances of this Affair with greater Impartiality,
than by reciting the Sentiments of his Majesty s
Council after two Days Enquiry and Consideration,
in their own Expressions, viz.

"His Excellency having laid before the Board a
Representation of some Transactions relating to, and
in Consequence of the Disorders in the Town of Bos
ton on the Evening of the loth of June last, the Board
think it necessary in Justice to the Town and Province,
and in Vindication of themselves, to make some Ob

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