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servations thereon, and to give a fuller Representation
than is contained in the Paper laid before the Board.

" With Regard to the said Disorders, it is to be ob
served that they were occasioned by the making a
Seizure (in a Manner unprecedented) in the Town of
Boston on the said loth of June, a little before Sun-



set, when a Vessel was seized by several of the Officers
of the Customs ; and immediately after, on a Signal
given by one of said Officers, in Consequence of a
preconcerted Plan, several armed Boats from the
Romney Man of War took Possession of her, cut her
Fasts, and carried her from the Wharff where she
lay, into the Harbour, along side the Romney ;[ii]
which occasioned a Number of People to be collected,
some of whom, from the Violence and Unprecedent-
edness of the Procedure with Regard to the taking
away of the said Vessel, and the Reflection thereby
implied upon the Inhabitants of the Town as disposed
to rescue any Seizure that might be made, took Occa
sion to insult and abuse the said Officers, and after
wards to break some of the Windows of their Dwell-
ing-Houses, and to commit other Disorders. Now,
tho the Board have the utmost Abhorrence of all
such disorderly Proceedings, and would by no Means
attempt to justify them, they are obliged to mention
the Occasion of them, in order to shew, that however
culpable the said disorderly Persons were, the Officers
who seized, or those by whose Orders such unusual
and violent Measures as were pursued in seizing and
taking away the said Vessel, were not faultless : It
being highly probable that no such Disorders would
have been committed, if the Vessel had not been with
an armed Force, and with many Circumstances of
Insult and Threats, carried away from the Wharff."

The Council further say, " With Regard to what
happen d on the loth of June, it seems to have
sprung wholly from the Persons who complain of it,
by the Plan laid and the Orders given for making the

4 io THE WRITINGS OF [1769

Seizure aforesaid, and carrying it away by an armed
Force. Which Circumstances, together with the
Time of Day of seizing the Vessel, makes it seem
probable that an Uproar was hoped for and intended
to be occasioned by the Manner of Proceeding in
making the Seizure."

From this impartial State of the Matter, it must
evidently appear to every candid Mind, that the
Opposition was made, not at all to the seizing of the
Vessel by the Officers of the Customs, but wholly to
the Mariner in which it was secured ; and that if it
had been done in the usual Manner, as the Council
afterwards say, " it would have remain d secure in the
Hands of the Officers"- -This corresponds with the
Commissioners own Account ; for they say in their
Letter to Governor Bernard, June I2, 1 that they
received a verbal Message from the People to the
following Purpose, " that if the Sloop seiz d was
bro t back [12] to Mr. Hancock s Wharff, upon Se
curity given to answer the Prosecution, the Town
might be kept quiet". But this pacific Proposal,
tho brought to them as they acknowledge "by a
Person of Credit", they expresly declare "appear d
to them as a Menace", and it was in Fact one of their
very Reasons for requesting the Governor to give
Directions that they might be received into the
Castle for Protection So totally regardless were they
of the Peace of the Town, and so excessively fond of
being thought by others as important as they fancied
themselves to be, that when this reasonable and
timely Proposal was brought to them even by a

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 95, 96.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 411

Person of Credit in their oivn Esteem, they haughtily
reply d, that " they gave no Answers to verbal Mes
sages ", which plainly indicated either a Wantonness
of Power in them beyond all Bounds, or the Hopes
if not the Intentions of a further Uproar.

Governor Bernard tells his Lordship that this Riot
" had very bad Consequences ", which is undoubtedly
true : The exaggerated Accounts which he and the
Commissioners gave of it to the Ministry, and their
taking Occasion to represent the Town itself as in a
State of Disobedience to all Law and Authority, and
indeed the whole Continent as ripe for a Revolt,
were attended with the worst of Consequences to the
Town. The Commissioners say in plain Terms that
there had been a long & extensive Plan of Resist
ance to the Authority of Great-Britain", and that
"the Seizure refered to "had hastened the People of
Boston to the Commission of actual Violence sooner
than was intended ". Such inflammatory Represen
tations as these had the Effects which they had long
wish d-for ; and induc d the Ministry to order two
other Regiments to this Town ; the Consequence of
which, if they or any of them are continued, it is to
be fear d, far from reconciling the People to the
present Measures of Administration, will only in
crease their Discontent, and even alienate their

The Governor in the Postscript to his Letter, June
I3, 1 mentions his having Intelligence from the Com
missioners of some Particulars from whence they
concluded, that they were immediately expos d to

1 Letters to the Ministry^ p. 21.

4 i2 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

further Violences, and desir d Protection at the
Castle. This Intelligence is contain d in their Letter
of June 12, just now mention d, wherein [13] they
take upon themselves to charge the Government
with having used no Measures for securing the Peace
of the Town, alledging in general Terms that "there
was the strongest Reason to expect further Violences."
And they further say, that " His Excellency himself
had acquainted them that Boston was no Place of
Safety for them" . Here we see that the Intelligence
which the Governor represents to his Lordship as
having been receiv d by him from the Commissioners,
he first communicated to them ; and thereupon they
grounded their pretended Fears in their Letter to
him, and desire the Protection of the Government.
This is all of a Piece, and may serve to explain the
frequent Rumours of an Insurrection, mention d in a
former Letter, and from what Quarter these frequent
Rumours came. It shows the Combination, and the
settled Design, of the Governor and the Commis
sioners, to blacken the Character of the Town ; and
how dextrously they can play into each others Hands
-The Governor the next Day, June I3, 1 wrote to
the Commissioners, and acquainted them, that " hav
ing communicated their Letter of the i2th to the
Council, they desired him to inform them that during
the Sitting of the Council on Saturday Morning,
there was no Reason at all given to expect further
Violences, and that there was no Apprehension either
in the Governor or the Council of an immediate
Danger." It is incumbent on the Governor, or his

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 98, 99.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 413

Friend, if he has any, to reconcile this with what he
had before told the Commissioners, " that Boston
was no Place of Safety for them". It seems Gov.
Bernard was perpetually teizing the Council with the
Commissioners vague Reports of an Insurrection,
and of the Danger they were in ; and indeed it ap
pears to be the main Point in View to perswade the
Council if possible into a Belief of it, or if not, to
form a Complaint to the Ministry that they were
negligent of their Duty in not advising to proper
Measures for the Protection of the Commissioners ;
and from thence to enforce a Necessity of military
Force to restore and support Government in
Boston Why did he not lay before the Council the
Particulars, which he tells his Lordship he had re-
ceiv d from the Commissioners, from whence they
concluded that they were expos d to further Violences?
This we hear nothing of ; perhaps the Intelligence,
like that which he mentions in a [14] former Letter,
" was of such a Nature that he could not make use
of it in Publick." He indeed tells the Commissioners
that "he had inform d the Council of their present
Apprehensions of further Violences, and that they
were then taking the same into Consideration." But
he should have fairly represented this Matter to the
Commissioners, and told them that the Council had
already taken the same into Consideration, and come
to a Conclusion, as in Fact they had ; for by their
own Minutes we find, that "the Matter being fully
debated, it appeared to the Board that there was no
immediate Danger of fresh Disturbances." They at
the same Time advis d that the Matter shouldbe laid

4 i4 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

before the General Court then Sitting, and postponed
the Consideration of it by them, as of Council to the
Governor, till the Effect of such a Proposal should
be known. All this the Governor knew ; how then
could he consistently say that they were then taking
it into Consideration. He tells Lord Hillsborough
that " He was against the business being laid before
the General Court, but was oblig d to give it up ";
and that "he had many Objections to the Measure."
He knew very well that the drawing this Matter into
open Day-Light, would effectually defeat his Design ;
and that the Intention of bringing the Council, if
possible, to join with the Governor in requiring the
military Force, or accusing them of Negligence in
Case they did not, would thereby be entirely frus
trated. The removing the Business to the General
Court, he tells his Lordship, was however, upon one
Consideration, not "entirely to his Dissatisfaction;"
for he says, it was then in a great Measure " taken
out of his Hands"; and he concludes, that "as he
cannot conduct this Business as it ought to be," or
rather as he chose it should be, "it may be best for
him to have but little Hand in it." 1 It may not be
amiss here to recite the Declaration of his Majesty s
Council at a full Board on the 2Qth of July, six Weeks
after the Commissioners voluntary Exile to the Cas
tle in Consequence of these pretended Apprehensions
of further Violences. The Council say, "the Com
missioners were not oblig d to quit the Town ; there
never had been any Insult offered to them ; their
quitting the Town was a voluntary Act of their own ;

1 Letters to the Ministry, p. 24.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 415

we do not apprehend there was any sufficient Ground
for their quitting it ; and, when they [15] had quitted
it, and were at the Castle, there was no Occasion for
Men of War to protect them." Such an Authority,
will, no doubt, be deem d sufficient to vindicate the
Town from this Aspersion ; especially, As the Coun
cil had then had Time cooly to recollect the Matter :
As they had born their full Testimony against the
Disorders, and taken every Step which belong d to
their Department, to bring the Offenders to condign
Punishment : But more especially, as that very
Board had always before supported the Governor s
Measures to the utmost Extent that their Con
sciences would allow, and many Times against the
general Sentiments of the People, for which they had
gain d the Governor s Applause, and his particular
Recommendations to his Majesty s Minister ; and he
himself could at this Time have no other Exception
to any Part of their Conduct, but their Opposition to
his favorite Plan, to introduce a military Government
into the Town, without the least Colour of Necessity,
and thereby to break thro the Mounds, and tear up
the very Foundation of the civil Constitution.

The Governor in his Letter to Lord Hillsborough
of the I4th of June, being resolved to give his Lord
ship an exact Detail of every Occurrence " from
whence the most dangerous Consequences are to be
expected," takes Occasion to mention "a Paper stuck
up on Liberty Tree." This Paper, he had said in his
Letter of the i3th, contain d "an Invitation of the
Sons of Liberty to meet at Six o Clock to clear the
Land of the Vermin which were come to devour

4 i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

them." A very innocent, if not a laudable Proposal,
for which the Country should think itself oblig d to
them, to be sure if they could have effected their De-
sign. But in this Letter it is called " a violent and
virulent Invitation to rise that Night to clear the
County of the Commissioners & their Officers, to
avenge themselves of the Custom-house Officers, &
put one of them to Death ? " And, still more alarm
ing, "there were also some indecent Threats against
the Governor ! " Could the Governor think that by
the Vermin that were come to devour the Land they
meant his Excellency and the Commissioners ! But
perhaps the Mind of the Sheriff who brought this
Information to the Governor was somewhat agitated
with the Fears of an Insurrection ; and moreover, we
may presume that he had not seen the Paper himself,
but took it from Report, in Conformity to the Exam
ple of the [16] Governor, who believ d or pretended to
believe every Word of it, till he had the mortifying
Sight of the true Contents of this very important
Paper ; of which the following as he himself at length
tells his Lordship is "an exact Copy" viz. Boston,
June 13, 1768. The Sons of Liberty request all
those who in this Time of Oppression and Distraction
wish well to and would promote the Peace, Good-
Order and Security of the Town and Province,
to assemble at Liberty-Hall under Liberty Tree
on Tuesday the 14th Instant, at Ten o Clock 1 pre
cisely. 2 It might have been suppos d that so

1 The word "forenoon" appears here in the copy of the notice as incor
porated in Bernard s letter, in Letters to the Ministry, p. 23.

2 The draft in the autograph of Adams (Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Li
brary) begins at this point, and continues, with many variations of detail, into

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 417

harmless a Thing would have given Offence to none.
In the first Place, the Matters alledg d in it were con
fessedly true : That this was a Time of Oppression,
the People all felt : That it was a Time of Distrac
tion, the Governor and the Commissioners loudly pro-
claim d : A Design then at such a Time to promote
the Peace, Good-Order, and Security of the Town,
was at least unexceptionable. But the Governor
complains that " it was not considered as an Implica
tion of Danger " : Strange would it have been indeed,
if so salutary a Proposal as the promoting the Peace,^
Good-Order and Security of the Town had been thus
considered. " Neither, says he, was the Impropriety
of the Sons of Liberty appointing a Meeting to secure
the Peace of the Town, when the Governor and Coun
cil were sitting upon that Business, and seemly to little
Purpose, taken much Notice of." But surely if the
Governor and Council could be supposed to be sitting
upon siich Business, at such a Time, and seemingly to
little Purpose, there could be no great Impropriety in
other Peoples undertaking it. But without adopting
by any Means the Measure, Is not here a striking In
stance of the Disposition of Governor Bernard, and
some others, to receive with the greatest Avidity the
most aggravated Accounts of every trifling Occur
rence that has happened, and without any Enquiry,
to paint them to the Ministry in the deepest 1 Colours !
Behold a Meeting, the profess d Design of which was
to promote the Peace, Good-Order and Security of

page 28 of the text of the original edition. Tudor, however, claimed that it
was the " joint production " of Otis and Adams. Life of James Otis, p. 366.
1 The draft reads "highest."

VOL. I. 27.

4 i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

the Town, and that in open Day-Light, represented
to the King s Minister as a Meeting design d to be
held at six o Clock, near Sun-set, 1 in one Letter ; and
in another the next Day, " a most violent and virulent
Invitation to rise that Night ! and clear the Country
of the Commissioners, threaten the Governor, and
[17] commit Murder " ! In Consequence of which he
tells the Council, there is " no Time to enquire into
the Particulars of the former Riot ". They are to
be hurried to Measures to provide for \h& Peace of the
Town;" and to prevent "new Disturbances premedi
tated " and " immediately threatned " ; and his Lord
ship is to be forthwith inform d of it. Certainly, every
candid Person will from hence be inclin d to believe
all that Governor Bernard relates to the Prejudice
of this Town, or any particular Persons, with Great

His Letter of the i6th of June, 2 for he seem d to
be almost every Day employ din writing his "Detail
of common Reports, gives the Earl of Hillsborough
an Account of "the Meeting at Liberty-Tree in pur
suance of the printed Notice ". And after entertaining
his Lordship with a particular tho awkard and in
consistent description of the Tree, the vast Heighth
of the Flag Staff, and the Design of hoisting the
Flag, namely "for a Signal," which to be sure must
be a Discovery quite new to his Lordship, he proceeds
to say ; that " at least 4000 Men assembled ", that

1 In place of the following nine words, the draft reads : with a design to
clear the Land of Vermin for these are the Expressions of the first Letter & the
next day explaind & called."

* Letters to the Ministry, pp. 25-27.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 419

" the principal Gentlemen attended to engage the
lower People to concur in Measures for Peace and
Quiet ", which was the profess d End of their Meeting
that " one of the Selectmen was chosen Moderator
or Chairman" that they adjourn d to the Town- Hall "
for the Accommodation of so large a Number.
And there it being "objected that they were not a
legal Meeting " they adjourn d to the Afternoon," he
should have said, broke up; and the Selectmen in
stead of " legalizing the Assembly" as it is oddly ex-
press d, call d a Town-Meeting agreeable to the Di
rections of the Law, to meet in the Afternoon. All
this was certainly an innocent Proceeding, and the
Governor himself, it is presumed did not think other
wise, for it happens for once, that he makes no par
ticular Remarks upon it ; and if it should be said of
them, that they met seemingly to little Purpose, it
might be said truly enough ; but it is to be remem
bered, that another Assembly, with their Chairman
at their Head, if the Governor s ludicrous Account of
the Meeting of that very respectable Body could be
credited, might in that Respect keep them in Coun
tenance. But innocent as it was, 1 the Governor did
not chuse it should be [18] thought that he view d it
in that Light, and therefore told the Council, and his
Lordship afterwards, that " had it been the first Busi
ness of the Kind, he should have asked their Advice,
whether he should not send to the General for
Troops" \ And to show his own excessive Fondness
for so arbitrary and violent a Measure, he adds, that

1 The draft at this point includes the words : both in its Effects & professd
Design ".


"he was ready to do it, if any one Gentleman would
propose it ! "

The Governor then proceeds to give a Detail of
the Meeting of the Town in the Afternoon ; in which
he tells his Lordship, that " many wild and violent
Proposals were made." It ought here to be ob
served, that Governor Bernard constantly represents
Bodies of Men, even the most respectable, by Pro
posals made by Individuals, which have been mis- I
represented by Pimps and Parasites, and perhaps._\
aggravated by himself, instead of allowing them to
stand or fall by their own Conclusions Can any
Thing be more base, more contrary to Equity than
this ? What should we think of the most respectable
Corporations at Home what even of both Houses
of Parliament, if they were to be judged of by every
Motion that has been made, or every Expression that
has drop d from Individuals in the Warmth of De
bates. If it had been true that such Proposals were
made, nay, if measures that could not have been alto
gether justified, had been even adopted by the Town,
at a Time when every Art had been practiced to
irritate the People, and inflame their Minds, the can
did Part of Mankind would have been ready to over
look it. The Governor has often been observed to
discover an Aversion to free Assemblies : No Wonder
then that he should be so particularly disgusted at a
legal Meeting of the Town of Boston, where a noble
Freedom of Speech is ever expected and maintained :
An Assembly of which it may be justly said, to borrow
the Language of the ancient Roman, with a little Vari-

1 Most of the remainder of page 18 is lacking in the draft.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 421

ation, S entire quae volunt et quae senticat dicere licet,
They think as they please, and speak as they think.
Such an Assembly has ever been the Dread often the
Scourge of Tyrants But these " wild and violent
Proposals," which no one can recollect but the Gover
nor, and perhaps his Informers, it seems were " warded
off" as the Governor is pleas d to express it, from
whence it may be suppos d that Prudence directed at
this Meeting, " ori[i9]ginated and compos d as (he
says) it was " By these Expressions it is conceiv d,
he would intimate to his Lordship that it was both il
legal and tumultuous ; and if that was his real Inten
tion, the Insinuation was both false and injurious.
The Meeting was "originated" as the Law directs,
and nothing was there concluded upon according to
the Governor s own Account, but the Appointment
of a Committee, which he himself says " in general
was very respectable," to wait on him "with a Peti
tion"; the receiving his Answer, as he is pleas d to
say, with " universal Approbation " ! writing a Letter
to a Friend, and voting such Instructions as they tho t
proper to their Representatives. After which he tells
his Lordship they "broke up quietly" and the Meet
ing ended." But notwithstanding this quiet and as
may be concluded by the Governor s Account of it,
coalziing Town Meeting, which consisted of so large
a Number, and among whom he himself was so " popu
lar" that even "the Moderator declared that he
really believ d he was a Well-wisher to the Province."
(Thus saith Governor Bernard, but no one remembers
or believes it) yet all this will not avail to soften his
Mind or alter his Intentions. And altho he tells his


Lordship "the Romney and a Sloop of 16 Guns just
come in will compleat the Command of all the Ap
proaches to the Castle, and other Ships of War are
expected, so that the Security of the Commissioners
is effectually provided for " ; yet the favorite Point
will not be carried, till the long-wish d-for Troops ar
rive, to enforce his arbitrary Designs, and suppress
the Spirit of Liberty. And now is the Time, if ever,
to press the Matter : Every Hand therefore must be
set to work, and nothing will serve the Cause like
continually holding up the idea of an Insurrection.
Accordingly we find one of the Auxiliaries, whose
Letter, tho anonimous, has Credit enough to appear
in the List laid before Parliament, says "It is my _
Opinion that the Promoters of the present Evils arey
..ready to unmask, and openly to discover their long and
latent Design to REBEL" and "involve this Coun
try in Blood and Horror"! Another anonimous
Writer, who is said to be " well acquainted with the
State of the Town of Boston", says, that "He ob
serves a Sourness in the Minds of the People in gen
eral", and adds, "He that runs may read, that without
[20] speedy Interposition, a great Storm will arise."
The Collector and Comptroller of the Customs men
tion with deep Concern, as they affect to express them
selves, "that a general Spirit of INSURRECTION pre
vails, not only in the Town, but throughout the whole
Provinces ."* The Commissioners themselves, in their
Letter to General Gage, tell him, " that it is utterly
impossible to carry on the Business of the Revenue
in the Town of Boston, from the outrageous Behavior

1 Letters to the Ministry, p. 101.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 423

of the People : " They acquaint the General " of the
alarming State of Things in the Town, and desire
him to give them Protection." And tho Gov. Ber
nard, when not so much on his Guard, or perhaps
under some little Compunction of Mind, in his Letter
to the Commissioners, June 13, gently chides them
for their ill-grounded Fears, and tells them" he is very
sorry that they think themselves so much in Danger
in Boston (which he had before said was no Place of
Safety for them) as to think it unsafe for them to re
side there " ; notwithstanding all this, yet in the Let
ter we are now considering, which was written nearly
at the same Time, he positively assures his Lordship,
that " if there is not a REVOLT, the Leaders must
falsify their Words and change their Purposes." Per
haps he would have been more consistent if he had

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