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Sovereign, and a tender regard to the interest of his
subjects of this province, the rule of your administra
tion, you may rely upon the readiest assistance that
this house shall be able to afford you. And you will
have our best wishes that you may have wisdom
to strike out such a path of conduct, as, while it
secures to you the smiles of your Royal Master, will
at the same time conciliate the love of a free and
loyal people.


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 75-77.]

Whereas the just rights of his Majesty s subjects of
this Province, derived to them from the British Con
stitution, as well as the royal charter, have been lately
drawn into question : in order to ascertain the same,
this House do unanimously come into the following
resolves :

i. Resolved, That there are certain essential rights
of the British Constitution of government, which are
founded in the law of God and nature, and are the
common rights of mankind ; therefore,


/T2. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province

are unalienably entitled to those essential rights in

common with all men : and that no law of society

can, consistent with the law of God and nature, divest

them of those rights.

3. Resolved, That no man can justly take the prop-
^ erty of another without his consent ; and that upon

this original principle, the right of representation in
the same body which exercises the power of mak
ing laws for levying taxes, which is one of the
main pillars of the British Constitution, is evidently

4. Resolved, That this inherent right, together with
all other essential rights, liberties, privileges, and
immunities of the people of Great Britain, have been

./ fully confirmed to them by Magna Charta, and by
former and by later acts of Parliament,

5. Resolved, That his Majesty s subjects in Amer-
j^ 1 ica are, in reason and common sense, entitled to the

same extent of liberty with his Majesty s subjects in

6. Resolved, That by the declaration of the royal
charter of this Province, the inhabitants are entitled
to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and
natural subjects of Great Britain to all intents, pur
poses, and constructions whatever.

7. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province
appear to be entitled to all the rights aforementioned
by an act of Parliament, i3th of Geo. II.

8. Resolved, That those rights do belong to the
inhabitants of this Province upon the principle of
common justice ; their ancestors having settled this

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS, 25

country at their sole expense, and their posterity
having approved themselves most loyal and faithful
subjects of Great Britain.

9. Resolved, That every individual in the Colonies
is as advantageous to Great Britain as if he were in
Great Britain and held to pay his full proportion of
taxes there ; and as the inhabitants of this Province
pay their full proportion of taxes for the support of
his Majesty s government here, it is unreasonable for
them to be called upon to pay any part of the charges
of the government there.

10. Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province
are not, and never have been, represented in the
Parliament of Great Britain ; and that such a repre
sentation there as the subjects in Britain do actually
and rightfully enjoy is impracticable for the subjects
in America ; and further, that in the opinion of this
House, the several subordinate powers of legislation
in America were constituted upon the apprehensions
of this impracticability.

11. Resolved, That the only method whereby the
constitutional rights of the subjects of this Province
can be secure, consistent with a subordination to the
supreme power of Great Britain, is by the continued
exercise of such powers of government as are granted
in the royal charter, and a firm adherence to the
privileges of the same.

12. Resolved, as a just conclusion from some of
the foregoing resolves, That all acts made by any
power whatever, other than the General Assembly of
this Province, imposing taxes on the inhabitants, are
infringements of our inherent and unalienable rights


as men and British subjects, and render void the most
valuable declarations of our charter.

13. Resolved, That the extension of the powers of
the Court of Admiralty within this Province is a most
violent infraction of the right of trials by juries, a
right which this House, upon the principles of their
British ancestors, hold most dear and sacred ; it being
the only security of the lives, liberties, and properties
of his Majesty s subjects here.

14. Resolved, That this House owe the strictest
allegiance to his most sacred Majesty King George
the Third ; that they have the greatest veneration for
the Parliament ; and that they will, after the example
of all their predecessors from the settlement of this
country, exert themselves to their utmost in support
ing his Majesty s authority in the Province, in pro
moting the true happiness of his subjects, and in
enlarging the extent of his dominion.

Ordered, That all the foregoing resolves be kept in
the records of this House, that a just sense of liberty
and the firm sentiments of loyalty be transmitted to


[MS., Collections of the Earl of Dartmouth.]

BOSTON NoV n 1765


Our good Friend M r Jonathan Mason has com
municated to us a Letter which he receivd from
you, wherein you very kindly express yo r Regard,
for the People of New England, & your Desires to
serve our civil as well as religious Interests

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 27

We^needjLQt ..inform y,o.u ..that we are the Descend-"^
ents of Ancestors remarkeable for their Zeal for true
Religion & Liberty : When they found it was no
longer possible for them to bear any Part in the Sup
port of this glorious Cause in their Native Country
England, they transplanted themselves at their own
very great Expence, into the Wilds of America, tillj
that Time inhabited only by Savage Beasts & Men :
Here they resolvd to set up the Worship of God,
according to their best Judgment, upon the Plan of
the new Testament ; to maintain it among themselves,
and transmit it to their Posterity ; & to spread the
knowledge of Jesus Christ among the ignorant &
barbarous Natives. As they were prosperd, in their
Settlement by Him, whose is the Earth & the Full
ness thereof, beyond all human Expectation, they
soon became a considerable Object of National At
tention, & a Charter was granted them by King
Charles the first. In this Charter, as Bp. Burnet has
observd, there was a greater Sacredness, than in
those of the Corporations in England : because Those
were only Acts of Grace, whereas This was a Con
tract, between the King & the first Patentees ; They
promisd the King to enlarge his Dominion, on their
own Charge, provided that They & their Posterity
might enjoy such & such Privileges. He adds, that
They have performd their Part, & for the King to
deprive their Posterity of the Privileges, therein
granted, would carry the Face of Injustice in it.
/Thus we se.eL.that Whatever Governm in general
( may IxTfounded in, Ours was manifestly founded in
\ Compact. Of this Charter we were however deprivd,


in an evil Reign, under Color of Law, but we obtaind
Another, in Lieu of it, after the Revolution, tho com-
pard with the former, it is but as the Shadow of the
Substance, & we enjoy it at this day.

We may venture to say, that His Majesty has no
Subjects, more loyall, than those of New England :
They have always been ready to own the Subordina
tion of their Governm* to the supreme Legislature
of Great Britain ; This Subordination is expressd in
the Charter, which perhaps might be strictly consid-
erd, as the only Medium of their political Connection
with the Mother State : For, As their Ancestors emi
grated at their own Expence, & not the Nations ; As
it was their own & not a National Act ; so they came
to & settled a Country which the Nation had no Sort
of Right in : Hence there might have been a Claim of
> Independency, which no People on Earth, could have
I any just Authority or Pretence to have molested.
But their strong & natural Attachment to their Native
Country inclind them to have their political Relation
with her continued ; They were recognizd by her, &
they & their Posterity, are expressly declard in their
Charter to be entitled, to all the Libertys & Immu-
nitys of free & natural Subjects of Great Britain, to
all Intents Purposes & Constructions whatever : So
that this Charter is to be lookd upon, to be as sacred
to them as Magna Charta is to the People of Britain ;
as it contains a Declaration of all their Rights founded
in natural Justice.

By this Charter, we have an exclusive Right to




make Laws for our own internal Government & Tax
ation : \And indeed if the Inhabitants here are British

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 29

Subjects, (& they never can brook to be thought N
any thing less) it seems necessary that they should /
exercise this Power within themselves ; for they /
are not represented in the British Parliam & their
great Distance renders it impracticable: It is very
probable that all the subordinate legislative Powers in
America, were constituted upon the Apprehension of
this Impracticability : To deprive them then of this
Power, which would be effectually done, if the Parlia
ment should make Laws internally to govern & tax
them, w d appear to be unjust in Another View, as it
would claim the Obedience from them, & at the same
time disfranchize them of a most essential Right of
British Subjects, namely that of_.a RepresentationD
But to obviate all Apprehensions of our Indepen
dency, which some Party Writers in England have
attempted to raise, let it be considerd, What Checks v
our Power of Legislation is subject to. Our Laws
must first pass his Majestys Council, who tho elected ) <
by the People may be negativd by the Chair ; next *
they must have the Assent of the Governor, before ^
they can be in force ; & finally they are to be laid X 5 ^
before His Majesty, who in any time during three^
years may disannul them at his Royal Will & Pleas-
ure ; by which means Any thing repugnant to the
Laws or the Interest of Great Britain will easily be
prevented. Surely the People in Britain have no
Reason to envy their fellow Subjects in America these
restricted Powers of Government.

And yet, to the Astonishment of the most thought-
full & judicious among the Colonists, an Act of
Parliament has lately been made, which in Effect


vacates their Charters, annihilates their harmless Pow
ers of Legislation, & leaves them not upon the Footing
of Subjects. We now have reference to the Stamp
Act, which has already involvd the Colonys in Con
fusion & Distress. This Act -is lookd upon as an
Infringrnent of the rights of Magna Charta, to which
the Colonists as free Subjects have an undoubted
Claim. XThere is nothing more certain than that
every English Subject, has a Right to be represented
in the same Body which exercises the Power of levy
ing Taxes^ Now this Act lays an internal Tax upon
many Thousand Freeholders, who are not & cannot
be represented in Parliament. It has been alledgd
by some Writers in England,, as they
are pleasd to call it, \l^rlually represented ) a Term
which almost always when it is used, needs Explana
tion They tell us, that Manchester, Birmingham
&c, send no Representatives & yet are taxed : But
Have not those Towns, a Right by the Constitution
to send Representatives ? Or, if they have wavd
this Right, Are they not still represented in the
Shires or Countys to which they belong ? Are not
their internal Circumstances similar to those of many
Towns which are represented ? Are they not within
the Kingdom, & may not their internal Circum
stances be easily ascertaind to the Parliam* if they
should be mistaken ? But Americans are at a Thou
sand Leagues Distance, seperated from Great Britain
by the wide Atlantic ; & their proportionate Ability
with the Nation, which must be taken, from an exact
knowledge of their internal Circumstances, ever vary
ing in infant Countrys, can no more be judgd of by

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 31

any Member of Parliam than if they livd in the Moon
Besides it is the Glory of the Subjects of a British
King, that they grant him their utmost Aid, of their
own free Accord : The Colonys have always thus
contributed to the Extent & some of them even
beyond their Abilitys, but if we are to be calld upon
by our Fellow Subjects in Britain, who cannot be
adequate Judges of our Ability, where is either our
Honor or Safety, as Subjects !

This Act will be very grievous in its Effect, as it
will very soon carry off the whole Quantity of Specie in
the Continent : Money is the very Support of Trade ;
& if the Trade of the Colonys is beneficial to Great JL
Britain, She must herself very soon feel the ill Effects
of a Measure, w ch will consume the very Vitals of that
Trade. Great Britain, can make her Colonys usefull
to her, by no more effectual Means than by encour
aging their Trade : Our Dependence is altogether
upon her Manufactorers, for many of the necessary
Articles of Life ; & it is Trade only that can furnish
us with the Means of purchasing them : It is cer
tainly then more for the Interest of Great Britain to
encourage the Trade of the Colonys, by which means
their Riches flow spontaneously into her Lap, than
to exact Revenues from them at the Expence of
their Trade./ Upon this Account we cannot help
mentioning Another Act of Parliamf, which appears
to us greatly detrimental both to Britain & her Colo-
nys : The Duty laid by that Act of 3 d p Gall n on
Molasses is insupportable : The trade to the West
Indies cannot be carried on with any Profit ; & if
that should be stopd, one Third Part at least of the


Fish that is catchd, being fit for no other Market,
will be good for nothing ; & this Loss upon the Fish
ing will totally ruin it ; The Effects of which must be,
that Remittances to Spain Portugal & other Parts
of Europe thro which Money circulates into Eng
land, for the Purchase of her Goods of all kinds,
must cease ; and imagine, Sir, What a Prejudice this
must be to Great Britain, to prevent so many Thou
sand from dayly consuming her Manufactures for the
future. Injshprt the Connection of the Colony s with
the JVI other Country, their Affection for her, & even
their Dependence upon her is kept up in a very great
Measure T)y their Trade with her ; TheParent then
in this one Instance should be carefull not to teach
the Children to live without her.

But consider Sir that Taxes & Duties are laid in
England upon the Goods that are imported here ;
Consequently the Consumers here pay a proportiona
ble Part towards the defreying the Charges of the
Governm there : And can it be thought equitable
further to tax us, especially when it is considerd
what heavy Taxes we are obligd to pay for the Sup
port of his Majestys Governm here ; for which a
Debt lys upon this Province, which it will take many
years to discharge. None of his Majestys Subjects
have shown a greater readiness to assist, in support
ing his just Rights & enlarging his Dominion, than
those of New England : Several Expeditions against
Canada in former Wars will evidence this : The
taking Anapolis Royall, & frequently saving it from
the hand of the Enemy : The successfull Attempt
against Louisburgh in 1745 which happily procurd a

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 33

Peace with France : The Removal of the Neutral
French from Nova Scotia, which was an absolutely
necessary Step towards the final Reduction of all
Canada, & which was done by this Province alone, &
many other signal Services, which have exhausted
our Treasure & Blood ; for some of which we were
promisd in the reign of the late Queen Ann, signal
Marks of Favor ; but have receivd no Compensa
tions at all till within twenty years past & that not a
Third part of our actual Expence. Is it not grievous
then that instead of favors, we should after all that
we have done, be exposed to the Loss of our Estates
our Trade, Honor & Liberty !

Your kind Disposition towards this suffering Coun
try will engage us to write you further upon these
Subjects by the next Opp ty in the mean time, our
hearty Prayer is that you may be succeeded in all
your Endeavors to promote the spiritual kingdom of
Jesus Christ & we remain with all Sincerity
Your Friends

& hum 1 serv ts


P. S. There has lately been a Congress of Cornit-
tees from the several Houses of Representatives &
Burgesses on this Continent to prepare an humble
dutifull & loyall Representation to the King &
Parliament, which they have done in three several

The Congress recommended to the several Houses
of representatives to appoint Each a special Agent

VOL. I. 3.


to present these Petitions &c : the representatives of
this Province have made Choice of Dennis Deberdt
Esq r of London his good Character & Abilities being
well known here What more particularly recom
mended this Gentleman to some leading Members
was, that he was thought to have the Favor of the
Earl of Dartmouth, a nobleman of the highest Re
pute in the Opinion of many Men of Sense &
Worth It would add very great Weight to the
Cause of the distressd American Subjects if their
Circumstances could be fully known to a nobleman
of his Lordships great Integrity & Understanding

Ut supra



TO G w.

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library.]

BOSTON Nov r 13 1765


At the request of M r J. M. I have joynd with
T. C. Esq r in a Letter to you which goes by this
Conveyance. I have long been convincd of your
Good Will to Mankind & your particular Regards
for New Eng d . The free Access which I am informd
you have with some eminent Personages, may put it
in your Power to do us Offices of singular kindness.
New Eng d has had the Misfortune of having many
Enemys, but He that planted the Vine, seems
hitherto to have had a watchfull Eye over it. It
must be confessd we are greatly degenerated, may

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 35

the Head of the Chh hasten the happy Time of

The Nation has no doubt before now rec d alarming
accounts from America. Nothing could have given
greater Disgust than the Stamp Act. The People are
in Consternation from one end of the Continent to the
Other. Whatever the favorers of the Act on your
side the Water may apprehend, it is certainly es-
teemd a Grievance in the Opinion of many Thou
sands of as loyal & quiet Subjects as any under the_j
Kings Government. Among the many Speculations
which have been publishd in America upon this
Subject the impartial reader must discover the
warmest Sentiments of Duty & Affection to His
Majesty & his illustrious House. I wish some Gen-
ious of the Earl of D-rtm th s Goodness & penetra
tion might find Leisure particularly to attend to this
Matter, in which I think Great Britain herself as well
as her Colony, is deeply interested. We stand in
great Need of some such Advocate in Eng d , as the
Gov r of this Province has declard, in a Message de-
liverd to the house of representatives the last Week
that he has no Pretence to interpose in this business ;
& that he does not think any Gov r on the Conti
nent has presumd to express his Sentiments against
the Act : Which case may be easily supposd, for it is
not likely that any Gent n in commission, w d chuse to
express his sentiments against what is said to be a
favorite Point with a Minister. It is however amus
ing that those who are substituted by his Majesty to
be the Patrons of his Subjects in the several Colonys
should think themselves to be under this Restraint.


The Ministry & the Parliam 1 no doubt had the
good of the Colonys as well as the Nation in View ;
with respect to the Colonys, they are at so great a
Distance, & having none in England to represent
them, it cannot be wonderd at if their interest
should be sometimes mistaken. The Opinion of a
Gov r will no doubt be of great Weight & candidly
receivd : if they are silent, the Applications of the
People will be apt to be thought of little Importance.
But should these Gent" with a Design to please their
Superiors express their Minds in favor of any Meas
ure, the Peoples Uneasiness might then be imputed
to a discontented or even a factious humour. And
considering the Imperfection of human Nature,
This Inclination to flatter a Superior is at least a
possible Supposition. His Excellency intimates that
it w d be taking too great a Liberty for him to obtrude
his Advice to His Majestys Ministers unaskd : But
with due Submission I cannot easily believe that for
a Gent n whom his Majesty has honord with the
Governm 1 over a Province to deliver his Senti
ments even ag* a Measure which he might think to be
prejudicial to the People of such a Province w d be
deemd an Obtrusion. I ask pardon for mentioning
these things. I honor the Kings Gov r for his royal
Masters Sake my only View is to hint to you what
great Disadvantages the American Subjects are un
der, at so great a Distance from the fountain of Na
tional Justice, & how much need they stand in of
friends at Court, when their own Guardians, & those
who can serve them are silent upon maxims of pru
dence, thro fear of giving Offence. As I have taken

1765] SAMUEL ADAMS. 37

the Liberty to say thus much I feel obligd to in
close the Papers which contain what passd between
y e Gov r & y e House of Representatives during the
last Session of the Gen 1 Court & remain & c .

S. A.

In looking over one of the latest London News
Papers, I find the following Article viz " The Dis
putes continually arising in y e American Colonys,
joyned to the Struggles they make for Independence,
it is thought will induce the British Legislature, to
new modle their System of governmt & to allow
them representatives in y e great Council of the Na
tion." Whether the Writer of this Piece of Intelli
gence meant only to amuse the Nation I am not able
to say. he has endeavord to establish two facts,
one of w ch at least is without any foundation. That
there are frequently Disputes between adjoyning
Colonys, about their dividing Line, is true ; but we
hope they may be settled, as they have always here
tofore been, without the Necessity of altering their
System of GovernnV. A very celebrated Writer, the
Author of the Spirit of Laws, has defined political
Liberty to be " a Tranquility of Mind arising from
the Opinion which each Man has of his own Safety."
Now if a Number of Colonys are to have their Sys
tem of GovernnV new modeld at Discretion, or even
to be threatend with it, because such Disputes, as
subsist wherever Society is, takes place among them,
there can never be among them any opinion of their
Safety, from which sh d arise a tranquility of Mind,
and consequently there can be no Liberty, according


to the Definition of the beforementiond learned

This News Writer shoots his Bow at a Venture :
Where did he learn that y e Colonys were strugling
for Independence? The Contrary is most certainly
true : You, Sir, can be a Witness to the Loyalty of
y e Colonys & their Affection for the Mother Country :
There is at present no appearance of such disposition
as this Writer w d insinuate, much less a Struggle for
Independence ; & I dare say there never will be un
less Great Britain, shall exert her power to destroy
their Libertys. This we hope will never be done.
He tells us "that we are to be allowd representatives
in the great Council of y e Nation " w ch implys that we
have no representatives there at present. This is a
main Argument against a constitutional right of Par-
liam t to tax us. It is built upon one of the main
pillars of the British Constitution, the right of repre
sentation. If the Subject has a constitutional right,
to be represented in y e body that taxes him, it is but
altering the Expression of the same Sentiment, to
say there can be no constitutional right to tax the

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 31)