Samuel Adams.

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imagined these Letters would ever have seen the
Light. He concludes his Letter with mentioning a
a few more " Papers stuck up on the Town House".
No Evidence however appears to have accompanied
all these heavy Charges upon a whole Community:
But Gov. Bernard and others seem to have con
ducted their Proscriptions as if they could have, even
foreseen that the bold Assertions of Persons appar
ently inimical to a Country, anonimous Letters, Street
Conversation picked up by Pimps and Spies, and
Papers stuck by no one knows whom on a publick
Building, would be of so much Weight as to influence
the Measures of Administration ! Can any Person
believe this a just Representation, when Governor
Bernard with all his industry and Aid has not been
able to furnish Proof that any Body or Combination

4 2 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1769

of Men, or even a single Person, had incur d a legal
Penalty, if we except the Disturbances that happen d
on March and June already considered.

The Governor in his Letter of the Qth of July in
forms his Lordship of a Mancevre, as he calls it, of the
Sons of [21] Liberty ; a Number of them going out
of Boston at the close of a certain Day in Parties,
and meeting on each Side of a House in Roxbury,
which Mr. Robinson (and his Lordship must be in-
form d that he also was one of the Commissioners)
had lately hired, with an Intention to surprize him
and prevent his Escape ; but he being at the Castle,
where the Commissioners had been driven for Safety,
they did nothing but plunder his Fruit Trees. l This
is a very solemn Account indeed ; but he never laid
this " Mancevre of the Sons of Liberty", extraordi
nary as it was, before the Council, which he never
fail d to do on like Occasions ; thinking possibly, that
respectable Body might be of Opinion, that a Gentle
man of any political Party may be supposed to have
had his Orchard or Fruit Gardens robb d by liquorish
Boys, without making a formal Representation before
his Majesty s first Ministers of State. As the Gov
ernor will still have it that the Commissioners were
"driven to the Castle for Safety", we take Occasion
to observe here, that it was notorious, that they fre
quently landed on the Main, and made Excursions
into the Country ; visiting the Lieutenant-Governor

1 In place of the following seven words the draft reads : " If there is any foun
dation for this Story, which is very improbable, it being at this time a piece of
News in the Town no doubt it is greatly exaggerated to serve the purpose which
the Gov r had constantly in view."

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 425

and other Gentlemen at their Seats, where it would
have been easy to have seized them if any Injury had
been intended them ; which as his Majesty s Council
very justly have observed, " demonstrated the Insin
cerity of their Declarations", as it did those of the
Governor " that they immured themselves at the
Castle for Safety ".

Another Part of the Detail in this Letter is the
Rescue of a Vessel which had been seiz d by the Cus-
tom-House Officers. It seems by Governor Bernard s
Account, it had been " thought proper to try an Ex
periment " ; for says he, " When the Sloop was seiz d
which occasion d the Riot, and in Consequence of
which the Commissioners were oblig d to leave the
Town, the greatest Part of the Resentment was ex-
press d against the putting her under the Care of
the Man of War " ; which was very true, and he
might have also said, the making the Seizure with an
armed Force, 1 and therefore, he adds, "when this
Schooner was seiz d, it was left at the Wharff, under
no other Care but two Custom-House Officers", in
hopeful, no Doubt, if not certain Expectation that
the Rescue would be made, from [22] whence it might
possibly be made to appear that the Resentment
against the Proceedings of the Custom-House Offi
cers in the former Instance, as being violent and ille
gal, was mere Pretence. The Rescue was made, and
it was universally displeasing to the Town. The
Governor says, " this very Molasses was the next
Day return d," and tells his Lordship, that " the Se-

1 At this point the draft includes the words : "which was unprecedented ille
gal & justly alarming."


lectmen of the Town sent for the Master of the
Schooner," and " ordered him to return it, under Pain
of the Displeasure of the Town " ; which is a gross
Misrepresentation of the Matter and artfully de
signed to prepare for the subsequent ungenerous Re
mark, that " all Government is now in the Hands of
the People." A good Magistrate would have re
joiced in this Instance of the People s voluntarily af
fording their Aid in the Recovery of the King s Due,
which had been rescued from him, without torturing
his Invention to find an ill-natured Construction for
it: But Gov. Bernard is disturb d that "the Hu
mour of the People," which he says this was done "to
please," should ever coincide with their Duty to their
Sovereign The voluntary Association of the People
to promote Peace and good Order, he had before
said "carried an Implication of Danger" to the Gov
ernment ; and now, when they seem to unite in taking-
Measures for the Execution of a Law, altho in
its Nature disagreeable to the People, why truly " the
Government is in the Hands of the People, and not
of those deputed by the King, or under his Au
thority." But if the People had a View to save their
own Reputation in this Piece of Service to the
Crown, as the Governor intimates, surely he will not
say it was "ill-judged" or "ill-timed." The Truth
is, they had a particular View at this Time to pre
vent Governor Bernard s improving this Rescue,
which they were in no Sort concerned in, to the
Prejudice of the Town, as had been his constant
Practice in other Cases, and as it now evidently ap
pears he intended : And it was certainly a wise

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 427

Precaution ; tho a candid Mind will by no Means
exclude any other good Intentions. We cannot for
bear taking Notice here with Freedom, of a very ex
traordinary Assertion of Governor Bernard, in this
Letter to his Lordship, That " every Seizure made,
or attempted to be made on Land at Boston for these
three Years past, before these two Instances, had been
violently rescued or prevented." An As- [23] sertion
so notoriously false, that few Men could have made
it without Blushing ; and we may suppose even Gov
ernor Bernard himself would not have made it, had
he apprehended it would ever have become Public.*
The Officers of the Customs themselves will not
venture to affirm it. If the Assertion is true, his
Majesty s Council must have been egregiously mis
taken when they declare that " no Instance can be al-
ledg d of any Vessel seiz d or any Seizure whatever in
the Town of Boston being rescued out of the Hands
of the Officers, except what took Place here on the
8th of July Instant, when a Quantity of Molasses
(this very Molasses) having been seiz d, was taken
away from the Officers who had Charge of it ; which
unwarrantable Proceeding being universally con-
demn d, the Molasses was very soon return d " . As

* It is remarkable that Governor Bernard, not long before these
Letters were made public, expressed to a certain Gentleman, his ear
nest Wish, that the People of this Province could have a Sight of all
his Letters to the Ministry, being assured that they would thereby be
fully convinced that he was a Friend to the Province Indeed he made
a Declaration to the same Purpose, in one of his public Speeches to
the House of Representatives. Upon the Arrival of the Letters how
ever, he discovered, as some say, a certain Paleness, and complained
of as an Hardship that his Letters, wrote in Confidence, should be ex-
pos d to the View of the Public. A striking Proof of the Baseness,
as well as the Perfidy of his Heart !


this base Story was invented and told by Gov. Ber
nard, with the sole Intention of casting an Odium
upon the Town, we have Reason to expect his Re
traction of it ; or he must bear the Reproaches of
an highly injur d Community, and the just Cen
sures of all impartial Men. After these false and
injurious Assertions, he thinks it a proper Time to
acquaint his Lordship, that the one Regiment which
he had the flattering Expectation of, from a Letter he
had receiv d from General Gage, " tho it might secure
the Castle, would not be sufficient to awe the Town";
which was in Effect asking for more. Thus we see
the Means which Governor Bernard and his Confed
erates have been incessantly using to accomplish their
Designs ; and strange as it may in some better Times
hereafter appear, these Means and these very Instru
ments at Length prevail d to introduce a military
Power into this Town A Power which is daily
trampling on our Laws, contemning our [24] Religion,
and invading the Rights both of Persons and Prop
erty A Power by which a truly loyal but long-
abus d and highly provok d Community, is, not indeed
awed, but distress d And were it not for the certain
Advice that our humble and dutiful Supplications
have at Length reach d the Royal Hand, we should
be reduc d even to a State of Desperation !

Governor Bernard in his Letter to Lord Hills-
borough of the 1 6th of September, 1 begins with ac
quainting his Lordship with \htprudent Methods he
took, to communicate the Expectation of the Troops
gradually, for Fear of certain ill Effects that might

1 Letters to the Ministry, pp. 52-56.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 429

arise from their sudden Arrival. And no wonder
that the Man who had long been representing a
whole Country as Rebels ; and had been one of the
principal Instruments in bringing such a Curse upon
it, should at that Juncture be under some Apprehen
sions of Danger. In his last Letter he talks of his
personal Courage, and tells Lord Hillsborough that
" he did not feel his own Firmness of Mind to fail " :
He also mentions " the spirited Condiict of the Lieu-
tenant-Governor ; and with Pleasure assures his
Lordship that " he could depend upon his Resolution
and Steadiness as much as he could upon his own "/
from whence he concludes that " there would be no
want of a due Enforcement of the Laws to the Cor
rection of the present Abuses " : But now he seems
to be conscious of Fear ! Happy was it for him, that
he was in the Hands of a People ; who attended to
the Dictates of sound Policy, Religion and Loyalty-
He first opens this Matter to one of the Council, and
tells him that "he had private Advice that Troops
were order d hither, but that he had no publick
Orders about it himself"; and he observes that "it
quickly was very thoro ly circulated all over the
Town," and the Faction immediately took the
Alarm ". By this he would insinuate that the better
Sort of the People, and even the Generality of the
Town, were well enough pleas d with it. If the Fac
tion only took the Alarm, the Generality of the Town
must have been included in the Faction : For in Truth,
he had the Mortification of seeing the whole Body
of the People, saving his own very few Adherents
who were properly an implacable Faction, thoro ly



awakened and alarm d at the sudden Ex- [25] -pecta-
tion of a military Force, which had indeed been often
threatned by this Faction, but few realiz d it before
And now the Pimps were all immediately sent out,
who no Doubt were rewarded in Proportion to their
Success in the Business ; and the Governor soon had
Intelligence brought to him of the Conversation of
"private Companies : And that in one " it was the
general Opinion to raise the Country and oppose the
Troops " ; in another " it was resolv d to surprize and
take the Castle ". How ridiculously impertinent must
he appear in the Eyes of Men of Sense, after all
to acquaint his Lordship, that "he does not relate
these Accounts as certain Facts." To what Purpose
then did he relate them at all ! It seems that he was
full as designing, in communicating to Lord Hills-
borough, as he was in communicating to the People,
tho his Designs were different : For the People
were not to be told the whole that the Governor
knew to be true ; but his Lordship was to be induc d
to believe more : In either Case if the Purpose could
be served, Sincerity was out of the Question. Un
certain however as these Facts were, his Lordship is
informed, that they were yet "believed" ! Strange,
as they were said to be Facts of Yesterday, that no
one, after all the Pains that had been taken, could
make them certain ; and if they were not to be made
certain, stranger still that any in their Senses should
believe them. Some Men are very apt to believe that
which they wish were true : This no doubt is the
present Case. And besides, we are to remember,
that more than two Regiments were wanted to awe

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 431

the Town; and if the Governor could boldly say,
that these Reports, vague as they were, had obtained
any Credit here, no Matter by whom believed, they
would have some Weight. But he must be presumed
to think very injudiciously of the Head or the Heart
of a Minister of State, to suppose that such an undi
gested and ridiculous Account of Things would in
fluence his Measures. Nothing, we should think,
but the great Candor which has ever appeared in
Lord Hillsborough towards Governor Bernard, could
have prevented his severest Censure. But admitting
they were true, which was by no Means the Case,
certainly the Town is not accountable for what one
of his Excellencies Spies might have overheard in a
"private Company. "-Let us then consider the Ac
count the Governor [26] gives of the public Conduct
of the Town, at a Meeting legally called on Monday
September 12. And first he says, "at the Hall the
Faction appeared surrounded with all its Forces " ;
and an Appearance very decent at least, it seems, they
were capable of making according to the Governor s
Account. For he tells his Lordship, " a Set of
Speeches by the Chiefs of the Faction, and no one
else, followed in such Order and Method, that every
Thing both as to Matter and Order, seem d to have
been preconcerted ; " while alas ! the " very few prin
cipal Gentlemen there," the better Sort in the Gov
ernor s Estimation, appeared " as curious, perhaps
anxious Spectators " ! Where is now the little Re
mains of an expiring Faction, which he had so often
told the World of ? The Tone is wonderfully altered ;
the Body of the People are now truly represented as


united firm and regular in their Opposition to his
Measures, while his own few partizans, who yet must
be stiled " the principal Gentlemen" tho expecting
every Moment to be " surrounded with all their
Forces," appeared inquisitive and anxious for the
Event ! But nothing was resolved upon, says the
Governor, but to put two Questions to me, and ap
point a general Committee to consider and report."
The main Question to the Governor was, Whether
he had certain Expectation of the Troops ? To
which he answered with an artful Ambiguity that he
had private Advice, but no publick Orders about it.
His private Advice might have been certain ; or he
might have had authentick publick Advice without
publick Orders about it, for General Gage was Com
mander in Chief of the King s Forces. Being how
ever somewhat press d by the Committee who
waited on him, he discover d a Duplicity for which
he has a peculiar Talent, and said, that he would not
have the Town certainly expect the Troops ; altho
he then expected them himself, and fully believ d
they were on their Passage from Halifax ; and in this
Letter to Lord Hillsborough he tells him, that it was
at that very Time his Intention to communicate these
Expectations of them gradually His Account of
divers Speeches made in the Town Meeting is as un
certain, and with Regard to some of them, as untrue,
as the Intelligence he had receiv d of the private
Conversation : Perhaps it was carried to him by the
same Hands, as some of his principal Gentlemen
were there. [27] The Resolves and Determinations of
this Meeting, as the Governor says, were published

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 433

to the World ; and they remain on the Records of
the Town that Posterity may judge of them. The
Town has seen no Reason since to revoke these Re
solves, notwithstanding they have been sentenc d as
" very dangerous Resolves, procured by mad People ",
by so exquisite a Judge, in Matters which regard
civil Government, as well as so polite a Gentleman
as General Gage. The Governor himself has been
since respectfully requested by the Selectmen, in Be
half of the Town, to shew in what Respect the Re
solves and Proceedings of this very Meeting had
militated with Law ; but he declined it : And we
believe he declin d it, because he was not able to do
it. Spirited indeed they were, but not too spirited
for the Times. When the Constitution is threatened,
the Principles of the Constitution must, if ever, be
asserted and supported The Governor indeed takes
Notice of our Claim to a certain Clause in the Bill
of Rights as "a large Stride " : But as we are free
British Subjects, we claim all that Security against
arbitrary Power, to which we are entitled by the
Law of God and Nature, as well as the British Con
stitution. And if a Standing Army may not be post
ed upon the Subjects in one Part of the Empire, in
a Time of Peace, without their Consent, there can
be no Reason why it should in any other ; for all
British Subjects are or ought to be alike free.

The Governor in a former Letter to Lord Hillsbor-
ough mention d the Selectmens ordering the Arms
belonging to the Town to be brought out and clean d ;
and to make something of the Story, he told him that
" they were expos d some Hours at the Town House " :

VOL. I. 28.


In this Letter he says " these Arms were deposited
in Chests, and laid upon the Floor of the Town Hall
to remind the People of the Use of them ". Could any
one besides Governor Bernard, descend to so pitiful
an Artifice as to insinuate that these Arms were
clean d, expos d to the People, and finally laid on the
Floor of the Hall at this Juncture, to induce his Lord
ship to believe, that these were the Forces with which ]
the Faction appear d surrounded ", and that the Se
lectmen who are the principal City Magistrates, and
the leading Part of the Town itself, were actually in
the Plan which he had just before mentioned, as con
certed in one of the private Meetings, " to raise the
Country & oppose the Troops " : And [28] that
these Arms deposited in Chests were laid on the
Floor of the Hall, to " remind the People of the Use
of them," and inspirit them for the Purpose of oppos
ing the Troops. Whereas the simple Truth of the
Matter is, these Arms had for many Years been de
posited in Chests and laid on the Floor of the Town
Hall ; but the Hall itself being burnt a few Years ago,
the Arms were sav d from the Ruins and carried to
the Town House : After the Hall was Re-built the
Town ordered their Removal there ; and tho it hap-
pen d to be done at a Juncture when the Governor
and his Confederates talked much of the Town s re
volting, there was no other Thought in the Minds of
any, except the Governor and a few more, and it is a
Question whether even he, or they, really thought
otherwise, but to lodge them in their proper and
usual Place.

We cannot help taking Notice how very exact the

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 435

Governor sometimes is even in the choice of Words,
in his " Detail of Facts " to a Minister of State :
An Instance of which we have now before us, wherein
he mentions to his Lordship his inclosing " a blank
Copy of the Precept (as he is pleas d to call it) which
the Selectmen have used," it is a Wonder it was not
issued, for that would have made it appear more format,
"in calling together the Convention"; from whence
he takes Occasion to say, it was " a daring Assump
tion of the Royal Authority." Here then is the Trea
son and Misprision of Treason, or a Part of it at least,
about which there has been such an Eclat of late ; for
which the Governor tells his Lordship in his Detail
of the Convention, every Well-wisher of the Prov
ince, of whom he is doubtless one, " most devoutly
desires the Charter may be forfeited " And some of
the Leaders were to be sent to England to be tried
there Nay, his Lordship, or some one of his Maj
esty s Servants is informed that they expected it
themselves ; for Commodore Hood in one of his
short and pithy Epistles, says, " they were alarm d,
and expected nothing less than a Voyage to England
against their Inclinations". But his Lordship s deep i
Penetration might have discover d that this " Precept /
to call a Convention " was nothing more than a. friendly
circular Letter to the Selectmen of the several Towns
in the Province, desiring them to propose to their re
spective Towns the sending Committees, to join with
those of the Town of Boston, in consulting Measures
to promote Peace and good [29] Order : which was
so far from an Assumption of the Royal Author
ity, that it assumed not the least Shadow of any


Authority whatever This very innocent Measure of
the Town in " calling together a Convention " as the
Governor expresses it, which he so highly censures,
and upon the Promoters of which he loudly calls for the
national Vengeance, was most certainly attended with
all the happy Effects for which it was propos d : For
the general Sentiments of the Province were thereby
collected, which could not otherwise have been done ;
the Governor having arbitrarily dissolv d the General
Assembly, and positively refus d to call another,
against the dutiful Petition of the Convention itself,
as well as of the Town, even before they propos d or
thought of it The several Towns having the Oppor
tunity of conferring together by their Committees,
had the same Effects which followed a certain circu
lar Letter, which formerly so perplex d his Excellency ;
for the People became the more united in the Meas
ures proper to be taken for the Preservation of their
common Rights at so critical and alarming a Junc
ture. And tho the Governor says "at the Fountain
Head it was intended to provoke Resentment ", yet
to this very Measure has been imputed, in some small
Degree at least, whether justly or not, it becomes
not this Town to say, that Prudence as well as Firm
ness and Perseverance in the Cause of Liberty, of
which it is hoped this Country will forever avail
itself. Even Governor Bernard cannot but own that
the Convention discover d " Moderation " and " a
temperate Conduct ", which is far from being incon
sistent with true Fortitude : But he is not willing
that the Town of Boston should " assume the Merit
of it". They are very far from a Disposition thus

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 437

to assume : They are content to have that Share of
Merit which their beloved Countrymen are willing
they should have. And tho he would insinuate to
his Lordship with his usual Cunning, that there was
at the Convention an essential Difference of Senti
ments between the Town and the Country ; and that
" many of the Deputies came down with a Disposition
and Instructions to prevent the Bostoners (as he ele
gantly expresses himself) involving the Province in
the Consequences of their own mad Devices " ; and
that many of them " were from the beginning sensi
ble of the Impropriety and Danger of this Proceed
ing"; His Lordship, as "they printed what they
[30] did ", has no Doubt been since convinced, that
they were united in their Sentiments of the common

But this very peaceable Proposal, the Governor
thinks, exceeded the " Great Rebellion when it was
at the highest, and the Confusion arising therefrom
most urgent for some extraordinary Measures".
Here is the Burden of the Song extraordinary
Measures ! And surely his Lordship must propose
some very extraordinary Measures to chastise a
greater than the Great Rebellion, even when it was
at the highest Not content with pouring forth this
Torrent of Zeal, the Governor still presses upon his
Lordship ; and assures him that " unless it is pre
vented by some Power from without, not only the
Crown Officers will be excluded", but "every Ingre
dient of Royalty" in the Government of the Prov
ince will be totally destroy d What Rhetorick ! to
arrest his Lordship s Attention, and hurry him on to


conclude with the Governor, that " the Force already
order d by General Gage, viz. two Regiments, will
not be sufficient". In Order still to heighten the
Ideas of an intended Rebellion, the Governor adds,

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