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


By this Conveyance I have written you in Con
junction with John Hancock Esq r as a Com 1 of the
House of Representatives 2 upon a Petition of M r
Tho s Boylston, who has been a great Sufferer by
the Mai Conduct of diverse Crown Officers as youl
see by his papers. I now beg leave as a private
Individual to acquaint you that his Case is not
singular. There have been other Instances of the

1 The bill was finally passed December 6, 1766, and disallowed by the Privy
Council, May 13, 1767. An elaborate note on the proceedings is in Acts and
Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts, vol. iv., pp. 931-945.

3 The manuscript of this letter, consisting of three pages, of which eight lines
are in the autograph of Adams, is still extant, although privately owned.


same kind, & if they should multiply, & no re
dress had, it will not only discourage the Trade
of America which is really the Trade of Great
Britain, but also tend to excite a Jealousy in the
Minds of the People here of the Mother Country
which every Well wisher to both would carefully
prevent if possible. Besides as the House have
written to you that there is good Reason to expect
that a Compensation to the Sufferers by the late
Disorders here will be compleated at the Winter
Session ; When that is done I think a strong Ar
gument may be deducd therefrom in fav r of M r
Boylston, for if the Gov 1 here make good the Dam
ages done to the Officers of the Crown by a Law
less unknown Rabble, the Justice of the Nation
will as surely make good the Dammage done to
a private Subject by their Officers, in Instances, one
of w ch had but a bare pretence & the other not the
least Color of Law, especially as in the latter Case
the Sufferer can have no hopes of Redress but
from the Lenity of the Government

Since I have mentiond Compensation, allow me
to give you a short Acco* of the Manner in which
that Matter has been conducted here. The Gov r
first introducd it in a Speech to the House in
Sept 1 765 1 advising them to make a Compensation
of their own Accord before any Requisition sh d be
made to them, to w ch the House replyd that they
highly disapprovd of the Violences committed, but
till they were convincd that their making Compen
sation w d not tend to encourage such Outrages for

1 September 25, 1765 ; Massachusetts State Papers, p. 42.

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 101

time to come, & till some good Reason, could be
assignd, why those Losses sh d be made good, rather
than, any Damage w ch other Persons on any different
Occasions m* suffer they could not see their way
clear & c withal adding that they c d not conceive
who had any Right to require it of them. 1

Thus the Matter rested till the next May Session
when his Excy was displeasd with the two Houses
for the Elections they had made, 2 & gave them a
Speech w ch displeasd them as much. At this time
the Gov r rec d M r Secretary Conways Letter & his
Majesty s Orders to lay before the Assembly his
recommendation for making Compensation. The
Gov r introducd it with another Speech 3 more dis
pleasing than the former, telling the two Houses
that they had anticipated the Expectations of the
King & Parliam* & disappointed them that it was
not in their Power in so full a Manner to make a
dutifull & affectionate Return to y e Indulgence of
the King & Paliamr that they could not avoid
being chargeable with Unthankfulness on Ground of
former heats & that it was impossible to give any
tollerable Coloring to their Proceedings. And in the
same Speech construing the Kings most gracious
Recommendation into a Requisition precluding all

1 October 23, 1765 ; Massachusetts State Papers, p. 48.

2 The members of the General Court omitted to re-elect to the Council five
leading members of the government party, Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew
Oliver, Peter Oliver, Edmund Trowbridge and Benjamin Lynde, all office
holders, of whom Governor Bernard spoke as the government s "best and
most able servants, whose only crime is their fidelity to the Crown."

3 June 3, 1766 ; ibid., p. 81.


The House resented this treatm in their Answer.
However they took the Matter into Consideration &
acquainted his Excy that they viewd it not as an Act
of Justice but rather of Generosity, & that they did
not think they had a Right to dispose of their Con
stituents Money for such a Purpose without their
consent. Moreover the Sufferers had not yet applyd
to them in a parliamentary Way. For these Reasons
they referrd the further Consideration of the Matter
to their next Session that they m r consult their Con
stituents thereupon. After which the Court was pro
rogued from time to time till the 29 October.

In this time the People made the Matter of
Compensation the Topick of their Conversation.
The Gov rs speeches were publishd & gave them
great disgust. They were jealous of the Right of
their Representatives, to make so important a Subject
as the granting away their Money for such a Purpose,
a Matter of their own Deliberation & perhaps did not
so much attend to the Utility of the Measure proposd
as the Manner in which it was laid before the House
by the Gov r . This together with another Circum
stance viz the Sufferers themselves not being the
most popular men, I am apt to think was the Occa
sion, that the Generality of the Members of the
House or rather the Majority of them were instructed
against making Compensation.

The Court came together the 29 Ult. & the
House considerd & debated upon the Subject with
the greatest Deliberation & Candor.

The Objections against a Compensation were,
That Justice did require it as the Province owed the

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 103

Sufferers Nothing nor was there room for Charity,
they being not the Objects of it : That the Kings
Recommendation was grounded on the Opinion &
resolution of the House of Commons " that we ought
to make Compensation," but tho the Judgment of
the House of Commons might be allowd to be supe
rior in general to that of the House of Representa
tives, yet this Case might be excepted, they not
being upon the Spot, & so not acquainted with neces
sary Circumstances upon which to form a right Judg
ment ; & therefore no reasonable Exception could be
taken against the House for not making the Compen
sation, unless they themselves were of Opinion that
they ought so to do. Those who were in favor of
the Question urgd his Majestys very gracious recom
mendation, & the great Deferrence which ought to
be paid to it, which was on all sides freely allowd &
acknowledgd : That the Term recommendation was
perfectly consistent with our Liberty, upon w ch we
m* grant our Money freely : That our good Friends
at home all hoped we should comply, & that our
Enemys only, hoped we should not : That it was
of the greatest Importance to both Countrys, that
a good Understanding & Harmony s hd be preservd
between Great Britain & her Colonys : And that
making Compensation w d tend to promote Peace &
Quietness in the Province. These & other reasons
were so strongly urgd that the Generality of the
House seemd to be convincd that it was most eligi
ble to do it, but the Majority were restraind by In- ~7
structions to the Contrary, to which in this Country \
the strictest regard is had. The House finally agreed


upon a Bill to compensate the Sufferers & indemnify
the offenders w ch appeard to them Exactly conform
able to His Majestys most benevolent Intentions;
Which Bill is publishd for the Consideration of the
People, & it is hoped & expected will pass into a
Law the next Session.

I must ask Pardon for taking up so much of your
Attention & am with very great Esteem

S r y r most hum 6 Serv 1

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


I wrote you on the 15 ult by Cap Devenson. I
then undertook to give you a short Account of the
several Steps that had been taken by the Gov r & the
House of Representatives respecting a Compensa
tion to the late Sufferers the Gen 1 Court was ad-
journd the 13 & will meet tomorrow on the Day
of the Adjournm 1 the Gov r communicated to the
House a Let r he had just rec d from the R Hon the
Earl of Shelburne in w ch his Lordship tells him, that
he had rec d his late Letters & their Inclosures & had
communicated them to his Majesty & that His Ma
jesty is extremely sorry &C. 1

You will easily believe that it must be to the great
est Degree grievous to every loyal & affectionate
Subject, to be under the Displeasure of Sovereign.

1 The letter is printed in Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 99, 100.

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 105

And I dare say his Lordships Letter has occasiond
the utmost Concern in the Mind of every one who
has seen it, except those who may be supposd to
have abusd the Province. It is certain that some
Person has misrepresented us, & many of the best
sort of People here, are of Opinion that the Person
who has done it, is under such Obligations to this
Province as should have made him blush to have
conceivd a Thought of it. It is often a misfortune
to the Colonys that those from whom it is expected
that the most authentic Accounts sh d be transmitted
of our Character & Circumstances are too much un
der the Power of Prejudice to be impartial Relators
of Truth, & yet their Station may be such as easily
to gain full Credit on your side the Water. You
cannot wonder Sir that we are very sollicitous to
know what representations have been made of us
to His Majesty to occasion his Displeasure, & by
whom. It seems to be no more than justice that we
sh d be made acquainted with these things, otherwise
it is out of the Power of innocent Persons to defend
themselves against the blackest slander.

The House of Representatives were told by the
Gov r in his Speech last May, that they could not
avoid being chargeable with Unthankfulness to his
Majesty & the ParlianV on Ground of former heats.
I never yet heard any good why his Exc y sh d form
such a Conclusion. It is undeniable that the People
rec d the News of the repeal of the Stamp Act with
equal Gratitude & Joy, and the two houses after
wards met in Gen 1 Assembly with a very happy Dis
position. It is true their Elections were displeasing


to the Gov r , but the Assembly acted agreable to the
Dictates of their own minds & as they apprehended
for the publick Good. The Gov r negativd six of
the Gentlemen elected, 1 as a legal & constitutional
Power in his hands to maintain the Kings Authority
ag t what he expressly called an Oppugnation of it.
It seems y e Assembly omitted several Gen n who had
before been Councellors, & whom his Excy was very
fond of upon w ch he was pleasd to tell them, that
" When the Gov is attackd in form, when there is a
professd intention to deprive it of its best & ablest
Serv ts whose only Crime is their fidelity to the Crown
he could not be indifferent." At the same time he
declared "that he w d use his utmost Endeavors to
heal Divisions & bury Animositys." But how easy
w d it have been to have foreseen that such high re-
sentm* & sharp Language, must have had a different
Effect. And so it provd ; for the harmony between
the Gov r & the People w ch is so necessary for the
Support of Gov*, & a mutual Confidence w ch was
greatly interrupted the last year, by means of the Se
verity of Expression in the Speeches then deliverd,
seems to me to be irrecoverably lost. But whatever
Disputes may subsist between y e Gov r & y e People,
there is most certainly, no ill temper in the least
Degree prevailing w th regard to his Majesty or the
Parliam 1 or our happy Connection with the mother
Country. You are sensible of the Sentiments of y e
house, expressd in their humble Address to his Maj
esty, & their Letters to their friends & patrons : You

1 James Otis as Speaker, and Messrs. Otis, Gerrish, Saunders, Bowers, Spar-
hawk, and Dexter as Councillors ; May 29, 1766.

1 766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 107

may depend upon their Sincerity ; & that no Sever-
itys here will induce this People to abate their warm
est Attachm to his Majestys Person family & Gov\
their Acknowlegm ts to their illustrious Patrons & their
affectionate regard to their fellow Subjects in G. B.
Of this I doubt not you will soon have a fresh In
stance : for when the Compensation is made, I believe
it may be truly said that the only motive that c d have
prevaild in fav r of it, was a sacred Regard to the
royal recommendation, & a strong desire to gratify
the Inclinations of our obliging friends.

It may be necessary before I finish to beg your
patience while I give you the reasons, w ch probably
indued the two houses to leave out several Gent of
undoubted Abilitys who had been Councellors for
some years before, tho the Assembly differd from
his Excy in Opinion " that they were quite necessary
for y e Administrat" of Gov 1 in y e very Stations from
whence they were displacd." He says that "it must
& will be understood that they were turnd out for
their Deferrence to Acts of y e British Legislature."
His Excy with great Submission ought to have been
very certain before he gave this as a reason : Indeed
it must be said he is pretty positive when he adds
" you will not, you cannot avoid being chargeable
with unthankfulness on Ground of former heats " and,
" that it is impossible to give any tollerable Coloring
to this Proceeding." Now if it was known to our
friends at home, that there has been for many years
past a great Uneasiness, that the Lieut Gov r of the
Province & the Judges of the Superior Court sh d sit
at the Council Board, as part of the legislative Power,


because it was such a Union of the several Powers of
Gov 1 in the same Persons, as upon the Principles of
the best Writers is dangerous to Liberty, I say if this
was known to our friends, as it was in fact the Case,
they m* still entertain a favorable Opinion of us, even
tho they should not approve of our reasoning ; & I
am perswaded, w d his Majesty be made acquainted
that the Assembly were governd by such a Motive
it w d at least serve to remove that Displeasure w ch he
has discoverd, upon its being represented to him, as
it is supposd that they acted in Contempt of his
Authority & left out Gent n for their fidelity to the
Crown & their Deference to Acts of ParlianV.

I make no Doubt sir but you will make the best
Use of the Means your friends may put into your
Power to vindicate a very loyal but very much injured
Province & am with strict truth

Your &c


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, vol. i., Lenox Library; an incomplete text
appears in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., pp. 132, 133.]

BOSTON Dec r n 1766


I have no other Apology for writing a familiar
Epistle to a Gentleman perfectly a Stranger to me
than to gratify the request of my good Friend M r

1 On Gadsden, see E. McCrady, History of South Carolina, 1719-1776, and
Ibid., 1775-1780, passim.

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 109

John Hurd who has promisd to deliver this Letter
with his own hand to him I must refer you, & beg
you candidly to receive the best Excuse he can make.
I have indeed often heard, another of my valuable
friends mention you with great Respect : This Gen
tleman, M r Otis, had the pleasure of sitting with you
in the late Congress at New York, & he has fre
quently told me that you were a zealous Assertor of
the most important Cause in which the British Colo-
nys were then struggling. x Happy was it for us that
a Union was then formd, upon which in my humble
Opinion the Fate of the Colonys turnd. What a
Blessing to us has the Stamp Act eventually, or to
use a trifling word virtually provd, which was calcu
lated to enslave & ruin us. When the Colonys saw*"
the common Danger they at the same time saw their
mutual Dependence & naturally calld in the Assist
ance of each other, & I dare say such Friendships &
Connections are establishd between them, as shall
for the future deter the most virulent Enemy from
making another ppen Attempt upon their Rights as j
Men & Subjects. But is there no Reason to fear
that the Liberty s of the Colonys may be infringd in
a less observable manner ? The Stamp Act was like
the sword that Nero wishd for, to have decollated the
Roman People at a stroke, or like Jobs Sea monster
in the heightned Language of Young, " who sinks a
River, & who thirsts again." The Sight of such an
Enemy at a distance is formidable, while the lurking
Serpent lies conceald, & not noticd by the unwary
Passenger, darts its fatal Venom. It is necessary
then that each Colony should be awake & upon its


Guard you may ask me what is the Danger I
answer none from His present Majesty & the Par-
liamt, in their Intention ^yet such is human Frailty
that "the best may err sometimes "-V-and consider
Sir we are remote from the national Parliamt, & un-
f represented. You are sensible that what are called

Acts of Trade sensibly affect the Colonys May not
such Acts be made thro the Inadvertency of our
friends or for want of suitable Intelligence from the
Colonys, as may not only injure their Trade but
wound their Libertys suppose for Instance that
some time hereafter under the Pretext of Regulating
Trade only, a revenue should be designd to be raisd
out of the Colonys, would it signify any thing whether
it be called a Stamp Act or an Act for the Regulation
of the Trade of America. I wish there was a Union
and a Correspondence kept up among the merchts
thro out the Continent, but I am still upon the Liber
tys of the Colonys. I should tell you what perhaps
you know already was I to mention an Act of Par
liamt I have lately seen, wherein the Gov r & Council
of any Province where any of his Majestys Troops
may happen to be are enjoyned to make certain Pro
vision for them at the Expense of the People of such
Province. Tell me Sir whether this is not taxing the
Colonys as effectually as the Stamp Act & if so, either
we have complaind without Reason, or we have still
reason to complain. I have heard that George Gren-
ville was told to his face that he missd it in his poli
ticks, for he should have stationd a sufficient number
of Troops in America before he sent the Stamp Act
among them. Had that been the Case it is possible

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. in


your Congress mt have been turnd out of Doors.
New York has had regular troops among them for
some months. I never could hear a reason given to
my Satisfaction why they were orderd at least to re
main there so long ; perhaps I am captious however
I always lookd upon a standing Army especially in a
time of peace not only a Disturbance but in every /
respect dangerous to civil Community. Surely then
we cannot consent to their quartering among us, &
how hard is it for us to be obligd to pay our money
to subsist them. If a number shd happen to come
into a Province thro Necessity & stand in Need of
Supplys, as is the Case at present here, is it not a
Disgrace to us to suppose we should be so wanting in
humanity, or in regard to our Sovereign as to refuse
to grant him the aid with our free Consent ?

I feel a Disposition to hint many things more ; but
I am at present very much streightened for time &
besides I am affraid you will think me a very trouble
some Correspondent; I shall therefore write no more
till I am encouragd by a Letter from you which will
very much oblige

S r y r hum e Serv*


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

BOSTON Dec r 16 1766


My last was of the 2 d Ins t . I fear you will think
me a very troublesome Correspondent!: My only

f A


Inducement to write to you is to let you know Facts
that take Place here, that you may be the better able
to defend this Province (for which I am satisfyd you
have a real Friendship) from Misrepresentations. I am
very apt to think his Majestys Ministers have some
times wrong Informations sent to them. This was
the Case, when Lord Dartmouth was told that the
Assembly of this Province had refusd to make the
Compensation recommended by His Majesty. They
never did refuse it ; & have since done it as you
will see by the Letter from the House of Represen

It is probable a specious Account is sent home, of
a Message from the House to the Council, in w ch the
House desire to know, by what Authority, Acts of
Parliam 1 are publishd among the Laws of this Prov
ince at the Expence of the People ; & possibly
Occasion will be taken to represent us as casting
Contempt on the British Legislature. The House are
[aware of] no Reason for this Message no doubt they
thought, they had a Right to be consulted in every
Expence bro t upon their Constituents, even the most
trifling. The same Reason perhaps indued them to
enquire whether Provision was made for a Number of
the Kings Troops lately arrivd here & how. And since
I have mentiond this Circumstance I would just make
two Observations, first that the Colonys are under
Apprehensions of ar-military force to be establishd
in America, which they look upon as entirely needless
at present for their Protection, & as dangerous at all
times to Virtue & Liberty, and secondly, if at any
time they should happen to arrive in their Way to

1766] SAMUEL ADAMS. 113

their place of Destination, & need Supply, the People
here would never be unwilling to grant their. Sover
eign the Aid of their free Accord. They are con-
cernd that they should be deprivd of this Honor &
Privilege by an Act of ParlianV which injoyns it to
be done by the Gov r & Council at their Expence
this it is apprehended is taxing them as really as was
designd & w d have been done by the Stamp Act : &
if so they think they "have as good reason to be un
easy with this Act as with the other. I sincerely
wish for the Continuance of a cordial Affection be
tween the Mother State & her Colonys & I am sure
nothing will abate it on the part of the Colonys, but
her Incroachment on her Libertys, of which, as she
well knows, that of taxing themselves is the most
essential. Surely she will not blame her Children
(to take up her own Language) for imitating the
Parent, who has been for ages past renownd for the
warmest Attachment to Liberty.-

The Vessell being just now sailing will not allow
me to add any more than that I am with Sincerity
Sir your most humb e Serv*

Dec r 1 8 th


Capt Lyde being prevented sailing by a Storm
gives me an Opportunity of writing further. It is of
Importance to the Colonys that their Friends should
be made acquainted with the Grounds of any Dis
content they may be under with Acts of Parliam* :
And I may say it is also of Importance to Great

VOL. I. 8.

i c 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1767

Britain her self ; for certainly the best Way for her
to make her Colonys a real lasting Benefit to her
is to give them all consistent Indulgence in Trade, &
to remove any Occasion of their suspecting that
their Libertys are in danger by the Exertions of the
Power of Parliament. Their Affection to their Mother
Country is so great that while they are easy in point
of Liberty & Trade, nothing can alienate them & as
to their Trade, the Profits of it center in Britain.
There is nothing the Colonys are more jealous of
than the Right of taxing them selves : & this the best
Judges in the Nation will allow is an essential Right.
While therefore an Act of ParlianV is in force which
has the least Appearance of a Design to raise a
Revenue out of them their Jealousy will be awake.


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

Mar 1 6 1767


His Excellency the Gov r of this Province having
directed the Attendance of the General Assembly,
at the opening of this Session, as usual in the Coun
cil Chamber, the House of Representatives were
surprizd to find the L* Gov r taking a place as a
Member of the same, in presense of the Governor.
They judgd it to be a great Impropriety in it self, &

1 A manuscript copy is in the Lee Papers, vol. i.. pp. 33-35 (Jared Sparks

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 31)