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Title: Novanglus, and Massachusettensis - or Political Essays, Published in the Years 1774 and 1775, - on the Principal Points of Controversy, between Great - Britain and Her Colonies
Author: Sewall, Jonathan, Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Novanglus, and Massachusettensis - or Political Essays, Published in the Years 1774 and 1775, - on the Principal Points of Controversy, between Great - Britain and Her Colonies" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer errors have been corrected
without note; obsolete and inconsistent spelling, punctuation,
hyphenation, and capitalization have been preserved as they appear
in the original. Errors that appear in the original Errata list
are noted as [Errata: text]. Less obvious errors are marked with a
[Transcriber's Note].

This e-book was created from a presentation copy from the printers
to John Adams, now in the John Adams Library at the Boston Public
Library, and available in digitized form at the Internet Archive,







IN THE YEARS 1774 AND 1775,
















_District Clerk's Office._

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the thirtieth day of March, A. D. 1819,
and of the Forty-fourth Year of the Independence of the United
States of America, HEWS & GOSS, of the said District, have deposited
in this Office, the title of a Book, the Right whereof they claim
as Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:--"Novanglus and
Massachusettensis; or Political Essays, published in the years 1774
and 1775, on the principal points of controversy, between Great
Britain and her colonies. The former by John Adams, late President
of the United States; the latter by Jonathan Sewall, then king's
Attorney General of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. To which are
added a number of letters, lately written by President Adams, to the
Hon. William Tudor; some of which were never before published."

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States,
entitled "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the
Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of
such Copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an Act,
entitled "An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the
Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts
and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the
times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the
Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching Historical and other Prints."

JOHN W. DAVIS, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.


For the last twenty years, our political opinions have partaken
so much of feeling, in the contest between the two great European
rivals, that the happiness, the interests, and even the character
of America seem to have been almost forgotten. But the spirit of
party has now most happily so far subsided, that a disposition to
look into, and examine the history of our own dear country, and its
concerns, very generally prevails. Perhaps there is no part of that
history, that is more interesting, than the controversy between Great
Britain and her colonies, which produced the war of the revolution,
and their final separation.

It is important, that the rising generation should be well acquainted
with the principles and justice of that cause, which eventuated in
our Independence, and to which we are indebted for our present envied
state of prosperity and happiness.

The principles of that controversy were ably discussed by various
writers, both in England and America; but it has been supposed,
that the sentiments and conduct of each party were more elaborately
displayed, in certain essays published in Boston, a short time
previous to the commencement of hostilities, over the signatures of
_Novanglus_ and _Massachusettensis_, than in any other productions

The former were written by JOHN ADAMS, then a distinguished
citizen of Boston, one of the noblest assertors of the rights and
privileges of the colonies, and who has since been elected to the
most important and honourable offices in the gift of the nation.

The latter were written by JONATHAN SEWALL, then king's
Attorney General of the province of Massachusetts; a gentleman of
education and talents--the champion--and possessing the confidence of
what were then called the government party.

By an attentive perusal of these essays, a correct judgment may be
formed of all the principal and leading points of the controversy,
between the colonies and the mother country.

Confiding in the correctness of these sentiments, and the patronage
of an enlightened public, we have re-published the above mentioned
essays; to which are added, all those interesting letters, written
by President ADAMS, and addressed to the Hon. WILLIAM TUDOR, lately
printed in the Boston Daily Advertiser, together with others never
before published.

The venerable and patriotic author of _Novanglus_, now lives to
behold and enjoy the blessed fruits of his labours, and that of his
compatriots, and possesses, in the highest degree, the intellect of
his most intellectual days.

In offering this volume to the public, we please ourselves with
the hope, that it will be a valuable acquisition to all classes of
citizens, who wish to become acquainted with those principles of
civil liberty, for which our ancestors so nobly, and so successfully
contended. To the gentlemen of the bar, to legislators, and to
politicians generally, we conceive it will be an inestimable treasure.

We are forcibly impressed with the wonderful effect the essays
of Novanglus must have produced, in the times in which they were
published, by convincing the great body of the people, that the
_parliament_ of Great Britain had no right to tax the colonies in
America. But in reflecting on the CONSEQUENCES of that glorious
revolution which these essays greatly tended to produce, the mind
is imperatively drawn to a contemplation of the present political
condition of Europe. Representative governments are gradually
introducing themselves into every part of that country; and we hope
the day is not far distant, when the whole world shall be emancipated
from tyranny. As AMERICANS we feel a _conscious_ pride, that the
resistance which our ancestors made to the arbitrary machinations of
an Hutchinson, a Bute, a Mansfield and a North, will terminate in the
civil and political freedom of ALL MANKIND.


BOSTON, JULY 1, 1819.



   24    26 from the top, for _procreations_, read _procurations_.
   32    14 from the top, for _terms_ read _terrors_.
         18 from the bottom, read _more_ after _much_.
   44     9 from the top, for _their_ read _these_.
   55    20 from the top, for _shewing_ read _knowing_.
   69     1 from the bottom, for _articles_ read _artifices_
            [Transcriber's Note: original already reads 'artifices'].
  100    12 from the top, for _knew_ read _know_, and for _know_ read _knew_.
  100     2 from the bottom, for _amity_ read _anxiety_.
  120     7 from the bottom [Transcriber's Note: top], _dele-suo_.
  120     6 from the bottom, for _compact_ read _conquest_.
  240     8 from the bottom, for _expected_ read _respected_.


Jonathan Sewall was descended from Mitchills and Hulls and
Sewalls, and I believe Higginsons, _i. e._ from several of the
ancient and venerable of New England families. But, as I am no
genealogist, I must refer to my aged classmate and highly esteemed
friend Judge Sewall of York, whose researches will, one day, explain
the whole.

Mr. SEWALL's father was unfortunate; died young, leaving his
son destitute; but as the child had discovered a pregnant genius, he
was educated by the charitable contribution of his friends, of whom
Dr. Samuel Cooper was one of the most active and successful, among
his opulent parishoners. Mr. SEWALL graduated at college
in 1748; kept a Latin school in Salem, till 1756, when Chambers
Russell, of Lincoln, a Judge of the Supreme Court and a Judge of
Admiralty, from a principle of disinterested benevolence, received
him into his family; instructed him in law; furnished him with books
and introduced him to the practise at the bar. In 1757 and 1758,
he attended the Supreme Court in Worcester, and spent his evenings
with me in the office of Colonel James Putnam, a gentleman of great
acuteness of mind, and very extensive and successful in practise, and
an able lawyer; in whose family I boarded and under whose auspices
I studied law. Here commenced between Mr. SEWALL and me,
a personal friendship, which continued, with none but political
interruptions, till his death. He commenced practice in Charlestown,
in the County of Middlesex, I, in that parish of the ancient town of
Braintree, now called Quincy, then in the County of Suffolk, now of
Norfolk. We attended the Courts in Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown,
and Concord; lived together, frequently slept in the same chamber,
and not seldom, in the same bed. Mr. SEWALL was then a patriot;
his sentiments were purely American. To James Otis, who took a
kind notice of us both, we constantly applied for advice in any
difficulty, and he would attend to us, advise us, and look into books
for us, and point out authorities to us, as kindly as if we had been
his pupils or his sons.

After the surrender of Montreal in 1759, rumours were every where
spread that the English would now new model the Colonies, demolish
the charters and reduce all to royal governments. These rumours I had
heard as often as he had. One morning I met him, accidentally, on the
floor of the old Town House. "John" said he, "I want to speak with
you;" he always called me John, and I him Jonathan, and often said to
him, I wish my name were David. He took me to a window seat and said;
"these Englishmen are going to play the devil with us. They will
overturn every thing. We must resist them and that by force. I wish
you would write in the Newspapers, and urge a general attention to
the Militia, to their exercises and discipline, for we must resist in
arms." I answered, "All this I fear is true; but why do you not write
yourself? You are older than I am; have more experience than I have,
are more intimate with the grandees than I am, and you can write ten
times better than I can." There had been a correspondence between
us, by which I knew his refined style as well as he knew my coarse
one. "Why," said Mr. SEWALL, "I would write, but Goffe will
find me out and I shall grieve his righteous soul, and you know
what influence he has in Middlesex." This Goffe had been Attorney
General for twenty years, and commanded the practise in Middlesex and
Worcester and several other Counties. He had power to crush, by his
frown or his nod any young Lawyer in his County. He was afterwards
Judge Trowbridge, but at that time as ardent as any of Hutchinson's
disciples, though he afterwards became alienated from his pursuits
and principles.

In December 1760, or January 1761, Stephen Sewall, Chief Justice
died, deeply lamented, though insolvent. My friend JONATHAN,
his nephew, the son of his brother, who tenderly loved and deeply
revered his uncle, could not bear the thought, that the memory of
the Chief Justice should lie under the imputation of bankruptcy. At
that time bankruptcy was infamous; now it is scarcely disgraceful.
JONATHAN undertook the administration of his uncle's estate.
Finding insolvency inevitable, he drew a petition to the General
Court to grant a sum of money, sufficient, to pay the Chief Justice's
debts. If my friend had known the character of his countrymen, or
the nature of that Assembly, he never would have conceived such a
project; but he did conceive it and applied to James Otis, and his
father, Colonel Otis, to patronize and support it. The Otis's knew
their countrymen better than he did. They received and presented
the petition, but without much hope of success. The petition was
rejected, and my friend SEWALL conceived a suspicion, that
it was not promoted with so much zeal, by the Otis's, as he thought
they might have exerted. He imputed the failure to their coldness;
was much mortified and conceived a violent resentment, which he
expressed with too much freedom and feeling in all companies.

Goffe, Hutchinson and all the courtiers soon heard of it and
instantly fastened their eyes upon SEWALL; courted his society;
sounded his fame; promoted his practise, and soon after made him
Solicitor General by creating a new office, expressly for him. Mr.
SEWALL, had a soft, smooth, insinuating eloquence, which gliding
imperceptibly into the minds of a Jury, gave him as much power over
that tribunal as any lawyer ought ever to possess. He was also
capable of discussing before the court, any intricate question
of law, which gave him, at least, as much influence there as was
consistent with an impartial administration of justice. He was a
gentleman and a scholar; had a fund of wit, humour and satire,
which he used with great discretion at the bar, but poured out
with unbounded profusion in the newspapers. Witness his voluminous
productions in the newspapers, signed _long J._ and _Philanthropos_.
These accomplishments richly qualified him to serve the purposes of
the gentlemen, who courted him into their service.

Mr. SEWALL soon fell in love with Miss Esther Quincy, the
fourth daughter of Edmund Quincy, Esq. an eminent merchant and
magistrate, and a grand daughter of that Edmund Quincy, who was
eighteen years a Judge of the Superior Court, who died of the small
pox in the agency of the province at the Court of St. James's,
and whose monument was erected, at the expense of the Province,
in Bun-hill-fields, London. This young lady, who was celebrated
for her beauty, her vivacity and spirit, lived with her father in
this parish, now called Quincy. Mr. SEWALL's courtship was extended
for several years, and he came up very constantly on Saturdays and
remained here until Mondays; and I was sure to be invited to meet him
on every Sunday evening. During all these years, there was a constant
correspondence between us, and he concealed nothing from me, so that
I knew him by his style whenever he appeared in print.

In 1766, he married the object of his affections, and an excellent
wife he found her. He was soon appointed Attorney General. In 1768,
he was employed by Governor Barnard to offer me the office of
Advocate General, in the Court of Admiralty, which I decidedly and
peremptorily though respectfully refused.

We continued our friendship and confidential intercourse, though
professedly in boxes of politics, as opposite as East and West,
until the year 1774, when we both attended the Superior Court in
Falmouth, Casco-bay, now Portland. I had then been chosen a delegate
to Congress. Mr. SEWALL invited me to take a walk with him, very
early in the morning, on the great hill. In the course of our rambles
he very soon begun to remonstrate against my going to Congress. He
said "that Great Britain was determined on her system; her power was
irresistible and would certainly be destructive to me, and to all
those who should persevere in opposition to her designs." I answered,
"that I knew Great Britain was determined on her system, and that
very determination, determined me on mine; that he knew I had been
constant and uniform in opposition to all her measures; that the die
was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon; swim or sink, live or die,
survive or perish with my country, was my unalterable determination."
The conversation was protracted into length, but this was the
substance of the whole. It terminated in my saying to him, "I see we
must part, and with a bleeding heart I say, I fear forever; but you
may depend upon it, this adieu is the sharpest thorn on which I ever
sat my foot." I never conversed with him again 'till the year 1788.
Mr. SEWALL retired in 1775 to England, where he remained and resided
in Bristol.

On my return from Congress in the month of November 1774, I found
the Massachusetts Gazette teeming with political speculations, and
Massachusettensis shining like the moon among the lesser stars.
I instantly knew him to be my friend SEWALL, and was told he excited
great exultation among the tories and many gloomy apprehensions among
the whigs. I instantly resolved to enter the lists with him, and this
is the history of the following volume.

In 1788, Mr. SEWALL came to London to embark for Halifax. I
enquired for his lodgings and instantly drove to them, laying aside
all etiquette, to make him a visit. I ordered my servant to announce
John Adams, was instantly admitted, and both of us forgetting that we
had ever been enemies, embraced each other as cordially as ever. I
had two hours conversation with him in a most delightful freedom upon
a multitude of subjects. He told me he had lived for the sake of his
two children; he had spared no pains nor expense in their education,
and he was going to Halifax in hope of making some provision for
them. They are now two of the most respectable gentlemen in Canada.
One of them a Chief Justice; the other an Attorney General. Their
father lived but a short time after his return to America; evidently
broken down by his anxieties and probably dying of a broken heart. He
always lamented the conduct of Great Britain towards America. No man
more constantly congratulated me, while we lived together in America,
upon any news, true or false, favorable to a repeal of the obnoxious
Statutes and a redress of our grievances; but the society in which he
lived had convinced him that all resistance was not only useless but

More conscious than ever of the faults in the style and arrangement,
if not in the matter of my part of the following papers, I shall see
them in print with more anxiety than when they were first published.
The principles however are those on which I then conscientiously
acted, and which I now most cordially approve.

To the candour of an indulgent nation, whom I congratulate on their
present prosperity and pleasing prospects, and for whose happiness I
shall offer up my dying supplications to Heaven, I commit the volume
with all its imperfections.


_Quincy_, _January_ 1, 1819.


_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 23, 1775.


A writer, under the signature of Massachusettensis, has addressed
you, in a series of papers, on the great national subject of the
present quarrel between the British administration and the Colonies.
As I have not in my possession, more than one of his Essays, and that
is in the Gazette of December 26, I will take the liberty, in the
spirit of candor, and decency, to bespeak your attention, upon the
same subject.

There may be occasion, to say very severe things, before I shall have
finished what I propose, in opposition to this writer but there ought
to be no reviling. _Rem ipsam dic, mitte male loqui_, which may be
justly translated, speak out the whole truth boldly, but use no bad

It is not very material to enquire, as others have done, who is the
author of the speculations in question. If he is a disinterested
writer, and has nothing to gain or to lose, to hope or to fear, for
himself more than other individuals of your community; but engages
in this controversy from the purest principles, the noblest motives
of benevolence to men, and of love to his country, he ought to have
no influence with you, further than truth and justice will support
his argument. On the other hand, if he hopes to acquire or preserve
a lucrative employment, to screen himself from the just detestation
of his countrymen, or whatever other sinister inducement he may have,
as far as the truth of facts and the weight of argument, are in his
favor, he ought to be duly regarded.

He tells you "that the temporal salvation of this province depends
upon an entire and speedy change of measures, which must depend upon
a change of sentiments respecting our own conduct and the justice of
the British nation."

The task, of effecting these great changes, this courageous writer,
has undertaken in a course of publications in a newspaper. _Nil
desperandum_ is a good motto, and _Nil admirari_, is another. He is
welcome to the first, and I hope will be willing that I should assume
the last. The public, if they are not mistaken in their conjecture,
have been so long acquainted with this gentleman, and have seen him
so often disappointed, that if they were not habituated to strange
things, they would wonder at his hopes, at this time to accomplish,
the most unpromising project of his whole life. In the character
of Philanthrop, he attempted to reconcile you to Mr. Bernard. But
the only fruit of his labor was, to expose his client to more
general examination, and consequently to more general resentment
and aversion. In the character of Philalethes, he essayed to prove
Mr. Hutchinson a patriot, and his letters not only innocent, but
meritorious. But the more you read and considered, the more you
were convinced of the ambition and avarice, the simulation and
dissimulation, the hypocricy and perfidy of that destroying angel.

This illfated and unsuccessful, though persevering writer, still
hopes to change your sentiments and conduct--by which it is
supposed that he means to convince you that the system of Colony
administration, which has been pursued for these ten or twelve
years past, is a wise, righteous and humane plan; that sir Francis
Bernard and Mr. Hutchinson, with their connections, who have been the
principal instruments of it, are your best friends;--and that those
gentle in this province, and in all the other Colonies, who have been
in opposition to it, are from ignorance, error, or from worse and
baser causes, your worst enemies.

This is certainly an inquiry that is worthy of you; and I promise to
accompany this writer, in his ingenious labours to assist you in it.
And I earnestly intreat you, as the result of all shall be, to change
your sentiments or persevere in them, as the evidence shall appear to
you, upon the most dispassionate and impartial consideration, without
regard to his opinion or mine.

He promises to avoid personal reflections, but to penetrate the
arcana, and expose the wretched policy of the whigs. The cause of
the whigs is not conducted by intrigues at a distant court, but
by constant appeals to a sensible and virtuous people; it depends
intirely on their good will, and cannot be pursued a single step
without their concurrence, to obtain which of all designs, measures,
and means, are constantly published to the collective body. The
whigs therefore can have no arcana; but if they had, I dare say they
were never so left, as to communicate them to this writer; you will
therefore be disappointed if you expect from him any thing which is
true, but what has been as public as records and newspapers could
make it.

I, on my part, may perhaps in a course of papers, penetrate arcana
too. Shew the wicked policy of the tories--trace their plan from its
first rude sketches to its present complete draught. Shew that it
has been much longer in contemplation, than is generally known,--who
were the first in it--their views, motives and secret springs of
action--and the means they have employed. This will necessarily
bring before your eyes many characters, living and dead. From such
a research and detail of facts, it will clearly appear, who were
the aggressors--and who have acted on the defensive from first to
last--who are still struggling, at the expense of their ease,
health, peace, wealth and preferment, against the encroachments of
the tories on their country--and who are determined to continue
struggling, at much greater hazards still, and like the Prince of
Orange, resolve never to see its entire subjection to arbitrary
power, but rather to die fighting against it, in the last ditch.

It is true, as this writer observes, "that the bulk of the people
are generally, but little versed in the affairs of State; that they
left the affairs of government where accident has placed them." If
this had not been true, the designs of the tories had been many years
ago, entirely defeated. It was clearly seen, by a few, more than ten
years since, that they were planning and pursuing the very measures,
we now see executing. The people were informed of it, and warned of
their danger: But they had been accustomed to confide in certain
persons, and could never be persuaded to believe, until prophecy,
became history. Now they see and feel, that the horrible calamities
are come upon them, which were foretold so many years ago, and they
now sufficiently execrate the men who have brought these things upon
them. Now alas! when perhaps it is too late. If they had withdrawn
their confidence from them in season, they would have wholly disarmed

The same game, with the same success, has been played in all ages
and countries as Massachusettensis observes. When a favourable
conjuncture has presented, some of the most intrigueing and powerful
citizens have conceived the design of enslaving their country, and
building their own greatness on its ruins. Philip and Alexander,
are examples of this in Greece--Cæsar in Rome--Charles the fifth in
Spain--Lewis the eleventh in France--and ten thousand others.

"There is a latent spark in the breasts of the people capable of
being kindled into a flame, and to do this has always been the
employment of the disaffected." What is this latent spark? The love
of Liberty? _a Deo hominis est indita naturæ._ Human nature itself is
evermore an advocate for liberty. There is also in human nature, a
resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong. A love of truth
and a veneration for virtue.

These amiable passions, are the "latent spark" to which those whom
this writer calls the "disaffected" apply. If the people are capable
of understanding, seeing and feeling the difference between true and
false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can
the friends of mankind apply, than to the sense of this difference.

Is it better to apply as this writer and his friends do, to the
basest passions in the human breast to their fear, their vanity,
their avarice, ambition, and every kind of corruption? I appeal to
all experience, and to universal history, if it has ever been in
the power of popular leaders, uninvested with other authority than
what is conferred by the popular suffrage, to persuade a large
people, for any length of time together, to think themselves wronged,
injured, and oppressed, unless they really were, and saw and felt it
to be so.

"They," the popular leaders, "begin by reminding the people of the
elevated rank they hold in the universe as men; that all men by
nature are equal; that kings are but the ministers of the people;
that their authority is delegated to them by the people, for their
good, and they have a right to resume it, and place it in other
hands, or keep it themselves, whenever it is made use of to oppress
them. Doubtless there have been instances, when these principles have
been inculcated to obtain a redress of real grievances, but they have
been much oftener perverted to the worst of purposes."

These are what are called revolution principles. They are the
principles of Aristotle and Plato, of Livy and Cicero, and Sydney,
Harrington and Locke. The principles of nature and eternal reason.
The principles on which the whole government over us, now stands.
It is therefore astonishing, if any thing can be so, that writers,
who call themselves friends of government, should in this age and
country, be so inconsistent with themselves, so indiscreet, so
immodest, as to insinuate a doubt concerning them.

Yet we find that these principles stand in the way of
Massachusettensis, and all the writers of his class. The veteran, in
his letter to the officers of the army, allows them to be noble, and
true, but says the application of them to particular cases is wild
and utopian. How they can be in general true, and not applicable to
particular cases, I cannot comprehend. I thought their being true in
general, was because they were applicable in most particular cases.

Gravity is a principle in nature. Why? because all particular bodies
are found to gravitate. How would it sound to say, that bodies in
general are heavy; yet to apply this to particular bodies and say,
that a guinea, or a ball is heavy, is wild, &c.--"Adopted in private
life," says the honest amiable veteran, "they would introduce
perpetual discord." This I deny, and I think it plain, that there
never was an happy private family where they were not adopted. "In
the State perpetual discord." This I deny, and affirm that order,
concord and stability in this State, never was or can be preserved
without them. "The least failure in the reciprocal duties of worship
and obedience in the matrimonial contract would justify a divorce."
This is no consequence from those principles,--a total departure from
the ends and designs of the contract it is true, as elopement and
adultery, would by these principles justify a divorce, but not the
least failure, or many smaller failures in the reciprocal duties,
&c. "In the political compact, the smallest defect in the Prince a
revolution"--By no means. But a manifest design in the Prince, to
annul the contract on his part, will annul it on the part of the
people. A settled plan to deprive the people of all the benefits,
blessings and ends of the contract, to subvert the fundamentals
of the constitution, to deprive them of all share in making and
executing laws, will justify a revolution.

The author of a "Friendly Address to all reasonable Americans,"
discovers his rancour against these principles, in a more explicit
manner, and makes no scruples to advance the principles of Hobbs and
Filmer, boldly, and to pronounce damnation, _ore rotundo_, on all
who do not practice implicit passive obedience, to an established
government, of whatever character it may be. It is not reviling, it
is not bad language, it is strictly decent to say, that this angry
bigot, this ignorant dogmatist, this foul mouthed scold, deserves no
other answer than silent contempt. Massachusettensis and the veteran,
I admire, the first for his art, the last for his honesty.

Massachusettensis, is more discreet than either of the others;
sensible that these principles would be very troublesome to him, yet
conscious of their truth, he has neither admitted nor denied them.
But we have a right to his opinion of them, before we dispute with
him. He finds fault with the application of them. They have been
invariably applied in support of the revolution and the present
establishment--against the Stuart's, the Charles' and the James',--in
support of the reformation and the Protestant religion, against the
worst tyranny, that the genius of toryism, has ever yet invented, I
mean the Roman superstition. Does this writer rank the revolution and
present establishment, the reformation and Protestant religion among
his worst of purposes? What "worse purpose" is there than established
tyranny? Were these principles ever inculcated in favor of such
tyranny? Have they not always been used against such tyrannies,
when the people have had knowledge enough to be apprized of them,
and courage to assert them? Do not those who aim at depriving the
people of their liberties, always inculcate opposite principles, or
discredit these.

"A small mistake in point of policy," says he, "often furnishes
a pretence to libel government and persuade the people that
their rulers are tyrants, and the whole government, a system of
oppression." This is not only untrue, but inconsistent with what he
said before. The people are in their nature so gentle, that there
never was a government yet, in which thousands of mistakes were
not overlooked. The most sensible and jealous people are so little
attentive to government, that there are no instances of resistance,
until repeated, multiplied oppressions have placed it beyond a doubt,
that their rulers had formed settled plans to deprive them of their
liberties; not to oppress an individual or a few, but to break down
the fences of a free constitution, and deprive the people at large
of all share in the government and all the checks by which it is
limited. Even Machiavel himself allows, that not ingratitude to their
rulers, but much love is the constant fault of the people.

This writer is equally mistaken, when he says, the people are sure to
be loosers in the end. They can hardly be loosers, if unsuccessful;
because if they live, they can but be slaves, after an unfortunate
effort, and slaves they would have been, if they had not resisted.
So that nothing is lost. If they die, they cannot be said to lose,
for death is better than slavery. If they succeed, their gains are
immense. They preserve their liberties. The instances in antiquity,
which this writer alludes to, are not mentioned, and therefore
cannot be answered, but that in the country from whence we are
derived, is the most unfortunate for his purpose, that could have
been chosen. The resistance to Charles the First and the case of
Cromwell, no doubt he means. But the people of England, and the cause
of liberty, truth, virtue and humanity, gained infinite advantages
by that resistance. In all human probability, liberty civil and
religious, not only in England but in all Europe, would have been
lost. Charles would undoubtedly have established the Romish religion
and a despotism as wild as any in the world. And as England has
been a principal bulwark from that period to this, of civil liberty
and the Protestant religion in all Europe, if Charles' schemes had
succeeded, there is great reason to apprehend that the right of
science would have been extinguished, and mankind, drawn back to a
state of darkness and misery, like that which prevailed from the
fourth to the fourteenth century. It is true and to be lamented that
Cromwell did not establish a government as free, as he might and
ought; but his government was infinitely more glorious and happy to
the people than Charles'. Did not the people gain by the resistance
to James the second? Did not the Romans gain by the resistance to
Tarquin? Throughout that resistance and the liberty that was restored
by it, would the great Roman orators, poets and historians, the great
teachers of humanity and politeness, the pride of human nature, and
the delight and glory of mankind, for seventeen hundred years, ever
have existed? Did not the Romans gain by resistance to the Decemvirs?
Did not the English gain by resistance to John, when Magna Charta was
obtained? Did not the seven united provinces gain by resistance to
Philip, Alva, and Granvell? Did not the Swiss Cantons, the Genevans
and Grissons, gain by resistance to Albert and Grisler?



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 30, 1775.


I have heretofore intimated my intention, of pursuing the tories,
through all their dark intrigues, and wicked machinations; and to
shew the rise, and progress of their schemes for enslaving this
country. The honor of inventing and contriving these measures, is
not their due. They have been but servile copiers of the designs of
Andross, Randolph, Dudley, and other champions of their cause towards
the close of the last century. These latter worthies accomplished
but little; and their plans had been buried with them, for a long
course of years, until in the administration of the late Governor
Shirley, they were revived, by the persons who are now principally
concerned in carrying them into execution. Shirley, was a crafty,
busy, ambitious, intrigueing, enterprising man; and having mounted,
no matter by what means, to the chair of this province, he saw, in a
young growing country, vast prospects of ambition opening before his
eyes, and he conceived great designs of aggrandizing himself, his
family and his friends. Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Oliver, the two famous
letter writers, were his principal ministers of State. Russell,
Paxton, Ruggles, and a few others, were _subordinate_ instruments.
Among other schemes of this Junto, one was to have a Revenue in
America by authority of Parliament.

In order to effect their purpose it was necessary to concert measures
with the other Colonies. Dr. Franklin, who was known to be an active,
and very able man, and to have great influence, in the province
of Pennsylvania, was in Boston, in the year 1754, and Mr. Shirley
communicated to him the profound secret, the great design of taxing
the Colonies by act of Parliament. This sagacious gentleman, this
eminent philosopher, and distinguished patriot, to his lasting honor,
sent the Governor an answer in writing with the following remarks
upon his scheme. Remarks which would have discouraged any honest man
from the pursuit. The remarks are these:--

"That the people always bear the burden best, when they have, or
think they have, some _share_ in the direction.

"That when public measures are generally distasteful to the people,
the wheels of government must move more heavily.

"That excluding the people of America from all share in the choice of
a grand council for their own defence, and taxing them in Parliament,
where they have no representative, would probably give extreme

"That there was no reason to doubt the willingness of the Colonists
to contribute for their own defence. That the people themselves,
whose all was at stake, could better judge of the force necessary for
their defence, and of the means for raising money for the purpose,
than a British Parliament at so great distance.

"That natives of America, would be as likely to consult wisely and
faithfully for the safety of their native country, as the Governors
sent from Britain, whose object is generally to make fortunes, and
then return home, and who might therefore be expected to carry on the
war against France, rather in a way, by which themselves were likely
to be gainers, than for the greatest advantage of the cause.

"That compelling the Colonies to pay money for their own defence,
without their consent, would shew a suspicion of their loyalty, or of
their regard for their country, or of their common sense, and would
be treating them as conquered enemies, and not as free Britains,
who hold it for their undoubted right not to be taxed by their own
consent, given through their representatives.

"That parliamentary taxes, once laid on, are often continued, after
the necessity for laying them on, ceases; but that if the Colonists
were trusted to tax themselves, they would remove the burden from the
people, as soon as it should become unnecessary for them to bear it
any longer.

"That if Parliament is to tax the Colonies, their assemblies of
representatives may be dismissed as useless.

"That taxing the Colonies in Parliament for their own defence against
the French, is not more just, than it would be to oblige the cinque
ports, and other parts of Britain, to maintain a force against
France, and to tax them for this purpose, without allowing them
representatives in Parliament.

"That the Colonists have always been indirectly taxed by the mother
country (besides paying the taxes necessarily laid on by their own
assemblies) inasmuch as they are obliged to purchase the manufactures
of Britain, charged with innumerable heavy taxes; some of which
manufactures they could make, and others could purchase cheaper at
other markets.

"That the Colonists are besides taxed by the mother country, by being
obliged to carry great part of their produce to Britain, and accept a
lower price, than they might have at other markets. The difference is
a tax paid to Britain.

"That the whole wealth of the Colonists centres at last in the mother
country, which enables her to pay her taxes.

"That the Colonies have, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes,
extended the dominions, and increased the commerce and riches of the
mother country, that therefore the Colonists do not deserve to be
deprived of the native right of Britons, the right of being taxed
only by representatives chosen by themselves.

"That an adequate representation in parliament would probably be
acceptable to the Colonists, and would best raise the views and
interests of the whole empire."

The last of these propositions seems not to have been well
considered, because an adequate representation in parliament,
is totally impracticable; but the others have exhausted the
subject. If any one should ask what authority or evidence I have
of this anecdote, I refer to the second volume of the Political
Disquisitions, page 276, 7, 8, 9. A book which ought to be in the
hands of every American who has learned to read.

Whether the ministry at home or the junto here, were discouraged
by these masterly remarks, or by any other cause, the project of
taxing the Colonies was laid aside. Mr. Shirley was removed from this
government, and Mr. Pownal was placed in his stead.

Mr. Pownal seems to have been a friend to liberty and to our
Constitution, and to have had an aversion to all plots against
either, and consequently to have given his confidence to other
persons than Hutchinson and Oliver, who, stung with envy against
Mr. Pratt and others, who had the lead in affairs, set themselves,
by propagating slanders against the Governor, among the people, and
especially among the clergy, to raise discontents, and make him
uneasy in his seat. Pownal averse to wrangling, and fond of the
delights of England, solicited to be recalled, and after some time
Mr. Bernard was removed from New Jersey to the chair of this Province.

Bernard was the man for the purpose of the junto; educated in the
highest principles of monarchy, naturally daring and courageous,
skilled enough in law and policy to do mischief, and avaricious
to a most infamous degree; needy at the same time, and having a
numerous family to provide for,--he was an instrument, suitable
in every respect, excepting one, for this junto, to employ. The
exception I mean, was blunt frankness, very opposite to that cautious
cunning, that deep dissimulation, to which they had by long practice
disciplined themselves. However, they did not despair of teaching him
this necessary artful quality by degrees, and the event shewed they
were not wholly unsuccessful, in their endeavors to do it.

While the war lasted, these simple Provinces were of too much
importance in the conduct of it, to be disgusted, by any open attempt
against their liberties. The junto therefore, contented themselves
with preparing their ground by extending their connection and
correspondencies in England, and by conciliating the friendship of
the crown officers occasionally here, and insinuating their designs
as necessary to be undertaken in some future favorable opportunity,
for the good of the empire, as well as of the Colonies.

The designs of Providence are inscrutable. It affords to bad men
conjunctures favourable for their designs, as well as to good.
The conclusion of the peace, was the most critical opportunity
for our junto, that could have presented. A peace founded on the
destruction of that system of policy, the most glorious for the
nation, that ever was formed, and which was never equalled in the
conduct of the English government, except in the interregnum, and
perhaps in the reign of Elizabeth; which system however, by its being
abruptly broken off and its chief conductor discarded before it was
completed, proved unfortunate to the nation by leaving it sinking in
a bottomless gulf of debt, oppressed and borne down with taxes.

At this lucky time, when the British financier, was driven out of his
wits for ways and means, to supply the demands upon him, Bernard is
employed by the junto, to suggest to him the project of taxing the
Colonies by act of Parliament.

I do not advance this without evidence. I appeal to a publication
made by Sir Francis Bernard himself, the last year of his own select
letters on the trade and government of America, and the principles of
law and polity applied to the American Colonies. I shall make much
use of this pamphlet before I have done.

In the year 1764, Mr. Bernard transmitted home to different noblemen,
and gentlemen, four copies of his principles of law and polity,
with a preface, which proves incontestibly, that the project of
new regulating the American Colonies were not first suggested to
him by the ministry, but by him to them. The words of this preface
are these:--"The present expectation, that a new regulation of the
American governments will soon take place, probably arises more from
the opinion the public has of the abilities of the present ministry,
than from any thing that has transpired from the cabinet; it cannot
be supposed that their penetration can overlook the necessity of
such a regulation, nor their public spirit fail to carry it into
execution. But it may be a question, whether the present is a proper
time for this work; more urgent business may stand before it, some
preparatory steps may be required to precede it; but these will only
serve to postpone. As we may expect that this reformation, like all
others, will be opposed by powerful prejudices, it may not be amiss
to reason with them at leisure, and endeavor to take off their force
before they become opposed to government."

These are the words of that arch enemy of North America, written in
1764, and then transmitted to four persons, with a desire that they
might be communicated to others.

Upon these words, it is impossible not to observe, first, That the
ministry had never signified to him, any intention of new regulating
the Colonies; and therefore, that it was he who most officiously
and impertinently put them upon the pursuit of this _will with a
whisp_, which has led him and them into so much mire. 2. The artful
flattery with which he insinuates these projects into the minds of
the ministry, as matters of absolute necessity, which their great
penetration could not fail to discover, nor their great regard to
the public, omit. 3. The importunity with which he urges a speedy
accomplishment of his pretended reformation of the governments, and
4. His consciousness that these schemes would be opposed, although
he affects to expect from powerful prejudices only, that opposition,
which all Americans say, has been dictated by sound reason, true
policy, and eternal justice. The last thing I shall take notice of
is, the artful, yet most false and wicked insinuation, that such
new regulations were then generally expected. This is so absolutely
false, that excepting Bernard himself, and his junto, scarcely any
body on this side the water had any suspicion of it,--insomuch that
if Bernard had made public, at that time, his preface and principles,
as he sent them to the ministry, it is much to be doubted whether he
could have lived in this country--certain it is, he would have had no
friends in this province out of the junto.

The intention of the junto, was, to procure a revenue to be raised
in America by act of parliament. Nothing was further from their
designs and wishes, than the drawing or sending this revenue into the
exchequer in England to be spent there in discharging the national
debt, and lessening the burdens of the poor people there. They
were more selfish. They chose to have the fingering of the money
themselves. Their design was, that the money should be applied, first
in a large salary to the governor. This would gratify Bernard's
avarice, and then it would render him and all other governors, not
only independent of the people, but still more absolutely a slave to
the will of the minister. They intended likewise a salary for the
lieutenant governor. This would appease in some degree the gnawings
of Hutchinson's avidity, in which he was not a whit behind Bernard
himself. In the next place, they intended a salary to the judges of
the common law, as well as admiralty. And thus the whole government,
executive and judicial, was to be rendered wholly independent of the
people, (and their representatives rendered useless, insignificant
and even burthensome) and absolutely dependant upon, and under the
direction of the will of the minister of State. They intended further
to new model the whole continent of North America, make an entire
new division of it, into distinct, though more extensive and less
numerous Colonies, to sweep away all the charters upon the continent,
with the destroying besom of an act of parliament, and reduce all the
governments to the plan of the royal governments, with a nobility in
each Colony, not hereditary indeed, at first, but for life. They did
indeed flatter the ministry and people in England, with distant hopes
of a revenue from America, at some future period, to be appropriated
to national uses there. But this was not to happen in their minds
for some time. The governments must be new modelled, new regulated,
reformed first and then the governments here would be able and
willing to carry into execution any acts of Parliament or measures of
the ministry, for fleecing the people here, to pay debts, or support
pensioners, on the American establishment, or bribe electors, or
members of parliament, or any other purpose that a virtuous ministry
could desire.

But as ill luck would have it, the British financier, was as selfish
as themselves, and instead of raising money for them, chose to raise
it for himself. He put the cart before the horse. He chose to get
the revenue into the exchequer, because he had hungry cormorants
enough about him in England whose _cooings_ were more troublesome to
his ears, than the croaking of the ravens in America. And he thought
if America could afford any revenue at all, and he could get it by
authority of parliament, he might have it himself, to give to his
friends, as well as raise it for the junto here, to spend themselves,
or give to theirs. This unfortunate preposterous improvement of Mr.
Grenville, upon the plan of the junto, had well nigh ruined the whole.

I will proceed no further without producing my evidence. Indeed to
a man who was acquainted with this junto, and had any opportunity
to watch their motions, observe their language, and remark their
countenances, for these last twelve years, no other evidence is
necessary; it was plain to such persons, what this junto was about.
But we have evidence enough now under their own hands of the whole of
what was said of them by their opposers, through this whole period.

Governor Bernard, in his letter July 11, 1764, says, "that a general
reformation of the American governments would become not only a
desirable but a necessary measure." What his idea was, of a general
reformation of the American governments, is to be learnt from his
principles of law and polity, which he sent to the ministry in 1764.
I shall select a few of them in his own words; but I wish the whole
of them could be printed in the newspapers, that America might know
more generally the principles and designs and exertions of our junto.

His 29th proposition is, "The rule that a British subject shall not
be bound by laws, or liable to taxes, but what he has consented
to, by his representatives, must be confined to the inhabitants of
Great Britain only; and is not strictly true even there. 30. The
parliament of Great Britain, as well from its rights of sovereignty,
as from occasional exigences, has a right to make laws for and impose
taxes upon its subjects in its external dominions, although they are
not represented in such parliament. But 31. Taxes imposed upon the
external dominions, ought to be applied to the use of the people,
from whom they are raised. 32. The parliament of Great Britain has
a right and duty to take care to provide for the defence of the
American Colonies; especially as such Colonies are unable to defend
themselves. 33. The parliament of Great Britain has a right and a
duty to take care that provision be made for a sufficient support of
the American governments. Because 34. The support of the government
is one of the principal conditions upon which a Colony is allowed the
power of legislation. Also because 35. Some of the American Colonies
have shewn themselves deficient in the support of their several
governments, both as to sufficiency and independency."

His 75th proposition is, "Every American government is capable of
having its constitution altered for the better. 76. The grants of the
powers of governments to the American Colonies by charters cannot
be understood to be intended for other than their infant or growing
States. 77. They cannot be intended for their mature state, that is
for perpetuity; because they are in many things unconstitutional
and contrary to the very nature of a British government; therefore
78. They must be considered as designed only as temporary means,
for settling and bringing forward the peopling the Colonies; which
being effected, the cause of the peculiarity of their constitution
ceases. 79. If the charters can be pleaded against the authority of
Parliament they amount to an alienation of the dominions of Great
Britain, and are in effect acts of dismembering the British empire,
and will operate as such, if care is not taken to prevent it. 83.
The notion which has heretofore prevailed, that the dividing America
into many governments, and different modes of government will be
the means to prevent their uniting to revolt, is ill founded;
since, if the governments were ever so much consolidated, it will
be necessary to have so many distinct States, as to make a union to
revolt, impracticable. Whereas 84. The splitting America into many
small governments, weakens the governing power, and strengthens that
of the people; and thereby makes revolting more probable and more
practicable. 85. To prevent revolts in future times (for there is
no room to fear them in the present) the most effectual means would
be, to make the governments large and respectable, and balance the
powers of them. 86. There is no government in America at present,
whose powers are properly balanced; there not being in any of them,
a real and distinct third legislative power mediating between the
king and the people, which is the peculiar excellence of the British
constitution. 87. The want of such a third legislative power, adds
weight to the popular, and lightens the royal scale; so as to destroy
the balance between the royal and popular powers. 88. Although
America is not now (and probably will not be for many years to come)
ripe enough for an hereditary nobility; yet it is now capable of a
nobility for life. 89. A nobility appointed by the king for life,
and made independent, would probably give strength and stability to
the American governments, as effectually as an hereditary nobility
does to that of Great Britain. 90. The reformation of American
governments should not be controuled by the present boundaries of
the Colonies; as they were mostly settled upon partial, occasional,
and accidental considerations, without any regard to a whole. 91. To
settle the American governments to the greatest possible advantage,
it will be necessary to reduce the number of them; in some places to
unite and consolidate, in others to separate and transfer; and in
general to divide by natural boundaries, instead of imaginary lines.
92. If there should be but one form of government established for
all the North American provinces, it would greatly facilitate the
reformation of them; since, if the mode of government was every where
the same, people would be more indifferent under what division they
were ranged. 93. No objections ought to arise to the alteration of
the boundaries of provinces from proprietors, on account of their
property only; since there is no occasion that it should in the least
affect the boundaries of properties. 94. The present distinction of
one government being more free or more popular than another, tend
to embarrass and to weaken the whole; and should not be allowed
to subsist among people, subject to one king and one law, and all
equally fit for one form of government. 95. The American Colonies, in
general, are, at this time, arrived at that state, which qualifies
them to receive the most perfect form of government; which their
situation and relation to Great Britain, make them capable of. 96.
The people of North America, at this time, expect a revisal and
reformation of the American governments, and are better disposed to
submit to it, than ever they were, or perhaps ever will be again.
97. This is therefore the proper, and critical time to reform the
American governments, upon a general, constitutional, firm, and
durable plan; and if it is not done now, it will probably every day
grow more difficult, till at last it becomes impracticable."

My friends, these are the words, the plans, principles, and
endeavours of governor Bernard in the year 1764. That Hutchinson and
Oliver, notwithstanding all their disguises which you well remember,
were in unison with him in the whole of his measures, can be doubted
by no man. It appeared sufficiently in the part they all along acted,
notwithstanding their professions. And it appears incontestibly from
their detected letters, of which more hereafter.

Now let me ask you, if the parliament of Great Britain, had all the
natural foundations of authority, wisdom, goodness, justice, power,
in as great perfection as they ever existed in any body of men since
Adam's fall; and if the English nation was the most virtuous, pure
and free, that ever was; would not such an unlimited subjection
of three millions of people to that parliament, at three thousand
miles distance be real slavery? There are but two sorts of men in
the world, freemen and slaves. The very definition of a freeman, is
one who is bound by no law to which he has not consented. Americans
would have no way of giving or withholding their consent to the acts
of this parliament, therefore they would not be freemen. But, when
luxury, effeminacy and venality are arrived at such a shocking pitch
in England, when both electors and elected, are become one mass
of corruption, when the nation is oppressed to death with debts
and taxes, owing to their own extravagance, and want of wisdom,
what would be your condition under such an absolute subjection to
parliament? You would not only be slaves. But the most abject sort
of slaves to the worst sort of masters! at least this is my opinion.
Judge you for yourselves between Massachusettensis and



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 6, 1775.


The history of the tories, began in my last, will be interrupted for
some time; but it shall be reassumed, and minutely related, in some
future papers. Massachusettensis, who shall now be pursued, in his
own serpentine path; in his first paper, complains, that the press is
not free, that a party has gained the ascendency so far as to become
the licencers of it; by playing off the resentment of the populace,
against printers and authors: That the press is become an engine
of oppression and licentiousness, much devoted to the partisans of
liberty, who have been indulged in publishing what they pleased, _fas
vel nefas_, while little has been published on the part of government.

The art of this writer which appears in all his productions, is very
conspicuous in this. It is intended to excite a resentment against
the friends of liberty, for tyrannically depriving their antagonists,
of so important a branch of freedom, and a compassion towards the
tories, in the breasts of the people in the other Colonies and in
Great Britain, by insinuating, that they have not had equal terms.
But nothing can be more injurious, nothing farther from the truth.
Let us take a retrospective view of the period, since the last
peace, and see, whether they have not uniformly had the press at
their service, without the least molestation to authors or printers.
Indeed, I believe that the Massachusetts Spy, if not the Boston
Gazette have been open to them as well as to others. The Evening
Post, Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Chronicle, have certainly been
always as free for their use as the air. Let us dismiss prejudice
and passion, and examine impartially, whether the tories have not
been chargeable with at least as many libels, as much licentiousness
of the press, as the whigs? Dr. Mayhew was a whig of the first
magnitude, a clergyman equalled by very few of any denomination in
piety, virtue, genius or learning, whose works will maintain his
character, as long as New England shall be free, integrity esteemed,
or wit, spirit, humour, or reason and knowledge admired. How was he
treated from the press? Did not the reverend tories who were pleased
to write against him, the missionaries of defamation as well as
bigotry and passive obedience, in their pamphlets, and news papers,
bespatter him all over with their filth? With equal falsehood and
malice charge him with every thing evil? Mr. Otis, was in civil life;
and a senator, whose parts, literature, eloquence and integrity,
proved him a character in the world, equal to any of the time in
which he flourished, of any party in the province. Now be pleased
to recollect the Evening Post. For a long course of years, that
gentleman, his friends and connexions, of whom the world has, and
grateful posterity will have a better opinion than Massachusettensis
will acknowledge, were pelted with the most infernally malicious,
false, and atrocious libels, that ever issued from any press in
Boston. I will mention no other names, lest I give too much offence
to the modesty of some, and the envy and rancour of others.

There never was before, in any part of the world, a whole town
insulted to their faces, as Boston was, by the Boston Chronicle. Yet
the printer was not molested for printing, it was his mad attack upon
other printers with his clubs, and upon other gentlemen with his
pistols, that was the cause of his flight, or rather the pretence.
The truth was, he became too polite to attend his business, his shop
was neglected, procreations [Errata: procurations] were coming for
more than 2000 sterling, which he had no inclination to pay.

Printers may have been less eager after the productions of the tories
than of the whigs, and the reason has been because the latter have
been more consonant to the general taste and sense, and consequently
more in demand. Notwithstanding this, the former have ever found
one press at least devoted to their service, and have used it as
licentiously as they could wish. Whether the revenue chest has kept
it alive and made it profitable against the general sense, or not,
I wot not. Thus much is certain that 200, 3, 4, 5, 600, 800, 1500
sterling a year, has been the constant reward of every scribbler,
who has taken up the pen on the side of the ministry, with any
reputation, and commissions have been given here for the most
wretched productions of dulness itself. Whereas the writers on the
side of liberty, have been rewarded only with the consciousness of
endeavouring to do good, with the approbation of the virtuous and the
malice of men in power.

But this is not the first time, that writers have taken advantage of
the times. Massachusettensis knows the critical situation of this
Province. The danger it is in, without government or law: The army
in Boston.--The people irritated and exasperated, in such a manner
as was never before borne by any people under Heaven. Much depends
upon their patience at this critical time, and such an example of
patience and order, this people have exhibited in a state of nature,
under such cruel insults, distresses and provocations, as the history
of mankind cannot parallel. In this state of things protected by
an army, the whole junto are now pouring forth the whole torrents
of their Billingsgate, propagating thousands of the most palpable
falsehoods, when they know that the writers on the other side have
been restrained by their prudence and caution from engaging in a
controversy that must excite heats, lest it should have unhappy and
tragical consequences.

There is nothing in this world so excellent that it may not be
abused. The abuses of the press are notorious. It is much to be
desired that writers on all sides would be more careful of truth and
decency: but upon the most impartial estimate, the tories will be
found to have been the least so, of any party among us.

The honest Veteran, who ought not to be forgotten, in this place,
says, "if an inhabitant of Bern or Amsterdam, could read the
newspapers, &c. he would be at a loss how to reconcile oppression
with such unbounded licence of the press: and would laugh at the
charge, as something much more than a paradox, as a palpable
contradiction." But with all his taste, and manly spirit, the Veteran
is little of a statesman. His ideas of liberty are quite inadequate;
his notions of government very superficial. License of the press
is no proof of liberty. When a people is corrupted, the press may
be made an engine to complete their ruin: and it is now notorious,
that the ministry, are daily employing it to encrease and establish
corruption, and to pluck up virtue by the roots. Liberty can no more
exist without virtue and independence, than the body can live and
move without a soul. When these are gone, and the popular branch
of the constitution is become dependant on the minister, as it is
in England, or cut off as it is in America, all other forms of the
constitution may remain; but if you look for liberty, you will grope
in vain, and the freedom of the press, instead of promoting the cause
of liberty, will but hasten its destruction, as the best cordials
taken by patients, in some distempers, become the most rancid and
corrosive poisons.

The language of the Veteran, however, is like the style of the
minister and his scribblers in England boasting of the unbounded
freedom of the press, and assuring the people that all is safe, while
that continues; and thus the people are to be cheated with libels in
exchange for their liberties.

A stronger proof cannot be wished, of the scandalous license of the
tory presses, than the swarms of pamphlets and speculations, in New
York and Boston, since last October. "Madness, folly, delusion,
delirium, infatuation, phrensy, high treason and rebellion," are
charged in every page, upon three millions of as good and loyal, as
sensible and virtuous people, as any in the empire: nay upon that
congress, which was as full and free a representative, as ever was
constituted by any people, chosen universally without solicitation,
or the least tincture of corruption: that congress which consisted
of governors, counsellors, some of them by mandamus too, judges of
supreme courts, speakers of assemblies, planters and merchants of the
first fortune and character, and lawyers of the highest class, many
of them educated at the temple, called to the bar in England, and of
abilities and integrity equal to any there.

Massachusettensis, conscious that the people of this continent have
the utmost abhorrence of treason and rebellion, labours to avail
himself of the magic in these words. But his artifice is vain. The
people are not to be intimidated by hard words, from a necessary
defence of their liberties: Their attachment to their constitution
so dearly purchased by their own and their ancestors blood and
treasure, their aversion to the late innovations, their horror of
arbitrary power and the Romish religion, are much deeper rooted
than their dread of rude sounds and unmannerly language. They do
not want the advice of an honest lawyer, if such an one could be
found, nor will they be deceived by a dishonest one. They know what
offence it is, to assemble, armed and forcibly obstruct the course
of justice. They have been many years considering and inquiring,
they have been instructed by Massachusettensis and his friends, in
the nature of treason, and the consequences of their own principles
and actions. They know upon what hinge the whole dispute turns. That
the _fundamentals_ of the government over them, are disputed, that
the minister pretends and had the influence to obtain the voice
of the last parliament in his favour, that parliament is the only
supreme, sovereign, absolute and uncontroulable legislative over
all the Colonies, that therefore the minister and all his advocates
will call resistance, to acts of parliament, by the names of treason
and rebellion. But at the same time they know, that in their own
opinions, and in the opinions of all the Colonies, parliament has
no authority over them, excepting to regulate their trade, and this
not by any principle of common law, but merely by the consent of the
Colonies, founded on the obvious necessity of a case, which was never
in contemplation of that law, nor provided for by it; that therefore
they have as good a right to charge that minister, Massachusettensis
and the whole army to which he has fled for protection, with treason
and rebellion. For if the parliament has not a legal authority to
overturn their constitution, and subject them to such acts as are
lately passed, every man, who accepts of any commission and takes any
steps to carry those acts into execution, is guilty of overt acts
of treason and rebellion against his majesty, his royal crown and
dignity, as much as if he should take arms against his troops, or
attempt his sacred life. They know that the resistance against the
stampt act, which was made through all America, was in the opinion
of Massachusettensis, and George Grenville, high treason, and that
Brigadier Ruggles, and good Mr. Ogden, pretended at the congress
at New York, to be of the same mind, and have been held in utter
contempt and derision by the whole continent, for the same reason,
ever since; because in their own opinion, that resistance was a noble
stand against tyranny, and the only opposition to it, which could
have been effectual. That if the American resistance to the act for
destroying your charter, and to the resolves for arresting persons
here and sending them to England for trial is treason, the lords and
commons, and the whole nation, were traitors at the revolution.

They know that all America is united in sentiment, and in the plan of
opposition to the claims of administration and parliament. The junto
in Boston, with their little flocks of adherents in the country, are
not worth taking into the account; and the army and navy, though
these are divided among themselves, are no part of America; in
order to judge of this union, they begin at the commencement of the
dispute, and run through the whole course of it. At the time of the
Stamp Act, every Colony expressed its sentiments by resolves of their
assemblies, and every one agreed that parliament had no right to
tax the Colonies. The house of representatives of the Massachusetts
Bay, then consisted of many persons, who have since figured as
friends to government; yet every member of that house concurred most
cheerfully in the resolves then passed. The congress which met that
year at New York, expressed the same opinion in their resolves, after
the paint, paper and tea act was passed. The several assemblies
expressed the same sentiments, and when your Colony wrote the famous
circular letter, notwithstanding all the mandates and threats, and
cajoling of the minister and the several governors, and all the crown
officers through the continent, the assemblies with one voice echoed
their entire approbation of that letter, and their applause to your
Colony for sending it. In the year 1768, when a non importation was
suggested and planned by a few gentlemen at a private club, in one
of our large towns, as soon as it was proposed to the public, did it
not spread through the whole continent? Was it not regarded, like the
laws of the Medes and Persians, in almost all the Colonies? When the
paint and paper act was repealed, the southern Colonies agreed to
depart from the association in all things but the dutied articles,
but they have kept strictly to their agreement against importing
them, so that no tea worth the mentioning, has been imported into
any of them from Great Britain to this day. In the year 1770, when
a number of persons were slaughtered in King Street, such was the
brotherly sympathy of all the Colonies, such their resentment against
an hostile administration; that the innocent blood then spilt, has
never been forgotten, nor the murderous minister and governors, who
brought the troops here, forgiven, by any part of the continent,
and never will be. When a certain masterly statesman, invented a
committee of correspondence in Boston, which has provoked so much of
the spleen of Massachusettensis, of which much more hereafter; did
not every Colony, nay every county, city, hundred and town upon the
whole continent, adopt the measure? I had almost said, as if it had
been a revelation from above, as the happiest means of cementing the
union and acting in concert? What proofs of union have been given
since the last March? Look over the resolves of the several Colonies,
and you will see that one understanding governs, one heart animates
the whole body. Assemblies, conventions, congresses, towns, cities,
and private clubs and circles, have been actuated by one great, wise,
active and noble spirit, one masterly soul, animating one vigorous

The congress at Philadelphia, have expressed the same sentiments
with the people of New England, approved of the opposition to the
late innovations, unanimously advised us to persevere in it, and
assured us that if force is attempted to carry these measures
against us, all America ought to support us. Maryland and the lower
counties on Delaware, have, already, to shew to all the world their
approbation of the measures of New England, and their determination
to join in them, with a generosity, a wisdom and magnanimity, which
ought to make the tories consider, taken the power of the militia
into the hands of the people, without the governor, or minister,
and established it, by their own authority, for the defence of the
Massachusetts, as well as of themselves. Other Colonies are only
waiting to see if the necessity of it will become more obvious.
Virginia, and the Carolinas, are preparing for military defence, and
have been for some time. When we consider the variety of climates,
soils, religious, civil governments, commercial interests, &c. which
were represented at the congress, and the various occupations,
educations, and characters of the gentlemen who composed it, the
harmony and unanimity which prevailed in it, can scarcely be
paralleled in any assembly that ever met. When we consider, that
at the revolution, such mighty questions, as whether the throne
was vacant or not, and whether the Prince of Orange should be
king or not, were determined in the convention of parliament by
small majorities of two or three; and four or five only; the great
majorities, the almost unanimity with which all great questions have
been decided in your house of representatives, and other assemblies,
and especially in the continental congress, cannot be considered in
any other light than as the happiest omens indeed, as providential
dispensations in our favour, as well as the clearest demonstrations
of the cordial, firm, radical and indissoluble union of the Colonies.

The grand aphorism of the policy of the whigs has been to unite the
people of America, and divide those of Great Britain: The reverse
of this has been the maxim of the tories, viz:--To unite the people
of Great Britain, and divide those of America: All the movements,
marches and countermarches of both parties, on both sides of the
Atlantic, may be reduced to one or the other of these rules. I have
shewn, in opposition to Massachusettensis, that the people of
America are united more perfectly than the most sanguine whig could
ever have hoped, or than the most timid tory could have feared. Let
us now examine whether the people of Great Britain are equally united
against us. For if the contending countries were equally united, the
prospect of success in the quarrel would depend upon the comparative
wisdom, firmness, strength and other advantages of each. And if such
a comparison was made, it would not appear to a demonstration that
Great Britain could so easily subdue and conquer. It is not so easy
a thing for the most powerful State to conquer a country a thousand
leagues off. How many years time, how many millions of money, did it
take, with five and thirty thousand men, to conquer the poor province
of Canada? And after all the battles and victories, it never would
have submitted without a capitulation, which secured to them their
religion and properties.

But we know that the people of Great Britain are not united against
us. We distinguish between the ministry, the house of commons, the
officers of the army, navy, excise, customs, &c. who are dependent on
the ministry and tempted, if not obliged, to echo their voices; and
the body of the people. We are assured by thousands of letters from
persons of good intelligence, by the general strain of publications
in public papers, pamphlets, and magazines, and by some larger works
written for posterity, that the body of the people are friends to
America, and wish us success in our struggles against the claims of
parliament and administration. We know that millions in England and
Scotland, will think it unrighteous, impolitic and ruinous, to make
war upon us, and a minister, though he may have a marble heart, will
proceed with a diffident, desponding spirit. We know that London
and Bristol the two greatest commercial cities in the empire, have
declared themselves in the most decisive manner, in favor of our
cause. So explicitly that the former has bound her members under
their hands to assist us, and the latter has chosen two known friends
of America, one attached to us by principle, birth, and the most
ardent affection, the other an able advocate for us on several great
occasions. We know that many of the most virtuous and independent of
the nobility and gentry, are for us, and among them the best bishop
that adorns the bench, as great a judge as the nation can boast, and
the greatest statesman it ever saw. We know that the nation is loaded
with debts and taxes by the folly and iniquity of its ministers, and
that without the trade of America, it can neither long support its
fleet and army, nor pay the interest of its debt.

But we are told that the nation is now united against us, that they
hold they have a right to tax us and legislate for us as firmly as
we deny it. That we are a part of the British empire, that every
State must have an uncontroulable power co-extensive with the
empire, that there is little probability of serving ourselves by
ingenious distinctions between external and internal taxes. If we
are not a part of the state, and subject to the supreme authority of
parliament, Great Britain will make us so; that if this opportunity
of reclaiming the Colonies is lost, they will be dismembered from the
empire; and although they may continue their allegiance to the king
they will own none to the imperial crown.

To all this I answer, that the nation is not so united; that they do
not so universally hold they have such a right, and my reasons I have
given before. That the terms "British Empire" are not the language
of the common law, but the language of newspapers and political
pamphlets. That the dominions of the king of Great Britain has no
uncontroulable power co-extensive with them. I would ask by what law
the Parliament has authority over America? By the law of GOD
in the Old and New Testament, it has none: By the law of nature and
nations, it has none. By the common law of England is has none.
For the common law, and the authority of parliament founded on it,
never extended beyond the four seas. By statute law it has none, for
no statute was made before the settlement of the Colonies for this
purpose; and the declaratory act made in 1766, was made without our
consent, by a parliament which had no authority beyond the four seas.
What religious, moral or political obligations then are we under,
to submit to parliament as a supreme legislative? None at all. When
it is said, that if we are not subject to the supreme authority
of parliament, Great Britain will make us so, all other laws and
obligations are given up, and recourse is had to the _ratio ultima_
of Louis the 14th, and the _suprema lex_ of the king of Sardinia, to
the law of brickbats and cannon balls, which can be answered only by
brickbats and balls.

This language "the imperial crown of Great Britain," is not the
style of the common law but of court sycophants. It was introduced
in allusion to the Roman empire, and intended to insinuate that
the prerogative of the imperial crown of England, was like that of
the Roman emperor, after the maxim was established, _quod principi
placuit legis habet vigorem_, and so far from including the two
houses of parliament in the idea of this imperial crown, it was
intended to insinuate that the crown was absolute, and had no need of
lords or commons to make or dispense with laws. Yet even these court
sycophants when driven to an explanation, never dared to put any
other sense upon the words imperial crown than this, that the crown
of England was independent of France, Spain, and all other kings and
states in the world.

When he says that the king's dominions must have an uncontroulable
power, co-extensive with them. I ask whether they have such a power
or not? And utterly deny that they have by any law but that of Louis
the 14th, and the king of Sardinia. If they have not, and it is
necessary that they should have, it then follows that there is a
defect in what he calls the British empire; and how shall this defect
be supplied? It cannot be supplied consistently with reason, justice,
policy, morality, or humanity, without the consent of the Colonies
and some new plan of connection. But if Great Britain will set all
these at defiance, and resort to the _ratio ultima_, all Europe will
pronounce her a tyrant, and America never will submit to her, be the
danger of disobedience as great as it will.

But there is no need of any other power than that of regulating
trade, and this the Colonies ever have been and will be ready and
willing to concede to her. But she will never obtain from America any
further concession while she exists. We are then asked, "for what
she protected and defended the Colonies against the maritime power
of Europe from their first settlement to this day?" I answer for her
own interest, because all the profits of our trade centered in her
lap. But it ought to be remembered, that her name, not her purse, nor
her fleets and armies, ever protected us, until the last war, and
then the minister who conducted that war, informs us, that the annual
millions from America enabled her to do it.

We are then asked for what she purchased New York of the Dutch? I
answer she never did. The Dutch never owned it, were never more
than trespassers and intruders there, and were finally expelled by
conquest. It was ceded it is true by the treaty of Breda, and it is
said in some authors, that some other territory in India was ceded to
the Dutch in lieu of it. But this was the transaction of the king,
not of parliament, and therefore makes nothing to the argument. But
admitting for argument sake, (since the cautious Massachusettensis
will urge us into the discussion of such questions) what is not a
supposable case, that the nation should be so sunk in sloth, luxury,
and corruption, as to suffer their minister to persevere in his mad
blunders and send fire and sword against us, how shall we defend
ourselves? The Colonies south of Pennsylvania have no men to spare we
are told. But we know better--we know that all those Colonies have a
back country which is inhabited by an hardy, robust people, many of
whom are emigrants from New England, and habituated like multitudes
of New England men, to carry their fuzees or rifles upon one shoulder
to defend themselves against the Indians, while they carried their
axes, scythes and hoes upon the other to till the ground. Did not
those Colonies furnish men the last war excepting Maryland? Did
not Virginia furnish men, one regiment particularly equal to any
regular regiment in the service? Does the soft Massachusettensis
imagine that in the unnatural horrid war, he is now supposing their
exertions would be less? If he does he is very ill informed of their
principles, their present sentiments and temper. But "have you arms
and ammunition?" I answer we have; but if we had not, we could make
a sufficient quantity for both. What should hinder? We have many
manufacturers of fire arms now, whose arms are as good as any in
the world. Powder has been made here, and may be again, and so may
salt-petre. What should hinder? We have all the materials in great
abundance, and the process is very simple. But if we neither had
them nor could make them, we could import them. But "the British
navy" aye there's the rub. But let us consider, since the prudent
Massachusettensis will have these questions debated. How many ships
are taken to blockade Boston harbour? How many ships can Britain
spare to carry on this humane and political war, the object of which
is a pepper corn! let her send all the ships she has round her
island. What if her ill natured neighbours, France and Spain should
strike a blow in their absence? In order to judge what they could
all do when they arrived here we should consider what they are all
able to do round the island of Great Britain. We know that the utmost
vigilance and exertions of them added to all the terms [Errata:
terrors] of sanguinary laws, are not sufficient to prevent continual
smuggling, into their own island. Are there not fifty bays, harbours,
creeks and inlets upon the whole coast of North America, where there
is one round the island of Great Britain. Is it to be supposed then,
that the whole British navy could prevent the importation of arms
and ammunition into America, if she should have occasion for them to
defend herself against the hellish warfare that is here supposed.

But what will you do for discipline and subordination? I answer we
will have them in as great perfection as the regular troops. If the
provincials were not brought in the last war to a proper discipline,
what was the reason? Because regular generals would not let them
fight, which they ardently wished, but employed them in cutting
roads. If they had been allowed to fight they would have brought the
war to a conclusion too soon. The provincials did submit to martial
law, and to the mutiny and desertion act the last war, and such an
act may be made here by a legislature which they will obey with much
[Errata: missing 'more'] alacrity than an act of parliament.

The new fangled militia as the specious Massachusettensis calls
it, is such a militia as he never saw. They are commanded through
the province, not by men who procured their commissions from a
governor as a reward for making themselves pimps to his tools, and by
discovering a hatred of the people but by gentlemen whose estates,
abilities and benevolence have rendered them the delight of the
soldiers, and there is an esteem and respect for them visible through
the province, which has not been used in the militia. Nor is there
that unsteadiness that is charged upon them. In some places, where
companies have been split into two or three, it has only served by
exciting an emulation between the companies to increase the martial
spirit and skill.

The plausible Massachusettensis may write as he will, but in a land
war, this continent might defend itself against all the world. We
have men enough, and those men have as good natural understandings,
and as much natural courage as any other men. If they were wholly
ignorant now, they might learn the art of war. But at sea we are
defenceless. A navy might burn our seaport towns. What then? If
the insinuating Massachusettensis has ever read any speculations,
concerning an Agrarian law, and I know he has, he will be satisfied
that 350,000 landholders will not give up their rights and the
constitution, by which they hold them, to save fifty thousand
inhabitants of maritime towns. Will the minister be nearer his mark,
after he has burnt a beautiful town and murdered 30,000 innocent
people? So far from it, that one such event, would occasion the loss
of all the Colonies to Great Britain forever. It is not so clear
that our trade, fishery and navigation, could be taken from us. Some
persons, who understand this subject better than Massachusettensis,
with all his sprightly imaginations, are of a different opinion.
They think that our trade would be increased. But I will not enlarge
upon this subject, because I wish the trade of this continent may be
confined to Great Britain, at least as much of it, as it can do her
any good to restrain.

The Canadians and Savages are brought in to thicken the horrors of
a picture, with which the lively fancy of this writer has terrified
him. But although we are sensible that the Quebec act has laid a
foundation for a fabric, which if not seasonably demolished, may be
formidable, if not ruinous to the Colonies, in future times, yet we
know that these times are yet at a distance; at present we hold the
power of the Canadians as nothing. But we know their dispositions are
not unfriendly to us.

The Savages will be more likely to be our friends than enemies; but
if they should not, we know well enough how to defend ourselves
against them.

I ought to apologize for the immoderate length of this paper. But
general assertions are only to be confuted by an examination of
particulars, which necessarily fills up much space. I will trespass
on the reader's patience only while I make one observation more upon
the art, I had almost said chicanery of this writer.

He affirms that we are not united in this province, and that
associations are forming in several parts of the province. The
association he means has been laid before the public, and a
very curious piece of legerdemain it is. Is there any article
acknowledging the authority of parliament, the unlimited authority
of parliament? Brigadier Ruggles himself, Massachusettensis himself,
could not have signed it if there had, consistent with their known
declared opinions. They associate to stand by the king's laws, and
this every whig will subscribe. But after all, what a wretched
fortune has this association made in the world! the numbers who
have signed it, would appear so inconsiderable, that I dare say the
Brigadier will never publish to the world their numbers or names. But
"has not Great Britain been a nursing mother to us?" Yes, and we have
behaved as nurse children commonly do, been very fond of her, and
rewarded her all along ten fold for all her care and expense in our

But "is not our distraction owing to parliament's taking off a
shilling duty on tea and imposing three pence, and is not this a more
unaccountable phrensy, more disgraceful to the annals of America,
than the witchcraft?"

Is the three pence upon tea our only grievance? Are we not in this
province deprived of the priviledge of paying our governors, judges,
&c.? Are not trials by jury taken from us? Are we not sent to England
for trial? Is not a military government put over us? Is not our
constitution demolished to the foundation? Have not the ministry
shewn by the Quebec bill, that we have no security against them for
our religion any more than our property, if we once submit to the
unlimited claims of parliament? This is so gross an attempt to impose
on the most ignorant of the people, that it is a shame to answer it.

_Obsta principiis_--Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is
the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.
When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers and destroyers
press upon them so fast that there is no resisting afterwards. The
nature of the encroachment upon American constitution is such, as
to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it
eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners
and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less
steady, spirited and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more
corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependants and
expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity and
frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity,
luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality
swallow up the whole society.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 13, 1775.


Massachusettensis, whose pen can wheedle with the tonge of king
Richard the third, in his first paper, threatens you with the
vengeance of Great Britain, and assures you that if she had no
authority over you, yet she would support her claims by her fleets
and armies, Canadians and Indians. In his next he alters his tone,
and soothes you with the generosity, justice and humanity of the

I shall leave him to show how a nation can claim an authority which
they have not by right, and support it by fire and sword, and yet
be generous and just. The nation I believe is not vindictive, but
the minister has discovered himself to be so, in a degree that would
disgrace a warrior of a savage tribe.

The wily Massachusettensis thinks our present calamity is to be
attributed to the bad policy of a popular party, whose measures,
whatever their intentions were, have been opposite to their
profession, the public good. The present calamity seems to be nothing
more nor less, than reviving the plans of Mr. Bernard and the junto,
and Mr. Grenville and his friends in 1764. Surely this party, are and
have been rather unpopular. The popular party did not write Bernard's
letters, who so long ago pressed for the demolition of all the
charters upon the continent, and a parliamentary taxation to support
government, and the administration of justice in America.

The popular party did not write Oliver's letters, who enforces
Bernard's plans, nor Hutchinson's, who pleads with all his eloquence
and pathos for parliamentary penalties, ministerial vengeance and an
abridgement of English liberties.

There is not in human nature a more wonderful phenomenon; nor in
the whole theory of it, a more intricate speculation; than the
_shiftings_, _turnings_, _windings_ and _evasions_ of a guilty
conscience. Such is our unalterable moral constitution, that an
internal inclination to do wrong, is criminal; and a wicked thought,
stains the mind with guilt, and makes it tingle with pain. Hence it
comes to pass that the guilty mind, can never bear to think that its
guilt is known to God or man, no, nor to itself.

                        ----Cur tamen hos tu
     Evasisse putes, quos diri conscia facti
     Mens habet attonitos, et surdo verbere cædit
     Occultum quatiente animo tortore flagellum?
     Poena autem vehemens ac multo sævior illis,
     Quas et Cædicius gravis invenit et Rhadamanthus,
     Nocte dieque suum gestare in pectore testem.

     JUV. SAT. 13. 192.

Massachusettensis and his friends the tories, are startled at the
calamities they have brought upon their country, and their conscious
guilt, their smarting, wounded mind, will not suffer them to confess,
even to themselves, what they have done. Their silly denials of their
own share in it before a people, who they know have abundant evidence
against them, never fail to remind me of an ancient _fugitive_, whose
conscience could not bear the recollection of what he had done.
"I know not, am I my brother's keeper?" He replies, with all the
apparent simplicity of truth and innocence, to one from whom he was
very sensible his guilt could not be hid. The still more absurd and
ridiculous attempts of the tories, to throw off the blame of these
calamities from themselves to the whigs, remind me of another story,
which I have read in the Old Testament. When Joseph's brethren had
sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, in order to
conceal their own avarice, malice and envy, they dip the coat of many
colours in the blood of a kid, and say that an evil beast had rent
him in pieces and devoured him.

However, what the sons of Israel intended for ruin to Joseph, proved
the salvation of the family; and I hope and believe that the whigs,
will have the magnanimity, like him, to suppress their resentment,
and the felicity of saving their ungrateful brothers.

This writer has a faculty of insinuating errors into the mind, almost
imperceptibly, he dresses them so in the guise of truth. He says
"that the revenue to the crown, from America amounted to but little
more than the charges of collecting it," at the close of the last
war. I believe it did not amount to so much. The truth is, there
was never any pretence of raising a revenue in America before that
time, and when the claim was first set up, it gave an alarm, like a
warlike expedition against us. True it is that some duties had been
laid before by parliament, under pretence of regulating our trade,
and by a collusion and combination between the West India planters,
and the North American governors, some years before, duties had been
laid upon molasses, &c. under the same pretence, but in reality
merely to advance the value of the estates of the planters in the
West India Islands, and to put some plunder, under the name of thirds
of seisures into the pockets of the governors. But these duties,
though more had been collected in this province, than in any other in
proportion, were never regularly collected in any of the Colonies. So
that the idea of an American revenue for one purpose or another had
never, at this time, been formed in American minds.

Our writer goes on, "She, (Great Britain,) thought it as reasonable
that the Colonies should bear a part of the national burdens, as that
they should share in the national benefit."

Upon this subject Americans have a great deal to say. The national
debt before the last war, was near an hundred millions. Surely
America had no share in running into that debt. What is the reason
then that she should pay it? But a small part of the sixty
millions spent in the last war, was for her benefit. Did she not bear
her full share of the burden of the last war in America? Did not the
province pay twelve shillings in the pound in taxes for the support
of it; and send a sixth or seventh part of her sons into actual
service? And at the conclusion of the war, was she not left half a
million sterling in debt? Did not all the rest of New England exert
itself in proportion? What is the reason that the Massachusetts has
paid its debt, and the British minister in thirteen years of peace
has paid none of his? Much of it might have been paid in this time,
had not such extravagance and speculation prevailed, as ought to be
an eternal warning to America, never to trust such a minister with
her money. What is the reason that the great and necessary virtues
of simplicity, frugality and economy cannot live in England, Scotland
and Ireland, as well as America?

We have much more to say still. Great Britain has confined all our
trade to herself. We are willing she should, as far as it can be for
the good of the empire. But we say that we ought to be allowed as
credit, in the account of public burdens and expenses, so much paid
in taxes, as we are obliged to sell our commodities to her cheaper
than we could get for them at foreign markets. The difference is
really a tax upon us, for the good of the empire. We are obliged to
take from Great Britain commodities, that we could purchase cheaper
elsewhere. This difference is a tax upon us for the good of the
empire. We submit to this cheerfully, but insist that we ought to
have credit for it, in the account of the expenses of the empire,
because it is really a tax upon us. Another thing. I will venture
a bold assertion. Let Massachusettensis, or any other friend of
the minister, confute me. The three million Americans, by the tax
aforesaid, upon what they are obliged to export to Great Britain
only, what they are obliged to import from Great Britain only, and
the quantities of British manufactures which in these climates they
are obliged to consume, more than the like number of people in any
part of the three kingdoms, ultimately pay more of the taxes and
duties that are apparently paid in Great Britain, than any three
million subjects in the three kingdoms. All this may be computed
and reduced to stubborn figures, by the minister, if he pleases.
We cannot do it. We have not the accounts, records, &c. Now let
this account be fairly stated, and I will engage for America,
upon any penalty, that she will pay the overplus, if any, in her
own constitutional way, provided it is to be applied for national
purposes, as paying off the national debt, maintaining the fleet, &c.
not to the support of a standing army in time of peace, placemen,
pensioners, &c.

Besides, every farthing of expense which has been incurred on
pretence of protecting, defending and securing America, since the
last war, has been worse than thrown away; it has been applied to do
mischief. Keeping an army in America has been nothing but a public

Furthermore, we see that all the public money that is raised here,
and have reason to believe all that will or can be raised, will be
applied not for public purposes, national or provincial, but merely
to corrupt the sons of America, and create a faction to destroy its
interest and happiness.

There are scarcely three sentences together, in all the voluminous
productions of this plausible writer, which do not convey some error
in fact or principle, tinged with a colouring to make it pass for
truth. He says, "the idea, that the stamps were a tax, not only
exceeding our proportion, but beyond our utmost ability to pay,
united the Colonies generally in opposing it." That we thought it
beyond our proportion and ability is true, but it was not this
thought which united the Colonies in opposing it. When he says that
at first, we did not dream of denying the authority of parliament to
tax us, much less to legislate for us, he discovers plainly either
a total inattention to the sentiments of America at that time, or a
disregard of what he affirms.

The truth is, the authority of parliament was never generally
acknowledged in America. More than a century since, Massachusetts
and Virginia, both protested against even the act of navigation
and refused obedience, for this very reason, because they were
not represented in parliament and were therefore not bound; and
afterwards confirmed it by their own provincial authority. And from
that time to this, the general sense of the Colonies has been, that
the authority of parliament was confined to the regulation of trade,
and did not extend to taxation or internal legislation.

In the year 1764, your house of representatives sent home a petition
to the king, against the plan of taxing them. Mr. Hutchinson, Oliver
and their relations and connections were then in the legislature, and
had great influence there. It was by their influence that the two
houses were induced to wave the word rights, and an express denial of
the right of parliament to tax us, to the great grief and distress
of the friends of liberty in both houses. Mr. Otis and Mr. Thatcher
laboured in the committee to obtain an express denial. Mr. Hutchinson
expressly said he agreed with them in opinion, that parliament had
no right, but thought it ill policy to express this opinion in the
petition. In truth, I will be bold to say, there was not any member
of either house, who thought that parliament had such a right at
that time. The house of representatives, at that time, gave their
approbation to Mr. Otis's rights of the Colonies, in which it was
shewn to be inconsistent with the right of British subjects to be
taxed, but by their own representatives.

In 1765, our house expressly resolved against the right of
parliament to tax us. The congress at New York resolved 3. "That
it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the
undoubted right of Englishmen, that no tax be imposed on them, but
with their own consent given personally, or by their representatives.
4. That the people of the Colonies are not, and from their local
circumstances cannot be represented in the house of commons of Great
Britain. 5. That the only representatives of the people of the
Colonies, are the persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no
taxes ever have been or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but
by their respective legislatures." Is it not a striking disregard to
truth in the artful Massachusettensis to say, that at first we did
not dream of denying the right of parliament to tax us? It was the
principle that united the Colonies to oppose it, not the quantum of
the tax. Did not Dr. Franklin deny the right in 1754, in his remarks
upon governor Shirley's scheme, and supposed that all America would
deny it? We had considered ourselves as connected with Great Britain,
but we never thought parliament the supreme legislature over us. We
never generally supposed it to have any authority over us, but from
necessity, and that necessity we thought confined to the regulation
of trade, and to such matters as concerned all the colonies together.
We never allowed them any authority in our internal concerns.

This writer says, acts of parliament for regulating our internal
polity were familiar. This I deny. So far otherwise, that the
hatter's act was never regarded; the act to destroy the Land Bank
Scheme raised a greater ferment in this province, than the stamp-act
did, which was appeased only by passing province laws directly in
opposition to it. The act against slitting mills, and tilt hammers,
never was executed here. As to the postage, it was so useful a
regulation, so few persons paid it, and they found such a benefit
by it, that little opposition was made to it. Yet every man who
thought about it called it an usurpation. Duties for regulating
trade we paid, because we thought it just and necessary that they
should regulate the trade which their power protected. As for duties
for a revenue, none were ever laid by parliament for that purpose
until 1764, when, and ever since, its authority to do it has been
constantly denied. Nor is this complaisant writer near the truth,
when he says, "We know that in all those acts of government, the good
of the whole had been consulted." On the contrary, we know that the
private interest of provincial governors and West India planters, had
been consulted in the duties on foreign molasses, &c. and the private
interest of a few Portugal merchants, in obliging us to touch at
Falmouth with fruit, &c. in opposition to the good of the whole, and
in many other instances.

The resolves of the house of Burgesses of Virginia, upon the stamp
act, did great honor to that province, and to the eminent patriot
Patrick Henry, Esq. who composed them. But these resolves made no
alteration in the opinion of the Colonies, concerning the right of
parliament to make that act. They expressed the universal opinion of
the continent at that time, and the alacrity with which every other
Colony, and the congress at New York, adopted the same sentiment in
similar resolves, proves the entire union of the Colonies in it, and
their universal determination to avow and support it.

What follows here, that it became so popular that his life was in
danger, who suggested the contrary, and that the press was open to
one side only, are direct misrepresentations and wicked calumnies.

Then we are told, by this sincere writer, that when we obtained a
partial repeal of the statute imposing duties on glass, paper, and
teas, this was the lucky moment, when to have closed the dispute.
What? With a Board of commissioners remaining the sole end of
whose creation was to form and conduct a revenue--with an act of
parliament remaining, the professed design of which expressed in the
preamble, was to raise a revenue, and appropriate it to the payment
of governors' and judges' salaries, the duty remaining too upon an
article, which must raise a large sum, the consumption of which
would constantly increase? Was this a time to retreat? Let me ask
this sincere writer a simple question. Does he seriously believe
that the designs of imposing other taxes, and of new modelling our
governments, would have been bid aside, by the ministry or by the
servants of the crown here? Does he think that Mr. Bernard, Mr.
Hutchinson, the commissioners and others, would have been content
then to have desisted? If he really thinks so, he knows little of
the human heart, and still less of those gentlemen's hearts. It was
at this very time that the salary was given to the governor, and an
order soliciting for that to the judges.

Then we are entertained with a great deal of ingenious talk about
whigs and tories, and at last are told that some of the whigs owed
all their importance to popularity. And what then? Did not as many
of the tories owe their importance to popularity?--And did not many
more owe all their importance to unpopularity? If it had not been
for their taking an active part on the side of the ministry, would
not some of the most conspicuous and eminent of them have been
unimportant enough? Indeed, through the two last administrations to
despise and hate the people, and to be despised and hated by them
were the principal recommendations to the favours of government, and
all the qualification that was required.

The tories, says he, were for closing the controversy. That is, they
were for contending no more, and it was equally true that they never
were for contending at all, but lying at mercy. It was the very end
they had aimed at from the beginning. They had now got the governor's
salary out of the revenue--a number of pensions and places, and
they knew they could at any time get the judges' salaries from the
same fountain, and they wanted to get the people reconciled and
familiarised to this, before they went upon any new projects.

The whigs were averse to restoring government, they even refused
to revive a temporary riot act, which expired about this time.
Government had as much vigour then as ever, excepting only in those
cases which affected this dispute. The riot act expired in 1770,
immediately after the massacre in King Street. It was not revived and
never will be in this Colony, nor will any one ever be made in any
other, while a standing army is illegally posted here, to butcher
the people, whenever a governor, or a magistrate, who may be a tool,
shall order it. "Perhaps the whigs thought that mobs were a necessary
ingredient in their system of opposition." Whether they did or no, it
is certain that mobs have been thought a necessary ingredient by the
tories in their system of administration, mobs of the worst sort with
red coats, fuzees and bayonets, and the lives and limbs of the whigs
have been in greater danger from these, than ever the tories were
from others.

"The scheme of the whigs flattered the people with the idea of
independence; the tories' plan supposed a degree of subordination."
This is artful enough, as usual not to say jesuitical. The word
independence is one of those, which this writer uses, as he does
treason and rebellion, to impose upon the undistinguishing on both
sides of the Atlantic. But let us take him to pieces. What does he
mean by independence? Does he mean independent of the crown of Great
Britain, and an independent republic in America, or a confederation
of independent republics? No doubt he intended the undistinguishing
should understand him so. If he did; nothing can be more wicked,
or a greater slander on the whigs; because he knows there is not a
man in the province, among the whigs, nor ever was, who harbours
a wish of that sort. Does he mean that the people were flattered
with the idea of total independence on parliament? If he does,
this is equally malicious and injurious; because he knows that the
equity and necessity of parliament's regulating trade has always
been acknowledged, our determination to consent and submit to such
regulations constantly expressed, and all the acts of trade in fact,
to this very day, much more submitted to and strictly executed in
this province, than any other in America.

There is equal ambiguity in the words "degree of subordination."
The whigs acknowledge a subordination to the king, in as strict and
strong a sense as the tories. The whigs acknowledge a voluntary
subordination to parliament, as far as the regulation of trade. What
degree of subordination then do the tories acknowledge? An absolute
dependance upon parliament as their supreme legislative, in all cases
whatever, in their internal polity as well as taxation? This would
be too gross and would lose him all his readers; for there is nobody
here who will expose his understanding so much, as explicitly to
adopt such a sentiment. Yet it is such an absolute dependance and
submission, that these writers would persuade us to, or else there is
no need of changing our sentiments and conduct. Why will not these
gentlemen speak out, shew us plainly their opinion that the new
government, they have fabricated for this province, is better than
the old, and that all the other measures, we complain of, are for our
and the public good, and exhort us directly to submit to them? The
reason is, because they know they should lose their readers.

"The whigs were sensible that there was no oppression that could be
seen or felt." The tories have so often said and wrote this to one
another, that I sometimes suspect they believe it to be true. But
it is quite otherwise. The castle of the province was taken out of
their hand and garrisoned by regular soldiers: this they could see,
and they thought it indicated an hostile intention and disposition
towards them. They continually paid their money to collectors of
duties: this they could both see and feel. An host of placemen, whose
whole business it was to collect a revenue, were continually rolling
before them in their chariots. These they saw. Their governor was no
longer paid by themselves, according to their charter, but out of the
new revenue, in order to render their assemblies useless and indeed
contemptible. The judges' salaries were threatened every day to be
paid in the same unconstitutional manner. The dullest eye-sight could
not but see to what all this tended, viz.; to prepare the way for
greater innovations and oppressions. They knew a minister would never
spend his money in this way, if he had not some end to answer by it.
Another thing they both saw and felt. Every man, of every character,
who by voting, writing, speaking, or otherwise, had favoured the
stamp act, the tea act, and every other measure of a minister or
governor, who they knew was aiming at the destruction of their form
of government, and introducing parliamentary taxation, was uniformly,
in some department or other, promoted to some place of honour or
profit for ten years together: and, on the other hand, every man who
favoured the people in their opposition to those innovations, was
depressed, degraded and persecuted, as far as it was in the power of
the government to do it.

This they considered as a systematical means of encouraging every
man of abilities to espouse the cause of parliamentary taxation, and
the plan of destroying their charter privilege, and to discourage
all from exerting themselves, in opposition to them. This they
thought a plan to enslave them, for they uniformly think that the
destruction of their charter, making the council and judges wholly
dependant on the crown, and the people subject to the unlimited power
of parliament, as their supreme legislative, is slavery. They were
certainly rightly told, then, that the ministry and their governors
together had formed a design to enslave them; and that when once this
was done, they had the highest reason to expect window taxes, hearth
taxes, land taxes and all others: and that these were only paving the
way for reducing the country to lordships. Were the people mistaken
in these suspicions? Is it not now certain that governor Bernard
in 1764, had formed a design of this sort? Read his principles of
polity--And that lieutenant governor Oliver as late as 1768 or 9,
inforced the same plan? Read his letters.

Now if Massachusettensis will be ingenuous, avow this design, shew
the people its utility, and that it ought to be done by parliament,
he will act the part of an honest man. But to insinuate that there
was no such plan, when he knows there was, is acting the part of one
of the junto.

It is true that the people of this country in general, and of this
province in special, have an hereditary apprehension of and aversion
to lordships, temporal and spiritual. Their ancestors fled to this
wilderness to avoid them--they suffered sufficiently under them in
England. And there are few of the present generation, who have not
been warned of the danger of them by their fathers or grandfathers,
and injoined to oppose them. And neither Bernard nor Oliver ever
dared to avow, before them, the designs which they had certainly
formed to introduce them. Nor does Massachusettensis dare to avow
his opinion in their favour. I do not mean that such avowal would
expose their persons to danger, but their characters and writings to
universal contempt.

When you were told that the people of England were depraved, the
parliament venal, and the ministry corrupt, were you not told most
melancholy truths? Will Massachusettensis deny any of them? Does
not every man, who comes from England, whig or tory, tell you the
same thing? Do they make any secret of it, or use any delicacy about
it? Do they not most of them avow that corruption is so established
there, as to be incurable, and a necessary instrument of government?
Is not the British constitution arrived nearly to that point, where
the Roman republic was, when Jugurtha left it, and pronounced it a
venal city ripe for destruction, if it can only find a purchaser? If
Massachusettensis can prove that it is not, he will remove from my
mind, one of the heaviest loads which lies upon it.

Who has censured the tories for remissness, I know not. Whoever
it was, he did them great injustice. Every one that I know of
that character has been through the whole tempestuous period, as
indefatigable as human nature will admit, going about seeking whom
he might devour, making use of art, flattery, terror, temptation and
allurements in every shape, in which human wit could dress it up, in
public and private. But all to no purpose. The people have grown more
and more weary of them every day, until now the land mourns under

Massachusettensis is then seized with a violent fit of anger at the
clergy. It is curious to observe the conduct of the tories towards
this sacred body. If a clergyman preaches against the principles of
the revolution, and tells the people that upon pain of damnation,
they must submit to an established government, of whatever character
the tories cry him up, as an excellent man, and a wonderful preacher,
invite him to their tables, procure him missions from the society,
and chaplainships to the navy, and flatter him with the hopes of lawn
sleeves. But if a clergyman preaches christianity, and tells the
magistrates that they were not distinguished from their brethren, for
their private emolument, but for the good of the people; that the
people are bound in conscience to obey a good government, but are
not bound to submit to one, that aims at destroying all the ends of
government--Oh Sedition! Treason!

The clergy in all ages and countries, and in this in particular,
are disposed enough to be on the side of government, as long as
it is tolerable. If they have not been generally, in the late
administrations, on that side, it is a demonstration that the late
administration has been universally odious.

The clergy of this province are a virtuous, sensible and learned set
of men; and they do not take their sermons from newspapers, but the
bible; unless it be a few, who preach passive obedience. These are
not generally curious enough to read Hobbs.

It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to
the times, to preach against such sins, as are most prevalent,
and recommend such virtues, as are most wanted. For example; if
exorbitant ambition, and venality are predominant, ought they not to
warn their hearers against their [Errata: these] vices? If public
spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue?
If the rights and duties of christian magistrates and subjects are
disputed, should they not explain them, shew their nature, ends,
limitations and restrictions, how much soever it may move the gall of

Let me put a supposition:--Justice is a great christian, as well
as moral duty and virtue, which the clergy ought to inculcate and
explain. Suppose a great man of a parish should for seven years
together receive 600 sterling a year, for discharging the duties of
an important office; but during the whole time, should never do one
act or take one step about it. Would not this be great injustice to
the public? And ought not the parson of that parish to cry aloud
and spare not, and shew such a bold transgressor his sin? shew that
justice was due to the public as well as to an individual? and that
cheating the public of four thousand two hundred pounds sterling,
is at least as great a sin, as taking a chicken from a private hen
roost, or perhaps a watch from a fob?

Then we are told that newspapers and preachers have excited outrages
disgraceful to humanity. Upon this subject I will venture to say,
that there have been outrages in this province, which I neither
justify, excuse or extenuate; but these were not excited, that I know
of, by newspapers or sermons: that however, if we run through the
last ten years, and consider all the tumults and outrages that have
happened, and at the same time recollect the insults, provocations
and oppressions which this people have endured; we shall find the
two characteristics of this people, religion and humanity, strongly
marked on all their proceedings. Not a life, nor, that I have ever
heard, a single limb has been lost through the whole. I will take
upon me to say, there is not another province on this continent,
nor in his majesty's dominions, where the people, under the same
indignities, would not have gone greater lengths. Consider the
tumults in the three kingdoms, consider the tumults in ancient Rome,
in the most virtuous of her periods, and compare them with ours. It
is a saying of Machiavel, which no wise man ever contradicted, which
has been literally verified in this province; that "while the mass of
the people is not corrupted, tumults do no hurt." By which he means,
that they leave no lasting ill effects behind.

But let us consider the outrages committed by the tories. Half
a dozen men shot dead in an instant, in King Street, frequent
resistance and affronts to civil officers and magistrates, officers,
watchmen, citizens, cut and mangle in a most inhuman manner. Not
to mention the shootings for desertion, and the frequent cruel
whippings for other faults, cutting and mangling men's bodies before
the eyes of citizens; spectacles which ought never to be introduced
into populous places. The worst sort of tumults and outrages, ever
committed in this province, were excited by the tories. But more of
this hereafter.

We are then told that the whigs erected a provincial democracy,
or republic, in the province. I wish Massachusettensis knew what
a democracy, or republic is. But this subject must be considered
another time.


     Messieurs Printers. Instead of _Cawings_ of Cormorants, in
     a former paper, you have printed _Cooings_, too dove-like a
     word for the birds intended.


_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 20, 1775.


We are at length arrived at the paper, on which I made a few
strictures, some weeks ago: these I shall not repeat, but proceed to
consider the other part of it.

We are told, "It is an universal truth, that he that would excite
a rebellion, is at heart, as great a tyrant, as ever wielded the
iron rod of oppression." Be it so. We are not exciting a rebellion.
Opposition, nay open, avowed resistance by arms, against usurpation
and lawless violence, is not rebellion by the law of God, or the
land. Resistance to lawful authority makes rebellion. Hampden,
Russell, Sydney, Somers, Holt, Tillotson, Burnet, Hoadly, &c. were
no tyrants nor rebels, although some of them were in arms, and the
others undoubtedly excited resistance, against the tories. Do not
beg the question, Mr. Massachusettensis, and then give yourself airs
of triumph. Remember the frank Veteran acknowledges, that "the word
rebel is a convertible term."

This writer next attempts to trace the spirit of opposition through
the general court, and the courts of common law. "It was the policy
of the whigs, to have their questions, upon high matters, determined
by yea and nay votes, which were published in the gazettes."
And ought not great questions to be so determined? In many other
assemblies, New York particularly, they always are. What better can
be devised to discover the true sense of the people? It is extremely
provoking to courtiers, that they cannot vote, as the cabinet
direct them, against their consciences, the known sense of their
constituents, and the obvious good of the community, without being
detected. Generally, perhaps universally, no unpopular measure in
a free government, particularly the English, ought ever to pass.
Why have the people a share in the legislature, but to prevent
such measures from passing, I mean such as are disapproved by the
people at large? But did not these yea and nay votes expose the
whigs, as well as tories, to the impartial judgment of the public?
If the votes of the former were given for measures injurious to the
community, had not the latter an equal opportunity of improving
them to the disadvantage of their adversaries in the next election?
Besides, were not those few persons in the house, who generally
voted for unpopular measures, near the governor, in possession of
his confidence? Had they not the absolute disposal in their towns
and counties of the favour of government? Were not all the judges,
justices, sheriffs, coroners and military officers in their towns,
made upon their recommendation? Did not this give them a prodigious
weight and influence? Had the whigs any such advantage? And does not
the influence of these yea and nay votes, consequently prove to a
demonstration, the unanimity of the people, against the measures of
the court?

As to what is said of "severe strictures, illiberal invectives,
abuse and scurrility, upon the dissentients," there was quite as
much of all these published against the leading whigs. In truth,
the strictures, &c. against the tories were generally nothing more,
than hints at the particular place or office, which was known to be
the temptation to vote against the country. That "the dissentient
was in danger of losing his bread and involving his family in ruin,"
is equally injurious. Not an instance can be produced of a member
losing his bread, or injuring his business, by voting for unpopular
measures. On the contrary such voters never failed to obtain some
lucrative employment, title, or honorary office, as a reward from the

If "one set of members in committee had always prepared the
resolves," &c. which they did not; what would this prove, but that
this set was thought by the house the fittest for the purpose? Can it
ever be otherwise? Will any popular assembly choose its worst members
for the best services? Will an assembly of patriots choose courtiers
to prepare votes against the court? No resolves against the claims
of parliament or administration, or the measures of the governor,
(excepting those against the stamp act, and perhaps the answers to
governor Hutchinson's speeches upon the supremacy of parliament) ever
passed through the house, without meeting an obstacle. The governor
had to the last hour of the house's existence, always some seekers
and expectants in the house, who never failed to oppose, and offer
the best arguments they could; and were always patiently heard:
that the lips of the dissentients were sealed up; that they sat in
silence, and beheld with regret, measures they dared not oppose, are
groundless suggestions and gross reflections upon the honour and
courage of those members. The debates of this house were public, and
every man, who has attended the gallery, knows there never was more
freedom of debate in any assembly.

Massachusettensis, in the next place, conducts us to the agent, and
tell us "there can not be a provincial agent without an appointment
by the three branches of the assembly. The whigs soon found that they
could not have such services rendered them, from a provincial agent
as would answer their purposes."

The treatment this province has received, respecting the agency,
since Mr. Hutchinson's administration commenced, is a flagrant
example of injustice. There is no law, which requires the province to
maintain any agent in England; much less is there any reason, which
necessarily requires, that the three branches should join in the
appointment. In ordinary times, indeed, when a harmony prevails among
the branches, it is well enough to have an agent constituted by all.
But in times when the foundations of the constitution are disputed,
and certainly attacked by one branch or the other, to pretend that
the house ought to join the governor in the choice, is a palpable
absurdity. It is equivalent to saying that the people shall have no
agent at all; that all communication shall be cut off; and that there
shall be no channel, through which complaints and petitions may be
conveyed to the royal ear; because a governor will not concur in an
agent whose sentiments are not like his; nor will an agent of the
governor's appointment be likely to urge accusations against them,
with any diligence or zeal, if the people have occasion to complain
against him.

Every private citizen, much more, every representative body, has an
undoubted right to petition the king, to convey such petition by
an agent, and to pay him for his service. Mr. Bernard, to do him
justice, had so much regard to these principles, as to consent to the
payment of the people's agents, while he staid. But Mr. Hutchinson
was scarcely seated in the chair, as lieutenant governor, before
we had intelligence from England, that my lord Hillsborough told
Dr. Franklin, he had received a letter from governor Hutchinson
against consenting to the salary of the agent. Such an instruction
was accordingly soon sent, and no agent for the board or house,
has received a farthing for services, since that time, though Dr.
Franklin and Mr. Bollan have taken much pains, and one of them
expended considerable sums of money. There is a meanness in this play
that would disgrace a gambler; a manifest fear that the truth should
be known to the sovereign or the people. Many persons have thought
that the province ought to have dismissed all agents from that time,
as useless and nugatory; this behaviour amounting to a declaration,
that we had no chance or hopes of justice from a minister.

But this province, at least as meritorious as any, has been long
accustomed to indignities and injustice, and to bear both with
unparalleled patience. Others, have pursued the same method before
and since; but we have never heard that their agents are unpaid. They
would scarcely have borne it with so much resignation.

It is great assurance to blame the house for this, which was both
their right and duty; but a stain in the character of his patron,
which will not be soon worn out. Indeed this passage seems to have
been brought in, chiefly for the sake of a stroke or two, addressed
to the lowest and meanest of the people; I mean the insinuation that
the two agents doubled the _expence_, which is as groundless as it
is contracted; and that the ostensible agent for the province was
only agent for a few individuals, that had got the art of wielding
the house; and that several hundred sterling a year, for attending
levees and writing letters, were worth preserving. We, my friends,
know that no members have the art of wielding us or our house, but
by concurring in our principles, and assisting us in our designs.
Numbers in both houses have turned about and expected to wield us
round with them; but they have been disappointed, and ever will be.
Such apostates have never yet failed of our utter contempt, whatever
titles, places or pensions they might obtain.

The agent has never echoed back, or transmitted to America, any
sentiments, which he did not give in substance to governor Shirley,
twenty years ago; and therefore this insinuation is but another
slander. The remainder of what is said of the agency is levelled at
Dr. Franklin, and is but a dull appendix to Wedderburn's ribaldry,
having all his malice without any of his wit or spirit. Nero murdered
Seneca, that he might pull up virtue by the roots; and the same
maxim governs the scribblers and speechifiers, on the side of the
minister. It is sufficient to discover that any man has abilities and
integrity, a love of virtue and liberty; he must be run down at all
events. Witness Pitt and Franklin and too many others.

My design in pursuing this malicious slanderer, concealed as he is,
under so soft and oily an appearance, through all the doublings
of his tedious course, is to vindicate this Colony from his base
aspersions; that strangers now among us and the impartial public
may see the wicked arts, which are still employed against us. After
the vilest abuse upon the agent of the province and the house, that
appointed him, we are brought to his majesty's council, and are told
that the "whigs reminded them of their mortality--If any one opposed
the violent measures, he lost his election next May. Half the whole
number, mostly men of the first families, note, abilities, attached
to their native country, wealthy and independent, were tumbled from
their seats in disgrace. Thus the board lost its weight, and the
political balance was destroyed."

It is impossible for any man acquainted with this subject to
read this zealous rant, without smiling, until he attends to the
wickedness of it, which will provoke his utmost indignation. Let us
however consider it soberly.

From the date of our charter, to the time of the stamp act, and
indeed since that time (notwithstanding the misrepresentations of
our charter constitution, as too popular and republican) the council
of this province have been generally on the side of the governor and
the prerogative. For the truth of this, I appeal to our whole history
and experience. The art and power of governors, and especially the
negative, have been a stronger motive on the one hand, than the
annual election of the two houses on the other. In disputes between
the governor and the house, the council have generally adhered to
the former, and in many cases have complied with his humour, when
scarcely any council by mandamus, upon this continent, would have
done it.

But in the time of the stamp act, it was found productive of many
mischiefs and dangers, to have officers of the crown, who were
dependant on the ministry, and judges of the superior court, whose
offices were thought incompatible with a voice in the legislature,
members of council.

In May 1765, Lt. Gov. Hutchinson, Sec. Oliver, and Mr. Belcher were
officers of the crown, the judges of the superior court, and some
other gentlemen, who held commissions under the governor, were
members of council. Mr. Hutchinson was chief justice and a judge of
probate for the first county, as well as lieutenant governor, and a
counsellor; too many offices for the greatest and best man in the
world to hold, too much business for any man to do; besides, that
these offices were frequently clashing and interfering with each
other. Two other justices of the superior court were counsellors,
and nearly and closely connected with him by family alliances. One
other justice was judge of admiralty during pleasure. Such a jumble
of offices never got together before in any English government. It
was found in short, that the famous triumvirate, Bernard, Hutchinson
and Oliver, the ever memorable, secret, confidential letter writers,
whom I call the junto, had by degrees, and before the people were
aware of it, erected a tyranny in the province. Bernard had all
the executive, and a negative on the legislative; Hutchinson and
Oliver, by their popular arts and secret intrigues, had elevated
to the board, such a collection of crown officers, and their own
relations, as to have too much influence there; and they had three
of a family on the superior bench, which is the supreme tribunal in
all causes civil and criminal, vested with all the powers of the
king's bench, common pleas and exchequer, which gave them power over
every act of this court. This junto therefore had the legislative and
executive in their controul, and more natural influence over the
judicial, than is ever to be trusted to any set of men in the world.
The public accordingly found all these springs and wheels in the
constitution set in motion to promote submission to the stamp act,
and to discountenance resistance to it; and they thought they had a
violent presumption, that they would forever be employed to encourage
a compliance with all ministerial measures and parliamentary claims,
of whatever character they might be.

The designs of the junto, however, were concealed as carefully as
possible. Most persons were jealous; few were certain. When the
assembly met in May, 1766, after the stamp act was repealed, the
whigs flattered themselves with hopes of peace and liberty for
the future. Mr. Otis, whose abilities and integrity, whose great
exertions, and most exemplary sacrifices of his private interest to
the public service, had entitled him to all the promotion, which
the people could bestow, was chosen speaker of the house. Bernard
negatived the choice. It can scarcely be conceived by a stranger,
what an alarm this manoeuvre gave to the public. It was thought
equivalent to a declaration, that although the people had been so
successful as to obtain a repeal of the stamp act, yet they must not
hope to be quiet long, for parliament, by the declaratory act, had
asserted its supreme authority, and new taxations and regulations
should be made, if the junto could obtain them: and every man who
should dare to oppose such projects, let his powers, or virtues, his
family or fortune be what they would, should be surely cut off from
all hopes of advancement. The electors thought it high time to be
upon their guard. All the foregoing reasons and motives prevailed
with the electors; and the crown officers and justices of the supreme
court, were left out of council in the new choice. Those who were
elected in their places were all negatived by Bernard, which was
considered as a fresh proof, that the junto still persevered in their
designs of obtaining a revenue, to divide among themselves.

The gentlemen elected anew, were of equal fortune and integrity, at
least, and not much inferior in abilities to those left out, and
indeed, in point of fortune, family, note or abilities, the councils
which have been chosen from that time to this, taken on an average,
have been very little inferior, if any, to those chosen before. Let
Massachusettensis descend if he will, to every particular gentleman
by name through the whole period, and I will make out my assertion.

Every impartial person will not only think these reasons a full
vindication of the conduct of the two houses, but that it was their
indispensable duty to their country, to act the part they did; and
the course of time, which has developed the dark intrigues of the
junto, before and since, has confirmed the rectitude and necessity
of the measure. Had Bernard's principles of polity been published
and known at that time, no member of the house, who should have
voted for any of the persons then left out, if it was known to his
constituents, would ever have obtained another election.

By the next step we rise to the chair. "With the board, the chair
fell likewise," he says. But what a slander is this? Neither fell;
both remained in as much vigour as ever. The junto it is true, and
some other gentlemen who were not in their secret, but however had
been misled to concur in their measures, were left out of council.
But the board had as much authority as ever. The board of 1766
could not have influenced the people to acknowledge the supreme
uncontroulable authority of parliament, nor could that of 1765, have
done it. So that by the chair, and the boards falling, he means
no more, if his meaning has any truth in it, than that the junto
fell; the designs of taxing the Colonies fell, and the schemes
for destroying all the charters on the continent and for erecting
lordships fell. These, it must be acknowleged, fell very low indeed,
in the esteem of the people, and the two houses.

"The governor," says our wily writer, "could do little or nothing
without the council, by the charter." "If he called upon a military
officer to raise the militia, he was answered they were there
already," &c. The council, by the charter, had nothing to do with
the militia. The governor alone had all authority over them. The
council therefore are not to blame for their conduct. If the militia
refused obedience to the captain general, or his subordinate officer,
when commanded to assist in carrying into execution the stamp act,
or in dispersing those who were opposing it, does not this prove
the universal sense and resolution of the people not to submit to
it? Did not a regular army do more to James the second? If those,
over whom the governor had the most absolute authority and decisive
influence, refused obedience, does not this show how deeply rooted
in all men's minds was the abhorrence of that unconstitutional
power which was usurping over them? "If he called upon the council
for their assistance, they must first inquire into the cause." An
unpardonable crime, no doubt! But is it the duty of a middle branch
of legislature, to do as the first shall command them, implicitly,
or to judge for themselves? Is it the duty of a privy council, to
understand the subject before they give advice, or only to lend their
names to any edict, in order to make it less unpopular? It would
be a shame to answer such observations as these, if it was not for
their wickedness. Our council, all along however did as much as any
council could have done. Was the mandamus council at New York able to
do more, to influence the people to a submission to the stamp act?
Was the chair, the board, the septennial house, with the assistance
of general Gage and his troops, able to do more, in that city, than
our branches did in this province? Not one iota. Nor could Bernard,
his council, and house, if they had been unanimous, have induced
submission. The people would have spurned them all, for they are not
to be wheedled out of their liberties by their own representatives,
anymore than by strangers. "If he wrote to government at home to
strengthen his hands, some officious person procured and sent back
his letters." At last it seems to be acknowledged, that the governor
did write for a military force, to strengthen government. For what?
to enable it to enforce stamp acts, tea acts, and other internal
regulations, the authority of which the people were determined never
to acknowledge.

But what a pity it was, that these worthy gentlemen could not be
allowed, from the dearest affection to their native country, to which
they had every possible attachment, to go on in profound confidential
secrecy, procuring troops to cut our throats, acts of parliament
to drain our purses, destroy our charters and assemblies, getting
estates and dignities for themselves and their own families, and all
the while most devoutly professing to be friends to our charter,
enemies to parliamentary taxation, and to all pensions, without being
detected? How happy! if they could have annihilated all our charters,
and yet have been beloved, nay deified by the people, as friends and
advocates for their charters? What masterly politicians! to have
made themselves nobles for life, and yet have been thought very
sorry, that the two houses were denied the privilege of choosing the
council? How sagacious, to get large pensions for themselves, and yet
be thought to mourn, that pensions and venality were introduced into
the country? How sweet and pleasant! to have been the most popular
men in the community, for being staunch and zealous dissenters, true
blue Calvinists, and able advocates for public virtue and popular
government, after they had introduced an American Episcopate,
universal corruption among the leading men, and deprived the people
of all share in their supreme legislative council? I mention an
Episcopate, for although I do not know that governors Hutchinson and
Oliver ever directly solicited for bishops, yet they must have seen,
that these would have been one effect, very soon, of establishing the
unlimited authority of parliament!

I agree with this writer, that it was not the persons of Bernard,
Hutchinson or Oliver, that made them obnoxious; but their principles
and practices. And I will agree, that if Chatham, Campden and St.
Asaph, (I beg pardon for introducing these reverend names into
such company, and for making a supposition which is absurd) had
been here, and prosecuted such schemes, they would have met with
contempt and execration from this people. But when he says, "that
had the intimations in those letters been attended to, we had now
been as happy a people as good government could make us," it is
too gross to make us angry. We can do nothing but smile. Have not
these intimations been attended to? Have not fleets and armies
been sent here, whenever they requested? Have not governors',
lieutenant governors', secretaries', judges', attorney generals',
and solicitor generals' salaries been paid out of the revenue as they
solicited? Have not taxes been laid, and continued? Have not English
liberties been abridged as Hutchinson desired? Have not "penalties
of another kind" been inflicted, as he desired? Has not our charter
been destroyed, and the council put into the king's hands, as
Bernard requested? In short, almost all the wild mock pranks of
this desperate triumvirate have been attended to and adopted, and
we are now as miserable as tyranny can well make us. That Bernard
came here with the affections of New Jersey, I never heard nor read,
but in this writer. His abilities were considerable, or he could
not have done such extensive mischief. His true British honesty and
punctuality will be acknowledged by none, but such as owe all their
importance to flattering him.

That Hutchinson was amiable and exemplary, in some respects, and very
unamiable and unexemplary, in others, is a certain truth; otherwise
he never would have retained so much popularity on one hand, nor made
so pernicious a use of it on the other. His behavior, in several
important departments, was with ability and integrity, in cases which
did not effect his political system, but he bent all his offices to
that. Had he continued stedfast to those principles in religion and
government, which in his former life he professed, and which alone
had procured him the confidence of the people and all his importance,
he would have lived and died, respected and beloved, and have done
honor to his native country. But by renouncing these principles and
that conduct, which had made him and all his ancestors respectable,
his character is now considered by all America, and the best part of
the three kingdoms, notwithstanding the countenance he receives from
the ministry, as a reproach to the province that gave him birth, as
a man who by all his actions aimed at making himself great, at the
expense of the liberties of his native country. This gentleman was
open to flattery, in so remarkable a degree, that any man who would
flatter him was sure of his friendship, and every one who would not,
was sure of his enmity. He was credulous, in a rediculous degree,
of every thing that favoured his own plans, and equally incredulous
of every thing which made against them. His natural abilities which
have been greatly exaggerated by persons whom he had advanced to
power, were far from being of the first rate. His industry was
prodigious. His knowledge lay chiefly in the laws and politics and
history of this province, in which he had a long experience. Yet
with all his advantages, he never was master of the true character
of his native country, not even of New England and the Massachusetts
Bay. Through the whole troublesome period since the last war, he
manifestly mistook the temper, principles, and opinions of this
people. He had resolved upon a system, and never could or would see
the impracticability of it.

It is very true that all his abilities, virtues, interests and
connections, were insufficient; but for what? To prevail on the
people to acquiesce in the mighty claim of parliamentary authority.
The constitution was not gone. The suggestion, that it was, is a
vile slander. It had as much vigour as ever, and even the governor
had as much power as ever, excepting in cases which affected that
claim. "The spirit" says this writer "was truly republican." It
was not so in any one case whatever; any further than the spirit
of the British constitution is republican. Even in the grand
fundamental dispute, the people arranged themselves under their
house of representatives and council, with as much order as ever,
and conducted their opposition as much by the constitution as ever.
It is true their constitution was employed against the measures of
the junto, which created their enmity to it. However I have not such
an horror of republican spirit, which is a spirit of true virtue,
and honest independence; I do not mean on the king, but on men in
power. This spirit is so far from being incompatible with the British
constitution, that it is the greatest glory of it, and the nation has
always been most prosperous, when it has most prevailed and been most
encouraged by the crown. I wish it increased in every part of the
world, especially in America; and I think the measures, the tories
are now pursuing, will increase it to a degree that will ensure us,
in the end, redress of grievances and an happy reconciliation with
Great Britain.

"Governor Hutchinson strove to convince us, by the principles of
government, our charters and acknowledgments, that our claims were
inconsistent with the subordination due to Great Britain," &c. says
this writer.

Suffer me to introduce here, a little history. In 1764, when
the system of taxing and new modelling the Colonies was first
apprehended, lieutenant governor Hutchinson's friends struggled in
several successive sessions of the general court, to get him chosen
agent for the province at the court of Great Britain. At this time
he declared freely, _that he was of the same sentiment with the
people, that parliament had no right to tax them; but differed from
the country party, only in his opinion of the policy of denying that
right, in their petitions_, &c. I would not injure him; I was told
this by three gentlemen who were of the committee of both houses,
to prepare that petition, that he made this declaration explicitly
before that committee. I have been told by other gentlemen that he
made the same declaration to them. It is possible that he might make
use of expressions studied for the purpose, which would not strictly
bear this construction. But it is certain that they understood him
so, and that this was the general opinion of his sentiments until he
came to the chair.

The country party saw, that this aspiring genius aimed at keeping
fair with the ministry, by supporting their measures, and with the
people, by pretending to be of our principles, and between both to
trim himself up to the chair. The only reason why he did not obtain
an election at one time, and was excused from the service at another,
after he had been chosen by a small majority, was because the members
knew he would not openly deny the right, and assure his majesty, the
parliament, and ministry, that the people never would submit to it.
For the same reason he was left out of council. But he continued to
cultivate his popularity, and to maintain a general opinion among the
people, that he denied the right in his private judgment, and this
idea preserved most of those who continued their esteem for him.

But upon Bernard's removal, and his taking the chair as lieutenant
governor, he had no farther expectations from the people nor
complaisance for their opinions. In one of his first speeches he took
care to advance the supreme authority of parliament. This astonished
many of his friends. They were heard to say, we have been deceived.
We thought he had been abused, but we now find what has been said of
him is true. He is determined to join in the designs against this
country. After his promotion to the government, finding that the
people had little confidence in him, and shewing [Errata: knowing]
that he had no interest at home to support him, but what he had
acquired by joining with Bernard in kicking up a dust, he determined
to strike a bold stroke, and in a formal speech to both houses,
became a champion for the unbounded authority of parliament, over the
Colonies. This he thought would lay the ministry under obligation to
support him in the government, or else to provide for him out of it,
not considering that starting that question before that assembly,
and calling upon them, as he did, to dispute with him upon it, was
scattering firebrands, arrows and death in sport. The arguments he
then advanced were inconclusive indeed: but they shall be considered,
when I come to the feeble attempt of Massachusettensis to give a
colour to the same position.

The house, thus called upon, either to acknowledge the unlimited
authority of parliament, or confute his arguments, were bound by
their duty to God, their country and posterity, to give him a full
and explicit answer. They proved incontestibly, that he was out in
his facts, inconsistent with himself, and in every principle of his
law, he had committed a blunder. Thus the fowler was caught in his
own snare; and although this country has suffered severe temporary
calamities in consequence of this speech, yet I hope they will not
be durable; but his ruin was certainly in part owing to it. Nothing
ever opened the eyes of the people so much, as his designs, excepting
his letters. Thus it is the fate of Massachusettensis to praise this
gentleman, for these things which the wise part of mankind condemn
in him, as the most insidious and mischievous of actions. If it was
out of his power to do us any more injuries, I should wish to forget
the past; but as there is reason to fear he is still to continue his
malevolent labours against this country, although he is out of our
sight, he ought not to be out of our minds. This country has every
thing to fear, in the present state of the British court, while
the lords Bute, Mansfield and North have the principal conduct of
affairs, from the deep intrigues of that artful man.

To proceed to his successor, whom Massachusettensis has been pleased
to compliment with the epithet of "amiable." I have no inclination
to detract from this praise, but have no panegyricks or invectives
for any man, much less for any governor, until satisfied of his
character and designs. This gentleman's conduct, although he came
here to support the systems of his two predecessors, and contracted
to throw himself into the arms of their connections, when he has
acted himself, and not been teased by others much less amiable and
judicious than himself, into measures which his own inclination would
have avoided, has been in general as unexceptionable as could be
expected, in his very delicate, intricate and difficult situation.

We are then told "that disaffection to Great Britain was infused
into the body of the people." The leading whigs, have ever,
systematically, and upon principle, endeavoured to preserve the
people from all disaffection to the king on the one hand, and the
body of the people on the other; but to lay the blame where it is
justly due on the ministry and their instruments.

We are next conducted into the superior court, and informed "that
the judges were dependant on the annual grants of the general court;
that their salaries were small in proportion to the salaries of
other officers, of less importance; that they often petitioned the
assembly to enlarge them, without success, and were reminded of their
dependance; that they remained unshaken amid the raging tempests,
which is to be attributed rather to their firmness than situation."

That the salaries were small, must be allowed: but not smaller
in proportion than those of other officers. All salaries in this
province have been and are small. It has been the policy of the
country to keep them so, not so much from a spirit of parsimony, as
an opinion, that the service of the public ought to be an honorary,
rather than a lucrative employment; and that the great men ought to
be obliged to set examples of simplicity and frugality before the

But if we consider things maturely, and make allowance for all
circumstances, I think the country may be vindicated. This province,
during the last war, had such overbearing burdens upon it, that it
was necessitated to use economy in every thing. At the peace she
was half a million sterling in debt, nearly. She thought it the
best policy to get out of debt, before she raised the wages of her
servants; and if Great Britain had thought as wisely, she would not
now have had 140 millions to pay; and she would never have thought of
taxing America.

Low as the wages were, it was found that, whenever a vacancy
happened, the place was solicited with much more anxiety and zeal,
than the kingdom of heaven.

Another cause which had its effect was this. The judges of that court
had almost always enjoyed some other office. At the time of the stamp
act the chief justice was lieutenant governor, which yielded him
a profit, and a judge of probate for the county of Suffolk, which
yielded him another profit, and a counsellor, which if it was not
very profitable, gave him an opportunity of promoting his family and
friends to other profitable offices, an opportunity which the country
saw he most religiously improved. Another justice of this court was a
judge of admiralty, and another was judge of probate for the county
of Plymouth. The people thought therefore, that as their time was not
wholly taken up by their offices, as judges of the superior court,
there was no reason why they should be paid as much, as if it had

Another reason was this: those justices had not been bred to the bar,
but taken from merchandise, husbandry and other occupations; had been
at no great expence for education, or libraries, and therefore the
people thought that equity did not demand large salaries.

It must be confessed that another motive had its weight. The people
were growing jealous of the chief justice and two other justices at
least, and therefore thought it imprudent to enlarge their salaries,
and by that means their influence.

Whether all these arguments were sufficient to vindicate the people
for not enlarging their salaries, I shall leave to you, my friends,
whose right it is to judge. But that the judges petitioned "often" to
the assembly I do not remember. I knew it was suspected by many, and
confidently affirmed by some, that judge Russell carried home with
him, in 1766, a petition to his majesty, subscribed by himself, and
chief justice Hutchinson at least, praying his majesty to take the
payment of the judges into his own hands; and that this petition,
together with the solicitations of governor Bernard, and others, had
the success to procure the act of parliament, to enable his majesty
to appropriate the revenue to the support of the administration of
justice, &c. from whence a great part of the present calamities of
America have flowed.

That the high whigs took _care_ to get themselves chosen of the grand
juries I do not believe. Nine tenths of the people were high whigs;
and therefore it was not easy to get a grand jury without nine whigs
in ten, in it. And the matter would not be much mended by the new
act of parliament. The sheriff must return the same set of jurors,
court after court, or else his juries would be nine tenths of them
high whigs still. Indeed the tories are so envenomed now with malice,
envy, revenge and disappointed ambition, that they would be willing,
for what I know, to be jurors for life, in order to give verdicts
against the whigs. And many of them would readily do it, I doubt not,
without any other law or evidence, than what they found in their
own breasts. The suggestion of legerdemain, in drawing the names of
petit jurors out of the box, is scandalous. Human wisdom cannot
devise a method of obtaining petit jurors more fairly, and better
secured against a possibility of corruption of any kind, than that
established by our provincial law. They were drawn by chance out of
a box, in open town meeting, to which the tories went, or might have
gone, as well as the whigs, and have seen with their own eyes, that
nothing unfair ever did or could take place. If the jurors consisted
of whigs, it was because the freeholders were whigs, that is honest
men. But now, it seems, if Massachusettensis can have his will, the
sheriff, who will be a person properly qualified for the purpose, is
to pick out a tory jury, if he can find one in ten, or one in twenty
of that character among the freeholders; and it is no doubt expected,
that every newspaper that presumes to deny the right of parliament
to tax us, or destroy our charter, will be presented as a libel, and
every member of a committee of correspondence, or a congress, &c. &c.
&c. are to be indicted for rebellion. These would be pleasant times
to Massachusettensis and the junto, but they will never live to see

"The judges pointed out seditious libels, on governors, magistrates,
and the whole government to no effect." They did so. But the
jurors thought some of these no libels, but solemn truths. At one
time, I have heard that all the newspapers for several years, the
Massachusetts Gazette, Evening Post, Boston Chronicle, Boston
Gazette, and Massachusetts Spy, were laid before a grand jury at
once. The jurors thought there were multitudes of libels written by
the tories, and they did not know whom they should attack, if they
presented them; perhaps governor Bernard, lieut. governor Hutchinson,
secretary Oliver--possibly the attorney general. They saw so many
difficulties they knew not what to do.

As to the riots and insurrections, it is surprising that this writer
should say "scarce one offender was indicted, and I think not one
convicted." Were not many indicted, convicted, and punished too
in the county of Essex, and Middlesex, and indeed in every other
county? But perhaps he will say, he means such as were connected
with politicks. Yet this is not true, for a large number in Essex
were punished for abusing an informer, and others were indicted and
convicted in Boston for a similar offence. None were indicted for
pulling down the stamp office, because this was thought an honorable
and glorious action, not a riot. And so it must be said of several
other tumults. But was not this the case in royal as well as charter
governments? Nor will this inconvenience be remedied by a sheriff's
jury, if such an one should ever sit. For if such a jury should
convict, the people will never bear the punishment. It is in vain to
expect or hope to carry on government, against the universal bent and
genius of the people; we may whimper and whine as much as we will,
but nature made it impossible, when she made men.

If causes of _meum_ and _tuum_ were not always exempt from party
influence, the tories will get no credit by an examination into
particular cases. Though I believe there was no great blame on
either party, in this respect, where the case was not connected with

We are then told "the whigs once flattered themselves they should be
able to divide the province between them." I suppose he means, that
they should be able to get the honorable and lucrative offices of the
province into their hands. If this was true, they would be chargeable
with only designing what the tories have actually done; with this
difference, that the whigs would have done it by saving the liberties
and the constitution of the province--whereas the tories have done it
by the destruction of both. That the whigs have ambition, a desire of
profit, and other passions, like other men, it would be foolish to
deny. But this writer cannot name a set of men in the whole British
empire, who have sacrificed their private interest to their nation's
honour, and the public good, in so remarkable a manner, as the
leading whigs have done, in the two last administrations.

"As to cutting asunder the sinews of government and breaking in
pieces the ligament of social life," as far as this has been done, I
have proved by incontestible evidence from Bernard's, Hutchinson's
and Oliver's letters, that the tories have done it, against all the
endeavours of the whigs to prevent them from first to last.

The public is then amused with two instances of the weakness of
our government, and these are, with equal artifice and injustice,
insinuated to be chargeable upon the whigs. But the whigs are as
innocent of these, as the tories. Malcom was as much against the
inclinations and judgment of the whigs as the tories. But the real
injury, he received, is exaggerated by this writer. The cruelty of
his whipping, and the danger of his life, are too highly coloured.

Malcom was such an oddity as naturally to excite the curiosity and
ridicule of the lowest class of people, wherever he went: had been
active in battle against the regulators in North Carolina, who were
thought in Boston to be an injured people. A few weeks before, he
had made a seizure at Kennebeck river, 150 miles from Boston, and by
some imprudence had excited the wrath of the people there, in such a
degree, that they tarred and feathered him over his clothes. He comes
to Boston to complain. The news of it was spread in town. It was a
critical time, when the passions of the people were warm. Malcom
attacked a lad in the street, and cut his head with a cutlass, in
return for some words from the boy, which I suppose were irritating.
The boy run bleeding through the street to his relations, of whom
he had many. As he passed the street, the people inquired into the
cause of his wounds, and a sudden heat arose against Malcom, which
neither whigs nor tories, though both endeavoured it, could restrain;
and produced the injuries of which he justly complained. But such a
coincidence of circumstances might, at any time, and in any place,
have produced such an effect; and therefore it is no evidence of the
weakness of government. Why he petitioned the general court, unless
he was advised to it by the tories, to make a noise, I know not. That
court had nothing to do with it. He might have brought his action
against the trespassers, but never did. He chose to go to England and
get 200l. a year, which would make his tarring the luckiest incident
of his life.

The hospital at Marblehead is another instance, no more owing to the
politicks of the times, than the burning of the temple at Ephesus.
This hospital was newly erected, much against the will of the
multitude. The patients were careless, some of them wantonly so,
and others were suspected of designing to spread the small pox in
the town, which was full of people, who had not passed through the
distemper. It is needless to be particular, but the apprehension
became general, the people arose and burnt the hospital. But the
whigs are so little blameable for this, that two of the principal
whigs in the province, gentlemen highly esteemed and beloved in the
town, even by those who burnt the building, were owners of it. The
principles and temper of the times had no share in this, any more
than in cutting down the market in Boston, or in demolishing mills
and dams in some parts of the country, in order to let the alewives
pass up the streams, forty years ago. Such incidents happen in all
governments at times, and it is a fresh proof of the weakness of this
writer's cause, that he is driven to such wretched shifts to defend

Towards the close of this long speculation, Massachusettensis grows
more and more splenetical, peevish, angry and absurd.

He tells us, that in order to avoid the necessity of altering
our provincial constitution, government at home made the judges
independent of the grants of the general assembly. That is, in order
to avoid the hazard of taking the fort by storm, they determined to
take it by sap. In order to avoid altering our constitution, they
changed it in the most essential manner: for surely by our charter
the province was to pay the judges as well as the governor. Taking
away this privilege, and making them receive their pay from the
crown, was destroying the charter so far forth, and making them
dependent on the minister. As to their being dependent on the leading
whigs, he means they were dependent on the province. And which is
fairest to be dependent on, the province or on the minister? In all
this troublesome period, the leading whigs had never hesitated about
granting their salaries, nor ever once moved to have them lessened,
nor would the house have listened to them if they had. "This was
done, he says, to make them steady." We know that very well. Steady
to what? Steady to the plans of Bernard, Hutchinson, Oliver, North,
Mansfield and Bute; which the people thought was steadiness to
their ruin, and therefore it was found, that a determined spirit of
opposition to it arose, in every part of the province, like that to
the stamp act.

The chief justice, it is true, was accused by the house of
representatives, of receiving a bribe, a ministerial, not a royal
bribe. For the king can do no wrong, although he may be deceived in
his grant. The minister is accountable. The crime of receiving an
illegal patent, is not the less for purchasing it, even of the king
himself. Many impeachments have been for such offences.

He talks about attempts to strengthen government, and save our
charter. With what modesty can he say this, when he knows that the
overthrow of our charter was the very object which the junto had
been invariably pursuing for a long course of years? Does he think
his readers are to be deceived by such gross arts? But he says "the
whigs subverted the charter constitution, abridged the freedom of
the house, annihilated the freedom of the board, and rendered the
governor a doge of Venice." The freedom of the house was never
abridged, the freedom of the board was never lessened. The governor
had as much power as ever. The house and board, it is true, would
do nothing in favour of parliamentary taxation. Their judgments and
consciences were against it; and if they ever had done any thing in
favour of it, it would have been through fear and not freedom. The
governor found he could do nothing in favour of it, excepting to
promote, in every department in the state, men who hated the people
and were hated by them. Enough of this he did in all conscience;
and after filling offices with men who were despised, he wondered
that the officers were not revered. "They, the whigs, engrossed all
the power of the province into their own hands." That is, the house
and board were whigs; the grand juries and petit juries were whigs;
towns were whigs; the clergy were whigs; the agents were whigs; and
wherever you found people, you found all whigs; excepting those
who had commissions from the crown or the governor. This is almost
true, and it is to the eternal shame of the tories, that they should
pursue their ignis fatuus with such ungovernable fury as they have
done, after such repeated and multiplied demonstrations, that the
whole people were so universally bent against them. But nothing will
satisfy them still, but blood and carnage. The destruction of the
whigs, charters, English liberties and all, they must and will have,
if it costs the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people. This
is the benign temper of the tories.

This influence of the whigs, he calls a democracy or republic,
and then a despotism: two ideas incompatible with each other. A
democratical despotism is a contradiction in terms.

He then says, that "the good policy of the act for regulating the
government in this province, will be the subject of some future
paper." But that paper is still to come, and I suspect ever will be.
I wish to hear him upon it however.

With this, he and the junto ought to have begun. Bernard and the
rest, in 1764, ought to have published their objections to this
government, if they had been honest men, and produced their arguments
in favour of the alteration, convinced the people of the necessity of
it, and proposed some constitutional plan for effecting it. But the
same motives which induced them to take another course, will prevail
with Massachusettensis to wave the good policy of the act. He will
be much more cunningly employed in labouring to terrify women and
children with the horrors of a civil war, and the dread of a division
among the people. There lies your fort, Massachusettensis, make the
most of it.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 27, 1775.


Such events as the resistance to the stamp act, and to the tea act,
particularly the destruction of that which was sent by the ministry,
in the name of the East India Company, have ever been cautiously
spoken of by the whigs, because they knew the delicacy of the
subject, and they lived in continual hopes of a speedy restoration
of liberty and peace. But we are now thrown into a situation, which
would render any further delicacy upon this point criminal.

Be it remembered then, that there are tumults, seditions, popular
commotions, insurrections and civil wars, upon just occasions, as
well as unjust.

Grotius B. 1. c. 3. § 1. observes, "that some sort of private war may
be lawfully waged--It is not repugnant to the law of nature, for any
one to repel injuries by force."

§ 2. The liberty allowed before is much restrained, since the
erection of tribunals. Yet there are some cases wherein that right
still subsists; that is, when the way to legal justice is not open;
for the law which forbids a man to pursue his right any other way,
ought to be understood with this equitable restriction, that one
finds judges to whom he need apply, &c.

Sidney's discourses upon government c. 2. § 24. 'Tis in vain to seek
a government in all points free from a possibility of civil wars,
tumults and seditions: that is a blessing denied to this life, and
reserved to complete the felicity of the next. Seditions, tumults,
and wars do arise from mistake or from malice; from just occasions
or unjust. Seditions proceeding from malice are seldom or never seen
in popular governments; for they are hurtful to the people, and none
have ever willingly and knowingly hurt themselves. There may he, and
often is, malice in those who excite them; but the people is ever
deceived, and whatever is thereupon done, ought to be imputed to
error, &c. But in absolute monarchies, almost all the troubles that
arise proceed from malice; they cannot be reformed; the extinction
of them is exceeding difficult, if they have continued long enough
to corrupt the people; and those who appear against them seek only
to set up themselves or their friends. The mischiefs designed are
often dissembled, or denied, till they are past all possibility of
being cured by any other way than force; and such as are by necessity
driven to use that remedy, know they must perfect their work or
perish. He that draws his sword against the prince, say the French,
ought to throw away the scabbard; for though the design be never so
just, yet the authors are sure to be ruined if it miscarry. Peace is
seldom made, and never kept, unless the subject retain such a power
in his hands, as may oblige the prince to stand to what is agreed;
and in time some trick is found to deprive him of that benefit.

It may seem strange to some that I mention seditions, tumults and
wars, upon just occasions; but I can find no reason to retract the
terms. God, intending that men should live justly with one another,
does certainly intend that he or they, who do no wrong, should
suffer none; and the law that forbids injuries, were of no use, if
no penalty might be inflicted on those, that will not obey it. If
injustice therefore be evil, and injuries be forbidden, they are
also to be punished; and the law, instituted for their prevention,
must necessarily intend the avenging of such as cannot be prevented.
The work of the magistracy is to execute this law; the sword of
justice is put into their hands to restrain the fury of those within
the society, who will not be a law to themselves; and the sword
of war to protect the people against the violence of foreigners.
This is without exception, and would be in vain if it were not.
But the magistrate who is to protect the people from injury, may,
and is often known, not to have done it: he sometimes renders his
office _useless by neglecting to do justice_; sometimes _mischievous
by overthrowing it_. This strikes at the root of God's general
ordinance, that there should be laws; and the particular ordinances
of all societies that appoint such as seem best to them. _The
magistrate therefore is comprehended under both, and subject to both,
as well as private men._

The ways of preventing or punishing injuries are judicial or
extrajudicial. Judicial proceedings are of force against those
who submit, or may be brought to trial, but are of no effect
against those who resist, and are of such power that they cannot
be constrained. It were absurd to cite a man to appear before a
tribunal, _who can awe the judges, or has armies to defend him_;
and impious to think that he who has added treachery to his other
crimes, and usurped a power above the law, should be protected by the
enormity of his wickedness. Legal proceedings, therefore, are to be
used when the delinquent submits to the law; _and all are just; when
he will not be kept in order by the legal_.

The word sedition is generally applied to all numerous assemblies,
without or against the authority of the magistrate, or of those who
assume that power. Athaliah and Jezebel were more ready to cry out
treason, than David, &c.

Tumult is from the disorderly manner of those assemblies, where
things can seldom be done regularly; and war is that "decertatio
per vim," or trial by force, to which men come, when other ways are

If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the
magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of
those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be
otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war; those
seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man.

I will not take upon me to enumerate all the cases in which this may
be done, but content myself with three, which have most frequently
given occasion for proceedings of this kind. The first is, when one
or more men take upon them the power and name of a magistracy, to
which they are not justly called. The second, when one or more being
justly called, continue in their magistracy longer than the laws by
which they are called, do prescribe. And the third, when he or they,
who are rightly called, do assume a power, though within the time
prescribed, that the law does not give; or turn that which the law
does give, to an end different and contrary to that which is intended
by it.

The same course is justly used against a legal magistrate, who takes
upon him to exercise a power which the law does not give; for in that
respect he is a private man. "Quia, as Grotius says, eatenus non
habet imperium," and may be restrained as well as any other, because
he is not set up to do what he lists, but what the law appoints for
the good of the people; and as he has no other power than what the
law allows, so the same law limits and directs the exercise of that
which he has.

Puffendorf's law of nature and nations L. 7. c. 8. § 5 and 6.
Barbeyrac's note on section 6. When we speak of a tyrant that may
lawfully be dethroned, we do not mean by the people, the vile
populace or rabble of the country, nor the cabal of a small number
of factious persons; but the greater and more judicious part of the
subjects of all ranks. Besides the tyranny must be so notorious and
evidently clear, as to leave no body any room to doubt of it, &c. Now
a prince may easily avoid making himself so universally suspected and
odious to his subjects; for as Mr. Locke says, in his treatise of
civil government, c. 18 § 209. "It is as impossible for a governor,
if he really means the good of the people and the preservation of
them and the laws together, not to make them see and feel it; as it
is for the father of a family, not to let his children see he loves
and takes care of them." And therefore the general insurrection of
a whole nation does not deserve the name of a rebellion. We may see
what Mr. Sidney says upon this subject in his discourse concerning
government c. 3. § 36. Neither are subjects bound to stay till the
prince has entirely finished the chains which he is preparing for
them, and put it out of their power to oppose. It is sufficient that
all the advances which he makes are manifestly tending to their
oppression, that he is marching boldly on to the ruin of the state.
In such a case, says Mr. Locke, admirably well, ubi supra § 210. "How
can a man any more hinder himself from believing in his own mind,
which way things are going, or from casting about to save himself,
than he could from believing the captain of the ship he was in, was
carrying him and the rest of his company to Algiers, when he found
him always steering that course, though cross winds, leaks in his
ship and want of men and provisions, did often force him to turn
his course another way for some time, which he steadily returned to
again, as soon as the winds, weather, and other circumstances would
let him." This chiefly takes place with respect to kings, whose power
is limited by fundamental laws.

If it is objected, that the people being ignorant, and always
discontented, to lay the foundation of government, in the unsteady
opinion and the uncertain humour of the people, is to expose it to
certain ruin; the same author will answer you, that on the contrary,
people are not so easily got out of their old forms as some are
apt to suggest. England, for instance, notwithstanding the many
revolutions that have been seen in that kingdom, has always kept
to its old legislative of king, lords, and commons; and whatever
provocations have made the crown to be taken from some of their
princes' heads, they never carried the people so far as to place
it in another line. But it will be said, this hypothesis lays a
ferment for frequent rebellion. No more, says Mr. Locke, than any
other hypothesis. For when the people are made miserable, and
find themselves exposed to the ill usage of arbitrary power; cry
up their governors as you will for sons of Jupiter, let them be
sacred and divine, descended or authorised from heaven; give them
out for whom or what you please, the same will happen. The people
generally ill treated, and contrary to right, will be ready upon any
occasion to ease themselves of a burden that sits heavy upon them.
2. Such revolutions happen not upon every little mismanagement in
public affairs. Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and
inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty will be borne
by the people, without mutiny and murmur. 3. This power in the people
of providing for their safety anew by a legislative, when their
legislators have acted contrary to their trust, by invading their
property, is the best fence against rebellion, and the probablest
means to hinder it; for rebellion being an opposition, not to
persons, but authority, which is founded only in the constitutions
and laws of the government; those whoever they be, _who by force
break through, and by force justify the violation of them, are truly
and properly rebels_. For when men by entering into society, and
civil government, have excluded force, and introduced laws for the
preservation of property, peace and unity, among themselves; those
who set up force again, in opposition to the laws, do rebellare,
that is, do bring back again the state of war, and are properly,
rebels, as the author shews. In the last place, he demonstrates that
there are also greater inconveniencies in allowing all to those that
govern, than in granting something to the people. But it will be
said, that ill affected and factious men may spread among the people,
and make them believe that the prince or legislative, act contrary
to their trust, when they only make use of their due prerogative.
To this Mr. Locke answers, that the people however is to judge of
all that; because no body can better judge whether his trustee or
deputy acts well, and according to the trust reposed in him, than he
who deputed him. He might make the like query, (says Mr. LeClerk,
from whom this extract is taken) and ask, whether the people being
oppressed by an authority which they set up, but for their own good,
it is just, that those who are vested with this authority, and of
which they are complaining, should themselves be judges of the
complaints made against them. The greatest flatterers of kings, dare
not say, that the people are obliged to suffer absolutely all their
humours, how irregular soever they be; and therefore must confess,
that when no regard is had to their complaints, the very foundations
of society are destroyed; the prince and people are in a state of
war with each other, like two independent states, that are doing
themselves justice, and acknowledge no person upon earth, who in a
sovereign manner, can determine the disputes between them, &c.

If there is any thing in these quotations, which is applicable to the
destruction of the tea, or any other branch of our subject, it is not
my fault; I did not make it. Surely Grotius, Puffendorf, Barbeyrac,
Locke, Sidney, and LeClerk, are writers, of sufficient weight to
put in the scale against the mercenary scribblers in New York and
Boston, who have the unexampled impudence and folly, to call these
which are revolution principles in question, and to ground their
arguments upon passive obedience as a corner stone. What an opinion
must these writers have of the principles of their patrons, the lords
Bute, Mansfield and North, when they hope to recommend themselves
by reviving that stupid doctrine, which has been infamous so many
years. Dr. Sachevaril himself tells us that his sermons were burnt by
the hands of the common hangman, by the order of the king, lords and
commons, in order to fix an eternal and indelible brand of infamy on
that doctrine.

In the Gazette of January the 2d, Massachusettensis entertains you
with an account of his own important self. This is a subject which he
has very much at heart, but it is of no consequence to you or me, and
therefore little need be said of it. If he had such a stand in the
community, that he could have seen all the political manoeuvres,
it is plain he must have shut his eyes, or he never could have
mistaken so grossly, causes for effects, and effects for causes.

He undertakes to point out the principles and motives upon which the
blockade act was made, which were according to him, the destruction
of the East India Company's tea. He might have said more properly the
ministerial tea; for such it was, and the company are no losers; they
have received from the public treasury compensation for it.

Then we are amused with a long discourse about the nature of the
British government, commerce, agriculture, arts, manufactures,
regulations of trade, custom-house officers, which, as it has no
relation to the subject, I shall pass over.

The case is shortly this. The East India Company, by their contract
with government, in their charter and statute, are bound in
consideration of their important profitable privileges to pay to the
public treasury, a revenue, annually, of four hundred thousand pounds
sterling, so long as they can hold up their dividends, at twelve per
cent. and no longer.

The mistaken policy of the ministry, in obstinately persisting in
their claim of right to tax America, and refusing to repeal the
duty on tea, with those on glass, paper and paint, had induced all
America, except a few merchants in Boston, most of whom were closely
connected with the junto, to refuse to import tea from Great Britain;
the consequence of which was a kind of stagnation in the affairs of
the company, and an immense accumulation of tea in their stores,
which they could not sell. This, among other causes, contributed
to affect their credit, and their dividends were on the point of
falling below twelve per cent. and consequently the government was
upon the point of losing 400,000l. sterling a year of revenue. The
company solicited the ministry to take off the duty in America: but
they adhering to their plan of taxing the colonies and establishing
a precedent, framed an act to enable the company to send their tea
directly to America. This was admired as a master-piece of policy.
It was thought they would accomplish four great purposes at once:
establish their precedent of taxing America; raise a large revenue
there by the duties; save the credit of the company, and the
400,000l. to the government. The company however, were so little
pleased with this, that there were great debates among the directors,
whether they should risque it, which were finally determined by a
majority of one only, and that one the chairman, being unwilling
as it is said, to interfere, in the dispute between the minister
and the colonies, and uncertain what the result would be: and this
small majority was not obtained, as it is said, until a sufficient
intimation was given that the company should not be losers.

When these designs were made known, it appeared, that American
politicians were not to be deceived; that their sight was as quick
and clear as the minister's; and that they were as steady to their
purpose, as he was to his. This was thought by all the colonies to
be the precise point of time, when it became absolutely necessary
to make a stand. If the tea should be landed, it would be sold;
if sold, the duties would amount to a large sum, which would be
instantly applied to increase the friends and advocates for more
duties, and to divide the people; and the company would get such a
footing, that no opposition afterwards could ever be effectual. And
as soon as the duties on tea should be established, they would be
ranked among post-office fees, and other precedents, and used as
arguments, both of the right and expediency of laying on others,
perhaps on all the necessaries, as well as conveniences and luxuries
of life. The whole continent was united in the sentiment, that all
opposition to parliamentary taxation must be given up forever,
if this critical moment was neglected. Accordingly, New York and
Philadelphia determined that the ships should be sent back; and
Charleston, that the tea should be stored and locked up. This was
attended with no danger in that city, because they are fully united
in sentiment and affection, and have no _Junto_ to perplex them.
Boston was under greater difficulties. The consignees at New York
and Philadelphia most readily resigned. The consignees at Boston,
the children, cousins, and most intimate connections of governor
Hutchinson, refused. I am very sorry that I cannot stir a single step
in developing the causes of my country's miseries, without stumbling
upon this gentleman. But so it is. From the near relation and most
intimate connection of the consignees with him, there is great cause
of jealousy, if not a violent presumption, that he was at the bottom
of all this business, that he had planned it, in his confidential
letters with Bernard, and both of them joined in suggesting and
recommending it to the ministry. Without this supposition, it is
difficult to account for the obstinacy with which the consignees
refused to resign, and the governor to let the vessel go. However
this might be, Boston is the only place upon the continent, perhaps
in the world, which ever breeds a species of misanthropes, who will
persist in their schemes for their private interest, with such
obstinacy, in opposition to the public good; disoblige all their
fellow citizens for a little pelf, and make themselves odious and
infamous, when they might be respected and esteemed. It must be said,
however, in vindication of the town, that this breed is spawned
chiefly by the Junto. The consignees would not resign; the custom
house refused clearances; governor Hutchinson refused passes by the
castle. The question then was, with many, whether the governor,
officers, and consignees should be compelled to send the ships hence?
An army and navy was at hand, and bloodshed was apprehended. At last,
when the continent, as well as the town and province, were waiting
the issue of this deliberation with the utmost anxiety, a number
of persons, in the night, put them out of suspense, by an oblation
to Neptune. I have heard some gentlemen say, "this was a very
unjustifiable proceeding"--"that if they had gone at noon-day, and
in their ordinary habits, and drowned it in the face of the world, it
would have been a meritorious, a most glorious action: but to go in
the night, and much more in disguise, they thought very inexcusable."

"The revenue was not the consideration before parliament," says
Massachusettensis. Let who will believe him. But if it was not, the
danger to America was the same. I take no notice of the idea of a
monopoly. If it had been only a monopoly (though in this light it
would have been a very great grievance) it would not have excited,
nor in the opinion of any one justified the step that was taken. It
was an attack upon a fundamental principle of the constitution, and
upon that supposition was resisted, after multitudes of petitions to
no purpose, and because there was no tribunal in the constitution,
from whence redress could have been obtained.

There is one passage so pretty, that I cannot refuse myself the
pleasure of transcribing it. "A smuggler and a whig are cousin
Germans, the offspring of two sisters, avarice and ambition. They
had been playing into each other's hands a long time. The smuggler
received protection from the whig, and he in his turn received
support from the smuggler. The illicit trader now demanded protection
from his kinsman, and it would have been unnatural in him to have
refused it; and beside, an opportunity presented of strengthening his
own interest."

The wit and the beauty of the style, in this place, seem to have
quite enraptured the lively juvenile imagination of this writer.

The truth of the fact he never regards, any more than the justice
of the sentiment. Some years ago, the smugglers might be pretty
equally divided between the whigs and the tories. Since that time,
they have almost all married into the tory families, for the sake of
dispensations and indulgencies. If I were to let myself into secret
history, I could tell very diverting stories of smuggling tories in
New-York and Boston. Massachusettensis is quarrelling with some of
his best friends. Let him learn more discretion.

We are then told that "the consignees offered to store the tea,
under the care of the selectmen, or a committee of the town." This
expedient might have answered, if none of the junto, nor any of
their connections, had been in Boston. But is it a wonder, that the
selectmen declined accepting such a deposit? They supposed they
should be answerable, and nobody doubted that tories might be found
who would not scruple to set fire to the store, in order to make them
liable. Besides if the tea was landed, though only to be stored, the
duty must be paid, which it was thought was giving up the point.

Another consideration, which had great weight, was, the other
colonies were grown jealous of Boston, and thought it already
deficient in point of punctuality, against the dutied articles:
and if the tea was once stored, artifices might be used, if not
violence, to disperse it abroad. But if through the continual
vigilance and activity of the committee and the people, through a
whole winter, this should be prevented; yet one thing was certain,
that the tories would write to the other colonies and to England,
thousands of falsehoods concerning it, in order to induce the
ministry to persevere, and to sow jealousies and create divisions
among the colonies.

Our acute logician then undertakes to prove the destruction of the
tea unjustifiable, even upon the principle of the whigs, that the
duty was unconstitutional. The only argument he uses is this: that
"unless we purchase the tea, we shall never pay the duty." This
argument is so frivolous, and has been so often confuted and exposed,
that if the party had any other, I think they would relinquish this.
Where will it carry us? If a duty was laid upon our horses, we may
walk;--if upon our butcher's meat, we may live upon the produce of
the dairy;--and if that should be taxed, we may subsist as well
as our fellow slaves in Ireland, upon spanish potatoes and cold
water. If a thousand pounds was laid upon the birth of every child,
if children are not begotten, none will be born;--if, upon every
marriage, no duties will be paid, if all the young gentlemen and
ladies agree to live batchelors and maidens.

In order to form a rational judgment of the quality of this
transaction, and determine whether it was good or evil, we must go
to the bottom of this great controversy. If parliament has a right
to tax us and legislate for us, in all cases, the destruction of the
tea was unjustifiable; but if the people of America are right in
their principle, that parliament has no such right, that the act of
parliament is null and void, and it is lawful to oppose and resist
it, the question then is, whether the destruction was necessary?
for every principle of reason, justice and prudence, in such cases,
demands that the least mischief shall be done; the least evil among a
number shall always be preferred.

All men are convinced that it was impracticable to return it, and
rendered so by Mr. Hutchinson and the Boston consignees. Whether to
have stored it would have answered the end, or been a less mischief
than drowning it, I shall leave to the judgment of the public. The
other colonies, it seems, have no scruples about it, for we find that
whenever tea arrives in any of them, whether from the East India
Company, or any other quarter, it never fails to share the fate of
that in Boston. All men will agree that such steps ought not to be
taken, but in cases of absolute necessity, and that such necessity
must be very clear. But most people in America now think, the
destruction of the Boston tea was absolutely necessary, and therefore
right and just. It is very true, they say, if the whole people had
been united in sentiment, and equally stable in their resolution, not
to buy or drink it, there might have been a reason for preserving
it; but the people here were not so virtuous or so happy. The
British ministry had plundered the people by illegal taxes, and
applied the money in salaries and pensions, by which devices, they
had insidiously attached to their party, no inconsiderable number of
persons, some of whom were of family, fortune and influence, though
many of them were of desperate fortunes, each of whom, however,
had his circle of friends, connections and dependants, who were
determined to drink tea, both as evidence of their servility to
administration, and their contempt and hatred of the people. These
it was impossible to restrain without violence, perhaps bloodshed,
certainly without hazarding more than the tea was worth. To this
tribe of the _wicked_, they say, must be added another, perhaps more
numerous, of the _weak_; who never could be brought to think of the
consequences of their actions, but would gratify their appetites,
if they could come at the means. What numbers are there in every
community, who have no providence, or prudence in their private
affairs, but will go on indulging the present appetite, prejudice,
or passion, to the ruin of their estates and families, as well as
their own health and characters! how much larger is the number of
those who have no foresight for the public, or consideration of the
freedom of posterity? Such an abstinence from the tea, as would have
avoided the establishment of a precedent, dependent on the unanimity
of the people, was a felicity that was unattainable. Must the wise,
the virtuous and worthy part of the community, who constituted a very
great majority, surrender their liberty, and involve their posterity
in misery in complaisance to a detestable, though small party of
knaves, and a despicable, though more numerous company of fools?

If Boston could have been treated like other places, like New York
and Philadelphia, the tea might have gone home from thence, as it
did from those cities. That inveterate, desperate junto, to whom
we owe all our calamities, were determined to hurt us in this, as
in all other cases, as much as they could. It is to be hoped they
will one day repent and be forgiven, but it is very hard to forgive
without repentance. When the news of this event arrived in England,
it excited such passions in the minister as nothing could restrain;
his resentment was inkindled into revenge, rage, and madness; his
veracity was piqued, as his master piece of policy, proved but
a bubble. The bantling was the fruit of a favourite amour, and
no wonder that his natural affection was touched, when he saw it
dispatched before his eyes. His grief and ingenuity, if he had any,
were affected at the thought that he had misled the East India
Company so much nearer to destruction, and that he had rendered the
breach between the kingdom and the colonies almost irreconcilable:
his shame was excited because opposition had gained a triumph over
him, and the three kingdoms were laughing at him for his obstinacy
and his blunders: instead of relieving the company he had hastened
its ruin: instead of establishing the absolute and unlimited
sovereignty of parliament over the colonies, he had excited a more
decisive denial of it, and resistance to it. An election drew nigh
and he dreaded the resentment even of the corrupted electors.

In this state of mind bordering on despair, he determines to strike
a bold stroke. Bernard was near and did not fail to embrace the
opportunity, to push the old systems of the junto. By attacking all
the colonies together, by the stamp-act, and the paint and glass act,
they had been defeated. The charter constitution of the Massachusetts
Bay, had contributed greatly to both these defeats. Their
representatives were too numerous, and too frequently elected, to be
corrupted: their people had been used to consider public affairs in
their town meetings: their counsellors were not absolutely at the nod
of a minister or governor, but were once a year equally dependant on
the governor and the two houses. Their grand jurors, were elective by
the people, their petit jurors were returned merely by lot. Bernard
and the junto rightly judged, that by this constitution the people
had a check on every branch of power, and therefore as long as it
lasted, parliamentary taxations, &c. could never be inforced.

Bernard, publishes his select letters, and his principles of polity;
his son writes in defence of the Quebec bill; hireling garretteers
are employed to scribble millions of lies against us, in pamphlets
and newspapers; and setters employed in the coffee houses, to
challenge or knock down all the advocates for the poor Massachusetts.
It was now determined, instead of attacking the colonies together,
though they had been all equally opposed to the plans of the ministry
and the claims of parliament, and therefore upon ministerial
principles equally guilty, to handle them one by one; and to begin
with Boston and the Massachusetts. The destruction of the tea was
a fine event for scribblers and speechifiers to declaim upon; and
there was an hereditary hatred of New England, in the minds of
many in England, on account of their non-conforming principles. It
was likewise thought there was a similar jealousy and animosity in
the other colonies against New England; that they would therefore
certainly desert her; that she would be intimidated and submit; and
then the minister, among his own friends, would acquire immortal
honour, as the most able, skilful and undaunted statesman of the age.

The port bill, charter bill, murder bill, Quebec bill, making
altogether such a frightful system, as would have terrified any
people, who did not prefer liberty to life, were all concerted at
once; but all this art and violence have not succeeded. This people,
under great trials and dangers, have discovered great abilities
and virtues, and that nothing is so terrible to them as the loss
of their liberties. If these arts and violences are persisted in,
and still greater concerted and carried on against them, the world
will see that their fortitude, patience and magnanimity will rise in

"Had Cromwell," says our what shall I call him? "had the guidance
of the national ire, your proud capital had been levelled with
the dust." Is it any breach of charity to suppose that such an
event as this, would have been a gratification to this writer? can
we otherwise account for his indulging himself in a thought so
diabolical? will he set up Cromwell as a model for his deified lords,
Bute, Mansfield and North? If he should, there is nothing in the
whole history of him so cruel as this. All his conduct in Ireland, as
exceptionable as any part of his whole life, affords nothing that can
give the least probability to the idea of this writer. The rebellion
in Ireland, was most obstinate, and of many years duration; 100,000
Protestants had been murdered in a day, in cold blood, by Papists,
and therefore Cromwell might plead some excuse, that cruel severities
were necessary, in order to restore any peace to that kingdom.
But all this will not justify him; for as has been observed by an
historian, upon his conduct in this instance, "men are not to divest
themselves of humanity, and turn themselves into devils, because
policy may suggest that they will succeed better as devils than as
men!" But is there any parity or similitude between a rebellion
of a dozen years standing, in which many battles had been fought,
many thousands fallen in war, and 100,000 massacred in a day; and
the drowning three cargoes of tea? To what strains of malevolence,
to what flights of diabolical fury, is not tory rage capable of
transporting men!

"The whigs saw their ruin connected with a compliance with the terms
of opening the port." They saw the ruin of their country connected
with such a compliance, and their own involved in it. But they might
have easily voted a compliance, for they were undoubtedly a vast
majority, and have enjoyed the esteem and affection of their fellow
slaves to their last hours. Several of them could have paid for
the tea, and never have felt the loss. They knew they must suffer,
vastly more, than the tea was worth; but they thought they acted for
America and posterity; and that they ought not to take such a step
without the advice of the colonies. They have declared our cause
their own--that they never will submit to a precedent in any part of
the united colonies, by which parliament may take away wharves and
other lawful estates, or demolish charters; for if they do they have
a moral certainty that in the course of a few years, every right of
Americans will be taken away, and governors and councils, holding at
the will of a minister, will be the only legislatives in the colonies.

A pompous account of the addressers of Mr. Hutchinson, then follows.
They consisted of his relations, his fellow labourers in the tory
vineyard, and persons whom he had raised in the course of four
administrations, Shirley's, Pownal's, Bernard's, and his own, to
places in the province. Considering the industry that was used,
and the vast number of persons in the province, who had received
commissions under government upon his recommendation, the small
number of subscribers that was obtained, is among a thousand
demonstrations of the unanimity of this people. If it had been
thought worth while to have procured a remonstrance against him,
fifty thousand subscribers might have been easily found. Several
gentlemen of property were among these addressers, and some of fair
character; but their acquaintance and friendships lay among the
junto and their subalterns entirely. Besides, did these addressers
approve the policy or justice of any one of the bills, which were
passed the last session of the late parliament? Did they acknowledge
the unlimited authority of parliament? The Middlesex magistrates
remonstrated against taxation: but they were flattered with hopes,
that Mr. Hutchinson would get the port-bill, &c. repealed: that is,
that he would have undone all, which every one, but themselves, knew
he has been doing these fifteen years.

"But these patriotic endeavours, were defeated." By what? "By an
invention of the fertile brain of one of our party agents, called a
committee of correspondence." "_This is the foulest, subtlest and
most venemous serpent, that ever issued from the eggs of sedition._"

I should rather call it, the _Ichneumon_, a very industrious, active
and useful animal, which was worshipped in Egypt as a divinity,
because it defended their country from the ravages of the crocodiles.
It was the whole occupation of this little creature to destroy those
wily and ravenous monsters. It crushed their eggs, wherever they laid
them, and with a wonderful address and courage, would leap into their
mouths, penetrate their entrails, and never leave until it destroyed

If the honour of this invention is due to the gentleman, who is
generally understood by the "party agent" or Massachusettensis, it
belongs to one, to whom America has erected a statue in her heart,
for his integrity, fortitude and perseverance in her cause. That the
invention itself is very useful and important, is sufficiently clear,
from the unlimited wrath of the tories against it, and from the
gall which this writer discharges upon it. Almost all mankind have
lost their liberties through ignorance, inattention and disunion.
These committees are admirably calculated to diffuse knowledge, to
communicate intelligence, and promote unanimity. If the high whigs
are generally of such committees, it is because the freeholders, who
choose them, are such, and therefore prefer their peers. The tories,
high or low, if they can make interest enough among the people, may
get themselves chosen, and promote the great cause of parliamentary
revenues, and the other sublime doctrines and mysteries of toryism.
That these committees think themselves "amenable to none," is false;
for there is not a man upon any one of them, who does not acknowledge
himself to hold his place, at the pleasure of his constituents, and
to be accountable to them, whenever they demand it. If the committee
of the town of Boston was appointed, for a special purpose at first,
their commission has been renewed from time to time; they have been
frequently thanked by the town for their vigilance, activity and
disinterested labours in the public service. Their doings have been
laid before the town and approved of by it. The malice of the tories
has several times swelled open their bosoms, and broke out into the
most intemperate and illiberal invectives against it; but all in
vain. It has only served to shew the impotence of the tories, and
increase the importance of the committee.

These committees cannot be too religiously careful of the exact
truth of the intelligence they receive or convey; nor too anxious
for the rectitude and purity of the measures they propose or adopt;
they should be very sure that they do no injury to any man's person,
property or character; and they are generally persons of such worth,
that I have no doubt of their attention to these rules; and therefore
that the reproaches of this writer are mere slanders.

If we recollect how many states have lost their liberties, merely
from want of communication with each other, and union among
themselves, we shall think that these committees may be intended by
Providence to accomplish great events. What the eloquence and talents
of negociation of Demosthenes himself could not effect, among the
states of Greece, might have been effected by so simple a device.
Castile, Arragon, Valencia, Majorca, &c. all complained of oppression
under Charles the fifth, flew out into transports of rage, and took
arms against him. But they never consulted or communicated with each
other. They resisted separately, and were separately subdued. Had Don
Juan Padilla, or his wife, been possessed of the genius to invent a
committee of correspondence, perhaps the liberties of the Spanish
nation might have remained to this hour, without any necessity to
have had recourse to arms. Hear the opinion of Dr. Robertson. "While
the spirit of disaffection was so general among the Spaniards, and
so many causes concurred in precipitating them into such violent
measures, in order to obtain redress of their grievances, it may
appear strange that the malecontents in the different kingdoms should
have carried on their operations without any mutual concert or even
any intercourse with each other. By uniting their councils and arms,
they might have acted both with greater force, and with more effect.
The appearance of a national confederacy would have rendered it no
less respectable among the people, than formidable to the crown; and
the emperor, unable to resist such a combination, must have complied
with any terms, which the members of it thought fit to prescribe."

That it is owing to those committees that so many persons have been
found to recant and resign, and so many others to fly to the army,
is a mistake; for the same things would have taken place, if such a
committee had never been in being, and such persons would probably
have met with much rougher usage. This writer asks, "have not these
persons as good a right to think and act for themselves as the
whigs?" I answer yes. But if any man, whig or tory, shall take it
into his head to think for himself, that he has a right to take my
property, without my consent; however tender I may be of the right of
private judgment and the freedom of thought, this is a point in which
I shall be very likely to differ from him, and to think for myself,
that I have a right to resist him. If any man should think, ever
so conscientiously that the Roman Catholic religion is better than
the Protestant, or that the French government is preferable to the
British constitution in its purity; Protestants and Britons, will not
be so tender of that man's conscience as to suffer him to introduce
his favourite religion and government. So the well bred gentlemen,
who are so polite as to think, that the charter constitution of
this province ought to be abolished, and another introduced, wholly
at the will of a minister or the crown; or that our ecclesiastical
constitution is bad, and high church ought to come in, few people
will be so tender of these consciences or complaisant to such
polite taste, as to suffer the one or the other to be established.
There are certain prejudices among the people, so strong, as to be
irresistible. Reasoning is vain, and opposition idle. For example,
there are certain popular maxims and precepts called the ten
commandments. Suppose a number of fine gentlemen, superior to the
prejudices of education, should discover that these were made for the
common people, and are too illiberal for gentlemen of refined taste
to observe; and accordingly should engage in secret confidential
correspondences to procure an act of parliament, to abolish the whole
decalogue, or to exempt them from all obligation to observe it. If
they should succeed, and their letters be detected, such is the force
of prejudice, and deep habits among the lower sort of people, that
it is much to be questioned, whether those refined geniuses would
be allowed to enjoy themselves in the latitude of their sentiments.
I once knew a man, who had studied Jacob Beckman and other mystics
until he conscientiously thought the millenium commenced, and all
human authority at an end; that the saints only had a right to
property, and to take from sinners any thing they wanted. In this
persuasion, he very honestly stole a horse. Mankind pitied the poor
man's infirmity, but thought it however their duty to confine him
that he might steal no more.

The freedom of thinking was never yet extended in any country so far,
as the utter subversion of all religion and morality; nor as the
abolition of the laws and constitution of the country.

But "are not these persons as closely connected with the interest
of their country as the whigs?" I answer, they are not: they have
found an interest in opposition to that of their country, and are
making themselves rich and their families illustrious, by depressing
and destroying their country. But "do not their former lives and
conversations appear to have been regulated by principles, as much as
those of the whigs?" A few of them, it must be acknowledged, until
seduced by the bewitching charms of wealth and power, appeared to be
men of principle. But taking the whigs and tories on an average, the
balance of principle, as well as genius, learning, wit and wealth, is
infinitely in favour of the former. As to some of these fugitives,
they are known to be men of no principles at all, in religion, morals
or government.

But the "policy" is questioned, and you are asked if you expect to
make converts by it? As to the policy or impolicy of it, I have
nothing to say; but we do not expect to make converts of most of
those persons by any means whatever, as long as they have any hopes
that the ministry will place and pension them. The instant these
hopes are extinguished, we all know they will be converted of course.
Converts from places and pensions are only to be made by places and
pensions; all other reasoning is idle; these are the _penultima
ratio_ of the tories, as field pieces are the _ultima_.

That we are not "unanimous is certain." But there are nineteen on one
side to one on the other, through the province; and ninety-nine, out
of an hundred of the remaining twentieth part, can be fairly shewn
to have some sinister private view, to induce them to profess his

Then we are threatened high, that "this is a changeable world, and
times rolling wheel may ere long bring them uppermost, and in that
case we should not wish to have them fraught with resentment."

To all this we answer, without ceremony, that they always have been
uppermost, in every respect, excepting only the esteem and affection
of the people; that they always have been fraught with resentment
(even their cunning and policy have not restrained them) and we know
they always will be; that they have indulged their resentment and
malice, in every instance in which they had power to do it; and we
know that their revenge will never have other limits, than their

Then this consistent writer, begins to flatter the people; "he
appeals to their good sense, he knows they have it;" the same people,
whom he has so many times represented as mad and foolish.

"I know you are loyal and friends to good order." This is the
same people that, in the whole course of his writings, he has
represented as continuing for ten years together in a continual
state of disorder, demolishing the chair, board, supreme court, and
encouraging all sorts of riots, insurrections, treason and rebellion.
Such are the shifts to which a man is driven, when he aims at
carrying a point, not at discovering truth.

The people are then told that "they have been insidiously taught to
believe that Great Britain is rapacious, cruel and vindictive, and
envies us the inheritance purchased by the sweat and blood of our
ancestors." The people do not believe this--they will not believe it.
On the contrary, they believe, if it was not for scandals constantly
transmitted from this province by the tories, the nation would
redress our grievances. Nay as little as they reverence the ministry,
they even believe that the lords North, Mansfield and Bute would
relieve them, and would have done it long ago, if they had known
the truth. The moment this is done "long live our gracious king and
happiness to Britain," will resound from one end of the province to
the other; but it requires a very little foresight to determine, that
no other plan of governing the province and the colonies will ever
restore a harmony between the two countries, but desisting from the
plan of taxing them and interfering with their internal concerns,
and returning to that system of colony administration, which nature
dictated, and experience for one hundred and fifty years found useful.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 6, 1775.


Our rhetorical magician, in his paper of January the 9th continues
to _wheedle_. "You want nothing but to know the true state of facts,
to rectify whatever is amiss." He becomes an advocate for the poor
of Boston! Is for making great allowance for the whigs. "The whigs
are too valuable a part of the community to lose. He would not draw
down the vengeance of Great Britain. He shall become an advocate for
the leading whigs." &c. It is in vain for us to enquire after the
_sincerity_ or _consistency_ of all this. It is agreeable to the
precept of Horace. _Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet, ut
magus._ And that is all he desires.

After a long discourse, which has nothing in it, but what has been
answered already, he comes to a great subject indeed, the British
constitution; and undertakes to prove that "the authority of
parliament extends to the colonies."

Why will not this writer state the question fairly? The whigs
allow that from the necessity of a case not provided for by common
law, and to supply a defect in the British dominions, which there
undoubtedly is, if they are to be governed only by that law, America
has all along consented, still consents, and ever will consent, that
parliament being the most powerful legislature in the dominions,
should regulate the trade of the dominions. This is founding the
authority of parliament to regulate our trade, upon _compact_
and _consent_ of the colonies, not upon any principle of common
or statute law, not upon any original principle of the English
constitution, not upon the principle that parliament is the supreme
and sovereign legislature over them in all cases whatsoever.

The question is not therefore, whether the authority of parliament
extends to the colonies in any case; for it is admitted by the whigs
that it does in that of commerce: but whether it extends in all cases.

We are then detained with a long account of the three simple forms of
government; and are told that "the British constitution consisting of
king, lords and commons, is formed upon the principles of monarchy,
aristocracy and democracy, in due proportion; that it includes the
principal excellencies, and excludes the principal defects of the
other kinds of government--the most perfect system that the wisdom
of ages has produced, and Englishmen glory in being subject to and
protected by it."

Then we are told, "that the colonies are a part of the British
empire." But what are we to understand by this? Some of the colonies,
most of them indeed, were settled before the kingdom of Great Britain
was brought into existence. The union of England and Scotland, was
made and established by act of parliament in the reign of queen
Ann; and it was this union and statute which erected the kingdom
of Great Britain. The colonies were settled long before, in the
reigns of the Jameses and Charleses. What authority over them had
Scotland? Scotland, England, and the colonies were all under one
king before that; the two crowns of England and Scotland, united on
the head of James the first, and continued united on that of Charles
the first, when our first charter was granted. Our charter being
granted by him, who was king of both nations, to our ancestors, most
of whom were _post nati_, born after the union of the two crowns,
and consequently, as was adjudged in Calvin's case, free, natural
subjects of Scotland, as well as England; had not the king as good
a right to have governed the colonies by his Scottish, as by his
English parliament, and to have granted our charters under the seal
of Scotland, as well as that of England?

But to wave this. If the English parliament were to govern us, where
did they get the right, without our consent to take the Scottish
parliament into a participation of the government over us? When this
was done, was the American share of the democracy of the constitution
consulted? If not, were not the Americans deprived of the benefit of
the democratical part of the constitution? And is not the democracy
as essential to the English constitution, as the monarchy or
aristocracy? Should we have been more effectually deprived of the
benefit of the British or English constitution, if one or both houses
of parliament, or if our house and council had made this union with
the two houses of parliament in Scotland, without the king?

If a new constitution was to be formed for the whole British
dominions, and a supreme legislature coextensive with it, upon the
general principles of the English constitution, an equal mixture
of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, let us see what would be
necessary. England had six millions of people we will say: America
had three. England has five hundred members in the house of commons
we will say: America must have two hundred and fifty. Is it possible
she should maintain them there, or could they at such a distance
know the state, the sense or exigencies of their constituents?
Ireland, too, must be incorporated, and send another hundred or two
of members. The territory in the East Indies and West India Islands
must send members. And after all this, every navigation act, every
act of trade must be repealed. America and the East and West Indies
and Africa too must have equal liberty to trade with all the world,
that the favoured inhabitants of Great Britain have now. Will the
ministry thank Massachusettensis for becoming an advocate for such
an union and incorporation of all the dominions of the king of Great
Britain? Yet without such an union, a legislature which shall be
sovereign and supreme in all cases whatsoever, and coextensive with
the empire, can never be established upon the general principles
of the English constitution, which Massachusettensis lays down,
viz. an equal mixture of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. Nay
further, in order to comply with this principle, this new government,
this mighty Colossus, which is to bestride the narrow world, must
have an house of lords consisting of Irish, East and West Indian,
African, American, as well as English and Scottish noblemen; for the
nobility ought to be scattered about all the dominions, as well as
the representatives of the commons. If in twenty years more America
should have six millions of inhabitants, as there is a boundless
territory to fill up, she must have five hundred representatives.
Upon these principles, if in forty years she should have twelve
millions, a thousand; and if the inhabitants of the three kingdoms
remain as they are, being already full of inhabitants, what will
become of your supreme legislative? It will be translated, crown
and all, to America. This is a sublime system for America. It will
flatter those ideas of independency, which the tories impute to them,
if they have any such, more than any other plan of independency that
I have ever heard projected.

"The best writers upon the law of nations, tell us, that when a
nation takes possession of a distant country and settles there,
that country, though separated from the principal establishment, or
mother country, naturally becomes a part of the state, equal with
its ancient possessions." We are not told who these "best writers"
are: I think we ought to be introduced to them. But their meaning
may be no more, than that it is best they should be incorporated
with the ancient establishment by contract, or by some new law
and institution, by which the new country shall have equal right,
powers and privileges, as well as equal protection; and be under
equal obligations of obedience with the old. Has there been any such
contract between Britain and the colonies? Is America incorporated
into the realm? Is it a part of the realm? Is it a part of the
kingdom? Has it any share in the legislative of the realm? The
constitution requires that every foot of land should be represented
in the third estate, the democratical branch of the constitution.
How many millions of acres in America, how many thousands of wealthy
landholders, have no representatives there.

But let these "best writers" say what they will, there is nothing in
the law of nations, which is only the law of right reason, applied
to the conduct of nations, that requires that emigrants from a state
that should continue, or be made a part of the state.

The practice of nations has been different. The Greeks planted
colonies, and neither demanded nor pretended any authority over them,
but they became distinct independent commonwealths.

The Romans continued their colonies under the jurisdiction of
the mother commonwealth; but, nevertheless, she allowed them the
privileges of cities. Indeed that sagacious city seems to have been
aware of difficulties, similar to those, under which Great Britain is
now labouring; she seems to have been sensible of the impossibility
of keeping colonies, planted at great distances, under the absolute
controul of her _senatus consulta_. Harrington tells us, Oceana p.
43. that "the commonwealth of Rome, by planting colonies of its
citizens within the bounds of Italy, took the best way of propagating
itself, and naturalizing the country; whereas if it had planted such
colonies without the bounds of Italy, it would have alienated the
citizens, and given a root to liberty abroad, that might have sprung
up foreign, or savage and hostile to her; _wherefore it never made
any such dispersion of itself and its strength_, till it was under
the yoke of the emperors, who disburdening themselves of the people,
as having less apprehension of what they could do abroad than at
home, took a contrary course." But these Italian cities, although
established by decrees of the senate of Rome, to which the colonist
was always party, either as a Roman citizen about to emigrate, or as
a conquered enemy treating upon terms; were always allowed all the
rights of Roman citizens, and were governed by senates of their own.
It was the policy of Rome to conciliate her colonies, by allowing
them equal liberties with her citizens. Witness the example of the
Privernates. This people had been conquered, and complaining of
oppressions, revolted. At last they sent ambassadors to Rome to treat
of peace. The senate was divided in opinion. Some were for violent,
others for lenient measures. In the course of the debate, a senator,
whose opinion was for _bringing them to his feet_, proudly asked
one of the ambassadors, what punishment he thought his countrymen
deserved? _Eam inquit, quam merentur, qui se libertate dignos
censent._ That punishment which those deserve, who think themselves
worthy of liberty. Another senator, seeing that the _ministerial
members_ were exasperated with the honest answer, in order to divert
their anger, asks another question. What if we remit all punishment?
What kind of a peace may we hope for with you? _Si bonam dederitis,
inquit et fidam, et perpetuam; si malam, haud diuturnam._ If you give
us a just peace, it will be faithfully observed, and perpetually:
but if a bad one, it will not last long. The _ministerial_ senators
were all on fire at this answer, cried out sedition and rebellion;
but the wiser majority decreed, "_viri et liberi, vocem auditam, an
credi posse, ullum populum, aut hominem denique, in ea conditione,
cujus cum paeniteat, diutius, quam necesse sit, mansurum? Ibi pacem
esse fidam, ubi voluntarii pacati sint; neque eo loco, ubi servitutem
esse velint, fidem sperandam esse._" "That they had heard the voice
of a man and a son of liberty; that it was not natural or credible
that any people, or any man, would continue longer than necessity
should compel him, in a condition that grieved and displeased him.
A faithful peace was to be expected from men whose affections were
conciliated, nor was any kind of fidelity to be expected from
slaves." The consul exclaimed, "_Eos demum qui nihil, praeterquam de
libertate, existent, dignos esse qui Romani fiant._" That they who
regarded nothing so much as their liberty, deserved to be Romans.
"_Itaque et in senatu causam obtinuere, et ex auctoritate patrum,
latum ad populum est, ut Privernatibus civitas daretur._" Therefore
the Privernates obtained their cause in the senate, and it was by
the authority of those fathers, recommended to the people, that
the privileges of a city should be granted them. The practice of
free nations only can be adduced, as precedents of what the law of
nature has been thought to dictate upon this subject of colonies.
Their practice is different. The senate and people of Rome did not
interfere commonly by making laws for their colonies, but left them
to be ruled by their governors and senates. Can Massachusettensis
produce from the whole history of Rome, or from the Digest, one
example of a _Senatus consultum_ or a _Plebiscitum_ laying taxes on
the colony?

Having mentioned the wisdom of the Romans, for not planting colonies
out of Italy, and their reasons for it, I cannot help recollecting
an observation of Harrington, Oceana, p. 44. "For the colonies in
the Indies," says he, "they are yet babes, that cannot live without
sucking the breasts of their mother cities; but such as I mistake,
if, when they come of age, they do not wean themselves, which causes
me to wonder at princes that delight to be exhausted that way." This
was written 120 years ago; the colonies are now nearer manhood than
ever Harrington foresaw they would arrive, in such a period of time.
Is it not astonishing then, that any British minister should ever
have considered this subject so little, as to believe it possible
for him to new model all our governments, to tax us by an authority
that never taxed us before, and subdue us to an implicit obedience to
a legislature, that millions of us scarcely ever thought any thing

I have said, that the practice of free governments alone can be
quoted with propriety, to shew the sense of nations. But the sense
and practice of nations is not enough. Their practice must be
reasonable, just and right, or it will not govern Americans.

Absolute monarchies, whatever their practice may be, are nothing to
us. For as Harrington observes, "Absolute monarchy, as that of the
Turks, neither plants its people at home nor abroad, otherwise than
as tenants for life or at will; wherefore its national and provincial
government is all one."

I deny, therefore, that the practice of free nations, or the opinions
of the best writers upon the law of nations, will warrant the
position of Massachusettensis, that when a nation takes possession
of a distant territory, that becomes a part of the state equally
with its ancient possessions. The practice of free nations, and the
opinions of the best writers, are in general on the contrary.

I agree, that "two supreme and independent authorities cannot exist
in the same state," any more than two supreme beings in one universe.
And therefore I contend, that our provincial legislatures are the
only supreme authorities in our colonies. Parliament, notwithstanding
this, may be allowed an authority supreme and sovereign over the
ocean, which may be limited by the banks of the ocean, or the bounds
of our charters; our charters give us no authority over the high
seas. Parliament has our consent to assume a jurisdiction over them.
And here is a line fairly drawn between the rights of Britain and
the rights of the colonies, viz. the banks of the ocean, or low
water mark; the line of division between common law and civil, or
maritime law. If this is not sufficient--if parliament are at a loss
for any principle of natural, civil, maritime, moral or common law,
on which to ground any authority over the high seas, the Atlantic
especially, let the Colonies be treated like reasonable creatures,
and they will discover great ingenuity and modesty. The acts of trade
and navigation might be confirmed by provincial laws, and carried
into execution by our own courts and juries, and in this case illicit
trade would be cut up by the roots forever. I knew the smuggling
tories in New-York and Boston would cry out against this, because
it would not only destroy their profitable game of smuggling, but
their whole place and pension system. But the whigs, that is a vast
majority of the whole continent, would not regard the smuggling
tories. In one word, if public principles and motives and arguments,
were alone to determine this dispute between the two countries,
it might be settled forever, in a few hours; but the everlasting
clamours of prejudice, passion and private interest, drown every
consideration of that sort, and are precipitating us into a civil war.

"If then we are a part of the British empire, we must be subject to
the supreme power of the state, which is vested in the estates in

Here again we are to be conjured out of our senses by the magic in
the words "British empire," and "supreme power of the state." But
however it may sound, I say we are not a part of the British empire;
because the British government is not an empire. The governments of
France, Spain, &c. are not empires, but monarchies, supposed to be
governed by fixed fundamental laws, though not really. The British
government is still less intitled to the style of an empire: it is
a limited monarchy. If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a
republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic,
than an empire. They define a republic to be _a government of laws,
and not of men_. If this definition is just, the British constitution
is nothing more nor less than a republic, in which the king is first
magistrate. This office being hereditary and being possessed of such
ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government's
being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the
people have a voice in making, and a right to defend. An empire is a
despotism, and an emperor a despot, bound by no law or imitation, but
his own will: it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy.
For although the will of an absolute monarch is law, yet his edicts
must be registered by parliaments. Even this formality is not
necessary in an empire. There the maxim is _quod principi placuit,
legis habet vigorem_, even without having that will and pleasure
recorded. There are but three empires now in Europe, the German, or
holy Roman, the Russian and the Ottoman.

There is another sense indeed, in which the word empire is used, in
which it may be applied to the government of Geneva, or any other
republic, as well as to monarchy, or despotism. In this sense it is
synonimous with government, rule, or dominion. In this sense, we are
within the dominion, rule, or government of the king of Great Britain.

The question should be, whether we are a part of the kingdom of Great
Britain: this is the only language, known in English laws. We are not
then a part of the British kingdom, realm or state; and therefore
the supreme power of the kingdom, realm or state, is not upon these
principles, the supreme power of us. That "supreme power over America
is vested in the estates in parliament," is an affront to us; for
there is not an acre of American land represented there--there are no
American estates in parliament.

To say that we "must be" subject, seems, to betray a consciousness,
that we are not by any law or upon any principles, but those of mere
power; and an opinion that we ought to be or that it is necessary
that we should be. But if this should be, admitted, for argument's
sake only, what is the consequence? The consequences that may fairly
be drawn are these:--That Britain has been imprudent enough to let
colonies be planted, until they are become numerous and important,
without ever having wisdom enough to concert a plan for their
government, consistent with her own welfare: that now it is necessary
to make them submit to the authority of parliament: and because
there is no principle of law or justice, or reason, by which she can
effect it; therefore she will resort to war and conquest--to the
maxim _delenda est Carthago_. These are the consequences, according
to this writer's idea. We think the consequences are, that she has
after 150 years, discovered a defect in her government, which ought
to be supplied by some just and reasonable means; that is, by the
consent of the colonies; for metaphysicians and politicians may
dispute forever, but they will never find any other moral principle
or foundation of rule or obedience, than the consent of governors
and governed. She has found out that the great machine will not go
any longer without a new wheel. She will make this herself. We think
she is making it of such materials and workmanship as will tear the
whole machine to pieces. We are willing if she can convince us of
the necessity of such a wheel, to assist with artists and materials,
in making it, so that it may answer the end. But she says, we shall
have no share in it; and if we will not let her patch it up as she
pleases, her Massachusettensis and other advocates tell us, she will
tear it to pieces herself, by cutting our throats. To this kind of
reasoning we can only answer, that we will not stand still to be
butchered. We will defend our lives as long as providence shall
enable us.

"It is beyond doubt, that it was the sense both of the _parent
country_ and _our ancestors_, that they were to remain subject to

This has been often asserted, and as often contradicted, and fully
confuted. The confutation may not, however, have come to every eye
which has read this newspaper.

The public acts of kings and ministers of state, in that age, when
our ancestors emigrated, which were not complained of, remonstrated
and protested against by the commons, are looked upon as sufficient
proof of the "sense" of the parent country.

The charter to the treasurer and company of Virginia, 23d March,
1609, grants ample power of government, legislative, executive and
judicial, and then contains an express covenant "to and with the
said treasurer and company, their successors, factors and assigns,
that they, and every of them, shall be free from all taxes and
impositions forever, upon any goods or merchandizes, at any time or
times hereafter, either upon importation thither, or exportation from
thence, into our realm of England, or into any other of our realms or

I agree with this writer, that the authority of a supreme
legislature, includes the right of taxation. Is not this quotation
then an irresistible proof, that "it was not the sense of king James
or his ministers, or of the ancestors of the Virginians, that they
were to remain subject to parliament as a supreme legislature?"

After this, James issued a proclamation, recalling the patent, but
this was never regarded. Then Charles issued another proclamation,
which produced a remonstrance from Virginia, which was answered
by a letter from the lords of the privy council, 22d July, 1634,
containing the royal assurance that "all their estates, trade,
freedom, and privileges should be enjoyed by them, in as extensive a
manner, as they enjoyed them before those proclamations."

Here is another evidence of the sense of the king and his ministers.

Afterwards parliament sent a squadron of ships to Virginia; the
colony rose in open resistance until the parliamentary commissioners
granted them conditions, that they should enjoy the privileges of
Englishmen; that their assembly should transact the affairs of the
colonies; that they should have a free trade to all places and
nations, as the people of England; and fourthly, that "Virginia
shall be free from all _taxes_, customs, and impositions whatever,
and none shall be imposed on them without consent of their general
assembly; and that neither forts nor castles be erected, or garrisons
maintained, without their consent."

One would think this was evidence enough of the sense both of the
parent country and our ancestors.

After the acts of navigation were passed, Virginia sent agents
to England, and a remonstrance against those acts. Charles, in
answer, sent a declaration under the privy seal, 19th April, 1676,
affirming, "that taxes ought not to be laid upon the inhabitants and
proprietors of the colony, but by the common consent of the general
assembly; except such impositions as the parliament should lay on the
commodities imported into England from the colony." And he ordered a
charter, under the great seal, to secure this right to the Virginians.

What becomes of the "sense" of the parent country and our ancestors?
for the ancestors of the Virginians are our ancestors, when we speak
of ourselves as Americans. From Virginia let us pass to Maryland.
Charles 1st, in 1633, gave a charter to the baron of Baltimore,
containing ample powers of government, and this express covenant: "to
and with the said lord Baltimore, his heirs and assigns, that we, our
heirs and successors, shall at no time hereafter, set or make, or
cause to be set any imposition, custom, or other taxation, rate, or
contribution whatsoever, in and upon the dwellings and inhabitants
of the aforesaid province, for their lands, tenements, goods or
chattels, within the said province; or to be laden or unladen, within
the ports or harbours of the said province."

What then was the "sense" of the parent country, and the ancestors
of Maryland? But if by "our ancestors," he confines his idea to
New England or this province, let us consider. The first planters
of Plymouth were our ancestors in the strictest sense. They had
no charter or patent for the land they took possession of, and
derived no authority from the English parliament or crown, to set
up their government. They purchased land of the Indians, and set
up a government of their own, on the simple principle of nature,
and afterwards purchased a patent for the land of the council at
Plymouth, but never purchased any charter for government of the
crown, or the king, and continued to exercise all the powers of
government, legislative, executive and judicial, upon the plain
ground of an original contract among independent individuals for
68 years, i.e. until their incorporation with Massachusetts by our
present charter. The same may be said of the colonies which emigrated
to Say-Brook, New-Haven, and other parts of Connecticut. They seem to
have had no idea of dependence on parliament, any more than on the
conclave. The secretary of Connecticut has now in his possession,
an original letter from Charles 2d. to that colony, in which he
considers them rather as friendly allies, than as subjects to his
English parliament, and even requests them to pass a law in their
assembly relative to piracy.

The sentiments of your ancestors in the Massachusetts, may be learned
from almost every ancient paper and record. It would be endless
to recite all the passages, in which it appears that they thought
themselves exempt from the authority of parliament, not only in
the point of taxation, but in all cases whatsoever. Let me mention
one. Randolph, one of the predecessors of Massachusettensis, in a
representation to Charles 2d. dated 20th September, 1676, says, "I
went to visit the governor at his house, and among other discourse, I
told him I took notice of several ships that were arrived at Boston,
some since my being there, from Spain, France, Streights, Canaries,
and other parts of Europe, contrary to your majesty's laws for
encouraging navigation and regulating the trade of the plantations."
He freely declared to me, that the law made by your majesty and your
parliament, obligeth them in nothing but what consists with the
interest of that colony, that the legislative power is and abides in
them solely to act and make laws by virtue of a charter from your
majesty's royal father. Here is a positive assertion of an exemption
from the authority of parliament, even in the case of the regulation
of trade.

Afterwards in 1677, the general court passed a law, which shews the
sense of our ancestors in a very strong light. It is in these words.
"This court being informed, by letters received this day from our
messengers, of his majesty's expectation that the acts of Trade and
Navigation be exactly and punctually observed by this his majesty's
colony, his pleasure therein not having before now, signified unto
us, either by express from his majesty, or any of his ministers
of state; It is therefore hereby ordered, and by the authority of
this court enacted, that henceforth, all masters of ships, ketches,
or other vessels, of greater or lesser burthen, arriving in, or
sailing from any of the ports in this jurisdiction, do, without
coven, or fraud, yield faithful and constant obedience unto, and
observation of all the said acts, of navigation and trade, on penalty
of suffering such forfeitures, loss and damage as in the said acts
are particularly expressed. And the governor and council, and all
officers commissionated and authorised by them, are hereby ordered
and required to see to the strict observation of the said acts." As
soon as they had passed this law, they wrote a letter to their agent,
in which they acknowledge they had not conformed to the acts of
trade; and they say, they "apprehended them to be an invasion of the
rights, liberties and properties of the subjects of his majesty in
the colony, they not being represented in parliament, and according
to the usual sayings of the learned in the law, _the laws of England
were bounded within the four seas, and did not reach America_.
However, as his majesty had signified his pleasure, that these acts
should be observed in the Massachusetts, they had made provision by
a law of the colony, that they should be strictly attended to, from
time to time, although it greatly discouraged trade, and was a great
damage to his majesty's plantation."

Thus it appears, that the ancient Massachusettensians and Virginians,
had precisely the same sense of the authority of parliament viz. that
it had none at all: and the same sense of the necessity, that by the
voluntary act of the colonies, their free cheerful consent, it should
be allowed the power of regulating trade: and this is precisely the
idea of the late congress at Philadelphia, expressed in the fourth
proposition in their Bill of Rights.

But this was the sense of the parent country too, at that time; for
king Charles II. in a letter to the Massachusetts, after this law,
had been laid before him, has these words; "We are informed that you
have lately made _some good provision_ for observing the acts of
trade and navigation, which is well pleasing unto us." Had he, or his
ministers an idea that parliament was the sovereign legislative over
the colony? If he had, would he not have censured this law, as an
insult to that legislature?

I sincerely hope, we shall see no more such round affirmations, that
it was the sense of the parent country and our ancestors, that they
were to remain subject to parliament.

So far from thinking themselves subject to parliament, that during
the Interregnum, it was their desire and design to have been a free
commonwealth, an independent republic; and after the restoration, it
was with the utmost reluctance, that in the course of 16 or 17 years,
they were brought to take the oaths of allegiance: and for some time
after this, they insisted upon taking an oath of fidelity to the
country, before that of allegiance to the king.

That "it is evident from the charter itself," that they were to
remain subject to parliament, is very unaccountable, when there is
not one word in either charter concerning parliament.

That the authority of parliament has been exercised almost ever
since the settlement of the country, is a mistake; for there is no
instance, until the first Navigation Act, which was in 1660, more
than 40 years after the first settlement. This act was never executed
or regarded, until 17 years afterwards, and then it was not executed
as an act of parliament, but as a law of the colony, to which the
king agreed.

"This has been expressly acknowledged by our provincial
legislatures." There is too much truth in this. It has been twice
acknowledged by our house of Representatives, that parliament was the
supreme legislative; but this was directly repugnant to a multitude
of other votes by which it was denied. This was in conformity to the
distinction between taxation and legislation, which has since been
found to be a distinction without a difference.

When a great question is first started, there are very few, even of
the greatest minds, which suddenly and intuitively comprehend it, in
all its consequences.

It is both "our interest and our duty to continue subject to the
authority of parliament," as far as the regulation of our trade, if
it will be content with that, but no longer.

"If the colonies are not subject to the authority of parliament,
Great Britain and the colonies must be distinct states, as completely
so as England and Scotland were before the union, or as Great Britain
and Hanover are now." There is no need of being startled at this
consequence. It is very harmless. There is no absurdity at all in it.
Distinct states may be united under one king. And those states may
be further cemented and united together, by a treaty of commerce.
This is the case. We have, by our own express consent, contracted
to observe the navigation act, and by our implied consent, by long
usage and uninterrupted acquiescence, have submitted to the other
acts of trade, however grievous some of them may be. This may be
compared to a treaty of commerce, by which those distinct states are
cemented together, in perpetual league and amity. And if any further
ratifications of this pact or treaty are necessary, the colonies
would readily enter into them, provided their other liberties were

That the colonies owe "no allegiance" to any imperial crown, provided
such a crown involves in it an house of lords and a house of commons,
is certain. Indeed, we owe no allegiance to any crown at all. We
owe allegiance to the person of his majesty, king George the third,
whom God preserve. But allegiance is due universally, both from
Britons and Americans to the person of the king, not to his crown:
to his natural, not his politic capacity: as I will undertake to
prove hereafter, from the highest authorities, and most solemn
adjudications, which were ever made within any part of the British

If his majesty's title to the crown is "derived from an act of
parliament, made since the settlement of these colonies," it was
not made since the date of our charter. Our charter was granted by
king William and queen Mary, three years after the revolution; and
the oaths of allegiance are established by a law of the province. So
that our allegiance to his majesty is not due by virtue of any act of
a British parliament, but by our own charter and province laws. It
ought to be remembered, that there was a revolution here, as well as
in England, and that we made an original, express contract with king
William, as well as the people of England.

If it follows from thence, that he appears king of the Massachusetts,
king of Rhode-Island, king of Connecticut, &c. this is no absurdity
at all. He will appear in this light, and does appear so, whether
parliament has authority over us or not. He is king of Ireland, I
suppose, although parliament is allowed to have authority there. As
to giving his majesty those titles, I have no objection at all: I
wish he would be graciously pleased to assume them.

The only proposition in all this writer's long string of pretended
absurdities, which he says follows from the position, that we are
distinct states, is this: That, "as the king must govern each state
by its parliament, those several parliaments would pursue the
particular interest of its own state; and however well disposed the
king might be to pursue a line of interest that was common to all,
the checks and controul that he would meet with, would render it
impossible." Every argument ought to be allowed its full weight:
and therefore candour obliges me to acknowledge, that here lies
all the difficulty that there is in this whole controversy. There
has been, from first to last, on both sides of the Atlantic, an
idea, an apprehension that it was necessary, there should be some
superintending power, to draw together all the wills, and unite all
the strength of the subjects in all the dominions, in case of war,
and in the case of trade. The necessity of this, in case of trade,
has been so apparent, that, as has often been said, we have consented
that parliament should exercise such a power. In case of war, it has
by some been thought necessary. But, in fact and experience, it has
not been found so. What though the proprietary colonies, on account
of disputes with the proprietors, did not come in so early to the
assistance of the general cause in the last war, as they ought, and
perhaps one of them not at all! The inconveniences of this were
small, in comparison of the absolute ruin to the liberties of all
which must follow the submission to parliament, in all cases, which
would be giving up all the popular limitations upon the government.
These inconveniences fell chiefly upon New England. She was
necessitated to greater exertions: but she had rather suffer these
again and again, than others infinitely greater. However this subject
has been so long in contemplation, that it is fully understood now,
in all the colonies; so that there is no danger in case of another
war, of any colony's failing of its duty.

But admitting the proposition in its full force, that it is
absolutely necessary there should be a supreme power, co-extensive
with all the dominions, will it follow that parliament, as now
constituted, has a right to assume this supreme jurisdiction? By no

A union of the colonies might be projected, and an American
legislature; for, if America has 3,000,000 people, and the whole
dominions 12,000,000, she ought to send a quarter part of all the
members to the house of commons, and instead of holding parliaments
always at Westminster, the haughty members for Great Britain must
humble themselves, one session in four, to cross the atlantic, and
hold the parliament in America.

There is no avoiding all inconveniences in human affairs. The
greatest possible or conceivable would arise from ceding to
parliament power over us, without a representation in it. The next
greatest would accrue from any plan that can be devised for a
representation there. The least of all would arise from going on
as we begun, and fared well for 150 years, by letting parliament
regulate trade, and our own assemblies all other matters.

As to "the prerogatives not being defined, or limited," it is as much
so in the colonies as in Great Britain, and as well understood, and
as cheerfully submitted to in the former as the latter.

But "where is the British constitution, that we all agree we are
entitled to?" I answer, if we enjoy, and are entitled to more liberty
than the British constitution allows, where is the harm? Or, if we
enjoy the British constitution in greater purity and perfection than
they do in England, as is really the case, whose fault is this? Not

We may find all the blessings "of this constitution in our provincial
assemblies." Our houses of Representatives have, and ought to
exercise, every power of the House of Commons. The first charter to
this colony is nothing to the present argument: but it did grant a
power of taxing the people, implicitly, though not in express terms.
It granted all the rights and liberties of Englishmen, which include
the power of taxing the people.

"Our council boards," in the royal governments, "are destitute of
the noble independence and splendid appendages of peerages." Most
certainty: they are the meanest creatures and tools in the political
creation; dependent every moment for their existence on the tainted
breath of a prime minister. But they have the authority of the house
of lords, in our little models of the English constitution; and it is
this which makes them so great a grievance. The crown has really two
branches of our legislature in its power. Let an act of parliament
pass at home, putting it in the power of the king, to remove any peer
from the house of lords at his pleasure, and what will become of the
British constitution? It will be overturned from the foundation. Yet
we are perpetually insulted, by being told, that making our council
by mandamus, brings us nearer to the British constitution. In this
province, by charter, the council certainly hold their seats for
the year, after being chosen and approved, independent of both the
other branches. For their creation, they are equally obliged to both
the other branches; so that there is little or no bias in favour of
either, if any, it is in favour of the prerogative. In short, it is
not easy without an hereditary nobility, to constitute a council
more independent, more nearly resembling the house of lords, than
the council of this province has ever been by charter. But perhaps
it will be said that we are to enjoy the British constitution in
our supreme legislature, the parliament, not in our provincial

To this I answer, if parliament is to be our supreme legislature,
we shall be under a complete oligarchy or aristocracy, not the
British constitution, which this writer himself defines a mixture
of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.--For king, lords and
commons will constitute one great oligarchy, as they will stand
related to America, as much as the decemvirs did in Rome; with this
difference for the worse, that our rulers are to be three thousand
miles off. The definition of an oligarchy, is a government by a
number of grandees, over whom the people have no controul. The
states of Holland were once chosen by the people frequently; then
chosen for life. Now they are not chosen by the people at all. When
a member dies, his place is filled up, not by the people he is to
represent, but by the states. Is not this depriving the Hollanders
of a free constitution, and subjecting them to an aristocracy, or
oligarchy? Will not the government of America be like it? Will not
representatives be chosen for them by others, whom they never saw
nor heard of? If our provincial constitutions are in any respect
imperfect and want alteration, they have capacity enough to discern
it, and power enough to effect it, without the interposition of
parliament. There never was an American constitution attempted by
parliament, before the Quebec bill and Massachusetts bill. These
are such _samples_ of what they may, and probably will be, that few
Americans are in love with them. However, America will never allow
that parliament has any authority to alter their constitution at all.
She is wholly penetrated with a sense of the necessity of resisting
it, at all hazards. And she would resist it, if the constitution of
the Massachusetts had been altered as much for _the better_, as it
is for the worse. The question we insist on most is not whether the
alteration is for the better or not, but whether parliament has any
right to make any alteration at all. And it is the universal sense of
America, that it has none.

We are told that "the provincial constitutions have no principle of
stability within themselves." This is so great a mistake, that there
is not more order, or stability in any government upon the globe,
than there ever has been in that of Connecticut. The same may be
said of the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; and indeed of the others
very nearly. "That these constitutions in turbulent times would
become wholly monarchial, or wholly republican;" they must be such
times as would have a similar effect upon the constitution at home.
But in order to avoid the danger of this, what is to be done? Not
give us an English constitution, it seems, but make sure of us at
once, by giving us constitutions wholly monarchical, annihilating
our houses of representatives first, by taking from them the support
of government, &c. and then making the councils and judges wholly
dependant on the crown.

That a representation in parliament is impracticable we all agree:
but the consequence is, that we must have a representation in our
supreme legislatures here. This was the consequence that was drawn by
kings, ministers, our ancestors, and the whole nation, more than a
century ago, when the colonies were first settled, and continued to
be the general sense until the last peace; and it must be the general
sense again soon, or Great Britain will lose her colonies.

This is apparently the meaning of that celebrated passage in Gov.
Hutchinson's letter, that rung through the continent, viz. "There
must be an abridgment of what is called English liberties." But all
the art and subtlety of Massachusettensis will never vindicate or
excuse that expression. According to this writer, it should have
been "there is an abridgment of English liberties, and it cannot
be otherwise." But every candid reader must see that the letter
writer had more than that in his _view_ and in his _wishes_. In the
same letter, a little before, he says, "what marks of resentment
the parliament will shew, whether they will be upon the province in
general, or particular persons, is extremely uncertain; but that they
will be placed somewhere is most certain, and I add, _because I think
it ought to be so_." Is it possible to read this without thinking
of the port bill, the charter bill, and the resolves for sending
persons to England by the statute of Henry VIII. to be tried! But
this is not all. "This is most certainly a crisis," says he, &c. "If
no measure shall have been taken to secure this dependence, (i.e.
the dependence which a colony ought to have upon the parent state)
it is all over with us." "The friends of government will be utterly
disheartened; and the friends of anarchy will be afraid of nothing,
be it ever so extravagant." But this is not all. "I never think of
the measures necessary for the peace and good order of the colonies
without pain." "There must be an abridgment of what are called
English liberties." What could he mean? Any thing less than depriving
us of trial by jury? Perhaps he wanted an act of parliament to try
persons here for treason by a court of admiralty. Perhaps an act that
the province should be governed by a governor and a mandamus council,
without an house of representatives. But to put it out of all doubt
that his meaning was much worse than Massachusettensis endeavors to
make it, he explains himself in a subsequent part of the letter. "I
wish," says he, "the good of the colony, _when I wish to see some
further restraint of liberty_." Here it is rendered certain, that he
is pleading for a further restraint of liberty, not explaining the
restraint, he apprehended the constitution had already laid us under.

My indignation at this letter, has sometimes been softened by
compassion. It carries on the face of it evident marks of _madness_.
It was written in such a transport of passions, _ambition_ and
_revenge_ chiefly, that his reason was manifestly overpowered. The
vessel was tost in such a hurricane, that she could not feel her
helm. Indeed, he seems to have had a confused consciousness of this
himself. Pardon me this excursion, says he, it really proceeds from
the state of mind into which our perplexed affairs often throws me."

"It is our highest interest to continue a part of the British
empire; and equally our duty to remain subject to the authority of
parliament," says Massachusettensis.

We are a part of the British dominions, that is of the king of Great
Britain, and it is our interest and duty to continue so. It is
equally our interest and duty to continue subject to the authority
of parliament, in the regulation of our trade, as long as she shall
leave us to govern our internal policy, and to give and grant our own
money, and no longer.

This letter concludes with an agreeable flight of fancy. The time
may not be so far off, however, as this writer imagines, when the
colonies may have the balance of numbers and wealth in her favour.
But when that shall happen, if we should attempt to rule her by an
American parliament, without an adequate representation in it, she
will infallibly resist us by her arms.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 13, 1775.


It has been often observed by me, and it cannot be too often
repeated, that _colonization_ is _casus omissus_ at common law. There
is no such title known in that law. By common law, I mean that system
of customs, written and unwritten, which was known and in force in
England, in the time of king Richard 1st. This continued to be the
case, down to the reign of Elizabeth, and king James 1st. In all that
time, the laws of England were confined to the realm, and within the
four seas. There was no provision made in this law for governing
colonies beyond the Atlantic, or beyond the four seas, by authority
of parliament, no nor for the king to grant charters to subjects
to settle in foreign countries. It was the king's prerogative to
prohibit the emigration of any of his subjects, by issuing his writ
_ne exeat regno_. And therefore it was in the king's power to permit
his subjects to leave the kingdom. 1 Hawk. P.C. c. 22. § 4. "It is a
high crime to disobey the king's lawful commands, or prohibitions,
as not returning from beyond sea, upon the king's letters to that
purpose; for which the offender's lands shall be seized until he
return; and when he does return, he shall be fined, &c. or going
beyond sea, against the king's will, expressly signified, either
by the writ _ne exeat regno_, or under the great or privy seal, or
signet, or by proclamation." When a subject left the kingdom, by the
king's permission, and if the nation did not remonstrate against
it, by the nation's permission too, at least connivance, he carried
with him, as a man, all the rights of nature. His allegiance bound
him to the king, and entitled him to protection. But how? not in
France; the king of England was not bound to protect him in France,
nor in America; not in the dominions of Lewis, nor of Passachus, or
Massachusetts. He had a right to protection, and the liberties of
England upon his return there, not otherwise. How then do we, New
Englandmen, derive our laws? I say, not from parliament, not from
common law, but from the law of nature, and the compact made with the
king in our charters. Our ancestors were entitled to the common law
of England, when they emigrated, that is, to just so much of it as
they pleased to adopt, and no more. They were not bound or obliged to
submit to it, unless they chose it. By a positive principle of the
common law, they were bound, let them be in what part of the world
they would, to do nothing against the allegiance of the king. But
no kind of provision was ever made by common law, for punishing or
trying any man, even for treason, committed out of the realm. He must
be tried in some county of the realm, by that law, the county where
the overt-act was done, or he could not be tried at all. Nor was
any provision ever made, until the reign of Henry VIII. for trying
treasons committed abroad, and the acts of that reign were made on
purpose to catch cardinal Pole.

So that our ancestors, when they emigrated, having obtained
permission of the king to come here, and being never commanded to
return into the realm, had a clear right to have erected in this
wilderness a British constitution, or a perfect democracy, or any
other form of government they saw fit. They indeed, while they lived,
could not have taken arms against the king of England, without
violating their allegiance, but their children would not have been
born within the king's allegiance, would not have been natural
subjects, and consequently not entitled to protection, or bound to
the king.

Massachusettensis, Jan. 16, seems possessed of these ideas, and
attempts in the most aukward manner, to get rid of them. He is
conscious that America must be a part of the realm, before it can
be bound by the authority of parliament; and therefore is obliged
to suggest, that we are annexed to the realm, and to endeavour to
confuse himself and his readers, by confounding the realm, with the
empire and dominions.

But will any man soberly contend, that America was ever annexed to
the realm? to what realm? When New England was settled, there was a
realm of England, a realm of Scotland, and a realm of Ireland. To
which of these three realms was New England annexed? To the realm
of England, it will be said. But by what law? no territory could be
annexed to the realm of England, but by an act of parliament. Acts
of parliament have been passed to annex Wales, &c. &c. to the realm.
But none ever passed to annex America. But if New-England was annexed
to the realm of England, how came she annexed to the realm of, or
kingdom of Great Britain? The two realms of England and Scotland
were, by the act of union, incorporated into one kingdom by the name
of Great Britain: but there is not one word about America in that act.

Besides, if America was annexed to the realm, or a part of the
kingdom, every act of parliament that is made, would extend to
it, named or not named. But every body knows that every act of
parliament, and every other record, constantly distinguishes between
this kingdom, and his majesty's other dominions. Will it be said
that Ireland is annexed to the realm, or a part of the kingdom of
Great Britain? Ireland is a distinct kingdom, or realm, by itself,
notwithstanding British parliament claims a right of binding it in
all cases, and exercises it in some. And even so the Massachusetts
is a realm, New York is a realm, Pennsylvania another realm, to all
intents and purposes, as much as Ireland is, or England or Scotland
ever were. The king of Great Britain is the sovereign of all these

This writer says, "that in denying that the Colonies are annexed to
the realm, and subject to the authority of parliament, individuals
and bodies of men subvert the fundamentals of government, deprive us
of British liberties, and build up absolute monarchy in the colonies."

This is the first time that I ever heard or read that the colonies
are annexed to the realm. It is utterly denied that they are, and
that it is possible they should be, without an act of parliament, and
acts of the colonies. Such an act of parliament cannot be produced,
nor any such law of any one colony. Therefore as this writer builds
the whole authority of parliament upon this fact, viz: That the
colonies are annexed to the realm, and as it is certain they never
were so annexed, the consequence is, that his whole superstructure

When he says, that they subvert the fundamentals of government,
he begs the question. We say that the contrary doctrines subvert
the fundamentals of government. When he says that they deprive us
of British liberties, he begs the question again. We say that the
contrary doctrine deprives us of English liberties; as to British
liberties, we scarcely know what they are, as the liberties of
England and Scotland are not precisely the same to this day. English
liberties are but certain rights of nature, reserved to the citizen,
by the English constitution, which rights cleaved to our ancestors,
when they crossed the Atlantic, and would have inhered in them, if
instead of coming to New-England they had gone to Outaheite, or
Patagonia, even although they had taken no patent or charter from
the king at all. These rights did not adhere to them the less, for
their purchasing patents and charters, in which the king expressly
stipulates with them, that they and their posterity should forever
enjoy all those rights and liberties.

The human mind is not naturally the clearest atmosphere; but the
clouds and vapours which have been raised in it, by the artifices
of temporal and spiritual tyrants, have made it impossible to see
objects in it distinctly. Scarcely any thing is involved in more
systematical obscurity, than the rights of our ancestors, when they
arrived in America. How, in common sense, came the dominions of king
Philip, king Massachusetts, and twenty other sovereigns, independent
princes here, to be within the allegiance of the kings of England,
James and Charles? America was no more within the allegiance of those
princes, by the common law of England, or by the law of nature, than
France and Spain were. Discovery, if that was incontestible, could
give no title to the English king, by common law, or by the law of
nature, to the lands, tenements, and hereditaments of the native
Indians here. Our ancestors were sensible of this, and therefore
honestly purchased their lands of the natives. They might have bought
them to hold allodially, if they would.

But there were two ideas, which confused them, and have continued
to confuse their posterity, one derived from the feudal, the other
from the canon law. By the former of these systems, the prince,
the general, was supposed to be sovereign lord of all the lands,
conquered by the soldiers in his army; and upon this principle, the
king of England was considered in law as sovereign lord of all the
land within the realm. If he had sent an army here to conquer king
Massachusetts, and it had succeeded, he would have been sovereign
lord of the land here upon these principles; but there was no rule of
the common law, that made the discovery of a country by a subject,
a title to that country in the prince. But conquest would not have
annexed the country to the realm, nor have given any authority to
the parliament. But there was another mist cast before the eyes of
the English nation from another source. The pope claimed a sovereign
propriety in, as well as authority over the whole earth. As head of
the christian church, and vicar of God, he claimed this authority
over all Christendom; and, in the same character, he claimed a right
to all the countries and possessions of heathens and infidels; a
right divine to exterminate and destroy them at his discretion, in
order to propagate the catholic faith. When king Henry VIII. and
his parliament, threw off the authority of the pope, stripped his
holiness of his supremacy, and invested it in himself by an act of
parliament, he and his courtiers seemed to think that all the rights
of the holy see were transferred to him; and it was a union of these
two, the most impertinent and fantastical ideas that ever got into an
human pericranium, viz: that as feudal sovereign and supreme head of
the church together, a king of England had a right to all the land
their subjects could find, not possessed by any christian state,
or prince, though possessed by heathen or infidel nations, which
seems to have deluded the nation about the time of the settlement
of the colonies. But none of these ideas gave or inferred any right
in parliament, over the new countries conquered or discovered; and
therefore denying that the colonies are a part of the realm, and
that as such they are subject to parliament, by no means deprives
us of English liberties. Nor does it "build up absolute monarchy in
the colonies." For admitting these notions of the common and feudal
law to have been in full force, and that the king was absolute in
America, when it was settled; yet he had a right to enter into a
contract with his subjects, and stipulate that they should enjoy all
the rights and liberties of Englishmen forever, in consideration of
their undertaking to clear the wilderness, propagate christianity,
pay a fifth part of ore, &c. Such a contract as this has been
made with all the colonies; royal governments, as well as charter
ones. For the commissions to the governors contain the plan of the
government, and the contract between the king and subject, in the
former, as much as the charters in the latter.

Indeed this was the reasoning, and upon these feudal and
_catholic_ principles in the time of some of the predecessors of
Massachusettensis. This was the meaning of Dudley, when he asked, "Do
you think that English liberties will follow you to the ends of the
earth?" His meaning was, that English liberties were confined to the
realm, and out of that the king was absolute. But this was not true;
for an English king had no right to be absolute over Englishmen, out
of the realm, any more than in it, and they were released from their
allegiance, as soon as he deprived them of their liberties.

But "our charters suppose regal authority in the grantor." True
they suppose it, whether there was any or not. "If that authority
be derived from the British (he should have said English) crown,
it presupposes this territory to have been a part of the British
(he should have said English) dominion, and as such subject to the
imperial sovereign." How can this writer shew this authority to be
derived from the English crown, including in the idea of it lords
and commons? Is there the least color for such an authority but in
the popish and feudal ideas before mentioned? And do these popish
and feudal ideas include parliament? Was parliament, were lords and
commons parts of the head of the church, or was parliament, that
is, lords and commons, part of the sovereign feudatory? Never. But
why was this authority derived from the English, any more than the
Scottish or Irish crown? It is true the land was to be held in
soccage, like the manor of East Greenwich; but this was compact, and
it might have been as well to hold, as they held in Glasgow or Dublin.

But, says this writer, "if that authority was vested in the person
of the king in a different capacity, the British constitution and
laws are out of the question, and the king must be absolute as to us,
as his prerogatives have never been limited." Not the prerogatives
limited in our charters, when in every one of them all the rights
of Englishmen are secured to us! Are not the rights of Englishmen
sufficiently known, and are not the prerogatives of the king among
those rights?

As to those colonies which are destitute of charters, the commissions
to their governors have ever been considered as equivalent
securities, both for property, jurisdiction, and privileges, with
charters; and as to the power of the crown being absolute in those
colonies, it is absolute no where. There is no fundamental or other
law, that makes a king of England absolute any where, except in
conquered countries; and an attempt to assume such a power, by the
fundamental laws, forfeits the prince's right even to the limited

As to "the charter governments reverting to absolute monarchy, as
their charters may happen to be forfeited, by the grantees not
fulfilling the conditions of them;" I answer, if they could be
forfeited, and were actually forfeited, the only consequence would
be, that the king would have no power over them at all. He would
not be bound to protect the people, nor, that I can see, would the
people here, who were born here, be, by any principle of common law,
bound even to allegiance to the king. The connection would be broken
between the crown and the natives of the country.

It has been a great dispute whether charters granted within the
realm, can be forfeited at all. It was a question debated with
infinite learning, in the case of the charter of London: it was
adjudged forfeited, in an arbitrary reign: but afterwards, after
the revolution, it was declared in parliament, not forfeited, and
by an act of parliament made incapable of forfeiture. The charter
of Massachusetts was declared forfeited too. So were other American
charters. The Massachusetts alone, were tame enough to give it up.
But no American charter will ever be decreed forfeited again, or if
any should, the decree will be regarded no more, than a vote of the
lower house of the robinhood society. The court of chancery has no
authority without the realm; by common law, surely it has none in
America. What! the privileges of millions of Americans depend on the
discretion of a lord chancellor? God forbid! The passivity of this
colony in receiving the present charter, in lieu of the first, is,
in the opinion of some, the deepest stain upon its character. There
is less to be said in excuse for it, than the witchcraft, or hanging
the Quakers. A vast party in the province were against it at the
time, and thought themselves betrayed by their agent. It has been a
warning to their posterity, and one principal motive with the people,
never to trust any agent with power to concede away their privileges
again. It may as well be pretended that the people of Great Britain
can forfeit their privileges, as the people of this province. If the
contract of state is broken, the people and king of England must
recur to nature. It is the same in this province. We shall never more
submit to decrees in chancery, or acts of parliament, annihilating
charters, or abridging English liberties.

Whether Massachusettensis was born as a politician, in the year
1764, I knew [Errata: know] not: but he often writes as if he know
[Errata: knew] nothing of that period. In his attempt to trace the
denial of the supreme authority of the parliament, he commits such
mistakes, as a man of age, at that time, ought to blush at. He says,
that "when the stamp act was made, the authority of parliament to
impose external taxes, or, in other words, to lay duties upon goods
and merchandize was admitted," and that when the tea act was made, "a
new distinction was set up, that parliament had a right to lay duties
upon merchandize, for the purpose of regulating trade, but not for
the purpose of raising a revenue." This is a total misapprehension
of the declared opinions of people at those times. The authority
of parliament to lay taxes for a revenue has been always generally
denied. And their right to lay duties to regulate trade, has been
denied by many, who have ever contended that trade should be
regulated only by prohibitions.

The act of parliament of the 4th George 3d, passed in the year
1764, was the first act of the British parliament that ever was
passed, in which the design of raising a revenue was expressed. Let
Massachusettensis name any statute before that, in which the word
revenue is used, or the thought of raising a revenue is expressed.
This act is entitled, "an act for granting certain duties in the
British colonies, and plantations in America," &c. The word revenue,
in the preamble of this act, instantly ran through the colonies, and
rang an alarm, almost as much as if the design of forging chains
for the colonists had been expressed in words. I have now before me
a pamphlet, written and printed in the year 1764, entitled, "The
sentiments of a British American," upon this act. How the idea of a
revenue, though from an acknowledged external tax, was relished in
that time, may be read in the frontispiece of that pamphlet.

              _Ergo quid refert mea
     Cui serviam? clitellas dum portem meas._ PHAEDRUS.

The first objection to this act, which was made in that pamphlet,
by its worthy author, OXENBRIDGE THACHER, Esq. who died a
martyr to that amity [Errata: anxiety] for his country, which the
conduct of the junto gave him, is this, "The first objection is,
that a tax is thereby laid on several commodities, to be raised
and levied in the plantations, and to be remitted home to England.
This is esteemed a grievance, inasmuch as the same are laid, without
the consent of the representatives of the colonists. It is esteemed
an essential British right, that no person shall be subject to any
tax; but what in person, or by his representative, he hath a voice
in laying." Here is a tax unquestionably external, in the sense in
which that word is used, in the distinction that is made by some
between external and internal taxes, and unquestionably laid in part
for the regulation of trade; yet called a grievance, and a violation
of an essential British right, in the year 1764, by one who was then
at the head of the popular branch of our constitution, and as well
acquainted with the sense of his constituents, as any man living. And
it is indisputable, that in those words he wrote the almost universal
sense of this colony.

There are so many egregious errors in point of fact, and respecting
the opinions of the people in this writer, which it is difficult to
impute to wilful misrepresentation, that I sometimes think he is some
smart young gentleman, come up into life since this great controversy
was opened; if not, he must have conversed wholly with the junto, and
they must have deceived him, respecting their own sentiments.

This writer sneers at the distinction between a right to lay the
former duty of a shilling on the pound of tea, and the right to
lay the three pence. But is there not a real difference between
laying a duty to be paid in England upon exportation, and to be
paid in America upon importation? Is there not a difference between
parliament's laying on duties within their own realm, where they have
undoubtedly jurisdiction, and laying them out of their realm, nay
laying them on in our realm, where we say they have no jurisdiction?
Let them lay on what duties they please in England, we have nothing
to say against that.

"Our patriots most heroically resolved to become independent states,
and flatly denied that parliament had a right to make any laws
whatever that should be binding upon the colonies."

Our scribbler, more heroically still, is determined to shew the
world, that he has courage superior to all regard to modesty,
justice, or truth. Our patriots have never determined, or desired to
be independent states, if a voluntary cession of a right to regulate
their trade can make them dependent even on parliament, though
they are clear in theory, that by the common law, and the English
constitution, parliament has no authority over them. None of the
patriots of this province, of the present age, have ever denied that
parliament has a right, from our voluntary cession, to make laws
which shall bind the colonies, as far as their commerce extends.

"There is no possible medium between absolute independence and
subjection to the authority of parliament." If this is true, it may
be depended upon, that all North America are as fully convinced of
their independence, their absolute independence, as they are of their
own existence, and as fully determined to defend it at all hazards,
as Great Britain is to defend her independence against foreign
nations. But it is not true. An absolute independence of parliament,
in all internal concerns and cases of taxation, is very compatible
with an absolute dependence on it, in all cases of external commerce.

"He must be blind indeed that cannot see our dearest interest in
the latter, (that is in an absolute subjection to the authority
of parliament,) notwithstanding many pant after the former" (that
is absolute independence.) The man who is capable of writing, in
cool blood, that our interest lies in an absolute subjection to
parliament, is capable of writing, or saying any thing for the
sake of his pension: a legislature that has so often discovered a
want of information concerning us and our country; a legislature
interested to lay burdens upon us; a legislature, two branches of
which, I mean the lords and commons, neither love nor fear us! Every
American of fortune and common sense, must look upon his property to
be sunk downright one half of its value, the moment such an absolute
subjection to parliament is established.

That there are any who pant after "independence," (meaning by this
word a new plan of government over all America, unconnected with the
crown of England, or meaning by it an exemption from the power of
parliament to regulate trade) is as great a slander upon the province
as ever was committed to writing. The patriots of this province
desire nothing new; they wish only to keep their old privileges.
They were for 150 years allowed to tax themselves, and govern
their internal concerns, as they thought best. Parliament governed
their trade as they thought fit. This plan, they wish may continue
forever. But it is honestly confessed, rather than become subject to
the absolute authority of parliament, in all cases of taxation and
internal polity, they will be driven to throw off that of regulating

"To deny the supreme authority of the state, is a high misdemeanor;
to oppose it by force, an overt act of treason." True: and therefore
Massachusettensis, who denies the king represented by his governor,
his majesty's council, by charter, and house of representatives, to
be the supreme authority of this province, has been guilty of a high
misdemeanour: and those ministers, governors, and their instruments,
who have brought a military force here, and employed it against that
supreme authority, are guilty of ----, and ought to be punished with
----. I will be more mannerly than Massachusettensis.

"The realm of England is an appropriate term for the ancient realm of
England, in contradistinction to Wales and other territories, that
have been annexed to it."

There are so many particulars in the case of Wales analogous to the
case of America, that I must beg leave to enlarge upon it.

Wales was a little portion of the island of Great Britain, which the
Saxons were never able to conquer. The Britons had reserved this
tract of land to themselves, and subsisted wholly by pasturage,
among their mountains. Their princes, however, during the Norman
period, and until the reign of king Edward the first, did homage to
the crown of England, as their feudal sovereign, in the same manner
as the prince of one independent state in Europe frequently did to
the sovereign of another. This little principality of shepherds and
cowherds, had however maintained their independence, through long
and bloody wars against the omnipotence of England, for 800 years.
It is needless to enumerate the causes of the war between Lewellyn
and Edward the first. It is sufficient to say that the Welch prince
refused to go to England to do homage, and Edward obtained a new aid
of a fifteenth from his parliament, to march with a strong force
into Wales. Edward was joined by David and Roderic, two brothers of
Lewellyn, who made a strong party among the Welch themselves, to
assist and second the attempts to enslave their native country. The
English monarch, however, with all these advantages, was afraid to
put the valor of his enemies to a trial, and trusted to the _slow
effects of famine_ to subdue them. Their pasturage, with such an
enemy in their country, could not subsist them, and Lewellyn, Nov.
19, 1277, at last submitted, and bound himself to pay a reparation
of damages, to do homage to the crown of England, and almost to
surrender his independence as a prince, by permitting all the other
Barons of Wales, excepting four, to swear fealty to the same crown.
But fresh complaints soon arose. The English grew insolent on their
bloodless victory, and oppressed the inhabitants; many insults were
offered, which at last raised the indignation of the Welch, so that
they determined again to take arms, rather than bear any longer the
oppression of the haughty victors. The war raged sometime, until
Edward summoned all his military tenants, and advanced with an army
too powerful for the Welch to resist. Lewellyn was at last surprized,
by Edward's general Mortimer, and fighting at a great disadvantage,
was slain, with two thousand of his men. David, who succeeded in
the principality, maintained the war for some time, but at last was
betrayed to the enemy, sent in chains to Shrewsbury, brought to a
formal trial before the peers of England, and although a sovereign
prince, ordered by Edward to be hanged, drawn and quartered, as a
traitor, for defending by arms the liberties of his native country!
All the Welch nobility submitted to the conqueror. The laws of
England, sheriffs, and other ministers of justice, were established
in that principality, which had maintained its liberties and
independency, 800 years.

Now Wales was always part of the dominions of England. "Wales was
always feudatory to the kingdom of England." It was always held of
the crown of England, or the kingdom of England: that is, whoever
was king of England, had a right to homage, &c. from the prince
of Wales. But yet Wales was not parcel of the realm or kingdom,
nor bound by the laws of England. I mention, and insist upon this,
because it shews, that although the colonies are bound to the crown
of England, or, in other words, owe allegiance to whomsoever is king
of England; yet it does not follow that the colonies are parcel of
the realm or kingdom, and bound by its laws. As this is a point of
great importance, I must beg pardon, however unentertaining it may
be, to produce my authorities.

Comyns digest, v. 5. page 626. Wales was always feudatory to the
kingdom of England.

Held of the crown, but not parcel. Per Cook. 1 Roll. 247. 2 Roll. 29.
And therefore the kings of Wales did homage, and swore fealty to H.
2. and John and H. 3.

And 11 Ed. 1. Upon the conquest of Lewellyn, prince or king of
Wales, that principality became a part of the dominion of the realm
of England. And by the statute Walliae 12 Ed. 1. It was annexed and
united to the crown of England, _tanquam partem corporis ejusdem,
&c._ Yet if the statute Walliae, made at Rutland 12 Ed. 1. was not
an act of parliament (as it seems that it was not) the incorporation
made thereby was only an union "_jure feudali, et non jure

"Wales, before the union with England, was governed by its proper
laws," &c.

By these authorities it appears, that Wales was subject, by the
feudal law, to the crown of England, before the conquest of Lewellyn;
but not subject to the laws of England; and indeed after this
conquest, Edward and his nobles, did not seem to think it subject to
the English parliament, but to the will of the king as a conqueror
of it in war. Accordingly that instrument which is called _Statutum
Walliae_, and to be found in the appendix to the statutes p. 3,
although it was made by the advice of the peers, or officers of the
army more properly, yet it never was passed as an act of parliament,
but as an edict of the king. It begins not in the stile of an act
of parliament. _Edwardus Dei gratia Rex Angliae, Dominus Hyberniae,
et Dux Aquitaniae, omnibus fidelibus suis, &c. in Wallia. Divina
providentia, quae in sui dispositione_, says he, _non fallitur, inter
alia dispensationis suae munera, quibus nos et Regnum nostrum Angliae
decorare dignata est, terram Walliae, cum, incolis suis, prius,
nobis_, jure feudali _subjectam, jam sui gratia_, in proprietatis
nostrae dominium, _obstaculis quibuscumque cessantibus, totaliter,
et cum integritate convertit_, et coronae regni praedicti, tanquam
partem corporis ejusdem annexuit et univit.

Here is the most certain evidence that Wales was subject to the kings
of England by the feudal law before the conquest, though not bound by
any laws but their own. 2d. That the conquest was considered, in that
day, as conferring the property, as well as jurisdiction of Wales
to the English crown. 3. The conquest was considered as annexing
and uniting Wales to the English crown, both in point of property
and jurisdiction, as a part of one body. Yet notwithstanding all
this, parliament was not considered as acquiring any share in the
government of Wales by this conquest. If, then, it should be admitted
that the colonies are all annexed and united to the crown of England,
it will not follow that lords and commons have any authority over

This statutum Walliae, as well as the whole case and history of
that principality, is well worthy of the attention and study of
Americans, because it abounds with evidence, that a country may be
subject to the crown of England, without being subject to the lords
and commons of that realm, which entirely overthrows the whole
argument of Gov. Hutchinson, and of Massachusettensis, in support of
the supreme authority of parliament, over all the dominions of the
imperial crown. "_Nos itaque_, &c. says King Edward 1. "_volentes
predictam terram, &c. sicut et caeteras ditioni nostrae subjectas,
&c. subdebito regimine gubernari, et incolas seu habitatores terrarum
illaram, qui alto et basso_, se submiserunt voluntati nostrae,
_et quos sic ad nostram recepimus voluntatem, certis legibus et
consuetudinibus, &c. tractari leges, et consuetudines, partum
illarum hactenus usitatas coram nobis et proceribus regni nostri
fecimus recitari, quibus diligenter auditis, et plenus intellectis,
quasdam ipsarum de concilio procerum predictorum delevimus, quasdam
permisimus, et quasdam correximus, et etiam quasdam alias adjungendas
et statuendas decrevimus, et eas, &c. observari volumus in forma

And then goes on to prescribe and establish a whole code of laws for
the principality, in the style of a sole legislature, and concludes,

_Et ideo vobis mandamus, quod premissa de cetero in omnibus firmiter
observatis. Ita tamen quod quotiescunque, et quandocunque, et
ubicunque, nobis placuerit, possimus predicta statuta et coram partes
singulas declarare, interpretari, addere sive diminuere, pro nostro
libito voluntatis, et prout securitati nostrae et terrae nostrae
predictae viderimus expedire._

Here is then a conquered people submitting to a system of laws
framed by the mere will of the conqueror, and agreeing to be forever
governed by his mere will. This absolute monarch, then, might
afterwards govern this country, with or without the advice of his
English lords and commons.

To shew that Wales was held before the conquest of Lewellyn, of the
king of England, although governed by its own laws, hear lord Coke,
Inst. 194, in his commentary on the statute of Westminster. "At this
time, viz. in 3 Ed. 1. Lewellyn was a prince or king of Wales, who
held the _same of the king of England, as his superior lord, and owed
him liege homage and fealty_; and this is proved by our act, viz:
that the king of England was _superior dominus_, i. e. sovereign lord
of the kingdom, or principality of Wales."

Lord Coke, in 4 Inst. 239, says "Wales was sometime a realm, or
kingdom, (realm from the French word royaume, and both a regno) and
governed _per suas regulas_," and afterwards, "but _jure feudali_,
the kingdom of Wales was holden of the _crown of England_, and
thereby, as Bracton saith, was _sub potestate regis_. And so it
continued until the 11th year of king Edward 1st. when he subdued the
prince of Wales, rising against him, and executed him for treason."
"The next year, viz. in the 12th year of king Edward 1. by authority
of parliament, it is declared thus, speaking in the person of the
king, as ancient statutes were wont to do, _divina providentia_,"
&c. as in the statute _Walliae_, before recited. But here is an
inaccuracy, for the _statutum Walliae_ was not an act of parliament,
but made by the king with the advice of his officers of the army, by
his sole authority, as the statute itself sufficiently shews. "Note,"
says lord Coke, "diverse monarchs hold their kingdoms of others _jure
feudali_, as the duke of Lombardy, Cicill, Naples, and Bohemia of the
empire, Granado, Leons of Aragon, Navarre, Portugal of Castile; and
so others."

After this the Welch seem to have been fond of the English laws, and
desirous of being incorporated into the realm, to be represented in
parliament, and enjoy all the rights of Englishmen, as well as to
be bound by the English laws. But kings were so fond of governing
this principality by their discretion alone, that they never could
obtain these blessings until the reign of Henry 8th. and then they
only could obtain a statute, which enabled the king to alter their
laws at his pleasure. They did indeed obtain in the 15 Ed. 2. a writ
to call twenty-four members to the parliament at York from South
Wales, and twenty-four from North Wales; and again in the 20 Ed. 2.
the like number of forty-eight members for Wales, at the parliament
of Westminster. But lord Coke tells us "that this wise and warlike
nation was long after the _statutum Walliae_ not satisfied nor
contented, and especially, for that they truly and constantly took
part with their rightful sovereign and liege lord, king Richard 2d.;
in revenge whereof they had many severe and invective laws made
against them in the reigns of Henry 4th. Henry 5th. &c. all which as
unjust are repealed and abrogated. And to say the truth, this nation
was never in quiet, until king Henry 7th. their own countryman,
obtained the crown. And yet not so really reduced in his time, as in
the reign of his son, Henry 8th. in whose time certain just laws,
made at the humble suit of the subjects of Wales, the principality
and dominion of Wales was incorporated and united to the realm of
England; and enacted that every one born in Wales should enjoy the
liberties, rights and laws of this realm, as any subjects naturally
born within this realm should have and inherit, and that they should
have knights of shires, and burgesses of parliament." Yet we see
they could not obtain any security for their liberties, for lord
Coke tells us, "in the act of 34 Henry 8th. it was enacted, that the
king's most royal majesty should, from time to time change, &c. all
manner of things in that act rehearsed, as to his most excellent
wisdom and discretion should be thought convenient, and also to make
laws and ordinances for the commonwealth of his said dominion of
Wales at his majesty's pleasure. But for that, the subjects of the
dominion of Wales, &c. had lived in all dutiful subjection to the
crown of England, &c. the said branch of the said statute of 34 Henry
8th. is repealed, and made void by 21 Jac. c. 10."

But if we look into the statute itself of 27, Henry 8th. c. 26, we
shall find the clearest proof, that being subject to the imperial
crown of England, did not entitle Welchmen to the liberties of
England, nor make them subject to the laws of England. "Albeit the
dominion, principality and country of Wales, _justly and righteously
is, and ever hath been incorporated, annexed, united, and subject
to and under the imperial crown of this realm, as a very member and
joint of the same_; wherefore, the king's most royal majesty of
mere droit, and very right, is very head, king, lord and ruler; yet
notwithstanding, because that, in the same country, principality
and dominion, diverse _rights_, _usages_, _laws_ and customs be far
discrepant from the laws and customs of this realm, &c. Wherefore it
is enacted, by king, lords and commons, "that his" (i. e. the king's)
said country or dominion of Wales shall be, stand and continue
forever from henceforth, incorporated, united, and annexed to and
with this, his realm of England; and that all and singular person and
persons, born or to be born, in the said principality, country, or
dominion of Wales, shall have, enjoy, and inherit, all and singular
freedoms, liberties, rights, privileges, and laws within this his
realm, and other the king's dominions, as other the king's subjects
naturally born within the same, have, enjoy, and inherit." § 2.
Enacts that the laws of England shall be introduced and established
in Wales: and that the laws, ordinances and statutes of this realm of
England forever, and none other shall be used and practised forever
thereafter, in the said dominion of Wales. The 27th § of this long
statute enacts, that commissioners shall inquire into the laws and
customs of Wales, and report to the king, who with his privy council,
are empowered to establish such of them as they should think proper.
§ 28 Enacts that in all future parliaments _for this realm_, two
knights for the shire of Monmouth, and one burgess for the town,
shall be chosen and allowed such fees as other knights and burgesses
of parliament were allowed. § 29 Enacts that one knight shall be
elected for every shire within the country or dominion of Wales, and
one burgess for every shire town, to serve in that and every future
parliament to be holden for this realm. But by § 36 the king is
empowered to revoke, repeal and abrogate that whole act, or any part
of it, at any time within three years.

Upon this statute let it be observed, 1. That the language of
Massachusettensis "imperial crown" is used in it: and Wales is
affirmed to have _ever_ been annexed, and united to that imperial
crown, as a very member and joint: which shews that being annexed to
the imperial crown, does not annex a country to the realm, or make
it subject to the authority of parliament: because Wales certainly,
before the conquest of Lewellyn, never was pretended to be so
subject, nor afterwards ever pretended to be annexed to the realm
at all, nor subject to the authority of parliament, any otherwise
than as the king claimed to be absolute in Wales, and therefore to
make laws for it, by his mere will, either with the advice of his
proceres, or without. 2. That Wales never was incorporated with
the realm of England, until this statute was made, nor subject to
any authority of English lords and commons. 3. That the king was
so tenacious of his exclusive power over Wales, that he would not
consent to this statute, without a clause in it, to retain the power
in his own hands, of giving it what system of law he pleased. 4.
That knights and burgesses, i. e. representatives, were considered
as _essential_ and _fundamental_ in the constitution of the new
legislature, which was to govern Wales. 5. That since this statute,
the distinction between the realm of England and the realm of Wales,
has been abolished, and the realm of England, now, and ever since,
comprehends both; so that Massachusettensis is mistaken, when he
says, that the realm of England is an appropriate term for the
ancient realm of England, in contradistinction from Wales, &c. 6.
That this union and incorporation was made by the consent, and upon
the supplication of the people of Wales, as lord Coke and many other
authors inform us, so that here was an express contract between
the two bodies of people. To these observations let me add a few

Was there ever any act of parliament, annexing, uniting, and
consolidating any one of all the colonies to and with the realm
of England or the kingdom of Great Britain? 2. If such an act of
parliament should be made, would it upon any principles of English
laws and government, have any validity, without the consent,
petition, or supplication of the colonies? 3. Can such an union
and incorporation, ever be made, upon any principles of English
laws and government, without admitting representatives for the
colonies in the house of commons, and American lords into the house
of peers? 4. Would not representatives in the house of commons,
unless they were numerous in proportion to the numbers of people in
America, be a snare rather than a blessing? 5. Would Britain ever
agree to a proportionable number of American members, and if she
would, could America support the expense of them? 6. Could American
representatives possibly know the sense, the exigencies, &c. of their
constituents, at such a distance, so perfectly as it is absolutely
necessary legislators should know? 7. Could Americans ever come to
the knowledge of the behaviour of their members, so as to dismiss the
unworthy? 8. Would Americans, in general, ever submit to septennial
elections? 9. Have we not sufficient evidence, in the general
frailty and depravity of human nature, and especially the experience
we have had of Massachusettensis and the junto, that a deep,
treacherous, plausible, corrupt minister, would be able to seduce our
members to betray us, as fast as we could send them?

To return to Wales. In the statute of 34 and 35 of Henry 8th. c. 26.
we find a more complete system of laws and regulations for Wales.
But the king is still tenacious of his absolute authority over it.
It begins, "our sovereign lord the king, of his tender zeal and
affection, &c. to his obedient subjects, &c. of Wales, &c. _hath
devised and made_ divers sundry good and necessary ordinances, which
his majesty of his most abundant goodness, _at the humble suit and
petition of his said subjects of Wales_, is pleased and contented to
be enacted by the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and the
commons," &c.

Nevertheless, the king would not yet give up his unlimited power
over Wales, for by the 119 § of this statute, the king, &c. may at
all times, hereafter, from time to time, change, add, alter, order,
minish, and reform all manner of things afore rehearsed, as to his
most excellent wisdom and discretion, shall be thought convenient;
and also to make laws and ordinances for the commonwealth and good
quiet of his said dominion of Wales, and his subjects of the same,
from time to time, at his majesty's pleasure.

And this last section was never repealed, until the 21 Jac. 1. c. 10.
§ 4.

From the conquest of Lewellyn to this statute of James is near 350
years, during all which time the Welch were very fond of being
incorporated and enjoying the English laws; the English were desirous
that they should be, yet the crown would never suffer it to be
completely done, because it claimed an authority to rule it by
discretion. It is conceived, therefore, that there cannot be a more
complete and decisive proof of any thing, than this instance is, that
a country may be subject to the crown of England, the imperial crown;
and yet not annexed to the realm, or subject to the authority of

The word crown, like the word throne, is used in various figurative
senses; sometimes it means the kingly office, the head of the
commonwealth, but it does not always mean the political capacity
of the king; much less does it include in the idea of it lords and
commons. It may as well be pretended that the house of commons
includes or implies a king. Nay, it may as well be pretended that the
mace includes the three branches of the legislature.

By the feudal law, a person or a country might be subject to a king,
a feudal sovereign, three several ways.

1. It might be subject to his person, and in this case, it would
continue so subject, let him be where he would, in his dominions
or without. 2. To his crown, and in this case subjection was due,
to whatsoever person or family wore that crown, and would follow
it, whatever revolutions it underwent. 3. To his crown and realm of
state, and in this case, it was incorporated as one body with the
principal kingdom; and if that was bound by a parliament, diet, or
cortes, so was the other.

It is humbly conceived, that the subjection of the colonies by
compact, and law is of the second sort.

Suffer me, my friends, to conclude by making my most respectful
compliments to the gentlemen of the regiment of royal Welch

[Footnote 1: One of the Regiments then in Boston.--_Note by the

In the celebration of their late festival, they discovered that they
are not insensible of the feelings of a man for his native country.
The most generous minds are the most exquisitely capable of this
sentiment. Let me entreat them to recollect the history of their
brave and intrepid countrymen, who struggled at least 1100 years
for liberty. Let them compare the case of Wales with the case of
America, and then lay their hands upon their hearts and say, whether
we can in justice be bound by all acts of parliament, without being
incorporated with the kingdom.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 27, 1775.


Massachusettensis in some of his writings has advanced, that our
allegiance is due to the political capacity of the king, and
therefore involves in it obedience to the British parliament. Gov.
Hutchinson, in his memorable speech, laid down the same position. I
have already shewn, from the case of Wales, that this position is
groundless, and that allegiance was due from the Welch to the king,
_jure feodali_, before the conquest of Lewellyn, and after that to
the crown, until it was annexed to the realm, without being subject
to acts of parliament any more than to acts of the king, without
parliament. I shall hereafter shew from the case of Ireland, that
subjection to the crown implies no obedience to parliament. But
before I come to this, I must take notice of a pamphlet, entitled
"A candid examination of the mutual claims of Great Britain and
the colonies, with a plan of accommodation on constitutional
principles." This author, p. 8, says, "to him (i. e. the king) in
his representative capacity, and as supreme executor of the laws,
made by a joint power of him and others, the oaths of allegiance
are taken," and afterwards: "hence these professions, (i. e. of
allegiance) are not made to him either in his legislative, or
executive capacities; but yet it seems they are made to the king.
And into this distinction, _which is no where to be found_ either in
the constitution of the government, in reason or common sense, the
ignorant and thoughtless have been deluded ever since the passing of
the stamp act, and they have rested satisfied with it without the
least examination." And in p. 9, he says, "I do not mean to offend
the inventers of this refined distinction, when I ask them, is this
acknowledgement made to the king, in his politic capacity as king
of Great Britain, &c.? if so, it includes a promise of obedience to
the British laws." There is no danger of this gentleman's giving
offence to the inventers of this distinction, for they have been many
centuries in their graves. This distinction is to be found every
where. In the case of Wales, Ireland, and elsewhere, as I shall shew
most abundantly before I have done, it is to be found in two of the
greatest cases, and most deliberate and solemn judgments that were
ever passed. One of them is Calvin's case, 7 Rep. which, as lord Coke
tells us, was as elaborately, substantially, and judiciously argued,
as he ever heard, or read of any. After it had been argued in the
court of king's bench, by learned council, it was adjourned to the
exchequer chamber, and there argued again, first by council on both
sides, and then by the lord chancellor, and all the twelve judges of
England, and among these were the greatest men, that Westminster-Hall
ever could boast. Ellismore, Bacon, Hide, Hobart, Crook, and Coke,
were all among them: and the chancellor and judges were unanimous
in resolving. What, says the book? 7. Rep. 10. "Now seeing the king
hath but one person, and several capacities, and one politic capacity
for the realm of England, and another for the realm of Scotland, it
is necessary to be considered to which capacity _ligeance_ is due.
_And it was resolved_ that it was due to the _natural person_ of the
king (which is ever accompanied with the politic capacity, and the
politic capacity as it were appropriated to the natural capacity) and
it is not due to the politic capacity only, that is, to the crown or
kingdom, distinct from his natural capacity." And further on 7. Rep.
11. "But it was clearly resolved by all the judges, that presently by
the descent his majesty was completely and absolutely king," &c. and
that coronation was but a royal ornament. 6. "In the reign of Edward
2d. the Spencers, to cover the treason hatched in their hearts,
invented this damnable and damned opinion, that homage and oath of
allegiance was more by reason of the king's crown, (that is of his
politic capacity) than by reason of the person of the king, upon
which opinion they inferred execrable and detestable consequences."
And afterwards, 12. "Where books and acts of parliament speak of the
ligeance of England, &c. speaking briefly in a vulgar manner, are to
be understood of the ligeance due by the people of England to the
king; for no man will affirm, that England itself, taking it for the
continent thereof, doth owe any ligeance or faith, or that _any faith
or ligeance should be due to it_: but it manifestly appeareth, that
the ligeance or faith of the subject is _proprium quarto modo_ to
the king, _omni, soli, et semper_. And oftentimes in the reports of
our book cases, and in acts of parliament also, the crown or kingdom
is taken for the king himself," &c. "Tenure in _capite_ is a tenure
of the crown, and is a _seigniorie in grosse_, that is of the person
of the king." And afterwards 6, "for special purposes _the law makes
him a body politic, immortal and invisible, whereunto our allegiance
cannot appertain_." I beg leave to observe here, that these words in
the foregoing adjudication, that "the natural person of the king is
ever accompanied with the politic capacity, and the politic capacity
as it were appropriated to the natural capacity," neither imply nor
infer allegiance or subjection to the politic capacity; because in
the case of king James 1st. his natural person was "accompanied" with
three politic capacities at least, as king of England, Scotland, and
Ireland: yet the allegiance of an Englishman to him did not imply or
infer subjection to his politic capacity, as king of Scotland.

Another place in which this distinction is to be found is in Moore's
reports, p. 790. "The case of the union of the realm of Scotland
with England." And this deliberation, I hope was solemn enough. This
distinction was agreed on by commissioners of the English lords
and commons in a conference with commissioners of the Scottish
parliament, and after many arguments and consultations by the lord
chancellor and all the judges, and afterwards adopted by the lords
and commons of both nations. "The judges answered with one assent,
says the book, that allegiance and laws were not of equiparation for
six causes;" the sixth and last of which is, "allegiance followeth
the _natural person_ not the politick." "If the king go out of
England with a company of his servants, allegiance remaineth among
his subjects and servants, although he be out of his own realm,
_whereto his laws are confined_, &c. and to prove the allegiance to
be tied to the body natural of the king, not to the body politic,
the lord Coke cited the phrases of diverse statutes, &c. And to
prove that allegiance extended further than the laws national,
they (the judges) shewed that every king of diverse kingdoms, or
dukedoms, is to command every people to defend any of his kingdoms,
without respect of that nation where he is born; as if the king of
Spain be invaded in Portugal, he may levy for defence of Portugal
armies out of Spain, Naples, Castile, Milan, Flanders and the like;
as a thing incident to the allegiance of all his subjects, to join
together in defence of any of his territories, without respect of
the extent of the laws of that nation where he was born; whereby it
manifestly appeareth, that allegiance followeth the natural person
of the king, and is not tied to the body politick respectively in
every kingdom. There is one observation, not immediately to the
present point, but so connected with our controversy, that it ought
not to be overlooked. "For the matter of the great seal, the judges
shewed that the seal was alterable by the king at his pleasure,
and he might make one seal for both kingdoms, for seals, coin, and
leagues, and of absolute prerogative of the king without parliament,
nor restrained to any assent of the people." "But for further
resolution of this point, how far the great seal doth command out
of England, they made this distinction, that the great seal was
current for remedials, which groweth on complaint of the subjects,
and thereupon writs are addressed under the great seal of England,
which writs are limited, their precinct to be within the places of
the jurisdiction of the court, that was to give the redress of the
wrong. And therefore writs are not to go into Ireland nor the Isles,
nor Wales, nor the counties palatine, because the king's courts here
have not power to hold plea of lands, nor things there. But the great
seal hath a power preceptory, to the person, which power extendeth
to any place, where the person may be found." Ludlow's case, &c. who
being at Rome, a commandment under the great seal was sent for him
to return." So Bertie's case in queen Mary's time, and Inglefield's
case in queen Elizabeth's, the privy seal went to command them to
return into the realm, and for not coming their lands were seized,"
&c. But to return to the point: "And as to the objection," says the
book, "that none can be born a natural subject of two kingdoms, they
denied that absolutely, for although locally, he can be born but in
one, yet effectually, the allegiance of the king extending to both,
his birthright shall extend to both." And afterwards, "but that his
kingly power extendeth to diverse nations and kingdoms, all owe
him equal subjection, and are equally born to the benefit of his
protection; and although he is to govern them by _their distinct
laws_, yet any one of the people coming into the other, is to have
the benefit of the laws, wheresoever he cometh; but living in one,
or for his livelihood in one, he is not to be taxed in the other,
because laws ordain taxes, impositions, and charges, as a discipline
of subjection particularized to every particular nation." Another
place where this distinction is to be found is in Foster's crown
law, p. 184. "There have been writers, who have carried the notion
of natural, perpetual, unalienable allegiance much farther than the
subject of this discourse will lead me. They say, very truly, that
it is due to the _person_ of the king, &c." It is undoubtedly due
to the person of the king; but in that respect natural allegiance
differeth nothing from what we call local. For allegiance considered
in every light is alike due to the person of the king; and is paid,
and in the nature of things must be constantly paid, to that prince,
who for time being, is in the actual and full possession of the regal

Indeed allegiance to a sovereign lord, is nothing more than fealty
to a subordinate lord, and in neither case, has any relation to, or
connection with laws or parliaments, lords or commons. There was a
reciprocal confidence between the lord and vassal. The lord was to
protect the vassal in the enjoyment of his land. The vassal was to
be faithful to his lord, and defend him against his enemies. This
obligation on the part of the vassal, was his fealty, _fidelitas_.
The oath of fealty, by the feodal law to be taken by the vassal
or tenant, is nearly in the very words as the ancient oath of
allegiance. But neither fealty, allegiance, or the oath of either
implied any thing about laws, parliaments, lords or commons.

The fealty and allegiance of Americans then is undoubtedly due to the
person of king George the third, whom God long preserve and prosper.
It is due to him, in his natural person, as that natural person is
intituled to the crown, the kingly office, the royal dignity of the
realm of England. And it becomes due to his natural person, because
he is intituled to that office. And because by the charters, and
other express and implied contracts made between the Americans and
the kings of England, they have bound themselves to fealty and
allegiance to the natural person of that prince, who shall rightfully
hold the kingly office in England, and no otherwise.

"With us in England, says Blackstone, v. 1, 367. it becoming a
settled principle of tenure, that all lands in the kingdom are holden
of the king as their sovereign and lord paramount, &c. the oath
of allegiance was necessarily confined to the person of the king
alone. By an easy analogy, the term of allegiance was soon brought
to signify all other engagements, which are due from subjects simply
and merely territorial. And the oath of allegiance, as administered
for upwards of six hundred years, contained a promise to be true and
faithful to the king and his heirs, and truth and faith to bear of
life and limb and terrene honor, and not to know, or hear of any ill
or damages intended him, without defending him therefrom." But at the
revolution, the terms of this oath being thought perhaps to favor too
much the notion of non-resistance, the present form was introduced by
the convention parliament, which is more general and indeterminate
than the former, the subject promising "that he will be faithful, and
bear true allegiance to only the king," without mentioning his heirs,
or specifying the least wherein that allegiance consists.

Thus I think that all the authorities in law, coincide exactly with
the observation which I have heretofore made upon the case of Wales,
and shew that subjection to a king of England does not necessarily
imply subjection to the crown of England; and that subjection to
the crown of England, does not imply subjection to the parliament
of England; for allegiance is due to the person of the king, and to
that alone, in all three cases, that is, whether we are subject to
his parliament and crown, as well as his person, as the people in
England are, whether we are subject to his crown and person, without
parliament, as the Welch were after the conquest of Lewellyn, and
before the union, or as the Irish were after the conquest and before
Poyning's law, or whether we are subject to his person alone, as the
Scots were to the king of England, after the accession of James 1st.
being not at all subject to the parliament or crown of England.

We do not admit any binding authority in the decisions and
adjudications of the court of king's bench or common pleas, or the
court of chancery over America: but we quote them as the opinions
of learned men. In these we find a distinction between a country
conquered, and a country discovered. Conquest, they say, gives the
crown an absolute power: discovery, only gives the subject a right
to all the laws of England. They add, that all the laws of England
are in force there. I confess I do not see the reason of this. There
are several cases in books of law which may be properly thrown before
the public. I am no more of a lawyer than Massachusettensis, but have
taken his advice, and conversed with many lawyers upon our subject,
some honest, some dishonest, some living, some dead, and am willing
to lay before you what I have learned from all of them. In Salk. 411,
the case of Blankard and Galdy. "In debt upon a bond, the defendant
prayed oyer of the condition, and pleaded the statutes E. 6. against
buying offices concerning the administration of justice; and averred
that this bond was given for the purchase of the office of provost
marshal in Jamaica, and that it concerned the administration of
justice, and _that Jamaica is part of the revenue and possessions
of the crown of England_. The plaintiff replied, that Jamaica is an
island _beyond the seas_, which was conquered from the Indians and
Spaniards in Queen Elizabeth's time, and the inhabitants are governed
by their own laws, and not by the laws of England. The defendant
rejoined, that before such conquest, they were governed by their own
laws; but since that, by the laws of England. Shower argued for the
plaintiff, that on a judgment in Jamaica, no writ of error lies here,
but only an appeal to the council; _and as they are not represented
in our parliament, so they are not bound by our statutes_, unless
specially named. Vid. And. 115. Pemberton contra argued, that, _by
the conquest of a nation, its liberties, rights, and properties, are
quite lost_; that by consequence their laws are lost too, for the law
is but the rule and guard of the other; those that conquer cannot, by
their victory, lose their laws, and become subject to others. Vid.
Vaugh. 405. That error lies here upon a judgment in Jamaica, which
could not be, if they were not under the same law. Et. per Holt,
C. J. and Cur. 1st. In case of an uninhabited country, newly found
out by English subjects, all laws in force in England are in force
there; so it seemed to be agreed. 2. Jamaica being conquered, and
not pleaded to be parcel of the kingdom of England, but part of the
possessions and revenue of the crown of England; the laws of England
did not take place there, until declared so by the conqueror, or his
successors. The Isle of Man and Ireland are part of the _possessions_
of the crown of England, yet retain their ancient laws, that in
Davis, 36, it is not pretended that the custom of tanistry was
determined by the conquest of Ireland, but by the new settlement
made there after the conquest: that it was impossible the laws of
this nation, by mere conquest, without more should take place, in
a conquered country, because for a time, there must want officers,
without which our laws can have no force; that if our law did take
place, yet they, in Jamaica, having power to make new laws, our
general laws may be altered by theirs in particulars; also they held
that in case of an infidel country; their laws by conquest do not
entirely cease, but only such as are against the law of God; and that
in such cases where the laws are rejected or silent, the conquered
country shall be governed according to the rule of natural equity.
Judgment, pro quer."

Upon this case I beg leave to make a few observations. 1. That
Shower's reasoning, that we are not bound by statutes, because not
represented in parliament, is universal, and therefore his exception,
"unless specially named," although it is taken from analogy to the
case of Ireland, by lord Coke and others, yet it is not taken from
the common law, but is merely arbitrary and groundless, as applied
to us: because, if the want of representation could be supplied, by
"expressly naming" a country, the right of representation might be
rendered null and nugatory. But of this, more another time.

2. That by the opinion of Holt, and the whole court, the laws of
England, common and statute, are in force in a vacant country,
discovered by Englishmen. But America was not a vacant country; it
was full of inhabitants; our ancestors purchased the land; but if
it had been vacant, his lordship has not shewn us any authority at
common law, that the laws of England would have been in force there.
On the contrary, by that law, it is clear they did not extend beyond
seas, and therefore could not be binding there, any further than the
free will of the discoverers should make them. The discoverers had
a right by nature, to set up those laws, if they liked them, or any
others, that pleased them better, provided they were not inconsistent
with their allegiance to the king. 3. The court held that a country
must be parcel of the kingdom of England, before the laws of England
could take place there; which seems to be inconsistent with what is
said before, because discovery of a vacant country does not make
it parcel of the kingdom of England, which shews, that the court,
when they said that all laws in _force_ in England, are in _force_
in the discovered country, meant no more than that the discoverers
had a right to all such laws, if they chose to adopt them. 4. The
idea of the court, in this case, is exactly conformable to, if not
taken from the case of Wales. They consider a conquered country as
Edward 1st. and his successors did Wales, as by the conquest annexed
to the crown, as an absolute property, possession, or revenue,
and therefore to be disposed of at its will; not entitled to the
laws of England, although bound to be governed by the king's will,
in parliament or out of it, as he pleased. 5. The Isle of Man and
Ireland, are considered like Wales, as conquered countries, and part
of the possessions (by which they mean property or revenue) of the
crown of England, yet have been allowed by the king's will to retain
their ancient laws. 6. That the case of America differs totally from
the case of Wales, Ireland, Man, or any other case, which is known
at common law, or in English history. There is no one precedent in
point, in any English records, and therefore it can be determined
only by eternal reason, and the law of nature. But yet that the
analogy of all these cases of Ireland, Wales, Man, Chester, Durham,
Lancaster, &c. clearly concur with the dictates of reason and nature,
that Americans are entitled to all the liberties of Englishmen, and
that they are not bound by any acts of parliament whatever, by any
law known in English records or history, excepting those for the
regulation of trade, which they have consented to and acquiesced
in. 7. To these let me add, that as the laws of England, and the
authority of parliament were by common law confined to the realm, and
within the four seas, so was the force of the great seal of England.
Salk. 510. "The great seal of England is appropriated to England,
and what is done under it has relation to England, and to no other
place." So that the king, by common law, had no authority to create
peers or governments, or any thing out of the realm, by his great
seal; and therefore our charters and commissions to governors, being
under the great seal, gives us no more authority, nor binds us to any
other duties, than if they had been given under the privy seal, or
without any seal at all. Their binding force, both upon the crown and
us, is wholly from compact and the law of nature.

There is another case in which the same sentiments are preserved; it
is in 2. P. Williams, 75, memorandum 9th August, 1722. It was said
by the master of the rolls to have been determined by the lords of
the privy council, upon an appeal to the king in council from the
foreign plantations. 1st. That if there be a new and uninhabited
country, found out by English subjects, as the law is the birth
right of every subject, so, wherever they go, they carry their laws
with them, and therefore such new found country is to be governed
by the laws of England; though after such country is inhabited by
the English, acts of parliament made in England, without naming the
foreign plantations, will not bind them; for which reason it has been
determined that the statute of frauds and perjuries, which requires
three witnesses, and that these should subscribe in the testators
presence in the case of devise of land, does not bind Barbadoes,
but that 2dly. Where the king of England conquers a country, it is
a different consideration; for there the conqueror, by saving the
lives of the people conquered, gains a right and property in such
people! In consequence of which he may impose upon them what laws he
pleases. But 3dly. Until such laws, given by the conquering prince,
the laws and customs of the conquered country shall hold place,
unless where these are contrary to our religion, or enact any thing
that is _malum in se_, or are silent; for in all such cases the laws
of the conquering country shall prevail.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

April 3, 1775.


Give me leave now to descend from these general matters, to
Massachusettensis. He says "Ireland, who has perhaps the greatest
possible subordinate legislature, and sends no members to the British
parliament, is bound by its acts when expressly named." But if we are
to consider what ought to be, as well as what is, why should Ireland
have the greatest possible subordinate legislature? Is Ireland more
numerous and more important to what is called the British empire,
than America? Subordinate as the Irish legislature is said to be, and
a conquered country as undoubtedly it is, the parliament of Great
Britain, although they claim a power to bind Ireland by statutes,
have never laid one farthing of tax upon it. They knew it would
occasion resistance if they should. But the authority of parliament
to bind Ireland at all, if it has any, is founded upon a different
principle entirely from any that takes place in the case of America.
It is founded on the consent and compact of the Irish by Poyning's
law to be so governed, if it has any foundation at all: and this
consent was given and compact made in consequence of a conquest.

In the reign of Henry 2d of England, there were five distinct
sovereignties in Ireland; Munster, Leinster, Meath, Ulster and
Connaught, besides several small tribes. As the prince of any one of
these petty states took the lead in war, he seemed to act, for the
time being, as monarch of the island. About the year 1172, Roderic
O'Connor, king of Connaught, was advanced to this pre-eminence. Henry
had long cast a wishful eye upon Ireland, and now partly to divert
his subjects from the thoughts of Becket's murder, partly to appease
the wrath of the pope for the same event, and partly to gratify his
own ambition, he lays hold of a pretence, that the Irish had taken
some natives of England and sold them for slaves, applies to the pope
for license to invade that island. Adrian the 3d, an Englishman by
birth, who was then pontiff, and very clearly convinced in his own
mind, of his right to dispose of kingdoms and empires, was easily
persuaded, by the prospect of Peter's pence, to act as emperor of the
world, and make an addition to his ghostly jurisdiction of an island
which, though converted to christianity, had never acknowledged any
subjection to the see of Rome. He issued a bull, premising that
Henry had ever shewn an anxious care to enlarge the church, and
increase the saints on earth and in heaven: that his design upon
Ireland proceeded from the same pious motives: that his application
to the holy see, was a sure earnest of success: that it was a point
incontestible, that all christian kingdoms belonged to the patrimony
of St. Peter: that it was his duty to sow among them the seeds of the
gospel, which might fructify to their eternal salvation. He exhorts
Henry to invade Ireland, exterminate the vices of the natives, and
oblige them to pay yearly, from every house, a penny to the see
of Rome; gives him full right and entire authority over the whole
island; and commands all to obey him as their sovereign.

Macmorrough, a licentious scoundrel, who was king of Leinster, had
been driven from his kingdom, for his tyranny, by his own subjects,
in conjunction with Ororic, king of Meath, who made war upon him for
committing a rape upon his queen, applied to Henry for assistance,
to restore him, and promised to hold his kingdom in vassalage of the
crown of England.

Henry accepted the offer and engaged in the enterprise. It is
unnecessary to recapitulate all the intrigues of Henry, to divide
the Irish kingdoms among themselves, and set one against another,
which are as curious as those of Edward 1st. to divide the kingdom
of Wales, and play Lewellyn's brothers against him, or as those of
the ministry, and our junto, to divide the American colonies, who
have more sense than to be divided. It is sufficient to say, that
Henry's expeditions terminated altogether by means of those divisions
among the Irish, in the total conquest of Ireland, and its annexation
forever to the English crown. By the annexation of all Ireland to the
English crown, I mean that all the princes and petty sovereigns in
Ireland agreed to become vassals of the English crown. But what was
the consequence of this? The same consequence was drawn, by the kings
of England in this case, as had been drawn in the case of Wales after
the conquest of Lewellyn, viz: that Ireland was become part of the
_property_, _possession_ or _revenue_ of the English crown, and that
its authority over it was absolute and without controul.

That matter must be traced from step to step. The first monument we
find in English records, concerning Ireland, is a mere _rescriptum
principis_, intituled _statutum Hiberniae de coheredibus_, 14, Henry
3d, A. D. 1229. In the old abridgment Tit. Homage, this is said not
to be a statute. Vid. Ruffhead's statutes at large, V. 1. 15. Mr. Cay
very properly observes, that it is not an act of parliament, Vid.
Barrington's observations on the statutes, p. 34. In this rescript,
the king informs certain milites, (adventurers probably in the
conquest of Ireland, or their descendants) who had doubts how lands
holden by knights' service descending to co-partners, within age,
should be divided, what is the law and custom in England with regard
to this.

But the record itself shews it to be a royal rescript only. _Rex
dilecto et fideli suo gerardo fil'mauricii justii' suo [Errata:
delete 'suo'] Hiberniae salutem. Quia tales Milites de partibus
Hiberniae nuper, ad nos accedentes nobis ostenderunt, quod, &c. Et
a nobis petierunt inde certiorari qualiter in regno nostro Angliae
in casu consimili hactenus usitatum sit, &c._ He then goes on and
certifies what the law in England was, and then concludes, _Et Ideo
vobis mandamus, quod predictas consuetudines in hoc casu, quas in
regno nostro Angliae habemus, ut predictum est, in terra nostra
Hiberniae proclamari et firmiter teneri, fac, &c._

Here again we find the king conducting, exactly as Edward 1st. did in
Wales, after the conquest of Wales. Ireland had now been annexed to
the English crown many years, yet parliament was not allowed to have
obtained any jurisdiction over it, and Henry ordained laws for it by
his sole and absolute authority, as Edward 1st. did by the statute
of Wales. Another incontestible proof that annexing a country to the
crown of England, does not annex it to the realm, or subject it to
parliament. But we shall find innumerable proofs of this.

Another incontestible proof of this, is the _ordinatio pro statu
Hiberniae_ made 17 Edward 1, 1288.

This is an ordinance made by the king, by advice of his council,
for the government of Ireland. "Edward, by the grace of God, king
of England, lord of Ireland, &c. to all those who shall see or hear
these letters, doth send salutation." He then goes on and ordains
many regulations, among which the seventh chapter is "that none of
our officers shall receive an original writ pleadable at the common
law, but such as be sealed by the great seal of Ireland," &c. This
ordinance concludes, "In witness whereof we have caused these our
letters patent to be made." Dated at Nottingham 24th Nov. 17th year
of our reign.

This law, if it was passed in parliament, was never considered
to have any more binding force, than if it had been made only by
the king. By Poyning's law indeed in the reign of Henry 7th. all
precedent English statutes are made to bind in Ireland, and this
among the rest; but until Poyning's law, it had no validity as an
act of parliament, and was never executed, but in the English pale,
for, notwithstanding all that is said of the total compact [Errata:
conquest] by Henry 2d.; yet it did not extend much beyond the
neighbourhood of Dublin, and the conqueror could not enforce his laws
and regulations much further.

There is a note on the roll of 21 Edward 1st. in these words: "_Et
memorandum quod istud statutum, de verbo ad verbum, missum fuit in
Hiberniam, teste rege apud Kenyngton 14 die, Augusti, anno regni
sui vicesimo septimo: et mandatum fuit Johanni Wogan justiciario
Hiberniae, quod praedictum statutum, per Hiberniam, in locis quibus
expedire viderit legi, et publice proclamari ac firmiter teneri

"This note most fully proves, that the king, by his sole authority,
could introduce any English law; and will that authority be lessened
by the concurrence of the two houses of parliament? There is also
an order of Charles 1st. in the third year of his reign, to the
treasurers and chancellors of the exchequer, both of England and
Ireland, by which they are directed to increase the duties upon
Irish exports; which shews that it was then imagined, that the king
would tax Ireland by his prerogative, without the intervention of
parliament." Vid. obs. on the statutes, p. 127.

Another instance to shew, that the king by his sole authority,
whenever he pleased, made regulations for the government of Ireland,
notwithstanding it was annexed and subject to the crown of England,
is the _ordinatio facta pro statu terrae Hiberniae_, in the 31
Edward 1. in the appendix to Ruffhead's statutes, p. 37. This is an
extensive code of laws, made for the government of the Irish church
and state, by the king alone, without lords or commons. The king's
"_volumus et firmiter precipimus_," governs and establishes all, and
among other things, he introduces by the 18th chapter, the English
laws for the regimen of persons of English extract settled in Ireland.

The next appearance of Ireland, in the statutes of England, is in
the 34 Edward 3d, c. 17. This is no more than a concession of the
king to his lords and commons of England, in these words. "_Item_, it
is accorded that all the merchants, as well aliens as denizens, may
come into Ireland, with their merchandizes, and from thence freely
return with their merchandizes and victuals, without fine or ransom
to be taken of them, saving always to the king, his ancient customs
and other duties." And by chapter 18, "_Item_, that the people of
England, as well religious as other, which have their heritage and
possessions in Ireland, may bring their corn, beasts and victuals to
the said land of Ireland, and from thence re-carry their goods and
merchandizes into England freely without impeachment, paying their
customs and devoirs to the king."

All this is no more than an agreement between the king and his
English subjects, lords and commons, that there should be a free
trade between the two islands, and that one of them should be free
for strangers. But it is no colour of proof that the king could not
govern Ireland without his English lords and commons.

The 1. Henry 5th. c. 8. All Irishmen and Irish clerks, beggars, shall
depart this realm before the 1st day of November, except graduates,
sergeants, &c. is explained by 1. Henry 6th. c. 3. which shews what
sort of Irishmen only may come to dwell in England. It enacts that
all persons, born in Ireland, shall depart out of the realm of
England, except a few; and that Irishmen shall not be principals
of any hall, and that Irishmen shall bring testimonials from the
lieutenant, or justice of Ireland, that they are of the king's
obeisance. By the 8th, Henry 6th. c. 8. "Irishmen resorting into the
realm of England, shall put in surety for their goodabearing."

Thus I have cursorily mentioned every law made by the king of
England, whether in parliament or out of it, for the government of
Ireland, from the conquest of it by Henry 2d. in 1172, down to the
reign of Henry 7th. when an express contract was made between the two
kingdoms, that Ireland should for the future be bound by English acts
of parliament, in which it should be specially named. This contract
was made in 1495; so that upon the whole it appears, beyond dispute,
that for more than 300 years, though a conquered country, and annexed
to the crown of England; yet was so far from being annexed to, or
parcel of the realm, that the king's power was absolute there, and
he might govern it without his English parliament, whose advice
concerning it, he was under no obligation to ask or pursue.

The contract I here alluded to, is what is called Poyning's law; the
history of which is briefly this. Ireland revolted from England,
or rather adhered to the partizans of the house of York; and Sir
Edward Poyning was sent over about the year 1495, by king Henry 7th.
with very extensive powers, _over the civil as well as military
administration_. On his arrival he made severe inquisition about the
disaffected, and in particular attacked the earls of Desmond and
Kildare. The first stood upon the defensive, and eluded the power
of the deputy: but Kildare was sent prisoner to England: _not to
be executed, it seems, nor to be tried upon the statute of Henry
8th_, but to be dismissed, as he actually was, to his own country,
with marks of the king's esteem and favor; Henry judging that, at
such a juncture, he should gain more by clemency and indulgence,
than by rigor and severity. In this opinion he sent a commissioner
to Ireland, with a formal amnesty, in favor of Desmond and all his
adherents, whom the tools of his ministers did not fail to call
traitors and rebels, with as good a grace and as much benevolence, as
Massachusettensis discovers.

Let me stop here and enquire, whether lord North has more wisdom than
Henry 7th. or whether he took the hint from the history of Poyning,
of sending Gen. Gage, with his civil and military powers? If he
did, he certainly did not imitate Henry, in his blustering menaces,
against certain "ringleaders and forerunners."

While Poyning resided in Ireland, he called a parliament, which is
famous in history for the acts which it passed, in favour of England,
and Englishmen settled in Ireland. By these, which are still called
Poyning's laws, all the former laws of England were made to be of
force in Ireland, and no bill can be introduced into the Irish
parliament, unless it previously receive the sanction of the English
privy council; and by a construction, if not by the express words of
these laws, Ireland is still said to be bound by English statutes, in
which it is specially named. Here then let Massachusettensis pause,
and observe the original of the notion that countries might be bound
by acts of parliament, if "specially named," though without the
realm. Let him observe, too, that this notion is grounded entirely on
the voluntary act, the free consent of the Irish nation, and an act
of an Irish parliament, called Poyning's law. Let me ask him, has any
colony in America ever made a Poyning's act? Have they ever consented
to be bound by acts of parliament, if specially named? Have they ever
acquiesced in, or implicitly consented to any acts of parliament,
but such as are _bona fide_ made for the regulation of trade? This
idea of binding countries without the realm, "by specially naming"
them, is not an idea taken from the common law. There was no such
principle, rule, or maxim, in that law; it must be by statute law,
then, or none. In the case of Wales and Ireland, it was introduced
by solemn compact, and established by statutes, to which the Welch
and Irish were parties, and expressly consented. But in the case of
America there is no such statute, and therefore Americans are bound
by statutes, in which they are "named," no more than by those in
which they are not.

The principle upon which Ireland is bound by English statutes, in
which it is named, is this, that being a conquered country, and
subject to the mere will of the king, it voluntarily consented to
be so bound. This appears in part already, and more fully in 1.
Blackstone 99, 100, &c. who tells us, "that Ireland is a distinct,
though a dependant, subordinate kingdom." But how came it dependant
and subordinate? He tells us "that king John, in the twelfth year
of his reign, after the conquest, went into Ireland, carried over
with him many able sages of the law; and there, by his letters
patent, in right of the dominion of conquest, is said to have
ordained and established, that Ireland should be governed by the
laws of England; which letters patent Sir Edward Coke apprehends
to have been there confirmed in parliament." By the same rule that
no laws made in England, between king John's time and Poyning's
law, were then binding in Ireland, it follows that no acts of the
English parliament, made since the tenth of Henry 7th. do now bind
the people of Ireland, unless specially named, or included under
general words. And on the other hand, it is equally clear, that where
Ireland is particularly named, or is included under general words,
they are bound by such acts of parliament; for it follows, from the
very nature and constitution of a dependent state; dependance being
very little else, but an obligation to conform to the will or law of
that superior person, or state, upon which the inferior depends. The
original and true ground of this superiority, in the present case,
is what we usually call, though somewhat improperly, "the right of
conquest;" a right allowed by the law of nations, if not by that of
nature; but which in reason and civil policy can mean nothing more,
than that, in order to put an end to hostilities, "a compact is
either expressly or tacitly made between the conqueror and conquered,
that if they will acknowledge the victor for their master, he will
treat them for the future as subjects and not as enemies."

These are the principles upon which the dependance and subordination
of Ireland are founded. Whether they are just or not, is not
necessary for us to enquire. The Irish nation have never been
entirely convinced of their justice; have been ever discontented with
them; and ripe and ready to dispute them. Their reasonings have ever
been answered, by the _ratio ultima and penultima_ of the tories, and
it requires to this hour no less than a standing army of 12,000 men
to confute them; as little as the British parliament exercises the
right, which it claims of binding them by statutes, and although it
never once attempted or presumed to tax them, and although they are
so greatly inferior to Britain in power, and so near in situation.

But thus much is certain, that none of these principles take place,
in the case of America. She never was conquered by Britain. She
never consented to be a state dependant upon, or subordinate to the
British parliament, excepting only in the regulation of her commerce;
and therefore the reasonings of British writers, upon the case of
Ireland, are not applicable to the case of the colonies, any more
than those upon the case of Wales.

Thus have I rambled after Massachusettensis through Wales and
Ireland, but have not reached my journey's end. I have yet to travel
through Jersey, Guernsey, and I know not where. At present I shall
conclude with one observation. In the history of Ireland and Wales,
though undoubtedly conquered countries, and under the very eye and
arm of England, the extreme difficulty, the utter impracticability of
governing a people, who have any sense, spirit, or love of liberty,
without incorporating them into the state, or allowing them in some
other way, equal privileges may be clearly seen. Wales was forever
revolting for a thousand years, until it obtained that mighty
blessing. Ireland has been frequently revolting, although the most
essential power of a supreme legislature, that of imposing taxes,
has never been exercised over them, and it cannot now be kept under,
but by force; and it would revolt forever, if parliament should tax
them. What kind of an opinion, then, must the ministry entertain of
America? When her distance is so great, her territory so extensive,
her commerce so important, not a conquered country, but dearly
purchased and defended? When her trade is so essential to the navy,
the commerce, the revenue, the very existence of Great Britain, as
an independent state? They must think America inhabited by three
millions of fools and cowards.



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

April 10, 1775.


The cases of Wales and Ireland are not yet exhausted. They afford
such irrefragable proofs, that there is a distinction between the
crown and realm, and that a country may be annexed and subject to the
former, and not the latter, that they ought to be thoroughly studied
and understood.

The more these cases, as well as those of Chester, Durham, Jersey,
Guernsey, Calais, Gascoine, Guienne, &c. are examined, the more
clearly it will appear, that there is no precedent in English
records; no rule of common law; no provision in the English
constitution; no policy in the English or British government; for
the case of the colonies; and therefore that we derive our laws and
government solely from our own compacts with Britain and her kings,
and from the great legislature of the universe.

We ought to be cautious of the inaccuracies of the greatest men, for
these are apt to lead us astray. Lord Coke, in 7 Rep. 21, 6, says,
"Wales was sometimes a kingdom, as it appeareth by 19 Henry 6th.
fol. 6, and by the act of parliament of 2 Henry 5th. cap. 6, but
while it was a kingdom, the same was holden, and within the fee of
the king of England: and this appeareth by our books, Fleta, lib.
1. Edward 3d. 14, 8. Ed. 3d. 59, 13, Edward 3d. Tit. Jurisdict. 10.
Henry 4, 6. Plow. com. 368. And in this respect, in divers ancient
charters, kings of old time styled themselves in several manners,
as king Edgar, Britanniae Basileus, Etheldrus, Totius Albionis Dei
providentia Imperator, Edredus, magnae Britanniae Monarcha, which,
among many others of like nature I have seen. But by the statute of
12 of Edward 1st. Wales was united and incorporated into England, and
made parcel of England in possession; and therefore it is ruled in
7 Henry 4th. fol. 14. That no protection doth lie, _quia moratur in
Wallia_, because Wales is within the realm of England. And where it
is recited in the act of 27 Henry 8th. _that Wales was ever parcel
of the realm of England_, it is true in this sense, viz: that before
12 Edward 1st. it was parcel in tenure, and since _it is parcel of
the body of the realm_. And whosoever is born within the fee of the
king of England, though it be in another kingdom, is a natural born
subject, and capable and inheritable of lands in England, as it
appeareth in Plow. com. 126. And therefore those that were born in
Wales before 12 Edward 1st. while it was only holden of England, were
capable and inheritable of lands in England."

Where my lord Coke or any other sage, shews us the ground on which
his opinion stands, we can judge for ourselves, whether the ground
is good, and his opinion just. And if we examine by this rule, we
shall find in the foregoing words, several palpable inaccuracies
of expression; 1, by the 12 E. 1. (which is the _Statutum Walliæ_
quoted by me before) it is certain "that Wales was not united and
incorporated into England, and made parcel of England." It was
annexed and united to the crown of England only. It was done by the
king's sole and absolute authority; not by an act of parliament, but
by a mere _constitutio imperatoria_, and neither E. 1. nor any of his
successors, ever would relinquish the right of ruling it, by mere
will and discretion until the reign of James 1.--2. It is not recited
in the 27 H. 8, that Wales was ever parcel of the realm of England.
The words of that statute are, "incorporated, annexed, united and
subject to and under the imperial crown of this realm," is a decisive
proof that a country may be annexed to the one, without being
united with the other. And this appears fully in lord Coke himself,
7 rep. 22, b. "Ireland originally came to the kings of England
by conquest, but who was the first conquerer thereof hath been a
question. I have seen a charter made by king Edgar, in these words,
_Ego Edgarus Anglorum Basileus, omnium quæ insularum oceani, quæ
Britanniam circumjacent, imperator et dominus, gratias ago ipsi Deo
omnipotenti regi meo, qui meum imperium sic ampliavit et exaltavit
super regnum patrum meorum_, &c. _Mihi concessit propitia divinitas,
cum anglorum imperis omnia regna insularum oceani_, &c. _Cum suis
ferocibus regibus usque Norvegiam, maximamque partem Hiberniæ, cum
sua nobilissima civitate de Dublina, Anglorum regno subjugare,
quapropter et ego Christi gloriam et laudem in regno meo exaltare,
et ejus servitium amplificare devotus disposui_, &c. Yet for that it
was wholly conquered in the reign of H. 2. The honour of the conquest
of Ireland is attributed to him. That Ireland is a dominion separate
and divided from England it is evident by our books, 20 H. 6, 8.
Sir John Pilkington's case, 32 H. 6, 26. 20 Eliz. Dyer 360. Plow.
com. 360. and 2, r. 3. 12. _Hibernia habet parliamentum, et faciunt
leges, et statuta nostra non ligant eos quia non mittunt milites ad
parliamentum_, (which is to be understood unless they be specially
named) _sed personæ eorum sunt, subjecti regis, sicut inhabitantes in
Calesia, Gasconia et Guigan_. Wherein it is to be observed, that the
Irishman (as to his subjection) is compared to men born in Calice,
Gascoin and Guian. Concerning their laws, _Ex rotulis petentium,
de anno_ 11. Regis 8. 3, there is a charter which that king made
beginning in these words: _Rex Baronibus, Militibus et omnibus libere
tenenibus L. salutem, satis, ut credimus vestra audivit discretio,
quod quando bonæ memoriæ Johannes quondam rex Angliæ, pater noster
venit in Hiberniam ipse duxit secum viros discretos et legis peritos,
quorum communi consilio et adjunctorum Hiberniansium, statuit et
præcepit leges Anglicanas in Hibernia, ita quod easdem inscripturas
redactas reliquit sub sigillo suo ad saccarium Dublin_. So as now
the laws of England became the proper laws of Ireland; and therefore
because they have parliaments holden there, whereat they have made
diverse particular laws, concerning that dominion, as it appeareth in
20 Hen. 6th, 8th. and 20 Eliz. Dyer, 360, and for that they retain
unto this day, diverse of their ancient customs, the book in 20 Henry
6th. 8th. holdeth that Ireland is governed by laws and customs,
separate and diverse from the laws of England. A voyage royal may be
made into Ireland. Vid. 11. Henry 4th. 7th. and 7 Edward 4th. 27.
which proveth it a distinct dominion. And in anno 33 Elizabeth, it
was resolved by all the judges of England, in the case of Orurke,
an Irishman, who had committed high treason in Ireland, that he, by
the statute of 33. Henry 8th. c. 23, might be indicted, arraigned,
and tried for the same in England, according to the purview of that
statute; the words of which statute be, that all treasons, &c.
committed by any person out of the realm of England, shall be from
henceforth enquired of, &c. And they all resolved, (as afterwards
they did also in Sir John Perrot's case) that Ireland was out of
the realm of England, and that treasons committed there were to be
tried within England, by that statute. In the statute of 4 Henry
7th. c. 24 of fines, provision is made for them that be out of this
land, and it is holden in Plow. com. in Stowell's case 375, that he
that is in Ireland is out of this land, and consequently within that
proviso. Might not, then, the like plea be devised, as well against
any person born in Ireland, as (this is against Calvin a _Postnatus_)
in Scotland? For the Irishman is born _extra ligeantia regis, regni
sui Angliae_, &c. which be _verba operativa_ in the plea. But all
men know, that they are natural born subjects, and capable of, and
inheritable to lands in England."

I have been at the pains of transcribing this long passage for the
sake of a variety of important observations that may be made upon
it. 1. That exuberance of proof that is in it, both that Ireland
is annexed to the crown, and that it is not annexed to the realm
of England. 2. That the reasoning in the year book, that Ireland
has a parliament, and makes laws, and our statutes do not bind
them, because they do not send knights to parliament, is universal,
and concludes against these statutes binding, in which Ireland is
specially named, as much as against these in which it is not, and
therefore lord Coke's parenthesis, (which is to be understood unless
they be specially named) is wholly arbitrary and groundless, unless
it goes upon the supposition, that the king is absolute in Ireland,
it being a conquered country, and so has power to bind it at his
pleasure, by an act of parliament, or by an edict: or unless it goes
upon the supposition of Blackstone, that there had been an express
agreement and consent of the Irish nation to be bound by acts of the
English parliament; and in either case it is not applicable even by
analogy to America, because that is not a conquered country, and most
certainly never consented to be bound by all acts of parliament, in
which it should be named. 3. That the instance, request and consent
of the Irish is stated, as a ground upon which king John and his
discreet law-sages, first established the laws of England in Ireland.
4. The resolution of the judges in the cases of Orurke and Perrot,
is express that Ireland was without the realm of England, and the
late resolutions of both houses of parliament, and the late opinion
of the judges, that Americans may be sent to England upon the same
statute to be tried for treason, is also express that America is out
of the realm of England. So that we see what is to become of us, my
friends. When they want to get our money by taxing us, our privileges
by annihilating our charters, and to screen those from punishment
who shall murder us at their command, then we are told that we are
within the realm; but when they want to draw, hang, and quarter us,
for honestly defending those liberties which God and compact have
given and secured to us, oh, then, we are clearly out of the realm.
5. In Stowell's case, it is resolved that Ireland is out of the land,
that is the land of England. The consequence is, that it was out
of the reach and extent of the law of the land, that is the common
law. America surely is still further removed from that land; and
therefore is without the jurisdiction of that law which is called
the law of the land in England. I think it must appear by this time,
that America is not parcel of the realm, state, kingdom, government,
empire, or land of England, or Great Britain, in any sense, which can
make it subject universally to the supreme legislature of that island.

But for the sake of curiosity, and for the purpose of shewing that
the consent even of a conquered people has always been carefully
conciliated, I beg leave to look over lord Coke's 4. Inst. p. 12.
"After king Henry 2d." says he, "had conquered Ireland, he fitted
and transcribed this modus, meaning the ancient treatise called
_modus tenendi parliamentum_, which was rehearsed and declared before
the conqueror at the time of the conquest, and by him approved for
England, into Ireland, in a parchment roll, for the holding of
parliaments there, which no doubt H. 2. did by advice of his judges,
&c.--This _modus_, &c. was anno 6. H. 4. in the custody of sir
Christopher Preston, which roll H. 4. in the same year, _De assensu
Johannis Talbot Chevalier_, his lieutenant there, and of his council
of Ireland, exemplified, &c."

Here we see the original of a parliament in Ireland, which is
assigned as the cause or reason why Ireland is a distant kingdom
from England: and in the same, 4. inst. 349. we find more evidence
that all this was done at the instance and request of the people in
Ireland. Lord Coke says, "H 2. the father of K. John, did ordain and
command, at the instance of the Irish, that such laws as he had in
England, should be of force and observed in Ireland. Hereby Ireland,
being of itself a distant dominion, and no part of the kingdom of
England, (as it directly appeareth by many authorities in Calvin's
case) was to have parliaments holden there, as England, &c." See the
record as quoted by lord Coke in the same page, which shews that
even this establishment of English laws, was made _De communi omnium
de Hiberniæ consensu_.

This whole chapter is well worth attending to, because the records
quoted in it shew how careful the ancients were to obtain the consent
of the governed to all laws, though a conquered people, and the king
absolute. Very unlike the minister of our æra, who is for pulling
down and building up the most sacred establishments of laws and
government, without the least regard to the consent or good will of
Americans. There is one observation more of lord Coke that deserves
particular notice. "Sometimes the king of England called his nobles
of Ireland to come to his parliament of England, &c. and by special
words the parliament of England may bind the subjects of Ireland,"
and cites the record 8. E. 2. and subjoins "an excellent precedent
to be followed, whensoever any act of parliament shall be made in
England, concerning the state of Ireland, &c." By this lord Coke
seems to intimate an opinion, that representatives had been and ought
to be called from Ireland to the parliament of England, whenever it
undertook to govern it by statutes, in which it should be specially

After all, I believe there is no evidence of any express contract of
the Irish nation to be governed by the English parliament, and very
little of an implied one; that the notion of binding it by acts in
which it is expressly named is merely arbitrary. And that this nation
which has ever had many and great virtues, has been most grievously
oppressed: and it is to this day so greatly injured and oppressed,
that I wonder American committees of correspondence and congresses,
have not attended more to it than they have. Perhaps in some future
time they may. But I am running beyond my line.

We must now turn to Burrows's reports, vol. 2. 834. Rex. vs. Cowle.
Lord Mansfield has many observations upon the case of Wales, which
ought not to be overlooked. Page 850, he says, "Edward 1st. conceived
the great design of annexing all other parts of the island of Great
Britain to the realm of England. The better to effectuate his idea,
as time should offer occasion; he mentioned, 'that all parts thereof,
not in his own hands or possession, were holden of his crown.' The
consequence of this doctrine was, that, by the feudal law, supreme
jurisdiction resulted to him, in right of his crown, as sovereign
lord, in many cases, which he might lay hold of; and when the said
territories should come into his hands and possession, they would
come back as parcel of the realm of England, from which (by fiction
of law at least) they had been originally severed. This doctrine was
literally true as to the counties palatine of Chester and Durham. But
(no matter upon what foundation) he maintained that the principality
of Wales was holden of the imperial crown of England: he treated
the prince of Wales as a rebellious vassal; subdued him; and took
possession of the principality. Whereupon, on the 4th of December, in
the 9th year of his reign, he issued a commission to enquire '_per
quas leges et per quas consuetudines, antecessores nostri reges regni
consueverant principam Walliæ et barones Wallenses Walliæ et pares
suos et alios in priores et eorum pares, &c._' If the principality
was feudatory, the conclusion necessarily followed, that it was
under the government of the king's laws, and the king's courts, in
cases proper for them to interpose; though (like counties palatine)
they had peculiar laws and customs, _jura regalia_, and complete
jurisdiction at home." There was a writ at the same time issued to
all his officers in Wales, to give information to the commissioners:
and there were 14 interrogatories specifying the points to be
enquired into. The statute of Rutland 12. E. 1. refers to this
inquiry. By that statute he does not annex Wales to England, but
recites it as a consequence of its coming into his hands. "_Divina
providentia terram Walliæ, prius nobis jure feodali subjectam, jam
in proprietatis nostræ dominium convertit, et coronæ regni Angliæ,
tanquam partem corporis ejusdem annexuit, et univit._" The 27. H.
8. c. 26. adheres to the same plan, and recites "that Wales ever
hath been incorporated, annexed, united and subject to, and under
the imperial crown of this realm, as a very member, and joint of the
same." Edward 1. having succeeded as to Wales, maintained likewise
that Scotland was holden of the crown of England. This opinion of the
court was delivered by lord Mansfield in the year 1759. In conformity
to the _system_ contained in these words, my lord Mansfield, and
my lord North, together with their little friends Bernard and
Hutchinson, have "conceived the great design of annexing" all North
America "to the realm of England," and "the better to effectuate this
idea, they all maintain, that North America is holden of the crown."

And, no matter upon what foundation, they all maintained that America
is dependent on the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain:
and they are all very eagerly desirous of treating the Americans
as rebellious vassals, to subdue them and take possession of their
country. And when they do, no doubt America will come back as parcel
of the realm of England, from which, by fiction of law at least, or
by virtual representation, or by some other dream of a shadow of a
shade, they had been originally severed.

But these noblemen and ignoblemen ought to have considered,
that Americans understand the laws and the politicks as well as
themselves, and that there are 600,000 men in it, between 16 and 60
years of age; and therefore it will be very difficult to chicane them
out of their liberties by "fictions of law," and "no matter upon what

Methinks I hear his lordship upon this occasion, in a soliloquy
somewhat like this. "We are now in the midst of a war, which has
been conducted with unexampled success and glory. We have conquered
a great part, and shall soon complete the conquest of the French
power in America. His majesty is near 70 years of age, and must soon
yield to nature. The amiable, virtuous and promising successor,
educated under the care of my nearest friends, will be influenced
by our advice. We must bring the war to a conclusion, for we have
not the martial spirit and abilities of the great commoner: but we
shall be obliged to leave upon the nation an immense debt. How shall
we manage that? Why, I have seen letters from America, proposing
that parliament should bring America to a closer dependence upon it,
and representing that if it does not, she will fall a prey to some
foreign power, or set up for herself. These hints may be improved,
and a vast revenue drawn from that country and the East Indies, or
at least the people here may be flattered and quieted with the hopes
of it. It is the duty of a judge to declare law, but under this
pretence, many we know have given law or made law, and none in all
the records of Westminster hall more than of late. Enough has been
already made, if it is wisely improved by others, to overturn this
constitution. Upon this occasion I will accommodate my expressions,
to such a design upon America and Asia, and will so accommodate
both law and fact, that they may hereafter be improved to admirable
effect in promoting our design." This is all romance, no doubt, but
it has as good a moral as most romances. For 1st. It is an utter
mistake that Ed. 1st. conceived the great design of annexing all to
England, as one state, under one legislature. He conceived the design
of annexing Wales, &c. to his crown. He did not pretend that it was
before subject to the crown, but to him. "_Nobis jure feodali_"
are his words. And when he annexes it to his crown, he does it by
an edict of his own, not an act of parliament: and he never did in
his whole life allow, that his parliament, that is his lords and
commons, had any authority over it, or that he was obliged to take
or ask their advice, in any one instance, concerning the management
of it, nor did any of his successors for centuries. It was not Ed.
1. but Henry 7. who first conceived the great design of annexing it
to the realm, and by him and H. 8. it was done, in part, but never
completed, until Jac. 1. There is a sense indeed, in which annexing
a territory to the crown, is annexing it to the realm, as putting a
crown upon a man's head, is putting it on the man, but it does not
make it a part of the man. 2d. His lordship mentions the statute of
Rutland; but this was not an act of parliament, and therefore could
not annex Wales to the realm, if the king had intended it, for it
never was in the power of the king alone to annex a country to the
realm. This cannot be done, but by act of parliament. As to Edward's
treating the prince of Wales as a "rebellious vassal," this was
arbitrary, and is spoken of by all historians as an infamous piece of

Ed. 1. and H. 8. both considered Wales, as the property and revenue
of the crown, not as a part of the realm, and the expressions,
"_coronæ regni Angliæ, tanquam partem corporis ejusdem_," signified
"as part of the same body," that is of the same "crown," not "realm"
or "kingdom"; and the expressions in 27 H. 8. under the imperial
crown of this realm, as a very member "and joint of the same,"
mean, as a member and joint of the "imperial crown," not of the
realm. For the whole history of the principality, the acts of kings,
parliaments, and people shew, that Wales never was intituled by this
annexation to the laws of England, nor bound to obey them. The case
of Ireland is enough to prove that the crown and realm are not the
same. For Ireland is certainly annexed to the crown of England, and
it certainly is not annexed to the realm.

There is one paragraph in the foregoing words of lord Mansfield,
which was quoted by his admirer governor Hutchinson in his dispute
with the house, with a profound compliment. "He did not know a
greater authority," &c. But let the authority be as great as it will,
the doctrine will not bear the test.

"If the principality was feudatory, the conclusion necessarily
follows, that it was under the government of the king's laws."
Ireland is feudatory to the crown of England, but would not be
subject to the king's English laws, without its consent and compact.
An estate may be feudatory to a lord, a country may be feudatory to
a sovereign lord, upon all possible variety of conditions; it may be
only to render homage; it may be to render a rent; it may be to pay a
tribute; if his lordship by feudatory means, the original notion of
feuds, it is true that the king the general imperator, was absolute,
and the tenant held his estate only at will, and the subject not
only his estate but his person and life at his will. But this notion
of feuds had been relaxed in an infinite variety of degrees, in
some the estate is held at will, in others for life, in others for
years, in others forever, to heirs, &c. in some to be governed by the
prince alone, in some by princes and nobles, and in some by prince,
nobles and commons, &c. So that being feudatory, by no means proves
that English lords and commons have any share in the government
over us. As to counties palatine; these were not only holden of the
king and crown, but were exerted by express acts of parliament, and
therefore were never exempted from the authority of parliament. The
same parliament, which erected the county palatine, and gave it its
_jura regalia_, and compleat jurisdiction, might unmake it, and take
away those regalia and jurisdiction. But American governments and
constitutions were never erected by parliament, their _regalia_ and
jurisdiction were not given by parliament, and therefore parliament
have no authority to take them away.

But if the colonies are feudatory to the kings of England, and
subject to the government of the king's laws, it is only to such
laws as are made in their general assemblies, their provincial



_To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay_,

April 17, 1775.


We now come to Jersey and Guernsey, which Massachusettensis says,
"are no part of the realm of England, nor are they represented in
parliament, but are subject to its authority." A little knowledge
of this subject will do us no harm; and as soon as we shall acquire
it, we shall be satisfied how these islands came to be subject to
the authority of parliament. It is either upon the principle that
the king is absolute there, and has a right to make laws for them
by his mere will; and therefore may express his will by an act of
parliament, or an edict at his pleasure: or it is an usurpation. If
it is an usurpation, it ought not to be a precedent for the colonies,
but it ought to be reformed, and they ought to be incorporated into
the realm, by act of parliament, and their own act. Their situation
is no objection to this. Ours is an insurmountable obstacle.

Thus we see that in every instance which can be found, the
observation proves to be true, that by the common law, the laws of
England, and the authority of parliament, and the limits of the
realm were confined within seas. That the kings of England had
frequently foreign dominions, some by conquest, some by marriage,
and some by descent. But in all those cases the kings were either
absolute in those dominions, or bound to govern them according to
their own respective laws, and by their own legislative and executive
councils. That the laws of England did not extend there, and the
English parliament pretended no jurisdiction there, nor claimed any
right to controul the king in his government of those dominions. And
from this extensive survey of all the foregoing cases, there results
a confirmation of what has been so often said, that there is no
provision in the common law, in English precedents, in the English
government or constitution, made for the case of the colonies. It is
not a conquered, but a discovered country. It came not to the king by
descent, but was explored by the settlers. It came not by marriage to
the king, but was purchased by the settlers of the savages. It was
not granted by the king of his grace, but was dearly, very dearly
earned by the planters, in the labour, blood, and treasure which they
expended to subdue it to cultivation. It stands upon no grounds,
then, of law or policy, but what are found in the law of nature,
and their express contracts in their charters, and their implied
contracts in the commissions to governors and terms of settlement.

The cases of Chester and Durham, counties palantine within the realm,
shall conclude this fatiguing ramble. Chester was an earldom and a
county; and in the 21st year of king Richard 2d. A. D. 1397, it was,
by an act of parliament, erected into a principality, and several
castles and towns, were annexed to it, saving to the king the rights
of his crown. This was a county palatine, and had _jura regalia_,
before this erection of it into a principality. But the statute which
made it a principality, was again repealed by 1. Henry 4th. c. 3, and
in 1399, by the 1. Henry 4th. c. 18. Grievous complaints were made
to the king, in parliament, of murders, man-slaughters, robberies,
batteries, riots, &c. done by people of the county of Chester, in
divers counties of England. For remedy of which it is enacted, that
if any person of the county of Chester commit any murder or felony
in any place out of that county, process shall be made against him
by the common law, till the exigent in the county where such murder
or felony was done: and if he flee into the county of Chester, and
be outlawed, and put in exigent for such murder or felony, the
same outlawry or exigent, shall be certified to the officers and
ministers of the same county of Chester, and the felon shall be
taken, his lands and goods within that county shall be seized as
forfeit into the hands of the prince, or of him that shall be lord
of the same county of Chester, and the king shall have the year and
day and waste; and the other lands and goods of such felons, out of
said county, shall remain wholly to the king, &c. as forfeit. And a
similar provision in case of battery or trespass, &c.

Considering the great seal of England, and the process of the king's
contracts did not run into Chester, it was natural that malefactors
should take refuge there, and escape punishment, and therefore a
statute like this was of indispensible necessity, and afterwards,
in 1535, another statute was made, 27. Henry c. 5th. for the making
of justices of peace, within Chester, &c. It recites, "the king,
considering the manifold robberies, murders, thefts, trespasses,
riots, routs, embraceries, maintenances, oppressions, ruptures
of his peace, &c. which have been daily done within his county
palatine of Chester, &c. by reason that common justice hath not been
indifferently ministered there, like and in form as it is in other
places of this his realm, by reason whereof the said criminals have
remained unpunished; for redress whereof, and to the intent that
one order of law should be had, the king is empowered to constitute
justices of peace, quorum, and goal delivery, in Chester, &c."

By the 32. Henry 8th. c. 43, another act was made concerning the
county palatine of Chester, for shire days.

These three acts soon excited discontent in Chester. They had
enjoyed an exemption from the king's English courts, legislative
and executive, and they had no representatives in the English
parliament, and therefore they thought it a violation of their
rights, to be subjected even to those three statutes, as reasonable
and absolutely necessary as they appear to have been. And accordingly
we find in 1542--34 and 35, Henry 8th. c. 13, a zealous petition
to be represented in parliament, and an act was made for making of
knights and burgesses within the county and city of Chester. It
recites a part of the petition to the king from the inhabitants
of Chester, stating, "that the county palatine, had been excluded
from parliament, to have any knights and burgesses there; by reason
whereof, the said inhabitants have hitherto sustained manifold
disherisons, losses, and damages, in lands, goods, and bodies, as
well as in the goods civil and politic governance and maintenance
of the commonwealth of their said county: and forasmuch as the
said inhabitants have always hitherto been bound by the acts and
statutes, made by your highness and progenitors in said court,
meaning, when expressly named, not otherwise, as far forth as other
counties, cities, and boroughs, which have had knights and burgesses,
and yet have had neither knight, nor burgess there, for the said
county palatine; the said inhabitants, for lack thereof, have been
oftentimes touched and grieved with acts and statutes, made within
said court, as well derogatory unto the most ancient jurisdictions,
liberties, and privileges of your said county palatine, as
prejudicial unto the common weal, quietness, rest and peace of your
subjects, &c." For remedy whereof, two knights of the shire, and two
burgesses for the city are established.

I have before recited all the acts of parliament, which were ever
made to meddle with Chester, except the 51. Henry 3d. stat. 5, in
1266, which only provides that the justices of Chester, and other
bailiffs, shall be answerable in the exchequer, for wards, escheats,
and other bailiwicks; yet Chester was never severed from the crown
or realm of England, nor ever expressly exempted from the authority
of parliament; yet as they had generally enjoyed an exemption from
the exercise of the authority of parliament, we see how soon they
complain of it as grievous, and claim a representation, as a right;
and we see how readily it was granted. America, on the contrary, is
not in the realm, never was subject to the authority of parliament,
by any principle of law, is so far from Great Britain, that she never
can be represented; yet she is to be bound in all cases whatsoever.

The first statute, which appears in which Durham is named, is
27 Henry 8th. c. 24, § 21. Cuthbert, bishop of Durham, and his
successors, and their temporal chancellor of the county palatine of
Durham, are made justices of the peace. The next is 31 Elizabeth, c.
9, recites, that Durham is, and of long time hath been, an ancient
county palatine, in which the Queen's writ hath not, and yet doth not
run; enacts that a writ of proclamation upon an exigent against any
person dwelling in the bishoprick shall run there for the future. And
§ 5 confirms all the other liberties of the bishop and his officers.

And after this, we find no other mention of that bishoprick in any
statute until 25 Char. 2. c. 9. This statute recites "whereas the
inhabitants of the county palatine of Durham, have not hitherto had
the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any knights and
burgesses to the high court of parliament, although the inhabitants
of the said county palatine are liable to all payments, rates, and
subsidies, granted by parliament, equally with the inhabitants of
other counties, cities, and burroughs, in this kingdom, who have
their knights and burgesses in the parliament, and are therefore
concerned equally with others, the inhabitants of this kingdom, to
have knights and burgesses in the said high court of parliament of
their own election, to represent the condition of their county,
as the inhabitants of other counties, cities, and burroughs, of
this kingdom have." It enacts two knights for the county, and two
burgesses for the city. Here it should be observed, that although
they acknowledge that they had been liable to all rates, &c. granted
by parliament, yet none had actually been laid upon them before this

Massachusettensis then comes to the first charter of this province,
and he tells us, that in it "we shall find irresistible evidence,
that our being a part of the empire, subject to the supreme authority
of the state, bound by its laws, and subject to its protection, was
the very terms and conditions by which our ancestors held their
lands and settled the province." This is roundly and warmly said:
but there is more zeal in it than knowledge. As to our being part
of the empire, it could not be the British empire, as it is called,
because that was not then in being, but was created seventy or
eighty years afterwards. It must be the English empire then, but
the nation was not then polite enough to have introduced into the
language of the law, or common parlance any such phrase or idea.
Rome never introduced the terms Roman empire until the tragedy of
her freedom was compleated. Before that, it was only the republic,
or the city. In the same manner the realm or the kingdom, or the
dominions of the king, were the fashionable style in the age of the
first charter. As to being subject to the supreme authority of the
state, the prince who granted that charter thought it resided in
himself, without any such troublesome tumults as lords and commons;
and before the granting that charter, had dissolved his parliament,
and determined never to call another, but to govern without. It
is not very likely then, that he intended our ancestors should be
governed by parliament, or bound by its laws. As to being subject to
its protection, we may guess what ideas king and parliament had of
that, by the protection they actually afforded to our ancestors. Not
one farthing was ever voted or given by the king or his parliament,
or any one resolution taken about them. As to holding their lands,
surely they did not hold their lands of lords and commons. If they
agreed to hold their lands of the king, this did not subject them to
English lords and commons, any more than the inhabitants of Scotland
holding their lands of the same king, subjected them. But there is
not a word about the empire, the supreme authority of the state,
being bound by its laws, or obliged for its protection in that whole
charter. But "our charter is in the royal style." What then? Is that
the parliamentary style? The style is this, "Charles, by the grace
of God, king of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of
the faith, &c."--Now in which capacity did he grant that charter?
as king of France, or Ireland, or Scotland, or England? He governed
England by one parliament, Scotland by another. Which parliament were
we to be governed by? And Ireland by a third; and it might as well
be reasoned that America was to be governed by the Irish parliament,
as by the English. But it was granted "under the great seal of
England"--true. But this seal runneth not out of the realm, except
to mandatory writs; and when our charter was given, it was never
intended to go out of the realm. The charter and the corporation were
intended to abide and remain within the realm, and be like other
corporations there. But this affair of the seal is a mere piece of

In Moore's reports in the case of the union of the realm of Scotland
with England, it is resolved by the judges that "the seal is
alterable by the king at his pleasure, and he might make one seal
for both kingdoms (of England and Scotland) for seals, coin, and
leagues are of absolute prerogative to the king, without parliament,
nor restrained to any assent of the people;" and in determining
how far the great seal doth command out of England, they made
this distinction. "That the great seal was current for remedials,
which groweth on complaint of the subject, and thereupon writs are
addressed under the great seal of England, which writs are limited,
their precinct to be within the places of the jurisdiction of the
court, that was to give the redress of the wrong. And therefore
writs are not to go into Ireland, or the isles, nor Wales, nor the
counties palatine, because the king's courts here have not power to
hold pleas of lands or things there. But the great seal hath a power
preceptory to the person, which power extendeth to any place, where
the person may be found, &c." This authority plainly shews, that the
great seal of England has no more authority out of the realm, except
to mandatory or preceptory writs, and surely the first charter was no
preceptory writ, than the privy seal, or the great seal of Scotland,
or no seal at all. In truth, the seal and charter were intended to
remain within the realm, and be of force to a corporation there; but
the moment it was transferred to New England, it lost all its legal
force, by the common law of England; and as this translation of it
was acquiesced in by all parties, it might well be considered as good
evidence of a contract between the parties, and in no other light;
but not a whit the better or stronger for being under the great seal
of England. But, "the grants are made by the king for his heirs and
successors." What then? So the Scots held their lands of him, who was
then king of England, his heirs and successors, and were bound to
allegiance to him, his heirs and successors, but it did not follow
from thence that the Scots were subject to the English parliament. So
the inhabitants of Aquitain, for ten descents, held their lands, and
were tied by allegiance to him who was king of England, his heirs and
successors, but were under no subjection to English lords and commons.

Heirs and successors of the king, are supposed to be the same
persons, and are used as synonymous words in the English law. There
is no positive artificial provision made by our laws, or the British
constitution for revolutions. All our positive laws suppose that the
royal office will descend to the eldest branch of the male line, or
in default of that, to the eldest female, &c. forever, and that the
succession will not be broken. It is true, that nature, necessity,
and the great principles of self-preservation, have often over-ruled
the succession. But this was done without any positive instruction
of law. Therefore, the grants being by the king, for his heirs
and successors, and the tenures being of the king, his heirs and
successors, and the preservation being to the king, his heirs, and
successors, are so far from proving that we were to be part of an
empire, as one state, subject to the supreme authority of the English
or British state, and subject to its protection, that they do not so
much as prove that we are annexed to the English crown. And all the
subtility of the writers on the side of the ministry, has never yet
proved, that America is so much as annexed to the crown, much less
to the realm. "It is apparent the king acted in his royal capacity,
as king of England." This I deny. The laws of England gave him no
authority to grant any territory out of the realm. Besides, there is
no colour for his thinking that he acted in that capacity, but his
using the great seal of England: but if the king is absolute in the
affair of the seal, and may make or use any seal that he pleases,
his using that seal which had been commonly used in England, is no
certain proof that he acted as king of England; for it is plain, he
might have used the English seal in the government of Scotland, and
in that case it will not be pretended that he would have acted in
his royal capacity, as king of England. But his acting as king of
England, "necessarily supposes the territory granted to be a part
of the English dominions, and holden of the crown of England." Here
is the word "dominions," systematically introduced instead of the
word "realm." There was no English dominions, but the realm. And I
say that America was not any part of the English realm or dominions.
And therefore, when the king granted it, he could not act as king of
England, by the laws of England. As to the "territory being holden of
the crown, there is no such thing in nature or art." Lands are holden
according to the original notices of feuds of the natural person of
the lord. Holding lands, in feudal language, means no more than the
relation between lord and tenant. The reciprocal duties of these
are all personal. Homage, fealty, &c. and all other services, are
personal to the lord; protection, &c. is personal to the tenant. And
therefore no homage, fealty, or other services, can ever be rendered
to the body politic, the political capacity, which is not corporated,
but only a frame in the mind, an idea. No lands here, or in England,
are held of the crown, meaning by it, the political capacity; they
are all held of the royal person, the natural person of the king.
Holding lands, &c. of the crown, is an impropriety of expression,
but it is often used, and when it is, it can have no other sensible
meaning than this: that we hold lands of that person, whoever he is,
who wears the crown; the law supposes he will be a right, natural
heir of the present king forever.

Massachusettensis then produces a quotation from the first charter,
to prove several points. It is needless to repeat the whole, but
the parts chiefly relied on, are italicised. It makes the company
a body politic in fact and name, &c. and enables it "to sue and be
sued." Then the writer asks, "whether this looks like a distinct
state, or independent empire?" I answer no. And that it is plain and
uncontroverted, that the first charter was intended only to erect
a corporation within the realm, and the governor and company were
to reside within the realm, and their general courts were to be
held there. Their agents, deputies, and servants only were to come
to America. And if this had taken place, nobody ever doubted but
they would have been subject to parliament. But this intention was
not regarded on either side, and the company came over to America,
and brought their charter with them. And as soon as they arrived
here, they got out of the English realm, dominions, state, empire,
call it by what name you will, and out of the legal jurisdiction
of parliament. The king might, by his writ or proclamation, have
commanded them to return; but he did not.



     Hostilities, at Lexington, between Great Britain and her
     colonies, commenced on the nineteenth of April, two days
     succeeding the publication of this last essay. Several
     others were written, and sent to the printers of the
     _Boston Gazette_, which were probably lost, amidst the
     confusion occasioned by that event.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

December 12, 1774.


When a people, by what means soever, are reduced to such a situation,
that every thing they hold dear, as men and citizens, is at stake,
it is not only excuseable, but even praiseworthy for an individual
to offer to the public any thing, that he may think has a tendency
to ward off the impending danger; nor should he be restrained from
an apprehension that what he may offer will be unpopular, any more
than a physician should be restrained from prescribing a salutary
medicine, through fear it might be unpalatable to his patient.

The press, when open to all parties and influenced by none, is
a salutary engine in a free state, perhaps a necessary one to
preserve the freedom of that state; but, when a party has gained the
ascendancy so far as to become the licensers of the press, either
by an act of government, or by playing off the resentment of the
populace against printers and authors, the press itself becomes an
engine of oppression or licentiousness, and is as pernicious to
society, as otherwise it would be beneficial. It is too true to be
denied, that ever since the origin of our controversy with Great
Britain, the press, in this town, has been much devoted to the
partizans of liberty; they have been indulged in publishing what they
pleased, _fas vel nefas_, while little has been published on the part
of government. The effect this must have had upon the minds of the
people in general is obvious; they must have formed their opinion
upon a partial view of the subject, and of course it must have been
in some degree erroneous. In short, the changes have been rung so
often upon oppression, tyranny and slavery, that, whether sleeping or
waking, they are continually vibrating in our ears; and it is now
high time to ask ourselves, whether we have not been deluded by sound

My dear countrymen, let us divest ourselves of prejudice, take a view
of our present wretched situation, contrast it with our former happy
one, carefully investigate the cause, and industriously seek some
means to escape the evils we now feel, and prevent those that we have
reason to expect.

We have been so long advancing to our present state, and by such
gradations, that perhaps many of us are insensible of our true state
and real danger. Should you be told that acts of high treason are
flagrant through the country, that a great part of the province is
in actual rebellion, would you believe it true? Should you not deem
the person asserting it, an enemy to the province? Nay, should you
not spurn him from you with indignation? Be calm, my friends; it is
necessary to know the worst of a disease, to enable us to provide an
effectual remedy. Are not the bands of society cut asunder, and the
sanctions that hold man to man, trampled upon? Can any of us recover
a debt, or obtain compensation for an injury, by law? Are not many
persons, whom once we respected and revered, driven from their homes
and families, and forced to fly to the army for protection, for no
other reason but their having accepted commissions under our king?
Is not civil government dissolved? Some have been made to believe
that nothing short of attempting the life of the king, or fighting
his troops, can amount to high treason or rebellion. If, reader, you
are one of those, apply to an honest lawyer, (if such an one can be
found) and enquire what kind of offence it is for a number of men to
assemble armed, and forcibly to obstruct the course of justice, even
to prevent the king's courts from being held at their stated terms;
for a body of people to seize upon the king's provincial revenue; I
mean the monies collected by virtue of grants made by the general
court to his majesty for the support of his government, within this
province; for a body of men to assemble without being called by
authority, and to pass governmental acts; or for a number of people
to take the militia out of the hands of the king's representative,
or to form a new militia, or to raise men and appoint officers for a
public purpose, without the order or permission of the king, or his
representative; or for a number of men to take to their arms, and
march with a professed design of opposing the king's troops; ask,
reader, of such a lawyer, what is the crime, and what the punishment;
and if, perchance, thou art one that hast been active in these
things, and art not insensibility itself, his answer will harrow up
thy soul.

I assure you, my friends, I would not that this conduct should
be told beyond the borders of this province; I wish it were
consigned to perpetual oblivion; but alas, it is too notorious to
be concealed; our news-papers have already published it to the
world; we can neither prevent nor conceal it. The shaft is already
sped, and the utmost exertion is necessary to prevent the blow. We
already feel the effects of anarchy; mutual confidence, affection,
and tranquility, those sweetners of human life, are succeeded by
distrust, hatred, and wild uproar; the useful arts of agriculture
and commerce are neglected for caballing, mobbing this or the other
man, because he acts, speaks, or is suspected of thinking different
from the prevailing sentiment of the times, in purchasing arms, and
forming a militia; O height of madness! with a professed design
of opposing Great Britain. I suspect many of us have been induced
to join in these measures, or but faintly to oppose them, from an
apprehension that Great Britain would not, or could not exert herself
sufficiently to subdue America. Let us consider this matter. However
closely we may hug ourselves in the opinion, that the parliament has
no right to tax or legislate for us, the people of England hold the
contrary opinion as firmly. They tell us we are a part of the British
empire; that every state, from the nature of government, must have a
supreme, uncontrolable power, co-extensive with the empire itself;
and that that power is vested in parliament. It is as unpopular to
deny this doctrine in Great Britain, as it is to assert it in the
colonies; so there is but little probability of serving ourselves at
this day by our ingenious distinctions between a right of legislation
for one purpose, and not for another. We have bid them defiance;
and the longest sword must carry it, unless we change our measures.
Mankind are the same, in all parts of the world. The same fondness
for dominion that presides in the breast of an American, actuates
the breast of an European. If the colonies are not a part of the
British empire already, and subject to the supreme authority of the
state, Great Britain will make them so. Had we been prudent enough
to confine our opposition within certain limits, we might have stood
some chance of succeeding once more; but alas, we have passed the
Rubicon. It is now universally said and believed, in England, that if
this opportunity of reclaiming the colonies, and reducing them to a
sense of their duty is lost, they, in truth, will be dismembered from
the empire, and become as distinct a state from Great Britain, as
Hanover; that is, although they may continue their allegiance to the
person of the king, they will own none to the imperial crown of Great
Britain, nor yield obedience to any of her laws, but such as they
shall think proper to adopt. Can you indulge the thought one moment,
that Great Britain will consent to this? For what has she protected
and defended the colonies against the maritime powers of Europe, from
their first British settlement to this day? For what did she purchase
New-York of the Dutch? For what was she so lavish of her best blood
and treasure in the conquest of Canada, and other territories in
America? Was it to raise up a rival state, or to enlarge her own
empire? Or if the consideration of empire was out of the question,
what security can she have of our trade, when once she has lost our
obedience? I mention these things, my friends, that you may know how
people reason upon the subject in England, and to convince you that
you are much deceived, if you imagine that Great Britain will accede
to the claims of the colonies, she will as soon conquer New-England
as Ireland or Canada, if either of them revolted; and by arms, if the
milder influences of government prove ineffectual. Perhaps you are as
fatally mistaken in another respect. I mean, as to the power of Great
Britain to conquer. But can any of you, that think soberly upon the
matter, be so deluded as to believe that Great Britain, who so lately
carried her arms with success to every part of the globe, triumphed
over the united powers of France and Spain, and whose fleets give
law to the ocean, is unable to conquer us? Should the colonies
unite in a war against Great Britain (which by the way is not a
supposable case) the colonies south of Pennsylvania would be unable
to furnish any men; they have not more than is necessary to govern
their numerous slaves, and to defend themselves against the Indians.
I will suppose that the northern colonies can furnish as many, and
indeed more men than can be used to advantage; but have you arms fit
for a campaign? If you have arms, have you military stores, or can
you procure them? When this war is proclaimed, all supplies from
foreign parts will be cut off. Have you money to maintain the war? Or
had you all those things, some others are still wanting, which are
absolutely necessary to encounter regular troops, that is discipline,
and that subordination, whereby each can command all below him, from
a general officer to the lowest subaltern; these you neither have
nor can have in such a war. It is well known that the provincials
in the late war were never brought to a proper discipline, though
they had the example of the regular troops to encourage, and the
martial law to enforce it. We all know, notwithstanding the province
law for regulating the militia, it was under little more command
than what the officers could obtain from treating and humouring the
common soldiers; what, then, can be expected from such an army as you
will bring into the field, if you bring any, each one a politician,
puffed up with his own opinion, and feeling himself second to none?
Can any of you command ten thousand such men? Can you punish the
disobedient? Can all your wisdom direct their strength, courage or
activity to any given point? Would not the least disappointment or
unfavourable aspect cause a general dereliction of the service? Your
new-fangled militia have already given us a _specimen_ of their
future conduct. In some of their companies, they have already chosen
two, in others, three sets of officers, and are as dissatisfied with
the last choice as the first. I do not doubt the natural bravery of
my countrymen; all men would act the same part in the same situation.
Such is the army with which you are to oppose the most powerful
nation upon the globe. An experienced officer would rather take his
chance with five thousand British troops, than with fifty thousand
such militia. I have hitherto confined my observations to the war
within the interior parts of the colonies, let us now turn our eyes
to our extensive sea coast, and that we find wholly at the mercy of
Great Britain; our trade, fishery, navigation, and maritime towns
taken from us the very day that war is proclaimed. Inconceivably
shocking the scene; if we turn our views to the wilderness, our back
settlements a prey to our ancient enemy, the Canadians, whose wounds
received from us in the late war, will bleed afresh at the prospect
of revenge, and to the numerous tribes of savages, whose tender
mercies are cruelties. Thus with the British navy in the front,
Canadians and savages in the rear, a regular army in the midst, we
must be certain that whenever the sword of civil war is unsheathed,
devastation will pass through our land like a whirlwind; our houses
be burnt to ashes; our fair possessions laid waste, and he that falls
by the sword, will be happy in escaping a more ignominious death.

I have hitherto gone upon a supposition, that all the colonies, from
Nova-Scotia to Georgia, would unite in the war against Great Britain;
but I believe, if we consider coolly upon the matter, we shall find
no reason to expect any assistance out of New-England; if so, there
will be no arm stretched out to save us. New England, or perhaps this
self-devoted province will fall alone the unpitied victim of its own
folly, and furnish the world with one more instance of the fatal
consequences of rebellion.

I have as yet said nothing of the difference in sentiment among
ourselves. Upon a superficial view we might imagine that this
province was nearly unanimous; but the case is far different. A
very considerable part of the men of property in this province,
are at this day firmly attached to the cause of government; bodies
of men, compelling persons to disavow their sentiments, to resign
commissions, or to subscribe leagues and covenants, has wrought no
change in their sentiments; it has only attached them more closely
to government, and caused them to wish more fervently, and to pray
more devoutly, for its restoration. These, and thousands beside, if
they fight at all, will fight under the banners of loyalty. I can
assure you that associations are now forming in several parts of this
province, for the support of his majesty's government and mutual
defence; and let me tell you, whenever the royal standard shall be
set up, there will be such a flocking to it, as will astonish the
most obdurate. And now, in God's name, what is it that has brought
us to this brink of destruction? Has not the government of Great
Britain been as mild and equitable in the colonies, as in any part
of her extensive dominions? Has not she been a nursing mother to us,
from the days of our infancy to this time? Has she not been indulgent
almost to a fault? Might not each one of us at this day have sat
quietly under his own vine and fig-tree, and there have been none to
make us afraid, were it not for our own folly? Will not posterity
be amazed, when they are told that the present distraction took its
rise from a three penny duty on tea, and call it a more unaccountable
frenzy, and more disgraceful to the annals of America, than that of
the witchcraft?

I will attempt in the next paper to retrace the steps and mark the
progressions that led us to this state. I promise to do it with
fidelity; and if any thing should look like reflecting on individuals
or bodies of men, it must be set down to my impartiality, and not to
a fondness for censuring.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

December 19, 1774.


I endeavoured last week to convince you of our real danger, not to
render you desperate, but to induce you to seek immediately some
effectual remedy. Our case is not yet remediless, as we have to deal
with a nation not less generous and humane, than powerful and brave;
just indeed, but not vindictive.

I shall, in this and successive papers, trace this yet growing
distemper through its several stages, from the first rise to the
present hour, point out the causes, mark the effects, shew the
madness of persevering in our present line of conduct, and recommend
what, I have been long convinced, is our only remedy. I confess
myself to be one of those, that think our present calamity is in a
great measure to be attributed to the bad policy of a popular party
in this province; and that their measures for several years past,
whatever may have been their intention, have been diametrically
opposite to their profession,--the public good; and cannot, at
present, but compare their leaders to a false guide, that having led
a benighted traveller through many mazes and windings in a thick
wood, finds himself at length on the brink of a horrid precipice,
and, to save himself, seizes fast hold of his follower, to the utmost
hazard of plunging both headlong down the steep, and being dashed in
pieces together against the rocks below.

In ordinary cases we may talk in the measured language of a courtier;
but when such a weight of vengeance is suspended over our heads, by
a single thread, as threatens every moment to crush us to atoms,
delicacy itself would be ill-timed. I will declare the plain truth
wherever I find it, and claim it as a right to canvass popular
measures and expose their errors and pernicious tendency, as freely
as governmental measures are canvassed, so long as I confine myself
within the limits of the law.

At the conclusion of the late war, Great Britain found that though
she had humbled her enemies, and greatly enlarged her own empire,
that the national debt amounted to almost one hundred and fifty
millions, and that the annual expence of keeping her extended
dominions in a state of defence, which good policy dictates no less
in a time of peace than war, was increased in proportion to the new
acquisitions. Heavy taxes and duties were already laid, not only
upon the luxuries and conveniences, but even the necessaries of life
in Great Britain and Ireland. She knew that the colonies were as
much benefitted by the conquests in the late war, as any part of the
empire, and indeed more so, as their continental foes were subdued,
and they might now extend their settlements not only to Canada,
but even to the western ocean.--The greatest opening was given to
agriculture, the natural livelihood of the country, that ever was
known in the history of the world, and their trade was protected by
the British navy. The revenue to the crown, from America, amounted
to but little more than the charges of collecting it. She thought it
as reasonable that the colonies should bear a part of the national
burden, as that they should share in the national benefit. For this
purpose the stamp-act was passed. The colonies soon found that the
duties imposed by the stamp-act would be grievous, as they were laid
upon custom-house papers, law proceedings, conveyancing, and indeed
extended to almost all their internal trade and dealings. It was
generally believed through the colonies, that this was a tax not
only exceeding our proportion, but beyond our utmost ability to pay.
This idea, united the colonies generally in opposing it. At first we
did not dream of denying the _authority_ of parliament to tax us,
much less to legislate for us. We had always considered ourselves,
as a part of the British empire, and the parliament, as the supreme
legislature of the whole. Acts of parliament for regulating our
internal polity were familiar. We had paid postage agreeable to
act of parliament, for establishing a post-office, duties imposed
for regulating trade, and even for raising a revenue to the crown
without questioning the right, though we closely adverted to the
rate or quantum. We knew that in all those acts of government, the
good of the whole had been consulted, and whenever through want of
information any thing grievous had been ordained, we were sure of
obtaining redress by a proper representation of it. We were happy
in our subordination; but in an evil hour, under the influence
of some malignant planet, the design was formed of opposing the
stamp-act, by a denial of the right of parliament to make it. The
love of empire is so predominant in the human breast, that we rarely
find an individual content with relinquishing a power that he is
able to retain; never a body of men. Some few months after it was
known that the stamp-act was passed, some resolves of the house of
burgesses in Virginia, denying the right of parliament to tax the
colonies, made their appearance. We read them with wonder; they
savoured of independence; they flattered the human passions; the
reasoning was specious; we wished it conclusive. The transition, to
believing it so, was easy; and we, and almost all America, followed
their example, in resolving that the parliament had no such right.
It now became unpopular to suggest the contrary; his life would be
in danger that asserted it. The newspapers were open to but one side
of the question, and the inflammatory pieces that issued weekly
from the press, worked up the populace to a fit temper to commit
the outrages that ensued. A non-importation was agreed upon, which
alarmed the merchants and manufacturers in England. It was novel,
and the people in England then supposed, that the love of liberty
was so powerful in an American merchant, as to stifle his love of
gain, and that the agreement would be religiously adhered to. It
has been said, that several thousands were expended in England, to
foment the disturbances there. However that may be, opposition to
the ministry was then gaining ground, from circumstances, foreign
to this. The ministry was changed, and the stamp-act repealed. The
repealing statute passed, with difficulty however, through the
house of peers, near forty noble lords protested against giving
way to such an opposition, and foretold what has since literally
come to pass in consequence of it. When the statute was made,
imposing duties upon glass, paper, India teas, &c. imported into the
colonies, it was said, that this was another instance of taxation,
for some of the dutied commodities were necessaries, we had them
not within ourselves, were prohibited from importing them from
any place except Great Britain, were therefore obliged to import
them from Great Britain, and consequently, were obliged to pay the
duties. Accordingly newspaper publications, pamphlets, resolves,
non-importation agreements, and the whole system of American
opposition was again put in motion. We obtained a partial repeal of
this statute, which took off the duties from all the articles except
teas. This was the lucky moment when to have closed the dispute. We
might have made a safe and honorable retreat. We had gained much,
perhaps more than we expected. If the parliament had passed an act
declaratory of their right to tax us, our assemblies had resolved,
ten times, that they had no such right. We could not complain of
the three-penny duty on tea as burdensome, for a shilling which
had been laid upon it, for the purpose of regulating trade, and
therefore was allowed to be constitutional, was taken off; so that
we were in fact gainers nine-pence in a pound by the new regulation.
If the appropriation of the revenue, arising from this statute was
disrelished, it was only our striking off one article of luxury
from our manner of living, an article too, which if we may believe
the resolves of most of the towns in this province, or rely on its
collected wisdom in a resolve of the house of representatives, was to
the last degree ruinous to health. It was futile to urge its being
a precedent, as a reason for keeping up the ball of contention; for,
allowing the supreme legislature ever to want a precedent, they had
many for laying duties on commodities imported into the colonies. And
beside we had great reason to believe that the remaining part of the
statute would be repealed, as soon as the parliament should suppose
it could be done with honor to themselves, as the incidental revenue
arising from the former regulation, was four fold to the revenue
arising from the latter. A claim of the right, could work no injury,
so long as there was no grievous exercise of it, especially as we had
protested against it, through the whole, and could not be said to
have departed from our claims in the least. We might now upon good
terms have dropped the dispute, and been happy in the affections of
our mother country; but that is yet to come. Party is inseperable
from a free state. The several distributions of power, as they are
limited by, so they create perpetual dissentions between each other,
about their respective boundaries; but the greatest source is the
competition of individuals for preferment in the state. Popularity
is the ladder by which the partizans usually climb. Accordingly, the
struggle is, who shall have the greatest share of it. Each party
professes disinterested patriotism, though some cynical writers
have ventured to assert, that self-love is the ruling passion of
the whole. There were two parties in this province of pretty long
standing, known by the name of whig and tory, which at this time were
not a little imbittered against each other. Men of abilities and
acknowledged probity were on both sides. If the tories were suspected
of pursuing their private interest through the medium of court favor,
there was equal reason to suspect the whigs of pursuing their private
interest by the means of popularity. Indeed some of them owed all
their importance to it, and must in a little time have sunk into
obscurity, had these turbulent commotions then subsided.

The tories and whigs took different routs, as usual. The tories
were for closing the controversy with Great Britain, the whigs for
continuing it; the tories were for restoring government in the
province, which had become greatly relaxed by these convulsions,
to its former tone; the whigs were averse to it; they even refused
to revive a temporary riot act, which expired about this time.
Perhaps they thought that mobs were a necessary ingredient in their
system of opposition. However, the whigs had great advantages in the
unequal combat; their scheme flattered the people with the idea of
independence; the tories' plan supposed a degree of subordination,
which is rather an humiliating idea; besides there is a propensity
in men to believe themselves injured and oppressed whenever they
are told so. The ferment, raised in their minds in the time of the
stamp-act, was not yet allayed, and the leaders of the whigs had
gained the confidence of the people by their successes in their
former struggles, so that they had nothing to do but to keep up the
spirit among the people, and they were sure of commanding in this
province. It required some pains to prevent their minds settling into
that calm, which is ordinarily the effect of a mild government; the
whigs were sensible that there was no oppression that could be either
seen or felt; if any thing was in reality amiss in government, it was
its being too lax. So far was it from the innocent being in danger of
suffering, that the most atrocious offenders escaped with impunity.
They accordingly applied themselves to work upon the imagination,
and to inflame the passions; for this work they possessed great
talents; I will do justice to their ingenuity; they were intimately
acquainted with the feelings of man, and knew all the avenues to the
human heart. Effigies, paintings, and other imagery were exhibited;
the fourteenth of August was celebrated annually as a festival in
commemoration of a mob's destroying a building, owned by the late
Lieutenant Governor, which was supposed to have been erected for a
stamp-office; and compelling him to resign his office of stamp-master
under liberty tree; annual orations were delivered in the old south
meeting house, on the fifth of March, the day when some persons were
unfortunately killed by a party of the twenty-ninth regiment; lists
of imaginary grievances were continually published; the people were
told weekly that the ministry had formed a plan to enslave them;
that the duty upon tea was only a prelude to a window tax, hearth
tax, land tax, and poll tax; and these were only paving the way
for reducing the country to lordships. This last bait was the more
easily swallowed, as there seems to be an apprehension of that kind
hereditary to people of New-England; and were conjured by the duty
they owed themselves, their country, and their God, by the reverence
due to the sacred memory of their ancestors, and all their toils
and sufferings in this once inhospitable wilderness, and by their
affections for unborn millions, to rouse and exert themselves in the
common cause. This perpetual incantation kept the people in continual
alarm. We were further stimulated by being told, that the people
of England were depraved, the parliament venal, and the ministry
corrupt; nor were attempts wanting to traduce Majesty itself. The
kingdom of Great Britain was depicted as an ancient structure, once
the admiration of the world, now sliding from its base, and rushing
to its fall. At the same time we were called upon to mark our own
rapid growth, and behold the certain evidence that America was upon
the eve of independent empire.

When we consider what effect a well written tragedy or novel has
on the human passions, though we know it to be all fictitious,
what effect must all this be supposed to have had upon those, that
believed these high wrought images to be realities?

The tories have been censured for remissness in not having exerted
themselves sufficiently at this period. The truth of the case is
this; they saw and shuddered at the gathering storm, but durst not
attempt to dispel it, lest it should burst on their own heads.
Printers were threatened with the loss of their bread, for
publishing freely on the tory side. One Mr. Mein was forced to fly
the country for persisting in it.

All our dissenting ministers were not inactive on this occasion.
When the clergy engage in a political warfare, religion becomes a
most powerful engine, either to support or overthrow the state. What
effect must it have had upon the audience to hear the same sentiments
and principles, which they had before read in a newspaper, delivered
on Sundays from the sacred desk, with a religious awe, and the most
solemn appeals to heaven, from lips which they had been taught, from
their cradles, to believe could utter nothing but eternal truths?
What was it natural to expect from a people bred under a free
constitution, jealous of their liberty, credulous, even to a proverb,
when told their privileges were in danger, thus wrought upon in the
extreme? I answer, outrages disgraceful to humanity itself. What
mischief was not an artful man, who had obtained the confidence and
guidance of such an enraged multitude, capable of doing? He had only
to point out this or the other man, as an enemy of his country; and
no character, station, age, or merit could protect the proscribed
from their fury. Happy was it for him, if he could secrete his
person, and subject his property only to their lawless ravages. By
such means, many people naturally brave and humane, have been wrought
upon to commit such acts of private mischief and public violence, as
will blacken many a page in the history of our country.

I shall next trace the effects of this spirit, which the whigs had
thus infused into the body of the people, through the courts of
common law, and the general assembly, and mark the ways and means,
whereby they availed themselves of it, to the subversion of our
charter constitution, antecedent to the late acts of parliament.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

December 26, 1774.


To undertake to convince a person of his error, is the indispensible
duty, the certain, though dangerous test of friendship. He that could
see his friend persevering in a fatal error, without reminding him of
it, and striving to reclaim him, through fear that he might thereby
incur his displeasure, would little deserve the sacred name himself.
Such delicacy is not only false, but criminal. Were I not fully
convinced upon the most mature deliberation, that I am capable of,
that the temporal salvation of this province depends upon an entire
and speedy change of measures, which must depend upon a change of
sentiment, respecting our own conduct, and the justice of the British
nation, I never should have obtruded myself on the public. I repeat
my promise, to avoid personal reflection, as much as the nature of
the task will admit of; but will continue faithfully to expose the
wretched policy of the whigs, though I may be obliged to penetrate
the arcana, and discover such things as, were there not a necessity
for it, I should be infinitely happier in drawing a veil over, or
covering with a mantle. Should I be so unfortunate as to incur your
displeasure, I shall nevertheless think myself happy, if I can but
snatch one of my fellow-subjects as a brand out of the burning.

Perhaps some may imagine that I have represented too many of my
countrymen, as well as the leading whigs, in an unjust point of
light, by supposing these so wicked as to mislead, or those so little
circumspect as to be misled, in matters of the last importance.
Whoever has been conversant with the history of man, must know that
it abounds with such instances. The same game, and with the same
success, has been played in all ages, and all countries.

The bulk of the people are generally but little versed in matters of
state. Want of inclination or opportunity to figure in public life,
makes them content to rest the affairs of government in the hands,
where accident or merit has placed them. Their views and employments
are confined to the humbler walks of business or retirement. There
is a latent spark however, in their breasts, capable of being
kindled into a flame; to do this has always been the employment of
the disaffected. They begin by reminding the people of the elevated
rank they hold in the universe, as men; that all men by nature are
equal; that kings are but the ministers of the people; that their
authority is delegated to them by the people for their good, and they
have a right to resume it, and place it in other hands, or keep it
themselves, whenever it is made use of to oppress them. Doubtless
there have been instances where these principles have been inculcated
to obtain a redress of real grievances, but they have been much
oftener perverted to the worst of purposes. No government, however
perfect in theory, is administered in perfection; the frailty of man
does not admit of it. A small mistake, in point of policy, often
furnishes a pretence to libel government, and persuade the people
that their rulers are tyrants, and the whole government a system of
oppression. Thus the seeds of sedition are usually sown, and the
people are led to sacrifice real liberty to licentiousness, which
gradually ripens into rebellion and civil war. And what is still
more to be lamented, the generality of the people, who are thus made
the dupes of artifice, and the mere stilts of ambition, are sure
to be losers in the end. The best they can expect, is to be thrown
neglected by, when they are no longer wanted; but they are seldom so
happy; if they are subdued, confiscation of estate and ignominious
death are their portion; if they conquer, their own army is often
turned upon them, to subjugate them to a more tyranical government
than that they rebelled against. History is replete with instances
of this kind; we can trace them in remote antiquity, we find them
in modern times, and have a remarkable one in the very country from
which we are derived. It is an universal truth, that he that would
excite a rebellion, whatever professions of philanthropy he may make,
when he is insinuating and worming himself into the good graces of
the people, is at heart as great a tyrant as ever wielded the iron
rod of oppression. I shall have occasion hereafter to consider this
matter more fully, when I shall endeavour to convince you how little
we can gain, and how much we may lose, by this unequal, unnatural,
and desperate contest. My present business is, to trace the spirit
of opposition to Great Britain through the general court, and the
courts of common law. In moderate times, a representative that votes
for an unpopular measure, or opposes a popular one, is in danger of
losing his election the next year; when party runs high, he is sure
to do it. It was the policy of the whigs to have their questions,
upon high matters, determined by yea and nay votes, which were
published with the representatives' names in the next gazette. This
was commonly followed by severe strictures and the most illiberal
invectives upon the dissentients; sometimes they were held up as
objects of resentment, of contempt at others; the abuse was in
proportion to the extravagance of the measure they opposed. This
may seem not worth notice, but its consequences were important. The
scurrility made its way into the dissentient's town, it furnished his
competitor with means to supplant him, and he took care to shun the
rock his predecessor had split upon. In this temper of the times, it
was enough to know who voted with Cassius and who with Lucius, to
determine who was a friend and who an enemy to the country, without
once adverting to the question before the house. The loss of a seat
in the house was not of so much consequence; but when once he became
stigmatized as an enemy to his country, he was exposed to insult; and
if his profession or business was such, that his livelihood depended
much on the good graces of his fellow citizens, he was in danger of
losing his bread, and involving his whole family in ruin.

One particular set of members, in committee, always prepared the
resolves and other spirited measures. At first they were canvassed
freely, at length would slide through the house without meeting
an obstacle. The lips of the dissentients were sealed up; they
sat in silence, and beheld with infinite regret the measures they
durst not oppose. Many were borne down against their wills, by the
violence of the current; upon no other principle can we reconcile
their ostensible conduct in the house to their declarations in
private circles. The apparent unanimity in the house encouraged the
opposition out of doors, and that in its turn strengthened the party
in the house. Thus they went on mutually supporting and up-lifting
each other. Assemblies and towns resolved alternately; some of them
only omitted resolving to snatch the sceptre out of the hands of our
sovereign, and to strike the imperial crown from his sacred head.

A master stroke in politics respecting the agent, ought not to be
neglected. Each colony has usually an agent residing at the court of
Great Britain. These agents are appointed by the three branches of
their several assemblies; and indeed there cannot be a provincial
agent without such appointment. The whigs soon found that they could
not have such services rendered them from a provincial agent, as
would answer their purposes. The house therefore refused to join
with the other two branches of the general court in the appointment.
The house chose an agent for themselves, and the council appointed
another. Thus we had two agents for private purposes, and the expence
of agency doubled; and with equal reason a third might have been
added, as agent for the Governor, and the charges been trebled.

The additional expence was of little consideration, compared with
another inconvenience that attended this new mode of agency. The
person appointed by the house was the ostensible agent of the
province, though in fact he was only the agent of a few individuals
that had got the art of managing the house at their pleasure. He knew
his continuing in office depended upon them. An office, that yielded
several hundred pounds sterling annually, the business of which
consisted in little more than attending the levees of the great, and
writing letters to America, was worth preserving. Thus he was under a
strong temptation to sacrifice the province to a party; and ecchoed
back the sentiments of his patrons.

The advices continually received from one of the persons, that was
thus appointed agent, had great influence upon the members of the
house of more moderate principles. He had pushed his researches deep
into nature, and made important discoveries: they thought he had done
the same in politics, and did not admire him less as a politician,
than as a philosopher. His intelligence as to the disposition of his
majesty, the ministry, the parliament and the nation in general, was
deemed the most authentic. He advised us to keep up our opposition,
to resolve, and re-resolve, to cherish a military spirit, uniformly
holding up this idea, that if we continued firm, we had nothing to
fear from the government in England. He even proposed some modes of
opposition himself. The spirited measures were always ushered into
the house with a letter from him. I have been sometimes almost ready
to suspect him of being the _primum mobile_, and, that like the man
behind the curtain at a puppet-shew, he was playing off the figures
here with his own secret wires. If he advised to these measures
contrary to his better knowledge, from sinister views, and to serve
a private purpose, he has _wilfully_ done the province irreparable
injury. However, I will do him justice; he enjoined it upon us to
refrain from violence, as that would unite the nation against us;
and I am rather inclined to think that he was deceived himself,
with respect to the measures he recommended, as he has already felt
the resentment of that very government, which he told us there was
nothing to fear from. This disposition of the house could not have
produced such fatal effects, had the other two branches of the
legislature retained their constitutional freedom and influence. They
might have been a sufficient check.

The councellors depended upon the general assembly for their
political existence; the whigs reminded the council of their
mortality. If a councellor opposed the violent measures of the whigs
with any spirit, he lost his election the next May. The council
consisted of twenty-eight. From this principle, near half that
number, mostly men of the first families, note and abilities, with
every possible attachment to their native country, and as far from
temptation as wealth and independence could remove them, were tumbled
from their seats in disgrace. Thus the board, which was intended to
moderate between the two extremes of prerogative and privilege, lost
its weight in the scale, and the political balance of the province
was destroyed.

Had the chair been able to retain its own constitutional influence,
the loss of the board would have been less felt; but no longer
supported by the board, that fell likewise. The Governor by the
charter could do little or nothing without the council. If he called
upon a military officer to raise the militia, he was answered,
they were there already. If he called upon his council for their
assistance, they must first enquire into the cause. If he wrote to
government at home to strengthen his hands, some officious person
procured and sent back his letters.

It was not the person of a Bernard or Hutchinson that made them
obnoxious; any other governors would have met with the same fate, had
they discharged their duty with equal fidelity; that is, had they
strenuously opposed the principles and practices of the whigs; and
when they found that the government here could not support itself,
wrote home for aid sufficient to do it. And let me tell you, had
the intimations in those letters, which you are taught to execrate,
been timely attended to, we had now been as happy a people as good
government could make us. Gov. Bernard came here recommended by the
affections of the province over which he had presided. His abilities
are acknowledged. True British honesty and punctuality are traits in
his character, too strongly marked to escape the eye of prejudice
itself. We know Governor Hutchinson to be amiable and exemplary
in private life. His great abilities, integrity and humanity were
conspicuous, in the several important departments that he filled,
before his appointment to the chair, and reflect honour on his native
country. But his abilities and integrity, added to his thorough
knowledge of the province, in all its interests and connexions,
were insufficient in this case. The constitution itself was gone,
though the ancient form remained; the spirit was truly republican.
He endeavoured to reclaim us by gentle means. He strove to convince
us by arguments, drawn from the first principles of government; our
several charters, and the express acknowledgments of our ancestors,
that our claims were inconsistent with the subordination due to Great
Britain; and if persisted in, might work the destruction of those
that we were entitled to. For this he was called an enemy to his
country, and set up as a mark for the envenomed arrows of malice and
party rage. Had I entertained a doubt about its being the governor,
and not the man that was aimed at, the admirable facility with which
the newspaper abuse was transferred from Gov. Hutchinson to his
humane and benevolent successor, Gen. Gage, almost as soon as he set
foot on our shore, would have removed it.

Thus, disaffection to Great Britain being infused into the body
of the people, the subtle poison stole through all the veins and
arteries, contaminated the blood, and destroyed the very stamina of
the constitution. Had not the courts of justice been tainted in the
early stages, our government might have expelled the virus, purged
off the peccant humors, and recovered its former vigour by its own
strength. The judges of the superior court were dependant upon the
annual grants of the general court for their support. Their salaries
were small, in proportion to the salaries of other officers in the
government, of less importance.

They had often petitioned the assembly to enlarge them, without
success. They were at this time reminded of their dependance.
However, it is but justice to say, that the judges remained unshaken,
amid the raging tempests, which is to be attributed rather to their
firmness than situation. But the spirit of the times was very
apparent in the juries. The grand jurors were elective; and in such
places where libels, riots, and insurrections were the most frequent,
the high whigs took care to get themselves chosen. The judges pointed
out to them the seditious libels on governors, magistrates, and the
whole government to no effect. They were enjoined to present riots
and insurrections, of which there was ample evidence, with as little

It is difficult to account for so many of the first rate whigs
being returned to serve on the petit jury at the term next after
extraordinary insurrections, without supposing some legerdemain
in drawing their names out of the box. It is certain that
notwithstanding swarms of the most virulent libels infested the
province, and there were so many riots and insurrections, scarce one
offender was indicted, and I think not one convicted and punished.
Causes of _meum et tuum_ were not always exempt from party influence.
The mere circumstance of the whigs gaining the ascendency over the
tories, is trifling. Had the whigs divided the province between
them, as they once flattered themselves they should be able to do,
it would have been of little consequence to the community, had
they not cut asunder the very sinews of government, and broke in
pieces the ligaments of social life in the attempt. I will mention
two instances, which I have selected out of many, of the weakness
of our government, as they are recent and unconnected with acts
of parliament. One Malcolm, a loyal subject, and as such entitled
to protection, the evening before the last winter sessions of the
general court, was dragged out of his house, stript, tarred and
feathered, and carted several hours in the severest frost of that
winter, to the utmost hazard of his life. He was carried to the
gallows with an halter about his neck, and in his passage to and
from the gallows, was beaten with as cruel stripes as ever were
administered by the hands of a savage. The whipping, however, kept
up the circulation of his blood, and saved the poor man's life. When
they had satiated their malice, they dispersed in good order. This
was transacted in the presence of thousands of spectators; some of
whom were members of the general court. Malcolm's life was despaired
of several days, but he survived and presented a memorial to the
general assembly, praying their interposition. The petition was
read, and all he obtained was leave to withdraw it. So that he was
destitute of protection every hour, until he left the country, as
were thousands beside, until the arrival of the king's troops. This
originated from a small fracas in the street, wherein Malcolm struck,
or threatened to strike a person that insulted him, with a cutlass,
and had no connection with the quarrel of the times, unless his
sustaining a small post in the customs made it.

The other instance is much stronger than this, as it was totally
detached from politics. It had been suspected that infection had
been communicated from an hospital, lately erected at Marblehead,
for the purpose of innoculating the small-pox, to the town's people.
This caused a great insurrection; the insurgents burnt the hospital;
not content with that, threatened the proprietors, and many others,
some of the first fortunes and characters in the town, with burning
their houses over their heads, and continued parading the streets,
to the utmost terror of the inhabitants several days. A massacre and
general devastation was apprehended. The persons threatened, armed
themselves, and petitioned the general assembly, which was then
sitting, for assistance, as there was little or no civil authority in
the place. A committee was ordered to repair to Marblehead, report
the facts, and enquire into the cause. The committee reported the
facts nearly as stated in the petition. The report was accepted, and
nothing farther done by the assembly. Such demonstrations of the
weakness of government induced many persons to join the whigs, to
seek from them that protection, which the constitutional authority of
the province was unable to afford.

Government at home, early in the day, made an effort to check us
in our career, and to enable us to recover from anarchy without
her being driven to the necessity of altering our provincial
constitution, knowing the predilection that people always have for
an ancient form of government. The judges of the superior court had
not been staggered, though their feet stood in slippery places, they
depended upon the leading whigs for their support. To keep them
steady, they were made independent of the grants of the general
assembly: but it was not a remedy any way adequate to the disease.
The whigs now turned their artillery against them, and it played
briskly. The chief justice, for accepting the crown grant, was
accused of receiving a royal bribe.

Thus, my friends, those very persons that had made you believe that
every attempt to strengthen government and save our charter was an
infringement of your privileges, by little and little destroyed
your real liberty, subverted your charter constitution, abridged
the freedom of the house, annihilated the freedom of the board,
and rendered the governor a mere doge of Venice. They engrossed
all the power of the province into their own hands. A democracy
or republic it has been called, but it does not deserve the name
of either; it was, however, a despotism cruelly carried into
execution by mobs and riots, and more incompatible with the rights
of mankind, than the enormous monarchies of the East. The absolute
necessity of the interposition of parliament is apparent. The good
policy of the act for regulating the government in this province,
will be the subject of some future paper. A particular enquiry
into the despotism of the whigs will be deferred for a chapter on
congresses. I shall next ask your attention to a transaction, as
important in its consequences, and perhaps more so, than any I have
yet mentioned; I mean the destruction of the tea, belonging to the
East-India company. I am sensible of the difficulty of the task, in
combating generally received opinions. It is hard work to eradicate
deep-rooted prejudice. But I will persevere. There are hundreds, if
not thousands, in the province, that will feel the truth of what
I have written, line by line as they read it, and as to those who
obstinately shut their eyes against it now, haply the fever of the
times may intermit, there may be some lucid interval, when their
minds shall be open to truth, before it is too late to serve them;
otherwise it will be revealed to them in bitter moments, attended
with keen remorse and unutterable anguish. _Magna est veritas et



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 2, 1775.


Perhaps by this time some of you may enquire who it is, that suffers
his pen to run so freely? I will tell you; it is a native of this
province, that knew it before many that are now basking in the rays
of political sunshine, had a being. He was favored not by whigs
or tories, but the people, with such a stand in the community, as
that he could distinctly see all the political manoeuvres of the
province. He saw some with pleasure, others with pain. If he condemns
the conduct of the whigs, he does not always approve of the conduct
of the tories. He dwells upon the misconduct of the former, because
we are indebted to that for bringing us into this wretched state,
unless the supineness of the latter, at some periods, and some
impolitic efforts to check the whigs in their career, at others,
that served like adding fuel to the fire, ought to be added to the
account. He is now repaying your favors, if he knows his own heart,
from the purest gratitude and the most undissembled patriotism, which
will one day be acknowledged. I saw the small seed of sedition, when
it was implanted; it was, as a grain of mustard. I have watched the
plant until it has become a great tree; the vilest reptiles that
crawl upon the earth, are concealed at the root; the foulest birds of
the air rest upon its branches. I now would induce you to go to work
immediately with axes and hatchets, and cut it down, for a twofold
reason; because it is a pest to society, and lest it be felled
suddenly by a stronger arm and crush its thousands in the fall.

An apprehension of injustice in the conduct of Great Britain towards
us, I have already told you was one source of our misery. Last week
I endeavoured to convince you of the necessity of her regulating, or
rather establishing some government amongst us. I am now to point
out the principles and motives upon which the blockade act was made.
The violent attack upon the property of the East-India company, in
the destruction of their tea, was the cause of it. In order to form
a right judgment of that transaction, it is necessary to go back and
view the cause of its being sent here. As the government of England
is mixt, so the spirit or genius of the nation is at once monarchial,
aristocratical, democratical, martial and commercial. It is difficult
to determine which is the most predominant principle, but it is
worthy of remark, that, to injure the British nation upon either of
these points, is like injuring a Frenchman in the point of honor.
Commerce is the great source of national wealth; for this reason it
is cherished by all orders of men from the palace to the cottage.
In some countries, a merchant is held in contempt by the nobles;
in England they respect him. He rises to high honors in the state,
often contracts alliances with the first families in the kingdom, and
noble blood flows in the veins of his posterity. Trade is founded
upon persons or countries mutually supplying each other with their
redundances. Thus none are impoverished, all enriched, the asperities
of human life worne away, and mankind made happier by it. Husbandry,
manufacture and merchandize are its triple support; deprived of
either of these, it would cease.

Agriculture is the natural livelihood of a country but thinly
inhabited, as arts and manufactures are of a populous one. The high
price of labour prevents manufactures being carried on to advantage
in the first, scarcity of soil obliges the inhabitants to pursue
them in the latter. Upon these, and considerations arising from
the fertility and produce of different climates, and such like
principles, the grand system of the British trade is founded. The
collected wisdom of the nation has always been attentive to this
great point of policy, that the national trade might be so balanced
and poised, as that each part of her extended dominions might be
benefitted, and the whole concentre to the good of the empire. This
evinces the necessity of acts for regulating trade.

To prevent one part of the empire being enriched at the expence and
to the impoverishing of another, checks, restrictions, and sometimes
absolute prohibitions are necessary. These are imposed or taken off
as circumstances vary. To carry the acts of trade into execution,
many officers are necessary. Thus, we see a number of custom-house
officers, so constituted as to be checks and controuls upon each
other, and prevent their swerving from their duty, should they be
tempted, and a board of commissioners appointed to superintend the
whole, like the commissioners of the customs in England. Hence also
arises the necessity of courts of admiralty.

The laws and regulations of trade, are esteemed in England, as
sacred. An estate made by smuggling or pursuing an illicit trade, is
there looked upon as filthy lucre, as monies amassed by gaming, and
upon the same principle, because it is obtained at the expence, and
often ruin of others. The smuggler not only injures the public, but
often ruins the fair trader.

The great extent of sea-coast, many harbours, the variety of islands,
the numerous creeks and navigable rivers, afford the greatest
opportunity to drive an illicit trade, in these colonies, without
detection. This advantage has not been overlooked by the avaricious,
and many persons seem to have set the laws of trade at defiance.
This accounts for so many new regulations being made, new officers
appointed, and ships of war, from time to time, stationed along the
continent. The way to Holland and back again is well known, and by
much the greatest part of the tea that has been drank in America
for several years, has been imported from thence and other places,
in direct violation of law. By this the smugglers have amassed great
estates, to the prejudice of the fair trader. It was sensibly felt
by the East-India company; they were prohibited from exporting their
teas to America, and were obliged to sell it at auction in London;
the London merchant purchased it, and put a profit upon it when he
shipt it for America; the American merchant, in his turn, put a
profit upon it, and after him the shopkeeper; so that it came to
the consumer's hands, at a very advanced price. Such quantities of
tea were annually smuggled that it was scarcely worth while for the
American merchant to import tea from England at all. Some of the
principal trading towns in America were wholly supplied with this
commodity by smuggling; Boston however continued to import it, until
advice was received that the parliament had it in contemplation to
permit the East-India company to send their teas directly to America.
The Boston merchants then sent their orders conditionally to their
correspondents in England, to have tea shipt for them in case the
East-India company's tea did not come out; one merchant, a great
whig, had such an order lying in England for sixty chests, on his own
account, when the company's tea was sent. An act of parliament was
made to enable the East-India company to send their tea directly to
America, and sell it at auction there, not with a view of raising a
revenue from the three penny duty, but to put it out of the power of
the smugglers to injure them by their infamous trade. We have it from
good authority, that the revenue was not the consideration before
parliament, and it is reasonable to suppose it; for had that been the
point in view, it was only to restore the former regulation, which
was then allowed to be constitutional, and the revenue would have
been respectable. Had this new regulation taken effect, the people in
America would have been great gainers. The wholesale merchant might
have been deprived of some of his gains; but the retailer would have
supplied himself with this article, directly from the auction, and
the consumer reap the benefit, as tea would have been sold under the
price that had been usual, by near one half. Thus the country in
general would have been great gainers, the East-India company secured
in supplying the American market with this article, which they are
entitled to by the laws of trade, and smuggling suppressed, at least
as to tea. A smuggler and a whig are cousin germans, the offspring
of two sisters, avarice and ambition. They had been playing into
each others hands a long time. The smuggler received protection from
the whig, and he in his turn received support from the smuggler.
The illicit trader now demanded protection from his kinsman, and it
would have been unnatural in him to have refused it; and beside,
an opportunity presented of strengthening his own interest. The
consignees were connected with the tories, and that was a further
stimulus. Accordingly the press was again set to work, and the old
story repeated with addition about monopolies, and many infatuated
persons once more wrought up to a proper pitch to carry into
execution any violent measures, that their leaders should propose.
A bold stroke was resolved upon. The whigs, though they had got the
art of managing the people, had too much sense to be ignorant that
it was all a mere finesse, not only without, but directly repugnant
to law, constitution and government, and could not last always. They
determined to put all at hazard, and to be _aut Cæsar aut nullus_.
The approaching storm was foreseen, and the first ship that arrived
with the tea, detained below Castle William. A body meeting was
assembled at the old south meeting-house, which has great advantage
over a town meeting, as no law has yet ascertained the qualification
of the voters; each person present, of whatever age, estate or
country, may take the liberty to speak or vote at such an assembly;
and that might serve as a screen to the town where it originated,
in case of any disastrous consequence. The body meeting consisting
of several thousands, being thus assembled, with the leading whigs
at its head, in the first place sent for the owner of the tea ship,
and required him to bring her to the wharf, upon pain of their
displeasure; the ship was accordingly brought up, and the master was
obliged to enter at the custom house. He reported the tea, after
which twenty days are allowed for landing it and paying the duty.

The next step was to resolve. They resolved that the tea should not
be landed nor the duty paid, that it should go home in the same
bottom that it came in, &c. &c. This was the same as resolving to
destroy it, for as the ship had been compelled to come to the wharf,
and was entered at the custom house, it could not, by law, be cleared
out, without the duties being first paid, nor could the governor
grant a permit for the vessel to pass Castle William, without a
certificate from the custom house of such clearance, consistent
with his duty. The body accordingly, ordered a military guard to
watch the ship every night until further orders. The consignees had
been applied to, by the selectmen, to send the tea to England, they
answered that they could not; for if they did, it would be forfeited
by the acts of trade, and they should be liable to make good the loss
to the East India company. Some of the consignees were mobbed, and
all were obliged to fly to the castle, and there immure themselves.
They petitioned the governor and council to take the property of
the East India company under their protection. The council declined
being concerned in it. The consignees then offered the body to store
the tea under the care of the selectmen or a committee of the town
of Boston, and to have no further concern in the matter until they
could send to England, and receive further instructions from their
principals. This was refused with disdain. The military guard was
regularly kept in rotation till the eve of the twentieth day, when
the duties must have been paid, the tea landed, or be liable to
seizure; then the military guard was withdrawn, or rather omitted
being posted, and a number of persons in disguise, forcibly entered
the ships, (three being by this time arrived) split open the chests,
and emptied all the tea, being of 10,000_l._ sterling value, into the
dock, and perfumed the town with its fragrance. Another circumstance
ought not to be omitted: the afternoon before the destruction of the
tea, the body sent the owner of one of the ships to the governor
to demand a pass; he answered, that he would as soon give a pass
for that as any other vessel, if he had the proper certificate from
the custom house; without which he could not give a pass for any,
consistent with his duty. It was known that this would be the answer,
when the message was sent, and it was with the utmost difficulty that
the body were kept together till the messenger returned. When the
report was made, a shout was set up in the galleries and at the door,
and the meeting immediately dispersed. The governor had, previous
to this, sent a proclamation by the sheriff, commanding the body
to disperse; they permitted it to be read, and answered it with a
general hiss. These are the facts, as truly and fairly stated, as I
am able to state them. The ostensible reason for this conduct, was
the tea's being subject to the three-penny duty. Let us take the
advocates for this transaction upon their own principle, and admit
the duty to be unconstitutional, and see how the argument stands.
Here is a cargo of tea subject upon its being entered and landed,
to a duty of three-pence per pound, which is paid by the East India
company or by their factors, which amounts to the same thing. Unless
we purchase the tea, we shall never pay the duty; if we purchase it,
we pay the three-pence included in the price: therefore, lest we
should purchase it, we have a right to destroy it. A flimsy pretext!
and either supposes the people destitute of virtue, or that their
purchasing the tea was a matter of no importance to the community;
but even this gauze covering is stript off, when we consider that the
Boston merchants, and some who were active at the body meeting, were
every day importing from England, large quantities of tea subject to
the same duty and vending it unmolested; and at this time had orders
lying in their correspondent's hands, to send them considerable
quantities of tea, in case the East-India company should not send it

When the news of this transaction arrived in England, and it was
considered in what manner almost every other regulation of trade
had been evaded by artifice, and when artifice could no longer
serve, recourse was had to violence; the British lion was roused.
The crown lawyers were called upon for the law; they answered, high
treason. Had a Cromwell, whom some amongst us deify and imitate in
all his imitable perfections, had the guidance of the national ire,
unless compensation had been made to the sufferers immediately upon
its being demanded, your proud capital had been levelled with the
dust; not content with that, rivers of blood would have been shed to
make atonement for the injured honor of the nation. It was debated
whether to attaint the principals of treason. We have a gracious
king upon the throne; he felt the resentment of a man, softened by
the relentings of a parent. The bowels of our mother country yearned
towards her refractory, obstinate child.

It was determined to consider the offence in a milder light, and to
compel an indemnification for the sufferers, and prevent the like for
the future, by such means as would be mild, compared with the insult
to the nation, or severe, as our future conduct should be; that was
to depend upon us. Accordingly the blockade act was passed, and had
an act of justice been done in indemnifying the sufferers, and an
act of loyalty in putting a stop to seditious practices, our port
had long since been opened. This act has been called unjust, because
it involves the innocent in the same predicament with the guilty;
but it ought to be considered, that our newspapers had announced to
the world, that several thousands attended those body meetings, and
it did not appear that there was one dissentient, or any protest
entered. I do not know how a person could expect distinction, in
such a case, if he neglected to distinguish himself. When the noble
lord proposed it in the house of commons, he called upon all the
members present, to mention a better method of obtaining justice in
this case; scarce one denied the necessity of doing something, but
none could mention a more eligible way. Even ministerial opposition
was abashed. If any parts of the act strike us, like the severity
of a master, let us coolly advert to the aggravated insult, and
perhaps we shall wonder at the lenity of a parent. After this
transaction, all parties seem to have lain upon their oars, waiting
to see what parliament would do. When the blockade act arrived,
many and many were desirous of paying for the tea immediately, and
some who were guiltless of the crime, offered to contribute to the
compensation; but our leading whigs must still rule the roost, and
that inauspicious influence that had brought us hitherto, plunged us
still deeper in misery. The whigs saw their ruin connected with a
compliance with the terms of opening the port, as it would furnish
a convincing proof of the wretchedness of their policy in the
destruction of the tea, and they might justly have been expected to
pay the money demanded themselves, and set themselves industriously
to work to prevent it, and engage the other colonies to espouse their

This was a crisis too important and alarming to the province to be
neglected by its friends. A number of as respectable persons as
any in this province, belonging to Boston, Cambridge, Salem and
Marblehead, now came forward, publicly to disavow the proceedings
of the whigs, to do justice to the much injured character of Mr.
Hutchinson, and to strengthen his influence at the court of Great
Britain, where he was going to receive the well deserved plaudit
of his sovereign, that he might be able to obtain a repeal or
some mitigation of that act, the terms of which they foresaw, the
perverseness of the whigs would prevent a compliance with. This was
done by several addresses, which were subscribed by upwards of two
hundred persons, and would have been by many more, had not the sudden
embarkation of Mr. Hutchinson prevented it. The justices of the court
of common pleas and general sessions of the peace for the county of
Plymouth, sent their address to him in England. There were some of
almost all orders of men among these addressers, but they consisted
principally of men of property, large family connections, and several
were independent in their circumstances, and lived wholly upon the
income of their estates. Some indeed might be called partizans;
but a very considerable proportion were persons that had of choice
kept themselves at a distance from the political vortex; had beheld
the competition of the whigs and tories without any emotion, while
the community remained safe; had looked down on the political
dance in its various mazes and intricacies, and saw one falling,
another rising, rather as a matter of amusement; but when they saw
the capital of the province upon the point of being sacrificed by
political cunning, it called up all their feelings.

Their motives were truly patriotic. Let us now attend to the ways
and means by which the whigs prevented these exertions producing
such effects. Previous to this, a new, and until lately, unheard
of, mode of opposition had been devised, said to be the invention
of the fertile brain of one of our party agents, called a committee
of correspondence. This is the foulest, subtlest, and most venomous
serpent that ever issued from the eggs of sedition. These committees
generally consist of the highest whigs, or at least there is some
high whig upon them, that is the ruling spirit of the whole. They are
commonly appointed at thin town meetings, or if the meetings happen
to be full, the moderate men seldom speak or act at all, when this
sort of business comes on. They have been by much too modest. Thus
the meeting is often prefaced with, "at a full town meeting," and
the several resolves headed with nem. con. with strict truth, when
in fact, but a small proportion of the town have had a hand in the
matter. It is said that the committee for the town of Boston was
appointed for a special purpose, and that their commission long since
expired. However that may be, these committees when once established,
think themselves amenable to none, they assume a dictatorial style,
and have an opportunity under the apparent sanction of their several
towns, of clandestinely wreaking private revenge on individuals, by
traducing their characters, and holding them up as enemies to their
country, wherever they go, as also of misrepresenting facts and
propagating sedition through the country. Thus, a man of principle
and property, in travelling through the country, would be insulted by
persons, whose faces he had never before seen; he would often feel
the smart without suspecting the hand that administered the blow.
These committees, as they are not known in law, and can derive no
authority from thence, lest they should not get their share of power,
sometimes engross it all; they frequently erect themselves into a
tribunal, where the same persons are at once legislators, accusers,
witnesses, judges, and jurors, and the mob the executioners. The
accused has no day in court, and the execution of the sentence is the
first notice he receives. This is the channel through which liberty
matters have been chiefly conducted the summer and fall past. This
accounts for the same distempers breaking out in different parts of
the province, at one and the same time, which might be attributed
to something supernatural, by those that were unacquainted with the
secret conductors of the infection. It is chiefly owing to these
committees, that so many respectable persons have been abused, and
forced to sign recantations and resignations; that so many persons,
to avoid such reiterated insults, as are more to be deprecated by
a man of sentiment than death itself, have been obliged to quit
their houses, families, and business, and fly to the army for
protection; that husband has been separated from wife, father from
son, brother from brother, the sweet intercourse of conjugal and
natural affection interrupted, and the unfortunate refugee forced to
abandon all the comforts of domestic life. My countrymen, I beg you
to pause and reflect on this conduct. Have not these people, that
are thus insulted, as good a right to think and act for themselves
in matters of the last importance, as the whigs? Are they not as
closely connected with the interest of their country as the whigs?
Do not their former lives and conversations appear to have been
regulated by principle, as much as those of the whigs? You must
answer, yes. Why, then, do you suffer them to be cruelly treated for
differing in sentiment from you? Is it consistent with that liberty
you profess? Let us wave the consideration of right and liberty,
and see if this conduct can be reconciled to good policy. Do you
expect to make converts by it? Persecution has the same effect in
politics, that it has in religion; it confirms the sectary. Do you
wish to silence them, that the inhabitants of the province may appear
unanimous? The maltreatment they receive, for differing from you, is
undeniable evidence that we are not unanimous. It may not be amiss to
consider, that this is a changeable world, and time's rolling wheel
may ere long bring them uppermost; in that case I am sure you would
not wish to have them fraught with resentment. It is astonishing,
my friends, that those who are in pursuit of liberty, should ever
suffer arbitrary power, in such an hideous form and squalid hue,
to get a footing among them. I appeal to your good sense; I know
you have it, and hope to penetrate to it, before I have finished my
publications, notwithstanding the thick atmosphere that now envelopes
it. But to return from my digression, the committee of correspondence
represented the destruction of the tea in their own way; they
represented those that addressed Gov. Hutchinson, as persons of no
note or property, as mean, base wretches, and seekers that had been
sacrificing their country in adulation of him. Whole nations have
worshipped the rising, but if this be an instance, it is the only
one of people's worshipping the setting sun. By this means the humane
and benevolent, in various parts of the continent, were induced to
advise us not to comply with the terms for opening our port, and
engage to relieve us with their charities, from the distress that
must otherwise fall upon the poor. Their charitable intentions ascend
to heaven, like incense from the altar, in sweet memorial before
the throne of God; but their donations came near proving fatal to
the province. It encouraged the whigs to persevere in injustice,
and has been the means of seducing many an honest man into the
commission of a crime, that he did not suspect himself capable of
being guilty of. What I have told you, is not the mere suggestions
of a speculatist; there are some mistakes as to numbers, and there
may be some as to time and place, partly owing to miscopying, and
partly to my not always having had the books and papers necessary to
greater accuracy, at hand; but the relation of facts is in substance
true, I had almost said, as holy writ. I do not ask you to take the
truths of them from an anonymous writer. The evidence of most of
them is within your reach; examine for yourselves. I promise that
the benefit you will reap therefrom will abundantly pay you, for the
trouble of the research; you will find I have faithfully unriddled
the whole mystery of our political iniquity. I do not address myself
to whigs or tories, but to the whole people. I know you well. You are
loyal at heart, friends to good order, and do violence to yourselves
in harboring, one moment, disrespectful sentiments towards Great
Britain, the land of our forefathers' nativity, and sacred repository
of their bones; but you have been most insidiously induced to believe
that Great Britain is rapacious, cruel, and vindictive, and envies us
the inheritance purchased by the sweat and blood of our ancestors.
Could that thick mist, that hovers over the land and involves in it
more than Egyptian darkness, be but once dispelled, that you might
see our Sovereign, the provident father of all his people, and Great
Britain a nursing mother to these colonies, as they really are, long
live our gracious king, and happiness to Britain, would resound from
one end of the province to the other.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 9, 1775.


Some of you may perhaps suspect that I have been wantonly scattering
firebrands, arrows, and death, to gratify a malicious and revengeful
disposition. The truth is this. I had seen many excellent detached
pieces, but could see no pen at work to trace our calamity to its
source, and point out the many adventitious aids, that conspired to
raise it to its present height, though I impatiently expected it,
being fully convinced that you wait only to know the true state of
facts, to rectify whatever is amiss in the province, without any
foreign assistance. Others may be induced to think, that I grudge the
industrious poor of Boston their scantlings of charity. I will issue
a brief in their favour. The opulent, be their political sentiments
what they may, ought to relieve them from their sufferings, and those
who, by former donations, have been the innocent cause of protracting
their sufferings, are under a tenfold obligation to assist them now;
and at the same time to make the most explicit declarations, that
they did not intend to promote, nor ever will join in rebellion.
Great allowances are to be made for the crossings, windings, and
tergiversations of a politician; he is a cunning animal, and as
government is said to be founded in opinion, his tricks may be a part
of the _arcana imperii_. Had our politicians confined themselves
within any reasonable bounds, I never should have molested them;
but when I became satisfied, that many innocent, unsuspecting
persons were in danger of being seduced to their utter ruin, and
the province of Massachusetts Bay in danger of being drenched with
blood and carnage, I could restrain my emotions no longer; and
having once broke the bands of natural reserve, was determined to
probe the sore to the bottom, though I was sure to touch the quick.
It is very foreign from my intentions to draw down the vengeance of
Great Britain upon the whigs; they are too valuable a part of the
community to lose, if they will permit themselves to be saved. I wish
nothing worse to the highest of them, than that they may be deprived
of their influence, till such time as they shall have changed their
sentiments, principles, and measures.

Sedition has already been marked through its zigzag path to the
present times. When the statute for regulating the government
arrived, a match was put to the train, and the mine, that had
been long forming, sprung, and threw the whole province into
confusion and anarchy. The occurrencies of the summer and autumn
past are so recent and notorious, that a particular detail of them
is unnecessary. Suffice it to say, that every barrier that civil
government had erected for the security of property, liberty and
life, was broken down, and law, constitution and government trampled
under foot by the rudest invaders. I shall not dwell upon these harsh
notes much longer. I shall yet become an advocate for the leading
whigs; much must be allowed to men, in their situation, forcibly
actuated by the chagrin of disappointment, the fear of punishment,
and the fascination of hope at the same time.

Perhaps the whole story of empire does not furnish another instance
of a forcible opposition to government, with so much apparent and
little real cause, with such apparent probability without any
possibility of success. The stamp-act gave the alarm. The instability
of the public councils from the Greenvillian administration to the
appointment of the Earl of Hillsborough to the American department,
afforded as great a prospect of success, as the heavy duties imposed
by the stamp-act, did a colour for the opposition. It was necessary
to give the history of this matter in its course, offend who it
would, because those acts of government, that are called the greatest
grievances, became proper and necessary, through the misconduct of
our politicians, and the justice of Great Britain towards us, could
not be made apparent without first pointing out that. I intend to
consider the acts of the British government, which are held up as the
principal grievances, and inquire whether Great Britain is chargeable
with injustice in any one of them; but must first ask your attention
to the authority of parliament. I suspect many of our politicians are
wrong in their first principle, in denying that the constitutional
authority of parliament extends to the colonies; if so, it must not
be wondered at, that their whole fabric is so ruinous. I shall not
travel through all the arguments that have been adduced, for and
against this question, but attempt to reduce the substance of them to
a narrow compass, after having taken a cursory view of the British

The security of the people from internal rapacity and violence, and
from foreign invasion, is the end and design of government. The
simple forms of government are monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy;
that is, where the authority of the state is vested in one, a few,
or the many. Each of these species of government has advantages
peculiar to itself, and would answer the ends of government, were the
persons intrusted with the authority of the state, always guided,
themselves, by unerring wisdom and public virtue; but rulers are not
always exempt from the weakness and depravity which make government
necessary to society. Thus monarchy is apt to rush headlong into
tyranny, aristocracy to beget faction, and multiplied usurpation,
and democracy, to degenerate into tumult, violence, and anarchy. A
government formed upon these three principles, in due proportion,
is the best calculated to answer the ends of government, and to
endure. Such a government is the British constitution, consisting
of king, lords and commons, which at once includes the principal
excellencies, and excludes the principal defects of the other kinds
of government. It is allowed, both by Englishmen and foreigners, to
be the most perfect system that the wisdom of ages has produced. The
distributions of power are so just, and the proportions so exact, as
at once to support and controul each other. An Englishman glories in
being subject to, and protected by such a government. The colonies
are a part of the British empire. The best writers upon the law of
nations tell us, that when a nation takes possession of a distant
country, and settles there, that country, though separated from the
principal establishment, or mother country, naturally becomes a
part of the state, equal with its ancient possessions. Two supreme
or independent authorities cannot exist in the same state. It would
be what is called _imperium in imperio_, the height of political
absurdity. The analogy between the political and human body is great.
Two independent authorities in a state would be like two distinct
principles of volition and action in the human body, dissenting,
opposing, and destroying each other. If, then, we are a part of the
British empire, we must be subject to the supreme power of the state,
which is vested in the estates of parliament, notwithstanding each
of the colonies have legislative and executive powers of their own,
delegated, or granted to them for the purposes of regulating their
own internal police, which are subordinate to, and must necessarily
be subject to the checks, controul, and regulation of the supreme

This doctrine is not new, but the denial of it is. It is beyond
a doubt, that it was the sense both of the parent country, and
our ancestors, that they were to remain subject to parliament. It
is evident from the charter itself; and this authority has been
exercised by parliament, from time to time, almost ever since the
first settlement of the country, and has been expressly acknowledged
by our provincial legislatures. It is not less our interest, than our
duty, to continue subject to the authority of parliament, which will
be more fully considered hereafter. The principal argument against
the authority of parliament, is this; the Americans are entitled
to all the privileges of an Englishman; it is the privilege of an
Englishman to be exempt from all laws, that he does not consent to
in person, or by representative. The Americans are not represented
in parliament, and therefore are exempt from acts of parliament, or
in other words, not subject to its authority. This appears specious;
but leads to such absurdities as demonstrate its fallacy. If the
colonies are not subject to the authority of parliament, Great
Britain and the colonies must be distinct states, as completely
so, as England and Scotland were before the union, or as Great
Britain and Hanover are now. The colonies in that case will owe
no allegiance to the imperial crown, and perhaps not to the person
of the king, as the title to the crown is derived from an act of
parliament, made since the settlement of this province, which act
respects the imperial crown only. Let us wave this difficulty, and
suppose allegiance due from the colonies to the person of the king of
Great Britain. He then appears in a new capacity, of king of America,
or rather in several new capacities, of king of Massachusetts, king
of Rhode-Island, king of Connecticut, &c. &c. For if our connexion
with Great Britain by the parliament be dissolved, we shall have
none among ourselves, but each colony become as distinct from the
others, as England was from Scotland, before the union. Some have
supposed that each state, having one and the same person for its
king, is a sufficient connection. Were he an absolute monarch, it
might be; but in a mixed government, it is no union at all. For as
the king must govern each state, by its parliament, those several
parliaments would pursue the particular interest of its own state;
and however well disposed the king might be to pursue a line of
interest, that was common to all, the checks and controul that he
would meet with, would render it impossible. If the king of Great
Britain has really these new capacities, they ought to be added to
his titles; and another difficulty will arise, the prerogatives
of these new crowns have never been defined or limited. Is the
monarchical part of the several provincial constitutions to be nearer
or more remote from absolute monarchy, in an inverted ratio to each
one's approaching to, or receding from a republic? But let us suppose
the same prerogatives inherent in the several American crowns, as
are in the imperial crown of Great Britain, where shall we find the
British constitution, that we all agree we are entitled to? We shall
seek for it in vain in our provincial assemblies. They are but faint
sketches of the estates of parliament. The houses of representatives,
or Burgesses, have not all the powers of the house of commons; in
the charter governments they have no more than what is expressly
granted by their several charters. The first charters granted to
this province did not empower the assembly to tax the people at all.
Our council boards are as destitute of the constitutional authority
of the house of lords, as their several members are of the noble
independence, and splendid appendages of peerage. The house of peers
is the bulwark of the British constitution, and through successive
ages, has withstood the shocks of monarchy, and the sappings of
democracy, and the constitution gained strength by the conflict.
Thus the supposition of our being independent states, or exempt from
the authority of parliament, destroys the very idea of our having
a British constitution. The provincial constitutions, considered
as subordinate, are generally well adapted to those purposes of
government, for which they were intended; that is, to regulate the
internal police of the several colonies; but have no principle of
stability within themselves; they may support themselves in moderate
times, but would be merged by the violence of turbulent ones, and the
several colonies become wholly monarchical, or wholly republican,
were it not for the checks, controuls, regulations, and supports
of the supreme authority of the empire. Thus the argument, that is
drawn from their first principle of our being entitled to English
liberties, destroys the principle itself, it deprives us of the bill
of rights, and all the benefits resulting from the revolution of
English laws, and of the British constitution.

Our patriots have been so intent upon building up American rights,
that they have overlooked the rights of Great Britain, and our own
interest. Instead of proving that we were entitled to privileges,
that our fathers knew our situation would not admit us to enjoy, they
have been arguing away our most essential rights. If there be any
grievance, it does not consist in our being subject to the authority
of parliament, but in our not having an actual representation in it.
Were it possible for the colonies to have an equal representation in
parliament, and were refused it upon proper application, I confess I
should think it a grievance; but at present it seems to be allowed,
by all parties, to be impracticable, considering the colonies are
distant from Great Britain a thousand transmarine leagues. If that
be the case, the right or privilege, that we complain of being
deprived of, is not withheld by Britain, but the first principles of
government, and the immutable laws of nature, render it impossible
for us to enjoy it. This is apparently the meaning of that celebrated
passage in Governor Hutchinson's letter, that rang through the
continent, viz: There must be an abridgment of what is called English
liberties. He subjoins, that he had never yet seen the projection,
whereby a colony, three thousand miles distant from the parent state,
might enjoy all the privileges of the parent state, and remain
subject to it, or in words to that effect. The obnoxious sentence,
taken detached from the letter, appears very unfriendly to the
colonies; but considered in connection with the other parts of the
letter, is but a necessary result from our situation. Allegiance and
protection are reciprocal. It is our highest interest to continue a
part of the British empire; and equally our duty to remain subject to
the authority of parliament. Our own internal police may generally be
regulated by our provincial legislatures, but in national concerns,
or where our own assemblies do not answer the ends of government
with respect to ourselves, the ordinances or interposition of the
great council of the nation is necessary. In this case, the major
must rule the minor. After many more centuries shall have rolled
away, long after we, who are now bustling upon the stage of life,
shall have been received to the bosom of mother earth, and our names
are forgotten, the colonies may be so far increased as to have the
balance of wealth, numbers and power, in their favour, the good of
the empire make it necessary to fix the seat of government here; and
some future George, equally the friend of mankind, with him that now
sways the British sceptre, may cross the Atlantic, and rule Great
Britain, by an American parliament.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 16, 1775.


Had a person, some fifteen years ago, undertaken to prove that the
colonies were a part of the British empire or dominion, and as
such, subject to the authority of the British parliament, he would
have acted as ridiculous a part, as to have undertaken to prove a
self-evident proposition. Had any person denied it, he would have
been called a fool or madman. At this wise period, individuals and
bodies of men deny it, notwithstanding in doing it they subvert the
fundamentals of government, deprive us of British liberties, and
build up absolute monarchy in the colonies; for our charters suppose
regal authority in the grantor; if that authority be derived from the
British crown, it pre-supposes this territory to have been a part of
the British dominion, and as such subject to the imperial sovereign;
if that authority was vested in the person of the king, in a
different capacity, the British constitution and laws are out of the
question, and the king must be absolute as to us, as his prerogatives
have never been circumscribed. Such must have been the sovereign
authority of the several kings, who have granted American charters,
previous to the several grants; there is nothing to detract from it,
at this time, in those colonies that are destitute of charters, and
the charter governments must severally revert to absolute monarchy,
as their charters may happen to be forfeited by the grantees not
fulfilling the conditions of them, as every charter contains an
express or implied condition.

It is curious indeed to trace the denial and oppugnation to the
supreme authority of the state. When the stamp-act was made, the
authority of parliament to impose internal taxes was denied; but
their right to impose external ones, or in other words, to lay duties
upon goods and merchandize was admitted. When the act was made
imposing duties upon tea, &c. a new distinction was set up, that
the parliament had a right to lay duties upon merchandize for the
purpose of regulating trade, but not for the purpose of raising a
revenue: that is, the parliament had good right and lawful authority
to lay the former duty of a shilling on the pound, but had none
to lay the present duty of three pence. Having got thus far safe,
it was only taking one step more to extricate ourselves entirely
from their fangs, and become independant states, that our patriots
most heroically resolved upon, and flatly denied that parliament
had a right to make any laws whatever, that should be binding
upon the colonies. There is no possible medium between absolute
independence, and subjection to the authority of parliament. He must
be blind indeed that cannot see our dearest interest in the latter,
notwithstanding many pant after the former. Misguided men! could they
once overtake their wish, they would be convinced of the madness of
the pursuit.

My dear countrymen, it is of the last importance that we settle this
point clearly in our minds; it will serve as a sure test, certain
criterion and invariable standard to distinguish the friends from
the enemies of our country, patriotism from sedition, loyalty from
rebellion. To deny the supreme authority of the state, is a high
misdemeanor, to say no worse of it; to oppose it by force is an
overt act of treason, punishable by confiscation of estate, and
most ignominious death. The realm of England is an appropriate term
for the ancient realm of England, in contradistinction to Wales
and other territories, that have been annexed to it. These as they
have been severally annexed to the crown, whether by conquest or
otherwise, became a part of the empire, and subject to the authority
of parliament, whether they send members to parliament or not, and
whether they have legislative powers of their own or not.

Thus Ireland, who has perhaps the greatest possible subordinate
legislature, and sends no members to the British parliament, is bound
by its acts, when expressly named. Guernsey and Jersey are no part
of the realm of England, nor are they represented in parliament,
but are subject to its authority: and, in the same predicament are
the American colonies, and all the other dispersions of the empire.
Permit me to request your attention to this subject a little longer;
I assure you it is as interesting and important, as it is dry and

Let us now recur to the first charter of this province, and we shall
find irresistible evidence, that our being part of the empire,
subject to the supreme authority of the state, bound by its laws
and entitled to its protection, were the very terms and conditions
by which our ancestors held their lands, and settled the province.
Our charter, like all other American charters, are under the great
seal of England; the grants are made by the king, for his heirs and
_successors_; the several tenures to be of the king, his heirs and
_successors_; in like manner are the reservations. It is apparent
the king acted in his royal capacity, as king of England, which
necessarily supposes the territory granted, to be a part of the
English dominions, holden of the crown of England.

The charter, after reciting several grants of the territory to
sir Henry Roswell and others, proceeds to incorporation in these
words: "And for as much as the good and prosperous success of the
plantations of the said parts of New England aforesaid, intended
by the said sir Henry Roswell and others, to be speedily set upon,
cannot but chiefly depend, next under the blessing of almighty God,
and the support of our royal authority, upon the good government
of the same, to the end that the _affairs of business_, which from
time to time shall happen and arise concerning the said lands and
the plantations of the same may be the better managed and ordered,
we have further hereby, of our especial grace, certain knowledge
and mere motion given, granted and confirmed, and for us, our heirs
and successors, do give, grant and confirm unto our said trusty and
well beloved subjects, sir Henry Roswell, &c. and all such others
as shall hereafter be admitted and made free of _the company and
society hereafter mentioned_, shall from time to time and at all
times, forever hereafter, be by virtue of these presents, _one body
corporate, politic in fact and name by the name of the governor and
company of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England_; and them by the
name of the governor and company of the Massachusetts Bay, in New
England, one body politic and corporate in deed, fact and name.
We do for us our heirs and successors make, ordain, constitute
and confirm by these presents, and that by that name they shall
have perpetual succession, and that by that name they and their
successors shall be capable and enabled as well _to implead and to
be impleaded, and to prosecute, demand and answer and be answered
unto all and singular suits, causes, quarrels and actions of what
kind or nature soever; and also to have, take, possess, acquire and
purchase, any lands, tenements and hereditaments, or any goods or
chattels, the same to lease, grant, demise, aliene, bargain, sell
and dispose of as our liege people of this our realm of England,
or any other corporation or body politic of the same may do_." I
would beg leave to ask one simple question, whether this looks like
a distinct state or independent empire? Provision is then made for
electing a governor, deputy governor, and eighteen assistants. After
which, is this clause: "We do for us, our heirs and successors, give
and grant to the said governor and company, and their successors,
that the governor or in his absense the deputy governor of the said
company, for the time being, and such of the assistants or freemen
of the said company as shall be present, or the greater number of
them so assembled, whereof the governor or deputy governor and six
of the assistants, at the least to be seven, shall have full power
and authority to choose, nominate and appoint such and so many others
as they shall think fit, and shall be willing to accept the same,
to be free of the said company and body, and them into the same to
admit and to elect and constitute such officers as they shall think
fit and requisite for the ordering, managing and dispatching of the
affairs of the said governor and company and their successors, and
to make _laws and ordinances for the good and welfare of the said
company_, and for the government and ordering of the said lands and
plantations, and the people inhabiting and to inhabit the same, as
to them from time to time shall be thought meet: _So as such laws and
ordinances be not contrary or repugnant to the laws and statutes of
this our realm of England_."

Another clause is this, "And for their further encouragement, of our
especial grace and favor, we do by these presents, for us, our heirs,
and successors, yield and grant to the said governor and company
and their successors, and every of them, their factors and assigns,
that they and every of them shall be free and quit from all taxes,
subsidies and customs in New England for the space of seven years,
and from all taxes and impositions for the space of twenty-one years,
upon all goods and merchandize, at any time or times hereafter,
either upon importation thither, or exportation from thence into
our realm of England, or into other of our dominions, by the said
governor and company and their successors, their deputies, factors
and assigns, &c."

The exemption from taxes for seven years in one case, and twenty one
years in the other, plainly indicates that after their expiration,
this province would be liable to taxation. Now I would ask by what
authority those taxes were to be imposed? It could not be by the
governor and company, for no such power was delegated or granted to
them; and besides it would have been absurd and nugatory to exempt
them from their own taxation, supposing them to have had the power,
for they might have exempted themselves. It must therefore be by the
king or parliament; it could not be by the king alone, for as king of
England, the political capacity in which he granted the charter, he
had no such power, exclusive of the lords and commons, consequently
it must have been by the parliament. This clause in the charter is as
evident a recognition of the authority of the parliament over this
province, as if the words, "acts of parliament," had been inserted,
as they were in the Pennsylvania charter. There was no session of
parliament after the grant of our charter until the year 1640. In
1642 the house of commons passed a resolve, "that for the better
advancement of the plantations in New England, and the encouragement
of the planters to proceed in their undertaking, their exports and
imports should be freed and discharged from all customs, subsidies,
taxations and duties until the further order of the house;" which was
gratefully received and recorded in the archives of our predecessors.
This transaction shews very clearly in what sense our connection
with England was then understood. It is true, that in some arbitrary
reigns, attempts were made by the servants of the crown to exclude
the two houses of parliament, from any share of the authority over
the colonies; they also attempted to render the king absolute in
England; but the parliament always rescued the colonies, as well as
England from such attempts.

I shall recite but one more clause of this charter, which is this,
"And further our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby for us, our
heirs and successors, ordain, declare and grant to the said governor
and company, and their successors, that all and every of the subjects
of us, our heirs and successors which shall go to and inhabit within
the said land and premises hereby mentioned to be granted, and every
of their children which shall happen to be born there, or on the seas
in going thither, or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy _all
liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects, within any
of the dominions_ of us, our heirs or successors, to all intents,
constructions and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every of them
were born within the realm of England." It is upon this, or a similar
clause in the charter of William and Mary that our patriots have
built up the stupendous fabric of American independence. They argue
from it a total exemption from parliamentary authority, because we
are not represented in parliament.

I have already shewn that the supposition of our being exempt
from the authority of parliament, is pregnant with the grossest
absurdities. Let us now consider this clause in connection with the
other parts of the charter. It is a rule of law, founded in reason
and common sense, to construe each part of an instrument, so as
the whole may hang together, and be consistent with itself. If we
suppose this clause to exempt us from the authority of parliament,
we must throw away all the rest of the charter, for every other
part indicates the contrary, as plainly as words can do it; and
what is still worse, this clause becomes _felo de se_, and destroys
itself; for if we are not annexed to the crown, we are aliens,
and no charter, grant, or other act of the crown can naturalize
us or entitle us to the liberties and immunities of Englishmen.
It can be done only by act of parliament. An alien is one born in
a strange country out of the allegiance of the king, and is under
many disabilities though residing in the realm; as Wales, Jersey,
Guernsey, Ireland, the foreign plantations, &c. were severally
annexed to the crown, they became parts of one and the same empire,
the natives of which are equally free as though they had been born
in that territory which was the ancient realm. As our patriots
depend upon this clause, detached from the charter, let us view
it in that light. If a person born in England removes to Ireland
and settles there, he is then no longer represented in the British
parliament, but he and his posterity are, and will ever be subject
to the authority of the British parliament. If he removes to Jersey,
Guernsey, or any other parts of the British dominions that send no
members to parliament, he will still be in the same predicament.
So that the inhabitants of the American colonies do in fact enjoy
all the liberties and immunities of natural born subjects. We are
entitled to no greater privileges than those that are born within
the realm; and they can enjoy no other than we do, when they reside
out of it. Thus, it is evident that this clause amounts to no more
than the royal assurance, that we are a part of the British empire;
are not aliens, but natural born subjects; and as such, bound to
obey the supreme power of the state, and entitled to protection from
it. To avoid prolixity, I shall not remark particularly upon other
parts of this charter, but observe in general, that whoever reads it
with attention, will meet with irresistible evidence in every part
of it, that our being a part of the English dominions, subject to
the English crown, and within the jurisdiction of parliament, were
the terms upon which our ancestors settled this colony, and the very
tenures by which they held their estates.

No lands within the British dominions are perfectly allodial; they
are held mediately or immediately of the king, and upon forfeiture,
revert to the crown. My dear countrymen, you have many of you
been most falsely and wickedly told by our patriots, that Great
Britain was meditating a land tax, and seeking to deprive us of our
inheritance; but had all the malice and subtilty of men and devils
been united, a readier method to effect it could not have been
devised, than the late denials of the authority of parliament, and
forcible oppositions to its acts. Yet, this has been planned and
executed chiefly by persons of desperate fortunes.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 23, 1775.


If we carry our researches further back than the emigration of
our ancestors, we shall find many things that reflect light upon
the object we are in quest of. It is immaterial when America was
first discovered or taken possession of by the English. In 1602 one
Gosnold landed upon one of the islands, called Elizabeth islands,
which were so named in honor of queen Elizabeth, built a fort, and
projected a settlement; his men were discouraged, and the project
failed. In 1606, king James granted all the continent from 34 to
45 degrees, which he divided into two colonies, viz. the southern
or Virginia, to certain merchants at London, the northern or New
England, to certain merchants at Plymouth in England. In 1607,
some of the patentees of the northern colony began a settlement at
Sogadahoc; but the emigrants were disheartened after the trial of
one winter, and that attempt failed of success. Thus this territory
had not only been granted by the crown for purposes of colonization,
which are to enlarge the empire or dominion of the parent state,
and to open new sources of national wealth; but actual possession
had been taken by the grantees, previous to the emigration of our
ancestors, or any grant to them. In 1620, a patent was granted to the
adventurers for the northern colony, incorporating them by the name
of _the council for the affairs of New Plymouth_. From this company
of merchants in England, our ancestors derived their title to this
territory. The tract of land called Massachusetts, was purchased
of this company, by sir Henry Roswell and associates; their deed
bears date March 19th, 1627. In 1628 they obtained a charter of
incorporation, which I have already remarked upon. The liberties,
privileges and franchises, granted by this charter, do not perhaps
exceed those granted to the city of London and other corporations
within the realm. The legislative power was very confined; it did
not even extend to levying taxes of any kind; that power was however
assumed under this charter, which by law worked a forfeiture; and
for this among other things, in the reign of Charles the second,
the charter was adjudged forfeited, and the franchises seized into
the king's hands. This judgment did not affect our ancestors' title
to their lands, that were not derived originally from the charter,
though confirmed by it, but by purchase from the council at Plymouth,
who held immediately under the crown. Besides, our ancestors had
now reduced what before was a naked right to possession, and by
persevering through unequalled toils, hardships and dangers, at the
approach of which other emigrants had fainted, rendered New England
a very valuable acquisition both to the crown and nation. This was
highly meritorious, and ought not to be overlooked in adjusting the
present unhappy dispute; but our patriots would deprive us of all
the merit, both to the crown and nation, by severing us from both.
After the revolution, our ancestors petitioned the parliament to
restore the charter. A bill for that purpose passed the house of
commons, but went no further. In consequence of another petition,
king William and queen Mary granted our present charter, for uniting
and incorporating the Massachusetts, New Plymouth, and several other
territories into one province. More extensive powers of legislation,
than those contained in the first charter, were become necessary, and
were granted; and the form of the legislature made to approach nearer
to the form of the supreme legislature. The powers of legislation
are confined to local or provincial purposes and further restricted
by these words, viz. _So as the same be not repugnant or contrary
to the laws of this our realm of England._ Our patriots have made
many nice distinctions and curious refinements, to evade the force
of these words; but after all, it is impossible to reconcile them to
the idea of an independent state, as it is to reconcile disability to
omnipotence. The provincial power of taxation is also restricted to
provincial purposes, and allowed to be exercised over such only as
are inhabitants or proprietors within the province. I would observe
here, that the granting subordinate powers of legislation, does not
abridge or diminish the powers of the higher legislatures; thus we
see corporations in England and the several towns in this province
vested with greater or lesser powers of legislation, without the
parliament, in one case, or the general court in the other, being
restrained, from enacting those very laws, that fall within the
jurisdiction of the several corporations. Had our present charter
been conceived in such equivocal terms, as that it might be construed
as restraining the authority of parliament, the uniform usage ever
since it passed the seal, would satisfy us that its intent was
different. The parliament, in the reign when it was granted, long
before and in every reign since, has been making statutes to extend
to the colonies, and those statutes have been as uniformly submitted
to as authoritative, by the colonies, till within ten or a dozen
years. Sometimes acts of parliament have been made, and sometimes
have been repealed in consequence of petitions from the colonies. The
provincial assemblies often refer to acts of parliament in their own,
and have sometimes made acts to aid their execution. It is evident
that it was the intention of their majesties, to grant subordinate
powers of legislation, without impairing or diminishing the authority
of the supreme legislature. Had there been any words in the charter,
that precluded that construction, or did the whole taken together
contradict it, lawyers would tell us, that the king was deceived in
his grant, and the patentees took no estate by it, because the crown
can neither alienate a part of the British dominions, nor impair the
supreme power of the empire. I have dwelt longer on this subject,
than I at first intended, and not by any means done it justice, as
to avoid prolix narratives and tedious deduction, I have omitted
perhaps more than I have adduced, that evinces the truth of the
position, that we are a part of the British dominions, and subject
to the authority of parliament. The novelty of the contrary tenets,
will appear by extracting a part of a pamphlet, published in 1764, by
a Boston gentleman, who was then the oracle of the whigs, and whose
profound knowledge in the law and constitution is equalled but by few.

"I also lay it down as one of the first principles from whence I
intend to deduce the civil rights of the British colonies, that all
of them are subject to, and dependent on Great Britain; and that
therefore as over subordinate governments, the parliament of Great
Britain has an undoubted power and lawful authority to make acts for
the general good, that by naming them, shall and ought to be equally
binding, as upon the subjects of Great Britain within the realm.
Is there the least difference, as to the consent of the colonists,
whether taxes and impositions are laid on their trade, and other
property by the crown alone, or by the parliament? As it is agreed
on all hands, the crown alone cannot impose them, we should be
justifiable in refusing to pay them, _but must and ought to yield
obedience to an act of parliament, though erroneous, till repealed_."

"It is a maxim, that the king can do no wrong; and every good subject
is bound to believe his king is not inclined to do any. We are
blessed with a prince who has given abundant demonstrations, that
in all his actions, he studies the good of his people, and the true
glory of his crown, which are inseperable. It would therefore be the
highest degree of impudence and disloyalty, to imagine that the king,
at the head of his parliament, could have any but the most pure and
perfect intentions of justice, goodness and truth, that human nature
is capable of. All this I say and believe of the king and parliament,
in all their acts; even in that which so nearly affects the interests
of the colonists; and that a most perfect and ready obedience is to
be yielded to it while it remains in force. The power of parliament
is uncontroulable but by themselves, and we must obey. They only can
repeal their own acts. There would be an end of all government, if
one or a number of subjects, or subordinate provinces should take
upon them so far to judge of the justice of an act of parliament,
as to refuse obedience to it. If there was nothing else to restrain
such a step, prudence ought to do it, for forcibly resisting the
parliament and the king's laws is high treason. Therefore let the
parliament lay what burdens they please on us, we must, it is our
duty to submit and patiently bear them, till they will be pleased to
relieve us."

The Pennsylvania Farmer, who took the lead in explaining away the
right of parliament to raise a revenue in America, speaking of
regulating trade, tells us, that "he who considers these provinces
as states distinct from the British empire, has very slender notions
of justice, or of their interest; we are but parts of a whole, and
therefore there must exist a power somewhere to preside, and preserve
the connection in due order. This power is lodged in parliament,
and we are as much dependant on Great Britain as a perfectly free
people can be on another." He supposes that we are dependant in some
considerable degree upon Great Britain; and that that dependance is
nevertheless consistent with perfect freedom.

Having settled this point, let us reflect upon the resolves and
proceedings of our patriots. We often read resolves denying the
authority of parliament, which is the imperial sovereign, gilded over
with professions of loyalty to the king, but the golden leaf is too
thin to conceal the treason. It either argues profound ignorance or
hypocritical cunning.

We find many unsuspecting persons prevailed on openly to oppose the
execution of acts of parliament with force and arms. My friends, some
of the persons that beguiled you, could have turned to the chapter,
page and section, where such insurrections are pronounced rebellion,
by the law of the land; and had not their hearts been dead to a sense
of justice, and steeled against every feeling of humanity, they would
have timely warned you of your danger. Our patriots have sent us in
pursuit of a mere _ignis fatuus_, a fascinating glare devoid of
substance; and now when we find ourselves bewildered, with scarce one
ray of hope to raise our sinking spirits, or stay our fainting souls,
they conjure up phantoms more delusive and fleeting, if possible,
than that which first led us astray. They tell us, we are a match
for Great Britain. The twentieth part of the strength that Great
Britain could exert, were it necessary, is more than sufficient to
crush this defenceless province to atoms, notwithstanding all the
vapouring of the disaffected here and elsewhere. They tell us the
army is disaffected to the service. What pains have our wretched
politicians not taken to attach them to it? The officers conceive
no very favourable opinion of the cause of the whigs, from the
obloquy with which their General hath been treated, in return for his
humanity, nor from the infamous attempts to seduce the soldiers from
his majesty's service. The policy of some of our patriots has been as
weak and contemptible, as their motives are sordid and malevolent;
for when they found their success, in corrupting the soldiery, did
not answer their expectations, they took pains to attach them firmer
to the cause they adhered to, by preventing the erecting of barracks
for their winter quarters, by which means many contracted diseases,
and some lives were lost, from the unwholesome buildings they were
obliged to occupy; and, as though some stimulus was still wanting,
some provocation to prevent human nature revolting in the hour of
battle, they deprived the soldiers of a gratification never denied to
the brute creation; straw to lie on. I do not mention this conduct to
raise the resentment of the troops; it has had its effect already;
and it is proper you should know it; nor should I have blotted paper
in relating facts so mortifying to the pride of man, had it not
been basely suggested that there would be a defection should the
army take the field. Those are matters of small moment, compared to
another, which is the cause they are engaged in. It is no longer
a struggle between whigs and tories, whether these or those shall
occupy posts of honour, or enjoy the emoluments of office, nor is it
now whether this or the other act of parliament shall be repealed.
The army is sent here to decide a question, intimately connected
with the honour and interest of the nation, no less than whether the
colonies shall continue a part of, or be for ever dismembered from
the British empire. It is a cause in which no honest American can
wish our politicians success, though it is devoutly to be wished,
that their discomfiture may be effected without recourse being had to
the _ultima ratio_--the sword. This, our wretched situation, is but
the natural consequence of denying the authority of parliament, and
forcibly opposing its acts.

Sometimes we are amused with intimations that Holland, France or
Spain, will make a diversion in our favour. These, equally with the
others, are suggestions of despair. These powers have colonies of
their own, and might not choose to set a bad example, by encouraging
the colonies of any other state to revolt. The Dutch have too much
money in the English funds, and are too much attached to their money
to espouse our quarrel. The French and Spaniards have not yet forgot
the drubbing they received from Great Britain last war; and all three
fear to offend that power which our politicians would persuade us to

Lastly, they tell us that the people in England will take our part,
and prevent matters from coming to extremity. This is their fort,
where, when driven from every other post, they fly for refuge.

Alas, my friends! our congresses have stopped up every avenue that
leads to that sanctuary. We hear, by every arrival from England,
that it is no longer a ministerial, (if it ever was) but a national
cause. My dear countrymen, I deal plainly with you. I never should
forgive myself if I did not. Are there not eleven regiments in
Boston? A respectable fleet in the harbour? Men of war stationed at
every considerable port along the continent? Are there not three
ships of the line sent here, notwithstanding the danger of the winter
coast, with more than the usual complement of marines? Have not our
congresses, county, provincial, and continental, instead of making
advances for an accommodation, bid defiance to Great Britain? _He
that runs may read._

If our politicians will not be pursuaded from running against the
thick bosses of the buckler, it is time for us to leave them to
their fate, and provide for the safety of ourselves, our wives, our
children, our friends, and our country.

I have many things to add, but must now take my leave, for this
week, by submitting to your judgment whether there be not an
absolute necessity of immediately protesting against all traitorous
resolves, leagues, and associations, of bodies of men, that appear
to have acted in a representative capacity. Had our congresses been
accidental or spontaneous meetings, the whole blame might have rested
upon the individuals that composed them; but as they appear in the
character of the people's delegates, is there not the utmost danger
of the innocent being confounded with the guilty, unless they take
care timely to distinguish themselves?



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

January 30, 1775.


As the oppugnation to the king in parliament tends manifestly to
independence, and the colonies would soon arrive at that point, did
not Great Britain check them in their career; let us indulge the
idea, however extravagant and romantic, and suppose ourselves for
ever separated from the parent state. Let us suppose Great Britain
sinking under the violence of the shock, and overwhelmed by her
ancient hereditary enemies; or what is more probable, opening new
sources of national wealth, to supply the deficiency of that which
used to flow to her through American channels, and perhaps planting
more loyal colonies in the new discovered regions of the south, still
retaining her pre-eminence among the nations, though regardless of

Let us now advert to our own situation. Destitute of British
protection, that impervious barrier, behind which, in perfect
security, we have increased to a degree almost exceeding the bounds
of probability, what other Britain could we look to when in distress?
What succedaneum does the world afford to make good the loss? Would
not our trade, navigation, and fishery, which no nation dares violate
or invade, when distinguished by British colours, become the sport
and prey of the maritime powers of Europe? Would not our maritime
towns be exposed to the pillaging of every piratical enterprise?
Are the colonies able to maintain a fleet, sufficient to afford
one idea of security to such an extensive sea-coast? Before they
can defend themselves against foreign invasions, they must unite
into one empire; otherwise the jarring interests, and opposite
propensities, would render the many headed monster in politics,
unwieldly and inactive. Neither the form or seat of government would
be readily agreed upon; more difficult still would it be to fix upon
the person or persons, to be invested with the imperial authority.
There is perhaps as great a diversity between the tempers and habits
of the inhabitants of this province, and the tempers and habits of
the Carolinians, as there subsists between some different nations;
nor need we travel so far; the Rhode-Islanders are as diverse from
the people of Connecticut, as those mentioned before. Most of the
colonies are rivals to each other in trade. Between others there
subsist deep animosities, respecting their boundaries, which have
heretofore produced violent altercations, and the sword of civil war
has been more than once unsheathed, without bringing these disputes
to a decision. It is apparent that so many discordant, heterogeneous
particles could not suddenly unite and consolidate into one body. It
is most probable, that if they were ever united, the union would be
effected by some aspiring genius, putting himself at the head of the
colonists' army (for we must suppose a very respectable one indeed,
before we are severed from Britain) and taking advantage of the
enfeebled, bleeding, and distracted state of the colonies, subjugate
the whole to the yoke of despotism. Human nature is every where the
same; and this has often been the issue of those rebellions, that the
rightful prince was unable to subdue. We need not travel through the
states of ancient Greece and Rome, or the more modern ones in Europe,
to pick up the instances, with which the way is strewed; we have a
notable one in our own. So odious and arbitrary was the protectorate
of Cromwell, that when death had delivered them from the dread of
the tyrant, all parties conspired to restore monarchy; and each one
strove to be the foremost in inviting home, and placing upon the
imperial throne, their exiled prince, the son of the same Charles,
who, not many years before, had been murdered on a scaffold. The
republicans themselves now rushed to the opposite extreme, and had
Charles 2d. been as ambitious, as some of his predecessors were, he
might have established in England a power more arbitrary, than the
first Charles ever had in contemplation.

Let us now suppose the colonies united, and moulded into some form
of government. Think one moment of the revenue necessary to support
this government, and to provide for even the appearance of defence.
Conceive yourselves in a manner exhausted by the conflict with Great
Britain, now staggering and sinking under the load of your own taxes,
and the weight of your own government. Consider further, that to
render government operative and salutary, subordination is necessary.
This our patriots need not be told of; and when once they had mounted
the steed, and found themselves so well seated as to run no risk
of being thrown from the saddle, the severity of their discipline
to restore subordination, would be in proportion to their former
treachery in destroying it. We have already seen specimens of their
tyranny, in their inhuman treatment of persons guilty of no crime,
except that of differing in sentiment from the whigs. What then must
we expect from such scourges of mankind, when supported by imperial

To elude the difficulty resulting from our defenceless situation,
we are told that the colonies would open a free trade with all the
world, and all nations would join in protecting their common mart.
A very little reflection will convince us that this is chimerical.
American trade, however beneficial to Great Britain, while she can
command it, would be but as a drop of the bucket, or the light dust
of the balance, to all the commercial states of Europe. Besides,
were British fleets and armies no longer destined to our protection,
in a very short time, France and Spain would recover possession of
those territories, that were torn, reluctant and bleeding from them,
in the last war, by the superior strength of Britain. Our enemies
would again extend their line of fortification, from the northern to
the southern shore; and by means of our late settlements stretching
themselves to the confines of Canada, and the communications opened
from one country to the other, we should be exposed to perpetual
incursions from Canadians and savages. But our distress would not
end here; for when once these incursions should be supported by the
formidable armaments of France and Spain, the whole continent would
become their easy prey, and would be parcelled out, Poland like.
Recollect the consternation we were thrown into last war, when Fort
William Henry was taken by the French. It was apprehended that all
New England would be overrun by their conquering arms. It was even
proposed, for our own people to burn and lay waste all the country
west of Connecticut river, to impede the enemies march, and prevent
their ravaging the country east of it. This proposal come from no
inconsiderable man. Consider what must _really_ have been our fate,
unaided by Britain last war.

Great Britain aside, what earthly power could stretch out the
compassionate arm to shield us from those powers, that have long
beheld us with the sharp, piercing eyes of avidity, and have
heretofore bled freely, and expended their millions to obtain us? Do
you suppose their lust of empire is satiated? Or do you suppose they
would scorn to obtain so glorious a prize by an easy conquest? Or can
any be so visionary or impious, as to believe that the Father of the
Universe will work miracles in favour of rebellion? And after having,
by some unseen arm, and mighty power, destroyed Great Britain for
us, will in the same mysterious way defend us against other European
powers? Sometimes we are told, that the colonies may put themselves
under the protection of some one foreign state; but it ought to be
considered, that to do that, we must throw ourselves into their
power. We can make them no return for protection, but by trade; and
of that they can have no assurance, unless we become subject to their
laws. This is evident by our contention with Britain.

Which state would you prefer being annexed to; France, Spain, or
Holland? I suppose the latter, as it is a republic. But are you sure,
that the other powers of Europe would be idle spectators; content to
suffer the Dutch to engross the American colonies, or their trade?
And what figure would the Dutch probably make in the unequal contest?
Their sword has been long since sheathed in commerce. Those of you
that have visited Surinam, and seen a Dutch governor dispensing at
discretion his own opinions for law, would not suddenly exchange the
English for Dutch government.

I will subjoin some observations from the Farmer's letters. "When
the appeal is made to the sword, highly probable it is, that the
punishment will exceed the offence, and the calamities attending on
war outweigh those preceding it. These considerations of justice and
prudence, will always have great influence with good and wise men.
To these reflections it remains to be added, and ought forever to
be remembered, that resistance in the case of the colonies against
their mother country, is extremely different from the resistance of
a people against their prince. A nation may change their king, or
race of kings, and retaining their ancient form of government, be
gainers by changing. Thus Great Britain, under the illustrious house
of Brunswick, a house that seems to flourish for the happiness of
mankind, has found a felicity unknown in the reigns of the Stewarts.
But if once we are separated from our mother country, what new form
of government shall we adopt, or where shall we find another Britain
to supply our loss? Torn from the body, to which we are united by
religion, laws, affection, relation, language and commerce, we must
bleed at every vein. In truth, the prosperity of these provinces is
founded in their dependance on Great Britain."



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 6, 1775.


When we reflect upon the constitutional connection between Great
Britain and the colonies, view the reciprocation of interest,
consider that the welfare of Britain, in some measure, and the
prosperity of America wholly depends upon that connection; it is
astonishing, indeed, almost incredible, that one person should be
found on either side of the Atlantic, so base, and destitute of every
sentiment of justice, as to attempt to destroy or weaken it. If there
are none such, in the name of Almighty God, let me ask, wherefore is
rebellion, that implacable fiend to society, suffered to rear its
ghastly front among us, blasting, with haggard look, each social joy,
and embittering every hour?

Rebellion is the most atrocious offence, that can be perpetrated
by man, save those which are committed more immediately against
the supreme Governor of the Universe, who is the avenger of his
own cause. It dissolves the social band, annihilates the security
resulting from law and government; introduces fraud, violence,
rapine, murder, sacrilege, and the long train of evils, that riot,
uncontrouled, in a state of nature. Allegiance and protection are
reciprocal. The subject is bound by the compact to yield obedience to
government, and in return, is entitled to protection from it; thus
the poor are protected against the rich; the weak against the strong;
the individual against the many; and this protection is guaranteed
to each member, by the whole community. But when government is laid
prostrate, a state of war, of all against all commences; might
overcomes right; innocence itself has no security, unless the
individual sequesters himself from his fellowmen, inhabits his own
cave, and seeks his own prey. This is what is called a state of
nature. I once thought it chimerical.

The punishment inflicted upon rebels and traitors, in all states,
bears some proportion to the aggravated crime. By our law, the
punishment is, "That the offender be drawn to the gallows, and not be
carried, or walk; that he be hanged by the neck, and then cut down
alive; that his entrails be taken out and burned while he is yet
alive; that his head be cut off; that his body be divided into four
parts; that his head and quarters be at the king's disposal." The
consequences of attainder, are forfeiture and corruption of blood.

"Forfeiture is two-fold, of real and personal estate; by attainder
in high treason a man forfeits to the king all his lands and
tenements of inheritance, whether fee simple, or fee tail; and all
his rights of entry on lands and tenements, which he had at the
time of the offence committed, or at any time afterwards to be for
ever vested in the crown. The forfeiture relates back to the time
of the treason being committed, so as to avoid all intermediate
sales and incumberances; even the dower of the wife is forfeited.
The natural justice of forfeiture, or confiscation of property, for
treason, is founded in this consideration, that he, who has thus
violated the fundamental principles of government, and broken his
part of the original contract between king and people, hath abandoned
his connections with society; hath no longer any right to those
advantages, which before belonged to him purely as a member of the
community, among which social advantages the right of transferring
or transmitting property to others, is one of the chief. Such
forfeitures, moreover, whereby his posterity must suffer, as well as
himself, will help to restrain a man, not only by the sense of his
duty and dread of personal punishment, but also by his passions and
natural affections; and will influence every dependant and relation
he has to keep him from offending." 4 Black. 374. 375.

It is remarkable, however, that this offence, notwithstanding it is
of a crimson colour, and the deepest dye, and its just punishment
is not confined to the person of the offender, but beggars all his
family, is sometimes committed by persons, who are not conscious of
guilt. Sometimes they are ignorant of the law, and do not foresee
the evils they bring upon society; at others, they are induced to
think that their cause is founded in the eternal principles of
justice and truth, that they are only making an appeal to heaven,
and may justly expect its decree in their favour. Doubtless many of
the rebels, in the year 1745, were buoyed up with such sentiments,
nevertheless they were cut down like grass before the scythe of the
mower; the gibbet and scaffold received those that the sword, wearied
with destroying, had spared; and what loyalist shed one pitying
tear over their graves? They were incorrigible rebels, and deserved
their fate. The community is in less danger, when the disaffected
attempt to excite a rebellion against the person of the prince, than
when government itself is the object, because in the former case
the questions are few, simple, and their solutions obvious, the
fatal consequences more apparent, and the loyal people more alert to
suppress it in embryo; whereas, in the latter, a hundred rights of
the people, inconsistent with government, and as many grievances,
destitute of foundation, the mere creatures of distempered brains,
are pourtrayed in the liveliest colours, and serve as bugbears to
affright from their duty, or as decoys to allure the ignorant, the
credulous and the unwary, to their destruction. Their suspicions are
drowned in the perpetual roar for liberty and country; and even the
professions of allegiance to the person of the king, are improved as
means to subvert his government.

In mentioning high treason in the course of these papers, I may not
always have expressed myself with the precision of a lawyer; they
have a language peculiar to themselves. I have examined their books,
and beg leave to lay before you some further extracts, which deserve
your attention. To levy war against the king, was high treason by the
common law, 3 inst. 9. This is also declared to be high treason by
the stat. of 25 Edw. 3. c. 2. and by the law of this province, 8 W.
3. c. 5. Assembling in warlike array, against a statute, is levying
war against the king, 1 Hale 133. So to destroy any trade generally,
146. Riding with banners displayed, or forming into companies; or
being furnished with military officers; or armed with military
weapons, as swords, guns, &c. any of these circumstances carries the
_speciem belli_, and will support an indictment for high treason in
levying war, 150. An insurrection to raise the price of servants'
wages was held to be an overt-act of this species of treason,
because this was done _in defiance of the statute_ of labourers; it
was done in defiance of the _king's authority_, 5 Bac. 117 cites 3
inst. 10. Every assembling of a number of men, in a warlike manner,
with a design to redress any _public grievance_, is likewise an
overt-act of this species of treason, because this being an attempt
to do that by _private authority_, which only ought to be done by
the king's authority, is an invasion of the prerogative, 5 Bac. 117
cites 3 inst. 9. Ha. p. c. 14. Kel. 71. Sid. 358. 1. Hawk. 37. Every
assembling of a number of men in a warlike manner, with an intention
to reform the government, or the law, is an overt-act of this species
of treason, 5 Bac. 117. cites 3 inst. 9. 10. Poph. 122. Kel. 76. 7.
1 Hawk. 37. Levying war may be by taking arms, not only to dethrone
the king, but under pretence to reform religion, or the laws, or
to remove evil councellors, or other grievances, whether _real_ or
_pretended_, 4 Black. 81. Foster 211. If any levy war to expulse
strangers; to deliver men out of prison; to remove councellors, or
against any statute; or to any other end, pretending reformation of
their own heads, without warrant, this is levying war against the
king, because they take upon them royal authority, which is against
the king, 3 inst. 9. If three, four, or more, rise to pull down an
inclosure, this is a riot; but if they had risen of purpose to alter
religion, established within the realm, or laws, or to go from town
to town generally, and cast down inclosures, this is a levying of war
(though there be no great number of conspirators) within the purview
of this statute; because the pretence is public and general, and not
private in particular, 3 inst. 9. Foster 211. If any, with strength
and weapons, invasive and defensive, do hold and defend a castle or
fort, against the king and his power, this is levying of war against
the king, 3 inst. 10. Foster 219. 1 Hale 149. 296.

It was resolved by all the judges of England in the reign of Henry
the 8th, that an insurrection against the statute of labourers, for
the enhancing of salaries and wages, was a levying of war against
the king, because it was generally against the _king's law_, and the
offenders took upon them the reformation thereof, which subjects
by gathering of power, ought not to do, 3 inst. 10. All risings in
order to effect innovations of a _public_ and _general_ concern, by
an armed force, are, in construction of law, high treason within the
clause of levying war. For though they are not levelled at the person
of the king, they are against his royal majesty. And besides, they
have a direct tendency to dissolve all the bonds of society, and to
destroy all property, and all government too, by numbers and an armed
force, Foster 211. In Benstead's case, Cro. car. 593. At a conference
of all the justices and barons, it was resolved, that going to
Lambeth house, in warlike manner, to surprize the archbishop, who
was a privy counsellor (it being with drums and a multitude) to the
number of three hundred persons, was treason; upon which Foster, page
212, observes, that if it did appear by the libel, which he says was
previously posted up at the exchange, exhorting the apprentices to
rise and sack the bishop's house, upon the Monday following, or by
the cry of the rabble, at Lambeth house, that the attempt was made
on account of measures _the king had taken, or was then taking at
the instigation, as they imagined, of the archbishop_, and that the
rabble had _deliberately_ and upon a _public invitation_, attempted
by _numbers_ and open force, to take a _severe revenge_ upon the
_privy counsellor_ for the measures the sovereign had taken or was
pursuing, the _grounds and reasons_ of the resolutions would be
sufficiently explained, without taking that _little_ circumstance
of the _drum_ into the case. And he delivers as his opinion, page
208, that no great stress can be laid on that distinction taken
by Ld. C. J. Hale, between an insurrection with, and one without
the appearance of an army formed under leaders, and provided with
military weapons, and with drums, colours, &c. and says, the _want_
of these circumstances weighed nothing with the court in the cases of
Damaree and Purchase, but that it was supplied by the _number_ of the
insurgents. That they were provided with axes, crows, and such like
tools, _furor arma ministrat_; and adds, page 208, the true criterion
in all these cases, is, _quo animo_, did the parties assemble,
whether on account of some _private_ quarrel, or, page 211, to effect
innovations of a _public_ and _general_ concern, by an armed force.
Upon the case of Damaree and Purchase, reported 8 stat. in. 218. to
285. Judge Foster observes, page 215, that "since the meeting houses
of protestant dissenters are, by the _toleration act_ taken under
_protection_ of the _law_, the insurrection in the present case,
being to pull down all dissenting protestant meeting-houses, was to
be considered as a public declaration of the rabble _against that
act_, and an attempt to render it _ineffectual_ by _numbers_ and open

If there be a conspiracy to levy war, and afterwards war is levied,
the conspiracy is, in every one of the conspirators, an overt act
of this species of treason, for there can be no accessary in high
treason, 5 Bac. 115. cites 3 inst. 9. 10. 138 Hales P. C. 14. Kel.
19. 1 Hawk. 38. A compassing or conspiracy to levy war is no treason,
for there must be a levying of war _in facto_. But if many conspire
to levy war, and some of them do levy the same according to the
conspiracy, this is high treason in all, for in treason all are
principals, and war is levied, 3 inst. 9. Foster 213.

The _painful_ task of applying the above rules of law to the several
transactions that we have been eye witnesses to, will never be mine.
Let me however intreat you, to make the application in your own
minds; and those of you that have continued hitherto faithful among
the faithless, Abdiel like, to persevere in your integrity; and
those of you that have been already ensnared by the accursed wiles
of designing men, to cast yourselves immediately upon that mercy,
so conspicuous through the British constitution, and which is the
brightest jewel in the imperial diadem.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 13, 1775.


I offered to your consideration, last week, a few extracts from the
law books, to enable those that have been but little conversant
with the law of the land, to form a judgment, and determine for
themselves, whether any have been so far beguiled and seduced from
their allegiance, as to commit the most aggravated offence against
society, high treason. The whigs reply, riots and insurrections are
frequent in England, the land from which we sprang; we are bone of
their bone, and flesh of their flesh.--Granted; but at the same time
be it remembered, that in England the executive is commonly able
and willing to suppress insurrections, the judiciary to distribute
impartial justice, and the legislative power to aid and strengthen
the two former if necessary; and whenever these have proved
ineffectual to allay intestine commotions, war, with its concomitant
horrors, have passed through the land, marking their rout with blood.
The bigger part of Britain has at some period or other, within the
reach of history, been forfeited to the crown, by the rebellion of
its proprietors.

Let us now take a view of American grievances, and try, by the
sure touchstone of reason and the constitution, whether there be
any act or acts, on the part of the king or parliament, that will
justify the whigs even in _foro conscientiæ_, in thus forcibly
opposing their government. Will the alteration of the mode of
appointing one branch of our provincial legislature furnish so much
as an excuse for it, considering that our politicians, by their
intrigues and machinations, had rendered the assembly incapable
of answering the purpose of government, which is protection, and
our charter was become as inefficacious as an old ballad? Or can
a plea of justification be founded on the parliament's giving us
an exact transcript of English laws for returning jurors, when
our own were insufficient to afford compensation to the injured,
to suppress seditions, or even to restrain rebellion? It has been
heretofore observed, that each member of the community is entitled
to protection; for this he pays taxes, for this he relinquishes
his natural right of revenging injuries and redressing wrongs,
and for this the sword of justice is placed in the hands of the
magistrate. It is notorious that the whigs had usurped the power
of the province in a great measure, and exercised it by revenging
themselves on their opponents, or in compelling them to enlist
under their banners. Recollect the frequency of mobs and riots, the
invasions and demolitions of dwelling houses and other property,
the personal abuse, and frequent necessity of persons abandoning
their habitations, the taking sanctuary on board men of war, or at
the castle, previous to the regulating bill. Consider that these
sufferers were loyal subjects, violators of no law, that many of
them were crown officers, and were thus persecuted for no other
offence, than that of executing the king's law. Consider further,
that if any of the sufferers sought redress in a court of law, he had
the whole whig interest to combat; they gathered like a cloud and
hovered like harpies round the seat of justice, until the suitor was
either condemned to pay cost to his antagonist, or recovered so small
damages, as that they were swallowed up in his own. Consider further,
that these riots were not the accidental or spontaneous risings of
the populace, but the result of the deliberations and mature councils
of the whigs, and were sometimes headed and led to action by their
principals. Consider further, that the general assembly lent no aid
to the executive power. Weigh these things, my friends, and doubt
if you can, whether the act for regulating our government did not
flow from the parental tenderness of the British councils, to enable
us to recover from anarchy, without Britain being driven to the
necessity of inflicting punishment, which is her strange work. Having
taken this cursory view of the convulsed state of the province, let
us advert to our charter form of government, and we shall find its
distributions of power to have been so preposterous, as to render it
next to impossible for the province to recover by its own strength.
The council was elective annually by the house, liable to the
negative of the chair, and the chair restrained from acting, even in
the executive department, without the concurrence of the board. The
political struggle is often between the governor and the house, and
it is a maxim with politicians, that he that is not for us is against
us. Accordingly, when party run high, if a counsellor adhered to the
governor, the house refused to elect him the next year; if he adhered
to the house, the governor negatived him; if he trimmed his bark so
as to steer a middle course between Scylla and Charybdis, he was in
danger of suffering more by the neglect of both parties, than of
being wrecked but on one.

In moderate times, this province has been happy under our charter
form of government; but when the political storm arose, its original
defect became apparent. We have sometimes seen half a dozen sail of
tory navigation unable, on an election day, to pass the bar formed by
the flux and reflux of the tides at the entrance of the harbour, and
as many whiggish ones stranded the next morning on Governor's Island.
The whigs took the lead in this game, and therefore I think the blame
ought to rest upon them, though the tables were turned upon them in
the sequel. A slender acquaintance with human nature will inform,
experience has evinced, that a body of men thus constituted, are
not to be depended upon to act that vigorous, intrepid and decisive
part, which the emergency of the late times required, and which
might have proved the salvation of the province. In short, the board
which was intended to moderate between the governor and the house, or
perhaps rather to support the former, was incapable of doing either
by its original constitution. By the regulating act, the members
of the board are appointed by the king in the council, and are not
liable even to the suspension of the governor; their commissions are
_durante bene placito_, and they are therefore far from independence.
The infant state of the colonies does not admit of a peerage, nor
perhaps of any third branch of legislature wholly independent. In
most of the colonies, the council is appointed by mandamus, and the
members are moreover liable to be suspended by the governor, by
which means they are more dependant, than those appointed according
to the regulating act; but no inconvenience arises from that mode
of appointment. Long experience has evinced its utility. By this
statute, extraordinary powers are devolved upon the chair, to enable
the governor to maintain his authority, and to oppose with vigor
the daring spirit of independance, so manifest in the whigs. Town
meetings are restrained to prevent their passing traitorous resolves.
Had these and many other innovations contained in this act, been made
in moderate times, when due reverence was yielded to the magistrate,
and obedience to the law, they might have been called grievances; but
we have no reason to think, that had the situation of the province
been such that this statute would ever have had an existence--nor
have we any reason to doubt, but that it will be repealed, in whole
or part, should our present form of government be found by experience
to be productive of rapine or oppression. It is impossible that the
king, lords or commons could have any sinister views in regulating
the government of this province. Sometimes we are told that charters
are sacred. However sacred, they are forfeited through negligence or
_abuse_ of their franchises, in which cases the law judges that the
body politic has broken the condition, upon which it was incorporated.

There are many instances of the negligence and abuse, that work the
forfeiture of charters, delineated in law books. They also tell
us, that all charters may be vacated by act of parliament. Had
the form of our provincial legislature been established by act of
parliament, that act might have been constitutionally and equitably
repealed, when it was found to be incapable of answering the end
of its institution. Stronger still is the present case, where the
form of government was established by one branch of the legislature
only, viz. the king, and all three join in the revocation. This act
was however a fatal stroke to the ambitious views of our republican
patriots. The monarchial part of the constitution was so guarded by
it, as to be no longer vulnerable by their shafts, and all their
fancied greatness vanished, like the baseless fabric of a vision.
Many that had been long striving to attain a seat at the board,
with their faces thitherward, beheld, with infinite regret, their
competitors advanced to the honors they aspired to themselves.
These disappointed, ambitious, and envious men, instil the poison
of disaffection into the minds of the lower classes, and as soon
as they are properly impregnated, exclaim, _the people_ never will
submit to it. They now would urge them into certain ruin, to prevent
the execution of an act of parliament, designed and calculated to
restore peace and harmony to the province, and to recal that happy
state, when year rolled round on year, in a continual increase of our

The Quebec bill is another capital grievance, because the Canadians
are tolerated in the enjoyment of their religion, which they were
entitled to, by an article of capitulation, when they submitted
to the British arms. This toleration is not an exclusion of the
protestant religion, which is established in every part of the
empire, as firmly as civil polity can establish it. It is a strange
kind of reasoning to argue, from the French inhabitants of the
conquered province of Quebec being tolerated, in the enjoyment of the
Roman Catholic religion, in which they were educated, and in which
alone they repose their hope of eternal salvation; that therefore
government intends to deprive us of the enjoyment of the protestant
religion, in which alone we believe, especially as the political
interests of Britain depend upon protestant connexions, and the
king's being a protestant himself is an indispensable condition of
his wearing the crown. This circumstance however served admirably
for a fresh stimulus, and was eagerly grasped by the disaffected
of all orders. It added pathos to pulpit oratory. We often see
resolves and seditious letters interspersed with _popery_ here
and there in Italics. If any of the clergy have endeavoured, from
this circumstance, to alarm their too credulous audiences, with an
apprehension that their religious privileges were in danger, thereby
to excite them to take up arms, we must lament the depravity of the
best of men; but human nature stands apalled when we reflect upon the
aggravated guilt of prostituting our holy religion to the accursed
purposes of treason and rebellion. As to our lay politicians, I
have long since ceased to wonder at any thing in them; but it
may be observed that there is no surer mark of a bad cause, than
for its advocates to recur to such pitiful shifts to support it.
This instance plainly indicates that their sole dependance is in
preventing the passions subsiding, and cool reason resuming its seat.
It is a mark of their shrewdness however, for whenever reason shall
resume its seat, the political cheat will be detected, stand confest
in its native turpitude, and the political knave be branded with
marks of infamy, adequate, if possible, to the enormity of his crimes.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 20, 1775.


It would be an endless task to remark minutely upon each of the
fancied grievances, that swarm and cluster, fill and deform the
American chronicles. An adeptness at discovering grievances has
lately been one of the principal recommendations to public notice and
popular applause. We have had geniuses selected for that purpose,
called committees upon grievances; a sagacious set they were, and
discovered a multitude before it was known, that they themselves were
the greatest grievances that the country was infested with. The case
is shortly this; the whigs suppose the colonies to be separate or
distinct states: having fixed this opinion in their minds, they are
at no loss for grievances. Could I agree with them in their first
principle, I should acquiesce in many of their deductions; for in
that case every act of parliament, extending to the colonies, and
every movement of the crown to carry them into execution, would
be really grievances, however wise and salutary they might be in
themselves, as they would be exertions of a power that we were not
constitutionally subject to, and would deserve the name of usurpation
and tyranny; but deprived of this their corner stone, the terrible
fabric of grievances vanishes, like castles raised by enchantment,
and leaves the wondering spectator amazed and confounded at the
deception. He suspects himself to have but just awoke from sleep, or
recovered from a trance, and that the formidable spectre, that had
froze him with horror, was no more than the creature of a vision, or
the delusion of a dream.

Upon this point, whether the colonies are distinct states or not,
our patriots have rashly tendered Great Britain an issue, against
every principle of law and constitution, against reason and common
prudence. There is no arbiter between us but the sword; and that
the decision of that tribunal will be against us, reason foresees,
as plainly as it can discover any event that lies in the womb of
futurity. No person, unless actuated by ambition, pride, malice,
envy, or a malignant combination of the whole, that verges towards
madness, and hurries the man away from himself, would wage war upon
such unequal terms. No honest man would engage himself, much less
plunge his country into the calamities of a war upon equal terms,
without first settling with his conscience, in the retired moments
of reflection, the important question respecting the justice of
his cause. To do this, we must hear and weigh every thing that is
fairly adduced, on either side of the question, with equal attention
and care. A disposition to drink in with avidity, what favours our
hypothesis, and to reject with disgust whatever contravenes it, is
an infallible mark of a narrow, selfish mind. In matters of small
moment, such obstinacy is weakness and folly, in important ones,
fatal madness. There are many among us, that have devoted themselves
to the slavish dominion of prejudice; indeed the more liberal have
seldom had an opportunity of bringing the question to a fair examen.
The eloquence of the bar, the desk and the senate, the charms of
poetry, the expressions of painting, sculpture and statuary have
conspired to fix and rivet ideas of independance upon the mind of the
colonists. The overwhelming torrent, supplied from so many fountains,
rolled on with increasing rapidity and violence, till it became
superior to all restraint. It was the reign of passion; the small,
still voice of reason was refused audience. I have observed that the
press was heretofore open to but one side of the question, which
has given offence to a writer in Edes and Gill's paper, under the
signature of Novanglus, to whom I have many things to say. I would at
present ask him, if the convention of committees for the county of
Worcester, in recommending to the inhabitants of that county not to
take newspapers, published by two of the printers in this town, and
two at New York, have not affected to be licensers of the press? And
whether, by proscribing these printers, and endeavouring to deprive
them of a livelihood, they have not manifested an illiberal, bigoted,
arbitrary, malevolent disposition? And whether, by thus attempting
to destroy the liberty of the press, they have not betrayed a
consciousness of the badness of their cause?

Our warriors tell us, that the parliament shall be permitted to
legislate for the purposes of regulating trade, but the parliament
hath most unrighteously asserted, that it "had, hath, and of right
ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes
of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies in all
cases whatever," that this claim is without any qualification or
restriction, is an innovation, and inconsistent with liberty. Let
us candidly inquire into these three observations, upon the statute
declaratory of the authority of parliament. As to its universality,
it is true there are no exceptions expressed, but there is no general
rule without exceptions, expressed or implied.

The implied ones in this case are obvious. It is evident that
the intent and meaning of this act, was to assert the supremacy
of parliament in the colonies, that is, that its constitutional
authority to make laws and statutes binding upon the colonies, is,
and ever had been as ample, as it is to make laws binding upon the
realm. No one that reads the declaratory statute, not even prejudice
itself, can suppose that the parliament meant to assert thereby a
right or power to deprive the colonists of their lives, to enslave
them, or to make any law respecting the colonies, that would not be
constitutional, were it made respecting Great Britain. By an act
of parliament passed in the year 1650, it was declared concerning
the colonies and plantations in America, that they had "ever since
the planting thereof been and ought to be subject to such laws,
orders and regulations, as are or shall be made by the parliament of
England." This declaration though differing in expression, is the
same in substance with the other. Our house of representatives, in
their dispute with governor Hutchinson, concerning the supremacy of
parliament, say, "It is difficult, if possible, to draw a line of
distinction between the universal authority of parliament over the
colonies, and no authority at all."

The declaratory statute was intended more especially to assert the
right of parliament, to make laws and statutes for raising a revenue
in America, lest the repeal of the stamp act might be urged as a
disclaimer of the right. Let us now inquire whether a power to raise
a revenue be not the inherent, unalienable right of the supreme
legislative of every well regulated state, where the hereditary
revenues of the crown, or established revenues of the state are
insufficient of themselves; and whether that power be not necessarily
coextensive with the power of legislation, or rather necessarily
implied in it.

The end or design of government, as has been already observed, is
the security of the people from internal violence and rapacity, and
from foreign invasion. The supreme power of a state must necessarily
be so extensive and ample as to answer those purposes, otherwise it
is constituted in vain and degenerates into empty parade and mere
ostentatious pageantry. These purposes cannot be answered without
a power to raise a revenue; for without it neither the laws can be
executed, nor the state defended. This revenue ought, in national
concerns, to be apportioned throughout the whole empire according
to the abilities of the several parts, as the claim of each to
protection, is equal; a refusal to yield the former is as unjust as
the withholding of the latter. Were any part of an empire exempt from
contributing their proportionable part of the revenue, necessary for
the whole, such exemption would be manifest injustice to the rest
of the empire; as it must of course bear more than its proportion
of the public burden, and it would amount to an additional tax. If
the proportion of each part was to be determined only by itself in a
separate legislature, it would not only involve in it the absurdity
of _imperium in imperio_, but the perpetual contention arising
from the predominant principle of self-interest in each, without
having any common arbiter between them, would render the disjointed,
discordant, torn, and dismembered state incapable of collecting or
conducting its force and energy for the preservation of the whole,
as emergencies might require. A government thus constituted, would
contain the seeds of dissolution in its first principles, and must
soon destroy itself.

I have already shewn, that by your first charter, this province was
to be subject to taxation, after the lapse of twenty-one years, and
that the authority of parliament to impose such taxes, was claimed so
early as the year 1642.

In the patent for Pennsylvania, which is now in force, there is this
clause, "And further our pleasure is, and by these presents, for us,
&c. we do covenant and grant to, and with the said William Penn,
&c. that we, &c. shall at no time hereafter set or make, or cause
to be set, any imposition, custom, or other taxation, or rate or
contribution whatsoever, in and upon the dwellers, and inhabitants of
the aforesaid province, for their lands, tenements, goods or chattels
within the said province, or in and upon any goods or merchandise
within the said province, to be laden or unladen within the ports or
harbours of the said province, unless the same be with the consent of
the proprietors, chief governor, or assembly, or _act of parliament_."

These are stubborn facts; they are incapable of being winked out of
existence, how much soever, we may be disposed to shut our eyes upon
them. They prove, that the claim of a right to raise a revenue in the
colonies, exclusive of the grants of their own assemblies, is coeval
with the colonies themselves. I shall next shew, that there has been
an actual, uninterrupted exercise of that right, by the parliament
time immemorial.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

February 27, 1775.


By an act of parliament made in the twenty-fifth year of the reign
of Charles 2d. duties are laid upon goods and merchandise of various
kinds, exported from the colonies to foreign countries, or carried
from one colony to another, payable on exportation. I will recite
a part of it, viz: "For so much of the said commodities as shall
be laden and put on board such ship or vessel; that is to say, for
sugar, white, the hundred weight, five shillings; and brown and
Muscovados, the hundred weight, one shilling and six pence; tobacco,
the pound, one penny; cotton wool, the pound, one half-penny; for
indigo, two-pence; ginger, the hundred weight, one shilling; logwood,
the hundred weight, five pounds; fustic, and all other dying wood,
the hundred weight, six-pence; cocoa, the pound, one-penny, to be
_levied, collected, and paid_, at such places, and to such collectors
and other officers, as shall be appointed in the respective
plantations, to collect, levy, and receive the same, before the
landing thereof, and under such penalties, both to the officers,
and upon the goods, as for non-payment of, or _defrauding his
majesty of his customs in England_. And for the better _collecting
of the several rates and duties imposed by this act_, be it enacted
that this whole business shall be ordered and managed, and the
several duties hereby imposed shall be caused _to be levied by the
commissioners of the customs in England_, by and under the authority
of the lord treasurer of England, or commissioners of the treasury."

It is apparent, from the reasoning of this statute, that these duties
were imposed for the sole purpose of revenue. There has lately
been a most ingenious play upon the words and expressions _tax_,
_revenue_, _purpose of raising a revenue_, _sole purpose of raising
a revenue_, _express purpose of raising a revenue_, as though their
being inserted in, or left out of a statute, would make any essential
difference in the statute. This is mere playing with words; for if,
from the whole tenor of the act, it is evident, that the intent of
the legislature was to tax, rather than to regulate the trade, by
imposing duties on goods and merchandise, it is to all intents and
purposes, an instance of taxation, be the form of words, in which
the statute is conceived, what it will. That such was the intent of
the legislature, in this instance, any one that will take the pains
to read it, will be convinced. There have been divers alterations
made in this by subsequent statutes, but some of the above taxes
remain, and are collected and paid in the colonies to this day. By an
act of the 7th. and 8th. of William and Mary, it is enacted, "that
every seaman, whatsoever, that shall serve his majesty, or any other
person whatever in any of his majesty's ships or vessels, whatsoever,
belonging, or to belong to any subjects of England, or any other his
majesty's dominions, shall allow, and there shall be paid out of
the wages of every such seaman, to grow due for such his service,
six-pence per annum for the better support of the said hospital, and
to augment the _revenue_ thereof." This tax was imposed in the reign
of king William 3d. of blessed memory, and is still levied in the
colonies. It would require a volume to recite, or minutely to remark
upon all the revenue acts that relate to America. We find them in
many reigns, imposing new duties, taking off, or reducing old ones,
and making provision for their collection, or new appropriations
of them. By an act of the 7th. and 8th. of William and Mary,
entitled, "an act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the
plantations." All former acts respecting the plantations are renewed,
and all ships and vessels coming into any port here, are liable to
the same regulations and restrictions, as ships in the ports in
England are liable to; and enacts, "_That the officers for collecting
and managing his majesty's revenue, and inspecting the plantation
trade in many of the said plantations_, shall have the same powers
and authority for visiting and searching of ships, and taking their
entries, and for seizing, or securing, or bringing on shore any of
the goods prohibited to be imported or exported into or out of any
of the said colonies and plantations, _or for which any duties are
payable, or ought to be paid by any of the before mentioned acts, as
are provided for the officers of the customs in England_."

The act of the 9th of Queen Ann, for establishing a post-office,
gives this reason for its establishment, and for laying taxes thereby
imposed on the carriage of letters in Great Britain and Ireland, the
colonies and plantations in North America and the West Indies, and
all other her majesty's dominions and territories, "that the business
may be done in such manner as may be most beneficial to the people
of these kingdoms, and her majesty may be supplied, and the revenue
arising by the said office, better improved, settled, and secured to
her majesty, her heirs, and successors." The celebrated patriot, Dr.
Franklin, was till lately one of the principal collectors of it. The
merit in putting the post-office in America upon such a footing as to
yield a large revenue to the crown, is principally ascribed to him by
the whigs. I would not wish to detract from the real merit of that
gentleman, but had a tory been half so assiduous in increasing the
America revenue, Novanglus would have wrote parricide at the end of
his name. By an act of the sixth of George 2d. a duty is laid on all
foreign rum, molasses, syrups, sugars, and paneles, to be _raised,
levied, collected, and paid unto, and for the use of his majesty,
his heirs, and successors_. The preamble of an act of the fourth
of his present majesty declares, "that _it is just and necessary
that a revenue in America for defraying the expences of defending,
protecting, and securing the same_," &c. by which act duties are laid
upon foreign sugars, coffee, Madeira wine; upon Portugal, Spanish,
and all other wine, except French wine, imported from Great Britain;
upon silks, bengals, stuffs, calico, linen cloth, cambric, and lawn,
imported from particular places.

Thus, my friends, it is evident, that the parliament has been in the
actual, uninterrupted use and exercise of the right claimed by them,
to raise a revenue in America, from a period more remote than the
grant of the present charter, to this day. These revenue acts have
never been called unconstitutional till very lately. Both whigs and
tories acknowledged them to be constitutional. In 1764, Governor
Bernard wrote and transmitted to his friends, his polity alluded
to, and in part recited by Novanglus, wherein he asserts the right
or authority of the parliament to tax the colonies. Mr. Otis, whose
patriotism, sound policy, profound learning, integrity and honour,
is mentioned in strong terms by Novanglus, in the self-same year, in
a pamphlet which he published to the whole world, asserts the right
or authority of parliament to tax the colonies, as roundly as ever
Governor Bernard did, which I shall have occasion to take an extract
from hereafter. Mr. Otis was at that time the most popular man in the
province, and continued his popularity many years afterwards.

Is it not a most astonishing instance of caprice, or infatuation,
that a province, torn from its foundations, should be precipitating
itself into a war with Great Britain, because the British parliament
asserts its right of raising a revenue in America, inasmuch as the
claim of that right is as ancient as the colonies themselves; and
there is at present no grievous exercise of it? The parliaments
refusing to repeal the act is the ostensible foundation of our
quarrel. If we ask the whigs whether the pitiful three penny duty
upon a luxurious, unwholesome, foreign commodity gives just occasion
for the opposition; they tell us it is the precedent they are
contending about, insinuating that it is an innovation. But this
ground is not tenable; for a total repeal of the tea act would not
serve us upon the score of precedents. They are numerous without
this. The whigs have been extremely partial respecting tea. Poor
tea has been made the shibboleth of party, while molasses, wine,
coffee, indigo, &c. &c. have been unmolested. A person that drinks
New England rum, distilled from molasses, subject to a like duty,
is equally deserving of a coat of tar and feathers, with him that
drinks tea. A coffee drinker is as culpable as either, viewed in a
political light. But, say our patriots, if the British parliament
may take a penny from us, without our consent, they may a pound, and
so on, till they have filched away all our property. This incessant
incantation operates like a spell or charm, and checks the efforts of
loyalty in many an honest breast. Let us give it its full weight. Do
they mean, that if the parliament has a right to raise a revenue of
one penny on the colonies, that they must therefore have a _right_
to wrest from us all our property? If this be their meaning, I deny
their deduction; for the supreme legislature can have no right to
tax any part of the empire to a greater amount, than its just and
equitable proportion of the necessary, national expence. This is
a line drawn by the constitution itself. Do they mean, that if we
admit that the parliament may constitutionally raise one penny upon
us for the purposes of revenue, they will probably proceed from
light to heavy taxes, till their impositions become grievous and
intolerable? This amounts to no more than a denial of the right,
lest it should be abused. But an argument drawn from the actual
abuse of a power, will not conclude to the illegality of such power,
much less will an argument drawn from a capability of its being
abused. If it would, we might readily argue away all power, that
man is entrusted with. I will admit, that a power of taxation is
more liable to abuse, than legislation separately considered; and
it would give me pleasure to see some other line drawn; some other
barrier erected, than what the constitution has already done, if it
be possible, whereby the constitutional authority of the supreme
legislature, might be preserved entire, and America be guaranteed
in every right and exemption, consistent with her subordination and
dependance. But this can only be done by parliament. I repeat I am
no advocate for a land tax, or any other kind of internal tax, nor
do I think we were in any danger of them. I have not been able to
discover one symptom of any such intention in the parliament, since
the repeal of the stamp-act. Indeed, the principal speakers of the
majority, that repealed the stamp-act drew the line for us, between
internal and external taxation, and I think we ought, in honour,
justice, and good policy, to have acquiesced therein, at least until
there was some burdensome exercise of taxation. For there is but
little danger from the latter, that is from duties laid upon trade,
as any grievous restriction or imposition on American trade, would
be sensibly felt by the British; and I think with Dr. Franklin, that
"they (the British nation) have a natural and equitable right to some
toll or duty upon merchandizes carried through that part of their
dominions, viz: the American seas, towards defraying the expence they
are at in ships to maintain the safety of that carriage." These were
his words in his examination at the bar of the house, in 1765. _Sed
tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis._ Before we appeal to heaven
for the justice of our cause, we ought to determine with ourselves,
some other questions, whether America is not obliged in equity to
contribute something toward the national defence: whether the present
American revenue, amounts to our proportion: and whether we can, with
any tolerable grace, accuse Great Britain of _injustice_ in imposing
the late duties, when our assemblies were previously called upon, and
refused to make any provision for themselves. These, with several
imaginary grievances, not yet particularly remarked upon, I shall
consider in reviewing the publications of Novanglus; a performance
which, though not destitute of ingenuity, I read with a mixture of
grief and indignation, as it seems to be calculated to blow up every
spark of animosity, and to kindle such a flame, as must inevitably
consume a great part of this once happy province, before it can be



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 6, 1775.


Novanglus, and all others, have an indisputable right to publish
their sentiments and opinions to the world, provided they conform
to truth, decency, and the municipal laws, of the society of which
they are members. He has wrote with a professed design of exposing
the errors and sophistry which he supposes are frequent in my
publications. His design is so far laudable, and I intend to correct
them wherever he convinces me there is an instance of either. I
have no objection to the minutest disquisition; contradiction and
disputation, like the collision of flint and steel, often strike
out new light; the bare opinions of either of us, unaccompanied
by the grounds and reasons upon which they were formed, must be
considered only as propositions made to the reader, for him to adopt,
or reject as his own reason may judge, or feelings dictate. A large
proportion of the labours of Novanglus consist in denials of my
allegations in matters of such public notoriety, as that no reply
is necessary. He has alleged many things destitute of foundation;
those that affect the main object of our pursuit, but remotely, if
at all, I shall pass by without particular remark; others, of a more
interesting nature, I shall review minutely. After some general
observations upon Massachusettensis, he slides into a most virulent
attack upon particular persons, by names, with such incomparable
ease, that shews him to be a great proficient in the modern art
of detraction and calumny. He accuses the late governor Shirley,
governor Hutchinson, the late lieutenant governor Oliver, the late
judge Russell, Mr. Paxton, and brigadier Ruggles, of a conspiracy to
enslave their country. The charge is high coloured; if it be just,
they merit the epithets dealt about so indiscriminately, of enemies
to their country. If it be groundless, Novanglus has acted the part
of an assassin, in thus attempting to destroy the reputation of the
living; and of something worse than an assassin, in entering those
hallowed mansions, where the wicked commonly cease from troubling,
and the weary are at rest, to disturb the repose of the dead. That
the charge is groundless respecting governor Bernard, governor
Hutchinson, and the late lieutenant governor, I dare assert, because
they have been acquitted of it in such a manner, as every good
citizen must acquiesce in. Our house of representatives, acting as
the grand inquest of the province, presented them before the king in
council, and after a full hearing, they were acquitted with honour,
and the several impeachments dismissed, as groundless, vexatious,
and scandalous. The accusation of the house was similar to this of
Novanglus; the court they chose to institute their suit in, was of
competent and high jurisdiction, and its decision final. This is
a sufficient answer to the state charges made by this writer, so
far as they respect the governors Bernard, Hutchinson and Oliver,
whom he accuses as principals; and it is a general rule, that
if the principal be innocent, the accessary cannot be guilty. A
determination of a constitutional arbiter ought to seal up the lips
of even prejudice itself, in silence; otherwise litigation must be
endless. This calumniator, nevertheless, has the effrontery to renew
the charge in a public news paper, although thereby he arraigns our
most gracious Sovereign, and the lords of the privy council, as well
as the gentlemen he has named. Not content with wounding the honour
of judges, counsellors and governors, with missile weapons, darted
from an obscure corner, he now aims a blow at majesty itself. Any one
may accuse; but accusation, unsupported by proof, recoils upon the
head of the accuser. It is entertaining enough to consider the crimes
and misdemeanors alleged, and then examine the evidence he adduces,
stript of the false glare he has thrown upon it.

The crimes are these; the persons named by him conspired together
to _enslave_ their country, in consequence of a plan, the outlines
of which have been drawn by sir Edmund Andross and others, and
handed down by tradition to the present times. He tells us that
governor Shirley, in 1754, communicated the profound secret, the
great design of taxing the colonies by act of parliament, to the
sagacious gentleman, eminent philosopher, and distinguished patriot,
Dr. Franklin. The profound secret is this; after the commencement
of hostilities between the English and French colonies in the last
war, a convention of committees from several provinces were called by
the king, to agree upon some general plan of defence. The principal
difficulty they met with was in devising means whereby each colony
might be obliged to contribute its proportionable part. General
Shirley proposed _that application should be made to parliament to
impower the committees of the several colonies to tax the whole
according to their several proportions_. This plan was adopted by the
convention, and approved of by the assembly in New York, who passed a
resolve in these words: "That the scheme proposed by governor Shirley
for the defence of the British colonies in North America, is well
concerted, and that this colony joins therein." This however did not
succeed, and he proposed another, viz. for the parliament to assess
each one's proportion, and in case of failure to raise it on their
part, that it should be done by parliament. This is the profound
secret. His assiduity, in endeavouring to have some effectual plan
of general defence established, is, by the false colouring of this
writer, represented as an attempt to aggrandise himself, family and
friends; and that gentleman, under whose administration the several
parties in the province were as much united, and the whole province
rendered as happy as it ever was, for so long a time together, is
called a "crafty, busy, ambitious, intriguing, enterprizing man."
This attempt of Governor Shirley for a parliamentary taxation,
is however a circumstance strongly militating with this writer's
hypothesis, for the approbation shewn to the Governor's proposal
by the convention, which consisted of persons from the several
colonies, not inferior in point of discernment, integrity, knowledge
or patriotism to the members of our late _grand_ congress, and the
vote of the New York assembly furnishes pretty strong evidence that
the authority of parliament, even in point of taxation, was not
doubted in that day. Even Dr. Franklin, in the letter alluded to,
does not deny the right. His objections go to the inexpediency of the
measure. He supposes it would create uneasiness in the minds of the
colonists should they be thus taxed, unless they were previously
allowed to send representatives to parliament. If Dr. Franklin really
supposes that the parliament has no constitutional right to raise a
revenue in America, I must confess myself at a loss to reconcile his
conduct in accepting the office of post-master, and his assiduity
in increasing the revenue in that department, to the patriotism
predicated of him by Novanglus, especially as this unfortunately
happens to be an internal tax. This writer then tells us, that the
plan was interrupted by the war, and afterwards by Governor Pownal's
administration. That Messieurs Hutchinson and Oliver, stung with envy
at Governor Pownal's favourites, propagated slanders respecting him
to render him uneasy in his seat. My answer is this, that he that
publishes such falsehoods as these in a public newspaper, with an air
of seriousness, insults the understanding of the public, more than he
injures the individuals he defames. In the next place we are told,
that Governor Bernard was the proper man for this purpose, and he
was employed by the junto to suggest to the ministry the project of
taxing the colonies by act of parliament. Sometimes Governor Bernard
is the arch enemy of America, the source of all our troubles, now
only a tool in the hands of others. I wish Novanglus's memory had
served him better, his tale might have been consistent with itself,
however variant from truth. After making these assertions with equal
gravity and assurance, he tells us, he does not advance this without
evidence. I had been looking out for evidence a long time, and was
all attention when it was promised, but my disappointment was equal
to the expectation he had raised, when I found the evidence amounted
to nothing more than Governor Bernard's letters and principles of
law and polity, wherein he asserts the supremacy of parliament over
the colonies both as to legislation and taxation. Where this writer
got his logic, I do not know. Reduced to a syllogism, his argument
stands thus; Governor Bernard, in 1764, wrote and transmitted to
England certain letters and principles of law and polity, wherein
he asserts the right of parliament to tax the colonies; Messieurs
Hutchinson and Oliver were in unison with him in all his measures;
therefore Messieurs Hutchinson and Oliver employed Governor Bernard
to suggest to the ministry the project of taxing the colonies by
act of parliament. The letters and principles are the whole of the
evidence, and this is all the appearance of argument contained in
his publication. Let us examine the premises. That Governor Bernard
asserted the right of parliament to tax the colonies in 1764, is
true. So did Mr. Otis, in a pamphlet he published the self-same year,
from which I have already taken an extract. In a pamphlet published
in 1765, Mr. Otis tells us, "it is certain that the parliament of
Great Britain hath a just, clear, equitable and constitutional right,
power and authority to bind the colonies by all acts wherein they are
named. Every lawyer, nay every Tyro, knows this; no less certain is
it that the parliament of Great Britain has a just and _equitable_
right, power and authority to impose taxes on the colonies _internal
and external, on lands as well as on trade_." But does it follow from
Governor Bernard's transmitting his principles of polity to four
persons in England, or from Mr. Otis's publishing to the whole world
similar principles, that either the one or the other suggested to the
ministry the project of taxing the colonies by act of parliament?
Hardly, supposing the transmission and publication had been prior to
the resolution of parliament to that purpose; but very unfortunately
for our reasoner, they were both subsequent to it, and were the
effect and not the cause.

The history of the stamp act is this. At the close of the last war,
which was a native of America, and increased the national debt
upwards of sixty millions, it was thought by parliament to be but
equitable, that an additional revenue should be raised in America,
towards defraying the necessary charges of keeping it in a state
of defence. A resolve of this nature was passed, and the colonies
made acquainted with it through their agents, in 1764, that their
assemblies might make the necessary provision if they would. The
assemblies neglected doing any thing, and the parliament passed the
stamp act. There is not so much as a colourable pretence that any
American had a hand in the matter. Had governor Bernard, governor
Hutchinson, or the late lieutenant governor been any way instrumental
in obtaining the stamp act, it is very strange that not a glimpse
of evidence should ever have appeared, especially when we consider
that their private correspondence has been published, letters which
were written in the full confidence of unsuspecting friendship. The
evidence, as Novanglus calls it, is wretchedly deficient as to fixing
the charge upon governor Bernard; but, even admitting that governor
Bernard suggested to the ministry the design of taxing, there is no
kind of evidence to prove that the junto, as this elegant writer
calls the others, approved of it, much less that they employed him to
do it. But, says he, no one can doubt but that Messieurs Hutchinson
and Oliver were in unison with governor Bernard, in all his measures.
This is not a fact, Mr. Hutchinson dissented from him respecting the
alteration of our charter, and wrote to his friends in England to
prevent it. Whether governor Bernard wrote in favour of the stamp
act being repealed or not I cannot say, but I know that governor
Hutchinson did, and have reason to think his letters had great weight
in turning the scale, which hung doubtful a long time, in favour of
the repeal. These facts are known to many in the province, whigs as
well as tories, yet such was the infatuation that prevailed, that
the mob destroyed his house upon supposition that he was the patron
of the stamp act. Even in the letters wrote to the late Mr. Whately,
we find him advising to a total repeal of the tea act. It cannot be
fairly inferred from persons' intimacy or mutual confidence that
they always approve of each others plans. Messieurs Otis, Cushing,
Hancock and Adams were as confidential friends, and made common cause
equally with the other gentlemen. May we thence infer, that the three
latter hold that the parliament has a just and _equitable right_
to impose taxes on the colonies? Or, that "the time may come, when
the real interest of the whole may require an act of parliament to
annihilate all our charters?" For these also are Mr. Otis's words.
Or may we lay it down as a principle to reason from, that these
gentlemen never disagree respecting measures? We know they do often,
very materially. This writer is unlucky both in his principles and
inferences. But where is the evidence respecting brigadier Ruggles,
Mr. Paxton, and the late judge Russel? He does not produce even the
shadow of a shade. He does not even pretend that they were in unison
with governor Bernard in all his measures. In matters of small moment
a man may be allowed to amuse with ingenious fiction, but in personal
accusation, in matters so interesting both to the individual and to
the public, reason and candour require something more than assertion,
without proof, declamation without argument, and censure without
dignity or moderation: this however, is characteristic of Novanglus.
It is the stale trick of the whig writers feloniously to stab the
reputation, when their antagonists are invulnerable in their public

These gentlemen were all of them, and the survivers still continue
to be, friends of the English constitution, equally tenacious of
the privileges of the people, and of the prerogative of the crown,
zealous advocates for the colonies continuing their constitutional
dependance upon Great Britain, as they think it no less the interest
than the duty of the colonists; averse to tyranny and oppression
in all their forms, and always ready to exert themselves for the
relief of the oppressed, though they differ materially from the
whigs in the mode of obtaining it; they discharged the duties of
the several important departments they were called to fill, with
equal faithfulness and ability; their public services gained them
the confidence of the people, real merit drew after it popularity;
their principles, firmness and popularity rendered them obnoxious to
certain persons amongst us, who have long been indulging themselves,
in hopes of rearing up an American commonwealth, upon the ruin of
the British constitution. This republican party is of long standing;
they lay however, in a great measure, dormant for several years. The
distrust, jealousy and ferment raised by the stamp act, afforded
scope for action. At first they wore the garb of hypocrisy, they
professed to be friends to the British constitution in general, but
claimed some exemptions from their local circumstances; at length
threw off their disguise, and now stand confessed to the world in
their true characters, American republicans. These republicans knew,
that it would be impossible for them to succeed in their darling
projects, without first destroying the influence of these adherents
to the constitution. Their only method to accomplish it, was by
publications charged with falshood and scurrility. Notwithstanding
the favorable opportunity the stamp act gave of imposing upon the
ignorant and credulous, I have sometimes been amazed, to see with
how little hesitation, some slovenly baits were swallowed. Sometimes
the adherents to the constitution were called ministerial tools, at
others, kings, lords and commons, were the tools of them; for almost
every act of parliament that has been made respecting America, in the
present reign, we were told was drafted in Boston, or its environs,
and only sent to England to run through the forms of parliament. Such
stories, however improbable, gained credit; even the fictitious bill
for restraining marriages and murdering bastard children, met with
some simple enough to think it real. He that readily imbibes such
absurdities, may claim affinity with the person mentioned by Mr.
Addison, that made it his practice to swallow a chimera every morning
for breakfast. To be more serious, I pity the weakness of those that
are capable of being thus duped, almost as much as I despise the
wretch that would avail himself of it, to destroy private characters
and the public tranquility. By such infamous methods, many of the
ancient, trusty and skilful pilots, who had steered the community
safely in the most perilous times, were driven from the helm, and
their places occupied by different persons, some of whom, bankrupts
in fortune, business and fame, are now striving to run the ship on
the rocks, that they may have an opportunity of plundering the wreck.
The gentlemen named by Novanglus, have nevertheless persevered with
unshaken constancy and firmness, in their patriotic principles and
conduct, through a variety of fortune; and have at present, the
mournful consolation of reflecting, that had their admonitions and
councils been timely attended to, their country would never have been
involved in its present calamity.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 13, 1775.


Our patriotic writers, as they call each other, estimate the services
rendered by, and the advantages resulting from the colonies to
Britain, at a high rate, but allow but little, if any, merit in her
towards the colonies. Novanglus would persuade us that exclusive
of her assistance in the last war, we have had but little of her
protection, unless it was such as her name alone afforded. Dr.
Franklin when before the house of commons, in 1765, denied that the
late war was entered into for the defence of the people in America.
The Pennsylvania Farmer tells us in his letters, that the war was
undertaken solely for the benefit of Great Britain, and that however
advantageous the subduing or keeping any of these countries, viz.
Canada, Nova-Scotia and the Floridas may be to Great Britain, the
acquisition is greatly injurious to these colonies. And that the
colonies, as constantly as streams tend to the ocean, have been
pouring the fruits of all their labours into their mother's lap.
Thus, they would induce us to believe, that we derive little or no
advantage from Great Britain, and thence they infer the injustice,
rapacity and cruelty of her conduct towards us. I fully agree
with them, that the services rendered by the colonies are great
and meritorious. The plantations are additions to the empire of
inestimable value. The American market for British manufactures, the
great nursery for seamen formed by our shipping, the cultivation of
deserts, and our rapid population, are increasing and inexhaustible
sources of national wealth and strength. I commend these patriots
for their estimations of the national advantages accruing from
the colonies, as much as I think them deserving of censure for
depreciating the advantages and benefits that we derive from Britain.
A particular inquiry into the protection afforded us, and the
commercial advantages resulting to us from the parent state, will
go a great way towards conciliating the affections of those whose
minds are at present unduly impressed with different sentiments
towards Great Britain. The intestine commotions with which England
was convulsed and torn soon after the emigration of our ancestors,
probably prevented that attention being given to them in the earliest
stages of this colony, that otherwise would have been given. The
principal difficulties that the adventurers met with after the
struggle of a few of the first years were over, were the incursions
of the French and savages conjointly, or of the latter instigated and
supported by the former. Upon a representation of this to England,
in the time of the interregnum, Acadia, which was then the principal
source of our disquietude, was reduced by an English armament. At the
request of this colony, in queen Ann's reign, a fleet of fifteen men
of war, besides transports, troops, &c. were sent to assist us in an
expedition against Canada; the fleet suffered ship-wreck, and the
attempt proved abortive. It ought not to be forgot, that the siege
of Louisbourg, in 1745, by our own forces, was covered by a British
fleet of ten ships, four of 60 guns, one of 50, and five of 40 guns,
besides the Vigilant of 64, which was taken during the siege, as
she was attempting to throw supplies into the garrison. It is not
probable that the expedition would have been undertaken without an
expectation of some naval assistance, or that the reduction could
have been effected without it. In January, 1754, our assembly, in a
message to governor Shirley, prayed him to represent to the king,
"that the French had made such extraordinary encroachments, and
taken such measures, since the conclusion of the preceding war,
as threatened great danger, and perhaps, in time, even the entire
destruction of this province, without the interposition of his
majesty, notwithstanding any provision we could make to prevent it."
"That the French had erected a fort on the isthmus of the peninsula
near Bay Vert in Nova Scotia, by means of which they maintained a
communication by sea with Canada, St. John's Island and Louisbourg."
"That near the mouth of St. John's river, the French had possessed
themselves of two forts formerly built by them, one of which was
garrisoned by regular troops, and had erected another strong fort at
twenty leagues up the river, and that these encroachments might prove
fatal not only to the eastern parts of his majesty's territories
within this province, but also in time to the whole of this province,
and the rest of his majesty's territories on this continent." "That
whilst the French held Acadia under the treaty of St. Germain, they
so cut off the trade of this province, and galled the inhabitants
with incursions into their territories, that OLIVER CROMWELL found
it necessary for the safety of New England to make a descent by
sea into the river of St. John, and dispossess them of that and
all the forts in Acadia. That Acadia was restored to the French by
the treaty of Breda in 1667." That this colony felt again the same
mischievous effects from their possessing it, insomuch, that after
forming several expeditions against it, the inhabitants were obliged
in the latter end of the war in queen Ann's reign, to represent to
her majesty how destructive the possession of the bay of Fundy and
Nova Scotia, by the French, was to this province and the British
trade; whereupon the British ministry thought it necessary to fit
out a _formal expedition against that province with English troops_,
and a considerable armament of our own, under general Nicholson, by
which it was again reduced to the subjection of the crown of Great
Britain. "That we were then, viz. in 1754, liable to feel more
mischievous effects than we had ever yet done, unless his majesty
should be graciously pleased to cause them to be removed." They
also demonstrated our danger from the encroachments of the French
at Crown Point. In April, 1754, the council and house represented,
"That it evidently appeared, that the French were so far advanced in
the execution of a plan projected more than fifty years since, for
the extending their possessions from the mouth of the Mississippi
on the south, to Hudson's Bay on the north, for securing the vast
body of Indians in that inland country, and for subjecting the whole
continent to the crown of France." "That many circumstances gave
them great advantages over us, which if not attended to, would soon
overbalance our superiority of numbers; and that these advantages
could not be removed without his majesty's gracious interposition."

The assembly of Virginia, in an address to the king, represented,
"that the endeavours of the French to establish a settlement upon
the frontiers, was a high insult offered to his majesty, and if not
timely opposed, with vigor and resolution, must be attended with the
most fatal consequences," and prayed his majesty to extend his royal
beneficence towards them.

The commissioners who met at Albany the same year, represented, "that
it was the evident design of the French to surround the British
colonies; to fortify themselves on the back thereof; to take and keep
possession of the heads of all the important rivers; to draw over the
Indians to their interest, and with the help of such Indians, added
to such forces as were then arrived, and might afterwards arrive, or
be sent from Europe, to be in a capacity of making a general attack
on the several governments; and if at the same time a strong naval
force should be sent from France, there was the utmost danger that
the whole continent would be subjected to the crown." "That it seemed
absolutely necessary that speedy and effectual measures should be
taken to secure the colonies from the _slavery_ they were threatened

We did not pray in vain. Great Britain, ever attentive to the _real
grievances_ of her colonies, hastened to our relief with maternal
speed. She covered our seas with her ships, and sent forth the
bravest of her sons to fight our battles. They fought, they bled and
conquered with us. Canada, Nova Scotia, the Floridas, and all our
American foes were laid at our feet. It was a dear bought victory;
the wilds of America were enriched with the blood of the noble and
the brave.

The war, which at our request, was thus kindled in America, spread
through the four quarters of the globe, and obliged Great Britain to
exert her whole force and energy to stop the rapid progress of its
devouring flames.

To these instances of actual exertions for our immediate protection
and defence, ought to be added, the fleets stationed on our coast and
the convoys and security afforded to our trade and fishery, in times
of war; and her maintaining in times of peace such a navy and army,
as to be always in readiness to give protection as exigencies may
require; and her ambassadors residing at foreign courts to watch and
give the earliest intelligence of their motions. By such precautions
every part of her wide extended empire enjoys as ample security as
human power and policy can afford. Those necessary precautions are
supported at an immense expense, and the colonies reap the benefit
of them equally with the rest of the empire. To these considerations
it should likewise be added, that whenever the colonies have exerted
themselves in war, though in their own defence, to a greater degree
than their proportion with the rest of the empire, they have been
reimbursed by parliamentary grants. This was the case, in the last
war, with this province.

From this view, which I think is an impartial one, it is evident that
Great Britain is not less attentive to our interest than her own; and
that her sons that have settled on new and distant plantations are
equally dear to her with those that cultivate the ancient domain, and
inhabit the mansion house.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 20, 1775.


The outlines of British commerce have been heretofore sketched; and
the interest of each part, in particular, and of the whole empire
conjointly, have been shewn to be the principles by which the grand
system is poized and balanced. Whoever will take upon himself the
trouble of reading and comparing the several acts of trade, which
respect the colonies, will be convinced, that the cherishing their
trade, and promoting their interest, have been the objects of
parliamentary attention, equally with those of Britain. He will see,
that the great council of the empire has ever esteemed our prosperity
as inseperable from the British, and if in some instances the
colonies have been restricted to the emolument of other parts of the
empire, they, in their turn, not excepting England itself, have been
also restricted sufficiently to restore the balance, if not to cause
a preponderation in our favour.

Permit me to transcribe a page or two from a pamphlet written in
England, and lately republished here, wherein this matter is stated
with great justice and accuracy.

"The people of England and the American adventurers, being so
differently circumstanced, it required no great sagacity to discover,
that as there were many commodities which America could supply on
better terms than they could be raised in England, so must it be
much more for the colonies, advantage to take others from England,
than attempt to make them themselves. The American lands were cheap,
covered with woods, and abounded with native commodities. The first
attention of the settlers was necessarily engaged in cutting down
the timber, and clearing the ground for culture; for before they had
supplied themselves with provisions, and had hands to spare from
agriculture, it was impossible they could set about manufacturing.
England, therefore, undertook to supply them with manufactures,
and either purchased herself or found markets for the timber the
colonists cut down upon their lands, or the fish they caught upon
their coasts. It was soon discovered that the tobacco plant was a
native of and flourished in Virginia. It had been also planted in
England, and was found to delight in the soil. The legislature,
however, wisely and equitably considering that England had variety
of products, and Virginia had no other to buy her necessaries with,
passed an act prohibiting the people of England from planting
tobacco, and thereby giving the monopoly of that plant to the
colonies. As the inhabitants increased, and the lands became more
cultivated, further and new advantages were thrown in the way of the
American colonies. All foreign markets, as well as Great-Britain,
were open for their timber and provisions, and the British West-India
islands were prohibited from purchasing those commodities from any
other than them. And since England has found itself in danger of
wanting a supply of timber, and it has been judged necessary to
confine the export from America to Great-Britain and Ireland, full
and ample indemnity has been given to the colonies for the loss of a
choice of markets in Europe, by very large bounties paid out of the
revenue of Great Britain, upon the importation of American timber.
And as a further encouragement and reward to them for clearing their
lands, bounties are given upon tar and pitch, which are made from
their decayed and useless trees; and the very ashes of their lops and
branches are made of value by the late bounty on American pot-ashes.
The soil and climate of the northern colonies having been found well
adapted to the culture of flax and hemp, bounties, equal to half the
first cost of those commodities, have been granted by parliament,
payable out of the British revenue, upon their importation into Great
Britain. The growth of rice in the southern colonies has been greatly
encouraged, by prohibiting the importation of that grain into the
British dominions from other parts, and allowing it to be transported
from the colonies to the foreign territories in America, and even
to the southern parts of Europe. Indigo has been nurtured in those
colonies by great parliamentary bounties, which have been long paid
upon the importation into Great Britain; and of late are allowed to
remain, even when it is carried out again to foreign markets. Silk
and wine have also been objects of parliamentary munificence; and
will one day probably become considerable American products under
that encouragement. In which of these instances, it may be demanded,
has the legislature shown itself partial to the people of England and
unjust to the colonies? Or wherein have the colonies been injured?
We hear much of the restraints under which the trade of the colonies
is laid by acts of parliament for the advantage of Great Britain,
but the restraints under which the people of Great Britain are
laid by acts of parliament for the advantage of the colonies, are
carefully kept out of sight; and yet, upon a comparison the one will
be found full as grievous as the other. For is it a greater hardship
on the colonies, to be confined in some instances to the markets of
Great Britain for the sale of their commodities, than it is on the
people of Great Britain to be obliged to buy the commodities from
them only? If the island colonies are obliged to give the people of
Great Britain the pre-emption of their sugar and coffee, is it not
a greater hardship on the people of Great Britain to be restrained
from purchasing sugar and coffee from other countries, where they
could get those commodities much cheaper than the colonies make them
pay for them? Could not our manufactures have indigo much better
and cheaper from France and Spain than from Carolina? And yet is
there not a duty imposed by acts of parliament on French and Spanish
indigo, that it may come to our manufacturers at a dearer rate than
Carolina indigo, though a bounty is also given out of _the money_ of
the people of England to the Carolina planter, to enable him to sell
his indigo upon a _par_ with the French and Spanish? But the instance
which has already been taken notice of, the act which prohibits
the culture of the tobacco plant in Great Britain or Ireland, is
still more in point, and a more striking proof of the justice and
impartiality of the supreme legislature; for what restraints, let
me ask, are the colonies laid under, which bear so strong marks
of hardship, as the prohibiting the farmers in Great Britain and
Ireland from raising upon their own lands, a product which is become
almost a necessary of life to them and their families? And this most
extraordinary restraint is laid upon them, for the avowed and sole
purpose of giving Virginia and Maryland a monopoly of that commodity,
and obliging the people of Great Britain and Ireland to buy all the
tobacco they consume, from them, at the prices they think fit to
sell it for. The annals of no country, that ever planted colonies,
can produce such an instance as this of regard and kindness to
their colonies, and of restraint upon the inhabitants of the mother
country for their advantage. Nor is there any restraint laid upon
the inhabitants of the colonies in return, which carries with it so
great appearance of hardships, although the people of Great Britain
and Ireland have, from their regard and affection to the colonies,
submitted to it without a murmur for near a century." For a more
particular inquiry, let me recommend the perusal of the pamphlet
itself, also another pamphlet lately published, entitled, "the
advantages which America derives from her commerce, connection and
dependance on Great Britain."

A calculation has lately been made both of the amount of the revenue
arising from the duties with which our trade is at present charged,
and of the bounties and encouragement paid out of the British revenue
upon articles of American produce imported into England, and the
latter is found to exceed the former more than four fold. This does
not look like a partiality to our disadvantage. However, there is no
surer method of determining whether the colonies have been oppressed
by the laws of trade and revenue, than by observing their effects.

From what source has the wealth of the colonies flowed? Whence is
it derived? Not from agriculture only: exclusive of commerce the
colonists would this day have been a poor people, possessed of little
more than the necessaries for supporting life; of course their
numbers would be few; for population always keeps pace with the
ability of maintaining a family; there would have been but little or
no resort of strangers here; the arts and sciences would have made
but small progress; the inhabitants would rather have degenerated
into a state of ignorance and barbarity. Or had Great Britain laid
such restrictions upon our trade, as our patriots would induce us to
believe, that is, had we been pouring the fruits of all our labour
into the lap of our parent and been enriching her by the sweat of our
brow, without receiving an equivalent, the patrimony derived from
our ancestors must have dwindled from little to less, until their
posterity should have suffered a general bankruptcy.

But how different are the effects of our connection with, and
subordination to Britain? They are too strongly marked to escape
the most careless observer. Our merchants are opulent, and our
yeomanry in easier circumstances than the noblesse of some states.
Population is so rapid as to double the number of inhabitants in the
short period of twenty-five years. Cities are springing up in the
depths of the wilderness. Schools, colleges, and even universities
are interspersed through the continent; our country abounds with
foreign refinements, and flows with exotic luxuries. These are
infallible marks not only of opulence but of freedom. The recluse
may speculate--the envious repine--the disaffected calumniate--all
these may combine to excite fears and jealousies in the minds of the
multitude, and keep them in alarm from the beginning to the end of
the year; but such evidence as this must for ever carry conviction
with it to the minds of the dispassionate and judicious.

Where are the traces of the slavery that our patriots would terrify
us with? The effects of slavery are as glaring and obvious in those
countries that are cursed with its abode, as the effects of war,
pestilence or famine. Our land is not disgraced by the wooden shoes
of France, or the uncombed hair of Poland: we have neither racks
nor inquisitions, tortures or assassinations: the mildness of our
criminal jurisprudence is proverbial, "_a man must have many friends
to get hanged in New England_." Who has been arbitrarily imprisoned,
disseized of his freehold, or despoiled of his goods? Each peasant,
that is industrious, may acquire an estate, enjoy it in his life
time, and at his death, transmit a fair inheritance to his posterity.
The protestant religion is established, as far as human laws can
establish it. My dear friends, let me ask each one whether he has
not enjoyed every blessing, that is in the power of civil government
to bestow? And yet the parliament has, from the earliest days of the
colonies, claimed the lately controverted right, both of legislation
and taxation; and for more than a century has been in the actual
exercise of it. There is no grievious exercise of that right at
this day, unless the measures taken to prevent our revolting, may
be called grievances. Are we, then, to rebel, lest there should be
grievances? Are we to take up arms and make war against our parent,
lest that parent, contrary to the experience of a century and a half,
contrary to her own genius, inclination, affection and interest,
should treat us or our posterity as bastards and not as sons, and
instead of protecting should _enslave_ us? The annals of the world
have not yet been deformed with a single instance of so unnatural, so
causless, so wanton, so wicked a rebellion.

There is but a step between you and ruin: and should our patriots
succeed in their endeavours to urge you on to take that step, and
hostilities actually commence, New England will stand recorded a
singular monument of human folly and wickedness. I beg leave to
transcribe a little from the Farmer's letters.--"Good Heaven! Shall
a total oblivion of former tendernesses and blessings be spread over
the minds of a good and wise people by the sordid arts of intriguing
men, who covering their selfish projects under pretences of public
good, first enrage their countrymen into a frenzy of passion, and
then advance their own influence and interest by gratifying the
passion, which they themselves have excited?" When cool dispassionate
posterity shall consider the affectionate intercourse, the reciprocal
benefits, and the unsuspecting confidence, that have subsisted
between these colonies and their parent state, for such a length of
time, they will execrate, with the bitterest curses, the infamous
memory of those men whose ambition unnecessarily, wantonly, cruelly,
first opened the sources of civil discord.



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

March 27, 1775.


Our patriots exclaim, "that humble and reasonable petitions from
the representatives of the people have been frequently treated with
contempt." This is as virulent a libel upon his majesty's government,
as falshood and ingenuity combined could fabricate. Our humble and
reasonable petitions have not only been ever graciously received,
when the established mode of exhibiting them has been observed,
but generally granted. Applications of a different kind, have been
treated with neglect, though not always with the contempt they
deserved. These either originated in illegal assemblies, and could
not be received without implicitly countenancing such enormities, or
contained such matter, and were conceived in such terms, as to be at
once an insult to his majesty, and a libel on his government. Instead
of being decent remonstrances against real grievances, or prayers for
their removal, they were insidious attempts to wrest from the crown,
or the supreme legislature, their inherent, unalienable prerogatives
or rights.

We have a recent instance of this kind of petition, in the
application of the continental congress to the king, which starts
with these words: "A standing army has been kept in these colonies
ever since the conclusion of the late war, _without the consent
of our assemblies_." This is a denial of the king's authority to
station his military forces in such parts of the empire, as his
majesty may judge expedient for the common safety. They might with
equal propriety have advanced one step further, and denied its being
a prerogative of the crown to declare war, or conclude a peace, by
which the colonies should be affected, without the consent of our
assemblies. Such petitions carry the marks of death in their faces,
as they cannot be granted but by surrendering some constitutional
right at the same time; and therefore afford grounds for suspicion at
least, that they were never intended to be granted, but to irritate
and provoke the power petitioned to. It is one thing to remonstrate
the inexpediency or inconveniency of a particular act of the
prerogative, and another to deny the existence of the prerogative. It
is one thing to complain of the inutility or hardship of a particular
act of parliament, and quite another to deny the authority of
parliament to make any act. Had our patriots confined themselves to
the former, they would have acted a part conformable to the character
they assumed, and merited the encomiums they arrogate.

There is not one act of parliament that respects us, but would have
been repealed, upon the legislators being convinced, that it was
oppressive; and scarcely one, but would have shared the same fate,
upon a representation of its being generally disgustful to America.
But, by adhering to the latter, our politicians have ignorantly or
wilfully betrayed their country. Even when Great Britain has relaxed
in her measures, or appeared to recede from her claims, instead of
manifestations of gratitude, our politicians have risen in their
demands, and sometimes to such a degree of insolence, as to lay the
British government under a necessity of persevering in its measures
to preserve its honour.

It was my intention, when I began these papers, to have minutely
examined the proceedings of the continental congress, as the
delegates appear to me to have given their country a deeper wound,
than any of their predecessors had inflicted, and I pray God it
may not prove an incurable one; but am in some measure anticipated
by Grotius, Phileareine, and the many pamphlets that have been
published; and shall therefore confine my observations to some of its
most striking and characteristic features.

A congress or convention of committees from the several colonies,
constitutionally appointed by the supreme authority of the state,
or by the several provincial legislatures, amenable to, and
controulable by the power that convened them, would be salutary
in many supposeable cases. Such was the convention of 1754; but a
congress otherwise appointed, must be an unlawful assembly, wholly
incompatible with the constitution, and dangerous in the extreme,
more especially as such assemblies will ever chiefly consist of
the most violent partizans. The prince, or sovereign, as some
writers call the supreme authority of a state, is sufficiently
ample and extensive to provide a remedy for every wrong, in all
possible emergencies and contingencies; consequently a power, that
is not derived from such authority, springing up in a state, must
encroach upon it, and in proportion as the usurpation enlarges
itself, the rightful prince must be diminished; indeed, they cannot
long subsist together, but must continually militate, till one or
the other be destroyed. Had the continental congress consisted of
committees from the several houses of assembly, although destitute
of the consent of the several governors, they would have had some
appearance of authority; but many of them were appointed by other
committees, as illegally constituted as themselves. However, at so
critical and delicate a juncture, Great Britain being alarmed with
an apprehension, that the colonies were aiming at independence on
the one hand, and the colonies apprehensive of grievous impositions
and exactions from Great Britain on the other; many real patriots
imagined, that a congress might be eminently serviceable, as they
might prevail on the Bostonians to make restitution to the East
India company, might still the commotions in this province, remove
any ill-founded apprehensions respecting the colonies, and propose
some plan for a cordial and permanent reconciliation, which might be
adopted by the several assemblies, and make its way through them to
the supreme legislature. Placed in this point of light, many good men
viewed it with an indulgent eye, and tories, as well as whigs, bade
the delegates God speed.

The path of duty was too plain to be overlooked; but unfortunately
some of the most influential of the members were the very persons
that had been the _wilful_ cause of the evils they were expected to
remedy. Fishing in troubled waters had long been their business and
delight; and they deprecated nothing more than that the storm they
had blown up, should subside. They were old in intrigue, and would
have figured in a conclave. The subtility, hypocrisy, cunning, and
chicanery, habitual to such men, were practised with as much success
in this, as they had been before in other popular assemblies.

Some of the members, of the first rate abilities and characters,
endeavoured to confine the deliberations and resolves of the congress
to the design of its institution, which was "to restore peace,
harmony, and mutual confidence," but were obliged to succumb to the
intemperate zeal of some, and at length were so circumvented and
wrought upon by the artifice and duplicity of others, as to lend
the sanction of their names to such measures, as they condemned in
their hearts. _Vide_ a pamphlet published by one of the delegates,
entitled, "A candid examination, &c."

The congress could not be ignorant of what every body else knew, that
their appointment was repugnant to, and inconsistent with every idea
of government, and therefore wisely determined to destroy it. Their
first essay that transpired, and which was matter of no less grief to
the friends of our country, than of triumph to its enemies, was the
ever memorable resolve approbating and adopting the Suffolk resolves,
thereby undertaking to give a continental sanction to a forcible
opposition to acts of parliament, shutting up the courts of justice,
and thereby abrogating all human laws, seizing the king's provincial
revenue, raising forces in opposition to the king's, and all the
tumultuary violence, with which this unhappy province had been rent

This fixed the complexion, and marked the character of the congress.
We were, therefore, but little surprized, when it was announced, that
as far as was in their power, they had dismembered the colonies from
the parent country. This they did by resolving, that "the colonists
are entitled to an exclusive power of legislation in their several
provincial legislatures." This stands in its full force, and is
an absolute denial of the authority of parliament respecting the

Their subjoining that, "_from necessity_ they consent to the
_operation_ (not the authority) of such acts of the _British_
parliament, as _are_ (not shall be) _bona fide_ restrained to
external commerce," is so far from weakening their first principle,
that it strengthens it, and is an adoption of the acts of trade. This
resolve is a manifest revolt from the British empire. Consistent with
it, is their overlooking the supreme legislature, and addressing the
inhabitants of Great Britain, in the style of a manifesto, in which
they flatter, complain, coax, and threaten alternately; and their
prohibiting all commercial intercourse between the two countries:
with equal propriety and justice the congress might have declared
war against Great Britain; and they intimate that they might justly
do it, and actually shall, if the measures already taken prove
ineffectual. For in the address to the colonies, after attempting
to enrage their countrymen by every colouring and heightning in the
power of language, to the utmost pitch of frenzy, they say, "the
state of these colonies would certainly justify _other_ measures
than we have advised; we were inclined to offer _once more_ to
his _majesty_ the petition of his faithful and oppressed subjects
in America," and admonish the colonists to extend their views to
_mournful events_, and to be in all respects prepared for every

This is treating Great Britain as an alien enemy; and if Great
Britain be such, it is justifiable by the law of nations. But their
attempt to alienate the affections of the inhabitants of the new
conquered province of Quebec from his majesty's government, is
altogether unjustifiable, even upon that principle. In the truly
jesuitical address to the Canadians, the congress endeavour to
seduce them from their allegiance, and prevail on them to join the
confederacy. After insinuating that they had been tricked, duped,
oppressed and enslaved by the Quebec bill, the congress exclaim,
why this degrading distinction? "Have not Canadians sense enough
to attend to any other public affairs, than gathering stones from
one place and piling them up in another? Unhappy people; who are
not only injured but _insulted_." "Such a treacherous ingenuity
has been exerted, in drawing up the code lately offered you, that
every sentence, beginning with a benevolent pretention, concludes
with a destructive power; and the substance of the whole divested
of its smooth words, is that the _crown_ and its ministers shall be
as absolute throughout your extended province, as the _despots of
Asia or Africa_. We defy you, casting your view upon every side,
to discover a single circumstance promising, from any quarter, the
faintest hope of liberty to you or your posterity, but from an entire
adoption into the union of these colonies." The treachery of the
congress in this address is the more flagrant, by the Quebec bill's
having been adapted to the genius and manners of the Canadians,
formed upon their own petition, and received with every testimonial
of gratitude. The public tranquility has been often disturbed by
treasonable plots and conspiracies. Great Britain has been repeatedly
deluged by the blood of its slaughtered citizens, and shaken to its
centre by rebellion. To offer such aggravated insult to British
government was reserved for _the grand continental congress_. None
but ideots or madmen could suppose such measures had a tendency to
restore "union and harmony between Great Britain and the colonies."
Nay! The very demands of the congress evince, that that was not in
their intention. Instead of confining themselves to those acts, which
occasioned the misunderstanding, they demand a repeal of fourteen,
and bind the colonies by a law not to trade with Great Britain, until
that shall be done. Then, and not before, the colonists are to treat
Great Britain as an alien friend, and in no other light is the parent
country ever after to be viewed; for the parliament is to surcease
enacting laws to respect us forever. These demands are such as cannot
be complied with, consistent with either the honor or interest of
the empire, and are therefore insuperable obstacles to a union _via_

The delegates erecting themselves into the states general or supreme
legislature of all the colonies, from _Nova Scotia_ to _Georgia_,
does not leave a doubt respecting their aiming, in good earnest,
at independency: this they did by enacting laws. Although they
recognize the authority of the several provincial legislatures,
yet they consider their own authority as paramount or supreme;
otherwise they would not have acted decisively, but submitted their
plans to the final determination of the assemblies. Sometimes
indeed they use the terms request and recommend; at others they
speak in the style of authority. Such is the resolve of the 27th of
September: "Resolved from and after the first day of December next,
there be no importation into British America from Great Britain
or Ireland of any goods, wares or merchandize whatsoever, or from
any other place of any such goods, wares or merchandize, as shall
have been exported from Great Britain or Ireland, and that no such
goods, wares or merchandize imported, after the said first day of
December next, be used or purchased." October 15, the congress
resumed the consideration of the plan for carrying into effect the
non-importation, &c. October 20, the plan is compleated, determined
upon, and ordered to be subscribed by all the members: they call
it an association, but it has all the constituent parts of a law.
They begin, "We his majesty's most loyal subjects the delegates
of the several colonies of, &c. deputed to _represent them_ in a
continental congress," and agree for themselves and the inhabitants
of the several colonies whom they represent, not to import, export
or consume, &c. as also to observe several sumptuary regulations
under certain penalties and forfeitures, and that a committee be
chosen in every county, city and town, by those who are qualified
to vote for representatives in the legislature, to see that the
association be observed and kept, and to punish the violators of it;
and afterwards, "recommend it to the provincial conventions, and to
the committees in the respective colonies to establish such further
regulations, as they may think proper, for carrying into execution
the association." Here we find the congress enacting laws, that is,
establishing, as the representatives of the people, certain rules
of conduct to be observed and kept by all the inhabitants of these
colonies, under certain pains and penalties, such as masters of
vessels being dismissed from their employment; goods to be seized and
sold at auction, and the first cost only returned to the proprietor,
a different appropriation made of the overplus; persons being
stigmatized in the gazette, as enemies to their country, and excluded
the benefits of society, &c.

The congress seem to have been apprehensive that some squeamish
people might be startled at their assuming the powers of legislation,
and therefore, in the former part of their association say, they
bind themselves and constituents under the sacred ties of virtue,
honor, and love to their country, afterwards establish penalties
and forfeitures, and conclude by solemnly binding themselves and
constituents under the ties aforesaid, which include them all. This
looks like artifice: but they might have spared themselves that
trouble; for every law is or ought to be made under the sacred ties
of virtue, honor and a love to the country, expressed or implied,
though the penal sanction be also necessary. In short, were the
colonies distinct states, and the powers of legislation vested in
delegates thus appointed, their association would be as good a form
of enacting laws as could be devised.

By their assuming the powers of legislation, the congress have not
only superseded our provincial legislatures, but have excluded every
idea of monarchy; and not content with the havock already made in our
constitution, in the plenitude of their power, have appointed another
congress to be held in May.

Those, that have attempted to establish new systems, have generally
taken care to be consistent with themselves. Let us compare the
several parts of the continental proceedings with each other.

The delegates call themselves and constituents "his majesty's most
loyal subjects," his majesty's most faithful subjects affirm, that
the colonists are entitled "to all the immunities and privileges
granted and confirmed to them by royal charters," declare that they
"wish not a diminution of the prerogative, nor solicit the grant
of any new right or favour," and they "shall always carefully and
zealously endeavour to support his royal authority and our connection
with Great Britain;" yet deny the king's prerogative to station
troops in the colonies, disown him in the capacity in which he
granted the provincial charters; disclaim the authority of the king
in parliament; and undertake to enact and execute laws without any
authority derived from the crown. This is dissolving all connection
between the colonies and the crown, and giving us a new king,
altogether incomprehensible, not indeed from the infinity of his
attributes, but from a privation of every royal prerogative, and not
leaving even a semblance of a connection with Great Britain.

They declare, that the colonists "are entitled to all the rights,
liberties and immunities of free and natural born subjects within
the realm of England," and "all the benefits secured to the subject
by the English constitution," but disclaim all obedience to British
government; in other words, they claim the protection, and disclaim
the allegiance. They remonstrate as a grievance that "both houses of
parliament have resolved that the colonists may be tried in England
for offences, alleged to have been committed in America, by virtue of
a statute passed in the thirty-fifth year of Henry the eighth; and
yet resolve that they are entitled to the benefit of such English
statutes, as existed at the time of their colonization, and are
applicable to their several local and other circumstances." They
resolve that the colonists are entitled to a free and _exclusive_
power of legislation in their several provincial assemblies; yet
undertake to legislate in congress.

The immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English
constitution, and our several charters are the basis, upon which they
pretend to found themselves, and complain more especially of being
deprived of trials by juries; but establish ordinances incompatible
with either the laws of nature, the English constitution, or our
charter; and appoint committees to punish the violaters of them, not
only without a jury, but even without a form of trial.

They repeatedly complain of the Roman Catholic religion being
established in Canada; and in their address to the Canadians, ask,
"If liberty of conscience be offered them _in their religion_ by the
Quebec bill," and answer, "no: God gave it to you and the temporal
powers, with which you have been and are connected, firmly stipulated
for your enjoyment of it. If laws, _divine_ and _human_, could secure
it against the despotic caprices of wicked men, it was secured

They say to the people of Great Britain, "place us in the same
situation, that we were in, at the close of the last war, and our
harmony will be restored." Yet some of the principal grievances,
which are to be redressed, existed long before that era, viz. The
king's keeping a standing army in the colonies; judges of admiralty
receiving their fees, &c. from the effects condemned by themselves;
counsellors holding commissions during pleasure, exercising
legislative authority; and the capital grievance of all, the
parliament claiming and exercising over the colonies a right both of
legislation and taxation. However the wisdom of the grand continental
congress may reconcile these seeming inconsistencies.

Had the delegates been appointed to devise means to irritate and
enrage the inhabitants of the two countries, against each other,
beyond a possibility of reconciliation, to abolish our equal system
of jurisprudence, and establish a judicatory as arbitrary, as the
Romish inquisition, to perpetuate animosities among ourselves, to
reduce thousands from affluence to poverty and indigence, to injure
Great Britain, Ireland, the West Indies, and these colonies, to
attempt a revolt from the authority of the empire, and finally to
draw down upon the colonies the whole vengeance of Great Britain;
more promising means to effect the whole could not have been devised
than those the congress adopted. Any deviation from their plan would
have been treachery to their constituents, and an abuse of the trust
and confidence reposed in them. Some idolaters have attributed to
the congress the collected wisdom of the continent. It is as near
the truth to say, that every particle of disaffection, petulance,
ingratitude, and disloyalty, that for ten years past have been
scattered through the continent, were united and consolidated in
them. Are these thy Gods, O Israel!



_To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_,

April 3, 1775.


The advocates for the opposition to parliament often remind us of
the rights of the people, repeat the Latin adage _vox populi vox
Dei_, and tell us that government in the dernier resort is in the
people; they chime away melodiously, and to render their music more
ravishing, tell us, that these are _revolution_ principles. I hold
the rights of the people as sacred, and revere the principles, that
have established the succession to the imperial Crown of Great
Britain, in the line of the illustrious house of Brunswick; but that
the difficulty lies in applying them to the cause of the whigs, _hic
labor hoc opus est_; for admitting that the collective body of the
people, that are subject to the British empire, have an inherent
right to change their form of government, or race of kings, it does
not follow, that the inhabitants of a single province, or of a number
of provinces, or any given part under a majority of the whole empire,
have such a right. By admitting that the less may rule or sequester
themselves from the greater, we unhinge all government. Novanglus
has accused me of traducing the people of this province. I deny the
charge. Popular demagogues always call themselves the people, and
when their own measures are censured, cry out, the people, the people
are abused and insulted. He says, that I once entertained different
sentiments from those now advanced. I did not write to exculpate
myself. If through ignorance, inadvertence or design, I have
heretofore contributed in any degree, to the forming that destructive
system of politics that is now in vogue, I was under the greater
obligation thus publicly to expose its errors, and point out its
pernicious tendency. He suggests, that I write from sordid motives.
I despise the imputation. I have written my real sentiments not to
serve a party (for, as he justly observes, I have sometimes quarreled
with my friends) but to serve the public; nor would I injure my
country to inherit all the treasures that avarice and ambition sigh
for. Fully convinced, that our calamities were chiefly created by the
leading whigs, and that a persevering in the same measures that gave
rise to our troubles would complete our ruin, I have written freely.
It is painful to me to give offence to an individual, but I have
not spared the ruinous policy of my brother or my friend; they are
both far advanced. Truth, from its own energy, will finally prevail;
but to have a speedy effect, it must sometimes be accompanied with
severity. The terms whig and tory have been adopted according to
the arbitrary use of them in this province, but they rather ought
to be reversed; an American tory is a supporter of our excellent
constitution, and an American whig a subverter of it.

Novanglus abuses me, for saying, that the whigs aim at independence.
The writer from Hampshire county is my advocate. He frankly asserts
the independency of the colonies without any reserve; and is the
only consistent writer I have met with on that side of the question.
For by separating us from the king as well as the parliament, he
is under no necessity of contradicting himself. Novanglus strives
to hide the inconsistencies of his hypothesis, under a huge pile
of learning. Surely he is not to learn, that arguments drawn from
obsolete maxims, raked out of the ruins of the feudal system, or from
principles of absolute monarchy, will not conclude to the present
constitution of government. When he has finished his essays, he may
expect some particular remarks upon them. I should not have taken
the trouble of writing these letters, had I not been satisfied that
real and permanent good would accrue to this province, and indeed to
all the colonies, from a speedy change of measures. Public justice
and generosity are no less characteristic of the English, than their
private honesty and hospitality. The total repeal of the stamp act,
and the partial repeal of the act imposing duties on paper, &c. may
convince us that the nation has no disposition to injure us. We
are blessed with a king that reflects honor upon a crown. He is so
far from being avaricious, that he has relinquished a part of his
revenue; and so far from being tyrannical, that he has generously
surrendered part of his prerogative for the sake of freedom. His
court is so far from being tinctured with dissipation, that the
palace is rather an academy of the literati, and the royal pair
are as exemplary in every private virtue, as they are exalted in
their stations. We have only to cease contending with the supreme
legislature, respecting its authority, with the king respecting his
prerogatives, and with Great Britain respecting our subordination;
to dismiss our illegal committees, disband our forces, despise
the thraldom _arrogant congresses_, and submit to constitutional
government, to be happy.

Many appear to consider themselves as _procul a Jove a fulmine
procul_; and because we never have experienced any severity from
Great Britain, think it impossible that we should. The English
nation will bear much from its friends; but whoever has read its
history must know, that there is a line that cannot be passed with
impunity. It is not the fault of our patriots if that line be not
already passed. They have demanded of Great Britain more than she can
grant, consistent with honor, her interest, or our own, and are now
brandishing the sword of defiance.

Do you expect to conquer in war? War is no longer a simple, but an
intricate science, not to be learned from books or two or three
campaigns, but from long experience. You need not be told that his
majesty's generals, Gage and Haldimand, are possessed of every talent
requisite to great commanders, matured by long experience in many
parts of the world, and stand high in military fame: that many of
the officers have been bred to arms from their infancy, and a large
proportion of the army _now_ here, have already reaped immortal
honors in the iron harvest of the field.--Alas! My friends, you have
nothing to oppose to this force, but a militia unused to service,
impatient of command, and destitute of resources. Can your officers
depend upon the privates, or the privates upon the officers? Your war
can be but little more than mere tumultuary rage: and besides, there
is an awful disparity between troops that fight the battles of their
sovereign, and those that follow the standard of rebellion. These
reflections may arrest you in an hour that you think not of, and come
too late to serve you. Nothing short of a miracle could gain you one
battle; but could you destroy all the British troops that are now
here, and burn the men of war that command our coast, it would be
but the beginning of sorrow; and yet without a decisive battle, one
campaign would ruin you. This province does not produce its necessary
provision, when the husbandman can pursue his calling without
molestation: what then must be your condition, when the demand
shall be increased, and the resource in a manner cut off? Figure to
yourselves what must be your distress, should your wives and children
be driven from such places, as the king's troops shall occupy, into
the interior parts of the province, and they as well as you, be
destitute of support. I take no pleasure in painting these scenes
of distress. The whigs affect to divert you from them by ridicule;
but should war commence, you can expect nothing but its severities.
Might I hazard an opinion, but few of your leaders ever intended
to engage in hostilities, but they may have rendered inevitable
what they intended for intimidation. Those that unsheath the sword
of rebellion may throw away the scabbard, they cannot be treated
with, while in arms; and if they lay them down, they are in no other
predicament than conquered rebels. The conquered in other wars do not
forfeit the rights of men, nor all the rights of citizens, even their
bravery is rewarded by a generous victor; far different is the case
of a routed rebel host. My dear countrymen, you have before you, at
your election, peace or war, happiness or misery. May the God of our
forefathers direct you in the way that leads to peace and happiness,
before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, before the evil days
come, wherein you shall say, we have no pleasure in them.










_Quincy_, _January_ 14, 1818.


In a former letter I hazarded an opinion, that the true history of
the American revolution could not be recovered. I had many reasons
for that apprehension; one of which I will attempt to explain.

Of the determination of the British cabinet to assert and maintain
the sovereign authority of parliament over the colonies, in all
cases of taxation and internal policy, the first demonstration which
arrived in America was an _order in council_ to the officers of the
customs in Massachusetts Bay, to carry into execution _the acts of
trade_, and to apply to the supreme judicature of the province for
_writs of assistance_, to authorise them to break and enter all
houses, cellars, stores, shops, ships, bales, casks, &c. to search
and seize all goods, wares, and merchandizes, on which the taxes
imposed by those acts had not been paid.

Mr. Cockle, of Salem, a deputy under Mr. Paxton, of Boston,
the collector of the customs, petitioned the superior court in
Salem, in November, 1760, for such a writ. The court doubted its
constitutionality, and consequently its legality; but as the king's
order ought to be considered, they ordered the question to be argued
before them, by counsel, at the next February term in Boston.

The community was greatly alarmed. The merchants of Salem and of
Boston, applied to Mr. Otis to defend them and their country, against
that formidable instrument of arbitrary power. They tendered him rich
fees; he engaged in their cause, but would accept no fees.

JAMES OTIS, of Boston, sprung from families among the earliest of the
planters of the colonies, and the most respectable in rank, while the
word rank, and the idea annexed to it, were tolerated in America.
He was a gentleman of general science, and extensive literature. He
had been an indefatigable student during the whole course of his
education in college, and at the bar. He was well versed in Greek
and Roman history, philosophy, oratory, poetry, and mythology, His
classical studies had been unusually ardent, and his acquisitions
uncommonly great. He had composed a treatise on Latin prosody,
which he lent to me, and I urged him to print. He consented. It is
extant, and may speak for itself. It has been lately reviewed in
the Anthology by one of our best scholars, at a mature age, and in
a respectable station. He had also composed, with equal skill and
great labour, a treatise on Greek prosody. This he also lent me,
and, by his indulgence, I had it in my possession six months. When I
returned it, I begged him to print it. He said there were no Greek
types in the country, or, if there were, there was no printer who
knew how to use them. He was a passionate admirer of the Greek poets,
especially of Homer; and he said it was in vain to attempt to read
the poets in any language, without being master of their prosody.
This classic scholar was also a great master of the laws of nature
and nations. He had read Puffendorph, Grotius, Barbeyrac, Burlamaqui,
Vattel, Heineccius; and, in the civil law, Domal, Justinian, and,
upon occasions, consulted the _corpus juris_ at large. It was a maxim
which he inculcated on his pupils, as his patron in profession, Mr.
Gridley, had done before him, "_that a lawyer ought never to be
without a volume of natural or public law, or moral philosophy, on
his table, or in his pocket_." In the history, the common law, and
statute laws of England, he had no superior, at least in Boston.

Thus qualified to resist the system of usurpation and despotism,
meditated by the British ministry, under the auspices of the earl of
Bute, Mr. Otis resigned his commission from the crown, as advocate
general, an office very lucrative at that time, and a sure road to
the highest favours of government in America, and engaged in the
cause of his country without fee or reward. His argument, speech,
discourse, oration, harangue--call it by which name you will, was the
most impressive upon his crowded audience of any, that I ever heard
before or since, excepting only many speeches by himself in Faneuil
Hall, and in the House of Representatives, which he made from time to
time, for ten years afterwards. There were no stenographers in those
days. Speeches were not printed; and all that was not remembered,
like the harangues of Indian orators, was lost in air. Who, at the
distance of fifty seven years, would attempt, upon memory, to give
even a sketch of it. Some of the heads are remembered, out of which
Livy or Sallust would not scruple to compose an oration for history.
I shall not essay an analysis or a sketch of it, at present. I shall
only essay an analysis or a sketch of it, at present. [Transcriber's
Note: This last sentence appears to be a printer error.] I shall only
say, and I do say in the most solemn manner, that Mr. Otis's oration,
against _writs of assistance_, breathed into this nation the breath
of life.

Although Mr. Otis had never before interfered in public affairs,
his exertions, on this single occasion, secured him a commanding
popularity with the friends of their country, and the terror and
vengeance of her enemies; neither of which ever deserted him.

At the next election, in May, 1761, he was elected, by a vast
majority, a representative in the legislature, of the town of Boston,
and continued to be so elected annually for nine years. Here, at
the head of the country interest, he conducted her cause with a
fortitude, prudence, ability and perseverance which has never been
exceeded in America, at every sacrifice of health, pleasure, profit
and reputation, and against all the powers of government, and all the
talents, learning, wit, scurrility and insolence of its prostitutes.

Hampden was shot in open field of battle. Otis was basely
assassinated in a coffee house, in the night, by a well dressed
banditti, with a commissioner of the customs at their head.

During the period of nine years, that Mr. Otis was at the head of
the cause of his country, he held correspondence with gentlemen in
England, Scotland and various colonies in America. He must have
written and received many letters, collected many pamphlets, and,
probably, composed manuscripts, which might have illustrated the
rising dawn of the revolution.

After my return from Europe, I asked his daughter whether she had
found among her father's manuscripts, a treatise on Greek prosody?
With hands and eyes uplifted, in a paroxysm of grief, she cried, "Oh!
sir, I have not a line from my father's pen. I have not even his name
in his own hand writing." When she was a little calmed, I asked her,
"Who has his papers? Where are they?" She answered, "They are no
more. In one of those unhappy dispositions of mind, which distressed
him after his great misfortune, and a little before his death, he
collected all his papers and pamphlets and committed them to the
flames.--He was several days employed in it."

I cannot enlarge. I submit this hint to your reflections. Enclosed
is a morsel of verse, written soon after Mr. Otis's death, by a very
young gentleman, who is now one of our excellent magistrates. If you
do not think fit to print this letter and that verse, I pray you to
return them to


_On the death of_ JAMES OTIS, _killed by lightning, at
Andover, soon after the peace of 1783, written at the time._

     When flush'd with conquest and elate with pride,
     Britannia's monarch Heaven's high will defy'd;
     And, bent on blood, by lust of rule inclin'd,
     With odious chains to vex the freeborn mind;
     On these young shores set up unjust command,
     And spread the _slaves of office_ round the land;
     Then OTIS rose, and, great in patriot fame,
     To list'ning crowds _resistance_ dar'd proclaim.
     From soul to soul the bright idea ran,
     The fire of freedom flew from man to man,
     His pen, like _Sidney's_, made the doctrine known,
     His tongue, like _Tully's_, shook a tyrant's throne.
     Then men grew bold, and, in the public eye,
     _The right divine of monarchs dar'd to try_;
     Light shone on all, despotic darkness fled--
     And for a SENTIMENT a nation bled.
     From men, like OTIS, INDEPENDENCE grew,
     From such beginnings empire rose to view.
     Born for the world, his comprehensive mind
     Scann'd the wide politics of human kind:
     Bless'd with a native strength and fire of thought,
     With Greek and Roman learning richly fraught,
     Up to the fountain head he push'd his view,
     And from first principles his maxims drew.
     'Spite of the times, this truth he blaz'd abroad,
     "The people's safety is the law of GOD."[2]
     For this he suffered; hireling slaves combin'd
     To dress in shades the brightest of mankind.
     And see they come, a dark designing band,
     With Murder's heart and Execution's hand.
     Hold, villains! Those polluted hands restrain;
     Nor that exalted head with blows profane!
     A nobler end awaits his patriot head;
     In other sort he'll join the illustrious dead.
     Yes! when the glorious work which he begun,
     Shall stand the most complete beneath the sun--
     When peace shall come to crown the grand design,
     His eyes shall live to see the work divine.--
     The Heavens shall then his generous spirit claim,
     "In storms as loud as his immortal fame."[3]
     Hark!--the deep thunders echo round the skies!
     On wings of flame the eternal errand flies.
     One chosen, charitable bolt is sped,
     And OTIS mingles with the glorious dead.

[Footnote 2: _Salus populi_, was the motto of one of his essays.]

[Footnote 3: Waller, on the death of Cromwell.]


_Quincy_, _February_ 13, 1818.


The American Revolution was not a common event. Its effects and
consequences have already been awful over a great part of the globe.
And when and where are they to cease?

But what do we mean by the American revolution? Do we mean the
American war? The revolution was effected before the war commenced.
The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. A change in
their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations. While
the king, and all in authority under him, were believed to govern
in justice and mercy according to the laws and constitution derived
to them from the God of nature, and transmitted to them by their
ancestors--they thought themselves bound to pray for the king and
queen and all the royal family, and all in authority under them; as
ministers ordained of God for their good. But when they saw those
powers renouncing all the principles of authority, and bent upon
the destruction of all the securities of their lives, liberties and
properties, they thought it their duty to pray for the continental
congress and all the thirteen state congresses, &c.

There might be, and there were others, who thought less about
religion and conscience, but had certain habitual sentiments of
allegiance and loyalty derived from their education; but believing
allegiance and protection to be reciprocal, when protection was
withdrawn, they thought allegiance was dissolved.

Another alteration was common to all. The people of America had
been educated in an habitual affection for England as their mother
country; and while they thought her a kind and tender parent
(erroneously enough, however, for she never was such a mother) no
affection could be more sincere. But when they found her a cruel
Beldam, willing like lady Macbeth, to "dash their brains out," it is
no wonder if their filial affections ceased and were changed into
indignation and horror.

_This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and
affections of the people, was the real American revolution._

By what means, this great and important alteration in the religious,
moral, political and social character of the people of thirteen
colonies, all distinct, unconnected and independent of each other,
was begun, pursued and accomplished, it is surely interesting to
humanity to investigate, and perpetuate to posterity.

To this end it is greatly to be desired that young gentlemen of
letters in all the states, especially in the thirteen original
states, would undertake the laborious, but certainly interesting and
amusing task, of searching and collecting all the records, pamphlets,
newspapers, and even handbills, which in any way contributed to
change the temper and views of _the people_ and compose them into an
independent nation.

The colonies had grown up under constitutions of government so
different, there was so great a variety of religions, they were
composed of so many different nations, their customs, manners and
habits had so little resemblance, and their intercourse had been
so rare and their knowledge of each other so imperfect, that to
unite them in the same principles in theory and the same system of
action, was certainly a very difficult enterprise. The complete
accomplishment of it, in so short a time and by such simple means,
was perhaps a singular example in the history of mankind. Thirteen
clocks were made to strike together; a perfection of mechanism which
no artist had ever before effected.

In this research, the glorioles of individual gentlemen and of
separate states is of little consequence. The _means and the
measures_ are the proper objects of investigation. These may be of
use to posterity, not only in this nation, but in South America and
all other countries. They may teach mankind that revolutions are no
trifles, that they ought never to be undertaken rashly; nor without
deliberate consideration and sober reflection; nor without a solid,
immutable, eternal foundation of justice and humanity; nor without a
people possessed of intelligence, fortitude and integrity sufficient
to carry them with steadiness, patience, and perseverance, through
all the vicissitudes of fortune, the fiery trials and melancholy
disasters they may have to encounter.

The town of Boston early instituted an annual oration on the fourth
of July, in commemoration of the principles and feelings which
contributed to produce the revolution. Many of those orations I have
heard, and all that I could obtain I have read. Much ingenuity and
eloquence appears upon every subject, except those principles and
feelings. That of my honest and amiable neighbour, Josiah Quincy,
appeared to me the most directly to the purpose of the institution.
Those principles and feelings ought to be traced back for two
hundred years, and sought in the history of the country from the
first plantations in America. Nor should the principles and feelings
of the English and Scotch towards the colonies, through that whole
period ever be forgotten. The perpetual discordance between British
principles and feelings and of those of America, the next year after
the suppression of the French power in America, came to a crisis, and
produced an explosion.

It was not until after the annihilation of the French dominion in
America, that any British ministry had dared to gratify their own
wishes, and the desire of the nation, by projecting a formal plan for
raising a national revenue from America, by parliamentary taxation.
The first great manifestation of this design was by the order to
carry into strict exertions those acts of parliament which were well
known by the appellation of the _acts of trade_, which had lain a
dead letter, unexecuted for a half a century, and some of them, I
believe, for nearly a whole one.

This produced, in 1760 and 1761, _an awakening_ and a _revival_ of
American principles and feelings, with an enthusiasm which went on
increasing, till in 1775 it burst out in open violence, hostility and

The characters, the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential
in this revival, from 1760 to 1766, were, first and foremost, before
all and above all, James Otis; next to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher;
next to him, Samuel Adams; next to him, John Hancock; then Dr.
Mayhew; then Dr. Cooper and his brother. Of Mr. Hancock's life,
character, generous nature, great and disinterested sacrifices, and
important services, if I had forces, I should be glad to write a
volume. But this I hope will be done by some younger and abler hand.
Mr. Thatcher, because his name and merits are less known, must not
be wholly omitted.--This gentleman was an eminent barrister at law,
in as large practice as any one in Boston. There was not a citizen
of that town more universally beloved for his learning, ingenuity,
every domestic and social virtue, and conscientious conduct in every
relation of life. His patriotism was as ardent as his progenitors
had been ancient and illustrious in this country. Hutchinson often
said, "Thatcher was not born a plebeian, but he was determined to die
one." In May, 1763, I believe, he was chosen by the town of Boston
one of their representatives in the legislature, a colleague with
Mr. Otis, who had been a member from May 1761, and he continued to
be re-elected annually till his death in 1765, when Mr. Samuel Adams
was elected to fill his place, in the absence of Mr. Otis, then
attending the congress at New York. Thatcher had long been jealous
of the unbounded ambition of Mr. Hutchinson, but when he found him
not content with the office of lieut. governor, the command of the
castle and its emoluments, of judge of probate for the county of
Suffolk, a seat in his majesty's council in the legislature, his
brother in-law secretary of state by the king's commission, a brother
of that secretary of state, a judge of the supreme court and a member
of council, now in 1760 and 1761, soliciting and accepting the office
of chief justice of the superior court of judicature, he concluded,
as Mr. Otis did, and as every other enlightened friend of his country
did, that he sought that office with the determined purpose of
determining all causes in favor of the ministry at St. James's, and
their servile parliament.

His indignation against him henceforward, to 1765, when he died,
knew no bounds but truth. I speak from personal knowledge. For,
from 1758 to 1765, I attended every superior and inferior court in
Boston, and recollect not one, in which he did not invite me home
to spend evenings with him, when he made me converse with him as
well as I could, on all subjects of religion, morals, law, politics,
history, philosophy, belles lettres, theology, mythology, cosmogony,
metaphysics,--Lock, Clark, Leibnits, Bolingbroke, Berckley,--the
pre-established harmony of the universe, the nature of matter and of
spirit, and the eternal establishment of coincidences between their
operations, fate, foreknowledge, absolute; and we reasoned on such
unfathomable subjects as high as Milton's gentry in pandemonium; and
we understood them as well as they did, and no better. To such mighty
mysteries he added the news of the day, and the tittle tattle of
the town. But his favourite subject was politics, and the impending
threatening system of parliamentary taxation and universal government
over the colonies. On this subject he was so anxious and agitated
that I have no doubt it occasioned his premature death. From the
time when he argued the question of writs of assistance, to his
death he considered the king, ministry, parliament and nation of G.
B. as determined to new model the colonies from the foundation; to
annul all their charters, to constitute them all royal governments;
to raise a revenue in America by parliamentary taxation; to apply
that revenue to pay the salaries of governours, judges and all other
crown officers; and, after all this, to raise as large a revenue as
they pleased, to be applied to national purposes at the exchequer
in England; and further to establish bishops and the whole system
of the church of England, tythes and all, throughout all British
America. This system, he said, if it was suffered to prevail, would
extinguish the flame of liberty all over the world; that America
would be employed as an engine to batter down all the miserable
remains of liberty in Great Britain and Ireland, where only any
semblance of it was left in the world. To this system he considered
Hutchinson, the Olivers and all their connections, dependants,
adherents, shoelickers, &c. entirely devoted. He asserted that they
were all engaged with all the crown officers in America and the
understrappers of the ministry in England, in a deep and treasonable
conspiracy to betray the liberties of their country, for their own
private, personal and family aggrandizement. His philippicks against
the unprincipled ambition and avarice of all of them, but especially
of Hutchinson, were unbridled; not only in private, confidential
conversations, but in all companies and on all occasions. He gave
Hutchinson the sobriquet of "Summa Potestatis," and rarely mentioned
him but by the name of "Summa." His liberties of speech were no
secrets to his enemies. I have sometimes wondered that they did not
throw him over the bar, as they did soon afterwards major Hawley.
For they hated him worse than they did James Otis, or Samuel Adams,
and they feared him more, because they had no revenge for a father's
disappointment of a seat on the superior bench to impute to him, as
they did to Otis; and Thatcher's character through life had been so
modest, decent, unassuming; his morals so pure, and his religion
so venerated, that they dared not attack him. In his office were
educated to the bar, two eminent characters, the late judge Lowell,
and Josiah Quincy, aptly called the Boston Cicero. Mr. Thatcher's
frame was slender, his constitution delicate; whether his physicians
overstrained his vessels with mercury, when he had the small pox by
inoculation at the castle, or whether he was overplied by public
anxieties and exertions, the small pox left him in a decline from
which he never recovered. Not long before his death he sent for me
to commit to my care some of his business at the bar. I asked him
whether he had seen the Virginia resolves: "Oh yes--they are men!
they are noble spirits! It kills me to think of the lethargy and
stupidity that prevails here. I long to be out. I will go out. I will
go out. I will go into court, and make a speech which shall be read
after my death, as my dying testimony against this infernal tyranny
which they are bringing upon us." Seeing the violent agitation into
which it threw him, I changed the subject as soon as possible, and
retired. He had been confined for some time. Had he been abroad
among the people, he would not have complained so pathetically of
the "lethargy and stupidity that prevailed," for town and country
were all alive; and in August became active enough, and some of the
people proceeded to unwarrantable excesses, which were more lamented
by the patriots than by their enemies. Mr. Thatcher soon died, deeply
lamented by all the friends of their country.

Another gentleman, who had great influence in the commencement of
the revolution, was doctor Jonathan Mayhew, a descendant of the
ancient governor of Martha's Vineyard. This divine had raised a great
reputation both in Europe and America, by the publication of a volume
of seven sermons in the reign of king George the second, 1749, and by
many other writings, particularly a sermon in 1750, on the thirtieth
of January, on the subject of passive obedience and non-resistance;
in which the saintship and martyrdom of king Charles the first are
considered, seasoned with wit and satire superior to any in Swift or
Franklin. It was read by every body; celebrated by friends and abused
by enemies. During the reigns of king George the first and king
George the second, the reigns of the Stuarts, the two Jameses and the
two Charleses, were in general disgrace in England. In America they
had always been held in abhorrence. The persecutions and cruelties
suffered by their ancestors under those reigns, had been transmitted
by history and tradition, and Mayhew seemed to be raised up to revive
all their animosities against tyranny, in church and state, and at
the same time to destroy their bigotry, fanaticism and inconsistency.
David Hume's plausible, elegant, fascinating and fallacious apology,
in which he varnished over the crimes of the Stuarts, had not then
appeared. To draw the character of Mayhew would be to transcribe a
dozen volumes. This transcendant genius threw all the weight of his
great fame into the scale of his country in 1761, and maintained it
there with zeal and ardor till his death in 1766. In 1763 appeared
the controversy between him and Mr. Apthorp, Mr. Caner, Dr. Johnson
and archbishop Secker, on the charter and conduct of the society for
propagating the gospel in foreign parts. To form a judgment of this
debate I beg leave to refer to a review of the whole, printed at the
time and written by Samuel Adams, though by some, very absurdly
and erroneously, ascribed to Mr. Apthorp. If I am not mistaken, it
will be found a model of candor, sagacity, impartiality, and close,
correct reasoning.

If any gentleman supposes this controversy to be nothing to the
present purpose, he is grossly mistaken. It spread an universal alarm
against the authority of parliament. It excited a general and just
apprehension, that bishops and diocesses and churches, and priests,
and tythes, were to be imposed on us by parliament. It was known,
that neither king, nor ministry, nor archbishops, could appoint
bishops, in America, without an act of parliament, and if parliament
could tax us, they could establish the church of England, with all
its creeds, articles, tests, ceremonies, and tythes, and prohibit all
other churches, as conventicles, and schism shops.

Nor must Mr. Cushing be forgotten. His good sense and sound judgment,
the urbanity of his manners, his universal good character, his
numerous friends and connections, and his continual intercourse
with all sorts of people, added to his constant attachment to the
liberties of his country, gave him a great and salutary influence
from the beginning in 1760.

Let me recommend these hints to the consideration of Mr. Wirt, whose
life of Mr. Henry I have read with great delight. I think that after
mature investigation, he will be convinced, that Mr. Henry did not
"give the first impulse to the ball of independence," and that Otis,
Thatcher, Samuel Adams, Mayhew, Hancock, Cushing, and thousands of
others, were labouring for several years at the wheel, before the
name of Henry was heard beyond the limits of Virginia.

If you print this, I will endeavour to send you something concerning
Samuel Adams, who was destined to a longer career, and to act a more
conspicuous, and perhaps a more important part than any other man.
But his life would require a volume. If you decline printing this
letter, I pray you to return it as soon as possible to,

Sir, Your humble servant,



_Quincy_, _January_ 5, 1818.


Your sketches of the life of Mr. Henry have given me a rich
entertainment. I will not compare them to the Sybil, conducting Æneas
to see the ghosts of departed sages and heroes in the region below,
but to an angel, convoying me to the abodes of the blessed on high,
to converse with the spirits of just men made perfect. The names of
Henry, Lee, Bland, Pendleton, Washington, Rutledge, Dickinson, Wythe,
and many others, will ever thrill through my veins with an agreeable
sensation. I am not about to make any critical remarks upon your
works, at present. But, sir,

     Erant heroes ante Agamemnona multi.
     Or, not to garble Horace,
     Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
     Multi: sed omnes illacrimabiles
     Urgentur, ignotique longa
     Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.

If I could go back to the age of thirty five, Mr. Wirt, I would
endeavour to become your rival; not in elegance of composition, but
in a simple narration of facts, supported by records, histories,
and testimonies, of irrefragable authority. I would adopt, in all
its modesty, your title, "Sketches of the life and writings of
James Otis, of Boston." And, in imitation of your example, I would
introduce portraits of a long catalogue of illustrious men, who were
agents in the revolution, in favor of it or against it.

Jeremiah Gridley, the father of the bar in Boston, and the preceptor
of Pratt, Otis, Thatcher, Cushing, and many others; Benjamin Pratt,
chief justice of New-York; colonel John Tynge, James Otis, of Boston,
the hero of the biography; Oxenbridge Thatcher, Jonathan Sewall,
attorney general and judge of admiralty; Samuel Quincy, solicitor
general; Daniel Leonard, now chief justice of Bermuda; Josiah Quincy,
the Boston Cicero; Richard Dana and Francis Dana, his son, first
minister to Russia, and afterwards chief justice; Jonathan Mayhew, D.
D. Samuel Cooper, D. D. Charles Chauncey, D. D. James Warren and his
wife; Joseph Warren, of Bunker's Hill; John Winthrop, professor at
Harvard college, and a member of council; Samuel Dexter, the father;
John Worthington, of Springfield; Joseph Hawley, of Northampton,
and James Lovel, of Boston; governors Shirley, Pownal, Bernard,
Hutchinson, Hancock, Bowdoin, Adams, Sullivan, and Gerry; lieutenant
governor Oliver, chief justice Oliver, judge Edmund Trowbridge, judge
William Cushing, and Timothy Ruggles, ought not to be omitted. The
military characters, Ward, Lincoln, Warren, Knox, Brooks, Heath, &c.
must come in of course. Nor should Benjamin Kent, Samuel Swift, or
John Reed, be forgotten.

I envy none of the well merited glories of Virginia, or any of her
sages or heroes. But, sir, I am jealous, very jealous, of the honour
of Massachusetts.

The resistance to the British system, for subjugating the colonies,
began in 1760, and in the month of February, 1761, James Otis
electrified the town of Boston, the province of Massachusetts bay,
and the whole continent, more than Patrick Henry ever did in the
whole course of his life. If we must have panegyrics and hyperboles,
I must say, that if Mr. Henry was Demosthenes, and Mr. Richard Henry
Lee, Cicero, James Otis was Isaiah and Ezekiel UNITED.

I hope, sir, that some young gentleman, of the ancient and honourable
family of "The Searchers," will hereafter do impartial justice, both
to Virginia and Massachusetts.

After all this freedom, I assure you, sir, it is no flattery, when I
congratulate the nation on the acquisition of an attorney general of
such talents and industry as your "Sketches" demonstrate.

With great esteem, I am, Sir,

Your friend and humble servant,


_Mr._ WIRT, _Attorney General of the United States._


_Quincy_, _January_ 23, 1819.


I thank you for your kind letter of the 12th of this month. As I
esteem the character of Mr. Henry, an honour to our country, and your
volume a masterly delineation of it, I gave orders to purchase it as
soon as I heard of it, but was told it was not to be had in Boston.
I have seen it only by great favour on a short loan. A copy from the
author would be worth many by purchase. It may be sent to me by the

From a personal acquaintance, perhaps I might say a friendship,
with Mr. Henry, of more than forty years, and from all that I have
heard or read of him, I have always considered him as a gentleman of
deep reflection, keen sagacity, clear foresight, daring enterprise,
inflexible intrepidity, and untainted integrity; with an ardent zeal
for the liberties, the honour, and felicity of his country, and his
species. All this, you justly as I believe, represent him to have
been. There are, however, remarks to be made upon your work, which,
if I had the eyes and hands, I would, in the spirit of friendship,
attempt. But my hands, and eyes, and life, are but for a moment.

When congress had finished their business, as they thought, in the
autumn of 1774, I had, with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each
other, some familiar conversation, in which I expressed a full
conviction, that our resolves, declarations of rights, enumeration of
wrongs, petitions, remonstrances, and addresses, associations, and
non-importation agreements, however they might be expected [Errata:
respected] in America, and however necessary to cement the union of
the colonies, would be but waste water in England. Mr. Henry said,
they might make some impression among the people of England, but
agreed with me that they would be totally lost upon the government.
I had but just received a short and hasty letter, written to me by
major Joseph Hawley, of Northampton, containing "a few broken hints,"
as he called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, and
concluding with these words, "_after all we must fight_." This letter
I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great attention; and as soon
as I had pronounced the words, "after all we must fight," he raised
his head, and with an energy and vehemence that I can never forget,
broke out with "BY G--D, I AM OF THAT MAN'S MIND." I put
the letter into his hand, and when he had read it, he returned it to
me, with an equally solemn asseveration, that he agreed entirely in
opinion with the writer. I considered this as a sacred oath, upon a
very great occasion, and could have sworn it as religiously as he
did, and by no means inconsistent with what you say, in some part of
your book, that he never took the sacred name in vain.

As I knew the sentiments with which Mr. Henry left congress, in the
autumn of 1774, and knew the chapter and verse from which he had
borrowed the sublime expression, "we must fight," I was not at all
surprised at your history, in the 122d page, in the note, and in some
of the preceding and following pages. Mr. Henry only pursued, in
March, 1775, the views and vows of November, 1774.

The other delegates from Virginia returned to their state in full
confidence, that all our grievances would be redressed. The last
words that Mr. Richard Henry Lee said to me, when we parted, were,
"_we shall infallibly carry all our points. You will be completely
relieved; all the offensive acts will be repealed; the army and fleet
will be recalled, and Britain will give up her foolish project_."

Washington only was in doubt, He never spoke in public. In private
he joined with those who advocated a non-exportation, as well as a
non-importation agreement. With both he thought we should prevail;
without either, he thought it doubtful, Henry was clear in one
opinion, Richard Henry Lee in an opposite opinion, and Washington
doubted between the two. Henry, however, appeared in the end to be
exactly in the right.

Oratory, Mr. Wirt, as it consists in expressions of the countenance,
graces of attitude and motion, and intonation of voice, although
it is altogether superficial and ornamental, will always command
admiration, yet it deserves little veneration. Flashes of wit,
coruscations of imagination and gay pictures, what are they? Strict
truth, rapid reason and pure integrity are the only essential
ingredients in sound oratory. I flatter myself, that Demosthenes, by
his "action! action! action!" meant to express the same opinion. To
speak of American oratory, ancient or modern, would lead me too far,
and beyond my depth.

I must conclude with fresh assurances of the high esteem of your
humble servant,


    _Attorney General of the United States._


_Quincy_, _February_ 25, 1818.


As Mr. Wirt has filled my head with James Otis, and as I am well
informed, that the honourable Mr. ******** *****, alias ********,
alias *** *****, &c. roundly asserts, that Mr. "Otis had no
patriotism," and that "he acted only from revenge of his father's
disappointment of a seat at the Superior Bench," I will tell you a
story which may make you laugh, if it should not happen to melt you
into tears.

Otis belonged to a club, who met on evenings, of which club William
Molineux, whose character you know very well, was a member. Molineux
had a petition before the legislature, which did not succeed to his
wishes, and he became for several evenings sour, and wearied the
company with his complaints of services, losses, sacrifices, &c. and
said, "that a man who has behaved as I have, should be treated as
I am, is intolerable," &c. Otis had said nothing, but the company
were disgusted and out of patience, when Otis rose from his seat,
and said, "come, come, Will, quit this subject, and let us enjoy
ourselves. I also have a list of grievances, will you hear it?" The
club expected some fun, and all cried out, "Aye! Aye! let us hear
your list."

"Well, then, Will; in the first place I resigned the office of
advocate general, which I held from the crown which produced me; how
much, do you think?" "A great deal, no doubt," said Molineux. "Shall
we say two hundred sterling a year?" "Aye, more I believe," said
Molineux. "Well, let it be 200; that for ten years is two thousand.
In the next place, I have been obliged to relinquish the greatest
part of my business at the bar. Will you set that at 200 more?" "Oh
I believe it much more than that." "Well let it be 200. This for
ten years makes two thousand. You allow, then, I have lost 4000_l._
sterling." "Aye, and more too," said Molineux.

"In the next place, I have lost an hundred friends; among whom were
the men of the first rank, fortune and power in the province. At
what price will you estimate them?" "Damn them," said Molineux, "at
nothing. You are better without them than with them." A loud laugh.
"Be it so," said Otis.

"In the next place, I have made a thousand enemies; amongst whom are
the government of the province and the nation. What do you think of
this item?" "That is as it may happen," said Molineux.

"In the next place, you know I love pleasure. But I have renounced
all amusement for ten years. What is that worth to a man of
pleasure?" "No great matter," said Molineux, "you have made politics
your amusement." A hearty laugh.

"In the next place, I have ruined as fine health and as good
a constitution of body, as nature ever gave to man." "This is
melancholy indeed," said Molineux. "There is nothing to be said upon
that point."

"Once more," said Otis, holding his head down before Molineux, "look
upon this head!" (where was a scar in which a man might bury his
finger.) "What do you think of this? And what is worse, my friends
think I have a monstrous crack in my scull." This made all the
company very grave, and look very solemn. But Otis setting up a
laugh, and with a gay countenance, said to Molineux, "Now, Willy, my
advice to you is, to say no more about your grievances; for you and I
had better put up our accounts of profit and loss in our pockets, and
say no more about them, lest the world should laugh at us."

This whimsical dialogue put all the company, and Molineux himself
into good humour, and they passed the rest of the evening in joyous

It is provoking, and it is astonishing, and it is mortifying, and it
is humiliating to see, how calumny sticks, and is transmitted from
age to age. Mr. ****** is one of the last men I should have expected
to have swallowed that execrable lie, that Otis had no patriotism.
The father was refused an office worth 1200_l._ old tenor, or about
120_l._ sterling, and the refusal was no loss, for his practice
at the bar was worth much more; for Colonel Otis was a lawyer in
profitable practice, and his seat in the legislature gave him more
power and more honour; for this refusal the son resigned an office
which he held from the crown, worth twice the sum. The son must have
been a most dutiful and affectionate child to the father. Or rather,
most enthusiastically and frenzically affectionate.

I have been young, and now am old, and I solemnly say, I have never
known a man whose love of his country was more ardent or sincere;
never one, who suffered so much; never one, whose services for any
ten years of his life, were so important and essential to the cause
of his country, as those of Mr. Otis from 1760 to 1770.

The truth is, he was an honest man, and a thorough taught lawyer.
He was called upon in his official capacity as advocate general by
the custom house officers, to argue their cause in favour of writs
of assistants. These writs he knew to be illegal, unconstitutional,
destructive of the liberties of his country; a base instrument of
arbitrary power, and intended as an entering wedge to introduce
unlimited taxation and legislation by authority of parliament. He
therefore scorned to prostitute his honour and his conscience, by
becoming a tool. And he scorned to hold an office which could compel
him or tempt him to be one. He therefore resigned it. He foresaw as
every other enlightened man foresaw, a tremendous storm coming upon
his country, and determined to run all risques, and share the fate of
the ship, after exerting all his energies to save her, if possible.
At the solicitation of Boston and Salem, he accordingly embarked and
accepted the command.

To attribute to such a character sinister or trivial motives is
ridiculous. You and Mr. Wirt have "brought the old man out," and I
fear he will never be driven in again, till he falls into the grave.



_Quincy_, _March_ 29, 1818.


Is your daughter, Mrs. ******, who I am credibly informed, is one
of the most accomplished ladies, a painter? Are you acquainted with
Miss ***** *****, who I am also credibly informed is one of the most
accomplished ladies, and a painter? Do you know Mr. Sargent? Do you
correspond with your old companion in arms, Col. John Trumbull? Do
you think Fisher will be an historical painter?

Whenever you shall find a painter, male or female, I pray you to
suggest a scene and subject.

The scene is the council chamber of the old town house in Boston. The
date is the month of February, 1761, nine years before you came to me
in Cole lane. As this is five years before you entered college, you
must have been in the second form of master Lovell's school.

That council chamber was as respectable an apartment, and more so
too, in proportion, than the house of lords or house of commons in
Great Britain, or that in Philadelphia in which the declaration of
independence was signed in 1776.

In this chamber, near the fire, were seated five judges, with
lieutenant governor Hutchinson at their head, as chief justice; all
in their new fresh robes of scarlet English cloth, in their broad
bands, and immense judicial wigs. In this chamber was seated at a
long table all the barristers of Boston, and its neighbouring county
of Middlesex, in their gowns, bands and tye-wigs. They were not
seated on ivory chairs; but their dress was more solemn and more
pompous than that of the Roman Senate, when the Gauls broke in upon
them. In a corner of the room must be placed wit, sense, imagination,
genius, pathos, reason, prudence, eloquence, learning, science, and
immense reading, hung by the shoulders on two crutches, covered
with a cloth great coat, in the person of Mr. Pratt, who had been
solicited on both sides but would engage on neither, being about to
leave Boston forever, as chief justice of New York.

Two portraits, at more than full length, of king Charles the second,
and king James the second, in splendid golden frames, were hung
up in the most conspicuous side of the apartment. If my young eyes
or old memory have not deceived me, these were the finest pictures
I have seen. The colours of their long flowing robes and their
royal ermines were the most glowing, the figures the most noble and
graceful, the features the most distinct and characteristic: far
superior to those of the king and queen of France in the senate
chamber of congress. I believe they were Vandyke's. Sure I am there
was no painter in England capable of them at that time. They had been
sent over without frames, in governor Pownal's time. But as he was no
admirer of Charleses or Jameses, they were stowed away in a garret
among rubbish, till governor Bernard came, had them cleaned, superbly
framed, and placed in council for the admiration and imitation of all
men, no doubt with the concurrence of Hutchinson and all the junto;
for there has always been a junto. One circumstance more. Samuel
Quincy and John Adams had been admitted barristers at that term. John
was the youngest. He should be painted, looking like a short thick
fat archbishop of Canterbury, seated at the table, with a pen in his
hand, lost in admiration, now and then minuting those despicable
notes which you know that ******** ******** stole from my desk,
and printed in the Massachusetts Spy, with two or three bombastic
expressions interpolated by himself; and which your pupil, judge
Minot, has printed in his history.

You have now the stage and the scenery. Next follows a narration of
the subject. I rather think that we lawyers ought to call it a brief
of the cause.

When the British ministry received from general Amherst his
despatches, announcing his conquest of Montreal, and the consequent
annihilation of the French government and power in America, in 1759,
they immediately conceived the design and took the resolution of
conquering the English colonies, and subjecting them to the unlimited
authority of parliament. With this view and intention, they sent
orders and instructions to the collector of the customs in Boston,
Mr. Charles Paxton, to apply to the civil authority for writs of
assistance, to enable the custom house officers, tide waiters, land
waiters, and all, to command all sheriffs and constables to attend
and aid them in breaking open houses, stores, shops, cellars, ships,
bales, trunks, chests, casks, packages of all sorts, to search for
goods, wares and merchandizes, which had been imported against the
prohibitions, or without paying the taxes imposed by certain acts of
parliament, called "THE ACTS OF TRADE," _i. e._ by certain
parliamentary statutes, which had been procured to be passed from
time to time, for a century before, by a combination of selfish
intrigues between West India planters and North American royal
governors. These acts never had been executed, and there never had
been a time when they would have been, or could have been, obeyed.

Mr. Paxton, no doubt consulting with governor Bernard, lieutenant
governor Hutchinson, and all the principal crown officers, and
all the rest of the Junto, thought it not prudent to commence his
operations in Boston. For obvious reasons, he instructed his deputy
collector in Salem, Mr. Cockle, to apply by petition to the superior
court, in November, 1760, then sitting in that town, for writs of
assistance. Stephen Sewall was then chief justice of that court, an
able man, an uncorrupted American, and a sound whig, a sincere friend
of liberty, civil and religious. He expressed great doubts of the
legality of such a writ, and of the authority of the court to grant
it. Not one of his brother judges uttered a word in favor of it; but
as it was an application on the part of the crown, it must be heard
and determined. After consultation, the court ordered the question to
be argued at the next February term, in Boston, _i. e._ in 1761.

In the mean time chief justice Sewall died, and lieutenant governor
Hutchinson was appointed chief justice of that court in his stead.
Every observing and thinking man knew that this appointment was made
for the direct purpose of deciding this question, in favour of the
crown, and all others in which it should be interested.

An alarm was spread far and wide. Merchants of Salem and Boston
applied to Mr. Pratt, who refused, and to Mr. Otis and Mr. Thatcher,
who accepted, to defend them against this terrible menacing monster,
the writ of assistance. Great fees were offered, but Otis, and I
believe Thatcher, would accept of none. "In such a cause," said Otis,
"I despise all fees."

I have given you a sketch of the stage and the scenery, and a brief
of the cause; or, if you like the phrase better, of the tragedy,
comedy or farce.

Now for the actors and performers. Mr. Gridley argued with his
characteristic learning, ingenuity and dignity, and said every thing
that could be said in favour of Cockle's petition, all depending,
however, on the "If the parliament of Great Britain is the sovereign
legislator of all the British empire."

Mr. Thatcher followed him on the other side, and argued with the
softness of manners, the ingenuity, the cool reasoning which were
peculiar to his amiable character.

But Otis was a flame of Fire! With a promptitude of classical
allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events
and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glare of
his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence
he hurried away all before him. American independence was then and
there born. The seeds of patriots and heroes to defend the _Non Sine
Diis Animosus Infans_; to defend the vigorous youth were then and
there sown. Every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me
to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.
Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition
to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child
Independence was born. In fifteen years, i. e. in 1776, he grew up to
manhood and declared himself free.

The court adjourned for consideration, and after some days at the
close of the term, Hutchinson chief justice arose and said, "The
court has considered the subject of writs of assistance, and can see
no foundation for such a writ; but as the practise in England is not
known, it has been thought best, to continue the question to next
term, that in the mean time opportunity may be given to write to
England for information concerning the subject." In six months the
next term arrived; but no judgment was pronounced; nothing was said
about writs of assistance; no letters from England, and nothing more
was said in court concerning them.--But it was generally reported and
understood that the court clandestinely granted them; and the custom
house officers had them in their pockets, though I never knew that
they dared to produce and execute them in any one instance.

Mr. Otis's popularity was without bounds. In May, 1761, he was
elected into the house of representatives, by an almost unanimous
vote. On that week I happened to be at Worcester attending a court
of common pleas of which, brigadier Ruggles was chief justice.
When the news arrived from Boston, you can have no idea of the
consternation among the government people. Chief justice Ruggles at
dinner at colonel Chandler's on that day, said, "Out of this election
will arise a damn'd faction, which will shake this province to its

For ten years afterwards Mr. Otis, at the head of his country's
cause, conducted the town of Boston and the people of the province
with a prudence and fortitude, at every sacrifice of personal
interest and amidst unceasing persecution, which would have done
honour to the most virtuous patriot or martyr of antiquity.

I fear I shall make you repent of bringing out the old gentleman.



_Quincy_, _April_ 5, 1818.


In Mr. Wirt's elegant and eloquent panegyrick on Mr. Henry I beg your
attention from page 56 to page 67, the end of the second section,
where you will read a curious specimen of the agonies of patriotism
in the early stages of the revolution. "When Mr. Henry could carry
his resolutions but by one vote, and that against the influence of
Randolph, Bland, Pendleton, Wythe and all the old members whose
influence in the house had till then been unbroken; and when Peyton
Randolph afterwards president of congress swore a round oath, he
would have given 500 guineas for a single vote; for one vote would
have divided the house, and Robinson was in the chair, who he knew
would have negatived the resolution."

And you will also see the confused manner in which they were first
recorded, and how they have since been garbled in history. My remarks
at present will be confined to the anecdote in page 65.

Cæsar had his Brutus, Charles the first, his Cromwell, and George the
third. Treason cried the speaker--treason, treason, echoed from every
part of the house. Henry finished his sentence by the words, "may
profit by their example." If this be treason make the most of it.

In judge Minot's history of Massachusetts Bay, volume second, in page
102 and 103, you will find another agony of patriotism in 1762, three
years before Mr. Henry's. Mr. Otis suffered one of equal severity in
the house of representatives of Massachusetts. Judge Minot's account
of it is this.

The remonstrance offered to the governor was attended with
aggravating circumstances. It was passed, after a very warm speech,
by a member in the house, and at first contained the following
offensive observation.

"For it will be of little consequence to the people whether they
were subject to George or Louis; the king of Great Britain, or the
French king; if both were arbitrary, as both would be, if both could
levy taxes without parliament." Though judge Minot does not say it,
the warm speech was from the tongue, and the offensive observation,
from the pen of James Otis; when these words of the remonstrance were
first read in the house, Timothy Pain, Esq. a member from Worcester,
in his zeal for royalty, though a very worthy and very amiable man,
cried out, treason! treason! the house however were not intimidated,
but voted the remonstrance with all the treason contained in it, by a
large majority; and it was presented to the governor by a committee
of which Mr. Otis was a member.

Judge Minot proceeds--"The governor was so displeased with the
passage, that he sent a letter to the speaker, returning the message
to the house; in which he said, that the king's name, dignity and
cause, were so improperly treated that he was obliged to desire the
speaker to recommend earnestly to the house, that it might not be
entered upon the minutes in the terms in which it then stood. For if
it should, he was then satisfied they would again and again, wish
that some part of it were expunged, especially if it should appear,
as he doubted not it would when he entered upon his vindication, that
there was not the least ground for the insinuation, under colour
of which, that sacred and well beloved name was so disrespectfully
brought into question."

Upon the reading of this letter, the exceptionable clause was struck
out of the message.

I have now before me a pamphlet printed in 1763, by Edes & Gill, in
Queen-street, Boston, entitled a vindication of the conduct of the
house of representatives of the province of the Massachusetts Bay,
more particularly in the last session of the general assembly, by
James Otis, Esq. a member of said house, with this motto--

     Let such, such only, tread this sacred floor,
     Who dare to love their Country and be poor;
     Or good, tho' rich, humane and wise, tho' great,
     Jove give but these, we've nought to fear from fate.

I wish I could transcribe the whole of this pamphlet, because it is a
document of importance in the early history of the revolution, which
ought never to be forgotten. It shows in a strong light the heaves
and throes of the burning mountain, three years at least, before the
explosion of the volcano in Massachusetts or Virginia.

Had judge Minot ever seen this pamphlet, could he have given so
superficial an account of this year, 1762? There was more than one
"_warm speech_" made in that session of the legislature; Mr. Otis
himself, made many. A dark cloud hung over the whole continent; but
it was peculiarly black and threatening over Massachusetts and the
town of Boston, against which devoted city the first thunderbolts of
parliamentary omnipotence were intended and expected to be darted.
Mr. Otis, from his first appearance in the house in 1761, had shewn
such a vast superiority of talents, information and energy to every
other member of the house, that in 1763 he took the lead as it were
of course. He opened the session with a speech, a sketch of which he
has given us himself. It depends upon no man's memory. It is warm; it
is true. But it is warm only with loyalty to his king, love to his
country, and exultations in her exertions in the national cause.

This pamphlet ought to be reprinted and deposited in the cabinet
of the curious. The preface, is a frank, candid and manly page,
explaining the motive of the publication, viz: the clamours against
the house for their proceedings, in which he truly says.--"The world
ever has been, and ever will be pretty equally divided, between those
two great parties, vulgarly called the winners and the losers; or
to speak more precisely, between those who are discontented that
they have no power, and those who think they never can have enough."
Now it is absolutely impossible to please both sides either by
temporizing, trimming or retreating; the two former justly incur the
censure of a wicked heart; the latter that of cowardice, and fairly
and manfully fighting the battle, and it is in the opinion of many
worse than either. On the 8th of September, A. D. 1762, the war still
continuing in North America and the West Indies, governor Bernard
made his speech to both houses, and presented a _requisition_ of sir
Jeffery Amherst, that the Massachusetts troops should be continued in
pay during the winter.

Mr. Otis made a speech, the outlines of which he has recorded in the
pamphlet, urging a compliance with the governor's recommendation and
general Amherst's requisition; and concluding with a motion for a
committee to consider of both.

A committee was appointed, of whom Mr. Otis was one, and reported not
only a continuance of the troops already in service, but an addition
of nine hundred men, with an augmented bounty to encourage their

If the orators on the 4th of July, really wish to investigate the
principles and feelings which produced the revolution, they ought to
study this pamphlet and Dr. Mayhew's sermon on passive obedience and
non-resistance, and all the documents of those days. The celebrations
of independence have departed from the object of their institution,
as much as the society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign
parts have from their charter. The institution had better be wholly
abolished, than continued an engine of the politics and feelings of
the day, instead of a memorial of the principles and feelings of the
revolution half a century ago, I might have said for two centuries

This pamphlet of Mr. Otis exhibits the interesting spectacle of
a great man glowing with loyalty to his sovereign, proud of his
connection with the British empire, rejoicing in its prosperity, its
triumphs and its glory, exulting in the unexampled efforts of his own
native province to promote them all: but at the same time grieving
and complaining at the ungenerous treatment that province had
received from its beginning from the mother country, and shuddering
under the prospect of still greater ingratitude and cruelty from the
same source. Hear a few of his words, and read all the rest.

"_Mr. Speaker_--This province has upon all occasions been
distinguished by its loyalty and readiness to contribute its most
strenuous efforts for his majesty's service. I hope this spirit will
ever remain as an indelible characteristic of this people," &c. &c.
"Our own immediate interest therefore, as well as the general cause
of our king and country requires, that we should contribute the last
penny and the last drop of blood, rather than by any backwardness
of ours, his majesty's measures should be embarrassed: and thereby
any of the enterprises that may be planned for the regular troops,
miscarry. Some of these considerations I presume, induced the
assembly upon his majesty's requisition, signified last spring by
lord Egremont, so cheerfully and unanimously to raise thirty three
hundred men for the present campaign; and upon another requisition
signified by sir Jeffery Amherst to give a handsome bounty for
enlisting about nine hundred more into the regular service. The
colonies, we know, have often been blamed without cause; and we
have had some share of it. Witness the miscarriage of the pretended
expedition against Canada, in queen Ann's time, just before the
infamous treaty of Utrecht. It is well known by some now living
in this metropolis, that the officers both of the army and navy,
expressed their utmost surprise at it upon their arrival. To some of
them no doubt, it was a disappointment; for in order to shift the
blame of this shameful affair from themselves, they endeavoured to
lay it upon the New England colonies.

"I am therefore clearly for raising the men," &c. &c. "This province
has, since the year 1754, levied for his majesty's service as
soldiers and seamen, near thirty thousand men, besides what have been
otherwise employed. One year in particular it was said that every
fifth man was engaged in one shape or another.--We have raised sums
for the support of this war, that the last generation could hardly
have formed any idea of. We are now deeply in debt," &c. &c.

On the 14th of September, the house received a message from the
governor, containing a somewhat awkward confession of certain
expenditures of public money with advice of council, which had not
been appropriated by the house. He had fitted out the Massachusetts
sloop of war, increased her establishment of men, &c. Five years
before, perhaps this irregularity might have been connived at or
pardoned; but, since the debate concerning writs of assistance, and
since it was known that the acts of trade were to be enforced, and a
revenue collected by authority of parliament, Mr. Otis's maxim, that
"taxation without representation was tyranny," and "that expenditures
of public money, without appropriations by the representatives of the
people, were unconstitutional, arbitrary and therefore tyrannical,"
had become popular proverbs. They were common place observations in
the streets. It was impossible that Otis should not take fire upon
this message of the governor. He accordingly did take fire, and made
that flaming speech which judge Minot calls "_a warm speech_" without
informing us who made it or what it contained. I wish Mr. Otis had
given us this warm speech as he has the comparatively cool one, at
the opening of the session. But this is lost forever. It concluded
however, with a motion for a committee to consider the governor's
message and report. The committee was appointed, and Otis was the
first after the speaker.

The committee reported the following answer and remonstrance, every
syllable of which is Otis:

"_May it please your Excellency_:

"The house have duly attended to your excellency's message of the
eleventh inst. relating to the Massachusetts sloop, and are humbly
of opinion that there is not the least necessity for keeping up her
present complement of men, and therefore desire that your excellency
would be pleased to reduce them to six, the old establishment made
for said sloop by the general court. Justice to ourselves, and to our
constituents obliges us to remonstrate against the method of making
or increasing establishments by the governor and council.

"It is in effect, taking from the house their most darling privilege,
the right of originating all taxes.

"It is, in short, annihilating one branch of legislation. And when
once the representatives of the people give up this privilege, the
government will very soon become arbitrary.

"No necessity therefore, can be sufficient to justify a house of
representatives in giving up such a privilege; for it would be of
little consequence to the people, whether they were subject to
George or Louis, the king of Great Britain or the French king; if
both were arbitrary, as both would be, if both could levy taxes
without parliament.

"Had this been the first instance of the kind, we might not have
troubled your excellency about it; but lest the matter should go into
precedent, we earnestly beseech your excellency, as you regard the
peace and welfare of the province, that no measures of this nature be
taken for the future, let the advice of council be what it may."

This remonstrance being read, was accepted by a large majority, and
sent up and presented to his excellency by a committee of whom Mr.
Otis was one.

But here, Mr. Tudor, allow me, a digression, an episode. Lord
Ellenborough in the late trial of Hone, says "the Athanasian Creed is
the most beautiful composition that ever flowed from the pen of man."

I agree with his lordship, that it is the most consummate mass
of absurdity, inconsistency and contradiction that ever was put
together. But I appeal to your taste and your conscience, whether the
foregoing remonstrance of James Otis is not as terse a morsel of good
sense, as Athanasius's Creed is of nonsense and blasphemy?

The same day the above remonstrance was delivered, the town was
alarmed with a report, that the house had sent a message to his
excellency, reflecting on his majesty's person and government, and
highly derogatory to his crown and dignity, and therein desired, that
his excellency would in no case take the advice of his majesty's

The governor's letter to the speaker, is as judge Minot represents
it. Upon reading it, the same person who had before cried out,
treason! treason! when he first heard the offensive words, now cried
out, "rase them! rase them!" They were accordingly expunged.

In the course of the debate, a new and surprising doctrine was
advanced. We have seen the times, when the majority of a council by
their words and actions have seemed to think themselves obliged to
comply with every thing proposed by the chair, and to have no rule
of conduct but a governor's will and pleasure. But now for the first
time it was asserted, that the governor in all cases was obliged to
act according to the advice of council, and consequently would be
deemed to have no judgment of his own.

In page 17, Mr. Otis enters on his apology, excuse or justification
of the offensive words: which, as it is as facetious as it is
edifying, I will transcribe at length in his own words, viz:

"In order to excuse, if not altogether justify the offensive passage,
and clear it from ambiguity, I beg leave to premise two or three
data. 1. GOD made all men naturally equal. 2. The ideas of
earthly superiority, pre-eminence and grandeur, are educational, at
least acquired, not innate. 3. Kings were, and plantation governors
should be made for the good of the people, and not the people for
them. 4. No government has a right to make hobby-horses, asses and
slaves of the subjects; nature having made sufficient of the former,
for all the lawful purposes of man, from the harmless peasant in the
field, to the most refined politician in the cabinet; but none of
the last, which infallibly proves they are unnecessary. 5. Though
most governments are _de facto_ arbitrary, and consequently the curse
and scandal of human nature, yet none are _de jure_ arbitrary. 6.
The British constitution of government, as now established in his
majesty's person and family, is the wisest and best in the world.
7. The king of Great Britain is the best, as well as the most
glorious monarch upon the globe, and his subjects the happiest in the
universe. 8. It is most humbly presumed, the king would have all his
plantation governors follow his royal example, in a wise and strict
adherence to the principles of the British constitution, by which in
conjunction with his other royal virtues, he is enabled to reign in
the hearts of a brave and generous, a free and loyal people. 9. This
is the summit, the _ne plus ultra_ of human glory and felicity. 10.
The French king is a despotic arbitrary prince, and consequently his
subjects are very miserable.

"Let us now take a more careful review of this passage, which by
some out of doors has been represented as seditious, rebellious, and
traitorous. I hope none, however, will be so wanting to the interest
of their country, as to represent the matter in this light on the
east side of the Atlantic, though recent instances of such a conduct
might be quoted, wherein the province has, after its most strenuous
efforts, during this and other wars been painted in all the odious
colours, that avarice, malice, and the worst passions could suggest.

"The house assert, that it would be of little consequence to the
people, whether they were subject to George or Louis; the king of
Great Britain or the French king, if both were arbitrary as both
would be, if both could levy taxes without parliament. Or in the same
words transposed without the least alteration of the sense. It would
be of little consequence to the people, whether they were subject to
George the king of Great Britain, or Louis the French king, if both
were arbitrary, as both would be, if both could levy taxes without

"The first question that would occur to a philosopher, if any
question could be made about it, would be, whether it were true? But
truth being of little importance, with most modern politicians, we
shall touch lightly on that topic, and proceed to inquiries of a more
interesting nature.

"That arbitrary government implies the worst of temporary evils, or
at least the continual danger of them, is certain. That a man would
be pretty equally subject to these evils, under every arbitrary
government, is clear. That I should die very soon after my head
should be cut off, whether by a sabre or a broad sword, whether
chopped off to gratify a tyrant, by the Christian name of Tom,
Dick, or Harry, is evident. That the name of the tyrant would be of
no more avail to save my life, than the name of the executioner,
needs no proof. It is therefore manifestly of no importance what
a prince's christian name is, if he be arbitrary, any more indeed
if he were not arbitrary. So the whole amount of this dangerous
proposition, may at least, in one view be reduced to this, viz:
_It is of little importance what a king's christian name is._ It
is, indeed, of importance, that a king, a governor, and all other
good christians, should have a christian name, but whether Edward,
Francis, or William, is of none, that I can discern. It being a rule,
to put the most mild and favourable construction upon words, that
they can possibly bear, it will follow, that this proposition is a
very harmless one, that cannot by any means tend to prejudice his
majesty's person, crown, dignity, or cause, all which I deem equally
sacred with his excellency.

"If this proposition will bear an hundred different constructions,
they must all be admitted before any that imports any bad meaning,
much more a treasonable one.

"It is conceived the house intended nothing disrespectful to his
majesty, his government, or governor, in those words. It would be
very injurious to insinuate this of a house, that upon all occasions
has distinguished itself by a truly loyal spirit, and which spirit
possesses at least nine hundred and ninety nine in a thousand,
of their constituents throughout the province. One good natured
construction at least seems to be implied in the assertion, and that
pretty strongly, viz: that in the present situation of Great Britain
and France, it is of vast importance to be a Britain rather than a
Frenchman, as the French king is an arbitrary, despotic prince, but
the king of Great Britain is not so _de jure_, _de facto_, nor by
inclination; a greater difference on this side the grave cannot be
found, than that which subsists between British subjects and the
slaves of tyranny.

"Perhaps it may be objected, that there is some difference even
between arbitrary princes; in this respect at least, that some
are more vigorous than others. It is granted; but, then, let it
be remembered, that the life of man is a vapour, that shall soon
vanish away, and we know not who may come after him, a wise man or
a fool; though the chances before and since Solomon have ever been
in favour of the latter. Therefore it is said of little consequence.
Had it been _no_ instead of _little_, the clause upon the most rigid
stricture might have been found barely exceptionable.

"Some fine gentlemen have charged the expression as indelicate. This
is a capital impeachment in politics, and therefore demands our
most serious attention. The idea of delicacy, in the creed of some
politicians, implies, that an inferior should, at the peril of all
that is near and dear to him, i. e. his interest, avoid, every the
least trifle that can offend his superior. Does my superior want
my estate? I must give it him, and that with a good grace; which is
appearing, and, if possible, being really obliged to him, that he
will condescend to take it. The reason is evident; it might give
him some little pain or uneasiness to see me whimpering, much more
openly complaining, at the loss of a little glittering dirt. I must
according to this system, not only endeavour to acquire myself,
but impress upon all around me, a reverence and passive obedience,
to the sentiments of my superior, little short of adoration. Is
the superior in contemplation a king, I must consider him as God's
Vicegerent, cloathed with unlimited power, his will the supreme law,
and not accountable for his actions, let them be what they may, to
any tribunal upon earth. Is the superior a plantation governor? He
must be viewed, not only as the most excellent representation of
majesty, but as a viceroy in his department, and _quoad_ provincial
administration, to all intents and purposes, vested with all the
prerogatives that were ever exercised by the most absolute prince in
Great Britain.

"The votaries of this sect, are all monopolizers of offices,
peculators, informers, and generally the seekers of all kinds. It is
better, say they, to "give up any thing, and every thing quietly,
than contend with a superior, who, by his prerogative, can do, and as
the vulgar express it, right or wrong, will have whatever he pleases.
For you must know, that according to some of the most refined and
fashionable systems of modern politics, the ideas of right and wrong,
and all the moral virtues, are to be considered only as the vagaries
of a weak and distempered imagination in the possessor, and of no use
in the world, but for the skilful politician to convert to his own
purposes of power and profit. With these

     "The love of country is an empty name;
     For gold they hunger, but ne'er thirst for fame."

"It is well known, that the least "patriotic spark" unawares
"catched" and discovered, disqualifies a candidate from all further
preferment in this famous and flourishing order of knights errant.
It must, however, be confessed, that they are so catholic as to
admit all sorts, from the knights of the post, to a garter and
star, provided they are thoroughly divested of the fear of God, and
the love of mankind; and have concentrated all their views in dear
self, with them the only "sacred and well beloved name" or thing in
the universe. See Cardinal Richlieu's Political Testament, and the
greater Bible of the Sect, Mandeville's Fable of the Bees. Richlieu
expressly, in solemn earnest, without any sarcasm or irony, advises
the discarding all honest men from the presence of a prince, and from
even the purlieus of a court. According to Mandeville, "the moral
virtues are the political offspring which flattery begot upon pride."
The most darling principle of the great apostle of the order, who
has done more than any mortal towards diffusing corruption, not only
through the three kingdoms, but through the remotest dominions, is,
that every man has his price, and that if you bid high enough you are
sure of him.

"To those who have been taught to bow at the name of a king, with
as much ardor and devotion as a papist at the sight of a crucifix,
the assertion under examination may appear harsh; but _there is an
immense difference between the sentiments of a British house of
commons remonstrating, and those of a courtier cringing for a favour.
A house of representatives here, at least, bears an equal proportion
to a governor, with that of a house of commons, to the king_. There
is indeed one difference in favour of a house of representatives;
when a house of commons address the king, they speak to their
sovereign, who is truly the most august personage upon earth. When
a house of representatives remonstrate to a governor, they speak to
a fellow subject, though a superior who is undoubtedly entitled to
decency and respect; but I hardly think to quite so much reverence as
his master.

"It may not be amiss to observe, that a form of speech may be in no
sort improper, when used _arguendo_, or for illustration, speaking of
the king; which same form may be very harsh, indecent and ridiculous,
if spoken to the king.

"The expression under censure has had the approbation of divers
gentlemen of sense, who are quite unprejudiced to any party. They
have taken it to imply a compliment, rather than any indecent
reflection upon his majesty's wise and gracious administration.
It seems strange, therefore, that the house should be so suddenly
charged by his excellency, with "impropriety, groundless
insinuations," &c.

"What cause of so bitter repentance, 'again and again,' could
possibly have taken place, if this clause had been printed in the
journal, I cannot imagine. If the case be fairly represented, I guess
the province can be in no danger from a house of representatives
daring to speak plain English when they are complaining of a
grievance. I sincerely believe that the house had no disposition
to enter into any contest with the governor or council. Sure I
am, that the promoters of this address had no such view. On the
contrary, there is the highest reason to presume, that the house
of representatives will at all times rejoice in the prosperity of
the governor and council, and contribute their utmost assistance
in supporting those two branches of the legislature in all their
just rights and pre-eminence. But the house is, and ought to be,
jealous and tenacious of its own privileges; _these are a sacred
deposit, entrusted by the people, and the jealousy of them is a godly

Allow me now, Mr. Tudor, a few remarks: 1. Why has the sublime
compliment of "treason! treason!" made to Mr. Henry, in 1765, been
so celebrated, when that to Mr. Otis, in 1762, three years before,
has been totally forgotten? Because the Virginia Patriot has had many
trumpeters, and very loud ones; but the Massachusetts Patriot none,
though false accusers and vile calumniators in abundance.

2. I know not whether judge Minot was born in 1762. He certainly
never saw, heard, felt, or understood any thing of the principles
or feelings of that year. If he had, he could not have given so
frosty an account of it. The "warm speech" he mentions, was an
abridgment or second edition of Otis's argument in 1761, against the
execution of the acts of trade. It was a flaming declaration against
taxation without representation. It was a warning voice against the
calamities that were coming upon his country. It was an ardent effort
to alarm and arouse his countrymen against the menacing system of
parliamentary taxation.

3. Bernard was no great thing, but he was not a fool. It is
impossible to believe, that he thought the offensive passage treason
or sedition, of such danger and importance as he represented it. But
his design was to destroy Otis. "There is your enemy," said Bernard,
(after a Scottish general) "if ye do not kill him, he will kill you."

4. How many volumes are concentrated in this little fugitive
pamphlet, the production of a few hurried hours, amidst the continual
solicitations of a crowd of clients; for his business at the bar at
that time was very extensive and of the first importance; and amidst
the host of politicians, suggesting their plans and schemes, claiming
his advice and directions!

5. Look over the declarations of rights and wrongs issued by congress
in 1774. Look into the declaration of independence, in 1776. Look
into the writings of Dr. Price and Dr. Priestly. Look into all the
French constitutions of government; and to cap the climax, look into
Mr. Thomas Paine's common sense, crisis, and rights of man; what
can you find that is not to be found in solid substance in this
"vindication of the house of representatives?"

6. Is it not an affront to common sense, an insult to truth, virtue,
and patriotism, to represent Patrick Henry, though he was my friend
as much as Otis, as the father of the American revolution, and the
founder of American independence? The gentleman who has done this,
sincerely believed what he wrote I doubt not; but he ought to be made
sensible, that he is of yesterday, and knows nothing of the real
origin of the American revolution.

7. If there is any bitterness of spirit discernible in Mr. Otis's
vindication, this was not natural to him. He was generous, candid,
manly, social, friendly, agreeable, amiable, witty, and gay, by
nature, and by habit honest, almost to a proverb, though quick and
passionate against meanness and deceit. But at this time he was
agitated by anxiety for his country, and irritated by a torrent
of slander and scurrillity, constantly pouring upon him from all

Mr. Otis has fortified his vindication, in a long and learned note,
which, in mercy to my eyes and fingers, I must borrow another hand to
transcribe, in another sheet.

[Here follow quotations from Locke on government, Part II. Ch. IV.
Id. Ch. XI. Id. Ch. XIV. B. I. Ch. II. and B. II. Ch. II.]

"This other original Mr. Locke has demonstrated to be the consent
of a free people. It is possible there are a few; and I desire to
thank God there is no reason to think there are many among us, that
cannot bear the names of liberty and property, much less, that the
things signified by those terms, should be enjoyed by the vulgar.
These may be inclined to brand some of the principles advanced in
the vindication of the house, with the odious epithets seditious
and levelling. Had any thing to justify them been quoted from
colonel Algernon Sydney, or other British martyrs to the liberty of
their country, an outcry of rebellion would not be surprising. The
authority of Mr. Locke has therefore been preferred to all others,
for these further reasons. 1st. He was not only one of the most wise
as well as most honest, but the most impartial man that ever lived.
2d. He professedly wrote his discourses on government, as he himself
expresses it, "to establish the throne of the great restorer king
William; to make good his title in the consent of the people, which
being the only one of all lawful governments, he had more fully and
clearly than any prince in Christendom, and to justify to the world
the people of England, whose love of liberty, their just and natural
rights, with their resolution to preserve them, saved the nation
when it was on the brink of slavery and ruin." By this title, our
illustrious sovereign, George 3d, (whom God long preserve) now holds.
3. Mr. Locke was as great an ornament, under a crowned head, as the
church of England ever had to boast of. Had all her sons been of his
wise, moderate, tolerant principles, we should probably never have
heard of those civil dissentions, that have so often brought the
nation to the borders of perdition. Upon the score of his being a
churchman, however, his sentiments are less liable to those invidious
reflections and insinuations, that high flyers, jacobites, and
other stupid bigots, are apt too liberally to bestow, not only upon
dissenters of all denominations, but upon the moderate; and therefore
infinitely the most valuable part of the church of England itself."

Pardon the trouble of reading the letter, from your habitual
partiality for your friend.



_Quincy_, _April_ 15, 1818.


I have received your obliging favour of the 8th, but cannot consent
to your resolution to ask no more questions. Your questions revive
my sluggish memory. Since our national legislature have established
a national painter--a wise measure, for which I thank them, my
imagination runs upon the art, and has already painted, I know not
how many, historical pictures. I have sent you one, give me leave
to send another. The bloody rencontre between the citizens and
the soldiers, on the 5th of March, 1770, produced a tremendous
sensation throughout the town and country. The people assembled
first at Faneuil Hall, and adjourned to the old South Church, to the
number, as was conjectured, of ten or twelve thousand men, among
whom were the most virtuous, substantial, independent, disinterested
and intelligent citizens.--They formed themselves into a regular
deliberative body, chose their moderator and secretary, entered
into discussions, deliberations and debates, adopted resolutions,
appointed committees. What has become of these records, Mr. Tudor?
Where are they? Their resolutions in public were conformable to those
of every man in private, who dared to express his thoughts or his
feelings, "that the regular soldiers should be banished from the
town, at all hazards." Jonathan Williams, a very pious, inoffensive
and conscientious gentleman, was their moderator. A remonstrance to
the governor, or the governor and council, was ordained, and a demand
that the regular troops should be removed from the town. A committee
was appointed to present this remonstrance, of which _Samuel Adams_
was the chairman.

Now for the picture. The theatre and the scenery are the same with
those at the discussion of writs of assistance. The same glorious
portraits of king Charles II. and king James II. to which might
be added, and should be added, little miserable likenesses of
Gov. Winthrop, Gov. Bradstreet, Gov. Endicott and Gov. Belcher,
hung up in obscure corners of the room. Lieut. Gov. Hutchinson,
commander in chief in the absence of the governor, must be placed
at the head of the council table. Lieut. Col. Dalrymple, commander
in chief of his majesty's military forces, taking rank of all his
majesty's counsellors, must be seated by the side of the lieutenant
governor and commander in chief of the province. Eight and twenty
counsellors must be painted, all seated at the council board. Let me
see, what costume? What was the fashion of that day, in the month
of March? Large white wigs, English scarlet cloth cloaks, some of
them with gold laced hats, not on their heads, indeed, in so august
a presence, but on a table before them. Before these illustrious
personages appeared SAMUEL ADAMS, a member of the house of
representatives and their clerk, now at the head of the committee
of the great assembly at the old South church. Thucidydes, Livy or
Sallust would make a speech for him, or, perhaps, the Italian Bota,
if he had known any thing of this transaction, one of the most
important of the revolution; but I am wholly incapable of it; and, if
I had vanity enough to think myself capable of it, should not dare to
attempt it. He represented the state of the town and the country; the
dangerous, ruinous and fatal effects of standing armies in populous
cities in time of peace, and the determined resolution of the public,
that the regular troops, at all events, should be removed from the
town. Lieutenant governor Hutchinson, then commander in chief, at the
head of a trembling council, said, "he had no authority over the
king's troops, that they had their separate commander and separate
orders and instructions, and that he could not interfere with them."
Mr. Adams instantly appealed to the charter of the province, by
which the governor, and in his absence the lieutenant governor, was
constituted "commander in chief of all the military and naval power
within its jurisdiction." So obviously true and so irrefragable
was the reply, that it is astonishing that Mr. Hutchinson should
have so grossly betrayed the constitution, and so atrociously have
violated the duties of his office by asserting the contrary. But
either the fears or the ambition of this gentleman, upon this and
many other occasions, especially in his controversy with the two
houses, three years afterwards, on the supremacy of parliament,
appear to have totally disarranged his understanding. He certainly
asserted in public, in the most solemn manner, a multitude of the
roundest falshoods, which he must have known to be such, and which he
must have known could be easily and would certainly be detected, if
he had not wholly lost his memory, even of his own public writing.
You, Mr. Tudor, knew Mr. Adams from your childhood to his death. In
his common appearance, he was a plain, simple, decent citizen, of
middling stature, dress and manners. He had an exquisite ear for
music, and a charming voice, when he pleased to exert it.--Yet his
ordinary speeches in town meetings, in the house of representatives
and in congress, exhibited nothing extraordinary; but upon great
occasions, when his deeper feelings were excited, he erected himself,
or rather nature seemed to erect him, without the smallest symptom of
affectation, into an upright dignity of figure and gesture, and gave
a harmony to his voice, which made a strong impression on spectators
and auditors, the more lasting for the purity, correctness and
nervous elegance of his style.

This was a delicate and a dangerous crisis. The question in the last
resort was, whether the town of Boston should become a scene of
carnage and desolation or not? Humanity to the soldiers conspired
with a regard for the safety of the town, in suggesting the wise
measure of calling the town together to deliberate. For nothing short
of the most solemn promises to the people, that the soldiers should,
at all hazards, be driven from the town, had preserved its peace.
Not only the immense assemblies of the people, from day to day, but
military arrangements from night to night, were necessary to keep
the people and the soldiers from getting together by the ears. The
life of a red coat would not have been safe in any street or corner
of the town. Nor would the lives of the inhabitants have been much
more secure. The whole militia of the city was in requisition, and
military watches and guards were every where placed. We were all upon
a level; no man was exempted; our military officers were our only
superiors. I had the honor to be summoned in my turn, and attended
at the state house with my musket and bayonet, my broadsword and
cartridge box, under the command of the famous Paddock. I know you
will laugh at my military figure; but I believe there was not a more
obedient soldier in the regiment, nor one more impartial between the
people and the regulars. In this character I was upon duty all night
in my turn. No man appeared more anxious or more deeply impressed
with a sense of danger on all sides, than our commander Paddock.
He called me, common soldier as I was, frequently to his councils.
I had a great deal of conversation with him, and no man appeared
more apprehensive of a fatal calamity to the town, or more zealous
by every prudent measure to prevent it. Such was the situation of
affairs, when Samuel Adams was reasoning with lieutenant governor
Hutchinson and lieutenant colonel Dalrymple. He had fairly driven
them from all their outworks, breastworks and entrenchments, to their
citadel. There they paused and considered and deliberated. The heads
of Hutchinson and Dalrymple were laid together in whispers for a long
time: when the whispering ceased, a long and solemn pause ensued,
extremely painful to an impatient and expecting audience. Hutchinson,
in time, broke silence; he had consulted with colonel Dalrymple,
and the colonel had authorized him to say that he might order one
regiment down to the castle, if that would satisfy the people. With a
self-recollection, a self-possession, a self-command, a presence of
mind that was admired by every man present, Samuel Adams arose with
an air of dignity and majesty, of which he was sometimes capable,
stretched forth his arm, though even then quivering with palsy, and
with an harmonious voice and decisive tone, said, "if the lieutenant
governor or colonel Dalrymple, or both together, have authority to
remove one regiment, they have authority to remove two; and nothing
short of the total evacuation of the town by all the regular troops,
will satisfy the public mind or preserve the peace of the province."

These few words thrilled through the veins of every man in the
audience, and produced the great result. After a little awkward
hesitation, it was agreed that the town should be evacuated and both
regiments sent to the castle.

After all this gravity it is merry enough to relate that William
Molineaux, was obliged to march side by side with the commander of
some of their troops, to protect them from the indignation of the
people, in their progress to the wharf of embarcation for the castle.
Nor is it less amusing that lord North, as I was repeatedly and
credibly informed in England, with his characteristic mixture of good
humour and sarcasm, ever after called these troops by the title of
"Sam Adams's two regiments."

The painter should seize upon the critical moment when Samuel Adams
stretched out his arm, and made his last speech.

It will be as difficult to do justice, as to paint an Apollo; and
the transaction deserves to be painted as much as the surrender of
Burgoyne. Whether any artist will ever attempt it, I know not.



_Quincy_, _April_ 23, 1818.


Your letter of the 5th has been received. Your judgment of Mr. Wirt's
biography of my friend, Mr. Henry, is in exact unison with my own.
I have read it with more delight than Scott's romances in verse and
prose, or Miss Porter's Scottish Chiefs, and other novels.

I am sorry you have introduced me. I could wish my own name
forgotten, if I could develope the true causes of the rise and
progress of American revolution and independence.

Why have Harmodius and Brutus, Coligni and Brederode, Cromwell and
Napoleon failed, and a thousand others? Because human nature cannot
bear prosperity. Success always intoxicates patriots as well as
other men; and because birth and wealth always, in the end, overcome
popular and vulgar envy, more surely than public interest.

The causes of our parties during and since the revolution, would lead
me too far.

You cannot ask me too many questions. I will answer them all
according as strength shall be allowed to your aged and infirm friend,



_Quincy_, _May_ 12, 1818.


In my letters to you, I regard no order. And I think, I ought to
make you laugh sometimes: otherwise my letters would be too grave,
if not too melancholy. To this end, I send you Jemmibellero, "the
song of the drunkard" which was published in Fleet's "Boston Evening
Post," on the 13th of May, 1765. It was universally agreed to have
been written by Samuel Waterhouse, who had been the most notorious
scribbler, satyrist and libeller, in the service of the conspirators,
against the liberties of America, and against the administration of
governor Pownal, and against the characters of Mr. Pratt and Mr.
Tyng. The rascal had wit. But is ridicule the test of truth? You
see the bachanalian ha! ha! at Otis's prosodies Greek and Latin;
and you see the encouragement of scholarship in that age. The whole
legion, the whole phalanx, the whole host of conspirators against the
liberties of America, could not have produced Mr. Otis's Greek and
Latin prosodies. Yet they must be made the scorn of fools. Such was
the character of the age, or rather of the day. Such have been and
such will be the rewards of real patriotism in all ages and all over
the world.--I am, as ever, your old friend and humble servant,



_Quincy_, _June_ 1, 1818.


No man could have written from memory Mr. Otis's argument of four or
five hours, against the acts of trade, as revenue laws, and against
writs of assistants, as a tyrannical engine to execute them, the next
day after it was spoken. How awkward, then, would be an attempt to
do it after a lapse of fifty seven years? Nevertheless, some of the
heads of his discourse are so indelibly imprinted on my mind, that I
will endeavour to give you some very short hints of them.

1. He began with an exordium, containing an apology for his
resignation of the office of advocate general in the court of
admiralty; and for his appearance in that cause in opposition to the
crown, and in favour of the town of Boston, and the merchants of
Boston and Salem.

2. A dissertation on the rights of man in a state of nature. He
asserted, that every man, merely natural, was an independent
sovereign, subject to no law, but the law written on his heart, and
revealed to him by his Maker, in the constitution of his nature,
and the inspiration of his understanding and his conscience. His
right to his life, his liberty, no created being could rightfully
contest. Nor was his right to his property less incontestible. The
club that he had snapped from a tree, for a staff or for defence,
was his own. His bow and arrow were his own; if by a pebble he had
killed a partridge or a squirrel, it was his own. No creature, man
or beast, had a right to take it from him. If he had taken an eel,
or a smelt, or a sculpion, it was his property. In short, he sported
upon this topic with so much wit and humour, and at the same time so
much indisputable truth and reason, that he was not less entertaining
than instructive. He asserted, that these rights were inherent and
inalienable. That they never could be surrendered or alienated but by
ideots or madmen, and all the acts of ideots and lunatics were void,
and not obligatory by all the laws of God and man. Nor were the poor
negroes forgotten. Not a Quaker in Philadelphia, or Mr. Jefferson,
of Virginia, ever asserted the rights of negroes in stronger terms.
Young as I was, and ignorant as I was, I shuddered at the doctrine he
taught; and I have all my life time shuddered, and still shudder, at
the consequences that may be drawn from such premises. Shall we say,
that the rights of masters and servants clash, and can be decided
only by force? I adore the idea of gradual abolitions! But who shall
decide how fast or how slowly these abolitions shall be made?

3. From individual independence he proceeded to association. If
it was inconsistent with the dignity of human nature to say, that
men were gregarious animals, like wild horses and wild geese, it
surely could offend no delicacy to say they were social animals by
nature; that they were mutual sympathies; and, above all, the sweet
attraction of the sexes, which must soon draw them together in little
groups, and by degrees in larger congregations, for mutual assistance
and defence. And this must have happened before any formal covenant,
by express words or signs, was concluded. When general counsels
and deliberations commenced, the objects could be no other than
the mutual defence and security of every individual for his life,
his liberty, and his property. To suppose them to have surrendered
these in any other way than by equal rules and general consent, was
to suppose them ideots or madmen, whose acts were never binding. To
suppose them surprised by fraud, or compelled by force, into any
other compact, such fraud and such force could confer no obligation.
Every man had a right to trample it under foot whenever he pleased.
In short, he asserted these rights to be derived only from nature,
and the author of nature; that they were inherent, inalienable,
and indefeasible by any laws, pacts, contracts, covenants, or
stipulations, which man could devise.

4. These principles and these rights were wrought into the English
constitution as fundamental laws. And under this head he went back to
the old Saxon laws, and to Magna Charta, and the fifty confirmations
of it in parliament, and the execrations ordained against the
violators of it, and the national vengeance which had been taken on
them from time to time, down to the Jameses and Charleses; and to
the petition of rights and the bill of rights, and the revolution.
He asserted, that the security of these rights to life, liberty,
and property, had been the object of all those struggles against
arbitrary power, temporal and spiritual, civil and political,
military and ecclesiastical, in every age. He asserted, that our
ancestors, as British subjects, and we, their descendants, as
British subjects, were entitled to all those rights, by the British
constitution, as well as by the law of nature, and our provincial
charter, as much as any inhabitant of London or Bristol, or any part
of England; and were not to be cheated out of them by any phantom of
"virtual representation," or any other fiction of law or politics, or
any monkish trick of deceit and hypocrisy.

5. He then examined the acts of trade, one by one, and demonstrated,
that if they were considered as revenue laws, they destroyed all our
security of property, liberty, and life, every right of nature, and
the English constitution, and the charter of the province. Here he
considered the distinction between "external and internal taxes," at
that time a popular and common-place distinction. But he asserted
there was no such distinction in theory, or upon any principle but
"necessity." The necessity that the commerce of the empire should be
under one direction, was obvious. The Americans had been so sensible
of this necessity, that they had connived at the distinction between
external and internal taxes, and had submitted to the acts of trade
as regulations of commerce, but never as taxations, or revenue laws.
Nor had the British government, till now, ever dared to attempt to
enforce them as taxations or revenue laws. They had laid dormant in
that character for a century almost. The navigation act he allowed
to be binding upon us, because we had consented to it by our own
legislature. Here he gave a history of the navigation act of the
first of Charles 2d. a plagiarism from Oliver Cromwell. This act had
laid dormant for fifteen years. In 1675, after repeated letters and
orders from the king, governor Winthrop very candidly informs his
majesty, that the law had not been executed, because it was thought
unconstitutional; parliament not having authority over us.

I shall pursue this subject in a short series of letters. Providence
pursues its incomprehensible and inscrutable designs in its own way,
and by its own instruments. And as I sincerely believe Mr. Otis
to have been the earliest and the principal founder of one of the
greatest political revolutions, that ever occurred among men, it
seems to me of some importance, that his name and character should
not be forgotten. Young men should be taught to honour merit, but not
to adore it. The greatest men have the greatest faults.



_Quincy_, _June_ 9, 1818.


I have promised you hints of the heads of Mr. Otis's oration,
argument, speech, call it what you will, against the acts of trade,
as revenue laws, and against writs of assistants, as tyrannical
instruments to carry them into execution.

But I enter on the performance of my promise to you, not without fear
and trembling; because I am in the situation of a lady, whom you knew
first as my client, the widow of Dr. Ames, of Dedham, and afterwards,
as the mother of your pupil, the late brilliant orator, Fisher Ames,
of Dedham. This lady died last year, at 95 or 96 years of age. In one
of her last years she said, "She was in an awkward situation; for if
she related any fact of an old date, any body might contradict her,
for she could find no witness to keep her in countenance."

Mr. Otis, after rapidly running over the history of the continual
terrors, vexations, and irritations, which our ancestors endured from
the British government, from 1620, under James 1st. and Charles 1st.;
and acknowledging the tranquility under the parliament and Cromwell,
from 1648, to the restoration, in 1660, produced the navigation act,
as the first fruit of the blessed restoration of a Stuart's reign.

This act is in the 12th year of Charles 2d. chapter 18, "An act for
the encouraging and increasing of shipping and navigation."

"For the increase of shipping, and encouragement of the navigation
of this nation, wherein, under the good providence and protection
of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of this kingdom, is so
much concerned, be it enacted, that from and after the first day of
December, 1660, and from thence forward, no goods, or commodities,
whatsoever, shall be imported into, or exported out of, any lands,
islands, plantations, or territories, to his majesty belonging or
in his possession, or which may hereafter belong unto or be in
the possession of his majesty, his heirs and successors, in Asia,
Africa, or America, in any other ship or ships, vessel or vessels,
whatsoever, but in such ships or vessels, as do truly and without
fraud, belong only to the people of England or Ireland, dominion
of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, or are of the built of,
and belonging to, any of the said lands, islands, plantations or
territories, as the proprietors and right owners thereof, and whereof
the master, and three fourths of the mariners, at least, are English;
under the penalty of the forfeiture, and loss of all the goods and
commodities which shall be imported into, or exported out of any of
the aforesaid places, in any other ship or vessel, as also of the
ship or vessel, with all its guns, furniture, tackle, ammunition,
and apparel: one third part thereof to his majesty, his heirs and
successors: one third part to the governor of such land, plantation,
island, or territory, where such default shall be committed, in case
the said ship or goods be there seized; or otherwise, that third
part also to his majesty, his heirs and successors; and the other
third part to him or them who shall seize, inform, or sue for the
same in any court of record, by bill, information, plaint, or other
action, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law shall be
allowed: and all admirals and other commanders at sea, of any of the
ships of war or other ships, having commission from his majesty, or
from his heirs or successors, are hereby authorized, and strictly
required to seize and bring in as prize, all such ships or vessels
as shall have offended, contrary hereunto, and deliver them to the
court of admiralty, there to be proceeded against; and in case of
condemnation, one moiety of such forfeitures shall be to the use of
such admirals or commanders, and their companies, to be divided and
proportioned among them, according to the rules and orders of the
sea, in case of ships taken prize; and the other moiety to the use of
his majesty, his heirs and successors."

Section second enacts, all governors shall take a solemn oath to do
their utmost, that every clause shall be punctually obeyed. See the
statute at large.

See also section third of this statute, which I wish I could

Section fourth enacts, that no goods of foreign growth, production
or manufacture, shall be brought, even in English shipping, from any
other countries, but only from those of the said growth, production
or manufacture, under all the foregoing penalties.

Mr. Otis commented on this statute in all its parts, especially on
the foregoing section, with great severity. He expatiated on its
narrow, contracted, selfish, and exclusive spirit. Yet he could not
and would not deny its policy, or controvert the necessity of it,
for England, in that age, surrounded as she was by France, Spain,
Holland, and other jealous rivals; nor would he dispute the prudence
of governor Leverett, and the Massachusetts legislature, in adopting
it, in 1675, after it had laid dormant for fifteen years; though
the adoption of it was infinitely prejudicial to the interests, the
growth, the increase, the prosperity of the colonies in general, of
New England in particular; and most of all, to the town of Boston.
It was an immense sacrifice to what was called the mother country.
Mr. Otis thought, that this statute ought to have been sufficient
to satisfy the ambition, the avarice, the cupidity of any nation,
but especially of one who boasted of being a tender mother of her
children colonies; and when those children had always been so fondly
disposed to acknowledge the condescending tenderness of their dear
indulgent mother.

This statute, however, Mr. Otis said, was wholly prohibitory. It
abounded, indeed, with penalties and forfeitures, and with bribes
to governors and informers, and custom house officers, and naval
officers and commanders; but it imposed no taxes. Taxes were laid
in abundance by subsequent acts of trade; but this act laid none.
Nevertheless, this was one of the acts that were to be carried into
strict execution by these writs of assistance. Houses were to be
broken open, and if a piece of Dutch linen could be found, from the
cellar to the cock loft, it was to be seized and become the prey of
governors, informers, and majesty.

When Mr. Otis had extended his observations on this act of
navigation, much farther than I dare to attempt to repeat, he
proceeded to the subsequent acts of trade. These, he contended,
imposed taxes, and enormous taxes, burthensome taxes, oppressive,
ruinous, intolerable taxes. And here he gave the reins to his genius,
in declamation, invective, philippic, call it which you will, against
_the tyranny of taxation, without representation_.

But Mr. Otis's observations on those acts of trade, must be postponed
for another letter.

Let me, however, say, in my own name, if any man wishes to
investigate thoroughly, the causes, feelings, and principles of the
revolution, he must study this act of navigation and the acts of
trade, as a philosopher, a politician, and a philanthropist.



_Quincy_, _June_ 17, 1818.


The next statute produced and commented by Mr. Otis was the 15th
of Charles the second, _i. e._ 1663, ch. 7. "An act for the
encouragement of trade."

Sec. 5.--"And in regard his majesty's plantations, beyond the seas
are inhabited and peopled by his subjects of this his kingdom of
England, for the maintaining a greater correspondence and kindness
between them, and _keeping them in a firmer dependance upon it_,
and rendering them yet more beneficial and advantageous unto it, in
the further employment and increase of English shipping and seamen,
vent of English woolen and other manufactures and commodities,
rendering the navigation to and from the same, more cheap and safe,
and making _this kingdom a staple_, not only of the commodities of
those plantations, but also of the commodities of other countries and
places, _for the supplying of them_; and it being the usage of other
nations to keep their plantations trades to themselves."

Sec. 6.--"Be it enacted, &c. that no commodity of the growth,
production or manufacture of Europe, shall be imported into any
land, island, plantation, colony, territory or place, to his majesty
belonging, or which shall hereafter belong unto or be in possession
of his majesty, his heirs and successors, in Asia, Africa or America,
(Tangier only excepted) but what shall be _bona fide_, and without
fraud, laden and shipped in England, Wales, or the town of Berwick
upon Tweed, and in English built shipping, or which were _bona fide_
bought before the 1st of October, 1662, and had such certificate
thereof as is directed in one act passed the last session of the
present parliament, entitled "_An act for preventing frauds and
regulating abuses in his majesty's customs_;" and whereof the
master, and three fourths of the mariners at least are English,
and which shall be carried directly thence, to the said lands,
islands, plantations, colonies, territories or places, and from no
other place or places whatsoever; any law, statute or usage to the
contrary notwithstanding; under the penalty of the loss of all such
commodities of the growth, production or manufacture of Europe, as
shall be imported into any of them, from any other place whatsoever,
by land or water; and if by water, of the ship or vessel also, in
which they were imported, with all her guns, tackle, furniture,
ammunition and apparel; one third part to his majesty, his heirs and
successors; one third part to the governor of such land, island,
plantation, colony, territory or place, into which such goods were
imported, if the said ship, vessel or goods be there seized or
informed against and sued for; or otherwise, that third part also to
his majesty, his heirs and successors; and the other third part to
him or them who shall seize, inform, or sue for the same in any of
his majesty's courts in such of the said lands, islands, colonies,
plantations, territories or places where the offence was committed,
or in any court of record in England, by bill, information, plaint,
or other action, wherein no _essoin_ protection or wager of law shall
be allowed."

Sections 7. 8. 9. and 10. of this odious instrument of mischief and
misery to mankind, all calculated to fortify by oaths and penalties,
the tyrannical ordinances of the preceding sections.

Mr. Otis's observations on these statutes were numerous, and some of
them appeared to me at the time, young as I was, bitter. But as I
cannot pretend to recollect those observations with precision, I will
recommend to you and others to make your own remarks upon them.

You must remember, Mr. Tudor, that you and I had much trouble with
these statutes after you came into my office, in 1770; and I had been
tormented with them for nine years before, _i. e._ from 1761.

I have no scruple in making a confession with all the simplicity
of Jean Jac Rosseau, that I never turned over the leaves of these
statutes, or any section of them, without pronouncing a hearty curse
upon them.

I felt them, as an humiliation, a degradation a disgrace to my
Country and to myself as a native of it.

Let me respectfully recommend to the future orators on the fourth of
July, to peruse these statutes in pursuit of principles and feelings
that produced the revolution.

Oh! Mr. Tudor, when will France, Spain, England and Holland renounce
their selfish, contracted, exclusive systems of religion, government
and commerce? I fear, never.

But they may depend upon it, their present systems of colonization
cannot endure. Colonies universally, ardently breathe for
independence. No man, who has a soul will ever live in a colony,
under the present establishments, one moment longer than necessity
compels him.

But I must return to Mr. Otis. The burthen of his song was "_Writs
of assistance_." All these rigorous statutes were now to be carried
into rigorous execution by the still more vigorous instruments of
arbitrary power, "_Writs of assistance_."

Here arose a number of very important questions. What were writs
of assistance? Where were they to be found? When, where, and by
what authority had they been invented, created, and established?
Nobody could answer any of these questions.--Neither chief justice
Hutchinson, nor any one of his four associate judges, pretended
to have ever read or seen in any book any such writ, or to know
any thing about it. The court had ordered or requested the bar to
search for precedents and authorities for it, but none were found.
Otis pronounced boldly, that there were none, and neither judge nor
lawyer, bench or bar, pretended to confute him. He asserted farther,
that there was no colour of authority for it, but one produced by
Mr. Gridley in a statute of the 13th and 14th of Charles the second,
which Mr. Otis said was neither authority, precedent or colour of
either, in America. Mr. Thatcher said he had diligently searched
all the books, but could find no such writ. He had indeed found in
Rastalls Entries, a thing which in some of its features resembling
this, but so little like it in the whole, that it was not worth while
to read it.

Mr. Gridley, who, no doubt, was furnished, upon this great and
critical occasion, with all the information possessed by the
governor, lieutenant governor, secretary, custom house officers, and
all other crown officers, produced, the statute of the thirteenth and
fourteenth of Charles the second, chapter eleventh, entitled, "An Act
to prevent frauds, and regulating abuses in his majesty's customs."
Section fifth, which I will quote verbatim. "And be it further
enacted by the authority aforesaid, that in case, after the clearing
of any ship or vessel, by the person or persons which are or shall
be appointed by his majesty for managing the customs or any their
deputies, and discharging the watchmen and tidesmen from attendance
thereupon, there shall be found on board such ship or vessel, any
goods, wares or merchandizes, which have been concealed from the
knowledge of the said person or persons, which are or shall be so
appointed to manage the customs, and for which the custom, subsidy
and other duties due upon the importation thereof have not been paid;
then the master, purser, or other person taking charge of said ship
or vessel, shall forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds: and it shall
be lawful, to or for any person or persons authorized by _writ of
assistance under the seal of his majesty's court of exchequer_, to
take a constable, headborough, or other public officer, inhabiting
near unto the place, and in the day time to enter, and go into any
house, shop, cellar, warehouse or room, or other place; and in
case of resistance, to break open doors, chests, trunks, and other
package, there to seize, and from thence to bring any kind of goods
or merchandize whatsoever prohibited and uncustomed, and to put and
secure the same, in his majesty's storehouse in the port, next to the
place where such seizure shall be made."

Here is all the colour for "Writs of assistance," which the officers
of the crown aided by the researches of their learned counsel, Mr.
Gridley, could produce.

Where, exclaimed Otis, is your seal of his majesty's court of
exchequer? And what has the court of exchequer to do here? But my
sheet is full, and my patience exhausted for the present.



_Quincy_, _June_ 24, 1818.


Mr. Otis said such a "writ of assistance" might become the reign
of Charles 2d. in England, and he would not dispute the taste of
the parliament of England, in passing such an act, nor the people
of England in submitting to it; but it was not calculated for the
meridian of America. The Court of Exchequer had no jurisdiction
here. Her warrants and her writs were never seen here. Or if they
should be, they would be waste paper. He insisted however, that
these warrants and writs were even in England inconsistent with
the fundamental laws, the natural and constitutional rights of the
subjects. If, however, it would please the people of England, he
might admit, that they were legal there, but not here.

Diligent research had been made by Otis and Thatcher, and by Gridley,
aided, as may well be supposed, by the officers of the customs, and
by all the conspirators against American liberty, on both sides the
water, for precedents and examples of any thing similar to this writ
of assistance, even in England. But nothing could be found, except
the following: An act of the 12th of Charles 2d. chapter 22. "An act
for the regulating the trade of Bay-making, in the Dutch Bay-hall,
in Colchester." The fifth section of this statute, "for the better
discovering, finding out and punishing of the frauds and deceits,
aforesaid, be it enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for the
governors of the Dutch Bay-hall, or their officers or any of them,
from time to time, in the day time, to search any cart, waggon or
pack, wherein they shall have notice, or suspect any such deceitful
Bays to be, and also from time to time, with a constable, who are
hereby required to be aiding and assisting them, to make search in
any house, shop, or warehouse, where they are informed any such
deceitful Bays to be, and to secure and seize the same, and to carry
them to the Dutch Bay-hall; and that such Bays so seized and carried
to the said hall, shall be confiscate and forfeit, to be disposed in
such manner as the forfeitures herein before mentioned, to be paid by
the weavers and fullers, are herein before limited and appointed."

The Dutch Bay-hall made sport for Otis and his audience; but was
acknowledged to have no authority here, unless by certain distant
analogies and constructions, which Mr. Gridley himself did not
pretend to urge. Another ridiculous statute was of the 22d and 23d
of Charles 2d. chapter 8th, "An act for the regulating the making of
Kidderminster Stuffs."

By the eleventh section of this important law, it is enacted,
"That the said president, wardens, and assistants of the said
Kidderminster weavers, or any two or more of them, shall have, and
hereby have power and authority, to enter into and search the houses
and workhouses of any artificer under the regulation of the said
trade, at all times of the day, and usual times of opening shops and
working; and into the shops, houses, and warehouses of any common
buyer, dealer in, or retailer of any of the said cloths or stuffs,
and into the houses and workhouses of any dyer, sheerman, and all
other workmen's houses and places of sale, or dressing of the said
cloths, or stuffs and yarns; and may there view the said cloths,
stuffs and yarns respectively; and if any cloth, stuff or yarns shall
be found defective, to seize and carry away the same to be tried by a

The wit, the humour, the irony, the satire, played off, by Mr.
Otis, in his observations on these acts of navigation, Dutch bays
and Kidderminster stuffs, it would be madness in me to pretend
to remember with any accuracy. But this I do say, that Horace's
"_Irritat, mulcet, veris terroribus implet_," was never exemplified
in my hearing with so great effect. With all his drollery, he
intermixed solid and sober observations upon the acts of navigation,
by Sir Joshua Child, and other English writers upon trade, which I
shall produce together in another letter.

It is hard to be called upon, at my age, to such a service as this.
But it is the duty of



_Quincy_, _July_ 9, 1818.


In the search for something, in the history and statutes of England,
in any degree resembling this _monstrum horrendum ingens_, the writ
of assistance, the following examples were found.

In the statute of the first year of king James the second, chapter
third, "An act for granting to his majesty an imposition upon all
wines and vinegar," &c. Section 8, it is enacted, "That the officers
of his majesty's customs &c. shall have power and authority to enter
on board ships and vessels and make searches, and to do all other
matters and things, which may tend to secure the true payment of
the duties by this act imposed, and the due and orderly collection
thereof, which any customers, collectors or other officers of any
of his majesty's ports can or may do, touching the securing his
majesty's customs of tonnage and poundage," &c. &c. &c. I must refer
to the statute for the rest.

In the statute of king James the second, chapter four, "An act for
granting to his majesty an imposition upon all tobacco and sugar
imported," &c. Section fifth, in certain cases, "The commissioners
may appoint one or more officer or officers to enter into all the
cellars, warehouses, store cellars, or other places whatsoever,
belonging to such importer, to search, see and try," &c. &c. &c. I
must again refer to the statute for the rest, which is indeed nothing
to the present purpose.

Though the portraits of Charles the second and James the second
were blazing before his eyes, their characters and reigns were
sufficiently odious to all but the conspirators against human
liberty, to excite the highest applauses of Otis's philippics against
them and all the foregoing acts of their reigns, which writs of
assistance were now intended to enforce. Otis asserted and proved,
that none of these statutes extended to America, or were obligatory
here by any rule of law, ever acknowledged here, or ever before
pretended in England.

Another species of statutes were introduced by the counsel for the
crown, which I shall state as they occur to me without any regard to
the order of time. 1. of James the second, chapter 17. "An act for
the revival and continuance of several acts of parliament therein
mentioned," in which the tobacco law among others is revived and

13th and 14th of Charles 2nd, chapter 13. "An act for prohibiting
the importation of foreign bone-lace, cutwork, embroidery, fringe,
band-strings, buttons and needle work." Pray sir, do not laugh!
for something very serious comes in section third. "Be it further
enacted, that for the preventing of the importing of the said
manufactures as aforesaid, upon complaint and information given,
to the justices of the peace or any or either of them within their
respective counties, cities and towns corporate, at times reasonable,
he or they are hereby authorized and required to issue forth his or
their warrants to the constables of their respective counties, cities
and towns, corporate, to enter and search for such manufactures in
the shops being open, or warehouses and dwelling houses of such
person or persons, as shall be suspected, to have any such foreign
bone-laces, embroideries, cut-work, fringe, band-strings, buttons
or needle work within their respective counties, cities, and towns
corporate, and to seize the same, any act, statute or ordinance to
the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding."

Another curious act was produced, to prove the legality of writs of
assistance, though it was no more to the purpose than all the others.
I mean the statute of the 12th of Charles the second, chapter third,
"An act for the continuance of process and judicial proceedings
continued." In which it is enacted, section first, "That no pleas,
writs, bills, actions, suits, plaints, process, precepts, or other
thing or things, &c. shall be in any wise continued," &c.

But I must refer to the act. I cannot transcribe. If any antiquarian
should hereafter ever wish to review this period, he will see with
compassion how such a genius as Otis was compelled to delve among the
rubbish of such statutes, to defend the country against the gross
sophistry of the crown and its officers.

Another act of 12 C. 2d, ch. 12, "An act for confirmation of judicial
proceedings," in which it is enacted, &c. "that nor any writs, or
actions on, or returns of any writs, orders or other proceedings in
law or equity, had made, given, taken or done, or depending in the
courts of chancery, king's bench, upper bench, common pleas, and
court of exchequer, and court of exchequer chamber, or any of them,
&c. in the kingdom of England, &c. shall be avoided, &c." I must
refer to the statute.

In short, wherever the custom house officers could find in any
statute the word "writs", the word "continued" and the words "court
of exchequer," they had instructed their counsel to produce it,
though in express "words restricted to the realm." Mr. Gridley was
incapable of prevaricating or duplicity.

It was a moral spectacle, more affecting to me than any I have since
seen upon any stage, to see a pupil treating his master with all the
deference, respect, esteem and affection of a son to a father, and
that without the least affectation; while he baffled and confounded
all his authorities, and confuted all his arguments and reduced him
to silence.

Indeed, upon the principle of construction, inference, analogy, or
corollary, by which they extended these acts to America, they might
have extended the jurisdiction of the court of king's bench, and
court of common pleas, and all the sanguinary statutes against crimes
and misdemeanors, and all their church establishment of archbishops
and bishops, priests, deacons, deans and chapters; and all their acts
of uniformity, and all their acts against conventicles.

I have no hesitation or scruple to say that the commencement of the
reign of George the third was the commencement of another Stuart's
reign: and if it had not been checked by James Otis and others
first, and by the great Chatham and others afterwards, it would have
been as arbitrary as any of the four. I will not say it would have
extinguished civil and religious liberty upon earth; but it would
have gone great lengths towards it, and would have cost mankind even
more than the French revolution to preserve it. The most sublime,
profound and prophetic expression of Chatham's oratory that he ever
uttered was, "I rejoice that America has resisted; two millions of
people reduced to servitude, would be fit instruments to make slaves
of the rest."

Another statute was produced, 12 C. 2. cap. 19, "An act to prevent
frauds and concealments of his majesty's customs and subsidies."
"Be it enacted," &c. "that if any person or persons &c. shall cause
any goods, for which custom, subsidy, or other duties are due or
payable, &c. to be landed or conveyed away, without due entry thereof
first made and the customer or collector, or his deputy agreed
with; that then and in such case, _upon oath thereof made_ before
the lord treasurer, or any of the barons of the exchequer, or chief
magistrate of the port or place where the offence shall be committed,
or the next adjoining thereto, it shall be lawfull, to and for
the lord treasurer, or any of the barons of the exchequer, or the
chief magistrate of the port or place, &c. to issue out a warrant
to any person or persons, thereby enabling him or them, with the
assistance of a sheriff, justice of the peace or constable, to enter
into any house in the day time where such goods are suspected to be
concealed, and in case of resistance, to break open such houses, and
to seize and secure the same goods so concealed; and all officers and
ministers of justice are hereby required to be aiding and assisting

Such was the sophistry; such the chicanery of the officers of the
crown, and such their power of face, as to apply these statutes to
America and to the petition for writs of assistance from the superior



_Quincy_, _July_ 14, 1818.


Mr. Otis, to show the spirit of the acts of trade, those I have
already quoted, as well as of those I shall hereafter quote, and as
the best commentaries upon them, produced a number of authors upon
trade, and read passages from them, which I shall recite, without
pretending to remember the order in which he read them.

1. Sir Josiah Child, "A new discourse of trade." Let me recommend
this old book to the perusal of my inquisitive fellow citizens. A
discerning mind will find useful observations on the interest of
money, the price of labour, &c. &c. &c. I would quote them all, if
I had time. But I will select one. In page 15, of his preface, he
says, "I understand not the world so little, as not to know, that he
that will faithfully serve his country, must be _content_ to pass
through good report, and evil report." I cannot agree to that word,
"_content_." I would substitute instead of it, the words, "as patient
as he can." Sir Josiah adds, "neither regard I, which I meet with."
This is too cavalierly spoken. It is not sound philosophy. Sir Joshua
proceeds: "Truth I am sure at last will vindicate itself, and be
found by my countrymen." Amen! So be it! I wish I could believe it.

But it is high time for me to return from this ramble to Mr. Otis's
quotations from Sir Joshua Child, whose chapter four, page 105, is
"concerning the act of navigation." Probably this knight was one of
the most active and able inflamers of the national pride in their
navy and their commerce, and one of the principal promoters of that
enthusiasm for the act of navigation, which has prevailed to this
day. For this work was written about the year 1677, near the period
when the court of Charles 2d. began to urge and insist on the strict
execution of the act of navigation. Such pride in that statute
did not become Charles, his court or his nation of royalists and
loyalists, at that time. For shall I blush, or shall I boast, when
I remember, that this act was not the invention of a Briton, but
of an American. George Downing, a native of New England, educated
at Harvard College, whose name, office, and title appear in their
catalogue, went to England in the time of lord Clarendon's civil
wars, and became such a favourite of Cromwell and the ruling powers,
that he was sent ambassador to Holland. He was not only not received,
but ill treated, which he resented on his return to England, by
proposing an act of navigation, which was adopted, and has ruined
Holland, and would have ruined America, if she had not resisted.

To borrow the language of the great Dr. Johnson this "Dog" Downing
must have had a head and brains, or in other words genius and
address: but if we may believe history, he was a scoundrel. To
ingratiate himself with Charles 2d. he probably not only pleaded his
merit in inventing the navigation act, but he betrayed to the block
some of his old republican and revolutionary friends.

George Downing! Far from boasting of thee as my countryman, or of thy
statute as an American invention; if it were lawful to wish for any
thing past, that has not happened, I should wish that thou hadst been
hanged, drawn, and quartered, instead of Hugh Peters, and Sir Henry
Vane. But no! This is too cruel for my nature! I rather wish, that
thou hadst been obliged to fly with thy project, and report among the
rocks and caves of the mountains in New England.

But where is Downing's statute? British policy has suppressed all the
laws of England, from 1618 to 1660. The statute book contains not one
line. Such are records, and such is history.

The nation, it seems, was not unanimous in its approbation of this
statute. The great knight himself informs us, page 105, "that
some wise and honest gentlemen and merchants doubted whether the
inconveniences it has brought with it be not greater than the
conveniences." This chapter was, therefore, written to answer all
objections; and vindicate and justify Downing's statute.

Mr. Otis cast an eye over this chapter, and adverted to such
observations in it, as tended to show the spirit of the writer,
and of the statute; which might be summed up in this comprehensive
Machiavelian principle, _that earth, air, and seas, all colonies and
all nations were to be made subservient to the growth, grandeur and
power of the British navy_.

And thus, truly, it happened. The two great knights, Sir George
Downing, and Sir Josiah Child, must be acknowledged to have been
great politicians!

Mr. Otis proceeded to chapter 10, of this work, page 166, "concerning
plantations." And he paused at the 6th proposition, in page 167,
"That all colonies and plantations, do endamage their mother
kingdoms, whereof the trades of such plantations are not confined
by severe laws, and good executions of those laws, to the mother

Mr. Otis then proceeded to seize the key to the whole riddle, in page
168, proposition eleventh, "_that New England is the most prejudicial
plantation to the kingdom of England_." Sir George Downing, no doubt,
said the same to Charles 2d.

Otis proceeded to page 170, near the bottom, "_we must consider
what kind of people they were and are that have and do transport
themselves to our foreign plantations_." New England, as every one
knows, was originally inhabited, and hath since been successively
replenished by a sort of people called Puritans, who could not
conform to the ecclesiastical laws of England; but being wearied with
church censures and persecutions, were forced to quit their fathers'
land, to find out new habitations, as many of them did in Germany
and Holland, as well as at New England; and had there not been a
New England found for some of them, Germany and Holland probably had
received the rest: but Old England, to be sure, would have lost them

"Virginia and Barbadoes were first peopled by a sort of loose,
vagrant people, vicious, and destitute of the means to live at
home, (being either unfit for labour, or such as could find none
to employ themselves about, or had so misbehaved themselves by
whoring, thieving, or other debauchery, that none would set them
at work) which merchants and masters of ships, by their agents,
(or spirits, as they were called) gathered up about the streets of
London, and other places, clothed and transported, to be employed
upon plantations; and these I say, were such as, had there been no
English foreign plantation in the world, could probably never have
lived at home, to do service for their country, but must have come to
be hanged, or starved, or died untimely of some of those miserable
diseases, that proceed from want and vice; or else have sold
themselves for soldiers, to be knocked on the head, or starved in the
quarrels of our neighbours, as many thousands of brave Englishmen
were in the low countries, as also in the wars of Germany, France,
and Sweden, &c. or else, if they could by begging or otherwise,
arrive to the stock of 2s. 6d. to waft them over to Holland, become
servants to the Dutch, who refuse none.

"But the principal growth and increase of the aforesaid plantations
of Virginia and Barbadoes, happened in, or immediately after, our
late civil wars, when the worsted party, by the fate of war, being
deprived of their estates, and having, some of them, never been bred
to labour, and others of them made unfit for it by the lazy habit of
a soldier's life, their wanting means to maintain them all abroad,
with his majesty, many of them betook themselves to the aforesaid
plantations; and great numbers of Scotch soldiers of his majesty's
army, after Worcester fight, were by the then prevailing powers
voluntarily sent thither.

"Another great swarm or accession of the new inhabitants to the
aforesaid plantations, as also to New England, Jamaica, and all
other his majesty's plantations in the West Indies, ensued upon his
majesty's restoration, when the former prevailing party being by a
divine hand of providence brought under, the army disbanded, many
officers displaced, and all the new purchasers of public titles
dispossessed of their pretended lands, estates, &c. many became
impoverished, and destitute of employment; and therefore such
as could find no way of living at home, and some who feared the
re-establishment of the ecclesiastical laws, under which they could
not live, were forced to transport themselves, or sell themselves
for a few years, to be transported by others, to the foreign English
plantations. The constant supply, that the said plantations have
since had, hath been such vagrant, loose people, as I have before
mentioned, picked up especially about the streets of London and
Westminster, and malefactors condemned for crimes, for which by law
they deserved to die; and some of those people called quakers,
banished for meeting on pretence of religious worship.

"Now, if from the premises it be duly considered, what kind of
persons those have been, by whom our plantations have at all times
been replenished, I suppose it will appear, that such they have been,
and under such circumstances, that if his majesty had had no foreign
plantations to which they might have resorted, England, however, must
have lost them."

Any man, who will consider with attention these passages from Sir
Josiah Child, may conjecture what Mr. Otis's observations upon
them were. As I cannot pretend to remember them verbatim, and with
precision, I can only say, that they struck me very forcibly. They
were short, rapid; he had not time to be long: but Tacitus himself
could not express more in fewer words. My only fear is, that I cannot
do him justice.

In the first place, there is a great deal of true history in this
passage, which manifestly proves, that the emigrants to America, in
general, were not only as good as the people in general, whom they
left in England, but much better, more courageous, more enterprizing,
more temperate, more discreet, and more industrious, frugal, and
conscientious: I mean the royalists as well as the republicans.

In the second place, there is a great deal of uncandid, ungenerous
misrepresentations, and scurrilous exaggeration, in this passage of
the great knight, which prove him to have been a fit tool of Charles
2d. and a suitable companion, associate and friend of the great
knight, Sir George Downing, the second scholar in Harvard College

But I will leave you, Mr. Tudor, to make your own observations and
reflections upon these pages of Sir Josiah Child.

Mr. Otis read them with great reluctance; but he felt it his duty to
read them, in order to show the spirit of the author, and the spirit
of Sir George Downing's navigation act.

But, my friend, I am weary. I have not done with Mr. Otis or Sir
Josiah Child. I must postpone, to another letter from your friend,



_Quincy_, _July_ 17, 1818.


Mr. Otis proceeded to page 198, of this great work of the great
knight, sir Josiah Child.

Proposition eleventh, "That New England is the most prejudicial
plantation in this kingdom."

"I am now to write of a people whose frugality, industry and
temperance, and the happiness of whose laws and institutions do
promise to themselves long life, with a wonderful increase of
people, riches and power: and although no men ought to envy that
virtue and wisdom in others, which themselves either cannot or will
not practice, but rather to command and admire it; yet I think it
the duty of every good man primarily to respect the welfare of his
native country; and therefore, though I may offend some whom I would
not willingly displease, I cannot omit, in the progress of this
discourse, to take notice of some particulars, wherein Old England
suffers diminution by the growth of those colonies settled in New
England, and how that plantation differs from those more southerly,
with respect to the gain or loss of this kingdom, viz.

"All our American plantations, except that of New England, produce
commodities of different natures from those of this kingdom, as
sugar, tobacco, cocoa, wool, ginger, sundry sorts of dying woods,
&c. Whereas, New England produces generally the same we have here,
viz: corn and cattle: some quantity of fish they do likewise kill,
but that is taken and saved altogether by their inhabitants, which
prejudiceth our Newfoundland trade; whereas, as hath been said,
very few are or ought, according to prudence, be employed in those
fisheries but the inhabitants of Old England. The other commodities
we have from them are some few great masts, furs, and train oil,
whereof the yearly value amounts to very little, the much greater
value of returns from thence being made in sugar, cotton, wool,
tobacco, and such like commodities, which they first receive from
some other of his majesty's plantations in barter for dry cod fish,
salt mackerel, beef, pork, bread, beer, flour, peas, &c. which they
supply Barbadoes, Jamaica, &c. with, to the diminution of the vent of
those commodities from this kingdom; the greatest expense whereof in
our West India plantations would soon be found in the advance of the
value of our lands in England, were it not for the vast and almost
incredible supplies those colonies have from New England.

"2. The people of New England, by virtue of their primitive charters,
being not so strictly tied to the observation of the laws of this
kingdom, do sometimes assume a liberty of trading, contrary to
the act of navigation, by reason whereof many of our American
commodities, especially tobacco and sugar, are transported in New
England shipping directly into Spain and other foreign countries,
without being landed in England, or paying any duty to his majesty,
which is not only loss to the king, and a prejudice to the navigation
of Old England, but also a total exclusion of the old English
merchants from the vent of those commodities in those ports where
the new English vessels trade; because there being no custom paid
on those commodities in New England, and a great custom paid upon
them in Old England, it must necessarily follow that the New English
merchant will be able to afford his commodities much cheaper at
the market, than the Old English merchant: and those that can sell
cheapest, will infallibly engross the whole trade, sooner or later.

"3. Of all the American plantations, his majesty hath none, so apt
for the building of shipping as New England, nor none so comparably
qualified for breeding of seamen, not only by reason of the natural
industry of that people, but principally by reason of their cod and
mackerel fisheries: and in my poor opinion, there is nothing more
prejudicial, and in prospect more dangerous to any mother kingdom,
than the increase of shipping in her colonies, plantations and

"4. The people that evacuate from us to Barbadoes, and the other West
India plantations, as was hinted, do commonly work one Englishman to
ten blacks; and if we kept the trade of our said plantation entirely
to England, England would have no less inhabitants, but rather an
increase of people by such evacuation; because that one Englishman,
with the ten blacks that work with him, accounting what they eat,
use, and wear, would make employment for four men in England, as was
said before; whereas, peradventure, of ten men that issue from us to
New England.

"To conclude this chapter, and to do right to that most industrious
English colony; I must confess, that though we lose by their
unlimited trade with our foreign plantations, yet we are very great
gainers by their direct trade to and from Old England: our yearly
exportations of English manufactures, malt, and other goods, from
hence thither, amounting in my opinion to ten times the value of
what is imported from thence; which calculation I do not make at
random, but upon mature consideration, and peradventure upon as much
experience in this very trade as any other person will pretend to:
and therefore, whenever a reformation of our correspondency in trade
with that people shall be thought on, it will in my poor judgment
require great tenderness and very serious circumspection."

Mr. Otis's humour and satire were not idle upon this occasion, but
his wit served only to increase the effect of a subsequent, very
grave and serious remonstrance and invective against the detestable
principles of the foregoing passages, which he read with regret,
but which it was his duty to read, in order to shew the temper, the
views and the objects of the knight, which were the same with those
of all the acts of trade anterior and posterior, to the writing of
this book: and those views, designs and objects were, to annul all
the New England charters, and they were but three, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island and Connecticut; to reduce all the colonies to royal
governments, to subject them all to the supreme domination of
parliament, who were to tax us, without limitation, who would tax us
whenever the crown would recommend it, which crown would recommend
it, whenever the ministry for the time being should please, and
which ministry would please as often as the West India planters and
North American governors, crown officers and naval commanders should
solicit more fees, salaries, penalties and forfeitures.

Mr. Otis had no thanks for the knight for his pharisaical compliment
to New England, at the expense of Virginia and other colonies who
for any thing he knew were equally meritorious. It was certain the
first settlers of New England were not all godly. But he reprobated
in the strongest terms that language can command, the machiavilian,
the jesuitical, the diabolical and infernal principle that men,
colonies and nations were to be sacrificed, because they were
industrious and frugal, wise and virtuous, while others were to be
encouraged, fostered and cherished, because they were pretended to be
profligate, vicious and lazy.

But, my friend, I must quit Josiah Child, and look for others of Mr.
Otis's authorities.



_Quincy_, _July_ 27, 1818.


Another author produced by Mr. Otis was, "The trade and navigation
of Great Britain considered," by Joshua Gee. "A new edition, with
many interesting notes and additions by a merchant," printed in 1767.
This new edition, which was printed no doubt to justify the ministry
in the system they were then pursuing, could not be the edition that
Mr. Otis produced in 1761. The advertisement of the editor informs
us that "This valuable treatise has for many years been very scarce,
though strongly recommended by the best judges and writers on trade,
and universally allowed to be one of the most interesting books on
that subject." "The principles upon which it was written continue,
with little variation." But I am fatigued with quotations, and must
refer you to the advertisement in the book, which will shew, past
a doubt, that this was a ministerial republication. The "feelings,
the manners and principles," which produced the revolution, will
be excited and renovated by the perusal of this book, as much as
by that of sir Josiah Child. I wish I could fill sheets of paper
with quotations from it; but this is impossible. If I recommend it
to the research, and perusal, and patient thinking of the present
generation, it is in despair of being regarded. For who will engage
in this dry, dull study? Yet Mr. Otis laboured in it. He asserted
and proved, that it was only a reinforcement of the system of sir
Josiah Child, which Gee approved in all things, and even quoted with
approbation the most offensive passage in his book, the scurrilous
reflections on Virginia and Barbadoes.

Another writer produced by Mr. Otis was "Memoirs and considerations,
concerning the trade and revenues of the British colonies in America;
with proposals for rendering those colonies more beneficial to Great
Britain. By John Ashley, Esq."

This book is in the same spirit and system of Josiah Child and Joshua

Mr. Otis also quoted Postlethwait. But I can quote no more.

If any man of the present age can read these authors and not feel his
"feelings, manners and principles," shocked and insulted, I know not
of what stuff he is made. All I can say is, that I read them all in
my youth, and that I never read them without being set on fire.

I will, however, transcribe one passage from Ashley, painful as it
is. In page 41, he says, "The laws now in being, for the regulation
of the plantation trade, viz. the 14 of Charles the second, ch. II.
sec. 2, 3, 9, 10; 7 and 8 William III. ch. 22. sec. 5, 6; 6 George
II. ch. 13, are very well calculated, and were they put in execution
as they ought to be, would in a great measure put an end to the
mischiefs here complained of. If the several officers of the customs
would see that all entries of sugar, rum and molasses, were made
conformable to the directions of those laws; and let every entry of
such goods distinguish expressly, what are of British growth and
produce, and what are of foreign growth and produce; and let the
whole cargo of sugar, penneles, rum, spirits, molasses and syrup,
be inserted at large in the manifest and clearance of every ship
or vessel, under office seal, or be liable to the same duties and
penalties as such goods of foreign growth are liable to.

"This would very much baulk the progress of those who carry on this
illicit trade, and be agreeable and advantageous to all fair traders.

"And all masters and skippers of boats in all the plantations, should
give some reasonable security, not to take in any such goods of
foreign growth, from any vessel not duly entered at the custom-house,
in order to land the same, or put the same on board any other ship or
vessel, without a warrant or sufferance from a proper officer."

But you will be fatigued with quotations, and so is your friend,



_Quincy_, _July_ 30, 1818.


Another passage which Mr. Otis read from Ashley gave occasion, as
I suppose, to another memorable and very curious event, which your
esteemed pupil and my beloved friend judge Minot has recorded.

The passage is in the 42d page. "In fine, I would humbly propose that
the duties on foreign sugar and rum imposed by the before mentioned
act of the 6th of king George the second, remain as they are, and
also the duty on molasses, so far as concerns the importations into
the sugar colonies; but that there be an abatement of the duty on
molasses imported into the northern colonies, so far as to give the
British planters a reasonable advantage over foreigners, and what
may bear some proportion to the charge, risque and inconvenience
of running it, in the manner they now do, or after the proposed
regulation shall be put in execution: whether this duty shall be one,
two or three pence, sterling money of Great Britain per gallon, may
be matter of consideration." Gracious and merciful indeed! The tax
might be reduced and made supportable, but not abolished. Oh! No! by
no means.

Mr. Hutchinson, however, seized this idea of Ashley, of reducing the
tax on molasses, from six pence to three pence or two pence or a
penny, and the use he made of it you shall learn from your own pupil
and my amiable friend judge Minot.

Volume 2d. page 142. "About this time there was a pause in the
opposition to the measures of the crown and parliament, which might
have given some appearance of the conciliation of parties, but which
was more probably owing to the uncertainty of the eventual plan
of the ministry, and the proper ground for counteracting it. The
suppressing of the proposed instructions to the agent by a committee
of the house of representatives, indicated that this balance of power
there was unsettled. Several circumstances shewed a less inflexible
spirit, than had existed among the leaders."

"The governor appointed the elder Mr. Otis a justice of the court of
common pleas, and judge of probate for the county of Barnstable. The
younger wrote a pamphlet on the rights of the British colonies, in
which he acknowledged the sovereignty of the British parliament, as
well as the obligations of the colonies to submit to such burdens as
it might lay upon them, until it should be pleased to relieve them;
and put the question of taxing America upon the footing of the common

I beg your attention to Mr. Minot's history, vol. 2, from page 140
to the end of the chapter in page 152. Mr. Minot has endeavoured to
preserve the dignity, the impartiality and the delicacy of history.
But it was a period of mingled glory and disgrace. But as it is a
digression from the subject of Mr. Otis's speech against writs of
assistance, I can pursue it no further at present. Mr. Hutchinson
seized the idea of reducing the duties. Mr. Otis and his associates
seemed to despair of any thing more. Hutchinson was chosen agent,
to the utter astonishment of every American out of doors. This was
committing the lamb to the kind guardianship of the wolf. The public
opinion of all the friends of their country was decided. The public
voice was pronounced in accents so terrible that Mr. Otis fell into
a disgrace from which nothing but _Jemmibullero_[4] saved him. Mr.
Hutchinson was politely excused from his embassy, and the storm
blew over. Otis, upon whose zeal, energy, and exertions the whole
great cause seemed to depend, returned to his duty, and gave entire
satisfaction to the end of his political career.

[Footnote 4: _Jemmibullero_--This was a silly and abusive song,
written by a Mr. S. Waterhouse, a stanch tory; but with so little
wit, that it only exposed the writer to contempt.]

Thus ended the piddling project of reducing the duty on molasses from
six pence a gallon, to five pence, four pence, three pence, two pence
or a penny. And one half penny a gallon, would have abandoned the
great principle, as much as one pound.

This is another digression from the account of Mr. Otis's argument
against writs of assistance and the acts of trade. I have heretofore
written you on this subject. The truth, the whole truth, must and
will and ought to come out; and nothing but the truth shall appear,
with the consent of your humble servant,



_Quincy_, _August_ 6, 1818.

     "_Mid the low murmurs of submission, fear and mingled rage,
     my Hampden raised his voice, and to the laws appealed._"


Mr. Otis had reasoned like a philosopher upon the navigation acts,
and all the tyrannical acts of Charles 2d.; but when he came to
the revenue laws, the orator blazed out. Poor king William! If thy
spirit, whether in heaven or elsewhere, heard James Otis, it must
have blushed. A stadtholder of Holland, by accident, or by miracle,
vested with a little brief authority, in England, cordially adopting
the system of George Downing, Josiah Child, and Charles 2d. for the
total destruction of that country to which he owed his existence, and
all his power and importance in the world. And, what was still worse,
joining in the conspiracy, with such worthy characters to enslave all
the colonies in Europe, Asia, and America; and indeed all nations, to
the omnipotence of the British parliament, and its Royal navy.

The act of parliament of the seventh and eighth of king William
3d. was produced, chapter 22d. "An act for preventing frauds, and
regulating abuses in the plantation trade." I wish I could transcribe
this whole statute, and that which precedes it: "An act for the
encouragement of seamen," but who would read them? Yet it behoves
our young and old yeomen, mechanics, and labourers, philosophers,
politicians, legislators, and merchants to read them. However tedious
and painful it may be for you to read, or me to transcribe, any part
of these dull statutes, we must endure the task, or we shall never
understand the American revolution. Recollect and listen to the
preamble of this statute, of the 7th and 8th of William 3d. chapter

"Whereas, notwithstanding diverse acts made for _the encouragement
of the navigation of this kingdom_, and for the better securing
and regulating the plantation trade, more especially one act of
parliament made in the 12th year of the reign of the late king
Charles 2d. intituled, an act for the increasing of shipping and
navigation. Another act made in the 15th year of the reign of
his said late majesty, intituled an act for the encouragement of
trade. Another act made in the 22d and 23d years of his said late
majesty's reign, intituled, an act to prevent the planting of
tobacco in England, and for regulation of the plantation trade.
Another act, made in the 25th year of the reign of his said late
majesty, intituled, an act for the encouragement of the Greenland and
Eastland fisheries, and for the better securing the plantation trade,
great abuses are daily committed, to the prejudice of the English
navigation, and the loss of a great part of the plantation trade to
this kingdom, by the artifice and cunning of ill disposed persons;
for remedy whereof for the future," &c.

Will you be so good, sir, as to pause a moment on this preamble? To
what will you liken it? Does it resemble a great, rich, powerful
West India planter; Alderman Beckford, for example, preparing and
calculating and writing instructions for his overseers? "You are to
have no regard to the health, strength, comfort, natural affections,
or moral feelings, or intellectual endowments of my negroes. You are
only to consider what subsistence to allow them, and what labour
to exact of them, will subserve my interest. According to the most
accurate calculation I can make, the proportion of subsistence and
labour which will work them up, in six years upon an average, is the
most profitable to the planter." And this allowance, surely, is very
humane; for we estimate here, the lives of our coal-heavers upon an
average at only two years, and our fifty thousand girls of the town
at three years at most. "And our soldiers and seamen no matter what."

Is there, Mr. Tudor, in this preamble, or in any statute of Great
Britain, in the whole book, the smallest consideration of the health,
the comfort, the happiness, the wealth, the growth, the population,
the agriculture, the manufactures, the commerce, the fisheries of the
American people? All these things are to be sacrificed to British
wealth, British commerce, British domination, and the British navy,
as the great engine and instrument to accomplish all. To be sure,
they were apt scholars of their master, Tacitus, whose fundamental
and universal principle of philosophy, religion, morality, and
policy, was, that all nations and all things were to be sacrificed to
the grandeur of Rome. Oh! my fellow citizens, that I had the voice
of an archangel to warn you against these detestable principles. The
world was not made for you, you were made for the world. Be content
with your own rights. Never usurp those of others. What would be the
merit, and the fortunes of a nation, that should never do or suffer

The purview of this statute, was in the same spirit with the
preamble; pray read it! Old as you are; you are not so old as I am;
and I assure you I have conquered my natural impatience so far as to
read it again, after almost sixty years acquaintance with it, in all
its horrid deformity.

Every artifice is employed to ensure a rigorous, a severe, a cruel
execution of this system of tyranny. The religion, the morality, of
all plantation governors, of all naval commanders, of all custom
house officers, if they had any, and all men have some, were put in
requisition by the most solemn oaths. Their ambition was inlisted by
the forfeiture of their officers; their avarice was secured by the
most tempting penalties and forfeitures, to be divided among them.
Fine picking to be sure! Even the lowest, the basest informers were
to be made gentlemen of fortune!

I must transcribe one section of this detestable statute, and leave
you to read the rest; I can transcribe no more.

The sixth section of this benign law, of our glorious deliverer king
William, is as follows:

Section 6. "And for the more effectual preventing of frauds, and
regulating abuses in the plantation trade, in America, be it further
enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all ships coming into, or
going out of any of the said plantations, and lading, or unlading any
goods or commodities, whether the same be his majesty's ships of war,
or merchant ships, and the masters and commanders thereof, and their
ladings, shall be subject and liable to the same rules, visitations,
searches, penalties, and forfeitures, as to the entering, landing,
and discharging their respective ships and ladings, as ships and
their ladings, and the commanders and masters of ships, are subject
and liable unto in this kingdom, by virtue of an act of parliament
made in the fourteenth year of the reign of king Charles 2d.
intituled, an act for preventing frauds, and regulating abuses in
his majesty's customs. And that the officers for collecting and
managing his majesty's revenue, and inspecting the plantation trade,
and in any of the said plantations, shall have the same powers and
authorities, for visiting and searching of ships, and taking their
entries, and for seizing and securing, or bringing on shore any
of the goods prohibited to be imported or exported into or out of
any the said plantations, or for which any duties are payable, or
ought to have been paid, by any of the before mentioned acts, as
are provided for the officers of the customs in England by the said
last mentioned act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of king
Charles 2d.; and also to enter houses or warehouses, to search for
and seize any such goods; and that all the wharfingers, and owners of
keys and wharves, or any lightermen, bargemen, watermen, porters, or
other persons assisting in the conveyance, concealment, or rescue of
any of the said goods, or in the hindering or resistance of any of
the said officers in the performance of their duty, and the boats,
barges, lighters, or other vessels employed in the conveyance of
such goods, shall be subject to the like pains and penalties as are
provided by the same act made in the fourteenth year of the reign
of king Charles 2d. in relation to prohibited or unaccustomed goods
in this kingdom; and that "_the like assistance_" shall be given to
the said officers in the execution of their office, as by the said
last mentioned act is provided for the officers in England; and
also, that the said officers shall be subject to the same penalties
and forfeitures, for any corruptions, frauds, connivances, or
concealments, in violation of any the before mentioned laws, as any
officers of the customs in England are liable to, by virtue of the
last mentioned act; and also, that in case any officer or officers
in the plantations shall be seized or molested for any thing done
in the execution of their office, the said officer shall and may
plead the general issue, and shall give this or other custom acts in
evidence, and the judge to allow thereof, have and enjoy the like
privileges and advantages, as are allowed by law to the officers of
his majesty's customs in England."

Could it be pretended, that the superior court of judicature, court
of assize, and general goal delivery in the province of Massachusetts
bay had all the powers of the court of exchequer in England, and
consequently could issue warrants like his majesty's court of
exchequer in England? No custom house officer dared to say this,
or to instruct his counsel to say it. It is true, this court was
invested with all the powers of the courts of king's bench, common
pleas and exchequer in England. But this was a law of the province,
made by the provincial legislature, by virtue of the powers vested in
them by the charter.

Otis called and called in vain for their warrant from "his majesty's
court of exchequer." They had none, and they could have none from
England, and they dared not say, that Hutchinson's court was "his
majesty's court of exchequer." Hutchinson himself dared not say it.
The principle would have been fatal to parliamentary pretensions.

This is the second and the last time, I believe, that the word
"_assistance_" is employed in any of these statutes. But the words
"writs of assistance" were no where to be found; in no statute,
no law book, no volume of entries; neither in Rastall, Coke, or
Fitzherbert, nor even in Instructor Clericalis, or Burns's Justice.
Where, then, was it to be found? No where, but in the imagination
or invention of Boston custom house officers, royal governors, West
India planters, or naval commanders.

It was indeed a farce. The crown, by its agents, accumulated
construction upon construction, and inference upon inference, as the
giants heaped Pelion upon Ossa. I hope it is not impious or profane
to compare Otis to Ovid's jupiter. But "_misso fulmine perfregit
Olympum, et excussit Subjecto Pelio Ossam_." He dashed this whole
building to pieces, and scattered the pulverized atoms to the four
winds; and no judge, lawyer, or crown officer dared to say, why do
you so? They were all reduced to total silence.

In plain English, by cool, patient comparison of phraseology of these
statutes, their several provisions, the dates of their enactments,
the privileges of our charters, the merits of the colonists, &c.
he shewed the pretensions to introduce the revenue acts, and these
arbitrary and mechanical writs of assistance, as an instrument for
the execution of them to be so irrational; by his wit he represented
the attempt as so ludicrous and ridiculous; and by his dignified
reprobation of an impudent attempt to impose on the people of
America; he raised such a storm of indignation, that even Hutchinson,
who had been appointed on purpose to sanction this writ, dared not
utter a word in its favour; and Mr. Gridley himself seemed to me to
exult inwardly at the glory and triumph of his pupil.

This, I am sure, must be enough, at this time, and from this text to
fatigue you, as it is more than enough to satisfy your most obedient,



_Quincy_, _August_ 11, 1818.


The "Defence of the New England charters by Jer. Dummer," is, both
for style and matter, one of our most classical American productions.
"The feelings, the manners and principles which produced the
revolution," appear in as vast abundance in this work, as in any,
that I have read. This beautiful composition ought to be reprinted
and read by every American who has learned to read. In pages 30 and
31, this statute of 7th and 8th of king William, ch. 22. sec. 9th, is
quoted, "All laws, by-laws, usages or customs, at this time, or which
hereafter shall be in practice, or endeavoured or pretended to be in
force or practice in any of the plantations, which are in any wise
repugnant to this present act, or any other law hereafter to be made
in this kingdom, so far as such law shall relate to and mention the
plantations, are illegal, null and void to all intents and purposes
whatsoever." This passage Mr. Otis quoted, with a very handsome
eulogium of the author and his book. He quoted it for the sake of
the rule established in it by parliament itself for the construction
of its own statutes. And he contended that by this rule there could
be no pretence for extending writs of assistance to this country. He
also alluded to many other passages in this work, very applicable to
his purpose, which any man who reads it must perceive, but which I
have not time to transcribe.

If you, or your inquisitive and ingenious son, or either of my sons
or grandsons or great grand sons, should ever think of these things,
it may not be improper to transcribe from a marginal note at the end
of this statute, an enumeration of the "Further provisions concerning
plantations." II. W. 3, c. 12; 3, 4 of An. c. 5 and 10; 6 of An. c.
30; 8 of An. c. 13; 9th of An. c. 17; 10 An. c. 22 and 26; 4 Geo. 1,
c. 11; 5 Geo. 1, c. 12 and 15; 13 Geo. 1, c. 5; 3 Geo. 2, c. 12 and
28; 4 Geo. 2, c. 15; 5 Geo. 2, c. 7 and 9; 6 Geo. 2, c. 15; 8 Geo. 2,
c. 13; 8 Geo. 2, c. 19; 12 Geo. 2, c. 30; 15 Geo. 2, c. 31 and 33; 24
Geo. 2, c. 51 and 53; 29 Geo. 2, c. 5 and 35; and 30 Geo. 2, 9.

The vigilance of the crown officers and their learned counsel on one
side, and that of merchants, patriots and their counsel on the other,
produced every thing in any of these statutes which could favor their
respective arguments. It would not only be ridiculous in me, but
culpable to pretend to recollect all that were produced. Such as I
distinctly remember I will endeavour to introduce to your remembrance
and reflections.

Molasses or melasses or molosses, for by all these names, they are
designated in the statutes. By the statute of the second year of our
glorious deliverers, king William and queen Mary, session second,
chapter four, section 35. "For every hundred weight of molosses,
containing 112 pounds, imported from any other place than the English
plantations in America, eight shillings over and above what the same
is charged within the book of rates."

The next statute that I recollect, at present, to have been
introduced upon that occasion, was the sixth of George the second,
ch. thirteen, "An act for the better securing and encouraging the
trade of his majesty's sugar colonies in America."

Cost what it will, I must transcribe the first section of this
statute, with all its parliamentary verbiage. I hope some of my
fellow citizens of the present or some future age will ponder it.

"Whereas, the welfare and prosperity of your majesty's sugar colonies
in America, are of the greatest consequence and importance, to the
trade, navigation and strength of this kingdom; and whereas, the
planters of the said sugar colonies have of late years, fallen under
such great discouragements, that they are unable to improve or carry
on the sugar trade, upon an equal footing with the foreign sugar
colonies, without some advantage and relief be given to them from
G. Britain: For remedy whereof, and for the good and welfare of
your majesty's subjects, we your majesty's most dutiful and loyal
subjects, the commons of Great Britain, assembled in parliament, have
_given and granted_ unto your majesty, the several and respective
rates and duties hereinafter mentioned, and in such manner and
form as is hereinafter expressed; and do most humbly beseech your
majesty, that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the king's most
excellent majesty, by and with the consent of the lords spiritual
and temporal, and commons in this present parliament assembled, and
by the authority of the same, that from and after the twenty fifth
day of December, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-three, there
shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid, unto and for the use
of his majesty, his heirs and successors, upon all rum or spirits of
the produce or manufacture of any of the colonies or plantations in
America, not in the possession or under the dominion of his majesty,
his heirs and successors, which at any time or times, within or
during the continuance of this act, shall be imported or brought
into any of the colonies or plantations in America, which now are,
or hereafter may be, in the possession or under the dominion of his
majesty, his heirs or successors, the sum of nine pence, money of
Great Britain, to be paid according to the proportion and value of
five shillings and six pence the ounce in silver, for every gallon
thereof, and after that rate for any greater or lesser quantity; and
upon all molasses or syrups of such foreign produce or manufacture,
as aforesaid, which shall be imported or brought into any of the said
colonies of or belonging to his majesty, the sum of six pence of like
money for every gallon thereof, and after that rate for any greater
or lesser quantity; and upon all sugars and paneles of such foreign
growth, produce or manufacture as aforesaid, which shall be imported
into any of the said colonies or plantations of or belonging to his
majesty, a duty after the rate of five shillings of like money for
every hundred weight avoirdupois of the said sugar and paneles, and
after that rate for a greater or lesser quantity."

Now, sir, will you be pleased to read judge Minot's history, vol. 2d,
from page 137 to 140, ending with these words: "But the strongest
apprehensions arose from the publication of the orders for the strict
execution of the molasses act, which is said to have caused a greater
alarm in the country, than the taking of fort William Henry did in
the year 1757." This I fully believe, and certainly know to be true;
for I was an eye and an ear witness to both of these alarms. Wits
may laugh at our fondness for molasses, and we ought all to join in
the laugh with as much good humor as general Lincoln did. General
Washington, however always asserted and proved, that Virginians
loved molasses as well as New Englandmen did. I know not why we
should blush to confess that molasses was an essential ingredient in
American independence. Many great events have proceeded from much
smaller causes.

Mr. Otis demonstrated how these articles of molasses and sugar,
especially the former, entered into all and every branch of our
commerce, fisheries, even manufactures and agriculture. He asserted
this act to be a revenue law, a taxation law, made by a foreign
legislature without our consent, and by a legislature who had no
feeling for us, and whose interest prompted them to tax us to the
quick. Pray, Mr. Tudor, calculate the amount of these duties upon
molasses and sugar. What an enormous revenue for that age! Mr. Otis
made a calculation and shewed it to be more than sufficient to
support all the crown officers.



_Quincy_, _August_ 16, 1818.


We cannot yet dismiss this precious statute of the 6th of George 2d.
chapter 13.

The second section I must abridge, for I cannot transcribe much more.
It enacts, that all the duties imposed by the first section, shall be
paid down in ready money by the importer, before landing.

The third section must be transcribed by me or some other person,
because it is the most arbitrary among statutes, that were all
arbitrary, the most unconstitutional among laws, which were all

Section 3d. "And be it further enacted, that in case any of the said
commodities shall be landed, or put on shore in any of his majesty's
said colonies or plantations in America, out of any ship or vessel,
before due entry be made thereof, at the port or place where the
same shall be imported, and before the duties by this act charged or
chargeable thereupon, shall be duly paid, or without a warrant for
the landing and delivering the same, first signed by the collector,
or impost officer, or other proper officer or officers of the custom
or excise, belonging to such port or place respectively, all such
goods as shall be so landed or put on shore, or the value of the
same, shall be forfeited; and all and every such goods as shall be so
landed or put on shore, contrary to the true intent and meaning of
this act, shall, and may be seized by the governor or commander in
chief, for the time being, of the colonies or plantations, where the
same shall be so landed or put on shore, or any person or persons, by
them authorized in that behalf, or by warrant of any Justice of the
peace or other magistrate, (which warrant such justice or magistrate
is hereby empowered and required to give upon request) or by any
custom house officer, impost, or excise officer, or any person or
persons, him or them accompanying, aiding and assisting, and _all and
every such offence and forfeitures shall, and may be prosecuted for
and recovered in any court of admiralty in his majesty's colonies
or plantations in America, (which court of admiralty is hereby
authorized, impowered and required to proceed to hear, and finally
determine the same) or in any court of record in the said colonies
or plantations, where such offence is committed, at the election of
the informer or prosecutor, according to the course and method used
and practised there in prosecutions for offences against penal laws
relating to customs or excise_; and such penalties and forfeitures
so recovered there, shall be divided as follows, viz: one third part
for the use of his majesty, his heirs and successors, to be applied
for the support of the government of the colony or plantation,
where thesame shall be recovered, one third part to the governor or
commander in chief, of the said colony or plantation, and the other
third part to the informer or prosecutor, who shall sue for the same."

Section five contains the penalties on persons assisting in such
unlawful importation.

Section 6th. "Fifty pound penalty on molesting an officer on his
duty. Officer, if sued, may plead the general issue. Fifty pound
penalty, on officer conniving at such fraudulent importation."

Section 7th. "One hundred pound penalty, on master of ship, &c.
permitting such importation."

Section 8th. "The _onus probandi_ in suits to lie on the owners."

Section 12. "Charge of prosecution to be borne out of the king's part
of seizures, forfeitures and penalties."

George 2d. was represented and believed in America to be an honest,
well meaning man; and although he consented to this statute and
others which he thought sanctioned by his predecessors, especially
king William, yet it was reported and understood, that he had
uniformly resisted the importunities of ministers, governors,
planters, and projectors, to induce him to extend the system of
taxation and revenue in America, by saying, that "he did not
understand the colonies; he wished their prosperity. They appeared to
be happy at present; and he would not consent to any innovations; the
consequences of which he could not foresee."

Solomon, in all his glory, could not have said a wiser thing. If
George 3d. had adopted this sentiment, what would now be the state of
the world? Who can tell? or who can conjecture?

The question now was concerning the designs of a new reign, and of
a young prince. This young king had now adopted the whole system of
his predecessors, Stuarts, Oranges, and Hanoverians, and determined
to carry it into execution, right or wrong; and that, by the most
tyrannical instruments, that ever were invented; writs of assistance.
What hope remained for an American, who knew, or imagined he knew,
the character of the English nation, and the character of the
American people? To borrow a French word, so many _reminiscences_
rush upon me, that I know not which to select, and must return for
the present to Mr. Otis. By what means this young inexperienced king
was first tempted by his ministers, to enter with so much spirit into
this system, may be hereafter explained.

Mr. Otis analyzed this statute, 6. George 3d. c. 13, with great
accuracy. His calculations may be made by any modern mathematician
who will take the pains. How much molasses, for example, was then
subject to this tax; suppose a million gallons, which is far less
than the truth. Six pence a gallon was full one half of the value
of the article. It was sold at market for one shilling; and I have
known a cargo purchased at a pistareen. The duties on a million
gallons, would then be twenty five thousand pounds sterling a year;
a fund amply sufficient, with the duties on sugars, &c. and more
than sufficient, at that time, to pay all the salaries of all the
governors upon the continent, and all judges of admiralty too.

Mr. King, formerly of Massachusetts, now of New-York, in a late,
luminous and masterly speech, in senate, page 18, informs us, from
sure sources, that "we import annually upwards of six million gallons
of West India rum." The Lord have mercy on us! "More than half of
which comes from the English colonies. We also import every year,
nearly seven millions of gallons of molasses; and as every gallon of
molasses yields, by distillation, a gallon of rum, the rum imported,
added to that distilled from molasses, is probably equal to twelve
millions of gallons, which enormous quantity is chiefly consumed,
besides whiskey, by citizens of the United States." Again, I devoutly
pray, the Lord have mercy on us!

But calculate the revenue, at this day, from this single act of
George 2d. It would be sufficient to bribe any nation, less knowing
and less virtuous, than the people of America, to the voluntary
surrender of all their liberties.

Mr. Otis asserted this to be a revenue law; a taxation law; an
unconstitutional law; a law subversive of every end of society
and government; it was null and void. It was a violation of all
the rights of nature, of the English constitution, and of all
the charters and compacts with the colonies; and if carried into
execution by writs of assistance, and courts of admiralty, would
destroy all security of life, liberty, and property. Subjecting all
these laws to the jurisdiction of judges of admiralty, poor dependent
creatures; to the forms and course of the civil law, without juries,
or any of the open, noble examination of witnesses, or publicity
of proceedings, of the common law, was capping the climax, it was
clenching the nail of American slavery.

Mr. Otis roundly asserted, that this statute, and the preceding
statutes, never could be executed. The whole power of Great Britain
would be ineffectual; and by a bold figure, which will now be thought
exaggeration, he declared, that if the king of Great Britain in
person were encamped on Boston common, at the head of twenty thousand
men, with all his navy on our coast, he would not be able to execute
these laws. They would be resisted or eluded.



_Quincy_, _August_ 21, 1818.


Mr. Otis quoted another author, "The political and commercial works
of Charles D'Avenant, L.L. D. vol. 2. discourse 3 On the plantation
trade." I cannot transcribe seventy six pages, but wish that
Americans of all classes would read them. They are in the same strain
with Downing, Child, Gee, Ashley, Charles 2, James 2, William and
Mary, William 3, Ann, George 2, and George 3; all conspiring to make
the people of North America hewers of wood and drawers of water, to
plantation governors, custom house officers, judges of admiralty,
common informers, West India planters, naval commanders, in the first
place; and, after all these worthy people should be amply supported,
nourished, encouraged and pampered, if any thing more could be
squeezed from the hard earnings of the farmers, the merchants, the
tradesmen and labourers in America, it was to be drawn into the
exchequer in England, to aggrandize the British navy.

Mr. Otis proceeded to another species of statutes, relative to
our internal policy, even our domestic manufactures and fireside
comforts; I might say, our homespun blankets and woollen sheets, so
necessary to cover some of us, if not all of us, in our slumbers
in the long nights of our frozen winters. I shall refer to these
statutes as they occur, without any regard to order, and shall not
pretend to transcribe any of them.

"Furs of the plantations to be brought to Great Britain. 8 Geo. 1. c.
15. ss. 24."

"Hats, not to be exported from one plantation to another. 5 Geo. 2.
c. 22."

"Hatters in America, not to have more than two apprentices. 5 Geo. 2.
c. 22. ss. 7."

"Slitting mills, steel furnaces, &c. not to be erected in the
plantations. 23 Geo. 2. c. 29. ss. 9."

"No wool, or woollen manufacture of the plantations shall be
exported. 10 & 11 Wm. 3. c. 10. ss. 19."

"Exporting wool, contrary to the regulations, forfeiture of the ship,
&c. 12 Geo. 2. c. 21. ss. 11."

I cannot search for any more of these mincing laws. Mr. Otis
alternately laughed and raged against them all. He said one member
of parliament had said, that a hobnail should not be manufactured in
America; and another had moved that Americans should be compelled
by act of parliament, to send their horses to England to be shod.
He believed, however, that this last was a man of sense, and meant,
by this admirable irony, to cast a ridicule on the whole selfish,
partial, arbitrary and contracted system of parliamentary regulations
in America.

Another statute there is, and was quoted by Mr. Otis, by which wool
was prohibited to be water-borne in America; in consequence of which,
a fleece of wool could not be conveyed in a canoe across a river or
brook, without seizure and forfeiture.

But I am wearied to death by digging in this mud; with searching
among this trash, chaff, rubbish of acts of parliament; of that
parliament which declared it had a right to legislate for us, as
sovereign, absolute and supreme, in all cases whatsoever. But I
deny that they ever had any right to legislate for us, in any case
whatsoever. And on this point we are and were at issue, before God
and the world. These righteous judges have decided the question; and
it is melancholy that any Americans should still doubt the equity and
wisdom of the decision.

Such were the bowels of compassion, such the tender mercies of our
pious, virtuous, our moral and religious mother country, towards her
most dutiful and affectionate children! Such they are still; and
such they will be, till the United States shall compel that country
to _respect_ this. To this end, poor and destitute as I am, I would
cheerfully contribute double my proportion of the expense of building
and equipping thirty ships of the line, before the year 1820.

Mr. Otis asserted all these acts to be null and void by the law of
nature, by the English constitution, and by the American charters,
because America was not represented in parliament. He entered into
the history of the charters. James the first and Charles the first,
could not be supposed to have ever intended that parliament, more
hated by them both than the pope or the French king, should share
with them in the government of colonies and corporations which they
had instituted by their royal prerogatives--"Tom, Dick, and Harry
were not to censure them and their council." Pym, Hambden, sir Harry
Vane and Oliver Cromwell did not surely wish to subject a country,
which they sought as an asylum, to the arbitrary jurisdiction of a
country from which they wished to fly. Charles the second had learned
by dismal, doleful experience, that parliaments were not to be wholly
despised. He, therefore, endeavoured to associate parliament with
himself, in his navigation act, and many others of his despotic
projects, even in that of destroying, by his unlimited licentiousness
and debauchery, the moral character of the nation. Charles the second
courted parliament as a mistress; his successors embraced her as a
wife, at least for the purpose of enslaving America.

Mr. Otis roundly asserted this whole system of parliamentary
regulations, and every act of parliament before quoted, to be
illegal, unconstitutional, tyrannical, null and void. Nevertheless,
with all my admiration of Mr. Otis, and enthusiasm for his character,
I must acknowledge he was not always consistent in drawing or
admitting the necessary consequences from his principles, one
of which comprehended them all, to wit, that _Parliament had no
authority over America in any case whatsoever_.

But at present we must confine ourselves to his principles and
authorities in opposition to the acts of trade and writs of
assistance. These principles I perfectly remember. The authorities in
detail I could not be supposed to retain; though with recollecting
the names, Vattel, Coke and Holt, I might have found them again by a
diligent search. But Mr. Otis himself has saved that trouble, by a
publication of his own, which must be the subject of another letter
from your humble servant,



_Quincy_, _August_ 31, 1818.


I have before mentioned the instructions of the city of Boston to
their representatives, in May 1764, printed in an appendix to Mr.
Otis's "Rights of the colonies." In obedience to those instructions,
or at least in consequence of them Mr. Otis prepared a memorial
to the house of representatives, which was by them voted to be
transmitted to Jasper Mauduit, Esq. agent for the province, only as
a statement drawn up by one of the house, to be improved as he may
judge proper.

In this memorial Mr. Otis has preserved and immortalized his own
arguments and authorities to prove the acts of trade null and
void, which he had advanced and produced three years before in his
oration against those acts and their formidable instrument, writs
of assistance. This is a fortunate circumstance for me, because it
relieves me from the trouble of recollection, and the more painful
task of research in old books.

"The public transactions", says Mr. Otis, "from William the first, to
the revolution, may be considered as one continued struggle, between
the prince and the people, all tending to that happy establishment,
which Great Britain has since enjoyed.

"The absolute rights of Englishmen, as frequently declared in
parliament, from Magna Charta, to this time, are the rights of
personal security, personal liberty and of private property.

"The allegiance of British subjects being natural, perpetual and
inseparable from their persons, let them be in what country they may;
their rights are also natural, inherent and perpetual.

"By the laws of nature and of nations; by the voice of universal
reason, and of God, when a nation takes possession of a desart,
uncultivated, uninhabited country, or purchases of savages, as was
the case with far the greatest part of the British settlements;
the colonists transplanting themselves and their posterity, though
separated from the principal establishment, or mother country,
naturally become part of the state with its ancient possessions, and
entitled to all the essential rights of the mother country. This
is not only confirmed by the practice of the ancients, but by the
moderns ever since the discovery of America. Frenchmen, Spaniards,
and Portuguese are no greater slaves abroad than at home; and
hitherto Britons have been as free on one side of the Atlantic as on
the other: and it is humbly hoped that his majesty and the parliament
will in their wisdom be graciously pleased to continue the colonies
in this happy state."

"It is presumed, that upon these principles, the colonists have been
by their several charters declared natural subjects, and entrusted
with the power of making their own local laws, not repugnant to the
laws of England, and with the power of taxing themselves."

"This legislative power is subject to the same charter to the king's
negative as in Ireland. This effectually secures the dependence
of the colonies on Great Britain. By the 13th of George 2. ch. 9.
even foreigners having lived seven years in any of the colonies
are deemed natives on taking the oaths of allegiance, &c. and are
declared by the said act to be his majesty's natural born subjects
of the kingdoms of Great Britain, to all intents, constructions and
purposes, as if any of them had been born within the kingdom. The
reasons given for this naturalization in the preamble of the act
are, that the increase of the people is the means of advancing the
wealth of any nation or country. And many foreigners and strangers,
from the lenity of our government, the purity of our religion, the
benefit of our laws, the advantages of our trade, and the security
of our property, might be induced to come and settle in some of
his majesty's colonies in America, if they were partakers of the
advantages and privileges, which the native born subjects there enjoy.

"The several acts of parliament and charters, declaratory of the
rights and liberties of the colonies, are but in affirmance of the
common law and law of nature in this point. There are, says my lord
Coke, regularly three incidents to subjects born; 1. Parents under
the actual obedience of the king; 2. That the place of his birth be
within the king's dominions; 3. The time of his birth to be chiefly

"For he cannot be a subject born of one kingdom, that was born under
the allegiance of a king of another kingdom. See Calvin's case and
the several acts and decisions on naturalization, from Edward the
third to this day. The common law is received and practised upon here
and in the rest of the colonies; and all ancient and modern acts of
parliament, that can be considered as part of or in amendment of the
common law, together with such acts of parliament, as expressly name
the plantations, so that the power of the British parliament is held
sacred and as uncontroulable in the colonies, as in England. The
question is not upon the general power or right of the parliament;
but whether it is not circumscribed within some equitable and
reasonable bounds? It is hoped it will not be considered as a new
doctrine, that even the authority of the parliament of Great Britain
is circumscribed by certain bounds, which, if exceeded, their acts
become those of mere power without right, and consequently void.
The judges of England have declared in favour of these sentiments,
when they expressly declare, that acts of parliament against natural
equity are void. That acts against the fundamental principles of
the British constitution are void. A very important question here
presents itself. It essentially belongs to the society, both in
relation to the manner, in which it desires to be governed, and
to the conduct of the citizens. This is called the legislative
power.--The nation may entrust the exercise of it to the prince or to
an assembly; or to an assembly and the prince jointly; who have then
a right of making new and abrogating old laws. It is here demanded
whether, if their power extends so far, as to the fundamental laws,
they may change the constitution of the state? The principles we
have laid down lead us to decide this point with certainty, that the
authority of these legislators does not extend so far, and that they
ought to consider the fundamental laws as sacred, if the nation has
not in very express terms given them the power to change them. For
the constitution of the state ought to be fixed; and since that was
first established by the nation, which afterwards trusted certain
persons with the legislative power, the fundamental laws are excepted
from their commission. It appears that the society had only resolved
to make provision for the state's being always furnished with laws,
suited to particular conjunctures, and gave the legislature for that
purpose, the power of abrogating the ancient civil and political
laws, that were not fundamental, and of making new ones. But nothing
leads us to think that it was willing to submit the constitution
itself to their pleasure.

"When a nation takes possession of a distant country and settles
a colony there, that country though separated from the principle
establishment or mother country, naturally becomes a part of the
state equally with its ancient possessions. Whenever the political
laws or treaties make no distinction between them every thing said
of the territory of a nation ought also to extend to its colonies.
An act of parliament made against natural equity, as to make a man
judge in his own cause, would be void, Hob. 87. Trin. 12. Jac. Day
_v._ Savage, S. C. & P. cited Arg. 10. Mod. 115. Hill 11. Ann C.
B. in case of Thornby & Fleetwood, "but says that this must be a
clear case, and judges will strain hard rather than interpret an act
void, _ab initio_." This is granted, but still their authority is
not boundless, if subject to the controul of the judges in any case.
Holt, chief justice, thought what lord Coke says in Dr. Bonham's
case a very reasonable and true saying, that if an act of parliament
should ordain the same person both party and judge, in his own case,
it would be a void act of parliament, and an act of parliament can
do no wrong, though it may do several things that look pretty odd;
for it may discharge one from the allegiance he lives under, and
restore to the state of nature, but it cannot make one that lives
under a government both party and judge, per Holt C. J. 12 Mod. 687.
688. Hill 13. W. 3. B. R. in the case of the city of London _v._
Wood. It appears in our books, that in several cases, the common law
should controul acts of parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be
utterly void; for when an act of parliament against common right and
reason, or repugnant and impossible to be performed, the common law
shall controul it, and adjudge it to be void, and therefore, 8 E.
3., 30. Thomas Tregor's case upon the statute of W. 2. cap. 38. and
Art. Chart. 9. Herle said that sometimes statutes are made contrary
to law and right, which the maker of them perceiving will not put
them into execution. This doctrine is agreeable to the law of nature
and nations. and to the divine dictates of natural and revealed
religion. It is contrary to reason that the supreme power should
have a right to alter the constitution. This would imply that those
who are intrusted with sovereignty by the people, have a right to do
as they please. In other words, that those, who are invested with
power to protect the people and support their rights and liberties,
have a right to make slaves of them. This is not very remote from a
flat contradiction. Should the parliament of Great Britain follow
the example of some other foreign states, Sweden, Denmark, France,
&c. and vote the king absolute and despotic; would such an act of
parliament make him so? Would any minister in his senses advise a
prince to accept of such an offer of power? It would be unsafe to
accept of such a donation because the parliament or donors would
grant more than it was in their power lawfully to give, the law of
nature never invested them with a power of surrendering their own
liberty, and the people certainly never intrusted any body of men
with a power to surrender theirs in exchange for slavery. But if the
whole state be conquered if the nation be subdued, in what manner
can a victor treat it without transgressing the bounds of justice?
What are his rights over the conquest? Some have dared to advance
this monstrous principle, that the conqueror is absolute master over
this conquest, that he may dispose of it as his property, treat it as
he pleases, according to the common expression of treating a state
as a conquered country, and hence they derive one of the sources of
despotic government.--But enough of those that reduce men to the
state of transferable goods, or use them like beasts of burden, who
deliver them up as the property or patrimony of another man. Let us
argue upon principles countenanced by reason, and becoming humanity.
The whole right of the conqueror proceeds from the just defence of
himself, which contains the support and prosecution of his rights.
Thus when he has totally subdued a nation with whom he had been at
war, he may without dispute cause justice to be done him, with regard
to what gave rise to the war, and require payment for the expense and
damage he has sustained; he may, according to the exigency of the
place, impose penalties on it as an example; he may, should prudence
so dictate, disable it from undertaking any pernicious design for the
future. But in securing all these views the mildest means are to be
preferred. We are always to remember, that the law of nature permits
no injury to be done to an enemy, unless in taking measures necessary
for a just defence and a reasonable security. Some princes have only
imposed a tribute on it; others have been satisfied in stripping it
of some of its privileges, dismembering it of a province, or keeping
it in awe by fortresses; others, as their quarrel was only with the
sovereign in person, have left a nation in the full enjoyment of
its rights, only setting a sovereign over it. But if the conqueror
thinks proper to retain the sovereignty of the vanquished state,
and has such a right; the manner in which he is to treat the state
still flows from the same principles. If the sovereign be only the
just object of his complaint, reason declares, that by his conquest
he acquires only such rights as actually belonged to the dethroned
sovereign; and on the submission of his people he is to govern it
according to the laws of the state. If the people do not voluntarily
submit, the state of war subsists. When a sovereign, as pretending to
have the absolute disposal of a people whom he has conquered, is for
enslaving them, he causes the state of war to subsist between this
people and him. M. De Vattel, B. 3. c. 10. sec. 201.

"It is now near three hundred years since the continent of North
America was first discovered, and that by British subjects; the
Cabots discovered the continent before the Spaniards. Ten generations
have passed away, through infinite toils and bloody conflicts, in
settling this country. None of those ever dreamed, but that they were
entitled at least to equal privileges with those of the same rank
born within the realm.

"British America has been hitherto distinguished from the slavish
colonies round about it, as the fortunate Britons have been from
most of their neighbours on the continent of Europe. It is for
the interest of Great-Britain that her Colonies be ever thus
distinguished. Every man must wilfully blind himself that does not
see the immense value of our acquisitions in the late war; and that
though we did not retain all at the conclusion of peace, that we
obtained by the sword, yet our gracious sovereign, at the same time
that he has given a divine lesson of equitable moderation to the
princes of the earth, has retained sufficient to make the British
arms the dread of the universe, and his name dear to all posterity.

"To the freedom of the British constitution, and to their increase
of commerce, it is owing, that our colonies have flourished without
diminishing the inhabitants of our mother country, quite contrary to
the effects of plantations, made by most other nations which have
suffered at home, in order to aggrandize themselves abroad. This
is remarkably the case of Spain. The subjects of a free and happy
constitution of government, have a thousand advantages to colonize
above those who live under despotic princes.

"We see how the British colonies on the continent have outgrown those
of the French; notwithstanding, they have ever engaged the savages
to keep us back. Their advantages over us in the West Indies, are,
1st. A capital neglect in former reigns, in suffering them to have
a firm possession of so many valuable islands, that we had a better
title to than they. 2. The French, unable to push their settlements
effectually on the continent, have bent their views to islands, and
poured vast numbers into them. 3. The climate and business of these
islands is by nature much better adapted to Frenchmen and to Negroes,
than to Britons. 4. The labour of slaves, black or white, will be
ever cheaper than that of freemen, because that of individuals among
the former, will never be worth so much as with the latter; but this
difference is more than supplied, by numbers under the advantages
above mentioned. The French will ever be able to sell their West
India produce cheaper, than our own islanders; and yet, while our own
islanders can have such a price for theirs, as to grow much richer
than the French, or any other of the king's subjects in America, as
is the case; and what the northern colonies take from the French, and
other foreign islands, centers finally in return to Great Britain for
her manufactures, to an immense value, and with a vast profit to her.
It is contrary to the first principles of policy to cloy such a trade
with duties; much more to prohibit it, to the risque, if not certain
destruction of the fishery.

"It is allowed by the most accurate British writers on commerce, Mr.
Postlethwait in particular, who seems to favour the cause of the
sugar islands, that one half of the immense commerce of Great Britain
is with her colonies. It is very certain, that without the fishery,
seven eighths of this commerce would cease. The fishery is the
centre of motion, upon which the wheel of all the British commerce
in America turns. Without the American trade, would Britain, as a
commercial state, make any great figure at this day in Europe?

"Her trade in woollen and other manufactures is said to be lessening,
in all parts of the world, but America, where it is increasing,
and capable of infinite increase, from a concurrence of every
circumstance in its favour. Here is an extensive territory of
different climates, which, in time, will consume, and be able to pay
for as much manufactures as Great Britain and Ireland can make, if
true maxims are pursued. The French, for reasons already mentioned,
can underwork, and consequently undersell the English manufactures
of Great Britain, in every market in Europe. But they can send none
of their manufactures here; and it is the wish of every honest
British American, that they never may; it is best they never should.
We can do better without the manufactures of Europe, save those of
Great Britain, than with them. But without the West India produce
we cannot; without it our fishery must infallibly be ruined. When
that is gone, our own islands will very poorly subsist. No British
manufactures can be paid for by the colonists. What will follow?
One of these two things, both of which it is the interest of Great
Britain to prevent. 1st. The northern colonists must be content to
go naked, and turn savages. Or 2d. become manufacturers of linnens
and woollens, to clothe themselves; which, if they cannot carry to
the perfection of Europe, will be very destructive to the interests
of Great Britain. The computation has been made, and that within
bounds; and it can be demonstrated, that if North America is only
driven to the fatal necessity of manufacturing a suit of the most
ordinary linnen or woollen, for each inhabitant, annually, which may
be soon done, when necessity, the mother of invention shall operate,
Great Britain and Ireland will lose two millions per annum, besides a
diminution of the revenue to nearly the same amount. This may appear
paradoxical; but a few years experience of the execution of the
sugar act, will sufficiently convince the parliament, not only of the
inutility, but destructive tendency of it, while calculations may be
little attended to. That the trade with the colonies has been of a
surprising advantage to Great Britain, notwithstanding the want of a
good regulation, is past all doubt. Great Britain is well known to
have increased prodigiously, both in numbers and in wealth, since she
began to colonize. To the growth of the plantations, Britain is, in a
great measure, indebted for her present riches and strength. As the
wild wastes of America have been turned into pleasant habitations and
flourishing trading towns; so many of the little villages and obscure
boroughs in Great Britain, have put on a new face, and all suddenly
started up and become fair markets and manufacturing towns, and
opulent cities. London itself, which bids fair to be the metropolis
of the world, is five times more populous than it was in the days of
queen Elizabeth. Such are the fruits of the spirit of commerce and
liberty. Hence it is manifested how much we all owe to that beautiful
form of civil government, under which we have the happiness to live.

"It is evidently the interest, and ought to be the care of all those
entrusted with the administration of government, to see that every
part of the British empire enjoys to the full, the rights they are
entitled to by the laws, and the advantages which result from their
being maintained with impartiality and vigour. This we have seen
reduced to practice in the present and preceding reigns; and have
the highest reason, from the paternal care and goodness that his
majesty, and the British parliament, have hitherto been graciously
pleased to discover to all his majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects,
and to the colonists in particular, to rest satisfied, that our
privileges will remain sacred and inviolate. The connection between
Great Britain and her colonies is so natural and strong, as to make
their mutual happiness depend upon their mutual support. Nothing can
tend more to the destruction of both, and to forward the measures
of their enemies, than sowing the seeds of jealousy, animosity, and
dissention, between the mother country and the colonies.

"A conviction of the truth and importance of these principles,
induced Great Britain, during the late war, to carry on so many
glorious enterprises for the defence of the colonies; and those on
their part to exert themselves beyond their ability to pay, as is
evident, from the parliamentary reimbursements.

"If the spirit of commerce was attended to, perhaps duties would
be every where decreased, if not annihilated, and prohibitions
multiplied. Every branch of trade, that hurts a community, should be
prohibited for the same reason, that a private gentleman would break
off commerce with a sharper, or an extensive usurer. It is to no
purpose to higgle with such people; you are sure to loose by them. It
is exactly so with a nation, if the balance is against them; and they
can possibly subsist without the commodities as they generally can
in such cases, a prohibition is the only remedy; for a duty in such
a case, is like a composition with a thief, that for five shillings
in the pound returned, he shall rob you at pleasure; when, if the
thing is examined to the bottom, you are at five shillings expense
in travelling to get back your five shillings; and he is at the same
expense in coming to pay it. So he robs you of but ten shillings
in the pound, that you thus wisely compound for. To apply this to
trade, I believe every duty, that was ever imposed on commerce, or
in the nature of things can be, will be found to be divided between
the state imposing the duty, and the country exported from. This,
if between the several parts of the same kingdom or dominions of
the same prince, can only tend to embarrass trade, and raise the
price of labour above other states, which is of very pernicious
consequence to the husbandman, manufacturer, mariner and merchant,
the four tribes that support the whole hive. If your duty is upon a
commodity of a foreign state, it is either upon the whole useful and
gainful; and therefore necessary for the husbandman, manufacturer,
mariner or merchant, as finally bringing a profit to the state, by a
balance against your state. There is no medium that we know of. If
the commodity is of the former kind, it should be prohibited; but if
the latter, imported duty free, unless you would raise the price of
labour by a duty on necessaries, or make the above wise composition
for the importation of commodities, you are sure to lose by it.

"The only test of a useful commodity is the gain upon the whole
to the state; such should be free; the only test of a pernicious
trade is the loss upon the whole or to the community; this should
be prohibited. If therefore it can be demonstrated, that the sugar
and molasses trade from the northern colonies to the foreign
plantations, is, upon the whole, a loss to the community, by which
term is here meant, the three kingdoms and the British dominions
taken collectively, then, and not till then, should this trade be
prohibited. This never has been proved, nor can be; the contrary
being certain, to wit: that the nation upon the whole hath been
a vast gainer by this trade, in the vend of and pay for its
manufactures; and a great loss by a study upon this trade will
finally fall on the British husbandman, manufacturer, mariner and
merchant; and consequently the trade of the nation be wounded, and in
constant danger of being eat out by those who can undersell her.

"The art of underselling, or rather of finding means to undersell, is
the grand secret of thrift among commercial states, as well as among
individuals of the same state. Should the British sugar islands ever
be able to supply Great Britain, and her northern colonies with those
articles, it will be time enough to think of a total prohibition;
but until that time, both prohibition and duty will be found to be
diametrically opposite to the first principles of policy. Such is the
extent of this continent, and the increase of its inhabitants, that
if every inch of the British sugar islands was as well cultivated
as any part of Jamaica or Barbadoes, they would not now be able
to supply Great Britain, and the colonies on this continent. But
before such further improvements can be supposed to take place in our
islands, the demands will be proportionably increased by the increase
of the inhabitants on the continent. Hence the reason is plain, why
the British sugar planters are growing rich, and demands on them,
ever will be greater than they can possibly supply, so long as the
English hold this continent, and are unrivalled in the fishery.

"We have every thing good and great to hope from our gracious
sovereign, his ministry and his parliament; and trust, that when the
services and sufferings of the British American colonies are fully
known to the mother country, and the nature and importance of the
plantation trade more perfectly understood at home, that the most
effectual measures will be taken for perpetuating the British empire
in all parts of the world. An empire built upon the principles of
justice, moderation and equity, the only principles that can make a
state flourishing, and enable it to elude the machinations of its
secret and inveterate enemies."

Excuse errors, for I cannot revise and correct. I hope your patience
will never be put to the trial of another letter so long and dry.
One or two more, much shorter, will close the subject of writs of
assistance, and relieve you from _ennui_, as well as your friend,



_Quincy_, _September_ 10, 1818.


The charters were quoted or alluded to by Mr. Otis frequently in the
whole course of his argument: but he made them also a more destined
and more solemn head of his discourse. And here, these charters ought
to be copied verbatim. But an immense verbiage renders it impossible.
Bishop Butler somewhere complains of this enormous abuse of words
in public transactions, and John Reed and Theophilus Parsons of
Massachusetts have attempted to reform it. So did James Otis; all
with little success. I hope, however, that their examples will be
followed, and that common sense in common language will, in time,
become fashionable. But the hope must be faint as long as clerks are
paid by the line and the number of syllables in a line.

Some passages of these charters must however, be quoted; and I will
endeavour to strip them as well as I can, of their useless words.
They are recited in the charter of king William and queen Mary, dated
the seventh day of October, in the third year of their reign, _i. e._
in 1691.

"Whereas king James the first, in the 18th year of his reign, did
grant to the council at Plymouth, for the planting and governing New
England, all that part of America, from the 40th to the 48th degree
of latitude, and from sea to sea, together with all sands, waters,
fishings, and all and singular other commodities, _jurisdictions_,
royalties, privileges, franchises and pre-eminences, both within the
said tract of land upon the main, and also within the islands and
seas adjoining: to have and hold, all, unto the said council, their
heirs and successors and assigns forever: to be holden of his said
majesty as of his manor of East Greenwich, in free and common socage,
and not in capite, or by knights' service.--Yielding to the king a
fifth part of the ore of gold and silver. _For and in respect of all
and all manner of duties, demands and services whatsoever._"

But I cannot pursue to the end this infinite series of words.--You
must read the charter again. For although you and I have read it
fifty times, I believe you will find it, as I do, much stronger in
favour of Mr. Otis's argument than I expected or you will expect. I
doubt whether you will take the pains to read it again; but your son
will, and to him I recommend it.

The council of Plymouth, on the 19th of March, in the 3d year of the
reign of Charles the first, granted to sir Henry Roswell and others,
part of New England by certain boundaries, with all the prerogatives
and privileges.

King Charles the first, on the 4th of March, in the fourth year of
his reign confirmed to sir Henry Roswell and others, all those lands
before granted to them by the council of Plymouth. King Charles the
first, created sir Henry Roswell and others, a body corporate and
politick. And said body politick, did settle a colony which became
very populous.

In 1684, in the 36th year of king William and queen Mary's _dearest
uncle_, Charles the second, a judgment was given in the court of
chancery, that the letters patent of Charles the first, should be
cancelled, vacated and annihilated.

The agents petitioned to be re-incorporated; I can easily conceive
their perplexity, their timidity, their uncertainty, their choice of
difficulties, their necessary preference of the least of a multitude
of evils: for I have felt them all, as keenly as they did.

William and Mary unite Massachusetts, New Plymouth, the Province of
Maine and Nova Scotia, into one province, to be holden in fee of the
manor of East Greenwich, paying one fifth of gold and silver ore.

Liberty of conscience to be granted to all Christians, except
papists. Good God! A grant from a king of liberty of conscience. Is
it not a grant of the King of Kings, which no puppet or royalist upon
earth can give or take away?

The general court impowered to erect judicatories and courts of
record. The general court impowered to make laws, "_not repugnant to
the laws of England_." Here was an unfathomable gulf of controversy.
The grant itself, _of liberty of conscience_, was repugnant to the
laws of England. Every thing was repugnant to the laws of England.
The whole system of colonization was beyond the limits of the laws of
England, and beyond the jurisdiction of their national legislature.
The general court is authorized to impose fines, &c. and taxes.

But the fell paragraph of all, is the proviso in these
words:--"Provided always, and it is hereby declared that nothing
herein shall extend or be taken to erect or grant, or allow the
exercise of any admiralty court jurisdiction, power, or authority,
but that the same shall be, and is hereby reserved to us and our
successors, and shall from time to time, be erected, granted and
exercised by virtue of commissions to be issued under the great
seal of England, or under the seal of the high admiral, or the
commissioners for executing the office of high admiral of England."

The history of this court of admiralty would require volumes.
Where are its records and its files? Its libels and answers? Its
interrogatories and cross interrogatories? All hurried away to
England, as I suppose never to be seen again in America, nor probably
to be inspected in Europe.

The records and files of the court of probate in Boston were
transported to Halifax. Judge Foster Hutchinson had the honour to
return them after the peace of 1783. But admiralty records have never
been restored as I have heard.

The subject may be pursued hereafter by your servant,



_Quincy_, _September_ 13, 1818.


It is some consolation to find in the paragraph of the charter,
next following the court of admiralty, that nothing in it "shall
in any manner enure, or be taken to abridge, bar, or hinder any of
our loving subjects whatsoever, to use and exercise the trade of
fishing upon the coasts of New England, but that they and every of
them shall have full and free power and liberty to continue and use
their said trade of fishing upon the said coast, in any of the seas
thereunto adjoining, or any arms of the said seas, or salt water
rivers, where they have been wont to fish; and to build and sett,
upon the lands within our said province or colony, lying waste, and
not then possessed by particular proprietors, such wharfs, stages,
and work-houses, as shall be necessary for the salting, drying,
keeping and packing of their fish, to be taken and gotten upon that
coast; and to cut down and take such trees and other materials there
growing or being upon any parts or places lying waste, and not then
in possession of particular proprietors, as shall be needful for that
purpose, and for all other necessary easments, helps and advantages,
concerning the trade of fishing there, in such manner and form, as
they have been heretofore at any time accustomed to do, without
making any willful waste or spoil, any thing in these presents to the
contrary notwithstanding."

Fellow citizens! Recollect that "This our province or colony"
contained the whole of Nova Scotia as well as the "Province of
Maine, Massachusetts bay and New Plymouth." Will you ever surrender
one particle, one iota of this sacred charter right, and still
more sacred right of nature, purchase, acquisition, possession,
usage, habit and conquest? Let the thunder of British cannon say
what it will, I know you will not. I know you cannot. And if you
could be base enough to surrender it, which I know you cannot and
never will be, your sons will reclaim it, and redemand it, at the
price of whatever blood or treasure it may cost, and will obtain
it, secure it, and command it, forever. This pretended _grant_ is
but an acknowledgment of your antecedent right by nature, and by
English liberty. You have no power or authority to alienate it. It
was granted, or rather acknowledged to your successors and posterity
as well as to you, and any cessions you could make would be null and
void in the sight of God and all reasonable men.

Mr. Otis descanted largely on these charters. His observations
carried irresistible conviction to the minds and hearts of many
others as well as to mine, that every one of those statutes from the
navigation act, to the last act of trade, was a violation of all the
charters and compacts between the two countries, was a fundamental
invasion of our essential rights, and was consequently null and
void; that the legislatures of the colonies, and especially of
Massachusetts, had the sole and exclusive authority of legislation
and especially of taxation in America.

The indecision and inconsistency which appear in some of Mr. Otis's
subsequent writings is greatly to be regretted and lamented. They
resemble those of colonel Bland, as represented by Mr. Wirt. I wish I
had Col. Bland's pamphlet, that I might compare it with some of Mr.

I have too many daily proofs of the infirmity of my memory to pretend
to recollect Mr. Otis's reasoning in detail. If, indeed, I had a
general recollection of any of his positions, I could not express
them in that close, concise, nervous and energetic language, which
was peculiar to him, and which I never possessed.

I must leave you, sir, to make your own observations and reflections
upon these charters. But you may indulge me in throwing out a few
hints, rather as queries or topicks of speculation, than as positive
opinions. And here, though I see a wide field, I must make it narrow.

1. Mr. Bollan was a kind of learned man, and of indefatigable
research, and a faithful friend to America; though he lost all his
influence when his father-in-law governor and general Shirley went
out of circulation. This Mr. Bollan, printed a book very early on
the "rights of the colonies." I scarcely ever knew a book so deeply
despised. The English reviews would not allow it to be the production
of a rational creature. In America itself it was held in no esteem.
Otis himself, expressed in the house of representatives, in a public
speech, his contempt of it in these words: "Mr. Bollan's book is the
strangest thing I ever read; under the title of 'Rights of Colonies,'
he has employed one third of his work to prove that the world is
round; and another, that it turns round; and the last, that the pope
was a devil for pretending to give it to whom he pleased."

All this I regretted. I wished that Bollan had not only been
permitted, but encouraged to proceed. There was no doubt he would
have produced much in illustration of the ecclesiastical and
political superstition and despotism of the ages when colonization
commenced and proceeded. But Bollan was discouraged and ceased from
his labours.

What is the idea, Mr. Tudor, of British allegiance? And of European
allegiance? Can you, or rather will you analize it? At present, I
have demands upon me, which compel me to close abruptly, with the
usual regard of your friend,



_Quincy_, _September_ 18, 1818.


The English doctrine of allegiance is so mysterious, fabulous and
enigmatical, that it is difficult to decompose the elements of which
it is compounded. The priests, under the Hebrew economy, especially
the sovereign pontiffs, were anointed with consecrated oil, which
was poured upon their heads in such profusion, that it ran down
their beards, and they were thence called "the Lord's anointed."
When kings were permitted to be introduced, they were anointed in
the same manner by the sovereign pontiff; and they too were called
"the Lord's anointed." When the pontiffs of Rome assumed the customs,
pomps and ceremonies of the Jewish priesthood, they assumed the
power of consecrating things, by the same ceremony of "holy oil."
The pope, who, as vicar of God, possessed the whole globe of earth
in supreme dominion and absolute property, possessed also the power
of sending the holy ghost wherever he pleased. To France it pleased
his holiness to send him in a phial of oil; to Rheims in the beak
of a dove. I have not heard, that my friend, Louis 18th. has been
consecrated at Rheims by the pouring on of this holy oil; but his
worthy elder brother, Louis 16th. was so consecrated at a vast
expense of treasure and ridicule. How the holy bottle was conveyed
to England, is worth inquiry. But there it is, and is used at every
coronation; and is demurely, if not devoutly shewn to every traveller
who visits the tower. These ideas were once as firmly established in
England, as they were in Rome; and no small quantity of the _relicks_
of them remain to this day. Hence the doctrines of the divine right
of kings, and the duties in subjects of unlimited submission,
passive obedience and non-resistance, on pain (Oh, how can I write
it) of eternal damnation. These doctrines have been openly and boldly
asserted and defended, since my memory, in the town of Boston, and
in the town of Quincy, by persons of no small consideration in the
world, whom I could name, but I will not, because their posterity are
much softened from this severity.

This indelible character of sovereignty in kings, and obedience
in subjects, still remains. The rights and duties are inherent,
unalienable, indefeasible, indestructible and immortal. Hence the
right of a lieutenant or midshipman of a British man of war, to
search all American ships, impress every seaman his judgeship shall
decree by law, and in fact to be a subject of his king, and compel
him to fight, though it may be against his father, brother or son.
My countrymen! will you submit to these miserable remnants of
priestcraft and despotism?

There is no principle of law or government, that has been more
deliberately or more solemnly adjudged in Great Britain, than that
allegiance is not due to the king in his official capacity or
political capacity, but merely to his personal capacity. Allegiance
to parliament is no where found in English, Scottish or British laws.
What, then, had our ancestors to do with parliament? Nothing more
than with the Jewish Sanhedrim, or Napoleon's literary and scientific
Institute at Grand Cairo. They owed no allegiance to parliament as
a whole, or in part. None to the house of lords, as a branch of the
legislature, nor to any individual peer or number of individuals.
None to the house of commons, as another branch, nor to any
individual commoner or group of commoners. They owed no allegiance
to the nation, any more than the nation owed to them; and they had
as good and clear a right to make laws for England, as the people of
England had to make laws for them.

What right, then, had king James 1st. to the sovereignty, dominion,
or property of North America? No more than king George 3d. has to
the Georgium Sidus, because Mr. Herschell discovered that planet
in his reign. His only colour, pretension or pretext is this. The
pope, as head of the church, was sovereign of the world. Henry 8th.
deposed him, became head of the church in England; and consequently
became sovereign master and proprietor of as much of the globe as
he could grasp. A group of his nobles hungered for immense landed
estates in America, and obtained from his _quasi holiness_ a large
tract. But it was useless and unprofitable to them. They must have
planters and settlers. The sincere and conscientious protestants
had been driven from England into Holland, Germany, Switzerland,
&c. by the terrors of stocks, pillories, croppings, scourges,
imprisonments, roastings and burnings, under Henry 8th. Elizabeth,
Mary, James 1st. and Charles 1st. The noblemen and gentlemen of the
council of Plymouth wanted settlers for their lands in America, and
set on foot a negotiation with the persecuted fugitive religionists
abroad, promised them liberty of conscience, exemption from all
jurisdiction, ecclesiastical, civil and political, except allegiance
to the king, and the tribute, moderate surely, of one fifth of gold
and silver ore. This charter was procured by the council at Plymouth,
and displayed off as a lure to the persecuted, fugitive Englishmen
abroad; and they were completely taken into the snare, as Charles 2d.
convinced them in the first year of his actual, and the twelfth of
his imaginary reign. Sir Josiah Child, enemy as he was, has stated,
in the paragraphs quoted from him in a former letter fairly and
candidly the substance of these facts.

Our ancestors had been so long abroad, that they had acquired
comfortable establishments, especially in Holland, that singular
region of toleration, that glorious asylum for persecuted Hugunots
and Puritans; that country where priests have been enternally
worrying one another; and alternately teazing the government to
persecute their antagonists, but where enlightened statesmen have
constantly and intrepidly resisted their wild fanaticism.

The first charter, the charter of James 1st. is more like a treaty
between independent sovereigns, than like a charter of grant of
privileges from a sovereign to his subjects. Our ancestors were
tempted by the prospect and promise of a government of their own,
independent in religion, government, commerce, manufactures,
and every thing else, excepting one or two articles of trifling

Independence of English church and state, was the fundamental
principle of the first colonization, has been its general principle
for two hundred years, and now I hope is past dispute.

Who then was the author, inventor, discoverer of independence? The
only true answer must be the first emigrants; and the proof of it
is the charter of James 1st. When we say, that Otis, Adams, Mayhew,
Henry, Lee, Jefferson, &c. were authors of independence, we ought to
say they were only awakeners and revivers of the original fundamental
principle of colonization.

I hope soon to relieve you from the trouble of this tedious
correspondence with your humble servant,



_Quincy_, _September_ 23, 1818.


If, in our search of principles, we have not been able to investigate
any moral, philosophical or rational foundation for any claim of
dominion or property in America, in the English nation, their
parliament or even of their king; if the whole appears a mere
usurpation of fiction, fancy and superstition; what was the right to
dominion or property in the native Indians?

Shall we say, that a few handfulls of scattering tribes of savages
have a right to dominion and property over a quarter of the globe,
capable of nourishing hundreds of happy human beings? Why had not
Europeans a right to come and hunt and fish with them?

The Indians had a right to life, liberty and property in common with
all men; but what right to dominion or property beyond these? Every
Indian had a right to his wigwam, his armour, his utensils; when he
had burned the woods about him, and planted his corn and beans, his
squashes and pompions, all these were his undoubted right: but will
you infer from this, that he had right of exclusive dominion and
property, over immense regions of uncultivated wilderness, that he
never saw, that he might have the exclusive privilege of hunting and
fishing in them, which he himself never expected or hoped to enjoy?

These reflections appear to have occurred to our ancestors; and their
general conduct was regulated by them. They do not seem to have had
any confidence in their charter, as conveying any right, except
against the king, who signed it. They considered the right to be in
the native Indians. And in truth all the right there was in the case,
lay there. They accordingly respected the Indian wigwams and poor
plantations; their clambanks and musclebanks and oysterbanks, and all
their property.

Property in land, antecedent to civil society, or the social compact,
seems to have been confined to actual possession and power of
commanding it. It is the creature of convention; of social laws and
artificial order. Our ancestors, however, did not amuse themselves,
nor puzzle themselves with these refinements. They considered the
Indians as having rights; and they entered into negotiations with
them, purchased and paid for their rights and claims, whatever they
were, and procured deeds, grants, and quit claims of all their lands,
leaving them their habitations, arms, utensils, fishings, huntings
and plantations. There is scarcely a litigation at law concerning a
title to land, that may not be traced to an Indian deed. I have in
my possession, somewhere, a parchment copy of a deed of Massasoit
of the township of Braintree, incorporated by the legislature in
one thousand six hundred and thirty nine. And this was the general
practice through the country, and has been to this day through
the continent. In short, I see not how the Indians could have
been treated with more equity or humanity, than they have been in
general in North America. The histories of Indian wars have not been
sufficiently regarded.

When Mr. Hutchinson's history of Massachusetts bay first appeared,
one of the most common criticisms upon it, was the slight, cold and
unfeeling manner in which he passed over the Indian wars. I have
heard gentlemen the best informed in the history of the country, say,
"he had no sympathy for the sufferings of his ancestors," "otherwise
he could not have winked out of sight, one of the most important,
most affecting, afflicting and distressing branches of the history of
his country."

There is somewhere in existence, as I hope and believe, a manuscript
history of Indian wars, written by the Rev. Samuel Niles of
Braintree. Almost sixty years ago, I was an humble acquaintance of
this venerable clergyman, then, as I believe more than four score
years of age. He asked me many questions, and informed me, in his own
house, that he was endeavouring to recollect and commit to writing an
history of Indian wars, in his own time, and before it, as far as he
could collect information. This history he completed and prepared for
the press: but no printer would undertake it, or venture to propose
a subscription for its publication. Since my return from Europe, I
enquired of his oldest son, the Hon. Samuel Niles of Braintree, on a
visit he made me at my own house, what was become of that manuscript?
He laughed, and said it was still safe in the till of a certain
trunk; but no encouragement had ever appeared for its publication.
Ye liberal christians! Laugh not at me, nor frown upon me, for thus
reviving the memory of your once formidable enemy. I was then no more
of a disciple of his theological science than ye are now. But I then
revered and still revere the honest, virtuous and pious man. _Fas
est et ab hoste doceri._ And his memorial of facts might be of great
value to this country.

What infinite pains have been taken and expenses incurred in
treaties, presents, stipulated sums of money, instruments of
agriculture, education? What dangerous and unwearied labours to
convert the poor ignorant savages to christianity? And alas! with
how little success? The Indians are as bigotted to their religion as
the Mahometans are to their Koran, the Hindoos to their Shaster, the
Chinese to Confucius, the Romans to their Saints and Angels, or the
Jews to Moses and the Prophets. It is a principle of religion, at
bottom, which inspires the Indians with such an invincible aversion
both to civilization and Christianity. The same principle has excited
their perpetual hostilities against the colonists and the independent

If the English nation, their parliaments and all their kings have
appeared to be totally ignorant of all these things, or at least to
have vouchsafed no consideration upon them; if we, good patriotic
Americans have forgotten them, Mr. Otis had not. He enlarged on the
merit of our ancestors in undertaking so perilous, arduous, and
almost desperate an enterprize, in disforresting bare creation; in
conciliating and necessarily contending with Indian natives; in
purchasing rather than conquering a quarter of the globe at their own
expense, at the sweat of their own brows; at the hazard and sacrifice
of their own lives; without the smallest aid, assistance or comfort
from the government of England, or from England itself as a nation.
On the contrary, constant jealousy, envy, intrigue against their
charter, their religion and all their privileges. Laud, the pious
tyrant dreaded them, as he foresaw they would overthrow his religion.

Mr. Otis reproached the nation, parliaments and kings with injustice,
ungenerosity, ingratitude, cruelty and perfidy in all their conduct
towards this country, in a style of oratory that I never heard
equalled in this or any other country.


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