previous next

[137] with full recognition of parliamentary authority on the other. For writing the pamphlets Seabury was mobbed, imprisoned, and hounded until in 1776 he took refuge within the British lines.

It was in reply to the first of Seabury's pamphlets that Alexander Hamilton, then a college student of seventeen, made anonymously his first essay in authorship with A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress, from the Calumnies of their Enemies (1774) and A Farmer Refuted (1775). None of the pamphleteers of the Revolutionary period excels Hamilton in the logical acumen and expository power which he here displays, and none approached him in his clear discernment of the theatre and character of the war, if war must be. Yet even Hamilton, with all his precocious intellectual power, failed to point out beyond peradventure how union with the Empire under allegiance to the king comported with a denial of the legislative power of Parliament. The only outcome for the colonies was independence, and independence was the word which, as yet, most colonial leaders appeared anxious to avoid.

Before the attacks of the “Westchester Farmer” had ceased, Daniel Leonard, a Boston lawyer of social prominence, began the publication in a loyalist newspaper, over the pen-name of “Massachusettensis,” of a series of seventeen letters, To the inhabitants of the province of the Massachusetts-Bay (1774-75). Seabury had emphasized the impracticability and political unwisdom of the recommendations of the Congress. Leonard assailed the unconstitutional arguments of the patriots, and the revolutionary character of their attacks upon parliamentary enactments and crown officers.

The task of combating the influence of “Massachusettensis” was undertaken by John Adams, who, early in 1775, published in the Boston Gazette, over the signature of “Novanglus,” a series of letters traversing Leonard's argument. Twelve articles had appeared when the battle of Lexington (19 April, 1775) intervened. Adams did not lack legal knowledge or logical proficiency, but he was no match for Leonard in debate, nor could he keep to the point; and although the republication of the letters in London, and a reprint many years later in the United States, gave some vogue to the name “Novanglus,” the essays won no permanent distinction either

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Daniel Leonard (4)
Alexander Hamilton (3)
Samuel Seabury (2)
John Adams (2)
Westchester Farmer (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1775 AD (3)
1774 AD (2)
1776 AD (1)
April 19th, 1775 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: