—‘He prevailed to get a friend of Grenville
agent for the colony.’—‘He had a principal hand in projecting the Stamp Act.’—‘He advised Oliver
against resigning.’—‘To enforce the acts of trade, he granted writs of assistance, which are no better than general warrants.’—‘He took depositions against the merchants as smugglers.’
Thus the rougher spirits wrought one another into a frenzy.
On the twenty-sixth of August, a bonfire in front of the Old State House
collected at nightfall a mixed crowd.
They first burned all the records of the hated Vice-Admiralty Court; they next ravaged the house of the Comptroller of the Customs; and then, giving Hutchinson
and his family barely time to escape, split open his doors with broadaxes, broke his furniture, scattered his plate and ready money, his books and manuscripts, and at daybreak left his house a ruin.
The coming morning, the citizens of Boston
, in town-meeting, expressed their ‘detestation of these violent proceedings,’ and pledged themselves to one another to ‘suppress the like disorders for the future.’
‘I had rather lose my hand,’ said Mayhew
, ‘than encourage such outrages;’ and Samuel Adams
agreed with him; but they, and nearly all the townsmen, and the whole continent, applauded the proceedings of the fourteenth of August; and the elm, beneath which the people had on that day assembled, was solemnly named ‘the Tree of Liberty.’
The officers of the crown were terror-stricken.1
did not dare to sleep in his own house, nor two nights together in the same place;