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Chapter 31:

Massachusetts Consults her sister Colonies.—Hillsbo-rough's Administration of the Colonies.

November, 1767—February, 1768.

on the twenty-fourth of November, the Twelfth
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Parliament came together for the last time, previous to its dissolution. Its members were too busy in preparing for the coming elections to interfere with America, about which the King's speech was silent;1 and when Grenville descanted on two or three papers in the Boston Gazette, as infamous libels on Parliament, the House showed only weariness of his complaints.2 Bedford himself objected to Grenville's Test for America;3 and ‘preferred making an example of some one seditious fellow.’ The King kept the Ministry from breaking, and proved himself the most efficient man among them. ‘He makes each of them,’ said Mansfield,4 ‘believe that he is in love with him, and fools them all. They will stand their ground,’ he added, ‘unless [108] that mad man, Lord Chatham, should come and
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throw a fire-ball in the midst of them.’ But Chatham's long illness5 had for the time overthrown his powers. When his health began to give out, it was his passion to appear possessed of the unbounded confidence of the King. A morbid restlessness now led him to great and extravagant expense, in which he vied with those who were no more than his equals in the peerage, but who were besides the inheritors of vast estates. He would drive out with ten outriders, and with two carriages, each drawn by six horses.6 His vain magnificence deceived no one but himself; and was but the poor relief of humbled pride. ‘He is allowed to retain office, as a livelihood,’ observed Bedford. The King complained of him, as ‘a charlatan, who in difficult times affected ill-health to render himself the more sought after;’7 and saying that politics was a vile trade, more fit for a hack, than for a gentleman,8 he proceeded to construct a Ministry that would be disunited and docile.

On the fifth of December, Bedford, now almost

blind and near his end, just before the removal of cataracts from his eyes, told Grenville, that his age, his infirmities and his tastes disinclined him to war on the Court, which was willing9 to enter into a treaty with him, and each member of the Opposition would do well to exercise a like freedom.10 ‘He chooses to give bread to his kinsmen and friends;’ [109] said those whom he deserted.11 Grenville could not
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conceal his despair.12 To his junction with Bedford, he had sacrificed the favor of the King. Left to battie alone by the ally for whom he had been a martyr, the famed financier saw ‘the nothingness of the calculations of party.’ His health began to fail; the little that remained to him of life became steeped in bitterness; he seemed ready to curse his former associates and to die. At the time when the public indignation was roused by the news of the general agreement which the town of Boston was promoting, and fears were entertained, that Paxton on his arrival would be taken to Liberty Tree and compelled to resign his new commission,13 the Ministry was revolutionized, but without benefit to Grenville. The Colonies were taken from Shelburne and consigned to a separate department of State, with Lord Hillsborough as its Secretary. Conway made room for Lord Weymouth, a vehement but not forcible speaker; in private life, cold and taciturn; impoverished by gambling, and of such habits that the world14 said he passed all the day in sleep and all the night in drinking. Gower, who had a better reputation, became President of the Council; the Post Office was assigned to Sandwich, the ablest of them all as well as the most malignant against America; while Rigby was made Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, till he could get the Pay-Office. All five [110] were friends of the Duke of Bedford, and united re-
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specting America in one opinion, which it was pretended Grafton also had accepted.15

Nor be it left unnoticed, that Jenkinson, who took so large a part in framing the Stamp Act, held a place with Lord North at the Treasury Board. ‘In him,’ boasted Mauduit to his client, Hutchinson, ‘we have gained a fresh accession in strength.16 He is my fast friend, and has never yet failed me in any thing which he undertook for me. He empowered me to tell you he will make your affair one of his first concerns.’ Jenkinson, whose noiseless industry exercised a prevailing influence over the neglect of Grafton and the ease of Lord North, formed the active and confidential bond between the Treasury and the office holders in Boston. ‘They of Massachusetts,’ wrote Mauduit, ‘may be brought to repent of their insolence.’

To assert and maintain the authority of Parliament over America, was the principle on which the friends of Bedford entered the Ministry. Their anger17 was quickened by the resolutions of Boston to set on foot manufactures and to cease importations.18 ‘The Americans,’ it was said with acrimony, ‘are determined to have as little connection with Great Britain as possible;19 and the moment they can, they will renounce dependence.’20 The partisans of the new Ministers professed to think it [111] desirable that ‘the Colonies should forget themselves

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still further.’ ‘Five or six frigates,’ they clamored, ‘acting at sea and three regiments on land, will soon bring them to reason and submission.’21 ‘The waves,’ replied Franklin,22 ‘never rise but when the winds blow;’ and addressing the British public, he showed that the new system of politics tended to dissolve the bonds of union between the two countries. ‘What does England gain by conquests in America,’ wrote the French Minister, ‘but the danger of losing her own Colonies?23—Things cannot remain as they are; the two nations will become more and more embittered, and their mutual griefs increase.—In four years,24 the Americans will have nothing to fear from England, and will be prepared for resistance.’ He thought of Holland as a precedent, yet ‘America,’ he observed, ‘has no recognised chieftain; and without the qualities united in the House of Orange, Holland would never have thrown off the yoke of Spain.’25

The extreme purpose of the Bedford party to

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abrogate colonial charters and introduce a uniformity of government, appeared immediately on Hillsborough's taking possession of his newly created office. Johnson, the faithful agent of Connecticut, a churchman, and one who from his heart wished to avoid a rupture between the Colonies and England, waited upon him to congratulate him on his advancement.26 [112] ‘Connecticut,’ declared Hillsborough, ‘may always
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depend upon my friendship and affection.’

Connecticut,’ said Johnson, ‘is a loyal Colony.’ ‘You are a very free Colony,’ rejoined Hillsborough; ‘generally you have used your very extraordinary powers with moderation; but you are very deficient in your correspondence, so that we have too little connection with you.’—‘That,’ answered the agent, ‘is owing to the good order and tranquillity which have so generally prevailed in a quiet Colony, where the government is wisely administered and the people easy and happy. Add to this: from the nature of our constitution fewer occasions arise of troubling the King's Ministers with our affairs than in the Governments immediately under the Crown.’

‘A request for a copy of your Colony laws,’ said Hillsborough, ‘has been repeatedly made; but I cannot find that any obedience has been paid to the requisition.’—‘The Colony,’ replied Johnson, ‘has several times sent over copies of the printed Law Book; there is one or more at the Plantation Office.’ —‘It is the duty of the Government,’ resumed Hillsborough, ‘to transmit from time to time, not only the laws that pass, but all the minutes of the proceedings of the Council and Assembly, that we may know what you are about, and rectify whatever may be amiss.’—‘If your Lordship,’ rejoined the agent, ‘wants a copy of our laws for private perusal, for the information of your clerks, or for reference, the Colony will send you one of their Law Books; and you will find it as good a code of laws, almost, as could be devised for such an infant country; and in no respect inferior to any collection of the kind in any of the Colonies. But if your Lordship means [113] to have the laws transmitted for the inspection of the

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Ministry as such, and for the purpose of approbation or disapprobation by his Majesty in Council, it is what the Colony has never done, and, I am persuaded, will never submit to. By the charter which King Charles the Second granted, the Colony was invested with a power of legislation, not subject to revision. In point of fact, your Lordship well knows, that those laws have never been re-examined here, that the Colony has for more than a century been in the full exercise of those powers, without the least check or interruption, except in a single instance, in such times and under such circumstances, as I believe you will not mention but with detestation, much less consider as a precedent.’

‘I have read your Charter,’ said Hillsborough; ‘it is very full and expressive; and I know what powers you have exercised under it. But there are such things as extravagant grants, which are, therefore, void. You will admit, there are many things which the King cannot grant, as the inseparable incidents of the Crown. Some things which King Charles pretended to grant, may be of that nature, particularly the power of absolute legislation, which tends to the absurdity of creating an independent state.’

‘Nobody,’ replied Johnson, ‘has ever reckoned the power of legislation among the inseparable incidents of the Crown. All lawyers are agreed, that it is an undisputed prerogative of the Crown to create corporations; and the power of law-making is, in some degree at least, incident to every corporation; depending not merely on the words of the grant, but founded in the reason of things, and coextensive with [114] the purposes for which the body is created. Every

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corporation in England enjoys it as really, though not as extensively as the Colony of Connecticut. Since, therefore, no question can be made of the right of the Crown to create such bodies and grant such powers in degree, it would be very difficult to limit the bounty of the Prince. The law has not done it, and who can draw the line? Surely not the Ministers of the Prince. The Colony Charters are of a higher nature and founded on a better title than those of the corporations of England. These are mere acts of grace and favor; whereas those in America were granted in consideration of very valuable services done, or to be performed. The services having been abundantly executed at an immense expense by the grantees in the peopling and cultivation of a fine country, the vast extension of his Majesty's dominion, and the prodigious increase of the trade and revenues of the empire, the Charters must now be considered as grants upon valuable considerations, sacred and most inviolable. And even if there might have been a question made upon the validity of such a grant as that to Connecticut in the day of it, yet Parliament as well as the Crown having, for more than a century, acquiesced in the exercise of the power claimed by it, the Colony has now a Parliamentary sanction, as well as a title by prescription added to the royal grant, by all which it must be effectually secured in the full possession of its Charter rights.’

‘These are matters of nice and curious disquisition,’ said Hillsborough, evasively; ‘but at least your laws ought to be regularly transmitted for the inspection of the Privy Council and for disapprobation, if found repugnant to the laws of England.’ [115]

‘An extra-judicial opinion of the King's Minis-

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ter,’ answered Johnson, ‘or even of the King's Privy Council, cannot determine whether any particular Act is within that proviso or not; this must be decided by a court of law having jurisdiction of the matter, about which the law in question is conversant. If the General Assembly of Connecticut should make a law flatly contradictory to the statute of Great Britain, it may be void; but a declaration of the King in Council would still make it neither more nor less so, but be as void as the law itself, for other words in the Charter clearly and expressly exclude them from deciding about it.’

‘I have not seen these things,’ said Hillsborough, ‘in the light in which you endeavor to place them. You are in danger of being too much a separate, independent State, and of having too little subordination to this country.’ And then he spoke of the equal affection the King bore his American subjects, and of the great regard of the Ministers for them as Britons, whose rights were not to be injured.

‘Upon the repeal of the Stamp Act,’ said Johnson, ‘we had hoped these were the principles adopted; but the new duties imposed last winter, and other essential regulations in America, have damped those expectations and given alarm to the Colonies.’

‘Let neither side,’ said Hillsborough, ‘stick at small matters. As to taxes, you are infinitely better off than any of your fellow-subjects in Europe. You are less burdened than even the Irish.’

‘I hope that England will not add to our burdens,’ said Johnson; ‘you would certainly find it redound to your own prejudice.’

Thus for two hours together, they reasoned on [116] the rights of Connecticut; and Hillsborough showed

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plainly his opinion, that its Charter must be declared void, not on the pretence that it had been violated or misused, but because the people by the enjoyment of it were too free.

Connecticut so united caution with patriotism, that successive British Ministers were compelled to delay abrogating its Charter, for want of a plausible excuse. Hillsborough on his side, under the exterior of warm professions of tenderness, cherished the fixed purpose of disregarding colonial privileges. His apologists called him honest and well meaning; he was passionate and full of self-conceit;27 alert in conducting business; wrongheaded in forming his opinions, and pompously stiff in adhering to them. He proposed as his rule of conduct, to join inflexibility of policy with conciliatory language; and in a man of his moderate faculties, this attempt to join firmness with suavity became a mixture of obstinacy and deceit.

His first action respecting Massachusetts was marked by duplicity. Hutchinson, through Mauduit, his agent, and Jenkinson, obtained an annual grant of two hundred pounds sterling. Hillsborough gave to the grant the form of a secret warrant under the King's sign manual on the Commissioners of the Customs at Boston.28 That a Chief Justice, holding office during pleasure and constantly employing his power for political purposes, should also receive money from the King, was fatal to the independence of the bench; [117] the secrecy of the grant betrayed on the part of the

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Minister a sense of shame.

It was this use of the new revenue which the reflecting people in Boston particularly abhorred. ‘We shall be obliged,’ said they, “to maintain in luxury sycophants, court parasites and hungry dependents, who will be sent over to watch and oppress those who support them.” 29 If large salaries are given, needy poor lawyers from England and Scotland, or some tools of power of our own, will be placed on the bench. The Governors will be men rewarded for despicable services, hackneyed in deceit and avarice; or some noble scoundrel who has spent his fortune in every kind of debauchery.

‘Unreasonable impositions tend to alienate the hearts of the Colonists. Our growth is so great, in a few years Britain will not be able to compel our submission. Who thought that the four little Provinces of Holland would have been able to throw off the yoke of that powerful kingdom of Spain? —yet they accomplished it by their desperate perseverance.’ ‘Liberty is too precious a jewel to be resigned.’30

Such were the sentiments of the more moderate among the patriots. Still the attempt at concerting an agreement not to import had thus far failed; and unless the Assembly of Massachusetts should devise methods of resistance, the oppressive law would gradually go into effect. The hot spirits in that body [118] were ready to break out into a flame; there were

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men among them who would not count the consequences.31 Of the country Members, Hawley, than whom no one was abler, or more sincere, lived far in the interior; and his excitable nature, now vehement, now desponding, unfitted him to guide. The irritability of Otis had so increased, that he rather indulged himself in ‘rhapsodies’32 and volcanic ‘flashes’33 of eloquence, than framed deliberate plans of conduct. Besides, his mind had early embraced the idea ‘of a general union of the British Empire, in which every part of its wide dominions should be represented under one equal and uniform direction, and system of laws;’ and though the Congress of New-York drew from him a tardy concession,34 that an American representation was impossible, yet his heart still turned to his original opinion, and in his prevailing mood, he shrunk from the thought of Independence. The ruling passion of Samuel Adams, on the contrary, was the preservation of the distinctive character and institutions of New-England. He thoroughly [119] understood the tendency of the measures adopted by
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Parliament; approved of making the appeal to Heaven, since freedom could not otherwise be preserved; and valued the liberties of his country more than its temporal prosperity, more than his own life, more than the lives of all. The confidence of his townsmen sustained his fortitude; his whole nature was absorbed by care for the public; and his strictly logical mind was led to choose for the defence of the separate liberties of America, a position which offered no weak point for attack. His theory, on which the Colonies were to repose till the dawn of better days, as a small but gallant army waits for aid within its lines, he embodied in the form of a letter from the Assembly of the Province to their Agent.35 On the sixth of [120] January, and for the evening and morning of many
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succeeding days, the paper was under severe examination in the House. Seven times it was revised; every word was weighed; every sentence considered; and each seemingly harsh expression tempered and refined. At last on the twelfth of January, the letter was adopted, to be sent to the Agent, communicated to the British Ministry, and published to the world, as expressing the unchangeable opinions of Massachusetts. [121]

Disclaiming the most distant thought of indepen-

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dence of the mother country, provided they could have the free enjoyment of their rights, the House affirmed,36 that ‘the British constitution hath its foundation in the law of God and nature; that in every free state, the supreme Legislature derives its power from the constitution;’ and ‘is bounded and circumscribed by its fundamental rules.’

That the right to property exists by a law of nature, they asserted, on the one side, against ‘the visionary and impracticable Utopian schemes of levelling and a community of goods;’ on the other, against all Acts of the British Parliament, taxing the Colonists.

‘In the time of James II.,’ they continued, ‘the Crown, and the Ministers of the Crown, without the intervention of Parliament, demolished Charters and levied taxes in the Colonies at pleasure. Our case is more deplorable and remediless. Our ancestors found relief by the interposition of Parliament; but by the intervention of that very power we are taxed, and can appeal from their decision to no power on earth.’

They further set forth the original contract between the King and the first planters, as the Royal promise in behalf of the English nation; their title by the common law and by statute law to all the liberties and privileges of natural born subjects of the realm; and the want of equity in taxing Colonies whose manufactures were prohibited and whose trade was restrained. [122]

Still more they objected to the appropriation of

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the revenues from the new duties to the support of American civil officers and an American army, as introducing an absolute government. The Judges in the Colonies held their commissions at the pleasure of the Crown; if their salaries were to be independent, a corrupt Governor might employ men who would ‘deprive a bench of justice of its glory, and the people of their security.’ Nor need the money be applied by Parliament to protect the Colonists; they were never backward in defending themselves, and when treated as free subjects, they always granted aids of their own accord, to the extent of their ability, and even beyond it. Nor could a standing army among them secure their dependence; they had towards the mother country an English affection, which would for ever keep them connected with her, unless it should be erased by repeated unkind usage.

They objected to the establishment of Commissioners of the Customs, as a needless expense in itself, and dangerous to their liberties from the increase of Crown officers. Still more, they expressed alarm at the Act, conditionally suspending the powers of the Assembly of New-York, and thus annihilating its legislative authority.

‘King James and his successors,’ thus they proceeded, ‘broke the copartnership of the supreme legislative with the supreme executive, and the latter could not exist without the former. In these remote dominions, there should be a free legislative; otherwise strange effects are to be apprehended, for the laws of God and nature are invariable.’37 [123]

The House of Representatives, having sanctioned

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this Remonstrance, next addressed Shelburne,38 Chatham, Rockingham,39 Conway, Camden, the Treasury Board, at which sat Grafton, Lord North, and Jenkinson, letters which contained the same sentiments, and especially enforced the impracticability of an American representation in the British Parliament.40 But no memorial was sent to the Lords; no petition to the House of Commons. The colonial Legislature joined issue with the British Parliament, and adopting the draft of Samuel Adams,41 approached the King as umpire with their Petition.

To him, in beautifully simple language, they recounted the story of the colonization of Massachusetts; the forfeiture of their first Charter; and the confirmation to them, on the Revolution, of their most essential rights and liberties; the principal of which was that most sacred right of being taxed only by representatives of their own free election. They complained that the Acts of Parliament, ‘imposing taxes in America, with the express purpose of raising a revenue, left them only the name of free subjects.’

The mode of relief by an American representation in Parliament they declare to be ‘utterly impracticable;’ [124] and they referred the consideration of their

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present circumstances to the wisdom and clemency of the King.

In the several papers which, after a fortnight's anxious deliberation, were adopted by an Assembly, composed for the most part of farmers and delegates from the rural population, the calmness of the language is suited to the earnestness of their purpose; nor is there one line which betrays haste, or hesitation. It remained for the House ‘to inform the other Governments with its proceedings against the late Acts, that, if they thought fit, they might join42 therein.’ But this, it was said in a house of eightytwo Members, would be considered in England, as appointing a second Congress; and the negative prevailed by a vote of two to one. The country members were slow in perceiving the imminence and extent of the public danger.

At this appearance of indecision, Bernard conceived ‘great hopes.’ ‘It will,’ said he, ‘make some atonement for their Remonstrance.’43

The towns in the central Provinces had not as yet seconded the proposal of Boston to import nothing from England. ‘The British Government will probably pursue the mildest policy,’ wrote De Kalb to Choiseul from Philadelphia.44 ‘The Colonies are but lightly taxed, and could not resist force. Distance from the British Government makes these people more free; but at heart they have little disposition to [125] throw off their dependence by the aid of foreign

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powers.’ The tone of public feeling seemed unprepared for action and averse to a rupture.

But Samuel Adams and the few who shared his courage contended indefatigably45 against the principle of taxation. The hesitancy in the Assembly had proceeded not from timidity but caution. The Members spoke with one another in private, till their views became clearer. Then on the fourth day of February, a motion was made to reconsider the vote against writing to the other Colonies. The House was counted; eighty-two were again found to be present; the question was put and carried by a large majority, and the former vote erased from the journals.46

On the same day, a question, whether the House would appoint a committee to prepare a letter, to be sent to each House of Representatives or Burgesses on the Continent, to inform them of the measure which it had taken, passed in the affirmative after debate. A masterly circular letter which Samuel Adams47 had drafted, was, on the eleventh of February, read in the House, and accepted almost unanimously.

Expressing a firm confidence that the united supplications of the distressed Americans would meet with the favorable acceptance of the King, they set forth the importance that proper constitutional measures [126] respecting the Acts of Parliament, imposing

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taxes on the Colonies, should be adopted; and that the representatives of the several assemblies upon so delicate a point, should harmonize with each other. They made known their ‘disposition freely to communicate their mind to a sister Colony, upon a common concern.’

They then embody the substance of all their representations to the Ministry; that the legislative power of Parliament is circumscribed by the constitution, and is self-destroyed whenever it overleaps its bounds; that allegiance as well as sovereignty is limited; that the right to property is an essential, unalterable one, engrafted into the British system, and to be asserted, exclusive of any consideration of Charters; that taxation of the Colonies by the British Parliament in which they are not represented, is an infringement of their natural and constitutional rights; that an equal representation of the American people in Parliament is for ever impracticable; that their partial representation would be worse even than taxation without their consent. They further enumerate as grievous the civil list independent of the people for officers holding commissions at the pleasure of the Crown; the Billeting Act; and the large powers of the Commissioners of the Customs appointed to reside at Boston.

‘The House,’ they continued, ‘is fully satisfied that your Assembly is too generous and liberal in sentiment, to believe that this letter proceeds from an ambition of taking the lead, or dictating to the other Assemblies. They freely submit their opinions to the judgment of others, and shall take it kind in [127] you to point out to them any thing further that may

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be thought necessary.’48

A fair copy of this Circular was ordered to be transmitted to England, to be produced in proof of its true spirit and design; they drew their system of conduct from reason itself, and despised concealment.

1 Garth to South Carolina, 25 Nov. 1767.

2 W. S. Johnson to Gov. Pitkin, 26 Dec. 1767. W. S. Johnson to Jared Ingersoll, 30 Nov. 1767. Franklin to Galloway, 1 Dec. 1767, in Works, VII. 369. N. Rogers to Hutchinson, 30 Dec. 1767. Miscellaneous letters ascribed to Junius, x. XXIX. and XXXI. in Bohm's edition, II. 146, 193, 199.

3 Lyttelton to Temple, in Lyttelton, 741.

4 Lyttelton to Temple, 25 Nov. 1767; Lyttelton, 737.

5 Compare Durand to Choiseul, 23 Nov. 1767.

6 Durand to Choiseul, 10 Dec. 1767.

7 Durand to Choiseul, 1 Feb, 1768.

8 Grenville Papers, IV. 184.

9 Compare the entry in the Dukes Diary of Oct. 1.

10 Durand to Choiseul, 13 Dec. 1767.

11 Durand to Choiseul, 8 Jan. 1768.

12 Durand to Choiseul, 18 Dec. 1767.

13 Durand to Choiseul, 10 Dec. 1767.

14 Durand to the Duke of Choiseul, 19 Jan. 1768. Du Chatelet to the Duke of Choiseul, 20 Feb. 1768.

15 Israel Mauduit to Hutchinson, 15 Dec. 1767.

16 I. Mauduit to Hutchinson, 10 Dec. 1767.

17 Durand to Choiseul, 11 December, 1767.

18 W. S. Johnson to R. Temple, 12 Feb. 1767. Franklin to W. Franklin, 19 Dec. 1767.

19 N. Rogers to Hutchinson, London, 30 Dec. 1766.

20 W. S. Johnson to Governor Pitkin, 26 Dec, 1766.

21 Durand to Choiseul, 1 Jan. 1768.

22 Causes &c., Works, IV. 242.

23 Durand to Choiseul, 21 Dec. 1767.

24 Durand to Choiseul, Dec. 1767. Compare Andrew Eliot to Thomas Hollis, 15 Dec. 1767.

25 Durand to Choiseul, 1 Jan. 1768.

26 W. S. Johnson to W. Pitkin, 13 Feb. 1768.

27 Franklin's works, VII. 507.

28 Hutchinson to Hillsborough, 18 April, 1768. ‘I have good reason to believe I am indebted to your Lordship for the form of the warrant,’ viz., ‘warrant for £ 200 per annum, on the Commissioner of the Customs.’

29 Andrew Eliot to T. Hollis, 10 Dec. 1767; and compare A. Eliot to Archdeacon Blackburne, 15 Dec. 1767.

30 Compare Andrew Eliot to Rev. William Harris, Dec. 1767.

31 Andrew Eliot to T. Hollis, 5 Jan. 1768; and compare Thomas Hollis to A. Eliot, 1 July, 1768.

32 The word is Bernard's; compare Bernard to Secretary of State, 5 March, 1768.

33 Letter of Hutchinson, of 17 Feb. 1768.

34 The curious inquirer may find this paper in which Otis reconciled himself to the position adopted alike by the Legislature of Massachusetts and the General Congress at New-York against an American representation in Parliament, in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, No. 561, page II. column 1, of Monday, December 30, 1765. The idea of ‘a general union of all parts of the British Empire under an equal and uniform direction, and system of laws,’ seems to me to have been always dear to him. His mind gave way before he came to the conclusion, to which he might have been led, on becoming convinced that such a union was impossible. In 1768 it still had many advocates in England and in America, Otis among the number.

35 The papers which I possess or have seen, compel me to say, that the document referred to is the work of Samuel Adams, both in its substance and in its form. The evidence for it is both internal and external. Internal evidence: 1. The paper has the style of Samuel Adams. This has been universally admitted. 2. It conveys the exact political opinions of Samuel Adams. One may see the lineaments of his mind in every sentence; and so true is this, that he who wishes a key to the political career of that statesman, from his coming into political life to his end, needs only to study this production. As to external evidence, 1. Andrew Eliot, a most estimable clergyman of Boston, thoroughly well informed, one of the most sensible men of that day, writing to Thomas Hollis on the twenty-seventh of September, 1768, for the purpose of correcting a mistake that had been made respecting the authorship of a paper which Hollis had reprinted in England, says expressly that this letter of the House to its Agent which Hollis had also reprinted, was written by Samuel Adams. Here is explicit contemporary authority of the most trustworthy kind. 2. The original document is said by the late Samuel Adams Welles (I have myself never seen it), to be in the handwriting of Samuel Adams; and there is no evidence that any part of it exists or ever existed in the handwriting of any one of his contemporaries. 3. Samuel Adams writing to Dennys de Berdt on the 30th of January, 1768, refers to this public letter from the House of Representatives, and describes it as a letter, ‘in which,’ to use the very words of S. Adams, ‘I have the good fortune to have my own private sentiments so exactly expressed, as to make it needless for me to say any thing of them in this letter.’ This seems to me to approach an acknowledgment, that the public letter was his own.

Indirect evidence abounds. Not only do the contemporary letters of Bernard and of Hutchinson, and the History of Hutchinson, and the biography of Eliot, attribute generally many Massachusetts State Papers to the pen of Samuel Adams, but there is also a report of a conversation between Otis and Samuel Adams, in which Otis, on the last day of June or early in July of this very year, blamed the latter for intending to print a public letter; and in the course of the dispute Otis said to S. Adams, ‘You are so fond of your own draughts that you can't wait for the publication of them to the proper time.’ This remark which referred to a letter to Lord Hillsborough, defending the letter to De Berdt and its consequences, speaks not of a draught of one letter, but generally of ‘draughts;’ which is in harmony with all the contemporary testimony. See the unpublished part of the letter of Bernard to Hillsborough, 9 July, 1768.

Otis was named first among the representatives of Boston, and placed at the head of Committees long after his powers had failed. It was excusable that his biographer, led by this circumstance, by his reputation as the beginner of the Revolutionary strife, and by the natural inclination of a writer of a life to illustrate his theme, should have readily adopted the opinion that Otis was the author of this and other similar pieces. The papers which prove the reverse have come to light or to notice since he wrote; and no doubt his candor if he still survived, would lead him to revise his opinion. The papers of this session are not in the style of Otis, nor do they contain his opinions; but contain opinions, which he, for himself individually, never made his own. Not one contemporary writer so much as hints at his being the author of them. The inquirer who will put together the papers known to have been written, or speeches uttered by Otis from midsummer 1767 to his retirement, will have no doubt left on his mind. The gradual increase of that irritability which finally mastered the intellect of Otis, began to be apparent before this time. He still continued to make long and perhaps frequent speeches, and still beyond all others manifested his loathing of the corrupt and selfish Crown Officers. But his remarks became more and more personal, and uncertainty hung over his opinions, which varied with his moods of mind. I know of no calmly written paper of any considerable length which can be attributed to him as its author after 1765.

36 Letter from the House of Representatives, to D. de Berdt, Agent for the Province in England, January 12, 1768, in Bradford's Massachusetts State papers, 124.

37 Bradford's Massachusetts State papers, 133.

38 The House of Representatives to Shelburne, 15 January, 1768, Bradford's State Papers, 137. Compare the contrary opinions of Otis, in Gordon's Hist. of the Amer. Rev. i. 228, 229.

39 House to Rockingham, 22 Jan. 1768, in Bradford, 142.

40 The True Sentiments of America: Contained in a Collection of Letters, &c. &c. Published at the instance of Thomas Hollis.

41 Of this document, I possess the draft as made by Samuel Adams with his own hand. Handwriting of itself does not prove authorship, but this paper seems to me to be no copy. The letter of Andrew Eliot also attributes the authorship of the Petition to Samuel Adams. Otis, too, used respecting it language of praise, quite inconsistent with his having been concerned in preparing it. See Bernard to Hillsborough, 9 July, 1768, not the printed Letter, which is an extract, but the original.

42 Compare Bernard to Shelburne, 18 Feb. 1768.

43 Bernard to the Secretary of State, 30 January, 1768, in Letter to the Ministry, 7. and Bernard to Shelburne, 2 Feb. 1768.

44 De Kalb to the Duke de Choiseul, Philadelphia, 15 January, 1768. But compare his letter to Choiseul of 20 January, 1768.

45 Bernard to Hillsborough, 19 May, 1768; and Same to Shelburne, 18 Feb. 1768.

46 Account by Samuel Adams in the Letter from the House to Hillsborough, 30 June, 1768.

47 Of this most important paper I possess the draft, in the handwriting of Samuel Adams. Besides that and the evidence of the contemporary letter by Andrew Eliot, the whole conduct of Samuel Adams for the next seven years is a perpetual proof that the measure was his own.

48 Bradford's Massachusetts State Papers, 134.

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