Front Page Titles (by Subject) 9 April 1774: TO JAMES WARREN. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 9 (Letters and State Papers 1799-1811)
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9 April 1774: TO JAMES WARREN. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 9 (Letters and State Papers 1799-1811) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 9.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO JAMES WARREN.
Boston, 9 April, 1774.
It is a great mortification to me to be obliged to deny myself the pleasure of a visit to my friends at Plymouth next week; but so fate has ordained it. I am a little apprehensive, too, for the State, upon this occasion, for it has heretofore received no small advantage from our sage deliberations at your fireside.
I hope Mrs. Warren is in fine health and spirits; and that I have not incurred her displeasure by making so free with the skirmish of the sea-deities, one of the most incontestable evidences of real genius which has yet been exhibited. For to take the clumsy, indigested conception of another, and work it into so elegant and classical a composition, requires genius equal to that which wrought another most beautiful poem out of the little incident of a gentleman’s clipping a lock of a lady’s hair with a pair of scissors. May a double portion of her genius, as well as virtues, descend to her posterity, which, united to the patriotism, &c., &c., &c., of &c., &c., &c., will make But I am almost in the strains of Hazelrod.2
The tories were never, since I was born, in such a state of humiliation as at this moment. Wherever I go, in the several counties, I perceive it more and more. They are now in absolute despair of obtaining a triumph without shedding an abundance of blood; and they are afraid of the consequences of this. Not that their humanity starts at it at all. The complaisance, the air of modesty and kindness to the Whigs, the show of moderation, the pains to be thought friends to liberty, and all that, is amazing. I admire the Jesuits! The science is so exquisite, and there are such immense advantages in it, that it is (if it were not for the deviltry of it) most ardently to be wished. To see them bowing, smiling, cringing, and seeming cordially friendly, to persons whom they openly avowed their malice against two years ago, and whom they would gladly butcher now, is provoking, yet diverting.
News we have none. Still! silent as midnight! The first vessels may bring us tidings which will erect the crests of the tories again, and depress the spirits of the whigs. For my own part, I am of the same opinion that I have been for many years, that there is not spirit enough on either side to bring the question to a complete decision, and that we shall oscillate like a pendulum, and fluctuate like the ocean, for many years to come, and never obtain a complete redress of American grievances, nor submit to an absolute establishment of parliamentary authority, but be trimming between both, as we have been for ten years past, for more years to come than you and I shall live. Our children may see revolutions, and be concerned and active in effecting them, of which we can form no conception.
TO WILLIAM WOODFALL.
Boston, 14 May, 1774.
I had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 12th of March yesterday, for which I thank you. Your plan of a newspaper to profess itself a general channel of American intelligence, is happily calculated, I think, to serve the interest both of the British and the American public.1
If it should be in my power at any time to communicate to you any material intelligence, I shall be glad of the opportunity; but I have very little connection with public affairs, and I hope to have less.
Indeed, the treatment we receive from our mother country, as we have always fondly called her, begins to discourage persons here from making any applications to her, upon any occasion or for any purpose. Intelligence, evidence, petitions, are sent continually, and have been sent for ten years, to no purpose. We begin almost to wish that Europe could forget that America was ever discovered, and America could forget that Europe ever existed.
The unexampled blockade of Boston is received here with a spirit of martyrdom. It will produce effects such as were not foreseen by the minister of State who projected it, or by the abandoned men in America, who suggested the project to him.
Nero wished that the inhabitants of Rome had but one neck, that he might have the pleasure of cutting it off with his own hand at one blow. This, as it would have speedily terminated their misery, was humanity in comparison of the minister’s project of turning famine into a populous city to devour its devoted inhabitants by slow torments and lingering degrees.
P. S. The commerce of this town of itself has been an essential link in a vast chain, which has made New England what it is, the southern provinces what they are, the West India islands what they are, and the African trade what that is, to say no more. The world will very soon see with horror, that this chain is broken by one blow.
TO JAMES WARREN.
Ipswich, 25 June, 1774.
I am very sorry I had not the pleasure of seeing you after your return from Salem, as I wanted a great deal of conversation with you on several subjects.
The principal topic, however, was the enterprise to Philadelphia. I view the assembly, that is to be there, as I do the court of Areopagus, the council of the Amphictyons, a conclave, a sanhedrim, a divan, I know not what. I suppose you sent me there to school. I thank you for thinking me an apt scholar, or capable of learning. For my own part, I am at a loss, totally at a loss, what to do when we get there; but I hope to be there taught.
It is to be a school of political prophets, I suppose, a nursery of American Statesmen. May it thrive and prosper and flourish, and from this fountain may there issue streams, which shall gladden all the cities and towns in North America, forever! I am for making it annual, and for sending an entire new set every year, that all the principal geniuses may go to the university in rotation, that we may have politicians in plenty. Our great complaint is the scarcity of men fit to govern such mighty interests as are clashing in the present contest. A scarcity indeed! For who is sufficient for these things? Our policy must be to improve every opportunity and means for forming our people, and preparing leaders for them in the grand march of politics. We must make our children travel. You and I have too many cares and occupations, and therefore we must recommend it to Mrs. Warren, and her friend Mrs. Adams, to teach our sons the divine science of the politics; and to be frank, I suspect they understand it better than we do.
There is one ugly reflection. Brutus and Cassius were conquered and slain. Hampden died in the field, Sidney on the scaffold, Harrington in jail, &c. This is cold comfort. Politics are an ordeal path among red hot ploughshares. Who, then would be a politician for the pleasure of running about barefoot among them? Yet somebody must. And I think those whose characters, circumstances, educations, &c., call them, ought to follow.
Yet I do not think that one or a few men are under any moral obligation to sacrifice for themselves and families all the pleasures, profits, and prospects of life, while others for whose benefit this is to be done lie idle, enjoying all the sweets of society, accumulating wealth in abundance, and laying foundations for opulent and powerful families for many generations. No. I think the arduous duties of the times ought to be discharged in rotation, and I never will engage more in politics but upon this system.
I must entreat the favor of your sentiments and Mrs. Warren’s what is proper, practicable, expedient, wise, just, good, necessary to be done at Philadelphia. Pray let me have them in a letter before I go.1
TO JOHN TUDOR.
Braintree, 23 July, 1774.
You will be surprised, I believe, to receive a letter from me, upon a matter which I have so little right to intermeddle with as the subject of this. I am sensible it is a subject of very great delicacy; but as it is of equal importance to your own happiness and that of your only son, I hope and believe you will receive it, as it is really meant, as an expression of my friendship both to yourself and him, without any other view or motive whatever.2
Your son has never said a word to me, but, from what I have accidentally heard from others, I have reason to believe that he is worried and uneasy in his mind. This discontent is in danger of producing very disagreeable effects, as it must interrupt his happiness, and as it may, and probably will, if not removed, injure his health, and, by discouraging his mind and depressing his spirits, disincline him to, or disqualify him for, his studies and business.
I believe, Sir, you are not so sensible as I am of the difficulty of a young gentleman’s getting into much business in the practice of the law. It must, in the best of times and for the most promising genius, be a work of time. The present situation of public affairs is such as has rendered this difficulty tenfold greater than ever. The grant from the crown of salaries to the judges, the proceedings of the two houses of assembly in relation to it, and the general discontent throughout all the counties of the province, among jurors and others, concerning it, had well nigh ruined the business of all the lawyers in the government, before the news of the three late acts of parliament arrived. These acts had put an end to all the business of the law in Boston. The port act of itself has done much towards this, but the other two acts have spread throughout the province such an apprehension, that there will be no business for courts for some time to come, that our business is at present in a manner at an end.
In this state of things I am sure it is impossible that your son’s income should be adequate to his necessary expenses, however frugal he may be, and I have heard that he complains that it is not.
The expenses for the rent of his office, for his board and washing, must come to a considerable sum annually, without accounting a farthing for other transient charges, which a young gentleman of the most sober and virtuous character can no more avoid than he can those for his bed and board. So that it is absolutely impossible but that he must run behind hand and be obliged to run in debt for necessaries, unless either he is assisted by his father, or leaves the town of Boston and betakes himself to some distant place in the country, where, if his business should not be more, his expenses would be vastly less.
I am well aware of the follies and vices so fashionable among many of the young gentlemen of our age and country, and, if your son was infected with them, I would never have become an advocate for him, without his knowledge, as I now am, with his father. I should think, the more he was restrained the better. But I know him to have a clear head and an honest, faithful heart. He is virtuous, sober, steady, industrious, and constant to his office. He is as frugal as he can be in his rank and class of life, without being mean.
It is your peculiar felicity to have a son whose behavior and character are thus deserving.
Now there can be nothing in this life so exquisitely painful to such a mind, so humiliating, so mortifying, as to be distrusted by his father, as to be obliged to borrow of strangers, or to run in debt and lie at mercy.
A small donation of real or personal estate, made to him now, would probably be of more service to him than ten times that sum ten years hence. It would give him a small income that he could depend upon; it would give him weight and reputation in the world; it would assist him greatly in getting into business.
I am under concern lest the anxiety he now struggles with should prove fatal to him. I have written this without his knowledge, and I do not propose ever to acquaint him with it. If you please you may burn this; only I must entreat you to believe it to flow only from real concern for a young gentleman whom I greatly esteem.
JOSEPH HAWLEY1 TO JOHN ADAMS.
Northampton, 25 July, 1774.
I never received nor heard of your letter of the 27th of June last, written at Ipswich, until the 23d instant. Immediately on the receipt of it, I set myself to consider of an answer to it.
What I first remark is, your great distrust of your abilities for the service assigned you. Hereon I say that I imagine I have some knowledge of your abilities, and I assure you, Sir, I gave my vote for you most heartily, and I have not yet repented of it. My opinion is, that our committee, taken together, is the best we could have taken in the province. I should be extremely sorry that any one of them should fail of going. The absence of any one of them will destroy that happy balance or equilibrium which they will form together. I acknowledge that the service is most important, and I do not know who is fully equal to it. The importance of the business ought not to beget despondency in any one, but to excite to the greatest circumspection, the most attentive and mature consideration, and calmest deliberation. Courage and fortitude must be maintained. If we give way to despondency, it will soon be all over with us. Rashness must be avoided. The end or effect of every measure proposed, must be thoroughly contemplated before it be adopted. It must be well looked to that the measure be feasible and practicable. If we make attempts, and fail in them, Lord North will call them impudent and futile, and the tories will triumph.
It appears to me, Sir, that the Congress ought first to settle with absolute precision, the object or objects to be pursued; as whether the end of all shall be the repeal of the tea duty only, or of that and the molasses act, or these and opening the port of Boston, or these and also the restoration of the charter of the Massachusetts Bay (for it is easy to demonstrate that the late act for regulation, &c., in its effect, annuls the whole charter, so far as the charter granted any privileges). When the objects or ends to be pursued are clearly and certainly settled, the means or measures to be used to obtain and effect those ends can be better judged of. Most certainly the objects must be definitely agreed on, and settled by Congress, first or last.
As to means and measures, I am not fully settled or determined in my own mind. It may not be prudent fully to explain myself in writing upon that head. The letter may miscarry.
You are pleased to say that extremities and ruptures it is our policy to avoid. I agree it, if any other means will answer our ends, or if it is plain that they would not. But let me say, Sir, that with me it is settled as a maxim and first truth, that the people or State who will not or cannot defend their liberties and rights, will not have any for any long time. They will be slaves. Some other State will find it out, and will subjugate them.
You say, Sir, that measures to check and interrupt the torrent of luxury, are most agreeable to your sentiments. Pray, Sir, did any thing ever do it, but necessity?
The institution of annual Congresses, you suppose, will brighten the chain, and would make excellent statesmen and politicians. I agree it. But pray, Sir, do not you imagine that such an institution would breed extremities and ruptures? It appears to me most clear that the institution, if formed, must be discontinued, or we must defend it with ruptures.
I suggested above that my letter might miscarry; and we do not know, when we write, to what hands our letters may come. I should therefore be extremely glad to see some, or all of the committee, as they pass through this country. If there were any hopes of obtaining the favor, I would beg them all to come through Northampton. It would not be more than twenty miles farther, and as good a road. But I imagine they will all pass through Springfield. And the favor I earnestly ask of you, Sir, is, that you would be pleased to inform by a letter by our post, what day you expect to be at Springfield, and I will endeavor to see the committee then, although I should wait there two or three days for it. Pray, Sir, do not fail of sending me this intelligence. You will probably receive this letter on Saturday this week, by Mr. Wilde, our post. He keeps Sabbath at Boston. He commonly comes out on Monday, about eleven o’clock. You may find him, or if you leave a letter for him, to take either at Messrs. Edes & Gill’s office, or at Messrs. Fleets, in the forenoon, it will probably come safe to me next week on Wednesday. I will prevail with him, if I can, to call on you to take a line from you for me. Information of the time you intend to be at Springfield, I am very anxious to obtain. Pray, Sir, oblige me with it.
But as it is possible that I may miss of seeing the committee, or any of them, which will indeed be to me a very great disappointment, I ask leave to make myself free enough to suggest the following, which, if you judge proper, I consent you should communicate to your brethren. You cannot, Sir, but be fully apprised, that a good issue of the Congress depends a good deal on the harmony, good understanding, and I had almost said brotherly love, of its members; and every thing tending to beget and improve such mutual affection, and indeed to cement the body, ought to be practised; and every thing in the least tending to create disgust or strangeness, coldness, or so much as indifference, carefully avoided. Now there is an opinion which does in some degree obtain in the other colonies, that the Massachusetts gentlemen, and especially of the town of Boston, do affect to dictate and take the lead in continental measures; that we are apt, from an inward vanity and self-conceit, to assume big and haughty airs. Whether this opinion has any foundation in fact, I am not certain. Our own tories propagate it, if they did not at first suggest it. Now I pray that every thing in the conduct and behaviour of our gentlemen, which might tend to beget or strengthen such an opinion, might be most carefully avoided. It is highly probable, in my opinion, that you will meet gentlemen from several of the other colonies, fully equal to yourselves or any of you, in their knowledge of Great Britain, the colonies, law, history, government, commerce, &c. I know some of the gentlemen of Connecticut are very sensible, ingenious, solid men. Who will go from New York, I have not heard, but I know there are very able men there; and by what we from time to time see in the public papers, and what our assembly and committees have received from the assemblies and committees of the more southern colonies, we must be satisfied that they have men of as much sense and literature as any we can or ever could boast of. But enough of this sort, and I ask pardon that I have said so much of it.
Another thing I beg leave just to hint;—that it is very likely that you may meet divers gentlemen in Congress, who are of Dutch, or Scotch, or Irish extract. Many more there are in those southern colonies of those descents, than in these New England colonies, and many of them very worthy, learned men. Quære, therefore, whether prudence would not direct that every thing should be very cautiously avoided which could give any the least umbrage, disgust, or affront to any of such pedigree. For as of every nation and blood, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him, so they ought to be of us. Small things may have important effects in such a business. That which disparages our family ancestors or nation, is apt to stick by us, if cast up in comparison, and their blood you will find as warm as ours.
One thing I want that the southern gentlemen should be deeply impressed with; that is, that all acts of British legislation which influence and affect our internal polity, are as absolutely repugnant to liberty and the idea of our being a free people, as taxation or revenue acts. Witness the present regulation act for this province; and, if we shall not be subdued by what is done already, like acts will undoubtedly be made for other colonies. I expect nothing but new treasons, new felonies, new misprisions, new præmunires, and, not to say the Lord, the devil knows what.
Pray, Sir, let Mr. Samuel Adams know that our top Tories here give out most confidently, that he will certainly be taken up before the Congress. I am not timid with regard to myself or friends, but I am satisfied that they have such advice from head-quarters. Please to give my hearty regards to him, the Speaker, and all the gentlemen of the Congress; and I beg that neither of them would on any account make default. If they do, there will be great searchings of heart. You may all manage the journey so that it will be pleasant, and very much serve your health. And that God would bless you all, is the most fervent prayer of, Sir,
Your hearty friend, &c.
Pray, Sir, do not fail of acquainting me when you shall be in our county.1
TO WILLIAM TUDOR.
Philadelphia, 29 September, 1774.
I wish it was in my power to write you any thing for the relief of your anxiety, under the pressure of those calamities which now distress our beloved town of Boston and province of Massachusetts. The sentiments expressed in your last to me, are such as would do honor to the best of citizens, in the minds of the virtuous and worthy, of any age or country, in the worst of times. Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori.
You have no adequate idea of the pleasures or the difficulties of the errand I am now upon. The Congress is such an assembly as never before came together, on a sudden, in any part of the world. Here are fortunes, abilities, learning, eloquence, acuteness, equal to any I ever met with in my life. Here is a diversity of religions, educations, manners, interests, such as it would seem almost impossible to unite in one plan of conduct. Every question is discussed with a moderation, an acuteness, and a minuteness equal to that of Queen Elizabeth’s privy council. This occasions infinite delays. We are under obligations of secrecy in every thing, except the single vote you have seen, approving the resolutions of the county of Suffolk. What effect this vote may have with you, is uncertain. What you will do, God knows. You say you look up to the Congress. It is well you should; but I hope you will not expect too much from us. The delegates here are not sufficiently acquainted with our province, and with the circumstances you are in, to form a judgment what course it is proper for you to take. They start at the thought of taking up the old charter; they shudder at the prospect of blood; yet they are unanimously and unalterably against your submission to any of the Acts for a single moment.
You see by this what they are for; namely, that you stand stock still, and live without government or law, at least for the present, and as long as you can. I have represented to them, whenever I see them, the utter impossibility of four hundred thousand people existing long without a legislature, or courts of justice. They all seem to acknowledge it, yet nothing can as yet be accomplished.
We hear perpetually the most figurative panegyrics upon our wisdom, fortitude, and temperance; the most fervent exhortations to perseverance; but nothing more is done.
I may venture to tell you that I believe we shall agree to non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation, but not to commence so soon as I could wish.
Indeed all this would be insufficient for your purpose; a more adequate support and relief to the Massachusetts should be adopted. But I tremble for fear we should fail of obtaining it.
There is, however, a most laudable zeal, and an excellent spirit, which every day increases, especially in this city. The Quakers had a general meeting last Sunday, and are deeply affected with the complexion of the times. They have recommended to all their people to renounce tea; and indeed the people of this city, of all denominations, have laid it generally aside, since our arrival here. They are about setting up companies of cadets, volunteers, &c., &c.
It is the universal opinion here, that General Gage is in the horrors, and that he means to act only on the defensive. How well this opinion is founded, you can judge better than I.
I must beseech you to show this letter to no man in whom you have not the most perfect confidence. It may do a great deal of mischief.
We have had numberless prejudices to remove here. We have been obliged to act with great delicacy and caution. We have been obliged to keep ourselves out of sight, and to feel pulses, and to sound the depths; to insinuate our sentiments, designs, and desires, by means of other persons, sometimes of one province, and sometimes of another. A future opportunity in conversation will, I hope, make you acquainted with all.
TO EDWARD BIDDLE.1
Braintree, 12 December, 1774.
I received your kind favor of 16th ultimo, with great pleasure, last week, at Cambridge. I rejoice at the proofs your city has given of her inflexible attachment to the public cause, and determination to support it. There are many names in your list of committee men, which I had not the pleasure of knowing; but there are abilities, virtues, and spirit enough, in those whom I know very well, to secure the good behaviour of any committee which could, I think, be chosen in your and my beloved city.
The letter to Quebec shall be faithfully and speedily forwarded. Our provincial Congress, and the committee of correspondence in Boston, have had under consideration various plans for opening a communication with several parts of that province.
You kindly inquire what we are doing or suffering. You will see by a printed pamphlet, which I will send you as soon as it is out, what our provincial congress has been doing—that is, you will see in part, not all. Our people, through the province, are everywhere learning the military art—exercising perpetually; so that, I suppose, if occasion should require, an army of fifteen thousand men, from this province alone, might be brought into the field in one week.
The difficulties we suffer, however, for want of law and government, are innumerable; a total stagnation of law and commerce almost. No man can pay his just debts, because he can get no business to do, by which he can earn any money, and if he has ever so much due to him, he cannot get a shilling of it from his debtors. We are trying, by a thousand experiments, the ingenuity as well as virtue of our people. The effects are such as would divert you. Imagine four hundred thousand people without government or law, forming themselves in companies for various purposes, of justice, policy, and war! You must allow for a great deal of the ridiculous, much of the melancholy, and some of the marvellous. I must not be particular, because my letter may miscarry.
I have sometimes wished, since my return, that we had fallen in, totis viribus, with the motion made by Mr. Ross, and seconded by Mr. Galloway, that this province should be left to her own discretion with respect to government and justice, as well as defence. Our provincial Congress had in contemplation some sublime conceptions, which would in that case have been carried rapidly into execution.
Your account of the General’s intended journey to Maryland, gave me great pleasure.1 I hope the continent will provide themselves, at this time, with arms and skill. No country ought ever to be without either.
The intuitive, the holy, the decisive spirits mentioned in a late Philadelphia paper, cannot avoid recollecting at this time, my friend, that the Grecian commonwealths were the most heroic confederacy that ever existed; the politest, bravest, and wisest of men. Their sculptors, painters, architects, poets, physicians, critics, historians, philosophers, orators, warriors, and statesmen, were the brightest ornaments of their whole species, and examples for imitation to all succeeding generations. The period of their glory was from the defeat of Xerxes to the rise of Alexander. Let us not be enslaved, my dear friend, either by Xerxes or Alexander.
The town of Boston is like Zion in distress. Seneca’s virtuous man struggling with adversity.
Spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat Deus.
Suffering amazing loss, but determined to endure poverty and death, rather than betray America and posterity.
Be pleased to present my most respectful compliments and grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Dickinson, Thomson, &c. I have not time to name them all. I mean almost the whole city of Philadelphia.
I should have written to you long before this, if I had not been prevented by an inflammation in my eyes, so violent that I have not been able to write or read. Pray write me as often as possible, and let me know how the fourth resolution in our bill of rights is relished and digested among the choice spirits along the continent. I had more anxiety about that, than all the rest. But I find it is extremely popular here. Our provincial Congress have approved and adopted it in strong terms. They consider it as a great point gained. They think it has placed our connection with Great Britain on its true principles, and that there is no danger from it to us, and there is quite as much allowed to her as either justice or policy requires.
TO JAMES BURGH.
Braintree, 28 December, 1774.
I have had the honor of receiving from you a present, in two volumes of Political Disquisitions. The very polite and obliging manner in which this present was conveyed to me, demands my grateful acknowledgments. But the present itself is invaluable.
I cannot but think those Disquisitions the best service that a citizen could render to his country at this great and dangerous crisis, when the British empire seems ripe for destruction, and tottering on the brink of a precipice. If any thing can possibly open the eyes of the nation, and excite it to exert itself, it must be such a sight of its danger, and of the imperceptible steps by which it ascended to it.
I have contributed somewhat to make the Disquisitions more known and attended to in several parts of America, and they are held in as high estimation by all my friends as they are by me. The more they are read, the more eagerly and generally they are sought for.
We have pleased ourselves in America with hopes that the publication of those Disquisitions, the exertions of the other friends of virtue and freedom in England, together with the union of sentiment and conduct of America, which appears by the proceedings of the Congress of Philadelphia, would have had their full operation and effect upon the nation, during the fall and winter, while the people were canvassing for elections; and that, in spite of bribery, some alteration in the House of Commons for the better might have been made. But the sudden dissolution of parliament, and the impatient summons for a new election, have blasted all these hopes. We now see plainly, that every trick and artifice of sharpers, gamblers, and horse-jockies, is to be played off against the cause of liberty in England and America; and that no hopes are to be left for either but in the sword.
We are, in this province, Sir, at the brink of a civil war. Our Alva, Gage, with his fifteen Mandamus counsellors, are shut up in Boston, afraid to stir, afraid of their own shades, protected with a dozen regiments of regular soldiers and strong fortifications in the town, but never moving out of it. We have no council, no house, no legislative, no executive. Not a court of justice has sat since the month of September. Not a debt can be recovered, nor a trespass redressed, nor a criminal of any kind brought to punishment. What the ministry will do next, is uncertain. Enforce the act for altering our government they cannot; all the regiments upon the establishment would not do it, for juries will not serve nor represent. Whatever Alva and his troops may think of it, it has required great caution and delicacy in the conduct of affairs to prevent their destruction. For my own part, I have bent my chief attention to prevent a rupture, and to impress my friends with the importance of preventing it. Not that I think the lives of five or ten thousand men, though my own should be one of them, would not be very profitably spent in obtaining a restoration of our liberties, but because I know that those lives would never go unrevenged, and it would be vain ever to hope for a reconciliation with Great Britain afterwards. Britons would not easily forgive the destruction of their brethren; I am absolutely certain that New England men never would that of theirs. Nor would any part of America ever forget or forgive the destruction of one New England man in this cause. The death of four or five persons, the most obscure and inconsiderable that could have been found upon the continent, on the 5th March, 1770, has never yet been forgiven by any part of America. What, then, would be the consequence of a battle in which many thousands must fall, of the best blood, the best families, fortunes, abilities, and moral characters in the country?
America never will submit to the claims of parliament and administration. New England alone has two hundred thousand fighting men, and all in a militia, established by law; not exact soldiers, but all used to arms.1
[2 ]The name of a character in the dramatic piece, written by Mrs. Warren, entitled The Group, and designed to ridicule the leading loyalists of the colony.
[1 ]Mr. Woodfall had sent out a copy of his proposals to publish a newspaper, designed to be a general channel of American intelligence, and to be called the London Packet.
[1 ]Compare the Diary of the same date. Vol. ii. p. 338. A letter of similar purport seems to have been addressed to Joseph Hawley from this place two days later, but no copy remains. See p. 342.
[2 ]William Tudor, the young man here mentioned, had been a student in the office of the writer. An interesting biographical memoir of him, from which this letter has been taken, is to be found in the 18th volume of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
[1 ]Of this remarkable man, it is to be regretted that so few traces remain. Even under the pen of an enemy like Hutchinson, his character shines like burnished gold.
[1 ]The delegates did not pass through Springfield. Mr. Hawley, being disappointed in meeting with them, and being desirous to communicate his views of the measures to be pursued at this crisis, sent them the remarkable paper entitled “Broken hints, to be communicated to the committee of Congress for the Massachusetts,” which is inserted in the appendix (A) to this volume.
[1 ]The address of this letter does not appear upon the imperfect draught that has been preserved. It is now given by conjecture from the context. That the person must have been one of the seven delegates of Pennsylvania to the first Congress, is obvious. Of these it could not have been Galloway, or Ross, or Dickinson, for they are mentioned in the third person. The reason for selecting Mr. Biddle from the four remaining is, that he was on the committee which reported the bill of rights alluded to in the last paragraph, and therefore familiar with the writer’s relation to the fourth article; and that the business not completed by the Congress, seems to have been left in his care. He was chairman, with Messrs. Dickinson and Thomson, herein alluded to together, to superintend the publication of the journal; and probably likewise had charge of the distribution of the letter to Quebec. It must have been in this capacity that he addressed the letter to Mr. Adams, to which this is the reply; as the Congress had recommended that the delegates of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York, should assist in the dispersion of that document. By a memorandum inserted in the American Archives, it appears that three hundred copies had been forwarded to Boston on the 16th of November.
[1 ]This must have been General Charles Lee.
[1 ]Incomplete—the rest on a leaf, which has been torn off.