Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
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. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO WILLIAM TUDOR.
Quincy, 11 August, 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, chapter 22, section 9th, is quoted, “All laws, by-laws, usages, or customs, at this time, or which hereafter shall be in practice, or endeavored or pretended to be in force or practice in any of the plantations, which are in any wise repugnant to the before mentioned laws or any of them, so far as they do relate to the said plantations, or any of them, or which are 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 his 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-grandsons, 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.”1
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 one hundred and twelve pounds, imported from any other place than the English plantations in America, eight shillings over and above what the same is charged with in the book of rates.”
The next statute that I recollect at present to have been introduced upon that occasion, was the 6th of George II., chapter 13, “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 Great 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 ninepence, money of Great Britain, to be paid according to the proportion and value of five shillings and sixpence 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 sixpence 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. ii., 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 showed it to be more than sufficient to support all the crown officers.
[1 ] II. W. 3, c. 12; 3, 4 of An. c 5 and 10; 6 of An. c. 30, 8 of An. c. 13; 9 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, c. 9.