Front Page Titles (by Subject) DLXXXII: FROM SAMUEL COOPER - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775
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DLXXXII: FROM SAMUEL COOPER - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. VI (Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775).
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FROM SAMUEL COOPER
Boston, 9 September, 1774.
My last was on the 15th of August, in which I gave you some account of the state of our affairs. About twenty of the council appointed by the king took the oath; since which, one half, not being able to stand the public odium, have resigned. All who now hold the commissions, not living in Boston, have retired here, under the protection of the army. Our superior court of justice met here, with the chief-justice at their head; but the juries, to a man, refused to serve. The courts through the province are at an end. Sheriffs, justices, and clerks have either made their peace with the people, by solemnly promising not to act upon the new laws, or have fled to this poor proscribed town as an asylum. The lieutenant-governor, who was obliged to resign his commission as counsellor, at his house in Cambridge, being surrounded with four thousand people; and his neighbors, Sewall, the attorney-general, sheriff Phips, and Borland, live in Boston. Town meetings are held all over the provinces; even at Salem and in Danvers, while General Gage resided there with a regiment and two additional companies. He, indeed, ordered a warrant to be made out against the committee of correspondence in Salem, who called the meeting. Two gave bonds for their appearance, three refused and were let alone. The justice, I am told, who issued the warrant has since acknowledged his error, and asked pardon of the people.
These things have been effected chiefly by county meetings, composed from delegates of the several towns. A provincial congress of delegates from all the counties is soon to be held at Concord. The people say their all is at stake; they act only on the defensive; should they allow the new regulations to take place, property and life are at the mercy of men incensed against them, and they should soon be incapable of making any opposition, even a commercial one. The people assembled at Cambridge were landholders, led by captains of the towns, representatives, and committeemen. The selectmen and committee of correspondence for this town went from hence to confer with them, and prevent things from coming to extremities; for a rumor had been propagated that the whole country, incensed at the governor’s taking the provincial powder by a party of soldiers from Charlestown, and inflamed by false reports, were coming to Boston to demand the restitution of the powder, in the face of the army. Happily this did not prove true; and, if there were any misapprehensions in the body, they were removed by the representations of the gentlemen from Boston, who observed to them that the governor had a right to dispose of the provincial military stores, though not those that belonged to the towns, which he had not as yet touched.
This movement of the governor occasioned, however, an extensive alarm. Reports flew through the country that he was disarming the inhabitants of Boston, and seizing all the ammunition through the province; and that the fleet and army had attacked the town. These false reports being credited for awhile, many thousands of people, especially in the western parts of the province, were immediately in arms, and in full march for this place, to relieve their brethren or share their fate. Thousands were in motion from Connecticut; for the New England provinces are one in sentiment and spirit upon these matters; but, being informed of facts, they quietly returned home, sending their messengers from all quarters, signifying their determination to act unitedly upon any warrantable occasion.
I forgot to mention that Commissioner Hallowell passed through Cambridge while the body was there. He had gone by some time when it was stated by somebody that it might be proper to have a conference with him. A number of men on horseback instantly set out to bring him back, but were stopped immediately by some gentlemen from Boston, and dissuaded from their purpose. A single horseman of his own head went on, and, coming up to him in a chaise with a companion and a servant on horseback, told him he must stop and go back. Hallowell snapped his pistol twice at him, got upon his servant’s horse, rode with the utmost speed to town, followed by the horseman, till he came within call of the guard at the entrance of the town.
An apprehension was soon spread through the camp that the country was coming in against them in armed multitudes. The guards were doubled, cannon were placed on the Neck, and the army lay on their arms through the night. The entrance into this town is now fortifying by the soldiery. The selectmen have remonstrated to the governor that, if he goes on, the inhabitants are so uneasy they must abandon the town; which they declare they had rather do, and see it in flames, than be totally enslaved in it. Transports are despatched to New York and Quebec for more troops, though we have already five regiments, with a large train; one more at the castle, and another coming from Salem. At that place about thirty chests of tea lately arrived from London, which the inhabitants will not permit to be landed. What, my dear sir, will be the end of these things? The country seems determined to run all hazards in defence of their rights.
I send this by Mr. Quincy, a gentleman bred to the law, highly esteemed for his parts and learning, a warm friend to the rights of America. He has published a pamphlet on the Port Bill, and been encouraged by some of the most respectable gentlemen among us to make a visit to England, as he is capable of giving the best account of our affairs. To him I must refer you for further particulars. I have written facts to the best of my knowledge, and, leaving you to reason or conjecture from them, I am, etc.,