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CHAPTER IV: The New England Historical Conscience - Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience 
The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998).
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The New England Historical Conscience
The Revolutionary generation of New Englanders was deeply absorbed in its historical origins. Just as seventeenth-century New Englanders had been understandably proud of their Puritan faith and the founders of their colonies, so eighteenth-century New Englanders maintained that pride and developed a keen interest in their English origins. Puritan anxiety for the survival of their faith had created a favorable climate for public education in New England. This concern assured more than an educated clergy; it meant an educated—a historically educated—political leadership.
Although the clergy had declined in influence by the eighteenth century, they still occupied a position of importance and respect. They worked, lived, and argued with such political figures as John and Samuel Adams, James Otis, and Josiah Quincy, Jr., and with such men the clergy played a vital role in formulating New England political opinion.
One of the more interesting survivals from the seventeenth-century theocracy was the Election Sermon (the first was in 1634, the last probably in 1884), given at the May meeting of the General Court. Since this coincided with the annual Boston convention of the clergy, ministers from all over New England became disseminators of new ideas. According to one scholar, the Election Sermon was second only to the colonial newspapers in successfully propagating political arguments.1 A clergyman could argue effectively for resistance to tyranny as a sacred duty; a Samuel Adams in the audience would apply the Christian lesson to his secular cause, and be strengthened.
The common denominators to the clergy and the lay politician were significant. The minister went to the same college as his political associate, read the same books, and arrived at many of the same conclusions. The sources cited by the divines in their sermons often read like a directory of “True Whig” historians. The classical authors—Tacitus, Sallust (both in the Thomas Gordon translation), Plutarch, and Caesar—were closely followed by Locke and Sidney, Coke and Somers, Burnet and Rapin. Andrew Eliot, of South Church in Boston, admitted that it was Algernon Sidney, the “Martyr to civil Liberty,” who first taught him “to form any just sentiments on government,” sentiments Eliot developed by reading John Trenchard’s History of Standing Armies and Marchamont Nedham’s familiar Excellencie of a Free State.2 Jonathan Mayhew, of Boston’s West Church, was equally attached to Sidney and not only used Gordon’s Tacitus, but also admired his Cato’s Letters.3
Mayhew was probably the most outstanding of New England’s politically minded clerics. A “transcendent genius” according to John Adams, Jonathan Mayhew was an early advocate of “the principles and feelings” for which the Revolution was undertaken.4 The problems of religion and life were one and the same to Mayhew. At Harvard he wrote in his notebooks that he was determined to discover “the Affairs, Actions and Thoughts of the Living and the Dead, in the most remote Ages and the most distant Nations.”5 He carefully studied “the Characters and Reign etc of K[ing]. C[harles]. I” for a better understanding of the origins of the Puritan migration. To this end he studied Whitelocke’s Memorials (“an exquisite scholar”) and read the Memoirs of “honest Ludlow” the regicide. He admired Milton’s account of the English Commonwealth and noted that the rebellion came because “Charles the first had sinned flagrantly and repeatedly” against “the antient form of Government” in England.6
The use to which Mayhew put such studies is best seen in his controversial Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission, a sermon delivered on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the execution of Charles I on January 30, 1649/50. Taking vigorous issue with recent Anglican efforts to portray Charles as a martyred monarch, Mayhew began his refutation with some remarks on the antiquity of English liberties. The English constitution, he asserted, “is originally and essentially free.” Roman sources, such as the reliable Tacitus, made it clear that “the ancient Britains … were extremely jealous of their liberties.” England’s monarchs originally held title to their throne “solely by grant of parliament,” which meant the ancient English kings ruled “by the voluntary consent of the people.”7
If Mayhew’s history showed him a familiar pre-Norman political utopia in England, it also proved the right of all men “to vindicate their natural and legal rights.” On this principle Tarquin was expelled from ancient Rome; on this principle the conquering and tyrannical Julius Caesar was “cut off in the senate house”; and on this principle Charles I “was beheaded before his own banqueting house,” and James II had to flee from the country “which he aim’d at enslaving.” All men had rights; but Englishmen had a record for maintaining theirs despite the tyrannical efforts of misguided kings like Charles I.8
After forty pages of such historical discourse, Mayhew reached the main point of his sermon: the essential rightness of the execution of an English king. Mayhew did not mince his words. Charles had governed in “a perfectly wild and arbitrary manner,” paying no regard to the constitutional limitations upon his royal authority. Charles was a victim of his own “natural lust for power,” and the evil influence of wicked councilors. His execution was the deserved fate of a monarch who levied taxes without the consent of his people, who set up arbitrary courts, who “reduced the Sabbath with his Book in favor of sports” and openly encouraged Roman Catholicism. Opposition to Charles could not be treason—in Mayhew’s view Charles was no longer a king after his attempt to change a free and happy government into “a wretched, absolute monarchy.” Charles had “unkinged himself” long before his trial. England did not execute a monarch, but “a lawless tyrant.” The date of January 30 should be “a standing memento that Britons will not be slaves.” And lest the political lesson be missed, Mayhew gave due notice that the death of a Stuart tyrant should be “a warning to all corrupt councellors and ministers, not to go too far in advising to arbitrary, dispotic measures.”9
Mayhew’s religious message was overshadowed by his historical discussion. Those interested in theology might discover, if they listened carefully, that Mayhew believed the biblical injunction to submit to higher powers was meant for good rulers only; bad rulers—like Charles I and his sons—were the devil’s ministers, not the Lord’s. Mayhew’s religion showed there was no obligation to obey a bad king; his history showed the positive action that could be taken against tyranny.
The vigor of Mayhew’s presentation established his political reputation. His sermon was published not only in Boston, but in London as well—in 1752 and again in 1767.10 In Boston, John Adams remembered long afterward, Mayhew’s sermon “was read by everybody.”11 This included some angry Anglicans who quoted Stuart sympathizers like Lord Clarendon, or resorted to the argument that a king should be obeyed because he is a king.12 Among others who joined the newspaper controversy over Charles I were Mayhew supporters who wrote to the Boston Evening-Post citing Burnet: Charles I “had a high Notion of Regal Power, and thought that every Opposition to it was Rebellion.” The same newspaper also published a definition of a good king: such a monarch “has imprison’d none against the law, granted no Monopolies to the Injury of Trade, collected no Ship-Money, rob’d none of their Religious Liberties … all which … were flagrant in the Tyrannical Reigns of the Steward-Family,” so well known for their “violent Attachment to Popery and Arbitrary Power.”13
Mayhew had indeed (as John Adams noted) revived Puritan “animosities against tyranny.” In his Election Sermon before Governor William Shirley in 1754, Mayhew returned to his theme that “loyalty and slavery are not synonymous.” “Monarchical government,” he declared, “has no better foundation in the oracles of God, than any other.”14 In 1765, with the provocation of the Stamp Act to consider, Mayhew delivered another moving discourse on the virtues of liberty and the iniquity of tyranny. The essence of slavery, he announced, consists in subjection to others—“whether many, few, or but one, it matters not.”15 The day after his sermon the Boston mob attacked Chief Justice Thomas Hutchinson’s house, and many thought Mayhew was responsible. Mayhew did his best to disavow any association with the mob’s action; violence of this sort, he said, was a poor cloak for “zeal for liberty.”16 The tyranny of the mob was as bad as the tyranny of the British Parliament.
Mayhew’s case against England was essentially conservative. He wanted to preserve the constitutional rights belonging to all Englishmen. During the decade preceding his untimely death in 1766, Mayhew read widely on the legal rights of Englishmen in America. His happy correspondence with Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn brought a steady stream of handsome history books to his Boston home. Hollis, as Caroline Robbins has noted, “thought that England had discovered liberty and that it should be shared with other people.” A wealthy man, Hollis sponsored fine new editions of Locke, Sidney, and Milton, sending copies to Mayhew.17 Hollis also arranged for his literary friends to send Mayhew their productions. Catherine Macaulay supplied Mayhew with volumes of her History of England; Mayhew read her treatment of the Stuarts “with great pleasure.” As Mayhew exclaimed to Hollis, Mrs. Macaulay wrote “with a Spirit of Liberty, which might shame many great Men (so called) in these days of degeneracy, and tyrannysm and oppression.”18 Mayhew also returned to Cato’s Letters (which he had first read at Harvard) and was so moved at rereading Trenchard’s essay on the proper treatment of colonies that he urged Hollis to have the piece reprinted in the London press. Hollis was delighted to respond, and in October 1765 readers of the St. James’ Chronicle were duly regaled with Trenchard’s timely item from the fourth volume of Cato’s Letters.19 Londoners thus had an opportunity to agree with Mayhew that Trenchard offered “many things much to the present purpose … which look almost like prophecy.”20 Hollis not only kept Mayhew well supplied with reading matter, but also offered observations on the discouraging tone of such books. Mayhew became increasingly worried over the future of the Anglo-American connection. As he confessed to Hollis, “the account which you give me, as well as others, of the political state of Affairs in England, is extremely afflictive to me; and fills me with very gloomy apprehensions.”21
Mayhew’s matured conclusions were most cogently presented in his Thanksgiving Sermon, The Snare Broken. Since he died of a stroke shortly after, this was Mayhew’s political valedictory. But he died comforted by the news of the repeal of the Stamp Act; he had lived to see a measure of British recognition for colonial constitutional rights. What mattered to Mayhew was that England should continue to respect American liberties. The mother country must recall that her colonists were historically “freeborn, never made slaves by the right of conquest in war.” England must remember that the colonists were English and entitled by Magna Charta to fundamental constitutional privileges, confirmed in colonial charters. The Stamp Act, calling for taxation without colonial consent, had clearly violated the most basic of colonial rights, derived from Magna Charta, colonial charters, and the British constitution. It was now up to aroused Americans to prevent future violations: “History, one may presume to say, affords no example of any nation, country, or people long free, who did not take some care of themselves.” Only by being alert would Americans avoid “that ugly Hag Slavery, the deformed child of Satan.” Mayhew was happy over the end of the Stamp Act; but he feared complacency, for history supplied too many horrid examples of what could happen to a sleeping people. And yet Mayhew found room for some optimism. “Let us not be insensible of our own felicity,” he urged. The chief threat to future happiness lies with the few “evil-minded individuals in Britain” who in the past had ensnared King and Parliament. Americans were not faced with the need for change or innovation; they now knew their rights and liberties, and they knew their historical and constitutional foundation. If innovations came, they would come from England. Americans needed only to hold tight to what they knew they were entitled to.22
The Snare Broken enjoyed three editions before the end of 1766. It was a distinguished political testament, written in a language understood by contemporaries and supported by familiar authorities. Mayhew had relied heavily upon such relatively recent writers as Sidney, Milton, and Locke, saying “I liked them; they seemed rational.”23 Mayhew was not a political philosopher.24 He saw politics as a tool of religion, and he made civil and religious liberty his inseparable goals. “The purpose of the divine mission of Jesus Christ,” he said, “is the happiness of man: but that happiness can only result from Virtue, and virtue is inseparable from Civil Liberty.”25 His contributions to the American Revolution were a religious justification of the movement and a clerical endorsement of the patriot politicians. He reminded his congregation of the antiquity of the rights for which he stood, recalling the principles of the Puritans of the seventeenth century and demonstrating the derivation of New England principles in the eighteenth century. His public recollection of earlier royal tyrants was intended to awaken his people to present dangers. He never forgot the Stuarts. “Four princes,” he called them, “whose reigns were all inglorious”; they were men “of great pride and vanity, of arbitrary notions and practices, of little wisdom, policy or discretion.”26 Their Hanoverian successors now presided over “a nation where infidelity, irreligion, corruption and venality, and almost every kind of vice, seems to have been increasing all the time!”27
Mayhew was far from alone in his historical interests. James Lockwood, who gave the Election Sermon in 1759, also discussed the justifiable beheading of Charles I and the appropriate removal of James II by a nation then “jealous of their liberties.” William Patten in Plymouth County gave a sermon in 1766 on the importance of popular over private good, and illustrated his lesson by pointing to the familiar examples of Charles I and James II; Patten urged his congregation: “Let us be exhorted, to ‘stand fast in the liberty’ wherewith, both the God of nature, and the british constitution, have made us free.” In Providence, Rhode Island, David Rowland celebrated the end of the Stamp Act with a sermon on the early history of English liberty and concluded that “it is our happiness under English government to enjoy whatever we have a natural right to.”28
But perhaps the minister who best maintained the political views of Mayhew was Isaac Skillman, of Boston’s Second Baptist Church. Skillman gave an enormously popular Thanksgiving Sermon in Boston after the Gaspée incident of 1772; his Oration Upon the Beauties of Liberty, or, the Essential Rights of Americans earned five new editions within two years. Dedicating his sermon to Lord Dartmouth and calling himself “a British Bostonian,” Skillman began by carefully disassociating himself from any criticism of the King: George III, declared Skillman, surely did not mean to attempt tyranny; he must know (as Mayhew claimed Charles I must have known) that a tyrannical monarch ceases to be a king, since as a tyrant he has broken his coronation oath to govern justly. George must certainly recall the fate of Charles I, and should he “tread in the same steps, what can he expect?” Skillman professed the deepest love for his King, but, he said, “I revere the rights of an Englishman before the authority of any King upon the Earth.”29
According to Skillman the chief enemy of Englishmen was ministerial tyranny. It was up to the King and Parliament to set straight their own house. They should correct mistaken policies and recall their history. They might profit, he suggested, from Burnet’s History of His Own Time (so “noble, valuable and great”) and from restudying the record of monarchical and Parliamentary tyranny in the seventeenth century. History, claimed Skillman, “shews, that an arbitrary dispotic power in a prince, is the ruin of a nation. … Every Age and every history furnishes us with proofs, as clear as the light of the morning.” History showed Skillman that “it is no rebellion to oppose any King, ministry, or governor, that destroys … the rights of the people.” George III ruled as much by compact in America as in England. He had no hereditary right, as in Hanover; “it cannot be a parliamentary right, that lies in Britain.” It was manifestly not a right by conquest—and never would be. George III had contracted to defend colonial religious and civil rights; if he broke his contract the King became the real rebel.30
Skillman’s use of history, his sources, and his arguments are comparable to Mayhew’s. The language is stronger, the threats less disguised, but unlike Mayhew, Skillman had lived to see the Townshend Acts and the Boston Massacre. New England clergymen were keenly exercised over British tyranny because their ancestors had fled England to avoid Stuart oppressions. Their history deepened their sense of alarm. Contemporary England seemed to resemble the corrupted country of Charles II. As Andrew Eliot of Boston, successor to Mayhew in the confidence of Thomas Hollis, confessed, “I tremble for the nation which has so few honest patriots—These few I fear will not be able to Stem the torrent of Ambition Luxury and Venality.”31
The clergy trembled and they thundered. They feared tyranny, and they feared immorality and spiritual decay. They joined battle with a mother country oblivious of its political and moral obligations, and ultimately separation seemed essential to avoid the contagion of English “swearing, lying, killing, stealing, adultery.” The England of their historical admiration was apparently gone forever. “The general prevalence of vice,” concluded Samuel Langdon of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1775, “has changed the whole face of things in the British government.” Now he saw “a mere shadow of its ancient political system.”32 With singular felicity of phrase, Samuel Stillman, pastor of Boston’s First Baptist Church, summed up his private feeling of political compulsion: after the Coercive Acts of 1774, “we have,” he wrote Patience Wright, “too great a Sense of the Privileges of Englishmen, too much of the Spirit of Britons, and too great a Conviction of our own Importance, to consent to be Slaves.” As a footnote, Stillman asked his correspondent to remember him to that “celebrated female Advocate for the Rights of Mankind, Mrs. Macaulay.”33 The New England clergy’s arguments for resistance to English misrule contributed much to colonial unity on the eve of independence.
If Mayhew led New England clerical criticism of England, James Otis mounted the first political offensive using the law as justification. A Harvard graduate, Otis was able to study history with the resources of his college library. He developed a taste for reading and wanted to buy books for himself. In a familiar type of student letter, Otis was soon asking his father for more money: “If you Can possibly Spare Some money for to buy me Some Books if it is but ten Pounds-worth for if I live at home next Year in order to follow my Studies I had as good pretend to Run with my legs tyed as to make any Progress with what Books I have.”34 Evidently his father responded obligingly, despite his son’s lack of punctuation, for Otis encountered no difficulties in his law studies with the esteemed Jeremiah Gridley, then Attorney General of Massachusetts Bay. Otis was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1748, but began his career as a lawyer by spending more time with his books than with clients.35 He read his Coke with care and studied the works of William Hawkins, whose Abridgement of the First Part of Lord Coke’s Institutes and Pleas of the Crown were as useful as they were popular. Otis studied English common law carefully. The Writs of Assistance case gave him his opportunity to demonstrate his legal acumen.
The writs were a species of search warrant used with vigor against colonial smugglers after 1755. More effective than ordinary search warrants, the writs enabled any customs official in company with a court officer to conduct a general search in any place or habitation where smuggled goods were believed to be. These writs originated during the reign of Charles II and were extended to the American colonies by the Navigation Act of 1696. The only limitation to these broad authorizations for search was that a writ expired six months after the death of a reigning sovereign. Thus upon the death of George II in October 1760, Thomas Lechmere, Surveyor General of the Customs in America, applied to the Massachusetts Superior Court for fresh authority. The Court agreed to hear the opposition of Massachusetts merchants as presented by Oxenbridge Thacher and James Otis; the case for the Crown was made by Attorney General Gridley, Otis’ legal mentor.36
The actual legality of the writs can hardly be questioned. While, as William Blackstone conceded, a general warrant “is illegal and void for it’s certainty,”37 Parliament had always reserved the right to make exceptions, and English legal usage indicated that similar writs had long been observed.38 Consequently when Otis reviewed the question of their legality, he came in conflict with the established authority of Parliament itself, and his blunt denial of Parliament’s power captured the imagination of John Adams.
“Otis was a flame of fire,” according to this enraptured listener in the Massachusetts Court. “Every man of an immense crowded audience,” Adams continued, “appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of Assistance. Then and there, was the first scene of the first act of opposition, to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain.” Although some may dispute Adams’s conclusion that “then and there, the child Independence was born,” there is general agreement that Otis offered a persuasive and eloquent argument.39
Otis’s approach was that of a lawyer who had investigated the history of common law, which he regarded as the protection of all Englishmen, wherever located. For Otis, the British constitution was essentially a government of law, a law which was superior to both executive and legislature, a law which went back (as Coke claimed) to time immemorial. Otis searched into “the old Saxon laws,” he reviewed the affirmations of Magna Charta and “the fifty confirmations of it in Parliament,” and like Mayhew he took careful note of past occasions when the fundamental laws of England had been violated. He identified the writs with the kind of power “which in a former period of English history, cost one King of England his head, and another his throne.”
Otis now reached the heart of his case: Parliament had no constitutional authority to authorize writs which contradicted the “fundamental rights” of Englishmen. He based his argument on Coke’s opinion in Bonham’s Case (1606) as cited in Charles Viner’s General Abridgement of Law and Equity,40 but Otis was probably familiar with Coke’s original comment (in his Reports) that “it appears in our books, that in many cases, the common law will control acts of parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void.”41
Otis saw in this a historical substantiation for his contention that the writs were indeed against English common law and therefore void. Although he had looked deeply into historical precedents, and sought to support his argument with previous examples, the weight of legal authority in the past was frequently against him. So he relied on more ancient, more fundamental principles. There could be, he declared, “NO PRESCRIPTION old enough to supersede the law of nature.” In pleading that an act of Parliament against common law was void, he argued out of the “Proeme” of Coke’s Second Institutes against the legal precedents cited by Gridley. He insisted that Americans were fully entitled to the rights guaranteed under common law and also the rights beyond it, rights which he believed controlled common law. Englishmen in America, he pleaded, could claim the same privileges “as any inhabitant of London or Bristol, or any part of England.”42 He impressed Chief Justice Hutchinson, a historian himself, but the decision of the Court was in favor of the writs. No one was greatly surprised when Parliament confirmed its belief in its own authority by reenacting the writs in the Townshend Acts of 1767.
Although defeated in this first encounter, Otis did not abandon his concern for colonial rights. Unhappily while he was sufficiently positive about what such rights should be, he was far from consistent on the proper course of colonial action to reclaim them. Otis thought of himself as a realist who had clearly in mind the political goals which should be achieved, but his realism fell short of formulating any specific course of action designed to achieve these goals. His historical and legal investigations gave him a clear enough concept of what should be ultimate colonial objectives, but his periodic flirtation with political ambition disconcerted and alienated many of his earlier admirers.
He never gave up his claim for colonial equality with Englishmen in the mother country with respect to constitutional rights, but he was sometimes prepared to suggest this equality meant an equal subjection to Parliament as a result.43 On the other hand, his initial conclusion about the supremacy of common law acted as a useful brake upon rash conceptions of Parliamentary supremacy in all things. Parliament’s authority was subordinate to common law, and since common law could not be abrogated, any Parliamentary effort to tax America must necessarily be illegal. It followed that if Parliament sought to exert an illegal authority, the colonies would be legally correct in resisting.
And yet this seems like a legalistic game that Otis was playing. He had found a convincing justification for but declined to advocate Revolutionary action despite the provocation of the Sugar and Stamp Acts.44 Clifford K. Shipton has argued that Otis made frequent admission of the power of Parliament (while simultaneously denying the equity of the use of such authority) in the hope that recognition of a de facto situation would propitiate that body and avoid oppression.45 This seems doubtful: Otis surely had little to hope for from a Parliament which he had already attacked for exceeding its constitutional role. His reading seems to have convinced him of the decay of this very body whose judgment he now appears ready to accept. Of the House of Lords, he publicly asserted in 1768 that “’tis notoriously known there are no set of people … more venal, more corrupt and debauched in their Principles.” He admitted the peers could claim to be educated, but what did they learn at Oxford and Cambridge? “Why—nothing at all but Whoring, Smoking and Drinking.” And the Commons were no better: they were “a parcel of Button-makers, Pin-makers, Horse Jockeys, Gamesters, Pensioners, Pimps and Whore Masters.”46 This, it should be remembered, was offered in the same year that Otis also announced “the power of parliament over her colonies was absolute,” and if only there were a few Americans in Westminster, then “the power of parliament would be as perfect in America as in England.”47
Otis seems to have been unable to accept the implication of his original contentions; yet he would not give them up. He signed the Stamp Act Congress Resolutions only with the greatest of reluctance, because “Parliament had a right to tax the colonies, and he was a d—d fool who denied it.”48 Still, he obviously resented Parliamentary interference in colonial affairs. Later he challenged Parliament to repeal the Townshend duties—“or else they [the English] are lost forever!” He was distressed by the continued presence in America of British troops, troops which would obviously remain as long as there was a crisis. History, he recalled, “is full of examples, that armies, stationed as guards over provinces, have seized the prey of their general, and given him a crown at the expense of his master.” England should therefore beware lest “another Caesar should arise and usurp the authority of his master.” He knew Caesar as “the destroyer of the roman glory and grandeur,” and usurpation might well be the way to British imperial disaster.49
And so Otis moved from one political posture to another. One moment he could threaten George III with the fate of Charles I; on another occasion he could recommend trust in Parliament’s wisdom; and another time he would subordinate Parliament to common law, and remind that body of its obligation to respect the historical and legal right of Britons to be “as free on one side of the atlantic as on the other.”50 His reputation suffered from his apparently erratic conduct. But by first questioning the legal authority of Parliament in his Writs of Assistance case in 1761, and, after his coffeehouse brawl with John Robinson a decade later,51 by being a living martyr to British brutality, Otis made his most direct contributions to the colonial cause. He may have been a prisoner to a reputation more radical than he sought. But Otis popularized an important historical conclusion: an appeal to “the rights and privileges confirmed and secured … by the British Constitution” could be used to deny British authority. These rights were “our best inheritance.”52
Samuel Adams was no lawyer, nor was he particularly learned, yet in contrast to Otis, he was a wonderfully single-minded man. There could be no question of his extreme hostility, or the consistency of his opposition, to British rule. He was willing to employ any means to gain his ends. He was an uncommonly tough-minded politician, a skillful agitator, who capitalized upon every possible opportunity.53
Lacking the broad intellectual interests of his cousin John and the legal training of James Otis, Sam Adams was nevertheless graduated from Harvard, even receiving his master’s degree. Presumably he consulted the shelves of the college library, but with no very fruitful results. Though he absorbed the natural rights philosophy of his era, his convictions and passions were determined more by his practical experience and personal prejudices than by scholarship. He sometimes used history less to demonstrate his own thinking, perhaps, than to influence that of others. His interest in his past was essentially subjective; history to Adams was mainly a manner of expressing a political argument. Since he was an exceptionally shrewd judge of political fashion, the use he made of history indicates something of the historical sensitivity of his colonial audience.
Certainly Sam Adams knew enough history to make frequent use of illustrations and similes from ancient as well as modern times. Well aware of the general disrepute of Julius Caesar, Adams pointed to Caesar’s similarity to Thomas Hutchinson and Lord Hillsborough. Caesar had been the “public Executioner of his Country’s Rights”; Hutchinson in his ambition and lust for power might prove the same for Massachusetts. Caesar “had learning, courage, and great abilities,” even as “the Tyrant of Rome.” In comparison Hutchinson and Hillsborough were poor things.54
Adams was fond of the classical comparison: the unsteady British empire reproducing the disintegration of Rome. Drafting Boston’s statement of The Rights of the Colonists in 1772, Adams complained that the British treated their colonists “with less decency and regard than the Romans shewed even to the Provinces which They had conquered.” In the Boston-Gazette of October 14, 1771, he had observed “all might be free … if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who to his immortal honor, expelled the proud Tyrant of Rome.”55
The fall of empires was a mighty theme, a frightening one as Adams drew parallels between his Britain, his America, and Rome of long ago. He wrote John Scollay on the eve of Independence “ ‘The Roman Empire,’ says the Historian [William Robertson], ‘must have sunk, though the Goths had not invaded it. Why? Because the Roman Virtue was sunk.’ ”56 Other empires had fallen as well. Adams knew Vertot’s History of the Revolutions of Sweden, with its melancholy tale of the fall of that “free, martial and valiant people.” Swedes, once so great, were now debased, Adams wrote, so far lost that they “rejoice at being subject to the caprice and arbitrary power of a Tyrant.” Britons, Bostonians, and Americans might suffer a “like Catastrophe.”57
English history had been the history of freedom. Would it continue to be? Anthony Ellis’s recent Tracts on Liberty supplied Adams a historical account of the progress of English liberty. Adams learned of the freedom of “the Northern nations, from among whom the Saxons came into England,” bringing representative habits of Saxon government with them across the Channel. The foundation of the original English constitution, Adams read in Ellis, was the inability of “the Supreme Power” to “take from any Man any part of his Property without his Consent in Person or by his Representative.” This pure, this perfect right against despotic power was fully confirmed in Magna Charta, and Adams thoughtfully published (in the Boston-Gazette) Coke’s description of the Charter as “declaratory of the principal grounds of the fundamental laws and liberties of England.” Less sure of the intricacies of Dr. Bonham’s Case, Adams offered his own judgment that “whether Lord Coke has expressed it or not … an act of parliament made against Magna Charta in violation of its essential parts, is void.”58
These aspects of English history fascinated Adams. He reflected his interest in his wording of the Resolutions of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on the Stamp Act, in October 1765: “one of the main pillars of the British Constitution,” he declared, was no taxation without representation; this, “together with all other essential rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities of the people of Great Britain, have been fully confirmed to them by Magna Charta.” Everyone knew by now that Americans were “entitled to the same extent of liberty with his Majesty’s subjects in Britain.” In January 1768 it was Adams again who wrote the address of the House to the Earl of Shelburne. “From the reign of Edward the Third,” he declared, “the children of his Majesty’s natural born subjects, born passing and repassing the seas, are entitled to all the rights and privileges of his natural subjects within the realm.”59
Adams shared the whig historians’ distaste for feudalism—that Norman imposition—calling it “a state of perpetual war, anarchy, and confusion.” Adams discussed this subject in a House address to Governor Hutchinson in March 1773. He quoted an unnamed but “very celebrated writer” who termed feudalism “ ‘that most iniquitous and absurd form of government, by which human nature was so shamefully degraded.’ ” Hutchinson had argued that Americans as English subjects held their lands “mediately or immediately, of the Crown.” Adams denied this with characteristic vehemence. America, unlike Saxon England, had never been conquered, and so feudalism had not been introduced. Adams allowed that “we hold our lands agreeably to the feudal principles of the King,” but this was mere form. The original settlers “wisely took care to enter into compact with the King, that power here should also be equally divided, agreeable to the original [non-Norman, nonfeudal] fundamental principles of the English constitution.”60
There were other more recent English developments which weakened Adams’s esteem for the history of the mother country. Ellis, and later Burgh, reminded him of the enduring problems represented by the Stuarts, and he revealed his familiarity with the seventeenth-century struggle for ancient liberties—with “Mr. Hampden’s ship money cause” and the noble martyr Algernon Sidney, whose writings Adams knew well.61 Adams concluded that England had failed to recover her ancient virtue, despite the staunch fight against the Stuart dynasty—“a race of Kings bigotted to the greatest degree to the doctrines of slavery.” He agreed that much was accomplished initially in the settlement of 1688, when “the British constitution was again restor’d to its original principles, declared in the bill of rights,”62 but the gain had been temporary.
Where Parliament had once resisted Stuart tyranny now it seemed bent on behaving just as despotically as that hated dynasty.63 Pensions, placement, and standing armies were the new signs of oppression, the badges of tyranny. Adams recalled reading in Hume’s History “that if James the Second had had the benefit of the riot act and such a standing army as has been granted since his time, it would have been impracticable for the nation to have wrought its own delivery.”64 As early as 1768 Adams thought the future for Americans particularly ominous. He noted “the unnecessary increase of Crown Officers” and gloomily predicted that “the time may come, when the united body of pensioners and soldiers may ruin the liberties of America.”65 He was depressed by “ ‘the Torrent of Vice’ ” which he found another “celebrated author” describing as a major menace to empire as well as kingdom. The loss of English virtue was the fundamental fact of modern history, Adams thought. By 1776 the message was plain enough: “no State can long preserve its Liberty where Virtue is not supremely honored.”66 The martyred Sidney, noted Adams later, had observed that “there are times when People are not worth saving. Meaning when they have lost their Virtue.”67
There were times when Adams thought he had moved much too belatedly for American independence—when he feared the English contagion had spread too far, when he feared Americans themselves even after independence would follow the mother country to moral and political bankruptcy. But when he struggled to stir his colleagues to vigorous opposition to British oppression, he was hopeful that America could yet be saved. And throughout his efforts he found his best arguments in the past. He believed in the natural rights of men, in the English common law and the ancient British constitution as mere distillations of “the Laws of Nature and universal Reason.”68 As he told the Governor of Massachusetts in 1769, “no time can be better employed, than in the preservation of the rights derived from the British constitution. … No treasure can be better expended, than in securing that true old English liberty, which gives a relish to every other enjoyment.”69
Josiah Quincy, Jr., was as committed to “true old English liberty” as Sam Adams and better read on its history. An untimely death denied Quincy his opportunity to participate in the military events of the Revolution, but his contributions to the literature of the Revolution were substantial. The youngest of three sons, Josiah Quincy, Jr., was born to a family with sufficient wealth to send all three to Harvard for their education. He graduated in 1763 at the age of nineteen, soon secured his master’s degree, and then entered the law office of Oxenbridge Thacher, the attorney who directed the merchants’ case in the Writs of Assistance suit in 1761.70
Quincy first attracted attention by enlisting with John Adams in the defense of the unpopular British troops tried for the “murders” committed in Boston on March 5, 1770. He employed his recent legal training to fine effect and rightfully claimed the privilege of a fair trial for the unhappy Captain Preston and his men. In the process, Quincy also demonstrated the political charms of the system of English jurisprudence which he championed: there is, he observed, “a spirit” which pervades English law, an air which “inspires a freedom of thought, speech and behavior.” He suggested that in a sense both the victims and the accused were products of the nature of the “happy constitution” which English law supported. The “very natural effects” of such a constitution were “an impatience of injuries, and a strong resentment of insult.” Justice Trowbridge, summing up, discussed the nature and meaning of homicide in the common law. Paying his respects to Coke’s definition of the law as “the general customs or immemorial usage of the English nation,” he reminded the Court that “this law is the birth right of every Englishman; the first settlers of this country brought it from England with them.”71
Josiah Quincy, Sr., was an omnivorous reader of historical literature that praised liberty, and he bequeathed to his son “Algernon Sidney’s works,—John Locke’s works,—Lord Bacon’s works,—Gordon’s Tacitus,—and Cato’s Letters” as well as the hope that “the spirit of liberty [might] rest upon him.”72 But works such as Gordon’s and Sidney’s were merely Quincy Jr.’s favorites among histories. He was reasonably familiar with Plutarch, Robertson, Bolingbroke, Francis Sullivan, Burgh, Rapin, Mrs. Macaulay, and Montagu. Such “True Whigs” were supplemented by selective reading in Blackstone, Clarendon, and Hume.
As well grounded in Greek and Roman history as in that of his mother country, Quincy found history both useful and enlightening for what it taught about man. He consulted Plutarch for examples of past tyranny, noting how “no beast is more savage than man, when possessed of power equal to his passion.” He found in Clarendon the remark that “it is the nature of man, rather to commit two errors, than to retract one.” And William Robertson, “that prince of historians,” reporting on social and political corruption, supplied the comment that a people never reform themselves, but reformation “is always forced upon them by some foreign hand.” When urging his fellow Americans to new heights of patriotism, Quincy told them to “Brutus-like, therefore, dedicate yourselves … to the service of your country.” He was confident that America had her fair share of “Bruti and Cassii—her Hampdens and Sydneys—patriots and heroes, who will form a band of brothers.”73
But his chief historical lessons concerned the dangers of standing armies—anciently a peril to Rome, recently a threat to England, currently a menace to America. The occasion for Quincy’s commentary on standing armies was the enactment of the Boston Port Act of 1774, the Quartering Act, and the appointment of General Gage as governor. He was, of course, familiar enough with the incendiary situation which large bodies of British troops could create—the Boston Massacre four years earlier had been a frightening example—and the new legislation would keep the atmosphere charged. Quincy turned to his Roman history. Dipping often into Gordon’s popular translations of Sallust and Tacitus, Quincy recalled that Roman armies had been frequently “more terrible to the Roman colonies than an ‘enemy’s army’ ”—just as Americans were discovering that British troops were more threatening than their recent French antagonists.74 Referring to “the elegant and instructive history, written by the masterly hand of Tacitus,” Quincy then discussed with appropriate Roman examples “the spirit, cruelty, and rapine of soldiers quartered in populous cities.” Standing armies were the commonest vehicles for tyranny. Roman and English history provided abundant evidence of the political consequences of such military forces—both Caesar and Cromwell had enslaved their countries with armies “stationed in the very bowels of the land.” Quincy concluded that “the history of mankind affords no instance of successful and confirmed tyranny, without the aid of military forces.” The British were well equipped for tyranny. An English member of Parliament, noted Quincy, had warned his countrymen that a standing army “is a monster, that will devour all your liberties and properties!”75
The capstone to Quincy’s argument concerned the character of the British forces. From his studies of pre-Norman England he knew his ancestors had once relied upon a people’s militia rather than mercenaries. “In ancient time, the militia of England was raised, officered, and conducted, by common consent,” observed Quincy with evident nostalgia. The Saxon militia “was the ornament of the realm in peace, and for ages continued the only and sure defence in war. Was the king himself general of an army, it was by consent of his people.” His admiration for the sensible arrangements of “our Saxon ancestors” was not limited to praise for their military system, for Quincy admired their virtually elective monarchy as well. But the Saxon militia supported John Milton’s claim that an armed people were “ ‘the truest and most proper strength of a free nation.’ ” It seemed to Quincy that England’s most serious error was in allowing Henry VII—“a character odious for rapacity and fraud”—to establish “a permanent military band in that kingdom.” The Stuarts, of course, he viewed in an even worse light, since they maintained armies “not only against law, but against the repeated resolutions of every Parliament.” Charles II kept a standing army because “he found that corruption without force could not confirm him a tyrant, and therefore [he] cherished and augmented his troops to the destruction of his people.”76
Quincy’s sorties into political pamphleteering were too brief to allow an extensive historical commentary. Yet his criticisms of past English monarchs were sharp, reflecting his familiarity with Mrs. Macaulay and James Burgh. He had no love for “that odious and execrable race of tyrants, the house of Stewart.”77 He was distressed that the English, after rising “with a divine enthusiasm” against Charles I, should then first submit to Cromwell (with another standing army) and then “with unexampled folly and madness” restore Charles II to the throne. Quincy’s disgust with this Stuart monarch was unrestrained. Where some colonists might blame the Normans for everything, Quincy preferred to condemn Charles II. The corruption afflicting contemporary England originated with Charles II; the oppression of America derived from legislation enacted by Charles II. Charles II appeared so evil that Quincy could compare him only to the Emperor Charles V, who had so fiercely punished Dutch fighters for freedom. And when he read Temple’s account of the later Spanish oppression of the Dutch, Quincy was again reminded of the tyranny of Charles II in England. Under Charles II, Quincy concluded, “Britain, then for the first time, saw corruption, like a destroying angel, walking at noonday.” Thanks to that fatal Restoration of 1660, “the science of bribery and corruption hath made amazing progress” in England.78
For Quincy the past was “the voice of experience.” He tried to listen as best he could. He let such authors as Lord Bolingbroke show him how to “search the history of the world,” and he learned how to pursue the course of such singular evils as standing armies—concluding with Mrs. Macaulay that a people’s militia was “the natural strength and only stable safeguard, of a free country.”79 He noted meaningful historical parallels: the virtuous Dutch; the courageous Hungarians, who when first called rebels, “were called so for no other reason than … that they would not be slaves.”80
Quincy’s historical endeavors received an unusual stimulus: in 1774 he met personally with many of the authors he had read in America, when he made a political pilgrimage to London on the eve of the Revolution to present colonial grievances to Lords North and Dartmouth. There he mingled pleasurably with such “true Whigs” as that “most extraordinary woman” Mrs. Macaulay, and “the celebrated Dr. Burgh.” He visited several times with the former, including an afternoon spent in “improving conversation.” He subsequently dined “in the family way” with Mrs. Macaulay’s publisher, Edward Dilly, and on another occasion supped “in company with Dr. Priestley, Dr. Franklin, Price and others.” Indeed, Quincy was so definitely welcome in this charmed circle that he was even allowed an hour’s audience with the dying James Burgh, who for the occasion “took a double dose of opium to allay the pains of the stone.” Quite possibly the highlight of Quincy’s London visit was listening to Camden and Chatham in the House of Lords. Quincy carefully took down Camden’s words: “Acts of Parliament have been resisted in all ages. Kings, Lords and Commons may become tyrants as well as others. Tyranny in one or more is the same.” But Chatham far outshone Lord Camden—“he seemed like an old Roman Senator,” thought Quincy. When Chatham expressed the “hope the Whigs of both countries [England and America] will join and make a common cause,” Quincy knew his visit was not wasted.81
But neither was Quincy’s trip successful. He had come to England—despite an advanced case of tuberculosis—to argue for the colonists’ birthrights as Englishmen, but he found his own yearning for the ancient liberties of “our Saxon ancestors” insufficiently shared in England herself. The lessons of “that sagacious politician” Tacitus were poorly studied outside America; eighteenth-century England seemed unable to recapture that “divine enthusiasm” shown against the Stuarts.82 There were too few Camdens and Chathams in Great Britain, too few Macaulays and Burghs. It was Quincy’s tragedy that he died on his voyage home in 1775, his trip undoubtedly accelerating the disease which took his life. Actually, his effort at personal diplomacy was doubly tragic in its outcome, for he left England knowing that Americans would have to fight for their claim to the legal and historical rights of Englishmen.
[1.]Charles W. Akers, Called Unto Liberty: A Life of Jonathan Mayhew, 1720–1766 (Cambridge, 1964), 95; see also Lindsay Swift, “The Massachusetts Election Sermon,” Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Transactions 1 (1895): 288–451.
[2.]Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and The American Revolution (N.Y., 1928), 7–8, 11.
[3.]See, for example, Jonathan Mayhew, “A Circumstantial Narrative,” in Mayhew Manuscripts, Letter XII, Boston University.
[4.]John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, Feb. 13, 1818, and to William Tudor, Apr. 5, 1818, Adams, Works, X, 288, 301.
[5.]Mayhew, “Some General Rules for the Improvement of Knowledge,” in Harvard College Extracts, Mayhew Manuscripts, Boston University.
[6.]Mayhew, “Memorandum and Extracts Relating to the Characters of the Reign etc of King Charles I,” in ibid.; Bernhard Knollenberg, ed., “Thomas Hollis and Jonathan Mayhew: Their Correspondence, 1759–66,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 69 (1956): 116–17.
[7.]Mayhew, A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers: With Some Reflections on the Resistance to King Charles I … (Boston, 1750), 45.
[10.]Richard Baron included Mayhew’s sermon in a collection, The Pillars of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy Shaken, published in London in 1752 in 2 volumes and in a 4-volume edition in 1767. Mayhew was soon widely known in England as a result, and Akers believes Baron’s anthology was the link between Mayhew and Hollis; Akers, Jonathan Mayhew, 143.
[11.]John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, Feb. 13, 1818, Adams, Works, X, 288.
[12.]Boston Evening-Post, Mar. 12, 1750.
[13.]Ibid., Mar. 5, Apr. 9, 1750.
[14.]Mayhew, A Sermon Preach’d in the Audience of His Excellency William Shirley … May 29, 1754 (Boston, 1754), 21, 6–7.
[15.]The original sermon has not survived; this is drawn from a memorandum in the Mayhew Manuscripts, Boston University. The sermon was given on the afternoon of Aug. 25, 1765: see Akers, Jonathan Mayhew, 202–4.
[16.]Mayhew, The Snare Broken … A Thanksgiving-Discourse … (Boston, 1766), 7. This sermon was dedicated to William Pitt, to whom Hollis sent a copy; see Akers, Jonathan Mayhew, 212.
[17.]Robbins, Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman, 266; see also Francis Blackburne, ed., Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, 2 vols. (London, 1780), I, 239.
[18.]Mayhew to Thomas Hollis, Aug. 8, 1765, Knollenberg, ed., “Hollis-Mayhew Correspondence,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 69 (1956): 173.
[19.]See St. James’ Chronicle, Oct. 1765; Blackburne, ed., Memoirs of Hollis, II, 662–66.
[20.]Mayhew to Hollis, Aug. 9, 1765, Knollenberg, ed., “Hollis-Mayhew Correspondence,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 69 (1956): 176.
[21.]Blackburne, ed., Memoirs of Hollis, 1, 243.
[22.]Mayhew, Snare Broken, 34, 27, 8–9, 4–5, 35.
[24.]Clinton Rossiter, “The Life and Mind of Jonathan Mayhew,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 7 (1950): 531–58.
[25.]Mayhew, Sermon fragment in Harvard College Library, cited by Clifford K. Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates; Biographical Sketches of Those Who Attended Harvard College … (Boston, 1873–), XI, 461.
[26.]Mayhew, A Discourse Occasioned by the Death of King George II … (Boston, 1761), 23.
[27.]Mayhew, A Discourse … Occasioned by the Earthquakes … (Boston, 1755), 66.
[28.]James Lockwood, The Worth and Excellence of Civil Freedom and Liberty Illustrated … (New London, Conn., 1759), 12; William Patten, A Discourse Delivered at Hallifax in the County of Plymouth … (Boston, 1766), 10–11, 18; David S. Rowland, Divine Providence Illustrated and Improved. A Thanksgiving-Discourse … Occasioned by the Repeal of the Stamp-Act (Providence, 1766), 27, 8–9.
[29.]Isaac Skillman, An Oration Upon the Beauties of Liberty, or, the Essential Rights of Americans (Boston, 1772). The authorship of this sermon has been disputed, sometimes being ascribed to John Allen. See Baldwin, New England Clergy, 117 n.
[30.]Skillman, Oration, 5, 28, 10, 26, xiv, x–xi, viii, vii.
[31.]Andrew Eliot to Hollis, May 13, 1767, Hollis Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. Jacob Duché echoed Eliot’s fears in a prayer before the Continental Congress in 1774: “We rather tremble for the parent state, and would fain keep off from our own borders those luxuries, which may perhaps already have impaired her constitutional vigor.” See Duché’s The Duty of Standing Fast in Our Spiritual and Temporal Liberties … (Philadelphia, 1775), in Frank Moore, The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution (N.Y., 1860), 84–85.
[32.]Samuel Langdon, A Sermon Preached before the Honorable Congress of the Massachusetts-Bay … May 31, 1775 (Watertown, 1775), in John W. Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution … (Boston and N.Y., 1860), 242–43.
[33.]Samuel Stillman to Patience Wright, Nov. 13, 1774, “Letters to Josiah Quincy, Jr.,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 50 (1917): 475.
[34.]James Otis to his father, June 17, 1745, Waterson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society, quoted by Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XI, 247–48. In his excellent study of Otis, ibid., 247–87, Shipton describes Otis as being able to see both sides of a question too well, and as a result he “so qualified and explained his original position that he gave aid and comfort to the opposition. Any quotation from his works is likely to be misleading because it does not have its context with it.”
[35.]Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XI, 248.
[36.]There is a useful summary of the Writs of Assistance case in Lawrence H. Gipson, The Coming of the Revolution, 1763–1775 (N.Y., 1954), 34–49; see also Joseph R. Frese, “James Otis and Writs of Assistance,” New England Quarterly 30 (1957): 496–508.
[37.]Blackstone, Commentaries (London, 1783), IV, 291, quoted in Richard L. Perry, ed., Sources of Our Liberties … (Chicago, 1959), 304.
[38.]G. W. Wolkins, “Writs of Assistance in England,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 66 (1942): 357–64.
[39.]William Tudor, The Life of James Otis … (Boston, 1823), 60. Tudor’s compilation of the Adams accounts of the Otis speech may be found on pp. 63–86.
[40.]Appendix A, Adams, Works, II, 522; see Sir Edward Coke, Reports, III, 107–18.
[41.]Coke was probably too much the Parliament-man to intend to establish common law as the ultimate arbiter of Parliamentary legislation. He based his decision in Dr. Bonham’s case on the statutory reinterpretation rather than on an appeal to rights under fundamental law; see S. E. Thorne, “The Constitution and the Courts: A Re-examination of the Famous Case of Dr. Bonham,” in Conyers Read, ed., The Constitution Reconsidered (N.Y., 1938), 21. See also Edward S. Corwin, “The ‘Higher Law’ Background of American Constitutional Law,” Harvard Law Review 42 (1929): 367.
[42.]Tudor, Life of Otis, 71.
[43.]Otis, The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved (Boston, 1764), 32–33.
[44.]For one view of the Otis political minuet, see Ellen E. Brennan, “James Otis: Recreant and Patriot,” New England Quarterly 12 (1939): 691–725.
[45.]Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XI, 261–75.
[48.]Diary, Jan. 16, 1766, Adams, Works, II, 179.
[49.]William Gordon, History of the Rise … of the United States …, 4 vols. (London, 1788), I, 228; Otis, Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, 51–52, 15.
[50.]Otis, Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, 70.
[51.]For an account of the political martyrdom of Otis, see the Boston-Gazette and the Boston Chronicle, both of Sept. 18, 1769.
[52.]Otis, A Vindication of the British Colonies (London, 1769), 47.
[53.]Recent biographers of Samuel Adams have easily survived the common temptation to champion their subject. Both John C. Miller and Clifford K. Shipton have been warmly critical of Sam Adams’s political ethics. See John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Pioneer in Propaganda (Boston, 1936), and Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, X, 420–64.
[54.]Boston-Gazette, Oct. 14, 1771.
[55.]“The Rights of the Colonists” adopted by the Town of Boston, Nov. 20, 1772, H. A. Cushing, ed., The Writings of Samuel Adams, 4 vols. (N.Y., 1904–8), II, 360; Boston-Gazette, Oct. 14, 1771.
[56.]Sam Adams to John Scollay, Apr. 30, 1776, Cushing, ed., Writings of Samuel Adams, III, 286; see also Burgh, Political Disquisitions, III, 15, who is citing Robertson’s Charles V, I, 3.
[57.]A Letter of Correspondence to the Other Towns, Boston, Nov. 20, 1772, Cushing, ed., Writings of Samuel Adams, II, 372–73.
[58.]Sam Adams to John Smith, 1765, ibid., I, 55; Boston-Gazette, Jan. 27, 1772 (writing as “Candidus”).
[59.]Resolutions of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, Oct. 29, 1765, and the House of Representatives of Massachusetts to the Earl of Shelburne, Jan. 15, 1768, Cushing, ed., Writings of Samuel Adams, I, 24, 154.
[60.]The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to the Governor, Mar. 2, 1773, ibid., II, 432–35. For Hutchinson’s Address of Jan. 6, 1773, see the Boston-Gazette, Jan. 11, 1773.
[61.]Boston-Gazette, Sept. 16, 1771.
[62.]Ibid., Feb. 27, 1769 (writing as “E. A.”).
[63.]The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to the Earl of Shelburne, Jan. 15, 1768, Cushing, ed., Writings of Samuel Adams, I, 158.
[64.]Sam Adams to Arthur Lee, July 31, 1771, ibid., II, 189.
[65.]The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to Denys De Berdt, Jan. 12, 1768, ibid., I, 146.
[66.]Sam Adams to Benjamin Kent, July 27, 1776, ibid., II, 305.
[67.]Sam Adams to John Scollay, Dec. 30, 1780, ibid., IV, 238.
[68.]Sam Adams to Denys De Berdt, Dec. 20, 1765, ibid., I, 64.
[69.]The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to the Governor, June 19, 1769, ibid., I, 348.
[70.]The best source for Josiah Quincy Jr.’s short life is by his son, Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Jun., of Massachusetts (Boston, 1825).
[71.]Frederic Kidder, ed., The History of the Boston Massacre … (Albany, N.Y., 1870), 230, 260.
[72.]Will, Feb. 28, 1774, Quincy, Memoir, 350.
[73.]Quincy, Observations on the Act of Parliament Commonly Called the Boston Port-Bill … (Boston, 1774), in ibid., 366–67, 468–69. Quincy quoted from Robertson’s History of Scotland …, 2 vols. (London, 1759), I, 167.
[74.]Quincy, Observations, in Quincy, Memoir, 443–44.
[75.]Ibid., 407 n, 405, 411 n.
[76.]Ibid., 413–14, 411 n, 417, 423. Quincy cites Rapin.
[77.]Charles Dilly to Josiah Quincy, Mar. 9, 1775, “Journal of Josiah Quincy, Jun., During His Voyage and Residence in England from September 28th, 1774, to March 3d, 1775,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 50 (1917): 491, 451, 453.
[78.]Quincy, Observations, in Quincy, Memoir, 450–51, 407–9, 446–47.
[79.]Ibid., 411; from Macaulay’s History of England, II, 165.
[80.]Quincy, Memoir, 407, 386.
[81.]“Journal,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 50 (1917): 451, 467, 452, 455, 456, 467, 459.
[82.]Quincy, Memoir, 452 n.