Liberty Letters, Samuel Adams, April 12, 1773
General Letter appearing in the Boston Gazette, April 12, 1773
Messieurs EDES & GILL,
PERHAPS no measure that has been taken by the Town of Boston during our present Struggles for Liberty, has thwarted the designs of our enemies more than their Votes and Proceedings on the 2Oth of November last. If we take a Retrospect of two or three Years past, we shall find that what our “pretended patriots”, as they were stiled in the Court Gazette, so zealously forewarnd us of, has since turn d out to be a Fact ; that every art would be made use of to lull the people of this Province and Continent into Security, in order that the Conspirators against our Rights and Liberties might carry on their Schemes and compleat their system of Tyranny without Opposition or Molestation. The first part of their plan, they imagined they had finished ; that is, the Establishment of a Revenue : And though this was far from being sufficient to answer their whole purpose, they thought that if they could put the people to sleep, they might the more easily add to this revenue, at some future time, and plead the present submission for a precedent. They therefore began upon the second and equally important part of their plan, which was to appropriate the revenue they had raisd, to set up an Executive, absolutely independent of the legislative, which is to say the least, the nearest approach to absolute Tyranny.
The Governor, who was the first American Pensioner, had now an exhorbitant Salary allowed him out of the monies extorted from the people: And although this was directly repugnant to the obvious meaning, if not the very letter of the Charter, much was said by Chronus and the Tribe of ministerial Writers in Mr. Draper s paper, to reconcile it to the people. But the people, whom they generally in their incubrations treated with an air of contempt, as an unthinking herd, had a better understanding of things than they imagined they had. They were almost universally disgusted with the Innovation, while the advocates for it were yet endeavoring to make the world believe, that the opposition to it arose from a few men only, of “no property” and ” desperate fortunes,” who were “endeavouring to bring things into confusion, that they might have the advantage of bettering their fortunes by plunder.” Little did they think that it was then known, as it now appears in fact, that those who were assiduously watching for places, preferment and pensions, were in truth the very men of no property, and had no other way of mending their shattered fortunes, but by being the sharers in the spoils of their country.
Scarcely had the General Assembly the opportunity of expressing their full Sentiments of the mischievous tendency, of having a Governor absolutely dependent on the Crown for his being and support, before the alarming News arrivd of the Judges of the Superior Court being placed in the same Situation. This Insolence of Administration was so quickly repeated, no doubt from a full perswasion of the truth of the accounts received from their infatuated tools on this side of the atlantick, that the temper of the people would now admit of the experiment. But the News was like Thunder in the ears of all but a detestable and detested few : Even those who had been inclind to think favorably of the Governor and the Judges were alarmd at it. And indeed what honest and sensible man or woman could contemplate it with out horror! We all began to shudder at the Prospect of the same tragical Scenes being acted in this Country, which are recorded in the English History as having been acted when their Judges were the meer Creatures, Dependents and tools of the Crown. Such an indignation was discoverd and express d by almost every one, at so daring an Insult upon a free people, that it was difficult to keep our Resentment within its proper bounds. Many were ready to call for immediate Vengeance, perhaps with more zeal than discretion : How soon human Prudence and Fortitude, directed by the wise and righteous Governor of the world, may point out the time and the means of successfully revenging the wrongs of America, I leave to those who have been the Contrivers and Abbettors of these destructive Measures, seriously to consider. I hope and believe that I live in a Country, the People of which are too intelligent and too brave to submit to Tyrants : And let me remind the greatest of them all, ” there is a degree of patience beyond which human Nature will not bear” !
Amidst the general Anxiety the memorable Meeting was called, with Design that the Inhabitants might have the Opportunity, of expressing their Sense calmly and dispassionately ; for it is from such, a Temper of Mind, that we are to expect a rational, manly and successful Opposition to the ruinous Plans! of an abandoned Administration : And it is for this Reason alone, that the petty Tyrants of this Country have always dreaded and continue still to dread, a regular Assembly of the People.
The desirable Effects of this Meeting, contemptible as it was at first represented to be, together with the Prospect of what may be further expected from it, may possibly be the subject of a future Paper.
April 10, 1773. [letter was written on April 10, 1773, but did not appear in the Boston Gazette until April 12]
Source: Samuel Adams, 10 April 1773, Samuel Adams letter, General Letter appearing in the Boston Gazette, April 12, 1773. Spelling in the original, except in occasional cases where editing has been made to make the text clearer or more understandable to modern readers.
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