May 1774268

    Sir ___

    I am compelled by the common Principles of Humanity to warn you of the eminent hazard which I consider you to be in, of the Loss of Life, and confiscation of your Estate. It is now become very apparent that the supreme power of Great Britain, viz King, Lords, and Commons, which you sometime since, as I am informed, was pleased to term a transmarine power, to which we were not amenable, hath taken a Resolution to assert its Sovereignty over this his Majesty’s Colony of Massachusetts Bay, a Sovereignty which has never been disputed by any of the other Colonies, excepting in the Article of Taxation, and not by this, but a very short time since. Every Measure necessary to carry this Resolution into execution hath been taken. A Force is employ’d for this purpose, to oppose which in our weak forlorn Condition, it would be madness to attempt. This being the case, it cannot be supposed, that if there should be a continuance of those insults and Indignities, which for some Years past have been put upon the Government, and the Servants of it, that the leading promoters of Such Insults and Indignities will escape with impunity. Those Actions and Words, which by the Laws of Great Britain are there determined to be treasonable and rebellious will be considered as such here, and the Authors of them suffer the Pains and Penalties which are inflicted on Traitors, and Rebels in Great Britain, or any other part of the Realm. Of all this you seem to me to be altogether insensible, at which I cannot but express the greatest Supprize, as I consider you to be a person of Quick Discernment, to be well versed in the knowledge of Government, of Law in General, and more particularly of the Laws and Constitution of the Parent State. Your political Enthusiasm, and popular Attachment, must certainly have totally blinded the Eyes of your understanding, otherwise I cannot conceive it to be possible that a man of your good sence instead of promoting such measures at our late town meeting which in our most calamitous condition might have a tendency to soften the resentment of government, and induce his Majesty and his privy Council to remove those evils, which are justly brought upon us for our past Crimes, should endeavour by inflammatory harangues to keep up the Phrenzy of the poor deluded people of this Town to persuade him that they have resourses sufficient within themselves, if they were united and firm, to extricate themselves out of these difficulties, and to obtain a Compleat conquest over Great Britain even without the Assistance of the Neighbouring Towns of this Province, and of the sister Colonies; but if they should join us that our Victory would be beyond a Doubt, that some Cromwell would soon rise, and trample under his Feet; our Enemies, viz. King, Lords, and Commons of Great Britain, for you could mean no other, they being the only enemies you were speaking of. You did indeed in express Terms charge them with Ignorance, and Effrontery, (in another word with impudence) for passing the Late Act which will shut up our Port. Not content with these bold Speeches you was the Principal mover of sundry Votes passed at this meeting, which can be considered in no other Light by Great Britain, than as an hostile attack upon her, as by those Votes the Neighbouring Towns of this Province and all the Colonies from the Floridas to Newfoundland are to be stimulated by Committees of Correspondence to put a force upon her Trade.

    Reflect a moment upon this Conduct consider the present Strength of Administration, who have carried their measures against you without the least opposition, consider the power they have at present in their hands (however weak they may be, when your formadable Cromwell steps forth) to bring to Condign Punishment all Offenders against the State, and I am sure you will think with me that your Situation is truly alarming. You will very probably get into the hands of a power, from which no power you can look to will be able to deliver you. You have gone such lengths that I am fearful nothing can save you. I know of but one expedient left you which is that of Acknowledging on Wednesday next to this distressed people that you have been in Error. That you have deceived yourself, that you have deceived them. Employ, for God’s sake, those rare talents with which he has blessed you, in convincing them that they have nothing to do but to submit and make their peace with that Government, which they have under the influence of you and other factious Demagogues so long Offended. You may by these means probably make your own peace and ward off the punishment that hangs over your head. It is barely possible that Government may still continue its great Lenity and overlook your Offences. If this should be the Case, permit me to observe there is another danger to which you are exposed. The Inhabitants of this Wretched Town would if proper Measures were taken be saved from total destruction. But if by the mad pursuits of you and others, their Ruin should be compleated, if thousands of the Poor who depend upon their daily Labour for their daily Bread should be in a Starving Condition, if those who now can calculate upon such Incomes from their Real Estates as to be able to live in Affluence should find their Estates to yeild them not sufficient to subsist them, they will begin to look round for the real Authors of their Ruin and wreak their Venjance upon them. They will no longer consider Barnard, Hutchinson, Oliver, Commissioners of the Customs, &c. as their Enemies. They will put the Saddle on the right horse. We shall see an Adams, a Young, a Cooper, a Warren, a Quincy with certain learned Doctors of Divinity either destroyed by, or fleeing in their turn from their Base, and applying to that power which they have so long insulted, for protection.269 I have conversed with many of the thinking part of this community, and find very few who do not condemn your proceedings. Nothing has prevented a publick protest appearing against you, but the fear of that most formidable tyranny which the ruling part of this town have so long by having the Command of an heated populace, exercised over it. Upon the appearance of any Power that will be sufficient to emancipate them from this terrible Hydra, you will find that Spirit that now vents itself in secret Curses break out into open Violence. I can hear you in almost all Company I go into stiled Villains, Scoundrells, Rascalls, and many wish that the Venjance of Government had been pointed at the Authors of all our Misery; meaning your particular junto, where, it is said, it ought to have fallen, and not upon the whole community a larger proportion of whom are Innocent. Let me conjure you to weigh well what I have offered to your Consideration, and believe me to be

    Your well wisher