688 | From Thomas Cushing

    May it please your Excellency

    The Committees from a Number of Towns in this Province, now conven’d at Faneuil-Hall, having received from your Excellency a Message1 containing a Remonstrance against our thus Meeting, and an Admonition to break up and seperate ourselves instantly, and before we do any Business, have taken the same into our serious and attentive Consideration; and we assure your Excellency, that tho’ according to the best of our Abilities, we have considered the Matters that are hinted by your Excellency as the Foundation of your Message yet we are not able to collect sufficient Information therefrom, to place our present Meeting and Proceedings in the same Light in which they seem to lie in your Excellency’s Mind. We do assure your Excellency most fully, that neither the Views of our Constituents in sending us, nor the Design of any of Us in thus Meeting, was to do, propose or consent to any Thing oppugnant to, or inconsistent with, the regular Execution of Government in this his Majesty’s Province; and that tho’ the Letters from the Selectmen of the Town of Boston, to the respective Towns from which we come, might first give Rise to our being chosen and sent; yet that neither the said Letter from the Selectmen of the Town of Boston,2 nor any Votes of the said Town accompanying the same, were considered by our respective Towns in the choosing, nor by us in our assembling, as the Foundation and Warrant of our convening.3 But, may it please your Excellency, being assured, that our Constituents, as well as our selves, have the most loyal and affectionate Attachment to the Person and Government of our rightful Sovereign King GEORGE the Third, we beg Leave to explain to your Excellency the real Cause and Intention of our thus convening.

    Your Excellency cannot be unacquainted with the many difficulties under which his Majesty’s Subjects on the whole Continent of America, apprehend themselves to labour, and of the Uneasiness which his Subjects in this Province have repeatedly expressed on the same Account. The minds of the People who have sent us, are greatly disturbed that the humble and dutiful Petition of their Representatives4 for the Removal of those Difficulties has not been permitted to reach the Royal Ear; and they are greatly agitated with the Expectation of a Standing Army being posted among us, and of the full Exertion of a Military Government; alarm’d with these Apprehensions and deprived of a House of Representatives, their Attention is too much taken off from their daily Occupations; their Morals and Industry are in Danger of being damaged, and their peaceable Behavior disturbed for want of such Persons as they can confide in, to advise them in these Matters, and to make Application for their Redress.

    Your Excellency will further naturally conceive that those of his Majesty’s Subjects who live remote from Boston, the Center of their Intelligence, and whose Occupations do not admit of much Knowledge of public Affairs, are subjected to many Misrepresentations of their public Concerns, and those generally of a most knowing Persons among us to wipe off the pernicious Effects of such Rumours, without the Appearance of a public Enquiry.

    Induced by these Motives, and others of the same Kind, our Constituents thought it no Ways inconsistent with good Order and regular Government, to send Committee-Men to meet with such Committees as might be sent from the several Towns in the Province, to confer upon these Matters, and learn the Certainty of those Rumours prevailing among us, and to consult and advise as far as comes legally within their Power to such Measures as would have the greatest Tendency to preserve the Peace and good Order among his Majesty’s Subjects, and promote their due submission; and at the same Time to consult the most regular and dutiful Manner of laying our Grievances before our most gracious Sovereign, and obtaining a Redress of the same. This we assure your Excellency is the only Cause and Intention of our thus convening; and we are exceeding sorry it should be view’d by your Excellency in an obnoxious Light.

    Your Excellency may be assured, that had our Constituents conceived, or did their Committees thus conven’d, conceive this Proceeding to be illegal, they had never sent us, nor should we pretend to continue our Convention: But as your Excellency in the Message with which you have been pleased to favour us, has not been so explicit in pointing out the Criminality of our present Proceeding as we could have wished, but has left us to our own Judgment and Understanding, to search it out, we would with all Duty to your Excellency, as the Representative of our rightful Sovereign, request your Excellency to point out to us wherein the Criminality of our Proceedings consists, being assured we cautiously mean to avoid every Thing that has the least Appearance of Usurpation of Government, in any of its Branches, or any of the Rights of his Majesty’s Sovereignty even a mental Disaffection to the Government by Law established and exercised.

    Your Excellency will be pleased in your well known Knowledge of human Nature, and the Delicacy of British Privileges, to be sparing in your Frowns on our present Proceeding, we being at present inclined to think, ’till better inform’d that if Criminality be imputed to us, it will be applied only to our Doings, and not to be the professed manner and Design of our Meeting: But if your Excellency has a different Apprehension of the Matter, we intreat an Explanation of the same; and assure your Excellency we shall deliberately attend to it. Nothing could give us more Uneasiness than a Suggestion that our Proceedings are criminal; not so much from a Fear of personal Punishment, as from fix’d Aversion we have to any Thing inconsistent with the Dignity of our Sovereign, and the Happiness of his extended Dominion; and we flatter ourselves that when the real Designs of this Convention is understood, it will prove an argument to evince the intire Loyalty of his Majesty’s Subjects in this Province, and their Disposition to Peace and good Order.

    In the name and Behalf of the Committees of a number of Towns in this Province, and conven’d in BostonSeptember 24th, 1768.

    Thomas Cushing, Chairman

    newspaper extract, PC     CO 5/757, f 433.

    Transcribed from the copy extracted from the Boston Gazette, 26 Sept. 1768 and enclosed in No. 691. The RC, which was a reply to No. 685, has not survived. Cushing’s letter was also printed in the Boston News-Letter and the Boston Evening-Post, 29 Sept. 1768.