733 | Declaration of Nathaniel Coffin


    Nathaniel Coffin Esqr declareth that the Day or two after the Town-meeting for calling the Convention broke up1 this declarant understanding that it was resolved to oppose the landing of the Kings Troops, expostulated with Thomas Cushing Esqr upon the Misery which he and his Party were bringing upon the Town by the Opposition which they were meditating. Whereupon the said Cushing said that for his Part he had allways been for moderate Measures, and had proposed among them to drive off the Governor and Lieut Governor; they then should have the Council in their own Hands and could oblige them to call an Assembly. He added that his Moderation had made him obnoxious to his own Party and Otis had said to him that he was as great an Enemy to his Country as Frank Bernard Tom Hutchinson or the Commissioners. And he further said that he had allways behaved with Decency towards the Governor and was dissatisfied with the Load of Calumny and Scurrility which had been flung upon his Excellency. Upon which the Declarant reminded him of his Speech at the Town-meeting, which was far from being calculated to bring about moderate Measures, and observed ^that it appeared^ that they all had their Parts to act upon this Occasion, all tending to produce the Resolves which afterwards followed: to which he answered Nothing. But after he said that he was for the Convention, expecting that it would bring together some prudent People who would be able to check the violent Designs of others. Upon which the Declarant observed that it was probable that the People who had the Lead in the Town would take the Lead in the Convention. He replied that I was mistaken; for there would be many Members in that Assembly who would not be led to those Purposes, but would be a Check upon those who were for violent Measures. And this Declarant says that the said Thomas Cushing when he mentioned the driving off the Governor and Lieut Governor he did not seem to mean that it was a desirable Act, but only to prevent more violent Measures. And this Declarant further saith that the first Part of this Conversation was between them two only but afterwards it was renewed at the Town-house in the presence of several Gentlemen; in the Course of which this Declarant said that if the Party made an Opposition to the Troops they would find it would be resented by the People of the Town when they came to feel the Effects of it; and for his Part he should make no Scruple to shoot the Man who would by such Means bring Misery upon himself & his Family. And he this Declarant further said that if he was obliged to take Arms it would be on the Side of Great Britain: and (Cushing) would find a great many more of this Town whom he little thought off would be on the same Side.

    (Signed) Nath Coffin

    Boston Febry 6th 1769

    Ms, Copy     CO 5/759, ff 52-53.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Enclosed in No. 731. Another copy in CO 5/893, ff 102-103 (Ms, Copy).