741 | From the Selectmen of Boston

    [16 Feb. 1769]

    May it please your Excellency

    At a Time when artful & mischievous Men have so far prevail’d as to foment & spread divisions in the British Empire: When mutual confidence which had so long subsisted with mutual advantage between the Subjects in Britain & America is in a great measure broken: When Means are at length found even to excite the resentment of the Mother State against the Colonies: & they are publicly chargd with being in a state of disobedience to Law, and ready to resist the constitutional authority of the Nation; The Selectmen of this Metropolis cannot be the unconcerned or silent spectators of the Calamaties, which in consequence thereof have already fallen upon its inhabitants. — To behold this Town surrounded with Ships of War; and military Troops even in a time of peace; quarterd in its very Bowels; Exercising a Discipline with all the severity which is used in a Garrison, and in a state of actual War, is truly alarming to a free People. And what still hightens the misfortune is, that our gracious Sovereign & his Ministers have formed such an Idea of the present State of the Town, as to induce a necessity of this naval and military force, for the aid of the civil Magistrate in the preservation of its peace and good order —

    Your Excellency can witness for the Town that no such aid is necessary: Loyalty to the Sovereign; and an inflexible Zeal for the support of his Majestys Authority and the happy Constitution is its Just character: And we may appeal to the impartial World, that Peace and order were maintained in the Town, before it was ever rumoured that his Majestys Troops were to be quartered among us, then they have been since. Such a Measure then we are persuaded would never have been ordered by the Wisdom of the British Administration, had not the necessity of it been drawn from the Representations of some of his Majestys Servants in this Province — Your Excellency will allow us to express our Opinion; and the behavior of some of its Individual Inhabitants have been greatly misapprehended by his Majestys Ministers. We therefore in duty to the Town we have the honor to serve, respectfully wait on your Excelly. and pray that you would be pleased to communicate to us such Representations of facts only, as you Judged proper to make since the commencement of the last Year. And as there is a prevailing Report that Depositions are & have been taken ex parte1 to the prejudice of the Town & particular persons, may we not assure ourselves, that your Excelly. will in Justice cause to be laid before us such other Representations as may have come to your knowledge, that the Town knowing clearly & precisely what has been charged against it, may have an opportunity of vindicating it self. —

    transcript, PC     Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 23: 6-7.

    This address to FB was voted unanimously by the Boston selectmen at a meeting on 16 Feb. 1769. Those present at the meeting should be considered its authors:2 Joshua Henshaw (1703-77), Joseph Jackson (1734-96), John Ruddock (1702-72), John Hancock (1737-93), John Rowe (1715-87), Samuel Pemberton (1723-99), and Henderson Inches.

    While the selectmen did not possess the evidence they needed to prove the governor was lying, they had enough to justify pushing him further in No. 747.