747 | From the Selectmen of Boston

    [22 Feb. 1769]

    May it please your Excellency

    The Selectmen of the Town of Boston, beg leave once more, to wait on your Excellency, hoping you will excuse this further trouble, as it is upon a matter of the greatest importance to the Town.

    In your Answer to our late humble Request1 your Excellency was pleased to say, that you have no Reason to think that the publick Transactions of this Town have been misapprehended by his Majesty or his Ministers; or that their Opinions thereon are founded upon any other Accounts than those published by the Town itself. “And that if we can vindicate ourselves from such Charges as may arise from our own Publications, we shall have nothing further to apprehend.”

    As the Town has published nothing but its own transactions in Town Meeting legally assembled, it gives us the greatest Pleasure to find your Excellency in your reply to us, thus vindicating it from any Just cause of apprehension from the General Character of its Inhabitants, considered as Individuals; If therefore the Town has suffered an Account of the Disorders which happened on the 18’ March or the 10’ June last, by Persons unknown, (the only Disorders that have taken place in this Town within the Year past) we take your Excellencys Declaration to us, to be a full Testimony, that in your Opinion, it must be in consequence of some partial or false Representations of those Disorders to his Majestys Ministers. And we rejoice to find your Excellencys Sentiments as expressed in your Reply, so far harmonizing with those of his Majestys Council not long published.2 We have in this Case the most authentick Evidence that can possibly be had, the Joint Testimony of the Governor and Council of the Province, that the Town has not been in a State of Opposition to Order and Government, and such as required a Military Force to support civil Authority.

    With Regard to the public Transactions of the Town, when legally assembled, from which alone in your Excellencys declared Opinion, the Town could have any thing to apprehend; we beg leave to say, that after the most careful retrospect, and the best inquiry we could make into the nature and Import of those Transactions, we are utterly at a loss in what view they can appear to have militated with any Law, or the British Constitution of Government. And we entreat your Excellency would condescend, to point out to us, in what particular respect they either have been, or may be view’d in such a Light, that either the Town may be made sensible of the illegality of its proceedings, or, that upon the most critical Examination its Innocence may appear in a still clearer Light.

    Your Excellencys high Station in the Province; and the regard you have professed for the Interest of the Town, we humbly apprehend, must give Propriety to this as well as our former Address.

    transcript, PC     Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 23: 8-9.

    This address was a rejoinder to FB’s letter of 18 Feb. (see source note to No. 741). Voted unanimously at a meeting of the selectmen on 22 Feb.: present were John Hancock, Joshua Henshaw, Henderson Inches, Joseph Jackson, Samuel Pemberton, and John Ruddock. FB replied on 24 Feb., with a brief note asserting that his comments in the letter of 18 Feb. concerned the proceedings of the town meeting and selectmen and not the “disorder[s]” of 18 Mar. or 10 Jun. 1768. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 23: 9.