A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on Wednesday, 15 March, 1893, at four o’clock in the afternoon, Dr. Gould in the chair.

    After the record of the February meeting had been read and approved, the President said: —

    At our last meeting we assembled under the name by which we had been incorporated, The Massachusetts Society. To-day we enjoy that name no longer. One week ago, the last of the legal formalities attending the change of name was complied with, and we are now here as The Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

    The circumstances under which the change was made are doubtless known to you all. After the incorporation of the Society, unofficial information was received that our name was regarded by certain members of the Massachusetts Historical Society as liable to introduce confusion with their own. Without entering upon any consideration of the correctness of this view, the Council resolved, unanimously, to take such steps as should not merely remove all occasion for such criticism, but also make evident our desire to avoid any action which might be unwelcome even to a single member of a Society which we hold in great respect, and to which this community owes a debt of gratitude for very important services. A letter was therefore addressed to the Historical Society, embodying the resolves of the Council, together with a statement of the reasons which had led us to believe that the original name would not be unwelcome to its members, nor be regarded by any of them as conflicting with their rights. In further courtesy a second letter was sent as soon as the change of name had been effected.

    The following is the full text of both letters: —

    The Massachusetts Society,

    Boston, 24 January, 1893.

    To the Massachusetts Historical Society.

    Gentlemen, — At a meeting of the Council of The Massachusetts Society, held 18 January, 1893, the following resolutions were passed: —

    Whereas, We have learned that in the opinion of the Massachusetts Historical Society the Corporate name of this Society is likely to produce confusion; and

    Whereas, We feel that the mere discussion of a point of this nature would necessarily tend to create ill-will; and

    Whereas, We are desirous of maintaining friendly relations with all Societies whose purposes are kindred to our own; therefore be it

    Resolved, That the Council of The Massachusetts Society hereby recommend that the necessary legal steps be taken to change the name of the Society in such manner as to avoid any possible claim of confusion on the part of any existing Society.

    Resolved, That while it is with profound regret that we take this step, and while we believe that a review of the preliminary steps taken by the Incorporators of this Society in the selection of a name will convince the members of both Societies that the Incorporators were not inconsiderate or hasty in their action, but, on the contrary, had good right to believe that the name selected would not be objectionable to the older Society, yet we believe we can assure the Massachusetts Historical Society that the foregoing recommendation of the Council will be accepted by the Society without discussion, and that the steps necessary to carry it into effect will be promptly taken.

    Resolved, That the Corresponding Secretary be instructed to convey to the Massachusetts Historical Society, in the name of the Council of this Society, information of the foregoing action.

    In forwarding these Resolutions, the Council beg to say that the name which was selected expressed concisely what was considered desirable to embody in the Corporate title of the Society, and was, for that reason, adopted by it. The Council desire also to call attention to the fact that the membership of this Society is limited to those who can claim descent from Colonial Ancestry. This latter fact, when taken in connection with the last clause of the Articles of Incorporation,45 seemed to them adequately to distinguish this Society from other organizations whose purposes were similar, and to relieve it from the possible statement on the part of any person that those purposes were precisely identical with the purposes of any other Society. It would not be strictly fair, perhaps, to reinforce this point by calling attention to the wide field of possible activity permitted by the Charter of the Historical Society, of which it has never availed itself,46 and relative to which no parallel suggestion can be found in the Articles of Incorporation of this Society. It will probably be said that the purposes of the Massachusetts Historical Society are to be found rather in the valuable work which it has performed than in the language of its Charter, while the purposes of this Society can at present only be found in the Articles of Incorporation. It is with full recognition of the rights of the Historical Society to be judged by its work rather than by its Charter that the points have been stated which seem to relieve this Society from the charge of precise identity of purpose.

    It must also be borne in mind that the Incorporators of this Society were firmly convinced that in the opinion of the President of the Historical Society no objection would be raised by any member of your Society to the use of the name which was adopted. When they executed the Articles of Incorporation they were under the impression, not only that no charge could arise that this Society had infringed in any sense the rights of the Historical Society, but they believed that they had been even punctilious in their attempts to avoid any such imputation.

    In conclusion the Council beg to assure the Historical Society of their regrets that any misunderstanding on this point should have jeopardized the friendly relations of the two Societies, even for so short a time as it has taken to set forth these facts.

    By order of the Council,

    Andrew McFarland Davis,

    Corresponding Secretary.

    The Colonial Society of Massachusetts,

    Cambridge, 9 March, 1893.

    Justin Winsor, LL.D.,

    Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

    Dear Sir, — I received yesterday from Dr. Gould a notification that my signature was needed for the completion of the Statement required in the proceedings taken for the change of the name of The Massachusetts Society.

    It is now six weeks since, in behalf of the Council of this Society, I addressed a letter to the Massachusetts Historical Society in which I quoted the Resolutions passed by the Council, and recapitulated the circumstances which had misled us into the belief that the name which we had adopted would not be objectionable to the Historical Society. The action, which in that letter we announced that we were about to take, has now been consummated; and the legal title of our Society to-day is The Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

    Very truly yours,

    A. McF. Davis,

    Corresponding Secretary.

    The Hon. Melville Weston Fuller was unanimously elected an Honorary Member.

    The following-named gentlemen were unanimously elected Resident Members: —

    • Frederick Lothrop Ames.
    • Nathaniel Paine.
    • Charles Augustus Chase.
    • Edward Griffin Porter.
    • Charles Francis Choate.
    • Samuel Lothrop Thorndike.
    • Frederick Lewis Gay.
    • Robert Noxon Toppan.
    • John Noble.
    • Darwin Erastus Ware.
    • Edward Wigglesworth.

    The President presented Mr. Goodell in these words:

    It is an occasion for congratulation to you all that, since our last meeting, the Commissioners47 on the publication of the Acts and Resolves of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay have been reappointed for a term of three years and promptly confirmed. The continuance of this most important publication was advocated before the Judiciary Committee by representative members of the Massachusetts Bar, and by men prominent in historical investigation, with the gratifying result I have mentioned, so that we may rest in the confident assurance that the work will be duly completed in the same admirable manner in which six of the volumes have already been edited and published. It is my privilege this afternoon to present to you our associate, Mr. Goodell, under whose able and efficient direction as Editor the work has thus far gone forward, and whose name will forever remain connected with this enduring monument to his learning and unselfish devotion.

    Mr. Goodell offered to the Society for publication in its Collections a full set of copies, from the Public Record Office in London, of the Commissions of the Royal Governors of the Territory and Dominion of New England and of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, covering the entire period from the Presidency of Dudley over the Council of New England, in 1686, to the Governorship of Gage, in 1774, together with their Instructions, and similar copies of the Commissions of the several Lieutenant-Governors and Secretaries of the Province.48 These Instructions and most of the Commissions have never been printed.

    Mr. Goodell then distributed among the members photolithographic copies of an early petition from the inhabitants of Bass River,49 Salem, to the General Court, that that settlement be made a separate township, and read the following paper relating thereto: —

    beverly and the settlement at bass river.

    The minute critical studies of those accomplished antiquaries, Henry FitzGilbert Waters and William P. Upham, have demonstrated the falsity of the tradition long believed, that the planters of Conant’s Colony built their first cottages far from the centre of the present city of Salem. There is no doubt that generally such of those fishermen, shoremen, and husbandmen as did not remain on Cape Ann side first built along a line nearly coincident with the middle portion of the present Essex Street in Salem, their lots running thence to the North and South Rivers. After the arrival of the new-comers under Endicott, an agreement was concluded between the two bands of colonists, in accordance with which some of the Old Planters exchanged their house-lots in Salem proper for farms at or near the head of Bass River, — the name given by them to the northernmost of several estuaries running inland from the harbor between what are now Beverly and Danvers and the city of Salem.

    It requires no effort of imagination to picture the primitive beauty of the site chosen for this plantation; and a slight study of the topography of the neighborhood will suffice to show that for the purposes of agriculture and curing fish, for convenient mill privileges, for fuel, timber, abundance of pure water, and easy access at all seasons to the sea and to the prospective neighboring settlements, to be reached by canoes (then the common means of conveyance), nothing better could be desired.

    All the planters on Cape Ann side, however, including such as had never settled at Naumkeag, became members of the church or congregation gathered at Salem proper and attending worship at the meeting-house which stood upon the site of the present First Church, to and from which, in fair and tempestuous weather alike, all were expected to pass every Lord’s day and lecture day.

    As soon as paths were opened through the wilderness, it became possible to make these journeys overland, with some fording until bridges were built, by following a circuit of some eight or ten miles.

    With the increase of population on Cape Ann side (which, in thirty years, had reached to not less than sixty families) their connection with the First Church became a burden so evident to all concerned, that upon their application, in 1650, “for the means of grace among themselves,” the church willingly consented that the brethren at Bass River, which name they applied to all the territory now included in Beverly, look out some able and approved teacher to be employed among them, they still holding communion with the old church. Some four years elapsed, it would seem, before a teacher was thus employed. The first teacher was probably Jeremiah Hobart, son of the Rev. Peter, of Hingham, who, since it is certain that he removed to Barbadoes in July, 1655, is more likely to have preceded than followed his brother Joshua, one of the two teachers successively employed before the Rev. John Hale began his labors, in 1664.

    In 1657, under the lead of their teacher, Joshua Hobart, the brethren at Bass River applied for and obtained the unanimous consent of their fellow church-members at Salem to form a church by themselves, and thereupon, the same year, they built their first meeting-house, having probably worshipped previously either in some dwelling-house or other structure erected for secular uses.

    Down to 1660, the steps in the organization of the First Church in Beverly are to be learned solely from the initial entry in their own church records. The records of the parent church at Salem were revised that year, and substantially nothing but the original covenant and the lists of members was transferred to the new book, now remaining. The old book was left in the custody of the elders, by whom it was preserved for many years, but has long since been given up as lost or destroyed. The difficulty of ascertaining the earlier history of the Beverly church is increased by the imperfection of the Salem town records prior to 1660; and this enhances the historical importance of the brief preliminary entry in the Beverly church records, which the Rev. John Hale is supposed to have made, — a supposition, however, somewhat shaken by the fact that his name is therein repeatedly written “Hailes,” a variation of the spelling which he is not known to have sanctioned in any other instance.

    Thus far I have traced the efforts to obtain greater convenience in the exercise of religious worship. Parallel with these efforts, attempts were made from time to time to effect a separation of the two settlements in secular affairs. Thus, in June, 1647, the inhabitants of Mackerel Cove, on the seaboard further north, were released from their obligation to join in keeping the watch in Salem. The drawing up of the paper,50 a photo-lithograph of which I have had made to accompany this essay, is the next movement I have discovered looking to the establishment of a new town.

    From the General Court records it was always known that such a petition was presented; but I am not aware that the existence of the petition itself has been mentioned in any publication. No copy of it is to be found in the folios of the State archives, nor is it indexed therein. It was accidentally discovered while searching, in the course of the work which I am editing for the State, for a report to the Legislature in 1703 of a committee appointed to ascertain what encroachments had been made on the highway laid out in 1640 from Rowley to Beverly. It was my good fortune to discover both these papers, which I had copied forthwith; but recently, on again applying for them, for the purpose of critically collating them with the copies, they could not be found until, by order of the Secretary, they were re-discovered, after special and thorough search. This experience suggested the propriety of having the older and more interesting document reproduced in fac-simile. Below I give it in type: —

    9. 3d 59

    To the Honoured the Generałł Court, consisteing of the honoured and Worshipfull Magistrates, and Deputyes of the Country, Now convened at Boston: the petition of the Inhabitants of that part of Salem vpon the Northerne side of the fferry toward Ipswitch.

    Humbly Sheweth.

    That whereas wee your petitioners, (being vpwards of Sixty families, who by reason of our inconveniency of meeting publiquely vpon the Lords days at Salem towne, it being very troblesome and dangerous, to transport or selves. and families winter and sommer over the fferry;) whereas we have had Some. years since Liberty from the towne & Church of Salem, (who we thanke them were sensible of or burden) to erect a meeting-house, and to call a minister amongst vs, they promiseing to free us from Such charges as these at towne; vnto which purpose, we have, & did then Covenant among or selves, to contribute vnto all charges concerneing a publike ministry amongst vs, which wee have through Gods mercy enjoyed for five years and vpwards; Yet yor petitioners, feareing if not foreseeing, that we cannot in all likelyhood, be able Long to continew in this way, much lesse settle the ordayneances of gods house amongst vs (which or hearts long for,) by reason that if any should through dissaffection to us, or vnsoundenesse in judgment, or other wise fall off from us and their covenant, wee by this gapp, should be broken to peices [and] we cannot attayne or ends, without power farther from this honoured court, these and such like considerations Move vs yor poor petitioners humbly to crave and request of this worthyly honoured Court. That.

    Your Worp would be pleased, the toune liaveing allready done So much for vs, and Not beeing able (as they conceive) to impower us: to take or poore vnsettled condition in to yor searious consideration, So as to be perswaded, & moved to give, grant, & enact by yor authority, (it beeing noe prejudice, (as we conceive eyther to the towne or country) that we may be a towneship or villedg of & by or selves, and be enabled to carry on the publiq; charges requisite to a publiq; gospell ministry which ells we cannot expect to be ever settelled amongst us. We doe also humbly request you, if this may not bee, that however, we may bee invested with power from this court, to act in all cases amongst or selves as atowne shipp. And whereas there are divers whose habitations & Lands ly in Salem bounds neare vs, who doe not contribute to Salem, these may belong to us & contribute to the maintayneance of the ministry amongst vs, & Lastly that according to or humble petition formerly prferred to this Court concerneing a military cumpany, we humbly conceiveing or selves to be a competent number for a traynebande, according to law, we[e] agayne begg freedom from trayneings at the towne & humbly crave liberty to [be] a company of or selves:

    These things we leave to yor wise consideration, hopeing that yor bowells will move towards vs, in granteing yor poor petitioners requests; which we professe we intend for gods glory, & wee assure yee the granting of or desires, will be to the great welfare of the Soules & bodyes of yor humble petitioners and of their seed after them: The Lord the mighty Conceller direct yee by setting prsident a mong yee enableing yee to steer the shipp of this commonwelth aright; so as may be to the prservation of gospell peace & order amongst us, & the perpetuating of his names glory

    So pray Yor Humble Petitioners.

    Roger Conant

    Nicholas Pach

    John Stone

    John Thorndike

    John Pach

    Roger Hoskall

    Samuell Corning

    Henry Bayly

    Henry Herrick

    John Hill

    John Gally

    Zackery Herreck

    Nathaniell Stone

    William Hoare

    William Mapes

    Tho: Lowthroppe

    Richard Haines

    John Grocer

    Humphfry Woodbery

    Hugh Woodberry

    Osmond Traske

    Zabulon Hill

    John Stone Junr

    Nathanniel Masters

    John Lovet

    Robte Morgan

    Larrenc Leech

    Thomas Pickton

    Samuell Morgan

    John Leech

    Daniell Raey

    Josiah Rootes

    William Ellet

    William Woodberry

    Thomas Tuck

    William Raimont

    Richard Brachenbury:

    Willyam Dixsey

    Edward Bishop

    Nicholas Woodberry.

    Richard Stackhouse


    The magists desire theire brethren ye deputs to Consider of this peticon in ye first place bee. the [dep]uts of Salem, may haue an optinity to object ag it Edw: Rawson Sec[re]ty51

    In answer to this pet. the Deputies Conceiue that the petitionrs should make their Addresse to the Towne of Salem in reference to the matters herein Contayned & they agreeing to mutuall Satisfaction This Court wilbe ready to answer their Just Desires herein & to that end Desire the Towne of Salem would giue them a Speedy meeting [to] effect the Same & all with reference to ye Consent of or Honrd magists hereto

    Wm Torrey Cleric.

    Consented to by ye magists hereto

    27 3 mo 59. Edward Rawson secry52

    Nothing in the Salem town records relative to the setting off of Beverly has been discovered prior to the following entry: —

    Mar. 10 1667/8 in the afternoon.

    In answer to a motion of our Brr at head of Bass Riũ prsented to vs from the geñall Court wee thinke it the best expedient for them to be a Township of themselves, if they desire it, and therin do consent if content with ye prsent bounds alredy sett them.

    Felt seems to assume that this vote was responsive to the order of the General Court passed nearly nine years before, and that upon it was based the ordinance incorporating Beverly. This, however, does not appear to be such a “speedy” compliance as the Legislature required in their order upon the above petition of 1659. And moreover that the inhabitants of Bass River applied anew to the town of Salem in the spring of 1668, the following further considerations seem to show conclusively: First, the town records of Beverly assert that “after many agitations in publique meetings,” the inhabitants of Bass River and Cape Ann side chose a committee to prepare a petition (which they sent deputies to the General Court to prosecute) to the Governor and Magistrates, to be invested “with a power to choose yearly a fitt number of persons who might have power within themselves, as selectmen have in other places, & so to act in the behalfe of the place by the imploying others, officers or persons as the affairs of the place may occasion.” Second, the record continues by asserting that the action of the General Court in October, 1668, hereafter mentioned, was in answer to this petition for a quasi-corporation. Third, the above record of the vote of consent by the town of Salem seems to imply that the erecting the inhabitants of Cape Ann side into a township was a better expedient than the privilege they had prayed for in the petition then under consideration, whereas in the petition of 1659 they had prayed to be made a township without limit or qualification. Fourth, and the strongest indication that the application now made to the General Court was not a renewal of the petition of 1659 but an entirely new proceeding, is the recital in the following conditional order thereon by the General Court at the session begun and held 27 May, 1668, which precisely agrees with the vote of Beverly as described in the town records: —

    In ansr to the petition of the inhabitants of yt part of Salem com̄only called Basse Riuer, humbly craving the favour of this Court to invest them wth power to choose yearely within themselues a fit number of persons who may haue power, as selectmen haue in other places, to rajse those charges that are to be defraied by & within themselues, & for the admission of those poore or others yt desire to inhabitt wth them, (they being to mainteyne them if they fall into want,) & ffor what other smale causes and buisnesses, arising properly wthin themselues, fall vnder the cognizance of selectmen; also, that they may choose their constable & surveyors for the highway, & what other officers or persons the affaires abouesajd may necessitate & occasion them to imploy; yet they would be vnderstood that their desire is still to continue with yt part of the toune of Salem, vizt, in bearing wth them, & they wth us, com̄on toune & country charges in com̄on interests & concernements, as chojce of deputjes for the Generall Court, & such like, as hitherto they haue proceeded together.

    The Court, on pervsall of their petition, & hauing heard wt Salem deputjes sajd, judge meet to grant their request, prouided the toune of Salem doe fully concurr therewth & agree thereto, wch if they shall not, the Court judgeth it meet that they manifest the same at the next sessions of this Court.

    Taken together, these facts seem to leave no reasonable doubt of the nature and purport of the proceeding by which the inhabitants of Beyerly again brought up the project of their independence of Salem. Having failed in their application, nine years before, to be made a separate township, they modified their request to the General Court by asking simply for authority for local self-government as a precinct of Salem, whereupon they were agreeably disappointed by the action of the Legislature, with the concurrence of the town of Salem, in yielding to their wishes as originally expressed and in incorporating them as a township by the name of Beverly. No vote of the town of Salem upon the subject, other than the above vote of the tenth of March, appears on record; and it was probably in substantial compliance with that vote that Edmund Batter made the following return to the General Court sitting 7 November, 1668, upon the order of notice, which the Court had served upon the town of Salem: —

    The answer of the toune of Salem to the Courts former order is, that wee doe not see cause to consent ffurther. Wee say, that if our brethren & neighbors of Basse Riuer side desire to be a touneship by themselues, & are content wth the lands already set out to them, wee consent to that.

    Edmond Batter, ⅌ order of ye toune.

    Upon this the General Court immediately passed the following decree: —

    The Court, on pervsall of this returne, judge it meete to grant that Basse Riuer be henceforth a touneship of themselues, referring it to Salem to accom̄odate them wth lands & bounds suitably for them, & that it be called Beverly.

    While the secular or political status of the inhabitants of Bass River was thus assuming the full proportions of a distinct municipality, their ecclesiastical affairs were keeping pace.

    I have briefly traced the progress of the church down to 1660, and have incidentally mentioned that Rev. John Hale, who was a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1657, began his labors as teacher in the church at Beverly in 1664. The next year he was settled, on an annual salary of £70 and his firewood; and the house, which had been previously built for the accommodation of the minister, was fitted up for his use, and conditionally settled upon him and his family. Their first step of independence left the brethren at Bass River, though a separate congregation with a teacher of their own, still members and communicants of the old church at Salem. In the winter of 1666–67, they applied to their brethren at Salem to be set off as an entirely separate church, with Mr. Hale for pastor, be having been among them nearly three years. On the last of February, a day of fasting was observed by both churches, to invoke divine guidance. On the twenty-third of June, a formal petition to the Salem church was prepared. This, on the fourth of July, was seriously considered by the parent church, which, on the twenty-first, signified its consent. On the twenty-eighth of August, the formal call to the pastorate was made to Mr. Hale, who accepted. The installation ceremonies were appointed for the twentieth of September, which the brethren of the Salem church, who were notified on the ninth, attended in a body, uniting with messengers from the churches of Ipswich and Wenham. The exercises seem to have been conducted with perfect love and harmony, thus beautifully contrasting with the implacable spirit of hatred and discord so often unhappily prevalent on such occasions in the history of New England.

    After the paper had been discussed by several members, Mr. Goodell gave the following particulars of the controversy between Samuel Sewall and Judge John Saffin respecting the slave Adam, which he said he believed had not been printed. He also gave some new facts, taken from the Court Records, relating to the suits at law between the slave and his master which throw light on certain obscure passages in the pamphlets of Sewall and Saffin, recently reprinted,53 and in the Appendix to Saffin’s pamphlet, an incomplete copy of which he now offered to the Society for publication as a paper which never has been reprinted: —

    john saffin and his slave adam.

    Among the lovely things remembered of good Samuel Sewall, nothing has more redounded to his praise than the little sheet in which, under the title of “The Selling of Joseph,”54 he offered the first public plea for the emancipation of the negro.

    Whether or not Sewall’s denunciation of the wrong of slave-holding was induced by some of the incidents recounted in the narratives which follow, is not positively certain,55 although the inference that he intended to animadvert upon the conduct of his contemporary, John Saffin,56 receives some support from the manner in which the latter in his published reply to Sewall not only undertook to defend the institution of slavery, but to vindicate his conduct toward his slave Adam.

    Saffin’s pamphlet appeared with a long title, the leading lines of which were, “A Brief and Candid Answer to a late Printed Sheet entituled, The Selling of Joseph,” etc.57

    Although the text of this rarest of rare tracts was given to the public by the late learned George H. Moore, LL. D., in his Notes on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts, he failed to include the appendix.58 The reason for this omission can only be surmised. It may have been the inability to determine how much that was important was lost with the missing pages, and the hope of supplying the lost portions by the discovery of a perfect copy. Or, what is more likely, the narrative containing obscurities to which there was no known key, an attempt to elucidate it might have seemed impracticable, or so difficult as not to be justified by the probable importance of the subject. I am not aware that it has ever been reprinted. My purpose now is to offer it for publication in the Transactions of this Society. I have reason to believe, and I think it will presently appear, that it is substantially complete. With it I offer such extracts from the records of the Provincial Courts59 as are necessary fully to elucidate Saffin’s version of the relations between him and his servant. At the same time I propose to give a sufficiently clear account of the legal proceedings which resulted in Adam’s emancipation. These proceedings are rendered more interesting by the view they afford of a leaning in favor of liberty on the part of the highest judicial court of the Province, and of the flexibility of the common law, as administered by this tribunal, in adapting old, or providing new and peculiar, remedies in extraordinary emergencies.

    The contention between Saffin and his negro slave grew out of the following instrument: —

    Bee it known unto all men by these presents That I John Saffin of Bristol in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England out of meer kindness to and for the Eucouragem of my negro man Adam to go on chearfully in his Business & Imploymt by me now putt into, the Custody Service and command of Thomas Shepherd my Tenant on boundfield Farm in Bristol afores for and During the Terme of Seaven years from the Twenty fifth day of March last past 1694 — fully to be compleat and Ended or as I may otherwise See cause to Imploy him. I say I doe by these presents of my own free & Voluntary Will & pleasure from and after the full end & Expiration of Seven years beginning on the Twenty fifth day of March last past and from thenceforth fully to be compleat and Ended, Enfranchise clear and make free my sd negro man named Adam to be fully at his own Dispose and Liberty as other free men are or ought to be according to all true Intents & purposes whatsoever. Allways provided that the s Adam my Servant do in the mean time go on chearfully quietly and Industriously in the Lawfull Business that either my Self or my Assigns shall from time to time reasonably Sett him about or imploy him in and doe behave and abear himself as an Honest true and faithfull Servant ought to doe during the Tearm of Seven years as aforesaid In Witness whereof I the s John Saffin have hereunto sett my hand and Seal this Twenty Sixth day of June 1694 — In the Sixth year of their Matys Reign

    Signed Sealed & Deliv in the prsence of

    Rachel Browne her marke.

    John Saffin (Seal)

    RichD Smith

    Samuel Gallop

    This Instrument abovewritten was Entred in the first book for Wills and Inventoryes page the last, November 15tḥ̣ 1694 — by John Cary Recor.60

    This writing Adam seems to have regarded as an effectual manumission after the expiration of the seven years therein limited. Hence he felt justified, as a free man, in acting toward his former master in the independent manner which the latter in his complaint described as “turbulent, outrageous and insolent.”

    According to Saffin, Adam had not fulfilled the condition upon which his liberty was promised; and being at Boston, in March, 1701, and ordered by his master to meet him at Bristol, and to proceed thence to Swanzey in the service of another, to whom Saffin had engaged him, he not only refused to go, but improved the opportunity which his master’s absence afforded to leave Saffin’s house in Boston, furtively taking with him his clothing, and going about town at pleasure.

    Saffin, upon his return, received from his former slave, instead of the deference and submission he claimed, a notice, haughtily delivered, that he must appear before Mr. Justice Sewall. Saffin accordingly waited upon the judge, whom he found in conference with Mr. Secretary Addington. Sewall severely animadverted on his conduct, and produced the deed of manumission. The due execution of this instrument Saffin acknowledged; upon which the two magistrates concurred in advising him to give the negro his liberty. They intimated that Adam’s performance had been substantially according to the terms stated in the instrument, which, as “liberty was a thing of great value, even next to life,” should be liberally construed, especially in this case, and that a perfect compliance should not be expected, since “there was much to be allowed to the behaviour of Negroes, who are so ignorant, rude and bruitish.”

    Saffin, nevertheless, persisted in his determination to hold the negro; and the next day he induced Lieutenant-Colonel Penn Townsend, a member of the Council, to accompany him to Sewall’s house, professing to believe that his servant could be lawfully coerced into submission by the joint determination of two magistrates. Though the magistrates did not concur with Saffin, Townsend consented to bind Adam over (he being present) to answer to a complaint for an offence the nature of which appears in the record of proceedings of the court, given below.

    The next Court of Sessions for Suffolk was to be held in July, but the stated Assizes were held at Boston two months earlier; so, in order to bring the complaint (which involved the question of Adam’s enfranchisement) to a speedy issue, he was required to appear and answer at the May term of the Superior Court, and Dick, a free negro, was accepted as surety in his recognizance. Accordingly, when the court sat the complainant and respondent appeared; but though papers were read and the case debated, the matter was put over, or, as Saffin states it, “transmitted to the next Superiour Court to be held at Bristol.” The complaint was not entered of record; and though the reason assigned by Saffin for the court’s declining to proceed with the trial was that witnesses were not present to support by their oaths the depositions they had previously made in writing, it seems more likely that the case was thought to be properly triable in Bristol County, where, if Saffin had any case, both parties were domiciled.

    Between the term at Suffolk and the term at Bristol, Saffin by some means succeeded in getting promoted from the bench of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas to that of the Superior Court of Judicature;61 and on the ninth of September he sat with his associates at the stated term in Bristol, during which upon his complaint Adam was tried at the suit of the king.

    From the depositions on file it is clear that though at the trial there was conflicting testimony upon the main issue, the preponderance of evidence as to character was in Adam’s favor. Some of the depositions for the complainant were mainly hearsay, and one at least was rejected by the court, probably for this reason and also because the prisoner was not present when it was taken. The complainant was allowed to put in the following document in proof of his charges against the accused: —

    Bristol 12tḥ of Janrỵ 1699 —

    Whereas I Thomas Shepherd of Bristol having hired a certain Farm of John Saffin Esq called boundfield partly in Bristol afors & partly in Swansey & having had with the Stock of cattle and Sheep a certain negro man named Adam to Serve me into the bargain during the Lease Doe hereby declare that he the said negro man having been a very disobedient Turbulent outragious and unruly Servant in all respects these many years and hath earned himself so obstinately both to my Self Wife & children that I cannot keep him nor bear with his evil manners any Longer and therefore request M Saffin his master to take him again into his custody and release me of him he the sḍ̣ negro being such a Vile Refrictory fellow that I dare no longer keep him in my House, and have therefore by his sd Masters consent & permiscōn placed and hired him to M John Wilkins of Bristol with him to Serve dwell & abide from the day of the date hereof till the Twenty fifth day of March next. In Wittnesse whereof I have hereunto Sett my hand and Seal this Twelfth day of January 1699 —

    Signed Sealed & Delivered in the presence of us —

    Thomas Shepherd (and a Seal)

    Rich Jenkins


    Jno Andrews


    Bristol ss — Memorandum — Thomas Shepherd the Subscriber to the abovementioned Instrum personally appearing before me under written one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Bristol this 11tḥ of Sept 1701 and acknowledged this Instrum to be his Act & Deed, In the Thirteenth year of his Matys Reign —

    Nathaniel Paine.62

    The character of the accused as given in this paper was not only insufficiently shown by the joint deposition of Shepherd and his wife, but Wilkins, to whom Adam was bound out by Shepherd, testified to his sobriety and fidelity; and there were several other witnesses to his general good conduct. Nevertheless, the jury found him guilty. The court continued the case, under advisement, “until the next Superior Court to be holden for this county” (that is, for one year), and in the mean time remanded Adam to the custody of his master.

    From Sewall’s memoranda it appears that the court were in doubt on the question whether or not Saffin’s interest in the issue was such as to disqualify him from sitting in the case. It would seem also, from the same authority, that besides the manifest impropriety of sitting as judge in a case in which he was so directly concerned, Saffin had been guilty of other equally grave and more insidious irregularities in the management of this case. Sewall declares that he had tampered with the foreman of the jury by whose verdict Adam was convicted, and had connived at placing upon the panel James Smith, one of his tenants; which conduct was apparently proved to the satisfaction of his associates. Saffin avers that upon his motion that judgment be entered according to the verdict his brother judges assented, and agreed that he should have the custody of his negro upon his promising “not to send him out of the Country,” but that the suspension of judgment for further advisement was a subsequent determination made without his privity or consent, whereupon he claimed he was released from his promise.

    As soon as the form of the judgment had been finally settled, Saffin in open court ordered Adam, of whom the decree of the court had given him control, to proceed forthwith to Boston, and to resume work on Castle Island under Captain Timothy Clarke.63 About a month later the unfortunate negro got into fresh trouble by violently resisting Captain Clarke, who, in attempting to discipline him for disobedience and incivility, knocked his pipe from his mouth, and struck him with his stick. Saffin seized upon this incident as a pretext for ordering his incorrigible servant to be transported out of the province; but this scheme failed on account of a caution given by Addington, who was consulted as to the legality of the proceeding. The Secretary, however, so far gratified Saffin as to order the commitment of Adam to answer at the Quarter Sessions for his violence. The loss of the records of the Court of Sessions leaves it doubtful what disposition the court made of this case. It is certain that the event did not interfere with the earlier proceedings instituted by Saffin.

    Before the next term of the court in Bristol, Dudley had arrived with the commission of governor. Though the new governor’s principles were extremely loose in regard to taking gratuities for service rendered in an executive capacity, and notwithstanding his career as chief justice in New York shows that he did not scruple to follow the worst precedents of judicial tyranny, he had never been known to excuse in a judge such offences as Saffin was charged with. Possibly this may account for the fact that Saffin was not among the judges of the Superior Court selected and commissioned by Dudley.

    When the case of Dom. Rex64 v. Adam came up for consideration by the court in September, 1702, it appearing that the negro was sick with the small-pox, it was again put over, — this time to the November term, in Suffolk. Sewall65 records that the “Court were of Opinion that Adam’s Freedom could not be Tryed by Mr. Saffin’s complaint,” — evidently upon the ground that, though the suit was brought in the name of the king, Baffin was the real party in interest, — the virtual plaintiff.

    The complaint against him having thus failed, Adam, at the same term, “preferred a petition for his Enfranchisement” (which unique and interesting paper, undoubtedly prepared by Newton, has not been found), at the same time exhibiting to the court the instrument of emancipation executed by Saffin. The court thereupon assigned Thomas Newton and Joseph Hearne,66 two of the ablest lawyers in the province, as his counsel, “in order to his Regular proceeding in the affair.” The record of the case concludes: “This Court Judging it proper for the Petitioner first to be heard at the Inferiour Court of Common pleas next to be holden for this County and that the Petitioner in the meantime be in peace untill the Coming of the Justices.”67

    In compliance with this decision and intimation from the court, Adam brought suit against Saffin in the Common Pleas as follows: —

    Suffolk ss Anne by the Grace of God of England Scotland France & Ireland Queen Defend of the Faith &c To the Sherriff of our County of Bristoll his undersherriff or Deputy. Greeting. We Com̄and you that you Sum̄on John Saffin of Bristoll within our County of Bristoll Esq (if he may be found in your prcinct) to appeare before our Justices of our Inferiour Court of Com̄on Pleas to be holden at Boston within & for our sd County of Suffolk on the first Tuesday of January next then & there in our sd Court to answer to Adam negroe of Boston with in our sd County of Suffolk Labourer in a plea for that whereas the sd Adam hath Complained unto us That he being a freeman and ready to prove his liberty, the sd John Saffin claimeing him as his slave, doth vnjustly vex him: To the damage of the sd Adam negro as he saith the sum̄ of one hundred pounds, wcḥ shall then & there be made to appeare with other due damages And have you there this writt with your doings therein Witness Elisha Hutchinson Esq at Boston this 14tḥ day of Decemb in First year of our Reigne Annoq; Dom 1702.

    Addington Davenpoet Cler.68

    Upon which writ the sheriff of Bristol made the following return: —

    Bristoll ss By Vertue of this Writt to me Directed on y 18th day of December 1702 I sum̄oned the abovesaid John Saffen Esqr to appear at the Day & place above mentioned as this writt Reqviers & I Left a coppi of this writt with him at his hovs in Bristoll

    pr SamLḶ̣ Gallap Sherriff.69

    The record shows that this writ abated, probably because it was held that the court for Bristol County had exclusive jurisdiction of the parties. The judgment of the court was as follows: —

    It is considered by the Court That ye sd Sum̃ons or writ shall abate for yt ye same is not regularly brought before this Court.70

    The justices present were Elisha Hutchinson, John Foster, Penn Townsend, and Jeremiah Dummer.

    From this judgment the plaintiff appealed, but the court refused71 to allow the appeal.

    Saffin, it seems, now renewed his threat to consign Adam to some one living out of the province, or who would remove him from Massachusetts; whereupon Mr. Newton invoked the protection of the Superior Court for his client in the following petition: —

    To the honble the Justices of her Majtieṣ Superiour Court of Judicature now held at Boston for the County of Suffolk being the 8tḥ day of May 1703.

    Thomas Newton of sd Boston humbly sheweth

    That whereas yor. honors. at the superiour Court of Judicature held at Boston for the sd County on the first Tuesday of November now last past, upon the petition of Adam a negro, late slave to John Saffin Esq for his freedom appointed the sd Thomas Newton & Mr. Joseph Hearne attorneys for the sd Adam and that in order thereunto the sd attorneys should com̄ence an accon for him ag the sd John Saffin at the then next inferiour Court of Com̄on pleas to be held at Boston for the sd County for the Try all of his liberty And the sd Thomas Newton and Joseph Hearne accordingly brought forward an accon for the sd Adam ag the sd John Saffin at the inferiour Court of Com̄on pleas held at Boston on the first Tuesday of January last, where the sd accoñ was dismissed and an appeal to this Court thereupon denyed And forasmuch as the sd Adam dayly pursues yo subscriber for the Tryall of his sd liberty the sd Adam being dayly threatned by the sd M Saffin, to be sent out of this province into forreigne, parts to remaine a slave during his life.

    Yo subscriber humbly prays yo honors will be pleased to take the prmisses into yo Consideration, and give such further directions therein as to yo honorṣ shall seem meet

    And yo subscriber will ever pray &c

    Tho: Newton.72

    The following is the record of the judgment or decree of the court upon this petition, all the justices being present: —

    Upon Reading the Petition of M Thomas Newton relating to Adam negro late Slave to John Saffin Esqr That notwithstanding the former Order of this Court he is pursued by Mr Saffin as his Slave and has Endeavoured to Transport him beyond Sea. Its therefore Considered by the Court That Adam negro be in peace untill by due process of Law he be found to be a Slave.73

    Saffin now turned to the Legislature for the remedy which he had failed to obtain in the courts. Although not chosen a deputy that year, he had contrived to secure election to the Council, but had been deprived of the opportunity to influence his associates which a seat on that Board would have afforded him, by the action of Governor Dudley, who promptly rejected him. He, however, presented the following petition: —

    To his Excellency Joseph Dudley Esqr Captaine Generall & Comander in Chief in & over Her Majestys Province of the Massathussetts Bay in New England The Honble Council & Representatives Convened in the Great & Genlḷ̣ Court att Boston on the Twenty sixth Day of May Anno. 1703 —

    The Petition of John Saffin Esqr in all Humillity Presenteth.

    As the Parliament of England is the supream Councill of the Nation, and the sovereign Remedy of all grievances, oppressions, & Male Administrations of the Greatest Peers of the Realm, and the Highest Courts of Judicature even so this great & Genlḷ̣ Court or Assembly is (as yor Petitionr humbly conceives) an embleme or similitude of that Power Derived from the Royall Charter granted to the People of this Province for the Redressing of the grievances oppressions Male Administrations and Tort actions of the greatest Persons or Courts of Judicature subordinate to this Grand Assembly. And therefore it is, that yo humble Petiṛ̣ (finding no other Remedy) is Imboldned humbly to Address this great Council, & Implore their Ayd, that they would be pleased to grant him Audience in a matter wherein he is greatly Injured & oppressed; and in such a manner he presumes there hath not been the like done in New England. The thing in brief is this. Yor Peti hath a certaine Negro man named Adam that is withheld or taken from him yor Peti under countenance of authority (not collour of law) wch Negro hath sooner or later cost yor Petit above Threescore pounds. The pretended matter in Controversy hath been twice before no less than two Justices of the Peace, and at four severall Superior Courts. & continued above these two years last past, and yet is not Determined, nor doth yor Petir know when it will, in the mean time yor Peti is made a meer Yassall to his slave in being at contiuuall cost and charges about him to supply him with all manner of Necessarys, as Cloaths, Bedding food and Phisick, and attendance when lately he had the small pox. Allso to pay the keeper for his keeping in Prison Three Months where he was by the Quarter Sessions committed for his outrages & murtherous attempts at the Castle: generally known, (a Narrative whereof being in Print.) yet for all this the said vile Negro is at this Day set at large to goe at his pleasure, in open Defiance of me his Master in danger of my life, he haveing threatued to be Revenged of me and all them that have cross’t his turbulent Humour, to the great scandall and evill example of all Negros both in Town and countrey whose eyes are upon this wretched Negro to see the Issue of these his exorbitant practices.

    The Premisses Considered yor Petiṛ̣ doth humbly Implore this Honble Assembly to grant Redress by vouchsafeing yor Petiṛ̣ a hearing either before this Honble Assembly or by a Com̄ittee as in yor wisdomes you shall Deeme most convenient, the various Circumstances of those Transactions being so large as to exceed the limitts of A petition in writeing; And allso that upon the understanding the Justice of yor Petirṣ Cause yor Honrṣ will be pleased to doe him Right in all Respects, by Restoreing Ms said Negro to yor Peti that as an English subject he may Dispose of his said Negro, as he shall see cause for his own safty, and all other of her Majestys good subjects that may be exposed to any Detriment by the sd Negros villainous practices.

    And yor Petionr as in Duty bound shall Pray &c.

    John Saffin.74

    This petition was read in the House on the first of June. It was read again on the third. Whereupon the proceedings set forth in the following extracts from the legislative records of the Council and from the State Archives took place: —

    A petition of John Saffin, Esqr; relating to a certain negroe man named Adam, that is withheld or taken from him under countenance of authority not colour of law, as insinuated in the said petition, sent up from the representatives with the act of that house thereon; viz., —

    Ordered — That the Petitioner have a Hearing before this Court, on the 2 Wednesday of the next session.

    Sent up for Concurrence. —

    Jam Converse Speaker, —

    In Council — June 3 1703. Read and not agreed to, — and ordered That the matter be heard before the next Court of General Sessions of the Peace for Suffolk.75

    Is Addington, Sec͡ry. —

    In the House of Representatives June 3rḍ 1703,

    Read and Agreed.

    Jam Converse Speaker

    When the petition was before the Council, Newton appeared in behalf of Adam,76 and entered the following plea: —

    The s Adam Negro pleads that he oweth the s John Saffin no Service but is free by Vertue of an Instrum under the hand and Seal of the s John Saffin.

    Tho Newton ⅌ Adam negro.77

    At the Court of Sessions held by adjournment in Suffolk in August the case was tried, as ordered by the Assembly, and Adam was again convicted, and once more appealed, as shown by the following copy of the record: —

    Suffolk ss Anno Regni Reginæ; Annæ nunc Angliæ &c / Secundo —.

    At an adjournment of a Court of General Sessions of the Peace held at Boston for the County of Suffolke on the third day of August Anno Domini One Thousand Seven hundred and three —

    Adam negro’s Tryall

    Whereas John Saffin Esq by his Petition to the Great and General Court or Assembly for Her Majtys Province of the Massachusetts Bay held at Boston upon the Twenty sixth day of May last, did Insinuate that a certain negro man named Adam is withheld or taken from him &c upon which he obtained an order of the s Great & General Court that the matter be heard before the next Court of General Sessions of the Peace for the County of Suffolk — In Pursuance whereof the s John Saffin & the sd Adam negro now appeared, and the s Adam by Thomas Newton his attorney pleaded that he oweth the s John Saffin no service butt is free by virtue of an Instrument under the hand and seal of the s John Saffin; and the allegations of both partyes being fully heard the matter was committed to the Jury who were sworn to try the same and returned their verdict therein upon oath, That is to say — they find that the s Adam negro hath not performed the condition for which he was to be Enfranchized & therefore is to continue a servant to his s Master. It’s therefore considered by the court That the s Adam negro hath not performed the condition for which he was to be Enfranchized and therefore is to continue a servant to his s Master; The s Adam by his afores Attorney appealed from this Judgment or sentance unto the next Court of Assize and General Goal delivery to be holden for this county and Entred into Recognizance with sufficient suretyes for his appearance and prosecuting his Appeal there with Effect and for the abiding and performing the order or sentance of the s court; and for his good behaviour in the mean time.78

    The defendant’s reasons of appeal, prepared by Adam’s attorney and given below, sufficiently show the course of the proceedings and the grounds upon which he based his claim to freedom: —

    Suffolk ss The Reasons of appeale of Adam negro appell ag John Saffin of Bristoll in the County of Bristol Esq Defend from the Judgm or Sentence of her Majtieṣ Justices of her Majtieṣ̣ Court of generall Sessions of the peace held at Boston for the County of Suffolk on the first Tuesday of August 1703, by adjournin from the first Tuesday of July foregoing. To the honblẹ Justices of her Majtieṣ̣ Court of Assize and generall Gaol Delivery to be held at Boston for the sd County of Suffolk on the first Tuesday of November 1703.

    That whereas at the s Court of generall Sessions of the peace, the sd appell had a tryall for his freedom & Claimed the same by vertue of an Instrum under the hand & seal of the Defend bearing date the 26th day of June 1694. Yet sentence was given ag him, wch.̣ is wrong & erronious and ought to be reversed for the reasons following, viz

    1 That whereas at the sd Court of generall Sessions of the peace sentence was given for the Defend ag. the appell when by Law the same ought to have been rendred for the appell ag the Defend

    2~ That it is evident, that the appell served the Defend faithfully & honestly during the Term of seven years from the 25tḥ day of March 1694. and ought to have his freedom & liberty pursuant to the Instrum abovemencōned.

    3~ That there is no penalty in the sd Instrum if the appell did not serve the Defend faithfully during the abovesd Term of seven years, nor doth he thereby forfeit his freedom or liberty given him for that there is no provisoe or Condicōn in the sd Instrum. that if the sd appell did not faithfully serve the Defend & his assignes during the sd Term, then he should forfeit the freedom or liberty thereby intended and the word provided mencōned in the sd Instrum is a consideracōn and not a Condition, and the Enffranchisem is positive & not conditionall and liberty being a priviledge the greatest that can be given to any man save his life, it ought not to be forfeited upon trivial and frivolous matters as is prtended by the Defend all wcḥ matters & things (with what further may be alledged by the Defend) being duely weighed & considered by the honoreḍ Court and the Gent of the Jury, the appell hopes they will see good reason to Reverse the former sentence and give him his freedom.

    Tho: Newton attorney for the appellt.79

    The above reasons were received into the clerk’s office 26 October, 1703, and were argued at the term begun on the second of November, at which term, by the verdict of the jury and the judgment of the court, Adam secured his liberty. The record is as follows: —

    Suffolk ss. Anno Regni Reginæ Annæ nunc Angliæ &c Secundo∽.

    At her Majestys Superiour Court of Judicature, Court of Assize & General Goal Delivery, Begun & held at Boston, within & for the County of Suffolk on Tuesday the second of November. 1703∽.

    By the Honole

    Samuell Sewall Esqr



    John Hawthorne Esqr


    John Walley. Esqr and


    John Leverett Esq

    Adam us Saffin Esqr

    Adam negro Appellt us John Saffln Esqr Appellee. from a Judgment or sentence of a Court of General Sessions of the Peace held at Boston by adjournment on the Third day of August 1703. for that whereas the sd John Saffin by his Petition to the Great and General Court or Assembly for Her Majestys Province of the Massachusetts Bay held at Boston upon the 26th day of May last did Insinuate that the sd Adam is withheld or taken from him &c Upon which he obtained an Order of sd Court that the matter should be heard before the Court of General Sessions of the Peace for the County of Suffolk. At which sd Court Judgment was rendered that the sd Adam negro had not performed the Condition for which he was to be Enfranchised & therefore to Continue a servant to his sd master. Both Parties now appearing. The Judgment of sd Court Reasons of appeal & all things touching the same being fully heard the whole was Committed to the Jury, who were sworne to try the same & Returned their verdict therein upon Oath That is to say They find for the appellt Revertion of the former Judgment & Cost of suits. Its therefore Considered by the Court That the sd Adam & his heirs be at peace & quiet & free with all their Chatties from the sd John Saffln Esqr & his heirs for Ever.80

    After this there was little hope for Saffin of gaining his ends. Still he resolutely presented his grievances to the Legislature at the third session, in the following petition: —

    To his Excellency Joseph Dudley Esqr Governr Capt Genlḷ̣ and Com̄ander in Chief in & over Her Matieṣ̣̣̣ Province of the Massethusetts Bay in New England &c. the Honble Council & House of Representatives Now Assembled Novembr 15th 1703

    The Petition of John Saffin Esqr most humbly Sheweth

    That there is a certaine Negro man Named Adam Servant to yor Petitionr who hath by his vile behaviour Expos’d yor Petiṛ̣̣̣ to very much trouble and Charge above two years & half last past haveing been at no less than five Superior Courts, & two Inferior Courts seeking to Obteine his freedom under the pretence of A writeing under the hand of yor Petiṛ̣ when he lett his farme at Bristol to Thomas Shepard with the said Negro, knowing him to be a Desperate Dangerous Villaine, and of a Turbulent humour I Endeavored to Oblige him to his Duty, and thereupon promised his freedome under my hand att the End of the Terme upon the Conditions in the words following Viztt allways Provided that the said Adam my Servant Doe in the meane time goe on Chearfully quietly & Industriously in the lawfull Business that Either my Self or my Assigns shall from time to time Reasonably sett him abovt or Imploy him in, And Doe behave & abare himself as an honiest true and faithfull Servant Ought to doe Dureing the Terme of Seven years as aforesaid. Now may it please yor Excellency and this Honble Assembly the said Negro hath in no wise performed the Conditions on wch he was to be free But on the Contrary hath behaved him self Turbulently Neglegently Insolently and Outragiously both to yor Petiṛ̣ and his Tenant Thomas Shepard his wife and family, and Others where yor Petiṛ̣ hath placed him, So that he hath had no Profitt but loss by him said Negro these Eight Years and upward but was faine to abate the said Tenant of his Rent for that cause, and in the mean time yor Petiṛ̣ hath been at continued great cost and Charges abovt the said Negro to this Day in provideing him Cloaths Bedding Phisick Attendance and all manner of Necessarys when he was lately sick of the Small Pox besides abovt Six pounds payed the keeper of the Prison for Charges when he said Negro was Com̄itted by the Court upon the Complaint of Capt Timothy Clark of the said Negro’s outrage at the Castle in great Danger of the said Capt Clarks life wch was proved upon oath. Allso the said Negro hath often times Threatned to kill yor Petiṛ̣ and lately told Mr Willard the keeper of the Prison that if he had Oppertunity he would make no more to Twist or wring off the Neck of yor Petiṛ̣ then he would of a Snake all wch is upon Oath and more to the same Effect —

    The Premisses Considered yor Petitionr Doth humbly Implore this Honble Assembly to grant Releif, and that he may have liberty to Review the Action and Judgment the said Negro hath lately Obtained for his freedome at this last Superior Court at Boston (Notwithstanding he was cast at two Courts before) And that according to yor wisdomes some Effectual Order may be given that the said Negro may bee in safe Custody, and not goe at large at his pleasure, that the Person of yor Petitionr may under God, be in safty & secured from the Danger of his life threatned by that Notorious Villaine & allso that yor Petiṛ̣ may be Reimbursed the Charges he hath been att abovt the said Negro upon all Occasions as aforesaid And Yor Petitionr shall Pray &c.

    Jn Saffin.81

    This petition was read in the House on the fifteenth, and on the nineteenth the representatives passed an order “that the petitioner have a review at the next Superior Court held at Boston and in the mean time the negro be of bonds with sureties for the peace and good behavior,” which order was sent to the Council for concurrence. On the first of December, this petition and order being read in the Council, it was “not concurred” in, but the Council voted that “the petitioner is referred to the law.”

    That Saffin found no further satisfaction is evident from the following entry in the Records of the Selectmen of Boston,82 which shows that as late as 18 June, 1711, Adam was recognized as free by the town authorities: —

    At a meeting of ye Sel. men June y 18tḥ [1711.]

    Pursuant to the Law of this Province Intitulled An Act for Regulating of Free Negros &c

    The Sd Sel. men do order and Require the Free Negroes of this Town hereafter named each one of them to give their Attendance, faithfully & dilligently to worke on cleansing & Repaireing the High wayes and other Services of this Towne, at Such time & place as the Select men, or Such person or persons whom they Shall imploy therein Shall direct and order, for the Space of So many dayes as is here after Set down against each of their names respectively vizt for this present year.



    Adam Saffin


    His name is second in the list, but several others followed. The name occurs again, in town affairs, upon a paper signed probably for him and four other negroes, in which they offer to be bound for Madam Leblond, a negro woman, to save the town from being chargeable in case of her “sickness or any disaster.” This offer was rejected by the Selectmen83 23 March, 1713–14.

    The following are the titlepage of Saffin’s pamphlet and the appended narrative.84 The lines in the title and in the caption of the narrative, and the enumeration of the pages in the last, conform to the original.


    Brief and Candid Answer to a late

    Printed Sheet, Entituled,

    The Selling of


    Whereunto is annexed,

    A True and Particular Narrative by way of Vindication of the Author’s Dealing with and Prosecution of his Negro Man servant for his vile and exorbitant Behaviour towards his Master, and his Tenant Thomas. Shepard; which hath been wrongfully Represented to their Pejudice and Defamation.

    By John Saffin, Esqr.

    Boston: Printed in the Year 1701.

    A true and particular Narrative by way of Vindication of the Authors dealing with, and prosecution of his Negro Man servant, for his vile and exorbitant Behaviour towards his Master, and his Tenant, Thomas Shepard, &c.

    WHereas there hath been divers false Reports raised, which hath occasioned misunderstandings among good people concerning a Negro man, that goes by the name of Adam, Servant to me John Saffin; whereby some evil affected and prejudiced persons have taken occasion by false suggestions to blast my Name; and render me infamous in reference unto the said Negro, intimating that I having promised the said Negro to give him his freedom after the expiration of such a term of years, and that in order thereunto I had given it under my hand and seal. But after the expiration of the said term, I had violated my promise, and without cause, endeavoured unjustly to continue [*6] *the said Negro a Bond man still, &c. These things being falsely suggested Doeg-like, partly true, and partly false (perverting the truth, and turning it into a lye) I have been advised by some Christian friends (agreeable to my own inclination) to set forth the truth of the matter, which for the most part is founded upon, and proved by Evidence upon Oath, and the Records of Courts, and not by my own bare assertion, which I doubt not, but that all unbiassed persons will take notice of it for the clearing of my innocence therein, and the vindication of my Reputation, which at all times I valued above my Estate, which through the goodness of God (though not great, yet hath been competent.

    Hence it followeth.

    That in the Year 1693 I Let a certain Farm Scituate at the Head of Mount Hope Neck, adjoyning to the Town of Swansey, called Boundfield, together with a Stock of Cattel, and Sheep with this Negro called Adam, unto one Thomas Shepard, Junior, late of Charlstown, for the Terms of Seven years; and knowing the said Negro to be of a proud, insolent and domineering spirit, yet had a cunning serpentine Genious, I thought to work upon his natural Reason; and for his own benefit (if it were possible) to oblige him to obedience, and to go on chearfully, quietly and industriously in his Business, for the mutual benefit of both Landlord and Tenant; and for his encouragement therein, I promised him his Freedom, and to that end, did voluntarily give him it under my Hand and Seal, upon the Conditions therein mentioned.

    After which the said Negro about two years carried himself indifferently well, being able (if he list) to do Husbandry work as well as most Negroes, yet he was often very Lazie and Remiss, would favour himself, and (when he could) would sliely make others bear the weight of the work. His Master Shepard like wise for his encouragement let him have a piece of rich ground to plant Tobacco in, by which he said Negro made (as I am informed) above Three Pounds a year, besides his own use: his said Master also set him at his Table to eat with himself, his Wife & Children, (for which indeed I have blam’d him.) Notwithstanding for all this kindness and indulgence towards this wretched Negro, he grew so intollerably insolent, quarrelsome and outragious, that the Earth could not bear his rudeness; and this not for a fit of distemper now and then, perhaps that might have been born with; but his general deportment and usual carriage was so vexatious and grievous to the Family, contesting with his Master and his Wife, and beating his Children, with other exorbitant practices, too tedious to be mentioned: So that his Master Shepard long before the Expiration of the Term aforesaid, did earnestly intreat me to take the said Negro away, and otherwise to dispose of him, for he was so proud and surlie that he scarce dare speak to him (as he told me) to ask him where he had been, or why he staid so long, &c. much more to strike him, for fear he should do him or his Children some mischief; [*7] Though (said he) I could beat him, and *lay him at my foot, yet considering that saying, That he that doth not value his own life, can command anothers I suffered that by this vile Negro, that I would not have done by my Brother; thus and to the same effect the said Shepard told me: till at last, a year before the said Term was out, I was fain to take the said Negro from Shepard, and for the present, dispose of him as I could, sometimes to one man, and then to another, to work for his Victuals; a while after I had him to Boston, where he had nothing to do but to work in the Garden, make Fires and the like, was kindly used, did eat of the same as the English Servants did, yet then he was so quarrelsome and contentious, calling the Maids vile names, and threatning them (as they said) that they were sometimes afraid to be in the Room with him; and both my Wife and my Sister George, have often desired me to turn him the said Negro out of the house, for they could not indure his pertinacy. So in the beginning of March last, I order’d the said Negro to go up to Bristol, (where I was going my self) and had agreed with a man of Swansey to set him a work, but he absolutely refused, and would not go; but after I was gone, he took his Cloaths out of the house by stealth, and went about the Town at his pleasure; which said actions of his at Boston, had there been no other, was enough to forfeit his freedom. So some time after I came home from Bristol, this Villain came to me in a sawcy and surly manner, and told me that I must go to Captain Sewall, he would speak with me at his House; I guess’d what the matter was, and soon after I obey’d this Negromantick Summons, and went to know what Captain Sewall had to say to me (where was Mr. Isaac Addington) who falling into a discourse about the said Negro, he produced a Writing he said I had given the Negro under my Hand for his Freedom, I pray’d Captain Sewall to let me see it; No Sir (said he) ’tis committed to me on trust, why said I, I will give it to you again, &c. Well then, said Captain Sewall, you own this to be your Hand: Yes, yes, said I, I shall not deny my hand on any account; upon which he did very gravely admonish me, saying, that since I had given such a thing under my Hand and Seal, I ought to stand to it, and perform it; adding, that Liberty was a thing of great value, even next to life; to which I replied, that if the Negro had in any wise performed the Condition, I should not have made a word about it, to which Mr. Addington answered, that there was much to be allowed to the behaviour of Negroes, who are so ignorant, rude and bruitish, and therefore to be considered as Negroes; that I having given such a thing under my hand, it would seem to be unjust if I Receded from it, with many words to the same effect, that passed between both these Gentlemen to me; to which I replied, that the said Negro had not carried in any sort answerable to what might have been justly expected from him, had there been no such encouragement given him; as for small faults I should have winkt at them, but he having behaved himself so diametrically contrary to those Conditions, it was intollerable and not to be born with: and I would ask any indifferent person what [*8] obligation lay upon *me to give him his Freedom, if it were not for the consideration aforesaid, and all the men in the Country are as much obliged to set their Negroes free as I am: and if he (as you say) acts but as a Negro, he must be a Negro still for ought I know, &c. This is the summe of what then passed, and so we parted without any thing concluded on. Soon after, the next day (as I take it) I requested Lieutenant Colonel Townsend to go with me to Captain Sewall, deeming it within the Cogniscance of two Justices of the Peace to determine such a matter, viz. Whether the said Negro having so egregiously broken the Condition aforesaid should be free, that they might soon put an end to the business, but they were of another opinion, that it was beyond their power; in fine, it was concluded, that Lieutenant Colonel Townsend should bind the said Negro over (being there present, with another Negro said to be free, named Dick to be his Surety) to answer at the next Superiour Court to be held at Boston (which was about two months sooner than that of the Quarter Sessions) so when the Superiour Court Conven’d, both parties appeared, and the Declaration I had given in by way of complaint, and also the Writing that I had given the Negro, were both Read, and also the Evidences I produced, to prove the Negro had often broken the Conditions were also Read; much discourse there was about it, at last it was concluded, that seeing the Witnesses Sworn, were not there present Vive voce, that the matter should be transmitted to the next Superiour Court to be held at Bristol, which was above nine weeks after; in the mean time this Rascally Negro went about the Town swaggering at his pleasure in defiance of me his Master. Well, at the Court of Bristol the Negro appeared, where the matter came upon Tryal, whether the Negro should be free or not, and that he might have all benefits of Law as an English man: A Jury was Sworn, and my said Declaration Read, and the Writing I had given the said Negro under my hand was also Read, which is as followeth.

    BE it Known unto all men by these Presents, That I John Saffin of Bristol, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England, out of meer kindness to, and for the encouragement of my Negro Man Adam, to go on chearfully in his business and imployment by me now put into the Custody, Service and Command of Thomas Shepard my Tenant, on Boundfield Farm in Bristol aforesaid, for and during the term of Seven years, from the Twenty fifth day of March last past, 1694. Fully to be compleated and ended, or as I may otherwise see cause to imploy him: I say, I do by these presents, of my own free and voluntary will and pleasure, from and after the full end and expiration of seven years, beginning on the Twenty fifth day of March last past, and from thence forth fully to be compleat and ended, on franchise, clear and make free my said Negro man named Adam, to be fully at his own dispose and liberty as other Freemen are or ought to be, according to all true intents and purposes whatsoever.

    Always Provided that the said Adam my Servant do in the [*9] * mean time go on chearfully, quietly and industriously in the lawful business that either my self or my Assigns shall from, time to time reasonably set him about or imploy him in, and do behave and abare himself as an honest, true and faithful Servant ought to do, during the term of Seven years as aforesaid. In Witness whereof, I the said John Saffin have hereunto set my hand this Twenty sixth day of June, 1694. In the Sixth Year of Their Majesties Reign.

    John Saffin and a Seal.

    Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of

    Richard Smith, Samuel Gallop, Rachel Brown ℬ her mark.

    This Instrument above written was Entred in the first Book for Wills and Instruments, page last Nov. 15. 1694. By John Cary, Recorder. Boston, June 25. 1701. John Saffin above nam‘d personally appearing in the Superiour Court of Judicature, acknowledged the above written to be his Act and Deed.

    A true Copy instead of the Original, Examined by Elisha Cooke, Clerk.

    And the Witnesses there Vive voce were Examined upon Oath, concerning the wicked behaviour of the said Negro, which are here also inserted to prove the Charge.

    Bristol January 12th. 1699.

    WHereas I Thomas Shepard of Bristol having hired a certain Farm of John Saffin Esq. called Bound-field, partly in Bristol aforesaid, and partly in Swansey, and having had with the Stock of Cattle and Sheep, a certain Negro man named Adam to serve me into the bargain during the Lease, do hereby declare that he the said Negro man, having been a very disobedient, turbulent, outragious and unruly Servant in all respects these many years, and hath carried himself so obstinately both to my self, Wife & Children, that I cannot keep him nor bear with his evil manners any longer; and therefore request Mr. Saffin his Master to take him again into his Custody and Release me of him; he the said Negro being such a vile Refractory fellow that I dare no longer keep him in my house, and have therefore by his said Masters consent and permission placed and hired him to Mr. John Wilkins of Bristol, with him to serve, dwell and abide from the day of the date hereof till the Twenty-fifth day of March next. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this Twelfth day of January, 1699.

    Thomas Shepard and a Seal.

    Signed, Sealed & delivered in presence of us, Richard Jenkins, John Andrews.

    Bristol ss

    MEmorandum, Thomas Shepard the Subscriber to the above mentioned Instrument, personally appearing before me under-written, one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Bristol this 11th of September 1701. and acknowledged this Instrument to be his act & deed. In the Thirteenth year of His Majesties Reign Nath. Paine.

    A true Copy of that on file, Examined by Elisha Cooke Clerk

    JOshua Finney of lawful age Testifieth & saith, That I this Deponent dwelling not far from Mr. Saffin’s Farme at Bristol-gate where Thomas Shepard was several years Tenant, with whom a Negro man named Adam that was said to be Mr. Saffins Negro dwelt, who came from the Mill as I understood for Thomas Shepard, asked him whether he had ground or had Meal, he said no; why then said Shepard did you not come sooner, upon which said Negro came up with his hand to Shepards face [*10] as if he would have struck him and Jabbar’d, but I could not tell what he said, but it seem’d to me as if he challenged said Shepard or threatned *him, this he did two or three times that evening in my sight about two years agoe, and further saith not. Bristol April the 9th. 1701. Then the above said Joshua Finney took his Oath to the truth of the abovesaid, the Negro not being present.

    Coram John Brown Justice.

    Bristol Septemb. 11th. 1701. Sworn to in the Superiour Court of Judicature.

    A true Copy of that on file, Examined by Elisha Cooke Clerk.

    BEnjamin Rice of the Town of Sudbury in the County of Middlesex, being of lawful age, Testifieth and saith, That I this Deponent Residing in the Family of Thomas Shepard of Bristol, in the County of Bristol, about five Weeks in the year 1699 In which time, and at divers times in the time, Adam a Negro man of John Saffin Esq. of Bristol which lived with Thomas Shepard, did carry and behave himself very ill and untowardly in the Family, by quarreling and beating the Children, and other wayes, and in particular one time the said Negro (did with an Ax) in Anger and Rage run up to and endeavour to strike the said Thomas Shepard therewith, and at another time, he ran at the said Thomas with a Pitch-fork, as said Shepard told me, and his Family, and further saith not.

    April 11th. 1701 Then in Bristol Benjamin Rice (the Negro not being present) took his Oath to the abovesaid, before John Brown Justice.

    A true Copy of that on file, Examined by Elisha Cooke Clerk.

    Bristol March 24th 1701.

    THomas Shepard and Hannah his Wife both of lawful Age, doth Testify and say, That we sometime about the year 1693. hired a Farm in Bristol of the Honoured Mr. Saffin, and a stock of Cattle and Sheep, and also one Negro man named Adam, which we were to have and to hold for the term of Seven years, but the aforesaid Negro man carryed and behaved himself so basely, disobediently and outragiously, both in words and in actions, that so in some of his mad fits (which were many) I was in fear of some bodily mischief from him; for one night according to my best apprehension, he drew his Knife at me, so that I was glad to deliver him up to his former Master again, the Honoured Mr. Saffin before the time was out. The said Hannah Testifies, That she see the said Knife in the said Negros hand, and see him take up an Ax, speaking to her Husband to Cut off his head.

    Sworn before me Nath. Paine one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Bristol, the day and year above written

    Nath. Paine.

    Bristol Sept. 11th. 1701. Sworn to in the Superiour Court of Judicature by Thomas Shepard.

    A true Copy of that on file, Examined by Elisha Cooke Clerk.

    SArah Shepard being of lawful age, Testifieth and saith, when her Father set her to lead the Horse at Plow, and Adam Negro man that he had of the Honoured Mr. Saffin, that he said Adam did give me ill words, and strike me in the time of his Service with my Father, and many times made a disturbance in the House with ill words, and was very disobedient to my Mother when she spake to him for to do any thing, as the laying on a Logg on the Fire or any such thing, and mock and deride at her when she did speak to him. As instance the Night before he hurt his Rist, my Mother found fault with him for not laying on a Logg right on the Fire, he in a scornful manner said, That he would the next Morning lay a Logg down by the stone sink, and when the next morning came he fell down at the same place with a Logg, and put his Rist out of Joynt, which was much to my Fathers damage, and further saith not.

    Bristol Sept. 11th. 1701. Sworn to in the Superiour Court of Judicature.

    A true Copy of that on file, Examined by Elisha Cooke Clerk.

    [*11] *But the said Shepard being Examined in Court, upon Oath did declare the Circumstances more particularly then was in his written Testimony as it came to his memory, to the great satisfaction of the Jury, and many that heard it; so the Jury brought in their Verdict upon the whole matter that was committed to them as above-written and found the said Negro guilty, &c. After this as I was informed (being not present) the said Negro came and asked the Judges, how the case stood with him (or to that effect) they answered making him to understand that the Jury had Cast him, and that he was no Freeman, but must attend his Master Saffin’s Service still; the next day I came into the Court, & prayed that Judgment might be Entred up, that I might dispose of my Negro, they told me it should be done, and upon the same, one of the Judges moved, that tho‘ the Negro was rendered to be my Servant still, yet that I would promise before the Court, not to send him out of the Country, I answered, that upon the desire of the Court I would & did there promise not to send him out of the Country, nor had I then any thoughts or intention to send him out, a while after I understood that some of the Judges did hesitate about entring up the Judgment, (as I thought was concluded) at which I admired, knowing that it was according to the positive Laws of England, & the constant practice of this Country, for Judgment to be Entred according to the Verdict of the Jury; upon which I again applied my self to the Court, & prayed I might know the reason why Judgment was not entered according to the usual practice of all Courts; to which I had no direct answer, but many words passed between the Judges, at last it was determined, and order was given to the Clerk to enter up Judgment in the words following.

    At a Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery, holden at Bristol for the County of Bristol aforesaid, on Tuesday the Ninth of September, 1701.

    ADam Negro being Complained of by John Saffin, Esqr. his Master, for his turbulent, outragious and insolent Carriage towards him the said John Saffin, &c. (as by said Complaint more at large is set forth) appeared and pleaded not Guilty: and for Tryal put himself on God and his Country; a Jury being called, the Prisoner making no Challenges, Joseph Kent Foreman, and the other Eleven as in the Margent, being Sworn according to Law to try the same. The Complainants Evidence, with the Prisoners Defence being fully heard, the whole was committed to the Jury, who returned being agreed on their Verdict, and that their Foreman should speak for them, upon their Oaths in open Court do say, that the said Adam is guilty. The Court do advise, until next Superiour Court to be holden for this County; and order that Adam Negro do Return to his Master John Saffin Esqr. in the mean time.

    A true Copy taken from the Minute Book,

    and Examined by Elisha Cooke, Clerk.

    Upon which I said to the Court, that since they had altered their Judgment (as I apprehended) I would withdraw my promise to [*12] the Court, and would *not be obliged thereby not to send my said Negro out of the Country; and upon the same I said to the Negro. Here I do in the presence of this Honourable Court command you to make hast to Boston, and then forthwith to go down to the Castle to work as you did before, till farther order from me. Notwithstanding this vile Negro after he came to Boston, went about the Town ten or twelve days at his pleasure before he went to the Castle. And about the sixth of October last, he committed another notorious outrage, which Captain Clark informed me by a Letter from Castle Island, Octob. 6. 1701. Upon the Receipt of which Letter, I went to Captain Bant on the ninth of October last past, and agreed with him to carry this Negro out of the Country, which I did by good advice, deeming it not safe either to Captain Clark or my self, that the said Negro should go at large, either in Town or Country; whereupon Captain Bant sent his men and Boat down to the Castle, with whom I wrote to Capt. Clark, and the rest of the Gentlemen there, to deliver the said Negro to them in order to his Transportation, who upon receipt of my Letter delivered him to them, but withal advised them to go to the Honourable Isaac Addington, Esqr. and acquaint him therewith, not doubting but (as Capt. Clark since told me) this Wretch Negro in regard of his late bloody attempt, should by Authority be forthwith sent aboard in order to the premises; but it proved otherwise, for Mr. Addington told Capt. Bant and my self, that he could not with safety carry the said Negro away, &c. Upon which I prayed Mr. Addington that the said Negro might be secured, so he sent him to Goal some days after, upon the complaint of Capt. Clark and others. The said Negro was brought to his Tryal at an Adjournment of the Quarter Sessions held at Boston, where the Witnesses were Examined face to face, and are as followeth.

    Castle Island, Octob. 9th. 1701.

    JOhn Griffin of full Age testifieth and saith, That on Tuesday the 7th Instant, Adam a Negro man being then a Labourer at the Castle, was removing some Earth, but did it not to Captain Clark’s mind, who ordered him to do it otherwise, but the said Negro refused to do it according to his Order; at which Captain Clark said you Rascal, why don’t you do it as I order you; the said Negro said he was no Rogue, no Rascal, no Thief; at which Captain Clark with a Stick broke his pipe, and said, you Rogue you shall do as I bid you, and gave him a push, at which said Negro gave him a push, and said, that if he struck him, he would strike him again; Captain Clark gave him a stroke or two with his stick; the Negro took hold of the Stick and brake it, and took up his Shovel and struck at Captain Clark, and had like to have spoilt him; but the other Labourers came to Captain Clarks assistance, and rescued him until some of the Garrison Souldiers came to help, and carried the said Negro to the Dungeon. And further, that in rescuing Captain Clark, the Negro got one of the Labourers hands in his mouth, and had like to have bit it off, but with help got it clear without much damage

    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

    The rest of the narrative is wanting; but by comparing what is here reprinted with the account which precedes it, and with the deposition which appears in the footnote below,85 made by Griffin jointly with two other witnesses, it will be seen that probably no material circumstance has been omitted.

    Professor Goodwin moved that the cordial thanks of the Society be tendered Mr. Goodell for his interesting essays and his valuable and much-prized gifts, especially the Royal Commissions and the Instructions.

    Mr. Goodell remarked that while he fully appreciated the kind intentions of his associates, he deemed it unwise for learned societies to adopt the custom of thanking their members for papers and addresses; and that he felt sure Professor Goodwin would agree with him that, if the motion prevailed, it might establish a troublesome precedent. Accordingly, Professor Goodwin modified his motion, and the thanks of the Society were given to Mr. Goodell for his valuable gifts.

    Mr. Henry H. Edes said: —

    It will be remembered that at our last meeting, in his interesting paper on Historical Work in Massachusetts, Mr. Davis remarked upon the importance of printing historical documents in full, since what may appear at one time and in one connection to be a matter of little or no importance may prove at another time to be essential to the establishment of other and entirely different facts. In the same paper, in an allusion to the Palatine Light, Mr. Davis expressed his conclusion, from a document seen by him among the Colman Papers, that the shipwreck of the Palatines occurred between the years 1732 and 1740. In one of his papers86 on Peter Faneuil, the late Lucius Manlius Sargent prints an extract from a letter of Faneuil to one of his commercial correspondents in which the disaster at Block Island is alluded to in a way which not only corroborates Mr. Davis’s conclusion, but establishes the fact that the Palatines were bound for Philadelphia.87 On 24 April, 1740, Faneuil wrote to Peter Baynton,88

    This accompanies Capt. Burgess Hall,89 who carries with him to your parts two unfortunate Palatine women that were some time ago shipwrecked in their voyage from Europe to your place, who, being objects of charity which the Providence of God has thrown in our way, I take leave to recommend to you as such, not doubting you will so far commiserate their condition as to direct them the nearest way to get among their friends, with such other relief as you may think necessary.