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suspicion, and ill blood, which were already so prevalent; but was soon succeeded by another, that still excited a greater alarm. The season of the year was now arrived for the annual muster of the militia; and the general, having probably some suspicion of their conduct when assembled, or, as they pretended, being urged thereunto by those secret advisers and talebearers, to whose insidious arts, and false information, for a long time past, as well as the present, the Americans attributed all their own calamities, and the troubles that had arisen between both countries; however it was, he seized upon the ammunition and stores, which were lodged in the provincial arsenal at Cambridge, and had them brought to Boston. He also, at the same time, seized upon the powder which was lodged in the magazines at Charles-Town, and some other places, being partly private property, and partly provincial.
This excited the most violent and universal ferment that had yet been known. The people assembled to the amount of several thousands, and it was with the greatest difficulty, that some of the more moderate and leading gentlemen of the country, were able to restrain them from marching directly to Boston, there to demand a delivery of the powder and stores, and in cafe of refusal to attack the troops. A f^lse report having been intentionally spread about the same time, and extended to Connecticut, in order, probably, to try the temper of that province, that the ships and troops had attacked the town of r.oilou, ;\nd were then siring upon it„ when the pretended bearers of
the news had come away, several thousands of those 'people immediately assembled in arms, and marched, with great expedition, a considerable distance, to the relief, as they supposed, of their suffering neighbours, before they were convinced of the mistake.
About this time, the governor's company of cadets, consisting wholly of gentlemen of Boston, and of such, in general, as had always been well affected to government, disbanded themselves, and returned to the general the standard, with which, according to custom, he had presented them upon his arrival. This flight to the governor, and apparent disrelish to the new government, proceeded immediately from his having taken away Mr. Hancock's commission, who wasr the colonel of that corps. A Colonel Murray of the militia, having accepted a feat in the new council, 24 officers of his regiment resigned their commissions in one day; so general was the spirit which was now gone forth.
The late measure of seizing the powder, as well as the fortifications which were erecting on Bostonneck, occasioned the holding of an assembly of delegates, from all the towns of the county of Suffolk, of which Boston is the county town and capital. In this assembly a great number of resolutions were passed, some of which militated more strongly with the authority of the new legislature, than any that had yet appeared. They are, however, introduced by a declaration of allegiance; but they also declare it to be their duty, by all lawful means to defend their civil and religious rights and liberties; that the late acts are gross infractions of
those tnose rights; and that no obedience is due From that province, to either, or any part of those acts; but that they ought to be rejected as the wicked attempts of an abandoned administration to establish a despotic government. They engaged that the county should support and bear harmless all sheriffs, jurois, and other persons who should luster prosecution for not acting under the present unconstitutional judges, or carrying into execution any orders of their courts; and resolved, that those who had accepted seats at the council-board, had violated the duty they owed to their country, and that if they did not vacate them within a short limited time, they Should be considered as obstinate and incorrigible enemies to their country.
They also past resolutions against the fortifications at Boston-neck; the Quebec bill; for the suspension of commerce; for the encouragement os arts and manufactures; for the holding of a provincial congress; and to pay all due respect and submission to the measures which should be recommended by the Continental Congress. They recommended to the people to perfect themselves in the art of war, and for that purpose, that the militia should appear under arms once every week. That, as it had been reported, that several gentlemen who had rendered themselves conspicuous by contending for the violated rights of their country, were to be apprehended; iu cafe so audacious a measure should be carried into execution, they recommend, that all the officers of so tyrannical a government should be seized, aad kept in safe custody, until the
former were restored to their friends and families.
Then followed a recommendation, which in the present state of things amounted to a peremptory command, to the collectors of the taxes, and all other receivers and holders of the public money, not to pay it as usual to the treasurer; but to detain it in their hands, until the civil government of the province was placed on a constitutional foundation; or until it should be otherwise ordered by the Provincial Congress. They, however, declare, that notwithstanding the many insults and oppressions which they most sensibly feel and resent, they are determined to act merely on the defensive, so long as such conduct may be vindicated by reason, and the principles of self-preservation. They conclude, by exhorting the people to restrain their resentments, to avoid all riots and disorderly proceedings* as being destructive of all good government; and by a steady, manly, uniform, and persevering opposition, to convince their enemies, that, in a contest so important, in a cause so solemn, their conduS Jhoulii be such at to merit the approbation of the 'wise, and the admiration os the brave and fret, os every age, and os every country. They then appointed g .
a committee to wait r ~ upon the governor, with a remonstrance against the fortifying of Boston-neck; in which they declare, that though the loyal people of that country think themselves oppressed by some late Acts of the British parliament, and are resolved, by divine assistance, never to submit to them, they have no inclination to commence war with his majesty's [B] 2 troops. troops. They impute the present extraordinary ferment in the minds of the people, besides the new fortification, to the seizing of the powder, to the planting of cannon on the Neck, and to the insults and abuse offered to passengers by the soldiers, in which, they fay, they have been encouraged by some of the officers j and conclude, by declaring, that nothing less than a removal or redress of those grievances, can place the inhabitants of the county in that situation of peace and tranquillity, which every free subject ought to enjoy. In this address they totally disclaim every wish and idea of independency, and attributed all the present troubles to misinformation at home, and the sinister designs of particular persons.
To this address General Gage answered, that he had no intention to prevent the free egress and regress of any person to and from the town of Boston ; that he would suffer none under his command to injure the person or property of any of his majesty's subjects; but that it was his duty to preserve the peace, and to prevent surprize; and that no use would be made of the cannon, 'unless their hostile proceedings mould render it necessary.
Before public affairs had arrived at their present alarming state, the governor, by the advice of the new council, had issued writs for the holding of a general assembly, which was to meet in the beginning of October; but the events that afterwards took place, and the heat and violence which every where prevailed, together with the resignation of so great a number of the new.mandamus counsellors, as deprived the unall remainder of all
efficacy, made him think it expedient to countermand the writs by a proclamation, and to defer the holding of the assembly to a fitter season. The legality of the proclamation was however called in question, and the elections every where took place without regard to it. The new members accordingly met at Salem, pursuant to the precepts; but having waited a day, without the governor, or any substitute for him attending, to administer the oaths, and' open a session, they voted themselves into a Provincial Congress, to be joined by such others as had been, or should be elected for that purpose; aster which Mr. Hancock, so obnoxious to the Governor's party, was chosen chairman, and they adjourned to the town of Concord, about 20 miles from Boston.
Among their earliest «a , proceedings, they appointed a committee to wait upon the governor with a remonstrance, in which they apologized for their present meeting, by representing, that the distressed and miserable state of the colony, had rendered it indispensably necessary to collect the wisdom os the province by their delegates in that Congress; thereby to concert some adequate remedy to prevent impending ruin, and to provide for the public safety. They then express the grievous apprehensions of the people from the measures now pursuing. They assert, that even the rigour of the Boston port bill is exceeded, by the manner in which it is carried into execution. They complain of the late laws, calculated not only to abridge the people of their rights, but to licence murders; of the number of troops in
the the capital, which were daily increasing by new accessions drawn from every part of the continent; together with the formidable and hostile preparations in Boilon-neck; ail tending to endanger the lives, liberties, and properties, not only of the people of Boston, but of the province in general. They conclude by adjuring the general, as he regards his majesty's honour and interest, the dignity and happiness of the empire, and the peace and welfare of the province, to deiilt immediately from the construction of the fortress at the entrance into Boston, and to restore that pal's to its natural state.
The general was involved in some ditficulry in giving them an answer, as he could not acknowledge the legality of their assembling. The necessity of the times however prevailed. He expressed great indignation that an idea should be formed, that the li'es, liberties, or property of any people, except avowed enemies, should be in danger from English troops. Britain, he laid, could never harbour the black design of wantonly destroying or enslaving any people; and notwithstanding the enmity ihewn to the troops, by withholding from them almost every necessary for their preservation, they had not yet discovered the resentment which might justly be expected to arise from such hostile treatment. He reminded the Congress, that while they complain of alterations made in their charter by acts of parliament, they are themselves, by their present assembling, subverting that charter, and now acting in direct violation of their own constitution; he therefore warned them of the rocks they were upon, and to
desist from such illegal and unconstitutional proceedings.
By thii time Boston was become the place of refuge to all those friends of the new government, who thought it necessary to persevere in avowing their sentiments. The commissioners of the customs, with all their officers, had also thought it necessary, towards the conclusion of the preceding month, to abandon their head quarters at Salem, and to remove the apparatus of a custom-house, to a place which an act of parliament had proscribed from all trade. Thus the new acts of parliament on one hand, and the resistance of the people on the other, equally joined to annihilate all appearance of government, legislation, judicial proceedings, and commercial regulations.
Upon the approach of winter, the general had ordered temporary barracks to be erected for the troops, partly, perhaps, for safety, and partly to prevent the disorders and mischiefs, which in the present state and tefnper of both, must be the unavoidable consequences of their be;ng quartered upon the inhabitants. Such, however, was the dislike to their being provided for in any manner, that the select-men and the committees obliged the worknv-n to quit their employment, though the money for their labour would have been paid by the crown. The general had as little success in endeavouring to procure carpenters from New York, so that it was with the greatest difficulty he could get thole temporary lodgments erected; and having endeavoured allo to procure some winter covering from the latter city, the offer to purchase it was presented to
[£] 3 every every merchant there, who to a man refused complying with any part of the order, and returned for answer, " that they never would supply any article for the benefit of men who were sent as enemies to their country."
Every thing now tended to increase the mutual apprehension, distrust, and animosity between government and the people. Those of Boston, either were, or pretended to be, under continual terror, froni the apprehensions of immediate danger, to their properties, liberties, and even their lives. Theywere in the hands of an armed force whom they abhorred, aud who equally detested them. The soldiers on the other hand, considered themselves in the midst cf enemies, and were equally apprehensive of danger from within ar.d without. Each side professed the best intentions in the world for itself, and shewed the greatest suspicion of the other. In this state of doubt and profession, things were rendered still worse, by^ a measure, which did not seem of sufficient importance fn its consequences, to justify its being hazarded at so critical a season. This was the landing of a detachment of sailors by night, from the ships of war in the harbour, who spiked up all the cannon upon one of the principal batteries belonging to the town.
In the mean time the Provincial Congress, notwithstanding the cautions given, and dangers held out by the governor, not only continued their assembly, but their resolutions having-acquired, from the disposition and promptitude of the people, all the weight and efficacy of laws, they seemed to have founded in effect something like a new and independent government. Under the style of recommendation and advice, they tettied the militia; they regulated the public treasures; and they provided arms. They appointed a day of' public thanksgiving, on which, among the other enumerated blessings, a particular acknowledgment was to be made to the Almighty, for the union which so remarkably prevailed in all the colonies.
These and similar XT L
r • J J i~ Nov. ioth. measures, induced ut- ■
neral Gage to issue a proclamation, jn which, though the direct terms are avoided, tftey are charged with proceedings, which are generally understood as nearly tantamount to treason and rebellion. The inhabitants of the prc\ince were accordingly, in the king's name, prohibited from complying, in any degree, with the requisitions, recommendations, directions, or resolves; of that unlawful assembly.