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The Original Writings of Samuel Adams, Volume 4 by Samuel Adams

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appears to me to be among the bona Fide Debts mention'd in the Treaty,
and if there may be on the Part of the Crown itself a Failure of a
Compliance with a positive stipulated Article, it will be difficult for
the Governments in America to prevail with their Citizens to think it
reasonable that they should pay the just Debts owing from them to
British Subjects. Dashwood has my Promise to write to you again on the
Subject & I must fulfill it. It is with reluctance that I give you this
repeated Trouble, especially as I know you must be press'd with Affairs
of greater National Importance. You are best able to say whether you
can afford him Aid or not. I have ventured to assure him, that if it be
in your Power consistantly to interpose your Influence, you will
undoubtedly be disposd to do it. What aggravates the Misfortune of this
Citizen if he should not obtain Justice in England is that his British
Crediter now demands the Payment of his Debt with Interest, & tho' this
Sum is very small in Comparison with the Value of the Goods taken from
him, the Payment, as he says & I suppose truly, will compleatly ruin

your affectionate

1 Although the copy actually transmitted, no part of this letter is in
the autograph of Adams except the subscription and signature.


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society; a draft is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text is in W. V. Wells, Life of
Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 214-217.]

BOSTON Decr 23 1784


I congratulate our Country on the Choice Congress has lately made of a
President. He who fills that Chair is the most respected Citizen, and
while he performs his Duty well, he adorns the most dignified Station
in our Confederated Republick.

You observe in your Letter to me, that "at this Moment, Moderation,
Wisdom, Firmness & Attention are the Principles proper for our
Adoption." I agree with you, and devoutly wish that every Man who has a
Share in the Administration of publick Affairs may possess a large
Portion of those & other great Qualities. They are in a particular
Manner necessary to him who presides in the important Councils of the
American Amphyction.

Congress has need to watch, lest the Commonwealth suffer Harm. I doubt
not they will be assiduous in their Labours for the publick Wellfare;
and I pray God they may be His honord Instruments in exalting to the
highest Pitch of human Happiness that People, who have testified to the
oppressed World, that by Patience, Fortitude & Perseverance the iron
Rod can be wrested from the Arm of a Tyrant, and that all Nations may
be free, if they will magnanimously contend for their Liberty.

By Gods Blessing on the Councils & the Arms of our Country, we are now
rank'd with Nations. May He keep us from exulting beyond Measure! Great
Pains are yet to be taken & much Wisdom is requisite that we may stand
as a Nation in a respectable Character. Better it would have been for
us to have fallen in our highly famed Struggle for our Rights, or even
to have remaind in our ignoble State of Bondage hoping for better
Times, than now to become a contemptible Nation. The World have given
us an exalted Character, & thus have laid on us a heavy Tax! They have
raised Expectations from us! HOW shall we meet those Expectations? They
have attributed to us Wisdom! HOW shall we confirm them in their
Opinion of us? Inexperiencd as we are in the Refinements of Nations,
Can we expect to shine in the World as able Politicians? Shall we then
be hacknied in the Path of Deception because some others famed for
their Dexterity in Politicks have long trod that Path & thought they
have gaind Advantage by it? Or, because it is said All Nations are
selfinterested & that No Friendship in Treaties and National
Transactions is almost as proverbial as No Friendship in Trade, shall
we depart from that excellent Rule of Equity, the Observance of which
should be characteristick of all Nations especially Republicks, as it
is of all good Men, to do to others as we would have them do to us?
Could we be indued thus to prostitute ourselves, HOW should we appear
in the Eyes of the Virtuous & Wise? Should there be found a Citizen of
the United States so unprincipled as to ask, What will become of us if
we do not follow the corrupt Maxims of the World? I should tell him,
that the Strength of a Republick is consolidated by its Virtues, & that
Righteousness will exalt a Nation.

Was it true as some affirm, that the old World is absorbd in all kinds
of Vice, unhumanizd & enslavd, it would indeed be a melancholly Subject
to contemplate, and I should think that common Prudence would dictate
to a Nation situated as we are, to have as little to do with them as
possible. Such indiscriminate Censure, however, may spring from
Ignorance of the World or unreasonable Prejudice. Nations as well as
Individuals have different Characters. We should not forget the
Friendship & Kindness of One because we have experiencd the Injustice &
Cruelty of Another. But the Inconstancy of Friendship & even Infidelity
has been seen often enough among Individuals to lead wise men to
suppose it may happen in any Case & to exercise a kind of
Circumspection, different from base Suspicion, consistent with the
generous Sentiments of Friendship and, considering the Weakness of the
human Mind, a necessary Guard.

Does not the true Policy, the Honor & Safety of our Country greatly
depend upon a National Character consisting, among other Particulars,
in Simplicity & Candor in all her Publick Transactions; shewing herself
in reality friendly to those to whom she professes to be a Friend--A
constant Regard to mutual Benefit in Commercial Treaties; suspecting
the Honesty of those who will not deal with her on equitable
Principles, & guarding her Trade against their selfish Designs by wise
Commercial Laws--An exact & punctilious Fullfillment of Obligations on her
Part to be performd by Virtue of all Treaties-- and, An unalterable
Determination to discharge her National Debts with all possible
Speed.--If, my honord Friend, the leading Men in the United States would
by Precept & Example disseminate thro' the lower Classes of People the
Principles of Piety to God, Love to our Country & universal
Benevolence, should we not secure the Favor of Heaven & the Honor &
Esteem of the wise and virtuous Part of the World.

Great Britain, tho' she has concluded a Treaty of Peace with us,
appears to be not a cordial Friend. She cannot forget her unparralled
Injustice towards us & naturally supposes there can be no Forgiveness
on our Part. She seems to have meant Nothing more than a Truce. A
sensible Gentleman very lately from Canada informs me, that General
Haldiman who is going to England, has orderd those Posts to be
reinforcd, which by Treaty were to be deliverd to us. Encroachments are
made, as I apprehend, on our Eastern Territories. Our Fishery may,
under some frivolous Pretence be next interrupted. Should we not guard
ourselves against British Intrigues & Factions. Her Emissaries, under
the Guise of Merchants, Repenting Refugees, Schoolmasters, and other
Characters, unless Care is taken, may effect another & fatal
Revolution. The Commonwealth of England lasted twelve years, and then
the exiled King was restored with all the Rage & Madness of Royalty!--A
Caution to the Citizens of the United States zealously to counteract
the Hopes our Enemies entertain of "Discord, Disunion, & Apathy on our
Part," to watch over the publick Liberty & Safety with a jealous Eye,
and to practice the moral and political Virtues upon which the very
Existence of a Commonwealth depends.

Mrs. Adams desires me to present her respectful Compliments to you &
your Connections. I am with great Esteem Your affectionate Friend



[MS., Lenox Library.]

BOSTON March 24 17851


Could I be perswaded to believe that by your long Silence you would
intimate to me a Desire on your Part to put an End to our Epistolary
Correspondence, you should never again be troubled with my Letters. But
as I am not disposd to entertain unfavorable Thoughts of one whom I
have valued as an unchanging Friend, I will now sollicit you in Behalf
of two Persons both of whom I believe you will recollect, and whose
Services to the United States, in their different Way, have in my
Opinion been meritorious.

Mr Kirkland has for many years been a Missionary to the Indians of the
six Nations under the Society in Scotland for promoting Christian
Knowledge. He was recognizd by Congress & in 1779 was appointed by that
Body to be Chaplain at Fort Stanwix; for this Cause that Charitable
Society forbore to continue his usual Stipend. He had Influence
sufficient to keep the Indians steadily attachd to the United States
during the War, and you will judge Sir, of the Policy of engaging so
useful a Man in the same Mission under Congress, lest another should be
employed by that Society under the Pretext of promoting Christian
knowledge among the Indians, [who] may be secretly instructed to
instill into their Minds Prejudices in favor of Great Britain and
dangerous to our Interest. Mr Kirkland is or soon will be in New York
to state his Case to Congress.

Colo John Allan left a valueable Estate and powerful family Connections
in Hallifax in the Beginning of the late War & took a decided Part with
the United States. He had the Happiness of your Friendship when
Congress sat in Baltimore; and was there appointed Superintendant of
the Indians in the Eastern Department. I do not fear I shall dishonor
myself by assuring you, that in my Opinion he has been a faithful &
successful Servant of the Publick. He is gone to Congress to settle his
Affairs. If it shall appear to you that I have not mistaken his true
Character, your Sense of Justice will prevent the Necessity of any
Sollicitation in his Behalf from, My dear Sir,

your unfeigned

& affectionate friend,

1 A letter by Adams to Elbridge Gerry, dated February 24, 1785, is in
Magazine of American History, vol. xii., pp. 177, 178.


[MS., Lenox Library]

BOSTON April 14 1785


Give me Leave to introduce to you Mr Graham1 the Bearer of this Letter
& his Lady, Mrs Macauley Graham, who have honord this Town & highly
gratified the virtuous Citizens by a residence of some Months past. We
sometimes meet with genuine republican Sentiments in Persons born under
Monarchy. It is truly mortifying when one meets with the reverse
Character. I firmly believe that the benevolent Creator designd the
republican Form of Government for Man. Will you venture so far as to
say that all other Institutions that we know of are unnatural & tend
more or less to distress human Societies? Will the Lion ever associate
with the Lamb or the Leopard with the Kid till our favorite principles
shall be universally establishd? I am with Truth & sincerity,

your affectiont friend,

1 On the same date Adams wrote to Washington, introducing Graham; a
manuscript is in the Lenox Library and also in the Library of Congress.


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.]

BOSTON July 2 1785


I cannot omit the Opportunity of writing by Monsr de la Etombe who is
going to France & will take the Care of this Letter. You must not
expect it to be a long one. There are many Things which I wish to say
to you, but the Tremor of my Hand is so increasd that I am put to
Difficulty to guide my Pen.

Our Merchants are complaining bitterly that Great Britain is ruining
their Trade, and there is great Reason to complain; but I think much
greater, to complain of too many of the Citizens thro' the Common
wealth who are imitating the Britons in every idle Amusement &
expensive Foppery which it is in their Power to invent for the
Destruction of a young Country. Can our People expect to indulge
themselves in the unbounded Use of every unmeaning & fantastick
Extravagance because they would follow the Lead of Europeans, & not
spend all their Money? You would be surprizd to see the Equipage, the
Furniture & expensive Living of too many, the Pride & Vanity of Dress
which pervades thro every Class, confounding every Distinction between
the Poor & the Rich and evincing the Want both of Example & AEconomy.

Before this reaches you, you will have heard of the Change in our
chiefe Magistrate. I confess it is what I have long wishd for. Our new
Governor1 has issued his Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety
Virtue Education & Manners and for the Suppressing of Vice. This with
the good Example of a first Magistrate & others may perhaps restore our

Monsieur le Etomb's true Decency of Manners has done honor to your
Letter of Recommendation.

Mrs A joins in sincere Respects to your Lady & Family.

Adieu my dear sir

1 James Bowdoin, who had succeeded John Hancock.


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a draft, dated 1784, is in the Samuel Adams
Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON 16th Augt 1785


The Governour of this Commonwealth will transmit to you Copies of
Letters which lately passed between him and Capt Stanhope Commander of
the British Ship of War Mercury. This is the same Person, as I am told,
who, when a Prisoner here in the early time of the War, was not too
delicate in Point of Honor to break his Parole. The Governor however
had treated him from the Time of his Arrival with the Civilities and
Respect due to a Foreigner in his Station, without personal or national
Distinction. The occasion of this Epistolary Correspondence which the
Governor was necessarily carried into by the Petulance of Stanhope, was
a Fricas which happened on the Evening of the 31st Ulto, between the
[latter] and a young Sailor who alledges that he and a Number of
American Prisoners on board the Mercury had been flogged by Stanhopes
order for refusing to do the Duty of Seamen. The Altercation caused the
People near to collect, and the Captain, either really or pretending to
be, apprehensive of Danger, hast'ned away, a Number following excited
by common Curiosity, till his Fears were quieted in the House of one of
his Friends and the Scene ended. This gave rise to Stanhopes Letter the
following Day. Whatever his Opinion might be of his own Importance, the
Governor considerd him entitled only to the Common Protection of the
Law, nor could he see any Obstacle in the Captains Way to obtain legal
Satisfaction if he had receivd Injury, which required the extraordinary
Interposition of Government; for Stanhope was the same Day abroad in
the Town without the least Molestation or appearing to be apprehensive
of any Affront. Perhaps this Gentleman's Ideas of Propriety of Conduct
in the Governor might have led him to expect he would take the Part of
a Grand Juryman or a Justice of the Peace, to enquire into
Misdemeanours, or decide on little Controversies which frequently
happen among Persons who know not how to keep upon Terms with each

I should not have troubled you with this Detail, had it not seemed to
me somewhat necessary. You know it was formerly usual for such kind of
Men as Stanhope appears to be, to fly to their Ships from pretended
Danger, and by false representations impose on their too credulous
Government. Adieu my friend, & believe me



[Historical Magazine, 2d ser., vol. i., pp. 167, 168.]

BOSTON Decr. 17, 1785.


It gave much Pleasure to find that your Countrymen had again honour'd
you with their Confidence in Congress. My most earnest wish is, that
the Seats in that Sacred Hall may ever be filled with Men of true
Wisdom. This Wish, I know, cannot be gratified when the United States
shall become debased in Principles and Manners. HOW much then depends
upon the Exertions of the present members to perpetuate the Honour and
Happiness of our Country by guarding its Virtue!

I beg leave once more to trespass upon your Time by calling your
attention to my Friend Captn Landais. You and I patronized him when he
first came into this Country: and I have never for a Moment repented of
the small share I had in his Promotion in the American Navy, although
he has met with the Fate which sometimes has been the Lot of honest
Men, through the errors, to say the least, of Courts. He had long
suffered as other virtuous Men had, by a Faction on the other side of
the Atlantick, which found means to extend itself to this Country, and
as you well remember, to the very Doors of Congress!--But enough of
this--Your kind Assistance was greatly beneficial to him in his late
Application to Congress, and he and I gratefully acknowledged it. But
he remains still embarrassed, and as I conceive, not without Reason--His
Pay as Commander of the Alliance is offered to him in a Certificate.
But what is such a Piece of Paper worth. If it be said, all our brave
Sea Officers & Men are thus to be paid, should it not be remembered,
that those who continued in the service to the end of the War are
allowed a Gratuity. This Allowance was Established several years after
he left the Service, and cannot include him, nor does he desire it--But he
was broke by a Court Martial--True. And if a private Gentleman discharges
his domestick servant even for a Fault, does he not in Justice pay him
his due wages? And are not States bound by the Rules of Justice?
Captain Landais has been obliged to pay an interest on money he has
borrowed for his support and other necessary expenses, more than the
Value of his Pay, and the want of his just Dues has kept him out of
Business--He also suffers by a short Allowance of Interest on the Gratuity
granted to him for an important service. Congress ordered 12,000 Livres
to be paid him for that service, in France. The Payment there would
have been and it was intended to be an advantage to him. It was paid to
him in America, and not till the last year--Should not the interest on
that sum have commenced in 1777 when the service was performed instead
of 79 as it is now settled? But his greatest Grievance, in which indeed
he is a sufferer in common with others is the Detention of Prize Money
--You recollect this mysterious Business and how often we were written to,
and very pressingly by my worthy Friend your Brother. We have been
lately told that Capt. Paul Jones has received a large sum on that
account. This Jones Captn. Landais looks upon as his inveterate Enemy &
he has not the least Confidence in him--If you think as I do that he has a
Right to authentick copies of Letters written by Jones to Congress or
any of the Boards on an affair so interesting to him, on his proper
application, your Advice to him on this as well as his other concerns
will add to the obligations I am already under to you.

Will you be so kind as to transmit me the names of the present Members
of Congress and the States they severally represent,--

I am

Your affectionate Friend1

1A letter by Adams to Rufus King, dated January 30, 1786, is in Life
and Correspondence of Rufus King, vol. i., pp. 153, 154.



[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a text is in John Adams, Works, vol. ix.,
p. 547.]

BOSTON April 13 1786


Doctor Gordon is to deliver you this Letter. He is going to the Land of
his Nativity, wishing for the best Happiness of his own Country & ours
and hoping that mutual Affection will be at length restored, as the
only Means of the prosperity of both. As he determines to spend the
Remainder of his Days in the Country where he was born, what rational
Man who considers the Ties of human Nature will wonder, if "Esto
perpetua" is his most ardent Prayer for her! But the Attachments he has
made here, his private Friendships and the Part he has taken in our
publick Cause afford Reason to believe that his second Wish is for us.
I am affraid however, that the Doctor builds too much upon the Hopes of
the Return of mutual Affection; for Can this exist without Forgivness
of Injury, and Can his Country ever cordially forgive ours whom she
intended to injure so greatly? Her very Disappointment will perpetually
irritate her own Feelings and in Spite of Reason or Religion prevent
her conceiving a Sentiment of Friendship for us. And besides, she will
never believe that there is a Possibility that we can forgive her. We
must therefore be content, at least for a great While to come, to live
with her as a prudent Man will with one who indeed has professd a
Friendship for him, but whose Sincerity he has Reason vehemently to
suspect; guarding against Injury from him by making it his Interest to
do as little as possible. This is an arduous Task our Country has
committed to you. Trade is a Matter I have had so little to do with,
that it is not in my Power to aid you in this more than in any one
thing else. May He who has endued you with a Strength of Understanding
which your Country confides in afford you all that Light which is
necessary for so great an Undertaking!

The Child whom I led by the Hand with a particular Design, I find is
now become a promising youth. He brought me one of your Letters--God bless
the Lad! If I was instrumental at that Time of enkindling the Sparks of
Patriotism in his tender Heart, it will add to my Consolation in the
latest Hour.-- Adieu my Friend. Mrs Adams desires your Lady & Family may
be assured of her cordial Esteem & Love.

Believe that I am very affectionately

Your Friend

& humble Servant


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy , a draft, dated July 20, is in the Samuel
Adams Papers, Lenox Library]

BOSTON July 21 1786


There are two great Objects which I think should engage the Attention
of Patriots here, & which appear to me to involve every thing else--to
preserve entire our political Liberties, & to support our National
Faith. To effect either of these Capital Ends, we must counterwork the
Designs of Great Britain, who to say the least does not appear to be
our most cordial Friend, by her Emissaries amongst us, to ruin both.
The internal Enemies of this Country ridiculed our early Ideas of
Opposition, embarrassd our Measures through the whole Conflict and
prolonged the War. They had nearly broke up our Army in 1782, and they
are now practicing the same Arts, by influencing many weak Men to
withhold the necessary Aid of Taxes, to destroy the publick Faith. I
should therefore think it very impolitick to increase their Number by
admitting the Tory Refugees without Discrimination. Jonathan
Philanthrop whom you well knew, with many others took a very active
Part, & they were very successful in promoting the Designs of the
British Government before the War , There are some among them who would
be the fittest Instruments to be employed by that Court in tearing up,
or rather undermining the Foundations of our newly erected Fabrick.--If
you ask, What has thrown me into this Fit of Zeal against the Refugees?
I answer, they already have or soon will in my opinion form a dangerous
Faction. But I will be more explicit in my next.

This Letter I commit to the care of Mr Benj Austin junr whose Father
and Connexions you are not unacquainted with. Adieu & believe me

your affectionate Friend



[MS , Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society, a draft is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library , a text is in W. V Wells, Life of
Samuel Adams, vol. in , pp. 251-253]

BOSTON Decr 3d 1787


I am to acknowledge your several Favours of the 5th and 27 of October,
the one by the Post and the other by our worthy Friend Mr Gerry. The
Session of our General Court which lasted six Weeks, and my Station
there requiring my punctual & constant Attendance, prevented my
considering the new Constitution as it is already called, so closely as
was necessary for me before I should venture an Opinion. I confess, as
I enter the Building I stumble at the Threshold. I meet with a National
Government, instead of a Federal Union of Sovereign States. I am not
able to conceive why the Wisdom of the Convention led them to give the
Preference to the former before the latter. If the several States in
the Union are to become one entire Nation, under one Legislature, the
Powers of which shall extend to every Subject of Legislation, and its
Laws be supreme & controul the whole, the Idea of Sovereignty in these
States must be lost. Indeed I think, upon such a Supposition, those
Sovereignties ought to be eradicated from the Mind; for they would be
Imperia in Imperio justly deemd a Solecism in Politicks, & they would
be highly dangerous, and destructive of the Peace Union and Safety of
the Nation. And can this National Legislature be competent to make Laws
for the free internal Government of one People, living in Climates so
remote and whose "Habits & particular Interests" are and probably
always will be so different. Is it to be expected that General Laws can
be adapted to the Feelings of the more Eastern and the more Southern
Parts of so extensive a Nation? It appears to me difficult if
practicable. Hence then may we not look for Discontent, Mistrust,
Disaffection to Government and frequent Insurrections, which will
require standing Armies to suppress them in one Place & another where
they may happen to arise. Or if Laws could be made, adapted to the
local Habits, Feelings, Views & Interests of those distant Parts, would
they not cause Jealousies of Partiality in Government which would
excite Envy and other malignant Passions productive of Wars and
fighting. But should we continue distinct sovereign States,
confederated for the Purposes of mutual Safety and Happiness, each
contributing to the federal Head such a Part of its Sovereignty as
would render the Government fully adequate to those Purposes and no
more, the People would govern themselves more easily, the Laws of each
State being well adapted to its own Genius & Circumstances, and the
Liberties of the United States would be more secure than they can be,
as I humbly conceive, under the proposed new Constitution. You are
sensible, Sir, that the Seeds of Aristocracy began to spring even
before the Conclusion of our Struggle for the natural Rights of Men,
Seeds which like a Canker Worm lie at the Root of free Governments. So
great is the Wickedness of some Men, & the stupid Servility of others,
that one would be almost inclined to conclude that Communities cannot
be free. The few haughty Families, think They must govern. The Body of
the People tamely consent & submit to be their Slaves. This unravels
the Mystery of Millions being enslaved by the few! But I must desist--My
weak hand prevents my proceeding further at present. I will send you my
poor Opinion of the political Structure at another Time. In the Interim
oblige me with your Letters; & present mine and Mrs A's best Regards to
your Lady & Family, Colo Francis, Mr A. L. if with you, & other
Friends, & be assured that I am

very affectionately yours

As I thought it a Piece of Justice I have venturd to say that I had
often heard from the best Patriots from Virginia that Mr G Mason was an
early active & able Advocate for the Liberties of America.



[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society; a draft is in the
Samuel ,Adams Papers, Lenox Library]

BOSTON April 22d, 1789.


You must not expect lengthy Letters from me for a Reason which I have
heretofore given you. Possibly, however, I may trouble you with more
frequent Letters. I hope the federal Congress is vested with Powers
adequate to all the great purposes of the federal Union; and if they
have such adequate Powers, no true and understanding Federalist would
consent that they should be trusted with more--for more would discover the
Folly of the People in their wanton Grant of Power, because it might,
and considering the Disposition of the human Mind, without Doubt would
be wantonly [exercised to] their Injury and Ruin. The Powers vested in
Government by the People, the only just Source of such Powers, ought to
be critically defined and well understood; lest by a Misconstruction of
ambiguous Expressions, and by interested Judges too, more Power might
be assumed by the Government than the People ever intended they should
possess. Few men are contented with less Power than they have a Right
to exercise, the Ambition of the human Heart grasps at more. This is
evinced by the Experience of all Ages.

Will you give me Leave to mention to you the Name of Leonard Jarvis,
Esqr; a Gentleman to whose agreable Acquaintance, tho he is a native of
this Town, I introduced myself by the Request of our worthy Friend
General Whipple now deceased. Mr. Jarvis is a very sensible Republican,
and an honest Man. He holds the Place of Comptroller General in this
Commonwealth. I believe Mr. Dalton can shew you a Specimen of his
Industry and Accuracy in Business. It is not by his Solicitation, or
even knowledge that I write this. I am induced to it, because I think
that good Men living at a Distance from the Seat of the federal
Government, and capable of serving the United States should be made

Adieu my dear Sir.


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 284, 285; the text
is also in the pamphlet Resolutions of the General Court (Boston,
1789), p. 7.]

May 27, 1789.1


I have been politely notified by a joint committee of the two branches
of the General Court that, having examined the returns of the votes for
a Lieutenant-Governor of the Commonwealth, it appears that a majority
of the electors have seen fit to give me their suffrages.

I am impressed with a warm sense of the honor done me, and it is a
pleasing reflection, in my own mind, that I have this testimonial of
the confidence of my countrymen, without my solicitation or
interference in any manner to obtain it.

I rejoice in the freedom of our elections; and it affords me particular
satisfaction to be invited to take a share in government by citizens
possessed of the most lively feelings of natural and civil liberty, and
enlightened with the knowledge and true ends of civil government, who,
in conjunction with their sister States, have gloriously contended for
the rights of mankind, and given the world another lesson, drawn from
experience, that all countries may be free, since it has pleased the
righteous Governor of the universe to smile upon their virtuous
exertions, and crown them with independence and liberty.

If it be not improper on this occasion, may I beg leave to express a
devout and fervent wish that gracious Heaven may guide the public
councils of the great confederated commonwealth, and the several free
and independent republics which compose it, so that the people may be
highly respected and prosperous in their affairs abroad, and enjoy at
home that tranquillity which results from a well-grounded confidence
that their personal and domestic rights are secure.

I feel, sir, a diffidence of my own abilities, and am anxious but in
certain events they may be found inadequate to the importance of the
duties I may be called to perform; but relying on the aid of Divine
grace, and hoping for the justice, candor, and liberal sentiments of
the General Court and of my fellow-citizens at large, I venture to
accept the trust, and am now ready to be qualified in the mode
prescribed by the Constitution.

1 Upon taking the oath as Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts.


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society.]

BOSTON July 14th, 1789


I have not lately received a Line from you, and am ready to impute it
to the Multiplicity of Affairs in which your Mind is employed. You must
not expect that I shall be even with you upon the epistolary Score, for
the Reason which I have heretofore given you. I wish to know from you
the State of federal Affairs as often as your Leisure may admit.1 We
organize our State Governments, and I heartily wish that their
Authority and Dignity may be preserved within their several
Jurisdictions, as far as may be consistent with the Purposes for which
the federal Government is designed. They are in my opinion petit
Politicians who would wish to lessen the due Weight of the State
Governments; for I think the federal must depend upon the Influence of
these to carry their Laws into Effect; and while those Laws have for
their sole Object the promoting the purposes of the federal Union,
there is Reason to expect they will have the due Support of the State
Authorities. Places are now become the Object of Multitudes; I
mentioned to you in a former Letter the name of Leonard Jarvis, Esqr
whom I hope you will not forget. Israel Keith, Esqr wishes to have the
Place of Marshall within this District. He is a Gentleman of the Law,
and was during the War Aid de Camp to General Heath, who I understand
has recommended him to the President. You will gratify the wishes of Mr
Keith as far as shall consist with your own Ideas of Propriety; and be
assured, that I am sincerely

Your Friend,

P. S. I have been informed that Mr Edward Church a Native of this Town,
but now an Inhabitant of Georgia is in the City of New York. I take him
to have been a steady Friend to the Liberties of our Country, and a man
of Sense and Integrity. If it will not weary you with Applications I
will beg your Notice of him, and after your own Inquiries afford him
your Influence, if you shall think it proper, in promoting him to a
suitable Employment under Congress in the State of Georgia. This I
mention without his Sollicitation, or even Knowledge.

1 Lee was at this time in the United States Senate.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library]

BOSTON Augt 22 1789


I wrote to you hastily two days ago, & as hastily venturd an Opinion
concerning the Right of Congress to controul a Light-house erected on
Land belonging to this sovereign & independent State for its own Use &
at its own Expence. I say sovereign & independent, because I think the
State retains all the Rights of Sovereignty which it has not expressly
parted with to the Congress of the United States--a federal Power
instituted solely for the Support of the federal Union.

The Sovereignty of the State extends over every part of its Territory.
The federal Constitution expresses the same Idea in Sec. 8, Art. 1. A
Power is therein given to Congress "to exercise like Authority," that
is to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, "over all
places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature in which the same
shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, and other needful
Buildings," among which Light-houses may be included. Is it not the
plain Conclusion from this Clause in the Compact, that Congress have
not the Right to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases
whatsoever, nor even to purchase or controul any part of the Territory
within a State for the Erection of needful Buildings unless it has the
Consent of its Legislature. If there are any such Buildings already
erected, which operate to the General Welfare of the U S, and Congress
by Virtue of the Power vested in them have taken from a State for the
general Use, the necessary Means of supporting such Buildings it
appears to be reasonable & just that the U S should maintain them; but
I think that it follows not from hence, that Congress have a right to
exercise any Authority over those buildings even to make Appointments
of officers for the immediate Care of them or furnishing them with
necessary Supplies. I wish to have your Opinion if you can find Leisure.

I hope Congress, before they adjourn, will take into very serious
Consideration the necessary Amendments of the Constitution. Those whom
I call the best--the most judicious & disinterested Federalists, who wish
for the perpetual Union, Liberty & Happiness of the States & their
respective Citizens, many of them if not all are anxiously expecting
them. They wish to see a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the
federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the
several States upon which the private & personal Rights of the Citizens
depend. Without such Distinction there will be Danger of the
Constitution issuing imperceptibly and gradually into a consolidated
Government over all the States; which, altho it may be wished for by
some was reprobated in the Idea by the highest Advocates for the
Constitution as it stood without Amendmts. I am fully persuaded that
the population of the U S livg in different Climates, of different
Education and Manners, and possest of different Habits & feelings under
one consolidated Governt can not long remain free, or indeed remain
under any kind of Governt but despotism.

You will not forget our old Friend Devens, and if you please mention
him to Mr R H Lee.

Adieu my dear Friend and believe me to be sincerely your,

P. S. The joint regards of Mrs A & myself to Mrs Gerry.


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society; a draft is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON August 24th 1789.


Your very acceptable Letter of the 8th Current came to me by the Post.
You flatter me very much when you tell me that any sentiment of mine
can please you. I have always been apprehensive that through the
weakness of the human Mind often discovered even in the wisest and best
of Men, or the perverseness of the interested, and designing, in as
well as out of Government; Misconstructions would be given to the
federal constitution, which would disappoint the Views, and
expectations of the honest among those who acceded to it, and hazard
the Liberty, Independence and Happiness of the People. I was
particularly affraid that unless great care should be taken to prevent
it, the Constitution in the Administration of it would gradually, but
swiftly and imperceptably run into a consolidated Government pervading
and legislating through all the States, not for federal purposes only
as it professes, but in all cases whatsoever: such a Government would
soon totally annihilate the Sovereignty of the several States so
necessary to the Support of the confederated Commonwealth, and sink
both in despotism. I know these have been called vulgar opinions, and
prejudices: be it so--I think it is Lord Shaftsbury who tells us, that it
is folly to despise the opinions of the Vulgar; this Aphorism, if
indeed it is his, I eagerly catched from a Nobleman many years ago,
whose writings on some accounts, I never much admired. Should a strong
Federalist as some call themselves see what has now dropt from my Pen,
he would say that I am an Antifed, an Amendment Monger &c; those are
truly vulgar terms, invented and used by some whose feelings would be
sorely wounded to be ranked among such kind of Men, and invented and
used for the mean purpose of deceiving, and entrapping others whom they
call the Vulgar; but in this "enlightned" Age one should think there
was no such Vulgar to be thus amused, and ensnared. I mean, my friend,
to let you know how deeply, I am impressed with a sense of the
Importance of Amendments; that the good People may clearly see the
distinction, for there is a distinction, between the federal Powers
vested in Congress, and the sovereign Authority belonging to the
several States, which is the Palladium of the private, and personal
rights of the Citizens. I freely protest to you that I earnestly wish
some Amendments may be judiciously, and deliberately made without
partial or local considerations--that there may be no uncomfortable
Jarrings among the several Powers; that the whole People may in every
State contemplate their own safety on solid grounds, and the Union of
the States be perpetual. I hope that you have recovered your health, so
valuable to our Country. Your Letter requires a further Consideration.
I will at present only express my astonishment at the strange and
absurd Opinion of our former republican Connecticut friend. Tempora
mutantur, et hic mutatur in illis.

Your friend,


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society, a draft is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

BOSTON Augt 29th. 1789.


The Power of removing federal Officers at the Pleasure of the President
is to be found the Constitution or it is not. If it is, What Need was
there of an Act or Decision of Congress to authorize it? But if it is
not, could Congress give so important a Power? What have the United
States been contending for? Liberty. This is the great Object of their
State Governments, and has not the federal Constitution the same Object
in View? If therefore a Doubt arises respecting the Exercise of any
Power, no Construction, I conceive, should militate with the main
Design, or Object of the Charter. If there is a total Silence in the
Constitution, is it not natural to conclude that an Officer holding
during Pleasure is removable by the same Power which appointed him,
whether vested in a single Person, or a joint Number? I am sensible, it
is said, that a single Person, being amenable for his Exercise of Power
will use the utmost Circumspection. This may be true, but may not this
Idea be carried too far in Practice? May not some Powers vested in a
single Man give him such Weight and Influence as to render any
Restraint from his feeling himself amenable of little, or no Effect. If
this Power lodged in the Discretion of a single Person will afford a
greater Security against Corruption because of his Amenability, why
should not the Power of appointing as well as removing Officers be
given to him? In the one Case the gracious Hand may be held forth, in
the other, the threatning Rod; and both may be used for improper
Purposes. In England, "the King can do no wrong" is a Maxim. His
Ministers are made accountable for him; and how often have corrupt
Ministers and Councellors been brought to the Block for Follies and
Crimes committed by their Royal Masters who can do no Wrong? And it may
also be asked, how often such Ministers and Councellors have found
Means to get themselves screened from Punishment through the Influence
of their Masters, by procuring Parliamentary Sanctions to such Crimes
and Follies? But in the Removal of Officers the President has not a
Constitutional Council. He must therefore be solely accountable. I need
not tell you who have known so thoroughly the Sentiments of my Heart,
that I have always had a very high Esteem for the late Commander in
Chief of our Armies; and I now most sincerely believe that while
President Washington continues in the Chair he will be able to give to
all good Men a satisfactory Reason for every Instance of his public
Conduct. I feel myself constrained contrary to my usual Manner to make
Professions of Sincerity on this Occasion because Dr Gordon in his
History of the Revolution, among many other Anecdotes innocent and
triffling enough, has gravely said, that I was concerned in an Attempt
to remove General Washington from Command; and mentions an anonymous
Letter written to your late Governor Henry which I affirm I never saw
nor heard of till I lately met with it in reading the History1--This is a
Digression to which a Man of my years is liable. Who will succeed the
present President for it is the Lot of Man to die? Perhaps the next and
the next may inherit his Virtues. But my Friend, I fear the Time will
come, when a Bribe shall remove the most excellent Man from Office for
the Purpose of making Room for the worst. It will be called an Error in
Judgment. The Bribe will be concealed. It may however be vehemently
suspected & who, in Times of great Degeneracy will venture to search
out and detect the corrupt Practices of great Men? Unless a sufficient
Check is provided and clearly ascertained for every Power given, will
not the Constitution and the Liberties of the Citizens for want of such
Checks be finally subverted.

A Gentleman of this Place who has suffered much for his Attachment to
our Cause I conceive has Documents in his Hands which would be of
Importance in the Settlement of the Eastern Boundary of the United
States which appears to have been encroached upon by the British. I
wrote so long ago as last April to Mr Dalton respecting this Gentleman;
but have never received an Answer. He I suppose is able to give you an
Account of Mr Boyd the Name of the Gentleman referred to. I wish you
would converse with Mr Dalton upon the Subject. The Vice President
however is probably able, and undoubtedly disposed to give you the
fullest Account. I am sincerely yours

P. S. Pray write to me and let me know the State of your Health, & pay
my affectionate Regards to your Brother the Doctor.

1 William Gordon, History of the American Revolution, (3rd Amer. edit.)
vol. ii., p. 306.



MAY 28, 1790.1

[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. in., pp. 288, 289; a text is
in the Massachusetts Archives.]


Having been regularly informed that a majority of the late electors in
the several towns and districts within this Commonwealth have honored
me with their suffrages for the office of Lieutenant-Governor, I now
present myself before the two branches of the General Court to be
qualified as the Constitution directs. I do the more readily obey this
repeated call, because I cannot help flattering myself that it has
proceeded from a persuasion in the minds of my fellow-citizens of the
attachment of my heart to their rights and liberties, and my earnest
desires that they may be perpetuated. My fellow-citizens may be assured
that I feel that attachment and the strength of those desires. The
first of my wishes, as they respect this life, is for our country; and
the best of my feeble abilities shall be ever employed for her

I shall presently be called upon by you, sir, as it is enjoined by the
Constitution, to make a declaration upon oath (and shall do it with
cheerfulness, because the injunction accords with my own judgment and
conscience) that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is, and of right
ought to be, a free, sovereign, and independent State. I shall also be
called upon to make another declaration, with the same solemnity, to
support the Constitution of the United States. I see the consistency of
this, for it cannot have been intended but that these Constitutions
should mutually aid and support each other. It is my humble opinion
that, while the Commonwealth of Massachusetts maintains her own just
authority, weight, and dignity, she will be among the firmest pillars
of the Federal Union.

May the administration of the Federal government, and those of the
several States in the Union, be guided by the unerring finger of
Heaven! Each of them and all of them united will then, if the people
are wise, be as prosperous as the wisdom of human institutions and the
circumstances of human society will admit.

1 Upon taking office as Lieutenant-Governor, to which office he was
also elected in 1791 and 1792.


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.1]

BOSTON Septemr 2d 1790


I have not written a single line to any friend in, or out of Congress
during the late session, having been prevented by my old nervous
disorder, and am now dictating this to a confidential friend, whom you
well know.

Capn Nathaniel Byfield Lyde who commanded the Ship in which your Lady
sailed to England has informed me that a number of Vessells are to be
built, and employed to guard the coast for a preventing of breaches of
the act of trade; and he requests me to ask the favour of you to
mention his Name to the President of the United States for a command. I
now gratify his request, which is my apology.

I hope you, and your connections are in good health, and spirits. Mrs
Adams joins me in due Regards to yourself, and Lady.

I am, dear sir, with much Esteem, and respect, Your affectionate friend,

1 The body of this letter, like several in the later years, was not in
the autograph of Adams.


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers,
Lenox Library; the text is in John Adams, Works, vol. vi., pp. 412-414,
W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 300-302; cf.
Department of State, Bureau of Rolls and Library, Bulletin No. 8, p.

BOSTON Octr 4th 1790


With pleasure I received your Letter of Septr 12th; and as our good
friend, to whom I dictated our last is yet in Town, I have requested of
him a second favour.

You ask what the World is about to become? and, Is the Millenium
commencing? I have not studied the Prophesies, and cannot even
conjecture. The Golden Age so finely pictured by Poets, I believe has
never yet existed; but in their own imaginations. In the earliest
periods, when for the honor of human nature, one should have thought,
that man had not learnt to be cruel; what Scenes of horror have been
exhibited in families of some of the best instructors in Piety and
morals! Even the heart of our first father was grievously wounded at
the sight of the murder of one of his Sons, perpetrated by the hand of
the other. Has Mankind since seen the happy Age? No, my friend. The
same Tragedys have been acted on the Theatre of the World, the same
Arts of tormenting have been studied, and practiced to this day; and
true religion, and reason united have never succeeded to establish the
permanent foundations of political freedom, and happiness in the most
enlightened Countries on the Earth. After a compliment to Boston Town
meetings, and our Harvard College as having "set the universe in
Motion"; you tell me Every Thing will be pulled down; I think with you,
"So much seems certain," but what say you, will be built up? Hay, wood
and stubble, may probably be the materials, till Men shall be yet more
enlightened, and more friendly to each other. "Are there any Principles
of Political Architecture?" Undoubtedly. "What are they?" Philosophers
ancient, and modern, have laid down different plans, and all have
thought themselves, masters of the true Principles. Their Disciples
have followed them, probably with a blind prejudice, which is always an
Enemy to truth, and have thereby added fresh fuel to the fire of
Contention, and increased the political disorder. Kings have been
deposed by aspiring Nobles, whose pride could not brook restraint.
These have waged everlasting War, against the common rights of Men. The
Love of Liberty is interwoven in the soul of Man, and can never be
totally extinguished; and there are certain periods when human patience
can no longer endure indignity, and oppression. The spark of liberty
then kindles into a flame; when the injured people attentive to the
feelings of their just rights magnanimously contend for their compleat
restoration. But such contests have too often ended in nothing more
than "a change of Impostures, and impositions". The Patriots of Rome
put an End to the Life of Caesar; and Rome submitted to a Race of
Tyrants in his stead. Were the People of England free, after they had
obliged King John to concede to them their ancient rights, and
Libertys, and promise to govern them according to the Old Law of the
Land? Were they free, after they had wantonly deposed their Henrys,
Edwards, and Richards to gratify family pride? Or, after they had
brought their first Charles to the block, and banished his family? They
were not. The Nation was then governed by Kings, Lords, and Commons,
and its Libertys were lost by a strife among three Powers, soberly
intended to check each other, and keep the scales even. But while we
daily see the violence of the human passions controuling the Laws of
Reason and religion, and stifling the very feelings of humanity; can we
wonder, that in such tumults little or no regard is had to Political
Checks and Ballances? And such tumults have always happened within as
well as without doors. The best formed constitutions that have yet been
contrived by the wit of Man have, and will come to an End--because "the
Kingdoms of the Earth have not been governed by Reason." The Pride of
Kings, of Nobles, and leaders of the People who have all governed in
their turns, have disadjusted the delicate frame, and thrown all into
confusion. What then is to be done?--Let Divines, and Philosophers,
Statesmen and Patriots unite their endeavours to renovate the Age, by
impressing the Minds of Men with the importance of educating their
little boys, and girls--of inculcating in the Minds of youth the fear, and
Love of the Deity, and universal Phylanthropy; and in subordination to
these great principles, the Love of their Country--of instructing them in
the Art of self government, without which they never can act a wise
part in the Government of Societys great, or small--in short of leading
them in the Study, and Practice of the exalted Virtues of the Christian
system, which will happily tend to subdue the turbulent passions of
Men, and introduce that Golden Age beautifully described in figurative
language; when the Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard lie
down with the Kid--the Cow, and the bear shall feed; their young ones
shall lie down together, and the Lyon shall eat straw like the Ox--none
shall then hurt, or destroy; for the Earth shall be full of the
Knowledge of the Lord. When this Millenium shall commence, if there
shall be any need of Civil Government, indulge me in the fancy that it
will be in the republican form, or something better.

I thank you for your Countenance to our friend Lyde. Mrs Adams tells me
to remember her to yourself, Lady, and connections; And be assured that
I am sincerely

your friend,


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers,
Lenox Library; the text with variations is in John Adams, Works, vol.
vi., pp. 420-426, W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp.
308-314; cf. Department of State, Bureau of Rolls and Library, Bulletin
No. 8, p. 16. Certain texts give the date as November 20.]

BOSTON Novemr 25th 1790


I lately received your Letter of the 18th of October.--The Sentiment, and
observations contained in it demand my attention.

A Republic, you tell me, is a Government in which "the People have an
essential share in the sovereignty;" Is not the whole sovereignty, my
friend, essentially in the People? Is not Government designed for the
Welfare and happiness of all the People? and is it not the
uncontroulable essential right of the People to amend, and alter, or
annul their Constitution, and frame a new one, whenever they shall
think it will better promote their own welfare, and happiness to do it?
That the Sovereignty resides in the People is a political doctrine
which I have never heard an American Politician seriously deny. The
Constitutions of the American States reserve to the People the exercise
of the rights of Sovereignty; by the annual, or biennial elections of
their Governours, Senators, & Representatives; and by empowering their
own Representatives to impeach the greatest officers of the State,
before the Senators who are also chosen by themselves.

We the people is the stile of the federal Constitution. They adopted
it; and conformably to it, they delegate the exercise of the Powers of
Government to particular persons, who, after short intervals resign
their Powers to the People, and they will re-elect them, or appoint
others, as1 they think fit.

The American Legislatures are nicely balanced: They consist of two
branches, each having a check upon the determinations of the other:
they sit in different chambers, and probably often reason differently
in their respective chambers, on the same question-- if they disagree in
their decisions, by a conference their reasons, and Arguments are
mutually communicated to each other: Candid explanations tend to bring
them to agreement; and then according to the Massachusetts
constitution, the matter is laid before the first Magistrate for his
revision. He states objections, if he has any, with his Reasons, and
returns them to the Legislators, who by larger Majorities ultimately
decide. Here is a mixture of three Powers founded in the Nature of Man;
calculated to call forth the rational Faculties in the great points of
Legislation, into exertion; to cultivate mutual Friendship, and good
humour; and finally to enable them to decide, not by the impulse of
passion, or party prejudice, but the calm Voice of Reason, which is the
Voice of God:--In this mixture you may see your "natural, and actual
Aristocracy among mankind," operating among the several Powers in
Legislation, and producing the most happy Effects. But the Son of an
excellent Man may never inherit the great qualities of his father; this
is common observation, and there are many instances of its truth:
Should we not therefore conclude that hereditary Nobility is a solecism
in Government? Their Lordships Sons, or Grandsons may be destitute of
the faintest feelings of honor, or honesty; and yet retain an essential
share in the Government by right of inheritance from Ancestors, who may
have been the Minions of ministers--the favourites of Mistresses, or Men
of real, and distinguished Merit. The same may be said of hereditary
Kings; Their Successors may also become so degenerated, and corrupt, as
to have neither inclination, nor capacity to know the extent, and
Limits of their own Powers, nor consequently those of others. Such kind
of Political Beings, Nobles, or Kings, possessing hereditary right to
essential shares in an equipoized Government are very unfit persons to
hold the scales; Having no just conception of the Principles of the
Government, nor of the part which they, and their copartners bear in
the administration; they run a wild career, destroy the checks, and
ballances, by interfering in each others departments, till the Nation
is involved in confusion, and reduced to the danger, at least, of
Bloodshed to remove a Tyranny, which may ensue. Much safer is it, and
much more does it tend to promote the Welfare and happiness of Society
to fill up the offices of Government after the mode prescribed in the
American Constitution, by frequent Elections of the People. They may
indeed be deceived in their choice; they sometimes are; but the Evil is
not incurable; the Remedy is always near; they will feel their
mistakes, and correct them.

I am very willing to agree with you in thinking, that improvement in
Knowledge, and Benevolence receive much assistance from the principles,
and Systems of good Government: But is it not as true that without
knowledge, and benevolence Men would neither have been capable or
disposed to search for the principles, or form the System--Should we not,
my friend, bear a gratefull remembrance of our pious and benevolent
Ancestors, who early laid plans of Education; by which means Wisdom,
Knowledge, and Virtue have been generally diffused among the body of
the people, and they have been enabled to form and establish a civil
constitution calculated for the preservation of their rights, and
liberties. This Constitution was evidently founded in the expectation
of the further progress, and "extraordinary degrees" of virtue. It
injoyns the encouragement of all Seminaries of Literature, which are
the nurseries of Virtue depending upon these for the support of
Government, rather than Titles, Splendor, or Force. Mr Hume may call
this a "Chimerical Project." I am far from thinking the People can be
deceived by urging upon them a dependance on the more general
prevalence of Knowledge, and Virtue: It is one of the most essential
means of further, and still further improvements in Society, and of
correcting, and amending moral sentiments, and habits, and political
institutions; till "by human means" directed by divine influence, Men
shall be prepared for that "happy, and holy State" when the Messiah is
to reign.

"It is a fixed Principle that all good Government is, and must be
Republican." You have my hearty concurrence; and I believe we are well
enough acquainted with each others Ideas to understand what we
respectively mean when we "use the Word with approbation." The Body of
the People in this Country are not so ignorant as those of England were
in the Time of the Interregnum Parliament. They are better educated:
they will not easily be prevailed upon to believe that a Republican is
"as unamiable as a Witch, a Blasphemer, a Rebel, or a Tyrant." They are
charmed with their forms of Government, in which is admitted a mixture
of Powers to check the human passions, and controul them from rushing
into exorbitances. So well assured are they, that their liberties are
best secured, by their own frequent, and free Election of fit persons
to be the essential sharers in the administration of their Government,
and that this form of Government is truly Republic, that the body of
the People will not be perswaded nor compelled to "renounce, detest,
and execrate the very Word Republican as the English do." Their
Education has "confirmed them in the opinion of the necessity of
preserving, and strengthening the Dykes against the Ocean, its Tydes,
and Storms," and I think they have made more safe, and more durable
Dykes, than the English have done.

We agree in the Utility of universal Education, but "will nations agree
in it as fully, and extensively as we do"? Why should they not? It
would not be fair to conclude, that because they have not yet been
disposed to agree in it, they never will. It is allowed, that the
present age is more enlightened than former ones. Freedom of enquiry is
certainly more encouraged: The feelings of humanity have softned the
heart: The true principles of civil, and religious Liberty are better
understood: Tyranny in all its shapes, is more detested, and bigotry,
if not still blind, must be mortified to see that she is despised. Such
an age may afford at least a flattering Expectation that Nations, as
well as individuals, will view the utility of universal Education in so
strong a light as to induce sufficient national Patronage, and Support.
Future Ages will probably be more enlightned than this.

The Love of Liberty is interwoven in the Soul of Man. "So it is in that
of a Wolf;" However irrational, ungenerous, and unsocial the love of
liberty may be in a rude Savage, he is capable of being enlightned by
Experience, Reflection, Education, and civil, and Political
Institutions. But the Nature of the Wolf is, and ever will be confined
to running in the forest to satisfy his hunger, and his brutal
appetites; the Dog is inclined in a more easy way to seek his living,
and fattens his sides with what comes from his masters kitchen. The
Comparison of La Fontaine is in my opinion ungenerous, unnatural, and

Among the Numbers of Men, my friend, are to be found not only those who
have "preferred ease, slumber, and good chear to liberty"; but others,
who have eagerly sought after Thrones, and Sceptres, hereditary shares
in Sovereignty Riches, and Splendor, Titles, Stars, Garters, Crosses,
Eagles, and many other childish play things, at the expence of real
Nobility, without one thought, or care for the liberty, and happiness
of the rest of Mankind. "The People, who have no property feel the
Power of governing by a majority; and even attack those who have
property." "The injured Men of Property recur to finess, trick, and
Stratagem," to outwit them: True; These may proceed from a Lust of
domination in some of both parties. Be this as it may; It has been
known, that such deceitful tricks have been practiced by some of the
rich upon their unsuspecting fellow Citizens; to turn the determination
of Questions, so as to answer their own selfish purposes. To plunder or
filch the rights of Men are crimes equally immoral, and nefarious;
though committed in a different manner: Neither of them is confined to
the Rich, or the Poor; they are too common among both. The Lords as
well as the commons of Great Brittain by continued large majorities
endeavoured by Finess, Tricks, and Stratagems, as well as threats to
prevail on the American Colonies to surrender their Liberty and
Property to their disposal. These failing, they attempted to plunder
our rights by force of Arms. We feared their Arts more than their Arms.
Did the Members of that hereditary House of Lords, who constituted
those repeated majorities, then possess the spirit of Nobility? Not so,
I think: That Spirit resided in the illustrious Minorities in both
Houses. But "by Nobles" who have prevented "one hideous Despotism as
horrid as that of Turkey from falling to the lot of every Nation of
Europe"; you mean not peculiarly an hereditary Nobility, or any
particular Modification, but "the natural, and actual Aristocracy among
Mankind;" The existence of which, I am not disposed to deny. Where is
this Aristocracy to be found? Among Men of all Ranks and Conditions.
The Cottager may beget a wise Son; the Noble, a Fool: The one is
capable of great Improvement--the other not. Education is within the Power
of Men, and Societys of Men. Wise, and judicious Modes of Education,
patronized, and supported by communities, will draw together the Sons
of the rich, and the poor, among whom it makes no distinction; it will
cultivate the natural Genius, elevate the Soul, excite laudable
Emulation to excel in Knowledge, Piety, and Benevolence, and finally it
will reward its Patrons, and Benefactors by sheding its benign
Influence on the Public Mind. Education inures Men to thinking and
reflection, to reasoning and demonstration. It discovers to them the
moral and religious duties they owe to God, their Country and to all
Mankind. Even Savages might, by the means of Education, be instructed
to frame the best civil, and political Institutions with as much skill
and ingenuity, as they now shape their Arrows. Education leads youth to
"the Study of human nature, society, and universal History" from whence
they may "draw all the Principles" of Political Architecture, which
ought to be regarded. All Men are "interested in the truth." Education
by showing them "the End of all its consequences" would induce, at
least, the greatest numbers to inlist on its side. The Man of good
understanding who has been well educated, and improves these advantages
as far as his circumstances will allow, in promoting the happiness of
Mankind, in my opinion, and I am inclined to think in yours is indeed
"well born." It may be "puerile, and unworthy of Statesmen" to declame
against Family Pride; but there is and always has been such a
ridiculous kind of Vanity among Men. "Statesmen know the evil, and
danger is too serious to be sported with." I am content they should be
put into one hole; as you propose, but I have some fears that your
Watchmen on each side will not well agree. When a Man can recollect the
Virtues of his Ancestors; he certainly has abundantly more solid
satisfaction than another who boasts that he sprang from those, who
were rich, or noble; but never discovers the least degree of Virtue, or
true worth of any kind. "Family Popularity," if I mistake not, has its
source in family pride; It is by all means sought after that hommage
may be paid to the name of the Title or Estate, to supply the want, in
the possessor, of any great, or good quality whatsoever. There are
individuals among Men, who study the art of making themselves popular,
for the purpose of getting into Places of Honour, and Emoluments, and
by these means of gratifying hereafter the noble Passion--Family Pride.
Others are so inchanted with the Musick of the sound, that they
conceive it to be supreme felicity. This is indeed Vanity of Vanities,
and if such deluded Men ever come to their Senses, they will find it to
be vexation of Spirit. When they reflect on their own folly, and
injustice in having received the breath of Applause with avidity, and
great delight, for Merrit which they are conscious they never had; and
that many who have been the loudest in sounding their praises, had
nothing in view, but their own private, and selfish interests, it will
excite in them the feelings of shame, remorse, and self contempt.

The truly virtuous Man, and real Patriot, is satisfied with the
approbation of the wise, and discerning; he rejoices in the
contemplation of the Purity of his Intentions, and waits in humble hope
for the Plaudit of his final Judge.

I shall hardly venture again to trespass on the Benevolence of our
Confidential Friend--you will not be sorry; it will afford you Reliefe,
for in common Civility you must be at the Trouble of reading ones
Epistles. I hope there will be a Time when we shall have "sweet
Communion" together. In the mean Time let me not lose the Benefit of
your valueable Letters. Adieu. Believe me

Your sincere Friend

1 The draft at this point reads: "as in their own enlightened Judgments
shall best serve the great End of Government the good of the whole



JANUARY 17, 1794.

[Independent Chronicle, January 20, 1794; the text is in W. V. Wells,
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 324-328, and in the Massachusetts



IT having pleased the Supreme Being, since your last meeting, in His
holy providence to remove from this transitory life, our late excellent
Governour Hancock, the multitude of his surviving fellow-citizens, who
have often given strong testimonials of their approbation of his
important services, while they drop a tear, may certainly profit by the
recollection of his virtuous and patriotic example.

You are sensible, that on this melancholly event, our Constitution
directs that the Lieutenant Governour,1 for the time being, shall
perform all the duties which were incumbent on him, and exercise all
the powers and authorities, during the vacancy of the chair, which by
the Constitution, he was vested with when personally present. Diffident
as I am of my abilities, I have yet felt myself constrained, to
undertake the performance of those duties, and the exercise of those
powers and authorities, in consequence of a sovereign act of God. To
Him I look for that wisdom which is profitable to direct. The
Constitution must be my rule, and the true interest of my Constituents,
whose agent I am, my invariable object.

The people of this Commonwealth, have heretofore been possessed of the
intire sovereignty within and over their own territories. They were
"not controul-able by any other laws than those to which their
constituted representative body gave their consent." This, I presume,
was the case in every other State of the Union.--But, after the memorable
declaration of their Independence was by solemn treaty, agreed to and
ratified by the British King, the only power that could have any
pretence to dispute it, they considered themselves decidedly free and
independent of all other people. Having taken rank among nations, it
was judged that their great affairs could not well be conducted under
the direction of a number of distinct sovereignties. They therefore
formed and adopted a Federal Constitution; by which certain powers of
sovereignty are delegated and entrusted to such persons as they shall
judge proper from time to time to elect; to be exercised conformably
to, and within the restrictions of the said Constitution, for the
purposes of strengthening and confirming the Union, and promoting the
safety and happiness of the confederate Commonwealth. All powers not
vested in Congress, remain in the separate States to be exercised
according to their respective Constitutions.--Should not unremitting
caution be used, least any degree of interference or infringement might
take place, either on the rights of the Federal Government on the one
side, or those of the several States on the other. Instances of this
kind may happen; for infallibility is not the lot of any man or body of
men, even the best of them on earth. The human mind in its present
state, being very imperfect, is liable to a multitude of errors.
Prejudice, that great source of error, often creeps in and takes
possession of the hearts of honest men, without even their perceiving
it themselves. Honest men will not feel themselves disgusted, when
mistakes are pointed out to them with decency, candor and friendship,
nor will they, when convinced of truth, think their own dignity
degraded by correcting their own errors. Among the objects of the
Constitution of this Commonwealth, Liberty and Equality stand in a
conspicuous light. It is the first article in our Declaration of
rights, "all men are born free and equal, and have certain natural,
essential and unalienable rights." In the supposed state of nature, all
men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly,
the laws of the Creator:--They are imprinted by the finger of God on the
heart of man. Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbour, is the voice of
nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation. In the
state of nature, every man hath an equal right by honest means to
acquire property, and to enjoy it; in general, to pursue his own
happiness, and none can consistently controul or interrupt him in the
pursuit. But, so turbulent are the passions of some, and so selfish the
feelings of others, that in such a state, there being no social
compact, the weak cannot always be protected from the violence of the
strong, nor the honest and unsuspecting from the arts and intrigues of
the selfish and cunning. Hence it is easy to conceive, that men,
naturally formed for society, were inclined to enter into mutual
compact for the better security of their natural rights. In this state
of society, the unalienable rights of nature are held sacred:--And each
member is intitled to an equal share of all the social rights. No man
can of right become possessed of a greater share: If any one usurps it,
he so far becomes a tyrant; and when he can obtain sufficient strength,
the people will feel the rod of a tyrant. Or, if this exclusive
privilege can be supposed to be held in virtue of compact, it argues a
very capital defect; and the people, when more enlightened, will alter
their compact, and extinguish the very idea.

These opinions, I conceive to be conformable to the sentiments held up
in our State Constitution. It is therein declared, that Government is
instituted for the common good; not for the profit, honor or private
interest of any one man, family, or class of men. And further, all the
inhabitants of this Commonwealth, having such qualifications, as shall
be established by their Constitution, have an equal right to elect or
be elected for the public employments.

Before the formation of this Constitution, it had been affirmed as a
self evident truth, in the declaration of Independence, very
deliberately made by the Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled that, "all men are created equal, and are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." This
declaration of Independence was received and ratified by all the States
in the Union, and has never been disannulled. May we not from hence
conclude, that the doctrine of Liberty and Equality is an article in
the political creed of the United States.

Our Federal Constitution ordains that, no title of nobility shall be
granted by the United States. The framers of that Constitution probably
foresaw that such titles, vain and insignificant in themselves, might
be in time, as they generally, and I believe always have been, the
introductory to the absurd and unnatural claims of hereditary and
exclusive privileges.

The Republic of France have also adopted the same principle, and laid
it as the foundation of their Constitution. That nation having for many
ages groaned under the exercise of the pretended right claimed by their
Kings and Nobles, until their very feelings as men were become torpid,
at length suddenly awoke, from their long slumber, abolished the
usurpation, and placed every man upon the footing of equal rights. "All
men are born free and equal in rights," if I mistake not, is their

>From the quotations I have made, I think it appears, that the
Constitutions referred to, different as they may be in forms, agree
altogether in the most essential principles upon which legitimate
governments are founded. I have said essential principles, because I
conceive that without Liberty and Equality, there cannot exist that
tranquillity of mind, which results from the assurance of every
citizen, that his own personal safety and rights are secure:--This, I
think is a sentiment of the celebrated Montesquieu; and it is the end
and design of all free and lawful Governments. Such assurance,
impressed upon the heart of each, would lead to the peace, order and
happiness of all. For I should think, no man, in the exercise of his
reason would be inclined in any instance to trespass upon the equal
rights of citizens, knowing that if he should do it, he would weaken
and risque the security of his own. Even different nations, having
grounded their respective Constitutions upon the afore-mentioned
principles, will shortly feel the happy effects of mutual friendship,
mutual confidence and united strength. Indeed I cannot but be of
opinion, that when those principles shall be rightly understood and
universally established, the whole family and brotherhood of man will
then nearly approach to, if not fully enjoy that state of peace and
prosperity, which ancient Prophets and Sages have foretold.

I fear I have dwelt too long upon this subject. Another presents itself
to my mind, which I think is indeed great and important; I mean the
education of our children and youth. Perhaps the minds even of infants
may receive impressions, good or bad, at an earlier period than many
imagine. It has been observed, that "education has a greater influence
on manners, than human laws can have." Human laws excite fears and
apprehensions, least crimes committed may be detected and punished: But
a virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart,
and to prevent crimes. A very judicious writer, has quoted Plato, who
in shewing what care for the security of States ought to be taken of
the education of youth, speaks of it as almost sufficient to supply the
place both of Legislation and Administration. Such an education, which
leads the youth beyond mere outside shew, will impress their minds with
a profound reverence of the Deity, universal benevolence, and a warm
attachment and affection towards their country. It will excite in them
a just regard to Divine Revelation, which informs them of the original
character and dignity of Man; and it will inspire them with a sense of
true honor, which consists in conforming as much as possible, their
principles, habits, and manners to that original character. It will
enlarge their powers of mind, and prompt them impartially to search for
truth in the consideration of every subject that may employ their
thoughts; and among other branches of knowledge, it will instruct them
in the skill of political architecture and jurisprudence; and qualify
them to discover any error, if there should be such, in the forms and
administration of Governments, and point out the method of correcting
them. But I need not press this subject, being persuaded, that this
Legislature from the inclination of their minds, as well as in regard
to the duty enjoined by the Constitution, will cherish "the interest of
Literature, the Sciences and all their Seminaries."


Legislation is within your department; yet the Constitution assigns a
part to be taken by the Governor when Bills, and Resolves intended to
operate as Laws, shall be presented to him, which is, merely to state
objections if he has any, of which the Legislature will judge and
finally determine. Let me in treat you to dispatch the weightier
business, so early in the session, as to afford me opportunity to
perform my duty, with due consideration and care.

I have communications to make, such as the state of the Treasury--of the
military stores belonging to the Commonwealth, and others, which I will
transmit to you by the Secretary.


1 Hancock died October 8, 1793, and Adams became Governor; he was
thereafter elected to that office in the years 1794, 1795, and 1796.


FEBRUARY 19, 1794

[Independent Chronicle, March 6, 1794 , No. 3764 of the Leffingwell
sale appears to have been a manuscript of this text.]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts [Seal]



IT having been the invariable practice from time to time when our pious
and renowned ancestors took possession of this land, at the approaching
season of the year, to set apart a day publickly to acknowledge an
entire dependence on the Father of all Mercies for every needful
blessing, and to express sorrow and repenntace for the manifold
transgressions of His Holy Laws: And the Practice being highly becoming
all people, especially those who profess the Christian Religion:

I HAVE thought fit, by, and with the advice of the Council to appoint
THURSDAY, the Seventeenth day of APRIL next, to be observed throughout
this Commonwealth, as a day of PUBLIC FASTING, HUMILIATION and PRAYER;
earnestly exhorting the Ministers of Religion to assemble with their
respective Congregations on the same day--that deeply lamenting our
ingratitude to our Heavenly Father, to whom we are under all possible
obligations, and our many deviations from those right and safe Paths,
into which, as our Supreme Governor, HE hath plainly directed us, we
may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free
pardon, thro' JESUS CHRIST, supplicating His Divine aid that we may
become a reformed and happy people. At the same time humbly beseeching
HIM, mercifully to regard our lives and health, so that no infectious
and mortal distemper may prevail amongst us: To favour our land with
the alternate benefits of rain and warmth of the Sun; and that our
hopes of a plentiful harvest may not be disappointed by devouring
insects, or any other calamity:--To prosper our trade and fishery, and the
labor of our hands:--To protect our navigation from the rapacious hands of
invaders and robbers on the seas, and graciously to open a door of
deliverance to our fellow-citizens in cruel captivity in a land of
Barbarians:--To continue and confirm our civil and religious liberties;
and for that great purpose to bless and direct our great University,
and all Seminaries and Schools of education:-- To guide and succeed the
Councils of our Federal Government, as well as those of the several
States in the Union, that under their respective Constitutions they may
be led to such decisions as will establish the liberty, peace, safety,
and honor of our country:-- To inspire our friends and allies, the
Republic of France, with a spirit of wisdom and true religion, that
relying on the strength of HIS Almighty Arm, they may still go on
prosperously till their arduous conflict for a government of their own,
founded on the just and equal rights of men, shall be finally crowned
with success:--And above all, to cause the Religion of JESUS CHRIST, in
its true spirit, to spread far and wide, till the whole earth shall be
filled with HIS glory.

And I do earnestly commend that all unnecessary labor and recreation be
suspended on said day.

GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the Nineteenth day of February
in the year of our LORD, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four,
and in the Eighteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of


By His Honor's command, with the advice and consent of the Council,
JOHN AVERY, jun. Secry.

GOD save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


MAY 31, 1794.

[Independent Chronicle, June 2, 1794; a draft is in the Samuel Adams
Papers, Lenox Library, and two manuscript texts (those sent to the
Senate and House respectively) are in the Massachusetts Archives.]


While I attempt a short, but very respectful address to the two
Branches of this new General Court, I cannot help expressing a great
satisfaction in the continuance of the right which the citizens of the
Commonwealth at large enjoy, of exercising their own sovereignty. In
pursuance of the direction of our Constitution, which is expressive of
their will, they have again in their anniversary meetings, made their
free elections of such persons as they have judged meet to administer
their public affairs. In this great transaction, they must surely have
felt their own dignity; and however different their sentiments may have
been with regard to the men of their choice, each elector having given
his suffrage according to the dictates of his own conscience, must
enjoy the consoling reflection of having honestly done his duty. Those
in whom the people have placed their confidence, it is presumed will
faithfully watch over, and guard their general interests, and take care
that the liberties and the sovereignty of right belonging to this
Commonwealth, shall suffer no diminution.


We are met at a very critical period--The baneful influence of war in
Europe, has already too far extended itself into this remote region. A
war of Kings and Nobles, against the equal Rights of Men. Their first
object was to controul the common right of all civil societies, by
frustrating the attempt of a magnanimous nation, to establish a
Constitution of government for themselves, according to their own mind:
More lately the nefarious design has been to crush the new formed
Republic in its infancy:--But the GOD of Armies, who favors the brave in a
righteous cause, has hitherto appeared for its protection, and crowned
the astonishing efforts of its defenders with astonishing victories.

Great Britain takes an active part with the mighty combination of
Kings. Indeed it does not appear that she has yet made a demand on our
confederate Republic to join the league. A demand which we are well
informed she has made upon some of the neutral Republics of Europe.
But, whilst we have preserved the most strict neutrality towards the
belligerent powers of Europe, in observance of treaties made under the
authority of the United States, which are the supreme law of the land,
she, for the sake of aiding the cause in which she is so deeply
engaged, has employed her naval force in committing depredations on our
lawful and unprotected commerce. Thus in fact, she has commenced
hostilities. The Federal Government, although very solicitous if
possible, to prevent the calamities of war, have meditated measures
preparatory for the event. The papers and communications which I have
received on this subject, shall be laid before you.

It was a declared intention of the people of the United States, when
they adopted our present constitution, "to form a more perfect union"--an
important object indeed. The deliberate voice of the people is commonly
the voice of reason--the voice of the people ought therefore to be
attended to. Union, formed upon the genuine republican principles and
views of our political institutions, by combining our strength, will
have a powerful tendency in a time of war to reduce an unreasonable
enemy to terms of Justice, and the re-establishment of tranquility; and
in peace to secure the blessings of equal liberty to the present and
future generations.


It is my sincere and ardent wish, and I have a strong persuasion in my
own mind, that wisdom and public spirit will guide you in all your
deliberations and decisions. I will endeavor seasonably to dispatch
such business as you shall lay before me during this session, and at
all times, to support the true dignity of this Commonwealth in the
station in which I have the honor of being placed, by a vigilant
attention to its essential duties.



JUNE 4, 1794.

[Independent Chronicle, June 5, 1794; a text is in the Massachusetts



By an Act of the Legislature passed on the fourteenth of March, 1785,
intitled "An Act1 providing a place of confinement for thieves, and
other convicts to hard labor;" it is provided "that the Island within
the harbor of Boston, commonly called Castle-Island, shall be a place
for the reception, and secure confinement of all such persons as shall
be sentenced for confinement and hard labor, for the term of their
natural lives, or for any shorter space pursuant to the laws of the

According to this, and subsequent laws, a great number of persons have
been sentenced to confinement and hard labor; there are a number of
them at this time under sentences, some for the term of their lives,
and others for a shorter space of time.--There are particular regulations
provided by the Legislature of the Commonwealth, and particular modes
of discipline instituted for the government of such convicts.

This mode of punishment has been found by experience to be of great
utility in the preservation of good order, and the producing of safety
in the Commonwealth, and has a manifest tendency to render unnecessary
those sanguinary punishments which are too frequently inflicted in
other Governments.

The situation of our country now calls for fortifications on our
seacoasts; and the President of the United States has communicated the
Act of Congress for erecting forts in the harbor of Boston, which now
lies before you. The fortification on Castle Island is very ancient,
and has always been supported by this Government. It is a prison for
certain purposes, by an act of the legislature of the Commonwealth,
which puts it out of my power, if I was disposed to do it, to deliver
the controul over to any other hands. Should that place, by act of the
General Court, be given over to the controul of the military department
of the general Government, the convicts under sentence, must be
discharged, or another place of confinement be provided for them. No
government can assign the execution of sentences passed by it to the
officers of another government, because such officers would be under no
obligation to execute the laws of a government of which they are
totally independent, nor can they be held amenable to it for any
excesses, or oppressions in their conduct. That fortification being
thus appropriated by the Legislature, and yet being convenient as a
place of defence, I submit it to you, gentlemen, to determine, whether
it will not be for the interest of the Commonwealth in particular, and
the United States in general, to have it repaired at the ex-pence of
this government. The expence will not be great, and the utility, if not
the indispensible necessity of holding it under the controul of this
state, in the same manner, and for the same purposes for which it has
been held for several years last past, is very obvious.


1 Chapter 32.


NOVEMBER 3, 1794.

[Independent Chronicle, November 6, 1794.]

By Authority [Seal] Commonwealth of Massachusetts.



IT being provided by the Seventeenth Article of the Treaty of Amity and
Commerce, now subsisting between the United States of America and the
French Republic, "That no shelter or refuge shall be given in the ports
of either of said nations to such as shall have made prize of the
subjects, people or property of either of the parties; but if such
shall come in, being forced by stress of weather, or the dangers of the
sea, all proper measures shall be vigorously used, that they go out and
retire from thence as soon as possible."1 And the Secretary of State
for the Government of the said United States, having by his letter of
the 10th of October last, informed me that "M. Fauchet, the Minister of
the French Republic, near the United States, apprehends from
circumstances which have been experienced that unless prompt and
decisive measures are adopted in the several ports in regard to vessels
hostile to the French Nation, and bringing in French prizes, the branch
before recited, of the Treaty, will become null:" And the said
Secretary having requested that measures may be taken to preserve that
branch of the Treaty inviolate, by Vessels hostile to the French Nation
receiving comfort in the out-ports of the Commonwealth:

I HAVE THEREFORE, in compliance, with the request of the Government of
the United States, thought fit to issue this Proclamation, requiring
all Officers, Civil and Military, within this Commonwealth, to take all
legal and proper measures, and to use and practice all diligence, for
the effectual support of the above recited Article in the said Treaty.

AND I do hereby enjoin it upon them to prevent any breach thereof, if
such should be attempted in any, and especially those ports distant
from the Capital, and immediately to give information of the same, with
their proceedings thereon, to the Governor and Commander in Chief of
the Commonwealth, that such further measures may be taken, if any shall
be necessary, as may be suited to the faith of Nations, and the
solemnity of National Treaties--And I have reason to expect that the good
people of the Commonwealth will cheerfully afford their aid in support
of the Laws of the land.

Given at Boston, in the said Commonwealth, the third day of November,
in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-four,
and in the Nineteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of



JOHN AVERY, jun. Sec'y.

1 The quotation is not exact, although substantially correct.



JANUARY 16, 1795.

[Independent Chronicle, January 19, 1795; the copies sent to the two
houses are in the Massachusetts Archives.]

I am happy, fellow citizens, to meet you in General Court assembled, on
the day to which, according to your request, you have stood adjourned.
By the Constitution, the Governor, with the advice of Council, during
the session of the General Court, hath full authority to adjourn them
to such times as the two branches may judge most convenient.

The people of this Commonwealth, in their declaration of rights, have
recorded their own opinion, that the Legislature ought frequently to
assemble for the redress of grievances, correcting, strengthening and
confirming the Laws, and making new Laws, as the common good may
require.--The Laws of the Commonwealth are intended to secure to each and
all the Citizens, their own rights and liberties, and the property
which they honestly possess. If there are any instances wherein the
Laws in being, are inadequate to these great and capital ends, your eye
will discern the evil, and your wisdom will provide a suitable remedy.
It shall be my endeavour, as indeed it is my duty, carefully to revise
and readily approve your Bills and Resolves, which may be calculated
for the public good.

By the late returns of the votes for Representatives to serve the
Commonwealth in Congress, there were several districts in which no
choice had been effected. I immediately issued precepts according to
law, requiring the several towns within those Districts to meet on a
day now past, in order to complete their elections. I cannot but
recommend to your consideration, whether it may not be necessary more
effectually to guard the elections of public agents and officers
against illegal practices. All elections ought to be free, and every
qualified elector who feels his own independence as he ought, will act
his part according to his best, and most enlightened judgment.
Elections are the immediate acts of the people's sovereignty, in which
no foreigners should be allowed to intermeddle. Upon free and unbiassed
elections, the purity of the government, and consequently the safety
and welfare of the citizens, may I not say altogether depend.

If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by
the enacting and executing of reasonable and wise laws, expressed in
the plainest language, and by establishing such modes of education as
tend to inculcate in the minds of youth, the feelings and habits of
"piety, religion and morality," and to lead them to the knowledge and
love of those truly Republican principles upon which our civil
institutions are founded. We have solemnly engaged ourselves, fellow
citizens, to support the Constitution of the United States, and the
Constitution of this Commonwealth. This must be reconcileable in the
mind of any man, who judiciously considers the sovereign rights of the
one as limited to federal purposes, and the sovereign rights of the
other, as acting upon and directing the internal concerns of our own

We have been under apprehensions of being made a party in the
dissolating contest in Europe. Permit me just to observe, that the
first and main principle which urged the Combined Powers to enter into
the contest, is in my own opinion unsupportable by reason and nature,
and in violation of the most essential right of nations and of men. The
repeated acts of violence which have been committed on the property of
American citizens, might in the opinion of some, have justified
reprisals; but the policy of the Federal Government has directed to
other measures. The wisdom of our own Councils, with the unexampled
successes of our magnanimous Ally, the Republic of France, afford the
strongest ground of hope, that under the continued smiles of Divine
Providence, peace and tranquility, so interesting to a rising Republic,
will in the end be firmly established.

The business of fortifying certain harbors within this Commonwealth,
according to an act of Congress, was left unfinished in your last
session. It is indeed probable, that the danger which produced that
measure, has nearly subsided; but the law still exists, and in my
opinion it cannot be carried into constitutional effect in this
Commonwealth, without the aid of the Legislature of the same. I am led
to this opinion by contemplating the first article of the Constitution
of the United States, which establishes the powers of Congress and
which particularly authorises them to exercise exclusive legislation in
all cases whatever, over all places purchased by the consent of the
Legislature of the States, in which the same shall be for the erection
of Forts Magazines, and other public buildings.

Those who wish to persuade the world to believe, that a free
representative Republic cannot be supported, will no doubt make use of
every art to injure, and by degrees to alter, and finally to eradicate
the principles of our free Constitutions: But the virtuous and
enlightened citizens of this Commonwealth, and of all united America,
have understanding and firmness, sufficient to support those
Constitutions of Civil Government which they have themselves formed,
and which have done them so much honor in the estimation of the world.

It is with pain that I mention the insurrection which has lately taken
place in a sister state.1 It was pointed more immediately at an act of
the Federal Government. An act of that government, as well as of the
governments in the Union, is constitutionally an act of the people, and
our Constitutions provide a safe and easy method to redress any real
grievances. No people can be more free under a Constitution established
by their own voluntary compact, and exercised by men appointed by their
own frequent suffrages. What excuse then can there be for forcible
opposition to the laws? If any law shall prove oppressive in its
operation, the future deliberations of a freely elective
Representative, will afford a constitutional remedy. But the measures
adopted by The President of the United States, supported by the virtue
of citizens of every description, in that, and the adjacent states,
have prevailed, and there is an end of the insurrection. Let the glory
be given to Him, who alone governs all events, while we express the
just feelings of respect and gratitude due to all those, whom He
honours as instruments to carry into effect his gracious designs.

I congratulate you on the success which the forces of the United
States, have lately had against the hostile Indians. It is my hearty
wish that by the blessing of Heaven, an end may be put to this
expensive war, by an agreement between the parties, upon the permanent
principles of justice, honor, good neighborhood, & true friendship.

The Constitution of this Commonwealth, having provided that the General
Court which shall be in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven
hundred and ninety five, shall issue precepts for collecting the
sentiments of the people in regard to its revision.-- And as this Court is
within the year mentioned, you will be pleased to decide, whether it
was intended by the people that this business should be done by the
General Court which shall be elected within that year, or whether it is
your duty to attend to it.

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