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Massachusetts Historical Society: Online Collections
The Siege of Boston: Eyewitness Accounts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Eyewitness Accounts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Letter from Andrew Eliot to his son, 23 April 1775

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Boston April 23. 1775 10 oclock

My dear Son --

What you feared is come upon us - We are
moving out of Boston - We have been shut up for some days
We the way is like to be open in a few short time - I know not
what to do, not where to go - At present I think to tarry in
Boston - Whether ever I shall have the pleasure of seeing you
God only knows - I must intreat you to set out immediately
[ . . . ] your Mother & Nancy - I will endeavor to get them to Weston
or further if possible - I am unhapy till they are away - but
cannot possibly bring them. If Capt. Thorp comes I shall
endeavour to send in him Polly, Sally & Eph. & Sukey - I should be
glad there were any other way to conveying them - I hope your
people will have pity upon them, & take them in - Whether
ever I shall be able to remunerate you or them is uncertain -
All property is precarious or rather annihilated. If it is in
my power I shall be willing to make a suitable allowance -
Be kind to your Mother who is the best of Women - your Sister
must get their living as well as they can - I know I put you
to difficulties - but you are the only Asylum I have - poor Boston
May God sanctify our distresses which are greater than
you can conceive - Such a Sabbath of melancholy and
darkness I never knew - Most of the Meeting houses shut up-
the ministers gone - Our Congregation crowded with
Strangers - A Town Meeting in the forenoon - Agreed to
give up their Arms in order to get leave to depart

A provincial Army in Roxbury - Dorchester & Cambridge
College dispersed & - This Town a Garrison - every face
gathering paleness - all hurry & confusion - one going this way
& another that - others not knowing where to go - What to do
with our poor maid I cannot tell - in short after the
melancholy exercises of the day - I am unable to write any-
thing with propriety or connection - Deacon Barretts & his
Family are coming to Mr Burr's - My dear Son, I wish
you may see good days - I scarce expect to see any
myself. My hope is in God - who doth all things well
- my best Regards to Judge & Col. Silliman - [Mr. Bur
& all friends - in which your distressed Mother
heartily joins - I leave off at present - if any thing
occurs in the Morning - will add it then --

Monday Morng

Every thing distressing - If I could get any place to
preach in among you where I could keep my family
from starving I could come directly - But whether the
post will be permitted to go out or this letter will ever
come to you - I know not - I have seen happy days -
my heavenly Father now writest bitter things.
Blessed be his name. Possibly you may prevail on
some Friend as you come along that will be willing
to come & carry some of your Sister, if any could come
It would be an unspeakable Relief to your affectionate
but distressed Parent Andrew Eliot.

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