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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-13-02-0119
4. In April 1782, Samuel Ely was found guilty of “seditious and disorderly behaviour” in Springfield, Mass., for speaking out against the 1780 state constitution and encouraging a mob to prevent the courts from sitting. In June, a mob broke Ely out of jail; government troops were brought in to quell the mob but more rioting ensued. The Boston newspapers reported on these events in late June, taking their stories from the 20 and 27 June issues of the Worcester Massachusetts Spy. On 2–3 July, the Massachusetts General Court resolved to create a committee of Samuel Adams, president of the Senate; Nathaniel Gorham, speaker of the House of Representatives; and Gen. Artemas Ward to go to Hampshire County and “enquire into the grounds of dissatisfaction—to correct misinformations—to remove groundless jealousies,” then report back (Mass., Acts and Laws , 2:238, 241). For more on Ely and the riots, see James Sullivan to JA , 24 July, below; Robert E. Moody, “Samuel Ely: Forerunner to Shays,” New England Quarterly, 5:105–134 (Jan. 1932); and Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 119–120.