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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Author: Boston Town Meeting
Date: 1769-10-18

Boston Town Meeting Committee Report on Measures for the Vindication of the Town

Boston, 18 October 1769. MS (MB). Printed: Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report , p. 299–300, 303–325. On 4 Oct., JA was named to a committee “to Consider what Measures are proper to be taken to vindicate the Character of the Town” from charges made by Gov. Bernard and others in letters to Lord Hillsborough (same, p. 297). The first part of the committee's report, submitted on 18 Oct., was a direct reply to those accusations as they had appeared in two pamphlets: Copies of Letters from Governor Bernard &c. (see Draft Instructions, 8 May 1769, note 16, above) and Letters to the Ministry from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Commodore Hood (Boston, Sept. 1769; see T. R. Adams, American Independence , No. 69a–c). This section of the report, approved by the town and ordered to be printed that day, was published as An Appeal to the World; Or a Vindication of the Town of Boston (see same, No. 62a–d; Evans, No. 11133). An Appeal to the World has traditionally been credited to Samuel Adams (see Wells, Samuel Adams , 1:282–287, and Samuel Adams, Writings , 1:396–445). However, JA commented in 1819: “It is not at all improbable that Mr. [Samuel] Adams and Mr. [James] Otis together may have composed the 'Appeal to the world'” (letter to Alden Bradford, 12 March 1819, LbC , Adams Papers).
The second portion of the committee's report, less well known than An Appeal to the World, consisted of a set of resolutions adopted by the { 231 } town later that same afternoon. The first resolve condemned Bernard and the Commissioners of Customs for their “virulent Endeavors to traduce it [the town of Boston] even to his Majesty himself.” The second endorsed the House petition seeking Bernard's removal, and the third criticized the “unreasonable Prejudice” against Boston shown by Gage and Hood as well as the “want of Candor” Hillsborough betrayed in accepting their charges at face value without making an “impartial Enquiry.” The fourth, and most remarkable, of the resolutions called on the selectmen to bring charges of libel against the crown officials involved. JA 's contribution to this section of the committee's report has not been ascertained.
MS (MB). Printed (Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report , p. 299–300, 303–325).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Otis, James Jr.
Author: Warren, Joseph
Author: Dana, Richard
Author: Henshaw, Joshua
Author: Jackson, Joseph
Author: Kent, Benjamin
Author: Boston Town Meeting
Recipient: De Berdt, Dennys
Date: 1769-10-23

Boston Town Meeting Committee to Dennys De Berdt

[salute] Sir

In pursuance of the directions of the Town of Boston we have the honor to transmit you a Pamphlet containing some observations upon diverse letters and memorials wrote by Governor Bernard and others wherein the Town has been injuriously aspersed and its Inhabitants grosly misrepresented.2
Your unwearied endeavors to serve the interest of this Province and the American Colonies in general has been observed with pleasure and will ever be had in grateful remembrance by this people, and we are perswaded from your well known attachment to the cause of liberty that you will exert your self in behalf of this much injured Town and imp[rove] 3 their vindication now sent you in such a manner as will best serve to set their Character in a true point of light—and that you will also employ your influence to obtain the speedy removal of all the American grieveances we at present labour under.
The inclosed Pamphlet will give you some idea what relief is expected by the People here, they will never think their grievances redressed till every Revenue Act is repealed, the Board of Commissioner dessolved and the Troops removed, and things restored to the state they were in before the late measures of Administration were taken. These things being accomplished we doubt not that the harmony which heretofore subsisted between Great Britain and the Colonies will be happily restored—an event ardently wished for by every friend to the British Empire.
{ 232 }

[salute] We are in strict truth Sir Your most obedient humble Servants

[signed] Thomas Cushing
[signed] Saml. Adams
[signed] John Adams
[signed] James Otis
[signed] Jos. Warren
[signed] Rid. Dana
[signed] Joshua Henshaw
[signed] Joseph Jackson
[signed] Benja. Kent
Committee of the Town of Boston
RC (MHi:Mass. Papers, Elwyn Gift); at foot of text: “(Copy)”; endorsed: “Thos. Cushing, Esqr. Boston Octr. 23d. Recd. Decr. 2d. Answered Decr. 5th.” Duplicate RC , without JA 's signature, (in same collection); endorsed: “Cushing. 23d. octo. Received 29 Nov. from the Commite. of Merchans.” On the enclosure in these letters, see note 2, below.
1. Torn in MS ; date supplied from duplicate RC .
2. On 18 Oct., the town meeting adopted this committee's draft report and ordered its publication as the pamphlet which became known as An Appeal to the World (see preceding document). The same committee was then directed to transmit copies of the pamphlet to De Berdt, the London agent for the House of Representatives, and to Isaac Barré, Thomas Pownall, Benjamin Franklin, William Bollan, and Barlow Trecothick (Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report , p. 299). For the committee's letter to Franklin, see the following document.
3. Torn in MS ; missing material supplied from duplicate RC .