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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082

Calendar of John Adams' Service in the Massachusetts House of Representatives

DocGroupNo:

7 June 1770–16 April 1771

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0001

Editorial Note

In the first week of June 1770, Adams accepted a seat in the Massachusetts House, a step which at the time he considered “a devotion of my family to ruin and myself to death” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:294). The doubtful honor devolved upon him when James Bowdoin, chosen in May as a member of the House from Boston, was elected to the Provincial Council, vacating his seat in the lower chamber of the General Court. At a special town meeting on the morning of 6 June, Adams scored an easy victory over John Ruddock, a wealthy businessman with a strong following among “the Tradesmen and Mechanicks.” Adams made a brief acceptance speech to the town meeting at Faneuil Hall and set out to take his place in the House (same).
To assume his seat in the legislature, Adams was forced to journey across the Charles River to Cambridge, for the General Court had been moved out of Boston to Harvard College; its “removal” overshadowed every other issue in the first four months of Adams' service. (See Donald C. Lord and Robert M. Calhoon, “The Removal of the Massachusetts General Court from Boston, 1769–1772,” JAH, 55:735–755 [March 1969].) Gov. Francis Bernard had ordered the transfer in June 1769, acting on instructions from Secretary of State Hillsborough that he exert his “constitutional Authority” to summon the General Court outside Boston in order to rescue the legislature from the influence of the town's “licentious and unrestrained Mob” (Hillsborough to Bernard, 30 July 1768, MHi:Transcripts of Instructions to Governors of Mass., 1768–1775). After Bernard's return to England later that year, Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson received somewhat ambiguous instructions to continue the General Court at Cambridge only if developments arose “of such a nature as to outweigh” two considerations that Hillsborough mentioned: the continuation of troops in Boston and the behavior of its citizens (Hillsborough to Hutchinson, 9 Dec. 1769, MHi:Transcripts of Instructions to Governors). In March 1770, Hutchinson called the General Court into session at Cambridge. “Only from absolute Necessity,” the legislators agreed to proceed to business during that brief session, and they refused to concede the right of the acting governor to change their meeting place (Mass., House Jour., 1769–1770, p. 101).
When a new House was chosen in the annual elections of May 1770, Hutchinson continued his policy. The House met in Cambridge on 31 May, and, although the representatives agreed to elect a Council, opposi• { 239 } { 240 } tion to their “removal” hardened. Before Adams took his seat on 6 June, the House had submitted a message challenging Hutchinson's right to remove the legislature, and the Lieutenant Governor replied with a message asserting his legal and constitutional right to hold the assembly where he wished. In a second exchange on 5 June, the House demanded to see the instructions under which Hutchinson acted; he refused, both because of the ambiguity of Hillsborough's instructions and because other instructions forbade him to make such communications to the General Court (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 15–16; Bailyn, Thomas Hutchinson, p. 172–173).
On the morning of 6 June, only a few hours before Adams joined the House, debate opened on the report of a committee charged with considering “what may be proper further to be done while the General Court is held out of the Town-House in Boston.” As soon as Adams took his oath that afternoon, the House resumed debate, and Adams cast his vote with the majority of 96 representatives who adopted the resolution that “it is by no Means expedient to proceed to Business” while the assembly was “thus constrained” to meet outside Boston (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 16–21). Adams' appointment to the committee charged with preparing an address to Hutchinson after the adoption of this resolution (see calendar entry for 7 June, below) was the first indication of the part he would play in this controversy between the House and the executive.
That drama continued throughout the summer. The first session of the House ended in stalemate, and the legislature was prorogued on 25 June, only to be recalled for a brief second session, 25 July-3 August (see calendar entry for 31 July, below). By 26 September, when the Lieutenant Governor recalled the Court for its third session, he had received more specific instructions. Hutchinson's decision to continue the General Court at Cambridge had been approved by his superiors, and he was directed to maintain that policy unless it “should be attended with any such inconvenience as may make it adviseable to hold it in some other place,” in which case he might “remove it to any other Town in the Province except Boston” (Hillsborough to Hutchinson, 6 July 1770, MHi:Transcripts of Instructions to Governors).
In the third session of the General Court for 1770–1771, the opposition continued the fight to maintain the House's refusal to do business outside Boston (see calendar entries for 28 Sept., 4 and 5 Oct., below). But in a vote taken during Adams' absence from Cambridge on 9 October, the House agreed to proceed to official duties “only from absolute necessity” (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 88–91). On 16 October on the motion of James Warren, the House gave leave to “Members who were absent at the Time [9 Oct.] when the Resolution pass'd to proceed to Business out of the Town-House in Boston ... to declare their Opinion thereon in the House.” Both Warren and John Adams took advantage of this opportunity to express their opposition to the change of stance in the House (same, p. 97–98).
{ 241 }
Even as Adams protested the House retreat on the issue of “removal,” he was named to committees which dealt with other conflicts between the General Court and the executive. The old issue of the presence of British troops in Boston was revived in the dispute over the command of Castle William (see calendar entry for 23 Oct., below). Hutchinson's refusal to disclose his instructions, and the style of enacting provincial laws also drew Adams' attention that session (see calendar entries for 4 and 5 Oct. and 6 Nov., below). Committee appointments arising from the failure of the nonimportation movement (see calendar entry for 16 Nov., below) and the appointment of a new agent in London (see calendar entry for 17 Dec., below) reflected broader aspects of the local conflicts.
The third session of the legislature ended on 20 November, and the General Court did not meet again until 3 April 1771. Adams was relatively inactive in this fourth session; his attendance was not recorded until 10 April, and his diary shows that he attended no meetings after 17 April, nine days before the session's close (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:6–9). In this session, the most important committee on which Adams served was undoubtedly that which drafted a bill for Hutchinson's salary as lieutenant governor (see second calendar entry for 10 April, below). This bill forced the newly commissioned governor to confirm suspicions that he expected support directly from the Crown, thus becoming financially independent of the legislature.
Adams' service on committees in the House for 1770–1771 is described below in a list of calendar entries for those committees for which there is some documentary record of their work. (Committees about whose recommendations the record gives no hint and those with ceremonial duties, such as the delivery of messages and votes, are not described; for a check list including many of these other appointments, see JA, Works, 2:233–236, note.) The calendar form has been used because the absence of draft versions of these reports prevents their attribution to Adams or to any of his colleagues.
Adams left no record of his work as a legislative draftsman in 1770–1771, although he did recall that “this was to me a fatiguing Session, for they put me upon all the Drudgery of managing all the disputes” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:295). In listing his published writings in 1783, he concluded with the remark that “these . . . are all that I recollect to have ever written in America, excepting in a public Character, as a Member of the Legislature of Massachusetts or of Congress, which it is unnecessary to mention here” (letter to the Abbé de Mably, 17 Jan. 1783, LbC, Adams Papers). “Unnecessary” as such a list may have seemed to Adams at the time, it would have been of more than passing interest to students of his career two centuries later.

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Warren, James
Author: Leonard, Daniel
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-06-07

Address to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson Requesting the Return of the General Court to Boston

7 June 1770. MS (M-Ar), in an unidentified hand. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 22. Prepared by a committee appointed 6 June composed of Samuel Adams, JA, { 242 } John Hancock, James Warren, and Daniel Leonard, and reported to the House “by Mr. Adams.”
After the House adopted its resolutions of 6 June by which the members refused to conduct business outside Boston, JA was named to this committee charged with preparing an address to Hutchinson, “praying that he would be pleased to remove the General Assembly to the Town House in Boston” (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 16–22). The committee's draft address, submitted 7 June, was approved by the House and delivered to Hutchinson by a committee of which JA was a member. The Address asserted that convening the General Court in Cambridge was “a very great Grievance” and concluded with a request that Hutchinson return the legislature to Boston because of the House's claim that “it is by no Means expedient” to conduct business out of that town “and as there are Matters now lying before the Assembly of very great Importance.”
MS (M-Ar), in an unidentified hand. Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 22).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Pickering, John Jr.
Author: Leonard, Daniel
Author: Mitchell, Edward
Author: Sumner, Nathaniel
Author: Hobson, Humphrey
Author: Denny, Thomas
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-06-12

Committee Report on the Reasons for not Proceeding to Business

12 June 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 25–32. Prepared by a committee appointed 8 June composed of Joseph Hawley, Samuel Adams, JA, John Pickering Jr., Daniel Leonard, Edward Mitchell, Nathaniel Sumner, Humphrey Hobson, and Thomas Denny (same, p. 24), and presented to the House by Joseph Hawley.
Upon receipt of the House Address of 7 June (see preceding calendar entry), Lt. Gov. Hutchinson replied with a message which justified the legality of removing the General Court to Cambridge and urged the need to proceed with the session's business (Mass., House Jour., 23–24). The committee listed above was named “to state the Reasons of this House for coming into a Resolution, That it is not expedient to proceed to the Business of the Session while the General Assembly is held out of the Town-House in Boston; and also for adhering to the same.”
On 12 June the House adopted the committee's report, which recommended publication of the House resolutions of 6 June along with “Reasons for adhering to said Resolutions” which the Committee had prepared. The “Reasons” waived “at present . . . any further Observations on the Legality” of holding legislative sessions out of Boston. Instead, the report conceded the validity of prerogative when used “to the public Good,” but attacked Hutchinson's policies as a misuse of power, unjustified by public need and contrary to the public welfare. The “Reasons” answered each historical and legal precedent Hutchinson had raised in his defense and closed with the claim that Hutchinson, not the General Court, must bear the blame for any inconveniences suffered as a result of the legislature's refusal to conduct business while sessions were held in Cambridge. The report was adopted with only three dissenting votes (same, p. 31–32).
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 25–32).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Sheaffe, Edward
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-06-15

Address to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson Seeking a Recess

15 June 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 38. Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting the same day, composed of Thomas Cushing, Joseph Hawley, Samuel Adams, Edward Sheaffe, and JA.
{ 243 }
On 13 June the Representatives heard the Council's address to Hutchinson which reiterated the determination of the House to conduct no business in Cambridge (same, p. 32–36). Hutchinson's reply to the Council reaffirmed his position and was presented to the House on 15 June. The committee described above was then named to prepare a message to the Lieutenant Governor restating the lower chamber's decision “not to enter upon Business out of the Town of Boston” and adding the prayer that if Hutchinson was “determined not to remove the Assembly there, he would be pleased to give Leave to the Members to retire to their respective Homes” (same, p. 37). Upon the adoption of the report, JA was named to the committee which delivered the message to Hutchinson. It was not until 25 June, however, that Hutchinson recessed the intransigent legislators (same, p. 38, 47).
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 38).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Leonard, Daniel
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Denny, Thomas
Author: Gallison, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-07-31

Reply to a Speech of Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson

31 July 1770. MS, fair copy, in the hand of Samuel Adams (MB). Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 63–71. Prepared by a committee appointed 26 July, composed of Thomas Cushing, John Hancock, Daniel Leonard, Samuel Adams, JA, Thomas Denny, and John Gallison (same, p. 62).
The second session of the General Court began 25 July with a speech from Hutchinson to both houses. He pressed his arguments for maintaining the legislature in Cambridge and urged House and Council to reconsider their decision not to proceed to business until back in Boston (same, p. 58–61). The following day the House voted to adhere to the resolution of 6 June (see calendar entry for 7 June, above) and to refuse to conduct business in Cambridge. The committee described above was named to draft an answer to Hutchinson's speech and to notify him of the representatives' decision to stand by their earlier policy. Before acceptance, the report was recommitted, and when resubmitted it was debated paragraph by paragraph (Mass., House Jour., p. 62–63). On 3 August, despairing of any cooperation from the General Court, Hutchinson prorogued the legislature to 5 September (same, p. 78).
MS, fair copy, in the hand of Samuel Adams (MB). Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 63–71).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0006

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Foster, Jedediah
Author: Denny, Thomas
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Godfrey, George
Author: Warren, James
Author: Hobson, Humphrey
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-09-28

Committee Report on Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson's Speech

28 September 1770. MS not found. Prepared by a committee appointed 27 September, composed of Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, Jedediah Foster, Thomas Denny, JA, John Hancock, George Godfrey, James Warren, and Humphrey Hobson Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 82.
The third session of the 1770–1771 General Court, continued by prorogations, met in Cambridge on 26 September. The following day Hutchinson delivered a speech to the Council and House meeting jointly in which he catalogued matters requiring the legislature's attention and urged proceeding “with all Diligence” (same, p. 80–82). On 28 September, Cushing “reported as their unanimous Opinion, That it is for the Interest of the Province, that this House still adhere to their former Resolution, viz. That it is by no Means expedient to proceed to the public Business” (same, p. 82). For House action on the report, see calendar entries for 4 and 65 October, below.
{ 244 }

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0007

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Ingersoll, David Jr.
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Fuller, Samuel
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-10-04

Message to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson on his Speech to the General Court

4 October 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 86–87. Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting the same day composed of John Hancock, JA, David Ingersoll Jr., Samuel Adams, and Abraham Fuller.
On 4 October, the House first considered the committee report of 28 September (see preceding calendar entry) which called for a reaffirmation of the assembly's refusal to conduct business out of Boston. Instead of taking direct action on this recommendation, the House named the committee listed above to prepare a message to Hutchinson doing two things: seeking clarification of a section of his speech of 27 September, and demanding information concerning any recent instructions Hutchinson had received concerning the site of General Court sessions. Clarification was sought for Hutchinson's mention of “Affairs depending of a very interesting Nature, which had not then [during the June and July sessions of the General Court] come to our Knowledge, and which may be determined before we can have another Opportunity of acting upon them” if the legislature continued to refuse to conduct business. The committee's report was approved by the House and answered by Hutchinson the same day (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 80, 86–87; see following calendar entry).
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 86–87).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0008

Author: Adams, John
Author: Murray, John
Author: Gerrish, Joseph
Author: Prebble, Jedediah
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-10-05

Committee Report on Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson's Message

5 October 1770. MS not found. Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting 5 October, composed of John Murray, Joseph Gerrish, JA, Jedediah Prebble, and Samuel Adams. Murray reported the same day.
In his reply to the House Message of 4 October (see preceding calendar entry), Hutchinson claimed he was “not at Liberty” to communicate the order in council of 6 July to which he had referred obliquely in his speech at the opening of the session. He referred to the “entire Approbation” the Crown had given to his transfer of the legislature to Cambridge and asserted that he was now “restrained from removing it to Boston” (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 87). After Hutchinson's message was read to the House on 5 October, Murray reported the committee's “unanimous Opinion, That his Honor's said Message does not afford that Light which the House requested in their Message to him; and that it appears to them from his Honor's Message, that he was restrained by Instruction, from communicating the same to the House in a Parliamentary Manner” (same, p. 88).
JA was then named to a committee “to prepare an Address and Remonstrance accordingly,” but the Journal records no presentation of any such “Address” in that session; indeed, the need for such a protest was superseded by House action on 9 October (see Editorial Note, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0009

Author: Adams, John
Author: Danielson, Timothy
Author: Warren, James
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-10-17

Committee Report on Naming a Day of Prayer and Humiliation

17 October 1770. MS not found. Draft prepared by a committee appointed 16 October composed of JA, Timothy Danielson, and James Warren. The committee's report, submitted the following day, was recommitted and, at { 245 } the same time, JA was excused from the committee with Samuel Holten appointed in his place (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 101–102).
The original committee was instructed to prepare an Address to Lt. Gov. Hutchinson, “praying that he would be pleas'd to appoint a Day of solemn Prayer and Humiliation to be observ'd throughout this Province” (same, p. 98). There is no way of knowing how similar the committee's draft was to the address on this subject adopted by the House on 23 October (same, p. 110). For Hutchinson's discussion of the political implications of the House request, see Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:244.

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0010

Author: Adams, John
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Warren, James
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Prescott, James
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-10-23

Message to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson on the Command of Castle William

23 October 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 111. Prepared by a committee appointed 17 October composed of Samuel Adams, JA, James Warren, John Hancock, and James Prescott (same, p. 101).
In his speech at the opening of the General Court's third session (27 Sept.), Hutchinson announced that provincial troops had been withdrawn from Castle William and, by order of the Crown, replaced by British regulars (same, p. 81). The House expressed indignation at the “very false Representations” that presumably had persuaded the King to take this step and demanded to know whether Hutchinson still commanded the post or whether Castle William had been transferred from civilian to military jurisdiction (same, p. 94–95).
When Hutchinson's reply to the House (17 Oct.) did not satisfy the representatives, they named the committee described above. The committee's report proposed a message demanding that Hutchinson “in an explicit Manner assure us, Whether you still hold the Command of his Majesty's Castle-William.” Hutchinson's reply is printed at p. 112–113.
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 111).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0011

Author: Adams, John
Author: Leonard, Daniel
Author: Ingersoll, David Jr.
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-11-06

Message to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson on the Style of Enacting Laws

6 November 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 134–135. Prepared by a committee appointed 2 November composed of Daniel Leonard, Samuel Adams, JA, Joseph Hawley, and David Ingersoll Jr. (same, p. 128).
After voting to conduct business despite their removal to Cambridge, members of the House added the phrase “in general court assembled” to the usual form for the authority under which provincial statutes were enacted. The committee described above was appointed immediately after the House received Hutchinson's protest that the “Stile of enacting” new laws would force him to violate instructions of thirty years' standing which required the governor to allow only the form “by the Governor, Council and House of Representatives” (same, p. 128). The committee's report of 6 November declared that the additional phrase was “of Substance, and necessary,” but the House did not press the matter. As Hutchinson pointed out, the representatives “sent for their bills from the council, took out the exceptionable words, and omitted them in all the other bills passed in the session” (Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:226).
{ 246 }
JA himself referred to the matter as a “laboured controversy,” which he mentioned in passing in his Autobiography only as the inspiration for Governor Shirley's remark on “this brace of Adams's” who served in the House in 1770 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:54–56, 3:295). For a discussion of the usage of the controversial phrase in earlier provincial statutes, see Mass., Province Laws, 5:139–140.
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 134–135).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0012

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Worthington, John
Author: Pickering, John Jr.
Author: Warren, James
Author: Whitcomb, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-11-16

Committee Report on the State of the Province

16 November 1770. MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 164. Prepared by a committee appointed 16 October composed of Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, Joseph Hawley, JA, John Hancock, John Worthington, John Pickering Jr., James Warren, and John Whitcomb (same, p. 97).
In its report the committee dealt with the colony's economic problems, recently aggravated by the Boston merchants' vote to end the nonimportation of most British goods (for this vote of 12 Oct., see Massachusetts Gazette, 15 Oct.). The House adopted the committee's resolutions calling on members of that chamber to “use their utmost Endeavors, and enforce them [their fellow citizens] by their Example, to discourage Prodigality and Extravagance” and “to discourage the Use of Foreign Superfluities, and to promote our own Manufactures in the several Towns we represent.”
Pursuant to these resolutions, Thomas Cushing, John Hancock, William Heath, Samuel Adams, JA, Ebenezer Thayer, Samuel Bacheller, Samuel Howe, and Benjamin White were appointed “to prepare a Plan for the Encouragement of Arts, Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce, and report at the next Session” (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 164). No plan for the encouragement of manufactures was introduced at the fourth session of the General Court (April 1771), but see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:2, for an account of a meeting on 7 or 8 February 1771 of the committee charged with drawing up this plan.
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 164).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0013

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Worthington, John
Author: Hutchinson, Thomas
Author: Massachusetts, Lieutenant Governor of
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-11-20

An Act for the Limitation of Personal Actions

20 November 1770. MS, engrossed copy, signed by Hutchinson (M-Ar). Printed: Mass., Province Laws, 5:109–111. Prepared by a committee appointed 16 October composed of JA, John Worthington, and Joseph Hawley (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 98).
The need to regularize limitations on suits at law was one of the “important Matters” cited by Hutchinson in his plea to the House to resume business in June (same, p. 23). Legislation limiting such actions had been passed in earlier years, but had been “repeatedly suspended before it could have any operation” (Hutchinson to Board of Trade, 21 Dec. 1770, Mass., Province Laws, 5:143; a list of earlier statutes on limitations of actions is printed at p. 109). The committee was ordered to consider “all the Laws relating to the Limitation of Actions, reduce them to one Bill, and report.” In the absence of earlier draft versions it is impossible to assess the contributions made by the House committee.
MS, engrossed copy, signed by Hutchinson (M-Ar). Printed (Mass., Province Laws, 5:109–111).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0014

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Worthington, John
Author: Pickering, John Jr.
Author: Warren, James
Author: Whitcomb, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Hutchinson, Thomas
Recipient: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Date: 1770-11-20

Message to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson on the Command of Castle William

{ 247 }
MS not found. Printed: Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 171–172. Prepared by the committee on the state of the province, appointed 16 October (see calendar entry for 16 Nov., above).
After its exchange of messages with Hutchinson on the Castle William controversy in mid-October (see calendar entry for 1723 Oct., above), the House ordered the committee on the state of the province to take affidavits from Capt. John Phillips, former commander of the fort, and from Stephen Hall, former chaplain of the post (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 145). Hutchinson recalled that the House “gave him notice by a committee, that they should proceed to examine witnesses present at the transfer [of Castle William], and that he might be present at the examination, if he thought fit. This he did not think in character, but did not think proper to interrupt them” (Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:224).
The committee report based on these investigations was presented in the form of a message to Hutchinson. As adopted by the House on 20 November, the message remonstrated against the Lieutenant Governor's having, “merely in Obedience to Instructions,” surrendered command of Castle William, “a Power . . . which by the Charter is vested in [him] for the Safety of the People” and prayed that Hutchinson would “take effectual Measures, that the Power of garrisoning his Majesty's Castle-William, may be restored to the Governor of the Province to whom it by Charter it belongs.”
Printed (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 171–172).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0015

Author: Adams, John
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Hall, Stephen
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1770-12-17

Committee of Correspondence to Benjamin Franklin

Boston, 17 December 1770. RC (MeHi). Printed: Franklin, Papers, 17:301–304. Prepared by a “Committee of Correspondence” appointed 7 November composed of Thomas Cushing, John Hancock, Stephen Hall, Samuel Adams, and JA. Although “Boston” was used in the date line, the House was still meeting in Cambridge.
This committee was “to communicate such Intelligence as may be necessary, to the Agent and others in Great-Britain; and also to the Speakers of the several Assemblies thro' the Continent, or to such Committee of Correspondence as they have, or may appoint” (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 139). The first letter sent to Franklin, the newly appointed agent in London for the House, is the only one of the committee's letters known to survive.
RC (MeHi). Printed (Franklin, Papers, 17:301–304).

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0016

Author: Adams, John
Author: Batcheller, Samuel
Author: Noyes, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1771-04-10

Committee Report on the Petition of Gyles Merrill

10 April 1771. MS not found. Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting the same day, composed of JA, Samuel Batcheller, and John Noyes.
Gyles Merrill, pastor of the First Church of Plaistow, N.H. (formerly the Second Church of Haverhill, Mass.), sought the legislature's consent to an offer from the Haverhill parish to grant him his parsonage in fee simple. The committee's report, described as recommending “That a Bill be bro't in to enable the North Precinct in Haverhill, to grant the Premises described in the Petition . . . notwithstanding any former Vote or Votes of the Town or Proprietors of Haverhill,” was approved. Batcheller was { 248 } ordered to prepare the bill (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 201). For the bill adopted in response to the committee's recommendations, see Mass., Province Laws, 5:121, with Merrill's petition at p. 145–146.

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0082-0017

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Gallison, John
Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Date: 1771-04-10

A Bill for Granting Support to Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson

10 April 1771. MS (P.R.O.: Colonial Office, 5:760). Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting the same day, composed of John Hancock, JA, and John Gallison.
The committee listed above was to prepare a bill for a grant of £506 to Hutchinson for his services as lieutenant governor. A second committee, of which JA was not a member, was appointed to draft a bill for Hutchinson's support as governor, an appointment which he had announced to the General Court on the opening day of its fourth session, 3 April. Both bills were passed on 10 April, and JA served on the committees which delivered them to the Council that day (Mass., House Jour., 1770–1771, p. 200–202). Admitting that Parliament had made provision “for the Support of the Civil Government in the Colonies as His Majesty shall judge Necessary” (same, 252), Hutchinson delayed action on the engrossed bills and finally disallowed them (Hutchinson to Hillsborough, May 1771, MHi:Hutchinson Lb Transcripts, 27:273–276).
MS (P.R.O.: Colonial Office, 5:760).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/