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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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Letter from John Andrews to William Barrell, 12 June 1774

Letter from John Andrews to William Barrell, 12 June 1774

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"animosities run higher than ever"
In the spring and summer of 1774, Bostonians try as best as they can to cope with ramifications of the recent acts of Parliament. Boston Harbor is closed, making it difficult to obtain supplies such wood and grain, and townspeople speculate on where arriving British soldiers will be quartered. The Boston Committee of Correspondence proposes a dramatic scheme, known as the solemn league and covenant, to protest the acts. Not everyone has confidence in the suggested course of action. Bostonian John Andrews discusses his thoughts on the matter in a letter to his brother-in-law, Philadelphia merchant William Barrell.

Questions to Consider

1. Why does Andrews write that "poverty & distress stares us in the face"? What has taken place in Boston in June 1774 to prompt such a response?

2. What has the Boston committee of correspondence done in recent weeks? What is the committee's plan? How does Andrews feel about this actio--does he agree with it?

3. According to Andrews what is the only way to reopen the port of Boston?

4. According to Andrews what is to happen to the troops arriving in Boston? Is Andrews's understanding of the Quartering Act correct? Why or why not?

Further Exploration

5. Imagine that you are a merchant living in another colony (outside of Massachusetts) during this time and that you have a family to support. How would you react to the events in Boston? Why?