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"From the New-York Gazette of Nov. 7. To the Printer ..."

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From the New-York Gazette of Nov. 7.

If you have not a more perfect Account of the late
public Transactions in the City, than is contained in
the following Copy of a Letter to a Gentleman in Lon-
don, you are at Liberty to publish it in your Paper,
from your humble Servant,
New-York, Nov. 7, 1765. G--

Copy of a Letter to a Gentleman in London.

As soon as it was known in America, that
the Stamp Act has passed, and that our
remonstrances and petitions against it
had not even been heard or presented,
as being thought seditious and insolent,
though they contained nothing but assertions of our
undoubted rights, in the most soft and dutiful terms
we could devise -- As soon as soon as this shocking act
was known, it fill'd all British America, from one End
to the other, with astonishment and grief. We saw
that as cruel a decree was gone out against us, as
passed in the days of King Ahasuerus, against the Jews.
We saw that we, and our Posterity were sold for slaves,
and doubted not but some wicked Haman was at the
bottom of it -- tho' he is not yet brought to condign
punishment, not certainly known. A considerable
time we lay in silent consternation, and knew not what
to do !--We seem'd to be in a frightful Dream ; we
could hardly be convinced of the dreadful Reality--
We consider'd the act over and over -- it was framed
with the most deep laid inveterate design for the entire
Extirpation of liberty in America -- every avenue to
elusion was barred up with a tenfold guard -- The glo-
rious uncertainty of the law
, in this act, had no place
-- the meaning was dreadfully evident, and slavery,
with all its terrible train, fenced us on every side.
--We knew not what to say or write -- even our
presses almost ceased to utter the language of liberty
-- at last by degrees we began to recollect our scat
ter'd thoughts. The spirit of liberty inform'd the
press -- one or two well judged pieces set our privi-
leges in a clear and striking light ; as soon as they were
seen and known, they were claimed and asserted ; as
soon as the latent sparks of patriotism began to kindle,
it flew like lightning from breast to breast -- it flow'd
from every tongue and pen and press, till it had dif-
fussed itself thro' every part of the British dominions
in America ; it united us all, we seem'd to be animat-
ed by one spirit, and that was a spirit of liberty -- The
instruments for putting the act in execution, were odi-
ous every where, ashamed, and afraid to show their
faces ; some honorably refused the unsolicited odious
offices, others were forced to resign with ignominy--
Those who were though to be favourers of the act,
or officious in carrying it into execution underwent
some terrible effects of public resentment, in Boston
and Newport ; and in Connecticut, the stampman was
forced with a high hand to resign -- so that no where
to the eastward was there the least probability of the
stamp act's gaining admittance. Commissioners from
almost all the colonies had held a congress at New-
York, to agree upon and send home such remonstran-
ces, petitions, &c. as might be thought proper to
obtain repeal of the stamp act -- But whatever might
be the result of their proceedings, the generality of
the friends to liberty, did not choose that it should
ever once be thought that the enjoyment of their
rights depended merely upon the success of these re-
presentations or the courtesy of those to whom they
were made.

As New-York was the place of most immediate
intercourse with the English ministry, a place of con-
siderable military force -- where the General held his
head quarters, and where there was a fort of some
strength, before which several men of war were stati-
oned--all the neighbouring colonies were anxiously
concerned for, and observant of the conduct
of the people of New-York -- -- They were the
more concerned, because the gentleman who had with-
out his own knowledge been appointed stamp-master,
had honourably resigned, and so no public stir or com-

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motion had happened among us. Whether or not
this remarkable stillness was thought to proceed from
want of resentment, or of proper spirit, it gave occa-
sion to the friends of liberty to fear that there would
not be a sufficient opposition to the act, to prevent its
taking place ; and it encouraged the haughty friends
to arbitrary power, to talk in an imperious strain --
to speak contemptible of our power and resolution, and
either in jest or earnest, declare the act should be exe-
cuted, that it should be cramed down our throats
, &c.
-- It is dangerous even to jest upon such matters that lie so
very close to the heart --Whether these reports were
true or false, I know not; -- but many such had been
current for some time about town, and were imputed
to several persons, one of whom severely felt the

On the 23d of October, by Capt. Davis, arrived a
parcel of the stamps, which immediately raised a spirit
of general uneasiness in the town ; --they were put
under convoy of a man of war, landed and deposited
in the fort. The Governor had very injudiciously,
some time before the arrival of the stamps, made
a great shew of fortifying the fort, providing it with
mortars, guns, ammunition, and all the necessaries for
for the regular attack of an enemy -- and it was given out
that he threatened to fire on the town if the stamps
were molested (which greatly exasperated the people).
Representations against these measures were made to
him ; and they were, I believe, discontinued, but re-
sumed again upon the arrival of the stamps. From
this time several papers appear'd stuck up in public
places about the town, threatening every person that
should deliver or receive a stamp. The preparations
at the fort were continued with greater vigour, and
the people grew more uneasy and enflamed. On the
31st of October, the merchants had a meeting, where
they enter'd into an obligation that none of them
should order any goods from England till the stamp
act was repeal'd, that the orders already sent (and not
executed) should be countermanded, (except grind-
stones, &c. for such ships as were there belonging to
this place) and that they should accept no goods on
commissions, or assist in the sale of any sent here. This
was subscribed by upwards of two hundred merchants.
The shopkeepers also obliged themselves to purchase
no goods sent here contrary to the above articles, till
the stamp act was repealed. That evening a large
company suddenly assembled and marched to the walls
of Fort George, and from thence thro' several streets
in the city. The magistrates appeared, and endea-
voured to disperse them, but in vain. After a short
time they suddenly dispersed of themselves without
doing any mischief. It was rumour'd about town a
much larger concourse would assemble the next night,
and their visit was by some expected, while others
thought they would meet no more.

November 1, many letters were sent and found, and
papers stuck up all over the town, some in a good stile
threatening destruction to every person and his property
who should apply for, deliver out, receive, or use a
Stamp--or should delay the execution of any custo-
mary public business without them.

About 7 o'clock in the evening two companies ap-
peared, one of them in the fields, where a moveable
gallows was erected, on which was (suspended the
effigy of a man who had been honoured by his coun-
try with an elevated station, but whose public conduct
supposed to aim at the introduction of arbitrary power,
and especially in his officiously endeavouring to enforce
the Stamp Act, universally held by his Majesty's faithful
and loyal subjects in America, to be unconstitutional
and oppressive) has unhappily drawn upon himself the
general resentment of his country. The figure was
made much to resemble the person it was intended to
represent. In his hand was a stamped paper, which
he seem'd to court the people to receive ; -- at his
back hung a drum, on his breast a label, supposed to
allude to some former circumstances of his life. By
his side hung, with a boot in his hand, the grand de-
ceiver of mankind, seeming to urge him to perseverance
in the cause of slavery. While the multitude gathered
round these figures, the other party with another figure

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representing the same person, seated in a chair, and
carried by men, preceeded and attended by a great
number of lights, paraded through most of the public
streets in the city, increasing as they went, but with-
out doing the least Injury to any house or person. They
proceeded in this order to the coach-house at the fort,
from whence they took the Lieut. Governor's coach,
and fixing the effigy upon the top of it, they proceed-
ed with great rapidity towards the fields. About the
same time the other party was preparing to move to
the fort, with the gallows as it stood erect on its frame,
and lanthorns fix'd on various parts of it. When the
two parties met, and every thing was in order, a gene-
ral silence ensued, and proclamation was made that no
stones should be thrown, no windows broken, and no
injury offered to any one, -- and all this was punctual-
ly observed. The whole multitude then returned to
the fort, and though they knew the guns were charg-
ed, and saw the ramparts lined with soldiers, they in-
tripidly marched with the gallows, coach, &c. up to
the very gate, where they knocked, and demanded
admittance, & if they had not been restrained by some
humane persons, who had influence over them, would
doubtless have taken the fort, as I hear there were 4
or 500 seamen, and many others equally intrepid, and
acquainted with military affairs. But as it seems no
such extremities were intended, after they had shewn
many insults to the effigy, they retired from the fort
gate to the bowling green, the pallisades of which
they instantly tore away, marched with the gal-
lows, &c. into the middle of the green, (still under
the muzzles of the fort guns) where with the palli-
sades and planks of the fort fence, and a chaise and 2
sleys, taken from the governor's coach house, they soon
reared a large pile of wood round the whole, to which
setting fire, it soon kindled to a great flame, and re-
duced the coach, gallows, man, devil, and all to ashes.

It is probable the conductors of this expedition in-
tended the whole affair should have ended here ; but
while many of them were attending the fire, a large
detachment of volunteers making their passage thro'
the other side of the pallisades, went on another expe-
dition, and repaired to the house (lately known by the
name of Vaux Hall) and now in the occupation of Ma-
jor James, of the royal regiment of artillery : --This
gentleman was one of those who had unfortunately in-
curred the resentment of the public, by expressions
imputed to him. It is said he had taken a Lease of
the house for three years, and had obliged himself to
return it in the like good order as he received it ; it
had been lately fitted up in an elegant manner, and had
adjoining a large handsome garden stored both with
necessaries and curiosities, --and had in it several sum-
mer houses ; the house was genteely furnished with
good furniture ; contained a valuable library of choice
books, papers, accounts, mathematical instruments,
draughts, rich clothes, linen, &c. and a considerable
quantity of wine and other liquors. -- The multitude
bursting open the doors, proceeded to destroy every
individual article the house contain'd,--the beds they
cut open and threw the feathers abroad, broke all the
glasses, china, tables, chairs, desks, trunks, chests, and
making a large fire at a little distance, threw in every
thing that would burn -- drank or destroy'd all the li-
quor -- and left not the least article in the house which
they did not destroy -- after which they also beat to
pieces all the doors, sashes, window frames and parti-
tions in the house, leaving it a meer shell ; also de-
stroyed the summer houses, and tore up and spoiled
the garden. All this destruction was compleated by
about 2 o'clock. The imagined cause of resentment
operated so powerfully, that every act of devastation
on the goods of this unhappy gentleman was consider'd
as a sacrifice to liberty. -- Many military trophies,
even the colours of the royal regiment, were taken
and carried off triumphantly.

The spirit of the people, not only of this city and
colony, but of the neighbouring colonies, knowing
how much depended upon our behaviour, was highly
raised ; and great numbers came from the country, and
parts adjacent, to attend the important crisis : Some
returned home satisfied with our firmness, and deter-

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mined to maintain their freedom in their respective
places of residence, & assist us, if their assistance should
be necessary. But many who came from distant parts,
chose to stay till our affairs were settled into something
of calmness and security -- We had notice from all the
country round, that upon the least requisition, they
would come by thousands to our assistance ; every one
was anxious to be secured against the imposition of
the Stamp Duties -- And they required it of the ma-
gistrates and men of influence in town, in peremptory
terms, that they should insist upon some security against
that act, or else the resentment of those friends to li-
berty who came to assist us against the Stamp Act, would
be as terrible to us as the Act itself : Menacing let-
ters were wrote to the Governor, in case he would not
deliver up the Stamps, or promise not to distribute
them -- The people grew furious, the magistrates were
alarm'd -- they waited on the Governor, as did many
other principal gentlemen: At last he delivered and
published in writing by the Secretary, "that he would
not distribute or meddle with the Stamps, but reserve
them till the arrival of Sir Henry Moore, and deliver
them to him." -- This did not satisfy the people --
they fear'd some deception, and were hardly restrain'd
by the magistrates. -- The Governor declared the same
thing, and got it attested by several gentlemen of the
town, and publish'd in Print. -- But still the populace
were dissatisfied, and declared the Stamps should either
be delivered out of the fort, or they would take them
away by force, which would have been attended pro-
bably with much bloodshed. -- After a great deal of
negociation, it was agreed that Capt. Kennedy should
be requested to take them on board his Majesty's ship
Coventry -- and if he refused, that then they should
be delivered to the corporation upon their receipt and
engagement to pay the value of them if they were ei-
ther destroy'd or sent out of the country. --Captain
Kennedy was waited on -- but peremptorily refused to
take them, for which he gave his reasons -- and therefore
they were on Tuesday evening, according to the sti-
pulated terms, delivered to the Corporation of the City
of New-York, and were deposited in the City-Hall, to
the general satisfaction of the people, who have been
since intirely quiet and peaceable -- satisfied that none
has either power or inclination to distribute them, or
would be hardy enough to apply for, or use them if
to be had.

It is expected that in a few days, all sorts of busi-
ness will be carried on in all public offices as usual,
without stamps. Your humble Servant,


P. S. I must not omit mentioning one more cir-
cumstance, which is an alarming one -- on Saturday
and Sunday night last while the people were in com-
motion, the cannon on copsey battery, and the king's
yard were all spiked up, as were also many belonging
to the merchants, in order to prevent any use being
made of them for obtaining the stamps.


It was with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction
we beheld the true loyalty that appeared the
First of this Instant, in the evening, by the inhabi-
tants of this city, in defence of his Majesty's person
and government ; -- by shewing such a warm as well
as timely zeal for the true interest of the British Con-
stitution ; by endeavouring to prevent any innovati-
ons being made on the rights, liberties and proper-
ties of his Majesty's loyal subjects in North-America --
-- For indeed, it was the same Spirit of laudable
zeal, whereby they have distinguished themselves
heretofore (whatever some may think) whenever
they were called upon to go forth against the com-
mon enemy in the this land, which (thanks be to God)
are almost all reduced to a submission to his Majesty's
government -- And there appeared no less a true
christian heroism in what was done, than an
heroic martial, patriotic spirit -- For when once the
tree of liberty is sapped of its moisture, though it be
but in one part of its root, it is manifestly in dan-
ger of gradually withering away, till it will neither
yield shade nor fruit ; nor will the birds build their
nests there ; nor sing among the leafless branches ;
for we ever look upon it, altho' all true religion is
seated in the human mind, that yet, the bulwark by
which it is outwardly defended is the same by which
we are secured in the possession of every other pri-
vilege we enjoy -- So that it is impossible to under-
mine the civil rights of a subject, without equally
endangering that of his religious--.--

It is now no longer to be feared by the other go-
vernments, that New-York will introduce the Stamp
, as was mentioned by many here last week,
from almost every government in New-England, be-
ing all now full satisfied, and are returning home
with hearts full of joy -- May King
George the third, long live, to reign over a free and
happy people ; be ever blessed with a pious, wise and
faithful council, and see his dear and loyal American
subjects live in peace and happiness, and a good un-
derstanding ever be cultivated and maintained bet-
ween the Inhabitants of this city, and the several co-
lonies in New-England, and all flourish in trade and
commerce -- is the united desire of a number now
in this city, belonging to the several governments in
New-England, at whose united request this is sent
for publication, Nov 7. AMICUS PUBLICO.