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"Instructions to the Representatives ..."

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of the Town of BOSTON


AT a time, when in all probability the whole
United Colonies of America are upon the
verge of a glorious Revolution; and when
consequently, the most important questions, that
were ever agitated by the representative body of
this colony, touching its internal police, will de-
mand your attention; your constituents think it
necessary to instruct you in several matters what
part to act, that the path of your duty may be
plain before you.

We have seen the humble petitions of these
colonies to the King of Great Britain repeatedly
rejected with disdain. For the prayer of peace,
he has tendered the sword: -- for liberty, chains;
-- and for safety -- death. He has licenced the
instruments of his hostile oppressions, to rob us of
our property, to burn our houses, and to spill our
blood. -- He has invited every barbarous nation,
whom he could hope to influence, to assist him in
prosecuting these inhuman purposes. The
prince therefore, in the support of whose crown
and dignity, not many years since, we would
most chearfully have expended life and fortune,
we are now constrained to consider as the worst
of tyrants; -- loyalty to him is now treason to our
country. -- We have seen his venal parliament so
basely prostituted to his designs that they have
never hesitated to enforce his arbitrary requisiti-
ons with the most sanguinary laws -- We have
seen the people of Great Britain so lost to every
sense of virtue and honor, as to pass over the most
pathetic and earnest appeals to their justice with
an unfeeling indifference. -- The hopes we placed
on their exertions, have long since failed -- In
short, we are convinced, that it is the fixed and
settled determination of the king, ministry and
parliament of that island, to conquer and subju-
gate the colonies, and that the people there have
no disposition to oppose them. -- A reconciliation
with them appears to us to be as dangerous as it
is absurd. -- A spirit of resentment once raised, it
is not easy to appease: The recollection of past
injuries will perpetually keep alive the flame of
jealousy, which will stimulate to new impositions
on the one side, and consequent resistance on the
other; and the whole body politic will be con
stantly subject to civil commotions. -- We there-
fore think it absolutely impracticable for these
colonies to be ever again subject to, or dependent
upon Great Britain, without endangering the
very existence of the state; Placing, however,
unbounded confidence in the supreme councils of
the CONGRESS, we are determined to wait,
most patiently to wait, till their wisdom shall dic-

tate the necessity of making a Declaration of in-
dependence -- Nor should we have ventured to
express our sentiments upon this subject but from
the presumption, that the Congress would chuse
to feel themselves supported by the people of each
colony, before they adopt a resolution, so inte-
resting to the whole. The inhabitants of this
town, therefore, unanimously instruct and direct
you That at the approaching session of the Ge-
neral Assembly, you use your endeavours that the
Delegates of this Colony, at the Congress be ad-
vised, that in case the Congress should think it
necessary, for the safety of the United Colonies
to declare them independent on Great Britain,
the inhabitants of this Colony, with their lives
and the remnant of their fortunes, will most
cheerfully support them in the measure.

Touching the internal police of this Colony,
it is essentially necessary, in order to preserve har-
mony among ourselves, that the constituent body
be satisfied that they are fairly and fully repre-
sented. -- The right to legislate is originally in
every member of the community; which right
is always exercised in the infancy of a state: But
when the inhabitants are become numerous, 'tis
not only inconvenient, but impractible for all
to meet in one assembly; and hence arose the
necessity and practice of legislating by a few free-
ly chosen by the many. When this choice is free,
and the representation equal, 'tis the people's
fault if they are not happy: We therefore instruct
you to devise some means to obtain an equal Re-
of the people of this colony in the
Legislature: -- But care should be taken that the
assembly be not unwieldy; for this would be an
approach to the evil meant to be cured by Repre-
sentation. The largest bodies of men do not al-
ways dispatch business with the greatest expedi-
tion, nor conduct it in the wisest manner.

'Tis essential to Liberty, that the legislative,
judicial and executive powers of government be,
as nearly as possible, independent of, and sepa-
rate from each other; for where they are united
in the same persons, or number of persons, there
would be wanting that mutual check which is
the principal security against the making of arbi-
trary laws, and a wanton exercise of power in
the execution of them. -- It is also of the highest
importance, that every person in a judiciary de-
partment employ the greatest part of his time and
attention in the duties of his office; We there-
fore further instruct you, to procure the enacting
such law or laws, as shall make it incompatible
for the same person to hold a seat in the legisla-
tive and executive departments of government,
at one and the same time: that shall render the
judges, in every judicatory through the Colony,
dependant on the uncertain tenure of caprice or
pleasure, but on an unimpeachable deportment
in the important duties of their station, for their
continuance in office: And to prevent the mul-
tiplicity of offices in the same person, that such
salaries be settled upon them, as will place them
above the necessity of stooping to any indirect or
collateral means for subsistance. We wish to a-
void a profusion of the public monies on the one
hand, and the danger of sacrificing our liberties
to a spirit of parsimony
on the other. Not doubt-
ing of your zeal and abilities in the common
cause of our country, we leave your discretion to
prompt such exertions in promoting any military
operations, as the exigencies of our public affairs
may require: And in the same confidence in your
fervor and attachment to the publick weal, we
readily submit all other matters of public moment
that may require your consideration, to your own
wisdom and discretion.