In the Evening of the 5th of March 1770.

Printed by ORDER of the Town of Boston,

[Page 2 is a blank page. ]

THE extraordinary conduct of the Commissioners of
the Customs since the 5th of March, and their
perseverance in it, make it necessary to bestow a
few observations upon in ; and upon divers matters, with
which it seems to be connected*.

The said Commissioners (excepting Mr Temple) have all
retired from the town : and we find, on particular enquiry,
they have not held a meeting of their board since the 9th of
March. How they have disposed of themselves since that
time we shall here relate.

Mr Robinson is gone to England: He sailed the 16th of
March, and went not only without the leave but, as it is said,
contrary to the minds of his superiors, signified to him from
home. None but the few, intrusted with the secret, knew
any thing of his going till after the departure of the vessel
in which we went.

Mr Paxton retired to Cambridge, four Miles from Boston,
and for the most part has continued there. He has divers
times however visited the town since that retiring.

* The Copies of this Narrative, sent to England and other Parts,
conclude with the foregoing page. Since they were sent, it has ap-
peared necessary to add a few pages to the remaining Copies : to
do which an opportunity has been given by the restraint laid on
the publishing of the said Narrative here. The reason of that re-
straint will appear by the following Vote of the Town, passed at
the Town-Meeting held the 26th of March, namely, "The Com-
" mittee appointed to prepare a true State of Facts, relating to the
" execrable Massacre perpetrated on the Evening of the 5th Instant,
" in order that the same be transmitted to Great Britain, having
" accordingly reported, and the Report being accepted by the
" Town and ordered to be printed : And whereas the publishing
" of the said Narrative with the Depositions accompanying it, in
" this Country, may be supposed by the unhappy Persons, now in
" Custody for Trial, as tending to give an undue Bias to the
" minds of the Jury, who are to try the same. Therefore voted, " that the Committee reserve all the printed Copies in their
" Hands, excepting those to be sent to Great Britain, till the
" further Order of the Town.
    " Attest,     William Cooper, Town-Clerk."

Mr Hulton sometime ago purchased a place at Brooklyn,
five miles from Boston, and has ever since resided there.

Mr Burch, with his wife, has retired to Mr Hulton's, who,
together with Mr Burch (leaving their wives behind them)
are now on a tour of Portsmouth, in the province of New-
, where the last Account from thence left them.
It is now above six weeks since a board of Commissioners
was held : and it is utterly uncertain when there will be

From their first establishment here, to the 11th of June,
1768, they held their boards regularly four days every week.
They then retired on board the Romney man of war, and
from thence to the castle : for what purpose, their letters
and memorials lately published have sufficiently informed
the world. From their re-establishment in Boston in No-
1768, to the 5th of March, 1770, they held their
boards in the same regular manner. Since that time there
have been but two board meetings, the last of which was
on the 9th of March.

Now what do all these manoeuvres since the 5th of March
indicate? Is it possible to suppose they indicate any thing
less than a design to take occasion from the outrages and
murders committed on the evening of that day by the sol-
diers (assisted perhaps from the custom-house) to represent
the town in a disadvantageous light? And does not their
former conduct render this highly probably ?—Besides, it
is a fact, that depositions have been taken in a secret man-
ner, relative to that unhappy affair, to the prejudice of the
town ; and it is no way improbably that Mr Robinson is gone
home with memorials and letters from the Commissioners
and others, accompanying such depositions.

By some escapes, as well as by what the circumstances
above mentioned make probable, a pretty good judgment
may be formed of the substance of those Memorials, Letters,
and Depositions, namely, that the Custom-house was at-
tacked—the revenue chest in danger, but saved by the fir-
ing upon the mob—The King's troops compelled to leave
the town—the commissioners thence obliged for their safety
to quit is also—the consequent impossibility of their holding
boards—the detriment thence arising to the revenue and his
Majesty's service—all government at an end, and the Province
in a state rebellion.


If these be, either in whole or in part, the subjects of the
dispatches sent home, it is very proper a few observations
should be made upon them.

The Custom-house attacked—a falshood. The people
drawn into Kingstreet, were drawn thither by the cry of fire,
and the outrages of the Soldiers, which occasioned it. From
the first appearance of the people in Kingstreet, to the time
of the firing upon them, there had not passed fifteen mi-
nutes. It might with as much truth be affirmed, that they
made an attack upon the Custom-house in London, as upon
the Custom-house in Boston : of which latter there was not
even a pane of glass broken.

The Revenue Chest in danger—a falshood. It is not pro-
bables the chest is kept at the Custom-house : but if it be,
there was, and is, at least as much danger of it from some
of the out-door people employed under the Commissioners,
as from any body else. It is certain that some of them are
of an infamous character.

The troops compelled to quit the town—a falshood. They
quitted the town by the orders of their Commanding Officer,
in consequence of a request from the Lieutenant Governor,
who was advised by the council to pray the said Officer to
remove the troops. This request and this prayer was ob-
tained by an application from the town of the Lieutenant
Governor. Into what times are we fallen, that the govern-
ment of the province is reduced to the humiliating condition
of making such a prayer !

But supposing the troops had been compelled vi & armis to
quit the town. It would have been a measure justifiable in    
the fight of GOD and man. When theSoldiers sent hither
for the declared purpose of assisting the Civil Magistrate to
keep the peace, were themselves in a remarkable manner
the breakers of the peace—When, instead of assisting, they
insulted him ; and rescued offenders of their own corps from
justice—when they frequently abused the inhabitants in the
night—when they had entered into a combination to com-
mit some extraordinary acts of violence upon the town ; and
in consequence of it, on the evening of the Massacre, attack-
ed the inhabitants wherever they met them ; afterwards
firing upon, and killing and wounding a number of them.
When all this had been done, and more threatened, it was
high time they should be removed from the town. If there

had been no other means of getting rid of them, the inha-
bitants would have had a right by that law of nature, which
superceeds all other laws, when they come in competition
with it—the law of self-preservation—to have compelled
them to quite the town. This law is radical in our nature,
indelible from it, and uniformly operating, where it can
operate, to the removal or destruction of everything incom-
patible with it ; and is abrogable by no other lawgiver than
GOD himself, the great author it. Therefore, although
the resisting the King's troops in any thing they have a right
by law to do, may be adjudged treason, yet when they
act contrary to law, especially is so outrageous a manner
as in the present case, and retain a disposition to repeat it,
whereby the lives of the King's subjects are in danger, they
then cease to be the King's troops : that is, they are not the
King's troops for any such purpose, but so far become trai-
tors ; and on the failure of other means of riddance from
them, which the time and circumstances may make eligible
and are lawful, they may (by the principles of all law, as
well as by the great law above-mentioned, into which those
principles are resolvable) be resisted and expelled : and not
to do it, where it can be done, is a species of treason against
the constitution, and consequently treason in an equal de-
gree against the King, and all his subjects.

The Commissioners obliged for their safety to quit the
town—If one falshood can be more so than another, that is
the greatest yet mentioned, and is as ridiculous as it is false.
Their conduct and such a declaration by no means agree.
Would they in that case occasionally visit the town ? Would
they trust themselves in the environs of it ? Could they
think themselves safe at Cambridge and Brooklyn ? Could
they think themselves safe any where in the province, or
indeed in America ? Must they know, if any evil were
really intended them, it might easily overtake them any where,
and every where on this side of the Atlantic ? Some other
reason than their safety must therefore be looked for to ac-
count for their retiring, and discontinuing their boards.
A similar proceeding of theirs in June, 1768, and their
Letters and Memorials, lately published, give occasion at
lease to conjecture what that reason may be. It is not pro-
bable it was to corroborate the said depositions, and thence
induce administration to think it necessary, not only that

troops already here should be continued, but that a further
number should be sent to strengthen and support them ? If
this measure cannot be effected, and should the Commis-
sioners be so unfortunate as to remain here unattacked in
the absence of the troops, it might naturally be thought
they could have remained here without them in 1768; and
therefore that they had put the nation to a very great ex-
pence, for no other purpose than further to alienate the
affections of the Americans, and to give them an additional
reason to with themselves independent of it : And hence
the Commissioners might have cause to expect a national
resentment against them.—However injurious to us the
effects of such policy may be, we cannot but applaud it
(on the principles of the Machiavilian system) as it stands
related to themselves. If they thought their own existence
in danger, confided as Commissioners, how natural was
it to use the means, if those principles justified them ?
Why need they trouble their heads about consequence that
would not affect themselves ? or, if they would, and such
existence appeared precarious without those means, was it
not necessary they should be used, and the consequences
disregarded ?—If the means be successful to the end for
which they seem designed, it requires no prophetic spirit
to foretel that the consequences may be——bad enough.
Whether the present Commissioners, or any Board of
Commissioners at all (whose appointments are fully equal
to any benefit the Nation or Colonies are likely to reap
from them, and whose usefulness hitherto may be valued
by some of the negative quantities in algebra) are things of
importance enough to hazard those consequences, or any
ill consequence at all, is humbly submitted to the wisdom
of administration determine.

The consequent impossibility of their holding boards—
This impossibility was of their own creating. If they had
continued in town (from whence they had not the least rea-
son to depart, unless to answer purposes they would choose
to conceal) they might have held their boards as usual.

The detriment thence arising to the Revenue, and his
Majesty's service—If any such detriment has arisen, the
fault is their own. His Majesty's Service is a cant term in
the mouths of understrappers in office. Many of them ei-

ther do no know the meaning of it, or abuse it to answer
their own corrupt purposes. It is used to express something
distinct from the service of the people. The King and Peo-
ple are placed by it in opposite interests. Whereas, by the
happy constitution we are under, the interest of the King
is the interest of the people, and his service is their service:
both are one, and constitutionally inseparable. They who
attempt to separate them attempt to destroy the constitu-
tion. Upon every such parricide may the vengeance both
of King and People descend.

Government at an end—This has been the cry ever since
the stamp-act existed. If the people saw they were going
to be enslaved; if they saw Governor Bernard (from whom
they had a right to expect that he would do nothing to pro-
mote it) was zealous and active to rivet the chains; and that
his government, in its principles and conduct, tended to the
establishment of a tyranny over them, was it unnatural for
them in such a case to reluct it? was it unreasonable to re-
fuse an acquiescence is such measures ? Did an opposition
to them indicate a disregard to government ? If government,
in the true idea of it, has for its object the good of the
governed, such an administration could not be called govern-
ment : and an opposition to it by no means included an oppo-
sition to government. From such an opposition has arisen
the cry, that government is at an end. The sooner such
government is at an end the better.

When a people have lost all confidence in government,
it is vain to expect a cordial obedience to it. Hence irre-
gularities may arise, and have arisen. But they will cease,
when the true ends of government are steadily pursued.
Then, and not till then, may it be expected, that men
of weight and influence will exert themselves to make go-
vernment respected. Nay, such exertions will then be
needless, for mankind cannot help respecting what is in
itself respectable, especially when it is at the same time so
promotive of their own good as good government is.

The province in a state of rebellion—Into this state its
enemies, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been endeavour-
ing to bring it. When they could not make it subservient
to their interest and views ; and when their measures had
raised a spirit of opposition to them, that opposition was
made the lucky occasion to represent the province in a state

of rebellion, or verging towards it. To justify such a re-
presentation the more fully, they endeavoured to drive it
into that state : whereby in the end they might hope to gra-
tify both their malice and avarice : their malice, by injuring
it most essentially ; and their avarice, by the subjection of
it to their tyranny and pillage. But nothing can be more
false than such a representation : nothing more foreign from
this people than a disposition to rebellion. The principles
of loyalty were planted in our breasts too deep to be eradi-
cated by their efforts, or any efforts whatever: and our in-
terest co-operated with those principles.

It is humbly hoped his Majesty will not be influenced, by
such representations, to think unfavorably of his faithful
subjects of this province :
and that hope is grounded upon
their innocence : of which they have the highest evidence
in their own consciousness ; and of which they have given
their adversaries no other cause to doubt, than what arises
from an opposition to their measures. Measures, not only
ruinous to the province, but hurtful to Great Britain, and
destructive of the union, and commercial intercourse, which
ought to always to subsist between her and her Colonies.

The foregoing Observations appeared necessary to vindicate
the Town and Province from the aspersions so unjustly
cast upon them. The few that follow refer to the present
and future state of Great Britain and her Colonies.

HOW happy is Britain with regard to situation, and
and many internal circumstances ; and in her connec-
tion with her Colonies !

Separated from the rest of the world, and possessed of so
large a naval force, she is secure from foreign invasions :
her government (well administred) is the best existing ; her
manufactures are extensive, and her commerce in propor-
tion. To the two latter the Colonies have in a considerable
degree contributed. By these means she has risen to her
present opulence and greatness, which so much distinguish
her among the powers of Europe. But however great and
opulent she may be, she is capable of being still more so ;
and so much so, that she may be deemed at present in a
state of minority, compared with what she will one day

probably be, in her own conduct does not prevent it. The
means of this greatness are held out to her by the Colonies ;
and it is in her power, by a kind and just treatment of
them, to avail herself of those means.

The Colonists are husbandmen, and till lately have ma-
nufactured but a small part of their clothing, and the other
articles with which they had been usually supplied from
Great Britain. But they have been taught by experience
they can supply themselves ; and that experience (which
has been forced upon them) has demonstrated most clearly,
that they have within themselves the means of living con-
veniently, if not with elegance, even if their communica-
tion with the rest of mankind were wholly cut off. This,
however, could not be an eligible state : but no one in-
titled to and deserving the liberties of an Englishman, can
hesitate a moment to say, that it would be preferable to
slavery ; to which the Colonists have apprehended them-
selves doomed, by the measures that have been pursued by

If the Colonists might be permitted to follow their in-
clinations, with which at the same time their interest coin-
cides, they would be husbandmen still, and be supplied as
usual from Great Britain. The yearly amount of those
supplies (as appears by the exports from Britain) is very
considerable*, and might be in future in proportion to the

*The value of the exports from Britain to the Colonies in
1766, which was less than in 1765, stood thus :

To New England - - - £ 409,642
    New York - - - - 330,829
    Pensylvania - - - - 327,314
    Virginia and Maryland - 372,548
    Carolina - - - - - 296,732
    £ 1,737,065

This is taken from The Present State of the Nation : in which
there is an account of the said exports for the years 1765 and
1766 only.

Now, supposing the observation just, that the Colonists (whose
number by the said Pamphlet is estimated two millions) double
every twenty years, and the exports from Great Britain to the Co-
lonies should increase in that proportion, the value of the said

increase of the Colonists. Their increase is rapid : they are
daily emigrating from the old towns, and forming new ones ;
and if they double their numbers every twenty years, as it
is said they will continue to do, so long as they can form
into families by procuring the means of subsistence at an
easy rate, which probably will be the case, till America shall
be well peopled, there will be in a short time a prodigious
addition to his Majesty's subjects ; who, if not compelled
to manufacture for themselves, will occasion a proportion-
able demand for the manufactures of Great Britain. If it be

exports and the number of Colonists, at the end of five such
periods after 1766, will stand thus :

Value of Exports.
In 1766 £     1,737,065 for two millions of Colonists,
    1786     3,474,130 for four millions,
    1806     6,948,260 for eight millions,
    1826     13,896,520 for sixteen millions,
    1846     27,793,040 for thirty-two millions,
    1866     55,586,080 for sixty-four millions of Colonists.

The last mentioned numbers are so large, that it is likely the
principles on which they are formed may be called into question.
Let us therefore take only one quarter part of those number ;
and then the value of exports from Britain to the Colonies, in
1866, will be more than thirteen millions sterling for sixteen mil-
lions of Colonists. It is highly probable, by that time there will
be at least that number of Colonists in the British Colonies on this
continent. Now, in case there be no interruption of the union and
harmony that ought to subsist between Great Britain and her Co-
lonies, and which it is there mutual interest should subsist and be
maintained, what good reason can be given why such exports should
not bear as great a proportion to the number of the Colonists as
they do at this time ? If they should, the value of such exports
(which will be continually increasing) will be at least thirteen
millions per annum. A sum far surpassing the value of all the ex-
ports from Great Britain at this day.

In what proportion so vast a trade with the Colonies would en-
large the other branches of her trade ; how much it would increase
the number of her people, the rents and value of her lands, her
wealth of every species, her internal strength, her naval power,
and particularly her revenue (to enhance which in a trifling degree
has occasioned the present easiness between her and the Colonies)
are matters left to the calculation and decision of the political
arithmeticians of Great Britain.

considered too, that America, from its different soils and
climates, can raise perhaps all the productions of other
countries in the same latitudes : which being remitted in
exchange would most of them be rough materials for Britain
to manufacture ; what a fund of wealth and power will
America be to her ! Her inhabitants, of every denomination,
by finding employment, and the consequent means of sub-
sistence, will greatly encrease ; and her trade and naviga-
tion be in proportion. She might then view with indiffe-
rence the interdiction of her trade with other parts of the
world ; though she would always have it in her power,
from the superiority of her naval force, which such a trade
and navigation would enable her to support, to do herself
justice, and command universal respect.

Connected with her Colonies, she would then be a mighty
empire ; the greatest, consisting of people of one language,
that ever existed.

If these observations be not wholly visionary, and a mere
reverie, they possibly may not be unworthy the consideration
of Parliament : whose wisdom will determine, whether any
revenue whatever, even the greatest that America could pos-
sibly produce, either without or with her good will, would
compensate the loss of such wealth and power ; or justify
measures that had the least tendency to bring them into a ha-
zard : or whether for such a revenue it would be worth
while to hazard even the present advantages, resulting to
Great Britain from an union and harmony with her Colonies.