Papers of John Adams, volume 1

II. Samuel Adams to John Adams, 22 February 1773 Adams, Samuel JA II. Samuel Adams to John Adams, 22 February 1773 Adams, Samuel Adams, John
II. Samuel Adams to John Adams
My dear Sir Monday Evg 22? February 1773

If you have had Leisure to commit your Thoughts to writing agreable to my Request I shall be oblig'd if you will send them by the Bearer. The Govr says the House have incautiously applied a Rule of the Common Law (see the 4th Coll. of his Speech).1 The Assertion is mine, upon your Authority as I thought. If it be vindicable, pray give me your Aid in that as briefly as you please. I am sorry to trouble you at a time when I know you must be much engagd but to tell you a Secret, if there be a Lawyer in the house in Major Hawleys Absense, there is no one whom I incline to confide in.

Your friend S. Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr”; endorsed by JA: “Sam. Adams in dispute with Hutchinson.” Docketed in a later hand: “See Mass. State Papers p. 374. Feby. 1773 and p. 387.” The “State Papers” referred to is Mass., Speeches of the Governors, &c., 1765–1775. At p. 374 of this work appears that section of Hutchinson's message of 16 Feb. concerning the definition of “realm”; the passages in the House reply of 2 March dealing with allegiance and realm begin at p. 387.


Hutchinson's message of 16 Feb. was printed in the Boston Gazette, 22 Feb. The speech took up the three columns of p. 2, continuing over to p. 3. Thus the “4th Coll.” was the 1st column of p. 3, where this remark appeared: “If you mean that no Countries but the ancient territorial Realm can constitutionally be subject to the Supreme authority of England, which you have very incautiously said is a Rule of the Common Law of England, this is a doctrine which you will never be able to support.”