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[From the Boston Gazette of Dec. 6, 1773–recopied in the Mercantile Journal of Dec. 15, 1849.)
BOSTON, December 6, 1773.
Boston, on Monday, the 29th of November, 1773, Nine o Clock, A. M. and continued by
bour : IN Order to proceed with due Regularity, it was moved that a Moderator be chosen, and JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Esq.,
was then chosen Moderator of the Meeting. A Motion was made that as the Town of Boston had determined at a late Meeting legally assembled, that they would to the utmost of their Power prevent the landing of the Tea, the Question be put, Whether this Body are absolutely determined that the Tea now arrived in Capt. Hall shall be returned to the Place from whence it came at all Events. And the Question being accordingly put, it passed in the Affimative. Nem. Con.
It appearing that the Hall could not contain the People assembled, it was Voted, that the Meeting be immediately Adjourned to the Old South Meeting-House, Leave having been obtained for this Purpose.
The People met at the Old South according to the Adjournment. A Motion was made, and the Question put, viz. Whether it is the firm Resolution of this Body that the Tea shall not only be sent back, but that no Duty shall be paid thereon, and passed in the Affirmative. Nem. Con.
It was moved that in order to give Time to the Consignees to consider and deliberate, before they sent in their Proposals to this Body, as they had given Reason to expect would have been done at the opening of the Meeting, there might be an adjournment to Three o'Clock, P. M. and the Meeting was accordingly for that Purpose adjourned.
THREE o'Clock, P. M., met according to Adjournment.
A Motion was made, Whether the Tea now arrived in Captain Hall's Ship shall be sent back in the same Bottom-Passed in the Affirmative, Nem. Con.
Mr. Rotch the Owner of the Vessel being present, informed the Body that he should enter his Protest against their Proceedings.
It was then moved and voted, nem. con. That Mr. Rotch be directed not to enter this Tea; and that the Doing of it would be at his Peril.
Also Voted, That Captain Hall the Master of the Ship, be informed that at his Peril he is not to suffer any of the Tea brought by him, to be landed.
A motion was ma That in Order for the Security of Captain Hall's Ship and Cargo a Watch may be appointed—and it was voted that a Watch be accordingly appointed to consist of 25 men.
Capt. Edward Proctor was appointed by the Body to be the Capt. of the Watch for this Night, and the names were given in to the Moderator of the Townsmen who were Volunteers on the Occasion.
It having been observed to the Body, that Governor Hutchinson had required the Jus
tices of the Peace in this Town to meet and use their Endeavours to suppress any Routs or Riots, &c. of the People that might happen-It was moved and the Question putWhether it be not the Sense of this Meeting, that the Governor's Conduct herein carries a design'd Reflection upon the People here met; and is solely calculated to serve the views of Administration-Passed in the Affirmative, nem. con.
The People being informed by Col. Hancock, that Mr. Copley, Son-in-Law to Mr. Clarke, Sen. had acquainted him that the Tea Consignees did not receive their Letters from London tiil last Evening, and were so dispersed, that they could not have a joint Meeting early enough to make their Proposals at the time intended; and therefore were desirous of a further Space for that Purpose.
The Meeting out of great Tenderness to these Persons, and from a strong Desire to bring this Matter to a Conclusion, notwithstanding the Time they had hitherto expended upon them to no Purpose, were prevailed upon to adjourn to the next Morning Nine o'Clock.
TUESDAY Morning Nine o'Clock. Met according to Adjournment
THE long expected Proposals were at length brought into the Meeting, not directed to the Moderator but to John Scollay, Esq.; one of the Selectmen-It was however voted that the same should be read, and they are as follows, viz:
Monday, Nov. 29th, 1773. SIR, WE are sorry that we could not return to the Town satisfactory Answers to their two late messages to us respecting the Teas; we beg Leave to acquaint the Gentlemen Selectmen that we have since received our Orders from the Honorable East India Company.
We still retain a Disposition to do all in our Power to give Satisfaction to the Towns, but as we understood from you and the other Gentlemen Selectmen at Mess. Clarke's Interview with you last Saturday, that this can be effected by nothing less than our sending back the Teas, we beg leave to say, that this is utterly out of our Power to do, but we do now declare to you our Readiness to Store the Teas until we shall have Opportunity of writing to our Constituents and shall receive their further Orders respecting them; and we do most sincercly wish that the Town considering the unexpected Difficulties devolved upon us will be satisfied with what we now offer.
Tho. and Elisha Hutchinson
Rich'd Clarke and Sons.
Whereupon it was moved, and the Question put, Whether the Sheriff should be per-
By the Governor. Bay. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Esq; acting as Moderator of an Assembly of People in the Town of Boston, and to the People so assembled : WHEREAS printed Notifications were on Monday the 29th Instant, posted in divers places in the Town of Boston and published in the News-Papers of that Day calling upon the People to Assemble together for certain unlawful Purposes in such Notifications mentioned :, And whereas great Numbers of People belonging to the Town of Boston, and divers others belonging, to several other Towns in the Province, did assemble in the said Town of Boston, on the said Day, and did then and there proceed to chuse a Moderator, and to consult
, debate and resolve upon Ways and Means for carrying such unlawful Purposes into execution ; openly violating, defying and setting at naught the good and wholesome Laws of the Province and the Constitution of Government under which they live: And whereas the People thus assembled did vote or
agree to adjourn or continue their meeting to this the 30th Instant, and great Numbers of them are again met or assembled together for the like Purposes in the said Town of Boston.
In Faithfullness to my Trust and as His Majesty's Representative within the Province I am bound to bear Testimony against this Violation of the Laws and I warn exhort and require you and each of you thus unlawfully assembled forthwith to disperse and to surcease als further
vful Proceedings at your utmost Peril. Given under my Hand at Milton in the Province aforesaid the 30th Day of November 1773
and in the fourteenth Year of His Majesty's Reign. By His Excellency's
And the same being read by the Sheriff, there was immediately after, a loud and very general Hiss.
A Motion was then made, and the Question put, Whether the Assembly would disperse and surcease all further Proceedings, according to the Governor's Requirement It pass'd in the Negative, nem. con.
A proposal of Mr. Copley was made, that in Case he could prevail with the Mess. Clarkes to come into this Meeting, the Question might now be put. Whether they should be treated with Civility while in the Meeting, though they might be of different Sentiments with this Body; and their Persons be safe until their Return to the Place from whence they should come —And the Question being accordingly put passed in the affirmative, Nem. Con.
Another Motion of Mr. Copley was put, Whether two Hours shall be given him, which also passed in the Affirmative.
Adjourn'd to Two o'Clock, P. M.
Two o'Clock P. M. met according to Adjournment.
A Motion was made and passed, that Mr. Rotch and Capt. Hall be desired to give their Attendance.
Mr. Rotch appeared, and upon a Motion made the Question was put, Whether it is the firm Resolution of this Body, that the Tea brought by Capt. Hall shall be returned by Mr. Rotch to England in the Bottom in which it came ; and whether they accordingly now require the same, which passed in the affirmative, Nem. Con.
Mr. Rotch then informed the meeting that he should protest against the whole Proceedings as he had done against the Proceedings on Yesterday but that tho' the returning the Tea is an involuntary Act in him, he yet considers himself as under a Necessity to do it, and shall therefore comply with the Requirement of this Body.
Capt. Hall being present was forbid to aid or assist in unloading the Tea at his Peril, and ordered that if he continues Master of the Vessel, he carry the same back to London; who reply'd he should comply with these Requirements.
Upon a Motion, Resolved, That John Rowe Esq.; Owner of Part of Capt. Bruce's Ship expected with Tea, as also Mr. Timmins, Factor for Capt. Coffin's Brig, be desired to attend.
Mr. Ezekiel Cheever was appointed Captain of the Watch for this Night, and a sufficient Number of Volunteers gave in their Names for that Service.
Voted, That the Captain of this Watch be desired to make out a List of the Watch for the next Night, and so each Captain of the Watch for the following Nights until the Vessels leave the Harbour.
Upon a Motion made, Voted, that in Case it should happen that the Watch should be any Ways molested in the Night, while on Duty, they give the Alarm to the inhabitants by the tolling of the Bells—and that if any Thing happens in the Day Time, the Alarm be by ringing of the Bells.
Voted, That six persons be appointed to be in Readiness to give due Notice to the Country Towns when they shall be required so to do, upon any important Occasion. And six Persons were accordingly chosen for that Purpose.
John Rowe, Esq; attended, and was informed that Mr. Rotch had engaged that his Vessel should carry back the Tea she bro't in the same Bottom, and that it was the Expectation of this Body that he does the same by the Tea expected in Capt. Bruce; whereupon he replied that the Ship was under the Care of the said Master, but that he would use his utmost Endeavour, that it should go back as required by this Body, and that he would give immediate Advice of the Arrival of said Ship.
Voted, That it is the Sense of this Body that Capt Bruce shall on his Arrival strictly conform to the Votes passed respecting Capt. Hall's Vessel, as tho' they had been all passed in Referrence to Capt. Bruce's Ship.
Mr. Timmins appeared and informed that Capt. Coffin's Brig expected with Tea was owned in Nantucket, he gave his Word of Honor that no Tea should be landed while she was under his Care, nor touched by any one untill the Owner's Arrival.
It was then Voted, That what Mr. Rowe and Mr. Timmins had offered was satisfactory to the Body
Mr. Copley returned and acquainted the Body, that as he had been obliged to go to the Castle, he hoped that if he had exceeded the Time allowed him they would consider the Difficulty of a Passage by Water at this Season as his Apology; He then further acquainted the Body, that he had seen all the Consignees, and tho he had convinced them that they might attend this Meeting with safety, and had used his utmost Endeavours to prevail upon them to give Satisfaction to the Body; they acquainted him, that believing nothing would be satisfactory short of re-shipping the Tea, which was out of their power, they thought it best not to appear, but would renew their Proposal of storing the Tea, and submitting the same to the inspection of a Committee, and that they could go no further, without incurring their own Ruin; but as they had not been active in introducing the Tea, they should do nothing to obstruct the People in their Procedure with the same.
It was then Moved, and the Question put, Whether the return made by Mr. Copley from the Consignees, be in the Least Degree satisfactory to this Body, and passed in the Negative. Nem. Con.
Whereas, a Number of Merchants in this Province have inadvertently imported Tea from Great Britain, while it is subject to the Puyment of a Duty imposed upon it by an Act of the British Parliament for the Purpose of raising a Revenue in America, and appropriating the same without the consent of those who are required to pay it ;
Resolved, That in thus importing said Tea, they have justly incurr’d the Displeasure of our Brethren in the other Colonies.
And resolved further, That if any Person or Persons shall hereafter import Tea from Great Britain, or if any Master or Masters of any Vessel or Vessels in Great Britain shall take the same on board to be imported to this place until the said unrighteous Act shall be repeald he or they shall be deem'd by this Body an Enemy to his country, and we will prevent the Landing and Sale of the same, and the payment of any Duty thereon. And we will effect the Return thereof to the Place from whence it shall come.
RESOLVED, That the foregoing Vote be printed and sent to England, and all the Sea Ports in this Province.
Upon a Motion made, Voted, That fair Copies be taken of the whole Proceedings of this meeting, and transmitted to New York and Philadelphia. And that
MR. SAMUEL ADAMS,
JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Esq.,
Be a Committee to transmit the same. Voted, That it is the Determination of this Body, to carry their Votes and Resolutions into Execution, at the Risque of their Lives and Property.
Voted, That the Committee of Correspondence for this Town, be desired to take Care that every other Vessel with Tea that arrives in this Harbour, have a proper Watch appointed for her. Also Voted, That those Persons who are desirous of making a Part of these Nightly Watches be desired to give in their Names at Messieurs Edes and Gill's Printing Office.
Voted, That our Brethren in the Country be desired to afford their Assistance upon the first Notice given; especially if such Notice be given upon the Arrival of Captain Loring, in Messieurs Clarke's Brigantine.
Voted, That those of this Body who belong to the Town of Boston do return their Thanks to their Brethren who have come from the Neighbouring Towns, for their Countenance and Union with this Body in this Exigence of our Affairs.
Voted, That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to Jonathan Williams, Esq.; for his good services as Moderator.
Voted, That this Meetiug be Dissolved And it was accordingly Dissolved. A sketch of the subsequent events we copy from the Boston Gazette, printed at the time:
“Just before the dissolution of the meeting, a number of brave and resolute men, dress.' ed in the Indian manner, approached near the door of the assembly, and gave the warhoop, which rang through the house, and was answered by some in the galleries, but
silence was commanded, and a peaceable deportment again enjoined till the dissolution. The Indians as they were then called, repaired to the wharf where the ships lay that had the tea on board, and were followed by hundreds of people, to see the event of the trunsactions of those who made so grotesque an appearance. They, the Indians, immediately repaired on board Capt. Hall's ship where they hoisted out the chests of tea, and when on deck, stove the chests and hove the tea overboard. Having cleared this ship, they proceeded to Captain Bruce's, and then to Captain Coffin's brig: They applied themselves so dexterously to the destruction of this commodity, that in the space of three hours they broke up 342 chests, which was the whole number in those vessels, and discharged their contents into the dock. When the tide rose it floated the broken chests and the tea, insomuch that the surface of the water was filled therewith a considerable way from the south part of the town to Dorchester Neck, and lodged on the shores. There was the greatest care taken to prevent the tea from being purloined by the populace. One or two being detected in endeavoring to pocket a small quantity, were stripped of their acquisitions and very roughly handled. * * * The town was very quiet during the whole evening and the night following. Those who were from the country went home, and the next day joy appeared in almost every countenance—some on occasion of the destruction of the tea, others on account of the quietness with which it was effected-One of the Monday's papers says, that the masters and owners are well pleased that the ships are thus cleared.”
LETTERS OF GEN. WASHINGTON.
General Washington's Letter, dated June 20th, 1775, at Philadelphia, to the Independant Companies of Fairfax, Prince Williams, Fauquier, Spotsylvania and Richmond.
GENTLEMEN, I am now about to bid adieu to the Companies under your respective commands, at least for a while. I have launched into a wide and extensive field, too boundless formy abilities, and far, very far, beyond my experience. I am called, by the unanimous voice of the colonies, to the command of the Continential Army; an honor I did not aspire to, an honor I was solicitious to avoid, upon a full conviction of my inadequacy to the importance of the service. The partiality of the Congress, however, assisted by a political motive, rendered my reasons unavailing; and I shall to-morrow, set out for the camp ncar Boston. I have only to beg of you, therefore, before I go (especially as you did me the honor to put your Companies under my direction, and know not how soon you may be called upon in Virginia for an exertion of your military skill,) by no means to relax in the discipline of your respective Companies.
Head Quarters, Cambridge, August 11th, 1775. Sir, I understand that the Officers engaged in the cause of Liberty and their Country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have been throv indiscriminately into a common Jail, appropriated for felons,—that no consideration has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness—that some of them have been even amputated in this unworthy situation. Let your opinion, Sir, of the principle which actuates them to be what it may, they suppose they act from the noblest of all principles, a love of freedom and their country. But political opinions, I conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights of humanity, and claims of rank, are universally binding and extensive, except in case of retaliation. These I should have hoped, would have dictated a more tender treatment of those individuals, whom chance of war had put in your power. Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to widen that unhappy breach, which you, and those ministers under whom you act, have repeatedly declared you wish to see forever closed.
My duty now makes it necessary to apprize you, that for the future I shall regulate my conduct towards those gentlemen, who are or may be in our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe towards those of ours, now in your custody.
If severity and hardship mark the line of your conduct (painful as it may be to me) your prisoners will feel its effects, but if kindness and humanity are shown to ours, I shall with pleasure consider those in our hands only as unfortunate, and they shall receive from me that treatment, to which the unfortunate are ever entitled. I beg to be favored with an answer, as soon as possible, and am,
Sir, your very humble servant, His Excellency, Gen. GAGE.