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To the Subscribers of the above Association



Portsmouth, March 31, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: Take this Association under your mature consideration, as I hope some of you to be gentlemen of penetration and knowledge; and after a serious examination of the above Association, you will find, instead of supporting and maintaining the laws of the land, you are acting in direct violation thereof. As you say you will support and maintain the laws of the land, and as you have not


made any distinction between the Province Law and the late unconstitutional Acts, established by the King and Parliament, we must suppose you mean to support and maintain both, Permit me, gentlemen, to tell you, that your zeal overbalances your knowledge. Pray examine the Province law throughout, and all other law authorities that ever were held in repute by the English Nation, and you will not find one instance wherein they justify a number of men in combining together in any league whatsoever to support the law, but quite the reverse; for the law is supported in another manner; it is maintained by Magistrates and Officers, that are legally appointed as the laws direct, and not by a number of men combining together. You say you will also defend and protect each other from mobs, riots, or any unlawful attack whatsoever; and that on the first notice of any attempt upon either of the subscribers, each and every one of you will immediately repair to the person attacked, and him defend to the last extremity."

Is this law, gentlemen? In what book and page will you find it? or what legislative body ever established such measures to support laws? Was it ever known in the King' s Dominions for a number of men to assemble together in order to suppress any mob without authority; for so doing they are themselves a mob in the eyes of the law, to all intents and purposes; though I am convinced, if you had been prudent enough to have examined into the law of the Province, by which our lives and properties are protected, before you undertook to support it by mobs, as you have solemnly agreed to do, you would have been ashamed ever to have subscribed your names to such an unlawful combination.

Gentlemen, I beg leave to ask you what it is you are afraid of? Is it because you have honest hearts and act upon well-grounded principles? Is it because you stand strong for the Colonies and her liberties? Or is it because you strike against American freedom, and because you are trying to enforce the late unconstitutional Acts, and to plunge America into a state of slavery? Surely it must be guilt and remorse of conscience, and from thence springs fear; ah! fear, indeed, and reason enough for fear, for any person to sell his Country and the liberties, thereof, for the sake of false honour and the poor pittance of sordid gain; he will live in fear and die in fear, and will run the greatest risk of being tormented hereafter.