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To the Inhabitants of Massachusetts



Sudbury, September 5, 1775.

The question upon which the grand contest between Great Britain and America turns, is, whether the Parliament of Great Britain has a right to legislate for the American Colonies. The British Ministry and their adherents have taken the affirmative side of the question, and the Colonists the negative. The former have asserted without the shadow of proof, while the latter have offered incontestable arguments to support their position. By the British Constitution of civil Government, (and indeed it is the basis of liberty,) no subject can be bound by any law to which he has not given his consent, in person or by his representative. Americans have no voice in the laws made by the British Parliament, and therefore are not bound by them. The British Ministry, finding that the Americans could not, by their and their tools' sophistry, be persuaded to believe that wrong is right, have sent an army and navy to force conviction, which are the powerful arguments used by tyrants. Much blood has been shed, and more will be, unless the British Parliament give up their claim to legislate for America, excepting in matters that relate to the


regulation of trade, which, from the necessity of the thing, not derived from the Constitution, is allowed. Happy for America, that it does not admit of a doubt that the British Troops were the aggressors, in firing upon and destroying several of its worthy inhabitants, without any provocation, unless their being in the road at the time such majesterial fellows were marching can be viewed as such. Happy for America, that three or four hundred of her sons, who lived near to the scene of blood, were inspired with such courage as to prompt them to oppose eighteen hundred butchers, and to compel them to retreat to the place from whence they came. Happy for America, that such an union prevails among the Colonies, as is the admiration of the world, and must be of future generations. Under the influence of this union, we at this day see a large army, composed of the worthy yeomanry of this Country, commanded by men whose characters are established, and bid defiance to the attacks of those who partake of a diabolical spirit, commonly called tories. In every enterprise, success has attended the American arms. Perhaps it may be thought that the author does not recollect the battle at Bunker' s Hill. It is fresh in his mind, and he thinks it must be allowed, that although the troops of Britain obtained the ground, yet it was at so dear a rate as to justify a declaration of victory upon the side of the Americans. As the cause is righteous, as the war is strictly defensive, and therefore justifiable, the divine blessing may be expected to attend the future efforts of the Army of the United Colonies, as it has done the past. Much depends, under the blessing of Heaven, upon the continuance of this union; and as every measure is carrying into execution by the British Ministry to interrupt and destroy it, it is the indispensable duty of every friend of mankind to make it his chief business to establish it. It has been said, and with good authority to support it, that British goods may be expected to be clandestinely carried (if possible) among the people, in order to break the Non-Importation Agreement; which, if closely adhered to, will produce great distress and trouble in Britain, such as may cost the lives of the British Ministry. Let it be the desire and endeavour of every American to comply with and see that others punctually observe the Resolutions of the Continental Congress: and I doubt not we shall have the happiness, ere long, of viewing the rights and privileges of America established upon a more sure basis than ever yet they have been, upon such an one as will remain to the end of time.