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Massachusettensis to the Freemen of Massachusetts



Salem, April 30, 1776.

MY BRETHEN AND FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: The general voice of the People now seems to be, to break off all commerce with the button-makers of Great Britain. Indeed, we have not the least need to keep it up. Very good buttons are manufactured in Concord in this Colony; and the trade will soon spread through all the United Colonies. The "voice of the People is the voice of God" always. If this voice should be unanimous with respect to the prohibition of the forementioned commerce, (dropping metaphor,) the question is, What must next be done in regard of our own Colony? As a member of it, my advice is, that, after the approaching election, the Council and House of Representatives of the people unite in one congregation, consult,


debate, and determine conjunctly, by such majorities of votes as they shall agree upon. To act separately is aping the two Houses of Parliament in the British Constitution, which is a relict of the old feudal system, which was founded in injustice, and supported by lawless tyranny. I appeal to common sense, for which Americans are distinguished, whether the two Houses, acting separately, can enter into each other' s sentiments and views so fully as in conjunction; and whether acting separately (each having a negative upon the other) has not a direct tendency to breed ill-will and resentment, which, for humanity' s sake, let be avoided. Let there be no distinction but what wisdom and virtue make. Instead of a Governour, I would advise the Representatives of the people to choose, for the sake of despatch in business, one or more of the wisest of their number to act in the Executive department during the session, and in the recess of the Assembly.

In your next election of Representatives, let your eyes, my brethren, be upon the wise and virtuous of the land. Perhaps there never was, nor ever will be, an assembly which will have more important matters to debate and determine upon.

For God' s sake, and for the sake of mankind, if we make any alterations, let us shun the errors of our ancestors in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth. They got rid of one Pope, indeed, but at the same time set up another. Examine with candour, my brethren, and you will find a great deal of contemptible, but superstitiously-worshipped, rubbish, both in Church and State, which has been swept down to us from heathenism and popery, by the great net of time. It is now high time to examine the net, cull out the good fishes, and cast the bad away! If we act as Providence now most evidently points out we should act, we shall have the honour of being "fellow-workers with God;" and America will soon become "the glory of all lands" for the equity of its civil Government, and "the joy of the whole earth" for the purity and practice of the Religion of