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To the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts



GENTLEMEN: Your assuming the Government of Massachusetts Bay, makes it unnecessary for me to make any apology for addressing you in this publick manner, further, than by acquainting you that it is to represent to you the distresses of some of those people, who, from a sense of their duty to the King, and a reverence for his laws, have behaved quiet and peaceable; and for which reason they have been deprived of their liberty, abused in their persons, and suffered such barbarous cruelties, insults, and indignities, besides the loss of their property by the hands of lawless mobs and riots, as would have been disgraceful even for savages to have committed. And the Courts of Justice being shut up in most parts of the Province, and the Justices of those Courts compelled by armed force, headed by some who are members of your Congress, to refrain from doing their duty at present, it is rendered impracticable for those sufferers to obtain redress, unless it be by your interposition, or the aid of military force, which will be applied for in case this application fails.

A particular enumeration of all the instances referred to, is apprehended unnecessary, as many of your members are


personally knowing to them; and for the information of any of you, who may pretend ignorance of them, the following instances are here mentioned, viz: In August last, a mob in Berkshire forced the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas from their seats, and shut up the Court House. They also drove David Ingersoll, Esquire, from his house, and damaged the same, and he obliged to leave his estate; after which his enclosures were laid waste. At Taunton, Daniel Leonard, Esquire, was drove from his house, and bullets fired into it by the mob, and he obliged to take refuge in Boston, ever since last August, for the supposed crime of obeying his Majesty' s requisition as one of his Council for this Province. Colonel Gilbert, of Freetown, a firm friend to Government, in August last, being at Dartmouth, was attacked at midnight by a mob of about an hundred; but by his bravery, with the assistance of the family where he lodged, they were beat off. The same night, Brigadier Ruggles was also attacked by another party, about the same time of the night, who were routed, after having painted, and cut the hair off of one of his Horses mane and tail, afterwards had his Arms taken from his dwelling-house, in Hardwick, all which are not yet returned; he had at another time a very valuable English Horse, which was kept as a stallion, poisoned to death, his family disturbed, and himself obliged to take refuge in Boston, after having been insulted in his own house, and twice on his way, by a mob. The Chief Justice of the Province in Middleborough was threatened to be stopped on the highway in going to Boston Court; but his firmness and known resolution for supporting Government in this, as well as in many other instances, intimidated the mob from laying hands on him; he was also threatened with opposition in going into Court, but the terrour of the Troops prevented it. The whole Bench were hissed by a mob as they came out of Court; since that, his carriages stopped, and some turned back; his goods and effects kept from him, and he obliged to take refuge in Boston ever since last August. In September, Mr˙ Sewall, his Majesty' s Attorney General for this Province, was obliged to repair to Boston for refuge; his elegant house at Cambridge was attacked by a mob, his windows broke; but they were beat off by the gallant behaviour and bravery of some young gentlemen of his family. About the same time, the Lieutenant-Governour Oliver, President of his Majesty' Council, was attacked at his elegant seat at Cambridge, by a mob of about four thousand, and was compelled to resign his seat at the Board, since which, upon further threats, he has been obliged to leave his estate, and take refuge with his family in Boston. At Worcester, a mob of about five thousand collected, and prevented the Court of Common Pleas from sitting, (about one thousand of them had fire-arms,) and all drawn in two files, compelled Judges, Sheriffs, and gentlemen of the Bar, to pass them with cap in hand, and read their disavowal of holding Courts under the new Acts of Parliament, not less than thirty times in their procession. Daniel Oliver, Esquire, of Hardwick, was disarmed by the mob, for the purpose of arming some of the mob for putting down the Court of Worcester, and has been obliged to take refuge in Boston ever since, to the total loss of his business. Colonel Phips, the very reputable and highly esteemed Sheriff of the County of Middlesex, by a large mob, was obliged to promise not to serve any processes of Courts, and to retire to Boston, for protection from further insults. Colonel Saltonstall, the very humane Sheriff of the County of Essex, obliged to take refuge in Boston, to screen himself from the violence of the mob. The Court of Common Pleas was forbid to set at Taunton, by a large mob, with a Justice acting as one of their Committee. At Middleborough, Peter Oliver, Esquire, by a mob, was obliged to sign a paper not to execute his office under the new Acts. At Springfield, the Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace, were prevented sitting by a large mob, who kept the Justices from entering the Court House, and obliged them, the Sheriff, and gentlemen of the Bar, to desist, with their hats off, from holding any Courts. Colonel Edson, one of his Majesty' s Council, has been driven from his house in Bridgewater, and kept from it ever since last August, by the threats of mobs, and has been obliged to take refuge in Boston, for his being a friend to Government, and accepting his Majesty' s appointment as Counsellor.


The Courts of General Sessions of the Peace, and Inferiour Court of Common Pleas for the County of Plymouth, have been shut up by mobs. Colonel Putnam of Worcester, a firm friend to Government, had two fat Cows stolen and taken from him, and a very valuable Grist Mill burnt, and he obliged to leave a fair estate in Worcester, and retire to Boston, where he has been ever since August last, for his protesting against riots, &c. Colonel Murray, of Rutland, one of his Majesty' s Council, has been obliged to leave a large estate in the County, and repair to Boston, to save himself from being handled by the mob, and compelled to resign his seat at the Council Board; his house has been attacked, his family put in fear, &c˙, &c. Colonel Vassal, of Cambridge, from intolerable threats, and insolent treatment of mobs to his friends and himself, has left his elegant seat there, and retired to Boston, with his amiable family, for protection. John Borland, Esquire, in the same predicament with Colonel Vassal. Honourable John Chandler, Esquire, Judge of Probate, &c˙, for the County of Worcester, obliged to retreat to Boston for protection, and leave his business, and a numerous family of hopeful youths behind him, with great reluctance, and who before he came away, was ordered by the mob to hold his office till further order. The Plymouth Protesters, Addressers, and Military Officers, were compelled, by a mob of two thousand, collected from Plymouth and Barnstable Counties, to recant and resign their military commissions. Thomas Foster, Esquire, an ancient gentleman, was obliged to run into the woods, and had like to have been lost; and the mob, although the Justices, with Mr˙ Foster, were sitting in the Town, yet ransacked his house, and damaged his furniture; he then fled into the woods, and had like to have lost his life there; he was obnoxious as a friend to Government, and for that reason they endeavoured to deprive him of his business, and prevent even his taking the acknowledgment of a deed. Richard Clark, Esquire, a consignee of the Tea, was obliged to retire from Salem to Boston, as an asylum; and his son Isaac went to Plymouth to collect debts, but in the night was assaulted by a mob, and obliged to get out of Town at midnight. Jesse Dunbar, of Halifax, in Plymouth County, bought some fat Cattle of Mr˙ Thomas, the Counsellor, and drove them to Plymouth for sale; one of the Oxen being skinned and hung up, the Committee came to him, and finding he bought it of Mr˙ Thomas, they put the Ox into a cart, and fixed Dunbar in his belly, and carted him four miles, and then made him pay a dollar, after taking three more Cattle and a Horse from him; the Plymouth mob delivered him to the Kingston mob, which carted him four miles further, and forced from him another dollar, then delivered him to the Duxbury mob, who abused him by throwing the tripe in his face, and endeavouring to cover him with it, to the endangering his life, then threw dirt at him, and after other abuses, carried him to said Thomas' s house, and made him pay another sum of money: and he not taking the beef, they flung it in the road and quitted him. Daniel Dunbar, of Halifax, an Ensign of Militia there, had his colours demanded by the mob, some of the Selectmen being the chief actors; he refused, they broke into his house, took him out, forced him upon a rail, and was held on it by his hands and legs, and tossed up with violence; in resisting, when they attempted to put him on the rail, they seized him by his private parts to drag him on it, then beat him, and after keeping him two or three hours in such abuses, he was forced to give his colours up to save his life. A Constable of Hardwick, for refusing to pay his collections directly, contrary to the oath of his off ice, was bound and confined six and thirty hours, and threatened with being sent to Simsbury Mines; was not suffered to lay on a bed; his wife being dangerously ill, he was released, after signing a something which one of the mob drew up for him to sign. The Mob Committee of the County of York, ordered that no one should hire any of Sir William Pepperell' s estates, buy any wood of him, or pay any debts due to him. In February, at Plymouth, a number of ladies attempted to divert themselves at their Assembly Room; but the mob collected, the Committee having met previous thereto; they flung stones, which broke the shutters and windows, and endangered their lives; they were forced to get out of the hall, and were pelted and abused to their own homes; after this,


the ladies diverted themselves by riding out, but were followed by a mob, pelted and abused with the most indecent Billingsgate language. These things happened at the time when some of the people of Plymouth, in conjunction with the Committee-men from other Towns in that County, aided and assisted by four dissenting Clergymen, were presenting to the General by their Memorial, the peaceable state they were in before the arrival of a party of Soldiers at Marshfield, in that County.

The Honourable Israel Williams, Esquire, one who was appointed of his Majesty' s new Council, but had declined the office through infirmity of body, was taken from his house by the mob in the night, carried several miles, put into a room with a fire, the chimney at the top, and doors of the room being closed, and kept there for many hours in the smoke, till his life was in danger, then carried home, after being forced to sign what they ordered, and a guard put over him to prevent his coming from home.

To recount the suffering of all from mobs, rioters, and trespassers, would take more time and paper than can be spared for that purpose. It is hoped the foregoing will be sufficient to put you upon the use of proper means and measures for giving relief to all that have been injured by such unlawful and wicked practices.

Boston, February 23, 1775.