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Samuel Adams to James Otis



Philadelphia, November 23, 1775.

SIR: Having very maturely considered your letter of the 11th of November, written in the name and by order of the honourable the Council of Massachusetts-Bay, and directed to the Delegates of that Colony, I beg leave to offer it as my opinion, that the resolve of Congress, passed on the 9th of July last, must be superseded by the subsequent resolve of the 8th of July following, so far as they appear to militate with each other. By the last of these resolves, the Conventions or Assemblies of the several Colonies, annually elective, are, at their discretion, either to adopt the method therein pointed out, for the regulation of their militia, either in whole or in part, or to continue their former regulations, as they, on consideration of all circumstances, shall think fit. It therefore seems to me manifest that the honourable Council are under no restraint from yielding to the honourable House a voice with them in the choice of the militia officers in the Colony. I am prevailed upon to believe that this is the sense of the Congress, because they have lately recommended it to the Colony of New-Hampshire to set up and exercise Government in such form as they shall judge to be most conducive to the promotion of peace and good order among themselves, without laying them under restrictions of any kind.

As the honourable Board have been pleased to direct us to give our opinions, with or without consulting our brethren of the Congress, I hope I shall be justified, after having conferred with my colleagues on the subject, in declining, on my part, to have the matter laid before Congress, for reasons which were of weight in my mind; and, indeed, I am of opinion that the Congress would not choose to take any order of that kind, they having divers times of late declined to determine on matters which concerned the internal police of individuals of the United Colonies. It is my most ardent wish that a cordial agreement between the two Houses may ever subsist, more especially in the establishment of the rnilitia, upon which the safety of the Colony so greatly depends.

I am, with all due regards to the honourable Council, Sir, your most humble servant,