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Letter from Nathaniel Appleton to Josiah Quincy



Boston, November 15, 1774.

SIR: When I parted from you I fully intended to have written you before this time; be assured I have not been unmindful of you, but publick and private business has entirely engrossed my time.

Your leaving this country so privately has been matter of general speculation. Some say you went away through fear; others that you went to make your peace; others that you went charged with important papers from the Continental Congress; many conjectured you were gone to Holland; upon the whole, it was a nine days' wonder. Since you left us there has been a Provincial Congress, which consisted of about two hundred and fifty members, in which matters of the greatest importance were debated. All their proceedings which I have liberty to communicate, you will see in the prints.

The Town continues to meet from time to time, without molestation. There have been frequent affrays between the Inhabitants and Soldiers, which have generally ended to the mortification of the latter. The Selectmen and Town Committees have frequent interviews with the General; he declares he has no expectations that this people will ever submit to the late Acts; he converses more freely with the inhabitants than Hutchinson did, on matters of a publick nature, though we are not off our guard, knowing that it is the part of a General to deceive. The inhabitants persisted in refusing to build Barracks for the Soldiers, but have in some measure assisted them in refitting old houses and stores. The Autumn has been remarkably moderate, so that the Soldiers are but now entering their Winter quarters. The main guard is kept at George Erving' s Warehouse, in King street. Almost the whole Soldiery in America are now collected in this Town. The new erected Fortifications on the Neck are laughed at by our old Louisbourg Soldiers, as mud-walls in comparison with what they have subdued; and, were it necessary, they would regard them no more than a beaverdam.

The spirit of the inhabitants, both in Town and Country, is as firm as ever; determined to defend their rights to the utmost. The Continental Congress broke up the 26th ultimo, and our Members all returned safe last Wednesday evening. The bells rang the whole evening. An extract of their proceedings you will doubtless have before this reaches you. It is the universal voice of this people that they will sacredly observe the injunctions and recommendations of the Grand Congress. The Provincial Congress meet by adjournment the 23d instant. The neighbouring Towns and Colonies continue to send in their generous donations to the poor of this Town. We have our Woollen Manufactory in good forwardness, having completed a considerable quantity of baizes; and should it be necessary we see that we could easily carry on any branch of Woollen or Linen Manufacture.

We have great expectations from your abilities and attachment to the rights and liberties of your country. We are sure you will not be an idle spectator, but will, with your usual spirit, be an active advocate for truth and justice, which is all we wish to take place in our present unhappy disputes with Great Britain.

It is said the Ministry cannot recede, now they have gone so far. I wish they would consult the good Bishop of St˙ Asaph, who I am sure could put them into an honourable way.

Mr˙ Molineux died, after a short illness, about three weeks past. All friends that I recollect are well. I presume you will receive several letters from your friends by this opportunity, which will doubtless be more entertaining than I can be.

Depending upon a line from you as soon as your leisure will permit, I conclude at present, with great respect, your sincere friend and humble servant,