Remonstrance Presented by the Selectmen of Billerica to his Excellency Genereal Gage, March 16, 1775
May it please your Excellency:
We, the Selectmen of the Town of Billerica, beg leave to remonstrate to your Excellency that, on the 8th of this instant, (March,) one Thomas Ditson, an inhabitant of said Town of Billerica, was tarred and feathered, and very much abused, by a party of His Majesty' s Forty-Seventh Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Nesbit. As guardians for said Town, and from a regard to the liberties and properties of its inhabitants, we cannot but resent this procedure. Your Excellency must be sensible that, this act is a high infraction on that personal security which every Englishman is entitled to, and without which his boasted Constitution is but a name.
It is sufficiently unhappy for us, that we find Troops quartered among us for the purpose of enforcing obedience to Acts of Parliament of Great Britain, in the highest sense iniquitous, cruel, and unjust. It is still more unhappy, if these Troops, instead of preserving the character which British Troops once had, should pour in additional insult, and be guilty of the most brutal outrages. We hope your Excellency will take some steps for accommodating this affair: for we assure you we cannot, consistent with our duty, pass this matter over. We have been told by your Excellency, that you never meant to disturb the intercourse between, the Town and the Country; confiding in this, we have passed and repassed in our usual manner. We therefore hope your Excellency will make it evident, by your conduct, that you are determined the intercourse shall be preserved, and we be not buoyed up with promises which, in the end, we unhappily find not to be depended upon. Lieutenant Colonel Nesbit is an Officer under your Excellency' s command; of you, therefore, we demand satisfaction for the insult committed by him; we think it is in your power. We beg your Excellency that the breach, now too wide between Great Britain, and this Province, may not, by such brutality of the Troops, still be increased. We assure you, Sir, it Always has been, and still is, our sentiment and prayer, that harmony may be restored, and that we may not be drove to the last distress of Nations.
But may it please your Excellency, we must tell you we are determined, If the innocent inhabitants of our Country Towns (for we must think this man innocent in this affair) must be interrupted by Soldiers in their lawful intercourse with the Town of Boston, and treated with the most brutish ferocity, we shall hereafter use a different style from that of petition and complaint.
If the grand bulwarks of our Constitution are thus violently torn away, and the powers on earth prove unfriendly to the cause of virtue, liberty, and humanity, we are still happy. We can appeal to Him who judgeth righteously, and to Him we cheerfully leave the event.