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Address to the worthy Inhabitants of the Town of Boston



Rhode Island, July 21, 1774.

MY DEAR BRETHREN: The manly firmness with which you sustain every kind of Ministerial abuse, injury, and oppression, and support the glorious cause of liberty, reflects the highest honour upon the town. The few, very few amongst you, who have adopted the principles of slavery, serve, like the shade in a picture, to exhibit your virtues in a more striking point of light. Unhappy men, I sincerely pity them, that they should have so little sense of the dignity of human nature; so little sense of their duty to God, as to wish to reduce rational beings, formed after his divine image, to a state of brutish or worse than brutish servitude; that they should be so dead to all the feelings of humanity, publick spirit; and universal benevolence, as to prefer the sordid pleasure of being upper slaves to foreign tyrants, and under them tyrannizing over their country, to the God-like satisfaction of saving that country. How wretchedly these men mistake happiness! All the riches and honour in the world cannot give any pleasure in the least degree equal to the sincere heart-felt joy which the patriot feels in the, consciousness of having supported the dignity, the freedom, and happiness of his country.

The attempt made by these men to annihilate your Committee of Correspondence was very natural. The robber does not wish to see our property entirely secured. An enemy, about to invade a foreign country, does not wish to see the coast well guarded and the country universally alarmed. Upon the same principles these men wish the dissolution of the Committee. They know that a design was formed to rob the Americans of their property; they hoped to share largely in the general plunder; but they now see that by the vigilance, wisdom, and fidelity, of the several Committees of Correspondence, the people are universally apprized of their danger, and will soon enter into such measures for the common security as will infallibly blast all their unjust expectations; and this is the true source of all the abuse thrown upon your Committee. But Oh, ye worthy few! continue to treat all their attempts with the neglect which they deserve. Thus the generous mastiff looks down with pity and contempt upon the little noisy, impertinent curs, which bark at him as he walks the streets. Your faithful services have endeared you to the wise and good in every Colony. Continue your indefatigable labours in the common cause, and you will soon see the happy success of them in the salvation of your country.

The tools of power, and their connections, I imagine, are daily persuading you, my brethren, to submit to the Ministry. They pretend to pity your distresses, and assure you that the only way for you to get relief, is the making compensation for the tea, and submitting to the Revenue Acts. But did ever a man preserve his money by delivering up his purse to the highwayman who dared to demand it? Is it the way to preserve life, to throw away our arms and present our naked bosoms to the murderer' s sword?

The town of Boston has been resembled to Carthage and threatened with the same fate by a Member of Parliament. The execution of the sentence is already begun. It may not be amiss, then, to turn to the history of that people. There had been two long and very bloody wars between Rome and that city. The Romans were victorious. But the Carthagenians having, in a few years, almost recovered their former state of wealth and power, the Romans looked upon them with a jealous eye, and took every opportunity, (unless by an open war,) to depress them. The Carthagenians, dreading a war, and hoping, by a proper submission, to conciliate the Roman affection, sent Ambassadors to Rome, with orders to declare that they entirely abandoned themselves, and all they possessed, to the discretion of the Romans. The Senate of Rome, in return, granted them their liberty; the exercise of their


own laws, all their territories and possessions, as private persons, or as a Republick, on condition that, in thirty days, they should send three hundred hostages to Lilybaeum, and do what the Consuls should order them. This cruel order was submitted to. The hostages were immediately sent. They were the flower and hopes of the most noble families of Carthage. Upon their departure nothing was heard but the most dismal cries and groans; the whole city was in tears; and the mothers of these devoted youth tore their hair and beat their breasts in all the agonies of grief and despair. They fastened their arms around their lovely offspring, and could not be separated from them but by force. This cruel sacrifice, I should think, would have melted the Romans into compassion; but it had no such effect. Ambition and tyranny are incapable of any humane or tender feeling. The Deputies, therefore, attended the Roman camp, and told the Consuls they were come in the name of the Senate of Carthage, to receive their orders, which they were ready to obey in all things. The Consul praised their good disposition and ready obedience, and ordered them to deliver up all their arms. This fatal order was complied with, and an infinite number of weapons of all kinds, and a fine fleet of ships, accordingly delivered up. Would any thing less than the entire destruction of Carthage have satisfied the Romans, they would now have been perfectly content. They had wholly disarmed the Carthagenians, and got all the noble youth hostages, as a security for their quiet submission; but all this did not satisfy them. The Consul sternly told them that the Senate of Rome had determined to destroy Carthage; that they must quit their city and remove to some other part of their territory, four leagues from the sea. This they refused to do. The Romans therefore attacked their city, which, notwithstanding its defenceless state, bravely sustained a most terrible siege three whole years. Had the Carthagenians preserved their youth, the navy, and their arms; had they united their neighbouring nations against the common oppressor, and immediately prepared for their defence, they might, perhaps, have defeated the Romans, and preserved their city entirely, or at least for many years longer. But they, by imprudent submissions, put themselves wholly in the power of the enemy; and the consequences were, the miserable death of several hundred thousand people, and the utter destruction of their city! Take warning, my dear countrymen, by this terrible example.

What would the Minister have, if not the good of the Nation? You have invariably promoted it from the first foundation of the Colony. In war you have bravely defended yourselves and the neighbouring Colonies. You have taken a glorious part in several foreign expeditions. You have even, by your conquests, given peace to Europe. Besides these important advantages, the Nation has received millions of the profits of your commerce; every thing more than a bare subsistence, which you could gather from all quarters of the globe, being by you remitted to Great Britain for her manufactures. What would he have more? He tells you plainly that your liberty, your lives, and property, must be laid at his feet. But, my brethren, suffer every thing, even the horrours of civil war, sooner than make the vile submission. Should you agree to pay for the tea, something more would be demanded. Should that be complied with, something further would still be demanded. In short, nothing will satisfy him but destroying the town, or reducing it to a poor fishing village. A plan hath been formed and steadily pursued, for changing the free Constitution of Britain into an absolute Monarchy. Luxury, bribery, and corruption, have given the Minister the absolute command of England and Ireland. The only remaining obstacle to his unlimited power, is the brave resistance made by the Americans. You are among the first of those Sons of Freedom, who have bravely stemmed the torrent of tyranny. You have penetrated and exposed the mischievous designs of the Ministry. You have pointed out proper measures to defeat those execrable designs, and entered into those measures with spirit. This, and not the destruction of the tea, hath brought down the vengeance of the Ministry upon you. They have left you no alternative, but to give up your liberties, and hold your lives and property as slaves, by their mere arbitrary will and pleasure; or nobly determine to maintain those just rights and privileges, which, by the laws of God and your country, you are entitled to.


You will never hesitate one moment. I am sure, my generous countrymen, you were born and nurtured in the arms of Freedom. You were never yet conquered by any power on earth. You have vast and sure resources. The Colonies, now heartily united, consider your cause as their own. They will soon enter into spirited and effectual measures for your relief. A great part of the people of England and Ireland will support you; and the distress in which the Nation will soon be involved, by the ill conduct of the Minister, will soon compel him to change his measures, or sink under the resentment of an injured people. Spurn, therefore, from your presence and councils forever, those who dare to propose the giving up our liberties; continue bravely to bear up under your present distress; persevere in the glorious cause in which we are engaged: it is the cause of our King, our country, and of God himself. He conducted your fathers to America; planted and preserved them in the wilderness, that they might worship him in a manner acceptable to him. You have always maintained the publick (and I hope private) worship of God. You and almost all America have lately addressed him in a most solemn manner. He hath often delivered us when all human help failed. Witness the destruction of the French fleet at Chebucta. He is the same gracious and all-powerful Being. Let us, my brethren, put our trust in him; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Let the priests and ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar; and let them and all of us, most devoutly, say, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach;" and we may rely upon it that he will, in due time, deliver us from all our enemies, and continue us a great, a free, and a happy people.