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Extract of a Letter to Mr. Rivington, in New-York, Dated Boston, March 9, 1775



Last Monday the annual Oration was pronounced in the old South Meeting; there was a very numerous audience. Some gentlemen of the Army placed themselves on the top of the pulpit stairs. In the pulpit were Warren, the orator of the day, Hancock, Adams, Church, &c˙ &c. I had been informed that the Military were determined not to suffer the least expression that had a tendency to reflect on the King or Royal family to pass with impunity; of course, my attention was directed to their conduct on the critical occasion. The Republican was, I fancy, apprehensive of this, for through the whole oration there was an affectation of loyalty and veneration for the King and the Brunswick line; it was, however, replete with invective, inflammatory expressions, denials of Parliamentary claim, abuse of Ministry, &c˙, &c. The officers frequently interrupted Warren by laughing loudly at the most ludicrous parts, and coughing and hemming at the most seditious, to the great discontent of the devoted citizens. The oration, however, was finished; and it was afterwards moved by Adams that an orator should be named for the ensuing fifth of March, to commemorate "the bloody and horrid massacre, perpetrated by a party of soldiers under the command of Captain T˙ Preston,"At this the officers could no longer contain themselves, but exclaimed, fie, shame! and, fie, shame! was echoed by all the Navy and Military in the place; this caused a violent confusion, and in an instant the windows were thrown open, and the affrighted Yankees jumped out by fifties, so that in a few minutes we should have had an empty house; in the meantime, a very genteel, sensible officer, dressed in gold-lace regimentals, with blue lapels, moved with indignation at the insult offered the Army, since Captain Preston had been fairly tried and most honourably acquitted by a Boston Jury, advanced to Hancock and Adams, and spoke his sentiments to them in plain English; the latter told the officer he knew him, and would settle the matter with the General; the man of honour replied, "you and I must settle it first." At this the demagogue turned pale and waived the discourse. It is said this gallant gentleman' s life is threatened, but I fancy there is little danger. The Town was perfectly quiet all night; no exhibition or ringing of bells; they knew better.

You will soon have in New-York the Asia, a fine Sixty-four, commanded by an excellent seaman, son of your old friend Sir George Vandeput.