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delruction. But, when in addition to the repeated inroads made upon the rights and liberties of the colonists, and of those in this province in particular, we reflect on the late extraordinary measure in affixing ftipends, or salaries from the crown to the offices of the Judges of the superior Court of Judicature, making them not only intirely independent of the people, whose lives and fortunes are so much in their power, but absolutely dependant on the crown, (which may hereafter be worn by a tyrant) both for their appointment, and support, we cannot but be extremely alarmed at the mischievous tendency of this innovation; which, in our opinion, is directly contrary to the spirit of the British Conftitution, pregnant with innumerable evils, and hath a direct tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as men, as christians, and as subjects, entitled, by the royal charter, to all the rights, liberties and privileges of native Britons. Such being the critical state of this province, we think it our duty on this truly distreffing occafion, to ask you, what can withstand the attacks of mere power? what can preserve the liberties of the subject, when the barriers of the constitution are taken-away The town of Boston, consulting on the matter above-mentioned, thought proper to make application to the Governour by a committee; requesting his excellency to communicate such intelligence as he might have received, relative to the report of the Judges having their fupport independent of the grants of this province, a copy of which you have herewith in paper No. 1. * To which we received as answer the paper No. 2. † The town, on further deliberation, thought it adviseable to refer the mat. ter to the Great and General Affembly; and accordingly in a fecond address, as No. 3. † they requested his Excellency
• See Appendix, No. 1. + See Appendix, No. 2.
| See Appendix, No. 8.
that that the general court might convene at the time to which they then stood prorogued; to which the town received the reply as in No. 4. § in which we are acquainted with his intentions further 10 prorogue the General Assembly, which has fince taken place. Thus, gentlemen, it is evident his Excellency declines giving the least fatisfaction as to the matter in request. The affair being of public concernment, the town of Bosion thought it neceflary to consult with their Érethren throughout the province; and for this purpose appointed a committee, to communicate with our fellow-lufferers, respecting this recent instance of oppression, as well as the many other violations of our rights under which w have groaned for several years past—This committee have briefly recapitulated the sense we have of our invaluable rights as men, as christians, and as subjects; and wherein we conceive those rights to bave been violated, which we are desirous may be laid before your town, that the subject may be weighed as its importance requires, and the collected wisdom of the whole people, as far as poflible, be obtained, on a deliberation of such great and lasting moment as to involve in it the fate of all our posterity,-Great pains has been taken to persuade the British Administration to think, that the good people of this province in general are quiet and undisturbed at the late measures; and that any uneasiness that appears, arises only from a few factious, designing, and disaffected, men. This renders it the more necessary, that the fense of the people should be explicitly declared.-A free communication of your fentiments to this town, of our common danger, is earnestly follicited and will be gratefully received. If you concur with us in opinion, that our rights are properly stated, and that the feveral acts of Parliament, and Measures of Administration,
See Appendix, No. 4.
pointed pointed out by us, are subversive of these rights, you will doubtless think it of ihe utmost importance that we stand firm as one man, to recover and support them; and to take such measures, by directing our representatives, or otherwise, as your wisdom and fortitude shall dictate, to rescue from impending ruin our happy and glorious Constitution. But if it should be the general voice of this province that the rights, as we have stated them, do not belong to us; or, that the several measures of administration in the British Court, are no violations of these rights ; or, that, if they are thus violated or infringed, they are not worth contendingfor, or resolutely maintaining ;
-hould this be the general voice of the province, we must be resigned to our wretched fate; but shall for ever lament the extinction of that generous ardour for civil and religious liberty, which, in thc face of every danger, and even death itself, induced our fathers to forsake the busom of their Native Country, and begin a settlement on bare creation. But we trust this cannot be the case : We are sure your wisdom, your regard to yourselves and the rising generation, cannot fuffer you to doze, or fit supinely indifferent, on the brink of destruction, while the iron hand of oppression is daily tearing the choicest-fruit from the fair tree of liberty, planted by our worthy predeceffors, at the expence of their treasure, and abundantly watered with their blood. It is an observation of an eminent patriot, that a people long inured to hardships, lose by degrees the very notions of liberty; they look upon themselves, as creatures at mercy,' and that all impofitions, laid-on by fuperior hands, are legal and obligatory.---But, thank Heaven, this is not yet verified in America! We have yet some share of public virtue remaining: We are not afraid of poverty, but disdain flavery.—The fate of nations is so precarious, and revolutions in states fo'often take place at an unexpected moment, when the hand
of power, by fraud or flattery, has secured every avenue of retreat, and the minds of the subje& debased to its purpose, that it becomes every well-wisher to his country, while it has any remains of freedom, to keep an cagle-eye upon every innovation and stretch of power, in those that have the rule over us. A recent instance of this we have in the late revolutions in Sweden; by which the prince, once subje& to the laws of the state, has been able of a sudden, to declare himself an absolute monarch. The Swedes were once a free, martial and valiant people: Their minds are now fo debased, that they even rejoice at being fubject to the caprice and arbitrary power of a tyrant, and kiss their chains. It makes us shudder to think, the late measures of administration may be productive of the like catastrophe; which Heaven forbid! Let us confider, Brethren, we are struggling for our best birth-rights and inheritance ; which, being infringed, render all our blessings precarious in their enjoyment, and consequently trifling in their value. Let us disappoint the men, who are railng themselves on the ruin of this country. Let us covince every invader of our freedom, that we will be as free as the conftitution our fathers recognized, will justify.
The foregoing Report was twice read distinctly, and amended in
the meeting. And then the question was put, Whether the same be accepted? And passed in the affirmative, Nem. CoR.
A true Copy,
WILLIAM COOPER, Town-Clerk.
Upon a motion made, Voted, that the foregoing proceed. ings be attested by the Towa-Clerk, and printed in a pamphlet; and that the committee be desired to dispose of Six Hundred Copies thereof to the Select-men of the towns
in the province, and such other gentlemen as they shall think fit.
Voted, that the Town-Clerk be directed to fign the foregoing Letter, and forward as many of the same to the Selecta men of each town in this province, as the committee shall judge proper, and direct.
A true Copy,
WILLIAM COOPER, Town-Clerk.