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APPENDIX. VOLUME I.
Boston, Nov. 6, 1772. I received with pleasure your letter of the second instant. I was sure you could not but be of opinion that unanimity, in the measures taken by the friends of the country, is of the utmost importance. I must, with great deference to your judgment think, that even in our wretched state, the mode of petitioning the governor will have a good effect. I was aware that his answers would be in the same high tone in which we find them expressed; yet our requests have been so reasonable, that in refusing to comply with them, he must have put himself in the wrong, in the opinion of every honest and sensible man; the consequence of which will be, that such measures as the people may determine upon to save themselves, if rational and manly, will be the more reconcilcable even to cautious minds, and thus we may expect that unanimity which we wish for.
I have the satisfaction of enclosing the last proceedings of our townmeeting, in which I think you will perceive a coincidence with your own judgment, in a plan concerted for the whole to act upon. Our timid sort of people are disconcerted, when they are positively told that the sentiments of the country are different from those of the city: therefore a free communication with each town will serve to ascertain this matter; and when once it appears beyond contradiction, that we are united in sentiments, there will be a confidence in each other, and a plan of opposition will be easily formed, and executed with spirit. In such a case (to return, with entire approbation, your own language,) those “who have virtue enough to oppose the wicked designs of the great, will have this for their boast, that they have struggled for and with an honest people."
I was at forst of your opinion, that "it would be most proper for a committee from Boston, united with committees from two o three other towns, to wait on the jodges,” &c., and I mentioned it to several gentlemen of tbe neigbbooring towns, who approved of it, bat so much caution prevails, that they suspected whether their respective towns would stir, till Boston bad given the lead; (a needless compliment to the capital.) This turned our thoughts to the measures taken by the town, and led me to conceive hopes, that as the superior court would be soon sitting in Salem, Marblehead and other towns in that county would come into such a proposal.
I take notice of what you observe, “ that our whole dependence as a people seems to be on our own wisdom and valour,” in which I fully agree with you, It puts me in mind of a letter I received not long ago, from a friend of mine of some note, in London, wherein he says, u your whole dependence, under God, is upon your own virtue (valour.) I know of no noblemen in this kingdom, who care any thing about you, except lords Chatham and Shelburne, and you would do well to be watchful even of them.”
I earnestly wish that the inhabitants of Marblehead and other towns would severally meet, and if they see cause, among other measures second this town, and appoint a committee to be ready to communicate with ours. This would at once discover an union of sentiments thus far, and have its influence on other towns. It would at least show that Boston is not wholly deserted, and might prevent “its falling a sacrifice to the rage or ridicule of our (common) enemies.”
I shall be pleased with your further sentiments, and am, in strict truth,
Sir, your affectionate friend,
Letter from Samuel Adams to Elbridge Gerry.
Philadelphia, Jan. 2, 1776. Your very acceptable letter of the 13th of December is now before me. Our opinions of the necessity of keeping the military power under the direction and control of the legislative, I always thought were alike. It was far from my intention in my letter to you on the subject, to attempt the correcting any imagined error in your judgment, but rather shortly to express my own apprehensions at this time, when it is become necessary to tolerate that power, which is always formidable, and has so often proved fatal to the liberties of mankind.
It gives me great satisfaction to be informed, that the members of the house of representatives are possessed of so warm a spirit of patriotism, as that “an enemy to America may as well attempt to scale the regions of bliss, as to insinuate himself into their favour.” Whatever kind of men may be denominated enemies to their country, certainly he is a very injudicious friend to it, who gives his suffrage for any man to fill a public office, merely because he is rich; and yet you tell me there are recent instances of this in our government. I confess it mortifies me greatly. The giving such a preference to riches is both dishonourable and dangerous to a government. It is indeed equally dangerous to promote a man to a place of public trust only because he wants bread, but I think it is not so dishonourable; for men may be influenced to the latter from the feelings of humanity, but the other argues a base, degenerate, servile temper of mind. I hope our country will never see the time, when either riches or the want of them will be the leading considerations in the choice of public officers. Whenever riches shall be deemed a necessary qualification, ambition as well as avarice will prompt men most ardently to thirst for them, and it will be commonly said, as in ancient times of degeneracy,
Quærenda pecunia primum est,
“Get money, money still,
I am greatly honoured, if my late letter has been acceptable to the house. I hope the militia bill to which that letter referred, is completed to the satisfaction of both houses of the assembly.
The account you give me of the success our people meet with in the manufacture of salt-petre is highly pleasing to me. I procured of a gentleman in the colony of New York, the plan of a powder-mill, which I lately sent to Mr. Revere. I hope it may be of some use.
I have time at present only to request you to write to me by the post, and to assure you that I am
Your affectionate friend,
SAMUEL ADAMS. Elbridge Gerry, Esq.
Letter from Samuel Adams to Richard Henry Lee.
Philadelphia, June 29, 1777. On Wednesday last, the enemy, re-enforced as it is said with marines, marched from Amboy, through a road between Brunswick and Elizabethtown, to a place called Westfield, about ten miles, with a design, as it is supposed, to cut off our light troops, and bring on a general battle, or to take possession of the highland back of Middlebrook, for which last purpose, Westfield was the most convenient route; and it was, also, a well chosen spot from whence to make a safe retreat, in case he should fail of gaining his point. On this march, they fell in with general Maxwell, who thought it prudent to retreat to our main army, then at Quibbletown, from whence general Washington made a hasty march to his former station, and frustrated the sup posed design of the enemy. I have given you a very general narrative of the different situations and movements of the two armies, without descending to the particulars, because we have not, as yet, an authentic account, and one cannot depend upon the many stories that are told. I think, I may assure you, that our army is in high spirits, and is daily growing more respectable in point of numbers. We are going on, within doors, with tardiness enough; a thouasnd little matters too often thurst out greater ones; a kind of fatality still prevents our proceeding a step in the important affairs of confederation. Yesterday, and the day before, were wholly spent in passing resolutions to gratify New York, or, as they say, to prevent a civil war between that state and the green mountain men, a matter which it is not worth your while to have explained to you. Monsieur D'Coudray's affair is still unsettled. The French engineers have arrived; they are said to be very clever, but disdain to be commanded by D'Coudray. The commissioner, D---n, continues to send us French, German, and Prussian officers, with authenticated conventions, and strong recommendations. The military science, for your comfort, will make rapid progress in America; our sons and nephews will be provided for in the army, and a long and moderate war will be their happy portion ; but who, my friend, would not wish for peace. May I live to see the public liberty restored, and the safety of our dear country secured. I should then think I had enjoyed enough, and bid this world adieu.
Boston, August 29, 1789. The power of removing federal officers at the pleasure of the president, is to be found in the constitution, or it is not; if it is, what need was there of an act or decision of congress, to authorize it? but if it is not, could congress give so important a power? Liberty-this is the great object of their state governments, and has not the federal constitution the same object in view? If therefore a doubt arises respecting the exercise of any power, no construction, I conceive, should militate with the main design, or object of the charter. If there is a total silence in the constitution, is it not natural to conclude that an officer, holding during pleasure, is removable by the same power that appointed him, whether vested in a single person, or a joint number? I am sensible, it is said, that a single person, being amenable for his exercise of power, will use the utmost circumspection; this may be true, but may not this idea be carried too far in practice? May not some powers vested in a single man, give him such weight and influence, as to render any restraint from his feeling himself amenable, of little or no effect? If this power, lodged in the discretion of a single person, will afford a greater security against corruption, because of his amenability, why should not the power of appointing, as well as of removing officers, be given to him? In the one case, the gracious hand may be held forth in the other, the threatening rod, and both may be used for improper purposes. In England,“ the king can do no wrong," is a maxim; his ministers are made accountable for him; and how often have corrupt ministers and counsellors been brought to the block for follies and crimes committed by their royal masters, who can do no wrong? and it may also be asked, how often such ministers and counsellors have found means to get themselves screened from punishment, through the influence of their masters, by procuring parliamentary sanctions to such crimes and follies? But in the removal of officers, the president has not a constitutional council, he must therefore be solely accountable. I need not tell you, who have known so thoroughly the sentiments of my heart, that I have always had a very high esteem for the late commander in chief of our armies; and I now most sincerely believe, that while president Washington continues in the chair, he will be able to give to all good men, a satisfactory reason for every instance of his public conduct. I feel myself constrained, contrary to my usual manner, to make professions of sincerity on this occasion, because Dr. Gorden in his History of the Revolution, among many