The reports of Shays, and Shattuck coming, at the head of thousands to stop the Court, grow more rare. It is now almost too late to spread any more stories of that kind. Shattuck instead of attacking, will have to defend himself, for, about 150 young volunteers, from Boston, under the command of Coll. Hitchborn1 went through here this forenoon, on horseback, and are gone, with the design to seize two or three of the ring leaders of the mob, and bring them down to Boston. The Roxbury artillery company, under Major Spooner: went likewise from here in the evening. They would not say, which way they were going, but it is supposed they have the intention of seizing Wheeler2 and Smith,3 two of the leaders in the County of Worcester. There seems to be a small spark of patriotism, still extant; it is to be hoped, that it will be fanned, and kindled by danger, but not smothered by sedition. A republic must very frequently be called back to the principles of its government, and so long as it has sufficient virtue for that, its constitution will stand firm.
1. Benjamin Hichborn was called on 29 Nov. to lead a corps of cavalry volunteers into northern Middlesex co. against the insurgents (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873- . description ends , 17:36–44).
2. Capt. Adam Wheeler, of Hubbardston, who with about one hundred men had kept the Worcester courts from meeting in September and again in November (Ellery B. Crane, “Shays’ Rebellion,” Worcester Society of Antiquity, Procs. . . . For the Year 1881, p. 72–73, 81–82).
3. JQA may be referring to Nathan Smith of Shirley, Middlesex co., who was with Wheeler on 12 Sept. when the insurgents kept the Middlesex courts from opening at Concord (same, p. 74–76).