III. To General Gage
The Delegates from the Several Provinces in North America, now assembled in Congress, beg Leave to address your Excellency upon Subjects of very great Importance, to your own Character to your own Happiness and Peace of Mind, as well to his Majestys Service, and to the Welfare of the Province over which you preside, and of all North America, perhaps of the whole British Empire.
Your Situation sir is very important, it is extremely critical. A Rupture between the Troops under your Command and the Inhabitants of the Province over which you preside, would produce Consequences of the most Serious Nature. A Wound which could never be healed! It would establish Animosities which no Time could eradicate.3
The Province of the Massachusetts Bay are by your own Acknowledgment, generally engaged in a Refusal to comply with the Act of Parliament for altering their Government. We can assure you sir, that this Refusal is agreable to the Sentiments of this whole Continent, and that the People ought and will be Supported in it, by the united Voice and Efforts of America.
We therefore intreat you sir, to desist from the further Fortifications of the Town, that the Jealousies and Apprehensions of the People, may be quieted and that they may not be driven to so desperate a step as that of quitting the Town and throwing themselves on the Charity of their Friends and Neighbours.4
We assure you Sir that whatever may be the opinions or Advice of your present Council the opposition of the people of the Town of Boston and Province of the Massachusetts Bay is a faction of>
Dft (Adams Papers); notation by CFA: “N.B. This appears to be a draught of a Letter under the authority of the resolution passed in the first Congress. Friday 7 October 1774. It was not used—see Journal. C.F.A.”
1. The letter sent to Gage by the congress, signed by Peyton Randolph, is dated 10 Oct. 1774 (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 1:60–61). For Gage’s reply see same, p. 114.
2. The draft is headed “To General Gage.”
3. The letter sent is more explicit; it mentions “the horrors of a civil war.”
4. The letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence to which the congress was responding had asked whether the citizens of Boston should move out of their town to avoid becoming hostages. In resolutions on 10 Oct. the congress urged “the utmost deliberation” before moving out was adopted, but recommended compensation from the other colonies if the Provincial Congress decided that removal was desirable (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 1:55–56, 59).
5. This canceled paragraph is in the hand of Samuel Adams.