From William Tudor
Boston Apl. 4th. 1775
The interesting Advices we rec’d here on Sunday, and which the Papers will acquaint You, have had almost as great an Effect on People in this Town, as the Arrival of the Port Bill produc’d. The Women are terrify’d by the Fears of Blood and Carnage. The Merchants are dispirited, by the Expectation of Lord North’s Bill for the Prevention of the Newfoundland Fishery; and the Trading to any Parts but G. Britain or English W. Indies.1 They now begin to think England can do more easily without Us, than we at first Thought. What Cowards does Interest make men! Thank God our Salvation is not dependent On the Virtue of Merchants, if it was—our Perdition would be unadvoidable.
Americans may now shew whether they deserve Freedom, by discovering Resolution and to prefer Poverty to Slavery.
I hope The Gloom which at present prevails will go off in a Day or two, as it did after first June last.2 And the Spirit of Liberty, Glory, Honour, Virtue succeed, and glow with tenfold Warmth.
Your very hum. Servt.,
RC (Adams Papers).
1. News that arrived at Marblehead from Falmouth on 2 April caused a sensation. Besides the two items that Tudor mentions, word came that the King was promising to take all necessary action against the colonies to bring them into compliance with the law, that the colonies were considered in rebellion, and that the naval and land forces deployed in America were going to be increased (Boston Evening-Post, 3, 10 April 1775). The New England Restraining Act was in fact signed into law on 30 March, and the law applying restraints outside New England, on 13 April (Bernhard Knollenberg, Growth of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1975, p. 171, 424).
Exclusion of New England ships from the Newfoundland Banks was to begin 21 July. Beginning 1 July and 1 Sept. respectively New England exports could go only to the British Isles or the British West Indies, and imports could come only from the same places. The determination to send more forces and the decision to declare Massachusetts in rebellion had been made in January and February (same, p. 171, 174, 424). News of these measures caused the Second Provincial Congress to postpone its adjournment (James Warren to Mercy Warren, 6 April, Warren-Adams Letters description begins Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence among John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren (Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, vols. 72–73), Boston, 1917–1925; 2 vols. description ends , 1:44–46; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. description begins William Lincoln, ed., The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, and of the Committee of Safety, Boston, 1838. description ends , p. 117).
2. The date the Boston Port Act had gone into effect.
3. William Collins, “Ode, Written in the Beginning of the Year 1746,” a favorite of AA’s (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 1:223–224, note 3).