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The Letters of Novanglus: 23 January–April 1775

From: Adams Papers | Papers of John Adams | Volume 2 | The Letters of Novanglus: 23 January–April 1775

A Writer, under the signature of Massachusettensis, has addressed you, in a series of papers, on the great national subject of the present quarrel between the British administration and the colonies. As I have not in my possession, more than one of his Essays, and that is in the Gazette of December 26, I will take the liberty, in the spirit of candor and decency, to bespeak your attention,...
I have heretofore intimated my intention, of pursuing the Tories, through all their dark intrigues, and wicked machinations; and to shew the rise, and progress of their schemes for enslaving this country. The honour of inventing and contriving these measures, is not their due. They have been but servile copyers of the designs of Andross, Randolph, Dudley, and other champions of their cause...
The history of the Tories, begun in my last, will be interrupted for some time: but it shall be reassumed, and minutely related, in some future papers. Massachusettensis, who shall now be pursued, in his own serpentine path, in his first paper, complains, that the press is not free, that a party has gained the ascendency so far as to become the licencers of it; by playing off the resentment of...
Massachusettensis, whose pen can wheedle with the tongue of king Richard the third, in his first paper, threatens you with the vengeance of Great-Britain, and assures you that if she had no authority over you, yet she would support her claims by her fleets and armies, Canadians and Indians. In his next he alters his tone, and sooths you with the generosity, justice and humanity, of the nation....
We are at length arrived at the paper, on which I made a few strictures, some weeks ago: these I shall not repeat, but proceed to consider the other part of it. We are told “It is an universal truth, that he that would excite a rebellion, is at heart, as great a tyrant as ever weilded the iron rod of oppression.” Be it so: We are not exciting a rebellion. Opposition, nay open, avowed...
Such events as the resistance to the stamp act, and to the tea act, particularly the destruction of that which was sent by the ministry in the name of the East India Company, have ever been cautiously spoken of by the Whigs, because they knew the delicacy of the subject, and they lived in continual hopes of a speedy restoration of liberty and peace: But we are now thrown into a situation,...
Our rhetorical magician, in his paper of January the 9th continues to wheedle. “You want nothing but to know the true state of facts, to rectify whatever is amiss.” He becomes an advocate for the poor of Boston! Is for making great allowance for the whigs. “The whigs are too valuable a part of the community to lose. He would not draw down the vengeance of Great Britain. He shall become an...
It has been often observed by me, and it cannot be too often repeated, that Colonization is Casus omissus at common law. There is no such title known in that law. By common law, I mean that system of customs, written and unwritten, which was known and in force in England, in the time of king Richard the first. This continued to be the case, down to the reign of Elizabeth and king James the...
Wales was a little portion of the island of Great-Britain, which the Saxons were never able to conquer. The Britons had reserved this tract of land to themselves and subsisted wholly by pasturage, among their mountains. Their princes however, during the Norman period, and untill the reign of king Edward the first, did homage to the crown of England, as their feudal sovereign, in the same...
Massachusettensis, in some of his writings has advanced, that our allegiance is due to the political capacity of the King, and therefore involves in it obedience to the British parliament. Governor Hutchinson in his memorable speech laid down the same position. I have already shewn from the case of Wales, that this position is groundless—and that allegiance was due from the Welch to the King,...