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Samuel Swift to Thomas Cushing, 2 October 1774

Samuel Swift to Thomas Cushing

Octr. 2d 1774

Gentn. yr Families are well1

Since I wrote you, Jealousies seem to rise higher between the People and the Army. It has been Rumour’d they were about to Fortifie Dorchester neck, which if they Attempt I am well satisfyd the people will Rise, but at Present that Report Seems to Subside. There was a plan of their intended Operations droped and which was made publick. I have it not by me but the Substance that Occurs, was to fortifie Fort and Bacon [Beacon] hills with the Numbers Requisite on each place, also the numbers the Barracks and places already taken up &c would Contain &c. &c. Our Artificers have been taken off from their Barrack building &c,2 and Straw prohibited to the Great dislike of the Army. They cannot do without Straw. Fluxes or Contagious distempers possibly may be the Consequence; and Consideratis Considerandis would it not be best to have the Soldiers all together if we could, which would prevent innumerable disturbances, &c &c.3 The Advice of the Congress herein would be very Gratefully Recd, as I think one of our Sister Colonies first put us upon the Scent. Perhaps they might not think of all our difficulties. We are a poor distresed, Garisoned Town. The Man of War in your Ferry way will not Suffer provisions to pass the Ferry as you have undoubtedly heard; Mr. Hancock has had an interview with his Excellcy.4 and in a day or two we expect a Conference with him. Mr [Messrs.] Professor Winthrop Bowdoin, Warren &c have been mentioned tis hoped Great Good will come of it, as they are to Speak freely &c which Conference I percieve is not to the disliking of the Governor. Doubtless great defference will be had and paid to any thing which may pass in Congress which may happen also to be touchd upon at this intended Conference, for it is a Datum to Stand Religiously to every Determination of the Congress. You are the Topick of all Conversation and where a certain Great Personage who, Glories in being born a—is prayed for once, you are 100 times. Under God you are our Deus et Tutamen, our eyes are upon you for Good. May God direct prosper and Succeed your Undertaking. Don’t fail writing. The Committee of Safety by me pay their best Regards to you. 1640 Bush, Wheat and 2 lbs Flour from Quabeck [Quebec] is Arivd. The Revd. Mr. Adams of Roxbury desires to present his most Grateful Respects to you, also Frank Johonnot Esqr. Please to let me know at first Opportunity the time of your Return, as we shall wait upon and dine with you at Watertown Bridge. You will not fail giving of me notice. I want to see you all, but first do your work then adjourn. We were Greatly dismay’d when the News of the Glorious Farmers5 being made one of the Congress proved abortive; he would have done you Great honour as well as Render’d the Continent Great and Signal Service; however, your Omiting of him bro’t that text to my mind Wisdom is not always to the Wise. Wait upon him, often. Yours affectionatly,

Sam Swift6

P.S. Advise also as to the Straw, which they are now in want of. I could Sincerely Wish you would write the Sentiments of the Congress Relative to the Barrak’s being made by our Carpenters, so Should the Soldiers keep together &c and not distract the Town, or whether as this is to be a Garrison’d town whether it would not be deemed an Acquiescence.

RC (MHi:Belknap Papers, 161.A, p. 78); addressed: “On His Majesty’s Service To the Honble Thomas Cushing Esqr at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Saml Swift.”

1Although Swift’s letter is addressed solely to Cushing the salutation makes plain that he is writing to the whole Massachusetts delegation.

2Following the example of New York and fearing that continued acquiescence in workmen’s building barracks for soldiers would give the province a bad name, “country people” approached the Boston Committee of Correspondence, which voted on 24 Sept. that such work should be stopped (John Andrews to William Barrell, 25 Sept., MHS, Procs. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 1st ser., 8 [1864–1865]:367–368).

3When Gage protested to the Boston selectmen, they presumably replied that they could not influence the country, but that themselves preferred that all the soldiers be kept together if they had to be in the town (same description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , p. 368; but see Boston Record Commissioners, 23d Report description begins City of Boston, Record Commissioners, Reports, Boston, 1876–1909; 39 vols. description ends , p. 229).

4On 26 Sept., Gage conferred with Hancock, seeking to get him to use his influence with the Committee of Correspondence to persuade it to change its vote. Hancock refused, citing the continued prohibition of trade even within the harbor of Boston (John Andrews to William Parrell, 26 Sept., MHS, Procs. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 1st ser., 8 [1864–1865]:368; Herbert S. Allan, John Hancock, N.Y., 1948, p. 164).

5John Dickinson, author of the very popular The Letters from a Pennsylvania farmer. See Adams’d Service in the Congress, 5 Sept. – 26 Oct. 1774, No. I, note 1, above.

6Samuel Swift (1715–1775) was a member of the Sons of Liberty and of the Committee of Correspondence. A lawyer, he was well known to John Adams, who had spent a number of evenings with him and others (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 , 9:580–583; JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , passim).

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