John Thaxter to John Adams
Boston June 4th. 1777
Last Monday Dr. Mather Byles was tried by Virtue of a late Act of this State, and found by the Jury so inimical, as to render his residence in the State dangerous to the Liberties thereof. He is to be sent to some quarter, where his local Situation will deprive him of the power to injure the State.1
Tomorrow some others are to have their Trial—they have engaged Attornies.
The Inferior Court (now sitting) has no great Business to do; most of the Actions are continued, some were called out.
Tho’ Sir, unhappy in being deprived of the Advantages of your Company and Instruction, by your absence, yet I should blush to say I lamented the Cause of it. I shall think myself materially benefited in being made a Subject of a firmly establish’d Independence, and shall revere the man to whose Exertions the production of so great an Event was so principally owing as to yours, Sir.
I am Sir, your very hum[. . .]4
J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. By an Act passed on 10 May 1777, persons complained of and convicted in the Court of General Sessions of the Peace as “internal enemies” of the United States, were to be transported out of the country (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 5:648–650). For an account of the trial and conviction of Dr. Mather Byles, see Boston Gazette, 9 June, p. 3, col. 1. His sentence was not, however, carried out; he was merely placed under house arrest for two years (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 , 7:482–486).
2. This sentence was added in the margin.
3. JA soon afterward wrote letters of recommendation for Thaxter to “the Court and Bar,” and Thaxter received them and was duly admitted attorney in Suffolk Inferior Court (JA to AA, 4 Aug.; AA to JA, 27 Aug.; both below); but the letters have not been found.
4. MS torn by seal.