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The boss over at Union. Eastern educational radio. The American Revolutionary period in a series of readings from the letters of the second president of the United States. Part 4 and plots.
July 6th 1774 mobs are the trite topic of declamation and invective among all the ministerial people far and near. They are grown universally learned in the nature tendency and consequences of them. And very eloquent and pathetic and discounting upon them knobs are the sources of all kinds of evils vices and crimes they say they give rise to profaneness intemperance thefts robberies murders and treason cursing swearing drunkenness gluttony lewdness trespasses maims are necessarily involved in them and occasioned by them. Besides they render the populace the rabble the scum of the earth. Insolent and disorderly impudent and abusive. They give rise to lying hypocrisy shit Connery and even perjury among the people who are driven to such artifices in crimes to conceal themselves and their companions from prosecutions in consequence of them. This is the picture
drawn by the Tory pencil and it must be granted to be a likeness. But this is declamation what consequences to be drawn from this description shall we submit to parliamentary taxation to avoid mobs. Well my Parliamentary taxation if established occasion vices crimes and follies infinitely more numerous dangerous and fatal to the community were not parliamentary taxation if established raise a revenue unjustly and wrongfully. If this revenue is scattered by the hand of corruption among the public officers and magistrates and rulers in the community will it not propagate vices more numerous more malignant and pestilential among them will it not render magistrates serve aisle and fawning to their vicious superiors and insolent and tyrannical to their inferiors is insolence abuse and impudence more tolerable in a magistrate than a subject. Is it not more constantly and extensively pernicious and does not the example of vice and folly in magistrate's dissent and spread
downwards among the people. We very seldom hear any solid reasoning. I wish always to discuss the question without all painting pathos rhetoric or flourish of every kind and the question seems to me to be whether the American colonies are to be considered as a distinct community. So far as to have a right to judge for themselves when the fundamentals of their government are destroyed or invaded or whether they are to be considered as a part of the whole British Empire the whole English nation. So if I was to be bound in honor conscience or interest by the general sense of the whole nation. However if this was the rule I believe it is very far from the general sense of the whole nation that America should be taxed by the British parliament. If the sense of all of the empire could be fairly and truly collected it would appear I believe that a great majority would be against taxing us against or
without our consent. It is very certain that the sense of Parliament is not the sense of the Empire. Nor a sure indication of it. But if all other parts of the Empire were agreed unanimously in the propriety and rectitude of taxing us this would not bind us. It is a fundamental inherent and unalienable right of the people that they have some Czech influence or control in their supreme legislature. If the right of taxation is conceded to parliament the Americans have no check or influence left at all. This reasoning never was nor can be answered. John Adams founder of July 7th 1774 my idea. Have you seen a list of the addresses of the late governor. There is one abroad with a character or profession or occupation of each person against his name. I have never seen it but Judge Brown says against the name of Andrew Faneuil Philips is nothing and
that Andrew when he first heard of it said that it would be nothing with one side then everything with the other. This was witty and smart. Whether Andrew said it or what is more likely it was made for him. The notion prevails among all parties that it is polite or just and genteelest to be on the side of the administration that the better sort the wiser if you are on one side and that the multitude the vulgar the herd the rabble the mob only are on the other. So difficult it is for the frail feeble mind of man to shake itself loose from all prejudices and habits. However Andrew or his prompter is perfectly right in his judgement and will finally be proved to be so that the lowest on the Tory scale will make it more for his interest than the highest on the wish. And as long as a man it hears immovably to his own interest and has understanding or luck enough to secure and promote it he will have the character of a man of sense
and will be respected by a selfish world. I know of no better reason for it than this that most men are conscious that they aim at their own interest only and that if they fail it is owing to short sight or ill luck and therefore can't blame but secretly applaud admire and sometimes envy those whose capacities have proved greater and fortunes more prosperous. I am engaged in a famous cause the cause of King of Scarborough versus a mob that broke into his house and rifled his papers and terrified him his wife children and servants in the night that terror and distress the destruction and horror of this family cannot be described by words or painted upon canvas. It is enough to move a statue to melt and heart of stone to read the story. Our mind is susceptible of the feelings of humanity and heart which can be touched with the sensibility of our human misery and wretchedness must reluctant must burn with resentment and indignation at such
outrageous injuries. These private mobs I do and will detest if popular commotions can be justified in opposition to attacks upon the Constitution. It can be only when fundamentals are invaded. Nor then unless for absolute necessity and with great caution. But these tarring and feathering as these breaking open houses by rude and insolent rebels in resentment for private wrongs or in pursuance of private prejudices and passions must be discountenanced cannot even be excused upon any principle which can be entertained by a good citizen or worthy member of society. Dined with Mr. Collector Francis Waldo Esq. in company with Mr. Winthrop. The two princes and the two Sullivan was all very social and cheerful full of politics. This Quincy's tongue ran as fast as anybody's. He was clear in it that the House of Commons had no right to take money out of our pockets any more than any
foreign state repeated large paragraphs from a publication of Mr. Burke's in 1766 and large paragraphs from Junius americanus etc. etc.. This is to talk and to shine before persons who have no capacity of judging and who do not know that he is ignorant of every rope in the ship. I shan't be able to get away till next week. I am concerned only in two or three cases and none of them are come on yet. Such an eastern circuit I never made. I shall bring home as much as I brought from home I hope and not much more I fear. I go mourning in my heart all the day long though I say nothing. I am melancholy for the public and anxious for my family. As for myself for a frock and trousers and how one spade would do for my remaining days. For God's sake make your children Hardy active and industrious for strength activity and industry will be their only
resource and dependence. John Adams John Adams was not alone among the Whigs in condemning mobs such as the mob that attacked Rufus King the merchant class and the better sort of people thought it a suspicious coincidence that King not only sided with the ministers on the Stamp Act but was also the largest creditor in his parish. Not surprisingly man and his debt were among those who attacked him. The increasing frequency of these acts of mob violence was beginning to split the Patriots along class lines. The conservative property conscious Whigs against the lower class radicals. These farmers laborers craftsmen were taking the initiative away from the conservatives who could only react to their actions. The Boston Tea Party and its aftermath was the most notable instance of such action and reaction. Many Patriots did oppose this act and there were some who agreed with the British. The
Boston should pay for the damage. A subscription was even started to raise the money. No longer act the British parliament passed in retaliation for the Tea Party met with any approval from patriotic Americans. The Quebec Act spelling out the way in which that colony would be governed was by Americans considered a dangerous presentment of what was in the British government's mind for the future of American institutions. Other unpopular acts provided that counselor should be appointed by the crown instead of elected by the Assembly and jurors should be appointed by sheriffs instead of elected by freeholders the port built cause the greatest indignation sealing off the port of Boston and visiting the great hardships on its inhabitants. Many of these acts could not be enforced. Abigail recounts several instances when Sheriff Goldthwaite was prevented from issuing warrants for doors. Town meetings now increasingly managed were sidestepped
by the patriarchs and their own conventions set up. Soon these extralegal conventions were to be the only government in Massachusetts. Their idea came from the committee of correspondents to whom it was decided during May and June of 1774 that a general Congress should be called to discuss a response to these new acts of the English Parliament. John Adams was one of four delegates chosen in an extra legal election to go to Philadelphia. Film of July 6th 1774. Our justice Hutchinson is eternally giving his political hints. In a Cause this morning. Somebody named Captain Makai as a referee I said an honest man. Yes says Hutchinson. He's an honest man only misled. He blinking and grinning at dinner today. Somebody mentioned determination in the Lord's house. The court sits in the meeting house.
I've known many a bad determination in the Lord's house of late says he meaning a fling upon the clergy. He is perpetually flinging about the fasts and ironically talking about getting home to the facts. A gentleman told me that he had heard him say frequently that the fast was perfect blasphemy. Why don't they pay for the T refuse to pay for the TV and to go fasting and praying for direction. Perfect blasphemy. This is the moderation candor impartiality Prudence patience forbearance and condescension of our justice. And if such minds are possessed of all the power of the province. Samuel Quincy said yesterday as Josiah told me that he was for staying at home and not going to meetings as they. That is the meetings are now managed. I believe it is time to think a little about my family and farm. The fine weather we have had for eight or ten days passed I hope has been carefully improved to get in my head. It is a great
mortification to me that I could not attend every step of their progress in mowing making and cutting. I long to see what a burden but I long more still to see to the procuring more seaweed and Marsh modern sand etc.. However. My prospect is interrupted again. I shall have no time. I must prepare for a journey to Philadelphia a long journey indeed. But if the length of the journey was all it would be no burden but the consideration of what is to be done is of great weight great things I wanted to be done and little things only I fear can be done. I dread the thought of the Congress as falling short of the expectations of the continent but especially of the people of this province vapors of aunt I will do my duty. I believe the event if I have the approbation of my own mind whether applauded or censured blessed or cursed by the world I will not be unhappy. Certainly I shall enjoy good company good
conversation and shall have a fine ride and see a little more of the world than I have seen before. I think it will be necessary to make me up a couple of pieces of new linen. I'm told they wash miserably at New York. The jerseys and Philadelphia too in comparison to Boston and I am advised to carry a great deal of linen weather to make me a suit of new clothes at Boston or to make them at Philadelphia. And what to make. I know not nor do I know how I shall go over there on horseback in a car ical a phantom or all together in a stagecoach. I know not the letters I have written or may write. My idea must be kept secret or at least shown with great caution. Mr fair service goes to Mao. By him I shall send a packet. Kiss my dear babes for me. You are John Adams I believe. I forgot to tell you one anecdote when I first came to this house it was late in the afternoon and I had ridden thirty five miles at least.
Madam said I to Mrs. Euston is it lawful for a weary traveller to refresh himself with a dish of tea provided it has been honestly smuggled or paid no duties. No sir said she we have renounced all tea in this place. I can't make tea but I'll make your coffee. Accordingly I have drunk coffee every afternoon since and have borne it very well. Team must be universally renounced. I must be weaned and the sooner the better. Braintree August 19th 1774 the great distance between us makes the time appear very long to me it seems almost a month since you left me. The great anxiety I feel for my country for you and for our family renders the day tedious and the night unpleasant. The rocks and quicksands appear upon every side. What course you can or will take is all wrapped up in the bosom of your curity uncertainty and expectation leave the mind great scope. Did ever any
kingdom or state regain their liberty when once it was invaded without bloodshed. I cannot think of it without horror. Yet we are told that all the misfortunes of Sparta were occasioned by their two great solicitude of our present tranquillity and by an excessive love of peace they neglected the means of making a sure and lasting. They ought to have reflected says Bolivia's that as there is nothing more desirable or advantageous than peace when founded in justice and honor. So there is nothing more shameful. And at the same time more pernicious when attained by bad measures and purchased at the price of liberty. I've taken a very great fondness for reading Rollin's Ancient History since you left me. I'm determined to go through whatever possible in these my days of solitude. I found great pleasure in entertainment from it. And I persuaded Johnny to read me a page or two every day and hope he will from his desire to oblige me and attain a fondness for it. We had a charming reign which lasted 12 hours and has greatly revived the dying fruits of the earth.
I want much to hear from you. I long impatiently to have you upon the stage of action the first of September of the month of September perhaps maybe is of much importance to Great Britain as the Ides of March were to Caesar. I wish you every public as well as private blessing and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification to conduct you in this difficult day. The Little Flock remember Pat and kindly wish to see him. So does your most affectionate Abigail Adams Braintree that temper 2nd 1774. I'm very impatient to receive a letter from you. You indulge me so much in that way in your last absence that I now think I have a right to hear as often as you have leisure to adopt unity to write. I hear that Mr. Adams wrote to his son and the speaker to his lady. But perhaps you did not know of the opportunity.
Suppose you are before this time received two letters from me and will write me by the same conveyance. I judged you reached Philadelphia last Saturday night. I cannot but felicitate you upon your absence a little while from this scene of perturbation anxiety and distress. I own I feel not a little agitated with the accounts of the stay received from town. Great commotions have arisen in consequence of the discovery of a traitorous plot of Colonel battles. His advice to gage to break every commissioned officer. And to seize the province and town stock of powder. This is so enraged and exasperated the people that there is great apprehension of an immediate rupture. They've been all in flames ever since the newfangled counselors have taken their odes the importance with which they consider the meeting of the Congress and the result thereof to the community withholds the arm of vengeance already lifted but which most certainly would fall with accumulated wrath
upon Brattle. But it possible to come at him. But no sooner did he discover that his treachery had taken air that he fled not only to Boston but into the camp for safety. Since the news of the Quebec bill arrived are the church people here have hung their heads and were not converse upon politics they were ever so much provoked by the opposite party before that party is around very high and very hard words and threats of blows upon both sides were given out. They've had their town meeting here which was full as usual. Chose their committee for the county meeting and did business without once regarding or fearing for the consequences. I should be glad to know how you found the people as you traveled from town to town. I hear you met with great hospitality and kindness in Connecticut. I pray that you know what your health is and whether you have not had exceeding hot weather. The drought has been very severe. My poor cows will certainly prefer a petition
to you setting forth their grievances and informing you that they have been deprived of their ancient privileges whereby they are become great sufferers and desiring that they may be restored to them more especially as they are living by reason of the doubters all taken from them and their property which they hold elsewhere is decaying. They humbly pray that you would consider them at least hunger should break through the stone walls. Our little flock are all well and present their duty to their papa. My mother is in a very low state occasion by return of her old complaints Nappy has enclosed a letter to you would be glad I would excuse the writing because of a sore thumb which she has the tenderest regard evermore awaits you from your most affectionate Abigail Adams. That traitorous plot of Colonel Brad Holmes was his advice to General Gage the latest and last governor of Massachusetts that he had better remove the powder from the Arsenal
McQuarrie Hill before the Patriots made off with that gauge drop rattled letter on the street. It was discovered and its contents published Brattle flood the Brosnan gauge began to fortify against bands of newly risen militia. This incident was inflated into a bombardment of Boston in an account which reached the assembled delegates in Philadelphia. The story was possibly the work of Sam Adams the leader of the radical party in Boston. It would have seemed sound strategy to arouse the Congress to drastic action. They were already in such a frame of mind over the distress of Boston that a story was circulating that Colonel Washington had said at the Virginia Convention I will raise one thousand men in March myself at their head for the relief of Boston John Adams letter to Abigail reflected this general alarm. So we're down here. September 8 1774 my dear. When or where this letter will find you I know not in what scenes of distress
and terror I cannot foresee. We have received a confused account from Boston of a dreadful catastrophe. The particulars we have not heard. We are awaiting with the utmost anxiety and impatience for further intelligence. The effect of the news we have both upon the Congress and the inhabitants of this city was a very great great indeed. Every gentleman seems to consider the bombardment of Boston as the bombardment of the capital of his own province. Our deliberations are grave and serious. Indeed it is a great affliction to me that I cannot write you oftener than I do. But there are so many hindrances that I cannot. There is in the Congress a collection of the greatest men upon this continent in point of abilities virtues and fortunes that magnanimity and public spirit which I see here makes me blush for the sordid Vino herd which I have seen in my own province. The addresses and the new councillors I held in universal contempt and I'm
Horan's from one end of the continent to the other. Be not under any concern for me. There is little danger from anything we shall do at the Congress. There is such a spirit through the colonies and the members of the Congress are such characters that no danger can happen to us which will not involve the whole continent in universal desolation and in that case who would wish to live. John Adams. Braintree September 14 1774 dearest friend. Five weeks have passed and not run line of I received. I'd rather give a dollar for a letter by the post that the consequence should be that I eat about one meal a day for these three weeks to come. Everyone I see is inquiring after you and when did I hear all my intelligence is collected from the newspaper and I can only reply that I saw by that that you arrived such a day. I know your fondness for writing and your inclination to let me hear from you by the first safe conveyance which makes me
suspect that some letter or other has miscarried. But I hope now that you've arrived at Philadelphia you'll find means to convey me some intelligence. Well I well here I think I enjoy better health than I have done these two years. I've not been to town since I parted with you there. The governor is making all kinds of preparations such as mounting cannon upon Beacon Hill digging a trench mints upon the neck placing cannon there and camping a regiment there throwing up breastworks eccentrics cetera. The people are much alarmed and the selectmen have waited upon him in consequence of it. The county Congress also sent a committee which proceedings you will have a more particular account often I'm able to give you from the public papers. But as to the movements of this town perhaps you may not hear them from any other person. In consequence of the powders being taken from Charlestown our great alarm spread through many towns and was caught pretty soon here. The report took here a Friday at a Sunday a
soldier was seen lurking about the common supposed to be a spy. But most likely a deserter. However intelligence of it was communicated to the other parishes at about 8 o'clock Sunday evening. There passed by here about two hundred men preceded by a horse cart and marched down to the powder house from whence they took the powder and carried it into the other parish and there secreted it. I opened the window upon their return they passed without any noise not a word among them till they came against this house when some of them perceiving me asked me if I wanted any powder. I replied not since it was in so good hands. The reason they gave for taking it. Was that we had so many Tories here they dare not trust us with it. They taken Vinton in their train and upon their return they stopped between cleverly and actors and called upon him to deliver two warrants. Upon his producing them. They put it to a vote whether they should burn them. And it passed in the affirmative. They then made a circle and burnt them. They then called a vote
whether they should has asked. But it being Sunday evening it passed in the negative. They called upon Denton to swear that he would never be instrumental in carrying into execution any of these new acts. They were not satisfied with his answers however they let him rest. A few days after upon his making some foolish speeches they assembled to the amount of Two and Three hundred swore vengeance upon him and as he took a solemn oath according to they chose a committee and sent them with him to Major Miller to see that he complied and they wanted his return which proving satisfactory. They dispersed. This town appears as high as you can well imagine and if necessary would soon be an arms not a tare but hides its head. The Church parson thought they were coming after him and ran up the garrote they say. Another jumped out of his window and hid among the corn. Lost a third crept under his border fence and told his beads. Good.
Prospect of a union is produced and written by Elizabeth Spiro for WFC adda for college radio station of Amherst Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges and the University of Massachusetts from whose faculties the cast of prospect of a union was drawn. Stephen Coyle was hurt as John Adams and Beverly Mae as Abigail Marjorie Kaufman was the narrator. The letters of John and Abigail Adams were taken from the Adams Family correspondence published by the Harvard University Press. The song Free American Day was written by Dr. Joseph Warren and was recorded by Sawyer as Minute Man from the collection of early American songs of John and Lucy Allison. This program was distributed by national educational radio. This is
the national educational radio network.
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Prospect of a union
Of mobs and plots
Producing Organization
WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents dramatic readings from the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams.
Series Description
A first-hand account of the founding of the United States, described through the correspondence of John and Abigail Adams.
Media type
Narrator: Kaufman, Marjorie
Producing Organization: WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Writer: Spiro, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-6-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:31
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Chicago: “Prospect of a union; Of mobs and plots,” 1967-12-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 29, 2024,
MLA: “Prospect of a union; Of mobs and plots.” 1967-12-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Prospect of a union; Of mobs and plots. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from