GaspeeVirtual Archives
From The Gentleman's Magazine, London, July 1773, p.357-358

Webmaster's Note:

    This little magazine was purchased on eBay in April 2002 from an antique news seller.  It is of interest in that it presents a British view of the goings-on in America after the time of the Gaspee Affair, and relates this to the establishment of the permanent Committees of Correspondence. It also gives an accurate assessment of the resentment American colonists felt against British rule. If the London Press could see this, why couldn't the British Government?
    Thomas Hutchinson, the Crown-appointed Governor of Massachusetts at the time, was well-known to write in favor of rescinding the Charter of neighboring Rhode Island for having too many liberties. The town of Gorham referred to in the column now exists as Gorham, Maine.  Maine split from Massachusetts in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise.


    The correspondence between the Colonies, which gave Government so much offence some years ago is again renewed.  A letter has been read in the Assembly, at Boston, inclosing a resolution of the Assembly of Virginia, to maintain a correspondence with the Sister Colonies; which letter and resolution were almost unaminously approved. A Committee is appointed for that purpose, and instructions given to that Committee to inform themselves without delay, by what authority a Court of Inquiry was constituted at Rhode Island, said to be vested with powers to transport persons accused of offences committed in America, to places beyond the seas to be tried.
    These instructions have been circulated to the respective Assemblies upon the Continent, in confidence that they will readily unite in support of the Rights and Liberties of the American Colonies, at a time when those Rights and Liberties appear to be systematically invaded.
    In the meantime the Commissioners appointed by the King to enquire into the circumstances of attacking His Majesty's schooner Gaspee, at Rhode Island, have again engaged lodgings at Newport, having received fresh intructions from Government to proceed on that business.
    In a message that the house of Representatives of the Province of Massachusett's bay, in New-England, presented to the Governor, there is this remarkable paragraph. "When we consider, say they, the many attempts that have been made effectually to render null and void those Clauses in our Charter, upon which the freedom of our Constitution depends, we should be lost to all public feeling, should we not manifest a just resentment.  We are more and more convinced, that it has been the design of Administration totally to subvert the Constitution, and introduce an arbitrary government into this province; and we cannot wonder that the apprehensions of this people are thoroughly awakened." When this message was formed there were 91 members in the house, and it passed by a majority of 81.
    Some discoveries have lately been made of an extraordinary correspondence carried on by persons of high character, in the above province of Massachusetts Bay, the tendency of which, was, as the assembly have voted, "to subvert the Constitution, and to introduce Arbitrary Government in its stead."--While the letters relative to this affair were before the House, the Governor sent a message to the Assembly, in which he declared, "that he was not concious of having written any letters with such a tendency, and desiring a transcript of their proceedings relative thereto. To which the house replied, in substance, that he having denied the writing of any letters of such tendency, they desired him to lay before the house, copies of such letters as he did write, of the dates and to the person to whom the letters now before it were directed.--This affair has alarmed the whole province.
    The Committee appointed to consider the several letters laid before the House of Representatives, at Boston in N. England, among other spirited resolutions, came to the following:
    "Resolved, That this House is bound in duty to the King and their constituents, humbly to remonstrate to his Majesty the conduct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esq; Governor, and the Hon. Andrew Oliver, Esq; Lieutenant Governor of this province, and to pray his Majesty would be pleased to remove them for ever from the Government thereof."
        The spirit of the people of N. England, may be known by the Resolution of the town-meeting of Gorham, on the Eastern frontiers of that province; who, among others, Resolved, That it is the opinion of this town, that it is better to risk our lives and fortunes, in the defence of our rights civil and religious, than to die by piece meal in slavery.

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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 4/2002    Last Revised 6/2009    GenlemensMag.html