History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVIII.
THE BOSTON “MASSACRE.” LORD NORTH’S ADMINISTRATION.

JANUARY–MARCH 1770.

“THE troops must move to the castle,” said Samuel Adams; “it must be the first business of the general court to move them out of town.” Otis went about declaiming that “the governor had power to do it by the constitution.” “We consider this metropolis, and indeed the whole province, under duress,” wrote Cooper, the minister. “The troops greatly corrupt our morals, and are in every sense an oppression;” and his New Year’s prayer to heaven asked deliverance from their presence.

The Massachusetts assembly was to meet on the tenth of January, and distant members were on their journey, when Hutchinson suddenly prorogued it to the middle of March. The delay prevented any support of its petition against Bernard. The reason assigned for the prorogation was neither the good of the colony nor the judgment of the lieutenantgovernor, but a pretended instruction from Hillsborough; and of such an instruction, if it had existed, Samuel Adams denied the validity.

The spirit of non-importation had not abated; yet, as tea had advanced one hundred per cent, Hutchinson, who was himself a very large importer of it, could no longer restrain his covetousness. His two eldest sons, therefore, who were his agents, violating their engagement, broke open the lock, of which they had given the key to the committee of merchants, and secretly made sales. “Do they imagine,” asked Samuel Adams, “they can still weary the patience of an injured country with impunity?” and avowing that, in the present case, the

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