The Literary History of the American Revolution,1763-1783 - Vol. 1

By Moses Coit Tyler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI.
THE LOYALISTS IN ARGUMENT AGAINST THE MEASURES OF THE FIRST CONGRESS: "MASSACHUSETTENSIS."
--The letters of "Massachusettensis," December, 1774-April, 1775-- John Adams 's high estimate of their literary power--Previous career of their author, Daniel Leonard--Satirized by Mercy Warren as "Beau Trumps"
-- John Adams suggests a corrupt motive in his politics.
--The intellectual and moral notes in "Massachusettensis"--The writer's avowal of the purity and patriotism of his motives--His denunciation of the arts of demagogues.
--The tone and method of "Massachusettensis" suited to the argumentative and law-respecting character of the people addressed by him--His denial that the British government had overstepped its constitutional limits --The several topics discussed by him.
--Examples of his acuteness and literary skill in controversy--The groundlessness of the prevailing political complaints--Committees on grievances our worst grievance--Where are the traces of our political servitude?--The tyranny of the champions of American liberty--The inevitable approach of war--The inevitable triumph of the British in such a conflict.
--The author of the letters of "Massachusettensis" a victim of popular violence--Personal outrages upon him and his family--His banishment-- His property confiscated--His later career in Bermuda and England.

I.

NOT many weeks after the "Westchester Farmer" had, in one of the principal towns of the Middle Colonies, opened fire on the measures promulgated by the first Continental Congress, a series of attacks upon them, somewhat different in method but almost equally powerful, was begun in the chief city of New England by a writer who became famous under the name of "Massachusettensis." His papers, seventeen in number, were in the form of letters addressed "To the Inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts- Bay," and first appeared in a Boston newspaper1 between

____________________
1
"The Massachusetts Gazette and Post Boy," then conducted for the Loyalist side by Nathaniel Mills and John Hicks.

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