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Monday, May 30". Met according to adjournment. The Comittee on Instructions reported the following Draught, viz.: —
Instructions to the Representatives of the Town of Boston : —
GENTLEMEN, - At a time when, in all Probability, the whole United Colonies of America are upon the Verge of a glorious Revolution, & when, consequently, the most important Questions that ever were agitated by the Representative Body of this Colony, touching its internal Police, will demand your attention ; your Constituents think it necessary to instruct you, in several Matters, what Part to act, that the Path of your Duty may be plain before you. We have seen the humble Petitions of these Colonies to the Ring of Great Britain repeatedly rejected with Disdain. For the Prayer of Peace he has tendered the Sword;— for Liberty, Chains; — for Safety, Death ! He has licenced the Instruments of his hostile Oppressions to rob us of our Property, to burn our Houses, & to spill our Blood. He has invited every barbarous Nation, whom he could hope to influence, to assist him in prosecuting these inhuman Purposes. The Prince, therefore, in support of whose Crown and Dignity, not many, many years since, we would most cheerfully have expended both Life and Fortune, we are now constrained to consider as the worst of Tyrants; Loyalty to him is now Treason to our Country. We have seen his venal Parliament so basely prostituted to his Designs, that they have not hesitated to enforce his arbitrary Requisitions with the most sanguinary Laws. We have seen the People of Great Britain so lost to every sense of Virtue and Honor, as to pass over the most pathetic and earnest appeals to their Justice with an unfeeling Indifference. The Hopes we placed on their Exertions have long since failed. In short, we are convinced that it is the fixt & settled Determination of the King, Ministry, & Parliament of that Island to conquer & subjugate the Colonies, & that the People there have no Disposition to oppose them.
A Reconciliation with them appears to us to be as dangerous as it is absurd. A Spirit of Resentment once roused it is not easy to appease. The Recollection of past Injuries will perpetually keep alive the Flame of Jealousy, which will stimulate to new Impositions on the one side, & consequent Resistance on the other; & the whole Body politic will be constantly subject to civil Fermentations & Commotions.
We therefore think it absolutely impracticable for these Colonies to be ever again subject to, or dependent upon Great Britain, without endangering the very Existence of the States.
Placing, however, unbounded Confidence in the Supreme Council of the Congress, we are determined to wait, most patiently to wait, 'till their Wisdom shall dictate the necessity of making a Declaration of Independency. Nor should we have ventured to express our Sentiments upon this subject, but from the Presumption, that the Congress would choose to feel themselves supported by the People of each Colony, before they adopt a Resolution so interesting to the whole. The Inhabitants of this Town therefore, unanimously instruct & direct you, that, at the Approaching Session of the General Assembly, you use your endeavors, that the Delegates of this Colony, at the Congress, be advised, that in Case the Congress should think it necessary for the Safety of the United Colonies, to declare them independent of Great Britain, the Inhabitants of this Colony, with their Lives & the Remnant of their Fortunes, will most cheerfully support them in the Measure.
Touching the internal Police of this Colony, it is essentially necessary, in Order to preserve Harmony among ourselves, that the constituent Body be satisfied, that they are fully & fairly represented. The Right to legislate is originally in every member of the Cofiunity; which Right is always exercised in the infancy of a State ; But when the Inhabitants are become numerous, ’tis not only inconvenient, but impracticable for all to meet in One Assembly; & hence arose the necessity & Practice of legislating by a few, freely chosen by the many. When this Choice is free, & the Representation equal, 'tis the Peoples Fault if they are not happy; We therefore entreat you to devise some means to obtain an equal Representation of the People of this Colony in the Legislature.
But care should be taken, that the Assembly be not unweildy ; for this would be an approach to the Evil meant to be cured by Representation. The largest Bodies of men do not always dispatch Business with the greatest Expedition, nor conduct it in the wisest manner. It is essential to Liberty, that the legislative, judicial and executive Powers of Government be, as nearly as possible, independent of, & separate from each other; for where they are united in the same person or number of persons, there will be wanting that mutual Check, which is the principal Security against the enacting of arbitary Laws, and a wanton Exercise of Power in the Execution of them. It is also of the highest Importance that every Person in a Judiciary Department, employ the greatest Part of his Time & attention to the Duties of his Office. We therefore farther instruct you, to procure the making such Law or Laws, as shall make it incompatible for the same Person to hold a Seat in the legislative & executive Departments of Government at one & the same time; That shall render the Judges in every Judicatory thro’ the Colony, dependent, not on the uncertain Tenure of Caprice or Pleasure, but on an unimpeachable Deportment in the important Duties of their Station, for their continuance in Office; and to prevent the multiplicity of Offices in the same Person that such Salaries be settled tupon them, as Will place them above the necessity of stooping to any indirect or collateral means for Subsistence. We wish to avoid a Profusion of the public Monies on the one hand, & the Danger of Sacrificing our Liberties to a Spirit of Parsimony on the other. Not doubting of your Zeal & Abilities in the common Cause of Our County, we leave your Discretion to prompt such Exertions, in promoting any military Operations, as the Exigency of our public affairs may require ; And in the same Confidence in your Fervor & Attachment to the public Weal, we readily submit all other matters of public Moment, that may require your Consideration to your own Wisdom & Discretion."
* This paper will be found very nearly word for word in the Pennsylvania. “Evening Post,” of Saturday, June 8, 1776. On the 7th, Richard Henry Lee submitted resolutions respecting Independence. They were debated on the 8th and on the 10th, when the resolution on independence was postponed until the first day of July.
The foregoing Draught of Instructions to our Representatives, having been read & considered, the Question was put— “Whether the same shall be accepted & given to our Representatives, as their Instructions.” Passed in the affirmative unanimously. - f
WARRANT FOR TOWN MEETING IN CHARLESTOWN,
TO THE CONSTABLES OF THE Town of CHARLESTown OR To EITHER
In the Name of the Government and People of the Colony of the
Massachusetts Bay — You are hereby requir'd forthwith to Warn .
the Inhabitants of Charlestown aforesaid to assemble & meet
formity to a Resolve of the Hon! House of Representatives at a
meeting call’d for that purpose, ADVISE our Representatives, That
CHARLEstown, May 28*. 1776.
By virtue of the within Warrant I have Warnd as many of the Inhabitants as I coud find to appear at the Time & place & for the purposes within mention’d ISAAC MUNRO, Constable. N. B. — The Meeting has been advertis'd in the public Prints. Town Meeting, May 28", 1776. Warrant Read. Capt. Nathan Adams Voted Moderator, but refusing to Serve, Mr. Nathaniel Frothingham was chosen.. * Voted unanimously That it is the Mind of the Inhabitants That Our Representatives be advis’d — That if the Continental Congress should (for the safety of the Colonies) Declare them INDEPENDENT on the Kingdom of Great Britain, They will in that case solemnly Engage with their Lives & Fortunes to Support them in that In ea SULF6. Voted unanimously, That the Town Clerk serve our Representatives with a Copy of this Vote for their Direction. Voted Not to act at present upon the Second Article in the Warrant, g. v. Then the Moderator dissolv’d the Meeting. - SETH SweFTSER, Town Clerk.
At a Meeting of the Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Town of Roxbury, Duly Warned, Doct. Jonathan, Davis : Ms Aaron, Davis: and Ms Increase, Sumner : were chosen by the Maj. part of the Electors Present, to Represent this Town, In a Great and General Court to be Convened held and kept, for the Governments Service, at the Meeting House In Watertown, upon Wednesday the twenty Ninth Day of May, Instant, at Nine O'Clock in the
Morning and So During their Session and Sessions.
Also To Know the Minds of the Inhabitants of this Town whither they will Instruct and Advise the Persons chosen to Represent them in the Great and General Court, if the Honourable Congress Should for the Safety of the said Colonys, Declare them Independant of the Kingdom of Great Brittan, they the said In