The Boston Committee of Correspondence in November, 1772, published a circular letter, attributed to Samuel Adams, to be distributed to the various towns in the colonies. Alarmed by Britain’s decision to remove the colonial assembly’s right to pay the governor’s and judges’ salaries, a citizens’ committee formed to oppose the action. A document known as the “Boston Pamphlet” was distributed throughout the colony, asserting the colonists’ rights as men under natural law, God’s law, and as British subjects under the British constitution. The Boston Pamphlet listed twelve violations of those rights by Britain; and invited responses from other Massachusetts towns, which soon established their own “committees of
Ipswich Response to the Boston Circular Letter , Town Meeting December 17, 1772
At a Legal Meeting of the Town of Ipswich, December 17, 1772: Voted that Francis Choate Esq. Be Moderator; Voted that Major John Baker be Clerk for this Preset Meeting, and was Sworn to the Money Oath, also to the Oath of Office by Francis Choate Esquire.
After reading the Proceedings of the Town of Boston relative to the Infringement of our Constitutional Rights and Liberties:
- Voted that a Committee be Appointed to Take the Same under Consideration, & Report at the Adjournment of said meeting.
- Voted that Francis Choate Esquire, Captain Michael Farley, John Calef Esq., William Storey Esq., Mr John Hubbard, Mr. Daniel Noyes, Mr. Daniel Rogers, Deacon Stephen Choate, Maj. John Baker, Mr. John Crocker, Mr. William Dodge, Mr. John Tredwell and Joseph Appleton Esq. be the Committee.
- Voted that this meeting to be adjourned to Monday the 28th Day of December Instant one of the clock after noon to this place.
Special Town Meeting Monday December 28, 1772
We, the Committee appointed at a meeting legally assembled in the 17th instant to Consider of the Letter from the Town of Boston, with their State of the Rights of the Colonies, and the infringements made upon them, which was publicly Read at said meeting, beg leave to Report that from a full Conviction of the Propriety and Expedience of the Measure, they do Recommend it to the Inhabitants of this Town, to pass the following Resolves, viz—
- That the Rights of the Colonies and of this Province in particular, and the List of Infringements and Violations of those Rights, as Stated & Expressed by their Respectable Brethren of the Metropolis of this Province, are agreeable to the Real Sentiments of the Inhabitants of This Town, and that it is of the utmost importance, that the Colonies in general, and the Inhabitants of this Province in particular, stand firm as one man to support and maintain all their Just Rights and Privileges.
- That the Inhabitants of this and the other British Provinces have an equal Right with the People of Great Britain, to enjoy and dispose of their own property; and that by the first and fundamental Principles of the British Constitution, the same cannot be taken from them, but by their own Consent in Person or by their Representatives.
- That the British Parliament has Claimed the Power of Legislation for the Colonists, & in Consequence of Such Power are Raising a Revenue ini the Colonies contrary to the minds of the aggrieved & injured People of this Country & to the sentiments of Some of the most Judicious, & Dignified Characters in the Nation expressly declared in Parliament.
- This Revenue, thus unconstitutionally raised has been in Part applied to the most Destructive Purposes: The governor of this Province has thereby been Rendered independent of the general Assembly for his support, & consequently the Connection between him & this People Weakened, and their Confidence in him as their governor diminished: And to Complete the Scene According to the best information that can be had, the judges of the Superior Court of Judicature, the King’s Attorney and Solicitor General are to receive their Support from the Same insupportable & grievous Tribute.
- That they have been greatly alarmed at the appointment of Commissioners in Consequence of a late act of Parliament (instituted an act for the better preserving his Majesty’s Dock Yards, Magazines, Ships Ammunition and stores) to inquire after the persons concerned in the Burning his Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee at Providence which though a very unjustifiable Act, yet they apprehend this method of proceeding is a great infringement upon the Liberties of the Subject and of the most Dangerous Consequence as the Constitution has already provided a method for the trial of these and all other offenders.
- That every Part of British Dominions have a Right to Petition his Majesty & the Parliament, for the Redress of whatever grievances they are under, & to continue their application till such Times as they are Removed, and the Inhabitants of this Tow can’t but express their grief that so little Regard has been paid to the petitions of this Province heretofore.
- That the inhabitants of this Town will and they do hereby instruct their Representative in the great and general Court or Assembly of this Province at the next Session, in a legal and Constitutional Way, to contend earnestly for the maintaining, recovering and preserving the just Rights and Privileges of this People against all invasions of them.
Also that he use his Influence to place the Judges of the Superior Court upon a Constitutional Basis, whereby they may be rendered indifferent & may be under no undue Bias when Sitting on the sacred Bench of Justice: But as the governor of this Province is not only appointed by the Crown (which is agreeable to Charter but has lately been made dependent on the Crown for his Support (which they look upon as a very great grievance), they therefore can’t think it safe at this time that a fund should be provided to render them independent of the Annual grants of the general court even though they should hold their Commissions during good Behavior;
Nevertheless it is the Instruction of the Inhabitants of this Town to their Representative to give his voice and Influence for the granting such Salaries to the Judges, as shall be adequate to their Important stations, Services and Merritt, and it is their further Instruction to their Representative, that the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth, may be made acquainted by the House of Representatives, that so far from being a Small Faction as has been represented, the good People of this Province are almost generally uneasy, on Account of the Independency of the governor and the Judges, the Board of Commissioners of the Customs in America and the enormous Powers vested in the Court of Admiralty, the Posting Regular Troops in the Province, the Raising a Revenue in America & appropriating the Same without the Consent of the People in Person, or by their Representatives, and further that his Lordship be assured that the good People of this Province are & always have been firmly attached to his preset Majesty & his Royal Family & are desirous to the utmost of their ability to support government, & Promote Quietness and good Order.
Also it is their further instruction to their said Representative that he use his influence in the next Session of the general Assembly that an agent of the House separate from that of the governor and council, be chosen to Represent the grievous State of the Province to the King or his ministers, & in Case the governor should still persist in Refusing to give his consent to the grants of the House for the service of which agent or those who have been heretofore appointed by the House, to the several Towns in the Province to make them Compensation by their own grants, in Proportion to their Province taxes.
RESOLVED That the Inhabitants of this Town not only acknowledge the Proceedings of the Town of Boston as Set forth in their Printed Pamphlet, to be proper and Constitutional, but that they are greatly obliged to them for pointing out the alarming Encroachments making upon the Just Rights and Privileges of the People ad for moving so seasonably and wisely to obtain the sense of the country concerning the same.
RESOLVED That the Town will Choose a Committee to Correspond with the Boston Committee and the Committees of Other Towns to Receive and Communicate to this Town all salutary measures that shall be proposed of offered by any other Town, for removing the common grievances of this Province and that the Town Clerk communicate these our Proceedings to the Boston committee of Correspondence.
The foregoing Report being Read and after mature Deliberation, the same was put to vote, paragraph by paragraph and passes in the affirmative. Noted that Captain Farley, Mr. Daniel Noyes, & Major John Baker be a Committee to Correspond with the Boston Committee of Correspondence, and the Committees of other Towns, and to receive and Communicate all salutary measures that shall be proposed or offered by any other Town
Attest: John Baker, Town clerk, Pro. Temp, Ipswich.
- Waters, Thomas: Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
- Town-Records: 1600 – 1916 (Ipswich Town Clerk documents vault)
- Primary Source Collection: Making the Revolution: America, 1763-1791