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Causes of trouble in Boston

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Causes of trouble in Boston – Timothy Ruggles’ assertion. – The Gazettes.

January 1. –The chief troubles of our Israel1 are the Philantrops, the Hazlerods, the Sir Froths, the Tims, the Bens, and the Bobs. These are men, who, for large shares in the American plunder, have sold themselves to do wickedly. The barbarians who have been aiding and assisting bad governors and abandoned ministers, in all their attempts to subjugate and enslave these once happy colonies: the hireling prostitutes who have been constantly representing to ministry that the friends of liberty were a small, insignificant, divided faction; that the people had not virtue to sacrifice any parts of the profits of their trade, or the luxury of their living for the sake of their country; or spirit to withstand the least exertion of power. These are traitors who were for none but licensed town-meetings,2 and gave administration the outlines of the execrable Boston Port Bill and the other detestable bills for destroying the charter, 3 and those sacred compacts which Americans once thought were of some value, the faith of kings being the security. If these unnaturals should succeed in their present misleading attempts, to the preventing a speedy close to our differences, we shall then have good reason to conclude thatblindness has happened to Britons, that the fulness of American Liberty might come in. -A letter in the Pennsylvania Journal dated January 1, 1775These are the unblushing advocates for pensioned governors, dependent judges, hired attorneys, and sheriff created jurors, that the people might, under color of law, be stript of their property, without their consent, and suitably punished if they should dare to complain: the odious rebels, who, for the support of these hateful measures, have invited the troops and ships, that are now distressing the inhabitants of Boston, and alarming not only a single province, but a whole continent. And when almost every event has turned out contrary to their predictions, and when it might be reasonably expected that the union of the colonies, the resolutions of the Continental Congress, and the late associations and preparations to withstand all hostile attempts upon our persons or properties, might lead administration to suspect at least the policy or safety of pushing this people to extremities; we find this infamous cabal playing over the old game of ministerial deception, and Timothy Ruggles4 with a gravity peculiar to himself and an owl, asserting in the public prints–“that though many of the people had for some time past been arming, their numbers would not appear in the field so large as imagined, before it was known that independency was the object in contemplation;”5 and further, that since that time, many associated in divers parts of the province, to support what he calls “Government.”–But the views and designs of these pensioned prostitutes of Massachusetts, –in all that they say or write, are perfectly kenned by the most short-sighted amongst us. In vain are their scare-crows, raw-head and bloody bones, held up to deter us from taking the most effectual means for our security. The little scribbling, illiberal pieces, which have disgraced the Massachusetts Gazettes, will not lessen the Continental Congress in our esteem; or retard the measures they have recommended, notwithstanding the sums paid to effect it. These writers, and their attempts to encourage or mislead, are treated with ineffable contempt by their countrymen. It has, however, been unhappy for both countries that the representations and projects of such men as these have been heeded and adopted on the other side of the Atlantic; men whose very livings have depended upon the continuation of those measures which Americans have so long complained of, and sought to have redressed. If these unnaturals should succeed in their present misleading attempts, to the preventing a speedy close to our differences, we shall then have good reason to conclude that blindness has happened to Britons, that the fulness of American Liberty might come in. 6


1 The town of Boston.
2 See the Governor’s proclamation.
3 Of Massachusetts Bay.
4 The Chief Justice of the province of Massachusetts Bay. See statement and plan of association, published by Judge Ruggles in most of the Boston papers, Dec. 23-27, 1774, and reprinted in Gaines’ New York Gazette, Jan. 9, 1775.
5 An assertion as false as it is impudent and injurious, first uttered by a hireling priest,* in the New York Freeholder, who at the same time declared that he had rather be under the government of Roman Catholics than Dissenters–a declaration truly characteristic of the doctor, and his little club of malignants. –The people of Massachusetts have hitherto acted purely on the defensive; they have only opposed those new regulations which were instantly to have been executed, and would have annihilated all our rights. For this absolutely necessary and manly step they have received the approbation of the Continental Congress, one of the most respectable assemblies in the world. They aim at no independency, nor any thing new, but barely the preservation of their old rights. They have referred their cause to the whole continent, and are determined to act only in free consultation, and close union with their brethren. This is indeed the safety of all. —Editor of the Journal.
* Dr. Myles Cooper, the President of King’s, now Columbia, College, a vigorous writer in favor of the crown.
6 Pennsylvania Journal, Jan. 25.