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Mather Byles

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

June 2. –This day, came on the trial of Mather Byles, late minister of the gospel in Boston, charged with being an enemy to the United States; when, after a fair and candid examination of evidences, the jury returned their verdict, that he, Mather Byles, is and has been since the nineteenth of April, 1775, inimically disposed towards Massachusetts and the other United States, and that his residence in the State is dangerous to the public peace and safety. He was then delivered into the custody of a proper officer, who conducted him to the Honorable the Board of War, there to be dealt with agreeable to a late act for such persons made and provided.1


1Pennsylvania Evening Post, June 17. Mather Byles, D. D., was born in Boston on the 26th March, 1706. He was educated at Harvard College, from which institution he graduated in 1725. He became a distinguished minister and loyalist, and for his political principles was separated from his people, to whom he was never afterward united. In 1776 he was denounced in town meeting as inimical to his country, and obliged to enter into bonds for his appearance at a special court, at which he was found guilty, as appears from the above. When brought before the board of war, by whom he was respectfully treated, his sentence seems to have been altered; and it was directed that he should be confined to his own house and there guarded. After a few weeks the guard was removed; a short time after, a guard was again placed over him, and again dismissed. Upon this occasion he observed, that “he was guarded, regarded, and disregarded.” The substance of the charges made against him was, that he continued in Boston with his family during the siege; that he prayed for the King and the safety of the town. His literary merit introduced him to the acquaintance of many men of genius in England. The names of Pope, Lansdowne, and Watts are found among his correspondents. He died July 6, 1788. —Curwen.

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