Date: 1780, referring to events of 1768
Author: Peter Oliver
“…Independence, it is true, was declared in Congress in 1776, but it was settled in Boston, in 1768, by [Samuel] Adams & his Junto. I have Authority for this Assertion; the Authority of a Gentleman who was tampered with by the aforementioned Major Genl. Warren, who was a most active Man among the Faction. Warren was in Hopes to take this Gentleman into their Number, & laid open their whole Scheme. He told him that “Independence was their Object; that it was supposed that great Britain would resent it & would lay the Town of Boston in Ashes, from their Ships; that an Estimate had accordingly been made of the Value of the Estates in Town; & that they had determined to pay the Losses of their Friends from the Estates of the Loyalists in the Country.” The Gentleman refused to join with them, but Warren replied, that they would pursue their Scheme. This Scheme was not divulged to the People, for had it been generally communicated to the People, I beleive, they would, then, have been shocked at the Proposal; although they have, since that, had the Changes of Popery & Slavery so often rung in their Ears, that they are now reconciled to it.”
Source: Origin & Progress of the American Rebellion: A Tory View. San Marini, CA: The Huntington Library, 1961, p. 148.
Commentary: Peter Oliver, an embittered Tory refugee, wrote in 1780 unsympathetic recollections of Boston Patriots while a Tory refugee in England. His writings remained in manuscript form until first published in the mid-twentieth century. Reflecting the bitterness of a displaced former chief justice in the British Colonial administration of Massachusetts Province, Oliver’s writings contain a wealth of credible detail otherwise absent from other sources. Patriot leaders are variously and often acerbically depicted in Oliver’s estimation as frustrated office seekers, opportunists, manipulators, or fools. Tory point of view aside, this account places Joseph Warren plotting strategy within the Whig inner circle by 1768. Whigs are labeled as ‘The Faction’ by Tories and Loyalists.
Earlier, Joseph Warren appears to have been a Whig-leaning independent from late 1765’s B.W. through mid-1767 as Paskalos and Philo Physic. By late Spring 1768 he was appointed to Town of Boston committees reacting to seizure of John Hancock’s merchant ship Liberty for evasion of Townshend import duties.