One Grand Aggregate on the Whole of Which the Condition of Each Individual Part Must Most Sensibly Operate

in about Warren

by Thomas Young to Samuel Adams  “Boston 4th Sepbr 1774

“Dear Sir

By the enclosed papers you will perceive the temper of your countrymen in the condition, your every wish, your every sigh, for years past, panted to find it. Thoroughly aroused and unanimously earnest, something very important must, inevitably come of it. That treacherous, sneaking and cowardly action, of seizing our Province powder set all the Country in a flame. Every one now feels the matter, coming home to him. When Doctr Warren and I arrived there Judge Danforth was addressing perhaps four thousand people in the open air; and such was the order of that great assembly that not a whisper interrupted the low voice of that feeble old man from being heard by the whole Body. And when their Committee had heard and were satisfied wth. Coll.l Phips’s vindication of his conduct and promise to call in his [  ] and [  ] stalled them, to receive the information, and take their minds upon it, they kept their particular stations for three hours in the scorching sun of the hottest day we have had this summer. Such patient endurance is certainly a principal ingredient in the composition of that character emphatically called a Good Soldier.

I was pleased, with this little rising on many accounts; one great advantage will be this, every man will be led to advise to any deficiencies he may have, either in part of discipline or preparation. These undoubtedly he will be anxious to supply in the best manner, and with all the expedition, in his power. The alarming situation we are in with an enemy in our very own bosom, as well as surrounding us on every side and on any occasion, they please cutting off our communication with the country – The daily augmentation of their power to give us law by seizing and fortifying one pass after anther must keep both City and Country in a constant habit of reflection.

By all our advices from the westward the Body of the people are for resuming the Old Charter, and organizing a government immediately. They say we can never be easy in the condition we have been in for years past – that our priveleges are just enough to tempt a British Minister, having all posts of honor and profit in his disposal will still have it in his power to draw many from their duty to their Country – that when men have finished a war with a foreign enemy they ought to enjoy some leisure to improve the acts of civil life and not be held in one eternal political jangle, rankling the minds, and destroying that greatest bliss of society, a unison of sentiment and endeavor to render our public and private interests the same thing. They observe further that being the natural butt of ministerial jealousy and  resentment we ought ever to be in the best condition to frustrate their machinations against us – This they say is impossible while a party is s easily made of the most powerful men in every County and even town, against the common  people. Some have objected to the resumption of our Old Charter that probably some of the Royal Governments would be displeased with it, as in such case we should enjoy more priveleges than they. This I have always considered as a very unmanly insinuation and as far as I am from that opinion that tho I have much inclination to become an inhabitant of West Florida, I think a reinstatement of this Colony in her former happy condition, an object worthy of the risque of my life within an hour of my departure: for I should expect to reap the advantage of such a victory even in that remote region. America may now be looked upon as one grand aggregate on the whole of which the condition of each individual part must most sensibly operate.

I cannot leave this subject till I inform you that the cautious Majr Hawley is s strongly convinced of the necessity of resuming the Old Charter that he declares that if the four New England Governments alone adopt the measure he will venture his life to carry and defend it against the whole force of Great Britain, in case she sends it. The examples of Connecticut and Rhode Island’s resuming theirs are sufficient by encouraging even if we were not drove by the entire dislocation of our Civil Government to substitute some form in the place f it. We are in this case still in allegiance to the British Sovereign on terms of his own proposing. If a prodigal and perfidious successor presumed to wound the faith of his ancestors we have nothing to do with this villainy. An act of tyranny and injustice ought never to be argued in defiance of the Right of the Subject. If George the Third will receive us as predecessors that we should be subjects; and that even after his ill judging counsellors have advised him to cut the tie of allegiance to him, we will cheerfully acknowledge him: If otherwise the Laws of God f Nature and Nations oblige us to cast about for safety.

By the proceedings of other Counties of Middlesex and Worcester you will see what those respectable bodies aim at. I dare promise Suffolk will not come short of either. I have not heard one individual object to a Provincial Congress nor is it likely any objection will be made to any conclusions which may be formed  there.

The Newspaper enclosed you having been taken off this evening may not contain what tomorrow’s complete one will  The western Post tells that on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning the people from the [Connecticut] River had reached Worcester Shrewsbury when they were met by expresses telling them the business was over, and it was merrily said that had not Worcester men been absent themselves the town would not have held the volunteers. The smallest computation was twenty thousand.

Another article may be worth your notice for the Ervings have a Vessel lately arrived at Plymouth for the care of which a Master George went hither and the people took the alarm by mistake that the new [Mandamus] Counselor John was coming to visit them and near four thousand men were assembling to receive him. But even Mr. George got out of the way and has not been heard of since the ruffle.

I have wrote Gen.l Lee [probably Charles Lee, later a controversial military figure] and referred him to you for things and mentioned to him, and for dispatch, beg leave to say vice versa.

NB. I do not require a particular answer only enjoin the others [in the Massachusetts delegation to the impending First Continental Congress] to communicate what may be needful for me to know. I am so [  ] up since your departure I know how to pity you and cannot willingly add to your burden.

Our Salem Friends have behaved like Heros and Gage is undoubtedly thoroughly sick of his loyal Province, as are every animal of the plunderers he came to support. Brackett has turned the rascally vagabonds a drift and most of them  lodge  in the [Boston] Common.

My Dear Sir I heartily wish you a good night as I must spend a few hours in sleep or fail to be much longer,

Your devoted servant.  Thos Young”

Sources: Samuel Adams Papers, 1635-1826, mss at New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts department, Bancroft Collection.  My transcription is is from the microfilm version by Scholarly Resources, Inc. on  roll 1.  Two excellent secondary sources about Dr. Thomas Young together cite most of the scant body of primary sources: Hawke, David Freeman. “Dr. Thomas Young – Eternal Fisher in Troubled Waters: Notes for a Biography.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 64, no. 1 (1970): pp. 7-29.  Maier, Pauline. “Reason and Revolution: The Radicalism of Dr. Thomas Young   American Quarterly 28, no. 2 Special Issue: An American Enlightenment (1976): pp. 229-49.

Commentary:  Dr. Thomas Young relates much detail and rumor concerning the Cambridge Alarm in his gratingly ingratiating, verbose, and ideological manner.  Within two weeks Dr. Young fled Boston for Newport, R.I. under rumored threats of British arrest and assassination.  He is sometimes remembered for his Deist views, actions during the 1773 Tea crisis, as one of the most radical of New England Patriots, and for naming the state of Vermont.  An atheistic tome by Ethan Allen [Reason the Only Oracle of Man, or a Compenduous [sic] System of Natural Religion. Alternately Adorned with Confutations of a Variety of Doctrines Incompatible to It; Deduced from the Most Exalted Ideas Which We Are Able to Form of the Divine and Human Characters, and from the Universe in General. Bennington, VT: Haswell & Russell, 1784].is asserted by some to have been in large part the work of Thomas Young.  It was published after Young’s 1777 death without proper attribution by the Green Mountain Boy leader Ethan Allen, who was a former associate of Thomas Young.

No image of Dr. Young is known to exist, nor does a speculative substitute, as does one purporting to be his Committee of Correspondence colleague Dr. Benjamin Church.

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