“Cambridge, October 18, 1774.
It is reported in this town that Mr. N.R. Thomas declared at your table that the Governor would take up a number of persons in Boston, and send them to England as Dyer was sent, so soon as he completed his works, and obtained reinforcements which he expected. This report has given great and just alarm; and I am directed, by the committee for considering the state of the Province, to beg the favour of you to meet the committee at the house of Mr. Stewart Hastings as soon as you possibly can after the receipt of this letter, as this information is judged to be of the greatest importance.
I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
P.S. If the report is altogether without foundation, Mr. Storer’s declaration in writing, upon his honour, will be satisfactory to the Congress, and he is desired to send it immediately by the bearer.
John Hancock, President”
[Ebenezer Storer’s Reply]
“Boston, October 18, 1774
I have just received yours of this date, and am much surprised at the contents, as I assure you that Mr. Thomas has never, in my hearing or at my table, made any such declaration as your letter informs me is reported at Cambridge; nor have I ever before heard such a thing mentioned of him.
If this is not satisfactory to the committee, I am ready to give them any further satisfaction they can expect or desire.
I am, sir, yours &c,
Source: Quincy Family Papers. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society. Cataloged as a letter from Joseph Warren (Boston) to Ebenezer Storer, with reply by Storer and postscript by John Hancock as president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Also found in the microfilm edition of the Hancock Family Papers, Boston: MHS, reel 2. Published in: Quincy, Josiah, and Eliza Susan Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Junior. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1875, Third ed., pp. 401-402).
Commentary: The First Massachusetts Provincial Congress was convened in early October 1774. An illegal association in the eyes of the Governor-General Thomas Gage, its authority and methods vague even to its members, Joseph Warren and John Hancock were quick to investigate a rumor concerning Ebenezer Storer. Mr. Storer, a Boston merchant, had nothing to fear in this instance, though the experience must have been disconcerting. In later months and in other locales, such situations were evaluated by local Committees of Safety. Loyalists and Tories might not fare so well before patriot inquisitors as had Mr. Storer.