An Imprudent Degree of Warmth in Some Instances

in by Warren

“In Committee of Safety, Cambridge,

April 26, 1775.

            Doctor Nathaniel Bond, of Marblehead, having been charged before this Committee with having acted an unfriendly part to this Colony, the said Committee appointed Joseph Warren, Esq., Colonel Thos. Gardner, and Lieut. Colonel Joseph Palmer, as a Court of Inquiry, to examine witnesses in the case, and hear and determine the same; and upon full enquiry into the case, they are clearly of the opinion that said Bond’s general behaviour has been friendly to American liberty; and though he may have discovered an imprudent degree of warmth in some instances, yet we do not find any proof of an inimical temper or disposition to this Country, and therefore recommend him to the esteem and friendship of his Country, that (as the errour which occasioned his being brought before this Committee appears to have been altogether involuntary, and was such as several of our most firm friends were led into, by false rumours spread, of the transactions of the nineteenth instant) no impressions to the Doctor’s disadvantage may remain on the minds of any person whatsoever.

            [signed] Joseph Warren, Chairman.”

Source:  Peter Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, Vol. II, p. 746, from the Minutes of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety for 26 April 1775.  Also published in the Patriot newspaper Essex Gazette, Vol. VII, number 353, April 25-May 2, 1775.

Commentary:  This document probably concerns Nathan Bond, a resident in 1775 of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Whatever doubt of Bond’s loyalty that had led to the Provincial Congress court of inquiry, did not linger. As one of the Spunkers, students and young physicians who studied anatomy with the involuntary help of corpses they personally “resurrected,” Warren had a personal stake in the success of these former medical associates and protégés. I find it noteworthy that Warren took time personally to clarify this matter at a particularly critical juncture early in the Siege of Boston.

See this letter from Dr. Norwood to Dr. John Warren referring to Nathan Bond being in some sort of “Quiddam,” perhaps the very same controversy leading to the Provincial Congress inquiry. See also this April 1775 letter from Bond to friend Dr. John Warren on a clinical consultation. The same month a Dr. Bond enlisted as surgeon in Col. John Glover’s regiment at Marblehead. Bond died while in Continental Army service on March 7, 1777.

A Nathaniel Bond graduated Harvard College in 1766 and went on to become a physician and minister. Nathaniel Bond and Nathan Bond, roughly contemporaries, may have become confused with one another in secondary sources. I hope I have not committed that error.

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