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Bowdoin, James (1726-1790) to Catharine Macaulay

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01789.02 Author/Creator: Bowdoin, James (1726-1790) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 23 March 1770 Pagination: 3 p. ; 33 x 22 cm.

Summary of Content: Co-signed by committee members Samuel Pemberton and Joseph Warren, transmitting the official statement on the Boston Massacre. Explains that they hoped she could intercede for them. Refer to the Macaulay papers, GLC 1784.01-1800.04.

Background Information: Macaulay was a popular British writer of historical studies and radical pamphlets. Regarded as a friend of liberty and supporter of American independence.
At the time, Macaulay was writing The ...History of England from the accession of James I to that of Brunswick line. She was a strong supporter of American independence and liberty. She visited the United States in 1784.See More

Full Transcript: Boston New England March 23d. 1770
Madam
It is in Consequence of an Appointment of the Town of Boston, that We have the honor of writing to you, and of communicating ...the enclosed Narrative, relative to the Massacre of this Town on the 5th: Instant.
After that execrable deed, perpetrated by Soldiers of the 29th: Regiment, the Town thought it highly expedient, that a fully and just representation of it should be made to Persons of Character as soon as may be, in order to frustrate the designs of certain men who, as they have heretofore been plotting the Ruin of our Constitution and Liberties, by their Letters Memorials and Representations, are now said to have procured depositions in a private manner, relative to the said Massacre, to bring an Odium on the Town as the Aggressors in that Affair. But we humbly apprehend that after examining the said Narrative, and the Depositions annexed to it, you will be fully satisfied of the Falsehood of such a Suggestion and We take upon ourselves to declare upon our honor and Consciences, that having examined critically into the matter, there does not appear the least ground for it.
The Depositions referred to (if any such there be) were taken without notifying the Selectmen of the Town, or any other Persons whatever, to be present at the Caption, in behalf of the Town; which as it has been a thing justly complained of heretofore in some other Cases, so the Town now renew their Complaints on the same head; and humbly presume [2] such depositions will have no weight, till the Town has been served with Copies of them, and an Opportunity given them to be heard in their defence in this matter, and in any other, wherein their Character is drawn into Question, with a view of passing a censure upon it.
A different conduct was observed on the Part of the Town: The Justices with a Committee to assist them, made their examinations publicly: most of them at Faneuil Hall, and the Rest where any Persons might attend. Notifications were sent to the Custom House, where the Commissioners of the Customs sit, that they or any Persons in their behalf, might be present at the Captions: and accordingly Mr: Sheaffe the Deputy Collector, and Mr: Green, Tenant of the Custom House under the Commissioners, and employed by them, were present at many of them.
One of the said Commissioners, Mr: Robinson, in a secret manner has embarked on Board Capt. Robson, and sailed for London the 16th: Instant, which, with three of the other Commissioners retiring from the Town, and not having held a Board for some time since the 5th: Instant, gives reason to apprehend they have planed, and are executing a Scheme of misrepresentation, to induce Administration to think, that their Persons are not in Safety in this Town in the absence of Troops. But their Safety is no way dependent on Troops: for you are Sensible Madam, that if any Evil had ever been intended them, Troops could not have prevented it.
It was so apparently incompatible with the Safety of the Town, for the Troops to continue any longer in it, that His [3] Majesty's Council were unanimous in their Advice to the Lieutenant Governor, that they should be removed to the Barracks at Castle Island. And it is the humble and fervent Prayer of the Town, and the Province -dutiful and loyal, notwithstanding any representations to the Contrary - may not again be distressed and destroyed by Troops: for preventing which, we beg leave in behalf of the Town, to request most earnestly the favor of your interposition and influence.
We have the honor to be with the most perfect regard -
Madam
Your most obedient and
very humble Servants
James Bowdoin
Saml. Pemberton,
Joseph Warren

[address leaf]
To
Mrs; Catherine Macaulay
in
London

[docket]
Gentlmn. of Boston 216
March 23d 1770
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People: Macaulay, Catharine, 1731-1791
Bowdoin, James, 1726-1790
Pemberton, Samuel, 1723-1799
Warren, Joseph, 1741-1775

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Boston MassacreMassacreMilitary HistoryGovernment and CivicsWomen's HistoryGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyLiterature and Language ArtsRevolutionary War

Sub Era: Road to Revolution

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