In 1769—on the third anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act—Samuel Adams composes a letter to his fellow Sons of Liberty reminding them of the purposes of the act and that the struggle against Great Britian’s attempts to tax the colonies continues.
Although the people of Great Britain be only fellow-subjects, they have of late assumed a power to compel us to buy at their market such things as we want of European produce and manufacture; and, at the same time, have taxed many of the articles for the express purpose of a revenue; and, for the collection of the duties, have sent fleets, armies, commissioners, guardacostas, judges of admiralty, and a host of petty officers, whose insolence and rapacity are become intolerable.
This address was found early in the morning of the 18th of March , posted on the Liberty Tree of Providence, and another in the most public part of the town. It was sent by Mr. Adams to Providence for the annual celebration, and appeared on the same morning in the Providence Gazette.—William Vincent Wells (1865).
To The Sons of Liberty.
REVOLVING time hath brought about another anniversary of the repeal of the odious Stamp Act,—an act framed to divest us of our liberties and to bring us to slavery, poverty, and misery. The resolute stand made by the Sons of Liberty against the detestable policy had more effect in bringing on the repeal than any conviction in the Parliament of Great Britain of the injustice and iniquity of the act . It was repealed from principles of convenience to Old England, and accompanied with a declaration of their right to tax us; and since, the same Parliament have passed acts which, if obeyed in the Colonies, will be equally fatal. Although the people of Great Britain be only fellow-subjects, they have of late assumed a power to compel us to buy at their market such things as we want of European produce and manufacture; and, at the same time, have taxed many of the articles for the express purpose of a revenue; and, for the collection of the duties, have sent fleets, armies, commissioners, guardacostas, judges of admiralty, and a host of petty officers, whose insolence and rapacity are become intolerable. Our cities are garrisoned; the peace and order which heretofore dignified our streets are exchanged for the horrid blasphemies and outrages of soldiers; our trade is obstructed ; our vessels and cargoes, the effects of industry, violently seized; and, in a word, every species of injustice that a wicked and debauched Ministry could invent is now practised against the most sober, industrious, and loyal people that ever lived in society. The joint supplications of all the Colonies have been rejected; and letters and mandates, in terms of the highest affront and indignity, have been transmitted from little and insignificant servants of the Crown to his Majesty’s grand and august sovereignties in America.
These things being so, it becomes us, my brethren, to walk worthy of our vocation, to use every lawful mean to frustrate the wicked designs of our enemies at home and abroad, and to unite against the evil and pernicious machinations of those who would destroy us. I judge that nothing can have a better tendency to this grand end than encouraging our own manufactures, and a total disuse of foreign superfluities.
When I consider the corruption of Great Britain, their load of debt, their intestine divisions, tumults, and riots, their scarcity of provisions, and the contempt in which they are held by the nations about them; and when I consider, on the other hand, the state of the American Colonies with regard to the various climates, soils, produce, rapid population, joined to the virtue of the inhabitants,—I cannot but think that the conduct of Old England towards us may be permitted by Divine Wisdom, and ordained by the unsearchable providence of the Almighty, for hastening a period dreadful to Great Britain.
A SON OF LIBERTY.
Providence, March 18th, 1769.