A Conspiracy To Ruin A State Deserves Death

“Father of the American Revolution” — Samuel Adams

Liberty Letters, Samuel Adams, February 17, 1777

BALTIMORE Feb 15 1777


I am favord with yours of the 21 of December for which I am much obligd to you. I am much concernd to hear that the Tories in Boston & Massachusetts Bay have lately grown insolent & that no Measures are taken to suppress their Insolence. They are the most virulent, & I am of Opinion, the most dangerous Enemies of America. They do not indeed openly appear in Arms, but they do more Mischief secretly. I am very apprehensive that they greatly operate to the preventing Inlistments and doing other essential Injury to our Cause. If they are not properly dealt with, I am perswaded, the Publick will much regret the Omission very soon. I do not wish for needless Severities; but effectual Measures, and severe ones if others are insufficient, to prevent their pernicious Councils & Machinations, I think ought to be taken, and that without any Delay. It will be Humanity shown to Millions, who are in more Danger of being reducd to thraldom & Misery by those Wretches than by British & Hessian Barbarians. I cannot conceive why a law is not made declaratory of Treason & other Crimes & properly to punish those who are guilty of them. If to conspire the Death of a King is Treason and worthy of Death, surely a Conspiracy to ruin a State deserves no less a Punishment. I have Reason to think you have a Number of such Conspirators among you; and believe me, you will soon repent of it, if you do not speedily take Notice of them. But let me ask you my Friend, Whether some of the late Addressers, Protesters and Associators, are not seen in the Circles, in the Houses and at the Tables of Whigs? Is there not Reason to expect that those who exiled themselves thro Fear of the just Vengeance of their Countrymen will be invited by the kind Treatment of those who have equal Reason to dread that Vengeance, to return into the Bosom of their much injurd Country. But I need add no more. Believe me to be cordially,

Your Friend,

Source: Samuel Adams, 17 February 1777, Samuel Adams letter, to John Pitts.

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