Item of the Day: Jonathan Trumbull’s Letter to General Gage (1775)

Found In: The Gentleman’s Magazine; for June, 1775. [p.262]


Copy of a Letter to his Excellency Gen. GAGE from the Hon. JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Esq; governor of his Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut, in behalf of the General Assembly of said Colony.

Hartford, April 28, 1775.


THE alarming situation of public affairs in this country, and the late unfortunate transactions in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, have induced the General Assembly of this colony, now sitting in this place, to appoint a committee of their body to wait upon your Excellency, and to desire me, in their name, to write to you relative to these very interesting matters.

The inhabitants of this colony are intimately connected with the people of your province, and esteem themselves bound, by the strongest ties of friendship, as well as of common interest, to regard with attention whatever concerns them. You will not, therefore, be surprised, that your first arrival at Boston, with a body of his Majesty’s troops, for the declared purpose of carrying into execution certain acts of parliament, which, in their apprehension were unconstitutional and oppressive, should have given the good people of this colony a very just and general alarm; your subsequent proceedings, in fortifying the town of Boston, and other military preparations, greatly encreased their apprehensions for the safety of their friends and brethren. They could not be unconcerned spectators of their sufferings in that which they esteemed the common cause of this country: but the late hostile and secret inroads of some of the troops under your command, into the heart of the country, and the violences they have committed, have driven them almost into a state of desperation. They fear now, not only for their friends, but for themselves, and their dearest interests and connections. We wish not to exaggerate; we are not sure of every part of our information; but, by the best intelligence that we have yet been able to obtain, the late transaction was a most unprovoked attack upon the lives and property of his Majesty’s subjects; and it is represented to us, that such outrages have been committed, as would disgrace even barbarians, and much more Britons, so highly famed for humanity as well as bravery. It is feared, therefore, that we are devoted to destruction, and that you have it in command and intention to ravage and desolate the country. If this is not the case, permit us to ask, Why have these outrages been committed? Why is the town of Boston now shut up? and To what end are all the hostile preparations that are daily making? and Why do we continually hear of fresh destinations of troops for this country. The people of this colony, you may rely upon it, abhor the idea of taking arms against the troops of their Sovereign, and dread nothing so much as the horrors of civil war; but, at the same time, we beg leave to assure your Excellency, that, as they apprehend themselves justified by the principle of self-defence, so they are most firmly resolved to defend their rights and privileges to the last extremeity; nor will they be restrained from giving aid to their brethren, if any unjustifiable attack is made upon them. Be so good, therefore, as to explain yourself upon this most important subject, as far as is consistent with your duty to our common Sovereign. —Is there no way to prevent this unhappy dispute from coming to extremities? Is there no alternative but absolute submission, or the desolations of war? By that humanity, which constitutes so amiable a part of your character, for the honour of our Sovereign, and by the glory of the British empire, we entreat you to prevent it, if it be possible. Surely, it is to be hoped that the temperate wisdom of the empire might, even yet, find expedients to restore peace, that so all parts of the empire may enjoy their particular rights, honours, and immunities. Certainly, this is an event most devoutly to be wished for; and will it not be consistent with your duty, to suspend operations of war on you part, and enable us on ours to quiet the minds of the people, at least till the result of some futher deliberations may be known? The importance of the occasion will, we doubt not, sufficiently apologize for the earnestness with which we address you, and any seeming impropriety which may attend it, as well as induce you to give us the most explicit and favourable answer in your power.

I am, &c, &c,


(See also Item of the Day: General Gage’s reply to Governor Trumbull’s Letter)



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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Colonial America, Great Britain, History, Magazine, Massachusetts, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

One response to “Item of the Day: Jonathan Trumbull’s Letter to General Gage (1775)

  1. Pingback: Item of the Day: General Gage’s reply to Governor Trumbull’s letter (1775) « Eighteenth-Century Reading Room

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