We ought to presume, that the supreme Representative of these States will have an equal Regard in so momentuous a Crisis to the Rights of each Individual. We would not suggest the Contrary. But, may it not be supposd, that Persons whose Situation is remote from the Fishery, and who derive Advantages from it in its more distant Effects & not directly perceivable, are probably not so attentive to its unspeakeable Importance, as others who are immediately concernd, & depend upon it as the only Source of their Commerce & even their Subsistence? If this should be the Fact, Would not States so immediately interested in the Fishery as ours, be justly criminated by the others, if we should neglect seasonably to lay before them our own Sense of the Necessity of an express Article in a Treaty of Peace for its Security? Should we not be wanting to our selves in a most essential Point, & be chargeable by all Posterity, with sacrificing our and their invalueable Rights by unpardonable Carelessness? Such is the Sentiment of this Town. And though we would be far from obtruding this or any Sentiment of ours upon others, we cannot but think our selves justifyable in candidly recommending it to their serious Deliberation.
This Town have judgd it necessary to instruct their Representatives in the General Court on the Subject. The instructions are inclosd. Many other and cogent Reasons might have been urgd, & will undoubtedly be made Use of by you, if you shall think it proper to take the Matter into your Consideration. Should we be so fortunate as to have your full Concurrence in Opinion with us, we assure our selves that we shall be equally fortunate in the Aid we shall receive from your Concurrent Exertions.
In the Name & by Order of the Town of Boston1 in Meeting legally assembled December 14 1781.
1 Signed, in the original as published, by William Cooper, Town Clerk. This letter and the instructions of the town of December 11, 1781, were printed in a pamphlet of three pages. A copy is in the Boston Public Library.
[Ms., Adams Papers, Quincy; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Boston 18 Decr 1781
I have already written to you this Day by the Marquis de Lafayette. This passes thro the Hands of Count de Noailles, whom you did me the Honor to introduce to me. I duly acknowledgd the Receipt of your Favor which he brought me; but the loss of my Letter was attended with an infinitely greater, that of Coll0 Palfrey. I wrote to you largely by him.