Text of a Letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence to the Colonies Regarding the Boston Port Act

May 13, 1774

In 1774, Parliament passed the Boston Port Act as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. The Act closed the Port of Boston. When the news of the Act reached Boston, the Committee of Correspondence sent this Circular Letter to the other Colonies. Samuel Adams wrote this letter on May 13, 1774.

Samuel Adams, Painting

Samuel Adams is the author of this circular letter, which was sent to the other Colonies by the Boston Committee of Correspondence.


Boston May 13, 1774

I am desired by the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of this Town to inclose you an Attested Copy of their Vote passed in Town Meeting legally assembled this day. The Occasion of this Meeting is most alarming: We have received the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament (which is also inclosed) wherein it appears that the Inhabitants of this Town have been tried and condemned and are to be punished by the shutting up of the Harbour, and other Ways, without their having been called to answer for, nay, for aught that appears without their having been even accused of any crime committed by them; for no such Crime is alleged in the Act.

The Town of Boston is now Suffering the Stroke of Vengeance in the Common Cause of America. I hope they will sustain the Blow with a becoming fortitude; and that the Effects of this cruel Act, intended to intimidate and subdue the Spirits of all America will by the joint Efforts of all be frustrated.

The People receive this Edict with Indignation. It is expected by their Enemies and feard by some of their Friends, that this Town singly will not be able to support the Cause under so severe a Trial. As the very being of every Colony, considered as a free People depends upon the Event, a Thought so dishonorable to our Brethren cannot be entertained, as that this Town will now be left to struggle alone.

General Gage is just arrived here, with a Commission to supersede Governor Hutchinson. It is said that the Town of Salem about twenty Miles East of this Metropolis is to be the Seat of Government — that the Commissioners of the Customs and their numerous Retinue are to remove to the Town of Marblehead a Town contiguous to Salem and that this if the General shall think proper is to be a Garrisoned Town. Reports are various and contradictory.

I am &c.

Sent to the Committee of Correspondence for Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, & Philadelphia by Mr. Revere — and in that sent to Philadelphia there were Copies of the Vote of the Town inclosed for the Colonies to the Southward of them which they were desired to forward with all possible Dispatch with their own Sentiments.

[Sent] to Providence, Rhode Island [and] Portsmouth [by the] Post.

[Sent] to Peyton Randolph Esquire to be communicated by him to the Gentlemen in Virginia which was sent by Mr. Perez Moulton as far as Philadelphia to be thence forwarded by the Post.

This version of the letter, written by Samual Adams, is from the “Writings of Samuel Adams, Volume III, 1773–1777” by Henry Alonzo Cushing, pages 108-109, published in 1904.

NOTE: For clarity, we have expanded abbreviations, modernized the spelling of some words, and filled in gaps. The gaps are indicated with brackets.