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Massachusetts Provincial Congress

To the Inhabitants of Great Britain.

Friends and Fellow-Subjects:

Hostilities are at length commenced in this colony by the troops under the command of General Gage, and it being of the greatest importance that an early, true and authentic account of this inhuman proceeding should be know to you, the congress of this colony have transmitted the same and from want of a session of the honourable Continental Congress, think it proper to address you on this alarming occasion.

By the clearest depositions relative to this transaction, it will appear that on the night preceding the 19 of April instant, a body of the king's troops, under the command of Colonel Smith, were secretly landed at Cambridge with an apparent design to take or destroy the military and other stores provided for the defence of this colony, and deposited at Concord that some inhabitants of the colony on the aforesaid, whilst travelling peaceably on the road between Boston were seized and greatly abused by armed men who appeared to be Gage's army; that the town of Lexington by these means was alarmed, and a company of the inhabitants mustered on the occasion; that the regular troops on their way to Concord marched into the said town of Lexington and the said company, on their approach, began to disperse that notwithstanding this, the regulars rushed on with great violence and first began hostilities by firing on said Lexington Company, whereby they killed eight and wounded several others; that the regulars continued their fire until those of said company who were neither killed nor wounded had made their. escape; that Colonel Smith with the detachment then marched to Concord, where a number of provincials were again fired on by the troops and two them killed and several wounded, before the provincials fired on them and that these hostile measures of the troops produced an engagement that. lasted through the day in which many of the provincials, and more of the regular troops, were killed and wounded.

To give a particular account of the ravages of the troops as they retreated from Concord to Charlestown, would be very difficult, if not impracticable. Let it suffice to say that a great number of the houses on the road were plundered and rendered unfit for use; several were burnt; women in childbed were driven by the soldiery naked into the streets; old men, peaceably in their houses were shot dead; and such scenes exhibited as would disgrace the annals of the most uncivilized nation.

These, brethren, are marks of ministerial vengeance against this colony for refusing, with her sister colonies, submission to slavery, but they have not yet detached us from our royal sovereign. We profess to be his loyal and dutiful subjects, and so hardly dealt with as we have been, are still ready with our lives and fortunes to defend his person, family, crown, and dignity. Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry, we will not tamely submit. Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free.

We cannot think that the honour, wisdom, and valour of Britons will suffer them to be longer inactive spectators of measures in which they themselves are so deeply interested: measures pursued in opposition to the solemn protests of many noble lords and [the] expressed sense of conspicuous commoners whose knowledge and virtue have long characterized them as some of the greatest men in the nation measures executing contrary to the interest, petitions, and resolves of many large, respectable, and opulent counties, cities, and boroughs in Great Britain, measures highly incompatible with justice, but still pursued with a specious pretence of easing the nation of its burdens, measures which, if successful, must end in the ruin and slavery of Britain, as well as the persecuted American colonies.

We sincerely hope that the great Sovereign of the universe who hath so often appeared for the English nation, will support you in. every rational and manly exertion with these colonies for saving it from ruin, and that in a constitutional connection with the mother country we shall be altogether a free and happy people.

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