February 02, 1809
Within a few days past Colonel Boyd, commanding at the Castle, received orders from the Secretary of War to interdict all vessels from passing Fort Independence; in consequence of this edict the acting Collector has been placed under the necessity of withholding clearances to every description of vessels.
This aggravated repression was not generally known until yesterday, when the vessels in the harbor bound their colors in black, and hoisted them half-mast. The circumstance has created some considerable agitation in the public mind, but to the honor of the town has been yet unattended with any serious consequences.
It is to be presumed that this new edict will at least continue to be enforced until Secretary Dearborn is at leisure to come on, to mark out his favorites, and take upon himself the office, so long reserved for him, of the Customs.
The spirit of our citizens is rising and may burst into a flame. Everything should therefore be done to calm them till the Legislature has had time to mature its plans of redress. It is feared that the caution necessary in such an assembly may protract our relief too long; but we must wait patiently the aid of our Constitutional Guardians, rather than stain the character of this metropolis by mobs and riots. If our government cannot do anything now that shall afford full and complete relief, they may at least do enough to calm the public mind and lead the citizens to wait for events, which must place the means for a radical cure completely in our hands.
The spirit of New England is slow in rising; but when once inflamed by oppression, it will never be repressed by anything short of complete justice.
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