Many histories report Gen. Thomas Gage’s proclamation of amnesty to anyone who gave up resisting the royal authorities except John Hancock and Samuel Adams. That helped cement the reputations of those two men as the Massachusetts Whigs’ top leaders.
On 16 June 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress considered a proclamation of its own, offering amnesty to anyone who had been on the Crown side of the conflict so far—with a few exceptions:
And, that our earnest desire to discover our tender regard to our few misguided fellow countrymen, and our readiness to forgive even those who have knowingly offended, we do promise and engage a full and free pardon to all persons who have fled to the town of Boston for refuge, and to other public offenders against the rights and liberties of this country, of what kind or denomination soever; excepting only from the benefit of such pardon, Thomas Gage, [Admiral] Samuel Graves;The congress decided to schedule more discussion of that proclamation the following Tuesday. The next day, however, brought the Battle of Bunker Hill. Dr. Joseph Warren, president of the congress, was killed. Then came important messages from the Continental Congress. And this action was forgotten.
those counsellors who were appointed by mandamus and have not signified their resignation, viz., Jonathan Sewall, Charles Paxton, Benjamin Hallowell;
and all the natives of America, not belonging to the navy or army, who went out with the regular troops on the nineteenth of April last, and were countenancing, aiding, and assisting them in the robberies and murders then committed; whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment:
provided, they take the benefit hereof, by making a surrender of themselves to any general officer belonging to the Massachusetts army, and subscribe a declaration of their readiness to comply with, support, and abide by, all the resolutions and determinations which are already made by this or any former Congress, or that shall hereafter be made by this or any future Congress, or house of representatives of this colony, within thirty days from the date hereof.