11 | Circular from William Pitt


    Whitehall 23d. August 1760.


    The Commanders of His Majesty’s Forces, & Fleets, in North America, & the West Indies, having transmitted repeated & certain Intelligence of an illegal & most pernicious Trade, carried on by The King’s Subjects, in North America, and the West Indies, as well as to the French Islands, as [and] to the French Settlements on the Continent of America, and particularly to the Rivers Mobile, & Mississippi, by which the Enemy is, to the greatest Reproach & Detriment of Government, supplied with Provisions, & other Necessaries, whereby They are principally, if not alone, enabled to sustain & protract this long & expensive War; and it further appearing, that large Sums, in Bullion, are also sent, by The King’s Subjects, to the above Places, in return whereof, Commodities are taken, which interfere with the Produce of the British Colonies Themselves, in open Contempt of the Authority of the Mother Country, as well as to the most manifest Prejudice of the Manufactures, & Trade of Great Britain; In order, therefore, to put the most speedy, & effectual Stop to such flagitious Practices, so utterly Subversive of all Law, and so highly repugnant to the Honor and Wellbeing of this Kingdom, It is His Majesty’s express Will & Pleasure, that you do forthwith make the strictest, and most diligent, Enquiry, into the State of this dangerous & ignominious Trade, & that you do use every Means in your Power, to detect & discover Persons, concerned, either as Principals, or Accessories, therein; And that you do take every Step, authorized by Law, to bring all such heinous Offenders to the most exemplary, and condign Punishment; and you will, as soon as may be, & from Time to Time, transmit to me, for The King’s Information, full & particular Accounts of the Progress you shall have made, in the Execution of these His Majesty’s Commands, to which The King expects that you do pay the most exact Obedience: And you are farther to use your utmost Endeavours, to trace out, and investigate, the various Artifices & Evasions, by which the dealers in this iniquitous Intercourse find Means to cover their criminal Proceedings, and to elude the Law, in order that, from such Lights, due & timely Consideration may be had, what farther Provisions shall be necessary to restrain an Evil of such extensive & pernicious Consequences.

    I am, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant.

    W Pitt

    Govr. of Massachusets Bay.

    dupLS, RC BP, 9: 121-124.

    In No. 18, FB replied to Pitt’s principal letter (not found), which he received two months prior to the duplicate printed here. He continued to report on the trade with the French colonies (No. 49).