52 | To John Pownall

    Boston June 15th. 1761

    Dear Sr.

    I find my self obliged to transmit to you the following Narrative as a supplement to what I have before sent concerning Mr. Barrons proceedings in his office here.263

    You are acquainted with Mr. Pitts circular letter to the Govrs: of America concerning the french trade & especially that to the Missisippi & the strong terms in which they are required to discover & censure that trade.264 To this I returned an answer, wherein I showed that this province was generally esteemed to be unconcerned in that trade; but that I should nevertheless keep a good Look out.265

    At the end of April last I recd. advice that a Sloop supposed to be from the Missisippi lay behind an Island at 9 miles distance from Boston. The mate of the sloop had been up in Town & enterd her with Mr. Barrons as from St. Thomas’s with 5 hhds of sugar & 2 of Molasses, tho’ she really had neither one nor the other on board. Mr. Paxton who made this discovery was ill in bed: he therefore engaged Mr. Temple the Comptroller to prosecute it They had discovered where part of the Cargo was lodged; & it was thought advisable that the sloop & Cargo (then at 9 miles distance from one another) should be siezed at the same time. I therefore directed Mr. Temple to engage the deputy sherriff for the former business, whilst the principal Sherriff assisted at the latter. And I gave the Deputy sheriff a written order on the Captain of the Castle to assist him with armed men; & I gave verbal orders to the sheriff to secure the sloop. & commit all the men he found on board to the Custody of the Captain of the Castle. The Sheriff executed his orders and having found two men on board committed them to the Castle. The next day I went down & took a justice with me, who assisted in Examining them. A Copy of these examinations I sent to you & another to Mr. Pitt,266 they were material in discovering the constant communication between Jamaica & New Orleans, by which among other things the Cherokees have been constantly supplyed with Gunpowder. These I sent by the packet that left New York the 15th of May.

    I must now return to the sheriff After he had seized the Sloop & before he could bring her to the castle, a boat came alongside with a man in it, who said he came from Mr. Barrons with an order to seize that Vessel & demanded the possession of her. The sheriff said, he had already seized by a power from Mr. Temple & by the immediate orders of the Governor and he should not let any one come on board. However Mr. Barrons men attempted to force an entrance & persisted in it, Untill one of them got a slight prick with a Bayonet: They then desisted & went of with Many threats of Mr. Barrons resentment. in the Afternoon Mr. Barrons came to an house where I dined, & with great heat told me, that there was an end of the Customhouse, if the Governor was at liberty to employ the Soldiers of the Castle in preventing the Custom house officers seizing contraband goods Vessels, & that he should send home a complaint of it.

    I told him that If he wrote on this subject he should learn the truth of it; which was that I had ordered the Vessel to be seized in pursuance of the special injunctions of the Secretary of state & that after the men or [on] board had been committed, I should deliver her to Mr. Temple to be prosecuted in the Court of Admiralty, where if he had any Claim upon her he might make it.

    But this did not satisfy him for soon after on the same day, meeting with the Sheriff on the great Wharf of the Town, he abused him with very gross words among which were the Words following “damn you, you are a pack of Rascalls your Governor & all, and you may go and tell him so”. It may be asked, what could induce him to use such violent & indecent Expressions against a Commander in Chief in the most public part of the Town: I can only answer that I have before set forth all the provocation I gave him; nor can I learn that he has ever pretended to Assign any other cause or indeed any cause at all for so public an outrage against my office. The Sheriff was taken Ill soon after his return & confined for a fortnight. As soon as he got out he made his complaint to Mr. Dana a justice of the peace;267 who thinking the subject matter of too public a nature to be determined by him, sent him to advise with the Attorney Genl: but the Attorney preferring a proceeding before a justice to a more public prosecution, The Justice heard the complaint & Mr. Barrons defence & adjudged the Charge against him to be proved. The particulars will appear from a Copy of the whole proceeding as drawn up by the justice, wch. is herewith enclosed.

    As I have before transmitted to you all I have had occasion to send concerning Mr. Barrons I continue the same method, hoping that when these papers shall be laid before their Lordships, they will be accepted as well thro your hands, as if they had been immediately addressed to their Lordships. the reason I took this method, in my first transmission of this kind, arose from the desire & some hopes I had of these disorders being composed before any Complaints of Mr. Barrons were made too notorious. But these hopes are at an End & it now becomes an inexcusable Duty to represent the proceedings of Mr. Barrons, not so much as injurious to my person, as destructive of Government itself.

    I am &c

    Mr Secretary Pownall

    L, LbC BP, 1: 317-320.