471 | To John Pownall

    Boston, June 6, 1766

    Dear Sir

    By my letter of May 30,1 I informed you that the House of Representatives was so garbled as to be entirely in the hands of the Enemies to Government. The Papers inclosed will sufficiently evidence that Acquisition of Power & the ill use that is made of it. I shall now proceed to give you a very Short Account of the farther proceedings, which, tho’ contained in a few days, have a good deal of Activity for ye Time.

    On Tuesday June 3d, I communicated to them, Secry Conway’s Letter;2 & considering that they had allready, by marking the Crown Officers for their Resentment, acted in direct Contradiction to the Expectations of the King & Parliament, I determined to speak plain to them in order to prevent all Equivocations & Subterfuges, which might tend to make their real Purposes & intentions uncertain. I had kept so many Vacancies in the Council as should give an opportunity to remove the Opprobrium by restoring evrything to its former State: I therefore not only by insinuations in my Speeches, but also by express declarations to particulars, hinted, that if they would proceed to a new Election, & chuse the 4 old members of the Council that were flung out by them, & the two which were negatived by me, I would consent to the Whole, by which means the Council would be rendered entire, with no other Alteration than the filling up occasional Vacancies. But this would not do: the Triumph over the Government, the free Excercise of a new acquired power, the weakening the Royal Authority, by the depriving it of some of its best Servants, & intimidating the remaining Councellors, were too great Acquisitions to be given up in Compliment to the King & Parliament, who would be paid in a much cheaper manner by words only.

    The morning I delivered my second Speech, the House had prepared an Answer to my former,3 but I declined receiving it, ‘till I had spoke to them, alledging that my Second Speech was nothing but a continuation of my first; after which they might give me one Answer to both, or two separate as they pleased: The day after, They presented the Answer to my first Speech, which is inclosed; this is framed as the Answer to my former Speeches were, by prevaricating & perverting my words from what they know I meant to what they know I did not mean, & then arguing upon such perversion.4 This day They presented their Answer to my second Speech, in which they labour one point only, that my censuring their Rejection of the four Councellors is a breach of Priviledge, without making due allowance for the intresting occasion of such Censure, endeavouring to perswade them not to persist in so notorious an Act of want of Duty & Gratitude to the King & parliament at so critical a Time.5

    These Matters being finished (for I shall make no Reply to their Answers) They are proceeding in their Business with all possible ill humour; which is to be exemplified in evry instance that will give Opportunity for it. But I shall be very steady in negativing evrything which I disapprove of. The granting my Salary, which should be the first Act of the Court, is put off for a fortnight: the Reason given, is that if they pass that, I shall prorogue or dissolve them. I dont think they will venture to refuse it;6 they know that it will be a most agreable piece of Service to me. The Requisition of the King & Parliamt for indemnifying the Sufferers is put off referred to a further day:7 It is expected that it will be refused; and indeed there is an Expectation Expression in the Answer to my second Speech, which favours this Conjecture. It is also proposed to reduce the Garrisons of one or both of the Fortresses: but that I shant consent to; they may give them up to the King if they please.8 It is also proposed to lay open the Indian Trade: this will be so pregnant of Mischiefs, that it will require the interposition of the Government of Great Britain to prevent the Consequences. These are the Principal Strokes intended against this Government; which I shall endeavour to repel as well as I can. Being now detached from the House, & having no longer any Expectation of pleasing or being pleased, I shall be under no difficulty of making a free use of evry power I have, as I shall think will be most Expedient for the Kings Service.

    I am, Sir &c

    J. Pownall Esqr.

    AL, LbC      BP, 5: 122-126.