497 | To Lord Barrington

    Boston, Septr 1, 1766.

    My Lord,

    I am much obliged to your Lordship for your kind letter of June 8;1 wherein you observe the different Opinions of two of my friends on the Subject of my Return. Mr Jackson expects no advantage from thence, either to the public, or myself; Mr Pownall apprehends me to be in danger where I am: I fear they are both in the Right. From all Accounts we learn that the Councils of Great Britain are in such a State of Instability,2 that the Measures necessary to the Support of the Sovreignty of Great Britain over America, cannot at present be pursued; & the misfortune is, that from the same Cause, they are becoming evry day more & more necessary. The Americans see the Weakness of Great Britain, arising from their internal Divisions; & from thence they are encouraged to form pretensions, which they would not have dared to have hinted at, if they did not depend upon the Disunion of the Sovreign State. In such a Case, I can be of no Service to the publick, let my Informations be ever so Authentick, or my Advice ever so salutary. But then the Consequence is, that it is high time for evry Crown Officer in America, who has distinguished himself by his fidelity to the King, to get away before his retreat is cut off. If the Administration of Great Britain is not able to take necessary Measures to support its Authority over the Colonies, it cannot be expected that they should be able to protect the King’s Officers against the Popular power of the Colonists; which must be evry day encreasing at the Expence of Great Britain.

    Mr Pownall has long ago expressed great Concern at the danger I am in at this Place, and with Reason; for many People here have wondered at my having hitherto escaped: perhaps my firmness has contributed to it; but that won’t do at all times.3 I think the Trial is still to come, especially as I have of late found myself obliged to strike some bold4 Strokes on the behalf of the King; which, tho’ they have been generally approved of, will excite some of the Wickedest people who are hurt by them, to do me some singular Mischief. I advertised Mr Pownall of the Necessity of this Conduct of mine, some time before it took place; & from thence argued for the Propriety of my being ordered home for ^at^ the present.5 The Crisis which I apprehended most danger from, is the Introduction of King’s Troops into this Town;6 which having become necessary to the Support of the Government, will be placed to the Account of the Governor: altho’ I know nothing of the designations for that purpose, & it seems intended that I shall not. The Faction at Boston have declared that they will not suffer Troops to come in this Town; & if they come cross the Country, (as has been reported) that they will never reach this Town, Now, tho’ I dont think that they will dare to oppose the King’s Troops in form, yet they are like enough to resort to the Cowardly Expedient of avenging themselves on the King’s Servants, defenceless as they will be, before they will have the protection of the Troops. And after the Troops arrive, I shall have a difficult part to act: if I seem to depend upon their protection, I shall be charged with pusillanimity; If I totally disregard it, perhaps my Confidence in my own Innocence Ruin & the Security, which ought to arise from thence, may be turned to my Ruin. And yet it is hard ^strange^ to say that I am charged here with no other offence against the People, than the high Sense I have of the Sovreignty of Great Britain, & my duty to support it.________

    ____I therefore wish that I may receive a discretionary power to go to England, if it becomes necessary; that at least I may not be obliged to stay here, when it is no longer safe for me. I shall be very unwilling to take an expensive Voyage to no purpose; it would make too great a hole in my fortunes: but possibly I may have no Choice, or the Alternative may be much worse.

    I have been very loath to turn my Eyes from this Province; it is rather too late in Life for me to form new Schemes: & therefore it was my Intention rather to endeavour to get this Government improved (as it ought to be at all Events) than look out for a better: But this Purpose, in the manner I intended it, is defeated by the late Troubles; and no Improvement can be made in this Government but with the high hand of Parliament: So that It will be a high vain attempt to get my Salary augmented with the good will of the present Rulers of the People. And now it seems to me that there must be, sooner or later, effectual Measures taken for reforming this Government, which will be unpleasing to the People in their Present Plenitude of Power. In such Case the Old Govr will be made obnoxious, whether he is or is not obnoxi- advising or privy to such measures: & it may be advisable upon that Accot only, to appoint a new Govr. This Consideration has induced me to think of looking out for another Establishment:7 & I have been the more encouraged in it, by the many Letters recd here, advising that it was intended to remove me to a better Government;8 one of which, from a Gentn who has admission to some great People, expressly named Jamaica. There are now vacant 4 Governmts, Jamaica, Leward Islands, Barbadoes, & Nova Scotia.9 The two former I should decline upon account of the Climate; which I apprehend would not suit my sanguine Complexion: & the State of my Family obliges me to have some Regard to my Health. Barbadoes I should most thankfully accept.10 Nova Scotia at another time, I should consider as a banishment: but even that would be more acceptable, (especially if I could have it upon Terms more acceptable ^advantageous^ than the present) than to be left here to fight the King’s Battles, without protection, support, or maintenance. It is said that Lord Chas Greville is to be removed to Jamaica: South Carolina,11 which I should decline, if I had a prospect of being quieted here with an adequate Salary, would be more agreable, than to be left here in my present Situation. You see, My Lord, What a distraction of wants & wishes I am reduced to: & I would fly away from it, in hopes of negotiating for myself to some purpose, if I had any prospect of Success.

    I have made this Letter longer than I intended, for which I must depend upon your Lordships usual Indulgence. I wish your Lordship would give Mr Pownall an Opportunity of perusing this Letter, & afterwards talk with him upon the Subject: in this Expectation, I shall say the less to him upon it. I expect to hear from Mr Jackson by the first Ships from London,12 & then perhaps shall learn what is intended to be done with me: at present your Lordships Letter is the only one I have recd upon the Subject.

    Mrs Bernard joins with me in respectful Compliments to your Lordship.

    I am, with the Greatest Regard &c, &c, &c.

    Lord Visct Barrington.

    AL, LbC      BP, 5: 144-152.