500 | To Sir Henry Moore

    Boston, Sepr. 8, 1766.


    I have recd yours of Augt 21: I wrote to you on the 20th of Augt1 upon account of some fresh Violences committed in the Town of Egremont: and as the worst Consequences were expected from the Continuance of them, & you was supposed to be gone to Albany, I sent away my Letter by Express & committed it to the Care of three of the Principal Gentn of that Country, (one of them of the Council) who were directed to wait on you & desire you to put a stop to the Violences committed in our Province. But your Voyage not taking place, & the Troops having withdrawn themselves, The Gentn did not pursue their Journey; but, I suppose, have forwarded my Letter to N York.

    Neither I nor my Council have ever pretended to take Cognisance of the proceedings at Nobletown with Authority. But we have felt for the Sufferers as Men, & upon motives of humanity only have interposed with you in favour of the delinquents, that they might not be quite destitute of all possible support. At the same time we did not take upon us to judge of the Necessity of these Severities, or of the Conduct of them, or to set bounds to the further prosecution of them: after having recommended them as Objects of Pity, we have no more to say. You are the best judge of your administration, as I am of mine.

    It therefore gives me great Concern to find my Conduct so animadverted upon, as it is in the latter part of your Letter. You give me Credit for your former knowledge of me, but I wish it had been extended to the late Years: You would then have known me to be not apt to neglect my duty, altho’ I am cautious in the execution of it. And I then should have had so much credit with you, that you would have considered of the Propriety & legality of what you expected to be done by me, before you censured me for not doing it.

    By your Letter of July the 3d,2 you desire that I would cause certain Persons, named in a proclamation of yours, to be apprehended if they took refuge in our Province.3 None of the Persons named in either of your Proclamations (for these were [_]4 enclosed with your letter) have taken refuge in our Province, that I know of. But some Persons from your Province, whose Names & Crimes I never had any regular Information of, have taken refuge in our Province: & these, you think, I Ought to have ordered to be apprehended, & condemn me for not so doing.5

    I wish you had informed me by what Authority I could have made such an order: for to me it appears that it would have been arbitrary & illegal. It is well known that no magistrate can give a Warrant to apprehend any Person without an information upon Oath, either made before himself, or if made before another magistrate, formally certified to him. And if He should issue such Warrant without such previous Cause, He would be punishable therefor, either by criminal Prosecution or Civil Action. This Rule holds as good in regard to Crimes committed out of the Province, where the Magistrate lives as it does where it is within the Province. Nor do I know that the order of any Govr. will alter the Law in this Case: but such orders will be Arbitrary, & the Governor will be a party to the illegality of the Warrants.

    Now suppose I had made an order to any Magistrate to issue a Warrant to apprehend the Anonymous Persons before mentioned, the Magistrate, if he was prudent & Cautious, would delay doing it, till I furnished him with a regular Information of their Names & Crimes. Or if he confided in me for the legality of what I had ordered, I should become answerable for him. In either Case I must make a poor figure, as I’ve nothing to produce to authorise the cautious magistrate to proceed, or to justify the confident Magistrate in obeying my Order.

    You, mistaking the meaning of a Sentence used by the Selectmen of Egremont, say, that if it is in answer to my orders for taking up those Persons, it is a style of addressing a Governor, which you have not hitherto been acquainted with. But I shall allways desire to be addressed in such a stile when I order anything that is illegal. I do not know how it is with other Governors: But I am sure I am obliged, especially in the Present Times, to square all my public Acts, by the strict Rules of Law. If I should fail therein, advantage would soon be taken of it. And indeed if there is any Governor than [that] can be indifferent about the Legality of his orders, He sits in an Easier seat than I do.

    As I am dif[f]ident6 of my own Judgement in questions concerning myself, I submitted your letter to the Council, & desired their Opinion upon it; which, being reduced to Queres & Answers, I now send you.7 And if you shall still think that I have been negligent of my duty in not giving you the Assistance I ought to have given upon this occasion, I must desire you to join with me in laying this Matter before our Superiors. For however I am indifferent about the Censure of the Common People, I cannot so easily submit to it from a Person of your Rank & Station, especially when it comes from a Gentn whose Confidence & good Opinion I flattered myself I had some pretence to.

    I have laid before the Council8 your Proposal of settling the Line between the two Provinces according to the report of the Lords of Trade; that is, by running a streight Line from the Northwest Corner of Connecticut at 20 miles distance from Hudson’s river to a point in the North Line of the Massachusets at 20 miles distance from the same river. And tho’ the Council dont chuse in the recess of the genl Court to enter into any Engagement concerning boundaries, They have confirmed me in my Opinion, that Our Province expects no other Line: and therefore if such a Line shall be agreable to your Government, I doubt not but it will be so to ours; & if you please, I will propose to our Assembly when they sit to empower their Agent to consent to the confirmation of that Line.9

    By the desire of the Council, I send you Copies of some more Papers, which have been transmitted hither; they relate to a former Narrative which I sent to you before, & are now of no use: I should not have Troubled you with them, but that we think they should not be secreted in our Office.

    I am, with great Truth & Regard, &c.

    Sr. Hy Moore, Bart.

    AL, LbC      BP, 5: 199-203.