511 | To Richard Jackson

    Jama Farm near Boston Novr 17, 1766.

    Dear Sr.

    I have recd from you a Letter dated from Weasenham no time mentioned, but must be in August; & another dated from the same place, Sepr. 8.1 I am pleased with the freedom you take with me, in observing upon my Speeches at the last Session.2 I use all means I can think of to reconcile the People to Government: at that time I tho’t that Expostulation would have done some Service, & I tryed the Experiment. Since that I have changed my Plan as you will perceive by the Speeches I now send to you. It is impossible to justify evry Sentence in a writing so hastily composed, as some of these Papers were, unless one is allowed to put one’s own Construction upon it. I agree with you that it is not right to threaten People with the loss of their rights, but it is the part of a friend to caution people against acting so as to endanger their Rights.3 And, taking all the Parts of my second Speech together, have I not a good Pretension to say, that it was the admonition of a friend & not the Threat of an Enemy?4

    But since I find that evry thing I say is put into Otis’s hands to be answd, & the fairest & honestest professions are to be perverted with a Chicanery that would disgrace an English Pettifogger, I shall be very Sparing of my Words, & cautious in the use of them. Of this I now give you a Specimen: upon the Opening this Session, I determined to be as short as possible, & to weigh evry word I said used. After I had deld5 my Speech, I was told that the Faction’s Chief Dependence was upon my being off my Guard; & they were much disappointed with my Speech.6 But what signifies the Speech? a dispute with the Govr must be had at all Events, & as my present Speech will afford no grounds for it, they go back to a Speech made 5 months ago, which was then animadverted upon, & has since been hackneyed in the Newspapers, & pick out a sentence expressing, that Respect & Deference was due to the King & Parliament of Great Britain, & call it a Breach of the Priviledges of their House.7 Can the utmost prudence & Integrity guard against such wicked Persons? However, I believe they are as much disappointed at the little notice I have taken of it in my last Speech,8 as they were at my first.

    The true Reason why the Compensation has not been granted, does not appear in any of the Houses Papers, & is industriously kept out of View. It is this: that as the Riots arose entirely within the Town of Boston, & were suffered to proceed to so great a Length without Opposition, It is but just that the damages should be made good by that Town, who is able to do it. This has prevailed generally throughout the Country, & mostly ^in those Towns, and^ with those People, who abhor those Proceedings, & are principled against the Politicks of Boston. Hence it was, that the members for Boston, whose Intrest it was to get the mony paid as soon as possible, opposed makg the Compensation last Session. For they were apprehensive that if the Compensation should be granted out of the Public Treasury, when that was done, a motion would be made to charge it upon the Town of Boston in the Tax bill, which was the Business of that Session. And having determined to oppose ^postpone^ the Business to another Session, & being obliged to assign other Reasons for so doing than the true one, they unfortunately stumbled upon the necessity of Consulting their Constituents for one of them.

    The Representatives were thereby obliged to consult their Constituents, who otherwise would have acted freely according to their own judgement: & partly from Principles of frugality, but more generally from the Opinion that it was due from Boston only, a majority of Towns intrusted9 their members not to consent to making the Compensation out of the Treasury. And this prevailed very much among the Friends to Government: Salem, ever friendly to Government, instructed their Members against a Compensation out of the Treasury; And the County of Hampshire, heretofore wholly on the side of Government, was so averse to this measure, that all the Members but one staid away. The Town of Boston instructed their Members to use their utmost endeavours to get the Compensation made, out of the Treasury. Otis laboured the Question as hardly10as ever he did anything; in which he was assisted by that good man Brigdr Ruggles, & some other able Speakers on the side of Government. They had all the Success they could have; they convinced evry one present of the Expediency of making the Compensation; but they could not persuade the members to act contrary to their Instructions. Therefore this Expedient was hit upon: they bro’t in a bill for making a Compensation (specyfying the Sums, the misreport of which had done hurt) & indemnifying the Rioters, & ordered it to be printed, & desired a Recess. I persuade myself this will succeed; as many members, who were instructed against the Question, have undertaken to endeavour to procure Leave to consent to the Bill.

    The abusive Paragraph against me has a short anecdote belonging to it.11 Mr Deberdt’s last letter,12which you will see printed after the bill had been interpreted with such a latitude by the Faction, that they persuaded themselves that I should be severely reprimanded, if not removed, for expressing such respect & deference to be due to the King & Parliament: & therefore my former Speech, relating to that Subject, was to be revived, & made a fresh matter, against the Sec’ry of State’s letters shd arrive. Two hours after I recd their ansr, I had the Sec’rys Letter, which I immediately communicated to them.13The next morning they took it into consideration, & Otis raved by the Clock upon it; & at lenght got himself appointed with a Committee to consider it & Report. As14the House did not order it to be printed, (perhaps because it spoke so favourably of me) The Council, before they rose, unanimously desired me to order it to be printed, alledging that it would do good service in conciliating the Minds of the People to the Compensation, & perhaps having something to the Credit it would give me.

    I deld your letter to Col. White,15telling him that I had perused it. He would have had me have given him16directions how to use it: I told him, that I understood that you desired to leave that Conduct to him. However we both agreed that it would be better to let it alone to the next meeting. I shd have made use of what I recd from you on the same Subject, if I could have found an Opportunity, but I determined to keep out of all Business, whilst the Compensation was on the Carpet.

    I am. &c.

    R Jackson Esqr.

    P.S. I shd be glad if you would show this Letter to Secy Pownall, as I have no time to represent the subject matter to him.

    AL, LbC      BP, 5: 166-170.