516 | To Richard Jackson

    Boston, Decr 15, 1766.

    Dear Sir,

    I wrote to you the beginning of this month a short Letter1 serving only to inclose others: in which I acquainted you that the Assembly was just met, & I would soon after acquaint you with what they did. My Letter was scarce got off the Coast, before I found that Otis’s faction were for dismissing you from the Agency: this was proposed in the House the 3d day of the Meeting;2 the best part of the Friends of Government were absent; but those that attended were little disposed to stem the Torrent, which had been vainly attempted in other instances when they were stronger than they were at that time. So the Motion was carried without opposition, except that about half a dozen men thought themselves obliged to give their Testimony against it. When it came up to the Board, It appeared to be so rude (by its abruptness & shortness, & not by any positive words)3 that the generality of the Council were for rejecting ^of^ it. They that agreed ^argued^ for concurring with it gave all due Credit to you, & acquitted you of the Neglect of Presenting the address & all neglects whatsoever, but urged that as all Confidence between you & the House was at an End, & they now employed a separate Agent of their own, It would be best upon all accounts, & certainly most agreable to you that your Agency should be determined. However as the present Vote was thought by its form to be impracticable, The Council by a large majority postponed the Consideration of it to the next Session.4

    But the Faction would not let it rest so & therefore one of them (a Councellor whom I unfortunately left out of my negative List)5 insisted upon it that the Vote of Postponing should be sent down to the House for concurring & by other Means of embarrassing & teizing, [forced?]6 the Council into a resolution of appointing a Committee of Conference with the House, after having first negatived the Houses Vote. which Committee were instructed to state two difficulties which the Council Laboured under: 1. That as reasons had been assigned for the dismission, which they thought might be done with one regard to the Services you had done the Province, & the Reputation you had justly acquired by your ^knowledge^ Reputation & Conduct of American Business in general. 2, That no Provision had been made for paying you for your Service, which was now in long arrears, which ought to proceed or at least accompany the dismission. In the joint Committee the first objection was removed by drawing up a new form of a resolution; but the Committee for the House would not enter into the second, insisting upon it that all Considerations of money matters should first originate in their House. The Committee therefore only reported a new Draught of a Resolution, which now first passed the House & then the board: a Copy of which I now send you.7 In the Course of the Argument at the Council, Copies of your Letter to Mr White & a paragraph to me on the same Subject, & sevral paragraphs of your letters to me, tending to show your Zeal & attention to the Intrests of America, in the last Session were laid before the board, & by them sent down to the House, & now remain as public papers in the Office.8

    This being laid before me in form, I spoke to the Council, & said that it was my desire, as much as it was anyones, that you should be freed from the ^your^ Agency, as you had been treated by the House with great ingratitude; that I myself was in a great measure answerable to you for this ill usage, having prevailed upon you to accept of this Office upon account of the dangerous & difficult Situation which the American Intrests were then in; whereas, but for this inducement, your other avocations, so much Superior to an appointment of this kind, must have disposed you to have declined so invidious an office. That I was ready to sign [so invidious an Office] your dismission, when it was accompanied with a Compensation for your Services, which had been extended thro’ five Years including the Current. That tho’ this, in former instances, had made an after consideration, yet there was abundant reason to avoid this Procedure now; when at present there subsisted litigations between the House & the two former Agents concerning their pay; the latter of which had made the subject of great discredit to the Province; in so much that it would be difficult hereafter to find a Man, that had a regard for his honour, to engage in such Service. At the time I said this, I had a message from the House that they had done all their Business, & praied a recess. I therefore dismissed them with a very short Speech, in which I told them, that I had postponed the Consideration of their Vote concerning the Agent unto the next Session.

    The only Concern that this Business gives me, is that they have got the Start of me: I have long intended to propose, myself, your release from the Agency; which I have often repented that I engaged you in. But I have waited for the time, when the good & wise should unite in Opposition to Knaves & Fools. This many men of Sense have pretended ^persuaded^ themselves to be near hand: but for my part it seems to me to be farther off than ever. I myself do not see the least Possibility ^probability^ of this Government recovering itself by its own Powers. And if it is to be left to itself like the pure limped Stream to work itself clear,9 if I have any merit, if I have any Interest, I must beg to be withdrawn from it, in such a manner as not to be injurious to the portion of my Wife & Children; which has recd very little Encrease by my American Employments & is like to be still less benefitted by my Stay here.

    As soon as the Assembly meets again at the End of January, I shall move them to make a proper Compensation for your Services as a necessary measure to your dismission.10If they treat about it, the lowest Sums I can admit of, will be £100 a year as Council and 300 a year as Agent, besides real Charges, & an allowance for Coach Hire, if you think fit to charge it. this will amount to £900, considering the present year as entire. This I really think extremely scanty: for Mr Mauduit in his last letter, a Copy of which I send you, sayes that the extraordinary Expence he was put to by being Agent amounted to £300 a year.11I should be glad therefore, if it can well be, that the Quantum may be undetermined, untill you can send in your account, in which you should leave no blanks in the way of what you please. But I dont think that they would ^will^ give me any Opportunity to name the Sum which I think is your least one. For if I judge right, they dont intend to appoint another general Agent; & therefore will be indifferent to my Consenting to the dismission of the present. Their intention is to keep a separate Agent for the House; which has been before practised in the Times of Popular Violence, & a sure test of such Times. The Apparent place of the Faction is to bring all power into the hands of the People: they have allready made great Strides towards it; & if I am not supported from home before next Election, I must give up the Contest, & the Revolution will be compleat.

    I have a great Quantity of public Business cut out for me, which I must dispatch with as little loss of time as may be. I therefore cannot at present write so fully upon this subject as I could wish. I will renew it when I can.

    I am &c.

    R. Jackson Esqr.

    AL, LbC      BP, 5: 171-176.