526 | To Richard Jackson

    Boston Jan 13 1767

    Dear Sr

    I have just received your Letter of Nov 21,1 & hope I shall have Time to write to you as far as I have Occasion at present: this will depend a good Deal upon the Wind and the Weather detaining the Ship which is ready.

    I have found myself obliged at length to write to Lord Shellburne a long Detail of the State of the Government & of the Faction which harasses it. I would have avoided it if possible, for I know that lengthy Papers are but little regarded by Ministers of State. But I am pursued with such a rancorous Malices2 that I cannot excuse ^myself^ omitting any Thing Informations which may serve to explain the Wickedness of my Enemies or my Own Justification. My two first Letters upon this Subject contain in the Whole 5 folio Sheets,3 It is to be followed by more, but not now. I fear I shall be too Voluminous to be attended to; but I cant help it: I cant contract for want of knowing what to Leave out.

    Some Time ago I received Orders from the Lords of the Treasury to transmit to them an Account of the Expences of this Government.4 I therefore thought that this was a good Time to do what I have long had in mind, to make a representation of the Incompetency of the Salary of this Government. I have been in doubt whether it had would be best done by Petition to the King or Memorial to the Secretary of State. I have therefore prepared both, being in Substance the same, & send them with a Letter to Lord Shelburne leaving it wholly at his Disposal.5 I shall trouble you to deliver this Letter, in Order to give you an Opportunity, if his Lordship shall be so pleased, for him to talk with you upon this Subject. I know you are principled against Governors being Independent of their People, but are not against their having a competent Subsistence[:]6 you may serve me upon the Latter Article only; and I dont despair of seeing you convinced that the Governors &c should have a certain Appointment as well as a Competent one. The latter is greatly dependent upon the former; & they are both quite necessary to the good Order of America.

    Among the Instructions which the House has sent to their Agent De Bert, is one that he should remonstrate against the naval Office & pray that it may be abolished.7 It is founded upon the trite Arguments that by the Establishment of the Custom House the Naval House ^office^ became unnecessary &c. I dont suppose there is any probability of such an application being attended to: for it would be a strange Peice of Self Denial for the Minister to give up an Office which Affords the best Patronage he has except the Governments. But I am apprehensive that the Office (as it has is become invidious to the Faction by the late Appointment)8 may be attacked by refusing to pay the Fees, which are no other than what have been taken for above 30 Years, have been certified to the Board of Trade and are hung up in the Office. For in the Act of the 5th of George 3 cap. 45 in the Clause for regulating the Fees of the Custom House Officers,9 The Naval Office was unfortunately omitted; which will Leave an opening for its being effectually abolished by a confederacy here, as it could be by Act of Parliament. As Evils of that Kind are much easier prevented than redressed, I wish that a Clause could be inserted in some Bill this Session for extending the Clause in the forementioned Act to the Naval Office. I have wrote to Mr Pownall to this Purpose;10 & should have wrote to Lord Shelburne, if I had not troubled him with so much Paper upon other Accounts. I wish you would mention it to him; & if he approves of such a Clause take Care of it.

    It is understood here that the Ministry expects that the American Governments will regulate themselves without any Authoritative Interposition from Home. I wish it could be brought about: but for my own Part I have no Hopes of it. However it mayn’t be amiss to try the Experiment: for tho it may make Things worse for ^the^ present, it may also make the Necessity of the Interposition of Parliament more evident than it is at present. And the Unanimity of Parliament in the Measures they shall find themselves obliged to pursue will contribute much to the Efficiency of them. What persuades me that this is unavoidable, is that the principles of great Britain & America are so widely different that it must produce a Dispute some Time or other. And there is no other Way to prevent this but to have a solemn Determination of the Matters in Question: & it don’t seem to me that this can be done without admitting American Representatives into Parliament. All that can be got by postponing will be the Choice of Time; & probably that may be made to Disadvantage.

    There seems to be now rising another formal Dispute with the Parliament; which may be as serious tho not so violent, as that of the Stamp Act. The Mutiny Act directs the Governors & Council of the Colonies, & upon their Default the Justices of the Peace, to make provision for the billeting of Soldiers &c. & requires the Assemblies to raise Money for defraying such Expenses. The Governor of New York applied to the Assembly to make provision for this Purpose: they provided only for Part of the Allowances prescribed by the Act. The Secretary of State orders the Governor to tell them that his Majesty expects a full and absolute Compliance with the Act without any Variation or Departure therefrom. The House has given a positive refusal to comply with the Act & give ^for^ Reason that it would bring too great a Burthen upon the Province for it to bear.11 This is evidently not the True Reason; for it is not True in fact. The true Reason is that if they should comply with this Act specifically, It would be a formal Admission that the Parliament has a right to make Laws to bind them, & in money Matters too; which they are not at present disposed to do. Three Years ago this Act would have passed without notice & been obeyed without Difficulty.

    Our Politicians would have thought it hard if they had not some Share in this Dispute; & Providence has been very kind to them in driving into the Harbour a transport with two Companies of Artillery who were bound to Quebec. The Governor & Council (the Assembly not being sitting) provided for them according to their Desire, which was short of what they could demand, & enter’d it in the Minutes “in pursuance of the Act of Parliament.” Last Session the House called them to account for this and also for reprinting the Act. The Council answered that the House should apply to the Governor for what was done in privy Council. The Answer was voted unsatisfactory & a Committee was appointed to take the matter into Consideration against next Session.12 As New York has set the Example, there is no Doubt but the Faction here will improve upon it & work it up as high as they can. It has been allready said among them that this Act is as bad as the Stamp Act.

    I fear these Thin[g]s will tend to elevate the Opposers of the Ministry, who heretofore prophesied concerning the Behaviour of the Americans; & therefore I am much concerned at them. But if they should serve to bring the contending Opinions nearer to one another, so as to make a Coalition in favour of prudent & temperate Measures towards settling the Rights of the Americans upon constitutional Principles & conciliating the Colonies to a recognition of them, so as to take away all Seeds of future Disputes, It would be an happy Event.

    I hereby inclose a Bill upon Genl: Murray which He ought long ago to have saved me the Trouble of drawing. It is for 24 Pounds, which when received I beg you would pay to Mr Manser Taylor in Stanhope Street together with 9 pounds, or thereabouts which I owe him for a Suit of Cloathes. The latter Sum will I hope come out of the money due to me on Account of St Croix.

    I am &c.

    R Jackson Esqr.

    L, LbC      BP, 5: 281-285.