1. From Jonathan Belcher, 30 October 1740

    2. To Margaret Sanford Hutchinson, 13 April 1741

    3. From Jonathan Belcher, 11 May 1741

    4. To Benjamin Lynde Sr., 14 May 1741

    5. To Josiah Willard, 31 July 1741

    Although a certain amount of Thomas Hutchinson’s business correspondence survived from his early mercantile career, the first sequence of his political letters concerns his trip to London from November 1740 to November 1741 as special agent for twenty-six Massachusetts towns that were placed within New Hampshire’s jurisdiction when the boundary line was redrawn in 1737. Hutchinson was ostensibly the agent for the towns themselves, though the Massachusetts General Court granted him £300 for expenses. He also acted privately on behalf of his patron, Governor Jonathan Belcher, who hoped to shore up support in London for his position as governor of Massachusetts. Hutchinson failed in both endeavors. The Board of Trade ruled in June 1741 that the towns were in New Hampshire, and partisans of William Shirley successfully dislodged Belcher from the governorship at roughly the same time.

    Another unstated purpose of the trip to England was that Belcher and Hutchinson, both firm believers in hard money, hoped to block efforts to inflate the money supply in Massachusetts. In the summer before Hutchinson’s departure, the General Court granted a charter for a Land Bank, whereby private notes, backed by property mortgages, would function as legal tender, thus alleviating a perceived shortage of circulating medium in the province. Hutchinson and a number of fellow merchants responded by printing a public notice refusing to accept such paper money. In 1741, Parliament extended the Bubble Act to the colonies, effectively outlawing the scheme. Nevertheless the currency issue remained a point of contention in Massachusetts politics throughout Hutchinson’s early career.

    1. From Jonathan Belcher

    Boston Octo. 30 1740

    Sir, As you are bound for England an Agent to a Number of Grantees or Proprietors of Lands, that fall out of the Jurisdiction of this Province by the late Settlement of the Line, with the Province of New Hampshire, & I happen to have a Thousand Acres of Land in the same Circumstances I desire you to accept of the Inclosed Power of Attorney to act in my behalf by Solliciting that my Lands may be annext to this Province as to Jurisdiction or Government (as was supposd before the Settlement they did), I herewith deliver you the General Assemblies Grant to me of those Lands Dated Jana. 6: 1735 which was before any Commission was made or certain notice of any to be made for the Settlement of the Boundaries. In this Affair Mr Partridge & Belcher will give you any assistance they can, & I shall not doubt your Care and Diligence to serve me in the best manner you are able.1 You have also herewith my Letters in your Favour to some Great Persons at Court & to some of my particular Friends in the City which I wish may be of Service to you.

    May you Sir have a prosperous Voyage by the will of God & all the Success in the Publick & in your private Affairs that your heart can wish. I am, Sir, your Assured Friend,    J.B.

    AC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Jonathan Belcher Letterbooks, 7:49); dateline appears at the bottom of the letter; at foot of letter, “Mr. Hutchinson”; marked “DDd. himself.” Enclosures not found.

    2. To Margaret Sanford Hutchinson

    London 13th April 1741

    My Peggy, I wrote you a few lines 2 days ago by a Gentleman who is going to Boston by way of Philadelphia & tho’ it be round about it may possibly get to you before this. I am still under the greatest concern for you and long to know how you have got thro’ a cold Winter for all the news I have heard from New England these 3 or 4 months is that the Weather has been extream severe. I hope you will never pass another Winter alone as long as I live.

    I am so simple sometimes as to be uneasy for fear the Small pox should get into Boston on the return of the Forces or by some other way (which yet I hope there is no danger of) but if it should so happen I charge you to be among the very first that remove out of Town and always take all possible care of your health as much for my sake as your own.

    I have the promise of those Lords who are concern’d in my Affairs that they shall have all the dispatch that is possible.1 As soon as ever I know when I shall be rid of them I will let you know too. I have given the master of this Vessel a little Box directed to you containing a pair of cheap Earrings but are a new Fashion much worn. Remember me to your & my Relations & Friends. I want much to hear from them. I am my dearest peggy Forever yours,    Thos. Hutchinson

    RC (British Library, Eg. 2659, f. 1 [© The British Library Board]); unaddressed.

    3. From Jonathan Belcher

    Boston, May 11: 1741

    Sir, I have now lying before me, your several Letters, of December 15:, Janua. 14:, Februa. 21: & 27: last past, which came to hand via New York, per Coffin, & per Darby. The Letter for Mrs Hutchinson, inclos’d in yours, of 15: December, and came to hand, but last night, was then deliver’d. You had a fine passage, & got safe, God be praised.

    I dont wonder, you find such Prejudices among the King’s Ministers, against this Province when I consider what pains have been taken here, for 25 years past, to treat the Crown, with all possible rudeness, and ill manners, and altho’ the first beginner and Principal Agitator is dead, yet you know, he dropt his Mantle (forgive the Prophanation of the words) on a Creature, who still carryes it, to higher Lengths.1 Many People take great pains, in natural Life, to destroy their constitutions, by whoring, drinking, &ca, & finally do the Business, and in Political Life communities with other Sorts of Vices, as Pride, Obstinacy, wanton use of Liberty, and of more, than belongs to them, often break up, their constitutions. God grant, this mayn’t be, too soon, the unhappy case, of the Massachusetts.

    I don’t find, the Bill restraining the Exportation, of Provisions, is yet come hither, so I am not able, to judge, how much it may affect the Plantations, among themselves, where, there is at present a great Scarcity, of all kinds of Grain, beyond what I can remember, for forty years past.2 I thank your hint, respecting Dr Avery.3 Mr. Belcher gives me, the same Accounts, and I intend myself, the pleasure of writing him, very soon.4

    Jonathan Belcher. During his trip to London, Hutchinson was unable to protect his powerful patron from the charges of his rivals. Attributed to Thomas Hudson. Courtesy of Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Harvard University Portrait Collection, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan to Harvard University, 1929, H389.

    In yours of 14: January, you mention, writing me, 6th. of same month, which is not come to hand. I duly sent yours, to Capt. Blanchard who is quite another man, than when you concerted your Voyage, with him, being deep in the Land Bank.5 He was of course dismist, from His Imploymts, Civil and Military, and Old Grubstreet sayes,

    They that are out

    will pout.6

    I see, you had waited on Lord Presidt. and was kindly receiv’d.7 I am glad to hear, by the latest Letters, he was in a fair way, of Recovery, which may give the better Opportunity, of Success in your Errand, and be also of Service to my Affairs, in which you say, he appear’d friendly, and that they were in a good Situation. For this Advice, I thank you, & shall not doubt your Justice to the Governour8 on all occasions.

    The Affairs of Europe, I find, by your Letters, and many others, are in a most unsetl’d Posture, and we must still wait, for the Result. A Warr with France would be the most fatal thing, could happen, to this miserable Province, even beyond the present curse, of the Land Bank, on which, you say, it would be much better, if some other way, than by Application to Parliament, could be found out, to suppress it. I assure you, the concerned openly declare, they defye any Act of Parliament, to be able, to do it. They are grown so Brassy & hardy, as to be now combining, in a Body, to raise a Rebellion, and the day set for their coming to this town is at the Election (27th: instant) and their Treasurer, I am told, is in the bottom, of the design, and I doubt it not. I have this day sent the Sherriffe, and his Officers, to apprehend some of the heads, of the Conspirators, so you see, we are becoming ripe, for a smarter sort of Government.9 What the Act of Parliament will be, respecting this vile, wicked Projection, I cant tell, but if it be no better, than the Bill I have seen, it will by no means, answer the end.10 The common People here, are taught by their Advisers, to believe, they are pretty much out of the reach, of the Government, at home. Nay, our Assembly are sometimes, made to think, by their Leaders that they are as big, as the Parliament, of Great Britain, but surely, as occasions require, I cant help thinking, we shall alwayes, to our Loss & Cost, find otherwise. The Parliament’s rising without doing any thing, in the Paper Currencies of the Plantations will keep ’Em all in great confusion, and this more especially.

    I expect, no Supply of the Treasury, this year, no Debts to be paid, no Government, to be supported, or defended, in short, Your Father’s Quondam Book keeper, will make mad work, before he has done. You will doubtless hear, how far they proceeded, in the House the last Session, to dismiss Mr. Wilks, in which I believe, the Boston Bench were innocent, but not so in the ungratefull treatment, of Mr Partridge.11 In short, Sir, the Land Bank does so affect, every Affair, in the Assembly, and throughout the Province, that it will be the Ruin of Government, and People, if it be not speedily, and effectually, crusht. I am at first reading, well pleas’d with what you put into the hands, of Alderman Baker, and others, but I can by no means, advise to your plunging yourself, or Estate, into any thing in Expectation, of Security from this Government, whose Honour (in its present way, of thinking, and acting) I wouldn’t trust for a pair of Old Shoes.12 And from this, I would go upon the Special Affair, which carried you hence.13 You dont say, in any of your Letters, to me, or to any other, of your Friends, whether you had receiv’d the £300: Sterg, for which you had a Letter, to Mr Wilks.14 By his Account, he had no money, of the Province’s, in hand; yet I suppose, he paid you, or you would have said, he had not. I say, upon this by no means, advance a Shilling, of your own Money. If it fails on that head, those who should supply you, must blame themselves. As to my small Affair, (among the Rest) I am glad, you did not make any special use, of my power, of Attourney, whereby my Enemies might have taken advantage. As Property cannot be affected, I am indifferent in which Province, my Interest lyes.15

    I have desir’d Mr. Partridge, to read you a Letter, I wrote 7th. instant, to Lords of Trade, which may perhaps some way or other affect your Affair, and between you, you’ll judge, whether it may any way hurt the Governour, to deliver it, if it may, I have order’d him, not to do it, but if it will not, I think it proper, they should know what I have there wrote.16

    I will at the first leisure moment set down, & gravely consider your Scheme, for issuing Bills of Credit, tho’ I tell you, before hand, if it does not secure an invariable value, to the Bills, that is, to be worth as much to morrow, next day, and all the time they are extant, as at the moment, they are issu’d, or I might have said, to be at the first of their coming out (& alwayes) what they are call’d, in the face, I say, unless effectual care be taken, for so ascertaining of them, I can never be in opinion, of any Scheme, for a Paper Currency.17 Every other thing must be a cheat & delusion.

    I thank you, in behalf of Mr Secry Willard, whose Interest, I hope, my Friends will (to a man) warmly espouse, on all occasions. He is a Gentleman of great vertue, of unspotted Integrity, of good knowledge, natural & acquir’d, and perfectly well knowing, in all, the Business of his Office, and I can’t believe, any Successour would equal him, for a great number of years, to come. You are welcome, Mr. Hutchinson to use any freedom, with me, in the publick, or in your own Affairs, and you may depend, on my honest, and best thoughts, as much as if you were my own Son, for I heartily wish your prosperity.

    I had almost forgot, to say, there was no name mention’d, of another Agent, when they voted, in the House, to dismiss Mr. Wilks, but I have good reason, to believe, the design was at the coming Session, to make your neighbour Clark’s Son in Law, his Successour.18 0 Tempora, 0 mores!19 I once more say, as to the Affair, of the Line, risque [illegible] money ^none^ of your own money. While you stay let me hear from you, & tell me, in time, your Conclusion, whether to return hither, before winter. I am glad, you & Mr Belcher, have so well renew’d your Old Acquaintance, from which I am sure he will reap the greatest Advantage. I am, Sir, Your Assured Friend,     JB

    AC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Jonathan Belcher Letterbooks, 7:241–46); dateline appears at the bottom of the letter; at foot of letter, “Mr. Hutchinson”; marked “Hall” for ship transport.

    4. To Benjamin Lynde Sr.1

    London 14. May 1741

    Sir, I am very much oblig’d to you for your kind Letter of the 26. Dec. which I receiv’d a few days ago. I have been here near these 6 months & have not been able in all this time to bring my Affairs to an issue. I had at my first arrival the greatest encouragement that could be from Lord President.2 The late surprizing revolutions in our New England affairs I suspect will very much prejudice me. Mr Wentworths Commission is said to be preparing in the very words of the Order for settling the Boundary which will make it more difficult to procure an alteration.3 I hope in a few weeks to know what I may depend on. I don’t find the least doubt here about the [property’s being secure and I am advised to say nothing about it at present.

    I suppose you will have the first news of Mr. Shirley’s being appointed our Governour, by a Vessel which sailed a few days ago from Swanzy. Several incidents have concurred to promote it. The Collector’s place was] promis’d Mr. Shirleys Family & its said is now insisted on for Mr. Franklyn and this was a way to satisfy both.4 Your two Countrymen Waldo & Kilby claim the merit & say it is owing to their gratifying the Duke of Grafton by making Interest for Lord Euston at Coventry where they have spent a month first & last solliciting his Election.5 But I had it from Lord Presidents own mouth that Govern Belchers security for some time had been his steady conduct in the affair of the money6 and that his brother Partridges patronizing the Land Bank when before the House of Comons had done his business.7

    I can’t imagine in what manner the province the next year will supply their Treasury. It is not likely the Instructions to the Govr will be relax’d.8 What they want here [is some Proposals for Bills which will keep their value, but it’s certain they will never be imposed upon with any Act like what was called the September Bill, or any other Bill the two Houses passed in the year 1739.9 It seems now absolutely necessary you should, at least for this year, go on with the Bills, and nothing will obtain leave for it sooner] than a proposal ^certainly^ to sink those & the old Bills of all the Governments in any reasonable time. If you would give yourself the trouble to examine a proposal I sent some time ago to Govern. Belcher you may possibly meet with something in it agreeable to you tho’ no doubt there are many difficulties and if you can shew me any Scheme relating to our Bills that has not its difficultys—eris mihi magnus Apollo.10 I am fully satisfied there is not a more proper person in England to serve us in solliciting this or any other of our Affairs than our own Countryman Mr. Palmer for he not only naturally cares for us & is well acquainted with the State of the Province but has the advantage of an ample Fortune & of marrying into a Family which is very intimate at Colo. Bladens & a great [many other persons in power that may be of service to us.11 He is likewise one of the Committee of the body of Dissenters. His Classmate Mr. Browne, to whom I pray you would give my most humble service, will I doubt not have as good an opinion of him.12 But I hope the Court will either] continue their old Agent too or discharge him honourably for besides the three hundred pounds order’d me he says he has charged no Salary these two years & tho’ the Two thousand pounds orderd for the Line has not been employ’d in that service yet the Court has given such other Orders on him as that he has been obliged to make use of it & so is considerable in advance.13 He says he got by order of a Committee about Five hundred pounds worth of powder which he received only a partial remittance for. I thought there had been a sufficient Sum order’d him for that purpose.14

    I wish you may finish with Rhode Island on that side the Water not that I don’t think we stand as fair as they do, tho’ I could not say so of any other of the plantations, but its a disadvantage to us to have controversys forever subsisting here & nobody but the Clerks & Sollicitors are pleas’d with [it, one of which last I believe has made near three hundred pounds a year of our differences, for the last seven years.15 I came away in such a hurry, I forgot the Narragansett Papers which I have often been sorry for.16 If I did not expect to get away in 6 weeks or 2 months, I would desire your farther favor. It is not impossible but something of my design in coming here may still be effected, I am faithfully endeavouring it. I am Honored Sir, your most obedient Servant,     Thos. Hutchinson.]

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Oliver Family Papers); consisting of two fragmentary leaves only; missing passages appear in brackets and were supplied from The Diaries of Benjamin Lynde and Benjamin Lynde Jr. with Appendix, ed. F. E. Oliver (Boston, MA: Riverside Press, 1880), pp. 221–23.

    5. To Josiah Willard

    London 31 July 1741

    Sir, As the Business I am upon is of some concern to the Publick, as well as to the persons by whom I am immediately employ’d I think it my duty to inform the Honorable Court of the progress & present state of it.

    Upon my arrival here I made application to several Lords of the Council & acquainted them with the Contents of my petitions, and I met with nothing that forbad or discourag’d my preferring them. I therefore took the first opportunity to do it & they were referr’d to a Committee of Council; but by reason of Lord Presidents being unable to attend Comittees I was kept three or four months waiting in expectation of their being consider’d.1 At length they were referr’d to the Board of Trade, which being the constant practice it was not possible to prevent; but the Lords Comissioners being in the Country at their Elections there was no Board for near six Weeks. Before this time expir’d his Majesty was pleas’d to appoint a new Governor for the Province of N. Hampshire,2 and although I made private application (a publick one being judg’d inconvenient) & pray’d that the Comission might be suspended till these petitions were determin’d, yet it was immediately resolv’d that the words of it should run agreeable to the Order of Council for settling the Massachusets boundary,3 & Ld. President condescended to give me this reason for it, That there was an absolute necessity the Petitioners should immediately be included in one Government or the other, and if they were comprehended in the N Hampshire Comission, should it appear convenient, they might at any time hereafter be taken off, but should they be granted to the Massachusets no alteration could be made as they were a Charter Government.

    I attended the Board of Trade several times & met with ev’ry thing that was discouraging, & tho’ the Case was represented as a matter of Favour to the Petitioners only, yet the New Hampshire Agent endeavour’d by ev’ry possible Artifice to possess the Board that it was not these particular Inhabitants but the Massachusets Province which would receive the advantage if these petitions should be granted.4

    Their Ld.ships insisted on my producing more exact proofs how the Towns would be affected by the line determin’d than it was possible for me to do until it should be actually run & a plan could be produc’d, and therefore I desir’d the consideration of the petitions might be deferr’d, & offer’d to risque the ^Success^ of the whole upon the failure of any one material Fact which was alledg’d; but yet in a very few days their Lordships were pleas’d to report, That they not only had not receiv’d ^a^ satisfactory proofs of the Allegations, but that in case they had receiv’d it yet it did not appear how the Petitioners security could in any wise be affected by their being annex’d to New Hampshire and therefore they could not advise his Majesty to grant the prayer of the petitions. The New Hampshire Agent upon this mov’d to the Lords Committee to take the report into consideration but I pray’d for time to produce such proofs as the Board of Trade had judg’d necessary & in this I was indulg’d &, it being call’d an affair of importance, the consideration of it was deferr’d till the vacation be over & I was directed in the meantime to prepare the necessary proofs. I immediately wrote over to the persons concern’d to be providing the proper Evidences which I think there is room to hope may be sufficient to induce their Lordships to report in favour of the petitions of those Towns which are intersected by the running of the Line but for the new Townships which are wholly excluded I have not the least expectation of any Success. I have taken every step that I could do in order to procure an Instruction to the Governor of New Hampshire for quieting all persons in their possessions who had received Grants from the Massachusets,5 unless I had publickly petitiond for it which I thought would not be prudent, but as his Instructions are not yet gone from the Board of Trade I cannot tell how far I succeeded.

    I expect it will be another year before this Affair can be finish’d and as the Expence of my attendance here must be more than equal to any further Service I can do since all who are concern’d are as fully possess’d of it as they can be from me I think it will be most approv’d of that I should return home which I propose to do by the first opportunity6 & shall leave the Affair to the care of Mr Eliakim Palmer who has been acquainted with all the steps I have taken in it & has a better Interest here than any other person I could leave it with. I am with the greatest Respect & deference to the Honorable Court Their most Humble & Obedient Servant,

    Thos Hutchinson

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:1–6); dateline appears at the bottom of the letter; at head of letter, “Mr Secretary.”