6. To [Israel Williams], 1 February 1748[/9]

    7. To Israel Williams, 21 December 1750

    8. The Protest of Andrew Oliver and Thomas Hutchinson, 4 April 1751

    Throughout the 1740s, Thomas Hutchinson and his hard money supporters became increasingly determined to reduce the amount of government-issued paper currency. In January 1749, Hutchinson, then Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, used his influence to push through a bill ending the use of paper money as legal tender in the province and replacing it with silver. The bill proposed using the entire parliamentary reimbursement of the Massachusetts 1745 Louisbourg expedition (£183,649) together with an additional £75,000 in provincial taxes to redeem all Massachusetts currency at fixed rates between 31 March 1750 and 31 March 1751. When the Governor’s Council sought to soften the pain for debtors during the last months of the period for conversion to silver, Hutchinson and his brother-in-law Andrew Oliver issued a public reproach. Although conversion to hard money ultimately placed the province on a sound financial footing, Hutchinson’s role in the controversy over paper money won him a reputation as an insensitive plutocrat.

    6. To [Israel Williams]

    Boston 1. Feb 1748[/9]

    Dear Sir, I receiv’d your favour the beginning of the Court & the House readily accepted your excuse.1 The rest of the Gentlemen of the County had not so good Fortune & most of them are fin’d according to Law & a Gentleman has purchas’d their Fines which is a Method I never approv’d of but must be govern’d by the House. We have spent the whole Session upon an Act for altering our Currency which tho’ not every way without exception is as good as could be expected.2 I wish your County had been here. I believe it would have sav’d us three weeks time. I am convinc’d it was absolutely our Duty to bring our wicked Mony to an End. I am not sure a very great difficulty will not attend such a Revolution, however Iacta est Alea3 & we must pray, hope, & in our several Stations use our Endeavours for as favourable an Event as may be. I am Sir Your Affectionate Humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    Please to make my Compliments to Mr Partridge.4

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Israel Williams Papers); unaddressed; dated in the old style.

    7. To Israel Williams

    Boston 21. Dec 1750

    Dear Sir, I shall inclose you a Letter which I wrote you formerly and when I thought it had got to your hands it came back to mine again. Its so long ago I have forgot the Contents of it and I send it you only to shew you I have not been so rude as wholly to neglect an Answer to your Letters. I likewise inclose you a Letter which came under my Cover from Mr Bollan I suppose that will tell you all I know of Affairs in England. We are very quiet here, beyond what could be expected. Deus nobis haec Otia fecit.1 But when we get to Business again and Mony is the Subject of it I fear as great Tumult as ever.2 I suppose the Lt Governor intends to see the Court the 9. Jan.3

    I have never heard one Word relating to your private Affairs in England owing as I imagine to your daily Expectation of the payment of the Canada Bills.4 I am Dear Sir Your Affectionate humble Servant,     Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Israel Williams Papers); at foot of letter, “Israel Williams Esqr.” Enclosures not found.

    8. The Protest of Andrew Oliver and Thomas Hutchinson

    At the Council Board 4 April 1751.

    We beg leave humbly to offer dissent to the Vote of the honourable Board ^of this day upon a Bill intitled^ an Act in further addition to an Act made & passed in the 22d. year of his Majesty’s Reign entitled an Act for drawing in the Bills of Credit of the several denominations which have at any time been issued by the Government, & are still outstanding, & for ascertaining the Rate of coined Silver in this Province for the future.1

    For the following Reasons viz.:

    1. Because by a late Province Law,2 Silver at 6/8 per oz & milled dollars at 6/ per pd. are the only lawful tender in discharge of all Contracts; by which Law all persons must be supposed to have governed themselves in their trade & dealings: but by the present bill another thing of an uncertain value is made a lawful tender; and by this means the Government are the cause of Contracts being discharged in a manner different from the true intent & meaning of them: Whereas all Governments are supposed & ought to be Guarantees for the true & faithful performance of all legal Contracts.

    2. Because, if the Certificates provided by this Bill to be given out & carrying an interest of six percent are as good as mony, there can be no reason for compelling Persons to recieve them; for in such case it must be supposed either that the Creditor will be willing to recieve them, or that the Possessor can exchange them for mony in order to pay his Creditor; or otherwise, if they are not so good as mony, it must then be an Act of Injustice to the Creditor, to compel him to recieve them in lieu of Mony.

    3. Because a presumption in the Government that the intrinsick value of these Certificates is not sufficient to support their credit, must tend to lessen them in the esteem of the Inhabitants among whom they are designed to pass, and then they will be the only currency & no Silver will remain among Us; for where Persons are at liberty to discharge their debts with what is of a lesser value, they will not part with what is of greater value.

    4. Because Bills or Certificates carrying interest, even supposing the payment of them at the time promised to be certain, are utterly unfit to serve as an Instrument of trade in any Country: for the value of them is not only altering every day, but is in itself uncertain, & depends not on the legal, but on the natural interest of Mony in the Country where they pass. Whereas the established Medium or Instrument of Trade in all Countries ought to be certainly known, fixed & invariable; or otherwise great Injustice must necessarily follow.     And Oliver

    Tho Hutchinson

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 52:485–86); in TH’s hand.