13. To Thomas Pownall, 11 March 1756

    14. To Lord Loudoun, 14 March 1757

    15. To Lord Loudoun, 23 April 1757

    Even before his appointment as lieutenant governor, Thomas Hutchinson had assumed an important role in the war effort. His diligence and tolerance for painstaking detail made him an ideal wartime administrator: raising troops, arranging for supplies and transports, and collaring deserters. A passing encounter in November 1756 with Lord Loudoun, the British commander-in-chief in North America, led Hutchinson to become his confidential source of information on Massachusetts affairs, particularly since Governor William Shirley had been recalled to England earlier that year, leaving the mortally ill Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phips in charge of the province. When Phips died in April 1757, Massachusetts was left briefly under the executive leadership of the Governor’s Council, of which Hutchinson was an influential member.

    13. To Thomas Pownall

    Boston 11 March 1756

    Dear Sir, The Spring opens with us like the last with great military preparations. God send us a better Autumn. We are raising 3500 men including Officers. Connecticut 2500. It was proposed that New hampshire and Rhode Island should raise 1000 each & New York 2000 which would have made the ten thousand agreed on by the Council of war but the two former have gone no further than 500 & the latter 1000.1 We are sending up persons to transport a sufficiency of provisions & stores to the Lake2 & instead of the manner of doing it last year by the Albany people we design to procure Boats & Boatmen Waggons & Waggoners to be entirely at our command & to use no other land carriages except at those places where the river is not navigable for Boats.

    By some observations which I have made I think there will be a junction of the regulars with the Provincials & that the whole force will go against Crown Point unless the orders that are daily expected from home will not admit of it. But this is my conjecture. I wish you all happiness & am Sir Your obliged & obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Huntington Library, LO 906 [This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California]); at foot of letter, “Honr Tho Pownall Esqr”; addressed, “The hon Thomas Pownall Esq Lt. Governor of New Jersies &c &c.”

    14. To Lord Loudoun

    Boston 14. March 1757

    My Lord, I should not have taken the freedom of troubling your Lordship with another letter, by this post,1 if I had not been urged to it by one of the inhabitants of the settlement upon Connecticut river called Number four, who came to Boston a day or two ago with a petition from the rest of the people to your Lordship.2 When this country was taken from the Massachusets, & annexed to N Hamphire, I went over to England, in behalf of the inhabitants, to sollicit their being reannexed to this Province or at least the security of their property, & they have ever since looked upon me as their patron.3 The petition, my Lord, was entirely formed among themselves, & it was brought to me just as it now is. I am told they had sent a petition before, when your Lordship was at Boston, by one Parker who was prevailed on by Colo. Atkinson not to deliver it, which occasioned the trouble I now give your Lordship.4 I enquired the number of the families settled there, which I find to be only twenty three & about one hundred & twenty souls, settled compact all the houses within the compass of half a mile. They seem under no apprehensions of danger from an army, a term they always give to any number of the enemy considerable enough to make an open attack, but are afraid of small parties destroying them at their labour & what they desire is thirty or forty men to serve as guards to prevent it.

    Permit me, my Lord, to take this opportunity humbly to offer to your Lordship a few loose thoughts which I committed to writing as I have sometimes done my thoughts on other occasions, for the sake of a more just and clear conception, when taken in one view, than when they separately occur & at different times. I have had great experience of your Lordships goodness & if I have gone beyond my line, I hope your Lordship will pardon me on such an occasion which every one of the inhabitants of the Colonies is interested in, tho’ none has a right to trouble your Lordship with his thoughts without being called upon for them. I have the honour to be My Lord Your Lordships most faithful & most obedient humble Servant,

    Thomas Hutchinson

    An attempt upon Quebeck will be striking at the root & if we succeed there all the branches will naturally fall.

    An attempt upon Quebeck is infinitely more hazardous than an attempt upon Louisbourgh, the navigation to the former is extremely difficult & no English Pilots are well acquainted with it.

    If Louisburgh remain in the hands of the french when the English squadron is gone up the river St. Lawrence great part of the garrison may be safely employed to strengthen a french fleet or army either to follow the english fleet or to ravage the Colonies, as there may probably be time enough to take possession of Nova Scotia & to lay waste every Seaport as far as S. Carolina before the Expedition could be finished & the English fleet return from Quebeck.

    If Louisburgh be first reduced there will be no place on the Continent for a french fleet to harbour in, either for refreshment or for a rendezvous in case of separation upon the passage. Had Louisburgh been in the hands of the french when the Duke D’Anville came to America he might have refreshed his troops exchanged many of his sick & been in a capacity of ruining the Colonies. The want of such an harbour was under Providence, the great cause of his disappointment.

    Events in war are so uncertain that it’s wisdom to secure a retreat & to provide for a disappointment even in the best projected schemes & when we have the greatest prospect of success. Should the English fail of success, a french fleet from Louisburgh, fresh from the harbour, might be the entire ruin of the english fleet & army, when worn out & dispirited although in other circumstances they would not have been a match for them.

    If we succeed at Louisburgh & should be too late for further action this year, the conquest, however will be worth what it costs us. We know the value the french set upon it & that they would redeem it at any rate. We know of what advantage it was to the whole Continent the last war, and in how secure a state we were after the reduction of it compared with what we were before. The comunication between Canada & Nova Scotia may be cut off & the french wholly extirpated from the latter. The supplies from Europe to Canada might in a great measure be intercepted & the conquest another year much facilitated.

    But if the attempt on Louisburgh be early we shall probably have time enough to go up St. Lawrence afterwards.

    If the french have no ships at Louisburgh the reduction will be easy. If they have ships, which is most probable, the extraordinary importance of the conquest will be equal to the extraordinary hazard, for a few of their ships falling into our hands there would give a great turn to the affairs of the rest of the year.

    Great numbers of the Provincials are acquainted with the Country about Louisburgh & would chearfully engage against it. They are form’d for the fatigue & drudgery of a Siege more than for other services. We shall now have regular forces to oppose any sallies that may be made from the city, the want of such forces had the french known their advantage might have been fatal to the last expedition.

    If the operations begin by an attempt upon Louisburgh the french regulars in Canada may safely be employed to ravage the British Colonies which will not be able to defend themselves.

    Part of the forces that may be raised, may Remain for the defence of the Colonies until the Event of the attempt upon Louisb. be known.5

    RC (Huntington Library, LO 3070 [This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California]); at foot of letter, “His Excellency the Rt Honorable the Earl of Loudoun.” Enclosure not found.

    15. To Lord Loudoun

    Boston 23d. April 1757

    My Lord, The bad state of our Treasury from the great demands that have been upon it prevented the forces being ready at the day intended and there was no way of procuring mony at last but by applying some that had been destined for the payment of some of our publick notes & ever since this difficulty has been over the weather has been bad but I am informed that the Colonel has given peremtory orders to the first Company to march to morrow. I have seen a great many of the men. There are too many that appear not of sufficient age but in general they are much better than the forces of last year.1

    John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun. Despite Loudoun’s choleric disposition, Hutchinson worked closely with him during Loudoun’s time as commander-in-chief. By Allan Ramsay. Courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland.

    I am extremely obliged to your Lordship for your favourable sentiments of me and if your Lordship thinks my services deserve any personal reward I cheerfully part with it for the sake of your Lordships favour to my Country, and beg for every indulgence that may consist with the general service more especially with respect to the charge we are at which now falls so heavy that there is an universal complaint of the weight of the taxes and the entire cessation of all trade. The Southern Governments being provision Colonies perhaps suffer nothing by the war our dependance is upon our cod & whale fishery & our Lumber cargoes to the West Indies which wholly fail this year by the embargoe, and it so sensibly affects such great numbers of people that a great deal of pains has been taken for liberty to the fishermen to go out and if it had not been that your Lordship expressed your self so strongly to me on this point in your letter to me by the last post which I acquainted the Council with they would have forced a compliance.2 I expect the attempts will continue but I will do every thing in my power to prevent their succeeding.

    I shall continue to advise of every occurrents & I pray your Lordship to give your self the trouble of answering the Letters I send only when it is necessary for my direction in your Lordships service.

    I have the honour to be with the greatest respect My Lord Your Lordships most obedient humble servant,     Thomas Hutchinson

    RC (Huntington Library, LO 3437 [This item is reproduced by permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California]); at foot of letter, “His Excellency the Earl of Loudoun.”