46. To Richard Jackson, 3 August 1763

    47. To Lord Egremont, 15 September 1763

    48. To [Robert Wilsonn], 16 September 1763

    49. To Richard Jackson, 17 September 1763

    50. To the Clerks of the Superior Court, 4 November 1763

    51. To [Israel Williams], 17 November 1763

    52. To Robert Wilsonn, 15 December 1763

    The Treaty of Paris, signed 10 February 1763, ended the French presence in North America and left Britain in undisputed possession of Canada and the Ohio River valley. But Parliament now faced both the costs of administering this vast new empire and the challenge of reducing the staggering debt incurred during the war years. Nor were Britain’s new Native American subjects entirely happy with the change in their European overlords: Pontiac’s Rebellion, springing up in May 1763 in the area around the Great Lakes, suggested that peace could not be maintained without a large British military presence. Given these difficult circumstances, parliamentary leaders began to search for new sources of revenue and looked to the North American colonies to contribute to their own protection. Imperial officials also saw the close of the war as an opportunity to eliminate smuggling and redirect trade within the confines of the Navigation Acts. Trade with the enemy, especially the French islands of the West Indies, rose to such levels during the war years that the situation could no longer be ignored.

    While still a lord of the admiralty under the Bute administration, George Grenville shepherded through Parliament a bill authorizing naval commanders to act as customs officers. Once head of his own administration as first lord of the treasury, Grenville requested from the commissioners of customs an explanation why North American receipts were so small. Their report, dated 21 July 1763, relied heavily on an investigation conducted between 1757 and 1759 that included illegal commerce of the colonies with Europe as well as trade with the enemy in the foreign West Indies. The commissioners made three recommendations: that all customs officers be required to reside at their posts; that their salaries be based on a percentage of receipts and not fees; and that the six-pence-per-gallon tax on foreign molasses, created by the Molasses Act of 1733, be lowered to induce greater compliance and generate more income. During the fall of 1763, Francis Bernard and other royal governors also received instructions exhorting them to strictly enforce customs regulations.

    Not surprisingly, American merchants did not welcome Crown attempts to increase revenue through trade regulations. On October 28, Massachusetts House member Thomas Cushing wrote the province’s agent, Jasper Mauduit, urging him to cooperate with other colonial agents in attempts to lower the molasses duty to one penny or a half-penny per gallon. In December, the Boston Society for Encouraging Trade and Commerce drafted a “State of Trade” warning against the damage a renewal of the duty at the six-pence level would cause to the molasses and rum trade and the New England fisheries, which were the principal sources of commodities for exchange with the West Indies.

    46. To Richard Jackson

    Boston 3. Aug 1763

    Sir, I thank you for giving me your further sentiments upon the subject of the coin.1 I agree with you except in what relates to coining silver debased to serve as half pence now do. I should fear that unless the quantity was so small as to answer no purpose it would become really tho’ not legally your measure & so your currency or ideal money would still further depreciate & all your gold be shipped off; but your time is of too much importance for me to take up any more of it upon this subject. Our disputes here upon our currency are at an end & I have not the vanity to think my sentiments can be of any service in settling the currency of the nation.

    The Governor has shewn me your letters relative to the agency.2 From what I had heard of Mr Mauduit for several years past I had formed the same opinion with you that he was a very honest man but had no other qualifications for an Agent.3 When Mr Bollan resigned eight or ten years ago & Mr John Sharpe was chose in his stead I was then much Pressed by great part of the court to have gone home but my domestick concerns rendered it then impracticable, and altho’ the same thing has been proposed to me several times since & sometimes with a general voice & when it would not have been disagreeable yet Mr Bollan being in the place & my friend & the publick better served than it would have been by me I never gave the least countenance to the proposals but discouraged every step that might forward them.4 For two or three years I have been the butt of a faction & although they have missed their aim & have not hurt me in the esteem of the best people in the Province yet I question whether the present assembly would give their vote in my favor especially as I am not sufficiently satisfied my self of the expediency of it to make any interest for it. I am turned of fifty and so in the decline of life & could not so well bear the ungrateful returns which our American assemblys generally make to those who endeavour to serve them as I could do ten or fifteen years ago. I am sure the court can not do themselves so much honour or the country so much real service in any other way as by complimenting you with the agency seeing you do not wholly refuse it. The Gov. seems to have no thoughts of calling them together before winter.5

    We are astonished at the temper of the nation.6 By an uninterrupted train of successful events you have been delivered from the dangers you were in from foreign enemies & you seem immediately determined to be your own destroyers by intestine discord. What is the reason that none of your political writers have given the publick in one view the heads of all the treaties made with France since the conquest that it might appear never any one if we consider the successes of the preceding war was so advantageous as this. Comines remarked 300 years ago that however advantageously the English carried on a war they were always outwitted at a peace & there has been room for the same observation ever since.7

    Our Boulefeus8 take the advantage of the licentiousness in England & their Partisans vindicate them by saying they do not go the lengths which Wilkes does.

    The troubles with the Indians are altogether unexpected.9 I fear more are engaged in a combination against the English than we are aware of. I hear General Amherst supposes all to proceed from a french governor or comandant at the Ilinois.10 I rather think they are apprehensive of the english intending to settle their country & that there has been a general agreement of all their tribes to oppose it. If this be the case great prudence will be necessary & it would be better to purchase the countreys they claim though their title to them may be disputable & their notions of acquiring property absurd than to begin a settlement without it. I was at Albany in 1754 when the Agents for the Pensilvania Purchased I think one or two hundred miles square for two or three thousand dollars & some said less.11

    The Molosses Act as it now stands was undoubtedly intended to have the force of a prohibition.12 To reduce the duty to a penny per gallon I find would be generally agreeable to the people here & the Merchant would readily pay it, but do they see the consequence. Will not this be introductory to taxes duties & excises upon other articles & would this consist with the so much esteemed privilege of English Subjects the being taxed by their own representatives? A total Prohibition, taking effect, would give a great shock to the trade of the Colonies & I am surprized every body in England does not see that it would greatly advance the price of sugars & molosses spirits there, and all to raise the fortunes of a few West India planters. I am with very great esteem Sir Your most faithful and most obedient humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:64–66); at head of letter, “To Mr Jackson.”

    47. To Lord Egremont

    Boston 15 September 1763

    My Lord, The governor being absent from the town upon a visit to the eastern settlements and he having left directions with me to receive the publick letters, yesterday your Lordship’s letter of the 9th of July came to my hands.1 His Majesty hath been pleased to order that the receipt of this letter should be acknowledged by the first opportunity; I imagine therefore that your Lordship will expect so much from me although the Governor is not out of the Province. As soon as he returns to town he will undoubtedly write what may be further necessary. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect My Lord Your Lordship’s most humble & most obedient Servant,     Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/755, f. 31); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Earl of Egremont”; docketed, “Boston, New England, 15th. Septr. 1763. Mr. Hutchinson. Rx. 4th. Novr.”

    48. To [Robert Wilsonn]

    Boston 16 Septr 1763

    Dear Sir, I have yours of 9 June per Pacquet & am satisfied with your intention about the Tea.1 I must ask leave to trouble you with another certificate & power from [blank space in MS]

    I sent one for Bassett Brintnalls wages aboard the May Capt. Spry which I suppose you must have received or that it miscarried as you say nothing about it. Pray let me ask you to enquire into the Wages of Increase Mather who was Mate of a larger ship from this Town & impressed four or five Years since in England & died this present year at the Havanah or Jamaica on board the Oxford.2 If there be anything due for Wages or prize Money (I suppose there has been nothing received) I will give his father Administration & send you power. The young man was son to one of my Sisters & I shall be obliged to you to enquire particularly. He was pressed into the Carkass Bomb.3 You are certainly carrying Matters to too great a length. Remember how often England has run from one extreme to another. To us at this distance & who therefore naturally view things with less prejudice & are more calm, this whole affair of Wilkes carries with it an Air of extravagance. Such licentiousness cannot long continue, without either carrying you into a State of Anarchy or else, if Suppressed, endangering your just Rights & Liberties. You seem if any judgement can be made from political papers to be all, on both sides, influenced by a regard to persons more than to Measures. We long now as much to hear of internal peace as we did a few months ago of external & we see the peace in a different light from what you do. We have not all we could have wished. The Islands at Newfoundland being ceded is the most disagreable circumstance to us but we have as much or more than we expected.4

    The postage of these packets pray note distinctly. I am Your Most Obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:69–70); in EH’s hand; unaddressed.

    49. To Richard Jackson

    17 Sep 1763

    Sir, Mr Bernard being absent from the town upon a voyage to Mt Desart which he expected would take up 4 or 5 weeks I inclose to you as I imagine he would have done the last intelligence of Indian affairs.1 I wonder we heard nothing of the Act of Parliament giving new powers to the Comanders of His Majestys Ships for seizing illicit traders. The first intelligence was from the Act itself & the proclamation & instructions consequent which came to my hands two days since in the G absence from Lord Egremont.2 I fancy many of the W India traders will be surprized. Such indulgence has been shewn of late to that branch of illicit trade that no body has considered it as such vessels arriving & making their entries for some small acknowledgments as openly as from our own Islands & without paying the duties. For my part I have always wished whilst I was in trade myself for some effectual measure to put a stop to all contraband trade but I have always thought it might have been done without any further provision by the Parliament. The real cause of the illicit trade in this province has been the indulgence of the officers of the customs and we are told that the cause of this indulgence has been that they are quartered upon for more than their legal fees & that without bribery & corruption they must starve. If the venality of the present age will not admit of a Reform in this Respect perhaps the provision now made may be the next best expedient. I wish success to it. I am with very great Regards,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:69); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson.” Enclosure not found.

    50. To the Clerks of the Superior Court

    Boston 4 Nov 1763

    Gentlemen, Thomas Bishop Esq, Comander of His Majesty’s Ship Fortune having applied to me for a writ of assistance as an Officer of His Majesty’s customs you are to cause such writ to be issued a certificate being first produced from the Surveyor general & lodged in the office signifying that the said Thomas Bishop Esq is such an Officer,1     T Hutchinson.

    RC (Dartmouth College, Ticknor 763604 [Courtesy of Dartmouth College]); addressed, “To Samuel Winthrop Esq or Nathanael Hatch Esq Clerks of the Superior Court.”

    51. To [Israel Williams]

    Boston 17. Nov. 1763

    Dear Sir, I have not the Act by me which you refer to and shall not have time to possess my self of it and consider it before the bearer of your letter returns and therefore can give you no opinion upon it but I will take another opportunity for it. The warrant you mention if it be not bulky I should be glad you would put in your pocket when you come to town: It will gratify some of your friends who will never see Smollet.

    I have been charged with ^by^ Colo. Otis with hindering his appointment.1 He had no other grounds for it than his own imagination of the consequence of such injurious treatment as I have received from him & his son. I do not intend in the least to oppose the appointment, nor do I wish that he should fail of it. The Governor keeps it off and both he & his son keep themselves silent. I have no great doubt that he will be finally nominated and approved.

    Some of the friends of our new Agent seem to be cool & growing sensible of his insufficiency.2 He writes himself to the T——r3 that he should be loth to be the occasion of a division in the government. The money is received or soon will be and the profitable part of the Agency is over, the troublesome part is coming on.4 A revenue from the colonies will certainly be attempted the next Parliament sufficient at least to support the troops to be kept up here. The Molosses duty is to be enforced and a general stamp duty private letters say is also determined upon.5 This I would not have mentioned from me. Our New York & Connecticut lines are to be settled.6 With none of these things has the Agent any acquaintance. Some gentlemen have mentioned the thing to me.7 Seven years ago I would have cherished the motion if the affairs of the Province had been then in the state they now are. Sir William Temple says from 32 to 52 is the time for business.8 I have just passed it. Besides whilst we are thus in parties any but a neutral Agent would be hampered and ill treated. I know no man in England so fitt as Mr Jackson, (Bollan I suppose must be out of the question,) if the Connecticut towns were restored.9 Is there no way of bringing those towns back? Would not an assurance of being forgiven all their old arrears induce them to return? This I think would remove all exception as to Mr Jackson.

    I have letters from London of the 3d October one from a great partisan of Mr. Pit’s but he is cooled by his late behavior which he says is not to be justified.10 They are infinitely unsettled but less probability of Pit’s coming in than at any time since he resigned.11

    We have seizures every day, which make well for the governor ^&ca.^ but there is a great rumpus among the merchants, who are ready to say with Horace Militia est potior—but you and I know that—nemo, quam sibe sortem
    Seu ratio dederit, sece fors objecerit, illa
    Contentus vivit.12 Such scraps will do between friends that would in publick carry an air of pedantry. I am Sir Your affectionate humble servant,     Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Israel Williams Papers); unaddressed.

    52. To Robert Wilsonn

    15 Dec 1763

    Dear Sir, I am now to acknowledge your favour by Benn with Invoice & bill of lading for 6 chests of tea which happened to arrive at a good time so that it will be a profitable adventure in spite of the smugling trade, but this is quite accidental. There will soon be a glut again; the Act of Parliament is not calculated to prevent smugling in America.1 I shall inclose certificate of this & the chest of Hyson tea. Your account of your publick affairs agrees exactly with the sentiments I had formed but it is a most deplorable state. If ever a nation may have been said to have been a felo dese2 the English may at this time. I perceive the Indian disturbances in America alarm you a good deal.3 I hope they will not long continue. A few days ago a young fellow who belonged to Charlestown separated from this town by a river only came home to his friends after 6 or 7 years absence.4 He was supposed to have been killed after the taking of Fort Wm. Henry by Moncalm in 1757.5 The Ottaway Indians took him prisoner & some of them hid him from the french & carried him away 4 or 500 miles to their principal settlement or place of resort. They told him he should never go home. After several years when Montreal was taken they went down to trade with the English & came home satisfied, and the next year 1762 took him with them to Detroit & left him there, but then they found they were debarred from rum & had not their full supply of amunition. The french in the neighbourhood told them they saw what they were to expect from the English & that in a little time they would be all starved. Soon after instead of coming again to trade they began their hostilities & the young fellow who has been at Detroit ever since is very sure that nation are the principal if not the only nation that has molested us. Straglers undoubtedly they pick up in the woods of various nations who strike in for the plunder. When he left Detroit they were straitened but he met a convoy who expected an attack & it seems they were attacked but we have a report within this day or two that they got in with some loss.6

    If this report be true the place is in no danger. Something seems to be wanting & more than is generally apprehended in order to the right management of our Indian affairs. General Amherst was a good man. I do not know the character of his successor.7 I am Sir Your very humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:73–74); at head of letter, “Mr Wilson.” Enclosures not found.