In its fall session, the Massachusetts General Court drafted a petition against new taxes, especially a rumored stamp duty. Versions of the petition were sent back and forth between the House of Representatives and Council in late October and early November. Ultimately, on 3 November, both houses adopted a much-toned down petition drafted by Thomas Hutchinson—one that stressed American liberties rather than arguing for American rights. His role in softening the language of the petition would be remembered ruefully by Bostonians when they read the more strongly worded petitions of some of the other colonies, especially that of New York, which arrived in Boston in late November.
[31 October 1764]1
To the Honorable House of Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled
The Petition of the Council and House of Representatives of His Majesty’s Province of Massachusets bay
Most humbly sheweth
That the Act passed in the last session of Parliament intitled “An Act for granting certain duties in the British Colonies and Plantations in America &ca.” must necessarily bring many burdens upon the inhabitants of these colonies & plantations which your Petitioners conceive would not have been imposed, if a full representation of the state of the colonies had been made to this honorable House.
That the Duties laid upon foreign sugars & molasses by a former Act of Parliament intitled “An Act for the better securing & encouraging the trade of His Majesty’s Sugar Colonies in America”; If the Act had been executed with vigor, must have been the effect of an absolute prohibition.
That the importation of foreign molasses into this Province in particular, is of the greatest importance and a prohibition will be prejudicial to many branches of it’s trade and will lessen the consumption of the manufacturers of Great Britain.
That this importance does not arise merely nor principally from the necessity of foreign molasses in order to its being consumed or distilled within the Province.
That if the trade, for many years carried on, for foreign molasses can be no longer continued a vent cannot be found for more than one half the fish of inferior quality which is caught & cured by the inhabitants of the Province the French permitting no fish to be carried by foreigners to any of their Islands unless it be bartered or exchanged for molasses.
That if there be no sale of Fish of inferior quality it will be impossible to continue the Fishery the fish ^usually sent to Europe^ will then cost so dear that the French will be able to undersell the English at all the European markets and by this means one of the most valuable returns to Great Britain will be utterly lost. What great numbers of [Seamen] destroyed.2 ^That the ^restraints^ laid upon the exportation of Timber boards Staves & other Lumber from the Colonies to Ireland & other parts of Europe ^even Great Britain^ must greatly affect the trade of this Province & discourage the clearing & improving the lands which are yet uncultivated.^3
That the powers given by the late Act to the Court of Vice-Admiralty, constituted over all America, are so expressed as to leave it doubtful whether goods seized for illicit importation in any one of the colonies, may not be removed, in order to trial, to any other colony where the Judge may reside although at many hundred miles distance from the place of seizure.
That if this construction should be [admitted]4 many persons, however legally their goods may have been imported, must lose their property, meerly from an inability of following after it, and making that defence which they might do if the trial had been in the colony where the goods were seized. ^That this construction would be so5 much the more grievous seeing that in America the Officers by the Act are indemnified in case of seizure whensoever the Judge of Admiralty shall certify that there was probable cause & the claimant can neither have costs nor maintain Action against the person seizing how much soever he may have expended in defence of his property.^6
That the extension of the powers of Courts of Vice Admiralty ^as the Jurisdiction of the said courts hath been extended^ have so far deprived the colonies7 of one of the most valuable of English liberties, Trials by Juries.
That every Act of Parliament which in this respect distinguishes His Majesty’s Subjects in the colonies from their fellow Subjects in Great Britain must create a very sensible concern and grief.
That there have been communicated to your Petitioners sundry resolutions of the House of Commons in their last Session for imposing Stamp duties or taxes upon the inhabitants of the colonies consideration whereof was referred to the next Session.
That your Petitioners acknowledge with all gratitude the tenderness of ^the Legislature of Great Britain of the ^[liberties]^8 & privileges of the Subjects in the Colonies who have always judged^ by their Representatives both of the way & manner in which internal taxes should be raised within the respective governments, and of the ability of the inhabitants to pay them.9
That they humbly hope the colonies in general have so demeaned themselves, more especially during the late war, as still to deserve the continuance of that indulgence which has been so long shewn to them. ^all those ^[liberties]^ & privileges which they have formerly10 enjoyed.^
That although during the war, the taxes upon the colonies were greater than they have been since the conclusion of it, yet the sources by which the ^Inhabitants^ were enabled to pay their taxes having ceased, & their trade being [decayed]11 they are not so able to pay the taxes they are subjected to in time of peace, as they were the greater taxes in time of war.
That one principal difficulty which has ever attended the trade of the colonies proceeds from the scarcity of money, which scarcity is caused by the balance of trade with Great Britain, which has been continually against the colonies.
That the drawing sums of money from the colonies from time to time must distress the trade to that [degree]12 that eventually Great Britain may13 lose more by the diminution of the consumption of her manufactures than all the sums which it is possible for the colonies thus to pay can countervail.
That your Petitioners are sensible of the dependence of a colony upon the parent state, that as a colony enjoys the protections it is reasonable it should share in the burden.
That they humbly conceive, if the taxes which the inhabitants of this province are obliged annually to pay towards the support of the internal government, the restraint they are under in their trade for the benefit of Great Britain, and the consumption thereby occasioned of British manufactures be all considered and have their due weight, it must appear, that the subjects in this Province are as fully burthened as their fellow subjects in Britain, and that they are, whilst in America, more beneficial to the nation than they would be if they should be removed to Britain and there held to a full proportion of the national taxes and duties of every kind.
Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray that they may be relieved from the burdens which they have humbly represented to have been brought upon them by the late Act of Parliament as to the wisdom of the honorable House shall seem meet, that the privileges ^of the Colonies^ relative to their internal taxes which they have so long enjoyed ^may still be [continued to]14 them^ or that the consideration of such taxes upon the colonies may be referred until your Petitioners, in conjunction with the other governments, can have opportunity to make a more full representation of the state & condition of the colonies & the interest of Great Britain with regard to them.15
In Council Octr. 31 1764. Read & sent down
In the House of Represent [Oct] Nov 1764
Read and ^accepted with the Amendments^ Ordered that the foregoing Petition be sent to the Agent by both Houses to be presented to the Honble. House of Commons accordingly. Sent up for concurrence, S. White Spkr
In Council 2 Nov. 1764—
Read and Concurred with the Amendments of the House at A & B unanimously; their Amendment at C being unanimously nonconcurred. And the Secretary is directed to sign the same in the name of the Board. Sent down for Concurrence, A Oliver Secr
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 6:290–93); heavily revised and considered TH’s draft petition, although he did not mark it so; in TH’s hand (including inserts A and B), except the material starting with “In Council Octr 31” to the end and insert C; inserts A and B are written on separate pieces of paper and attached in the appropriate locations (see notes 3 and 6, below); insert C is written on a separate piece of paper and is not attached to the document (see note 9, below); undated; a copy of the final MS version (not in TH’s hand) is in Mass. Council Records, 25:307–10; a printed copy is in Bowdoin Temple Papers, MHS Colls., Sixth Series (1897), 9: 32–36, and in Speeches, pp. 21–24; the Mass. Council Records copy supplied words that were indecipherable on the Dft; significant differences between the Mass. Council Records copy and the Dft were indicated in footnotes.
Boston 5. Nov. 17641
Sir, By Cap Stutson the 29. of October I wrote to you my sentiments upon the subject of NH & the East country. Our Gen Court was then sitting I could make no judgment what their determination would be & therefore took no notice of their proceedings. The heads of the popular party had prepared an Address to the King Lords & Commons which was passed in the H & sent to the Counc for concurrence.2 It was informal & incautiously expressed & therefore rejected by the Council.3 A conference ensued. The major part of the H were convinced & a Comittee of the two Houses was appointed to consider of a more proper form. Mr Bowdoin of the Council & two of the House were appointed a subcommittee & two addresses were prepared both very exceptionable. Ten days were spent in this manner which I thought time not ill spent as I had the more opportunity of shewing them the imprudence of every measure which looked like opposition to the determinations of Parliamt. I declined any concern in framing an address until I found them perplexed & tired & then fearing they would unite upon something worse at the general request of the Comittee I drew a petition to the H of Commons, not just such as I would have chosen if I had been the sole judge but such as I thought the best I could hope for being accepted; and this after a great deal of labour the Comittee of 21 unanimously accepted. When it was Reported to the House they left out some part which more fully expressed our dependance as a colony and made some alteration which spoil’d the diction but this not being so material the Council would not differ with them.4 They inserted a clause which would have brought upon us all the evil which for 10 days I had been endeavouring to prevent, and this was, for once, unanimously nonconcurred a proof that however exceptionable the constitution of the C. may be yet that they are not always to be intimidated.5 This occasioned a second conference by Comittees which had the good effect to cause the H to recede from their amendment & to agree with the C.6 I have been thus particular in relating this proceeding lest any ill construction should be put upon my being at the head of a Comittee for a thing of this nature which will appear from the G Courts Records. Had I not been there as it was impossible to avoid a petition of some sort one much more exceptionable would have been agreed upon. I had by this means an opportunity of comunicating to the Comittee your letter of the 16. of Ap. which I read except that paragraph which relates to the provision for Officers of the Crown & it met with great applause & greatly contributed to the unanimity which appeared in the Comittee.7
There was a design to have chosen a new Agent but there were so many candidates on your side the water & so many here that it was deferred. My friends pressed me again to go over but I did not think it proper. The present agent will have the petition transmitted to him & is to take your advice as to the time & manner of presenting it.
I have always been sensible of the true reason of my not being permitted to leave the province. When the late governor first came to N. Engd. in a private character I shewed him all the Respect I could & it was intirely by my procuring that he was employed in the service of the government as an agent or comissioner to the other colonies.8 When he came over governor he expressed great friendship & I always attributed to his Recommendation that I received a comission for Lt Gov.9 Gratitude obliged me to do every thing I could to make his administration easy, and he often declared to me that he was more obliged to me on that account than to any man in the province but it was not possible for me as a member of the Legislature to agree to every measure without being a meer machine & having no judgment of my own. A very few instances of disagreement particularly my attachment to Mr Bollan who I really thought at that time the most proper person to serve the province & with whom I had been in friendship for many years occasioned a coldness & some very severe expressions before the governor left the province which other people Resented more than I did. The obligations I was under to him made me desire to Remove every prejudice he has against me & he assured me at parting every thing would be forgot. I wish it had been so and I am ready still to do every thing that can reasonably be required to Recover his friendship. Not that I am anxious for the continuance of my comission. I am every day more & more reconciled to parting with it & whenever there shall be a new appointment of a governor I shall chuse to resign it and if you will give me leave I will lodge a letter in your hands for that purpose.10 I have lived in constant friendship with Mr Bernard & doubt not shall continue to do so, but there are but few men who when they come to have the chief command would allow that freedom of sentiment in his second which I cannot easily bring my self to part with. I am with very great esteem Sir Your obliged and most obedient Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:110–11); unaddressed; marked “By Lyat” for ship transport.
Boston 6 Nov 1764
Sir, This vessel tarrying longer than I expected I have transcribed the Petition to the House of Commons & send it you under this cover.1 I endeavoured all I could to keep out of it what relates to the Court of Admiralty but it was to no purpose.2 There can be no prospect of admitting Seizures to be tried by Juries as in the practice of the Exchequer. If the intent of the Act be that all matters cognizable in the Courts of Admiralty even a Sailors right to wages may be carried to Halifax or any other place where the Judge resides it may prove a great burden upon trade. By an Advertisement published at Halifax the new Judge seems to understand the Act in this manner.3 Courts are generally disposed to amplify their Jurisdiction. I do not remember ever to have seen improved as it might be the influence which Excises duties & in short all your taxes have upon the manufactures of the Nation of every kind, raising their price in proportion to the dearness of Living and as we consume more of your manufactures than so many of the people of England are we not taxed in this way to the Nation besides the benefit the trade & navigation receives from our consumption. You are more capable of improving this thought than I am. Shall I ask the favour of you when you have a moments leisure to look into the last Edition of Woods Institutes page 341 where the Editor cites a Chancery case in 1746.4 Morgue & Buissieres determining that Uncles & Aunts share with Nephews & Nieces in distribution of intestate Estates & inform me whether it be truly cited & the practice settled accordingly?5 I think upon the same reason that Nephews & nieces take per capita when no brother or Sister Survives the intestate representation ceasing & all coming alike within the words of the Statute as next of kin in equal degree. Uncles & Aunts must come in likewise, and I should not have troubled you but I find Burn in his Eclli Law in 1763 takes no notice of this Authority & supposes the Law to be otherwise.6 We have the opinion of the late & present Attorney General both the same way & neither of them take notice of this Decree in 1756.7 It is a matter of some consequence to us where real Estates are distributed in the same manner with personal, otherwise I would not have asked you to give your self this trouble. I am with very great regard Sir Your most obedient Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:111–12); in EH’s hand; unaddressed.
7 Nov 
Dear Sir, I promised to advise you of our proceedings. I wish I could give you a better account of them than I am now able to do. We spent a fortnight in altercations between the two Houses, the majority of the Counc. remaining firm & steady prevented a very ill judged petition to the H of Commons which the Lawyers upon the Boston seat had prepared1 & which passed the H. & was long insisted upon & finally they gave it up & agreed to a more decent one which perhaps will produce us Relief no more than the other would have done but will not bring upon us any further evils. It is sent to Mr. Mauduit altho he had intimated that he was tired of the Agency.2 They would have chose a Successor but could not agree. There were sevral candidates in Eng. & as many here, the latter I imagine in hopes each of them of a better chance another session kept off the consideration at this. I had some expectations of interest enough to have obtained a vote for committing the petition to your care & your friends consulted together upon it but the objections made to your accounts caused them to despair & as often as it was mentioned the reply was that your own letter to the Secretary implied that the terms of your undertaking it should be their first settling your accounts.3 I never yet have been able to come at the sight of them. I find their principal objection is the charge of commissions. Their own agent has made the same charge. When they are told of that they say in answer that they have not yet allowed it & that if they had he has charged no expences for his support nor any certain sum as a salary. We have two of the Representatives of Boston who oppose every motion in your favour one of them ^was a creature of the late governor and^ imbibed his prejudice then the other Mr Otis I believe has gone the lengths greater lengths than he would have done if I had not always espoused your cause but he is not always of one mind & very lately in conversation upon the subject of the agency he would give me no other reason for his opposition but your infirm state & inability to be constantly abroad. This as it was not a sufficient Reason so I know it was not what principally influenced him in his general conduct.
If the Parlt. begin with internal taxes I know not where any line can be drawn. If it be said there is none but their discretion we are in danger of unequal distressing burdens which finally must affect the nation as much as the colonies themselves but this you know perfectly well. I am Sir Your Affectionate humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:116–17); at foot of letter, “Mr Bollan”; partially dated. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777 (last paragraph only).
Boston 9 Nov. 1764
Dear Sir, I was unfortunate in not seeing your son.1 I enquired for him within a few hours after my receiving your letter & was informed he was gone out of town.2 The book you sent me I have read with pleasure.3 It is sensible the language nervous4 & yet decent & such as might be expected from the Authors.
Your distinction between duties upon trade & internal taxes agrees with the opinion of people in England, particularly your Agent & with the opinion of most people here.5 Mr Bernard is full with you in it. I think it imprudent to oppose it & therefore am silent but it is for this reason only. I am for saving as much of our privileges as we can & if the people of Eng. make this distinction I think it tends to strengthen us in our claim to exemption from internal taxes. Really there is no difference & the fallacy of the argument lies here, it is your supposing duties upon trade to be imposed for the sake of regulating trade, whereas the professed design of the duties by the late Act is to raise a revenue.6 Can it possibly cause any difference to the Subject to impose a duty of 5£ on a pipe of wine to be paid as an impost or to impose a duty of excise of 12d. per gallon to be paid by the licensed ^inland^ vendor. The consumer pays just the same supposing the pipe to be 100 galls in the one case as the other and the rights of the people are alike affected in both cases. If they will stop where they are I would not dispute their distinction with them, but if they intend to go on there will be a necessity of doing it for they may find duties on trade enough to drain us so thoroughly that it will not be possible to pay internal taxes as a revenue to them or even to support government within ourselves.
I have corresponded largely with your Agent upon the state of the Affairs of the Colonies. He is certainly a worthy man. I have taken pains for his being appointed for this government also. The more respect shewn him the greater weight he will have, but our misfortune is that we are influenced by party personal views more than by a regard for the publick interest.
The last winter the court by a very general vote desired me to go to England. I wrote immediately for leave but it was not thought proper to grant it tho’ they knew I had nothing to do here in consequence of my Comission whilst the Governor is in the Province.7 If I had been sure of doing any signal service for my country I should have run the risque of losing my commission but the spirit of the people at home is so raised against the colonies that I see but little reason to hope for success—pro ratione voluntas.8
We have sent a petition to the House of Commons in the name of the Council & H of Reps, have mentioned the enjoyment from the beginning of the privilege of being taxed by our Representatives & pray that we may not now be deprived of it, that the consideration of a stamp duty may be laid aside or that it may be Referred until the colonies may have an opportunity of meeting by their comissioners & agreeing upon a joint representation of their circumstances and of the interest of G. Brit. with Regard to them.
I have some doubt whether they will obtain sufficient information this Session to frame an Act. Gaining time where right is of our side is gaining something if we have room to hope that truth will finally prevail. I am with very great Regard Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:117–18); at head of letter, “Mr Ebenezer Silliman.” Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777.
Thomas Hutchinson prepared two versions of this letter to Richard Jackson, writing out the first version in his letterbook and then revising it significantly. He presumably thought better of sending the first with its assessment of the New York Stamp Act protest and the state of the colonies. Instead, he marked the first version “not sent” and wrote a second in his letterbook that makes no mention of those subjects. In the end, Hutchinson’s discretion gained him little, since the first version was circulated widely after his letterbooks were found by Revolutionary leaders in 1775. Two years later, a portion of the first version was printed in the Boston Gazette.
Version I: To Richard Jackson
Boston [blank space in MS] Novem. 1764
Sir, The Court thinking it proper that a letter should be wrote to their agent upon the subject of the boundaries of the province I undertook to do it for the sake of bringing into the letter a paragraph which may lead to some proposals about the exchange of the eastern country.1 I will annex the paragraph & you will be able to judge whether it will be proper any thing should be said to him upon the subject to be communicated to the court or whether it will be better to pursue the design in any other way. If you should think no use can be made of it there will be no need of giving my Lord Hillsboro any trouble about it. A desire to oblige his Ldship has caused me to interest my self in this affair more than otherwise I should have done.
Since I sent you copy of the petition from this province one of the Representatives of N York has been in town & brot with him copy of the address from the Representatives there.2 It is said by some Zealots here to be a very spirited performance but really it is the most extraordinary thing I ever saw & not only discovers the authors of it to be unacquainted with all form of proceeding in such cases but that they are strangers to the rules of decency & good manners. I cannot but hope that their agent be his instructions what they may will excuse himself from presenting it or from making it publick which it is said he has orders to do by printing it. If they were to suffer alone I should be less concerned but I fear we shall be all sufferers for their folly & madness.
The prospect is gloomy for us colonists and I think if I was in the beginning of life I should be tempted to go back to Lincolnshire from whence my great grandfather came3 but it is too late in the day to seek new connexions & those I have here are too strong to be able to break away from them. I am with very great regard Sir Your most humble and most obedient,
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:119); marked “not sent”; at foot of letter, “R Jackson Esq”; partially dated. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777 (only the last two paragraphs are included, and they appear under the dateline “Nov. 1764”).
Boston 27. Novemb. 1764
Sir, The court in their late sessions ordered a letter to be wrote to the agent upon the subject of their disputed lines. I brought the following paragraph into the tter not knowing how to give a better occasion for the ministry to intimate their intentions with respect to NH if it should be thought proper to proceed in that way
“We should be glad &c.”1
In my own concerns I would not so frequently trouble you. In any publick concern where I have no peculiar interest I know your regard for the publick will be my excuse. I am with the greatest esteem,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:119); unaddressed.
Upon the publication of the first volume of The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay in December 1764, Thomas Hutchinson wrote two versions of a letter to Richard Jackson, asking him to distribute copies of the work to Hutchinson’s associates in England. Hutchinson sent the second version.
Boston [blank space in MS] Decemb. 1764
Sir, Notwithstanding The many obligations you have laid me ^I am already^ under I venture to ask a further favor from you and have directed ^shall deliver Capt.^ a small box ^directed^ to you containing a few volumes ^books^ of my history of the Massachusets colony which I pray you to be so good as to cause to be delivered. The two to Mr Hollis & Mr Apthorp they will send for. Dr Franklyn you will see every day.1
I am ashamed of the many typographical errors in the book I send you. I have had many avocations & have left some of the sheets to others to correct. The latter part has not been so much neglected. There being but a small number printed the gentleman to whom I gave the copy intends an impression in England in which I hope the press errors will be corrected.2 Errors or defects in stile or sentiment I hope will meet with some excuse, since I am forced to appear in print merely to preserve the remembrance of many facts which would otherwise have been lost none of my countrymen being willing to take the pains necessary for such a collection. Errors in matters of fact, I know of none. I have ever had upon my mind a regard to truth. I have not omitted the foibles of my ancestors nor made more than what I thought a just excuse and apology for them. Their principles in Religion & government I have been told had better have been concealed. I do ^could^ not think so. When they left England a great part & soon after the body of the nation were of the same principles with them. Had they remained in England I do not doubt upon a turn of times they would have turned in as great proportion as their old friends did but I have made such Reflections upon their mistakes as will rather influence ^lead^ their posterity to avoid them than to adhere or return to them.
Our workmen here are so ordinary that I am advised to send the books half bound.
I desire that my frequent troubling you may not occasion one letter from you more than your leisure and convenience will admit altho’ they are always very acceptable to Sir Your obliged & most obedient Servant,
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:120–21); marked “not sent”; heavily emended text that has then been either lined through or crossed out in its entirety; unaddressed.
Boston 7. December 1764
Sir, Notwithstanding the many obligations I am already under I venture to ask a further favour of you & shall deliver Capt Diamond a small box directed to be left for you at Mr Alderman Trecothicks which contains a few of the books I have just published.1 Those to Mr Trecothick Mr Wood & Mr Apthorp I imagine they will send for.2 The others I beg the favour of you to cause to be delivered. You will find many new although not interesting facts & I hope you will think I have done better than if I had spent idly the little time I have been able to spare from publick business for a year or two past. I am asshamed of the typographical errors especially in the former part when I was frequently very full of business the latter Sheets have not been so much neglected. And I am forced to make the same apology for the defect & want of uniformity in the stile. Errors in fact I do not know of any. The foibles of our Ancestors & their mistakes in religion & government I could not help exposing and I hope I have done it in such a manner that their posterity will be the more likely to avoid them. Please to make my Compliments to Doctor Franklyn. I take up too much of your time & do it too often. I am with very great Esteem &c.,
Besides one directed to Mr Jackson the box contains one to Lord Halifax, Lord Hillsborough, Governor Pownall Mr Secretary Pownall, ^Mr Secretary Sedgwick^3 Alderman Trecothick, Doctor Franklyn Mr Hollis of Grays Inn ^ Wood of the Customs^, The Revd Mr East Apthorp.
Mr Condy to whom I gave the copy intends an impression in England more correct. If you think it will be more proper to present one of them to Lord Halifax & to Lord [blank in MS] tho’ later, than one of this sad edition I submit to you to do as you please.
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:122–23); in EH’s hand except the corrections and the last paragraph, which are in TH’s hand; unaddressed, but the volume index lists “R. Jackson” as the recipient; marked “per Diamond” for ship transport.
[7–14 December 1764]
Sir, Not long after you left the province1 I began to reduce to some order the facts ^materials^ I had before been collecting for an history of the Massachusets colony.2 I am sure I should have done it better if I had had the benefit of your advice & direction. Defective With all its defects I have ventured it into the world and I beg your acceptance of one of the books which I have sent in a small box to Mr. Jackson. I gave the copy to Mr Condy who tells me he has ordered an edition in England and that the many errors of the Press in this edition will be corrected. I do not know of any errors in the facts. If there be any, no body in England is so likely to discover them as you are for no body is so perfectly acquainted with our affairs.
I should have waited for the new edition & presented you with one of them but I was loth when I was sending some of the books to some other gentlemen persons to omit sending one to you. ^a book of the new edition if I had not thought it would have been a failure of respect to omit of doing it now.^ I am with very great respect ^shall always acknowledge myself^ Sir Your ^much^ obliged & most obedient Servant,
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:123); substantially revised; unaddressed; undated; marked “Diamond” for ship transport.
[7–14 December 1764]
Sir, My good friend Mr Paxton with whom I have been intimate ever since we were boys & to whom I can deny nothing prevailed upon me to draw up a state of the trade of the colonies to transmit to you which he tells me was acceptable to you.1 He shewed me not long since a list of duties laid on goods in 1734 & desired me to inform you how long they continued & what are the present duties. It has been the practice of the government for 60 or 70 years past to pass an impost Act annually. I do not know that it has been once omitted or ever made for more than one year. The rates have not varied much. In 1734 30/. duty on a pipe of wine as the currency then was valued was equal to 7/6d sterling. The duty now is 10/ lawful money equal to 7/6d sterl. also.2 Attempts have been made to raise it but they found the revenue less than when it was lower there was so much run.3 In all parts of the world ^people who make^ an distinction ^is made^ between defrauding private persons & the publick tho’ when closely examined there can be but little grounds for it. The Impost amounts to but a trifle never to two thousand pounds sterl. ^in one^ a year.
Charles Paxton, 1734. Paxton was Hutchinson’s friend from childhood. Paxton’s role as a key member of the customs establishment made him a lightning rod for popular resentment. Attributed to Edward Truman. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Having a post in the government without business as well as without emoluments except in the absence of the governor, I have employed a little leisure time in writing a History of the colony which I have just published & by this ship I have sent a few books to Mr Jackson of the inner Temple & have directed one of them to you & pray your acceptance of it. It is badly printed but the person to whom I gave the copy intends a more correct edition in London. I wish it may afford you any entertainment. I am Sir Your very humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:123–24); unaddressed; undated; marked “Diamond” for ship transport.
[7–14 December 1764]
The advantage proposed by ^encreasing the Revenue^2 is fallacious & delusive. What you will gain one way you will lose & perhaps a great deal more in another way. Every branch of trade in every colony is formed so as finally to be subservient to the trade to Britain. Some inconsiderable bartering from one colony to another and an illicit trade with Holland by a few persons in some of the colonies must be excepted. ^As are^ All the profits from all these branches of trade so does the trade to Britain & the consumption of British manufacture increase. Let the income of the ^people of the^ colonies be increased by what means it may Britain feels the benefit of it. In some of our sea port towns an addition of wealth causes in some of the inhabitants an additional expense ^luxury^ in their tables as well as apparel, but look through the country in general and you will find that as ^tho^ a farmer increases his substance he eats & drinks as he did before his additional expence is in ^[illegible]^3 Apparel for his wife & children. Taxes or duties which tend to lessen this income tend to lessen the consumption of your own manufactures. I appeal to your custom house books for the truth of my observation. During the last war there has been a great demand for all the produce of the country that was proper for the support of the Army.4 You will find Every farmer made double profits from his estate. You will find that there never was so great an exportation in the same length of time before and you will find that when the profit to the farmer ceased the exportation immediately became less. It is a melancholy truth for the colonies that notwithstanding all the extraordinary profits from the estates of the inhabitants taking them collectively are not so wealthy now as when the war began. The more burden you lay upon them the Now as the [illegible] the income of the inhabitants increases the importation of Goods from Britain so the laying heavy burdens which is in effect lessening the income will in proportion lessen the importation and in a much greater proportion than it ever increased for you will infallibly find the people will take another turn partly from necessity & partly from inclination. They & their families must be Cloathed. As they become poorer they will not only be unable to take off so many articles of english manufacture ^as they did before^ but a great part of the people will substitute their own manufactures in the stead of it I question whether for I assure you that a piece of cloth or stuff of homespun for men or womens wear altho’ it makes not so fair a shew & has not so good a gloss yet will afford double the wear of a piece of the same price imported from England; Pride ^Besides^ at present is one great excuse of there is a general disposition to encourage such manufactures as least interfere with those of Britain. The Woollens is neither encouraged by the publick nor private persons & there was more homespun worn 100 years ago than there is now
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:279–80); the first two pages of an incomplete and unfinished essay; untitled; undated; the complete text, not found, was apparently enclosed in No. 83, above.
Lisle street, Decr. 13th. 1764
Dear Sir, On the 6th. instant I wrote to you at large by the New York packet, the duplicate of my letter being put into Hunters bag, who is not yet sailed.1 Having since received yours of the 7th. of Nov. I can only say that you appear to me a very strange people: When an attempt is made to pluck off a single leaf from the tree of liberty you are all vigilance & activity; when the axe is laid to the root you seem to have a very imperfect sense of your danger. All businesses are what those who manage them make them, and by the management of this & your side your affairs are brought into an unhappy situation, and the ground you have lost without its proper defence, I fear, will not be with ease recovered. If it be said that you were not concerned in the management when the late hard measures took place, I answer that the management of your deputy is certainly yours, and more especially so when you continue him the manager. You tell me that several persons here & in the province are candidates for the agency; I heartily wish you cou’d find one who has all the historical, judicial, political & constitutional knowledge, accompanied with independence honour & fortitude, requisite to form a proper agent in these times. If I am able to judge, it is as certain as any proposition in Euclid that you have no person in the province equal to this trust; and I know none here that are duly qualified & wou’d accept it, as their time & talents may be employed with more ease to greater profit. The men of sufficient abilities are generally preengaged by their connections & views incompatible with your interests; and indeed the political architecture of the kingdom has been consider’d without including the rights of the colonies, so that the students or proficients in that art have generally but an imperfect knowledge of them; whereas the nature & importance of the late measures required a thoro’ knowledge for your defence. In such great contests the best method of gaining the desirable attention, in my opinion, is to shew if possible that the person contending for your rights has a greater comprehension & knowledge of the proper relatives of the subject than all your adversaries. As you name not those that now offer I can say nothing to them. If you now chuse a dependent on the ministry, or other unsuitable person, I shall conclude you have lost all sense of sound policy. For a long time I flatter’d myself with the pleasing hopes of being able on some occasion to contribute to the establishment of your rights upon their proper foundation, by putting them into such a course of consideration as wou’d sooner or later produce that desirable effect; but after doing & suffering so much, and seeing such manifest departure from the principles of proper conduct, with the consequent embarrasments of your affairs, it is time for me to give over these thoughts; and indeed I am never so happy as when I do not think of public affairs in general, or yours in particular; but unfortunately I have so long habituated myself to the consideration of these objects that I can but seldom keep them out of my mind, and I have not been able to avoid treating the proceedings of your adversaries with sharp resentment when conversing with some of the best men of both parties, doing this at the hazard of losing some of my best friends.
With respect to my demands on the province, which seem from your account to have had no consideration in your last session, It requires a great measure of patience to bear with your conduct, and for the justice of the whole I desire to refer you to the copy of my letter to the speaker.2 As to the objection made to the charge of comission I do not apprehend that any impartial & proper judge in this kingdom, or elsewhere can possibly doubt about it, and the attempt made to avoid this charge by reason of another, to wit, that of my comon expences here, is without grounds, the latter being constantly made & allowed in consequence of my coming over in the province service, and the former arising from a service of a different nature; and it is manifestly unreasonable to attempt to put my agency in point of pay upon the same foot with that of a person who consistently with his usual business comes to this end of the town occasionally to transact the province affairs; and it is certain that I shall not recede from this demand. I remember to have heard an American of character some years past observe that the colonies had not vertue enough to preserve their rights; and your politicians do not seem sensible that they who wou’d have justice must do justice, nor that their proceeding has a tendency to compel me, contrary to my inclination, to take those adverse measures which will expose them as well as their predecessors. I do not know an article in my account that is not plainly reduced to a certainty, unless it be the value of the service performed on a quantum moruit,3 concerning which different persons may have different sentiments. The charge made has been thought reasonable here. The delay of justice you are sensible is the denial of it, and many reasons respecting the province as well as myself make me very desirous that this affair may be brought to a just, reasonable & amicable settlement as soon as may be with any convenience; and I leave this matter to the dictates of your sense of honour, justice & prudence. I am with great regard Dear Sir Your affectionate & faithfull humble Servant,
P.S. I have the pleasure to inform you that I have now better health than I have had for a considerable number of years past.
DupRC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Dana Family Papers, Series I, Box 1); only the closing and signature are in Bollan’s hand; at head of letter, “(Duplicate)”; at foot of letter, “Lt. Govr. Hutchinson”; a note written at the bottom of the page in an unknown hand reads “Decr. 24th. The original of this was taken out of Stantons bag, and put into the bag of a New York ship.”
Boston 20 Decem 1764
Sir, I took the liberty to direct to you by Cap Diamond a small box containing a number of books which I hope you will have received.1 Mr Condy by this ship writes to Mr. Richardson whom he has employed to print an impression in London to deliver you a dozen of the books of the best paper & bound as you direct.2 Shall I ask the favor of you to present one of them to Mr Grenville one to Lord Kinnoul who when he was in took more notice of me than I deserved3 one to Mr Cha. Townshend & one to Sr H. Franklyn & one to Mr Hollis of Grays Inn & be pleased to order one to be bound in the best manner for yourself. The other six please to present where you think they may be acceptable as high up as may be in character for me & order the binding according to the quality of the person. I hope the edition will be correct. Your obliging letters & professions of friendship have encouraged me to this freedom which otherwise I should not have ventured upon.
The people here were so unacquainted with their own story that the publisher tells me the impression will not last him a month & I am much pressed to go on with another volume.4 It will be a further proof of your friendship to mention to me any alterations that it will be convenient to make in this volume & I will conform to them in a new edition if I should be able to compleat a 2d. volume. I am with very great esteem Sir Your faithful humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:125); at foot of letter, “R Jackson Eq.”
Boston 27. Decemb. 1764
Gentlemen,1 I have not had opportunity nor do I expect any of seeing my brethren and being able jointly to give an answer to your letter of the 22d. December, and least I should be thought to fail in point of respect to the Honorable House I shall give you an answer so far as concerns my self which perhaps may enable you to judge of the rest.2 The Salary of the Justices of the Court is well known to the Honorable House.3 The last year they were pleased to make me a grant of Forty pounds a motion for which in each of the three preceding years had been rejected.4 Our attendance upon the courts takes about six months in the year, our travel is about eight hundred miles our fees communibus annis5 for three years from 1761 were short of forty pounds a year, eac[h]6 justice, according to the best computation I can make. My expences in travelling, including my horses servant & equipment of every sort I estimate one hundred pounds a year so that the nett profits from my place of chief justice the three first years was about ^ninety to^ one hundred pounds each year. The last year as I have observed was forty pounds more. The fees of that year were more than the preceding perhaps eight or ten pounds.
I have given as full an account as I am able which I hope will be satisfactory to the honorable House. I am Gentlemen Your very humble Servant,
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:23); at foot of letter, “To the Gentlemen Committee &c of the Hon. House of Representatives.”
Newport Janry 8 1765
Sir, I take this first Opportunity to acknowledge the honor you have done me in sending me the volumes of your Hist of the Mass. Colony. You will not doubt I read it with great pleasure, tho’ as I received it but yesterday I have but half finished the first Volume. Some perhaps may think that more of the Margin might have been interwoven in the Body of the History. Some Things I could wish you a little more copious in: and among other Things I wish to see the original Instrument if in being, of the Seacoast Partition among the Lords before the Plym Compa. surrendered their Charter 1635. I think Milford & N Haven were settled together, but neither from Hartford.1 The Hartfd & Connect settlers begun their Western settlement at Stratford River & so along to Greenw & Rye &c. The East End of L. Isld. & Towns West from Stratford always sent Deputies to Hartford. The Pequots were never extinguished, as was said: to this day they subsist a distinct Body of about 300 souls, but without a Sanjumman—they are little less than the Narrag & Mohegans & larger than the Nihantucs. I have from N. Haven Records a List of the rateable Estate ^of that Town^ about 1643 when the Number of Souls was 420 and the Total of Estate was £36,307. of which Gov Eaton possessed £3000, Mr Davenport £1000, and seven persons with these possessed one Quarter of the whole.2 Guilford was a distinct Colony or Government at first, they incorporated by a civil as well as Church Covenant.
I do not know whether Mr Wheelwrights Sermon 1636 or 7 was ever printed.3 I have a MS Copy I believe in Mr Wheelwrights own handwriting, brot off by Mr Jon Coggeshall & still preserved in that Family.4 I have also a Copy of the Election Sermon preached by the Minister of Cambridge I think Mr Shepard, when Mr Vane was dropped.5
Your Account has increased my Veneration of Mr Cottons Character, he was a Father of NE, & a kind of Numa Pompilius in Church & State.6 Gov Winthrop’s Character reviews well—had been perfect but for being too much addicted to persecution: he led this people like another Moses & like him was treated ill.7 It is a delicate Thing to hit off Characters with Justice—most have their good & ill: The Business of an historian is so to paint that we may know the Man & see him as he is. You have sometimes taken Occasion to contrast the good & Evil of Character, without pointing out the Result, the prevailing & ultimate Complexion. Is Sir Harry Vane’s Memory to be honord on the whole because of what he did in 1644? After describing the Blemishes, adducing a great & good Action may strike with so much force as to obliterate the sense of ill, & vice versa. It is wise to speak with Caution & prudence, but a Genius that discerns justly pronounces with Boldness. In recent Caracters it is prudent, may be necessary to leave the Reader to Comparisons & Deductions. Endicot Vassal, &c are distant.8 A spirit of Dominion secretly & covertly operated with too much strength in the Clergy even in good Mr Cotton &c & their power & Influence was prodigious—the whole power of the Magistrates as a distinct body depended on them, & between the power of the people & that of the Clergy the Magistrates had a perpetual struggle & sometimes were scarce firm eno’. The Case is now altered since two Branches of the Legislature in Effect depend on the Crown.9
Tho’ you seem to show Cautiousness in Characters & Motives, yet Actions personal & public are narrated with perspicuity & I believe ^good Intelligence^ Justice & Impartiality—which is the most essential part of history. Pardon & forgive me Sir in these Remarks, which I fear are too assuming: and accept my Thanks that you have so early as in its second Century done your Country the honor to write its History, & that in a manner which will transfuse your name with Glory thro’ all the Histories & Ages of America. I am your Honor’s Most obedient & Devoted servant,
AC (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); at foot of letter, “To the Hon Thos Hutchinson Esq Lieut Gov of Prov of Massach.” Dft (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); comprising a portion of the first paragraph.
Boston 15 Jan 1764 1
Revd Sir, I am very much obliged to you for your favorable opinion of my book, and more so for your observations upon it. The same remark has been made by others, which you make, of many things being brought into the notes which might better have come into the body of the page and I am satisfied it is just. I am ashamed to give you the reason of this fault, but really it was to save me trouble finding it easier to insert things which occurred to me, after I had passed the time they related to, in this way, than by altering the page. I had, from the beginning, determined to have large notes, something in the same manner as Mr Harris has in his life of Cromwell &ca., but I carried it too far.2 Indeed I wonder more fault is not found with the whole performance. I think from my beginning the work until I had compleated it, which was about twelve months, I never had time to write two sheets at a sitting without avocations by publick business, but was forced to steal a little time in the morning and evening, while I was in town, and then leave it for weeks together so that I found it difficult to keep any plan in my mind. I have an aversion to transcribing and except the three or four first sheets and now & then a page in which I had made some mistake the rest of the work is rough as I first wrote it.
I find I have very improperly expressed my self as to Mr. Prudden’s removal from Hartford. He came with his company from Hertford in England but the reader will be likely to suppose I intended Hartford in America.3 I believe I am right as to Southold.4 After some time they might be included with Connecticut but the reason given in my manuscripts for their uniting is that some of Newhaven were owners of the lands at Southold and would not sell them unless the purchasers would unite with them.
The Pequods were never considered in any publick transactions as a tribe after the war with them.5 I did not know that any considerable number remained distinct at this day. As a nation or tribe I fancy they may with propriety enough be said to have been extinguished.
Sir Harry Vane had hard measure in 1662. Compassion might lead me to too strong an expression.
I have no talent at painting, or describing characters. I am sensible it requires great delicacy. My safest way was to avoid them and let facts speak for themselves. I was astonished after reading Robertson’s History of Scotland and having settled Mary Stewarts character in my own mind as one of the most infamous in History to find him drawing her with scarce a blemish.6
I hope you will be so good when you have gone through as to point out to me any errors. Mr Condy to whom I gave the copy finding the book was in demand here ordered immediately a large impression in England. I am sorry for it because I had not opportunity enough to make several amendments I should have chose to have made. Care is taken of the typographical errors which are numerous as also some inaccuracies.
I did not enough consider the present taste for anecdotes. I could have enlarged the volume or made it large enough for two. I am with esteem Sir Your very humble servant, Tho Hutchinson
Wheelwright’s sermon I have. Shepard’s like all others of that day I fancy would be but little relished now.7
RC (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); at foot of letter, “Revd Mr Stiles”; misdated; addressed, “To the Revd Mr Ezra Stiles At Newport”; endorsed, “Recd 22d Febry 1765 Ansd. May 29 1765.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:126–27); in EH’s hand; misdated “18th. Jany 1764.” Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777 (including only the section reading “I was astonished . . . scarce a blemish”), recipient is listed as unknown, and the letter is misdated “18th January, 1765.”
Jan 25 
Sir, You will probably Receive by this ship a commission for the agency of this Province with instructions in a letter from the Secretary but lest she should be sailed before they are prepared I thought it would not be amiss to acquaint you that yesterday being the time appointed by the Council & H of Representat. for the choice of an agent the many other candidates being laid aside the controversy lay between you & the late agents brother for whom there were 44 votes 66 for you & 2 for me from a foolish attachment of 2 members altho’ I had in the most publick manner declared I could not accept & had desired every friend I had to vote for Mr Jackson.1 You woud otherwise have counted 68. There would have been a general vote if a blind bigotry had not influenced some who suppose none but a dissenter from the established church fit for any post, & fear of prejudicing us in our controversy with Connecticut had not influenced others.2 Some perhaps would have stood out from a disaffection to the governor he having zealously promoted your interest.3
I hope you will not refuse to accept. I can give you no assurance of a return adequate to your services but I know you have friends who will endeavour it. I assure you I feel more pleasure in our carrying this point than I did when the court gave me their vote for I think they have done themselves honour & I know you can do them service.
In the difference between the _________ & _________4 I have not been able to remain altogether neuter which I perceive has given the latter offence. I do not know that he will insinuate any thing to my Prejudice, if he should I hope it will make no impression until I have opportunity of making my defence. I do not mean to prejudice you against him no body speaks more handsomely of you than he does. I am Sir Your faithful humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:128); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson”; partially dated.
Boston 4 March 1765
Dear Sir, A Comittee of the H of Rep have had your accounts under their consideration ever since the beginning of the Session. Mr Lee of Cambridge is upon it & very friendly to you the others are not so.1 There is not the least room to hope that the H. will comply with your demands. You know as well as I do their narrow minds & how, large sums of sterling money strike them.
Judge Russel Goffe2 Lee & I have frequently consulted how we could best serve you & we all agree that if the House can be brought, at this time, to allow so much of your accounts as to make a balance between the Province & you it is not adviseable to push for more.
I am afraid you will think we are not friendly enough or that we do not see your merit in it’s true light but that is not the case. We do it from a sincere regard to your interest & that of your family. Every advance we can bring the House to make will, we apprehend, be sufficient to conclude3 future assemblies & in case of your death before the affair be finally settled must greatly facilitate the settlement to those who come after you and we are careful not to make such concessions as to preclude us from promoting a further grant when there shall be a better opportunity.
There is no persuading them to look back beyond the time when you last left the Province & they will intend that your services in the affair of the Louisburgh reimbursement were settled.4 I know very well that you did not think they were & I often mention the great sums which were saved to the Province meerly from your being in England it appearing from the letters of the other agent that he would readily have relinquished them;5 and altho’ some are convinced yet a majority cannot be obtained. I intreat you not to imagine that your friends are cooled in their regard & esteem for you or that they will neglect any opportunity of doing you all the service in their power.
Before the court met the Secretary had received letters from Mr Mawduit with a resignation of his power of agency, his health not admitting of his attendance on any of the publick boards.6 The governor proposed to Mr Goffe & to me our engaging for Mr Jackson. We both told him our prior obligations were for Mr Bollan. He replied that he was perfectly willing we should use our interest for Mr Bollan that he knew it would be agreeable to Mr Jackson. I knew Mr Jackson had wrote the governor that he thought no person so fit for an agent as you. For several days after the session began pains were taken to engage the members in your favour but it appeared very evidently that a majority could not be engaged. The party which was resolutely bent for Israel Mawduit it was feared would prevail let who would be set up against him and either your friends must strike in for Mr Jackson or Mr Mawd would be chose and altho’ it is a reflection upon the country & a proof of their ingratitude as well as wrong judgment yet I am fully satisfied if those who are most firmly attached to you in the court had not been the means of dividing the opposition to Mawduit there would have been the utmost danger of his coming in.
You know very well the inconstancy of such assemblies & that their minds & votes are changed by small circumstances. The governor I am satisfied would not have discouraged any of your friends from voting for you but it was generally supposed that Mr Jackson was his peculiar friend. This circumstance secured many for him who would not have been for you & besides after it was agreed & determined that he should be opposed to Mauduit the Governor exerted himself ^with^ more ^zeal^ than he would have done for any body else & more than I ever knew him use on any other occasion & if he had not I think the other side would have prevailed. When I consider the state of the Colonies I cannot help thinking at the same time of the fable of the bundle of Sticks which the father gave to his Children.7 I know of no two Colonies which think alike. There is certainly no uniformity of measures. It will be easy to break us all thus seperated. United & our Cause in a proper manner defended we should have appeared more respectable & perhaps had some Chance for preserving our beings as Englishmen a little while longer. We are impatient to hear in what manner the applications of several of the Colonies are received by the Parliament.8 I am not without hopes they may produce a continuance to another Sessions which will give us further time for consideration. I am &c,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:130–31); in TH’s hand and then EH’s hand after “generally supposed was Mr Jackson”; unaddressed, but the volume index lists “Wm Bollan” as the recipient. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777 (only the section reading “When I consider . . . I am &c.”).
Boston 16 March 1765
Dear Sir, I doubt not Mr Franklin intends to comply with his agreement as I have heard nothing to the contrary since the letter I inclosed to you.1 I can do no more for my sister than agree with them that will give the most for her farm & as no body offers more than Wood & Allen I am obliged to comply with that.2
To save you the trouble of another letter I now inclose a receipt for the last Rent.
I assure you I had no desire to see you taken care of as a government in any other way than by some more effectual measures for finishing your wicked money much less did I desire a junction to the Massachus.3 Except a few hotheads in this town we are all calm & easy & as free from Parties as can be expected. If you should be joined to us you would spread the infection & we should [illegible] to [illegible] you all ^not repent it. I mean you personally not Rhode Island in general.^
I am sure you have not much of the Salamander in you and do not love to live in a flame but.4 The body of your people would be out of their element if they were out of the fire. An habit of 30 or 40 years continuance becomes inveterate. I desire as long as I live to promote [internal] concord & harmony & to prevent unseasonable & intemperate zeal against the powers without. This may be thought from a short & imperfect view to betray diffidence and want of spirit but stay till you see the consequence & you will determine it to be well judged caution & prudence. The misfortune is, the imprudence of particular governments will probably bring down destruction upon their neighbours as well as themselves.
I hope Mrs Chesebrough & you have been very happy the cold winter past whilst I have been solitary and amost froze.5 I am,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:132); unaddressed, but the volume index lists “David Cheseborough” as the recipient. Enclosure not found.
Boston 26. March 1765
Dear Sir, Several of my friends have made the same observation which you have made upon my book.2 Many of the notes might have been brought into the body of the page but I fancy you will find that most of them would have carried the reader a number of years forward in the story and then he would have been brought back again by new matter which I think is not agreeable. I have no talent at making books, and I think I am tenderly used, seeing the world, generally, is ill natured, that I have not had much greater fault found with the performance. I now & then find leisure for a sheet or two at a time of a second part, but am not determined to publish it.
I cannot account for the proceedings at home with respect to your government.3 I find among Mr Pownall’s instructions, which were left with me, one forbidding him to sign any private act, without a clause suspending the operation of it until the King’s pleasure should be known.4 If Mr Wentworth has such an instruction, or if the reason of the instruction governed, still there is no accounting for selecting a particular number of acts and leaving others under the same circumstances without notice.5
I have seen among some of our agent’s letters, soon after the charter, an account of a number of our acts lying at the board of trade for want of a viaticum to defrey the expence of their journey forward to the council office, but I have not known any charge made by any of our late agents for the sollicitor’s fees, it being his proper business to examine, and report upon all private as well as publick acts.6 The same difficulty will remain upon this, as upon the former supposition, and it will not do to imagine there is so much inattention in any of the publick boards as that part of your acts may be laid by and forgot.
As for the two publick bills or acts I will not make any conjectures about them least they should be as trifling as those made by some of your politicians.
Mr. Bernard says he always supposed, when at the Jerseys, that after their acts had lain a certain time without disallowance they were in the same state as if they had been expressly allowed but it seems the practice has been otherwise with you.
I have not penetration enough to see what improvement can be made of this measure to any general purpose and rather think nothing of that is designed by it.
We have been a great while without news from England. I have a letter from Mr Bollan of 13 December. He says we in the colonies are a strange people. “When an attempt is made to pluck off a single leaf from the tree of liberty you are all vigilance & activity; when the ax is laid to the root you seem to have a very imperfect sense of your danger.”
I believe it will not be long before I shall hear something further from my friend upon the affair we conversed about when you was in town. If I have any thing material I will let you know it.
I doubt whether the next ships will bring us the determinations of the ministry and parliament, for I fear one depends on the other, upon our general rights. I am with very great esteem Sir Your most obedient servant, Tho Hutchinson
Mr Pemberton & Mr Eliot are at my house & desire me to enquire as an article of news how your grant of 300£ to the College stands & whether any thing further is expected to be done on the part of the society.7
RC (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Simon Gratz Collection); at foot of letter, “Mr Parker”; addressed, “To William Parker Esq Portsmouth.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:132–34); in EH’s hand; no postscript; unaddressed.
Boston 31 March 1764 1
Sir, I wrote in my last that you might expect to hear from the general court by the next opportunity but when I came to consider that there was nothing necessary to advise you of I thought it better to Recommend to the comittee to defer writing until another session of the general court when there will be a chance for a better house of representatives.2 I am obliged to you for a few lines by Hunter.3 I pray you never to let my correspondence take you off from the important publick affairs you are engaged in. I shall take no exception to your deferring an answer to any of my letters to a time of leisure & convenience, nor shall I be the more backward in communicating anything which I shall think may be agreeable to you. You have relieved me from some pain I was in about the manuscript.4 I have been in great doubt whether so hasty a performance would not do more hurt than good.
Our political heroes repent of their extravagant conduct in printing the letter to their agent & thank me for preventing their sending a petition which would have discovered the same temper to have continued.5 I am with very great esteem Sir Your faithful humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:134); at foot of letter, “Richd Jackson Eq.”; misdated.
Boston 9th. April 1765
I am very sorry your Sons first Adventure here should not afford him better encouragement. The great number of Vessels arrived from the Southern Colonies have made grain very low. About six weeks before his first Vessel arrived Indian Corn had been at a good price. I advised my son & brother to Store the Corn which they can do at a certain price & have the same quantity delivered, for I have generally observed after a glut in the Spring it has been scarce in the beginning of Summer.1 I know they buy the returns with ready mony below the market price. Although my publick business prevents my concern in factorage business, yet I am always ready to give any advice & assistance in my power. I shall inclose to you the last newspaper. Probably you will have fresher intelligence from England. The people here look upon their Liberties as gone.2 When the parliament once begine they say there is no drawing a line as long as the Colonists have any property left. I have a letter from a member of parliament who although he says this right of taxing the Colonies is to be exercised with great tenderness yet in another place supposes it prudent to begin with small duties & taxes & to advance in proportion or degree as it shall be found the Colonies will bear.3 It can be to no purpose to claim a right of exemption when the whole body of the people of England are against us. It seems the first question in the Committee of the whole house of Commons was whether the parliament had a right to lay taxes on the Colonies & it was voted unanimously, but when the question was put upon the resolutions for the Stamp duties about 50 members in near 300 were noes. The ministry may obtain applause and the nation be amused a little while by this measure but I think there is danger that the discouragements discontents & disaffection to the mother Country which will be caused in many of the Colonies will eventually more than balance all the profit that will ever be received from taxes. I always thought it adviseable for the Colonies to urge the advantage the nation receives from them by their confined trade equivalent to what is received from the same number of Subjects in England who pay taxes and other equitable as well as political considerations against taxes rather than stoutly to assert a right which we know they who have power have determined against us. I drew the petition from this province upon this principle.4 The other governments charge us with diffidence & want of Spirit. I have it from pretty good Authority that the different Spirit & what are called noble Sentiments of several other petitions rendered the Ministry determined immediately to make a point of it whether the nation or the Colonies should conquer.5 I am &c,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:135); in EH’s hand; unaddressed. Enclosure not found. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777.
Boston 26. April 1765
Dear Sir, Your letter of the 2d instant came to hand last night.1 The one you refer to about pot ash I never received. I fancy this affair of pot ash will be like other branches of trade & business. The first adventurers sometimes make considerable profit. This induces many to run into the same branch. The extraordinary profit will then cease. After that the most wary frugal & industrious may continue the branch with reasonable profit and the remaining part will fall through. There is complaint of fraud where ashes are collected in families. The mixture of sand dirt &c. debases the pot ash. The connoisseurs say that it will not answer to pay for cutting & burning wood into ashes although the wood should cost nothing, but you may be able to clear your land at little or no expence.2 I fancy the governor is a scheming this way at Mount Desart.3 He will have the labour cheap but they will find some way or other to cheat him.
Great care should be taken about the quality to keep up the credit in England.
Your letters give me frequent occasion to mention the old rule in government “the common wealth is never to be despaired of.” As for those men you talk of ^& wish for^ they are only to be found in Plato’s common wealth. We that fancy we are most like them although we durst not pursue any measure which appears to us to be against the publick good yet we see things many times through a false medium & are biased though insensibly by one prejudice and another. Perhaps the case is the same with some who are opposite to us in publick affairs who vote quite different from us and are under insensible bias the other way. This consideration should tend to keep us from discontent & disturbance in our minds when measures are pursued contrary to what appeared to us to be right. Possibly we may be mistaken. But I own to you, some men, it is most evident, of both sides, have not a spark of publick spirit, and see the publick interest rise or fall with no other pleasure or grief than as their own particular interest is concerned; and as a bad man of an enterprizing genius can always serve himself at the expence of the publick, he will never fail doing it unless he finds the temporary advantage will be more than balanced by his particular share of the damage that will accrue to the publick. But this is common place talk & I believe you will think I have time upon my hands.
I never gave any reason to any body to suppose I was in the secret of affairs or knew any particular evil coming upon us. I hapned to say in conversation that by such a time we might expect news from England of great importance supposing every body to understand I meant the resolutions of Parliament, but I found it was whispered about I had some private intelligence.
As soon as I heard of it I declared every where I knew nothing more than was publickly known but I find the report had spread beyond my reach. Such things will happen if we are ever so cautious.
We are waiting, not to know whether we must submit to a stamp duty but when it is to take place & under what regulations & what further provision is to be made if this duty should fall short of raising the sum the colonies are to pay which it is said is £330,000 – – – sterl but I suppose the West India Islands are included.
You will not do your duty if you do not come to the Election.4 Your friends do not design to let you act in a private sphere.
I am afraid you have exceptions to my history & do not care to tell me of them as you say nothing about it, perhaps you mentioned them in your letter that is missing. I am Your affectionate friend & humble servant, Tho Hutchinson
RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Israel Williams Papers); unaddressed; docketed, “26 April 1765.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:136–37); in EH’s hand through “affairs knew any” and then TH’s hand; unaddressed.
Thomas Hutchinson’s letterbook contained two versions of this letter. The first was marked “not sent.” The second was a thorough revision of the first; hence both letters appear below.
Version I: To Richard Jackson
May 5 
Sir, The governor desires me to write to you my sentiments upon the treatment he has received from the S. g.1 I have no inclination to hurt Mr T. in his interest or to bring his resentment upon me. Justice to the g. obliges me to say that I do not think he has been treated with that respect which is due to his station, that I am satisfied he has shewn as much civility to Mr T. as he has to me & I have no reason to complain. The g.s proceedings in Relation to the customs I suppose he will defend & support. I have never concerned my self in them but from the g. general conduct I am well assured that if there has been any irregularity, I know of none, it must proceed from an error in judgment & not from any sinister intentions. In a late affair which happened upon the borders of Rhode Island the council thought it necessary to justify themselves as well as the governor.2 A copy of their resolves I suppose will be sent to you & as they contain all that is necessary I will not trouble you with any thing in addition to them.3 I do not believe the officers of the customs are better supported in the execution of their trust in any government upon the continent than they are in this. The charge against the governor seems to be that he is too active.4 The council are always ready to do what is proper on their part. Every officer for whom it has been desired has been furnished with a writ of assistance, which have been refused in most of the other governments. Exceptions were made against them. I wrote to England and procured a copy of the writ & evidence of the practice and as the superior court here has by law the powers of the court of Exchequer the exceptions were overruled & they have never been Refused to any officer upon application from the Surveyor general.5 If he might be told by proper authority that one person in the province the Kings representative is his superior & ought to be treated accordingly I think it would have a good effect & I care not if he continues to think himself superior to every body else. I am Sir Your obliged & most,
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:138); marked “not sent”; at head of letter, “Mr Jackson”; partially dated.
[5 May 1765]
Sir, The governor has repeatedly desired me to write you my sentiments upon the treatment he has received from the S. G. My friendship for the governor ^inclines me to^ oblige him as far as is in my power but I should be glad to do it without injuring any other person.
Mr T it is evident has a very great personal prejudice against the governor which it is said arose from an apprehension that he had not all that Respect shewn him which he supposed to be due. This caused many unguarded expressions which the delatores1 among us always carried to the governor. I doubt whether Mr T. had any reasons for his apprehensions. I rather suppose they were owing to his not discerning & making proper allowances for the different tempers of men. Mr B. is open in his behaviour regardless of meer forms and inattentive to the fashionable arts of engaging mankind. This has been construed slight & neglect. From this personal prejudice I suppose the dissatisfaction at the governors concerning himself with the customs first proceeded. Whether he ever took any Improper steps will be determined in England. I do not know that he has done more than all his predecessors used to do. The officers of the customs always advised with the governor & without any offence to the S. G. One of them who I believe had more notice taken of him by the present governor than his personal merit intitled him to, on account of his recommendations from some persons in England I have heard in some instances shewed some neglect of the S. G. in which I am satisfied the governor would not have encouraged him.2 But he is now removed.
I doubt whether Mr T. has not too exalted notions of his posts & importance and I believe it would be a kindness to him as well as of publick service if he could be made sensible of it. In many instances I have known the governor very Ready to forget injuries & I have no doubt he would willingly do it in the present case. He has no apprehensions of his interest being hurt with in the province by this dispute but I know he would be glad to live in peace. I am Sir Your faithful humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:138–39); unaddressed; undated.
Newport May 29. 1765
Sir, Your letter of 15 Janry I received 22d Feby & wrote an answer 25 Mar, which displeasing me, I have protracted the delay of an answer till I might have waited upon you at Boston; which I intended at the Election this Week, had not sickness in my Family prevented.1
You suggested that you was willing desirous that among others I should remark to you any Errors that might occur in your History. In point of Facts, I believe they are very few; yet upon your desire, I had noted a few that were to me doubtful, on a paper now mislaid.
Considering the certain News of the Revolution in England, I had thought whether the spirited Intrepidity in the just seizure of Sir Edmond Andross was Rashness?—needed censure, or even apology? whether it was not rather a glorious Effort for Liberty.2 I was principally charmed with the 3 first Chapters, which indeed comprehend the main of the History. The 3 last on Religion, Laws, & Aboriginals, did not seem to me to equal the rest of the Composition. To say nothing of the ecclesiastical Constitution, as to which I may be prejudiced; the judicial Decisions and Examples in Legislation you selected to illustrate the spirit of Laws for that age, perhaps are not the most happily chosen—many are beneath the Dignity of Law; & taken collectively communicate a lower Idea of the Abilities of our Ancestors in Legislation, that in any other part of their Conduct; while generally, their Jurisprudence & political proceedings were founded in & conducted by an accuracy & Justness of Sentiment which would have honored them in parliament. When I review the Mass Law Book before Andross, I doubt if Lycurgus could have delivered better Regulations for an Infant Colony; it is certain Mr Locke could not,—his Plan both of Polity & Legislation failed for Carolina.3 The faithful Historian is to narrate Truth, and if not all yet so much of the Truth, as that the Mind is enabled to a summary & just Judgment on complex Action. On the subject of Mass Law which is complex, those are to be selected in Example which give the true Genius & spirit of the Laws considered as a System. The sanguinary & futile Laws in N. Eng are in my opinion Exceptions, & not of the Genius of our Legislation. Nor do you say otherwise—however I thot they made too great a figure in the Chapter of Laws.
Captain Peas once an assistant of Rh. Isl. upon reading your History told me your Account of Col Whaley was not complete.4 Mr Peas married the Sister of your worthy Friend Col. Willet of Narraganset; & said his Brother Willet had made the same Remark.5 According to them Col Whaley after he left Hadley wandered into Virginia, married & had Children & lived there many years—but being in Danger removed to N. Eng & settled among the Narrag Indians to live in utter Obscurity & Oblivion. His Residence was however known to a few Friends, as Judge Sewall &c upon whose coming to Mr Willets Fathers & Lodging there, the present Col Willet when a Boy used to be sent to call the venerable Old Man to spend the Evening.6 Mr Peas tells me the Col Willet knew him well, wrote his Will &c, & that Col. Whaley died in Narrag aged One Hundred and four Years. I was at Narrag last Week & intended to Col Willets, but his Wife being very sick I omitted it.7 However I saw at the Ferry one Mr Smith aged 82 & so born 1682 who told me he remembered Whaleys first Coming to Narragansett, knew him & his Wife & Children, & told several little Anecdotes, & that he lived at a little underground house at the Head of Petaquamscot 1½ Mile from Mr Willets.8 He had often heard Whaley talk about the Affair of Charles &c but never owned himself one of the Judges, tho’ that was the Fame. Your Acquaintance with Mr Willet will enable you to procure from him all he knows of the matter. It should seem that he left Hadley before 1670 & married again, for it is said he has a Daughter now living in Narrag above 90 Æt.9 If Smiths Account be true he might return about or after the Revolution & probably died about 1710. Our Friend Mr Chesebrough has been very ill, but is now on a Journey to Stonington. Please forgive the Liberty I have taken. I am Your Honors most obedient very humble servant, Ezra Stiles
AC (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); at foot of letter, “To The Hon Tho. Hutchinson Esq.” Dft 1 (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); fragmentary text consisting of variant first paragraph of Dft 2 only; dated 25 March 1765. Dft 2 (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); unfinished variant text of the first three paragraphs of AC; dated 25 March 1765.
Thomas Hutchinson included two quite different versions of this letter in his letterbook. The first focused on Hutchinson’s responsibility as lieutenant governor to enforce the Stamp Act and discussed smuggling in the tea trade. The second version omitted any discussion of the tea trade but went into more detail concerning which provisions of the Stamp Act would be most burdensome.
Version I: To [Richard Jackson]
Boston 4 June 1765
Dear Sir, I am under great concern lest you should refuse the agency.1 I tell people that I hope you will not and the governor gives me rather more encouragement from your letters to him than I can find in that to me. I am sorry that both leave so much room for doubt, but am very sure your determination will be founded upon good and sufficient Reasons.
The Stamp Act is received among us with as much decency as could be expected.2 Hitherto I have endeavoured to state the case of the colonies in the most favorable light always with submission to the supreme authority. It is now become my duty as an executive officer to promote the execution of the act & to prevent every evasion and I hope there will be as little room for complaint from this as from any colony. Some boulefeus3 there are who will stick at nothing to inflame the people. I have always been more or less their butt. The last house voted my allowance as Cheif Justice trifling as it is by a majority of one vote only this year it is probable that will be wanting.4 They attempted last week to drop me from the council but failed there.5
I think the Acts of Trade are better observed than in any time past. All the officers of the customs in this province have been furnished with writs of assistance & I have also issued them to the Officers in Rhode Island for that part of their district which lyes in this province. The Dutch trade however finds its way in and will do it be the officers ever so faithful. I think an Act of Assembly may be so framed as to prevent it. Tea being subject to an excise the sellers may be confined to English Tea & the proof laid upon them which would not be attended with such difficulty as it would in a larger community & I think would put an intire stop to the trade.6 At present a proposal of this sort would not be well Received but I do not despair of a favorable opportunity for it. Give me leave to say a few words upon my book. I question whether any of the first writers have escaped me. The author you mention I have cited under the name of Johnson he being known among us. I ought to have observed that he was guilty of a pious fraud in prefixing the name of F. Gorges to his book.7
Mr Richardson has wrote to Mr Condy that the books shall be delivered you with such binding as you order & he supposes they are Ready by this time.8 I am always afraid of taking up your time. I am Sir Your faithful humble servant,
Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:139–40); marked “not sent”; unaddressed.
June 5 
Dear Sir, You will expect to be informed with what temper the stamp act is received. With us as decently as could be expected. The sum that will be raised by it is extremely uncertain having had no experience of any duties of this sort from which any judgment can be formed.1 The act will execute itself & there is no room for evasion and if there was I am sure the executive court would shew no countenance to it.2 Some duties those particularly upon the probate office will be more sensibly felt than others. Those upon the courts of common law will amount to more than all the other court charges & will lessen the number of law suits among us. It is thought to be hard upon the college. I think the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the Universities is not subjected but here there is no distinction.3 The scarcity of money will be the greatest difficulty especially if the sums Raised be carried to Europe or to Remote colonies.
How they are to be applied we are not yet informed.
I thank you for your care in delivering my books. Those from Mr Richardson I imagine are Ready before this time. Notwithstanding the doubts you was under I hope I am writing to the Agent for the province. I am with the most perfect esteem Sir Your most faithful humble,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:140); unaddressed; partially dated.
Boston 6 June 1765
Sir, I am obliged to you for your letter by Mr. Ellery, and for your remarks upon my history.1 You doubt whether the seizure of Sr E. Andros was rash considering the certain news of the revolution in England. I fancy you have overlooked the reason I give for my pronouncing them ^it^ rash viz. because they had no certain news; and it appears by a multitude of papers that they were in terror some time after lest the prince should not be supported, but forced to quit his design.2
In going through the many letters & other manuscripts I had occasion to make use of when I was writing the chapter upon laws, I saw cause to abate from the high opinion I had conceived of the legislators. They discover I think a weak attachment to Moses’s plan, I mean when they were considering a plan, which was not perfected until near 20 years after they came over, during which time the greatest part of the laws were established one after another, pro re nata,3 and then, collected together, made up their code.
As to Whaley, my friend is certainly mistaken.4 I will inclose to you a copy of one of Goffe’s letters to his wife in 1674 where he gives a particular account of Whaley’s condition and in one of his next letters speaks of her friend now with God &ca.5 I send you the letter the rather because the other parts of it will entertain you. It is Goffe’s own hand, he calls his wife his mother, his children his brothers & sisters which will be enough of the key to make the letter intelligible. I have said that I could find nothing of Goffe after 1679. There is only a tradition that he & Whaley were buried at Hadley. I therefore think it very possible that Goffe might be the person supposed to be Whaley. I hope before long to see my old friend Mr. Willett and to converse with him upon this & other subjects; if I should be prevented I will write to him upon it. If ever I go to Narraganset, I should not think much of riding a few miles to see the old woman you mention.6
When you have convenient opportunity please to send me back Goffe’s letter. When you see Mr Chesebrough pray make my compliments to him. I am with much esteem Sir Your most humble servant, Tho Hutchinson
RC (Beinecke Library, Stiles Papers, HC 1727); unaddressed.
10 July 1765
Sir, You have done me a great deal of honour by your letter of 17 of April.1 The Administration of the colonies, I have read with great pleasure.2 The first of them which appeared in Boston was brought by the Collector of Rh Island who was utterly ignorant of the author of it.3 Mr Bernard guessed it was wrote by Mr Jackson. I told them there were so many sentiments in it which I had often heard from you that it was impossible the book should be wrote by any other person. I have heard no exception taken to it by more than one person & he is below your notice and his rude indecent flirts4 deserve no reply. I think the colonies greatly obliged to you for asserting their privileges & I do not see what they could have expected more from you consistent with that dependence which every reasonable man will allow ought to be maintained. I hope you will go on & favour the world with your further sentiments upon the same subject.
Permit me while you are taking care of the ^interest of the^ whole to mention to you that of a small part only. There came to me yesterday one Robinson who was one of your officers & perhaps you will recollect meeting him upon the road ^when you was^ travelling to or from Hartford.5 After the war was over he purchased from Mr Wentworth a patent for a township which he laid out upon New York line as then understood 20 miles distant from Hudsons River.6 The settlers have made great improvements have 67 families & as many houses some of them he says of a superior sort to the common settlers houses have a minister ordained & their affairs in a very flourishing state. The town is called Bennington. Another township adjoining which has near as many families is called Pownall. Both these townships are lately laid out together with many others by Mr Livingstone, who having purchased the claims of Officers & Soldiers has obtained a patent from New York and I suppose will have a second mannor there.7 Robinson says he has expended more than a thousand pounds lawful money & that he shall be ruined for he must either quit all or become tenant upon such terms as will be worse than quitting. The grantees from N Hampshire supposed their title as good to the west as to the east of Connect. River provided they did not go within 20 miles of Hudsons River & it seems scarcely equitable that private property should be affected by the new settlement of New York line. The people are unable to bear the expence of a controversy. I told Robinson I would take the liberty of stating his case to you as the most likely way of obtaining relief.
Probably the greatest part of the townships granted by New hampshire have no improvements or next to none & so can have no claim in equity but where such great improvements have been made it seems hard to be ejected.
Upon the first arrival of the stamp act our political heroes seemed to be silenced & acknowledged the address or petition from this province which had been much exclaimed against was right and well judged but encouraged by Virginia they begin to open again & yesterday we had published a piece as full of rant as any which has preceded it.8 That & the Virginia Resolves I imagine you will not dislike to have inclosed to you.9 I am with very great Respect Sir Your obliged & most obedient,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:143); unaddressed.
Boston 6. Aug 1765
Dear Sir, I am very glad you have accepted the agency. This renders my leave of absence of no consequence.1 I had done thinking of it & my friends have no hopes of my being able to do any service. What the disposition of the court will be when they meet is uncertain which I suppose will not be before Xmas is uncertain. Mr Ingersoll with whom I have had the pleasure of 3 or 4 days acquaintance thinks it best for any person who goes from hence to tarry until another year before they embark.2
I hope we shall be able to keep peace in the execution of the stamp act notwithstanding all the news paper threats but pray do not be in great haste with more of the same sort. I do not mean to insinuate that they would not be submitted to but they will cause an alienation of affection which must have an ill effect.
I suppose you will hear nothing from the government until the general court meets. I shall be deprived of the pleasure of your letters from your expectation of seeing me in England. I am Sir Your faithful humble servant,
I think I remember to have seen divers letters to & from two of my ancestors John Foster & Thomas Hutchinson & a gentleman of your name.3 Was it one of your family?
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:145); unaddressed.