THE SECOND STAMP ACT RIOTS, 26 AUGUST 1765
107. From Jonathan Mayhew, 27 August 1765
108. Speech to the Superior Court, [27 August 1765]
109. From John Osborne, 28 August 1765
110. To Lord Halifax, 30 August 1765
111. To Richard Jackson, 30 August 1765
112. To [Jonathan Mayhew], 30 August 1765
113. To Thomas Pownall, 31 August 1765
114. To William Bollan, 1 September 1765
There was a respite from further violence for a week and a half, until a crowd on 26 August attacked first the houses of Benjamin Hallowell, Charles Paxton, and William Story (all customs or admiralty court officials) and then descended on Thomas Hutchinson’s house with unmitigated fury, splitting open the doors with axes, stripping wainscoting and curtains from the walls, destroying the furniture, and looting the contents. It was, according to Hutchinson, the “most barbarous outrage that ever was committed in America.” The next day Hutchinson appeared before the opening session of the Suffolk circuit of the Superior Court in the only clothes he had left, those he had been wearing when the riot broke out the night before. There, he denied ever having advocated the Stamp Act in public or private. Hutchinson wrote a number of accounts of the events of late August, not only to inform those in England about what happened but also to build the case for compensation of his losses, which he would estimate to be over £3,000 sterling.
Boston Aug. 27. 1765.
Honored Sir, I take the freedom to write you these few lines by way of condolence, on account of the almost unparalell’d outrages committed at your house the last evening, and the great Damage which I understand you have suffered thereby. God is my witness, that from the bottom of my heart I abhor and detest these proceedings; and that I am sincerely grieved for them, and have a deep sympathy with you and your ^distressed^ family on this occasion.
I the rather write to You in this manner, Sir, because I understand that some of my numerous and causeless enemies have expressed them selves to day, as if I approved of such proceedings; ^these doings,^ and had indeed encouraged them in a Sermon which I preached the last Lord’s day on Gal. 5. 12, 13.1 This I absolutely deny. I did indeed express my self strongly in favor of civil & religious liberty, ^as I hope I shall ever continue to do;^ and spoke of the late Stamp Act as a grievance, likely to prove detrimental in a great ^high^ degree, both to the American Colonies, and to the Mother Country; which, I believe, is the sense of almost every person of understanding in the Plantations; and, particularly, I have heard your Honor speak to the same Purpose. But then, as my text led me to do, I cautioned my Hearers very particularly against the abuses of liberty; and expressly intimated my hopes, that no persons among our selves had encouraged the bringing of such a burden on their country, tho ^notwithstanding^ it had been strongly suspected. Let me add, that when in private company I have for several months past frequently ^often^ heard your Honor spoken of as one, who was supposed to have been an encourager of said Act the Act aforesaid, I have as frequently ^often^ taken the Liberty to say, I had my self heard you express your self in a manner that strongly implied the contrary; which I did with a view to remove those prejudices which I perceived some persons had against you in that respect. And, in truth, I had rather lose my hand, than be an encourager of such outrages as were committed last night. Whatever faults I may have, I do not think my sincerity, and regard to truth were ^was^ ever called in question by those who know me; and therefore hope your Honor will be so just as to give intire credit to these solemn declarations. These I make with a view to satisfy Your Honor, that tho’ you may have heard, or should hear, any thing to my prejudice in this respect, that I have ^therein^ been misrepresented. But, at the same time I must beg your Honor not to divulge what I now write, so that it may come to the knowledge of those enraged people, who have acted such a part; not a single person of whom, or of their [better] Advisers, do I know. For it could do no good in the present circumstances, and the temper which they are in; and might probably bring their heavy vengeance upon myself, ^who am none of their friend, any farther than to wish them repentance.^2 I am, Honored Sir, with all due respect, Your Honor’s &c., J.M.
Dft (Boston University, Bortman Manuscript File, Mayhew Papers); substantially revised; in left margin of the first MS page, “To the Hon. T.H. Esq: L.G.”
108. Speech to the Superior Court
Two versions of this speech were found. The first was recorded by Josiah Quincy Jr. who was present in the courtroom at the time it was given. The second version appeared in a manuscript of unknown origin owned by the Houghton Library at Harvard University.
Version I: Report by Josiah Quincy Jr.
[27 August 1765]1
Gentleman: There not being a Quorum of the Court without me, I am oblig’d to appear.—Some Apology is necessary for my Dress—indeed I had no other. Destitute of every Thing—no other Shirt—no other Garment, but what I have on.—And not One in my whole family in a better Situation than myself. The Distress of a whole family around me, young & tender Infants hanging about me, are infinitely more insupportable than what I feel for myself, tho’ I am oblig’d to borrow Part of this Cloathing.
Sensible that I am innocent, that all the Charges against me are false, I can’t help feeling:—And tho’ I am not oblig’d to give an Answer to all the Questions that may be put me, by every lawless Person—yet—I call GOD to witness—And I would not for a thousand Worlds call my Maker to witness to a falsehood—I say, I call my Maker to witness, that I never in New-England or Old, in Great Britain or America, neither directly nor indirectly, was aiding, assisting or supporting, in the lest promoting or incourageing, what is commonly call’d the STAMP ACT; but on the contrary did all in my Power, & strove as much as in me lay, to prevent it.—This is not declar’d through Timidity, for I have Nothing to fear—They can only take away my Life, which is of but little Value, when depriv’d of all its Comforts, all that was dear to me, & nothing surrounding me, but the most piercing Distress.
I hope the Eyes of the People will be open’d, that they will see, how easy it is, for some designing, wicked Man to spread false Reports, raise Suspicions & Jealousies in the Minds of the Populace, & inrage them against the Innocent—but if guilty, this is not the Way to proceed—the Laws of our Country are open to punish Those, who have offended.—This ^is^ destroying all Peace & Order of the Community—all will feel it’s Effects.—And I hope, all will see, how easily the People may be deluded, inflamed, & carried away with Madness against an innocent Man—
I pray GOD give Us better Hearts!
SC (Law Reports, 1765: Reports of Adjudications in Massachusetts Courts, 1765–1769, by Josiah Quincy Jr., 27 August 1765, Quincy, Wendell, Holmes, and Upham Family Papers, microfilm edition, 67 reels [Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1977], reel 4, pp. 54–56); in Quincy’s hand; undated.
Version II: Anonymous Report
[27 August 1765]
Gentlemen, As their is but a bare Court, I am under the Necessity of Appearing here, that the Business of the Country may not Suffer. But I beg Leave to make an Apology for appearing in this dress . . . These Cloaths I have on are all the Cloaths I have in the world . . . for I have not another shirt to my Back. Nay Even one of these Garments I have Borrowed . . . I desire to adore the providence of God & Submit in Whatever befalls me But I am Not Conscious that I deserve this Treatment from the People—for as to what Respects the Stamp Act as it is Commonly Called. Tho’ I think it not Proper to answer to a Tumultuous People every Question if they shall think fit to Ask . . . yet to remove every ill Impression from your minds I do now in the Presence of Almighty God Solemnly Declare—& I would not Lye . . . Espetially when I take his name for Ten thousand Worlds. . . . I Say I do Solemnly declare that I did not Directly or indirectly Either in Publick or in Private Either in America or in England, Speak or write one word in favor of that Act. But on the Contrary all I could against it. Consider Gentlemen how Easily the Outrageous Spirit is kept up Even by One Person’s Spreading only its Suspicious story and the Tendency of those Tumults. Not Only the Guilty may be Sufferers. Tho’ Even they should not be punished in that way—as the Law is Open against them but the Innocent are Equally Exposed—but what affects me more than all my Other Sufferings—is a Number of young Children hanging about me . . . when I am Destitute of Means for their Relief—Gentlemen what I have now declared is Not drawn from me thro Timidity—as I have Nothing now to Loose But my Life & what is that when the Comforts of it are Gone. Gentlemen the Court think it Best considering the Present Situation of our Affairs to Adjourn to Some future Day—& I Accordingly Adjourn the Same to the 15th Octo Next—hoping Our Minds may be then Better Disposd for Business then they are at Present, T Hutchinson1
SC (Houghton Library, bMS Am 1622 , George Frisbie Hoar Autograph Collection); in an unknown hand; unaddressed; undated; incorrectly endorsed, “Gov Hutchinson Speech to the Assembly.”
Boston Aug 28 1765
Worthy and Dear Sir, My heart is distres’d and bleeds for you on account of the abominable wicked treatment you & yours have meet with. I know not well what to say, how to begin nor where to Leav of; what has any body to do, with Respect to the act of Parl. in this matter now. Are we not under good & holsom Law of the Province is not a mans House his Castle. Shall men come in & as it were turn the owner out take Possesion of his substance & call it all good coin & must Government be unhing’d, no body dare to speak a word, in Oposition. If they did, down goes his house &c.
For my part I could Readily been one who as far as I was able—with my Gun, stood it out to the Last to have defended you & your Substance—for as I’m an old man & as that is the cause of God—if you & yours have fallen it would a been in a Righteous Cause. When my son came home yesterday a dinner & told me what you deliver’d in court, it so Shooke me that Realy the tears flowd down my Cheaks. I could not eat. Indeed I had no stomack, having been confined for a week with purgatives or should a waited on you. When I consider one of the best, honest, most usefull members of the House Vilely abused—& that without the Least provocation & this done among a Proffesing people Heaven Looks down with abhorance & I fear this people with its Resentment as well from above & from home. Surely the Government there canot Set Still and overlook, some hereby allready speak with concern what could be the concequence—& concern for our Charter privilidges &c. For my part shall nothing only cut a better Life. Tis no matter & truley I dont know whether these things wont finally finish. I pray God for a pece for your Suport under so grevious a triale & give you a neaded direction & General [illegible],1 yesterday said to my son he wished he had his Debts in [black]2 would quit the Government if canot protect [one].3 I am dear Sir your much Affected Loving father,
P.S. I trust my Letter will not be so expos’d as to bring me & the old under the Rabels Resentment &c.
Would it not be best to destroy this. I could not be easey in my mind without Letting you my utmost concern for & bout you.
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:28–31); unaddressed; dateline appears at the bottom left of the letter.
Boston August 30 1765
My Lord, I imagine your Lordship will look upon it as a neglect of duty in me if I do not acquaint you with the most barbarous outrage that ever was committed in America. My house was attacked the 26. in the evening by an enraged mob & before four o’clock the next morning was stripped of every thing in it (except a small part of the furniture in the kitchen) and all the wainscotting, hangings windows & many of the partitions destroyed, & but little remaining except the bare walls. There was in my house near nine hundred pounds sterling in money which there is no chance for the recovery of and the loss I have sustained cannot be much if any thing short of three thousand pounds sterling. I had but just sufficient notice to escape with my children & could not take so much as a paper with me. My commission for Lieutenant governor was found a day or two after in the street. The seal was taken from it which made me at first doubtful whether my authority in case of the governor’s absence would not be disputed, but upon further consideration as it was recorded when I first received it and when it was compleat I think there can be no room for dispute, however I humbly submit to your Lordship’s direction.1
I am in hopes the general court will have due consideration of my great loss, if they should not I must beg leave to be again troublesome to your Lordship & pray you to lay my case before His Majesty in whose service I am a sufferer.
As I doubt not the governor will make a full representation to your Lordship of the deplorable state to which I am reduced & the occasion of this rage against me I will not unnecessarily take up your Lordship’s time in doing it my self.2 I have the honour to be with the greatest respect My Lord Your Lordship’s most humble & most obedient servant,
RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/755, ff. 307–9); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Earl of Halifax”; docketed, “Lt Gov. Hutchinson 30th: Aug 1765. Rx 25th. Octr.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:148); at foot of letter, “Rt Hon Lord Halifax.” SC (Parliamentary Archives HL/PO/JO/10/7/206, Item No. 6, ff. 371–72, laid before the House of Lords on 10 March 1766). SC (British Library, Stowe 264, ff. 209–10 [© The British Library Board]).
Boston Aug. 30 1765
My Dear Sir, I came from my house at Milton with my family the 26 in the morning. After dinner it was whispered in town there would be a mob at night & that Paxtons, Hallowells & the custom house & admiralty officers houses would be attacked but my friends assured me the rabble were satisfied with the insult I had received & that I was become rather popular.1 In the evening whilst I was at supper & my children round me somebody ran in & said the mob were coming. I directed my children to fly to a secure place & shut up my house as I had done before intending not to quit it but my eldest daughter repented her leaving me & hastened back & protested she would not quit the house unless I did.2 I could not stand against this and withdrew with her to a neighbouring house where I had been but a few minutes before the hellish crew fell upon my house with the Rage of devils & in a moment with axes split down the door & entred.3 My son being in the great entry heard them cry damn him he is upstairs we’ll have him.4 Some ran immediately as high as the top of the house others filled the rooms below and cellars & others Remained without the house to be employed there. Messages soon came one after another to the house where I was to inform me the mob were coming in pursuit of me and I was obliged to retire thro yards & gardens to a house more remote where I remained until 4 o’clock by which time one of the best finished houses in the province had nothing Remaining but the bare walls & floors.5 Not contented with tearing off all the wainscot & hangings & splitting the doors to pieces they beat down the partition walls & altho that alone cost them near two hours they cut down the cupola or lanthern and they began to take the slate & boards from the roof & were prevented only by the approaching day light from a total demolition of the building. The garden fence was laid flat & all my trees &c broke down to the ground. Such ruins were never seen in America. Besides my plate & family pictures houshold furniture of every kind my own my children and servants apparel they carried off about £900 — sterling in money & emptied the house of every thing whatsoever except a part of the kitchen furniture not leaving a single book or paper in it & have scattered or destroyed all the manuscripts & other papers I had been collecting for 30 years together besides a great number of publick papers in my custody.6
The evening being warm I had undressed me & slipt on a thin camlet surtout over my wastcoat, the next morning the weather being changed I had not cloaths enough in my possession to defend me from the cold & was obliged to borrow from my friends. Many articles of cloathing & good part of my plate have since been picked up in different quarters of the town but the furniture in general was cut to pieces before it was thrown out of the house & most of the beds cut open & the feathers thrown out of the windows. The next evening I intended with my children to Milton but meeting two or three small parties of the Ruffians who I suppose had concealed themselves in the country and my coachman hearing one of them say, there he is, my daughters were terrified & said they should never be safe and I was forced to shelter them that night at the castle.
This three-story, brick neo-Palladian house stood on Garden Court Street, between Hanover Street and North Square in Boston’s North End. John Foster, Hutchinson’s maternal grandfather, built the house sometime between 1689 and 1692. Hutchinson was born in this house in 1711, and it served as his primary home until his departure for England on 1 June 1774. After the Stamp Act riots, when the house was ransacked and left in ruins, Hutchinson restored it to close to its original state. It was eventually demolished in 1833. Printed in The American Magazine of Useful & Entertaining Knowledge (February 1836). Courtesy of Historic New England.
The encouragers of the first mob never intended matters should go this length & the people in general express the utmost detestation of this unparallelled outrage & I wish they could be convinced what infinite hazard there is of the most terrible consequences from such dæmons when they are let loose in a government where there is not constant authority at hand sufficient to suppress them.7
I am told the government here will make me a compensation for my own & my family’s loss which I think cannot be much less than £3000 – sterl. I am not sure that they will. If they should not it will be too heavy for me and I must ^humbly^ apply to his Majesty in whose service I am a sufferer but this & a much greater sum would be an insufficient compensation for the constant distress & anxiety of mind I have felt for some time past & must feel for months to come. You cannot conceive the wretched state we are in. Such is the resentment of the people ^against the stamp duty^ that there can be no dependance upon the general court to take any steps to enforce or rather advise to the payment of it. On the other hands such will be the effects of not submitting to it that all trade must cease all courts fall & all authority be at an end. ^Must not the ministry be extremely embarassed.^ On the one hand it will be said if concessions be made the parliament endanger the loss of their authority over the colonies on the other hand if external force should be used there seems to be danger of a total lasting alienation of affection. Is there no alternative? May the infinitely wise God direct you. I am with the greatest esteem Sir Your most faithful humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:146–47); at foot of letter, “Richard Jackson Eq.”
Boston 30 Aug. 1765
Reverend and dear Sir, I am extremely obliged to you for your kind sympathy with me under my deplorable circumstances. I never doubted your friendship, and although I heard the talk of the town on monday yet I was very sure you abhorred mobs & riots and had no other design than to preserve in the minds of the people a just sense of their liberties and when any thing further was suggested I remembered how often I had been misrepresented aspersed & injured my self. I should have answered your letter sooner but my spirits have been in continual agitation ever since the fatal night.1 I ask the continuance of your friendship, and your prayers for me and am Sir Your affectionate humble servant, Tho Hutchinson
RC (Private Collection, 1997); unaddressed.
Boston 31 Aug 1765
Sir, The kind answer I received to my former letters encourages me to pray the favor of you to deliver the inclosed to My Lord Halifax which will acquaint him with the most violent outrage comitted upon me the 26 instant at night that ever was known in America.1
I have more minutely described it to Mr Jackson & will not Repeat it to you but observe to you in general that I had just time to escape with some of my children out of my house before it was beset & attacked with infernal fury by a diabolical mob & in a few hours sacked & almost totally demolished.2 Unfortunately I had about a dozen pips3 of wine in my cellar Received for an old debt when I was in trade, this with some liquor they met with at Hallowels inflamed them & no dæmons were ever more enraged.
Whilst the act of par. was depending I never made any scruple in America or in my letters to England of setting the privileges of the colonists with Respect to internal taxes in the most favorable light I could nor did I in any instance ever act a double part in the affair but now the act is passed I have always considered it as legally right & declared that the oaths I had taken bound me in discharge of my public trust to a conformity to it.4 This with reports that there were copies of letters in town which I had wrote to England in favor of the stamp act has made me the principal object of popular resentment ever since Mr Oliver has been compelled to declare his resignation.
But this violence is by no means to be charged upon the whole country nine tenths or more of the people in it I am sure would detest these barbarous proceedings against me. It is however the consequence of an impression made upon the minds of almost the whole continent that they are deprived of english liberties which the better sort are for defending they say by all lawful means in their power & the most abandoned say they will do it putas aut nefas.5 We are in the most deplorable state & all who are in authority stand in need of more than human wisdom & fortitude upon this occasion. I am with the greatest trust Sir Your obliged faithful humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:149); at foot of letter, “Gov Pownall.”
Boston September 1 1765
My dear friend,1 I have been in the utmost distress for near a week past,2 destitute of house & home in the town3 have never lodged two nights together in the same place; my children in continual terror, when with me they are afraid for me & themselves too, and yet not willing to be absent from me, and all this is brought upon me, not for any fault that I am conscious of, but meerly4 for doing my duty in the publick posts I sustain,5 and a character I have acquired from the general tenor of my conduct of being a prerogative man.
About a fortnight ago Mr Oliver, who had accepted the place of distributor of the stamps, after being burnt in effigy, had some shops pulled down & his house attacked & damaged6 by a furious mob. I required the Sheriff to attend & use his endeavours to suppress the riot &7 stayed in the house my self until my life was in danger and I had a narrow escape not without some bruises.8
The next day it appeared that the body of the people favoured the whole proceeding except the attack upon the dwelling house and9 no other care was taken to apprehend the person’s concerned than a proclamation with a reward a thing of course.10 Mr. Oliver without11 ^my^ knowing or having any suspicion that he designed the thing the next day resigned his commission or published that he had done it. It was whispered that I had advised him against it, and further that I had a principal hand in projecting the stamp act & had wrote to England in favour of it.
At night the mob assembled again & beset my house, in order to enquire whether I was guilty or not guilty, but after about an hour’s siege some of my neighbours ventured among them & persuaded them to depart & I escaped without much damage; however I kept pretty much in the country until Monday the 26. when coming to town with my family I heard a whisper of an intended mob in the evening but my friends came to me and assured me that nothing was designed12 against me; I had given satisfaction & was become popular. As I was sitting at supper somebody came running in & said the mob was coming. I made13 my children fly, and then secured my doors & windows intending to remain in my house as I had done before, but my daughter ran back and refused to leave me which caused me to quit my house & go in to a neighbours house14 where I had been but a few minutes when the dæmons appeared & instantly with axes cut down my doors, entred & filled the house and before morning15 cleared it not only of all the furniture wearing apparel &c but of all my books & papers which were either destroyed or scattered, and about eight hundred pounds sterling in money, belonging to my self my sister & two sons.16 They left but little of the house standing except the bare walls & even cut down the cupola.17 Miss Bollan has viewed it & will describe the ruins to you the like to which has never been seen in America.18 Some gentlemen say they have seen towns sacked19 but never saw an instance of such hellish rage20 as was expressed here. It is impossible to make a just estimate of the loss but it must amount to between two & three thousand pounds sterling. besides the house and [illegible] as [illegible] rather would some undertake to [illegible] a house for as small a [illegible] would repair this.
I, who never said or did any thing to promote the stamp act but have said & done every thing I could do in favour of the colonies21 consistent with their British subjection to the British crown never expected to be treated in this manner but when the fury22 of the populace is once moved23 no body is sure he shall not feel the force of it, a false malicious report in such times obtaining credit as readily as one that is true.
Embarassed & perplexed as I am I could not help unburdening my self to you, knowing you will sympathize with me. Where the popular rage in the colonies will end it is impossible to judge. I am Sir Your faithful humble servant,
RC (Sheffield Archives, Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments, Papers of the Marquis of Rockingham, R24/2); addressed, “To William Bollan Esq London”; endorsed, “Private Letter from Hutchinson Lt Governor—at Boston / Boston, September 1st. 1765 relating to the Riots on account of the Stamps”; marked “By way of Bristol” for ship transport. Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:151–52); substantially revised; MS is in poor condition, with smudged ink and a torn page; unaddressed; undated.
Boston [circa 9]1 Sep. 1765
Dear Sir, I am very sure you will desire to hear from America by every opportunity. After the date of my last letter I covered a news paper to you which gave an account of the riots at Rh Island.2 In Connecticut they Refrain hitherto from violence upon the lives or estates of obnoxious persons but hang & burn in effigy & do it as they do every thing else with great formality. We have no advice of anything further at N York than their obliging the Stamp officer to declare his resignation. To the northward of Philad. every where & to the southward of it in some places the people are absolutely without the use of reason but in some places more raving than in other’s. In this province it is still the prevailing voice the stamp act will never be executed. Ask them what they will do after the first of November. They answer, without thought—as they did before. It seems impossible that when the time comes if not as it approaches the major part of the people should not open their eyes. Some no doubt who have nothing to lose & those are numerous will hold out for from publick mischief & confusion they may have a chance for private advantage. My sufferings strike people with horror more than 10,000 people have been to view the ruins and though a story has been spread thro the country that intercepted letters have occasioned this rage yet Revenge in this way is detested except by the mob themselves & all other persons begin to be alarmed & think their own lives & properties in some hazard. I shall go in a few days to the western which has generally been the most loyal part of the province & I hope to do some service there by exposing the extravagance & madness of such persons as are for resisting the operation of Acts of Parliament by force & violence Representing to them that they must either submit to G Britain or to some other European Power which would allow them less liberty than they are sure of always enjoying whilst they Remain English subjects.3
Indeed the most distracted do not pretend they are able to stand alone but some have been so mad as to apply the fable of Phædrus & not to care who are their masters.4 But if the majority should be convinced many violent spirits will be more enraged & I fear further if not greater convulsions. We are full of fewel & every spark catches. Many of the best friends to government are intimidated & utterly dispirited. After the destruction of my house & substance I could not get sight of the Attorny genl for 10 days together. He is a worthy man & faithful officer but was threatned with my punishment & after that was afraid to lodge in his own house one night or in any other two nights together & Removed all his goods. Several other persons who thought themselves obnoxious left their houses & Removed their goods. No person has ever been questioned for the first riot at Mr Olivers house & the next night at mine & several who undoubtedly were concerned in the last attack upon me are passed over because they are known to have been concerned in the first riots & it is supposed to be dangerous that their accomplices or abettors should be discovered.
I have been advised to take my passage in this ship & to settle with my family in England but I cannot bear the thoughts of finally leaving my country whilst there is so much of a chance as I think yet Remains of my contributing to save it from utter ruin.
I shall commit this letter to the care of Mr Hale the collector for the port of Boston a gentleman who has acquired the esteem of the best people among us and who will be able to give a full account of every thing which has of late been transacted here.5 I am Sir Your most faithful humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:150, 153); at foot of letter, “Mr Jackson.” Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777, dated “September 1765” (only the section reading “I am sure . . . raving than in other’s”); Remembrancer (1777) 5:111 (same excerpt).
Boston 12 Sep. 1765
Sir, The late acts of parl. for raising a revenue from Molosses & a duty on Stamps have caused great part of the people in the colonies to run distracted.1 The posts I sustain have made me their object in this province. Three or four years ago after a long argument in the Sup. court which has by its constitution the powers of the Court of Excheq. as well as that of the common pleas & kings bench it was determined to grant writs of assistance to the custom house officers no other provision being made by law for entring suspected houses or warehouses.2 This was a great mortification to the illicit traders who found no ^great^3 difficulty in running goods & housing them, the great difficulty is after they are landed. The Stamp duty altho I always feared the consequence of it would be bad both to the nation & colonies and privately & publickly declared my thoughts upon it yet after the passing the act I could not avoid considering it as legally right the parl. being beyond dispute the supreme legislature of the British dominions, but our friends to liberty take the advantage of a maxim they find in Lord Coke that an Act of parl. against magna charta or the peculiar rights of English men is ipso facto void.4 This taken in the latitude the people are often enough disposed to take it must be fatal to all government & it seems to have determined great part of the colonies to oppose the execution of the act with force & to shew their resentment against all in authority who will not join with them. The 26 of last month the hardship brought upon trade & further hardship expected from the stamp duty having been the subject upon change & some false Rumors spread which easily gain credit, in the evening a mob gathered together & after some moderate expressions of Resentment against the houses of an admiralty & custom house officer they came upon my house with the fury of devils splitting down the doors with axes and immediately [filld]5 the house.6 I had but just time to escape with my children. They laboured more to pull down the house & destroy every thing in it than ever people did to save a house from fire & before morning but little of the house was left besides the walls & floors & every thing that was in it except a part of the kitchen furniture thrown out carried away & destroyed. I have lost between 2 & 3000£ sterl in the damage to my house in money & goods. I think if the government here know their own interest they will make me compensation, if they do not I doubt not the K will do it in whose service I am a sufferer, but the loss of my papers is irreparable & the anxiety of mind from the hazard of my own & my childrens lives for some time before & after this fatal night I expect no equivalent for.
I have not yet seen the deed of your land from Dupee.7 Possibly I may find it when I examine such of my papers as have been found in the streets but it is recorded & your title may be evidence from that. I cannot tell how the accounts stand between us & never expect to be able to do it. I suppose they were near upon a balance & am not sure whether it would have been in your favour or mine tho I Rather think the former. I have ever been a friend to government & think anarchy the worst sort of tyranny, a great deal of prudence is therefore necessary to be used in popular & mixed governments to prevent the people being drove to desperate measures whether from true or false principles which they have imbibed. I am still of the mind I always have been that these Acts of parl have been unreasonably pushed. The great difficulty now &c
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:153–54); unaddressed.
New York Sept 16 1765.
My dear & Respected Sir, Was the ingratitude you have met with the general voice of the people it would be much more poignant, but when it was from the dregs of the populace supported at most by a few persons of property with minds equally base & unworthy does it not Sir, afford consolation to a great & generous soul. The most respectable characters of Antiquity have been victims to popular ingratitude, Socrates had the bowl alloted to him Aristides had all the severity of the Ostracism, what ingratitude did Scipio Nasica meet with, and tho’ our religion affords us a much more exalted Character, yet who more abused & ill treated.1 (It gave me infinitely more pain to see your mind depressed, your health impaired by the unequalled injuries you have received, than that you received them,) a Vertuous man, struggling with Afflictions is a subject the Gods might Envy, was the noble Sentiments of a pagan.2
I so much sympathize with you, that perhaps my heart gets the better of my head when I assume to write In this manner, but I have been so long used to regard you as my father & first friend, that I doubt not you will excuse the overflowings of my soul.
The General made very particular enquiries, he was extreamly exasperated, he said he never was at such a loss in his life, he is loth to interest himself unless he is called upon by the administration of any of the provinces, he wondered at Mr. Bernards conduct & why he did not raise the force of the province.3 I endeavoured to obviate the impression but as the Governor’s character is far from being high here he only complaisantly received it. I found that the declaration to the Council displeased him the most of anything, he said he could not tell what to make of it, some of the principal Officers at Table said it would be near worth his Commission to which the General seemed to Assent.4 He asked me in private what could be the reason & why it was not made an Act of the Council rather than a declaration from the Governor. I suggested that possibly the popular rage was so high that the council did not dare to appear in opposition and that therefore the Governor from his rank being tho’t more safe might do it with less hazard, he seemed very willing to send troops amongst us if it was requested. I told him the legislature of the province if inclined would not dare to do it, I could collect however that if that should appear to be the case & the civil power unsupported he would devise some method of casually lodging troops with us. He is a firm man but I imagine of not a very extensive capacity, tho’ far from wanting good sense he says but little.
It appears much better for the Country to have a regular force to support the civil power rather than that the people should run into the extravagancies of Sedition if it appeared so to you. I doubt not by my being on the spot I should be able to prevail with the General to come into measures for that purpose & thus it would appear as his own Conduct.
The Lieut Governor is very resolute; he has been urged to call the Assembly together that Commissioners may be appointed to meet those from the other provinces; but he will not, he says they only want to cabal.5 They stand prorogued to the 15 Oct. & will then meet ‘tis tho’t the City members will be chosen among whom is Billy Bayard.
The fort of this City is well garrisoned & under the Command of Maj James of the Artillery.6
The excessive outrages at Boston have cooled most people here from raising a mob, nor have I met with any one who has not expressed the utmost detestation at the proceedings at Boston, and the greatest respect for Your Character.
The Stamp Master from Annapolis is in Town.7 The m[ob]8 headed by the Attorney General have burnt his house [down] and killed an officer of the Man of War stationed there [MS torn] which an armed Vessel was sent for England.9 This I h[ave from] the General.
[I] am with the greatest Affection & Respect Your Honors most Obedient & Obliged Nephew, Nath. Rogers
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:32–34); at foot of letter, “The Honorable Thomas Hutchinson”; addressed, “To The honorable Thomas Hutchinson Esq. Lieut Governor &c &c at Boston”; dateline appeared at the bottom left of the letter; endorsed, “N Rogers N York 16 Sep 1765”; markings for postage.
Boston 1. October 1765
Dear Sir, We have had a short session of the General Court advised to by the Council in hopes some thing might be projected to quiet the people, but the house discovered the same state of mind with their constituents and would neither take any order for the reception & security of the stamped paper nor so much as consider what will be the case of the province after the first of November.1 I have often known the assembly look upon impending dangers at some distance as meer phantoms but not so when close upon them. My misfortune they thought very great & pitied me but treated it as if it had happened by fire or an earthquake and not as proceeding meerly from want of the protection of the government.2 I have made my application to His Majesty by his Secretary of State.3 Some of my friends urged me to go to England but I hope to succeed without. Surely they will not suffer an officer of the crown to be thus plundered for doing his duty without making him ample compensation. All other officers will have nothing to do but just what the people from time to time direct them. Besides, I am loth to leave the province whilst it is in this state unless I am absolutely drove out of it. The assembly sits again the 23d and I suppose will continue sitting until after the time when the stamp act was intended to take place.
I did every thing in my small compass to prevent the passing this act, but really, inter nos,4 I cannot see a declared opposition by force & violence to the execution of the act in any other light than down right ——. Such is our state that I dare not trust to writing what I fear or what I hope what I deprecate or what I wish for. It is neither permitted dicere quid sentis nec sentire quid velis.5 If this be liberty tell me I beseech you what is tyranny. I am Your affectionate servant, Tho Hutchinson
RC (Sheffield Archives, Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments, Papers of the Marquis of Rockingham, R24/19); docketed, “Boston, October 1: 1765. Mr: Hutchinson, to Mr Bollan; about the Riot in N: America, relative to the Stamps.”
Boston 1. October 1765
Sir, In a letter to the Earl of Halifax dated August 30 I represented my great sufferings by an enraged mob. I then thought it not improbable that the Assembly might have consideration of my unhappy case and make me restitution, the Council having for that purpose prepared an estimate of my loss and the Governor in his speech to them recommended my case, but they avoided taking any notice of it; some of the members had been instructed by their towns not to do it, and others were afraid of offending their towns if it should be made a provincial charge, and the town of Boston urged the unreasonableness of it’s being laid a burden upon them, they not being able to restrain the fury of the mob in the time of it and having immediately after in a very full town meeting expressed the utmost detestation of the outrage.1 All profess to pity me but none are willing to afford me the relief to which I think I have a just claim.
I suffer Sir as a servant of His Majesty and, as I conceive for being faithful to my trust and to the real interest of the people of this Province. Upon an occasion so interesting2 to me I hope I shall be excused ^if I^ particularly mentioning the causes of my being the object of this fury of the populace.
So long since as the year 1748, the currency of the province having depreciated to about an eighth part of it’s original value, I projected & brought into the House, of which I was then Speaker, a bill for abolishing paper money & substituting silver & gold in the place of it. The friend to government considered it at first as a desperate attempt, but by perseverance the change was happily effected, and after a little experience, by far the greater part of the people were convinced of the utility of it; some, however, who had lived by fraud were dissatisfied; threatened me with destruction then, have retained their rancour ever since & are supposed to have been aiders & abettors if not actors in the late riot.
In the year 1761 application was made by the Officers of the customs to the Superior court, of which I was then Chief Justice, for writs of assistance. Great opposition was made by some who professed themselves friends to liberty, and by others who favoured illicit trade and the court seemed inclined to refuse to grant them, but I prevailed with my brethren to continue the cause until the next term, & in the mean time wrote to England & procured a copy of the writ & sufficient evidence of the practice of the Exchequer there, and the like writs have ever since been granted here.3
The last year when a petition to parliament had passed the House of Representatives against the then proposed stamp duty I opposed it in Council and at a conference with the House, as indecent impolitick & tending to disserve the interest it was designed to promote, and another petition less exceptionable was agreed to instead of it. I was vilified in the news papers and charged as a favourer of the Stamp duty and it was soon after reported that I had wrote to England to encourage it & that copies of my letters had been sent from thence. After the Act had passed I thought it my duty to let the Grand Juries and people of the several counties know the nature of the offence of opposing by force and violence the execution of an Act of Parliament the supreme legislature of the British dominions.4 This confirmed the groundless suspicion of my having promoted the Act, which permit me, Sir, to say I always feared would be attended with tragical consequences in the colonies,5 although I did not expect to be so great a sharer in them my self, and that it would embarrass & perplex the measures of the administration in England, and I never acted a double part, my private letters being agreeable to my publick conduct.
The change of the currency, writs of assistance & letters in favour of the stamp act are said to be the reasons of my being peculiarly obnoxious, but the disposition to tumults in general is undoubtedly occasioned by an apprehension prevailing among the people that they are deprived of the liberties of Englishmen, and every attempt to maintain in them a due sense of their connexion with Great Britain is misconstrued into an attempt to enslave them, and the Officers of the Crown for doing what at any other time would have been thought their duty are now charged with supporting the measures of the ministry and sacrificing the rights of the people; and notwithstanding all the other reasons assigned I should probably have escaped if it had not been for my commission for Lieutenant governor. The mob or a party of them drew up before the governor’s house but considered that, as it belonged to the province, what damage was done there they would help repair, but mine, being my own property, might be destroyed and the loss would ly upon me, and thus my house and every thing in it became a sacrifice.
I humbly intreat you, Sir, to lay my case before His Majesty. The post I have sustained for seven or eight years has little or nothing of emoluments, has been attended with necessary additional expence beyond a private station and has proved the chief cause of my sustaining a loss of at least Twenty four hundred pounds sterling, an authentick copy of the particulars of which I would now have transmitted from the council minutes, if the governor had not advised to my deferring it until the adjournment of the general court the 23d of this month that there might be no room for cavil and pretending they had not sufficient opportunity to consider my case, although there is no room to expect they ever design to do it, nor would a requisition to do it probably have any other effect than to make me obnoxious to them.6
Had my loss come within the compass of a few hundred pounds I would have endeavoured to have born it patiently without complaining7 to His Majesty, but, as it is, it will be too heavy for me to bear without straitning me in my own living or neglecting a suitable provision for my children; but I humbly apprehend I need not put my self meerly upon the compassionate list; for as my sufferings are occasioned by the insufficiency of authority to protect me in His Majesty’s service and the discharge of my trusts, I have some claim in justice, and as they cannot be charged to any fault of mine but rather to a noncompliance with popular prejudices and humours, good policy seems to require that I should not be left without relief lest other His Majesty’s servant should be discouraged from doing their duty. I humbly submit my case and am with the greatest respect Sir Your most humble and most obedient Servant, Tho Hutchinson
RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/755, ff. 353–59); at foot of letter, “Right Honorable Henry Seymour Conway &c &c”; docketed, “Lt. Govr. Hutchinson Boston 1. Oct. 1765 Rx 7th. Decr.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:154–56); at foot of letter, “Rt Hon H. Seymour Conway &c.” SC (Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/JO/10/7/207, Item No. 12, ff. 441–43, laid before the House of Lords on 10 March 1766). SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 43, 1:48–49). SC (British Library, Stowe 264, ff. 280–84 [© The British Library Board]).
[1–3 October 1765]
Sir, In the present state of America I fancy that very frequent intelligence will not be unwelcome to you. I will send under this cover the last seditious news paper.1 If ever printers bid fair for the gallows I think these fellows do.2 Conn. you will see have at last laid aside their caution. I hapned to be in the western parts of this province at the time of their Riot. Gentlemen who were then at Hartford informed me Mr Inger. behaved with great firmness preached to the mobility near an hour after ^they had compelled him to^3 his Resignation and finally Refused at all events to swear to his Resignation which they for some time insisted upon. The people took the government into their hands & about 500 of them with a Major (Durgie) marched 3 in a Rank armd with white cudgels 3 times Round the courthouse whilst the Ass. was sitting.4 The house voted that the militia should be raised & Mr Ingersoll protected but the council who you know depend there more upon the people than the house nonconcured. The mob if such a public regular assembly can be called a mob went from Windham & the eastern towns of the colony only.
The gen court of this province sat 2 or 3 days but seemed determind to do nothing which might give countenance to the execution of the act & the house was preparing an answer to the gov. speech which it was thot would do great merit when he adjourned them to the 23d of this month.5 By far the greater part of the people seem to think they may go on after the 1 of Nov. without stamps as they did before. I have no idea of their subsisting one week without but what can be done to prevent a general confusion & most violent convulsion is not yet agreed. All my hopes are that people whose eyes are now shut will open them as the time approaches & see the infernell mischief which must immediately arise as soon as the execution of law & all authority in government is laid down.
I have no chance for relief under my great suffering. The house declined any notice of the recommendation made by the gov.6 I have therefore Represented my case to the Sec of State & humbly prayed for Relief from His Majesty so great a loss being too heavy for me to bear.7 I have taken the liberty to write to Ld Edgecombe.8 I owe it to you that I have any pretence for doing it. I ask the further favor of you to deliver my letter to his Lordship. I am with very great Respect,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:157); at foot of letter, “Gov Pownall”; undated. Enclosures not found.
Boston 3. Oct. 1765
Revd & dear Sir, I received first a kind letter from you & then under a blank cover your ingenious answer to D Mayhew wrote with so much candor as well as good sense that I think you are in no danger of a reply.1 You have done me an unexpected honor in one of your marginal notes which I wish I had better deserved.2 The D. venomous arrows were aimed at you. I had the misfortune of being grievously wounded by his random shot. Sund. the 25 of Aug notice being given that he was to preach a political discourse he had a crowded audience which he entertained from this text I would they were even cut off which trouble you for brethren ye have been called unto liberty the latter p here he stopped the remainder of the sentence not being to his purpose.3 He has expressed the deepest concern for his imprudence & I have heard he has promised never to meddle with politicks again. The monday night following the whole town was in a consternation occasioned by an enraged crew of dæmons the weight of whose infernal fury fell upon me. Through the goodness of God my own and my childrens lives were preserved having a few minutes warning of their intentions but my house was ruined & every thing in it thrown out destroyed or carried away, not so much as a single book or paper left in it. Except the loss of my friends by death I have never met with any trouble which lay so heavy upon me. I may not murmur at the hand of providence but certainly I have not deserved such treatment from this people.
It is some relief to me that they are now willing to own it I think universally. But its rather late had this been the general voice sooner I had escaped. I had some hopes of a partial redress from the general court, a committee of council having prepared an estimate of my own & familys loss which after deducting what has been Recovered they make to amount to about 2400£ sterl, but I find the representatives disposed to consider it rather as a common accident than as proceeding from a failure of protection in the government.4 This obliges me to apply to His Majesty who I am persuaded will not suffer so heavy a loss to ly upon one of his servants.5 A good effect has followed hitherto. The greatest favorers of mobs see their error & are afraid for themselves. We are however still in a most deplorable state & not with out danger of a more violent convulsion when the time for the stamp duty to commence arrives.6 Fortitude accompanied with prudence possibly may prevent. I am Sir Your affectionate humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:158); unaddressed.
Gerard street, Oct. 12th. 1765
Dear Sir, I am extremely concerned at the outragious & villanous treatment which you have received. Upon receiving your letter in the afternoon of Saturday the 5th. instant after reading it, I directly sent it to the marquis of Rockingham, inclosed with a few lines of my own, of which you have a copy on the other side.1 My servant, finding he was out of town, left the letter, to be carried to him the next morning, and in the afternoon, by a written message, he desired to see me on Monday morning, when I attended him accordingly, and another time hereupon since. At both times he spoke very favourably of you. At the first time the lord president, who is his near relation, coming in, upon a casual opening I said a few things to satisfy him that the colonies were not in a taxable condition, & desiring that the innocent might not be involved in the same state with the guilty.2 Pray send me a brief state of these outrages, & of the measures taken respecting them, distinguishing facts & times. Dear Sir Yours most sincerely, W Bollan
Since writing the above I received your letter of the 20th. of Aug., whereupon I went to Rockingham-house with it, but finding neither the marquis nor his secretary there I brought it back; and as he was to go out of town that ev’ning I inclosed & sent it with a few lines, of which you have a copy on the other side.3
Oct 14. After a tedious attendance I am just come from the marquis of Rockingham, who entring into the state of Boston & the colonies, severely censured the promoter, who was in effect the maker, of the law, as well as its opponents, whose unlawful & violent proceedings lay difficulties in the way of granting relief in a regular course, which they are vainly seeking by means utterly inconsistent with all government.4 He declared that he had as great regard for the interest of the colonies as was consistent with his regard for that of this kingdom. I believe he spake his real sentiments. He is reckoned very honest; and I remember when the act passed, that in conversation at Sr. Geo: Savilles he of his own accord mentioned that as the proper defence against it which always appear’d to me to be so.5 I have no authority from him to say any thing to you, & no time to say much, a servant waiting to carry this to the intended bearer Mr Waller, the partner of a worthy friend of mine: but in few words shall give you my present thoughts, which are that a decent conduct & proper representation of all your grievances, with such a procedure as is suitable to the nature of ^the mildest^ government are the most likely means to serve you in your present unhappy case. The marq. said that his maj. & his present ministers were enclined to relieve the American trade in general in all points wherein it was improperly curbed, & to put the whole upon the best foot for the comon good of the kingdom & the colonies. I can not add, but remain, Dear Sir, Yours most Affectionately, W Bollan
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:35–35a); only the closing and signature are in Bollan’s hand; at foot of letter, “Lt. Govr. Hutchinson.” Enclosures: SC of Bollan to the Marquis of Rockingham, 5 October 1765 (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:36); SC of Bollan to Rockingham, 12 October 1765 (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:36a).
Mashpee 22d Octr. 1765.
Honored Sir, When thousands, who never saw your Honor, and perhaps never so much as heard of the great humanity, integrity & goodness of your character, have exprest a mixture of grief & indignation, at your uncomon sufferings & very abusive treatment, from an ill-directed lawless rabble; it would be unpardonable in me not to shew my sorrow & resentment upon the occasion.
I was returning from the Onohoquaja, from among salvage Indians, when I met the news, at Sir Wm Johnsons, which I hardly believed; but as I came down along, I found it must be credited, with all its aggravations.2 When I arrived, where the horrid deed was plan’d & executed, I visited the lonely desolate & ruined, mansionhouse ^once the agreeable seat^ of your honor & family. The best consolation, I could think of, for the honorable sufferers, is that there is “a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens,” where “durable riches” are deposited, “which thieves cannot brake thro nor steel.”3
I persuade myself, that it will be very agreeable to your Honor, that in my late journey, I was treated in a most friendly & respectful manner, by the several Indian tribes, I met with, in those parts, and that as far as I could learn, there is a happy prospect of a lasting peace with those nations. Those I met with appeared willing to be instructed, in the Christian religion. I went to Onohoquaga, revived that mission, & left Mr. Moseley in it, very much to the Indians & to his own satisfaction.4
With the most humble duty to your Honor & family I am, Honored Sir, your most obliged humble servant, Gideon Hawley
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:37–38); at foot of letter, “The Honble Mr. Hutchinson Lt. Governor &c.”
Boston 26 October 1765
Sir, I am very glad so small a present as my history of the Massachusets bay was acceptable to you. I am sorry that a future writer will not be able to set the present age in so favorable a light as with justice I have done the last. There never was a poor people in so distracted a state as we are at this time. No officer of the crown is safe who shews the least disapprobation of the furious spirit prevailing against the stamp duty. I have felt the affects of popular rage more than has been known in america and am stripped of every convenient and ^I may^ almost say necessary article of furniture and apparel & great par[t of]1 my personal estate to the amount of between two & three thousand pounds sterling after deducting all I have been able to recover and ever expect, and all this without the least just provocation. I was told when peoples passions were moved by the first sight of my ruins that my loss should bee repaired by the government but in general, they are now willing to look upon it as a common accident. This has obliged me to apply to his Majesty for relief.2 If I should fail of success I shall bee utterly discouraged. The loss is greater than I can [bear] without distressing me & my family. There will bee danger of the same spirit rising ag[ain] or rather being increased & I shall have no sec[urity] for the remainder of my substance & every other servant of the crown will be obliged to go the full le[ngth] the populace shall think fit, to save their estate[s if] not their lives.
I am obliged to apply to all [my] freinds & I particularly ask your favour so f[ar] as it shall appear to you I have justice on my [side]. I am with much esteem Sir Your very humble servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:169); in WSH’s hand; unaddressed.
Boston 26 October 1765
Sir, Every ship for some time past must have carried you news from the colonies more & more alarming. My sufferings cannot have escaped the notice of the publick. I have endeavoured for thirty years together to maintain a steady uniform conduct and in matters of government to avoid extremes and to attach my self to no party any farther than I was convinced the measures were right, and although I have often lost the favour of the People of a short time yet I never experinced any strong resentment and I soon recovered what I had lost. The last winter when a petition against the stamp act was before the court I thought it indecent ill judged and tending to ha[rm]1 the cause which it was designed to serve and af[ter] much time spent one which I had proposed wa[s] agreed upon instead of it some few alteration[s] excepted. ^Soon after the violent party Raised a clamour^ against me & I was charg’d with defea[ting] their endavours & it was insinuated that I was & [MS torn] secret favourer of the act after the act pass[ed] I considered it as legally right and in the seve[ral] counties of the province endeavoured to convi[nce] the People of the nature of the government an[d the] necessity of submission to the supreme authority and recommended humble dutiful application and discouraged all force and violence. Abou[t] the middle of august an effigies designed to re[present] the stamp officer was hung ^up^2 in Boston. I ordered [the] Sheriff to take it down and if he met with any [who] oppose him to bring me their names but such [a] spirit then appeared that he durst not attempt [it]. In the evening a great mob was raised two sma[ll] shops supposed to be for the stamp office were pulled down the effigies burnt & the officers dwelling house beset. I went with the sheriff & the marshall of the admiralty to the house but could have no sufficient aid and was drove out o[f] the house not without bruises. The next day the sta[mp] officer was prevailed with to resign. I had not s[een] him and knew nothing of his intention but being brother by marriage it was supposed he had consulted with me and it was suggested I ha[d] advised him not to resign. This brought a mob about my house the next evening. I sent my children away barred my doors & windows & designed to keep possession. Fortunately one of my neighbours who is a demagogue inserted himself among them before they proceeded to violence & harangued them for so[me] time assured them that although I was not alway so much in favour of Liberty as some others yet in the main I was a freind to the country & in particular as to the stamp act he was sure I had done every thing in my power to prevent it. They told him they mus[t] have it from my own mouth & if I would come out and declare it they would be satisfied. I did not chuse to be catechised by them for my answers must either have enraged or encourage[ed] them and I remained silent until another neighbour affirmed that he saw me go out of town just before night which caused their leader to give the word move and after about an hour’s siege I was delivered with the loss of a little glass only. I kept with my family pretty much in the country until the 26 I brought them to town about noon when I was informed there would be a mob in the evening but my freinds assured me I was in no danger. Whilst I was at supper with my children round me a servant ran in & informed [me] the mob was coming. I made my children fly & intended to bar my doors & remain but my eldest daughter ran back and declared she would not quit the house so long as I remained in it. This caused me to go into a nieghbours house where I had scarce sat down before my house was attacked with infernal rage the doors split down every[where filled,]3 possession kept until near day light little left of the house besides the bare walls & floors & every thing in it except some kitchen furniture destroyed or taken away & after al[l that I] have been able to Recover is deducted a comittee of council have estimated my loss between 2 & 3 & 204 sterl. The gen’l court Refuse to make me any compensation.5 I have made my humble application to his Majesty.6 My loss is more than I can bear without distressing my family. I do not suffer for any fault but as a servant of the crown & for my fidelity in the discharge of my trust. A Requisition to the government here probably will answer no purpose. If I am not Relieved by a grant from His Majesty or the Parl. I shall Remain a sufferer. I have therefore wrote to my friends intreating influence in my favor before it becomes a stale business for it is at first only I can hope for success if it grows old it will be over with me and I [illegible]7 the aid of all good men as doing an act of justice & not charity. Excuse me Sir [illegible]8 esteem,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:167–68); in WSH’s hand, but corrections and marginal text are in TH’s hand; unaddressed.