7 February 1774254


    Why, he can smile, and murder while he smiles;

    And cry content to that which grieves his heart;

    And wet his cheeks with artificial tears;

    And frame his face to all occasions:

    Deceive more slily, than Ulyses could;

    And, like a Sinon, take another Troy:

    Change shapes, with PROTEUS, for advantages;

    And set th’ asp’rng CATILINE to school.


    IF we did not bear in mind the characteristic features of his Excellency, we should be surprized to find him continue a semblance of regard to this people and making declarations of his services to his country. At the very instant, that he is evading a disclosure of his letters to certain personages in England, the only way in which he could make atonement for his crimes;—at the very time that he must know his secret and confidential conduct was detected, and his character stood displayed in the face of all men; at the very moment, when the arrogance of a traitor, above the reach of law, ought to have given place to the humility of a convict;—at the very instant, I say, when the blushes of guilt and contrition ought to have precluded all effrontery and vain-glory;—his Excellency assumes his wonted character, shamelessly disavows any design of subverting the constitution of this government, affirms that his letters rather tended to preserve it entire, and positively declares he had reason to think they had not been ineffectual to that purpose.* Is it possible to give an example of an enemy to the Common-wealth, whose public behavior was so devoid of shame, with desperate conspiracies so conspicuous to view? He could never suppose, that a people, remarkable for their discernment and understanding, would be blind to the plenary evidence laid before them, or that so paltry an artifice could renovate their confidence in his professions. It must have been a credulity below the milkiness of infancy, which could induce this people to suffer such declarations from such a man to delude them. His Excellency could, therefore, only intend to try the dangerous experiment of braving the scorn of mankind, and by sustaining the pressure of an open conviction, without discovering remorse of conscience, secure his pre-emminence among his fellows. Thus by showing himself as destitute of the sense of shame, as of guilt, he preserved that darling prerogative of being the chief among his brethren; and by pushing a hardy front on this trying occasion, he gave ample testimony, that he was a capable of bearing universal odium and scorn, as of leading in secret conspiracies and desperate machinations.

    Upon the fourth of June, the House by message desired “that his Excellency would be pleased to order, that copies be laid before them of such letters as he had written (of certain dates) relating to the public affairs of this province; together with such other letters as his Excellency should think proper,” Here was a fair opportunity for this gentleman, to discover some one instance of friendship to the country in the multitude of his correspondencies. But so far from complying with this rational request, it was slighted with a dexterity and air peculiar to the person to whom it was made.

    The Governor in his answer to the Council, on the 17th of June last, informs them that they “could not possibly form a right judgment of ALL the parts of those letters, unless they should also be furnished with the letters to which his are wrote in answer.” But in the name of common sense, in whose power did it lay to furnish these letters, and against whom, and of what does the presumption lay, in case they are not produced? He who wanted a right judgment to be formed of all parts of the correspondence would give all the light he was able into the matter;—and he who thought it would be for his advantage, and had it in his power, would speedily give that light. But I have the uncommon happiness to fall in with the gentleman, and in this instance I see other reasons than his word to believe, and, therefore, I credit him. I verily believe that a right judgment cannot be formed of ALL PARTS of his excellency’s letters, without an inspection into those of his correspondent: and what is more, I believe that the very reason, why the letters of Whately were not produced was because;—being produced & compared;—they would aid us much, not only in forming a right judgment of the letters, but also to determine with convincing certainty what were the machinations and views,—the whole hearts and souls of the writers.

    In his Excellency’s letter of the 4th of Oct. 68, he acknowledges the receipt of Mr. Whately’s letter of the 31st of July, and then proceeds, “It is not strange that measures should be immediately taken to reduce the colonies,” &c.256 Now I believe that his Excellency could help us to form a much better judgment of what those measures were which he thus acquiesces in, if he would exhibit the letter to which his is an answer. But he prefers leaving the matter to suspicion and conjecture, rather than gratify us with the whole truth of fact:—and manifestly for this reason, because concealment is of more advantage to him than such a discovery. I think he can never have cause to complain, if this people think the worst of him, ‘till he shall remove their just suspicions by a frank and full disclosure of his whole correspondence.—And as the gentleman chuses to leave us at large to conjecture, I now form one, which will, probably, be not short of truth.

    His Excellency had informed his British friend so early as the 18th June, that “the commissioners, four of them, being destitute of protection, removed with their families on board the Romney, & there remain and hold their board, and next week intend to do the same, and also open the Custom house at the Castle.”257 Now there can be no doubt, that this letter had reached England, previous to the 31st of July, and resolutions consequent upon it had been taken. If a Chief Justice informs that the Subject, especially a crown officer, is destitute of protection, the representation (however false) will be believed true in fact; and when this is the case, all the aid which can be given to the officers of the crown will be afforded; especially if it is credited, that with all such aid they will have enough to do to maintain THE AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENT and to carry THE LAWS into execution. Now we all know that the extraordinary aid which is in Great Britain ever afforded to the civil power, is that of the military:—Tho’ it is a solemn truth, that the civil power, like every other, which calls in the aid of an ally stronger than itself, PERISHES by the assistance it receives.—This military aid was accordingly applied by the British administration to remedy the suggested evils; which from being almost wholly imaginary, became real, and from being trifling and temporary, became fixed and permanent. Of this warlike, and hostile application, Whately’s letter to his Excellency of the 31st of July, no doubt gave full account:—And these very measures, there can be as little doubt, were those that did not seem strange to his Excellency;—tho’ they appeared not only strange, but inhuman and mad, to every other good subject of his Majesty in the province. Instead of reducing the colonies to their former state of government, and order, they confirmed the more modern one of confusion and bloodshed, general oppression and universal murmur and discontent.

    If such meaures as these did not really appear strange to his Excellency, I can only attribute it to his thorough recollection of what he had done and wrote, and his good opinion of his own influence and weight with the British ministry: So that an immediate compliance with his inclinations and desire, was no more than he expected, and consequently, that this extravagant measure, which astonish’d all the world besides, was devested of all strangeness in the eye of his Excellency.

    Thus have I considered Mr. Hutchinson, as degrading the highest station in the law to the lowest office of the inquisition; as descending from the rank of CHIEF JUSTICE to that of a common INFORMER:—An informer against “particular persons” & “the PROVINCE IN GENERAL”;—yes,—the dark assassin of private characters and HIS NATIVE COUNTRY.

    Convinced, as I am, that governor Hutchinson, in defiance of every principal of right, every sentiment of honor and gratitude; convinced I say, that HE is the first, the most malignant and insatiable enemy of my country;—that he is the chief author and supporter of the severest calamities under which this people labor;—convinced that he has done more general mischiefs, and committed greater public crimes, than his life can repair or his death satisfy;—and that he is the man, against whom the blood of my slaughtered brethren cries from the ground:—I have, and shall, as strength is given me, pursue him. And if at this time of life I am too old for an AVENGER OF BLOOD, I am also too young to desert the service of my country. But it may be profitable now to leave him to the reflections of his own conscience—the anguish of a departing spirit.—And if he be not speedily called to the great bar of the universe; peradventure I shall once more call him—but with no friendly voice—to the highest, the most terrible tribunal on earth;—the tribunal of his injured countrymen.

    Addressing to the contemplations of his pillow, I close for the present, with the words of a favorite author.

    You have lived long enough; the way of life

    Is fallen into fear, the yellow leaf,

    And that which should accompany old age,

    As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,

    You must not look to have: But, in their stead,



    *His message to the House, 9th June last, concludes with these words, “thus much however I may assure you, that it has not been the tendency and design of them (his letters) to subvert the constitution of this government, but rather to preserve it entire; and I have reason to think that they have not been altogether ineffectual to that purpose.”259