12 January 1775691

    London Jany 12th 1775

    My very dear friend,

    Yesterday I finished a long letter to you, which will accompany the present. By a consideration of both, my friends will see how difficult the task would be to write severally to them all.

    I have just come from spending three hours in private conversation with Governor Pownall, and without a moment’s delay set down to transmit some parts of what passed between Us.

    After having given him some general account of my intelligence from America, he said, “now, Sir, I will give you some news also. A King’s ship has arrived from Boston with dispatches from General Gage. She sailed the 16th of December from that place. She brings certain accounts, that notwithstanding the non-importation agreement was to take place the first of December, yet since that day, by connivance, a considerable quantity of piemento and other articles forbidden by that agreement have been imported and stored in the city of New York.” I replied, “I don’t believe that what you have heard is true.” “You may depend upon it, Sir; I am satisfied of it, perfectly, myself,” was his answer.

    See that this matter be enquired into. Don’t entertain ill-grounded jealousies of each other, yet watch over one another for good.

    “I will tell you more, Sir,” added Governor Pownall: “the Provincial Congress have chosen their General Officers. Two of them are Colonel Prebble and Colonel Pomroy; I have forgot the third. They have also chosen a Committee to manage the office of Governor; and another that of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Province.”692

    I shall suspend a comment on this matter.

    After a long conversation with him on the subjects which grew naturally out of our conversation I asked him (he is now a member of Parliament) what he thought the Ministry would do at the approaching sessions. He answered: “They will not repeal the Boston Port Bill because it executes itself. They will not repeal the acts altering your form of government, because these late advices, show that you have taken that matter out of their hands. They will not repeal the Quebec Bill, because it is the sense of all parties here that that is a matter with which no other Colony, but Quebec, hath any thing to do. If they don’t complain, the other Colonies have no right to intermeddle.”

    I replied to Governor Pownall, I wished I could be satisfied that what he now said would be true. “It will ease my mind (add I) and would determine my conduct, to sail to America in four and twenty hours. I should then be in no doubt what the Colonies ought to do; and (with a little elevation of voice) I am sure I should not hesitate what part to take myself.” “I tell you Mr xxxxxx, continued Governor Pownall, what I now say. I do not deliver as what I am informed of by the ministry, but as what I have not the least doubt of. It is my solid judgment founded upon facts on which I have reflected, and laid together, again and again.”

    My answer was: “I have lately been in the western part of the kingdom. I have conversed (ever since I have been there) with all ranks of people, who think or converse at all upon these subjects. I am a stranger in this country: I do not pretend to be thoroughly acquainted with their genius, temper or character; but this I will venture to say, that if the actions of this country are as correspondent with the sense, words and declarations of its inhabitants, as the words and doings of my American countrymen, I am sure, that this country will be convulsed. I am sure these will be very astonishing commotions, if those acts are not repealed, and that very speedily too after the Parliament have got well together. But as I said before I don’t pretend to know this people as well as those who were bred and have always dwelt among them. Indeed I have been confirmed more and more every day, that the Commonality in this country are no more like the Commonality in America, than if they were two intire, distinct and unconnected people.”

    “Very true, Mr. xxxxxx,” replied Mr Pownall; “your observation is certainly just. You have formed a right judgment; and you will see more reason to strengthen your opinion every day you live in this island.”

    You see I am faithfull to the good old cause. I feel that I shall continue so.

    Governor Pownall presented me with two of his late productions to be sent to Dr Cooper, which I shall do, if I am able by this opportunity.693

    I have wrote you that I shall be in Philadelphia in May next, if the acts are not repealed. I have made that determination, because I think I shall be able to do some good there. In conversation we can say and do more, than by whole folios of writing. But my being there at that time is so uncertain that I would not, upon any account have my friends omit sending their letters of intelligence to me here. Such letters are of amazing service. With them I can do more good, than you would think possible, if you had never experienced the effect.

    Adieu. May the great Father of spirits inspire you! Act worthy of yourselves and you must be successfull and happy.

    Henry Ireton

    PS. I intend to send you Burke’s Speech and Mrs Macaulay’s Address (published this day) to the People of England &c.694 They will be read in America with avidity and applause.

    Excuse my not writing to my two fathers. I think, if they reflect a little, they will find no reason to blame me. Don’t print the name of Governor Pownall, unless you find that putting his name at large will do considerable service to the Cause. He and I too must submit to inconveniences when our Country is in their Care. It is a necessity we must acquiesce in with contentment.

    Post PS. Since writing the within, I have received the original Manuscript of a Letter from a Merchant here to his friend in Virginia. I now transmit it for your information and judgment. Mr. Samuel Adams will know the hand, if he sees it. Mr Sheriff Lee desires, that I would inform Mr S. Adams, that he inclosed a Letter to him under cover to Thomas Bromfield, by the New York Packett.

    I am well informed, that Mr Hayley on receiving a large parcel of Letters from America without one order inclosed, sincerely said, “I find there is not even an inclination in Boston to smuggle now.” Mr Sheriff Lee my informant.

    A certain Mr. _____ lately arrived from Boston said “a few more troops would be sufficient to inforce all the measures of the Ministry.” Mr. Bromfield my informant.

    NB.695 Be extremely carefull of Mr Bromfield’s and my name.696

    I have neither room, nor time nor for comment.