582 | Circular From the Earl of Hillsborough

    No. 1.

    Whitehall, January 23, 1768.


    His Majesty having been graciously pleased to appoint me to be One of His Principal Secretaries of State, and to commit to my Care the Dispatch of all such Business relative to His Majesty’s Colonies in America, as has been usually dispatched by the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, I have His Majesty’s Commands to signify this Arrangement to You, and His Majesty’s Pleasure that your Dispatches be for the future addressed to me, conformable to the Rule of Correspondence prescribed in His Majesty’s Order in Council of the 8th of August 1766,1 a Copy of which is herewith transmitted to you.

    It is His Majesty’s Intention, in making the present Arrangement, that all possible Facility and Dispatch should be given to the Business of His Colonies, and as nothing can more effectually contribute to this salutary purpose than a frequent and full Communication of all Occurences that may happen, and a regular and punctual Transmission of all Acts and Proceedings of Government and Legislature, and of such Papers as have any Relation thereto; I have it in Command from His Majesty to recommend this to your particular Attention.2 His Majesty having observed with Concern that this essential Part of the Duty of His Officers in America has scarcely any where been duly attended to.

    I have nothing further to add but to express my earnest Wishes, that, by the utmost Attention and Application I can give, I may be able to fulfil His Majesty’s most gracious Intentions, and I take the Liberty to assure You, that I will not omit to lay your Dispatches as soon as I receive them before The King, and to forward and assist, as far as I am able, your Measures for the Public Service.

    I am, with great Truth and Regard, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant


    Governor of Massachuset’s Bay.


    You will be pleased to continue to number each Letter you address to me, in the same manner as in your Correspondence with the Earl of Shelburne, beginning your first Letter to me with No. 1.


    NB. I send you inclosed for your information pieces of several Acts relating to America, which passed in the last Session of Parliament.3

    LS, RC     BP, 11: 115-118.

    Endorsed by FB: Earl of Hillsborough d Jan 23 1768 r. May 11. Docket by Thomas Bernard: His Appt _ with Orders to Correspond only with the Secry of State __ Enclosed an order of His Majesty in Council, Court of St. James’s, 8 Aug. 1766, BP, 11: 119-121; the list of acts of Parliament has not been found. This circular is the first official letter from Wills Hills, the earl of Hillsborough, appointed secretary of state for the Colonies on 21 Jan., heading up a new Colonial Department whose business largely concerned America.4 While FB did not receive Hillsborough’s circular letter until 11 May,5 he was aware of Hillsborough’s appointment from news brought by incoming vessels, between 20 and 21 Feb. (No. 590) and again on 6 or 7 Mar.6 Until he received formal confirmation, however, FB continued writing Shelburne (his last dated 21 Mar.)7 His first formal reply to Hillsborough was dated 12 May (No. 611).

    Wills Hill, first Earl of Hillsborough and Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1768-72. Line engraving after unknown artist, published 1781. © National Portrait Gallery, London.