608 | From the Earl of Hillsborough

    (No. 7)

    Whitehall. April the 22d: 1768.


    I have received, and laid before the King, Your Letters to the Earl of Shelburne Ns. 4. 5. & 6.1 with the Inclosures.

    It gives great Concern to His Majesty to find that the same Moderation, which appeared by Your Letter (No: 3)2 to have been adopted at the Beginning of the Session in a full Assembly, had not continued, and that, instead of that Spirit of Prudence and Respect to the Constitution, which seemed at that Time to influence the Conduct of a large Majority of the Members, a thin House at the End of the Session should have presumed to revert to, and resolve upon, a Measure of so inflammatory a Nature, as that of writing to the Other Colonies on the Subject of their intended Representations against some late Acts of Parliament.

    His Majesty considers this Step as evidently tending to create unwarrantable Combinations to excite an unjustifiable Opposition to the constitutional Authority of Parliament, and to revive those unhappy Divisions and Distractions which have operated so prejudicially to the true Interests of Great Britain and the Colonies.

    After what passed in the former Part of the Session, and after the declared Sense of so large a Majority, when the House was full, His Majesty cannot but consider this as a very unfair Proceeding, and the Resolutions ^taken^ thereupon to be contrary to the real Sense of the Assembly, and procured by Surprize, and therefore it is the King’s Pleasure, that so soon as the general Court is again assembled at the Time prescribed by the Charter, You should require of the House of Representatives, in his Majsty’s Name, to rescind the Resolution which gave Birth to the Circular Letter from the Speaker, and to declare their Disapprobation of, & Dissent to that rash and hasty Proceeding.3

    His Majesty has the fullest Reliance upon the Affection of His good Subjects in the Massachusett’s Bay, and has observed with Satisfaction that Spirit of Decency and Love of Order which has discovered itself in the Conduct of the most considerable of It’s Inhabitants, and therefore His Majesty has the better Ground to hope that the Attempts made by a desperate Faction to disturb the public Tranquillity will be discountenanced, and that the Execution of the Measure recommended to You will not meet with any Difficulty.

    If it should, and if notwithstanding the apprehensions which may justly be entertained of the ill Consequence of a Continuance of this factious Spirit, which seems to have influenced the Resolutions of the Assembly at the Conclusion of the last Session, the new Assembly should refuse to comply with His Majesty’s reasonable Expectation; It is the King’s Pleasure that you should immediately dissolve them, & transmit to me, to be laid before His Majsty, an Account of their Proceedings thereupon, to the End that His Majesty may, if he thinks fit, lay the whole Matter before His Parliament, that such Provisions as shall be found necessary may be made to prevent for the future a Conduct of so extraordinary & unconstitutional a Nature.

    As it is not His Majesty’s Intention that a faithful Discharge of Your Duty should operate to Your own Prejudice, or to the Discontinuance of any necessary Establishments, proper Care will be taken for the Support of the Dignity of Government.

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


    LS, RC     BP 11: 171-174.

    Endorsed by FB: [_ _ _]4 Earl of Hillsborough r June 15 1768 d Ap 22 directing to dissolve the Assembly if they refuse to rescind &c5 Variants: BP, 11: 171-174 (LS, RC); CO 5/765, ff 6-8 (L, LbC). The copy presented to the House omitted the salutation, the first sentence, the last two paragraphs of the main text, and the closure. JHRM, 45: 68-69. Extracts of the RC were laid before both houses of Parliament on 28 Nov. 1768. HLL: American Colonies Box 1.