617 | To John Pownall


    Boston. May 30. 1768

    Dear Sr

    I herewith inclose to you my Speech at the opening of the Session; it is intended only to comply with form so as to afford no exception to ground a quarrel on; & in this Sense, it has been called by Otis a very exceptionable Speech, as it affords nothing to except to.1 I was not able to bring them to a compromise in regard to the Election, tho’ I went so far as to have it given out that if the Lieutenant Governor was chosen, The Governor would probably admit Otis Senr into the Council, to lay a foundation for a reconciliation. The Old Man upon this occasion said that He would quit all his offices (which are the first in honor & profit in his County & of my gift)2 & bring himself to the lowest of the People rather than the Lieut Governor should get into the Council.3 However the Lieutenant Governor would have got in, if it had not been for the addition of ^to^ his salary of 200 £ lately order’d by the Treasury. This afforded Otis to say in the House that he was a Pensioner of Great Britain & was to recieve 200 £ per ann. out of the new Duties.4 This was spoke in the house in the midst of the Election, when there was no time for confuting or explaining. I always thought it would be made use of for this purpose: between you & me this appointment is too small for a Salary or pension or compensation, & had better have been postponed, till it could have been done to more purpose. For I must question whether the Assembly here will admit of additions to their officers Salaries; what the Treasury gives they [then?]5 take away as far as they can, at least in their present humor. But It may be worth while to try the experiment.

    In truth my good Freind, there seems to be wanting among your great people a right Idea of this Country, I mean, its present political State. If nothing but palliating measures are to be pursued, the present Idea, whatever it is, is as good as any. But If it should be thought high time, as it certainly is, to put a Stop to the political Enthusiasm which has been suffer’d to be blown up for above 2 Years past & is now running over the Country, the very best information of the State of this Country should be procured; & that can be had only from principal men free from the prejudices of the Country, & should be communicated, vivâ-voce,6 as no Writing will be full enough or free enough for that purpose. I proposed myself for this Service above 2 years ago; but as Active Measures were then not thought proper, my offer was very rightly rejected. If active Measures shall still be thought unnecessary, I can be of no service, but if they are at length seen to be absolutely indispensable, I am sure I can be of more service as a Reporter at home than I can be as a Governor here. I have therefore wished that I had a discretionary leave (to be made use of accordingly as I should see it would be most for the Service) to come home before next Winter. I have signified this request to no one but my Lord Barrington, to whom I wrote upon the subject some time ago.7 My Correspondence with my Lord Hillsborough has, by the delay of packets, been open’d so very lately, that I have had no time to write to him on this account, nor will it ^now^ be proper untill I see the Events of this Session: & by that time it will be too late to expect an answer time enough to embark before winter; & I hope I shall not be obliged by a positive order to take a Winter voyage. I have therefore no chance of going home this Year, unless what I have already wrote to Lord Barrington shall have procured an order before this arrives, or what I write now shall have effect immediately afterwards for if I do not recieve leave by the end of September or the beginning of October I must give it up for this Year.

    The political Barometer stands here pretty much as it did, only there is less appearance of violence than there was some time ago. Otis said t’other day that there was no intention or desire to quarrel with the Governor. I have had some hints that I might make my own terms, if I would give up the Lieut. Governor & admitt their Councellors; that is, if I would put my self in their hands. But then I must sacrifice the Government & its freinds, myself & my honour. I choose rather to keep upon the Defensive till I can see what will be done at home: Vigorous measures there may give a great turn to the politicks of this place. The Faction keeps up its party now by assurances of success in their opposition to parliament; if they should recieve any great check, it might give a turn to the balance, which is now nearer an equilibrium than it has been.

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esqr.

    AL, LbC     BP, 6: 115-119.

    Enclosed a copy of FB’s speech to assembly of 26 May 1768 (not found), for which see JHRM, 45: 9.