658 | To Lord Barrington

    Boston, July 20, 1768__

    My Lord_

    We continue in the same uncertain Situation now as when I wrote last: the Crisis waits for the arrival of Troops; & I now learn that there are none coming. Genl Gage has now inaformed1 me that his Orders to Halifax are that the Troops shall be collected & kept in readiness, but are not to move till I require them.2 I answer that then they will never move: for I shall not make such a requisition without the Advice of Council; & I never expect to obtain that; neither their popular Constitution nor the present intimidation will permit it. He says that Troops never are sent to quell Riots & Tumults but at the desire of the Civil Power. I admit it; & say that I shd never think of sending to New York or Halifax for Troops to quell a Riot at Boston: the Business must be over before they can arrive; & no Troops can be of any Service in quelling a Riot or a Tumult, that are not previously quartered near the Place.

    In Short, my Lord, Troops are not wanted here to quell a Riot or a Tumult, but to rescue the Government out of the hands of a trained mob, & to restore the Activity of the Civil Power, which is now entirely obstructed. And if an open Defiance of the Authority of Great Britain; a persecution of all those who are supposed to be maintainers of that Authority; The Expulsion of ^the^ King’s Commissioners appointed under the great Seal in pursuance of an Act of Parliament out of the Town where they have been stationed by the King’s Authority; & obliging them to take refuge in a Castle & there remain under the Protection of Men of War for want of better Security; If all these are not sufficient to show the Expediency of quartering Troops at Boston, we must wait till it becomes more apparent.

    In truth, The sending Troops to Boston shd be a Business of quartering, of Cantonment: it is now no secret that this ought to have been done two years & a half ago. If it had, there would have been no Opposition to Parliament now, & above all no such Combinations as threatnens (but I hope vainly) the Overthrow of the British Empire. If Provision was to have been made against Faction & Sedition, the head quarters should have been secured. Instead of which Regiments have been sent into Quarters at Philadelphia & new Jer[sey]3 where the People are principled [in] peace & Submission to civil [O]rder; & Boston has been left under the uninterrupted Dominion of a Faction supported by a trained mob from Augst 14, 1765 to this present July 23, 17684

    And now all the Burthen is to be laid upon me and, as if I was not at present sufficiently loaded with Dangers & Difficulties, I alone am to be made answerable to the Fury of the People for introducing Troops here illegally & unconstitutionally; for so they will call the requiring them without the Advice of Council. Otherwise I am to be made answerable to the King for all the ill Consequences which shall follow the Want of Troops here. I must say that this bringing me between two Fires is very hard; and I would add very cruel, if I was not convinced that it did not arise from any Intention to hurt me: for I am well assured that Genl Gage has none but friendly Intentions towards me; tho’ possibly he may act in this Business with t[oo] much Caution, or probably may be confined in his general Orders.

    To discharge myself as well as I can of being answerable for Consequences I have ordered a general Council to meet on Wednesday next when I shall lay before them the Substance of Genl Gages Letters, and require them to give me their Advice whether I shall or shall not send for the Troops which the Genl has ordered to [be] ready at Halifax:5 And according to their Advice I will act. I should not have chosen to have made this Communication: for I expect little Assistance from a Council popular & timid; and I have but lately tried them upon this very Question: for but I am drove into this Measure. As soon as the Determination is over, I shall acquaint Lord Hillsborough with it: In the mean Time I have thought it proper to state this Business to your Lordship, that if it should be brought upon the Carpet to my Disadvantage your Lordship may be informed of the true State of the Case.

    I am &c

    The Right honble The Ld Visct Barrington

    AL, LbC     BP, 6: 136-139.

    In handwriting of FB on pp. 136-137 and of clerk no. 3 on pp. 138-139.