680 | To Thomas Gage

    Jamaica Farm near Boston

    Sep 16 1768 2 o clock


    I have just received your Letters of Sep 121 with the inclosed for Col Dalrymple; and think it best to dismiss your Messenger without suffering^letting^ him go into Boston. I shall go to Boston tomorrow & communicate your Letter to the Council & manage the Business in the best Manner I can;2 for I expect to meet with much Difficulty. I must not however neglect cautioning you against the Probability (or, as I rather hope, the Possibility) of Events happening here which might require a Reinforcement.

    As the Sons of Liberty kept continually declaring that no Kings Troops should enter Boston, I was apprehensive that the sudden Appearance of Troops would produce temporary Mischeifs Before the Troops could get ashore to prevent them. I therefore thought it best that the Expectation of them should gradually precede their Arrival; & therefore suffered a Report to be spread that I had said I had private Intelligence of Troops being ordered here tho I had received no public Orders for that Purpose. This gave a great Alarm to the Sons of Liberty who immediately procured a Town Meeting to be summond for Monday;3 in the Mean Time, as I am informed at a general ^meeting^ it was agreed to rise in Opposition; & at a private Meeting it was agreed to attack and take the Castle. On Saturday Night a Barrel was put up upon the Beacon Pole, an empty one as it has proved. On Monday there was a Town Meeting consisting cheifly of Sons of Liberty, such other Gentlemen as came there being neutral. This it is said prevented the intended Attack of the Castle as well as the Insurrection. But as to the first I beleive the Station of the Romney Man of War was the principal Discouragement.4 You will see an Account of the Proceedings of this Town Meeting, as published by themselves in the inclosed Paper. All I have to add is that the Tenor of the Speeches made upon this Occasion,5 which seemed to be all precomposed & arranged, was that the King had no Right to station Troops in this Province; if he did they ought to & should be resisted: for which Purpose you will see a formal Argument in the Paper inclosed. In the middle of the Hall6 where they met were many Chests of Arms, they say containing 400, belonging to the Town, which some Months ago were removed from the Lumber Rooms cleaned & put into the Floor of the Hall. It was moved that these should be delivered out to the People; but that being overruled, they were pointed to by Mr O7 & other Orators as explanatory of what was intended tho they did not speak out. Upon the whole it was understood that Resistance & the Confusion which must follow was to be expected; but on Wednesday Afternoon Advices arrived by a Ship put in at Marblehead of Preparations made in England for bringing the Bostoners8 to Reason; so that the Faction has been much cowed thereby & things at present seem to be quiet.

    This is a true tho short State of these Proceedings thro which there have been so many public & private Declarations of their Intention to resist the Forces of Great Britain when they can do it ^to^ Advantage that I think no Time should be lost to provide against them. There have also been Riots at Salem and Newbury against the Custom House Officers of so violent a Nature that it will require a military Force to bring the Rioters to Reason.9 And upon the whole I think it will be necessary for his Majesty’s Service that you should order considerable Reinforcements to the Troops here; and that Col Dalrymple should have sufficient Power to strengthen himself from Halifax if any Resources remain there.

    I have had for some Time a discretionary Leave to go to England, when I saw Occasion. If I had any Hopes that by staying here, I could be of service in composing the Troubles of this Province, I would stay. But as I now dispair of any Thing being done in a conciliatory Way, I intend to set out for England probably in 3 Weeks;10 & shall be glad to be favoured with your Commands.

    I am &c

    Genl Gage.

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 196-198.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Enclosures (not found): probably enclosed a copy of the Boston News-Letter, 15 Sept. or the Boston Gazette, 19 Sept. 1768, both of which printed the proceedings of the Boston town meeting of 12 Sept. Gen. Gage received the RC on the morning of Wednesday 21 Sept.11