Appendix 2


    May it please Your Lordships.

    By our Secretarys letters of the 21st. of Novr. to Mr. Bradshaw,1 we had the honor to inform your Lordships of the arrival of such of Us as came from England, and when we entered upon business, with some other occurences: and Mr. Robinson having arrived on the 28th. we have ever since had a full Board.

    After acquainting our Officers with our Commission, and giving them the necessary directions on the occasion, we ordered a state of the different Ports to be laid before Us; that we may be enabled to proceed to regulate such matters as we shall find necessary, as well as to give particular instructions to our Inspectors General, against they enter upon duty.2

    It already appears to Us, that our Officers in these northern parts, and particularly in the Charter Colonies,3 have been greatly discouraged for want of support from Government.

    Tho’ smugling has been carried to a very great height, yet six seizures only have been made in the New-England Provinces, within the course of two years and a half;4 and only one prosecuted to effect.5 a second was rescued out of the custody of our Officers at Falmouth, who were at the same time attacked by a mob.6 A third was rescued at Newbury, and the Officers greatly abused.7 A fourth was carried off clandestinely at New-London, while under prosecution;8 the fifth and sixth were acquitted at Rhode Island, thro’ the combination and influence of the people.9 The Officers of this Port were resisted in the summer 1766, at noon-day, when endeavouring to enter the house of one Malcolm, and finding themselves unsupported against a numerous mob that was assembled, they were obliged to retire without making the seizure.10

    These several matters were communicated to the Commissioners of Customs in London, but no measures have been taken to punish the Offenders or to strengthen the hands of Government. The Smugler[s]11 therefore with reason triumph in their success, and the Officers of the Revenue are deterred from exerting themselves with that vigour, & spirit, which the service requires.

    The better to explain to your Lordships the difficulties which our Officers labour under, we beg leave to submit to your consideration the present state of Government in this country.

    On the 14th Augst. the Sons of Liberty met, to commemorate that day of outrage in the year 1765, when the opposition to the Stamp Act begun; and intelligence being soon after received that the Acts of the last session of Parliament respecting America were passed, the news-papers in this town began to retail the most licentious publications, denying the right of Parliament to lay any taxes whatsoever on the Colonies: and some went so far as to assert the most unlimited independence.12

    The minds of the people scarcely composed after the late tumults, were susceptible of every impression, and these doctrines agreeing with their democratic principles, were received with applause; and in a little time the frenzy of the people of this town was raised to such a height, that a forcible opposition to the execution of the new Laws was threatned; but thro’ the interposition of the sensible and moderate part, it was considerably allayed by the beginning of November, when such of Us as came from England arrived and no act of violence was then commited, tho’ every inflammatory art had been practised, to stimulate the people thereto, and we have ever since remained in safety, tho’ not without some apprehentions, Mr. Paxton having undergone the indignity of suffering in Effigy.13

    As every publication, be it ever so exceptionable, is sure to find access into most American newspapers, the principles therein broached are propagated with great success. Thus, the spirit which first shewed itself in this town, was diffused thro’ the neighbouring Provinces, where the people seem to be as ripe for riot, and mischief, as they are here.

    At Rhode Island it was proposed in an advertizement posted upon the town-house, to stop the revenue money, which the Officers there were about shipping home.14 At New-York sundry seditious papers have been dispersed, stirring up the people to a resistance. At Philadelphia, a series of letters are publishing in the Chronicle, under the name of the Farmers Letters, denying the right of Parliament to lay any tax whatsoever on the Colonies, and as the author affects moderation, and a parade of learning, we consider them of the most mischievous tendency.15 Every thing that is said, or published in England, in favour of the Colonies, is peculiarly prejudicial, as the people in this country are led to believe, that their cause is powerfully espoused at home.

    In these popular Governments there are frequent assemblies of the people at large, under the name of town meetings, which were originally instituted to regulate the prudential concerns of the towns, but now they are converted to answer political purposes.16 At these meetings the lowest mechanics discuss upon the most important points of government with the utmost freedom; which, being guided by a few hot and designing men, become the constant source of sedition.

    Men of character avoid these meetings, as the strongest lungs have generally the best of the argument, and they coud not oppose any popular measure, without being exposed to insult, and resentment.

    Instead of opposing the execution of the new Laws by violence, as had been threatned, a plan of œconomy & industry, was set on foot, at one of these town meetings; the apparent design of which is to allarm the trading and manufacturing people of Great Britain, and to engage them in their interest, so as to obtain a repeal of the Laws, rather than to answer the ends and purposes pretended.17

    An association was accordingly entered into in this town, whereby the articles now charged with duties, with many others, were to be entirely disused, and encouragement was given to manufacture the same among themselves; the consumption of British manufactures in general was to be discountenanced, and a preference given to those of America.18 That this spirit might extensively prevail, the proceedings of the town meeting were transmitted to every town of note throughout the Continent, and we find the same measures adopted in the neighbouring Provinces,19 and the news-papers of each, echo to the other, their great tho’ but imaginary progress in manufactures. Few of the principal people of the town signed the association, and very few of the subscribers conform to the terms of it, which serves to shew Your Lordships that it is such a policy as we before suggested.

    At a subsequent town meeting, instructions were given to the Representatives of Boston, to promote a remonstrance from the General Assembly, against the late Laws.20

    The General Assembly is now siting, and the lower House has so far entered into their views, as to address His Majesty, and write to His Secretary of state on the subject, and to influence the other provinces to pursue similar measures, it was voted, a few days ago, that an account of their proceedings shou’d be transmit[ted] to the Speaker of every House of Representatives on the Continent.21

    From this conduct of the lower House Your Lordships may form a judgment of the general sense and disposition of the people of this Province. We must nevertheless observe, that there are many people of property in this town, who might be induced to shew their countenance in support of Government, if the executive power had strength to protect them: property however has but little weight and influence in these popular Governments, places of trust and authority being acquired, and maintained, by trimming with, and courting the people.

    While it is the general received opinion that the Acts imposing the late duties are unconstitutional the people will be easily persuaded not to pay any. And we do not know how soon that period may arrive, after they find themselves disapointed in their expectations of a repeal, in consequence of their remonstrances.

    Our Officers were resisted and defeated, almost in every attempt to do their duty, when the right of Parliament to lay external duties was acknowledged; now, that the right of Parliament to lay any taxes whatever on the Colonies is denied, we have every reason to expect that we shall find it totally impracticable to inforce the execution of the Revenue Laws, untill the hand of Government is properly strengthned. At present, there is not a Ship of War in the province, nor a company of Soldiers nearer than New-York, which is two hundred and fifty miles distant from this place.

    We herewith transmit to Your Lordships, a collection of News-papers, filled with publications derogatory to the honor and authority of Great Britain, and subversive of all order, and government, which have nevertheless been hitherto circulated thro’ the different Colonies with impunity.22

    We have not made any one privy to the contents of this memorial, as a Subject of this delicate nature, requires the utmost secrecy in the present feeble, and unhinged state of Government.

    Which is humbly Submitted.

    Wm. Burch23

    Hen. Hulton.

    J. Temple.

    Chas Paxton

    John Robinson.

    Boston Febry 12. 1768.

    The Rt. Honble. the Lords Commissioners of His Majestys Treasury

    LS, RC     T 1/465, ff 21-24.

    The enclosed file of newspapers has been not found, but some of the content is discussed in note 22 below. Variants of the letter in Temple Papers, 1762-1768: Bound MSS (L, Copy); CO 5/757, ff 60-63 (L, Copy); CO 5/226, ff 95-99 (L, Copy) a copy was enclosed in Appendix 4. John Temple’s copy noted that the original was sent by the schooner Lovely Betsey, master W. Wilson, sailing on 24 Feb., and that the duplicate was dispatched to New York on 3 Mar. for transmission to London. Thomas Bradshaw, the Treasury secretary, sent a copy of the memorial to the earl of Hillsborough on 7 May (CO 5/226, f 95). The Treasury Board considered the memorial on 30 Jun. (T 28/1, f 332) and the Board secretary replied on 8 Jul. (CO 5/226, f 105). The secretary of state for the Colonies reiterated governors’ responsibilities to assist the American Board of Customs (No. 612).