697 | From Thomas Gage

    New York Octr 2d 1768.


    I was yesterday favored with your’s of the 24th: ulmo:,1 and am sorry you meet with so many Obstacles in providing Quarters for the Troops. The Declaration of the Council that Castle William is in the Town of Boston is indeed pretty remarkable.

    I am to observe on these matters, that most of the Troops are ordered to the Town of Boston, and to be quartered therein; that they will agreeable to their orders disembark, and march into what is litteraly meant to be the Town of Boston, and not to an Island seven miles distant from it, and if any Disturbances shall happen thro’ the want of Quarters for the Troops, the Gentlemen of the Council and the magistrates must be answerable for it. The Officers will do every thing in their Power to prevent Disturbances, and I shall readily concurr with you in every measure that can be thought of to prevent mischief.

    After using every Endeavor to provide Quarters for the Troops in the Town of Boston, and that you shall fail therein, we must be reduced to the Necessity of quartering them at the Expence of the Crown.

    You seem assured that you will receive no assistance from the Council or magistrates, and therefore resolved to appropriate the manufacturing house for the purpose of quartering. And I wish in that case you could also do the same by the work-house and poor House,2 as it would save both time and Expence: But you are apprehensive of Clamour, which it would, no doubt, be best to avoid, tho’ I don’t see how it is possible to act in any shape, that will prevent Clamour for whatever is done, will be construed into evil Designs. And Considering what has passed, how short a time it is, that a Resolution was taken to rise in Arms in open Rebellion. I don’t see any Cause to be Scrupulous in doing what is judged absolutely necessary for the Service, and for the security of the King’s Government, which has been so highly invaded, and so insolently threatened.

    Whatever you shall at length find absolutely necessary to be done in this Affair of quartering on the Town’s Account, when all other Expedients fail, you will be so good to acquaint Lieut Colo. Dalrymple therewith that he may execute your Resolves whatever they shall be. And Captain Montresor will be ready likewise to assist you. I must leave the Determination of these matters to you who are upon the spot, and therefore best able to determine. But I would mention, if the Proposal of running up slight Barracks in a hurry cannot be avoided, whether they could not be erected on some advantageous spot for Defence or Offence vizt on Fort Hill, or Beacon Hill, such a Circumstance if the Distemper of the Times increases, may prove usefull.

    His Majesty’s Secretary of State in His Letter to me on the subject of ordering Troops to Boston,3 recommends the taking Possession of Castle William, and repairing it, as it belongs to the Crown. Upon your Appearing unwilling to let the King’s Forces go into the Fort, to avoid giving umbrage Colonel Dalrymple was only ordered to take Possession of it, in Case of Emergency; but upon the late Resolution4 to take Arms, I sent the Engineer to repair it, and ordered the Colonel to take Possession, which order he will shew you. And I hope you will approve of it.

    I am with great Regard, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble Servant

    Thos: Gage

    His Excellency Governor Bernard.

    ALS, RC     BP, 11: 315-318.

    Endorsed: [General Gage]5 Octr 2nd 1768. There is an extract in CO 5/86, ff 198-200.

    British Troops on Boston Common. Engraving by Sidney L. Smith, 1902, after “A Prospective View of Part of the [Boston] Commons.” Watercolor, c.1768. By Christian Remick. I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations. Dedicated “To John Hancock, Esq. This prospective view of part of the Commons, and the encampment of the 29th Regiment and Field Pieces etc., as taken from the grove on ye first of October, 1768, is most humbly dedicated, by his most Faithful Servant Christian Remick.” Hancock’s mansion on Beacon Hill is at the top right of the painting.