720 | To the American Board of Customs


    Boston Decr. 22. 1768.


    You have made application to each of us separately1 and desired our answer to the following questions vizt.

    1st. Whether it is our opinion that, at the time you went on board the Romney Man of War,2 you cou’d have remained in safety at Boston?

    2. Whether if you had remained in Boston, and any violence had been offered to your persons or properties, there was a probability of your receiving protection from Government, or otherwise?

    3. Whether you could have returned to town, and have executed your Commission there in safety, before the arrival of his Majestys troops?

    4. Whether your retiring to the Castle as a place of Security, and remaining there in the exercise of your Commission, were not the best measures you cou’d take in the circumstances of affairs, for the service of Government, and the honor of your Commission?

    We have thought to confer together, and finding that we are all of one sentiment; we think it most convenient to give you a joint answer.

    And to your first question, we say.

    That we are of opinion from the Spirit which had been excited in the populace against all the Commissioners of the Customs, except Mr. Temple, you cou’d not have remained long in safety in the town of Boston after the seizure of the Sloop Liberty; but wou’d have been in great danger of violence to your persons and properties, from a mob, which at that time, it was generally expected wou’d be raised for that purpose.

    To the second we say.

    That it had been found by experience that the authority of Government was insufficient to restrain, suppress, or punish, the several Mobs which had been assembled since the 14.th of Augst 1765, in some of which, felonious acts of violence had been commited. And we are of opinion, that at the time you retired to the Castle, there was no probability that the same authority cou’d have had any greater force in restraining, suppressing, or punishing a mob raised against the four Commissioners of the Customs, than any other mob which preceded it.

    To the third, we say.

    That we are of opinion, that you cou’d not have returned to town, and executed Your Commission with safety, at any time after your withdraw[al],3 before the arrival of His Majestys troops.

    To the fourth, we say.

    That we know of no better measure you cou’d have taken, than your retiring to Castle William, there being no place within this Province, where your persons wou’d have been equally safe, and where the honour of His Majesty’s Commission could be better maintained; and where it could be exercised with more convenience to his Subjects.

    We are with great regard. Gentlemen. Your most obedient humble Servants.

    Fra Bernard

    Tho Hutchinson

    Andw. Oliver.

    Robt. Auchmuty

    To the Honble. Henry Hulton. William Burch. Charles Paxton John Robinson Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs, in Boston.

    L, Copy     T 1/465, ff 311-312.

    Endorsed: Boston Decr. 22. 1768. Copy of a letter from The Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of the Province, & Judge of the Admiralty, to four of the Commrs. of the Customs. Read 6th. June 1769.