265 | To Richard Jackson

    Cambridge Feb. 2d. 1764

    Dear Sir

    In my letter of Jan. sent by the Brigg Freemason, Brett Master, I acquainted you that I should adjourn the general Court to Cambridge, upon account of the small pox having broke out in Boston.1 We have set here above a fortnight; in which time an uncommon Accident has happened. This is the burning of the building called Harvard College, which was entirely consumed in my Sight. For a particular Account of it I referr you to the inclosed news paper; for myself I will add, that it afforded me a full trial of my constitution: I was there for two hours in a storm of freezing Snow, & returned to my lodgings allmost covered with ice & at every Step above my knees in snow: and yet I took no harm. As this Building was evidently destroyed by means of the fires kept for the general Court, as soon as the Confusion was over, I sent a Message to the House recommending to them the charge of the rebuilding; which was unanimously resolved in both houses & confirmed by me the same Morning.2 Happily in this Article the College will be great gainers. I find the Library may be well replaced for £3,000 st & the Apparatus for 300. As for the Targums Talmuds Rabbins &c I have no great compassion for them; nor much more for the Fathers,3 notwithstanding they were in the best Editions: and yet I am sensible that Books of this kind are proper for the public Library if fit for any; but I cant think they will be much wanted in this, I mean the former.

    An Affair has happend in the general Court which has occasioned a good deal of Altercation without any Effect, at least as yet. On thursday last a Motion was made in the house to appoint an Agent from home to be joined with Mr. Mauduit, upon account of the present exigency of affairs. In the course of the debate, the Lieut Governor was charged4 on the one side & admitted on the other to be the person intended. The Vote for electing a joint Agent passed in the House 46 to 40 & in the Council 9 to 4. Upon the Election the Lt. Govr .5 had 80 votes out of 88, the remaining 8 Votes being only Sporting Votes.6 I studiously avoided having any concern in this business: but as soon as the Election was made, I concurred it immediately,7 to discredit it immediately a report that I was afraid of his going to England, upon my own account. He presently came to me & expressed his sollicitude upon this occasion chiefly upon two points; his unwillingness to leave his children in a time of Sickness, & his doubt of the propriety of leaving the Province without a licence first obtained. As to the latter I told him that I could neither relieve him nor advise him; that I could not find by my instructions that I had any power to give or refuse him leave of absence; that in consenting to his election I did not mean to charge myself with giving him leave of absence; that I could not persuade or diswade him to go to England without leave, as the question would depend upon the opinion of I did not know who, influenced by the Sentiments wch Shd. be then adopted of the businesses he was to sollicit. He said, he should be very glad to get rid of this appointment if he could get it transferred to you. I told him I should like it very well, if it could be done by a previous compromise with his opponents; but that I desired that your name should ^not^ be brought into question unless there was a moral certainty that it would be treated with proper respect; by which I did not mean but that all possible Civility towards you would be professed; yet I apprehended that the Settlement of the four Townships being one of the businesses for which this special Agent was designed, it would be urged that you could not be charged with that business; and therefore the Commission would be defective:8 but the Lieut Govr. finding it irreconcilable to himself to depart from hence without leave, gave for Answer that he thought that a good Special Agent might be obtained in England at much less expence than one from hence: but as he thought his Services were due to the Province in any manner they should expect direct, he would undertake the Office they had appointed him to, if they would allow him the necessary time which his public Offices as well as his private business required, which he fixed at 4 months. This coming before the house, after a long & warm debate, it was resolved by 39 against 33 that he be excused. This Vote being carried up to the Council , it was noncurred and there it remains for another Session or another Assembly to take it up.9 This is the best end that could have happened to this affair: for if it had not met with these difficulties, the manner of carrying it into execution would have defeated it. For as the House thinned, the friends of the Lt. Governor decreasd faster than his opponents, as you may perceive by the comparison of the Votes at different times: & therefore he would not have been able to have obtained such an appointment as would have justifyed him in quitting his Station here. So, upon the whole, this Affair has as good an end as it could have had; if indeed it is ended: for I am just told that an attempt has been made this afternoon to reasume10 the Matter in the house, but it failed.

    There is a long letter of instructions prepared for the Agent to oppose the continuing the Melasses bill & to solicit an allowance of importing Wine Oyl & fruits from Portugal Spain & the Streights by Vessells carrying fish thither.11 They desired to consult you as Council to the Province & to request your concurrence as Agent for Connecticut. It is attended [by?]12 a state of the Trade drawn up by some Merchants of Boston.13 There is an instruction to remonstrate against the Parliament raising money in America to keep a body of Troops for the general defence of the Country; in which the chief Argument is that the Colonies have allways been & are still ready to raise & maintain any forces that are necessary for that purpose. And yet this very Assembly in the same Session have refused to supply Genl. Gage with 700 Men to enable him effectually to suppress the Indian insurrection; & thereby have afforded a full confutation of their own Argument. I shall send you Coppys of these papers, if they can be got ready by this Vessell: you will observe in the news papers enclosed the beginning of an Essay upon the Trade &c; I will send you the continuation of it as it comes out.

    The Assembly has passed the grants of the other 6 Townships on the East side of Penobscot being the other part of the 12 Townships first mentioned.14 They will be sent home as soon as they can be got ready. I was asked by one of the Agents for them what money would be necessary to send home for the charge of confirmation. I told him that I did not know what the charge would be, but expected to hear soon; in the mean time I advised them to raise 2 dollars a right that is £162 Sterg. in the whole. The Assembly has also ordered the inland Country within these Township15 & all the Islands upon the Coast of them to be surveyed & notice to be given that all provincial officers who have served in the late War may apply for Settlements there.16 They have also augmented the Garrisons of Fort Pownall & Fort Halifax in the fullest manner I could desire, & have granted me two ranging parties to explore the Country between Sagadehock Coast & St Lawrence river.17 In short (excepting the refusal of men for the Indian War, which was carried only by a Majority of two & was influenced by a concurrence of many prejudicial Circumstances) the Assembly during the ^whole^ Session has acted with uncommon Spirit Generosity & Moderation.

    I shall send with this the continuation of the Essay I mentioned;18 it first appeared in the Providence paper & is now supposed to be wrote by Govr Hopkins. I have wrong notion of that Gentleman if he is the Author of that paper.19 I shall also send with this a Copy of the letter to the Agent. But I cant get a Copy of the State of the trade: it is in the press; but not yet come out. This will go tomorrow ^Feb 7.^ (if the Wind serves) by the Brig Bristol packet for Bristol. Another Brig will sail for London about the end of this Week by whom I shall write to Secry Pownall.20 I am

    R Jackson Esqr

    The payment of the money for binding the books has been sent some time ago21

    AL, LbC BP, 3: 123-127.