272 | To Lord Colvill

    Boston feb 21st 1764

    My Lord

    Your Letter inclosed to Judge Russell1 did no come2 to my hands ’till to day,3 Judge ^Mr.^ Russell not coming to town till this time. I readily take hold of an oppertunity of explain4 the principles upon which I acted, which in this Case as well as in many others, are very different, from those suggested by common reports.

    When Capt. Bishop seized the freemason, I was at the Castle & did not return to Boston ’till 3 day after. As soon as I came to the Province house I saw Capt. Bishop & the Advocate General,5 whom he had Consulted before I knew of the Seizure. I looked over the laws my self & it appeared manifest that she could be prosecuted upon no other Act than the 15th of Cha 2. And even then, it would be subject to this difficulty; that coming into a port with[out] disembarking any thing would ^might^ not be deemed an importation, so as to incur a forfeiture.

    The Merchants of this Town had long flattered themselves that there could be no importation to incur a forfeiture without breaking bulk. They had been drawn in this notion by ^the^ popular declamations of some Lawyers. On the other hand, Consider^ing^ that, if this was Law, the intent of some of the Laws of trade must be intirely defeated, I determined to take hold of the first oppertunity that offered, to try this Question. This Seizure was the first oppertunity and therefore I assisted this prosecution more earnestly & publicly than I ever did any other; as I thought it a Case very intresting to the Kings service. And the Advocate General  in his Arguements & the Judge of the Admiralty  in his decision have seen it in the same light & have shown great Zeal & Ability in the proceeding.6

    For a vindication of my right to a share of the seizure, I refer your Lordship to the inclosed writing, which I drew up soon after I was made acquainted with your dissatisfaction.7 I have been well informed, that soon after the late Act passed a Gentleman well acquainted with America8 told the Minister that the Act would have no effect here, as the mode of smuggling therein provided against was not in practice here. And it is probable that such suggestions were the occasion of arming the Captain[s?]9 with the powers of the Custom house.

    Whatever ^However well founded^ your Lordships pretensions may be, there is no occasion to set them in Opposition to the rights of the Govrs. The Kings share is still sufficient to answer your Lordships demand, & will also serve to reward the petty Officers & Crews of the ships, tho’ not so fully, as a Division under the new Act. The Kings share is entirely at the disposal of the Lords of the treasury: and it is very probable, that upon a proper application, they may order it to be so appropriated.

    I am with great regard My Lord your Lordships &

    The Rt. Honble Lord Colville

    P.S. Feb 27th. 1764

    I have just received your Lordships packet for the Admiralty.10 I expect to have an oppertunity to send it by a ship which will saill from Newbury this week. If this fails I will send it to New York next monday for the mail which will be made up the Saturday following. Mar 111 a p. s. signifying that I sent the packet to NYork & that I had then recd another with [Sign?] for Cap Bishop (delivd) Capt Lesley (put in post) & Govr Boone12 (to go by Sea)

    L, LbC BP, 3: 27-29.