329 | To the Earl of Halifax

    Boston, Decr. 29, 1764.

    My Lord

    Since I have wrote my letter of Decr. 7th,1 & before I sent ^the duplicate^ away, Mr Temple has given such a strong instance of his resolution to maintain his system, to exclude myself & all Governors from having any concern with matters of trade, but I can not excuse myself giving this additional information to your Lordship.

    Above a week ago, Mr Hollowell, Comptroller of this Port,2 seized 25 hogsheads of Molasses for not having paid duties; & soon after informed me of what he had done. I gave him my Opinion that the goods were not forfeited: but as the Matter was very doubtful, I left him to prosecute or not, as he should see cause. On Saturday Decr. 22 he was with the Surveyor general to advise with him upon this Matter: The Conversation went on cool & civil till Mr Hallowell mentioned that he had advised with me about the Affair. Upon which the Survr. genl flew into a violent passion, & asked him what he meant by consulting with the Governor about trade? Mr Hallowell urged that it was his duty as an Officer so to do; and that the Governor having been allways very kind & friendly to him, It would least of all become him to be wanting in respect to the Governor. The Survr. genl. said he would give him enough of being a friend to the Governor; he would so employ him, that he should be weary of his office; he would send him 3 times a week down to the Castle to watch Vessels coming in: (the Winter was set in with its usual Severity) and there, continued he, is that fellow Hale3 (the Collector) he is the Governors friend too: but I will make him sick of his office; I will send him to the lighthouse (9 miles down the bay) twice a week. As his passion workt itself up, & his reason, as usual, forsook him, he abused Mr Hallowell very grossly, & said that he did not care for Governors; they were beneath his notice: he had eight Governors under him; and if he thought that he was not superior to them all, he would . . . .  . . .  . . . .4 with his Commission & quit his office directly. That he had more sense than all of them put together; if he had not he would cut his throat &c, &c.____ All this for an Officer’s having acquainted me with his having made a seizure & advising with me about it.

    On the Monday morning following, Mr Hale the Collector, went to the Survr. genl. about the same Affair; & vindicated Mr Hallowell, saying, that he was a very diligent & careful Officer, & added, that it would be impossible for them to go on with their business, if they were to be harasst by the Merchants on one side & the Survr. genl. on the other. Upon this The Survr genl flew into a passion, & abused Mr Hale, (a good inoffensive man & an excellent officer) very grossly, calling him Rascall, Scoundrell, &c. Mr Hale gave him back his own Words; The Survr. struck him; Hale returned it; & they were parted by Capt Bishop of the Fortune man of War, who happened to be in the room. After which The Survr. genl went to the Custom House, & in the presence of 20 persons waiting there on business, exercised his Authority & resentment against these Gentlemen; ordered Mr Hollowell to go on board a ship and see her unioned5 (the business of the common Waiters); took away from Mr Hale’s Deputy his Deputation & burnt it, saying he should do his business himself; lookt over the books, & said he had enough to suspend them both, & should do it; using all the while great rudeness of expression & behaviour, to the amazement of some of the Merchants & satisfaction of others, who promist themselves advantages from these discords.

    These Gentlemen were immediately advised to resent this usage, by making a formal complaint to me of Mr Temple’s Behaviour: and this Method was for some time in deliberation, but it gave way to a notion that it was an Affair of honour, & should be treated as such. Accordingly an Appointment was made:6 and I had a private Notice of it, just time enough to prevent their meeting by the interposition of Civil officers. However, as no kind of Satisfaction has been made them as I can learn, it is probable still that such a meeting may take place. I have talked to both these Gentlemen, & urged to them the impropriety of this kind of resentment, but I fear with little persuasion. I have also reminded them, that there was a satisfaction due to me for the Share I had in these insults; and that I had a right to require of them an Account of such parts of these transactions in which my Name & Authority had been abused & dishonoured. Mr Hale declared, that he would not say a Word or write a Line to hurt the Survr genl, unless he was obliged to do it by orders which he could not disobey. Mr Hallowell has not refused to give such an Account, but has hitherto declined doing it in form: however he has been so communicative in conversation, that I have been able to compose the foregoing Narrative with, I believe, little or no deviation from the truth. Both these Gentlemen profess a regard for me, & have declared that they believe that the ill treatment they have received from the Survr. genl. is owing, among other things, to the respect which they allways thought proper to show to me.

    I have thought it my duty to give your Lordship this Account of the present state of the Custom House; at the same time to show, how impossible it will be for me, under these disadvantages, to do, what is expected of me in regard to frauds of trade.

    I am, with the greatest Respect, My Lord, your Lordships most obedient & most humble Servant,

    The Right Honble, The Earl of Halifax.

    AL, RC CO 5/755, ff 205-208.