331 | To Richard Jackson

    Boston Janr. 25th. 1765.

    Dr Sr

    With this you will receive a Commission to be Agent of this Province, which, what ever scruples you may have of your own, I must beg of you for my sake not to doubt of accepting. It was not indeed obtained with that unanimity which I could have wished: but I can assure you that through the whole contest your Name & character was treated with the utmost respect; and the opposition which was made to this apointment was the effect of the Divisions which none of these Governments are free from; & was really an opposition to me & not to you1

    About a week before the Assembly met I had a proposal made me, first privately & then in form, from the Boston seat (as the Members of this Town are called) that you & Mr. ^Isral^ Mauduit should be named for joint Agents; and if I approved of this, they & their party would Assist [me]2 & my friends in carrying it into execution: and they reminded me that this was my own proposal some time ago. I answered that indeed it was my proposal, with this qualification; that there should be a distinction of functions, made in the instructions, but not in the Commission; that you should be designed the Councellor & he the Sollicitor, & both of you be joint Agents. That this proposal was not accepted by them, & thereby was not only defeated at that time, but rendered less practicable now. That I had acquainted you with my making this proposal; and you had talked with Mr. Mauduit about it: but that he, I suppose, not having it recommended by his friends here was indifferent about it imagining perhaps there was no necessity for such a compromise. That accordingly he excepted to the distinction of functions & gave you reason to believe that such joint appointment would not be made agreeable to you. That the Affair was then dropt: & I heard nothing of it for near a year & a half. That upon this sudden proposal I could say nothing for want of time to consult you: that it was very probable you would not accept of such an Appointment; if that should happen, I should be defeated in my main purpose, which I had very much at Heart, to secure your service to the province in these difficult times: I should also be drawn in to promote another thing, which I never intended, the introducing a Gentleman into the Agency, who was set up in opposition to you, After I had, as I understood, been Assured, that your appointment to the Agency should meet with no difficulty, when Mr. Jasper Mauduit declined it. Therefore I could not consent to a joint appointment without being previously assured that it would have it’s full effect: but I had no objection to such a junction as was proposed if it could be made agreeable to you; and therefore, if they would agree to your being appointed Sole Agent in the first instance, I would recommend to you the Associatin[g],3 Mr. Is. Mauduit & would Assist the confirmation of it by the general Court. That if they really desired such an Association, this was certainly the best means to bring it about. __ This is the substance of what I said at several times: & my last proposals being rejected, We broke off all Conferences & prepared for war __

    As this was a contest between the Government and the Opposition, My first Care was to prevent the friends of the former being divided. I knew that a Majority of the Court was for sending the Lieut Govr. either as a standing or special Agent, which he pleased. He never proposed accepting the former, as that must vacate his Offices here, Lt. Govr., Ch Justice Judge of probates & Captain of the Castle,4 which besides their dignity are worth at least 400 pounds sterling a Year. He could not go as special agent without incurring the displeasure of Lord H, from whom he had asked & had not obtained leave, I therefore told the Lieut Govr. that if he could see his way clear to accept of an appointment, you should not be opposed to him; as I was assured that you had rather see him in England than a Commission for your self. He said he could not possibly undertake it & should take the utmost pains that his friends should Vote for you. My next step was to engage Mr. Bollan’s friend[s,] whose name had lately been mentioned for a new appointment. I therefore talked with the Attorney General Mr. Trowbridge,5 who having taken two days to consult with Mr. Bollan’s friends, declared that they should not set him up but should join to support your intrest. After this I had another Candidate to remove from the friends of Government. It was given out industriously, that it was not right policy to choose one person to be agent for many Provinces Governments: that it would be for the advantage of America to have divers Agents, & thereby obtain an accumulation of intrests & connexions. This was plausibly reced. & Sr. William Baker was named among the friends of Governmt., as a person that was like to be agreeable to you as an Associate in the Common cause. But this was got over by an Assurance that Sr. William Baker above a year ago declared that he could not accept such an appointment: and it appeared plainly that this nomination would serve only to divide the friends of Government, & thereby open the door for Mr. Israel Mauduit. From hence the Question lay between you & Mr. Mauduit; or rather between those that had a confidence in the Government & those who treated it with suspicion.

    I was informed that both the Mauduits has recommended you to the Agency in letters to their Correspondents: but they were to be suppresst & not to be got at. However one Gentleman communicated to me an Extract of a Letter from Mr Is. Mauduit to him and also procured me an extract of a letter from Mr. Allen of Philadelphia6 to Dr. Mayhew much to your honour. The day before the Election an extract of another letter from Mr. Jas Mauduit to a Gentleman of Boston was procured & next day read in the House; and one of the Members of Boston7 was obliged, After some hours Altercation, to produce another letter of Mr. Jas Mauduit to him recommending you as most capable of defending their territorial rights & very fit to be trusted with their religious liberties. This last being brought out with so much reluctance cast a great charge of disingenuousness upon him & his party. I shall enclose copies of the three first extracts; the other I have not seen, nor know otherwise than by a report from them that heard it read.

    It happened unluckily for us that just before the meeting of the Assembly a great snow had fell by means of which the roads of the out parts of the province became impassible: this kept away above 20 Members of the House, three fourths of which were sure men of our side.8 The House gave as they thought, time enough for these to come in, by appointing the day fortnight of the first day of the Session to consider the Agents letters.9 The Boston seat tho’ seemingly united was really divided. One of them (Mr. Otis) being more inclined to you than Mr. M. Great Use had been made among the Country members of your being my friend; & it was inferred that in Case of any dispute between the Province & the Govr. (which they owned there was no prospect of at present) the Agent if he was appointed upon the Govrs. recommendation, would take the Govrs. part against the Province; & the Assembly could not remove him for want of the Govrs. consent. Upon the day appointed for the consideration, Mr. Otis moved that it should be considered whether the New Agent should be appointed for a limited or an unlimited time. This was Violently opposed by the other Boston Members: however it was carried, my friends in general Voting for it, that the New Agent should be appointed only for 3 years. This was an Overt act of Otis’s designing to Counterwork his Colleagues; as he thereby cut up by the roots their principal objection to the appointing a friend of the Govrs. for their Agent. When this was sent up, I took care to signify my approbation of it & it passed the Council unanimously. At the same time the House sent up a Vote to proceed to the election by joint ballot the next day in the afternoon. It was debated among my friends whether they should accept of the time or postpone it: we had 20 votes absent & sick: but We had no dependance upon the absent coming in, or that there would not be allways as many sick as there was then. It was judged that we were certainly strong enough to carry the Election & therefore it was judged not proper to put it off for a show of Numbers Only. Accordingly The Council agreed to having the Election at 4 o’clock P. M.10

    In the Afternoon there were found laid in the House some printed papers one of which I send you. This had no other effect than to occasion the resentment of candid men & a reproach upon the party for which such unfair Arts where practised: and was fully overballanced by the producing the two letters last mentioned. There were 108 voters taken which stood thus



    Lt. Govr.




    the two last were of those who did not choose to Vote on either side nor to appear absent. These are supposed to Divide11 Thus



    Lt. Govr.












    If the whole General Court had Voted, upon the best Scrutiny it is supposed you would have had 84 of 140, which is 35 of the whole, such is the strength of the present Government upon a trying Question. The recommending a Province agent is the most difficult work a Govr. can take in hand, as it Affords the best pretence to rouse the Jealousy of the People, with which some of the best men are tinctured, I could not have carried my point for a friend who depended wholly upon my recommendation: your Superiour Character, which the opposition never dared to attack, was the chief means of carrying it through.

    The appointing you standing Agent will not prevent but rather Assist the Lt. Govrs. coming home for a Winter or two, if any New Matter of Consequence, as I expect there will should arise: But he wont run the risk of forfeiting his Commission by going without leave. As for an Assistant, It is quite in your Breast whether you will choose Mr. Mauduit to be Associated to you. My Objection to him is that he has founded his intrest & Correspondence here entirely in the Opposition to Government: however if he came in by your favour, he might be brought into other Connections under your direction. I think it but fair to let you know the Conduct of him & his Brother upon your subject. if you do not choose him for an Associate I believe it would be better for the present to have no other than an Assistant of your own providing. It was objected in the House that you would not accept of the Agency unless you was provided with an Assistant: I caused it to be answered, that if you wanted an Assistant as certainly you would, most probably you would provide one yourself: that it would be time enough to talk of an Assistant, when you made a demand of one. This I must desire you not to do at present, nor at any time without consulting me. I should be sorry to lose the Victory we have gained: It is not often that I interfere with the business of the General Court so much as I have done in this: indeed I can’t be indifferent at anytime in the Appointment of the Agent.

    I have been more explicit upon this subject, to give you an Idea of the present state of our Political system. Other subjects I shall reserve for other opportunities.

    I should have mentioned that the Lt. Govr. took all possible pains for you.12

    I am Dr Sr. your most faithfull & obedt &c

    R. Jackson Esqr.

    P.S. Jan 27 Boston

    This morning a  9 o’clock Farenheits thermometer was 6 degrees below 013 the Wind being NWbW the sky clear & the sun bright. Tho’ the sun continued bright the thermometer at 1 o’clock was no higher than 8 For 4 winters past the thermometer was never below 0 but once & then at 3 ½. This Winter begun Earlier & with larger snows than Usual.

    L, LbC BP, 3: 277-283.

    James Otis Jr. By Joseph Blackburn. Courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library.