375 | To Richard Jackson

    Castle William Aug: 24 1765

    Dear Sr

    You will be extremely concerned when you hear that there has been an insurrection at Boston upon Account of the Stamp Act; in which Mr Oliver’s Life was in the utmost danger, & his Estate suffered greatly, one building being entirely pulled down, & his dwelling house stormed & all the lower Part of it dismantled: this was on the Ev’ning of the 14 inst: The next Day Mr Oliver was obliged to treat with the heads of the mob (who, they say, are some of the principal Men in ^of the^ Town) for the ransom of his house & the Safety of his Life, which could be obtained by no other Means than by his engaging to resign the Stamp Office & never to act in it: and after this it was with difficulty that the Remains of his house were saved from final ruin on the ensuing Night. No one dares to disapprove of these proceedings: Who so does is in immediate Danger. Capt Hallowell’s new Elegant House was doomed to be pulled down on a certain Night which was but just prevented in time. The Common talk is that the Stamp Act shall never be executed here; the person that Offers to sell a Stamp will be immediately killed; and if any troops shall be sent hither they will be effectually Opposed. These & other Things of the same kind I continually hear, not as coming from a Mob, but from Sober discreet People, nay even from some of the Ministers of ^the Gospell^ Peace.

    Hitherto I have been Spared, no attack having been directly made upon me: Nay I have been allowed to issue a proclamation for apprehending the Offenders; but I have been given to understand, that If I should offer to carry my proclamation into execution or attempt to bring the insurgents to Justice, I shall soon become a Principal. This is no restraint upon me; for I have no Power to do anything of that Kind. I am a meer nominal Governor & must remain so untill I am instructed & strengthened from Home. And it is better I should continue here as such that1 by withdrawing myself to proclaim a Revolt. If I have any Power left It lies within this Castle; & I shall exert it to the utmost to preserve the Kings Stamps when they arrive: In which, as I have the Assistance of the Fortune Man of War, I hope I shall succeed. But if this Ship had not been lying here they must have been destroyed: even now it is said the Castle shall not protect them. But I hope they will think better before they commit so open an Act of Rebellion as attacking the Kings Castle, in which they must lose many Lives , if the Garrison Small as it is, does their Duty.

    It has  been my Opinion that the first thing to be done in America was to regulate support & Strengthen the Governments . The present Weakness of the American Governments is amazing; it would astonish foreigners, if it was known. In the Case of a Popular Tumult I can’t command ten men that can be depended upon; The Militia are worse than no Soldiers at all & there is not as I know of, a Corps of Regulars within 200 miles of me. Under such a disability of Government to send hither Ordinances for Execution which the People have publickly protested against as illegal & not binding upon them without first providing a power to enforce Obedience, is tempting them to revolt. They see that at present they have it in their power to choose whether they will submit to this Act or not, and having their Minds heated about the present they never look to the future; they see their own Goverment unable to resist them & therefore they conclude they shall be able to oppose the Power of Great Britain. A single Regiment would have prevented this Insurrection; possibly it may require many to reduce it. The People depend much upon their Example being followed in other Governments & expect they shall be supported by the generality of their own. I hope they will be deceived in both these Expectations: it must be left to Time to determine. After all It is a shocking Thing that British Troops should be employed against British Subjects: but the defection of the Colonies is a great Evil even to the Colonists. Hard is the War which a People shall wage, where it is their interest to be conquered & they are ruined, if they are not.

    I heartily wish that these Troubles may have a speedy & good End: but at present there is little prospect of it. The Dignity of Great Britain will require an absolute Submission; and these People are not at this Time disposed to it: great is the Triumph that a Naked & defenceless Government gives them No Opposition. God grant us better Times

      I am Dr Sr &c

    R Jackson Esqr:

    PS: I must

    L, LbC BP, 4: 18-20.