392 | To Thomas Gage

    Boston Sep 13.1 1765


    The Concern you have shown for the peace of this Town by sending Capt Sheriff to enquire into the State of it deserves my best acknowledgements. At present there is a considerable alteration in the humours of the people; and tho’, as the Cause of the late commotions is not removed, We may expect that it will some time or other produce similar effects; yet as the Town at present is in a tolerable state of tranquillity, I am willing to try the utmost to improve it to good purpose: and the more so, as I have appointed the Assembly to Sit at this Town in a fourtnights time, I am Very desirous that it may be kept in quiet, untill that time. Indeed the Power & Authority of Government is really at an End: but I am willing to content myself with the form of it, in hopes that in time the Peoples Eyes may be opened and their passions subside before the application of external force shall become necessary.

    For this purpose I have consented to the earnest & unanimous desire that I’d countermand the orders for raising Men to reinforce the garrison of the Castle:2 for which the following reasons have been given. 1 That the people appear to be Very differently disposed now than they were when the raising the Men was advised; there not appearing to be any intention to destroy the Stamps or attack the Castle at present, the dangerous Consequences of such attempts being more apparent now. 2 That this Measure has created great uneasiness in the people, they being Very jealous of the introduction of new forces of any kind; and if this uneasiness should so increase as to be active, it might occasion more danger to the Castle than the reinforcement would counterballance. 3 That as it is now known that the Stamps probably will not arrive ’till the Assembly is sitting, it will be best to leave to them to provide for their Security; otherwise they may take umbrage at seeing forces raised without their Authority for a service which has not commenced at the time of their sitting; and thereby a dissention might be introduced to the general Court at a time when unanimity is most needful. This last reason has great weight with me: for I desire nothing more than to charge the Assembly with the defence of the Stamps; for then the Province becomes formally answerable for them, and if the People should destroy them they must pay for them.

    These reasons also conclude against the introducing regular troops at this time; to which may be added one other very material. The introducing a single company to the Castle would certainly be made use of to inflame the Assembly; & I am particularly desirous that they ^should^ be as cool as may be. I have no great dependence upon my being able to prevail upon the Assembly to counterwork the Passions of the People. I am assured & I beleive that I shall not. But I shall be glad to have fair play & a clear stage that my endeavours for that purpose may be effectual as possible. Besides It seems to me, that if its possible to do without, troops should not be sent here, till there are sufficient Numbers of them. A small Force would irritate the people & not protect the Government. As I am now in all appearance safe in Boston, & I shall soon be able to charge the Assembly with the Care of the Stamps, I hope I shall be able to hold out, untill Orders come from England, which probably will be accompanied with forces. For I cant think that so Violent an Opposition to an Act of parliament can fail of meeting with general resentment there. For these reasons, I shall not at present forward the orders which you have favoured me with, but I shall write to Lord Colville by the Tryal,3 & give him an account of the present state of the Town & my own Situation, with advice of the letters you have favoured me with my reasons for not making use of them now.4

    I have been obliged by my engagements in making up dispatches for a Ship which sailed for England yesterday to detain Capt Sherrif to this day, which I have less scrupled to do, as no particular expedition is required. As for the Castle, he will give you some information of it & will inform you how you will receive a more particular Account.

    I am, with great regard, Sr Your most obedient & most humble Servant

    His Excellency Maj General Gage

    Fra Bernard

    ALS, RC Gage.