Nervous Collapse

    259. To William Bollan, 2 June 1767

    260. To [Richard Jackson], 2 June 1767

    261. To Israel Mauduit, 6 June 1767

    Only four letters are known to be extant for the period between late March and early June 1767. Beginning in December 1766, Thomas Hutchinson complained of dizzy spells, compounded by a severe cold and general malaise. In the spring, he adopted a regimen of riding as a form of moderate exercise, a course of treatment advised by his physicians. He also put aside all business and involvement in politics. Hutchinson’s friends attributed his undefined illness and abrupt change of energy and mood to the harsh treatment he had received in the press and from his enemies in the General Court during the winter. Governor Francis Bernard informed Richard Jackson in a letter dated 9 May that Hutchinson had “lately been ill to a degree alarming to himself.” See Papers of Francis Bernard, 3:359.

    259. To William Bollan

    Boston 2 June 1767

    Dear Sir, I have not heard from you a great while. This has not been the reason of my long neglecting to write to you. Either the long continued easterly winds the latter part of the winter & the first part of the spring or as some of my friends say the long continued ill-usage received from my country men affected my nerves to a greater degree than ever they had been before though they were always weak, and by advice of physcians I avoided all business for several weeks together Improved all opportunities of riding and I hope now am upon the borders of Health again.1 The party opposed to me increases in the general court. The Secretary & I obtained 50 votes each in 130 odd. Judge Oliver & Goffe made no show at all.2 A majority however declare they are attached to me but say it will not do to strengthen the prerogative interest in the general court.

    Their agent has buoyed them up with repeated assurances of their standing well with Lord Chatham Lord Shelburne &c. but I hear his last letters are not so encouraging and he advises now to moderation & prudence.3

    It is said the parliament was so near rising that nothing could be done relative to the colonies. I am at a loss when I consider the [fl]uctuating4 feeble state of the administration what [it] will or can do. I know hitherto no notice has been taken of those who have endeavoured to maintain order in the colonies and the promoter of all our confusions boasts that they stand better at home than their opponents.5

    Thirty years uninterrupted concern in publick affairs causes a hankering after them. I thought indeed, I was tired & that a reatreat would be agreable. But without business I am hip’d and it is to late for me to return to merchandize. The amusements [in] England supply the want of business. I am,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:238–39); in WSH’s hand; at foot of letter, “Wm Bollan”; addressed, “To William Bollan Esq. Gerrard Street London”; marked “By Cap. Binney” for ship transport.

    260. To [Richard Jackson]1

    Boston June 2d. 1767

    Dear Sir, I was seized with a nervous disorder five or six weeks ago, and although it was not very violent yet my physicians advised me to throw aside all business and consult nothing but my health. By moderate exercise I am pretty near recovered to my former state. My disorder has saved you some trouble and prevented me from acknowledging the kind favours received from you.

    My friends joke with me and tell me I attribute to a great cold and the obstructions thereby thrown upon my nerves, what is really owing to the mortification I feel from the slights and injuries offered me by my own country men and the neglect of administration in England. The former I believe has some influence but the latter can have but little for I have known courts too long to place any dependance [upon]2 favour there indeed I have been at a loss what could bee done for me that would bee any real benefit and there was any chance for my obtaining.3

    We are informed by letters from England from persons who pretend to be in the secret that a bill was prepairing by Lord Chatham and Lord Cambden which however would originate in the house of commons for regulating the governments in the colonies and that it would answer the purpose of preserving the authority of parliament and at the same time be satisfactory to the subjects in the colonies.4 This would be a happy measure indeed.

    We have a new assembly not better than the old. They rechose the six negatived counsellors of last year and left out colonel Williams almost the only supporter of government they had amongst them the governor again negatived five of the six the other Mr. Sparhawk behaved decently he accepted.5 He has certainly done right.

    The governor says he receives no directions from the ministry upon any points between him and the assembly which he communicates. It may be good policy not to interpose. To us here it seems to strengthen the opposers of government & cause them [to]6 suppose what they do is approved of.

    If in any points it is prudent to interpose it must bee in such as are peculiar to any particular colony and which will not engage the whole. I mean points such colony is manifestly departing from its constitution and powers are assumed by any branch which it has not right to and any other branch or member deprived of what they have always enjoyed.

    The agent of the house has for several months [pa]st in all his letters represented to them that their procedings [are] approved of and that they stand extremely well with [the] ministry,7 until the last ship when I hear he recommended [pru]dence and caution but the persons to whose hands the last [letter]s came chose to see the election finished before they made publick.

    Some affrontive messages will probably be sent to the governor which I suppose he will despise but nothing of more consequence is like to pass this sessions of the court.

    The Assembly have no less than 3 agencies upon their hands to settle.8 I will not justify their conduct with respect to either of them. They certainly have done themselves most dishonour in their treatment of you.

    I have given them a brief history of their ingratitude to agents in the 2d. part of my narrative which I hope to have finished in 3 or 4 weeks & I wish it may have some good effect.9 I am with the greatest esteem Sir Your obliged faithful servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:276, 278–79); in WSH’s hand except for the last two paragraphs, which are in TH’s hand; WSH’s many slips of the pen, copying errors that were undoubtedly due to carelessness, were silently emended; unaddressed.

    261. To Israel Mauduit

    Boston 6 June 1767

    Dear Sir, I am very much obliged to you for your kind letter of the [blank in MS]1 April and I think the whole province is obliged to you. The agent of the house Mr. Debert who I beleive to bee a worthy honest man has from time to time received bona verba2 from the ministry & fancied his constituents stood well with them, has wrote accordingly & by this means has encouraged them to go on in measures which must prove destructive to us, and he has wrote them lately that all the storm threatned at the first meeting of the parliament was like to blow over. In his last he advises to caution.3

    I communicated your letter to no person but the governor. He was glad to see it4 and said it gave us a better account of the state of affairs than any which had been sent this year & it was absolutely necessary it should be made publick. At first he urged the printing it. This is a freedom I do not approve of without leave of the writer & upon second thoughts he agreed with me & ordered copies to be taken & given to several of the members of both houses none of whom have any suspicion that I know of by whom or to whom the letter was wrote. In copying we omitted some personal touches which were the only objections to making it publick. I hope you will excuse my suffering this use to be made of it for I really believe it will do service & if it had arrived before the election of councellors I am assured it would have altered many votes.

    I am utterly at a loss what the measures are which you Refer to. If I thought those persons who are setting up for direct opposition to Acts of Parlt. were not pursuing their own popularity at the expense of the colonies themselves as well as the mother country & that they know it must prove destructive to both I could keep upon terms5 with them but I chuse to bear the full weight of their resentment rather than shew them any countenance and with respect to the obligations of the Colonists to submit to taxes laid by parliament I am silent although I really wish that no new attempt of the nature of the stamp act may be made but that rather that we may be tried by acts of a different nature the force of which has from the beginning been allowed and in the colonies; but it is too late, if it was safe to mention any particular instance the die is cast before this time and the parliament risen or rising.

    I have 30 years past deliver’d my sentiments freely and some times upon very unpopular points and yet have always obtained a majority of the province in my interest until the present year when I could obtain only 60 in a 130 & odd for a counsellor. This is owing to the junction of the father, who was negatived last year as a counsellor, with the son in the house of representatives and both of them made me their object and made every concession upon every other point provided they could take off every member from my interest.6 The way was prepared the last year by a vote of the two houses that the Lieut Gov had no right to be present in council if not elected although the first Lt Gov actually sat & voted as a counsellor when not elected and all his successors until my immediate predecessor had constantly sat in council tho not elected and he was excluded upon some private pique by Gov Belcher.7 This proceeding has been laid before the ministry by Gov Bernard but he has received no directions about it and the house infer that what they did was right.

    I am not insensible of slights & neglects but I should be more uneasy from a reflection upon any unwarrentable conduct to avoid them. My friends joke with me & tell me I stood the most violent storm that has ever been raised against any person in America with a good degree of fortitude but finding my self neglected on your side of the water as well this I have not been able to persevere, and this they would have the cause of a nervous disorder which I have been under for 6 or 7 weeks past, and which I attribute my self to crossing the water in a cold evening after 12 or 13 houres attending a very crowded capital trial.8 But I thank God my health is pretty well restored and my former state of mind with it.

    In three or four weeks the second volume of my history will bee out of press and I shall take first opportunity after of forwarding some of the books to my friends in England. I am with very great esteem Sir Your most obliged,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:183–85); in WSH’s hand, with numerous spelling errors that have been silently corrected.