The Refusal to Rescind

    324. To William Bollan, 14 July [1768]

    325. To Richard Jackson, 14 July 1768

    326. To Unknown, 21 July 1768

    Thomas Hutchinson took very little notice of the famous Massachusetts Circular Letter when it first passed on 13 February. Perhaps he believed it to be not very different from other communications that had taken place between the colonies since the Stamp Act Congress. He had not reckoned, however, on the different personalities of Lords Shelburne and Hillsborough. Hillsborough interpreted the House’s action as the beginning of an intercolonial conspiracy to overturn acts of Parliament and demanded that the House of Representatives formally rescind the letter, something it refused to do, causing its dissolution by Governor Francis Bernard.

    324. To William Bollan

    14 July [1768]

    Dear Sir, I will not burden you with news papers. You will see them at the Coffee house & find in them Ld Hilsboroughs Letter, the Gov’s messages & the Answer of the H & an account of the dissolution of the Gen Court.1 Upon the question for rescinding the Acts of the former H relative to their circular Letter 92 were against it & 17 for it. The 17 really discoverd great integrity in refusing to follow the general run of the Country for I know of no personal interest which could bear them. The Comissioners of the Customs except Mr Temple are still shut up in the Castle which is surrounded with the Romney the Beaver & Senegal & two Cutters & the Fowey is every day expected.2 There were rumors of extravagant words, that the Castle might be taken & an express was sent after me to Piscat. which occasioned my return to Boston. I could not conceive it possible for any person ever to have had a serious thought of such an attempt & convinced the G. that I had better proceed to Casco bay on the Circuit than to remain in Town & with his consent I went immediately back again.3

    What the Parl. will do with us I cannot [MS blotted]. I do not love to form any conjecture about it. I dread the thoughts of a military government. I know by experience that it is miserable to be without government. If I was capable of suggesting an expedient it would be unsafe to do it. With the greatest caution something may transpire. If that should be the case there is no protection. The Answers of some of the Colonies particularly of Virginia & Maryland4 keep up the spirits of our Demagogues & I am told that Adams & Cooper say it is the most glorious day they ever saw.5 We have good people in every town who lament for the Country but the frenzy has seized more or less of the people in all parts of the province. I have endeavoured to undecieve them in charges to the several G Juries & I have escaped hitherto with no other punishment than the nickname of the shining Preacher.6

    I doubt whether the Town of B. will be easy until the G. receives directions from Engd relative to the calling a new Assembly. If they should push him & he should refuse I fear the consequences. I am Dear Sir Sincerely Yours

    P.S. I have observed that the H is sick of their Agent.7 You stand in a favorable light but your Accounts are in the way. If you would balance accounts I think they would be willing to begin anew. I do not know what your Sentiments will be. If in favour of such a proposal somebody should be authorized to adjust your accounts & give a discharge. It is possible the G may make a voyage to England not that he would oppose the motion but it cant be expected that he should be so hearty in forwarding it as I should.8 The Secretary & I sometimes talk upon it as feazable upon the terms [illegible]. He has a son in law goes in this ship (Mr Spooner) he will acquaint you with some conversation he has had here which looks the same way. His family connexions necessarily engage him in your Interest.9 When I mention somebodys being authorized I do not mean myself. I believe Goffe would be a properer person & that I should be of more service without such an authority than with it.10

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:314–15); at head of letter, “Bollan”; partially dated.

    325. To Richard Jackson

    Boston 14 July 1768

    My dear Sir, The H. having refused to comply with His Majestys directions for rescinding the Acts of the last Assembly & in their Message to the G having given their Reasons for their Refusal he immediately prorogued & in a day or two after dissolved the Court.1 They have followed the Example of their Hero Mr Wilkes & suppose the K orders signified by the Secr. of St. to be the meer Act of the minister. The majority was great 92 to 17 but it is easy to suppose that many of the 92 were afraid to act their judgment. The Commissioners 4 of them are still shut up in the Castle guarded by the Romney & 3 or 4 smaller Vessels of War.2 There were Rumors of extravagant words, that the Castle might be taken & an Express was sent after me as far as Exeter in N Hampshire to Require my immediate Return to Boston. I could not think it possible for any person to have had a serious thought of such an attempt & convinced the G that it was best for me to proceed to my business on the East Circuit as my remaining in Town must cause [some] great speculation.3 Mobs which may vent their Rage upon persons obnoxious for not thinking as they do we are exposed to but I cannot think it possible that any of the people should be so mad as to take up Arms to conquer the K. forts or oppose any of his forces. What you will do with us I dare not conjecture. Whatever measures you may take to maintain the Authority of Parliament give me leave to pray they may be accompanied with a declaration that it is not the intention of Parlt. to deprive the Colonies of their subordinate power of Legislation nor to exercise the supreme legislative power except in such cases & upon such occasions as an equitable Regard to the Interest of the whole Empire shall make it necessary. I know this would have no effect upon our Incendiaries but it would upon the body of the people. My hopes of Tranquility have been confined to one plan that we should be convinced the Parlt. will not give up their authority & then find by experience that it is exercised in the same gentle tender manner that a Parent exercises his authority over his children.4

    I am told there is no personal prejudice against me. If there was & I could be convinced that by Relinquishing every thing I enjoy or have any Reason to hope for in the Government I could contribute to this Tranquility I would not hesitate a moment. If I had been in Council I should probably have been able to prevent a pitiful performance in form of an Address to His M. which the G transmits by this ship.5 It is the very picture of the 2d branch of the Constit. The first part of the Address discovers their dependence upon the H of R. & the conclusion shews they are Restrained from uttering their full Sentiments by their dependance upon the Crown.

    The government never was so tyrannical even under Dudley & Andros in the Reign of K James as it is at present.6 No body dares write any thing contrary to the prevailing principles & some give out that it is time for every man to be open & declare his principles. A little Anecdote will shew you in whose hands the Authority lies. Ten days or a fortnight ago a Sloop & about 30 Cask of Molasses were seized for a false entry. The seizure remained secure under guard of a Waiter or two for a week or more. At length a number of men came on board in the night confined the Waiters & carried off the Molosses. It had been the general cry upon the seizure of Hancocks Vessel that it was the bad conduct of the Officers in unnecessarily Removing her to the Man of War which caused a Mob & that she might have Remained secure without any danger of a Rescue. Upon this Rescue the Custom h. Officers urged that it was evident that what had been done before was no more than a necessary security. The Selectmen of the Town finding what use would be made of it interposed their Authority & by some means or other obliged or prevailed upon the Owner of the seized Vessel to Return all the Molosses on board again the next day after it had been Rescued.7 I dont know that all the authority of the Government besides could have effected the same thing. This is Dominatio plebis.8 My Letters may save you the trouble of perusing Newspapers. I am with great truth Sir Your most humble & Obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:313–14); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson.”

    326. To Unknown

    Boston 21 July 1768

    Dear Sir, My absence from town when some of our last ships sailed made it impracticable for me to acquaint you with some remarkable occurrences. The Gov laid before the Assembly first a part & afterwards the whole of a Letter from Ld Hilsboro signifying his M expectation that they should rescind the Acts of the last Assembly relative to a circular letter &c.1 I never expected a compliance but whilst the matter was under consideration an answer was received from Virginia very high & another from the Jersies not unfavorable & they had intelligence that they might expect the like from other Assemblies.2 This increased the majority against rescinding & 17 only were in favor of it & 92 against it. The leaders of the party have not the most extensive knowledge of Affairs but they must be surprizingly ignorant of the Brit Government to suppose the Kings orders signified by His Sec of State to be the meer acts of the Minister & yet they treat them as such in their answer to the G. Most of the 17 Members will lose the favour of their Towns & the G having dissolved the Assembly if he should call another has no reason to expect a better. He will wait therefore until he has further directions.

    The people seem to me in a state of absolute dementation. Some of all orders, not many, disapprove the late measures but in general it is supposed that all we have done is quite regular & the Commissioners of the Cust. who are still confined at the Castle ought not to return to Town & no resentment will be shewn but it will appear to the Parl. that the appointment of those Officers was unnecessary. I have endeavoured to convince the people thro the province that they are making work for repentance but to no purpose. We shall continue in this state until news arrives of what we are to expect from England. The first effect of this news & the influence it will have upon peoples minds whether to bring them to a more proper temper & less offensive conduct or to produce something more extravagant than we have yet seen no man alive can determine.

    We have not been without whispers that if any forces should come the Country would all come in upon an alarm to be made in Boston. This would be something beyond madness it self & I cannot bring my self to believe that any number of people worth regarding have ever had a serious thought of this sort or would dare fire a gun upon the Kings forces. The G. seemed to be under some apprehensions for the Castle & sent an Express for me when I was upon the Circuit but I convincd him that it would have an ill effect to detain me from that business for what the people would call a groundless fear & he readily consented to my return.3

    We had a small disturbance last week. Williams one of the Inspectors was absent when the Commissioners were to the Castle.4 He came to Boston about 8 days ago. As soon as it was known a large number of people, several hundreds gathered about his house in the evning & required him to resign his post. He told them he should not do it. They then required him to meet them at the Tree of Liberty the next day. He refused that but said he would be upon Change & they soon after dispersed. He went the next day upon Change where there was a great multitude & by advice of my brother he went into the Town house & spoke to the people from the Balcony & told them if any body had any thing to say to him he was ready to hear them. One drunken fellow called to him by abusive names but he was silenced & after a short time nobody making any demand of him he withdrew & the mob dispersed to the disappointment of Otis & others of his disposition. This ill success caused those who call themselves sons of liberty to disown the measure tho the same persons who were at the pulling down my house who carried the Secretary to the Tree who assembled under the same tree after the Commissioners had withdrawn & who afterwards made part of a legal town meeting & addressed the Gov. were present on this occasion & an infamous Doctor Young who was of his Towns Comittee to wait on the Gov. attempted at this time to stir up a Tumult but was disappointed.5

    I fear you have in England a very difficult Task to retain the Colonies in a due subordination & at the same time to continue the benefit you receive from their commerce. It will not do to drive them to despair. It will not do to leave them to the loose principles espoused by so many both of Clergy & Laity viz. that they are subject to Laws so far as shall appear to them to be equitable & no farther. This Doctrine was preached at the last Election of Counsellors. I attempted to convince the Parson the next day that no Government could subsist upon these principles.6 I do not find it in his printed Sermon. I am Sir Your most Obedient humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:315–16); unaddressed.

    327. To Mr. Grant1

    Boston 27 July 1768

    Dear Sir, I have been absent from Town a great part of the spring & summer which I hope will be some excuse for delaying my acknowledgment of your last favor with the two Lawbooks a present from my esteemed friend Mr Belcher.2 Please to present my compliments to him. I wish I had it in my power to send him a new Edition of our Laws Revised and amended agreeable to the Repeated Recommendations of the Ministry. We once went so far as to appoint a Comittee for that purpose3 & if our Constitution should continue I think it not impossible one day to obtain it. If ever it should be engaged in I see already in several of your Laws improvement made upon ours which it would be advisable to copy after.

    We have been in a frenzy for 6 or 7 weeks without any lucid intervals. Four of the Commissioners of the Customs thought themselves in danger & took shelter in the Castle.4 Some people were so foolish as to say they might be taken from thence & we have had the Castle surrounded ever since with Men of War. We have rash people among us but an attempt upon the Castle would be the most consummate piece of Quixotism and mad as we are I cannot think we are mad enough for it if there had not been a Man of War in America. Mobs a sort of them at least are constitutional and we have reason enough to fear Mobs & our misfortune is that the authority of government is so weak that we are not able to check them when they rise but are forced to leave them to their natural course. We cannot continue a great while in this state. Government must be aided from without or else it must intirely subside & suffer Anarchy to rise in its place & reign as long as it is possible to be born without controul.

    I have a Warrant under His Majestys sign manual upon the Commissioners of the Customs for the payment of 200£ sterl. per annum in addition to the Salary granted me by the Province as Chief Justice.5 I wish it had been delayed until an arrangement had been made of the Salaries of other Officers and if that is never to be done I should have been content to have shared in the common fate. I begin to think we should invert the old proverbial expression & say it is better to be pitied than envied. I am not certain what use I shall make of it not having yet receivd anything upon it. My last Letters from Lond. are of the 24. May. The Parl. was adjourned over Whitsontide to the 2d of June. Wilks remaind in prison filling the papers my friend says every day with stories not one of which is true & yet nobody gives themselves the trouble to contradict them.6 Some people who would be in prison here if their Creditors were not very merciful to them do the same thing every week with us7 & I will not say nobody will give themselves the trouble but nobody dares contradict them. I am Sir Your most Obedient Servant,

    I pray you would be so good as to forward the two inclosed Letters by first good opportunity to London or any part of England if no opportunity in 3 or 4 weeks after you receive them please to return them to me under a cover.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:317); at head of letter, “Mr Grant Halifax.” Enclosures not found.

    328. To [Thomas Whately]

    Boston August 1768

    Sir, It is very necessary other information should be had in England of the present state of the Commissioners of the Customs than what common fame will bring to you or what you will receive from most of the Letters which go from hence, people in general being prejudiced by many false reports and misrepresentations concerning them. Seven eights of the people of the Country suppose the board itself to bee unconstitutional & cannot be undeceived & be brought to beleive that a Board has existed in England all this century & that the board established here has no new powers given to it. Our Incendiaries know it but they industriously and very wickedly publish the contrary. As much pains has been taken to prejudice the Country against the persons of the Commissioners and their Characters have been misrepresented & Cruelly treated especially since their confinement at the Castle where they are not so likely to hear what is said of them and are not able to Confute it. It is now pretended they need not to have with drawn that Mr Williams had stood his ground without any injury although the Mob beset his house &c.1 There never was that spirit raised against the under officers as against the Commissioners, I mean four of them.2 They had a publick affront offered them by the Town of Boston who refused to give the use of their Hall for a publick dinner unless it was stipulated that the Commissioners should not be invited.3 An affront of the same nature at the motion of Mr Hancock was offered by a Company of Cadets. Soon after a Vessel of Mr Hancocks being seized the Officers were mobbed & the Commissioners were informed they we[re] threatned. I own I was in pain for them. I do not believe if the mob had seized them, there was any authority able & willing to have rescued them.

    After they had withdrawn the Town signified to the Governor by a message that it was expected or desired they should not return. It was then the general voice that it would not be safe for them to return. After all this the Sons of Liberty say they deserted or abdicated.

    The other Officers of the Customs in general either did not leave the Town or soon returned to it. Some of them seem to be discontented with the Commissioners. Great pains have been taken to increase the discontent. Their office by this means is rendered extremely burdensome. Every thing they do is found fault with & yet the4 particular illegality or even irregurality mentioned. There is too much hauteur some of their Officers say in the treatment they receive. They say they treat their Officers as the Commissioners treat their Officers in England and require no greater deference. After all it is not the persons but the Officers of the Comissioners which has raised their spirit and the distinction made between the Commissioners is because it has been given out that four of them were in favour of the new establishment and the fifth was not.5 If Mr Hallowell arrived safe he will ^can^ inform you on any circumstances relative to this distinction which I very willingly excuse myself from mentioning.6

    I know of no burden brought upon the fair trade7 by the new establishment. The illicit trade8 finds the risque greater than it used to be especially in the port where the board is constantly held. Another circumstance which increases the prejudice is this the new Duties hapned to take place just about the time the Commissioners arrived people have absurdly connected the Duties and board of Comissioners and suppose we should have ^no duties if there^ had been no Board9 to have the charge of collecting them.

    With all the Aid you can give to the Officers of the Crown they will have enough to do to maintain the authority of Government & to carry the Laws in to execution. If they are discountenanced, neglected or fail of support from you they must submit to every thing the present Opposers of Government think fit to require of them.

    There is no Office under greater discouragement than that of the Commissioners. Some of my friends recommended me to the Ministry.10 I think my self very happy I am not one. Indeed it would have been incompatible with my post of Chief Justice place ^which I prefer if there was no other Emolument^ than the small pittance11 allowed by the Province.

    From my acquaintance with the Commissioners I have conceived a personal esteem for them but my chief inducement to make this representation to you is a regard to the publick interest which I am sure will suffer if the opposition carry their point against them. I am with great esteem Sir Your most obedient humble Servant,

    Aug 10. Yesterday at a meeting of the Merchants it was agreed to give12 no more orders for goods from England nor receive any upon Comission until the late Acts are repealed. And it is said all except 16 in Town have subscribed in engagement of that Tenor.13 I hope the subscription will be printed that I may transmit it to you.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:318–20); in WSH’s hand, with a postscript in TH’s hand; unaddressed but almost certainly written to Whately, as are many of the letters printed in Letters Sent to Great-Britain. Contemporary printing: Letters Sent to Great-Britain, pp. 5–8.

    329. To Unknown1

    Milton 5 August [1768]

    Dear Sir, Yesterday I was at Cambridge. Goffe is very desirous the Court should sit only two or three days to impanell the Juries receive Bills & make up judgments upon Complaints and then adjourn to November.2 To day I saw Auchmuty.3 He is very desirous of going with Miss Cradock to Halifax and for that reason wishes the Court may adjourn. He thinks there will not be business to take up the second week. I asked why he could not stay until it was over. Because it will be too late in the Fall when he returns. I told him as to any thing personal I was indifferent my doubt was whether the County would like it. He says the Bar are for it. I told him I would write to my brethren & let him know their minds as far as I could collect them. Send me yours as soon as you have opportunity.

    For news I refer you to Edes and Gill. I am grown callous and all they say about me makes no impression. Otis and the two Adams, Cooper & Church go regularly every Saturday in the afternoon to set the Press.4 They all profess a great friendship for me. I wish the whole Court were Pensioners that they might share part of the Obloquy. Though I would not wish it if I thought you would have any objection. The Governor told me a day or two ago that he is going to spend about a month at Brookfield while his Lady drinks the waters.5 This will afford a fine Subject for Edes & Gill. If Troops should come which he protests he does not expect I shall have no business with them for he will be within the Province. The Council have a great Secret. So have the Free masons.6 Yours sincerely,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Grenville H. Norcross Autograph Collection); unaddressed; partially dated.

    330. To Unknown1

    Boston 8. Aug 1768

    Dear Sir, I thank you for your favour of 24. May. I have wrote you before upon the subject of the L Gov.’s right to a seat in Council. The case was stated & printed & many copies sent to England.2 The H. gave only an evasive answer. They expected the Ministry to assert the right against them but that was given up as many points have been before until the whole authority of government is fallen into the H of R. The intention of the Charter was that there should be a C of 30 the LG & the S. for the time being to be always two & 28 to be chosen in manner as directed. The clause in the Charter without any torture admits of this construction. This construction was put upon it the first year. Whether any ambiguity in the clause caused them to elect the LG & S the next year does not appear. Possibly it might be thot more Respectful.

    One would think the state of America was eno to unite all parties in England to secure its connexion. I cant but [think] such an infamous Boulefeu is himself before this time extinguished.3

    We cannot subsist much longer. Our Relation to you must be ascertained. We rise higher & higher in our principles of independence. I tell the party sometimes they had better go thorough stitch & reassume their first Charter which they say was illegally vacated.

    I dare not suggest any measure to restore us to a state of government. Prudence must accompany firmness & Resolution. I will venture to suggest what I am sure will not do. A Test was once proposed in the H of Commons for all persons in Office in the Colonies.4 This would infallibly make the people desperate.5

    The most interesting subject in this Colony at present is the condition of the Commissioners of the Customs four of them being still shut up in the Castle. The Enemies to Government are endeavouring to make a breach between them & their Under Officers some of whom, to say the best, are imprudent & bring to Town every thing which passes at the Board.6 The aim of the party is to break up the whole Board & some dont scruple to say that when its known in Eng. how disagreeable the new establishment is to the people the Customs will be Reduced to their old form & Surveyors Gen restored to their former Districts. I suspect a multitude of Complaints are gone home. I am satisfied the vigilance of the Commissioners in carrying the acts of trade into execution is the cause of all. I know of nothing they have been charged with even by common fame except taking too much state upon them which if true is venial & I suppose agreeable to the practice of the Board in Engd. with which Mr Hulton was acquainted.7

    They have been too much slighted by the gentlemen of the Town & the Council in particular. We are generally very civil in entertaining strangers, which makes this neglect more conspicuous. I visit them once in a few days & they have ventured once to my house in the Country which is the only place upon the Main where they have been since they first went to Castle Island. I really pity them & if I had the offer of a place at their board & it was not incompatible with the place of Chief Justice I should desire to be excused. I do not think if no body else should give a just Representation of their case (I believe very few will do it) that the idle stories which are sent from hence could make any impressions upon the Ministry. If the Officers of the C. are not supported in England they certainly will be trampled upon here. Colden’s being neglected gave great encouragement to the opposers of government & he is now in disgrace for being one of the most steady supporters of Parliamentary authority & the party who opposed him when he was in the Administration triumph over him.8

    I know from Ld H_____ character we are in no danger whilst he continues the Minister for America but we have been so used to changes that we are always expecting them.9

    I wait with impatience to hear how you Received the news of the expulsion of the Commissioners. I wish a way could be found to call to account the principal Criminals some of whom sin directly against the light of their own Consciences & that the body of the people who are misled & deluded might escape but this I despair of. I am Sir Your most Obedient humble,

    Aug. 10. Last evening the Merchants of Boston met & near 200 (two thirds of them Shopkeepers or such as have not imported Goods) subscribed an engagement not to import any more Eng. Goods until the Revenue Acts are Repealed.10 The names of 16 only are handed about who refuse to subscribe.11 I hope they will print their proceedings. If the Parliament take no notice of them I think they never will of any thing. These measures are advised to & pressed by men who call themselves Lawyers, not in this only but the other Colonies. Certainly if the Law had its course there could be no need of a new Act of P. further than meerly declaratory to enlarge ^increase^ the penalty of the Offence.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:320–22); unaddressed.

    331. From Robert Auchmuty

    Sept. 14, 1768.

    Sir, The great esteem I have for you in every point of light, perhaps renders my fears and doubts for the safety of your person greater than they ought to be; however if that is an error it certainly results from true friendship, naturally jealous. Last night I was informed by a gentleman of my acquaintance, who had his information from one intimate with and knowing to the infernal purposes of the sons of liberty as they falsely stile themselves, that he verily believ’d, from the terrible threats and menaces by those catalines against you, that your life is greatly in danger.1 This informant I know is under obligations to you and is a man of veracity. He express’d himself with concern for you, and the gentleman acquainting me with this horrid circumstance, assured me he was very uneasy till you had notice. I should have done myself the honor of waiting on you but am necessarily prevented. The duty I owed to you as a friend and to the public as a member of society, would not suffer me to rest till I had put your honor upon your guard; for tho’ this may be a false alarm, nothing would have given me greater pain, if any accident had happen’d, and I had been silent. If possible, I will see you to morrow, and let you know further into this black affair. And am with the sincerest friendship and respect, your honors most obedient and most humble servant,

    Rob. Auchmuty

    Printed in Letters Sent to Great-Britain, p. 13; at foot of letter, “To the honble Thomas Hutchinson.”

    332. To the Commissioners of the Customs (Charles Paxton, Henry Hulton, William Burch, and John Robinson)

    Milton, 17th Sep. 1768

    Gentlemen,1 About six or eight Weeks ago Mr. Sewall acquainted me that Letters or Memorials had been sent from the Commissioners of the Customs to the Lords of The Treasury, representing him as a person very unfit for the place of Advocate General and praying that he might be removed.2 He said he received his information in such manner that he could not well doubt of the truth of it. He added that he was not consious of any unfaithfulness, he had acted in every affair according to the best of his Judgment and he thought himself very unfortunate in having such representations made against him without being heard or having any opportunity of exculpating himself.

    Mr. Sewall bears an exceeding good Character in the Province especially among the Friends to Government.3 That Goverment might not suffer by discord or Jealousies I took the first opportunity to acquaint one, or more of the Commissioners with what I had heard. They express’d the greatest surprize and offered to give me Copies of all they had ever wrote relative to Mr. Sewall, and soon after he informed me that the Governor had received such Copies and communicated them to him, but they were not satisfactory for he had received further information that the Letters or Memorials sent to the Lords of the Treasury were very different from those Copies or extracts.

    I let him know my opinion that he was imposed upon and abused, but he had so good an opinion of his informers, who he supposed to be actuated by mere friendship to him that he could not be satisfied.

    After this at your desire, I saw several letters, as they stand upon your Records, Copies of which, so far as they relate to Mr Sewall, you informed me had been sent to him, but I saw nothing which could give the least grounds for the information given him; and he has since let me know that he has received a Letter signed by all the Commissioners in which they declare that nothing had ever been wrote relating to him more than had been shewn to me and that he had also received a Letter or Certificate from the Secretary of your Honorable Board to the same purpose.4 Mr Sewall then made this Remark that it was the most Mysterious unaccountable affair that he had ever met with.

    I said but little to Mr Sewall concerning his discovering his informers knowing the Governor had discoursed with him upon that Subject. In general, I remember he seemed to think that he should Violate the Laws of Friendship in making such discovery untill he was fully convinced that the persons informing had wilfully misrepresented facts to him.

    You are pleased to desire that I would do you the Justice I think you deserve I do not know how to do it better than by the foregoing Narrative, I think you have done every thing to convince Mr Sewall of the falshoods of the Reports brought to him which could reasonably be expected from you and if the public service should Suffer it can in no degree be attributed to you. I am with great regard Gentlemen &ca. signed,

    Tho. Hutchinson

    SC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Winthrop Papers 27:233–35); in an unknown hand; at head of letter, “Copy of a Letter from Lieut. Governor Hutchinson to four of the Commissioners of the Customs dated Milton 17th. Sepr. 1768”; at foot of letter, “Honorable Charles Paxton, Hen Hulton, William Burch, & John Robinson.” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:277–78); heavily revised and obscured with tape; at foot of letter, “[Mr Paxton Mr Hulton Mr Burch Mr Robinson].”