The Caning of James Otis Jr.

    404. To Sir Francis Bernard, 5 September 1769

    405. To Lord Hillsborough, 6 September 1769

    406. To Sir Francis Bernard, 8 September 1769

    407. To [Richard Jackson], 8 September 1769

    408. To Sir Francis Bernard, 11 September [1769]

    409. To Lord Hillsborough, 11 September 1769

    410. To Alexander Mackay, 11 September 1769

    411. To Unknown, 11 September 1769

    The publication of the customs commissioners’ letters confirmed James Otis Jr. in his belief that the commissioners had blackened his name with authorities in England. Never the calmest of men, Otis demanded personal satisfaction from his alleged libelers. Two commissioners sidestepped the challenge, but John Robinson was only too happy to confront Otis in person. A fight broke out between the two men, and Robinson struck Otis on the head with his cane, causing serious injury. Otis had always been subject to depression and abrupt changes of mood, so it is difficult to evaluate the extent to which his injuries accelerated his decline in mental health.

    404. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 5 Sep. 1769

    No. 4

    My Dear Sir, The Copies of the Letters &c. from the H of Commons will give the Comissioners a great deal of trouble.1 After Mr Otis had threatned Mr Harrison with a prosecution he took Adams with him & went to all the Comissioners to desire a free conversation with them. He refused to enter any of their houses & proposed the Coffeehouse which they agreed to. Mr Burch met him first.2 He asked two or three improper questions about the papers come over in which he said he was reflected upon which questions Mr B. did not think proper to answer. He had but little to say to the others. Mr Hulton did not think proper to meet him & Mr Temple he has no difference with. B. had scarce got home when a servant came to the door & left this note “Mr B. I have reason to think & take occasion to tell you that you are a Poltroon & a Scoundrell J. Otis.” The Secretary of the Board being at Mr. B.’s & knowing he could not easily put up such an affront came immediately down to me to let me know the fact & his apprehension of the consequences.3 I sent for the Sheriff and wrote by him to Mr B. & insisted upon his engaging to take no notice of this affront until he could see me & consult how he could maintain his honour consistent with that duty which he owed to government telling him I had not the least doubt that O & A had contrived this whole affair to force him to a challenge & then expose him to the ignominy of a prosecution & sentence upon the Province Law or otherwise oblige him to quit the Province.4 I directed the Sheriff if Mr B refused this engagement to remain with him & to send a message to me that I might give further orders. Mr B. was satisfied I had given him good advice & complied with my desire. The Monday after O. published ^in E & G paper^ with his name to it a heap of Stuff about Mr Harrison & ^four of^ the Comissioners.5 The fifth I am told signed the Letter he complained of as well as the rest but is now one of his best friends.6 I expect some bad consequence from this affair. Such infamous abuses are intolerable & nothing but a regard to the interest of Government has restrained Mr B. from taking his satisfaction in a way which the Law will not allow.

    This anecdote will be more excusable because I have no occur[rences]7 in matters of Government to mention to you. I have never seen the Council since the day before the Rippon sailed & design to call them only when it is absolutely necessary. I am sure I can have no support from them in an attempt to suppress the proceedings of the Merchants. I would however have required their advice if I could have depended upon their secrecy, but upon talking with the Treas. he insists upon it that his Oath binds him only in such cases where the C. agree they will keep any matter secret.8 I intend to take an opportunity to ask them in Council what sense they have of their oath & if, when I have shewn them the absurdity of their construction of it viz that the Gov. must first lay a matter before them which he knows ought not to be made publick in order for them to determine whether they will keep it secret or not they notwithstanding persist in it I will have it made a matter of Record that it may go home & be laid before the Administration.

    Sept. 6.

    I went into the Country last night & upon coming to town this morning I hear of an affray last evening between Robins & Otis at the Coffeehouse & that the latter is much hurt.9 It seems one Gridly came in to O assistance & Mr Browne late of Beverly now of Virginia resented it & joined Robinson.10 Mr Browne does not appear to day the people being more enraged against him than against Robinson. I am not without apprehensions of further disturbance the general cry being that it is not the cause of Mr O. but the cause of the publick. I shall inclose the three last scandalous Chronicles part of which seems to be from the same Author with the Dialogue.11

    I am just now informed that Mr Browne after being concealed all day in an Officers room in the Coffeehouse was taken & carried in triumph to Faneuil hall where a number of Justices were ready to receive him & that he is laid under bonds to appear & answer at the Sessions or Assizes. I am Sir Your faithful & most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:372–73); at head of letter, “Sr Fr Bernard.”

    405. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 6 September 1769

    No. 3

    My Lord, In the present state of America I imagine it will be expected from me that I should very frequently write to your Lordship if it be only to acquaint you that all is well. Nothing of a publick nature has lately occurred. The copies of the Letters which have been transmitted from England have much inflamed the minds of the people.1 There have been some very illiberal publications in one of the Newspapers2 to affront the Commissioners of the Customs & others.3 An Affray between Mr Robinson one of the Commissioners and Mr. Otis, in which the latter is said to have been much hurt, has been the consequence and I am not without apprehensions of further disturbance.4

    I bear my self, and I endeavour to persuade the other servants of the Crown to bear, with patience every abuse that is offered, until Government is restored and the Law can have it’s course, but such indignities as have been offered are certainly very hard to bear. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect My Lord Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 194–95); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Boston 6. Sept. 1769. Lieut: Govr. Hutchinson (No. 3) Rx 2d. Novr.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:372); at foot of letter, “Lord Hillsborough.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 29–30); in an unknown hand; docketed, “Boston 6 September 1769 Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 3) Rx 2 Novr.”

    406. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 8 Sep. 1769

    No. 5

    Dear Sir, I must ask leave of you to let this Letter wholly respect myself. I wrote a few lines by a Scotchman upon the same subject but I will now open my mind & state my case in a fuller manner. Upon receiving Letters from Gov. Pownal Mr. Jackson & Mr. Mauduit all intimating their expectations that I was destined for your Successor I desired Mr J. to whom I shall always be in debt for his unmerited friendship that whenever such appointment should be made he would be at the trouble of taking out the Commission & I made provision for any expence which might attend it.1 The expectations of the party inimical to Government are that you will be unfavourably received & that I shall be neglected & some of them as I am informed dont scruple to say that if it should be otherwise they shall give up the cause. I think therefore I may divest my self of all selfish views and notwithstanding be fully of opinion that the cause of government will be much disservd if I am not appointed. After the report of the intentions of the ministry which is generally known I shall most certainly be triumphed over, but I do not think my self of so much importance as that this consideration ^alone^ should have any great weight.

    And having mentioned this give me leave now to say that I am convinced I can be of more service in supporting the authority of Government in the capacity of Ch. Just. than in that of Governor. You know as well as I do the importance of that post. I do not know of any body qualified & who would be acceptable upon whose firmness I could have any dependance. My declining the Govs. place and chusing to hold that would give me a very great additional weight with the people. If therefore it should be His Maj pleasure to nominate me I would excuse my self as well from that as from my LG place and confine my self to the post of Ch. Just. and upon the appointment of a new Gov the Secretary might succeed me as L. G.2 I am sensible it would make a great odds to me in pecuniary matters & I should be less able to provide for my children but I am not anxious about that it does not signify whether I have a few thousand pounds more or less behind me when I die. I am willing to spend the short remainder of life in a station where I may do most service. I must bring my mind to my circumstances & if no further provision be made than the present pitiful allowance I would submit.3 We have had some conversation together of this sort but I never was so explicit with you and now I must leave the affair entirely with you for I am unable to judge how a proposal of this sort would be entertained by the ministry. You will accordingly either conceal it or lay it before Lord Hillsb. as you shall judge proper. If it shall be approved of ^& take place^4 I must pray you to deliver the inclosed to Mr Jackson if not to suppress it.

    If he rather have tho’t of this plan because I think it looks extremely probable that in a few years persons of a different education from mine will be thought proper for Government in most of the Colonies & instead of Cedant arma togae it will be just the reverse5 and if I should take the place of G. I must fill the place of Ch. Just. by an appointment of some other person & perhaps in a year or two be my self laid aside & for the rest of life useless.

    I beg the favour of you by the first opportunity to give me your sentiments upon this plan & what I am to expect for my self which I proposed to be the sole subject of this Letter. Whatever it shall be I shall always remain

    I shall communicate this to no person.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:374); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; marked, “By Freeman” for ship transport. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 18 December 1775, which identifies Bernard as the recipient.

    407. To [Richard Jackson]

    Boston 8 Sep 1769

    Dear Sir, Having in a former letter desired the favour of you that if His Majesty should think proper to appoint me to the Governorship of the Province you would be at the trouble of taking out the Comission I must now beg that you would suspend taking any steps towards it until you hear further from me.1 I am Sir Your most humble & most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:374); unaddressed, but in a series of letters, TH made arrangements with Jackson regarding his possible commission. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 18 December 1775.

    408. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Sep. 11 [1769]

    No. 6

    Give me leave to add to the foregoing copy by Freeman that I cannot help repeating that part of it where I leave the affair entirely to you for I am not sure that the very proposal would not be thought improper but being on the spot you will be able best to judge.1 I beg I may not be left to be triumphed over by such wicked men as now have the lead and that in some way or other I may have some mark of approbation. I have never received any thing by virtue of the Kings warrant for my £200 per annum as Chief Justice. Mr Burch was of opinion I had better not take it at present. He said it was impossible to keep it secret they had one of the board who if he did not publish it himself would furnish the party with it to increase the party against Government. I want it enough but shall take nothing until I can receive an answer from you. Is there no possibility for me to receive the same sum in England which is & will be from time to time due to me here? Altho I am perpetually called a pensioner yet there are many people would be glad it might never be known that any thing had been paid me at least until there should be some more general arrangement of salaries.

    The Warrant is expressed not in the plainest terms.

    If the first 1/2 years payment is to be then made why is it not at Midsummer & not from [MS blank]? If the Salary is not to begin till then why is it said the payment to commence rather than the Salary? The Comissioners say at first reading they had no doubt I was intitled to half a years salary in June 1768 the Warrant being dated in Jany before at which time I was in service & the General Court stopped my Salary from that time. If you would give yourself the trouble to see Mr M. who took out the warrant he would be able to satisfy you upon it & I shall be much obliged to you to inform me but I wish to receive it in England.2

    Mr Logan tells me he heard from Lady Bernard three days ago, that she rides every day and was not worse than when she went there.3 I am with the most sincere regard & respect

    Sir Your most obedient humble Servant,


    After finishing my Letter I received a Letter from the Secr. NYork Sep. 5 in which is this paragraph “I wrote my family an hour ago that the Gov. was better but we have this moment &c.”

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:375); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; heavily abbreviated; partially dated. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 18 December 1775.

    409. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 11 September 1769

    No. 4

    My Lord, I have the honour of a Letter from your Lordship dated the 14th. July 1769 accompanying an Additional Instruction from His Majesty to the Governors of his Colonies in America not to give their consent to any Act or Acts for raising Monies by Lotteries until His Majesty’s directions shall be received upon the draughts of such Acts.1

    I must acquaint your Lordship that there is an Act of this Province now in force which impowers a certain Committee of the Town of Boston to raise moneys by Lotteries until the Arrearages of some publick Works in the said Town are discharged. By virtue of this Act a great number of Lotteries have already been drawn and they may go on with as many more as they please unless the General Court shall interpose and put a stop to them. If ever I meet the Assembly I will do my endeavour to call the Managers to account. I am not able to do it without the Assembly.2

    I shall cover the News paper of this day, which discovers a part of the effects of transmitting the papers laid before the House of Commons.3 They will afford subject, to keep up a flame in the minds of the people, for several months to come. I have the honour to be My Lord Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    After finishing my Letter on the other side I received a Letter from Mr Secretary Oliver at New York dated Septemb. 5. in which he says that the Governor was extreme ill and his life almost despaired of and that the Chief Justice was in much the same condition.4

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 196–97); at foot of letter, “The Rt Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough &c.”; docketed, “Boston 11th. Septr. 1769. Lieut: Govr. Hutchinson (No. 4) Rx 2d. Novr.” DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 206); unaddressed; marked, “Duplicate”; TH wrote this duplicate RC on the same page as the RC for No. 418, below. AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:329–329a); at foot of letter, “The Rt Hon the Earl of Hillsboro”; marked, “per [Cazaeau]” for ship transport; TH originally wrote out this copy as an RC but then revised it, mostly tinkering with the language, and copied out a new RC, retaining this copy as the AC. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 30–31); unaddressed; in an unknown hand; docketed, “Boston 11 Sepr. 1769 Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 4) R 2d. Novr.”

    410. To Alexander Mackay

    Boston 11. Sep 1769

    My Dear Sir, The Inclosed Letter I received under the Secretary of States cover by the last packet. I wish I could have had the pleasure of delivering it to you here but as that cannot be I have only left to convey it by the first opportunity where I hope it will find you safe arrivd after an agreeable passage. Mr Otis took occasion from the Letters sent from the H of Commons to publish with his name the most illiberal & abusive pieces against the Comissioners of the Customs & the Collector & wrote a short note to Mr. Burch to tell him he was a Poltroon & a Scoundrell.1 I prevailed on Burch to restrain himself at least for the present. I did not suspect Robinson but he meeting Otis at the Coffeehouse gave him a very decent drubbing and now as I knew it would be if there were a thousand witnesses to the contrary it is represented & most people believe it to be a confederacy to destroy Otis & that he had very unfair play.2 This has made him more highly set by than ever & there is no knowing where his frenzy will stop. I am sure that whilst the Enemies to Government in America have so strong a party in England to support them & who will furnish them with materials for executing their designs the Servants of the Crown in America can never keep up any authority there. But I am telling you what you know as well as I do and what I hope you will make known very soon in the place where alone there can be redress. I am with the most sincere esteem & respect Sir Your most humble & most obedient Servant,

    I know not how it happens but all Letters by the Mail come with their seals defaced as you find the inclosed.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:375–76); at head of letter, “MGen Mackay.”

    411. To Unknown

    Boston 11 Sep. 1769

    Dear Sir, The News papers will give you a full account of our confused state. When the people are convinced that at all events the Servants of the Crown will be supported whilst they do their duty the opposition to government will be discouraged. Instead of this the servants of the crown are discouraged the opposition is strengthened by the letters of the governor & other officers which are sent back to be published here & to expose the writers to the rage & fury of the people. The governor is out of their reach the Commissioners not. Such insults are offered as are intolerable. I had prevailed on one of them Mr Burch to bear with being called poltroon & coward for the sake of the publick. Another before I could see him beat Mr Otis soundly. It is now said that there was a confederacy to kill Otis. I knew this would be the case & if Otis should hang himself the Commissioners would be charged with his death.1 The Merchants would never have persisted in their scheme if they had not been encouraged from your side of the water. They have taken the government into their hands. I have two sons who are very great sellers & are literally proscribed & most of their old customers are more afraid of trading with them than they would be of comforting or supporting avowed traitors.2 Is this a state of government? Is the parliament the supreme authority & will they suffer such an open confederacy & declared opposition to pass with impunity? I think the next session of parliament will either apply to the King to settle an offence with us as his good friends or will take some effectual measures to secure the nation & its colonies under one government. The least that can be said is that it will be more difficult to do it another session perhaps it may be too late.

    Such encouragement has been given that the repeal of what are called revenue acts seems absolutely necessary. If some of the colonies have forfeited a claim to it that is not the case with all. Besides if even a great part of the nation oppose those acts upon principles would not some other mark be more proper to distinguish some particular colonies? Something I mean in which none would deny the authority & the expediency of the exercise of it. But when it is once settled how far acts shall be repealed surely something will be done effectually to deter from denying the authority of the rest & I wish it might be declared that species of offence it was is & shall be to confederate & conspire by force & menaces to deter His Majestys Subjects from submitting to or acknowledging the authority of parliament.3

    I write my sentiments to you with freedom upon this subject. I write what one would think nobody need scruple publickly to avow. It may however be prudent to conceal what I write to prevent the malice of people here against all who will not declare in favour of their sentiments. In a little time if you do not unite all parties for one single purpose no body in America will venture to oppose the general principles of those called sons of Liberty. I think the parliament will meet early. I am sure it will not be too soon. Let the Kings speech & the addresses be what they will our liberty men will not be much alarmed. They will say the Government [illegible] last year & so it will this. I think it will not. I am with great truth Sir &c.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:376); unaddressed; heavily abbreviated.

    412. To Israel Williams

    Boston 18. Septemb. 1769

    Dear Sir, You must let me hear from you and at all events when the Court sits you must come and assist me, not to carry any particular points for I have none in view, but only in general to save this poor province from ruin; for if I can be instrumental in that I don’t care what they say of hypocrisy and cant and a hundred more such aspersions. Hitherto I have had it in my power to do neither good nor harm and chuse to be of as little consequence as may be until there is an opportunity of doing something to good purpose.

    I think all the pieces in the scandalous Chronicle may be improved by my friends to serve me in the Country rather than to hurt me.1 They can charge me with no fact which is culpable. The insinuations, though in general trivial and insignificant and are the productions of people who if they would sign their names need do nothing more to blast the credit of every thing they say. Patience.

    Otis owns he is afraid of you and the rest of the great witless Vulgar many of whom he knows to be my friends. Will there be no saving the honour of our Court and reconciling Major Hawley?2 He can do a great deal of good or hurt as he happens to engage. Don’t let it be known I have hinted any thing of this. Believe me to be as I have always been Your sincere friend & humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, Israel Williams Papers); unaddressed; endorsed, “18th. Septr. 1769.”

    413. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Pall Mall Sep 19 1769

    No. 2.

    Dear Sir, I have received your Letter of Augst. 8th & its duplicate within a few Days of one another. In Answer to your Accounts of the Proceedings against Importation I can inform you that actual Importation of English Goods to New England [illegible] here, tho perhaps not in such Quantities as usual. I have been assured that Hancock’s Ship Capt. Scot is gone full of English Goods & particularly a large Quantity of Tea. Other Ships have got good Freight tho not full. A Merchant of the City assured me that he had underwrote Policies for 32.000 pds. worth for Rhode Island which is supposed to be intended chiefly for Boston. So it is said that the Bostonians are so fond of clandestine Importations, that they will import English Goods no other Way.

    I can’t find that the Proceedings of the Boston Merchants are like to have any Influence over the Proceedings of the Ministry. They increase the general Prejudice against that Town, & may, some say will, prevent the Repeal of the late Acts of Revenue as intended by the Ministry. But when it is considered that this Objection comes from Boston only which is but a small Part of the whole Continent, I hope the Madness which prevails there will not be urged as an Argument for refusing the Redress which the rest of the Colonies are willing to accept. I shall apply what little Weight I may have for the Repeal of these Laws; not only because I never approved of them as proper Means for raising Money in America, but for that I am desirous of giving ^affording^ the Americans an Opportunity of retreating with Honour from an illconcerted Scheme, which, if it has Effects, must begin with the Ruin of America, before it can reach Great Britain.

    Your Postscript I considered of such Consequence that I took the Liberty of communicating it.1 And tho you speak doubtfully of the Information it contains, it is confirmed in positive Terms in other Letters which are full of the same Purpose. I shall nevertheless be glad to hear from you more and more authentick particulars of the Negotiation.

    Last Thursday Mr Deberdt presented the Remonstrance of the House against me.2 Nothing could have happened more lucky to give me an Opportunity of clearing myself in such Part of my Conduct as may possibly have been misrepresented or misunderstood. If I had had the draughting the Remonstrance I could not have made it more favorable to me. I shall have an official Notice of it tomorrow & shall directly petition the King in Council for the hearing and determining it. I shall acquaint you with the Proceedings as they go. It is now certain that the Parliament is not to sit before Christmas: ^I am obliged to you for the Newspaper you sent me;^3 I wish you or Mr Oliver would constantly supply me with that Paper & such others as you shall think may be of Use in Covers to Mr Pownall. I am Sir &c.

    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:8–11); at foot of letter, “The Honble Lt Govr Hutchinson”; in an unknown hand.

    414. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 20 Sept 1769

    No. 7

    My Dear Sir, I wrote you in my two last of Sir H Moores dangerous condition.1 Before you receive this you will probably have heard of his death.

    I know not whether this event will be of any use to you. I wish you may have better provision made for you than an American government. The Secretary writes me from NY. that the opinion there is that governor Franklin will have this government.2 If it should be so or if any other governor be appointed here I must beg the favor of you to signify my desire to resign my Lieut governors place & I hope the Secretary may succeed me with such emoluments as to make it equal to his present post.3 I expect him from New York next week.

    I cant help putting you in mind of our controversy with New York.4 Perhaps it may be thought good policy to keep it alive. If it should, yet I wish something might be done to quiet the poor creatures who settled upon the Lands, in controversy, by virtue of grants from this government. If you can advise to any measure for Kellog their Agent to pursue he would follow your advice and I believe would go to England himself if he could be of any service there.5

    I have passed 7 or 8 weeks more quietly than I expected. The dirty stuff in Edes & Gills paper has rather been of service to me among the common people in the Country & if we could keep off the influence of Boston for one twelve month I think we could bring the rest of the province to their senses. I have never met the Council since you sailed. I design to see them this week to pass 2 or 3 warrants upon the Treasury but I will lay no business before them except the publick service is in danger of suffering by the omission. It is not a time at present to propose any thing for recovering the best vigour of government. I hope after the parliamt meets we shall see better times. I wish I may not have any orders to restrain me from meeting the Assembly at the time it stands prorogued. I think there is nothing they can do when they meet which will have so ill an effect as the clamour which will be raised thro’ the province if the Assembly should be dissolved or further prorogued, but in this & in all other points I know it is my duty to acquiesce in and conform to whatever his M. shall please to determine.

    I have had some hints given me as if some part of my correspondence in England might prove of disservice to me.6 You are sensible that in Am. we have no interest at all in parties in England, for my part I know but little of the connexions. I have no views in my correspondence in Engld. but to promote measures for restoring Am. to its former state. Whilst you was here there was no room to consider me as a publick person. Whilst I am in command I shall never mention anything relative to my administration but to the ministry or to you as still Gov. in chief to be comunicated to them. But if you think it necessary I will forbear all correspondence except to the Ministry.

    The Merchants continue their persecution & will do until P. puts a stop to them, and evry ship from Lond will cause new troubles. I never had a clear idea of an Empire of Commerce distant from civil government which several late writers seem fond of mentioning but I can plainly percieve it now in our little province. The Merchants have taken all matters of commerce into their hands & have the absolute direction of them independent of the established authority of government as much as if it did not exist.

    Nothing further has yet hapned between R & O.7 The Commissioners will never be at rest until the illicit trade is suffered to go on as it did before they were appointed. Ever since I remember the Custom house officers would now & then make a seizure but always affect to be very sorry they were obliged to do it but information was given them & they were under oath. This it is said is the case still in all other ports except Boston where the Commissioners are present. They must have more virtue than common if they can stand against the rage of the people much longer.

    Mr Sewall has sent me his resignation of the place of Advocate, in form, and I have made an appointment of Mr Fitch until His M. pleasure shall be signified.8 The Commissioners seemd rather inclined to Ad but I think it very dangerous appointing a man to any post who avows principles inconsistent with a state of government let his talents otherwise be ever so considerable.9 Until this post & that of Attorney general have salaries annexed they will never be of very great use. I have heard the attorney general of NY has two hundred pounds a year from the Crown.10 This brings to my mind the conversation which by your direction I had with Mr Putnam & his agreeing to remove to Boston if he could have the place of attorney general with a salary annexed.11 I dare say he expects to hear something further upon the subject. I am with sincere Respect & esteem Sir Your faithful humble Servant,

    Mr Fitch reminds me of the encouragement you gave him that you would recommend him as a proper person for a Commission from the Lords of the Admiralty. His principles are really the best of any of the Bar & he gives me the strongest assurance that his family connexion with Mr Temple shall bring him under no bias.12

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:377–78); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; marked, “By Nicoll” for ship transport. Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777 (only the passage, “I have had some hints . . . except to the Ministry.”), which identifies Bernard as the recipient; Remembrancer for the Year 1777, pp. 111–12 (same excerpt).

    415. To Samuel Hood

    Sep 23 1769

    My dear Sir, I thank you for your last favour by Cap Wallace.1 The proceedings of our Merchants most certainly carried a threatning aspect & I dont wonder that Gen Mackay expected mobs & tumults but it seems it was agreed by such as have very much the direction of the Mob that there should not be any strife. I am a little unfortunate in having two sons & a nephew exposed to the Resentment of such people as have it both in their power & inclination to distress them & my sons tell me they are great sufferers in their business but I can by no means consent to their joining in a confederacy which in my opinion is highly criminal & which I am sure the Parlt. must take notice of & suppress before they recover their lost authority.2

    The Commissioners wish there may be more naval force in the winter than the stationship only. I see no more danger of any tumultuous riotous assemblies of the people than there has been ever since the Troops arrived. I am sensible we are always liable to events which may disturb the minds of the people & every quarrel between any of the servants of the crown who I think need a great deal of patience & such as are called Liberty men has a tendency to raise a mob. I promise you to despise the affronts they offer me. I am told they appear in a most contemptible light in most parts of the province & instead of disserving me have raisd a prejudice against the authors of them. I do not mean to bear any infamous charge for which the publisher can in the present state of the Law be called to account & punished. In such a case I think my self bound to vindicate my character. But whilst they only discover their ill nature by some general strokes of being arbitrary no friend to liberty or the like they may go on.

    Perhaps before winter something may occur which may make the expectation of a greater naval force more evident. I am sure it must be a benefit to the Town. Where the expence is least to the government or the service most requires you are the judge. We have nothing from England since the July mail. You have seen what is said to be Lord Chath advice to the King.3

    I give no credit to common News papers. There are two or three private Letters which say it is true in substance tho not in form. If it be true it must greatly strengthen the present administration. I am with the greatest esteem Dear Sir Your most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:378–79); at head of letter, “Com. Hood.”

    416. To the Lords of the Admiralty

    Boston 25 Sept 1769

    My Lords, Mr Sewall His Majestys late Advocate General for the Vice Admiralty of this Province and New England having signified to me under his hand his resignation of that post that there may be no failure of justice I have agreeable to precedents in similar cases given a Commission for Advocate General of the Vice Admiralty of Massa Bay during His Majestys pleasure to Samuel Fitch Esq. a person who appeared to be the most proper of any practitioner of the Law in this province as well on account of his having opposed the absurd principles of government which have been so much favoured in America as of his acquaintance with the practices of the Courts of Vice Admiralty.

    It is incumbent on me to give your Lordships the earliest notice of this proceeding. I have the honour to be Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:379); at foot of letter, “The Rt Honorable the Lords Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral.”

    417. To the Lords of Trade

    Boston 25 September 1769

    My Lords, His Majesty by his 20th. Instruction to the Governor of Massachusets Bay requires him to transmit to the Commissioners for Trade & Plantations yearly and oftener, if occasion may require the best and most particular account of any manufactures set up in the Province which may affect the Trade of the Kingdom. In conformity to this Instruction I must acquaint your Lordships that a paper mill, which had been erected in the Town of Milton within this Province, having gone to ruin one James Boies, who had sometimes improved this mill, about three or four years ago erected a new mill upon the same stream, about two miles distant from the former, where more paper has been since manufactured than had been at the former mill in the course of thirty years and the undertaker meets with such encouragement that he is preparing to erect another paper mill near to the first mentioned, and one Daniel Vose the Owner of the first mill is rebuilding that also.1 As I have a country house in the same town these works come frequently2 under my eye & observation and the Owners of the works are known to me and I doubt not depend upon a full supply of materials for as much paper as they can manufacture at the several mills.3

    Your Lordships will also perceive by the inclosed News paper that premiums are offered for the encouragement of the woollen manufactory. This is not a puff to alarm the nation as many news paper articles have been, but is a serious affair and supposed to be in consequence of a grant of money made by the Town of Boston, the beginning of the year, to one Mr Molineux a merchant of that Town to enable him to employ persons in spinning weaving &c. for the increase of manufactures.4 I have the honour to be Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 1–2); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations”; docketed, “Massachusets. Boston 25 Septr. 1769. Lt. Govr. Hutchinson to Lords of Trade Rx 17th. Novr. Recd. Nov. 22 1769 Read [blank space in MS] 1769.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:330); partially dated; at foot of letter, “The Right Hon. the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations”; TH originally wrote out this copy as an RC, but after making a few revisions, he wrote out a new RC and retained this version as the AC. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 36–37); in an unknown hand; docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson to Lords of Trade Boston 25th. Septr. 1769 Rx 17th. Novr.”

    418. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 26. Septemb. 1769

    No. 5

    My Lord, Since the date of the foregoing copy of my last Letter to your Lordship, Mr Sewall late Advocate General,1 now Judge of the Admiralty at Nova Scotia &c. has sent me2 under his hand his resignation of the Office of Advocate General.3 That there may be no failure of Justice in the Vice Admiralty I have, agreeable to precedents in similar cases, appointed Samuel Fitch Esq. to be Advocate general of the Vice Admiralty for this Province until His Majesty’s pleasure shall be signified. Mr Fitch appears to be, in principle, in favour of government and is well acquainted with the practice of the Admiralty but I fear there is no great reason to expect from any Advocate General or Attorney General an exertion of their powers in the service of government with spirit and vigour4 whilst those places have but very small emoluments and the faithful discharge of the duties of them is followed with popular odium. I have acquainted the Lords of the Admiralty with my proceeding and I thought it my duty to acquaint your Lordship also. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect My Lord Your Lordships most humble and most obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 206–07); at foot of letter, “Rt Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Boston 11th. Septr. 1769. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 5) Rx. 17 Novr.”; TH originally wrote this letter on the same page as he wrote a duplicate of No. 409, above. AC (Massachusetts Archives, 26:380); unaddressed. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 35); unaddressed; in an unknown hand; docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson. Boston. 26th. Septr. 1769. (No. 5) Rx 17th. Novr.”

    419. To Thomas Pownall

    Sepr. 26. 1769

    My Dear Sir, America is waiting for the repeal of what are called the Revenue Acts. In some Colonies the expectation of the people extends no farther than the new duties laid since the St. act. In others & in none perhaps more than this they extend to all duties whatsoever internal & external.1 Of the first there seems to be no doubt & therefore in such colonies as would be content with that there is a general tranquility, in the others they say it is necessary to keep up the spirit & the favorite scheme for carrying their point is non importation. The Merchants, here, say they have good right not only, each individual, to abstain from importing but also as a body pro bono publico to compel all to come into the measures which the greater part shall agree upon & tho they talk a great deal of fundamental natural rights which no power upon earth can take from them & which no man has it in his power to part with if he inclined to it yet they themselves in the most arbitrary manner without the least colour of authority deprive others of these supposed fundamental rights. They prove how ever by their practice which is sufficiently plain in Theory that departing from the fundamental principles of government by every individual member or the minor parts of a community their taking upon them to judge when to obey & when ^not^ is that sort of Liberty which is the worst of Slavery. No act of trade were ever executed with so much rigor as this new Law Merchant. My sons tell me they never imported any contraband goods in their lives nevertheless they smuggle every chest of Tea they sell & after all their pains to conceal their customers they are forced to submit to a loss of 10 per cent upon their capital or no body would buy of them. I tell them they must bear it patiently & I can never consent to their joining in so criminal a confederacy.

    I thank you for the hint you give me in your letter of the 14 May.2 The more particular letters wrote me by another conveyance never came to hand. Young Mr H called upon me about 10 days ago & gave me a hint for which I am very obliged to you.3 Whilst the govr. was in the province I considered myself as a private person the name of LG gave me no publick employment nor any pretence to ministerial correspondence. I therefore made no alteration in my private correspondence which however has always been upon general subjects calculated for general utility without the least regard to party affairs with which we really have nothing to do in America & the principal interest I have ever had in them has been that there may be a ministry of so long duration as that some one plan for the good of the Kingdom & colonies may be carried into execution. Your advice nevertheless is always good & I shall be more cautious while I continue Com. in chief than I should be at any other time. The transmitted copies of all the Letters from the Servants of the crown in this province to the ministry attested by the Cl of the H of Com is a measure of the most fatal tendency & I cannot reconcile it to the opinion I have generally had of one or more of the persons concerned in it. If the Troops had not been here there would have been much more than a cudgelling match between a demagogue & a Commissioner of the Customs & I am not sure that we are yet out of danger.4 I know many people are enraged to a degree of frenzy.

    I cannot say what will be the temper of our Assembly when it meets. I endeavour to avoid irritating those members who are not well affected to me. A few of them are of such characters that I take no steps to conciliate them. A great many of the H. I know to be friendly to me & I hope to confirm them. The scandalous news paper has been no disservice to me but has hurt the cause of the party concerned in it.5

    I shall always chearfully embrace any opportunity of convincing you that I am Sir Your faithful humble

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:379–80); at head of letter, “Gov. Pownall.”

    420. To [the Duke of Grafton]

    Boston 2d Octo 1769

    My Lord Duke, I humbly beg leave to mention Mr Harrison Collector of the port of Boston & bearer of this letter as a gentleman of good sense and great probity & capable of giving as full an account of the present distempered state of this & several neighbouring Colonies as any person whosoever.1 He can inform your Grace of the source of the division which has so long taken place in the board of the Comissioners of the Customs & the prejudice which has prevailed to so great a degree against most of the members of that board and many others.2 He is fully convinced of what importance it is that all parties should unite at least for the purpose of restoring government in the Colonies & preserving their connexion with the parent state as every year [illegible] [witnessed] by experience ^it being very evident that every year^ the enemies of government and the opposers of parliamentary authority are most certainly gaining strength. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Graces most humble and most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:381); unaddressed but Grafton was the only duke with whom TH was in communication at this time.