The Arrival of Fall Goods

    421. To Sir Francis Bernard, 4 October 1769

    422. To Richard Jackson, 4 October 1769

    423. From Sir Francis Bernard, 4 October 1769

    424. From John Pownall, 4 October 1769

    425. To Lord Hillsborough, 5 October 1769

    426. To William Palmer, 5 October 1769

    427. To Sir Francis Bernard, 6 October 1769

    The landing of fall goods in violation of the provisions of the nonimportation agreement occasioned a new round of meetings for the Boston Merchants and Traders. Subscribers were understandably concerned to prevent nonsubscribers from profiting from the dearth of goods in town. When committees called on the remaining hold-outs, the visits carried the implied threat of violence, and certain notorious nonsubscribers (including Thomas Hutchinson’s sons Thomas Jr. and Elisha) were required to store contraband goods in warehouses under the committee’s control. Aboard one of the ships bearing fall goods came Patrick Smith, a young merchant who brought with him over £1,000 of goods, intending to establish himself in trade. When Smith pled that he would be ruined by the cost of freighting the goods back to Britain, the merchants’ meeting took pity on him and paid the shipping costs for the return voyage. The merchants were not satisfied by the rumors of a promised repeal of most of the Townshend duties, so in mid-October they voted to extend nonimportation past the expiration date of the original agreement, 1 January 1770, until all revenue duties (including the tax on tea) were repealed.

    421. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 4. Octo 1769

    No 8

    My Dear Sir, Bryant arriving two days ago our Merchants immediately convened and in the first place obliged Greene & Boylstone the Owners to engage to house all their goods & deliver a key to the Committee of Merchants.1 They then called a young fellow before them who belongs to England & brought about 1000£ sterl in goods for sale and required of him to send his goods back again. He did not refuse but represented his suffering which induced them to pay the freight of his goods to this port & back again. Every body else who had goods were obliged to agree not to sell until they had leave given except your son & mine.2 What relates to mine you have in the inclosed narrative which I desired them to give me.3 They had determined to stand out until their persons were in danger. This morning their friends were under such apprehensions for them that they forced them into a compliance sooner than they intended though I think not too soon for it is the general opinion that if they had stood out there would have been mobbing to night notwithstanding all the pretences to the contrary. Your son has just left me to attend his cause which is to come on this afternoon.4 He says he will refuse to comply till it comes to the last extremity but will not finally refuse if he finds his person must suffer. I sent for Gray who speaks freely against these proceedings & would have summoned a Council but Hubbard is sick and 3 of the others E. T & P were at the Merchants meeting.5 What part the two first took I have not heard but no body is more in favour of the measures than the last. Danforth & Russ. are the only Councillors besides within reach for Dexr & Roy avoid the town on account of the smallpox.6 I am now convincd that if I could have had them together I should only by their refusal to discountenance the Merchants have confirmd them & the people of the Country in their present opinion that all they have done is constitutional. Hancock who is one of the Merchants Committee happens to be at Philad.7 If these things are passed over every point will be carried against government & indeed it is a general opinion that to carry a point be it what it will nothing more is necessary than to stop importation.

    The Livery men of Boston have had their town meeting too to day upon your Letters which I hear have been all read & a Committee appointed to consider & report.8 I suppose their proceedings will be published & that I shall be able to send them. O___s physician (P) tells my brother that all his hopes now are from some grand revolution in England.9 May his hopes perish & he with them rather than he should be saved in that way. I must intreat you not to suffer the contents of my Letters to come to the knowledge of any NE man for every thing they hear to have been wrote from hence comes back in their Letters. I have delivered Mr Harrison one of my books of which I pray your acceptance.10 Some things in it will amuse you some will appear trivial. Pray let me know how it is approved that I may judge whether it is worth while to be at the pains of publishing another volume. I wish I could know from you under the seal of Secrecy if you please Dr Franklin’s plan for America whether he thinks it possible to restore government in America merely by concessions, if he does he must I imagine take his idea from the state of his own government rather than New York or this Province.11 I believe it would answer with the Pensilvanians.

    Oct 5. I am now able to send you this days paper & the infamous vote of the T of B. It was opposed & some said my sons had given up their goods but Adams Kent & others replied it was not voluntary they should have done it before.12 I know that I should have been afraid to put such a question as Moderator or sign it as Town Clerk. I have been in pain for your son but am now in hopes he may stand it out. My sons were the Butt. They have imported from E. near 200 Chests of Tea since the agreement which they have been able to sell so low as to discourage the illicit trade. This has enraged the Smuglers who expected a great harvest from the agreement not to import goods from England & they have bent their whole force against my sons who in spite of it have got rid of 60 or 70 chests since they have been proscribed but yesterday one of the principal sellers of Dutch Tea was heard to say if 500 men would not do 1000 should & my brother & others who were anxious for them without giving me previous notice of their design persuaded them to submit. I hope before the first of Janu. all these compulsory engagements will be discharged. If any tumults should happen I shall be under less difficulty than if my own children had been the pretended occasion of them & for this reason Dalrymple tells me he is very glad they have done as they have.13 Rogers has just ^now^ been with me to tell me he is ready to make oath that he thinks himself in immediate danger and desired to know if I could protect him.14 I told him that if he could pitch upon any particular person he might go & make oath before a Justice of peace & he would bind him to keep the peace &c. I could do no more for him. He will not be able to hold out unless he quits the Town. Lady Bernard I hear will be at Roxbury this evening or to morrow in much the same state of health as before her journey.15 I am Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,

    Colden its said makes Ten thousand pounds by patents which if Sir H Moore had lived ten days longer he would have received.16

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:383–84); at head of letter, “Sir Fr Bernard.”

    422. To Richard Jackson

    Boston 4 Octo. 1769

    Dear Sir, In one of your Letters you acquaint me that you have a set or two of my books left & was uncertain to whom they were designed. I suppose they must be of the last eight which Mr Rogers sent you. I find they were intended for Lord North Sir Edward Hawke Sir Jeffry Amherst Lord Ad. Gordon Colo Barré Mr Whately Mr Huske & Mr Jackson.1 They were all persons to whom I have been known at one time or other. Their connexions in England we in America know nothing of & have no other interest in your party disputes than to wish that the powers which be may continue and that there may be one uniform measure of administration so far as respects us until government is restored among us. However, if at any time I should mention any person whose connexions may be such as that exception may be taken to my shewing any mark of respect I beg your friendship so far as to suspend it.

    I will desire Mr Harrisons care of another box of books intended as an Appendix to the first Volume of my history being a collection of original papers relative to it.2 I beg your acceptance of one of them and the trouble of sending your servant with the rest. I printed none for sale such sort of collections pleasing the taste of but few people. I wish I could write you agreeable news of the temper of the people here. The confederacy of the Merchants is certainly a very high offence & the sons of liberty are the greatest Tyrants which were ever known for they will suffer no man to use his property but just in such a way as they approve of and I can find no body to join with me in an attempt to discourage them. I hope we shall know what are the sentiments of Parliament upon such proceedings and that very soon for people in general here suppose they have a strong party in England which thinks all that has been done here is constitutional and an expedient measure to bring Parliament to reason.

    I wish you would see Mr Harrison.3 He is sensible & dispassionate & will give you an impartial account of the principle behavior of the people in this Colony Connecticut & Rhode Island and such as must satisfy you that something besides the repeal of part of the late revenue act is necessary to reestablish government in America. I should think it one of the happiest days of my life if I could spend one in free conversation with you upon this & some other subjects. I am with sincere regard & esteem Sir Your most obedient humble servant,

    To the eight I have named please to add Duke of Graft. Marq. of Rock. Lord Dartmouth Lord Shelburn Lord Mansfield Lord Camden Lord Clare Gen. Conway Mr G. Greenville Mr York Mr DeGrey Mr Touchett Mr Cooper & Docto Franklin to each of whom I send the history & add besides Ld Hillsboro Gov. Pownall Mr John Pownall General Mackay.4

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:385); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson”; marked, “Jacobson” for ship transport. Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777; Remembrancer for the Year 1777, p. 112.

    423. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Pall Mall Octr. 4th. 1769

    No 3

    Dear Sir, I am just returned to Town from a Tour of 13 Days thro the Counties of Bucks Oxford Berks & Hampshire; & have found your Letter of Sep 11 & 17, to which I give due Attention.1 I have seen Nobody since my Arrival in Town; but as a Mail is made up at the Secretary’s Office tonight, I choose to acknowledge the Receipt of your Letter by it, & to commit to you the inclosed Covers containing Letters which I brought with me from the Country: for I know not nor can now enquire of Ships brought bound for Boston. I am still unable to give you any political Intelligence, as Lord H is, I understand, not yet come to Town tho daily expected. By the first Ship for Boston you will hear further from me. At present I have but just time to make up my Packet. I am Sr. &c.

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

    424. From John Pownall

    Whitehall Oct 4 1769

    Sir, I accept with the greatest pleasure & satisfaction the proposal you make of a friendly & confidential correspondence between us.1 It is a proposal which does me the highest honour for I have always entertained the most respectfull opinion of your character & I really think that I can in no case be more usefull to my country than in being usefull to you. The times are full of difficulty & peril but a good Citizen should never despair of the safety of ^the^ State. The doctrines of mutiny & revolt from the constitutional authority of the Legislature do not deserve the name of Principles & such newfangled Ideas will yield to a firm & manly resistance which when held out with openess & candour is in my poor opinion the true spirit of all Government. Such a conduct will soonest bring the misled people to see their error and I entertain the most sanguine expectation that it will fall to your Lot to have the merit of restoring peace & happiness to the people of Massachusets Bay & that you will stand recorded to future times as the father & friend of the people over whom you preside.

    In my next Letter I will be more explicit and more particular in respect to the Sentiments I have of the present State of publick affairs as they regard the Colonies, the business of this Letter is only to express to you the gratefull sense I have of the honour you have conferred upon, Sir Your most obedient & most faithfull humble Servant,

    J Pownall

    RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:333–34); dateline appears at the bottom of the letter; unaddressed; endorsed, “John Pownall Esq 4 Octob. 1769.”

    425. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 5 October 1769

    No 6

    My Lord, Mr Harrison the bearer of this Letter is a gentleman of good sense and of great integrity and is able to give your Lordship a very full account of the state of this Colony and the two adjacent colonies of Connecticut & Rhode Island.1 He stood as well with the people here as a faithful officer can stand until the late publication of government letters & memorials2 but since that has been obliged to submit to such insults and abuse as most of the other officers of the crown are exposed to.3

    I shall transmit under this cover the proceedings of the Town of Boston and of the Merchants as they have ordered them to be printed. There is no need of my observing to your Lordship that the powers assumed by the Town & by what are called the Merchants of the Town are absolutely incompatible with a state of government. If the Law had it’s course in the Colonies nothing more would be necessary to put a stop to such proceedings. I have two sons, Merchants, who have been for several months past exposed to the resentment of the confederates against importation and have borne numberless insults.4 Yesterday a number of their friends came to them and assured them that unless they delivered up the goods they had imported they were in immediate hazard of injury to their persons as well as their property. A Committee from the Merchants first required of them to sign the agreement. This they absolutely refused. After some treaty they submitted to deposit their goods in a store and to deliver the Key to one of the Committee which was judged by the Committee to be a compliance with the spirit of the agreement, and they made their report accordingly.5

    There have been divers instances of this unwarrantable method of compelling persons to accede to the general agreement both in New York and Pensilvania which gives more spirit to the people here, for in the present state of America a precedent of irregularity in any one Province is thought sufficient to justify the like in any of the rest.6

    The arrival of every ship from London affords fresh matter to keep up the flame in the breasts of the people and a Committee as regularly inquires into the Contents of the Cargo as if they were the Officers of the Customs and had by Law good right to have a manifest exhibited to them. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Lordships most humble and most obedient servant

    Tho Hutchinson

    DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 208–09); marked “Duplicate”; unaddressed; docketed “Boston 5th. Octr. 1769. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 6) Rx. 13th. Novr. (Dup—Orig. not reced.).” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:381–82); substantially revised with several illegible passages crossed out; dated 3 October 1769; unaddressed. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 32–33); unaddressed; in an unknown hand; docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson Boston 5th. October 1769. (No. 6.) Recd 13th. Novr. Duplicate, Origl. not received.” SC (Staffordshire Record Office, Dartmouth Collection, D(W)1778/V/611B); in an unknown hand. Enclosure to DupRC: Boston News-Letter and Massachusetts Gazette, 5 October 1769, p. 3 (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 210).

    426. To William Palmer

    Bost. 5 Octo 1769

    My sons tell me they have sold all their Tea to advantage which you shipped before Bryant tho with the utmost Difficulty but the spirit rose too high to be opposed any longer & besides the danger to their persons they had good reason to fear there was a design to destroy the Tea & if but a few desperate people had attempted it I do not believe any could have been procured to prevent it and they would have been such persons that if the Law should have its free course again they would not have been able to make satisfaction therefore altho the demand was the most unreasonable & tyrannical that ever was heard of they thot it your interest to submit to it & engaged to house it and to sell none until the Merchants’ agreement expires. This is such a daring insult upon the parlt. & the whole people of Eng. that I expect some severe mark of their Resentment. I hope you had shipped the whole 59 Chests before the orders came to stop for its possible you may be no loser unless very large quantities of Dutch Tea are run. It was one of the sellers of Dutch Tea who made the greatest clamour & had they imported any other goods than Tea they would not have submitted. I shall desire my Tayler Peter Leitch to call upon you for a small balance of 5 or 6£ which pray pay him.1 Probably I shall send you another bill exclusive of the joint remittances. If you have monies on the joint account and teas are low it will be best to lay them out for the spring shipping. I am Sir

    Its best to keep to your self my being concerned with you for though there could be no just exception if all the world knew it yet the malignant party here make such a clamour often when there is no reason for it. The first vessel after the first of Jany ship to the amount of 30 Chests. Mention nothing of your correspondence with me. Alter the mark & do it frequently.2

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:386–87); at head of letter, “Mr Wm Palmer”; marked, “Omand” for ship transport.

    427. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 6. Octo. 1769

    No 9

    Dear Sir, Having mentiond to you Ervings being at the Merchants’ meeting I must recall it. My information came from Mr Cotton who heard somebody tell Tyler that Erv & Pitts were above but it is certain Mr. Erving was not there & I hear disapproves of what they did.1 The other two were there. I cannot ^but^2 be of the opinion that an Act subjecting every person who had been concerned in any of these combinations & who held any sort of Office of honour or trust and did not in such way & manner as should be directed disclaim & should for ever after be disqualified would make a number of those people & among the rest Cooper Adams &c. tremble tho I dont think this half eno’ for so atrocious a crime & for any persons who here after should be concerned no penalty is too great.3 I am Sir Your most faithful

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:387); at head of letter, “To Sr Fr B__d” in a different ink and possibly a different hand.