Seeking a Legal Remedy

    428. To Sir Francis Bernard, 17 October 1769

    429. To Sir Francis Bernard, 19 October 1769

    430. To Lord Hillsborough, 20 October 1769

    431. To Richard Jackson, 20 October 1769

    432. To Thomas Whately, 20 October 1769

    433. From Peter Oliver, 22 October 1769

    434. To Sir Francis Bernard, 23 October 1769

    435. To Lord Hillsborough, October 1769

    436. To John Pownall, 23 October 1769

    Despite being acting governor, Thomas Hutchinson felt powerless to respond to the tightening enforcement of the nonimportation agreement. On the one hand, a group of merchants might legitimately band together to promote a common purpose, but they were certainly not entitled to compel people to join with them under the threat of violence. Hutchinson understood nonimportation to be an attempt to overturn a completed act of the king in Parliament, Great Britain’s sovereign power. Could nonimportation then be regarded as an attempt to encroach on sovereignty and be subject to the Statute of Praemunire (16 Ric. 2, c. 5), which had been the legal means to suppress the Land Bank in 1741? The entrepreneurs of the Land Bank were held liable for financial damages, which in the case of nonimportation might be a considerable penalty itself, despite any theoretical capital penalties the act might also entail. But Hutchinson also considered other lesser penalties, such as the loss of political or legal privileges like voting and officeholding or being able to sue in court; hence his interest in the Bankruptcy Act (2 George II, c. 24). Ultimately, Hutchinson came to believe that provincial law was insufficient and that any remedy had to come from Parliament.

    428. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 17 October 1769

    No 10

    Dear Sir, The L B in this province in 1740 was a peccadillo compared with the combinations now afoot in so many Colonies. That was tho’t to deserve an Act of Parl & all who continued in it were subjected to the Penalties of the Statute of praemunire.1 These therefore which are absolutely incompatible with a state of government can never be overlooked. Here they are declared to be legal. The town of B. say so in their last meeting.2 At Virg. Pensilv. & NYork the authority sit still & rather approve of them. With us, those who ought to appear to encourage the suppression of them actually join with them. Because I thot there was room to doubt whether E_____g was at the Merchants meeting I recalld what I wrote you by Mr Harrison but Mr Barrett who was at the meeting assures me that he saw E. there as well as T & P3. If Parl. does not before the holidays shew their indignation against this defiance of their authority I shall think I am mistaken & that it is not such an offence as it has always appeared to me to be. How far they will look back I cannot judge. At least provision ought to be made for the punishment of all who have been concerned & do not immediately disclaim. A thousand Acts of Parl. will never have the least force if combinations to prevent the operation of them & to sacrifice all who will conform to them are tolerated, or if towns are allowed to meet & vote that measures for defeating such Acts are legal &c.

    Only let the people once see that though Parlt. has laid aside the thoughts of a revenue from America but is determined at all hazards to maintain its supreme legislative authority whensoever it shall think fit to exercise it government will not only be restored but the minds of people will be quiet. Until they are convinced of this we shall be in disorder & confusion. There never was less expectation of vigorous measures ^since 1765^ than there is now and this is the reason that the influence of M______& O___ A____ C &c. is as great as ever it was.4 H. is at the southward. I do not know that it is true but it is reported that in consequence of his journey a letter was wrote from NY which has been read at a meeting of the merchants here this afternoon & which is signd by some of the principal merchants there recommending the renewal of the agreement to import no further goods until the Revenue Acts are repeald without any limitation of time.5 I think there is no doubt but this or any proposal still more extravagant may be agreed to. Lyde is to sail in 3 or 4 days for London so I wrote only this one Letter by way of Scotland which possibly may arrive before him tho it is not likely. I am with great truth

    I hear neither E nor P signd the agreement & I am not sure that T. did.

    I drank Tea with Lady B at Jamaica the 14th & found her much better in health than I expected.6

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:389); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; marked, “Leith Vessel of Andersons” for ship transport. Contemporary printing: Connecticut Gazette, 30 June 1775.

    429. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 19 October 1769

    No 11

    Dear Sir, The Merchants at their meeting referred to in the foregoing voted to continue their agreement for nonimportation until all the Revenue Acts be repealed and a subscription is now carrying about but it seems they have thought proper not to suffer their proceedings to be printed until they know that they shall succeed in their subscription.1 A vigorous spirit in parlt. will yet set us to rights. Without it the government of this province will be split into innumerable divisions every town every parish & every particular club or connexion will meet & vote & carry their votes into execution just as they please: I will inclose to you a letter my sons have just received from a Scotch trader at Mhead who bought a chest of Tea of them before they were compelled ^to engage^ not to sell.2 The frenzy took the people there & they would not suffer it to be brought into town.

    The Secretary is just arrived from NYork.3 He says they are in the same state there. Mr Smith one of the Council thinks they go rather too far but all seem to suppose this combination not to import is legal.4 If Parlt. pass it over I shall have nothing left but to sit down & pray silently Lord open the eyes of these men that they may see. When I hear Lawyers talk in this manner I am astonished.

    I expected to have sent you the doings of the Town of Boston at their meeting two or three days ago but I find they have left it to a Committee to print them in a pamphlet & Mr Draper tells me the Committee are made the judges what to print & what not.5 If one of their Resolves be as I have heard I think when it appears it must cause an end to be put to such sort of meetings if enough has not been done before.

    I see the Coun. except T. every three or four days & D also but I assure you there is a languor in all the servants of government more than you ever saw.6 I will never despair until I hear that the support we expect from the fountain head intirely fails. I hope this support is just at hand. I am with great sincerity

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:391); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; marked, “Lyde” for ship transport.

    430. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 20. October 1769

    No. 7

    My Lord, As it is very certain that government can never recover it’s vigour whilst combinations against it may be entred into and avowed with impunity, I may not omit acquainting your Lordship with every step taken by the Merchants, and by the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston at their respective meetings.

    Not contented with compelling all who have imported goods in the two last ships from London to engage not to sell them until the first agreement expires, the Merchants have at a meeting this week voted to employ a Committee to take subscriptions from all who are willing to enter into a second agreement to import no goods from Great Britain at any time hereafter1 unless all the Revenue Acts shall be repealed and the Committee are very diligent in the execution of their trust.2

    The Town of Boston have passed several votes or resolves of a very extraordinary nature, as I am informed, relative to the Letters from the Governour General Commodore &c. but as they are too voluminous for a news paper they are printing for a pamphlet which as soon as it is published I will transmit to you Lordship.3

    I humbly hope the favorable intentions of Government with regard to the colonies4 at the next session of Parliament will not be altered by such extremely ill judged behaviour in some of them and that the wrong doers may be punished in some other way and effectual provision made for deterring all persons from the like offences for the future.5

    We find, My Lord, by experience, that associations and assemblies pretending to be legal and constitutional and assuming powers which belong only to the established authority prove more fatal to this authority than mobs riots and the most tumultuous disorders; for such assemblies from erroneous or imperfect notions of the nature of government very often meet with the approbation of the body of the people and in such cases there is no internal power which can be exerted to suppress them. Such case we are in at present and shall probably continue in it until the wisdom of Parliament deliver us from it.

    I have the honour to be with the greatest respect My Lord Your Lordship’s most humble & most obedient Servant

    Tho Hutchinson

    DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, f. 211); marked “Duplicate”; unaddressed; docketed, “Boston 20th. Octr. 1769. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 7 & 8) Rx 28. Novr. (Dup—orig. not recd.).” RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 20–21); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Reced / Read [text erased] 1770.” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:391–92); substantially revised; unaddressed; dated 19 October 1769; marked, “Lyde” for ship transport. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 37–39); in an unknown hand; docketed, “Lieut. Governor Hutchinson Boston 20th. Octr. 1769. No. 7. Rx.” SC (Staffordshire Record Office, Dartmouth Collection, D(W)1778/V/611B); in an unknown hand. SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 43, 1:112); at head of letter, “Thos. Hutchinson to the Earl of Hillsborough”; in an unknown hand. SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 10, 3:41); endorsed, “Govr. Hutchinson to Lord Hillsboro, 20 Octr. 1769.” Based on the similarities of minor revisions in the RC and Dft, it appears TH wrote the Dft, made some changes when writing out the RC, and then corrected the Dft accordingly. Enclosure to RC: Boston News-Letter and Massachusetts Gazette, 21 September 1769, p. 1 (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 22).

    431. To Richard Jackson

    In his first version of the following letter to Richard Jackson, Hutchinson vents his frustration that he can do nothing to stop the coercive measures used by the Merchants and Traders of Boston to force hold-outs to join in the nonimportation agreement. He urges that Parliament accompany the repeal of the Townshend duties with a law forbidding such illegal combinations, so that repeal will not be seen as a retreat from parliamentary supremacy but as a generous indulgence of colonial grievances. Hutchinson had addressed the topic with Jackson previously, and he perhaps struck it from the second version as repetitive or maybe he feared that his original version did not reflect well on his own efforts as acting governor to preserve public order.

    Version I. To [Richard Jackson]

    Boston [blank space in MS] October 1769

    Dear Sir, I shall send by Cap Lyde the 10 books which were not ready for Mr Harrison and, to give you as little trouble as possible I have desired Mr Wm Palmer to receive them & send them to your house and if in the list of persons you think it most proper for me to omit any I rely upon your friendship to do it for me and to dispose of them else where as you think proper.1 The proceedings of the people of this town have been so extravagant that I am sure you will think they are not to be tolerated.

    A party which consists of many of the principal merchants but which admit among them people who never were nor never will be merchants meet together & agree that they will import no goods from England nor suffer any to be imported until the Revenue acts are repealed.2 The inhabitants of the town meet & approve of the doings of the Merchants & declare those infamous who do not join with them. Committees are sent to every importer to treat with them & to urge them not to sell their goods. If they refuse they are told they must take the consequences. They bear insults in the news papers & as they pass the streets until they think themselves upon the brink of danger of violence to their persons & properties & then they comply & their compliance is published by the Junto as their voluntary act. Its just as much so as if a highway man upon Hounslow heath should meet you with his pistol in his hand & entreat you to give him your purse voluntarily & tell you if you did not think fit to do it you must take the consequences.

    You will naturally ask why are not the laws put in execution & the offenders brought to punishment. I answer because it is the voice of the people in this & other colonies that such confederacies are legal & constitutional. When this cannot be maintained they resort to necessity which they say knows no law. I have but five councillors in town three of them were at a meeting of the merchants when they sent a committee to my sons to require their final determination & one of them met my eldest son in the street expressed his great regard for him signified his apprehension of the danger he was in & begged for Gods sake that he would stand out no longer. I agree with you that altering constitutions of government will not cure the distemper for though some constitutions are more subject to it than others yet we see it prevail more or less in all. If nothing be done it will by and by be incurable. I cannot however think that the body of the people of the colonies if we can get rid of a few of their leaders will presevere in disputing the authority of parliament. They are at present under the influence of a Wilkes attorney & such like in miniature who must by some authority or other be called to account before we shall come to rights. When I read the votes or resolves published in the newspapers declaring the combination to be intended to compel parliament to repeal their acts & afterwards saw committees from this combination publishing their doings with their names to them in order to the execution of them I was astonished. I was at a loss where to set bounds to the degree of the offence.

    A number of persons are now shipping back goods to the value of a thousand pounds sterling imported by one Smith in the last vessel & I am informed that he is to return with his goods & if he be examined will be able to tell what compulsory methods have been used & by whom. Whether parliament will think it regular upon this or any other evidence for them to take cognisance of particular persons I cannot judge. It must I think appear necessary that their sense should be shewn of the nature of the offence of such combinations that the penalties of all who continue in it or hereafter shall be guilty of it should be expressed and certain & if parliament is the supreme authority of the whole British dominions it is necessary there should be such & no other judiciary powers in all parts of these dominions as will make acts of parliament the rule of their judgments. If any bounds are to be set to this authority let us know what they are when the line is to be drawn & let us be convinced that parliament is determined to hold us to these bounds. We shall not doubt it if an act is passed not merely declaratory but penal & which shall execute it self. Such an act I think may be formed. Our distemper has rose to such an heighth that I am not sure such an act would be an immediate cure but I think it the most probable remedy. It will not I hope be thought incompatible that by the same act such revenue acts as have been improved to produce this distemper should be repealed. If all will not allow them to have been unconstitutional it cannot be denied that they were inexpedient. The other parts of the act will show that you could have enforced the observance of them if you pleased. We I hope shall receive the repeal as an act of favour & indulgence & an earnest of the like tenderness for time to come. I have no doubt this will be the case with many who are men of influence in the several parts of this province & now favour the sons of liberty. I wish what is to be done may be done at once before the holidays eer people are meditating the renewal of their confederacy which expires the first of Jnry. I hope we shall know what parliament will do before that time or very soon after. I write you what upon deliberate consideration appears to me to be for the interest of the nation & its colonies. A [disposition] must be left to both & whilst others are blessing themselves with the pleasing prospect of the rapid increase of the colonies I am tempted to wish them at a stand lest their increase should run them into precipitate measures to bring about this [disposition] & [essay in] their destruction. I hope not in my day. But my sentiments will be condemned if they should be known & sunder my bonds. I have had so much experience of your friendship that I can rely upon your concealing them. Where you think I am wrong let me know it & I will receive & consider your sentiments with the utmost candor. The case of the colonies is such importance that I think you will desire all information that can be. I am far from exaggerating & yet I doubt not many here would charge me with misrepresenting & perhaps you will have different accounts & very different opinions upon expedient measures from other quarters but the design of them is to tell the resentment of the nation that the opposition to government here may be strengthened from an opinion which is industriously spread through the colonies that the greater lengths we go the more parliament is intimidated & the more secure we render our selves.

    After all I have said I think I may consistently enough add that if nothing else should be done yet I wish to see the repeal as far as encouragement has been given at least for without it our disorders will infalliably be increased & though merely doing that will not restore to order yet it may keep it from growing worse until you are more fully convinced that something further is necessary. I am with the most sincere regard & esteem

    Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:387–89); marked “not sent”; heavily abbreviated; unaddressed; partially dated.

    Version II. To Richard Jackson

    Boston 20. October 1769

    Dear Sir, I shall send by Cap Lyde the 10 books which were not ready for Mr Harrison. To give you as little trouble as possible I have desired Mr William Palmer to receive them & send them to your house and if in the list of persons named you think it more proper for me to omit any I shall esteem it as an additional favour if you will dispose of the books intended for them to such other persons as may be without exception for I have not mentioned to anyone my having intended a book to them. I am ashamed of giving you this trouble & do not design to repeat it.

    I wrote you in my last my opinion of the necessity of ^a^ parliamentary interposition to suppress the most unwarrantable combinations against the authority of parlt. A new subscription is now afoot to import no goods until all the Revenue acts are repealed and I doubt not most of the principal Merchants will come into it. I am very sure the persons who by means of these combinations keep the whole powers of government in their hands will not part with them unless you convince them you are determined at all events to compel them to it. When they see that I believe their courage will fail them. I am with very great esteem Sir Your obliged

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:393); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson”; marked “Lyde” for ship transport. Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777; Remembrancer for the Year 1777, p. 112.

    432. To Thomas Whately

    Boston 20 Octo 1769

    Dear Sir, I thank you for your last favor of July 25.1 I fancy in my last to you about two months ago I have answered the greatest part of it.2 My opinion upon the combination of the Merchants I gave you very fully. How long they would be able to continue them if Parlt. should not interpose is uncertain. In most articles they may another year & you run the risk of their substituting when any are put to these shifts3 something of their own in the place of what they used to have from you & which they will never return to you for. But it is not possible that provision for dissolving these combinations & subjecting all who do not renounce them to penalties adequate to the Offence should not be made the first week the P. meets. Certainly all parties will unite in so extraordinary a case if they never do in any other.

    So much has been said upon the Repeal of the duties laid by the last Act that it will render it very difficult to keep peoples minds quiet if that should be refused them. They deserve punishment you will say but laying or continuing taxes upon all cannot be tho’t equal seeing many will be punished who are not Offenders. Penalties of another kind seem better adapted.4 I have been tolerably treated since the G departed no other charge being made against me in our scandalous news papers except my bad principles in matters of government & this charge has had little effect & a great many friends promise me support. I must beg the favour of you to keep secret every thing I write until we are in a more settled state for the party here either by their agent5 or some of their emissaries from hence in London have sent them every report or rumor of the contents of letters wrote from hence.6 I hope we shall see better times both here & in England. I am

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:392); at head of letter, “Mr Whately”; marked “Bryant” for ship transport. Contemporary printing: Letters Sent to Great-Britain, p. 17.

    433. From Peter Oliver

    Middlebro’ October 22d. 1769

    Dear Brother! I went to Worcester, but did not find you, & to Springfield & Lo! you was not there, neither could I see you at Taunton; thus one Friend drops after another, so that at last I conform to good Lord Hale’s Opinion, I look upon this World, only as am I [was], & hope often my Journey is over to find all my Friends well at Home.1 I want much to see You, to renew our old Correspondence but the once agreeable Days I fear are over; I wish your royal Master would return you to your old Post with a handsome Stipend; so say we all, for we all miss You.

    I hope you have met with no new Thorns in the Flesh since your new Seat; those Messengers of Satan I hope are discouraged from fresh Attacks.

    I expect soon to hear of the Repeal of the troublesome Acts; for this seems to be the general Expectation: when repealed, I trust you will have less Difficulty in steering the Ship. I imagine you must have heard of Sr. Francis Bernards Arrival, if so, be so good as to let us know his Reception.2

    I suppose you received my Letter from Springfield & hope you were pleased with the Conduct of M. H — y’s Affairs:3 If it should tend to promote Peace I shall be glad, & by what I can learn there is a good Prospect of it.

    I do not know how likely it is that I may address you under a new Title in the Superscription of my Letters to you, but I shall always use the same Freedom I ever did in the [illegible] of them, for I assure you I shall cease writing when I shall be [illegible] to subscribe myself by any other Epithet than that agreeable one of your sincerely affectionate Friend

    Peter Oliver

    RC (New York Public Library, Samuel Adams Papers); at foot of letter, “His Honour M Hutchinson”; addressed, “To his Honour Thomas Hutchinson in Boston”; endorsed, “Judge Oliver 22 Octo 1769.”

    434. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 23. Octo 1769

    No 12

    Dear Sir, By this Ship Cap Bryant a Committee as they call themselves of Merchants have reshipped about 11 Tons of Bale goods chiefly belonging to one Smith who I am just now informed will go passenger which I did not know when I wrote to Lord Hillsborough. The pretence is that he voluntarily gave up his goods.1 If he is examined before the H of Commons he will be able to say whether it was his voluntary act or whether he was afraid of the loss of his goods or any thing worse. He never came near me nor did I hear any thing of him until I heard every thing was settled. He afterwards absented him self to avoid shipping the goods but they have done it without him and have agreed that the persons in whose names they are shipped shall be indemnified. This is such a piece of insolent contempt that it must be resented or the Offenders will be encouraged to go farther but I have said so much upon this subject that I need not add any thing more. We are now hoping to hear every day of your arrival and that all pretended misrepresentations will be made evident though the very charge of misrepresentations was an affront to Majesty & supposed the King would give credit to words denying the most evident facts. I had a C to day for appointing a Thanksgiving. I gave them an old fashioned proclamation & put in one clause for continuing to us our civil & religious Liberties & Privileges. This was excepted to with one voice & I was obliged to give it up. Dex then moved & P & Tyl seconded him that the two paintings of K C & the D of Y might be removed out of the C. Chamber.2 I told them I had no attachment to K Ch. & K James but in palaces the pictures of crownd heads were preservd, without regard to characters. I wishd to see all the crownd heads since the province was settled to fill the pannels around the room & hoped soon to see that of our present Sovereign and that in time I did not doubt most if not all the rest might be obtained. They did not press a vote but several of them said it would be best to remove them without a vote & no body would find fault with it & so it rests at present. I am

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:393); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; marked “Bryant” for ship transport.

    435. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston [blank space in MS] October 1769

    No. 8

    My Lord, By this Ship Capt. Bryant about Eleven Tons of goods are returned to England because they were imported contrary to the agreement of the Merchants. The Owner or Consignee who was terrified upon his first arrival engaged to send his goods back, the Merchants paying the freight insurance &ca.1

    After time for consideration he thought proper to absent himself. A Committee of the Merchants in his absence appointed a SubCommittee (who they are to indemnify) to clear the goods at the Custom House, to consign them to Champion & Dickinson and to give directions concerning them, which, no doubt, they must produce if required. I am with the greatest truth Your Lordships most faithful and most obedient humble Servant

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, f. 212); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Hillsborough; docketed, “Boston 20th. Octr. 1769. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No. 7 & 8) Rx 28. Novr. (Dup—orig. not recd.)”; the final phrase in the docketing regarding the DupRC refers to No. 430, above. AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:392); unaddressed. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, f. 40); unaddressed; in an unknown hand; docketed, “Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson Boston October 20th. 1769 No. 8 Rx 28 Novr. Dup. original not receiv’d”; the final phrase in the docket regarding the DupRC refers to No. 430, above. SC (Staffordshire Record Office, Dartmouth Collection, D(W)1778/V/611B); in an unknown hand.

    436. To John Pownall

    Boston 23 October 1769


    Sir, I have delivered the Master of this Ship a large pacquet directed to you to be left by him at the Plantation Office containing the printed Journal of the House of Representatives the Records of the General Court and exemplifications of the several Laws passed at the last Session. The delay of the Clerk of the House in preparing the Journal for the press and the absence of the Secretary at New York prevented me from sending them sooner.1 The Secretary informs me that the Governor carried the Treasurers Accounts with him.

    The Laws were passed while the Governor was in the Province and as he is now in England it will not be expected from me to make any remarks upon them. Indeed by the unprecedented exclusion of the Lieutenant Governor from being present in Council I am not so capable of doing it as otherwise I should have been. I am with very great esteem Sr Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    After sealing all my Letters except this I have obtained a copy of the proceedings of the Town of Boston from one of the persons concerned in printing them, a general order having been given that none should be delivered until the Ships bound to London are sailed2. I have it from good authority that other Resolves passed and that the Town directed their Committee to print such as they judged proper.

    I cannot help observing to you that ^most of^ the Meetings of this Town are held without any colour of authority from the Law. The Town is no Corporation; but by virtue of several province Laws all Towns are impowered to meet for a few special purposes only and whenever they meet for any other purpose it is absolutely illegal and ought to be declared so and a proper punishment ought to be provided and published, but it must be done by a legislative power superior to any within the Province, or it will not be done and however contemptuously that superior power may have been treated I do not believe that we are yet in such a state as that we should chuse to run the risque of incurring the penalties of their ^its^ acts, especially if such penalties should incapacitate the Offenders for publick Offices or subject them to further incapacities according to the degree of the Offence. If the Town was a Corporation much of this disorder would be prevented.

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/758, ff. 216–17); at foot of letter, “John Pownall Esq”; docketed, “Boston, 23d. Octr. 1769. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson JP. Rx 28 Novr. (Private).” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:394); at head of letter, “John Pownall Es”; marked “Bryant” for ship transport.

    437. To William Palmer

    Boston 24 Octo 1769

    Sir, If any Act of P. has passed &c no more caution than usual will be necessary but if not [fill] the bills of lading on account as by invoice & to be delivered to your order & inclose the bill of lading with a blank endorsement to me & also the invoice & say nothing to my sons of your having shipd nor let the master know whether it is the property of any body here or of Rhode Island & I will manage it as well as I can. I am Your most humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:395); heavily abbreviated; at head of letter, “Mr Wm Palmer”; marked “Bryant” for ship transport.

    438. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 27 Octo 1769

    No 13

    Dear Sir, Our Merchants subscription goes on & altho there are some who refuse to join yet it is generally supposed the same measures will be used as have been to compel a compliance with the former agreement. Dalrymple told me a day or two ago that one who was present at the Merchants meeting informed him that Mr Hancock said he had concerted with the Merchants of Phila. & NYork a plan of an Union & a Congress of Deputies in order to carry these measures into execution & to settle other measures as may from time to time be necessary & that Molineux proposed to proceed imediately to the choices of Deputies but it was thought best to defer it to the next meeting which will be in about 10 days.1 I mention this to you because I think it most probable he has wrote to Engd to the same purpose but upon enquiry I find he misunderstood the gentleman & that nothing of this sort was said in the meeting & that it was only street conversation upon Mr Hanc. return from Philad. & NYork. However, I think nothing future can be more certain than that these people who have now the power in their hands will keep it & will improve it in opposition to Parliamt until parliamentary power suppresses them. It is notorious that Mr Tyler who ought to have advised me to a proclamation against this confederacy or to direct the Att. Gen to a prosecution is a subscriber to this new agreement & most of his brethren are favorers of it & the rest passive. I mean those who are in town. The Treas. I except he having declard against it. Mr Hubbard has been ill for some time incapable of business.2

    I am more & more confirmed that the repeal of the last Act ^I mean the duty^3 will make a difference among our sons of liberty. Many in each colony will be content whilst others will continue their opposition. If ever Machiavellian policy is to be justified this is the time & I cannot think there can be any ground for complaint if every dispute about bounds or of any other nature should be suffered to continue until it be made certain what sort of subjects we intend to be.

    At NY. they are in full expectation of an American Parlt. upon the plan of the government of Ireld. This would be the strangest policy that ever was heard of. If Ireland could be removd 3000 miles from Britain it would soon cease to be under the dominion of the same prince. With still greater reason we may say it would never submit to parliamentary authority. At the congress of Albany in 1754 I was in favour of an Union of the governments for certain purposes & I drew the plan which was then accepted but if I had imagined such absurd notions of government could ever have entred into the heads of the Americans as are now publickly avowed I should then have been against any sort of union as I was for it.4

    After I had sealed my Letter to you by Bryant I covered to Mr Secretary Pownall the printed proceedings of the Town: The thing is calculated to take in the vulgar & may mislead others who are not acquaintd with facts but it is so shamefully evasive & fallacious that I cannot but hope you will furnish some person of leisure with the true state of facts that it may be answered for I have no doubt they design to publish it in England & they would suffer no copies to go out until the Vessels which were then ready had sailed & I was obligd to employ Frank to procure one from a journey man who then worked at the press.5 I send another least the former may have miscarried. It was offered to the Town by Adams & probably most of it is his performance but there are some parts appear to me of another hand & what relates to the Council is probably the production of a Gentleman who was then of the Council.6 There has been no occurrence worthy the notice of Ld Hillsboro since I last wrote to his Lordship & I do not write by this Vessel nor Scot. I know every thing I write to you of a publick nature you communicate to His Lordship. We are troubled every day or two with complaints from the Towns people against the Soldiers which keeps the Town in a continual ferment. It used to be so before you sailed & I know not how it can be helped. I am with great regard your most faithful & obedient Servant,

    P.— is a subscriber. This my son has from his son who is one of their Committee & who mentions T—’s subscribing also.7

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:395–96); at head of letter, “Sr Fr B.” written in a different ink and possibly a different hand. Contemporary printings: Norwich Packet, 26 June 1775; Remembrancer for the Year 1775, 1st ed., p. 120 (2nd ed., p. 46).

    439. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 27 Octo [1769]1

    No 14

    My dear Sir, I have omitted saying anything to you of Mr Bernards unfortunate case because I was in hopes he would grow better & it must give you pain to know how much he is disordered but it cannot be concealed from you.2 He has very frequently called upon me since you sailed both at Milton & in Town & I did not observe any thing new but in general very decent except when any thing was said of the Merchants or the Town of B. & then he could not help breaking out against them but upon the least intimation to be cautious & reserved he would check & recover himself. Tomorrow will be a fortnight since he came from Fort Pownall.3 He stopped first at my house after he came over the ferry & gave me an account how much he had been exposed having been sevral night on M. Desart & sometimes lodged on the ground with only a blanket & part of the time that he was upon the Island was very stormy.4 After he left the Island he told me he had no sleep for 8 or 10 nights. He seemed then to be very calm. A few evenings after he calld again & gave me an account of a Letter he had wrote to you from Fort Pownall which he said was at a time when he hardly knew what he did. The 21 he called again & told me he suspected some design. He had passed thro several gangs of fellows & he believd they were raising a mob. I told him there would be no mob on Saturd. nights people collected on a post night to know what news. He seemed to agree to it & after a little conversation went to his lodging but all the night after he was so much disordered as to keep the family up & the next day discovered his disorder in passing the streets to that degree that Mr John came to me early the morning after to tell me it was absolutely necessary he should be confined & he advised how to proceed with him.5 No place appeared to me so proper as the Castle & it being proposed to him the next day to go down on a party of pleasure it took with him & he has been ever since confined in one of the officers rooms in the Barracks, which I ordered to be prepared for his reception. He will have all possible care taken of him & one of his physicians seems to make no doubt by Regimen & proper administrations he will recover in a short time.

    I will go down my self to the Castle in the morning & see that evry thing is done which can be done for his advantage. I hope soon to send you a more favorable account & am Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:396–97); unaddressed but this numbered letter falls within the sequence of TH’s letters to Bernard; misdated 1763.

    440. To Israel Mauduit

    Boston 27. Octo 1769

    Dear Sir, I sent you by Mr Harrison a volume of papers some of which I fancy will amuse you but in general they will not be regarded except in the Colony.1 My fingers itched when I was correcting the press to make some political marginal notes but a desire to be as little obnoxious as possible prevented me. The combination among the Merchants in the several colonies against parl. some of which expressly declare that they are formed to compel parl. from the distress the tradesmen & manufacturers must be brot into to repeal their revenue Acts are so daring so insolent so absolutely incompatible with all government that they have brot matters to a crisis & either the power of parlt will be immediately exerted to suppress them & to punish all concerned or they will always be looked upon as precedents by following which we may at any time get rid of Acts of Parlt which do not suit us. I take it for granted the last duties will be taken off. Assurances have been given to all the colonies and several of them have behaved decently but we shall not think you were induced to it by any other motive than the fears you were under from our combinations unless you convince us you are able to dissolve them. The way & manner of doing it I think is not very difficult the wisdom of P. will discover it. I do not believe those persons who from your side the water encourage us to persist in them see the consequence. Riots Tumults & sudden Insurrections are less dangerous than such confederacies neglected. In this town they really have more power than the Magistracy established by the constitution because the body of the people favour them. Indeed the majority by far of the Magistrates & I have reason to fear the Legislative power also have no disposition to discourage them. We follow your example the vigor of government is lost & all subordination at an end. When you write me again pray let me know the author of a little pamphlet Thoughts on Government which is the best thing I have ever seen on the subject.2 I wonder it has not opened the eyes of the nation. We have but one of them in the Country & no body desires to read it. I have no other aim in my new station than to keep matters as quiet as I can until I hear what we are to expect from the next Session of parl. which it seems to me must be decisive & that we cannot bear this vague uncertain sort of government any longer. I hope we shall be allowed every right of an English man which can consist with our subjection to the supreme authority of the whole dominion. I have never yet seen any rational plan for a partial subjection.

    It is of more consequence to me now that my sentiments upon these points should be concealed than it used to be. I am with sincere regard

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:397); at head of letter, “Mr Mauduit.” Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 March 1777; Remembrancer for the Year 1777, p. 112.