News from New York and Philadelphia

    479. To Richard Jackson, 6 December 1769

    480. To [John Pownall], 6 December 1769

    481. To Thomas Pownall, 6 December 1769

    Despite earlier warnings that Pennsylvania and Virginia would be satisfied with just the repeal of the duties on paper, glass, and painters’ colors, the Boston merchants voted in late July and again in early October to persist in nonimportation until all the revenue acts, including the duty on tea, were repealed. (See Nos. 393 and 421, both above). In early December, Boston received word that the merchants in Philadelphia and New York were unwilling to join them in this extended form of the agreement. The original nonimportation agreement was due to expire on 1 January, after which the associated merchants would face great difficulty preventing defections from their ranks.

    479. To Richard Jackson

    Boston 6 Dec 1769

    Dear Sir, The Merchants of this town proposed to the Merchants of NYork & Philadelphia to concur in the non importation of Goods from Engd unless all the Revenue Acts are repealed. Last week an answer was received & both NYork & Philad refuse.1 The latter say they do not consider the Molosses & other Acts to which our Merchants refer as Acts for raising a revenue but for the regulation of Trade. This refusal caused a meeting of the Merchants here the day before yesterday & they have voted the last agreement a nullity.2 As the case of the Colonies must come before parlt I thought it would be agreeable to you to know that the South. Colonies seem to expect no more than the repeal of the last Act & that our people ^only^ seem to acquiesce. I must think that all these proceedings are irregular the offence is against parlt the interior authority of the government of the province is not affected any further than it is under obligation to support the supreme authority but all sense of this obligation is gone. If the national commotion did not discourage me I should hope for a happy event with regard to the colonies from the Wisdom of this Session of parl and that the news of the Repeal of the last Duties will find some of the Colonies at least sick of contention & restore peace and order. I had no hopes of it whilst the union subsisted and they spring from the disagreement upon measures which from a sincere regard to the real interest of the whole I cannot help being pleased with. I am with great truth Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:414); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson.”

    480. To [John Pownall]1

    Boston 6 Decem 1769

    Dear Sir, I have received but few Letters in the course of my life which gave me ^with^ more pleasure than yours of the 4 of October which arrived ^came to my hands^ this evening.2 It has sensibly lessened the burden which lay upon my mind, from the prospect ^apprehensions^ of opposition not to my administration in particular but to the authority of government in general. I cannot but think that your sentiments are perfectly just. ^They give me fresh hopes.^ The false ideas of America so suddenly started can not ^will not^ have a very long duration. The ^Ideas^ are incompatible with any sort of connexion we can hope for with Great Britain and necessarily make Britain and its Colonies two distinct governments. There are certain principles in government which ^cannot be denied without^ absurdity. These as you observe may & ought to be openly insisted on, and first or last will prevail. ^Upon such principles I have ever thought and freely declared my opinion^ that as we are part of the government of Great Britain the ^denial of our obligations to submit to the^ Acts of the supreme authority of that government ^could^ not be ^supported. I have^ at the same time always ^been very free in declaring my sentiments upon the inexpediency of the Revenue Acts in the present state of America. By this freedom^ I have made my self Enemies ^but^ they have been such only ^principally^ as have feared that this conduct was the most ^supposed me to be^ dangerous to their wicked designs of bringing the government into a state of confusion which ^is the only way of making^ them selves can ^to^ be of any consequence. They ^had no way of venting their malice but by anonymous publications in the News papers which as they had no particular fact to charge me with have brot an odium upon their party & one of the chief of them has acknowledged they were mistaken in the measure and all their late publications have been despised by the people in general.3^

    I have acquainted My Lord Hillsborough with the disagreement between the ^Merchants of the^ Southern governments and of this province the former resolving to aim no farther than at the repeal of the last Act.4 ^I think good consequences will follow.^

    I intend by the next opportunity to give you a particular account of the state of the Board of Commissioners here ^and the obstructions they have met with^ which ^the publick Service requires to have made known^ but I have not time for it at present. I am with the most Sincere Respect & esteem Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,


    Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:413–13a); substantially revised with several illegible cancelled passages; unaddressed (see note 1, below).

    481. To Thomas Pownall

    Boston 6 Dec. 1769

    Dear Sir, Our combined Merchants are mortified with the refusal of the Merchants of NYork & Pensilvania to join them in a subscription not to import goods from G Britain until all the Revenue Acts are repealed. In consequence thereof at what is called a general meeting of the Merchants of this town the day before yesterday it was resolved to rescind their former vote not to import until all were repealed but to adhere stoutly to the other vote not to import until the late Act should be repealed. I am told the Pensilvanians say expressly they look upon the other Acts as passed for the regulation of trade & not for the purpose of a revenue.1

    The toleration of such confederacies for compelling to a compliance with their measures the supreme authority of government is of a most dangerous tendency. You are the judges what notice is proper to be taken of them & what or whether any provision is necessary to prevent them for time to come for the offence is against Parlt only the internal authority in the Colonies is out of the question.

    The people thro the province, except in this town only, seem to be very easy at present & I hope will continue so. I am with very great respect & regard Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:413); at foot of letter, “Governor Pownall.”