Selected Correspondence

    1770 (January–October)

    Proroguing the General Court

    494. To Thomas Gage, 4 January 1770

    495. To Israel Mauduit, 7 January 1770

    496. To Lord Hillsborough, 8 January 1770

    497. To Unknown, 9 January 1770

    498. To Sir Francis Bernard, 10 January 1770

    499. To Sir Francis Bernard, 10 January 1770

    500. To Thomas Gage, 10 January 1770

    On New Year’s Day 1770, Hutchinson had still not received instructions from Whitehall pertaining to the Massachusetts General Court, which Governor Francis Bernard had prorogued until 10 January. Hutchinson anticipated some punitive response to the extraordinary resolves passed by the House of Representatives the previous summer and further directions from Whitehall on how to respond to the extralegal combination of merchants enforcing the nonimportation agreement. Just in the nick of time on the evening of 3 January, Hutchinson received a letter from Lord Hillsborough ordering him to continue the prorogation until mid-March by which date further direction would arrive from the Privy Council.

    494. To Thomas Gage

    Boston 4 January 1770

    Sir, By the November Mail I have intelligence from the Secretary of State that the Resolves of the House of Representatives & their Message to the Governor and the combination of the Merchants were of so extraordinary a nature that His Majesty had thought proper to lay them before that Committee of His Servants to whom matters of the greatest moment are referred.1 In the mean time His Majesty expressly commands me to prorogue the Assembly to the second Wednesday in March before which time I may expect further directions for my future conduct. I have acquainted Colo Dalrymple with these orders and I think it proper to acquaint you with them also as they may perhaps cause a suspension of measures relative to the main Guard for some time.2 I take this opportunity to thank you for your favorable intention which I am well assured if carried into execution would have been very salutary and I am most respectfully Sir Your most obedient humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “His Excellency General Gage.”

    495. To Israel Mauduit

    7. Jan 1770

    Dear Sir, I thank you for your last favour of Nov. 4.1 I have taken the liberty to print a part of it as an Extract of a Letter from a Merchant in London to his friend Correspondent in Boston.2 Our Libertines say they will never believe it was wrote by a Merchant. I think it will be of service.

    The Reverend Samuel Cooper, 1769–71. By John Singleton Copley. Cooper was a leading member of the patriot inner circle, who maintained a wide correspondence in England and America. Hutchinson warned, about Cooper, “Latet anguis” (Beware the snake in the grass). Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

    My sole intention in this letter is to give you a hint of the characters of the persons proposed by the London corporation to fill up the vacancies.3 Laymen are B—F. P. & G Clergy are C—C M & H.4 I say nothing of their morals as I know of no exception and as to their intellects altho there is a great difference in them yet they have all sufficient but I am more concerned about their political principles in the present state of America, not that it is a matter of much consequence in any affairs which relate to the Commission but every mark of distinction upon the opposers of government gives weight to the opposition. Of the Laymen the first is of the C. of M and among the most zealous of importers having previously imported himself to an uncommon amount. The third is of the same side & one who upon all occasions expresses himself with warmth enough to inflame the populace who hear him. The 2d has been open & steady in favour of government & [he’s left out of]5 C for no other reason. The last has a very fair character is of a peaceable disposition & complies with popular humours no farther than is necessary for his own quiet. Our C. in general from the very nature of our E constitution if we have any are ^slavishly^ subservient to the people & follow them in their prejudices.6 Some busy themselves more than others but scarce any more than the 3 first named. Of the 3 the second has the greatest governance of his temper & is more upon his guard but Latet anquis.7 The fourth is a young man & in general no meddler in politicks. They have mentioned another layman the DG of Connecticut who I know only by character which stands well.8 I know of no notable inconvenience by these vacancies. What if they should not be filled until we are a little more settled? You can best judge whether there is any prospect of it. I am Sir Your most obedient

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/45X, 26:427); at foot of letter, “IM. Eq.”

    496. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 8 January 1770

    My Lord, By the Mail which came in from New York the 3d. in the evening, I had the honour of your Lordship’s Letter No. 29.1 The next morning I issued a Proclamation for proroguing the Court to the second Wednesday in March.

    I first summoned such of the Council as were in Town to meet me at the Council chamber and acquainted them that I did not ask their advice whether I should obey the King’s orders or not, but as I had received such orders I thought so much distinction ^due^ to them as to let them know it before it was made publick by a Proclamation. I informed them, at the same time, that the Resolves of the Assembly in the last Session, their Message to the Governor and the Association of the Merchants to prevent the Importation of British Manufactures had occasioned this signification of His Majesty’s pleasure.2 One of them asked me whether I expected they should not disclose what I had informed them of. I had no objection to their disclosing it and thought that the more publick it was made the better.

    The people from long usage are fond of the General Court’s sitting at this time of the year but I know of no great publick inconvenience which the prorogation can occasion. The clamour is much less than I expected.3 When I have the honour to receive the Instructions to which your Lordship refers for my further guidance and direction I shall most carefully conform to them. 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 5/759, ff. 31–32); at foot of letter, “Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough &c.”; docketed, “Boston 8th. Jany. 1770 Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson Rx 20 Feby 1770. No. 2,” although the letter itself is not marked “No. 2.” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:426); heavily reworked with large crossed-out passages; unaddressed but marked “No. 2”; illegible note at the top might indicate by which ship the letter was sent to England. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 70–71); docketed, “Boston 8th. January 1770 Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson R. 20th. February 1770.” Enclosure to RC: printed proclamation by Hutchinson to prorogue the General Court, 4 January 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, f. 33).

    497. To Unknown

    Boston January 9th 1770

    Dear Sir, The order for proroguing the Assembly to the second Wednesday in March is looked upon by ^some of^ the Council ^to which I communicated it^ to be the same as an Order for dissolution because they say it will be followed by further Orders to prorogue until May when the Court must be dissolved of course. I tell them they are mistaken they will have something for their consideration before May that this is a preparatory step for such measures as will ^ascertain^ the Relation between Great Britain and her Colonies and restore the latter to a state of Government and Order ^in this province^. The Demagogues are much disappointed. They had laid out the Business of the Session and depended on carrying their points. ^Hearing nothing from England they took it for granted that all they did the last Session would be passed over.^ I think in some they would have failed yet ^however^ I am not sorry that before I meet them I am like to be able to let them know ^what are the sentiments of administration & perhaps of Parl upon their past^ proceedings the last Session were received in England. There has prevailed in all the Colonies a very general ^an^ opinion that by a resolute opposition to Acts of Parliament would they should bring Parliament to submit. We have some mad desperate people among us who would ^be for resistance to the last drop of blood rather than we should submit ourselves^ [illegible] into any degree of resistance but I flatter myself this is not the sense of the body of the people & ^but very few & the rest^ when they see Parliament determined ^at all events^ to maintain its authority over the Colonies they will think it madness to resist and when they find this authority exercised with the utmost tenderness and feel the benefit of it by the revival of internal government and good order they will cheerfully submit to it.

    The compliance of Pensilvania the Jerseys & New York with the Mutiny Act is a happy circumstance,1 and I think must tend to make a breach in that Union which and if ^[illegible] once^ made it seems to me to be a most essential part of political measures to keep ^it^ from being closeding again. ^Our people & the Dutch Albanians indeed the N Yorkers in general have as great an aversion each to the other as ever the Eng & Scotch borderers had one to the other in the former centuries & it is only the opinion of the necessity of union for general defense which has caused a Truce for 5 or 6 years past.^2 ^At present^ The populace of the City of New York are as intemperate ^seem to be as distempered^ as the populace of the Town of Boston and if they are more restrained there than here it is owing to the advantage they have from the form of Government which the City of N Y is under.

    Happy would it be if Government ^in the Kingdom^ could first recover its vigor in Britain that the people here might no longer have it in their power to justify their licentiousness by the indulgence shewn to the licentiousness of the people there. I have the honour to be very Respectfully Sir Your most obedient humble,

    Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/45X, 26:430).

    498. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 10 January 1770

    No 1

    My Dear Sir, The Letters by the November pacquet came to hand the 3d in the evening and the next morning I prorogued the Court to the second Wednesday in March. Some of the distant members will be on their journey before the proclamation reaches them and if the packet had not had a better passage than common my orders would have found the Court sitting. I thought when I wrote you some time ago that there would be ^a prorogation would cause^ a great clamour & therefore wished the Court might meet.1 There is less than I expected. As far as I can yet judge the party seem to be rather mortified & humbled by it than enraged. I am convinced that it is the right measure. I am waiting for what is ^any orders which are^ to follow.

    I had seen so many of the Members of the House and had such encouragement from them that I rather think the Boston Members would have failed in the next ^carrying some^ of their motions. ^At least^ One part of their scheme would have been the restoration of all the negatived Counsellors. ^If this had succeeded^ I should have been at no loss for if they had ^all^ been men which in my own judgment I could have approved of at another time yet as it was in the same year I could upon no terms have given my consent any more than if it had been the same Session. It would have made a precedent which would have tending to render the power of negation a futile thing and if once encouraged ^allowed^ ^admitted^ they would ever after have taken the advantage of it. In so plain a case if not at first yet in a short time the people themselves would have been [illegible] ^acquiesced^. Another part of the Scheme was to apply to me to order the Troops to the Castle and Otis has been declaiming upon the Governors power to do it by the Constitution. To prevent the trouble of such a motion from succeeding I had obtained an order from the General to remove the Main Guard from the environs of the Town house ^Court^ and the House where it [illegible] ^this^ was to have been at [illegible] the Sunday before the Court met which ^done^ as yesterday.2 I am told it would have satisfied the greatest part of the Members especially as they knew I could do nothing more than to carry the Court out of Town which they would not like at this time of the year. But if the Session had ^would have^ been ever so peaceable yet if any thing is to be done in Parliament this previous step of proroguing the Court seems to be very proper. I know of no great inconvenience which can arise from it. Some of the Judges ^the Salary men particularly^3 want their ^allowances and although^ The income of my Estate would maintain me as a private Gentleman but it will not as a Governor. I must borrow some of the principal.

    I [hear] your ^not^ having a prospect of The piece in the paper of this day signed Vindex is undoubtedly from Adams.4 It appears not only by the stile but from his having delivered just the same sentiments in company immediately after the Prorogation of the Court. I am Dear Sir Your faithful & most obedient servant, &c.

    Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:428); unaddressed, but during this period TH numbered only his letters to Sir Francis Bernard and Lord Hillsborough, and he always opened his letters to the latter with some version of “My Lord,” which is lacking in this letter; the opening salutation of “My Dear Sir” is in keeping with TH’s other letters to Bernard.

    499. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 10 Jan 1770


    No 2

    My Dear Sir, I am very much obliged to you for your appearance in my behalf with Ld Hh. whose favorable opinion of me does me great honour.1 As you justly observe if government be put upon a new Establishment & ^a^ person of superior Rank will take the burden upon him I can have no right to complain nor should I think much if this should be the case [illegible] my appointment in which case there would be no great [illegible] the part of CJ [illegible]. nor should I think it any indignity to return to ^the place of Chief Justice if after my appointment such a plan should be settled & the place may be kept vacant in the mean time.^ ^I depend upon your care of me and^ I hope your having laid aside the thoughts of returning yourself will not be the means of ^cause^ America’s ^to^ going out of your mind until we are in a more settled state than we are at present. ^I am totally ignorant of the Minister’s plan.^ What the plan of Ministerial is I [illegible]. ^I guess that^ The Court I think was is prorogued to a particular day with an intention that something from ^the^ King or ^from the^ Parliament shall be then laid before them ^& perhaps in order to some answer before Parl rises.^ If Parliament was further prorogued it must be from the King only but what it will be I am [illegible].

    Theres a mystery in Temples not going to England. He says he has not got his leave. Some conjecture that he is afraid to go and that he has some intimation that his accounts ^charges^ as S.G. will be overhalled.2 His brother & he have lately dined Dalrymple & many ^several^ of his Officers & he seems to have a mind to appear better more [illegible] decency but ^he^ keeps his distance from all the other officers ^Servants^ of the Crown nor have I ever seen him any where except once at a Funeral since you left the Province.3 I hope what I sent you from Pickman may be made some use of.4 If Flucker had done what he always said he would do in the affair of the Libel I think we should have had no further trouble. The Secretary tells me Flucker wonders he has heard nothing from you upon the Subject.5 Now Messervee is provided for the Secretary is the only Stamp master who has had nothing done for him. It sits heavy on his Spirits.6

    You believe you shall come to America again. If it be any part of the Continent I hope I shall be able to find leisure enough to make one visit to you.

    [Mr.]7 Pelham where Mr Bernard is now placed was at my house to day. He is urgent with me to go & see him after ^and^ says he is better ^more composed^ than since he has been there. I intend to go the first opportunity.8 I hope the first directions you give will be such as that consistent with them he may be sent to England where I am very sure he will be much more likely to obtain a perfect cure than ^help^ here. I am with great respect Dear Sir Your most faithful & obedient &c.

    Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:429); unaddressed, but during this period TH numbered only his letters to Sir Francis Bernard and Lord Hillsborough. Mention of Sir Francis’s son makes clear he was the intended recipient.

    500. To Thomas Gage

    Boston 10 January 1770

    Sir, The day after the business of the Superior Court was finished, the Clerk sat out upon a journey to New Hampshire and did not return until Monday last and having orders from the Court to give no copies of the extraordinary Indictments he did not lodge them with the rest.1 I always intended to forward a copy to you thinking it not improbable that you would chuse to forward it to the Ministry. I cannot have an attested copy but shall inclose one which I have copied from the Original with my own hand. I am very respectfully Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “His Excellency General Gage.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:431); at foot of letter, “His Excell General Gage.”