Controlling the Flow of Information to Britain

    540. From John Robinson, [7? March 1770]

    541. From Sir Francis Bernard, 10 March 1770

    542. From Thomas Gage, 11 March 1770

    543. To Sir Francis Bernard, 12 March 1770

    544. To Lord Hillsborough, 12 March 1770

    545. To Unknown, no date

    546. From Thomas Gage, 12 March 1770

    547. From Nathaniel Rogers, 12 March 1770

    With the removal of both regiments to the Castle, Samuel Adams achieved a goal toward which he had been striving for nearly a year and half. Next came a race to shape British public opinion about the Massacre. The more wanton and reckless the action of the troops could be made to appear in London, the more it would underscore the patriot contention that standing armies always posed a threat to the liberties of free people and should never have been dispatched to Boston in the first place. Therefore, a committee of the town began to solicit depositions from as many witnesses as possible to support this point of view. These testimonies were eventually appended to a pamphlet, that became known as A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston (Boston, 1770). Not content with the mere removal of the troops, the patriots also sought to implicate the commissioners of customs in the Massacre by including reports that additional persons had fired shots into the crowd from the second floor of the Custom House, outside of which the sentry had been, stationed.

    “The Fruits of Arbitrary Power” by Henry Pelham, 1770. Pelham was John Singleton Copley’s step brother. He unwisely allowed Revere an early look as his design. Revere copied it and brought out his own version before Pelham could even advertise his. Pelham closed an angry letter to Revere, written on 29 March 1770, with the words: “I leave you to reflect upon and consider of one of the most dishonourable Actions you could well be guilty of.” Courtesy of the New York Public Library

    “The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in Kings Street in Boston,” 1770. By Paul Revere. One of the most significant changes made by Revere was the inclusion of a rifle being fired from the second floor of the Custom House (labeled “Butcher’s Hall”) reflecting the desire of many patriots to implicate the American Board of Customs Commissioners in the tragedy. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

    Hutchinson and other friends of government were equally aware of the need to make sure a countervailing explanation of events reached London quickly. Hutchinson asked Secretary Andrew Oliver to compile an account of the Council discussion on 6 March, in part to demonstrate that he had not exceeded his authority by “ordering” the king’s soldiers to the Castle. Customs Commissioner John Robinson, who was reported by some as directing fire from the balcony of the Custom House, left Boston secretly just eleven days after the Massacre, carrying with him Oliver’s record as well as two letters Hutchinson wrote to Bernard and Hillsborough. Robinson also carried William Dalrymple’s report on the Massacre and twenty-eight depositions, taken mostly from soldiers by Lieutenant-Colonel William White and Justice of the Peace James Murray. These depositions, together with Oliver’s version of the Council meeting, were incorporated into a pamphlet known as A Fair Account of the Late Disturbances at Boston in New England (London: B. White, 1770), but that did not appear until after A Short Narrative had already received wide distribution.

    540. From John Robinson

    Boston 3 oClock Wednesday.

    [7? March 1770]1

    Sir, Your Honor has been for some time acquainted with my Sentiments as to the Necessity that one of the Commissioners sho’d have gone to England full two years ago.2 After what has just happened that Necessity is in my Opinion renewed; & if my Brethren do not resolve that one of themselves shall go, I am determined to go, at all Events, whether they approve of it or not.3

    Mr. Peter Hughes has a Vessel to Sail in a few days, & whatever Commands you may honor me with shall be most faithfully executed. The Gentelmen of the Board can have no solid Objection agt. my going. We have already suffered sufficiently from Misrepresentations; and if they do not now acquesce with my Proposal I can not think that I shall run any Risk of incurring the Displeasure of my Superiors, & expecially as the Service we are engaged in cannot Suffer by my Absence.

    It certainly wo’d be a pleasing Circumstance to me to have their approbation; but if that is not to be obtained, I hope to have the Sanction of yours, as far as you may think yourself authorized by your Instructions. I have not as yet opened my Mind to the other Gentlemen, nor do I think it would be proper untill I know the Result of our Meeting this Evening at Mr. Secry Olivers4 & I shall hope that you will exert your Influence with my Brethren to bring them to this way of thinking; but of this I will say more when I have the Pleasure to see you to Night. I am with great Respect &c. Your Honors most Obed’t and most hu’ble Servant,

    J. Robinson.

    RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:460–61); at foot of letter, “The Honorable Lt. Governour.”

    541. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Pall Mall, March. 10th. 1770

    No. 22

    Dear Sir, I wrote to you by Mr Deblois who is set out for Boston in Scott’s Vessel;1 & I gave you an Account of the Proceedings in the House of Commons in relation to the Repeal as I had it from good Authority; for I was not there myself.2

    There was a Business passed in the House which it is proper you should be apprised of. A Petition was presented by Mr Bollan as Agent of the Council & the Province of Massachusets Bay; it was signed by Mr Oliver Secry & a Certificate under the Province Seal was annexed to show that Mr Oliver was Secretary.3 It was objected that the Council had no Right to act without the Governor, much less to appoint an Agent for the Province; and tho’ the Certificate was signed by the Lieut Governor that was only to show that Mr Oliver was Secry & not to signify his [and] the Lieut Governors Assent to the Petition.

    Lord North said he was never for rejecting Petitions, if any Pretence could be found for receiving them. That this Petition could not be received as the Petition of the Council of Massachusets Bay, but that if Mr Bollan would reduce it to the Petition of himself, who, he would suppose, had some Property in Mass Bay, he was for receiving it. He therefore proposed to the Lord Mayor, who preferred it, to carry it into the Lobby & get Mr Bollan to strike out his Titles & bring it in again as the Petition of him only.4 This was done, & the Petition was ordered to lye upon the Table.

    The Report of the Committee of Council upon the Assembly’s Complaint is made to the King & I was told by a Lord who assisted at it that it is in very strong Terms in my favor.5 As soon as it is confirmed by the King in Council, I shall have a Copy; & one will be sent to you by My Lord Hillsborough. I am &c.,


    P.S. I should have told you in my last that Mr Greenville in his Speech took to pieces the Conduct of every Administration since his own with great Severity, sparing his new Allies less than the Ministry; whose Proceedings in the present Business the Distinctions upon which he declined voting, seem wholly to justify.

    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:75–76); at foot of letter, “The Honble Lt Govr Hutchinson.”

    542. From Thomas Gage

    New York March 11th 1770

    Sir, I have received both your Letters of 25th Ulmo: and of 2nd Inst. and hope your last dispatches from Home may enable you to make it appear, that the meeting your Assembly at Cambridge is rather a measure recommended to you from Government, than proceeding from motives of your own. But in all cases I fear you will have a great deal of trouble, tho’ by no means answerable for any disagreable Transactions that may happen.

    There is no occasion to mention ^the Order^ about evacuating the main Guard, but you may be assured after ^the^ Orders given, that Lieut Colol Dalrymple, will do every thing that you may Judge proper to require of him, respecting the Troops under his Command.

    I am, with very great Regard, Sir, &c.

    AC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of page, “Honble Lt Gov Hutchinson.”

    543. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 12 March 1770

    No. 7

    My Dear Sir, A most unfortunate action of the Troops in firing upon the people who were insulting them, and killing & mortally wounding five or six and wounding in a less degree as many more has answered the purpose of those who call themselves Patriots and with infinite difficulty, the people have been kept from an open attack upon the Troops. This action was between 9 & 10 in the Eveng. of the 5th. Immediately after it, numbers ran down to my house begging of me to go out to save the Town from ruin, the Inhabitants having determined to arm themselves and the Town would be all in blood. I went out among them, I think since, rashly enough, and after great difficulty, prevailed on the Troops to go into the Guard Room and their Barracks, and upon the Populace, notwithstanding many of them appeared absolutely distracted by the sight of the dead bodies and blood in the Streets, to disperse and go to their homes, except a hundred or more which attended the Examination of poor Preston who is charged with giving the Orders to fire and committed to Prison with 7 or 8 Privates charged with firing.1 The circumstances are so differently reported that I am not capable of giving you a true relation of them if I had time. I think, admitting every thing in favour of it, that the action was too hasty though the great provocations may be some excuse.

    I was up until 3 o’Clock that Night & foreseeing the confusing of the next day I summoned a Council and directed the Justices to attend me there before noon. The Justices, several from the Country coming in, had met and agreed that the people could not be restrained whilst the Troops were in the Town. The Inhabitants of several near Towns had many of them armed, upon an Express being sent out in the Night and were stopt upon advice of the people of the Town being dispersed, and for the same reason the Beacon was not fired; a Barril of Tar was carrying up for that purpose & recalled. The Selectmen I found waiting, without any Orders, for me in the Council Chamber. I was immediately applied to by them & acquainted that the Inhabitants would presently convene in Town Meeting and that there would be no possibility of appeasing them whilst the Troops were among them and they expected the most terrible consequences. The Justices expressed their opinion also by Colo Quincy of Braintree who spake to me in the presence of the rest.2 I told them all immediately I had no authority to direct where the Troops should be placed, I would send for the Commanding Officer and for Colo Carr to be present whilst the Council were sitting and they should be informed of this application; and then all withdrew, except the Council, who represented, upon Colo Dalrymple & Colo Carr’s coming, the absolute necessity of an immediate separation between the Troops and the Inhabitants. But as I desired the Secretary to recollect that Evng what had passed and reduce it to writing I beg leave to refer you to that account which I shall inclose. I would have desired the Commissioners and Judge of the Admiralty to have been present but I knew the Council would not admit them.3 The Captain of the Rose and Colos Dalrymple and Carr, with the Secretary were of opinion I could not make myself responsible for all the consequences of the Troops remaining without being liable to blame, for it had been brought to that issue in Council, that Colo Dalrymple would order their removal provided that upon their application or advice to me to desire it of him I would consent to do it. I have met with no body since who thinks I could have avoided it. The Commissioners who are most affected by it are convinced that it was necessary, and that the consequences of the opposition between the Troops and the Inhabitants would probably have been more fatal to them than the consequences of the Troops removal to the Castle, seeing they can remove to them when they please, if they should apprehend themselves in danger. All this must be surprizing in England, but surprizing as it is you cannot find one Man in fifty who makes any doubt of the determined design to remove the Troops by force or that the Inhabitants of this Town would not have been in arms that Night and the Country alarmed, and in Town, the next day to their assistance. I have feared ever since the Ships and two Regiments were ordered away what the consequences would be,4 and it would have been much better if they had never been sent than to have gone when they did go. I considered the intention of placing this small body of men here to be in aid of the Civil Magistrate for suppressing Riots &c. and protecting the Kings Servants, which intention it was now impossible to carry to effect, that it was never imagined a general design would be formed by the people to overpower this small body and that it was the opinion of the Council and of the other Servants of the Crown present, that it was necessary for me to join in desiring they might be removed, and in a choice of Evils I took that which appeared to me to be least, at the same time disclaiming every degree of authority with respect to their removal.

    This Crisis might have been kept off some months if it had not been for this fatal stroke upon the Inhabitants, but the leaders of the people would never have been [at] rest until they had effected their design unless they had found that the force was greater than they could hope to Conquer. I inclose a Copy of my Letter to Gen Gage.5 I have not yet wrote to Commodore Hood, Caldwell declines sending a Schooner which lyes ready until the return of the Express from General Gage.6 I am with the most sincere regard and Esteem, Sir Your most obe’t humble Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    Mr. Robinson will deliver you this and tell you what I have not time to do of the particulars of our confusion.7 I just now hear they are in little better state at New York.8

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:380–82); docketed, “March 12 1770 Copy to Gov. Bernard.”

    544. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 12 March 1770

    No 5

    My Lord, For a long time past there have been frequent Quarrels between the Troops and the Inhabitants of the Town. On the 2d & 3d of this month there were repeated skirmishes between small Parties of the Inhabitants and the Troops in the Streets.1 The Soldiers were without fire arms and one or two of them were much hurt. The 5th. in the Evening one of the Bells of the Town near my house was rung & I supposed it to be for Fire, but, in a few moments several of the Inhabitants came running into my house and intreated me immediately to come out or the Town would be all in blood the Soldiers having killed a great number of the Inhabitants and the people, in general, being about to arm themselves. I went out without delay in order to go to the Council Chamber as the people were killed near to it in King Street but I was soon surrounded by a great body of men many of them armed with Clubs and some few with Cutlasses & all calling for their fire arms. I discovered my self to them and endeavoured to prevail on them to hear me but was soon obliged for my own safety to go into a house and from thence by a private way into King Street the people having returned there expecting me. After assuring them that a due inquiry should be made and Justice done as far as was in my power and prevailing with the Commanding Officer of the Troops in the Street to retire with them to their Barracks the People dispersed. Expresses had gone out to the neighbouring Towns and the Inhabitants were called out of their Beds many of whom armed themselves but were stopped from coming into Town by advice that there was no further danger that night. A barrill of Tar which was carrying to the Beacon to set on fire was also sent back. Upon examination before two Justices of the peace Captain Preston of the 29th who had the command of the Guard was committed to prison, being charged with ordering the Troops to fire, as also seven or eight Privates charged with firing.2 Four persons were killed two more are said to be mortally wounded divers others wounded but not so dangerous, among them is a Gentleman of the Town who standing at his door was shot in the arm and the bone splintered. How far the affronts and abuses offered by the Inhabitants may avail to excuse this Action is uncertain, but it is certain that nothing more unfortunate could have happen’d for a very great part of the people are in a perfect frenzy by means of it.

    I summoned all the Members of the Council who were near enough, to meet the next morning.3 When I came to them I found all the Select Men of the Town & great part of the Justices of the County waiting for me at the Council Chamber to represent to me their opinion of the absolute necessity, in order to prevent a further effusion of Blood that the Troops should be at such distance as that there might be no intercourse between the Inhabitants & them. The Select men acquainted me they had been applied to to call a Town meeting and that the Inhabitants would be under no restraint whilst the Troops were in the Town. I let them know that I had no power to remove the Troops. I then sent to desire Colo. Dalrymple & Colo. Carr to be present in Council. Soon after a Message came by a large Committee from the Town to me being in Council. I told the Council also that the removal of the Troops was not with me and I desired them to consider, whilst Colo. Dalrymple was present, what answer I could give to this application of the Town. The principal quarrells had been with the 29th. Regiment and, upon hearing from the Council what they had to urge, Colo. Dalrymple let me know that he was willing the 29th. should go into the Barracks at the Castle and engaged that the 14th. should be so disposed in Boston as to prevent occasions of dispute between the Inhabitants and the Regiment. I thereupon signified to the [Com]mittee4 of the Town what Colo Dalrymple had agreed to repeating to them also what I had said to the Select men that the ordering the Troops did not ly with me. Upon Report made to the Town, they by a general Vote declared they could not be satisfied unless both Regiments were at the Castle. I met the Council again in the afternoon when the Commanding Officers of both Regiments and also Captain Caldwell of His Majesty’s Ship Rose were present. I would have desired some other Crown Officers to have been there but I knew the Council would not consent to it. The Town soon sent a second Committee to me with their Vote which I required the Council to give me their opinion upon. They advised me to desire Colo Dalrymple to remove the 14th. Regiment also to the Barracks at the Castle, and with one voice earnestly urged it upon me and every one of them deliberately gave his opinion at large and generally gave this reason to support it that the people would most certainly drive out the Troops and that the Inhabitants of other Towns would join with Boston in it5 and several of the Gentlemen declared that they did not judge ^from^ the general Temper of the people only but they knew it to be the determination not of a Mob but of the generality of the principal Inhabitants and they added that all the Blood would be charged to me alone for refusing to follow their unanimous advice by desiring that the Quarters of a single Regiment might be changed in order to put an end to the animosities between the Troops and the Inhabitants, seeing that upon my joining with them in desiring it, Colo Dalrymple would consent to it.

    It now lay upon me to chuse that side which had the fewest and least difficulties, and I weighed and compared them as well as the time I had for it would permit. I knew it was most regular for me to leave this matter intire to the Commanding Officer. I was sensible the Troops were designed, upon occasion, to be employed under the direction of the Civil Magistrate and that at the Castle they would be too remote, in most cases, to answer that purpose but then I considered they never had been used for that purpose and there was no probability they ever would be because no Civil Magistrate could be found under whose directions they might act and they could be considered only as having a Tendency to keep the Inhabitants in some degree of awe and even this was every day lessening and the affronts the ^Troops^ received were such that there was no avoiding quarrels and slaughter.6 The Soldiers themselves had also in many in[stances]7 been very abusive. Altho’ I thought it not improbable, yet I was not so sanguine as all the Council and the generality of persons of good judgment are, that an open Attack would be made on the Troops or, if there had been, that they could soon have been overpowered, but there was a moral certainty that the people of this Town would have taken to their arms and that the neighbouring Towns would have joined them which would have brought on infinite confusion and, if any violence had been began, much bloodshed,8 the spirit being full as high now, as far as can be judged, as it was at the time of the Revolution & the people four times as numerous,9 and it was most probable the confusion would have continued until the Troops were overpowered, for Colo. Dalrymple assures me that in both Regiments he could not make 600 effective men nor have been able to have brought above 400 together at one place.10 Before I determined I asked the opinion of the three Officers of the Crown who were present and of the Secretary and they all agreed that I should not be able to justify a refusal to comply with this advice. I thereupon acquainted the Committee of the Town that as the Council had unanimously Advised me, I would desire Colonel Dalrymple to remove the 14th. as well as the 29th to the Barracks at the Castle and he promised that upon my desiring it he would order them accordingly! A copy of my Letter which I sent the next morning by an Express to General Gage I shall inclose to your Lordship.11 It has been generally reported that the 14th. Regiment is intended to be ordered to New York if so this proceeding may possibly affect the design. I shall by the first opportunity write also to Commodore Hood.12

    I have been very far from exaggerating facts ever since I have had the honour of transmitting accounts of them to your Lordship, but I should be culpable if I should omit communicating the true state of what occurs in the Province and I am sure in the present instance no just exception can be taken, here, to what I have related because men of every Order have in the most open and strong manner declared to me that, at all Events, the people were determined the Troops should leave the Town. I have the honour to be [with]13 the greatest Respect My Lord Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 59–60); large sections of the letter are underlined, but the underlining appears to have been added later; at foot of letter, “The Rt Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Lt. Govr. Hutchinson Boston. March. 12. 1770. (No. 5.) Rx April 21st. 1770.” DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 14–16); marked, “Duplicate”; at foot of letter, “The Rt. Honble the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Massachusets. Boston 12 March 1770 Dupl of a Letter No. 5. from Lt. Govr. Hutchinson to the Earl of Hillsborough (No. 5) dated March 12. 1770, containing an account of a disturbance at Boston on the 5th. of that month.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:376–79); the letter’s number is missing, reading simply “No.” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:452–55); heavily revised; partially dated. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 85–92); at head of letter, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson Boston March 12. 1770. (No. 5.) Rx April 21.” SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 43, 1:118); addressed, “Thomas Hutchinson to the Earl of Hillsborough Boston 12th March 1770”; excerpt beginning, “It now lay. . . .” SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 10, 3:67–68). Enclosures to RC: Copy of TH to Gage, 6 March 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 61–62); Council minutes, 6 March 1770 (ff. 63–66); Testimony of Samuel Leslie, 13 March 1770 (f. 67); Testimony of Thomas Lochead, n.d. (ff. 68–69); Testimony of John Weir, 13 March 1770 (ff. 70–71); Testimony of Hugh Dickson, 13 March 1770 (ff. 72–73); Testimony of Alexander Mall, 14 March 1770 (ff. 74–75); Testimony of Edmund Mason, 14 March 1770 (ff. 76–77); Testimony of John Gillispie, [13] March 1770 (ff. 78–79); Testimony of John Goldfinch, 13 March 1770 (ff. 80–81); Testimony of Paul Minchin, 13 March 1770 (ff. 82–83); Testimony of Thomas Buckley, 13 March 1770 (ff. 84–85); Testimony of Richard Palms, n.d. (ff. 86–87); Testimony of William Napier, 13 March 1770 (f. 88); Testimony of Daniel [Mattear], 13 March 1770 (ff. 89–90); Testimony of Andrew Lawrie, 13 March 1770 (ff. 91–92); Testimony of Henry Dougan, 14 March 1770 (ff. 93–94); Testimony of James Urbart, 14 March 1770 (ff. 95–96); Testimony of Alexander Ross, 13 March 1770 (ff. 97–98); Testimony of William Davies, 13 March 1770 (ff. 99–100); Testimony of John Inmans, n.d. (f. 101); Testimony of Thomas Greenwood, 13 March 1770 (f. 102); Testimony of Samuel Bliss, 13 March 1770 (ff. 103–04); Testimony of Henry Hatwood, 13 March 1770 (ff. 105–06); Testimony of James Basset, 13 March 1770 (ff. 107–08); Testimony of William Brown, 13 March 1770 (ff. 109–10); Testimony of Edward Hill, 15 March 1770 (ff. 111–12).

    545. To Unknown1

    I have more particularly stated the facts than before to give you a more full acquaintance with ’em to make use of no farther than you shall find to be necessary. I am every day more convinced that the Country would have been in & in arms. I do not know who would have headed the people or whether they would have found any head. The Troops must have been drawn up either on Fort Hill or in the Common. All the obnoxious people in Town would have been left to the fury of the Rabble. This is the best that could be hoped for. The people were not ripe for a plan to remove the Troops upon the principles of their Leaders that they are unconstitutional but upon this unfortunate Action it was spread among them that tho to attack the Troops might be Treason yet when the Troops attacked the people they had a right to repel force by force & they carried it a step farther that as the like attacks must be again expected they had a right to prevent them in the most effectual manner.

    Matters have now gone that length that Parliament must either leave us wholly to ourselves and in time the Distresses of Anarchy will incline people to submit to Government or effectual measures must be taken to reduce us to that constitutional subjection to Parliament which would not yet have been called in question if the unfortunate Stamp Act had not been the cause of it. I am with very great respect Dear Sir Your most faithful humble Servant,

    Mr Flucker tells me by his last Letters a person of Rank and distinguished character was supposed would be appointed Governor. That is a good measure but it will not do alone.2

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:375).

    “View of Boston the Capital of New England.” By Joseph F. W. Des Barres. The map in the center illustrates the location of Castle Island (lower right of inset) in relation to the town of Boston and amply illustrates why Samuel Adams was so eager to see the British regulars located there and Hutchinson was so reluctant to agree. Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library

    546. From Thomas Gage

    New York 12th March 1770

    Sir, I am just favored with your Letter of the 6th. Inst. with a Copy of the Proceedings of a Council held at Boston on that day, upon the Subject of a Quarrell that had happened, between the Inhabitants of Boston & some of the Soldiers.1 I am truely concerned at the fatal Consequences that have followed those unhappy Differences, and wish by the mutual Endeavors of the Civil & Military Officers, that all Bickering’s between them had been properly adjusted, before they came to such Extremitys.

    As the Troops were Sent to Boston for the Support of Government, and to assist the Civil Magistrates in the due Execution of the Laws, and instead of answering the Ends proposed, it has become the desire of Government, that the Troops should be removed out of the Town, the better to preserve Tranquility; I can’t but approve of Lt Colonel Dalrymple’s conduct in removing them, upon the Requisition you made him to that purpose.2 And as I do not see, that they can be of any use at Castle William, I would propose to you to remove them out of the Province, and to remove one of them as Soon as Possible for the Castle Barracks will not contain them both. I should be glad of your answer to this by first opportunity, that I may know your Opinion, and what you would propose as best to be done for the King’s Service, and that I may determine how to proceed.

    You will undoubtedly have this affair traced from its beginning, to it’s unfortunate Issue of which you will permit me to ask the most impartial Account that in any part where the Soldiers may have been in fault, they may be punished as they deserve. And with Respect to the Officer & Men Sent to Goal for Firing on the People in the last Riot in the Night: if ^it^ shall appear, that the Soldiers have fired Wantonly without legal orders for so doing, the Laws must no doubt have their due course. But if it shall appear that they were dangerously attacked, and obliged to defend themselves, and fired only in self Defence to preserve their own Lives; I trust you will do every thing in your Power, to prevent their falling a Sacrifice to the Resentment of Faction, against all principles of Justice, and by the pervertion of the Laws of their Country. I have the Honor to be, with great Regard, Sir, &ca.,

    AC 1 (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at head of letter, “Copy”; at foot of letter, “Honble: Lt. Governor Hutchinson at Boston”; endorsed, “Copy of Lt. Govr. Hutchinson at Boston New York 12th March 1770.” AC 2 (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers).

    547. From Nathaniel Rogers

    Portsmouth Monday March 12, 1770.

    My dear, honored & respected Sir, it would be unnecessary for me to say, how much I am concerned for the embarrassments Your Honor meets with, the ill usage I receive has comparatively no effect. As you know Sir, the Nil sibi conscire can in every scene support the Good Man, so the Nil desperandum, is the prop of the great Politician.1 You Sir are high in the esteem of all sensible & good men in every province, nor have I ever heard any Gentleman so universally spoken well of, as Your Honor, notwithstanding the ill natured insinuations continually issuing forth, from a few wicked persons: And Has not this been always the case, were not the most distinguished names of antiquity, subject to the blast of Envy? Is it not the tax Eminent merit for ever pays? I hope therefore My dear & Hon’d Sir, you will not be dejected, but that the prospect of better days here and the future Certain prospect every good mind has, will forever keep you from the slightest depression.

    Such is the aversion from the Troops even here, that most people at bottom approve their removal, and a Gentleman of the Council told me, he had no doubt, that ten thousand men, would have marched from this province to Boston, had there been occasion.2

    I have just heard the death of Judge Watts.3 The Governor often said to me, that he thought me deserving the favor of Government, and that he was ready at any time to show me his favor, when opportunity offered. I know that in my own case I am not a proper Judge. Your Honor knows I have suffered a great deal from persons in opposition to Government. Every person has a desire to advance himself, the mind must be very ignoble which has not. If your Honor has made no engagement, if it will not present any political views, if you think it not prejudicial to the Public Service, I would humbly beg your Honor’s leave to solicit the Appointment, and I would daily endeavor to qualify myself for it. If matters should run so high as to cause my leaving the Country, to have had such an Appointment would be reputable to me, or should I live in Boston, and the views of last winter should be realized, if found incompatible I would at once resign or I should be ready to do it at anytime should Your Honor think it for the public service.4 I shall be perfectly content in your determination as moved by public Service as I do not know any emolument to myself a sufficient inducement at the expence of Your Honors quiet.

    Gover Wentworth desires me to present His respectful Compliments to your Honor.5 I am with the greatest respect, Your Honor’s much obliged and most Obedient Nephew,

    Nath Rogers

    RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:369–71a); at foot of letter, “His Honor Lieutenant Govornor Hutchinson.”; docketed, “Mr Rogers Rd March 12. 1770.”