The Aftermath of the Massacre

    563. From Sir Francis Bernard, 4 April 1770

    564. To Samuel Hood, 7 April 1770

    565. To Samuel Hood, 9 April 1770

    566. From Sir Francis Bernard, 9 April 1770

    567. From Thomas Gage, 9 April 1770

    568. To Sir Francis Bernard, 12 April 1770

    569. From William Palmer, 12 April 1770

    570. To Thomas Gage, 13 April 1770

    Stirred by resentment over the Massacre, the General Court was in an angry mood and began questioning ever more openly the authority of Parliament to enact laws that would be binding in Massachusetts. Hutchinson despaired over the restoration of civil order and worried what would happen if all the troops were removed from Boston. Fearing hostile crowds, the American Board of Customs Commissioners, unable to conduct any business in Boston, first sought refuge at the Castle and then dispersed. Meanwhile in Whitehall, Hutchinson’s appointment as successor to Sir Francis Bernard proceeded without any awareness of his second thoughts concerning whether he still wanted the job. Except for some confusion about who would pay the charges for his commission, all seemed to be moving forward according to plan.

    563. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Pall Mall. April 4th 1770

    No. 25

    Dear Sir, The Packets you receive with this have laid by me ten days: they were to have gone by Captain Simms on the 24th. ult; but he slipt away before his Time and left most of the Letters designed for him behind. Since that Nothing very material has happened in Parliament, the Ministry are very firm; & the Minority if we may judge of the Muster of it at my Lord Mayors Feast which was made for them, is 106 Commoners & 35 Lords.1 It is remarkable that in the House of Commons upon the Subject of the Remonstrance, the Minority was just half the Number with which it set out on the first day of the new Minister. The last Division on the State of the Nation, was upon a Motion to address the King upon the exceedings of the civil List, when the Numbers were 208, 77, maj. 131.2

    Some time ago Mr Pownall asked me who was to pay the fees of your Commission:3 I told him you had wrote to Mr Jackson to do it. But when I talked with Mr Jackson, he told me that you had countermanded that Order.4 This is unfortunate: if you had given No Order at all, the Money would readily have been advanced; but now there is an Order of yours against paying this Money, it disables Mr Jackson & every one else from advancing it. I hope the next Letters from you will releive us from this Difficulty: for I think your Commission should be sent away as soon as possible; and it will not look well to have it delayed for Want of the Fees. I have not seen Lord H or Mr P these 8 days, and am now confined with a Cold; so I know not how far your Business is advanced nor what is concluded upon with Regard to Mr Oliver.5 The Houses will adjourn next Tuesday for a fortnight; and then the Minister will be accessible more than he has been of late.

    I am with all due Complts. &c.


    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:82–83); at foot of letter, “The Honble Lt Govr Hutchinson.”

    564. To Samuel Hood

    April 7. 1770

    My Dr Sir, I have wrote already by this Vessel an Account of our unfortunate disturbances which I find by your most obliging letter of 24th March had but just then reachd you by Report from Marthas Vineyard.1 I am entirely of the same Sentiment with you that it can be to no purpose to detain the K’s Ships here as I have no intimation of any design to make any addition to the Troops here—or to Ireland those who are at the Castle but the Gen. thinks it rather advisable to remove the 14 Regiment out of the Province unless the Packet shall bring any thing which may cause him to alter his mind.2 We are really in a worse state than we were before the Troops came & the Servants of Government have less freedom in doing what appears to them to be their duty to the Crown. What will be done in England we are utterly at a loss. Something must be done or the Colonies will be Riveting their Principles of Independence on Parliament until it will be too late to break them off. The Commissioners have held no Board for several Week. Paxton is at Cambridge. Hulton & Burch at Boston.3 I was in expectation they might have gone on with busness there without opposition but I am informd that it will not be agreeable. Governor Wentwh they say received them very Politely & they have ben very courteous entertaind by the Gentlemen there but when anything is said of Removing the Board there they find they should be no more welcome than at Boston. The Province is quiet at present & it is hopd nothing will be done to disturb it. I therefore expect them back in a few days. They talk of holding a Board the 16 of this month but I think they will not be easy in their minds until they are fixed at the Castle again.

    I have kept off the Trial of pore Prest & the Soldiers and will do it as long as I can that the People may cool but I doubt whether the Judges will be able to withstand the whole body of the people of the Town who expect it in about [illegible] days tho the Court in their own judgments think it best to continue it until the beginning of Time. I wish I may ever be able to send you a Letter with more agreeable intelligence than any of my past contain. I have the honour to be My Dear Sir Your most faithful humble &c.,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:472); notation to the side, “Copy to Commodore Hood March 30 & April 7—& Governor Bernard March 22 & 25 per Sloop [illegible].”

    565. To Samuel Hood

    Boston 9 April 1770

    My Dear Sir, I have this Minute Received your very kind Letter of 30 March & thank you for your very kind Sympathy under the difficulties of Administration.1 The Assembly gives me but little concern. I have been so long used to them that they will not be able to hurt me in any other way than by withholding Part of their small payment.2 Other matters which they engage in to perplex me I think I shall turn upon themselves, but it is the general disposition of the Inhabitants of Boston which is spread thro the Province to deny all Parliamentary Authority which gives me concern. I see the Opposition gaining strength every day & I can have no sort of assistance from any part of the Legislative or Executive Authority to suppress or discourage it. I have many months ago wrote to the Ministry my sentiments upon it but nothing is done. If it has not already been too long neglected I think if this Session of Parliament should rise without something more than Declaratory Acts or without some new provision for carrying these Acts into execution this Province will never submit to their authority unless compeled to it by superior external force for the principle gains every day and Connecticut talk the same language. I am sure the people here are ruining themselves under a notion of defending their Liberties & the few discerning men among us who are sensible of it dare not own their sentiments but for the sake of their own safety rather encourage the delusion. I thank you for your kind offer of forwarding my Dispatches & upon any extraordinary occasion will readily accept of it but I hope none such will happen.

    I have lately wrote by several conveyances which appeared to be very safe. There is a Vessel from London at Newport with news to the 1st of February. I have not a line. You have the most material articles in the papers, the death of Mr Yorke after having been 3 or 4 days only Chancellor & officer of the Customs who is succeeded by Sir Fletcher Norton.3 The Repeal of the late Act is thought probable but not certain. Three or four Vessels are expected full of Goods. Our Heroes say they will compel them to go back. I am sure it is not in my power to restrain them. I have the honour to be very respectfully

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:470–70a); notation on reverse, “[obscured by fold] 1s April 1770 & Commodore Hood 9 April.”

    566. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Pall Mall, April 9th. 1770

    No. 26

    Dear Sir, I wrote to you a few days ago, in which I gave you unnecessary trouble about the Payment of your Fees. Since that, I have learned that Mr Palmer has Orders from you to pay all Demands upon your Account and shall refer Mr Pownall to him.1 Last Week Lord H signified to the Board of Trade that it was His Majesty’s Pleasure that they should prepare a Commission and Instructions for you: this Business is going on but moves slowly. I should have been glad to have got your Commission forwarded so as to have transmitted to you that it might have come to your hands before the last of May. But that is impossible; and the most that can be expected will be that it may arrive before the Assembly rises.

    Mr Oliver will at the same time be appointed Lieut Governor with an Allowance of two hundred pounds a year according to the proposal which I informed you I had made to him some time ago.2 I was asked to day by Lord H whether I had any Authority from Mr O to accept this Appointment on his Behalf. I answered that I had not and had had no time to hear from him since I had acquainted him with the Proposal: but as his friend, endeavouring to do the best for him & weighing all Circumstances I was fully persuaded that it would be very acceptable to him. And as it would be material to make both these Appointments at once I would recommend that it should be done so without waiting for his Acceptance.

    Mr Rogers will be at the same time appointed Secretary. I take no great Merit to myself upon this Occasion, as Mr Rogers began this Sollicitation himself & proceeded in it cheifly upon his personal Interest. Lord H asked me to day if I thought that he would make a good Secretary: I answered that he could not make a bad one; as his Connexion with you would assure him of your Assistance till he made himself Master of his Business. I perceive a Desire of making all these Appointments at once that the Intention of Administration to support the Friends of Government among your People may be forcibly impressed.

    There is a great Difficulty conceived in filling up your Seat in the Superior Court: I beleive you will receive Orders to stop your Hand in that Business till a proper Person can be fixed upon with Deliberation. This seems to promise that a supplemental Support will be thought of: without that, they cannot expect to pick & chuse out of Men of the first rate Abilities in the Profession.3 I expect soon to have more talk upon this Subject; which is very interesting & difficult; and I shall give you my Sentiments upon it when I know how to form them.

    The late Proceedings of the People of Rhode Island against the Customhouse Officers in Regard to Fees & the Declarations of your Merchants they will pursue the same Purposes will produce an Act to quiet the Officers in the Customhouse & Naval Office in Possession of such Fees as were usually received in their Offices on Sep 29th, 1764 any Act of Assembly to contrary notwithstanding.4 The Bill is very short & seems to be free from Exception, & I beleive will not meet with any Difficulty. The Act of Assembly of Rhode Island upon this Occasion is highly condemned & resented.

    You will judge for yourself of the Secrecy expedient to these several Articles: that of Mr O’s Allowance should be kept private while it can; at present I beleive it is not perfected. I am Dear Sir &c.,


    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:84–86); at foot of letter, “The Honble Govr Hutchinson.”

    567. From Thomas Gage

    New York April 9th: 1770

    Sir, I am concerned to find by your favor of the 1st: Instant, that the Spirit of Malevolence and Malice is still in force, and considering the Pains that is taken not to let it Subside, it is not to be wondered at. In this Situation of People’s Minds heated by the Violence of Faction, and urged by a Thirst for Revenge, there seems very little Probability that the Prisoners can have a fair and impartial Tryal. The only thing which appears most proper at this Distance, is to postpone their Tryals as long as possible, in the Hopes that People will cool by Degrees, and be more cautious of Oaths when they give their Evidences. If you are of this Opinion I am certain you will use every legal means in your Power to put their Tryals off as long as it is possible; and I believe the longer they are postponed, the better it will be for the Cause of Truth and Justice.

    I thank you for the Copy of the Letter to Mr: Bollan, filled as usual with gross Misrepresentations, and I presume a Copy is transmitted to the King’s Ministers.1

    A Ship is to Sail in a Day or two for London, and both the Letters you inclosed for Mr: Pownall shall be forwarded by that Opportunity.2

    The Packet not yet arrived, and her Delay gives rise to various Speculations amongst the Politicians. The Papers will inform you of some News brought to Philadelphia by a Ship from Lisbon. I have the honor to be with great Regard, Sir, &ca.

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

    568. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 12 April 1770

    No. 13


    My Dear Sir, The Court has been sitting four weeks. They have passed a great number of Bills & Votes which stop at the Chair for they refuse to make any Grant to me or to the Judges and other Civil Officers.1 Yesterday was assigned for it but they have deferred it eight days longer. I sent the House a Message to put them in mind of the Kings Instructions & the promises of former Assemblies but all to no purpose2 & I hear that Hawley said it was well they had a check upon Majesty.3 They are under no sort of fears at the Resentment of King or Parliament so many extraordinary Votes and Declarations having been heretofore passed and no notice yet taken of them.

    The trial of the Officer & Soldiers is yet kept off. I hopd to prevail on the Court to continue it to the last of May or beginning of June. I suspect those Salaries are delayed to prevent it.4

    The Gen intends to order the 14 Regiment to N York the 29th to remain some time longer at the Castle.5 Some people among us begin to suspect they did wrong in insisting the Troops should remove to the Castle least they should always remain there & the King should take it into his own hands and lay such checks and restraints upon all the Trade that passes by it as he shall think proper. Others fear a larger number of Troops than have yet been here and a Citadel or Fortress in the Town and that this will be a rendezvous for the Men of War instead of Halifax where they are of no service but by far the greater part suppose they have the ball at their feet and that Britain will submit to our terms. All my hopes are that the repeated advices of our dissolute state whilst Parliament is sitting will alarm the nation more & more until something is done to restore us to a due subordination & preserve us in it.

    No vessel being near sailing I send one Letter more to take its chances at New York. I am most sincerely Dear Sir Your obliged

    Pitts asked me a few days ago in Council if I intended the Writs should issue for the next Assembly to meet at Cambridge.6 I gave him no direct Answer but as it is my present intention they shall meet there I thought it best to let the Council know that some of the best friends of the Colonies in England & I had heard Mr Jackson in particular thought it best for the Assemblies in every Colony to sit at a distance from the Maritime and most populous towns as business could be done with greater dispatch & the Members were more free to act their own Judgments. This was immediately carried to the publisher of the Dialogue & misrepresented in the next News paper as if I had said Mr Jackson had wrote me so &c.7 I mentioned the abuse to day to the Council where they all except Pitts acknowledged they received what I said as I have represented. He pretended to have understood me as it is related in the Paper & owned he had mentioned it to his friends.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:466); notation in margin, “Copy to R Jackson Esq 26 March 70 & Secretary Pownall 26 March & Sr F Bernard 30 March & 12 April.”

    569. From William Palmer

    London 12 April 1770

    Since my last of the 19 Februy I have not been favourd with yours. I now think myself extremely happy in [torn] the earliest opportunity of acquainting you I had [torn] of a Letter yesterday from Sir Francis Bernard desiring [torn] one Mr Tutte a Clerk in the Plantation Office the fees [torn] commission as Governour of Massachusets Bay & I paid that Gentleman Four hundred pounds he [torn] be a few pounds more or less.1 Sir Francis says in [torn] shall upon my own part do all the services to the [torn] this business which lye in my way, & shall let [torn] the Commission is ready that you may prepare [torn] means to forward it to him.” And now Sir [torn] to congratulate you with great sincerity on this promotion [torn] you may find the arduous task of Government [torn] troublesome to you that I fear it has been to your predecessor in that Post. I am Sir Your most obedient Servant,

    William Palmer

    RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:386–386a).

    570. To Thomas Gage

    Boston 13 April 1770

    Sir, I must beg your excuse for giving you the repeated trouble of my Letters to England there being no Vessel likely to sail from hence for some time. I have not yet received a line from thence relative to Publick Affairs and it being nine months since the Assembly of this Province passed their most extraordinary Declarations of Independence they begin to think they were right and that no notice will ever be taken of them.1 There are however some among them who fear a larger military force than has yet been here and doubt whether the Troops will ever be suffered to leave the Castle and rather fear they will serve as a Garrison. Some of the Officers tell me the Privates are better accomodated there than they expected they would be.

    I have assurance from the Court that they will continue the Trial of Captain Preston and the Soldiers until the last week in May and I doubt not they intend it. Great pains is taking to intimidate the Judges & compel them to bring it on sooner. I have the honour to be with great Respect, Sir Your most humble and most obedient Servant,

    RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “His Excellency General Gage.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:462); at foot of letter, “General Gage.”