The Slow Tempo of Correspondence

    625. From Sir Francis Bernard, 8 June 1770

    626. From Lord Hillsborough, 12 June 1770

    627. To [Samuel Hood], 13 June 1770

    628. From Thomas Gage, 13 June 1770

    629. To Lord Hillsborough, 16 June 1770

    630. To Sir Francis Bernard, 17 June 1770

    631. To Thomas Gage, 19 June 1770

    632. To Samuel Hood, 19 June 1770

    The long delay from the time Hutchinson dispatched a letter to England and the date he might receive a reply added confusion and uncertainty to his job. His initial reports of the Boston Massacre, written on 6 March, were not received until 21 April. Only in mid-June did Hutchinson and Gage receive their first official instructions from Hillsborough concerning how to proceed in the wake of the Massacre. By that time, Hutchinson had succeeded in delaying the trial of the soldiers until the end of the summer, and there was hope that the nonimportation agreement might collapse.

    But that did not change the fact that an exhausted Hutchinson had written on 27 March asking to be removed from consideration for the post of governor-in-chief. Having no knowledge of Hutchinson’s change of heart, Hillsborough had set in motion issuing the governor’s commission early the following month and wrote to inform Hutchinson of his appointment on 14 April. In mid-May, when Hutchinson’s letter asking not to be governor did arrive, it caused great embarrassment for Bernard and Hillsborough, but rather than appointing someone else, Hillsborough elected to wait to see how Hutchinson would respond to news of his official appointment.

    625. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Hampstead, June 8th. 1770

    No. 30

    Dear Sir, I have lately received several Letters from you, the last of which is No. 13 which came to my Hands on my Return from an Excursion into Lincolnshire;1 from which I arrived two days ago to my House here just 3 Miles from Town.

    Lord H still waits for Your Answer to his Letter acquainting you with your Appointment before he disposes of the Govenrment.2 And therefore the Articles you see in the Newspapers of the Appointment of this and t’other Man have no Foundation except perhaps that some of them have applied for it, one of which I know of. But I beleive the Minister thinks with you & me, that it should be a Man of Consequence both in Rank & Ability & not a common Seeker: but it is difficult to find such a Man at least till the Government is reformed.

    I consider the making you an Appointment of 500 pounds a year to your Office of Cheif Justice as a Thing determined.3 And it is generally agreed by your Friends here that this Disposition will make you more happy than the Government could; as on the other Hand it may be more effectual for the Kings Service in the present difficult Times, which as much require an able Cheif Justice as an able Governor. I want to know whether you desire to continue Lt. Govr. but understand you do not, but cannot undertake to answer for you. If the two Offices are in one hand I apprehend there will not be an Appointment for the Lieut. Govr., as there will if it is separated from the Cheif Justice.

    People of all Orders & Parties are under Apprehensions for Captn. Preston least he should be taken out of Goal and murdered by a Mob. I cannot think that the Faction will permit so desperate an Act: if they do it will be fully resented. I had some Talk with the Minister upon this Subject yesterday when it was hoped that if such Action was apprehended you would cause him to be moved to the Castle by habeas Corpus:4 but it is too late to give Directions about particular Measures. It is supposed the Trials will be over before the Orders for a Respite come: but it is not doubted but you will respite them all untill the Kings Pleasure is known.

    I can only say at present that the Ministry are unanimous to act vigorously in Regard to the People of Boston and indeed of the Province. The Cabinet is not divided now as it unfortunately was above a year ago. The Manner in which this great Work is to be carried on is now under Consideration & probably some Determinations, will be made by the time I shall have Occasion to write again to you. All that you say is apprehended about strengthening the Kings Power in and about the Town will probably take Place. But it is well understood that military Power without civil Authority will not do: and the former will only be used to support the Establishment of the latter.

    Your negativing Hancock gives you great Credit: make yourself easy about your Salary; if they refuse it so much the better. I am well pleased you intend to call the new Assembly at Cambridge: I am sure it will be for the Service of Government & for your own Ease. I will explain to Jackson the Use which has been made of his Name:5 he has no Occasion to care what they say or what they write; he is now their Comptroller by his new Office, a Place worth 1500 pounds a year.6 I am &c.,


    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:97–99); at foot of letter, “The Honble Govr Hutchinson.”

    626. From Lord Hillsborough

    Whitehall June 12. 1770

    (No. 37)

    Sir, Since my letter to you of the 26th. April No. 36. I have received your dispatches Ns. 6.7. and a separate letter of the 21st. April, and have laid them before the King.1

    What passed on the occasion of the unhappy Event of the 5th March, and the State of the Province since that Period, as described in your two last letters, clearly point out that every measure that can be taken for the support of it’s Civil Government will be ineffectual, until that Government has in itself that Vigour and Activity which is essential to all civil Constitutions.

    The consideration of what may be properly done to give it that Vigour and Activity has opened a large Field of discussion, and many doubts & questions have occurred, upon which it will be necessary to have the Advice of His Majesty’s Law Servants before any final Resolution can be taken; in the mean time the King has approved of such a number of His Troops being continued in the Island of Castle William as can be conveniently accommodated in that Island, and I have signified His Majesty’s Commands to Lieutenant General Gage that he should put the Castle into such a state as may make it respectable, as a Place of Strength and Security in any Exigency.

    I am very much concerned, tho’ not surprized, to find that the hopes held out and entertained by many Persons of a discontinuance of the Combinations against importing Goods from Great Britain have proved delusive, most especially as I have reason to believe that those hopes did in a great degree prevent those measures being taken in Parliament for restraining such Combinations which I find by your letter of the 21st. of April you fully expected. I am &c.,


    AC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 156–57); at head of letter, “Lt Govr. Hutchinson.”; docketed, “Drat. To Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson Whitehall 12th. June 1770. (No. 37).” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/765, ff. 114–15); at head of letter, “Lt. Govr. Hitchinson (No. 37).”

    627. To [Samuel Hood]1

    Boston 13 June 1770


    My Dear Sir, Captain Smith having desired my opinion in writing upon the Expediency of his cruizing 20 days upon the Banks I signified to him that I was of opinion it was not expedient to leave the Town of Boston without any of His Majestys Ships.2 I gave him no reason but I will mention to you one special reason which of itself is sufficient to make me of that opinion at this time. The Town is in such disorder that the Populace have taken upon them to order three persons of the name of McMasters to quit the Town, or take the consequences and it is uncertain how soon they will take the same step with others.3 I could not prevail upon the civil authority to interpose & therefore took Mcmasters into protection at the Castle. This I expect will raise a clamour and others may be prevented from withdrawing there or may apprehend it more safe for them to be on board a Man of War. There are other reasons might be given to shew the expediency of having one or more of the Kings Ships constantly here. I should be very sorry if my detention of the Mermaid should be in any measure prejudicial to your general plan for His Majestys Service. I am with very great esteem My Dear Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:505).

    628. From Thomas Gage

    Near New York June 13th: 1770

    Sir, The inclosed Letter to you from the Earl of Hillsborough arrived this day per Packet under my Cover, which I forward to you by Express.1

    I have a Letter from his Lordship by the same Opportunity in which His Majesty’s Pleasure is signified to me: that I do give to you and to the other Civil Officers of Government and Magistrates in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay such aid & Assistance as you or they shall require to enable you and them to preserve the Publick Peace, and support the legal Authority of Government against any violence which the Phrenzy of the Populace at Boston may produce in the present State of that Colony.

    Orders of a similar Nature are contained in the inclosed Letter for Commodore Hood, which I beg the Favor of you to have conveyed to him, by a safe & speedy Conveyance; And I am likewise to beg your Care of two Letters for a Prussian officer belonging to the Squadron under the Commodore’s Command.2

    This dispatch was sent to Falmouth by Express & delivered by the Captain of the Packet the moment he landed. The Letters in the Mail are not yet delivered, so that I can’t send you any news at present. If I know of any Thing worth communicating to you; as soon as I receive my Letters by the Mail I shall not fail to inform you of it by the next opportunity. I have the Honor to be with perfect regard, Sir, &c.

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

    629. To Lord Hillsborough

    Boston 16 June 1770

    (No. 17)

    My Lord, I shall transmit herewith to your Lordship certain Resolves of the House of Representatives which they have not communicated to me but chose rather to send them to the Council, but the principal View in passing them, I imagine, is1 in order to vindicate themselves and to keep up the Spirit of Opposition through the Province and by doing it in this way they expect no Answer will be given to them.2 They have also sent an extraordinary Message to me in which they desire a Recess unless I will carry them to Boston.3 It is the Influence of Boston which causes the unconstitutional refusal of the House to do business at Cambridge. I shall not remove them there until I receive your Lordships further directions unless I should find my self under a greater necessity of doing it than I am at present.

    The Council also have officiously inserted themselves and sent me an Address or Message which I shall likewise transmit with my Answer to it. This measure was strongly opposed and disapproved of by some who I, this year, newly admitted into the Council but it was carried by force of a particular connexion which for several years past has been very unfavourable to the Prerogative.

    I intend to keep the Court sitting some days longer in hopes of receiving further advices from England which may enable me to make a better Judgment in what manner to treat them than I am able to make at present. The Leaders of the House seem to have no fear of Consequences. By a general confusion they make themselves of more Importance. They are in no danger, of punishment, personally. If the Publick suffers the chief of them have so small an Interest in the Publick that they do not think it worth regarding. The House in general, I would hope,4 do not act from Perverseness and without regard to the Publick Interest, but they are misled and, like the bulk of the people they represent, imagine they are supporting the Rights without seeing that they are subverting the Constitution, and that they act from Principles which are repugnant to a State of government.

    One of the Reasons given by your Lordship for the removal of the Court from Boston viz to shew Resentment against the disorderly behaviour of the Inhabitants hath acquired more weight as the Disorders have increased and I see no prospect of the Interposition of Authority to restore Order there.

    Mr. Colden writes to me from New York in answer to a Letter I lately wrote that their case as to the Combinations is very similar to ours but he adds, that although the Merchants there cannot agree to import openly they will generally import privately and that no Attempts will be made to obstruct it.5 It is not yet certain that our Merchants will do so but the number in favour of it is much increased. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect My Lord Your Lordships most humble & most obedient Servant

    Tho Hutchinson

    DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 224–25); at head of letter, “Duplicate”; at foot of letter, “Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Boston 16th. June 1770. Lieut. Govr Hutchinson (No. 17) Rx 4th: August. Dup. Origl: not recd.”; notations, “C:27: Encd.” RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 51–52); at foot of letter, “Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 145–48); docketed, “Boston 16th. June 1770 Lt Govr. Hutchinson (No. 17.) Rx. 4th. August (Dup—origl. not reced)”; at foot of letter, “Inclosure. A Printed Newspaper.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:505–06). SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 43, 1:124); excerpt from “I intend to keep order . . .” to “. . . restore Order there.” SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 10, 4:3). Enclosure to DupRC: Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter, 21 June 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 226–27). Enclosure to RC: Boston Evening-Post, 18 June 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 53–54).

    630. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 17 June 1770

    (No. 24)

    My Dear Sir, I wrote to Governor Penn & Lieutenant Governor Colden with a view to settle a Correspondence & convey reciprocally a more certain knowledge of facts and prevent the false effects of late representations which are made by those who call themselves a Committee of Merchants in each Colony.1 I send you Coldens Answer you see he excuses himself.2 There is a passage in his Letter which you will make use of in such a manner as the publick service requires but not to let it be known from whom the Letter came to you nor was the writer as it may disserve both.

    I fancy Mr. Penn was not at home having received no answer from him. You see a most ill judged Message from the Council. Brattle told them it would do their business if it was not done before. Gray Hubbard and Russell opposed it very zealously & it would have been rejected if it had not been for Temples Connexions there Bowdoin being the father of it.3 Neither Council or House are under the least concern about the resentment of K or Parl. I shall keep them together for some time in hopes of having something from England to lay before them. I am with esteem and respect Dear Sir Your most faithful humble

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:506). Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 31 July 1775; Newport Mercury, 7 August 1775; Massachusetts Spy, 9 August 1775.

    631. To Thomas Gage

    Cambridge 19 June 1770

    Sir The Express being impatient I can only thank you for forwarding the Packet & inform you that I am extremely glad that the Conduct of the Kings Servants is not disapproved of but allowed, in general, to have been prudent though the Conduct of the People is condemned. I have Instructions on a particular Subject from My Lord Hillsborough which I must consult you upon but, not being of immediate necessity, I must defer it until the post.

    I have the honour to be Sir Your most humble & most Obedient Servant

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers).

    632. To Samuel Hood

    Cambridge 19 June 1770

    [My Dear Sir, The Letters which you will receive under this] cover were sent by Express from General [Gage, the] Letters in the Mail not being ashore when the [Express] came away. I have only general Orders [from Lord] Hillsborough to apply to you for aid when [necessary.] Measures were then under consideration. As soon as I know what is determined upon I shall be able to make a better Judgment. In the mean time I think it expedient that there should always be one or more of His Majestys Ships in the Harbour of Boston.1 I have the Honour to be Sir Your most humble & most Obedient Servant,

    Tho Hutchinson

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:509); at foot of letter, “Commodore Hood.” AC is torn; supplied text is taken from contemporary printings. Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 17 July 1775; Massachusetts Spy, 26 July 1775.