In late August, Hutchinson received only his second letter of instructions from Lord Hillsborough since word arrived in London of the Boston Massacre in late April. Hillsborough’s letter, dated 12 June, approved of accommodating as many as possible of the troops withdrawn from the town on Castle Island and urged Hutchinson to put Castle William “into such a state as may make it a place of Strength and Security, in any Exigency.” Hutchinson, not anxious to stir up public resentment on the eve of Captain Preston’s trial, saw little need to take any immediate steps. But a week later by express from General Gage in New York came Hillsborough’s third letter of 6 July, enclosing the Order in Council of the same day calling for the immediate transfer of the Castle to royal control. Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Colonel William Dalrymple devised a plan whereby Hutchinson in his capacity as commander-in-chief of all forts in the province (as stipulated in the charter) would transfer the command from the provincial garrison to Dalrymple. The handover on 10 September, made almost immediately after Hutchinson informed the Council, caught the patriot leadership by surprise, and although they voiced the expected criticism, there was little they could do to overturn an accomplished fact. Gage was initially concerned that the arrangement would not allow Dalrymple sufficiently independent command of the fortress, but he eventually became reconciled to the arrangement, and both Gage and Hutchinson won praise in Whitehall for how they handled the matter.
Boston 28 August 1770
Liverpool and Stevens
My Lord, I am now to acknowledge the honour of your Lordships Letter No. 37 acquainting me that His Majesty had been pleased to require the advice and opinion of His Law Servants upon what may properly be done for the support of the Civil Government of this Province and that in the mean time, His Majesty has approved of such a Number of his Troops being continued on the Island of Castle William as can be conveniently accomodated and that your Lordship hath signified His Majesty’s Commands to Lieut. 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.1
By the same post I received a Letter from General Gage in which he says he should be glad that I would so concert affairs with Lt. Colonel Dalrymple that a Detachment of the 14th Regiment may march into Fort William and secure that Fortress the moment the circumstances of my Government may render such a measure prudent and necessary, and that should affairs be drove to Extremity, he should without delay not only reinforce the 14th Regiment but strengthen the Fort and Island as well as their situation will admit.2
By the return of the Post I wrote to General Gage that I should consult with Colo. Dalrymple upon the subject, that I was at a loss what could be done without giving suspicion of the intention in doing it, except being constantly upon our guard against a surprize and using all possible caution to prevent any Jealousy of a change in the Garrison until it shall be found necessary to carry it into execution.3
I am glad that the General did not take any measures immediately, as there is no apparent necessity more than for many months past, for until the Trial of the Officer and Soldiers is over I could wish to keep the people’s minds as free from Ruffle as possible. This Trial is to come on in a few days. Having done every thing that is in my power to remove prejudice and to calm the rage of the people I am waiting the event with patience but not without concern.
I have further prorogued the General Assembly to the 25 September. I shall stay as long as I can and if receive nothing from your Lordship to make their meeting necessary at that time I will again prorogue them to the middle of October when I intend to make another Trial with them at Cambridge. I think I have now a majority of the Council, and am not without hopes that the House will be convinced of their error and proceed to Business, but if they should not I cannot remove them to Boston unless I shall hear further from your Lordship upon the subject, and I shall be allowed to do it. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Lordships most Obedient Servant,
RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 267–68); at foot of letter, “Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Boston 28th. August 1770 Lieut. Governor Hutchinson No. 23 Rx 10th: October.”; notation, “C:37.” DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/894, ff. 69–70); at head of letter, “Duplicate”; at foot of letter, “Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Massachusets. Duplicate of a Letter No. 23 from Thomas Hutchinson Esqr. Govr. of Massachusets Bay, dated August 20. 1700, relative to proceedings for the support of the civil authority in that province.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 161–63); docketed, “Boston 28th. Augt 1770 Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson (No 23) Rx 10th. Octo.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:542–43); in WSH’s hand. SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 10, 4:9).
Boston 29 August 1770
My Dear Sir, I recd a few days ago a Letter from William Parker Esq. of Portsmouth a Lawyer of the first Character in the Province and Representative of the Town of Portsmouth. The Letter was principally designed to obtain my opinion upon the practice in their Courts of Probate &c. but he concludes with this Paragraph. “I would beg leave to hint a few things relative to the Politicks of the Times. We are apt to think the Boston people are run mad and yet I don’t see that these people & places which have hitherto retaind their reason are in a better condition with respect to the regard of Administration at home. We in this Province it is said have been very obsequious and dutiful &c. But what do we get by it? Our neigbours despise and hate us for it and we have no advantage on the other hand to balance this odium. It was agreed by the Ministry near two years ago that it was absolutely necessary this Province should be divided into Counties and the Governor had an Instruction to do it by an Act with a suspending clause which was done and sent home above a year since and not a word is heard concerning it which is a general Greivance and Burden to[o] heavy for such an obedient and quiet people to bear and looks as if administration thought it best to verify the Scripture Doctrine that things come alike to all.”1
I did not say any thing to My Lord Hillsborough nor to Mr. Secretary Pownall because it looks like busying myself beyond my line, but I can mention it to you as being a matter of some Importance and its certainly good policy to distinguish those Colonies which have shewn the best spirit or they will be discouraged. I know the Inhabitants of that Province suffer greatly for some of their poor Widows are forced to travel an hundred miles to obtain administration upon their husbands Estates and the hardship in degree runs thro all their Courts & Offices held at the Extreme part of a long narrow province. Some hint of this may forward a determination and tend to keep them quiet and there is no need of making it known that I have concernd myself about it. I am Dear Sir Your
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:544–45); in WSH’s hand.
Boston 29 August 1770
Dear Sir, The inclosed petition was brought to me by one of the unfortunate people who have fallen under the displeasure of the Tyranny at Boston after being carted about Town in terror of his life by a mob, he took shelter in the Castle w[h]ere I ordered a room for him & his brother and they have now kept there eight or nine weeks and must remain there or quit the Province unless we have better times.1 I could prevail on the Council no farther than to advise to an order to the Attorney General to lay the affair before the Grand Jury which is doing nothing for it is not at all improbable that many of the principal Actors may be returnd for Grand Jurors and those that are not so will either favour these measures or be afraid of doing any thing to discountenance them. The man finding he had no prospect of relief here pressed me to transmit his petition to my Lord Hillsborough. I am very loth to trouble his Lordship with every such affair but I have rather chose to inclose it to you that if you judge it necessary or proper it may be laid before his Lordship, if not that it may remain with you in order to the Petitioners knowing w[h]ere to find it if he should go to England himself.
The union of the Colonies is much weakned by New York’s defection.2 I wish to hear that Philadelphia has followed so good an Example and I still hope that effectual measures will be taken to prevent the renewal of such destructive combinations as have been formed in each Colony and between the several Colonies, for they have eradicated all notions of subordination from the minds of the people in most of the Colonies upon the Continent. I am with most sincere regard [your] Obedient humble Servant,
RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 269–70); at foot of letter, “John Pownall Esq”; docketed, “Boston 29th. Augst. 1770. Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson JP. Rx 10th. Octr.”; notation, “C:38.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:543–44); in WSH’s hand; at foot of letter, “John Pownall Eq.” Enclosures to RC: Petition of James and Patrick McMasters, 5 June 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 271–72); Memorial of Patrick McMasters, 27 July 1770 (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 273–74).
New York September: 2d 1770
Sir, A Packet arrived this morning with the July Mail, and I forward by Express the Dispatches brought for you, and entrusted to my Care.1 I am acquainted with the Orders you will receive about putting the Kings Troops into the Possession of Castle William and have wrote fully to Lieut. Colonel Dalrymple upon the Subject. The Colonel will shew you my Letter, wherein I have mentioned every thing that has occurred to me relative to the effecting this Service; but you will be a better Judge of the Steps proper to be taken, than I can be this Distance.
All my private Letters are from the Country, and I have not a line of news, but what the Papers will inform you of.
I have the Honor to be with great Regards and Esteem, Sir, &c
AC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “[Governor] Hutchinson Boston.”
4 September 1770
Dear Sir, I have prorogued the Court to the 26th unless I should receive something from England to make its sitting at that time necessary I shall further prorogue it but I do not chuse to carry it more than a fortnight later. If you can attend then, I will meet the Court the 10 of October, but it will be of no purpose to meet if the friends to Government will not be present. The Council as far as I can judge are convinced of the necessity of doing business and in most of the Towns, the Inhabitants are much alarmed at the Treasurers sending out his Warrants for so heavy a Tax. I hope both Major Day and you will be down if it be only for a week or fortnight1 and if Ruggles, Murray &c. attend I have no doubt the difficulty will be over,2 many of the Members if I am not much mistaken, wish to proceed, but want good men to keep them in countenance. I pray you will let me know by return of the post wether you can attand at the time proposed, for if you cannot I will prolong the time, it being to no purpose to meet without some persons of consequence will be present. So many absented themselves last Session that the House was a sort of Rump3 and that it was then the opinion of many that if the House had been full they would have gone to business.
My last Letters from London say the Government will not be disposed of until answers are received to the Letters wrote me acquainting me with my appointment to it. My excuse was in consequence of an Intimation given me that the appointment would be made and two months preceeding actual notice of it from Lord Hillsborough.4 This is doing me much greater honor than I deserve and its possible they may see its so before the proposed time for delay expires. I am,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:546–47); in WSH’s hand.
Boston 9 Sept. 1770
Sir, I have the honour of your letter of the 2d. by Express who did not arrive until the last Evening. I immediately sent a Servant to Colonel Dalrymple at the Castle with the Packet directed to him and desired to see him very early this morning. We have spent some considerable time together consulting the most prudent way of carrying His Majestys Orders into execution.
The Report of the Committee upon which His Majesty’s Order in Council is founded is thus expressed “The Committee are humbly of Opinion that the Rendezvous of Your Majesty’s Ships stationed in North America should be in the Harbour of Boston and the Fortress which commands the Harbour be put into a respectable state of Defence and garrisoned by Your Majesty’s Regular Troops.” My Lord Hillsbor’o’s Letter is thus expressed “It is His Majestys pleasure that the Company in the Pay of the Province now doing duty in Castle William be withdrawn and that the Possession of the Fort be delivered to such Officer as Lieutenant General Gage shall direct to take the command of it and therefore you will not fail so soon as General Gage shall have communicated to you the Orders given by him for that purpose to take the Proper steps for the Execution of that Part of the Service which depends upon you.”1
By the Province Charter the Governor is “to commit from time to time the Custody and Government of Forts to such Person or Persons as to him shall seem meet.” By virtue of this Power or authority the Present Officers of the Garrison at Castle William received their Commissions from the Governor.2 I told Colonel Dalrymple I was ready to commit the Custody and Government of Castle William to the Person appointed by His Majesty’s Orders to receive it, but it might be a Question whether it is not intended that the Officers shall receive their Commissions from the Governor of the Province. There can be no doubt of the Kings Authority to give His General Power to command and order His Regular Forces in every Colony, but it may be doubted whether a Commission to command a Part of the Militia in this Province can be granted consistent with the Charter by any other Person than the Governor and the Power given to the Governor by the Charter seems to be the same with respect to Forts as to the Militia.
Colonel Dalrymple thought there was weight in these Observations but the receiving such Commission was a Point of some delicacy with him & we agreed to state the matter to you for your consideration and in the mean time to Proceed in Placing the Troops in the Fort taking an Inventory of the Artillery Stores ammunition &ca.
Captain Preston was desirous of taking his Trial but the Court have appointed it for the 23d. of October to which time they are adjourned. I intend to write to you upon his case as soon as we have got through this Affair of the Castle. I am &ca.
RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “His Excellency General Gage.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 278–79); docketed, “Copy of a Letter from Leiutt. Governor Hutchinson to General Gage”; “Copy of a Letter from Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson to Lieut. Genl. Gage”; and “In Lieut. Governor Hutchinson’s No 24— 12 Septembr (1).” Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:422–24); docketed, “Copy of a Letter intended to General Gage Sep 9 1770 not sent Pr.”
Boston 12 Sept. 1770
Sir, Agreeable to what I wrote on the ninth I gave an Order on the tenth for the delivering the possession of the Castle William to a Garrison of His Majestys Regular Troops instead of the Garrison in the Pay of the Province. Immediately after I had done this I communicated to my Council such part of My Lord Hillsborough’s letter to me as I thought proper and caused the whole of His Majesty’s Order in Council to be read to them. The surprize was great. I told them I was not about to ask their advice whether I should obey the King’s Orders, but I judged it a due mark of respect to the Council to inform them of a matter so important, before it was known to other persons. One Gentleman asked whether by the Charter the Castle was not in the disposal of the Governor of the Province. I let him know that there would be no violation of the Charter. By the Charter I had power to commit the Custody & Government to such person or persons as to me should seem meet. It now seemed meet to me to commit them to Colonel Dalrymple. It was then proposed to me to remove the Ammunition and Stores which had been purchased with the Money of the Province. This I answered was an Affair belonging to me solely. My making a change in the Garrison at the Castle was not giving up the power given me by Charter over such stores and if the Province could be considered as having any sort of Property in them it would still remain. I should have sent you the Charter by the Express if I had not known that it must be in many hands in New York being prefixed to the Laws in every Edition which has been published. I am more and more convinced that it must be safest and best for all concerned that the Garrison should be considered as under the command of the Governor, and it is consistent with His Majestys Instructions to me, and the Effect will be the same for all directions given by you will be executed to all intents and purposes as fully as if the Province should be dismembered of this Fort and Island. I suspect we have people watching for an opportunity of saying that it is so whenever any part of it is taken from the Jurisdiction of the Governor.
I know that Administration will be very cautious, at this time, of affording the Enemies to Government the least handle or colour for saying that the Charter in all parts has not Remained inviolate, and although it may be a doubtful point whether it would be a violation or not yet, as a regulation of the Charter will certainly be made as soon as Parliament meets it is the less necessary to occasion any question upon it.
Some of the Officers and Soldiers belonging to the Garrison which I have withdrawn are really Objects of Compassion. Capt. Phillips the Officer in command resident there married in expectation of holding his post and is reduced on a sudden to a distressed state destitute of any means of support.1 Mr. Burbank, the Gunner who has a turn to the Mathematicks left a good business in Town some years ago upon encouragement here to spend his days. He is in many respects clever and I know Colonel Dalrymple wishes a place of 3 or 4/ a day under the Engineer could be found for him.2 There is also the Serjeant William Salisbury a very decent man has 7 or 8 small children who are supported by his post in a Town not far from the Castle.3 If any way could be found to employ or relieve some of the greater Sufferers I should be very glad. I am with much Respect Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
I beg the favour of you to forward the inclosed to Ld Hillsborough by first opportunity4
RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers). SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 280–81); notation, “Copy of a letter from Lt. Govr. Hutchinson to General Gage at New York.”
Boston 12. Sept. 1770
Sir, I wished to have Capt. Preston’s Trial come on and I proposed, if the Jury should give in their Verdict Guilty, that his Counsel should move in Arrest of Judgment and that the Court should continue the Motion until the next Term. In the mean time, I would have transmitted a state of the Evidence to My Lord Hillsborough and there would have been time to obtain a pardon which might be sent to you by the first packet in the most secret manner and he be enabled to plead it upon his appearance in Court and be immediately discharged. This would have been the most likely way to keep the people quiet, whereas if there should be a Sentence against him and a respit or if a new Trial should be ordered, in either case there might be danger of violence. But the Court suddenly put over part of their business to the latter part of October and if such a motion should have been made in arrest of Judgment they could not without the peoples suspecting the design have continued the consideration longer than that time. I therefore chose not to have the trial now. We are inevitably, straitned in point of time for the next Term being the second Tuesday of March we can scarce hope after October for a return from England in season. I am informed depositions have been taken here and sent to England by your order and that one or more persons who were present at the Action have been examined before a Committee of Council in England.1 If the case should appear to His Majesty so favorable as to merit a pardon & it may regularly be granted, it will be most safe that it should be sent by the first packet, or first opportunity here or to New York and it maybe kept secret and used only in case of necessity and a pardon sent after the state of evidence transmitted not arriving in time.
Having thus stated the case to you, I will do the same for My Lord Hillsborough that such proceedings may be had as shall be judged proper and I hope you will write to His Lordship upon the Subject.
I have taken great pains in this most unfortunate Affair which has been attended with infinite difficulties occasioned by the inflamed spirit of the people. I am with very great Esteem Sir Your most humble & most obedient Servant,
RC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “His Excellency General Gage.” AC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, f. 285); dated 11 September 1770; docketed, “Copy of a Letter from Lieutt Gov. Hutchinson to General Gage” and “In Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson’s (No 25) of 13 Septr. 1770.”
Boston 12th September 1770
My Lord, The 8th, in the Evening, I received, by Express from General Gage your Lordship’s letter of the 6 of July accompanied with an Order of His Majesty in Council of the same date. At the same time Lt Colonel Dalrymple received, from General Gage, orders for his government upon my putting him into possession of Castle William. I sent to Colo. Dalrymple and desired him to come to my house, in the Country, the next morning, being Sunday, where we determined upon the proper steps to be taken the day after when I gave an order for the withdraw of the Garrison in the pay of the Province and for placing a detachment of the Regular forces in their stead. As soon as I had done this I met the Council and directed that His Majestys order in Council should be read to them and acquainted them with the signification of His Majestys pleasure in your Lordships letter for the immediate change of the Garrison. It occasioned great surprise and concern, but no body suggested that I could refuse Obedience to the Order. I told the Council I intended to prorogue the Court a fortnight farther but if they desired me to meet it at the time it now stands prorogued I would do it. They unanimously expressed their desire and I intend to meet the Court the 26. of the month at Cambridge.
As soon as I had dismissed the Council I went to the Castle and committed the Custody and Government thereof to Colonel Dalrymple by virtue of the power given me by my Commission and the Royal Charter having settled a form of words, in which it was done, to prevent cavils. I shall inclose to your Lordship copies of two Letters I have wrote to Gen. Gage upon this matter of form and I humbly beg your Lordships consideration and instructions upon the subject.1 I could not help grieving for the Garrison. As it is a very unusual thing to discharge Officers or men, they being a set of very orderly & well behaved persons, they considered their places as a sort of Freehold some of them having been there 20 or 30 & one of the Officers near 50 years. I wish it was in my power to make provision for some who stand in most need. Your Lordship will perceive that I have mentioned this to General Gage.2 I am not yet able to make a judgment of the Effect of these measures upon the minds of the People. I hear of some who are under much concern & others greatly enraged, for the people had been used to consider the Castle as the property of the Province, because built with the Province Money, altho given for the Kings use and by the Charter, in the most express terms the Governor has the full direction of every thing relative to it, even to the total demolition of it. The Castle being the safest place, a large proportion of the public powder has always been kept there and not destined to the immediate service of the Castle, and all warlike stores have been lodged there, the greatest part of the small Arms having been purchased for particular expeditions, and such as remained have been collected and deposited there.
I told the Council they need give themselves no concern, whatever Interest the Province could have, or whatever constitutional or equitable claim it could have to an Equivalent all would remain intire notwithstanding the change made in the Garrison, and I am taking an exact Inventory of the whole. I shall make use of His Majestys Order, as your Lordship directs, without suffering any Copies to be taken or communicating it, by Message or Speech, to the General Court. I must beg leave to refer an Answer to what relates to the Eastern Country, until another opportunity only observing at present that I may perhaps have expressed my self somewhat improperly but I intended no more by the Royal Authority than a Royal Requisition to the Assembly to do their duty in prosecuting all Trespassers upon their Lands.3 I will also inclose a petition which has no date but was offered me since the prorogation of the General Court. I never had a thought of superseding Colo. Goldthwait on the contrary have assured him of all the support in my power.
The Officer which I accepted in his stead to manage the Truck Trade is a person of no consequence. My refusing him would have only led them to a more exceptionable person and a string of Negatives in an Office which was sunk almost to nothing, would have been ill judged at that time.4 There is scarcely 500£ a year negotiated and the Officer himself has not to this day acted in the Office but I am informed remains in a remote part of the Province, and the Act for carrying on the Trade expired the 1st of July.
I shall conform to His Majestys pleasure signified to me by your Lordship, concerning the place of holding the General Court. I have the honour to be most respectfully My Lord, Your Lordship’s most humble & most Obedient Servant
DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 275–77); in WSH’s hand; docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson. (No. 24) Rx 5th Novr. (Dup—Origl. not reced.)”; notations, “C:39:” and “Encd.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, ff. 164–67); docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson; Boston, 19th Septr. 1770 (No. 24.) Rx 5th. Novr (Dup orig not recd.).” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:425–26); at head of letter, “(No 24) in Duplicate”; docketed, “Copy to Ld Hillsboro. 12 Sep 70.” Enclosures to RC: TH to Thomas Gage, 9 September 1770 (copy; National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 278–79); TH to Thomas Gage, 12 September 1770 (copy; ff. 280–81); Petition of Edmund Moore and Thomas Fletcher, n.d. (f. 282).
Boston 13 September 1770
My Lord, I humbly beg leave to inclose Copy of a Letter to General Gage upon Captain Preston’s case which Letter needs no Explanation.1
Having sent my papers from home for their security I am not able to number this nor my former letter. I have the honour to be with great respect My Lord Your Lordships most humble & most Obedient Servant.
DupRC (National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 283–84); at foot of letter, “The Right Honorable the Earl of Hillsborough”; docketed, “Boston 13th. Septr. 1770. Lieut Govr. Hutchinson, (No. 25) Rx 5. Novr. (Dup—orig. not reced.)”; notations, “C:40:” and “End.” SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/768, f. 168); docketed, “Lieut. Govr. Hutchinson, Boston 13th Septr. 1770 (No. 23.) Rx 5. Novr. Dup., orig not recd.” AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:426). Enclosure to RC: TH to Thomas Gage, 13 September 1770 (“Secret”; copy; National Archives UK, CO 5/759, ff. 285–86).
Boston September 15 1770
My Dear Sir, I have reviewed your several Letters, as far down as N. 37, which from No. 30 all came to hand within about ten days one of another.1
The whole Business of Goldthwait will be no disadvantage to him. Prebble has never taken his place. What will be done about the Truck trade is uncertain. Hitherto he either has, or might have, carried it on to his own profit and as for superseding him in the Fort I never had it in my thoughts.2 Your plan of negativing toties quoties was absolutely impracticable, for they would have gone on ad infinitum and though a negative may, very properly be used to exclude particular persons, it would have hurt the cause of Government if I had then used it to force in particular persons.3 If the Court decline providing for the Fort I do not intend it shall be left without a Garrison.
The Kings order for the withdraw of the Garrison from the Castle came to hand by Express Saturday the 8th towards Evening.4 I kept the Express that night in my house at Milton and sent a Servant to the Castle to Dalrymple to come to me early the next morning. We then settled this point that nothing should be done which could infer my giving up the Right which the Governor has by Commission & Charter to the ordering, in general all Forts within the Province and I was to write what was necessary to the General upon this Subject. We then agreed to meet early the next morning at the Secretary[’s] House in Boston. I there gave him an Order to Phillips to take off the Sentries in the pay of the Province and to admit such of the Regulars as Col Dalrymple should direct.5 As soon as Dalrymple had left the Town I went to Council and having cleared the Chamber of the Clerks &c. I enjoined the Members secresy upon their Oaths until they should be dismissed or I should discharge them. I then directed the Order of His Majesty in Council to be read to them and read myself, that part of My Lord Hillsboroughs letter which required me immediately to put that part of the Order which concerned me in execution. I told them I did not need their advice whether to obey the Kings Order or not, but I thought so much respect was due to them as to let them know it before it was made publick as it soon must be by the execution of it. They were all struck when they heard the Order. Pitts said perhaps it was executed already.6 I made no reply. It was not suggested that I could refuse obedience, but I was asked whether by Charter the Command of the Castle was not with me. I told them I should give up no right which they had by Charter. The Governor was to commit to the Custody and Government of Forts to such person as to him should seem meet. It now seemed meet to me to commit the Castle to Colo Dalrymple to be garrisoned by the Regulars. What induced me to this I was not liable to be questioned or called to account for. There was then considerable debate about the arms amunition &c. which some thought ought to be removed. Of this I told them I was the sole Judge. Wherever they were most wanted for His Majestys Service I should employ them. After about two hours, about one oClock, I released them from their obligation to secresy and dismissed them and my Carriage being at the Door, I went immediately to the Neck where I had ordered the Barge to be ready. As soon as I came to the Castle I went into Phillips room who could not have been more affected under Sentence of Death, and the whole Garrison was in Tears, I sent for the Keys & Colo Dalrymple coming up to the State Room attended by His Officers, I delivered them to him & committed to him the Custody & Government of the Castle by virtue of the power & authority given me by His Majestys Commission to govern the Province according to Charter and in obedience to His Majestys command signified to me &c.
I went in the Evening to Milton where I spent the next day being Tuesday, but, on Wednesday morning I had repeated Messages to acquaint me with the rage many People were in, that Adams in particular was inflaming the minds of the People, declaring that I had broke the Charter by giving up the Castle7 and it was reported that I had been way laid but was missed in my return from the Castle and many other threatning speeches were brought to me and, in the afternoon my brother vehemently pressed my going to the Castle & sending my Children to Town and the Secretary & Treasurer who were with him, though not alike apprehensive of danger, thought it best.8 I had before removed my papers & in the Evening I took boat, at Dorchester two or three miles from my house, and went to the Castle and, you will believe I could not help thinking of your & my passage to the same place about 5 years before.9 I went the next day to Town upon some ordinary business of Council and returned in the Evening to the Castle assigning this reason that it was necessary to have a full Inventory of all the Stores Amunition Arms &c. and tarried until Saturday, receiving Intelligence from time to time of the State of the Town. There hapned during this time to be a very grand meeting of Merchants & Tradesmen upon the Subject of Importation where Adams made an attempt to inflame them, declaring I had given up the Castle and would give up the Charter but some of the Merchants declared that was not the business of the Meeting and repeatedly stopped him from going on.10 This my Friends thought was a sort of Trial of the strength of the Faction and that this Incendiary would not be able to accomplish his purposes.
This Narrative will be less tedious to you than to a stranger who cannot have so familiar an Idea of the whole Transaction. As the News spreads through the Country it puts the people into more or less agitation for they have wild notions about the Affair and in general, conceive of it as if a valuable Estate belonging to the Province, which has cost them immense Sums, had been taken from them & given to Strangers.
I intended to have prorogued the Court to a further day but took this opportunity to let the Council know that if they desired it I would meet them at the time they now stand prorogued. The Council unanimously desired it and I think cannot with any face decline doing business.11 The Boston Representatives say the House shall persevere.12 I expect to write upon other Subjects before any Ship is ready to Sail and am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient humble Servant,
AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 27:1–3); at foot of letter, “Gov. Bernard.”
Springfield September 15 1770
May it please your Honor, I had the Honor of your Letter of the 4th Currt by the Post, but as I came home from Worcester Court on Monday Evening, I did not receive it till Tuesday Morning, when the Post had past us on his Return to Boston, & is the Reason your Honor did not receive an Answer to it then.
I heartily wish the House of Repts could be persuaded to go calmly & decently to Business; & think it every Way for the Intrest of the Province that they should; but I have very little Expectation they will, while some among them pursue their present Measures & maintain their present influence; And you do me Sir by far too great Honor to suppose I could contribute any Thing at present towards so desireable an End, unless purely by increasing the little Number, I might help to keep some others in Countenance who are secretly well disposed but afraid to be singular. The Jealosy & Suspicion with which I seem’d to be View’d by Most of the Members the last Session made my Scituation at Court very unpleasant, & the Apprehensions that have been conceived or have been pretended to have been conceived of me as an Enemy to my Country for no other reason that I know of than that I have thot Governmt. well supported & Maintaind absolutely necessary to its Happiness & have acted accordingly has so far lost me the Opinion of most of the Assembly that I think my Attendance of but very little Consequence to my Town or the province. However as I am sincerely desirous to yeild the public every possible Service that I can; & know not when the Time for it may be; and as your Honor seems to be of Opinion that if the Friends of Governmt (of which I hope always to be one) should attend the Approaching Session some Service m[a]y then be done, I shall endeavor to attend it Altho it will a good Deal interfere with my own private Business.
In the present very Unhappy Scituation of the publick Affairs, & when yor Honor’s Administration is made so uncomfortable to your Self, & so much less happy to the province than otherwise it would be, by the Madness & Unreasonable prejudice of some of the People I think it the Duty of every Friend of Government & of his Country, in every reasonable Way, & with almost any Degree of Self Denial as to private Concerns, to aid & assist you. & there is no one in the province to whom it would give more real and Sensible pleasure than to me to be able in any Degree to aid & honor your Administration. Your Honors Desire therefore signified in your Letter shall be as a Law to me & I will not fail (Extraordinaries excepted) of attending the next Sitting of the Court if it be any thing near the Time your Honor proposes, & will also use my best Influence with Major Day that he attend also.1 In the Mean Time I am with the greatest Reverence & Esteem Your Honor’s Most Obedt humble Servant,
New York September 17 1770.
Sir, The Express returned on the 15th Instant, by whom I was favoured with your’s of the 9th. What you proposed to Lieut Colonel Dalrymple might lay him under some Difficulty, as it seems in the Execution of his Orders, rather out of the common Course of the Service, independent of any other Delicacy’s he might have.1
If an officer was to be appointed Governor of the Fort, or, not Commanding the Regt in Garrison, should be appointed Commander thereof, for the time Being. A Special Commission to empower him to enter on such Government, or to take the Command Occasionaly over the Troops, would undoubtedly be necessary, but where a Regt, or part of a Regimt, as in the present Case, is ordered to move into a Fort and Garrison the same the Command thereof, in the absence of an Officer invested with a special Commission to Command, devolves of Course upon the Senior Officer of the Troops, whoever he shall happen to be. It does not follow from thence, that he would have absolute Powers in the Government of the Fort, tho’ he might have absolute Command of the Garrison. For Example, his Orders for the issuing of Stores, might not be Sufficient Warrants to the Storekeeper to issue them, with more particulars not necessary to mention, tho’ you will believe, that in Case of Danger, an Officer so Commanding, would take every thing that could contribute towards his Defence.
All that appears to me to be necessary in the present Situation is, for you to cancell the Powers given to the Officer Commanding the Provincial Company, by ordering him to evacuate the Fort with his Company. And that he should deliver over the Care thereof, to a Garrison of his Majestys 14th Regt of Foot, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Dalrymple. In this Manner the Relief, or Change of the Garrison, is effected by your Orders, and Authority, and the Custody of the Fort, Committed to such Persons as to you shall seem meet, without calling in Question the Kings Power, or the Province Charter.
The same Reasons, that should require a particular Commission for Lieut. Colo. Dalrymple to exercise a Command over the Garrison of Castle William, might be said to operate with Respect to every other officer in the Garrison, who in such Case, would receive Commissions from the Governor of the Province, to Command Troops, which they are already empowered to Command by Commissions from the King.
An Affair, something resembling this, tho’ not exactly Similar to it, happened not long Since in One of the Southern Provinces, where there is a Fort Garrisoned by a Number of Men in the Province Pay. The Governor of the Province appointed a Governor of the Fort, and the King afterwards appointed another. The Person Appointed by the King has taken the Command, but the Province will not pay him, but has provided Pay for the Person appointed by the Governor.2
I mention what occurrs to me and Submit it to your Consideration, and am, as You will Observe, of Opinion, that ever ything which Concerns our present Business, may be done with little Trouble or Difficulty. I have the Honour to be with great Esteem and Regards, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,
RC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 25:429–31); at foot of letter, “The Honble: Thos. Hutchinson Lt. Govr. of His Majtys: Province Massachusett’s Bay.” AC (Clements Library, Thomas Gage Papers); at foot of letter, “[Lt.] Govr. Hutchinson [Mass Province].”