827 | To Nathaniel Taylor

    Pall Mall Feb. 13th. 1770


    I have received your Letter of Decr 31, & attend to the Contents thereof. The Attack upon the naval [office]1 may give Trouble but cannot have the Effects proposed: for it is quite certain that the present Office is not bound by the Act of Assembly in 1701.2 I am sorry Mr Pemberton3 has published what he has: He does his Cause much Hurt by making Concessions which the opposite Party will take Advantage of, & yet they will not allow what makes in his Favour.4 His Intention to apply to the General Court to establish a Bill of Fees is the most imprudent Thing that can be imagined. To put his Cause into the Hands of a Tribunal, who are not necessarily Judges of it & who are sure to act with all possible Prejudice against him is strange Conduct. I hope this will come time enough to prevent this false Step being taken.

    I shall deliver in a Memorial to the Ministry in a few days & pray their Interposition.5 It is not impossible but Releif may be obtained in a parliamentary Way very soon: at least it will be had from the privy Council.6 For both these Purposes the Merchants have been very kind in avowing their Intention to abolish the naval Office, as they have expressly done in their Observations upon several late Acts of Parliament which is now reprinting here.7 If they had not been so explicit, their endeavouring to enforce the Act of 1701 after it had remained exploded for several ^seventy^ Years is a sufficient Proof of their Design.

    I have no Doubt of your Prudence & Firmness; and you will have Occasion to exercise both. If they indict you, apply to the Lieut Governor & desire him to order a noli prosequi to be entered upon the Suggestion that the Act in Question relates to the naval Officers intended to be established by the Authority of the Province in Contradiction & Contradistinction to the naval Officer appointed by Act of Parliament;8 between which there is a remarkable Difference, the Provincial Naval Officers were to be many, one in every Port, but the Parliamentary Naval Officer was but one, for the whole Province. And the Clause of the Fees being referred to the said Office can relate only to the Officers established by the Provincial Act & cannot be applied to the Officer appointed by Act of Parliament.

    If they should bring an Action against you for money had & received &c defend it in the superior Court & give in all the Evidence you can of the Usage of the present List of Fees & of the hanging up the List of fees in the Office by the Kings Orders. And move the Court that all the Evidence may be taken down in Writing that a compleat State of the Case may be laid before the King in Council. If they tender you the Statute fee in Order to bring an Action against you for refusing to clear them out, reject the fee & make out a Clearance & upon their refusing to pay the usual Fees write upon the Clearance that the Fees are not paid having been refused. In all these Cases have a Person with you by Way of Clerk, who may be an Evidence of what passes & must note it down as a Memorandum. And in Case of your making out Clearances without Payment of Fees keep an exact Account of the Debtors. In other things & in the foregoing also advise with Mr Auchmuty9 & Mr Sewall; & consult the Lieut Governor where it will be proper.

    I am with due Compliments Sir Your most faithful hble Servt &c.

    Mr Taylor10

    P.S. As my eldest Sons Illness will not permit him to take Care of his own Affairs I must desire that you will pay what shall be due to him from the Naval Office to the Order of Lady Bernard: & I will be answerable for what you shall pay in that Manner. By the Agreement with Mr Pemberton there will be two thirds due to Mr Bernard from the first of Octr last. Give my Complts to Mr Pemberton & assure him that all due Care will be taken of the Naval Office in every Respect.

    L, LbC      BP, 8: 56–58, 62.