The Arrival of News of Vindication before the Privy Council

    1258. To Alexander Wedderburn, 23 April 1774

    1259. To Thomas Gage, 24 April 1774

    1260. To Lord Dartmouth, 25 April 1774

    1261. To Charlton Palmer, 25 April 1774

    1262. To William Whately, 25 April 1774

    1263. From Peter Oliver, 25 April 1774

    1264. To William Sanford Hutchinson, 30 April 1774

    1265. To Edward Montagu, 30 April 1774

    News of the dismissal of the General Court’s petition to remove Hutchinson was a long time reaching Boston. The hearing took place on 29 January in the depths of winter, but no ships left for Boston before 3 March. Gage’s informal account of 2 February, Dartmouth’s promise of a full vindication dated 5 February, and copies of the London newspaper accounts all arrived at more or less the same time during the last week of April, prompting Hutchinson to write a round of grateful letters to Alexander Wedderburn (who had defended him before the Privy Council) and other friends in England who had forwarded his cause. He also took the occasion to write a note of apology to William Whately, who was wounded in December in a duel with John Temple, occasioned at least in part by Hutchinson’s suspicions of the latter man.

    1258. To Alexander Wedderburn

    Boston 23d. April 1774


    Sir, I may not omit the first opportunity of expressing to you my sense of the obligations which you have laid me under by appearing for me before the Lords Committee of Council, defending my cause against the most injurious charge of my enemies and persecutors, detecting their plots & conspiracies, and obtaining for me an honorable acquittal, and a full vindication of my character which I value more than any pecuniary satisfaction.1

    If the Lieutenant Governor had lived he would most willingly have joined me in this acknowledgement. I think it not improbable that this infamous abuse, hapning just after the death of several near Relations, shortened his life.

    I cannot help flattering myself that you have not meerly rescued the reputation of two or three individuals, but have done a great deal towards saving a whole province from ruin, for truth enforced with so much eloquence, must prevail with many notwithstanding the prejudices they have been under by the wicked arts of their pretended friends. That part of your Speech which was printed in England is reprinting here, and will be sent to the several towns &c.2

    I intended to have been in England by the middle of this month, and immediately upon my arrival I should have paid my respects to you in person, but the Lieutenant Governors death obliged me to remain, at least, until a Successor be appointed for although my leave was general yet I had reason to think the King would not have approved of my availing myself of it after this unfortunate & unexpected event. I have the honour to be &ca,

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 21); at foot of letter, “Mr. Wedderburn”; in TH Jr.’s hand.

    1259. To Thomas Gage

    Boston 24 April 1774


    [Dear?] Sir, You do me honour by two very obliging letters, the first of which from a very unusual length of passage, even for a packett, did not arrive until between three & four months after the date, the other came to hand last week.1 You have greatly obliged me by so particular an Account of the proceedings before the Committee of Council. I could not expect a more honorable vindication of my character. I did not seek nor desire revenge. My enemies have been their own destroyers. Doctor Franklins publications discover a malignity which astonishes me, for it is altogether unprovoked by me. There had been a friendly correspondence between us until the house chose him their Agent.2 The Grant which was then made him he knew the Kings Instructions restrained me from assenting to. I had refused a like Grant to his predecessors as unconstitutional, when I had no Instruction against it. He could not therefore suppose I was influenced by prejudices, peculiarly against him. I knew he was the patron of the disturbers of the peace of America but I supposed the Ministry knew it also, and I dont remember that I had ever mentioned any thing relative to him before his sending over my letters.

    I had obtained the Kings leave of Absence and intended to have been in England before this time, but the death of the Lieutenant Governor has put it out of my power, for I dare not leave the Government in the hands of the Council, at so critical a time, for altho’ we are ignorant what is to be done with us, we all conclude that something must be done more effectual than anything heretofore, or that we shall be altogether independant. I am with very great regard and esteem,

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 22); at foot of letter, “General Gage”; in TH Jr.’s hand.

    1260. To Lord Dartmouth

    Boston 25 April 1774

    (No 45)

    My Lord, I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships letter of the 5th. of February. Our merchant vessels which left London the 3d of March arrived a day or two before. I humbly thank your Lordship for the part you have taken in bringing forward the consideration of the Address of the House of Representatives for the removal of the Governor & Lieutenant Governor. I feel very sensibly the great honour done me by the Order of His Majesty in Council, and I hope it will have a tendency to convince the people of the Province how grossly they have been misled and abused by artful ill designing men, but I am not yet able to speak with certainty of the effect.

    The encouragement given me by your Lordship that in a few days you should receive His Majesty’s commands for such Instructions as might be necessary to be sent me caused me to delay issuing Writs for the Assembly, which by the Charter is to meet the last Wednesday in May, but as they must be issued 30 days before the meeting I could delay them no longer and they are this day delivered to the Sheriff.

    The Town is full of rumours of intended measures, and there are very different conjectures upon the behaviour of the people when such measures are to be executed. I hope I shall be directed & enabled to do my duty with prudence & firmness. I have the honour to be My Lord Your Lordship’s most humble & most obedient Servant,

    RC (National Archives UK, CO 5/763, ff. 164–65); at foot of letter, “Rt Honble. the Earl of Dartmouth”; docketed, “Boston 25th. April 1774 Governor Hutchinson (No. 45) Rx 1st. June.” AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, ff. 22–23); at head of letter, “Active”; in EH’s hand. SC (National Archives UK, CO 5/769, ff. 76–77); docketed, “Boston 25th—April 1774 Governor Hutchinson. (No 45) Rx 1st. June.”

    1261. To Charlton Palmer

    Boston 25. April 1774


    Dear Sir! I have received your Favours of 5. & 21. of February.1 I am obliged to leave the Town, upon some Affairs of the Militia at Salem just after my receiving notice of this vessels being ready to sail and I am only able to thank you for the pains you have taken in defending the Lieutenant Governor & myself against the malicious attempts of our enemies. So honorable a vindication certainly gave me great pleasure but it would compleat my happiness if the people might be convinced by it of the Artifices of pretended patriots to delude & mislead them, and the Province might be in a state of peace & tranquility.

    I must find time for a Letter of thanks to Mr. Wedderburn.2 You expected me in London. Nothing but the Lieutenant Governors death prevented me. I hoped to have made Provision for my Sons who have suffered exceedingly & have no prospect of recovering an easy & profitable business which they have lost in the Tea way. I had in view also a more comfortable easy life for myself being pretty well tired of the abuse I meet with from the most ungrateful people and if Governor Tryon had been provided for in England I should wished to have succeeded him if it had been only for a year or two3 or at all hazards I have reason to think my Voyage would have been of advantage to me and it may be to the publick also.

    I shall inclose two Bills drawn by Richard Williams on the Commissioners of the Navy one for £400— the other £350— which please to receive. I intend as soon as I can meet with Bills to lodge £750— more in your hands not knowing but I may still have occasion to use it myself in England when a Successor to the Lieutenant Governor is appointed. In the mean time I wish it may be under some improvement. I have near £4000 in England 400£ of which is in the publick Funds and the remainder my Correspondent writes is in E India Warrants at 5 per cent & if you think it proper I should like this might be improvd the same way I mean the 5 per cent Warrants.

    If I return before the Vessels sail I shall probably write further. I am Sir Your most humble & most obedient Servant,

    Sent with the duplicate of Mr Palmer’s Letter of 17 Febr.4

    April 29

    I omitted in the foregoing inclosing the Survey of the Land which you will now find inclosed.

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 23); in EH’s hand.

    1262. To William Whately

    Boston 25th. April 1774


    Sir, A few days since I received your favour of January the 24.1 When I heard the news of the Duel with Mr: Temple I could not help wishing that I had never mentioned a word to you of the Letters,2 for although every circumstance has tended to raise your reputation, yet the thought of your life being in such imminent danger most sensibly affected me. The Lieutenant Governor did not live to feel any part of the trouble of that affair, nor to enjoy the pleasure of his very honorable acquittal from as groundless and injurious a charge as was ever made and I dont know that I shoud not be justified in saying, as wicked a charge, for I beleive the Actors knew it to be false and made against as good a man as any one of his Countrymen he has left behind him. He was under trouble from the loss of near Relations when this attack was made upon his character, and some of his friends think it shortened his days. However that may be it certainly, at times, sat heavy upon him. He did not acquaint me with his writing to you upon the Subject ’til some time after he had sent away his letter.3 I remember my then telling him that I wished he had not expressed himself in such strong terms, that it was very possible the Letters never came to your hands, or that they might be taken out of them by fraud, and he would have recalled his letter to you if it had not been too late.

    I shall not be free from anxiety until I hear that you are perfectly recovered from your wounds, and I had rather continue ignorant of every other circumstance of this mysterious affair of the letters than your health should be retarded an hour by any farther enquiry. Indeed, if there be any room to suppose a third person concerned it may be probably be most for your, as well as my future quiet that he should remain concealed.

    The Lieutenant Governor left one of his own sons who lives in the Country, & my eldest son who married one of his daughters, his Executors.4 If you had any affairs under his care I doubt not you will receive a just account of them. I am with sincere Regard & Esteem &ca,

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 22); at foot of letter, “Mr. Whately”; in TH Jr.’s hand.

    1263. From Peter Oliver

    Middleborough, April 25, 1774

    Dear Sir! I goes by one of the Refugees;1 the other by jumping out of the Milton frying pan into the Middleborough fire has got so burnt that he is not able to return with the other.2

    I have not been at Worcester yet and Mr. Sewall need not wonder at it, after his Brother Putnam’s advice.3 I design for Barnstable, notwithstanding the Mashpee or Nauset Indians, but I hear I must not go to Plimouth; however I will attempt it, if my brethren will sit and stand by me too, and it is of some consequence they should in this county.4

    At Mr. Winslow’s funeral a gentleman told me that Nathan Cushing, Esq.; a new justice, was the occasion of the Scituate resolves. If you were as sick of the name as I am you would be cautious of such promotions. I have heard that my old friend brother Cushing, sneered at my answer to the house. Are such capable or have any Idea of friendship?5

    If it is a matter of indifference to you, I shall be glad you would appoint Mr. Ebenezer Spooner of this town, and Mr. Ichabod Shaw of Plymouth as coroners for this County; they have both made themselves onoxious for their firm attachment to government.6 In this town I do not recollect but one coroner, and he not qualified to serve Writs.7

    I was much pleased with the paragraph of T—— and F——; would to Heaven many more such villains might meet with the like or a worse fate. I want much to hear the result of the privy council in your favour.8

    We are informed the tea act is repealed, and the great guns we hear from Boston they say confirm it. If it is not as yet true, it will be soon; and then farewell to all government on this side of the atlantic.

    I have just received a letter from Governor Wanton, he tells me that Judge Smith charges £200 sterling for his expences. I suppose I shall have NO Allowance, for my folly in charging but £17.9 I wish you courtiers would let me into your arts. I design for Newport next Week. The first accounts went home from Newport a Month ago.10 Farewell dear sir, and believe me to be your’s with sincere affection,

    Peter Oliver

    MS not found. Contemporary printings: Boston Gazette, 11 September 1775; Massachusetts Spy, 13 September 1775; Newport Mercury, 18 September 1775. The same letter with satirical insertions was also printed in the Boston Gazette, 25 September 1775. See also the source note to No. 1204, above.

    1264. To William Sanford Hutchinson

    Boston 30. April 1774

    Dear Billy, Having wrote you the 25th. by the Active frigate1 and not receiving any thing from you by Doctor Calef who arrived the 27th. I have but little to add nor will your friends write to you as they hear nothing from you.

    I must repeatedly Recommend what I have so often done before your securing some employment or other for your benefit in future life which, as I am not upon the spot, I can no further be of service to you than by an application in general seeing any place in particular will be disposed of after it is vacant before it will be in my power to apply and when once filled, as I see is the case of both those you hinted at I should give offence and be deemed indecent if I should ask for it.2 In the mean time avoid every extravagance and learn to practice oeconomy among other virtues. Hitherto we are utterly uncertain what measures are taking in England and as uncertain what the temper of the people here will be when they are to be carried into execution. I am Your affectionate father,

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 3).

    1265. To Edward Montagu

    Boston 30th. April 1774

    Brown Mr Rowes Ship

    Dear Sir, I was preparing for my passage to England & should have embarked six weeks since, if the sudden decline and, soon after, as sudden death of the Lieutenant Governor had not prevented. You will easily conceive, after seeing the Results of Council, published in the News papers, that I could not leave the Government in their hands.1 This must be my Apology for my silence part of the time, and, since that I have been deeply engaged, and not without anxiety, in publick business. The controversy with the Assembly upon the subject of the Chief Justice and the Salaries granted by the Crown, they have taken care to publish to the world, and it could not escape your observation. I was affraid it would require more skill than I was master of to resist the apparent determination of House & Council to carry the point of removing the Chief Justice and at the same time to keep the people from tumults & acts of violence. The patriots are mortified and all who are well affected to Government are pleased with the manner of my treating the controversy.

    I am exceedingly obliged to you for interesting yourself so much in my behalf in the affair of the Letters and for the advices I have received from you of the progress of that affair. I have a most gratefull sense of the honour done me by the order of the King in Council.2 It certainly has struck a damp upon the spirits of the party here, though they affect to brave it out & the Chief says they shall yet wear the Laurel.3 What effect the first news of measures in England will have I am not able to say. I have always so many present evils that it would soon wear me out if I shou’d anticipate those that are future any further than is necessary for such precaution as is in my power in case they should happen. I therefore strive to avoid all anxiety concerning them.

    The Admiral think he shall be at home in June.4 I must enlarge by that opportunity. I may not omit thanking you for your kind mention of my son.5 I am longing to hear that he has obtained some employment which may give him a moderate support and prevent a habit of pleasure and dissipation or of inactivity & indolence. I am with the most sincere Regard & esteem Your &ca,

    AC (British Library, Eg. 2661, f. 24); at end of letter, “Mr: Montagu”; in TH Jr.’s hand.