829 | To Thomas Hutchinson

    No 18.


    Pall Mall. feb 14. 1770

    Dear Sir,

    By my Letter dated feb 31 I gave you an Account of the political Proceedings so far: I have not much to add now, but what I have tends to confirm the Stability of the Ministry. It has ^been^ generally said that the Stability of the Ministry will depend upon the Resolution of their Master:2 I have very good Reasons to persuade myself that the latter will not be wanting.

    There has been another Set Battle in the House of Commons which turned out more to the Advantage of the Ministry than the last. On Monday last upon an Appointment to consider the State of the Nation, It was moved that all Officers of the Revenue should be rendered incapable of voting for Members of Parliament. Lord North shewed what a Complaint the Opposition had made of a pretended Violation of the Rights of a few freeholders in one County only; & now they proposed at one Stroke to disfranchise many thousands of Freemen throughout the whole Kingdom. It was fully debated: but the House would not bear a long sitting, but insisted upon the Question about nine o’clock. The Numbers were pro 188, con 263, Majority 75. The Friends of the Ministry consider this as decisive; it will help to settle Waverers: the Opposition treats it as not at all conclusive. The same day there was a Division in the House of Lords of no Use but to divide: The Numbers were 81, 41, besides proxies which were allmost wholly on the Side of the Ministry.3

    The Business of repealing the American Act is referred to Wednesday next. There is a Petition of the American Merchants given in: but it prays only for general Releif.4 It is now certain that the Ministry will only propose the Repeal of the 3 Articles; & it is supposed that the Opposition will move for the Repeal of the whole Act. Both Parties will be divided among themselves; there are several Ministerial leading Men among the Ministerials, who, it is expected, will speak & vote against any Repeal whilst the Americans continue their Combinations against the British Trade: So that it is possible that even the Repeal of the three Articles may not pass. some talk of extending the Repeal only to those Colonies who have not combined: but they are scarce enough to make such a distinction except they take in the Islands into the reckoning.5

    I have sent you among the Newspapers two protests in the House of Lords which are like the Times “full of Sound & Fury, signifying Nothing”.6 The Printer of a Newspaper, in which they appeared has been obliged to get out of the Way to avoid being sent to Newgate. Enough of politics for this Time.7

    I am &c.

    Lieut Govr Hutchinson

    P.S. secret feb 14

    I have Nothing to add concerning what is designed for you & Mr Oliver: things stand as they did; & they can’t be better whilst they remain in a state of Inactivity. I have the Pleasure of telling you that I shall continue to have free Access to Lord North. He talked to me a good deal Yesterday at the Princess of Wales’s drawing Room, & ended with telling me that he should have some Leisure in a few days time, & should be glad to see me when I had any thing to communicate. I sent you in my last by Freeman a Letter from Mr Pownall which will give you more Satisfaction than any thing I can write.8

    L, LbC      BP, 8: 62–64.