883 | To Thomas Hutchinson

    No 54

    Hampstead, feb. 11. 1771

    Dear Sir,

    I wrote to you in No 52 that the Reformation of your Government would not probably be brought into Parliament this Session, tho a Bill for that Purpose had been prepared.1 It may be expected that the Accommodation with Spain might cause a Revival of this Business, as the Apprehensions of War was one of the Causes which put a Stop to it. But it will not be so: the American Minister sees the Expediency of this measure; but he is not supported in it by other Servants of the Crown, who do not see at present Necessity so pressing as it was 8 months ago; and among other Discouragements he reckons much upon what came from your Quarter of which I wrote to you in No 47.2 So that I think the Business is over for the present, & shall say no more upon it unless I am called upon.

    As you will feel this Disappointment more than anyone else, I shall endeavour to procure for you every kind of Assistance that can counter-ballance the Want of the intended Regulation. Some things of this Sort I have proposed; but they will all fall short of the one thing needful. It is expected when they are again free from their Apprehensions of Parliament the Faction will raise its head again: and I am mistaken if the time will not come, when you will be obliged to speak out; which if you had done some time ago, much Trouble might have been saved which will fall cheifly upon yourself.

    Your dissenting to the Grants to the Agents is well approved of; & you will have an Instruction or Order to Support you in it. They have endeavoured to impose upon you when they quoted my consenting to Mr De Berdt’s Grant. Mr Deberdt was appointed a special Agent to sollicit the Repeal of the Stamp Act or rather the nonenacting it, a Purpose I had approved of; he acted in Conjunction with Mr Jackson, & I had consented to Grants of Money to each of them to enable them to proceed in this Business. So when the last Grants came up to me, they were for a special Purpose which I had approved of & had been carried on jointly with the Province Agent. But upon passing these Grants I publickly declared that they must not expect that I would pass any other Grant to Mr Deberdt for his Service as general Agent of the House: for such Appointment was unconstitutional & unnecessary, & tended to infringe the Charter by separating one Part of the Corporation from the other.3

    You will have Orders concerning the Castle which will Support your Authority over it & justify your Declarations that your admitting a Garrison of Regulars is not giving up the rights of the Charter. There will never be any other Garrison there: but some Measures should be taken to give the Governor a greater Superiority over the Garrison than he has by the present Regulations. I have given My Lord H a short Memorial on behalf of Phillips & have pointed out a particular thing for him: but a Petition from him thro your Mediation should not be neglected.4

    You will also have an Instruction against the Council’s acting separately from the Governor either as a privy Council or as a Committee of the legislative Council. The latter is no less unconstitutional than the former. Every one knows that all Committees are dissolved by a Prorogation, And where the House have directed Committees to sit in the Vacation, they must be considered as Commissioners for a particular Purpose as they must be where persons not members are joined. Their Agent is not very fond of his Office: he sees the Impropriety of it. There is no Appearance of a Connection between him & the Gentleman you mentioned: & if there was it would signify nothing; for the Agent has lost all his Importance; as an Agent he is allowed none. The Agent of the House has been refused having his Appointment registered at the Board of Trade; the legality of it has been denied. So that without Admission to the public Offices or Pay their Use & Value will not be great.5

    The Disorders at Machias will never be brought under till the whole Country is regulated; and this will never be properly done till it is erected into a new Government. Adding it to Nova Scotia would be as exceptionable as continuing it to Massachusets. The latter would have no Reason to complain if such a Separation should take Place nor would be hurt in the least by it: and such an Establishment would be of great Advantage to Britain. But there is no Disposition to it at present, cheifly on Account of the Expence of the Establishment; whenever there is I shall favour it as much as I can as a thing of general Utility.

    I am very glad that Prebble has had the Sense to resign the Place of Truckmaster; and I hope that the Assembly will have the sense to chuse Goldthwait Truckmaster. If this is done, the Business may remain as it is now settled. I have allways considered that the Act for supplying the Indians militated against the Kings general Instructions for trading with the Indians; & I reconciled myself to it by my having the Appointment in effect, of the Truckmaster. When that is taken from the Governor the Act is not maintainable. I did not mean to quarrel with the Form of Election when it was agreeable to the Governors Appointment in Council: but I allways meant to counteract it, when it was contrary to it. And this Contradiction is set in a strong light, when it is made the means of removing a good Officer for only being suspected to be a Friend to Government, & creating Rewards for those who are the professed Enemies of it.6

    I have mentioned the Case of Mr Sylvester to Lord H, who has referred me to the Treasury where the Business properly lies. I should have moved it there if I could have known what could with Propriety be asked for. But that he has not pointed out to me: however I will advise & consider what can be done for him; & will with your Leave use your Name in my recommendation of him.7

    I have many more things to write to you about: but as what I have hitherto written is cheifly of a public Concern, I will put an End to this Letter & begin another with Matters of a more private Nature.

    I am &c.

    His Excellcy Govr Hutchinson

    L, LbC      BP, 8: 159–163.