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To the People of England



London, March 24, 1775:

The man who set fire to a stately temple was a singular instance of those villains who wish to be distinguished only by their crimes, though he was by no means a rare instance of those whom posterity can distinguish by no other traces, By what means the late Governour of Boston may hereafter be remembered, we shall not venture to predict; but we may safely affirm, that if his publick vices and publick virtues should be weighed in a balance, the latter would kick the beam! From early symptoms of ambition and dissimulation, it was predicted of him that, like Paris, he was born to be the pest of his Country. He subsisted by merchandise, but did not thrive by it, for the business was not suited to his temper. By the appearance of extraordinary zeal for the religion and liberties of his Country, he wrought himself into publick favour. Thus he was chosen a Member of the Assembly, of the Council, an Assistant Judge, and Chief Justice. After some time he was appointed Lieutenant-Governour. He now coveted the Chair. With this object in view, he made himself necessary to Governour Bernard; he was his counsellor and inseparable friend. He knew very well what the people would bear and what they would not; he cajoled and instigated poor Bernard, till a flame was kindled about his ears. The Seat of Government became too warm for him; he was obliged to flee. Governour Hutchinson succeeded to the Chair, but Bernard had kept it too long; it was now too hot even for a man who seems to have been made for the flames. I should have observed, that the character of a Merchant, especially that of a Tea Dealer, not comporting with that of a Governour, he had resigned trade into the hands of his sons. In this manner he and his family were situated when the ill-fated Tea arrived at Boston. The people had lately obtained full proof of what they had for some time suspected, that he was their greatest enemy, and they had petitioned to have him removed. What was now to be done? Unhappily his duty as Governour and the friend of his Country was opposed to his ambition and the interest of his family, He had made interest to have the Tea consigned to his sons; by suffering it therefore to come back to England, as other Governours did, he would have saved the Tea, and might have prevented all the calamities that have since happened to that Country, and are soon like


to fall on the whole Nation. But then his son would have lost a valuable commission, and what is worse, he would have missed a fine opportunity of proving, what he had lately asserted in one of his letters, that the people could not be governed but by an infringement of their liberties. By refusing to suffer the Tea to be sent back, as the people requested, one of these events was certain — either that it would be landed, and his sons reap the commission, or that it would be destroyed, and himself promoted. The layer has taken place. The City in which Governour Hutchinson was born is become a garrison; the inhabitants are ruined; but he himself is pensioned. Is there a human breast that would not feel for the wretched inhabitants of Boston? Poor labourers and tradesmen, with their wives and children, suffering under the general calamity, and perishing by thousands, or else protracting a miserable life by licking the cold hand of charity. But one should imagine Governour Hutchinson thought that misery was dealt out with too sparing a hand. Does he wish to see the whole Country involved in the fate of Boston? Would he do more? Would he filch the beggar' s scrip, and give him the coup de grace?

I am not so little acquainted with the present Administration, as to imagine that any thing is either too cruel, or too iniquitous for them to attempt; but the present Fish Bill, or rather the Starving Bill, is one that they certainly would never have attempted, unless Governour Hutchinson had recommended it as a measure that would produce certain obedience. His former predictions have not been verified; the change of Government, and an Army into the bargain, have not mended matters, but made them worse. What shall be the next expedient? His friendly, advice was still ready: "Send over a few more Regiments, and let them exert themselves properly. Take off a few of the inhabitants by the sword, and a few by famine; the rest will sign a charte blanche."

I am aware that the creature I have been describing is so different from the common form of humanity, that it may be questioned whether I have fairly copied the original: but I write history, not fables. I have given only the outlines; was it necessary, I could finish the piece, with many other striking lines and shades; I could tell how early and how often he has visited Mr˙ Jenkinson, and every one of the junto, within the last three months; but I despise such indirect proof. Not three weeks ago I heard him say, in a large company, "that the New-England people do not yet believe that Government is in earnest; that they have only been blustering; and that General Gage' s inactivity has flattered their pride; but, as soon as the other Troops shall arrive, when His Majesty' s standard shall be erected, and the Province declared to be in rebellion, and a few of the leaders taken up, he would stake his life that the people would surrender, and submit to any kind of discipline."

When we know what part this man has acted, as if to hasten the present catastrophe; when we consider what advice he continues to give, and hear him talking in such strains, as if to promote sanguinary measures against the Country that gave him birth; we are tempted to hope that some one of his ancestors was an Indian, and that Indians are a different race of men.