Extract of a Letter from the Honourable Governour Gage to the Earl of Dartmouth

v1:1046

EXTRACT OT A LETTER FROM THE HONOURABLE GOVERNOUR GAGE TO THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH, DATED BOSTON, DECEMBER 15, 1774.

The Scarborough arrived with your Lordship' s Despatch of the 17th of October, No˙ 11, on the 3d instant, and Admiral Graves has consented to land all the supernumerary Marines, which, by report, may amount to above four hundred men, as soon as all arrive; and quarters are prepared that Major Pitcairne, who commands those Marines may have a better opportunity to form and discipline them than if they remained on board their ships, where they are crowded.

Your Lordship' s idea of disarming certain Provinces, would doubtless be consistent with prudence and safety; but it neither is or has been practicable, without having recourse to force, and being master of the country.

Nothing has been untried, that could tend to hurt and terrify the Mandamus Counsellors to resign, who have withstood all threats against their persons and properties; but they are still obliged to take shelter with the Troops; and I have judged what your Lordship remarks, that in such a state the taking any step by their advice, would add no weight to the authority of Government, but rather be an argument for disobedience; for that reason, I have avoided the assembling of them in Council as much as possible. I am to acknowledge the receipt of the Royal Mandamus, for the admission of the gentlemen therein nominated into the Council. All the former Counsellors stand firm and deserve the greatest encouragement.

I will not pretend to foresee to what degree they mean to extend the claims of this country. The Congress has sent their conditions, on which they will condescend at present to keep up any commercial connection with the mother country; but I judged from the movements of the people here, that they had designs to carry matters further without delaying them, and to pursue measures which other Provinces would not adopt. I have taken notice in former letters of expresses going frequently from this Provincial

v1:1047

Congress to Philadelphia; of the Committees forbidding people to work for the Troops, or to supply them with materials and necessaries for their quarters; committing insults, and destroying bricks and straw coming from the country. All these proceedings appeared to be carried on systematically, and to have some concealed design, which could be no other than to oblige the Troops to force their quarters upon the inhabitants, or show their reseptment in some shape, that might afford a pretence to cry out against military oppression, to alarm the Continent, and obtain assistance from the Congress; and as there was a suspicion of their project, precautions were taken to defeat it.

I haye no doubt that the aim of the hot leaders here has been to have a body of Troops in pay, and under their direction, and to persuade the other Colonies to contribute towards the expense; but not succeeding in that attempt, that they have next tried in this Provincial Congress to usurp the Government entirely, as the surest means to procure both money and Troops by their own authority. This is pretty apparent from some of their Resolves, as well as from what has fallen from some of the Members of the Congress; but they have not yet been able to bring the majority into their schemes; and I don' t find that their new Treasurer has had any money paid into his hands.

I transmit your Lordship the publications of this Congress, since my last, and you will see that it is now dissolved, and that another is to be chosen in February, when the Chiefs will probably try to get members more inclined to serve their ends. Their violence terrified many of their party, who have given assistance to preserve peace and quiet, by which people have had time to cool and hearken more to reason; but I don' t infer that they are more inclined to receive the new Laws, or that a little matter would not raise them again. But people who have been maltreated for their attachment to Government, have recovered themselves during the calm, and in several places have associated for their mutual defence. I have, been given to hope great good effects from these associations, which I have taken pains to promote, though I confess that I expect the associators will be composed only of former protesters and addressers, who have stood forth for a time, but overwhelmed by superiour numbers, have been forced to recant.

Moderation has been proscribed from this country, and their correspondents appear to have advised them against conciliatory measures, but to fly to extremities.

I enclose your Lordship a printed extract of a letter, the contents of which was spread abroad before the publication, and is said publickly to have been written by a gentleman remarkable for his correspondence with this country.

More of the same tenor have been written, particularly one in September, it is said, by the same person, to the late Speaker, wherein, I am told, he extols their wisdom in procuring a General Congress, and disappointing the views of Administration to divide the Colonies, and recommends union and the most vigorous proceedings, as the surest means to overcome the mother country.

From the difficulty to procure materials, which few would venture to supply, although the Barrack-master General exerted himself remarkably, there was no possibility to get all the Troops in quarters so soon as we wished; and the Regiments from Quebec were obliged to stay in the transports till about ten days ago, when the whole was under cover.

The Asia and the Boyne are arrived, the first two days after the Scarborough, and we are waiting impatiently for news of the Somerset.

P˙ S˙ Since finishing my letter, I have received some votes that the Assembly of Rhode-Island has passed, of which I enclose a copy, together with a copy of an Act passed by the said Assembly, published in the Newport Mercury. It is said that they certainly mean here to try to usurp the Government at the next meeting of this Congress; and, it is added, to resume their first Charter.