previous next

[134] “Letters,” which, although not made public until 1773, date from 1768-69. Written by Hutchinson, previous to his governorship, to a friend in England, the “Letters” discuss events in Massachusetts from the point of view of a loyalist official who, deeply attached to the colony, was also deeply concerned at the grave course which affairs were taking, and who could honestly declare:
I wish the good of the colony when I wish to see some further restraint of liberty rather than the connexion with the parent state should be broken; for I am sure such a breach must prove the ruin of the colony.

By means never divulged, Franklin, in 1773, got possession of the letters and sent them to friends in Boston, where their publication greatly intensified the hostility to Hutchinson and precipitated his recall.

With the destruction of the tea at Boston (16 December, 1773), the controversy between the colonies and the mother country entered upon the stage which was to lead to a declaration of independence and to war. In February, 1774, at a hearing before the Privy Council on a petition from Massachusetts for Hutchinson's removal, Franklin was bitterly denounced for his connection with the Hutchinson letters, and was presently removed from his office of deputy postmaster-general for North America. In March, the port of Boston was by statute closed to commerce, except in food, after I June, until compensation should be made to the East India Company for the loss of the tea. In May, the charter of Massachusetts was so altered by act of Parliament as largely to deprive the colony of self-government, while by another statute provision was made for the trial in England, or in another colony, of persons accused of murder or other capital offence because of anything done by them in suppressing riots or enforcing the revenue laws. In June, more stringent regulations were enacted for the quartering of troops. General Gage had already arrived at Boston as military governor, and the coercion of the colony began.

The first Continental Congress, which met at Philadelphia 5 September, adopted a set of “Declarations and resolves,” 1

1 Text in W. MacDonald, Select Charters, 357-361.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (3)
North America (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas Hutchinson (3)
Benjamin Franklin (2)
W. MacDonald (1)
Gage (1)
Select Charters (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1773 AD (2)
February, 1774 AD (1)
December 16th, 1773 AD (1)
1769 AD (1)
1768 AD (1)
September 5th (1)
June (1)
May (1)
March (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: