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[359] against his own judgment,1 convened the Legislature
Chap. XLIV.} 1770. March
at Cambridge.2 For this display of resentment he could give no plausible reason. To the Assembly he excused himself by saying that his instructions had ‘made it necessary;’ but he produced no such intructions; the plea, moreover, was false, for Hillsborough had left him discretionary power.3 The House and the Council remonstrated, insisting that even though he were instructed4 to meet the Assembly at Cambridge, yet it was his duty under the Charter to adjourn the session to the Courthouse in Boston. ‘I am a servant of the King,’ replied Hutchinson, ‘to be governed by his Majesty's pleasure.’5 Thus a new question arose respecting the proper use of the prerogative; while the Assembly proceeded to business ‘only from absolute necessity.’6

Yet in spite of appearances and of the adverse influence of the Government, popular liberty was constantly gaining ground in England as well as in America. The last public act of Grenville's life was a step towards representative reform by establishing a more impartial method of deciding controverted elections.

1 Hutchinson to Gage, 25 Feb. 1770.

2 Hutchinson to Hillsborough, 28 Feb. 1770. First draft in the Remembrancer, 1775, p. 95. Same to Same, Second draft, written in March, but dated 23 Feb. 1770.

3 Hillsborough to Hutchinson, 9 December, 1769. Hutchinson to Gage, 25 Feb. 1770. ‘I am left to my discretion.’

4 Address of the Council to Hutchinson, 20 March, 1770; Bradford, 197.

5 Message from the Governor to the Council, 21 March, 1770, Bradford.

6 Bradford's State Papers, 202 Suppose a petulant or angry minister were to be displeased with the two Houses of Parliament, and to mark his resentment, were to sum mon them to meet at Wolverton or Rye, instead of Westminster; in what temper would he find them? Yet that would be analogous to the act of Hutchinson.

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