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Letter from Thomas Whately to John Temple, 2 May 1767

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London, 2d May, 1767.

Dear Sir,

I again trouble you by your Brother's Permission with a
Packet of letters, which I am ashamed to send you; but he
encourages me to go on, & I shall under such Encouragement
be tempted now & then to take the same Liberty until you
forbid me: This Time indeed I am under a kind of Necessity
to enclose my Letters to you, as I really do not know how to
direct to Mr Howard, not even to what Province, as he
proposed to be somewhere in your neighbourhood during
part of the Summer, but I am not sure whether he carries
his Intentions into Execution. & of Dr Moffatt I only know
that he is in the Colony of Connecticut, but in what Town
he resides I cannot remember. You will be able
to find them both, & I should be much obliged to you
if you will convey my letters to them & to Mr Ingersol
by private Hands, when you have Opportunities. I am
happy at the same time to accompany this Trouble with
my sincere Congratulations on the Alliance you have
lately made, & which I find to be perfectly agreable to
your Family thro' all its Branches here. I shall soon too,
I hope have it my power to follow these with other
Compliments on your Appointment to an Office, of which in
my last, of 24th Febry , I doubted whether the Establishment
would this year take place; but I understand now
that a Board of Customs will be fix'd at Boston, to
consist of five Commissioners, two of whom are to be
the Surveyors General for the Northern Districts. I hope
the Situation will be more agreable to you than your
present Employment, but in either you will have
much to do, as the Measure of taxing America is now
so generally & so strongly supported here, & the One
Fund which the Stamp Act was intended to create
being destroy'd, it must be supplied by a Multiplicity

of others, most of which will be import Duties. Many are
at present under Consideration, such as Duties upon Wine,
Oil, Fruit, Raisins & Currants, allowing the Carriage of them
at the same Time to be direct from the Places of their Growth
to America. A Salt Tax is also talk'd of, with a Drawback
upon such as shall be used in the Fisheries. A Tonnage
upon Shipping is another ; but all of these, I suppose,
will not take place at once; & which of them will be
laid this year is not yet absolutely settled; but will be
in a very few days, when the plan of fAdministration
for ye Colonies will be laid before Parliament. Nothing
has yet been done in either House; but in the House of
Lords a Motion was made for an
Address to submit to his Majesty's Consideration the
proper Proceeding to be held in regard to the Act of
Indemnity annexed to the Act of Compensation by the
Assembly of Massachusets Bay. I can hardly say who
spoke of it with the most Indignation, & none attempted
to vindicate it ; but the Ministers opposed y mode of
taking Notice of it in an Address, because they said
that it seem'd to reflect a Suspicion on the King's Servants,
as if they could be wanting in their Duty, which
they understood to be to advise the Crown to Disallow
it. The Answer to this Objection was that
the Inexpediency of an Act of Assembly
was alone a sufficient Reason for Disallowing it; but
the Illegality of this Act required more than a
meer Reversal. That it was an Encroachment on
the Prerogative; an Infringement of the Constitution:
an Usurpation of Powers which neither House of
Parliament pretended to exercise, for that the Power of Pardon was rested solely in the Crown; the Lords
nor the Commons never attempted to indemnify without
the Concurrence of the Crown; & that Concurrence could not
be had to this Act of Assembly; for the Governor was
only a Corporation Magistrate
& not the King's Representative
in the Province of Massachusets Bay. That in Virginia,
after Bacon's Rebellion, the Assembly there having
passed such an Act of Indemnity, the Privy Council
declared it null; & in the stead of it, sent over an
Act ready drawn up & under the Great
Seal, with Orders to the Assembly to pass it, & it is
now in their Statute Book. That this should be treated
in the same manner: & the rather because a meer
Reversal would answer no purpose whatsoever; for
that a Criminal once pardon'd is pardon'd for
ever. The Grace cannot be recalled if it had been
ever granted, & that therefore if this Act of Indemnity
should be admitted to have existed a Moment as
a legal Act, all the purposes intended by it
would be obtain'd, & all the operations design'd by
the Reversal would be defeated. The previous
question was carried for the reasons I have given ;
but as the Principles held by those who were for ye
Motion were not controverted,
I make no Doubt that the Measure suggested by
them of declaring ye Act null & void ab initio will
be adopted. In the Course of this & other Debates
many Reflections have been drop'd upon past
Transactions, & upon the present State of Affairs
in America. The Distinction between internal and external Taxes frequently occurs, not now as a Subject
of Debate, but a matter of reproach to those who
maintain'd last year that Parliament had not a Right
to lay the former as well as the latter. I told you in
my last that that Doctrine was then always call'd
nonsensical; It has been since said to be criminal and
treasonable: & they who defended it then, disclaim
it now, by alledging that the Declaratory Act has
put an end to the Question, & determin'd the law.

I overpower you with Politicks: if I do, you
must blame your American brethren here who
assure me that no subject from hence can be more
interesting, & to you who are in a publick office it is
indeed to a degree a personal concern. Your
brother is almost my next door neighbour, & a
very good one. He makes however frequent
excursions into the country, which has more Charms
to him than London, & has lately been to Newmarket
races, where I thought his love & knowledge of
horses would have found amusement; but his
honest soul was so shocked at the scene of gaming
& profligacy he saw there, that he is return'd
determin'd to oppose every attempt that shall
ever be made to introduce regular horse_races at
Boston. You will be so kind as to present my
compliments to Mr Oliver & my other Friends on
your side the Great Lake, & to believe me

Ever yours.
Thomas Whately

A paper currency under
Government Security is amongst other
things now under consideration.

[Subscription (recipient's name at bottom of page):]
The Honble John Temple, Esq.