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tications read; and the solicitor-general proceeding to make observations as counsel for the governors, I said to their Lordships, that it was some surprise to me to find counsel employed against the petition ; that I had no notice of that intention, till late in the preceding day; that I had not purposed troubling their Lordships with the hearing of counsel, because I did not conceive that any thing could possibly arise out of the petition, any point of law or of right, that might require the discussion of lawyers; that I apprehended this matter before their Lordships was rather a question of civil or political prudence, whether, on the state of the fact that the governors had lost all trust and confidence with the people, and become universally obnoxious, it would be for the interest of his Majesty's service to continue them in those stations in that province; that I conceived this to be a question of which their Lordships were already perfect judges, and could receive no assistance in it from the arguments of counsel; but, if counsel was to be heard on the other side, I must then request leave to bring counsel in behalf of the Assembly, and that their Lordships would be pleased to appoint a further day for the hearing, to give time for preparing the counsel.
Mr. Mauduit was then asked, if he would wave the leave he had of being heard by counsel, that their Lordships might proceed immediately to consider the petition. He said he was requested by the governors to defend them, and they had promised to defray the expense, by which he understood that they expected he should employ counsel; and then, making me some compliments, as if of superior abilities, said he should not against me hazard the defence of his friends by taking it upon himself. I said I had intended merely to lay the papers before their Lordships, without making a single comment on them. But this did not satisfy; he chose to be heard by counsel. So finally I had leave to be heard by counsel also in behalf of the petition. The solicitor-general, finding his cavils against the admission of the letters were not supportable, at last said, that, to save their Lordships' time, he would admit the copies to be true transcripts of the originals, but he should reserve to himself a right, when the matter came on again, of asking certain questions, such as, How the Assembly came into possession of them, through what hands, and by what means they were procured? “Certainly,” replied Lord Chief Justice De Grey, somewhat austerely, “and to whom they were directed; for the perfect understanding of the passages may depend on that and other such circumstances. We can receive no charge against a man founded on letters directed to nobody, and perhaps received by nobody. The laws of this country have no such practice.” Lord President, near whom I stood, as I was putting up my papers, asked me if I intended to answer such questions. In that, I said, I shall take counsel. The day appointed for the hearing was the 29th of January.
Several friends now came to me, and advised me to retain Mr. Dunning, formerly solicitor-general
, and very able in his profession. I wished first to consult with Mr. Lee, supposing he might rather be for his friend, Mr. Sergeant Glynn. I found Mr. Lee was expected in town about the latter end of the week, and thought to wait his coming ; in the mean time I was urged to take Mr. Dunning's advice, as to my own conduct, if such questions should be asked me. I did so; and he was clear, that I was not and could not be obliged to answer them, if I did not choose it, which I informed him was the case, being under a promise not to divulge from whom I received the letters. He said he would attend, however, if I desired it, and object in my
behalf to their putting such questions. A report now prevailed through the town, that I had been grossly abused by the solicitor-general, at the Council Board. But this was premature. He had only intended it, and mentioned that intention. I heard, too, from all quarters, that the ministry and all the courtiers were highly enraged against me for transmitting those letters. I was called an incendiary, and the papers were filled with invectives against me. Hints were given me, that there were some thoughts of apprehending me, seizing my papers, and sending me to Newgate. I was well informed, that a resolution was taken to deprive me of my place; it was only thought best to defer it till after the hearing ; I suppose, because I was there to be so blackened, that nobody should think it injustice. Many knew, too, how the petition was to be treated; and I was told, even before the first hearing, that it was to be rejected with some epithets, the Assembly to be censured, and some honor done the governors. How this could be known, one cannot say. It might be only conjecture.
The transactions relating to the tea had increased and strengthened the torrent of clamor against us. No one had the least expectation of success to the petition; and, though I had asked leave to use counsel, I was half inclined to wave it, and save you the expense; but Mr. Bollan was now strongly for it, as they had refused to hear him. And, though fortified by his opinion, as he had long experience in your affairs, I would at first have ventured to deviate from the instructions you sent me in that particular, supposing you to allow some discretionary liberty to your agents; yet, now that he urged it as necessary, I employed a
solicitor, and furnished him with what materials I could for framing a brief; and Mr. Lee, coming to town, entered heartily into the business, and undertook to engage Sergeant Glynn, who would readily have served us, but, being in a fit of the gout, which made his attendance uncertain, the solicitor retained Mr. Dunning and Mr. John Lee, another able man of the profession.
While niy mind was taken up with this business, I was harassed with a subpæna from the Chancellor to attend his court the next day, at the suit of Mr. William Whately concerning the letters. This man was under personal obligations to me, such as would have made it base in him to commence such a suit of his own motion against me, without any previous notice, claim, or demand; but, if he was capable of doing it at the instance of the ministry, whose banker he is for some pension money, he must be still baser.
The briefs being prepared and perused by our counsel, we had a consultation at Mr. Dunning's chambers in Lincoln's Inn. I introduced Mr. Arthur Lee, as my friend and successor in the agency. The brief, as you will see by a copy I send you, pointed out the passages of the letters, which were applicable in support of the particular charges contained in the resolutions and petition. But the counsel observed, we wanted evidence to prove those passages false; the counsell on the other side would say, they were true representations of the state of the country; and, as to the political reflections of the writers, and their sentiments of government, their aims to extend and enforce the power of Parliament and diminish the privileges of their countrymen, though these might appear in the letters and need no other proof, yet they would never be considered here as offences, but as virtues and merits. The counsel therefore thought it would an
swer no good end to insist on those particulars; and that it was more advisable to state as facts the general discontent of the people, that the governors had lost all credit with them, and were become odious, &c.; facts of which the petition was itself full proof, because otherwise it could not have existed ; and then show, that it must in such a situation be necessary for his Majesty's service, as well as the peace of the province, to remove them. By this opinion, great part of the brief became unnecessary.
Notwithstanding the intimations I had received, I could not believe that the solicitor-general would be permitted to wander from the question before their Lordships into a new case, the accusation of another person for another matter, not cognizable before them, who could not expect to be there so accused, and therefore could not be prepared for his defence. And yet all this happened, and in all probability was preconcerted; for all the courtiers were invited, as to an entertainment, and there never was such an appearance of privy counsellors on any occasion, not less than thirty-five, besides an immense crowd of other auditors.
The hearing began by reading my letter to Lord Dartmouth, enclosing the petition, then the petition itself, the resolves, and lastly the letters, the solicitorgeneral making no objections, nor asking any of the questions he had talked of at the preceding board. Our counsel then opened the matter, upon their general plan, and acquitted themselves very handsomely; only Mr. Dunning, having a disorder on his lungs that weakened his voice exceedingly, was not so perfectly heard as one could have wished. The solicitor-general then went into what he called a history of the province for the last ten years, and bestowed plenty of