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Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson


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Thomas Hutchinson was a talented royal official who, over the course of his career, descended from life as a pillar of the community to one of Massachusetts’ most hated villains. He was born in Boston, the son of a prosperous merchant and the great-great-grandson of the famed nonconformist Anne Hutchinson. In 1737, he was elected a selectman in Boston and shortly thereafter to a seat on the General Court (legislature).Hutchinson gained much public attention following King George's War (1740-48) when he sponsored a plan to redeem paper money issued by Massachusetts to veterans of the Louisbourg campaign. Hutchinson lost his seat in the next election.In 1749, he was appointed to serve on the governor’s council, a position he held for more than 15 years. In 1754, Hutchinson played a major role at the Albany Congress and four years later was named lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts. He personally opposed many of the imperial reform efforts that followed the French and Indian War, but felt duty-bound to enforce their provisions. During the 1760s, he clashed frequently with the radicals and nursed a particularly prickly relationship with Samuel Adams. In 1760, Hutchinson was named Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, a position he held in addition to his duties as lieutenant-governor.In 1765, a Boston mob that wrongly assumed Hutchinson had been a supporter of the hated Stamp Act looted and destroyed his home. Deeply stung by these events, Hutchinson's became increasingly conservative in his views.He was appointed governor in 1771. This correspondence, sometimes called the “Hutchinson Letters,” fell into his opponents' hands in England and was turned over to Benjamin Franklin, who was then serving as an agent in London. At that point Hutchinson lost all political effectiveness, but he persisted in office.In 1772, he warmly greeted a decision to arrange for Crown officials, himself included, to be paid from the royal treasury and not by funds voted by the colonial assembly as precedent dictated. The next year, Hutchinson blindly helped to precipitate the Boston Tea Party by insisting that the controversial tea be brought into port despite warnings from other officials. By 1774, Hutchinson had become a political liability and was replaced as governor by General Thomas Gage, who had both political and military roles to play.Hutchinson spent his final years in England, serving unhappily as an advisor on North American matters to the king, and yearning to return to his homeland.Hutchinson made a major historical contribution in his History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay (1764-1828). It remains a valuable account of early events there; two volumes were published during his lifetime and a third following his death.Recent historians have treated Hutchinson with much more sympathy than he received from his contemporaries, recognizing that he was a man of ability and principle during a time in which the currents of history were running strongly against him.


The Death of Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson was born on 9 Sept 1711 to a wealthy Boston merchant. His father valued education so much that he funded the building of a new Latin School in the family’s North End neighborhood. Naturally, of course, that school benefited the Hutchinson boys.

  • researching and writing history, culminating in the two volumes of his History of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay and a manuscript for a third, published in the 1800s.
  • politics.

One of his major accomplishments was stabilizing Massachusetts currency by using the Crown’s specie payment after the Louisburg expedition to pay off old notes and then limiting the amount of new debt the province took on each year. He also took credit for keeping Boston as the provincial capital after the Town House burned in 1747.

Hutchinson became unpopular among Boston politicians for holding so many offices at once along with his relatives the Oliver brothers, and for siding with the royal establishment on so many issues. Sometimes he actually opposed London policies, as with the Stamp Act, but he usually did so privately and, if he lost that internal argument, insisted publicly that people had a duty to follow the law.

In late 1769 Hutchinson became the acting governor after the departure of Sir Francis Bernard. Once the Crown officially made him governor, he lasted about three years before being replaced by Gen. Thomas Gage. By then hugely unpopular at home, Hutchinson sailed to London.

At first the former governor was viewed as a valuable advisor on the American situation. But as war broke out and went on, the government sought him out less and less. He remained the leader of the Massachusetts Loyalists in exile.

In 1780 Hutchinson was in his sixty-eighth year, not in good health. His sons Thomas, Jr., and Elisha and his daughter Sarah with her husband, Dr. Peter Oliver, had joined him in London. His beloved younger daughter Peggy had died there in 1777.

On 2 June, the Gordon Riots began in London. I wrote about them back here. Elisha Hutchinson described events of the next day in an account published with his father’s diary and letters in 1886:

Governor slept tolerably well, as he had done for several nights past arose as usual at 8 o’clock, shaved himself, and eat his breakfast, and we all told him that his countenance had a more healthy appearance, and if he was not better, we had no reason to conclude that he had lost ground.

He conversed well and freely upon the riot in London the day before, and upon different subjects, ’till the time for going out in the coach at intervals however, expressing his expectations of dying very soon, repeating texts of Scripture, with short ejaculations to Heaven. He called for a shirt, telling Ryley his servant, that he must die clean.

I usually walked down the stairs before him, but he got up suddenly from his chair, and walked out of the room, leaving the Doctor and I behind. We went into the room next the road saw him whilst he was walking from the steps of the door to the coach, (a few yds. distance), hold out his hands to Ryley, and caught hold of him, to whom he said “Help me!” and appeared to be fainting.

I went down with the Doctor. The other servants had come to support him from falling, and had got him to the door of the house. They lifted him into a chair in the Servants‘ Hall or entrance into the house, but his head had fell, and his hands and f[eet?], his eyes diste[nded?] rolled up.

The Doctor could feel no pulse: he applied volatiles to his nostrils, which seemed to have little or no effect: a be[d] in the mean time was bro’t, and put on the floor, on which he was laid, after which, with one or two gaspes, he resigned his Soul to God who gave it.

Hutchinson was buried in the churchyard of Croydon Parish in London, three thousand miles from home.


Things to remember while reading the letters of Thomas Hutchinson:

  • Hutchinson's letter of June 18, 1768, was written after the 1767 Townshend Acts went into effect. The Townshend Acts called for taxes on lead, glass, paint, tea, and other items. They also set up a new system of customs commissioners to make sure the taxes were collected. The customs commissioners had recently arrived in Boston and opened for business. One of their first accomplishments was to seize John Hancock's boat for violating a provision of the Townshend Acts. Hutchinson referred to this incident in his letter as a violation of "the acts of trade."
  • Hutchinson's first letter referred to the customs officers' appeal to the governor for help after they were chased out of town by mobs. The British-appointed governor of Massachusetts, Sir Francis Bernard (1712–1779), could not call in British soldiers without the approval of the Massachusetts council. Bernard knew his council would never approve of British soldiers patrolling the streets of Boston. Bernard's council was elected by the Massachusetts Assembly many members of the assembly sympathized with Boston's rebels. In fact, Samuel Adams, the leader of the rebel group the Sons of Liberty, was a member of the Massachusetts Assembly. He may very well have been one of the members of the mob.
  • It was extremely upsetting to Hutchinson that Parliament seemed to be allowing the chaos in the colonies to go on and on. In fact, he complained, some members of Parliament were actually encouraging the lawlessness by supporting colonial resistance to taxes. The worst part, Hutchinson thought, was that the people of Massachusetts saw Parliament as too timid to assert its authority.
  • Colonists who objected to British taxes liked to argue that they were Englishmen, too, and entitled to the same rights that Englishmen enjoyed in England—such as having representatives in Parliament. Hutchinson expressed his opinion about that argument in his second letter. He said he doubted that it was possible for people who lived so far from the parent country to enjoy the same liberties as people in the parent country. In fact, he said, he would rather see "some further restraint of liberty" than to have the connection between America and Great Britain broken.

Thomas Hutchinson - History

Thomas Hutchinson Recounts the Reaction to the Stamp Act in Boston

By the year 1760 there had been eighteen uprisings aimed at overthrowing colonial governments. There had also been six black rebellions, from South Carolina to New York, and forty riots of various origins. That rebellious energy soon began to be turned against England by the important people in the colonies who saw great advantages in freedom from British rule.

The Seven Years' War between France and England (known in America as the French and Indian War) ended in 1763, with the French defeated. Now the English could turn their attention to tightening control over the American colonies. Money was needed to pay for the war, and England looked to the colonies for that. Colonial trade had become important to the British economy.

With the French out of the way, the colonial leadership was less in need of English protection. At the same time, the English were now more in need of the colonies' wealth. So the elements were there for conflict. Especially because the war had brought glory for the generals, death to the privates, wealth for the merchants, and unemployment for the poor. The resulting anger could now be turned against England rather than against the rich men of the colonies.

One notable expression of this anger came in response to the imposition of the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was a tax laid on the American colonies by the British crown to help alleviate the huge debt that had been accumulated by the costs of the French and Indian War. One of the more explosive reactions to the Stamp Act in 1765 was a series of attacks by a mob in Boston against the home of a rich merchant named Andrew Oliver, one of the officials charged with enforcing the Stamp Act, and then against the house belonging to the lieutenant governor, Thomas Hutchinson, who here describes the events 1 . William Gordon, who published the first complete history of the American Revolution in 1788, wrote of one of the riots: "Gentlemen of the army, who have seen towns sacked by the enemy, declare they never before saw an instance of such fury." The various violent reactions to the Stamp Act led the British parliament to repeal it.

The distributor of stamps for the colony of Connecticut (Jared Ingersoll] arrived in Boston from London and, having been agent for that colony, and in other respects of a very reputable character, received from many gendemen of the town such civilities as were due to him. When he set out for Connecticut, Mr. [Andrew] Oliver, the distributor for Massachusetts Bay, accompanied him out of town. This occasioned murmuring among the people, and an inflammatory piece in the next Boston Gazette. A few days after, early in the morning, a stuffed image was hung upon a tree, called the great tree of the south part of Boston [subsequently called Liberty Tree]. Labels affixed denoted it to be designed for the distributor of stamps. People, who were passing by, stopped to view it, and the report caused others to gather and the report caused others to gather from all quarters of the town, and many from the towns adjacent. The governor caused the council to be convened. Before they came, to any determination, the sheriff, with his deputies, had been to the place, but, by advice of some of the graver persons present, forbore any attempt to remove the image. The majority of the council, but not the whole, advised not to meddle with it and urged as a reason, that the people were orderly, and, if left alone, would take down the image, and bury it without any disturbance but an attempt to remove it would bring on a riot, the mischief designed to be prevented. The governor, however, thought fit to meet the council again in the afternoon.

Before night, the image was taken down, and carried through the townhouse, in the chamber whereof the governor and council were sitting. Forty or fifty tradesmen, decendy dressed, preceded and some thousands of the mob followed down King street to Olivers dock, near which Mr. Oliver had lately erected a building, which, it was conjectured, he designed for a stamp office. This was laid flat to the ground in a few minutes. From thence the mob proceeded for Fort Hill, but Mr. Oliver's house being in the way, they endeavored to force themselves into it, and being opposed, broke the windows, beat down the doors, entered, and destroyed part of his furniture, and continued in riot until midnight, before they separated.

The next day, the governor, by advice of council, issued a proclamation, offering a reward for discovering offenders, &c. Many of the offenders were known, and the proclamation was considered as a mere matter of form. Some of the council advised to a military watch in the town the next night, but a majority were against it, and thought it enough to recommend to the select men and justices, to increase the number of the ordinary town watch but even this was not done. Several of the council gave it as their opinion, Mr. Oliver being present, that the people, not only of the town of Boston, but of the country in general, would never submit to the execution of the stamp act, let the consequence of an opposition to it be what it would. It was also reported, that the people of Connecticut had threatened to hang their distributor on the first tree after he entered the colony and that, to avoid it, he had turned aside to Rhode-Island. Despairing of protection, and finding his family in terror and great distress, Mr. Oliver came to a sudden resolution to resign his office before another night, and immediately signified, by a writing under his hand, to one of his friends, that he would send letters, by a ship then ready to sail for London, which should contain such resignation and he desired that the town might be made acquainted with it, and with the strong assurances he had given, that he would never act in that capacity.

This victory was matter of triumph. The mob assembled in the evening not to insult the distributor, but to give him thanks, and to make a bonfire upon the hill near his house. It was hoped that the people, having obtained all that they desired, would return to order, but, having repeatedly assembled with impunity, a very small pretence served to induce them to re-assemble. The next evening, the mob surrounded the house of the lieutenant-governor and chief justice [Hutchinson's own home]. He was at Mr. Oliver's house when it was assaulted, and had excited the sheriff, and the colonel of the regiment, to attempt to suppress the mob. A report was soon spread, that he was a favourer of the stamp act, and had encouraged it by letters to the ministry. Upon notice of the approach of the people, he caused the doors and windows to be barred and remained in the house. After attempting to enter, they called upon him to come into the balcony, and to declare that he had not written in favour of the act, and they would retire quite satisfied. This was an indignity to which he would not submit and, therefore, he made no answer. An ancient reputable tradesman obtained their attention, and endeavoured to persuade them, not only of the unwarrantable-ness of their proceedings, but of the groundlessness of their suspicions of the lieutenant-governor, who might well enough wish the act of parliament had not passed, though he disapproved of the violent opposition to its execution. Some were for withdrawing, and others for continuing when one of the neighbours called to them from his window and affirmed,, that he saw the lieutenant-governor in his carriage, just before night, and that he was gone to lodge at his house in the country. Upon this, they dispersed, with only breaking some of the glass. These attacks upon two of the principal officers of the crown struck terror into people of inferior rank rank and though they saw the danger from this 1765 assumed power in the populace, yet they would give no aid in discountenancing it, lest they should become obnoxious themselves for there were whisperings of danger from further acts of violence. On Sunday the 25th of August, a sermon was preached, in what was called the West meeting-house, from these words, "I would they were even cut off which trouble you." The text alone, without a comment, delivered from the pulpit at that time, might be construed by some of the auditory into an approbation of the prevailing irregularities. One, who had a chief hand in the outrages which soon followed, declared, when he was in prison, that he was excited to them by this sermon, and that he thought he was doing God service.

Certain depositions had been taken, many months before these transactions, by order of the governor, concerning the illicit trade carrying on and one of them, made by the judge of the admiralty, at the special desire of the governor, had been sworn to before the lieutenant-governor, as chief justice. They had been shewn, at one of the offices in England, to a person who arrived in Boston just at this time, and he had acquainted several merchants, whose names were in some of the depositions as smugglers, with the contents. This brought, though without reason, the resentment of the merchants against the persons who, by their office, were obliged to administer the oaths, as well as against the officers of the customs and admiralty, who had made the depositions and the leaders of the mob contrived a riot, which, after some small efforts against such officers, was to spend its principal force upon the lieutenant-governor. And, in the evening of the 26th of August, such a mob was collected in King street, drawn there by a bonfire, and well supplied with strong drink. After some annoyance to the house of the registrar of the admiralty, and somewhat greater to that of the comptroller of the customs, whose cellars they plundered of the wine and spirits in them, they came, with intoxicated rage upon the house of the lieutenant-governor. The doors were immediately split to pieces with broad axes, and a way made there, and at the windows, for the entry of the mob which poured in, and filled, in an instant, every room in the house.

The lieutenant-governor had very short notice of the approach of the mob. He directed his children, and the rest of his family, to leave the house immediately, determining to keep possession himself. His eldest daughter, after going a little way from the house, returned, and refused to quit it, unless her father would do the like.

This caused him to depart from his resolutions, a few minutes before the mob entered. They continued their possessions until day light destroyed, carried away, or cast into the street, every thing that was in the house demolished every part of it, except the walls, as far as lay in their power and had begun to break away from the brickwork.

The damage was estimated at about twenty-five hundred pounds sterling, without any regard to a great collection of the publick as well as private papers, in the possession and the custody of the lieutenant-governor.

The town was, the whole night, under awe of this mob many of the magistrates, with the field officers of the militia, standing by as spectators and no body daring to oppose, or contradict.

1 Thomas Hutchinson Recounts the Reaction to the Stamp Act in Boston (1765). In Thomas Hutchinson, ed. Lawrence Shaw Mayo (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936), vol. 3, pp. 86-88, 89-90.
The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay


Hutchins was born in New Jersey. [1] "When only sixteen years of age he went to the western country, and obtained an appointment as an ensign in the British Army." [2] "He joined the militia during the French and Indian War [1] and later took a regular commission with British forces. ". he fought in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). By late 1757, was commissioned a lieutenant in the colony of Pennsylvania, and a year later he was promoted to quartermaster in Colonel Hugh Mercer’s battalion and was stationed at Fort Duquesne near Pittsburgh." [3]

"In 1763 General Henry Bouquet, a British officer then in command at Philadelphia, was ordered to the relief of Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, and setting out with 500 men, mostly Highlanders, found the frontier settlements greatly alarmed on account of savage invasions. He has some fighting with the Indians along the way, but succeeded in reaching Fort Pitt with supplies, losing, however, eight officers and one hundred and fifteen men. Hutchins was present at this point, and distinguished himself as a soldier, while he laid out the plan of new fortifications, and afterwards executed it under the directions of General Bouquet." [2]

In 1766, he started working for the British army as an engineer. [1] That year, Hutchins joined George Croghan, deputy Indian agent, and Captain Henry Gordon, chief engineer in the Western Department of North America, on an expedition down the Ohio River to survey territory acquired by the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Hutchins worked in the Midwestern territories on land and river surveys for several years until he was transferred to the Southern Department of North America in 1772. He spent about five years working on survey projects in the western part of Florida. During this time he also occasionally traveled north, often to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His advancements in the fields of topography and geography led him to be elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in the spring of 1772. [4]

In 1774, he participated in a survey of the Mississippi river from Manchac to the Yazoo River. This was a mapping expedition led by George Gauld, with Dr. John Lorimer and Captain Thomas Davey, Captain of HMS Sloop Diligence. Also along on part of the expedition was Major Alexander Dickson, commander of the 16th Regiment in West Florida. Much of the data used by Hutchins in preparing his 1784 book, "Historical, Narrative and Topographical Description of Louisiana and West Florida" came from his experiences on this expedition.

Despite his years of service with the British Army, he sympathized with the American cause during the American Revolution. One Journal of these events, written in his handwriting in three different versions, was likely meant for the planned biography that was never finished. It indicates that Hutchins accompanied his old 60th Royal American Regiment for a brief time during the invasion of Georgia in December 1778. Similar to other anonymous journals attributed to Hutchins, he describes the countryside while serving beside a fellow New Jersey acquaintance Lieut. Col. Mark Prevost, brother of the Gen. Augustine Prevost. Captain Hutchins apparently accompanied his regiment just days before the Battle of Brier Creek which was fought on March 3, 1779 in Georgia. He may have served in one of his previous capacities with the Prevost's during the French and Indians War as a recorder and observer of the battle. Hutchins, although not directly in the fighting himself, witnessed and recorded cruelties that may have cemented his anti-war stance toward hostilities against the Americans. Hutchins' veteran observations recorded some of the most vivid descriptions of the battle as the light infantry regiment, led by the infamous Capt. James "Bloody" Baird of the 71st Fraser Highlanders, started bayoneting Georgia Continentals after their surrender. Hutchins descriptions of the 71st Highlanders seem to give hint of what may have been commonly held prejudices held by British Regular officers serving alongside Scottish Regiments. Some days after the event, Hutchins likely sailed for Great Britain from Savannah, Georgia to print cartography materials of frontier America. Sometime during the preceding weeks, a secret investigation of the activities of Hutchins was apparently set in motion. An agent had discovered that Hutchins had been using a secret mailing address and sending coded dispatches. Some mention of Hutchins' activities and letters were made by Thomas Digges in letters exchanged with Benjamin Franklin. It is not clear if this was espionage or his continued attention to land speculation activities he was involved in back in America. Since Capt. Hutchins was considered one of Britain's leading authorities on the western frontier lands, this left him in the unusual position of being an important consultant about lucrative future Native American land acquisitions. Some American and British leaders were involved in these activities so when news of his investigation surfaced, many recognized this as a potentially scandalous affair. Some such individuals were the Prevost family members who all but represented the heart of the command for the 60th Regiment. One such connection was in the messy affair of the George Croghan lands of Western Pennsylvania. The potential may have been viewed as serious enough to have the American 60th Regiment moved from the states to Jamaica by the end of 1779. Likely suspecting his investigation, Hutchins tried to sell his captaincy in the Regiment. Hutchins resigned from his position in 1780. [1] [5] He was arrested, charged with treason, and imprisoned in a mostly secretive set of events. In 1780, he escaped to France and contacted Benjamin Franklin in the United States with a request to join the American army. In December 1780, Hutchins sailed to Charleston, South Carolina. Very little is known of his service with the Americans during the remainder of the war. Hutchins is believed to be the only British Regular Officer to have switched to the American side during the war.

"By resolution on May 4, 1781, Congress appointed him geographer of the southern army. On July 11, the title was changed to 'Geographer of the United States.'" [6] Hutchins was the first and only Geographer of the United States [7] (see Department of the Geographer to the Army, 1777-1783) from 1781. He became an early advocate of Manifest Destiny, proposing that the United States should annex West Florida and Louisiana, which were then controlled by Spain. [5]

In May 1781, Hutchins was appointed geographer of the southern army, and shared duties with Simeon DeWitt, the geographer of the main army. Just a few months later, a new title was granted to both men, geographer of the United States. When DeWitt became the surveyor-general of New York in 1784, Hutchins held the prestigious title alone.

"Although Congress balked at the idea of a postwar establishment with an engineering department, it did see the need for a geographer and surveyors. Thus, in 1785, Thomas Hutchins became geographer general and immediately began his biggest assignment- surveying "Seven Ranges" townships in the Northwest Territory as provided by the Land Ordnance Act of 1785. For two years Josiah Harmar's troops offered Hutchins and his surveyors much needed protection from Indians." [8]

Hutchins died on assignment while surveying the Seven Ranges. [9] "The Gazette of the United States concluded a commendary memorial notice by the remark, 'he has measured the earth, but a small space now contains him.'" [10] He was interred at the cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh.


Thomas Hutchinson

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About Thomas Hutchinson, Col. Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts Bay

Governors of Massachusetts

Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780)

Acting Royal Governor of Massachusetts (June through August 1760) Acting Royal Governor of Massachusetts (August 1769-November 1770) Royal Governor of Massachusetts (1770-1774)

Thomas Hutchinson was Governor during the difficult years leading to the American Revolution. He was very much "of Boston," but of an English Boston, to which he was earnestly loyal throughout his life.

Hutchinson had deep American roots. He was a descendent of Anne Hutchinson, who was expelled from Boston for her religious beliefs in the 1630s. He was born in Boston, attended Harvard earning a Master of Arts before entering business. He was a member of Boston's Board of Selectmen (1737) and was popularly elected to the Legislature where he served almost continuously until 1749. He served as a member of the state council, was Chief Justice of the Superior Court, and eventually Lieutenant Governor.

He resisted Boston's gradual drift away from England and perceived the revolution was stoked by hotheads, seizing on miniscule issues, which they used to inflame sentiments. Hutchinson was unflinchingly rational and held an enmity for the revolutionary radicals. They returned this feeling, when in 1765, as a mob they attacked and looted his personal residence.

After this attack, Hutchinson began to secretly advise England to move to forcefully restrain the Colony. As the town filled with English troops, he entreated them to take the greatest care, as the slightest tragedy would spread like flames through the province and perhaps beyond. Exactly that happened on March 5, 1770, when a group of unarmed men threatened English soldiers. The soldiers shot and killed five of them. Acting Governor Hutchinson, already hated by revolutionaries faced as serious a crisis as any Massachusetts Governor has ever seen.

The morning after what would later be called the Boston Massacre, Boston's selectmen demanded that Hutchinson order the English troops from Boston or see more "blood and carnage." He claimed as acting Governor he held no authority over the King's troops. Further, he matched their threat, ordering that anyone caught advising or provoking an attack on the troops would face charges of high treason, which he would enforce personally. Hutchinson's aggressive response, along with a quiet withdrawal of the involved regiment kept the peace, but it drew a final line between himself and his revolutionary countrymen. Having shown where his loyalty lay, Hutchinson was finally made Royal Governor in his own right in November 1770.

As Governor, he went on to support a popularly hated, though seemingly harmless Tea Tax in 1773. However, protest turned to assault when protestors dressed as "savages" threw crates of tea into the Boston harbor, rather than pay the tax. After the "Boston Tea Party," thousands of English soldiers flooded the city to enforce the rule of law. Hutchinson was now widely hated in his homeland, which ceased being the British Boston of his birth. Within six months he boarded a ship to England, where he would finish his life in exile and write the seminal History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. --------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Hutchinson From Wikipedia

Thomas Hutchinson (September 9, 1711 – June 3, 1780) was the American colonial governor of Massachusetts from 1771 to 1774 and a prominent Loyalist in the years before the American Revolutionary War.

Hutchinson was born in Boston, where his father, the great-grandson of Anne Hutchinson, was a wealthy merchant and ship owner. He was a highly intelligent man who graduated from Harvard in 1727 before his sixteenth birthday. He entered his father's counting room, early showed remarkable aptitude for business, and by the time he was 24 had accumulated considerable property in trading ventures on his own account. He married Margaret Sanford in 1734-a granddaughter of Rhode Island Governor Peleg Sandford and a great granddaughter of both Rhode Island Governor William Coddington and of Anne Hutchinson.

As his career advanced he became involved in the civil leadership of the colony, first as a selectman in Boston in 1737. Later in the same year he was chosen a representative to the General Court of the Colony and at once took a strong stand in opposition to the views of the majority with regard to a proper currency. His unpopular opinions led to his retirement in 1740. In that year he went to England as a commissioner to represent Massachusetts in a boundary dispute with New Hampshire. In 1742 he was re-elected to the General Court, and was chosen annually to the General Court until 1749, serving as the Speaker from 1746 to 1749. He continued his advocacy of a sound currency, and when the British Parliament reimbursed Massachusetts in 1749 for the expenses incurred in the Louisburg expedition, he proposed the abolition of the bills of credit, and the utilization of the parliamentary repayment as the basis for a new Colonial currency. The proposal was finally adopted by the Assembly, and its good effect on the trade of the Colony at once established Hutchinson's reputation as a financier.

On leaving the General Court in 1749 he was appointed at once to the Governor's Council. In 1750 he was chairman of a commission to arrange a treaty with the Indians in the District of Maine, and he served on boundary commissions to settle disputes with Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1752 he was appointed judge of probate and a justice of the Common Pleas. In 1754, as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Albany Convention, he took a leading part in the discussions and favored Franklin's plan for Colonial union.

In 1758 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor, and in 1760 Chief Justice, of the Province. In the following year, by issuing writs of assistance, he brought upon himself a storm of protest and criticism. His distrust of popular government as exemplified in the New England town meeting increased. Although he opposed the principle of the Stamp Act, considered it impolitic, and later advised its repeal, he accepted its legality, and, as a result of his stand, his city house was sacked by a mob in August, 1765, and his valuable collection of books and manuscripts destroyed.

In 1769, upon the resignation of Governor Francis Bernard, he became acting Governor, serving in that capacity at the time of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770, when popular clamor compelled him to order the removal of the troops from the city.

In March, 1771, he received his commission as Governor, and was the last civilian governor of the Massachusetts colony. His administration, controlled completely by the British ministry, increased the friction with the patriots. The publication, in 1773, of some letters on Colonial affairs written by Hutchinson, and obtained by Franklin in England, still further aroused public indignation, and led the ministry to see the necessity for stronger measures. The temporary suspension of the civil government followed, and General Gage was appointed military governor in April, 1774. Driven from the country by threats in the following May and broken in health and spirit, Hutchinson spent the rest of his life an exile in England.

Hutchinson had built a country estate in Milton, Massachusetts. Although the house is now gone, the original "ha-ha" of the estate remains today beside Governor Hutchinson's Field, maintained by the Trustees of Reservations.

In England, still nominally Governor, he was consulted by Lord North in regard to American affairs but his advice that a moderate policy be adopted, and his opposition to the Boston Port Bill, and the suspension of the Massachusetts constitution, were not heeded.

His American estates were confiscated, and he was compelled to refuse a baronetcy on account of lack of means. He died at Brompton, now a part of London, aged 68.

He wrote a History of Massachusetts Bay (volume i, 1764 volume ii, 1767 volume iii, 1828) a work of great historical value, calm, and judicious in the main, but entirely unphilosophical and lacking in style. His Diary and Letters was published in 1884�. This article incorporates text from an edition of the New International Encyclopedia that is in the public domain.

Literature Bernard Bailyn, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (Cambridge, 1974) J. K. Hosmer, Life of Thomas Hutchinson (Boston, 1896) Vernon Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought (1927) Person ID I11343

Thomas Hutchinson (9 September 1711 – 3 June 1780) was the British royal governor of colonial Massachusetts from 1771 to 1774 and a prominent Loyalist in the years before the American Revolution.

Although Thomas Hutchinson believed in the supremacy of Parliament, he was opposed to the Stamp Act of 1765. Nevertheless, he attempted to enforce the tax, believing both that it was his duty and that Parliament had the legal authority to impose it. This stubbornness and refusal to publicly oppose Parliament contributed to Hutchinson's great unpopularity among Bostonians and other North American colonists. His apparent support for the Stamp Act provoked a mob of colonists opposed to the tax into destroying his mansion and its extensive library in 1765. Hutchinson became a symbol of unpopular Toryism in the American colonies.[1]

Hutchinson was born in Boston. He showed remarkable aptitude for business early on, and by the time he was 24 had accumulated considerable property in trading ventures on his own account. He married Margaret Sanford in 1734-who was a granddaughter of Rhode Island Governor Peleg Sandford Hutchinson was a great grandson of both Rhode Island Governor William Coddington and of Anne Hutchinson.

As his career advanced he became involved in the civil leadership of the colony, first as a selectman in Boston in 1737. Later in the same year he was chosen a representative to the Massachusetts General Court and at once took a strong stand in opposition to the views of the majority with regard to a proper currency. His unpopular opinions led to his retirement in 1740. In that year he went to England as a commissioner to represent Massachusetts in a boundary dispute with New Hampshire. In 1742 he was re-elected to the General Court, and was chosen annually to the General Court until 1749, serving as the Speaker from 1746 to 1749. He continued his advocacy of a sound currency, and when the British Parliament reimbursed Massachusetts in 1749 for the expenses incurred in the Louisbourg expedition, he proposed the abolition of the bills of credit, and the utilisation of the parliamentary repayment as the basis for a new Colonial currency. The proposal was finally adopted by the Assembly, and its good effect on the trade of the colony at once established Hutchinson's reputation as a financier.

On leaving the General Court in 1749 he was appointed at once to the Governor's Council. In 1750 he was chairman of a commission to arrange a treaty with the Indians in the District of Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts, and he served on boundary commissions to settle disputes with Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1752 he was appointed judge of probate and a justice of the Common Pleas. In 1754, as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Albany Convention, he took a leading part in the discussions and favoured Benjamin Franklin's plan for colonial union.

In 1758 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor, and in 1760 Chief Justice, of the Province. In the following year, by issuing writs of assistance, he brought upon himself a storm of protest and criticism. His distrust of popular government as exemplified in the New England town meeting increased. Although he opposed the principle of the Stamp Act, considered it impolitic, and later advised its repeal, he accepted its legality, and, as a result of his stand, his city house was ransacked by a mob in August 1765, and his valuable collection of books was destroyed. For many years he had been working on a history of the colony, compiling original manuscripts and source materials. After the destruction of his home, he bitterly rescued many of these materials from the muddy road.

Governor of Massachusetts

In 1769, upon the resignation of Governor Francis Bernard, he became acting Governor, serving in that capacity at the time of the Boston Massacre, 5 March 1770, when popular clamour compelled him to order the removal of the troops from the city.

In March 1771, he received his commission as Governor, and was the last civilian governor of the Massachusetts colony. His administration, controlled completely by the British ministry, increased the friction with the patriots. The publication, in 1773, of some letters on colonial affairs written by Hutchinson, and obtained by Franklin in England, still further aroused public indignation. In England, while Hutchinson was vindicated in discussions in the Privy Council, Franklin was severely criticised and fired as a colonial postmaster general. The resistance of the colonials led the ministry to see the necessity for stronger measures. A temporary suspension of the civil government followed, and General Gage was appointed military governor in April 1774.

Driven from the country by threats in the following May and broken in health and spirit, Hutchinson spent the rest of his life an exile in England.

In England, still nominally Governor, he was consulted by Lord North in regard to American affairs but his advice that a moderate policy be adopted, and his opposition to the Boston Port Bill, and the suspension of the Massachusetts charter, were not heeded.

While he was still officially the acting governor, he was compelled to refuse a baronetcy because of the severe financial losses when his American estates and other property in Massachusetts were confiscated by the new government without compensation by the Crown. Bitter and disillusioned, Hutchinson, nevertheless, continued to work on his history of the colony which was the fruit of many decades of research. Two volumes were published in his lifetime. His History of Massachusetts Bay (volume i, 1764 volume ii, 1767 volume iii, 1828) a work of great historical value, calm, and judicious in the main, but considered by some to be entirely unphilosophical and lacking in style. His Diary and Letters was published in 1884�. He died at Brompton, now a part of London, on 3 June 1780, aged 68.

Hutchinson had built a country estate in Milton, Massachusetts, part of which, Governor Hutchinson's Field is owned by The Trustees of the Reservations and is open to the public. He built a garden behind the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places as Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's Field.

Bernard Bailyn, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (Cambridge, 1974)

J. K. Hosmer, Life of Thomas Hutchinson (Boston, 1896)

Vernon Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought (1927), online

Hutchinson, Thomas, THE HISTORY OF MASSACHUSETTS: From the First Settlement Thereof in 1628 Until the Year 1750, 1764

"lord north" by ann hutchinson

Thomas was the last royal governor of Massachusetts. 1771-1774

He was a prominent Loyalist before the revolutionary war.

He Graduated from Harvard 1727 before his 16th Birthday.

He was a selected men in 1737.

He was a representative to the general court in 1737.

His unpopular opionions led to his retirement of the general court in 1740.

In 1758 he became Lt Governor.

He opposed the Stamp Act as a result his house was ransacked in 1765.

In 1769 upon the resignation of Gov. Bernard he became acting Governor. Serviing at the time of the Boston Massacre.

In 1771 received his commision as Governor. (f/g) Thomas Hutchinson Birth: Sep. 9, 1711 Boston Suffolk County Massachusetts, USA Death: Jun. 3, 1780, England

Graduate of Harvard College Class of 1727 Last Loyalist Governor of Massachusetts

Married May 16, 1734 Boston Mass

His ancestors Anthony Hutchinson and Isabel Harvery were also the ancestors of Mrs. Elizabeth Putnam a great great aunt of General Israel Putnam

Great grandson of religious dissident Anne Hutchinson also a descendant of Rhode Island Governor William Coddington his wife was a descendant of Rhode Island Governors William Coddington and Peleg Sandford

Note a Hutchinson Cousin also married into Winslow family

His daugther also married into the Oliver family becoming a daugther in law of Massachuetts Chief Justice Peter Oliver -who was related to Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher and to New Hampshire Lt Governor William Partridge and to New Hampshire Lt. Governor George Vaughan

Burial: St John the Baptist Churchyard Croydon Greater London, England Plot: Buried in vault Created by: P Fazzini Record added: Jun 11, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 53543371 -tcd


Why was Thomas Hutchinson a loyalist?

Click to see complete answer. Accordingly, why is Thomas Hutchinson important?

Born September 9, 1711, Thomas Hutchinson was a successful merchant, prominent politician and one of the most important loyalists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony before the American Revolution. Hutchinson would play a major role in numerous events leading up to the American Revolution.

Furthermore, why would someone be a loyalist? Loyalists wanted to pursue peaceful forms of protest because they believed that violence would give rise to mob rule or tyranny. They also believed that independence would mean the loss of economic benefits derived from membership in the British mercantile system. The number of Loyalists in each colony varied.

In respect to this, was Thomas Hutchinson a loyalist or patriot?

Thomas Hutchinson (9 September 1711 &ndash 3 June 1780) was a businessman, historian, and a prominent Loyalist politician of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in the years before the American Revolution.


The history of .

"• The commissioners from Massachusetts Bay were Thomas Hutchinson, John Choate, Israel Williams, and James Otis, Esqrs. Sir William Pepperell had been appointed at the head of the commission, but sailed for England before the treaty took place. Theodore Atkinson and John Downing, Esqrs. were the commissioners from New Hampshire.

The Indians began the treaty with an act of "• The commissioners from Massachusetts Bay were Thomas Hutchinson, John Choate, Israel Williams, and James Otis, Esqrs. Sir William Pepperell had been appointed at the head of the commission, but sailed for England before the treaty took place. Theodore Atkinson and John Downing, Esqrs. were the commissioners from New Hampshire.

The Indians began the treaty with an act of pleasantry and good humour. Notice had been given, that they must bring in such English captives as were among them, and particularly a boy whose name was Macfarlane, and who was taken in the beginning of the war. They apologized for not bringing Macfarlane, and feigned some excuse, promising he should be sent when they re
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Thomas Hutchinson responds to independence (1776)

After being recalled to England, former Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson wrote a lengthy response to the Declaration of Independence, answering each of its arguments and grievances in turn. This extract is from the first part of Hutchinson’s missive:

“They begin, my Lord, with a false hypothesis: that the colonies are one distinct people, and the kingdom [of England is] another, connected by political bands. The Colonies, politically considered, never were a distinct people from the kingdom. There never has been but one political band, and that was just the same before the first colonists emigrated as it has been ever since…

The supreme legislative authority [the British parliament] hath essential right and is indispensably bound to keep all parts of the Empire entire, until there may be a separation consistent with the general good of the Empire, of which good, from the nature of government, this authority must be the sole judge.

I should therefore be impertinent if I attempted to show in what case a whole people may be justified in rising up in opposition to the powers of government, altering or abolishing them and substituting, in whole or in part, new powers in their stead or in what sense all men are created equal or how far life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may be said to be unalienable. Only I could ask the delegates of Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas how their constituents justify the depriving more than a hundred thousand Africans of their rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and in some degree to their lives, if these rights are so absolutely unalienable.

Nor shall I attempt to refute the absurd notions of government, or to expose the equivocal or inconclusive expressions contained in this Declaration but rather to show the false representation made of the facts… alleged to be the evidence of injuries and usurpations, and the special motives to rebellion. There are many of them… instead of justifying, they rather aggravate the criminality of this Revolt.

The first in order, ‘He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good’, is of so general a nature that it is not possible to conjecture to what laws or to what colonies it refers. I remember no laws which any colony has been restrained from passing so as to cause any complaint of grievance, except those for issuing fraudulent paper currency and making it a legal tender…

‘He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance…’. Laws, my Lord, are in force in the Colonies, as soon as a Governor has given his assent, and remain in force until the King’s disallowance is signed. Some laws may have their full effect before the King’s pleasure can be known…

‘He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly for opposing with manly firmness his Invasions of the Rights of the People’. Contention between governors and their assemblies have caused dissolutions of such assemblies, I suppose, in all the colonies, in former as well as later times. I recollect but one instance of the dissolution of an Assembly by special order from the King, and that was in Massachusetts Bay [in 1774]…

The professed reason for publishing the Declaration was ‘a decent respect to the opinions of mankind’, yet the real design was to reconcile the people of America to that independence, which they had been made to believe was not intended. This design has too well succeeded. The people have not observed the fallacy in reasoning… nor the absurdity of making the governed to be governors.

From a disposition to receive willingly complaints against rulers, facts misrepresented have passed without examining. Discerning men have concealed their sentiments, because under the present government in America, no man may, by writing or speaking, contradict any part of this Declaration without being deemed an enemy to his country, and exposed to the rage and fury of the populace.”


Thomas Hutchins


A map of eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania created ca. 1766 by Thomas Hutchins. The official title of the map is "A Map of the Country on the Ohio & Muskingum Rivers Showing the Situation of the Indian Towns with Respect to the Army Under the Command of Colonel Bouquet". One of the oldest drawings of the Ohio country, Thomas Hutchins rendered the top portion based on an earlier map he drew after he toured the area in 1762. Two years later, Hutchins drew the bottom portion while traveling with Colonel Henry Bouquet on an expedition from Fort Pitt into the Ohio

Thomas Hutchins was an American surveyor, mapmaker and the first "geographer of the United States."

Hutchins was born in the colony of New Jersey in 1730. Prior to the American Revolution, Hutchins served in the British army and participated in the French and Indian War. During the Revolution, Hutchins served in the British Army. In 1779, the British government charged him with treason, prompting Hutchins to resign his commission in 1780. On July 11, 1781, Congress appointed him as "geographer of the United States."

After the American Revolution, Hutchins continued as a geographer, surveying and making maps of the western frontier. Hutchins was given the job of plotting the land set aside for the Northwest Territory as a result of the Land Ordinance of 1785. He and his men laid out four of the Seven Ranges, which organized early settlement of the territory. Hutchins died of illness on April 18, 1789, before he could complete the survey of the final ranges. Hutchins had previously visited and mapped portions of what is now Ohio, when he participated in Bouquet's Expedition in 1764.

Hutchins's survey work in the newly-seized Northwest Territory illustrates the difficult conditions that existed in Ohio in the years following the American Revolution. The geographer's first expedition to the region was cut short by the threat of American Indian attack, and the second expedition only began its work once it received military protection. In particular, the Shawnee posed a serious danger, as they were upset about Anglo-American settlers' invasion of their lands. The Wyandot and Lenape (Delaware), similarly, did not consent to the treaties signing this American Indian land to white settlers.


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