Extracts from letters by a female Loyalist (1768)

The following extracts are taken from letters written by Ann Hulton, whose brother Henry Hulton was sent to Boston as a customs officer in the years prior to the Revolution. Hulton’s vivid correspondence describes many famous events, including the Boston Massacre, from the rare historical perspective of a female Loyalist:

June 30th 1768
“The Mobs here are very different from those in England… here they act from principle and under countenance, no person daring or willing to suppress their outrages or to punish the most notorious offenders for any crimes whatever…

These Sons of Violence, after attacking houses, breaking windows, beating, stoning and bruising several gentlemen belonging to the Customs, the Collector mortally, and burning his boat…  All was ended with a speech from one of the leaders, concluding thus: ‘We will defend our Liberties and property, by the Strength of our Arm and the help of our God’…

From the inherent republican and levelling principles, there is no subordination in the society. Government is exterminated and it is quite a state of anarchy. There are some sensible and good people that are greatly alarmed… the infant colonies are advancing toward a state of independency.”

July 12th 1768
“It’s reported that a Regiment of Soldiers is on the way from New York to Boston…”

April 10th 1769
“I hope we shall be in no more dangers or alarms from lawless mobs… it is certain that our safety & quiet depends on the army and navy being here… the tyranny of the Multitude is the most arbitrary and oppressive… many persons awed by the people, are obliged to court popularity for their own security, this is only to be done by opposing [the British] government at home…

Several persons were threatened for no other reason than visiting us at the Castle… it would certainly have been done with a deal more mischief, had not the troops arrived seasonably for our protection, as well as that of every person of property. Yet there are very few to be met with that will allow the right of taxation to the British Parliament, therefore we avoid [discussing] politics.”