Thomas Hutchinson was a Boston native who was a descendant of the famous religious radical, Anne Hutchinson. He helped to govern the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the tumultuous years leading up to the American Revolution. Thomas Hutchinson was an ardent loyalist who believed the colonies should follow the laws set forth by the British government.
Thomas Hutchinson went to school at Harvard College. After he had graduated, he went into politics. Eventually, he would serve as the Acting Royal Governor of Massachusetts twice and then become the Royal Governor of Massachusetts. He served in this capacity from 1770 to 1774. During his time as Acting Royal Governor, Thomas Hutchinson was unmoving in his support of England. He gave his unwavering support to laws that local Boston rebels found to be illegal. It was this disregard for the rebels’ views and loyal dedication to England’s laws that led to a mob attack on Thomas Hutchinson’s Boston home on August 26, 1765.
That evening, Thomas Hutchinson received word that a mob had gathered and that they intended to attack his home brazenly. The Acting Royal Governor was able to get his family and himself to safety before the mob arrived. When they did, they broke down doors and walls, ripped out boards and parts of the roof. They stole clothing, destroyed furniture and made off with money, books and other valuables. Among Thomas’ destroyed possessions was all of the paperwork that he kept at the house. He later lamented their loss, the damage to his house and the loss of most of the possessions he kept there in letters.
Thomas Hutchinson dealt with the ire of Boston residents for nearly ten more years after this incident. All the while, he continued to do his job as he had always done it-with respect for England and a seeming disdain for the rebels. It was his belief that a firm hand and the voice of reason would reverse the tides of rebellion. He was wrong.
The rebellion grew during Hutchinson’s term as Royal Governor of Massachusetts. Whether Thomas chose the wrong side, took the wrong approach or was a scapegoat for the mistakes of England is a matter of opinion. However, one can definitely say that he was a brave man and his loyalty was admirable. In fact, he was the equal of his rebellious in both dedication and bravery. Unfortunately, he was forced to leave his homeland because of it. He left for England in 1775 and stayed there for the remainder of his life.
A Debate on Natural Rights from Hutchinson’s “A Dialogue Between and American and a European Englishman.”, retrieved 6/14/10, assumption.edu/ahc/1770s/phutchinson.html
Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780), retrieved 6/14/10, mass.gov- tinyurl.com/28fz668