Editorial policy has aimed to preserve the integrity of manuscripts, printing them in full (except where noted) and depicting their content as accurately as possible with limited editorial intervention. To these ends, it is important to distinguish four processes in Bernard’s epistolary record that have influenced editorial method.

    The first is the mode of composition. His “way of doing the public business,” Bernard noted, was “wholly by my own hands using my Secretaries in nothing but Copying” (No. 167). Bernard generally wrote his own out-letters, official as well as personal, in a clear and distinctive hand, making corrections to them before they were sealed and posted. He did not routinely work from loose-file drafts. When he did do so, for example in preparing a riposte to a censure by the Board of Trade (Nos. 200 and 201), he filed the annotated drafts (in BP, 10) and had his clerks enter fair versions in a letterbook (BP, 3); then, as he said in No. 214, he “authenticated” the out-going receiver’s copy (RC) by comparing it with the letterbook entry (LbC). Bernard was a diligent rather than a prolific correspondent: there are 114 extant autograph out-letters for his first three and one half years in office, an average of one letter every eleven days.

    The second process is the preservation of letterbook copies of out-letters. As Bernard mentions, he delegated this task to his secretaries, and in later years he engaged his son Thomas as an amanuensis and probably other family members too. Chirographical analysis of Bernard’s letterbooks revealed that the 329 entries for the period 1 Aug. 1760 to 31 Dec. 1763 were produced by seven different hands. Bernard himself was responsible for around 14 percent of entries. One scribe, who copied only two letters before 1763, may have been Amelia Bernard, but the examination of the samples proved inconclusive. Two other scribal hands produced one letter each (clerks nos. 5 and 6). Unfortunately, the identities of the most important scribes—the secretaries whom Bernard employed—are not known. “Clerk no. 1,” who copied 53 percent of entries, worked for Bernard in New Jersey and came with him to Boston. “Clerk no. 2” (16 percent) made frequent copies from May 1762 onwards and continued working until 1768. “Clerk no. 3” (9 percent), who had the neatest handwriting, produced only two entries before November 1762, after which he or she was particularly busy over a two-month period when Bernard was preparing documentation in support of his claim to Mount Desert Island (see illustrations on pp 23-25).46 The three principal clerks copied all manner of private and official correspondence and were not allocated specific areas; nor did Bernard reserve for himself the job of copying up correspondence with any particular person. These clerks continued to work for Bernard; others were also employed, and their role will be discussed in subsequent volumes.47

    Bernard holograph, 1741. The earliest known Bernard holograph, in MON 25/2/97. By permission of Lincolnshire Archives.

    Bernard holograph, 1763. Bernard writes to the Royal Society of Arts to promote Levi Willard’s method of manufacturing potash. RSA, London. PR.GE/110/14/114.

    The clerks generally made letterbook copies from Bernard’s autograph out-letters before they were dispatched. Systematic comparison of letterbook copies with autographs revealed little variation in content and insignificant accidental differences and grammatical inconsistencies. The clerks also made fair copies of autograph drafts when required (as with No. 75). Bernard occasionally made emendations to the letterbooks, of which No. 256 is an example, but usually left the clerks to correct errors themselves—no doubt confident that they would do so satisfactorily. For example, a misreading of Admiral Sir George Pocock’s surname, rather than a garbled dictation, probably accounts for the scribal emendations in No. 137, represented thus, “Admiral Pocke ^Pococke^.” Patterns of emendation are highly ambiguous sources of evidence, and the possibility that Bernard dictated to his clerks and then prepared his autographs from the letterbook entry should not be wholly disregarded (especially in those cases where letterbook copies with idiosyncratic spelling cannot be compared with originals). By and large, however, the letterbooks comprise copies of complete originals minus the closure.

    The third process—the storage of in-letters—might be thought unworthy of further comment, but there are some significant gaps in the record of incoming correspondence. At the Houghton Library, volumes 9-12 of the Bernard Papers constitute as near a complete record of Bernard’s official correspondence as can be expected, but the receivers’ copies of letters from the province agents are missing (nor can they be found in the Massachusetts Archives). What Bernard did with these letters is a mystery. It would be helpful to know in particular what William Bollan thought of Bernard in the wake of his dismissal from the agency, given that Bollan was later instrumental in destroying Bernard’s reputation,48 or how Richard Jackson regarded Bernard’s transparently self-vaunting promotion of the Mount Desert grant (No. 131) and his specious characterization of the Mauduit brothers, Jackson’s rivals for the agency (No. 186). No doubt Jackson pondered whether the brouhaha over his (unsalaried) appointment as solicitor to the agent was worth the trouble (No. 226), though in 1765 he was elected province agent.

    The last process concerns the carriage of Bernard’s mail. Bernard routinely dispatched official letters by the regular transatlantic mail packet operating once a month between New York and Falmouth, England, and by the war-time packet between Boston and Bristol. Duplicates and (sometimes triplicates) were dispatched to the same destinations in separate vessels, usually merchant-men sailing out of Boston or Portsmouth, N.H. Urgent letters went direct from Boston by the first available merchant ship sailing for England. Delays were inevitable, however, and transatlantic mail could take anything between six weeks and three months to reach the addressee. Getting mail to and from New York by land or sea could also be troublesome: the twice-weekly courier service by the post road did not always deliver as promised, as Bernard notes in the postscript to No. 186, and delays to the coastal vessels sailing out of Boston were commonplace, judging by the preponderance of postscripts to the letters printed in this volume. Two express riders were employed at the province’s expense to carry letters intended for the New York packet-boat (No. 21) and to facilitate communications between Bernard and Gen. Amherst at New York: Jonathan Lowder and David Wyer. Wyer, as Bernard told Deputy Postmaster-General Benjamin Franklin, was “quite a Master of the road” (No. 250), yet still it took five days to travel from Boston to New York (Nos. 158 and 159). (Bernard evidently thought highly of Wyer, having two years previously appointed him a suttler to the provincial regiments at Halifax.)

    Bernard’s Letterbooks. A scribal entry by clerk no. 1: BP, 1: 272. By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    Bernard’s Letterbooks. A scribal entry by clerk no. 2: BP, 3: 76. By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    Bernard’s Letterbooks. The main text of letter is in the hand of clerk no. 3, while the postscript dated 1 Feb. 1763 is in that of clerk no. 2. Bernard criticizes James Otis Jr. for his “warmth of Temper.” BP, 2: 255. By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    Confidentiality was another problem. During the Barons affair, when Bernard was accused of deriding the Boston merchants as smugglers in his letters to London, he became anxious that his correspondence was being tampered with. At the time, he wrote that his concerns “accordingly prescribe to me a reserve, particularly in regard to the politicks of this place” (No. 57). Secret or private letters were kept back for a “safe conveyance,” usually a trusted merchant-mariner or Royal Navy captain (No. 29). Long before some of his letters were sensationally published in Boston, Bernard fretted that his enemies were somehow privy to his correspondence, but there is no clear evidence that he mistrusted his clerks.

    The processes described above have influenced the selection of documents for publication. Whenever possible, autograph out-letters and in-letters have been used as authoritative texts—the actual manuscripts upon which the transcripts are based. When the receiver’s copy (RC) or its duplicate were not extant, contemporary copies were substituted from the preserved record in the receiver’s or author’s letterbook (RLbC and LbC), and are accompanied with editorial commentaries clarifying scribal involvement. In the absence of a letterbook, the transcript was based on a copy of an original made by a third party; printed versions were used in the last resort—contemporary imprints before modern imprints and transcriptions. The authoritative texts have been systematically collated with extant variants. Generally, textual comparison did not reveal substantive differences in content between the author’s drafts (ADft) and letterbook copies (LbC), (Nos. 75, 200 and 201), or between these types and the RC (Nos. 176 and 177). In the cases just mentioned, the corrections made to the draft were incorporated in the fair LbCs and RCs. Major differences in content are discussed in the footnotes and source notes.

    Transcripts are presented in chronological order, according to the first given date. Non-epistolary enclosures follow the covering letter, while letters that were themselves enclosures have been placed in sequence by date. With letters bearing the same date, out-letters take precedence over in-letters (unless the out-letter is a reply to the in-letter); thereafter, out-letters are sorted by the likely order of composition (for which Bernard’s letterbooks provide a rough guide); date of receipt has been used to sort in-letters; the remainder have been sorted alphabetically by correspondent. For example, the in-letters No. 1 and No. 2 were enclosed in No. 3 but precede that letter in the order of presentation: No. 1 was composed one day before the other two, while No. 2 would have had to have been written before No. 3 in order for the author to take receipt of the original and prepare a copy for transmission.

    Editorial practice is to show the whole text plus any substantive emendations made by the author—the person(s) on whose authority a document was prepared or under whose signature it was sent—and by any clerk who drafted or copied the document. (Non-contemporaneous annotations on manuscripts have been excluded.) Obvious slips of the pen have been ignored; minor emendations are not shown, such as corrections of oversights and grammatical errors. Generally, original emendations, including scribal corrections, are reconstituted when this might help to illuminate authorial intention or when the additions suggest ambiguity or invite alternative interpretations: the representations follow the editorial apparatus set out in Table 1. For example, irrespective of the fact that emendations to No. 186 are in a clerk’s hand (and there is no way of knowing if Bernard dictated the revision) they are nevertheless suggestive of the governor’s growing antipathy toward James Otis Jr. Otis is described as “A Gentleman of much ^great^ warmth of Temper & much indiscretion.” Conversely, it has been necessary to present Bernard’s first set of general instructions from 1760 as a clear text transcript, since the only extant source is a draft of that date containing annotations and emendations added in 1771 (Appendix 1).

    Grammar and spelling were transcribed with limited modernization. Orthographical idiosyncrasies have been retained, save for the kind of transparent mistakes mentioned above. Abbreviations, contractions, and terminal punctuation follow the manuscript, as does capitalization, when the writer’s intention can be determined, and the underlining of dates. Emphasis is rendered in italics. Superscripts have been preserved but with all accompanying punctuation lowered to the line. Accidentally conjoined words have been separated. Eighteenth-century spelling, such as “highth” for “height,” is readily understood; however, instances confusing to the reader are clarified by an interpolation or an appended note. Original forms have been reproduced, such as the ampersand (&) and the thorn (“y” for “th”), but not the long “s.” Confusing punctuation in numbers has been silently corrected, with period separators being replaced by commas (thus “20.000” becomes “20,000”). Where symbols are used in the original to indicate pounds sterling, they are lowered to the line, and silently corrected to “£ s. d.” Clarification on currency and monetary values is provided in endnotes.

    The layout of the transcripts has preserved some common features of manuscripts and standardized others. The location and punctuation of salutations and datelines have been preserved, but placed in one line; the addressee’s name is at the end of the closure (where it usually is) and above the postscript regardless of its location in the manuscript. Original lineation has not been retained but paragraphing sequencing has. Epigraphs and postscripts have been formatted. Closures have been centered, except those running-on from the last paragraph of a letter. Tabulated information is presented in a form as close to the original as possible. Quotation marks placed at the beginning of every line of quoted material have been silently relocated to the beginning and end; block quotations have been indented. Flourishes have been omitted, as have brackets in dockets and closures. All transcripts have been given a caption; original titles have been transcribed and placed with the main body of text except entrybook titles, which are given in the source note.

    The source note at the end of each transcript provides information about the provenance and location of the authoritative text. Table 2 is a list of descriptive acronyms used to indicate the typology of authoritative texts. The acronyms representing manuscript collections and archives are explained in the List of Abbreviations, above. (Pagination, folio, and volume descriptors have not been provided for any citations, unless required by the citation style recommended by the repository.) Where possible, the source note provides some clarification as to the processes of composition and preservation, noting among other things differences in handwriting styles, the extent of authorial emendation, and the location of variant texts. Endorsements added by the recipient confirming receipt and dockets added by the sender have been transcribed in accordance with editorial method. (When FB marked a letter with “r” he meant “received” and with “a” “answered”.) Extant enclosures are briefly described, and should be assumed to be manuscript copies (usually third-party copies) unless otherwise indicated. Relevant historical and administrative information is provided at the end of the source note. Guidance is given as to where to find any replies and rejoinders. Numbered endnotes to source notes follow in sequence those for the transcript.

    Endnotes aim to clarify obscurities in the transcript and direct the reader to additional material. Cross-references to transcripts published in this volume are indicated by bold numerals, thus, No. 3. Citations of manuscripts not printed here establish the location of the authoritative version, although in many cases there is only one extant manuscript: thus Jeffery Amherst to FB, New York, 16 Nov.1761, WO 34/27, p 233. (The typology can be checked in the back-of-book list). “Not found” is used to signal the absence of a manuscript. Biographical information is given at the first mention of a person in the correspondence; rare sources are cited but standard reference works are not.49 Francis Bernard is referred to throughout as “FB.” Provincial legislation and acts of the English, Scottish, and British parliaments are cited according to regnal year, with dates where appropriate, and with modernized titles; the index provides both the dates and a short-title.

    Throughout the project I have tried to record information and transcribe manuscripts as accurately as possible. It is inevitable that there will errors in this volume. I am grateful to all those who have helped me to correct them, and I take full responsibility for those that remain.