49 | To William Pitt

    Boston May 5. 1761


    In obedience to your letter of Aug 23254 I made enquiry concerning the french trade carried on from this province & made a report in the favor of the province by my letter of Nov. 8. Nevertheless I meant not to aver that there was no one instance of such practise, but that it was generally not known to be carried on to such pernicious purposes. But I have, at length, caught a Missisippi trader, & the discoveries I have made thereby are the occasion of my troubling you with this letter.

    When I was informed of this sloop, she had landed her cargo & lay behind an Island about 5 miles from Boston. I sent the Sheriff with a party of soldiers from the Castle, who seized her with two Men on board who were orderd into the Custody of the Castle. The next day I went to the Castle & took their examinations, which I hereby transmit to you. At the time that the sloop was seized, a Custom house officer255 seized some part of the cargo consisting of skins & some Indigo. I had also at the same time orderd another party to take into custody two french passengers: but this part miscarried for want of being timely & properly conducted; and I have since found reason to decline proceeding therein for the present.

    From the Accounts I have got, which I take to be quite authentic, This is the History of this sloop. She sailed from hence to Monte Christo,256 there loaded with Sugar & was in going thence taken by an English Man of War & carried to Jamaica. There the Master257 of her teized the Captain of the Man of War to give him the sloop again; for indeed She is worth but little. He then in conjunction with one Thomas an English Renegade, (who by living a good deal at St Thomas’s passed for a Dane258) fitted her out with Naval stores & from thence went to New Orleans. There they freighted her with what they brought here & took in another partner one Anneau a frenchman who has been Very much versed in trade with the English & is, I am told, familiarly known in Rhode Island. Their Cargo is supposed to have been worth £5,000 sterling & they brought an Iron chest with them, which is believed to have contained some specie. Their purpose is to buy shipping & freight it with provisions, naval stores & ammunition.

    Upon my return from the Castle on yesterday, I had determined to take them all into custody & publish the business: but I found it necessary to alter my resolution for these reasons; I had then received another information of another Vessel expected from the same place to this or some other port of this province: and, if a public prosecution of these people had been begun, it would have prevent the expected Vessel from coming in here; By an immediate proceeding I could make no further discovery than I have at present; whereas by lulling them into the state of security, which a stop of proceedings must necessarily produce, I shall be able to come at the secrets of their exportation. This I am, at present, about, & will spare no pains to discover & punish this abominable intercourse.

    In the mean time I transmit to you this account together with the copies of the depositions. The information concerning New Orleans, I have sent to Genl Amherst;259 the two Men, whose Examinations I send, I shall keep at the Castle, till I have fully considered what use they may be of, especially to Genl Amherst. I cannot conclude this witht informing you that I owe all this discovery & shall be indebted for what shall be hereafter made to the Care & Diligence of Mr Paxton, Surveyor of the Customs of this port, who is a most excellent officer being both indefatigable & incorruptible. I am also much obliged to Mr Temple Surveyor of the Customs of this port,260 who has had the cheif charge of the execution of these seizures.

    I have the honour to be, with great respect, Sr Your most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard.

    The Rt Honble Wm Pitt Esqr

    ALS, RC CO 5/20, ff 123-124.