121 | To Jeffery Amherst

    Boston May 30. 1762.


    Last Night I received your letters of the 23d & 24th instant.501 In regard to the first I can add a further confirmation of the provision trade to Hispaniola, having advice that the Sloop which I mentioned in my last to have sailed from Aux Cayes in company with the Sally is arrived safe at Newport as are also two or 3 other Vessels from Hispaniola, whose names I have not yet learned. As to the offer you have made of permitting particular Merchants whose Names shall be certified to you, to bring provisions from Pensylvania & Connecticut to this province, it will be Very acceptable; And they will most readily give any security that shall be required to land the provisions here. As for pork there is now so great a Want of it that there will be a general obstruction of the trade & fishery of this province for want of Ships provisions & Victualling the fishing boats upon our own coasts unless there is a speedy importation of pork. The Very Garrisons of Castle William & our two Forts at the Eastward will soon be in want, not to repeat what I have mentioned before of the Want of Victuals in the inward parts of the province. Also the Launceston Man of War & the Mast ships which are just come in & are to return to England with all possible Expedition depend upon being Victualled here which can’t be done without importing pork. I shall therefore send to you with all expedition the Names of such Merchants here as want provisions with the quantities & qualities wanted: but it will be impossible to send the names of the Vessels & Masters who are to carry such provisions, as it is not usual to send the Vessels from hence but to employ their Agents to freight the goods at the ports in Vessels used in coasting only & not fitted for Sea Voyages.

    The seeming contradiction which you observe upon in your letter of the 24th, of the Council’s first desiring leave to import flour & afterwards asking to export it, is easily obviated by a consideration of the distance of time between the two requests & what happened in the interval. When I first wrote to you No flour had arrived from Philadelphia; & the Merchants finding that the Pork they had contracted for in Connecticut was stopt expected that their Flour from Philadelphia would meet with the same obstruction. But since that, many Vessels with flour have arrived from Philadelphia, which bring advice that a good deal more may be expected. If therefore they should require their whole orders from thence & not be permitted to Supply the Northern ports with what was designed for them, there must certainly be a superabundance: but this was so far from being the Case when I wrote my letter, that I question whether it does not now exist in expectation more than possession.

    There is another consideration in favor of the Northward Coasting of flour: in support of which I must premise my hopes that the People of this province is intitled ^to favor^ equally at least with any other. This is, that as they have hitherto supplied the Northward provinces with provision of this kind; if any great & durable interruption should be made in it, the Trade would probably get into another channel: and this public spirited Province can ill afford at this time to lose any branch of the little trade remaining to it.

    As for fish, It never was apprehended that there could be a want of that. Unhappily for this Country, the Breach with Spain will leave too much of that Commodity in the hands of the owners after all legal & reasonable exportation of it is allowed. This is now the cheif staple of this Country, & this only: and if it should be stopt going to the English Islands, now it is excluded from the European markets, it must bring great distress upon this province; ^which has been^ allmost, if not quite, unconcerned in the pernicious trade which has occasioned these restrictions: and it would be Very hard if the Delinquency of other Colonies should fall most hardly upon an innocent one.

    While I write this I mean to assure you that the utmost Care & the most certain means are intended to prevent any abuse in the two Articles of fish & flour &c. to the Northward. Evry thing that has been allowed to go hence to the Garrisons to the fleet to the Settlers &c is bonded. If Any Caution can be added to those allready devised, it shall be done. I know but of one; and that is obliging Vessels carrying Fish to the West Indies to sail with convoy: and that I will enforce [it] if it can be made practicable. I am assured you do not doubt my activity in evry necessary duty that belongs to me & comes within my power: and I will say for myself that I keep myself Superior to any necessity of conniving at any mercantile practices detrimental to great Britain. Nothing is better known here than that the perpetrators of such will not be spared if discovered.

    As I shall not be able to lay your letters before the Council time enough to write by tomorrow’s post, I have given you, in this hasty manner, my thoughts on this subject, which will, most probably, prove conformable to the Sentiments of the Council upon a further consultation. Upon the whole I do not apprehend that our being allowed a discretionary power of letting fish go to the West Indies & flour to the Northern ports upon Security given both by bond & Oath, can be attended with Any danger of supplying the Enemy.

    I am, with great regard, Sr Your most obedient humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    His Excellency Sr Jeffry Amherst.

    ALS, RC WO 34/26, ff 145-147.