206 | To Richard Jackson

    Boston. May. 4. 1763

    Dr Sr

    I have before now acknowledged the receipt of all your letters, except that Sent [me?]770 by Govr. Franklin the cheif substance of which I had in other letters:771 Your latest is dated Nov: 10.772 I could have wished to have heard either from you or Mr Pownall, by the last packet, by which I received a severe reprimand from the Lds of Trade773 for intermeddling with the affair of Nova Scotia. I am told that I could not be ignorant that the River Penobscot being the boundary of Nova Scotia. I am told that I could not be ignorant that the River Penob of Acadie as ceded to France made the Provinces Title to Lands East of that River so questionable that it was improper for me to assent to Grants East of that River & that the countenancing a proposition for ascertaining the boundary at St Croix was an aggravation of my misconduct.

    I have given an answer to this in a hasty, but I hope in a decent & a full manner. The Substance of my defence is this: 1st I was ignorant of the objection to the Province’s right to Lands Eastward of Penobscot arising from the Cession of Acadia to France & so was, as far as I know, Evry Member of the General Court: so was also my Predecessor Govr Pownall, as will appear from the record of his taking a formal possession of the East side of Penobscot in the behalf of Massachusets Bay: And I know not how we could be otherwise then ignorant of it: for we had no papers printed or written to learn it from: & it seems to me not to be so obvious as to occur of itself. 2 This is a sufficient Answer why I consented to the Grants: but if I had at first known of this objection it would not have induced me to refuse my consent to some Grants of this kind, since the Province has a right to have this matter put in a course of determinatn; & I know of no way so proper as tendring a Grant for confirmation: And 3dly We had no notion of there being any other question between the two Provinces, but which of the two Rivers that fall into the Bay of St Croix was the river St Croix: We imagin’d that the Government of Nova Scotia would insist upon the Westerly River called Passimaquoddy being the boundary & we were ready to prove from the relations of Voyagers & living Indians that the Easterly River was the true River St Croix: & this required an Actual Survey. 4 There was not the least intention of determining the boundary without the Participation of the Crown there was nothing more in my thoughts than to transmitt an exact account of this Survey, Whether it had been joint or ex parte to the Board of Trade immediately after it had been finished.

    The Displeasure of their Ldships is no secret here: the Agent in a publick Letter gives an Account of the Province being threatned for making these grants, & in a Private letter he writes that Mr Pownall said “His friend Govr Bernard was got into an ugly Scrape”.774 People here are amazed that I should incur the displeasure of my superiors by appearing as an advocate for the Province in a matter ^question^ of right. The Govr of this Province will never fail having many occasional difficulties & some perverse Spirits to strive with; I have had a large share of both: & yet I have kept myself steady, have got all the publick business done in an ample manner & have secured to myself a competency of credit & respect. And I can account for this no better than my having persuaded the People to look upon me as their true & natural Freind, as I have thought that, with a proper regard to my duty, I might really be. And I will own that in the matter in question I have rather magnified my Zeal than kept it under, as will easily appear to a nice observer of my Messages to the House, Letters to the Lt Govr: of Nova Scotia, & some papers which I sent to the Board of Trade not without the privity of some leading men in both Houses. But if it should be understood here that I cannot engage in the service of the Province & the defence of their Constitutional Rights without endangering my own intrest at home, I shall be considered only as a Spy placed over them & my intrest will be accordingly

    It is common with People, when they can’t account readily for any thing to resort to occult causes. In the present case many refined arguers insist that the opposition to the Province’s ^right^ arises from the private intrest of the Claimants under Ld Stirling. When I endeavour to show the Absurdity of this supposition, I am answer’d that they have good Authority for the conjecture. And indeed I have heard that a certain Gentlemen on this side of the Water, who tho certainnly not heir to the 1st Ld Stirling & in the opinion of many not related to him, first revived this obsolete claim, boasts much of the strong connections he has formed in support of that pretended right. But I can never think that the Lords of Trade have given any Countenance to this extravagant Pretension.

    I have already carried this Letter to a Greater length than I intended: to prevent its further extension, I must confine myself to the Sheet.

    I am Sr Yr most faithful & obedient Servt

    F Bernard.

    R Jackson Esq.


    Govr Franklin writes me word775 that you have got into Parliament accept my congratulation

    L, LbC BP, 3: 56-60.