435 | To Henry Seymour Conway

    Boston Jan 21. 1766


    I am honoured with your Letter of Oct 24, the duplicate,1 the sloop which carries the Original not being arrived, that We know of. Two or three hours before I received this I had dispatched a packet in the Brig Lydia, Scot Master, for London, under the charge of Ensign Miller of the 45th regimt, whom I directed to wait at the office, in case there should be any occasion to make enquiry of him concerning the Temper of this Country. In this packet was a Letter to your honor inclosing an Account of a conceit to raise Men to oppose the King’s Forces in a neighbouring province; with some observations of my own upon it & particularly on the futility of the design:2 A Copy of the paper I shall enclose with this. There was also a Letter to the Lords of trade3 explaining the present state of this Town & showing the inauspicious opening of the Session here. From this alone will appear that little is to be expected from the Kings Authority here ‘till some effectual measures shall be taken to support it more firmly than it can be by its own intrinsic Weight; which is found to be Very light in the Ballance.

    At present the Leaders of the Faction, from which All the present evils proceed, are concerting to oppose the Kings Power in Massachusets Bay to the King & parliament at Westminster by obliging the Executive power of this government to be active against the Act of parliament. For which purpose at the opening the Session they chose a Committee of Greivances. Greivances in a Province where the Rights of the people are supported at the continual expence of the royal Rights, has a strange sound. But what are these Greivances? why, it seems, most of the Magistrates of the Counties throughout the province have declined doing their business without stamps, that is in direct defiance of an Act of parliament.4 And now, ^when^ the Town of Boston has by intimidation obliged the Judges & Officers in this County to do their business without stamps; they have instructed their Members to use their utmost endeavours that justice be administred in a ma[n]ner contrary to Act of parliament5 throughout the province. To put the proof of this intention beyond dispute, I inclose a printed Copy of a Message from the House to me, in answer to my Speech6 at the close of the last Session, wherein in the second Column I have marked two passages,7 in a stile highly insolent which fully evidence the purposes of the faction which has at present got possession of the house.

    Under these Circumstances there is little room to expect that a fresh Application to the Assembly even under the high Authority of your honors present letter will have any Effect: however I will make the best use of it I can. You must be well informed, long before now, that I have hitherto left nothing undone to procure an obedience to the Act. In my Speech to the Assembly on Septr 25, I used evry argument which a full Consideration of the Subject could Suggest to me; excepting one, the danger of their forfeiting their Charter by a general & Legislative opposition to a Law of Great Britain. This I did not mention, because it might have had the appearance of a threat, & also because It might have made me chargeable with consequences. Your Honor sees, by the Answer to my first Speech before transmitted to you8 & by the Answer to my last Speech, now enclosed, how I have been treated for the good & honest advice I gave to them. When they had nothing to charge me with, but, according to my Duty, using my utmost endeavours to get the Act of parliament carried into execution, they insinuated that I had unnecessarily made them parties to the Violent Opposition of it. And now, so elevated are they grown, they boast that it is in their House that a glorious stand is made even against an Act of parliament.

    I shall advise with a select Council9 concerning the best manner of communicating the tenor of your honors letter to the house; but think there can be no better Way than by an extract.10 For, besides that what I shall say of myself, even under your Authority will have no great weight when coming from me, I cannot use Any form of Words more forcible than those dictated in your letter.

    I am, with great respect, Sr Your most obedient and most humble Servant

    Fra. Bernard

    The Right Honble H. S. Conway Esqr.

    ALS, RC      CO 5/755, ff 455-458