462 | From Henry Seymour Conway


    St: James’s. 31st. March 1766.


    Herewith I have the Pleasure of transmitting to You Copies of Two Acts of Parliament1 just past: The First for securing the just Dependency of the Colonies on the Mother Country: The Second, for the Repeal of the Act of the last Session, granting certain Stamp Duties in America;2 and I expect shortly to send you a Third for the Indemnity of such Persons, as have incurred the Penalties imposed by the Act just repealed, as such a Bill is now depending, and has made a considerable Progress in the House of Commons.3

    The Moderation, the Forbearance, the unexampled Lenity, and Tenderness of Parliament towards the Colonies, which are so signally displayed in those Acts, cannot but dispose the Province committed to your Care to that Return of chearful Obedience to the Laws, and legislative, Authority of Great Britain, and to those Sentiments of respectful Gratitude to the mother Country, which are the natural, and, I trust, will be the certain Effects of so much Grace and Condescension, so remarkably manifested on the Part of His Majesty, and of the Parliament; and the future Happiness and Prosperity of the Colonies will very much depend on the Testimonies, they shall now give of these Dispositions.

    For as a dutiful and affectionate Return to such peculiar Proofs of Indulgence and Affection may, now at this great Crisis, be a means of fixing the mutual Interests & Inclinations of Great Britain, and her Colonies on the most firm and solid Foundations, it cannot but appear visible, that the least Coolness, or Unthankfulness, the least Murmuring or Dissatisfaction on any Ground whatever of former heat, or too much prevailing Prejudice, may fatally endanger that Union, & give the most severe and affecting Blow to the future Interests of both Countries.

    You would think it scarce possible, I imagine, that the paternal Care of His Majesty for His Colonies, or the Lenity & Indulgence of the Parliament should go farther than I have already mentioned; yet, so full of true magnanimity are the Sentiments of Both, & so free from the smallest Colour of Passion, or Prejudice, that they seem not only disposed to forgive, but to forget those most unjustifiable marks of an undutiful Disposition, too frequent in the late Transactions of the Colonies, & which for the Honor of those Colonies, it were to be wished had been more discountenanced and discouraged by those who had Knowledge to conduct themselves otherwise.

    A Revision of the late American Trade Laws is going to be the immediate Object of Parliament;4 nor will the late Transactions there, however provoking, I dare say, prevent the full Operation of that kind and indulgent Disposition, prevailing both in His Majesty & His Parliament, to give to the Trade & Interests of America every Relief, which the true State of their Circumstances demands, or admits. Nothing will tend more effectually to every conciliating purpose, & there is nothing therefore I have it in Command more earnestly to require of You, than that You should exert Yourself in recommending it strongly to the Assembly, that full & ample Compensation be made to those, who, from the madness of the People, have suffered for their Deference to Acts of the British Legislature; and You will be particularly attentive, that such Persons be effectually secured from any further Insult; and that, as far as in you lies, You will take Care, by Your Example & Influence, that they may be treated with that Respect to their Persons, & that Justice in regard to all their Pretensions, which their merits & Sufferings undoubtedly claim. __ The Resolutions of the House of Commons, which, by His Majesty’s Command, I transmit to You to be laid before the Assembly,5 will shew you the Sense of that House on those Points: & I am persuaded it will, as it most certainly ought to be, the Glory of that Assembly to adopt and imitate these Sentiments of the British Parliament, founded on the clearest Principles of Humanity & Justice.

    I must mention one Circumstance in particular, that should recommend those unhappy People, whom the Outrage of the Populace had driven from America, to the Affection of all that Country, which is, that unprovoked by the Injuries they had suffered, to a Forgetfulness of what they owed to Truth & their Country, they gave their Testimonies with Knowledge, but without Passion or Prejudice, & those Testimonies had, I believe, great weight in persuading the Repeal of the Stamp Act.

    I have only to add, which I do with great Pleasure, that every Part of Your Conduct has had the entire and hearty Approbation of Your Sovereign; and that the judicious Representations, in favor of Your Province, which appear in your Letters laid before both Houses of Parliament, seem to have their full weight in all those Parts of the American Interests, to which they relate; and as His Majesty honours You with His fullest Approbation both for the Firmness, & for the Temperance of Your Conduct, so I hope Your Province will be sensible of their Obligations to you, and will cordially feel what they owe to a Governor, whom no Outrage could provoke to Resentment, nor any Insult induce to relax in His Endeavour to persuade His Majesty to shew Indulgence and Favour even to the offending Part of His People.6

    I am with great Truth and Regard, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

    H. S. Conway

    Governor Bernard.

    dupLS, RC      BP, 11: 1-7.