565 | To the Earl of Shelburne


    No 23.

    Boston Sepr. 14 1767

    My Lord

    My Letter No. 22 having laid by me for Want of a Conveyance, I now find myself obliged to add another to it in Order to contradict some Notions therein, which I had too hastily adopted. At the same Time I forward the Letter, as it contains an Account of the general Ideas of the principal Gentlemen of Boston at the Time it was wrote. That Part of it which I have to contradict is the Opinion I have given that the Faction has laid aside all Thoughts of raising an Opposition to the Acts of Parliament either by an Actual Commotion or by interrupting the Trade of Great Britain. I was led into this favourable Opinion of them, partly by the Comparative Decency of their News Papers of that Day, partly by the Sentiments of others perhaps arising from the same Cause; and probably from my own Readiness to persuade myself of the Reality of what I wished and desired. But their publications of today have convinced me that I judged too hastily when I supposed that they were disposed to desist from their seditious Practices.

    Nevertheless It still continues to be the general Opinion that they will not succeed in what they propose. Hitherto there has not appeared the least Inclination in the People of this Country to join in the Measures proposed in the News-Papers. A Gentleman who lives at a Distance from Boston and is well acquainted with the generality of the People, assured me that there was not any Danger in the Peoples adopting the principles of these Incendiaries. I agreed with him, in general, in his Character of his Countrymen, whom I allways esteemed to be a very ^good &^ valuable People in the Main: but they are credulous in Regard to Popular Professions, and easily imposed upon by sounding Words; and as they have been before infatuated so as to receive Improbabilities and even impossibilities as undoubted Truths,1 I know not when they will or will not be so again. And as this Attempt is apparently to be brought to a Trial I can’t be answerable for the Event, tho I am will[ing]2 to beleive it will be such as I wish it may be.

    The Conjecture of the Proceedings of the Faction here being in Concert with that of New York is confirmed to me in a particular Manner. I have seen the Copy of a Letter, well authenticated, from New York to Boston, wherein the Writer gives an Account of the Report of an Agent who was sent from New York to sound the Colonies of New England concerning Opposition.3 He says that the Party at Boston is weak’ned within themselves, but their Writers continue stanch;4 that they of Rhode Island were asleep, but that He found Means to rouse them; that the People of Connecticut were quite passive, so that he could not find throughout the Colony one Person to whom he could venture to open himself. The Letter Writer says that now the dye is cast, and the Rubicon is past,5 they must exert themselves on all Hands: and it is agreed that all publications shall originate at Boston. I mention these Things to confirm my former Opinion of their acting in Concert; and to show how it comes that the Cause of New York is taken up so warmly at Boston when it seems to be neglected at New York itself. I have no Command of this Letter nor Power to make any Use of it except what I have now done, in repeating these Particular from my Memory as proofs of some former Positions.

    I have now received Advice that Genl. Gage has not ordered a Regiment to Boston: when this is known to the Faction it will give them fresh Spirits. I must now continue the Series of Boston Gazettes; to which I shall add this Week a Letter from another Paper. For it seems these writers are now so fully employed, that their own Paper will not contain all their Productions. However we must do them Justice to suppose that some of these Pieces are the Manufacture of N York.

    I am with great respect, My Lord, Your Lordships most obedient & most humble Servant,

    Fra Bernard

    The right honble The Earl of Shelburne

    The pieces referred to are markt G H I K L6

    dupLS, RC      CO 5/756, ff 121-122.