567 | To the Earl of Shelburne


    No 24

    Boston Sep. 21 1767

    My Lord

    I find myself obliged to continue the Transmission of the Boston Gazette: The Paper of this Day has but one little Piece; but it is a precious Morcell: it is marked M in the Paper enclosed.2 Never were people more divided in Opinions Hopes and Fears than those of Boston now are. Men of a timid Complexion give up the Town, and expect greater Disturbances than have been hitherto; and at the same Time wish for Troops to protect them, and are afraid of their coming here. Others persuade themselves that the Gentlemen of the Town will be able to keep it quiet, and defeat the Purposes of the Faction. I beleive there is a good deal of Pains taken to prevent Mischeif;3 on the other Hand the Faction is as indefatigable in promoting it. The Minds of the common People are poisoned to a great Degree; so that (to use an Expression of one of their own partisans) their Bloods are set on boiling.

    If I was to give Credit to all I hear upon this Occasion, I should be continually contradicting myself. However it is certain that the Faction or their underlings give out that they intend to do something when the Commissioners of the Customs come; and particularly threaten Mr Paxton who is understood to be one of them: Persons, as I have before observed, having been excepted out of the Indemnity which has been proclaimed for Houses and other Property. It is said that he will not be suffered to land, — that he will be obliged to leave ^the^ Town immediately after landing, — that he will be taken to Liberty Tree (some say to the Gallows) and there be obliged to resign his Commission and take an Oath that he will never resume it, — at least that he will never be allowed to continue in the Town. These at present are but sayings; whether they will be realised or not must be left to Time to determine. At all Events it is a melancholic Consideration that this Rich and populous Town should be thus distracted and disgraced by a few desperadoes (perhaps not a dozen) whose own ruined or insignificant Fortunes make the Destruction of their Country a Matter of indifference to them; who having themselves little to lose, are unconcerned at the Consequences of a Contest which they are so desirous of bring[ing]4 about, and must be so fatal to Persons of real Worth and Property.

    Sep. 23

    I left this Letter unfinished till I could learn how this last publication was received.5 And I find that it has met with universal Detestation; all Mouths being opened against it, and the very cheifs of the Faction having disavowed it, and testified against it. It is said that it is like to do good by the Discredit it has brought upon the Party from whence it arises; at the same Time it gives and Evidence of what violent Councils and Measures these Men are capable of. Upon the whole I still flatter myself that this threatned Storm will blow over: No thanks to the Faction if it does.

    I am, with great Respect My Lord your Lordships most obedt: and most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right honourable The Earl of Shellburne

    dupLS, RC      CO 5/756, ff 126-127.