571 | To the Earl of Shelburne

    No 27

    Boston Oct 30 1767

    My Lord

    In my letter No 251 I expressed my desire to put an End to the disagreable information of the weekly libells published in this Town. Upon this Account I have discontinued the transmission of them notwithstanding there have been some very impudent papers published since my last. It appeared to me that these Seditious Writers2 would not be able to accomplish their purposes;3 and if their Writings should not be productive of mischeif, provoking as they are, it might be best4 to let them dye unnoticed. One of these Writers being admonished by a friend, that if they went on as they ^were^ going, they would probably incur a Censure from Great Britain, answerd “that is what We want”.5

    Last Wednesday the Faction made its greatest Effort, having procured a Town meeting to be called by printed Notices6 in order to consider of Measures to prevent the unnecessary importation of European Commodities; to take the sense of the Town as to requesting the Governor to call the Assembly & giving instructions to their representatives at this critical Conjuncture; &c. Upon this occasion the general & allmost universal Voice was against the purposes of the Faction. The Expediency of calling the Assembly was argued against & the Necessity of giving instructions to the representatives was denied. All that they could obtain amounted only to approve of the former application of the representatives & to appoint a Comittee to prepare a Subscription paper against buying or using certain European Commodities, among which are Silks & high prized cloths. But this was consented to under so many protestations that the Subscribing thereto should be perfectly free & Voluntary that it will come to Nothing.

    What appeared most extraordinary at this Meeting was the Conduct of Mr Otis; who having allways heretofore been at the head of the promoters of Violent Measures; now recommended Moderation & Caution against giving any Offence to Great Britain. And another of their Representatives declared he would no more be concerned in Opposition to Great Britain, which he thought should not have been continued beyond the repeal of the Stamp Act.7 This Confirms what I have often heard before that the Party was sick of their Cause & breaking among themselves.

    On the behalf of Government Complaint was made by one of the Magistrates of the great Encouragement that had been given to mobbing & rioting & setting the civil power at defiance. And particular mention was made of the threats that had been flung out against the Commissioners of the Customs, who were expected soon to arrive. And a motion was made that It should be taken into consideration what Were the most proper Means to prevent Mobbing & rioting & ^to^ support [the]8 Civil Authority upon ordinary or extraordinary Occasions for the future. This was avoided by assurances that there was no present Danger of Mobbing, and therefore providing against it would cast an Unnecessary Reflection upon the Town. And some particular Stipulations were made that the Commissioners neither would nor should receive Any Affront. At least it appeared that It was the general Sense of All present that Care should be taken that they were treated with all due respect.

    I have been the more particular in this Account, as I am sensible that It will be agreable to your Lordship to know that the Machinations of this Faction which set out with threatning the Peace of the whole Continent are defeated by the general Voice of their own Town. For there was not at this Meeting one Person who dared to support those principles which have so impudently been held forth in public papers as rules for the Conduct of All Americans.9 This Rebuff will I hope bring these Libellers to a Sense of Shame, if they are capable of it; or at least make them desist from a Pursuit which promises nothing but Confusion to themselves.

    During the whole time of this altercation, which has so distracted this Town, the Country has been universally quiet & easy; & not the least disposition has appeared to adopt the doctrines of the Malecontents. And I am assured from many quarters, that notwithstanding the great pains which have been taken to delude & inflame the people,10 there is not the least Uneasiness & Discontent at the late parliamentary regulations prevailing among them. So that I flatter myself that when the Assembly meets in January next, they will come well disposed to restore the peace & recover the reputation of this province.

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

    Fra Bernard

    The right honble The Earl of Shelburne

    ALS, RC      CO 5/756, ff 144-145.