574 | From the Earl of Shelburne


    No: 11.

    Whitehall 14th: November 1767.


    I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your several Letters from No: 20 to 241 inclosing Extracts from several News Papers filled with Reasoning and Reflections of such a Tendency as proves them to have been written by some weak Person,2 equally ill-disposed to His Majesty, to Great Britain, and to America, but the universal Detestation with which, You say, they have been received from the first Moment of their Appearance, marks the Impotence of the Attempt as well as the Inability of the Execution.

    I have written to You so fully upon the general State of Your Government particularly in my Letter of the 17:th September last,3 that I am, from thence, as well as from Your Correspondence since, describing the Sentiments of the Leading Persons in the Province, inclined to imagine, that Men well instructed in the Principles of Government, and of real Weight from their Property, will naturally be induced to exert themselves for the Establishment of Publick Quiet; And in Case these Writings continue, I should expect that One, or more, of such Characters upon the Meeting of the Assembly would of Themselves resent the Insult: And were it possible that any Member of that Assembly could be discovered to be concerned in Publications tending to alienate, as well as misrepresent, the Affections of His Majesty’s American Subjects, and to interrupt that Harmony and mutual Confidence, which should and I hope will, ever subsist between Great Britain and her Colonies, I should be led to hope that the Assembly would vindicate their own Honor, and make the Guilty feel the Displeasure of an injured Province.

    As You have said nothing with Certainty in any of your Letters, relative to the Authors, neither mentioning the Proofs which might be found, nor suggesting any Mode of Prosecution, I cannot pretend at this Distance to give You positive Instructions particularly adapted to the Circumstances, I must however caution You, if such a Spirit should show itself in the Assembly, not to appear as His Majesty’s Governor in any Proceedings unless You shall have reason to expect a great Degree of Unanimity, such Practices as these are most likely to fail of themselves from their innate Baseness and such contemptible Writings to be rendered more compleatly abortive by being left to Oblivion, than by being made the Subject of a Prosecution, in which it may be difficult to keep clear of such personal Considerations as may be attended with some Degree of Animosity and Divison.4

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


    Governor Bernard.

    dupLS, RC      BP, 11: 103-106.