4 May 1772144

    Messieurs EDES & GILL,

    SUPPOSING it admitted that the Governor’s Speech is artful, nay suppose further, what I would freely allow, that he has manifested as much ability as assiduity in his vindication of the force of ministerial Instructions, considered as legally binding on any branch of the Provincial Legislature, I cannot be of opinion, it can have any tendency to enlarge his influence in the Country. His jesuitical return of thanks and acknowledgment of great harmony, are as readily seen thro’ by them as by us: And shallow indeed must be the capacity which cannot perceive the labor and struggle he is forced upon to give even a coloring to his pretensions.

    To support his opinion, he engages to lay before the house “what appears to be the true spirit of the Charter.” And to go to the bottom of the affair, they are informed that by the first Charter the Crown had constituted a Corporation in England, impowered to appoint under its direction and instructions Governors and other Officers in the Colony. By the second Charter the Crown reserves to itself the power of appointing and commissionating a Governor and Lieutenant or Deputy Governor. But what more says the Charter to the point in question? Nothing surely, that the Governor has been kind enough to produce! The very artful induction of their Commissions, and the clause of Instructions mentioned in them, though indeed the sole support of the doctrine, is so far from imagining, in these instructions a power to controul the laws, legislators or any branch of them, that even in their Commissions (no part either of the letter or spirit of the Charter) they are to be considered in subordination to, or pursuance of their determinations. Indeed the Governor himself after saying a great deal about it, and at last confesses that the reserve in the Governor’s Commission is not made to deprive the People of any Privilege, but to restrain the Governor from using to their oppression or hurt, or to the dimunition of the just Prerogative of the crown, that power and authority with which he is intrusted. If this be true, why are the People deprived of their privileges, and oppressed, hurt, and affronted by means and pretence of authority from these rascally instructions?

    I would beg leave to ask the Governor whether any unprejudiced person can be informed of the general tenor of instructions, since we were favoured with that famous one for rescinding the circular letter on pain of dissolution of the legislature, and of all the abuses, indignities, and affronts heaped upon the people themselves or their representatives from that time to this, and conclude that instructions have had no other aim than to restrain oppressive powers in Governors? But taking it for granted he has represented the matter fairly, I hope we shall have no more complaints of want of power to indulge the just demands of the people, by pretending any further inhibitions from Lord Hillsborough.

    It seems strangely inconsistent with a desire to have his conduct appear in a favorable light with the people, for the Governor to take the blame of so wretched a Scene of administration entirely upon himself; but the path of deceit is dark and full of windings.145