The Papers of Governor Francis Bernard

    8 January-30 September 1768

    577 | To John Pownall

    Boston Jan. 8 1768

    Dear Sr.

    I avail myself of an Opportunity to inform you that on Dec. 30 I opened the Winter Session of the Genl. Court.1 As Nothing is as yet ripe enough to occasion my troubling the Secretary Minister of State, I have only to send Copies of my Speech for the Secretarys Office and for that of your Board. Its cheif Excellency is that it is perfectly inoffensive, for so it has been allowed to be by all Parties. For my Oratory is now so reduced as to found its Merit in saying little & meaning less.2 But this Kind of Eloquence has its Use: for the Assembly has now sat 10 Days & shown no ill humour. But they say it is to come; and will appear in two Instances: 1 in censuring the Cheif Justice for an unanimous Act of the superior Court which has been approved of by every reasoning Man in the Province and was indeed necessary to the very Existence of the Court; 2. In remonstrating against the late Act of Parliament for raising a Revenue in America for paying Judges & Govr &c: great Pains are taken and no little by me to prevent any Imprudent Assertions of Rights which the Parliament cannot admit or avoid resisting.3 I am in hopes that they will have some Weight, and that Prudence and Moderation will prevail in the House more than they have of late Used. I shall not be surprised when the House comes to be really divided, to find that the Friends of Government will be more numerous, than they have of late appeared to be. But this is all Conjecture and depends upon Events not now known.

    I was favoured with your Letter by Captn. Spry.4 By very unlucky Accidents he came in here in such Distress as gave me an Opportunity of being very serviceable to him, for which I am sufficiently paid by his own Acknowledgements.5 I will own to you that among the Difficulties I have had to struggle with, my general Want of Instructions Directions & Advice has been a considerable Part. But I cannot expect from my Friends what they have not to give me nor from my Superiors what they don’t think proper to impart. I wish you every Thing that is desirable: but however have so much Selfishness in me that I can’t tell how to regret my still corresponding with you in your old Character.

    I am Dear Sir &c

    John Pownall Esq.

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 55-56.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Enclosures: FB’s speech to the Council and the House of Representatives, 30 Dec. 1767 (not found) for which see JHRM, 44: 88.

    William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham and prime minister, 1766-68. After Richard Brompton. © National Portrait Gallery, London.