590 | To Richard Jackson

    No. 5

    Boston Feb. 20. 1768

    Dear Sr:

    I was in hopes by this Opportunity to have wrote to you fully; especially as Mr Bromfield, a Gentleman not unknown to you and much esteemed by me has engaged to take my present Packet.1 Since my last2 Things have not gone so well in the Assembly as when I wrote to you last. Otis’s Party has recovered itself since the Defeat of the Motion to write circular Letters to the rest of the American Assemblies to desire them ^to join them^ in their Opposition to the late Act of Parliament. Factious Men have great Advantages over fair dealers; the former can practise many Tricks which the latter despise; these are much sooner tired than the other are; and such is the Depravity of Mankind, that there is generally less perseverance in good Pursuits than in bad. So it has happened here: The Friends of Government are allways tired out with the extended Length of the Winter Session, which the Factious Lengthen for that among other Purposes. Hence it is that the Faction generally recovers Ground at the End of the a Session; & in this they have got the House to expunge from their Journal all that passed before concerning a Circular Letter and afterwards they obtained a Vote for a Circular Letter, a Copy of which I hereby send you: I have no Time to make Remarks upon it, but shall leave it to you[r] own Judgement for the present.

    As for your Business it stands pretty much as it did: the Obstacles which have prevented its Conclusion, have arose entirely from the two Otises, who have been as perverse and malicious as possible; The Speaker tho of that Party, has done evry thing in his Power to bring it to an End as honourable to you & themselves as possible. About a Week ago the House appointed a Committee to be joined by a Committee of the Board to write a Letter to you in the Name of the general Court.3 This was reported in as handsome Terms as possible; in it was a Clause informing you that your Pay as Councellor was not included in this Grant but left to a further Consideration untill they could learn what was due upon that Account. This was approved by the Council & sent down to the House; the Clause aforementioned was objected to by the Otises, who urged, that the first Motion of that Business ought to come from you by making a Charge of what was due to you. After a long Debate they rejected the reported Letter & appointed a Member (a cheif Speaker on our Side)4 to draw a Letter to you from the House; which he did immediately in Terms respectable to you, but omitting mention of the Contested Clause: and the House has, as I understand, passed this Letter, and keep the Letter reported to themselves.5 The Board is much exasperated at this Treatment & will probably resent it: but they ^deserve^ this and more for their timid Submission to the many Insults which they have received from the House since Otis has prevailed in it; & for their acquiescing in the House doing the Provincial Business by a seperate Agent of their own for 2 Years past & thereby excluding the Council from having any Share in the Management of the Concerns of the general Court in England. After having given this Detail which I can carry no further, I have only to add that the Grants still lie before me & that I shall not part with them till I have past upon them; which most probably will be in the affirmative at all Events.6

    I hereby send you a compleat Set of the Pensylvania Farmer’s Letters: I sent two Sets to Secry. Pownall, thereby avoiding the Appearance of Officiousness in troubling the Secry: of State with political Newspapers & of Negligence in taking no Notice of Writings which perhaps may be thought to deserve a public Animadversion. Certain It is that if this System of American Policy, which is artfully wrote, and apparently derived from great Authority in England, and universally circulated, should receive no Refutation (as it is impossible it should in America), it will become a Bill of Rights in the Opinion of the Americans. In such Case the Parliament may enact declaratory Acts as many as they please; but they must not expect any real Obedience. When you have perused all these Letters, you will I beleive see with me the Necessity of immediately granting the Americans a Representation: If this had been done two Years ago, America would have been quiet by this Time; if it is delayed two Years longer it will become more difficult: It is at present the only Remedy left; in a few Years more there will be neither this nor any other. For you may assure yourself that whoever depends upon America coming to rights of its own accord will find themselves deceived in the End: and very fatal, probably, will be the Disappointment.

    I was in Hopes that this Session would have passed without any Dispute: but the Otises would not let it go off So. I received a Letter from Ld Shelburne which had been long and impatiently expected by the Friends of Government which approved my Conduct in negativing the elected Councellors & disapproved the Occasion they gave for it by rejecting the7 principal Officers of Government & assured me of his Majesty’s Support. The Nature of the Letter required that it should be communicated & yet I was in Doubt in what Manner to do it. I therefore ^advised with the Council from whom it was^8 proposed that I should direct the Secretary to read it in the House, & afterwards that I should give the Speaker a Copy with a Restriction that he should allow no Copy to be taken. I did so, & it seemed to pass on very quietly for some Days. But after they had gained the Vote for sending the Circular Letter, they grew so elate that they immediately attacked the Secry: of States Letter, & after a preparatory Message and a gentle Answer from me, they have this Day delivered a Message to me so wild unreasonable & outrageous, that it exceeds all Bounds of Discretion & common Prudence & outdoes even Otis’s outdoings. I shall find myself obliged to let them have the free Use of the Letter, & also to give a Answer to the Message; but it will be very short and as gentle as the Case will permit. I send my Lord Shellburne Copies by this Ship; & will send the same to you either by this or the next.9

    I am &c

    PS. You will observe that I have numbered this Letter 5. I reckon from the New Year and the Number will stand thus No 1 Jan 8, No 2 Jan 16, No 3 Feb. 1, No 4 Feb. 8;10 If you’ll observe this Method, you’ll find it of use.

    R Jackson Esq:

    PS to the Letter to Mr Jackson dated Feb. 20 No 5

    Vide Page 211

    Feb. 22.

    Yesterday arrived here Capt Jenkinson in 19 days from the Lands end; who brings the first advice of the charges of the Ministry. I hope this Event considering Lord Bs intimacy with Lord H^illsborough^ will be favorable to me, & by its stability to great Britain & America also.12 The Otises having got the advantage of a thin House, are grown quite mad. They have this afternoon been passing a Letter to Lord Shelburne upon the subject of his Letter to me which as I am told is beyond all things for folly & madness. The Majority upon this occasion was but one third part of the whole House you shall have a full account of this,

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 90-94, 96.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Minor emendations not shown. May have enclosed copies of the documents dispatched under cover of No. 591. “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania” were originally published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser in a series of twelve letters between 30 Nov. 1767 and 15 Feb. 1768. Hitherto FB had been sending copies to John Pownall (Nos. 578 and 579). The “compleat Set” that he now sent Jackson may have been compiled from the Pennsylvania Chronicle and/or from reprints in the New York and Massachusetts newspapers: Letters I-IX and XI and XII were reprinted in the Boston Gazette, 21 Dec. 1767-29 Feb. 1768; nos. I, III, and VIII in the Boston Evening-Post, 28 Dec.-8 Feb.; and nos. IV-IX, and XI in the Boston Chronicle, 28 Dec.-7 Mar. A reprint of the tenth letter in the series has not been located. The Farmer’s “Letters” were also printed in pamphlet form in Philadelphia, New York, and London during 1768, and were issued by Edes and Gill in late March, following a public declaration of gratitude by the Boston town meeting.13 This FB later dispatched to Barrington (along with a similar complete set of letters, dispatched in batches).14