609 | To Lord Barrington

    Boston May 9 1768

    My Lord

    The Febry Mail is not yet come in: so that at this Time, 4 Months after his Appointment, I have received no Letter from Lord Hillsborough.1 As upon this Account I must still defer writing to him, I am now aware that I shall not have Time to apply to him for Leave to go to England; so as to expect an Answer in Time to set out soon enough to keep clear of the Winter: and a Winter Voyage in these Seas is to be avoided by all Means possible.

    I must therefore beg of your Lordship that I may be favoured with your Lordships Application (with as little Loss of Time as may be) that I may have an Order or Leave to come to England before Winter. An order it will be if the Minister sees the Expediency of calling me to make a Report in Person of the present State of New England; in which Way I am convinced I can be more serviceable to his Majesty than I can by continuing here without real Authority. It seems to me that the Omission of the most proper Means to quiet America, if there has been any such, must be imputed to the Administration having wanted proper Informations of the State of the Country; which for many Reasons cannot be communicated by Letters.

    Considering this as a License granted to me, It will still partake of the Nature of a publick Business. For if my Service has received the Approbation with which I have been flattered, I hope it will create a Merit, which will exempt me from being again exposed to the same Dangers, which I so firmly withstood & so happily escaped. In the Winter 65-6, I was sevral Times drove to the very Brink of Deserting my post; & in the Spring following the Lieut: Govr: told me that nothing surprised him more than to see me in this Town at that Time. And if we are to beleive the Heads of the Faction here, if Concessions from Great Britain are not soon made, the next Winter will be as dangerous to Crown Officers as any which have passed.

    I have not at present any Dispute of my own or of any Kind but what arises from the Opposition to Great Britain. At present the Faction is cheifly employed in insulting affronting & threatning the Commissioners of the Customs & their Officers. The Instances are gross & notorious: I shall not at present mention Particulars, as I suppose the Commissioners themselves will fully report them to their Superiors.2 It is sufficient that these Proceedings necessarily involve me in continued Disputes,3 as I cannot dispense with paying due Respect to Gentlemen bearing Commission under the great Seal & station’d in my Government. And yet this is in a Manner required of me, as the Terms of being loved ^spared^ myself. It therefore seems unavoidable that when they rise against the Commissioners (which they publickly declare they will do, as soon as they learn that their applications to the Government at home are successless) the Governor must be involved in the Dispute & partake ^of^ the Difficulty & Danger.

    For these Reasons its well as others, I much desire that I may have leave to come to England next winter. I am sensible that I run a risk of hurting my Family Stock, & much so, if I cannot obtain an appointment under the late Act with an early Commencement. But my Family Will run a much greater risk from my being left exposed to another insurrection, which will undoubtedly be attended with much more mischeif than the former, as it will be accompanied with a desperate Defiance of Great Britain. This Event seems unavoidable if measures are not already taken to prevent it. _ If an Order should be obtained, I beg it may be forwarded with all Expedition, & a duplicate & triplicate by other Ships.

    I am &c.

    The Right Hon The Ld Vist. Barrington.

    PS. May. 12.

    Yesterday I recieved my Lord Hillsboroughs first Packet,4 & as the Ship which is to carry this is to sail to morrow I shall have no time to write Lord Hillsborough except to acknowledge the Reciept of his Letters.5 I shall probably be able to write upon my subject in about a weeks time: but as the Time of that will be uncertain I shall stand in need of Your Lordships interposition in the same manner as if this Packet had not arrived. And it is the more to be desired as it will be proper to prepare his Lordship for an Address directly from myself; which latter I shall most probably inclose to your Lordship, that you may judge of the propriety of it before it be presented. I should have mentiond before that I have recieved your Lordships Letter of Jan. 86 & am obliged to you for your kind information.


    As I have a Confidence in the Conveyance of the inclosed, I will venture to add a few Lines, which I should not chuse to trust to the common Post: I am well assured that it is the intention of the Faction here to cause an Insurrection against the Crown Officers, at least of the Custom house, as soon as any Kind of Refusal of their extravagant Demands against Great Britain shall furnish a Pretense for so extraordinary a Step; & that they depend upon being join’d & supported in this by some of the other Colonies. I am advised of this by one of their Party whose name I can never use, as he is not suspected of communing with me.7 I asked him if they were likely to confine themselves to the Custom House officers, or would extend their operations to the other Crown officers & especially the Governor. His answer was, “if I was Governor Bernard I would get out of the way whenever any Commotion began, especially if it arose from the Expectation or the arrival of regular Troops.” The same Person told me they were waiting for the success of their application to other Colonies to join them in an actual opposition. Since this I have learnt that they greatly exult in Advices they have lately recieved from other Colonies. All this is continually confirmed by frequent Declarations that they will do themselves Justice; that they will remove the Commissioners & their officers; that no Pensioner of Great Britain, no, not one that recieves a Stipend from Great Britain thence shall live in this Province; & it has been publickly declared upon Charge that if the Commissioners were not recalled before the beginning; of the Winter, they will be shipped of for England. The Situation of these Gentlemen (& indeed of all the Crown Officers) is become very gloomy; especially as they cant learn from England or New York that any Relief is intended to be sent to protect them from this desperate Gang. I should have observed before, that it cannot be concieved that they would treat the Parliament of Great Britain with the Insolence & Contempt which their News Paper is frequently fill’d with, if they did not mean to set her at Defiance, & dare her to express a resentment. This is the present State of this unhappy distracted Town.

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 110-115.

    The first two pages of the manuscript are in Thomas Bernard’s handwriting and the remainder in FB’s. Minor emendations are not shown.