615 | To the Earl of Hillsborough


    No 3

    Boston May 21 1768

    My Lord

    In Answer to your Lordship’s Letter No 4,2 I have the Honor to inform you, that in Obedience to Orders signified by the Lords of Trade by my Letter dated Novr 15th 1766 I transmitted the most particular & exact Account of the Manufacturers set up & carried on in this Government since they year 1734, and of the public Encouragements given thereto, that I could procure; all the Transactions relating thereto happening before I came to the Government. It is not necessary to trouble your Lordship with a Copy of this Letter as every account of the setting up of a Manufacture concludes with the Failure of it; and they were all deceased before I arrived here.

    I did not think it necessary to send an annual Account where I had nothing to inform of. But as of late Manufacturers have been mentioned as a threat against Great Britain by my Letter dated March 21 last past;3 I showed that this Threat of Manufacturers was an idle Bully without the least Foundation. I therein mentioned that a Manufactory of Duck4 was proposed to be set up, and a Committee was appointed to sollicit a Subscription for that Purpose. But after having tried the Town round, they could not raise half the money wanted: so this child is dead born.

    I will use one Argument to shew the Impossibility of setting up Manufactures in this Town arising from the Price of Labor in it. The Staple Manufacture of this Town (if it may be so called) used to be Shipbuilding. This was so encouraged that the Ship builders when they had nothing bespoke, would set Vessels upon the Stocks on their own Account. But for some years past this Business has been leaving the Town and transporting itself to other Parts of the Province where they build cheaper. The under working of Boston may in some Degree arise from the easier acquisition of Timber; but it is much more occasioned by the extravagant Rise of Wages of the Workmen at Boston. A Ship builder at Boston some Months ago was applied to by a Number of Ship Carpenters who were out of Business & desired that he would put up a Keel upon his own Account in order to employ them. He said he would, if they would work for 2s. 3d. sterlg a day. They said they could not work under 3s. sterlg a day: he replied that he could not build Ships at that Rate: so they remained Idle. What are the Manufactures which will bear Wages at the Rate of 3s. a day for handicraft Labor?5

    I am with great Respect My Lord, your Lordships most obedient and most humble Servant

    Fra. Bernard

    The Right honourable The Earl of Hillsborough

    dupLS, RC     CO 5/757, ff 107-108.

    Endorsed: Boston May 21st 1768. Governor Bernard (N.0 3) R 13th: July. (Duplicate Origl not reced.) A.17 Encld. Variants: CO 5/766, ff 177-180 (L, RLbC) and BP, 6: 298-300 (L, LbC).