631 | To the Boston Town Meeting

    [15 Jun. 1768]


    My Office and station make me a very incompetent Judge of the rights you claim against Acts of Parliament; and therefore it would be to no purpose for me to express my opinion thereupon. All I can say is, that I shall not knowingly infringe any of your Rights and Privileges, but shall religeously maintain all those which are committed to me as a servant of the King. —

    In regard to the impressing men for the Service of the King in his Ships of war, it is practised in Great Britain, and all other his Majestys Dominions and therefore I cannot dispute it in this part of them. But I shall use my utmost endeavors to get it regulated so as to avoid all the inconveniences to this Town, which you are apprehensive of; and from the knowledge I have of Capt. Corner,1 I have no doubt of my succeeding therein. —

    I cannot pretend to enter into any dispute between you and your Parent State; I desire to be a faithful servant in regard to both; and I shall think myself most highly honoured, if I can be in the lowest degree an Instrument in preserving a perfect Conciliation between them, I can assure you that if it was as much in [my]2 power as it is in my will it would always be preserved.

    I am obliged by all kinds of duty, by my general Instructions; and by his Majestys special orders to protect aid and assist the Commissioners of the Customs (appointed under the Great Seal of Great Britain in pursuance of an act of parliament) and their Officers in their Persons and Offices.3 And whether they shall or shall not relinquish the exercise of their commission, I must not fail to give them all the protection aid and assistance in my power If in so doing I shall give offence, I shall be sorry for it, but I shall never regret the doing my duty. —

    I have no command over his Majestys Ships, and therefore cannot issue such orders as you desire nor indeed any order to the Commander of his Majestys Ship the Romney. And it would be highly improper for me to make a requisition to him to remove from this Harbour, when I know he is stationed here by a superior Officer, and cannot remove from hence but by his Orders —

    Fra Bernard

    transcript, PC     Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 256-257.

    FB was replying to the town’s petition of 14 Jun. (No. 629). A copy was enclosed in No. 632 (according to CO 5/766, f 222) and copied into CO 5/766, ff 228-234. The town meeting published FB’s reply in the province newspapers, including the Boston Gazette, 20 Jun. 1768.