649 | To John Pownall

    Boston July 11 1768

    Dear Sr

    I have had so much writing of late to the Secretary of State, that I have had no Time, amidst the Multiplicity of Business which the present dangerous State of the Province is continually creating, to write to my Friends.1 The Information which I give you now must be by printed Papers with a little of handwriting.

    We are now just entering into that critical Situation which I have long ago foreseen must come sooner or later; that is, the Time of Trial, whether this Town &c will or will not submit to Great Britain when She is in earnest in requiring Submission. Hitherto the Sons of Liberty have triumphed; the Commissioners of the Customs & their Officers are driven out of ^the^ Town; the Laws of Trade are executed no further than the Sons of Liberty as People are disposed to submit to them; and the civil Power is confined to such Business as does not interfere with the popular Pretensions.

    The Sons of Liberty have publickly declared that whoever procures Troops to come here will be destroyed. That it should be left to any one here to ask for Troops to come here at this Time of Day, will be the Wonder of the future readers of the History of these Times. However it is now generally beleived that Troops are coming tho’ from whence or when or in what Numbers is not known. And now the Question is whether they will be opposed, and in Consequence thereof a general Insurrection will happen or not? There is a great Division of Opinions upon this: but for my Part I don’t beleive that there will be either an Opposition or Insurrection; tho I am well convinced that the Cheifs of the Faction are wicked enough and have really taken Measures to raise a Rebellion here; but I believe, when it comes to the Test their Hearts will fail them.2

    For myself as I am obliged to continue in this disagreeable and dangerous Service without being allowed to retire but at my own Peril, I shall endeavour, as I don’t find the Fortitude of my Mind fail me, to conduct myself so as to avoid Timidity on the one hand and rashness on the other. I have kept my Post hitherto and hope I shall still. I am much advised when it is certain that the Troops are coming, to retire to the Castle: I am unwilling to shew a Want of Resolution. Indeed it has not been a Place of Security ’till within these 2 Days; but it has now 5 Ships of the Kings, reckoning 2 Cutters, about it;3 and I beleive may be now said to be out of Danger. What will be the Event of these Commotions I don’t know; but a few Days ^Weeks^ will determine it.

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esqr.

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 130-131.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. May have enclosed a copy of the Boston Evening-Post, 11 Jul. 1768.