655 | To Thomas Gage

    Boston July 18th 1768


    I have received yours of the 11th instt by which you inform me that the Troops at Halifax are not to move from thence untill I make a requisition of them.1 They must then remain there: for upon a full consideration of my duty upon this difficult Occasion, I am convinced that It can not be expected of me, & that I ought not, to apply for Troops without the advice of, that is against the Opinion of, his Majesty’s Council; and it is in Vain for me to apply to them for such advice. If I could make myself indifferent to the personal danger I should be exposed to by such a conduct, I cannot reconcile it to my Care of his Majesty’s Government committed to me; which would be flung into the utmost confusion if the Governor was to be made an Object of popular fury by his introducing troops without the advice of the Council.

    I quite agree with you that it is contrary to Law for troops to move to quell tumults & riots unless required by the civil power. And I should never think of applying to New York or Halifax for troops to quell a tumult or riot at Boston: the business would be done, & all would be over, long before the troops could arrive. It is to prevent tumults & riots & to enable the Civil power to punish those who create them, that Troops are Wanted here: and if the present state of this Town, wherein the Civil ^power^ is awed & controlled by a trained Mob, and Commissioners appointed under the great seal of Great Britain in pursuance of an Act of parliament are drove out of the Town, in which they were stationed by the King’s Authority, & obliged to take refuge in the Castle, where they are defended by Ships of War for want of troops to garrison the place; if these Considerations do not show the expediency of stationing troops here; We must wait till it becomes more apparent.

    I must add that it seems to me that the sending troops hither upon a requisition of the Governor & Council, if it could be obtained, is the Very Worst Way of introducing them. I cannot but think but that the better Way would be to station them here as in quarters, without assigning a requisition or any other reason for so doing except the disposition of a general Cantonment. And it should seem that the same power which enables the General to send a Regiment to Philadelphia or to New Jersey would authorise him to send one or more to Boston,2 without being obliged to give any more reasons for the one than for the other. For my own part, I cant look back upon the 3 years last past, without wondering that there have not been Troops at Boston for the last 2 of them. I am sure they have taken pains enough ^at Boston^ to show the Necessity of such an Arrangement.

    I shall communicate the subject of your Letter to the Council, without an expectation of any thing being done thereupon.3 I will take care to forward the Letter to Col Dalrymple.4

    I am, with great length & regard Your most obedient and most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    his Excellency Majr General Gage


    There was a Riot last fryday which was quieted without any mischeif done: I am just told that there will be one tonight which will not be so easily quelled.

    ALS, RC     Gage, vol. 78.

    Endorsed by Thomas Gage: Governor Bernard. Boston 18th. July 1768. Received 26th. July.____ Variants: BP, 5: 274-276 (L, LbC); Letters to the Ministry (1st ed.), 43-44; Letters to the Ministry (repr.), 57-59. Gage replied with No. 669.