684 | To John Pownall

    Boston Sep 20 1768

    Dear Sr

    I have received both your kind Letters of July 9 & 301 and am much obliged to you for your friendly Professions of an Attention to my Intrests. I am sensible that you never have been without it; and must congratulate myself that you are placed in a Station which will afford you frequent Opportunity of exercising your Regard for me.

    The Hint you have given me of my appearing to want Confidence in Government has been partly explained in some private Letter[s] which have ^been^ communicated to me. I learn that my Speech, my Answer to the Town, My giving Way to the Populace &c have done me much Injury, so that my Want of Spirit in conducting the new Measures is much suspected. As for my Speech (I know not which is meant) & my Answer to the Town,2 I would ask what Concessions have I made that I ought not to have done; or what else is blameable in them except using civil Words; & of what Service at that Time would have been the Use of harsh Words? As for giving Way to the Populace (in whose Hands, be it observed, I have been left for above three Years) I would again ask what have I given up to them which I could maintain? And how would it have served his Majesty’s Cause for me to have provoked the People, in whose Power I was, to have knocked me on the Head or drove me out of the Town.

    They who suspect my Want of Spirit should go back to the latter End of the Year 1765 & the beginning & greater Part of 1766; when my Friends in Vain endeavoured to persuade me to consult my Safety at the Expence of my Duty; let them read my Speech on Oct 25 1765,3 of which the Lt Govr said some time after, that he was surprised to see me in the Province so long after I had made that Speech. In this spirited Conduct I persisted till I found it did not agree with the System at Home, which required lenient Measures & soft Speeches to bring about Conciliation without Correction. I knew that this would not do with the People I had to deal with; but I could not dispute about it: And now the System is changed, & spirited Measures are found necessary, why should it be supposed that I cannot reassume such a Conduct under the Assurance of being supported, when I so readily assumed upon my own Judgement only, without knowing whether I should be supported or not? All the Reason that I see for such a Suspicion is, that I was not, at 3,000 miles distance, acquainted with the political Change at the Time it took Place at London; & continued to act upon the old System before I was well informed of the new one.4

    I am indeed a good Deal worn with my former Service, which has been severe & dispiriting for 3 Years past; & I had Expectations that I was even now going to receive my Reward in being placed in a Station where I should have Health Peace & Competence. I carried my Expectations so far as to engage a Cabbin & fix upon a Day for embarking. But since the Kings Service requires that I should continue here in further station, I submit cheerfully to my Destination; & hope I have Strength enough to serve another Campaign. If the Dispute lasts much longer, it will be too much for me. I therefore hope that my Lord Hillsboroughs kind intentions towards me will be kept alive till they have their full Effects & that at no ^great^ Distance of Time.

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esqr

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 146-148.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Minor emendations not shown. A red line in the left margin marks the second paragraph to the closure. Variant in Select Letters, 61-63.