685 | To the Massachusetts Convention of Towns

    By his Excellency FRANCIS BERNARD, Esq; Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, and Vice-Admiral of the same.

    To the Gentlemen assembled at Faneuil Hall under the Name of a Committee of Convention.

    As I have lately received from his Majesty strict Orders to support his constitutional Authority within this Government,1 I cannot sit still and see so notorious a Violation of it, as the Calling an Assembly of the People by private Persons only. For a Meeting of the Deputies of the Towns is an Assembly of the Representatives of the People to all Intents and Purposes; and it is not the calling it a Committee of Convention that will alter the Nature of the Thing.

    I am willing to believe that the Gentlemen who so hastily issued the Summons for this Meeting were not aware of the high Nature of the Offence they were committing; and they who have obeyed them have not well considered of the Penalties which they will incur if they should persist in continuing their Session and doing Business therein. At present Ignorance of Law may excuse what is past: A Step farther will take away that Plea.

    It is therefore my Duty to interpose at this Instant, before it is too late. I do therefore earnestly admonish you that instantly and before you do any Business, you break up this Assembly and separate yourselves. I speak to you now as a Friend to the Province, and a Well-wisher to the Individuals of it.

    But if you should pay no Regard to this Admonition, I must as Governor assert the Prerogative of the Crown in a more public Manner. For assure yourselves, (I speak from Instruction) the King is determined to ma[in]tain2 his entire Sovreignty over this Province; and whoever shall persist in usurping any of the Rights of it, will repent of his Rashness.


    Province-House, Sept. 22d, 1768.

    newspaper, PC     CO 5/757, f 433.

    Transcribed from the copy printed in the Boston Gazette, 26 Sept. 1768 and enclosed in No. 691. The RC has not survived. Also printed in the Boston News-Letter, 29 Sept. 1768. Thomas Cushing, on behalf of the Convention, replied with No. 688.