687 | To Thomas Gage

    Boston Sep 24 1768


    Last Sunday I received a Letter from the Earl of Hillsborough1 informing me that his Majesty had ordered two regiments from Ireland to be sent over immediately to America & landed at Boston & commanded that I do, in concert with you, take any necessary Measure for the reception & accommodation of these troops. Before I wrote to you I was desirous of learning what dependance I could have upon the Council to assist me in this business. I therefore on Monday2 laid this letter & also your letter of Sep 12,3 which I had deferred to that time, before the Council & enforced their providing for the Service in the best manner I could.

    You must know that there are no Barracks at Boston, that is, no building appropriated as such. And you must observe that where there are no barracks the Act4 directs that they shall be quartered in public houses; & where those fail the Governor & Council are to hire Barns, Outhouses &c for quartering the soldiers. Now It is obvious that neither of these methods will do at this time & in this place. For if the soldiers were quartered in public houses & thereby intermixed with the Towns people in the humour they are in at present, it would occasion perpetual feuds & affrays between the Soldiers & the People; it would occasion frequent desertion, for which no encouragement would be wanting, as has been declared to be intended. It has been also publickly declared that when the Soldiers came to be quarter’d in public houses, All persons keeping such houses would give up their Licenses & there would be no publick houses. And it has been also said that when the Governor & Council come to hire buildings, No one would, no One should let them any. And then It is concluded, Let the Soldiers come into private houses if they dare. This Plan has been laid some time ago & has been very lately explained in public.

    At the meeting of the Council I urged these and other Reasons to show that there was nothing to be done upon this occasion but to fit up some of the public buildings for barracks & named some that might be evacuated without much inconvenience; or in part to run up slight barracks for the present: for that It would be very dangerous to quarter the Soldiers so as to intermix them with the people. This was generally agreed to; but how to fit up barracks was the question, as they had no command of the public money. At length it was agreed to confer with the Select men of the Town upon the Occasion.

    On the Thursday after it was reported that the Selectmen would do nothing in the business but left it to the Act of parliament.5 And the Council after declaring that the Barracks at the Castle were in the Town of Boston (as they are within the bounds of the Township) notwithstanding it entirely contradicted his Majesty’s orders in both respects they refused to do any thing at present but fit up those barracks, alledging that they will hold the two regiments from Halifax. And as for the two regiments from Ireland, it would ^be^ time enough to provide for them when they came.

    Being unwilling to let them part without doing something, I proposed to them that If they would authorise me to fit up the Manufactory House (a brick building belonging to the province & now unappropriated) to hold one of Col Dalrymple’s Regiments; I would engage, that if the Assembly should refuse to pay the charge, I would recommend it to be paid by the Crown. They desired time to consider of it & have this day, in a writing condemning6 the Ordering troops to Boston, refused to concur with me in fitting up that building or even consenting to the appropriating it to this Service; & adhere to doing nothing but fitting up the barracks at the Castle, which is 3 miles from Boston by Sea & 7 miles by land & therefore cant answer the purposes intended by sending troops to Boston.

    I will however of my own Authority appropriate the Manufactory house, but have Nothing to fit it up with. And when I have done this, which will make a clamour, I have done all I can: for I know not of any other public building that I can pretend a command over. There will then remain difficulties on evry side: One cannot think of dispersing the Men about the Town, or quartering them otherwise than in a body; if they make good their own quarters, as might be done in the workhouse & the poorhouse it would be improved for the worst of purposes: and yet I dont see how the Kings Orders can be executed without it. There seems to be but one alternative, which is to run up hasty barracks at the Expence of the Crown. This would disappoint the whole combination: But this must be done by order of your Excellency: for I have neither money nor Authority for it. When Col Dalrymple comes I will introduce him to the Council: but I dont expect He will have more weight with them than I have; for I have left nothing unsaid. But they fear the People more than they do the King.

    I am with great regard, Sr your most obedient and most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    His Excellency Genl Gage

    ALS, RC     Gage, vol. 81.

    Minor emendations not shown. Endorsed: Govr Bernard. Boston Sept. 24th. Received Octr 1st: answered ___ Variants: BP, 7: 199-22 (L, LbC) and CO 5/86, ff 209-212 (L extract, Copy). Gage replied with No. 697.7