THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE SPEAKERS OF THE COLONIAL ASSEMBLIES
Province of the Massachusetts Bay.
February 11th. 1768__
The House of Representatives of this Province have taken into their serious consideration the great difficulties that must accrue to themselves and their Constituents, by the operation of the several Acts of Parliament imposing Duties and Taxes on ye American colonies.
As it is ^a^ subject in which every Colony is deeply interested, they have no Reason to doubt but your Assembly is duly impressed with its Importance, and that such constitutional Measures will be taken by them as are proper. It seems to be necessary that all possible care should be taken that the Representations of the several Assemblies, upon so delicate a point, should harmonize with each other: The House, therefore, hope that this Letter will be candidly considered in no other Light than as expressing a disposition freely to communicate their mind to a Sister Colony, upon a common Concern in the same manner as they would be glad to receive the Sentiments of your or any other House of Assembly on the Continent.
This House have humbly represented to the Ministry their own Sentiments; That his Majesty’s high Court of Parliament is the supreme Legislative power over the whole Empire: That in all free States the Constitution is fixed; and as the supreme legislative derives its power and authority from the Constitution, it cannot overleap the Bounds of it without destroying its own Foundation: that the Constitution ascertains and limits both Sovereignty & Allegiance[,]1 and therefore his Majesty’s American Subjects who acknowledge themselves bound by the Ties of Allegiance, have an equitable Claim to the full enjoyment of the fundamental Rules of the British Constitution.
That it is an essential, unalterable Right in nature, ingrafted into the British Constitution, as a fundamental Law, and ever held sacred & irrevocable by the Subjects within the Realm, that what a Man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his Consent; That the American Subjects may therefore, exclusive of any Consideration of Charter Rights, with a decent firmness adapted to the Character of Freemen & Subjects assert this natural Constitutional Right.2 It is moreover their humble opinion, which they express with the greatest deference to the Wisdom of Parliament, that the Acts made there, imposing duties on the people of this Province with the sole and express purpose of raising a Revenue, are Infringements of their natural Constitutional Rights; because, as they are not represented in the British Parliament, his Majesty’s Commons in Britain, by those Acts grant their property without their Consent.
This House further are of Opinion that their Constituents, considering their local Circumstances cannot by any Possibility be represented in the Parliament, and that it will forever be impracticable, that they should be equally represented there, and consequently not at all; being separated by an ocean of a Thousand Leagues, and that his Majesty’s Royal Predecessors for this Reason, were graciously pleased to form a Subordinate Legislative here, that their Subjects might enjoy the unalienable Right of a Representation[;] and that considering the utter impracticability of their being fully & equally represented in Parliament, and the great Expence that must unavoidably attend even a partial Representation there; this House think that a Taxation of their Constituents even without their consent, grievous as it is would be preferable to any Representation that could be admitted for them there.
Upon these principles, & also considering that were the Right in the Parliament ever so clear, yet, for obvious Reasons it would be beyond the Rules of equity, that their Constituents should be taxed on the manufactures of Great Britain here, in addition to the Duties they pay for them in England, and other advantages arising to Great Britain, from the Acts of Trade; this House have preferred a humble dutiful and loyal Petition to our most gracious Sovereign, and made such Representations to his Majesty’s Ministers as they apprehend would tend to obtain Redress.3 They have also submitted to consideration, whether any people can be said to enjoy any degree of Freedom if the Crown in addition to its undoubted authority of constituting a Governor, should also appoint him such a stipend, as it may judge proper, without the Consent of the people, and at their expence; and whether while the Judges of the Land & other civil Officers in the Province hold not their Commissions during good behaviour their having Salaries appointed for them by the Crown independent of the people hath not a Tendency to subvert the principles of equity & endanger the happiness & security of ye Subject.
In addition to these Measures the House have wrote a Letter to their Agent Mr. Deberdt;4 the Sentiments of which he is directed to lay before the Ministry, wherein they take notice of the hardships of the Act for preventing Mutiny & Desertion,5 which requires the Governor & Council to provide enumerated articles for the king’s Marching Troops, and the people to pay the expence, and also the Commission of the Gentlemen appointed Commissioners of the Customs to reside in America, which authorizes them to make as many appointments as they think fit, and to pay the appointees what Sums they please, for whose mal Conduct they are not accountable—from whence it may happen that Officers of the Crown may be multiplied to such a degree as to become dangerous to the Liberties of the people, by virtue of a Commission which doth not appear to this House to derive any such advantages to Trade as many have been led to expect.
These are the sentiments & proceedings of this House; and as they have too much Reason to believe that the Enemies of the Colonies have represented them to his Majesty’s Ministers, and to the Parliament, as factious, disloyal, and having a disposition to make themselves independent of the Mother Country[,] they have taken Occasion in the most humble Terms to assure his Majesty & his ministers, that with regard to the people of this Province, and as they doubt not, of all the colonies, the Charge is unjust.
The House is fully satisfied that your Assembly is too generous and enlarged6 in sentiment to believe that this Letter proceeds from an ambition of taking the Lead, or dictating to the other Assemblies: They freely submit their Opinion to the Judgment of others, and shall take it kind in your house to point out to them anything further which may be thought necessary.
This House cannot conclude without expressing their firm Confidence in the King, our common Head and Father, that the united & dutiful supplications of his distressed American Subjects will meet with his Royal and favorable acceptance.
Signed by the Speaker
A true Copy
Attr:7 Saml. Adams Clk
Ms, Copy CO 5/757, ff 30-33.
In handwriting of John Cotton, deputy to the province secretary. Endorsed: Circular Letter from the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay, to the Speakers of the several Assemblys on the Continent of America. In Govr. Bernard’s (No. 4) of 18th: Febry 1768.
1. The Council’s record books are Council Executive Records, 1760-1769, CO 5/823 and CO 5/827. There is also a set of nineteenth-century transcripts in Council Executive Records, 1692-1774, 13 vols. [vols. 2-14]. GC3-327, M-Ar. The corresponding volumes for 1760-69 are vols. 15 and 16.
2. There are two contemporaneous sets of the Council’s legislative records. One was kept in Boston and is in Council Legislative Records, 1692-1774, 24 vols., GC3-1701x, vols. 23-28, M-Ar. The other was sent to London: Council in Assembly, Massachusetts, 1760-1769, CO 5/820-CO 5/828. This project utilizes the London copies, for it was this set that was prepared for and consulted by ministers and officials.
3. This was the first publication in the Bernard Letters pamphlet series, printing six of Bernard’s letters to the earl of Hillsborough Nos. 706, 708, 709, 711, 717, and 718, Bernard Papers, 5: 96-101, 103-109, 111-114, 128-135; and Thomas Gage to Hillsborough, Boston, 31 Oct. 1768. The compositors’ copy texts were transcripts of copies of original correspondence presented to Parliament on 20 Jan. 1769;* the transcripts were prepared and authenticated by the clerk of the papers of the House of Commons on 27 Jan. William Bollan, acting as London agent to the Massachusetts Council, sent them to Samuel Danforth, the “president” of the Council, on 30 Jan.; the parcel arrived on 8 Apr. and Danforth subsequently passed them to fellow councilor James Bowdoin, in whose keeping they remained. Thus, the printed versions of the first batch of Bernard Letters were three steps removed from the original letters received by the secretary of state: the differences between them generally are not substantive (viz. missing or additional words, grammatical alterations) and consistent with accidental copying errors (misspellings) or incidental practice (orthography, punctuation). There are three imprints, listed as items 68a-68c in Adams, American Independence, 51-52. Copies of all the imprints are available in Early American Imprints, Series 1, nos. 41911, 11178, and 11179. The first was an unnumbered four-page folio pamphlet, the second a sixteen-page quarto, and the third a twenty-eight-page quarto. The first imprint was published between 10 and 17 Apr.; all three would have been distributed to newspapers for reprinting.
* These are no longer extant. The Parliamentary archives in the House of Lords Library holds the American correspondence laid before Parliament on 28 Nov. but not the letters presented on 20 Jan. 1769. HLL: American Colonies Boxes 1-3.
4. The Gage Papers were being reorganized when this volume was in preparation. I have retained the abbreviation “Gage” for consistency across the Bernard Papers series but have added additional information to this section summarizing the collection.
5. The editors of this online resource advise that “the Journals of the House of Lords follow the same model as for those of the House of Commons . . . The volumes are from the Hartley Library [Univ. of Southampton], but give no information as to date, order or printer.” http://parlipapers.chadwyck.co.uk/infoCentre/about_long18.jsp. The first thirty-one volumes (covering the period up to 1767) were published between 1771 and 1777; vol. 36, published in 1808, took the series up to 1779. See H. H. Bellot, “Parliamentary Printing, 1660-1837,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 9 (1933-34).
6. The Boston first edition included all the correspondence printed in Copies of Letters from Governor Bernard to Hillsborough, and added several documents framing and constituting the Massachusettsís Council’s response to their governor’s reports: James Bowdoin’s letter to Hillsborough dated 15 Apr. 1769; the Council’s letters to Hillsborough of 15 Apr. and 12 Jun. 1769;*; and an appendix of the Council’s proceedings, Jun-Dec. 1768. For copy text the printers again used the transcripts made by the House of Commons’ clerk plus author copies of the Council’s documents, both sets probably supplied by James Bowdoin. Publication was advertised in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 27 Jul. 1769. The first edition is listed as 68d in Adams, American Independence, 53. Several US libraries have copies of this rare pamphlet, including the Library of Congress and the Boston Public Library. The project utilized the digitized version available in Early American Imprints, Series 1, no. 49926 (digital supplement).
* Appendices 3 to 5, Bernard Papers, 5: 325-358.
7. The London reprint is listed as 68e in Adams, American Independence, 53. The British Library microfilm copy (166p in reel no. 1870) is available in ECCO. The page sequence is different from the first edition, but the content is the same. It was first advertised for sale at 3s. in the Public Advertiser, 31 Oct. 1769.
8. Pamphlet 69a in Adams, American Independence, 53. The project used the digitized version of the pamphlet held by the Bodleian Library (Oxford) available in ECCO. This was a new edition of correspondence based on a second batch of transcripts supplied by the Commons’ clerk of papers and again transmitted to Boston by William Bollan, on 21 Jun. It included thirty of Bernard’s letters to the secretaries of state for the American Colonies (the earls of Shelburne and Hillsborough)* and two in-letters from Hillsborough (Nos. 722 and 727, Bernard Papers, 5: 142-143, 153-157); Gage to Hillsborough, Boston, 3 and 5 Nov. 1768; letters received by Philip Stephens, the secretary of the Admiralty, from Royal Navy officers stationed in Boston (including Commodore Samuel Hood, 22 Nov. to 7 Dec. 1768); memorials of the American Board of Customs to the Treasury (including Appendix 6) and their enclosures, and correspondence with Gov. Bernard (Nos. 624 and 626). It was first advertised for sale in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter, 7 Sept. 1769 and the Boston Evening-Post, 11 Sept. 1769.
* In this volume: to Shelburne: Nos. 585, 589, 593, 596, 600, 601, plus FB’s letter of 2 Feb. 1768, CO 5/757, f 24 (omitted from this volume because it merely acknowledged receipt of correspondence); to Hillsborough: Nos. 623, 630, 632, 633, 638, 646, 648, 654, 656, 660, 663, 664, 668, 672, 681, 686, 690, and 691. To Hillsborough: Nos. 694, 698, 700, and 703, Bernard Papers, 5: 63-68, 75-77, 79-82, 86-90.
9. Pamphlet 69c in Adams, American Independence, 53. The project used the digitized version of the copy in the Houghton Library (Harvard), (146p in microfilm reel no. 1471), in ECCO. The London reprint included three additional letters from Commodore Hood to Philip Stephens. Advertised for sale at 2s. 6d. in the Public Advertiser, 15 Nov. 1769.
10. A second edition was published in 1774 with a variant title and additional papers. Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America; and the Principles of Law and Polity, Applied to the American Colonies. Written by Governor Bernard, at Boston, In the Years 1763, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Now first published: To which are added The Petition of the Assembly of Massachuset’s Bay against the Governor, his Answer thereto, and the Order of the King in Council thereon (London: T. Payne, 1774). It was reprinted in Boston by Cox and Berry and advertised for sale on 27 Oct. 1774.
1. See Colin Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’: Francis Bernard and the Origins of the American Revolution (Boston, 2001).
2. The 1767 Townshend Acts were the American Revenue Act, 7 Geo. 3, c. 46; the Commissioners of Customs Act, 7 Geo. 3, c. 41; the Mutiny in America Act, 7 Geo. 3, c. 55; the New York Suspending Act, 7 Geo. 3, c. 59. They are briefly discussed in Bernard Papers, 3: 24-28. The best account is Peter D. G. Thomas, The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767-1773 (Oxford, 1987).
3. See Merrill Jensen, The Founding of a Nation: A History of the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (New York, 1968); Pauline Maier, From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (London, 1973; ed. 1988); Dirk Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 1765-1780 (London, 1977); John W. Tyler, Smugglers & Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the Revolution (Boston, 1986); Marc Egnal, A Mighty Empire: The Origins of the American Revolution (Ithaca, NY, 1988).
4. James Otis Jr. (1725-83), representative for Boston, 1761-69 and 1771; Samuel Adams (1722-1803), representative for Boston between 1765 and 1774; James Bowdoin (1726-90), elected to the Council 1757-68, 1770-73.
5. Memorial of the American Board of Customs to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, Boston, 12 May 1768, T 1/465, ff 60-61.
6. Some of FB’s letters were composed over several days. In this volume: Nos. 590, 591, 609, 623, 632, 633, 638, 640, 656, and 686. In the next volume notably Nos. 779 and 792, Bernard Papers, 5: 274-275, 295-296.
7. These are printed in JHRM, 44: 217-250.
8. Dennys DeBerdt (d.1770), a Dissenter and London merchant, was appointed agent of the House of Representatives on 12 Mar. 1767, ostensibly to represent the province in the border dispute with New Hampshire, but without the concurrence of the Governor and Council, as was normal when appointing the province agent. Neither FB nor the British government recognized DeBerdt’s position.
9. George Montague-Dunk (1716-71), second earl of Halifax, was a reform-minded first lord commissioner (that is, president) of the Board of Trade, 1748-61; secretary of state for the Northern Department, 1762-63 and 1771, and for the Southern Department, Aug. 1763-10 Jul. 1765. On Halifax and Bernard see Bernard Papers, 3: 5, 11.
10. Thomas Pelham-Holles (1693-1768), first duke of Newcastle, was first lord of the Treasury from 1754 to 1762. He was leader of his own administration between 1754 and 1756, and thereafter formed a coalition with William Pitt (1708-78) until 1761. As the prime minister, Pitt chose to hold the secretaryship of state for the Southern Department until his resignation on 5 Oct. 1761. Pitt formed his second administration on 30 Jul. 1766, succeeding the marquess of Rockingham, and having been raised to the peerage as first earl of Chatham. He resigned office in Oct. 1768, after suffering chronic illness.
11. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 38, 70-72.
12. George Grenville (1712-70) was first lord of the Treasury and chancellor of the Exchequer in the administration he led from Aug. 1763 to 10 Jul. 1765. Charles Watson-Wentworth (1730-82), second marquess of Rockingham, entered office as first lord of the Treasury on 13 Jul. 1765 and left office on 30 Jul. 1766.
13. On Shelburne’s term as secretary of state for the Southern Department, 30 Jul. 1766 to 21 Jan. 1768, and his handling of American affairs see Bernard Papers, 3: 20-22, 26, 29-32.
14. John Pownall (1724/5-95) was secretary to the Board of Trade, 1745-68, and undersecretary of state at the American Department, Jun. 1768-Aug. 1772. On Pownall’s career see Franklin B. Wickwire, “John Pownall and British Colonial Policy,” WMQ 20 (1963): 543-554.
15. Thomas Pownall (1722-1805) had been governor of Massachusetts, 1757-60, and was author of the widely respected The Administration of the Colonies (London, 1764), of which several editions were published during the Imperial Crisis (and are available in ECCO). His career is best followed in John A. Schutz, Thomas Pownall: British Defender of American Liberty (Glendale, Calif., 1951); G. H. Guttridge, “Thomas Pownall’s The Administration of the Colonies: The Six Editions,” WMQ 26 (1969): 31-46. Bernard’s concerns that Pownall was corresponding with the Boston Whigs are mentioned in No. 742, Bernard Papers, 5: 198-202.
16. Richard Jackson (1721/2-87) was a barrister and MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis until 1768; he was currently province agent for Connecticut (1760–70) and Pennsylvania (1763–69), having also served Massachusetts between 1765 and 1766. Jackson’s letters to Bernard have not survived intact to enable a fuller evaluation of the nature of their correspondence. W. P. Courtney, “Jackson, Richard (1721/2–1787),” rev. J.-M. Alter, in ODNB-e (http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.stir.ac.uk/view/article/14546, accessed 29 Mar. 2014).
17. William Wildman Barrington (1717-93), second Viscount Barrington, MP for Plymouth, and secretary at war, 1755-61 and 1765-78. His career can be followed in Tony Hayter, An Eighteenth Century Secretary at War: The Papers of William, Viscount Barrington ([London], 1988).
18. Charles Pratt (1714-94), baron (later earl) of Camden was lord chancellor from 1766 to 1770. On Pitt and America see Jeremy Black, Pitt the Elder (1993); Neil Longley York, “When Words Fail: William Pitt, Benjamin Franklin and the Imperial Crisis of 1766,” Parliamentary History 28 (2009): 341-374.
19. William Petty (1737-1805), second earl of Shelburne, had been secretary of state for the Southern Department since 30 Jul. 1766, serving in both Chatham’s and Grafton’s administrations. He relinquished responsibility for colonial affairs on 21 Jan. 1768, when they were taken over by the new Colonial Department. Shelburne remained at the Southern Department until resigning from the government on 21 Oct. 1768. John Cannon, “Petty, William, second earl of Shelburne and first marquess of Lansdowne (1737–1805),” ODNB-e (http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/22070, accessed 2 Mar. 2012). Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, afterwards First Marquis of Lansdowne, with extracts from his Papers and Correspondence (London, 1912).
20. See Bernard Papers, 3: 20-23, 28-31.
21 The Massachusetts Indemnity Act of 1766 was disallowed by the Privy Council. Bernard was instructed to procure another act, which he safely avoided when the Townshend duties controversy engulfed his administration. Bernard Papers, 3: 258.
22. Historians often refer to Hillsborough’s position as secretary of state for the American Colonies and his office as the American Department. The correct terms are “secretary of state for the Colonies” and the “Colonial Department.” The terms “colonial secretary” and “American secretary” are commonly interchangeable when referring to the secretary of state. The secretary of state for the Colonies was regarded as a junior appointment to the secretaries of state for the Southern and Northern Departments. Administrative efficiency only partly drove the creation of the new office, for Shelburne’s critics within the government saw in it an opportunity to undermine his influence (on which point I am grateful for the advice of Neil Longley York). The Colonial Department was abolished in 1782. See Margaret Spector, The American Department of the British Government ([New York], ); Sainty, et al., Officeholders in Modern Britain, 2: 22-58; Thomas, The Townshend Duties Crisis, 45-47.
23. See Charles R. Ritcheson, British Politics and the American Revolution (Norman, Okla., 1954); John Derry, English Politics and the American Revolution (London, 1976); Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis.
24. I have included forty-one and omitted four of Bernard’s letters to Hillsborough. One of the omissions is an original version of a letter to Shelburne (No. 600); two others are letters of introduction for colonists visiting England (dated 21 Jul. and 8 Aug., BP, 7: 12 and CO 5/757, ff 371-372); and one has not been found (of 23 Sept., noted in HCJ, 32: 76). Of the twenty-two extant letters from Hillsborough five been omitted because they duplicated information provided elsewhere (which was the case of state papers Nos. 4, 8 and 17 dated 20 Feb., 30 Apr., and 13 Aug. in BP, 11: 141-144, 175-176, 285) or transmitted other documentation (“No. 5”, dated 5 Mar., BP, 11: 149-152); “No. 2” was a circular notifying the governors of Hillsborough’s appointment. BP, 11: 123-126.
25. Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
26. No. 462, Bernard Papers, 3: 134-138.
27. John K. Alexander, Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary (Lanham, Md., 2011), 64-68; Harry Alonzo Cushing, The Writings of Samuel Adams, 4 vols. (New York, 1904), 1: 134-198. On Otis’s contribution see No. 581n5.
28. The earl of Hillsborough, circular to the colonial governors, Whitehall, 21 Apr. 1768. CO 5/241, f 28.
29. For an account of cabinet deliberations on the Circular Letter see Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 78-83.
30. Thomas Hutchinson (1711-80) held several senior positions in Massachusetts: lieutenant governor, 1760-69; chief justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, 1760-71; acting governor 1769-71, and governor, 1771-74. Referred to as “TH” in the editorial commentaries below.
31. Bernard Papers, 3: 25, 421-422; James F. Shepherd and Gary M. Walton, Shipping, Maritime Trade, and the Economic Development of Colonial North America (Cambridge, 1979), 104, 113, 143; an account of the gross receipt, payments, and net produce of the Customs in North America, 1767-1774, T 1/461, f 1.
32. The best account of the nonimportation controversy in Boston is Tyler, Smugglers & Patriot, 109-170.
33. For Bernard’s early reports on rescues and Malcom see Nos. 454, 493, 504, 537, Bernard Papers, 3: 120-121, 204, 232-234, 338.
34. Thomas Gage (1721-87), British military commander in chief in North America, 1764-75.
35. Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 11 Apr. 1768.
37. Andrew Oliver (1706-74) was province secretary, 1756-70. Robert Auchmuty (1724-88), was appointed judge of the Vice Admiralty Court in New England in 1768. Jonathan Sewall (1729-96) was the province attorney general, 1767-75, and the advocate general of Vice Admiralty, 1767-68. He was also appointed solicitor general on 24 Jun. 1767 and may have nominally continued in office following his appointment as attorney general until his replacement by Samuel Quincy (1735-89) on 21 Mar. 1771. William H. Whitmore, The Massachusetts Civil List for the Colonial and Provincial Periods (Albany, 1870), 125.
38. Bernard Papers, 5: 290-291.
39. TH to unknown, Boston, 14 Nov. 1768, Mass. Archs., 26: 327, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 2: 679.
40. TH to William Bollan, 15 Oct. 1767, quoted in Bernard Papers, 3: 189-190.
41. William Bollan to TH, London, 18 Dec. 1768, Mass. Archs, 25: 254-255a, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 250-251.
42. TH to Nathaniel Rogers, Milton, 31 May 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 258-259, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 258.
43. See the source note to No. 623 in this volume; Nos. 710 and 715 in Bernard Papers, 5: 109-111, 121-124.
44. No. 719, Bernard Papers, 5: 134-138.
45. See No. 728, Bernard Papers, 5: 154-158.
46. Commodore Hood, the commander of the North Atlantic Station, ordered several Royal Navy ships (listed in No. 634n4) to Boston harbor after requests for assistance from the American Customs.
47. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 166-169.
48. On crowd action generally see Pauline Maier, “Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority in Eighteenth-Century America,” WMQ 27 (1970): 3-35; Maier, From Resistance to Revolution; Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts; William Pencak, Matthew Dennis, and Simon P. Newman, Riot and Revelry in Early America, (University Park, 2002); Paul A. Gilje, Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution (Philadelphia, PA, 2004). On the Liberty riot see John Philip Reid, In a Rebellious Spirit: The Argument of Facts, The Liberty Riot and the Coming of the Revolution (Univ. Park, Penn., 1979).
49. Especially Reid, In a Rebellious Spirit.
50. Researchers should also consult the entire file of Customs Board’s papers on the Liberty riot which contains numerous depositions and correspondence with the Treasury, Capt. John Corner, and FB. T 1/465, ff 124-193.
51. John Temple (1731-98). The Boston-born Temple had been surveyor general of Customs for the Northern District before his appointment to the American Board of Customs. Temple’s professional relationship with FB broke down in 1764 after he accused the governor of fraud (for which see Bernard Papers, 2: 216, 488, 502-504). He came to dislike his fellow commissioners partly because of their association with the governor. Married to Elizabeth Bowdoin (1750-1809), daughter of Whig councilor James Bowdoin, Temple was distrusted by his colleagues who suspected him of being a Whig sympathizer. Temple’s working relationship with the other commissioners broke down when the Board returned to Boston in Nov. 1768, and by February was beyond repair. Temple was replaced in 1771.
52. No. 387, Bernard Papers, 2: 349-350.
53. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 164-176, quotation at 145. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 169-171; John Philip Reid, In a Defiant Stance: The Conditions of Law in Massachusetts Bay, the Irish Comparison, and the Coming of the American Revolution (University Park, Penn., 1977). See also Reid’s In a Rebellious Spirit.
54. Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
55. See Nicolson, ‘The Infamas Govener’, 167-173.
56. Message of the House of Representatives, 30 Jun. 1768, JHRM, 45: 91-94.
58. Benjamin Hallowell (1724-99), comptroller of Customs at Boston, 1764-70, and a commissioner of Customs from 1771. His house was attacked during the Stamp Act riot of 26 Aug. 1765.
59. The papers brought by Hallowell were reviewed by the Treasury on 21 Jul. and Hillsborough on 23 Jul. They were considered by the cabinet on 27 Jul. Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 85-86.
60. Hillsborough’s personal papers in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland contain little material of relevance to the imperial crisis. His correspondence is also scattered throughout numerous collections in the British Library. Hillsborough’s state papers from the imperial crisis, however, are well preserved in the Colonial Office Documents (CO 5) at TNA, and in the Bernard Papers (BP), vols. 11 and 12, in Sparks MS 4, at the Houghton Library. There are transcripts of some of his letters in the Frederick Lewis Gay Transcripts, 1632-1786, 69 vols. MHS.
61. The most important of Hillsborough’s numerous offices were president of the Board of Trade, 1763-65 and 1766; joint postmaster-general, 1766-68; secretary of state for the Colonies, 21 Jan. 1768-13 Aug. 1772; secretary of state for the Southern Department from 25 Nov. 1779 until his resignation on 27 Mar. 1782 after the fall of the North administration. The best biography is Peter Marshall, “Hill, Wills, first marquess of Downshire (1718–1793),” ODNB-e (http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.stir.ac.uk/view/article/13317, accessed 20 Aug. 2013). On Hillsborough and America see Sian E. Rees, “The Political Career of Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough (1718-1793) with particular reference to his American policy,” unpublished PhD diss., Aberystwyth University, 1976.
62. Hillsborough was the first lord commissioner of the Board of Trade, 17 Sept. 1763-c.12 Aug. 1765 and 18 Aug. to 4 Dec. 1766. The president’s role was discontinued by the Chatham administration, and from 12 Jul. 1768 the secretary of state for the Colonies was ex officio chairman. Sainty, et al., Officeholders in Modern Britain, 3: 28-37.
63. See Bernard Papers, 3: 25-27.
64. Marshall, “Hill, Wills,” ODNB-e.
65. Wills Hill succeeded his father as second (Irish) Viscount Hillsborough in 1742. The earldom of Hillsborough was a creation in the Irish peerage for Hill in 1751 (he was also created Viscount Kilwarlin). He sat in the House of Commons as MP for Warwick, from 1741 to 1756, when he was created Lord Harwich in the British peerage; thereafter he sat in the House of Lords. His title of earl of Hillsborough was admitted to the British peerage in 1772 when he was also created Viscount Fairford; in 1789, he was created marquis of Downshire in the Irish peerage. The lord lieutenant of Ireland between 1767 and 1772 was George Townshend (1724–1807), first Marquess Townshend and older brother of Charles Townshend (1725-67), Chatham’s chancellor of the Exchequer.
66. Bernard Papers, 3: 29-31.
67. Don Cook, The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760-1785 (New York, 1995), 162.
68. John Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 1766-1768 (London, 1956), 332, 336.
69. Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (New York, 1982), 175.
70. Bernard Papers, 3: 2, 19-23.
71. Bernard Papers, 2: 87-88, 98, 100, 144, 480.
72. Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 80-120.
73. “Disposition and State of the Forces in North America . . . 1766,” MiU-C: Charles Townshend Papers, box 8/23.
74. For the ships’ movements in and out Boston harbor see No. 694, Bernard Papers, 5: 63-68.
75. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 172-173; Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 82.
76. Reid, In a Rebellious Spirit, 127.
77. The Governor-in-Council was the appropriate civil authority to make such a request of either Hillsborough or Gage. FB was unwilling to take such action on his own without the Council’s express support, though he did not require it cases of emergency, such as rebellion or insurrection. Instructions clarifying the procedure were circulated to colonial governors on 24 Oct. 1765, following the Stamp Act riots.
You will not . . . fail to use your utmost Power for repelling all Acts of Outrage, and Violence, and to provide for the Maintenance of Peace and good Order in the Province, by such a timely Exertion of Force, as the Occasion may require; for which Purpose You will make the proper Applications to General Gage, or Lord Colville, Commanders of His Majesty’s Land & Naval Forces in America.
No. 405, Bernard Papers, 2: 385-387.
78. FB is referring not only to the newspaper reports but also to the American Board of Customs’s letter to Gage, 15 Jun. Appendix 5.
79. TH to unknown, Boston, 14 Nov. 1768, Mass. Archs., 26: 327, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 2: 679.
80. See Introduction to Bernard Papers, 5: 1-39.
81. On sedition see Bernard Papers, 3: 384-386, 397-398, 400-405, 409; on insurrectionism see ibid., 68-70, 79, 219, 384-385, 393-396, 404, 424.
82. Bernard Papers, 5: 75-77. See also Reid, In a Defiant Stance, 20-54.
83. No. 698, Bernard Papers, 5: 75-77.
84. Bernard Papers, 5: 125-127.
85. HJL, 32: 165-166 and HCJ, 32: 21-22.
86. HLJ, 32: 209-210; HCJ, 32: 151. Parliament’s proceedings on America are discussed in Bernard Papers, 5: 11-22.
87. Ian R. Christie and Benjamin Woods Labaree, Empire or Independence, 1760-1776: A British-American Dialogue on the Coming of the American Revolution (Oxford, 1976), 124-129; Reid, In a Rebellious Spirit, 77-80; Lawrence Henry Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, 15 vols. (Caldwell, Id, 1936), 11: 235-241.
88. Hillsborough resigned following a disagreement with his cabinet colleagues over western expansion in America. He strenuously opposed a proposal to establish a new colony along the Ohio River but undermined his own credibility when it was revealed that he had encouraged applicants to submit a land grant for an unfeasibly large territory in the expectation that it would be refused, thus jeopardizing the scheme. Marshall, “Hill, Wills,” op. cit.
89. See Theodore Draper, A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution (New York, 1997), 318-319, 347-349, 359.
90. Quoted in Cook, The Long Fuse, 128.
91. George Chalmers, “Papers relating to New England, 1643-1786,” Sparks MS 10, MH-H; John Almon, A Collection of Interesting, Authentic Papers, relative to the Dispute between Great Britain and America; shewing the causes and progress of that misunderstanding, from 1764 to 1775 (London, 1777).
92. Standard biographical directories include: Mark Mayo Boatner, ed., Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (New York, 1966); Joseph Foster, ed., Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886, 4 vols. (Oxford and London, 1888); Edward A. Jones, The Loyalists of Massachusetts: Their Memorials, Petitions and Claims (London, 1930); David E. Maas, ed. and comp., Divided Hearts: Massachusetts Loyalists, 1765-1790: A Biographical Directory (Boston, 1980); Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754-1790, 3 vols. (London, 1964); John A. Schutz, ed., Legislators of the Massachusetts General Court (Boston, 1997); Search & ReSearch Publishing Corp, Early Vital Records of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to About 1850 (Wheat Ridge, Conn., 2002); John L. Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, eds. Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University [title varies], 18 vols. to date (Cambridge, Mass., 1873-); James H. Stark, The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution (Boston, 1910); Nancy S. Voye, Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian Wars, 1748-1763 (microfiche, Boston, 1975).
93. American National Biography Online (New York, 2005-, at http://www.anb.org); Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (Toronto, 2003-, http://www.biographi.ca); Newsbank Inc., America’s Historical Newspapers. Archive of Americana. Early American Newspapers Series 1, 1690-1876 (2008-, available via subscription at GenealogyBank.com, http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online (London, 2004-2006, http://www.oxforddnb.com) (hereafter ODNB-e). The British Army Lists, published annually since 1740, are not online, but Worthington C. Ford, British Officers Serving in America, 1754-1774 (Boston, 1894) is available at the Internet Archive.com. Also useful for establishing dates of British government appointments is the authoritative J. C. Sainty, et al., eds., Officeholders in Modern Britain, 1660-1870, 11 vols. (London, 1972-2006), available at British History Online (via http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue). Contemporary almanacs and court-registers are accessible through ECCO. For example, The Court and City Kalendar: or, Gentleman’s Register, for the year 1766 . . . (London, 1765).
1. The second session of the legislature ran from 30 Dec. 1767 to 4 Mar. 1768.
2. FB’s opening speech invited the assembly to consider the report of the boundary commissioners examining the province border with New York, and the relevant correspondence with governors Sir Henry Moore and John Wentworth. The sense of ennui pervading FB’s observation about his “Oratory” indicates the shallowness of his promise to the assembly to “be always ready to assist in all Measures which shall appear to me to be conducive to the true Honor and real Interest of this Province.” JHRM, 44: 88.
3. Both issues were probably raised in the course of a day’s debate on the Townshend duties, on 30 Dec. The “censure” of TH was offered in criticism of his role in the Superior Court’s decision of Oct. 1767 to disbar Joseph Hawley (a leading Whig) from legal practice. See No. 586n4.
4. No. 564, Bernard Papers, 3: 401-402.
5. British army officer William Spry, captain lieutenant in the military branch of Ordinance, had arrived in Boston on 7 Nov. 1767 en route to his new posting as commander of the artillery at Halifax. But the ship in which he traveled carried smallpox, necessitating the quarantining of passengers and crew by the town authorities. FB intervened to procure Spry’s release, doubtless upon learning that the captain was immune. Bernard Papers, 3: 402.
6. Lloyd’s Evening Post, 1 Jan. 1768; Public Advertiser, 5 Jan 1768.
7. William Petty (1737-1805), second earl of Shelburne, was secretary of state for the Southern Department, 30 Jul. 1766-21 Oct. 1768. He relinquished responsibility for colonial affairs on 21 Jan. 1768, when they were taken over by the new Colonial Department under the earl of Hillsborough.the papers of governor francis bernard
8. Charles Watson-Wentworth (1730-82), second marquess of Rockingham, accepted the king’s invitation to form an administration in succession to George Grenville’s on 10 Jul. 1765, entering office as first lord of the Treasury on 13 Jul. and continuing until 30 Jul. 1766. The succeeding administration of William Pitt (1708-78), first earl of Chatham and Lord Privy Seal, ended with his resignation on 14 Oct. 1768. Augustus Henry Fitzroy (1735-1811), third duke of Grafton, led the administration as first lord of the Treasury during Chatham’s long illness; after Chatham’s resignation, he formed his own administration as prime minister until 30 Jan. 1770.
9. No. 572, Bernard Papers, 3: 342, 419.
10. Pownall held the position from 24 Jun. 1768 until 5 Apr. 1776.
1. Daniel Dulany (1722-97), a Maryland lawyer was the author of a well-known attack on the Stamp Act, Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies, for the purpose of raising a revenue, by act of Parliament (Annapolis, 1765). The pamphlet was a forceful attack on parliamentary taxation, and was subsequently published in Boston, London, and New York. See John Eliot Alden, “The Boston Edition of Daniel Dulany’s Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes,” The New England Quarterly 13 (No. 4, 1940): 705-711. I am grateful to Christopher F. Minty for drawing my attention to Alden’s article. Dulany eventually became a Loyalist, a transition that was not uncommon among conservative Whigs in Massachusetts (and exemplified by councilors John Erving Sr., Harrison Gray, and Isaac Royall).
2. The underlining of this sentence is probably noncontemporaneous.
3. The New York Suspending Act, 1767 (7 Geo. 3, c. 59).
4. I am grateful to Christopher Minty for researching the publication dates.
5. BP, 6: 82.
6. Forrest McDonald, ed., Empire and Nation: Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (John Dickinson). Letters from the Federal Farmer (Richard Henry Lee) (Indianapolis, 1999), chapter: “Introduction,” accessed from http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/690/102298 on 27 Feb. 2013.
7. Arthur Schrader, “Songs to Cultivate the Sensations of Freedom, “in Music in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630-1820, ed. Sheldon B. Cohen (Boston, 1980), 105-156, at 113-116.
8. McDonald, Empire and Nation.
2. “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” V was first published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, 21-28 Dec. 1767, and reprinted in New York and Boston, including the New-York Mercury, 11 Jan., the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 11 Jan., the Boston Gazette, 18 Jan., and the Boston Chronicle, 11-18 Jan. 1768.
3. Lord Chatham. Appended to the fifth letter printed the Pennsylvania Chronicle, 21-28 Dec. 1767, was a note that ought to have been included as a footnote to the fourth letter printed in the newspaper’s issue for 14-21 Dec. It contained author John Dickinson’s commentary on William Pitt’s House of Commons speech of 14 Jan. 1766 in which Pitt urged the repeal of the Stamp Act. Dickinson reviewed the distinction that Pitt had reputedly made between “external taxes” for the regulation of trade and “internal taxes” for raising revenue, which many contemporaries had come to accept. Dickinson, however, concluded that the distinction was not so much erroneous as irrelevant, since any tax was, by definition, a revenue raising measure; therefore, the Townshend duties, though designated “Port Duties,” were as unconstitutional as the Stamp Tax since Americans had not consented to their imposition. The footnote was relocated to its correct place in the first pamphlet edition printed by David Hall and William Sellers. John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies (Philadelphia, 1768).
In the seventh letter, published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle on 11 Jan. and reprinted in the New-York Journal, 16 Jan., Dickinson, quoted further extracts from parliamentary speeches, including Pitt’s famous declamation of 14 Jan. 1766 that “this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies” and Camden’s attack on the proposed Declaratory Act from 11 Mar. 1766. For Camden, Dickinson’s source was “L—C—m’s Speech on the declaratory Bill of the Sovereignty of Great-Britain over the Colonies,” Pennsylvania Chronicle, 21-28 Dec. 1767; this version was reprinted in the New York and Massachusetts newspapers.
4. Lord Camden. “L—C—m’s Speech on the declaratory Bill of the Sovereignty of Great-Britain over the Colonies,” in the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 4 Jan. 1768. FB seems to confuse the earl of Chatham with Lord Camden, because the newspapers wrongly attributed Camden’s speech of 11 Mar. to “L—C—m” (Chatham). FB’s comment that members of the House of Representatives supposed the “Speech [was] made very lately” indicates some uncertainty as to the speech’s provenance. But in a letter to Jackson written on the same date (No. 580), he unequivocally (and accurately) attributed the printed speech to Camden.
6. FB is referring specifically to the House of Representatives’ petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768. JHRM, 44: 217-219. But the House also prepared a series of “Representations” to leading British politicians, for which see JHRM, 44: 219-250 and the list in No. 593n3. The House’s instructions to Dennys DeBerdt (d.1770)—who had been appointed House agent on 17 Mar. 1767—were delivered in a long letter of 12 Jan., JHRM, 44: 241-250.
7. Thomas Cushing (1725-88), representative for Boston between 1761 and 1774, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1766-70 and 1772-74.
8. The publication of “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania” had heightened FB’s anxiety that differences between Britain and the colonies over imperial power and parliamentary authority were becoming irreconcilable. See No. 578.
10. FB to John Pownall, 28 Mar. 1768, BP. 6: 104-105.
11. Historians have debated whether or not Pitt actually meant what he said and indeed what he actually said. The most recent investigation by Neil Longley York points to Pitt deliberating the constitutionality of the Stamp Tax as an “internal” tax, and famously deciding that taxation of the unrepresented Americans was unconstitutional. Pitt had not questioned Parliament’s legislative supremacy in the American Colonies. But FB’s reference to “Reasoning against the Right of taxing the Colonies in Parliament” in the second paragraph of the letter printed here is indicative of the direction of colonial arguments used against the Townshend duties. Neil Longley York, “When Words Fail: William Pitt, Benjamin Franklin and the Imperial Crisis of 1766,” Parliamentary History 28 (2009): 341-374, at 343-345.
12. JHRM, 43 pt.1: 108-109.
13. JHRM, 44: 144.
14. Reports of Pitt’s speeches against the Stamp Act appeared in many colonial newspapers over the summer of 1766. Some were contained in published letters from England, such as that printed in the Pennsyvlania Gazette, 1 May 1766. One particular letter, dated 30 Jan. 1766, was reprinted in the Newport Mercury, 5 May; the Boston News-Letter, 8 May; the Boston Evening-Post, 12 May; and other papers. A fuller version was printed in The Celebrated Speech of a Celebrated Commoner ([London], 1766), though it was not advertised in colonial newspapers. Pitt was widely honored as a national hero for masterminding Britain’s victory over France in the Seven Years’ War, and was further lauded by the American colonists for saving them from the Stamp Act. As prime minister and Lord Privy Seal, Chatham’s American policy was avoiding making any concessions to the Americans in matters respecting parliamentary authority, despite what the Massachusetts Whigs hoped; policy was largely shaped by other members of his cabinet during long periods of illness and absence, notably Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend and First Lord of the Treasury Grafton. Nonetheless, Americans would look to Chatham again when war threatened in 1774 and 1775 to effect a reconciliation with Britain. See Bernard Papers, 3: 24-27; John Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 1766-1768 (London, 1956).
15. Camden’s speech extracted in the New-York Mercury, 26 May 1766; Boston Evening-Post, 26 May 1766. See Bernard Papers, 3: 151, 153, 155n.
16. These speeches are summarized in William Cobbett, The Parliamentary History of England from the earliest period to the year 1803, from which last-mentioned epoch it is continued downwards in the work entitled “The parliamentary debates,” 36 vols. (London, 1806-1820), 16: 168-169, 177-181.
17. Pennsylvania Chronicle, 28 Dec. 1767; the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 4 Jan. 1768; and the Boston Evening-Post, 18 Jan. 1768.
18. JHRM, 44: 229-231.
1. Hitherto, FB had not numbered his letters to Jackson. The first in the series was dated 8 Jan. 1768. BP, 6: 57-59. FB ceased the practice by mid-March.
2. These letters from Jackson have not survived. Jackson remained a key contact for FB in spite of his removal from the province agency in 1767 (for which see Bernard Papers, 3: 266) notwithstanding his own opposition to DeBerdt’s appointment as House agent and disappointment at Jackson’s dismissal.
3. FB was hoping Jackson would be able to persuade DeBerdt to censor any documents he received from the House of Representatives, before presenting them to the king or secretary of state. FB could not be sure that the British would ignore DeBerdt’s credentials as House agent, even though he had opposed the appointment on constitutional grounds. DeBerdt was not hidebound by protocol, but he would not have assumed he had authority to alter any documents unless so directed by the Speaker of the House, Thomas Cushing, his principal contact. However, DeBerdt had already criticized the House for delaying voting compensation to the victims of the Stamp Act riots. FB thought the House’s recent letter to DeBerdt might also have alarmed him with its provocative references to exploitative taxes and standing armies. Bernard Papers, 3: 230; House of Representatives to Dennys DeBerdt, 12 Jan., 1768, JHRM, 44: 241-250. See No. 581n4.
5. Lord Camden’s speech of 11 Mar. 1766 was printed in the English Political Register, 3 Oct. 1767, and reprinted in colonial newspapers under the title “L—C—m’s Speech on the declaratory Bill of the Sovereignty of Great-Britain over the Colonies.” Pennsylvania Chronicle, 28 Dec. 1767; the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, 4 Jan. 1768; and the Boston Evening-Post, 18 Jan. 1768. See the source note to No. 579.
1. By the American Declaratory Act, 6 Geo. 3 c. 12 (1766).
2. FB also considered the “refinement” in the colonial case against parliamentary taxation in his letters to Pownall, Nos. 578 and 579. Here he is referring to newspaper articles by the “Pennsylvania Farmer” and commentators upon them that shaped the ensuing debate.
3. That is, the Houses of Parliament.
4. Notably, when FB transmitted to the then secretary of state, the earl of Halifax, the assembly’s petition to the House of Commons protesting the introduction of the Sugar Act and stamp duty, his covering letter provided detailed commentary on each of the petition’s main points. No. 315, Bernard Papers, 3: 161-167. Preventing FB from reading a petition was one way that the Massachusetts House of Representatives could limit his interference, but there was no guarantee that the secretary of state would recognize the legitimacy of DeBerdt’s appointment as House agent—in fact Hillsborough did not—or accept any paper not transmitted by the governor.
5. The committee appointed on 30 Dec. 1767 included the four Boston representatives: Speaker Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams (1722-1803), James Otis Jr. (1725-83), John Hancock (1737-93). They were joined by FB’s old enemies Jerathmeel Bowers (1717-99), Samuel Dexter (1726-1810), Joseph Hawley (1723-88), and Edward Sheaffe. All were prominent radicals. The committee proceeded to prepare instructions for House agent Dennys DeBerdt (on 12 Jan.), a letter to Shelburne (15 Jan.), a petition to the king (20 Jan.), and several letters to leading British statesmen (22 Jan. to 22 Feb.). A full list is provided in No. 593n3. These documents were the work of the committee, but Samuel Adams, as clerk of the House, took the lead role in their composition, as he did with most other official papers issued by House from early 1768 onwards. JHRM, 44: 89; Alexander, Samuel Adams, 64-68; Cushing, Writings of Samuel Adams, 1: 134-198. The recollections of John Adams provide a corrective to the tendency of Samuel Adams biographers to minimize or ignore the contributions of co-authors, notably Otis. John Adams, who was very familiar with the writing styles of both James Otis and Samuel Adams, suggested that Otis’s input to the documentary series was substantive. Having analyzed several passages in the documents, John Adams concluded that Otis’s “hand” was “visible . . . demonstrative . . . indelible.” In a letter to his former clerk William Tudor Sr., John Adams first suggested that “these letters,” which he read in pamphlet form, “from beginning to end, demonstrate the rough case of James Otis and the polish and burnish of Samuel Adams.” But in the same letter, Adams concluded that
upon an attentive and careful review of all these letters, I can find nothing to ascribe to Mr. [Samuel] Adams. Every sentence and every word of them appears to me to be Mr. Otis’s. They are but an abridgment, a concise compendium of Mr. Otis’s argument against the execution of the acts of trade in 1761, seven years before these letters were written. If Mr. Otis himself had not informed me that he had given them all to Mr. Sam Adams to be revised, I should not have suspected that Mr. Adams had any thing to do in the composition of them; for Mr. Otis was as severe a critic, and as capable of writing well, as any man of that time. He only did not love to revise, correct, and polish. If Mr. Adams had really any share in these compositions, it must have been only in the collocation of words.
John Adams to William Tudor Sr., Quincy, 7 Mar. 1819, Works of John Adams, 10: 367-375. FB’s various comments in this and other volumes of the Bernard Papers, respecting the House’s public papers, suggest that he considered Otis and Adams as lead authors. The problem of ascertaining their respective contributions can be left to their future biographers to resolve.
6. The committee reported the draft letter to DeBerdt on 6 Jan. and the letter to Shelburne on 15 Jan. JHRM, 44: 99, 114. The House ordered that they should be sent immediately and that they should be copied into the journals. House of Representatives to Dennys DeBerdt, 12 Jan., 1768, ibid., 241-250; to the earl of Shelburne, 15 Jan. 1768, ibid., 44: 219-224.
7. The letter to DeBerdt framed the case against parliamentary taxation in terms of natural rights philosophy, asserting what colonists would call their “unalienable” or “inalienable” rights. House of Representatives to Dennys DeBerdt, 12 Jan., 1768, JHRM, 44: 241-250. While Samuel Adams’s biographers have assumed that the letter was crafted by the clerk of the House, John Adams supposed that “every line” was a “diamond” to prove his case that James Otis was the sole author of this particular document. Works of John Adams, 10: 374.
8. The House of Representatives, petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768. JHRM, 44: 217-219. The petition was not as explicit as the letters to DeBerdt and Camden in disputing the legitimacy of parliamentary taxation. The eighth paragraph acknowledged Parliament’s legislative supremacy and “superintending authority” in “all cases.” John Adams later suggested that this passage reflected the handicraft of James Otis, whereas Samuel Adams had already moved toward a more radical position in challenging Parliament’s legislative supremacy. While the “superintending authority” clause may also have been a concession to Otis’s constitutional principles, it was also a convenient means of implying (thus avoiding explicitly stating) that Parliament’s authority was contested not only in the matter of the Townshend trade duties but colonial taxes generally. For (again in a passage characteristic of Otis), the petition protested vociferously at colonists being taxed without representation.
If these Acts of Parliament [including the 1767 Revenue Act] shall remain in force: and your Majesty’s Commons in Great Britain shall continue to exercise the power of granting the Property of their fellow subjects in this Province, your people must then regret their unhappy fate in having only the name left of free subjects.
JHRM, 44: 218; Works of John Adams, 10: 367.
9. No such order is recorded in the journals, and FB was given a copy of the letter on 23 Feb. JHRM, 44: 190.
10. FB had previously alluded to the States General of the Netherlands in a letter to John Pownall, No. 430, Bernard Papers, 3: 58n11. The States General were formally referred to as “Their High Mightinesses,” and FB probably expected Shelburne to pick up the allusion.
11. No. 542, Bernard Papers, 3: 345-351.
12. Shelburne continued as secretary of state for the Southern Department in Grafton’s administration until resigning on 21 Oct. 1768. FB received the first news of Hillsborough’s appointment between 20 and 22 Feb. but continued writing Shelburne until 21 Mar. See source note to No. 582.
14. For a summary see Bernard Papers, 3: 37-30.
15. Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
16. See No. 712, Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
1. Left marginalia: virgule indicating the enclosure.
2. Left marginalia: the paragraph is marked by a line (probably added by FB) from the beginning until “Attention,” with a closing vertical line marking the section end.
3. The current session was the seventh session to the twelfth Parliament of Great Britain; it commenced on 24 Nov. 1767 and finished on 10 Mar. 1768. By “last Session” Hillsborough may have meant the sixth session, from 11 Nov. 1766 to 2 Jul. 1767. Legislation relevant to America passed during the regnal year 7 Geo. 3 included the Free Importation of Wheat and Flour from the American Colonies Act (c. 4); the Free Importation of Rice from the American Colonies Act (c.30); the Colonial Trade Act (c.35); the Revenue and Customs Duties Act (c.46), also known to posterity as the Townshend Duties Act, which imposed duties on tea, glass, paper, lead, and painter’s colors; an act allowing a drawback of duties on the exportation of tea to Ireland and America (c.56). Owen Ruffhead, The Statutes at Large, from Magna Charta to the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King George the Third, 10 vols. (London, 1786), preface to vol. 8.
4. Wills Hill (1718-93), first earl of Hillsborough and first secretary of state for the Colonies, 21 Jan. 1768-15 Aug. 1772.
5. The duplicate of Hillsborough’s short second letter, also dated 23 Jan., arrived on 15 May. BP, 11: 123-126.
8. The earl of Shelburne remained as secretary of state for the Southern Department until 21 Oct. 1768.
9. Arthur Herbert Basye, “The Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1768-82,” American Historical Review 28 (1922): 13-23.
10. Bernard Papers, 2: 15-16; Leonard Woods Labaree, ed., Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors, 1670-1776, 2 vols. (London, 1935), 2: 748-751.
1. First written as “6” then corrected to “7”.
2. No. 568, Bernard Papers, 3: 409-411.
3. No. 553, ibid.: 375-376.
4. First written as “Lordship’s” before the apostrophe and last letter were (partially) erased.
6. Silently corrected following scribal interlineation. May have been first written as “hope”.
7. Thus in manuscript.
8. Bernard Papers 3: 162-163, 344-345.
1. The spear of Achilles, from Greek mythology: the rust from which Achilles used to cure his wounded enemy King Telephus, thus fulfilling a prophecy that Telephus would guide the Greeks on their way to Troy. The story was probably post-Homeric, and formed the subject of Telephus, a play by Euripides (c.480–406 BC) now lost. Shakespeare refers to the tale in Henry VI, Part 2, where York claiming the Crown says “a king’s smile and frown, like to Achilles’ spear,/Is able with the change to kill and cure.” (5:1.100-101). I am grateful to Owen Dudley Edwards for the reference in Shakespeare.
2. William Pitt (later the earl of Chatham), in his speeches to Parliament of Jan. 1766. See York, “When Words Fail: William Pitt, Benjamin Franklin and the Imperial Crisis of 1766,” 341-374.
3. First written as “internal”.
4. Thus in manuscript.
5. First written as “their”.
6. Timothy Ruggles (1711-95), a former brigadier-general of provincial regiments, was the long-serving representative for Hardwick, Worcester Co., and a provincial delegate at the Stamp Act Congress. His condemnation of the Congress’s petitions prompted the House to censure him, which matter FB reported to the Board of Trade and friends in England. Bernard Papers, 3: 113, 115, 119, 126.
7. Obscured by tight binding.
8. The docket is followed by a noncontemporaneous annotation: “It was sent, and is printed in his ‘Letters’, p. 53.”
9. Bernard Papers, 2: 461-481.
2. Dated 14 Nov., this was Shelburne’s last official letter to FB. No. 574, Bernard Papers, 3: 419. Shelburne had cautioned FB not to proceed with any prosecution of libels unless he could command “a great Degree of Unanimity” in the assembly, including cases where “any Member of that Assembly could be discovered to be concerned in Publications.” FB, it can be deduced, had no intention of pursuing James Otis Jr. or Samuel Adams without the full backing of both the British government and the assembly, neither of which seemed likely in the near future.
4. Thus in manuscript.
6. The first session of the General Court ran from 27 May to 25 Jun. 1767; the second session ran from 30 Dec. 1767 to 4 Mar. 1768.
7. Thomas Cushing’s letter to Hillsborough of 30 Jun. (Appendix 9) confirms that the motion proposing a circular letter was defeated on 21 Jan., the day after the House approved its petition to the king. It was proposed again on 4 Feb., and this time passed in the affirmative. JHRM, 44: 122-135. The rejection of the first motion was also expunged from the journals, on 4 Feb. No. 589. For a copy of the Circular Letter, dated 11 Feb., see Appendix 1.
1. That is to say, despite what FB intended: “in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason.” Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 5:5.125-126.
2. The actual letters to FB cannot be identified, but probably included those concerning the Stamp Act controversy (dated 8 to 21 Nov. 1765), from which extracts were laid before the House of Representatives on 6 Dec. 1766. JHRM, 43, pt.1: 213. Copies ordered by Andrew Oliver are in Prov. Sec. Letterbooks, 3: 38-47. Jackson’s letter to Andrew Oliver was dated 9 Jan. 1767. Mass. Archs., 5: 273.
3. Orders allowing £600 to DeBerdt and Jackson were passed on 5 Feb. 1768. Acts and Resolves, 17: 289. Before Jackson’s dismissal in Feb. 1767, FB had argued that he be properly compensated for his services to the province. He evidently enjoyed informing Jackson of the assembly’s resolve, as well as the vote of general approbation (that Jackson had acted with “Diligence and Fidellity”) passed on 1 Feb 1768. As FB intimates, these favorable outcomes were calculated to win him over in the matter of releasing province monies to support DeBerdt, whose status as House agent he continued to dispute. JHRM, 44: 143; Bernard Papers, 3: 265-266, 359.
4. Joseph Hawley (1723-88) represented Northampton in the House of Representatives in 1751, 1754-55, and 1766 to 1780. A graduate of Yale (1742), his legal career brought him to political prominence when he represented ten rioters from Lanesborough, Berkshire Co., the only Stamp Act rioters in the province to be prosecuted. They had tried to rescue debtors detained in prison because court officials were unable to process the documents required to release them on bail. The case therefore illustrated the problematic consequences of the Crown’s refusal to instruct court officials to proceed to business without stamped papers. The rioters were convicted by the Berkshire County inferior court on 26 Nov. 1765, but their case was appealed to the province’s Superior Court, where Hawley represented one of the rioters, Seth Warren. Hawley did not win the case; but the rioters were subsequently fined just £3, and in early December Hawley was able to persuade the assembly and governor to pass an indemnity law granting the rioters immunity from prosecution. John Philip Reid, “In a Defensive Rage: The Uses of the Mob, the Justification in Law, and the Coming of the American Revolution,” New York University Law Review, 49 (1974): 1043-1091 at 1055-1062.
Hawley’s part in the case was the subject of close inspection by Jonathan Sewall, writing as “Philanthrop,” FB’s defender in the newspapers. Boston Evening-Post, 5 Jan. 1767; Bernard Papers, 3: 311. Hawley responded with two detailed accounts of the trials in the Boston Evening-Post on 3 and 27 Jul. 1767. However, the articles were deemed libelous for criticizing the Superior Court justices, and in October, the court disbarred Hawley from practicing for two years. The suspension was lifted upon petition, in 1769. Bernard Papers, 3: 80; JHRM, 44: 89; Legal Papers of John Adams, 1: ci.
5. FB obviously enjoyed the irony of Otis, who suffered from mental illness, accusing Hawley of being a “Madman.” Hawley’s support for American representation in Parliament flew in the face of the Whigs’ tactical attack on parliamentary taxation. Otis may also have been concerned that FB would entice other Whigs to support the scheme, though he would not have known how assiduously FB was promoting American representation as a practical solution to the dispute over taxation. See No. 584.
6. Trans.: “an argument against the man,” meaning that, in this case, Ruggles was exposing the folly and inconsistency of James Otis Jr. On Otis see Bernard Papers, 2: 263n; 3: 280-281, 416, 425.
7. On 20 Jan. 1768. JHRM, 44: 121-122, 124; the petition is printed at 217-219.
8. The actual date is unknown.
9. Editorially altered. The scribe used colons to signify hyphenated line breaks, thus rendering “above” as “a:bove”. All such breaks have been removed in accordance with editorial method.
10. This word was corrected by the scribe.
11. Run-on closure and recipient’s name in FB’s hand.
1. No. 568, Bernard Papers, 3: 409.
2. On 1 Sept., No. 497, ibid., 213-216.
3. Samuel Rous was acting governor of Barbados, 1766-68, following the departure of Charles Pinfold and until the arrival of William Spry.
4. No. 532, Bernard Papers, 3: 319-321. The current governor of South Carolina was Lord Charles Greville Montagu (1741-84), second son of the third duke of Manchester; he was governor 1765-73.
5. A contraction of “Informations”.
6. Scribal correction: first written form is indecipherable.
7. William Tryon (1729-88), governor of North Carolina, 1765-71, and of New York, 1771-80.
8. Sir Henry Moore (1713-69) had taken over as governor of New York in Jul. 1765.
9. An act for granting certain duties in the British Colonies and Plantations in America . . . , 7 Geo. 3, c. 46 (1767), known variously as the American Revenue Act, the Revenue and Customs Duties Act, or the Townshend duties act.
V. And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That his Majesty and his Successors shall be, and are hereby, impowered, from Time to Time, by any Warrant or Warrants under his or their Royal Sign Manual or Sign Manuals, countersigned by the High Treasurer, or any Three or more of the Commissioners of the Treasury for the Time being, to cause such Monies to be applied, out of the Produce of the Duties granted by this Act as his Majesty, or his Successors, shall think proper or necessary, for defraying the Charges of the Administration of Justice, and the Support of the Civil Government, within all or any of the said Colonies or Plantations.
10. This word is smudged.
11. “Intervented”: obscure, meaning “to come between, obstruct, thwart.” OED.
12. On 4 Feb., the House approved a motion to write a circular letter to the speakers of the other assemblies. JHRM, 44: 122-135. For a copy of the letter, dated 11 Feb., see Appendix 1.
1. No. 474, Bernard Papers, 3: 165-166.
2. Nos. 569, 570, 571, 573, and 575, respectively, were laid before the Board of Trade on 4 Feb. 1768. JBT, 13: 9-10.
3. Left marginalia: direction indicator (+) pointing to the phrase “Progress . . . It.” The next two paragraphs are marked by a virgule.
4. FB’s letters Nos. 542 and 551 were discussed on 2 and 4 Feb. 1768. JBT, 13: 9-10.
5. The Board of Trade, representation to the king, Whitehall, 4 Feb. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 7-8.
2. First written form indecipherable.
3. On 4 Feb 1768. JHRM, 44:148.
4. On 11 Feb 1768. JHRM, 44: 157. See Appendix 1.
7. This copy is wrongly dated Feb. 16.
8. For example, Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause, 161; Maier, From Resistance to Revolution, 174-175.
1. Probably one of the Bromfield brothers, Henry (1727-1820) or Thomas (b.1733), Boston merchants.
2. Dated 8 Feb. 1768. BP, 6: 88-89.
3. On 13 Feb. JHRM, 44: 164.
4. Identity unknown.
5. On 17 Feb., ibid. 172; CO 5/828, f 142; Andrew Oliver to Richard Jackson, 23 Feb. 1768, Mass. Archs., 56: 541-542.
6. FB had written Jackson on 8 Feb. stating he was anxious of “bringing this Business to a tolerable Conclusion.” BP, 6: 88-89. He signed the grants on 26 Feb. 1768, awarding DeBerdt £600 and Jackson £500. Acts and Resolves, 17: 289.
7. No. 566, Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
8. Interlineation in FB’s hand.
11. This cross-reference takes the reader to the last page of the main text in the letterbook, at p. 94. The postscript is on p. 96.
12. Writing Lord Barrington, FB concluded “that knowing your Lordship’s Connexion with that noble Lord, I have Reason to congratulate myself upon the Event.” Boston, 20 Feb., BP, 6: 95.
13. Letters From A Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies (Printed and sold by Edes and Gill, in Queen-Street [Boston], 1768); Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 241.
14. On 28 Mar. 1768. BP, 6: 105-106.
1. No. 566, Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
2. FB received Shelburne’s letter (No. 566) c.2 Feb. The discussion in Council is not mentioned in the formal record, and probably occurred on 3 Feb. Later that day the province secretary read Shelburne’s letter to the House. JHRM, 44: 147.
3. Notably, Secretary Conway’s letter of 31 Mar. 1766, announcing the repeal of the Stamp Act (No. 462): it was printed in the Boston Evening-Post, 9 Jun. 1766, without FB’s express consent, though he did not prevent it, thinking it “could but be of good Service.” Bernard Papers, 3: 172.
4. On 4 Feb., with the letter being approved on 11 Feb.
5. Thus in manuscript.
6. On 13 Feb. JHRM, 44: 164.
7. The committee were instructed to request copies of Shelburne’s letter and of all correspondence with FB referred to in the letter. Ibid.
8. See note 3 above.
9. Left marginalia: authorial annotation, “2”. The sequence of annotations is from 1 to 4 but the leaf edge is torn and the first number is missing.
10. Shelburne’s letter of 17 Sept. (No. 566) was read to the House on 3 Feb. by the province secretary, after which FB gave the Speaker an edited copy of the letter on condition that no further copies were made. JHRM, 44: 147. (This version was subsequently entered in the journals, ibid., 250-251.) The House demanded a copy of the whole letter in a message of 13 Feb. FB’s carefully crafted reply of 16 Feb. allowed that the Speaker could communicate Shelburne’s letter “in any manner which is consistent” with the “restriction” he had imposed upon the Speaker; in other words, the Speaker could read the letter again but not distribute authentic copies (though members could write down what they heard). Ibid., 171. FB excised one passage from his draft message justifying his refusal to surrender copies of his other correspondence with Shelburne:
It is by no means the Intention of the Secretary of State that the Subject of those former proceedings, of which he has for my guidance signified his disapprobation, should be revived; and I shall not contribute to it.
Mass. Archs., 110; 321 (ADft, AC).
11. Annotation: “3”.
12. The message to FB was approved on 18 Feb. 1768, JHRM, 44: 176-178.
13. Boston Gazette, 22 Feb. 1768.
14. Annotation: “4 no duplicate”.
15. The House of Representatives to the earl of Shelburne, 22 Feb. 1768, JHRM, 44: 239-240.
18. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 162.
19. JHRM, 44: 178.
20. Ibid., 239-240.
21. Boston Gazette, 22 Feb. 1768, p. 2.
22. On 7 Mar. 1768, in the Boston Evening-Post, the Boston Gazette, and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser.
2. The subscription proposed that nonimportation take effect on 1 Jun. 1768 and was circulated to traders in the first week of March. FB provided more details about the merchants’ “first movement” against the Townshend duties in No. 601.
3. Little is known of William Burch (d.1796), who had come from England to join the American Board of Customs.
4. The Customs commissioners were apprehensive of mob violence when they arrived during the Pope’s Day celebrations of 5 Nov. 1767, but such fears were quickly allayed. Nonetheless, FB here proffered the first report of actual intimidation, albeit of a kind far milder than the tarring and feathering soon experienced by inferior customs officers and informers. Bernard Papers, 3: 421. On 18 Mar. (the anniversary of the Stamp Act’s repeal), the commissioners reported that on hearing of effigies being hoisted on the Liberty Tree they feared “some open Acts of Violence.” Appendix 2. The effigies were removed by the Sons of Liberty, leading TH to conclude that there was no plan to assault the commissioners; nevertheless, he noted, “the Least hint from their Leaders would encourage them to any degree of violence and how soon that hint may be given we know not.” TH to Richard Jackson, Mass. Archs., 26: 295-296 and Hutchinson Transcripts, 2: 610. FB provided more details of the events in a letter of 4 Mar. (No. 600).
5. These proceedings are discussed in Appendix 3.
6. Gen. Thomas Gage.
8. BP, 6: 101-102.
1. Supplied from LbC.
2. The second session of the legislative year ran from 30 Dec. 1767 to 4 Mar. 1768.
3. In early 1768, Speaker Thomas Cushing signed a series of letters on behalf of the House of Representatives protesting the Townshend Acts: to Dennis DeBerdt, 12 Jan.; to the earl of Shelburne, 15 Jan.; to the marquess of Rockingham, 22 Jan.; to the earl of Camden, 29 Jan.; to the earl of Chatham, 2 Feb.; a circular letter to the speakers of the colonial assemblies, 11 Feb.; to Henry Seymour Conway, 13 Feb.; to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, 17 Feb.; to the earl of Shelburne, 22 Feb. See JHRM, 44: 217-250. For discussion see Nos. 579 to 581, 589, and 591.
4. House of Representatives to DeBerdt, 12 Jan. 1768, JHRM, 44: 241-260. The contents are discussed in No. 580n4 and No. 581n6-8.
5. Appendix 1 enclosed in No. 589.
6. House of Representatives to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, 17 Feb., JHRM, 44: 233-236.
7. Annotation in left margin: “5”. On Friday 26 Feb., eighty-two members voted to approve a resolve to “discountenance the use of foreign superfluities” and to encourage native manufactures, with only Timothy Ruggles dissenting (for which act of Toryism his name was emblazoned in capitals in the copy printed in the Boston Gazette, 28 Feb. 1768). JHRM, 44: 198-199. Boston’s nonimportation subscription was being circulated when FB wrote this letter, but support for nonimportation was not so prevalent among the representatives, as FB’s comments about the careful wording of the House resolves indicate.
8. On 13 Jan., the Boston town meeting had pledged to revive a plan to produce sail cloth at the Manufactory House, using unemployed or poor laborers. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 230-232.
9. No. 591 written in reply to Shelburne’s letter of 17 Sept. 1767, No. 566, Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
10. Annotation: “6”. The correct date of publication was Monday 29 Feb.
11. In No. 566, Shelburne had censured the House for “improper Excesses” and “private Resentments” in excluding Crown officers from the Council, writing that “It cannot, under such Circumstances be surprizing” that FB had vetoed councilors chosen in their stead. Bernard Papers, 3: 407.
12. Printed in the Boston Gazette (on 29 Feb.), the House’s message to FB of 18 Feb. claimed that in censuring the House, Shelburne could only have been acting in response to advice tendered by FB. The implication was that FB had misrepresented the motives of his opponents. The article by “A True Patriot”* went further in criticizing FB by personalizing the accusation that he had misled Shelburne. Boston Gazette, Supplement, 29 Feb. 1768. Warren demonized FB, accusing him of harboring an “Enmity” toward the province, delighting in his “Cruelty” and “Malice,” and exhibiting a “diabolical Thirst for Mischief.” His “Jesuitical Insinuations” were designed to corrupt the secretary of state. The other issue that concerned FB was to establish a clear linkage between the House and the Boston Gazette before pursuing the Whig leaders for libel. He was following both Shelburne’s advice in No. 574 to obtain evidence and his own desire to exact revenge. (Bernard Papers, 3: 422-424.) It was natural for FB to suppose that the piece had been authored or influenced by either James Otis Jr. or Samuel Adams, both prolific political writers. But the “True Patriot” in the Boston Gazette of 29 Feb. was in fact Dr. Joseph Warren, whose authorship (unknown to FB) can be established from an annotation in the Dorr Collection, 2: 38.
* The “True Patriot” pseudonym had been employed earlier by a writer from “Swanzey” in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter, 24 Sept. and the Boston Evening-Post, 28 Sept. 1767. Both of these pieces were putative productions of a pro-government writer. It is possible, however, that the “True Patriot” from “Swanzey” was in fact a Whig writer, who ironically affected to mock Otis’s “Blustering” style as a means of eliciting sympathy for the harassed Whig leader. Alternatively, FB or a government supporter may have written these pieces, although there is no evidence to confirm this. Nicolson, ‘The Infamas Govener’, 273n129.
13. The last lines were.
We never can treat good and patriotic Rulers with too great Reverence—But it is certain that Men total abandoned to Wickedness, can never merit our Regard, be their Stations ever so high.
‘If such Men are by God appointed,
The Devil may be the Lord’s anointed.’
The pro-American British Dissenter Thomas Hollis rightly identified the source of the quotation as “Rochester’s Satires.” The True Sentiments of America Contained in a Collection of Letters Sent from the House of Representatives, (London, 1768), 84. The quotation is from one of the earl of Rochester’s posthumously published satires on King Charles II, The Restauration: Or the History of Insipids: a Lampoon (1707), 26.5-6. One historian described the invective in the Boston Gazette “as vicious as any colonial governor was ever subjected to.” Jensen, Founding of a Nation, 254.
14. Present in given order were: Samuel Danforth, Isaac Royall, Benjamin Lincoln, John Erving Sr., William Brattle, James Bowdoin, Gamaliel Bradford, Thomas Hubbard, Nathaniel Sparhawk, Harrison Gray, James Russell, Thomas Flucker, Nathaniel Ropes, John Bradbury, Timothy Paine, Royal Tyler, John Chandler, Samuel White, Jeremiah Powell, and James Pitts. Absent were Samuel Dexter, John Hill, and John Worthington. We can only speculate if among the Whigs who condemned the article by the “True Patriot” were FB’s vocal critics Brattle, Bowdoin, Gray, Tyler, and Pitts.
15. Annotation: “7”.
16. On 1 Mar.: annotation: “8”.
17. On 1 Mar.: annotation: “10”.
18. Annotation: “9”. These proceedings are not fully reported in the Council’s legislative records for 1 Mar. (CO 5/827, f 40). But FB kept his own minute which he enclosed with this letter, CO 5, 757, ff 47-49; this document, prepared by an unknown clerk, was used to date the proceedings discussed above.
19. On 4 Mar.
20. The Council message of 4 Mar. is in CO 5/ 757, ff 48-49; annotation: “11”.
21. The assembly’s proceedings of 3 and 4 Mar. are in JHRM, 44: 213-215.
22. 4 Mar.
23. OED. “A highly malignant and corrupting influence that spreads and consumes, in the manner of a cankerworm.*” * A moth caterpillar that feeds on fruit trees.
24. The identity of this councilor is unknown, but may have been one of FB’s cabinet of advisers. See Bernard Papers, 3: 73n9.
25. Afterward, the “True Patriot” delivered an unrepentant explanation that claimed the moral high ground in a Ciceronian fashion by purporting to expose a conspiracy against colonial liberties.
There are circumstances, in which not justice alone, but humanity itself, obliges us to hold up the villain to view, and to expose his guilt, to prevent his destroying the innocent.
Thus did Warren artfully craft a case that led readers inexorably to compare FB to Catiline, the notorious leader of the conspiracy against the Roman Republic thwarted by the consul Cicero and exposed in the Senate in 63 BC. Claiming that his criticism had not been overtly personal, denying any disloyalty to the king, and protesting that the “profaneness” of his article’s last two lines had been misunderstood, Warren nonetheless left readers and FB in no doubt that personal integrity was at the heart of the matter:
Whoever he is, whose conscience tells him he is not the monster I have portraited, may rest assured, I did not aim at him; but the person who knows the black picture exhibited, to be his own, is welcome to take it to himself. . . . My design was to compare wicked men, and especially wicked magistrates, to those enemies to mankind, the devils, and to intimate that the devils themselves might boast of divine authority to seduce and ruin mankind.
The Biblical allusion here to “devils” tempting wicked magistrates was obviously to Job 2, by implication equating FB’s supposed American victims with Job whose sufferings were unmerited and whose patience was proverbial. The author finished with a pledge to continue writing “sentiments with freedom” and “publish whatever I think conducive to the general emolument.” Boston Gazette, 7 Mar. 1768.
26. Jonathan Sewall (1729-96) had succeeded Jeremiah Gridley as province attorney general on 18 Nov. 1767.
27. On 4 Mar.; annotation: “12”.
28. BP, 6: 101.
29. “I should be led to hope that the Assembly would vindicate their own Honor, and make the Guilty feel the Displeasure of an injured Province.” Shelburne to FB, 14 Nov. 1767, No. 574, Bernard Papers, 3: 423.
30. JHRM, 44: 214-215.
1. On 26 Feb., the General Court awarded £600 to Jackson for services as province agent. Acts and Resolves, 17: 289. FB probably did not keep his promise to provide a more detailed account (at least, no such letter is extant); perhaps notification of payment precluded reason for further discussion.
2. FB assumed wrongly that Otis was the author of a libel printed under the pseudonym of “A True Patriot”. See No. 593n12.
4. FB here confirms that he had just received unofficial news (probably in the previous twenty-four hours) that the earl of Shelburne had been replaced. He had known since 20 or 21 Feb. that Hillsborough was being appointed to head up a new department (No. 590). The Boston Evening-Post announced a change of secretary on 7 Mar. but did not name Hillsborough as secretary of state for the Colonies until 14 Mar. The London Gazette did not carry the announcement.
6. FB is recalling the 1733 Molasses Act, which imposed a 6d. duty on a gallon of molasses imported to America. By “Favour” he meant that the Molasses Act was not rigorously enforced, at least until the introduction of the Sugar Act (1764), which also lowered the duty to 3d. The American Revenue Act of 1766 further reduced the duty to 1d. But other aspects of the mercantilist system, notably restrictions on colonial trade with Southern Europe and duties on wines imported from the Azores, Madeira, and Portugal continued to rankle American merchants. See Tyler, Smugglers & Patriots, 96-99.
7. BP, 6: 101.
1. “A True Patriot,” (Dr. Joseph Warren), Boston Gazette, Supplement, 29 Feb. 1768. See No. 593n12.
3. Attorney General Jonathan Sewall was not actually present on that “first day” in court, and TH’s subsequent comments on Sewall’s absence were implicitly critical. Sewall was not obliged to attend all court proceedings and may not have been a party to TH’s and FB’s plans to pursue Edes and Gill. But the fact was he only prepared a bill of indictment against the printers for presentation to the jury on the second day. TH confirmed that, “in the interval” (as the governor noted), “Otis and his creatures . . . prevaild upon so many of the Jury to change their voices.” At FB’s request, TH “committed” the charge from “memory” to paper for future use, ruing that “ever since” the people “were more enragd against me than ever.” The pursuit of Edes and Gill was abandoned for the moment, and TH sent his copy of the charge to a correspondent in England. TH to Thomas Whately, Boston, 5 Oct. 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 281, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 278.
4. Otis had defended the freedom of the press and denounced as the governor’s lackeys those councilors who favored censuring the printers. See No. 593.
5. BP, 6: 101-102.
6. “There are three simple and related points about the conditions of law in prerevolutionary Massachusetts that have sometimes been misunderstood: a political majority [in the town meetings] could control [the selection of] Massachusetts juries; juries were the judges of law as well as of fact [in considering indictments]; and courts had little power to control and no power to overrule jury verdicts.” Reid, In a Defiant Stance, 28. For a detailed discussion of the “civil traverse jury” see ibid., 20-40, and for the “management” of juries, ibid., 41-54.
2. Parliament closed on 10 Mar. 1768 and the general election commenced on 15 Mar. The new Parliament opened on 10 May. Barrington had represented Plymouth since 1754, and continued as the town’s MP until 1778.
3. That is, the direct representation of Americans in Parliament.
4. Barrington’s unguarded praise for FB was probably intended to compensate for his rejection of the governor’s proposal regarding American representation. It is possible, however, that Barrington’s optimism also reflected the mood of government ministers more generally with regard to the situation in the American Colonies, before FB’s pessimistic reports recounting his squabbles with the House of Representatives began arriving in London from April through June. Nos. 589, 591 to 593, 595, and 596.
3. Obscured by tight binding.
5. Timothy Ruggles (1711-95) had been a firm friend of government during the Stamp Act Crisis. See Bernard Papers, 2: 373-372; 3: 15, 113, 253. Ruggles was the only dissenter when the House of Representatives resolved on 26 Feb. to support domestic manufacturing, protesting that the British government would view the resolve as a “threat” and likely to cause a “breach” between Britain and the American Colonies. Ruggles’s request that his protest be entered in the House journals was voted down by the chamber; that is probably why he published it in a newspaper friendly to the government (there being no evidence that FB had any part in this). Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 14 Mar. 1768. See also No. 593n7.
6. Richard Jackson Sr. (d.1768).
7. BP, 6: 101-102.
1. Charles Paxton (1704-88) was a confidant of FB and an effective (and for that a deeply unpopular) customs officer in Boston before his appointment as a commissioner of the American Board of Customs.
2. John Williams, the senior inspector general to the Customs Board, was an American by birth and former receiver general of Customs at Martinique. See Joseph R. Frese, “The Royal Customs Service in the Chesapeake, 1770: The Reports of John Williams, Inspector General,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 81 (1973): 280-318.
3. William Wootton was the second inspector general.
4. Described in Wootton’s deposition filed in CO 5/893, f 48.
5. William Burch (d.1794), Henry Hulton (1732-91), John Temple (1732-98), Charles Paxton (1704-88), and John Robinson (d.1783).
6. TH to Richard Jackson, Boston, 23 Mar. 1768, Mass. Archs., 26: 295-296.
7. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 158-159.
1. The town of Boston later declaimed this passage “false and malicious,” for rather than defying the king’s authority the people had all submitted to the revenue laws (which, smugglers excepted, was true) while awaiting the outcome of the colonists’ petitions for repeal. Appeal to the World, 3-4.
2. “Few if any among us ever heard of such reports . . . it is very much to be questioned whether he received his intelligence from any other persons, but the Commissioners themselves.” Appeal to the World, 4.
3. Ann Burch (d.1806), wife to William Burch. Writing about this incident, Samuel Adams later offered a rare gender perspective on the British imperial elite:
It has been usual for the Commisioners to affect an Apprehension of Danger to themselves and their Families, to serve the purposes they had in View. There is indeed no accounting for the real Fears of Women and children. The ladies however can sometimes vie with their husbands in Intrigue, and are thoroughly vers’d in the Art even of political Appearance. And it is said that all are Politicians in this Country: Whether this lady, whom Gov. Bernard has politely ushered into the View of the Public, really thought herself in Danger or not, it is incumbent on him to show that there were just Grounds for her Apprehensions.
Appeal to the World, 5.
4. It is possible that the Boston selectmen mentioned in the source note to No. 599 alerted FB, but more likely that the governor had an informer of consequence among the Whigs.
5. Stephen Greenleaf (1704-95), sheriff of Suffolk County from 1757 to 1776.
6. Hillsborough’s copy (CO 5/757, f 67): “Atrociousness”.
7. The minute of the Council meeting of 18 Mar. does not adequately reflect the strength of feeling generated by this issue and vented in this letter. Nor does the minute aid identification of the speakers to whom FB refers. The day’s proceedings commenced with FB presenting the Council with information about the effigies “exhibited” at Liberty Tree. A debate followed, at the end of which FB put the following question: “whether they apprehended there was any danger of a disturbance in the town in ye. evening?” The Council answered in the negative, to which FB responded with a second question: “whether they would in time advise him to take any measures for securing ye peace of the town and what?” The Council delivered the unanimous reply that since “there is no danger of any disturbance, they do not think any measures necessary to be taken for that purpose.” CO 5/827, f 41. Samuel Adams later asked “where could be the Danger of . . . actual Violence, when some of the Inhabitants themselves had taken down the Effigies, with at least the tacit Consent of the whole Community[?]” Appeal to the World, 7.
8. Hillsborough: “preservation of the Peace of the Town.”
10. On 18 March 1768. CO 5/827, f 41.
11. On this point Harbottle Dorr added the following annotation to his copy of Letters to the Ministry (1st ed.): “Truth is sometimes extorted even from the Devil!” MHS catalogue reference E187, f 844.
12. The British Coffee House. The other inn mentioned here was probably the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, frequented by leading Whigs and province lawyers. Both were situated in King Street.
13. Presumably Williams declared that he was armed.
14. “This is Painting indeed, much beyond the Life: but Mr. Bernard has the Art in Perfection.” Gen. Thomas Gage, Adams noted correctly, later described the incident as “trifling,” but without acknowledging the context: Gage was explaining to Hillsborough that the term was used by “Those who would justify or rather palliate the proceedings of the people here.” Appeal to the World, 9; Copies of Letters from Governor Bernard to Hillsborough.
15. Temple was the exception.
16. Bernard Papers, 2: 324, 332, 339-340.
18. On this wider issue see Reid, In a Defiant Stance.
1. Dated 19 Mar. 1768. CO 5/757, ff 66-71.
2. The exact date is uncertain. The passage of time that elapsed between Daniel Malcom’s approach to Inspector General John Williams (the unnamed “Officer of the Customs” mentioned) and the merchants’ meeting of 4 Mar. is signified by two connected phrases: “Some days after” and “Two or three days after” that. In total, perhaps a week separated the two events. In referring to their memorial of 12 Feb., the commissioners of Customs noted that “. . . On the next day” Malcom’s vessel arrived in the harbor; and that night the sixty pipes of wine were unloaded. Appendix 3.
3. See No. 504, Bernard Papers, 3: 232-236.
4. From the Portuguese island of Faial in the Azores archipelago.
5. Nonimportation was first proposed at a town meeting on 28 Oct. 1767, and implemented after a town meeting held on 1 Mar. 1768. See notes 6 and 7 below.
6. [Samuel P. Savage], “A List of the Subscription of Those Gentlemen who are immediately concerned in importing Goods from great Britain, That they will not import any for a year from the date excepting such as are coming this Spring, taken from the Committee,s List as reported March 9th. 1768,” Samuel P. Savage II Collection, MHS. Initial responses to the subscription were considered at a merchants’ meeting at the British Coffee House on 9 Mar. The agreement was to take effect on 1 Jun. 1768 and remain in force for eighteen months or until the Townshend duties were repealed. One hundred and sixty-six Boston firms were asked to subscribe (over half the total number in the town) but nearly one-third either did not subscribe or stipulated conditions. Nevertheless, by the end of April, only eight firms still refused to sign and thirteen others continued to insist on conditions. Tyler, Smugglers & Patriots, 112-113.
7. On 28 Oct., the town had voted to encourage American manufactures and discourage “foreign” imports (including British manufactures). The resolves condemned the “excessive use of Foreign Superfluities” and compiled a list of goods and products for nonimportation: loaf sugar; cordage; anchors; coaches, chaises and carriages; horse furniture; hats, gloves, shoes; ready-made cloathing; sole leather; sheathing and deck nails; gold and silver thread; lace; gold and silver buttons; wrought plate; diamond stone and paste ware; snuff; mustard; broad cloths above 10s. per annum; cambric; cheese; gauze; glue; lawns; linseed oil; malt liquor; “millenary ware”; muffs, furs, and tippets; pewterer’s hollow ware; silk “of all kinds for Garments”; silk and cotton velvets; starch; stays; silversmith’s and jeweller’s wares. The resolves further urged domestic production of those goods subject to the Townsend duties which could be produced in the colonies: glass and paper. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 220-224. The subscription attracted 665 signatories, men and women from across the social spectrum, for which see the printed copy with signatures in the Houghton Library, AB7.B6578.767w, at http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/46431739 (accessed 19 Aug. 2013).
8. The New York merchants adopted nonimportation on 27 Aug. 1768, the agreement taking effect on 1 Nov.; the Philadelphia merchants approved nonimportation on 6 Feb. 1769.
9. The scheme to convert the town workhouse into a “Manufactory House” was approved at the annual town meeting of 14 Mar. In October, local Whigs and townspeople occupied the building to prevent it being converted into a barracks for British troops. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 239.
10. FB’s perceptive observations reflect a significant change in the composition of Boston’s mercantile community since the Seven Years’ War. The emergence of retailers as importing merchants, sustained by British credit, opened up a major fault line between shopkeepers (many of whom were recently arrived from Britain) and wholesale merchants (including prominent Whigs); the former accused the latter of using nonimportation to drive them from the market in British dry goods. This conflict of interest was at the heart of local disputes over the continuation and enforcement of the nonimportation agreements until the fall of 1770. The best account is Tyler, Smugglers & Patriots, 109-138.
11. Boston Gazette, 21 Mar 1768, p. 2. “Democritus” offered a satirical piece on the popular British argument that the defense of the colonies alone justified the imposition of taxes, supposing that since the Royal Navy had long protected Portugal, as it had the American Colonies, then Portugal too should be subject to parliamentary taxation.
12. The House of Representatives to Shelburne, 15 Jan. 1768, Boston Gazette, 21 Mar. 1768, p. 1. The House’s petition to the king of 20 Jan. 1768 was printed in the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 21 Mar. 1768.
1. Not found.
2. Stephen Sewall (1702-60), chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, 1752-60.
3. The “3 Days” to which FB referred was probably the first of two hearings by the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1761 concerning the legality of the writs of the assistance. The first was prompted by petitions from Thomas Lechmere, surveyor general of Customs, and officers including Charles Paxton, whose applications for writs were being challenged by the Boston merchants. The hearing commenced on Tuesday 24 Feb., with Jeremiah Gridley speaking for the Crown and James Otis Jr. and Oxenbridge Thacher for the merchants. Judgment was delayed while Chief Justice Hutchinson sought guidance and advice from Britain. The second hearing took place on Wednesday 18 Nov. with the Court ruling in favor of the writ.
4. Obscured by tight binding.
5. Michael Francklin (1733-83) had been appointed lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia in 1766 and had assisted FB and his partners obtain land grants in the St. Croix Bay area.
6. King George II died on 25 Oct. 1760.
7. For detailed accounts and analysis of the legal arguments see Legal Papers of John Adams, 2: 106-146; Daniel R. Coquillette and Neil Longley York, eds., Portrait of a Patriot: The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Junior. Vol. 4. The Law Reports, Part One (1761-1765), 194-205. On the political and legal contexts see Maurice Henry Smith, The Writs of Assistance Case (Berkeley, 1978), 17-40, 95-148, and passim.
8. No. 99, Bernard Papers, 1: 194.
9. 12 Car. 2, c, 19 (1660), 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 11 (1662); 7 & 8 Will. 3, c. 22 (1696).
10. No. 504, ibid, 3: 232-235.
11. American Board of Customs to the Treasury, 3 Jun. 1768, T 1/465, ff 81-102. The Board supplied the Treasury with further reports, filed in T 1/485, ff 306-309.
1. The first two are Nos. 581 and 585. The third of FB’s out-letters to Shelburne was dated 2 Feb. not 3 Feb., CO 5/757, f 24.
2. FB was evidently unsettled by the term, given its historical associations with the English Parliament’s Grand Remonstrance of 1641 which listed their many grievances with King Charles I and advocated a program of reform for both Church and State, and which the king opposed.
3. Hillsborough refused to present the petition to the king. See No. 712n6, Bernard Papers, 5: 117.
5. Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 78-81.
1. Ropes’s letter has not been found. FB’s incapacity was owing to the death of his son Shute, on 5 Apr. See the source note to No. 605.
2. Benjamin Pickman (1708-73) was a wealthy Salem merchant and colonel of the militia.
3. John Nutting (1739-1800), originally of Cambridge, was a carpenter by trade and a master builder of some renown by the time of the Revolution, employing some fifty men. He was evidently seeking some redress from the American Board of Customs. A future Loyalist, Nutting nevertheless tried to live out the war peacefully in Salem, but was obliged to leave after protests by angry neighbors in 1775, and he played a leading role in the failed British attempt to establish the Loyalist colony of New Ireland in Maine, between 1778 and 1780. Samuel Francis Batchelder, “Adventures of John Nutting, Cambridge Loyalist,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Historical Society 5 (1910): 55-98.
4. Nathaniel Ropes (1724-74) had been a member of the Council since 1761 and chief justice of the Essex County superior court since 1766.
4. The passage of the House of Representatives’ circular letter to the speakers of the colonial assemblies, 11 Feb 1768, JHRM, 44: 157-158.
5. This is probably an allusion to Cicero’s famous declamation in the first oration against Catiline. “O tempora, o mores!” Orationes In Catilinam, 1.1.
8. The idea of American representation in Parliament was more popular in Britain than Barrington implies. Thomas Pownall was probably its most prominent advocate following discussion in The Administration of the American Colonies (4th ed. 1768).
1. This may be a reference to Barrington’s letter of 8 Jan. which could have been carried by Robert Chamier, who was appointed surveyor and searcher at the Boston Customhouse. BP, 11: 111-114. Robert Chamier was probably a kinsman of Anthony Chamier (1725-80), a financial adviser to the British government. Connected by marriage to Thomas Bradshaw (1733-74), secretary to the Treasury from 1767, Anthony Chamier acquired a succession of government positions with the assistance of Barrington, whom he served as deputy secretary-at-war 1772-75.
2. FB’s last letter to Shelburne was dated 21 Mar. 1768 (No. 601), and his first to Hillsborough 15 May (No. 611).
4. Shute Bernard’s name has not been found in the Overseer’s Records at Harvard Archives, though at fifteen years-old he would have been of age to enter the college. His older brother Thomas had graduated in 1767. For age profiles of graduates see Conrad Edick Wright, Revolutionary Generation: Harvard Men and the Consequences of Independence (Amherst, 2005), 14.
1. Not found.
2. Lammas was the annual harvest festival of 1 Aug., but “latter Lammas” is here meant ironically as a humorous phrase for “a day that will never come”. OED.
3. No. 413, Bernard Papers, 2: 413-419.
4. Thus in manuscript; a scribal error for “Œconomy.”
5. Pownall probably discussed the role of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) in his letter of 3 Sep. 1767 and in a letter that FB received previously, between Jan. and Mar. 1766. See No. 456, Bernard Papers, 3: 123-124.
6. Michael Francklin (1733-83).
7. See No. 454, Bernard Papers, 3: 127-130.
8. Thomas Goldthwait (1718-79), the commander of Fort Pownall, had aided FB’s enquiries in trying to source hemp seeds from the Penobscot tribe.
9. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 93-99; Bernard Papers, 2: 481n1 and n3; Schutz, Thomas Pownall, 195-214.
2. Dated Boston, 2 Feb. 1768. CO 5/757, f 24.
3. Annotation: “it is the King’s Pleasure . . . Proceeding.” This passage is marked by a pencil line in the left margin and lines at the beginning and end of the passage. They may have been added by FB.
4. Obscured by tight binding.
5. The docket description is in the hand of Thomas Bernard and was probably added at a later date.
6. The best account of these deliberations is Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 78-83, quotation at 81.
7. The earl of Hillsborough, circular to the colonial governors, Whitehall, 21 Apr. 1768. CO 5/241, f 28.
2. See Appendices 2 and 3.
3. From here the writing is in FB’s hand.
6. BP, 11: 111-114.
7. Richard Silvester and Nathaniel Coffin are obvious candidates for FB’s informer. See Nos. 732 and 733, Bernard Papers, 5: 171-173. However, the phraseology of the report might equally suggest a prominent Whig willing to discuss the governor’s predicament with a third party trusted by both the informer and the governor.
9. Nos. 499 and 529, Bernard Papers, 3: 218-220, 306-308.
1. The Virginia governorship was a sinecure and the governor often an absentee, with the actual duties carried out by the lieutenant governor. The present governor was Sir Jeffrey Amherst (1717-97), but Amherst had left the American Colonies in 1763 without ever attending to his duties as governor, leaving Lt. Gov. Francis Fauquier (1703-68) to continue as acting governor, a role which he had filled since 1758. Fauquier’s death on 3 Mar. led to the temporary elevation of John Blair (c.1687-1771). The governorship was eventually filled by the appointment of Norborne Berkeley (c.1717-70), fourth Baron Botetourt; appointed as a full governor on 12 Aug. 1768, Botetourt held the position until his death on 15 Oct. 1770.
2. OED: “to make an éclat: to ‘make a noise in the world’, create a sensation.” Townshend’s 1767 Revenue Act (7 Geo. 3, c. 46), proposed using the monies raised by trade duties to pay the salaries of Crown officials in the American Colonies. The salaries of the American Board of Customs were paid in this way, but not governors and lieutenant governors (who continued to rely upon annual provincial grants). Important revisions were made to this practice from 1768 onwards, for which see the source note to No. 766, Bernard Papers, 5: 250-252. The implication that Charles Townshend’s policies were primarily dramatic gestures merits further attention from historians in so far as he raised governors’ expectations and inadvertently incited colonial anger.
3. Here “went” means “favored,” the adjective deriving from a now obscure noun meaning “course of action or plan.” OED.
4. Bernard Papers, 3: 71; Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 171-172; Sir Thomas Bernard, Life of Sir Francis Bernard (London, 1790), 170.
1. No. 582; circular from the earl of Hillsborough, Whitehall, 23 Jan. 1768. BP, 11: 123-126; No. 588.
2. Hillsborough assumed the office of secretary of the state for the Colonies on 21 Jan. 1768. FB knew of the appointment by 21 Feb. See source note to No. 582.
3. Hillsborough’s second letter had complained of the “Want of complete collections of the Laws of the . . . Colonies” and requested each governor to forward an entire set of provincial laws pertaining to their province. BP, 11: 123. Province Secretary Andrew Oliver had been punctual in observing this requirement. The acts and resolves of the General Court during FB’s administration that Oliver sent to Britain are filed in CO 5/778-CO 5/784.
4. FB’s correspondence on the Stamp Act riots was presented to Parliament in Jan. 1766 and cited in the House of Lords’ debates on the repeal of the Stamp Act. See Bernard Papers, 3: 13, 90, 127–130, 151, 153-155.
5. FB is referring to Shelburne’s letter, No. 566, published in the Boston newspapers, which is discussed in No. 591.
1. Appendix 2 and No. 599.
1. See Acts and Resolves, 4: 977-994; JHRM, 44: 87-214.
2. Read in the House of Representatives, 4 Mar. 1768. JHRM, 44: 212.
3. That is, FB refused to recognize the authority of the House-appointed agent, Dennys DeBerdt, who had previously been given responsibility for representing the province in settling the boundary with New Hampshire. Bernard Papers, 3: 348.
4. 25 May.
5. Editorially supplied.
6. For an explanation see Bernard Papers, 3: 377-378.
7. In 1757. See Bernard Papers, 3: 261.
8. See Bernard Papers, 3: 31, 192-193, 199–200, 209, 211, 259–260, 378, 336, 343.
2. Nos. 569, 570, 571, 573, and 575, Bernard Papers, 3: 411-416, 420-422.
4. FB is referring to the initial reluctance of many Boston merchants to embrace nonimportation and sustain domestic manufacturing, which agreement would take effect on 1 Jun. (and about which he informed Shelburne in No. 601).
5. In 1767, the town had brought a successful action against Adams for the non-collection of £1,463 in taxes requiring him to repay the outstanding total by Mar. 1768. He was then given additional time to repay, and cleared some of the debt with donations received; in 1772 the town waived his obligation to return the outstanding amount of £1,100. Ibid., 69. For judicious accounts see Catherine S. Menand, “The Things That Were Caesar’s: Tax Collecting in Eighteenth-Century Boston,” Massachusetts Historical Review (1999): 49-77; Alexander, Samuel Adams, 68-69.
6. See John C. Miller, Sam Adams: Pioneer in Propaganda (Stanford, Calif., 1936); Pauline Maier, “A New Englander as Revolutionary: Samuel Adams,” The Old Revolutionaries Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (New York, 1980), 3-50; Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: a Life (New York, 2008); Alexander, Samuel Adams (2011).
7. See Colin Nicolson, “‘McIntosh, Otis & Adams are our demagogues’: Nathaniel Coffin and the Loyalist Interpretation of the Origins of the American Revolution,” Procs. MHS 108 (1996): 73-114.
1. This line in FB’s hand.
2. Dated Whitehall, 20 Feb. 1768. BP, 11: 141-144. This one-sentence circular letter to the colonial governors enclosed a copy of the House of Commons’ address to the king of 27 Mar. 1766, which had required governors to provide “exact Accounts” of manufactures established in their province since 1734. The request for information was driven by the government’s interest in removing some of the restrictions on colonial manufacturing. The Board of Trade had already requested the information (No. 509, Bernard Papers, 3: 248-250), and which FB supplied, when Hillsborough distributed his circular.
4. “Duck” was the common name for untwilled linen or cotton used for small sails and sailor’s trousers. OED.
5. Three shillings per day was equivalent to the average weekly wage of an unskilled laborer. Gary B. Nash, The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1979), 12.
6. Colin Nicolson, “A Plan ‘to banish all the Scotchmen’: Victimization and Political Mobilization in Pre-Revolutionary Boston,” Massachusetts Historical Review 9 (2007): 55-102, at 72-74. While the nonimportation subscription was offered to merchants and shopkeepers in March, other Bostonians had already demonstrated their commitment to the protest movement by signing the nonconsumption agreement of 28 Oct. 1767. See No. 601 n6 & n7.
1. James Otis Sr. and Nathaniel Sparhawk were elected to the Council in 1765 and negatived by FB the following year.
2. Jerathmeel Bowers (1717-99), who served Swansea from 1754 to 1774, and later; Samuel Dexter (1726-1810), Dedham’s representative 1764-67, 1775, and later; Joseph Gerrish (1708-76), representative for Newbury, 1753-54 and 1766-74; Thomas Saunders or Sanders (1729-74), representative for Gloucester, 1761-69. See No. 469, Bernard Papers, 3: 151-154.
3. For FB’s failed compromise with the Otises see No. 549, Bernard Papers, 3: 364-365.
4. These friends of government had probably undertaken to write to the secretary of state, for they were not in a position to persuade the House or assembly to petition the king.
5. Nathaniel Sparhawk (1715-76), who served in the Council until 1773.
7. FB’s explanation here clarifies that successful candidates required to win a majority of votes in either of the ballots: the first ballot for eighteen places and the second ballot for the remaining ten places. (See Bernard Papers, 3: 181n7.) A majority, as TH noted, was 71 votes, but he was three votes short, as FB here observes. Before the second ballot could take place, Otis and Adams intervened to accuse TH of being a “Pensioner.” TH to Nathaniel Rogers, Milton, 31 May 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 258-259, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 256.
8. The Grafton administration had decided that TH was to receive his lieutenant governor’s salary from the tea duty, with payment commencing in Jun. 1768. (It was probably an experiment intended to ascertain the colonial reaction.) The decision is not recorded in the Treasury’s American papers (T 28/1). It was first reported in the Boston newspapers on 11 Apr., the news having been brought in “private letters” from London carried by Capt. James Scott, master of John Hancock’s brig Lydia, which docked on 8 Apr. Bernard Bailyn, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (Cambridge, Mass., 1974), 121n, 146-148; Boston Gazette, 11 Apr. 1768; Boston Chronicle, 4-11 Apr. 1768.
9. In in his brief account, TH notes that persons who had voted for him afterward gave their support to Artemas Ward (1727-1800), whose election FB vetoed. Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay, 3 vols., ed. Lawrence Shaw Mayo, (1764, 1767, 1828: Cambridge, Mass., 1936), 3: 141.
10. Col. James Otis Sr. FB’s thesis of malice outweighing other motivation interestingly anticipates Bernard Bailyn on the primacy of ideology in the lead-up to the American Revolution. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1967).
11. John Chandler III (1721-1800) had been a councilor since 1765. He was a major landowner in Worcester County where he served as a probate judge, 1762-74; he occupied numerous local offices in Petersham, but was a single-term representative in the 1768-69 session.
12. Andrew Belcher (1706-71), a merchant by occupation, was first elected to the Council in 1764. Judging by FB’s comment, it is unlikely Belcher was strongly partisan for either the Whigs or the friends of government.
13. This refers to the friends of government who were elected: Thomas Flucker, Thomas Hubbard, James Russell (who would soon side with the Whigs), Timothy Paine (d.1793) of Worcester, and John Worthington (1719-1800) of Springfield. Their attendance at Council meetings had been erratic on account of their residing out of Boston.
14. Bowers, Gerrish, Saunders, and Col. Otis.
15. John Hancock (1737-93) and Artemas Ward (1727-1800).
17. In his opening speech of 26 May, FB drew attention to Massachusetts’s boundary dispute with New York, noting that he had sent to London the report of the joint boundary commission and (erroneously) expected it to be “confirmed.” JHRM, 45: 9. See No. 613.
18. Address of the Council, 28 May 1768. CO 5/827, f 75.
19. The House did not directly answer FB’s opening speech. Later responses to FB’s messages were concerned with the rescinding controversy, starting with that of 30 Jun. JHRM, 45: 90-95.
20. Thus in manuscript.
21. Signed by “J. J.” and addressed “To The Public,” the list of councilors was ironically offered “to a manly and impartial Press; and which if adopted at the next general Election [May 1768] may take away all grounds of further complaint, and may possibly prove a healing and very salutary measure for the province.” CO 5/757, f 114.
22. The House of Representatives had disputed FB’s contention. See FB’s letters to Shelburne, Nos. 549 and 550, Bernard Papers, 3: 364-369. After his defeat in the 1766 election, TH continued to attend Council meetings as lieutenant governor (though he was not an ex officio member) until growing criticism prompted him to desist. No. 534, ibid., 329-330.
23. JHRM, 45: 9.
24. Ibid., 8.
1. The only item of business raised by FB was to inform the assembly that he had transmitted to the Board of Trade copies of the printed report prepared by the commission on the province boundary with New York (No. 613).
2. James Otis Sr. (1702-78) was a former Speaker of the House, 1760-61, and had been a member of the Governor’s Council from 1762 to 1766, when FB vetoed his election. In 1764, FB had appointed him chief justice of the court of Common Pleas in Barnstable County.
3. FB probably communicated the proposed compromise via “some principal Members of the House,” as he had at the Council elections in 1767. No. 549, Bernard Papers, 3: 364.
5. Obscured in the binding.
6. Meaning by word of mouth, person-to-person.
8. Bernard Papers, 3: 373.
1. In the event, FB did not present the letter to the Council when it met on 8 Jun., probably because the Council had already, on 31 May, appointed a committee (comprising James Bowdoin, William Brattle, and Royal Tyler) to examine Corner’s complaints. CO 5/827, f 46.
2. John Corner had taken command of HMS Romney in Mar. 1767, serving in the North Atlantic Station under Admiral Samuel Hood.
3. Boston Chronicle, 30 May-6 Jun. 1768.
4. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 165-166. Popular concerns about impressment did not abate, however, when the Royal Navy warships gathered in Boston harbor in the autumn. FB had to intervene on at least one occasion to try to secure the release of sailors illegally taken from “Coasting Vessels.” FB to Samuel Hood, Province House, 18 Nov. 1768, BP, 7: 215. Resistance to Royal Navy press gangs was manifest in Boston during the wars with France, notably in a riot of 1747 which undermined future “in-harbor” operations to fill British vessels with American sailors. Nicholas Rogers, The Press Gang: Naval Impressment and its Opponents in Georgian Britain (London, 2007), 86-90.
2. Not found.
3. The session ran from 25 May until 30 Jun. 1768.
5. James Otis Jr.
6. The chief justice was granted £150 annually by the General Court.
7. Andrew Belcher.
8. John Chandler III (1721-1800).
9. First written as “are”.
1. The Rev. Hugh Palmer had been chaplain since 1756. FB also wrote Palmer on 10 Jun. suggesting he become the acting minister of Christ Church, which would provide him with one guinea “each Sunday for this occasional Service.” BP, 5: 264-265.
2. Closing parenthesis supplied.
3. Thus in manuscript. At Easter 1768, Mather Byles Jr. (1735-1814) was invited to become minister of the Anglican Christ Church (more commonly known as Old North Church) in Boston’s North End. In the absence of an American bishop, he was obliged to sail to England for ordination by the bishop of London, and returned to Boston on 28 Sept. to minister to around “one hundred families.” Henry Burroughs, A Historical Account of Christ Church, Boston, an address, delivered on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the church, December 29th, 1873 (Boston, 1874), 23. Rev. Byles was a recent convert to Anglicanism. His father Rev. Dr. Mather Byles (1707-88) was the Congregational pastor of Hollis Street Church, Boston, a published poet, and one of the province’s leading intellectuals. Father and son were both committed Loyalists. Arthur W. H. Eaton, The Famous Mather Byles: the noted Boston Tory preacher, poet, and wit, 1707-1788 (Boston, 1914).
4. Col. Dalrymple left Boston for Halifax, N.S., on board the Little Romney, 27 May. Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 30 May 1768. Doubtless the Rev. Palmer’s appointment was not uppermost in FB’s mind: he probably wished to discuss with Dalrymple the prospect of obtaining Regulars or the logistics of transporting them from Halifax to Boston.
5. William Dalrymple (1736-1807) had been commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 14th Regiment of Foot (West Yorkshire Regiment) on 27 Mar. 1765 and commanded the regiment when it was located to Boston in Oct. 1768.
1. Joseph Harrison, collector of Customs at Boston.
2. Benjamin Hallowell (1724-99), comptroller of Customs at Boston, 1764-70, and a commissioner of Customs from 1771.
3. John Robinson was an American-born former collector of Customs at Rhode Island, and had been in dispute with FB over the governor’s response to a riot and rescue at Taunton, Bristol Co., in the spring of 1765. He chaired meetings of the American Board of Customs after the Liberty riot. See Bernard Papers, 2: 251-258.
4. Henry Hulton (1730-91), the senior commissioner, was the most experienced administrator on the Board, having been a clerk in the London Plantation Office and a customs officer in Antigua. Hulton came to see FB as politically naïve and ineffective, though he strove to work with him during the crisis. See Neil Longley York, Henry Hulton and the American Revolution: An Outsider’s Inside View (Boston, 2010).
5. John Temple (1731-98). Temple’s decision to remain in Boston while the other commissioners retreated to Castle William, jeopardized his relationship with his colleagues, who came to suspect him of colluding with the Whigs to embarrass both them and the governor.
6. William Burch (d.1794).
7. Charles Paxton (1704-88), surveyor and searcher of customs at Boston, 1760-67. Paxton was FB’s only firm friend on the Customs Board.
8. According to CO 5/766 f 203.
6. The earl of Hillsborough to the lords commissioners of the Admiralty, Whitehall, 11 Jun. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 81-82.
8. The Lord Hyde packet “had a long Passage occasioned by many head Winds, Calms, and Lee Currants.” New-York Gazette, 12 Sept. 1768. The date of departure was noted in the Boston News-Letter, 18 Aug. 1768.
9. Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 82.
10. The British military redeployment is best followed in Archer, As If an Enemy’s Country, 104-106 and passim; Zobel, Boston Massacre, 93-107.
1. Samuel Adams later accepted that “there was a riot on that evening, which is by no means to be justify’d,” but proceeded to deliver a masterly critique of FB’s overblown account of the disturbance in this letter. Appeal to the World, 9.
2. This was the second major incident of crowd action in which Benjamin Hallowell was targeted, his mansion house in Hanover Street having being looted during the Stamp Act riot of 26 Aug. 1765 (and he was also chased by a mob in 1774). Bernard Papers, 2: 319-325.
3. Richard A. Harrison (d.1813).
4. Thomas Irving (1738?-1800), inspector of imports and exports for the American Board of Customs. For his career and impact see John J. McCusker, “Colonial Civil Servant and Counter-revolutionary: Thomas Irving 1738?-1800 in Boston, Charleston, and London,” Perspectives in American History 12 (1979): 315-350.
5. Probably Hallowell’s house in Hanover Street, though FB appears to think that someone else was now the proprietor.
6. John Williams, inspector general of Customs.
7. The identity of this person is unknown, but there are two likely candidates. The first is Samuel Adams, who, about this moment in time, reputedly spoke to a group of seven people urging armed insurrection. No. 732, Bernard Papers, 5: 167-171. There is nothing to suggest that Adams went on to address the large assembly mentioned by FB. The second candidate is William Molineux (c.1717-74). Of all the town’s merchants, Molineux was the most closely involved with crowd action, directing mobs who visited importers and later participating in the Boston Tea Party. As an English-born Anglican he might have found it easier to establish normative relations with British customs officers, including Joseph Harrison, to whom he wrote on the morning of 15 Jun. Anticipating Harrison’s surprize that a radical should contact him at this juncture, Molineux stressed that the communication came from “Gentlemen Worthy” of Harrison’s notice; that the customs officer was in fact “Esteemd by the trade” and that the assault on his person and the burning of his boat he should attribute to the “frenzy of the Night . . . Such sort of People Inhabit every Great City Perhaps in the World.” The actions of these criminally-minded denizens, he continued, ought not to be construed as a prelude to the “Greater Evils” Harrison’s colleagues would surely imagine. William Molineux to Joseph Harrison, Boston, 15 Jun. 1768, NEP, 3: 1.
8. The leading historian of Massachusetts crowd action rendered the phrase as:
We will defend our Liberties and property, by the Strength of our Arms and the help of our God; to your Tents O Israel.
Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 168.
In fact, the speaker was citing a well-known passage of scripture: “to your Tents O Israel!” 1 Kings 12:16 or 2 Chronicles 10:16. The passage recounted the story of the divided kingdom, when ten of Israel’s twelve tribes (all northern tribes) rebelled against the rule of King Rehoboam (a son of Solomon), dividing the kingdom between the northern tribes and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who remained loyal to the dynasty of David and Solomon. To FB, the citation was an indicator of Bostonians’ rebellious instincts. Later generations of Americans would prefer the wisdom of the gospels that any house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:23).
9. FB’s suggestion that the mob resembled a lawless, drunken rabble was unfair, since, as Hoerder pointed out, there was nothing to have prevented the rioters looting the wine cellars of other officials, as they did to Hallowell’s in 1765.
10. FB asked the Council to consider “as a matter of public notoriety, the great disorders” that occurred the previous day. The councilors forming the committee were William Brattle, Samuel Danforth, Samuel Dexter, Benjamin Lincoln, Jeremiah Powell, and Nathaniel Sparhawk, CO 5/827, f 48.
11. Ibid., ff 48-49.
13. Probably, No. 624, written the day before, which he received at 5 am. FB would have received No. 621 sometime after he commenced writing this letter. After reading the Customs commissioners’ letter to FB (No. 624), Samuel Adams commented on FB’s postscript:
Here we see the Intelligence which the Governor represents to his Lordship as having been receiv’d by him from the Commissioners, he first communicated to them; and thereupon they grounded their pretended Fears in their letter to him, and Desire the Protection of the Government. This is all of a Piece, and may serve to explain the frequent Rumours of an insurrection mentioned in a former letter [No. 600], and from what quarter these frequent Rumours came.
Appeal to the World, 13.
14. FB to [John Phillips], Jamaica Plain, 13 Jun. 1768, CO 5/766, f 207.
15. Samuel Adams: “Could the Governor think, that but the Vermin that were come to Devour the Land, they meant his Excellency and the Commissioners?” Appeal to the World, 15.
16. That is to say, FB assumed that the retreat of the commissioners would remove the immediate threat of violence, and with it the imperative (as he saw it) of asking the Council to consider measures to prevent civil disorder.
17. Between 11 and 16 Jun, the American Board of Customs sent to the Treasury several detailed reports on the Liberty riot in which they enclosed copies of correspondence with FB, depositions (in order of dispatch) from Thomas Kirk, Joseph Harrison, Richard A. Harrison, and Benjamin Hallowell, together with a memorial of Thomas Irving, and correspondence between the Board and Capt. Corner. T 1/465, ff 129-186. The best account of the riot is Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 166-169.
19. For example, see Oliver M. Dickerson, “John Hancock: Notorious Smuggler or Near Victim of British Revenue Racketeers?” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 32 (1946): 517-540; Harlow G. Unger, John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot (New York, 2000), 122-123. On the Lydia incident see the source note to No. 678.
20. Legal Papers of John Adams, 2: 176-177.
21. Prosecutions in rem were brought under the Navigation Acts: 12 Car. 2, c. 18, (1660); 15 Car. 2, c. 7 (1663); 22 & 23 Car. 2, c. 26, (1670); 6 Geo. 3, c. 52, (1766); and 3 & 4 Anne, c. 10, (1704). The in personam charges were brought under the Sugar Act, 4 Geo. 3, c. 15, (1764). Legal Papers of John Adams, 2: 177, 181. In discussing the inordinately high penalties Hancock and his accomplices were facing, TH (drawing upon his knowledge of the tea trade) wrote that
none of whom I dare say knew they were liable to this or any other considerable penalty there never having been a prosecution upon this Act [4 Geo. 3, c. 15] except in one instance in my memory and that was against the Owners only. It is high time that it should be known and that the Acts of Trade should be more generally observed. The reduction of the Duty upon Tea has not had the proposed Effect. They who have been used to smuggling still continue it tho with less profit and large quantities of Tea are brought from St. Eustatia and other ports to which it is shipped from Holland.
TH to unknown, Boston, Nov. 1768, Mass. Archs., 26: 324-325, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 2: 673.
22. Legal Papers of John Adams, 2: 181-191, quotation at 185.
1. Andrew Oliver to John Robinson, chairman of the Board, 11 Jun. 1768, T 1/465, ff 139-140.
2. American Board of Customs to John Corner, 11 Jun. 1768, T 1/465, ff 141-142.
3. “On Saturday Afternoon finding Ourselves utterly insecure in Town, the Major Part of Us were obliged to seek for an Asylum.” No. 626. However, TH reported that “The Commissioners . . . remained pretty easy Saturday and Sunday but Monday morning early they sent a card to the Governor to let him know that were going aboard the Romney.” TH would not have been immediately aware of the Board’s movements, given that he was resident at his country house at Milton, and assumed that the Board’s notification of their retreat (No. 626) was the first that FB knew of their relocation to the Romney. TH to Richard Jackson, 16 Jun. 1768, Mass. Archs., 26: 310-312.
4. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 61.
2. Samuel Adams interpreted the exchange as evidence of a settled plan “to perswade the Council if possible into a Belief . . . [of an insurrection], or if not, to form a Complaint to the Ministry, that they were negligent of their Duty in not advising to proper Measures for the Protection of the Commissioners; and from thence to enforce a Necessity of military Force to restore and support Government in Boston.” Appeal to the World, 13.
1. 11 Jun.
2. Temple did not sign the commissioners’ letter to FB sent the previous day (No. 624). It is possible that the strident tone of this second letter (No. 626) conveyed the antipathy of FB’s old enemy. Temple, however, did not accompany his colleagues to Castle William and resided in Boston for the duration of their retreat.
1. Lt. John Phillip (1712-97) had been commander of the Castle William garrison since 1759, TH being the honorary captain. Phillip relinquished the position in 1770 when the fort was brought under the direct administration of the governor and garrisoned by British Regulars.
1. The title and place name have been relocated.
2. The House of Representatives, petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768, JHRM, 44: 217-219. The petition was not transmitted by FB but submitted by the House agent DeBerdt, a breach of protocol that justified the British government’s refusal to accept it. See No. 712, Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
3. Two acts of Parliament prohibited the impressment of sailors from vessels engaged in the American trade: the East India Goods Act, 6 Anne, c. 37, sect. 9 (1707) and the Sugar Trade Act, 19 Geo. 2, c. 30, sect. 1 (1746). Cited from Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 170; Boston town meeting, instructions to representatives, 17 Jun. 1768, Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 259. However, the king’s attorney general in England subsequently advised that 6 Anne c. 37 was no longer in force. No. 661.
4. CO 5/757: “Destruction”.
5. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 170-171.
6. Boston Chronicle, 17-24 Oct. 1768.
3. FB also mentions the offensive paper in No. 623. The identity of the death-sentenced customs officer is unknown.
4. On Monday13 Jun.
7. The handbill quoted above.
8. Samuel Adams:
But surely, if the Governor and Council could be supposed to be sitting upon such Business, at such a time, and seemingly to little purpose, there could be no great Impropriety in other Peoples undertaking it. But without adopting by any Means the Measure, Is not here a striking Instance of the Disposition of Governor Bernard, and some others, to receive with the greatest Avidity the most aggravated Accounts of every trifling Occurrence that has happened, and without any Enquiry, to paint them to the Ministry in the deepest colours!
Appeal to the World, 16.
10. The House had responded to FB’s contention in a speech of 25 Sept. 1765 that resistance to the Stamp Act was threatening to undermine the power of government. In a long answer, dated 24 Oct., the House refuted the imputation that the Stamp Act riots necessitated extraordinary measures (referring by implication, to the deployment of British Regulars) and professed that “laws are already in being for the support” of government.
Surely you cannot mean, by calling the whole legislative in aid of the executive authority, that any new and extraordinary kind of power should by law be constituted, to oppose such acts of violence as you[r] Excellency may apprehend from a people ever remarkable for their loyalty and good order; tho’ at present uneasy and discontented. If then the laws of the province for the preservation of his Majesty’s peace are already sufficient, your Excellency we are very sure need not to be told, to whose department it solely belongs to appoint a suitable number of majestrates to put those laws in execution, or remove them in case of failure of their duty therein.
JHRM, 42: 130-138.
11. The joint committee was appointed to consider the “State of the Province” on 13 Jun., at the suggestion of the House. JHRM, 45: 53. Meanwhile, FB collected copies of depositions submitted by the customs officers caught up in the riot, and enclosed them with this letter. The Council later accused him of undermining the assembly’s enquiry from the outset by assisting the Customs commissioners collect their own evidence for the British government. Appendix 4.
12. According to CO 5/766 f 203.
1. Printing error corrected.
2. Editorially supplied.
3. Commissioners of Customs Act, 7 Geo. 3, c. 41 (1767).
2. The tree was at the junction of Essex and Orange streets in the South End. For a description of the tree’s adornments see Bernard Papers, 3: 387n10. This may record an early usage of the term “Liberty Hall,” which was soon commonplace on both sides of the Atlantic; it was used in Oliver Goldsmith’s play She Stoops to Conquer (1773) and gave an opera its name (1785), by Charles Dibdin.
3. No. 557, Bernard Papers, 3: 640-648.
4. Samuel Adams observed this was an “awkward and inconsistent Description of the Tree,” probably in recognition of the symbolism that FB ascribed to it, than his description of it. Appeal to the World, 17. The history of English peasant rebellions resonated loudly in the phrase “Oak of Reformation,” instantly locating the symbolism of Boston’s Liberty Tree within a larger tradition. The phrase would have immediately alerted Hillsborough to FB’s anxiety that the Liberty riot and the town’s deliberations about impressment presaged a large-scale popular revolt (as his figures on crowd numbers, and the comments on rural activism were also designed to convey). The oak tree was the adopted symbol of the Kent rebellion of 1450 led by Jack Cade. But by the eighteenth century the “Oak of Reformation” was more commonly associated with the 1549 revolt against land enclosures in Norfolk led by yeoman farmer Robert Kett; an oak tree was the central meeting place of the rebel camp at Mousehold Heath before the rebel army of c.16,000 peasants invested Norwich, then one of England’s largest cities. On the significance of trees as emblems of “ancient folk rights of freedom and liberty” see David Hackett Fischer, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Founding Ideas (Oxford, 2005), 25; also Frederic William Russell, Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk being a history of the great civil commotion that occurred at the time of the Reformation, in the reign of Edward VI (London, 1859), 41, 52.
But mention of Cade also served to signal FB’s alarm at the prospect of a violent insurrection during the early summer of 1768 (and which included Massachusetts’s rural as well as urban populations). During the first days of Jul. 1450, Cade’s supporters directly confronted royal authority forcing the king and his government to retreat from London. The rebel force, 20,000 strong and including port-town laborers and sailors as well as peasants, executed royal officials and looted the capital before they dispersed upon encountering protracted resistance by townsfolk and soldiers loyal to King Henry VI. Paul Murray Kendall, The Yorkist Age: Daily Life During the Wars of the Roses (New York, 1962), 468-472. FB was probably most familiar with Cade’s bloody rebellion from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2. Shakespeare’s Cade is the obscure mercenary tool of the king’s enemy, Richard Plantagenet, the duke of York (4:2). He also unleashed class conflict by marshaling
a ragged multitude
Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless . . .
All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.
(Henry VI, Part 2, 4:4. 33-34, 37-38).
5. 14 Jun.
6. It is noteworthy that FB should not comment on some of the wilder speechmaking purportedly made at the Liberty Tree on 14 Jun. Samuel Adams reputedly advocated insurrection: “If you are Men, behave like Men; let us take up arms immediately and be free and spend our last drop.” The comments and quotations proffered by FB later in the letter indicate hostility to any such radical outbursts. Adams quoted in Harlow G. Unger, John Hancock: Merchant king and American Patriot (New York, 2000), 121, c.f. Miller, Sam Adams, 144-145.
7. Faneuil Hall.
8. Samuel Adams: “he should have said, broke up; and the selectmen . . . called a Town-meeting, agreeable to the Directions of the Law, to meet in the afternoon.” Appeal to the World, 17.
9. Manuscript torn.
10. The Old South Meeting House.
11. Samuel Adams: “It ought here to be observed, that Governor Bernard constantly represents Bodies of Men, even the most respectable, by Proposals made by Individuals, which have been misrepresented by Pimps and Parasites, and perhaps aggravated by himself, instead of allowing them to stand or fall by their own Conclusions—Can any Thing be more base, more contrary to Equity than this?” Appeal to the World, 18.
13. At Jamaica Plain, four miles outside Boston.
14. The town meeting’s proceedings of 14 and 17 Jun. were printed in the Boston Gazette, 20 Jun. 1768. See also, Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 257-259. The town’s instructions to its representatives (Otis, Cushing, Adams, and Hancock), 17 Jun. 1768, are in ibid. 259; there is a copy of the town’s letter to DeBerdt, approved on 15 Jun. in the Adams Family Papers, MHS (record number: 010495).
15. The cavalcade set out from John Hancock’s Beacon Hill mansion. Those members whom FB had met frequently in the course of public business were (in given order): James Otis Jr. (moderator), Joseph Jackson (militia officer), John Hancock, Thomas Cushing, and Samuel Adams (Boston representatives), Samuel Quincy (lawyer), and Royal Tyler (councilor). Of the others to whom this comment refers we might exclude the merchant John Rowe (whom he did meet socially) and include physicians Thomas Young, Joseph Warren, and Benjamin Church; justices of the peace Joshua Henshaw, John Ruddock, and Richard Dana, the lawyers Josiah Quincy Jr. and Benjamin Kent, and the merchants Samuel Pemberton, Henderson Inches, Edward Payne, Daniel Malcom, and Melatiah Bourn. From his own account, it may be deduced that FB controlled his anger towards Capt. Malcom for his past obstructiveness and knew nothing of Joseph Warren’s part in the writing the “True Patriot” letter he had found so offensive. FB’s self-congratulatory account of the meeting was designed to remind Hillsborough of his value as a negotiator, in marked contrast to the grisly execution of the royal officials sent to parley with English rebels Jack Cade in 1450 or Robert Kett in 1549. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 255; William M. Fowler, Jr., The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock (Boston, 1980), 88-89.
16. FB’s letter (not found) was considered at the meeting held at 4 pm on Wed. 15 Jun. at the Old South Church.
17. Samuel Adams on moderator Otis’s view of FB: “Thus saith Governor Bernard, but no one remembers or believes it.” Appeal to the World, 19.
18. FB’s correction is accurate, the instructions being approved on 17 Jun.
19. At 4 pm, Friday 17 Jun. at Faneuil Hall.
20. Insertion relocated from left margin.
21. The delegation likely included councilors James Bowdoin and Royal Tyler, both ardent Whigs.
22. The councilors wrote FB requesting that he intercede with Capt. Corner to release the man impressed (as FB reported) by Corner’s “inferior Officer against his Orders”. For “the peace of the Town seems in a great measure to depende upon it. If this application shd. Fail, it will be apprehended to be to no purpose to make a future one in any similar case.” James Bowdoin and Royal Tyler to FB. 18 Jun. 1768, (ADft), Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS.
23. The clause “as . . . Town” omitted from the LbC, probably in error.
24. 20 Jun.
25. Samuel Adams: “Perhaps he would have been more consistent if he had imagined these Letters would ever have seen the Light.” Appeal to the World, 20.
26. Thus Samuel Adams concluded that having identified the potential for rebellion, FB was leading Hillsborough to only one possible conclusion: “the favorite point will not be carried, till the long-wished for troops arrive, to enforce his arbitrary Designs, and suppress the Spirit of Liberty. And now is the Time, if ever, to press the Matter: Every Hand therefore must be set to work; and nothing will serve the Cause like continually holding up the Idea of an Insurrection.” Appeal to the World, 20.
27. The joint committee’s remit went far beyond an investigation of the Liberty rioters, proposing “to enquire into the Grounds and Reasons of the present Apprehensions of the People” and fearing “that Measures have been and now are taking for the Execution of the late Revenue Acts of Parliament by a Naval and Military Force.” FB’s enemies in the House were to the fore: Samuel Adams, Joseph Hawley, James Otis Jr., and Jedidiah Preble; of the four councilors chosen James Pitts and John Bradbury were the governor’s adversaries, while Jeremiah Powell and Gamaliel Bradford were at best his tacit critics. JHRM, 45: 63-64; CO 5/828, f 103.
28. One described as an “Incendiary Paper”, HCJ, 32: 75.
3. When the House refused to rescind the February vote approving the Circular Letter, FB dissolved the assembly on 30 Jun. JHRM, 45: 98. The proclamation was published in the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 4 Jul. 1768 and the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter, 7 Jul. 1768.
4. Hallowell’s testimony complemented the reports on the Liberty riot and town proceedings that FB and the American Board of Customs sent to the British government. His deposition of 11 Jun. (T 1/465, ff 133-134), was sent to the Treasury along with a host of other papers enclosed in the memorial of the Customs Board, Appendix 6. Hallowell left Boston on 20 Jun., on the Brig Nancy, Capt. Brett, and was examined by the Treasury on 21 Jul. The papers he brought were then read in the House of Lords on 2 Nov. and the House of Commons on 28 Nov. 1768, and considered by the Privy Council on 26 Jun. 1770. Boston Weekly News-Letter, 23 Jun.1768; PDBP, 3: 25; APC, 5: 249-250. The transcript of Hallowell’s examination has not been found although his corrections to the paper are filed in CO 5/767, f 138.
2. From the dateline to “driven out of” the handwriting is probably that of Thomas Bernard.
3. First written form indecipherable.
4. HMS Romney, Capt. Corner, had been anchored in Boston harbor since 17 May. The HMS Beaver, a sloop, Capt. H. Bellew, probably came into Boston from Halifax in early June, left the port later that month, then returned on 4 Jul. New-Hampshire Gazette, 15 Jul. 1768. Of the twenty or so vessels in the North Atlantic Station under the command of Commodore Samuel Hood (1724-1816) between 1767 and 1770, the following were sent to Boston: Garland, a fifth rate ship, at Boston 13 Jun.-4 Jul. 1768; Glasgow, a sixth rate ship, 27 Jun.-4 Jul.; Viper, an armed schooner, arrived 3 Jul.; the sloop Bonetta, Capt. J. Wallace, arrived 4 Jul.; Senegal, a sloop, arrived 6 Jul.; Hope, a schooner, arrived 6 Jul.; the schooner Gaspee, Capt. Murray, departed Boston 6 Jul.; the schooner Little Romney, at Boston 18-23 May, returning on 6 Jul. Boston Gazette, 23 May, 1768; New-Hampshire Gazette, 15 Jul. 1768.
8. A detonation device.
9. Boston New-Letter, 23 Jun. 1768.
1. This line in the hand of Thomas Bernard.
2. Bernard Papers, 5: 185-188.
1. No. 447, Bernard Papers, 3: 98-102.
2. See ibid., 104, 106, 124-125, 128, 213.
1. Appendix 5. American Board of Customs to Thomas Gage 15 Jun. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 217-218.
2. See Appendix 5.
3. As FB put it: “I am informed that the Orders to him are only to collect the troops together, but not to embark them till they are required by me.” No. 660.
3. Annotation in left margin: “I”, referring to his message of 21 Jun. JHRM, 45: 68-69.
4. No. 608. The version presented to the House of Representatives is in JHRM, 45: 68-69. The paragraphs omitted from the copy laid before the House were actually the sixth and seventh, for FB chose not to count the introductory sentence as a single paragraph. In these particular paragraphs, Hillsborough (a) instructed FB to dissolve the assembly if the House did not rescind the vote approving the Circular Letter, then (b) promised FB that if “a faithful Discharge” of his duty should disadvantage him “proper Care will be taken for the Support of the Dignity of Government.” FB probably took this sentence to mean that Britain would pay his salary if the assembly refused the annual grant.
5. Starting quotation marks editorially supplied. End marks are in the manuscript. FB later acquired a fuller report of Otis’s speech on 21 Jun., for which see the source note to No. 680.
6. Probably William Pitt (1708-78), the earl of Chatham, and the nominal leader of the administration until his resignation in Oct. 1768, although the Stamp Act was actually repealed by the marquess of Rockingham’s administration.
7. FB’s second hand account is the only source for this speech by James Otis Jr.
8. Thus in manuscript.
9. The committee appointed on 22 Jun. comprised Boston representatives Thomas Cushing (Speaker), Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and James Otis Jr.; those subjected to the governor’s veto were Jerathmeel Bowers (1717-99) of Swansea, James Otis Sr. (1702-78) of Barnstable, and Thomas Saunders (1729-74) of Gloucester; plus Walter Spooner (1720-1803) of Dartmouth and James Warren (1726-1808) of Plymouth. JHRM, 45: 70-71. This committee would also prepare the House’s letter to Hillsborough, 30 Jun. Appendix 9.
10. Annotation: “II”, referring to the message from the House of Representatives, 23 Jun, CO 5/757, f 263. The message was issued after the committee tasked with preparing an answer to FB’s message of 21 Jun. indicated that “it would be of great Use to them” if they could inspect an unedited “whole” copy of Hillsborough’s letter of 22 Apr. (containing the instruction requiring FB to have the House rescind the vote for the Circular Letter), together with copies of FB’s letters to Hillsborough and Hillsborough’s to FB about the matter (and listed in note 12 below) JHRM, 45: 72-73.
12. The extract of Hillsborough’s letter of 22 Apr. (No. 608) presented to the House omitted the first sentence wherein Hillsborough indicated receipt of FB’s letters Nos. 589, 591, and 593. This detail was unknown to the House committee members at this stage (and probably until publication of FB’s official correspondence in 1769).
13. Annotation: “III”, referring to FB’s message to the House of Representatives, 24 Jun., CO 5/757, ff 263-264. However, FB still did not release the first sentence, thus preserving, for now, the material evidence directly linking him to Hillsborough’s instruction (see note 12, above). JHRM, 45: 75.
14. The Annual Supply Act was passed on Thursday 30 Jun., see note 30, below.
15. Peyton Randolph, (Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses) to Thomas Cushing, 9 May 1768, JHRM, 45, 104-107. Replies were also received from the speakers of the following assemblies: New Hampshire (dated 25 Feb.), New Jersey (9 May), Connecticut (11 Jun.), Georgia (16 Jun.), South Carolina (10 Jul.), and Rhode Island (5 Aug.). Ibid., 108-112. While New Hampshire praised the “Measures” taken by the Massachusetts House (indirectly referring to the petition to the king and letter to the House agent), Virginia was the only colony to reply that offered an exhibition of colonial rights and liberties; it harmonized with the Massachusetts Whigs’ position in rejecting the constitutionality of direct taxation by Parliament. Such sentiments were expressed, respectfully, in Virginia’s own petition to the king drawn up in April. The letters from Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, South Carolina, and Maryland (dated 24 Jun.) were printed in the Massachusetts newspapers. Boston Evening-Post, 27 Jun. and 11 Jul.; Boston Chronicle, 27 Jun.-4 Jul.; Boston Weekly News-Letter, 30 Jun.; Essex Gazette, 9-16 Jul. 1768. The replies printed in one of the enclosures to FB’s letter were those from Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia. Boston Chronicle, 27 Jun.-4 Jul. 1768, CO 5/757, f 273.
16. That is the committee appointed on 22 Jun. see note 9 above.
17. Annotation: “IV”, referring to FB’s message to the House of Representatives, 28 Jun., CO 5/757, f 264. Noted in JHRM, 45: 85.
18. Annotation: “V”, referring to the House of Representatives’ message to FB, 29 Jun., CO5/757, f 264. Noted in JHRM, 45: 86-87.
19. In the summer of 1766, the House postponed consideration of a requisition on compensating the victims of the Stamp Act riots, in order to ascertain the views of constituents. Not only did the House significantly delay the award but it also challenged the authority with which FB had made a “Requisition.” Bernard Papers, 3: 242-245, 284, 431-439. At the time, FB was able to exploit divisions that emerged, but evidently supposed that he would have less opportunity to do so in the summer of 1768 should towns be able to instruct their representatives on the rescinding issue.
20. Annotation: “VI”, referring to FB’s message to the House of Representatives, 29 Jun., CO 5/757, f 264. Noted in JHRM, 45: 88.
21. Appendix 9. Signed by Speaker Thomas Cushing, the House’s letter to Hillsborough was read and approved on 30 Jun.; it was printed in the newspapers a week afterward and later as an appendix to the House journals. JHRM, 45: 89, 99-104; Boston Weekly News-Letter, 7 Jul. 1768.
22. This is an error: ninety-two voted in the negative on 30 Jun. JHRM, 45: 89-90.
23. Friends of government who voted against rescinding included: Elisha Adams, (1719-81) representative for Medway; Jonathan Bagley (1717-80), Almsbury; Stephen Hall (1704-86), Medford; John Noyes (1715-85), Sudbury; Sampson Stoddard (1709-77), Chelmsford; Joseph Tisdale (1736-68), Taunton; and John Wadsworth (1709-99) of Duxbury. Colin Nicolson, “Governor Francis Bernard, the Massachusetts Friends of Government, and the Advent of the Revolution,” Procs. MHS 103 (1991): 24-113, at 110-113.
24. The committee appointed to deliver the House’s answer included Jedidiah Preble (1707-84), whose authority as an Indian agent FB had once undermined, and Jerathmeel Bowers (1717-99), whose election to the Council FB had vetoed. However, the inclusion of Col. Richard Saltonstall (1732-85), who had voted to rescind and had been a loyal ally to FB, probably came as a shock if, by accepting the appointment, Saltonstall was demonstrating regret. On FB’s relations with these men see Bernard Papers, 1: 431-432; 2: 327-332, 352; 3: 154n11, 176. The House’s answer, prepared by the committee appointed on 22 Jun., is in JHRM, 45: 91-94.
25. The committee formed on 30 Jun. to draft the petition to remove FB comprised FB’s enemies Samuel Adams, Jerathmeel Bowers, John Hancock, James Otis Sr., and James Otis Jr. JHRM, 45: 94. According to historian John K. Alexander, the committee probably worked from a draft already prepared by Samuel Adams, since a fair copy was presented to the committee at its first meeting—the same day on which the committee had been appointed. FB’s dissolution of the assembly prevented any consideration by the House. The matter was raised again the following year, when the same committee members (minus Bowers) were joined by five other representatives (including Thomas Cushing and Jedidiah Preble) in preparing a petition to the king for the governor’s removal, which was adopted, printed, and dispatched. JHRM, 45: 136, 148, 197-199. Adams’s biographer assumes that the petition adopted on 27 Jun. 1769 was the largely the same as that proposed in 1768: that may have been the case, but the 1768 draft has not been found to prove the point. Alexander, Samuel Adams, 71.
26. FB is not referring to any particular vote of the House but to proposals that were aired in the course of debates over FB’s correspondence with the earl of Shelburne, in which the governor was alleged to have misrepresented the province to the secretary of state. The first occasion was on 13 Nov. 1767 when the House considered Shelburne’s letter of 13 Sept. 1766 (No. 501). Bernard Papers, 3: 223-225, 253, 272n16. The second occasion was from 16 to 22 Feb. 1768, when the House requested a copy of Shelburne’s letter of 17 Sept. 1767 (No. 566). JHRM, 44: 147, 239-240, 250-251; source note to No. 591.
27. Annotation: “VII”, referring to the House of Representatives’ answer to FB’s messages of the 24 and 25, dated 30 Jun., CO 5/757, ff 266-268. Printed in JHRM, 45: 91-94.
28. On 30 Jun., FB prorogued the assembly until 3 Aug. and dissolved it by proclamation on 1 Jul. Acts and Resolves, 4: 1032.
29. The committee comprised James Bowdoin, William Brattle, Thomas Flucker, Royal Tyler, and James Russell. They requested approval to “prepare” an address to the king and to send after FB’s “consideration.” CO 5/827, f 52.
30. Eighteen acts were passed in the session that commenced on May 25 and was dissolved on 30 Jun. For a full list see Acts and Resolves, 4: 1114-1115. The first was a grant of £1,300 for the governor’s salary. The supply act for appropriating £18,000 for the Treasury was passed on 23 Jun. (thus ensuring that the ordinary expenses of government would be met); a continuation act for the payment of fees to government officers was passed on 28 Jun.; and the supply act appropriating £100,000 from taxes for the redemption of government securities due in 1769 was passed on 30 Jun. Ibid., 1024-1025.
31. James Bowdoin drafted the Council’s petition to the king, which he reported to the Governor and Council on 7 Jul. Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS. The engrossed copy is Appendix 11.
32. No. 646. Probably Capt. John Smith, master of the brig Betty, which cleared the Customhouse on 4 Jul. bound for Greenock, near Glasgow. Boston Chronicle, 27 Jun.-4 Jul. 1768.
33. John J. Waters Jr., The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1968), 173-175.
34. See Bernard Papers, 3: 161.
35. See Bernard Papers, 2: 262-263; 3: 152, 280-281.
36. Jonathan Mayhew, A Discourse, Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers with Some Reflections on the Resistance made to King Charles I. and on the anniversary of his death: in which the mysterious doctrine of that Prince’s saintship and martyrdom is unriddled: the substance of which was delivered in a sermon preached in the West meeting house, in Boston, on the Lord’s day after the 30th of January, 1749-50 (Boston, 1750). On FB and Mayhew, see Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 77.
37. Brendan J. McConville, The King’s Three Faces: the Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2006), 268-273.
38. I am grateful to Prof. McConville for providing this lead, ibid.
39. See note 9 above.
40. Message of the House of Representatives, 30 Jun. 1768, JHRM, 45: 91-94.
41. Impeachment, as FB and the Whigs would have known, was “a presentment to the most high and supreme court of criminal jurisdiction by the most solemn grand inquest of the whole kingdom.” Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1765), 4: 256. The penalties for maladministration and malfeasance by colonial governors were immediate dismissal, a sine die ban on holding Crown office, and a fine of £1,000. Governors were, of course, also subject to the full penalty of law for any criminal act. Governors of Plantations Act, 11 Will., c. 12 (1698).
42. The stalwarts were Jonathan Bliss (1742-1822), Springfield; William Browne (1737-1807), Salem; Jacob Fowle (1704-71), Marblehead; Timothy Ruggles, (1711-95), Hardwick; Richard Saltonstall (1732-85), Haverhill; Israel Williams (1709-88), Hatfield. They were joined by John Ashley (1709-1802), Sheffield; Jonathan Ashley (1739-87), Deerfield-Greenfield; Dr. John Calef (1726-1812), Ipswich; John Chadwick (1717-90), Tyringham; Josiah Edson (1709-81), Bridgewater; Chillingworth Foster (1707-79), Harwich; Matthew Mayhew (1721-1805), Chilmark; and Jonathan Sayward (1713-97), York. The three new government men were probably Peter Frye, (1723-1820), Salem; William Jernigan, (1728-1817), Edgartown; and Joseph Root (1713-86), Sunderland.
43. Israel Williams to Thomas Hutchinson, Hatfield, 28 December, 1767 , Mass. Archs., 25: 234-235.
44. John H. Cary, “‘The Juditious are intirely neglected’: The Fate of a Tory,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 134 (1980): 99-114, quoted at 104.
45. Nicolson, The ‘Infamas Govener’, 165; Nicolson, “Governor Francis Bernard, the Massachusetts Friends of Government, and the Advent of the Revolution,” 110-113.
2. Gage to Hillsborough, New York, 28 Jun. 1768, CO 5/86, f 128.
3. William Franklin (1730/31-1813) had been governor of New Jersey since 1762.
4. That is to say, acting on the instructions of the secretary of state.
6. Bernard Papers, 3: 394-395.
3. FB is referring not only to the newspaper reports but also to the Customs commissioners’ letter to Gage, 15 Jun. Appendix 5.
5. FB had previously informed Gage of the Council’s position on the matter, following the Stamp Act riots, in No. 381, Bernard Papers, 3: 332-333.
6. FB is referring to the Council meetings of 11 and 13 Jun. (described in No. 630), at which such matters were discussed but not recorded in the minutes. CO 5/827, f 48.
7. Most likely Samuel Adams, James Otis Jr., or John Hancock.
8. It is most unlikely that the allegation concerned Thomas Cushing, whose moderation had drawn praise from FB in the past. The other three Boston representatives (Adams, Hancock, and Otis) are likelier candidates. The comment when originally delivered (c.21 May by FB’s reckoning) was probably not meant to be taken literally, as FB here implies. But the braggadocio was in keeping with the Boston Whigs’ forceful rhetoric and domineering behavior, which FB had highlighted at the time. (No. 614). FB’s careful dating of the alleged remark conveys some authenticity as to its impact upon him. It also demonstrated to Gen. Gage the depth of hostility FB faced. (This was more than a month before FB rendered himself a clear target for invective after proposing that the Council should join him in asking Gage for troops).
9. On 18 Jun., JHRM, 45: 63-64. The town’s protests at Capt. John Corner’s recent impressment of sailors probably heightened concern that FB would make such an application. Boston Evening-Post, 20 Jun.; Boston Gazette, 20 Jun. 1768.
1. No. 639 enclosing Appendix 8.
2. The copy of this letter that William Dalrymple made for Thomas Gage is probably in MiU-C: Gage, but has not been located.
3. New-Hampshire Gazette, 15 Jul. 1768.
1. The RC of Appendix 8 enclosed in No. 639.
1. His Majesty’s Ships Romney, Garland (departed 4 Jul.), Glasgow (dep. 4 Jul.), and Gaspee (dep. 6 Jul.). They were replaced by the vessels listed in note 2 below. The squadron’s movements were reported in the New-Hampshire Gazette, 15 Jul. 1768. Commodore Samuel Hood, the commander of the North Atlantic Station, was responding to the entreaties of the American Board of Customs to keep a substantial Royal Navy presence anchored in Boston harbor. See source note to Appendix 2. Hood was not acting in direct response to Admiralty orders arising from Hillsborough’s request that the Admiralty station a squadron in Boston harbor. The earl of Hillsborough to the lords commissioners of the Admiralty, Whitehall, 11 Jun. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 81-82.
2. His Majesty’s Ships Beaver, Bonetta, Little Romney, and Viper arrived on 4 Jul., and Hope and Senegal on 6 Jul. The commissioners of Customs praised Commodore Hood for this “most seasonable” aid. American Board of Customs, memorial to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, Castle William, 11 Jul. 1768, T 1/465, ff 179-180.
1. The order-in-council (and the subsequent instructions dispatched to colonial governors) required that colonial governors contact the secretary of state in the first instance and send “Duplicates” of their out-letters to the Board of Trade. BP, 11: 119-122.
2. J. C. Sainty, et al., Officeholders in Modern Britain, 3: 28-37.
3. JBT, 13: 125.
2. The proceedings of the House of Representatives from 21 to 30 Jun. were printed in the Boston Gazette, 4 Jul. 1768. FB’s proclamation for dissolving the General Court, “IN OBEDIENCE TO HIS MAJESTY’S COMMANDS,” dated 1 Jul., was printed in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 7 Jul. 1768.
3. L extract: from here to “they know I can do nothing.”
4. 4 Jul.
5. The cargo rescued on 8 Jul. was returned to the Customhouse, according to Samuel Adams, who claimed FB intentionally omitted that fact. Appeal to the World, 23.
6. John Hancock’s vessel the Liberty.
7. On 10 Jun.
8. Samuel Adams considered this “An Assertion so notoriously false, that few men could have made it without Blushing; and we may suppose even Governor Bernard himself would not have made it, had he apprehended it would have ever become Public.” Appeal to the World, 22-23.
10. The committee appointed on 13 Jun 1768 was reformed a year later, and proceeded to prepare a petition to the king calling for FB’s removal. JHRM, 45: 53, 136.
11. Message of the House of Representatives, 30 Jun. 1768, JHRM, 45: 91-94. For a brief discussion see the source note to No. 638.
12. Editorially supplied.
13. Felo de se is a court verdict meaning suicide. FB suggested that the House had committed political suicide: by refusing to rescind the vote approving the Circular Letter, the House obliged him to dissolve the General Court as punishment.
14. Of 30 Jun., JHRM, 45: 89, 99-104. The letter to Hillsborough was printed in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 7 Jul. 1768.
15. While FB probably exaggerated the differences between Otis and Adams, his claim of authenticity notwithstanding, there was distance between the Whig leaders. Otis was more conservative in demeanor, yet had taken the Whigs’ constitutional arguments in radical directions. Adams was a radical activist, intuitively pragmatic in finding ways and means to advance the cause. For a recent discussion see Alexander, Samuel Adams, 28-30, 81.
16. LbC interlineation in FB’s hand: “not so much upon”.
17. For the rumors see Appendix 10.
18. The first sentence of this paragraph was later cited by TH in support of his suggestion that Boston radical William Molineux (c.1717-74) was the leader of a plot involving five hundred men to seize Castle William. TH noted “the governor mentioned [the plot] in one of his letters to the ministry,* but was not at liberty to make known the evidence of the fact. He believed it to be true.” For this FB was later accused of misrepresenting the province. But, continued TH, “if it was true, the persons who brought the charge against him must have been privy to it.” Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, 3:121.
* No. 646 in Letters to the Ministry (1st ed.), 40.
19. HMS Senegal, which arrived on 6 Jul.
20. Thomas Gage to the Earl of Hillsborough, New York, 28 Jun. 1768, CO 5/86, ff 128-130.
1. That is, Hillsborough.
2. Obscured by tight binding.
3. Not identified.
4. Appendix 9, printed in the Boston Gazette, 18 Jul. 1768.
5. Robert Lloyd, Speaker of the Maryland Assembly, to Thomas Cushing, 24 Jun. 1768, printed in the Boston Evening-Post, 11 Jul. 1768.
1. FB wrote several letters to Hillsborough in June and July reporting the Liberty riot of 10 Jun. and the House of Representatives’ refusal to rescind the circular letter on 30 Jun.: Nos. 623, 630, 632, 633, 638, 646, and 648.
2. FB was more explicit in a letter to Richard Jackson, written the same the day:
The Faction has declared that the Kings Troops shall not come into this Town; and that the Country will rise to assist them in repelling them. They have also denounced Death against any one who shall be concerned in bringing them hither.
BP, 6: 133. He also mentioned the death threat in a letter to Barrington (ibid., 132). All three of his intimate correspondents could not have failed to appreciate that FB now believed himself to be danger.
1. Hillsborough probably received his information at more or less the same time as private persons corresponding with the colonies (when he was not absent on his Ulster estates). For example, a letter from FB about the Liberty riot dated 14 Jun. was received on 10 Jul. (No. 630); others dated 19 and 30 May arrived on 13 Jul. (Nos. 614 and 616). But British newspapers could be up to three months behind in their detailed reporting of developments in the American Colonies. The Public Advertiser of 2 Jun. and the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser of 3 Jun. printed the proceedings of the Massachusetts House of Representatives of 22 Feb 1768, concerning FB’s correspondence with Shelburne that FB had reported in letters which the secretary of state received on 15 Apr. (No. 593).
3. Possibly Benjamin Barton of St. Augustine, East Florida, a frequent visitor to New York.
2. On 30 Jun.
3. That is, to act as the Governor’s Council, an executive body, as distinct from the Council acting without the governor as the upper legislative chamber.
4. In addition to the procedural issues mentioned in this letter and in No. 638, FB meant that the Council would not on its own normally petition the king; petitioning had hitherto been undertaken in conjunction with the House of Representatives; thus acting together, in a legislative capacity, as the province assembly.
5. Presumably the second part would be the petition enclosed.
6. Appendices 3 and 4, Bernard Papers, 5: 325-352.
2. British regiments were currently quartered in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
4. FB is referring to the copy of Appendix 8 that Gage had enclosed with No. 652.
2. The Merchants’ Exchange was on the first (or ground) floor of the Town House.
3. 16 Jul.
4. First written as “1769”.
5. The nomenclature is consistent with the Sons of the Liberty’s reputed desire to dissociate themselves from the meeting.
6. See Bernard Papers, 3: 21-22.
2. FB in No. 589: “The Party therefore resolved to make another effort, & having prepared the way by privately tampering with, & influencing particulars, they moved that all the former proceedings upon this business should be obliterated out of the Journal.”
1. Thus in manuscript, meaning “informed.” The letterbook entry appears to have been written in haste.
3. Obscured by an ink blot here and below.
4. Hereafter the letter is in a scribal hand.
5. 27 Jul. 1768. CO 5/827, ff 52-53.
1. 27 Jul. 1768. CO 5/827, ff 52-53.
2. FB to Barrington, Boston, 30 Jul. 1768, BP, 6: 139-141.
1. “Since first these Tumults were apprehended, the Commissioners, with whom (I mean 4 of the 5) I am upon the most intimate Terms, have often asked me what Support to their Office or Protection for themselves I can afford: I answer none in the World.” No. 600.
3. No. 637. FB fails to mention that he received a separate letter from Gage (No. 639), enclosing the orders for Dalrymple (Appendix 8) and that he had discretion to transmit them or not. This omission cannot have been accidental. The phrase “had sent an order” implies that Gage had sent the orders direct to Dalrymple (which he had not) and was probably intended to obscure the errors of fact and judgment in his letter to Hillsborough of 9 Jul., wherein FB stated that “at least one Regiment” had been ordered to Boston (para. 7 No. 646). Gage explained the procedure to Hillsborough in a letter of 28 Jun. CO 5/86, ff 128-130.
5. A copy of Appendix 8 enclosed in No. 652.
7. In fact these proceedings took place on Friday 22 Jul. CO 5/827, f 52.
8. James Bowdoin, William Brattle, Samuel Danforth, John Erving, Thomas Flucker, Harrison Gray, Thomas Hubbard, Benjamin Lincoln, Timothy Paine, James Pitts, Nathaniel Ropes, Isaac Royall, James Russell, Nathaniel Sparhawk, and Royal Tyler. By delaying the meeting until the Wednesday, FB was thus able to ensure the attendance of friends of government who lived up to a day’s journey from Boston (especially Paine and Ropes), yet the Whigs were in a firm majority with James Bowdoin having recently emerged as a group leader.
9. On 27 Jul., FB did not expressly request the advice of the Council on whether or not troops were necessary to preserve law and order. The minute indicates that he requested the Council’s advice on what measures could be taken (a) “to protect” the commissioners of the Customs and their officers; (b) to ensure the Customs Board’s safe return to Boston; (c) to “punish” the rioters of 10 and 13 Jun., and (d) to “preserve the peace of the Town & the Authority of the Civil Power.” After debate, the Council advised that the matter should be laid before the General Court, whereupon FB postponed consideration. The remainder of the minute amounts to a list of position statements. The Council had previously supported the formation of a joint committee of the assembly to examine the state of the province, and likely supposed that this committee might be resurrected to consider FB’s question. For his part, the minute recorded FB’s concern that the Council’s inertia “will certainly be taken notice of at home” by the Privy Council and “probably” by Parliament. FB put the question a second time, stressing that he had not written Gen. Gage about the “late troubles” though he had transmitted orders from Gage to the British commanding officer at Halifax, William Dalrymple. Whereupon, FB explained to the Council, he had promised Gage “that he would inform the Council of this order, and if they advised him to require these Troops, he should do so, and if they should not advise him to require them he should not.” Only then did FB put the question about whether or not he should request troops, from Halifax. Then, at the request of the Council, the meeting was adjourned to Friday 29 Jul. CO 5/827, ff 52-53. The minute does not record that FB presented a “a Paper relative to riot” with the “injunction” that it remain secret, as the Council later claimed (in Appendix 4, Bernard Papers, 5: 329-352). This “Paper” doubtless concerned the Liberty riot and may have reprised his letter to Gage of 18 Jul. or included an extract from it (No. 655), in which he asserted he would never request military assistance without the advice of the Council. We must assume—if FB did show this particular letter—he would not have revealed its last sentence wherein he noted that he was “without an expectation of any thing being done thereupon” by the Council.
Samuel Dexter was the only additional councilor who attended on 29 Jul. when the Council formally answered FB. After a preliminary declaration that the attorney general should prosecute rioters and the governor should issue a proclamation to encourage the apprehension of law breakers, the Council delivered a lengthy reply prepared in advance by James Bowdoin. The “popular spirit” that FB espied in the address was testament to Bowdoin’s influence, for the document Bowdoin drafted reflected much of what Boston (in No. 629) had already stated with the regard to the Liberty riot being “magnified” by the governor and the Customs commissioners. The Council flatly rejected “any neglect” in responding to the commissioners’ predicament, protesting that the commissioners retreat to the HMS Romney and the Castle were “voluntary” acts, not triggered by any specific violence. Moreover, the Council condemned the commissioners (but not FB, as the House did in Appendix 9) for misrepresenting the province, “especially if they have endeavoured to procure Troops to be sent hither.” Lastly, the Council proffered their unanimous advice “That His Excellency do[es] not require any Troops.” CO 5/827, ff 53-56.
10. LbC: “mentioning”.
12. See the summary of the address of 29 Jul. in note 9 above.
13. Not identified.
14. Wrongly dated 30 Jun. in this edition.
15. FB to Barrington, Boston, 30 Jul. 1768, BP, 6: 139-141.
2. The 64th and 65th Regiments of Foot arrived in Boston on 17 Nov.
3. HMS Hussar.
4. Hillsborough’s orders to Gage are in Appendix 12.
5. While the phraseology of this warning was reminiscent of the stern language of royal instructions, it had specific meaning to FB’s situation. Pownall would have briefed Hillsborough upon FB’s past anxieties, probably revealing his fears of having to quit the province (for which see Bernard Papers, 2: 391; 3: 7); while Hillsborough himself would have read of FB’s apprehensions of sedition in the letters listed in note 1 above.
6. The Liberty riot.
7. Recourse to the Treason Act of 1543 (35 Hen. 8 c. 2) was one means identified by the British government of overcoming the practical difficulties in the way of prosecuting leading Whigs in a colonial court. Colonial law officers and governors would never have been able to persuade a colonial grand jury to indict Whigs on criminal charges or high crimes and misdemeanors, yet any treason trial in Britain ran the risk of precipitating colonial resistance, as legal historian J. P. Reid noted.
Had British officials in prerevolutionary Massachusetts . . . one . . . means for bypassing the grand jury they might not have stemmed whig sedition, but they could have disrupted it. Surely several whig leaders would have seen the inside of a jail. Yet we may wonder if they would have remained there long.
Reid, In a Defiant Stance, 50. Moreover, colonial Americans defined resistance to the Henrician statute in terms of their right to a fair trial (as might he expected from those Whigs anxious about being arraigned) and their right to be tried at the place of the alleged crime (as might also be expected from colonists schooled in English law). Thus later, in protesting King George III’s endeavors to transport Americans “beyond seas” for trial, the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 gave form to concerns first raised in the mid-1760s, when trial at venue first became an issue of dispute in British-colonial relations, as J. P. Reid has also noted. Yet, while Hillsborough’s instructions did not figure in the colonists’ configurations at the time—because they were secret—it is possible that Americans obtained from England some idea of what Hillsborough’s letter contained, though how and from whom is impossible to establish. (This may explain why Reid did not establish Hillsborough’s letter to FB as a source of these worries). John Philip Reid, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: the Authority of Rights (Madison, Wis., 1986), 25, 54; idem, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: the Authority to Legislate (Madison, Wisc., 1991), 283-285.
9. This would have been abstracted by the current attorney general of England, William de Grey (1719-81), who held office from 1766 to 1771.
10. The War of Spanish Succession or Queen Anne’s War as it was known in the American Colonies, 1702-13.
11. Receipt noted in BP, 11: 285.
12. Thomas, Townshend Duties Crisis, 85-86.
13. Bernard Papers, 5: 111-114, 145-146.
14. Ibid., 134-138.
15. CO 5/827, ff 59-60.
16. There was also a summary in the Boston Evening-Post, 8 Nov. 1768.
3. Docket probably in the hand of Thomas Bernard.
3. These proceedings took place in Council on 29 Jul., CO 5/827, f 55.
4. The rescinding controversy generated considerable newsprint in the summer of 1768, much of it aiming to discredit both FB and Hillsborough. The first accounts were reprints of the official proceedings of the House between 21 and 30 Jun. These were compiled by the House clerk, Samuel Adams, and released to the Boston Gazette for publication on 3 Jul. and the Boston Weekly News-Letter on 7 Jul. Other newspapers provided factual digests or extracts, including the Boston Evening-Post, 27 Jun. and 3 Jul. The official roll giving the names of the seventeen representatives who voted to rescind the House’s vote approving the Circular Letter, and the ninety-two who refused, was first printed in the Boston Gazette and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 11 Jul. Town resolutions expressing support for the patriotic and loyal “Ninety-Two” and disapprobation of the “rescinders” were published over the summer, including Marblehead (Boston Evening-Post, 15 Jul.), Ipswich (ibid. 15 Aug.), Charleston, S.C. (Boston Gazette, 11 Jul.), and Philadelphia (ibid., 22 Aug.). Whig polemicists roundly denounced the rescinders for being tools of FB and willing to sacrifice colonial liberties at the behest of ministerial directives, while also criticizing Hillsborough for withholding the House’s petition to the king. See for example, “Roger Martyn,” Boston Gazette, 18 Jul.; “Anti-Rescinder,” Essex Gazette, 16 Aug.; “Wyman,” Boston Gazette, 6 Sept.
5. Thus in manuscript.
6. For a full list of legislation see Acts and Resolves, 4: 1114-1115.
7. The exigencies and circumstances discussed here indicate that FB anticipated further instructions from Hillsborough regarding the assembly. It was not until 4 Jan. that FB received clarification from Hillsborough until that the assembly should meet as planned on 31 May 1769. No. 702, Bernard Papers, 5: 85-86. FB’s proclamation summoning the assembly was printed in the Boston Weekly News-Letter, 30 Mar. 1769.
8. No. 661, which FB received on 18 Sept., permitted FB to call the assembly to meet at Salem, Cambridge, or another place outside Boston.
9. Bernard Papers, 5: 85-86.
1. FB may be referring to John Hancock (1737-93) and William Phillips (1722-1804).
3. For example, Thomas Amory (b.1722) opposed nonimportation, although the firm of Thomas’s brothers John (1728-1805) and Jonathan Amory (1726-97) supported it. The same was true of the Boylston brothers: Nicholas Boylston (1716–71) opposed the scheme, while Thomas Boylston (1721-98) approved it. While politics divided families it is possible that some calculated it was politic to be on both sides of this dispute.
4. Bernard Papers, 5: 85-86.
5. See No. 601. The best accounts of the Boston nonimportation movement are Tyler, Smugglers & Patriots, 109-170; Archer, As If an Enemy’s Country), 144-163; Nicolson, “A Plan ‘to banish all the Scotchmen’” 55-102.
6. According to the Boston Evening-Post, 8 May 1769, which reprinted a copy of the August agreement.
2. News of Francis Fauquier’s death on 3 Mar. may have sparked Hillsborough’s interest in moving FB to Virginia (which Barrington communicated to FB in No. 610) but the ministry moved quickly to get a new governor in place without waiting for FB’s views. Lord Botetourt was offered the full governorship on condition he reside in Virginia. Described by Barrington as a “man of great distinction,” Botetourt was deemed by colonial newspapers to be the only peer of the realm to have been appointed a colonial governor. Botetourt received his royal governor’s instructions on 12 Aug. 1768 and arrived in the colonies on 25 Oct. Boston Evening-Post, 17 Oct. 1768; New-York Gazette, and Weekly Mercury, 14 Nov. 1768. FB acknowledged his appointment in a letter of 23 Jan. 1769, BP, 7: 216.
3. In Hillsborough’s letter of 30 Jul., No. 661, received by FB on 18 Sept. The regiments’ departure from Ireland was noted in Lloyd’s Evening Post, 24 Aug. 1768. The War Office had originally intended that the 64th and 65th Regiments of Foot would relieve the garrison at Nova Scotia, before orders were issued to send them to Boston instead.
4. Bernard Papers, 5: 92-95.
2. Probably Stafford Springs, Conn., about 78 miles from Boston.
3. Hillsborough’s letter of 4 Apr., which FB received on 20 Aug., did not address the issue of leave of absence. However, No. 610 from Barrington, which also came in the April mail packet, intimated that FB would be appointed to a baronetcy and transferred to Virginia. From this, FB had deduced that leave of absence would be forthcoming.
4. Bernard Papers, 5: 229-231.
2. Melchisedec Kinsman was being sought for the murder of William Odgers, a customs officer of Penzance, Cornwall. Hillsborough suspected Kinsman of having fled England for America. The Governor and Council agreed to offer a reward for Kinsman’s arrest, if the British Treasury could promise reimbursement. Hillsborough to FB, 30 Apr. 1768, BP, 11: 175-176; CO 5/827, ff 57-58; FB to Thomas Bradshaw, Boston, 31 Aug. 1768, T 1/465, ff 199-200. Bradshaw’s reply of 11 Nov. has not been found.
3. Will Moore had been arrested for participating in Boston’s second Stamp Act riot, that of 26 Aug. 1765. Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 112n81. For FB, Moore’s attendance at the open-air dinner held under Liberty Tree on 15 Aug. was the most newsworthy feature of that year’s celebration of the first Stamp Act riot, especially since the dinner was attended by Moore’s social superiors (“a very large Company of the principal Gentlemen and respectable Inhabitants of the Town”). (Moore’s attendance was not recorded in the newspaper account that FB read, and there was no reason why it should have been.) The toasts numbered forty-five in total (in recognition of John Wilkes’s controversial North Briton, No. 45): the first toasts were to the king and the royal family, then glasses were raised, inter alia, to the parliamentary friends of America (principally those Rockinghamites and Pittites who had urged the repeal of the Stamp Act), the defeat of “sinister . . . Oppressors, both in Great Britain and America,” Pascal Paoli the Corsican patriot, “The memorable 14th of August, 1765,” the repeal of “unconstitutional” acts of Parliament, the “Pennsylvania Farmer”, the “glorious Ninety-Two” who had refused to rescind, Irish patriots, Dennys DeBerdt, the colonial assemblies, the king of Prussia, and so forth. A performance of John Dickinson’s “Liberty Song” was a particular highlight for both dinner guests and the “Concourse of People of all Ranks” who swelled the nearby streets. In the late afternoon, the “whole Company” proceeded to Roxbury for an “agreeable Excursion round Jamaica Pond,” visible from FB’s farm, and were greeted by a “Discharge of Cannon” arranged by a “friend to the Cause” (perhaps one of FB’s Whig neighbors), before returning to town at 6 pm.
There is no documentary record establishing that FB was in residence at Jamaica Farm to witness the procession. He had been at the farm during the first few days of August before returning to Boston by 6 Aug. The absence of any out-letters dated between 10 and 26 Aug. suggests FB had taken a break from official business following the Council meeting of 10 Aug. Jamaica Farm seems a more likely retreat than Castle William, where the family had spent previous summers, for the last of his letters to be inscribed Castle William is dated 28 Aug. 1767. On the other hand, if FB was in residence he might be expected to have commented on the procession and perhaps drawn a comparison with committee of twenty-one who presented him with Boston’s petition on 14 Jun. or the (more threatening) crowd that visited the Province House on the night of 15 Aug. (when he was not in residence). Boston News-Letter, Postscript, 25 Aug. 1768; Bernard Papers, 2: 304.
4. Listed as “Extract from the Boston Gazette” in HCJ, 32: 76.
3. William Sherriff had been a captain-lieutenant in the 47th Regiment of Foot since 1761, and, on 25 Jul. 1768, was promoted to major and appointed deputy quartermaster general of British forces in North America. Gage occasionally rendered his surname as “Sheriffe” and “Sherreff.” Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 19 Sept. 1768.
4. Thomas Gage to William Dalrymple, 31 Aug. 1768, MiU-C: Gage, vol. 80.
5. The newspapers suggested 4 Sept. Boston Chronicle, 29 Aug.-5 Sept. 1768.
1. FB had presented Hillsborough’s letters Nos. 603 and 608 to the House of Representatives on 31 May and 22 Jun. respectively. In No. 638, he described to Hillsborough the accusation of misrepresentation the House had levied against him in their address of 30 Jun. and in their letter to the secretary of state of the same date (Appendix 9). JHRM, 45: 20, 72, 75-76, 86. On Shelburne see Bernard Papers, 3: 255n, 271n, 272n, 369.
3. CO 5/86: the extracted passage is “I have therefore. . . . Garrison from the Fort.”
4. See the Map of Castle William, 179.
7. Gage omitted adding this phrase, or a variant thereof, to No. 676, mentioning only that the troops had been “ordered into your Government.”
8. FB probably met Corner in Boston to discuss these matters.
9. Obscured by tight binding.
2. State papers Nos. 11 to 13 and 15 are transcripts Nos. 635, 645, 653, and 651. State paper No. 14 from Hillsborough is a sign manual for leave of absence dated the Court at St. James’s, 23 Mar. 1768, BP, 12: 73-76; it was enclosed in No. 757, Bernard Papers, 5: 234-235.
3. That is, 10 Jun.
4. FB received the original on 14 Sep.
5. On 22 Aug. the Boston Gazette printed an article asserting that TH had received a royal commission as chief justice and annual salary of £200 for the office of lieutenant governor. In the following edition, published on 29 Aug., the printers admitted that the news of the royal commission was unfounded. In fact, the British government had proposed giving TH a salary as lieutenant governor, although this was never implemented. Bailyn, Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson, 147.
6. See No. 504, Bernard Papers, 3: 232–235; Appendix 3.
7. This comment implies criticism of Attorney General Jonathan Sewall, suggesting he lacked enthusiasm for pursuing the rioters, even though FB appreciated the systemic problems that hindered Crown law officers in bringing rioters to justice. Sewall, who had been appointed attorney general in Nov. 1767, was further exasperated by Hillsborough’s instructions in No. 661 to undertake investigations of treasonable activities, for he was convinced of the impracticability of gathering sufficient evidence to secure prosecutions on the libels presented to the grand jury on 23 Aug.
8. See No. 575, Bernard Papers, 3: 424-425.
11. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
12. Bernard Papers, 5: 167-173.
13. Bernard Papers, 3: 94.
14. The account is appended to a report of the Boston town meeting of 12 Sept. 1768 (for which see No. 680). NEP, 3: 81.
3. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
2. While FB was writing this letter, Hillsborough’s original letter notifying him that British troops were being sent to Boston (No. 622) was being carried overland from New York. That letter was probably among the June mail carried by the Lord Hyde packet, which after a long delay arrived at New York on 7 Sept. FB received it on 14 Sept. However, he received the duplicate of No. 622 four days earlier than original, it having been brought in the July mail packet.
3. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
4. American Board of Customs to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, Boston, 12 May 1768, T 1/465, f 60.
1. Editorially supplied.
2. The AC was not available for inspection whilst this volume was in preparation.
1. The letter was reported to the town meeting at 10 am Tuesday 13 Sept. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 261.
1. Demanding to see the commissioners’ memorials, Sewall had written:
I am truly sorry to find myself under a necessity of assuring the honble Board, that without being guilty of a direct violation of the Rules of Honour & Friendship, as I now apprehend, I cannot comply with the Condition upon which they are pleased to offer me that Evidence, which alone can convince me that my information is false. I sincerely wish I were at Liberty to deal in all respects openly & ingenously in this matter, & to mention names with the same Freedom that I can declare Facts, but to betray those who in confidence have appeared to be my Friends, before I have full evidence that they are Ennemies disguised, must, in the Judgment of the Commrs. be infamous & base. I therefore take this opportunity to declare my fixed resolution, be the consequence what it will, never to divulge their names to the Board, untill they themselves give me leave, or the Information they have given me be clearly proved to be false.
Jonathan Sewall to the American Board of Customs, Cambridge, 5 Aug. 1768, T 1/471, ff 21-22.
2. The Board directed their secretary Samuel Venner to write Sewall denying that the commissioners had ever misrepresented him in letters to the Treasury; they also promised to show “such parts” of their memorials and papers that “relate to him” not to Sewall but to FB, TH, and Robert Auchmuty, who might then reassure Sewall that he had not been disparaged. (At this stage, the commissioners had not accused Venner of being Sewall’s informer.) Minute of the Customs Board of 8 Aug. 1768, T 1/471, f 8. There is a copy of Venner’s letter to Sewall in T 1/471, ff 23-24.
3. Sewall replied to Venner’s letter on 10 Aug. protesting that the commissioners “should insist as a preliminary, on betraying my author!” In defending his informers. Sewall wrote:
If they have told me the Truth, I have too high a sense of the obligation I am under to them, ever to suffer their names to be tortured from me, by any power on Earth, until I can see the propriety of divulging them.
T 1/471, f 25.
5. The letter was also intended for TH and Robert Auchmuty, whose intercession the commissioners had hoped would satisfy Sewall.
6. The best account is Carol Berkin, Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist (New York, 1974), 45-67. But see also Zobel, Boston Massacre, 72, 83; Reid, In a Defiant Stance, 51-52.
7. Bernard Papers, 5: 109-111, 154-158.
8. Quoted in ibid., 46.
9. Berkin, Jonathan Sewall, 50.
10. American Board of Customs, memorial to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, Boston, 12 Feb. 1768, T 1/465, ff 21-24. Appendix 2.
11. American Board of Customs, memorial to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, 28 Mar. 1768, Boston, T 1/465, ff 25-27.
12. Samuel Venner to Jonathan Sewall, 15 Apr. 1768, National Archives of Canada: Sewall Papers, Correspondence, ff 225-226.
13. Opinion of Jonathan Sewall in the case of the Lydia, 23 Apr. 1768, T 1/465, ff 70-71. It is printed in full in Oliver M. Dickerson, “Opinion of Attorney General Jonathan Sewall of Massachusetts in the Case of the Lydia,” WMQ 4 (1947): 499-504. For the technical aspects of the opinion and the legislation cited by Sewall see Dickerson op. cit.
14. Robert Auchmuty (1724-88), judge of the Vice Admiralty Court in Massachusetts.
15. American Board of Customs, memorial to the lords commissioners of the Treasury, Boston, 12 May 1768, T 1/465, ff 64-65.
16. Bernard Papers, 5: 154-158.
17. See No. 728, Bernard Papers, 5: 154-158. William De Grey, case and opinion of the attorney general of England, 29 Jul. 1768, T 1/463, ff 27-28.
18. After the Liberty riot of 10 Jun., the American Board of Customs sought refuge on board HMS Romney and shortly afterward moved operations from the Boston Customhouse to Castle William, taking with them their families and a retinue of officials. The Board did not return to town until c. 8 Nov.
19. Bernard Papers, 5: 154-158.
20. See Berkin, Jonathan Sewall, 45-67.
21. See note 1 above.
22. Memorial of Samuel Venner, 29 Apr. 1769, protesting his suspension as secretary to the Board. T 1/471, ff 491-502.
23. Samuel Venner, however, was instructed to procure any other material from the Board’s papers pertaining to Sewall, and this would have included the papers not shown to FB, TH, and Auchmuty. Minute of the American Board of Customs of 22 Aug. 1768, T 1/471, f 9.
24. TH to the American Board of Customs, Milton, 17 Sept. 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 272-273 (AL, LbC). There is a copy in T 1/471, ff 39-40.
1. Nathaniel Rogers was a passenger on board the Thames, which arrived in Boston on 17 Nov. Boston News-Letter, 17 Nov. 1768.
4. The first motion for a circular letter to the colonial assemblies was defeated on 21 Jan. FB reported these proceedings in Nos. 585 and 589.
9. Appendix 11 enclosed in No. 654; both were presented to Parliament on 28 Nov.
2. See No. 686. The next Council meeting was held on Monday 19 Sept. at the Province House. CO 5/827, ff. 59-60.
3. 12 Sept.
4. HMS Romney had been anchored in Boston harbor since 17 May.
5. See the account in No. 732, Bernard Papers, 5: 167-171.
6. Faneuil Hall.
7. James Otis Jr.
8. The ship probably brought news of the British government’s decision to send over two regiments from Ireland (conveyed to FB in No. 661 and received on 18 Sept.)
9. For a brief account see Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 189; Boston Evening-Post, 19 Sept. 1768; Essex Gazette, 20-27 Sept. 1768. FB’s anxiety stemmed from the probability that this was the first time during the Imperial Crisis that protestors had tarred and feathered officers working for the Custom House: Robert Wood, a minor officer at Salem, and Joshua Vickery and Francis Mignot at Newburyport. Tarring and feathering was uncommon, with around ten or eleven incidents recorded in Massachusetts during the Imperial Crisis. For a short summary see Nicolson, “A Plan ‘to banish all the Scotchmen,’” 98-99n.
10. FB received the duplicate of No. 622, granting him leave of absence, on c.3 Sept. and the RC on 14 Sept. Fresh instructions in No. 661 obliged FB to remain in post.
12. TH to Thomas Whately, Boston, 5 Oct. 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 281, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 277.
1. This particular piece by “Clericus Americanus” comprised a series of nine queries, each expecting a positive response from the reader. The central thread of the argument was that the colonists rights and liberties were enshrined in the colonial charters, thus predating the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy and conferring on the colonies the right to “dissolve” the “political union” with Great Britain. The seventh query contained a provocative hypothesis:
Whether such men, (whether they are the King’s ministers at home, or his Representatives in the Colonies), as are forming such plans and endeavouring to bring them into execution, which tend directly and immediately to dissolve the union of Great-Britain and the Colonies, and to bring the Colonists into a state of slavery, ought not to be considered and treated, both by Great-Britain and the Colonists, as avowed enemies to the British Empire?
Boston Gazette, 5 Sept. 1768. The author was the Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Essex Co., Mass, according to the Dorr Collection, 2: 227. Of the province’s Congregational pastors, Cleaveland was one of most active on the side of the protest movement and Patriots during the Revolutionary War. See Christopher M. Jedrey, The World of John Cleaveland: Family and Community in Eighteenth-Century New England (New York, 1979).
2. Here FB unequivocally states that he relayed this information to a councilor (whose identity is not known). In addition, as Richard Archer noted, FB also informed merchant John Rowe. As If in an Enemy’s Country, 99, 245n37; Anne R. Cunningham, ed., Letters and Diary of John Rowe (Boston, 1903), 174.
3. Samuel Adams: “By this he would insinuate that the better Sort of the People, and even the Generality of the Town, were well enough pleas’d with it. If the faction only took the Alarm, the Generality of the Town must have been included in the Faction . . . For in Truth, he had the Mortification of seeing the while Body of the People . . . thoro’ly awakened and alarmed at the sudden expectation of a military Force.” Appeal to the World, 24.
4. Obscured in the fold of the binding, here and below.
5. The identity of this person is unknown.
6. Samuel Adams: “To what Purpose then did he relate them at all! It seems that he was full as designing, in communicating to Lord Hillsborough, as he was in communicating to the People, tho’ his Designs were different: for the People were not to be told the whole that the Governor knew to be true; but his Lordship was to be induc’d to believe more:— In either case if the purpose could be served, Sincereity was out of the Question.” Appeal to the World, 25.
7. The beacon was to warn the town and inland villages of invasion. A pole had first been erected on Beacon Hill in 1634.
8. The house of Captain George Erving (1738-1806), location unknown. Erving, a son of councilor John Erving, was a merchant and Whig who later broke with the protest movement to become a Loyalist.
9. Faneuil Hall.
10. Samuel Adams: “his own few partizans, who yet must be stiled ‘the principal gentlemen,’ though expecting every Moment to be ‘surrounded with all their Forces,’ appeared inquisitive and anxious for the event!” Appeal to the World, 24.
11. This account partly follows the minute of the Boston town meeting of 12 Sept. reprinted in the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 19 Sept. 1768.
12. Samuel Adams:
The main Question to the Governor was. Whether he had certain Expectation of the Troops? To which he answered with an artful Ambiguity, that he had private Advice, but no publick Orders about it. His private advice might have been certain; or he might have had authentick publick advice without public Orders about it . . . Being however somewhat press’d by the Committee who waited on him, he discovered a Duplicity for which he has a peculiar Talent, and said, that he would not have the Town certainly expect the troops; although he then expected them himself, and fully believed they were on their passage to from Halifax; and in this letter to Lord Hillsborough he tells him that it was at that very time his intention to communicate these Expectations of them gradually.
Appeal to the World, 26.
13. Samuel Adams:
the simple truth of the Matter is, these Arms had for many Years been deposited in the Chests and laid on the Floor of the town hall; but the [Faneuil] Hall itself being burnt a few Years ago , the arms were . . . carried to the Town House: after the Hall was Re-built , the Town ordered their Removal there; and tho’ it happened to be done at a Juncture when the Governor . . . talked much of the town’s revolting, there was no other Thought in the minds of any.
Appeal to the World, 27. The order for returning the weapons to Faneuil Hall, to which Adams refers, is not recorded in the town minutes.
14. James Otis Jr.
15. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 261-263.
16. An act declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the Crown, 1 Will. and Mary, c. 2 (1689), popularly known as the Bill of Rights. Samuel Adams: “The Governor indeed takes notice of our claim to a certain clause in the bill of rights . . . but as we are free British subjects, we claim all that security against arbitrary power, to which we are entitled by the law of God and nature, as well as the British constitution. And if a standing army may not be posted upon the subjects in one part of the empire, in a time of peace, without their consent, there can be no reason why it should in any other.” Appeal to the World, 27.
17. Massachusetts’s Province Charter (1691).
18. The selectmen’s circular letter was one of the few documents obtained by the provincial government that was seditious, in as much as the selectmen exceeded their legal authority in summoning a convention of Massachusetts towns. FB contested that any such meeting was an illegal combination. See No. 691. TH agreed, observing that the circular was the product of several “weak but very criminal votes” taken in the town meeting. TH to Thomas Whately, Boston, 5 Oct. 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 2 in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 281-282.
19. Samuel Adams: “Here then is the treason and misprision of treason, or a part of it least, about which there has been such an Eclat of late.” But the selectmen’s precept “was nothing more than a friendly circular letter . . . [a] very innocent measure. . . . Here is the burden of the song—extraordinary measures!” Appeal to the World, 28-29.
20. The Charter of Massachusetts Bay (1629).
21. The proceedings of the Boston town meeting of 12 Sept. printed in this newspaper probably alarmed British politicians when it was received in London on 27 Oct. The printers Edes and Gill later euphemistically reported that “the Expectation of People in general of the Consequence of those Proceedings was much raised.” Such “Expectation” was “increased” by news of the Convention of Towns until apprehensions of disturbances in Boston were allayed by news brought in by Capt. James Scott on 5 Nov. that the British troops “were quietly landed” in Boston. Boston Gazette, 30 Jan. 1769.
22. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
23. Joseph Sewall (1688–1769), minister of the Old South Meeting House, 1713–69.
24. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.” Psalms. 45:3, KJV.
25. Minutes of the town meeting of Boston, 12 Sept. 1768, NEP, f 81. The first line of the document could imply that the original was written after the Regulars’ arrival, which is unlikely given FB’s reference to its contents in the letter printed above. Alternatively, the date might have been added for clarification by historian and Board of Trade clerk George Chalmers, whose late eighteenth-century transcription is the only surviving copy of the informer’s report. Appended to this transcript was a report of a speech by James Otis Jr., reproduced in the source note to No. 672.
2. FB’s principal concern was the cost of the commission, up to £400, as Barrington acknowledged in No. 610. He had asked Barrington for time to consider the offer (No. 666).
3. Obscured by tight binding here and below.
4. In fact Botetourt was appointed as a full governor, on the understanding that he remain in residence (whereas previous governors were absentees).
5. TH to Richard Jackson, 5 Oct. 1768, Mass. Archs., 25: 282, in Hutchinson Transcripts, 1: 281-282.
3. This is an error. He meant 25 Sept. 1765. JHRM, 42: 118-123.
4. See Shelburne’s letter approving FB’s conduct as governor, No. 566, Bernard Papers, 3: 407-409.
5. See No. 501, Bernard Papers, 3: 224-225.
2. Correction to a typographical error in the original.
3. The Convention’s petition of 22 Sept. was printed in the Boston Gazette, 26 Sept. 1768.
3. Parliament was obliged to renew the Mutiny Act of 1703 annually (as with 5 Geo. 3, c. 7, for example). A Mutiny Act was also passed specifically for the American Colonies, 5 Geo. 3, c. 33 (1765); widely known as the Quartering Act, it provoked sustained opposition from the New York Assembly during 1766. The discussion in this letter refers to the provisions of this particular act. During FB’s governorship, the Quartering Act was continued by 6 Geo. 3, c. 18 (1766), 7 Geo. 3, c. 55 (1767), 8 Geo. 3, c. 19 (1768), and 9 Geo. 3, c. 18 (1769).
4. That is inns and taverns or “uninhabited” buildings owned by the province or local authority, but not private dwelling houses. The first section of 5 Geo. 3, c. 33 stated:
civil officers as aforesaid, are hereby required to billet and quarter the officers and soldiers, in his Majesty’s service, in the barracks provided by the colonies; and if there shall not be sufficient room in the said barracks for the officers and soldiers, then and in such case only, to quarter and billet the residue of such officers and soldiers for whom there shall not be room in such barracks, in inns, livery stables, ale houses, victualing houses, and the houses of sellers of wine by retail to be drank in their own houses or places thereunto belonging, and all houses of persons selling of rum, brandy, strong water, cyder or metheglin,* by retail, to be drank in houses; and in case there shall not be sufficient room for the officers and soldiers in such barracks, inns, victualling and other publick ale houses, that in such and no other case, and upon no other account, it shall and may be lawful for the governor and council of each respective province in his Majesty’s dominions in America, to authorize and appoint, and they are hereby directed and impowered to authorize and appoint, such proper person or persons as they shall think fit, to take, hire and make fit, . . . for the reception of his Majesty’s forces, such and so many uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings, as shall be necessary, to quarter therein the residue of such officers and soldiers for whom there should not be room in such barracks and publick houses as aforesaid.
The Council, therefore, in following the letter of the law had found one means of obstructing the relocation of soldiers to public buildings within Boston, and leverage to get them put into barracks on Castle Island.
* Spiced mead.
5. The Council proceedings of Monday 19 Sept. are in CO 5/827, ff 59-60. The committee comprised James Bowdoin, John Erving, Thomas Flucker, Harrison Gray, Thomas Hubbard, James Pitts, and Royal Tyler.
6. Obscured in the fold of the binding.
7. FB did not quote or cite James Otis Jr. at the Council meeting, whose proceedings he accurately summarized in this letter.
8. 22 Sept. 1768, in CO 5/827, f. 60.
9. The Boston selectmen reported to the Council committee on 21 Sept.
The Selectmen having considered the Motion of a Committee of the Council of this Province respecting the Regular Troops soon expected from Hallifax, waited on said Committee this Day and acquainted them that it was their Opinion that the Act of Parliament relative to Billeting Troops, points out, that when any Barracks are provided by any of the Colonies where Troops shall be sent, that such Troops shall be quarter’d in those Barracks; and further that the Barracks Erected on Castle Island at the Province Charge for the purpose aforesaid are fully sufficient to receive the said Troops.
Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 21: 308-310.
10. Earlier in the year, the town of Boston and local merchants had tried unsuccessfully to establish a linen manufactory using the workhouse poor, under the direction of John Brown and funded by public subscription. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 249-250. Richard Archer notes that, at 140 foot in length and with two stories, the building was sufficiently spacious to accommodate an entire regiment. As If an Enemy’s Country, 108.
11. Closing quotation marks supplied.
12. It was reported as “a smart N. E. storm with rain” which lasted from Thursday 22 Sept. until Sunday 25th. Boston Chronicle, 26 Sept. 1768.
13. CO 5/827 ff. 60-61.
14. Manuscript torn.
15. This was a special issue of the Massachusetts Gazette by Richard Draper (1726/7-74), proprietor of the Boston Weekly News-Letter. He altered his newspaper’s title in recognition of a commission from the Governor and Council to print government documents: the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter ran between 22 May 1766 and 19 May 1768, and the Massachusetts Gazette and the Boston Weekly News-Letter from 28 Sept. 1769 to 7 Sept. 1775. The record-book version of Council’s address is in CO 5/827, ff 61-62.
2. 19 Sept. 1768, in CO 5/827, ff 59-60.
4. The Quartering Act, 5 Geo. 3, c. 33 (1765).
5. Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 20: 308.
6. FB objected to some of the passages in the first draft agreed on 24 Sept. But he gave permission for the Council to redraft the paper without requiring presentation at another meeting. However, the meeting to approve the new draft on 26 Sept. (from which FB was absent) was disputatious as FB’s enemies tried to push through a draft highly critical of him. See Nos. 686 and 689.
7. Bernard Papers, 5: 71-73.
8. CO 5/827, ff 61-62.
3. Such an argument could have been used by defense counsel in the event of treason charges being brought against the Boston selectmen, which proceedings the Convention evidently feared.
4. The House of Representatives, petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768, which Hillsborough had refused to present to the king. See No. 712n6 and No. 730n7, Bernard Papers, 5: 117, 163. The petition is in JHRM, 44: 217-219.
6. For the proceedings see the Boston Gazette on 26 Sept. 1768.
2. Also, the proceedings of the Boston town meeting of 12 Sept. were reported in the New York Journal, 24 Sept. 1768.
3. Presumably, Gage had thought seriously about coming to Boston shortly after Col. Dalrymple had landed the troops. He did not come to Boston until 15 Oct.
4. John Montresor (1736-99) was a captain in the 48th Regiment of Foot, and a British military engineer with considerable experience of designing North American fortifications.
5. According to No. 695, Bernard Papers, 5: 68-70.
6. See No. 694, Bernard Papers, 5: 63-68.
2. Saturday 24 Sept.
3. One newspaper reported that on Thursday 22 Sept. “came on here, a smart N. E. storm with rain” which continued until the Sunday. Boston Chronicle, 19-26 Sept. 1768.
4. The Council’s draft was composed by Bowdoin, Gray, and Tyler and is filed with the minutes of the Massachusetts Council, 22 Sept.-5 Oct. 1768, Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS. FB probably objected to a passage proposed and written by James Bowdoin and included in the final version:
his Majesty’s Ministers would never have judged it either necessary or expedient to go into such extraordinary measures as those of sending Troops hither unless in ye representations made from hence by some ill-minded Persons the s[ai]d had been greatly magnified and exaggerated.
5. Authorial annotation in left margin: “1.7.8”. These particular numbers indicate, respectively, that councilors Samuel Danforth, Thomas Flucker, and James Russell voted in the negative.
6. Annotation: “5.”: Thomas Hubbard.
7. Annotation: “3.4.6.” and line below “[8.]10.” The first set refers to William Brattle, James Bowdoin, and Harrison Gray; the second set to James Russell and James Pitts.
8. Annotation: “7”: Thomas Flucker.
9. Annotation: “9”: Royal Tyler.
10. Annotation: “4”: James Bowdoin.
11. The address appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette, 26 Sept. 1769.
12. Thus in manuscript.
13. Summoned by the Boston selectmen, the Massachusetts Convention of Towns which gathered at Faneuil Hall between 22 and 29 Sept. was not a reconstituted House of Representatives, as FB suggests, for its membership was substantially different and the meeting did not purport to assume legislative powers. See Richard D. Brown, “The Massachusetts Convention of Towns, 1768,” WMQ 26 (1969): 95-104.
14. Whigs Bowdoin, Pitts, and Tyler are the likely authors. While the proposed addition stated that any resistance to the Regulars as they came ashore was rebellion and high treason, it reasoned that
yet if upon a sudden Quarrel, from some Affront given or taken, the Neighborhood should rise & drive the Forces out of their Quarters, that would be a great Misdemeanour, and if Death should ensue it may be Felony in the Assailants, but it will not be Treason, because there was no Intention against the Kings Person or Government.
CO 5/757, ff 423-424. In light of what happened in Boston eighteen months later and what modern scholars know about the risks of employing regular soldiers in a policing role, the councilors’ advice seems sensible, though FB supposed it indicative of secret plans to assail the Regulars in their quarters.
15. After refusing quarters for the British soldiers, the Council’s answer of 26 Sept. reviewed the disturbances in Boston of 18 Mar. and 10 Jun. which had prompted Secretary of State Hillsborough to dispatch the Regulars. At the meeting on 26 Sept., FB had refused to show the Council his correspondence with Hillsborough (Nos. 622 and 660)—though he declared his willingness to do so in the future. The Council then insisted that FB should order the printing of the Council proceedings of 27 Jul., the meeting at which he had first put the question to them whether or not the civil government should request military assistance; FB had sent a copy of these proceedings with No. 660.
16. The Council proceedings of 27 Jul.
17. Trans: “Even salvation herself cannot save the commonwealth.” The quotation is probably an adaptation of T. Maccius Plautus, Captivi (The Captives), 3.3: “ipsa si velit Salus, servare non potest,” translated by Henry Thomas Riley, as “Salvation itself cannot save them.” The Comedies of Plautus (London, 1912), accessible via the Perseus Digital Library (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper). I am grateful to my colleague John Taylor for his advice in this matter.
18. Italian for “the chat.” Presumably “idle and irrelevant insolence” is meant.
19. According to CO 5/767, f 115.
20. According to No. 694, Bernard Papers, 5: 68-70.
21. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
2. Thomas Cushing and Samuel Adams.
5. The Convention’s proceedings were printed in the Boston Gazette on 26 Sept. and the Boston News-Letter on 29 Sept. 1768.
6. According to No. 694, Bernard Papers, 5: 63-68.
7. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
1. Dalrymple’s letter not found. Gage to Dalrymple, New York, 25 Sept. 1768, MiU-C: Gage, vol. 81.
2. First written as “desired”.
4. The Council proceedings of 29 Sept. are in CO 5/827, f 62.
5. See No. 706, Bernard Papers, 5: 96-101.
1. 26 Sept.
3. From this point onwards, the handwriting is of a second scribe.
4. James Bowdoin.
5. Richard Draper.
6. Respectively: William Brattle (1706-76), elected to the Council, 1755-68, 1770-73; James Bowdoin (1726-90), 1757-68, 1770-73; Royal Tyler (1724-71), 1764-70; James Pitts (1710-76), 1766-74.
7. John Erving (1692-1786), elected 1754-74; Harrison Gray (1711-94), 1761-72.
8. Samuel Danforth (1696-1777), elected 1739-74; Thomas Hubbard (1702-73), 1759-72; Thomas Flucker (1719-83), 1761-68.
9. James Russell (1715-98), elected 1761-73.
11. Bernard Papers, 5: 115-118.
1. Obscured in the gutter of the binding, here and below.
2. JHRM: new paragraph.
3. JHRM: new paragraph.
4. House of Representatives to Dennys DeBerdt, 12 Jan., 1768, JHRM, 44: 241-250. DeBerdt’s name was omitted from Bradford’s transcript.
5. The Mutiny Act, 5 Geo. 3, c. 33 (1765).
6. Bradford: “liberal”.
7. Abbreviation for “Attributed.”
8. Speaker Thomas Cushing, Jerathmeel Bowers, Samuel Dexter, Joseph Hawley, James Otis Jr., and Ezra Richmond (c.1721-1800). JHRM, 44: 148, 157.
9. Waters Jr., The Otis Family, 173.
10. Alexander, Samuel Adams, 66-67.
1. T 1/461, ff 266-267.
3. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
4. That is, since the summer of 1766.
5. The Polly, a Rhode Island vessel, was seized in Apr. 1765, condemned in the Vice Admiralty Court at Halifax, and sold in Jun. 1766. See Bernard Papers, 2: 244. John Temple’s account of the seizure and rescue of the Polly at Taunton in May 1765 is in Appendices 3.3 and 3.4, Bernard Papers, 2: 502-516.
6. No. 493, Bernard Papers, 3: 204-205.
7. No. 454, ibid., 120-121.
8. Collector Duncan Stewart had seized fourteen hogsheads of illegally imported rum on 20 May 1767 at East Haddam, whereupon they were rescued from the Customs House store on 8 Jun. Connecticut Gazette, 3 Jul. 1767.
9. The “fifth” seizure was by John Robinson, collector at Newport, R.I., in Mar. 1767; the “sixth” seizure was made by John Nichols, the comptroller at Newport, and “acquited” by the Vice Admiralty Court later in the year. John Temple to John Robinson, Boston, 2 Feb., 1767; Temple to John Nicoll [Nichols], Boston 14 Sept. 1767. Temple Papers, 1762-1768: Unbound MSS.
10. Daniel Malcom (1724-69), a Boston trader whose defiance of customs officers and magistrates was reported in No. 504, Bernard Papers, 3: 232-235. Depositions relating to the Malcom affair, dated Sept. and Oct. 1766, are in T 1/446, ff 103-133.
11. Manuscript torn.
12. Of the five commissioners only John Temple was likely to have been present during the 1767 commemoration of the Stamp Act riot. The account here reflects the substance of what FB had reported to Shelburne in No. 557, and while he did not expressly accuse the Whigs of aiming at independence nevertheless implied such by noting that a “Civil War between the two Countries (if it may be allowed that Name) must be the consequence” of colonial repudiation of Parliament’s legislative supremacy. The phrase “the most unlimited independence” used here implied construction as subjects of George III. Bernard Papers, 3: 385.
13. Reported by FB in No. 567, Bernard Papers, 3: 410.
14. The Newport town meeting voted a reward of £50 for information leading to the conviction of the author of an advertisement “fixed upon” the door of the court house on the night of Friday, 27 Nov. 1767. The town clerk reported that the advertisement called on the inhabitants to assemble on the following day and “seize the Money in the Custom-House,” recently deposited by a Royal Navy ship, “by way of Reprisal for the Money due to this Colony from the Crown, the Payment of which is stopped by the Lords of the Treasury.” Newport Mercury, 7-14 Dec. 1767.
15. See note 22 below.
16. FB would have advised the Board about such proceedings in Connecticut. See Bernard Papers, 3: 55, 58, 69-70.
18. On 28 Oct., the town had voted to encourage American manufactures and discourage the use of foreign imports. But the first nonimportation subscription was not adopted until the following March. See No. 601.
19. The New York merchants signed a nonimportation subscription on 27 Aug. 1768, which was to take effect on 1 Nov. 1768. The town’s tradesmen followed suit on 15 Sept., The Philadelphia merchants, however, did not agree upon nonimportation until 6 Feb. 1769. I am grateful to Christopher Minty for his advice on New York merchants.
20. On 20 Nov. 1767, the Boston town meeting voted to give “proper Instructions” to its four representatives “at this very critical Conjuncture of our public affairs (having postponed consideration on 28 Oct.). The vote did not specifically instruct representatives to support a remonstrance, which conclusion the commissioners drew from the various papers issued by the House in January and February (for which see JHRM, 44: 219-250). Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston, 16: 225.
22. In a letter to the Treasury of 16 Feb., the commissioners reviewed the following items in the file of newspapers enclosed with the memorial of 12 Feb. (A) an extract of Dennys DeBerdt’s letter to James Otis Jr., 10 Jan. 1767, printed in Boston Gazette, 13 Apr. 1767. The Board complained that in “repeating . . . the sentiments” of an English lord upon the Malcom affair he (inadvertently) “gave spirits to the Smuglers” and “discouraged” customs officers in the province. (B) The “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” No. 4 “wherein he absolutely denies the power of parliament to lay upon these Colonies any Tax whatever”, Boston Chronicle, 28 Dec. 1767-4 Jan. 1768. (C) The Farmer, No. 9, “wherein he says the passing an Act for settling the extent of the English Laws seems absolutely necessary for the public Security.” Boston Chronicle, 8-15 Feb. 1768. Temple Papers, 1762-1768: Unbound MSS. With regard to enclosure (A), FB had previously sent a copy of DeBerdt’s letter to Shelburne with brief comments under cover of No. 542, Bernard Papers, 3: 350. Also, by the time the commissioners had written this memorial, FB had sent copies of the Farmer’s letters to John Pownall, No. 579.
23. Burch autographed the letter first, probably because he was in the chair when the memorial was approved by the Board; though Hulton was the senior commissioner, the chair was rotated.
24. American Board of Customs to Samuel Hood, Customhouse, Boston, 4 Mar. 1768, ADM 1/483, f 102. The navy patrols and movements can be traced in Boston Gazette, 23 May and New-Hampshire Gazette, 15 Jul. 1768.
25. CO 5/241, f 31.
3. Nonimportation was first proposed at a town meeting on 28 Oct. 1767 and agreed at a town meeting held on 1 Mar. 1768. On the House of Representatives and Timothy Ruggles (1711-95) see No. 598n5 and No. 593n7.
4. On 4 Mar. 1768.
7. “A True Patriot” [Joseph Warren], Boston Gazette, Supplement, 29 Feb. 1768. The Council and the House of Representatives considered the alleged libel on 3 and 4 Mar. JHRM, 44: 213-215; CO 5, 757, ff 47-49.
9. In No. 600, FB also drew comparison with the Stamp Act Crisis, when the two English commissioners, Hulton and Burch, were not in Boston. “I have not the Shadow of Authority or Power. I am just now in the Situation I was in above two years ago.”
10. This is the first recorded instance of fire-arms being displayed during popular demonstrations, though the rioters who undertook the rescue of goods and ships seized by customs officers would have been armed (as was Daniel Malcom when he defended his house and store in the fall of 1766). The guns may have been taken from one of the town batteries or an armed merchant vessel.
12. House of Representatives, petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 82-85 (MsS, RC).
13. Abbreviation for “vide minute.”
14. Abbreviation for “Continent”.
15. By contrast, TH was more skeptical in evaluating the commissioners’ judgment. He observed that the commissioners “make great complaints of the insufficiency of the laws in being for preventing illicit trade,” though people “very unwillingly submit”; the commissioners’ attitudes, he supposed, contributed to his own unease at living “under constant apprehensions of danger.” TH to Richard Jackson, Boston, 18 Apr. 1768, Mass. Archs. 26: 300.
1. Probably Appendix 2.
2. The earl of Hillsborough, circular to the colonial governors, Whitehall, 21 Apr. 1768, CO 5/241, f 28.
4. The use of the “King” rather than “His Gracious Majesty” presumably was military as opposed to administrative protocol.
1. Copies of both replies were enclosed with the memorial of the American Board of Customs to the Treasury dated 11 Jul. Commodore Hood also responded to the commissioners, informing that he had ordered two schooners to Boston harbor: HMS Beaver and HMS St. Lawrence. T 1/465, ff 179-186.
1. Appendices 2 and 3.
2. American Board of Customs to Samuel Hood, Castle William, 15 Jun. 1768, CO 5/757, f 286.
3. Bradshaw to the American Board of Customs, [London], 28 Jul. 1768, T 28/1, f 332; Thomas, The Townshend Duties Crisis, 91.
1. T 1/465, ff 124-128.
2. Ibid., ff 129-130.
3. Ibid., ff 131-132.
4. Ibid., ff 133-134.
5. Ibid., ff 135-136.
6. Ibid., ff 137-138.
7. Ibid., ff 139-140.
8. Ibid., ff 141-142.
10. Ibid., ff 145-146.
11. Ibid., ff 147-148.
12. Ibid., ff 149-150.
13. Ibid., ff 151-152.
15. Ibid., ff 155-156.
19. Ibid., ff 163-164.
20. Ibid., ff 165-166.
21. Ibid., ff 167-168.
22. T 1/465, ff 169-176.
1. Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, N.S.; St. John’s Island, renamed Prince Edward Island in 1798; Fort Frederick on the banks of the St. John’s River, N.S.
2. Obscured by tight binding.
3. That is, the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89.
5. House of Representatives, petition to the king, 20 Jan. 1768. JHRM, 44: 217-219. The petition was sent to the House agent, Dennys DeBerdt, who passed it to Stephen Sayre to transmit to the secretary of state. No. 712n2, Bernard Papers, 5: 117. Hillsborough, DeBerdt reported to Cushing on 22 Jun., “by no means thinks proper to deliver to his Majesty at present. . . . He thinks the only thing that can be done to serve you at present, is to keep the matter of Right out of Sight, & only consider the good or bad effects the present Acts will have on the Interest of G. B. & her Colonies.” The petition was never considered by the Privy Council or Parliament. Albert Matthews, “Letters of Dennys DeBerdt, 1757-1770,” Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts 13 (1911): 290-461, at 332.
7. Cushing is likely referring to the establishment for Castle William, of fifty officers and men totaling c. £1,051 30s for 1768-69. Provision was also made for Fort Pownall at £459. On 28 Jun. JHRM, 45, 80-82; Acts and Resolves, 18: 363.
8. Annotation. An asterix refers to a footnote: “The same Number as mentioned before.”
10. Not found. But DeBerdt acknowledged receipt of the assembly’s petition to the king and letters from Cushing’s dated 11 Feb., 18 and 19 Apr. 1768. Matthews, “Letters of Dennys DeBerdt, 1757-1770,” 332-333. Cushing’s letter of 18 Apr. is printed in “Letters of Thomas Cushing from 1767 to 1775,” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th ser., 4 (1858): 347-366, at 350-351.
11. JHRM, 44: 164.
12. The committee appointed on 22 Jun. were Thomas Cushing (Speaker), Samuel Adams, Jerathmeel Bowers, John Hancock, James Otis Jr., James Otis Sr., Thomas Saunders; Walter Spooner, and James Warren, JHRM, 45: 70-71.
13. A reply has not been found in Cushing’s published correspondence, the JHRM, or the Mass. Archs.
1. Samuel Dexter (1726-1810), who had represented Dedham, 1764-67.
2. Eliphalet Pond (1704-95) a shopkeeper and justice of the peace of Dedham; he had been a selectman and town clerk and represented his home town in the province legislature in 1761 and 1763. Pond was colonel of the second regiment of Suffolk County militia, but would have relinquished authority over the Dorchester company when it was posted to Castle William, whose garrison was commanded by Lt. John Phillips (subordinate to the captain of the castle, Thomas Hutchinson). Judging by this report Pond was a radical, but in 1774 his Patriot neighbors obliged him to recant of his Loyalism.
3. Manuscript torn here and below.
4. Philip Stephens (1723–1809), first secretary of the Admiralty 1763-95.
1. The first charter of Massachusetts Bay was issued by King Charles I on 4 Mar. 1629. It was revoked in 1684 by the future James II (as duke of York ruling the New England and New York colonies now incorporated in the Dominion of New England). Following the collapse of the Dominion of New England, the new Charter of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England was issued on 7 Oct. 1691 and took effect on 14 May 1692.
2. The British conquest of Acadia in 1710, during Queen Anne’s War (1702-13), and undertaken by an expedition commanded by Francis Nicholson.
3. Restoration and/or surrender. OED.
4. King George II.
5. Thus in manuscript, here and below.
6. The French and Indian War in North America, 1754-63, was part of global struggle for imperial supremacy between Britain and France known as the Seven Years’ War, 1756-63.
7. Signatories (in alphabetical order) with dates of election to Council:* James Bowdoin (1726-90), 1757-68, 1770-73; John Erving (c.1692-1786), 1754-74; Thomas Flucker (1719-83), 1761-68; Harrison Gray (1711-94), 1761-72; Thomas Hubbard (1702-73), 1759-72; James Pitts (1710-76), 1766-74; Isaac Royall (c.1719-81), 1752-73; James Russell (1715-98), 1761-73; Royal Tyler (1724-71), 1764-70.
*Elections were conducted at the beginning of the assembly’s legislative year, which was in the last week of May. Votes were cast by the new House of Representatives and the outgoing Council. Appointments to the mandamus Council in Aug. 1774 have been excluded.
8. This paragraph is a copy of the Council minute of 7 Jul. 1768. CO 5/827, f 52.
9. Autograph signature.
3. Manuscript torn here and below. Supplied from CO 5/241.
4. Islands in the Caribbean ceded to Great Britain by France under the Treaty of Paris, 1763, including Grenada and the Grenadines.
5. Annotation. Asterisk referring to left marginalia: “viz. the 9th. & 34th.”
6. Hillsborough to the lords commissioners of Admiralty. Whitehall, 21 Jun. 1766, CO 5/86, f 92.
7. Gage to Hillsborough, New York, 16, 17, and 18 Jun. 1768, CO 5/86, ff 104-115.
8. Of 28 Jun. 1768, CO 5/86, ff 128-130.
9. Obscured in the fold.
10. Obscured in the fold.
11. Relocated from the first page.
12. No. 669. The RC was not available for transcription when this present volume was being prepared.
1. This word underlined, probably by FB or the recipient.
1. This company was probably a firm of wine merchants headed by London merchant William Offley (d.1789), a leading trader in Portuguese and Madeira wines, and possibly a relative of Amelia Bernard (née Offley). The Offley family had long been active in the Merchant Taylors Company. Norman R. Bennett, “The Golden Age of the Port Wine System, 1781-1807,” International History Review 12 (1990): 221-224.
2. Peter Clausen, governor of the Virgin Islands, a Danish Crown colony (1766-71 and 1773-84). Clausen’s out-going correspondence, 1774-84, is in the US National Archives, 55.2 Records of the Government of the Danish West Indies, 1672-1917.
3. John Osborne (1688-1768) a former councilor and merchant, and father-in-law to TH.
4. Benning Wentworth (1696-1770), governor of New Hampshire, 1741-66.
5. Sir Henry Moore (1713-69), governor of New York since 1765.
6. William Tyng (1737-1807), a merchant in Falmouth, Maine, and future Loyalist.
7. Oliver Partridge (1712-93), a wealthy farmer and former representative for Hatfield, and FB’s business partner in several New Hampshire land grants.
8. William Alexander (1726-83) of New Jersey, a future American general. He claimed to be the sixth earl of Stirling of the Scottish nobility. He used the unconfirmed title to claim land between the St. Croix and Kennebec Rivers, for which see William O. Sawtelle, “Sir Francis Bernard and His Grant of Mount Desert,” Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts 24 (1920): 197-254, at 206-209.
9. Edmund Quincy and his partner John Staley operated a gold and silver mine at Mendon, Worcester Co., Mass.
10. Samuel Hood (1724-1816), a British naval officer and commander of the North Atlantic Station from Jul. 1767 to Oct. 1770. He did not see active service in the American War of Independence until his promotion to rear admiral and deployment to the West Indies in 1780.
11. Thomas Bradshaw (1733-74) was chief clerk to the Treasury between 1761 and 1767 and thereafter secretary to the Treasury until 1770. He was made a lord commissioner of the Treasury in 1772 and sat as an MP for Harwich (1767-68) and Saltash (1768-74).