The Papers of Governor Francis Bernard

    1 October 1768-29 July 1769

    694 | To the Earl of Hillsborough

    Boston Oct 1 1768

    My Lord

    The Day my last Packet1 went out of the Harbour, brought in the Fleet from Halifax with two Regiments on board under the Command of Lieut Colonell Dalrymple. As soon as I was informed of it I went to the Castle and got there before the Ships got to Anchor. Soon after I saw Colonell Dalrymple and informed him of all the Proceedings of the Council concerning his Quarters and the Difficulties he was to encounter. And it was agreed that I should call a Council at the Castle the next Morning and invite the Colonell and the commanding Officer of the Fleet to attend the Council.2

    The Council accordingly met at the Castle the next Morning being Thursday Sep 29: The commanding Officers likewise attended. After the Business was opened, the Colonell acquainted them in a very genteel Manner that he was ordered to quarter one of the Regiments at Boston; that he hoped he was going among Friends and that his Men would on their Parts behave as such; that he should be glad if he could have Quarters in the Way of Barracks where he could keep his Men under the Eyes of their Officers and then he would engage that his Men should be kept in good Order. He added several kind Expressions signifying his Desire to conduct the Business in a Manner that should be most easy and agreeable to the Town. He was answered that they hoped he would observe the Act of Parliament; and if he did, he would put both his Regiments in the Barracks at the Castle which were in the Town of Boston and capable of holding two Regiments. That when the Barracks were full the Council had Nothing to do with the quartering Troops untill the public Houses were full. The Colonell said that he would not dispute whether the Castle Island was in the Town or not; they certainly were distinct Places in his Orders: that he was not used to dispute about his Orders but obey them and therefore should most assuredly march his Regiment into the Town, and if they assigned him Quarters in the public Houses he should take them: but then he could not be answerable for the good Order of his Men, which it would be impossible to preserve if they were intermixed with the Townspeople and separated from their Officers. I then interrupted and asked whether as the Colonell had now told them that he must and would march his Regiment into the Town it would not be best to reconsider my Proposal for fitting up the Manufactory House for a Barrack. It was observed that it was not regular to put a Question untill the Board was cleared: The Gentlemen thereupon withdrew.3

    I then desired that in reconsidering my Proposal for fitting up the Manufactory House they would let me know what Objections they had to it: The only Objection worth Notice was that they had no Power to draw the Money. I told them that there was an appropriation in the Treasury for contingent Services which had much more Money upon it than would be wanted for this Business, which was a contingent Service: They still declined it. I then told them that I would make but one more Proposal to them, which was that it [if] they would authorise me to fit up this Building, I would be answerable it should be done at the Charge of the Crown. This also they refused in a Writing referring to their former Answer. I then gave them to understand that those Subterfuges should not disappoint the Execution of the King’s Commands; and that I by myself would assign the House in Question for a Barrack.4

    The next Morning when I got to the Castle as usual to hold a further Consultation, Captain Montresor an Engineer5 arrived here and brought Letters ^from Genl Gage^ for me and the Colonell;6 wherein the General says that by a Number of private Letters from Boston to New York and from the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Town Meeting at Boston it was reported and beleived at New York that the People in and about Boston had revolted; he therefore sent Captain Montresor to assist the Forces as Engineer and to enable them to recover and maintain the Castle and such other Posts as they could secure. As Things were not so bad as this came to, the Colonell thought proper upon the Authority of these new Orders, to alter his Plan and land both Regiments at Boston without Loss of Time. I gave him a positive Order to take Possession of the Manufactory House for one; and the other Regiment was to be encamped. This being resolved, the Fleet was immediately put into Motion and by the next Morning commanded the whole Town. And this Day at Noon the Troops began landing and were all paraded on the Common by four in the Afternoon. This was done not only without Opposition but with tolerable good Humour. Thus this Business has been effected for the present; which would have had none of these Difficulties, nor have occasioned such a Parade, if it had not been for the undutiful Behaviour of the Council.

    I am, with great Respect, My Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right honourable The Earl of Hillsborough

    dupLS, RC     CO 5/757, ff 434-436.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Endorsed: Boston October 1st. 1768. Govr. Bernard (No. 26). R 4th: Novber: Dupl. _ origl not reced _ A.53. Enclosed a copy of the minutes of the Massachusetts Council of 29 Sept. 1768, CO 5/757, ff 437-438. Variants of letter: CO 5/767, ff 119-124 (L, RLbC); BP, 7: 67-70 (L, LbC); Letters to the Ministry (1st ed.), 66-68; Letters to the Ministry (repr.), 89-92. Hillsborough acknowledged receipt with No. 712. Copies of the letter and enclosure were laid before both houses of Parliament on 28 Nov. 1768. HLL: American Colonies Box 3.

    British Troops Landing in Boston. “A View of Part of the Town of Boston in New England and Brittish Ships of War: Landing Their Troops! 1768.” Engraving by Paul Revere. Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society.