712 | From the Earl of Hillsborough

    (No. 21.)

    Whitehall November 15th. 1768.


    His Majesty having thought fit to direct that your several dispatches to me from No. 19 to No. 28.1 relating to the unhappy situation to which the Colony under your Government appears to be reduced, should be referred to His ∞ ∞ ∞2 Servants in the Law department;3 and that the Facts, relative to publick transactions in that Colony, from the meeting of the Assembly in Decr. last, to the arrival of the Troops at Boston, should be laid before both Houses of Parliament,4 I have not at present anything in command from His Majesty to signify to you upon those dispatches, or any observations to make thereupon, lest any Instructions you should now receive, or any observations I might make, should not correspond with the result of their deliberations. It is however His Majesty’s pleasure that you should punctually observe His Royal Commands signified to you in my former letters, & particularly in that of the 30th of July last, and that you should extend the enquiries you are therein directed to make to such illegal and unconstitutional Acts as have been committed since the disturbances which gave occasion to that letter, in such manner as that the perpetrators of them, may if possible be brought to justice.

    In the present factious State of the Province of Massachuset’s Bay, the propagation of every falsehood that malice can suggest, to exasperate & inflame the minds of the people is to be expected and therefore I was not surprized to find, that I have been represented, however unjustly and falsely, as having refused to lay before the King the Address of the Assembly in January last. — The Fact is, that Mr. De Berdt, the Agent of the Assembly had declined, for reasons best known to himself, to deliver this Address to me; & that I having mentioned the report of there being such an Address in Mr. De Berdt’s hands to one Mr. Sayre,5 who came to visit me, and as I have since found, is in connection with Mr. De Berdt, he told me there was such an Address, and if I had a mind, that he could procure me a sight of it, I said I should be glad to see it as the Accounts of the Contents were various, and the next morning Mr. Sayre inclosed the original Address to me in a Letter, the purpose of which very much surprized me, and of which I herewith send you a Copy.6

    The manner in which this petition therefore came into my hands, not delivered by any person having Authority for that purpose, & unaccompanied with any Documents to authenticate it as the real Act of the Assembly, made it impossible for me to lay it before His Majesty in the usual course of Office; but neither this consideration nor the indignity offered to the Crown by the Assembly, in avoiding to transmit their petition through the Channel of the Govr., and in printing and publishing it by way of appendix to the Minutes of their proceedings, before it could reach the Throne, prevented me from immediately communicating it to the King, but His Majesty not considering ^it^ as coming properly before him, did not think fit to signify to me any Commands thereupon.

    I have the pleasure to acquaint you that the Queen was happily brought to bed of a Princess on Tuesday last,7 and that both Her Majesty and the young Princess are as well as can be desired. I most heartily congratulate you upon this Increase of the Royal Family; an event that affords the greatest Satisfaction to all His Majesty’s Subjects.

    The inclosed Speech made by the King to His Parliament at their meeting on the 8th instant, and the Addresses of both Houses in answer thereto,8 one of which Addresses passed nemine contradicente,9 and the other without a Division, will point out to you the attention that has been given to the distracted State of your Government; and I trust that the unanimity and resolution to preserve entire and inviolate the supreme Authority of the Legislature of Great Britain over every part of the British Empire, so strongly expressed in these Addresses, will have the happy effect to defeat and disappoint the wicked views of those who seek to create disunion and disaffection between Great Britain & Her Colonies, and that all His Majesty’s Subjects in America, who wish well to the peace & prosperity of the British Dominions, will give full Credit to Parliament for that affection towards the Colonies which appears in their declaration that they will redress every real Grievance of His Majesty’s American Subjects, and give due attention to every complaint they shall make in a regular manner and not founded upon claims and pretensions inconsistent with the constitution.

    In the very unpleasant & critical situation in which you stand at present, it will, I apprehend, be a great support and consolation to you to know that the King places much confidence in your prudence and caution on the one hand, & entertains no diffidence of your spirit and Resolution on the other, and that His Majesty will not suffer these sentiments to receive any alteration from private misrepresentations, if ^any^ such should come, that may flow from Enmity to you, or self interested Views in those who transmit them; and, for my own part, Sir, I take the Liberty to add that I will not fail to do Justice to your Conduct in every representation that I have occasion to make of it to His Majesty.

    I am with sincere Esteem & Regard Sir Your Most Obedient Humble Servant


    Governor Bernard.

    LS, RC     BP, 12: 11-16.

    The last two paragraphs are marked by red line in left margin, possibly added by the recipient. Endorsed by FB: Earl of Hillsborough d Nov 15 1768 r Jan 25 1769. Docket by Thomas Bernard: Approvg of his Conduct. Variants: CO 5/765, ff 48-52 (L, LbC); CO 5/757, ff 454-457 (Dft, AC). FB received the duplicate first, on c.18 Jan. 1769 (not found).10 Enclosures (not found): the king’s speech to both Houses of Parliament, 8 Nov. 1768,11 and the addresses of the House of Lords of 15 Dec. and the House of Commons of 16 Dec. 1768.12 Extracts of the letter together with the enclosure were laid before both houses of Parliament on 28 Nov. 1768. HLL: American Colonies Box 3.

    For three days, after No. 712 was completed, the earl of Hillsborough and John Pownall sifted through FB’s reports (listed in note 1) trying to separate fact from opinion. They drew up a list of items to lay before Parliament (No. 713), and which Lord North presented on 28 Nov.