715 | To John Pownall


    Boston Nov 25 1768

    Dear Sr

    As this Packet conveys nothing but Duplicates to your Office I shall add to it a private Letter to you. This will inform you that of the Regts from Ireland the whole of the 64th & half of the 65th are arrived:1 there are two Transports still out, one of which was seen about a fortnight ago partly dismasted in Lat 39 bearing for the Southward. We have now 3 Regts quartered in the Town in Barracks hired & fitted up by Order of the General at the Expence of the Crown; No other Quarters being to be procured for them. The Town is become very quiet except that abusive Publications in the Public Papers are continued, some of which directed against some of the Commissioners are supposed to come from Persons in the Pay of the Crown.2 People in general are very well satisfied with the Troops being here, their Conduct being very orderly & decent: the Country is so well reconciled to them, that those who supply the Boston Markets wish there was more of them. However the Government, tho it is now protected, has not as yet recovered much of its former Energy: that must be a Work of Time if it can ever be done under the present Constitution.

    I hereby inclose a fresh Publication which just at this Time is the Subject of general Talk. It has the common Fate of good Advice unseasonably urged, to be condemned by both Parties. It is said on one Side, that they don’t want a Repeal upon such Terms; a Repeal procured by the Acknowledgement of the Parliaments Right to tax them would be worse than the Acts continued unrepealed. The Precedent is what they most complain of; the Burthen is trifling; & indeed the last ^Act^ is an Act of Bounty rather than of Burthen. Besides the Repeals expected in America greatly exceed the utmost Favor intended in England. Every Act imposing Duties must be repealed; there must not be one left as a Precedent for Acts of the same Kind. It is now 95 Years since the first Duties were imposed on the Colonies by Act of Parliament.3 All Impositions of Duties during this long Interval must be abrogated at once. This is evident in their public Writings, as it is in their private Conversations. It is therefore no Wonder, that a Compromise of this Kind meets with a cold Reception even tho there was no other ^more^ Authority, than appears here, to propose it.

    On the other Side it is said that the Writer ought not to have made such Proposals, tho but by Intimation, to People, whom he must know to be disposed by no Means to accept of the Terms. That it must tend to encourage them to persist in their Demands upon Great Britain, & to form Expectations of Compliances of such a Nature as it is impossible for the Parliament to accede to. That the Demands of the Americans were so widely distant from the most favourable Concessions which Great Britain could make consistently with the Safety of the Empire, that there was Nothing left for the Parliament but to speak with Authority. A Compromise is certainly very desirable: but to be succesful it must originate in America by withdrawing some of the most exorbitant Pretensions, which the Colonies have, within these 3 Years only, set up against the Imperial State. This is the Sentiment of the Friends of Government. Mr Rogers has all the Credit he can desire for his Candour & Integrity; but it has been wished that he had advised with his Friends concerning the Prudentiality of this Publication. Nevertheless as I have no Doubt of its being made with a good Intent, so I am not sure that it may not have some good Effect.

    I asked Mr Rogers, whether his Hopes of the Colonies, & especially this Province, being treated with Indulgence had not been much abated by his being made acquainted with the Proceedings of the Town Meeting and the Calling the Convention in Consequence thereof. He owned that they were very much abated; & that he dreaded the Resentment of the Parliament against the calling & meeting of that Convention. For my Part I fear nothing from that Resentment if it shall be directed for the Purposes of Reformation & not of Punishment. If it shall be the Means of removing the Difficulties, which have hitherto prevented the making that necessary Amendment of the Constitution of this Government, the putting the Appointment of the Council in the Kings Hands, it will be an Event most happy for this Province. And if the Convention & the Proceedings of the Council about the same Time shall give the Crown a legal Right or induce the Parliament to exercise a legislative Power over the Charter, it will be most indulgently exercised, if it is extended no further than to make one Alteration in the Form of the Government which has been allways found wanting, is now become quite necessary & will really by making it more constitutional render it more permanent. With this Alteration I do beleive that all the Disorders of this Government will be remedied & the Authority of it fully restored. Without it there will be a perpetual Occasion to resort to Expedients, the continual Inefficacy of which will speak in the Words of Scripture “you are ^careful &^ troubled about many Things; but one thing is needful.”4

    I am Dr Sr &c

    John Pownall Esqr

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 165-168.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Minor emendations now shown. Enclosed a copy of the Boston Evening-Post, 21 Nov. 1768.