716 | To John Pownall

    Jamaica Plain Nov 26 1768

    Dear Sr

    I am favored with your Letter by Mr Rogers1 & am much obliged to you for it. I am glad that my Conduct meets with your Approbation, as you are so good a judge of the Difficulties I have had to struggle with: they have been so many & so great, that it is no small Merit to have made no great Mistake. Nothing could be more embarrasing to a Governor than a Necessity for Troops to march to the Capital, heretofore unused to them except in Time of War. And yet tho the Necessity was real, I persisted in doing Nothing without the Advice of Council. I ran a Risk in this; but there would have been much greater Danger in acting otherwise. In either Way my Conduct would have been judged of by Events: but in the Way I took I could have justified myself by Orders, which might have been turned against me if I had acted otherwise. It seems that the General as well as myself judged right in waiting till Orders for marching Troops came from Home; which, as the People here went on, must have been sooner or later. The only Danger was of some great Mischeif being done in the Interval; which has not happened.

    I cant now foresee where & from whence my Reward is to come. I liked the Proposal of sending me to Virginia & was disappointed at its being defeated. Perhaps it is better as it is: I want peace & Ease; I should have not probably have found them in Virginia under its present political Professions: but I should have got Affluence & Independency, neither of which are to be expected in this Government in its present State. I agree with you that it would be better best to look out for something on this Side of the Water: but I know not which Way to look. You ^must^ know that I am very exceptious in the Business of Governments: I set such a Value upon Health, that I think that no Emoluments whatsoever can make Amends for an Unhealthy Climate. For this Reason, although S Carolina would satisfy me in its Income, I should dread it as a Place of Residence, & would decline it if it was worth more that [than] it is. My former Government with an enlarged Salary would be the most agreeable Grant the King could make to me.

    I was very near embarking for England before I knew any Objection to it. I had fixed upon the Ship & the Day of embarking, Oct 1st. A fortnight before that Day I received important Dispatches from Lord Hillsborough by a very quick Conveyance,2 which immediately showed the Necessity of my putting off my Voyage. I accordingly wrote to Lord H3 that I considered the Orders I had then received as a Suspension of my Leave of Absence & should continue here. Sometime after I received an Intimation4 (not from himself) that Lord H was under Concern least I should have left Boston: But if I had not before determined this upon my own Judgement the Hint would have come too late. And yet I want very much to go to England upon domestic Accounts as well as others: I am now in the 11th Year of my Peregrination. But I am quite reconciled to its being postponed for several Reasons: as I think it not improbable that Parliament will take some severe Resolutions against this Province, I am glad not to be on the Spot, that there may not be that Pretence for charging me with promoting them. I should also be very sorry to be publickly examined concerning the State of this Country: I should be obliged to speak the Truth; & the Truth wont bear to be spoken. So it is best that I should not be with you at present.

    I dont wonder at your thinking of coming to America;5 either with the Sagacity of a Rat quitting a falling House, or with the Prudence of one quitting ^changing^an empty Granary for a full one. But I wonder at your Choice of Situation; surely Massachusets is rather too northerly for a chosen Spot. I should rather think of the Banks of the Delaware, or between that & the Hudson, particularily6 the Passaik a Favorite of mine: I would not go much North of New York. However I will look out as you desire: Ready Money will purchase Lands cheap; the Difficulty is to get good Tenants. But there is no such Thing as getting so large a Tract of Land as you require in the old settled Country: among new Settlements it is to be had. I am concerned in a Town in the direct Road from Boston to Albany about 35 Miles from the latter & nearer to other Parts of the River Hudson. It is in the same Latitude with Boston.7 It is settling apace & will be fully and well settled by next Summer. Our Lots are intermixed one with another: but I beleive I could prevail upon our Partners to join with me in laying you out an intire Tract of 2 or 300 Acres. There is also an entire Tract of 1500 Acres in the Middle of the Town not belonging to us, which has been offered for Sale to me by Col Israel Williams.8 Col Partridge is our Manager. Sev’ral such Things as these are to be picked up. There are now good Purchases to be made on the River Penobscot from Col Waldo:9 The Owls Head particularily, at the Mouth of the River containing about 6000 Acres of very good Land, may be had at between 1 Dollar & 2 an Acre. That River will soon be settled: There is a fine growing Town about Fort Pownall, in which I had a considerable Intrest; & another next to it is just now begun upon. There are also two large Islands the one just above & the other just below the Fort now to be sold by Col Waldo. They won’t fetch above 2 Dollars if so much. I myself gave 6s. sterlg for the Neck at Fort Pownall before there was a single Settler there except at the Fort. You may consider of these Things.10

    Mr Rogers has informed me of your View: I wonder at it, considering how Persons in that Station have been generally Treated. I had determined never to meddle with that Business again: but I shall depart from my Purpose to serve you. But if I can do any Service, it must be either by not appearing at all, or in the Light of an Opponent. If there should be such an Appearance it must ^will^ be for the Purpose now professed: I have no one to serve in it but you. Mr. R will know my Sentiments from Time to Time. Upon this Account, if there was no other, it may be proper that as little Notice as may be, should be taken of our Correspondence.11

    I have been much disappointed in my endeavours to procure American hemp. I got some seed last year & sowed it this: but it did not come up. The Indians have been offered a good price for a quantity of it but their Indolence & their Jealousy have prevented it. However We have learned where it grows.12

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esq

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 168-173.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard.