717 | To the Earl of Hillsborough

    [Boston, 30 Nov. 1768.]

    My Lord

    I think it proper to inform your Lordship that I communicated to the Council that part of your Lordship’s Letter No. 19,1 in which your Lordship Signified his Majesty’s gracious reception of the Petition of the Council which I transmitted in July last,2 and added that the Petition with my reasoning in support of it would have full consideration. Upon which Mr Bowdoin, who has all along taken the lead of the Council in their late Extraordinary proceedings, charged me with having misrepresented the purpose of their Petition by taking advantage of an Expression of theirs, “drawing a Revenue from the Colonies,” and therefrom insinuating that their objection lay not so much against the raising money as the Carrying it out of the Country, and not expending it here. And to Justify this, He quoted a transitory Conversation he had with me on the day of the Public Commencement at the College in July last. I told him that if that Conversation had made such an impression upon him, it was a pitty that he had not mentioned it before, whilst my memory could interpose on my behalf. That at this distance of time, 5 Months, I could not recollect every trifleing Conversation; for such I was assured this was, from his report of it. But I could be very Certain whether I had or had not misrepresented their Petition by inspecting my own Books. And before I looked at them I could declare that I had not.

    My Letter Books were at my Country House, where I generally write all my Letters. As soon as I got at them, I had the Letter in question No. 11, July 16th, Copied: and as soon as I returned to Town I read that part of it, which related to this business, to 3 or 4 of the Council; and I let 2 of them and the Secretary read the whole Letter: The[y] were greatly surprised to find it so very clear of Mr: Bowdoin’s charge. At the next Council I produced the Letter and read the whole passage referred to; from whence it appeared that in mentioning the prayer of their petition, I used their own words without adding a single word of my own; and also that the argument I used in behalf of the prayer went against Taxation in general, more than the disposal of the money; This appeared satisfactory to the whole Council except Mr. Bowdoin. But he still persisting in justifying himself mentioned something more of the Conversation referred to, which explained the whole, and shewed that what I had said upon that occasion was entirely in joke. ^This was confirmed by a Councillor, who recollected that on that Day, being a day of festivity, I did joke^3 with some of them upon their Petition, to the same purpose as Mr. Bowdoin quoted, but in Terms that one could not have Imagined could have been taken seriously, and really were quite inoffensive to every one else.

    This is a very trifleing matter to trouble your Lordship with: but it has already been the subject of debates in Council, and Libells in the News Papers.4 It would have also produced a formal remonstrance to your Lordship, which I am told was actually prepared by the Gentleman who made the charge, if it had not been prevented by my making Communications, which, but for saving trouble to your Lordship, I would not have submitted to. But it will vent itself in another and more public way; of which I shall be able to give your Lordship an Account in a few days. Your Lordship may depend upon it, that my informations have been and shall be dictated by the Spirit of Truth and Candor: but I cannot make facts other than they are, nor can I excuse myself Communicating such observations and reflections as occur to me and appear to be material to the subject.

    I am with great respect &c

    Frans. Bernard.

    L, RLbC     CO 5/767, ff 185-188.

    Entrybook title: Governor Bernard Boston November 30th 1768 (No 34) R 16 January 1769. The RC has not been found. Variants in: BP, 7: 109-111 (L, LbC); Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS (L, Copy); Boston Gazette, 23 Jan. 1769;5 Copies of Letters from Governor Bernard to Hillsborough; Letters to Hillsborough (1st ed.), 14-16; Letters to Hillsborough (repr.), 27-29. Copies were presented to Parliament on 20 Jan. 1769.6