731 | To the Earl of Hillsborough

    No 2

    Boston Jan 24th 1769

    My Lord

    In your Lordships Letter No 211 you signify his Majesty’s Commands that I should extend my Enquiries to such illegal and unconstitutional Acts as have been committed since the Disturbances on the 10th of June. In some of my former Letters I express the Difficulties which attend the procuring Informations in Regard to Crimes of a popular Nature: but I have not in the Mean Time remitted my Endeavours to procure such Informations; and I plainly perceive that by patience and perseverance the Cabinet of the Faction may be laid open. But this is a Business which must not be precipitated; time must be given for those who can make Discoveries to reconcile themselves to doing it; and they must appear as much as possible to be volunteers in this Business. Self preservation will by and by make Informers: And where Accomplices are wanting, there are many Persons who abhor the Proceedings of the Faction and yet have been let into their Secrets.

    To enable me to execute my present Orders & such of the like kind as I may hereafter receive, as I have at present no privy Council that will give me real Assistance, I have formed a Cabinet Council consisting of the 3 principal Officers of the Crown, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary and the Judge of Admiralty, whose Zeal Fidelity and Ability cannot be suspected.2 To show your Lordship that we are not unemployed, I shall enclose in the Cover of this a Deposition taken before us, in which the Spirit of the Movers of the Boston Mobs will be explained & the Intention of the Faction exemplified in one [of] the principal and most desperate of the Cheifs of the Faction.3 I shall probably accompany this with some other Proofs of the Declarations of the Faction which will fully expose their Intentions:4 One of which I will mention now as I am fully Master of the Intelligence. A Cheif of the Faction in justifying himself to an Acquaintance who was not of the Party said that he was allways for gentle Measures, for he was only for driving the Governor and Lieut Governor out of the Province and taking the Government into their own Hands. Judge, My Lord, what must be the Measures proposed by others, when this is called a gentle Measure.5

    The same Gentleman makes a great Merit of calling the Convention, which he say[s]6 was the Means of keeping the Country quiet. But was that their Intention? Nothing is7 more plain than that their Design was quite the contrary; No one can read the Proceedings of the Town-Meeting and doubt of their Intention to make the Convention a Means to render the proposed Insurrection general. There is an Expression in the circular Letter of the Selectmen, (which, by the by, is wholly their own Work and never had the Sanction of a Town-Meeting)8 which is explicit of this Purpose, wherein they say that a Convention is necessary to prevent any sudden & unconnected Measures being taken for redressing themselves. What can unconnected be applied to but to forcible Opposition to the Kings Government. If this can be doubted it will not be difficult to prove it from some of their own Mouths, that the Plan was to remove the Kings Governor &c & reassume the old Charter.9 And when one considers the many Means by which this was defeated, It has been a great Disappointment to some of them that it was not done.

    In my Letter No 3710 I informed your Lordship of the Difficulties I met with in engaging Gentlemen of Figure to qualify themselves as Justices of the Peace, and the Reasons given for their Refusal. Since that I have made a Successful beginning of this Business: The Cheif Justice having made an Offer to qualify himself as a Justice of Peace if I desired it, (for which Practice his immediate Predecessor has afforded a Precedent) I made use of this to engage the Secretary, Mr Flucker and Mr Auchmuty Judge of Admiralty, to join with him in it; and I accordingly qualified them all four together.11 This will do honor to the Bench, strengthen it on the Part of Government, and in Part remove the Objections which have prevented other Gentlemen coming upon it. Notwithstanding which the Reasons assigned in such Objections ought to be attended to upon Account of their general Weight and Consequence.

    I am with great Respect My Lord, Your Lordship’s most obedient and most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right Honorable The Earl of Hillsborough

    P.S. I send your Lordship an account of the forementioned Conversation from the principal.12

    LS, RC     CO 5/758, ff 50-51.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard (except where noted). Endorsed: Boston Jany 24th. 1769 Govr. Bernard (No. 2) R 29th. March B.12. Enclosed Nos. 732 and 733. Variants of the letter in: CO 5/893, ff 100-101 (dupLS, RC), with enclosures at ff 102-106; CO 5/767, ff 209-213 (L, RLbC); BP, 7: 123-126 (L, LbC). The letter and enclosures were considered by the Board of Trade on 1 Dec. 1769. JBT, 13: 125. The LbC contained an additional postscript (perhaps added by Thomas Bernard) marked for deletion by a cross. BP, 7: 126.