742 | To John Pownall


    Boston Feb 18 1769

    Dear Sr.

    Your kind Letter of Nov 191 has been a great Comfort to me harrast as I am with Business of the most unpleasing kind. I have also had some other Letters which show that my late Conduct has been generally approved of.2 I have had some Compliments here upon my Conduct at the Convention. For it is certain that the Faction here intended an Insurrection, & the Convention was called to make it more general. But it had a contrary Effect by the Diffidence of the Country People, which was much encreased & confirmed by my Message3 which frightened them not a little. I wont say that it gave the Turn to the Business, but I am assured that it contributed greatly to it. My Friends say that it was the boldest Thing that I have done yet: for I knew that if their Deliberations had taken another Turn my Person was to have been seized: & what has been said of the Imprisonment of a King might be applied to that of a Governor; especially as we have Persons here who would have preferred extreme Violence to make the People desperate.

    I consider myself as fixed here at least to next Midsummer, & how long farther I don’t pretend to know. I expect to have uncommon Business committed to me; I hope I shall have full Instructions & desire to have as little left to my own Judgement as can be: I have a Set of the wickedest Fellows to deal with that ever man was concerned with. The least Error of Judgement would be improved against me to the utmost Advantage, as would have been any Act of Corruption if they could have fixed one of the most trifling Kind upon me. But I have had the Prudence to keep my hands perfectly clean & myself poor. For Notwithstanding Mr Temple in his Publications against me called me Verres,4 It is certain that I have acquired no Money in my Government & now spend more than I receive from it.

    The Anonymous Letter you sent me is of no Consequence; tho the Hand is feigned, I presently knew it to be the same in which I had formerly received anonymous Letters not worth Notice. I showed it to some Gentlemen to ask their Opinion & they agreed with me that no Notice should be taken of it. But somehow it came to Otis’s Ears that I had such a Letter: & his Conscience & fears brought him to me to desire a Sight of it. As the Hand was sufficiently disguised, I let him see it: and my Condescension has been generally approved of.5

    I have many Things to write to you about & some of Consequence; & if the Wind does not Change tomorrow I shall add some more. But I must in the Mean Time conclude this: & if it is called for tomorrow I will write again by the next Ship a week hence.6 The News papers which I promise to my Lord H, will go in Mr Olivers Box of Papers, which probably will not be ready for this Ship.

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esq

    P.S. Secret & confidential

    I have taken the Liberty to hint to My Lord H7 that if a Council for this Province is to be appointed from home, it would be necessary to permit as little as possible private Sollicitations to influence the Appointment; as it will be quite necessary to the well executing so important a Change that public Considerations should direct the Appointment. For the same Reason I must recommend that your nearest Relation may have no hand in the Nomination of the Persons to be appointed. He is now, with my Knowledge, carrying on a Correspondence with the Sons of Liberty, in which I fear he will go too far; and he may be more intent upon his own Scheme than the Security of the Government.8 I am sure that none of the Friends he is now acquiring can be appointed to the new Council without Detriment to the Government. Excuse this Liberty; keep this Secret; & burn this Paper.


    P.S. Secret & Confidential

    Mr Temple & the other 4 Commissioners are at length come to an absolute Rupture. They charge him with being the principal Mover of all the Difficulties & Troubles which have obstructed the Execution of their Office & the Abuses which they have received both in their official & personal Characters. There is no Doubt but this is true; tho probably it will not admit of positive Proof; but circumstantial Evidence & the general Opinion of good People are full in the affirmative. I have kept myself from being a Party in this Dispute: tho Mr T continues to abuse me in the public Papers the last Instance of which with the internal Evidence it affords, I shall send to My Lord H in my next Packet as he has a Share in it.9 I shall write to you more fully upon this Subject probably by my next Packet. Memorials against Mr Temple, I understand, go ho[me] in this Ship.10

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 255-258.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Minor emendations not shown.