746 | To the Earl of Hillsborough


    Boston Feb 21 1769

    My Lord

    In a former Letter1 I acquainted your Lordship of the printers of the Boston Gazette Edes & Gill & the use which might be made of calling them to an Account. I think it proper to illustrate that Letter by an Instance from that Paper just now published, which I shall inclose with Observations on it separate from this Letter.2 In this I shall observe upon the Grounds of the Presumption with which the Author of this Peice has been generally pronounced without any Contradiction which I have heard of.

    As soon as the Paper came out this Libell was generally assigned to Mr John Temple one of the Commissioners of the Customs; & that Opinion remains uncontradicted as far as I have learned. Your Lordship, if you don’t know this Gentleman, will perhaps be surprised that a Gentleman in the immediate Service of the Crown & in a distinguished Station should libell one of the King’s Governors who has laboured so hard & suffered so much in endeavouring to maintain the Rights of the Crown as I have done; & should carry his Abuse so far as not to spare the King’s Minister for approving the Governors Service. But so it is, that I believe, its undoubted by every Man of Observation & Reason in this Town that this Gentleman has been employed in this Kind of Warfare against the Governor’s Office & Person, ever since they have been distinguished by the Support of the Rights of the Crown of Great Britain.

    The ordinary Writers in the Boston Gazette & other seditious Papers are generally known by common Reputation as employed in the Part of Opposition to the Kings Government, altho’ Care is taken that no legal Proof shall be produced against them. And by frequent Observations discerning Readers3 pretend to distinguish the different Stiles of the several Writers, & do it with great Exactness. In this List of Writers, Mr Temple has for 3 Years at least been reckoned, & his Pieces have been distinguished by an uncommon Rancour & Malice against the Person of the Governor, which in other Writers is carried No farther than their Purpose to get him removed requires; which being done they desires no further Hurt to him; But Mr Temple’s Intention towards the Governor has been professed both to ruin him & his Family to effect which he has frequently declared to a Gentlemanx4 who will attest the same when called upon, that “he would go to the Gates of Hell”.

    But this Kind of Proof is not the only one which will show Mr Temple to be a Writer against Government: positive Proofs are not wanting; one of which I will now mention. About 2 Years ago, when no man could appear on the Behalf of Government, but was sure to be attacked in his Person and Character[,]5 Mr Temple prepared a Libell for the Boston Gazette in which the Abuse was directed against the Governor, the Secretary, Mr Flucker a Gentleman of the Council distinguished for his Fidelity to Government, & Mr Trowbridge then Attorney general & now one of the Judges of the superior Court.6 These 3 Gentlemen were abused for having done something or other for the Support of Government or the Defence of the Governor: it being an usual & Successful Practice with the Faction to pelt the Friends of the Government with illiberal & dirty Abuse; & this is one of the Kinds of Intimidation with which they have kept the Province in Awe, people being no more inclined to fight for their Characters than they are for their Persons.

    This Libell Mr Temple inclosed in a Cover to the Printers of the Boston Gazette with a Letter wrote wholly by himself & signed by his Name desiring them to print it. But before he sent it to the Printers he happened to send the Coat ^in a pocket of which the Letter was^7 to the Taylors, where it was taken out of the Pocket & went thro several Hands till it came to Mr Gray the Province Treasurer and one of the Council: The Letter was soon missed pursued & recovered. At that Time I had no Encouragement to multiply Complaints, & therefore took no Notice of it but kept it in my Mind for a proper Time. When the present Libell came out Mr Flucker, at my Desire, talked with the Treasurer about the former Libell, expressing a Curiosity to know what was said of him. He, Mr Gray, said that it was all in Mr Temple’s hand writing, & the Letter was signed by his Name; that it was very abusive, but he could not recollect particulars at that Time. Mr Hallowell who is now in London knows the whole Affair: I have never attempted to get an Account of this Affair from the Treasurer; as I should expect at this Time to be refused. But if he was required to answer by Authority, so as to have Necessity to plead, he would not decline it, as his Office being elective is annually at the Mercy of the Governor.

    I come now to point out the distinguishing Passage in this Libell which has convinced every knowing Reader that it is the Production of Mr Temple: & indeed it affords as Strong a Proof as the Nature of internal Evidence will admit. Every one, who is acquainted with the Writings of the Americans in opposition to the Power of Parliament, knows that Mr Greenville8 has been a principal Object of their Resentment & Subject of their Abuse: this is stronger at Boston if possible that [than] at New York &c. And one may be positive that among all the Writers against Government at Boston there is but one who would sho[w?] a Desire of his Return to Power; as such an Expectation is directly opposite to the fundamental Principles and Views of the Faction. But as Mr Temple professes to have family-Connections w[ith] Mr Greenville such an Expectation is cons[istent] with His Views, tho inconsistent with his Proceedings: for a little Consideration might shew him that he is not like to recommend himself to Mr Greenville by abetting the Opposers of the Power of Parliament & the Persecutors of those who endeavour to maintain it. However he has so far laid his Account in this Expectation as to feed his Friends with it, even so far, as it is said, as the Disposal of the Government itself. Be this as it will, it is certain that this Dependence of Mr Temple makes him a distinguished Character in the Party he is connected with so as to form an uncommon Contrast in their Writings. For whilst all the other Writers against Government have for 3 Years together been uniformly charging the Governor, with being the Tool & Creature of Mr Greenville & in Support of this Charge have quoted the public testimonials which that Gentleman has given of his Approbation of the Govrs Conduct, One Writer only threatens him with the Vengeance of the same Gentleman when he shall come into Power. This is unaccountable in any other way than the foregoing. After this I will refer your Lordship to Note 14 of the inclosed Paper.

    There are other internal Marks of this coming from Mr Temple, particularly from his using the Name of Verres (a strange Appellation to a Governor who is diminishing his Estate instead of augmenting it) which was first applied in a virulent & flagitious Libell of the Governor which had strong internal Proofs of its coming from Mr Temple, & being since preserved in his Writings,9 & the name Palinurus used ^in^ a Libell which the Printers indirectly owned to have come from him.10 But the first mentioned Characteristical Mark [needs?] no Confirmation. I should here mention that when I call Mr Temple the Writer of these Pieces I mean in Conjunction with Mr Fenton11 a Lieutenant on half pay & Brother in Law to Mr Temple who is supposed to be sometimes the whole composer & generally the Corrector & finisher of the Pieces: But Mr Temple furnishes the Materials & points the Abuse, & especially brings all the Malice; For Mr Fenton never pretended to have received any Offence from the Govr. However when the Authorship of a Piece is talked of, the two Names are quite convertible.

    I cannot pass unnoticed the wicked Insinuation at the End of the Libell concerning the Baronettage, which is as false as it is envious & Malicious. The Truth is that the Report of my being to be made a Baronet is of an old standing & came here before I knew any thing of it; & has since been repeated in many private Letters. This has subjected me to many Questions to which I answered at first that I knew Nothing of it & since that I had a hint from a Friend that if I would apply for it, I might probably succeed; But so far from saying that the Title was offered me by his Majesty I never went so far as to say that it was offered me by his Minister, as in Truth I could not. As for the Letter in Question (which is but one of several with this Article in it which have reached the Press) I never saw it but in Print nor can I guess now whom it came from or to. All I shall say to it is that the Enviousness & Maliciousness of this Note is so Characteristical, that I would venture my Life on naming the Author, if I had no other Proof of it but this Paragraph. If I had not allready submitted this Matter to your Lordship with an Assurance of the high Sense I shall have of any Honor his Majesty shall be graciously pleased to confer upon me, I might enforce my Sollicitation with a Reason which Martial somewhere gives for his wanting to be rich: Pendentem volo Zoilum videre.12

    I am &c.

    The Right Honble The Earl of Hillsborough.


    I have taken the Liberty to entitle the enclosed Letter private, that it may be entirely at your Lordship’s Command, & you may be under no Necessity of communicating it to any one or in any Manner but as You shall judge for the best. For tho I thought it best that Your Lordship should be cautioned against the Wickedness of this Libell, yet I by no means desire that this Letter should be made a Subject of Public Animadversion. And indeed it is made unfit for it by the Freedom with which I have made use of Mr Greeville’s13 Name, for whom I have allways expressed a great Respect & to whom for some Time past I have thought myself much obliged: but it was quite necessary to the Explication of the Case. I also think that it is not fair that Business of a private & personal Nature (by which I do not mean the Affront to your Lordship or anything but what relates to myself in [_])14 should interfere with the great & important Affairs in which Your Lordship is now engaged.

    P.S. Feb 28

    I have communicated this Letter & also the Observations upon the Libell to the Lieut Govr & I have his Authority to say that he agrees with my Sentiments in general, excepting what is said of himself & the Account of Mr Gray of which he had his Knowledge from me. I have acquainted Mr Paxton & Mr Flucker of what I have wrote of them & they have again acknowledged the Truth of what they have before told me.

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 141-148.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard, except where noted. Probably enclosed a copy of the Boston Gazette, 30 Jan. 1769.