753 | To Lord Barrington


    Boston March 18, 1769

    My Lord

    I am favoured with Your Lordship’s Letter of Jan 2nd;1 and am much obliged to you for the Hints it has conveyed of the Measures pursuing in Parliament, from which I know not how to expect that effectual Means will be used to restore the Kings Authority in this Province. I am sure that the Conclusion of the Address of the Lords2 will have no such Effect: for a simple Order to me to make Enquiry into the Proceedings,3 which have incurred the Penalties of Treason or Misprision of Treason, will have no other Consequence that [than] to show the Impotency of Government; unless I am armed with some extraordinary Power to oblige Persons, whom I shall require to undergo an Examination, to submit to it.4 But I have no such Power at present; otherwise I should have exercised it long ago. And if I was to call before me, even by special Orders from the King, ever so many Persons knowing of the seditious & treasonable Practices of the Faction here, & was to beg Leave5 to ask them a few Questions, I should be answered, as it is said the Secretaries of State were by Wilkes, “You have leave to ask as many Questions as you please, but I beg leave6 to give no Answer to any of them.”

    In short, my Lord, this Government is now brought to this State, that if the Cheifs of the Faction are not punished or at least so far censured as to be disqualified from holding Offices; if the Appointment of the Council is not put into the Hands of the King; if the Governor & principal Crown Officers are not provided with adequate Salaries independent of the People, It signifies little who is Governor. Whoever he is, he must either live in perpetual Contention in vainly endeavouring to support the royal Rights, or he must purchase Peace by a prudential Sacrifice of them. If any one by a Comparison of former Times should doubt of this being a true State of the present, let him consider that untill the 4 or 5 Years last past, the Power of Parliament was thought omnipotent, the Authority of the King was revered, the Governor & the Council his Assistants were respected, & the People in whom, by the Constitution, the cheif Weight of Power was lodged, were kept in awe by the Consideration that the Abuse of their Charter priviledges might occasion the Forfeiture of them. But for these 4 Years past so uniform a System of bringing all Power into the Hands of the People has been prosecuted without Interruption & with such Success, that all that Fear Reverence, Respect & Awe which before formed a tolerable Ballance against the real Power of the People, are annihilated & the artificial Weights being removed, the royal Scale mounts up & kicks the Beam. And I do assure your Lordship if I was to answer ^to^ his Majesty himself on this Subject, I would give it as my Opinion that if He cannot secure to himself the Appointment of the Council, it is not worth while to keep that of the Governor. For it would be better that Mass Bay should be a complete Republic like Connecticut than to remain with so few Ingredients of royalty in it as shall be insufficient to maintain the real royal Char^ac^ter.

    For my own Part I have gone too far, to think now of purchasing my Peace by giving up what I have thought my Duty to maintain; even if I could be permitted to do it without being blamed. And as Mr, Townsends Acts, among which is that of Providing adequate Pay for the Governors &c,7 are condemned, altho’ their Execution ^of the Sentence^ is respected, I can form no Prospect in this Country; notwithstanding ^from^ my liking the Climate & loving the People I had formed Connections here, in parting with which I shall have some Loss, as well as pain. It is therefore extremely agreeable to me to see your Lordship’s Concern to get me removed to some other Government or a Provision at Home tho I have no Hopes of the latter, as I am sensible how many Expectants there are for every Vacancy that happens.

    It is a long Time since I first mentioned my Desire of having Barbadoes. In my Letter of Sep: 1. 17668 to your Lordship I mention the Governments then vacant & having declined Jamaica & the leeward Islands I add that I should most thankfully accept Barbadoes. In Jan 1767 I was advised by Mr Jackson that I might very possibly change my Government if I wished for it.9 In Answer to this I informed him of what I had wrote to your Lordship on this Subject, & desired him to talk with You upon it; & I accepted his Offer of representing my Case to Lord Shelburne. And I wrote to your Lordship informing you of what passed between me & Mr Jackson by my Letter of Janry 20.10 About a Year after this Dr Spry was appointed to Barbadoes: I cant say but that I was mortified at this; & thought my Services & Sufferings much overlooked in seeing myself postponed to a Gentleman whose public Merit seemed to consist in his having lived 2 Years in a disagreeable Place with little to do & nothing to suffer or to fear.11 This is the State of my thoughts on Barbadoes concerning which my Opinion is not changed. For tho I would avoid a hot Climate in general Yet I have had such favorable Accounts of the temperature of this Island, that I would venture upon it; especially as all other Considerations make the Appointment very desirable. Mrs Bernard joins with me in these Sentiments, as she does in that perpetual Respect & Gratitude which I have so frequent Occasion to express for your Lordship: with which I am My Lord &c.

    The Right Honble The Lord Viscount Barrington

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 263-264.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard.