765 | To John Pownall



    Boston April 12 1769

    Dear Sir,

    Last Saturday a Ship arrived from London1 which brought Copies of 6 of my Letters to the Earl of Hillsborough from Nov 1st to Dec 5th,2 & also a Letter of Genl Gage to Lord H dated from Boston all attested by Clerk of the House of Commons.3 They are sent to Mr Danforth the President of the Council by Mr Bollan their Agent, who writes that he shall send the Copies of the rest as fast as he can get them Copied.4 The Council met on Sunday Morning (except Mr Flucker who was not asked) and sat all Day at the End of which they sent the Copies to the Printers of the Boston Gazette, with Directions to print them off directly but not to part with any Copies except three to each Councellor; but they were at Liberty to show them to whom they pleased; and there have been many Hundreds of People at the Printers to read them. This has caused a great Ferment; a great Resentment against the Governor is exprest by some of the Council & the Leaders of the Faction; the generality of People treat it as they are disposed, some justifying others condemning the Letters according to the Part they take. The Publication is deferred untill Observations upon them can be drawn up, is5 [in] which Mr Bowdoin is very busy.6 When this is done they are to be send all round the Province in order to inflame the People against the next election; & I fear it will have the worst Effects.

    I must not conceal from you that amongst the Talkers upon this Occasion the Officers of the Crown & the Friends of Government are very loud: it is said that Administration is ^must^ never more expect faithful Accounts of the Proceedings of popular Assemblies for [from] Governors & Commanders in America. Governor Bernards Letters will be made an Example; & Governors for the future will write under a Caution how their Letters will bear being printed & returned back to their Province. I myself think that this will give a fatal Blow to American Government. I wrote to my Lord H to this Purpose & earnestly recommended that Care should be had that no Copies of Letters should be permitted to be taken out of the Offices of the two Houses.7 I suppose some Necessity prevented this Injunction taking Place: whatever it was, it was a fatal Necessity.

    For my own Part I assure myself that I shall not be left to suffer by the Consequences of these Communications. What I am most concerned at is that it cuts off all hopes of a Change of Measures in the next Assembly[.]8 For the Publication which the Councellors are now making9 will produce a Ferment which will probably fill the Assembly House with Sons of Liberty, & make it very unfit to consent to the Necessary Amendments of Government. However I will do all I can to counterwork the Intention of the Councellors. I have wrote to you before that I should be glad to go to England after the next Session is over: but now I may be earlier; for I hear that it has been said among the Councellors that I shan’t be able to stay any longer in the Province: However I shall try.

    I am &c.

    J Pownall Esqr

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 280-282.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard.