776 | To John Pownall


    Boston May 15 1769

    Dear Sir

    I herewith transmit to My Lord Hillsborough an Address of the Council to me and my Observations upon it: from whence you will see that the Sons of Liberty are not dispirited:1 I wish I could say the same of the Friends of Government.

    If I thought it proper to act as freely now as I have done heretofore I would Negative 3 of the cheif Managers of the late & present Proceedings of the Council,2 since their separating themselves from the Governor. But I must now leave the Reform of that Body to greater & abler Men than myself: and I would not negative a single Person at the next Election, if I was not apprehensive that so abrupt a Departure from my former Practice might be considered as the Effect of my being out of humour; whereas I should be sorry to have that thought of me, under an Administration from whom I have received such extraordinary Favours.

    I know not how to reconcile it to myself to exclude Persons from the Council whose cheif Demerit has consisted in their single Votes, & to accept others ^who^ have been for some time past & are now contriving to distress & embarras ^the^ Government by all means in their Power. The Delinquency in the Council is become so general, that it is not in power of the Governor to correct it by Negatives. If therefore I shall consent to the whole of the next Council, it must not be understood as an Approbation of the whole all the Persons elected, but because the exceptional Part of them is too large for the Negative of a Governor.3 The Reformation of the Council must now be made in the Body & not in the Members; it must be done at Westminster & can’t be done here.

    When I consider that Councellors in Character, must be supposed to be prudent Men & in some Degree politicians, I am quite at a loss to know upon what Principles these Councellors act & what is the End which they pursue. The Security of their Election which they have allways at Heart, might have been effected with much Less Desertion of Character & Duty than they have used. According to refined Policy their Actions may be fully accounted for by a Design to destroy the annual Election of Councellors, & in Consequence thereof their continual Dependence upon the People; & to effect this they have endeavoured to set in its strongest Light the Insufficiency & Unconstitutionality of a Kings Court so constituted. This would be a full Solution of their unaccountable Proceedings if it was not for one Difficulty, which is this; that by the means by which they show the Impropriety of the Constitution of the Council, they also shew the impropriety of the Constitution of the Council, they also shew themselves to be improper Persons to be the King’s Councellors. If it was not for this I should not doubt but that the Alteration of the Mode of the Appointment was the final Cause of their late Proceedings: & it is not impossible but that if that Effect should be produced, they may be allowed to apologise for their former Conduct by the Necessity they have acted under; but at present they show no Disposition to avail themselves of such an Apology, as they act with much more violence than ^there^ can be any Pretence of Necessity for.

    I am Sr &c

    John Pownall Esqr

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 291-293.

    Minor emendations not shown. In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Enclosed a copy of the Massachusetts Council’s address to the governor, 14 May 1769. (Another copy of the enclosure was sent with No. 775.) No reply has been found.