792 | To the Earl of Hillsborough

    No 121

    Boston July 1 1769

    My Lord

    As evry thing which passes the House is printed & in general designed for the press & for that purpose only, I shall have little else to do but to send your Lordship the printed Copies, as their writings at present want Very little Comment. I now send your Lordship four of those Copies: No I is a Message to me which rests all its complaints upon this fallacy. They had required of me that I would order the King’s Ships out of the Port & his Troops out of the Town.2 To this I answered that I had no power to make such order. They now complain that I did not use my influence to remove the Main guard which was kept in an house hired for that purpose & had as usual two pieces of small Cannon before it, near the Town house. This was no part of their request, that being wholly confined to the whole body of the Troops & urged in the way of demand. They knew that if they had applied for the removing the Main Guard it would have been done; & therefore they would not ask for it & declared that they would not. As to the removing the two pieces of cannon after the adjournment, they were removed in pursuance of an order from Genl Gage, which did not arrive till the third Evening after the adjournment; to send the train of artillery to Halifax. These are trifling Matters, but serve to show the falsehood & prevarication of these people.

    No II is a Message I sent to them on the 6th day after their meeting at Cambridge upon learning that no Business had been done in all that time, which had finished the third Week. The Articles enumerated there are the ordinary Businesses of the province, of which I have seldom or never had occasion to take notice of in any of my Speeches, as they must occur to ev’ry one & come in of Course. And Yet your Lordship will by & by find that this Omission which has been Constantly practised for many Years past will be seriously urged as an Excuse for their inactivity.3

    No III is a Message I found it necessary to send to them upon their having entered into their 5th week without having done any thing towards the support of Government. I have never had occasion before to mention a Word about my Salary: it has been usually granted the first week of the Session according to the Kings instructions. I dont conceive myself to be intrested in this question: but I think it my duty to state the Circumstances of the present Case to them, & to require a positive Answer. It has been generally thought that they will not grant a Salary, or do it in such a Manner that I can’t accept it. Possibly their Refusal may be of more Service than their Compliance.4

    No IV is a preamble & a resolve which will Speak for themselves: the cheif use of these are to induce the printing these Letters of the Council, some of which are now upon the Sea in their passage,5 the publishing here being the cheif End of these Writings. I will make only one Remark upon this resolve: The Governor’s dissolving the Assembly in Obedience to his Majesty’s ^positive^ Order signified by a Letter from his Secretary of State6 is called a Wanton Act; & his declining to call another Assembly until he had orders therefor, in obedience to an implied order in the same letter, is said to be arbitrary.

    July 7

    On Monday the 3d inst came out in three of the public papers, one of which is published by the printer of the Journal of the House,7 a Set of Resolves said to be the Substance of the Resolves passed unanimously by the House, a Copy of which No V is herewith inclosed.8 I immediately sent 2 of these papers in a cover to New York to go by the packet.9 In the Evning I met Commodore ^Hood^ & Genl Mackay at their desire. They expressed their surprise at these resolves & other dangerous reports which had come to their knowledge & said they had been considering whether it would not be best to stop the 64th regiment which was ready to embark for Halifax, the 65th having been sent thither before. I said that tho’ I had never had any question put to me concerning the removing those 2 regiments[,]10 I had in a letter to Genl Gage sent by the post that day, expressed my Sense that the tendency of those resolves was such that it seemed rather to require a Reinforcement of the Kings Forces at Boston than a weakening of them.11 I therefore readily agreed with them in the propriety of suspending the embarkation of that regiment for the present. It was thereupon concluded that Genl Mackay should give present orders for suspending the embarkation, & send an express to Genl Gage12 the next morning informing him of it with the reasons for it: which was accordingly done.

    The next morning13 I went to Cambridge & sent the Secretary to the Speaker to demand an Attested Copy of the resolves. He answerd that the publication was not authentick; that the House had indeed passed some resolves, but they had ^not^ completed them; that there were among the printed resolves some which had not passed the House; as there were also some which had passed the House & were not printed. That the House was now going to proceed upon the Resolves & when they had finished them, I should have a Copy. Notwithstanding what the Speaker has said, Mr Adams the Clerk of the House has declared, both out of & in the house too, as I am told, that the publication is from a Copy of the Minutes of the House, which he gave or suffered to be taken; that it is a true Copy, & that the resolves, as printed, did pass the House; that they may alter them if they please; but that they were for the present entered as having passed the House. To reconcile this difference, It has been an Usage in the House, as I am told, when a Vote has been passed & entered so, upon a motion for a reconsideration, to order it to lye on the table, but not to rescind the Vote, which should be done only in a fuller House than that which passed it, otherwise it remains good. According to this practice the Speaker & the Clerk may differ only in their Conception of it, & both may agree in the same fact.

    In the Evning I met the Commodore & the General. They had also informed themselves that the Authenticity of the printed resolves was denied; and the Reports of the Designs of the party had been softened. They therefore thought there was no Necessity for detaining the 64th regiment unless I should desire it. I said that I did not apprehend any danger at present; & that to provide for the future was more the Lieut Governor’s business than mine: that he was just come to Town from his Circuit, & I would advise with him. The next Morning14 I saw the Lt Govr in the presence of the General & the Commodore at different times.15 His Opinion was that as there was no prospect at present of a forcible opposition to Government there was no occasion to detain the 64th regiment. I could not but accede to this Opinion, & accordingly wrote the same day to Genl Gage16 to give him an Account of it & at the same time to signify that it was the same person’s Opinion that the other two Regiments must remain here.

    The House has proceeded farther in the consideration of the resolves; but they had not concluded the business yesterday morning (July 5) time enough for the printer of the paper of that day to insert them. They have, I am told, made a material alteration in the resolve the second of the present publication. That Resolve, tho seemingly referring only to the resolutions in 1765 goes much farther than they did: for this includes all Acts of parliament of what kind soever; whereas they were confined to Acts of Taxation only. I am told that this is now amended so as to be referred to Acts of Taxation only.17 But this is but procrastinating: All Acts must come in by, ^& by^ especially the Navigation Act,18 which has been declared to be a principal Object.

    On Tuesday July 4 The Committee of the ^two^ Houses presented a joint Answer to my Speech at the opening the Session.19 For some years past I have made my opening Speeches mere form avoiding all subjects of dispute & giving only a few harmless periods. For 3 years past I’ve never mentioned any business at all in an opening Speech & I never have at any time made the ordinary businesses of the province the subjects of such Speech, as I have left them to occur, as they have hitherto done, to the Houses. And yet in this Answer they wrote that I had pointed out what was expected from them. And this they deliver to me on July 4, notwithstanding I had on June 21 pointed out all the public business to them foreseeing that this subterfuge would be made use of. The Barefaced Chicanery & Falsity of this writing as well as the Stile, which is well known, make it evident that it was wrote by Adams; and yet It was sent to the Council to originate with them.20 Upon receiving this I exprest my concern to the Council, that their board should be brought so low as to be obliged to adopt so notorious a piece of prevarication, which not a Word was their own. No Answer was given: and enough has been said to show how this once respectable Body is humbled.

    July 11

    Last Saturday, July 8, the House finished their resolves which were printed in all the Newspapers yesterday.21 The most material Alteration is in the second resolve, which in the first Set comprehends all Acts of parliament whatsoever,22 in the second set is confined to Acts of Taxation only. Another Distinction may also be drawn from the Word Taxes in the latter, that they intended only internal Taxes & not port duties; but when it is considered that all the late disputes have arose from port duties only it cannot be supposed to be their intention to make a distinction in favour of them. And indeed the Resolve, as it now stands, does not imply an admission of port duties or of Acts of parliament in general; but still leaves them at liberty to bring within their claims an Exemption from all Acts of parliament, when it shall be a convenient time to urge it. And It is extremely plain from their common conversation, their speeches in public, & the general tenor of their writings that they do not intend to stop at internal taxes, or at port duties, in their pretensions against the power of parliament. I now send your Lordship an attested Copy of these resolves, upon which I shall at present make no other remarks. I also add a printed Copy marked No VII. If your Lordship will look into the Message of the House of the 13th of June, about the middle of the last paragraph, you will find an Exemption from Laws which they do not consent to asserted as fully & pretty near in the same words as the second of the first set of resolves.23

    July 13.

    I have now an Opportunity of adding some more printed papers: No VIII is an Answer to my message concerning the Salary, conceived in that illiberal style which is so familiar to these Writers. I shall not observe upon it now, as it deserves a Separate letter,24 being in my Opinion a Matter of great importance to Government and for that reason I found it necessary to push it to the Issue, in which I know it would end. The other papers25 are Messages which I have sent on the Subject of making provision for the Soldiers: they are determined to do nothing in this, & I suppose would avoid giving ^an^ Answer. If I cant get a positive one, I must take their Silence as a refusal. Yesterday I gave notice in Council26 that I should put an End to the Session next Saturday, & desired that evry thing which was to be laid before me might be ready at that time. As there is a Ship ready now to sail for London, I shall conclude this long letter or rather Journal. Yesterday the Rippon Man of War which is to carry me to England came into the harbour: I shall endeavour to embark in her before the end of this Month. My Attendance on this Session has much delayed me: but it was quite necessary.

    I have the honour to be, with great respect, My Lord, Your Lordships most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The right honble the Earl of Hillsborough.

    ALS, RC     CO 5/758, ff 154-159.

    Minor emendations not shown. Endorsed: Boston July 1st. 7th. 11th. 13th. 1769. Sir Francis Bernard (No. 12) R 20 Aug. B.34. Enclosed a printed page with copies of the following: message of the House of Representatives to FB, 13 Jun. 1769, marked “I” by FB; messages from FB to House of Representatives, 21 Jun., marked “II”, and 28 Jun., “III”; a single resolve of the House of Representatives, 22 Jun., approving the Council’s “Remarks” on FB’s letters to Hillsborough, “IV”. CO 5/758, f 160; the resolutions of the House of Representatives of 29 Jun., printed in the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, 3 Jul. 1769, marked “V” on the verso page, CO 5/758, f 161. Also enclosed another printed sheet containing: the answer of the Council and the House of Representatives to FB’s speech of 1 Jun., dated 4 Jul., and the votes of the Boston town meeting, 4 Jul., marked “VI”, CO 5/758, f 162; a printed copy of the resolves of the House of Representatives of 7 Jul. (extracted from one of the newspapers published on 10 Jul.) was VII in the sequence, but is missing from the file; FB also enclosed a manuscript copy of the resolves written out by Thomas Cushing and attested by Samuel Adams on 8 Jul. ibid, ff 164-167. A third printed sheet27 contained: the answer of the House of Representatives to FB’s speech of 28 Jun., dated 4 Jul., marked “VIII”; FB’s message to the House of 6 Jul., “IX”; FB’s message to the House of 12 Jul., “X”, ibid., f 163.

    Variants of letter in: CO 5/893, ff 144-149 (dupLS, RC), with enclosures at ff 150-154; CO 5/768, ff 1-13 (L, RLbC); BP, 7: 177-185 (L, LbC). The original letter and enclosures were considered by the Board of Trade on 1 Dec. 1769. JBT, 13: 126.