Appendix 2


    Henrietta Street Janry. 30th. 1769


    Having on the 16th instt. received your favour, inclosing petitions of the major part of the council of the province, to the Lords & Commons,1 desiring their presentation, with my endeavours for their success, I have applied myself with diligence to this hard service. In order to a right2 understanding of the present state of your affairs, I must observe that on the 15th. day of last month the lords came to certain resolutions, whereby they censured the council & representatives of the province, and the civil magistrates & inhabitants of Boston for several causes, and grafted thereon3 an address to the king, which supposes that the subjects in the colonies are liable to be taken from their proper domicil, & brought into England, & there tried for treason, or misprision of treason. The resolutions & address were afterwards sent down to the comons4 for their concurrence.5 Being at this time closely engaged in a difficult & laborious work, I had no knowledge of this business til some days after its transaction. On being inform’d of it, as the resolutions & address were not inserted in the votes of the house of comons, and copies of them cou’d not be had otherwise than by or under the authority of a member, I desired the favour of a principal member, & one of your best friends,6 with whom I had before concerted measures for your service, to get me proper office copies. He bespoke them with intent that I shou’d have them before he went out of town, upon the recess of both houses;7 but he did no[t]8 receive them til they came to hand at his seat in the country, whence he sent them, desiring me to consider them well, & send him my thoughts upon them, which I did accordingly.9 The reading of them gave me great surprise & concern, and the more I considered them, together with the temper of the times, the more my concern encreased. I was a long time much at a loss what to do for the advancement of the comon cause; at lenghth, as no man loses his domicil by going abroad in public service, I determined by petition, as an inhabitant of Boston, tho’ residing here, to prevent, if possible, the concurrence of the house of comons, and was busy in preparations relative to this petition when I had the honour to receive your letter. That House was adjourned to the l9th. instt., & American affairs stood appointed for consideration on the 23d., when your petition was intended to have been presented by Mr. Beckford; but by a singular event he was prevented. On the 25th., after govr. Bernards, genl. Gages & commodore Hoods letters, which on motion made on behalf of the colonies had been on the 20th. brought in & laid upon the table,10 were read, he presented it; and on his behalf Mr. Aldn. Trecothick11 read it, with such an audible voice that it is supposed every member in the house clearly understood it; and being objected to a debate ensued, wherein the petition was nobly supported by divers worthy members.12 The chief objections, I am told; for I was not, as formerly, admited into any part of the house, were that no council could be convened without the governours order, and that by the constitution of the colony there cou’d be no president of the council, unless when there was no governour, or lieutt governr.: in answer whereto, I am inform’d, it was said, that in the present great distress of the province no assembly was called, & no council convened from time to time with liberty to defend upon the present great occasion the rights & interest of the province;13 and that the objections to your petition, instead of being founded on the principles of natural justice, equity, & the constitution of the kingdom,14 rested in a good measure on the representations of govr. Bernard,15 the copies of whose letters I have so lately received that I know not their contents,16 but without opening send them to you as I received them, in order to your receiving further information for your future guideance than I can otherwise give you. Upon a large debate, I understand, several ministerial persons were enclined to admit your petition, & it was at last without any division received & laid upon the table; whereupon a motion was made that it shou’d be refered, together with the other papers17 to a comittee of the whole house.18 Upon this a new debate ensued, with a consequent division, whereon, I am told, the number for refering it was 70, & the number against it 133. On the next day19 my own petition, a copy whereof you have inclosed, after my waiting on the speaker, & his reading, & comending it in some respects, was presented by Sir George Saville,20 who in the opening read the whole of it, and which in the course of the ensuing debates was well supported by several intelligent, respectable & public spirited persons, insomuch that altho’ I believe this petition was more disliked by the adminisn. than yours, because it more directly opposed their present measures,21 after a sharp debate, upon a division, a greater minority, as I am informed, appeared in my favour than has appear’d at any time in the present parliamt. against the adminisn., to wit, 105, or, as more accurate persons say, 107 (two who came out of the house with the others coming in after the numbers were declared) against 136.22 Pray don’t mistake me; this advance was owing to the goodness of your cause, rather than to my abilities. After rejecting my petition the house was resolved into a comittee,23 and the debate at large coming on, your cause was defended with arguments so forcible, & a spirit so noble, that it is impossible for me in my present24 hurry to do justice in any tolerable degree to the parties concern’d; but at 4 o’clock in the morning, the admintn. carried their point, by 150 against 90, upon a division.25 The report is to be made four days hence,26 when another great debate will come on, & new matter be advanced, and tomorrow, when a full house is expected, a motion will be made respecting the accompts of the revenue raised in America, at so great expense various ways, which have not yet been brought in, according to order given upon motion made some time past.

    Your petition is the first that has been received since introducing the new system of governmt for America. One that came from Philadelphia, I am told, was offer’d some time ago, but withdrawn, at the proposal of the chanr. of the excheqr. to be presented some other time, & I have since heard nothing of it. Having this moment received a copy of genl. Gage’s letter, which a principal member tells me contains some important matter, I send it inclosed.

    I am, with the greatest respect for all the members of the council, Sir, Your most obedt humble servt.

    W. Bollan.

    The Honble. Saml. Danforth, Esqr.

    ALS, RC     Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS.

    Endorsed: Mr. Bollans Letter Jany 30. 1769. Printed in Bowdoin and Temple Papers, 121-125. The numerous differences between the previously published version and the transcript printed here concern punctuation, spelling, and capitalization; the original forms have been restored where possible; substantive differences are noted below. An extract of the RC was included in Letters to Hillsborough (1st ed.), 83, and Letters to Hillsborough (repr.), 164-165. The RC enclosed authentic copies of the first six items in the series of Bernard Letters that the governor’s enemies subsequently published (Nos. 706, 708, 709, 711, 717, and 718)27 plus Thomas Gage to the earl of Hillsborough, Boston, 31 Oct. 1768; and William Bollan, petition to the House of Commons, 26 Jan. 1769. Filed in Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS. Bollan’s part in the procurement of the Bernard Letters is discussed at length in the Introduction, 14-22, 35-36.