Editorial policy has aimed to preserve the integrity of manuscripts by printing them in full (except where noted) and depicting their content as accurately as possible with limited editorial intervention.

    Whenever possible, autograph out-letters and in-letters have been used as authoritative texts—the actual manuscripts upon which the transcripts are based. When the receiver’s copy (RC) or its duplicate were not extant, contemporary copies were substituted from the preserved record in the receiver’s or author’s letterbook (RLbC and LbC). In the absence of a letterbook, the transcript was based on a copy of an original made by a third party; printed versions were used in the last resort—contemporary imprints (PC) taking precedence over modern imprints and transcriptions.

    Bernard’s letters to the secretaries of state were his primary means of communication with the British government. He wrote regularly to the secretary of state for the Southern Department, whose portfolio included the American Colonies, and also, from 1768, to the newly-created secretary for the American Colonies. Bernard usually wrote out his own letters to the secretaries of state in a fine, easy to read script; ministers probably read every one of Bernard’s holographs before passing the letters to their clerks so copies could be made and the originals filed: letters to the earl of Halifax, Henry Seymour Conway, and the earl of Shelburne are in CO 5/755-CO 5/757; letters to the earl of Hillsborough, the first American secretary, are in CO 5/758. The secretaries’ clerks were not required to keep a minute-book (as was the case with clerks attached the Board of Trade and the Board of Admiralty); nor did they did maintain correspondence entrybooks (either a ledger or letterbook); however, correspondence that the secretary of state referred to other departments (that is, the Treasury, the Privy Council, the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Board of Trade) can usually be traced in the administrative record of these departments.

    The filing system for original incoming letters was thorough, by the standards of the day. The secretary of state’s clerks routinely endorsed in-letters on the back leaf of the letter when folded (usually its last verso page) thus providing a convenient docket for filing. A date of receipt was written at the top, sometimes with one or two lines summarizing the letter’s subject matter; a filing reference was added at the bottom. For example, Bernard’s letter to the earl of Hillsborough of 26 Dec. 1768 (ALS, RC) is endorsed “Governor Bernard (No. 37) R 24th: Feby 1769. B.9.” The first figure, “No. 37”, indicates that this letter was the thirty-seventh that Bernard had sent to Hillsborough in 1768. “R” prefaces the date of receipt and “B.9.” is the bundle of correspondence in which the letter was filed. The numbering of letters was established by the earl of Shelburne in 1766, but the docketing procedure was operational before then. Bernard’s letters were later re-bound but the original ordering of materials in the collections was preserved, more or less. The letter to Hillsborough is now contained in a bound volume of papers, CO 5/758, with a modern folio reference, ff 38-39.

    Between 1764 and 1766, Bernard was also obliged to send to the Board of Trade copies of his correspondence with the secretaries of state. These manuscripts are today stored in CO 5/891-CO 5/893. Bernard described these letters to the Board as “duplicates,” because the content was the same as the letters to the secretaries, and because he usually penned them himself; the only substantial difference was in the salutation and the form of address used in the main text. To avoid any confusion in terminology, I have described the Board missives as “original versions,” mutatis mutandis, of Bernard’s out-letters to the secretaries; and I have catalogued them as separate items of correspondence. While historians may be grateful for the clerks attentiveness, the “great load of business” coming from America proved overwhelming for officials, as John Pownall noted in Jan. 1765 (No. 330)—even  before the ensuing Stamp Act Crisis pushed most every other matter off the Board’s agenda. Finally, at a meeting on 9 Aug. 1766, the Board decided that a tranche of unattended correspondence relating to provincial legislation and Indian affairs, that had lain by for the previous three years, be “ordered to be entered on the respective books to which they appertain.”17 It can be assumed that there was little or no discussion of these topics. In a way, the Board was undertaking a bout of administrative house-keeping. But under both the Rockingham administration (10 Jul. 1765-30 Jul. 1768) and the Chatham-Grafton administration (30 Jul. 1766-30 Jan. 1770) the Board of Trade’s influence in shaping colonial policy was on the wane, from the heady days when it was under the direction of the earl of Halifax as president of the Board, 1748-1761, and secretary of state at the Southern Dept., in the administration of George Grenville, from Aug. 1763-10 Jul. 1765.

    In the aftermath of the Stamp Act Crisis, colonial governors were required to communicate directly with the secretary of state in all matters. Bernard continued to send copies to the Board of Trade, but with one important difference: the addressee was the secretary of state, not the Board. For example, the Board’s file copy of Bernard’s letter to Hillsborough of 26 Dec. 1768 is in CO 5/893, ff 92-94; it is a letter handwritten by a clerk and signed by the governor (dupLS, RC). I have catalogued it not as a distinct item of correspondence but as a variant of the original letter in CO 5/758. This particular manuscript was laid before a meeting of the Board of Trade on 6 Dec. 1769 (JBT, 13: 35) and subsequently endorsed by a clerk in the Plantation Office: “Boston Decr. 26. 1768 Govr Bernard (No 37) Dup Reced Read Decr: 6. 1769. N.n. 28.”

    The existence of two sets of official holographs with near-identical content for 1764-66, does not, however, complicate the process of establishing an authoritative version for the purposes of transcription. Bernard’s letters to the secretaries take precedence, and do so in accordance with unambiguous contemporary protocol. Exceptions to this rule are when the secretary’s RC is not extant, or when contemporary copies are badly damaged or otherwise unreliable. A third important corollary concerns timing: sometimes Bernard’s letter to the Board arrived before the secretary’s version, and was immediately acted upon by officials; such was the case with Bernard’s account of the first Stamp Act riot in No. 368 (although, as I have already mentioned, this letter was also preceded by news of the second riot in No. 384).

    Several people were involved in the composition of the original letters and papers authored by Bernard. Bernard himself wrote out the majority of his out-letters: not only the originals going to the secretary of state and to the Board of Trade, but also the duplicates and the triplicates of these letters that were conveyed separately. He also made letterbook copies of much of this material. Yet he was also heavily reliant on clerks to make letterbook copies of routine correspondence and prepare copies of out-letters for dispatch. In the period covered by the first volume of The Bernard Papers, Bernard employed three secretaries, whose identities are unknown and who are labeled simply as clerk no. 1, clerk no. 2, and clerk no. 3; some seven different scribes were detected between 1760 and 1763. In the period covered by the second volume of The Bernard Papers, thirteen different people were actively engaged in composing 370 letterbook entries, and their contributions are acknowledged in the source notes. Bernard himself wrote about 50 per cent of the LbC entries, leaving the clerks to take care of the rest, of whom clerk no. 1 was responsible for most, some 20 per cent.

    The other important member of the governor’s team of clerks was his second son, John. John Bernard (26 Jan. 1745-25 Aug. 1809) had come to Boston in 1761 or 1762. It has not been possible to identify all of his early contributions, a few of which were categorized as the work of clerk no. 2 in Bernard Papers, vol. 1 (and which will be updated or corrected in the Calendar). John was subsequently given responsibility for copying politically sensitive correspondence; “for,” as the governor noted in Jun. 1764, “I dont care to trust anybody to copy these but my second Son John.” John had “very little spare time” for such labors when he was apprenticed to a Boston merchant that year (No. 285), yet it was he who prepared LbCs of his father’s reports and orders during the Stamp Act riots, including Nos. 370, 371, 372, and 379. Altogether, John scribed 14 percent of his father’s letterbook entries plus a couple of minor out-letters between 1764 and 1766. Such activity did indeed tail off when he established himself as a merchant in Boston.

    Of Bernard’s other sons it is quite possible that both Frank and Thomas acted as clerks on occasion. Frank, the eldest,—and who was the cause of so much worry for his parents (No. 270)—was in Boston long enough, we might surmise, to be dragooned into assisting his father before his return to university in England. Unfortunately, there are no extant examples of his handwriting that can be used to establish what he may have written in his father’s letterbooks. John’s clerical duties largely devolved on his younger brother, Thomas. Thomas Bernard (27 Apr. 1750-1 Jul. 1818), the governor’s third son, started scribing on a regular basis in the summer of 1767, shortly after graduating from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Thereafter, Thomas was the governor’s personal assistant and amanuensis, roles which he continued to fulfill when he returned to England with his father in Aug. 1769, leaving John, his other siblings, and his mother behind in Boston.

    The authoritative texts have been systematically compared with the extant variants composed by the clerks. Substantive differences in content were found to be rare. Emendations to letterbook copies (LbC) were usually incorporated in the fair versions dispatched and received (RC). Major differences between the variant texts are discussed in the endnotes and source notes, and an editorial comment clarifies scribal involvement. Near-contemporaneous transcripts and modern versions are listed only when cited or discussed.18

    Transcripts are presented in chronological order, according to the first given date. Non-epistolary enclosures follow the covering letter, while letters that were themselves enclosures have been placed in sequence by date. With letters bearing the same date, out-letters take precedence over in-letters (unless the out-letter is a reply to the in-letter); thereafter, out-letters are sorted by the likely order of composition (for which Bernard’s letterbooks provide a rough guide); date of receipt has been used to sort in-letters; the remainder have been sorted alphabetically by correspondent. Transcripts have been allocated numbers in a sequence than runs across the series of published volumes, in this volume beginning with No. 259.

    Editorial practice is to show the whole text plus any substantive emendations made by the author—the person(s) on whose authority a document was prepared or under whose signature it was sent—and by any clerk who drafted or copied the document. (Non-contemporaneous annotations on manuscripts have been excluded). Obvious slips of the pen have been ignored. When the source note reports “minor emendations not shown,” the editor is referring to corrections of oversights and grammatical errors made by the scribe or author of the manuscript that have no bearing on the meaning of the text or the author’s perceived intention. Generally, original emendations, including scribal corrections, are reconstituted when this might help to illuminate authorial intention or when the additions suggest ambiguity or invite alternative interpretations: the representations follow the editorial apparatus set out in Table 1.

    Grammar and spelling were transcribed with limited modernization. Orthographical idiosyncrasies have been retained, save for the kind of transparent mistakes mentioned above. Abbreviations, contractions, and terminal punctuation (and its absence) follow the manuscript, as does capitalization (when the writer’s intention can be determined) and the underlining of dates. Emphasis is rendered in italics. Superscripts have been preserved but with all accompanying punctuation lowered to the line. Accidentally conjoined words have been separated. Eighteenth-century spelling, such as “highth” for “height,” is readily understood; however, instances confusing to the reader are clarified by an interpolation or an appended footnote. Original forms have been reproduced, such as the ampersand (&) and the thorn (“y” for “th”), but not the long “s.” Confusing punctuation in numbers has been silently corrected, with period separators being replaced by commas (thus “20.000” becomes “20,000”). Where symbols are used in the original to indicate pounds sterling, they are lowered to the line, and silently corrected to “£ s. d.” Clarification on currency and monetary values is provided in endnotes.

    The layout of the transcripts has preserved some common features of manuscripts and standardized others. The location and punctuation of salutations and datelines have been preserved, but placed in one line; the addressee’s name is at the end of the closure (where it usually is) and above the postscript regardless of its location in the manuscript. Original lineation has not been retained but paragraphing sequencing has. Epigraphs, foreign language phrases, and postscripts have been formatted. Closures have been centered, except those running-on from the last sentence of a letter. Tabulated information is presented in a form as close to the original as possible. Quotation marks placed at the beginning of every line of quoted material have been silently relocated to the beginning and end; block quotations have been indented. Flourishes have been omitted, as have brackets in dockets and closures. All transcripts have been given a caption; original titles have been transcribed and placed with the main body of text except entrybook titles, which are given in the source note.

    The source note at the end of each transcript provides information about the provenance and location of the authoritative text. Table 2 is a list of descriptive acronyms used to indicate the typology of authoritative texts. The acronyms representing manuscript collections and archives are explained in the List of Abbreviations, above. (Pagination, folio, and volume descriptors have not been provided for any citations, unless required by the citation style recommended by the repository). Where possible, the source note provides some clarification as to the processes of composition and preservation, noting among other things differences in handwriting styles, the extent of authorial emendation, and the location of variant texts. Endorsements added by the recipient confirming receipt and dockets added by the sender have been transcribed in accordance with editorial method. These are not enclosed in quotation marks but are easily recognizable since they are prefixed with “endorsed” or “docket” and offset from the editor’s comments. When Bernard marked a letter with “r” he meant “received” and with “a” “answered.” Extant enclosures are briefly described, and should be assumed to be manuscript copies (usually third-party copies) unless otherwise indicated. Relevant historical and administrative information is provided at the end of the source note. Guidance is given as to where to find any replies and rejoinders. The order of discussion varies, according to the requirements of each transcript.

    Endnotes to source notes follow in sequence those for the transcript. Endnotes aim to clarify obscurities in the transcript and direct the reader to additional material. Cross-references to transcripts published in this volume are indicated by bold numerals, thus, No. 259. Citations of manuscripts not printed here establish the location of the authoritative version: in many cases there is only one extant manuscript; in some cases, however, the typology has been given, for researchers may find it helpful to know quickly that the ALS or RC of a particular document being cited has not been printed in this volume. “Not found” is used to signal the absence of a manuscript.

    Appendix 4 is a list of Bernard’s extant correspondence for the period covered by this volume. This list is an interim calendar. The information has been checked as fully and thoroughly as all the other material printed in this volume; it is possible, however, that some typological classifications may change, if further handwriting analysis can identify the clerks who scribed the copies. Any such revisions will be reported in the Calendar volume.

    Acts of the English, Irish, Scottish, and British parliaments are cited according to regnal year, with dates where appropriate, and with modernized titles; the index provides both the dates and a short-title. For example, the Molasses Act of 1733 was passed as “an act for the better securing and encouraging the trade of His Majesty’s sugar colonies in America.” In the regnal calendar it is coded as 6 Geo 2, c. 13, which means that it was the thirteenth act (or chapter) passed in the sixth year of the reign of George II (which in the Julian calendar ran from 27 Jun. 1732 to 26 Jun. 1733, the former date being the fifth anniversary of the king’s accession). Provincial legislation is not normally calendared by regnal year, although Bernard’s contemporaries did use the regnal codes when referring to historic acts. The chapter sequence used in The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, 1692-1776, 21 vols., is a modern editorial tool that sequences acts within each legislative year. That year began with the election of a new assembly in late May, thus the chapter number bears no relation to the regnal year which begins on the date of accession. Regnal year is given for provincial legislation only when required.

    Biographical information is provided at the first mention of a person in the correspondence; rare sources are cited but standard reference works are not.19 Online directories and newspaper collections proved to be particularly useful.20 Francis Bernard is referred to throughout as “FB” and Thomas Hutchinson as “TH”.

    I have tried to record information and transcribe manuscripts as accurately as possible, but it is inevitable that there will be errors in a project of this scale. I am grateful to everyone who has helped me to correct them, and I take full responsibility for those that remain.