362 | To the Board of Trade

    Boston July 15, 1765

    My Lords

    I have the Acts passed last Session before me: altho’ they appear to be numerous, they are so only by means of private Acts, & Acts for incorporating Towns. There is Very little in them requiring me to trouble your Lordships with.

    An Act for supplying the Treasury with the sum of 197,000 pounds to be applied for the redemption of Government Securities.1

    This is an Annual Act, the nature of which I have before explained to your Lordships.2 The General Court reduces their debt by 50,000 pds evry year: and as they are obliged conformably to the Act of parliament to confine their bills of credit within 2 years, they annually borrow a Sum less by £50,000 than what will be due at the end of year: by which the whole debt appears upon the face of the bill, & is evry year £50,000 less than the former. What is remarkable in this bill is that the intrest is reduced from 6 to 5 pr cent: this was done by a public subscription, & is a striking instance of the Credit of the Government, if not of the riches of the people. Indeed the Finances of this Government are extremely well conducted.

    An Act in addition to an Act intitled an Act for preventing fraud in Debtors &c3

    I have before explained the necessity & reasonableness of the principal Act.4 This Additional One is calculated to improve the provisions & extend the Equity of the former. By this Act, where a Creditor has made a partial Attachment of goods, he has his Option whether he will adhere to his Attachment, or take his share in a general dividend: if he chooses the latter, he must bring in the attached goods to the Common fund. This is Equity, & will help to do justice to foreign Creditors, who stand no chance in a general Scramble.

    An Act for raising by Lottery the sum of 3200 pds for building another Hall for the Students of Harvard College to dwell in5

    Near 3 years ago I was applied to to pass a Lottery bill for raising a Sum of money to build a Library & Philosophy rooms for the use of the College, which were to be made the Centre of a building for lodging Students there, being to be erected at the Expence of the Province.6 As your Lordships at that time had expressed your disapprobation of the frequent lottery bills passed here, I chose to submit this Matter to your Lordships before I passed the bill; & I immediately received your Lordships approbation of it.7 When that came to hand, it was thought more advisable to keep this building detached from lodging rooms than to join it to them, upon account of the danger from fire: it was therefore postponed till the other building was finished.8 In the Winter Session in 1764 a Bill was prepared for this purpose; but before it could be brought in, The Old Harvard College containing the Hall the Library & the Apparatus room &c was burnt down. As this happened whilst the General Court was sitting in these rooms (the small pox prevailing at Boston) & by means of the fires kept for them; the House, upon my recommendation, generously undertook to rebuild the whole.9 There were in the Old building some lodging chambers: but it being now judged expedient to take hold of this opportunity to have all the public rooms of the College brought under one roof, secured from fire, & therefore detached from lodging rooms; I engaged with the Committee appointed to conduct this building, that if they would include in it a library an Experimental Philosophy room &c, I would consent to a lottery bill to build lodging rooms, in lieu of the library &c. This was agreed to; & accordingly a Magnificent Building has been erected & is nearly finished containing an Hall a Chapple a Library a Philosophy School 2 other Schools & an Observatory in a Cupola, together with a compleat set of Offices in a base floor running under the whole.10 And now this Act is brought in to raise money to build lodging rooms which have been lost to the College by bringing all the public rooms together.11

    I have thought proper to give your Lordships this detail, that it may appear that I pass this Act in pursuance of leave obtained from your Lordships above 2 years ago, & also whence arose the Delay of it & the alteration of its purposes.12

    These being all the Observations I have to make on the Acts of this Sessions, I shall conclude this letter, reserving my observations upon other proceedings of the general Court to separate papers.

    I am, with great respect, My Lords, Your Lordships most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right Honble The Lords of Trade &c.

    ALS, RC CO 5/891, ff 267-268.

    Plan of Harvard Hall. By Pierre Du Simitière. Pierre Du Simitière Manuscripts, Peter Force Collection. 965.F.[40]. The Library Company of Philadelphia. This architectural drawing is a copy of the plan prepared by Gov. Bernard.

    South Front of Harvard Hall. By Pierre Du Simitière. Pierre Du Simitière Manuscripts, Peter Force Collection. 965.F.[39]. The Library Company of Philadelphia. The drawing was made soon after the building was completed in 1766.