405 | From Henry Seymour Conway

    St. James’s October 24th 1765.


    Your Letters of the 15th. 16th. 22d. & 31st. of August have been received; the three former not till yesterday.1

    It is with the greatest Concern His Majesty learns the Disturbances,2 which have lately arisen in your Province; the general confusion that seems to reign there; and the total Languor, and want of Energy in your Government to exert itself with any Dignity or Efficacy for the Suppression of Tumults, which seem to strike at the very Being of all Authority and Subordination amongst You. His Majesty cannot but with the greatest Surprise hear of the Refusal of your council to call for the Aid of any regular Force to the Support of the Civil Magistracy, at a time when it seems You had Reason to think there was no other Power capable of providing for the Peace and Quiet of the Province.3

    Nothing can certainly, exceed the ill-advised and intemperate conduct held by a Party in your Province, which can in no way contribute to the Removal of any real Grievance They might labour under, but may tend to obstruct and impede the Exertion of His Majesty’s benevolent Attention to the Ease and Comfort, as well as the Welfare of all his People.

    It is hoped, and expected, that this Want of Confidence in the Justice and Tenderness of the Mother Country, and this open Resistance to it’s Authority, can only have found Place among the lower and more ignorant of the People; The better and wiser Part of the Colonies will know, that Decency and Submission may prevail, not only to redress Grievances, but to obtain Grace and Favour; while the Outrage of a publick Violence can expect Nothing but Severity & Chastisement. These Sentiments You and all His Majesty’s Servants, from a Sense of your Duty to, and Love of your Country, will endeavour to excite and encourage. You will all, in a particular manner, call upon them, not to render their case desperate. You will, in the strongest Colours, represent to them the dreadful Consequences, that must inevitably attend the forcible and violent Resistance to Acts of the British Parliament, and the Scene of Misery and Distraction to both countries, inseparable from such a Conduct.

    If, by lenient & persuasive Methods, You can contribute to restore that Peace and Tranquility to the Provinces, on which their Welfare and Happiness depend, You will do a most acceptable and essential Service to your Country: But, having taken every Step, which the utmost Prudence and Lenity can dictate, in Compassion to the Folly and Ignorance of some misguided People, You will not, on the other hand, fail to use your utmost Power for repelling all Acts of Outrage, and Violence, and to provide for the Maintenance of Peace and good Order in the Province, by such a timely Exertion of Force, as the Occasion may require; for which Purpose You will make the proper Applications to General Gage, or Lord Colville, Commanders of His Majesty’s Land & Naval Forces in America.4 For, however unwillingly His Majesty may consent to the Exertion of such Powers as may endanger the Safety of a single Subject, yet can He not permit his own Dignity, and the Authority of the British Legislature, to be trampled on by Force and Violence, and in avowed Contempt of all Order, Duty, and Decorum.

    If the Subject is aggrieved, he knows in what manner legally and constitutionally to apply for Relief; but it is not suitable either to the Safety or Dignity of the British Empire, that any Individuals, under the Pretence of redressing Grievances, should presume to violate the Public Peace.

    I am, with Great Truth and Regard, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant5

    H. S. Conway.

    Governor Bernard.

    P. S. The sloop, which carries this, will carry Orders to Lord Colville, and to the Governor of Nova Scotia, to send to Your Assistance any Force, which may be thought necessary from thence, and which that Province can supply. The Favour of your Letter of the 7th. September is just received.6

    ALS, RC BP, 10: 318-323.