416 | To the Board of Trade

    Boston Nov 30, 1765

    My Lords

    I now transmit to your Lordships the Votes of the whole last Session of the Assembly of this Province & shall point out such particulars thereof as seem to deserve your Lordships particular consideration.

    In pa 118 you have my Speech at the opening the Session,1 Copies of which I have sent some time ago. In pa 131 is the Houses Answer to my Speech,2 other copies of which I have sent before. This is conceived in terms which have never been used to me before the beginning of these troubles. In pa 186 is my Speech3 in reply to their answer: this I postponed to the close of the Session, that this fruitless altercation might proceed no farther than my reply. This was necessary for the Vindication of my own Character; that it may remain upon record for the people to peruse, when they shall recover their senses, that at a time, when by means of a popular discontent upon a particular emergency a Faction had taken the lead of the house they could charge the Governor with nothing more than adhering strictly to his duty in the midst of danger & using his utmost endeavours to prevent a forcible Opposition to the execution of an Act of parliament taking place within the Government committed to his charge.

    Your Lordships will observe that in my speech I recommend to the House to order a compensation to be made to the sufferers by the late disturbances & I add “that it will be better for them to do it before Any Requisition is made to them”.4 In answer to this, they say that “they are at a loss to know who has any right to require it of them if they should differ from me”.5 This is quite New language to the Governor of this Province: Requisition from the Crown to the Assembly is an Expression that by frequent Use has been ^made^ quite familiar in this general Court. It occurs Very frequently in my Speeches & sometimes in the Answers of the House to me. Never any Exception was taken to it before; nor was it doubted but that requisitions from the Crown to the Assemblies were as constitutional as they were usual. It is reserved for these times & the faction that prevails in them to declare that they are at a loss to know who has any right to require them to do what they dont think it fit to do of their own accord. This perfectly agrees with declarations without doors, that they have no superior upon Earth but the King, & him only in the person of the Governor or according to the terms of the Charter. However I do not think that the House attended so to this expression as to see the consequences of it; tho’ I am well assured that the Drawers of the answer meant it should go evry bit as far as I carry it.

    I persuade myself that your Lordships will think with me that the Honour & Credit of his Majesty’s Government is intrested in procuring a satisfaction to the Sufferers for their losses, which have been all brought upon them meerly by their being Servants of the King. It is Worth observing, when a Mob is once up against Government how quick the transition is from one department to another. They had ^no^ sooner triumphed over the defenceless stamp officer, than they began to consider that the Court of Admiralty & the Custom house were obnoxious Offices also. Soon after the Admiralty Office was attacked & all the records of the Court destroyed, One of the Custom house Officer’s house destroyed, another saved6 only by particular Management, a third escaping by being a boarder,7 & last of all the (Lieut Govr) Cheif Justice’s house destroyed with a savageness unknown in a civilised Country. I mention him as cheif Justice, as it was in that Character he Suffered: for this Connecting him with the Admiralty & Custom house was occasioned by his granting Writs of Assistance to the Custom house Officers, upon the Accession of his present Majesty; which was so strongly opposed by the Merchants that the Arguments in Court from the Bar & upon the bench lasted 3 days. The Cheif Justice took the lead in the judgement for granting Writs & now he has paid for it. And now it is pretended that The Town is no more answerable for this than it is for any other casual loss &c

    In pa 151 you will see the resolves which this House has entered into (as well as sevral other Assemblys) after the Manner of the famous Virginia resolves. In the preamble It is said that these resolves are to ascertain the rights of his Majesty’s subjects in this province, which have been lately drawn into question. So that these resolves like those of Virginia are to Conclude8 the King & Parliament.

    In pa 166 is a report of a Committee9 appointed to examine the draughts upon the Treasury[;] in pa 169 &c is a Remonstrance to the Govr & another to the Council pursuant to the report;10 in pa 177 is the Answer of the Council;11 & in pa 182 is the Reply of the house.12 All of these were occasioned by the Advice the Council gave me some time ago, to reinforce the Garrison of the Castle, which was publickly threatened to be attacked, if the Stamped papers were lodged there. I accordingly gave Commissions to two officers to raise 60 men & Warrants on the treasury for Money to recruit with. But the Apprehension of this danger going off, by the advice of Council I put a stop to the recruiting & ordered the recruits to be discharged; so that this whole business ended with the expence of less than 88 pounds sterling. As evry little Matter that will serve to inflame the people is now caught hold of, this trifling Sum was brought into the Assembly, in order, obliquely, to arraign the Governor & Council for preserving the Stamp papers from destruction. As I found the Council disposed to Vindicate themselves with Spirit, I did not interfere in this business. The only Question is, whether the Governor with the Council may in the recess of the general Court provide against any Sudden danger & draw Money out of the Treasury for that purpose: The constant practise & the Nature of Government determine this in the affirmative beyond doubt. This is all that occurs to me worth your Lordships notice in these Votes.

    To endeavour to explain to your Lordships how this Town has been brought into the ungovernable state it is now in, would be a tedious business. However I have wrote to Mr Pownall accounts of some transactions here, & desired him to Communicate to your Lordships such parts thereof, as he shall think Worth your Notice. A Considerable part of the Province has taken their Complexion from this Town more than ever was known before: immense pains have been taken to poison the Minds of the people; of which the infamous Set of Newspapers which have been published here for 4 months past, (& which I have constantly sent, since the first I perceived an intention of raising a disturbance here) are full proofs. But this is not all: Emissaries & letters from hence have been Constantly employed in this Service. Nevertheless The other principal trading Towns, Salem Marblehead & Newbury-Port continue as they have allways been, well disposed to Government; for which they have been much abused & threatened from hence. In this Town All the Power is in the hands of the people, out of which, under pretence of uniting two parties in the town, are formed two companies under two profest Captains  who are said to ^be able to^ muster 400 men on a short warning. Two or three Gentlemen of fortune profess to have the Command of these bands;13 and it is hoped they have; as the Governor & evry other Officer of the Crown lie at their Mercy. However I shall endeavour to keep my post till I can receive his Majesty’s orders, how to act upon this extraordinary occasion

    I am, with great respect, My Lords, Your Lordship’s most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right Honble The Lords Commissioners for Trade &c.

    ALS, RC CO 5/891, ff 332-335.