424 | To Henry Seymour Conway

    Boston, Decr 21st, 1765.


    In my letter of Decr 19,1 I informed your Honor that the Council advised me to summon all the Councellors within 20 miles of this Town to assist in taking into consideration the Memorial of the Town of Boston. They accordingly met yesterday in the Afternoon to the Number of 15: after a long debate it was agreed to hear the Council for the Memorial;2 & they were accordingly called in & took up all the Evening till late.3 They principally harangued upon the Injustice of the Stamp Act, the impossibility of its being carried into execution in America, & the hardship of the People being deprived of Law & Justice upon that Account. But they did not much attend to what was the main Question with the Council, whether it was the Business of the Governor & Council as having the executive Power to direct the Courts of Justice in their proceedings upon this or any occasion.4 Only one Gentleman spoke upon this question, & in the course of his Argument he inavoidably5 let drop some things that concluded for the negative.6 The next day the deliberation being resumed, I opened it with a Summary of what we heard from the Council at law; & from what one of them said with some addition of my own proved beyond all doubt, that for the Governor & Council to give directions of any kind, either mandatory, or recommendatory, to the judges of Courts of justice for their Conduct in the execution of their Office, would be illegal, unconstitutional & of a dangerous tendency. So that it was quickly determined that we could give no such directions.

    The next consideration was, what should be done to give some Satisfaction to the People. For this purpose many Motions were made & sevral resolutions were proposed: in the Course of which it appeared that a Majority of the Council were firm against discrediting themselves by too great a Submission to the demands of the People. At last the Council came to the Resolutions contained in the Copy enclosed. They will appear rough & disjointed: but that was occasioned by the many Alterations made to the first draught, in order to get an unanimous vote which was thought necessary for to give the determination greater7 weight out of doors.8 Whether it will satisfy the Town or not will not be known for some days: if it should, it is only a respite; something else will be found out to embarras the Governor & Council. I am fully convinced that Concessions will only serve to bring on other demands: and that the time will come (perhaps in a few days) when I shall be drove to give an Answer, which will oblige me to go out of the Way. My own Resolution not to do any business in my office upon unstamped paper will probably bring on this Event, if nothing else does.

    I am, with great respect, Your Honors most Obedient, and most humble Servant,

    Fra Bernard

    The Right Honble H. S. Conway Esqr.

    ALS, RC CO 5/755, ff 435-438.