425 | To Grey Cooper


    Boston, Decr 22d, 1765.


    I have this day received a letter from Mr Lowndes, dated Sepr 14, & a letter from you dated Octr 8.1 In the latter you signify to me that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury direct me to see that the Stamps be duly distributed untill a Distributor be appointed. I doubt not but long before this letter will come to your hands, their Lordships will be apprised how impossible it is for me to obey their Commands. At this time I have no real Authority in this place, & am so much in the hands of the People, that if it was to be known here that I had received a power to distribute the Stamps, I should have my House surrounded & be obliged, at least, to give public Assurance that I would not  undertake the Business. A very late & fresh insult upon Mr Oliver, notwithstanding the respectableness of his public & amiableness of his private Character, show that these people are determined to spare no one whom they shall make Objects of their jealousy & fury. My present & former dispatches to the Secretary of State & the board of Trade will afford their Lordships a View of the present State of this Town & Province.

    Altho’ I never received any orders concerning the Stamp Act (untill this day) nor even a Copy of the Act, I thought it my duty to do all I could to get it carried into execution. And I must say, that in so doing, I exerted all possible Spirit & Perseverance. What has passed between me & the Assembly will appear from the enclosed printed Copies. I have made great Sacrifices to his Majesty’s Service upon this occasion: My Administration, which was before easy, respectable, & popular, is rendered troublesome, difficult, & dangerous. And yet there is no pretence to charge me with any other Offence, than endeavouring to get the Stamp Act carried into Execution. But that is here an high Crime never to be forgiven.

    I have preserved from the destruction with which they were threatned, the Stamps which have hitherto arrived; but not without difficulty. I could not have done this, if I had not had the Assistance of two Men of war which have attended here constantly for that purpose. In the course of this business I have found it necessary to put the Castle in a state of Defence, as if a foreign Enemy had been expected. And now the People acquiesce in the Stamps being lodged there, only upon Assurance that they shall not be distributed from thence. If an attempt to do it was apprehended, the whole Country would be in Arms.

    There has been some extraordinary Expences attending the getting the Stamps out & removing them to the Castle before the Ships got up to Town. I have passed one Account in Council amounting to £3 7s. 6d. Sterling2 due to John Rowe Esqr, which I would recommend for immediate payment. He has got an attested Copy of the minute of Council:3 I would have given him a Certificate under Seal, but having doubt whether such Certificate did not require a Stamp, I declined signing an unstamped paper, which is all the Secretary could use. The other is got into the hands of Persons who intend it for a subject for inflammation. They have accordingly arrested the Lieutenant of the Man of war,4 who had the Command of the Ship, till She had delivered the Stamps, in an Action for 300 pounds, the real damages being from 10 to 20. I got the Comptroller & the Surveyor of the Custom House  to be bail for him; & have committed the Account to 3 Merchants to audit & give their Opinion upon. As soon as they make their report, which has been long delayed, I shall write more fully upon this subject.

    I am, with great respect to their Lordships, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,

    Fra Bernard

    Grey Cooper Esqr.

    dupALS, RC T 1/452, ff 7-8.