The Governor and the House

    299. To Unknown, 22 February 1768

    300. To Nathaniel Rogers, [22 or 23 February 1768]

    301. To [Israel Mauduit], 23 February 1768

    302. To [Thomas Pownall?], 23 February 1768

    The arrival of Lord Shelburne’s admonitory letter prompted the House of Representatives to demand copies of the letters Bernard had written to Shelburne describing the May 1767 elections. Bernard’s curt reply prompted harsh language on both sides that would continue until the legislature was prorogued on 4 March.

    299. To Unknown

    Boston 22 Feb. 1768

    Dear Sir, I give you the trouble of another Letter by this Ship for the sake of covering a news paper published to day with a message in it from the H to the G which I think is as rude & ill natured as any I have seen since the year 1722.1 I am sure it can do him no harm on your side the Water. We have just got the news of the change in the Ministry. I hope it is now fixed. I am Sir Your most obliged & obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:291); unaddressed. Enclosure not found.

    300. To Nathaniel Rogers

    [22 or 23 February 1768]

    Dear Sir, This Vessel being detained by contrary winds & foul weather gives me opportunity of advising you that we received yesterday the first account of your arrival1 & by the same vessel a great deal of news no Letters having been Received of later date than the 14 Nov. I am obliged to you & my friends in England for interesting yourselves in my behalf especially to Mr Mauduit who acts a very generous part & can have no other motive than Resentment for the injuries I have sustained. I have a letter from him the same date with yours which I shall answer by the next having scarce time eno to write these 2 or 3 lines to you before the Vessel goes.2

    I could have wished the Ministry had laid one plan for the stipends to Officers here & carried it into execution alltogether. The governor’s merit is greater than mine the Secr has his share.3

    You were asked for an estimate of my Recepts from Government. The Court will never make any grant to the Ch Just if any Salary is allowed him from home;4 and the Jud of Prob place I should resign if any thing adequate was annexed to the Ch Just. place.

    Your friends are all well & I am Your affectionate Uncle,

    The Gen Court have been sitting till every body is tired of them and are now in a very snarling humour being vexed but humbled with a Letter from Ld Shelb. Relative to negatived Councellers.5 I have sent one of their Messages to Mr Jackson.6

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:291); unaddressed; undated, but this letter is preceded in the letterbook on the same page as one dated 22 February 1768, while the following letter, which begins on the next page of the letterbook, is dated 23 February 1768.

    301. To [Israel Mauduit]1

    Boston 23 Feb. 1768

    Sir, I am very glad to find by your Letters of 10 to 29 Dec. that my poor performance has afforded you any Entertainment.2 I design to go on with the Story but as it will contain ^take in^ the History ^Period^ of the Stamp Act & so will offend many upon the Stage I must leave it to be published some years after I am dead. I hope however you will have the reading of it.

    I would lay down all publick business rather than contribute to any degree of Oppression upon the Country but I am well assured that I can in no way so much contribute to the preventing oppression as by opposing the violent spirit which prevails in the Colonies. We have a set of men who at all hazards are determined to provoke a power which they cannot Resist.

    I was in hopes the calm in the province would have continued to the end of the year and the Gov was saying in conversation a few days since he thought he had more interest in the Court than for some time past but all on a sudden a new storm is Raised and a day or two ago they sent him the Rudest message I have known charging him with misrepresenting them to Ld. Shelburne and this morning a Letter from their Speaker directed to His Ldship is put into this Ships bag desiring he would send copies of the Letters to which his was an answer and that such Officers of the Crown who by their Letters had aspersed the House might be removed. None of the Officers of the Crown are under any concern for themselves. This sort of Correspondence is certainly irregular & no doubt they will be told so. I know no instance of it from the first settlement of the Colonies. I would not wish the H less power except in one instance than what the Constitution intended them but they have rendered though not yet voted the Council useless & concern themselves with what used to be the Province of the Gov. only & I am told have wrote by this Vessel another Letter to Ld Shelb. also a Letter to the Lords of the Treasury & other Letters to persons who are or have been in the Ministry.

    The Gov. has no orders for prosecuting any of the printers or publishers of seditious papers. He has a letter of the 14 Nov. which Recommends such prosecution to the Assembly but there was not the least probability they would give ^any^ orders about it. Some of their own members have the controul over the most seditious news paper & now & then contribute to the supply of it.3

    I am obliged to you & my other friends for so frequently putting the Ministry in mind of me. I could wish a general arrangement of Gov. LG & Secret. &c. had been made at once.4 As soon as any thing is done in England I imagine the small stipends from the Grants of the Court here will cease. I hope the present plan of Administration will be permanent. America will afford business enough for one Office & I have wondred a long time there has not been a 3d Sec of State & America made his Province. I am Sir Your most obedient Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:292–93); unaddressed.

    302. To [Thomas Pownall?]

    Feb. 23. 1768

    Dear Sir, Our Wittanegemot continues sitting.1 I am told they have wrote Letters to the Sec. of State & to the Lords of the Treasury, I mean the House only, and if they should be answered without a Remark upon the impropriety of such a correspondence there will soon be no business for any other branch of the Legislature.2 A Letter from Ld Shelburne by the October mail mortifies them the Governor having given a copy of it to the Speaker to Read to them upon condition they should take no copies of it. They desired the Gov. to favour them with copies of the Letters to Ld Shelburne to which this letter Refers.

    In his answer he tells them he has no copies of any Letters which can be of any use to them. They sent him upon this one of the most Rude messages I have known sent to a Governor and at the same time voted a Letter to be sent to Ld Shelb. which goes by this ship desiring of him that they may have copies of the Governors letters or rather the letters to which his Lordships was an answer laid before the House and then give a character of the negatived members and pray that any officers of the Crown who have aspersed them may be Removed.3 They say the characters of these members are unimpeachable. You know them all.

    Old Otis & Dexter Gerrish of Newbury Tom Saunders whose father you also know, & the wet Quaker Bowers.4 I cannot tell which to wonder at most the wickedness or weakness of the leaders of the party. Certainly they are serving the Gov. rather than hurting him.

    This Letter to Ld Shelb. they passed last night. The Gov. sent to the Speak today for a copy of it. The H are now considering what answer to give. Something bitter no doubt.5

    They will go home in a flame. I wish Rather than hope their constituents may send better men in their room the next Election.

    The H have much more weight in the scale than the constitution intended them and the other two branches are as much too light & stand in need of aid from your side the water to keep the balance even.

    You know by experience that the approbation of a Gov’s conduct by the ministry gives him great weight & nothing weakens Administration so much as the opinion which has prevailed that the best way to get rid of a Gov. is to pick a quarrel with him. I am Sir Your faithful humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:292); unaddressed but the concluding paragraph suggests the recipient himself had been a royal governor. Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 11 December 1775.

    303. To John Cushing

    Boston 2d. March 1768

    Dear Sir, I am obliged to you for two kind Letters. The first a little surprized me. I enquired of your neighbour Clap not many weeks before and he gave me no account of the sickness of any of your family.1 Trouble of this sort you know is the necessary consequence of living long & multiplying Relatives. When you come to Court we[’ll]2 try to raise your Spirits with Philosophy or something better. When I opened your second letter I could not help smiling to think how anxious you were for fear your Decree should be reversed. Why I have had half a dozen reversed and if I should have one affirmed I should be sure it was wrong.

    Indeed there is something singular in mine.

    The majority of the Board were for reversing and the Governor signed them in this manner that although he was of a different mind from the Board yet as the majority was for reversing he gave his consent.3 In the last ^appeal^ the Board determined the Rule of Law for all inferior Courts of Probate to be this—that the Executor of an Executor is not the Executor of the first Testator. It is strange when we have men of such superior judgment in judicial proceedings that they should not be of more importance in matters of Legislation. It has been expected for several weeks past that the Reps would pass a Vote that the House of Lords are useless but it was said this would be like some Statutes only declarative. And now to mortify you a little if you had not mentioned it I should never have known you had an appeal depending. Of so little importance are your small affairs compared with Messages to & from the Governor or Edes and Gills papers threats to mob Custom house Officers &ca. &ca. &ca.

    But I shall write you no news partly because your Representative will be the bearer of this who I suppose to be in all Otis’s secrets and, as he is a man of your own chusing will certainly trust you with them and partly because you are coming to Town where we will tell you all.4 John Cotton desires you would be here at the opening of the Court.5 I am yours sincerely,

    Tho Hutchinson

    RC (Massachusetts Historical Society, William Cushing Papers); unaddressed; there is a list of numbers in an unknown hand on the back of the manuscript.