Advancing the Stalled Commission

    659. To Sir Francis Bernard, 24 July 1770

    660. To John Robinson, 24 July 1770

    661. From Sir Francis Bernard, 25 July 1770

    Hutchinson’s reluctance in late March to allow his candidacy for the post of governor-in-chief to go forward caused embarrassment and consternation among his advocates in England. It also brought an immediate stop to issuing a commission for him (already in progress when the news arrived). Thus, when he changed his mind in late June after receiving news of his appointment, there was considerable confusion about how to restart the process.

    659. To Sir Francis Bernard

    Boston 24 July 1770

    No. 28.

    My Dear Sir, Your Letter No. 29 increases my Obligations which were very great before.1 I shall never forget the many Instances of your friendship.2 My letters arrived at an unlucky time just as the Commissions were issuing which I could not foresee. I am exceeding sorry for any embarrasment which they have occasioned. I hope my subsequent actions have shewn that I was influenced rather by a justifiable diffidence of my Sufficiency for affairs which seemed to require more than human strength than want of Resolution to do every thing in my power which you know by your own experience is very little.3 As soon as I knew the Plan & how the other Commissions were connected with mine I wrote to My Lord Hillsborough, so long ago as the 8th of June which I hope removed every difficulty I had occasioned.4

    The Commissioners live pretty much in their old Stile at the Castle only they have held no boards. They are waiting for Orders from England & seem to have no hopes of returning to Town where they are, however undeservedly, so extremely obnoxious. I am to meet the Assembly to morrow at Cambridge.

    They have an opinion without grounds that upon the arrival, of a new Commission I shall be at liberty to carry them to Boston. I saw Lady Bernard yesterday at Roxbury. She expects the Tweed every day.5 I am Dear Sir Your most faithful

    Mr. Bernard had his degree before your letter arrivd or I would have appeard for him.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:521). Dft (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:519–20); at head of letter, “not sent.” Contemporary printing: Boston Gazette, 8 January 1776.

    660. To John Robinson

    Boston 24 July 1770

    Dear Sir, It is commonly said that before Cap Robson sailed a Merchant of the Town askd him if he had any Letters from me to the Ministry, or desired to see his Letters that if there were any he might open them my hand being generally known.1 The proposal Cap Robson treated as it deserved and it is said called the person a damnd Rascal which gave such Offence that his Owner has been prevailed upon to turn him out of Employ. If the Story be true I could wish to know who this Merchant is that I may be upon my guard & that he may be exposed if it shall be thought proper.

    I can write you nothing more of news than what you see in the Papers only as they give a false gloss to every fact but you are so used to it that you will always discover it. Your three Brethren and most of the Officers of the Board went to the Castle when Mr. Hultons house was attacked. Mr. Bowdoin Mr. Pitts & many others say Mr. Hulton employed people to break his windows & that Porter knocked him self down in the Street two or three nights before in order to give a pretence for going to the Castle & bringing an Odium upon the Town2 & many people are imposed upon with such stuff. I do every thing I can to make their situation agreeable generally see them once a week & they come now & then to Milton. I have had a constant succession of difficulties since you left us but live in hopes that by some means or other we shall be brought into a better state & that Young Molineux Balla[r]d & the rest of the present Governors of the Town of Boston will return to their proper stations.3 I am Dear Sir Your most Obedient humble Servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:520); at head of letter, “Jno Robinson Es.”

    661. From Sir Francis Bernard

    Hampstead, July 25th. 1770

    No. 36

    Dear Sir, I have received your Letters Nos. 21, 22 & 23 & the duplicates of the two former.1 By your Account of the Motives on which you conducted your Negative you Seem to be quite justified. And if you doubted yourself of the sparing Use of your Negative it will be warranted by the Advice you took upon it. I am pleased with their having added Some moderate Men to the Council: for if a royal Council is appointed, it would be best that as many of the elected Councellors should be inserted in it, as the Restoration of the exploded Councellors will allow.2

    As for the Trials of Captn Preston &c you have received all the Instruction you are like to have that is that you respite them and report the Case to the King. But for God’s Sake take Care that they be not murdered by the People: one does not know how far a Resentment of such an Act of Violence both as to Commission & Permission may be carried. If they are found guilty by all means move them to the Castle by habeas Corpus;3 you may defer Sentence by a Motion in Arrest of Judgement upon any Pretensions, no matter what, to gain time. But for your own Sake let the Respite immediately follow the Sentence & a Removal to the Castle follow the respite, if it can’t precede it which would be better.

    The Commission was very near finished when it was put by. I suppose that what I & Mr. Pownall have now received from you will Occasion it to go on; as my Lord Hillsborough has never shewn a Desire to appoint any other Person;4 and without flattery, he cannot now make another Appointment so proper to answer his present Purposes. Lord H, goes to Ireland next Week and it may prevent the Commission being passed till his Return but I think it wont. I shall see him tomorrow where I will learn what can be done, & also will speak with him about Fort Hill & Genl. Gages Information.5 He has been out of Town ever since I received your Letters, was expected to return last Night.

    Surely your People are the worst Politicians in the World: they play into their Antagonists Hands as if they intended it. If there is any Doubt of the Charter being forfeited heretofore, there can be none now. For surely if a legislative Corporation can forfeit a Charter they must do it by refusing to do any Acts of Legislation unless they are allowed to exercise those rights which are expressly reserved by the Terms of Charter to the Crown. And the Futility of their Pretensions is sufficiently exposed by your Writings. I hope that you have both of you persevered: for tho the Question of the Forfeiture will not be tried in a Court of Justice yet the shewing of a fresh Act of Forfeiture in the house of the commons, the Consequence of which is a total Stop of the Activity of the legislative Powers will have great Weight to show the Necessity of a Parliamentary Reformation of the Constitution: which is the thing intended.

    I shall add another Letter tomorrow if there is any occasion for it; at present I shall conclude this by assuring you that I am with great Truth Sir, &c.,

    SC (Houghton Library, Sparks 4, 8:109–11); at foot of letter, “The Honble Govr Hutchinson.”