Bernard’s Final Session of the Legislature

    374. To Unknown, 29 May [1769]

    375. To Unknown, 10 June 1769

    376. To Richard Jackson, [11] June 1769

    377. To Richard Jackson, 12 June [1769]

    378. To William Bollan, 13 June [1769]

    Harbottle Dorr called the spring meeting of the General Court “Perhaps one of the most Glorious that the Province ever Saw for their Firmness, unanimity, [and] zeal in defending our Rights.” The House began by refusing to proceed to business in an occupied town. Bernard replied that he, as governor, had no power to remove the king’s troops. To circumvent their objection he ordered the House to reconvene at Cambridge. The House then refused to enact any grant for his salary. After nearly a month and a half of meetings, when the House finally passed some routine money bills, he prorogued them, but not before the House passed new resolutions against parliamentary legislation and petitioned the king for Bernard’s dismissal. See TH History, 3:168–73.

    374. To Unknown

    May 29 [1769]

    Dear Sir, If you would but be steady in any scheme be it what it would we should come to some sort of settlement in the Colonies. Till then we shall be all confusion. You threatned us last year with calling certain persons to account, with disfranchising the Town of Boston and with altering the constitution of the Council.

    Our Heroes were really frightened & began to exculpate themselves. We are now told the Parliamt will rise without effecting any one thing proposed and people in general suppose the Colonies have got the Victory. Next day after to morrow our new Assembly meets. The non rescinders are generally dropped & the Rescinders reelected.1 Had the non rescinders been chose I think but few of them would have voted as they did last year if the same questions had been should be again put. One of the Members who has generally been friendly to Government was asked whether he held to his principles. He replied that last year he was afraid the measures taken by the province & by the Town of Boston would bring upon us the indignation of parliament but he was now convinced we were in no danger of it & he would een run with the Stream. Perhaps 3 or 4 may be chose of the Council who pursue the true Interest of their Country but the rest will be governd by the popular Errors which have spread far and wide. The G. says some times it will be to no purpose to negative any unless he negatives so many as not to leave a Quorum which is seven. At other times he doubts whether he shall not give Offence in England if he should approve of some obnoxious persons who will undoubtedly be elected. I know not what his determination will be.

    I suppose as soon as the Session is over which I think cannot last long he will embark for England having had His Majesties Order to that purpose for some time past. I think he will give a more full Information of the State of America in general of this province in particular & of the unwarrantable Actions to say no worse of certain persons among us than has ever been transmitted. I am with very great regard

    June 7. I was wrong in my conjecture that 3 or 4 Men of a peculiar cast would be elected of the Council. They have left them out & chose men of a contrary cast in their room and thus have moulded the Council to a resemblance of themselves. I was of opinion that the G. could not avoid negativing those who had been elected in the room of men dropped for being friends to Government. I doubted the expediency of going any farther. He refused all the new elected except two & negatived two Bowdoin & Brattle who have been many years of the Council.2 Hawley one of the new elected who had been accepted but deserved to be negatived refused to leave the House & go to the Council.3 Sixteen only are of the Council this year instead of 28. The House are sullen. They complain of the Ships & Troops but dont know how to get rid of them, have sent several Messages to the Gov. which discover a bad spirit & presage a very short Session or a removal of the Court out of Town.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:352–53); unaddressed; partially dated.

    375. To Unknown

    Boston 10 June 1769

    Dear Sir, The new Resolves of Virg & the proceedings of the Assem. of this Province will reach you about the same time.1 Perhaps you will say Quo usque tandem abuteris &c.,2 but it is really nothing more than might naturally be expected. When we first received the K.’s Speech & the Addresses our Heroes were greatly frightened but soon after they had advice they gave out from the best authority that all would end well for them. I blame no body. I attribute all to the distemper of the nation but whilst your Distempers continue I fear ours will also.

    If any one plan which has been laid since the St. Act first passed had been prosecuted we should have been in a much better state than we are now. The mildest measures are certainly the most eligible & they will answer the purpose as effectually as the most severe. ^Only shew us you are determined to execute them.^ The Colonists must be convinced that they are part of the Dominions of G Brit that evry part is subject to the Supreme Authority that when any measure is determined upon by this Authority it must be executed unless this Authority by regular representations can be persuaded that the measure is unequal & for that Reason alone shall think proper to alter it or recede from it.

    When the Colonists once find that this is the principle of the Nation in general & that there is a Resolution to support the Ministry I still hope we shall return to Order.

    If reason would do the Review of the Controversy would be eno3—deaf to reason—Enthusiasm in politics greater than ever in Religious persecutions.

    If it was possible to subsist [without protection] should despair.

    It is not internal nor external—but Lust for independence exerted by designing men &c. who take advantage of the weak minds &c. feel the rest—dont see the necessity of it to the being of Government call it unrighteous invasion of Liberty & if late Acts were repealed would complain as much of Acts of Trade.

    Gov. leaves in 5 or 6 weeks inform of men & measures &c.

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:354); unaddressed; text is heavily abbreviated.

    376. To Richard Jackson

    [11]1 June 1769

    Dear Sir, I wish I could write you agreeable news. The 2 Houses are in a strange temper. Near 6 weeks has been spent & no business done. They have unanimously refused any Grant to the G. He seemed at first determind to sign no publick Act until they made his Grant.2 This would have thrown us into a perfect Anarchy. A Tax lays upon this year of 105,000£ lawful money. Either the Treasurer must issue his Warrants for that sum which the people would refuse to pay or there would be no Tax & no provision for a future Tax in lieu of it & the Government Securities would lose their Credit. No provision is made neither for the necessary charges of Government.

    But he seems now inclined to sign these necessary bills and then to prorogue the Court. They will make no provision for the Troops. The H has passed a set of Resolves poorly done but discover their Temper.3 I will inclose one & give this Letter to Cap [Garden]4 of the 14th who is going home with leave & being an acquaintance of my sons & I think a mighty good sort of man sometimes calls at my house. The G embarkation in the Rippon is fixed for the 25.5 Perhaps he will not be ready so soon.

    I am trying to prevent the people of this Town from behaving very indecently on the occasion but I fear I shall not succeed. I am with the greatest esteem

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series 45X, 26:355); at head of letter, “Mr Jackson.”

    377. To Richard Jackson

    12 June [1769]

    Dear Sir, I do not know that I differ from you either in my principles of Government or in my opinion of the most expedient measures in these unfortunate times. It would not be strange if we should not have just the same opinion or belief of facts. I am upon the spot where the facts are done or transacted. You receive intelligence by many different channels which convey very different accounts & it must be difficult to know which to rely upon. This is certain. The most glaring facts have been denied or evaded by particular persons in the publick prints & by publick bodies in their Declarations with a degree of Effrontery which I never met with before.

    I will give you as unprejudiced an account of late transactions as I am capable of. The Copies of the G’s letters which were sent to the C & by them immediately sent to the Press filled the minds of the people in all parts of the province with rage against him & further disposed them to the choice of such members & to such Instructions as were most likely to gratify their Resentment.1 The first Step they took before they chose a Speaker was the appointment of a Committee to carry a Message to the G conceived in the Language of the times & intimating that they could do no business until the Ships & Regiments were removed from the Town & praying him to give the necessary & effectual orders for that purpose. After remarking upon the irregularity of their sending a Message before they had chose a Speaker he let them know he had no command over the Ships nor the Troops. They made a sort of a protest & then went to business.2 They had left in their former Election but 4 Councillors of any consequence who were not devoted to the prevailing opinions.3 These had no chance. The vacancies were filled as they were. Two of the new elected professed Quakers4

    AC (Massachusetts Archives, SC1/series45X, 26:353); partially dated; text is heavily abbreviated; at head of letter, “Mr Jackson.”

    378. To William Bollan

    13 June [1769]

    Dear Sir, Our proceedings at the Election of Counsellors you will see in the News papers.1 Ever since, the H have been preparing a Reply to a short Answer the Gov. gave to a Message they sent him which was this that he had no Authority over the Kings Ships or Troops & therefore could not comply with their desire that he would remove them.2 The beginning of the Session I sent one of your books to each of the Members & I am informed it was very agreeable to them.3 I see no chance for their doing any business this Session. The Gov supposes he cannot give his consent to any Vote until they have made a Grant of a Salary to him. This they say they will not do because he has Orders to go to England.

    The Chair could not have fallen to me at a more difficult time. I must do the best I can every thing pro re nata4 without any plan or scheme or great dependence upon any plan in Eng. where measures are always fluctuating & where the minds of the people seem to be as distempered as ours are in America. God help us on both sides the water. I am Your affectionate humble servant,

    AC (Massachusetts Archives SC1/series 45X, 26:354); partially dated; at head of letter, “Mr Bollan.”