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which had been the occasion of continual altercation. This altercation was carried on with great asperity on both sides, and both parties seemed more attentive to keeness of expression, and severity in their replies, than to the propriety of measures, or the advantages of civil government. These disputes so soured the tempers of the parties, that it was not easy for them to pursue measures in connection, without fhewing à temper inconsistent with mutual confidence. Governor Bernard was considered as a person who was looking up to the sovereign for a dignity which his pride suggested to him he deserved, and for that rea. son, was more careful to please the ministry, than to ftudy the real advantage of the colony. He had Thewn an imperious stiffness in his behaviour, which did not suit the temper of a people that were exceeding jealous of their liberty: His answers to their petitions and requests were forinal, arbitrary, and will. fully disobligiog*; and instead of endeavouring to
foften ing, for their candid and particular agony of mind, they may be in dan: attention.
ger of falling into. Deprived of the councils of à Ait is of importance that the general assembly in this dark and convention should meet as soon as difficult season, the loyal people of may be, so early a day as the 2001 this province will, we are persua- of this instant September has been ded, immediately perceive i he pro- propofid for that purpose--and it priety and utility of the proposed is hoped the remotest towuis will committee of convention : and the by that time, or as fuon after as found and wholesome advice that conveniently may be, return their may be expected from a mum. respective committees. ber of gentlemen chosen by them. Not doubting but that you are felves, and in whom they may re- equally concerned with us, and our pose the greatest contidence; must fellow citizens, for the preservation tend to the real service of our gra of our invaluable rights, and for cious sovereign, and the welfare the general happiness of our counof his subjects in this province, and try, and that you are dispored with may happily prevent any sudden equal ardoi'r to exert yourselves in and unconnected measures, which every conftitutional way for lo glo. in their present anxiety, and even rious a purpose.
Signed by thic feléct-men. To the Gentlemen Asembled at Faneuil- hall under the name of a
Committee of Convention. As I liave lately received froin his constitutional authority within this majesty (trict orders to support his government: I carrot sit still, and
foften the tempers of the afsembly already sufficiently rankled and over heared, he added fuel to the flame, by talking of prerogative, and the determination of the sovereign to support his dignity. It was strongly fufpected that the royal determination depended much upon the representation that he had given of the colonists, and that the ministerial vengeance proceeded in a great measure from those partial accounts of the temper of the people represented in his letters to the ministers of state.
A letter which the governors received from the Earl of Shelburne, one of the principal fecretaries of ftate, and which contained some severe strictures on the behaviour of the colonies, and the conduct of the Massachusetts assembly, was, by the order of the governor, and according to its original delign, read to that body by their secretary. This produced great debates in the assembly, when several severe things were said, with very little temper, and observations
fee so notorious a violation of it, It is therefore my duty to interas the calling an assembly of the pose, at this instant, before it is coo people by private perfons only. late. I do therefore earnestly adFor a meeting of the deputies of monish you, that instantly, and bethe towns is an assembly of the re- fore you do any business, you break presentatives of the people to all up this assembly, and separate yourintents and purpoles; and it is not felves. I speak to you now as a the calling it a committee of con- friend to the province, and a wellvention that will alter the nature of wisher to the individuals of it. the thing.
But if you fiould pay no regard I am willing to believe that the to the admonition, I must as a gogentlemen who fo hastily issued the vernor assert the prerogative of the fummons for this meeting; were crown in a more public manner: not aware of the high nature of the For assure yourselves (I fpeak from offence they were comunitting; and instruction), the king is determined they who have obeyed thein have to maintain his entire fovereignty not well considered of the penalties over this province; and whoever which they will incur if they should shall persist in ufurping any of the perfift in continuing their fellion rights of it, will repent of his rastr and doing business therein. it ness. present, ignorance of law may ex
FRA. BERNARD cuse what is paft: a step farther will Province-House, 2 take away that plea.
Sept. 22, 1768. 3
made, not quite consistent with the dignity of such a meeting. It was alledged in those debates, that Lord Shelburne's letter proceeded upon topics which the governor's representation of the colonies had suggest. ed; and that the severity of the secretary's letter took its rise from a misrepresentation of facts, given by the governor in his dispatches to the ministry. A committee was appointed to wait upon him, to desire a co. py of Lord Shelburne's letter, as well as those that he had written himself, with relation to the assembly, and to which the charges in his Lordship's letter mụft refer. These copies being refused, the assembly wrote a letter to the secretary of state, in which, they recite the circumstances of the whole transaction, and endeavour to vindicate themselves, and their conduct, at the expence of the governor, whom they charge with mis. representing them, and being the occasion of the ill. opinion which the secretary had concerning them. They also wrote letters to the Lords of the treasury, and several other great officers of state, wherein, together with professions of their loyalty, they remonstrated against the operations of the late acts of parliament; which they hinted, were contrary to the constitution, and totally fubversive of their rights and li. berries.
Such a firm opposition was by no means agreeable to the temper of the governor, who probably had given assurances to the fecretaries of state, that a Tharp rebuke from those in power in Engiand, would make them return to their duty and obedience. He found himself deceived, as well as found that they had en. deavoured to expose him as neither a friend to the King nor to the colonies; so when he found himself disappointed in all his other schemes, he adjourned the assembly. In the speech which he delivered on
this occasion, he made many animadversions upon their conduct, especially with regard to Lord Shclburne's letter; and he complained greatly of some turbulent and factious members, who, under false pretences of patriotisın, had unhappily procured too grea; influence in the assembly, and among the people, who facrificed their country to the gratification of their passions, and to the support of an importance, which could have no existence but in times of trouble and confusion. "It is a common thing for all men that are grasping at power and domination, to charge all people with the crime of factiousness, that oppose their measures; the whole struggles for liberty, in all. ages of the world, have been accounted factious operations, of restless persons, who had no other intention than to disturb good and peaceable governors, who never deserved to be 'resisted.. The famous patriots who brought about the glorious revolution, were, by the Tories of those times, accounted a faction, and char. ged with the worst of crimes, for saving the nation from Popery and tyranny.
While these disturbances in America were gaining ground by ministerial incapacity and opposition, a new secretary of itate was appointed at home, to the department of the colonies. Much was hoped from this new institution and arrangement; but though the institution itself was good, the advantages arising therefroin, depended upon the manner of discharging the office. The first who was settled in this new depart. ment of state, was Lord Hillsborough, who did not by any lenient or softening measures, attempt to fof. ten the tempers of the colonies. Whether his orders were express to observe the conduct which he pursued, or that he made use of the royal authority to awe the colonists into a compliance with the man.
dates dates of government, I will not pretend to afficm; but in his circular letters to the governors of the co. lonies, wlich had received the circular leiter froin she assembly of Boston, he expresses liis Majesty's disa like of that letter in very strong terms. It was de. clared in Lord Hillsborough's letter, that his Majesu ty considered the conduct of the assembly of Boston as of ihe most dangerous and factious tendency, cal. culated to infiame the minds of the people, to pro. mote an unwarrantable combination; to excite an open opposition to, and denial of the authority of par. liament, and to subvert the true principles of the confitution; and that his Majesty expected, from the known affection of the respective assemblies, that they would defeat this flagitious attempt to disturb the public peace, and treat it with the contempt it de. seryed, by taking no notice of it.
Another letter of the same date was fent 10 Governor Bernard, in which the same exceptions are made to the circular letter. It is there affirmed, that the measure had been carried in a thin house, at the end of the session, and in which the assembly departed from that spirit of prudence and respect to the conftitution, which seemed to have influenced the majo: rity of its members in a full house and at the begin. ning of the session: from hence his Majesty could not but consider it as a very unfair proceeding, and to have been carried by surprise through the house of representatives. It was then required in his Maje. sty's name that the new assembly would rescind the resolution which gave existence to the circular letter, and declare their disapprobation of, and diffent to so rash and hasty a proceeding: That as his Majesty had the fullest reliance on the affections of his subjects of Massachusets bay, he had the better ground to hope,