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all the necessary public bills, and particularly the Tax-bill, which
the Governor reminded them of passing, previously to their giv
ing their answer; informing them, That, if he should be obliged
to dissolve them, he should not be at liberty to call another As
sembly till he received his Majesty s commands for that purpose.
The House at length giving their answer, by which they refused
to comply with his Majesty s requisition, he dissolved them, as he
was in duty bound to do. And having received his Majesty s
commands not to call a new Assembly until the May following,
being the time appointed by the charter, he obeyed that order
also. These are the true facts upon which this Article is founded;
and they were all known to the Complainants at the time when
they presumed to petition his Majesty to punish a servant of his,
for what he did wholly in obedience to his Majesty s express

16. It is the undoubted duty of a Governor to accompany
his reports of interesting proceedings in his Province, with his
own opinion of them ; and it is indispensable, when he is giving
an account of disorders in his government, to endeavour to trace
the causes of them, and to point out the remedies. In the Prov
ince of Massachusetts Bay, when civil authority was reduced so
low as to have nothing left but the form of a government, and
scarce even that, an enquiry into the causes of so great a weak
ness in the governing powers was unavoidable ; and there was no
entering upon such an enquiry, without observing upon the ill
effects of that part of the constitution of that government, whereby
the appointment of the Council is left to the people, to be made
by annual election ; and yet the Royal Governor, in all Acts of


prerogative, is subject to the controul of the Democratical Coun
cil. This solecism in policy has been as hurtful in practice as it
is absurd in theory, and it is the true cause of the extreme imbe-
cillity of the power of the crown in this government, at times
when the exertion of it is most wanted. This is not an observa
tion of a new date; it is of many years standing ; and the avowal
of the Respondent s opinion on this occasion, is not to be
reckoned from the date of his letter to the Earl of Hillsborough:
he has made no scruple to declare his sentiments upon this subject,
ever since he has felt the effects which the popular constitution
of the Council has had upon the Royalty of the government,
which is above three years ago ; within which time, he has seen
the King deprived of the service of every man at the Council
Board, who has had resolution enough to disapprove the oppo
sition to the authority of the King and the Parliament, and their
supremacy over the American Colonies. This, and this only,
is the foundation of the charge of his endeavouring to overthrow
the charter ; whereas his real desire has been, that the charter
should have a more durable stability, by means of a necessary
alteration, without which, he is persuaded it cannot have a much
longer duration; as the abuse of the appointment of the Council
now prevailing, must oblige the Parliament to interfere sooner
or later. And therefore he is persuaded, that, in avowing this
opinion, he has acted not only as a faithful servant of the King,
and a true subject of Great Britain^ but also as a real friend of
Massachusetts Bay, whose true interest it is, to have its govern
ment so confirmed and established, that it may not be liable to
be continually disturbed and disgraced by factious and design
ing men, as it is at present.

17. The Respondent denies, that by the means mentioned in
the aforesaid complaint, or by any other means, he has rendered
his Administration odious to the whole body of the people. He
denies, that the opinion of the whole people of that Province can
now be taken and ascertained, labouring as it does at present,
under the baneful influence of a desperate faction, who, by
raising groundless fears and jealousies, by deluding one part of
the people, and by intimidating the other part, has destroyed all
real freedom, not only of action, but even of sentiment and

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 367

opinion. But the Respondent doubts not but that his Admin
istration has been approved by the generality of the best and
most respectable men in the Province ; and assures himself, that
notwithstanding that, in the course of the late disputes, he has
been obliged by his duty to give his testimony against some
popular prejudices, when the present infatuation shall cease, and
truth and reason shall be allowed to interpose, he shall be
acknowledged to have been a faithful servant of the King, and
a real friend of the people. In the mean time, having been hon
oured with his Majesty s approbation of his whole conduct, and
that of the two Houses of Parliament of some principal parts of
it, he shall leave it to the Province of Massachusetts Bay to do
him justice at their own time; and shall commit himself to the
disposal of his Majesty, as it shall be thought best for his ser
vice, in perfect confidence, that he shall not suffer for sacrificing
his interest to his fidelity.

And the Respondent, for proof of such allegations in this
answer as shall require it, begs leave to refer to his Majesty s
instructions 1 ; to the letters of his Secretaries of State and Com
missioners for Trade and Plantations, directed to him the Re
spondent ; to the Acts of the Council of the Province ; to the
Journals of the House of Representatives ; to his own letters to
his Majesty s Secretaries of State and Commissioners for Trade
and Plantations (which letters, being wrote without any probable
view of their being used for this purpose, he humbly submits
ought to be admitted as evidence, especially of his intention and
meaning, upon which great part of the complaint against him is
made to depend) ; and to such other evidence as he shall be able
to procure here, after having been, by the practices of the mana
gers of the accusation against him, prevented having the benefit
of such evidence as was to be had in the Province of Massachu-
sefs Bay.

1 For a form of such instructions, see those given to Bernard as governor of
New Jersey, a draft of which is reprinted in E. B. Greene, The Provincial
Governor, pp. 234260.



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; written by Adams on the
margin of a pamphlet, containing the Petition and Answer, entitled Copy of the
Complaint of the House of Representatives of Massachusefs-Bay, against Sir
Francis Bernard : with Sir Francis Bernard s Answer. 15 pp.]

As the Complaint of the House of Representatives,
with Governor Bernards Answer is made publick, it
is presumed it now lies as an Appeal to the Reader,
& that every Man has a right to make his own obser
vations on them & lay them before the impartial pub-
lick if he pleases. I shall therefore as an individual
member of an injurd & insulted Community, offer
such remarks as have occurd to my mind with unre-
servd freedom, with Decency & Truth. The Re
spondent in the beginning of his Answer discovers a
manifest Intention to prejudice the reader ag t the
Complainants as having been guilty of unfair prac
tices in denying him a Copy of the Complaint,
whereby he was deprivd of the Benefit of such Evi
dence as was to be had only at Boston : This is far
from being a true representation of facts: On the
contrary, the Gov r neither by himself nor by any
other person gave the least Intimation to the House
while the Assembly was sitting of his Desire to have
a Copy of the Complaint. Therefore the Charge of
unfair practices used by the Complainants in this re
gard is without the least foundation of truth : And
further neither the Gov r nor any one for him or by
his Direction ever applyd to the Clerk of the House
for such Copy, either while the Assembly was sitting
or from the time of its Dissolution on the July

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 369

untill a very few days before the Gov r embarkd for
London : Then indeed M r Cotton the Deputy Sec
retary applyd for it in the Name of the Gov r & upon
the first Notice the Clerk orderd a Copy to be imme
diately made out & it was done accordingly to the
truth of which he is ready to make oath, & M r Cotton
can no doubt, if needful, confirm his testimony.

The respondent says that the Complaint had its
origination in a resentment against him for his being
chargd with certain orders &c ; & referrs the reader
to a Message of his, requiring the House to rescind a
resolution of a former house upon which the circular
Letter, so obnoxious to the Gov r had been founded
Here again the Gov r is grossly mistaken ; The House
did not so much if at all repent his being chargd
with certain orders from his Majesty or his declaring
his Intention to obey them. It was the unfair prac
tices he had used, & the gross misrepresentations he
had made to his Majestys Ministers, of the Conduct
& Temper of the former house, to procure such or
ders, that increasd the resentment of the House
which had before been inclind to be against him by
means of the same kind of practices he had used be
fore These unfair practices were made fully to appear
to the House from their own Minutes & Journals
particularly it was evident from those Minutes &
Journals that the resolution in Question was passd in
the very height of the Session & in a very full House,
contrary to what the Gov r had asserted to the Minis
ter, that it was done in a thin House & at the End of
the Session. Whether this and other misrepresenta
tions were made with the wicked Design to deceive

VOL. I. 24.


his M y himself & draw the royal Displeasure on

the province, every reader will easily determine. This
was the opinion of the House, & it is by no means
strange that after such provocations the patience of
this people which had been extended beyond Exam
ple sh d come to an End & their representatives
resolve on a Complaint ag* Gov r Bernard & a hum
ble petition to his Majesty forever to remove him
from the Gov of this province. The respondent ob
serves that " it being objected that there was no proof
of the facts alledgd, the pet n was recommitted to the
Com 6 to bring in Evidence in Support of divers Arti
cles." The Truth is the House had voted a Number
of Articles of Comp 4 in the pet n upon the clearest
proof of the facts & therefore it could not be recom-
itted as the Gov r says upon its being objected that
there was no proof. But for the fuller Satisfaction of
several Members the Com was orderd to bring in
further proof respecting divers Articles, but the Gov r
very much to his lasting Honor prevented it by an
immediate & timely Dissolution of the Assembly.

The respondent says that from the time of his en
tering upon the Gov e till the year 1765 there was a
good Understanding between him & the Assembly
& further that the Journals of the House afford
many pregnant Proofs of it. I am apt to believe not
many : It w d be strange if in the Course of Nine
years there sh d not be a few Instances wherein a
Gov r & his Assembly have agreed, especially in the
Honey Season of Administration And if there are
some proofs of it in the Journals the House have
shown their Candor & it may serve as an Instance of

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 371

a certain truth that this People has always shown a
Disposition to preserve an harmony with the King s
Gov r until repeated Acts of 111 usage on his part have
unavoidably made a Breach This is remarkeable with
regard to Gov r Bernard himself. Since we are now
upon the Article of Charge ag e him that in his
Speeches & other publick Acts he treated the repre
sentative Body with Contempt Is it not notorious
that in one of his first Speeches he chargd not the re
presentatives only but both Houses & the Body of
the People with

1 1 sh d be glad to be informd what has made it his
Duty to give his own opinion he was of another
mind when he did his Speech Anno 1765.

Royalty contrould by Democracy is a Solecism in


[Massachusetts State Papers, pp. 184-187.]

May it please your Excellency,

The House of Representatives have contemplated
your several messages of the 6th 3 and i2th 4 instant,
as fully as the time, to which you were pleased to

1 The two concluding notes are written opposite paragraph 16 of the answer.

Attributed to Adams by W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. i., p.
262. The committee, of which Adams, Otis, Hancock, and Hawley were mem
bers, was appointed July I2th, and was directed to sit forthwith. The answer
is printed in the Journal of the House, pp. 80-83.

3 Massachusetts State Papers, p. 183. 4 /<fo/.,pp. 183, 184.


limit them, would admit. And as General Gage s
letter on this subject, dated I5th of May, of which we
were favored with an extract only, must have been
received before the meeting of the General Assem
bly, we think it very extraordinary that your Excel
lency should suffer five or six weeks to elapse, before
you thought proper to give us the least intimation of
this matter. It is also surprizing, that, as the Barrack
Master General, Colonel Robinson, was in Boston
near a month, the greater part of which time, the
General Assembly was sitting, we never before heard
of the " demand " which he had " the honor to make,"
as he is pleased to express himself, in his letter to
your Excellency, of the i8th of June. It is wonder
ful indeed, that this House should have no notice of
that demand, till the 6th instant, and that a quicken
ing message should so soon follow. Between these
messages, Lord s day intervening, the House had ad
journed, as usual, from Saturday to Monday. But it
is truly astonishing, that when the gracious desires of
majesty itself, of aids in men and money in the late
war, in which we freely bled with our fellow subjects
and brethren of Great Britain, as well as of America ;
and on less arduous occasions have, with royal clem
ency and great condescension, ever been intimated in
the form only of a requisition, the Barrack Master
General should hold so high and peremptory a tone
as the word demand^ must necessarily imply. The in
dignity, thus offered to your Excellency s commission,
would have been an affair entirely between your Ex
cellency and the Barrack Master General, had it not
been communicated to us as an appendage, nor ac-

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 373

companied your message of the 6th instant, the sub
ject of which, we shall now, more immediately

The public proceedings of this House, we trust,
will sufficiently evince to the whole world, and to all
posterity, the idea we entertain of the sudden intro
duction of a fleet and army here ; of the unparal
leled methods used to procure this armament ; and of
the indefatigable pains of your Excellency, and a few
interested persons, to keep up a standing force here,
by sea and land, in a time of profound peace, under
the mere pretence, of the necessity of such a force, to
aid the civil authority. But were it a time of war,
and the necessity of such a force ever so great, of
which it is admitted, the King, by virtue of his un
doubted prerogative of marching his armies, and
directing his fleets to any part of his realms or do
minions, is the sole judge ; yet, sir, it should be re
membered, that the very nature of a free constitution,
requires that those fleets and those armies should be
supported only by the aids voluntarily granted by the
Commons. Thus, till very lately, they have been
supported, not only in Great Britain and Ireland, but
in all the British dominions.

May it please your Excellency, we are constrained
to be very explicit upon the funds proposed, and the
law alluded to, both in your message of the 6th in
stant, and in the extract of General Gage s letter be
fore us. By funds, we presume, is meant a provision
for the reimbursement of such expenses as have been
occasioned, or may accrue, in consequence of quarter
ing the troops here ; and by law, is meant the mutiny


act, so commonly called, which was passed in the 6th
year of the reign of our most gracious Sovereign.
By this act, it is declared, "the officers and soldiers
quartered, as therein more particularly expressed,
shall, from time to time, be furnished and supplied
by a person or persons, to be authorized or appointed
for that purpose by the Governor and Council of each
respective province ; or upon the neglect or refusal
of such Governor and Council, in any province, then
by two or more Justices of the Peace, residing in or
near the place" of quartering, with "fire," and other
enumerated articles. And that the respective prov
inces shall " repay such person or persons, all such
sum or sums of money, by him or them paid, for the
taking, hiring, and fitting up uninhabited houses, and
for furnishing the officers and soldiers therein, and in
the barracks," with " fire," and the other enumerated
articles. And such sum or sums are, by said act, re
quired to be " raised in such manner as the public
charges for the provinces respectively are raised."
And it is also further declared by said act, that " the
extraordinary expense of carriages to be paid by the
province or colony where the same shall arise."

From hence it is obvious, that a Governor and
Council have no more right, by this act, to draw
money out of a colony treasury, than the two justices
mentioned therein. The duty prescribed, is entirely
confined to the appointment of a person or persons,
to furnish and supply the articles in said act men
tioned. Such is the unreasonableness and severity of
this act, that it leaves to the Assemblies not the least
color of a privilege, but only the pitiful power to

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 375

raise the sums in such manner as the public charges
of the provinces are respectively raised. Hence it is
manifest, how unwarrantably the Governor and Coun
cil have acted, in the payments they have ordered be
tween the dissolution of the last year s Assembly and
the convening of this, for articles furnished his Maj
esty s 65th regiment, lately quartered in the barracks,
at Castle William ; for it is known, there was no fund
provided, consequently, there could be no appropria
tion made by the General Court for that purpose.

We shall now, with your Excellency s leave, take a
nearer view of the act of Parliament above mentioned.
The whole continent has, for some years past, been
distressed with what are called acts for imposing taxes
on the colonists, for the express purpose of raising a
revenue ; and that, without their consent in person,
or by representative. This subject has been so fully
handled by the several Assemblies, and in the publi
cations that have been made, that we shall be as brief
as possible upon that head ; but we take leave to ob
serve, that in strictness, all those acts may be rather
called acts for raising a tribute in America, for the
further purposes of dissipation among placemen and
pensioners. And, if the present system of measures
should be much further pursued, it will soon be very
difficult, if possible, to distinguish the case of widows
and orphans in America, plundered by infamous in
formers, from those who suffered under the adminis
tration of the most oppressive of the Governors of
the Roman provinces, at a period, when that once
proud and haughty republic, after having subjugated
the finest kingdoms in the world, and drawn all the


treasures of the east to imperial Rome, fell a sacrifice
to the unbounded corruption and venality of its gran
dees. But of all the new regulations, the stamp act
not excepted, this under consideration, is the most
excessively unreasonable. For, in effect, the yet free
Representatives of the free Assemblies of North
America, are called upon to repay, of their own and
their constituents money, such sum or sums, as per
sons over whom they can have no check or control,
may be pleased to expend ! As Representatives, we
are deputed by the people, agreeable to the royal
charter and laws of this province. By that charter
and the nature of our trust, we are only empowered
to "grant such aids," and "levy such taxes for his
Majesty s service, as are reasonable ; " of which, if we
are not free and independent judges, we can no longer
be free Representatives, nor our constituents free
subjects. If we are free judges, we are at liberty to
follow the dictates of our own understanding, without
regard to the mandates of another ; much less can
we be free judges, if we are but blindly to give as
much of our own and of our constituents substance,
as may be commanded, or thought fit to be expended,
by those we know not.

Your Excellency must, therefore, excuse us, in this
express declaration, that as we cannot, consistently
with our honor, or interest, and much less with the
duty we owe our constituents, so we shall never
make provision for the purposes in your several
messages above mentioned.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 377


[S. A. Wells, Samuel Adams and the American Revolution, vol. i., p. 192.]

BOSTON July 31, 1769.


By Captain Hood you have a letter from the
House of Representatives signed by the Speaker,
inclosing a remonstrance to his Majesty against
Governor Bernard. 1 Such a measure unanimously
voted in a full House consisting of one hundred and
nine members, forty of whom by the charter make a
quorum, is sufficient to justify what I wrote you form
erly, that I thought it impossible he should ever re
cover the affections of the people. Indeed it never
appeared to me that the conciliating their affections
was any part of his view. If he had had this in
contemplation he would never have attached himself
to a small party, of which the people, even the bet
ter sort of them, had the most contemptible idea.
Whether the governor herein discovered that he had -1
conceived a deep rooted prejudice against the people j
or that he was totally ignorant of the only method to
secure his own happiness, and promote his Majesty s
real service in the Province, I will not pretend to
say : This I believe must be acknowledged by all,
that the surest refuge of a monarch himself is, under
God, in the bosom of his subjects. The Speaker has
written you particularly which leaves me the less to
say. I shall send you the journal of the House as
soon as it can be got thro the press.

I am, sir, your humble servant,

1 Governor Bernard returned to England at this time. Cf. W. V. Wells.
Life of Samuel Adams ; vol. i., p. 267 ; T. Hutchinson, Historv of tJie Prov
ince of Massachusetts, vol. iii., p. 253.


\Boston Gazette \ August 28, 1769.]

The infamous Baronet of Nettleham, 1 in one of
his curious Letters lately imported, has ventured to
affirm, that numbers of the Merchants of Boston who
fhad subscribed the Agreement for a Non-importation
j of British Goods never intended to comply with the
| Terms of it. A very genteel Compliment indeed to
the Body of Merchants ! But it was necessary that his
Lordship to whom he wrote should be induced if pos
sible to believe it, and therefore he roundly and im
pudently asserted, whether he believed it himself or
not. He very well knew, that this Agreement if strict
ly adhered to, would effectually influence the Repeal
of the Parliamentary Revenue Acts ; and as his own
Interest would be deeply wounded by the Event,
and his sanguine Expectations of Gain cut off, for
he had promised himself two or three Thousand
sterling per annum out of the American Revenue, he
made no Scruple, according to his Manner, to sacri
fice the Reputation of Men, infinitely better than
himself, to prevent it. The Baronet has indeed in
his Letters calumniated, not the Merchants only, but
the Town and Province, and the most respectable
Bodies in it: Whether at his Departure, he fixed ^
upon one John Mem, as a Person hardy enough to
go through thick and thin to support his Calumnies,
I pretend not certainly to know ; or whether this
Man is made a Tool by the band of Placemen and
v ^Pensioners here, is a Matter which I cannot yet

1 In April, 1769, Governor Bernard had been created Baronet of Nettleham.

1769] SAMUEL ADAMS. 379

vouch for, and therefore in tenderness to this Stran

Online LibrarySamuel AdamsThe writings of Samuel Adams (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 31)