Letters To... Earl of Hillsborough

Thomas GAGE   |   Francis BERNARD   |   Earl of HILLSBOROUGH

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Item#: 118576 price:$3,800.00

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"ON AUGUST 1, 1769 HE LEFT MASSACHUSETTS FOREVER, AMID PUBLIC REJOICING": LETTERS BY SIR FRANCIS BERNARD, GOVERNOR OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY, CRITICIZING THE COLONISTS FOR FAILING TO FOLLOW THE QUARTERING ACT, THE 1769 PUBLICATION OF WHICH RESULTED IN HIS REMOVAL FROM HIS POST

(BERNARD, Francis). Letters To the Right Honourable The Earl of Hillsborough, from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and The Honourable His Majesty's Council for the Province of Massachusetts-Bay. With An Appendix, Containing Divers Proceedings referred to in and the said Letters. Boston: New-England. Printed by Edes and Gill… 1769; and, London: Re-printed for J. Almon, 1769. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter brown calf, gilt monogram ("JMF") to front board, top edge gilt; pp. (1-2), 3-122, 123*, 124*, 123-165 (1). $3800.

First English edition of a seminal pamphlet that led to the ouster of Governor Bernard and further development of the patriot cause, attractively bound by Riviere & Son.

This pamphlet contains a collection of six letters from Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, to the Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary of State for America, between November 1 and December 5, 1768. The letters include discussions of the colonial grievances arising from the Stamp Act, Quartering Act, and the Townshend Duties, and were published in April 1769 by the leading resistance newspaper, the Boston Gazette, and then in pamphlet form by Edes and Gill, the Boston publisher associated with the Sons of Liberty. The political fallout that resulted from the publication of these revealing letters eventually caused Bernard to leave Boston in August of the same year, amid much rejoicing by the citizens of Boston.

"While Bernard opposed [British trade] regulations himself, he considered it his duty to support royal policy and maintain authority in the town of Boston. In 1766 he vetoed the election of resistance leaders to the council; the next year he called for troops to protect the customs commissioners who had been frightened out of town by crowd harassment. After the troops arrived in 1768, Bernard criticized the town and province for failing to provide quarters for them according to the Quartering Act of 1766. In letters to newly appointed colonial secretary Lord Hillsborough, Bernard urged that the provincial council… be appointed by the crown as in the other royal colonies, as it had failed to support him in the exercise of his duties. Somehow the Boston Gazette, the leading resistance newspaper, acquired these letters and published them in April 1769. The legislature requested Bernard's removal, he himself asked to be relieved of his duties, and on 1 August 1769 he left Massachusetts for ever, amid public rejoicing" (ODNB).

The present pamphlet also includes the colony council's letter to Lord Hillsborough responding to Bernard's accusations, as well as an appendix containing the proceedings of the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in relation to the Bernard letter and includes a petition to George III requesting the withdrawal of the duties imposed on the colony. Howes describes eight pages of advertisements, Adams collates without them; this copy bound without advertisements. Text complete, with pages 123* and 124* inserted between 122 and 123. Sabin 4924. Howes B383. Adams, 69-4b. ESTC T412. Penciled annotations to front pastedown and flyleaf.

Some tape residue and offsetting to front blanks only; text clean. Light wear to spine head, faint smudge to gilt monogram, Riviere & Son binding sound and attractive. A near-fine copy.

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