Date: January 12, 1767
Author: C.C., a pseudonym
“To the Printers,
The Hero, nor in his speeches, nor in his memorials, ever strove harder than Philanthrop, to prove to the world that “the bands of civil society are broken, and that all government here is at and end.” These it has been said, “can never be restored, but by an army sufficient to effect a true ster[ ]ng military execution of civil authority without controul.” “Then” says another, “and then only”, “can external and internal taxes be collected from those on whom they are levied without their consent”. “To send a naked act to execute itself,” says an excellent commentator, “is about as wise as to send a scabboard without a sword.” “The sword in all policy should have been sent first (says he) and if there were no occasion for it, it might be sheathed at leisure.” How different this from the language of the brave old General H—d, “I will sheath this sword in my own bowels before I will draw it against any of my countrymen justly struggling for their liberties”! The measures of G. B. are become so generally disgustful, that Philanthrop himself in one of his first essays, considered him as nearly forsaken: And he seems to make a great merit in sallying forth as his forlorn hope, or rather as the last champion “on the side of truth, good order, injured and almost deserted innocence.” No knight errant could with the idol of his heart in greater distress, in order for an opportunity to distinguish his bravery and win her forever, than the valorous squire Philanthrop has very patiently suffered his dear master to rush headlong into, before he “starts forth” and appears on the stage for his relief. ’Tis well known to all the world, that G. B. has in many instances treated both houses of a—y in a manner that no man of sense and honor will or can patiently brook.* Is it then any wonder that his administration should become the subject of all those kinds of animadversion which unpopular and unconstitutional measures naturally produce in all free countries? Philanthrop’s conduct plainly shows he is playing the last of a desperate game. When a complexion is such that nothing better can be done, recourse will be had to patches and paint. If at the same time the country can be blackened, it will take off from the weight of its testimony. Philanthrop proceeds on the favorite maxim of chicanery, “By so much as an opponent can be successfully misrepresented, by so much is a client strengthened.” And, it much be conceded, should administration in Britain be so illy informed, as to give credence to all the calumnies which Philanthrop has published and propagated, they must think the Massachusets in as deplorable a state, in all respects, as it most certainly is in one.
Philanthrop, among his other pretensions, piques himself so much on his veracity, that I wish he had a better memory, or better information. He has asserted that the grant of Mount Desert passed unanimously; and that the G—r never fought for that grant. I shall expect soon to hear him deny, that the G—r ever fought for a confirmation of the grant. To be sure, as he makes the place such a “thing of nothing,” there must be soon a “dereliction”. I had the honor of being particularly acquainted with many of the members of the h—e at the time of the grant. And some of those who were intimately concerned in this notable transaction, have assured me, and if they please, can inform the public, that th[e]y know “precisely the contrary” Philanthrop’s dogmas on the desolate island, to be true. They say the grant was not unanimous, tho’ many of the members were directly applied to by the G—r for their votes and influence. It is not entered in the printed journal of the house as unanimous. It is also certain that some of the members were at great pains to be truly informed in the real value of the island, but were shamefully imposed upon by some who had been there, and must have prostituted their honor to serve a turn. The premises were never conceived by the house to be worth more than £. 300 sterling, and by many not that. One said on the occasion, that he would not take it, if given to him; and that the province would be obliged to the G—r, [ ]e would accept of so mean a present. The above sum was at first applied for in specie, in regard to the extraordinary expence, the G—r had, within a short time incurred, in sueing out commissions. He was first sent out to the Jerseys. From thence he was soon removed hither. Soon after this, took place the demise of his late Majesty, of blessed memory. It was however strenuously objected, that such a grant would be making a dangerous precedent: — That it was quite enough honorably to support a G—r, without the expence of purchasing or renewing commissions. An equivalent in lands was then proposed. But to this, it was said, that it was immaterial whether lands or money were given for the purpose. But finally, after diverse very diligent seekings, and many curious coincidents and coalitions taking place, at that very crisis, it was suggested, that a G—[r]’s interest and influence might be of service in procuring a confirmation of some new townships then proposed to be granted in the East. On this score, and on this principally, was the island given, and so it appears on the journals. But had it been known to be worth more than £. 300, it would no more have been granted him, than all the lands from the province of Main to St. Croiz. Into how many islands Mount Desert is multiplied since the year 1762, or how many of them fall within the G—r’s survey, I know not: but depend on it, that the wisdom and vigilance of our fathers will, at the next session of the a—y, induce them to enquire into the matter. What view Philanthrop has in diminishing the value of the grant is evident. The insinuation that the province doubted their title is without any foundation. Those in England who want a full and true information of the extent and value of the grant, may be easily satisfied by the officers of his Majesty’s ships lately on the northern station. In short, as the province were deceived in their grant, I cannot see the impropriety of their applying home to prevent a confirmation. I would not be misunderstood. I cannot desire the G—r to be a loser by this, far from it. By Philanthrop’s account his E—y has been deceived too, and expended more money on the place, than it is now worth. There was a bona fide intention to give the G—r about £. 300, for his weight and influence at the court of Great-Britain, the extent at which it was then rated, however stocks many have since risen. This sum he ought to have. I therefore propose that the Province pay him that, with what he has spent about the island, with compound interest, to a fraction – Then, as equity will require, that he re-convey the Mound and its appurtenances to the Province. I think nothing can be fairer between man and man. And if Philanthrop is not wretchedly out in common, as he is in his political arithmetic, I think the G—r must be obliged to me for the proposal, and readily close with it. I am no hireling, nor seeker.
P. S. I should be glad to know if the learned Philanthrop ever heard of the attempt of G—r B—d to establish an academy for the Belles Lettres in the country of Hampshire? If he has not, witness two houses of assembly remonstrating! Witness the rev. the corporation of Harvard-College, the overseers and clergy, petitioning against the proceeding, that the G—r assumed a power that no G—r here since the days of Andros ever pretended to! Whereas all towns and corporations here, since our charter, have been by act of assembly, and can by law be no otherwise created, he of his meer motion, and in the plenitude of his power, executed, and caused the Secretary of the province to record in the Council books an ample charter for a College in said country of Hampshire. And tho’, with the utmost difficulty, a sort of suspention was obtained, yet the record remains; and when the G—r is gone, the original charter will doubtless be produced. I may be out in my law, but at present I think he has just as good authority to establish a college of Jesuists; and be Philanthrop in doubt or not, I shall give my reasons. “But of this more hereafter.”
* See speeches & messages for those 6 years past.”
Source: Boston Gazette
See also: Beezlebub, June 9, 1766; Anonymous, November 24, 1766; Philopatriae, January 12, 1767; Philanthrop, January 12, 1767; Anonymous, February 2, 1767; F.F., February 2, 1767; Roger D. Coverly, February 2, 1767; Friend of the Province, March 9, 1767.
Commentary: Governor Bernard and his pseudonymous newspaper defender Philanthrop are taken to task concerning a real estate transaction involving Province land and the attempted chartering of a school on the governor’s initiative.