Sir Francis Bernard, 1st Baronet
|10º Governor of the Province of New Jersey|
27 January 1758 –4 July 1760
|Preceded by||John Reading|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Boone|
|Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay|
2 August 1760 –1 August 1769
|Preceded by||Thomas Hutchinson (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Hutchinson (acting)|
|Born||baptised 12 July 1712|
Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Berkshire, England
|Died||16 June 1779 66) (aged|
Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England
Sir Francis Bernard, 1st Baronet (bapt. 12 July 1712 – 16 June 1779) was a British colonial administrator who served as governor of the provinces of New Jersey and Massachusetts Bay. His uncompromising policies and harsh tactics in Massachusetts angered the colonists and were instrumental in the building of broad-based opposition within the province to the rule of Parliament in the events leading to the American Revolution.
The Province of New Jersey was one of the Middle Colonies of Colonial America and became New Jersey, a state of United States in 1783. The province had originally been settled by Europeans as part of New Netherland, but came under English rule after the surrender of Fort Amsterdam in 1664, becoming a proprietary colony. The English then renamed the province after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. The Dutch Republic reasserted control for a brief period in 1673–1674. After that it consisted of two political divisions, East Jersey and West Jersey, until they were united as a royal colony in 1702. The original boundaries of the province were slightly larger than the current state, extending into a part of the present state of New York, until the border was finalized in 1773.
The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a crown colony in British America and one of the thirteen original states of the United States from 1776 onward. It was chartered on October 7, 1691 by William III and Mary II, the joint monarchs of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The charter took effect on May 14, 1692 and included the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Plymouth Colony, the Province of Maine, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the direct successor. Maine has been a separate state since 1820, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are now Canadian provinces, having been part of the colony only until 1697.
The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America. They defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) in alliance with France and others.
Appointed governor of New Jersey in 1758, he oversaw the province's participation in the later years of the French and Indian War, and had a generally positive relationship with its legislature. In 1760 he was given the governorship of Massachusetts, where he had a stormy relationship with the assembly. Early actions turned the colony's populists against him, and his responses to protests against Parliament's attempts to tax the colonies deepened divisions. After protests against the Townshend Acts in 1768, Bernard sought British Army troops be stationed in Boston to oversee the colonists. He was recalled after the publication of letters in which he was critical of the colony.
The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.
The Townshend Acts were a series of British Acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 and relating to the British in North America. The acts are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed the program. Historians vary slightly as to which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five acts are often mentioned:
After returning to England, he continued to advise the British government on colonial matters, calling for hardline responses to ongoing difficulties in Massachusetts that culminated in the 1773 Boston Tea Party. He suffered a stroke in 1771 and died in 1779, leaving a large family.
The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.
Bernard was born in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, (then in Berkshire, but part of Oxfordshire since 1974), England to the Rev. Francis and Margery (Winslowe) Bernard and was christened on 12 July 1712.His father died three years later. His mother remarried, but died herself of smallpox in 1718. He was thereafter probably raised by an aunt for several years, since his stepfather was forced by a failed courtship to flee to Holland. His stepfather, Anthony Alsop, returned to Berkshire a few years later, and continued to play a role in the boy's upbringing. Bernard's formal education began at Westminster in 1725, and he then spent seven years at Oxford, where Christ Church granted him a master of arts in 1736. He read law at the Middle Temple and was called to the bar in 1737, after only four years (instead of the typical seven) of study. He settled in Lincoln, where he practiced law and took on a variety of municipal posts. Among his neighbors in Lincoln were the Pownalls, who had one son (John) serving in the Colonial Office, and another, Thomas, who went to the North American colonies in 1753 and was appointed governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1757.
Brightwell-cum-Sotwell is a twin-village and civil parish in the Upper Thames Valley in South Oxfordshire. It lies between Didcot to the west and the historic market town of Wallingford to the east. In 1974 it was transferred from Berkshire to the county of Oxfordshire, and from Wallingford Rural District to the district of South Oxfordshire.
Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
Oxfordshire is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west.
Bernard married Amelia Offley, daughter of the sheriff of Derbyshire, in December 1741, and the couple raised a large family: by 1757 the couple had eight living children.Because his prospects for further income to support this large family were unlikely in Lincoln, he apparently decided to seek a posting in the colonies. John Adams later described Bernard as "avaricious to a most infamous degree; needy at the same time, having a numerous family to provide for."
Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire, containing the southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills which extend into the north of the county. The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire also to the west. Kinder Scout, at 636 metres (2,087 ft), is the highest point in the county, whilst Trent Meadows, where the River Trent leaves Derbyshire, is its lowest point at 27 metres (89 ft). The River Derwent is the county's longest river at 66 miles (106 km), and runs roughly north to south through the county. In 2003 the Ordnance Survey placed Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms as the furthest point from the sea in Great Britain.
John Adams was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, and also served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser, Abigail, and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era.
Bernard's wife was cousin to Lord Barrington, who became a Privy Councillor in 1755.Probably through his connections to Barrington and the Pownalls, he secured an appointment as governor of the Province of New Jersey on 27 January 1758, a post that became available upon the death of Jonathan Belcher. Leaving some of his children with relatives, the couple sailed for North America with four of their children, arriving at Perth Amboy on 14 June.
William Wildman Shute Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington PC was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons for 38 years from 1740 to 1778. He was best known for his two periods as Secretary at War during Britain's involvement in the Seven Years War and American War of Independence.
Jonathan Belcher was a merchant, businessman, and politician from the Province of Massachusetts Bay during the American colonial period. Belcher served simultaneously for over a decade as colonial governor of the British colonies of New Hampshire (1729–41) and Massachusetts (1730–41) and later for ten years as governor of New Jersey (1747–57).
Perth Amboy is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. The City of Perth Amboy is part of the New York metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 50,814, reflecting an increase of 3,511 (+7.4%) from the 47,303 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 5,336 (+12.7%) from the 41,967 counted in the 1990 Census. Perth Amboy has a Hispanic majority population. In the 2010 census, persons of "Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin" made up 78.1% of the population, second to Union City at 84.7%. Perth Amboy is known as the "City by the Bay," referring to Raritan Bay.
The colonies were in the middle of the French and Indian War at the time of Bernard's arrival. He established a good working relationship with New Jersey's assembly, and was able to convince the province to raise troops and funds for the ongoing war effort. He signed the Treaty of Easton, an agreement between New Jersey and Pennsylvania on one side, and a group of Indian tribes (the Lenape being of principal concern to New Jersey) fixing boundaries between colonial and Indian lands. This effort was important, for it reduced raiding on the frontiers and made possible the reallocation of provincial military strength to the war with New France.It and other agreements negotiated by Bernard extinguished all of the remaining Indian titles to New Jersey. Negotiations with the Lenape also resulted in the establishment of the first formal Indian reservation, Brotherton, near present-day Indian Mills. This reservation was only sparsely populated, and was abandoned in 1801 when its remaining inhabitants joined the Stockbridge Indians in upstate New York.
Through the influence of his connections in the Colonial Office, Bernard was appointed governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in late 1759.Delays in communications and slow travel were such that Bernard did not arrive in Boston until 2 August 1760. Although initially warmly welcomed, his tenure in Massachusetts was difficult. Bernard sought to vigorously enforce the Navigation Acts, in part because crown officials (including the governor and the customs officials) received shares of the proceeds from the seizure of ships that were caught violating the acts. The legal actions involving these seizures were heard in a jury-less admiralty court before a Crown-appointed judge, and were extremely unpopular. Bernard also made an early opponent of James Otis, Jr. by appointing Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson to be chief justice of the province's highest court, a post that had been promised by several previous governors to Otis' father. Upset over the snub the younger Otis resigned his post as advocate general (i.e. the Crown's representative, equivalent to a government prosecutor) before the admiralty court, and devoted himself instead to arguing (sometimes pro bono ) on behalf of the merchants in defense of their ships. These early actions during Bernard's tenure drew a clear dividing line between the "popular party" (exemplified by the Otises) opposed to British colonial policy and the "court party" (exemplified by Hutchinson) who supported it.
Bernard's difficulties were compounded when, after the death in late 1760 of King George II, it became necessary to reissue writs of assistance to customs tax collectors. These writs, which were essentially open-ended search warrants, were judicially controversial and so unpopular that their issuance was later explicitly disallowed by the United States Constitution. Hutchinson, who approved the writs in one of his first acts as chief justice, saw his popularity fall, and Otis, who argued the writs violated the Rights of Englishmen, gained in popularity. He was elected to the provincial legislature in May 1761, where he was well placed to continue his attacks on Bernard's policies.In the 1761 session of the assembly Otis engineered the gift of Mount Desert Island to Bernard, a partially successful stratagem to divert Bernard's attention from ongoing customs seizures.
Bernard's unpopularity continued through other tax measures, including the Sugar Act (1763) and the Stamp Act (1765). While the passage of both acts occasioned protest, the response to the Stamp Act included rioting in the streets, and united many factions in the province against the governor.In 1767 the passage by Parliament of the Townshend Acts again raised a storm of protest in the colonies. In Massachusetts the provincial assembly issued a circular letter, calling on the other colonies to join it in a boycott of the goods subject to the Townshend taxes. Bernard was ordered in April 1768 by Lord Hillsborough, who had recently been appointed to the newly created office of Colonial Secretary, to dissolve the assembly if it failed to retract the letter. The assembly refused, and Bernard prorogued it in July.
Maier says that his letters to London greatly influenced officials there, but they "distorted" reality. "His misguided conviction that the 'faction' had espoused violence as its primary method of opposition, for example, kept him from recognizing the radicals' peace-keeping efforts....Equally dangerous, Bernard's elaborate accounts were sometimes built on insubstantial evidence."Warden argues that Bernard was careful not to explicitly ask London for troops, but his exaggerated accounts strongly suggested they were needed. In the fall of 1767 he warned about a possible insurrection in Boston any day, and his exaggerated report of one disturbance in 1768, "certainly had given Lord Hillsboro the impression that troops were the only way to enforce obedience in the town." Warden notes that other key British officials in Boston wrote London with the "same strain of hysteria." Four thousand British Army troops arrived in Boston in October 1768, further heightening tensions. Bernard was vilified in the local press, and accused of writing letters to the ministry that mischaracterized the situation. Although he was challenged to release those letters he refused. Opposition agents in London were eventually able to acquire some of his letters, which reached members of the Sons of Liberty in April 1769. They were promptly published by the radical Boston Gazette , along with deliberations of the governor's council. One letter in particular, in which Bernard called for changes to the Massachusetts charter to increase the governor's power by increasing the council's dependence on him, was the subject of particularly harsh treatment, and prompted the assembly to formally request that "he might be forever removed from the Government of the Province." He was recalled to England, and Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson became acting governor. When Bernard left Boston on 1 August, the town held an impromptu celebration, decorated the Liberty Tree, and rang church bells.
His accomplishments in Massachusetts included the design of Harvard Hall at Harvard University and the construction of a summer estate on Pond Street in Jamaica Plain.
Upon his return to England, he asked for and received a hearing concerning the colonial petition against his rule. The Privy Council in February 1770 considered the petition, and after deliberation dismissed all of the charges as "groundless, vexatious, and scandalous."Despite this vindication, Bernard resigned as governor in 1771. He was confirmed in the ownership of Mount Desert Island, a recognition he had been seeking since it was awarded to him in 1761. Although he had been promised a baronetcy and a pension of £1,000 for his service, he learned after his return that the pension had been reduced to £500 (the baronetcy, of Nettleham, was awarded at crown expense). His appeals on the matter were at first rejected, but when Lord North became Prime Minister in 1770, the pension was raised, but shortly after replaced by an appointment as commissioner on the Board of Revenue for Ireland, which paid the same amount.
Bernard became an advisor to the North administration on matters concerning the colonies. He generally took a harder line than his predecessor Thomas Pownall, who advocated for colonial interests in Parliament. Proposals he made in 1771 included ideas central to the 1774 Massachusetts Government Act, which severely constrained colonial political power, including a council appointed by the governor rather than one elected by the assembly.Bernard may also have played a role in the difficulties Benjamin Franklin had in being recognized as a colonial agent; after Franklin's credentials were refused by the colonial secretary, he encountered Bernard in an antechamber. Biographer Colin Nicolson observes that Bernard's presence as an advisor to the ministry "cast a shadow on virtually every American measure regarding Massachusetts that [Lord Frederick] North pursued between 1770 and 1774," because of Bernard's role in breaking trust between the colonists and the London government and the subsequent radicalization of Massachusetts politics.
In 1774, when the North government was considering how to respond to the Boston Tea Party, Bernard published Select Letters on Trade and Government, containing proposals on how to deal with the ongoing difficulties in the colonies. He proposed to reconcile the constitutional grievances of the British and radical Americans by the possible introduction of American representatives into the Parliament of Great Britain.In the Select Letters, which included the essay Principles of Law and Polity which he drafted in 1764, he laid out a point-by-point exposition of his viewpoints concerning imperial governance. Some of his ideas were enacted, notably those enshrined in the Massachusetts Government Act; the outrage in London even sparked the sympathetic colonial advocate Thomas Pownall to propose the closure of Boston's port, which was enacted in the Boston Port Act.
In late 1771 Bernard was bequeathed the manor at Nether Winchendon upon the death of a cousin to whom he had been close since childhood. Combined with other uncertainties about where various family members would reside after he received the Irish appointment, the stress of the situation led Bernard to suffer a stroke.His mobility was impaired, but he took the waters at Bath, which appear to have helped his recovery. He applied for permission to resign the Irish post, and settled first at the Nether Winchendon manor; in 1774 his resignation was accepted and his pension restored. He was well enough in 1772 to travel to Oxford, where he received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from his alma mater, Christ Church. Because of his health he moved later in 1772 to a smaller house in nearby Aylesbury. He died on 16 June 1779, after an epileptic seizure, at Nether Winchendon; his grave is in St Mary's churchyard, Aylesbury.
Bernard never believed the difficulties he had in Massachusetts were personal: instead of accepting some responsibility, he blamed his problems on the policies emanating from London that he was instructed to implement.John Adams wrote that Bernard's "antagonistic reports" of matters in Massachusetts were instrumental in turning British government policymakers against colonial interests. Bernard's name headed a list drawn up in Massachusetts after the American Revolutionary War broke out of "notorious conspirators against the government", and most of his property there was confiscated. Mount Desert Island was not entirely taken; Bernard's son John, who resided in Maine during the war and sided with the victorious Americans, was able to receive Massachusetts title to half of the island.
Upon the election of James Bowdoin to be Governor of Massachusetts in 1786, Reverend William Gordon in his sermon warned Bowdoin that he ignored the state's legislature at his peril, as Bernard had.
Vealtown, New Jersey, a town first settled around 1715 and located in Bernards Township, was renamed Bernardsville in Bernard's honour in 1840.Bernardston, Massachusetts was incorporated during his Massachusetts administration and is named for him. Bernard also named Berkshire County, Massachusetts (after his county of birth) and Pittsfield, Massachusetts (after British Prime Minister William Pitt).
John Hancock was an American merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" has become a synonym in the United States for one's signature.
The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.
The Boston Massacre, known to the British as the Incident on King Street, was a confrontation on March 5, 1770 in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston. The event was heavily publicized by leading Patriots such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. British troops had been stationed in the Province of Massachusetts Bay since 1768 in order to support crown-appointed officials and to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation.
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(President Of Council)
| Governor of the Province of New Jersey |
| Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay |
2 August 1760 – 1 August 1769
|Baronetage of Great Britain|
|New title|| Baronet |