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The Papers of Francis Bernard
Governor of Colonial Massachusetts, 1760–1769
Francis Bernard
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Governor Francis Bernard's historical reputation rests on his role in pushing the American colonists toward revolution. Bernard was the kind of government official without whom revolutions might not occur: A thwarted modernizer, despairing of metropolitan inertia and resentful of local power shifts that undermined his own authority, he sought and found retribution in a hostile portrayal of his opponents and critics. In 1768, the colonists and their governor vied to control information flowing to London. But it was Bernard who triumphed in the war of information, convincing the British government to send British troops to Boston to avert a possible insurrection and support the civil government. The colonists, meanwhile, struggled to find evidence that their governor was misrepresenting their cause. That evidence is presented here in full for the first time.

Distributed for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

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