About the Project

The Bernard Papers project was established under the auspices of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts with a view to publishing a comprehensive selection of the papers of Francis Bernard (1712-79), governor of colonial Massachusetts between 1760 and 1769. It is led by Colin Nicolson and based at the School of Arts and Humanities: History and Politics, the University of Stirling.

Preference has been given to Bernard’s gubernatorial correspondence and items pertaining, in the main, to government, politics, and policymaking; each transcript is accompanied by critical editorial commentaries and each volume is prefaced by an introductory essay providing historical context and explaining editorial policy and method.

Bernard’s letters and other incidental papers provide an abundant insight into the personalities and bitter controversies agitating Boston in the pre-Revolutionary period. Often consulted by scholars in transcripts and microfilm, they constitute one of the most important sources on the period, yet this edition is the first comprehensive selection of his letters to be published. The explanation for this neglect can only be that, as far as American readers are concerned, he was on the wrong side of the conflict. The papers of John and Samuel Adams (long in print) need to be read side-by-side with Bernard’s views in order to understand fully events in Massachusetts leading up to the Revolution.