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Sale 2517 Lot 12
INCLUDING HER MEMORIES OF THE BOSTON MASSACRE (AMERICAN REVOLUTION--PRELUDE.) Smith, Julia Bernard. Manuscript memoir of life as daughter of colonial governor Francis Bernard. 71-113,  manuscript pages. 8vo, 19th-century 1/2 sheep over marbled boards, moderate wear; numerous leaves excised from the front and rear of the volume, otherwise minimal wear. Np, 1900 (transcript of a work written from 1822 to 1830)
Estimate $1,500 - 2,500
Sir Francis Bernard (1712-1779) was sent from England to serve as colonial governor of New Jersey (1758-60) and Massachusetts (1760-69). His heavy-handed enforcement of the Stamp Act and other tax measures made him very unpopular among the patriots of Massachusetts. When he was recalled to England in 1769, Boston's church bells were rung in celebration. This memoir was written by his daughter Julia Bernard Smith (1759-1834), who was born in New Jersey and spent much of her childhood at Castle William in South Boston. She and her mother remained for a year after Governor Bernard returned to England, through Christmas 1770.
She wrote this memoir from 1822 to 1830, recounting her life in the governor's household from the particular perspective of an older woman recalling her early childhood, and continuing to her life in England. Pages 75 to 99 are devoted to America. She recalls "a great number of servants, some black slaves, and some free white servants . . . we had a man cook, a black who afterward came with us to England." She recalled her father's difficulties sardonically: "The American rebellion was then on the ferment. My father . . . was not popular, but came in for a pretty good share of abuse from those sons of freedom who, to this day, make use of slaves as a regular system, an inconsistency truly absurd and laughable."
Smith recalls dramatic acts of mob violence. Her father had offered protection to a customs officer named Birch: "The mob in a most furious humor beset the house, filled the court before it, and threatened my father if he did not give up the person he protected. . . . We were all in a state of great terror for a considerable time." On another occasion, in a famous 1765 incident, "my father came one night in his barge from Boston & brought Lieut. Governor Hutchinson, his sister & two daughters whom he had thus rescued from the fury of the mob. . . . His house was stripped of everything & pulled down that night." Her memory of the Boston Massacre, after her father had left Massachusetts, is vivid: "Some common people asserted that the soldiers in general had risen upon the town's people, a general massacre had taken place & the streets were running with blood. Upon more minute enquiry it turned out something different. . . . Captain Preston had performed at my father's concerts and was well known to us."
The present volume was transcribed from Julia Bernard Smith's original manuscript in 1900 by her great-granddaughter Amy Adelaide Smith (born 1859) of New Shoreham, England. The original manuscript had apparently been in possession of her aunt Julia Schneider, who was preparing to send it to her sons in Australia. The transcription of the 1822 manuscript was made into the blank leaves of a partially used diary with leaves bearing watermarks from 1815--though the actual transcription was done in 1900. Some extracts from the memoirs were used in a family history published in 1902 by Sophia Elizabeth Higgins, "The Bernards of Abington and Nether Winchendon," but it has not been published in its entirety. Provenance: sold in 1998 by a bookseller in Cambridge, England to scholar Helene E. Solheim (1946-2016), and offered with her research notes.