Bernard, Sir Francis

, bart. descended from an ancient and respectable family originally of Yorkshire, was educated at Westminster school, where in 1725, he was elected into the college; and in 1729, became a student of Christ Church, Oxford, and took his master’s degree in 1736. From Oxford he removed to the Middle Temple, of which society he was afterwards a bencher. He practised at the bar some years and, going the Midland circuit, was elected steward of the city of Lincoln, and also officiated as recorder at Boston in that circuit. In February, 1758, he was appointed governor of New Jersey and in January, 1760, governor of Massachusetts Bay. Of this last province he continued governor ten years, receiving, during that time, the repeated and uniform approbation of the crown, amid many successive changes of the ministry at home and likewise preserving the confidence and good opinion of all ranks in the province, until the differences arising between the two countries, and the opposition given to the orders sent from Great Britain, made it a part of his official duty to take decisive measures for supporting the authority of government which, although generally approved in this country, could not fail, on the spot, to weaken and gradually undermine the degree of popularity he before enjoyed. His conduct, however, in | that trying and difficult situation gave such entire satisfaction to his majesty, that he was advanced while abroad, and without any solicitation, to the dignity of a baronet, in 1769, and was denominated of Nettieham, the present family estate near Lincoln.

The favourable sentiments which the province entertained for sir Francis before the controversy took place between Great Britain and the colonies, are shown by the expressions of acknowledgement and affection in their several addresses to him up to that period, and the constant approbation with which he was honoured by his majesty, appears from the dispatches of the different secretaries of state laid before the House of Commons, and printed by their order. His “Case before the Privy Council,” printed in 1770; and his “Select Letters,” in 1774; explain in a very satisfactory manner his conduct during the progress of the American revolution. After the war commenced, sir Francis returned to England, and resided mostly at Nether Wichendon, or Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. He died June 16, 1779, leaving a numerous family, of whom his third son, sir Thomas, the present baronet, chancellor of the diocese of Durham, is well known as a scholar and philanthropist. In 1752, sir Francis, who cultivated a highly classical taste, published “Antonii Alsopi Odarum libri duo,” 4to. (See Alsop), dedicated in an elegant copy of verses to Thomas duke of Newcastle. 1


Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes.—Betham’s Baronetage.