93 | To John Pownall

    Boston March 10th 1762

    Dear Sr.

    By the Ship Wolfe Cap Diamond422 which put to sea this morning & by the next packet boat I have sent duplicates of a Grant from the General Court to me of the Island of Mount desart.423 When I wrote my Letters upon this Subject I was so fully satisfied that this grant in no ways contradicted my 12[th] instruction concerning gifts & presents, that I took no notice of it But as I have since thought that it is better to anticipate an objection than to answer it after it is made, I have thought proper to add some observations concerning the instruction which forbids the Govr. to Assent to or receive any Gift or present from the Assembly.424

    1 The words Gift or present have always been understood to signify pecuniary only: and even in that sense it has never been thought contrary to that instruction to pay the Govr. for extraordinary expences, such as a journey to a congress, treaty or building a fort; and particularly the expences of the Commission & other Charges of coming into the Government So that I apprehend that I might on Account of the extraordinary expences of my second Commission have accepted a Sum of Money without disobeying my instruction.

    2 A Grant of unsettled Lands cannot be reckoned a Gift or present but is a contract for the clearing & settling the lands; which may or may not be beneficial to the grantee as the ballance between the expences of Clearing & settling & the Value of the lands shall hereafter prove.425

    3 if this grant could be considered as a gift or present, yet it would not be contrary to the instruction, as it is not to be in force untill his Majesty shall signify his approbation of it: which approbation being made a condition precedent must amount to a relaxation of the instruction before there is any act of disobedience.

    Perhaps you’ll think that I have taken unnecessary pains on this subject: but abundant caution seldom does hurt. on that Account you will excuse this trouble.

    I am Sr. your most &c

    John Pownall Esqr

    L, LbC BP, 2: 36.