154 | From Jonathan Belcher

    Halifax Nova Scotia 4th September 1762.


    I have paid all possible Attention to Your Excellency’s Letter 13th July last600 respecting the Boundaries, between Your Government and this Province, and from the best Information I can collect, I am to remark, that the King’s Commission and Instructions for the Government of this Province, extends it indiscriminately to all the Country known either by the Name of Nova Scotia or Acadie, & seems to comprehend all those Countryes, which were ceded to the British Crown in the Treaty of Utrecht by the French King.

    The Commissaries appointed to settle the line and determine the Bounds of that Cession have proved that from former Treaties, Demands & Rescripts, Acadie extended towards the Province of Main, in the smallest Limits as far Westward as Pentagoet601 or the River of Penobscot.__ They were very particular in distinguishing the Boundaries of the Country known by the Name of Acadia that being the point of their Commission, as this Country under that Name was formerly held by the French and was so ceded to the British Crown but their Attention was not equally necessary, to ascertain the English Claim of Nova Scotia, since that Name depended on Several Grants of the British Crown, which could not so absolutely affect the Matter in Dispute.__

    That Nova Scotia by the several Grants from the Crown of England, was the same Country as Acadie, if not of greater extent, will appear, from the Grant made to Sir William Alexander 1621 which as Your Excellency observes, extended no further than the River St. Croix Westward, but Sir William after he was created Earl of Sterling, obtained another Grant, which comprehended all those Lands lying to the Westward of St. Croix, as far as Kenebec River, which Country was also called by him Nova Scotia, and this was obtained in 1635 three Years after King Charles the first had Ceded the other Grant to France, So that of the Name of Nova Scotia became of equal Extent with the Country of Acadie, according to the most enlarged Bounds, ever claimed by the French.

    The Grant of the Government of Nova Scotia or Acadie as mentioned in Your Charter, was rather a Claim or Memorial of a Right, which the Crown formerly had or might have, to that Country, for upon Searching the Records of Your Province, You will find, that the French at that Time, were in [full?] Possession of the whole Country as far West as Penobscot River and the appointment of the Jurisdiction by the Crown over a Country then in the immediate possession of the Enemy, must be invalid, and could have no Effect, and therefore King William notwithstanding such delegation did upon the Subsequent Peace, cede & give up to the French the Country called Acadie or Nova Scotia, and it remained in the Hands of the French till the Year 1710, when it was reconquered by the English and by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713,602 it was fully confirmed to Great Britain, and soon after it was erected into a District and Seperate Government, from that of the Massachusetts.__

    The Crown has ever since esteemed this Country and all the Territories thereto belonging, the Right of the Crown excluded from your Charter, & in consequence of which the several Governors of this Province, have been impowered indiscriminately to grant any Lands upon certain Conditions, within the Province of Nova Scotia or Acadie, and in 1730 an Express Order and Royal Instruction was sent to Governor Phillips,603 to take Possession of the Lands between the Rivers St Croix and Kenebec and a Detachment of Soldiers was sent accordingly, & a Garrison kept at Pemaquid and tho this restriction was afterwards revoked and the Inhabitants suffered to remain under the Protection of the Massachusetts Bay, no Determination was made by the Crown, as to the Right of Government.

    Upon the whole therefore it should seem, that the Government and Property, of Right belong to the Crown, and that Application ought to be made there, for the ascertaining such Boundaries, as His Majesty may think will best answer his most gracious intentions of settling these Countries, the better to secure them to his Crown and Dominions.__

    This Representation is by no means intended, to controvert the Title, to any Lands or Claim of Right as belonging to the Massachusetts Bay by Charter, much less to hinder the Settlement of these Desert Lands for which good purpose I shall at all times most chearfully exert my utmost endeavours, but from the station I am honoured with, from the Duty and obligation I owe the Crown, it is incumbent on me to endeavour to set this Matter in a Clear point of light in behalf of the Crown, and I hope no groundless Suspicions nor unnecessary Trouble will arise or the least occasion of any; for whatever Measures His Majesty shall be pleased to injoin or direct, this Government will undoubtedly carry into immediate execution.—

    I shall avoid making any Grants of the Island of Grand Menan, or any other Lands you mention, till this Matter is determined by the Crown, agreeable to your request, altho’ that Island will be included even in Sr: Willam Alexander’s first Grant, which comprehends all Islands lying within Six Leagues of its Western boundaries, much less, Sir, shall I have any Objection to Your Excellency’s taking and presenting any Depositions or Testimonies, you may think essentially necessary for Supporting your Claim, or for better ascertaining such Lands and Rivers, as you may think will fall within the Limits or Claims made by Your Government.

    I have the Honor to be with very great respect,

    Sir Your Excellency’s Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

    Jonath’ Belcher

    His Excellency Governor Bernard.__

    ALS, RC Mass. Archs., 5: 474-478.