199 | To Richard Jackson

    No. 10

    Castle William. Ap: 9th [1763]

    Dr Sr

    The Grants of the 6 Townships on the East side of Penobscot River are at length finished: they have waited for the returns of the Surveyors, the Grantees giving them the Security &c. & I have but just now got some of them executed. I was very desirous that this business, if it should be practicable, might be got thro’ the Offices before the vacation: but that I now give over. Nevertheless I am not inclined to leave any thing undone on my part, as I have already forwarded it as far as I have been able.

    The General Court has left it to the Grantees to procure the Kings Confcession^firmation^ of these Grants at their own Expence: which is but reasonable, as they are wholly gratuitous. But if the Right of the Province to make these Grants is disputed then the Province Agent is directed to support such Right. This is reasonable too: For it can’t be expected that the Grantees should defend such Charter, or that the Province should leave such defence to them. The first Motion therefore to be made must be by the Grantees tendring their Grants at the proper Offices for his Majesty’s confirmation

    This business has been hitherto transacted with me by one gentleman living in Boston who is considerably engaged in this undertaking & has a great weight with the other Adventurers. I have promised to him that I would endeavour to engage you to undertake the Conduct of solliciting the Confirmation, which he thankfully accepted. But as He had no formal appointment to act for the others He has advertised a meeting of the Grantees to appoint a joint Committee to direct the solliciting the Confirmation & to raise a sum of Money for the expence of it. And he desired that in the mean time I would prevail upon you to take all necessary steps to bring the business forward & save time.

    In this State things were, w hen I was informed 3 days ago that a Schooner was ready to sail for Bristol. As I know of no other Vessel that is like to sail from hence to England this month Yet, I laid hold of this opportunity to send you some papers to be doing with. I have prepared one of the Grants (the whole 6 being in the ^one^ deed) with a letter to the Lords of Trade to recommend it & a letter to Mr Pownall. I also send a printed Copy of a state of the Province’s right to these lands as reported to the Assembly by a Committee for Mr Pownall & another for you: this I before sent in MS as a private paper.740 I must refer to my letter to the Lords & Mr Pownall to prevent repeating which I have no time for. Nevertheless I shall give you some more of my thoughts upon this Subject just in the manner as they shall occur.

    If the Lords should not be inclined at present to admit the Right of the Massachusets to this tract of land, yet I think they must have great reluctance to prevent the Settlement which at all Events must be very advantageous to the generality of his Majesty’s Dominions. Most certainly if it is suffered to proceed, it will be a nest egg of an extensive population: on the other hand if it is disappointed, it will probably very much discourage the like Attempts for the future. This spot is at least 50 Miles distance from the nearest settled parts of the Massachusets, & I suppose near a hundred miles from the nearest settlement in Nova Scotia: I say this without having here any map to refer to. What a fine beginning may this Afford to connect the two Provinces together? And what a pity will it be that this opportunity should be lost upon account of a refined distinction against the plain letter of the Charter? & how will it be regretted, if after all, the Right of the Massachusets should be supported? as I can’t help thinking it will if it is to be determin’d by legal Arguments only. I am sensible there may be good reasons for postponing the determination of the right of the Massachusets, not only upon Account of deliberation (if the exceptions to it shall be thought to des[erve]741 it) but also in expectation of a new arrangement of this Country under a Compromise. But then let the Settlements go on with a proviso that it shall not determine the jurisdictional right. Whether this land shall [be] adjudged to the Massachusets within whose bounds it is literally contained, or to Nova Scotia, within whose bounds it is literally certainly is not contained, or to a New Province, which would perhaps be most advisable, if it could be done without change of injustice, It will not be the worse for having 700 or 1000 families upon it. For these reasons I have wrote to the Lords to recommend to them, with as much truth & sincerity, as if I had no Expectation in this Country, that if they are at present ^not^ disposed to Allow the right of the Province, they would, in favor of population, recommend the confirming these Grants, tho’ with a proviso that they shall not prejudge the Provincial Right.

    The Original Resolve of the General Court was for 12 Townships of which these are the 6 nearest to Penobscot. The other 6 go but slowly on, chiefly I believe on Account of the difficulties this business meets with. 3 of them are absolutely given up; the other 3 which are next to these 6 I believe, will go on. These kind of undertakings require the utmost encouragement: a little damp presently knocks ‘em up. I fear I shall lose the proposed Settlement at Mount Desart for want of ability to close absolutely with them.

    R. Jackson Esqr742

    L, LbC BP, 3: 45-49.

    Grants for twelve townships along the Penobscot River were voted on 20 Feb. and passed 2 and 3 Mar. JHRM, 38 pt 2: 265-267; Acts and Resolves, 17: 171-173. In 1764, the Board of Trade and the Privy Council considered the grants along with FB’s Mount Desert grant and delayed confirmation of both until 1771. JBT, 12: 58, 63, 100; APC, 4: 614; 6: 369-371.