228 | To Richard Jackson

    Castle William Augst. 2. 1763

    Dear Sr.

    In the close of one of your letters846 you mention that it was hinted to you that the Crown would consent to the uniting Massachusets Connecticut & Rhode Island; & that you answered that a Consent would not be obtained else where. I would not have made such a proposal to you; but as the first mention of it comes from you & it has really been often talked of here among most sensible men, I would have you consider it well, whether such an Union might not be made advantageous to Connecticut.

    In the first place, you can’t expect that when the Colonies come to be regulated, Connecticut will preserve it’s present Constitution. A British Legislature independent of the King is such a Monster in Politicks that it can only be tolerated for want of time & oppertunity to reform them. Would it not be better for them to form the plan of their own reformation than to leave it to others to do it? Would not they like better to be united to a people connected with them by a similarity of religion & Manners upon a plan of Government as popular as can be hoped to be preserved in this Country, than to run the risk of being made a meer royal Government or added to one that is so & is dissimilar to them in Manners?

    As for their Charter; besides that it is under a Sentence which may yet be legally revived,847 to oppose a modern Grant of the King alone under very confined Views, in bar to the Parliaments providing for the governg. in the best manner, the people of a large Empire, will surely be a Vain & unsuccessful Work. For my own part I consider Government not to be a Right but a trust, and that the Royal Grants of Jurisdiction in America either to private persons or Corporations are no more than temporary provisions untill the Parliament that is the whole Legislature, shall settle the Governmt., Surely this is law now, whatever it was before the Revolution. Observe that I mean there is a Material distinction between Grants of propriety & grants of Jurisdiction; the former creates a durable right the latter only a temporary trust. The Advantages which will arise to Connecticut from such an Union are obvious. The Colony is, at present, as full as it can hold; emigrations are continually made to Countries & People dissimilar to their own. some go to Nova Scotia, to the Eastern parts of this Governmt., to the NWest parts of the Same & thro’ them to the North ^West^ Parts of New hampshire. others more adventurous have settled upon the Susquehannah, from whence they got away but just time to prevent a general Massacre would it not be very happy for these people if they could find Sufficient Settlements near home & bring the same within their own Jurisdiction? the thing is very practicable; as thus:

    I would not propose the union of our Province with the two Colonies without including the lands to the Westward of the river Merrimack as far North as the uppermost part of the River Connecticut, which according to Langdons Map of New hampshire would easily join with that of Merrimack.848 This with our lands on the west side of New hampshire only & the two Colonies would make a noble rich & extensive province exceptionable only on account of it’s power & riches, which objections should not come from you nor me. The Lands on the North side of Massachusetts, have been granted away to the Amount of 200 townships (as they say) but it is impossible for the Grantees to perform their Covenants for settling, tho’ the utmost allowances should be made; and therefore great part of these Lands must revert to the owners of the fee, or, what is the same, must be saleable for a Very trifle to real settlers. Here alone is a Sufficient resort for all the emigrants of Connecticut; they have it indeed at present: but will it not be much more valuable to them, if, by the Union proposed they consider themselves as not going out of their own Governmt.?

    I will now consider the difficulties that are like to attend this Affair: the most obvious of which is that if Boston is to be the Capital, Connecticut will be plainly disadvantaged by its distance from it. For this, I will only consider the convenience of the Attending the Courts of Justice, & the Grand Court of Parliament or General Court as it is called in this Province. For the first I see no impropriety but that, notwithstanding the Union of the Legislature the Administration of Justice may be kept separate & there may be still two Superior Courts of Justice independant of one another. For the Second, it will become reasonable & therefore no doubt will be readily ordered by the Legislature itself that the meeting of the Assembly shall be at a Place equally suitable, as near as may be to the different parts of the united Province. I am sensible that the towns now enjoying these meeting will except to this;849 but the General Equity & advantage of the united Province must prevail. As for the intrest of particular persons, who are now in Office, that may be easily provided for

    And now Sr., let me say that if from these loose hints & your improvement of them this Union can be brought about, we shall both of us have some pretension to no little Merit.

    I am Sr. Your most faithful &c

    R. Jackson Esqr

    L, LbC BP, 3: 89-92.

    Herein FB refers to two controversial sets of land grants. The first concerns the Wyoming Valley and land along the upper Susquehanna River that had long been coveted by white settlers from Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Settlement was problematic, since these areas had become a refuge for displaced Delawares and around eighteen other fragmented tribes. The community was led by “King” Teedyescung, whom FB had met at the Easton conference of Oct. 1758, and nominally protected by the Iroquois Confederation and the province of Pennsylvania. The aborted “massacre” to which FB alludes refers to the attempted settlement of Wyoming in May 1762 by ninety settlers from Connecticut under the auspices of the Susquehanna Company. The company claimed the valley under a provincial land grant of 1754, but the settlers’ designs were temporarily thwarted when threats of reprisals from the resident tribes prompted a withdrawal.

    The second set, the “Lands on the North side of Massachusetts,” were the so-called “New Hampshire Grants”—land grants in 131 New Hampshire towns issued by the colony’s government to over 6,000 persons, many of whom resided in other New England colonies; FB’s sons John and Francis were grantees in the town of Barnard, incorporated in Jul. 1761. See George P. Anderson, “New Hampshire Land Grants to Boston Men,” Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts 25 (1922-1923): 33-38.