295 | To John Pownall

    Boston Augt. 2. 1764

    Dr. Sr.

    In my last letter dated July 11th1 I acquainted you that the popular politicians were all alive & that we might expect some consequencies from it. I now send you the production of a first rate Polititian of this Province  which has been ushered in with Great expectations. As the writer is by nature Violent & Vehement in his principles, this piece appears to us more temperate & decent than was at first expected:2 however indecent & intemperate it may show on your side the water. I send you two other Copies for the Lords H. & H. It is such writers as these, of which we may expect more, which would have induced me to have published the Principles &c in America: if I had thought myself at liberty to do so of my own accord: for a considerable part of it is conceived as Argumentum ad Populum.3 I also send you two other Copies of the Rhode Island papers, as they are both curious of their kind.4

    I shall send by this a duplicate of My Letter concerning Fort Pownall. The more I consider this business the more important it appears to be: and It seems now to me that I ought to have addressed myself to Lord Halifax on this subject. If it should ^so^ appear or be understood at his Office, I must desire you to apologise for me.

    I also transmit ^to you^ a Certificate of my having taken the Oath required by the late Act of Parliament; and desire you would communicate it to their Lordships & order it to be registered or filed in the office.5 I don’t know that this is necessary but I think it a proper caution.

    The Delay of the Confirmation of the Grants has been of considerable disadvantage to Mount desert. I have upon the Assurances allready received, expended a good deal of Money there:6 I have markt out a Town, built two houses for my own use, erected a Sawmill7 & am preparing for another; & I propose this fall to clear part of the Streerts [Streets] of the Town, & to have the whole Island Surveyed. Nevertheless for want of being able to do public acts of ownership, such as advertising &c the settlement does not go on. I am now in Treaty for 80 families from Germany, to whom I have proposed to give 2,000 Acres. If I should lose these people for want of my confirmation, it would be a mortifying disappointment.8

    I had intended, when I had received advice of the Confirmation to have wrote to their Lordships my thoughts concerning the forms, which would be proper to be observed here in the making future Grants. But by the Confirmation not being passed I am prevented doing this; as I can’t propose a method for conducting future grants till it is determined that We have a right to make grants at all. But I cant now mention to you in private my thoughts upon this Subject. At present It is claim[ed?]9 by the house of Representatives that all grants of lands shall originate in their house. In this they confound grants of land with grants of Money: which are not similar; as the latter arising from taxes on the people are a kind of money bill, the other has nothing of Money in it. By these means the Governor & Council have nothing to do in the locating lands but to consent or deny. however I allways avoid entring into disputes about priviledges; and in this case we can do without it by the method hereafter mentioned.

    I would have an order to me so conceived that I may lay it before the General Court, to this purpose: That when any petition for a Grant of lands in Sagadehock is intended, before it is prefered to the General Court, it shall be presented to the Governor, who shall in council enquire into the truth or probability of the Allegations of the petition (upon oath if it shall be required) & particularly of the ability of the Grantees to perform the conditions of the grant & of the manner in which & the Country from whence it is proposed to settle the lands: which Enquiry shall be reduced into writing together with the opinion of the Governor & Council upon the whole: but if such opinion shall be in favour of the Petetion then the Petetion with the report of the Governor & Council thereupon shall be laid before the house that the Grant thereupon may originate there & pass through the Council to the Governor as usual. By these means The Method of granting will approach some thing nearer to that used in Royal Government & the House will still have its Negative. Whereas by the present method, The House may send up a Grant, which the Governor & Council may not cordially approve & yet may not know how to deny. And indeed I fear that without some such means of restraint, the Grants may exceed the Provincial powers of settling; tho’ the latter are certainly considerable. If such an order as I propose should be thought advisable I should be glad to receive it before the end of the present Year or at the very beginning of the new Year.

    I am with great truth Dr. Sr. your most faithfull servt. &c

    J Pownall Esqr.

    L, LbC BP, 3: 244-246.