311 | To Richard Jackson

    Castle William Oct 22 1764

    Dear Sr

    You inform me1 that you apprehend that the Consideration of a New Division of the Governments of New England will ^may^ soon come upon the tapis:2 I take this to be an Hint for me to give you my Sentiments upon it: as I have long ago entertained a Notion that some such Scheme would be set on foot sooner or later: I must own ^and as^ I have turned this in my thoughts a good deal, and I will give you my Sentiments upon it as well as I can in the hasty manner in which I am at this time obliged to write.3

    If there was nothing to be done but to make an Arrangement of the Country so as to form it into Governments properly sized & bounded, without regarding the humours & prejudices, of the people It would be a very easy work. But as It will be Expedient to take the dispositions of the Inhabitants into the Consideration, It becomes more difficult; and ^as^ the Very best Scheme would be exceptionable if it was like to meet with the general Opposition from the People. It therefore becomes ^is^ necessary to evry proposal of this kind to enquire how far it is like to be approved or disapproved by the generality of those who are to be immediately affected by it. I say the generality: for it will be impossible to form any Scheme for the alteration of the boundaries & s of Governments to which the particular ^separate^ Intrests of particular persons & some even whole Towns will not raise some opposition. & even be some difficulty.^But notwithstanding these & other difficulties incidental to it I conceive such a division to be very practicable &^ I will consider this ^it in^ two ways: 1 for a New arrangement of all New England 2 for a new arrangement of Massachusets & New hampshire

    The first will be most advantageous to the publick & as probably as practicable as, ^ possibly more so than^ the other, In this Arrangement It is proposed ^obvious^ to make 3 Governments: the first to consist of the Colony of Connecticut the Colony of Rhode Island, All  of  ^& that part of^ the Provinces of the Massachusets & the Province of New hampshire ^which lies^ on the Westside of the Merrimack, to be united together under the Massachusets Charter. The Second, __ of the little slip of the Massachusets on the East side of the Merrimack. The other part of Newhampshire lying on the East side of Merrimack & the whole Province of Main, that is to the River Sagadehock or Amerescoggin.4 The Extent of this province in a right line along the Sea will be 110 miles that is 20 miles westward of Portsmouth & 90 Eastward. The third __ to contain the Territory of Sagadehock only, that is from the River Sagadehock to the River St Croix. The Extent of this in a right is at least 200 & not much more ^line is about 200 miles^, as I have observed ^it^ in my last Voyage by calculations of time & rate of sailing, as well as by the common estimates.

    Of these the first mentioned will ^would^ be the compleatest Government ^Province^ in America, not in its extent, for it will be contained within very proper ^very reasonable^ bounds, but for its trade & populousness, which contain ^make^ the whole of North American riches. It will not be unwieldy in as to its ^the^ execution of its Government nor dangerous in its power. The Union of its members will be very natural both in regard to the ^on account of the^ conformity of their royal manner & forms & religions found; which will very much contribute to make such a conjunction agreable to all parties. So that One might expect that a proposition^al^ for such an Union would be Very well received by all parties ^on all sides^, if the one was not aware of the effects of the love of power & self intrestthe perquisiteswhich prevail more or less the Love of power & self intrest was ^were^ not to intervene. If Connecticut & Rhode Island think they shall be able to preserve their Charter-form of Government they, that is the Governing party, will not be willing to part with it. But It is said (I speak without any knowledge of my own) that they have no hopes of preserving such forms. If that is the Case what can they wish for more than to be joined to a Government ^Province^ similar to them in all respects except that of the intervention of the Kings Authority, the want of which in their Governments is the bane of their constitutions, & must destroy their establishment of it?

    Nevertheless there will be these difficulties to combate with: Massachusets will expect that Boston shall be the Capital of the united Government; Connecticut will think it unreasonable for that their Members of Assembly should be attended ^be carried to^ such a distance; & that their Suitors at Law should attend a Superior Court held at Boston. These Objections are easily obviated: The Assembly may be held at a middle place between the extremes of the Government: the Superior Court of Boston is ambulatory, & so I suppose is that of Connecticut. If this is not sufficient, I see no reason why there may not be two ^distinct^ Superior Courts kept under one Legislature. It is so in Great Britain .5 In regard to private persons in place, Care must be taken that they shall not suffer by ^the^ change & they must be made acquainted ^with^ how th[. .] it what Compensation is design’d for them. The Additional Offices necessary to such an extension of Government will go a great way to this purpose.

    If this Union could be brought about, the rest of the Scheme would execute itself. New hampshire is entirely in the Kings hands & there can be no doubt but they would be glad to exchange their Wast ground lands on the North of the present Country Massachusets for the Well cultivated Shore of Maine. Indeed the Inhabitants of Maine would probably make objections to their being joined to New hampshire: but they would be easily removed  by satisfying some of the leading men, which are not very many. The Capital of this Government would remain at Portsmouth: and there would be no other alteration but that the Inhabitants of Maine would be placed under a ^meer^ royal Government instead of a royal-charter one ^charter-royal one^, a distinction, ^in my opinion,^ of very little real Consequence.

    As for the third Government there would be very little Consent of people to ask; & that would be readily obtained by the prospect of having a Governm[ent] brought home to them. It would not be advisable to fix the Seat of Government determinately at present: the best settled part of it now is the River Kennebeck where there are now 10 or 12 good Towns. This would do very well for the Seat of ^the^ Government for the present: but as it is ^this will be^ at the very extremity of it Some other ought to be established hereafter when Time & Occasion shall make it practicable. The River Penobscot affords the finest spot ^Site^ for a Capital in America: but then one side of it is claimed by proprietors the heirs of Col Waldo, 6 the other side for 30 miles length contains 4 of the 6 New Townships: but both these might be reconciled to the establishment of a Capital there: however this must be a Work of time.

    If this Division was to take place New England would afford instances of three kinds of Provinces: one arrived to maturity; one in its middle state; & one in its infancy.

    But if Connecticut & Rhode Island are to be put out of the Question & the only enquiry is how to be divided Massachusets & New hampshire into portions suitable for Government, It seems to me this must be the Division: to add to Massachusets New Hampshire & that part of the province of Main which lies Eastward of the River Saco; that is about 42 miles East of Portsmouth. I wont say that the Massachusets would not accept the whole Province of New Hampshire ^alone^ as an equivalent for Main & Sagadehock but if they would, it will would be still advisable to add the part of Main abovementioned; as the Eastern province would ^after that^ be still of ^too^ great length, if it only [comenced?]^began^ from Saco river; for then it would be ^about^ 250 miles long in a short sea coast line. And within this division a Very fine Capital Town offers itself for the present at least; I mean Falmouth in Casco bay. It is a Very flourishing & Encreasing Town: I saw it about 2 months ago & I saw it about 2 years before, & I was amazed at the number of fine houses that had been built in the interval. At both times I saw a great Quantity of Shipping on the Stocks; & It is of late become a great ^principal^ port for Masts. Upon the whole it is by much the most growing Town in the whole Country & would very soon, if a Government was settled there, become a Very fine Capital. And yet for this Eastern province This Town, altho’ it is 60 miles eastward of Portsmouth would be exceptionable for being at too great a distance from the Eastern parts of the province,

    There may be another plan for making 3 Governments without Connecticut & by taking in the ^whole^ North side of the Bay of Fundy. That is to join proper  Massachusets, New Hampshire & Rhode Island into one Government; Main & that part of Sagadehock on the West Side of Penobscot with Falmouth for their Capital for another; And the rest of Sagadehock on the East Side of Penobscot together with the whole North Shore of the Bay of Fundy ^for a third^. This ^last^ would be intirely a new Government ^Province^, there not being now, I suppose, ^much more than^ an hundred families settled upon the whole of it ^& most of those unusually poor^. Of this ^The Bay of^ St Croix would be a fine place for a Seat of Government, unless St Johns River should be preferred which I have not seen. But St Croix I am well enough acquainted ^with^ to pronounce it as any fine commodious a Bay for making a ^Capital^ settlement as any in America

    This leads to another Question which may be considered separately from any of the foregoing plans; the Result of which may be sufficient to produce the last mentioned Government immediately & leave the other Arrangements to a future time: What will be a proper equivalent for that part to induce the Massachusets to surrender the Lands between Penobscot & St Croix? For you know it has been allways taken from them been my Opinion that these Lands cannot well be taken from them but by way of Convention. To this I answer that It is my opinion ^believe^, that they would readily accept that part of New hampshire which lies on the West side of the Merrimack to be continued as far Westward as their own Western Line as an equivalent for that part of Sagadehock lying ^which lies^ Eastward of Penobscot. And when you consider that all that part of New hampshire has been is granted, & the Lands between Penobscot & St Croix are unlocated, excepting the 12 Towns & Mount desart, It is little enough. If this bargain was ^to be^ made separate ^at present^ The Exchange of Main & the Western part of Sagadehock for New Hampshire might be ^made^ another bargain & deferred to an further ^other^ opportunity. And ^But^ if this ^last^ alone was in question, it would be very advisable: for It would surely be ^much^ for the advantage both of the King & the people to join Proper Massachusets & New Hampshire ^together^ & erect Main & ^the part of^ Sagadehock Westward of Penobscot into a Separate Government, for which Falmouth would afford a most Convenient & suitable Capital: This Government Province would be 150 miles long in a straight [country?] line along the Coast

    To give a more certain Idea of these sevral divisions I will add a Line of Measures. Boston — 60 to — Piscataway or Portsmouth — 60 — Falmouth — 30 — Kennebeck — 60 — Penobscot — 30 — Mount desert —90 —Passimaquoddy or St Croix. I reckon to the Capes or Mouths of Rivers only & by the smallest reckoning, along the Coast in streight lines. I have thus given you my thoughts in an hasty & a rough manner: but you must take it as it is, as my hands are full of business & the Assembly is sitting.

    I am Sr your most faithful & obedient Servant

    R Jackson Esqr

    ADft, AC BP, 10: 230-237.