922 | To the Earl of Dartmouth

    Aylesbury Apr 18 1775

    My Lord

    When I was last in town I was desirous of waiting on your lordship ^to show what a proper opportunity the present time afforded for the erecting the territory of Sagadehock into a separate Government to the greatest advantage of the imperial state. But the important business that I then found your lordship engaged in and the full employment which it afforded to your whole office made me unwilling to appear to interrupt the present necessary undertakings, by interposing fresh business, tho really such as would tend greatly to assist the general cause of Government now in hand.

    But having received a letter from America intended to be communicated to your Lordship, the truth and importance of which I am convinced of, I dont think myself at liberty to suppress it.1 For as it recommends a measure that might be made of the greatest utility to Government, and was the very thing I have been to propose2 to your lordship I am rather induced thereby to get the better of my former diffidence in giving your Lordship trouble.

    The erecting the territory of Sagadehock at this time into a new Government would be a plane & at the same time a refined piece of policy; It would prevent much evil and produce much good. The Objections heretofore made to this measure are all removed or turned on the other side of the question. There is no tampering with the Massachusets now; they have flung off the mask. The fire is broke out & it will take time to extinguish it[:] the more immediate concern will be to prevent its spreading & to confine it to as narrow a circle as possible. This is entirely in your own power, and at the same time in a great measure to prevent the mischeifs & counterwork the operations of the Massachusets rebells against the mother country.

    I would not now rest this cause, ^only^ on the reasonableness & expediency of supplying this ^people^ with law & gospel, which at present to a great length of country they are entirely without. But I would put the question whether this country with now 20,000 inhabitants & continually encreasing in the most rapid manner & extending for more than 200 miles of length of coast, shall be formed into a government under the subjection & ordinance of Great Britain, or shall remain in a state of anarchy, or receive what little Government they have from the Convention of Cambridge.3 The People themselves, from whom according to modern politicks all authority is derived, desire to be the subjects of Great Britain & to be free from the resentment she has had occasion to express against the old Massachusets. If Great Britain will accept them as subjects de novo, there can be no doubt but they will keep their faith, because it will never be in their power to break it, & it may be made beyond all measure for their intrest to persevere in it.

    If Sagadehock is formed into a new Government it must receive its constitution immediately from the King authorised by parliament to avoid that country being included in the old charter. As it is it is impossible they should enjoy this ^country under the charter^ if they were fit to be trusted with the bringing up a new colony in the principles of Government; Neither could the People of Sagadehock enjoy the benefit of Government from Boston if the latter was not in rebellion. In forming the Government care may be taken that that4 principles of rebellion shall have no place: indeed little more will be wanted than the present constitution of the royal Governments. As this Country is now swarming not only without the sanction of law, but even in defiance of it, it must receive a rapid population, when it is authorised by law. And if there could be any reason to desire to keep this country depopulated, yet it cannot be done; it will be peopled at all events; and the only question is whether you will have it peopled by orderly people subjects of Great Britain & usefull to its state; or be inhabited by folks remaining in a state of nature without law or gospel subject to no Government.

    Sagadehock has at present, I suppose, not fewer than 20,000 souls: and if a government should be formed there and encouragement given by grants of lands to settlers, I make no doubt but that in 3 or 4 years time the inhabitants would amount to not less than 100,000. It would form a resort for the persecuted royalists of mass bay & rewards for some of them; it would also afford a safe place for the exercise of the fishery which the people of New England have justly forfeited, without interfering with the proper resentment of Great Britain; It would supply with lumber & other things usually imported thither the West Indies, and afford some market for their goods, which the old colonies at present deny to them; it would open a new market & not an inconsiderable one for British goods; it might be made very advantageous to Great Britain by supplying it with Lumber &c which they now fetch from the north of Europe at a considerable loss of trade; it would serve effectually to humble the pride & to shew the impotence of the rebellious colonies of New England, and it would afford a fresh instance of the tenderness of great Britain towards her American subjects & the proper mode of colonial Government, which at this time is wanted to be exemplified in New England.

    Many other advantages to arise from this establishment might be pointed out. But what makes me the more earnest sollicitor on its behalf is, that I see plainly, that it will reflect great honour on your lordships Administration of the Colonies; as from the timely use which be may made of it;5 the many and extensive advantages which will follow it; and the ^rapid^ population which will be the effect of it; it will greatly exceed all the colonisations wch have ^been made^ in my time, in benefit to Great Britain.

    I should be glad to give this scheme any assistance in my power; and for that purpose will draw up a memorial in form if it will be of any use: I will ^wait upon^ your lordship to give any information that shall be wanted, being well acquainted with the country having made sevral voyages to it whilst I was Governor. I shall attend your lordship when I come to town, which I intend in 10 or 12 days time.

    I am with great respect, My Lord, your lordships most obedient humble Servant

    Fra, Bernard

    The right honble the Earl of Dartmouth

    AL, RC      Dartmouth Papers, American Papers: D(W)1778/II/1223.