Chapter V

Preparations for Promotion

THE problem of Madame de Leval and her fellow countrymen was but an embarrassing side issue to Bingham’s speculation; if he were to realize what he hoped from the Maine lands, he must start promotion on a large scale, both at home and abroad. Before proceeding further, it would be necessary to obtain accurate, trustworthy information on the District of Maine, the more so because of the rage for speculation in lands then prevalent and the large number of disappointments that investors, both in America and in Europe, had suffered as a result of inadequate knowledge of what they were buying. Bingham had received from Duer the sketchy reports of the Penobscot Million made by Phineas Bruce of Machias and Major Lemuel Trescott of Passamaquoddy.310 It now behooved him to enlarge and verify this body of information.

Accordingly, shortly after his return to Philadelphia upon the completion of his transactions with the Massachusetts Land Committee, he wrote to General Benjamin Lincoln at Hingham, enclosing a list of forty-four questions on the soil, climate, location, resources, and other characteristics of the District of Maine. General Lincoln, because of his prominent part in the Revolution and his service as Secretary of War under the Confederation, was a man whose word would be widely respected. He had intimate knowledge of Maine as a result of some speculations in that region in which he himself had been involved in the middle 1780’s. Despite the fact that the General’s land ventures down east had proved costly failures, his enthusiasm for the region was undiminished and his answers to Bingham’s questions would have warmed the heart of any chamber of commerce.311

Title-page of Bingham’s pamphlet published to advertise the Maine Lands.

Bingham sent a similar set of queries to Charles Vaughan,312 one of the leading citizens on the Kennebec, and was so delighted with the answers that General Lincoln and Vaughan gave him that he wrote to General Henry Jackson in Boston and asked him to have the questions printed on blank forms, with the suggestion that he get as many as possible of the members of the Massachusetts General Court from the District of Maine to fill them in.313 General Lincoln’s reputation and the enthusiasm for Maine which his replies evinced prompted Bingham to print the letter, after some editing had been done, in his pamphlet published in the spring of 1793 and entitled A Description of the Situation, Climate, Soil, and Production of Certain Tracts of Land in the District of Maine and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Four of the Maine members of the Massachusetts legislature produced a similar set of answers which were likewise printed in the pamphlet.314 These testimonials, especially the opinion of such a prominent citizen of the United States as Benjamin Lincoln, would serve, Bingham hoped, to stimulate interest in the Maine lands both in America and abroad.

Benjamin Lincoln to Bingham, Hingham, 26 February 1793 [BP]315

Hingham February 26. 1793

Dear Sir:

Your favor covering a number of questions came to hand by the last post. Being confined at home by a storm I now take up my pen, to make such answers to them, as my knowledge of facts will authorize. To state them to me did not require an apologie. I shall always be happy when you point out instances in which I may in any degree become more useful to you and my friends.

I shall take up your questions in the order in which they stand. After copying them, subjoin my answers.

Question 1. What was the population of the District of Maine in the year 1789, when the census was taken?

Answer 1. Ninety nine thousand five hundred and forty.316

Question 2. What has been the increase of population, by the most reasonable estimate since that time?

Answer 2. About one eighth annually.317 This you will observe is double the common increase of our country. I suppose the migrations thereto to be equal to the natural growth.

Question 3. What causes in your opinion will be the most likely to accelerate the population of the District?

Answer 3. For the State to remove an old statute, which requires that a master of a vessell shall give bonds before he can land an alien that they shall not ever after become a charge on the Commonwealth.318 A liberal encouragement to foriegners to leave their homes, and when here make their situation flattering by making them freeholders, and have the fee of such quantity of lands as shall if industrious secure an independent living in the morning and lay a foundation for a full supply of bread in the evening of life. Besides no time should be lost in opening some principal roads thro’ the country. This will facilitate a view of the lands. Their value only wants to be known to gain general attention, and accomodate after settlers. To cut a road thro’ the lottery townships from west to east, where the bays terminate, and the rivers commence, so as that they can be made passable by bridges and on this road establish in every ten miles good public houses. People would then travel thro’ the country without difficulty, from Boston to the eastern bounds of the United States. These are among the causes which in my opinion, will accelerate the population of the District.319

Question 4. What advantages are derived to the District of Maine from the independence of the United States, and from the system of legislation in Massachusetts, that will tend to promote a more rapid settlement of this country?

Answer 4. They derive all those advantages with others in being freemen, and of enjoying those rights which are the sweetness of life. The lands can now be granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without any royal signature. The system of legislation has been mild towards those inhabitants. The lands which they possessed before the year 1784 were given to the possessors, and the lottery townships were exempt from taxes and those sold are so to remain for many years. In general where taxes have been assessed they have been remitted, and have been given to the people for making roads, support of the gospel and schools.

Questions 5 and 6. Are not the advantages of situation and the fertility of the soil in this country great stimulants to the industry of its inhabitants?

Answers 5 and 6. Its situation being in a high healthy latitude the inhabitants become strong and nervous and labour ceases to be a burthen. A degree of it was never an evil. Hence from the fertility of the soil, and the ease with which the surplus finds a market, people are stimulated to great industry and are thereby preserved from that want which naturally succeeds idleness and dissipation. Their situation will always evince the truth of the observation that activity of body begets vigour of mind, the parent of information and a source of happiness. We are not to look for a spot of earth, as the seat of human bliss, where from its spontaneous growth the possessor can be fed and cloathd. From long observation I am rather inclined to believe the contrary to be true. Contrast the happiness and information of the natives living on the burning sands under the torrid zone with the happiness and information of the inhabitants of these northern states, and you will not be at a loss for a decision. To bring the contrast nearer home may offend. We are therefore not to look for an Eden, where the earth does not want subduing and dressing, or to be alarmed at the sight of a country where labor is indispensable to the well being of its possessors. Whereever this is the case you will find that men from the superintending care of the Deity are healthy and robust, fitted to all the duties required of them; and you will have the most incontestible proofs from the silvered locks of many of its aged inhabitants that they inhale a salubrious atmosphere.

Question 7. Is it not probable from the progression of population and cheapness of living that manufactures will flourish and rapidly increase in the District?

Answer 7. From the present large demands for the produce of our farms and the ease with which all the produce of the district may reach a market, and its being a country so fully accomodated by large navigable rivers down which produce may find its way to the sea for a long while to come, and long after the inland parts of our country will want a market for their surplus, are suggestions in my mind that the people of the District will not for some time to come give up agriculture to manufactures.

Besides it is with difficulty we lead men off from old habits to new pursuits and whenever they are brot to it, they retire with reluctance and approach with doubt.

However when it shall appear to be the interest to manufacture, they can always attend to it as they have the raw materials for manufacturing most of the necessaries of life amongst themselves.320

Question 8. Does not the vicinity of the sea countervail the small difference of latitudinal position and render the climate of Maine more temperate than that of the Genesee country?

Answer 8. From their vicinity to the sea the inhabitants enjoy the benefit of those saline particles which meliorate the air, and make it much less acute than it is far inland. Altho’ the degrees of cold exceed those experienced in Boston, yet from the regularity of the weather, and the fitted state of the body to the situation, the people do not suffer more from the cold than they do about Boston. I have suffered as much from the cold in Carolina as I ever experienced in Massachusetts, and I saw in one instance the effects more strongly marked there, than in this state. A ship struck about three leagues from shore. The men all possessed themselves of the boat, thirteen in number. She drifted on shore, and when found, there was not one man alive; they died sitting at their oars. The weather at that time was not so cold as the weather farther north nor were they fitted to bear it. There appeared a greater difference between the degrees of cold and the abilities of the men to support it than is ever found in this country. So that we are not to estimate the evils of cold entirely by the degrees thereof, but with our ability to bear it. I am not acquainted with the Genesee country, cannot therefore contrast the cold there with the degree of it in the District of Main.

Question 9. Does not the clearing of the land sensibly affect the climate and render it more moderate?

Answer 9. The clearing of the country has been so partial in the District of Maine that we can hardly determine any thing from experience on the important subject. Philosophy is so fully in favor of the proposition that we ought not to doubt but that the clearing of the land will have the effect suggested.321

Question 10. Does not the arable ground of this country yeild very well when sown in English grain, as wheat, barley, oats, flax, etc.?

Answer 10. We have had abundant proofs that these will all do well, and that the soil appears to be very friendly to them. Those also who have planted Indian corn have succeeded very well, where the land has been in order for it and where the seed has been of a proper kind.

Question 11. Does not the meadow and upland pasture yeild well of the grass natural to the soil, and of the English grasses when sown?

Answer 11. From the natural grass we have good feed and mowing; all the exotic grasses have succeeded well where tryal has been made of them.

Questions 12 and 13. Are the lands in this District well adapted to the raising of oxen, sheep, mules and horses, and are the fleeces of the sheep large and the quality of the wool good?

Answers 12 and 13. The lands are very friendly to the growth of oxen, mules, and horses, after they are cleared, and, what is peculiarly advantageous to the settler, the cattle fatten well from the spontaneous growth of the wilderness. The sheep are very healthy and strong. Their fleeces are large and the texture of the wool fine and good.

Question 14. Does the abundance of grass and hay promise to render it a great provision country in meats, butter and cheese?

Answer 14. This District will undoubtedly be a good provision country, as the feed is nutritious and sweet, essential qualities for making good butter and cheese.

Question 15. Does not the proximity of the District to the Banks of Newfoundland and the smaller banks, that lie on the coast, make it a most eligible situation for the establishment of fisheries?

Answer 15. The proximity of the Banks of Newfoundland would doubtless be important in pursuing the fishery in the District of Maine, but that is not all; the weather is so temperate, that in prosecuting the business there, less injury would be experienced from the heat, the most fatal enemy to the fish, than is sufferd in and about Boston. Besides in many places the fish are taken within a lines’ length of the shore, and they are of such a kind as that many of them will make the best table fish. In the Bay of Passamaquody, there are pretty voyages made in small open boats without decks.

Question 16. Do the banks and rivers within the District so abound in fish as to ensure a certain and ample supply at all seasons?

Answer 16. Permit me to observe here that to have a supply of bank and river fish at all times, depends very much on our own conduct, for a supply of the bank fish in our harbours and near our shores depends on the state of the river fish. These nature has pointed to the sources of the rivers, the ponds, and lakes, the quiet waters of which give that security to the spawn necessary to its existence.

Hence it becomes important, if you would preserve those fish, to keep the passages open to the lakes and prevent any unnatural obstruction being thrown in their way. The loss of these fish to the island settler is peculiarly injurious to him, but the evil doth not end here. In proportion as the river fish decrease so will your shore fish dwindle, for they are allured into our harbours and about our shores in pursuit of the river fish, in their passage to and return from the rivers, and also by the fry, which fall down the rivers, late in the season. And as those fish are the natural food of the bank fish, they cannot find a support from any other source. Hence it is important to the proprietors of the inland country to see that the mouths of the rivers, on most of which are mills, are kept open. An attention to this may be considered as one means by which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may promote the interest and facilitate the settlement of the District of Maine. Nothing therefore is wanting to secure a full supply of fish for ever hereafter but an act to prevent unnatural obstructions being thrown in their way.

Question 17. What are the different kinds of fish taken on the coast or in the rivers?

Answer 17. Your question would have extended little farther than it now extends, had you asked me to enumerate to you the whole finny tribe. This I cannot do, or enumerate all the different kinds of fish to be found in the District. I shall content myself with mentioning a few the most common, the cod, the haddock and the polluck. These are the fish that are generally caught with the hook and dried. Besides these are the salmon, the shad, the bass, the herrings, the alewives, etc., etc.; added to these are the shellfish on the shores, the lobster, the clam, the scallop and the crab. I ought not to have omitted the salmon trout, because they are here very large and good weight, four or five pounds; besides the eel, the flounder, the torn cod and the smelt are of daily and common use.

Question 18. What are the several species of game and wild fowl in the District?

Answer 18. Herein you have assigned me a task but little inferior to the last. I am not enough of a sportsman to enumerate the several species of game. I can tell you however that in the District there are a great number of moose, bears, deer, beaver, racoon, foxes, rabbitts, sable, musquash, etc.; among the wild fowl are the goose, the duck, the widgion, the dipper, etc. etc.

Question 19. Is the soil well adapted to hemp and flax?

Answer 19. To the growth of flax we find it exceedingly friendly. I have not seen an experiment of hemp, but from the nature and strength of the soil, I have no doubt but hemp will succeed well.322

Question 20. Will the productions of the middle states generally succeed in the District?

Answer 20. I think all will succeed excepting the peaches, the cotton, and some garden plants. All the essentials certainly succeed such as the Indian corn, the wheat, rye, barley, oats, flax, apples, etc.

Question 21. Do lime and stone abound in the District?

Answer 21. Yea, they superabound.

Question 22. Have there been any discoveries of lead, copper or iron ores?

Answer 22. None to my knowledge but iron.

Question 23. Have coals been found in the District?

Answer 23. Not any that has fallen under my notice.

Question 24. What are the advantages to be derived from the wood that abounds in the neighborhood of the sea? May it be readily converted into planks, boards, scantling, shingles and staves?

Answer 24. The wood near the sea, not timber, finds a ready market in our different seaports for fuel. The large which we call timber trees, such as the pine, spruce, hemlock, cedar, oaks, birches, maples, etc., these answer respectively for shingles, boards, planks, staves, tun timber, etc.

Question 25. May the wood which is more removed from navigation be profitably converted into pot and pearl ashes?

Answer 25. From the hardwood the best pot and pearl ashes may be made; but it is quite a question among the farmers, how far it may be for their interest to attend to this manufacture while clearing their lands, whether on the whole their interest will be promoted by it or not, for if all the wood is left on the ground in a body it promotes the burning it. To have what they call a good burn is very important. It prepares the ground for the seed, the ashes serve to manure, the burning also destroys the moss and small brush, so that the clearing thereby is more complete, and a crop greatly promoted. If pot ashes are to be made from the wood, it must after being cut, so as that it may be well handled, be haul’d together and burnt on a good hearth, free from the air, otherwise the wind will deprive you of a great proportion of the ashes, and from the want of a hearth, the ground will inhale a large proportion of the salts, and on taking up the ashes it will be impossible to avoid collecting with the ashes a large proportion of foreign matter. To ascertain the advantages of burning the wood on the ground, comparing that with the expence of hawling the wood together and saving the ashes must be the basis of such an enquiry, as will be necessary to a right decision of this question.

Question 26. Answered under Question 24.

Question 27. Does rock and sea weed abound on the coast?

Answer 27. Rock weed is to be found on most all the shores of Maine in very great plenty. What we call sea weed is a very different vegetable. This plant grows in harbours in which are flatgrounds nearly uncover’d at low water, is from three to four feet long, wash’d on shore by heavy storms. The District of Maine does not abound with these kind of lands. The harbours are generally deep and free from these flat grounds seen in Boston harbour.

Question 28. What proportion of lumber is allowed to the proprietor of the lands from which the timber is cut and delivered to him free of expence at the saw mills?

Answer 28. Nothing has been given for the timber standing in the eastern part of the District. People have set down on public lands, possessed themselves of the best mill seats, and have cut the timber from any of the public lands where it has been most convenient for them, without ever accounting for the same. It is not uncommon for these people and others to take hay on their sleds, when the rivers are frozen and follow up the streams on the ice, until they find a good spot of timber near the banks. Here they halt, sometimes the distance of forty miles. The timber is cut and thrown into the river, or on the ice, so that on the breaking up of winter, the logs go downstream even into the mill ponds, and often when there is a great head of water, they go over the dams into the sea.

To prevent this plundering of their property the State has been to[o] inattentive. The abuse will be corrected with ease whenever it becomes the interest of an individual or a small company to do it. Contracts may then be made interesting to the proprietor; the first thing however must be to controul the settlers to their own limits. This only will bring them to see the need of contracts.323

Question 29. Are there many mill seats in the District and are they plentifully supplied with water?

Answer 29. There are a great number of mill seats in the District well supplied with water. I do not remember I ever heard it suggested that in this respect the country was deficient. The parts which I have visited I know are not.

Question 30. What will be the expence of a sawmill and how much lumber will it saw annually?

Answer 30. The expence of a mill depends greatly on the length of the dam, the nature of the ground on which it is to be built, and the weight of water to be counteracted. I think however from the expence our mills cost us, that from four to, five hundred pounds may be a pretty good estimate. A good mill fully supplied with water all the summer and fully attended night and day will cut five hundred thousand of boards annually.324

Question 31. At what rate were good lands, situated on navigable waters of the District sold previous to the late war?

Answer 31. The lands which were sold before the war, were so clogged by conditions, that it was quite difficult to fix a price to them. Our mode of selling before the war was by townships of six miles square. The great object of government was at that time to have them settled, a wise policy. A small sum was given for the lands; the obligation lying on the purchaser to settle sixty families in seven years, build a meeting house, a heavy tax. Besides the state retained four lots in the centre of the town, twelve hundred acres I think, three hundred for the first minister as an encouragement to his settling, one lot of three hundred acres to lie for the use of the ministry for ever, one lot of three hundred for the use of a grammar school, and one lot of three hundred acres for the use of Harvard College. The last twelve townships granted by the State of Massachusetts, commenced with the head of the tide in Penobscott River and extended down the river and easterly to Pleasant River, a little ways westward of Machias. These townships embraced the sea board of great extent for which land no consideration was made to the State. Nothing was required from the grantees but that they should obtain the kings confirmation and bring forward the settlement of the lands as stipulated. Hence I am exceedingly at a loss to know what such lands as you describe would have sold for prior to the war, were there no conditions of settlement annexed.

Question 32. What is the average price of uncultivated lands in the settled townships in the District? I cannot answer this question. There are so many circumstances which give real value to some spots over others, besides the difference of the soil, that I am left in this matter without that information necessary to a satisfactory answer.325

Question 33. Can the land be cleared for giving the first crop to the person who clears it?

Answer 33. No, nor for the second added. There are instances where the first crop may refund the expence of clearing. This however is not common, but our people will not labour on those terms, while they can have one hundred acres given them to become settlers. Nothing short of the fee will do for us Yankies. A lease of nine hundred and ninety nine years would not give equal satisfaction. To say to a man here that he did not hold his estate in fee but by lease would in general make him unhappy.

Question 34. What articles can the District of Maine furnish for the consumption of the West India Islands and for the European markets?

Answer 34. They can supply lumber, fish of all kinds and salted beef, and for the European markets merchantable fish, square timber, deal boards, and different kinds of lumber, pot and pearl ashes, in short, all those articles which are now supplied from Boston.

Question 35. Which of the exotic fruits would succeed in the District?

Answer 35. The apple, the pear, and the cherry.

Question 36. Is gensing found in the District?326

Answer 36. Yea.

Question 37. Are the harbours in the District safe and accessible?

Answer 37. The harbours are very accessible as the waters around the shores are generally deep, and the land generally high about them, and good ancorage ground within them. I never met in the District a barred harbour, which depended on the tide for entrance and they are from the dissimilarity of the ground easily discovered. Their entrances are strongly marked by nature, and can hardly be mistaken by the attentive mariner. That the harbours are strongly marked and that the waters around the shores are deep are circumstances important indeed, in a country satiable in fogs as is the District.

Question 38. From the quantity of bark obtained in the District, do you not suppose that tanneries would flourish?

Answer 38. Of the success of this business there cannot be a doubt.

Question 39. Might not bark become a valuable export from the District?

Answer 39. Bark might become a valuable article of export without injury to the tanneries which might be established in the District, for in opening the country there is more timber cut down in one year, the bark of which is useful in tanning, then the tanneries would use in seven. Great quantities are burnt in Boston every season. Some of it has been sent on to Philadelphia and there found a good market. It would make a valuable article of export to Europe if we could transport it pressed into casks, after grinding it between stones fitted on purpose as our grain is ground; this saves a vast deal of room in the ship and is besides ready for use on its arrival. But this cannot be so received into England, I think we might with more ease get it into France.

Question 40. When is the seed time and the harvest?

Answer 40. I think July and August the best time for sowing the wheat and rye, and as soon as the ground opens in the spring, the spring grain should be put in. July and August may be considered as the months for harvesting.

Question 41. When does winter set in?

Answer 41. About Christmas the snow generally covers the ground, and it remains so covered until towards April. The inhabitants interested in mills generally commence sawing about the first April. The duration of winter is from the 20 December to the 20th of March, generally about three months. In these three months from the regularity of the season, and from its being the most convenient time for doing many kinds of business, more is done than in any three months in the year especially among the lumber men.327

Question 42. Is the sea navigation free through the winter?

Answer 42. In many places it is perfectly so. This we may ascribe to several causes: from the rapidity of the tide, the ice is prevented from making; from the great degree the tide flows, some places thirty feet; from the great accession hereby of sea water once in twelve hours by which the waters in the bays and rivers are preserved from chilling. In the Bay of Passamaquody as far north as any of our ships will lade, it is not uncommon for them to raft boards from the shores into the channel and there load all winter.

Question 43. What are the average prices of lumber, viz., masts, plank, boards, scantling, staves, and shingles?

Answer 43. I do not know the prices of masts; boards, at the mills the last year, have been about six dollars, far east more. They will always bring more when they can be rafted from the mills into the British lines. Planks are generally double price to boards. Shingles eighteen inches by four, nine shillings. The price of lumber in the western part of the District of Maine is generally three fourths of Boston price.328

Question 44. May ship building be expected to form an article of important consideration in that country?

Answer 44. Ship building in the District of Maine will be of the utmost importance to itself though I think little is to [be] expected from that of building ships for others, for they do abound in white oak timber or in good oak of any kind. Many build with the heart of black birch that is without the sap. This makes pretty good timber and plank, but has not been long enough in use to determine exactly its real value. The partiallity people have for the live oak and the white oak will long attach them to those woods, though I think the black birch will answer a very valuable purpose in building ships for the use of the District. Was I to have birch timber I would have spruce planks cut from the small stuff and would increase their thickness in proportion as that wood is lighter than birch. The greatest difficulty in building ships from birch has arisen from the want of knees; they cannot be obtained from the birch trees. The builders have substituted spruce knees taking the body of the tree for the body of the knee and one of the principal roots for the arm. How they will succeed time must determine, but not, I believe, with all the success they wished.329

Having noticed your several questions and given such answers as occurred at the moment (I wish I had more time), I will add one idea of my own which relates to the making of iron in the various branches of it. It is prosecuted inland in this commonwealth to advantage where the coals are double the price they would cost in the District and where the transportation is a heavy drawback on the profits. A word to the wise is enough.330

I have the honor of being

Dear Sir

Your friend and servant

(signed) B. Lincoln

Wm. Bingham, Esquire

Another source of information, this time on the Kennebec region, was obtained through General Knox. When the Dutch agent Theophile Cazenove had been considering a purchase of lands in Maine, he had dispatched Captain William Morris to explore the Kennebec tract and report on its potential value. Captain Morris had returned late in 1792 with a definitely unfavorable impression of the region. As previously noted, Knox managed to see his report and made a copy without telling Cazenove that he was doing so.331 However unfavorable the report might be, it contained a wealth of information on which to base an analysis of the Kennebec lands:332

William Morris to Theophile Cazenove, New York, 9 December 1792 [BP]

New York December 9th 1792

My dear Sir:

Since I wrote I have seen Mr. Lincklaen,333 and communicated such information, respecting the tract on Kennebeck, as will enable you to judge of its quality. Mr. Lincklaen promises to send it forward by this days post.

In conformity to your wishes and instructions I have the honor to enclose you such observations and remarks both general and particular as I have collected; in directing my enquiries I endeavored to compare information from different peoples on the same subject, with my own experience of the facts and with each other. If I have succeeded in placing them in their true light, it will be with the greatest satisfaction I make the communication.

Objects of General Enquiry

First. What are the number of vessels which entered and cleared at the port of Portland (formerly the town of Falmouth) at the entrance of the Kennebeck during the last year?

Answer. The tonnage of vessels which entered and cleared at the port of Portland in the whole of the year 1791 amounted to 14,558 tons, including foreign bottoms, American, coasting and fishing vessels. The number of vessels owned in the District which are employed in exterior trade amount to between forty five and fifty. The question contemplates this District as including the mouth of the Kennebeck, which is not the case, it includes Casco Bay between Small Point to the eastward, which is the west shore of the Kennebeck at its mouth, and Cape Elizabeth to the westward. Portland is situated at the head of the Bay three or four miles from the Cape, is perhaps one of the finest harbours in America. The district of Bath includes the trade of Kennebeck. The number of vessels entered and cleared in that district from the 1st of October 1791 to the 1st of October 1792 are as follows:































Amount of Exports

To 31 December 1791



To 31 March 1792


· 83⅓

To 31 March 1792


· 29⅔

To 30 June “


· 3·

To 30 September “


· 15⅔

Total amount


· 31⅔

Built within the District of Bath

I Ship of 208 Tons




I do. “ 242   “




I do. “ 286   “




I do. “ 176   “




I do. “ 190   “


1364 Tons



Second. What are the number of houses and inhabitants at present in that town, and what part of it has been built, since the destruction of the town of Falmouth?

Answer. The number of dwelling houses in the town of Portland amount at present to three hundred and thirty five; exceeding the number previous to its destruction, by one hundred and five; it occupies nearly the same spot that the old town did, which is not perceivable by any traces of its fate; the houses are more handsome than those destroyed were, and the town much improved in every particular. The population of Portland by the census which was taken in the month of November 1790, amounted to 2,400 souls; the Reverend Mr. Dean assures me that the population of that town has increased since that period 250 souls.334

Third. What are the present exports from the Kennebeck and what are the products of the lands adjoining?

Answer. The present exports from the river Kennebeck may be stated as follows:

  • White Pine Boards and Planks of all thicknesses.
  • White and Red Oak Staves
  • Hogsheads and Barrels.
  • Ash
  • ditto
  • White Pine Shingles.
    • Ditto   Clapboards.
  • White, Grey, and Red Oak Timber, from 12 to 24 inches square.
  • Maple, Beech, Birch and Ash ditto, from do. to do.
  • White Pine, Norway, Spruce and Hemlock Timber, from six inches to thirty inches diameter.
  • Oak Planks.
  • Ash Oars in the rough, and dressed. Oak Trunaills.
  • Hemlock and White Ash Lath Bolts, and Laths.
  • Pine and Spruce Yards, from 25 inches diameter to the smallest size.
  • Oak and Hemlock Bark.
  • Fish
    • Such as Salmon in Barrels and Kegs
    • Shad   do.
    • Alewives   do.
    • Sturgeon   do.
    • Herrings.
    • Codfish.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Pott and Pearl Ashes.
  • Cow and Ox Horns.
  • A few Hides.
  • Leather.
  • In small quantities.
  • Dry Peas and Beans.
  • Some Wheat.
  • Beef.
  • Butter and Cheese.
  • Tallow.
  • Furrs.

The natural product of the lands adjoining the river Kennebeck, such wood as is mentioned in the preceeding article of export with a variety of shrubbery. The cultivated products are Indian corn, rye, wheat, barley, oats, flax, peas, and beans; hemp has been tried and found to do well. All kinds of vegetables and roots, natural to the middle states.

Horned cattle are raised in numbers sufficient to furnish the country with salted provisions for their winters consumption, and some to export, also sheep in considerable numbers, and in general equal if not superior, to those raised in the middle states. They raise horses but attend little to the improvement of their breed, their oxen do all the labor of the farm, perhaps the general use of them may be the reason why they neglect the breed of horses.

Fourth. What was the population of the following towns at the conclusion of the peace? Viz.,

In 1785.




840 souls




1050 “




420 “




420 “




1260 “

In instances where a previous population could not be ascertained the militia rolls furnish some data to determine the encrease of such towns. Since the census the following towns have been found to augment considerably. Some have nearly doubled, vis.,335



Population according to the census.

Sandy River












Fifth. What is the present population of the preceeding towns respectively?









The present population of all the other towns could not be determined. They have encreased however nearly in a ratio to the three above mentioned towns.

Sixth. What was the price at the conclusion of the peace of uncultivated lands in the above towns, and what is the present price of land in the said towns?

Answer. The difficulty of determining the price of land in any of the above towns arises from a variety of circumstances, but principally the nominal and cash valuations. These depend upon situation, the circumstances of the possessor, and a variety of other particulars. Mr. Vaughan states the prices of the following thus:




Dollars and cents

Dollars and cents


1.66 to 3.50

2.50 to 5.


.50 “ I.

1.33 “ 3.


.20 “ 2.

1.  “ 4.


.66 “ 4.

1.50 “ 5.


1.66 “ 4.

2. “ “ 6.

These towns are more valuable than any other along the river, have encreased probably in a greater degree between the year 1785 and the present period; the other towns have considerably augmented in value, perhaps forty or fifty per cent.

Seventh. How far is the river Kennebeck navigable for sea vessels? How far beyond the head of navigation is it boatable? And beyond where it is boatable, how far can it be availed of, for the raft navigation?

Answer. To the town of Bath which is fifteen miles for vessels of any draught, for vessels drawing thirteen feet twenty five miles, for those drawing twelve feet forty two miles, to a place called Bombay Hook in the town of Hallowell, which may be said to be the head of ship navigation; however, in the spring of the year, vessels of fifty or sixty tons go loaded to Fort Weston, and return, which is four miles higher up the river, from Hallowell to Teconick Falls twenty miles, the navigation terminates here. Boats of three or four tons come from Fort Weston to this place. The Sebasticook River falls in here, and is navigable at some seasons of the year some distance up. Most commonly the navigation is interrupted by the want of water to pass the small rapids. Beyond where the main river is boatable, rafts are brought down near seventy miles; on the Sebasticook about forty miles. The method of conveying over the falls is as follows: the boards are sawed in what people call stocks, that is a log is sawed in boards leaving about nine inches of one end entire. The other end they bind round with a hoop. In this situation the logs are shot over the falls singly, afterwards collected below, seperated and made into a raft. The experiment of shooting masts over all the falls has not been made; however ‘tis the opinion of people in that country that every description of lumber may with safety be precipitated over the falls, at certain seasons of the year, in the spring when the snows dissolve and late in the autumn.

Eighth. In what parts and of what nature are the obstructions to navigation of boats in the river Kennebeck, and can such obstructions be removed at an expense, which the probable encrease of commerce would justify?

Answer. In the town of Hallowell immediately above the tide water are rapids; ‘tis supposed by many that an eight feet dam would secure dead water to Teconick Falls. Above this on the main river are four formidable falls including the Teconick. The river here is confined between high banks and considerably narrower than above. The water is precipitated over a mass of rock in the distance of four hundred feet (the length of the fall) about thirty five feet perpendicular, the mass of soft slate stone full of shining particles, the grain or flakes of which lie in a direction nearly S.W. and N.E. and are placed in a mass nearly verticle. Rapids above the Teconick made it necessary to carry four miles round the fall, except at such seasons of the year when the water is highest.

Twenty miles to Scowhegan Falls, the river rapid, carrying place about four hundred yards, the mass of rock as described before, the water falls about fourteen or fifteen feet perpendicular. To Norridgewalk Falls, ten and a half miles. These are the most formidable falls on the river. In the distance of eight hundred or a thousand feet the water falls perhaps near fifty feet, the mass of rock over which it is precipitated is as before described. At the head of the falls the width of the river is much contracted, carrying place two and half miles. Fourteen miles to the falls of Caratunck. The rock through which the water breaks is of the sort before described; the river here is narrowed to two hundred feet and the falls perhaps fourteen or fifteen feet high. In the dry season the whole body of water passes through a fissure of the rock about forty feet wide (this was the case when I ascended the river), carrying place one hundred yards. It will be some years before the encrease of commerce can possibly repay the expense of removing these obstructions. This event if it takes place at any rate, must follow a perfect and general culture of the soil, when the risk of conveying the produce to market will be greater than the toll exacted for its safe conveyance. The appreciation of real property would no doubt be an object to those persons owning lands on the river; upon the whole I think no advantages resulting from an improvement of the kind can repay the expenses. Many reasons may be offered to justify this belief. One of the most weighty is that even after the obstructions are cleared away, the quantity of commerce in the most improved state of cultivation cannot be great which must flow through this channel. On the east at no great distance the river Penobscot affords as good a conveyance for the produce of the country as the Kennebeck, and may be improved to perhaps greater advantage. On the west the Connecticut River takes its rise which will no doubt receive the commerce of all the country in that quarter.

Ninth. What is the description and character of its present inhabitants?

Answer. A considerable number of the people inhabiting the coast of Casco Bay, Penobscot Bay, and up the Kennebeck as far as ship navigation extends are descendants of the Irish, English, Scotch and Germans; they were introduced in the country by the Plymouth Company, Brigadier Waldo, and some other grantees to comply with certain conditions of settlement. The existing race have very much the New England manners and customs. The new acquired inhabitants are from the south easterly coast of Massachusetts and the State of New Hampshire; they are a strong robust race of people, capable of enduring much fatigue which the nature of their employments subject them to. Almost all those on the coast, and up the Kennebeck, Penobscot, Sheepscut and other rivers to the eastwards are connected with navigation and lumbering. This mode of life begets an inattention to agriculture which is observable through the country; among these people the habits of contrivance and expedient supply the place of regular industry; this produces intemperance and restlessness among the lower class of people, and a desire to gain much by little labor. They live well and are hospitable. Such as exclusively attend to the cultivation of the soil, are enabled to live comfortably from their labor. At the end of the year they have not much to spare. However what they have commands a good price and is consumed by those who cultivate less than their families require. ‘Tis observed by men of enquiry and information, that the bulk of the inhabitants are directing their attention to the culture of the soil. This is esteemed a growing good, the manners of the people mend fast; economy and industry attended to, ease of circumstances and a more punctual discharge of debts evident.

Tenth. What kind of a town is commenced at Hallowell? Has winter wheat been sowed in that town? And how has it succeeded?

Answer. The products of the rivers and streams above Hallowell are shipped from thence. Of course traders collect and have made a considerable settlement at Fort Weston and the Hook, about thirty houses at the former, and fifty at the latter, which place stands on the west side of the river in a bend that forms nearly a semicircle. The country back of the town rises to the westward under an angle of about 20d; at the conclusion of the peace there were but three houses on the spot now described and no stores.

Winter wheat has been found from a number of experiments to succeed; the culture of it however is precarious for the following reasons: when sowed early the vegetation is rapid, the plants branch out and cover the ground. In this state deep snows fall and destroy the tender plants by fermentation, early in the spring it is also in danger from the rising of the ground with the frost. The culture of summer wheat is therefore preferred. In the event of careful tillage, and a judicious choice of soil it generally succeeds, and has been known to weigh 62 [℔?] to the bushel.

Eleventh. Is the country generally healthy?

Answer. No country perhaps in the world more healthy.

Twelfth. Are there many saw mills and grist mills established on the Kennebeck in the towns that are settled?

Answer. There are upwards of seventy saw mills in the towns on the Kennebeck, one half at least with double saws, in general well built. There are about twenty grist mills which run with one pair of stones, and calculated for country work alone which they are in numbers sufficient to accommodate. The profits of the saw mills, depend much upon a good stream and position for logs. Some of the best cut about 800,000 feet annually of boards, one quarter goes to the mill, one to the lumberers, and one half to the proprietors of the soil; the cost of such a mill is about 800 dollars.

Thirteenth. What is the general prices of lumber and scantling shipt from that river?336



White Pine Boards, 1 inch

7. per 1000 feet

White Pine Plank, 2 in. thick

14. “ 1000 feet

ditto  do.,   3 in. do

21. “ do.

Red Oak Staves, Hogshead

7. per 1000

ditto Barrel

5. per 1000

Ash ditto the same, Hhad & Barrel White Pine Shingles from 1.50 cents

2. per 1000 rst quality

ditto Clapboards

9. “ 1000

Grey & Red Oak, Ton Timber

3. 40 per ton or 40 solid feet

Maple, Beech, Birch, & Ash Timber

3. per ton

Scantling of the above species of Timber

7. per 1000 feet

Oak Scantling

10. per 1000 feet

Oak Plank 2 inch

20. per 1000 feet

Masts from 15 to 20 in. diameter sqr., 45 per inch

Masts that square 30 in. 133/3 dollrs. for the whole stick

Spruce Spars from 5 in. diameter to 12 in. upon an average

.04 per inch

Oak Trunails

3. per 1000

Ash Oars in the rough

10. per 1000 feet

Ash Oars dressed

¾ per foot

Ash Bolts for Lath

4. per cord

Hemlock Lath Bolts

4. “ “


1.33 per 1000

White Oak Pipe Staves

27. per “

ditto Hogshead

18. per “

ditto Barrel

10. per “

Red Oak Pipe Staves

10. per “

White Pine, Spruce & Hemlock Ton Timber

1.42 per ton

Hemlock Bark

2. per cord

Oak   ditto

3.33 per “

Note. The price of lumber has been regulated by Boston, and ’till within two years has been one quarter less (amount of freight included); the high price of lumber the two last years has fixed a certain freight equal from ten to twelve per cent. The above prices are for lumber of the first quality.

Fourteenth. To what parts of Europe and the West Indies do the vessels at Kennebeck River generally trade?

Answer. To Liverpool, Bristol and Hull in England; Belfast, Dublin in Ireland; and to all the West Indies that admit American vessels.

Fifteenth. What are the local difficulties preventing the emigrants of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire from settling in that quarter, and to give it the preference to the back parts of New York?

Answer. Among the reasons for a preference to the back parts of the State of New York, the following appear to me conclusive, first the proprietory claims, such as the Plymouth Company, the Waldo Patent, and large tracts, on the Kennebeck, Penobscot, and other rivers to the eastward, except donations to settlers for the encouragement of settlement, have had an excluding effect. Lands, therefore, the quality and situation of which are known, have not been easy to obtain. The tendency of this has been intrusion on such as lay handy to navigation, and are of a good quality; the intruders many of them have been so long in possession as to derive a right by the laws of the State to the property they live on. 2d: The easy access to the country as far as ship navigation extends, has hitherto claimed the attention of settlers to that part only which lies in the neighborhood of the navigable waters. This has operated against a proper regard to roads; ’tis difficult to get into the interior country. 3d: The climate here though perhaps not more severe than the back parts of the State of New York, in respect to the intenseness of cold, however it certainly is more durable, the consumption, therefore, will be much greater here in the winter than in the back parts of the State of New York, an object of great weight with poor adventurers. People have emigrated even from this river to the Chennessee country. Upon the whole ’tis the interest of the emigrant to remove to a country where the winters are less severe, where the lands are more productive, where they can obtain them with as much facility, the title more secure in general, and where they are exempt from tax.

As this is a question of great importance and may lead to some important conclusions in your mind, I offer the preceeding remarks with diffidence. The following are sentiments of Mr. Vaughan on the same question.

“I know of none. The obstacles to a more rapid settlement of the eastern country has arisen in my opinion from two causes: 1st. Companies and individuals have possessed those tracts of land most known, and most conveniently situated for settlement, and have checked sales and settlement by their absence from the river, and in many instances from the continent. 2d. Inattention of the government and a neglect of such arrangements that could alone have fixed the attention of emigrants to the more distant and less valuable situations.”

Sixteenth. What is the price of labor in that quarter? For how many days, months or years is it easy to hire men?

Answer. Since the enhanced price of lumber, and the introduction of specie into the country to procure it, labor has risen very much. From the best information I could procure on the subject, men may be hired for cash punctually paid them by the day or month (they cannot be got by the year or half year), by the day from sixty to seventy cents, by the month from seven to eight dollars.

Particular Objects of Enquiry Relative to the Tract of Land Contracted for by Jackson and Flint on Kennebeck River

First. What is the general character of the above tract of country, amongst such persons of intelligence who had an opportunity of exploring it?

Answer. From my own experience and information I collected from persons who had hunted it nearly ten years, it may be pronounced, collectively considered, a bad tract of country; there is a range of mountains of which Bigalow is in the chain, passing a few miles to the westward of Carratunk Falls (these falls are situated near the south boundary of the tract) continuing a course nearly N.E. and S.W. intersecting the Dead River and passing through the north boundary of the tract, not a great distance to the westward of Moose head Lake. This chain of mountains occupy a large portion of the tract on the west side of the river, and but little of the land not included in it is fit for cultivation. On the east side of the river there is some good land; however, no large body together. Upon the whole I draw this general conclusion (from hunters, from my own experience, and those purposely employed to view it), that two fifths is land fit for settlement, consisting of intervale and such kind of soil as may be improved to advantage, three fifths unsettleable consisting of mountain, sunken lands and water, besides the range of mountains noticed above. On the east side there is a tract of land passing nearly north and south through it, which divides the waters that fall into the Kennebeck running west, and those of the Penobscot running east. This strip of land is very bad and sunken. I took the greatest possible pains to be acquainted with this tract, in regard to my own experience. I had considerable time before the cold weather set in to view it. With respect to hunters and others well informed, I had frequent opportunities to make the most pointed enquiries. Among others I fell in with a party sent by the concern to view it.

Second. Is the country healthy, for what products is it best calculated, whether for grass, wheat, barley, hemp, flax, etc.?

Answer. No country can be said to be more healthy, of putrid and inflamitory fevers they have scarcely an instance, the deseases among children are few, and a great proportion of births are raised, the women are strong and prolific. The country I think to be the best adapted to grazing. Grass is produced in abundance, ’tis a hardy plant, can bear the severe frosts of this climate. Fine horned cattle and sheep may be raised. It produces good summer wheat, and the intervale yeilds hemp and flax, the culture of Indian corn is precarious throughout the whole country, owing principally to the frosts that happen during the season of its growth.

Third. What is the nature of the soil on the townships you may visit and the growth of timber on it, particularly whether there is much sugar maple?

Answer. Canaan, Fairfield, Titcomb, Caratunk, etc., are townships I have visited without the Million Tract, bordering on the river. These have partly a stiff clay soil, and partly a yellow mould covering a gravel strata, the former preferred for the culture of grass, the growth of timber on it, hemlock, spruce, pine, cedar, fir, etc.; the latter for grain, it produces beech, maple, elm, ash, linden and some oak. This division of the soil and timber applies to the whole country, of course to the Million Tract, however, with some variation as to that. I saw no tract with such quantities of sugar maples upon it, either within or without the Million Tract, as to afford an object for the manufactory of that article.

Fourth. Are there large quantities of mast timber on the above tract?

Answer. On that part of the Kennebeck which flows through the Million Tract, and the streams coming into it, there is a considerable quantity of pine timber the growth of it short, good for boards, but generally unfit for masts.

Fifth. How is it watered, and of what quality are its springs and waters? Are there good situations for mills?

Answer. The tract is as well watered as any whatever, the springs prolific and numerous, the water excellent, clear and free from any mineral or vegetable taste. It abounds with streams for mills, none that I could discover very extraordinary; however, there are many from information that afford a perpetual supply of water, and advantageous as to position.

Sixth. Does the river adjoining the lands, and the streams which fall into it abound with fish, and of what sort?

Answer. The fish that live in the river and streams consist of few sorts (viz., salmon, shad, alewives, a species of herring, trout, eeels [sic], etc.). The salmon, shad and alewives are fish of passage, they ascend the river early in April and continue to run up ’till June. The shad and alewives after depositing their germs return. This is towards the latter end of the month June. The salmon course the river back in November. These three kinds of fish ascend all the cataracts, and are caught in Moose head Lake. The number of places that afford conveniences on the river for taking these fish contributes to the destruction of vast numbers of them.

Seventh. When does the winter set in, in that country, and when does the spring commence?

Answer. Vegetation ceases about the last of September, and the winter commences from the 20th of November to the 1st of December, breaks up about the 15th of April; the face of the country is commonly covered with snow during this period; the trees begin to exfoliate about the 15th of May, and are fully expanded about the first of June.

These remarks do not strictly apply to the sea shore. The Million Tract is at least two degrees to the north of Portland, which makes a considerable difference in the most cultivated countries, much more may it be considered to vary (in reasoning upon the causes of cold) about the sources of the Kennebeck.

Eighth. Whether you observed any traces of copper, lead and iron mines in the above lands and whether any are reputed to be in it.

Answer. I could not observe any traces of copper, lead or iron mines, nor could I learn from people who had hunted it many years, that any signs of mineral bodies had ever been discovered. Some distance below the falls of Caratunk ’tis said iron ore had been found; as to this matter I cannot undertake to say whether ’tis fact or not, no person could point out the spot to me. I trust it is one of those kind of mines made by people to sell a tract of land. Bog ore is found in the eastern country, and manufactured into iron, there are iron works not a great distance from Yarmouth in the county of Cumberland.

Ninth. What are the settlements most contiguous to the tract in question; and what the price of land in such settlement?

Answer. Norridgewock, Titcomb and Caratunk; twenty three families from Caratunk upwards on the Million Tract. The people living in those towns are either intruders or such as have had grants of land as encouragement for settling. They are poor and indolent, cultivate little more than they find necessary for their consumption. They hunt considerably, have little circulating cash among them, are fond of trading, and carry on the whole by barter. They sell their improvements or barter them for unimproved land. These bargains are made commonly according to the quantity of labor bestowed on the improved land, if for cash at a rate much less than so much work could be hired for, if for land the reverse is generally the case, the proportion however depending upon position, quality of soil and other relative advantages. Upon the whole among a people like this, stimulated by nothing that can produce solid local attachments, land has no determinate value.

Tenth. Where is the best situation on it for the establishment of a town?

Answer. I know of no spot in the Million Tract that presents any peculiar advantages for a town, in any possible point of view. If the communication between the Kennebeck and the different establishments of Canada should hereafter be valuable I suppose a town at the great carrying place to be of great importance. The ground however about this spot is unfavorable; it is distant from Caratunk fifteen miles. Three ponds which lie in a right line from each other constitutes the carrying place, and in the distance of twelve miles the western branch of the river is found, or what is called Dead River, thence forty five miles up the Dead River to the carrying place between it and the Chaudier River. There are many obstructions in the Dead River, and the extent of the portage, from thence to the Chaudier is four miles over a tract of country, gently falling and rising each way, thence down said river which runs nearly north about one hundred miles to the city of Quebec. The falls of Caratunk in my opinion is the best situation for a town, however it does not belong to the tract; it has natural advantages for the erection of water works superior to any spot I am acquainted with; the ground is also good for a town.

Eleventh. Is it a country abounding with game, and of what sorts?

Answer. The game abounding in this country of quadrapeds are the:

  • Moose, Elk.
  • Buck a Rebo [?], an animal larger than the common deer, and less size than the Moose.
  • The common deer, the Black and Rambling Bears.
  • Catamount, Wild Cat, Catvaune [?] or Fisher.
  • Sable, Wolf, Raccoon, Foxes of various kinds.
  • Porcupine, Wolverine, Squirrels of various kinds.
  • Skunk or Pole Cat, Ermine or Weesel.
  • Hare, in summer brown, and winter white.
  • Beaver, Otter, Mink, Martin and Musk Rat, amphibious animals.

Twelfth. Is the climate colder in winter than that of State of Vermont?

Answer. Except in the most northern parts of Vermont and the Province of Maine, where the degrees of cold probably is nearly similar, I imagine the intenseness of cold, in the State of Vermont, to be greater than in the Province of Maine, and the duration of cold in the Province of Maine greater than in Vermont. The reasons for effects like these I shall not enter into; however I have the strongest impression of the existence of the fact. I find from meteorological observations carefully taken at the town of Portland, that Farenheits thermometer exposed in a room without fire towards the north west during the year 1792 did not at any time indicate a degree of cold, by several degrees as severe as observed at New York.

Thirteenth. The degree of the thermometer from March as far as it shall be possible to know?

Answer. No meteorological observations farther in the country than at the town of Portland, came to my knowledge. I am therefore totally uninformed of the difference between the climate of the sea board and interior country. I have an opinion that the odds is greater in the Province of Maine, than any state in the Union taking a given distance back.


A meteorological diary for the year 1792 abbreviated. The observations were at eight a.m. and at one and nine p.m. The thermometer in a part on the north west of a house, in a room not heated by fire, or open to the air.

























































Coldest day in the year, January 23d:

4. 9.13


Warmest day, July 11th:



From the 27th of November to the 1st of January the preceeding observations were of the year 1791.337

Fourteenth. If there are sugar maples, please to observe if on large tracts, and so near as to contain fifty or sixty maple trees on an acre? If the grounds descend by an easy declivity? If the roots are deep and well fixed? If there is pine in the neighborhood? If a spot near a water transportation to the seaport, and other circumstances required for the sugar manufactory?338

Answer. Sugar maple is the common growth of this country, however no large tracts are to be found unmixed with other timber, such as yellow birch, white ash, beech, linden etc. These kinds of wood are destinguished by the people by the term hard wood. The evergreens, such as hemlock, pine, fir, spruce, and cedar, they call blackwood. At this season of the year by the colour of the forrest you judge the proportion as far as the range of sight extends. From the best observations I could make, the number of sugar maple trees on an acre, where they are produced in the greatest abundance, do not exceed thirty (except on small spots of intervale, which can be of no consequence to the manufactory of maple sugar). Tracts which even produce that number no where within my view exceeded two thousand acres, and from information there are no larger tracts to be found in the country with even that number on. The land ascends from the river under an angle from 20° to 25°, continues to rise from a half to three quarters of a mile. The direction of the hills generally correspond with the windings of the river. The country back swells in hills in every direction; they are not steep or broken, except the range of mountains that pass through the tract on the west side. The trees have a fixture according to the several soils that produce them, the small white birch and poplar are the growth of a sandy soil, and seems once to have been burnt over and destroyed by fire. The stif clay soil produces hemlock, pine, fir, black birch etc. The roots of the trees are shallow, and run over the ground in horizontal directions. This soil is also rocky and stoney. The former of the fixed kind are of a bluish cast and soft, being of the species of the slate, the latter white and hard grit. Maple, beech, white ash, birch and bass wood or linden,—the soil producing this growth is the best in the country. It differs from the land in the back parts of the State of New York producing similar growth of timber in the following particulars, colour of the soil, strata, depth, and texture; in the former, the colour varies from a blackish to a light bluish cast; strata, slate and lime stone; depth, from one and a half feet to three and a half feet, a crumbling loose mould, containing an equal quantity of moisture and dryness. The colour of this soil varies from a light brown to a yellow, strata of whitish gravel, from one and a quarter foot deep, to two feet, the particles not so large and less lively, apparently more dry. The roots of the trees are more shallow, and the soil undoubtedly independent of the climate, less impregnated with the agents of vegetation. This kind of land is neither very rocky or stoney, such as are found upon it are of the slate kind, and of a bluish cast.

Fifteenth. What would be the time cost and obstacles for carrying the produce from that tract, to a market place?

Answer. The obstructions natural to the river Kennebeck above ship draught, leave no choice for the conveyance of produce from that tract but by land, the distance upwards of sixty miles, the roads at present very bad. This no doubt would occupy considerable time and be attended with much expence. Lumber as observed before may be transported by water.

Sixteenth. If that tract was bought by a company what would be the best road and method to carry there the settlers? What preliminary expences should it require to induce settlers to come upon it?

Answer. If foreign settlers, to land them at the town of Hallowell on the Kennebeck, and let them take the road up the river to the tract. I am inclined to think that settlers from the States cannot be induced to go on that tract upon any terms advantageous to the views of a company who might purchase it. To induce them, however, the preliminary steps would be to erect one or two good saw mills, a good grist mill, a store, an ashery, and to give away about fifty lotts on the river. The expence of this would be in the first instance perhaps ten thousand dollars. Of the two last articles I am not altogether certain. The success of all establishments depend much on the knowledge and oeconomy of the people who conduct them. I consider however a good tract as the foundation of the thing, and not a tract of that description; I trust whatever may be its cost it cannot be operated upon to advantage.

I have the honor etc.

(Signed) Wm. W. Morris339

Theophile Cazinove, Esquire

An account of the tonnage of vessels entered into the District of Maine for one year commencing 1st October 1790 and ending 30th September 1791340





Foreign Ports Tons

Coasters Tons

Fishing Tons



223 60/95


Biddeford & Pepperelboro




Portland & Falmouth
















Frenchman’s Bay















A third source of information about the lands consisted of the field notes and journals kept by the surveyors who had run lines on the tracts, whether for the Commonwealth, or for Duer and Knox. From among many such reports, the account of Park Holland,341 who on several occasions was engaged by the State to survey various sections of the territory between the Penobscot and the Schoodic, stands out as a clear and accurate description, not only of the lands traversed, but also of surveying methods and problems in general. Holland kept neat, precise field books, several of which are to be found among the Bingham Papers; late in 1795 he journeyed to Philadelphia to report to Bingham in person; and he was probably the only really trustworthy source of information on the “back tract.” The account printed here is taken from his autobiography, written many years later 5 but a comparison with his field books indicates that he used his own copies of his field notes when he wrote:342

Holland Autobiography. Part II

About this time [1784], General Rufus Putnam informed me that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wished to have a survey made of the eastern part of the Schoodic and Passamaquoddy country, the harbors, islands, etc., and that if I would be a partner, he would undertake it, to which I consented. We then agreed to survey ten townships, the harbors, and as many of the islands, as we could make convenient. We now went to work without loss of time, and procured six or seven men from the country to assist us as chainmen, axemen, etc., provided ourselves with stores and implements for surveying, etc., procured a whaleboat for coasting the shore, and when all ready for the voyage, we found no vessel to embark in. We, with our hands were obliged to wait in Boston ten or fifteen days, which placed us in a very disagreeable situation, not only as it related to our expenses, but because it was getting late in the season. However after waiting until our patience was about exhausted, there came into the harbor a small schooner from Cumberland, Nova Scotia, laden with coal and oil, perhaps as nasty a thing as ever a man stepped on board of. However we had no choice. She was ready in a few days, but when we came to go on board, we found her only cabin furniture to consist of a few rusty tin porringers and knives and forks in a like condition, a tea-kettle and a frying-pan. We purchased what was absolutely necessary for our comfort, and sailed for the first time for “down east,” with a fine wind, and soon found ourselves up with Mt. Desert Island. Here we lay becalmed for about thirty hours, in which time we saw something new to us, a large whale, lying close alongside the vessel, but, we had no offensive weapon so let it depart in peace. The wind now sprang up fair for us, and we were soon at Machias. Here we left our vessel with much pleasure, though we had a pleasanter trip than we had any reason to expect, the captain and crew having been very kind and accommodating during the voyage.

We now find ourselves encamped on Machias beach, and no ship but our whale boat, which we suppose sufficient to carry all of us with our stores to Quoddy, which in fact, it did, and a very pleasant time we had of it. We are now at West Quoddy head (now Lubec), totally unacquainted with the country, and of course with the tides which here rise from thirty to forty, and even fifty feet. When we passed around the point, it was a little after low water, so we had the tide in our favor. It soon began to run very strong, and carried us up into the bay among the islands before we were aware of it, and we now found it impossible to land, except in the lee of some island. We now discovered one with a small building upon it, for which we made with all possible speed, and soon effected a landing. To our very great surprise and pleasure, we here met Colonel Crane who commanded a regiment of artillery, and Major Trescott343 who commanded a battalion of light infantry under the Marquis la Fayette. I need not state that this was a pleasant meeting to us all, so unexpectedly to come across two of our old army acquaintances, in such an out-of-the-way place as this. They came here with the intention of trading in fish and lumber, and had just opened a store, when we found them. We passed the remainder of the day with our friends, conversing upon the scenes of the late war, our past lives and future prospects etc., very happily. In the morning we hired a Mr. Flagg,344 who had long been settled in this region and followed hunting, to act as guide, which we found to be necessary, as the country had never been explored, or rather surveyed, and of course we had no plans to direct us. We now steered a northeasterly course for Pleasant Point, so called, being on the main land on the westerly side of Schoodic River. Here was settled a certain Captain Frost,345 with whom we took up our abode, and left our stores, etc. We now purchased a birch bark canoe, which by-the-by, was the first one I ever saw, and appeared to be a poor water-craft, but Mr. Flagg assured us we should find it much better to ascend small streams, and pass by carrying-places, than a heavier one, which we found to be a fact. However, I thought it quite proper to try our new vessel before taking a long voyage. I, therefore, very deliberately, took up our canoe, carried it to the water’s edge, where the bank was steep, and marched into it. When I reached the center, it upset in less than no time, plunging me, head first, into the water. I soon managed to get the light end up, with my head just out of the water, when my friends came to my assistance, and set me on dry land, with no other damage than being thoroughly wet and heartily laughed at.

We now arranged our business so that General Putnam with Mr. Flagg went to explore the country, and I went to survey Moose Island, now Eastport. There was at this time, but one family living on the Island, Conklin,346 by name. They had been there several years, but did not farm it very extensively. They had neither oxen nor horses, and one of the sons told me he did not even know whether a horse was a horned creature or not. They raised corn and potatoes, which was done with hoes, for plows they never used, for the good reason that they had no creature to draw them. After I finished the survey of Moose, De Lesdernier, Dog islands, etc., I began the survey of the townships, while General Putnam was employed in surveying the seashore and Schoodic River. Among the towns that I surveyed were what is now Robinstown and Calais. There was then no settlement in either. They were just beginning to cut timber for a saw mill, at the head of the tide on Schoodic River. We continued our surveying until the snow fell, as long as the weather would permit. We came across a son of Governor Bernard,347 who was the last but one, I think, of the colonial governors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and who fled to England, leaving this son behind, the misfortunes of whose family, and their removal, were said to have affected his reason. We found him in a small hut of his own erecting, with no living creature but a little dog, for his companion. He told us he intended making him a farm here. He had chosen a pleasant spot upon Pleasant Point, and cut a few little trees, but it did not look as though it would ever be a farm under his care. Poor fellow! we pitied him. He had probably never done a day’s work in his life. He said other young men went into the woods, and made them farms, and got a good living, and he saw no reason why he could not. But we saw a reason, and a strong one, though we did not wish to discourage him by pointing out the difference between the exertions of a man that has labored all his life, and one that has never worked at all. He stayed here but a short time. I met him afterwards several times in Boston. The State of Massachusetts gave him afterwards, one third, I think it was, of Mt. Desert Island. We now prepared for home, and sold our whale boat, which was one of Madame Haley’s,348 and had the honor of being built in Old England. Not answering the purpose for which it was built, it fell into our hands, from the auctioneer’s. When we were all ready to start for home, luckily for us, there came in a brig bound for Newburyport, which took us on board, and landed us safe in Boston once more, and glad enough were we to be so near home. Here we found a number of officers still in no business. I well remember the situation of Ensign Chaloner,349 who was a mess-mate of mine in the army, and naturally as clever a fellow as ever lived. I now found him as poor as want of money could make him. He belonged in Boston and was, by trade, a hatter. I asked him why he did not go to work. He replied that he should be very thankful to but the truth was that he had not owned a shirt for some time. I gave him some money to buy a pair, and the next morning he went to work, and before I left the city, he became quite another man, and said he felt as happy as a prince. But the poor fellow died the next winter. Most of the others were poor, and many of them in debt. Few are aware what a serious disadvantage it was to the most of us, to be taken for six or seven years (the best part of our lives), from the employment and society we had been accustomed to. Our hands had, in a measure, “forgotten their cunning,” and we returned to our homes, changed men, and very few of us dug upon our farms, and toiled at our trades with the interest and contentment of former days. Glad as we were to return, we soon began to long for the society of our army friends, and perhaps it would not be saying too much to state that there never were so many men, from every clime and country, more strongly attached to each other than we were. It should be borne in mind, that we had not then post routes by every man’s door, nor newspapers and periodicals, by which we now hear the transactions of the remotest corners of the world, almost as quickly as we then did from many of our cities.

We tarried in Boston some time, copying our field books, etc. General Putnam, thinking me then rather the best penman, wished me to copy a plan for the use of the State, which I did, and, for aught I know, it hangs in the Senate Chamber yet. At least I saw it there twenty years after. We now finished our business, received our pay, and shaped our course for home. This ends the first year after the war.…350

Soon after my removal into town, I was again chosen Representative, and at this session of the Court it was proposed that two experienced surveyors should be elected to survey the great East Branch of the Penobscot River, from the head of the tide to its source, and to set off a tract, six miles in width, on each side of the river, for the use of the Penobscot Indians, which tract was reserved for them, in a treaty made with them in the beginning of the Revolution, the same they held under the British government prior to that time. Jonathan Maynard, an old friend and brother officer,351 and myself were unanimously chosen as surveyors, and as I had some curiosity to see a country which had never been explored, I accepted the appointment, injurious as it was to my business at home.

Early in the summer of 1793, Maynard and I set out for Boston, and after procuring provisions, etc., for our voyage, we found a schooner from Carolina, bound to Castine, who took us on board. We sailed at sunset, with a fine wind, and next morning found ourselves at Owl’s Head, and soon at Castine. The next important question was how we should get to the head of the tide. We were obliged to wait several days, when a fishing boat, going up river as far as Prospect, took us on board, and landed us safely on Sandy Point, at Colonel Shute’s.352 Here we were obliged to wait several days more before we could secure boats to take us to our starting point, Colonel Eddy’s353 at the head of the tide. We passed one night only in the house of Colonel Shute. The weather being so extremely warm, the fleas were so troublesome that we were obliged to camp on the shore. We found out before our return, that we had evils to contend with, of some greater magnitude than the bite of a flea.

At this time there were very few if any coasters that belonged to the river. They only occasionally came up for fish, etc.

From Colonel Eddy’s we made use of birch-bark canoes, to take us still farther up, and hired Sabatis,354 an old and very respectable Indian of the Norridgewock tribe, to act as an assistant, guide and interpreter. He was much beloved by all who knew him, and by his influence with the Indians, and knowledge of the country, made himself very useful, as well as an interesting companion, as he understood English well enough to enable us to clearly see the wit and shrewdness of his original remarks.

We proceeded as far as Oldtown, a distance of nine miles, without much difficulty, where there were then a great number of Indians, very few of whom could speak a word of English, and who were strongly opposed to our going any farther. One came out with his gun, and in pretty good English threatened to shoot us, who, Sabatis told us, was one of the St. John’s tribe, come over after a squaw, and probably wished to make a display of his courage before his intended, to whom Sabatis replied very coolly “Shoot old Sabatis, you want shoot anybody.” They gave us to understand through him, that the river was their river, and they did not wish any white man to go up. After a while we made them consent to let us pass unmolested, by assuring them that we only came to mark off their own land, so that the white people should not hunt, or otherwise trespass upon their property, and not to do them any injury. We now added to our party, two squaws of the Quoddy tribe, to assist us with their canoes, in getting our stores, etc., still farther up the river. We moved along rather slowly, surveying and measuring the river, and taking sketches of the islands until we reached Mattawamkeag. Here we found another large Indian town, full of inhabitants, who forbade our proceeding further. They came out to us, and gave us to understand they wished to make a strong talk, the amount of which was, that the river was their own river, and they did not want any whites to go up, for bye and bye the white man would come and buy a little of their land, then a little more, and the further the white men go up, the further the beaver and moose would go, and bye and bye the poor Indian would have no land and no moose meat. Many of these old men, I found to be afterwards, men of sound sense, strict integrity, and good judgment. We satisfied them that we did not come to buy their land, or to injure them, and proceeded on our way, ten or fifteen miles further, till we came to what is now called Grindstone Ledge. Here we halted, and concluded it best for Maynard to proceed up river and finish the survey of it, and for me to return and get a supply of provisions and proceed to the northwest corner of Bingham’s Purchase, so called. When Bingham made this purchase, it was estimated at one million acres, but was afterwards found to be considerably deficient, and I was directed to add a strip on to the north end, two miles and twenty-seven rods wide, and about forty miles long, to make the million acres, or deficiency. I returned to the head of the tide, as I observed, for provisions. I then hired a Mr. John Marsh,355 and with my old Indian Sabatis, proceeded in our canoes to the place of beginning, mentioned above, ran N. two miles and twenty-seven rods, and marked on a maple, a new corner, “N.W.C.B.P.,” and then ran east.

I gave directions to Marsh and Sabatis to go up stream where our line would intersect the stream, as near as they could calculate, and there wait until we arrived. The travelling being very bad, and the stream crooked, it was much longer before we met than we expected. On meeting and examining our provisions, we found we had not enough to carry us through at the rate we had travelled. We therefore concluded to take four or five days’ provisions with us, and leave the remainder with Sabatis to take charge of till Marsh should return, who had already gone for a farther supply, when they were to go on after us, and join us at one of the Schoodic Lakes, at a place pointed out.

We found our route a very difficult one, the travelling very hard, the land having been burnt formerly, covered with a thick growth of wood, something higher than our heads. We at last forced our way through and arrived at the place where we were to meet Marsh and Sabatis, who had not arrived, and very deliberately cooked our last morsel for our supper, and camped, not doubting that the rest of our party, with provisions, would appear in the evening, but the evening passed, and the morning came without any relief. We had, however, no trouble in cooking breakfast for the good reason we had none to cook. After waiting until night, not very patiently, we shook our knapsacks and obtained a spoonful of crumbs to each man, and again camped or went to bed, and though supperless, we slept soundly. The morning came, but no provisions nor breakfast for us. We now rigged our fish hooks to try for fish in the lake, and during the forenoon we caught several small ones, which we broiled by the fire, but eaten without salt or bread, they proved rather a weak means for satisfying our hunger, but far better than nothing. We attended to fishing for two whole days more, when we caught a fine large eel, which by way of variety, we converted into a sort of chowder, which would have been excellent, had we had but a grain of salt. As it was, we ate it with a relish the hungry man, alone, knows. The fish we found small and scarce, and concluded it best to go to work and build a raft to go to the inlet of the lake, thinking it probable, that we might have better luck there. We put our raft together, made our paddles, and were just embarking for our voyage to the inlet, when we heard the joyful sound of a gun in the direction we looked for our crew. The boat soon hove in sight around a point of land. We now felt like new creatures, and strongly suspected that we should have some supper. I shall only say that after subsisting for three days upon fresh fish, we enjoyed our supper highly, slept soundly and awoke refreshed and strengthened, with a fine day before us. Marsh gave as a reason for his long absence, that the streams were so low that it was almost impossible to get their canoes along, and they were obliged to carry both canoes and provisions a great part of the way. We directed them to transport us across the lake, in the direction our line ran and there leave us and return, as the streams were every day growing lower. We took our provisions on our backs and they went home. We now ran on our line 1½ miles and came to an arm of the lake a mile across. Here we were obliged to build a raft to cross it, and had proceeded not more than one mile further when we came to a second arm, and had the same tedious process of rafting. But this was only the beginning of our hardships, for before we reached our corner, we had not only to cross arms of lakes, but lakes themselves, four or five times and often with much difficulty, for the wood being generally hard wood, we had much difficulty in finding that which would swim, to build our rafts. However, after much fatigue and loss of time, we got through and marked our corner, and then ran south, two miles and twenty-seven rods, to the original corner of Bingham’s Purchase. This finished our surveying, and our provisions also. Our travelling had been so bad, and our hindrances by the lakes so many, that it had taken us much longer than we had expected to mark our corner and we had consumed all our eatables. Here we were, and what was best to be done, was now the question, and to us a pretty important one. To return and recross the lakes through the wilderness, fifty or sixty miles, without anything to eat, but what we could pick up by the way, was not to be thought of, at least not prudent. I could think of no safer way than to steer an easterly course so as to keep the great Schoodic Lake on our right hand, until we passed it, and then to shape our course for the head of the tide, on Schoodic River, though we must pass through a wilderness, of which I then knew nothing. But I thought it probable that this course would bring us to Lewis Island, where I knew there was an Indian town, and thought I might obtain some kind of provision. We turned and shook our knapsacks, and made a good breakfast, and pushed on by the strength of it until night when we reached Lewis Island. We found no Indians, they all having gone to salt water to catch seal, nor any inhabitants but two squaws, who gave us some smoked eels for our supper, and said they were going next morning to the head of the tide. We asked them if they would take us in their canoes, and carry us down. They said they would for a guinea. It being but fourteen or fifteen miles, I told them that was a great price. They shrewdly replied they knew it “but when Indians wanted anything very much of white people, they asked a great deal of money. Now you want to go down river very much and we ask you a great deal of money.” I soon saw the force of the argument, concluded to give the guinea, embarked. We arrived safe and found here a house and store, where we took some refreshment, and procured some provisions. I now went to pay the squaws for carrying us down, when to our surprise they said two dollars was enough, they did not wish any more, showing us they would not take the advantage of us, as the white people did of them. We now travelled down river about thirty miles to Pleasant Point, on Quoddy Bay. Here we found a fishing schooner, bound to Machias, which landed us safely there the next morning. I called on our old acquaintance, Judge Jones,356 and told him I was there without money or provisions. After hearing my story, he very kindly furnished me with all I needed for our journey. When General Putnam and I first landed at Machias, in my first tour down east, we called on Judge Jones to make some inquiries respecting the country. He treated us very kindly and very politely, invited General P. and myself to take tea with him that afternoon, said he had some friends from Boston whom he was expecting, and would try to make our time pass pleasantly, etc. The time came and we told our men they might get their supper, and not wait for us, and proceeded to make our visit. We passed the afternoon very pleasantly indeed, tea at length arrived, with which we had anticipated a good supper, but alas! it was carried round, as the expression is, and a servant came in with it, poured out, and a slice of bread and butter in each saucer. He came first to General Putnam, who, on taking his tea from the tray, upset it, the first thing he did, and what was worse, what his saucer did not catch, fell scalding hot on his knees, and destroyed his comfort for the evening. I succeeded in lifting mine in safety from the tray, and lo! my bread was thickly spread with butter, an article of which I never partook in any way, in my life.357 We tried, however, to make the best of our misfortunes, though to eat bread with butter on it, I could not. We returned to our camp, Putnam scolding, and I laughing, and ordered a supper to be prepared for us. We had eaten in the army, for months together, from a clean chip, with a knife and fork among half a dozen of us, and our soup with a clam-shell for a spoon, thrust into a split stick for a handle, and got along very well, but this carrying round tea, was a little too much for us. To return to my journey, the next morning we took our provisions and cooking utensils, and commenced our march with fresh courage. As there were very few inhabitants on our route, when we were hungry, we stopped and cooked a meal, and when night overtook us, we camped and slept, till we came to Union River, which we ferried across. I now concluded to leave the road, once more to shape my course through woods, with my compass for a guide, with the hope of striking the Penobscot River somewhere near the head of the tide which would be somewhere near thirty or forty miles nearer than to keep to the sea-shore. We now pushed on once more, and after camping out one night, reached the Penobscot, where we once more met our party. They had been waiting for our return for some days, with no little anxiety, and that we were thankful to meet, and find each other well, will be readily imagined. Next thing was to prepare for home, and, previous to our departure, we undertook to give a supper to chain, axe, and canoemen, whom we had employed during the summer. We purchased a fat lamb to be cooked upon the occasion, with other eatables. It was not so much the supper, however, but the manner our lamb was prepared, which I wish to notice. Our landlady decided it was best to bake it, so she cut in two, two large pumpkins, and set them up, not unlike four large bowls. Upon their tops she laid her lamb, and placed it in the oven. Now this would have done pretty well, had not the cold gravy catchers prevented the lamb from baking, and the lamb kept the pumpkins from baking, as I suppose was intended. The manner was novel to me, and I think has never yet been set down in any cook-book. But we had enough to make a supper, and spent our evening in true Penobscot style. Next morning we started down river in a boat to Prospect, thirty miles, and the next day went on board a brig bound to Boston. We had a fair wind, and arrived safe in town. We proceeded, with all possible haste, to complete our field-books and plans, and settle our accounts, after which we returned home, and with thankful hearts found all well. Thus ends my first tour to Penobscot, 1793.

Holland Autobiography. Part III

In 1794, I was again chosen Representative, and attended at the May session. In the course of the last year, Jackson and Flint, agents for William Bingham, had contracted with the Land Committee, to purchase a tract of land of the following dimensions. Beginning at the N.W. corner of Bingham’s Purchase, according to the late survey, then run east on the north line of said Purchase, to the N.E. corner, thence north to the highlands which divide the waters which fall into the St. Lawrence from those that run into the Atlantic Ocean, then westerly on the said highlands so far that a south line will strike the first mentioned corner. This tract was estimated to contain one million acres, at a stipulated price per acre, let the tract contain more or less. It was found impossible to close the bargain until the land had been surveyed, and the quantity ascertained. It was of importance to the State, to have it done as soon as possible, for the purchase money was not to be on interest until the land was surveyed. But no surveyors could be found who were willing to undertake the business, as the territory, a considerable part of it, was far from any portable waters, and wholly unexplored, and the distance to be run uncertain. The Indians were unacquainted with a large part of it, as it was not on their hunting ground, and little information could be obtained from them. Maynard and I were urged very strongly to undertake it, as we were better acquainted than any one else with that region, and they assured us it could not be more than fifty or sixty miles from Bingham’s corner to the height of land, but I felt assured the committee knew nothing about the distance, as it turned out in the end, for it was one hundred and fifty-two miles. With much reluctance and no anticipation of anything but hardships, Maynard and I accepted the proposal and made all possible haste to commence our work early in the season. We arrived safe at the head of the tide, on the Penobscot, and went to work immediately to build a boat large enough to contain the men and twelve barrels of provisions.

We loaded her and proceeded up river as far as Mattewancook [Mattawamkeag] where I selected five men, and took as much provision as we could possibly carry on our backs, having previously provided ourselves with large knapsacks for the purpose, and shaped our course for Bingham’s N.E. corner, having directed Maynard to meet us at the head of the great East Branch of the Penobscot, in one month at least. We continued our course north 60½ miles, which I shall say but little about, except that it was generally very hard travelling. After we left the Mattawamkeag stream, we travelled 21 miles in a continued cedar swamp, though, in many places, the hard land appeared near us. When we arose from the swamp into hard-wood land, we came across some of the richest iron ore I ever saw, which appeared to be very abundant. The rise of land was not many feet above the swamp we had just left. The land looked as if it had been dug, in several places to the depth of a few feet, as if for a well, and what was thrown out, looked much like cast iron, a piece of which I carried with me through all my fatiguing tour, to Philadelphia, where they told me, I think, it yielded 75 per cent., believing it might at some future day be of immense value to the State.358 Our compass was so powerfully attracted by it as to be of little use. This is 52 miles from Bingham’s N.E. corner. We now enter high hard-wood land, with an excellent soil. I have never passed through a handsomer piece of wood and it appears of large extent. Large quantities of the spikenard, ginseng and snake-root grow here. We continue north as far as 60½ miles, principally good land. We now suppose ourselves far enough north so that a west course will strike the lake we are wishing to reach, leave the 60½ miles mark, run west until we strike a lake, which we suppose the head of Penobscot River. This line runs generally through high hard-wood land, and we crossed a number of small streams, the head-waters of the Mattawamkeag, and its tributary branches. We travelled on the southern shore of the lake, and found a small outlet, then containing but little water, but from the flood-wood upon its margin, we concluded at some seasons of the year it emitted large quantities. We therefore follow it for two or three miles, until it emptied into a considerable stream, which we suppose the one wished for, and which we followed up two miles. It being now sunset, we halt and camp for the night. Our provisions are wholly exhausted, except one partridge, and while preparing this scanty meal, to our great joy we saw an Indian coming down river towards us. Fortunately for us, he could speak English and was quite a trader, well acquainted with the waters of the Penobscot, as well as the St. John’s, to which river he was now on his way, with his family, consisting of his squaw and two papooses. He told us we were on the wrong stream, that the lake we were in search of, in a direct line, would be 30 miles distant and very bad travelling, a sad piece of intelligence for us. We now hired the Indian to act as our guide to the place where we expected to meet Maynard and his party, and for which we agreed to give him one guinea, and 12 pounds of pork. He first took us a little distance to his camp, and gave us half of his tobacco and dried moose-meat, enough for a full supper for our hungry crew (half of his stores), and though dried without salt, and eaten without cooking, we made a delicious meal. The next morning, he gave us four musquash for our breakfast, and we then proceeded with our kind guide, up river. After going three or four miles, having no provisions, we waited for the Indian to catch salmon and musquash, until nearly night. He now espied a deep place in the river, where he said he saw salmon. We all went to work and built a temporary wall across the stream, above the deep place and then another below. Two of us stationed ourselves beside each wall, armed with clubs, while the Indian put in his canoe, and with his paddle disturbed them, and as they attempted escape either way, we knocked them in the head with our clubs. For twenty or thirty minutes our sport lasted, when we concluded to stop and see if we had not enough. In that short time we had killed thirty-eight good sized salmon. The Indian and squaw prepared what they wished to smoke, and we prepared ours to take with us on our way in the morning. The next day we reached the long-wished-for lake, fired a gun, and were immediately answered from the other side, by Maynard and his party, who came to us in a boat and carried us to their camp, from whom we had been absent 27 days, and whom we were very glad to meet in good health once more.

We now settled with our Indian, whose conduct towards us throughout, might make many a white man blush. We told him it had not taken as long as we thought it would for us to reach our party, and that a guinea was rather too much. He said, “very true, we walked all one Indian,” and he would ask us but two dollars, but, on inquiry, we could not let him have the 12 lbs. of pork promised him, which he said it was no matter about, and as we had no change, very cheerfully gave him the guinea, but this he would not take until we named a place down river, where he could leave the change for us, as he said he was going to the Penobscot before long. We named Major Treat’s, where the city of Bangor now is, and bade him farewell, little thinking we should ever hear from our change again.359 This Indian was the only human being in all our long route we ever met, except two Indians near the Aroostook, and the inhabitants of Madawaska village near their homes. We remained in camp all the next day, it being a very rainy one. The next day [we] start down river where they had left their boat, some 8 or 10 days since, when they had sent Marsh down river for a supply of provisions and change of clothing, and whom we were daily expecting. We concluded to discharge all our men but three, Maynard desiring me to make the selection. I took two of my party, who had been with me the year before, and one from his, who consented to go with us the rest of our perilous and unknown route. Here we tarried two or three days, waiting for Marsh to arrive, and find ourselves in a very unpleasant situation. Our clothes, which we have worn more than a month, are thin and badly torn, we have not a sufficient supply of provisions, and to wait here much longer would defeat the whole business, as it was getting late in the season, being now the 13th of September. After mature deliberation, we concluded to take what provisions we had, and store them in our knapsacks, leaving a small quantity to support us down river on our return, if that should ever happen. We now took our boat to a safe place, and turned it over, placing what tools and provisions we wished to leave, under it, having first securely bound them in bark, to prevent the wild animals from destroying them. We had now each about 35 lbs. of pork, and about 20 of bread, which we took with us on our backs, and steered an easterly course with an intention to lay out three mast townships. When the contract was made with Bingham for this tract of land, there was a reserve made of six townships, six miles square, for masts. We kept on our easterly course 6 or 7 miles, and then completed our survey. This job done, we shaped our course for the east line I had left, at the 60½ mile mark from the corner I began at, having already run farther than the Land Committee in their wisdom said we should, to complete our task. The land in the above named townships is generally good hard-wood and pine timber, well watered, continues much the same till we come to our east line which we reach the 17th of September. We now go N., mark 61 miles on a rock maple, 62 on a hemlock. The land to the westward and east, and southeast appears for 10 or 12 miles to be very excellent. We cross a clear brook running easterly, which we suppose to be the water of the St. John’s. We move on and mark on 79th mile upon a tree, upon a mountain, from which we have a very fine prospect. There appears a large chain of mountains, lying to the west and northwest, some of them very high. This range probably continues north from Katahdin to the highlands we are in search of. We go on to our 90th mile. The land, for several miles back, appears good hard-wood land. As far as we can judge, it is the same for a great distance. Mark 100 miles on a cedar, at 101 miles and 100 rods strike a beautiful river with a gentle current, running east, a little south, 28 rods wide, which we suppose the St. John’s. Here we camp, and in the evening, two of the Penobscot Indians on their way down the above mentioned river, came to us, and told us this river was the Aroostook, and that the St. John’s was thirty or forty miles still north. This was bad news enough to us, on account of our being so short of provisions. The next day we started, at about 3 o’clock, and went on 5½ miles, through the most beautiful hard-wood land I ever saw, the largest half day’s work we did in the season, on to 119 miles, and struck a lake 1240 rods across, where our line crossed it, the greater part lying to the westward. We now go to work, and build as strong a raft as possible, make us some paddles, and put to sea. We had not proceeded far before our paddles became useless, for the wind blew a gale, and we had great reason to fear our raft would not hold together until we reached the shore towards which we were rapidly nearing, by the force of the waves. Luckly for us, we drifted on the lee shore, about three quarters the distance across the lake. Here we gladly left our raft, and travelled till we came to where our line should have crossed it. We had taken an object, but the distance was so great, it was difficult to find it, as we had been drifted so far out of our course. We had prudently, however, built a fire, which we left smoking behind us, and by that we corrected ourselves, and once more made the true line. The travelling, in the vicinity of this lake, was very bad indeed, sometimes very swampy, and the ground covered with dry heath. Upon the latter was passed a wretched night, for the want of water. Not a drop could we get, even by digging several feet. We thought the want of food bad enough to endure, but we found the want of water much worse. There are several lakes in the vicinity of the large one we crossed, which empty into each other, and we think the southern one empties S. easterly into the Aroostook, though generally supposed to empty northerly into the St. John’s. The land continues low, and we find very difficult travelling for a number of miles on our line. We go on until we rise into high mountainous land, principally hard wood and good soil, mark our 135 miles, a high mountain to the westward. We go 300 rods on the 138th mile and strike the St. John’s River running easterly. This was a joyful time for us, as we were now entirely out of provisions, and had been out of bread for several days. We move down river, expecting to find some inhabitants, soon come to a hay stack, which raises our hopes of once more seeing a human creature. It rains, and we must camp and go supperless. Next morning we go on two miles and find a French family on the opposite side of the river, who came after us in a canoe and inform us it is 11 miles to the village. The Frenchman had on the fire, when we entered his house, a pot of hulled wheat, to which he made us welcome, telling us to eat all we wished, which was no trifle, as he found, and it proved a good substitute for bread, which we had not seen for more than a week. This old man had followed hunting all his days. Early in life he had hunted with the St. Francis Indians, some where in the vicinity of Lake Memphremagog, had married a squaw of that tribe, and moved on to the St. John’s River, where we found him, sometime before the French settled at Madawaska. He had two sons grown to manhood, one as white as anybody, the other a pure Indian. In the afternoon Mr. Loquires took us in his boat, to go to the village, but the wind began to blow, accompanied by rain, hail and snow, and, after going two or three miles, we halted for the night, where there was a small grist-mill, a temporary thing, built of logs, and covered with bark, which answered the purpose of dwelling house and mill. Here we supped and lodged, and procured 150 lbs. of flour which was manufactured in the course of the night. We proceeded next morning to the village to get our flour manufactured into bread.

October 1st. At the village of Madawaska, which is very pleasantly situated on intervale land, on the St. John’s River, high enough to be out of the reach of the freshets, which here rise sometimes to a great height. The Madawaska River empties into the St. John’s, not far from the village, which was settled by the French at the close of the Revolution. The British gave their American soldiers land upon the St. John’s, where these people had settled, 60 or 70 families in number, and who, in their anger, moved up river, determined to have no communication with them. They appear happy and contented, though they begin to suffer for the want of edge tools, etc. They have never used any salt since they came here. They have a church and priest, cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, raise wheat, oats, barley and peas, and flax, and tobacco, which though of a poor quality, answers for smoking, make their own cloth, etc. Their houses are built of logs, and those we entered were neat and in order. They make their meat into soups, to which they add onions and garlics, which grow wild upon the bank of the river. They are very kind and hospitable. We scarcely entered a house, that they did not ask us to take soup with them. We met among them a Mr. Everett formerly from New Hampshire, who was a hunter, and who had been here three or four years. He was of great service to us as interpreter, and gave us a small yellow dog, which, with our provisions, the second day after our arrival, we took on our journey up river; passed the night with the Frenchman at the mill who gave us a half peck of hulled wheat to use instead of rice in broth, and pushed on our unknown and dreary way.360 We reach our line and run north and mark on the N. side of the river, three white birches, on N. and mark our 139th mile on a beech in high land, continue N. generally on hardwood land, passing some hills, gradually rising to the N. Here we halt on a hardwood hill, and mark on a beech, our 152d mile, and take observations of the highland in every direction. We see no mountains to the north, but those at a great distance, and see a bank of fog, which we suppose must rise from the river St. Lawrence. Here seems to be a ridge of highland, extending westward and southward, to a great distance. This, we think, the long sought highland, and here on a beech, mark our cornner, “J.M.P.H. W.B.N.E.B.,” Jonathan Maynard and Park Holland, surveyors’ mark, William Bingham’s N.E. Bounds. These bounds are on a high hill, land descending. To the north of the marked tree a short distance, are a pile of stones, the true corner.

We commence our western course, still on the ridge of highland, well covered with hard-wood. Appears good soil and well-watered with springs, but no brooks of any size, and what small ones there are, some run north and some south. A deep valley, of great extent, lies N. and E. of us, the land rises to the south. We go but a little way, and come into a valley between two mountains, where we mark our 1st mile on a fir, 2 miles on a birch on a hill, 3 miles on a fir beside a brook running N.E., a horrible place this. Four miles on the top of a high mountain, I think the highest in sight, covered with birch and maple, and not ledgy, but smooth, 5 miles mark on a beech, 6 miles N. side of a high ridge of mountains, and no water. Here we camped. Set out at sunrise, marking our 6 miles on a fir, land a little descending westerly, mark our 7 miles on a birch, the last mile on level land, a mixture of timber, 8th mile on a beech, good land, 9th mile on a fir in the valley, 10th on a high hill on a beech, 11th on a fir in a valley, 12th on a fir in a swamp, where we camp by the side of a large brook, coming from the S. West, 13th on a birch on a mountain, 14th on a fir at the foot of the mountain, a lake lying near us to the N.W., run 54 rods and strike a lake 240 rods wide, and about 5 miles from N. to S. in length, 15th on a birch rising a mountain, 16th on a birch, on the top of the mountain, 17th still on the top of the mountain, 18th on a fir on the same mountain, and camp. Nineteenth, land rising and smooth, mark a birch, 20th on a spruce in a swamp, 21st on a birch, ridgy land, and some good pine timber, 22d mile, strike a long lake 120 rods wide, running north and south, mark our 22d mile on the western shore, 23d on a fir and camp.

Friday, October 9th. Rains all night, still raining when we start forward. Our situation is such as will admit of no delay, our provisions nearly spent, our linen jackets and trousers worn and torn, the weather cold and rainy. At noon the rain compels us to yield and camp. We push on a short distance westerly and meet a considerable brook, running northerly. We climb a tree and find the land to the N. low and high to the S. and S. west. We therefore conclude to alter our course, leave our 23d mile mark and run west 25 south, keeping our reckoning with the west corner, mark on a fir, 24 miles, level land, 25 th on a birch, low land to the northward, cross a brook running north, 26th miles on a cedar in a swamp, 27th on a fir, by the side of a rapid brook, running northward, 28th on a beech in beech land. Struck a stream running northwest, run 12 talleys and struck a lake 248 rods wide, which brings the 29th mile in the lake. This lake is 10½ miles long and appears from the flood wood, to have a large stream running through it, which we suppose the St. Francis River. We built a raft and crossed it, but the wind blew so hard it was with much difficulty we reached the shore, camped by the lake, at the foot of a large mountain. Mark our 30th mile on a fir on the mountain. Last night took observation of the pole and find the variation to be 17°. Thirty one on a birch on a high mountain, 32d on a spruce in flat land, on the top of a mountain, 33d on a spruce in a swamp at the foot of the mountain we came over. We mark our 34th on a cedar in a swamp, the last mile good level land. Run 9 talleys on the 35th mile and strike a stream running southerly. Mark our 35th on a birch at the foot of a high mountain.

We run 32 rods over our 36th mile and mark a yellow birch for the corner, “H.M.W.B.N.W.C.B. 1794,” Holland, Maynard, William Bingham’s Northwest Corner Bounds, the year, etc. This corner is part way down on the west side of a mountain, land thickly wooded, and falling to the northward.

October 11th. We now turn our course south, run seven tally, and camp. I ought to have observed that in this mountainous region so far to the north, we seldom enjoy a whole fair day, but rain and sunshine succeed each other a number of times in a day. I do not recollect one day without some rain since we left the Penobscot waters. Still, but very little water had fallen, the streams are all very low.

We mark our first mile on our southern course, on a birch, on low land covered with cedar, spruce and fir, our 2d mile on a spruce in the swamp, principal part of the last mile, good level land, our 3d on a fir, land the same, our 4th the same, our 5th on a spruce, in wet land, our 6th on a spruce, the last mile in a bad swamp, our 7th on a fir, land the same, our 8th on a beech on a high hill. We have lived to get out of this horrible swamp, and all are glad. Here we camp October 13th. Have not had a full meal since we left our N.E. corner. Mark our 9th mile on a white birch, our 10th the same. We run ten tally and strike a large stream running southeast. We wade it at noon, and a cold bath we have of it. Mark our 11th on a small spruce. We run 12 tally, and strike the St. John’s River, 76 rods wide, running nearly east. The river was rapid and we thought it impossible to raft over it, and our only alternative was to wade it, or stay where we were. We chose the former, and succeeded pretty well, about one third of the way over, when, the water became more rapid, Maynard found it difficult to stem the current, and so shaped his course for the eddy of a large rock, near which there was a deep hole he was not aware of, and in he went all over. The next thing we saw of him was two or three rods below, where he was able to reach bottom, and after awhile overtook the rest of us. We all reached the shore in safety, cold and wet enough. Our next thoughts were for our fire works. Maynard, who carried our powder, had been under water some time, so no hope from that quarter. On examining my tinder box, I found it quite damp, from having been in the pocket of my jacket, while crossing the river. However, after I had rubbed my hands, and, in a measure, brought them to their feeling, I caught a spark in the box, to our great joy, and soon made a good fire, built us a camp, and by nine or ten o’clock began to feel quite comfortable. We made our supper of chocolate-root, and one biscuit, as we could not dry them all sufficiently to carry on with us in the morning, by which time we were pretty thoroughly dried ourselves. The next morning we run S. and mark our 13th mile on a white birch, the south side the St. John’s where our line crosses, “B.W.L.,” Bingham’s West Line, “1794 13 miles, P.H.J.M.”

We conclude not to chain any further, as it is impossible to use our field-books, for our clothes are so wet, much of the time it is with difficulty we can preserve them though we wrap them carefully in birch-bark. We go on our south course 7 miles, and strike a large stream running east about 20 rods wide, swift water and gravelly bottom. On ¾ of a mile farther and cross a large stream running northeast. This river, the French people told us, was the outlet of nine lakes which lay to the west and southwest of a chain of mountains extending north from Katahdin to the highlands.

October 14th. Run about five miles and camp.

October 15th. Find the snow fell last night several inches. The bushes this morning are full of it, and we are in a bad situation to meet it. Our linen jackets and trousers, and moccasins which we have worn all summer, are almost gone, our provisions all but a few biscuit, and we must go on, as fast as our weakened limbs will carry us. We run till nearly night, when the snow fell so fast we could not follow the compass, and were obliged to halt and camp for the night. We built us a camp of bushes, and made us a bed of fir boughs, which we dried by the fire and found comfortable lodging, though our supper could hardly be called such for five starving, tired men, consisting of one biscuit, divided among us all, and a cup of chocolate-root tea, which we carefully gathered whenever we came across any. We travelled, during the day, nearly 6 miles, when we came to a large stream, running easterly, about three rods wide, which we rafted over, ran a few rods further, and camped as above described.

October 16th. Made a breakfast of our root, boiled a second time, put up our three remaining biscuit for our future and more urgent wants, patch as well as we can our clothes with our blankets, and once more move on. The snow fell during the night, six or eight inches, and was falling slowly when we left our camp. We run about 5 miles, gathering our food by the way from the boughs of the moosewood, whose berries hang on till winter, crossed a stream running east, during the day, and camped, having passed a very uncomfortable one.

October 17th. Clear and cold. Break our fast with one of the three biscuits, and again go on. We have pushed on this day through the snow, with all the speed possible for men reduced as we are, and towards night we ascended a bold mountain from which we have a fine prospect from all points. Katahdin mountain plain to our view, bearing south, a little westerly. N. west at a great distance, lay a high range of mountains, not far, Maynard said, who had been there, from the city of Quebec. The White Hills of New Hampshire, plain to be seen to the west of us, and a great number of lakes, some of them very large. The village of Madawaska, also, was plain to be seen, though it could not be less than 50 or 60 miles distant.

The atmosphere surrounding these high mountains, when free from clouds and vapor, brings distant objects near, with the distinctness of the telescope. After taking a view of all we thought interesting, we travelled on south, descending the mountain to where it was thickly wooded and the sun being about to set, we though it best to camp, which we did, and, the next thing after making a good fire, was, what should we have to eat? for this keen mountain air not only enabled us to see clearly, but, after a day’s march to feel keenly our need of food. Our provision being wholly gone but our two biscuits, a serious question arose, whether it would not be best to kill our little yellow dog, the Frenchman gave us, and make a broth for our supper. It would put him out of misery for we had not been able to give the poor little fellow a crumb, for a long time, and he was as poor and weak as his companions, and could not live many days longer at any rate. A unanimous vote was given to kill the dog, and while we were discussing the subject, we heard him faintly barking, at a short distance from us. We went immediately to him, and found, to our great joy, that he had a fine large hedgehog, between two large rocks. We soon dispatched the hedgehog, carried him to our camp and threw him into the fire, where we let it remain long enough to singe it pretty well, and then, very quickly dressed and cooked one half of it, not forgetting to feed our dog all we dared to give him. We made a broth of one half of it, and though we had neither bread nor salt, it is rarely five men sit down to a better supper, or with more thankful hearts. We slept soundly and awoke refreshed and strengthened on the morning of the 18th. We took a broth of the hedgehog for breakfast, and pushed on by the strength of it till noon, over a rough, broken, mountainous country, when we stopped to warm and dry ourselves. The bushes were still very wet, though the snow had gone in most places. We found where we halted, a large pine stub, 55 or more feet high, and as large as a hogshead. We set it on fire at the bottom, and, it being very dry and hollow, the flames burst out of the sides and top, and we soon had fire enough to have dried and warmed half a regiment. We travelled on until sunset, and camped by a spring, supping upon juniper bark and chocolate-root-tea, keeping our two biscuit for the last extremity.

October 19th. We arose and started early, crossed during the day, a large beaver stream, and halted to examine the works of these curious little animals. They had a large quantity of timber cut for completing a dam upon which they were evidently at work before our arrival though we could not find them. We should have supposed from appearances that men and oxen had been employed to cut and arrange timber as we found it done by the wise heads and strong bodies of these wonderful creatures. About noon, we arrive at the outlet of a large lake, suppose it to be the headwaters of the Aroostook River. Maynard ran a north line from the head of the Penobscot River to this stream, early in the season, while I was running the east line. We now wished to find his old line if possible. He went up the stream and I down, a few rods, when I came to his old camp. I called to Maynard, who soon joined us, and found the line, for which we were very thankful, as we now knew where we were, and how far distant from our boat and provisions. We were preparing to march on with fresh courage, when our faithful dog was heard barking at a distance towards the lake. We ran to him, and found to our great joy, he had another hedgehog in a hollow log, which, with our hatchets we quickly released and killed. We found it fat and large, but in our eagerness to kill it, we were not as careful as we should have been, and got our hands and the poor dog’s nose full of quills. However, the thought of something to eat once more, lessened every other difficulty, and we sat down very patiently, and with our jackknives cleared the quills from the dog’s nose, and as far as possible from our hands. Having so lately learned the art and mystery of singeing and dressing a hedgehog, we soon had ours boiling over a good fire. Here we had a camp built, and with a little repairing made us a very comfortable shelter, and here we concluded to remain the rest of the day, and a pleasant one it was to us, for we now felt that we should live to get out of this wilderness, supposing that the hedgehog and two biscuits would keep us from starving until we reached our batteau, which if we had good luck, would not take us longer than four days.

October 20th. A pleasant morning. We started early, with an old line to follow to the lake, where we arrived before sunset, at our old camp. This lake is called the head of the great East Branch of the Penobscot, but it is not exactly so, for there is a small stream that comes in on the west side of it which is the outlet of a small lake up the valley, some distance to the westward. We passed the night here, and supped on root tea and moose-wood berries.

October 21st. Take our breakfast of fir-bark tea and berries, with a fine day before us and again march on with good courage though rather weak in the knees. We travelled round the east end of the lake and at night camped by the river, with one biscuit for our supper, our only food during the day having been the berries gathered on our march.

October 22d. Started early, in good spirits, though without breakfast, and about noon, reached our batteau, and found everything as we left it, and ourselves very faint, weak, and hungry. We were obliged to eat very moderately, having been so long without food. Our stores consisted of bread, pork, tea, rice, pepper and ginger, though in small quantities. I need not say we quickly prepared our supper, and as quickly ate it, and with an appetite no man but those who have gone twenty days without a full meal can imagine. The river, at this place is wide and shallow, with a gravelly bottom, and bar extending half way across the river. Two of our men standing on the shore, said they thought they saw salmon endeavoring to cross this bar on their way up the river. If so, they thought they might be caught. We encouraged the enterprise, and two of them armed with clubs, made quick way for the sand, or rather gravel-bar, where they found two salmon, one of which they were fortunate enough to kill and which we supposed weighed about 20 pounds. This we considered a valuable addition to our small stock of provisions, and fried with our salt pork made an excellent dish, being as fat, and good flavored as those caught in the spring. We now examined our batteau, and found it but little injured by lying out of the water so long, as we covered it carefully with boughs when we left it, and soon had it ready for our voyage. Having in our crew three experienced boatmen, we felt the worst of our way was over. We concluded on our arrival here that it would be necessary to remain a day or two to rest and refresh ourselves, but, after a comfortable meal or two, and a good night’s rest, we concluded to start after breakfast down river in our boat.

October 23d. We set sail, and went on very pleasantly, made a good day’s work, with little fatigue, and just at sunset we discovered a smoke on the west side of the river, close to the shore. Here we landed and found an Indian’s camp, with the fire burning, though carefully covered, but no Indians were in sight. They were probably gone to look at their traps. We concluded to remain here during the night, and save the trouble of building a camp. We found a good bed of bear skins, and five small-sized salmon dressed and hung up, partly smoked. Two of these we broiled to eat with our tea and bread, for supper, and found it very good. In the night, one of our men got up, and broiled another salmon, and ate the principal part of it.

October 24th. Arose early and broiled the two remaining salmon for our breakfast, but our man who had eaten one in the night, declined taking a share of our meal. We did not intend to wrong the Indians, so left them some powder and shot. The former, however, was not worth much, having been wet. We also left about thirty balls. We got all ready to start, when we found our sick man unable to walk. What to do with him we could not tell. To leave him to die alone did not appear proper, and we could not remain with him without something more to eat than we could get there. We, at length, concluded to take him with us, and made a bed of fir boughs in the bottom of our boat, to lay him on, and covered him with what remnants we had left of our blankets, and again moved on, thinking that if he died in our boat, we could carry his body to his friends, and have it decently buried. I had, however, little fear of his dying, thinking his disease was caused by eating a salmon, after eating supper. In less than an hour after we started, he was able to move and speak, and desired to be taken on shore, where his supper, operating as a powerful emetic, soon relieved him, and in a few hours, our speechless, dying man was as bright as a new pin. We loaded ourselves, and proceeded down river, until night, when we found ourselves safe, below Mohawk rips, and camped for the night in an Indian house where we found very comfortable lodging. Had been a rainy day and night.

October 25th. Fair weather, continued down river to Piscataquis, where we found an Indian of the Penobscot tribe, Joseph Pease, an old acquaintance, and very clever man, who was very glad to see us. He said he thought we were all dead, as no Indians had seen or heard of us and Marsh had been to his house and left some provisions for us, if we should ever come back. These he brought forward, carefully wrapped in bark. The old man had a large pot of hulled, corn, on the fire, when we entered his wigwam, to which he bade us “welcome,” telling us to keep our provisions to use on our way down. As he repeated his “very much welcome” to his corn, we concluded to pass the night with him. The old squaw, wishing to make our supper as good as possible to us, immediately added about two pounds of moose tallow, and a pint of seal oil, which, hungry as we were, we should some rather have had left out. The corn when cooked, was taken up into wooden bowls, and eaten with wooden spoons, and went very well, oil and tallow notwithstanding. To Pease, I gave our little dog, the companion of our journey, and sharer of our hardships. I had the pleasure of seeing him in good order, several times after, in my different tours “down east.”

October 26th. Started down river after thanking our Indian friend many times for his kindness, he bidding us “very much welcome,” as many more. With fair weather and wind, we went on at a great rate, and at night reached Old Town.

October 27th. As soon as it was light, started on our way, hoping to see the face of a white man once more. Before noon, we reached old Mr. Daniel Spencer’s,361 two of whose sons were with me. The old man was not at home, but his wife wept for joy on meeting her children, whom she said she never expected to see again. We dined with them and then started on, the Spencers insisting on going with us to the head of the tide, where we all arrived in safe[ty] and were joyfully welcomed by our acquaintances and friends, who had long before given us over for dead and lost men, from whom they never expected again to hear.

In all our sufferings and fatigue, I never heard a murmur from one of the party, though the men used to say Maynard was cross, sometimes, nor a regret that they had accompanied me, though we were put upon allowance when we left the village of Madawaska, and for many days had one biscuit and a slice of pork divided equally among us all. In one of our darkest times, Maynard said, “Holland, it is not a very pleasant thought that we must starve to death in this wilderness, but to starve with guineas quilted into the waist-bands of our trousers, thinking how many good meals they would buy, is rather tough.”

We now went to work with a good will to make ourselves look a little more like civilized creatures. We stripped off what rags we had left on our emaciated bodies, washed, shaved, combed, etc., for the first time since we left the Penobscot, then weighed ourselves. I found my loss in flesh to be 83 pounds.

Monday November 2d. Maynard and I started down river, with one of our crew for a boatman, and passed the night at Dr. Skinner’s362 (an old brother officer).

November 3d. Reached Marsh Bay. Passed the night at Captain Grant’s,363 at what is now, 1834, Frankfort, (1877, Winterport).

November 4th. Discharged our boatman, and proceeded on alone to Bucksport. Put up with Captain Buck,364 and waited very impatiently, for a vessel to take us to Boston. Though we had all our wants supplied, we recruited slowly, and truly thankful as we were to be out of the wilderness, among kind and Christian people, the least delay seemed intolerable, while our anxiety to see our families, from whom no word either way since we left, had been received, hourly increased.

November 6th. At 10 o’clock went on board a small schooner, Captain Blanchard, bound to Boston, and with a fair wind, swiftly and gladly bade good bye to Penobscot.

November 7th. Arrived at Portsmouth, where the vessel was to tarry a day, and Maynard and I started on foot for old York, to call upon Colonel Gibbs, Captain Tucker,365 and several of our army friends, with whom we passed a very long and agreeable evening.

November 8th. Reached Boston, and next morning got our baggage on shore, and made a short report to the Land Committee, and on the morning of the 9th, started for home, which I reached the 10th, and found my friends all well, though suffering from anxiety on my account.

My appetite continued enormous, until I was taken sick with the pleurisy, some days after my return. I was very sick for some weeks, caused by want of food so long, and the indulgence of my appetite. This was the only illness I ever had, except a fever in the army.…366

Despite the wealth of information already available, Bingham determined to go even further and dispatch an agent of his own to view the Penobscot tract. His choice fell upon Monsieur Monvel, a Frenchman who had done a similar job for Secretary Knox the preceding year on the Waldo Patent.367 Late in March Bingham wrote the Frenchman directions for the survey:

Bingham to Monvel, Philadelphia, 30 March 1793368

Philadelphia March 30th 1793

Mr. Monvell


I have received the most favorable impressions from General Knox, of the extent of your abilities in prosecuting the objects that are now to engage your attention, and of your industry in the pursuit.

My principal wish is to obtain a perfect knowledge of the quality of the soil, the intersection of the waters etc.—for this purpose, I herewith furnish you with a map of the country that I wish explored, and shall leave it to your discretion to commence your outset at whatever place you may think most proper.

I flatter myself that the result of your various observations will enable you to determine many points of information, with which I wish to be acquainted, particularly, whether limestone abounds in both or either of the tracts?

  • Whether copper, lead, or iron ores have been discovered and whether in large or small quantities?
  • What are the different kinds of wood that abound in the tracts and to what purposes may they be converted?
  • Whether mill seats are plenty?
  • Whether the grounds are, from their position, susceptible of being well watered from the streams that flow thro’ them, so as to be easily converted into meadow?
  • Whether the valuable pine trees have been destroyed to any extent, by the depredations of the neighbours?
  • Whether roads may be easily cut thro’ the grounds?
  • Whether there are considerable quantities of natural meadows?
  • What is the usual extent of the cedar swamps, and do they abound in large cedar trees?

These are the leading and principal questions that will induce the species of information that I am desirous of obtaining.

In your progress thro’ the country, I wish you to remark the number of inhabitants that have settled therein, and to bring with you specimens of the ores, stones and woods that seem the most worthy of attention, as well as to communicate every information that may appear to be interesting to those concerned.

I herewith inclose you a letter for General Jackson, who will facilitate your operations and render you every assistance in his power.

It will be necessary to furnish yourself with a rough draught of the country so as to know the situation of the two tracts.

Perhaps the best mode of procuring an accurate knowledge of the variety of soil situation etc., will be to penetrate them at one corner and pass thro’ them diagonally.

I wish you to pay a visit to Mount Desert, in order to form an opinion of the resources of that island.

In case of having any further communications to make to you, I will address them to General Jackson who will forward the same to you.

The terms on which you offer your services such as you received on a similar undertaking from General Knox, I agree to give you.

With my best wishes for an agreable journey to you, I am with regard


Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

No report of Monvel’s tour remains to bear witness to his impressions of Maine. A package of vouchers among the Bingham Papers shows that he left Boston early in April, was in Gouldsborough in July, Union River in August, Machias in October, and back in Boston in November; that he procured the services of several different down-easters as “Pilots in the Woods”; and that he lived for the most part on pork, bread, and rum. Whatever his opinions of the country, at least Bingham could have the satisfaction of having obtained a first-hand account, from a fresh point of view, of the lands he had just purchased.

While he was collecting this information, Bingham had been busy writing letters to potential purchasers, both in Europe and in the United States. Hardly had he completed his agreements with Duer and with Knox than he wrote to his old business associates Wilhem and Jan Willink of Amsterdam369 of the attractions of speculation in American lands.

Bingham to Wilhem and Jan Willink, Philadelphia, 30 December 1792370

Philadelphia December 30th 1792

Mess. Wilhem and Jan Willink


Since writing the enclosed, I have received your favor of the 17 September, and hope that the correspondence which has hitherto taken place will bring our differences of opinion relative to the loan to an amicable conclusion. My language to you on this subject has been uniform and consistent; yours has essentially changed at the expected period of closing the business.

You wish further information on the subject of land speculations in order to induce you to engage in them. I have been long convinced that the profits they offer far exceed any other species of investment that money can be employed in, more especially at this period, when it is probable a peace will be made with the Indians, which will confine our settlements to the eastward of the Ohio River. This will render the lands within the boundaries of this district exceedingly valuable. I imagine that the lands laying in the states of Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts will obtain a decided preference in the estimation of Europeans. These lands lay betwixt the latitudes of 40 and 45 degrees and are therefore in a temperate climate, calculated for grain, and pasturage of cattle, the latter of which will become an immense object of attention, as connected therewith is the exportation of salted provisions, butter, cheese etc. After ascertaining the quality of the soil, the most pointed regard should be paid to situation, so as to admit the produce of the country to be transported to a market with ease and little expence. These facilities give a vast relative value to the lands, as the fruits of the farmers industry can be thus disposed of on the best terms. Therefore, in choosing lands to purchase, in order to profit by their rising and increasing value, the means of water conveyance to sea ports should be attended to, and which a good map of the country will at all times properly display. If lands lay on rivers that empty into the sea, or are situated near the sea side, the advantages are immense—because, the wood that is growing on them may be exported in the shape of lumber or masts sometimes, or may be burned, and the ashes converted into pot or pearl ashes, and exported to Europe to great benefit. Such has been the devastation in the French West India Islands from the various insurrections of the negroes, that vast supplies of lumber must be obtained, from America, in order to rebuild their various plantation and other houses. This must principally be drawn from the Province of Main, which is a part of Massachusetts, and I am well informed, contains the best lands of that state. If persons from Europe acquainted with making potashes, were to engage in the business, on a great scale, in eligible situations, great profits would necessarily accrue—as the necessary materials could be obtained by burning the woods, which when removed, render the grounds more valuable, by preparing them for the husbandman.

The political convulsions of Europe will inevitably draw to this country an immense emigration from various quarters, but particularly from Ireland, France, and Germany. Already they arrive in great numbers, and as soon as it is generally known that lands can be obtained on such easy terms, the subjects of these kingdoms would certainly wish to exchange the state of oppressed tenantry for that of landholders having property in the soil which will be transmitted to their children. Besides, there are no taxes on land, nor perhaps will be for half a century to come, as the impost and excise not only pay the interest of the public debt, and provide for the administration of government, but by increasing in proportion to the increased population of the country, will soon afford a sufficiency to extinguish in large proportion the capital of the debt. In such a country, the husbandman reaps the fruit of his labor, without any deductions for the views of government. Such is the attachment of those who emigrate to this country, from the excellence of its government, and the personal freedom they enjoy, combined with the charms of the climate and soil, that I scarcely know an instance of an emigrant returning to Europe.

But to carry into proper effect a plan of purchasing and peopling these lands so as speedily to draw a considerable profit from them, it would be necessary that a large company should be created and a regular system established for the purpose. It might become not only a great source of private gain, but an act of high humanity, in which the personal feelings would be extremely gratified. Whoever views the happy situation of the Germans in this state, who have emigrated here at different periods, must discover so great a change for the better, that he could not hesitate in calling that, an act of humanity, which so essentially betters the condition of man.

A company, consisting of as many as are necessary to furnish the funds, should be formed; agents should be appointed in various parts of Europe to engage, and transport to this country the emigrants that are disposed to the change. The lands might be sold to them or leased, as the respective state of their funds, might render convenient, and considerations render eligible. This business would be peculiarly calculated for commercial men, who might find freights for their vessels back to Europe, and thus procure the transport of the passengers, at very little additional expence, besides that of furnishing the provisions for their support. When the lands have once commenced their career of settlement, it is astonishing what rapid progress they make; as the increase of population in this country is not to be determined by any calculations made in Europe, as no country in that quarter of the globe so abundantly furnishes the means of subsistence—therefore their value is not to be determined by a similar ratio with the price of public funds which are dependent on certain confined principles, beyond which they cannot be extended—whereas, the price of lands is connected with the state of population, the extent of which cannot be exactly ascertained. These ideas are beginning to make an impression on our people, but they do not possess the means of profiting by their justness of thinking, as their capitals are too confined to enter into any great landed speculation, altho they might be convinced of their progressive increase in value, and the consequent profits they would derive from engaging in the purchase. For my part, I am so entirely convinced of the force of this reasoning, that I have for a considerable period past, bent my whole exertions to the acquisition of land. A company has lately been formed to purchase two millions of acres of land, of most excellent quality in the Province of Maine, a part of the state of Massachusetts. When that State was in the possession of the British, these lands were not suffered to be sold, but since the war, the legislature, convinced that the only mode of settling them, was thro’ the stimulus of private exertion, deemed it expedient to dispose of them. I shall give you a further account of them in some future letter. The American capitals are too confined to grasp such great objects. The people here, view the advantages that must inevitably be derived from the acquisition of this species of property, but their means are too limited for the object. Whereas, the capitals of foreigners are sufficiently large for the purpose, and they hold the property on terms equally secure, as if it were possessed in their countries, of which they are subjects.

I have now given to you some hints on the subject of land speculations, which may be of service to you or your friends, and I will occasionally, according to your request, make further communications. You may easily determine, by an attention to a few principles, whether the offers that are made, are eligible purchases. Even if the best supported certificates appear in favor of the soil, the means of water conveyance to a market will be deemed the most essential consideration, as such lands will be the first to settle and improve, by means of such facilities. Your good sense, connected with a certain knowledge of the country, will doubtless lead you to determine properly, what offers should be accepted and what rejected,

I am with regard


Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

Similar letters went out to Robert Gilmor, Bingham’s wealthy friend and business associate in Baltimore, to the firm of Strachan and MacKenzie in London, and to Edward Campbell in Ireland, the last letter suggesting the possibilities of encouraging the emigration of Irish Catholics to the United States.371 Furthermore, now that Theophile Cazenove was no longer to be feared as a rival bidder for Duer’s pre-emption rights, Bingham could write him in a very different vein:

Bingham to Theophile Cazenove, Philadelphia, 21 March 1793372

Philadelphia March 21. 1793

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 11 March in reply to the letter I had the honor of writing to you.

Your want of European advices precluding you from making any decisive arrangements, relative to purchase renders it prudent and adviseable to wait the result of your communication, before any offer is made.

I have had many applications for different portions of the lands I have mentioned to you, but have uniformly (except in the instance of Madame de Leval) refused them all, as my object is to keep them together, being fully convinced that in a great and extensive operation like this the smaller the competition the greater the price that will be obtained for the article brought to market.

It was under the influence of this idea, that I was the more readily disposed to deal with you, wishing as your friends had been engaged in operations of this kind, that they should continue them, as their experience would naturally benefit the sale, by enabling them to take advantage of favorable occurrencies [?], and to avoid any errors that their first efforts might have been exposed to.

I can conceive no reason of any great validity, that can prevent excellent arable lands well situated and ready for settlement by the Indian title being extinguished selling at a higher price in Europe than has been already obtained, and I am the more induced to this belief, from the consideration that when the purchasers know that their lands are not like the funds exposed to unfavorable fluctuation, but that those who have dealt in them have uniformly experienced an advanced price, I cannot doubt but that the impression will be such, as to make them more generally sought after.

I wish to be informed of the particular mode you approve, and the terms which you wish to propose which you allude to in your letter, of conducting the sale by means of a loan, as this has been the manner which I deem the most expedient of selling the lands to advantage, and if an open and generous intercourse took place, your friends as well as myself, might benefit to a very great extent.

I am sorry you formed any opinion, from the exploration you directed to be made of the Kennebeck Tract by Mr. Morris,373 as his information, owing to the season of the year was procured from partial observation, and is contradicted in a great measure, by persons of the first credibility, who have been employed to explore the whole of that tract, and who have given their opinion, on oath.

But with respect to the Penobscot tract and the purchase on the sea shore, there can be no doubt that it is the most eligible position in the United States, for a settlement, being a fine fertile country, well watered, fit for grain or pasturage, abounding in lumber, and in a position to avail itself of the fisheries, and from all these resources to carry on a great external commerce. Whilst the lower tract is settling, the upper tract would greatly encrease in value; however, concerning these points, it would be more expedient, as it relates to particulars, to exchange sentiments by conversation, than by letter. I am convinced, that more uncontestable proofs of the advantages of soil and situation combined relative to this country, could be produced by impartial and disinterested authorities, than with respect to any other in the United States.

I am with regard

Dear Sir

Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

Theophilus Cazenove, Esquire

Apparently Cazenove must have considered joining forces with Bingham, for two days later Bingham wrote him:

Bingham to Theophile Cazenove, Philadelphia, 23 March 1793374

Philadelphia March 23d 1793

Dear Sir:

Previous to your departure from this place, I promised to make some communications to you, relative to a sale of the lands I possess in the different states, particularly in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

In the former state I have upwards of 430,000 acres already surveyed, betwixt the two branches of the Susquehannah, which are connected in one body, and ready for patenting; and shall have about 600,000 in a similar situation, during the course of the summer.

The surveys of three fourths of these lands arise out of warrants of a very early date, and from their priority of choice, and the knowledge and address of the superintendant of the survey, will undoubtedly impress the idea of their having a very superior quality, in regard to soil and situation.

In the state of Massachusetts, I have about 2,250,000 acres, concerning the excellent quality of which, either superior advantage or point of local position, there cannot be a doubt entertained; I cannot refer you to more impartial characters than those from whom I have recently received some detailed answers to various questions relative to the eastern lands, particularly General Lincoln and a committee of the members of the legislature from the Province of Maine.

Previous to the determination to extend my purchase so considerably, I had formed a Plan of Arrangement for the disposal of them, which, tho’ perhaps different from any that had heretofore preceded me, I had little doubt would, with proper application of some address, succeed so as to answer my expectations.

However, from a conviction of the benefits that must be derived from one uniform system of management, under the direction of the same company, I should have no objection to accept the terms you offer, of blending my concerns in lands with those of the company you are connected with, by accepting a certain price in the first instance, and being interested in the eventual sale, to the extent and on the terms, you mentioned to me, provided I could procure a price, at all approaching to that, which I have always flattered myself, I should obtain.

Considering the political convulsions of Europe have rendered funded, and other property, less secure, it may be worthy of reflection, how far there will be a growing disposition in the people of Europe, to purchase landed estates in the middle and eastern states; and consequently, whether it will not be adviseable, to suspend, rather than force, the sale of this species of property at present.

The lands I possess lay in the most eligible situation for settlement, and having the Indian title extinguished, can be disposed of, free of all incumbrances; an object of vast consequence, as it regards European sales, with a view to settlement.

The Penobscot tract enjoys more advantages on account of facilities for emigrants, than any other tract of unlocated land, in the United States. A great external commerce exists in the District, and the settlers can find an immediate market for their fish, their salted provisions, butter, cheese, potashes, and every article they produce, and the wood, that in the interior country, is deemed an incumbrance, is converted into lumber, and becomes a source of great profit.

With respect to a trade with the Islands, and the immense supplies they will soon stand in need of, there is no country in the United States, better calculated to furnish them.

The legislature of Massachusetts have recently appointed a committee to report a law that will admit of aliens holding lands in that state, and that will repeal all those, that were unfavorable to the admission of foreign emigrants. This species of discouragement, combined with the uniform refusal of the British government to dispose of any of the lands, betwixt the Penobscot and St. Croix, previous to the war, has been the cause of preventing the settlement of that fine country.

As you mentioned, that you would not be prepared to give an answer relative to particulars, untill you received advices from Europe, it becomes needless for the present to enter into any further detail.

I have the honor to be with regard


Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

Mr. Cazenove

Finally, early in April, a letter went out to Henry Hope of Amsterdam,375 another Dutch banker with whom Bingham had had previous business dealings, urging on him the great investment opportunities offered by American landed property.

In addition to obtaining information about his property and making contacts with potential buyers, Bingham had plenty to engage him in keeping in touch with developments in Boston, where the ever-faithful Henry Jackson was driving harder than ever to secure from the legislature and from other sources all that Bingham wished done. The following exchange of letters during the spring of 1793 gives clear evidence of the manifold problems facing a would-be speculator and his agent if they were to achieve success:

Bingham to H. Jackson, Philadelphia, 6 February 1793 [BP]376

Philadelphia February 6 1793

Dear sir,

I should have wrote to you immediately after my arrival here, to have returned you my sincere thanks for your services and attentions during my residence at Boston, but found such multiplicity of objects to engage me, that I have not had a moment of time disengaged.

I have created a strong desire in many of my friends to visit your town, such is the favourable impression I have made, by a relation of their civilities and hospitality.

I find by a letter you have wrote to General Knox that Madame Leval will soon make her appearance here. I had wrote a note to her, apologizing for not answering a voluminous letter she addressed to me, the evening before my departure, and mentioning my intention of making a reply immediately after my arrival here. I had prepared it, and was about inclosing [?] to you when our friend General Knox informed me, that she might be expected here in a few days. I had forgot, after writing the note of apology, to send it, and enclosed it to you from Hartford, under the care of Mr. Perkins,377 who I hope safely delivered it.

I understand she is prepared with a long list of grievances, which she will support with a great deal of clamor.

I have no doubt that proper attention will be paid to every claim that is founded on honor and justice. But no person, in his sober senses, can listen favorably to the extravagance of some of her pretensions and proposals.

I shall communicate to you the result of the business, as soon as it is compleated; I am concerned, that General Knox’s time, which at present is so much engaged, should be interrupted by her interference and importunities.

I hope you have procured Mr. Reed’s signature to the escrow, as well as Coney and Wells’s names to the certificate, signifying their assent to the conditions in which the purchase was made of the Commonwealth.378

Altho it is by no means necessary, yet a record of their acquiescence would be rather satisfactory. You were so obliging as to promise to obtain and forward to me, an authenticated copy of the deeds from General Knox, Mr. Duer, and yourself and Mr. Flint. You can reserve the conveyance of them, untill you meet with a safe and convenient person, who will at the same time take charge of the certified copy of Putnam’s drafts of the lottery townships.

General Lincoln has mentioned that great depredations have been committed in the course of the winter upon the Penobscot tract, by cutting immense quantities of timber, to which they are prompted by the high price of lumber.

As the General Court is now assembled, you will have an opportunity of making some enquiries on the subject, and of concerting the best mode of remedying the evil. This tract will lose much of its value, if proper precautions are not taken to prevent this plundering.

Inclosed is a sketch of a memorial to the General Court on the subject of empowering the Committee to admit certain modifications in the articles of agreement, which cannot be the least injurious to the State and a great advantage may result to the parties thereby. Please, to show it to some of our friends, and if they approve it, will you be so obliging as to have it transcribed and presented in the name and in behalf of the company to the General Court.379

I am happy to observe, in the governor’s speech, a warm recommendation of a revision of the laws relative to foreign emigrants, in order to introduce a more liberal system of encouragement. Such has been the happy effect of this policy on the riches and resources of Pennsylvania, that its superior advantages are principally to be attributed to this cause. I suppose two thirds of the manufacturers of Philadelphia are foreigners. I enclose you the copies of two laws passed within a short period, by our legislature, expressive of the sense we entertain of the extent of encouragement that policy dictates to be given. The first law was an experimental one; the advantages that resulted from it, were so strikingly obvious, that the second passed without a dissenting voice.380

I intended to have wrote to several of my friends in Boston, by this post but must reserve that pleasure, for the succeeding week.

You will please to show the copies of our laws respecting foreigners to any of our influential friends in the General Court.

I should before this have remitted to you the amount of my note given to the treasurer and the other sums that are due for purchases, but from the improbability of procuring money, the banks having almost ceased to discount, from the circumstances of another bank being about to be erected by the state, which will necessarily deprive them of a great portion of their circulating cash.

I am with sincere regard and best compliments to my friends at your place

Dear sir

Your friend and very humble servant

Wm. Bingham

General Henry Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 10 February 1793 [BP]

Boston February 10. 1793

My dear Sir:

By a gentleman who came in the stage yesterday, I had the pleasure to hear of your reaching New York on Monday the 4th in the afternoon. I flatter myself you had an agreeable journey, and on your arrival in Philadelphia you found your amiable family well and in good health. In proper time I shall look out for the good effects of our fish and venison. I anticipate the happiness when it shall be announced, unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given.381

Mr. Sodostrom382 will deliver you the book containing the lottery townships. He leaves this in the stage tomorrow. I have sent you under cover to General Knox (to save expence) some necessary papers from the secretarys office, with Mr. Pierpoints journal of the eastern tract, and Mr. Westons etc. of the Kennebec tract.383 The copy’s of the conveyances from General Knox, Duer, Flint and myself to you, are not yet copied, I have frequently call’d on the Committee for that purpose but they are dilatory. The moment they are done will forward them to you. Coney and Wells will sign the paper left for them, the escrows are sign’d by Major Read, which finish’s that business.

I suppose Madam Laval is now with you. I wish she may be accommodated, provided her demands are within the bounds of reason. Many here who do not understand the business, think her unjustly treated by Duer etc., but what has she done, and where are her funds to proceed? Your note to her from Hartford, I distroy’d.

The 8th instant I drew on you at ten days sight in favor of M. M. Hays for one hundred and twelve pounds lawful money, which is in full to Mr. John Lucas for one eighth of Chandler’s river township.

I propose the following objects for your consideration, which I conceive to be necessary and important to accommodate you in the purchase’s you have already made in the eastern country: To buy up all the lottery certificates.

  • Dearbourns Townships.
  • Half of Edy’s do. on Penobscott.
  • Indian Claim on do. east and west side.
  • Colonel Aliens Township which is No. 12, East Machias.
  • Gouldsborough of Shaw.
  • What Townships or parts of Townships that may be for sale on the Sea Shore.
  • The Academy Townships, one of them Doctor Coney’s, the other Mr. Wells’s and are No. 2 and 3 in front and joining our Kennebeck Tract, which are of all importance to us.384
  • These purchases may be made now, much cheaper than at any time hereafter.

The Committee have frequently mentioned their full satisfaction with you and your mode of finishing the business, and I have reason to think they are disposed to assist you in any object you may have with the legislature. My best regards to Major Jackson.

I am with esteem

and regard your friend

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

The bills on you, £112 M. M. Hays, are thus:385

215 Dollars favor H. G. Otis

10 day £112

158⅓ do.   favor M. M. Hays

H. Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 24 February 1793 [BP]

Boston February 24, 1793

My dear Sir:

Your favor of the 15th instant by post came to hand yesterday, with the copies of two laws passed by your legislature respecting foreigners, and a number of queries respecting the purchase inclosed. These shall be attended to without delay. General Cobb who is with me, is of opinion there will be no difficulty in obtaining a law respecting foreign emigrants. You mention a sketch of a memorial on the subject of empowering the Committee to admit certain modification in the Articles of Agreement, but the sketch did not come to hand. You must therefore forward it to me immediately as the legislature will rise by the 20th of March and they seldom take up new papers when near the close of the session. A motion has been made in the legislature to dismiss the Land Committee from any further services, and to withhold the selling any more land. This is a favourite object with the members from the Province of Maine. A committee of seven were chosen on the subject who have the business under consideration. It is the opinion of some the object of the motion will be effected—in that case it will very essentially benefit our speculation.

The moment Mr. Wells receives a copy of the first deed from you, he and Mr. Coney will sign the certificate. I frequently call on Mr. Jarvis for the copies of the conveyances, but they are not yet ready. I will not loose sight of this object. I shall take every precaution in my power to prevent depredations on the purchase.

I drew on you the 21st instant in favor of Mr. L. Deblois for nine hundred and eighty three dollars at five days sight. This was to pay your note to the Treasurer for that sum. The five hundred pounds lawful money to pay Mr. Cabot for part of No. 7, and was to have been paid the first instant, have not as yet drawn for. I believe I delivered you the agreement I made with Mr. Cabot, which I wish you to send me by the next post, as I have forgot the terms and principles of it. On Friday the 22d we celebrated the birthday of the President of the United States. Ninety of us dined together in Concert Hall, where we feasted on fresh salmon, venison, etc. General Lincoln was our President and Thomas Russell Vice President. Altho’ the wine inspired some, yet we concluded the day with much mirth and harmony. My regards to Major Jackson.

I am dear sir your friend and humble servant

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

Bingham to H. Jackson, Philadelphia, 25 February 1793 [BP]386

Philadelphia February 25th 1793

My dear Sir,

I am indebted to you for your favors of the 4th and 10th instant. The bills you mention therein, viz., for £100 and £112, drawn on me in favor of M. M. Hays have been duly honoured.387

I have already informed you of our agreable journey of five days from Boston, being highly favoured by the weather and much delighted with our company. I shall not be so presumptuous as to engage that your prediction respecting the operation of your fish and venison will be verified, but am much obliged to you for your good wishes and your engagement to participate in the joy that so happy an event would occasion.

Mr. Soderstom delivered to me the book relative to the lottery townships and I have received thru the channel of General Knox the papers you allude to from the secretary’s office, with the journals of Pierpont and Weston [?].

I observe you have not been able as yet to procure the copies of the conveyances from General Knox, Duer, Flint and yourself. I am inclined to think that the attestation of their being true copies by the Committee, would not be sufficient validity in a court of justice. I rather believe that the deeds should be recorded in the secretary’s office, and copies furnished from thence under his signature, but of this point, you may easily inform yourself.

I am happy to find that Coney and Wells are both disposed to sign the instrument, acknowledging their acquiescence with the contract made by the major part of the Committee. It certainly must have a very good effect.

Madame de Leval has been here for some time past. Nothing decisive has as yet taken place. She had no right to expect (however inordinate her wishes) more than one half of the extent of the contract of the 16 January 1792, which would be a compliance with General Knox’s part of the original arrangement. I expect she will procure considerably more on the terms of the said bargain, which was three livres per acre, but we shall be embarrassed with respect to Trenton and that part of No. 8, which is included [illegible] Gregoire’s purchase.

The agreement stipulates that these latter purchases should be sold to her at three livres, the same price as the [illegible] whereas, your deed only specifies 25 cents for that part of Gregoire’s purchase, which you have conveyed to her. Do you recollect the reason that urged the departure from the letter of the contract [illegible]. I begin to believe that this woman’s enterprize and abilities may be rendered very useful to this part of the District of Maine. It is certain that there never was a more fortunate period for promoting settlements than the present moment, when by means of the convulsions of Europe, such alarming discontents prevail.

I am confident that very rapid establishments might take place, if proper encouragement was given, not only, from Europe, but from different parts of the United States. When it is considered, how well situated this country is for commerce, particularly that for the West Indies, by the quantity of fish and lumber and salted provisions it furnishes, there is no doubt that it only wants the fostering hand of a few indefatigable persons, to bring it into a country of great repute and resources.

I most certainly wish that your legislature will, during the present session, dispense [?] every aid and encouragement to foreign emigrants who may wish to seek their fortunes in America. The beneficial effects resulting from this policy, are so strikingly evident in our State, that our respectability in the Union, is much to be attributed to this cause. It will greatly tend to facilitate the reputation, which the Commonwealth is so desirous of providing for, and will from the present oppressions [?] of Europe have a tendency to introduce some of the most usefull classes of citizens. I augur well of the success of this object, from the governor having pointedly recommended an attention to it, on the part of the General Court.

With respect to the purchases you propose, it will be necessary to know on what terms, both with respect to price and credit, they may be obtained at. Credit is the more essentially necessary at present, as such are the embarrassments for the moment, that immense sacrifices must be made, in order to obtain pecuniary resources. The causes are principally the establishment of a third bank388 which occasions a great quantity of money to be locked up, which is intended for its capital, and the shipment of considerable quantities of specie to India and China.

I wish you to inform me what quantity of the lottery certificates you can command easily, and on what terms, considering that the State has not surveyed this tract of the Lottery Townships, so as to designate where each man’s prize exactly lays, and as there is no injunction on me to survey this tract into townships. Or, if I should choose to do it, for my own convenience, is there any necessity implied of my surveying on the same lines, as marked in the maps. There evidently results a great difficulty on the part of the fortunate adventurers, even to find their precise bounds of land they have respectively drawn.

This consideration induced me to believe that these lands may be procured on very easy conditions, of which you will please to inform me.

The next object is Dearbourn’s townships. Can they be procured and on what terms, and what is the quantity?

If Eddy will sell half of his township,389 please to secure from him his conditions as to price and to credit, and promise a certain period in which an answer shall be given. The same arrangement to be made with Coney and Wells. The former offered me any credit on paying interest but asked 25 [?] cents, which for land so far from the sea, was deemed rather high. It has the advantage tho’, of being a gift of the Commonwealth to a public institution. It is not clogged with terms of settlement. The same may be said of the township that Wells offers. I assume [?] when they have made their offers, they may be considered. The Township No. 1 in which is situated the mill seats on Carritunk Falls would be an object. Pray, to whom does it belong and at which price will it be procured.390 You do not mention the price of Colonel Aliens Township No. 18 nor of the remaining part of Gouldsborough. Is there a good port for vessels of 200 tons at any inlet that surrounds Gouldsborough, that is now in our possession?

February 26. Since writing the above I have received yours of the 17th instant.391 Dr. Coney mentions in his terms the reservation of 4000 acres in the Academy Townships, but does not say in what manner it is to be located or whether the quantity may not be selected from every part of the tract. I do not know what he means by satisfactory security, or whether a mortgage on the premises for the ballance would not be deemed sufficient.

I have already mentioned my opinion of the value of the land belonging to the fortunate adventurers in the lottery. I find one of your brokers has advertised the purchase of them, but I think no person will prudently give a price at all approaching to what we could afford to give, for no person can tell where their land lies untill the State has made a survey, which they do not seem inclined to do for the present [illegible] they are bound by any obligation of a moral [?] or political nature, to effect it. If this point was once understood, I do not believe you would meet with much competition. At the same time I wish you to be informed of the current price of these lottery lands, and probably it would be expedient [illegible] to employ a broker, who should be acquainted with the real circumstances of the case and be limited at a less rate, but this transaction must be conducted with prudence and great secrecy.

I have not had time to peruse the report of the surveyors of the Kennebeck tract, but I hope it will prove favorable and gain credit to the quality of its soil.

I deem it important to procure the signatures of Mr. Coney and Mr. Wells, and as the difficulty has arisen from not having the copy of the first deed, I now herewith enclose it, for their perusal. You will be so obliging as to transmit to me the deed, when you have no further occasion for it.

With respect to Madam de Leval, I am determined that she shall meet with a full compliance of the demand she makes as far as relates to her pretensions on General Knox.

She has not the shadow of a claim on him for more than his share of the purchase of the Maine Lands, and altho I deem her contract of no validity, owing to the spirit and letter of the subsequent arrangements, but as far as she can fix on him any reflections for the appearance of a departure from the contract, I am determined it shall be avoided. With respect to Mr. Duers portion of the engagement, he has received his recompence, and must so [illegible] with her for any injury or disappointment.

She has a [illegible] and interesting connection, and doubtless has procured many warm [illegible] from this circumstance, especially amongst your good people to the eastward.

I am fully determined that the present convulsion of Europe will greatly tend to favor the sales of lands in Europe, and that it would be expedient to profit by the impressions of the moment; it therefore becomes essentially necessary to procure every information that can throw light on the quality of the soil, local situation, production, and other advantages of the country. I hope that the questions you have published to those who will be the best situated to answer them, will be speedily returned with corresponding replies.

You do not mention the effect that has been made on your General Court by the recommendation of your governor, to revise the laws relative to the admission of foreigners. I think it an object of essential consequence, and sincerely hope that it will be attended to during this session and that a more liberal encouragement will be granted. Indeed, this is the favorable moment to attract European emigrants, which your Commonwealth can never improve to so much advantage.

The representatives from the Province of Maine must find their interests so intimately connected with this species of policy, that I have no doubt they will fully cooperate. If I have time previous to the departure of the post, I will write to several of our mutual friends in the legislature, on this particular object.

If any thing that affects our interests occurs, during the session, I shall be obliged to you to communicate it. Is the legislature complying with regard to changes relative to the [illegible] made with the State, or did Mr. Morris meet with any difficulties in the accomplishment of his cause [?]?

Please to remember me kindly to our friend the Speaker392 and believe me to be with true regard

Dear Sir

Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

General Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 10 March 1793 [BP]

Boston March 10. 1793

Dear Sir,

By the post, I received your favor of the 25 and 26 ultimo with a copy of the first deed inclosed. The private mark of Mr. Jones will be sufficient to authenticate it, and tomorrow (this being Sunday) will procure Wells’ and Coney’s signature to the certificate.

I think with you that the conveyances from Duer etc. had better be recorded in the secretarys office, then I can obtain copies under his signature. That will make them official papers, which will answer for any purpose in a court of law. The subject of emigrants as mentioned in the governours speech is committed to a joint committee of both houses, but they have not yet reported. The two Acts of your State on that head, are in the hands of the Speaker, who has promised to circulate them and prepare the minds of the members of the House on that subject. My petition on the changes relative to the contract is in the hands of a committee, of which J. C. Jones is one. They are preparing a report, but find some difficulty as the defer’d debt will not become six per cents until 1801, at which time 1,000 settlers must be placed on the land or a forfiture take place. As the 6 per cents are below par, the government will not consent to take them as a payment or receive them as a deposit at their nominal value, but I suppose they will accept your bond to make up the defficiency. Before I presented the petition I consulted Mr. Phillips and the gentlemen of the committee, and they promised me their support. I shall endeavour a modification on the best terms in my power. Mr. Morris’s accommodation was acceeded to without much difficulty.393 I expect by the next post to give answers to your questions, as I put them into the hands of a number of gentlemen of the court who live on the spot. They have appointed a committee among themselves to investigate the subject and answer them very particularly. I inclose you one of my blanks, that I had printed for the purpose. There will be the same terms of settlement required in the Academy Townships, as if you had purchased them of the Committee. You can gain no advantage on that head. The price which Doctor Coney mentions is his lowest terms. The 4,000 acres is intended to be taken in one lot. I suppose Mr. Wells will sell at the same price and terms, and a mortgage will be all the security after a payment is made. I have not yet seen Mr. Shaw or Colonel Allen, but from a conversation with them when you was in Boston, I am led to believe that Gouldsborough may be bought at 3/ lawful money per acre, and No. 12 at 2/ payable one quarter down, one in six, one in twelve, and the other in eighteen months. By next week will know from them their lowest terms and prices. There is a good port for vessells of 500 tons at Gouldsborough to which we have a communication in my purchase of Shaw, but the purchase now proposed, will give a very advantageous situation. General Knox has a copy of the agreement with respect Dearborn townships, to which I refer you. The quality I believe is good. They lay the back of the Waldo patent, Eddy’s and No. 1 Carrotunk Falls. Will endeavour to obtain the necessary information.

You ask me the reason, why I agreed to convey to Madam Laval part of Gregoire’s purchase at 25 cents. I answer, because I was directed so to do, in a letter from Colonel Duer, dated the 16th October ‘92, and agree’d to by General Knox, of which the following is an extract: “General Knox who is with me, has agreed to give to Madam Laval and Mr. de la Roche deeds of that part of Trenton and No. 8 which was included in the late proposed contract, taking a bond and mortgage to yourself for the purchase money.” The late proposed contract, is certainly the last proposed, which mentions 25 cents per acre. It cannot have any other meaning or construction. I considered it was directed in order to quiet the clamorous tongue which was very active against us. For my own part, that was the great motive that induced me to comply, and that price ought to be taken into view in any negotiation with her.394 You may rely on my activity in any instance that may effect the interest of the concern. I am with

great regard and esteem

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 17 March 1793 [BP]

Boston March 17, 1793

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 6th instant by post yesterday.

The resolve respecting foriegners and also the one alluding to settlers and an accommodation of payment are before the legislature, and I shall hope to have them terminate this session agreeably to our wishes. I herewith inclose you the certificate signed by Mr. Wells and Mr. Coney. You will observe it is acknowledge[d] before a justice who is one of the Senate, and is a witness. Mr. Sewall395 the other witness is a member of the House. This may appear to some of little or no consequence but I consider’d it otherways. I should advise by all means to take a surveyor from the eastern country. We have many of them that are skillful and honest, who reside on or near the Penobscot. Probably they cannot make so handsome and elegant a map as Captain Hills survey in this State for General Knox396 but they are of education and accurate in that particular line, and will be able to do the business with more expedition and with satisfaction to themselves, being used to the mode of living in that country than a stranger unacquainted with the manners and customs of the people. A principal may be obtain’d from 12/ to 18/ lawful money per day and find himself, a second from 6/ to 12/, and common hands from 4/ to 6/ and find themselves. Who ever you employ I would agree by the day or month, and that they find themselves in every necessary and convenience. Mr. Peters or Mr. Weston397 are both of them persons in whom great confidence may be placed to engage in this business, they have each of them sons who are surveyors, and are active smart young men in that line. Mr. Peters resides near Union River and Mr. Weston on the Kennebec.

The secretary of the Commonwealth has certainly put his signature to the book of Lottery Townships, which you will observe in some part of it.

I have writen to General Knox this day with respect to my drawing on you for £311.19. lawful money, it being the second installment of De Gregoire’s purchase, which I am under the absolute necessity of punctually paying as Mr. J. C. Jones is with me in the bond which becomes due the first of April, and the person who holds the bond call’d me yesterday that he expected payment on the day it became due, as he was under an engagement on that day at the bank. I was obliged to say he should have it, or I know it was his intention to have call’d on Mr. Jones.

Application has been made to the Committee for the purchase of one million acres, between the Penobscot and Schoodic. I have reason to believe that this application came from some person in your quarter. Mr. Jarvis declined telling me the name, but he assured me on his honor, that such an application was made last week, and the person was very pressing on the subject.398 The Committee were unable to give an explicit answer, as they have doubts on their minds with respect to our holding the last agreement. Why not sell this tract ourselves, if we can get a profit by it?

On motion in the legislature a committee was raised to consider the expediency of discharging the Committee for the Sale of Eastern Lands. That committee have reported, that that Committee should not be discharged, but that they be directed to surcease all further sale of these lands until the further order of the legislature. This report I am informed will probably not pass, if acted upon at the present session.

If I send your note, I shall have no voucher for the payment of that money, therefore it will be best for you to charge me with that sum for the payment of that note.

I am with regard and esteem

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

Bingham to H. Jackson, Philadelphia, 22 March 1793 [BP]399

Philadelphia March 22 1793

Dear Sir,

I have received your several favors of the 10th, 11th and 16th instant. I hope the committee will report favorably with respect to the modification on the Articles of Agreement, by giving security to pay the difference, if the six per cents should fall below par, an arrangement I think may take place; as well as with regard to the deferred debt.

I observe a committee have reported a bill in favor of aliens holding lands, as well as to remove all restrictions on their emigrations. It will be a most favorable circumstance for the concerned, if this bill should pass, and will be highly advantageous to the interests of the State. I have no doubt that the members from the Maine will advocate it, as they will derive such benefit by means of an increased population in their district.

The answers they have given to the various questions on the subject of that country are very satisfactory; altho I wished, they had been more detailed and lengthy, and conveyed more particular information. As I shall have occasion to make several copies of their answers, in order to serve certain purposes, it will be necessary to have the original, as the copies must be certified to be conformable thereto.

I am inclined to purchase that part of Gouldsborough, which adjoins the east harbor, altho from the map it appears that what is already purchased, contains an advantage of this kind. I should have no objection to the purchase of about 2,000 acres surrounding the best harbor on the terms he offers, relative to payment and credit, and at the rate of 3/ to 3/6 per acre.400

I think the sooner you obtain the deed, for the Purchase already made, the better.

Colonel Allen’s township is too high, at 2/8, perhaps he will take less. I should have no objection to some other person purchasing it, who would improve it, as that country will be quickly settled, in proportion to the division of the property, and the number of persons stimulated by interest, to turn it to the best account. If Madame Levals settlement succeeds rapidly, it will have an excellent effect in alluring other settlers and giving an additional value to the adjoining lands.

I wish the Committee had disposed of all their lands, for whilst any remain to be sold at 25 cents, it greatly diminishes the value of those in the neighbourhood. Besides, the more they are dispersed in the hands of individuals, the greater the stimulus to exertions, not only in supporting them at high prices, but in improving them, in order to turn them to proper account.

I wish you to inform me whether any applications have been made to the Committee for new purchases, as I shrewdly suspect that some gentlemen here (particularly Mr. Cazenove) have a strong desire to be largely concerned. I hope you will keep your eye towards them.

The affairs of Europe will be very favorable to the sale of American lands. The discontents and divisions that are so generally prevailing, will occasion many persons to turn their attention to making purchases in this country.

I am with great regard

Dear sir

Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

General Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 23 March 1793 [BP]

Boston March 23d 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 16th instant.

I begin to have my doubts whether I shall be able to effect the object of our wishes this session, in some measure owing to the great pressure of public business in which the legislature is particularly engaged in, and from an idea of some of the influential members that the defer’d is not a funded debt, and also that no deposit of the funded debt is so good security as the lands themselves or the money in their chest. The act respecting foreigners, if we obtain one, will be so modified that it will be of little or no signification. However I have this satisfaction, I have done every thing in my power to effect the objects in view, and shall continue so to do, until the end.

I am clear in the opinion that we may obtain a considerable number of settlers from this State, but in the first instance, we must give them some particular encouragement, and in order to commence this business I would propose to have some townships of the best land, as to soil and situation, and in, or near the centre of each Million immediately survey’d and laid out into lots of 100 acres each, open a land office in this town for the purpose of giving away every third lot under certain conditions to those who may apply within a given term of time, and who can bring a recommendation of their good character from the selectmen of the town where they last resided (I mention the best land because I think it good policy to commence our settlement on the best tract in the first instance, by which means we shall give the whole an unequivocal good name, and turn the attention of settlers to that quarter), and as a further encouragement to settlers, I would propose that a proper vessel should be kept running from here to the settlement to convey the settlers and their effects free from expence to the sea port nearest there intended settlement. This will be a great stimulus, and will certainly draw the attention of our young people to that quarter and will convince our legislature of your exertions and sacrifices in order to promote a settlement, and will remove from their minds the idea that your object is speculation and not settlement, which they are strongly impress’d with, and causes every difficulty I now labour under. Only establish that settlement is your object, and you may gain any point of modification you wish.

You ask me, “Who does the remaining part of No. 7 belong to?” I answer, “To William Bingham Esquire of the city and county of Philadelphia, as he will observe by his second deed in the purchase of the six townships.”401 I have already writen you fully respecting Mr. Shaw and Colonel Allen. They will both or either of them convey immediately on the terms I mentioned to you, and from that they will not depart. You have Doctor Cony’s proposals specifying the lowest terms, and Mr. Wells will sell his on the same conditions, and they are both ready to convey them immediately. You will please to give me explicit directions on this head, as they are anxious to have your determination. They are disappointed in not having your answer before this. I believe I can buy the remaining part of Mount Desert and on very good terms. I can obtain Township No. 1 on Caratunk on the same terms as that of Coney’s. Its another Academy Township. My agreement with Mr. de la Roche will inform you in what manner Trenton is to be divided (a copy of which I sent to General Knox). Mr. Peters the surveyor was employ’d for that purpose, but I have not as yet had a return from him, altho’ I have reason to think he has compleated the business. I am at a loss to determine whether the remainder of our purchase in Trenton will admit of a good port on Union River, but I believe by purchasing a few settlements that lay on the river, we could obtain a very good port on reasonable terms.

The Committee have notified me that they expect the payment of my note for the 5,200 dollars when due,402 and also the payment of the thirty thousand dollars on the 18th of next month, agreeable to the last contract for back lands. I hope you will take advice of the law on this last mentioned payment, as it appears to me they cannot demand it, until sixty days after they have notified me of the survey and the bonds are given.

By a friend of mine I have reason to believe that the Committee have an idea that unless you make punctual payment for the deeds lodg’d as escrows, as specified in the several bonds, that the lands expressed in that particular deed are forfeited by you to the Commonwealth. I give you this hint, that you may be prepared on that point. If it is so, its very new to me, and unexpected.

I am with sincere regard

and esteem your servant

H. Jackson

P.S. Read what is on the cover of the escrow, “The within deed deliver’d into the hands of OW, NA, and JCJ as an escrow is to be delivered to WB upon your producing, paid and cancelled on or before June first 1793, a bond given by WB to the Treasurer, etc.” One of the Committee has said that unless you take up the deed in escrow on or before the time mentioned, that deed is forfeited, as the gentlemen in whose hands it is deposited cannot deliver to you afterwards.


William Bingham, Esquire

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 31 March 1793 [BP]

Boston March 31. 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 22d instant.

After all my exertions and that of my friends, the legislature have adjourn’d without making a law for the admission of foreigners, or granting any modification to our terms of agreement. As to the first, a bill was reported by Doctor Eustis,403 who was chairman of a committee, which was debated for a day or two. Many objections were raised, and our friends thought it best to refer it to the next session which was done. Mr. J. C. Jones, who was chairman of the committee on my application for a modification, reported a resolve to deliver up the deeds upon your depositing with the Treasurer and transfering to him 6 per cents at par, to the amount of the deeds, to be sold as the respective obligations became due, provided they were not otherways discharged. Also to take the defer’d debt as a deposit for settlers at the following rate, viz., for those to be put on it,



40 Defer’d



38 do.



35.70 do.



33.10 do.



31.80 do.




30 do.

This resolve passed the House unanimously, only with an addition of 25 per cent of the 6 per cents on the nominal amount of the deeds to be delivered up. I had frequently conversed with Mr. Phillips, who is President of the Senate, Mr. Wells and Mr. Coney, who are members of that body, on the subject of my application, and shew them the memorial in the first instance which they promised me to support, and I had every confidence in their exertions. The resolve was sent up to the Senate for their concurrence. A committee of three was chosen; Mr. Wells and Mr. Coney were two of them. Mr. J. C. Jones, who had made the calculations and understood every part of the report, at my request attend’d the committee of the Senate, and perfectly explain’d the whole operation, and that the State would be as well secured in the proposed modification, and more so, than in the present form. But I soon discover’d what I had to expect from Wells and Coney, for they said I could buy the defer’d debt at one half of the 6 per cents, and in that case I should be under no inducement to place any settlers on the land. Every argument was made use of. I applied to the Treasurer who attended the committee with Mr. L. Jarvis, and they were satisfied the calculation was right. But Mr. Wells told me we should make a saving of 40, or 50,000 dollars on deferd debt, and the State ought to have half of it at least. The Committee accordingly reported to receive 45 dollars in defer’d debt for one half the settlers, and 40 dollars for the other half. By this calculation we should give 23,215 dollars defer’d debt more than an equivalent for the 6 per cents.404 My friends opposed it, and after some time Mr. Phillips observed we had made a contract, and deeds were given. We now came forward to have an alteration which was intricate and he did not understand it. It was therefore refer’d to the next session. Had Phillips and Wells only been in favor of it, or kept silent, we should not have met with the least difficulty. All my friends tell me, we shall obtain both points the next session, and indeed I think so myself. I hope it will not be any great disadvantage, as I suppose the lands must be survey’d into townships, and an accurate discription of them, before it will be at market, and it will be a great saving in the deposit to ascertain the number of settlers at the time of the deposit.

I herewith inclose the original answers to the questions, also some of the printed questions. Mr. Shaw will not sell 2,000 acres on the terms you mention, but I suppose he will, in the situation you wish, but he will expect a price accordingly. I wrote you that an application had been made to the Committee for the purchase of one million acres, and they have another for twelve townships besides, that is, for Dearbourns township. The Committee will not tell me who the persons are that apply’d, but I have reason to believe they are both from your quarter. The inclosed is General Dearbourns opinion of that tract.405

You will remember that altho’ the Committee are selling their lands at 25 cents per acre they are cloged with terms of settlement, whereas by an advance of 3 or 4 cents per acre on our purchase, it will be free from settlement of any kind. This must be a great thing in an European market.

Nothing was done by the legislature with the Committee. They continue as before, but they cannot sell larger tracts than townships, unless on the east side of the Penobscot, and while we hold on the last purchase, they have not any for sale, on that side the river.

I am with great esteem and regard

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

Bingham to H. Jackson, Philadelphia, 2 April 1793 [BP]406

Philadelphia April 2nd 1793

My dear Sir:

I am sorry to observe by yours of the 23 March that you doubt whether any effective measures will be taken this session to hold out greater incouragement for the introduction of foreigners into your State.

The objection that arises out of the plan which you mention as prevalent with many of the members—that their lands were purchased with views of speculation, more than settlement—is futile, illfounded, and inconsistent.

A moments consideration must convince every reflecting person that it is impossible to turn this purchase to profitable account without a due attention to its settlement, and this must be a primary and essential object with regard to its management.

I waited with impatience for a law that would facilitate the admission of strangers, in order to make proposals to numbers of German families in this state to remove on these lands. They are composed of a class of settlers that would do credit and cause [?] profit to any state that would receive them. They are frugal, industrious good farmers, and from strength of constitution, fit to encounter the difficulties that the first settlers are enjoined [?] to, in a new country. I was taking measures to insure success in this undertaking, which considerably depended on the nature of the law, which your General Court was about passing, respecting foreigners; for altho’ this law would not have any individual operation on them ([illegible] of the State), yet if it did not encourage the admission of their countrymen, it darkens their prospects, and removes the greatest incentive they have to emigrate into another state and make large purchases therein, which is to sell the surplus lands which they do not occupy to their countrymen, whom they mean to allure from Europe.

If by the idea of speculation and not settlement, is meant that the object is sale to foreigners, still the necessity exists in the strongest point of view of holding out invitation and encouragement; if [for?] no foreigners purchase without an instant and immediate view of settlement. By the measures that are now taking, to people the lands that foreigners have purchased in this state, we shall have in the course of the year, a very considerable association of people, who bring with them much wealth, and what is of still greater importance, an intimate knowledge [?] of the usefull arts. This has given to Pennsylvania a kind of prominence in general manufactures, which is a source of great riches.

I think if the members of the General Court had been impressed with the consequences resulting from these remarks, they would have surmounted their prejudices.

They hold out a desire of making settlements, and remove the encouragement to effect them. They mean to compel us “to make bricks without straw,” which is inflicting an Egyptian punishment on us.

I concur with you in [illegible] that it may be eligible to induce settlers from the different parts of your State to remove upon these lands. In order properly to accomplish this object, there must be a system formed for the purpose, which must be the result of reflexion. When General Knox and myself make our excursion in May we will more maturely consider this point.

In the mean while I wish you to make every enquiry that will lead to an accurate state of facts and knowledge on the subject.

Roads must in the first place be cut thro’ the tract, so as to form an easy communication, and expose to view the quality of the soil and situation.

I observe that the Committee have notified to you their expectation of having your note for 5,000 dollars paid when due, and also the payment of the 30,000 dollars the 18th instant.

With respect to the latter they can have (according to the best legal opinion) no right whatever to make the demand. In the first place, the parties have a right to demand all the deeds by the sixth Article, by an anticipation of the payments and a discount of the interest; whereas [?] the Committee have it not in their power, to comply with this engagement, not having any survey made of the lands contracted to be sold; therefore, they cannot concede [?] to the parries, the alternative which the articles stipulate in their favor. And if this business takes the direction I wish it, the whole payment will be made at once, and no obligations given.

Besides, by the fifth Article it is provided that deeds shall be given, whenever 125,000 acres are paid for. Now a payment of 30,000 dollars will entitle the parties to deeds, but how can they be executed in compliance with this provision of the Article, when no survey has been made and no boundary line ascertained?

This evidently shows, that the plain and precise meaning of the contract, implied the necessity of a previous survey, before the bargain was carried into effect.

Indeed, the security to be given (by the fourth Article) and the obligations for the payment of specified sums of money (by the third Article) are founded on an accurate knowledge of the precise quantity contained within the described limits. Otherwise, it will be impossible to make the necessary arrangement.

But to place the matter beyond the reach of cavel and contradiction, we must attend to the 11th and 12th Articles. The former specifies that deeds shall be previously made out and delivered to those persons, to be held in escrow; that one of the said deeds shall be delivered to the grantees on payment of the bonds, which conformably to this and the fourth Article shall become due on the 18 April 1793.

Whereas, should this payment be made, the Committee could not comply with their engagement; for no deeds have been made and thus deposited, which evidently shows that they have not a shadow of right to make the demand. It rather appears that they are strangely ignorant of their contract, or that they believe they have children to deal with.

But what astonishes me more, as relative to this point, is that the 12th Article specifies that the survey shall be made in twelve months, or as soon after as may be, and no measures have been taken for the purpose.

Indeed it is impossible to survey these lands, untill the boundary line with the British is ascertained. If the North West Branch of the Schoodyck is called the line of seperation, it extends along a body of lakes at the north line of our Penobscot tract, and would therefore exclude the lands to the northward of the same, and would only leave the interval ground, betwixt a line, run due north from the source of this river (which appears to be a lake near the north west corner of the Penobscot tract), and within six miles of the Penobscot River. This would only embrace a small quantity of ground, but this is a point to be determined.407

It is expedient not to release the Committee from this bargain in order to prevent a sale being made that might prove highly injurious by the competition, especially as designing persons might take advantage of ignorant ones, by selling lands, that had no title that could possibly be derived from the State. With respect to the 5,200 dollars, I think it will be expedient to pay the same if the Committee require it, as this sum appears to be necessary as a kind of earnest to fulfill the bargain.

If you can find out any offers, made for large quantities of land and can inform me from what quarter you suspect they come, you will oblige me.

The construction the Committee put upon the form of the escrow, is really singular, and does not do them much credit, as it is in direct violation of the Articles of Agreement, that we mutually ratified at the same time. However, I shall reply more fully to this and other parts of your letter by the succeeding post, as several interruptions have so limited my time that if I make any further remarks, I shall lose the opportunity of the present post.

I therefore can only subscribe myself with regard

dear Sir

Yours etc.

Wm. Bingham

General Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 7 April 1793 [BP]

Boston April 7. 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 27th March.408 I this day have written to Mr. Peters, the person who survey’d the Penobscot tract for the Committee, to inform me the lowest terms he will charge for himself and company to survey that tract into townships, and to find themselves in provisions and every necessary while engaged in the business, and I shall expect to hear from him in 12 or 15 days. In the meantime I request you to send me such orders as you may wish him to follow, pointing out the mode and manner in which the survey is to be conducted, and any other particular directions that you may have in view in the completion of this business. As it will be necessary for him to enter into a contract for the faithful and accurate performance of the survey, I wish you to send me a draft of an instrument that will be agreeable to you, comprehending the particulars he must engage to comply with. While we hold the last purchase, the Committee are without an inch of land for sale on the east of the Penobscot River, except the tract of six miles which they reserve as the claim of the Indians. If we should give up this purchase the Committee have full power to dispose of it again to any one individual that may appear to purchase it, but they are under positive restrictions to sell only by single township, and not more than one to any individual on the west of the Penobscot. This injunction the Committee will strictly adhere to. This day week I wrote General Knox and inclosed him Judge Sullivans opinion on my application respecting the contract of April 18th, 1792.409 His opinion I think is rather equivocal, but I am clear the payment on the 18th instant stands on the same ground that the payment in June ‘92 stood in the contract for the two million acres, of which I believe the Committee were satisfied they could not demand until 60 days after the survey, or they never would have compleated that contract with you. Altho’ one of the Committee the week before last mentioned to me they expected the payment of the 30,000 dollars on the 18th instant, yet I have reason to think they have taken no measures respecting the survey. I gave no direct answer because I was apprehensive it might injure my applications then before the legislature, but I am convinced after we have discharged the 5,200 dollar note they will never think of selling, nor indeed any person run the risque of purchasing while we hold their contract. Therefore they will be induced to set about the survey immediately, and give the sixty days notice required in the contract, which I think they will not be able to accomplish until winter or spring. Indeed I have my doubts whether they can ascertain the exact north line without the consent and approbation of the British Government. I think it well worth our while to pay the 5,200 note, and hold on the purchase until the survey is made, which in fact may not be finished for a year or two, and then we can but forfeit that note. I am under no apprehension of any persons buying it, so long as we hold up a claim to that tract.

I observe what you say respecting the lottery prizes and will make arrangements accordingly.

I am with sentiments

of regard and esteem very


H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

Bingham to H. Jackson, Philadelphia, 9 April 1793 [BP]410

Philadelphia April 9th 1793

My dear Sir:

I have to acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 31. March.

I observe with regret that the law for the admission of foreigners was not passed during this session, as it is an important moment to press the sale and settlement of our lands.

You will oblige me by sending me a copy of the law which is referred to the next legislative session, and an exhibit from the journals relative to the state of this business.

I observe that you have not been able to procure any of the modifications for the payment of the lands or for the terms of settlement, however, as I expect to be enabled to have an opportunity of impressing this subject on the attention of some of the members in a personal interview, I will say nothing at present on the subject, further than to remark that I am disappointed in the part that Mr. Phillips has taken in this application, which I expected he would rather have advocated than opposed.

I have read with attention Judge Sullivan’s opinion on the contract

I do not think he has attended to the most forcable objection to the payment of the 30,000 dollars on the 18th of April, which is, that by the fifth Article, provision is made for receiving deeds from the Committee whenever any quantity not less than 125,000 acres is paid for. Now, the sum of 30,000 dollars would entitle us to a deed for 150,000 acres and yet on payment of the same, it is impossible for the Committee to comply, as no deeds can be made, untill the boundaries are fixed, and these cannot be ascertained untill the determination concerning the pretensions [?] of the River Schoodyck to be the line of separation betwixt the British possessions and those of the United States, is clearly made known. I therefore think the Committee will not insist on so forced a construction of the contract, as a moments reflection must convince them that they cannot support so arbitrary a doctrine. I am sure that however well disposed they may be to have an opportunity of selling these lands to a new applicant, there is no person of common prudence, or even delicacy, that would treat with them, under the existing circumstances of difficulty, that must attend this operation.

If the application comes from this quarter, I think Mr. Morris or Mr. Cazenove must be the persons, as they alone seem inclined to speculate so deeply in land purchases.

If the Committee put the construction you mention (the forfeiture of the deeds to the State if the bonds are not punctually paid at the specified day, as it relates to the first purchase), I shall not be surprized at any attempt to pervert the most plain and obvious meaning.

In the first place, the third Article determines that on failure of payment at the periods respectively mentioned, such deficient payments shall be on interest at six per centum per annum untill discharged. This is the only penalty for non payment. These Articles are ratified anew with the Committee on the 28 January and are made binding in every respect, as conformable thereto. The bonds even mention that interest is to be payable at the rate of six per centum, if the principal is not strictly and punctually discharged, a provision, which I never knew introduced into the body of a bond, but which, in this case, was rendered necessary, in order to render it consistent with the letter of a contract.

Now, if from an inadvertency at the last moment, and the hurry of business, the escrows were not made precisely to conform to the articles of Agreement, and the bonds given in consequence, surely the Committee would not take advantage of an [illegible] slip, and endeavor to raise difficulties. If I had had less confidence in them, I should have undoubtedly been more attentive to this point; but feeling, that, as they acted in the dignified situation of agents for the State, they would be as disposed as I should be, to remedy all mistakes, that incautiously might have crept into the language of the arrangements, I must confess, I was not much on my guard.

And I am entirely convinced that on a mature consideration of the articles, and the rigid [?] ratification of them in every respect, they will not hesitate to renounce the opinion you suppose some of them may have entertained, which is not only devoid of all support, by the most rigorous legal construction, but which would designate a conduct which is unworthy the characters of the gentlemen of the Committee.

But however desirous I may be to extinguish the payments due for these lands, on or before the periods that are mentioned, yet it becomes necessary to know with precision whether this construction of the words of the escrow is to be contemplated in such a manner, as to affect my interests, should I not discharge the bonds at the exact period of their falling due; for a delay of a few days might by this rigid interpretation, subject me to difficulties, which were never had in view, under the provisions of the Articles of Agreement; I therefore cannot be disposed to conjecture that it is meant to take this ungenerous advantage. If I had time by this post, I would write to Mr. Jarvis on this subject, who I think, formed the words of the escrow. I wish to know whether the gentlemen in whose hands the deposits are made, attach this construction to them; for in this case, they must be set right on the subject. Nothing but the present convulsed situation of the times, which has rendered money so extremely scarce, as to occasion the funds to fall so low that six per cents may be purchased at 17/6 and bank stock at a premium of 6 per cent, could have induced me to pay any attention to this point. My intention has been invariably to pay off the bonds at the period they become due, except circumstances might render it highly inconvenient, when doubtless it was provided that I should have an indulgence, by the operation of the third Article. Besides, if the deed was forfeited (as you mention to be the interpretation of some of the gentlemen), then certainly the bond is to be cancelled. Now, none of the bonds correspond to the quantity of acres in the deeds, and moreover, there is no obligation in the bonds that has the least regard to the deeds; on the contrary, they provide for the contingency of a deferred payment by specifying that legal interest should be taken for the delinquent time.

By the ratification of the Articles of Agreement (copy of which I herewith enclose you) it is expressly mentioned that “bonds were given and deeds made in such form and manner as by both parties, were considered to be conformable to the true interest and meaning of the Articles of Agreement.” I have already mentioned the tenor of the bonds; the deeds could specify nothing relative to this point. The mode of depositing them in the hands of these gentlemen, in an escrow, can have no possible effect on the substantial principles of the Agreement. On considering these ideas, I have no doubt that all obstacles will vanish on this score. And it is essentially necessary to know that this is the case.

I like the plan of appropriating some of the best townships for settlement, and encouraging emigration into those quarters. When I have the pleasure of seeing you, we will confer more particularly on the subject.

It will be absolutely necessary that the lines of the townships of the Penobscot Million should be run. I wish you would engage some skillful person on reasonable terms to engage immediately in this business.

The dread of the unpopularity of the measure deters me from the employment of any of our surveyors, who are very adroit and present handsome drafts of their work. As I shall probably have occasion to forward this survey to Europe, the sooner it is effected, the better. The persons who undertake it, should be instructed to make accurate remarks in their field books, both with respect to the nature of the soil, the quality of the timber, as well as the situation of the waters, so that an accurate map could be made of the course of the rivers, which is a very essential point.

General Lincoln recommends a road thro’ the second or third row of townships, as far as the Schoodyk, but it is a question, whether the persons who possess the intermediate ground betwixt the Penobscot and the boundaries of the tract, would coöperate in this arrangement, and assist in the expence. He informs me that the expence of such a road would not exceed ten dollars per mile. I imagine if a handsome, tho true description of the country, was given to those persons desirous of emigrating they would prefer these settlements to the dreary [?] situations of an interior country. Indeed, since the eastern salted provisions have come into such repute, lands that are calculated for grazing will be sought after exceedingly, especially those, which from local position, can easily export their produce. As soon as the West Indies are restored to quiet, the demand they will have on your states for salted provisions, fish, and lumber will be immense, and all these articles the Main lands will abundantly supply. We have intelligence, that the French have abandoned their islands and declared them independent.

Should this be the case, the eastern states will benefit immensely by the arrangement, for the islands will become their colonies without the expence of protection, and will possess nearly the whole of their carrying trade. We shall profit in a far inferior degree, as we have fewer articles to supply, and our freightage is more expensive.

We must, if possible get possession of Dearbourns townships, as well as No. 1, 2 and 3, adjoining the Kennebeck tract. Whilst the Committee have for sale a single township at 25 cents, it injures exceedingly the sale of ours. I wish you would send me a copy of Dearbourns agreement with the Committee. Neither General Knox or myself have it.

I am with sincere regard

dear Sir

Your obedient humble servant

Wm. Bingham

General Jackson

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 14 April 1793 [BP]

Boston April 14. 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 30th March by Mr. Monvell, and also of the 2d and 6th instant by post.411

I shall certainly afford Mr. Monvell every assistance in my power. He will leave this tomorrow or next day for Mount Desert.

Our legislature will meet again in six weeks, from this time, and there is not a doubt, but they will repeal all former acts, and pass a law fully opening the door for the admission of foreigner emigrants. I shall have the influence of Madam Lavals friends which will forward the business greatly. The extracts you mention, in their present situation, will rather injure than help you.

Yesterday Mr. Leonard Jarvis and Major Read notified me that the payment of the 30,000 dollars on the last contract was due on the 18th instant and expected my punctual payment at that time. I told them they had no right to demand it until 60 days after they had notified me that survey was made, which they had not yet done; that I was not, nor should not be prepared to make that payment, until they had completed the survey, and were ready to make out the deeds accordingly; that this payment stood in the same light, with the payment in June 1792 in the first contract, and was not paid until sixty days after the survey, which was eight months beyond the expiration of that time, and the Committee I believed were well satisfied they had no legal right to demand it before. They observed they had been call’d fools etc. by everybody, for giving the deeds for the Penobscot and Kennebec tract, because we did not comply with the payment due in June 1792, and they were now determined, unless the 30,000 dollars was paid on or before the 18th instant they would offer that tract for sale, as two different persons had applied to purchase it, and they would certainly dispose of it after the 18th unless the money was then paid. I laughed and told them, I was under no apprehension of their selling, nor of any persons buying, while I held their contract, which was my present intention to fullfil, and I expected them to fullfil on their part. We had a long conversation on the subject, and they finally said, if you and myself would give our bonds for the 30,000 dollars payable in twelve months, they would immediately commence the survey and finish it without loss of time. To this I objected, observing the contract stood very well, and if it did not, I had no right to call on you to join in a bond for that payment, as you had nothing to do with that contract. It was true, that you was obliged to put your name on my note for 5,200 dollars, as they refused to comply with the terms of the first contract, unless they were certain of that payment. Thus the interview finish’d, but I expect to hear from them again on the 18th, which I shall communicate to you. I will hold on, and not give up me inch to them, but it will be best to keep your name out of view. They declined telling me who the persons were that had made application to purchase. I hope you will in season give me some directions respecting the 5,200 dollar note, as it was discounted at the Branch Bank and the money taken out. It will become due the first of May. I have no doubt but the bank will renew it if its not convenient for you to pay it at that time. In that case you must immediately send me a note indorsed by you, which I will sign and present to the bank.

I am dear Sir with regard and esteem very sincerely etc.

H. Jackson

William Hingham, Esquire

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 21 April 1793 [BP]

Boston April 21. 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 9th instant. It is out of my power to send you a copy of the law which is referred to the next sessions, or an extract from the journals relative to the admission of foreigners, as the clerk of the House who has the charge of all the papers and journals during the sessions is out of town, and will not return until the 3d Wednesday in next month.

I observed to you, that one of the Committee had intimated in conversation with a friend of mine, the idea respecting the deeds in escrow, which I wrote you. But the Committee have never directly nor indirectly mentioned the thing in that view, nor have I heard it from any other quarter.

I therefore doubt the propriety of speaking to them on the subject, because it may fix their attention to a point they have not in contemplation, but I will inform myself further, what was said, and if necessary bring on a conversation with Mr. Jarvis, or one of the Committee and draw out an explanation to that point.

On Monday I wrote you,412 a conversation I had with Mr. S. Higginson, since which I have had an interview with Mr. Leonard Jarvis who informed me, the Committee had several applications for the lands specified in our contract of the 18th April 1792, and after some difficulty, I obtained from him that Mr. Higginson was one of the applicants and very desirous of purchasing it. This places it without a doubt in my mind, that Mr. Cazneau is the person who imployd him.

Yesterday I received a letter from the Committee, handed me by Mr. Jarvis, of which the inclosed is a copy. I informed him they had no right to make the demand until sixty days after the survey, which was a point they had acceeded to, in the contract of July 1791; that I was astonished they had not commenced the survey and prepared themselves to give me the deeds, this was a conduct they could not justify to me, to themselves nor the publick; that I had paid them 5,200 dollars which would have indemnified them for the expence of the survey, as it was a sum five times more than the cost attending it, and they had not taken one step in the business. He observed they had doubts whether it was my intention to comply with that agreement, but if I would give them a bond for 30,000 dollars payable in 12 months they would immediately go on with the survey, which he said I should not hesitate to comply with, if it was my intention to take it after the survey was made. I told him it was my intention, and the 5,200 dollars was ample, and the only security they had a right to demand, for the fullfilment of it.

I am satisfied (however they may threaten) they will never think seriously of selling, nor any one of buying, while we hold that contract, and I think it best to keep you wholly out of sight in this business, because you may want some indulgence or modification in your other concerns, which they would not be disposed to grant, without embarrassing it with the last contract. I hope and please myself you have taken some measures for the payment of the 5,200 dollar note in the bank, which will be due the last of this month, or I shall be under the necessity of drawing on you to take it up, which must be anticipated some days before the note is due. Inclosed is a copy of General Dearborns agreement.

I am very sincerely

H. Jackson

William Bingham, Esquire

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 12 May 1793 [BP]

Boston May 12. 1793

My dear Sir:

I have received your favor of the 1st instant.

I am much pleased at your determination to make the payment of 30,000 dollars on or before the first of June. At the same time I would keep out of sight for the present the idea of one of the Committee on the subject of punctuality of payment, and never let them believe that you was induced to make the payment from that principle.

In consequency of your requesting me to make enquiry whether a discount could not be effected at the bank where the State deposits their money, I applied to a particular friend of mine, one of the directors, who informed me that Mr. Davis the treasurer413 who was also one of the directors had made application that morning on the subject of a discount in your favor, and the president with some of the directors informed him that you should have a discount for 60 days for the whole sum of 30,000 dollars. On this I immediately call’d on Mr. Davis the treasurer and enquired of him, what I knew before, the exact amount of the bonds due on the first of June. I did this to introduce the subject, and told him I supposed he would have no objection to delivering up your bonds on my giving him a check on the Union Bank to the amount. On this he started and mentioned that the mode of payment was already settled; that you had writen to Mr. T. Russell that, provided you could obtain a discount for 10,000 dollars, the full sum of 30,000 dollars would be paid on or before the first of June; that he the treasurer had spoken to the president and some of the directors of the Union Bank on the subject, and there would be no difficulty in your having a discount for the 10,000 dollars. Of this he had informed Mr. Russell who, he supposed, would write you to send on 20,000 dollars and the 10,000 dollars could be procured in the way mentioned. I entered into a long conversation with the treasurer, and observed to him it was your wish to obtain another of the deeds of the land which induced you to make the payment at this time; that you was a gentleman out of the mercantile line, and wholly depended on your paper to obtain the 20,000 dollars which must be done to an immense sacrifice if you was obliged to dispose of it at this time; that the situation of the government was such that they did not want the money; if they could only have the 30,000 dollars pass’d to their credit at the bank was all they wanted, which would take place if they discounted the whole sum. In that case they would prevent the sacrifice of property. On this he observed, the government wanted the whole sum, and he had made an appropriation of it, and should draw it out of the bank immediately as his demands were so great that he should be under the necessity of procuring a loan at the bank on the strength of government. I then told him I had conversed with some of the directors who assured me that you may be certain of a discount for 30,000 dollars for 60 days, and if I gave him a check for the whole sum he certainly would not object to it. He then said, as one of the directors of the bank, he hoped I should not depend on having the whole sum discounted as the situation of the bank was such, they refused a number of applications weekly, and he pray’d me not to place the business on such a footing as to cause a disappointment. The proposition had come from you to pay 20,000 dollars, and to obtain a discount of 10,000, which was acceeded to and you was informed of it. I observed to him if there was a disappointment it would be owing to his influence as one of the directors, as I was convinced there would be none from any other quarter. He supposed a discount of 15,000 dollars could be effected without any difficulty. He follow’d me to the door and solicited me not to alter the arrangement that was made with Mr. Russell.414

Soon after I left the treasurer I met with my friend again, and mentioned to him the conversation I had with Mr. Davis, at which he was very much surprized and said there was a mistery that he could not account for; that on an application to the president and some of the directors of the bank, by the treasurer respecting a discount in your favor they agreed to the whole sum of 30,000 dollars for 60 days; that they examined the bank books and said that sum could be done at that time with great accommodation to themselves. Of this the treasurer was made acquainted, as he was present at the consultation and examination of the books, and the day was agreed on which the note was to be given dated May 28, 1793. My friend repeated again and again there would be no difficulty in having your note discounted for the full sum, and I am convinced it will be renewed from time to time, or at most they will never call in more than 10 per cent at a time, which may be a great accommodation to you, and prevent any sacrifice at all.

I therefore propose to you to send me your note for 30,000 dollars, or two notes of 15,000 dollars each, or three notes of 10,000 dollars each, payable in sixty days to me if you please, as I am fully persuaded they will be discounted without a hesitation. But to remove all doubts and to make this business sure and without a possible risque I will propose another mode. Send me funded debt enough to cover 30,000 dollars, calculating them at 20 per cent less than the current value at market, at which rate they receive them at the bank and make their discounts accordingly. This will prevent your making any sacrifice at this time, and the bank will feel themselves perfectly secure in the negotiation, and will at all times command a renewal. If its not convenient to cover the whole in this way, send your note for the difficiency. It will be discounted, and then you will be under no obligation to the treasurer or Mr. Russell. Only transfer funds enough at the rate above mention’d to cover the 30,000 dollars. That sum can be kept alive at the bank as long as you wish it, or if the worst comes to the worst they can but be disposed of as they call for the money, which will never exceed more than 10 per cent. I assure you I do not understand the conduct of Mr. Davis, that he should insist on your sacrificing your property to pay 20,000 dollars at the same time he knows the bank were willing to discount the full sum wanted. My friend told me that the State had a large sum of money now in the bank, altho the treasurer led me to believe the contrary. I am sorry you wrote to Mr. Russell. I hope you will not dispose of funds to obtain the 20,000 dollars, as I am so perfectly convinced I can negotiate the business in one or other of the ways I have proposed. But that of the funds is certain. I enclose a certificate from the secretary. There will be the interest on the sum discounted.

Very sincerely I am with regard

H. Jackson

W. Bingham, Esquire

H. Jackson to Bingham, Boston, 26 May 1793 [BP]

Boston May 26. 1793

My dear Sir:

I wrote you on the 21 and 23 instant415 and acknowledged the receipt of your favor of the 18th instant inclosing three drafts on the cashier of the Office of Discount and Deposit at Boston to the amount of 20,000 dollars, which sum shall be applied agreeably to your directions.

I meet with delay in the secretary’s office in obtaining the papers you have requested, but hope soon to forward them. I have made enquiry but at present its out of my power to learn whether Mr. Jarvis has sold the township you mention or not, as he is out of town. He will return in a day or two. I have enquired of Mr. Peters the surveyor respecting the quantity of masts on the purchase. He cannot give me the least information on that head, and I believe it cannot be obtained unless the tract is accurately and perfectly explored. Its his opinion there are large quantities of masts, but he has no knowledge of them himself. I suppose our explorations by Pierpoint and Weston has given us more information of that country, than can be obtained from any person whatever, except from the Indians or some few hunters, that has passed over the ground.

Inclosed is a copy of my agreement and instructions with Mr. Peters to survey the tract between the Penobscot and Schoodic.416 He is a man of education, principle, and honor, and the best, and most accurate surveyor in that country. He is well acquainted with the tract, as he survey’d the outlines last year for the Committee, which will be a great saving of time and expence. He declined taking it by the jobb, as it was a great undertaking on which he could make no calculation as to time and expence. I therefore concluded it best for your interest to agree on the terms per day including victualing and every other expence attending the business. I am now only accountable to discharge his account when he finishes the work, whereas to undertake to supply them with provisions etc. at three hundred miles, and not know where to find them, would have been attended with great loss, destruction and waste, and if by accident or any other cause, the provisions were bad, or did not come to hand in season, we must have suffer’d the consequences. I hope this will meet with your approbation. If you have any other directions you wish him to attend to, I pray you to write me, as I have time to inform him, before he will be able to commence the survey, as its out of his power to begin the operation until the time mention’d in the agreement; or you may be desirous of making some alteration in the size of the townships. I don’t know that we are obliged to conform our townships to six miles square. On this you will instruct me.

I apprehend Mr. L. Roche and Madam has written you with much warmth on the subject of my declining to give them a deed of Trenton etc. It is probable they will represent that I consented to the survey and promised to give him a deed accordingly; that after having the papers six weeks, at the moment of their departure for the eastward I started an objection. It is true I had the papers in my possession 5 or 6 weeks, but I was led to believe by them, that the survey as returned was exactly conformably [sic] to my contract and instructions to Mr. Peters excepting a difference in their favor of 64 acres. Therefore placing confidence in them, I put the papers away, and never examin’d them until it was necessary to make out the deeds. But the moment I open’d them for that purpose I discovered the error and refused a complyence in conformity to the survey. Had LaRoche been candid and open, when he came up with the survey, and mention’d the objections Mr. Peters made to him on the spot, I should have objected instantly, but it is very evident through the whole business they knew they were not intitled to it, and it was their intention to keep it out of sight, or at least to leave it to me to find out myself. I am far from making difficulties, but when I see such barefaced and unreasonable demands, I feel it my duty to make a stand. I am ready and willing to give him a deed agreeably to contract and your instructions, of which I have repeatedly inform’d him. But to include 2000 acres more than is express’d or intended, I shall not consent to, unless by your particular directions. This two thousand acres will lay and bound on the east side of Jordan River, and is a very valuable tract, worth at least 6/ lawful money per acre, and if she goes on with her settlement it will bring double that sum. I think it will be well to find a good man acquainted with the nature of the soil etc., capable of discription and making proper remarks, and particularly attached to our interest to accompany Mr. Peters on his survey. Such a character from your country will be best. Or if you will give me directions to procure him here, I will endeavour to obtain one to answer that purpose, on the most reasonable terms in my power.

I am with great regard

very sincerely

H. Jackson

P.S. Mrs. Laval will say, she was to have 16,000 acres in Trenton and No. 8, but that was only a supposed quantity, on which to found the bonds.


William Bingham, Esquire

With his pamphlet to advertise the lands printed, with letters to potential buyers sent out, and with the most important arrangements with Massachusetts completed, Bingham was now in a position to start on an active campaign to sell his lands. Because of the heavy obligations he was under to the Commonwealth, he decided that he could not, singlehanded, afford to develop the lands for retail sale. The disposal of a major portion of them at wholesale would be necessary to relieve him of his financial embarrassments. While there were possibilities for such sales in the United States, the young nation had limited capital to venture, and the panic of the previous year had dampened the enthusiasm of many speculators. If a large portion of the lands were to be disposed of at a fair profit, the best opportunity for success lay in Europe—especially in England and Holland. Several enterprising American agents had already disposed of large quantities of land in Europe, and there was every reason to believe that their success could be duplicated. So, before expending further time and money on the lands, Bingham determined to try his luck at selling up to one half of them in Europe.

Since his many commitments in this country made it impossible for him to go himself, he chose as his agent Major William Jackson. Major Jackson, as has been seen, had proved an able and trustworthy subordinate: he had engineered the purchase from Duer with real finesse; he had done most of the paper work during the negotiations with Massachusetts; and he had personally supervised the publication of Bingham’s pamphlet on the Maine lands. Furthermore, he had been to Europe in the early 1780’s and knew his way around. Finally, as a former personal secretary of George Washington, he would command a position of respect among the monied men across the sea.

Accordingly, Bingham gave Major Jackson letters of introduction to his business acquaintances in England and Holland, and instructed him to attempt a sale of up to one half of the lands at from five shillings to seven shillings sixpence sterling per acre. Jackson had already been promised the residuary profits on 100,000 acres of land for his services already performed; if he were successful, Bingham added, he might expect further reward.417 To the Major, the assignment was undertaken with mixed feelings. He hated to part from Betsy Willing, whom he hoped to marry soon; on the other hand, his agency offered an opportunity which might well provide him with the property he needed to remove the objections of Thomas Willing to the intended marriage.418 In any event, Jackson decided to go. Armed with maps, pamphlets, letters, a power of attorney, and other documents, he set sail on 16 June aboard the ship Peggy419 to see if he could accomplish Bingham’s purpose among the wealthy merchants and bankers of Europe.