HotFreeBooks.com
Report of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on the Petition of the Honourable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, and their Associates
by Great Britain Board of Trade
1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

REPORT

OF THE

LORDS COMMISSIONERS for

TRADE and PLANTATIONS

ON THE

PETITION

OF THE

Honourable THOMAS WALPOLE, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, JOHN SARGENT, and SAMUEL WHARTON, Esquires, and their ASSOCIATES;

FOR

A Grant of Lands on the RIVER OHIO, in North America; for the purpose of Erecting a new Government.

WITH

OBSERVATIONS and REMARKS.



LONDON:

Printed for J. ALMON, opposite Burlington-House, in Piccadilly.

MDCCLXXII.



REPORT

OF

The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.

ON THE

PETITION of the Honourable THOMAS WALPOLE and his Associates, for a Grant of Lands on the River OHIO in NORTH AMERICA.



MY LORDS,

Pursuant to your lordships order of the 25th May 1770, we have taken into our consideration the humble memorial of the honourable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, in behalf of themselves and their associates, setting forth (among other things) "That they presented a petition to his Majesty, in council, for a grant of lands in America (parcel of the lands purchased by government of the Indians) in consideration of a price to be paid in purchase of the same; that in pursuance of a suggestion which arose when the said petition was under consideration of the Lords Commissioners for trade and plantations, the memorialists presented a petition to the Lords Commissioners of the treasury, proposing to purchase a larger tract of land on the river Ohio in America, sufficient for a separate government; whereupon their lordships were pleased to acquaint the memorialists, they had no objection to accepting the proposals made by them with respect to the purchase-money and quit-rent to be paid for the said tract of land, if it should be thought adviseable by those departments of government, to whom it belonged to judge of the propriety of the grant, both in point of policy and justice, that the grant should be made; in consequence whereof the memorialists humbly renew their application that a grant of said lands may be made to them, reserving therein to all persons their just and legal rights to any parts or parcels of said lands which may be comprehended within the tract prayed for by the memorialists;" whereupon we beg leave to report to your lordships,

I. That according to the description of the tract of land prayed for by the memorialists, which description is annexed to their memorial, it appears to us to contain part of the dominion of Virginia, to the south of the river Ohio, and to extend several degrees of longitude westward from the western ridge of the Appalachian mountains, as will more fully appear to your Lordships from the annexed sketch of the said tract, which we have since caused to be delineated with as much exactness as possible, and herewith submit to your Lordships, to the end that your Lordships may judge with the greater precision of the situation of the lands prayed for in the memorial.

II. From this sketch your Lordships will observe, that a very considerable part of the lands prayed for, lies beyond the line, which has, in consequence of his Majesty's orders for that purpose, been settled by treaty, as well with the tribes of the Six Nations, and their confederates, as with the Cherokee Indians, as the boundary line between his Majesty's territories and their hunting grounds; and as the faith of the crown is pledged in the most solemn manner both to the Six Nations and to the Cherokees, that notwithstanding the former of these nations had ceded the property in the lands to his Majesty, yet no settlements shall be made beyond that line, it is our duty to report to your Lordships our opinion, that it would on that account be highly improper to comply with the request of the memorial, so far as it includes any lands beyond the said line.

It remains therefore, that we report to your Lordships our opinion, how far it may consist with good policy and with justice, that his Majesty should comply with that part of the memorial which relates to those lands which are situated to the east of that line, and are part of the dominion of Virginia.

III. And first with regard to the policy, we take leave to remind your Lordships of that principle which was adopted by this Board, and approved and confirmed by his Majesty, immediately after the treaty of Paris, viz. the confining the western extent of settlements to such a distance from the sea coast, as that those settlements should lie within the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom, upon which the strength and riches of it depend, and also of the exercise of that authority and jurisdiction, which was conceived to be necessary for the preservation of the colonies, in a due subordination to, and dependance upon, the Mother Country; and these we apprehend to have been two capital objects of his Majesty's proclamation of the 7th of October 1763, by which his Majesty declares it to be his royal will and pleasure to reserve under his sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the Indians, all the lands not included within the three new governments, the limits of which are described therein, as also all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which shall fall into the sea from the west and north-west, and by which, all persons are forbid to make any purchases or settlements whatever, or to take possession of any of the lands above reserved, without special licence for that purpose.

IV. It is true indeed, that partly from want of precision in describing the line intended to be marked out by the proclamation of 1763, and partly from a consideration of justice in regard to legal titles to lands, which had been settled beyond that line, it has been since thought fit to enter into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary between his Majesty's territories and their hunting grounds.

V. By this boundary, so far as it regards the case now in question, your Lordships will observe, that the hunting grounds of the Indians are reduced within narrower limits than were specified by the proclamation of 1763; we beg leave however, to submit to your Lordships, that the same principles of policy, in reference to settlements at so great a distance from the sea coast as to be out of the reach of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom, continue to exist in their full force and spirit; and, though various propositions for erecting new colonies in the interior parts of America have been, in consequence of this extension of the boundary line, submitted to the consideration of government (particularly in that part of the country wherein are situated the lands now prayed for, with a view to that object) yet the dangers and disadvantages of complying with such proposals have been so obvious, as to defeat every attempt made for carrying them into execution.

VI. Many objections, besides those which we have already stated, occur to us to propositions of this kind; but as every argument on this subject is collected together with great force and precision, in a representation made to his Majesty by the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in March 1768, we beg leave to state them to your Lordships in their words.

In that representation they deliver their opinion upon a proposition for settling new colonies in the interior country as follows, viz.

"The proposition of forming inland colonies in America is, we humbly conceive, entirely new: it adopts principles in respect to American settlements, different from what have hitherto been the policy of this kingdom, and leads to a system which, if pursued through all its consequences, is, in the present state of that country, of the greatest importance.

"The great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America, has been to improve and extend the commerce, navigation, and manufactures of this kingdom, upon which its strength and security depend.

1. "By promoting the advantageous fishery carried on upon the northern coast.

2. "By encouraging the growth and culture of naval stores, and of raw materials, to be transported hither in exchange for perfect manufactures and other merchandise.

3. "By securing a supply of lumber, provisions, and other necessaries, for the support of our establishments in the American islands.

"In order to answer these salutary purposes, it has been the policy of this kingdom to confine her settlements as much as possible to the sea coast, and not to extend them to places inaccessible to shipping, and consequently more out of the reach of commerce; a plan, which, at the same time that it secured the attainment of these commercial objects, had the further political advantage of guarding against all interfering of foreign powers, and of enabling this kingdom to keep up a superior naval force in those seas, by the actual possession of such rivers and harbours as were proper stations for fleets in time of war.

"Such, may it please your Majesty, have been the considerations inducing that plan of policy hitherto pursued in the settlement of your Majesty's American colonies, with which the private interest and sagacity of the settlers co-operated from the first establishments formed upon that continent: It was upon these principles, and with these views, that government undertook the settling of Novia Scotia in 1749; and it was from a view of the advantages represented to arise from it in these different articles, that it was so liberally supported by the aid of parliament.

"The same motives, though operating in a less degree, and applying to fewer objects, did, as we humbly conceive, induce the forming the colonies of Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida, to the South, and the making those provincial arrangements in the proclamation of 1763, by which the interior country was left to the possession of the Indians.

"Having thus briefly stated what has been the policy of this kingdom in respect to colonizing in America, it may be necessary to take a cursory view of what has been the effect of it in those colonies, where there has been sufficient time for that effect to discover itself; because, if it shall appear from the present state of these settlements, and the progress they have made, that they are likely to produce the advantages above stated, it will, we humbly apprehend, be a very strong argument against forming settlements in the interior country; more especially, when every advantage, derived from an established government, would naturally tend to draw the stream of population; fertility of soil and temperature of climate offering superior incitements to settlers, who, exposed to few hardships, and struggling with few difficulties, could, with little labour, earn an abundance for their own wants, but without a possibility of supplying ours with any considerable quantities. Nor would these inducements be confined in their operation to foreign emigrants, determining their choice where to settle, but would act most powerfully upon the inhabitants of the northern and southern latitudes of your Majesty's American dominions; who, ever suffering under the opposite extremes of heat and cold, would be equally tempted by a moderate climate to abandon latitudes peculiarly adapted to the production of those things, which are by Nature denied to us; and for the whole of which we should, without their assistance, stand indebted to, and dependant upon other countries.

"It is well known that antecedent to the year 1749, all that part of the sea-coast of the British empire in America, which extends north-east from the province of Main to Canceau in Nova Scotia, and from thence to the mouth of St. Laurence river, lay waste and neglected; though naturally affording, or capable by art of producing, every species of naval stores; the seas abounding with whale, cod, and other valuable fish, and having many great rivers, bays, and harbours, fit for the reception of ships of war. Thus circumstanced, a consideration of the great commercial advantages which would follow from securing the possession of this country, combined with the evidence of the value set upon it by our enemies, who, during the war which terminated at that period, had, at an immense expence, attempted to wrest it from us, induced that plan, for the settlement of Novia Scotia, to which we have before referred; and which, being prosecuted with vigour, though at a very large expence to this kingdom, secured the possession of that province, and formed those establishments which contributed so greatly to facilitate and promote the success of your Majesty's arms in the late war.

"The establishment of government in this part of America, having opened to the view and information of your Majesty's subjects in other colonies the great commercial advantages to be derived from it, induced a zeal for migration; and associations were formed for taking up lands, and making settlements, in this province, by principal persons residing in these colonies.

"In consequence of these associations, upwards of ten thousand souls have passed from those colonies into Novia Scotia; who have either engaged in the fisheries, or become exporters of lumber and provisions to the West Indies. And further settlements, to the extent of twenty-one townships, of one hundred thousand acres each, have been engaged to be made there, by many of the principal persons in Pennsylvania, whose names and association for that purpose now lie before your Majesty in council.

"The government of Massachussets Bay, as well as the proprietors of large tracts to the eastward of the province of Main, excited by the success of these settlements, are giving every encouragement to the like settlements in that valuable country, lying between them and Novia Scotia; and the proprietors of the twelve townships lately laid out there, by the Massachussets government, now solicit your Majesty for a confirmation of their title.

"Such, may it please your Majesty, is the present state of the progress making in the settlement of the northern parts of the sea coasts of North America, in consequence of what appears to have been the policy adopted by this kingdom. And many persons of rank and substance here are proceeding to carry into execution the plan which your Majesty (pursuing the same principles of commercial policy) has approved for the settlement of the islands of St. John and Cape Breton, and of the new established colonies to the south. And, therefore, as we are fully convinced, that the encouraging settlements upon the sea coast of North America is founded in the true principles of commercial policy; as we find upon examination, that the happy effects of that policy are now beginning to open themselves, in the establishment of these branches of commerce, culture, and navigation, upon which the strength, wealth, and security of this kingdom depend; we cannot be of opinion, that it would in any view be adviseable, to divest your Majesty's subjects in America from the pursuit of those important objects, by adopting measures of a new policy, at an expence to this kingdom, which in its present state it is unable to bear.

"This, may it please your Majesty, being the light in which we view the proposition of colonizing in the interior country, considered as a general principle of policy; we shall, in the next place, proceed to examine the several arguments urged in support of the particular establishments now recommended.

"These arguments appear to us reducible to the following general propositions, viz.

First, "That such colonies will promote population, and increase the demands for and consumption of British manufactures."

Secondly, "That they will secure the fur trade, and prevent an illicit trade, or interfering of French or Spaniards with the Indians."

Thirdly, "That they will be a defence and protection to the old colonies against the Indians."

Fourthly, "That they will contribute to lessen the present heavy expence of supplying provisions to the different forts and garrisons."

Lastly, "That they are necessary in respect to the inhabitants already residing in those places where they are proposed to be established, who require some form of civil government."

"After what we have already stated with respect to the policy of encouraging colonies in the interior country as a general principle, we trust it will not be necessary to enter into an ample discussion of the arguments brought to support the foregoing propositions.

"We admit as an undeniable principle of true policy, that with a view to prevent manufactures, it is necessary and proper to open an extent of territory for colonization proportioned to the increase of people, as a large number of inhabitants, cooped up in narrow limits, without a sufficiency of land for produce, would be compell'd to convert their attention and industry to manufactures; but we submit whether the encouragement given to the settlement of the colonies upon the sea coast, and the effect which such encouragement has had, have not already effectually provided for this object, as well as for increasing the demand for, and consumption of British manufactures, an advantage which, in our humble opinion, would not be promoted by these new colonies, which being proposed to be established, at the distance of above fifteen hundred miles from the sea, and in places which, upon the fullest evidence, are found to be utterly inaccessible to shipping, will, from their inability to find returns wherewith to pay for the manufactures of Great Britain, be probably led to manufacture for themselves; a consequence which experience shews has constantly attended in greater or lesser degree every inland settlement, and therefore ought, in our humble opinion, to be carefully guarded against, by encouraging the settlement of that extensive tract of sea coast hitherto unoccupied; which, together with the liberty that the inhabitants of the middle colonies will have (in consequence of the proposed boundary line with the Indians) of gradually extending themselves backwards, will more effectually and beneficially answer the object of encouraging population and consumption, than the erection of new governments; such gradual extension might through the medium of a continued population, upon even the same extent of territory, preserve a communication of mutual commercial benefits between its extremest parts and Great Britain, impossible to exist in colonies separated by immense tracts of unpeopled desart.—As to the effect which it is supposed the colonies may have to increase and promote the fur trade, and to prevent all contraband trade or intercourse between the Indians under your Majesty's protection, and the French or Spaniards; it does appear to us, that the extension of the fur trade depends entirely upon the Indians being undisturbed in the possession of their hunting, grounds; that all colonizing does in its nature, and must in its consequences, operate to the prejudice of that branch of commerce, and that the French and Spaniard would be left in possession of a great part of what remained; as New Orleans would still continue the best and surest market.

"As to the protection which it is supposed these new colonies may be capable of affording to the old ones, it will, in our opinion, appear on the slightest view of their situation, that so far from affording protection to the old colonies, they will stand most in need of it themselves.

"It cannot be denied, that new colonies would be of advantage in raising provisions for the supply of such forts and garrisons as may be kept up in the neighbourhood of them; but as the degree of utility will be proportioned to the number and situation of these forts and garrisons, which upon the result of the present enquiry it may be thought adviseable to continue, so the force of the argument will depend upon that event.

"The present French inhabitants in the neighbourhood of the Lakes will, in our humble opinion, be sufficient to furnish with provisions whatever posts may be necessary to be continued there; and as there are also French inhabitants settled in some parts of the country lying upon the Mississippi, between the rivers Illinois and the Ohio, it is to be hoped that a sufficient number of these may be induced to fix their abode, where the same convenience and advantage may be derived from them; but if no such circumstance were to exist, and no such assistance to be expected from it, the objections stated to the plan now under our consideration are superior to this, or any other advantage it can produce; and although civil establishments have frequently rendered the expence of an armed force necessary for their protection, one of the many objections to these now proposed, yet we humbly presume there never has been an instance of a government instituted merely with a view to supply a body of troops with suitable provisions; nor is it necessary in these instances for the settlements, already existing as above described, which being formed under military establishments, and ever subjected to military authority, do not, in our humble opinion, require any other superintendance than that of the military officers commanding at these posts.

"In addition to this opinion of the Board of Trade, expressed in the foregoing recital, we further beg leave to refer your Lordships to the opinion of the Commander in Chief of his Majesty's forces in North America, who, in a letter laid before us by the Earl of Hillsborough, delivers his sentiments with regard to the settlements in the interior parts of America in the following words, viz.

VII. "As to increasing the settlements to respectable provinces, and to colonization in general terms in the remote countries, I conceive it altogether inconsistent with sound policy; for there is little appearance that the advantages will arise from it which nations expect when they send out colonies into foreign countries; they can give no encouragement to the fishery, and though the country might afford some kind of naval stores, the distance would be too far to transport them; and for the same reason they could not supply the sugar islands with lumber and provisions. As for the raising wine, silk, and other commodities, the same may be said of the present colonies without planting others for the purpose at so vast a distance; but on the supposition that they would be raised, their very long transportation must probably make them too dear for any market. I do not apprehend the inhabitants could have any commodities to barter for manufactures except skins and furs, which will naturally decrease as the country increases in people, and the desarts are cultivated; so that in the course of a few years necessity would force them to provide manufactures of some kind for themselves; and when all connection upheld by commerce with the mother country shall cease, it may be expected, that an independancy on her government will soon follow; the pretence of forming barriers will have no end; wherever we settle, however remote, there must be a frontier; and there is room enough for the colonists to spread within our present limits, for a century to come. If we reflect how the people of themselves have gradually retired from the coast, we shall be convinced they want no encouragement to desert sea coasts, and go into the back countries, where the lands are better, and got upon easier terms; they are already almost out of the reach of law and government; neither the endeavours of government, or fear of Indians, has kept them properly within bounds; and it is apparently most for the interest of Great Britain to confine the colonies on the side of the back country, and to direct their settlements along the sea coast, where millions of acres are yet uncultivated. The lower provinces are still thinly inhabited, and not brought to the point of perfection that has been aimed at for the mutual benefit of Great Britain and themselves. Although America may supply the mother country with many articles, few of them are yet supplied in quantities equal to her consumption, the quantity of iron transported is not great, of hemp very small, and there are many other commodities not necessary to enumerate, which America has not yet been able to raise, notwithstanding the encouragement given her by bounties and premiums. The laying open new tracts of fertile territory in moderate climates might lessen her present produce; for it is the passion of every man to be a landholder, and the people have a natural disposition to rove in search of good lands, however distant. It may be a question likewise, whether colonization of the kind could be effected without an Indian war, and fighting for every inch of ground. The Indians have long been jealous of our power, and have no patience in seeing us approach their towns, and settle up on their hunting grounds; atonements may be made for a fraud discovered in a trader, and even the murder of some of their tribes, but encroachments upon their lands have often produced serious consequences. The springs of the last general war are to be discovered near the Allegany mountains, and upon the banks of the Ohio.

"It is so obvious, that settlers might raise provisions to feed the troops cheaper than it can be transported from the country below, that it is not necessary to explain it; but I must own I know no other use in settlements, or can give any other reason for supporting forts, than to protect the settlements, and keep the settlers in subjection to government.

"I conceive, that to procure all the commerce it will afford, and as little expence to ourselves as we can, is the only object we shall have in view in the interior country, for a century to come; and I imagine it might be effected, by proper management, without either forts or settlements. Our manufactures are as much desired by the Indians, as their peltry is sought for by us; what was originally deemed a superfluity, or a luxury by the natives, is now become a necessary; they are disused to the bow, and can neither hunt, or make war without fire-arms, powder, and lead. The British provinces can only supply them with their necessaries, which they know, and for their own sakes would protect the trader, which they actually do at present. It would remain with us to prevent the trader's being guilty of frauds and impositions, and to pursue the same methods to that end, as are taken in the Southern district; and I must confess, though the plan pursued in that district might be improved by proper laws to support it, that I do not know a better, or more oeconomical plan for the management of trade; there are neither forts nor settlements, in the Southern department, and there are both in the Northern department; and your Lordships will be the best judge, which of them has given you the least trouble; in which we have had the fewest quarrels with, or complaints from the Indians.

"I know of nothing so liable to bring on a serious quarrel with Indians as an invasion of their property. Let the savages enjoy their desarts in quiet; little bickerings that may unavoidably sometimes happen, may soon be accommodated; and I am of opinion, independent of the motives of common justice and humanity, that the principles of interest and policy, should induce us rather to protect than molest them: were they driven from their forests, the peltry trade would decrease; and it is not impossible that worse savages would take refuge in them, for they might then become the asylum of fugitive Negroes, and idle vagabonds, escaped from justice, who in time might become formidable, and subsist by rapine, and plundering the lower countries."

VIII. The opinions delivered in the foregoing recitals are so accurate and precise, as to make it almost unnecessary to add any thing more: But we beg leave to lay before your Lordships the sentiments of his Majesty's Governor of Georgia, upon the subject of large grants in the interior parts of America, whose knowledge and experience in the affairs of the colonies give great weight to his opinion.

In a letter to us, on the subject of the mischiefs attending such grants, he expresses himself in the following manner, viz.

"And now, my Lords, I beg your patience a moment, while I consider this matter in a more extensive point of view, and go a little further in declaring my sentiments and opinion, with respect to the granting of large bodies of land, in the back parts of the province of Georgia, or in any other of his Majesty's Northern colonies, at a distance from the sea-coast, or from such parts of any province as are already settled and inhabited.

"And this matter, my Lords, appears to me, in a very serious and alarming light; and I humbly conceive may be attended with the greatest and worst of consequences; for, my Lords, if a vast territory be granted to any set of gentlemen, who really mean to people it, and actually do so, it must draw and carry out a great number of people from Great Britain; and I apprehend they will soon become a kind of separate and independent people, and who will set up for themselves; that they will soon have manufactures of their own; that they will neither take supplies from the mother country, or from the provinces, at the back of which they are settled; that being at a distance from the seat of government, courts, magistrates, &c. &c. they will be out of the reach and controul of law and government; that it will become a receptacle and kind of asylum for offenders, who will fly from justice to such new country or colony; and therefore crimes and offences will be committed, not only by the inhabitants of such new settlements, but elsewhere, and pass with impunity; and that in process of time (and perhaps at no great distance) they will become formidable enough, to oppose his Majesty's authority, disturb government, and even give law to the other or first settled part of the country, and throw every thing into confusion.

"My Lords, I hope I shall not be thought impertinent, when I give my opinion freely, in a matter of so great consequence, as I conceive this to be; and, my Lords, I apprehend, that in all the American colonies, great care should be taken, that the lands on the sea-coast, should be thick settled with inhabitants, and well cultivated and improved; and that the settlements should be gradually extended back into the province, and as much connected as possible, to keep the people together in as narrow a compass as the nature of the lands, and state of things will admit of; and by which means there would probably become only one general view and interest amongst them, and the power of government and law would of course naturally and easily go with them, and matters thereby properly regulated, and kept in due order and obedience; and they would have no idea of resisting or transgressing either without being amenable to justice, and subject to punishment for any offences they may commit.

"But, my Lords, to suffer a kind of province within a province, and one that may, indeed must in process of time become superior, and too big for the head, or original settlement or seat of government, to me conveys with it many ideas of consequence, of such a nature, as I apprehend are extremely dangerous and improper, and it would be the policy of government to avoid and prevent, whilst in their power to do so.

"My ideas, my Lords, are not chimerical; I know something of the situation and state of things in America; and from some little occurrences or instances that have already really happened, I can very easily figure to myself what may, and, in short, what will certainly happen, if not prevented in time."

IX. At the same time that we submit the foregoing reasoning against colonization in the interior country to your Lordships consideration, it is proper we should take notice of one argument, which has been invariably held forth in support or every proposition of this nature, and upon which the present proponents appear to lay great stress. It is urged, that such is the state of the country now proposed to be granted, and erected into a separate government, that no endeavours on the part of the crown can avail, to prevent its being settled by those who, by the increase of population in the middle colonies, are continually emigrating to the Westward, and forming themselves into colonies in that country, without the intervention or controul of government, and who, if suffered to continue in that lawless state of anarchy and confusion, will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrel and dispute with the Indians, and thereby endangering the security of his Majesty's colonies.

We admit, that this is an argument that deserves attention; and we rather take notice of it in this place, because some of the objections stated by Governor Wright lose their force upon the supposition that the grants against which he argues are to be erected into separate governments. But we are clearly of opinion, that his arguments do, in the general view of them, as applied to the question of granting lands in the interior parts of America, stand unanswerable; and admitting that the settlers in the country in question are as numerous as report states them to be, yet we submit to your Lordships, that this is a fact which does, in the nature of it, operate strongly in point of argument against what is proposed; for if the foregoing reasoning has any weight, it certainly ought to induce your Lordships to advise his Majesty to take every method to check the progress of these settlements, and not to make such grants of the land as will have an immediate tendency to encourage them; a measure which we conceive is altogether as unnecessary as it is impolitic, as we see nothing to hinder the government of Virginia from extending the laws and constitution of that colony to such persons as may have already settled there under legal titles.

X. And there is one objection suggested by Governor Wright to the extension of settlements in the interior country, which, we submit, deserves your Lordships particular attention, viz. the encouragement that is thereby held out to the emigration of his Majesty's European subjects; an argument which, in the present peculiar situation of this kingdom, demands very serious consideration, and has for some time past had so great weight with this Board, that it has induced us to deny our concurrence to many proposals for grants of land, even in those parts of the continent of America where, in all other respects, we are of opinion, that it consists with the true policy of this kingdom to encourage settlements; and this consideration of the certain bad consequences which must result from a continuance of such emigrations, as have lately taken place from various parts of his Majesty's European dominions, added to the constant drains to Africa, to the East Indies, and to the new ceded Islands, will we trust, with what has been before stated, be a sufficient answer to every argument that can be urged in support of the present memorial, so far as regards the consideration of it in point of policy.

XI. With regard to the propriety in point of justice of making the grant desired, we presume this consideration can have reference only to the case of such persons who have already possession of lands in that part of the country under legal titles derived from grants made by the Governor and Council of Virginia; upon which case we have only to observe, that it does appear to us, that there are some such possessions held by persons who are not parties to the present Memorial; and therefore, if your Lordships shall be of opinion, that the making the grant desired would, notwithstanding the reservation proposed in respect to such titles, have the effect to disturb those possessions, or to expose the proprietors to suit and litigation, we do conceive, that, in that case, the grant would be objectionable in point of justice.

XII. Upon the whole, therefore, we cannot recommend to your Lordships to advise his Majesty to comply with the prayer of this Memorial, either as to the erection of any parts of the lands into a separate government, or the making a grant of them to the Memorialists; but, on the contrary, we are of opinion, that settlements in that distant part of the country should be as much discouraged as possible; and that, in order thereto, it will be expedient, not only that the orders which have been given to the Governor of Virginia, not to make any further grants beyond the line prescribed by the proclamation of 1763, should be continued and enforced, but that another proclamation should be issued, declaratory of his Majesty's resolution not to allow, for the present, any new settlements beyond that line, and to forbid all persons from taking up or settling any lands in that part of the country.

We are,

My Lords,

Your Lordships most obedient and

Most humble servants,

WHITEHALL, April 15, 1772.



OBSERVATIONS on, and ANSWERS to, the foregoing REPORT.

I. The first paragraph of the Report, we apprehend, was intended to establish two propositions as facts;—viz.—

First, That the tract of land agreed for with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, contains part of the dominion of Virginia.

Second, That it extends several degrees of longitude Westward from the Western ridge of the Allegany mountains.

On the first proposition we shall only remark, that no part of the above tract is to the Eastward of the Allegany mountains;—and that these mountains must be considered as the true Western boundary of Virginia;—for the King was not seised and possessed of a right to the country Westward of the mountains, until his Majesty purchased it, in the year 1768, from the Six Nations: and since that time, there has not been any annexation of such purchase, or of any part thereof, to the colony of Virginia.

On the second proposition,—we shall just observe, that the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations appear to us to be as erroneous in this as in the former proposition; for their Lordships say, that the tract of land under consideration extends several degrees of longitude Westward. The truth is, that it is not more, on a medium, than one degree and a half of longitude from the Western ridge of the Allegany mountains to the river Ohio.

II. It appears by the second paragraph, as if the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations apprehended,—that the lands south-westerly of the boundary line, marked on a map annexed to their Lordships report,—were either claimed by the Cherokees, or were their hunting grounds, or were the hunting grounds of the Six Nations and their confederates.

As to any claim of the Cherokees to the above country, it is altogether new and indefensible; and never was heard of, until the appointment of Mr. Stewart to the superintendency of the Southern colonies, about the year 1764; and this, we flatter ourselves, will not only be obvious from the following state of facts, but that the right to all the country on the Southerly side of the river Ohio, quite to the Cherokee River, is now undoubtedly vested in the King, by the grant which the Six Nations made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix, in November 1768.—In short, the lands from the Great Kenhawa to the Cherokee river never were, either the dwelling or hunting grounds of the Cherokees;—but formerly belonged to, and were inhabited by the Shawanesse, until such time as they were conquered by the Six Nations.

Mr. Colden, the present Lieutenant Governor of New York, in his History of the Five Nations, observes, that about the year 1664, "the Five Nations being amply supplied by the English with firearms and ammunition, gave a full swing to their warlike genius. They carried their arms as far South as Carolina, to the Northward of New England, and as far West as the river Mississippi, over a vast country,—which extended 1200 miles in length from North to South, and 600 miles in breadth,—where they entirely destroyed whole nations, of whom there are no accounts remaining among the English."

In 1701,—the Five Nations put all their hunting lands under the protection of the English, as appears by the records, and by the recital and confirmation thereof, in their deed to the King of the 4th September 1726;—and Governor Pownal, who many years ago diligently searched into the rights of the natives, and in particular into those of the Northern confederacy, says, in his book intituled, the Administration of the Colonies, "The right of the Five Nation confederacy to the hunting lands of Ohio, Ticucksouchrondite and Scaniaderiada, by the conquest they made, in subduing the Shaoeanaes, Delawares (as we call them) Twictwees and Oilinois, may be fairly proved, as they stood possessed thereof at the peace of Reswick 1697."—And confirmatory hereof, Mr. Lewis Evans, a gentleman of great American knowledge, in his map of the middle colonies, published in America in the year 1755, has laid down the country on the South-easterly side of the river Ohio, as the hunting lands of the Six Nations; and in his Analysis to this map, he expressly says,—"The Shawanesse, who were formerly one of the most considerable nations of those parts of America, whose seat extended from Kentucke South-westward to the Mississippi, have been subdued by the confederates (or Six Nations) and the country since became their property. No nation," Mr. Evans adds, "held out with greater resolution and bravery, and although they have been scattered in all parts for a while, they are again collected on Ohio, under the dominion of the confederates."

At a congress held in the year 1744, by the provinces of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia with the Six Nations,—the Commissioners of Virginia, in a speech to the Sachems and Warriors of that confederacy, say, "tell us what nations of Indians you conquered any lands from in Virginia, how long it is since, and what possession you have had; and if it does appear, that there is any land on the borders of Virginia that the Six Nations have a right to, we are willing to make you satisfaction."

To this speech the Six Nations gave the following animated and decisive answer:—"All the world knows we conquered the several nations living on Sasquehanna, Cohongoranto [i.e. Powtomack] and on the back of the great mountains in Virginia;—the Conoy-uck-suck-roona, Cock-now-was-roonan, Tohoa-irough-roonan, and Connutskin-ough-roonaw feel the effects of our conquests; being now a part of our nations, and their lands at our disposal. We know very well, it hath often been said by the Virginians, that the King of England and the people of that colony conquered the people who lived there; but it is not true. We will allow, they conquered the Sachdagughronaw, and drove back the Tuskaroras [the first resided near the branches of James's River in Virginia, and the latter on these branches] and that they have, on that account, a right to some parts of Virginia; but as to what lies beyond the mountains, we conquered the nations residing there, and that land, if the Virginians ever get a good right to it, it must be by us."

In the year 1750, the French seized four English traders, who were trading with the Six Nations, Shawanesse and Delawares, on the waters of the Ohio, and sent them prisoners to Quebeck, and from thence to France.

In 1754, the French took a formal possession of the river Ohio, and built forts at Venango,—at the confluence of the Ohio and Monongehela, and at the mouth of the Cherokee River.

In 1755, General Braddock was sent to America with an army, to remove the French from their possessions over the Allegany mountains, and on the river Ohio; and on his arrival at Alexandria, held a council of war with the Governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Massachusets Bay;—And as these gentlemen well knew, that the country claimed by the French, over the Allegany mountains, and South-westerly to the river Mississippi, was the unquestionable property of the six Nations, and not of the Cherokees, or any other tribe of Indians,—the General gave instructions to Sir William Johnson, to call together the Indians of the Six Nations, and lay before them their before-mentioned grant to the King in 1726,—wherein they had put all their hunting lands under his Majesty's protection; to be guaranteed to them, and to their use:—And as General Braddock's instructions are clearly declaratory of the right of the Six Nations to the lands under consideration, we shall here transcribe the conclusive words of them,—"And it appearing that the French have, from time to time, by fraud and violence, built strong forts within the limits of the said lands, contrary to the covenant chain of the said deed and treaties, you are, in my name, to assure the said nations, that I am come by his Majesty's order, to destroy all the said forts, and to build such others, as shall protect and secure the said lands to them, their heirs and successors for ever, according to the intent and spirit of the said treaty; and I do therefore call upon them to take up the hatchet, and come and take possession of their own lands."

That General Braddock and the American Governors, were not singular in their opinion, as to the right of the Six Nations to the land over the Allegany mountains, and on both sides of the river Ohio, quite to the Mississippi,—is evident, from the memorials which passed between the British and French Courts in 1755.

In a memorial delivered by the King's Ministers on the 7th June 1755, to the Duke Mirepoix, relative to the pretensions of France to the above-mentioned lands, they very justly observed—"As to the exposition, which is made in the French memorial of the 15th article of the treaty of Utrecht, the Court of Great Britain does not think it can have any foundation, either by the words or the intention of this treaty.

1st, "The Court of Great Britain cannot allow of this article, relating only to the persons of the Savages, and not their country: The words of this treaty are clear and precise, that is to say, the Five Nations or Cantons, are subject to the dominion of Great Britain,—which, by the received exposition of all treaties, must relate to the country, as well to the persons of the inhabitants;—it is what France has acknowledged in the most solemn manner;—She has well weighed the importance of this acknowledgement, at the time of signing this treaty, and Great Britain can never give it up. The countries possessed by these Indians, are very well known, and are not at all so undetermined, as it is pretended in the memorial: they possess and make them over, as other proprietors do, in all other places."

5th, "Whatever pretext might be alledged by France, in considering these countries as the appurtenances of Canada; it is a certain truth, that they have belonged, and (as they have not been given up, or made over to the English) belong still to the same Indian nations; which, by the 15th article of the treaty of Utrecht, France agreed not to molest,—Nullo in posterum impedimento, aut molestia afficiant."

"Notwithstanding all that has been advanced in this article, the Court of Great Britain cannot agree to France having the least title to the river Ohio, and the territory in question." [N.B. This was all the country, from the Allegany mountains to the Ohio, and down the same, and on both sides thereof to the river Mississippi.]

"Even that of possession is not, nor can it be alledged on this occasion; since France cannot pretend to have had any such before the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, nor since, unless it be that of certain forts, unjustly erected lately on the lands which evidently, belong to the Five Nations, or which these have made over to the Crown of Great Britain or its subjects, as may be proved by treaties and acts of the greatest authority.—What the Court of Great Britain maintained, and what it insists upon, is, That the Five Nations of the Iroquois, acknowledged by France, are, by origin, or by right of conquest the lawful proprietors of the river Ohio, and the territory in question: And as to the territory, which has been yielded and made over by these people to Great Britain (which cannot but be owned must be the most just and lawful manner of making an acquisition of this sort) she reclaims it, as belonging to her, having continued cultivating it for above 20 years past, and having made settlements in several parts of it, from the sources even of the Ohio to Pichawillanes, in the center of the territory between the Ohio and the Wabache."

In 1755, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations were so solicitous to ascertain the territory of the Six Nations, that Dr. Mitchel, by their desire, published a large map of North America; and Mr. Pownal, the present Secretary of the Board of Trade, then certified, as appears on the map,—That the Doctor was furnished with documents for the purpose from that Board.—In this map Dr. Mitchel observes, "That the Six Nations have extended their territories, ever since the year 1672, when they subdued and were incorporated with the antient Shawanesse, the native proprietors of these countries, and the river Ohio: Besides which, they likewise claim a right of conquest over the Illinois, and all the Mississippi, as far as they extend. This," he adds, "is confirmed by their own claims and possessions in 1742, which include all the bounds here laid down, and none have ever thought fit to dispute them." And, in confirmation of this right of the Six Nations to the country on the Ohio, as mentioned by the King's Ministers, in their memorial to the Duke of Mirepoix in 1755, we would just remark, that the Six Nations, Shawanesse and Delawares, were in the actual occupation of the lands Southward of the Great Kenhawa for some time after the French had encroached up on the river Ohio; and that in the year 1752, these tribes had a large town on Kentucke River,—238 miles below the Sioto:—That in the year 1754, they resided and hunted on the Southerly side of the river Ohio, in the Low Country, at about 320 miles below the Great Kenhawa;—and in the year 1755, they had also a large town opposite to the mouth of Sioto;—at the very place, which is the Southern boundary line of the tract of land applied for by Mr. Walpole and his associates.—But it is a certain fact, that the Cherokees never had any towns or settlements in the country, Southward of the Great Kenhawa;—that they do not hunt there, and that neither the Six Nations, Shawanesse nor Delawares, do now reside or hunt on the Southerly side of the river Ohio, nor did not for several years before they sold the country to the King.—These are facts, which can be easily and fully proved.

In October 1768, at a congress held with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, they observed to Sir William Johnson: "Now, brother, you who know all our affairs, must be sensible, that our rights go much farther to the Southward than the Kenhawa,—and that we have a very good and clear title as far South as the Cherokee River, which we cannot allow to be the right of any other Indians, without doing wrong to our posterity, and acting unworthy those warriors who fought and conquered it;—we therefore expect this our right will be considered."

In November 1768, the Six Nations sold to the King all the country on the Southerly side of the river Ohio, as far as to the Cherokee river; but notwithstanding that sale, as soon as it was understood in Virginia, that government favoured the pretensions of the Cherokees, and that Dr. Walker and Colonel Lewis (the commissioners sent from that colony to the congress at Fort Stanwix) had returned from thence, the late Lord Bottetourt sent these gentlemen to Charles-town, South-Carolina, to endeavour to convince Mr. Stuart, the Southern superintendent of Indian affairs, of the necessity of enlarging the boundary line, which he had settled with the Cherokees;—and to run it from the Great Kenhawa to Holston's river.—These gentlemen were appointed commissioners by his Lordship, as they had been long conversant in Indian affairs, and were well acquainted with the actual extent of the Cherokee country.—Whilst these commissioners were in South Carolina, they wrote a letter to Mr. Stuart, as he had been but a very few years in the Indian service, (and could not, from the nature of his former employment, be supposed to be properly informed about the Cherokee territory), respecting the claims of the Cherokees to the lands Southward of the Great Kenhawa, and therein they expressed themselves as follows:

"Charles-town, South Carolina, February 2, 1769.

"The country Southward of the Big Kenhawa was never claimed by the Cherokees, and now is the property of the Crown, as Sir William Johnson purchased it of the Six Nations at a very considerable expence, and took a deed of cession from them at Fort Stanwix."

In 1769, the house of burgesses of the colony of Virginia represented to Lord Bottetourt, "That they have the greatest reason to fear the said line," (meaning the boundary line, which the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have referred to, in the map annexed to their Lordships report) "if confirmed, would constantly open to the Indians, and others enemies to his Majesty, a free and easy ingress to the heart of the country on the Ohio, Holston's river, and the Great Kenhawa; whereby the settlements which may be attempted in these quarters will, in all probability, be utterly destroyed, and that great extent of country [at least 800 miles in length] from the mouth of the Kenhawa to the mouth of the Cherokee river extending Eastward as far as the Laurell Hill, so lately ceded to his Majesty, to which no tribe of Indians at present set up any pretensions, will be entirely abandoned to the Cherokees; in consequence of which, claims, totally destructive of the true interest of his Majesty, may at some future time arise, and acquisitions justly ranked among the most valuable of the late war be altogether lost."

From the foregoing detail of facts, it is obvious,

1st. That the country Southward of the Great Kenhawa, at least as far as the Cherokee river, originally belonged to the Shawanesse.

2d. That the Six Nations, in virtue of their conquest of the Shawanesse, became the lawful proprietors of that country.

3d. That the King, in consequence of the grant from the Six Nations, made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix in 1768, is now vested with the undoubted right and property thereof. 4th. That the Cherokees never resided, nor hunted in that country, and have not any kind of right to it.

5th. That the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia have, upon good grounds, asserted, [such as properly arise from the nature of their stations, and proximity to the Cherokee country], that the Cherokees had not any just pretensions to the territory Southward of the Great Kenhawa.

And lastly, That neither the Six Nations, the Shawanesse nor Delawares, do now reside, or hunt in that country.

From these considerations, it is evident no possible injury can arise to his Majesty's Service,—to the Six Nations and their confederacy,—or to the Cherokees, by permitting us to settle the whole of the lands comprehended within our contract with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury:—If, however, there has been any treaty held with the Six Nations, since the cession made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix, whereby the faith of the crown is pledged, both to the Six Nations and the Cherokees, that no settlements should be made beyond the line, marked on their Lordships report; we say, if such agreement has been made by the orders of government with these tribes, (not withstanding, as the Lords Commissioners have acknowledged, "the Six Nations had ceded the property in the lands to his Majesty)"—We flatter ourselves, that the objection of their Lordships in the second paragraph of their Report, will be entirely obviated, by a specific clause being inserted in the King's grant to us, expressly prohibiting us from settling any part of the same, until such time as we shall have first obtained his Majesty's allowance, and the full consent of the Cherokees, and the Six Nations and their confederates, for that purpose.

III. In regard to the third paragraph of their Lordships Report, that it was the principle of the board of trade, after the treaty of Paris, "to confine the western extent of settlements to such a distance from the sea-coast, as that these settlements should lie within the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom," &c. we shall not presume to controvert;—but it may be observed, that the settlement of the country over the Allegany mountains, and on the Ohio, was not understood, either before the treaty of Paris, nor intended to be so considered by his Majesty's proclamation of October 1763, "as without the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom," &c.;—for, in the year 1748, Mr. John Hanbury, and a number of other gentlemen, petitioned the King for a grant of 500,000 acres of land over the Allegany mountains, and on the river Ohio and its branches; and the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations were then pleased to report to the Lords committee of his Majesty's most honourable privy council, "That the settlement of the country, lying to the westward of the great mountains, as it was the center of the British dominions, would be for his Majesty's interest, and the advantage and security of Virginia and the neighbouring colonies."

And on the 23d of February 1748-9, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations again reported to the Lords of the committee of the privy council, that they had "fully set forth the great utility and advantage of extending our settlements beyond the great mountains ("which Report has been approved of by your Lordships").—And as, by these new proposals, there is a great probability of having a much larger tract of the said country settled than under the former, we are of opinion, that it will be greatly for his Majesty's service, and the welfare and security of Virginia, to comply with the prayer of the petition."

And on the 16th of March 1748-9, an instruction was sent to the Governor of Virginia to grant 500,000 acres of land over the Allegany mountains to the aforesaid Mr. Hanbury and his partners (who are now part of the company of Mr. Walpole and his associates); and that instruction sets forth, That "such settlements will be for our interest, and the advantage and security of our said colony, as well as the advantage of the neighbouring ones;—inasmuch as our loving subjects will be thereby enabled to cultivate a friendship, and carry on a more extensive commerce with the nations of Indians inhabiting those parts; and such examples may likewise induce the neighbouring colonies to turn their thoughts towards designs of the same nature."—Hence we apprehend, it is evident, that a former board of trade, at which Lord Halifax presided, was of opinion, that settlements over the Allegany mountains were not against the King's interest, nor at such a distance from the sea-coast, as to be without "the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom," nor where its authority or jurisdiction could not be exercised.—But the Report under consideration suggests, that two capital objects of the proclamation of 1763 were, to confine future settlements to the "sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the West and North-West," (or, in other Words, to the Eastern side of the Allegany mountains) and to the three new governments of Canada, East Florida, and West Florida;—and to establish this fact, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations recite a part of that proclamation.

But if the whole of this proclamation is considered, it will be found to contain the nine following heads; viz.[1]

[1] Vide the Proclamation in the Appendix, No. 1.

1st, To declare to his Majesty's subjects, that he had erected four distinct and separate governments in America; viz. Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada.

2d, To ascertain the respective boundaries of these four new governments.

3d, To testify the royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery, both of the officers and soldiers of the King's army, and of the reduced officers of the navy, who had served in North America, and to reward them, by grants of lands in Quebec, and in East and West Florida, without fee or reward.

4th, To hinder the governors of Quebec, East Florida and West Florida, from granting warrants of survey, or passing patents for lands, beyond the bounds of their respective governments.

5th, To forbid the governors of any other colonies or plantations in America, from granting warrants or passing patents for lands, beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers, which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or north-west, or upon any lands whatever, "which, not having been CEDED to or purchased by the King, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them."

6th, To reserve, "for the present," under the King's sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the lands not included within the limits of the said three new governments, or within the limits of the Hudson's Bay company; as also, all the lands lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers, which fall into the sea from the west and north-west, and forbidding the King's subjects, from making any purchases of settlements whatever, or taking possession of the lands so reserved, without his Majesty's leave and licence first obtained.

7th, To require all persons, who had made settlements on lands, not purchased by the King from the Indians, to remove from such settlements.

8th, To regulate the future purchases of lands from the Indians, within such parts as his Majesty, by that proclamation, permitted settlements to be made.

9th, To declare, that the trade with the Indians should be free and open to all his Majesty's subjects, and to prescribe the manner how it shall be carried on.

And lastly, To require all military officers, and the superintendants of Indian affairs, to seize and apprehend all persons who stood charged with treasons, murders, &c. and who had fled from justice, and taken refuge in the reserved lands of the Indians, to send such persons to the colony, where they stood accused.

From this proclamation, therefore, it is obvious, that the sole design of it, independent of the establishment of the three new governments, ascertaining their respective boundaries, rewarding the officers and soldiers, and regulating the Indian trade, and apprehending felons, was to convince the Indians "of his Majesty's justice and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent," by interdicting all settlements on land, not ceded to or purchased by his Majesty; and declaring it to be, as we have already mentioned, his royal will and pleasure, "for the present, to reserve, under his sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the Indians, all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and north-west."—Can any words express more decisively the royal intention?—Do they not explicitly mention, That the territory is, at present, reserved under his Majesty's protection, for the use of the Indians?—And as the Indians had no use for those lands, which are bounded westerly by the south-east side of the river Ohio, either for residence or hunting, they were willing to sell them; and accordingly did sell them to the King in November 1768, (the occasion of which sale will be fully explained in our observations on the succeeding paragraphs of the Report).—Of course, the proclamation, so far as it regarded the settlement of the lands included within that purchase, has absolutely and undoubtedly ceased.—The late Mr. Grenville, who was, at the time of issuing this proclamation, the minister of this kingdom, always admitted, that the design of it was totally accomplished, so soon as the country was purchased of the natives.

IV. In this paragraph, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations mention two reasons for his Majesty's entering into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary line, than was settled by the proclamation of October 1763, viz.

1st, Partly for want of precision in the one intended to be marked by the proclamation of 1763.

2d, And partly from a consideration of justice in regard to legal titles to lands.

We have, we presume, fully proved, in our observations on the third paragraph,—That the design of the proclamation, so far as it related to lands westward of the Allegany mountains, was for no other purpose than to reserve them, under his Majesty's protection, for the present, for the use of the Indians; to which we shall only add, That the line established by the proclamation, so far as it concerned the lands in question, could not possibly be fixed and described with more precision, than the proclamation itself describes it; for it declares,—That "all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers, which fall into the sea from the west and north-west," should be reserved under his Majesty's protection.

Neither, in our opinion, was his Majesty induced to enter into engagements with the Indians for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary "partly from a consideration of justice, in regard to legal titles to lands,"—for there were none such (as we shall prove) comprehended within the tract now under consideration.

But for a full comprehension of ALL the reasons for his Majesty's "entering into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary line," than was settled by the royal proclamation of Oct. 1763, we shall take the liberty of stating the following facts:—In the year 1764, the King's ministers had it then in contemplation, to obtain an act of parliament for the proper regulation of the Indian commerce; and providing a fund, (by laying a duty on the trade) for the support of superintendants, commissaries, interpreters, &c. at particular forts in the Indian country, where the trade was to be carried on:—And as a part of this system, it was thought proper, in order to avoid future complaints from the Indians, on account of encroachments on their hunting grounds, to purchase a large tract of territory from them, and establish, with their consent, a respectable boundary line, beyond which his Majesty's subjects should not be permitted to settle.

In consequence of this system, orders were transmitted to Sir William Johnson, in the year 1764, to call together the Six Nations,—lay this proposition of the boundary before them, and take their opinion upon it.—This, we apprehend, will appear evident from the following speech, made by Sir William to the Six Nations, at a conference which he held with them, at Johnson Hall, May the 2d, 1765.

BRETHREN,

"The last but the most important affair I have at this time to mention, is with regard to the settling a boundary between you and the English. I sent a message to some of your nations some time ago, to acquaint you, that I should confer with you at this meeting upon it. The King, whose generosity and forgiveness you have already experienced, being very desirous to put a final end to disputes between his people and YOU CONCERNING LANDS, and to do you strict justice, has fallen upon the plan of a boundary between our provinces and the Indians (which no white man shall dare to invade) as the best and surest method of ending such like disputes, and securing your property to you, beyond a possibility of disturbance. This will, I hope, appear to you so reasonable, so just on the part of the King, and so advantageous to you and your posterity, that I can have no doubt of your chearfully joining with me in settling such a division-line, as will be best for the advantage of both white men and Indians, and as shall best agree with the extent and increase of each province, and the governors, whom I shall consult upon that occasion, so soon as I am fully empowered; but in the mean time I am desirous to know in what manner you would choose to extend it, and what you will heartily agree to, and abide by, in general terms. At the same time I am to acquaint you, that whenever the whole is settled, and that it shall appear you have so far consulted the increasing state of our people, as to make any convenient cessions of ground where it is most wanted, that then you will receive a considerable present in return for your friendship."

To this speech the Sachems and Warriors of the Six Nations, after conferring some time among themselves, gave an answer to Sir William Johnson, and agreed to the proposition of the boundary line;—which answer, and the other transactions of this conference, Sir William transmitted to the office of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.—

From a change of the administration, which formed the above system of obtaining an act of parliament for regulating the Indian trade, and establishing the boundary line, or from some other public cause, unknown to us,—no measures were adopted, until the latter end of the year 1767, for completing the negotiation about this boundary line.—But in the mean time, viz. between the years 1765 and 1768,—the King's subjects removed in great numbers from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and settled over the mountains,—upon which account, the Six Nations became so irritated, that in the year 1766 they killed several persons, and denounced a general war against the middle colonies; and to appease them, and to avoid such a public calamity, a detachment of the 42d regiment of root was that year sent from the garrison of Fort Pitt, to remove such settlers as were seated at Red Stone Creek, &c.—but the endeavours and threats of that detachment proved ineffectual, and they returned to the garrison, without being able to execute their orders.—The complaints of the Six Nations however continuing and increasing, on account of the settling of their lands over the mountains, General Gage wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania on the 7th of December 1767, and after mentioning these complaints, he observed, "You are a witness how little attention has been paid to the several proclamations that have been published; and that even the removing those people from the lands in question, which was attempted this summer by the garrison at Fort Pitt, has been only a temporary expedient. We learn they are returned again to the same encroachments on Red Stone Creek and Cheat River in greater numbers than ever."[2]

[2] Vide p. 47.

On the 5th of January 1768, the governor of Pennsylvania sent a message to the general assembly of the province with the foregoing letter from General Gage,—and on the 13th the assembly in the conclusion of a message to the governor on the subject of Indian complaints, observed, "To obviate which cause of their discontent, and effectually to establish between them and his Majesty's subjects a durable peace, we are of opinion, that a speedy confirmation of the boundary, and a just satisfaction made to them for their lands on this side of it, are absolutely necessary. By this means all their present complaints of encroachments will be removed, and the people on our frontiers will have a sufficient country to settle or hunt in, without interfering with them."

On the 19th of January 1768, Mr. Galloway, the speaker of the assembly in Pennsylvania, and the committee of correspondence, wrote on the subject of the Indians disquietude, by order of the house, to their agents Richard Jackson and Benjamin Franklin, Esquires, in London, and therein they said, "That the delay of the confirmation of the boundary, the natives have warmly complained of, and that although they have received no consideration for the lands agreed to be ceded to the crown on our side of the boundary, yet that its subjects are daily settling and occupying those very lands."

In April 1768, the legislature of Pennsylvania finding that the expectations of an Indian war were hourly increasing, occasioned by the settlement of the lands over the mountains, not sold by the natives; and flattering themselves, that orders would soon arrive from England for the perfection of the boundary line, they voted the sum of one thousand pounds, to be given as a present, in blankets, strouds, &c. to the Indians upon the Ohio, with a view of moderating their resentment, until these orders should arrive:—and the governor of Pennsylvania being informed, that a treaty was soon to be held at Fort Pitt by George Croghan, Esq; deputy agent of Indian affairs, by order of General Gage and Sir William Johnson, he sent his secretary and another gentleman, as commissioners from the Province, to deliver the above present to the Indians at Fort Pitt.

On the 2d of May 1768, the Six Nations made the following speech at that conference:

"BROTHER,

"It is not without grief that we see our country settled by you, without our knowledge or consent; and it is a long time since we complained to you of this grievance, which we find has not yet been redressed; but settlements are still extending further into our country: some of them are made directly on our war-path, leading to our enemies' country, and we do not like it. Brother, you have laws among you to govern your people by; and it will be the strongest proof of the sincerity of your friendship, to let us see that you remove the people from our lands; as we look upon it, they will have time enough to settle them, when you have purchased them, and the country becomes yours."

The Pennsylvania commissioners, in answer to this speech, informed the Six Nations, that the governor of that province had sent four gentlemen with his proclamation and the act of assembly (making it felony of death without benefit of clergy, to continue on Indian lands) to such settlers over the mountains as were seated, within the limits of Pennsylvania, requiring them to vacate their settlements, but all to no avail:—That the governor of Virginia had likewise, to as little purpose, issued his proclamations and orders, and that General Gage had twice ineffectually sent parties of soldiers to remove the settlers from Red Stone Creek and Monongehela.

As soon as Mr. Jackson and Dr. Franklin received the foregoing instructions from the general assembly of Pennsylvania, they waited upon the American minister, and urged the expediency and necessity of the boundary line being speedily concluded; and in consequence thereof, additional orders were immediately transmitted to Sir William Johnson for that purpose.

It is plain therefore, that the proclamation of October 1763 was not designed, as the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have suggested, to signify the policy of this kingdom, against settlements over the Allegany mountains, after the King had actually purchased the territory; and that the true reasons for purchasing the lands comprized within that boundary, were to avoid an Indian rupture, and give an opportunity to the King's subjects, quietly and lawfully to settle thereon.

V. Whether the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations are well founded in their declarations, That the lands under consideration "are out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom," shall be fully considered in our observations on the sixth paragraph;—and as to "the various propositions for erecting new colonies in the interior parts, which their Lordships say, have been, in consequence of the extension of the boundary line, submitted to the consideration of government, particularly in that part of the country, wherein are situated the lands now prayed for, and the danger of complying with such proposals have been so obvious, as to defeat every attempt for carrying them into execution,"—we shall only observe on this paragraph, that as we do not know what these propositions were, or upon what principle the proposers have been defeated, it is impossible for us to judge, whether they are any ways applicable to our case.—Consistent however with our knowledge, no more than one proposition, for the settlement of a part of the lands in question, has been presented to government, and that was from Dr. Lee, 32 other Americans, and two Londoners, in the year 1768, praying that his Majesty would grant to them, without any purchase-money, 2,500,000 acres of land in one or more surveys, to be located between the 38th and 42d degrees of latitude, over the Allegany mountains, and on condition of their possessing these lands 12 years WITHOUT the payment of any quit-rent, (the same not to begin until the whole 2,500,000 acres were surveyed) and that they should be obliged to settle only 200 families in 12 years.—Surely, the Lords Commissioners did not mean this proposition as one that was similar, and would apply to the case now reported upon;—and especially as Dr. Lee and his associates did not propose, as we do, either to purchase the lands, or pay the quit-rents to his Majesty, neat and clear of all deductions, or be at the whole expence of establishing and maintaining the civil government of the country.

VI. In the sixth paragraph the Lords Commissioners observe, That "every argument on the subject, respecting the settlement of the lands in that part of the country now prayed for, is collected together with great force and precision in a representation made to his Majesty by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in March 1768."

That it may be clearly understood, what was the occasion of this representation, we shall take the liberty of mentioning, that on the first of October 1767, and during the time that the Earl of Shelburne was Secretary of State for the southern department, an idea was entertained of forming, "at the expence of the crown," three new governments in North America, viz. one at Detroit [on the waters between Lake Huron and Lake Erie]; one in the Illinois Country, and one on the lower part of the River Ohio; and in consequence such idea, a reference was made by his lordship to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, for their opinion upon these proposed new governments.

Having plainly explained the cause of the representation, which is so very strongly and earnestly insisted upon by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, as containing "every argument on the subject of the lands which is at present before your lordships;" we shall now give our reasons for apprehending, that it is so far from applying against our case, that it actually declares a permission would be given to settle the very lands in question.

Three principal reasons are assigned in the representation, "as conducive to the great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America, viz."

1st. "Promoting the advantageous fishery carried on upon the northern coast."

2dly. "Encouraging the growth and culture of naval stores, and of raw materials, to be transported hither, in exchange for perfect manufactures and other merchandize."

3dly. "Securing a supply of lumber, provisions, and other necessaries, for the support of our establishments in the American islands."

On the first of these reasons, we apprehend, it is not necessary for us to make many observations; as the provinces of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and the colonies southward of them, have not, and from the nature of their situation and commerce will not, promote the fishery, more, it is conceived, than the proposed Ohio colony.—These provinces are, however, beneficial to this kingdom, in the culture and exportation of different articles;—as it is humbly presumed the Ohio colony will likewise be, if the production of staple commodities is allowed to be within that description.

On the 2d and 3d general reasons of the Representation we shall observe, that no part of his Majesty's dominions in North America, will require less encouragement "for the growth and culture of naval stores and raw materials; and for the supplying the islands with lumber, provisions," &c. than the solicited colony on the Ohio;—and for the following reasons:

First, The lands in question are excellent, the climate temperate, the native grapes, silk-worms, and mulberry trees, are every where; hemp grows spontaneously in the valleys and low lands; iron-ore is plenty in the hills; and no soil is better adapted for the culture of tobacco, flax, and cotton, than that of the Ohio.

Second, The country is well watered by several navigable rivers, communicating with each other; and by which, and a short land-carriage of only 40 miles, the produce of the lands of the Ohio can, even now, be sent cheaper to the sea-port town of Alexandria, on the river Potomack (where General Braddoc's transports landed his troops) than any kind of merchandise is at this time sent from Northampton to London.

Third, The river Ohio is, at all seasons of the year, navigable for large boats, like the West Country barges, rowed only by four or five men; and from the month of January to the month of April, large ships may be built on the Ohio, and sent laden with hemp, iron, flax, silk, &c. to this kingdom.

Fourth, Flour, corn, beef, ship-plank, and other necessaries, can be sent down the stream of Ohio to West Florida, and from thence to the islands, much cheaper, and in better order, than from New York or Philadelphia. Fifth, Hemp, tobacco, iron, and such bulky articles, can also be sent down the stream of the Ohio to the sea, at least 50 per centum cheaper than these articles were ever carried by a land carriage, of only 60 miles, in Pennsylvania;—where waggonage is cheaper than in any other part of North America.

Sixth, The expence of transporting British manufactories from the sea to the Ohio colony, will not be so much, as is now paid and must ever be paid, to a great part of the counties of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

From this state of facts, we apprehend, it is clear, that the lands in question are altogether capable, and will advantageously admit, from their fertility, situation, and the small expence attending the exporting the produce of them to this kingdom,—"of conducing to the great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America:"—But that we may more particularly elucidate this important point, we shall take the freedom of observing,—That it is not disputed, but even acknowledged, by the very Report now under consideration,—that the climate and soil of the Ohio are as favourable, as we have described them;—and as to the native silk worms,—it is a truth, that above 10,000 weight of cocoons was, in August 1771, sold at the public filature in Philadelphia;—and that the silk produced from the native worm is of a good quality, and has been much approved of in this city.—As to hemp, we are ready to make it appear, that it grows, as we have represented, spontaneously, and of a good texture on the Ohio,—When, therefore, the increasing dependance of this kingdom upon Russia, for this very article, is considered, and that none has been exported from the sea coast American colonies, as their soil will not easily produce it,—this dependance must surely be admitted as a subject of great national consequence, and worthy of the serious attention of government. Nature has pointed out to us, where any quantity of hemp can be soon and easily raised, and by that means, not only a large amount of specie may be retained yearly in this kingdom, but our own subjects can be employed most advantageously, and paid in the manufactures of this kingdom. The state of the Russian trade is briefly thus:

1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse