« ZurückWeiter »
SETTLEMENT ON THE OHIO RIVER.
This paper relates to what has been commonly called Walpole's Grant, heretofore mentioned, (p. 233.) A petition had been presented to the King in Council by a company of gentlemen, at the head of whom was Thomas Walpole, for a tract of land on the Ohio River, where it was proposed to form a new settlement. The petition met with delay in the Council, and was at length referred to the Board of Trade. The following "Report of the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations” on the subject was drawn up by Lord Hillsborough, at that time president of the Board of Trade, who strenuously opposed the petition. Dr. Franklin answered that Report, and in so able and convincing a manner, that, when the subject was again brought before the Council, July 1st, 1772, and his answer was read, the petition was granted.
Alluding to this circumstance, in a letter to Joseph Galloway, dated August 22d, 1772, Dr. Franklin said ; “Lord Hillsborough, mortified by the Committee of Council's approbation of our grant, in opposition to his Report, has resigned. I believe when he offered to do so he had such an opinion of his importance, that he did not think it would be accepted; and that it would be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside than to part with him. His colleagues in the ministry were all glad to get rid of him, and perhaps for this reason joined more readily in giving him that mortification. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him, who has much more favorable dispositions towards the colonies."
Again, in a letter to his son, dated July 14th, 1773, he wrote; “Mr. Todd, who has some attachment to Lord Hillsborough, told me, as a secret, that Lord Hillsborough was much chagrined at being out of place, and could never forgive me for writing that pamphlet against his Report about the Ohio. Of all the men I ever met with, he is surely the most unequal in his treatment of people, the most insincere, and the most wrongheaded. Witness, besides his various behaviour to me, his duplicity in encouraging us to ask for more land. Ask for enough to make a province, (when we at
. • ' first asked only for two millions five hundred thousand acres,) were his words, pretending to befriend our application; then doing every
thing to defeat it, and reconciling the first to the last by saying to a friend, that he meant to defeat it from the beginning, and that his putting us upon asking so much was with that very view, supposing it too much to be granted. Thus, by the way, his mortification becomes double. He has served us by the very means he meant to destroy us, and tripped up his own heels into the bargain.”
Lord Hillsborough's Report and Dr. Franklin's Answer were published, in the year 1797, in the second volume of a work, entitled "Biographical, Literary, and Political Anecdotes of Several of the most eminent Persons of the present Age." The author of that work remarks on the subject as follows.
“Lord Hillsborough was so much offended by the decision of the Privy Council, that he resigned upon it. He resigned for that reason only. He had conceived an idea, and was forming the plan, of a boundary line to be drawn from the Hudson River to the Mississippi, and thereby confining the British colonies between that line and the ocean, similar to the scheme of the French after the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which brought on the war of 1756. His favorite project being thus defeated, he quitted the ministry. Dr. Franklin's answer to the Report of the Board of Trade was intended to have been published; but, Lord Hillsborough resigning, Dr. Franklin stopped the sale on the morning of the publication, when not above five copies had been disposed of." - EDITOR.
OF the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Planta
tions, on the Petition of the Honorable 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 Honorable 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 quitrent to be paid for the said tract of land, if it should be thought advisable 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 settlement 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 seacoast, 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 dependence 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 fall into the sea from the west and northwest; 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 license 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 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 seacoast as to be out of the reach of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom, continue to exist in their