REPRESENTATION, LORDS OF TRADE TO THE KING,
re GRANTING LANDS ON THE ISLAND OF ST. JOHN (PRINCE EDWARD), 23 MARCH, 1764.
[Enclosure in Order in Council of 9th May, 1764.]
B.T.N.S., VOL. 20.M : 108 ; ALSO IN B.T.N.S., VOL. 37, p. 394.
To the King's most Excellent Majesty.
May it please Your Majesty,
In Obedience to Your Majesty's Commands signified to Us by Your Order in Council, we have taken into consideration a *Memorial of John Earl of Egmont, on behalf of himself and his Nine Children, and of a great Number of Land and Sea Officers, a List of whose names is hereunto annexed, humbly praying for a Grant in Fee of the Island of St. John in the Gulph of St. Lawrence and in the Province of Nova Scotia, upon the terms and conditions therein proposed ; Whereupon we beg leave humbly to represent to your Majesty we are of Opinion it may be highly conducive to the speedy cultivation of Your Majesty's American Dominions, that the Nobility and other Persons of Rank and distinction in this Country should take the lead, and shew the example in the undertaking and carrying into execution the Settlement thereof, and that all due encouragement should be given to officers of Your Majesty's Fleet and Army to whose distinguished Bravery and conduct this Kingdom is so much indebted for the acquisitions made in the late War ; We therefore humbly recommend to your Majesty, that a proper distribution be made of Lands in this Island to the said Earl for himself and family, and to the other Memorialists conformable to such divisions and sub-divisions of the said Island as we shall humbly recommend to your Majesty, and in such proportions as may be suited to the particular purposes and intentions of the said several persons, so far as the same shall be found to be consistent with those principles of Settlement, Cultivation and Government, which have been adopted for many years past, and are founded upon the experience of former times.
To this end we beg leave to lay before your Majesty the Plan for the division and allotment of the Lands in this Island, which we had intended to submit to your Majesty, after having taken into our consideration the proposal of several Officers, Merchants and others for making Settlements therein ; which proposals were withdrawn upon the Earl of Egmont's having made his first application to your Majesty. The Propositions contained in this
Plan were : That the Island should be forthwith surveyed by Your Majesty's Surveyor for the Northern District. That it should be divided into Counties of five hundred thousand Acres each, so near as natural and proper Boundaries would admit. That the said Counties should be laid out into Parishes of One hundred thousand Acres each. That each Parish should be laid out in like manner into Townships of Twenty thousand Acres each. That each County, Parish, and Township should be laid out in such manner as to partake as much as possible of the natural advantages of the Country, especially those which arise from the Sea Coasts and from the sides of navigable Rivers. That there should be laid out in each County, a sufficient quantity of Land for the Scite and accommodation of a Town in the best and most Commodious part of the said County for the situation thereof, and that there should be reserved in each Parish a proper Scite for a Church, and a proper number of Acres near the same for a Glebe for a minister. And as this Plan is with great propriety applicable to .the proposals now under consideration and does we conceive, equally answer to the views and intentions of the Memorialists, We humbly beg. leave to recommend that it may be adopted upon the present occasion, and that when the Survey we have proposed, with the several Divisions and sub-divisions shall have been made and returned to your Majesty's Govt of Nova Scotia, regular Grants of such Divisions and sub-divisions be made under the Seal of the Province to the said Earl and his family and to each of the other Memorialists under the same Regulations and Conditions of Cultivation and Settlement, as' are prescribed by your Majesty's Instructions in respect to Grants of Lands in other parts of the said Province ; due regard being had to the intentions and abilities of the several Memorialists, as well as Your Majesty's Proclamation of the 7 of October last ; but We would humbly recommend, that (except in the Case of the said Earl, who proposes not only for himself, but for his Nine Children) no one person should possess more under such Grants than twenty thousand Acres, and that each should have a separate Grant ; for We beg leave to observe, that We do not see that any advantage whatever can arise to the public, or to the several Adventurers, by leaving the parcelling out of the lands to the said Earl, but on the contrary, experience has shown, in the Cases of the great and exorbitant Patents of Lands, in the Colonies, particularly in New York, that the making such Grants in joint Tenancy and Copartnership, and leaving the future distribution to be made by Deeds of Partition ; have been ever found to be attended with great inconveniencies and obstruction to Settlement, with endless litigation and dispute amongst the Proprietors, and have made it difficult to ascertain, and impossible to collect the Quit Rents reserved to the Crown. That with regard to the Grant Your Majesty shall think fitt to make to the Earl of Egmont. We humbly submit, whether, in consideration of His Lordship's extensive designs, and his abilities and zeal to carry them into execution, and that His Lordship proposes not only for himself but for his Nine Children. Your Majesty may not be pleased to Grant to his Lordship one whole Parish in the said Island for himself and his family ; but We beg leave to observe, to your Majesty that We do by no means recommend to Your Majesty the making
grants of so large extent in general ; If therefore what we have proposed shall be approved by your Majesty and the several Memorialists shall be willing to accept Grants in the method we have recommended, We would further propose, that in order to prevent any delay in carrying the above mentioned plan into Execution, and to the end that your Majesty's Govr may be enabled in making the Grants, to Execute with Exactness and precision, Your Majesty's Royal Intentions, the Memorialists should severally make their proposals to this Board, that the proper directions may be transmitted to your Majesty's said Governor for making out Grants proportioned to the Intentions & abilities of the said several Memorialists as aforesaid. That as to the conditions which the said Earl mentions to have been already declared and agreed upon between his Lordship and the other Memorialists, We beg leave to represent, that every condition besides those of cultivation and Settlement, which Your Majesty usually inserts in Grants of Lands, will tend, as we apprehend, only to embarass the Settlers, and to delay and discourage, or altogether prevent the Settlements. We have received no official information relative to these conditions, but if they are similar to, or partake of the nature of those which his Lordship proposed in his first Memorial to your Majesty for the Island of St. John. We beg leave to repeat our Opinion, that the Introduction of such Conditions of Settlement and Tenure is entirely impolitick, inexpedient and anticommercial. The Earl of Egmont proposes that the several intended Grantees of the Island should come under the, same Conditions of Quit Rent to your Majesty as are usual in the continental part of Your Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia ; whereupon we think it our duty to state to your Majesty that as this Island is particularly valuable from its soil as well as situation, We had it in our intention before his Lordship's proposals were made, to raise Your Majesty an higher Revenue of Quit Rent from this Island than from the other parts of Your Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia. And that certain Merchants had actually agreed to accept Grants of Townships at the rate of three shillings hundred Acres, which Addition of one shilling hundred Acres will make a difference in the Quit Rents of the whole Island of a sum not less than one Thousand two hundred and fifty pounds per Annum ; And we further submit to your Majesty upon this head, how far it may be reasonable, that the cleared Lands of the said Island, consisting as we are informed, of many thousand Acres, in the most fertile parts, should be exempted from Quit Rent for ten years, the policy of which encouragement is applicable only to such Lands as are not cleared at the time of Granting. That, if upon the whole Your Majesty shall be pleased to direct that Lands in the said Island should be granted in Townships of twenty thousand Acres and such sub-divisions thereof as may be found convenient, We have nothing further to recommend to your Majesty but that out of the said Grants there may be reserved to your Majesty according to the Instructions given to your Majesty's Governor of Novia [sic] Scotia, all Mines of Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead and Coals, and a sufficient breadth on the Sea Coast from High water mark for the free accommodation of all Your Majesty's Subjects in carrying on the
Fisheries, for which the Coasts of this Island are so advantageously situated, together with proper accommodation for the fishery of Sea Cows which we understand abound on some part of the said Island.
Which is most humbly submitted
March 23, 1764.