Nov 1766 Petition by Edward and George Hicks et al to King George III to Intervene in the Dispute between New Hampshire and New York
The following is taken from New Hampshire State Papers. By A. S. Batchellor , Vol 26.
NOV 1766. Pownal Bennington, New Hampshire, later Co Vermont.
"To the KING's Most Excellent MAJESTY. The Humble Petition of the several Subscribers hereto, Your Majesty's. Most Loyal Subjects,. Sheweth to your Majesty;. THAT We obtained at considerable Expence of Your Majesty's. Governor of the Province of New-Hampshire, Grants and Patents for more than One Hundred Townships in the Western Parts of the said supposed Province (1); and being about to settle the same, many of Us (2), and others of Us, having actually planted Ourselves on the same, were disagreeably surprized and prevented from going on with the further intended Settlements, by the News of its having been determined by Your Majesty in Council, That those Lands were within the Province of New-York; and by a Proclamation issued by Lieutenant Governor COLDEN, in Consequence thereof forbidding any further Settlement until Patents of Confirmation should be obtained from the Governor of New-York. Whereupon We applied to the Governor of said Province of New-York, to have the same Lands confirmed to Us in the same Manner as they had been at first granted to Us by the Governor of the said Province of New-Hampshire; when, to Our utter Astonishment, We found the same could not be done, without our paying as Fees of Office for the same, at the Rate of Twenty Five Pounds, New-York Money, equal to about fourteen Pounds Sterling, for every Thousand Acres of said Lands, amounting to about Three Hundred and Thirty Pounds Sterling at a Medium, for each of said Townships, and which will amount in the Whole to about 33,000 Sterling, besides a Quit-rent of Two Shillings and Six Pence Sterling, for every Hundred Acres of said Lands; and which being utterly unable to do and perform, We find Ourselves reduced, to the sad Necessity of losing all our past Expence and Advancements and many of Us of being reduced to absolute Poverty and Want having expended Our All in making said Settlements. Whereupon Your Petitioners beg Leave most Humbly to observe. 1. That when We applied for and obtained said Grants of said. Lands, the same were and had been at all Times fully understood and reputed to lie and be within the said Province of New-Hampshire, and well within the Power of the Governor of that Province to grant: So that Your Petitioners humbly hope they are equitably entitled to a Confirmation of the said Grants to them(3).
2. The said Grants were made and received on the moderate Terms of Your Petitioners paying as a Quit-rent One Shilling only, Proclamation Money, equal to Nine Pence Sterling per Hundred Acres; aud which induced Us to undertake to settle said Townships throughout, and thereby to form a full and compacted Country of People, whereas the imposing of the said Two Shillings and Six Pence Sterling per Hundred Acres, will occasion all the more rough and unprofitable. Parts of said Lands not to be taken up; but Pitches, and the more valuable Parcels only to be laid out, to the utter preventing the full and proper Settlement of said Country, and in the Whole to the lessening Your Majesty's Revenue.
3. Your humble Petitioners conceive, that the insisting to have large and very exorbitant Fees of Office to arise and be computed upon every Thousand Acres in every Township of Six or perhaps. more Miles square, and that when one Patent, one Seal, and one Step only of every Kind, toward the completing such Patents of Confirmation respectively, is necessary, is without all reasonable and equitable Foundation, aud must and will necessarily terminate in the totally preventing Your Petitioners obtaining the said Lands, and so tlie same will fall into the Hands of the Rich, to be taken up, the more valuable Parts only as aforesaid, and those perhaps not entered upon and settled for many Years to come; while Your Petitioners with their numerous and helpless Families, will be obliged to wander far and wide to find where to plant themselves down, so as to be able to live.
Whereupon Your Petitioners most humbly and earnestly pray, that Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to take their distressed State and Condition into Your Royal Consideration, and order that We have Our said Lands confirmed and quitted to Us(4), on such reasonable Terms, and in such Way and Manner, as Your Majesty shall think fit. Further, We beg Leave to say, that if it might be consistent with Your Majesty's Royal Pleasure, We shall esteem it a very great Favour aud Happiness, to have said Townships put and continued under the Jurisdiction of the Government of the said Province of New-Hampshire, as at the first, as evry Emolument and Convenience both publick and private, are in Your Petitioners humble Opinion, clearly and strongly on the Side of such Connection with said New Hampshire Province. All which Favours or such and so many of them as to Your Majesty shall seem meet to grant, We humbly ask; or that Your Majesty will in some other Way grant Relief to Your Petitioners; and they, as in Duty bound, shall ever pray.
Dated in New-England, November, 1766. And in the Seventh Year. of His Majesty's Reign.
Edward Hicks. George Hicks.
and 183 others
[The above information is from the Pownal Historical Society] (Ken Held of the PHS notes that the list of 251 Pownall petitioners appears to somewhat repeat itself with the last 75 names. Careful analysis of the list reveals that there were only 185 petitioners on the spot in Pownall. Private. Military