Letter from Gabriel Johnston to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Johnston, Gabriel, ca. 1698-1752
Volume 04, Pages 294-296
[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 10. B. 40.]
My Lords [of the Board of Trade]
Being lately informed that the Gentlemen of South Carolina are making some attempts to induce your Lordships to sett aside the Boundary Line betwixt them and this Province as the same was settled at their own
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request about three years ago, I must take the liberty to offer what follows on this subject to your Lordships Consideration. It cannot easily be forgot what difficulties occurred, and what warm disputes past concerning this affair for the first five or six years after his Majesties purchase, upon my arrival at Cape Fear anno 1734 in the first letter I had from the Governor of South Carolina. He was anxious to know if I had not brought over a more plain Instruction about the dividing Line, when I assured him I had not, but did design to put the old Instruction into Execution. Early in the year 1735 three Commissioners were appointed with full power from the Governor, Council and General Assembly of South Carolina to adjust that matter with other Commissioners to be appointed by this Province. The Commissioners from South Carolina came into this Colony, and desired, that without adhering with too much rigour to the words of the Instruction, which favoured our pretensions very much, we would agree to such reasonable propositions as they designed to make us, and then join our Endeavours to gett this agreement ratified at home, an Agreement was accordingly drawn up in full and ample form signed sealed and exchanged, by the Commissioners of the two Provinces, ratified by their constituents and the most difficult part of the Line actually marked in pursuance of this agreement. soon after, I had the honour to acquaint your Lordships with this transaction, and you were so good as to assure me in your answer that you would shew great regard to this solemn and peaceable decision of an affair that had formerly been the occasion of much wrangling and contention, since that time his Majesty has been pleased to grant to some Merchants in London 1200000 acres of Land in this Province, a great part of which is ordered to be laid out on the head of Pedee River, and just within the dividing Line as it was agreed to by the Commissioners, and this it is presumed may be looked upon as an actual confirmation on His Majesties part of this division of his two Provinces. The Surveyor General of this Colony has been actually employ'd in this survey for some months past and must continue still a long time attended with a great number of men and horses with provisions so that this Article alone must cost the Gentlemen concerned a great sum of money besides their charges in soliciting that matter at home, and all this must be lost to them if the desires of South Carolina are complied with. Upon the whole it is humbly submitted to your Lordships whether an agreement which these gentlemen came into this Province to solicite which they consented to with great joy, which they afterwards ratified and partly carried into Execution, an agreement which your Lordships approved of, and has in some measure the Royal sanction ought to be sett aside purely to gratify these Gentlemen's
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humours, or whether it is not very probable that as they were at first very uneasy under the Royal Instruction on this Head, thō drawn in the manner they desired and are now dissatisfied with their own agreement, any concession now made will give them any lasting satisfaction or prevent your Lordships from future applications on this Affair; It is hoped that at least your Lordships will be so good as to hear what can be said in behalf of this Province before any alteration is determined.
I am My Lords, &c.,
Cape Fear, June 13th 1738.