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murdered in cold blood the King's Officers and Troops, that they have also invaded most of the Colonies East of Alleghany, murdering multitudes of his Majestie's Subjects, and destroying the Country before them with fire and Sword. This Insult on his Majestie's Government and their first violation of the Treaty now puts it in the Power of the Crown consistently with Justice, to pursue the political plan of getting that Country settled as quickly as possible; we call it political, because the fertility of the Soil, the immense quantity of it, the fineness of the Climate and the Situation of Navigation, renders it one of the most proper Countrys in the World for the production of Hemp, of which commodity, so necessary to Britain, any quantity may there be produced. As well as a variety of other crude materials for manufactures, which at present we purchase from foreigners at a very great expence; such as Silk, Iron, Indigo, etc. But above all things, Hemp, it appears peculiarly adapted to, because that plant so greatly and quickly impoverishes ground, that to make it in many quantities, not only a Soil uncommonly fertile is requisite, but there must be a prodigious quantity, also the good policy of this measure, will further appear from considering how effectually a strong Colony settled at that place proposed by the Company will contribute to prevent any encroachments the French Settlers on the west side of the Mississippi may be disposed to make on the King's Territorys in that part, and how they will be cutt off from all communication with the Indian Nations, and thereby be prevented from instigating them to War, and harassing the frontier Counties as they have constantly done of all the Colonies. It is to be considered likewise that as the French have already a very powerful Settlement upon the River Illinois and many Settlements among the Lakes and as by the Treaty of Peace they are to remain there as British Subjects; whether if our people are not allowed to settle beyond the Alleghanys, will not the above mentioned French be apt (under the security of the vast distance of 8 or 9 hundred miles from our Settlements) to invite over their Neighbors and Countrymen from the west side of the Mississippi, and thereby gradually take hold of that Country as to make another expensive War requisite to remove them. This is no improbable event, when we attend to the enterprizing and encroaching genius of the French, ever fond of invading their neighbor's rights when they can do it with any tolerable security. And that they will be permitted to do this unmolested by the Indians is extremely probable from the powerful influence they appear to have over the minds of these people by their behavior to these Settlers at the time they were besieging his Majesty's Fort at Detroit, the 11th of last May when they made use of the French as Mediators between them and the Garrison which French most dishonestly gave up the King's Officers they had engaged to protect, to the cruel fury of the Indians, no doubt the better to conciliate the affections of the Savages, and by the Summons they sent Major Gladwin wherein they call the French their Fathers. These facts make
certain whatever encroachments the French may be inclined to make, they will meet with no obstruction from the Indians. These are hints, Sir, that we have thought it prudent to mention to you, that if necessary, may be urged to the Ministry, but we doubt not but your reflections will furnish you with reasons of more weight than any we have here suggested.
We are also to observe to you, Sir, that Col. Mercer' is now in London soliciting for the Ohio Company, and perhaps he may have under his protection the Interest of other Companies whose concerns may possibly interfere with ours, or that he may think so; and thereby be induced to oppose our Scheme; we request you not to converse with Col. Mercer on the subject of our solicitation, nor let him know that any such plan is projected. This letter together with our original Articles, the Memorial, and all our papers will be delivered you by Mr. Chas. Digges, a worthy member of the Company whose opinion in what results to the concerns of the Company we recommend to your attention; and if it should not be agreeable to you to be a member or to solicit our affairs, we advise you, and it is in our Opinion, that in the appointment of another agent, you consult M'. Digges, and that you take his sentiments in the Choice of those nine members to be procured in Britain and in that event Mr. Digges will receive our papers and put them into the hands of another Solicitor. But nevertheless we hope your friendship for many members of the Company will induce you to favor their Scheme, and to assist Mr. Digges with your advice. We have nothing more at this time to observe to you, but only that you will be pleased from time to time to give us all necessary information and that you direct your letters for us to Mr. Wm Lee in Westmoreland County, Virginia; We are with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient and very humble Servants.
* Colonel George Mercer.
By order of the Committee, WM LEE, Secretary. Resolved, that the Treasurer take a fair Copy of the original Agreement, the Memorial, and the Letter together with the Resolves of the said Company made at Belleviews Sept. 9, 1763, and deliver the same to Mr. Chas. Digges to be by him presented to M'. Cumming.
Resolved that the Treasurer pay into the hands of Mr. Chas. Digges One hundred Guineas to be by him delivered to Mr. Cumming agreeable to the resolves of the Company.
WESTMORELAND County, VIRGINIA, March ist, 1767. Thos. Cumming, Esq. Sir,
It was with concern we understand from your Letter to Mr. Wm Lee, dated the 16th of January, 1765, that little hope was to be entertained of success in a point so much wished by the Mississippi Company. But we should not so long have neglected to answer that very polite and obliging Letter if you had not in some measure rendered an answer unnecessary, by declaring your intention of resuming the Pen when such an alteration in American affairs should take place as might prove favorable to the Claim.
That the present is a proper Crisis to renew our solicitations, we hope as well from the wisdom of the Ministry, as from what you have been pleased lately to write Col. Thornton on this Subject. In conformity, therefore, with the direction of the Company at their last general meeting we are to request, that if in your opinion, a probability of success now opens immediate measures be taken to press for a determination by the Privy Council on the Company's Memorial; and as a previous prudent step we recommend the obtaining as quickly as possible, one half the number of British members of the Company, which you were desired
* The residence of Colonel Thomas Ludwell Lee, in Stafford County, Virginia. to procure by our former letter among which number, it will give us much pleasure that you shod. be one; but the other half it is deemed proper shall remain unfilled, till the next general meeting, when you will receive further advice on this head.
When the consideration of this affair is recommended we should be willing (as it appears to you proper), to yield that part of the Memorial relative to fortifications at Government expence, but with respect to the Quantity of Land for each Member, if it be rightly understood, an abridgement of that will by no means answer, since it remains a certainty that one third at least of the quantity will be necessarily sacrificed to the purpose of gaining a sufficient number of Settlers to secure the rest, which added to the Expence incurred by conveying people there, the greater number probably from the Continent of Europe, the charge of surveying, etc., will leave the remainder not more than a good encouragement to the adventure. With regard to the Crown, it would seem a much more probable method of securing and speedily increasing the quit Rent revenue, by placing the Land in the hands of persons of property, than by suffering things to remain as they are now, when people in numbers that have no property and of bad reputation generally are bursting daily thro' the bounds of the settled Colonies, and fixing on the Waters of the Ohio, both lawless and useless to their Country, a consciousness of having violated Government Orders making them choose to have as little communication with the interior parts as possible.
We observe your opinion of the settled Colonies being too thinly inhabited. For some purposes, no doubt it is so; but whilst Great Britain desires our application to Agriculture rather than to Arts her interest in this point will more effectually be obtained, by a dispersion than by a collection of our people; experience evincing, that when good land can be obtained on easy terms, the desire of manufacturing is almost entirely lost in the eagerness for tillage. The difficulty of procuring Land, and the complement of great numbers in small Tracts of Territory, call necessarily for the exercise of invention, from whence spring originally improvements in Arts and Manufactures.
As the spot chosen by the Company is open to navigation and the Country around extremely fertile, the settlers there will beyond doubt considerably benefit both themselves and the Mother Country from the Products of the Soil; so the means of conveying British fabricks by water must render them greatly cheaper than they can possibly be made there for ages at least.
The Company has been informed by M?. Digges of your declining to accept the money formely tendered you; they regard this as a very uncommon, and a very noble instance of warm and disinterested friendship, the only return to which thay can at present make, is a real and genuine esteem.
We conclude that the Solicitor lodged the Memorial with the Privy Council and except the Ten Pounds paid him for that purpose, the Balance of the Money rests in the hands of Thos. Philpot, Esq., Merchant in London, who will be directed to pay it out to your Order as you shall find it necessary in the course of the solicitation.
In filling up the number of the British members as above mentioned we recommend your application to Flemming Pinkston, Esq., in St. Albans Street to be one of the Company.
We think of nothing more at this time necessary to be mentioned to you but our request that you give us (by means of Mr. Wm Lee) the most early notice of what is done in our business; and we beg leave to refer you to a due consideration of the Original Agreement and Memorial, and of our Letter accompanying them dated the 26th of Sept. 1763
We remain with great regard, Sir, your most obedient and very humble Servants. Signed after being agreed to by the Committee and by their Order,
WILLIAM LEE, Secretary.
At a General Meeting of the Mississippi Company at Stafford Court House in Virginia the 27th day of May 1767.
It appearing to the Company that the Committee in compliance with the directions of the said Company given to them at a meeting held the 22d day of Nov., 1765, have written to Mr. Cumming and pres’d him to solicit with vigor, the granting the Lands mentioned in the Memorial formely sent to him, and the Letter being read to the Board which amongst other things directs that Mr. Cumming proceed to fill up the Subscriptions with only one half of the British members and the other half to remain 'till the next general meeting, which letter being approved of by the sd: Company they have come to the following resolutions:
That as some Gentlemen of power, fortune and interest wod. willingly become menibers of our Company but may object to being limited to one Share.
Resolved that the Committee write Mr. Cumming to have regard to Major Thos. Addison's recommendations to him of such persons to whom a tender of two shares shall be made, and that the Treasurer write Major Addison requesting him to inform M'. Cumming by Letter who the particular persons are to whom he may propose the acceptance of two Shares.
It appearing from experience, that a meeting of a Majority of the Members residing in Virginia and Maryland cannot be easily obtained according to the original Articles and an obstruction to business happening in consequence thereof, Resolved that for the future every general meeting of the Company shall be advertised in the Virginia and Maryland Gazette, and if at such a meeting a majority of the said members shall be assembled, four of which to be of the Committee, they shall have power to proceed on business and their determinations to be binding on the Company, anything to the contrary or seeming to the contrary thereof in the original articles notwithstanding.
Resolved that the Treasurer transmit a Copy of the last Resolve to every absent member in Virginia and Maryland that they may have notice thereof.
Resolved that as Mr. Wm Digges hath refused to pay his proportion of the Money as is directed by the Original Articles it is determined that Mr. Richard Graham on complying with the requisite payment, be admitted a member of the Company in place of the said Digges, and that the Treasurer inform Mr. Cumming of this alteration in the list of subscribers.
Ordered that the Treasurer forthwith demand of the Subscribers who have not paid their quotas agreeable to the Original Articles, the Sums of money respectively due from them.
Ordered that the Treasurer pay the Expences accru'd at this meeting out of the Money in his hands.
Agreed to by
Test, WILLIAM LEE, Secretary.
At a General Meeting of the Mississippi Company at Stafford Court House in Virginia, December 16th 1767.
John Augustine Washington
William Fitzhugh, Junr.
William Beale, Junr.
It is resolved that Messrs. Robt. Brent, Richard Graham, Philip
It is resolved that Mr. Edw. Key, dec'd, was not a member of this Company, having never signed the Original Articles.
It is resolved that Major Thomas Addison is not a member of this Company, but that application shall be made to him to become a member.
It is resolved that Mr. John Hite is not a member of this Company, having never signed the Articles or paid any money.
It is resolved that Mr. Samuel Washington be admitted as a member of this Company on complying with the Articles thereof.
It is resolved that Messrs. John Baylor, Bernard Moore and Thos Walker be admitted as members of the Company on their complying with the Articles thereof.
It is resolved that Mr. Chas. Digges have full power and authority to sell or dispose of his share in this Company to Mr. Thos. Montgomery có any other person that the Company shall hereafter approve of.
It is resolved that application shall be made to M'. Warner Lewis and Doctor Arthur Lee to become members of this Company.
It is the opinion of the Company and it is so ordered, that the Treasurer of the Company call a general meeting of the Company according to the rules of the Company for that purpose, on the 21st day of March next ensuing, and if at that time a number of members sufficient to form a general meeting shall not be assembled, that in that case the Committee already appointed by the Company or the Treasurer of the Company being so directed by the Committee, shall have full power and authority to demand and receive of each member of the Company the Sum of £13, II, o, Sterling, amounting in the whole to the Sum of £542 Sterling, which Sum the said Committee are empowered to dispose of in