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open arms. But this is an event of which there seems not to be the smallest glimpse of hope. What then remains to be done but to acquiesce in the loss of these provinces, which in truth we have lost beyond all possibility of recovering them by a continuance of the war? And, to testify this acquiescence, it will be necessary to declare, in the most authentick manner, our readiness (in order to the restoration of peace) to acknowledge them as independent states, and to cultivate a friendly intercourse with thein, in that new cha. racter, for our mutual advantage, and more especially in matters of commerce, in which we are capable of becoming of most benefit to each other.
But here a difficulty arises as to the manner of granting them Independence. It is said, I observe, by many people, (and, I believe, with truth,) that the king alone, without the concurrence of the parliament, cannot legally grant them Independence; for that he would thereby dismember the British empire, and alienate the hereditary dominions of the Crown, which they conceive 10 be beyond his power : “ For, though,” say they, “ the king may, by virtue of his "prerogative of making peace or war, restore, at a peace, a
country newly conquered in the preceding war, of which “ such peace is a termination, (as he did, in fact, restore the " ifands of Martinique and Guadaloupe to the French king " at the peace of Paris in February, 1763,) yet it does not “ follow that he may grant away the sovereignty of a “ country that has been anciently and permanently a part of " the possessions of the crown of Great Britain,”-I grant all this to be so. But what then? Shall the thing, therefore, remain undone, notwithstanding the urgent importance of it to the welfare, or, rather, to the safety and preservation, of the nation? Surely this cannot be a just conclufion. But, since the authority of parliament is necessary in this business, let that authority be employed; yel, with as great regard as possible to his Majesty's true and acknowledged prerogative of making war and peace, which is generally thought to be wisely lodged by the law, or conftitu. tion, in the executive branch of our Government. And let this be done openly and clearly, and not by using loose and general words in an Act of Parliament that makes no express mention of the Independence of the colonies, and by leaving the power of granting the said Independence, conferred by the statute on the Crown, to be colle&ted from those words by uncertain implications, as is the case with the Act of the Jast session of Parliament, brought-in by Mr. Wallace, his Majesty's late Attorney-General. This indirect way of proceeding is not calculated to gain the confidence of the Americans, and to bring-about the desired reconciliation. The business should therefore be done in the fullest and plainest manner, to the end that the Americans may no longer doubt of the entire concurrence of Parlianient to the Act whereon their future Independence is to be founded, and may no longer complain, or have the finallest pretence to complain, that our proceedings in this important transaction are in any degree obscure or insidious. And with this view I conceive it would be proper to pass an A&t of Parliament to the following effect, namely, “ To enable the King's Majesty, if " in his royal wisdom he fall fo think fit, to abfolve from “their allegiance to himself, bis heirs and fucceffors, all the
present inhabitants of the thirteen revolted provinces, to wit, “the province of Massachusett's Bay, that of Connecticut, " that of Rhode I Nand, &c. (fpecifying them all with their “ respective boundaries, accurately set-forth,) and to cede “ unto the governing powers cstablished in each of the said “ provinces, all his Majesty's right of fovereignty over the « whole of such province, together with his right of property “ in the soil of all such parts of the said provinces as have been legally granted-away under the authority of the
“Crown before the month of July, in 1776, when the
vote of Independency was passed in the Continental Con“gress.” All this is necessary to be expressed in fuch aa Ad of Parliament, in order to make the concession of Independence clear and compleat. For, if the inhabitants of the said provinces were only to be abfolved from their alle giance, without also making them a grant of the king's right to the soil of the faid provinces, the king might be supposed to retain a right to the soil, and to be at liberty, at some future time, to require the inhabitants of the said provinces, who would have been absolved from their allegiance, and would therefore be no longer subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, to withdraw themselves from his territories, and go and settle themselves elsewhere, whereever they thought fit, out of the dominions of the Crown of Great Britain, And, if the soil were to be granted to the said inhabitants, in the manner proposed, but without speeifying the limits of the provinces fo granted, disputes might afterwards arise concerning the extent of the territories of these new states, who, probably, would carry their claims as far as the South Sea, while Great Britain might be sup. posed to have reserved to herself her right to the lands about the river Ohio, and the five great lakes, Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior ; and, in general, to all that extensive country which, by the A&t of Parliament of the year 1774, for regulating the government of the province of Quebec, was added to the former territory of that province. The limits, therefore, of the provinces, or terri. tories, intended to be ceded to these new states, ought to be distinctly specified, as well as the King's rights over the faid territories, to be expressly ceded to them.
Further, if the Act were inade in the manner here fuggested, that is, so as not immediately to grant Independ dency to the Americans while they are yet in arms against
us, and we are not absolutely certain that they will lay-down their arms in consequence of the concession, but only to enable the King to grant it to them, if be, in his royal wisdont, fall so think fit, the parliament would avoid encroaching on the royal prerogative of making war and peace, and would only invest the King with the same compleat power of making peace with his revolted subjects in North-America, which he already enjoys by the Law, or Conftitution, with respect to all the other states with whom we are at war; which power of making peace or war, it is generally thought, can be better exercised by the King alone, than by the King and Parliament conjointly. And, if his Majesty, after being thus enabled by his Parliament, should think fit to direct his minister at Paris to make this important concession to the Americans, the Americans would not have the smalleft scruple concerning either its extent or its validity, but would proceed with confidence to treat of the other articles that might be necessary to a general peace with them and their allies.
FIRST ROYAL CHARTER
GRANTED TO THE
COLONY OF THE MASSACHUSETS BAY,
IN NORTH AMERICA,
was printed by the Direction of the late Mr. Israel Mauduit,
CHARLES, by the Grace of God, King of England,
Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the
To all to whom thefe Presents shall come, Greeting.
HEREAS our moft deare and royal Father, King Recital of James, of blefled memory, by his Highness's letters James's patents beareing date at Westminster the third day of grant to the November, in the eighteenth year of his reign, hath Plymouth. given and granted unto the Councel established at 18 Jac. 1. Plymouth in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering, and governing, of New-England in America, and to their heirs and succeffours and affignes for ever: All that part of America lying and being, in Description breadth, from fourty degrees of northerly latitude from
granted. the equinoctiall line, to fourty-eight degrees of the said northerly latitude inclusively, and, in length, of and
of the land
. This first Charter of the Massachusets Colony has never been printed. There are very few Manuscript Copies of it. Those are liable to so many accidents that it is thought proper to publish it as the most likely means of preventing it's being irrecoverably lost.From Mr. Mauduit's printed copy of this Charter.