"Extract from Report of the Commissioners appointed under Resolves of Feb. 29, 1844 and March 16, 1844 to locate Grants and Determine the extent of possessory claims under the Late Treaty with Great Britain"

In the prosecution of our labors in the vicinity of the St.John, our duties were rendered perplexing and arduous from the circumstances that the settlers did not understand our language, and were unacquainted with our laws and institutions, and that their manner of acquiring possession of vacant tracts, and their modes of transfer, in cases of sale from one another, were loose and irregular, giving occasion to frequent and numerous controversies in relation to boundaries between adjacent possessions, and in relation to tilles, where several individuals claimed the same land. In the General Character, however, the settlers are peaceable, honest, intelligent, in proportion to their advantages, and they were very well disposed towards us; and by a patient hearing and investigation of their several claims, with an anxious desire to do Justice between them, we take pleasure in the belief, that, in almost every instance, the results have been entirely satisfactory.

The inhabitants are well satisfied to be within the Jurisdiction of the United States. Their circumstances and conditions will be greatly improved by the provisions made for them in the resolves under which we have acted; and still more, by the liberal provision made by the Legislature of 1844, for the promotion of Education among them. The necessity of that provision could hardly be conceived by persons who have never spent any time in the midst of a community grown up together with almost no means of even learning to read. The benefits which had already resulted to them, under the very acceptable, skillful and devoted labors of the gentleman who was so wisely selected as the almoner of this bounty of the State cannot be too highly appreciated. Though not within the scope of our official duty, we feel compelled to bear testimony from personal knowledge, to the fidelity of his self-denying labors, and to express a strong hope that the present Legislature will make an appropriation for the same purpose, sufficiently liberal, to accomplish what has so happily commenced. By a Judicious expenditure of a few thousand dollars at this time, in that interesting community, the rising generation will result[?] with the enlightened portions of the State.

From the East line of the State, to the west line of the seventh range of townships, a distance, by the river St.John, of about 60 miles, the whole front on the River has been taken up, and is under improvement with the exception of only about 400 rods; and in the older parts of the Settlement, the lots have been subdivided into very narrow fronts. Settlements have also been commenced in several places in rear of the river lots, which are rapidly extending. It would be a great accomodation to the settlers, and would promote the interest of the State, if the seven townships adjacent to the river were surveyed into lots for settlers, and offered for sale. In any event, the land will be taken up and occupied, and if not previously surveyed into lots, it will be difficult to survey thereafter. A great number are desirous of purchasing, many of whom have the means of making immediate payment. If a liberal policy be extended to them by the States, they will become attached to our institutions of government, and those townships will soon be covered with a thriving population.

Philip Eastman
John W. Dana
Henry W. Cunningham
March 3, 1845

(The Commissioners appointed by the State of Maine)

Source: Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, (B.30, H 12, Volume 3), in the National Archives of Canada, Microfilm number C-3110

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Last revised 6 Sep 2004
© 2004 C. Gagnon